Ask the Tech Guy General Discussion

The Tech Guy himself, Leo Laporte answers one of your toughest tech questions in language anyone can understand. With over 20 years of experience answering viewers’ most technical questions and explaining the fast-moving world of technology, Leo has helped thousands of grateful knowledge seekers. Each week on Ask The Tech Guy, he will drill down on one tricky tech dilemma and get to the root of the problem.

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I have a data backup issue that has been challenging me.

I have a 2012 Mac Pro with multiple drives that are setup in a RAID configuration so my data has backups within the computer. I have a separate external drive that i use to backup data to as well. In addition I have a Google Drive that has data on it as well. Ultimately I would like to synchronize all three so that if I change a file in one place it will update in all places.

Just in case my email to Ask The Tech Guy got lost, I’m posting it here:

My question for Ask the Tech Guy is something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while but was reluctant to call in to the radio show or to send it in to The New Screensavers (RIP New Screensavers, my favorite TWiT show) because it’s such a complicated question. But maybe it’ll be good for ATTG? Or maybe someone can shoot me back some ideas in this email?

Ok I have an ASUS RT-AC5300 router, and I keep the Adaptive QOS set to on, so I was hoping that would let the router decide on what band to put which device. Some devices (like the Dyson 360 Eye) aren’t compatible with 5GHz bands, and when I try to get that robotic vacuum cleaner onto my network, the vacuum cleaner and the router can’t see each other. Am I missing something? I’m guessing that a mesh system (such as adding ASUS AIMesh nodes) wouldn’t help since I’m in a small (1,308 square feet) house. Right?

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Did you want the sync to happen spontaneously? If you can stand setting up a timer, I strongly recommend Chronosync; it’s very flexible and reliable. I think they use to have a free version, but I paid for the complete version. I have two Macs and about five external drives with a lot of redundancy and Chronosync works great.

BTW, my dad was a Seabee in WWII. I always loved the logo of the Construction Battalion being a “sea bee”.

Thanks. I am looking at the Chronosync now to see how I would be able to make it all work. I also have a daily use Macbook Pro that I want to add in to the mix so I think this might be a good solution.

Been a while sense i’ve used Asus routers (rt-66n) but if I remember right QOS Is more for network’s speed performance to give gaming higher priority over other things running on the network. I think your looking for something more like Band Steering. It will push the device to connect on 5 GHz by blocking any attempt by the device to connect to the 2.4 GHz band. Hope that helps a bit.

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Plus one on Chronosync - it’s fantastic. Basically a front end to rsync.

And great question MacPhyle. I’ll put it in the hopper for ATG. We’ve recorded ahead so it will hav to be after I get back from vacation (November 15).

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Thank you! :smiley: I’ll look into that.

I installed Ubuntu Linux 15ish years ago to try it out, but I couldn’t figure out how to actually do anything. I clicked/right-clicked on everything I could find, but I never found my way to it’s Settings.

Is it command-line only?

I’m a techie, a programmer, and an OS wiz…but I don’t want to deal with command-line interfaces. Is there a Linux where I don’t have to already know the commands to do everything?

Most current Linux distros feature graphical Desktop Environments you’ll find very similar to Windows. Give POP_OS a try - it works on nearly any PC hardware and is very reliable and easy to use. And if you still want a command line the terminal is only a click away!

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If you hang around tech for long enough, you’ll run into an old saw about “the year of desktop Linux”… the premise being that it’s always coming and never yet quite arrives.

As a software developer, I love Linux. A lot of software development “history” comes from events on Unix (Bell Labs and Berkeley among others.) Many tools and software development approaches were created along the way to solving early computer systems problems in Unix.

Unfortunately, I don’t think any OS has a 100% command line free mode. It may be that 99.9% of the time, so long as everything goes well, you’ll never need a command line. There are debugging and recovery tools that are command line only… probably because they are so little used that the effort of creating a GUI was viewed as not worth the effort. For example in Windows, if you have a PC that is powering up from “sleep” mode when you don’t expect it… as far as I know the only way to investigate this is at the command line “powercfg /lastwake”.

For command lines that you do need very unoccasionally, it’s quite easy to learn how to make a text script file with the one command in it, and named something meaningful for you. And many command lines also have support for aliases that allow you to substitute short commands for longer.

I always felt Linux was being created by developers who like to work on command lines. This makes sense because most programming is still done in text files to this day. (There are some visual tools for specific things, but in general serious development is still done in text code.)

All that said, the ability to use Linux without a command line a majority of the time has gotten better and better over the years. If you have a GUI based software installer (a means to add and manage new programs) that let you get GUI based apps that allow you to do what you want to do with a PC, then you can be quite happy in a Linux GUI. It can even feel quite familiar to other GUI based OSes.

If you have a powerful enough machine, you can experiment trying all sorts of Linux distributions (check out https://distrowatch.com/ to see just how many there are, you’ll probably be amazed.) To do that, check out VirtualBox from Oracle ( https://www.virtualbox.org/ ). It’s completely free, and will let you use some space on your hard drive to simulate a whole new PC, into which you can install another OS like Linux to play. The virtual machine will run somewhat slower than if it wasn’t virtualized, but if your PC is fast enough, that probably won’t matter at all. Some of the Linux distributions even come in multiple flavours that basically mean they have different styles of GUIs pre-installed. The GUIs have names like Gnome and KDE, but you can see some example pictures from Fedora (as just one example) here: https://spins.fedoraproject.org/ )

In the end it boils down to your willingness to learn a few new things and to accept some differences between what you know well and what you will get to know. The best thing about Linux might well be that there is no cost to play around, if you’re of a mind to tinker. Have fun exploring!

Edit: Linking to this other post I wrote, to link them together, in case that’s helpful Linux - How to get started

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Thank you very much PHolder.

I’m totally comfortable using a command line in Windows sometimes when needed, I just think needing it for everything is ridiculous. I’m totally prepared to learn a new OS, it’s just that with nothing but a command like there’s a learning cliff instead of a curve.

Thanks @Leo! :smiley: Looking forward to that.

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On The Tech Guy - Episode 1631, you mentioned a Travel Router with built in VPN. You showed the router but in the show notes, the travel router is different that the Tiny Hardware Firewall VPN mentioned.

I’m interested in one of these devices, but I have a question about this device. You mentioned in other shows that you should always use a VPN. Currently, I’m using Express VPN. But with that mentioned, you stated on a few occasions that if you connected to a fake WiFi that someone is running then that hacker could see everything. (Man in the middle attack). Does the Travel Router VPN protect you from one of these types of hacks? I don’t travel much but do worry when I do and connect to a hotel wifi or a cafe wifi.

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This might make a great topic to revisit for an Ask The Tech Guy. In my case, I don’t travel far or often, but if I were to stay in a hotel with free WiFi I’d like a device I could configure to safely connect me back home to my home router or pfSense. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is not available outside the US I think. I’ve seen low cost devices made by companies I’ve never heard of on Amazon, but have no idea which if any would be worth picking up.

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I use Linux mint, its very easy to use and there is a large community.

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I have a 6 year old HP all in one. Would POP_OS work on it?

Most likely yes. If there are any special feature (like special keys on the keyboard for media or the like) they may end up not working though (because the necessary driver may not exist.)

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Leo, Ask The Tech Guy
is another One Of My Favorite Shows
Your doing a Fantastic Job
with this New Show, I Love it :nerd_face::+1:

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I too love mint. I’m Windows at work and Linux for what matters. I’ve explored several distro’s and think that if your making the jump from Windows POP_OS or Mint are best for a successful Windows detox.