Donald Bell joins us today for a discussion on LastPass, the password manager that (maybe) got hacked. I rip into the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the tablet given out to attendees of the Google I/O conference. And of course, your questions answered, including what to use instead of an iPod, why your computers will connect to each other but not the Internet, and why Dad can't use a PC.
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Episode 45: Can we still trust LastPass?Password manager LastPass got hacked-- . It appears that LastPass addressed the attack quickly and aggressively. But should you still use it? Rafe explains.
We also recommend, if you have the patience for it, that you use a two-factor password solution, like the LastPass Yubikey option.
Rafe attacks Android Tablets. Donald defends them. Then we kind of switch sides.
Ivan: How do I convince my dad, who wants to learn how to do something on the computer, that he just won't understand it? It's like trying to write an essay without knowing the alphabet. He keeps telling me to write down every step, but I'm sure he won't understand what I'm writing, he doesn't know how to double left click to open a file, nor can drag and drop, which I've taught him before. Of course he forgot. Without some basic computer knowledge, how is he going to learn something that's 10x more difficult and uses all of the things he doesn't know?
Rafe: Listen up, Sonny. Your dad isn't the problem. Anybody can learn to use a computer. The challenge is finding the way to teach. Send your dad to a class at an Apple store, or a local community college. To be fair, sometimes the hardest people in the world to teach are our own parents. So it's not necessarily your fault, either.
Donald: Focus on a motivating task first, not overall theory. That's worked for my mom.
Christopher Green: I'm new to Android (Samsung Captivate on AT&T), and I have the 200MB data plan. How can I best monitor my data usage when I'm not on Wi-Fi so I don't go over my ridiculously low data cap?
Rafe: We couldn't answer this on the show. Here's a useful link we've since discovered...
Donald: 3G Watchdog for monitoring.
Also, rygavss in the chat room advises: There's an app called JuiceDefender that turns off 3G data when you're not actively using the phone so that it can't sync and your data can't be used.
Brian: With a continuously increasing number of ISPs implementing data caps, I was hoping if you could do a round-up of routers that track data usage. I am currently using a Linksys WRT610N, so personally, I'm mostly just looking for a cheap router to be placed between my router and modem. However, other people's needs may vary, and depending on prices and features, I may want to replace the router instead of supplementing mine as well. I understand that most ISPs have a comprehensive site to monitor your usage, but I'm not willing to solely take their word about how much I'm using.
Chris, Orange County: My wife and I used to have separate home offices, so we each had a printer directly attached to our PC's. But we've consolidated the offices, so I bought a networked All In One printer hoping we could share. I selected the HP Officejet Pro 8500A and it is now directly wired via Ethernet to our router.
In reading the instructions it sounds like I need one computer to have all the drivers and act as a print server. Then the other computer can utilize the printer and all of the functions (printing, scanning, faxing). This isn't ideal since I prefer to have our computers in Sleep mode if we aren't actively using them. I'm also worried about turning on any network sharing that isn't absolutely necessary (to avoid leaving holes open for hackers).
I'd much rather have a full set of drivers on both computers, so either has full capabilities (like faxing) while the other is in sleep mode. Do you know if this will work, or will the printer get confused? I thought in spending more for a network-sharable printer I wouldn't be dealing with an issue like this.
Rafe: I'm with you, the advice to set up one computer as a server is nuts. Install the suite on each networked computer. I do this at home with a much older networkable OfficeJet model and it works fine..
Matt: I'm 13 and I manage my parent's business's network. Recently we've gotten about 3 new computers and the problem is that our router only has 5 ports, now we have 8 computers that need Ethernet; I have an extra network switch lying around so I plugged the router into the switch into the 1st port on the switch, however when I turned everything on anything connected to the switch would recognize that it was connected to the network but all I could do was file sharing, no Internet. I tried going into the switch settings and messing with some of them but it didn't help. So how can I get all the computers connected with both file sharing and Internet?
