laptops

Will I be able to bring my laptop to Europe?

Episode 1395

Sara from Studio City, CA
Microsoft Excel on iOS

Sara is a painter and is traveling to Florence, Italy to showcase some of her art. She's worried she may not be able to bring her laptop back when she returns, though. Leo says that policy hasn't been decided yet on airlines from Europe. But it could, and if so, she'll have to check her laptop in her bag. Or she could ship it back. She will be able to return with it, just not in the main cabin.

Leo says if she has a tablet or iPhone, she could use that instead, and Excel runs quite well on iOS.

Phones Can Legally be Seized at the Border

Episode 1394

TSA

When a story came out recently that a JPL Engineer was detained and his work phone seized, it caused Leo to do some research about your legal rights coming back into the country. Turns out that the 4th amendment's protection against unlawful search and seizure has been suspended when you're in "international waters," and that's what an airport technically is. So the Border Patrol and the TSA have the legal right to take your phone, computer and tablets and demand the password to access all your data.

What laptop should I buy?

Episode 1393

Sarah from Rancho Cuca Monga, CA
Apple MacBook

Sarah wants to get a new Mac laptop. Leo says that Apple is likely to announce a new MacBook tomorrow, with Intel's new Kaby Lake processors. They'll be faster, and they'll have higher resolution screens, but that's about it. That means the time is right to make "the Switch." She'll want to look at the Mac keyboard, though. She should go to the Apple Store and try it out, because it's different. It also only has one connector, and she'll have to buy adapters to add external devices.

Does Toshiba make a good laptop?

Episode 1389

Bernie from Washington
Toshiba Portege Laptop

Bernie bought a Toshiba laptop. Leo says that the Portege was great back in the day, and the new version is pretty sweet. So if he liked the Toshiba Satellite, then who's to say what's better? It comes down to what he likes and Toshiba still makes a 17" laptop. The customer service isn't great, but that's true of most PC makers unless he were to buy their gold support package.

What connections are on the MacBook Pro?

Episode 1379

Joanne from California
Apple MacBook Pro

Joanne is looking at getting a new MacBook Pro, but it's missing all the ports she needs. Leo says the trend is towards a Type-C connector that can be used for everything from power to monitor connections. So Macs can have fewer ports. She'll end up spending money on dongles to connect her older technology. That will be a brief inconvenience. Her card reader will work faster as well as any Thunderbolt connections.

Is buying a laptop from eBay safe?

Episode 1377

George from Maine
Laptop

George bought a laptop from someone online and there's a problem with it, and he can't set it up. He bought it on eBay. Leo says it's likely that George doesn't have much recourse here. He simply can't trust that the laptop is safe.

Leo recommends immediately wiping the hard drive and reinstalling Windows. He can't even trust the recovery partition, either. Chances are, reinstalling from the recovery partition will be fine, but he'll never really know for sure. He should completely wipe the drive. eBay should protect him though, and Leo would advise returning it.