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Episode 1254 January 17, 2016

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Larry from Petaluma, CA Comments

Larry has a Samsung Galaxy S4, but it's time to upgrade, so he ordered a Nexus 6P with Google Fi. He doesn't like that he can't hide his number during outgoing calls unless he adds a few extra numbers each time. Leo says that may be carrier specific. Google Fi is an MVNO, using Sprint & T-Mobile plus Wi-Fi. So it's likely that it's hard to have a setting to block a number when it's moving from carrier to carrier. Larry will need to clarify with the carriers to see what they require.

Watch Ed from Chino Hills, CA Comments

Ed is building a house in a remote area. Should he install Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable? Leo says that the faster it is, the more expensive it is. It's about 30% faster with each level. So Leo says to future proof your home, buy the 5e, but he should put in conduit so he can replace it with faster cables down the line. It won't speed up internet access, it'll just speed delivery of data within the house. Most people will just be using Wi-Fi, though.

Ed is also wondering what home automation system to choose. Leo says that home automation is not without its bumps. Nest has had issues. The latest thing is presence detection, where the software does something when arriving like opening the doors, etc. But that's going to be a security challenge.

Apple's Home Kit will be proprietary. Google's will be Open Source, as likely will be other contenders like Smart Things. It's still up in the air who's going to end up on top.

Watch Joanne from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Joanne has gotten a WinZip popup that says she needs to scan and repair her computer. Leo says that is likely a phishing scam that wanted to get her to click on something and install it. She should be very careful with links that she didn't request. She shouldn't accept offers from strangers, as it's likely malware.

Leo advises Joanne run her antivirus program. But even then, she won't know if she's gotten rid of everything. But looking at what she was asked for, Leo says she likely dodged a bullet -- this time. To be sure, Joanne can always do an online virus scan for a second opinion.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

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

John installed the latest version of iOS on his iPhone and it runs slower. Will that happen if he updates to OS X El Capitan on his Mac? Leo says no. It's a different animal. iOS 9 probably slowed down his iPhone 4S because it's old for a mobile device. But with a desktop operating system like OS X, it should do better on older hardware. Leo also thinks that Apple isn't sure why iOS slows down the 4S. Leo also says that putting a new hard drive in his Mac may be a good idea. An SSD is even better. It'll really speed up that laptop.

Watch Kenny from Temple, TX Comments

Leo says it isn't harmful at all, and Apple even sells an external battery for the iPhone 6/6s. In general with these charging cases, when you charge the case it will also charge the phone. On the Mophie cases, there's a switch for when you want to switch to the battery. When it comes to Lithium Ion batteries, though, the best thing to do is keep it charging. The battery will last longer if it stays charged vs charging and discharging. It's definitely not good to let it fully drain.

Lithium Ion batteries have a limited amount of cycles. When it fully charges and fully discharges, that's one cycle. And batteries typically get about 500 cycles. If Kenny only partially discharges it and recharges it, that will only count as a part of a cycle, and will extend the life further. In general, its best to keep the device plugged in. If Kenny is going to store it, he should store it with about half of the charge.

Watch Rick from Torrance, CA Comments

Rick has an iPhone that he loaned to a friend and he wants to wipe it, but there are texts on it that he needs. How can he get those off and save them? Leo says that eCamm PhoneView will do it. It costs $30. He can download it to his Mac and it will scan the phone and download messages and data for him to archive.

Watch Alan from San Bernadino, CA Comments

Alan wants to know when Windows Vista will stop being supported. Leo says that Windows XP recently ended it's support life, and Windows Vista support ends in 2017. Windows 7 support will end in 2020. Windows 8 support ends in 2025. It's usually every ten years. So by then, he's going to want to update.

Watch Janice from Tehachapi, CA Comments

Janice is hearing that her school may be getting Chromebooks. But Janice is worried the school might not want to get them because of privacy concerns with all data being stored in the cloud. Leo says that the data will be in the cloud whether it's with Google or not. And it's understandable to be concerned. The EFF tells us that we should be. So it's a legitimate issue. But even then, Chromebooks are great for schools because of their narrowly focused OS. They're very secure. They can be "powerwashed" back to factory settings should things go awry. And updates are automatic.

