Show of 7-5-2008

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Tony: My cell phone dropped in the swimming pool. What should I do. Can I recover the data from the phone. I listen every weekend. Tony
    • Tech Talk Responds: Do not turn on the phone. Take our the battery immediately. Disassemble the phone as much as you can and shake out the water. Let the phone sit in the hot sun for a couple of day. Some have used a hair dryer. When it is dry, put the battery and try to operate it. This works about half of the time.
    • If you cell phone is a GSM, just take out the SIM card and you can get the data when you put it into another phone.
    • If you have a CDMA phone or have data stored internally in a GSM phone, you can recover the data by sending the phone to a data recovery service. It will cost you from $100 to $1000 to recover lost data according on Online Data Recovery.
    • Of course, you could have backed up your phone data using a simple backup program available from your phone vendor (for a price, usually around $29),
    • Email from Mitch: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I’ve been meaning to write for a long time to thank you for such an educational and entertaining Saturday morning radio show and also for providing great quiz winning Friday night dinners at the Culinary School. Over the years of listening, I’ve realized that we’ve shared some common interests and experiences. For example, during a project long ago I made a faceted glass probe that used laser light to measure the index of refraction of various media. Also, (and in a vicarious way) my son-in-law is a night vision goggle engineer ?formally at ITT and now in Boston. For me as an optometrist, it’s nice to hear your radio show peppered with comments involving optics. Except for your show, I have never in my life heard the word diopter on the radio! And thanks to you and my daughter’s .edu email address, I am writing this using Microsoft’s Ultimate Steal Deal. Mitch
    • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for the great feedback.
  • Profiles in IT: Ray Kursweil
    • Raymond Kurzweil has been a pioneer in the fields of optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition, and electronic keyboard instruments.
    • He is the author of several books on health, artificial intelligence, transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism.
    • He was born February 12, 1948 and grew up in Queens, New York City.
    • 1963, at the age of fifteen, he wrote his first computer program to process statistical data at a summer job. IBM distributed it to researchers.
    • In high school he created a pattern-recognition program that analyzed musical pieces and then synthesized its own songs. He won first at the International Science Fair.
    • In 1968, during his sophomore year at MIT, he used a program to match high school students with colleges. The program compared thousands of different criteria about each college with questionnaire answers submitted by each student applicant. When he was 20, he sold the company to Harcourt, Brace & World for $100,000.
    • He earned a BS in Computer Science and Literature in 1970 from MIT.
    • In 1974, Kurzweil started the company Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc. and led development of the first omni-font optical character recognition system.
      • He decided that the best application would be a reading machine for the blind.
      • This required the invention of two enabling technologies–the CCD flatbed scanner and the text-to-speech synthesizer.
      • On January 13, 1976, the finished product was unveiled during a news conference with the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind.
    • Stevie personally purchased the first production version of the Kurzweil Reading Machine, beginning a lifelong friendship between himself and Kurzweil.
    • In 1978, Kurzweil Computer Products began selling a commercial version of the optical character recognition computer program. Two years later, Kurzweil sold his company to Xerox.
    • In 1982, after meeting with Stevie Wonder, Kurzweil founded Kurzweil Music Systems to create synthesizers capable of duplicating the sounds of real instruments.
    • The Kurzweil K250 was unveiled in 1984. The machine was capable of imitating a number of different types of instruments. Kurzweil Music Systems was sold to Korean musical instrument manufacturer Young Chang in 1990.
    • Concurrent with Kurzweil Music Systems, Ray Kurzweil created the company Kurzweil Applied Intelligence (KAI) to develop computer speech recognition systems for commercial use. KAI still exists today as Nuance.
    • Kurzweil started Kurzweil Educational Systems in 1996 to develop new pattern-recognition-based computer technologies to help people with disabilities such as blindness, dyslexia and ADD in school.
    • During the 1990s he started KurzweilAI (http://www.kurzweilai.net/), a website devoted promoting futurist-related discussion.
    • He predicted in his 1999 book, The Age of Spiritual Machines that computers will one day prove superior to the best human financial minds.
