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Episode 1146 December 21, 2014

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Alan from Orange County, CA Comments

Alan inherited an IT job and the previous person didn't leave documentation on how to access the hard drives. He tried a password recovery tool, but it didn't help. Is there a way?

Leo says that passwords are crackable if he has physical access to the machine. LophtCrack is one such utility. PogoStick is a popular one with the chatroom. There's also KON-Boot, which is a Windows bypass tool.

In Windows 8, the passwords are kept in a "Sam" file. If he wipes that file out, he can start from scratch and create new ones. But if he used BitLocker, it requires passwords to unlock them and he'd be out of luck then.

Watch Jim from Tallahassee, FL Comments

Jim has a huge quantity of photos and he wants to organize them once they're scanned in. Leo says he can use Picasa to organize the photos. It supports PicasaWeb with privacy settings, sharing options, and thumbnail images. Google keeps it up to date, too. The organization he gives them will have actual folders on his hard drive. So if he uninstalls the program, the structure of the folders remains the same. And the best part is, it's free.

A paid option that Leo recommends is Adobe Photoshop Elements or Adobe Lightroom.

Watch Bob from DeMoines, IA Comments

Bob got a new MacBook Pro and he's using a 1TB Little Big Disk drive for backup. He wants to use a second drive for redundancy. How can he sync them both? Leo says that SuperDuper! is great for that function. It'll clone it and then make it bootable. ChronoSync is good for backing up as well. But Leo thinks Super Duper is the best option.

Watch Sharon from San Diego, CA Comments

Sharon has a Verizon cellphone but wants to get her old AT&T iPhone 4S added to the plan. Verizon said they can't add that phone to their network, though. Leo says back then, AT&T and Verizon phones only worked with either GSM or CDMA technology. If the phone was newer, like an iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, she could do it because they are called "world phones." She may need to unlock it. But the 4S predates the era of iPhone world phones, and it won't work.

The good news is that Apple still sells the iPhone 5 and 5S and it may be for free with a two year commitment. So that's an option. She may also be able to trade in the old phone for credit.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

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

Jim needs a new laptop, and he's thinking about getting a Windows Surface Pro 3. Leo says that it's not cheap, but it has the best tablet screen on the market. Could he hook it up to a printer though? Leo says yes, and most printers even have Wi-Fi printing now. But he could connect with USB if he needed to.

Dell also makes a great laptop, as does Lenovo. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is Leo's favorite. The cost is worth it. The HP Stream is a $200 laptop that everyone is talking about, and it's decent for the price, but it's not comparable to a higher end system. Leo also likes the Acer Aspire S7, which is very thin and light. It also has a touch screen.

Watch John from Biddeford, ME Comments

John just wiped all his computers and started over. Can he do the same with his cellphones? Leo says that all cellphones have a reset command that will wipe it and bring back the base default configuration. Leo says while he's at it, he could update it to a more recent OS. But Leo also says that a newer phone would probably serve john better since SSDs can get sluggish over time.

Watch Moses from Apple Valley, CA Comments

Moses has been getting a blue screen of death (BSOD). What is that? Leo says that a BSOD is a crash that has forced Windows to not work anymore. Moses has reinstalled Windows, but it still happens. Leo says that points to a hardware issue. A hardware flaw like a flakey power supply, video card or hard drive. It also could be a driver, but with a spontaneous reboot, it's probably the power supply. Fortunately, these are easy to replace. He can even do it himself. Moses should make sure he matches the existing power supply in wattage.

Watch John from Ottawa, ONT CAN Comments

John has been given some YouTube links that have "https" in their URL, and he can't view them. Leo says that those links are encrypted and Google has been pushing towards https for all video links to prevent hackers from taking advantage of it. Https uses a time-based certificate, and if his computer hasn't been updated or doesn't remember the date, he may not be able to read it because the certificate isn't valid according to the PC. John should check his clock. He should try logging into a different account and see if that changes things. But Leo thinks he's not getting a full page load and that isn't a certificate error. If it's an older computer, that could be the issue. It could also be his internet connection.

The chatroom thinks it's an issue with TCP on his computer. Check out this article by DSL Reports with a TCP Tweaking Tool.

Watch John from Panama City, CA Comments

John has found that all his pictures had been loaded into a Google web album without his knowledge. Leo says that's OK, and it's actually a feature of Google. He probably has it enabled for all photos to be backed up to Google Plus in a private gallery. He can verify the photos are private by looking in the photo details in the online album. It should say "not shared." It's just an auto backup, and it's a good thing.

