Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Sue from California Comments

Sue wants to start a website at geekyoldbroad.com. She already has the domain name, and now she can connect it to anything she wants. Wordpress.com is an easy-to-use site where she can set up a site for a low monthly cost. Another site that will do this is SquareSpace.com. She can just go in, pick a template that works for her needs, and start publishing content. Wordpress has a free tier with ads. These are the easiest ways to do it. Godaddy and similar sites have "site builder" tools, but they aren't as polished as Wordpress or SquareSpace would be.

She could also look into a solution from Google itself, which is Blogger. This would be good if Sue wants to incorporate her Google Photos. It's free, but she will have to have ads on it. The designs aren't as slick, but it may be easier for her to get started with.

(Disclaimer: Wordpress is a sponsor).

Watch Michelle from Northridge, CA Comments

Leo says that all traditional spinning hard drives are basically the same. They're basically like record players, but instead of vinyl, they use spinning metal plates. Those plates are magnetic, so they can be magnetized. They also have read heads, at least one per platter, which are like the needle on the record player. Except instead of reading the grooves in vinyl, they're reading the magnetic signals coming off the spinning platter. Because it's a computer, everything is recorded as 1's or 0's, and it's very easy with magnetic material to have a charge or no charge. Those platters spin very fast. On spinning drives, the slowest ones are 5400 rpm, and the fastest are 10,000 rpm. The heads move very quickly using an actuator. The problem with this setup is that there are a lot of moving parts that can be damaged, and the spinning and moving of the heads take time. Even at the fastest RPMs, the head has to wait for the platter to come around to read each sector of data. That time it takes is called "seek time."

Solid state drives don't have any moving parts. Instead, they have little cells that can be electrically charged. It's almost identical to the way SD cards work that are used in cameras. They are more reliable, and there's no seek time because it seeks at the speed of light. It can find data anywhere inside that solid state drives instantly. This reduces the amount of time to get the data. This makes SSDs a better choice because of the speed and reliability. Nowadays, most computers come with SSDs. The overall speed of the computer is measured in a lot of ways. The processor may be very fast, but the bottleneck then could be the spinning hard drive.

Watch Michelle from Northridge, CA Comments

Michelle has been using USB to back up the photos on her Mac, but the new Macs have Thunderbolt now. Will she be able to still back up her photos? Leo says those new Thunderbolt ports can take USB using an adapter. So this isn't an issue. Leo says that thumb drives are notoriously unreliable, though. She might want to invest in an external hard drive instead. It's good that Michelle has three copies of her photos, but it's important that she gets one off-site. Leo suggests she take one of the copies to work. She can rotate which drive she has off-site every week, so she keeps them up to date.

Image by Haotian0905 on Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Watch Mike from Woodland Hills, CA Comments

Mike has written an ebook and he wants to know if he should copy protect it. He's going to be giving it away for students to see if they like it. The LA Sparks want him to copy protect it. Leo says he's not a fan of DRM because it simply doesn't work. He needs to figure out a way for a limited amount of students to be able to access his book as part of a 'beta test.' Leo says he'll need to have an authentication server to verify it. Lock Lizard is one option that uses an open source DRM scheme.

Leo ultimately isn't a fan of copy protection, and recommends urging the Sparks to not copy protect it at all. Calibre is a good ebook conversion program that can format it to ePub for easy downloading for Kindle.

Check out Guy Kawasaki's APE book. It's about self publishing.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

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

Paul is looking for a good alarm system for his home. Leo says that the easiest way is to go to an alarm company like Bay Alarm. He'll need a phone line for it, and they charge a monthly fee for monitoring. Leo says that all of them are about the same, though. He can do it himself with SimpliSafe. He'd install his own sensors and cameras, and it monitors for a more affordable rate.

Another option is to get cameras, alarms and motion sensors like Ring, which would allow him to view his home from his phone. Nest is another that would allow him to do that. It uses facial recognition and if it sees someone it doesn't know, it could alert him. They also offer an off-site DVR option for $10 a month.

