Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Doctor Mom Reviews the Amazon Echo

Doctor Mom from New York, NY

Episode 1202

Doctor Mom likes the Amazon Echo because they keep updating it, and it gets better and better. Leo says he agrees, but he still hasn't gotten his. Doctor Mom says that the most interesting option is that it will stream Audible and whisper sync allows you to pick up where you left off on your phone. But Doctor Mom says that for $150 (for Prime members) it's fantastic. It also integrates with If This Then That, making it a great way to control things in your home by using your voice. Currently Amazon only allows you to buy one Echo, and they're taking forever to make them.

How can I make sure my laptops are running cool?

Jerry from Queens, NY

Episode 1202

Gary is having thermal issues with his laptop. Leo says that there's a sensor that has probably come off the rails. The fans require suction to work properly. If the case isn't in contact, that could be the case. But more likely, it's just a failed sensor. He should also make sure there's no dust blocking the fans and that there's clean airflow. Leo says that he can turn off the setting that could stop it from bugging him.

Why do car companies put touch screens in cars when they want us to keep our eyes on the road?

Mike from Maine

Episode 1202

Mike says it's ironic that cars with computer touch screens make it impossible to keep our eyes off the screen when adjusting the radio. They want us to keep our eyes on the road, but they include touch screens and that's nuts. Leo agrees with Mike. Leo says that car companies, and even Apple and Google are looking for hands free solutions including voice operated directions, which work with a smartphone. But Leo doesn't know if that will make things better or worse.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1201

Dick DeBartolo

If you’re a fast typist, you may often find that your keyboard can’t keep up with you. This new Cherry MX Board 6.0 has beautiful red backlighting that illuminates every key. A few keys you use often, like the Windows key or the FN key, can be changed to blue backlighting if you like. This is a high-end keyboard with an all aluminum frame & nylon wrapped USB cable. If you like, you can rest your hands on the rubber cushioned wrist rest that’s included in the box. (Note the magnetic warning about putting media close to it.)

How can I make an old hard drive unreadable?

Gary from Pawtucket, RI

Episode 1201

Gary has several old drives with data on it and wants to know the best way of destroying them so that they won't be able to be read. Leo says if he can read the drive, he can use Derek's Boot and Nuke (DBAN), which will write over the drive seven times to make it impossible to recover the data. His other choice is to take the drive apart and literally shatter the platters, if they're glass. Patrick Norton does this with a hammer. He could also drill holes into the metal platters as well.

Could a bad USB cable cause my Mac to shut down?

Cynthia from Malibu, CA

Episode 1200

Cynthia plugged her iPhone into her laptop and when she did, it shut down her Mac. She was told that it could do that with a third party USB cable. Leo says it's not likely a compatibility issue, but it could be a short in the cable. What about a message that says "battery needs service?" Leo says that's more likely the issue as batteries do stop charging after about 500 recharge cycles. So Leo believes the shut down was coincidental. Getting a new battery should solve that problem.

What Windows laptop should I buy?

Episode 1200

Linda from Cranston, RI
Dell Inspiron

Linda wants a Windows laptop for doing Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Quickbooks, and storing photos. Leo says any Windows laptop will be able to handle that, as those tasks aren't very demanding. She will need plenty of storage, though, for the photos. Linda doesn't mind if it's heavy, but she does want a big screen on it. It's basically a desktop replacement. She'd like to find something under $500, if possible. Leo recommends not going too far under $500, though.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1199

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is the Pancake Bot. Using Lego Minestorm and two ketchup bottles, the inventor of the Pancake Bot created a computer controlled app on the iPad to draw out and 3D print Pancakes! He took the idea to kickstarter and raised nearly a half million dollars! By using a combination of compressed air and a vacuum, the Pancake Bot controls where the batter is dispensed. Onboard controls let you fine-tune the dispensing of the batter as it glides over the griddle. Suggested retail price mentioned at the show was $299.00.