Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1410

Dick DeBartolo

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk.

How can I update my GPS radar device?

Episode 1410

Lee from Rapid City, SD
Escort Passport IQ

Lee has an Escort radar detector/GPS device and he can't update the maps. Leo says that many GPS companies are getting out of the business because every smartphone has GPS and a maps app. The phone is constantly up to date, while the GPS device isn't. Escort has also joined the iPhone generation by making their own app that has crowd sourced radar data like GPS. So GPS devices are rapidly becoming obsolete. There may be a software/maps update at the Escort Radar Forums.

How can I record a month's worth of security video?

Episode 1410

Mike from Fremont, CA
Swann Security Camera

Mike has a Swan surveillance camera with a hard drive recording option that archives for seven days before it loops around. He'd like to expand that to a month. Can he? Leo says he might be able to with a larger hard drive, but it may be specially locked down to prevent upgrading or hacking it to his liking. It largely depends on the DVR.

Why can't I use a third party charger with my HP laptop?

Episode 1409

David from Orange Park, FL
HP Spectre x2

David bought a new HP convertible laptop, and HP has made it so he can't use third party charging systems through the USB C port. Leo says that's anticompetitive, and HP is one of the few companies that does it. It just makes people angry that they are locked into using proprietary accessories with a standard open source port.

Leo suspects that maybe it's just an issue of needing more wattage since he can charge with it while the computer is turned off.

How can I make a phone call with the Amazon Echo?

Episode 1409

Keith from Coachella, CA
Amazon Echo

Keith is a fan of the Amazon Echo because he is vision impaired. Leo says that the Echo is great for accessibility because he can talk to it and get the necessary replies. It's not perfect, though, of course. It doesn't make phone calls yet. Right now, he could "drop in" and make phones calls to other Echo users. Some day someone may make a skill for that, but Google Home, by contrast, will be able to make a call to any phone number via Google Voice. So for that option, Google Home is the better option.

What's wrong with my computer?

Episode 1409

Peter from Escondido, CA
Hard Drive

Peter is having problems connecting his Echo to the internet, but his computer is still having problems and he thinks it has died out. Leo says it's probably coincidental that the computer went down, but it may be related since Peter said the connection interrupted and a power surge may have occurred. If Windows was indexing the hard drive, it could have spewed a word salad of 1s and 0s, making the hard drive unreadable.

What's a good, repairable laptop?

Episode 1409

Jerry from Hatfield, PA
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s

Jerry runs a dart tournament and he runs it on a spreadsheet through his mobile phone. He wants to use a laptop instead to make it easier for him. Which one should he buy, and can he have two internal drives in it? Leo says that can be done and he'll want to use an SSD for his primary drive. They have special software called wear leveling that extends the life of the SSD. They are more reliable than spinning hard drives because there are no moving parts.