Email from Robert Taylor: Hi Doc! On your last show you talked about airlines telling passengers to turn off their cell phones for what appears to be for no reason. Since becoming Chief I have had to fly quite a bit and I suspect they don’t want passengers talking on cell phones during takeoff and landing just in case of an emergency, that way they can get everyone’s attention faster. I have accidently left may cell phone on a couple of times while the plane was taking off and they didn’t even know it.
By the way do you have any concerns on the new Windows Phone 7 operating system? My new cell phone, a HTC HD7 with Windows Phone 7 is a fantastic phone and I really like the new version and how it operates. I’m hoping it is just as secure as any other cell phone. Plus I can still take out my battery if needed. I think I might still have my old Palm Treo if David Byrd would like a phone he can replace the battery in. I’ll send it to him—no charge! Chief Robert Taylor, Amarillo, Texas
Tech Talk Responds: Windows 7 for phone has gotten great reviews. No problems here if it has the features you like. Thanks for listening.
Email from PL: Dr. Richard Shurtz, I have Verizon FiOS for Internet only. I have Vonage for phone. I ran a speed test (several times ) on my Verizon FiOS internet connection Sat, June 18th. Results were very disappointing with 4.84 Mbps Download and1.84 Mbps Upload. I would be very appreciative if you can tell me what I should be experiencing speed wise in download? I have Internet FiOS service plan and only get the Internet (no tv or phone).
Here is the speed test site I used: http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/. I have had FiOS since the minute it because available at my address in Bethesda–I’ve lost track how long that has been. Verizon told me if I wanted better speeds I can start paying them $54.99 a month.
BTW, I’ve already checked in with several of my immediate neighbors and they pay my same monthly fee I now do (for Internet only) but after running speed tests and sending me their results–neighbors are getting download speeds over twice as fast as my download speeds–tested over several recent days. Thanks PL
Tech Talk Responds: I use dslreports.com. It will compare the speeds achieved by others in your zip code with the same ISP. If you read the small print, ISPs do not guarantee bandwidth. It is simply an upper limit. To get guaranteed bandwidth is much more expensive. Since you VoIP you also need reliable upload speed. Mine was 15Mbsp download/17Mbsp upload.
Email from Longtime Admirer: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I have an analog TV (Sharp Aquos LC-20B2UA) and am using a converter box (RCA DTA 800B). I’m getting frustrated dealing with the following issues. After I run the full scan it doesn’t find local ABC Channel 7 and this it the channel I most often watch! In addition, each time I use this TV, I have to rerun the scan.
Were these converter boxes just a hoax on the consuming public and most of them just don’t do what they were advertised to do? If I’m better off upgrading my TV to digital set, let me know. Can you recommend a brand or model (mid price range). Thanks so much for your reply. All the Best, Longtime admirer
Tech Talk Responds: Converter boxes are a good way to keep your analog TV in service. I actually purchased on with an amplifier in order to increase reliability for all channels. If the SNR is too low, you simply get nothing rather than a noisy signal. Probably Channel 7 is a weak signal. Try repositioning the antenna using the signal strength option (4 on the settings menu). The unit should store the available channels in memory and not require another channel scan unless you request it using the on screen menu (1 on the settings menu). The fact that it is giving you one means that it is losing the information during power down.
Email from Lauren: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz. I work at a small contracting firm. We have a contract to build a Kiosk for employee services. They want to place into their larger facilities. I’ve never heard you speak about Kiosks and want to know if you are aware of a model that is considered best in industry/class and why it was so well liked (read used) by customers and why they were happy to use this and no longer have to interface ( or are OK with loosing the human interfacing ) with a ‘live clerk’?
We are going to be going into the field to do an in person look/see survey to try and determine how to best write the business requirements for this solution. I’d like to see us do the best job we can and build a Kiosk that is a real winner. Long time listener. Thanks, Lauren in Bethesda
Tech Talk Responds: The Federal government has established Kiosk standards. They were originally created in 1995 because they were viewed as an effective way to deal with the public. This was before the Internet became all pervasive. The HUD Kiosk project was one of the most successful. Most Kiosk projects have failed because of management issues and support. Internet access for remote management is an essential feature to solve these management issues.
Email from Feroze: Dear Tech Talk, I think my Hotmail account has been hacked. I got over 200 bounced email that appeared to come from my account. I did not send any of them. What should I do? Thanks, Feroze.
Tech Talk responded: Your email address has been harvested by a botnet and is being used as the return email address for spam. I doubt that the emails originated in your account. In any case, I would change you password and check the configuration information (secondary email, challenge questions).
Profiles in IT: Wilmot Reed Hastings, Jr.
Wilmot Reeds Hastings, Jr. is founder and CEO of Netflix.
Wilmot Reed Hastings, Jr. was born October 8, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts.
He graduated high school in 1978 from the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
His father was a lawyer who once served in the Nixon administration.
After high school, he spent a year selling Rainbow vacuum cleaners door to door.
Hastings majored in mathematics at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and won its mathematics department’s Smyth Prize in 1981 and its Hammond Prize in 1983.
Hastings received his bachelor’s degree from the college in 1983.
Hastings joined the Marine Corps in their Platoon Leader Class and spent the summer of 1981 in Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia.
He questioned every procedure while at Quantico. He petitioned for early an out.
Hastings joined the Peace Corps and taught high school math in Swaziland from 1983 to 1985. He credits part of his entrepreneurial spirit to his time in the Peace Corps.
He likes to say, “Once you have hitchhiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn’t seem too intimidating."
Hastings earned an MS degrees in computer science from Stanford in 1988.
After getting his masters, he worked at Adaptive Technology where he invented a tool for debugging software.
Hastings left Adaptive Technology in 1991 to found his first company, Pure Software, which produced products to troubleshoot software.
Hastings didn’t like management (the company was growing exponentially) and asked his board to replace him.
The board refused. Pure Software went public in 1995 with a $750M market cap.
In 1996, Pure Software announced a merger with Atria Software.
In 1997 the combined company, Pure Atria, was acquired by Rational Software.
Hastings was CTO of Pure Atria and left soon after the $750M acquisition.
In 1998 Hastings co-founded Netflix with Marc Randolph, the largest online DVD rental service, offering flat rate rental-by-mail to customers in the United States.
He got the idea for Netflix after paying a $40 late fee for Apollo 13.
On the way to the gym, he realized they had a much better business model. You could pay $30 or $40 a month and work out as little or as much as you wanted.
Hastings is a big proponent of Internet television and sees it as the future. The company is named Netflix, rather than DVDs-by-Mail.
On March 26, 2007, MS appointed Hastings to their board of directors.
Hasting devoted his energies to education. In 2000, Governor Gray Davis appointed Hastings to the State Board of Education. He was elected president of the Board.
Hastings is also an advocate of charter schools, organizing a few in his community.
Hastings lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, is married, and has two children.