Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Can Amazon Echo be used to spy on me?

Episode 1457

Mark from South Carolina
Amazon Echo

Mark wants to know if Amazon Echo is going to be used in cars. Leo says it will. In fact, Leo just installed one in his. And we'll soon see Google's Assistant there, too. It's the next big thing in computing. Mark is also concerned that Echo could be used to spy on him. Leo says that's possible. But Leo doesn't think Amazon wants to manage all that information and the risk to its business if it was discovered that Amazon was snooping on customers would be devastating. But then again, law enforcement could always subpoena to have access to it.

Should I have to pay to have my router updated?

Episode 1456

Mark from Northridge, CA
Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 router

Mark got the Nighthawk router and now he's hearing he has to buy a service agreement to have it updated for security after owning it for 90 days. Leo says that's outrageous. Security updates should be included in a $200 router. Paying $129 a year is ridiculous. But we expect really cheap gear now and with a single tech call, they can lose their profit margin. It's just the nature of the technology business. Security is a basic need, though, and that should be factored in.

How can I set up a wireless door lock for my elderly aunt?

Episode 1456

Dan from New Jersey
Schlage lock

Dan has an aunt who lives a reclusive life and there are times she can't get up to open her door. Dan is wondering if there's a remote option that will allow her to open the door? Leo says sure, but she will also probably want a camera and monitor so she can see who's at the door before she opens it. That would require Wi-Fi, though. Schlage makes one that opens via Bluetooth. Kwikset was the first company to do this.

What's the best battery charger?

Episode 1456

Steven from Los Angeles, CA
Panasonic K-KJ17MCA4BA Advanced Individual Cell Battery Charger

Steven wants to know what battery charger is best. He's seen one on SharperImage.com that looks pretty good. It's a Universal Battery Charger and it promises to regenerate batteries. Is it legit? Leo says that it's a bad idea to recharge alkaline batteries. He should get a rechargeable NIMH battery charger. Steven can check out theWirecutter.com for the best battery charger. He can get the charger with four batteries for around $21.

Should I buy an Apple Watch 3 and iPhone X?

Episode 1456

Chris from Miami FL
Apple iPhone X

Chris wants to get an Apple Watch Series 3 and the iPhone X. He's heard rumors, however, that Apple is slowing down production, and he's wondering if he should avoid those products. Leo says to consider the source. For instance, Ming-Chi Quo is primarily an analyst and his job is more to decide if it's worth buying Apple stock over buying the iPhone. So far, there's been no confirmation of sales having softened due to supply. If anything, it's been quite the opposite, especially with the Apple Watch. Analysts and rumor guys are wrong more often than they are right.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1455

Dick DeBartolo

Alexa was everywhere at CES 2018. One place it makes sense is in the new First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound. The company says this is the first smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm with a superior home speaker and Alexa built-in! A clever idea is that you're going to install smoke/CO detectors in a lot of rooms. Since the First Alert units need a speaker to call out the emergencies, why not install a top-notch speaker and Alexa, so you can also use the unit to communicate with Alexa. That way you can have music in every room, get the weather, etc. throughout the house.

What computer has the best security?

Episode 1455

Mary from Van Nuys, CA
Acer Chromebook 15 CB515-1HT

Mary is a Luddite who hates the obsession with technology. She feels that she's being forced down the road of technology and she'd rather not, especially since she's been hacked twice in the last six weeks. Leo says that for what Mary uses a computer for, she doesn't need Windows at all. Mary would be better off with a Chromebook. It's far simpler and not hackable. It's a very simple and highly secure operating system that she can just directly connect via ethernet, and when she turns it on, it will go straight to the web browser.