Show of 5-28-2011

  • Best of Tech Talk Edition
    • Segments taken from previous shows.
  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from PL: Dr. Richard Shurtz, I turned on my laptop on April 13 and ESET NOD32 anti-virus software said I needed to get Microsoft updates b/c I was not current. I ‘clicked here’ and they began to download/install. It took FOREVER–THERE WERE about 46+ updates for WinXP and Office 2010. Could I have been using my computer to surf the net while this download/install was being performed? I wasn’t sure so I just waited ’til it was completed and then restarted my pc. Thanks. PL in Bethesda
    • Tech Talk Responds: You could have used your computer while the files were downloaded and installed. You would not have been protected with the latest patches, but the risk is not too great. I usually continue to use my computer. If, however, you want to be ultra-cautious, then you could wait until the installation and reboot.
    • Email from Tiffany: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I’ve returned to the same coffee shop where I was a few months ago when I noticed that my email had been hijacked/hacked. This time, I’m using my phone, but the last time when I noticed the hack, I was using my computer and doing email over an open-internet, free WiFi network. Do you think that could be the source of the problem or just a coincidence? Thanks, Tiffany
    • Tech Talk Responds: Your passwords could definitely have been intercepted. You have to be careful when using these free hotspots.
    • Make certain that your firewall is turned on. You don’t need this at home, but you do in the shared public network. This is also true in a hotel network.
    • Configure Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird to use SSL/secure connections and an alternate port.
    • Use https:// for all web-based email service like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or others via your browser.
    • I trust only Gmail to remain in https throughout the entire session. Some services will use https for only your login and will in unsecured for the rest of the session.
    • Facebook has a "require https" option, but apparently can fall out of https, particularly when various Facebook apps are used.
    • If you are a business traveler you might use a paid VPN service to always create an encrypted connection. This service typically involves a recurring fee. This is overkill for the casual user.
    • Finally, keep the passwords of the accounts that you access different from each other and, of course, secure.
    • Email from David: Dear Tech Talk, I am trying to look for a technology job and don’t know were to turn. I have been sending our hundreds of resumes and am getting no response. What do you suggest? Thanks, David
    • Tech Talk Responds: David, you need to get a copy of What Color is Your Parachute by Dick Bolles. I has a very successful job search strategy that we recommend for all of the Stratford students. It involves figuring out who you are and what type of work is best for you. Then is shows you how to survey informally to gather information and ultimately to secure an interview with a decision maker….not with HR
  • Profiles in IT: Robert Kalin
    • Robert Kalin is the founder and CEO of Etsy.com. Etsy, an online marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade.
    • Robert Kalin was born in 1980, the son of a Boston furniture maker.
    • He dropped out of high school and later earned his GED.
    • He started his career with cashier positions at Marshall’s and Strand Books.
    • He also was a freelance carpenter and hauled barrels of broken concrete for a demolition company
    • He briefly attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and then faked an MIT student ID so he could take classes on the sly.
    • He so impressed the professors there that they helped him get into NYU.
    • He graduated from NYU in 2004 with a BA in individualized study. While at NYU he learned how to build a website.
    • At the age of 25 he was just another aspiring furniture designer, working out of a cramped Brooklyn apartment and hoping to scratch out a living selling his stuff online.
    • When hours of surfing for a site that would allow him to do just that got him nowhere, Mr. Kalin had his epiphany. He came upon the idea of Etsy, and then the name, and then the design.
    • While he designed Etsy’s site and wrote the online copy, he convinced Chris Maguire and Haim Schoppik, two classmates from NYU, to help him develop the site.
    • For capital, he turned to a furniture customer who gave him $50,000 in seed money.
    • It took two and a half months of intense labor get the site up and running.
    • They used PHP, Python, PostgreSQL, OpenBSD and Gentoo Linux.
    • Etsy was launched on June 18, 2005 by iospace, a small company composed of Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire and Haim Schoppik.
    • The servers were still based in Kalin’s Fort Greene apartment, went live. It caught on almost immediately
    • Etsy then received more than $27 million in funding from investors, including Sean Meenan, Spencer and Judson Ain, Union Square Ventures and founders of Flickr and Delicious.
    • In January 2008, Etsy received an additional $27 million in funding from Union Square Ventures, Hubert Burda Media, and Jim Breyer.
    • In September 2008, Etsy hired Chad Dickerson, who formerly worked at Yahoo!, as Chief Technology Officer.
    • In 2009 Etsy, claimed 2.4 million registered members in 150 countries and more than 155,000 active vendors who sold $58 million worth of goods in the first five months of 2009.
    • Etsy has a permanent office called the "Etsy Labs" in Brooklyn, New York and currently has 70 employees.
    • The company takes a 3.5% cut of each sale and charges 20 cents every time an item is listed on the site.
    • In March 2010, Kalin said that the company is profitable and "plans to go public, though not until at least next year.
  • Profiles in IT: Aaron Patzer
    • Aaron Patzer is an internet entrepreneur and the founder of Mint.com.
    • Mint.com allows users create an anonymous account and then add their bank, credit card, and investment accounts. It pulls transactional and balance information and creates detailed graphs and charts. It suggests budgeting and savings ideas.
    • Patzer received a BSEE from Duke University in 2002 and an MSEE from Princeton University in 2004.
    • Patzer got his first work experience in the Internet boom years of 1998-2000, starting Getawebsite.com and working for Miadora.com, an online jewelry store.
