Should I buy a Chromebook?

Acer Chromebook 15

Episode 1525

Sherry from Los Angeles, CA

Sherry is looking for an affordable Chromebook with a budget of $350. Rich says that to be sure he doesn't get one so cheap that it's underpowered. Acer makes a good model in that price range. She should also get one that has a touch screen so that she can use Android apps. Unfortunately, Chromebooks won't let users install third party apps other than Android apps, but if she can live with that, Rich recommends going to Costco to pick up one.

Can I use my mobile phone as a hotspot?

Tiny Hardware Firewall

Episode 1427

Russell from Scranton, PA

Russell has an iPhone SE and was using an app called Tether to use his cell phone as an internet hotspot. It doesn't work anymore, though. Leo says that it's been replaced by the hotspot feature in the phone, but his provider may not support it or may charge him a monthly fee to use it. Some carriers don't charge for it at all, like T-Mobile. But resellers, like Boost don't support it because the major carrier they work with doesn't. Will a VPN fix it? Leo says not for hotspotting, but a VPN will work for keeping his internet access encrypted and secure in public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Will we start getting location based text message ads like China is doing?


Episode 1131

Alan from Chatsworth, CA

Alan went to China and wanted to report his experience getting by the great Firewall of China. He used alternate ports with remote desktop and TeamViewer to skirt China's blocking restrictions, and it worked great. Leo says it sounds like China just blocked standard ports used for RDP and not something more sophisticated like Deep Packet Inspection. He was able to use Google and Facebook through his T-Mobile Smartphone. It was a little slow, granted, because it uses a slower EDGE connection for free digital roaming.

Will an AntiVirus program be enough to protect me on a shared Wi-Fi network like Starbucks?

Episode 917

Christie from Los Angeles, CA

Public Wi-Fi hotspots aren't as much as an issue with viruses, but there are other concerns. Her computer is wide open for anyone to snoop into. Her passwords could also be grabbed if the online email service she's using doesn't encrypt. A good, safe way is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like Public VPN.

My older laptop can see my Samsung Fascinate phone's Wi-Fi hotspot, but why can't it connect to it?

Episode 882

Brian from Los Angeles, CA

It could be that the laptop doesn't support WPA, but Brian says he can connect to his home Wi-Fi network with WPA just fine. The Fascinate may have limits on how many devices can connect to it, so he could try not connecting anything else to it at the same time. It's also possible that the phone is using 802.11n, but the older laptop doesn't work with that. He should also check if his phone is using the same security protocol, whether it be WPA or WPA 2, as his router at home.