Downloading, streaming, or encoding music and movies.
Paul would like to rip DVDs and then put it on a 128GB thumbdrive so that his kids don't trash his DVDs. Leo says that's a great idea and you can use both Handbrake and VLC Media Client to do it. But how does he convert a DVD that's PAL? Leo says that the DVD is probably region coded to prevent you from watching a DVD from another country here in the US. The first time you play the DVD, it sets the Region code. But there are DVD players that don't do it. There's also a few back doors that respond to a certain number of remote button presses to unlock them.
Jim wants to know why his computer can't read his USB thumb drive. Leo says it's probably formatted wrong. If he formats it NTFS, he should be able to read it.
Rolland wants to make hard drive copies of his DVDs. Leo says you need two programs ... Handbrake (which does the re-encoding) and VLC Media Client (which does the playback to bypass the copy protection). If you want the full thing. Image Burn is very popular for Windows. If you're on Mac, then Disco. The chatroom says DVDFab.CN is another option. But Leo says that's probably illegal, technically.
Eric cut the cable and wants to know if he can get programs off his old TiVo. Leo says in the first generation TiVos, he would be able to. But copy protection has locked down and encrypted that data. TIVO to Go was an option, but it was a very poor solution. There is one way to do it still, and that's the analog hole. Eric can connect his TIVO using the analog component jacks (red, white and yellow), but it will be standard definition.
Charles has a thousand MP3s and he has multiple copies of all the songs, which is annoying. Leo says that in the iTunes settings, he can tell it to manage his music. But since he already has an iTunes folder with duplicates, Leo recommends taking it off his hard drive (to a thumb drive) and then restart iTunes and select the option to let iTunes manage his music. Then he won't have to deal with duplicates. iTunes is a terrible program for syncing music, especially in Windows.
Ben likes to stream videos using Plex and sometimes it'll disconnect after only a few hours watching specific shows. What's going on? Leo says that there''s probably a naming issue and if the naming isn't consistent, then Plex can get confused. He should make sure the transcoding is consistent as well with the same format.
Lynn has a bunch of old VHS home movies. How can she convert them so she can watch them? Leo says that the best way these days is to go to a service, like Scan Cafe. They have professional equipment and can color correct. When factoring in the equipment she would need to do it herself; the VCR, the cables, the analog to digital converter to get it into the computer, and the time, she may as well just pay Scan Cafe to do it.
Darwin wonders what the FBI used to crack open the iPhone of a terrorist. Leo says that the FBI won't say. Leo suspects they went to an Israeli firm called Celebrite, which can unlock older iPhones with four digit codes. Which is why Apple changed the code to a six digit code and patched vulnerabilities that would allow them to bypass it. If Darwin can prove that he owns his personal iPhone, Apple can open it for him. But if it's his sister's, there's no guarantee that Apple will. But if he can prove ownership or relational link, it's possible.
Mark wants to know why broadcast ads will use the 'Alexa' trigger word that could hijack his Echo device. Leo says that in Amazon's commercials, they actually use an inaudible sound behind the trigger word that prevents the device from taking action on it, but it may be that other advertisers don't know about this. Leo says it may even be against Amazon's rules to use trigger words in flash briefings.
Dan just signed up for Spotify. Is there a way to set up the Echo to default to Spotify? Leo says that he can, and it's in the settings of the Amazon Echo app. There's also probably a "skill" that will do it. He can always just tell it to play a song on Spotify.