    • He served as Senior Research Assistant for Fraser Research from May 2003 to September 2003, developing software tools for optical networks
    • He worked as an engineer for IBM from March to August 2004.
    • He most stable job before Mint.com was with Nascentric, Inc, where he worked from August 2004 to February 2006 developing event-based circuit simulation software.
    • Aaron Patzer was always one to stay on top of his personal finances. He would spend time updating his account balances with Intuit Quicken or Microsoft Money.
    • He became frustrated with these programs and began developing his own software.
    • He had managed to save up about $100,000 while working for Nascentric, Inc.
    • He quit and worked full-time on Mint.com while living off of his savings.
    • Patzer thought about nothing else for the next seven months. He worked alone in a room, seven days a week, 14 hours a day for about seven months.
    • He built the alpha version of Mint using Java J2EE with a MySQL database.
    • He developed 5 patented or pending technologies at the core of the business.
    • In late 2006, after attending countless networking events trying to shop around his idea, one of the founders of Half.com agreed to listen to Patzer’s elevator pitch.
    • Within two weeks, Patzer had a term sheet for his first round of funding. The company wrapped up $12 million in Series B funding earlier this year. He ultimately raised more thant $31M in financing
    • Patzer formally launched Mint.com at Tech Crunch 40 in September 2007 — the start-up was chosen to present out of 700 other applicants for the event. He won the $50K first prize.
    • Less than a year later, the site had 400,000 registered users.
    • Mint.com received up two Webby awards and was named one of the "100 Best Products of 2008" by PC World.
    • In September 2008, Patzer was listed in Inc. magazines Top 30 Under 30.
    • Negotiated sale of Mint.com to Intuit for $170M cash. The deal closed Nov 2009.
    • At the time of the announced sale, Mint.com had an estimated 1.5 million users.
    • Named Top 40 Executives Under 40 by Fortune, Top 30 Under 30 by Inc., one of the top 5 "Money Heroes" of 2008, a 2008 Tech-Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in Davos.
    • He has been Intuit, VP & GM, Personal Finance Group since November 2009.
    • According to Patzer, more than two-thirds of the site’s users actually change their spending habits after getting Mint.com’s personalized saving suggestions.
    • Website: http://www.mint.com/
  • Hacking Trivia
    • Hacker originally meant “one who makes furniture with an ax.” Perhaps because of the blunt nature of that approach, the word came to mean someone who takes pleasure in an unconventional solution to a technical obstacle.
    • Computer hacking was born in the late 1950s, when members of MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club, obsessed with electric switching, began preparing punch cards to control an IBM 704 mainframe.
    • One of the club’s early programs: code that illuminated lights on the mainframe’s console, making it look like a ball was zipping from left to right, then right to left with the flip of a switch. Voilà: computer Ping-Pong!
    • By the early 1970s, hacker “Cap’n Crunch” (a.k.a. John Draper) had used a toy whistle to match the 2,600-hertz tone used by AT&T’s long-distance switching system. This gave him access to call routing (and brief access to jail).
    • Before they struck it rich, Apple founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs made and sold “blue boxes,” electronic versions of Draper’s whistle.
    • Using a blue box, Wozniak crank-called the Pope’s residence in Vatican City and pretended to be Henry Kissinger.
    • Hacking went Hollywood in the 1983 movie WarGames, about a whiz kid who breaks into a Defense Department computer/
    • That same year, six Milwaukee teens hacked into Los Alamos Laboratory.
    • In 1988 Robert T. Morris created a worm, or self-replicating program, purportedly to evaluate Internet security.
    • The worm reproduced too well, however. The multimillion-dollar havoc that ensued led to Morris’s felony conviction, first under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
    • Morris now researches computer science at…MIT
  • Food Science: Foods with Heat
    • Heat
      • The heat, or burning sensation, experienced when consuming hot sauce is caused by capsaicin.
      • The seemingly subjective perceived heat of hot sauces can be measured by the Scoville Scale. The hottest hot sauce scientifically possible is one rated at 16,000,000 Scoville units, which makes it pure capsaicin.
      • It is named after Wilbur Scoville, who developed the Scoville Organoleptic Testin in 1912.
      • 16 Scoville units is equivalent to one part capsaicin per million, thus the highest concentration corresponds to 16,000,000 Scoville units.
      • Tabasco sauce is rated between 2,500 and 5,000 Scoville units.
    • Styles of Hot Sauce
      • Louisiana-style: the most popular syle in America . Louisiana-style hot sauce contains peppers, vinegar and water. Tabasco sauce, Texas Pete, and Frank’s Red Hot are all examples of Louisiana-style sauce.
      • Mexican: Mexican hot sauce typically focuses more on flavor than on intense heat. The sauces are hot, but the individual flavors of the peppers are pronounced. Vinegar is used sparingly or not at all.
      • Chipotle is a very popular Mexican hot sauce, which uses smoked jalapenos for its flavor. Some sauces produced in Mexico are high vinegar content Louisiana-style sauces.
      • Asian: Asian sauces generally contain more ingredients than Louisiana or Mexican. These sauces are generally sweeter and often rely on garlic or other seasonings for their flavor. Thai and Indian sauces are some of the hottest sauces made.
    • Remedies
      • Capsaicin is an alkaloid oil and is, as such, soluble in acid, fat or alcohol. The effects of ingestion of a hot sauce deemed ‘too hot’ by the consumer can be partially remedied by drinking such things as milk which binds with the capsaicin alkaloid, neutralizing it.