Software

Does Office come with Windows?

Microsoft Office

Episode 1558

John from Los Angeles, CA

John wants to know if Microsoft Office comes with Windows. Leo says it doesn't, but there's an open source option called Libre Office, which is free, and will do most of what MS Office does, including reading all Office document files. Buying Office is very expensive, but he can do a monthly subscription rate, which is about $100 a year for Office Home. It's the most affordable solution.

Is there an app that can narrate the world around me?

Episode 1536

Fred from New York

Fred is legally blind, but he knows of a new app by Microsoft called Seeing AI. It offers text reading, barcode scanning, it will tell you if your light is on. It basically narrates the world around you. Currently only available, quite ironically, on all Apple devices.

Leo says another option is called Be My Eyes. It works on Android.

Why can't my program read the database it needs to run?

CDs

Episode 1524

Brian from Lakewood, CA

Brian has a repair program on his computer that's been installed on his computer, but he can't get the program to recognize the data he copied on the computer. Rich says that the program may require the CD to be used to access the database files. It's likely coded that way, and it's a copyright protection measure. Rich also says it could just be an older program that doesn't work properly on today's computers. It's out of date. Is there a new version of the program he can download?

What is firmware?

Episode 1502

Joy from Santa Cruz, CA

Joy wants to know what firmware is? Leo says that firmware is the software that a computer or device uses to operate its system. It's software that is protected because you need it to run the actual device so that the software can translate instructions that the device understands.

What software do I use to edit video?

VEGAS Movie Studio

Episode 1489

Frank from Portland, OR

Frank is wondering what software he should use to simply edit together video clips. Leo says that any editor will do this. There are some free ones. VEGAS Movie Studio will work, but he should edit it together before he re-encodes the video in Handbrake. Otherwise he's compressing what is already compressed. He should start with the best quality video files he has.

What's the best inexpensive audio restoration software?

SoundSoap

Episode 1472

David from Hollywood, CA

David got some iZotope software from the LAPostProduction Users group for restoring audio and he needs to upgrade it. Is there an alternative that isn't so expensive? Leo says that iZotope is the standard and it comes with free plugins, but the freebies are usually very limited. VST is the standard for the plugins they use, so if he can find some VST plugins, and there are thousands of them, he can use those.

Is there an app that can organize my taxes?

Mint

Episode 1457

Dan from Orange County, CA

Dan wants to know if there's an app that will automatically look at his bank account and divide up his expenses to categorize them for taxes. Leo says that spreadsheets were designed with a database feature which will certainly do that. All he needs to do is set it up. There are also spreadsheet templates for Excel and others which are likely available to do what he wants. Leo also says that it may be worth doing with Mint. It's free and has a lot of automatic features.

The chatroom recommends SimplePlanning.net.