Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch James from Woodland Hills, CA Comments

James is going to get his first smartphone and is considering getting an older model like the Samsung Galaxy S3. But should he just move forward and go with the latest HTC One? He doesn't want an iPhone, though. Leo says that in general, it's not a good idea to go with an older model because he'll lose out on the latest innovations. However, with Samsung, things have gotten worse because Samsung has loaded it with programs that users can't get rid of, in addition to what the carrier puts on it. At least the Galaxy S3 didn't have so much of that nonsense. It's not up to date, though, and more apps are being written for faster processors.

For James' first smartphone, Leo suggests the Motorola Moto-X or the Moto G. Leo says there is no better Android phone on the market. It doesn't have a great camera, but it's a great size and feels good in the hand. Another option is the Google Nexus 5, which is a pure Google phone that is about $325 unsubsidized.

James should also consider a Windows Phone. The Nokia Lumia 925 has one of the best cameras on the market, but they don't have as many apps as Android or iPhone.

Leo advises going to T-Mobile and asking them to show him some phones. See how they feel in his hand. It's a very personal choice and getting some experience with them usually tells the tale.

Watch James from Woodland Hills, CA Comments

The spinning beach ball means the Mac is working on something. This could be a failure in the program, the operating system, or the hard drive. As computers get older, hard drives get harder to read, and the computer takes longer. Since James' iMac is quite old now, it may be time for a new one. This symptom is difficult to diagnose accurately.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Lloyd from Huntington Beach, CA Comments

Lloyd got a redirect virus. Leo says these days there really isn't an easy way to get rid of a virus because not only is he infected by this virus, but there's usually other viruses that get invited as well. Once it's on the computer, it can be so deeply embedded that any attempt to remove it can disable the operating system. So at the end of the day, the only thing he can really do is back up his data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, good source. Then he should run all the available updates. He'll have to do the same thing with other apps like Adobe Reader, since viruses can often get in through out of date insecure software.

Leo recommends doing these things to protect himself going forward:

1. Run as a limited user. Create a new account and give it administrator access, then downgrade his own account to a limited or standard user. This will prevent any software from being installed without Administrator approval. This will prevent almost all attacks.
2. Stop using Internet Explorer and go with Chrome. Chrome is more secure, and it also uses the most recent version of Flash, so it's up to date and secure.
3. Don't click on links in email.
4. Only get software from the original vendors.
5. Keep antivirus software up to date.
6. Stop using Java.

Watch Rob from Fairfield, CA Comments

Rob has AT&T UVerse and looks really compressed. Leo says he hears that complaint all the time. It's likely that U-Verse does use a lot of compression, even though it's fiber, so they have no loss of bandwidth. On top of that, channels also are compressed. So there's compression all along the line. This is why broadcast HD is always the best, because there's no compression over-the-air.

Watch Steve from Summerville, MA Comments

Steve signed up for a VPN in order to bypass the bottlenecks brought about by his ISP and Netflix. Leo says that's an interesting solution as the data would be encrypted and the ISP wouldn't know what the data is. Leo says ISPs are slowing down the traffic by 33%, and it's terrible that they do it. VPNs could be a solution to that. However, it also delays his signal because of the overhead of encryption and decryption that would be required. Since Netflix is paying Comcast now for preferred traffic access, a VPN would actually slow the signal down. Leo says that in many cases, the software can slow down media center software like Plex. Some like Tunnel Barron can exclude some applications from the VPN pipeline so they don't slow down, though.

Watch Mike from Portland, OR Comments

Mike bought a new computer and now he needs to get a new scanner because his old one isn't supported in Windows 8. He doesn't want to spend a lot of money. Leo suggests Epson scanners. They're great and they're what he uses. They have several different models with various features, so he'll want to select the one that does what Mike needs.

(Disclaimer: Epson is a sponsor)

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Roger from Ogden, UT Comments

Roger wants to get a Mac Mini, but Apple hasn't upgraded it in a long time (Oct 2012). Leo says that is a common complaint with Mac fans. It's a shame too, because it's very affordable and a great product. It seems like Apple doesn't care about anything but mobile these days. It's like they have a limited attention span. They're all mobile now with iPhones and iPads, and they are less worried about the desktop computing experience. Leo's been hearing rumors for months about a new Mac Mini coming, but nothing has materialized. Here's the MacRumors buying guide so he can stay up on this.

Watch Kevin from Mountain View, CA Comments

Kevin has a friend who is having trouble with apps like Adobe Reader crashing intermittently. Leo says that it sounds like bit rot. Some programs like Adobe Reader use the same dynamic link library (DLL) and that if that get corrupted, it make sense that anything else that uses it will crash. So Leo suggests removing Reader and then downloading and installing the latest version. He should also update to the latest version of Internet Explorer.

If that doesn't work, Leo advises running the Windows System File Checker. Go to the command line and type "sfc /scannow" and hit enter. Let it run and have a Windows disc handy.

Another option is to run the Windows installer, which prompt him to repair Windows. He should say yes to this. The worst case scenario is that he may have to back up his data, format the drive and reinstall Windows from a known, good source. Then run all of the updates.

Watch Richard from Sonoma, CA Comments

Richard has a Toshiba Thrive tablet, which he loves, but it hasn't been updated in forever. Leo says the Thrive won't be updated anymore. So one option is to buy a new tablet, and Leo likes the Google Nexus 10, and the Nexus 7. Both great tablets. He should wait though, because the Nexus 10 on the Google Play store says "coming soon." Leo thinks this is because Google will be releasing a new version.

Watch Janice from Tehachapi, CA Comments

Janice is a teacher and she spent her own money to upgrade some hardware in the classroom. Leo says he honors that kind of commitment. Janice wants to know if she could use Windows on her MacBook Air. Leo says absolutely, but she'll have to buy a separate version of Windows. There are two ways to do it: 1) run Windows natively using Boot Camp. She can run both OS's and select which one she wants when she boots up. 2) Run Windows virtually, within OS X. Options include Virtual Box which is free, Parallels, and VMware Fusion.

TechSoup.org, according to the chatroom, offers Windows 7 for $12 for educators. Microsoft also offers educational discounts.

Watch Mike from Glendale, CA Comments

Mike bought a MacBook Pro recently, updating it through Apple's build to order interface. He needs a CD player, though. Leo says that the base model is the only one that still has a CD player, but the down side is, it also has a spinning hard drive and no retina display. The problem is, for $100 more, Mike could've gotten a retina display and much faster performance with an SSD drive. If he doesn't need all that, it's fine. But he won't save much doing it.

Watch Rami from Valencia, CA Comments

Rami wants to connect two devices with his smartphone. Leo says most modern smartphones can do that. But in bluetooth, some devices don't play well together. And when it comes to speakers, he can only connect to one speaker at a time.