Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Amazon Echo or Google Home?

Episode 1450

Nancy from Tarzana, CA
Amazon Echo Show

Nancy has an Android phone, her kids have iPhone. Which assistant should she get, Amazon Echo or Google Home? Leo says it doesn't really matter, but for Nancy, using the Google Home would be similar to Android's voice assistant. The Echo has been out for a few years now and it's a mature system, whereas Google Home just came out not long ago. Google Home is better for facts because of its search knowledge. Amazon Echo is better for home automation. It works well with a variety of Internet of Things devices. Google Home isn't quite there yet with Internet of Things.

What's the difference between a traditional hard drive and a solid state drive?

Michelle from Northridge, CA

Episode 1450

Leo says that all traditional spinning hard drives are basically the same. They're basically like record players, but instead of vinyl, they use spinning metal plates. Those plates are magnetic, so they can be magnetized. They also have read heads, at least one per platter, which are like the needle on the record player. Except instead of reading the grooves in vinyl, they're reading the magnetic signals coming off the spinning platter. Because it's a computer, everything is recorded as 1's or 0's, and it's very easy with magnetic material to have a charge or no charge.

Why won't my hard drive boot up?

Episode 1452

Jason from Goldendale, WA
NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter

Jason has an old HP Pavilion and he's upgraded it to Windows 10. Recently, it hasn't been able to start up. Leo suspects that the hard drive has started to die. Luckily, hard drives are pretty cheap. Then, to get his data back, he can get an external hard drive enclosure and move the data off it right away. The benefit is, the computer will run a lot faster, especially if he gets an SSD.

What the best way to migrate my data from Windows to Mac?

Episode 1452

Scott from Orange County
MacBook Air

Scott has a Windows 7 laptop and he's tired of dealing with all its problems. As a result, he got a MacBook Air for Christmas. How does he transfer all his data from the Windows laptop to the MacBook? The Migration wizard didn't really work for him.

Leo says to bypass all of that and just move it over manually. It's the best way to do it. He should just plug in an external drive, formatted for Windows. Then drag and drop his "My Photos" folder over. Then he can connect it to his Mac, open Apple Photos, and import them.

Why can't I connect to the internet on my laptops in Windows?

Episode 1452

John from Biddeford, ME
Wi-Fi

John is having problems with two Windows laptops (one 8.1 and one Windows 10). They will connect to the hotspots, but they won't connect to the internet. Leo says that's called "captive portal" and it requires logging in to gain access. It could also be a security update that is preventing it. It could be closing down a port that he needs to access the internet. He could try reinstalling the network driver.

Processor Flaws Give Hackers Access to Your Data

Episode 1452

Processor

2018 brought about the news that every processor built in the last ten years have a flaw in them that could give hackers access to sensitive data. Initially believed to affect just Intel processors, the latest is that this affects every single processor made, regardless of platform.

The flaws utilizes a technique called "processor speculation," which enables the processor to speculate what the user will do next in order to accelerate performance. But the feature also gives hackers access to sensitive L2 cache data like passwords. It's especially true for networks.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1451

Dick DeBartolo

The first gadget of the year by Dickie D is the Raphycool Selfie Light Ring. And it has a great additional feature — a built-in power bank. That means if your phone is running low on battery as you're shooting pictures or videos, you can plug your device into the Selfie Ring's 1500mAh battery. The selfie clip on light has 3 levels light: Low, Medium and High. The company says it works for 12 hours on low, 4~6 hours on medium, and 2 hours on high when fully charged. That of course will be less if you're also using the built in battery to charge your device.

Are SSDs as reliable as spinning hard drives?

Episode 1451

Gary from Buffalo, NY
SSD

Are SSDs as reliable as spinning drives? Leo says yes. They are very robust and much faster. Will they wear out? Leo says SSDs use a technique called "wear leveling" to keep the drive consistently wearing and to extend the life of the drive. That's why Leo recommends using an SSD as the main drive, and storing data on a spinning data drive. Let the hard drive handle the constant read-write cycles, while the SSD handles all the performance.