Ask the Patch Pro: Local Techies Answer Your Questions

Our panel of experts are waiting in the comments to answer your questions in the latest installment of Ask the Patch Pro.

It's time for another edition of Ask the Patch Pro, where each week we tackle a different topic and open up the comments section for questions.

Our team of experts stop in to help you out and answer your questions. This week we're talking all about electronics. It's the season of giving and chances are, you probably have some fancy technology to cross off your holiday shopping lists. Patch wants to help find the answers to all your questions about Blue-ray players, iPads, smartphones and television sets, but we needed a little help.

We've compiled a team of experts to help us out. Meet the experts:

  • Scott Bonner: Library Tech
  • Joe Balsarotti : Software to Go
  • Tim Grimes: Apple
  • Jeremy Plack: Local Web Developer
  • Philip Scherry: IT Support
  • Dave Durham: Digital Hobbyist
  • Shani Minner: Verizon Manager
  • Karl Frank Jr.:  Owner of Karl Frank Jr. Computers
  • Sven White: Sales at Schiller's
  • Mark Giannotti: IT Business
  • Mary Baum: Web Developer
  • Mike Wilkerson: Professional Blogger/Podcaster/New Media Educator
  • Ian Ranney:Android Mobile Development/Analytical Report Development
  • Ken Tucker: Owner Changescape Web/Co-chair St. Charles County Chambers of Commerce Technology Committee

If you have a technology related questions, ask below in our comment section and one of our experts will answer!  If you consider yourself a local expert and would like to be added to the list, let us know! jordan.lanham@patch.com

