Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Leo says the problem with new routers is that the software has all sorts of security issues. Since this is the first thing on the network, it's important that it be a secure line of defense.
DD-WRT and Tomato are more secure firmware alternatives to what comes on the router by default. These are both open source, very well written, and are kept up to date. So it is a good idea to replace the router's firmware with DD-WRT, if his router supports it.
Andrew wants to know why OpenDNS is disabled on his network. Leo says it may be that his Mac is set up to do its own DNS. He'll have to go into the internet settings on the Mac and take out any DNS entries that are there. Then he should lock those settings with an administrator password so his kids won't be able to just change the DNS to something else. He should remember that as his kids get smarter, they're going to figure a way around it. So the best thing is to talk to his kids about making good choices.
Trent works in the IT department at a local school, and they are currently running a Microsoft Exchange Server. They're thinking of moving over to Google Apps. What does Leo think?
Thomas wants to host a Minecraft server for his friends. Is port forwarding secure? Port forwarding is where you tell the router to send traffic coming in from a specific port to a certain machine. This limits a little bit of the potential damage from opening up a server to the outside world, but it will ultimately depend on that Minecraft server to be secure. It's important that Thomas keeps his Minecraft server secure and up to date. If someone can figure out how to get around his network via the server, he could infect his network.
Earl bought an HP Windows Home Server and now that it's not supported by Microsoft anymore, he wants to know if he can convert it to a media server. Leo says sure! Just because Microsoft doesn't support Windows Home server doesn't mean it won't work anymore. It's fairly straight forward to set up. The real challenge will be digitizing everything. Once it's all digitized, it can be stored and made available by all computers on Earl's network. Paul Thurrott of winsupersite.com was a huge fan of Windows Home Server.
Lily has a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. She loves the huge screen but says that there's a huge learning curve to it. Leo says that's likely because of all the pointless stuff that Samsung has loaded it up with. S-Voice is an example of that. Leo prefers Google's voice control. She can disable it in the Android's "Language and Input" settings. Choose "US English" as the default language. Lily could even root the phone or just tap the microphone button in the search bar and speak into that.
The city of San Francisco is making another attempt at providing city-wide Wi-Fi, starting with Market St. San Francisco had teamed up with Earthlink and Google nearly 10 years ago to build a city-wide Wi-Fi network, but Earthlink backed out of it in 2007. The most recent deal is with Ruckus Wireless. The network will be free, won't have ads, and won't even require users to sign in.
Paul wants to know if he should get IT certifications or go to a local junior college. Leo says that Paul could spend thousands at a private school getting IT certificates. Community colleges are very affordable. So that's where Leo would suggest going.
Certifications don't equal skills, however. The best way to get IT skills are on the job training or learning from real IT guys. But to get the first IT job, it's often necessary to get the certs. It's very valuable for job hunting.
Mike is using an HDFlow wireless HDMI connection. Leo says that is pretty bleeding edge and wireless is pretty tough with HDMI. Hardwire is much better for carrying that much digital data.