Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Jacob from Montreal, CAN Comments

Jacob wants to look into Linux, but which version to get? Leo says that there are various "flavors" of Linux, and based on your experience level, some may have different features. It's enthusiast driven, and so some devices may work, some may not. Most standard devices, like keyboards and mouses, will work natively. But you may need drivers for your monitors and peripherals like printers to get them to work. 

And using a Windows emulator in Linux, like WINE, you can even run Windows-based applications. So, Linux is a great option for people who don't want to deal with other operating systems' hassles. 

Watch Glenda from Orange County, CA Comments

Glenda needs a new smartphone with an excellent camera. Leo says that all of the "flagship phones" from Apple, Samsung, and Google all have excellent cameras. The iPhone 12 Pro, S21, and Pixel 5 are the latest top models and have amazing cameras. They all use computational photography to create bokeh, have great dynamic range and bold colors.

But even last year's mobile phones would be cheaper and have the same great cameras. The Google Pixel 4a has the same camera as the Pixel 5, and it's $349. A good option. A very natural image. 

Watch Jeff from Portland, OR Comments

Jeff woke up this morning with a bluescreen of death (BSOD) on his computer. What can he do? Leo says that BSODs have become rare and usually indicate a corrupted driver or the operating system has been corrupted.  Leo says now would be a good time to start over and reinstall the OS. 

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch John from Wisconsin Rapids, WI Comments

Joe is buying a new Mac Mini and wants to know if he can install macOS BigSur onto an external hard drive and run from that. Leo says you can, sure. But make sure you format it to APFS. But what about Pro Tools. Leo says that Pro Tools doesn't support Big Sur yet. That's not a good sign since major studios are using it to record music. And he's heard that Apple may continue to sell an Intel version of the Mac for that very reason. So since Joe uses ProTools, he may want to stick with macOS High Sierra since he needs ProTools to work consistently. 

What about using a third party cloner? Leo says that for BigSur, Apple requires a signed and approved version of any app for security purposes, and no third party cloner will do that yet. Leo suggests reading this blogpost from Mike Bombich about making a bootable backup.

Watch George from Toronto, CAN Comments

George wants to print something in MS Paint that is exactly the dimensions that it is supposed to be. But it doesn't ever work out that way. How can he? Leo says it's actually a complex problem because of the screen's size, the resolution of the printer, and other considerations. In most cases, what you want to do is select the option "actual size" from your printer utility. You can calculate the dots per inch / your screen size. Adobe Photoshop Elements can do it accurately and Irfanview or Paint.Net. 

George also wants to encrypt a USB key for security. Leo recommends using Veracrypt. Nobody can unlock that.

Watch Brian from Nashua, NH Comments

Brian has an iPad that's ten years old, and he would like to replace it with a non-Google, non-Amazon, or non-Apple model. Leo says good luck. One journalist tried to do that and wrote a story about it. She concluded that she couldn't do anything online. It's an interesting conundrum. If you're unhappy with Big Tech and don't want to patronize them, can you actually go online and boycott those major services? Well, no, you can't. And most websites are run on Amazon Web Services. So you're kind of stuck. 

PURI.SM and PINE make pure Linux phones and laptops. But they aren't perfect. The best hope could be Windows-based tablets by Microsoft.  

Check out privacytools.io for how to minimize your support and footprint in the online world dominated by big tech.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Susan from Minneapolis, MN Comments

Susan says that private companies like Facebook and Twitter can censor speech if it's violent. Leo agrees. But the larger question is, just how much power does big tech wield? It's a LOT, and it rightly has people concerned. It's reasonable to ask if we've given companies like Facebook and Twitter too much power, even when they use it properly.

Susan is also looking for a color inkjet printer. Leo says if you have to have one, you need to use it regularly. Epson makes the best inkjets, followed by Canon. Canon Pixma's are excellent and has better blacks. So if that's what you're into, Canon is the way to go.

 

Watch Lex from Richmond, VA Comments

Lex got a new Lenovo laptop and can't get everything to be readable in Windows. Leo says that Windows 10 has a scaling setting that will enable you to set the resolution to how you like. Part of the problem is that laptop screens have gotten too high in resolution, making text tough to read, quite ironically, because the letters are too small. So you tend to want to use about 100 dpi for text, or half resolution, and then 200dpi for video playback and photography.

There is a setting in Windows that can automatically switch the scale, but some apps, like Quicken, can ignore that. Here's a technote about it - https://www.quicken.com/support/work-around-display-issues-high-resolution-monitors

Watch Vincent from New Orleans, LA Comments

Vincent has a bunch of Samsung S20 phones for his business and would like to move away from Android. Is there an operating system that he can install over it? Leo says that Samsung has taken Android and modified it greatly. There are other flavors of Android you can put on it by rooting the device, but they are still Android. But you can "De-Google" it. Leo recommends going to XDA-Developers. Search for the model number of your phone and see what ROMs are available and how to put them on your phone.

Watch Jerry from Hatfield, PA Comments

Jerry complained to the FCC about having to pay to use his own satellite equipment. A few days later, he got a call from Dish, assuring him that he's being charged half because he is a preferred customer. And they explained that it's not the equipment, it that he's using a DVR inside the equipment. And they see them separate. Leo says it sounds like DISH is exploiting a loophole. The trick is to make complaints en masse.

Watch Jay from Boston, MA Comments

Jay wants to know if there are any computers completely made in the USA? Leo says that even if you could get one, the components would probably be made around the world.  Accessories are another story. But an entire computer being made 100% in the USA? None come to mind. Check out this link at USAProducts.biz.

Falcon Northwest is a computer company that builds PCs locally. Apple assembles the MacPro Towers in Texas. But even then, both source parts from around the world.

Is there an alternative for Windows Office 365? Leo says there's a free one: LibreOffice.org.