Show of 12-25-2010

  • Best of Tech Talk Edition
    • Replaying popular segments from previous shows.
  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Sheldon: Dear Tech Talk: I am drowning in statistics looking at Plasma HD TVs. I’m looking at a 42-50 inch Panasonic Plasma.
    • I’m assuming I need  1080, which this has. Is 120 Hz good enough or is the 480 Hz that I’m looking at better? Then there’s widescreen aspect ratio – the one I’m looking at has 16:9 . 20W full-range 2-speaker system – sounds good to me, but what do I know? Progressive scanning. Maximizes the picture quality of progressive-scan DVD players, set-top boxes and digital video recorders". We just got a Sony DVD/Blueray player. Guess I need to see if it has progressive-scan.Inputs – Includes 3 HDMI, 2 composite video, 2 S-video, 2 component video, 1 RF and 6 audio.Outputs – Includes 1 composite video, 1 audio and 1 digital audio. Thanks, Sheldon.
    • Tech Talk Answers: Consider size first. The normal viewing distance should be double the screen size. If your normal viewing distance is 84 inches, then a 42 inch screen is optimal. If your viewing  distance is 100 inches, a 50 inch screen is best.
    • As for the Input/Output (I/O): you have everything you need. In the future only HDMI will be used and you have three of those (for tuner, DVD)
    • As for resolution: The best you can expect is 1080p. P stands for progressive which means it scan every line from top to bottom. Interlaced means it scans every other line and then fills in between with the next frame. If you have 1080p, you will also have 1080i, 720p, 720i, etc. BTW, the 1080 refers to the number of lines (or pixels) vertically. So you should be covered here.
    • Screen size: you do want 16X9 (which is wide screen), rather than 3X4 which is the conventional screen size. All HDTV will eventually be 16X9.
    • Other other electronic specs take care of themselves: comb filters refer to noise filters (combs are standard), color management, sub-pixel controller can only improve the image quality.
    • You key choices are: plasma versus liquid crystal, resolution, I/O.
    • Email from Mitch: Hi Dr. Shurtz, I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you for your enjoyable and rewarding show. Best Wishes to you and yours, Mitch Axelrod, O.D.
    • Tech Talk Answers: Thanks for listening.
  • Profiles in IT: Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
    • "Amazing Grace" Hopper was Born December 9, 1906 to Walter and Mary Murray in New York City .
    • BA, Mathematics and Physics, Vassar College , 1928; MA, Mathematics, Yale University , 1930; Ph.D., Mathematics, Yale University , 1934
    • Admiral Grace Hopper was a computer programmer and "mother" of COBOL programming language.
    • As a child, Hopper loved gadgets. She loved to take things apart.
    • In high school, she played basketball, field hockey and water polo.
    • When working towards her Ph.D., she was one of four women in a doctoral program of ten students. She is one of few women admirals in the history of the United States Navy. First female PhD in Mathematics from Yale.
    • In 1930 at the age of 23 she married Vincent Foster Hopper. They divorced in 1945
    • She was Associate Professor at Vassar College from 1931 to 1943
    • After Pearl Harbor , Hopper decided to serve her country during World War II.
      • She was commissioned a Lieutenant (JG) and was ordered to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University inn 1944
      • She became the first programmer on the Navy’s Mark I computer.
      • Hopper loved this 8 foot high, 8 foot wide gadget filled with relays, switches and vacuum tubes.
      • She traced an error in the Mark II to a moth trapped in a relay, coining the term bug.
    • In 1946, when Hopper was released from active duty, she joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory where she continued her work on the Mark II and Mark III.
    • In 1949 she joined the Eckert-Machly Computer Corporation (later called Sperry Rand) where she helped design the commercial computer called the UNIVAC
      • The UNIVAC operated a thousand times faster than the Mark I.
      • Perhaps her best-known contribution to computing was the invention of the compiler (1952), the intermediate program that translates English language instructions into the language of the target computer.
      • It was used by Flow-Matic the only existing business language
      • She then participated in the work to produce specifications for a common business language which would be called Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL). The specification was published in 1959.
      • COBOL was the first language that allowed a programmer to speak to the computer with words rather than numbers.
    • She was also famous for presenting a nanosecond. She would have a piece of wire, about a foot long, and explain that it represented a nanosecond, since it was the maximum distance electricity could travel in wire in one billionth of a second.
    • Admiral Hopper was also famous for a remark she made on television in 1983. She said " It is much easier to apologize that to get permission".
    • She received the first computer sciences "man-of-the-year" award from the Data Processing Management Association in 1969
    • First woman of any nationality to be made a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society
  • Tech Talk Guest: Brent Anderson
    • Stratford MS, Telecommunication Systems Graduate
    • Founder, Great American Networks
  • Great American Networks, a Local Success
    • Web site: www.greatamericannetworks.us
    • Wireless ISP Provider
      • Washington DC WISP covers the Washington Monument, the Western side of the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon, Tysons Corner, Freedom Park (13th & K) DC, SW DC Water Front and parts of Rosslyn Virginia.