Check out this article from eff.org for tips on how to be aware and be secure and private.

Frankly, Leo trusts Google's cloud services over a local network when it comes to privacy. The Chromebook is way more private than other options.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Elliot from Boston, MA Comments

Elliot's Mac died and now he has to use an old Windows machine. What can he do to speed it up? Leo says that Elliot is the prime candidate for a Raspberry Pi 2 computer. At $35, he can't beat it. And it runs on Linux.

Elliot wants to game, though, and he plays Gary's Mod a lot. There is also Steam for Linux, but he might not be able to get Gary's Mod on that. If he needs a decent computer, it all comes down to budget. Leo says he can also put Windows 10 on a Raspberry Pi, but it won't be very good with graphics.

The Steam Box may be a good option for Elliot if all he wants is a low cost gaming rig. Fry's has a PC for under $100 with 2 GB of RAM. But Leo says that Elliot is going to end up spending about $500 for a decent gaming rig. And if he builds it, he'll learn how computers work. It won't save any money, but it'll be a great project.

Leo suggests checking out pcper.com's Hardware Leaderboard. They have the best components for each price level. He should also check out NewEgg.com's barebones systems.

Watch Gary from Riverside, CA Comments

Gary has a Dell Inspiron computer running Windows 8 and it keeps dropping its internet connection. Leo says he's been having the same issues with one of his XPS 13 machines. Leo says that there is a function key that will turn off the wireless and if he accidentally hits it, he can disable it. But it's also an ongoing issue with Dell.

The chatroom says that there is a powersaving mode in the Dell that will turn off Wi-Fi to save power, so it may be that it's been enabled. Gary can look under Device Manager > Network Adapters, then right click on the wireless card. Click on the "Power Management" tab, and he should see "Allow the computer to turn off the device to save power." Unchecking that box should solve the problem.

Watch Hugo from Azusa, CA Comments

Hugo has an HP which goes into sleep mode all the time when he touches the mouse. Leo says there has to be a setting that's doing it. He should look in the power options. Windows 10 recommends the balanced plan and he can adjust it. But if it still goes to sleep, then there's something weird going on.

It's possible that something went wrong during the OS install. Windows 10 chooses kernels based on hardware capability, and if it chooses the wrong one, it won't handle the hardware interface well. He recommends going to the HP site and search the knowledge base for similar issues. If he doesn't find the fix there, it could be a hardware issue. He should talk to HP support about it.
Even if he's out of warranty, he may still be able to convince them to cover it.

Microsoft also has a tech note about this. It seems the cause could be balanced power issues in Windows 10.

Watch Sandra from Bedford, IN Comments

Sandra is having issues with Shockwave on her computer. No matter what browser she uses, she gets an annoying unresponsive script error popup. She started seeing it after upgrading to Windows 10. Leo says that she doesn't really need Shockwave anymore, and she could just uninstall it. Chrome provides its own version built-in as well.

Watch Cristina from San Diego, CA Comments

Cristina is getting rid of her landline and wants to use VOiP. But they insist someone be there during the service. Why? Leo says that is because landlines have independent power. Cable phones use VOIP. When the power goes out, the internet goes out. So they need to install a backup battery to power the system during an outage. She's also concerned about cutting the copper. Leo says they could and often do that, even though they aren't supposed to.

Watch Jack from Riverside, CA Comments

Jack had to replace his hard drive. He updated to Windows 10 and rolled back to Windows 7, but now it won't update any fixes. Leo says this is another reason to not buy a Windows machine. This happens when an update gets blocked or doesn't complete and until it does, you can't get the next update.

Jack could just reinstall Windows 7 and start again. That's the easiest way. He can try resetting the update here with these instructions from support.microsoft.com, but it may be easier to just start over.

Watch Gloria from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Gloria has a Roku Stick and she's been told she needs a router to use it. Leo says that yes, she'll need wireless internet access. If her router doesn't have Wi-Fi built-in, then her choices are to either get a regular Roku and plug it into her modem via an ethernet cable, or buy a router which will handle wireless traffic from the Roku stick. It'll also allow her to connect to her laptop wirelessly. Leo says that if she calls her cable provider, they'll replace her modem with a Wi-Fi modem/router. They'll set it all up.