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Episode 1538 November 4, 2018

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jim from Las Vegas, NV Comments

Jim is blind and has been using a few products from MaxiAids to help use his computer. One is called the Talking Label Wand that reads a specially formatted label and tells the user what it is.

Watch Dale from Stockton, CA Comments

Dale bought a Windows 10 DVD upgrade disc because he couldn't download it. Leo says he should be able to download it by pressing the Windows Key + "Update and Security." Then he can enter the new Windows 10 Pro product key, press "next", and it should download for him.

Watch Drug King Fred from California Comments

Fred called last week about helping out people who are blind or have low vision, and he got so many emails from people, he's decided to start a blog to continue his help. His email is (he's a retired pharmacist). Leo says a blog is a great idea because it will be a valuable resource that people will find searching on Google.

Watch Al from Roseburg, OR Comments

Al has an old receiver and he wants to connect his TV to it. He bought one, but he's not getting sound from the TV. If he connects it to the Blu-ray player, though, it works just fine. Leo says that he'll need to go into the LG menu setup and disable the onboard speakers in favor of external speaker output. Another possibility is the DAC may not understand the TV signal because it's encoded, while the BluRay Player is using unencoded PCM audio. Al should figure out what audio the Blu-Ray is sending out and see if he can duplicate that setting on the DAC. The only way to really test it all is to get another device. Leo says since Al bought the DAC on eBay, it could just be a junky, bad design.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Steven from Fort Wayne, IN Comments

Steven's sister has a 2011 MacBook Pro with a failing hard drive. She hasn't backed it up either, and there's a lot of pictures that they want to save before the hard drive goes belly up. Leo says it's good news that the computer can still see the drive and it can be mounted. The drive may be a little "messed up" and it can't read or record the data reliably. Unfortunately, in the Mac world, there aren't many good disc utilities. Disc Warrior and Tech Tool Pro have been around for quite awhile. And the more people mess with it, the less likely it will be to recover.

Leo recommends trying to image the drive and then work off the image. Hopefully, they can get all the data off that way. Another option is to take the drive out of the Mac altogether, and then connect it up to a Windows PC, where they might have better luck. Recuva could also work.

They can plug it into the PC directly using a NewerTech Adapter and then using SpinRite to fix the drive. It's not cheap at $90, but it will repair any data on damaged sectors, and move them to healthy ones. Leo also recommends changing to an SSD.

Watch Ron from Westminster, CA Comments

Ron bought a Western Digital Passport USB hard drive and he's having issues with it. Ron can see it in the device manager, but he can't access it on the computer. Leo says that a USB connected drive only means the computer can see the device. Doesn't mean it can read it. Drives do die, and sometimes they die sooner rather than later. That's why Leo recommend SSD drives for the main drive and a spinning drive for data. It sounds like his drive has simply died.

Watch Bob from Hershey, PA Comments

Bob wants to know what he can do with an older MacBook Pro that can no longer be updated. Leo says he could possibly use Linux on it, but only a few installs will work with Mac hardware. Kubuntu and Xubuntu are examples. He could also continue to run it as is and just use it as something else, like a file server, or he could donate it.

Watch Tyler from Oklahoma City, OK Comments

Tyler has a 20-year-old computer and he needs to get some data off the hard drive. He's having trouble finding a port to connect his video monitor to. He doesn't have VGA. Leo says he'll have to have a VGA port because that was the standard back then. If there's no VGA, then it could be a server. But he may be able to find an old video card to plug into it.

Leo recommends just getting a hard drive enclosure for it. He'll need an IDE model. Then he can connect it via USB to his current computer. That's far easier than trying to connect everything to it to see what's on it.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Barry from Torrance, CA Comments

Barry's Bluetooth connection in his Infinity keeps dropping his iPhones when he's listening to Amazon music. Leo says that Bluetooth is really finicky, but it's all we've got. It shouldn't happen, but chances are, the problem is on Infinity's end and not Apple's. It could also be an issue with Amazon Music. He should try using iTunes and see if the problem is repeated. He should also check his app settings that could change the behavior. Maybe the app thinks he's getting a call and it's "ducking" the audio.

Watch Garett from Chico, CA Comments

Leo says yes, all Android phones can do this. He just needs to get a USB cable, either USB Type A or Type C depending on what his computer has. A Windows PC should be able to mount the phone as a drive, but he may need to get software for it if he's on Mac. He can look for "Android File Transfer Manager" which is a free program that allows the Mac to see the Android device.

Once he has it connected, he'll be presented a choice between MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) or PTP (Photo Transfer Protocol). Either one would work for him. Media would let him browse the folders on the Pixel and find the Movies folder to copy files over. PTP would make the phone appear as a camera to the PC. Then whatever happens when a camera is connected would happen with his Pixel phone. This would be the original quality of the video. But since he bought a Pixel, Google offers unlimited full quality pictures on Google Photos. So it may not be better quality to connect via USB cable.

Watch John from Fallbrook, CA Comments

Leo says whenever he's on communal Wi-Fi, as he will be on the cruise, a hotel, or a coffee shop, everyone's on the same network. Nowadays, places like these are getting better about making it more secure, and it isn't as risky as it used to be. But there is a potential risk that someone else on that network could snoop on him. Whenever he's using email, shopping on Amazon, or banking, all of that traffic is already encrypted. Leo thinks using a VPN on cruise ship Wi-Fi would probably slow his connection down to a point where he wouldn't be able to stream content online.

Watch Bianca from Wisconsin Comments

Bianca is thinking about getting a mesh router because her Wi-Fi is slow and unreliable. Leo says that a mesh router will definitely do the job, and they're better than a Wi-Fi extender because the extender is only half as fast. But mesh routers aren't cheap. Mesh routers also have a great quality of service with bandwidth shaping, and also parental blocking features. NetGear's Orbi is good, as is the Eero.

If Bianca's on a budget, the TP-Link Deco or the Velop are good options. Here's a great list by the Wirecutter.

(Disclaimer: Eero is a sponsor)

Watch Mike from Colorado Springs, CO Comments

Mike has a CD player with a tray that's jammed up. Leo says it's likely a titled CD that's blocked it and it's jammed. It may also be a torn table that has unglued itself and is gumming up the works. There may be a tiny hole that he can use a paperclip to free up the mechanism. Outside of that, he'll have to take it apart.

Image by Andrey Korzun [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Watch John from Vernon, FL Comments

John is a web developer and his compiling software isn't working as he needs it to. Leo says that there are different toolsets for different projects. He should check out HomeBrew. It manages to compile really well. Digital Ocean is great as well, because he can have five different tools at once. And it's cheap too.

(Disclaimer: Digital Ocean is a sponsor)