Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Mike from Edinburgh, Scottland Comments

Today’s smart devices are so powerful, that they can handle multitasking. Also, while it may look like they’re running, there’s really only a few (like Pandora or Spotify) that actually run in the background. The app icons that show are really either frozen or closed. When double-tapping the home button on the iPhone or iPad, it just shows the most recently used apps. If Mike wants to, he can tap and hold on the icon to close out of it. Basically, Mike shouldn't be worried about all of that stuff running in the background because in most cases it's not.

Mike also wanted to know if there was anything he could do about Google apps on the iPad. Unfortunately, the iPad is not ideal for Google apps. It could be Apple or Google to blame, but it wasn't even possible to edit Google docs on iOS or Android until recently.

Watch Gary from San Diego, CA Comments

No. The iPad is very secure because it’s a closed system. Apple has to approve all apps so it’s a lot harder to get a virus past the gatekeepers. You also can’t put your own files on it and apps can’t talk to each other by design. In addition, both Apple and Google have a “kill switch” to remove suspect apps should they discover anything malicious about it. On the Android side there is a free program called LookOut, but Leo doesn't know of anything for iOS. This is probably because Apple's app store is much more locked down than Google's store. If Gary were to jailbreak an iPad or iPhone, however, all bets are off. This is why Leo doesn’t recommend it. There’s no real need for that anymore, anyway.

Watch Rene from Vancouver, BC Comments

Rene is going on a trip to Greece and Italy this summer, and wants to take video with sound in addition to taking photos for her blog. She also wants to have interchangeable lenses, but is on a budget of $600 to $700. There are a few types of cameras to choose from:

  • DSLR
  • This uses a mirrored system, like the old film SLRs. This is the best because they have the biggest sensor, but they are very expensive.

  • APS-C
  • This isn't as big of a sensor as a full frame DSLR, but bigger than a Micro Four Thirds.

  • Micro Four-Thirds
  • This is a mirrorless system, and has a fairly small sensor but is closer to Rene's price range.

MurrayOnTravel in the chatroom suggested the new Nikon D3200 DSLR, which Leo decided is probably the best option. It's 24 megapixels, has an APS-C sensor, has a mini-jack for a microphone, shoots 1080p 30 frames/sec video and comes with the lens for $700. Leo has a couple of tips, though. When it comes to lenses, he would get just the body not the kit lens because she might find something better. Leo thinks the 18-105mm lens is good for travel, but it's a $400 lens so it may be out of Rene's price range. The advantage to getting the Nikon body is that she'll be able to keep her lenses and just upgrade the body in the future. So she should get the best lenses she can afford.

Rene could also look into the Panasonic GX-1. It shoots video in 1080p full high def and is known to have good sound but doesn't have a jack for an external mic, which could be a deal breaker if Rene wants to use an external mic.

Another option is the NEX-F3 from Sony. Leo thinks it’s odd with a smaller body and large lenses, and he recommends Rene go to a camera store to look.

Leo also suggests Rene look at review sites, such as dpreview.com.

Rene’s blog is at PeerWork.wordpress.com.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Dennis from Marina Del Rey, CA Comments

From the Chatroom, older versions of the Google Contacts API were killed in early April. So that’s probably why the widgets stopped working and it’s probably a precursor to Google killing iGoogle altogether. Leo couldn't find any official Google contacts widget, and couldn't even find editor's picks anymore either.

Dennis also wanted to know how to get contacts in one phone book on his phone to those in Google. Leo thinks there's a way to either merge them or import one phone book into the other at contacts.google.com.

Watch Aaron B from Mesa, AZ Comments

Leo recommends a site called Blurb. They do something called "full bleed", which means the edges of the picture can go all the way to the edge of the book. They also have a very nice standalone app for making books. There's a lot of great features, including the ability to make hardcover bookstore quality books or less expensive ones. Apple's iPhoto and Google's Picasa will do this as well, but they are more limited in what you can do with it.

That chatroom also mentioned MyPublisher and Picaboo. Leo hasn't tried these, but he has personally used Blurb.

Watch Marsha from San Jose, CA Comments

Leo goes through all of the things he suggests to look at when getting a new HDTV.

  • When buying more than one, get them all from the same manufacturer.
  • Marsha wants to get 3 for different parts of the house, and Leo recommends to get them from the same company so the picture looks uniform across the different TVs.

  • Get an LED backlit LCD TV.
  • Leo recommends LCD over plasma because they are thinner and use less power. The term "LED" refers to how the LCD screen is backlit, and LED is certainly the type to get.

  • Leo prefers the Samsung TVs
  • The best brands to consider are Sharp, Samsung and LG, with Samsung being Leo's pick.

  • Almost every higher end TV will have 3D in it.
  • Whether Marsha wants 3D or not, chances are the TV will have that capability. Leo doesn't think this should be the deciding factor in getting a TV. If 3D is important to her, though, Leo would get the LG instead of Samsung because LG's glasses aren't as expensive. If it's not important to have 3D, Marsha can just ignore that part and not use it.

