Show of 6-30-2012

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Nhan: Dear Tech Talk, I share my computer with my husband and he keeps snooping around my account. What can I do to maintain some privacy? I have a computer with Windows 7 and use Internet Explorer. BTW, I love the show and am listening to the podcast in Atlanta. My sister in Ohio also listens to the podcast and told me about the show. Thank, Nhan in Atlanta
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can do several things. First of all make certain that your email passwords are secure and not easily guessed. I would recommend that you set a web based email account (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo). Gmail is my personal favorite. You can configure your browser so that it deletes all browsing history on exit. In IE, go to Tools/Internet Options. Select the General Tab. Under Browsing History, check Delete Browsing History on Exit. You might also consider setting up your own user account. However, if someone else has admin rights they can get into your account. The final item, I would recommend is to configure Windows IE to not remember passwords. To adjust that setting in your browser, go to Tools/Internet Options. Select the Content Tab. Click Setting under Autocomplete. Uncheck all options. Click Delete Autocomplete History.
  • Email from AJ: Dear Tech Talk, I just got a LinkedIn account and am wondering how to use it effectively. I am interesting in finding another job. I am currently an outside sales rep for a company in Tysons Corner. Thanks, AJ in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: LinkedIn is a professional social media site. You can only contact individuals in your extended network. Those who are 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level contacts. It is particular useful to search to positions, make connections with individual who might be of help, and to research companies that have positions that are suitable. If you are in sales, it is probably the most targeted tool available. If you want to connect directly with more people, you can pay around $20 per month for premium membership. I only have the free membership and have found it to be very useful. For those who are just starting out, you may want to expand your initial network with Open Networkers. LinkedIn Open Networkers are called LIONs. Some have as many as 28K connections and can get you connected to more people quickly. Overtime, you will want to be more selective with who you connect with. A network of irrelevant connections is not useful and may be more trouble than it is worth.
  • Email from Alice: How does Facebook figure out who my friends should be? Sometimes its suggestions are so good, it is spooky. Thanks, Alice
  • Tech Talk Responds: Facebook has some pretty good analytic tools to predict behavior. They have an entire team doing data mining and inference. For them the cash cow is predicting what you will buy and they are getting better at that. They can also predict who will know and who your friend is.
  • If you have two friends (A, B) and they both know C, Facebook will assume that you will also know C. The more friends you have, the predictions of this type will be made by Facebook.
  • Facebook also tracks which profiles you look at, if if they are not friends. If you look at person A and person B (but are not friends) and they both know C. Then Facebook will suggest C as a potential friend.
  • If you give Facebook access to your email contact (which I do not recommend, it will get even better. Beware, once you give up information to Facebook, it is gone forever and very difficult to erase completely.
  • Email from Jim in Bowie: Dear Tech Talk, this week we are going to be having the PG County Amateur Radio Operators Field Day. We would love for you stop by and take a look at what we are doing for emergency preparedness. Thanks, Jim
  • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for the Invitation. Last weekend I stopped by the event. They had four radios in operation with multiple antenna configurations. They had a phase antenna with two passive elements as well as a number of dipoles tuned to different wavelengths. The had a digital radio, a Morse code radio, and two traditional analog voice radios in operations.
  • The event was sponsors by the Amateur Radio Relay League. The field day in Prince Georges County was sponsored by the Prince Georges County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). ARES has a hospital outreach program that provide radio support for local health care centers in the event of emergency.

Profiles in IT: Andrew Rubin

  • Andrew Rubin is the developer behind the Android OS for mobile devices.
  • Mr. Rubin grew up in Chappaqua, N.Y., the son of a psychologist who later founded his own direct-marketing firm, selling electronic gadgets which Rubin would try.
  • Andy Rubin attended Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY
  • He earned a BS in computer science from Utica College in New York.
  • After college he worked for Carl Zeiss, as a robot engineer and moved to Switzerland.
  • A chance encounter in the Cayman Islands brought him back to the US.
  • Walking on the beach there very early one morning in 1989, he Bill Caswell, sleeping on the beach. He had been evicted from his cottage after a fight with a girlfriend.
  • Rubin gave him a place to stay. Caswell offered him a job at Apple, which he accepted. He started Apple in 1989 as an engineer.
  • Rubin got into trouble with IT department after he reprogrammed the company’s internal phone system to make it appear as if calls were coming from the CEO.
  • In 1990, Apple spun off a unit that was exploring hand-held computing and communications devices into a separate entity called General Magic.
  • Rubin joined the new company two years later, where he thrived in total immersion.
  • He and several other engineers built loft beds above their cubicles so they could live at the office and work around the clock developing Magic Cap, an OS for handhelds.
  • It was ahead of its time. Just a handful of manufacturers and telecoms adopted it
  • When Magic Cap failed, Rubin joined Artemis Research, founded by Steve Perlman, which became WebTV and was eventually acquired by Microsoft.
  • Rubin left WebTV in 1999. He rented a retail store he called “the laboratory” in Palo Alto, populating it with robots, as a clubhouse for Rubin and his engineer friends.
  • They decided to make a device that cost less than $10 and allowed users to scan objects and perform an Internet lookup. No VCs were interested.
  • Then Rubin’s team, now called Danger Inc., added a radio receiver and transmitter. They pitched it as an Internet smartphone called the Sidekick. They got VC support.
  • In early 2002, Mr. Rubin gave a talk on the development of the Sidekick to an engineering class at Stanford. Larry Page and Sergey Brin attended the lecture. It was the first time they had met Mr. Rubin. Google was the default search engine.
  • In 2003, Rubin was ousted as CEO by the Board. Probably evil VC influence.
  • Using a domain name that he had owned for several years, Android.com, he started a new business andas assembled a small team of engineers and product planners.
  • Their goal was to design a mobile hand-set open to any and all software designers.
  • Mr. Rubin spent all his savings on that project. He called his friend Mr. Perlman from Magic Cap and told him he was broke. Perlman ultimately lent him $100K.
  • This time, VC loved the idea. But Larry Page at Google found out about the company and within weeks, Google acquired Android for an undisclosed sum in 2005.
  • He is currently VP of Engineering at Google, where he is overseeing development of Android, an open-source operating system for smartphones.
  • Rubin says Google business model was a perfect match to Android. He probably would have failed selling the software.
  • His front door has a retinal scanner. If the scanner recognizes you, the door unlocks.
  • His doorbell is a robotic arm which grips a mallet and then strikes a large gong.

