Show of 1-19-2013

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Replaying segments from previous shows.

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Yen Hua: Dear Dr. Shurtz, While visiting my sister Nhan in Georgia last weekend, my other sister Hac told us about your show and we downloaded the MP3 from your web site and listened to it. I was happy to learn that I could just listen to you show on the radio when I returned home to Maryland!
  • I have a question concerning on line shopping. I often surf the web looking for bargains on line, but I’ve always wondered how I can make sure the on line shopping site I’m looking at is not a fake. How can I make sure I’m not giving my credit card number to a scam artist? Your new listener. Yen Hua.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Check if the site has an actual mailing address. Perform a Google search using the name of the site to see if anyone has posted negative information on a blog. Beware of sites outside of the US, which is probably the case if you cannot find any actual physical address. Make certain they use SSL for all transactions.
  • Email from Leslie: I have an iPhone and frequently get text messages from other iPhone users with special symbols. I can figure out how they embed them into their text messages. Can you explain how they do that? Thanks, Leslie
  • Tech Talk Responds: They have installed the Emoji International Keyboard on their phone. It is free and easily installed. Here is the process.
    • Click on Settings Icon.
    • Click on General
    • Click on Keyboard after scrolling down
    • Click on International Keyboards
    • Click on Add New Keyboard
    • Click on Emoji after scrolling down.
  • Start a text message. When the keyboard opens, click on World Symbol in lower left to bring up Emoji. The are many tabs and many pages to Emoji. Enjoy
  • Email from Dustin: Greetings, I am a relatively new employee at Stratford University. Last week I listened to the show for the first time and really enjoyed the segment on Alan Turing since I am currently working on my Masters in mathematics. My question for the show is, given the recent power outage, are solar chargers these days worth the investment? Thanks, Dustin Cassell
  • Tech Talk Responds: Solar charges for cell phones make sense. I had to keep my phone charged using the car. I have solar charged flashlights in the house. You could also use it for your laptop, but the charge time will be quite long unless you buy an very expensive solar panel. I have considered a natural gas generator too. However, that investment would be between 6 and 10K for the house, probably not worth.
  • Email from LL in Bethesda:  Dear Doc, A few months back I wrote two User Guides in MS PowerPoint 2010 that take a new user through a custom built Automation Tool. Both of my User Guides have a Lot of screen shots from the tool the User Guides are explaining embedded into the PP slides. When I turned The User Guides in, Top man who oversees our work asked me to make the PP 508 compliant.
  • A fellow worker told me to run the guides through JAWS. I did, and JAWS ignored the screen shots entirely. I had to go into the PP and R click on the screen shot and select “Size and Position”. Then select “Alt Text”. A Format Picture/Alt Text box comes up where I was able to enter a written DESCRIPTION of what is shown in the screen shots. How do I ensure a PPP is 508 compliant for an eLearning application beyond what I’ve already done? LL in Bethesda
  • Tech Talk Responds: Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. Technology is deemed to be “accessible” if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as by those without. To demonstate that a product or Web service is in compliance with Section 508, the creator completes a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), an “informational tool” that describes exactly how the product or service does or does not meet Section 508 standards. The completed VPAT gets posted on the creator’s Web site to provide government officials and consumers with access to the information.
  • I don’t know of any automatic tools for PowerPoint presentations with embedded graphics. Alternate text for graphics is important and must be entered manually. Don’t use complicated tables for the text because they must be read by audio readers and be understandable. If you port the PowerPoint to an HTML format and post it to the web, there are online compliance scanners for web content. Allow users to change font size and color contrast. I would get a screen reader (like Jaws) and see how it works on your PowerPoint.
  • Once it is on the web, you can use Cynthia Says™ Portal, which a joint Education and Outreach project of HiSoftware, ICDRI, and the Internet Society Disability and Special Needs Chapter. Web address: http://www.contentquality.com/
  • Facebook Comment from Bird Neconie: How about the DNS Changer deadline on Monday? Some users have been told that if you’re in market for a new PC, no need to try and remove it from an infected computer. Thanks, Bird.
  • Tech Talk Responds: To check your computer, simply go to http://www.dcwg.org/ and then click on the link in the table that applies to your country and language. New computers should not be infected, but you can easily check by going to this site. It is relatively easy to remove this virus from your computer.

