Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1115

LightDims are small vinyl dots that cover the LED’s on gadgets and knock the glare way down. The package includes Original Strength (Color Black) Dims 50- 80% of light -Black Out Edition (Color Black) Blocks 100% of light -Customizable Original Strength 9.5" Solid sheet, (Color Black) Dims 50-80% of light -Silver Edition (Color Silver metallic) Dims 80-90% of light designed to blend with aluminum metallic electronics like apple products. And there’s a 4-pack version you can buy which slips with no product label and the absence of some product information.

How can I remotely connect to work while traveling?

Scott from Boulder, CO

Episode 1115

Scott travels a lot and he needs to connect to work a lot. So he's looking for a good laptop that he can remotely connect in. And what should he use to do so? Leo says that services like GoToMyPC and LogMeIn work with https secure logins, and that's a good solution, but they are costly. VPNs work really well because they essentially burrow a hole directly to your network that others can't get into.

IFA Begins in Europe, and It's Becoming More Like CES

Episode 1115

Mobile Phone

The IFA convention is happening in Europe, and Leo says it's becoming more and more like CES. Right now is the ideal time for it as it as the holiday shopping season is right around the corner. Of course, there's always a lead-in of about a year from product announcement to seeing it in stores. So what's previewed this year will be out next year. Except for Apple, which typically releases its phones 10 days after the announcement.

Should I leave my computer on all day?

Episode 1114

Dan from Tehachapi, CA
Power

Dan is on his computer for about an hour and a half in the morning, then another hour and a half in the evening. Dan is wondering if he should shut down his computer during the day, or leave it on and have it go into sleep mode. Leo says that modern computers handle power pretty well. He can choose in his power saving control panel a variety of different schemes, but the default should be fine. It will go into a low power mode that only uses a few watts, even less than what a light bulb would use. During the day, if he's going to use it off and on, that's what he should do.

Is it true that Quickbooks and Excel don't work as well on Mac?

Ooma from San Juan Capistrano, CA

Episode 1114

Ooma needs a new computer and she's heard that Quickbooks and Excel doesn't work well on Mac. Leo says that there is a Mac version of Excel, and there is an online version of Quickbooks, but it's better to use in Windows.

Will Windows 7 be supported for awhile? Leo says yes. Microsoft will support it until at least 2020 for extended support, but Microsoft will end mainstream support in January 2015. Security wise, they will support it through 2020. Leo also says this is why Microsoft is pushing Windows 8 hard. Windows 9 is next year, too. But Ooma has until 2020 to change OS.

Why can't my computer see all of my hard drive?

Episode 1114

James from San Diego, CA
Hard drive

James just bought a 3TB hard drive, But Windows XP only sees less than a TB. Leo says that's not surprising. The bios of the computer may not see all the hard drive, but the OS is so old that it may not see it all either. For 3TB, he would need GUID. He can partition the drive into smaller chunks, though. He'll need a disk manager to do it. The XP Disk Manager should be able to handle it.

How reliable are SSDs?

Episode 1114

Sean from Rhode Island
SSDs

Sean has heard that SSDs lose sectors over time. Leo says all hard drives do that. SSDs, though, use wear leveling to make sure that all sectors wear out equally. That's why he uses all SSDs in his computers -- they're very robust. SSDs are now getting cheaper in price, too, making it affordable to use for everyone.

Why doesn't my wireless mouse work right?

Episode 1114

Eliot from Fontana, CA
Mouse

Elliot has discovered he may have malware on his computer. When he hovers his mouse over an item in his browser, he loses control of his mouse. Leo says that it's likely an issue with Elliot's wireless mouse and chances are, he needs to change the batteries or reinstall the drivers. This is why Leo only uses wired mouses. Get a wired mouse, they're cheap.

How can I connect a car stereo to my home speakers?

Episode 1114

Steve from Canoga Park, CA
Car stereo

Steve has a car stereo and he wants to connect it to home speakers. Leo says that he's got the resistance mismatched which could cause some damage. Steve will need a step converter to be able to handle it. But many believe that there's not enough mismatch to worry about it. An impedance matching transformer would fix it, as would two speakers in parallel.