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Episode 1180 April 19, 2015

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Larry from Irvine, CA Comments

Larry is having issues on his property where he gets 3G in some areas, and 4G in others. Leo says he's on the edge of both. Will an antenna or amplifier help? Leo says that a cellphone amplifier could help. The benefit being that it becomes a Wi-Fi access point for up to 5 different devices. He can also set up an ad-hoc network with his laptop wired in. A directional antenna aimed at the cell tower will also be beneficial. He should watch his signal as he aims the antenna, and when the signal improves, he'll know where to have it pointed.

Watch Brad from Sarasota, FL Comments

Brad bought a TCL 55" Roku TV recently. He uses the built-in media player, but wants to know if he can play back MKV files. Leo says that Plex would play it, and he could run Plex through it. But he'd need a computer to run Plex.

Watch Robin from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Robin is getting those emails that seem to be bounced from her own Yahoo email account. Leo says that's likely a "spoofed" return email address, but it's always wise to change the password just in case. She should use a password vault so it can generate long passwords which can't as easily be hacked. But Leo also says there's something fundamentally wrong with Yahoo's email security and Leo advises getting off it. Go with Gmail instead.

Meanwhile, Robin should check out this site - - for some tips.

Yahoo does now have second factor authentication, but frankly, it's not much better than their password security questions. But there's no law that says she has to use correct answers to those password questions. Leo advises using nonsensical replies so they couldn't be guessed by someone.

Watch Mike from Raleigh, NC Comments

Mike called to ask Leo if he should put any money into his five year old MacBook or just upgrade. Leo says that it's high time to upgrade to a new Mac since he's going to want to move forward with Yosemite. If he can afford a new one, that's the best option. The connectors of a laptop can start going out after that time.

He could take it back to the Apple store, but even if it's only $500 to fix it, a new MacBook Air is only another $500 and it would have solid state drives. So why not just bite the bullet and invest in a new MacBook Air? That's what Leo would do. And he can use the new OS with it, which he can't do with a Mac as old as his.

Watch Jessica from Simi Valley, CA Comments

Jessica has been unable to update her six year old Windows machine for the past year. It keeps failing when she tries to run the updates. Leo says this is often caused by one update that is stuck. It's very important that she gets this fixed because her system is vulnerable to attacks without the security updates. Jessica should consult this page at for help resolving the stuck update issue.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jessica from Simi Valley, CA Comments

Jessica is looking to make "the switch" to a Mac Mini from her six year old Windows Machine. She's a photographer. Leo says that the Mac Mini is going to be faster and with the ability to use her current monitor and keyboard, it's going to be an easy switchover. Is it worth getting a Fusion Drive? Leo says to get a solid state drive (SSD). They're faster. And she should get as much RAM as she can afford. Since she's into Photoshop, Jessica should have at least 8GB of RAM.

Does it have parental controls? Leo says it has excellent parental controls! If it works for her, then she can always upgrade to the iMac next year. And she can always reassign her iCloud backup to it.

Watch Tony from Stevensville, MT Comments

Tony has a ton of 8mm video tapes that he wants to digitize. Leo says that 8mm video was a great format back in the day, but it's important to get them digitized now. If he still has the camcorder that he used, and it still works, he can probably connect it to his computer. But if it's iffy, he shouldn't risk it. It may be better to get a Sony Hi-8 deck, and he could probably find one on eBay.

Going to a service is probably a better idea if he doesn't want to spend the time doing it. is a service that Leo has used. He also may want to "triage" his video and decide if he needs all the videos done. And then they'll send him a DVD back with it all on it. The chatroom suggests

If Tony decides he wants to do it himself, Leo says the Grass Valley ADVC converter is a good purchase. But by the time he adds up buying the equipment, taking the time doing it, etc, it's likely more affordable to just have it done.

Watch Dale from San Diego, CA Comments

Dale is buying a Slingbox 500 and he also has the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Can he plug the Fire Stick into the Slingbox and then watch Fire TV on his phone? He uses Codi (formerly XBMC) sideloaded on it. Leo says probably, but it's a lot easier to just use apps that can be installed onto his phone. Since he wants baseball, the MLB At Bat app may work, but he'd have to subscribe to it. Doing it via Codi would be pirated and as such, it wouldn't be wise to do it. Leo recommends the MLB app -- it works great.

