Peripherals

Any device that connects to the computer, such as a printer, scanner, monitor, keyboard or mouse.

Can I turn an old printer into an internet enabled printer?

Episode 1141

Nick from Belmar, NJ
Printer

Nick has heard about a technology that could turn any printer into an internet enabled computer. Leo says that the current state of the art is wireless, and using AirPlay, he can Air Print. But if he doesn't have that capability, then XPrintServer can take a USB printer and turn it into a internet enabled and networked printer. If it's older, then it may or may not work. HP did have a technology called JetDirect which did it.

(Disclaimer: xPrintServer is a sponsor)

Why did my USB thumb drives become read-only after I replaced my hard drive?

Episode 1139

Glen from Baltimore, MD
USB drive

Glen has several USB thumb drives with files on them. His computer hard drive died, so he replaced it. But now he can't write to the thumbdrives anymore. Leo says that's because technically, they're "owned by another." Windows sees that new account as a new user. He can take ownership of them, but it's not trivial. HowtoGeek has an explanation of how he can do this.

Can I pair multiple bluetooth devices to my smartphone?

Episode 1132

Carlos from Brooklyn, NY
Motorola S10HD

Carlos wants to know if his iPhone can pair to multiple bluetooth devices. Leo says yes! It's been a standard capability for awhile in smartphones now. Leo also recommends over the ear bluetooth headphones.

Motorola makes great wireless headphones, as does LG. The Motorola S10HD are about $40, and they go around the neck and house the batteries for longer battery life. He'll also want headphones that support the high quality stereo profile called 'A2DP.'

Can I boost a Bluetooth signal?

Episode 1130

Sam from Costa Mesa, CA
Keyboard

Sam has a Logitech Keyboard and he wants to know if the bluetooth signal can be boosted. Leo says he can't because Logitech doesn't use Bluetooth. It uses a proprietary signal. He should just get a Bluetooth keyboard, if his computer supports it. If his computer doesn't support it, he could still buy Bluetooth dongles and add devices that way. Leo suspects that Logitech limits the range of it's capability because of interference and security reasons.

What's the future of online gaming?

Episode 1126

Joshua from Nashville, TN
Microsoft

Joshua owns and operates Minecraft servers and he wants to know what the future has in store for online gaming. Leo says that since Microsoft bought Minecraft, it's possible that Microsoft could require Minecraft be run from Azure. But Leo doesn't think there's much cause to worry because the Minecraft culture is very independent. Gamers won't really feel Microsoft's presence in Minecraft for at least a year, but there's not much cause for concern. Since online gaming is social by nature, the future is bright.

How can I print from my iPad?

Episode 1121

Ed from Delaware
Canon Pixma Printer

Ed has an iPad 4 and he can't print to his Pixma printer. Apple says he can't. Leo says that Apple uses "AirPrint" to print via WiFi, and if the printer doesn't support it, then he'd have to add additional hardware to give it that support. But there may be software that Apple offers for free. Otherwise, Leo recommends xPrintServer. It'll take any USB printer and make it an AirPrint compatible printer.

Does my printer have a memory that can be hacked?

Episode 1120

Mike from Orange County, CA
printer

Mike has a printer that he needs to have repaired, but he's worried that the printer memory could get hacked. Leo says that it's definitely possible. But Leo doesn't think it's really a cause of concern. At best, it'll only remember the last job it had. So it's not really that big of an issue, just a theoretical concern. Just because the memory is there, doesn't mean it can be accessed or that it will even stay there once it's unplugged.

How can I make my printer accessible on my Wi-Fi network?

Episode 1102

Aaron from Tustin, CA
Lantronix XPrint Server

Aaron has an office printer that he'd like to hook up to his upstairs router and print from his network. Is there an easy way to do that and print via Wi-Fi? It isn't a Wi-Fi enabled printer.

Leo says that the Lantronix Wireless xPrint Server will make any printer wireless. It also works with Google Cloud Print, allowing Aaron to print from anywhere in the world.

(Disclaimer: Lantronix is a sponsor).