  • SmartTVs are nice in theory, but badly implemented.
  • Leo likes the idea that TVs can connect to the internet and provide more "channels" in addition to cable or satellite. Unfortunately, all the TV manufacturers are doing a bad job of implementing it. Marsha can ignore this too, though.

  • Roku is a better way to get "SmartTV" functionality
  • Roku makes an external box for $79 that plugs into the TV and can stream content from the internet, like Netflix for example. Apple also has a similar product with the Apple TV, but Leo recommends the Roku. Either device are better than what's currently being put in TVs because they are better designed, easier to update and more capable.

  • Don't bother with warranty packages.
  • First of all, these TVs don't fail so fast. They're under warranty for a year already, and if they don't fail within that first year they probably won't.

  • Do not get a sound bar, get an inexpensive home theater system instead.
  • Leo says sound bars are overpriced for the performance they offer. The televisions come with decent but not great sound built-in. Instead, get an inexpensive stereo or 3.1 system. A 3.1 system offers the more "theater" experience with left/right speakers, a center speaker for voice and subwoofer for bass. In fact, Pioneer sells an excellent surround system for a few hundred dollars.

  • Have someone professionally install it.
  • The TV will need to be mounted properly so it doesn't fall. If she tells the store she's buying three TV's, she should ask them to include the calibration. They'll send someone out who will install and calibrate the TVs, and they should at least reduce the installation charge. A home theater installer will set up the sound system as well.

  • Watch out for the upselling.
  • They may try to upsell her on the extended warranty. The other way they may upcharge her is with expensive cables, which are unnecessary. Cheap cables will work just fine, and if she has an installer do it he should take care of that. She should ask for the Monoprice cables, and then they'll know they can't overcharge for "premium" cables.

Watch David from Venice Beach, CA Comments

David has a nice home theater system with 5.1 Polk audio speakers and an Onkyo receiver. He is having issues with a low repetitive "whoop whoop" sound, though. Scott Wilkinson called in to help Leo troubleshoot David's problem:

  • Make sure speaker wires aren't near electrical cords.
  • If David has to have electrical cords by the speaker wires, he should make sure they cross perpendicular and not run parallel to each other.

  • Adjust settings on the Audio/Video Receiver.
  • Since it's such a low frequency and it's coming from the surround speakers, Scott suggests that David set the speakers in the AV receiver to small and the crossover to 80 hertz so that the surround speakers are not getting the low frequencies.

  • Check to see if speakers are "in phase".
  • Make sure the speakers are also in phase by making sure that the red output on the wire from the receiver is going into the red input on the speaker.

  • Make sure no wireless transmitting devices are nearby.
  • David should get the speaker wires away from any radio transmitters in the house, such as a wireless phone base station.

  • Try getting shielded speaker cables.
  • David can get good prices on cables at Monoprice.com.

  • Ferrite Beads
  • These are little clip-on beads that reduces inductance in the wiring, and they snap on at either end of the cable. David could find them at Radioshack, or any electronics store.

Watch Sam from Amsterdam Comments

No, bananas won't take scratches out of the glass on the iPad. The glass on the iPad is gorilla glass made by Corning, so if Sam is going to be researching this, he should look for ways to remove scratches from gorilla glass. Ideas like using bananas to buff out scratches really are for buffing out scratches on CDs so they can be played. The glass on the iPad is much tougher, though, and won't be buffed out that easily. It's also nearly impossible to replace the glass on the iPad because Apple glued the glass to the LCD screen.

There is an industrial glass polishing compound that be bought online called Cerium Oxide. It's a buffing compound and designed for fixing glass. Leo doesn't recommend trying to buff out these scratches though, it's best to just live with them. It can't hurt to try rubbing banana on it, although it probably will do nothing more than make the iPad smell like banana.

Watch Alan from West Los Angeles, CA Comments

This is because Alan is using a 32 bit OS, and with some of the RAM reserved for computer itself, that’s all it can see. If he wants to see all 4GB of RAM, then he needs a 64 bit OS.

Watch Charlie from Tampa, FL Comments

The new Buffalo router uses a new wireless spec called 802.11AC, 80 mhz of bandwidth, and is self tuning. It only uses the 5ghz band, not 2.4ghz like most current wifi uses. Because of that, it won't travel through walls as well. This actually might be a good thing though because it will reduce the chances of interference if there's a lot of wifi networks around. The disadvantage of 5ghz is that it might not work for a whole house as well. Buffalo sells a wireless repeater bridge which would provide more wifi access points. Leo says it’s faster, but it doesn’t really affect his Internet speeds, just his network speed. This is particularly nice for media streaming from the network. Leo says to wait on buying it until it's more of an official standard.

Wifi first started with 802.11b, then 802.11a and g, and then they got to 802.11n. Each time a new wifi spec comes out, there's a new draft standard that the internet engineers propose. Then there's a year or two before it becomes an official standard. 802.11AC is the newest draft standard, and we're at least a year away from it being final. Netgear and Buffalo both are in a race to be the first to release a router based on this new spec.