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Episode 935 December 15, 2012

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

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

Denise's Mac Mini shut down the other day and issued a "panic report." Leo says that something just crashed and the Mac shut down on it's own. It's called a 'kernel panic', and it's not that unusual. It could even have been a power surge that caused it. Generally, it's a hardware issue, but if it only happens every so often, like every six months, it's nothing to really be concerned about at this point.

Watch Carlos from Southern California Comments

Leo suggests removing the secondary memory and going back to the way it was before. Then try booting it. Since Carlos already did that, it may be more permanent damage that has occured. Unfortunately it may be time to take it in or get a new laptop.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Natalie from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Nat recently bought a Toshiba Excite tablet because it had HDMI and offers expandable memory. After only a week, though, it's become very slow for surfing the web. Leo says that the Excite is an older model and isn't the fastest tablet out there, so it's possible Nat isn't getting the speeds she's used to. Leo says she'd probably be happier with the iPad. Instead of using HDMI out, she could use an AppleTV, and use Airplay to stream video wirelessly. Since Nat has an iPhone, she'd be able to use the same apps as well.

As far as Android tablets go, the Google Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 are good options. That'll run the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS. There's also the Asus EeePad Transformer. It's really fast and she could get a keyboard with it. A Surface Tablet may be another option if she wants Microsoft Office.

Watch Gary from Santa Barbara, CA Comments

Leo says Gary could plug the wireless access spot into the Ethernet port he has nearby and then can connect to the AppleTV. Leo says an Airport Express would be really good for that. It'll then rebroadcast the signal to the AppleTV. He should make sure the Airport Express or the other access point is in "bridging" mode.

Another solution would be powerline networking, where he would use the house electrical lines to transport the data. It works pretty well now that they've worked out many of the bugs. But the in-wall Ethernet is probably the best bet.

Watch Chris from La Crecentia, CA Comments

Leo says it could be a driver issue with the video card, or an incompatible driver. Check with ATI on it. He should make sure he's using the most recent version, and Leo recommends trying the 32 bit version as well.

Watch Bill from Portsmith, VA Comments

No. A built-in radio uses the headphones as an antenna. He's thinking about upgrading to a Galaxy Note II, but is wondering if that has an FM radio in it. Leo says no, but there are some smart phones that have it.

He's also wondering about using a MiFi to reduce his data costs with a smart phone. Leo says it would be cheaper to just use the data with the Galaxy Note II, but the MiFi would be a handy thing to have for Wi-Fi only devices. The MiFi requires a monthly plan similar to smart phones though as well.

Watch Chris from Laguna Nigel, CA Comments

Chris had been connecting an external monitor to it and he could use it that way for awhile, but now that doesn't work either. Leo says that it could be a frayed ribbon cable causing the laptop's screen to not work. The external monitor issue means that the video display subsystem on the laptop motherboard has probably gone bad. That essentially means replacing the laptop since it'll cost more to fix it.

Web5699 in the chatroom says it also could be a heat issue on the laptop.

Watch David from Camarillo, CA Comments

David worked on the The Hobbit by supplying aerial camera equipment for the helicopter film scenes. He saw the movie in 48p and he found it odd looking. Leo says he's a Peter Jackson fan and loves Lord of the Rings, and he's interested in seeing it for himself. But there are those who say that The Hobbit is not the ideal example because of how it was made in HFR. Leo has a hunch when 48p is the norm, we'll look back and wonder what the big deal was about.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch David from Newberry Springs, CA Comments

There is, all of the phone companies offer this, typically for a minimal charge. They will block a variety of things, such as 'short codes' that many companies use. He should call his phone company to set that up.

Watch David from Fountain Valley, CA Comments

David wasn't sure whether or not to get his son the iPhone 4 or 4S because the technology is old now. Leo says he should definitely consider those older models, though, because they are a lot less expensive. He should get a very good case for it. Leo thinks it's a great idea to get kids phones nowadays because it's good to be able to get a hold of them, and they should have them in case of an emergency also.

Watch Tim from Eagle Rock, CA Comments

Tim is looking for a netbook to have in a ham radio emergency kit so he can program his radio on the fly. Leo says there's a lot of Windows computers out there for $200-300 that will do the trick. The Asus eeePC is a good choice. They don't call them netbooks anymore though because that ended up being a failed concept.

Tim is also due for an upgrade on his iPhone, but doesn't want to lose his unlimited data plan. Leo says that when he upgrades, he can keep his unlimited data plan, but he has to mention this so the phone company knows he doesn't want to transition to the new plan.

Watch David from Fountain Valley, CA Comments

Leo says David will want an 802.11n dual-band router. Linksys is the cheaper brand, and it's not free of problems. David will want to make sure not to get one with "WPS" security. This is the "one-button-push" security, and it's very insecure. It also can't be disabled on most Linksys routers, so stay away from those. The best router in Leo's opinion is the Apple Airport Extreme, but it's much more expensive, nearly twice as much as the others. If price is a concern, he recommends D-Link.

The reason there are "dual-band" routers is because the 2.4Ghz band that Wi-Fi had always been on, is now getting crowded. The reason Wi-Fi was on this band is because it was unregulated and set aside by the FCC so anyone could use it. As a result, a lot of other things are on that same band as well, causing issues with Wi-Fi.

So newer routers support both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. 5Ghz is less crowded, but it also doesn't reach as far, and doesn't travel through walls as well. If there's no congestion at all, the 2.4Ghz band will work better in a home. However, if there's a lot of congestion, the 5Ghz band is preferable. Most routers will give him the choice, and he could try both to see what works best. It's always a good idea now to get a router that will handle both bands just in case the 2.4Ghz band becomes crowded.

There are also Wi-Fi standards. The first was 802.11, then b, g, a, and then n. 802.11n is now the standard and the one that he should get, but there is a new standard coming called ac. There are a couple of companies making "pre-ratification" ac Wi-Fi access points. The problem with ac, however, is that all devices on the network has to support this. AC has some great features, including the ability to aim itself at the devices receiving the signal.

Watch Kevin from Mountain View, CA Comments

Leo says that won't work because Chrome OS is very limited.

A GoogleTV is a better option because it's designed to do just that.

Watch Brian from Oregon Comments

Leo says that the GoFlex is a good one. It's a USB Portable hard drive that has Wi-Fi built into it, so he can stream to a laptop.

Connecting to a TV, A machine with Plex would be a good choice.

The Western Digital WDTV would play any format as well. It's essentially a media player with big drives and is very affordable.