Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Processor Hack Affects All Computers Made in Last Ten Years

Episode 1451

Processor

The latest exploit "Spectre" affects every single chip made in the last ten years. At first, security researchers thought that the exploit only affected Intel processors, but it turns out this hack also effects ARM, AMD, and any other processor that uses speculative prediction. The white hat hackers who found the flaw discovered that you can use it to access valuable data including passwords and other information. Leo says that Microsoft has already pushed out a fix, and Apple's High Sierra has patched the vulnerability with a recent fix. Apple has also patched the iPhone and iPad.

Why can't I access USB in my Virtual Machine?

Episode 1449

Steve from Upland, CA
VirtualBox

Steve has a Windows 10 machine that he also runs Hyper-V Virtual Machine on, but he loses access to his USB ports in doing so. How can he access USB through Virtual Machine? Leo says it could be in the settings. VMWare has that access. He should look in the settings and see if he has to enable and assign it.

The chatroom says that Microsoft wants you to use Remote Desktop to pass it along. That seems counter-intuitive, but it may be that Microsoft didn't want to compete with VMWare.

How can I hack my Echo?

Episode 1449

Bill from San Carlos, CA
Amazon Echo Dot

Bill wants to know if he can hack the Echo to make it more powerful. Or would he be better off going with Google Home? Leo says that both are good, so he should pick one and stick to it. Leo advises buying the cheaper Echo Dot. It has Bluetooth and line out, so he can connect it to a really nice powered speaker. He can also do a party mode where they are linked and synced together. He can then create zones for different music, or have them all play the same thing.

What is the Fingbox?

Episode 1449

Ken from Pennsylvania
Fingbox

Ken wants to know about a new hardware gadget called Fingbox. Leo says that Fing is a good company, but this is their first internet of things hardware offering. The key here is, will it be kept up to date? Will it be maintained in the long term? It looks like a cool Echo type of device, but only time will tell.

How can I transfer Windows 10 to a new hard drive?

Episode 1449

Bill from Upland, CA
HP Pavilion Power Desktop

Bill has an HP Pavilion Power Desktop that he just got a new SSD for. He wants to know how he can transfer over his Windows 10 to it. Leo says he should make a recovery drive with a USB thumb drive. Then he can put the new drive in, and use that recovery drive to reinstall Windows. Leo would also recommend keeping the old hard drive as a data drive.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1448

Dick DeBartolo

Dickie D got the ZipSnip. The multi-purpose 4V cordless ZipSnip cuts cardboard, rubber, plastic and more. It will even work great on a clamshell package, keeping hands and fingers out of harm’s way. The blade operates at 260 rpm (no load) and its maximum cutting thickness is ¼ in. The ergonomically designed cutter is constructed of high-impact nylon resin with a comfortable mold grip. The tool’s trigger is an integrated part of the handle with a top-mounted lock-out switch for added safety. The cutter has a built-in charging port that brings the tool to a full charge in five hours.

Why is Microsoft Word running so slow?

Episode 1448

George from Palmdale, CA
Hard Drive

George gets an error message in Microsoft Word that it's not responding as he's typing. After a while it wakes up and catches up. Leo says that the keyboard has a buffer and it will catch up as the buffer dumps out. But it won't catch everything. And George has Windows 10 with Office, so there's something going on in the background that's slowing George down. Windows could be background indexing. He should check the task manager. There may also be plugins from the browser that's slowing things down.

Why doesn't the Amazon Echo understand me?

Episode 1448

Jay from Los Angeles, CA
Amazon Echo Dot

Jay has an Amazon Echo Dot and the Logitech Harmony system, and sometimes the Echo simply doesn't do anything. Leo says it can do that if it doesn't understand the command. Leo suggests turning on the "ding" feature that will signal that it understands him. He can also use the Amazon Echo app on his phone and look at what the Echo is doing. Then he can see if and why it didn't understand him.

Should I buy a hardware firewall?

Episode 1448

Tom from Madison, WI
CUJO smart firewall

Tom wants to know if the CUJO Smart Firewall is a good idea. Leo says that he already has a firewall with his wireless router. That handles about 80% of all bad traffic. Also using OpenDNS can filter out even more. Then he could have a software firewall to handle the rest. Everything that CUJO does, he can do with other services that cost less or free. Mesh Routers also offer the exact same protections.