Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Nick from Anaheim, CA Comments

Nick is heading to Paris and he wants to know if he can bring his T-Mobile flip phone. Leo says it would be a good idea to contact T-Mobile and get an international calling plan. He's also planning on bringing his laptop, but he's worried about Wi-Fi security. Leo says it's about as safe there as it is here, meaning that it's best to use encryption if he's visiting any sites that are public. He should avoid banking online if he can. Banks will encrypt his traffic, though. The greater risk is his email and logging in, so that's where he'll want to be encrypted. Wi-Fi is essentially a radio signal and data packets can be plucked out of the air. He could use a virtual private network (VPN) for additional security.

Watch Myra from Anaheim, CA Comments

Myra is a high school computer science teacher and she's preparing for Science Week's "Hour of Code," by Code.org. She's going to use various methods including Scratch and Alice. Leo says that Alice is a great way to teach kids how to code because it's fun, like a game.

She's a PC person and wants to make public announcements via her iPad and a microphone to the PA system. Leo says to get the file and open it in iTunes, then transfer it to the iPad. Leo says she can also email it to the iPad or use DropBox. There's plenty of ways. Apple never designed the iPad to behave like a conventional file system; everything is sandboxed.

Myra is also trying to get computer science to count as an requirement for Science/Math at the University of California. She has a petition at chn.ge/1bvfqPx.

Watch Dan from San Francisco, CA Comments

Dan is looking for a cheap smartphone for his mom and wants to know what Leo thinks of the Motorola Moto G. Leo says at $180 without contract, it's a great, inexpensive phone. It's largely the same as the Moto X, except for the screen.

He should check out this article at ArsTechnica. What about the camera? Leo says that there are better cameras out there, but it's not that bad actually. If his mom is a serious phoneographer, it may not be ideal, but for the average shutterbug it'll work just fine.

Watch Naomi from Denver, CO Comments

Naomi is trying to fix a hard drive with SpinRite, but it won't even see the hard drive. Leo says it's likely that the circuit board on the hard drive may have failed or has become damaged. If she can find another similar hard drive and swap out that circuitry, there's a good chance it'll be able to read it.

How about putting it into external USB enclosure? Leo says that often USB will hide a drive if there's a hardware issue.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Peter from Brooklyn, NY Comments

Peter has a 27" iMac with two additional Apple Cinema displays. Sometimes he only wants to use one but they won't shut off because there's no on/off switch.

Leo says that it goes back to Steve Jobs who hated on/off switches. So the displays have no buttons. There is ResX, which could control it, but likely won't turn it off. Someone should write a program or script that would do it, and there may be an app in the app store already. There's an app called "Should I Sleep?" But that only keeps a monitor on. There's always a power strip with an on/off switch to kill the power.

The Chatroom says that iGo makes a product that may do it.

Peter would also like to burn DVDs, and Leo says that iMovie is an easy choice that he already has.

Watch Cary from Thousand Oaks, CA Comments

Carrie is having issues with Google Chrome not loading properly, and reload doesn't really work. Leo says that it sounds like her internet connection is erratic. A loading error usually means the computer can't make a connection. The website may be down as well.

Watch Ivan from Brisbane, Australia Comments

Ivan needs to setup website blocking to protect his son. The problem is that the modem/router provided by the ISP doesn't allow him to change any of the settings. He might be able to disable the router portion of his modem/router, and buy a replacement for the router. Then he could change the DNS settings. The chatroom says he could set up a "DMZ" to his own router.

Can he alter the firmware? Leo says he wouldn't do that. Just leave the box alone and go with a third party router. He can use OpenDNS, and set it up to block websites through that.

Watch Don from Long Beach, CA Comments

Don has a video CD and he'd like to convert it to DVD. Leo says it depends on the format. Don says it's TVOX. Leo says that the idea would be to get it off the CD without more compression. Leo suggests VideoLan's VLC Player. It can save it out as well. But it's giving him an error.

The Chatroom says he'll have to enable "VCD" in the settings. Leo also says that Total Video Converter may be able to do it. It has a "try before you buy" feature. That Chatroom also suggests FreeMake and Handbrake. Leo says Handbrake is good. He'll also want to be sure he encodes it to MPEG2, but he should let the software handle that.

Another good place to look is VideoHelp.com.

Watch Mike from Winnetka, CA Comments

Mike has an old laptop, but it freezes on bootup. He tried to flash the BIOS, but it crashes when the drivers start to load. It is possible to recover an earlier portion of the BIOS. Here's a link to a document from HP as to how to do it. Leo says it's reasons like this that prove it's not a good idea to upgrade a BIOS unless it's required to fix something.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Mike from Rock Valley, IA Comments

Mike has DISH for Satellite Internet, but it's really slow and unstable. Leo says that the federal government needs to create a Tennessee Valley Authority with broadband. It's not really in the interests of broadband companies to provide access in rural areas.

There are different levels of satellite internet service so he may be able to improve it, though. Leo recommends Wild Blue's Exede. They do a better job, but it won't be as fast. Another option is 4G via MyFi and Verizon. Verizon has wireless home services as well. He should also check out BroadbandReports.com.

Watch Cindi from Long Beach, CA Comments

Cindi's computer has been crashing and she only uses one program that takes up most of her space. Leo says that Windows PCs don't run well when the hard drives are mostly full. Leo says that since Cindi's computer is used for large scale printing, it's likely most of that room is taken up by saving image files on the computer hard drive. It'll be better to have her data on an external drive instead.

Can she just take the hard drive out of this computer and put it into another one? Leo says that isn't practical because the hardware settings are the same and it'll confuse the OS. Additionally, Cindi's computer has been calibrated for a specific monitor, and that would need to be redone. It's probably best to just start over. Return that computer because it's obvious it's defective.

Watch Lisa from Florida Comments

Lisa needs some advice on buying an alternative to Camtasia. It's called Articulate and it has options she likes including polling and quizzing. Leo says that eLearning makes Articulate a better option. But it isn't cheap, so he recommends trying before you buy.