Stacey wants to know if a Chromebook can run Microsoft Office functions. Leo says that it can run Google Docs, but it won't run Windows apps like Office. Google Docs has a spreadsheet program that's almost as good as Excel, though. She's also having trouble using the trackpad. Leo says to just buy a mouse, plug it in via USB, and it'll be just like a desktop.
Alan wants to know how to find a reputable computer tech. Leo says thats the conundrum, because there are a lot out there. It's also hard to find because it's hard to make good money. All the good guys are getting swooped up by startups. There is Geek Squad and Nerds On Call. Leo's heard bad stories from the Geek Squad, though. The Apple Store works by design, because they keep it all in house. Leo says that the prices are so low on computers now, it's almost not worth it to have them fixed. There are better choices for the home user like a Chromebook or a tablet.
Barry uses a Chromebook to transfer his images to an external hard drive, but now he can't open it in Windows. Leo says that issue may be that the Chromebook formatted the hard drive in a format that Windows doesn't recognize. It's likely formatted in a Linux format, like EXT 2 or 3. Barry can get an extension to Windows that will be able to translate it. Check out Ext2FsD.
Dave needs a new computer for Christmas. He's thinking of going with a tablet that will have its own internet access and drop his broadband at home. Leo says that iPads and Chromebooks aren't usually desktop compatible, but he could get them with 4G/LTE internet. But that's really only practical if he'll be moving around a lot.
Chromebooks are a great, inexpensive and simple solution for kids. But you may have discovered that it's not as simple to set up tools that allow you to limit and manage your kid's internet access. Hidden in the Chromebook, however, is a setting to allow creating "Supervised Users" which will give you the ability to keep an eye on your kid's activity.
John wants to lock down his internet for his kids. Leo says that the trick is to block it with OpenDNS from the router itself. Change the DNS settings on the router to block it. Then he'll need to lock it down on his system to prevent changes.
Dave has been holding out for Windows 10 because he thought Windows 8 was terrible and didn't upgrade to it. Leo says that Dave's instinct was spot on. But Windows 10 is lightyears ahead, and in fact, you could call it Microsoft's apology for Windows 8. Windows 10 is very similar to Windows 7 in feel. However, the world has changed, and a general purpose device is no longer the way we compute. They're a security issue as well as being overly complicated and unreliable. This is why tablets and smartphones have taken off.
Virginia bought an Asus laptop -- did she do the right thing? Leo says that Asus makes really good hardware but she's right to question it if she was convinced to buy it by a salesman seeking commissions. But Leo says that Asus makes very credible hardware.
Leo says that Virginia may have too much computer for her needs. He advises she take the laptop back and get a Chromebook. It's far more secure, easier to use, and will meet her needs. Asus actually makes a really good one.
Leo says that this year is becoming the year of the Chromebook thanks to it's low price, ease of use, and the fact that everything has moved to the cloud. The Powerwash feature enables it to start over if something goes wrong.
Leo says that while he was initially skeptical about them, he's come around to the point where he recommends them to many basic users. The Chromebook was made for students in mind. Sales are higher now than they were last year, showing that the Chromebook is really catching on as we become more linked to the cloud.