Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I make my screen easier to read?

Episode 1395

Frank from Tullahoma, TN
High Contrast Mode Windows 10 screenshot

Frank is frustrated because his Windows 10 screen is unreadable. It's frustrating because the white background and the blue letters make it difficult to read. Leo says that in the Accessibility settings of Windows 10 there is a high contrast mode which he can turn on and off by holding down the left "Shift," "Alt," and "Print Screen" keys. He can also choose to turn it on permanently in the settings.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1394

Dick DeBartolo

Dickie D's gadget of the week is the JOI Lamp Tea Light Candle Powered LED Lamp. And yes, it does work! The JOI lamps doesn't use batteries, solar, or wall power to create its own light. It uses thermo-electric technology to transform the energy of a single tea light candle into enough light to illuminate your night. Within about four minutes of lighting it, JOI begins to convert the heat of the candle into more than 18 times the light generated by the tea light alone.

Phones Can Legally be Seized at the Border

Episode 1394

TSA

When a story came out recently that a JPL Engineer was detained and his work phone seized, it caused Leo to do some research about your legal rights coming back into the country. Turns out that the 4th amendment's protection against unlawful search and seizure has been suspended when you're in "international waters," and that's what an airport technically is. So the Border Patrol and the TSA have the legal right to take your phone, computer and tablets and demand the password to access all your data.

How can I scan negatives?

Episode 1393

Percy from Crystal River, FL
Epson Perfection V600

Percy wants to know if there's a way to scan negatives with an Epson printer. Leo says not the Fast Photo printer. It has a sheet feeder that you can stack photos into and scan, but negatives require different hardware. You can bounce light off a print and reflect it, but in order to scan negatives, you have to shine the light through the negative into the camera.

How can I use my iPhone with my Windows PC?

Episode 1393

Andy from Florida
WhatsApp

Andy has an iPhone SE and he noticed that he can text phones from his PC using the email address provided by the carrier. Another option is to use a texting app that has a desktop app as well. Options include WhatsApp and Telegram, but he'd only be able to use it with people who use those apps. Facebook Messenger is an idea though. It works in the browser as well as mobile device.

Why can't I turn on my MacBook Air?

Episode 1393

Nabeel from Gardendale, AL
MacBook Air

Nabeel has a first generation MacBook Air and he can't turn it on, even when plugged in. Leo says that it's likely that the battery has died and that it blocks the current going to the computer. He can remove the battery and use it as a desktop, but to replace the battery is only about $99. So why not just get more use out of it by replacing it? Apple can do it.

Can I defragment an SSD?

Episode 1393

Sean from Pennsylvania
SanDisk SSD

Sean has a nine year old desktop loaded with software. Will he be able to get updates to Windows XP to end of life? Leo says there's a good chance of that. He just won't get anything through SP2.

He also wants to know if he'll have to defrag his SSD. Leo says no, he won't need to, but he can do it to force TRIM to speed up the SSD.

Why are weird text files appearing on my desktop?

George from Houston, TX

Episode 1393

George wants to know why he's getting weird text files being saved onto his desktop. Leo says it sounds like an app was written with debugging turned on, and when he uses that program, it saves the error messages to a text file. It's a harmless mistake left over by the developer. The trick is to figure out which app it is. George should check out Microsoft's Process Explorer. It should be able to help him track down what app it is. It's at Sysinternals.com.