Show of 12-22-2012

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Jim Kindle: Dear Doc. I am a longtime Saturday listener and consumer of fantastic Stratford dinners. I have an iPod gift from my son which has been wonderful to use to download various podcasts including Tech Talk. However earlier this year the automatic podcasts software on my PC began to have difficulty connecting to the iTunes store/site and I got some error messages citing lack of network connectivity. It has now stopped updating podcasts. This occurs even after downloading the latest iTunes software from the Apple site. However I have no other network connectivity problems as I can use email, go to Stratford site, shop Amazon. etc. Could it be that the Verizon ISP security service I use doesn’t like iTunes in particular or does iTunes use some other unique method of downloading podcasts? Thoughts? “Jim in Vienna”,
  • Tech Talk Responds: We have changed our upload process. Listen to the podcast directly from the website’s RSS feed: www.stratford.edu/rss/techtalkradio.xml.
  • Email from Gary Secrest: Dear Tech Talk. I joined you late… I think you were talking features of I-phone 4? If so, briefly detail setting up Wikipedia, local scan topics where ever you may be. Did I hear that correctly? Love your show although WAY over my head in most cases. Happy Holidays to you and your staff. Gary Secrest, Arlington, VA.
  • Tech Talk Responds: I was talking about one of my favorite applications on the iPhone. It is called Wikihood. It displays Wikipedia derived information about points of interest in the neighborhood. It used GPS positioning to get your current location. BTW, you were listening to a “Best of” show. You can find the complete show outline at www.techtalkonline.com, as well as, the actual MP3 audio file for that day.
  • Email from Mary: Dear Dr. S. My ESET Nod32 is going to expire soon, before I have my new iMac, I was told that AVG has a decent free antivirus product so I went there and downloaded it BUT did Not install it. I tried to find out the best way to go about installing this. Someone in tech support for AVG (in the Philippines) said I should NOT have downloaded the AVG until I’d uninstalled the ESET Nod32. IS that man in Philippines right? He wanted to remote into my laptop and I just could not get comfortable with that idea at all. Have I screwed up? What should I do? I can’t find the AVG download software now in the control panel/in the add remove programs area–as I was just going to remove it; it is in my download folders, again uninstalled. If I delete it from the download folder it is now sitting in, does this solve the issues–are there are issues now? I can’t get anyone to help at ESET Nod32– called and only get vmail and emailed and didn’t hear back!! Thanks, Mary in Bethesda
  • Tech Talk Responds: Mary, you cannot install a new anti-virus while the old one is still functioning. Leave on your old anti-virus and download the new. Once downloaded, you can disable (not uninstalled0 the old antivirus. Then you can click on the downloaded file to install the new antivirus. If  you like the new one, you can uninstall the old one.
  • Email from Robert Tyler: Dear Dr. Shurtz: Usually when I write I have a question for you to answer, but this time I have a suggestion you and your listeners might like. I have found an extension called “Send to Kindle” which sends the text and photos of an article to your Kindle so you don’t have to read it on a computer screen. I’ve always disliked reading long articles on a computer because of the bright screen and being hunched over the desk. Now you can read that long article at your leisure on your Kindle.  The extension is available for the Google Chrome browser. Just be sure to get the one from Amazon.com. Thanks again for your great podcast. Robert Tyler
  • Tech Talk Responds: The add on is Send to Kindle by Klip.me. You must register the your klip.me email address with Amazon. Seems like a good idea. I places an icon in the upper right hand corners of the browser. Simply click to send current page to Kindle.
  • Email from Arnie McKechnie: Dr. Shurtz. This info may be useful to your graduating students. I have attached an article about a new way that developers can get work by going directly to the customer, titled “Hounded By Recruiters, Coders Put Themselves Up For Auction.” I also included a link to a great outdoor Christmas light display made with LEDs by an engineer, since I know you love LED lights. Arnie McKechnie, Davidsonville, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: Auction are a great way to connect to customers. This article talks about the latest website to do this: Developer Auction. It concentrates on San Francisco, Boston, and New York. Another popular site is Guru.com. This site attracts programmers globally.