If he doesn't want to have his photos uploaded, he can disable it through the Google Plus settings in his Android phone.

Watch Steve from San Diego, CA Comments

Steve is thinking about getting the 27" iMac with Retina 5K display, and he's wondering about the Fusion drive. Leo says he has one, and that screen is amazing. But the problem is storage. And there are only two choices -- the Fusion drive, a 3TB spinning drive that works in concert with an 128GB SSD drive, and an SSD.

The Fusion drive is not as fast an SSD, and only slightly faster than a hard drive. He could just go with the SSD and then attach an external Thunderbolt 2 drive. They're expensive, but just as fast as an internal drive. If speed is of the essence, the pure SSD is his best choice.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jack from Garden Grove, CA Comments

Jack has an issue with his iMac getting knocked off the network using Wi-Fi. He has to reboot from time to time. Leo says that Apple has issues with Wi-Fi and it's a black art. Leo thinks it may be an issue with the cable modem. Jack should ask his cable provider if he can buy his own, and pick up an Arris DOCSIS 3 modem. Even though they gave him one, he's just renting it and it's likely a used one. He should buy his own, along with a router, and he'll get better results and save money on rental fees as well. Leo recommends getting an Apple Airport Extreme.

Watch Louis from Ontario, CAN Comments

Louis wants to experiment with ShoutCast. What is an affordable Shoutcast server hosting service? Leo says that he doesn't recommend running his own internet radio service and it could even be a violation of his ISPs terms of service. Leo recommends using Live365.com. They have a free version and paid version. It's where most people go for this live streaming option. It also does playlists.

Leo used to do it himself using NiceCast on the Mac, IceCast, and SamBroadcaster.

Watch Brett from Woodbridge, NJ Comments

Brett would like to hardwire his mother's PC so she doesn't have issues with Wi-Fi dropping out. Leo says that it sounds like an issue of distance. Leo had the same problem, so he extended the Wi-Fi with a repeater. He uses an Airport Extreme with Airport Express that automatically extends the range. He'll want to buy the repeater from the same company as the router. He can also try something called Powerline networking.

Watch Mary from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Mary wound up getting a program called Trovi installed, and she can't get rid of it. Trovi is a lot like Conduit, and it's a browser hijacker that often comes with free software. Some don't think it's malware, but if it tricks the user into installing it and makes it difficult to be uninstalled, then it's definitely malware. And shame on CBS, which owns download.com, for allowing this junk to be installed onto people's computers. Mary can remove it in Add/Remove Programs, but she'll also have to change her browser settings or it could come back. She'll need to remove the extension, tool bars, and change the home page.

Here's a link on how to uninstall it - http://www.lavasoft.com/mylavasoft/company/blog/how-to-remove-trovi-search

She'll probably have to uninstall several other things too. So search for Add/Remove programs by date and then uninstall the things she doesn't recognize that were installed around the same time. Conduit is probably there too.

Watch Steven from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Steve just replaced his Android phone with an iPhone 6 Plus for the camera. But his challenge is all the stuff he has in the cloud, and with Android it was so easy to share it. Leo says that Apple's philosophy is to limit users in order to keep them out of trouble.

Is there an app that can get around Apple's sandboxing? Leo says no. Apple doesn't want communication between apps because that's risky. So he can only share from within an app. iOS 8 is starting to break down that walled garden, but not in the way that Steve wants. Apple doesn't give users access to file systems. Steve can send files from where the file is to Gmail, or he can put everything onto Google Drive. Then he can get to his files.

There is an app on iOS called Boxer, which is an email app that will allow him to attach files from virtually anywhere.

But Leo stayed with Android because he wants choice and there's no evidence that iOS is safer than Android.

Watch Dianne from Williamsburg, PA Comments

Dianne's 81 year old mother's cell phone was deactivated and she needs a new phone. Dianne wants to know if she could use the AT&T SIM in her old phone with an "Obama Phone" from Verizon on the Lifeline Assistance program. Leo doesn't think that would work. If not much time had passed, there's a chance that she could have her old number ported over to Verizon. But Dianne says it's been about a month since the old phone was cancelled, so that would be unlikely.

Dianne wants to know if she could have the phone numbers from the old phone transferred. Leo says that would definitely be possible, whether those numbers are on the SIM or on the actual phone itself. Leo recommends bringing it into Verizon, and they should be able to help her get her address book on the new phone.