      • Provides Point-to-Point business class services to any location within Washington DC, Alexandria Virginia and much of Fairfax County.
      • Installs turnkey wide-area W-Fi network for any building (residential or business)
    • Wireless Hotspot Provider
      • Will provide a wireless hotspot for your business
      • Will provides credit card if requested
      • Your customers will have access to wireless networks world wide.
    • Projects in Other Countries
      • Partnered with WISP providers in Camp Taji and Camp Victory, near Baghdad, Iraq providing a low cost service to the troops
      • Mesh network in Kenya
  • Satellite Destruction Using Google Earth And Orbitron
    • Download Sebastian Stoff’s Orbitron (http://stoff.pl/)satellite tracking software
    • Download Google Earth (http://earth.google.com/) to visualize your attack.
    • Target China’s Feng Yun 1C weather satellite. The Chinese don’t appear to care much for their weather satellites?
    • You plot the satellite’s position ten minutes hence using your computer and you feed the predicted latitude, longitude, and altitude to your launch pad control center.
    • Using literature that’s been available since the 1960s, compute the amount of fuel needed to get your one-stage rocket and its warhead to the satellite’s future position.
    • Plot a "solution" or flight plan that takes into account the liftoff phase, the controlled orbit insertion phase, and the ballistic fall onto the target.
    • Explained in Paper titled: Risk and vulnerability games. The anti-satellite weaponry (ASAT) by Adrian Gheorghe, Old Dominion University , and Dan Vamanu, National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering in Bucharest, Romania
    • "In theory, the ASAT ballistic hit looks quite a doable stunt. One may safely assume that any country in possession of intermediate range vectors may mount an ASAT adventure."
  • More About Google Earth
    • Web site: http://earth.google.com/
    • Google Earth combines the power of Google Search with satellite imagery, maps, terrain and 3D buildings to put the world’s geographic information at your fingertips.
      • Fly to your house. Just type in an address, press Search, and you’ll zoom right in.
      • Search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels. Get driving directions.
      • Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings.
      • Save and share your searches and favorites.
    • Since Google Earth was launched, users have been exploring our world and creating content overlays (KML files) to share their explorations with others.
    • user-created KML files are highlighted each week in the Google Earth Gallery (http://earth.google.com/gallery/)
    • You can plan a trip and fly over your path from start to finish.
  • Science of Snowflakes – Is Every Snowflake Unique?
    • Can you ever be sure that no two are alike?
    • The short answer to the question is yes, since it is indeed extremely unlikely that two complex snowflakes will look exactly alike. Notice I said complex snowflake.
    • Variations caused by isotopes
      • If we restrict ourselves to water molecules which contain two ordinary hydrogen atoms and one ordinary oxygen atom, then again physics tells us that all such water molecules are exactly alike
      • However about one molecule out of every 5000 naturally occurring water molecules will contain an atom of deuterium in place of one of the hydrogens.
      • One in 500 will contain an atom of O (with an atomic weight of 18) instead of the more common oxygen (with an atomic weight of 16).
      • Since a typical small snow crystal might contain 1018 water molecules, we see that about 1015 of these molecules will be different from the rest.
      • The probability that two snow crystals would have exactly the same layout of these molecules is very, very, very small.
      • Even with 1024 crystals per year, the odds of it happening within the lifetime of the Universe is indistinguishable from zero.
      • However, if we consider a crystals of only 10 molecules, here’s a reasonable probability that two would be exactly alike.
    • Variations caused by stacking faults
      • When a crystal grows, the molecules do not stack together with perfect regularity, so a typical snow crystal contains a huge number of crystal dislocations, which again are scattered throughout the crystal in a random fashion.
      • One can then argue, like with the isotopes, that the probability of two crystals growing with exactly the same pattern of dislocations is vanishingly small.
      • Again one has the exception of few-molecule crystals, which can easily be free of dislocations.
    • Variations caused by variable growth dynamics
      • The number of possible ways of making a complex snowflake is staggeringly large. Now when you look at a complex snow crystal, you can often pick out a hundred separate features if you look closely.
      • Since all those features could have grown differently, or ended up in slightly different places, the math is similar to that with the books.
    • Thus the number of ways to make a complex snow crystal is absolutely huge.
  • Food Science: Lumpy Gravy
    • Starch-thickened sauces take advantage of gelatinization
      • Wheat starch thickens 140 to 148 degrees F
      • Corn starch thickens at 144 to 158 degree F
    • To eliminate lumps mix flour and butter (roux) prior to putting into liquid.
    • 1-1-1 Formula: 1 cup of liquid, 1 TB flour, 1 TB butter.