Joy wants to know what firmware is? Leo says that firmware is the software that a computer or device uses to operate its system. It's software that is protected because you need it to run the actual device so that the software can translate instructions that the device understands.
Bob is looking for software that can test all his network switches to see which is going bad. Leo says that there is an article on Tom's Hardware on how to test network switches. That includes some software to test it. GL Communications makes software ethernet and packet checker called Packet Check.
Frank is wondering what software he should use to simply edit together video clips. Leo says that any editor will do this. There are some free ones. VEGAS Movie Studio will work, but he should edit it together before he re-encodes the video in Handbrake. Otherwise he's compressing what is already compressed. He should start with the best quality video files he has.
David got some iZotope software from the LAPostProduction Users group for restoring audio and he needs to upgrade it. Is there an alternative that isn't so expensive? Leo says that iZotope is the standard and it comes with free plugins, but the freebies are usually very limited. VST is the standard for the plugins they use, so if he can find some VST plugins, and there are thousands of them, he can use those.
Ed created a PDF document, but it's been updated and he can't access it because the software is costly now. Leo says the best way to protect his documents is by using "Print to PDF." Adobe Reader is free. Microsoft has a PDF printer that's also free.
Dan wants to know if there's an app that will automatically look at his bank account and divide up his expenses to categorize them for taxes. Leo says that spreadsheets were designed with a database feature which will certainly do that. All he needs to do is set it up. There are also spreadsheet templates for Excel and others which are likely available to do what he wants. Leo also says that it may be worth doing with Mint. It's free and has a lot of automatic features.
The chatroom recommends SimplePlanning.net.
Carey wanted to mention that a friend of his had a photo of her and her husband at a koy pond. Carey used Pixelmator and Luminar to touch up the photo, and then ordered a print of it from Fracture, a company that prints photos on glass. This is just more evidence that there are good alternatives to Adobe Photoshop.
(Disclaimer: Fracture is a sponsor).
Sam uses an iPad Pro and is a web developer. Is there a good Windows version of Coda to create apps for the Windows platform? Leo says that Atom is a good one, but it creates web apps and she'll need to have a browser built into her app. It would make it cross platform, though. Electron is the language. It also uses a lot of the tools that Coda does.