Email and Forum Questions Profiles in IT: Steve R. “Slug” Russell Mother’s Day Tech Gifts XXX domain names go live Smartphone Stored Data Reveals Much iPhone Tracking File Revealed Meteor Showers This Weekend Website of the Week: Singularityhub Book of the Week: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire
Email from Jim in Bowie: Dear Tech Talk. Thanks for the advice on the short battery life of the HTC Thunderbolt. It’s clear the Apple iPhone 4 is a better option – but what about the Motorola Droid X? I’ve read a lot of positive things about the Motorola Droid X that seem to put it about on par, or even better then for some things, with the Apple iPhone 4. What’s your take on the Apple iPhone 4 for my wife? However, she is not a techie like me.. Thanks, Jim in Bowie.
I think that your wife would like the iPhone more. It is very intuitive to use. It produces better pictures and has better music playback. She may even be able to transfer her iPod library. iPhone has better battery life.
You would like the Droid because it is open source, has Google navigation, and is more configurable. It is an excellent phone for techies. Your wife would not appreciate its advantages.
One more thing. The iPhone supports video chat with other iPhones using a front facing video camera. This is useful if you has contacts with iPhones. It requires wi-fi.
One final note. These phones only support CDMA. Dual mode CDMA/GSM phones should be out in the next six months. The iPhone4 radio supports dual band but there is no antenna or SIM slot. Clearly the next iPhone will have it. I don’t think it is worth waiting, but you should know.
Email from Margaret: Dr. Richard Shurtz, I am experiencing a lag in the arrival of my emails at work and discussed this with the IT support team there. I told them I am experiencing a lag in receiving email meeting invitations in Outlook. Another employee I work directly with receives these same mailings about ½ hr before I do. I asked if "there is something that can be done about this, please let me know. If not, would like to know too. Thanks, Margaret.
Tech Talk Responds: I can’t tell whether they are slow to enter your inbox or slow to show up on your client. I assume that it is a client problem. You could have a POP3 client, a web-based client, or an Outlook client.Your client is only synchronized periodically with the server. You will net see a new email until the synchronization occurs. You could be check every 5 minutes or every 30 minutes. You can force a synchronization by
Email from Led by Brain: Dear Dr. R. Shurtz, I own a Sony walkman that is a combo AM/FM radio/analog TV player that I use while riding my bike. Radio still works but now that TV has gone digital that part doesn’t work. Closest thing I can find that could replace this old Sony walkman is the Philips Portable Digital HDTV with FM Tuner for $94.72
Philips said it won’t work when I move around on my bike. The existing digital TV standard won’t work when the TV is moving. There is a mobile TV standard in development, but it isn’t out yet. Do you have any information on the mobile HDTV standard. Thanks, Led by Brain.
Tech Talk Responds: I think you are talking about a new standard to connect HDTV to mobile devices like cell phones. This is simply a combination of USB and HDMI standards. It does not address digital TV reception to a moving device. The issue will be antenna placement and directionality. The digital TV does not degrade slowly. It simply stop when S/N is too low. I don’t thing that moving should affect repection, if you can maintain sufficient S/N.
Email from Robert Tyler: Dear Dr. Shurtz: Late last year I upgraded my computer, which came with Windows Vista 64 bit, to Windows 7 64 bit with a clean install. I used the Windows 7 Upgrade disc. If I ever have to replace my hard drive can I use the Windows 7 Upgrade to put Windows 7 on this new hard drive?
My wife has a laptop running Windows 7 64 bit. Could she use this Windows 7 Upgrade to put Windows 7 on her computer if she ever had to replace her hard drive? Her computer came with recovery discs. Could she use these if she couldn’t use my Windows 7 Upgrade? Thank you for such an educational, informative and entertaining show. The quality of the podcast you and Jim Russ produce is remarkable. I look forward to it each week. Robert Tyler
Tech Talk Responds: Some have reported that the Upgrade disk will do a full install on a clean hard disk. If is does not work there are several workarounds that will make this possible. You can install Vista first and then do a clean install from the upgrade disk. Installing on a second computer would have an activation problem because this would be a second copy of the OS.
Profiles in IT: Steve R. “Slug” Russell
Steve R. “Slug” Russell led the team of MIT programmer who created Spacewar!, the first computer video game.
