Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Lenovo Gets Caught Putting Malware on Its Laptops

Episode 1163

After getting caught putting a piece of malware called Superfish on all their laptops, Lenovo has offered apologies and released a removal tool with which to remove it. Leo says that Lenovo had been putting malware on its machines that makes it possible for a 'man in the middle attack' to reroute customer's personal traffic to Lenovo so that it can insert ads. Leo says that's inexcusable and nobody should ever buy a Lenovo brand computer again.

What's the best portable printer?

Episode 1162

Claudia from North Edwards, CA
Epson WorkForce WF-100

Claudia is a notary and sometimes she does it remotely. She needs a laptop and printer that will work off her car's cigarette lighter. Leo says that there are mobile printers, made by HP and Epson, and she can buy an inverter that she can plug into that lighter. There's also battery powered printers, and even printers she can power directly from the laptop. Leo recommends the Epson Workforce WF-100.

(Disclaimer: Epson is a sponsor)

FAA Releases Proposed New Drone Rules

Episode 1162

With the recent loss of a quadcopter on White House grounds, the need for more specific FAA rules on drone use has become more important. And yesterday, the FAA released proposed new rules for doing just that. The rules include that drones must be under 55 lbs, fly under 500 feet and go no faster than 100 mph. There would be an age limit of 17 and you must pass a aereonautics exam and be vetted by the FAA. But you wouldn't need a license. The rules have a public comment of 60 days.

Should I get an AMD or Intel processor?

Alex from Camarillo, CA

Episode 1162

Alex is thinking about getting an AMD processor because they seem more affordable. Leo says they are, but really not enough to justify the performance gap. Also, Broadwell processors aren't out yet, but they will certainly be even faster. Leo likes that AMD is out because it keeps Intel honest, and pushes Intel to keep innovating, keeping prices down. That's what competition is for. But sadly, AMD is just not as fast.

Leo recommends consulting PCper.com to research the components for building his own PC.

Why does my laptop say I need to replace my battery?

Riley from Boston Spa, NY

Episode 1162

Riley has a Windows 7 laptop and he's getting an error message that his battery should be replaced. Since Riley's laptop is about two years old, the time is about right for Riley to replace that Lithium Ion battery since they only have 500 fixed recharge cycles. So yes, Riley probably needs to replace the battery. If he keeps his laptop always plugged in, he'll be limiting the number of recharge cycles. He should only recharge the battery when he needs to for being out and about.

Should I wait for Windows 10 to buy a computer?

Debbie from Calabasas, CA

Episode 1162

Debbie wants to get a new computer, and she's wondering whether or not she should she wait until Windows 10 comes out. Leo says no. Microsoft is going to want everyone to move on to Windows 10 and as such, any computer that runs Windows 7 or 8 will run Windows 10. Microsoft has even said it will give it away for free in the first year to anyone currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8. Users will have a year to take advantage of the free upgrade when it comes out this Fall.

What electrical adapters will I need overseas?

John from Austin, TX

Episode 1162

John traveled to the UK and he got an inverter that nearly bricked his laptop. Leo says that most of the time laptops don't need a transformer because they're built for a world market. Just a plug converter is needed, or a travel adapter. They're only about $10, even at the airport. He should always look in the fine print of the device. It'll tell him the voltage it can handle.

What PC should I get for Minecraft?

Episode 1162

Rider from Manhattan Beach, CA
Dell XPS 13

Rider is saving up his pennies to get a laptop to play Minecraft and other games with. Leo says that just about any computer will be able to play Minecraft. A Mac will work as well. But more graphics intensive games may require a more powerful processor. Rider also wants the Oculus Rift, but Leo says it's just too early for that to happen. We don't know when that will be out. And by the time it does come out, Microsoft will have its HoloLens which Leo thinks would be even better.