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Episode 1285 May 7, 2016

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Kevin from California Comments

Kevin's mom went to a website and got a virus alert. She then called the phone number on it and they had her install something, which gave them control over her computer. Leo says that's a common scam. They probably installed a virus and maybe even turned her computer into a bot. The worst part is that they took her money and now have her credit card number. She realized her error and called him, though, and Kevin has since changed her passwords. She has trouble remembering passwords. Leo says many do and they end up using the same password over and over. That's why a password vault is a good idea.

Should he erase the hard drive? Leo says no. She has a Mac and it's very secure. He's right to be concerned, and he should make sure the firewall is turned on to guard the network against a worm.

Watch Russell from Phoenix, AZ Comments

Russell has been "banned" by HP from being able to buy a computer anymore because he complained about a broken computer they had sent him. Leo says that the PCs from HP have improved since 5 years ago. The ban is still in place, though. Leo says he's never heard of that before. It's odd, but he should just take his business elsewhere! Leo says that Dell is very good. The customer service has fallen since prices have dropped, but the computers are still very good. He should want to get a higher end model. He shouldn't be spending any less than $800 because the lower the price, the cheaper they are in quality.

If he's on a budget, then perhaps a Chromebook is a better option for Russell. He can get an outstanding Chromebook for around $500, which is good enough for most people.

Watch James from Los Angeles, CA Comments

James got a hand me down printer, but now it's saying that there's no paper in the tray even though there is. It used to work fine, but now it just won't. Leo says he really doesn't know what it could be, other than a sensor or a lever in the printer that isn't working properly anymore.

Watch Brian from Lakeview Terrace, CA Comments

Brian wants to use an old phone with his cell phone so he doesn't have to always use it. Leo says that there are devices that use voice over IP or VOIP. The chatroom says that Panasonic has a link to cell system but he'd have to buy a new phone to use it. Another option is to pair his cell phone to Google Voice and have that ring his landline at home.

Watch Vaughn from Burbank, CA Comments

Vaughn has an older iPhone 4S, and is wondering if he should upgrade that to iOS 9. He had some issues upgrading from iOS 7 to 8, though. Leo says that Apple won't allow an update to even go through if it isn't going to work on the device. However, he still may run into some issues. His phone may be too small, with only 8GB of storage. It may slow some things down too.

Vaughn can read more about the risks of upgrading at Gizmodo.com

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Tommy from Tustin, CA Comments

Tommy wants to know if he could waterproof a phone and bring it into the water and use it as a camera. Leo says that there are water resistant phones, but he'd have to really understand what that means. IP ratings will tell just how water resistant it is based on 30 minutes in 1 1/2 meter of water. But that's in ideal conditions, too.

GoPro cameras are much better for that because they have waterproof housings. There are waterproof/lifeproof cases, though. LifeProof is a popular one with the chatroom. iGill claims a depth of 130'. But at over $300, Leo says that GoPro is a far better solution.

Watch John from San Diego, CA Comments

John is experiencing a brief flash of vertical lines against a white background on his Android tablet. He's swapped out the tablets more than once and wonders if this is a hardware issue or software issue. Leo says that since John is putting the same apps on the tablets, no matter which model he tries, that points to an app or software issue. Leo suspects that the tablet is making a quick adjustment in the video mode as it does in the app. It could be normal since it goes from tablet to tablet. The common denominator is the user, so that's where he can focus his troubleshooting efforts. He should try adding one app to the tablet at a time and pinpoint when the issue starts. That'll tell him what app is causing it.

Watch Clyde from Torrance, CA Comments

Clyde is having a hard time using the new version of Photoshop Elements. They've completely redone it and he has to learn it all over again. He's thought about downgrading Windows since Windows 10 won't let him install an old version of Elements. It will work on Windows 7 though.

Adobe says it's not compatible, but there is a discussion on the Adobe Forums that users have gotten it to work with "minor issues." So if he can put up with that, he could try it.

Photoshop Elements isn't the only game in town though. GetPaint.net is a good option, and it's free.

Watch Christine from Albany, CA Comments

Christine uses a Chromebook, but her son is getting ready for college and she wants to know what to get him. He's still into Minecraft. Leo says that any laptop will be great for Minecraft. Her budget is $600.

Leo says he just ordered the HP Spectre. Leo says HP used to be terrible, but they've really turned it around and the Spectre is an ultrabook that will be ideal for a student. Leo will have a review next Saturday. If she could spend $200 more, she could get a good Dell.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Bill from Glendora, CA Comments

Bill's hard drives keep disappearing from his computer. After he reboots, it'll say "fixing disk," and will be there for about 10 minutes before it disappears again. His SSD boot drive works fine, though. Leo says there are a lot of things it could be including hardware and cabling. He should go and look to see how its setup in BIOS. It should be something wrong with AHCI or a driver issue. Since he built the computer himself, there's no one he can call for help. Then again, the support from the major companies isn't helpful anyway. He says he didn't notice these problems until after upgrading to Windows 10. Leo says he could try rolling it back and see if the problems exist there. If it works fine in Windows 7, then maybe there's a driver in Windows 10 that he doesn't have.

Watch Anne from Orange County, CA Comments

Anne got an HP Envy wireless printer. Can she use it with an XP Machine? She keeps getting a popup asking for a driver update for something called "Slim Cleaner." Leo says that XP is a security issue because Microsoft has stopped supporting it. There are no fixes for it, and newer hardware won't work quite right with it because manufacturers don't expect people to use it with such old computers. Leo would not recommend banking on an XP machine. When she bought Slim Cleaner, someone actually took over her computer as well. So now there's no way to know exactly what they may have done. The best case scenario is that they got her money. The worst case scenario is that they got her credit card number, and put something on her computer that will continue to make money on her one way or another.

At this point, Anne should reinstall Windows and start over. The best thing at this point for Anne is to stop using that old computer or disconnect it from the internet. She should do the banking on the Mac that she just got. She should change that bank password immediately. She should keep an eye on her credit card as well. It's too risky to use a Windows XP machine online at this point. If she's online, use the Mac.

Watch Cathy from Santa Ana, CA Comments

Cathy is going to Italy and wonders if Viber will be good for getting free phone calls. Leo says that Viber is like Skype in that it uses the internet to make a phone call. She can also use Facebook Messenger. The issue is that whoever she calls will have to use the same program on the other end, unless she spends money to allow it to make calls to any phone. She'll want to be sure she doesn't use her carrier's data while being out of the country. It'll cost her thousands. She can use Wi-Fi, though.

She should turn off data roaming in her phone and it will never allow her to get on the international data networks. She could buy an international data roaming plan, or even go to prepaidwithdata.wikia.com and see where she can buy a local SIM card. She'll have a local number but she can get her data that way and save a lot.