Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jonathan from Scottsdale, AZ Comments

Jonathan's phone has been reporting inaccurate location information. It's always connected to the data network. Leo says that the data network often defaults to the data center which can change. Leo says to try a different app to see if it's an app centric issue or a phone issue. He should go to Google Maps. It will tell him where he is at all times and he can see where the GPS is reading in its history. It could be a failing GPS chip, or sometimes the location information being transmitted from the network.

Watch Ron from Baltimore, MD Comments

Ron has the Tiny Hardware Firewall, which he likes. Once he's connected to the VPN inside of it, what does the firewall do, though? Leo says that the firewall is the first level of protection. It acts as a router and is the attack surface, not the computer. A router is a dumb device that doesn't know what the attack is and ignores it, unless there's a security flaw inside the system. Like a router at home, the Tiny Hardware Firewall gives a little extra protection, though.

Watch Dave from Concord, CA Comments

Tony wants to know how to check to be sure the ISO of open source software is legit. Leo says that an ISO is found to be legit by signing. A hash has to be generated in order to provide proof of a legitimate ISO. If the ISO has changed, then the hash would be modified. There's also a signing key, which is based on GPG encryption. It has to be authenticated by the developers of the software.

The bottom line is that computing is a matter of trust and Leo recommends using open source tools for MD5 verification. If he's downloading from legitimate sources, he can trust that they are verified from experienced users. Could it still be hacked even from legitimate sources? Leo says sure, but it's usually only for a very short time. Some sites can be bit, but it usually is discovered and fixed shortly. At the end of the day, computing, like life, is about trust.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Brett from Woodbridge, NJ Comments

Brett has a Dell computer and wants to know if there's an open source program that can speed up his computer like Dell does with Click to Fix? Leo says that Dell doesn't share their secrets and Leo doesn't think that it's safe to use a third party open source option for this. Dell's Click to Fix knows its own hardware and as such, can do a targeted fix. Open source stuff can't do that and can be overly aggressive and cause more problems than it fixes.

Leo does say that Piriform's CCleaner, though, is pretty good. It usually deletes cache and temp files, and even deletes unused keys in the registry. Brett would want to back it up though, just in case. He also should be sure he downloads open source programs from the original maker, and not an aggregator or third party, because the software can be spoofed and actually be malware.

Ultimately, though, if he's been bit by malware, the only way to be sure to get rid of it is to backup his data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows.

Watch David from White Hall, WI Comments

David stopped using Windows awhile back and has been using Fedora Linux. Leo says it's fantastic, and has been around for a long time. Debian is another great option.

Watch Chad from Cedar Rapids, IA Comments

Chad has installed Cloud Ready Chrome on his old laptop to create his own Chromebook. Leo says he's tried to install it on a Mac and it hasn't worked. If he can do it on a PC laptop, then it's a great choice. Leo loves the idea, and for a lot of people, it's far better than Windows.

Chad wants to know how he can make his laptop more lightweight. He's already put in an SSD. Leo says that's a huge start, but a great deal of the weight is in the battery. Given the design of the laptop, there's not much he can do about that either.

Watch Chris from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Chris is building a house and wants to get into home automation. Should he go with something wired or wireless, and what about the security of it? Leo says that we are still at the very beginning of home automation. There are a lot of systems and no standard has really been established. Most modern home automation systems are wireless, now. Everyone uses their home Wi-Fi networks to operate them. To future proof it, Leo would advise putting conduit into the walls as a kind of tunnel so he can put in fiber or some other wires should he decide to. He should also avoid making a massive investment into a single platform until this all shakes out.

Security is another big issue with home automation and Internet of Things devices. Most of these devices haven't been built with much security in mind, and as a result there have been hacks and breaches.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

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

Jim's Lenovo laptop gets a notification that his lithium ion battery is 70% depleted. Leo says that there's a lot of mythology and garbage about LiOn batteries. But what we do know is that a standard battery has a cycle life of about 500 recharge cycles. They've discovered why and are working on designs to make sure batteries never wear out. But that isn't in the current state of the art. You can do things to make sure you get the most out of your battery by 1) never completely depleting your battery and when you do store them, store them half charged.

Watch Alan from Louisville, KY Comments

Alan has a problem where Windows 10 doesn't see his Plantronics usb headset. Saying the driver is corrupted. Leo says that there probably isn't a dedicated Plantronics driver for it, instead relying on the standard Windows USB audio driver. But it seems unlikely that the USB audio driver is corrupted. But it is Microsoft, so it may just be a matter of reinstalling the drivers. Leo also says that booting into Linux and testing it was a brilliant troubleshooting idea. The other idea is that it could just be a Windows 10 incompatibility. Check with Plantronics for any tech notes on that and a possible workaround. You can remove the driver, reboot and Windows will reinstall it though.

Watch Russ from Benton Harbor, MI Comments

Russ wants to know what VR system should he buy. Leo has both the RIFT and the VIBE, but he's also played with the Sony Playstation VR and he thinks that may be the winner. But it won't be out until this fall. Right now, though, Leo says that the HTC Vive has the edge because it has handheld controllers along with it. The Rift requires the XBox controller at the moment. Another advantage the Vive has is that it has two cameras that you can put in each corner with a 10 foot radius and move around. The Rift is more limited in movement. The Vive has also teamed up with Steam for gaming, but the Rift may have better games right now.

One thing to keep in mind,m however, is that you can get nauseous with all of them. One tip on that is to put a cold wash rag on the back of your neck. Apparently, that combats it.

If you can wait, then hang on for the Playstation VR. It will also allow you to use the Playstation Move paddles. But if you have to choose now, go with the HTC Vive.

Watch David from Long Beach, CA Comments

David's landlady has wifi but she doesn't want to improve the signal so he can get a better connection. Leo says you can get a WiFi antenna to improve your signal,but if you can convince your landlady to put the access point in a better location, that would be the ticket. Check out for tips on which directional antenna to buy to get a better signal. You could also offer to buy her a newer 802.11 AC router. Leo likes the Asus C3200. It goes a long way.

Watch Bob from Las Vegas, NV Comments

Bob has a pair of headphones that he loves and and older receiver. He would like to convert them to bluetooth. Leo says it can be done with a bluetooth transceiver. They come out of China and aren't very expensive. Rocketfish makes one. OroTech. You can easily get one for under $100 or even $50. You'll want one that plugs into the optical audio out to keep it digital for the least signal degradation. You'll also want the A2DP standard.

Watch Jose from Modesto, CA Comments

Jose has updated to Windows 10, will he have to pay for the update after one year? Leo says no, the free upgrade was only a window of one year to upgrade. After July 29th, you'll have to buy it if you don't upgrade. So upgrade, activate. And then downgrade just so you have access to it in the future, because once you've updated, it's free forever. And Leo thinks that Windows 10 will just keep getting updated and this could be the last version of Windows coming.

But Jose has installed Windows 10 and it still hasn't activated after a month. Leo says it should activate almost immediately if you have a legit previous copy of Windows. So if it's not activating, then you need to contact Microsoft before it locks you out.

Watch Betty from Madison, WI Comments

Betty can't log into the internet with her Mac. It says there are no plugins to do so. Leo says to check your router connection to see if your WiFi router is turned on. You can do that in the Apple's Network system preferences. If you can't see your access point, you're not connected to it. If it's connected, then look if the internet connection is available. If the WiFi router isn't working properly, it'll be connected, but it won't go anywhere. It'll just be a local address starting with 168. Try resetting your router. If that's OK, then there's something wrong with your Mac and it may be time to go see a genius.