Born in 1937, Steve Russell received a BS from Dartmouth College in 1958.
He enrolled in the graduate EE program at MIT after graduating from Dartmouth
The Hingham Institute, a barely-habitable tenement on Hingham Street in Cambridge, MA. Three Institute Fellows were involved in this saga: Stephen R. (Slug) Russell, specialist in steam trains, trivia, and artificial intelligence, Wayne Witanen, mathematician, early music buff, and mountain climber; and J. Martin Graetz. They were also members of the Tech Model Railroad Club.
Even before it arrival of the newest computer from DEC, the Hingham Insitute had been brainstorming ideas for programs that would demonstrate the new computer’s capabilities in a compelling way.
In the fall of 1961, a PDP-1 was installed in the "kludge room" of the EE Department.
The PDP-1, an early DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) "interactive" mini-computer that used a cathode-ray tube type display and keyboard input.
The computer was a donation to MIT from DEC, who hoped MIT’s think tank would be able to do something remarkable with their product. A game called "SpaceWar!" was possibly the last thing DEC expected.
Russell and his group from the Hingham Institute were simply went about trying to figure out what would be the best way to show the power of this new machine and came up with the idea of a graphical battle simulation between two spaceships.
The Group had just finished reading the Lensman series by E.E. Smith and thought the stories would make a good basis for a new program. Starwar! was born.
Russell began coding, and by February 1962 had produced his first version. It took approximately 200 hours of work to create the initial version.
It involved two space ships in the gravitational field of a star. They could fire a truster to avoid the star or fire a projectile to kill the other spaceship.
Spacewar! taught a crucial lesson in interactive programming: “how to talk to a computer and have it answer back.”
Spacewar! was unquestionably the first video game to gain widespread recognition, and is generally recognized as the first of the "shoot-’em’ up" genre.
Steve Russell wrote the first two implementations of Lisp for the IBM 704. It was Russell who realized that the concept of universal functions could be applied to the language; by implementing the Lisp universal evaluator in a lower-level language, it became possible to create the Lisp interpreter.
Steve Russell went on to specialize in tools for artificial intelligence research at Stanford University and is currently working at Nohau, a Silicon Valley company that makes computer system debugging tools.
As of May 2006, there is only one working PDP-1 known to be in existence, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
The game is available as PDP-1 source code and in emulation on the web.
Link to simulation: http://spacewar.oversigma.com/html5/
Russell never profited from Spacewars.
Mother’s Day Tech Gifts
This year it will be May 8th.
Mother’s Day was made an official holiday by Woodrow Wilson in 1914.
Apple iPad — Apple’s iPad makes for the best gift a tech savvy mom could ever ask for.
Smart Phones — With the current level of competition in the industry, many smart phones can be purchased for as little as $50, making them ideal Mother’s Day gift.
Internet Radio Receiver — With tabletop models costing little more than $100, they make for great Mother’s Day gifts as well.
Kindle Wi-Fi – Great for reading of the go and surfing the web when near a hot spot.
Digital Photo Frame – Load all your family pictures and give her a slide show. Prices are dropping fast.
Xbox Kinect or Wii – Games that require movement and exercise.
XXX domain names go live
The first .xxx web addresses have gone live on the internet, almost 11 years after the extension was first proposed.
On Friday, the porn-only address was added to the domain name system’s root servers.
Surfers can visit websites such as porn.xxx and sex.xxx, both of which are – for now – place-holders with safe-for-work generic content.
The company contracted to run the domain registry, ICM Registry, has also moved its corporate web site to icm.xxx and icmregistry.xxx.
ICM currently plans to offer three "sunrise periods", during which trademark holders can protect their brands and and porn webmasters can secure their .xxx domains, starting as early as September.
Its worry that .xxx could be blocked at national borders by conservative governments appears to have been well-founded. India and Saudi Arabia have already reportedly indicated that they will block the entire .xxx namespace.
The retail price of a .xxx domain is likely to be north of $70 per year, with $60 going to the registry and its sponsoring organization. This has outraged many porn webmasters, accustomed to .com fees of around $10 per year.
Nevertheless, ICM claims to have received "pre-reservations" for roughly 600,000 unique domain names, making .xxx potentially a $30 million business in its first year.