Rafe: I suspect you've got the router connected to the switch instead of the switch connected to the router. It's important the router is what connects to the Internet modem (cable or DSL). So, reverse them. If that's doesn't work, I would surmise that the switch is the culprit, and may not even be a switch. Most switches don't have settings. If yours does, it may not be a switch. You don't need to chain routers together in home of very small office networks.
Mike in Toronto: I have gone through a number of routers (currently using a D-Link DIR-655), but I find that every week or two I have to power cycle them because they have locked up or have become very slow or unresponsive. To be fair, I have a lot of "always on" connections: Wired: Stand-alone NAS, Home Energy Monitor and Home Automation/Control system. Wireless: Print Server, Bridge to my Media Center and an Internet enabled Thermostat. On top of this, I have any number of family laptops, cell phones, iPads and so forth coming and going.
Do you know if this is just how cheap consumer-grade routers operate, or am I killing them with so many connections? If the latter, is there a more robust solution you can recommend? (I'm not sure I want to go so far as dedicating a PC to the task).
The other thing I am considering is a simple mechanical timer on the power supply to cycle it once a day or once a week in the middle of the night.
Rafe: That doesn't make sense. I have had routers that lock up. I replace them. I also have a DIR-655 and I've rebooted it maybe three times in two years or so. It's solid. I think you might have an issue at the ISP.
Mike again: Hey Rafe, I may have answered my own question. Seems this problem is widespread enough that an actual product has been developed to address it. I just ordered one of these.
Rafe: Well that is just cool. Good luck!
Cory Hug, Des Moines, Iowa: Flash-based MP3/media players seem to be the thing these days. Are there still any hard-drive-based MP3/Media players out there other than the iPod Classic? I'm interested in a new MP3 or media player, but I want a hard-drive-based one so I can just always have my entire music collection with me. I know there's still the iPod Classic, but I'm one of those anti-Apple people. Not that I think they're bad products, I just don't like the Orwellian control that Apple keeps over their stuff.
Donald Bell: There's still the old Zune 120, but Microsoft isn't supporting it much anymore and it's arguably even more locked down than the iPod, since it requires Zune software to load content and only works on PC. Also, though it's billed as a tablet, there's the Archos 70 (250GB).
In Apple's defense, they're not as Orwellian these days when it comes to iPod control. Now that they've won the war, I don't think they care. They've moved on to Orwellian app control, which has nothing to do with the iPod Classic. You can use the iPod Classic with anything from Winamp to Songbird. There's a ton of speakers and car stereos that will work with it. The iTunes music store is now DRM free. And you will not find a better device than an iPod when it comes to automatically downloading, deleting, and managing podcasts. Still, I know to some people the old wounds of the MP3 player wars still twinge at the site of an Apple logo.
Cory: I didn't think that the iPod or iTunes supported that format, or does it? If I go with an iPod Classic, will I have to re-rip all my CD's to MP3? (I won't rip to that Apple proprietary format, AAC was it? I need my tunes to stay compatible with Windows Media Center.)
Donald: Nope, your WMA files won't work with an iPod. That's going to be the main deal-breaker. I suggest picking up a Zune 120 as cheap as you can and using that until someone invents the perfect cloud service that will just fingerprint your collection and stream it all to your smartphone on-demand. Microsoft is still going to be using and upgrading its Zune software for a while since it's the basis for their Windows Phone 7 devices.
Obada: I have a question about my home theater. I currently live in an apartment where I can run the wires by the walls (rear speakers). I am planning to move to a bigger apartment but I cannot run the wires the way I do it now since segments will be exposed in doorways and corridors! The only way to do it is to run the wires for the rear speakers in the middle of the room partially below the rug and have few segments exposed! My wife is against using tape to cover the wires (I understand and agree!). Is there a way to wirelessly connect the parts? Reliable? Other ideas?
Donald: Wireless kits exist, but you still need to run power to the speakers to make the RF transmitter work. See the Rocketfish kit. As an alternate solution, you could compromise with a virtual surround sound bar system.
Rafe: A buddy of mine runs flat speaker cable under his rugs. Look up Invisiwire.