Dana is looking at getting the Blackberry Classic smartphone on T-Mobile, and she wants a new laptop with Windows 7. She's looking at an HP with an Intel Core i7. Are those choices good? Leo says those are good, sure. He's not really a huge HP fan, preferring Dell, Asus, and even Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 instead. The Surface has a great screen, but the keyboard isn't all that great. But it is nice that it can convert from a laptop to tablet.
Dana says that the best carrier in Santa Monica depends on who you're calling and where you're calling from. Different phones work better in different areas because of algorithms. Some carriers are going to be better in certain zones than others. But she says that T-Mobile is the best out there based on her experience as a phone company executive.
Steve bought an HP Stream laptop for $299. He's blind and says that the accessibility features are fantastic. It's not very powerful, but it works with JAWS and other blind utilities. His only beef is how little room is on it, especially with HP. So he recommends uninstalling all the bloatware that comes with it.
Leo says it's a great choice for a second, mobile computer. Steve says it shouldn't be confused with the HP Stream tablet, which was Windows with Bing, and it was terrible. But the Stream laptop is marvelous.
Nick has heard about a technology that could turn any printer into an internet enabled computer. Leo says that the current state of the art is wireless, and using AirPlay, he can Air Print. But if he doesn't have that capability, then XPrintServer can take a USB printer and turn it into a internet enabled and networked printer. If it's older, then it may or may not work. HP did have a technology called JetDirect which did it.
(Disclaimer: xPrintServer is a sponsor)
Tara has a lot of computer stuff that she really doesn't need. Can she use an iPad and still do online banking securely? Leo says Tara can, but it's more dependent on the security of the bank than the iPad. If the bank's security is up to date, then absolutely she can do it. Leo also says she can keep her Wi-Fi and use a Wi-Fi enabled Chromebook instead. It's essentially a browser based computer with nothing else. Just about everything she does is online these days, and that makes the Chromebook an excellent and secure alternative.
Rita is a self employed court reporter and she needs some good online tech support for her computer. Leo says that if she has a Dell, Dell's Gold support is as good as it gets. Leo isn't much of a fan of third party support. Rita has an HP computer, though. Leo says that HP likely has paid gold level support and he recommends biting the bullet and paying for it. And since Rita's computer is a few years old, it may be time to upgrade her computer, and then Leo would advise going with a Dell.
Mike has an old HP printer and he wants to use the wireless printing option. It works great wired, but he has issues printing through Wi-Fi. It says his printer isn't connected. How can he get the computer to recognize the printer?
Leo says that he'll have to go into the printer settings and tell it what the Wi-Fi access point is. He should remove the USB connection and have it rediscover the printer. Uninstall everything first and then press "plus" in the Printer section of OS X's settings, and he should be able to add it.
Earl bought an HP Windows Home Server and now that it's not supported by Microsoft anymore, he wants to know if he can convert it to a media server. Leo says sure! Just because Microsoft doesn't support Windows Home server doesn't mean it won't work anymore. It's fairly straight forward to set up. The real challenge will be digitizing everything. Once it's all digitized, it can be stored and made available by all computers on Earl's network. Paul Thurrott of winsupersite.com was a huge fan of Windows Home Server.
Scott has heard that Chromebooks are being recalled. Leo says that the recall is applicable to the HP Chromebook, and it has to do with a potentially faulty power supply. So, just to be safe, HP is recalling them. This stuff happens and often it's just a precaution. Leo says that if he's going to get another one, avoid the Google brand because they are more expensive. The Acer and Samsung Chromebooks are a good deal.
Carl's dad is looking to replace his HP laserjet printer. Leo says laser printers have plummeted in price, and suggests getting an all in one. Epson makes a great one called the Epson WorkForce. HP makes some good laser printers as well. If you want color, everyone makes them.
PC World did a roundup last December and they said the Brother MFP9970 was the stand out.