Watch Matthew from Ontario, Canada Comments

Matt isn't sure his 2013 MacBook Pro is upgradable to Yosemite. Leo says it is, and all he needs to do is check the Apple App Store.

Watch Matthew from Ontario, Canada Comments

Matthew is wondering if Apple's new Force Touch trackpad will work in virtualization with Windows. Leo says he hasn't tried it yet. Apple's new Force Touch trackpad uses a haptic engine instead of a physical "click." When you press down on the trackpad, it simulates the sensation of clicking the trackpad, and it's indistinguishable from how it feels when you actually click it. You can prove that it's a simulated click by turning the laptop off, and then trying to press the trackpad. Nothing will happen. When you turn it back on, it will have that familiar 'click.'

Leo suspects that the trackpad will click as it usually would, but the Windows programs won't be designed to make use of the new capabilities of the trackpad. For instance, you'd be able to click things just fine, but the pressure sensitive aspect of the new trackpad won't work with anything in Windows.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Tyler from Santa Monica, CA Comments

Tyler is looking for a cheap computer for Netflix and he's heard about the Asus Google Chromebit. Leo says that it's a USB key with an HDMI plug on it. It should be out soon for under $100. But there are also Android sticks from China that can do this now. They're limited and there are very few apps for them, though.

Tyler says he works with audio, and Leo doesn't think one of these computers would work well for him. They also have latency of about 10 milliseconds, which is just enough to interfere with music creation. A Raspberry Pi is coming out with Windows 10 on it for about $35, though. And everyone is going to make one...except Apple. Leo doesn't think they'll buy into that category. Tyler wants to know if he could root them. Leo says sure. It's a great project and low cost so if he bricks it, he won't lose that much.

Watch Steve from Irvine, CA Comments

Steve us trying to automate his house, but everything seems to have to go to a server online. How can he just control everything locally via Wi-Fi? Leo says it's a good idea. You shouldn't have to go through the internet in order to make changes to your home automation. Philips lights would allow him to do it. The Insteon Hub, AMX, and Crestron all would let him automate his home on his own network, according to the chatroom.

Disclaimer: Leo mentioned SmartThings in this segment, which is a sponsor.

Watch Rick from Redondo Beach, CA Comments

Rick is having trouble getting his iCloud Drive to sync. It just keeps searching. Leo says that Apple historically has had issues with its network and with sync, and nobody really knows why. That's a good reason to not only rely on it for backup. That's why Leo has third party solutions like the File Transporter.

Watch Fakhar from Islamabad Comments

Fahkar recently bought a laptop at Best Buy for video editing. He's trying to enhance MP4 files and he doesn't like the Cyberlink Director. Leo says that it's very consumer focused and as such, a bit dumbed down for that kind of stuff. Higher end programs like Adobe Premiere that also offer additional plugins for what Fahkar is trying to do. Premiere Elements may also be able to do it. Another low cost option is Sony Vegas.

Fahkar wants to know about Webroot Security Software, because he just bought it. Leo says return it. He doesn't need it. Microsoft's Windows Defender works great and it's free.

Watch Jerry from Torrance, CA Comments

Jerry is going to Australia and wants to know if he can FaceTime without breaking the bank. Leo says to use only Wi-Fi and disable data roaming. He can use it all over the world so much as he has a good, solid Wi-Fi connection.

Watch Tom from Warren, OH Comments

Tom has a 4K UHD TV a few months back. Leo says that's great. Sadly, there isn't much content to stream in 4K and he really has to have a high bandwidth to get it. But he's also getting ghosting prompting him to reset the TV to get rid of it. Leo says that all LCD TVs have this. He can try and fix it by turning on 60-120-240 hz TruMotion. That will use interpolation to get rid of ghosting and smooth things out. The downside is that it looks hyper realistic.

Watch Richard from Sana Monica, CA Comments

Richard wants to know if there would be a big noticeable difference between a PC monitor that is 1920x1080 and a monitor that is 1366x768. Leo says it is, if Richard's daughter is really accustomed to a 1080p screen, but a 1366x768 monitor is still considered "HD." Leo doesn't like the lower resolution displays because he's used to higher resolutions, but as a student, Richard's daughter should be fine with it. Leo recommends just getting the PC with 1366x768.