Show of 10-31-2009

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Janet: Dear Tech Talk. I have a computer and work sometimes local high school kids come in to use it. Is there any way I can protect my self from being hacked by them. A concerned owner. Janet
    • Tech Talk Answers: I would be very cautious. At a minimum I would set up a guest account without any rights to install programs. At least they won’t be able to install spyware on your machine. You are still liable for anything they download to your IP address (copy protected songs or porn). The bottom line is don’t do unless you can control the uses or unless you know and trust them.
    • At Stratford we reinitialize our public computers each day and we block traffic which is suspicious at the firewall. Still we are cautious and track what our students are doing on the web.
    • Email from Madam Butterfly: Dear Tech Talk. I love to listen to the show and I especially like the Profiles in IT. I have a problem with my computer. The fan inside my computer’s power supply has started making an awful noise, and I’m afraid it’s ready to bite the dust. Is it difficult to replace a power supply? Thanks. Madam Butterfly in Maryland
    • Tech Talk Answers: I assume that you have desktop computer. The power supply on a desktop is easy to replace. A power supply on a laptop is a serious challenge.
    • Chances are that your power supply is too small. The number of watts a power supply can deliver is directly proportional to its cost. Computer makers want to save manufacturing costs, so they tend to include power supplies that barely provide enough power for the components added at the factory. Your computer’s total power requirements should not be more than 80 per cent of the power supply’s rating.
    • It doesn’t hurt to buy a power supply that’s bigger than you need. If your computer was equipped with a wimpy 250W power supply, it won’t hurt to replace it with a 450W model. High end gaming systems may require 750W..
    • A desktop power supply is just a silver box with a fan in the back with several cables for the motherboard and various components. After unplugging everything that’s connected to the system unit, you can open the case by loosening a few screws and sliding the cover panel off. Open up the system unit, and you’ll see a bundle of wires coming out of the power supply. These connectors plug into the components that need power: motherboard, hard drive, CD/DVD drive, etc.
    • You can remove the power supply by unplugging all the connectors that are feeding the various components, and then removing the screws that hold the power supply to the case.
    • After popping the new power supply in the system unit, reconnect the connectors to all the components. Each component will accept only a certain shape of connector, so you really can’t go wrong. If the connector fits, it’s the right set of wires. Just make sure you don’t forget to connect anything.
  • Profiles in IT: Frederick Phillips. Brooks, Jr.
    • Frederick Phillips Brooks, Jr. is best known as “father of the IBM System/360 and as author of an candid essay titled, The Mythical Man Month, which distilled the successes and failures of his experiences with that system.
    • Frederick Phillips. Brooks, Jr., was born April 19, 1931 in Durham, NC.
    • He received a BA in Physics (magna cum laude) from Duke in 1953 and PhD from Harvard in Applied Mathematics in 1956.
    • Dr. Brooks joined IBM Corporation, working in Poughkeepsie and Yorktown, New York, from 1956 to 1965. He was an architect of the Stretch and Harvest computers.
    • In 1957, Fred. Brooks and Dura Sweeney invented a Stretch interrupt system that introduced most features of today’s interrupt systems.
    • The IBM 7030, also known as Stretch, was IBM’s first transistorized supercomputer. The first one was delivered to Los Alamos in 1961.
    • In 1961, he became Project Manager for the development of IBM’s System/360 family of computers and OS/360 software.
      • Brooks coined the term computer architecture.
      • The design made a clear distinction between architecture and implementation.
      • His system/360 team first achieved strict compatibility, upward and downward, in a computer family.
      • The IBM/360 was officially announced in 1964.
      • His early concern for word processing led to his selection of the 8-bit byte and the lowercase alphabet for the System/360, engineering of many new 8-bit input/output devices, and providing a character-string data type in PL/I.
    • Brooks said in 2001: Today’s general purpose computers are the result of putting together the evolution of the scientific computing and business computing strands. We did that in the IBM S/360.
    • Frederick Brooks, Bob Evans, and Erick Block received a National Medal of Technology in 1985.
    • Brooks distilled the successes and failures of the development of Operating System/360 in The Mythical Man-Month: Essays in Software Engineering (1975)
      • “It is a very humbling experience to make a multi-million-dollar mistake, but it is also very memorable.’ – The Mythical Man Month
      • “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later." This has since come to be known as Brooks’s law. — The Mythical Man Month
    • In 1964, Dr. Brooks founded the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and chaired it for 20 years.
    • Currently, he is Kenan Professor of Computer Science. His principal research is in real-time, three-dimensional, computer graphics—“virtual environments."
    • His research has helped biochemists solve the structure of complex molecules and has enabled architects to "walk through" buildings still being designed.
    • He and Nancy Greenwood Brooks have been married for more than 50 years. They have three children: Kenneth, Roger, and Barbara.
    • Frederick Brooks became a Christian at age 31 and has taught an adult Sunday School class for over twenty years.
    • Dr. Brooks’ next book, The Design of Design, will be available in January, 2010.
  • P2P File Leakage Creates Uproar In Congress
    • A confidential memo from one of the most secret panels in Congress was leaked on a peer-to-peer file-sharing network.
    • The document detailed the probes involving more than 30 lawmakers and aides.
    • In this case, the breach occurred because a junior staffer saved the document on her home PC, which reportedly also had Gnutella file sharing software.
    • One congressional source familiar with the inquiry says that she saved the document on her home PC but failed to realize the folder could be shared with other users on the P2P network.
    • The 22-page report was freely available on an unnamed file-sharing network after a junior staff member working from home stored it on a computer equipped with P2P software.
