Q. I am excited about Windows 11, but I do not want to wait until December to try it. Is there a way to get an advance copy?
A. It has been six long years since Microsoft launched Windows 10, and from what I have seen so far of Windows 11, it was time well spent.
Windows 11 is available now through the Windows Insider program (insider.windows.com). Once you enroll, navigate to Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Insider Program on a Windows 10 device and enable the Dev Channel. From there, you can download the latest Windows 11 preview release.
My advice is to hold off a while unless you have a PC dedicated to testing. The usual caveats apply to pre-release versions of software. Expect bugs, potential data loss, and no real support.
Note also that the current preview release is missing one of the Windows 11 marquee features: the ability to run Android apps.
The system requirements are steep, so unless your PC is fairly new, it might not be able to run the preview. Hopefully, the requirements will be relaxed closer to the “Holiday 2021” release date.
Personal computing was once dominated by PCs, but the center of gravity is now tilted toward smartphones and tablets. PCs are still important. But most people are better served by keeping their data in the cloud and accessing it from handheld devices. Windows 11 clearly reflects this new reality.
Q. I have enjoyed playing the piano all my life. Now that I am retired, I would love to teach music. Is there a way to find students online?
A. There are services that allow people to create online courses and make them available for sale, including Teachable, Udemy, and Skillshare, just to name a few.
Typically these services take a hefty percentage of sales in exchange for hosting the course. In addition to knowledge about the topic itself, you will need some basic skills in creating video and navigating a web site to set up a course.
These sites have the potential build a following, but with dozens of courses in every subject area competing for attention, building a course that can stand out among the crowd is difficult.
There is also a site dedicated to music instruction called Lessonface. Unlike the services above, Lessonface connects teachers and students for live lessons over the Internet. This model is much closer to traditional fee-per-hour tutoring, utilizing the Internet for video calls.
Lessonface fees are far lower when a teacher finds a student directly, which is great for instructors who already have active students and want the option to provide services online.
While they are still a bit on the techie side of things to use, I think these services can be a wonderful way for retirees to share their knowledge with others.
Q. If the Apple Watch can track someone’s sleep, and it detects if someone falls, when does one charge it?
A. For several months now I have successfully worn my Apple Watch about 23 hours a day. I use it to track my exercise during the day, and my sleep at night.
I charge it in the morning, as soon as I awaken. I put it on my night stand charger while I get ready to start my day. I also charge it while reading before I go to sleep.
According to Apple, and verified by my experience, the Apple Watch will recharge fully in about an hour. Because I charge the watch twice a day, it is usually fully charged in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Because of the fall detection feature and because the watch is waterproof, I am considering wearing it in the shower on days when I am alone.
In that case, I need to find a different routine. When I first switched from overnight charging to two charges per day, I experimented with different routines until I found one that fit my lifestyle. It might take a few weeks of trial and error, but the end result is well worth the effort.
Bob has been writing about technology for over three decades. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.