Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Monny has a bunch of XP machines that he has to upgrade. Leo says that he doesn't necessarily have to. It is possible to operate XP safely online. Here's what you can do -
Mario downloads music and he wants to know if he'll get sued or arrested for it. Leo says that when he's sharing or downloading, law enforcement doesn't know who he actually is because it's all based on IP addresses. Both the recording industry (RIAA) and the movie industry (MPAA) often have phoney torrents in order to find out what IP addresses are downloading them. Then they have to find out who owns that IP address from the ISP.
Jeanette's son's computer was hacked and she's concerned that her Mac computers will be infected if he connects it to her network. Leo says that she should go into the security system preferences and turn on the computer firewall. That will protect her individual computers inside her network. What about her iPad? Leo says that she doesn't really have to worry about the tablet getting infected. Nobody is writing viruses that can infect an iPad from a Windows PC.
Michael wants to back up all his images onto CDs for safe keeping. He used to use Nero, but it doesn't work on Windows 7. Leo says that Windows may be able to burn it natively. He'll want to format the CD and then drag the files onto it. Then he can select "burn," and it'll be done. Leo says he doesn't put stuff on CDs anymore, he uses the Cloud instead. And with Flickr by Yahoo offering 1TB of free image storage, it's a good option. Also, just having one backup isn't really a backup. Backing up to the cloud is a wise idea.
Walt and is using an old server as a home computer. He uses Alarms.com to monitor his home security system, and it works wired. But when he changes over to the wireless configuration on the camera, one of his cameras will not connect.
Leo says that there may be a DHCP conflict that's preventing it, or the password based security is the issue. He should try turning off security on the router to see if it works. It may be the older camera can't be supported with the newer security standard used by the router.
Rob bought an old church and he's remodeling it. He wants to install Ethernet to create a network in home. Leo says that if Rob wants Internet everywhere, the ideal time to lay down ethernet cable is when the walls are open. However, pretty much everything we do now is wireless. For music, he'll want to do wirelessly. A simple Wi-Fi analysis will show him whether Wi-Fi in his home is crowded or not. If it is, then going back to wired connections is a great idea.
Mark wants to create a media server in his home that he can stream throughout the house. Is there a server that works across multiple platforms that will allow him to go from room to room and remember where he was? Leo recommends Plex. It's based on the XBox Media Center and they've gone well beyond that. And XBMC will remember where he is.
Leo says the problem with new routers is that the software has all sorts of security issues. Since this is the first thing on the network, it's important that it be a secure line of defense.
DD-WRT and Tomato are more secure firmware alternatives to what comes on the router by default. These are both open source, very well written, and are kept up to date. So it is a good idea to replace the router's firmware with DD-WRT, if his router supports it.
Andrew wants to know why OpenDNS is disabled on his network. Leo says it may be that his Mac is set up to do its own DNS. He'll have to go into the internet settings on the Mac and take out any DNS entries that are there. Then he should lock those settings with an administrator password so his kids won't be able to just change the DNS to something else. He should remember that as his kids get smarter, they're going to figure a way around it. So the best thing is to talk to his kids about making good choices.