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Episode 1158 February 1, 2015

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Ron from Charlotte, NC Comments

Since banks have stopped supporting Windows Phone, and since Apple Pay is very popular, Ron is thinking about making a switch from Windows Phone to either the iPhone or an Android phone. Thoughts? Leo says that it is a blow to Microsoft that banks have dropped their support. It's too bad because the hardware is great, especially with its cameras and elegant operating system. The real problem is, that Microsoft came very late to the game and there was no way to play catchup. The same with Blackberry, which while making smartphones first, didn't pay attention to the market and fell behind fast.

Leo says that Ron can hang on to his Windows Phone now, especially since Microsoft is offering a free upgrade to Windows 10 this fall for phones running Windows 8.1. But sooner or later, he'll have to leave it behind if he wants to do banking online from his phone. As such, either iPhone or Android would work great.

Watch Todd from Topeka, KS Comments

Todd wants to know about the WD My Cloud Mirror. Is it network attached storage? Leo says it is, but it's supposed to be an appliance for those who aren't very technical. It comes with WD dual drives, will work with Mac or PC, but it doesn't have as many features as a traditional NAS. It will connect to cloud solutions like DropBox for off site backup. There's also a feature he likes that will allow him to connect to the computer directly and copy the files over. At $291 for 4TB of storage, it's a great deal.

Leo does recommend, though, that Todd listen to it to see how loud the fans are. If it had a media server plugin, it would be even better, but for a simple backup option, it's a great solution. But remember, if he runs it in RAID 0 (Scary RAID) to double the storage, he'll have to have a backup of the backup just in case.

Watch Todd from Topeka, KS Comments

Leo suggests contacting the school for requirements and what they prefer. The college store may have a good student discount, too. Since it's possible to run Windows on a Mac, he can't really go wrong with a Mac. It can run Windows natively from bootup. She could also run it in emulation (virtually), which slows it down a little bit, but not much. If she already has a Mac, she'll be fine. But Leo still recommends contacting the school.

A good Windows option is the Dell XPS 13. It has a great screen, and is the nicest Windows Machine Leo's ever used. He should get an i5 processor, with a larger SSD.

Watch Peter from Brooklyn, NY Comments

Peter has more than one cellphone running in Verizon and wants to swap out SIMs to use one number. But he has to use a special SIM in order to get LTE in it. Leo says that may be due to the update that runs VOLTE. But when it takes the SIM out and moves it to the iPhone, he loses visual voicemail. Leo says that's likely a Verizon shortcoming, even though Leo doesn't think there's a technical reason.

He may be able to jailbreak it and use YouMail. It has a web interface and he'd have to forward his number to a YouMail number, which isn't ideal. Google Voice may be a better option. It will ring any phone he attaches it to. That will work across all platforms and is probably a better option.

Watch Noah from Grand Rapids, MI Comments

Noah has a Dell Inspiron 17R laptop but he's having trouble connecting through his new Motorola router. It's slower than anything else. Leo says that the Inspiron's 17R Wi-Fi is G/N, and if he puts a device on it that uses a lower Wi-Fi standard, it downgrades everything to that lower standard. Also, Windows Machines slow down over time, so he may need to start over and restore to factory conditions to speed up the performance. Leo says to try connecting the laptop to the router via ethernet and see if it speeds up. If it does, then it's a wireless problem.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Daryl from Ashville, NC Comments

Daryl hasn't gotten a new computer in 20 years and he recently got an HP printer and scanner. Will a Windows 7 laptop run with devices that are XP compatible? Leo says sure it should. Just make sure the drivers are compatible. He should go to the HP site and look under drivers. If it says Windows 7, he's golden. But even under XP, it's probably alright.

Watch Matt from Santa Maria, CA Comments

Matt is a longtime PC user with computers that he needs to do a "tech refresh" with. Would it be better to make the switch to go along with his iPhone and iPad? His wife is reluctant to switch. Leo says there's a great compromise, however -- Windows runs beautifully on a Mac. Matt can run it under Boot Camp, which allows him to choose either at boot up, or he can run it virtually. He could buy a Windows machine, but it won't be able to run OS X. So Matt can tell her that they can have the best of both worlds!

Watch Johnny from Fontana, CA Comments

Johnny's girlfriend wants to get an Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Android phone. Leo says that he played with it for a few days, and there's very little added value to it with the silly side screen. Leo suggests that Johnny talk her into the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 instead.

Watch Jessie from Long Beach, CA Comments

Jessie's wife is complaining that her iPhone is running out of space. Leo says that's because of all the pictures and videos she has on that 16 GB phone. Jessie says that her previous iPhone was able to store more photos and videos than her new one. Leo says it's because the camera in the new iPhone has a larger sensor and saves larger files. There's also less space thanks to iOS 8.

