Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why do I have to log into my Chromebook every time?

Episode 1503

Sue from Illinois
Lenovo Chromebook

Sue took Leo's advice and bought a Lenovo Chromebook. But she's having difficulty adapting to it. She doesn't know where anything is. Leo says that's because everything is in the cloud. It also asks for her password all the time and she's tired of entering it. Leo says that can be frustrating, but it's vital to protect her data in the Cloud. In the settings, there is a feature that would enable her to turn on a PIN, which would let her log in with a simple 4-7 digit code. She'll have to enter her Google password from time to time yet, but the PIN is a good way around this issue.

Why can't I connect to 5GHz on Wi-Fi?

Episode 1503

John from Oxnard, CA
Wi-Fi

John upgraded his internet but his laptop says it only has 2.4 GHz available. Leo says that means his router is only 2.4 GHz. 802.11N routers are dual band with 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands. And there's even tri-band routers that offer two 5 GHz channels along with a 2.4 GHz channel. His laptop may also just be able to connect to 2.4 Ghz. John should look in his BIOS and software to see if the 5.0 GHz band is turned off.

What laptop should I buy?

Episode 1503

Bruce from Long Island, NY
15" MacBook Pro

Bruce does both Mac and PC work, and he's looking for a laptop that can handle both well. Should he buy a PC centric computer that can run a Mac virtually? Or the other way around? Leo says that there is no way to run macOS on anything but a Mac, especially not virtually. He could do a hackintosh, but not on a laptop. So Leo says go the other way, and get a MacBook Pro running Windows in Boot Camp.

What is firmware?

Joy from Santa Cruz, CA

Episode 1502

Joy wants to know what firmware is? Leo says that firmware is the software that a computer or device uses to operate its system. It's software that is protected because you need it to run the actual device so that the software can translate instructions that the device understands.

Why is the image quality so bad on my Epson inkjet?

Episode 1502

Robert from Bakersfield, CA
Expression Home XP-340 Small-in-One All-in-One Printer

Robert has an Epson printer and the print quality isn't good. Leo says that inkjet printers need to be used a lot in order to keep the nozels clean. Ink can dry and it can clog. He can run the cleaning utility several times to clear out the clog. The downside is that it uses a lot ink. But it's the only way to get it back to printing good prints. If he only uses a printer occasionally, a laser printer is a much better option.

(Disclaimer: Epson is a sponsor)

Why doesn't my Sonos connect in party mode?

Episode 1502

Ricky from San Diego, CA
Sonos One

Ricky has Sonos, and after a recent update, he can't get his Sonos speakers to play in party mode. Leo says that may be due to it choosing a speaker to act as the main portal. Leo has had similar issues, and he solved it with a boosted Wi-Fi device. A recent update was supposed to fix all that. The more likely issue, though, could be plain old congestion. Everything has Wi-Fi now, and as a result, it causes rush hour. Leo recommends un-pairing everything.

Do I need a disc utility program for my Mac?

Episode 1502

Alan from Spring, TX
DiskWarrior

Alan wants to know if MacKeeper is a good Mac maintenance tool. Leo's not a fan. Not only because it's not a very good utility, but simply because Alan doesn't need that kind of utility on the Mac. The OS is so mature now that those utilities that cleaned the hard disc and kept the registry in order simply aren't needed anymore. There already is a disc utility on the Mac and that's really all he needs. Alan could try Alsoft Disc Warrior, but at $100, Leo doesn't think it's worth it.

Why doesn't my MP3 player connect to my car stereo?

Episode 1502

Jim from Lakewood, CO
CarPlay in the 2018 Honda CR-V

Jim just got a new Honda and he can't get his MP3 player to pair with it via Bluetooth. Leo says that if he can connect his phone via Bluetooth, then it supports Honda's version of the A2DP standard. The question is, does that MP3 player support it? It may be that Honda doesn't properly implement A2DP. Most cars will pair with an A2DP standard, and if his MP3 player supports it, then it should. But since that car has Apple CarPlay, he can always use his phone to stream music.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1501

Dick DeBartolo

Here's a totally new product from Bose. No, it's not active noise reduction, which Bose is famous for, but a brand new way to mask annoying nighttime noises. Things like noisy neighbors, construction; or when traveling, vending machines, elevators, etc. Active noise reduction doesn't work for sleep, so they came up with a new technology, noise-masking. The new device is dubbed Bose sleepbuds. They don't (and can't) stream music, but they offer 10 preloaded soothing sound tracks (water, rustling leaves, crackling fire, etc.) designed to match and mask the unwanted noise.

Is buying a used computer a good idea?

Episode 1501

Sandy from Costa Mesa, CA
Windows 10

Sandy bought a used computer from a guy, and it's filled with software. Is that legit? Leo says that chances are, the computer hardware is fine, but it will be filled with pirated software that she doesn't have a right to or paid for. And chances are, it'll be a timed trial that will stop working down the road. That's a drag, especially if the timed software is Windows itself. But by then, the guy is gone. And he may also have hidden key loggers and stuff.