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Episode 1318 August 28, 2016

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Bernardi from Sao Paolo, Brazil Comments

Bernardi says that he's a Linux system admin, and he's thinking about going with a MacBook Pro for his next computer. It's very expensive with the dollar exchange, though. We're talking $10,000! Leo says that's crazy! Most of that cost is a tariff to the Brazilian government. This is why Apple's been considering opening a plant in Brazil.

Bernardi says he has a friend in the US that can buy it for him, but should he wait until September 7th's event? Leo says that it couldn't hurt. Then again, since Bernardi is looking at refurbished devices, it won't really matter. The prices may drop if they do announce new ones, though. Leo says that the Dell XPS 15 is also a great option. They even have an Ubuntu edition and they run beautifully.

Watch Jake from Washington Comments

Jake says every time he clicks on a link, it opens to the Windows Desktop, not to his browser. It's likely that Internet Explorer is messed up and it could just be corrupted. Jake could try resetting it. Uninstalling it and reinstalling it is complicated.

Windows 8.1 fixes a lot of problems, so Leo says to run Windows update to version. 8.1. Or even better, if he can still get it free, he should upgrade to Windows 10. He should also update Internet Explorer to the modern version from the app store.

Watch Chris from Florida Comments

Chris wants to build an app for energy savings, but he doesn't know what to call it. Leo says that ideally, he'll want to build it to be cross-platform so he can sell it on Android, iOS, and even Windows. eLance (now Upwork) is a good place to hire someone to build it. What should he call it? Something that explains his app in one or two words would be ideal.

Watch Chris from Florida Comments

Chris also wants to know why a call will ring once and then go directly to voicemail. Leo says that's an odd one and he has this happen too. Is it something the telemarketers have figured out? It could be carrier specific. Chris can sign up with the DoNotCall registry but that won't stop telemarketers from outside the country. Another option is to use Google Voice for everything, then he can program Voice to forward telemarketer calls directly to voicemail or reject them altogether.

Watch Stephanie from Long Beach, CA Comments

Stephanie updated to Windows 10 and then couldn't get on the internet. She downgraded back to Windows 8, but still can't get on the internet. Leo says something is messed up, and this is why most people should just use a Chromebook. If there's someone Stephanie trusts to fix it, then Leo would recommend talking to them. The best thing for Stephanie would be a Chromebook, though.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch John from Hartford, CT Comments

John says that there's a computer program called SlyDial which is able to bypass the ring of a phone and go directly to the voicemail, and it's likely that's what the telemarketers are using. It sends a tone that pushes right past the phone ring. At least the mystery is solved. We've also discovered that there's a voicemail box number which you can dial to bypass the phone. That has been around for years. Leo says that's voicemail spam any way you look at it, though.

Watch Neil from Phoenix, AZ Comments

Neil is switching to T-Mobile and he wants to make sure he has a phone that will work with it. He was planning on just buying an iPhone that works on T-Mobile, but after hearing Leo's impressions of the Galaxy Note 7, he's thinking of getting that instead. Leo says that his favorite phone changes pretty regularly. The folks at XDA Developers Forum also point out that reviewers often don't use the phone long enough to discover some of the longer term issues with using them. In the past, these Samsung phones have become slow and wouldn't run as smoothly. So Neil shouldn't base his decision on what phone Leo is currently using.

Neil has the iPhone 6s Plus now, and he's happy with it. He just wanted a new carrier. Leo says a Verizon iPhone 6s Plus will work just fine with T-Mobile, and he recommends just getting a T-Mobile SIM card for it. This also will buy him some time until the iPhone 7 comes out, and he can decide then if he wants to upgrade to it or not. The rumors suggest that it won't have a headphone jack, which may be a reason why Neil would want to avoid it.

Watch Bernie from San Dimas, CA Comments

Bernie has an old PC that he put Windows XP on. How can he still get the service pack updates? Leo says he can get them directly from Microsoft. He can get right up to April 2015. After that, Microsoft stopped Windows XP development. He won't be able to get anymore patches after that date.

