CNET to the Rescue Ep. 30: Computing in a crowdEvery year we go to CES, and every year we have problems: Not enough AC power, failing WiFi, press conferences where we can't find a place to sit and do our reporting. This week, we reveal how we (try to) get around these constraints, and how the lessons...
Hi everyone and welcome to cede it to the rescue our weekly connection -- -- handle your. Vexing technology issues tell you little bit about the problems and that we have solved and how we manage to. -- with the tech issues of today joining me today return of Josh -- and this week -- -- to be back the to have you back. Happy 2011 -- as one in one. Well hello there were upstart that's here little flow via -- what -- the reasons we're a little slow is because we just got back from CES the consumer electronic show. Your first one is my first -- the -- -- I did like my ninetieth. I've had to motivate it's -- the years since I was -- little pop. A -- as they say I can imagine like the president the lake every year you're doing it yeah you just get out much older. Yet now your hair will be great by the time next year. Anyway -- Foley would start out this first 2011. -- it to the rescue by talking about how we survive tech -- technologically. At CES -- the things we did at CES this year every year we try to do more more more -- better coverage of things we did this here was needed. A ton of life covered so we were -- blogging. Well the major press conferences. As -- doing a lot of video streaming in this meant that all our reporters and editors who -- normally go to a meeting go back. You know and write something up. Were there in many cases in the -- trying to write and broadcast their their stuff that using covered -- live blogging tool in real time. This presents a whole host of problems and I wanna talk about how we did this now you might think is all inside -- below only reporters need to do this kind. But you know a lot of people out there you go to conferences. And you -- corpses you know made the sales conferences or industry conferences or whatever. And the problems that you have at CES may be don't have -- as bad elsewhere at the thought of such sales conference or whatever but you do have these issues. You go to a hotel conference room. You'd sit and in a big auditorium a thousand other people you open your laptop thinking -- going to be covering live reporting back to somebody back at the office. Whatever it is and nothing works so how'd he get around these issues. There we're gonna talk about that starting right now that we'll get your questions. Of which we have some really good interest in one's. And Josh and I were -- that's yet to talk about first. How we thought -- the -- so first of all what you assume. Is this you'll have no power. You'll have no bandwidth. You have no please sit and you'll have no way to think because you -- -- crammed in with everybody else than with how we solve these things that start first. With the hardware. Now Josh what is your like. The go to machine for you for covering an event like that. Well ideally you -- to any case it's yes I did have two it came in to -- Chinese to laptops and now is eating pork shoulders. It's yeah I feel really horrible still need -- two -- massage it did everything right -- place. So that the most important thing was just having a back up with something if you can do that that's Korea obviously -- business people you don't parent to laptops and I've been trapped and but -- -- that we're about something is always gonna go wrong and that's what happened for our photographer who did not have enough -- that we had to borrow mine. -- really yes -- though how embarrassing and and luckily I have the right software installed everything worked out okay but I mean that redundancies is key factor if anything can fail line it's easy enough to bring a second one do it -- -- this is especially important -- like memory cards that you're taking pictures -- on vacation -- street view. It's one lost there's in the dark and they never found out where was -- -- really yes. But a large memory card -- was like oh man largest in large capacity or large cat -- with an SD card yes those are smaller -- -- ago yes yes. Tracks through this period probably on -- with the issue like -- ago yes now you took an error with your MacBook Air right yes how -- that work out -- a traveling note taking machine I was terrific -- the the MacBook Air which this is a loner but it's very tiny it's very late obviously works. You know. As as well as notebook a couple years old and keeping for me was the battery life. I got about six hours on -- charged and then it would charge up to about 80% in amateur hour and a half percent of that not only doesn't have a long long charged with a quick recharge -- I -- a lot computers don't. Right this is pretty particular though lithium ion batteries in something like the iPhone or any modern its mark and you get it from a -- -- 80% charge and an hour yet. And some that with the battery to passing this -- it's Mary kind of at similar fast charge and and for something where you you really really don't know how much time -- -- to charge -- in some