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Episode 1074 April 13, 2014

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Bob from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Bob has been getting warnings that he's "overdrawn" on his MiFi data plan and wants to know if he's been struck by the Heartbleed virus. Leo says no. Heartbleed attacks servers, not mobile devices. More likely, Bob has an app that is active and downloading everything. Someone may have also commandeered the system and is using it.

Leo says that Bob's ISP, Verizon, could tell him as they analyze the traffic. Regardless, Leo advises changing his passwords and then changing the SSIDs. He should also try and figure out what program is doing it. It could be an off site backup, or streaming video.

Watch Jay from Providence, RI Comments

Jay is having trouble with the design of his Twitter account. Leo says that Jay is using the new Twitter interface that's being gradually rolled out, and it looks more like Facebook. If he doesn't like it, he could still use a third party twitter client. Leo likes Tweetbot.

Watch Brad from San Jose, CA Comments

Brad is tired of getting robocalls and wants to know if NoMoRobo is safe. Leo says that the FTC awarded NoMoRobo it's Challenge Award, so it should be safe.

Another option is to join the National Do Not Call Registry. That only works if people honor it, though. Some people in the chatroom who have joined the Registry still get robocalls, up to 5 or 6 a day. Leo hasn't tried NoMoRobo, but someone in the chatroom says they've tried it and it works. Others say it "mostly" works.

Watch Dave from Fountain Valley, CA Comments

Dave is looking for a good backup solution for both business and personal. He wants to encrypt the data and back it up. Leo says that if Dave turns on encryption on the drive, that's effective. The OS has encryption: File Vault for the Mac and BitLocker for Windows. He'll have to be sure he backs up the certificate and doesn't lose it. Third party options that work include TrueCrypt.

Leo says that an offsite backup option like Carbonite also encrypts data and only he will have the password.

Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor.

Watch Sam from Heywood, CA Comments

Sam built a "replicator" tower for making copies of DVDs and CDs. He's having trouble with it not starting up, so he replaced the motherboard controller, the power supply, and all the outlets. Leo says it could be that the drive cables may be flipped. The chatroom says that the case could have a faulty power switch.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Dave from Salt Lake City Comments

Dave is being censored by Google AdSense. Leo says that usually Google does that to prevent click fraud. Dave says the specific word is the name of the cartoon that he features on his site. Leo says to try and appeal it, if he can. It's almost impossible to get a human at Google for help. But Leo advises going to the Google Webmaster site for help. Google also has a phone number at google.com/contact.

Watch Rich from East Point, MI Comments

Rich is wondering if there's a way to tell if a certain site is affected by Heartbleed. Leo says if the site isn't willing to warn you about it, then there really isn't a way, nor is there a way to test it. It's always a good idea to change your passwords anyway, though.

Watch Rich from East Point, MI Comments

Rich has an ASUS T100 Windows 8 tablet with attachable keyboard. It came with 32GB of internal storage, with the option to expand using an SD card. He's wondering if he can combine the internal storage and the SD card so that they appear as one single drive. Leo says he could, but it raises the failure rate because if one fails, it all fails. It's called "Scary RAID." Even if he adds more space with a MicroSD card, he may or may not be able to add apps to it. Tablets really aren't upgradable.

Watch Tommy from Birmingham, AL Comments

Tom has a Carbonite account and when he runs it, it really drains the battery. Leo says that could be because that initial backup will keep going and not allow the laptop to go to sleep. But once it does, it may not be as drastic. Leo also says that the battery indicator isn't exactly accurate either. It's more a general idea and Leo thinks it gets better over time.

Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor.

Watch Randy from Hermosa Beach, CA Comments

Randy is an amateur photographer and he's got a few great images on his iPhone that he wants to blow up larger than a poster. Leo says that a camera phone only has so much data, so it may not look great blown up. 14x19 is probably the sweet spot. The larger he goes, the more defects he'll see in the image. Apple's own photo service is very good, so Leo recommends using that.

Watch Jenny from Cypress, CA Comments

Jenny's daughter wants a video camera, what should she get? Leo says that since Jenny's daughter has an iPhone, she already has a great camera there. Camcorders are dying. So Leo recommends getting a point and shoot camera with a good zoom. They shoot great HD video these days.

Leo likes the Olympus TG-2. It's a tough camera that's both dust proof and water proof.

