Ask Leo! #603 – Racing Bases, Changing Email, Sniffing Traffic, Backing Up Photos, and more…

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The Binary "Base Race"

How I started computing before I ever started computing...

Continue Reading: The Binary "Base Race"


The Wrong Way to Change Your Email Address

From time to time, I get emails like this one:

Hello everyone,
Just letting you know we have changed our email address to {email address removed}.
Our old address, {email address removed}, was compromised. Please delete it.
We will stop using our old address immediately.
{name removed}
{new email address removed}

One one hand, that works well for letting your friends and family know that your email address has changed.

On the other hand, there are serious problems with this approach. Let's review the most common ones, and what you should do instead.

Continue Reading: The Wrong Way to Change Your Email Address

Can Hotel Internet Traffic Be Sniffed?

My friend's husband has been getting into her email even though she's not given him her password. He has confronted his sister about an email and when asked how he got into the email he says that where he works (a large hotel chain), they have a program that searches emails for keywords and brings info up. Could that be true? Can they snoop on hotel internet traffic?


Hotel internet security is one of the most overlooked risks travelers face. I'm not just talking wireless – I'm talking any internet connection provided by your hotel.

In fact, I'm actually writing this in a hotel room, and yes, I have taken a few precautions.

Continue Reading: Can Hotel Internet Traffic Be Sniffed?

How to Back Up Photos and Never Lose Them Again

Do you back up photos and video?

Everyone with a smartphone has a camera, and they're using 'em right and left to snap photos and shoot videos. Add to that numerous digital cameras, from inexpensive to professional, and you've got a lot of digital media being created every day.

A lot of it isn't getting backed up.

Let's remember the goal: never have only a single copy of your photographs.

If there's only a single copy, it's not backed up.Tweet this!

Continue Reading: How to Back Up Photos and Never Lose Them Again


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Glossary Term


Binary is a number system that uses only two digits: 0 and 1.

Because there are only two digits, each position in a binary number represents a power of two as you move from right to left.

  • 1 represents two to the "zeroth" power, or … 1.
  • 1x represents two to the first power, or 2.
  • 1xx represents two to the second power, or 4.
  • 1xxx represents two to the third power, or 8.
  • and so on …

So the binary number 0111 actually represents what we would call seven: 4+2+1.

A single digit is referred to as a bit.

Binary numbers are pretty much the definition of digital computing. Everything is stored on digital computers as binary numbers – in other words, everything is stored as zeros and ones.

And by everything, I do mean everything: text, video, music, pictures, documents, PowerPoint presentations, webpages, glossary definitions, and occasionally even numbers are represented as nothing more than a collection of zeros and ones.

Glossary Terms are featured selections from The Ask Leo! Glossary.
Have a term you'd like defined? Submit it here.

Featured Comments

Windows 10 Behaves Like Malware

Ron Tweed writes:

I was away from one of my computers running Windows 7 for a few hours, and when I returned I was greeted with "Welcome to Windows 10." I may have previously closed the nagware box Leo mentions using the upper right "X" box, thinking it was a negative action.

I was offered the opportunity to return to Windows 7, which I immediately did. The return took quite a while (which was a waste of my time), but was completed successfully, with no apparent problems to date.

John Candy writes:

Yep - my Dell Vostro 1510 laptop running Windows 7 automatically upgraded to Windows 10 while I was typing a new email. But under Windows 10 my Dell bluetooth mouse kept freezing. Microsoft advised my laptop was not on the list (of compatible Dell laptops). They took remote control and rolled me back to Windows 7. Failed. Startup errors. They tried to create a Windows 7 bootable flashdrive (on a 2nd laptop I have). They could not create it. Now 4 days with no business computer. Getting desperate. Finally Microsoft advised to reboot off my original Windows 7 CD. Succeeded but lost all programs and emails and appointment calendar (lots of important business emails).

Leo - thanks for the continual backup lectures. Used my most recent Reflect image backup to recover just about everything - although I had to pay my IT guy $97 to overcome Administrator access issues and merge multiple recovered email .PST (email) files. Got most data back, reloading programs as needed, currently sifting through 400 new emails we recovered, working over the weekend to get up to date.

Not happy Microsoft.

Is there any talk of a class legal action? If so, I am in for about $2k lost productivity.

Eleanor writes:

Leo, thank you so much for this article. My daughter turned on her desktop PC after returning from vacation last week, then left the room to do some household tasks while the computer warmed up. When she got back, the computer was in the process of installing Windows 10. She had automatic updates disabled and she hadn't even touched the keyboard, so there was no way she had triggered the installation. It was already 85% completed and she was afraid she would damage the computer, a six-year-old custom built PC, so she let it continue. Unfortunately, when it was done, she found her older software wouldn't work and several of her files wouldn't open. In addition, she was getting repeated error messages, "IRQL Unexpected Value," and there was a strange hum coming out of her speakers. Microsoft kept telling her she needed to update her drivers/browsers/software, but after several attempts she continued to receive a blue screen with error messages. Worse, the computer began abruptly crashing. My daughter is a professional digital animator and not only needs this PC to do her work, but she has a large number of files stored on it, and she admitted to me she hadn't backed up a number of the more recent ones. (Yes, I fixed that by getting her an external storage drive.)

My PC skills are only intermediate beginner, but I followed your instructions and also checked the comments for additional tips. Voila, I restored Windows 7 to my kid's computer. No crashes, no humming, no error messages. I am ready to join the class action suit against Microsoft anytime, however.

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