Show of 7-9-2011

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Bridgett: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz. I’ve been looking for a less expensive (cheap as possible) way to listen to business radio (like Bloomberg) and the RadioShift iPhone application seems to be what I want. This application links to RadioTime which connects to thousands of online radio stations for free. It costs $29.95. I don’t own a cell phone so, before I run out and purchase one, I’d be grateful to learn what you think of this application. Does it make more sense for me to just buy the iPod Touch instead of the iPhone since this one application is going to bring me mobile radio listening and that I all I was after. I assume with the iPod touch I don’t need a service plan like AT & T that would be necessary for an iPhone. Thanks, Bridgett.
    • Tech Talk Responds: The RadioShift application for the iPhone/iPod has been discontinued. It still works but is no longer available at the App Store. You can still get it for the Mac OS. You can get a streaming Sirius/XM application for the iPod/iPad/iPhone. You will need to pay a subscription. But is will always be available for you. If you have Wi-Fi at home, just get with an iPad or an iPod.
    • Email from Minda and Marshall Barrett: Dear Tech Talk, You were just speaking about RIM and the Blackberry falling behind the iPhone due to user usability. You mentioned some of the security features the iPhone had to match the Blackberry.
    • Recently there was news about some Middle Eastern countries banning the use of Blackberries because they were so strongly encrypted and sent their data to of shore servers. These countries recommended users use the iPhone instead of the Blackberry, presumably due to its security not being as strong. To me, from this and other new stories it seems the iPhone still has a way to go in order to match the security of the Blackberry. Thank you for discussing this on the show. Minda and Marshall Barrett
    • Tech Talk Responds: Microsoft chose to license their ActiveSync technology and it is now gaining tremendous market share (Apple and Android). Blackberry has chosen to keep their Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) technology to themselves without any licensing. BES encrypts each and every packet it sends between the device and the BES server using AES/3DES. ActiveSync does only uses HTTPS on the channel between the devices and the Exchange server.
    • Email from Margaret: Dr. Richard Shurtz. I am a baby boomer who spends too much time on the computer! I love music and do not want to evolve into digital iTunes because of the additional computer time needed for me to do so!!! I am in a quandary. I own several ‘boom boxes’ and they all have lost their capacity to play CDs Trying to find a repair place that is competent is Very Hard it seems.
    • Can you make a recommendation on the best hardware for me to buy–perhaps a hybrid solution where I can still play CDs and then bite the bullet and start moving to iTunes which seems to be the inevitable place I’ll have to go. Am I correct on that? Thanks Very Much, Margaret in MD
    • Tech Talk Responds: You might as well rip your CDs using either Windows Media Player or Apple iTunes. Make certain to save them in an MP3 format for that they are transportable.
  • Profiles in IT: Sehat Sutardja
    • Sehat Sutardja is co-founder and CEO of the Marvell Technology Group.
    • Marvell-made chips can be found powering a wide range of electronic, communications and digital devices, which have become commonplace gadgets such as the ubiquitous BlackBerry smart phones, Nikon cameras and Sony Playstation.
    • Sehat Sutardja was born in 1961 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
    • The Sutardja is of Chinese ancestry and grew up in Jakarta, part of a wealthy family that owned a Mercedes parts business.
    • When Sehat was 12, he taught himself analog signal processing by taking apart his family’s Philips six-transistor radio and rebuilding it one component at a time.
    • Sehat obtained a BSEE from  Iowa State University in three years.
    • He completed his MS and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from US Berkeley in 1988 along with his brother Pantas.
    • While at Berkeley Sehat met and married Weili Dai, an undergraduate programmer from Shanghai.
    • After completing his PhD, Sehat went to work at a new analog chip firm.
    • In 1995, he co-founded Marvell, with his wife and brother Pantas, with money from friends and family and $200,000 from licensing one circuit design.
    • They worked almost two years without pay before raising $1 million in VC funding.
    • Sehat and Pantas planned to design a fast analog chip but needed a market.
    • They picked disk drives, for two reasons: There were no standards bodies dominated by big companies. And hundreds of millions of drives are sold each year.
    • In 1998, Marvell developed a disk drive chip that moved  data 20% faster than TI chips then in use. Seagate is first customer. Now has 90% of market for high-end corporate disk drives.
    • After some initial bumps (governance issues), Marvell issued its IPO in 2000.
    • That same year, Marvell released the first "gigabit" Ethernet. It edged out Broadcom and Cisco became a big customer.
    • In 2005, Marvell produced a Wi-Fi chip that was  smaller and used half the power of other chips, perfect for handhelds. Sony embeds it in its PSP, Nikon in its Coolpix S6 camera
    • In June 2006, Intel announced the sale of its mobile phone chip business to Marvell for $600M in cash. The Intel group had never made any money. The goal was to go after the cell phone market.
    • His unofficial motto ‘Wait for a market to get big enough and kill whoever is there.’"
    • The company has grown every quarter since its IPO in 2000. Shares are up five-fold.
    • Sehat has been awarded more than 150 patents and is a fellow of IEEE.
    • In 2006, Dr. Sutardja was recognized as the Inventor of the Year by the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association.
    • In March 2009, a building at UC Berkeley was named Sutardja Dai Hall after the Marvell founders, who donated more than $20M for the nano-fabrication laboratory.
    • Sehat Sutardja and Dai run the company as an obsession. The two never take vacations and have no hobbies. They have two sons.
  • Is Facebook worth more than Google?
    • As web traffic soars, driven increasingly by mobile, Facebook is gaining disproportionately to its peers, including Google.
    •  Facebook is the first website to top one trillion page views per month.
    • Facebook’s current valuation of roughly $75bn is almost certainly too low.
