Mobile Phones

Should I put Linux on my old laptop?

Episode 1360

Joe from Corona, CA
XUbuntu

Joe has an old Vista computer that he uses mostly for syncing an old Windows Phone PDA. Joe would like to take that laptop and put Linux on it with an SSD. Leo says that Linux is a good idea, but that Vista laptop is probably not fast enough to get any great benefit from an SSD. But he should definitely install Linux on it. Leo likes XUbuntu and LUbuntu, which is designed to run on the older hardware.

Is smartphone tethering secure?

Episode 1360

David from El Segundo, CA
Tiny Hardware Firewall

David tethers his computer through his mobile device, but he's wondering if it's secure. Leo says it's probably more secure because cell phones are encrypted now. Using the Wi-Fi through his phone is a different matter, if he's at a public hotspot. At that point, his traffic is out in the clear and easily grabbed. If he's going to use a hotspot, Leo advises using the Tiny Hardware Firewall and a VPN. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is like a router that then connects to his phone.

How can I do multitrack recording with Android?

Episode 1359

Jill from Northridge, CA
Acapella

Jill wants to find an app where she can record herself playing a few different instruments and then play them all together. Leo says there aren't many apps for audio recording and play back on Android because of a massive latency bug. Leo believes it's in the kernel, and they haven't fixed it yet. She can find out more about it at superpowered.com.

Should I buy the HTC U Ultra Android phone?

Episode 1359

Ryan from Anaheim, CA
HTC U Ultra

Ryan has an Axon 7 Android phone. Leo says it was one of his favorite phones last year with excellent sound quality, great battery life, and half the price of flagship phones. Ryan is ready to upgrade though and he's looking at the HTC U Ultra. Leo hasn't used it yet, and it doesn't come out until mid March. From the looks of it, Leo says it's a sweet phone, but it doesn't have a headphone jack!

How can I restore my WhatsApp chats to the iPhone?

Episode 1359

Gordon from Los Angeles, CA
WhatsApp for iOS

Gordon has made the switch to the iPhone and wants to know how to get his old WhatsApp messages back on his iPhone. Leo says that it was smart that Gordon backed it up to Google Drive, but WhatsApp says it depends on the phone being used. Since you recover chats from iCloud, Leo has a hunch it's not cross platform. Apple is very strict on how users can access data within the iPhone platform, but it's usually app centric.

Since Gordon backed them up, he can at least access them from Google Drive.

Is Google's VPN secure?

Episode 1358

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI
Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Mark finally got a Google Pixel XL, which was on back order. Leo says it's been widely known that they're only available in limited quantities right now. It's likely that the demand exceeded Google's expectation. Mark says he likes the Wi-Fi assistant because it'll automatically connect via VPN. Does it really work? Leo says yes. Phones can be a bit promiscuous with random hotspots. So Google adds an encrypted connection via VPN to protect users. Leo says he doesn't really like joining Wi-Fi access points automatically, so he's turned it off.

Will the latest version of iOS sync with my Mac running OS X Snow Leopard?

Episode 1358

Mark from Temecula, CA
Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Mark hasn't updated his iPhone because he's worried that doing so will prevent him from syncing with iTunes on his old MacBook. Where can he go to see what updates will support what versions of OS X? iOS 10 requires iTunes 12.5.1 to sync, so Mark is probably not going to want to update it. What version will work on Snow Leopard? Leo says that Mark can probably use the new version of iTunes on Snow Leopard, but this is worth verifying before he does anything.