Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I become a HAM radio operator?

Episode 1087

Avery from Tecumseh, MI
HAM Radio

Avery also wants to learn to be a HAM Radio operator. Leo says that's a great pursuit for a 12 year old like Avery. He'll learn a lot about electronics with his first license (technician). Gordon West has a great site called the Gordon West Radio School, which will give him tons of resources for learning, including a book he can get to learn from. He can also give a listen to TWiT's HAM Nation netcast, which Gordon cohosts.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1087

This week's gadget is the Travelon Anti-Theft Travel Wallet. This wallet is made from durable nylon with RFID blocking technology that protects your identity and credit card information from thieves that use radio frequencies to steal the sensitive information stored on your cards. This RFID blocking wallet has a flap front design with a Velcro closure and a secure lateral lock to protect against pickpockets.

Should I get a Chromebook for a college student?

Episode 1087

Jay from Malvane, KS
Acer Chromebook

Jay wants to know if a Chromebook is a good option for kids. Leo says absolutely. Great for school work because Google docs is all online. But will it be good for a college student or should he get a low spec MacBook Air? Leo says he can get great deals for students with 10% off, plus Apple just dropped the price $100. So a MacBook Air is ideal for a college student.

Are fitness bands worth the money?

Episode 1087

Lillian (Doctor Mom) from New York, NY
Samsung Gear Fit

Doctor Mom is trying to decide what fitness band would be best to use with her smartphone. She ended up with the Samsung Gear Fit with the curved LED screen, which Leo says is the most attractive, but Dr. Mom says is the most inaccurate. She said that pedometers were at least 10% off. She also says the heartbeat sensor didn't work as well because of too much movement or sweat getting in the way of the readings. Leo says that she could at least get a baseline for your heart rate with it. But Dr.

Why am I getting popups on my new laptop?

Mike from Long Beach, CA

Episode 1086

Mike is getting a ton of popups on his laptop that he just bought. Leo says that is likely a bunch of software included on the laptop, called bloatware. The laptop was so cheap because they can subsidize the price with adware on your computer. And there's no real answer. You could try PCDrcrapifier. Or if you have a copy of Windows, you can just format your drive and reinstall the OS.

Wy won't my Chromecast work?

Jim from Davis, CA

Episode 1086

Jim has a Chromecast for streaming to TV via Wi-Fi. Leo says that's a great device. Jim says that the Chromecast button that's supposed to appear in all media apps has disappeared, though. Leo advises relaunching the Chromecast app and also make sure the Chromecast is seated in the HDMI port properly.

If the light is blinking, then it's not online, so it could be having trouble connecting. Jim should unplug and plug it back in. That's how Google updates the Chromecast and maybe it just needed an update. When in doubt, reboot!

Why is my MacBook Pro crashing after I installed an SSD?

David from San Bernardino, CA

Episode 1086

David has a MacBook Pro, but ever since he put a new SSD in, it keeps crashing. He's also noticed it happening when he's using Proxy in Eset. Leo says to turn off proxy and see if it still crashes. Leo says it could be that the cable to the SSD isn't secured properly, or it could be the SSD itself. He should open it back up and check all the connections.

Should I keep my landline?

Episode 1086

John from Worcester, MA
Landline Phone

John made the change from land lines to cellphones and he's been told by Verizon to keep that corded phone plugged in to make 911 calls. Leo says that's a great idea and good on Verizon if that's true.

He's also heard of the text 911 service. Leo says that's an interesting concept, especially if you're disabled or have accessibility issues. Or even of you are in danger and can't actually make a phone call. Still, though, it seems a bit odd. Leo would stick with the landline, and thinks it would be a great idea if a phone company offered free emergency service.