Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why doesn't my Echo work in the garage?

Episode 1470

Stan from Victorville, CA
Amazon Echo

Stan has a bunch of Amazon Echo devices all over his house, but he's having issues with the one in his garage. Leo says that the garage may be too far from his router. He should try bringing it into the house and using it. If it works there, then that means he just doesn't have a good signal in the garage. If it doesn't, then the software may be damaged, and he can just reset it back to defaults to reload the software.

How can I digitize my old albums?

Episode 1470

Steven from Ashville, NC

Steven has a large vinyl record collection and he wants to digitize it. He bought a Behringer U-Phono USB interface to connect to his turntable so he can do it. What software should he use? Audacity? Leo says it's popular because it's free, but it's not the easiest app to use when digitizing a lot of records. Leo recommends a more automated option. DBPowerAmp is a good option, but there's also RipVinyl for $10.

How can I make my SSD faster and more secure?

Episode 1470

Jake from Dallas, TX
Intel SSD

Jake swapped out his smaller SSD with a larger one on his computer. Leo says that Jake could just keep that drive as his software only drive and then use the larger drive for data. He could even combine multiple drives into a RAID for redundancy. He should keep in mind that using RAID 0 may be fast, but it's also less reliable because if one drive fails, it all fails. RAID 1 would give him data security by making multiple copies of the same data. RAID 5 is what is common now, and that offers the best of both worlds.

Why is my Mac running so slow?

Episode 1470

Timothy from Fresno, CA
Mac Pro

Timothy started a new job and he's using a 5-year-old Mac Pro. Leo says that's not that old, actually. Leo prefers them to the recent models. Tim says that there's not a lot of RAM — only 4GB. Leo says that 4GB is OK for most things he'll do online and for documents. But he recommends running the activity monitor to make sure all the RAM is functioning. Sometimes, though, a program doesn't release the RAM when it no longer needs it, and it may be that is what's happening here. The hard drive may be slowing things down as well.

Can I get recorded TV programs off my TIVO?

Episode 1470

Michael from Kansas City, MO

Michael wants to know if he can get the programs off his TIVO. Leo says it was possible with the Series 1 TIVO. But now the data is encrypted, so it's almost impossible to decrypt it and copy it off. TiVo does have a feature called TIVO to Go, but the only way he could really do it is to exploit the analog hole. That will lower the quality a bit, but he can use the analog connections that would go to his TV and connect them to a recorder. Then he could play the content back and record it in real time. It can be complicated though, because of HDCP.

Does FileVault slow down Macs?

Episode 1470

Laurie from Santa Monica, CA

Laurie has been having shut down issues on her MacBook Pro and has been told by an Apple Genius that it's because of FileVault being turned on. Is that causing problems? Leo says absolutely not. That doesn't impact the Mac at all. There's no hit to performance either. FileVault is a good idea because it will keep her data encrypted in case her laptop gets stolen. Leo says what's more likely the case is that her battery is bad and that Apple will replace it.

How can I backup the Ring doorbell to my NAS?

Episode 1470

Naomi from Denver, CO

Naomi has a Ring doorbell and wants to know if she can back up the video and images to her NAS. By the time she gets the notification from it, the person who rang the doorbell is already gone. Leo says she could Live View it. Leo suspects that Naomi may have a bandwidth issue with her ISP. Ring goes to the Ring servers before contacting her, so there's probably latency in her network due to being in a rural area. Leo says a motion sensor camera could ping her faster than Ring.

(Disclaimer: Ring is a sponsor)

Why can't I play DVDs on my Windows 7 computer?

Episode 1470

David from Los Angeles, CA

David has high end 17" Windows 7 laptop, but he's having issues with his optical drive after being reinstalled. Leo says there's a bunch of things it could be, like a damaged player or a broken cable. Since it happened after a reinstall, it may have missed the DVD player driver. David should check his device manager to see if Windows sees it. If it's not in there, then he'll need to install the drivers in order to use that player.

Can I get a laptop with a DVD player built in?

Episode 1469

John from Montana
Lenovo 17" laptop

John wants a device for watching DVDs with a large screen. Leo says that optical media have disappeared and large screen laptops are rare as well. Dell and Lenovo still sell 17" laptops, though. But he won't have a DVD drive with it. He could get an external DVD drive. They're cheap and he can plug it in when he wants it. Leo also recommends getting a larger external monitor. He should just use external peripherals when he wants to watch DVDs. That will give him the best of both worlds.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1469

Dickie D recently bought the MUTE BUTTON after watching a video of it sent in by Mo, a big fan of The Giz Wiz Show. It solves a problem we all have, and that's the need to lower or shut the sound of the TV when the phone rings, or someone shouts to you from another room. Finding the “Mute” button on the typical remote is no easy chore. It's worse if you're getting up in years and you're looking for the “mute” bottom in a darkened room. You need 20/20 eyesight to find that mini mute button. Enter the giant Smash Mute button!