Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Michael from Orange, CA Comments

Michael is looking for a new phone but he really doesn't know if he can trust the reviews. Leo says that the mobile phone is a personal choice, and it's hard to give a blanket review of what phone is best. It largely comes down to what he's looking for. Leo says he hasn't really tried many of the phones Michael is looking at because they are the basic, low cost phones, not the flagship phones. But since Michael doesn't need or want to spend much, and he just wants a basic phone that does a bit of internet access, there are plenty out there.

Leo recommends Googling phones and looking at the results. Anandtech does great, in-depth reviews. He'll see plenty of user reviews online too. But everyone has agendas, so he has to read reviews with a critical eye. Amazon has a large wireless section and the user reviews are more useful than the magazine reviews.

Watch Russ from Clairmont, CA Comments

Russ is trying to sell a bunch of things in eBay and it's a rather clunky process. Third party solutions aren't really helping either. Is there an app that he can use to batch sell items on eBay? Leo says that there are services that can just do it for him for a price, and that is often the easiest way to solve it. The chatroom says InkFrog is one solution. There's a list of killer eBay apps here - http://www.techradar.com/us/news/internet/web/10-killer-apps-for-ebay-buyers-and-sellers-528505

Russ could try the eBay app. eBay also offers users the ability to create selling templates that may help here - http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/creating-products-templates.html

Watch George from Santa Monica, CA Comments

George got a Samsung Galaxy phone and he's having issues with coverage in his area. Verizon sent him a FemToCell to create a cell site through the Internet, but he's still getting dropped calls. He went back to his flip phone and it works just fine. Leo says that pinpoints the problem -- it's the antenna on the Galaxy phone. He can get an antenna system, but the FemToCell is the best possible solution because it turns his cellphone into a VOiP phone.

Another option would be to change his wireless carrier. He'll need to check the coverage maps to see what carriers are stronger in his area. And the carriers will take a phone back if it doesn't work after a few days or weeks. Leo says that Verizon has gone down hill a bit, while T-Mobile is great. AT&T is pretty good as well.

OpenSignal compares coverage maps and shows dead zones here - http://opensignal.com/network-coverage-maps/

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Dana from Redondo Beach, CA Comments

Dana says that the best carrier in Santa Monica depends on who you're calling and where you're calling from. Different phones work better in different areas because of algorithms. Some carriers are going to be better in certain zones than others. But she says that T-Mobile is the best out there based on her experience as a phone company executive.

Watch Dana from Redondo Beach, CA Comments

Dana is looking at getting the Blackberry Classic smartphone on T-Mobile, and she wants a new laptop with Windows 7. She's looking at an HP with an Intel Core i7. Are those choices good? Leo says those are good, sure. He's not really a huge HP fan, preferring Dell, Asus, and even Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 instead. The Surface has a great screen, but the keyboard isn't all that great. But it is nice that it can convert from a laptop to tablet.

Leo used to recommend Lenovo much more, but after the recent Superfish scandal, he has been a little cautious about recommending it. But Leo says the Lenovo Thinkpad is still a great computer.

Watch Marty from San Juan Capistrano, CA Comments

Marty is conflicted over whether to scan to the TIFF file format or not. What's the best setting to do scans of images and documents? Leo says that there are two basic categories of image format: Lossless (every bit of data) or Lossy (compressed). TIFF is ideal as a lossless format, as are Bitmaps and PNGs (but compressed). JPEGs and GIFs are compressed or lossy. If he wants to future proof his scans, then lossless TIFF is still the king. Bitmap and PNG will also be around for awhile, though. Image formats will be supported for a long time.

What resolution should Marty scan in? Leo says to scan as high as he can without overscanning. 600 dpi is sufficient.

As a rule, TIFF should be used for print, PNG for Web, and Adobe DNG for digital photos.

Watch Marti from San Juan Capistrano, CA Comments

Marti has an old mobile phone from 2010 and is looking to get a new phone, but she wants to be able to get her text messages backed up. How can she do that? Leo says Marti's biggest problem is the age of her phone. There are apps that could possibly do it, like BitPim, but they're buggy. She could forward the texts to herself, or email them to herself.

She could also check to see if she can save texts to her SIM card. If she has that, she could save a few at a time and then move them over. But without a USB connector, Marti's stuck with forwarding her texts and paying for it.