    • Lawmakers and staffers are required to protect the confidentiality of all sensitive information. The employee no longer works for the committee.
    • In July, the same month the confidential memo was prepared, a separate House committee held hearings on whether federal laws were needed to protect federal employees from accidental file sharing.
    • Legislators have grown so worried about inadvertent leaking of documents over P2P networks they’ve considered draconian bills that could render entire web browsers and operating systems illegal.
    • The confidential ethics report discussed inquiries into potential wrongdoing by representatives including Charles Rangel, Jane Harman, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson.
  • Internet Celebrates 40th Birthday
    • At 2100, on 29 October 1969, engineers 400 miles apart at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and Stanford Research Institute (SRI) prepared to send data between the first nodes of what was then known as Arpanet.
    • It got the name because it was commissioned by the US Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arpa).
    • The network was to be tested by Charley Kline attempting to remotely log in to a Scientific Data Systems computer that resided at SRI.
    • Kline typed an "L" and then asked his colleague Bill Duvall at SRI via a telephone headset if the letter had arrived.
    • It had.
    • Kline typed an "O". Duvall said that arrived too.
    • Kline typed a "G". Duvall could only report that the system had crashed.
    • They got it working again by 22:30 and everything went fine.
    • Watching remotely in Washington 40 years ago was Dr Larry Roberts, the MIT scientist who worked out the fundamental technical specifications of the Arpanet.
    • The initial reaction to setting up Arpanet was anything but positive.
    • Bob Taylor, head of Arpa’s Information Processing Techniques Office, wanted Arpanet built to end the crazy situation of every institution he funded demanding ever more computer power and duplicating research on those machines.
    • The resistance came about because those institutions wanted to keep control of their computer resources.
    • But, said Dr Roberts, they soon saw that hooking up to Arpanet meant a huge increase in the potential computer power they had at their disposal.
    • The Arpanet became the internet in the 1970s but the change was largely cosmetic.
    • The fundamental technological idea that made it work, known as packet switching, was demonstrated on that October evening.
    • The motivation for developing packet switching also had a financial element….to more efficiently use the telecommunications bandwidth.
    • From those first two nodes, Arpanet quickly grew and by December of 1969 it had four nodes.
    • By 1972 it had 37 and then started the process of connecting up networks to each other and the internet, a network of networks, came into being.
    • The rest is history.
  • Web to be truly worldwide at last
    • The internet has just gone truly global.
    • For the first time in its history, users will be allowed to create full web and e-mail-addresses using non-Latin characters.
    • The change has been announced by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at its board meeting taking place in Seoul, South Korea.
    • According to supporters of the change, it marks a huge technological shift in the way the web works with the potential to open up access to millions of new users.
    • Until now, anyone wanting to set up a website has been forced to include a few characters of Latin script in the address, or domain name, that they choose.
    • Other scripts, Arabic or Japanese for example, can be used in the first part, but whatever language is used, the address must end with a small but very important collection of Latin alphabet characters, .com, .gov, .co.uk, .cn and so on.
    • ICANN’s President, Rod Beckstrom, believes the change will help remove an inbuilt cultural bias at the heart of the Internet’s infrastructure.
    • Using search engines in the local script allows users to find web-addresses without typing the name, and there are programs that allow users to enter addresses in their own language.
    • ICANN says it will begin accepting the first applications for these addresses, in a number of different scripts other than Latin, from 16 November.
  • The Anatomy of Learning – Bloom’s Taxonomy
    • In the 1950’s Benjamin Bloom developed the taxonomy of learning domains.
      • He addressed three domains: cognitive, affective, and psycho-motor.
      • The cognitive domain addressed the acquisition of knowledge.
      • It is a continuum from Lower Order Thinking Skills to Higher Order Thinking Skills.
      • Bloom labeled the six categories of the cognitive domain as Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation
      • His taxonomy follows the thinking process.
      • You can not understand a concept if you do not first remember it.
      • Similarly you can not apply knowledge and concepts if you do not understand them.
    • In the 1990’s, a student of Bloom, Lorin Anderson, revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.
      • Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy was published in 2001.
      • Key to this is the use of verbs rather than nouns for each of the categories.
      • In addition the topmost category addressed creating new information.
      • We use the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy at Stratford University
    • Categories within the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.
      • Remembering – Recognizing, listing, describing, identifying, retrieving, naming, locating, finding
      • Understanding – Interpreting, Summarizing, inferring, paraphrasing, classifying, comparing, explaining, exemplifying
      • Applying – Implementing, carrying out, using, executing
      • Analyzing – Comparing, organizing, deconstructing, Attributing, outlining, finding, structuring, integrating
      • Evaluating – Checking, hypothesizing, critiquing, Experimenting, judging, testing, Detecting, Monitoring
      • Creating – designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising, making.
    • Why is this important?
      • It helps you structure long term learning activities.
      • It helps you achieve deep knowledge of new areas.
      • Helps educational institutions adjust the level of their curriculum.
  • Upgrading the OS on Blackberry Storm
    • Finally my BB Storm is a little quicker and the screen more responsive
    • I upgrading the operating system from 4.7 to 5.0
    • First I had to install the USB driver the the phone from the Verizon disk
    • Second I had to install the desktop client from the Blackberry disk.
    • The desktop client is needed in order to backup the data.
    • Then I used the desktop client to backup the data, download and install the OS, and then restore the data.
    • It was a smooth operation that took around 90 minutes. I could not backup using Bluetooth and was required to the USB connection.
    • Then I copied my iTunes library to the Blackberry. This is the same library that I set up for the iPod.
    • The phone does not lock up as much as did before.