cases like. Half an hour maybe twenty minutes. -- -- that kind of back back up to that topples. Very very important. You know -- my solution for battery issues that they don't have a -- air is I haven't -- two or three year old MacBook. Which gets you know between two and four hours of battery life depending. Is to bring an extension cord with me. Now when you're a ballroom the power outlets there are they're always powerless -- -- from the -- -- can't find them you know under the carpet -- things. But they're always on the site violence in on the edge try to get there as early as I can sit on the edge plug in my extension -- -- -- in the -- the now. This means couple things first of all. Bring an extension -- most people don't secondly. And I learned this is the one thing and it might -- this year that I've never done before him what a difference -- -- a small roll of duct tape. Seriously he can take your extension cord down to the fourth of people are tripping over it all the time. Yes secondly at the end of the extension -- either you want a multi outlet extension -- not just the one to one or the you know one of those 3131 or five -- adapters so you can plug in multiple things. This way. You can share your power with your seat mates or your co workers -- are next -- you and you make friends really fast and you can provide -- power. It's not a useful for mankind out some cables that might be. Hanging dangerously over the table. Yet -- -- occasionally go to conferences and I mean it's business conference and stuffed -- you'll see is there were those of the white fire in the ethernet -- answer. -- -- -- Ethernet cores are are stretch on our getting off topic here with slightly when it comes to being a coverage is one of the things that they they they -- that I've seen -- -- a hundred times. If you go to conference and if there's enough room. Don't set up not just chairs and tables in front of the chairs they can put your laptop on -- work. And then just to make it all professional -- these big jugs of water there on the thick ice water generally right. With ice cubes in it. And then somebody front with a big in a laptop by bad -- walk by and not the ice water into three people's -- and computers at the same time the first thing I do a conference -- they take that I toward jug and a move somebody -- table could I don't wanna be the one with ice water in their lap. Mark just -- all right now. You're gonna need to take notes which means you need note taking software which means you need. Off line software all the stuff about cloud computing and all that. Forget your Wi-Fi it's gonna fail your three G airport -- gonna fail so -- I use Evernote with sync system to get online. Or you could use word or notepad or whatever but forget Google docs. For now yet. -- -- bring offline thing back to later this year there. -- know what else we'll talk about -- yet communications the big one he let me tell you what happened -- cut and cover the Intel Core. I snuck into the conference -- early okay. There were millions of people lined up outside on one side of the -- -- -- what are the other segments market -- the setting up and got everything set up -- duct -- down everything like -- I just looked at my name badge off. So I just look like an employee and sitting there just wait and quietly. And my wife -- -- up cover live launched links on. I am working back there. Control HQ everything's going fine everybody comes in sets up Wi-Fi dies so I have a backup. I have my sprint overdrive -- -- part I -- in authority plugged in. -- to switch my MacBook over from Wi-Fi at forgy. And that doesn't work because everybody did exactly the same thing. Everything fail I had no communications the guys next to me they were on sprint and after ten minutes one of the guys next meets print cards start to work. So the solution Josh got -- -- and helps -- for that yes the persistent. Hopefully that's one I you know Las Vegas might not be the best example that beacons that it literally -- the worst yet connectivity at this happens at every conference I go to yes. I'm you know obviously backups it's it's important -- and we went -- that are going to redundancy you have another way to get online bring it. And and try it right but it don't students don't work right so -- -- is this your you're going to a conference. Header urgent need he is your friend so now normally what happens with. If we if you're working with a bunch of people year old on the thing -- though you know you'll have the same you all the same Thinkpads and dells or HPCs or Macs and you've all got whatever you know. Verizon T-Mobile sprint Kart whatever so you all go there and if that network doesn't work and all that once. Listen I keep people that the way to solve this problem is to have multiple -- -- three people go to -- conference that should have three different. Cellular plans that way -- Felton who work -- to -- -- that'll ever happen but still. OK. Com. Finally any other west towards advice for get -- listener questions cherry future did you work at a crowded conference via an airport lounge or -- pretty good parent and it's like when you're right now now maybe a little bit better -- authors a little north -- -- airplane headphones. