Ask Paul: August 7 (Premium)

... and then there it is the next day.

Happy Friday, and welcome to August, such as it is. Here’s another great set of reader questions to kick off the weekend.
Lightning 1, Paul 0
Cdorf asks:

First off, so sorry to hear about the lightning strike issue. I am glad that you and your neighbors are all okay. That led me to wonder if there was anything that could have helped prevent the damage in the first place? Since the theory is it came through the COAX would a suppressor on the COAX have helped with absorbing any of that? Or was the lightning just so intense that it wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference?

The cable guys who came and fixed our connection, and found where the lightning had hit, about 15 feet in front of our front door, recommended that we get a whole-house surge protector. This is something we had in our previous house, but never installed here, coincidentally. Whether it would have worked is unclear given how this happened. But we’re looking into getting one here as well.
Hey, Lenovo is Chinese, remember?
christianwilson asks:

The current U.S. regime's cold stance on companies like Huawei and TikTok in recent years got me thinking about Lenovo. Why isn't Lenovo viewed the way these other companies are? They seem to be functioning here in the United States the same as ever.

I’ve been wondering the same thing. My only guess is that our president is such an idiot---remember, he thought Singapore was part of China during the Qualomm/Broadcom thing---that it just hasn’t occurred to him yet. Don’t give him any ideas. :)

But more pragmatically, Lenovo’s ability to infringe on national security (cough) is limited compared to a networking provider (Huawei) or an online service (TikTok, WeChat, etc.). Those companies impact far bigger audiences.

Also, thanks to the Lenovo PC businesses’ roots, that part of the company has a large U.S.-based operation in North Carolina (a red state) and thus a history in this country. The one thing that Huawei, TikTok, and other companies that concern this administration have in common is that they are “pure” Chinese and arose in recent years.
Other mobile alternatives
bschnatt asks:

I know you've owned iPhones and Android phones, but you haven't said if you ever used some of those other, under-appreciated phones, the Palm Pre and the BlackBerry 10 phones (unless I missed it). Ever play with them?

I owned many, many Palm devices, including the Palm Treo 700w, the Windows Mobile handset. (In fact, I still have it.) I also owned many Palm OS-based devices from Handspring and Sony back in the day. But I’ve never owned a Palm Pre, which was launched about 1.5 years after iPhone and looked amazing, though it had performance problems and Palm was succumbing to financial difficulties. And I’ve never owned a Blackberry handset, mostly because by the time that got interesting, Windows phone was already happening.

On that note, if you haven’t s...

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