Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Steve from Culver City, CA Comments

Steve wants to upgrade to a better laptop with Windows 7, but he doesn't want a touch screen. Best Buy is telling him they aren't available anymore and Windows 8 without touch has problems. Leo says that's just nonsense. Windows 8.1 is great with a mouse and no touch screen. It's stunning how poorly educated brick and mortar sales people have become.

Leo says go ahead and get one with Windows 8.1. It'll run just fine.

Watch Sy from Long Beach, CA Comments

Sy wants to know about free services like Aereo. He's using something called MatriCom G-Box which allows users to stream television using XBMC. Leo says that it may not be legal to do, but we will find out as the Supreme Court is hearing the Aereo case right now. Either way, it's going to dramatically impact how we get our entertainment options. But this is an interesting product.

Watch Patricia from California Comments

Patricia got a new Dell computer since her XP machine was getting really old. She's finding it challenging to learn. She has Microsoft Security Essentials on it, but she keeps getting something called "Windows Version Installer" that's popping up. Leo suspects it's just Windows installer wanting to run an update, and should be OK. She says it won't stop popping up, though. Leo says Patricia is right in her instinct to be concerned, but it seems a normal request to update the Windows installer.

According to the chatroom, this is malware called VUUPC, and since Patricia bought the computer on eBay, it may have come with it installed already. She can uninstall it, however, in Add/Remove programs. But there may be even more stuff on Patricia's computer as well.

Leo says what Patricia really should do is start over by formating and reinstalling Windows. She'll need a licensed version of Windows 7, because chances are the version of Windows she has now isn't a licensed copy. Microsoft can also tell her if it has a pirated version of Windows on it and she should let them know.

VUUPC lets someone remotely access the computer, including turning on the camera, and worse.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Mike from Glendale, CA Comments

Mike has an idea for an app, but doesn't know how to make it. Leo says that apps are like having gold in the hills. If he can get it made, that would be great. But he should understand that most apps don't make money and those that do are usually made by larger companies. It's easy to have a great idea, but there's a lot of distance to making the idea a reality and then making money off it. He can find programmers at eLance.com or stackexchange.com. He'll probably have to pay them either a percentage of earnings or money up front. He'll also need a designer, and a marketing strategy. The more narrow the focus, the better.

This is what's exciting about the Internet. Anyone with an idea can find a market and harness the Internet to get it out there. If you can learn how to program and market, so much the better.

Watch Michael from Niagara Falls Comments

Michael tried creating a separate, limited user account for running Windows XP, but his computer crashes and freezes whenever he creates another account. He has tried reformatting and reinstalling Windows several times, but still has this issue. Michael is wondering if he could enable the hidden administrator account in Windows, and just toggle that back and forth between admin and limited.

Leo says trying to mess with that hidden admin account is a bad idea, and he really should keep that account separate. Leo suspects there's a security program that's possibly preventing it. Leo says the best advice is to get a new computer. The second best advice is to just install Linux instead.

Leo recommends following these tips for using Windows XP securely:

  • Install Windows XP's final update.
  • Use Windows XP as a "limited user."
  • By default, user accounts in Windows are "administrator," meaning the user can install programs and make system changes. Downgrading the account will prevent programs that may be malicious from getting access to the system.

  • Use the Google Chrome browser instead of Internet Explorer.
  • Chrome is free, and far more secure since it's being kept up to date by Google. Mozilla's Firefox is another alternative.

  • Make sure all programs are patched and up to date.
  • If you're using an older version of Microsoft Office, make sure the security settings are set high.

  • Only download software from original vendors.
  • Don't download programs from a third party download site; make sure it's from the actual source.

  • Don't click on links in email.
  • These links may be deceiving, and malicious links could appear to be coming from someone you know.

  • Keep antivirus software up to date.
  • Connect to the internet through a router.
  • This will act as a hardware firewall, which will protect against attacks.

  • Disconnect Windows XP from the internet.
  • If you don't need to be online with your Windows XP computer, then cutting it off from the outside world is highly recommended.