Karl Frank Jr. November 29, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Joe, I said I wouldn't buy an AMD processor. :)
SGB November 29, 2012 at 06:43 PM
One vital point not yet mentioned is that a few of the big competitors are backed by big online stores that provide most of the value. The Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 are the two that look the best to me, and what I would buy if I were buying today. They are backed by the Google Play store, which means lots of applications, most of them inexpensive, but not much in the way of books. This can be mitigated by getting the Kindle app, which opens up the books from Amazon, the best and most affordable e-bookstore online, in my opinion. The Nexus devices are also very flexible and customizable, and are constantly getting new features - perfect if your daughter is tech-savvy. The iPad is a similar situation. The iBook store has a lot of books, but they are pricey, and still no where near as many as Amazon, or with as many exclusive tittles, since Amazon has a massive direct e-publishing business. But, again, the Kindle app will help. ITunes has the biggest selection of apps, but, like everything else at Apple, you will pay a higher price and be very limited in what you can do outside of their ecosystem. If your daughter is doing well financially, and is not technologically savvy, the iPad is a perfect choice. The Kindle Fire tablets give you the best reading experience among the tablets, in my opinion, and access by default to the Amazon store, including things like borrowing from a large library of free books. However, the app store is strong but second tier.
SGB November 29, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Part 2 (due to character limitations): If your daughter really wants to just read books, the eInk, black-and-white ereaders are much lighter, more book-like, and easier on the eyes, not to mention cheaper. The actual reading experience is much better on these simple devices. What you loose is the vast app ecosystem -- no Angry Birds -- and other computer-like functions. Amazon has a slew of them that all rate very well. Among them, I'd be inclined toward the Paperwhite for its built-in reading light. However, the Nook is just as good, with the also sizable (though not as impressive as Amazon) Barnes and Noble ebook store behind it. There are other options, like the Kobo, that offer a lot of flexibility instead of a massive online store, so that you can use what you buy elsewhere, just transferring it over. There are also lots of really, really cheap tablets and eink devices out there. I would avoid them. Most of them are little bundles of frustration. Whichever ereader or tablet you get, make sure it is compatible with the Overdrive system, so your daughter can borrow lots of books for free from her local library. You can find a list of compatible devices (tons of them, including all I've mentioned) from our Overdrive page at overdrive.mlcstl.org -- look on the help pages for a list of compatible devices. I could rattle on for hours on this, since dealing with these devices is what I do as a librarian. Stop by the Richmond Heights Library if you want more.
SGB November 29, 2012 at 06:58 PM
If you want something as smooth, intuitive, and quick as the iPhone, look for an Android phone that runs the latest version, called Jelly Bean. They made huge improvements in in speed and fluidity, and introduced a lot of impressive features like paying for things with your phone (in some models) and phenomenal maps. If you get any Nexus phone (like the most recent Nexus 4), you can also be sure that, as Google improves the operating system, you will get those improvements right away. With other phones, when you get the improvements depends on when the carrier wants to give them to you.
SGB November 29, 2012 at 07:03 PM
If the Nexus 7 is still too small, there's also the Nexus 10 or the iPad or the Galaxy 10, all with 10 inch screens. Keep in mind that handling something too big might also be problematic, depending on his motor skills. The 7 inch size is probably what you want to look for. Since he is used to the Apple ecosystem, look also at the new iPad Mini. Of all those, I would also recommend the Nexus 7, for most band for the buck while still being in the right size category.
SGB November 29, 2012 at 07:07 PM
The question is really too big for me to even get started, not knowing what you need. I would just say this -- the growth and excitement in the tech world is around tablets. They may be able to do what you need. Check out the new tablets running Windows 8. They are the best positioned to give you a good tablet experience while also giving you all the power and flexibility of Windows. The upcoming Surface Pro looks like it will be a phenomenal tablet while still retaining the main thing that laptops offer above tablets -- a full operating system (Windows 8), the full Office suite, and a good keyboard.
PaulRevere November 29, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Mark: If you already have a PC running XP or above, You Don't necessarily need a new PC just for Video editing. You should be looking for "video editing SOFTWARE." Google video editing software and try any of those coming up ,(Most have free trials) Find one you like. If it works on your current PC , then decide if you really need a new PC. At that point , any HP PC should suffice. Any off-shelf computer store would accommodate your needs. If you are a member of Costco, then go there. If you really want a good price, "TIGER DIRECT" on internet is my computer store of choice. I have used them for 8 years without fault.
PaulRevere November 29, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Laurie: I will assume the CD is a commercial CD that has no loose labels that are preventing the Ejection. So, if you have a loose stickem CD label, that could be your problem. If the CD drawer makes an open attempt , then you have a stuck label. If there is no open attempt from the CD drawer, then run a PLAY MY DVD program . They all have an eject click. Or Run Nero or Roxio or any BURN Cd program. They all have an eject button --click it. Finally, you can shut down the computer, Start it up and wait 5 seconds, then PRESS THE CD ROM EJECT BUTTON ON YOUR CD PLAYER.
Elizabeth Freeman November 29, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Kalen, A great Android on the market right now that offer you speed, battery life, and size would be the Motorola Razr Maxx HD. It is a Verizon branded phone that will give you a 4.2" HD high resolution touch screen with up to 21 hours of battery. It runs off the Verizon 4G network so you have the fastest coverage in the most places. It outpaces many Androids on the market right now. Shani Minner ASM Verizon Wireless 11493 Olive Blvd Creve Coeur, MO 63141 314-993-4300 x 3 www.verizonwireless.com
Susan Geerling November 29, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Hi Laurie, I had a similar problem recently with my MacBook. My MacBook does not have a hole to poke in a paper clip, andrestarting and holding the mouse key down didn't work either. Nothing else I tried worked, so my tech-genius son gave me this tip: -click on the magnifying glass in the top right corner of the screen -type in the word: Terminal -scroll down and click on the Terminal icon in that menu window -type in: drutil tray eject (don't erase the other stuff) -press the return key and your disc should come out I hope this helps. It worked for me!