There is one workaround, though. Windows XP is used in embedded systems like ATMs, and Microsoft still supports patches for embedded systems. He can change a registry key in his system to get updates until 2019. ZDNet has an article on how to do this. There's also a link to an "unofficial" service pack 4 update at majorgeeks.com. He should make sure he backs up his registry before making any changes, so if he messes up, he can fix it.

Steps to protect yourself since Microsoft has stopped supporting XP:

  • Stop using XP as an administrator. Use it as a limited user instead. Add an account as an administrator and then demote your existing account to limited user. This will stop over 90% of all the exploits out there.
  • Stop using Internet Explorer. Go with Google Chrome. It's free and far more secure.
  • Don't click on links in email.
  • Only get your software from original vendors.
  • Keep your anti virus software up to date.
  • Stop using Java.
  • Use a password vault like LastPass.
  • Turn on second factor authentication wherever possible.
Watch Fran from Irvine, CA Comments

Fran is looking to get a new TV. Leo says the first thing she should do is upgrade her cable coverage to HD. If she wants a smaller TV, like a 32", they are really affordable. Leo recommends that Fran go as large as she can afford -- at least 42".

Leo recommends Vizio. They offer the best quality for the price. The E-Series is their lower end, value series. She should try and get an LED backlit TV, not edgelit. Will it ruin reception if she puts it on the wall? Leo says not really, but she will need to make sure the cable box is within line-of-sight of the remote. Most modern TVs have terrible sound, so she may want to get a budget home theater system as well. What about a sound bar? Leo's not a fan of sound bars, and for the same price, she can get a home theater in a box or "HTIB."

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Tim from Denver, CO Comments

Tim wants to know Leo's thoughts on Channel Master. Leo says it's a DVR for over-the-air antenna broadcasts. Leo doesn't get over-the-air broadcast TV because of where he lives, but he hears good things. Now he's learned that Channel Master will also stream video through Roku. That's pretty cool. If he's in the city and can get a good over-the-air signal, he will get the best broadcast quality because it's uncompressed. The key is to be close and within line of site of the main channels.

Watch Richard from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Richard gets frustrated with customer service at Comcast. Leo says that support is expensive and companies are trying to cut support because of it. More and more are just chatbots. That's why Leo goes to the store to talk to real humans.

Watch Mike from San Diego, CA Comments

Mike's XBox One is losing its Wi-Fi connection after about an hour. It won't even work with a hard wire. Leo says it could be a bad Wi-Fi radio, but that wouldn't have anything to do with the ethernet chip. There could be an issue with the DHCP host protocol. DHCP assigns IP addresses and they are dynamic, so they can expire.

Leo says it's a known issue on the XBox. If he Googles the issue, it comes up as a common problem. There's some suggestions on how to work around it. If he reboots the router and it fixes it, that will point to the issue. TomsHardware.com has an article about this issue here.

Watch Susan from Hemmit, CA Comments

Susan is looking to get a new laptop and she's thinking of a Chromebook. Leo says a Chromebook is a great choice. She wants one that can run Android apps. Leo says that most do that, but she'll want to get one with a touch screen since Android apps are driven by touch.

Watch Trevor from Hawthorne, CA Comments

Trevor says that if you're having trouble with your router, look for a router firmware upgrade. That often fixes connectivity problems.

Trevor is thinking of getting a curved 4K OLED TV. Leo says that there's no benefit to a curved TV. In fact, the design flaw of the curve is that a reflection will spread across the entire screen. On top of that, it's awful for people watching on the sides. It's all just marketing. He should get a flat screen.

What about 4K? Is it worth it? Leo says that there isn't a lot of content, and there's none over-the-air. Some are still broadcasting in 720p. It looks great on Blu-ray, and even Netflix's 4K streaming looks great. There's also a handful of manufacturers making the panels, so he'll lose out on software and chipsets. The cheaper the TV, the worse the upscaling. So he'll get what he pays for. He's also paying the nameplate premium. That's why Leo also recommends Vizio. He'll get more bang for his buck.

Watch Tom from Warren, OH Comments

Tom has an iPod Touch and wants to know if he can do anything on it like Facetime. Leo says sure. It's essentially an iPhone without the phone. So Tom will be able to do VOIP and video calling. He can use apps like Tango, Skype, Viber and several others. He'll have to buy credits to call regular numbers.