Watch Kevin from West Babylon, NY Comments

Kevin has a hard drive that hasn't been working right, so he used SpinRite and now he's getting an error called "overflow error." Leo suggests getting a NewerTek USB universal drive interface and connecting the drive to another computer. This will allow him to get all the data off it without having to deal with booting it up through the computer. It'll just be treated as a data drive. It will also tell him whether the drive can be read or not. If so, then it's likely a bad file. He should also try booting into safe mode. If he can get into it in safe mode, it could be a bad driver at fault. It doesn't have to be a bad hard drive to cause problems. He can also run SpinRite via USB when he has it connected to the universal drive interface.

Kevin can also get a boot disc and boot up into that, bypassing the hard drive and then diagnose it that way. Bart's PE Boot Disc is a good one. Leo also says that sometimes it's not even worth the effort. If he doesn't have vital data on a hard drive, it's often cheaper and easier just to buy a new one and start over.

Watch Jordan from Chicago, IL Comments

Jordan has a budget of about $1000-1500 for a good camera for a trip to Hawaii. Leo says that's a great budget for an interchangeable lens camera like a DSLR or a micro four thirds camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M5. These are excellent cameras with good kit lenses.

Digital Photography has come of age and there are so many excellent choices that it's hard to go wrong.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jesse from Marietta, CA Comments

Jesse just bought a new house and wants to go solar. Any ideas? Leo says it makes sense because of subsidies that make it cost effective to buy into it. What we are waiting for is efficiency with solar power systems. They haven't been efficient enough, but we're on the cusp of a breakthrough that will really make it worth investing in. Even with efficient solar panels, the real challenge is keeping them clean. He'll want to put them in a spot he can easily get to. It may be wise to wait a little longer until they become more efficient.

Watch Wendy from Santa Ana, CA Comments

Wendy has a Lenovo G580 computer that's been developing problems now that it's out of warranty. She turns it on and the monitor shows the Windows logo and then it goes blank. Leo says that since she can see the logo, that means there's no issue with connections. But that doesn't mean it's free from hardware issues. It goes off after about an hour and a half, and that leads Leo to think it's a hardware issue that will require a repair. Time to call Lenovo again.

Watch Howard from Louisiana Comments

Howard wants to cut the cord and get an antenna. Leo advises visiting AntennaWeb.org and TVFool.com. The key is to get the right antenna for the terrain and area he's in. He should make sure to check the coverage maps that will show him what the channel availability will be.

Howard also wants to know how to get better pictures in low light. Leo says a wider aperture is key, but also a larger sensor provides for more light on the image. ISO means more electronic amplification of that light. There are some great cameras that offer that.

Watch Gene from Olympia, WA Comments

Gene replaced a network drive on RAID 1 and when it rebuilt the RAID, it made all the drives blank! Leo says that RAID 1 (mirrored) is designed to write the same data to all drives and when one fails, it can rebuild the RAID from the other drives. Leo thinks that during the rebuild of the RAID, the drives were erased. It's not the same as partitioning and setting up, and it may not be recoverable. Leo doesn't think it's a good idea to run BIOS RAID. It's not a good choice and RAID is never a substitute for backing up. He should also make sure he replaced the correct drive.

He needs a restore utility that understands a Linux RAID file system (EXT). That's why it's important to use Linux tools, which may be command line only. Can he use a universal drive adapter for his RAID? Leo says no, he'll want an external enclosure that can protect them in the long term. An eSata case is probably best. When he uses striping, he won't have to rebuild the RAID, it should be usable by itself.

Watch Sherry from Palm Springs, CA Comments

Sherry has to replace her XP computer. Is it possible to transfer her programs to the new computer? Leo says that moving apps really isn't doable. She can use the Microsoft settings and file assistant (Easy Transfer wizard) to move her data, but the apps really need to be installed fresh on the new computer. Leo says it's a recipe for disaster to try and transfer those. There's going to be apps she won't want to use anymore, also. Sherry should start fresh with that new computer and install the apps as she needs them.

Watch Jack from Pennsicola, FL Comments

Jack wants to know when the new iPhone is coming. Leo says the rumors are that the new iPhone 6 will have a larger screen (finally). But they're still just rumors. And Apple never really leaks out dates of when it will come out. If we look to the past on how Apple has released iPhones, we can get a fairly good guess. It's usually around September. There's not much more they can do with it since it's a mature product.

iOS 8 will likely have a health "passbook" feature and maybe even tie into an iWatch which will help for fitness apps. The end of June is Apple's WorldWide Developer Conference, and we should have a clearer idea of what iOS 8 will have then.