What laptop should I buy for writing?

Episode 1663

Cara from San Diego, CA

Cara is a writer and wants to know what's a good backup alternative. Google Docs? Leo says that Google Docs is a good option, but what if your acconut gets cancelled by Google? He recommends planning for the worst and having multiple backups off site. Also dont' forget that a print out is a form of backup.  Cara also wants to know what's a good computer for editing her manuscripts. She needs a fast skimming alternative. Leo says that Cara's current Chromebook is causing the lagging skims. Any modern computer will be fast enough. If its' on a hard drive, it'll be fast.

How can I upload my pictures during a trip?

Episode 1663

Katie from California

Katie is going on a Nile cruise and African photo safari. She wants to upload her photos every night. She doesn't want to bring a laptop. Leo says that Katie can use an iPad with a media dongle to plug in her memory cards to. But Panasonic also has an app that you can use to connect to the camera via WiFi and move the photos over wirelessly. But you won't be able to do much photo editing. Leo brings his laptop with Adobe Lightroom on it, and plenty of memory cards. That way you keep the cards as the originals, and upload for backup. You merely just swap out the cards every day.

Is my computer dead?

Dell HP G62

Episode 1662

John from Uttaca, NY

John has an old HP G62 laptop running Linux. He's had to turn it off by unplugging it. A few months ago he started getting a blue screen and now nothing happens. Leo says that a ten-year-old computer is REALLY old. So chances are, the motherboard died. But if it was updating firmware at the time, then chances are the computer has "bricked" and is dead. If you like that laptop, you can get one on eBay for around $20-40. Is the hard drive OK? Leo says probably. You can get an external container to put it in and use it as another drive for another computer. 

Why does my laptop screen go black?

Dell Inspiron 14 5000 2-in-1

Episode 1662

Jose from California

Jose has a Dell 2 in 1 laptop and the screen goes intermittently black. Leo says that it's a common issue with 2 in 1s because the ribbon cable gets "pinched" as it gets bent back and forth. Eventually, it frays and breaks. The good news is, that it's an easy fix to replace it. Before you do that though, update your video drivers. That could fix it as the drivers can get corrupted. But if the problem persists, it's a hardware issue.

Should I buy an iPad, Chromebook or laptop?


Episode 1655

Sundeep from Orlando, FL

Sundeep is trying to decide whether to get a Chromebook, a laptop, or an iPad for traveling. Leo says that for what Sundeep is needing, the Chromebook is probably out of contention. But the iPad is a great option. Because everyone has a mobile device now, Airlines no longer have entertainment systems onboard, choosing for streaming content via WiFi. You merely download the airline app, and you can watch movies, TVs, etc. That's where the iPad can shine.

What can I do with an old laptop?

Asus ZenBook UX305

Episode 1653

David from Redondo Beach, CA

David collects old laptops, refreshes them with Q4OS Linux, and donates them to teachers. Leo says that Linux is very robust and secure, and what David is essentially doing is turning those old laptops into Chromebooks, which is something most teachers want because it's all they need. Leo thinks that's awesome and a great way to repurpose computers that are still good, but are just old.

​Check out the Laptop Elf Project on Facebook.

What portable laptop should I buy?

Lenovo T490

Episode 1645

Jack from Los Angeles, CA

Jack is looking to get a new laptop and wonders if the Surface Pro would be a good option. Leo says that the Surface Pro is essentially a tablet with a detachable keyboard that isn't good. And it's very pricey. So make sure you type on it a lot before you buy it. Since Jack had a Thinkpad in the past, he should consider a new model. They're built out of carbon fiber, so they're thin and light. Look at the T490. It's excellent and they're built like tanks. If you really like the tablet feel, look at the Lenovo Yoga.