Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Should I fix my old MacBook or upgrade to a new MacBook Air?

Episode 1180

Mike from Raleigh, NC
MacBook Air

Mike called to ask Leo if he should put any money into his five year old MacBook or just upgrade. Leo says that it's high time to upgrade to a new Mac since he's going to want to move forward with Yosemite. If he can afford a new one, that's the best option. The connectors of a laptop can start going out after that time.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1179

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget from the GizWiz is the Onewheel, a new motorized sport where riders can ride as fast as 12MPH only by leaning toward their front foot. Leaning back slows down, or reverses direction. Powerful lithium iron phosphate batteries provide high peak power for acceleration and self-balancing, and it recharges in under 30 minutes using the fast charger option. The weight limit is 275 pounds and the range is 4 to 6 miles depending on terrain and other factors. Cost of a Onewheel is $1499.00 and it’s available only on the company website for now. (April, 2015)

What laptop should I buy my wife for school?

Episode 1179

Patrick from Camarillo, CA
Apple MacBook Pro

Patrick needs to get his wife a new laptop. He's thinking of switching to a Mac. Leo says it depends on if she needs Windows for some of her school work. If not, then Macs are ideal because of their security, especially when surfing the web.

Patrick should know that MacBook Airs do not have Retina screens. MacBook Pros are a better choice generally. The MacBook Air 13 is the best for battery life, though. He should get the largest hard drive and most memory he can. Have her look at the screen to decide which one is best for her.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1177

Dick DeBartolo

Dick's Giz Wiz entry this week is an RV. The NY International Car Show is in town and he saw the Mercedes Benz Self Driving car. Interesting because it has a feature where it will drive around if you can't find a parking spot. But what really caught his eye was the American Coach American Eagle motor home. 43’ motor homes with extending sidewalls with 450 square feet. $695,000.

Giz Wiz Video: https://youtu.be/c5pqGfw61mE

Should I wait to by an iPad?

Episode 1177

Sam from Edmonton, ALB CAN
Apple iPad Air 2

Sam has an iPad 3 and he's about to upgrade to the iPad Air 2, but he's concerned that they will announce a new version within a few months. Leo says that nobody really knows when Apple will announce a new product. But Leo says that since Apple has released the iPad Air 2 just last October, there's a good chance that Sam is safe for at least a year. Leo does have a hunch that there may be a larger iPad Pro coming this summer, however.

What do you think of the HP Stream?

Episode 1176

Steve from Nashville, TN
HP Stream

Steve bought an HP Stream laptop for $299. He's blind and says that the accessibility features are fantastic. It's not very powerful, but it works with JAWS and other blind utilities. His only beef is how little room is on it, especially with HP. So he recommends uninstalling all the bloatware that comes with it.

Leo says it's a great choice for a second, mobile computer. Steve says it shouldn't be confused with the HP Stream tablet, which was Windows with Bing, and it was terrible. But the Stream laptop is marvelous.

Why does my mouse stall?

Jane from Manhattan Beach, CA

Episode 1176

Jane's mouse cursor keeps getting jammed or stuck. Leo says that the track pad may have some "schmutz" on it, causing the connection to be occluded. There's also static electricity that could be causing issues. She can clean it or take an eraser and fix it. But it sounds like a hardware error and Leo recommends taking it back to have them fix the track pad.

How can I use Wi-Fi to trigger my camera in a storm?

Todd from Indianapolis, IN

Episode 1176

Todd is a photographer who loves to take shots of firefighting and stormchasing. He wants to know the safest and reliable way to get images in storms. Leo says that Drones use Wi-Fi to communicate to operators on the ground. So there may be a Wi-Fi adapter that would allow him to remotely trigger cameras from a distance via their smartphone or tablet. Some cameras have Wi-Fi built-in. Sony's PlayMemories app can do that. But Leo doesn't know if anyone would want to take an A7S in a storm.

Why does my Mac have trouble waking up?

Episode 1176

Donna from Thousand Oaks, CA
Activity Monitor

Donna has a MacBook and it has trouble waking up. Leo says that could be due to her Time Machine external hard drive. She should try disconnecting it.

Sometimes Macs will wait until the drive spins up when it's asleep. OS X Yosemite has a safe sleep mode, which is a very deep sleep when the battery either runs low or is idle for a few days. It copies memory to hard disc and shuts everything down. It's like Hibernating in Windows, and it takes awhile to get going. Leo's not a fan.