Leo says since most MacBook Pros come with SSDs now, it's important to turn on drive encryption right away. If he doesn't encrypt the drive from day one, some data could end up unencrypted on that drive. Turn on encryption before putting private data on it. The Mac comes with something called File Vault for encryption, which he can access right from the Mac's System Preferences. He just has to turn it on, and he won't even know it's running. The only reason to do this is in the event that his computer was stolen.
Skip has a business that he runs off of a dedicated PC and he wants to help a friend start a similar business. He wants to be able to clone his hard drive and ship it to him so he can run it as well. Would that work? Leo says yes and no.
Bruce has a computer that he puts into hibernation, but when he unplugs it, it shuts down. Leo says the there's a difference between hibernation and sleep mode. Sleep keeps the computer on, but loads everything into RAM and shuts down the hard drive and other things it doesn't need. It's in an extreme low power mode, but keeps refreshing the RAM so it'll come back on when woken up. Hiberation, on the other hand, completely shuts down the computer and then writes the RAM contents to the hard drive to access when it's turned back on.
Jay wants to know if there's a Kelly Blue Book for computers? Leo says no. Computer values disappear rapidly because there's no real resale market. There are so many different PCs, that it would be a very large book if there were one.
One way to determine what a computer is worth is to search eBay's listings. That's a good way to see how much people are paying for it. Jay shouldn't buy a used computer, though. It's a false economy to get a used one. He's just buying someone else's problems. If he wants to save some money, he should get a factory direct refurbished computer.
Paula's son wants a PC to play Minecraft on for Christmas. Leo says that for Minecraft, any PC will do because it's not very demanding. As her child's tastes in games matures, though, he may require a more powerful computer that can handle the graphics. There's a lot of choices for her budget of $600. Leo likes Acer for entry level computers. For gaming, PCs are generally better and she'll likely want a desktop over a laptop. Asus and Dell are good options as well. Avoid going to a "big box" store because they usually are selling older models.
Leo says when it comes to the iPhone, Apple has to support Windows, but it doesn't have to support Linux. Leo's not sure that even matters though, because increasingly the iPhone is designed not to be connected to a computer. Updates all happen over the air now. It's no longer tied to a desktop computer. Obviously there's no iTunes on Ubuntu for his music, which might be the biggest issue, but he can get music directly on the phone. Leo doesn't think he'll run into any major issues using an iPhone and an Ubuntu desktop computer.
Steve wants to know if he should get an extended warranty on an old Dell Inspiron laptop. Leo says no, that Dell is only worth about $200. If the computer breaks, it's just cheaper to buy a new computer.
Extended warranties are revenue streams for retailers. If it fails, it's going to likely do it in the first year. One thing to consider is to see what a comparable laptop will cost and then compare it. If he can't replace it with anything comparable, it may be a good deal. Generally speaking, they aren't a good deal.
Jonathan is going to college this fall and will be studying 3D applications like Solidworks and engineering. Leo says Jonathan will want to get a PC with an i7 processor for more performance, and 8GB of RAM. Those are the two top requirements he should consider.
Isaac runs an electronic waste and recycling company and he has 20 computers running XP and wants an alternative to Windows 7 to upgrade to. Leo says that XUbuntu is a great option that's just as powerful, but it's free and open source, which is great for older and slower computers. There's also Lubuntu. Isaac wonders about malware, though. Leo says that only 1% of the market uses Linux, so nobody is writing viruses for that. It's more secure, easier to use, and will run great.
Samson needs to get a laptop for school and wants to know what laptop is best for under $500. Leo says that he can, but under $700 or 800 would be better. Leo recommends Dell, but if he's price sensitive, Acer makes some good laptops for the money.
The Chatroom says the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist is a good option under $500. There's also the Acer VivoTab. He can also save money buying refurbished.