Recommendations

What's a good camcorder for video podcasting?

Episode 1288

Isaiah from San Bernadino, CA
Canon Vixia HF

Isaiah has a video podcast and he's looking for a better camera with which to shoot not only in his studio, but also on location. Leo says that camcorders are on their way out, but they're still around. He'll want one that has live video out (via HDMI is best) that he can then connect to his PC (the HDMI port has to be on his PC as well). It really comes down to how much he'll want to spend, and if he already has a still camera, then chances are he already has a camera to do the job.

Is a Chromebook a good computer for general use?

Episode 1284

Tim from San Diego, CA
Acer Chromebook

Tim wants to know if a Chromebook is a good option for general purpose computing. Leo says absolutely. The Chromebook is great because it runs on a simple browser without any other operating system or application required. With Google's services like Google Drive, Mail, Contacts, Photos, etc, he can do just about anything. They're very secure and reliable as well.

Should I get the iMac or Mac Mini?

Episode 1278

Andrea from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Apple iMacs

Andrea needs to replace her Mac and wants to know if she should get an iMac or if she could use a Mac Mini. Leo says that the iMac is faster and will perform better. The Mac Mini is a low cost Mac but doesn't include monitor, keyboard or mouse. It tends to be used as servers, home theaters, or even a poor man's iMac, but Andrea will be disappointed with the performance. Leo recommends the 5K iMac if she can afford it. If she's still on the fence, she should go to the Apple store and try them.

How can I find out what cell carrier has the best coverage in my area?

Richard from Omaha, NB

Episode 1277

Richard is in Omaha for awhile and wants to know the best cell service for the area. Leo says not to rely on the cell service coverage map. Often times their coverage is "exaggerated." Leo advises talking to friends, neighbors and co-workers to see what they're using and if they like it. Once he decides on a service, he may want to ask if they have a policy that allows him to cancel the service within the first few weeks if he's unhappy with the service. He should check out DSLReports.com as well.

Should I build my own high end PC?

Mike from Fountain, CO

Episode 1276

Mike has been watching Leo's VR Computer build and he wants to build his own PC as well. He's currently running a 6 year old Intel Core 2 Duo computer, but he's upgrading the video card so that he can play 4K video to his TV. Leo points out that he could run the Oculus Rift on the GTX 970 video card that he has as well. He's planning on upgrading the computer to the Intel Skylake i7 processor. He does a lot of transcoding, which is very CPU intensive, so that's why Mike needs a high end computer. It can be GPU intensive too, but modern Intel platforms do quite a good job with video codecs.

What's a good computer for Ham radio operators?

Episode 1276

Marty from Newton, MA
Intel NUC

Marty is a Ham who uses his computer to run his Ham radio sessions. But the other day it stopped working. So now it's time to upgrade. He wants to find something inexpensive. Leo recommends the Intel NUC. It comes with everything he'll need and it doesn't take up much room. Since Marty already has the keyboard, mouse and monitor, a NUC is an ideal way to create a dedicated Ham radio computer. He may need to add a hard drive, but it's a great solution. Another option is the Raspberry Pi 3.

What is a good monitor to limit eye strain?

Douglas from Las Vegas, CA

Episode 1273

Doug wants a monitor that won't give him eye strain. What about BenQ? Leo says that they've been around a long time and are very good. They have a monitor that has low blue light and reduces flicker. Any monitor with a high refresh rate will help with eye strain, though. So he doesn't have to limit his choices to one. He should just shop for that feature.