Watch Art from Santa Ana, CA Comments

Art upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and he can't select a smaller image to send via text or email anymore. Leo says that he always sets images to the highest resolution, bandwidth be darned. But if he's texting them, he doesn't want to send gigantic images anyway. Art should look into his camera settings to see what the lowest image setting is. Better yet, try another camera app. There's plenty of them out there, like the Google camera, which he can probably get a lower resolution setting in.

How can he compensate against backlight? Leo says cameras have auto exposure settings which are based on an average light level. Pros use fill flashes to prevent the subject from being silhouetted against a bright backlight. So Art should turn on the flash manually and try that. There's also again, third party camera apps that allow him to adjust the shutter speed and exposure settings. Ideally though, Art should just turn his subject around to where the light is hitting their face, not the camera.

The chatroom says that the S5 has auto features like low light detection which may be automatically causing this. He should try going full manual. Check out Camera FV-5 Lite, which has manual features and exposure compensation.

Watch Jim from Sacramento, CA Comments

Jim has heard that physical media is dead and everything is going to the cloud. How does that affect a 3-2-1 backup strategy? Leo says that while it's right that data is moving to the cloud, it can be slow to get back. Having local backups in addition to a cloud backup is a good idea. So he should have an online hard drive, a near line hard drive backup, and then his off site cloud backup. Leo still recommends having a hard drive backup that he can get to.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Brian from San Clemente, CA Comments

Brian has a home theater setup with a home theater PC and he's worried that Windows has abandoned the Home Theater PC concept, including Windows Media Center. Leo says that it has been a long time coming since Microsoft has killed Windows home server in favor of Windows 8. Now killing Windows Media Center is just part of that. Microsoft doesn't want to be in the media center business, they want customers to get an XBox One.

What are his options? Leo says there's plenty of third party options including Kodi (XBMC) and Plex. They're still out there and work just fine. There are also Linux versions. Leo says Plex is the best.

That chatroom suggests Media Portal, an open source media center.

Watch Zachary from Phelan, CA Comments

Zachary wants to get started writing code and he doesn't know how to get started. Leo says that it's a great skill to have growing up since everything is heading that way. Even if he doesn't become a professional programmer, it's really useful and fun from a hobby perspective. Leo still writes code. Leo says the best way to start isn't learning a language he can get a job with because chances are, it won't be in use in five years. Languages are very "fad-ish."

Leo says there's great apps like Tynker for iPad that can teach him how to program in a fun way. On the desktop, there's Scratch. It'll not only teach him how to code, but code with good habits. It's very popular in middle school and high school.

CodeAcademy.com has free online courses, but they tend to teach more stylish languages like Javascript. He should talk to his school to see if they teach programming as part of their math curriculum. He should also check out Bootstrapworld.org, where they teach how to use coding with Algebra.

Watch Jeff from Fullerton, CA Comments

Jeff is worried that using a cell phone is dangerous because of electromagnetic radiation. Leo says that there's no evidence at all that one could get brain cancer from a cell phone.The theory is sensible because electromagnetic radition can damage human cells, but it's in proportion to power output and cell phones are just too low power to do that. People don't really use smart phones as actual phones anymore, anyway. They use them as handheld computers.

Watch Mike from Glendale, CA Comments

Mike has a Kindle app on his Mac, but it won't open. Leo says to just delete it and install a new one. In his app folder, there will be a file called "Kindle." He can just drag it to the trash. Then he can download and install it again. He may also drag the icon off the dock to get rid of that as well.

Watch Jerae from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Jerae's son is going away to college and his major is computer science. She wants to get him a computer. But he's on Windows, not Mac. Leo says that in college computer science, most use Macs because the heart of OS X is BSD Unix. So getting a Mac is definitely the way to go for computer science. But there's no reason to not get a Windows machine. Leo likes the new Dell XPS 13. It's thin, light, and has excellent battery life.

She should get him some external speakers so that it can be his entertainment center as well. Leo advises calling the college and talking to them about their recommendations. They may even have a discount through the college book store. Also, if he's a gamer, then a Windows machine is the way to go. And chances are, he'll be putting Linux on it anyway. Then again, the Mac can run Windows as well.

Watch Vinae from Rancho Cuca Monga, CA Comments

Vinae has a ton of cameras and wants to know the best place to sell them online. Leo says that B&H photo is a good option, as is eBay and Craigslist. Point and shoots won't be worth a lot, but DSLR film cameras are popular again. The chatroom recommends Samy's Camera.