Show of 6-9-2012

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Segments taken from previous shows.

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Craig: Hello Tech Talk. I was wondering if I needed to have a Diploma or GED for the culinary diploma program. Thanks
  • Tech Talk Responds: You need either a GED or High School Diploma to enroll at Stratford University. You can contact the admissions department at admissions@stratford.edu. Thanks for listening to Tech Talk
  • Email from Geek Chick in Bethesda: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz, I participate in two community listservs both hosted by Yahoo Groups. I noticed a post on each of them that I DID NOT POST this weekend!
  • How does this happen and how do I protect myself from such a hijack of my email going forward? What is the best way to get this cleared up? I assume I’ll have to create a new yahoo email and reregister with each listserv? Thanks, Margaret
  • Tech Talk Responds: Try logging onto the account and check the configuration. In particular check to make certain that the contact email address has not been changed.
  • If you cannot log on, immediately try to reset your password. If they have not changed the contact email address, you will be sent a reset option via email. If you can change the password, you will have reclaimed your account. If you cannot successfully reset the password or log on, you will have to set up a new account. It will be difficult to get it back at this point. It is possible, but very difficult and frustrating.
  • How could they have hijacked your account? Guessed the password using a password generator of commonly used words. Sniffed it from a Wi-Fi hotspot. Gotten it from a cyber café or public computer that saves passwords. Hacked the Yahoo database and downloaded the password. If you use the same password for all accounts, they could have hacked any of the other accounts.
  • Good luck. In the future, use a password at least 8 characters with upper case, lower case, letters and numbers. Use a different password for each account.
  • Email from Andrew: Dear Tech Talk, I want to advance in my IT career. I am currently working at the help desk, but would like to do more. What do you suggest? Love Tech Talk. Thanks, Andrew
  • Tech Talk Responds: You need to anticipate where the field is going and learn what will be needed in the future. A few suggestions would be VMWare (virtualization is here to stay), Cloud Computing (virtualization with load balancing on the web), security (SANS is the gold standard in security training), open source software (Linux, Apache can be installed at home), database management (Oracle student packs can be installed at home), programming languages (Visual Basic for scripting in a MS environment, C is a great foundation language, Java or C++ for object oriented), internetworking (open source Cisco simulators allow you configure devices without any hardware).
  • Ask your employer to pay for some certification courses for you. You are then billable at a higher rate. But most importantly, set up you own IT lab at home and “play around.” Show initiative. Join user groups. Subscribe to industry rags.
  • Email from Geoff: Dear Tech Talk, I would like to clear off/erase all of the programs on my hard drive and clean it up before I donate my computer. What do you recommend? It is a Windows machine. Geoff
  • Tech Talk Responds: The best way is to re-format the hard drive and then reinstall Windows. Don’t do a quick format. Do the full format. A quick format creates an empty root directory on the hard disk and adds a label. The rest of the disk is left alone. Many commonly available disk recovery tools will be able to recover data from a “quick” formatted disk. You’ll need to either install the disk in a different machine to be able to reformat it or boot from something else.
  • A safe, practical approach: DBAN. DBAN, which stands for “Darik’s Boot And Nuke”, is a free utility. It is a CD that you boot from that then “nukes” the information on the drive.
  • Download the DBAN CD image, burn it to a CD, and then boot from the CD. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it detects. DBAN does this not by simply deleting files, but by performing a careful overwrite of the entire hard disk surface. When it’s done, everything is erased.
  • Then you can reinstall Windows. You might even perform a security update. Make certain to include the product key as part of the gift.
  • DBAN web address: http://www.dban.org

