Articles in Category: Leo’s blog

Leo’s less formal, more random and occasional commentary on all things technology, business and Ask Leo! related, along with some philosophy at times as well.

Logos of some ot the technology behind Ask Leo!

The Technology Behind Ask Leo!

Over the years, the technology that runs Ask Leo! has changed a little. I’ll give you an overview of the current state of affairs.

The concept of 'support email black hole'. A frustrated person looking at a computer screen with an email icon disappearing into a black hole.

Why Don’t Companies Answer My Email?

It’s not uncommon for email messages to companies to disappear into a black hole. I’ll look at why that might be and steps you can take to reduce the odds of it happening to you.

Your efforts will pay off fortune cookie.

Do We Really Need to Get Used to Things?

“Getting used to it” might not always be ideal, but being open to it can result in surprising improvements. Besides, you’re doing it already almost every day.

Publicly posting email and phone on a "Hello my name is" badge

Are You Giving Away Your Privacy?

We rail against intrusions into our private affairs and private information and then post our private information publicly. Where’s the logic in that?

A serene individual meditating in a tranquil setting. The person appears calm and centered, seated in a traditional meditation pose in front of a desktop PC, illustrating a blend of mindfulness and technology. Surrounding them are floating digital icons, including a cloud, folders, and error symbols, symbolizing technological stress. These icons are depicted as being calmly ignored by the meditating person.

Dealing With Inexplicable Change?

Yes, I deal with frustrating changes too. It’s not that I never get frustrated; it’s what I choose next that makes for a much happier experience.

A cluttered desk in a home office setting. The desk is covered with a variety of technology gadgets such as a smartphone, a tablet, external hard drives, and a soldering iron. In the center of the desk, there's a computer with its screen displaying open code, possibly an IDE or text editor filled with programming code. Nearby, a coffee mug, The scene is illuminated by the soft glow of the computer screen and a desk lamp, creating a cozy yet dynamic workspace that reflects a deep passion for technology and coding. This setup symbolizes the fusion of personal interests and professional expertise, typical for a tech enthusiast or software developer's desk.

I Don’t Claim to Be a Journalist

My background is most assuredly not journalism. I bring something else entirely to the table: experience.

A scene that metaphorically represents the challenge of learning the technical language of computers and technology, similar to learning a new spoken language. Imagine a person standing before a giant, glowing computer screen filled with complex technical diagrams, code, and jargon. The person looks intrigued but slightly overwhelmed, holding a dictionary of computer terms. In the background, diverse symbols and icons of technology, such as circuit boards, USB symbols, and cloud computing icons, float in the air, signifying the vastness of technology's language.

Terminology Matters

When it comes to technology, it seems like there’s a whole ‘nother language to learn. Using the right terminology is important to being understood and getting your problems resolved.

Concept image of the six most common questions and answers on a signpost.

The Secret Behind Ask Leo! I Know Less Than You Think

I know less than you think I do, but I make up for it with a very important skill — a skill anyone can benefit from improving.

Lego Leo

Everything Is Awesome!

A movie I watched reminded me that we are surrounded by awesome. I need to do a better job of reminding myself, and you, of all the awesomeness I see.

Image in the style of a Renaissance painting, depicting a scene where a scholar from the Renaissance era is holding a magnifying glass, examining a collection of objects that symbolize modern technology - like a computer, cloud symbol, smart home device, and network cables. The objects should be creatively integrated to appear as if they belong in the Renaissance period, with a prominent question mark woven into the scene. The painting should have the rich color palette, detailed textures, and depth characteristic of Renaissance art

Why I Don’t Believe in Conspiracies

There are many conspiracy theories in the tech industry. I’m a hard one to convince, and you should be, too.

Hourglass

Wait.

In which I diagnose an issue online and come to an interesting conclusion.

Technical support staff.

Is Outsourcing Tech Support Evil?

Cost-cutting by sending tech support overseas is often derided as a terrible move, but it’s not the location that matters, it’s the quality.

Midjourney generated "20 year service award"

What I’ve Learned Answering Questions for 20 Years

It was 20 years ago today I started having something to say.

Bitlocker Protected External Drive

Why I (No Longer) Avoid BitLocker

BitLocker is a fine encryption program if used properly. The problem is that it’s too easy for the average user to skip steps that could result in data loss.

Steaming Mad!

Ignored by Online Services? Remember, You Are Not the Customer

When free services seem to change arbitrarily, it’s easy to wonder if they’re paying attention to their customers. They probably are — just not the ones you think.

100% Free

Why Do People Create Free Software?

Free software exists for reasons ranging from pure altruism to pure deceit.

Real, or Fake?

The One Thing Every Non-Technical Person Needs to Know

If there’s one precaution I want everyone to embrace, it’s this.

Why?

Why Ask Why?

It’s common to ask “Why?” when it comes to computers. It’s also common to be frustrated with the answer.

Don't Panic

Why I Rarely Panic

I have a fairly laid-back style, but I feel it’s with good reason. So much of we hear about just isn’t panic-worthy, even if news reports make it seem like it is.

Searching for something very personal.

“Right to Be Forgotten”: Misguided and Misleading

“The right to be forgotten” is a misleading and ineffectual technique to prevent people from finding information on the internet. Bottom line: it can’t work.

