Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Is my phone's hotspot secure?

Don from Greeley, CO

Episode 1275

Don does a lot of online banking, but he's wondering if using the hotspot feature on his phone is safe. Leo says yes, it's encrypted. But he should remember to lock his computer with a password. If someone can get to his computer, then they can get his password. But his hotspot is encrypted.

Leo also recommends using a Virtual Private Network when he's on a public Wi-Fi hotspot. It burrows a tunnel through the internet that is secure and encrypts all of his activity.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1275

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is the Compressa Ultima Pro Cappuccino/Expresso maker. Brightly lit buttons, steaming wand, can make two shots at a time. On the top of the machine there's a handy cap warming tray. On the front are five easy to see illuminated icons. For easy in making espressos, there's a self-tamping portafilter. And on the left side of this high-tech machine is a powerful frothing wand for latte and cappuccino. Open the top lid for the 34-oz. removable water tank and for the integrated storage space for accessories. There's even a hot water function for tea.

How can I transfer my data to a new computer?

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI

Episode 1275

Mark bought a new computer for his daughter but the Windows Transfer Wizard transfer app doesn't work. What can he do to get her data to the new computer? Leo says that the Windows transfer utility doesn't work all the time and when it does, it may not get everything. So he just recommends getting an external hard drive or thumb drive, copying the data over and then plugging it in and copying it to the new computer. She won't get the settings or favorites, but she can get her data.

How can I get SpinRite to work on my hard drive?

Mark from Orange, CA

Episode 1275

Mark is having trouble getting SpinRite to run on his Windows 8.1 machine. Leo says that SpinRite is a great utility for evaluating the hard drive. But it can't be run from Windows, he'll have to run it from a USB key. If that's not going to work due to the format of the drive (Windows 8 uses GPT) then call Gibson Research tech support. They know a ton about how to get SpinRite working.

Apple Announces New Smaller iPhone SE and iPad Pro

Episode 1273

Apple iPhone SE

Apple had its event on March 21, where it announced a new iPhone SE and iPad Pro. While they aren't revolutionary products, the iPhone SE brings the features of the current iPhone 6s to the smaller 4" phone. Apple's new iPad Pro is a smaller size as well, offering the features of the 12.9" iPad in the 9.7" size.

- Learn more about the Apple iPhone SE
- Learn more about the Apple iPad Pro

Why is my computer asking me to choose a boot order?

Fran from Sherman Oaks, CA

Episode 1274

Fran updated to Windows 8.1 and now she has to always choose a boot loader. Leo says that could point to a stuck F12 key. But it could also point to a changed boot order in BIOS. She should change it back to boot Windows first. Leo also suspects that the motherboard battery is dying. It can easily be replaced by popping it out. If her date isn't correct, then she'll know for sure.

What's a good low power computer?

Steve from Trabuco Canyon, CA

Episode 1274

Steve is a HAM Radio operator who wants to use a Windows tablet to decode radio signals. He uses WSJT-X software. Leo says that Intel created a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid for lower power usage. There's also something called an Intel Compute stick that can turn a TV into a computer. There's also the Kangaroo PC by InFocus. It costs $99, is battery powered, and runs Windows 10. It would be a great choice for this.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1273

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is Bruno: The World’s First SmartCan! When you're sweeping, and it's time to get of the dust, just sweep it up to the opening at the bottom of the Bruno SmartCan and built in sensors will turn on a vacuum that's also built in. Not only does the vacuum suck up the dust, but it's funneled up the back of the Bruno device and into the trash bag! But wait, there's more!! There's also a WiFi enabled model that adds alerts you when you need to empty the trash bag, or when you're running out of trash bags. The alerts are sent to you via a smartphone app.

What is a good monitor to limit eye strain?

Douglas from Las Vegas, CA

Episode 1273

Doug wants a monitor that won't give him eye strain. What about BenQ? Leo says that they've been around a long time and are very good. They have a monitor that has low blue light and reduces flicker. Any monitor with a high refresh rate will help with eye strain, though. So he doesn't have to limit his choices to one. He should just shop for that feature.

How can I get my computer's CD drive to play?

Ernie from San Diego, CA

Episode 1272

Ernie's laptop won't read any CDs. Leo says it could be a bad drive, or some other hardware fault. If it's on the motherboard, it's a bad thing. If it's a bad drive, it's easy and pretty cheap to replace. The other option is to just use an external CD drive. Ernie can try the Dell PC Diagnostics Quick Test. It will tell him if the drive is working or not.