    • Google is currently valued at roughly $175bn, essentially for its search/ad business.
    • Some think it could the first company valued at more than $1 trillion.
    • Facebook’s own ad revenue doesn’t yet approach Google’s, but its potential is arguably bigger.
    • "Social", not algorithms, is the basis for all human commerce. Facebook owns social.
    • Facebook has managed to make such a mint with an essentially open-source platform.
    • Facebook (as well as Google and other savvy web giants) owns user data. It currently has 750 million users.
    • The company hasn’t tried to be all things to all people. It has focused on building a solid, open platform that developers want to build on.
    • Microsoft did this with Windows. Amazon with e-commerce. Google with search.
    • This has translated into an ever greater share of the social pie going to Facebook.
  • Fastest Growing Tech Sector Jobs of 2011
    • According to a recent Monster.com report, available IT jobs are on the rise.
    • Here in the US, IT market growth is forecast at 8% this year and 10.3% next year.
    • Network Administration.
      • 65% of CIOs say that networking professionals top their “most wanted employees” list.
      • To excel in this field, you’ve got to be comfortable interacting with a wide range of technologies from servers, routers, and wiring to the network management, security and various OS software packages that will be integrated into your LAN.
      • Also, the ability to deal with server virtualization is extremely important. You must be able to understand the current infrastructure and then develop and work with a virtual version, while maintaining stability and efficiency.
    • Database Management
      • Current average yearly salaries for IT professionals involved in database management are high, ranging from $80,000 to $100, 000.
      • Salaries for workers familiar with Informatica, ETL (Extract, Transform & Load) and data warehousing topped the list, according to an eWeek.com report.
    • Desktop Support
      • A ComputerWorld survey found that technical support skills are extremely important for 42% of potential employers.
      • When users are frustrated with technology, they either refuse to make use of it or don’t use the software correctly.
      • Both options cost a company time and money.
    • Mobile App Development
      • More and more small to medium sized companies are wanting a smart phone presence. The challenge? There’s not enough app developers with the skills needed to take those mobile longings and transform them into reality.
    • Security Professionals
      • IT security experts haven’t suffered any industry instability or loss throughout these last few recession years. Skills you should have include a general understanding of IT security, then a more in depth knowledge of enterprise firewalls, VPNs, IDS/IPS, as well as mobile security.
    • Cloud Computing
      • The number of cloud related tech job opening has doubled over the last year. Microsoft, Amazon, Google – all are making major bets on the future of cloud computing, and both businesses and consumers are signing on.
      • But as offerings continue to grow, there will be a need for appliances and management tools that allow users to easily and securely migrate and work in the cloud environment.
    • If you’re in the tech field, opportunities abound for upward mobility, both in salary and position.
    • But you’ve got to be willing to adapt and transform your skill set as needed.
    • And remember, just because a skill was hot 5 years ago doesn’t mean it’s what you need on your resume today.
    • The motto for advancement is: Evolve or evaporate.
  • Atlantis blasts off on last shuttle mission
    • Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off from Kennedy Space Center at 15:30 GMT today on its STS-135 mission to the International Space Station.
    • It will make one last delivery to the International Space Station.
    • The mission also will fly the Robotic Refueling Mission, an experiment designed to demonstrate and test the tools, technologies and techniques needed to robotically refuel satellites in space, even satellites not designed to be serviced.
    • The crew also will return an ammonia pump that recently failed on the station."
    • Once Atlantis returns,  the US will be reliant on Russian Soyuz vehicles to carry its astronauts to and from the ISS, until SpaceX can deliver.
    • NASA is now hoping to lead a privatized space program with companies like SpaceX providing the innovation.
    • The future of manned space travel in doubt. NASA still leads in unmanned missions to our solar system and beyond.
  • Android Licensing Problems
    • Microsoft has filed a patent infringement case against Google’s Android OS. MS wants $5 per handset.
    • Oracle has similar claims and wants $15 to $20 per handset for the use of Java.
    • So Android is not license free. This may open the door for Windows 7 OS.
    • If things keep up and Google loses the patent infringement lawsuits, manufacturers look for other options.
  • Distributed Computing for the Masses
    • Distributed computing is being used to create supercomputer networks.
    • Several organizations have developed virtual supercomputers by getting volunteers to donate their PCs’ processing power when the machines are not in use.
    • Multiplied a thousand or even million times, the combined processing power of all of those PCs is formidable.
    • The concept is called volunteer grid computing, and it’s being used by projects like
    • The projects take a computing task, cut it up into literally billions of pieces, and send them out to the PCs in the network.
    • SETI@home is perhaps the most well-known of the projects. It was set up by University of Berkeley researchers in 1999 with the goal of finding radio signals indicative of intelligent life outside of Earth.
    • Folding@home is a Stanford project for researching protein folds, and Einstein@home is a University of Wisconsin and Albert Einstein Institute research program to study gravitational waves.
    • Folding@home is the largest academic program, with about 350,000 donated PCs.
    • World Community Grid, run by IBM, dwarfs all of those academic grids. With 1.8 million connected PCs, its combined processing power can equal that of one of the five most powerful supercomputers in the world– it generally floats between the top five and the top 10, depending on how many PCs are connected at any given time. With 300,000 more PCs, IBM estimates that the World Community Grid could be more powerful than the globe’s top supercomputer.
    • IBM’s grid helps select researchers solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. There are currently eight active projects, including research into cures for AIDS, childhood cancers and muscular dystrophy, as well as investigations into clean water and solar cell technology solutions. Completed projects include one that developed advances in genome research and another that explored new methods of performing biopsies.
    • IBM accepts applications from scientists who conduct humanitarian research but can’t afford the high cost of renting time on a supercomputer.