Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Is a Chromebook good for VPNs?

Bruce from Irvine, CA

Episode 1265

Bruce does a lot of writing and traveling, and he's wondering if a Chromebook is a good option or should he bite the bullet and get a Surface Pro. Leo says that if you don't really need all that functionality, a Surface may be overkill. The Chromebook, by contrast is ideal for what Bruce does. It's secure, You backup your data to the cloud, and it's ideal for VPNs, which is what Bruce needs.

How can I boost my Wi-Fi and 4G reception?

Dave from Carson City, NV

Episode 1264

Dave just bought an RV and he's looking for a booster for Wi-Fi and 4G Internet reception. Leo says truckers use Wi-Fi antennas and many have magnets. As for 4G, Leo says he won't really need one for that. It either works or it doesn't. And in areas of limited reception, the chatroom says that Weboost makes them for $200. It's essentially a 4G repeater.

Why are Apple Fusion Drives so expensive?

Chris from Miami, FL

Episode 1264

Chris was thinking about putting a Fusion Drive into his computer, but they cost $1000 or more! Leo says that's because Apple's Fusion Drive is proprietary, so he'd have to pay the Apple Premium. A Fusion Drive is a merging of a spinning drive and an SSD, but it's not as fast as an SSD. Leo prefers to roll his own. He uses an SSD on his computer to run his apps, and has a spinning drive for file storage.

Why can't I print through Google Cloud Print?

Phillip from Mountain View, CA

Episode 1264

Phillip can't get his Chromebook to print to his printer through Google Cloud Print. Leo says that it may be that Phillip's HP printer doesn't support cloud printing. Google says that HP printers are supported, but it doesn't mean all printers are. Phillip says he has to keep his Windows machine on and connected or the printer goes offline. Leo says that if the printer is shared through the computer, then it would have to be that way. If the printer is a Wi-Fi printer and is connected directly to his Wi-Fi network, then it should be connected to Cloud Print.

Can I get a cheaper monitor for my Mac other than Apple's Cinema Display?

Episode 1263

Pete from San Diego, CA
Dell Monitor

Pete has a 2011 iMac and he needs more screen real estate. What monitor should he get? Leo says that iMac can probably drive more than one screen. Pete says that third party monitors throw off the aspect ratio, but he doesn't want to pay the Apple premium.

Leo says Apple sets a preference pane for each monitor and sets them separately. So Pete can just get a monitor from Dell instead. They have Thunderbolt capable monitors and will cost half as much, and the aspect ratio will be fine.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1263

Dick DeBartolo

Fresh from the New York Toy Fair, the Giz Wiz saw the Makey Makey Go, which can turn anything into any other device you want. It's a tiny USB key that enables you to plug in the USB key, connect it to anything, and turn it into something like a key or gaming interface. The new smaller kit includes 1 USB Invention MaKey MaKey Stick, a case with magnet, 1 white alligator clip (2.5 ft), a key ring, and instructions. It's $24.95 and for now it seems to be only available on the company website. You can still get the larger kit, now called MaKey MaKey Classic which is $49.99 to $59.99.

Why isn't the RAM working in my computer?

Kevin from Alhambra, CA

Episode 1263

Kevin's RAM was failing so he put it into another channel and it worked. Leo says the motherboard manual will show him how to install RAM and sometimes he'll need to put the RAM in pairs. A slot may be bad.

Should he build a whole new machine? Would it be faster? Leo says that it may not. But if he fixes the motherboard, it might. SSDs are probably fine to keep. The chatroom says that the memory should still work, just not in dual channel.