Question

My Favorite Question

My favorite question? You’ll never guess. Hint: it makes my job super easy, and you don’t want that.

Closed

How Do I Permanently Close My Account?

I often hear from people wanting to close an email account for one reason or another. The problem is that closing an email account is often the wrong solution to their real problem.

Padlock in a chain.

Security: It’s a Spectrum, Not a State

Many people want to be secure, not realizing there’s no such thing.

So many jerks

Why Are There So Many Internet Jerks?

The internet, and social media specifically, seems like a breeding ground for jerks. Did it actually create them, or just expose those already among us?

Don’t Call Yourself Stupid

Don’t Call Yourself Stupid

Some people call themselves “dumb” or “stupid” when it comes to computers. There’s little that frustrates me more.

Why can't the poor just pirate software?

Why Can’t the Poor just Pirate Software?

Commercial software can be expensive. Can you just pirate software if you can’t afford it? You can guess my answer, but even better: theft isn’t necessary.

Avoiding Tech Support Scams

What do you do when you suddenly find yourself on the phone with a scammer? Step One: Be Skeptical!

Why UEFI?

UEFI is a replacement for the original BIOS that’s been running computers for almost a quarter of a century. UEFI allows manufacturers to take advantage of the security capabilities of the machines they produce.

Confident Computing

On Confidence and Technology

Confident computing: it’s what you can expect, and a reminder to me of what I’m trying to deliver.

The deep, dark secret behind Ask Leo!

The Deep, Dark Secret Behind Ask Leo!

Not long ago, I finally came up with the words to describe part of what I do. It was kind of a secret … until now.

Let's Talk About LastPass

Let’s Talk About LastPass

LastPass recently announced that vulnerabilities were discovered in the LastPass vault. The question is… did they then do the right thing?

Is There Really A Reason to Hide From Your ISP using a VPN?

I discuss the recent decision by the U.S. Congress to roll back rules relating to privacy and internet service providers, and whether a VPN is really the right solution for most people.

To Video or Not

To Video? Or Not to Video?

How much value do you receive from Ask Leo! video blogs? You can tell me.

You can't unring a bell

You Can’t Un-Ring a Bell

An overview of what happens to your data when you post online. Once posted, it gets copied faster than you may think!

One of the Reasons I Think Backups Are SO Important

I have a good reason to always be talking about backups… Once upon a time everything was lost.

Focusing on Security and Privacy

Focusing on Security and Privacy

In the first of a periodic series on increasing privacy concerns, we look at “HTTPS Everywhere” from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

In which I give thanks for many things, including you.

Could My Car Get Hacked?

The technical answer is, “Yes.” And this gets more interesting when we consider the “Internet of Things” – but is this something to worry about?

The Perils of Digital Archiving

The Perils of Digital Archiving

So much of our important data is stored digitally now. But what does that mean for future archives? Will our important documents, images and music be readable one hundred years from now?

Why I'm Keeping My Note7 (for awhile)

Why I’m Keeping My Note 7 (For a While)

Galaxy Note 7 phone is banned from air travel, but I’m still keeping mine. Here’s why…

Dealing with Windows Update and Windows 10

Dealing with Windows Update and Windows 10

Keeping your machine as up-to-date as possible is critically important to keeping it, and yourself. safe and secure from discovered vulnerabilities. Yet, with Windows 10 of late, there seems to be risk in taking those updates as well. I’ll review my strategy to stay both functional and safe.

Networking is Hard

Networking is Hard

A friend asked about transferring files from a Mac to a PC. Sadly the “correct” solution didn’t even enter my mind. Why? Networking is just too fragile, particularly between platforms.

Are You Always Learning?

Are You Always Learning?

I was challenged to think about what my “one word” might be. I talk about that, how I arrived at it, and why it feels better as a phrase.

What Is Patreon?

Patreon is a popular crowd-funding platform for a variety of content creators ranging from music … to technology!

A Couple of Travel Thoughts

A Couple of Travel Thoughts

Two of my more popular Ask Leo! articles cover travel related issues. I’m about to travel overseas, so touch on the two.

Some Tips for Fall

Ten Tips for Fall

10 (+1) Tips for both those new to the internet (for school, work or elsewhere), and perhaps more importantly, reminders for the more experienced among us.

Charging an Annual Subscription for Windows? Nope.

Charging an Annual Subscription for Windows? Nope.

There’s a persistent and bogus rumor that Microsoft is planning on charging a monthly or annual subscription fee for Windows. I discuss why it’s bogus, and the folks that continue to persist pushing the rumor are, at best, Microsoft haters, and at worst… trolls.

Is It Time To Remove GWX Control Panel

Is It Time To Remove GWX Control Panel?

GWX Control Panel and the stand-alone utility Never10 were all about preventing reminders and installation of the free Windows 10 Update. Now that the free period is over, is it time to remove those utilities, or undo the steps that they took?

Installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update can be installed manually. With the help of some time-lapse video I’ll walk through that process, quickly.

If I Could Tell You Just One Thing...

If I Could Tell You Only One Thing…

I was asked to talk a bit about computer security the other day, and that got me to thinking about what’s important, and how I prioritize what it is I would want people to remember.