Kathleen Griswold November 29, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I just purchased a new Dell Inspiron 660 desktop w/ Windows 8. Had a problem downloading iTunes (said current version 10.7 not compatible w/ Windows 8, but did get it downloaded). Backed up my songs on an external hard drive, but now can't figure out how to transfer them to new computer, and iTunes will not play any of my songs except 1, although they are all showing in iTunes window, saying original file not located. Will iTunes 11 correct this problem? Thanks!
JK November 29, 2012 at 09:48 PM
I have a newer Toshiba Satellite w/Windows 7 with upgrade offer of Windows 8. A few weeks ago I went through the steps to upgrade. A few days later my computer shut down by its self and restarted. Now the Windows 8 Icons just spin when clicked and never open into the application (except for games; which works). How do I fix this?
Joe Balsarotti November 29, 2012 at 10:56 PM
iTunes does not allow for copying files in that manner for copyright reasons (you are supposed to deauthorize one machine, authorize the other (or whatever verbage Apple uses). However, you can 'trick it' by copying over the entire folder tree, not just the songs, then setting the file location in preferences to match where you put them. The reason you see the list, is that the index is there but the song file location is wrong.
Joe Balsarotti November 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM
I do hope you backed up all your data before attempting the W8 upgrade. Most ,likely, you have some application loaded which is not W8 compatible. Probably an anti-virus or security program that you did not remove prior to the upgrade attempt. This will probably require wiping and restoring the machine to factory condition, then running the upgrade again before you load your applications and data, unfortunately. You may want to bring this to a professional, especially if you have data you need off of it.
Nancy Luetzow November 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM
For my new laptop I have the option to purchase Win 8 for just $14.99. I've seen differing reviews of the software. What do you know about any major bugs, and how do you rate its user-friendliness for a mostly tech-savvy user who does not own a smart phone (i.e. is not conversant with touch-screen technology and apps)? Are there major advantages to switching from 7 to 8? My husband does not think it's a good idea to "upgrade" to Win 8. Thank you for your thoughts and advice.
SGB November 30, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I suspect you aren't getting responses because what you described sounds like a really serious problem, fundamental failure of the operating system. My first impulse is to think you will have to reinstall Windows 8, so get that validation key ready, but I really don't know. You may need more expert help than I can give over the internet. The good news is, if you do have to reinstall W8, they make it phenomenally easy and quick, and in most cases can do so without losing any of your data. Still, back up first, just in case.
John Feely November 30, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Thank you to all who posted helping me decide what type of laptop to buy. I especially appreciate Mr. Frank's specific recommendations. Yes, I am shopping for a mobile laptop that operates the Windows system.
Scott Simon November 30, 2012 at 01:39 AM
You want good graphics processing in your laptop? AMD beats Intel.
Kathleen Griswold November 30, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Thanks, Joe. I don't really know what to do. I don't know where to copy the folder tree, if I even have one. Every folder I open is either empty or has other types of files. I can't find a folder where the songs are stored. And, now I can't seem to download itunes 11 either.
Philip Scherry November 30, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I'm thinking you need to re-run the Windows 8 install CD.
Kathleen Griswold November 30, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Thank you, Joe. I recopied my .mp3 files to an external hard drive, then copied them to iTunes and My Music folder on the new computer. Also was able to finally download iTunes 11, which is probably still buggy, but I have my tunes back. Thanks for your help!!
Chris Mezines November 30, 2012 at 07:44 PM
A few weeks ago I purchased a desktop computer. It runs on Windows 7. It clearly runs much faster than my old Celeron XP based desktop. I do have some unexpected issues connecting to the Internet. Instead of reaching a requested website I frequently get one of three error messages; "Unable to Connect" or "Server Not found" or "Yahoo Error Message 404 - Page Not found". Lenovo customer support suggested I delete all cookies which I did but it made no difference. Charter cable says I have a good connection. I almost never had this problem with my prior desktop. Any suggestions?
Karl Frank Jr. November 30, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Chris, what internet browser program are you using? Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.?
Joe Balsarotti November 30, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Chris, to get to the bottom of this quickly, you should bring this into a repair shop who can connect it to their network and find out if it is the machine, or your home network. Without being able to eliminate one or the other, you'll be wasting a lot of time on this one. Especially if it is a wireless network.
Joe Balsarotti November 30, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Glad you got it working, Kathleen, Enjoy!
Joe Balsarotti November 30, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Nancy, If you like the Windows you are familiar with, stay away from W8. It is a 'new world' and takes a fair amount of time to get up to speed on. You'll need to verify that all the programs you have and want to use work in W8. If you like 'new' things and have spare time, W8 might be fun for you. Again, like my other W8 comment, be sure to back up all your data before attempting the upgrade. There is no going back, except a complete wipe and restore.
Karl Frank Jr. December 02, 2012 at 09:20 PM
More tablet information. I follow Lifehacker.com and it generally has great info. I agree with all five recomendations. http://m.lifehacker.com/5964800/five-best-android-tablets
Karl Frank Jr. December 03, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Here is everything you ever wanted to know about the five best phones available in 2012. 5 Pages long: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/12/the-state-of-the-smartphone/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arstechnica%2Findex+%28Ars+Technica+-+All+content%29
Karl Frank Jr. December 05, 2012 at 12:21 AM
It looks like Nexus 7 wins for tablets at Lifehacker. http://m.lifehacker.com/5965442/most-popular-android-tablet-nexus-7
Kitty Scholten December 07, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Hi Laurie, The simplest solution would be to make an appointment at your local Apple Store. Their technical support is called the "Genius Bar" and appointments are free. If there is a repair that needs to be made, they quote it in advance. Just remember that you do need an appointment in advance. Walk-ins usually have to wait a while.


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