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Episode 1478 April 8, 2018

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Veronica from Aptos, CA Comments

Veronica wants to know if keeping her phone in Airplane Mode will expose her to less radiation. Leo says yes, it would. Can she also use Wi-Fi calling? Leo says it's better, but there's no evidence that it will or won't be harmful. The radiation would come from the cell phone radio, not the Wi-Fi. Using headphones instead of putting her phone up to her ear is also better.

There are a lot more studies that need to be done. It's been over ten years since we started using smartphones and there's really no statistical indication that they're causing cancer. Learn more about the findings from the National Toxicology Program here.

Watch Melanie from Irvine, CA Comments

Melanie finally managed to get her Gmail fixed. After the computer tech removed malware from her computer, her webcam doesn't work. Leo says that there's a lot of people out there that know a lot about computers and considering how bad tech support has gotten, they can be valuable help. But sometimes they can break more than they can fix, and this is one example of that. Leo suspects that while the tech was cleaning out the malware, the malware attached itself to a file and it was then removed. Or, he wiped out Melanie's browser plugins. It's hard to tell.

Melanie should check the Windows camera app and see if the webcam works. If it does, then there's an issue with the Zoom webcam software. If Windows doesn't see the camera, even in the device manager, then that means the drivers were removed. Normally, when restarting the computer, Windows will see the missing drivers and reinstall them. Leo recommends going to the HP site to download all the drivers for her model, then reinstall them. Sometimes that fixes the issue. She can also scan for hardware changes within the Device Manager.

The worst case scenario is that she backs up her data and reinstalls Windows. She should press the Windows Key and type "Recovery". She should choose to keep her files and let it go. If that doesn't work, then she should remove everything and reinstall.

Watch Peter from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Peter was locked out of his Gmail account and it was a chore to get it back. But now he wants to back up his Gmail account so if it happens again, he doesn't lose anything. Leo says that for the Mac, there's a program called Horcrux which continually backs up Gmail. It works in the background and creates a database of email. For Windows, there's Gmail Backup. Backupify is another one.This is why Leo uses a paid service like Fast Mail. It offers real support and privacy.

Are Chromebooks safe for public Wi-Fi use? Leo says it's as safe as any other computer on a public network, but it is safe because he can Powerwash it if any problems arise. But it won't prevent anything from being "snarfed" from out of the air. If he's using an encrypted connection, he's safe.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Julie from Santa Clarita, CA Comments

Julie wants to get an Echo, but her husband is worried about privacy and eavesdropping. Are they safe? Leo says it's about as safe as a smartphone. Anything that has a microphone that's connected or broadcasts with a radio can be listened to quite easily. Alexa is always listening, that's true, but it's only listening for the wake word "Alexa," and then whatever follows that for up to 2 minutes. It won't widen the scope until the magic word is uttered. Then it sends the request to the home office for an answer. Can it incidentally record? Leo says it will only do that when it thinks it hears the trigger word. It's largely safe and secure.

Could the government hack it? Well, the Patriot Act does give them the power to do so, but there are legal protections which require a warrant. If she's worried about the government, there may be a bigger issue to worry about.

Watch Todd from Iowa Comments

Todd bought an Eero mesh router and he wants to know if he should enable IPv6. Leo says he did. IPv6 gives more space for more websites, and is a much better system. Instead of a "dotted quad" of numbers, it has eight sections of numbers separated by colons, offering so many possibilities that everyone could have their own internet address. The problem is, routers have to be upgraded, and ISPs don't want to spend the money. So we're stuck with IPv4 for now. But IPv6 will speed things up if he enables it.

(Disclaimer: Eero is a sponsor)

Watch Terry from Bozeman, MT Comments

Terry's computer has gotten old enough that it can't be updated anymore. How can she set up a new computer so that it won't get spam? Leo says that free email is prone to spam, but each has varying degrees of spam filters. Gmail has really good spam filters, for instance. Leo recommends Gmail and she can have it go get her Outlook mail, then filter out the spam. She can also keep the mail on the webmail server, so it never stays on her computer.

Terry's old Kindle also doesn't connect to the net anymore. What can she do? Leo says that Amazon used to use WhisperNet, which was 3G, so they may have disconnected it. She can go into the Kindle settings and set it up to use her own Wi-Fi instead.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

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

Adam bought an iMac from a private seller. It still had Apple Care and he had it transferred to his name. He's worried that there was a keylogger on it and his credit card was compromised. Leo says that unless he wiped the computer himself, he won't know if it's compromised or not. Leo says that it's probably not the Mac, but just in case, Adam should wipe the drive himself. It's really easy to wipe an iMac drive and reinstall the OS. It could be that Adam's iCloud account has been compromised. Adam will also want to be sure the Mac has been removed from Find My Mac and that the iCloud account of the previous owner has removed it. Then he can wipe the drive and reinstall the OS.

There's probably a skimmer at a place where Adam shops and he's not even aware that it's capturing his card. has an article about how to spot and avoid them.

Watch David from Arvin, CA Comments

David got an email advertising a computer ideal for seniors. Leo says that FirstStreet for Boomers and Beyond sounds like a WOW computer and Leo has played with it and kind of likes it. It runs Linux, so it's very secure. It has a browser, email program, and video chat. But Leo has a problem with the price. It's about $1,000 and it may require a subscription to their service. It's also the only one company that supports it. Leo says that using a Chromebase desktop is a better option, and it's half the price. The downside is that he'd need an internet connection to use it.

Watch Dan from Washington Comments

Dan wants to get a VHS to DVD player. Leo says that analog VHS is really low in resolution. It's only standard definition at 480 lines, and it's interlaced. We're now at 10 times that. But on an LCD screen, they are dimmer and scan progressively. The DVD side is 480p. It's a little brighter and the LCD screen tries to upscale the resolution. It improves it, but there's only so much he can do. It's really just old technology and it's time to move on. The reality is that VHS and DVD are both going away as most people are preferring streaming media now.