Profiles in IT: David Ross Cheriton

  • David Ross Cheriton is a Canadian-born computer science professor at Stanford University who has investments in technology companies.
  • David Cheriton was born March 29, 1951 in Vancouver,
  • Cheriton attended public schools in the Highlands neighborhood of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
  • He briefly attended the University of Alberta where he had applied for both mathematics and music. He played classical guitar.
  • Having been rejected by the music program, Cheriton went on to study mathematics and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia in 1973.
  • Cheriton received his Masters and PhD degrees in computer science from the University of Waterloo in 1974 and 1978, respectively.
  • He spent three years as an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia before moving to Stanford in 1981.
  • Cheriton founded and led the Distributed Systems Group at Stanford University, which developed the V operating system.
  • Cheriton co-founded Granite Systems with Andy Bechtolsheim. Granite, a producer of gigabit Ethernet products, was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1996.
  • In August 1998, Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Page met with Cheriton and Bechtolsheim on Cheriton’s front porch. Both invested $100,000 to fund Google.
  • The checks were made out to Google. Sergey and Larry has to incorporate and create a bank account to even cash the checks. Each investment is now worth over $1B.
  • In 2001 Cheriton and Bechtolsheim founded another startup company, Palo Alto based Kealia. Kealia designed high capacity switches, blade servers, and network addresses storage. Kealia was bought by Sun Microsystems in 2004.
  • David Cheriton co-founded Arista Networks in 2004. Arista produces 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches, which are faster than Juniper or Cisco products.
  • Cheriton then invested in Aster Data Systems, where is serves on the advisory board.
  • He is also an early investor in in-video advertising company, Zunavision.
  • Cheriton has a reputation for a frugal lifestyle. He was once included in a list of “cheapskate billionaires”
  • He still drives the same 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon he had before he made his money, lives in the same Palo Alto home he’s owned for the last 30 years and cuts his own hair. He has a running dispute over his neighbor’s six foot fence.
  • On November 18, 2005, the University of Waterloo announced that Cheriton had donated $25 million to support its School of Computer Science.
  • Over the years, he has invested $50 million dollars in 17 startups. Most made money.
  • With an estimated net worth of US $1.3 billion as of March 2012, Cheriton was ranked by Forbes as the 19th wealthiest Canadian and 692nd in the world.

Trends: The Internet Is Dominated by Gated Communities

  • The Internet used to be an open society. Freedom and open standards, sharing information for the greater good was the motto.
  • Today, the open internet has turned into a series of gated communities controlled by Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and to a lesser extent Microsoft.
  • A billion-dollar battle conducted in walled cities where companies try to lock our consumption into their vision of the internet.
  • The same firm in some cases now provides not just the content we consume but the devices we consume it on and many other services to help manage our digital lives, like email, online storage or e-commerce.
  • These tech giants are expanding into each other’s turf and locking competitors out of their ecosystems but, more importantly, locking, the consumers, in.
  • The amount of global digital information created and shared by consumers has grown exponentially over the past few years to 2.8 trillion gigabytes in 2012, according to analyst firm IDC.
  • The tech giants are now building ”moats” around their platforms to lock in consumers and their data, especially for mobile devices.
  • Once you’ve bought your apps, music and movies from the iTunes store and have your content and contacts backed up in the iCloud, you’re far less likely to switch.
  • The same goes for Google’s Android with its Play store and tight integration with Google services like Gmail, Google+ and Google Drive.
  • Apple blocked updates for Microsoft’s cloud storage service SkyDrive, while Google stranded Windows Phone 8 users of Gmail by removing support for Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync.
  • Twitter blocked Google from accessing its ”firehose”, which allowed tweets to show up in its search results.
  • But in July following the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook, Twitter cut off access to its data, preventing Instagram users from importing their list of friends from Twitter.
  • In December, Instagram suddenly disabled its integration with Twitter so shared photos did not display in-line, forcing users to click through to Instagram’s site.
  • Twitter responded with its own Instagram-style photo filters and editing capabilities.
  • While Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook get the bulk of attention, it is Amazon that is emerging as a potential leader of the pack.
  • The biggest retailer in the world just launched an advertising platform to follow its customers around the web. It also controls the world’s biggest cloud computing infrastructure, which it leases out to other companies. Kindle tablets are used to sell content.

