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Episode 883 June 16, 2012

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Tom from Agoura Hills, CA Comments

Tom just bought the new Vizio All in One Desktop and wants to restore from the backup he made on a machine he suspects may be infected. Leo advises not putting the new computer on the network until he turns on Windows Firewall. The best thing to do is backup his data, take the old, potentially infected computer offline, then put the new computer online. He can install his applications, then run a virus scan on his external backup drive. Chances are he hasn't backed up the virus, though, because all viruses need to be on a program.

However, if he had a corrupted Adobe Reader or a corrupt DLL, it would be possible to craft a PDF or image file that could infect his computer because they would impact his computer through the Adobe Reader program. But those have been patched, and as long as he's up to date (which he will be with the new computer), Leo thinks it's probably safe to restore his data (only data, not programs) from the old system.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

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

When dealing with IDE, cabling and jumpering is very important. A single IDE port can support two drives, when using the proper cable and if the drives are properly jumpered - one for master and one for slave. That's where Larry's problem comes in - his DVD burner keeps insisting on being master and his hard drive is slave. This might be a failure of the DVD burner, it may want to be the only thing on the IDE chain. It probably was expected to be connected through SATA, but Leo says he could also look in BIOS to make sure there's no setting he missed there.

Next he was having issues installing software, and he believed it was because his drive was labeled "D". Leo says the way Windows typically works is it goes down the chain and starts with letter C, which the DVD burner would be. Larry says it isn't naming the DVD burner C, however. Windows could be labeling the drive "D" because it's a slave on the IDE chain.

Larry figured at this point instead of trying to find out why Windows was naming his hard drive "D", he would try to change its name in registry edit. Leo doesn't think that's a good idea though at all. The last thing he wants to do is try to trick Windows in registry edit.

Instead of messing with registry edit, he should just right-click on "My Computer", select "manage" and try to reassign it there. It wouldn't let him do this though because it's the boot drive. He could try a SATA adapter for his IDE drive. Go into the chatroom, there are a lot of suggestions there.

Watch Jeff from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Jeff is part of the Apple Consultant's network and he says the new Macbook Pro has a redesigned hyper-threading processor which can handle more small packets of data. Leo says we've had hyper-threading since the Core 2 Duo, and that's nothing new. The new processors in every PC and even some phones are quad-core. Intel has the i3, i5 and i7. One of the differences between the i5 and i7 is that the i7 has hyper-threading turned on. That means each individual chip (or core) can do two things at once. So the processors in the new Macbooks can do eight things at once.

There is a fairly strong case to be made that it's completely useless though. First of all, it requires an operating system that can actually take advantage of this. If the operating system can, then it can run eight different programs all on their own thread. But processors have already been fast by doing something called "time-slicing" where they would do a little bit of each thing one after another. Since processors are so fast, even a single-core processor can do several things at the same time this way. Leo doesn't think the general public would see a big difference between that and the quad-core hyper-threading processors out today.

Watch Alana from Manhattan Beach, CA Comments

Leo says the hard drive is the problem. Alana could boot from a USB key just to get it running and then restore from one of her backups to a new hard drive. She could also take the computer to the Apple Store and let them do it, but she should make sure Apple gives her the old hard drive back. All hard drives can get bad sectors. Another thing she could try is running a program called SpinRite, but that is about the same price or more than getting a new hard drive.

Watch George from Houston, TX Comments

George should go into BIOS and see if the connectors are even seen there. If they are, then he'll know the controller is working and it's a problem with the hard drive. If the SATA connector is messed up, that's a motherboard issue. Since he can get the drive to work with a PCI to SATA adapter though, it sounds like it's probably an issue with the SATA connector on the motherboard. George can always go to the motherboard manufacturer's website and make sure he's using the latest firmware.

Lawndog in the chatroom said to check that the SATA interface is even turned on in BIOS. George is a little nervous messing around in BIOS, but Leo said there's no real risk there. He can always reset to defaults.

