Show of 2-19-2011

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Facebook Post by James Messick: I’ve been listening to Tech Talk Radio for years and for my money it is the best tech radio show, and podcast, out there.
    • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks, James.
    • Email from Nikita: Dr. Richard Shurtz. I am a writer with a 2006 laptop w/ XP Operating system. I want to upgrade my MS Office Standard edition 2003. I need to be using Office 2007. I only really need WORD, PowerPoint and Excel. What is the least expensive way for me to buy this software? I do need these three to be fully featured, not some ‘limited/dumbed down’ student edition which may be offered. Thanks Much. Nikita
    • Tech Talk Responds: If you have a legitimate connection with a college or university (student, staff), you qualify for academic pricing. This is full version software at the upgrade price. If you don’t qualify, you will need to just search for the lowest price on the web. Be careful for the really cheap versions. The vendor may not legitimate. One paid for good reviews.
    • Email from Jessica: Yesterday, the New FB Privacy setting called "Instant Personalization" goes into effect. The new setting shares your data with non-FB sites & it is automatically set to "Enabled".To disable, Go to Account>Privacy Settings>Apps & Websites>Instant Personalization>edit settings & uncheck "Enable". BTW If your friends don’t do this, they will be sharing info about you as well. Jessica
    • Tech Talk Responds: Great suggestion. I have already done this.
    • Email from Lauren: Dr. Richard Shurtz, I’ve been using TurboTax for several years but it is the most expensive tax software on the market. I own a home and have investment income so usually have to purchase the Premium software. These seem to be the choices in 2011. Do you have any recommendation or experience with any of these: Turbo Tax, H&R Block, TaxACT, CompleteTax, TaxSlayer, TaxBrain, OnePriceTaxes, Express Tax Refund. Thanks, Lauren
    • Tech Talk Responds: Turbo Tax, H&R Block, and TaxACT are all excellent. Any one would be fine. In head to head competition, Turbo Tax is still the winner by a slight margin.
    • Email from Really Long Time Listener: Dear Doc, Suggest you not allow David Burd to ‘coopt’ your program in the future. Much prefer you and Jim’s discussions and don’t care for when you run short of time and have to drop topics because you spent an inordinate amount of the show discussing his phone preferences. – Really Longtime Listener
    • Tech Talk Responds: We like to chat with David. I will try and keep it under control so we don’t lose too much time.
    • Email from Peter: Dear Tech Talk, A few years ago, a publisher decided to publish a book using one of my digital pictures without his permission. My question is: how much info is stored in those images? Could we find out where they came from and who made them? Thanks, Peter
    • Tech Talk Responds: Most digital images use the EXIF file definition. Exchangeable image file format (EXIF) is a specification for the image file format used by digital cameras (including Smartphones) and scanners. The specification uses the existing image formats (TIFF, JPEG, or WAVE) TIFF with the addition of metadata tags. Metadata includes things like the camera make and model, the settings used, the date and time of the photo and even the GPS coordinates of where the camera was at the time the photo was taken. If the image was manipulated with a software program, this metadata will probably have been changed.
    • You can easily check this data using EXIF Viewer plugin for Firefox. After installing the plugin, right-click on the image that you’re viewing and select "View Image EXIF Data". Then scroll around in the resulting dialog box
  • Profiles in IT: Liu Chuanzhi
    • Liu Chuanzhi is the founder of Lenovo Computers,
    • Liu was born: April 29, 1944, in Shanghai, China.
    • His father served was a Bank of China executive and Communist sympathizer.
    • Liu enrolled at the Xian Military Communication Engineering College in 1961.
    • He graduated in 1966 and got a job with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
    • Mao Zedong launched Cultural Revolution during the 1960s and closed universities.
    • Liu was forced to work as a laborer on a state-owned rice farm from 1968 to 1970.
    • After the collapse of the Chinese economy, the Chinese Academy of Sciences reopened in 1970 and Liu returned as an engineer-administrator.
    • Mao’s successor, Deng Xiaoping, established economic reforms during the 1980s.
    • When the Academy ran low on funds, Liu proposed to start a computer company.
    • Liu’s superior at the academy gave him and 10 other staff members a loan of 200,000 yuan (about $24,000 in U.S. currency) to start the enterprise in 1984.
    • The company was named the Legend Group and began in a small Beijing room
    • Legend’s first tasks involved research into magnetic storage technology.
    • Legend developed a Chinese character set for computers in 1985.
    • Liu and his team learned business by studying the management HP and IBM.
    • Legend initially grew by distributing foreign-made computers and peripherals.
    • By 1990, the Chinese government gave Legend permission to brand its own PCs.
    • Legend had to compete with some of the same companies that Liu had studied.
    • Legend had some competitive advantages, however. It owned the Chinese character set that it had developed in 1985 and it could take advantage of lower Chinese wages.
    • By 1996 Legend had surpassed IBM for China’s market share in computer sales.
    • Legend was one of the first Chinese companies to offer its employees stock options.
    • Liu promoted talented young people to higher-level staff positions.
    • By 2004 Legend remained China’s largest maker of personal computers
    • In 2006, Legend officially changed its English name to the Lenovo Group since the word “legend” was already trademarked in Germany and the US.
    • In 2006, Lenovo announced it would buy IBM’s PC unit for $1.75 billion, making it the third largest PC maker in the world. Liu gave up the chairmanship.