    • The Singularity is Near, including his concept of exponential growth, radical life expansion, and how we will transcend our biology.
  • Singularity is Near
    • A Book Published by Kursweil in 2005
    • Linear versus Exponential Growth and the Law of Accelerating Return
    • The Singularity is defined as the point where man creates a computer more intelligent than himself. The future cannot be seen beyond that point just like you cannot see into black hole created by a singularity in mass.
    • The Six Epochs
      • Physics and Chemistry (Information in Atomic Structure)
      • Biology (Information in DNA)
      • Brains (Information in Neural Patterns)
      • Technology (Information in Hardware and Software Designs)
      • Merger of Technology and Human Intelligence (Methods of Biology (including Intelligence) are integrated into human technology base
      • The Universe Wakes Up (Patterns of matter and energy in the universe become saturated with intelligent processes and knowledge)
  • Website of the Week: The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
    • Mission Statement: In the coming decades, humanity will likely create a powerful artificial intelligence. The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI) exists to confront this urgent challenge, both the opportunity and the risk.
  • The Google Ogle Defense
    • Can Google search data be used in court?
    • A Florida attorney planned to use Google Trends data to indicate community values.
    • The trial was to have begun on last Tuesday, but was settled out of court.
    • Defendant Clinton Raymond McCowen — who had also been charged with racketeering and prostitution — agreeing to three to five years in prison.
    • So the viability of a Google defense remains untested.
    • Obscenity charges hinge on the vague concept of community standards — whether allegedly obscene material would fall under the public’s definition of decency.
    • Google Trends is tool that graphically displays the day’s most popular search terms, or lets users compare multiple terms’ popularity over time.
    • Theoretically, it’s a direct line to our (and our neighbors) innermost thoughts.
    • So the question remains: Are we what we Google?
  • Google Trends
    • Web Address: http://www.google.com/trends
    • Gives rising search trends
    • Can compare search word popularity
    • Total number of search
    • Most searches by country
    • Most search by city
    • Most searches by language
    • Google Zeitgeist gives overall results for the year or the month
    • Google Trends Search Term: Stratford University
      • Top Countries (India, UK, Canada, US)
      • Top City (Kitchener Canada, DC, Reston, Birmingham UK)
      • Top Languages (English, Chinese)
    • Google Trends Search Term: Sex
      • Top Countries (Viet Nam, Egypt, India, Turkey, Poland)
      • Top Cities (Delhi, Ankara, Istanbul, Warsaw, Brussels)
      • Top Languages (Vietnamese, Arabic, Turkish, Polish, English)
  • Google Search Privacy Policy
    • Google retains search data
    • Traceable to IP address and ultimately to a particular person
    • Since many people tend to Google themselves, the data can be revealing
    • Google recently added a privacy link to their website which outlines privacy policies
  • My Experiences with Digital TV
    • Our Free Digital TV arrived with week.
    • We signed up for FIOS last November and finally got the promotional TV
    • It was a Sharp 19 inch HDTV with digital tuner
    • I purchased a VHF rabbit ear (with UHF loop)
      • VHF (Very High Frequency) covers channels 2 through 13
      • UHF (Ultrahigh Frequency) covers channels 14 and up
    • The antenna had a built in 30 db amplifier (210 or 256x amplification)
      • Located HDTV stations using AntennaWeb
      • Web Address: http://www.antennaweb.org/
      • After entering address, the website calculates the direction and strength of all HDTV or Analog signals
    • Digital is either perfect or nothing, so I had to use a signal strength meter built into the TV to adjust the antenna.
    • After a week of tinkering, I either need to move the TV to the other side of the house or mount an external antenna on the roof.
    • Some stations may increase the strength of the digital signal, when the analog transmission ends. So it may bet better.
  • Bill Gates Steps Down Microsoft
    • Bill Gates stepped down from his job running Microsoft
    • He plans to devote his time to charity work.
    • As a teenager Gates had a vision of a computer on every desk in every home.
    • He says he caught sight of the future and based his career on what he saw.
    • The son of a lawyer from Seattle, Gates programmed his first computer at 13.