Watch Mary from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Mary has Earthlink and for the last three days, they've been down in L.A. Leo says that's terrible! She wants to know if they've been bit by heartbleed. Leo says it's probably more serious than that. Heartbleed can be fixed with a simple server upgrade, but this sounds like a cascading failure where fixing one thing impacts more things. Leo thinks it's time to get a new ISP. DSLExtreme is good. Leo advises asking them to move Mary and request an estimate of how long it will take, because it could take several days or even weeks to make that switch.

Disclaimer: DSLExtreme is a sponsor.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Rick from Long Beach, CA Comments

Rick wants to clean up his PC and make it run faster. Is there a piece of software that can do that? Leo says no. That's snake oil. He can run CCleaner and a registry cleaner, but that's risky as cleaning the registry can cause the OS to stop working. He can also optimize the disk, but that isn't necessary anymore since hard drives are very efficient these days.

Leo advises backing up his data, formatting the hard drive, and reinstalling Windows from a known good source, then updating it. That will restore his computer to the day he first got it, and it'll be fast and clean.

Watch John from Orange, CA Comments

John's computer shuts down intermittently. Leo says he has a computer that does it and it's proven to be a flaw, and the company is replacing it. Leo says it's usually related to the power supply, or the computer is overheating. This can trigger a reset. The chat room says it can happen when watching YouTube as video playback is challenging. On the software side, he should make sure he has the latest video card drivers. But if that doesn't work, then he'll have to bring it in.

Watch Kevin from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Kevin has an idea for several apps and wants to know how he can get them made, and then get a patent on them. Leo says that it's easier to get a patent if he has a working app. But app ideas can be patented with a sketched out concept as well. But this is also what creates patent troll lawsuits. Where could he find coders for making the app? Leo recommends eLance.com. There are good and affordable programmers there. There's also StackExchange. He should make sure he doesn't bypass their method of contact as it's there for his own protection.

Watch Tom from Riverside, CA Comments

Tom has a computer running XP and he's having issues with the accuracy of the number of files in his folders. Leo says that it sounds like the file index is corrupted. He can rebuild the index in the control panel. Windows XP's copy utility is broken also, so Microsoft's answer to that was to offer a separate file copier called "Robocopy." He could also try refreshing the folder in the folder menu. Otherwise it's probably time to upgrade to Windows 7. He should make sure to backup his data too.

Watch Brian from Fountain Valley, CA Comments

Brian downloaded DropBox from Download.com and now he's stuck with Search Conduit. This is adware, and it's not technically malware. Leo believes that it is, though, because even though it asks the user to install, it isn't very clear. Leo says he wishes CNet/CBS Interactive would stop doing this with wrappers that install adware. Search Conduit even schedules itself in Windows to reinstall after it's removed. The fact that Brian has other symptoms in addition to this makes it sound like Brian has more malware as well.

If Brian has it set up to sync his Chrome settings to all of his computers, Conduit will sync over as well. Here's a support document for resetting Chrome.

Leo suggests getting MalwareBytes.org. However, because it's clear that Brian has more than just Conduit, it may be just easier to backup his data, format the drive, and reinstall Windows from a known source. To be sure, he can wipe the disk with DBAN.

Watch Brian from Fountain Valley, CA Comments

Brian works in real estate and needs a wide angle camera for taking photos of properties. Leo says a lot of cameras now will take panoramas. There are a number of point and shoots that have 24mm lenses, such as the Panasonic Lumix LX3. Another option is the Sony RX100. Both have good zooms.

Watch Gina from Hollywood, CA Comments

Gina tried to change her Windows account to a limited user, but now she has no internet connection. What happened? Leo says that sometimes a program won't operate properly unless it runs as an administrator. So that may cause the issue connecting to the Internet. She also has DSLExtreme and it may be that downgrading may have broken her connection to them. Leo says she should double check her connections as well. But at this point, Leo advises contacting DSLExtreme to ask them for help.

Leo also suggests powering down the DSL modem, shutting down the computer, then turning on the modem. Once it's powered on, turn on the computer and log in. Often that will reconnect everything. It's also possible that Gina tried to put herself on a Windows domain by checking all the boxes, when she shouldn't have, and that messed it all up. Make sure LAN is enabled.

Gina may be ready for a new computer, like a Chromebook, or even an iPad if all she does is surf the internet and answer emails.