ICANN will take a $2 kickback from every domain sold.
ICM, funded largely by its president, Stuart Lawley, has invested close to $20 million in pushing .xxx through the ICANN process over the last several years, much of it spent of legal fees.
Smartphone Stored Data Reveals Much
Police call you cell phone data a digital fingerprint.
With the right tools and physical access to your smartphone, anyone can tap into the private details of your life: texts, photos, tweets, Facebook ramblings, doctor’s appointments, and now the coordinates of your travels.
People are addicted to their cell phones, so this is the freshest and most valuable information available about someone."
Even before researchers this week disclosed that the location-tracking file had been found on the iPhone, investigators had been collecting data from the Apple smartphone.
Data from iPhones includes call logs, map search results from the device’s Google Maps app, graphics stored in the browsers’ cache, even logs of what’s been typed into the iPhone’s virtual keyboard.
Apple has ignored repeated requests for comment on the tracking file, even as members of Congress have started asking questions of Apple about why it’s tracking its phone users and what it’s doing with the information.
And privacy advocates warn that harvesting data from anyone’s phone without their permission is another step down an already troubling path.
In addition to the iPhone tracking file, it has been revealed that Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Android phones regularly transmit location data back to those two companies.
For years now, investigators have had a much better idea than the phones’ owners of what data they can legally harvest from consumers’ phones.
Investigators are using a forensic mining tool for $199 called iRecovery.
Some officers are asking for your cell and doing a real time scan of the data. My advice is to ask for a warrant before handing over your cell phone.
iPhone Tracking File Revealed
If you’re running iOS 4, your location-based data—latitude and longitude coordinates, coupled with timestamps—is stored on your phone in a file called "consolidated.db."
This file is automatically transferred to any machines with which you sync (and back up), and it’s probably flowing back to Apple in some form or another.
If you haven’t encrypted your backups, that data is unprotected.
There’s no confirmation that that data is leaving your custody and no evidence that Apple’s harvesting it towards nefarious ends.
More likely, it’s being used for two things: Apple’s reportedly tapping location information to build a database, which may actually be for your own good; and other apps, such as Maps, require geo-locational data to play.
To halt both in their tracks, you can disable Location Services.
Furthermore, the data is far from "precise." In fact, Apple’s data collection is both inconsistent and imprecise. Rather than using GPS, location information logged in consolidated.db is determined by triangulation via cell-phone towers, a notoriously loose method.
Update times run the gamut, left to the whims of cell-phone towers and phone activity.
Meteor Showers This Weekend
The Lyrid meteor shower should reach it peak this weekend.
Between 10 and 20 meteors per hour can be visible under ideal conditions.
Light from the Moon could interfere with observations this year.
You are advised to watch in the hours before dawn to get their best views of the "shooting stars".
The radiant, or source, of the shower is located near Vega, a bright star which is hard to miss.
Binoculars or telescopes are not required. In fact experts say the naked eye is best for watching the meteors.
The shower is caused when the Earth passes through a trail of debris left by comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1).
Singularity Hub is a blog and news network covering the latest in robots, genetics, longevity, artificial intelligence, aging, stem cells, and more.
The singularity is the point in mankind’s future when we will transcend current intellectual and biological limitations and initiate an intelligence and information explosion beyond imagining.
According to the website: The impossible is becoming possible. The future that you thought would not come in your lifetime is coming sooner than you thought. Singularity Hub is here to tell you about it.
Based on the book: The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurweil.
Book of the Week: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire
Author: Simon Sinek
With a little discipline, anyone can learn to inspire.
START WITH WHY offers an unconventional perspective that explains WHY some people and organizations are more innovative, more profitable, command greater loyalties from customers and employees alike and, most importantly, are able to repeat their success over and over.
These are not the one hit wonders. These are the ones who change the course of industries or even society.
Why first, then How, then What
First you must why you are in business
Once you know Why, How will you bring your Why to life?
Dear Tech Talk. Love the show. My computer is so slow now. What can I do to fix it? Also, how can I attach another computer to my Internet connection? I am now connected directly to my cable modem and don’t have any other place to connect. Sue
You don’t have a hardware firewall. Not a good idea.
Make certain your virus protection is up-to-date (Symantec or McAfee AV)
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