iPhone Celebrate 5th Birthday

  • The first iPhone went on sale June 29, 2007
  • The iPhone software redefined the Smartphone business forever.
  • Steve Job’s vision was inspirational
  • It spanned a number of imitators including the Google’s Android, which is arguably the most successful of the breed.
  • The iPhone paved the way for the success of the tablet.
  • On this birthday, we pause to remember Steve, the Father of the iPhone.

Rise and Fall of RIM

  • Blackberry sales dropped 43% in the last quarter.
  • RIM will generate a loss of 28 cents per share.
  • Blackberry’s market share has been taken by the iPhone and Android.
  • Blackberry 10 Smartphone will not arrive until 2013
  • Previously made a conscious decision to avoid the consumer market
  • Marketing directly to IT departments selling its ease of enterprise management.
  • The iPhone changed everything.
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) gained favor with consumers and eventually with businesses.
  • In the new market dynamics Android and iPhone are faring much better.
  • Blackberry is viewed as yesterday’s technology and its sluggist response to the iPhone only reinforces that impression.
  • RIM is considering splitting the handset unit and the messaging business.

Microsoft Forced to Rethink Strategy

  • Traditionally MS has relied on partners to make the hardware
  • It provided the software.
  • This worked well for the PC market and made MS Windows and IBM compatible machines dominant worldwide.
  • It, however, failed miserably in the Smartphone and Tablet arenas.
  • Apple had the magic sauce and MS did not.
  • The key to success in this market is apps, user experience (software), and intuitive software wrapped in elegant form factors (hardware).
  • MS partners failed because the apps and the software were not enticing.
  • MS challenge is to make Windows 8 relevant enough to want to purchase Surface.
  • Key to app success is attracting developers. Apple has 685K apps and a developer community of over 43K.
  • MS needs to make Office a killer on Tablets…..and we have waited too long already.

Lobster the the New Comic Sans

  • Lobster is a new font created by Pablo Impalleri.
  • It is replacing Microsoft Comic Sans as the Internet font of choice.
  • Pablo reports that Lobster is being requested 15 million times per day.
  • He released it as an open source font on Google Web Fonts.
  • Pablo came from a PHP background and loves open source software.
  • He believes that fonts should be free.
  • His other fonts are very popular
    • Caban – 5 million requests per day
    • Dosis – 5 million requests per day
    • Dancing Script – 4.6 million requests per day

Game of the Week: Agent Higgs

  • We are waiting for the announcement that the Higgs Boson has been found
  • Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have hinted they are close.
  • Andy Hall created a game Hide that Higgs, where Agent Higgs depicts the Higgs particle.
  • Your job is to hide the Agent Higgs by moving particles according to the rules of the standard model.
  • The game features other particles such as electrons, muons, other bosons and neutrinos.
  • It can be downloaded on the iPhone for 99 cents.

Internet Data Generation Rate

  • Every minute of the day, vast amounts of data is generated from ordinary activities: from online shopping to phone calls, bog-standard Web browsing and accessing social media outlets.
  • According to ZDNet, here are the numbers generated each minute.
    • Email users send more than 204 million messages;
    • Mobile Web receives 217 new users;
    • Google receives over 2 million search queries;
    • YouTube users upload 48 hours of new video;
    • Facebook users share 684,000 bits of content;
    • Twitter users send more than 100,000 tweets;
    • Consumers spend $272,000 on Web shopping;
    • Apple receives around 47,000 application downloads;
    • Brands receive more than 34,000 Facebook ‘likes’;
    • Tumblr blog owners publish 27,000 new posts;
    • Instagram users share 3,600 new photos;
    • Flickr users add 3,125 new photos;
    • Foursquare users perform 2,000 check-ins;
    • WordPress users publish close to 350 new blog posts.