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Episode 1088 June 1, 2014

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Doug from Seattle, WA Comments

Doug has an old Mini CD video camera. He says it takes good pictures. His Sony point and shoot isn't as "snappy" as it used to be, and he wonders if the sensor may have degraded over time. Leo says that CCDs can degrade, but CMOS chips don't usually.

What does Leo think of third party ink cartridges? Leo says that he doesn't have a problem with remanufactured cartridges, but some printers replace the printer head when you replace the ink. So third parties don't usually replace that. Some printers won't take third party cartridges at all because they have chips in them that the printer is programmed to look for.

Doug also has a laptop that he always keep plugged in. Is that safe for the battery? Leo says absolutely. In fact, it's the best thing for it. Every Lithium Ion pack has a finite number of cycles, usually around 500, after which it likely will stop charging. So to keep it plugged in preserves the discharge cycles he has left. But if he's going to store it for awhile, it's best to store it at half capacity.

Watch John from Silver Springs, FL Comments

John would like to connect his computer to an HDTV and he's not really interested in 4K. What's the best TV? Leo says that there's not much content for 4K and even if there was, computers can't take advantage of it. A 1080p HDTV with HDMI will work just fine. And for gaming, a 60hz set will be sufficient.

How's Valve's Steam? Leo says he uses it all the time for PC gaming and it works great. It saves games cross platform, manages the games, and games can be purchased through it. Valve also is building the Steam Machine to compete with the XBOX One and PS4. But there's issues of cost and game selection. So it's not ready for prime time just yet. Valve's long term health is questionable, too.

Watch Don from Mojave, CA Comments

John just stopped using his iPhone in favor of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. He wants to know if he can jailbreak his iPhone to be used as an iPod. Leo says sure. What about rooting the Note 2? Leo says he'll have to be careful rooting his Android phone. It's very specific to the model. John should check out his specific model at He can enter his device under "Find Device on Forum" and it'll take him to all the posts for that particular model. The root posts are "stickied."

Watch Mark from Malta Comments

Mark is thinking about getting Bose speakers. Leo says they sound just fine for the average users, but they do clip the highs and lows. There are better speakers out there for the money, including the Andrew Jones' Pioneer surround sound system. Other choices include Polk, Denon, and Onkyo which has a nice home theater in a box.

Watch Michael from Ireland Comments

Michael wants to get a Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Windows 8 laptop, but he doesn't really need a touchscreen. Leo says to get it anyway. It doesn't cost him any more and it's what Windows 8 is really designed for.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Frannie from Gloster, NJ Comments

Frannie learned to build computers from Leo and Patrick several years ago. But now, she's a bit lost with all this mobile phone stuff. She picked up a Samsung Galaxy 4, while her husband got an iPhone 5S. He hates the 5S and she loves the Galaxy 4. Leo says that aside from the junkware, it's a nice phone. But what she wants to know is, how does she back it up? Leo says that there's a default setting that lets Google backup apps and settings. When she signs into Google, it starts backing up automatically.

She also wants to know if her husband can sell the iPhone and get a Moto X. Leo says that's a good idea, but he'll have to pay full price for it. Another option is the HTC One. It has a nice camera, and metal case.

Watch Sondra from Bellflower, CA Comments

Sondra just bought a new computer at Best Buy, she's thinking of getting DSL Extreme. Is it good? To figure out what would be best for Sondra, she should understand the differences between DSL and cable internet.

DSL will be more consistent than cable because the cable bandwidth is shared by the neighborhood it's in. The more people use it, the slower the service becomes. DSL has an overall slower speed by contrast, but that speed will be more consistent. If she's too far from the DSL central office, the max speed decreases. If she had FIOS available to her, it's a better service, but she won't want them to cut the copper line when they install it.

Sondra also wants to know what's the best browser. Leo prefers Google Chrome over Internet Explorer. Chrome is far more secure. Especially when using Flash.

(Disclaimer: DSL Extreme is a sponsor)

Watch Patrick from Burlington, MA Comments

Patrick's computer fell off the desk onto the floor. Now it makes a loud sound when he boots it up. Leo says to turn it off right away. He should make sure he eliminates static electricity and then open it up the case and inspect the fans. Chances are, one of those fans was dislodged and it's getting in the way of the fan blade of the computer. That could short circuit the PC.

Patrick should make sure all the fans are spinning without hitting anything, and check that everything is seated properly. Leo says he can turn it on before closing up the case to see where the sound may be coming from. If it's still there, Patrick will see where it is so he can power down and fix again. But if it's not obvious, then Leo advises bringing it in to someone to fix.

Watch Burt from St. Paul, MN Comments

Burt wants to know if drones are the future of technology, and should he get trained for it? Leo says that the military is the best place to be trained as a drone pilot. In the commercial sector, most of the drones are automated.

If he wants to learn, the DJI Phantom 2 is a fantastic Quadcopter that is remote controlled and GPS aided. It's very stable, and great for aerial shots. That's going to be a huge growth industry as soon as the FAA passes rules for commercial use.

Watch Sandra from Bellflower, CA Comments

Sandra wanted to know if Leo recommended using Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer. Leo says he doesn't really like Internet Explorer, and uses Chrome instead. If she's using Internet Explorer, she should make sure to have version 11 or later to stay secure. Leo prefers Google Chrome because it has Flash built in, it sandboxes each tab, and is generally a more secure browser.

