Show of 7-17-2010

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Greg: Hi guys, Your show sounds great. "BUT"…the Blackberry founder’s name is pronounced me-ha-lease (Mihalis “Mike” Lazaridis), its a Greek name (the origin of the name Michael). You pronounced it ma-he-liss by mistake and then "Steve" after discussing Steve Jobs, which you pronounced "jobes". Contact me anytime to teach a pronunciation class at Stratford…no charge. Well, make it $1.00. That way I can say I’m a professional. Thanks for your good work, Greg Skenderis
    • Tech Talk Answers: Thanks Greg for the pronunciation tip.
    • Letter from Monique: Dear Tech Talk, I have just put all my CDs onto my computer. I would like to put these songs on two devices, my iPhone and my iPod. However, iTunes blocks me from doing this. What do you suggest? Monique
    • Tech Talk Answers: You can put songs on both devices. However, when you place them in the first device, simply point to the subdirectory where the songs are and add them to your playlist. It will convert and import the songs, leaving then in the original folder unchanged. You can then do the same thing for the second device. Do not do the original ripping with iTunes or you will only be able to use one device.
    • Letter from Tom: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I am having trouble with my Wi-Fi connection in the house. I can get a signal on the first floor where the access point is located. However, when I go the basement, I lose the signal. What can I do? Tom
    • Tech Talk Answers: You can two choices: repeater or antenna. An antenna with some gain may be all you need. Also signals are location dependent. Download NetStumbler from the Internet. It will give you the signal to noise for your system. You need a signal strength better than 20 db. Get an external antenna to plug into your access point. The gain of the antenna indicates the amount of focusing the antenna is providing. Measure the signal strength again and adjust the antenna as necessary. If you cannot get this work. You can purchase a Wi-Fi relay. Place it on the same floor as your access point (above your computer the basement).
    • Email from Ken: Dr. S., Incidentally, when a show is a "best of" show, could Jim or somebody else please put a brief description on the Techtalk page of the dates that the material came from? I mean something simple, like, "Email: January 3, 2009; profile: November 10, 2007; NASA Lost Moon Footage: July 18, 2009."  (I overslept last Saturday and missed 3/4 of the show, but I would like to have at least read what I missed. At age 63, I don’t remember much from previous shows, so almost everything seems new.),
    • I have never heard anybody other than you pronounce the last name of Steve Jobs with a long O. I am about 99.9% certain that "Jobs" is pronounced like "jobs."  Love the show, Ken
    • Tech Talk Responds: Good idea for Best of. We will try to do that. I did some further checking the Steve’s name and you are correct. I thought we pronounced it like in the Bible, Book of Job. That is not the case.
    • Email from Haley: Dear Tech Talk, I have just graduated from college and need a job in the tech field. My degree is in information technology with a specialization in database design. What do you suggest? Thanks Haley
    • Tech Talk Responds: First, read the book “What Color is Your Parachute?” First you need to act like you are already in the field. Get some home projects going (MySQL database, database driven website, etc.). Do surveying to learn about the companies you may wish to work for. Join industry user groups. Subscribe to industry rags.
  • Profiles in IT: Mark Russell Benioff
    • Marc Russell Benioff is co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Salesforce.com, a cloud computing company. He is known as the “Biggest Mouth in Silicon Valley.”
    • Marc Russell Benioff was born on September 25, 1964 in San Francisco, CA
    • In 1979 at age 15, he founded Liberty Software, which specialized in microcomputer games, creating and selling games for the Atari system among others.
    • He graduated from Burlingame High School in 1982.
    • Benioff received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, where he was a TKE, in 1986.
    • In the summer of 1984, Benioff worked as an assembly language programmer at the Macintosh Division of Apple Computer for a short time while in college.
    • He was hired by the Oracle Corporation in 1986 after graduating from college.
    • At 23, he was the named Oracle’s Rookie of the Year and three years later he was promoted to vice president, the company’s youngest person to hold that title.
    • He held a variety of executive positions in sales, marketing, and product development for 13 years
    • Salesforce was born in March 1999 in cramped, adjoining apartments atop San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill.
    • Benioff, still employed at Oracle, lived in a condo. Fellow co-founders Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff and Frank Dominguez set up shop next door. Computer cables ran between the apartments through windows.
    • His initial investment of $1.2 million of his own money enabled them to get further VC financing a few months later.
    • He defined its mission as The End of Software. It is a cloud computing company.
    • He is “credited with turning the software industry on its head” by using the Internet to “revamp the way software programs are designed and distributed.”
    • He has long evangelized software-as-a-service as the model that would replace traditional enterprise software.
    • In 2000, he launched the Salesforce.com Foundation—now a multimillion-dollar global organization—which established the “1-1-1 model,” whereby the company contributes one percent of profits, one percent of equity, and one percent of employee hours back to the communities it serves.
    • He is the creator of the term “platform-as-a-service” and has extended salesforce.com’s reach by allowing customers to build their own applications on the company’s architecture, or in the salesforce.com “cloud”.
    • He’s known for his willingness to take on very large competitors, frequently making outspoken remarks such as: "Part of our mission is to end Microsoft."
    • He is the author of three books, including the national best seller Behind the Cloud.