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- The -- over I don't parents Anheuser each -- which were I think about sixty box Andy block him more noise than the Bose noise canceling headphones and you just look idiotic as their studio headphones. But they are just fantastic I -- in years but blocking not like Apple. Phones -- -- don't block anything but I think there's an interest two -- they're not expensive like 34 bucks in his -- easier to -- And they block out sound. Now the one thing is. On noise canceling headphones is not what you want. -- noise canceling headphones -- repeating noise like engine drones or homes for things like that but you'll hear everybody next few talk. Though they're good for making -- sound less stressful and annoying but they don't actually. Block out what you want blocked out which of the world people want to hear them are. We have some questions let's start with a voice -- question from Ted the teacher. Theory -- -- the teacher from Oakland and looked it up with your show about cutting the cord. Com just wanted to check in and tell you that. We recently just got a PS3. With moved. -- and we're using -- with Netflix and Hulu and I'm amazed that the outlook. Acceptance factor is really high on it. C. Really appreciate the the ability to play games as well as -- Netflix and Hulu and that didn't -- the interface and it's it's -- least geeky kind of rig deck that are rigged up I was looking at doing box the year wanted to include things but. One -- are interested in learning more about. Is. Setting up but -- that -- being. Existing. Hard drive but I outline around I wonder how -- will -- the best choice. Because it would be really great to be able to. Access all the files on my hard drive via the -- -- there are pretty much make it a perfect. Set top box so he could help out that it really appreciate it thanks and keep up network until our -- Thanks for the call -- The and -- -- the voter confidence on the PS3 and from looking at one of those. As far as the in the question of the pulled the plug. Basically the public he EU's that's gonna take a -- network attached storage drive. To pull the plug -- a little thing that plugs into your network and has USB. Ports on it and you plug hard drives into that external hard drives or mount hard drive. And the puts them on your network it's a great little device that -- home I really like it and to answer your question yes. If you put. A -- plug on the same network with your PS3. It will be able to see. The drives on. That are attached the -- plug and then you can -- -- media often that's of critical. Also if you just have a computer you can install any application called beaver city. And is very popular one missiles stream any thing and if it doesn't if it's not compatible format -- -- for you on the fly which is really nice it's free. -- -- -- We got a call from Alex. Something I've never been told is what exactly are the differences between adware malware and spyware. Do they each require their own specific types of cleaners I have -- per -- antivirus and Windows Defender and firewall as well as advanced system cleaner should -- add more protection. Should I disable what I have and go elsewhere. What are your recommendations. With an interest in question first. Just what you -- I think that's what. Chair so I did Thurston kind of fuzzy hints on the terminology a because there's overlap -- beauty is you -- the very popular kind of buzz words. So long and short of it. Adware is software that displays advertisements on your computer. Malware -- any software that has access to your computer without knowing it and spyware -- -- what you're doing and reports that to a third party. So Seth Rosenblatt -- It's on the show quite frequently what -- we did a show on security with them yes he cover this back -- -- -- called -- security secrets. I'm and he hasn't answered this person says most reputable in a virus software they provides combined anti virus anti spyware malware solution. Kaspersky is on the better ones of these. Although Norton Trend Micro -- AVG in a faster also excellent. And depending on which version BEE you're using a basic for his pro or in the version -- -- -- -- -- -- -- In -- to come with a firewall. Still Windows 7 Windows Defender the default firewall is actually quite good at blocking incoming traffic. The default firewall in this the next -- requires some assistance button -- -- that he uses Windows Defender as a firewall on its Windows 7 computer. Us this first system cleaning does Windows 7 doesn't -- CC cleaner. Four occasional registry -- -- her tracks clearing. So that it's your question. Yeah so he's actually on the right track but those like yes yes great. Chris -- -- -- says some. My wife and I have differing opinions and how to maximize -- laptop battery life can you give us some info on how to care and feed them and how to maximize integration. I rare I rarely use my left my battery and almost always keep my laptop plugged in when they do use that the battery lasts an okay time but. Three or more hours if an HP laptop about a year -- my wife however. I treats it like it's oxygen if but he said as as I type this I look over and see her -- -- unused and unplug and standby mode for battery last jets minutes perhaps thirty. She looks as this and as it as it is something that just gets replaced frequently her laptop -- two year old -- so what's your take. On batteries use them frequently or only when needed charge them all the time or doesn't matter any advice and give would be great. Well this is an interest in question and as we looked into this issue we got very differing advice from different vendors. What I know about batteries and when I treat them is that. The real issue is the charging software on your computer. The chemistry of lithium ion batteries is. You have to mind that although not nearly as much has yet combined -- nine cats which if you would develop -- -- called memory effect -- horrible. Lithium ion batteries don't like to be run down all the way. Least that's what I've learned nor do they like to be charged up their Macs and patent and there. Now most laptops. Which in my experience includes thinkpad -- -- manage this pretty well. The batteries -- decay over time but the laptops will make sure that they're not -- in the thing all the way up and that they don't let the batteries -- down all the way this is in fact what Tesla card. It doesn't charge it up all the way and it never lets it go to the apps -- zero because that's where the that the lithium ion batteries start to get -- So. Josh you edit your take on this is lots. I mean easy we remember this is like a nightclub. You're -- at the bar your on the dance floor but if you the united one -- too long you're not -- -- good time. If the some manufactures like Apple -- -- to the rescue mission hunt unreal day. The manufacturers like Apple offer specific instructions on -- care particularly letting it run down once a month which Dell actually that's not that it. Apple notebooks also calibration process that lets you. -- to the end of the charged -- -- for several arsenic have reset the calibration. Software on the battery itself. Dell has -- battery FAQ page which will be good kids you have. Your wife's machine is -- dale and the they tell you what to deal -- not view. And how to buy new batteries if you -- which you will yes. If you're going to the funny thing is a lot of people get laptops and then they use them as desktops and hardly ever go to the battery -- can take the battery out it would be fine in fact. That's not a bad idea. Charge it up take it out let it sit for a while. That will the batteries will decay over time -- -- they'll just lose their charge. Having them you know active on the charger all the time isn't always the best thing to do Apple says you know keep it at -- 50% charge mean how you do that I don't know. Except for charging and up to that eighty images taken -- letting it sit for couple weeks. -- -- If you are doing that I mean it if you do you have -- laptop that you media looked at to monitor and keyboard you never actually taken off for good solution is used by UP answer. Power supply with some sort of you know -- -- and and just take the battery out run a lot how about battery. I guess or are these -- -- one or get a machine that doesn't have stupid charging software and -- Thinkpads. You know they will as the batteries age fuel adjustment like that most modern. Computers will do that. Let's see. A problem of the future. All of these in that moment. I half of my luggage going to CES with batteries at. Yet. And I still the power cord with me and I forgot my -- you know the great thing about them. Homogeneity of of products is that if you forget your charger yours your buddy from work we'll have that same. We'll be able to -- off their charger in the fight an HP -- got a Dell were both at the well one forget surcharge and or actually. One -- with this but both of Thinkpads rumor that there and view of a Mac you just go to an Apple Store -- -- All right James says I'm starting a new business in trying to figure out my new business tech. I'm planning on using Google for business to host my email counterfeits -- -- I'm looking for an online backup system for my new company. I will have a few -- but lots of files I was trying to figure out using Amazon's S three for my server. But I'm not exactly sure how it works. Can I get software to put on each computer that could act like drop box for even mount the virtual drive there goes my little storage area on the S three server basically have it operate like a cloud version of network attached storage romance. I'm looking for solution that is interoperable with Macs and windows. -- interesting question. If you want have a like a cloud. -- the Sunni and AS UNI is one solution it's -- -- dot com trying to let us know. I don't know why you were switch than having all your files sort of S three at you don't care where they are even on the probably end up on this three. And you don't managed directly look at drop box itself or sugar -- -- both a business plan. -- there's -- box dot net which can be linked -- Google apps account and has desktop sync. In it is is elected to business users but it sounds