Profiles in IT: Diane Greene

  • Diane Greene is co-founded VMWare with her husband Mendel Rosenblum, where she served as President and CEO.
  • Diane Greene was born in Rochester, NY, around 1955.
  • She received a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1976 from the Univ. of Vermont.
  • In 1978, Diane Greene receivced an MS in Naval Architecture from MIT.
  •  She went to work for a San Francisco consulting firm that designed “large-jacket structures,” the massive four-legged structures better known as offshore oil platforms.
  • An avid sailor since childhood, Greene was eager to go to sea to examine her work.
  • But women weren’t allowed on the rig, so Greene quit and moved to Hawaii to take up windsurfing.
  • After her windsurfing stint, she worked in the engineering department of Windsurfing International, and then at Coleman, which was eyeing the windsurfing business.
  • In 1988 she picked up a second master’s, in computer science, at the University of California at Berkeley, where she met her future husband, Mendel Rosenblum.
  • She found time for one last adventure, when she served as the computer expert on a treasure hunt to a sunken Spanish galleon off Saipan.
  • She then worked for Tandem and Silicon Graphics, got married, had two children.
  • By 1997, Greene was working on her second startup, a software company later bought by CMGI, but was ready to resume a more adventurous life.
  • The VMware venture began in 1998 when Greene teamed with her husband, Mendel Rosenblum, who is a professor of computer science at Stanford University; two of his graduate students; and an old graduate school friend from UC-Berkeley.
  • The company started small. Greene quit her previous startup and signed on in 1998 as an unpaid employee. The following year Rosenblum took a two-year leave from Stanford to work full-time on VMware.
  • She agreed to help Rosenblum to, in her word, “productize” a concept. That is, to turn the research that he and two graduate students had been doing into a product.
  • Her plan was to set up the company, negotiate some deals, and leave. She stayed.
  • They worked out of their homes initially, and then graduated to a small office rental above “The Cheese House” in a small shopping center across the street from Stanford.
  • VMware operated throughout 1998 in stealth mode with roughly 20 employees by the end of that year. The company was launched officially in February 1999
  • The beta version of VMware was downloaded by more than 75,000 the first day.
  • VMware delivered its first product, VMware Workstation, in May 1999 and entered the server market in 2001 with VMware GSX Server.
  • The company was also acquired by EMC Corporation in 2004 for $625 million.
  • Green insisted the VMWare and EMC keep a distant relationship (to keep customers).
  • In August 2007, EMC Corporation released 10% in an IPO, raising more than $1B. The stock went from $29 to $51 the first day, producing a market capitalization of over $20. Green only received 2.1% of the IPO. EMC got most of the upside.
  • On July 8, 2008, Diane Greene was unexpectedly fired and replaced by Paul Maritz, who was running EMC cloud computing division.
  • On September 10, 2008, Rosenblum, the company’s chief scientist, resigned.
  • Greene takes her favorite toy – a trimaran – out for a spin on San Francisco Bay.

Anchor Charged with Hacking Colleague Email

  • Former Philadelphia news anchor Larry Mendte on Monday was charged with hacking into the e-mail accounts of Alycia Lane, his co-anchor at CBS affiliate KYW-TV and reported rival, hundreds of times over the course of two years.
  • Mendte accessed Lane’s e-mail without authorization approximately 537 times, from KYW and from his home, according to the government.
  • A hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 22 at which Mendte is expected to enter a plea. He faces up to six months in prison if found guilty.
  • He either guessed her passwords, looked over her shoulder, or used a keystroke logger.
  • USB Keyloggers go between the keyboard and the computer and capture all keystrokes. Cost approximately $150.00. Other options are software based and can send keystroke data to another computer via the Internet.

Profiles in IT: Alan Mathison Turing

  • British mathematician and logician, who made major contributions to mathematics, cryptanalysis, logic, philosophy, and biology and to the new areas later named computer science, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and artificial life.
  • The son of a British member of the Indian civil service, Turing entered King’s College, University of Cambridge , to study mathematics in 1931.
  • After graduating in 1934, Turing was elected to a fellowship at King’s College in recognition of his research in probability theory.
  • In 1936 Turing’s paper On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem [ Decision Problem] sought an effective method for deciding which mathematical statements are provable within a given formal mathematical system and which are not.
  • As part of the proof, he showed that any effectively calculable function can be calculated by a Universal Turing machine, a type of abstract computer that Turing had introduced in the course of his proof.
  • At the outbreak of hostilities with Germany in September 1939, he joined Britain ‘s wartime program at Bletchley Park to break the Enigma code, used by the German military for their radio communications.
  • Turing and others designed a radically different code-breaking machine known as the Bombe, kept the Allies supplied with intelligence for the remainder of the war. They decoded over 39,000 intercepted messages each month.
  • Turing was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire for this work.
  • In 1945, Turing was recruited to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in London to design and develop an electronic computer.
  • His design for the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) was the first complete specification of an electronic stored-program general-purpose digital computer.
  • University of Manchester built the world’s first working electronic stored-program digital computer in June 1948. His earlier theoretical concept of a universal Turing machine had been a fundamental influence on the Manchester computer project.
  • He then took a job as Manchester as Director and designed the programming system of the Ferranti Mark I, the world’s first commercial electronic digital computer.
  • In 1950, he asked the philosophical question, Can Machines Think? The Turing test as a criterion for whether a machine thinks.
  • In March 1952, he was prosecuted for homosexuality and lost his security clearance.
  • Turing began working on what is now known as artificial life. He wrote “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis”. He used the Ferranti Mark I computer to model the way that genes could control the development anatomical structures.
  • Turing was discovered dead in his bed, poisoned by cyanide. Some have postulated that Apple’s logo (an Apple with a bite taken out) is a tribute to Turing.

Turing Test