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Episode 1236 November 8, 2015

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jay from Providence, NC Comments

Jay bought a new router to add to his network but he's not improving his experience at all. Leo says if he's looking to expand his network, then it's a good idea to set one in bridge mode to just pass on the signal. It may be that Jay's DSL modem can't be a bridging router. Steve Gibson says that two routers handling the Network Address Translation will work fine. So Jay shouldn't do anything and see what happens. Maybe a simple reset will work. But Leo says putting one in bridge mode is best.

Watch Kenny from Monrovia, CA Comments

Kenny is in his 80s and he just bought his first computer, a MacBook Pro. He says the Mail app for Mac has been far too complicated for him. Leo says once he gets the email set up properly, it shouldn't be an issue from there on out. Once he has it configured right, then he can move on to managing email.

Kenny is looking to replace his old Tracfone with either an LG Optimus Fuel, Alcatel A205G, or ZTE Valet Android phone. Will any of those work? Leo says sure. LG makes a good phone. It isn't modern, but he can still use it as a phone. However, an older Android phone like the Optimus won't be getting newer updates unless he roots it, and Kenny isn't going to want to do that. But Leo says that for Kenny, a simpler feature phone like a Cricket may be a better option, and it won't have security issues.

Leo also says that Kenny should go into T-Mobile and ask for an older iPhone 5S with a basic $30 a month plan. They're way more secure, easy to sync contacts with a computer, and easier to use. Leo also says that a 6s Plus may cost a bit more, but it would be easier to use.

Watch John from Maine Comments

John often logs into public Wi-Fi hotspots, but he hasn't been able to connect with his cell phone and his MiFi. Leo says that is probably due to not agreeing to terms of service or watching an ad. It's called a "captive portal." Mobile phones are supposed to handle it properly, and if it's not connected, he should see an "!" signaling that it isn't connecting.

One thing that may help is updating his phone to the latest version. Patience is also a virtue. Let it take time to join and for the browser to open up. Another issue could be with his carrier. There may be something in the APN settings by Pure Talk that isn't allowing the connection. That's what Leo thinks. The chatroom thinks an app may also be blocking the connection, so he should remove the latest app and see if it works.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Mitch from Fontana, CA Comments

Mitch is mad that after updating to Windows 10, Windows Media Center is no longer there. Leo says that he's furious with Microsoft about that, killing off the XBMC without giving anyone a choice. But Leo says there's more to it -- likely copy protection issues.

Mitch moved to Plex to replace it, but it doesn't have a DVR function. Leo says the chatroom recommends the HDHomeRun. It works with a cable card. So he'll have to go to the cable company and request a cable card, and dump the box. They offer DVR software. It's really the best "roll your own" option out there.

Watch Julian from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Julian is visually impaired and is frustrated by popups that he can't see when he's using his screen reader, because it takes forever to read them all. He needs a good ad blocker that can prevent them. Leo says that this is one case where ad blockers are a good ethical use. Leo recommends the FireFox extension UBlock Origin. It's also available on Google Chrome. Advertising is important, as it helps to pay the bills online. But if he can't get to his content because of the ads, he won't visit those pages anyway. So in this case, Leo recommends it.

Julian also wanted to share an electronics expo that is coming up for the visually impaired. It's called the Best In Tech Conference.

Watch Mike from Maine Comments

Mike is still looking to choose a phone that can keep him secure and protect his privacy. He's looking at the 2nd generation Motorola Moto X and the Moto G. There's also the One Plus X. Leo says that all three of them are great phones. The Moto X is bigger and has a nicer resolution, but at the cost of battery life. The OnePlus gets great battery life, although the new OnePlus Two doesn't have the greatest screen. The Moto G is good, but pricey. The OnePlus X may be his best option.

Watch Ed from San Diego, CA Comments

Ed says he likes mobile phones, but they're slippery and he's worried about breaking them. He doesn't know what phone insurance program to buy. Leo says that the devil is in the details. There's usually a deductible and a limited number of times he'd be able to use it. Leo advises adding the deductible to the cost of the insurance and see if it's worth investing from that perspective.

A good strong case will help, but that doesn't prevent broken glass unless he would get a case with a screen cover. He should also just consider the cost of repairing a broken screen. If the screen is what breaks most of the time and not the phone, it may be cheaper just to pay to replace the screen himself. But he should remember that these insurance policies make money for the insurer, not the insuree.

Watch Brett from New Jersey Comments

Brett bought a Windows 10 computer from Dell and the audio presets are missing. Leo says that sounds like a driver issue based on an incomplete recovery. Brett should go to the Dell website and get the updated Windows 10 drivers. He could also try deleting the sound drivers, reboot and then let Windows reinstall them. It could be that the DVD installed the wrong driver.

