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Episode 1035 November 30, 2013

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Nelson from Tampa, FL Comments

Nelson is looking to buy a refurbished MacBook Pro, but is wondering whether or not it's a good idea. Leo says that in many cases, a refurbished item is brand new, having been returned and unable to sell as new. Leo's suggestion is to buy directly from Apple. He'll get the same warranty as a new product that way and will be assured the refurbished item has been gone over and certified, not just repackaged or resealed.

Watch Jonathan from Rancho Cuca Monga, CA Comments

Jonathan is thinking about digitizing home videos for his family and is wondering what form of media to put them on since his family uses iPods and tablets, etc. Leo says that in that case, putting them up on YouTube is a good idea and he can just keep the channel private. It also means that anyone can watch it. Making it available for download means that he'd have to format it for different versions depending on what device is being used. Leo says he won't have that issue with streaming.

The other option is to put it on his home network so that just his family can view it. Leo says if a Wi-Fi hotspot supports a hard drive, it can become a network hard drive that can be shared. Network Attached Storage (NAS) like Synology have media servers built in. That's the best way to go because he can have the best quality and a variety of formats available. He should check out Know How Episode 4 on setting one up.

Watch Dan from San Diego, CA Comments

Dan is looking to get a Lenovo Ultrabook for home use, but wants to know what model he should get and how much RAM to put in. Leo says for everyday use, an i5 Ultrabook with 4GB of RAM would be ideal. The only reason he'd want 8GB of RAM would be for media applications like Photoshop or video editing. For that, he'd want not only 8GB of RAM, but the i7 processor as well. The chatroom recommends checking out this article from Laptop Magazine, How Much RAM Do You Need?.

How about screen size? Leo says a 14" screen will be fine. He shouldn't fall for the upsell to a larger screen or more RAM.

What about the Nexus 5 phone? Leo loves it. It's a pure Google experience and if he wants it unlocked, he should get it from Google directly. Is 16GB of storage enough? Leo says it should be. Nowadays, people stream music and video, so the need to store things isn't as prevalent as before.

Watch Kevin from San Diego, CA Comments

Kevin is annoyed that Apple is charging $20 for the Lightning connector. Leo agrees, but he can get a better deal at MonoPrice.com. The cheaper ones only charge devices, though. He'll want to look for a certified Lightning connector, and he can get them for about $12 at MonoPrice.

Watch Joanna from Marina Del Rey, CA Comments

Joanna is having trouble with streaming video frequently stopping and downgrading in quality on her Roku. It's only about 6 feet away from her router, and she even hard wired it and still had trouble. Leo says that indicates an issue with her ISP. It doesn't help that 40% of all internet traffic after 6pm tends to be streaming video traffic. That can cause a lot of buffering since there's only so much bandwidth.

There are some things Joanna can do, though. Getting a better router can help. Moving the router around may help for Wi-Fi, too. If it's bandwidth, then it's up to the cable company, and it'll likely try to upsell her to the next package. The cable company doesn't want her to stream as much as she wants.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Luca from California Comments

Luca's Mac goes to sleep and goes into hibernate mode. Is that normal? Leo says it is and he can't turn off hibernate anymore in OS X. Will it hurt anything? Leo says not at all. It's designed that way. The sleeping computer refreshes the RAM and still checks his mail, syncs to his calendar, etc.

According to the chatroom, he can turn it off with a terminal command. Check out this Apple forum post for more info.

Watch Mike from Orange County, CA Comments

Mike needs to buy his son a laptop for school, and wants to know how he can get the most "bang" for his buck. Leo says that the Dell i5 for $549 is a pretty good price, especially since it comes with Microsoft Office. Mike is wondering if it will handle gaming via Steam? Leo says maybe not with the lower end hardware. Laptops are rarely fast enough for high performance gaming. More RAM helps, though. But he'll likely have to tone down the graphics on the game itself.

Before Mike buys from QVC, Leo recommends getting it directly from Dell. He'll probably get a better deal and warranty than being pushed last year's model at QVC. Is AMD good enough? Leo prefers Intel. AMD has never caught up and it's usually used in lower price models. Another option, minus gaming, is the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet. Get the attachable keyboard and he will have a great, budget student computer.