    • Benioff has been recognized for pioneering innovation with honors such as the 2007 National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
    • He was appointed by President George W. Bush as the co-chairman of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and served from 2003-2005, overseeing the publishing of critical reports on health care information technology, cybersecurity, and computational sciences.
    • One of his favorite books is Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
  • Cyber Command Logo Mystery Solved
    • Okay, maybe it wasn’t that much of a mystery.
    • It took a little more than three hours for Danger Room reader jemelehill to figure out the odd string of letters and numbers in the logo of the U.S. military’s new Cyber Command.
    • It’s the new unit’s mission statement, translated into 32 digits with the md5 cryptographic hash:
    • USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same
  • Apple iPhone Update
    • Hoping to make customers happy after complaints of an antenna problem on Apple’s new iPhone 4, CEO Steve Jobs said yesterday that his company will send free bumpers, or cases, to current owners and consumers who buy the phone through Sept. 30.
    • In addition to protecting the phone, a bumper solves a problem for iPhone 4 owners who hold the device in a way that puts their hand on the wraparound stainless-steel antenna, blocking reception.
    • Jobs said Apple will provide cases made by third-party providers because the company can’t make enough of the Apple-branded $29 plastic bumpers that encircle the iPhone.
    • Customers will be able to order them online starting next week.
    • Jobs said Apple has sold more than 3 million iPhone 4s and a white iPhone will start shipping at the end of July.
    • Jobs also said the iPhone will be rolled out to 17 more countries, from Australia to Switzerland.
  • Geotagging Can Reveal More than you Want
    • Be warned: If you take a snapshot with your iPhone or other camera-enabled gadget, it may divulge more information about you than your photographic abilities.
    • Yesterday, at the Next HOPE hacker conference in New York on Friday, a security researcher demonstrated how he scanned over 2.5 million photo links posted to Twitter and extracted exact latitude and longitude coordinates embedded in over 65,000 photos — typically without the user’s knowledge.
    • It works this way: the most recent generation or two of cell phones can geotag photographs by injecting the location coordinates into the EXIF metadata of images taken with the camera.
    • This is precise enough to allow individual homes to be located, and sometimes even the general area inside a home, and is different from the geotag-this-message feature that Twitter and similar services offer.
    • About 3 percent of images posted to Twitter are geotagged through EXIF.
  • Shake to Charge Batteries
    • With the introduction of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries many gadgets have moved away from using AA and AAA batteries.
    • But for certain devices e.g. a TV remote, these one use batteries are still the norm.
    • Although rechargeable versions of such batteries exist, most people still rely on using the standard one use versions and throwing them away, which is very wasteful.
    • Brother Industries may have come up with an alternative for low-power devices, however.
    • A new Vibration-power Generating Battery (VpGB) has been created which can be produced in both AA and AAA sizes. Unlike those batteries though, it does not contain a certain amount of energy which gets discharged and then becomes useless. Instead, shaking the battery generates power which can then be used immediately.
    • So with a VpGB in your remote, all you need do is shake the remote and then use as normal. The battery won’t ever need replacing, and therefore there is no waste until the remote’s life is over.
    • VpGB’s can’t replace standard batteries completely, but for any device that only needs power occasionally, and consumes no more than 100mW (AAA) or 180mW (AA), they are perfect.
    • The VpGB is set to be demonstrated at the Techno-frontier 2010 show held from July 21 to 23, 2010.
  • Solar Powered Plane Stays up 7 Days
    • The solar powered aircraft, named Zephyr, has achieved a new record. ..staying up for 7 days.
    • The craft took off from the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona at 1440 BST (0640 local time) last Friday and is still in the air.
    • Its non-stop operation, day and night, means it has now gone five times longer than the official mark recognized by the world air sports federation.
    • Zephyr is basically the first ‘eternal. Zephyr has been under development for a number of years at Qinetiq.
    • Solar-powered high-altitude long-endurance (Hale) UAVs are expected to have a wide range of applications in the future.
    • The military will want to use them as reconnaissance and communications platforms.
    • Civilian and scientific programs will equip them with small payloads for Earth observation duties.
    • The latest version of Zephyr is now 50% bigger than its predecessors with a wingspan of 22 meters.
  • HP ePrint Technology
    • HP announced a new line of printers with "ePrint" technology.
    • ePrint, at least in theory, frees you from that onerous piece of software, the printer driver.
    • To print a document, you can e-mail it to the printer’s unique e-mail address. The printer, connected to the Net via your wireless network, picks up the print job, including a variety of formatted attachments: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel; text; PDF; and images in JPEG, PNG, GIF, and TIFF formats.
    • HP’s Photosmart printer updates its firmware automatically, in this case retrieving the update that enabled the ePrint feature.
    • It means you can print from your Net-connected phone, any computer in your house, or the Internet kiosk in the airport.
    • In the future you could print a recipe from your networked refrigerator.
    • By default, the HP ePrint e-mail address can be used by anyone who knows it.
    • Change the settings to permit only a whitelist of authorized e-mail addresses. And you can click a button to create a new address as well.
    • The print drivers are still there, of course, and will get you a lot more control. But for my purposes, the wirelessly connected ePrint technology solves a big problem.