like -- won't be a problem the street business here. So a couple of solutions there and what's the and you -- -- Williams on epic -- their own kind of planned for that cloud drive and I think they're making enough money from all the other companies out there you are using their services anyway that I trying to undercutting compete with them. -- Amazon's site from the Kindle isn't really a consumer software company. Box dot net drop but you're saying Duluth offer of a backup copies most department cracked by -- -- -- -- I don't know if they're using -- three but on the box that the but -- was probably have or will work to. And Amazon makes money from those guys need to sell -- and -- Martins says. Here's another storage question I'm looking for backup solution -- -- can manage my entire C drive. Or can image my entire C drive to an external USB drive and have the external drive bootable as -- -- the -- drive so if the disaster plug in the USB drive just continue with that. On my Mac -- piece of cake with by the time machine carbon copy corner it's no big deal to boot from the external drive how to I do the same for windows. Well there are. Solutions for that Acronis true image gets good reviews -- you like another one. Yet the -- this copy which is free. Oh -- it's very hard to come from Mac it's a lot of the backup software is totally free -- very fast. But there's not always PC equivalent I forget names of -- snipe I've myself Norton ghost Norton -- and I've used the -- copy from Jesus and all of them in -- to spot is also shadow copy -- which I think doesn't live. So a couple of solutions and also if if you are doing this one things that picked up from new egg at some point I'd totally free in the brand name I think it's like a no name product -- you have these little -- slots it's like it's that eSATA and USB and firewire enclosure. With too little like toaster slots for your hard drives. Yeah it's still when I got -- -- my laptop. Hard drive I just dropped in the old one and open a new one and -- went to another computer and -- this and it's when distributed and copied everything over. Cool you can use from any computer it's a neat little like having your heart to beating outside your body -- have Americans exposed like that all and it's like it but that's a temporary solution yet you have been on separate thing and it's like one prominent every needs -- -- Yeah I got something similar to that for twenty bucks for doing hard drive duplication like that and it's not a posters but things just as -- -- plugs -- Berry's drive interfaces. It to -- it very very handy thing for computer geek hamper around something that we'll just let you take. Any drive you have around -- and convert it to USB drive and in -- closure yet. Terrible idea for long term though just terrible -- you knock in the -- yet you're dead. The final question from Michael -- Akron with a weak are killed and eaten. What -- that had. -- its true. With all the concerns about past were dumped by walker and all I have the urge to change my passwords however how can I delete the old -- which are stored in Firefox and on my laptop. And update them to new also on the last show you mentioned the password manager how would that work well you're meant well we'll put -- in some. The step by step in the show notes but pretty much -- it is pretty simple and Firefox. It's similar in windows the Mac and Firefox go to tools options. Security. Safe passwords and there's a button that says remove all. Put it all your passwords are gone and that has by the way a very good thing to do because. -- the browsers. They're not as bad as -- used to be but they're not the most secure place actually stored passwords. Especially if you have like three years for browsers utility machine via the -- and dangerous again. As part password managers my current pick and it has changed over the years its last pass which. Will import your passwords from Firefox development -- into Firefox and -- all these others it password and yours you'd like an important thing. Do that before you erase them you. Word relies. I've used robo form which is also did I just -- like last breath at the moment just -- -- using. Right now my brain's ability contains all my passwords you have like hash in your brain of a way to take -- site and make it into a password that is the secret that is only in your head count of probably a good idea but now. They're just all there -- and around the Ehrlich played variations whoever one point -- Public apology -- figured out. I. But that's not an invitation either please don't today's challenge no doubt that they like -- -- with a -- Thanks for coming on the show Josh its review that. Thank you for listening to CNET the rescue if you have questions that you would like that the tackle you can email them to rescue at cnet.com. Or call them into -- voicemail mailbox. And automated operator standing by all the time waiting for -- 8774386688. Again. 8774386688. You can catch past episodes and answers. And all the show notes and stuff at cnet.com -- rescue you can find -- -- Twitter. At that rate RA FBI and justice that Josh. I was because -- we think -- of -- By.