The Chatroom says that the Asus Q500 is a good option in Mike's price range.

Watch Tommy from New Orleans, LA Comments

Tommy's wife just bought him an XBox One, but he's wondering if he can he play older games on it. Leo says no, he can't. So should he keep his old 360 then? Leo says he should. He won't have issues getting online either. The fact is, though, that the XBox 360 is almost as good as the XBox One, he just won't have the media options that the new model provides. Moving forward, the hot games will only be on the XBox One.

Watch Paula from Temecula, CA Comments

Paula's son wants a PC to play Minecraft on for Christmas. Leo says that for Minecraft, any PC will do because it's not very demanding. As her child's tastes in games matures, though, he may require a more powerful computer that can handle the graphics. There's a lot of choices for her budget of $600. Leo likes Acer for entry level computers. For gaming, PCs are generally better and she'll likely want a desktop over a laptop. Asus and Dell are good options as well. Avoid going to a "big box" store because they usually are selling older models.

Dell has a gaming brand called Alienware, and its laptops can handle the graphics. They aren't entry level rigs, though, but Dell is a great place to start. An i5 processor with Iris or Iris Pro graphics. It should have at least 4GB of RAM, but 8 GB would be better, and a 14 to 15" screen. Dell's Inspiron is a low end laptop with pretty good performance for that price point. The Chatroom says that the X51 Desktop from AlienWare is affordable.

Watch Stan from Temecula, CA Comments

Stan's daughter had her computer stolen at school and he wants to know if there will be any great deals for Cyber Monday. Leo says not likely. They're about as low as they can get already now. Acer is a good third tier brand, but he shouldn't get the cheapest one. A touch screen is a good idea to factor in moving forward for Windows 8. Leo says that Dell has great prices for Stan's budget. It's what he uses. He should get the best that he can afford.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Rene from Burbank, CA Comments

Rene is interested in the Samsung Chromebook, but is wondering what Leo thinks of it. Leo says that they're pretty good, but there's little in the way of software or storage. All work lives in the cloud. The browser is the Chrome OS and that's what she would work on. For most cases, it's fine as she can rely on Google apps. If she wants to do more, though, then it'll be lacking. There's very little she can do offline.

She won't have any security issues or hassles that regular users have to deal with, though. It's also automatically kept up to date. It's very good value for the price.

Watch Don from Dana Point, CA Comments

Don has been sandboxing his PC via SandBoxie to combat CryptoLocker. Leo says it works! He's wondering if it works with Outlook. Leo says he hasn't used it, but he says that Steve Gibson says it's legit. But Leo says that it's still wise to backup data anyway.

Watch Jason from Tampa, FL Comments

Jason wants to know if he can hook up an old Xbox 360 to his XBox One and play older games while daisy chained to the TV. Leo says that the XBox One has a "pass through" feature to watch TV from the cable box, and there's no reason why he couldn't pass the video signal from the XBox 360 to it.

Kotaku has an article about it. The only issue may be lag or latency. But he could also just hook them up directly as most HDTVs have multiple HDMI connections.

Watch Kimberly from Maui, HI Comments

Kimberly broke the screen on her high-end Dell, and the fix for it is about $490. Leo says that is an expensive price. Kim could just hook an external screen to it and use it as a desktop. She could also hook it up to a TV screen if she was traveling. It seems like a lot of money just to fix a screen. Leo says a third party laptop repair could save Kim some money. Dell is definitely over charging her.

David emailed in to tell us about missionrepair.com. His son had them repair an iPhone screen, and he had them do a MacBook Air screen. The MacBook Air screen cost $369, they did a good job, and it was fast.

Leo also advises backing up her data before going through with a repair. She should assume she's not going to get her hard drive back. In fact, she probably should wipe the drive before she sends it out. They usually restore the drive during the repair.

Here's a few suggestions on cloning her drive:

Imaging options include:

Watch Aaron from Tustin, CA Comments

Aaron's brother broke his laptop and he wants to know the best sub $300 tablet to replace it. Leo says that the Google Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire HDX are great for the money. If he wants one that's more powerful for video editing, then the iPad is probably the best bet, but it's more money. The Dell Venue 8 Windows Tablet is another good option.