Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Larry from San Francisco, CA Comments

Larry is having an issue where the computer he built is suddenly freezing up and not letting it reboot. So he's gotten into the habit of using a bootable backup. But now he can't get the computer to boot back up. Leo says that most problems like this can be solved by just reinstalling Windows from scratch and starting over. But if it's freezing during the boot, then it could be a host of things, including cabling. One key is to wait for the "beeps," or Power On Self Test (POST). If it beeps, that indicates an issue.  Also, pull out your dedicated video card and try rebooting. The video card could be bad. The power supply may have also gone bad.

The chatroom suggests going into the setup at the beginning of boot and clear the BIOS. If you can't even get to that, it's likely the motherboard. 

Leo also suggests trying to boot up with Linux on a thumb drive. If you do that and it boots up, you know that software is the issue. If not, then it's almost certainly a hardware issue. 

Watch Jeff from High Point, NC Comments

Jeff recently bought a Lenovo X1  laptop with a 2 TB M.2 SSD drive. But after he installed the drive, he now needs to install all the programs and data from his old SSD to the new one. But he can't do an image because the laptop uses the Pro edition of Windows, while his old laptop uses the home edition. How can he install the programs from a backup? Leo says that while possible, you don't want to do that. Windows installs aren't monolithic. It places files everywhere, especially with programs. Leo says the better way is to reinstall the app from scratch. But if you don't have a physical copy of the program, most companies will allow you to install it from a download with your serial number. And if you don't have the serial number, you can request they send it to you.

But you can check out Revo uninstaller. It's supposed to be one of the better installers for moving programs over. But it's dicey at best. A better idea is to use your programs as a subscription, like Microsoft Office. Then you can have multiple PCs with permission. 

Is Acronis good? Leo says it's a good reliable company, and it's worth trying. 

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jacob from Montreal, Canada Comments

Jacob runs Windows 10 and uses a 2TB USB external drive for backup. He can either do an image that restores file by file or the entire drive. But it doesn't work to restore with all hard drives. What gives? Leo says that there are some drives that combine two drives into one. But they are fewer and farther between now, as 2TB drives are more readily available. Plus, operating systems are now 64 bit, so it's easier to keep track of larger file sizes. In reality, it shouldn't matter. Windows should just read them. Formatting is key, so make sure to use NTFS and MBR as a boot format.  Some may be improperly formatted with an older format like FAT32.

Watch Gary from Buffalo, NY Comments

Gary bought the Wink Smart Home Hub, and recently it went offline. Leo says that's because the company ran out of money and converted to a monthly subscription for $5. But according to the website, there is a known issue that they are making a fix for. They say it'll work locally, as long as you don't unplug it.

There is an open-source option called HOOBs that works with most environments, including Google Assistant and Amazon Echo. There's also OpenHab home automation software. You can even build your own server with a cheap Raspberry Pi, and you'll never have to worry about paying a monthly subscription.

Check out Stacy Higgenbothem's page. She's got her finger on the pulse of home automation.

Watch Mike from Alhambra, CA Comments

Mike is blind and wants to know what computers he can use that will speak to him. Leo says all of them have accessibility features, but most use screen readers to read what's on the computer screen. The programs aren't cheap, however. JAWS is the best known.

But there are open source options like ORCA. If you're fluent in braille, a braille screen reader reads your screen and displays them on a refreshable terminal with dots that go up and down.

Leo recommends contacting your local chapter of the Foundation for the Blind or Lighthouse. Even the Braille Institute. They'll be able to help you out. And one of the listeners, Julian, offers help to listeners as well. Check out TechJV.com here.

And for those who are making websites that those who are blind can read, check out this list of accessibility tools.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Kent from Huntington Beach, CA Comments

Kent has upgraded his home theater system, and he's noticed that all the streaming services aren't streaming in 5.1 surround sound. Leo says that SLING will stream in 5.1 when available, but that's the real trick. If it's available. And even then, live TV is just in stereo. On-demand though, you can get 5.1. Netflix does it. The issue is just live TV, and that's only in stereo.  

Check out this episode of the Tech Guy, where we talked about getting Dolby over the air. There's also this conversation at the AVSForum.

Watch Steve from Columbus, OH Comments

Ken is having issues casting from his mobile phone via Chromecast to his LG TV. He has a Google Pixel 4a.  Leo says it's probably that his Chromecast is too old. So it sounds like Ken would need a new version. The good news is, they're pretty cheap.

Watch Al from Woodland Hills, CA Comments

Al wants to know if there's a wireless TV antenna that will relay TV station signals wirelessly to his TV. Leo says that there is a relay antenna. Leo recommends going to AntennaWeb.org. It talks about all the antennas you can use and what's best where you live. TVFool.com is another one.