Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I update my Acer laptop?

Episode 1476

Lou from Los Angeles, CA
Windows 10 Upgrade Notification

Lou is constantly being bugged by Microsoft to upgrade to Windows 10. Leo says Lou should. It's important to keep up to date (whether he wants it or not) to keep his hardware protected. But with a low storage device like Lou's Acer, he can't really update. Leo says in that case, it's incumbent on Microsoft to figure out how to update it. If he can't update, even if he wants to, and he's just being harassed by Microsoft, that's just bad.

Is my Chromebook secure for online banking?

Episode 1476

Ray from Homosassa, FL
Samsung Chromebook Plus

Ray has a Chromebook and he wants to use it for online banking. When he logs into his account, though, it doesn't take his password. He has reset the password, but after one login, it locks him out. Leo says that Ray is probably not inputting the right password. He could be mixing up a few letters. Using the Chromebook's autofill feature would be a good idea. That way, the first time he logs in, it will remember it. And the Chromebook is very secure, so Ray shouldn't need to worry about security.

Can I make my landline mobile?

Episode 1476

Todd from Palmdale, CA
Phone conversation

Todd says he had a friend that was able to make her landline phone mobile. Leo says it's possible to do it the other direction. If he had a cell phone, there are a number of devices to turn it into a home phone. He could dock the cell phone into a docking station, and it would look like he'd have a regular landline phone, but it would be tied to his cell phone. There may have been a device that Todd's friend had that made her landline phone into a form of walkie-talkie, but the transmitter she would have needed for that would need to be really significant.

Why can't I use DropBox as a file server?

Episode 1476

David from Austin, TX
Synology DiskStation DS218play

David works with about ten other people in a small company, and they all share files using DropBox. They're getting conflicts, however with certain database files that they have stored on DropBox. Leo says if he has two programs accessing the same file at once, they will have problems. David wants to set up a VPN, and he was able to configure Hamachi. Leo says this won't fix the fundamental problem, though — it has to support record locking. David says that Microsoft Access supports locking, but it doesn't work with DropBox because people are accessing the file on their local systems.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1475

Dick DeBartolo

How clean are airplane seats? That's where Seat Sitters come in. They are disposable seat covers that are easy to pack or carry with you. Great to use on airplanes, at movie theaters, special events, or anywhere where you want to be sure you're sitting on a clean seat. The company says they're perfect for cold, flu and allergy season and make an excellent guard against contact with peanut and food allergens. The kit includes a disposable tray table cover (but there's no way to secure it to the tray on an airplane), two sanitary wipes and one allergy mask.

How can I create 360-degree stills and videos?

Episode 1475

Shawn from Tampa, FL
Woman with VR headset on

Shawn is an architect, and he has invested in some 3D technology that allows him to do walkthroughs and 360-degree video. The background format he uses is called a Skybox. He wants to be able to go out to a client's land and put together his own background so he can give the clients an idea of what it will be like as a finished product. Leo says that the Skybox file format is particular to Enscape, but he says it's also easy to convert to another format. He should look for a way to convert Skybox to a YouTube video or Facebook.

Should I get my dad an iPad?

Episode 1475

John from Massachusetts
Apple iPad Pro

John is trying to get his dad involved in computers and wants to get an iPad Pro so he can learn, send emails, etc. Leo says he got his mom a 12" iPad and she loves it. The accessibility features are great for elderly people, but the display can be hard to read for a senior. Another option is a Chromebook. They are super secure and easy to use, only working with a Chrome browser. He could also get a Chromebox which is essentially a desktop version. But iPads are great for seniors who are doing light typing and internet access.

What home assistant should I use?

Episode 1474

Bogdan from Rosamond, CA
Amazon Echo

Bogdan wants to know what home assistant should he buy. Leo says it depends on what he wants to use it for. Google Assistant is better for answering questions, and Amazon Echo is better for shopping and consuming music. Both now support making phone calls. Both will work with home automation devices, so he can tell Echo to turn on the lights. In the long run, Google will probably be the best, though.

Apple to Hold Education Event in Chicago

Episode 1474

Apple iPad and Apple Pencil

Tuesday, Apple is holding an education event in Chicago, and many believe that they will be offering a lower cost iPad for education along with the Apple Pencil. But they may also update the MacBook Air. Leo says that Apple will need to get the price down to around $250 in order to compete with Chromebooks in the education realm.

UPDATE: Find out what Apple announced here (theverge.com)