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Episode 971 April 20, 2013

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Steve from Bakersfield, CA Comments

Steve is visually impaired and his LCD TV, which he's using as a computer monitor, isn't showing the full screen. He has black bars along the sides. Leo says it may be because he's not using the native resolution, and he should make sure that it's set as close as he can get it. He could scale it and make it larger to fill the screen, but that would make it look blurry. He should figure out what the resolution is that the monitor can do and then see if the computer can match it. He can do this in Windows display settings.

Watch Steve from Bakersfield, CA Comments

Steve has been using a text-to-speech program, but the latest version of it doesn't work as well. Leo says that Windows has one built-in, but it only will read what he runs the cursor over. Leo says that the built-in Windows Narrator should be able to select the text and then read the entire thing. He can go into Accessibility options and turn on Narrator. It's quite good, and competitive with other programs out there.

Watch James from British Columbia, Canada Comments

James is traveling to New York and wants to know if he can buy a local sim and have a cell number and data plan. Leo says that getting a GoPhone is probably the best option and go directly to the carrier when he gets to the US. He can't set it up ahead of time. RedPocket and even Walmart are options as well.

Mike in the chatroom says that James can pay $60 for unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data through H20 wireless.

Watch Gabriel from Yorba Linda, CA Comments

Gabriel upgraded his XP system to 4GB of RAM, but now the computer is running slower! Leo says RAM usually either works or doesn't work. The 4GB shouldn't slow it down at all. Leo thinks it's coincidental. He advises trying to run a boot CD and see if it boot sup fast or slow. This will tell Gabe if Windows is corrupted or not. It'll also let him know if the hard drive is to blame.

Leo also says to update the ESCD of the BIOS. Reset it and it'll see the new hardware. He should check the motherboard battery as well. Leo thinks the hard drive is going bad and they're cheap, so he should try replacing that.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Patrick (MechMan) from Montrose, MI Comments

Patrick wants to add a second monitor to his computer. Leo says it's easy to do if the video card supports it. If it just has two ports, one analog and one digital, then it may not support two. A new video card will probably be required, and even a $50 card will support this.

Web956 says that Patrick's card will support two displays. Leo suggests digging into the monitor settings. This link from the chatroom says that it doesn't work too well, though.

Another option is to get a USB monitor. That may be even cheaper than the video card.

Watch Tyler from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Tyler turns on his computer, it runs, but he can't see anything. Leo says the card could have unseated. He could try pushing it back in. He also should replace the video cable. It's likely just a bad cable.

Watch Cindy from Ventura, CA Comments

Cindy just got a new LG 3D HDTV, but the glasses aren't that great. Is there a better brand of glasses? Leo says no. They're not going to be any better because the technology is a passive 3D, which just appears dim. It's just the nature of the 3D beast. Cindy says it doesn't even really look 3D all the time. Leo says that Oakley makes better 3D glasses but Cindy has to know if it's RealD 3D or some other technology. She needs to get the right glasses for the type of 3D that the TV uses. The best ones are made by Gunnars. They're very high quality. She could even take them to the movies, but they aren't cheap.

The chatroom says to make sure the room is darkened, and avoid 3D upgraded content. The movies that are made in 3D are always going to look better than ones that have been converted. Avatar, The Hobbit, and Toy Story 3 are all good examples.

UPDATE: The chatroom says that there's a 3D depth setting in the menu. So if she adjusts that she may have a better 3D experience.

Watch Derek from Lakewood, CA Comments

Derek was on a file sharing site, he downloaded a file, and the next day his computer was unusable. It just would boot up to a random pattern. Leo says that often, malware is distributed via filesharing sites. So it may be malware. Malware would typically lock the user out and then try to extort money to unlock it. This isn't what it's doing, though.

Leo suggests scanning the drive from another computer to see if it detects something. It could be a problem with the video card, or the drivers are corrupted. Rebooting into safe mode could indicate whether or not the drivers are bad. Reinstalling Windows is almost always the best way to remove malware, though.

Try a boot CD and if there's no problems, then he'll know his operating system has an issue. If he has problems on the boot CD, then it's a hardware problem. Then he should replace the video card.

Watch Gary from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Gary can't turn on his computer unless he unplugs it, waits for five minutes, then plugs it back in. Leo says that if Gary is turning it off with the hardware button, the computer may be going into hibernation and there are known problems with a system in hibernation. He should disable that first.

Leo also advises shutting the PC down from the start menu, rather than turning it off with the power button. It also could be a faulty power supply. USB devices may be the issue, according to the chatroom. Try unplugging all USB devices and see if the issue continues. He has three external hard drives, and there may not be enough power for those. A bigger power supply should solve that.

Another issue may be that the PC is looking to bootup from the external drive. He should see what the boot order is in BIOS. While he's there, he should check the BIOS Power off status.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Noe from California Comments

Noe bought a used eMachines computer from a yard sale and it doesn't work. Leo says there's probably a reason why someone sold the computer. He's got $100 into it now, is there anything else he can do? Leo says to cut his loses. Computers are cheaper all the time. In fact, there will be a $200 computer by the end of the year, but as the saying goes, "you get what you pay for".

The processor could be overheating, or it's not properly seated. Leo says he should just consider it a $100 lesson, and spend money to get a new, working computer.

Watch Joan from Simi Valley, CA Comments

Joan likes to watch TV on her Mac, but now she's getting a message about a blocked plugin. Leo says that Apple keeps a list of "unsafe" programs on Joan's Mac and all she needs to do is download and install the new Flash player. Once that's done, Apple will view it as safe again.

Watch Mark from Columbus, OH Comments

Mark wants to know if there will be a 64GB of the Galaxy Note III. Leo says there may not because 64GB phones are expensive and Android has an external card. So the thinking may be that Samsung wants to keep the price down and therefore, only offers the smaller versions. Leo says to get a 64GB external card and keep all of his photos and music there, and let his apps live on the phone itself.