Profiles in IT: William Shockley

  • Sixty years ago scientists at Bell Labs scientists built the world’s first transistor and nothing has been the same since.
  • The team was led by William Shockley. The three individuals credited with the invention of the transistor were: William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain
  • William Shockley was raised in Palo Alto. He did his undergraduate work at the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) in Pasadena and went on for his Ph.D. in physics at M.I.T. Specializing in quantum physics, he went to work for Bell Labs.
  • The transistor was successfully demonstrated on December 16, 1947 at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Sixty years ago.
    • Shockley had been working on the theory of such a device for more than ten years.
    • While he could work out the theory successfully but after eight years of trying he could not build a working model.
    • Bardeen and Brattain were called in to handle the engineering and development, which they did in the relatively short time of two years.
    • Shockley, as their supervisor, shared in the glory. What Bardeen and Brattain had created was the “point-contact” transistor.
    • The early radios had signal detectors which consisted of a fine wire, called a cat’s whisker, impinging upon a galena (lead sulfide) crystal.
    • Bardeen and Brattain used germanium instead of galena in that first transistor. They also used the equivalent of cat’s whiskers, but two rather than one.
  • Shockley subsequently designed a new type of transistor called the “bipolar” transistor which was superior to the point- contact type and replaced it.
  • Thus the transistor was, in large part, Shockley’s creation.
  • The name transistor coined by John R. Pierce. It was formed by combining the words “transconductance” and “varistor.”
  • Texas Instruments started commercial production of junction transistors for portable radios in 1954. Sony produced the first transistor television.
  • In 1956 Shockley returned to Palo Alto to founded his own company. He brought talented engineers and scientists to his company but he was a very difficult person to work with and seemed to have bizaar notion of how to manage an enterprise.
    • For one thing, he insisted upon posting of the salaries of all the employees.
    • Ultimately the top staff joined together in leaving the company. They wanted to continue to work together in another company and Steven Fairchild of Fairchild Camera was induced to create Fairchild Semiconductor for the group.
  • In 1958 and 1959, Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce at Fairchild Camera, invented integrated.
  • In 1968, Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore left Fairchild Semiconductor to create their own company, Intel. Intel developed the first CPU in a chip in 1971 with 2,300 transistors.

Advice For Finding A Career

  • What is your advice when looking a new career or job? From Dave
  • 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

Tech Talk Guests

  • Dr. James Flaggert
    • Dean of the School of Graduate Studies
    • Stratford University
  • Deepak Reddy Jammula
    • Stratford University Graduate Student
    • Degree Program: Software Engineering MS
    • Graduation Date: December 2007
    • Project: Meta Search Engines.
    • Undergraduate: Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • Divya Dubbaka
    • Stratford University Graduate Student
    • Degree Program: Software Engineering MS
    • Graduation Date: December 2007
    • Project: e-Banking Implementation
    • Undergraduate degree: Electronics and Instrumentation

Time Measurements

  • Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes, yet there are only 24 hours in a day?
  • Why 24 hours?
    • As early as 1500 B.C., the Egyptians had developed an advanced sundial. A T-shaped bar placed in the ground, this instrument to divided the interval between sunrise and sunset into 12 parts.
    • Egyptian astronomers used the movement of stars to measure the night, based ultimately on a set of 24 stars, 12 of which marked the passage of the night.
    • The clepsydra, or water clock, was also used to record time during the night, and was perhaps the most accurate timekeeping device of the ancient world.
    • Once both the light and dark hours were divided into 12 parts, the concept of a 24-hour day was in place. The hours were not fixed because the length of the day changed throughout the year.
    • Hours of fixed length became commonplace only after mechanical clocks first appeared in Europe during the 14th century.
  • Why 60 minutes?
    • The Babylonians made astronomical calculations in the sexagesimal (base 60) system they inherited from the Sumerians, who developed it around 2000 B.C.
    • Although it is no longer used for general computation, the sexagesimal system is still used to measure angles, geographic coordinates and time.
    • The Greek astronomer Eratosthenes (who lived circa 276 to 194 B.C.) used a sexagesimal system to divide a circle into 60 parts in order to devise an early geographic system of latitude, with the horizontal lines running through well-known places on the earth at the time.
    • A century later, Hipparchus normalized the lines of latitude, making them parallel and obedient to the earth’s geometry.
    • He also devised a system of longitude lines that encompassed 360 degrees and that ran north to south, from pole to pole.
    • Each degree was divided into 60 parts, each of which was again subdivided into 60 smaller parts.
    • The first division, partes minutae primae, or first minute, became known simply as the “minute.” The second segmentation, partes minutae secundae, or “second minute,” became known as the second.
    • Minutes and seconds, however, were not used for everyday timekeeping until many centuries later.
    • It was not practical for the general public to consider minutes until the first mechanical clocks that displayed minutes appeared near the end of the 16th century.