    • During his two years at Harvard University, he spent much of his time finessing his programming skills as well as enjoying the occasional all-night poker session.
    • He eventually dropped out of college and moved to Albuquerque, in New Mexico, where he set up Microsoft with his childhood friend, Paul Allen.
    • Their big break came in 1980 when Microsoft signed an agreement with IBM to build the operating system that became known as MS-DOS.
    • Microsoft went public in 1986 and within a year Bill Gates, at 31, had become the youngest self-made billionaire.
    • Gates explained that Microsoft benefitted because "most of our competitors were very poorly run. They did not understand how to bring in people with business experience and people with engineering experience and put them together."
    • He will remain as Microsoft’s chairman and work on special technology projects, but according to Gates, great wealth brings great responsibility and his future work will include finding new vaccines and financing projects in the developing world.
  • July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month
    • Wireless customers have grown increasingly dependent on their cell phones to stay connected on the go, but often they aren’t aware that their conversations can disturb others.
    • While most of us can attest to having witnessed rude wireless behavior first-hand, few will readily admit to having been a culprit.
    • Five cell phone rules to live by
      • The Person You are with is the Most Important Person To Talk To — Utilize the Caller ID feature for screening options. You may decide to let voice mail take the call and return the call at a more appropriate time.
      • Use Text Messaging to Simplify Your Life — Are your expecting important information from a colleague but need to be in a public area? Ask them to send a text message to your phone.
      • Change the Ringing Tones on Your Phone to Match the Environment — Use a loud ring for outdoors ? but inside, use silent or vibrating options.
      • Turn off Your Phone During Public Performances or While In Public Spaces — In certain public areas such as movie theaters, plays, churches, museums and libraries, talking can be disruptive and can violate basic courtesy. If you are expecting an important call, use text messaging.
      • Don’t Engage In Cell Yell — Most devices have sensitive microphones that can pick up even a whisper. There is no need to speak louder on your cell phone than you would on any other phone. Use your best judgment when in a cab, train or any other environment where you might subject a ?captive? public
  • Hackers Steal $2M from Citibank ATMs
    • Hackers broke into Citibank’s network of ATMs inside 7-Eleven stores and stole customers’ PIN codes enabling them to withdraw at least $2 million from cash machines.
    • The case against three people in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York highlights a significant problem.
    • Federal investigators say from October 2007 to March of this year three identity thieves were able to get cash from those ATMs conveniently without even touching the machines.
    • Hackers are targeting the ATM system’s infrastructure, which is increasingly built on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system and allows machines to be remotely diagnosed and repaired over the Internet.
    • And despite industry standards that call for protecting PINs with strong encryption – which means encoding them to cloak them to outsiders – some ATM operators apparently aren’t properly doing that.
    • The PINs seem to be leaking while in transit between the automated teller machines and the computers that process the transactions.
    • The companies that operate the ATMs in 7-Eleven, Fiserv and Cardtronics, are working closely with authorities in their investigation. But Fiserv said it is not directly involved in the case and has not returned e-mails or phone calls from journalists.
    • Cardtronics also said that it uses encrypted pin pads and triple data encryption to help protect user information.
    • Citibank has nearly 5,700 Citibank-branded ATMs inside 7-Eleven stores throughout the US, which are owned or operated by separate companies.
  • Useful Google Search Features
    • Calculator
    • Unit Conversion
    • Dictionary Definition
    • Spell Checker
    • Fill in the Blank
  • Food Science: How to Prevent Food Sticking
    • Protein become chemically reactive at high temperatures (above 175 F)
    • The protein can bond to metal ions in either ceramic or metal and can literally become glued to the surface.
      • Moving the food so it won’t bond is one way to prevent sticking. Keep moving until the meat is browned via Maillard reaction. The protein is then not available to react with the metal. I sometimes do this on the grill.
      • Forming a patina by heating oil until it is smoking reduces the number of metal sites available to react with the meat because the oil is occupying them. Don’t wash this pan with soap because the patina will be removed. Such a pan is called a seasoned pan.
      • Non-stick coatings (Teflon) will not react with proteins
      • In the case of cakes, you must coat the baking tin with grease and flour.