Brett should get all the latest drivers for the computer from Dell's website and install them. That should fix the issue. He shouldn't just rely on the DVD they gave him, since that's only as current as the moment they created that DVD.

Watch Tim from San Diego, CA Comments

Tim has an old Toshiba Satellite laptop and the keys on the keyboard have stopped working and it's spreading. If he upgrades to Windows 10, will that fix it? Leo says it could be a physical flaw. He should try plugging in a wired keyboard. If it's software, the keys won't work. If they do, then he'll know it's a hardware issue with that keyboard.

Another option is to simply restore the OS. If it works, then it was software. If he doesn't have the recovery discs, he can get Ubuntu online and install it to a USB key. Then he can run it from the USB key and try the keyboard there. He may be able to install Windows 10, but it's more likely that WIndows 7 would work better. With an old laptop, it could be hardware incompatible.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jack from Hampton, NH Comments

Jack has the Samsung 850 EVO SSD, and it was working fine until he upgraded to Windows 10. The software that came on the disk worked under Windows 7, but not Windows 10. Leo says he shouldn't need the software that comes on the disk. The SSD should be like any other hard drive, where he should be able to format and run it. He should repartition it and then choose it when he sets up Windows 10.

Watch William from Michigan Comments

Leo says this is difficult because it's all very geographical. If William said Kansas City, he'd say Sprint because they're really good there. If he said New York, his advice would be Verizon. Both of those companies originated in those places. William was thinking of going with Cricket Wireless, but Leo said he'd go with one of the big national carriers.

PC Magazine tests speeds and connectivity, and generally AT&T wins nationwide. It'll be between AT&T and Verizon, though. No carrier is perfect. If he had two phones, one from AT&T and another from Verizon, he'd be guaranteed to have coverage everywhere. William could get a dual SIM phone, but Leo's not sure if he could use AT&T and Verizon in the same phone with that.

T-Mobile does well in urban areas, but very poorly in rural areas. Sprint is a distance fourth when it comes to connectivity, but they were acquired by SoftBank, a huge Japanese conglomerate, so they may improve the network. But it will come down to AT&T and Verizon if he needs coverage all over the country.

The website OpenSignal.com is an independent site that has a map showing the actual signal coverage each carrier has based on usage data.

Watch John from Merced, CA Comments

John wants to know how to understand Windows 10 and how to best use it. Is there a book that can do that? Or a website? Leo says that there's a great book by David Pogue called The Missing Manual. So the Windows 10 Missing Manual would be a great one to get, if he can learn effectively from a book.

Thurrott.com is great for an overall understanding of Windows. If he can pay, Lynda.com's videos are excellent. Another great site is HowToGeek.com. They have a lot of articles on Windows 10.

(Disclaimer: Lynda is a sponsor).

Watch Elliot from Boston, MA Comments

Elliot's aunt is visiting and wants to know who would be the best carrier to get her smartphone from in St. Louis? Leo says that his experience in the Midwest is that Sprint is really good. That's because Sprint was spun off the Southern Pacific railroad. But they can't go wrong with AT&T and Verizon. The best way to find out is to go to OpenSignal.com, enter the zip code, and they'll see who's got the best coverage in the area.

Watch Phillip from Anaheim, CA Comments

Phillip has a Motorola Moto G through Cricket and he's been playing with his phone and put it into a Java runtime mode called ART. Leo says that's a fiddler. He'll have to go through a lot of hoops to go into developer mode and change that. Now he's getting a lot of error messages. Leo says he's done that on several Android devices and it sounds like it needs to be manually reset. Leo says that if a factory reset doesn't work, then it may be time to go over to XDA-Developers Forums and input that question to see if anyone has figured it out.

Watch Sheila from North Carolina Comments

Sheila and her husband share an Apple ID and now that they have Apple Watches, every time his phone rings, it rings on her watch. Leo says that Apple associates the watch to an account and Apple uses the Apple ID to ring the watch. So Sheila's easy fix is to use her own separate ID for hers. The reason to share the IDs isn't really that important anymore since there is a Family Share option for music and videos. Reminders can be shared to other Apple IDs, so they'd still be able to have a shared list.

Watch Jeremy from North Hollywood, CA Comments

Jeremy switched carriers to Time Warner and now his wireless printer doesn't work right. It'll print fine and then later, the connection drops and he has to re-enter it. Leo says the latest drivers from the printer manufacturer should fix it. He had that issue and updating the drivers from the manufacturer fixed it.