Show of 6-18-2011

  • Best of Tech Talk Edition
    • Segments taken from previous shows.
  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Dave: What is your advice when looking a new career or job? Thanks Dave
    • Tech Talk Responds: Use the method decribed by Dick Bolles and developed by John Crystal
    • Recommended reading: What Color is Your Parachute by Dick Bolles
    • Based on a method developed by John Crystal who mentored Dick Bolles
    • John lived in McLean and I attended his workshop nearly 30 years ago.
      • My class with John Crystal
      • Identify you natural tendencies (tropisms)
      • Decide what you want to do.
    • Survey the industry to gather information.
    • My IT projects at home are a reflection of this approach.
      • Linux for OS experience
      • Apache Web Server, PHP, MySQL for web design
      • Backtrack2 for security
  • Profiles in IT: Linus Torvalds
    • Linus Torvalds, Developer of Linux
    • Linus Torvalds was born on December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland.
    • Named after Linus Pauling (winner of Noble Prize in Chemistry). Torvalds later claimed to have been named after the blanket carrying, Linus, in Peanuts.
    • His mascot is a Penguin, named Tux
    • Web site: http://www.linux.org/
    • His parents were communist radicals and other children used to tease Linus about it.
    • His grandfather bought him a Commodore VIC 20, one of the first personal computers, and Linus learned to write computer games for it when he was twelve.
    • In 1988, Linus began studying computer science at the University of Helsinki. He invested in a better computer with a 386 processor and began learning the assembly language for the processor. He coded a number of advanced software projects, including a floppy disk driver and software assembler.
    • In 1990, he began learning Unix when the university purchased a MicroVAX system.
    • UNIX was common on huge computers with many users, but it was bulky, expensive, and impractical for personal computers.
    • Torvalds had a PC that came MS-DOS. He installed Minix, a PC-compatible mini-mimic of UNIX, but he wanted something more flexible and user-friendly.
    • In 1991 Torvalds spent several months writing a compact operating system for his PC.
      • He almost called it Freax, but later decided on Linux.
      • He posted an announcement to the Minix group on USENET, and made the Linux source code available to other nerds free of charge.
      • Programmers everywhere started adding their own improvements
      • Eventually companies like Red Hat, Corel, Caldera, and TurboLinux began selling their own versions of Linux.
      • Linux quickly became a symbol of the open source movement, with a tuxedo penguin as its mascot.
    • Torvalds earned his masters degree in computer science at the University of Helsinki.
    • From 1997 to 2003, Linux worked for Transmeta Corporation.
    • To handle Linux matters, Linus created the Linux Foundation, a non-profit corporation that holds the trademark name Linux.
    • In 2004 he was named one of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine.
    • At this point, he has actually written about 2% of the kernel.
  • Nerd – History and Other Thoughts
    • Linus Torvalds is quoted as follows: I was a nerd. Geek. From fairly early on. I didn’t duct-tape my glasses together, but I might as well have, because I had all the other traits. Good at math, good at physics, and with no social graces whatsoever. And this was before being a nerd was considered to be a good thing.
    • Bill Gates the richest nerd. The New Yorker wrote: To many people, the rise of Bill Gates marks the revenge of the nerd. Actually, Gates probably represents the end of the word nerd as we know it.
    • Charles J. Sykes is quoted as saying: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you will end up working for one.
    • Nerd is used a derogatory designation to refer to somebody who passionately pursues intellectual knowledge rather than engaging in social activities.
    • Variations of the name include Nurd. Derived by spelling drunk backwards, since nerds party backwards by only studying.
    • The word "nerd" first appeared in Dr. Seuss’s book, If I Ran the Zoo (1950).
      • Nerd was one of Seuss’s imaginary animals.
      • The narrator Gerald McGrew claims that he would collect "a Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too" for his imaginary zoo.
    • Nerd Pride Day is May 25. Started in Spain in 2006. We overlooked it last month.
    • Slashdot (www.slashdot.org) motto: News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters.
    • Being a nerd is now hip. Made popular by the world’s wealthiest nerd, Bill Gates.
    • How nerdy are you?
    • Nerds are now even datable. Check the Internet for all the reasons that nerds are worth dating.
  • Geek or Nerd?
    • Are you a geek, or are you a nerd? Here’s your chance to find out.
    • There are many confused lay people out there in today’s modern world who are unhappily unaware of the difference between geeks and nerds.
    • Even more sadly, there are also many geeks and nerds who do not know of the true nature of their own stereotype.
    • Wikiepedia Definitions
      • Geek: A person who is interested in technology, especially computing and new media. Comparable with the classic definition of hacker. Formerly referred to a wild circus performer who bit off the heads of live chickens, snakes, or bats.
      • Nerd: Nerd is a term often bearing a derogatory connotation or stereotype, that refers to a person who passionately pursues intellectual activities or esoteric knowledge rather than engaging in more social activities, such as organized sports.
    • Geek is a subset of nerd.
      • All geeks are nerds
      • All nerds are not geeks
  • Password Management
    • A password manager is software that helps a user organize passwords and PIN codes.
    • The software typically has a local database or files that holds the encrypted password data.
    • Many password managers also work as a form filler, thus they fill the user and password data automatically into forms. Some have password generator capabilities.
    • Disadvantage is that a compromised master password would render all stored passwords unusable.
    • Advantage is that only one password needs to be remembered.
    • Selected Password Managers
      • RoboForm
        •  http://www.roboform.com/
        • Password Manager, Form Filler
        • Password Generator, Fill & Save Forms
        • Roboform is the top-rated Password Manager and Web Form Filler that completely automates password entering and form filling.
        • RoboForm was named PC Magazine Editor’s Choice, and CNET Download.com’s Software of the Year.   
        • Free download (Professional version $29)
      • Password Safe
  • Beach Gear for the Geek
    • Solar Powered Laptop
      •  Laptop of choice
      • Two 30-watt solar panels
      • Voltage regulator
      • Reserve battery (optional)
      • $600-$800 for solar power
      • Suggested web site: http://www.ctsolar.com/
    • Wi-Fi Internet access
    • Solar Umbrella (alternative power)
  • Pleo –Latest Smart Robotic Pet
    • Company web site: http://www.ugobe.com/
    • Product web site: http://pleoworld.com/
    • Pleo is a a one week-old dinosaur
    • Pleo’s sensory system has devices that enable him to hear, to see, to sense touch, and to detect objects
    • Each Pleo has a unique personality that develops based on Pleo’s life experiences with you. New personalities can be downloaded.
    • Significant Processing Power
      • 32-bit Microprocessors – central and image processing 
      • 8-bit Subprocessors – motor control
    • Highly Articulated Movement
      • 14 Motors
      • Over 100 custom-designed gears 
    • Complex Sensory Network
      • Camera-based vision system – light detection and navigation
      • Microphones – binaural hearing
      • Skin sensors – head, chin, shoulders, back, feet
    • First units will ship October 15, 2007
    • Cost $345
  • The Grilling Calculator – For Nerds Who Barbecue
    • Web site: http://charcoalbob.com/
    • Click on Cookout Calculator Tab
    • Enter all meats to be cooked (Type, cut, thickness, degree on doneness)
    • Create cookout timeline
    • Print timeline and put by grill