Watch Sandra from Bellflower, CA Comments

Sandra's Epson Expression printer has "squiggly lines" when she prints. Leo says that means the printer head needs to be replaced and frankly, it's cheaper to just buy a new printer. But if it's brand new, then she should take it back. She can try cleaning the heads with the software utility first, as well as the alignment routine. But if she's done all that, then Leo recommends taking it back.

Watch Michael from Long Beach, CA Comments

Michael tried burning CDs, but he can't see the track names that he gives it when he tries loading that CD on a different computer. Leo says that's because the CDs don't include that information. It should be remembered in iTunes, but the physical media itself wouldn't have that data. It's normal and not part of the spec. If he sees it, that's because the device has identified it and downloaded the listings from the internet. Leo recommends uninstalling all burning software, iTunes, and Quicktime. Then he should install Quicktime first, then iTunes. That should clean up iTunes.

Watch Lee from Burbank, CA Comments

Lee has a Blue Life View mobile phone. The phone has dual sims, which is primarily used overseas when crossing international borders.

Leo doesn't like that it uses Android 4.2, which is a bit dated. Also, since it's an international phone, he'll want to check that the frequencies from his carrier are supported. It won't support LTE, which means he won't get the fastest data. But it's not bad for the money. Leo recommends getting the Motorola Moto G, which has the same specs for half the price. It isn't dual sim, but unless he's traveling overseas, it's more than enough.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

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

Gary put Windows 7 on an old XP machine. Leo says it was designed to upgrade from XP, so that should be just fine. He tried to alter the partition and now he doesn't have access to his photos. Leo says ideally, Gary should've backed up the photos first to an external drive. But once he repartitioned the hard drive, all the data was erased. There are two kinds of portioning: destructive and non-destructive. It sounds like Gary used the Windows partition utility which is destructive, and the photos have been erased. That's why backing up is so crucial.

However, all is not lost. The data may still be there. And an expert might be able to get them back. It won't be cheap, but it will be worth it. Piriform has a utility called Recuva. That could possibly retrieve them.

Watch Bill from Portsmith, VA Comments

Bill got the Motorola Moto-X, and he wants to know if he can use his good Sennheiser headphones with it. Leo says it should work. The headphones he's using will have three black rings on the tip, and it should work when plugged into the headphone jack of the Moto X. If the mic doesn't work, then that means it can't support the inline mic of the headphones.

Leo uses the Etymotics HF3, which are very high end. But there's lower end models that work great too.

He may also want to look for an adapter plug. Lifehacker has an article on How to Turn Your Favorite Headphones into a Headset, which includes a Belkin $10 mic adapter.

PadreSJ says the Headset Buddy does it all. It's $15.95 on Amazon.

Watch Benny from La Mesa, CA Comments

Benny gets a call every week from India telling him that he has a virus. Leo says that Benny is too smart to fall for that. And the irony is, Benny doesn't even have a computer! Leo says that it's a phone scam and they are often run by tech support people who are moonlighting. It's a good thing that Benny didn't have a computer, because a lot of people fall for this.

Watch Mike from Denver, CO Comments

Mike has an old Mac that he dual boots with Windows XP. He wants to upgrade to Windows 7. Leo says to get the upgrade and it'll install on top of it. Use the Windows 7 upgrade install disc to wipe the partition, and then install it. Mike is wondering whether it will preserve his data, though. Leo says no. He should make sure he backs up his data first.

Watch Mike from Denver, CO Comments

Mike has an old HP printer and he wants to use the wireless printing option. It works great wired, but he has issues printing through Wi-Fi. It says his printer isn't connected. How can he get the computer to recognize the printer?

Leo says that he'll have to go into the printer settings and tell it what the Wi-Fi access point is. He should remove the USB connection and have it rediscover the printer. Uninstall everything first and then press "plus" in the Printer section of OS X's settings, and he should be able to add it.

Watch Karen from Diamond Bar, CA Comments

Karen's new computer only has one port that she can connect and record from. How can she record and hear at the same time? Leo says to use a USB Mic. It'll do both, and it's digital. Far better than the minijack port for the microphone. Karen can use Audacity and it'll record directly from the source.

Watch Ed from Crosshill, TN Comments

Ed uses iTunes Match, has 40GB of music, and his laptop's hard drive has broken. He got a new 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display, and wants to download that music back to his SSD drive. Leo says that because Ed is an iTunes Match subscriber and has it all uploaded, he can download them.

Apple says he has to download them one song at a time, though. Leo says nonsense! Go into iTunes and look for the little clouds in his library. Most, if not all, will have a little cloud icon next to it. He should be able to select all, then download one song and they'll all download. What's great is that the song's he's downloaded will have no copy protection and will be 256kb AAC files (except for really low KB songs).

Watch Win from Madison, WI Comments

Win bought a refurbished computer from Lenovo and it doesn't come with recovery discs. Leo says that he'll have to make them. But Lenovo says that he can't do that and that he has to buy them directly from Lenovo. Leo says that's odd. It's because Microsoft pushes hardware manufacturers to sell PCs without discs because they're afraid of piracy. If he Googles "create Lenovo recovery disc," and if he has ThinkVantage, he should be able to do this.

Here's a tech note from Lenovo on how to create recovery media using ThinkVantage Rescue and Recovery.