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Episode 1109 August 16, 2014

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Larry from Mill Valley, CA Comments

Larry's computer started to crash, and he had to do a complete restore. He's wondering if he should do an Acronis True Image restore or just reinstall all the programs. Leo says that there's a difference between a drive image and a restore. A drive image will create an exact snapshot of the computer from that point in time. Restoring that image will wipe out everything in the process and take him back to the moment he made that image. He can do a restore and it'll just restore the computer configuration with software, data and settings from the last time he set a restore point. Either will work, but one is a bit more destructive. So it just depends on how much he's willing to lose. Leo also says that a drive image does not replace a backup and never should.

Here are several imaging options that every Windows user should know about:

Watch Tony from Indianapolis, IN Comments

Tony is getting an update error for an update that requires a "licensing agreement" for using OS X Mavericks and Microsoft Office on his Mac. Leo says it sounds like an Office issue and having to agree to their EULA is a standard thing. It's safe to install. Ideally, they're supposed to apply the updates automatically, but apparently not in this case. It could be a setting that's been disabled.

Watch Roger from Rutherford, TN Comments

Roger is getting bizarre caller ID issues with his wife's phone and sometimes he can't connect at all. Leo says it's likely an issue with the carrier. Caller ID comes from the carrier and Leo says it sounds like they're doing some odd things with it that the phone is having trouble understanding.

As for not being able to connect to the home phone, Leo says that also sounds like a strange provider issue. Roger's carrier is an "MVNO" or third party that buys service from Sprint and then resells it. Leo suggests calling the carrier and and the MVNO and get them to fix the issue.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Betty from Menifee, CA Comments

Betty is looking for a solar service that offers monitoring through her router. Leo says that it's common that services require a landline or internet access to monitor. Betty doesn't want an ISP because she uses 3G wireless for internet. Leo says that's the choice. Of course, she could get the cheapest possible internet service if she absolutely has to have it.

Leo says that using a MiFi card service will work and she can then route her 3G access through it. She could use up to five devices with it. What about FreedomPop? Leo says that it's legit, but he doesn't know if she'll be able to take advantage of its free service since it's ad supported. But it may be worth trying.

Watch Louis from Peterborough, ON, Canada Comments

Louis has a Wordpress blog and wants to know what the best option is for backing it up. Leo says that if his ISP or blog service doesn't offer a backup, then he's on his own. There are Wordpress plugins that do this and Leo uses them as a second line of defense. It essentially backs up the Blog database and customization. It would let him know by email when it backs up and when it fails.

One option is Backup Buddy by iThemes, which is $80 a year for two sites. That's what Leo uses. Another is Akeeba, which is free. There's also a Backup Wordpress to DropBox plugin. Check out these alternatives to Backup Buddy.

Watch Steve from Mill Valley, CA Comments

Steve has been using VOiP as his backup phone line and he's on the verge of just giving up on it out of frustration. Leo says that VOiP isn't really ready for prime time because the internet access Steve is using isn't consistent. If he's using a service like Comcast that has it's own competing VOiP service, then they're likely throttling it. If it doesn't really work, it probably won't ever work. Other options include Skype, Ooma, and Magic Jack, although Skype will likely be the best.

Watch Steve from Mill Valley, CA Comments

Steve has a sound bar and wants to boost the center channel. Leo says that he would have to have Dolby 5.1 to be able to do that, and Scott Wilkinson recommends the Andrew Jones 5.1 sound bar from Pioneer. But if it's 2.1, he shouldn't get it because he won't be able to do what he wants with just "simulated" surround sound.

Watch Terry from Amarillo, TX Comments

Terry has an iPhone and wants to back it up to his new Mac. He's connected it to Windows and he's worried iTunes will want it erase it. Leo says to back it up to iCloud first. That's going to be his best option. But it should connect and back up to iTunes with no trouble. If it wants to erase it, then he shouldn't continue. Leo says current versions allow him to use up to five devices, so it shouldn't erase it.

Watch George from Santa Monica, CA Comments

George wants to know how long Blu-ray and DVD discs will last. Leo says that the promise of DVDs and CDs is that they would last forever. But that has ended up not being true since they scratch and become unreadable as the reflective surface corrodes. Burned DVDs, however, are different and fade over a shorter time because the dyes that are used to burn the data will fade.

But how do the studios store movies? Leo says that studios don't store movies on DVDs. They usually store them on hard drives and then upgrade to the next big thing as it comes along. There are servers and backup servers. So there's no worry about losing movies as long as the studios maintain their backups correctly. But challenge is in file formats. Take the Library of Congress, for instance, and their mandate to backup media from every kind of device. This article from the Washington Post has more on that story.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Sandra from Corona, CA Comments

Sandra has a pair of headphones that need to be repaired. Leo isn't so sure that they're worth repairing in today's disposable design culture. What can she replace them with for around $25? Leo says that good headphones aren't cheap. If she wants to stick with earbuds, then she can get a pair of earbuds for about $30 at the Apple store. But earbuds are damaging to our ears and the sound isn't as accurate.

The chatroom recommends Tweaked Audio. Another good option is MonoPrice's headphones. They're very cheap ($7) and the quality is really good. There are even cheaper ones there.

Watch Doug from Santa Ana, CA Comments

Doug is developing a website for his company and will be doing eCommerce. Has Leo heard of Magento? GoDaddy also says they can do it without a dedicated server. Leo says that there a lot of ways to skin that cat. Shopify, SquareSpace, and more. Leo's not a big GoDaddy fan because they use shared service with others and if one goes down, they all go down. So he doesn't like that.

Magento is actually very good. Amazon Payments also is supported with Magento, as is Google Wallet. So you can work with them as well. But the bottom line is that buying online has to be simple. If it's difficult to buy, people won't. And the nice thing about Amazon is, that they handle a large part of the back end. And offering a choice different services is a good thing as well.

Here's a good WikiPedia article that compares eCommerce options. Here's another comparison article.

Watch Dave from Victorville, CA Comments

Dave has a generation 1 iPad and he's getting a message that the iPad doesn't support the charger that came with it. Leo says that it could be a short in the cable, so he should try another one. Or it could also be the connector itself. Connectors take a lot of wear and tear and it may be starting to wear out. Since it's an iPad 1, the battery is likely about to fail as well since they only have a life of 500 recharges. It's past time to upgrade. The chatroom says that Costco has some great deals on iPad Airs.

Watch Bradley from Georgetown, ONT CAN Comments

Brad is a student and he's thinking about buying a Chromebook for college. Leo says it's a perfect option for a student. Many schools are using Google Docs now and he can log in to access his data no matter where he is. Leo likes the Acer C720. It's $200! But if he can wait, the second generation will be even better.