Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why can't my wireless camera connect to my server?

Walt from Huntington, WV

Episode 1068

Walt and is using an old server as a home computer. He uses Alarms.com to monitor his home security system, and it works wired. But when he changes over to the wireless configuration on the camera, one of his cameras will not connect.

Leo says that there may be a DHCP conflict that's preventing it, or the password based security is the issue. He should try turning off security on the router to see if it works. It may be the older camera can't be supported with the newer security standard used by the router.

Why does my laptop get such poor battery life?

Episode 1068

Jeff from Redondo Beach, CA
Dell XPS laptop

Jeff is having trouble with his Dell XPS laptop because he can only get an hour and a half of battery life. Leo says that the XPS is considered a "desktop replacement," and an hour and a half really isn't that unusual. It's likely that if he looks for the "fudge words" in the ad, he'll see that his mileage may vary. That's why Leo advises never to buy a new piece of hardware without reading legitimate reviews. An ad is always going to stetch the details.

What's the best laptop with long battery life?

Episode 1068

Earl (AA7EG) from online
Apple MacBook Air

Earl wants to get a laptop for photo editing. He'd also like one that has good battery life. Leo says that the MacBook Air gets up to 13 hours of battery life. Even if he's doing a lot of photo editing, that's still about 8-10 hours.

How much RAM should he get? For most things, 4GB is fine. But if he's going to do RAW, where the size of the images is 27-28 MB per file, then maybe doubling the RAM would be a good idea.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1065

Dick DeBartolo

Dick says that while it's been around for awhile, he just got an IOGEAR 2 Port USB Cable KVM Switch with Audio and Mic connections. He uses it to switch between computers and still use the same monitor and keyboard. Leo says he's used them for years and they just plain work! Dick says it took five minutes to install. There are no additional cables or software needed. You don’t need a power supply either; it’s just plug & play. It's $26, or $17 without the audio connection.

What's a good computer for writing a memoir?

Episode 1065

JR from Detroit, MI
Samsung Chromebook

JR's mom wants a laptop to write her memoirs, but she's not very computer savvy. Leo says that at 76, a laptop may be more problematic because of the small screen. A large desktop screen could be more beneficial. She also wants to dictate, but Leo says that Voice dictation is only about 90% accurate and that means she'll still have to go through and fix it all. Leo says that recording it and then having it transcribed is a better option, especially for someone who has trouble typing. She also wants a printer.

What computer should I get to replace my old Windows XP machine?

Episode 1065

Maria from Los Angeles, CA
Acer Chromebook

Maria wants to get a Mac because of its security benefits, but she needs to use Microsoft Office. Leo says that Mac supports Office, and although it's more expensive, a quality PC will cost about the same anyway. Another idea is the Google Chromebook, with costs ranging from about $200 to $500. She can then use Google Docs which is just as good as Microsoft Office and she wouldn't have to buy it. A great choice, but it's a very simple computer.

What TV should I buy? (Part 1)

Episode 1065

Carlos from Southern California
HDTV

Carlos would like to buy a new TV and wants to know whether he should get plasma or LCD? Leo says that plasma has the best quality, but with it's reflective screen, it's best to use in a darkened room. Companies are getting out of plasma, though, because everyone is buying LED TVs. Backlit LCDs have gotten so good that people are choosing them because they look better on the show room floor.