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Episode 936 December 16, 2012

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Taylor from Corona, CA Comments

Leo says that replacing the drive is an easy thing to do. Drives are getting cheaper and cheaper and Western Digital and Seagate are good alternatives. They have software which allows for a bit by bit copy of the old hard drive. Taylor will need a $30 USB adapter so he can access his internal drive after he puts the new one in.

Watch Bob from Manhattan Beach, CA Comments

Bob has a Rogue Wave Wi-Fi Bridge which allows him extend the range of his wifi signal up to five miles. Leo believes the bench mark is ambitious, although over water it'll travel further than on land.

The problem here is that while Bob may be boosting his ability to receive a signal, the Wi-Fi router he's trying to access isn't being boosted at all. So at best, he'd be receiving a very low powered signal.

Watch Jonathan from Salem, OR Comments

Leo says that building a computer is a great learning experience and project, but it won't exactly save him money. He also won't get any support if something does go wrong.

Leo suggests spending some time over at PC Perspective and look at their hardware leader board. It'll give him the specs and recommendations on what parts to get that fit in his budget. If he's building a computer, it's an excellent resource.

Watch Matthew from Columbia, MD Comments

Leo says to try using the headphone out of the TV. The optical connection will work as well, but he needs to tell the TV in settings to control it. Some TV models don't support it, though, so it depends on the TV.

By default, most TV's only send line level when using HDMI or optical out because the manufacturer assumes that the user has an A/V receiver that they are adjusting the volume on.

Watch Dale from San Diego, CA Comments

Leo says that microphones have a personal quality depending on the person using it. The Heil PR40 mic is the best mic he's ever used. It's pretty cheap at $300. Spectacular performance. Radio Stations prefer the Electro Voice RE-20.

The Heil PR40 is not a condenser mic, it is a passive dynamic mic. Condenser mics have to be powered, and they are very sensitive. They can pick up every bit of vocal quality, but they also pick up every single sound in the room. So he would have to have a perfectly silent room.

In Leo's opinion, however, the Heil PR40 is best. Very good off-axis rejection, ideal for baritone voices. It's directional, and also has a great proximity effect where the closer someone gets to it, the deeper it sounds.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Eye Doc Mark from Syracuse, NY Comments

Leo says it is built into iOS 6, and to check his settings. There's also a great app called Text Expander.

Watch Judy from San Jose, CA Comments

Leo says an 802.11n router would be good. If she has DSL now, she probably has a router already, but the question is does she have a Wi-Fi enabled one? Usually the router that comes with broadband is pretty basic. Leo says that Wi-Fi routers are a commodity now and there's not much difference from one to the other. That being said, Leo likes D-Link and NetGear. He's not so fond of Linksys. If money is no option, the Apple Aiport Extreme is the best.

What about dual band routers? Leo says that they're good because 2.4ghz is pretty crowded now, and 5.0 ghz has far fewer people using it. Judy has heard Leo talk about "buffer bloat" as well and wants to know how to prevent that. Leo says that manufacturers don't disclose buffer bloat, which breaks TCP-IP because it relies on RAM too much. If she wants to know if her router is affected by buffer bloat, she can test it with Netalyzer, a utility by UC Berkley.

Watch Judy from San Jose, CA Comments

Many routers now will allow her to plug in a large hard drive to the router using USB, making that storage available to the network.

Leo says if she wants to use RAID 5 to make sure the data is redundant and protected, then he recommends NetGear's ReadyNAS or Synology. She'll need to get a 4 or more drive array to run RAID 5.

Watch Gene from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Walmart has a phone service which offers unlimited texting and calling, and Gene is wondering if that's a good deal. Leo says that Walmart is an MVNO (virtual network operator), meaning they resell another company's service, which is T-Mobile. They also offer Sprint's True Connect. There are some limitations because it may not include a lot of data, if any. He should read closely at what he's getting.

ZDNet says that the Walmart service will cut users off if they go beyond their data cap. Also, he has to be aware of what the coverage map is like with the service they're reselling. Thanks to the chatroom, he can choose from other MVNOs here.

Dave called in to say he uses an MVNO that offers Straight Talk and he likes it. He streams music on his phone almost all the time. $45 a month and he's never been shut off or charged more. The downside, like all of the providers, is customer service.

Watch Matthew from Winston-Salem, MA Comments

Matthew has a blog and he's planning to switch his webhost from The servers are down at sometimes and he wants a reliable host.

Leo says that Tumblr is a good, free choice with a lot of templates. Good for a free blogger. Google has Blogger. There's also All are free options, but he's limited to the templates they offer.

If he's willing to pay, then there's a good option with SquareSpace.

(Disclaimer: SquareSpace is a sponsor).

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Leslie from Washington, DC Comments

Leslie has a very large iTunes music library, and she'd like to back it up. She wants to be sure not to lose it. Leo says that Leslie's best bet is iTunes Match. For $25 a year, her collection gets matched with copies that Apple has, and the ones that aren't matched are uploaded to Apple's servers. She can then stream them and download them again from there. Google has a similar service for free called Google Music. Amazon MP3 also does this for a fee.

Since Leslie uses the iPhone, iTunes Match may be the best bet for her. An added benefit is that all her ripped CDs will be upgraded to 256kb AAC quality with no copy protection. That alone is worth it.

Leslie is also thinking about getting a personal cloud storage option like iOmega Personal Cloud. Leo says it's a good idea, but for what Leslie wants it for, he thinks Pogoplug may be a better option.

Watch Luka from British Columbia, Canada Comments

Most laptops make it easy to remove and replace the drive. Definitely make sure to backup all data first. Luka is also wondering whether to go SSD when replacing this drive. Leo says that SSD is faster, but also more expensive. The drives aren't as big as spinning drives, but Luka's mom may not need that much storage anyway. Check out for a good deal on a Mac hard drive.

Watch Yoni from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Yoni is traveling over seas and he wants to know if he could forward his Virgin Mobile calls to Thailand. Leo says that Yoni's CDMA phone won't work in Thailand at all. So he recommends buying an unlocked, GSM phone that has a SIM card and then buy a local phone. Leo's first recommendation was to use Google Voice for forwarding the calls, but it won't work to overseas numbers, it is US-only. For this reason, it may be worth contacting Virgin Mobile to see if they have a world phone.

Skype To Go may be an option. Then he can use the Skype app on his phone.

The other option is to just record a message on his voicemail that will give his friends the number he's using in Thailand.

Watch Robert from Temecula, CA Comments

Leo says yes! He will want to be sure he then runs all the updates to secure the laptop. It's really the only way to be sure he's gotten rid of the virus.

Leo also recommends Derik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). He can also then use a program called Deep Freeze by Faronics, which will reset the laptop every time he uses it.