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Episode 1448 December 16, 2017

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Mike from Tinley Park, IL Comments

Mike got an iPhone X on T-Mobile from the Apple Store. He took it to T-Mobile to activate it, but found out that T-Mobile won't insure it. Leo says that's because Mike bought it from Apple, not T-Mobile. So Apple Care applies. Leo tends to self-insure because extended warranties are profit centers for the seller. But the iPhone X is very expensive to repair or replace. So he does make an exception with Apple Care, but he'll want to get Apple Care Plus. If he breaks it once, it's probably going to pay for itself.

Watch Tom from Madison, WI Comments

Tom wants to know if the CUJO Smart Firewall is a good idea. Leo says that he already has a firewall with his wireless router. That handles about 80% of all bad traffic. Also using OpenDNS can filter out even more. Then he could have a software firewall to handle the rest. Everything that CUJO does, he can do with other services that cost less or free. Mesh Routers also offer the exact same protections.

So rather than getting a separate device and paying $200 for it, he should get a router that has it all built-in.

Watch Jay from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Jay has an Amazon Echo Dot and the Logitech Harmony system, and sometimes the Echo simply doesn't do anything. Leo says it can do that if it doesn't understand the command. Leo suggests turning on the "ding" feature that will signal that it understands him. He can also use the Amazon Echo app on his phone and look at what the Echo is doing. Then he can see if and why it didn't understand him.

Watch Scott from Arlington, TX Comments

Scott is expecting his hard drive to fail soon, so he's been backing up his data. He has over 12,000 photos, and he knows that some of them are duplicates. Leo says that de-duplication is tricky because he has to preserve the originals while getting rid of the extras. If he's not careful, he could get rid of an original due to a false positive. So Scott will want an app that not only looks at the file name and size but actually deep dives into the data inside it.

Leo recommends Mind Gems Fast Duplicate File Finder. It not only looks inside the file, but it also has a close match feature. But just to be safe, before he de-dupes, he should backup everything at least once.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Carlton from Ontario, BC CAN Comments

Carlton is looking for a loud portable speaker he can pick up in Canada. Leo says that the WireCutter is the best place to find a top recommendation and they say the Peachtree Audio Deepblue 2 Home Speaker is the best one. Audio Engine makes a good one as well.

Watch Ron from California Comments

Ron has noticed that some of his programs autostart when he boots up. How can he stop that? Leo says he doesn't like apps running in the background. There is a way to stop it, though. There's a power tool from Microsoft called Autoruns that will enables him to turn that stuff off. It's a part of their SysInternals Suite.

Watch Jim from Bend, OR Comments

Jim wants to be able to run his favorite Android apps on Windows. How can he do that? Leo says that the best option is a program called Bluestacks. He should also check out Android on ARM.

Image: Google Inc. [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Watch Matthew from Chino, CA Comments

Matthew's Pioneer Elite TV has finally died. He was all set to buy one of the new UHD TVs, and then he ran into someone who told him about OLED. Leo says that OLED is UHD as well. Matthew currently has a Plasma, but all the companies have stopped making those. Leo says the best technology these days is OLED, though, anyway. They do have some issues, but in general, OLED is capable of blacker blacks and whiter whites, a better dynamic range. More than 4K and the higher resolutions, the thing that you're really getting from these new TVs is High Dynamic Range. HDR makes more of a difference than anything. Leo has the LG B6, but they're up to the B7 now. The B series panels are the same display panels as the higher end LG TVs, just without the extra bells and whistles like 3D.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch David from California Comments

David is seeing "banding" when he's watching his HDTV. What is that? Leo says that banding usually indicates compression and comes from the source material. If he wants to test it, he should hook up his TV to a Blu-Ray player and play a Blu-ray DVD. He won't see any banding because there's no compression there. But when he watches on satellite or streaming Netflix, he'll see it because the signal is compressed.

Should he buy a Samsung or LG OLED? Leo says that Samsung doesn't make an OLED. They make QLED which isn't OLED at all. It's a backlit LED LCD with "quantum dots," and while it looks better than LCD, it's not OLED and it's very easy to mistake them. Leo says to also look at Sony's OLED.

Would the LG Super UHD be as good? Leo says it won't be as good as OLED, but it will still be a very good TV. If David wants the LG B6, he can get a great price on it right now because it's last year's model. It's also got the same screen as the higher end models. If OLED is out of his budget, Samsung and Sony make great LED LCDs.

Watch Scott from Hisperia, CA Comments

Scott owns a Windows Phone, but he's tired of people making fun of them and Microsoft has killed it. So he's ready for a new phone. Should he go with Android or Apple? He doesn't trust Google, but he'd prefer an SD card option. Leo says the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the ideal phone for Scott. It takes an SD card, has a large screen, and has a stylus. If he doesn't want the stylus, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is very close in size. He should understand, however, that Android is made by Google.

What about he LG V30? Leo says it's a superb phone, but it has an OLED screen that could be subpar compared to the Samsung. He may not tell the difference though. It also is a great phone.

Watch George from Palmdale, CA Comments

George gets an error message in Microsoft Word that it's not responding as he's typing. After a while it wakes up and catches up. Leo says that the keyboard has a buffer and it will catch up as the buffer dumps out. But it won't catch everything. And George has Windows 10 with Office, so there's something going on in the background that's slowing George down. Windows could be background indexing. He should check the task manager. There may also be plugins from the browser that's slowing things down.

Leo thinks George's hard drive may be at fault here. A sector on the disk may be hard to read and the OS is taking the time to do that. Sometimes it gives up or it gets the data it wants. So the hard drive may be starting to go bad. George should check out Process Explorer from Microsoft SysInternals. Also, if he happens to have SpinRite in his quiver, it could make the hard drive healthier. It's not a cheap program to buy, though.

A new hard drive could fix the problem.

Watch Rich from Scranton, PA Comments

Rich is having trouble entering his password on his cellphone screen due to his Parkinson's disease. Leo says that there are plenty of accessibility options including the swiping keyboard. It would let him draw a line from key to key. It may be easier to do that than tapping the keyboard. Leo recommends using the Google Keyboard, GBoard.

Another option is voice dictation. Or he could use a PIN, a 4 digit number, so he could use the keypad and not the keyboard. Leo also recommends using a password manager like LastPass. That will help enter passwords automatically, and he'll just need to remember his LastPass password.