Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why does the audio drop out or get out of sync on video recorded with my PC?

Episode 1055

Chuck from Manchester, NH
VLC

Chuck uses his media center computer as a TIVO. His video plays fine, but the audio drops out or is out of sync. Media player doesn't work either. What can he replace it with? Leo says that Windows Video Player can be replaced by VLC Media Player. This may not help if the video is copy protected, though.

What Mac laptop should I buy?

Episode 1055

Joe from Austin, TX
MacBook Pro

Joe is thinking of getting either the 13" MacBook Air or the 13" MacBook Pro. He also wants to get an external drive. The 13" MacBook Air has far better battery life, but the MacBook Pro has a much better retina display. So it really comes down to what he wants most. The MacBook Pro also comes with a 256 GB SSD. Leo says he should only use an external hard drive if he finds he's running out of space on the laptop. It's best to keep what he can on the internal drive, so he doesn't need to always rely on having an external drive plugged in.

Why won't my computer go to sleep?

Mike from Portland, ME

Episode 1055

Mike can't get his computer to go into power saving mode. Leo says it could be a bad install and recommends installing from scratch, rather then upgrading. It may also be that Windows Installer doesn't see that his computer supports ACPI. Sometimes the installer gets it wrong and doesn't install the feature. There's not much he can do besides reinstalling Windows. He has to be sure to install the right kernel, and that's the problem because it's automatic.

NBC Fakes Story About Phones Being Hacked at the Olympics

Episode 1055

NBC's Richard Engle did a story that mobile phones and computers were hacked the second people arrived in Russia for the Olympic Games. Leo says that the NBC story was completely false, and had been faked to get the audience looking at Russia in a particular way. Leo says that they would get hacked if the reporter deliberately went to a malicious site and downloaded the software that would infect the computer or mobile phone. Engle was a thousand miles away in Moscow when he did it.

How can I build a budget Linux computer?

JR from Detroit, MI

Episode 1054

JR has been a Linux guy for about 20 years exclusively. He's building a new computer with a fixed budget. Leo recommends going to PC Perspective's website and on the menu bar they have the HWLeaderboard. The Hardware Leaderboard lays out price ranges for building your own PC and what components you should get.

If he sticks with Linux, the issue will be drivers. The good news is that Steam is using Linux for their Steam Machines and as such, Linux support is growing.

How can I contact the CEO of Asus?

Episode 1054

Rob from Tarzana, CA
Asus Zenbook

Rob is frustrated because he bought an Asus Zenbook and it's a lemon. He's gotten four replacements and they've all been duds. Now he's waiting on parts, and Asus isn't telling him what's going on with it. Leo recommends contacting Jerry Shen, the CEO of Asus. He should write to him through the mail, to this address:

Jerry Shen
CEO, AsusTek
Begtwo District
Taipei, Taiwan

How can I activate Windows without the activation key?

Episode 1054

Mike from Glendale, CA
Windows XP Activation

Mike bought a Dell Latitude and had to replace the hard drive. Now he doesn't have a serial number to activate it. Leo says that Dell puts a sticker on the bottom of the laptop that has the activation code on it. Mike says it wasn't there. Leo says he should contact Dell and tell them that he can't activate the machine.

The chatroom says that Dell puts the serial number in the BIOS, so that may be a place to look. There are also programs that will provide the key from the installation.