Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch John from Encinitas, CA Comments

John keeps getting mixed signals that his Windows 10 computer isn't updated with the 1803 update. One place says he is, but another log says he isn't. What can he trust? Leo says that 1803 was a so-called "feature update," and the green checkmark means that he's up to date with the important security updates, not the features that were added. Some users have experienced problems with the 1803 update, and Windows will roll back to the previous update, minus the security fixes. So John shouldn't be in too huge of a hurry to update. His Windows machine is secure, and that's what the green checkmark is about. He should just wait. Windows will keep trying until the 1803 update is ready and can be installed.

Watch Heidi from Santa Monica, CA Comments

Heidi is worried about the Russian VPN Filter hack. She bought a Netgear router to replace it. Is she safe? Leo says that some Netgear models aren't protected, but if she installs the latest firmware, she should be OK, and NetGear does update routers automatically.

Watch GJ from Snohomish, WA Comments

Leo says the Echo powered Fire TV Cube is cool because all he'd have to do is tell it to watch the show he wants, and it turns on the TV, switches to the right input, and starts the show. Then when he leaves, he can just say "TV off" and everything will turn off, which is nice. GJ noticed it talks about an ARC port with HDMI. Leo says it would like to get CEC and the Audio Return Channel, but it's not required.

GJ also noticed that YouTube Red changed to YouTube Premium. Leo says it's still the same thing, where he would pay a fee for no ads and access to Google's music offering.

Watch Andrew from Nome, AK Comments

Andrew wants to be able to control several monitors separately by remote, but with regular IR remotes, everything he does will affect all of the TVs. Leo says ideally he'd like to be able to do this in software without the remote. Leo says it would be nice if those monitors had a serial port for control. There are remote apps that use Wi-Fi with a phone. Openhab has some documentation for controlling TVs using a serial protocol. He'll have to check those monitors to see if they have a service port, or some sort of port that allows serial control. If it does, then he's golden. He might have the same issue, however, if he can't identify and talk to each TV uniquely.

TwistedMister in the chat room suggests checking out SimpleControl.com.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Adam from Ontario, CA Comments

Adam wants to know if he can control a mobile device from his computer. Leo says that Remote PC does not work in the opposite direction, unless the phone is physically connected. You could control another laptop from a laptop, or Desktop. But not a phone. So in the case of your phone being stolen, you have to get your carrier or phone manufacturer involved to brick it or wipe is remotely.

Watch Brian from Indio, CA Comments

Brian wants a good doorbell camera. Leo says that Nest Hello has facial recognition, but Ring has a cool feature called Neighborhood Watch, so he could share videos with neighbors. The Nest Hello Video Doorbell is the really cool, though. But remember, they're all going to be charging for storing video in the cloud.

(Disclaimer: Ring is a sponsor)

Watch Jim from Tallahassee, FL Comments

Jim is blind and wants to know if there's a mobile phone that offers replaceable batteries when it dies. Leo says no, those days are gone. But the good news is that external battery packs are the thing now and they can charge several times before he'd have to recharge them. Leo likes the Anker PowerCore 5000 for about $20.

Jim also wants a good weather app that offers consistent results. Leo says that there will always be a lag in updating, and there's different reporting stations in different locations. The bottom line is that while weather reporting is a science, it's not going to be perfect. The Netatmo is a weather station at home, which reports to the internet. It's $150. The app will then aggregate all weather data and he'll know what the weather is in his neighborhood vs. somewhere else.

Watch David from Sacramento, CA Comments

David wants to be able to copy TV programs from his DVR satellite, but he can't do it. Leo says that DirecTV and Dish all have proprietary copy protection to prevent it, due to piracy. But Linux boxes will see the hard drives on the DVRs. It's worth a try.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Rachel from Springfield, IL Comments

Rachel is blind and needs help with the TWIT chatroom. It's not very accessible. Leo says that TWiT has a chat moderator who can work with the blind to set up their screen readers so that she can keep track of the conversation. It uses IRC and she'll need a fully accessible IRC client to do it. TWiT's moderators can help with that.

Image By Capaccio [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Watch Sarah from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Sarah is traveling overseas and wants an international cell phone plan. Leo says that it depends on where she is going and for how long. A smartphone is very valuable for traveling overseas. Sarah will be in the Middle East, Israel, Syria, as well as some countries in Europe. She should check out prepaidwithData.wikia.com. She can unlock her phone and get a local SIM that will work in each country. The downside is, she'll have a different phone number. Sarah also uses Verizon, and Leo says that is one of the least capable internationally, but the good news is that Verizon phones come unlocked by law. Since Sarah has an iPhone, then her phone is a world phone and she can put a T-Mobile SIM card in it and get free 2G/EDGE data overseas. She should turn off international data roaming, though.

Lastly, there's the MiFi device. It's a Wi-Fi device that uses International LTE/4G as it's cellular connection, and she can join it via Wi-Fi. Leo recommends the SkyRoam Solis. Sarah can also connect up to five devices, so she can share the rental fee with her friends. She can look for them at the airport.

Watch Sandy from Lomita, CA Comments

Sandy wants to watch video from her laptop on her TV. Leo says that most laptops have an HDMI port and she can connect it directly. She says it won't work at home, but it will at work. Leo says the Apple AirPort is Wi-Fi, so she can connect wirelessly through the AirPort and then direct it to her TV via DNLA, if her TV supports Wi-Fi. She can connect via Wi-Fi and then set up her Sony TV to connect to the Wi-Fi as well. Once both devices are connected by the AirPort, she'll be able to do it. The last thing she can do, and the easiest, is to use an Apple TV. Then she can connect wirelessly directly to the TV from her phone.

Watch Matt from Rochester, MN Comments

Matt is building a new house and has run cat 5 ethernet around the house. But should he also use a mesh router? Leo says he uses Eero at home, but here is one mesh system that's great specifically for Matt's situation: Plume. Plume sells tiny little access points that plug into the wall with an ethernet port. It's still part of a larger mesh network, but it creates very localized access from the ethernet.

What about outside? Leo says that there's a larger Tri-Band Satellite now that will go outside and connect to the mesh.

(Disclaimer: Eero is a sponsor)