Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Pat from Billings, MT Comments

Pat is saying she's tired of contracts and the high monthly rates, so she switched to Straight Talk by Walmart. Leo says that MNVOs like Straight Talk are basically a 'rented line' from carriers like Verizon. They do funny things like throttling, charging for overages, etc.

Unlimited with Straight Talk isn't really unlimited, but if that doesn't cause any problems for the user then it's a good deal. They don't have the latest phones either. So sometimes Pat may get end up with last year's model of smartphone. There's really no need to keep up with the absolute latest though. If Pat likes it and the price is right, then it's a good choice.

Watch Bob from Manhattan Beach, CA Comments

Bob wants to know if Laplink is still around. He wants to move his Windows settings and programs from one computer to another. Leo says he has a hunch that Laplink isn't around anymore, but Microsoft has a connection and transfer utility called the "EZ Transfer Wizard" that does the job rather nicely.

Leo says that in general, when getting a new computer, he should go with the most recent OS. Some of his old programs may not work under Windows 8, though.

Leo recommends moving only his data over to the new computer, and Bob should be backing up just the data anyway. A 32GB USB key should be sufficient for that.

If he wants to securely delete files from the old hard drive, Leo recommends Microsoft's SDelete. It'll not only permanently delete it, it'll hunt copies down in virtual memory. It's available for free from Microsoft.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Brendon from California Comments

Brendon is a high school student who wants to build his own augmented reality device that works with the Occulus Rift for the National Science Fair. Virtual reality has been around for 20 years, but has only hit the mark lately thanks to micro computers. Brendon wants to create a system that will walk people through repairs step by step. Leo thinks that's a fantastic idea. Brendon is feeling over his head, though.

Leo says that doing this is non-trivial. Google Goggles does something similar and it isn't easy. Certainly not something he can do on his own. He recommends getting a student license from Google, through DNN Research. They may have published some of that data.

The chatroom recommends going to the Occulus Rift SubReddit for help.

Check out Brenden's project at BrendenGeary.com.

Watch Aaron from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Aaron's wedding photographer lost half his wedding photos. Leo says job one of a wedding photographer is to never lose the pictures. Aaron does have HD quality video of the wedding, and is wondering if he could get stills from that. Leo says yes he can, but he shouldn't get his hopes up that the quality of the images will match the actual photos. He can take a snapshot as he watches it if the video is on his computer. Leo recommends VideoLan VLC Media Player. Quicktime player would work as well.

This is a prime example of why a good backup strategy is crucial. Leo recommends the "3 2 1" backup strategy that can be found at DPbestflow.org. This is geared toward photographers but is good backup advice for everyone.

Watch Randy from Richmond, VA Comments

Randy listens to TWiT podcasts with his Droid connected to his car dock, but his Samsung Galaxy S4 will not pass audio from the phone to the computer without bluetooth. Leo says that's odd that they've taken those features out. He suspects it's because of Bluetooth that they've taken it out via the USB port. An audio jack plugged into the dock could work, but he'll have an extra wire running.

It sounds like it's just a choice that Samsung and Google made. Randy went back to the Samsung Galaxy S3 to make it work and Leo says that's probably the best option if he wants to keep the phone hard wired. Stick with what works until he finds a modern phone that will do this.

The chatroom points to this article on how to enable USB audio on any Android 4 smartphone or tablet. Doctor Mom uses the same setup and says it's a device driver issue.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Neil from California Comments

Neil just got a new Sony Experia Z Android phone. Leo says he's heard it's a great phone with a great camera, but wonders about the interface. Neil says it's great. Leo says it should be in the top tier of phones for Android.

Another exciting Android phone is the Oppo Find Five. 5" screen, 1080p video and a 13MP camera. Very similar to the Experia. It's $500 for 16GB in white, $569 for 32 GB in black.

Watch Bruce from Hisperia, CA Comments

Bruce built his own Windows 8 rig recently. Leo says SSD drives would be great because Bruce doesn't have to wait for the drive to hunt and search for files. Bruce installed a RAM drive, something that Leo hasn't seen in awhile. RAM drives will always be fastest because it uses RAM to run the directory. Sounds like a machine that's as fast as he can get except that a RAM drive does have to push out the files and save them to the drive before shutting down. Bruce can always up the speed later with a GPU driven video card. Unless he's gaming or video editing, he could probably get around that.

Bruce hasn't been able to get his Logitech webcam to work. Leo says drivers could be an issue. Bruce says he has installed the drivers and they just don't work. Are there Blu-ray player apps that he can use for his twin players? Leo says that Blu-ray is a bag of hurt because of digital rights management. HDCP support has to be across all devices. If something is not HDCP compliant, it won't work at all. Leo also doesn't recommend building a computer anymore because there's no support team and no parts provider to take responsibility when something goes wrong.

Bruce can visit PCper.com to look at parts for his computer.

Watch Kristy from Irvine, CA Comments

Kristy is in the market for a new laptop. Does she need an i7 or will an i5 do? Leo says that an i7 has more cache and has hyperthreading, but that's really only beneficial for video editing or gaming. Average daily use doesn't really need all that, so an i5 will do just fine.

In fact, she can take that extra money and get a nice external LCD screen that will allow her to improve productivity. She should spend money in areas that will benefit her most. If she's going to get a laptop, as Kristy is, she should get a fourth-generation Haswell chip. It'll double her battery life. She won't find those at a big box store though.

She should also go for a Solid State Drive. It's much faster, but smaller too at 256GB for instance. 8GB of RAM is a good idea too. If it's Windows 8, she should look for a computer with a touch screen.

Watch Jason from Arkansas Comments

Jason's friends and family turn to him for all their computer problems, but he had to install Windows 8 onto his new computer and he "broke it" by taking off all the bloatware. He used the Windows File Transfer Wizard and now it just reboots to the sign in screen, and then a blank screen.

Leo says that using Windows Recovery Mode is a great way to fix that. Likely the transfer wizard messed with the drivers or system files. It's better to just copy over the data and leave the rest alone. The good news though, is just a simple recovery is very easy and it's built into Windows 8. He should also make sure to install the update to Windows 8.1 when it comes out in a couple of months.