Watch Enrique from Newport Beach, CA Comments

Yes, Firefox is fine. Awhile back it had a memory leak, but that has since been fixed. It can, however, get bogged down by add-ons, and it isn't as secure as Chrome. Firefox is also pushing Enrique to upgrade to version 12, but he thinks it's slow. Leo says he really has to keep up to date with browsers because of security concerns. The only reason Enrique didn't want to switch to Chrome is because of the add-ons he uses, but there are similar add-ons that he can use with Chrome.

Leo suggests trying the latest version of Firefox, and if it's too slow for him, he could switch to Chrome and find similar add-ons to what he was using with Firefox.

Watch Ander from South Carolina Comments

There are a few free and commercial solutions:

  • Pamela
  • This is free for the first 15 minutes, then costs $32 for the full version.

  • This is more geared for video recording, but could work if he wants to also use video.

  • Virtual Audio Cable
  • Not a free option, and a limited trial version is available but it's a little complicated.

  • Jack Audio
  • This is an open source, free solution that can be used with Audacity to record the audio.

Check out Ander's podcast: Maximum TORcast.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Ander from South Carolina Comments

Ander is wondering if Wordpress is a good site to host the podcast. Leo says it can be, but no free site will give him unlimited bandwidth. For this, Leo recommends Libsyn because they charge for storage, not bandwidth, and it's very affordable. Ander could also look into Squarespace (Disclaimer: Squarespace is a sponsor).

Check out Ander's podcast: Max TORcast.

Watch Paul from Los Angeles, CA Comments

The receiver is likely assuming that Paul would be using a powered subwoofer. He'll need to buy an amplifier that will power the subwoofer. The power requirements of his sub will determine which amp he should buy. But Leo thinks the better option is to get a better, powered subwoofer. Emotiva has a sale going on right now and that would probably be a better way to go.

Watch Paul from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Leo says that's pretty far away. He should have at least 70 inches, and actually if he's that far away, he should get a projector and screen. He says he can move the couch so it's about 12-14 feet away. Leo says 60" would be a good size for that distance.

Watch Jordan from San Diego, CA Comments

Leo says she should have a local on-site backup in addition to using one of the cloud services. But since she's running out of space on her internal drive, she should get an external drive to have more space to work with. Since she has a newer Macbook Pro without a FireWire port, she won't be able to get a faster FireWire drive, and is stuck with the slower USB 2.0. Apple was counting on manufacturers to make drives for their new Thunderbolt port. No one really is using Thunderbolt yet because the cables are so expensive, and the drives themselves are too.

Leo suggests going to (Other World Computing). They have a lot of external drives, and they do have Thunderbolt drives, but they're around $1,000. Leo would just get a big 1 or 2 TB USB 2.0 drive and just use that for the photos instead of the internal drive. But she should still back that up too!

Watch Benny from Pasadena, CA Comments

Leo says it largely depends on his needs and interests. Leo loves the Galaxy Note, but at over 5", it's pretty huge. The Galaxy S III is 4.3". But the Note also has a stylus, which is nice. Both have the same 1280x720 resolution. Leo advises going to the AT&T store to try it out first.

Watch Benny from Pasadena, CA Comments

Leo says if the drive is dead, he needs to either try replacing it himself or have a tech do it. On some notebooks is very easy to do it. On the bottom of his computer he may find a little cover with 4 screws in it, and the hard drive could be easily replaceable from there. He'd have to look for a compatible hard drive though, and it may end up being difficult. He really should bring it to a local, independent place that would be happy to have his business.

Watch Steve from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Steve is trying to load Windows Home Edition on an older PC, but the computer isn't even seeing the install disc. Leo says whatever went wrong, the drive is probably broken. This is a very difficult thing for Leo to diagnose over the phone, and he should probably take it to a local place and the computer technicians there could probably troubleshoot it better.

Watch Jim from Florida Comments

Since Jim will be using this for running an online business, he'll probably want a Windows laptop. Leo uses Dell machines for his office, but he believes the best Windows laptops on the market are Lenovo Thinkpads. Since portability isn't key, he can avoid the ultrabook line. The T-Series of performance laptops, or even the X-Series would be good options for Jim.