Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1313

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is a familar one to Leo - The Acer Aluminum Chromebook. It has a 14” HD screen, which large enough to enjoy and share videos and using multiple tabs for various projects, yet still portable enough to fit in a backpack or book bag. It features Acer's first all-aluminum Chromebook case that adds protection while remaining lightweight. Acer says their new model (CB3-431-C5FM) is the industry’s first Chromebook with up to 14 hours of battery life on an HD display and up to 12 hours of battery life on a full HD display.

What's a good voice recorder?

Episode 1314

Vidac from Sacramento, CA
Zoom H1

Vidac is an international student looking to get into radio. He's studying radio and TV production in school. He's visually impaired and needs a digital voice recorder for lectures. Leo says if they can let him put the mic on the podium where the teacher lectures, then any voice recorder will work. He got the Olympus DS-3500. Leo says that's a common model and Vidac says it's terrible.

Why does my modem drop off the internet?

Robert from Las Vegas, NV

Episode 1314

Robert got a new modem and now he has a random disconnect problem. He then can't get on the internet. Leo says that it could be that Robert is having issues with the router in the modem. He should go into the settings and make sure to turn off the router option. It could be running into competing routers. Leo says that the ISP could be changing the settings remotely as well. That's why Leo advises buying his own DOCSIS III modem. Another thing to do is check the network settings to see if his computer is configured to act as a router. If so, that would point to malware.

How can I stop the cursor from jumping in Windows?

Karen from Diamond Bar, CA

Episode 1314

Karen has an issue with a "jumping cursor" when she types on her laptop. Leo says it's a common problem when you have a laptop with a trackpad. The solution is to go into the settings and turn off the trackpad when you're doing a lot of typing. She can also adjust the sensitivity of the trackpad. It could also be that the trackpad is dirty, or that it's static electricity causing it. She can just plug in a separate keyboard via USB and see if it happens. If it does, then there's a hardware issue.

Why does my PC shut down while I'm using it?

Brad from San Jose, CA

Episode 1313

Brad built a computer running Windows and now it just shuts down while he's still using it. Leo says it sounds like a bad power supply. Brad replaced it, though. Leo says that's the downside of building his own machine -- he'll have to hunt down the problem himself. Leo suspects that since the power supply didn't fix it, the motherboard is probably the culprit. It could have been from a power surge. He should try replacing the battery for the BIOS and see if that resets it. If that doesn't work, it could be the motherboard. The next thing to address would be the CPU.

How can I get internet while in Italy?

Paul from Scottsdale, AZ

Episode 1313

Paul's friend is getting married in Italy and they want to know how they can get internet in their room. Leo says to go to prepaidwithdata.wikia.com. There, he can find where to go to get a MiFi card. A MiFi is a small credit card sized device that gets internet from a cellular network and turns that signal into Wi-Fi. That way he can pay through a local carrier in Italy and not pay international data roaming fees.

Why is my SSD running slowly?

Episode 1312

Michael from Fountain, CO
OCZ SSD

Michael bought an OCZ SSD to speed up his computer, and it's much faster than the SanDisk SSD. Leo says that's because of trim. SSDs don't have to be defragged, but with trim, they can accomplish something called "wear leveling." That way the SSD won't wear out prematurely due to an overused sector. It also allows it to be consistently faster. Without trim, SSDs tend to slow down over time. The good news is that trim is built into the OS now. He doesn't need AHCI, native command queuing, or hot swapping.

Why does my computer crash when I close a program?

Mike from Huntington Beach, CA

Episode 1311

Mike's home built computer crashes when he closes a program. The screen turns black and hangs up. It doesn't work again unless he reboots it. Leo says that's the hassle with building his own -- he has to eliminate each issue. Leo says the first thing to do is update his video card driver. He thinks it may be a bad driver. Leo says he can try booting to a USB key with Ubuntu on it and try to repeat the issue. If it repeats, he'll know it's a hardware issue. If it doesn't, he'll know it's a software issue.