Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.
David got a new modem called an ActionTek, but it doesn't work very well. Can he buy his own? Leo says he's not a fan of ActionTek. But David will need to call his provider and ask them if he can use his own modem. They will almost always say yes. For DSL modems to buy, Netgear makes a good DSL Wi-Fi router/modem. Zyxel also has good router/modems, but they're more expensive.
Richard has a friend who's Mac is running slower. Is that because her machine is getting older? Leo says maybe, but it may also be that her hard drive is getting less reliable. As the hard drive gets older, it starts to have to work harder to process data. It begins to cache data more. So replacing the hard drive, especially with an Solid State Drive, can make a world of difference in speed. Updating your OS can also help, though if it's too old, you may not upgrade to the latest (El Capitan). Leo says there's a few easy things to do like resetting your browser and clearing the cache.
Dan wants to know about a VPN. Is it good for security? Leo says absolutely. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it's essentially an encrypted tunnel through the Internet where your data cannot be seen by anyone sniffing around. All anyone else would see is gobbelty-gook. It's great for security if you're at an open Wi-Fi network like a coffee shop. VPNs are really popular for work, where you're working from home but want access to your work server.
Ronnie has an iMac that runs OS X Lion and he's stuck with it, according to a salesman at Apple. They said it won't run El Capitan. Leo says that the retail guy is wrong! Apple offers a free upgrade for Lion. What he may be talking about is that if he erases the hard drive, he can install the OS over the air by downloading and installing. In that case, it will download the OS that came with the Mac. But then he could upgrade for free. A ten year old Mac can upgrade to El Capitan.
Boris is looking for a good Dashcam. Leo says that most of them are all the same with different names, and they're all coming from China. But Leo says that Garmin makes the best ones. The Garmin DashCam 35 is $200. It logs GPS locations and performs well in low light. It records a continuous loop of video in high definition.
Leo says that the first ransomware appeared on the Mac last week. It was through a bittorrent program called Transmission. A bad guy hacked it and added a malware program to the installer that would encrypt the user's data. It only happened for a few hours though. Apple has also yanked the certificate of the company that tried it, updated the signatures of the malware screener on the Mac, and it's extremely unlikely that anyone else will get infected by it.
Ed is blind and he's frustrated with printers because they aren't accessible. Leo says that Epson has a feature where he could surf to the printer through his browser and control the printer's interface the same way he'd control any app that can use a Screenreader.
(Disclaimer: Epson is a sponsor)
Richard has a Dell computer and he upgraded to Windows 10. It didn't work too well, though. It turned out that Dell doesn't support Windows 10 on his computer even though it qualifies. He downgraded back to Windows 7. Leo says that there's some hardware on the laptop that they think doesn't have a Windows 10 driver. But if Microsoft says it's ok, it should be ok. Leo recommends trying it again. Leo says that Microsoft is out of control in trying to get people to upgrade to Windows 10, though. They've even added it to the recommended updates portion of Windows update.
Spring has sprung in New York and the Giz Wiz has a new gadget -- a new Toy Car set by Lionel. The MegaTax is a new train set for kids which uses a novel new clamp and construction system to attach train tracks to just about anything. Kids can create stunts, rail racing, all with handheld remote control through a phone app. The master set includes 20 feet of TwisTrack, 55 construction pieces to build customized track layouts, a Rail Racer vehicle and charger, a handheld remote controller, plus track clamps and connectors. MSRP: $99.99. Recommended Age: 8+. Availability: Fall 2016