    • Lenovo’s consumer products failed to gain traction and the cultures clashed.
    • Share prices plunged from $22.50 in October 2007 to $5.50 in December 2008.
    • Lenovo reported a loss of nearly $97 million for its fiscal third quarter in 2008.
    • Liu resumed the chairmanship and launched a new business strategy.
    • He created a nine man management team (4 Chinese, 4 Westerners, 1 European).
    • He emphasized emerging markets and consumer products.
    • He created a corporate culture of accountability (the Lenovo way).
    • Lenovo returned to profitability in the second half of 2009.
    • Net income totaled $76.6M per quarter, compared with $53.1 the previous year.
    • The Chinese Academy of Science had a 65% share. In September 2009, the Academy sold a 19% share to Oceanside, a Chinese company. An employee group has 35%.
    • Liu is planning an IPO is the near future. He earns $2,280,000US per year.
    • Liu is married and has three children.
  • The Federal Budget: What It Means For Technology
    • Government Contractors: The president’s budget includes a $1.5 billion increase in information technology spending next year, bringing the total the government spends on technology to $80 billion.
    • Wireless and Cloud Computing: The president’s plan would help companies expand wireless broadband service to 98 percent of the U.S. population. The government will launch a major push into cloud computing in 2012. Stepped up funding for cloud computing.
    • Data Centers: The government wants to eliminate 800 data centers by 2015 as it moves more of its data to the Internet "cloud" – just like private industry. The president’s budget calls for $20 billion to be shifted from data centers to cloud computing.
    • Biotechnology: Many biotech companies would benefit under the president’s plans to permanently extend the research and development tax credit and increase it by 20 percent. But the president’s budget also would cut the exclusivity period for biologics to seven years from the 12 years. This affects venture capital return.
    • Clean Energy: The president’s budget includes $8 billion in spending on green energy projects.
    • Venture Capital and Startups: The president has signaled he thinks early-stage companies needs more help through the establishment of his Startup America Partnership.
  • Obama Meets with Tech Leaders
    • Steve Jobs (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Eric Schmidt (Google), Larry Ellison (Oracle) met with Barach Obama at a venture capitalist’s estate outside San Francisco.
    • Obama’s two-day West Coast visit was aimed at promoting technological innovation to help boost the struggling U.S. economy and reduce high unemployment.
    • Obama met with 12 leaders from technology companies and discussed ways to work together to invest in innovation and promote private sector job growth.
    • Other executives attending the meeting with Obama were: Carol Bartz (Yahoo!); John Chambers (CISCO), Dick Costolo (Twitter), Reed Hasting (NetFlix), Art Levinson (The Westly Group), and Steve Westly (The Westly Group)
    • Obama will wrap up his trip on Friday with a visit to Hillsboro, Oregon, where Intel Corp CEO Paul Otellini will give him a tour of the company’s advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility.
  • Verizon Wireless launches home phone service
    • Verizon’s new home-phone service—which lets you make unlimited domestic calls on a traditional landline phone for $20 a month, all with the help of a wireless router that taps into the carrier’s cellular network—is now open for business.
    • You take any standard landline phone and simply plug it into Verizon’s AC-powered Home Phone Connect base station, which looks like a home Wi-Fi router.
    • Once it’s activated (and yes, you can port over your home phone number if you like), the Home Connect service offers up your usual menu of calling services—including call waiting, forwarding, caller ID, three-way calling, voice mail, and 911 service—along with unlimited calling to any U.S. number, for $20 a month.
    • Another option is add a line to an existing Verizon Wireless family plan for $10 a month, although your new home phone will have to share minutes with everyone else on the plan.
    • There’s also the cost of the base station to consider: $129, with discounts available if you sign a contract (free for a two-year commitment, or $50 with a one year contract).
    • Besides competing with traditional landlines service, Verizon’s Home Connect plan is also up against bargain (or free) broadband-based alternatives as Skype, Ooma, MagicJack, and Vonage.
    • But Verizon argues you don’t need a broadband connection to use Home Phone Connect. The wireless base station also boasts a GPS chip that pinpoints your position when making a 911 call.
    • VoIP service usually require you to register your address for 911 service), along with a battery pack in case of a power outage.
  • Mobile World Conference
    • Mobile World Conference was held in Barcelona last week.
    • Phones Go Facebook: Although Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, has repeatedly denied rumors of an official Facebook phone, several devices unveiled at the conference showed off software that is tightly integrated with the social networking site.
    • Android Overload: Hundreds Smartphone demonstrations. Android tablets were the rage.
    • Chinese Competition: Two Chinese companies, Huawei and ZTE, are looking to make an play for market share in the United States.
    • Mobile Money: Near-field communication, or NFC, was one of the hottest mobile technologies at the conference.
  • Learning Revealed
    • The mind is an associative memory.
      • It learns by connecting to previously learned idea.
      • Teachers must connect to that framework for someone to learn.
      • Learn one thing well and learn related items by analogy
    • Using critical thinking to achieve clarity
      • Eight elements of critical thinks (Purpose, Question, Data, Assumptions, Conclusion, Model, Point of View, Implications,
      • Standard of critical thinking (clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, and fairness)
    • We teach new concepts by relating it to prior concepts. We learn the logic of the new concepts through critical thinking.