Ring doesn't use up his bandwidth unless something is happening. So that's a good option. Doctor Mom says that the Amazon Echo and Smart Hubs will talk to both Nest and Ring.

(Disclaimer: Ring is a sponsor)

Watch Lott from Ft. Lauderdale, FL Comments

Lot has a TIVO Series 3 and he did a a required update, but now it won't work when rescanning. So he's in a constant reboot loop. Leo says he can try going back to factory settings, but if that doesn't work, then the update is incompatible with that TIVO and it's more or less bricked his device. Leo would advise contacting TIVO and demanding they fix it or replace it.

If he wants to move on, then Leo advises Channel Master. They make an over the air DVR that would also work with streaming. Silicon Dust makes the HDHomeRun, but Leo says that works with his computer.

Watch Burke from Richmond, VA Comments

Burke has a Canon ZR65 miniDV camcorder, so it's old. He can connect it to FireWire, but when his old computer died, he lost the ability to connect because FireWire isn't used anymore. Leo says that's because there's much faster options now with USB 3. He can get a FireWire to USB 3 converter. Monoprice will probably have one.

The chatroom says that StarTech has a card that would add FireWire to his computer directly.

Watch Burke from Richmond, VA Comments

Burke wants to know if he can create enhanced images in Google Photos like HDR? Leo says he can do some basic enhancements through Google Photos, but for real HDR, he'll be better off using Photomatix. It's not cheap, though, at $100. There's probably some cheaper ones out there. He should check out Topaz Studio and StuckinCustoms.com for other recommendations.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Laura from San Pedro, CA Comments

Laura has Real Time Traffic with Sirius XM and it doesn't work very well. Leo says he gave up on that. The best solution is the phone, not the car. It takes forever for a car maker to update the software in the car. Her phone gets updated all the time, though.

For the best app for traffic, road hazards, and more, Laura should consider Google's Waze. It's crowd sourced and it's far better. It has turn by turn directions, and will reroute when a new route comes available that's faster. That's what Leo uses. She could even install Leo's voice for directions.

Watch Sheila from Ontario, CA Comments

Sheila's TV died right after her warranty went out. They wanted several hundred dollars just to diagnose it. She can't even have a local place do it because they've gone out of business due to not getting any parts. Leo says the trend is now to make it albeit impossible to repair products, and there's a Right to Repair movement in many states to make repairability the law. But the sad fact is, in most cases a TV just isn't repairable or worth the money to fix. She'll be better off just getting a new one. However, Sheila's Samsung may be subject to recall. So she should fight for them to do the right thing and fix it. Samsung was sued by a class action lawsuit due to defects in 2012.

She also wants to do a tune up of her Mac. Leo says to only take it to Apple. She can do it herself by backing up her data, then formatting the hard drive and reinstalling the OS. That'll make it just like it does the first day she had it.

Watch Jason from Lexington, KY Comments

Jason wants to know if there's a projector that's Bluetooth compatible with his smartphone and if they're good quality. Leo says that they've gotten pretty good. The real issue is going to be the brightness. He'll also want a flat screen or a good white wall. There's even paint he can get to paint his wall with that is reflective for a brighter image.

LG makes a good Pico projector that also has a TV tuner in it. It's called the LG Minibeam. It's the editor's choice by PC magazine. Philips, Magnasonic, and HP all make them as well. There's even an Android cellphone with a projector built in. It's called the S Pro Smart Projector. But Leo says the LG MiniBeam is the one he'll want. It's the brightest he can get.

Watch Brian from Poway, CA Comments

Brian wants to know if he should get a mobile phone or a dedicated GPS. Leo says that the benefit of using a smartphone is that he'll get a map with his GPS bearing. He can also cache the maps locally onto the phone and not use data when he's out of reach of WiFi.

The chatroom says a dedicated handheld GPS is more accurate for geocaching. That may be, but he'll get more information with the mobile device. Can he use a tablet? Leo says he could, but they may not have GPS built in. He'd want an LTE data radio built in on a tablet. A mobile device with a large screen is probably better.