The key is to get those images off of the device. She can back them up by connecting her phone to the computer and importing them through iTunes. But she can also use the setting in Facebook to save all photos to a private album. Google Plus will also do this, as will Microsoft's One Drive, Flickr, Amazon, and even Apple's iCloud (although Apple's solution is paid, not free). By uploading her photos to the cloud, she'll still be able to show people photos whenever she wants and those photos don't need to take up any space locally.

She should make sure her app is only set to upload via Wi-Fi only, so it doesn't impact her data usage.

Watch Spivy from Attalla, AL Comments

Spivy created a poker game for casinos and he wants to turn it into a smartphone app. Leo says that's a good idea if people like it. But if it's a betting app, with cash involved, Apple won't let him do that. But if it's just a fun game, then he'd just need to find a developer. There are a lot of places to go. eLance is a great place to find them and he can have people bid on the gig. Many are in Russia, India and Eastern Europe. It'll cost him less than he'd think. He should just spell out what he expects and get them to agree to it in writing.

Watch Greg from Dillon Beach, CA Comments

Greg has an issue with weak Verizon cellphone reception in his area. He wants to know if a Femtocell is a good option to fix that. Leo says it is if he has Internet in his house. Every cell phone company offers them, and they act as a kind of cell phone tower in the home, routing phone calls through the internet. But it depends on how much they want to keep him as a customer. If he asks for a customer retention expert and respectfully explain the problem, they may even offer him one at no charge. But if they try and sell him one, hold out. They shouldn't be paid extra to provide him with the cellphone service he expects.

Watch Cal from Erie, PA Comments

Cal followed Steve Gibson and Leo's advice to run as a limited user in Windows. But now he can't get access to documents and settings that are under the administrator account. Leo says that ownership of files is assigned according what user it is. If he's an administrator, he's "god," and can do anything with files. What he can do, then, is create a new admin account and then downgrade his existing account to a limited user. This will give him access to the documents he is missing.

Cal can reclaim the files and move them over. He should locate the file or folder he wants to take ownership of. Right-click the file or folder, click 'Properties,' and then click the 'Security' tab. Click Advanced, and then click the 'Owner' tab. There are details available here - https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753659.aspx

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Vlad from Walnut Creek, CA Comments

Vlad wants to be able to play streaming music from his phone to his car stereo. Leo says that if he has a stereo that has Bluetooth support, then he can do it via A2DP. But if he doesn't have Bluetooth support, he can get audio through the lightning connector. If his stereo has USB, Leo isn't convinced that he could route it through Android's microUSB port. It's more likely better to use a cassette adapter that he can plug into his mobile phone's headphone jack.

The chatroom agrees that a cassette adapter is probably the best way to go. Otherwise, he'll need to get a different car stereo, or have an Aux jack installed into the existing player as is shown here.

The problem with an FM transmitter is that in areas with a lot of radio signals, he won't find a frequency to piggy back on.

Watch Ryan from Covina, CA Comments

Leo says there's an app called Pushbullet that will deliver phone notifications to his computer through the web. Ryan needs something that direct his voicemails to his email, though. He has tried Google Voice, and that works for voicemail but not necessarily text messages, because those would default to iMessages on his iPhone. If he can get people to text him to his Google Voice number, then he can check those texts on the web.

Since Ryan's phone provider is AT&T, he can use AT&T's web-based interface to check his calls and messages. It's called AT&T Voicemail Viewer, and he can find out how to get it at http://www.att.com/esupport/vmviewer/.

Watch Darla from Oceanside, CA Comments

Darla bought a new computer and she sees that her headphone jack also works as a microphone jack. She does an outdoor sports podcast and needs to use her old headsets with it, though. Leo says it's true that new computers use the headphone jack as a mic in as well. This is by far the worst way to get audio into the computer, though. Leo advises using a USB audio interface. It will take any microphone, even professional grade XLR mics, and connect it into an interface that will convert the analog signal into digital data that will be transferred over USB. That will eliminate any RF noise. She could get a connector/adapter that could do it for her existing headset, but Leo doesn't recommend it.

Shure makes a good USB interface that she can use with her Shure headset. M-Audio makes a good one too. Focusrite Scarlet does it as well, and she can find it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005OZE9SA?tag=twnene-20.

Watch Brandon from California Comments

Brandon is a teacher and he has an external hard drive that had the pin bent off of it in the enclosure. He moved it over to an identical drive enclosure and it can only be seen in the device manager, but it doesn't work.

Leo says it could be that the damage done to the connector has been done to the hard drive as well. Brandon should go to NewerTech.com and pick up the USB 3.0 Universal Drive adapter. It'll help him get everything off it.

Watch Wayne from Tampa, FL Comments

Wayne just moved into a new house and it doesn't have cable or internet access. What are his options? Leo says that there are wireless internet providers (called WISP) if he doesn't want to trench and wire the house from the cable junction. He could also go with satellite, but it's a bit slower. The other choice is DSL through his phone company. FiOS would be the cream of the crop. The question isn't really who to go with, but who's going to have to do the trenching?