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Episode 1365 February 19, 2017

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

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

Greg recently got MacBook Pros at work and he's having issues turning the laptops on and off. Apple took away the classic startup chime, and it takes about 20-30 seconds to figure out if it's actually on. Leo says that there's a terminal command that's supposed to turn the chime back on: NVRAM BA=%01. If that doesn't work, Apple may have disabled that.

Watch Johnny from Pasadena, CA Comments

Johnny's computer runs Windows Vista and he's having trouble logging into Gmail. He gets a "Bad Gateway" error. Leo says that Vista may no longer be supported by Gmail. It could also be that clicking on a link to get to Gmail may just be a bad link.

Leo recommends installing Linux on that old Vista PC with XUbuntu. It'll look just like Windows, but will be more modern. His computer will run faster too.

Watch Cynthia from Burbank, CA Comments

Cynthia wants to control her Amazon Fire Stick with Amazon Alexa, but she can't. Shouldn't it work together? Leo says not necessarily. At least not yet. Alexa is getting smarter all the time, though.

Cynthia can talk to the Fire remote, so she doesn't really need the Echo for that. Since she paid over $180 for it, Leo recommends returning it and get the $50 Echo Dot instead.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jeff from Hollywood, CA Comments

Dave gets a ton of spam in his Hotmail account. How can he prevent that? Leo says to use GMail instead. It has far better spam filters and Gmail will get his Hotmail email. He should just go into the settings and set it up for mail forwarding so that Gmail will be able to do it, and he won't see the spam much anymore.

Watch Mike from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Mike is thinking of putting cable inside his house, but he's not sure what to wire it with. Leo recommends going the extra step and putting conduit in. That way he can rewire the house when the technology advances without yanking out the drywall again. These days, he'll want at least Cat6, maybe 6a for now. He shouldn't go for fiber now, though. It's pretty expensive.

Watch Richard from Sonoma, CA Comments

Richard bought into T-Mobile's At Home VOiP service and now it's been discontinued. He's looking at Ooma now. Leo says that Ooma has a lot of users and they are very happy with it. So it's less likely it's going to go out of business. The downside, though, is that in the event of a natural disaster or power outage, he'll lose his phone because the internet is down. He'll have a cellphone, though. So Ooma is a solid alternative.

Watch Clyde from Torrance, CA Comments

Clyde and his wife both have iPhone 5Cs on AT&T, but they get each other's text messages, and their daughter gets them too. Leo says they share text messages because they all are using the same Apple ID. They'll need to create a separate account for each of them. They won't lose their ability to share apps either, because Apple has Family Sharing.

Clyde is also getting a Blue Screen of Death with a DPC error. Leo says that's usually referring to a problem with the SSD Device driver. It's also due to an old operating system, so upgrading to Windows 10 should fix it.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Roger from Pasadena, CA Comments

Roger is having issues with his SSD. It's slowing down and takes a long time to access his data. Leo says the drive is only a year old and the computer a few years old, but there can be a drive failure, even in new SSDs. It's time to replace it. He could try running an OS from a USB key and see what happens. If he doesn't have a similar issue, that clearly shows the hard drive has a problem.

Image by Hans Haase (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Watch Stan from Irvine, CA Comments

Stan is having problems opening XLS files due to an error message from the "Trust Center." It'll open the file, but he can't write back to it or save it to his hard drive. Leo says that is Microsoft's security center for excel spreadsheets because it's possible for bad actors to embed commands into an Excel file. There is a workaround for this. Stan can enable all content in the Excel Trust Center settings. But that can be risky if he's unsure of the content in the file he's opening. If he's sure about it, then he'll be OK. has instructions on how to enable all content.

Watch Joe from Orange County, CA Comments

Joe is having issues with terrible Wi-Fi downstairs. Leo says that there are two ways to improve Wi-Fi:

1) Improve reception by setting a secondary Wi-Fi access point that can extend the signal by amplifying it. He'll want to buy the extender from the same company that made the base station.
2) Get what's called a Mesh Network, which creates a secondary connection to another router. There are a few to choose from: Google WiFi, Eero, Netgear Orbi, and Ubiquity AmpliFi HD. These are a bit more expensive, though.

He also may need to buy a new DOCSIS III cable modem to do it, and this would have the secondary advantage of getting rid of his modem rental fee. Leo recommends Arris or Motorola Surfboard.

(Disclaimer: Eero is a sponsor)

Watch Alan from Santa Rosa, CA Comments

Alan wants a Chromebook, but he doesn't want to save his banking data in the web. What can he do? Alan can store locally if he has network attached storage, but then he'll have to make sure he can sync properly. The Cloud is safe, especially with the Chromebook. Google does a very good job with security. It's a lot safer than a Windows machine. And Alan should remember, his ISP sees everything and saves everything anyway.

Watch Dave from Hawaii Comments

Dave has an old school iPod that he loves to use every day. Leo says that what killed the iPod is music streaming. It's the HBO model and everyone likes having access to more music, even on a monthly basis. It's really a commodity now. It's not so much a work of art anymore -- it's a service. But Dave can't access the service with an old school iPod. He'd need an iPod Touch for that, or use his mobile phone.

SanDisk still makes MP3 players, and since Apple has eliminated copy protection, it's an easy process to move them over. But if Dave's old music has copy protection, then Leo recommends signing up for iTunes Match ($25), which will replace all of his copy protected music with unprotected 256 bit AAC files. Then he can use them anywhere.

There's also the Pono Player or the FiiO.