Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I figure out what's wrong with my PC monitor?

Dell Inspiron

Episode 1504

Steve from San Diego, CA

The monitor of Steve's Dell Inspiron has finally bit the dust. Leo says it's probably the cable that has gone bad or worked its way loose. He should try to change the monitor cable. If that doesn't fix it, he should swap out the monitor and see if that's it. Once he has eliminated the easy stuff, then he can look inside the computer. These days, the video card is wired into the motherboard, so that means either replacing the motherboard or getting a new computer. But he should try the easiest stuff first.

Can I run a Wyze Cam from my desktop?

Wyze Cam

Episode 1504

Ed from Illinois

Ed bought a Wyze Cam, but he doesn't have a smartphone to control it. Leo says that he would need to get a cell phone or at least a tablet for it to work. eBay is a good place to get one for cheap. Can he run it from a computer using BSD? Leo says probably not. BSD is a good OS, but it's not used by very many people. Also, Wyze hasn't created a desktop app yet.

He could use an Android emulator like Bluestacks, but he may need Windows or Linux to run it.

Can I use my phone data plan with my laptop?

Verizon JetPack

Episode 1503

Brett from Fontana, CA

Brett needs to connect his laptop to his phone and use it as a hotspot. Leo says that the iPhone does have a hotspot mode, but some carriers will want to charge him for the privilege. He can enable it in the phone's cellular settings. Then he can connect his laptop to his phone via Wi-Fi. This will be impacting his data plan though, so he should keep that in mind. But if his connection keeps dropping, that sounds like an issue with the laptop.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 1503

The small Wi-Fi Eye-Temp device monitors temperature and time on any item (stove, candle, iron, etc.) that is paired through one of their devices and connected to their mobile app. They say it's the first smart device that can monitor ANY item individually. You'll receive an alert when an item is left on for too long. This is specific to the item being monitored. When you set up Eyetemp, you will choose the type of item you are monitoring when you pair the device. If a rapid and drastic temperature change is noted, there is an alert that will be sent to notify you.

What is a good voice control TV device for a blind man?

Amazon Fire TV Cube

Episode 1503

Gary from Weeki Wachee, FL

Gary's mom has dementia and his brother is blind. Their cable company has gone all digital and now they have to make the transition and need voice command to change the TV channels. Leo says that the Amazon Fire TV Cube is a great solution, because it has Amazon Echo built it. It can control some cable boxes, and most TVs. It costs $119. It will also work with Google Home Assistant.

Why do I have to log into my Chromebook every time?

Lenovo Chromebook

Episode 1503

Sue from Illinois

Sue took Leo's advice and bought a Lenovo Chromebook. But she's having difficulty adapting to it. She doesn't know where anything is. Leo says that's because everything is in the cloud. It also asks for her password all the time and she's tired of entering it. Leo says that can be frustrating, but it's vital to protect her data in the Cloud. In the settings, there is a feature that would enable her to turn on a PIN, which would let her log in with a simple 4-7 digit code. She'll have to enter her Google password from time to time yet, but the PIN is a good way around this issue.

Why can't I connect to 5GHz on Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi

Episode 1503

John from Oxnard, CA

John upgraded his internet but his laptop says it only has 2.4 GHz available. Leo says that means his router is only 2.4 GHz. 802.11N routers are dual band with 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands. And there's even tri-band routers that offer two 5 GHz channels along with a 2.4 GHz channel. His laptop may also just be able to connect to 2.4 Ghz. John should look in his BIOS and software to see if the 5.0 GHz band is turned off.

What laptop should I buy?

15" MacBook Pro

Episode 1503

Bruce from Long Island, NY

Bruce does both Mac and PC work, and he's looking for a laptop that can handle both well. Should he buy a PC centric computer that can run a Mac virtually? Or the other way around? Leo says that there is no way to run macOS on anything but a Mac, especially not virtually. He could do a hackintosh, but not on a laptop. So Leo says go the other way, and get a MacBook Pro running Windows in Boot Camp.

What is firmware?

Episode 1502

Joy from Santa Cruz, CA

Joy wants to know what firmware is? Leo says that firmware is the software that a computer or device uses to operate its system. It's software that is protected because you need it to run the actual device so that the software can translate instructions that the device understands.

Why is the image quality so bad on my Epson inkjet?

Expression Home XP-340 Small-in-One All-in-One Printer

Episode 1502

Robert from Bakersfield, CA

Robert has an Epson printer and the print quality isn't good. Leo says that inkjet printers need to be used a lot in order to keep the nozels clean. Ink can dry and it can clog. He can run the cleaning utility several times to clear out the clog. The downside is that it uses a lot ink. But it's the only way to get it back to printing good prints. If he only uses a printer occasionally, a laser printer is a much better option.

(Disclaimer: Epson is a sponsor)