Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Should I buy a Pebble watch?

Episode 1145

Tom from Warren, OH
Pebble Watch

Dan is thinking about buying the Pebble smart watch. Leo says that while the Pebble watch is a cool device, it's a first generation watch that isn't cheap at $349. Leo prefers the Android Wear watches. It's exactly what a smartwatch should be. Breaking news, time, adjustable watch face, and tells him who's calling. Leo advises waiting on the Pebble or go with an Android Wear watch.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1145

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget will help you get fit and rock out at the same time. The TalkBand B1 is an exercise band that has a pop out Bluetooth headset. The integrated Bluetooth earpiece with 1.4 inch OLED display features accept and reject buttons for phone calls. Want to accept a call and talk? Push a button and pop-out the Bluetooth earpiece.

As an activity tracker, it can automatically track steps, distance, and calories burned; in sleep tracking mode it automatically tracks sleep time and quality. It’s Bluetooth 4.1 as well as NFC for easy pairing.

Can I use an HDTV as a computer monitor?

Episode 1145

Norman from Los Angeles, CA
HDTV

Norman is thinking of replacing his computer monitor with an HDTV. Leo advises against that. HDTVs aren't as sharp as computer monitors because he'd be sitting up too close to it. He'll see all the pixels and the resolution won't be as sharp as a monitor. He'll be paying for stuff he's not using, too, such as smart TV functions. People do it, though, and it really depends on how the computer would be used. But in general, he doesn't recommend it.

Leo suggests going to dell.com and buying a 27" monitor if he wants a large screen.

Why is my monitor displaying inverted colors?

Episode 1144

Ken from Los Angeles, CA
Video card

Ken has a problem with his monitor. All his icons have turned to negative. He tried to change the cable, and he even tried another monitor. Leo says it may be that his settings were changed. Ken should go into accessibility and see if it's set for high contrast mode. But when he unplugs it and plugs it back in, it goes back to normal. Leo says that's odd. Leo says to update the drivers on the video card. If it rights itself when he tries again, that points to a hardware issue and Ken should try replacing the video card.

Can a virus cause a blue screen of death?

Episode 1144

David from Burbank, CA
BSOD

David's computer started to get the dreaded bluescreen of death and he took it to the Geek Squad to get it repaired. They said it was a virus and sold him WebRoot. Leo says that the Geek Squad couldn't have been more wrong and just sold him an antivirus software he didn't need. Almost always, the problem with BSOD is either a driver or hardware issue. BSODs only happen as a result of accessing ring 1 memory on the computer and that's only drivers or hardware. Malware won't result in a BSOD.

What does "meantime between failures" mean?

Episode 1144

Richard from Grand Rapids, MI
Hard Drive

Richard wants to know what the "meantime between failures" means. Leo says that it's the time that a hard drive will live, or the average life span of a hard drive. But Leo says it's pretty much a made up number. They take 1,000 hard drives and run them until a handful die. Then they extrapolate how long the hard drives could last. It's mostly meaningless. Google and Rackspace have both released studies and 98% will last about 2 years, 2% die in the first year, and then they die at about 4% per year. That's just based on their experience.