HTML5 vs. Apps: The Future of the Web

  • HTML5 is a new technology that allows developers to build rich web-based apps that run on any device via a standard web browser.
  • Many think it will save the web, rendering native platform-dependent apps obsolete.
  • So, which will win? Native apps or HTML5?
  • A recent report from BI Intelligence explains why they think HTML5 will win out, and what an HTML future will look like for consumers, developers, and brands.
  • Distribution: Native apps are distributed through app stores and markets controlled by the owners of the platforms. HTML5 is distributed through the rules of the open web: the link economy.
  • Monetization: Native apps come with one-click purchase options built into mobile platforms. HTML5 apps will tend to be monetized more through advertising, because payments will be less user-friendly.
  • Platform power and network effects: Developers have to conform with Apple’s rules. Apple’s market share, meanwhile, creates network effects and lock-in. If and when developers can build excellent iPhone and iPad functionality on the web using HTML5, developers can cut Apple out of the loop. This will reduce the network effects of Apple’s platform.
  • Functionality: Right now, native apps can do a lot more than HTML5 apps. HTML5 apps will get better, but not as fast as some HTML5 advocates think.
  • Apps are winning now. HTML5 will ultimately win the battle because it is not platform specific and is open source.
  • This is much like the debate between Flash and HTML. Flash is now obsolete.

ITU Makes Internet Power Grab

  • The International Telecoms Union (ITU), UN’s agency for information and communications technology, gathered representatives from across the globe to try and gain consensus on updating telecoms regulations that hadn’t been examined since 1988.
  • Although some elements were easily agreed on, such as more transparency over mobile roaming charges, the proposal to regulate the internet and give more power to states to control both web and phone traffic were turned down outright by the UK, the US and Canada.
  • Representatives from Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal and Sweden also said they wouldn’t be able to sign up without discussing it first with their domestic governments.
  • Critics of the proposals claimed giving equal rights to each state of the UN and putting one vote in each of their hands could lead to censorship of the internet.
  • Vint Cerf, one of the creators of the internet, and Sir Tim-Berners Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, said such regulations would be a threat to a free internet and standards should be left to the private sector organizations building the technology.
  • Russia, China and Saudi Arabia have said the current state where the US holds the rights to the naming and registration of addresses on the internet, puts control into select hands already and believes new regulations were needed.
  • The secretary general of the ITU has maintained it was never the organization’s intention to bring the control of the internet into question. It does not cover content issues and explicitly states in the first article that content-related issues are not covered by the treaty.
  • The UK delegation said they had “pressed for consensus” and “made compromises where [they] could,” but could not agree with the ITU.
  • US, UK, and Canada will not signed the treaty or agree to any UN control of the distributed system. The treaty would authorize member countries to pull the plug on Internet access.

Gifts for the Geek

  • Scuba diving goggles with built-in digital camera ($399)
  • Wi-Fi controlled LED lights from Phillips (only $60 per bulb, bridge $20)
  • Noise cancellation earphones from Bose OE15 ($299)
  • Bluetooth laptop speakers (Creative T12, $88)
  • Remote control thumb drive for presentations (Smart Point SP-400, $40)
  • Blue ray DVD with Wi-Fi Internet access with a one-year Netflix subscription ($129 for DVD and $10/month for Netflix)
  • LEGO Mindstorm 2.0 Robot Kit ($299)
  • Slingbox 500 Media Player ($298)