Show of 2-23-2013

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Replaying segments from previous shows.

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Jake: Dear Tech Talk. When I visit a web site, are they able to identify my IP address? If so, how can I block them from being able to identify me? Thanks, Jake.
  • Tech Talk Responds:  They can’t identify you personally unless you provide them with additional information. However, they can identify your IP address. It depends on what you mean by the phrase “identify me.”
  • An IP address, short for Internet Protocol Address, is a number used to identify a device connected to a TCP/IP. In IPv4, this is a 32-bit number. In IPv6, it is a 128-bit number. If you’re connected through a router, that’s the IP address that’s been assigned to your router.
  • If you’re connecting through a corporate network, a proxy, or some other more complex private networking scheme, then that’s the IP address assigned to the equipment that connects that network or proxy to the internet.
  • With some investigation, your ISP could identify that IP address that was assigned to you at a particular time. This has been used to locate illegal downloaders.
  • The site may also a cookie to identify you when you return or navigate the site. A cookie could be used to track you surfing habits for advertising networks. I just clear my cookies cache to eliminate this problem.
  • If you are really concerned, you can use a proxy server, to hide you actual IP address. This is used frequently in countries with restrictive Internet policies.
  • Email from Ngoc in Ohio: Dear Doc, I’m running a Motorola router, 60 Mb Internet with Time Warner. I have streaming from Netflix. I’ve got a wireless laptop, a Dell tower, a wireless printer and Internet phone. Do I have too much bandwidth for these devices? Could I lower the speed of my internet service say from 60 to 30 Mb to save money? Thanks, Ngoc
  • Tech Talk Responds: You have got a lot of bandwidth. That is a big pipe. I have FIOS and only had 10Mb download and 3Mb upload this morning. This is adequate for me, but I don’t do streaming. BTW, I check my connection speed by using the speed tests on Broad Band Reports (http://www.broadbandreports.com/).
  • I would be thrilled to have your bandwidth, but 60 could be overkill. Most streaming, from sources like Netflix, are going to work just fine with even significantly less bandwidth than that. You could get by n 10 Mb, unless you want HD video.
  • HD video streaming could require up to 30 Mb. Much more than that would be wasted. So I would reduce you bandwidth from 60 to 30 and you should see not effect on our applications.
  • Email from Mary Lou in Alexandria: Dear Talk, I’m trying to put together a collection of my MS Word documents into a single file. The only thing I can think of would be to put the first document on a disc and then copy and paste each story on to that document. Is there an easier way? Thanks, Mary Lou
  • Tech Talk Responds: There is not easy way. It requires that you cut and paste each article into a single document. Open up the first document in Word. Go to the bottom of that document. Open up the second document in Word. Select all with Ctrl-A.
  • Copy it with Ctrl-C. Go back to the bottom of the first document and paste in the contents of the second with Ctrl-V. Repeat that process for each of the documents.
  • Once you finish pasting the documents into Word, then you would do a File > Save As to save it to a new file name. Then you are done.
  • Email from Alex: Dear Doc and Jim, Can I move my hard drive from computer using an Intel CPU to one using an AMD CPU? They have the same hard drive connections. I am upgrading my hardware at home. Thanks, Alex.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Yes, you can. There is no issue from an hardware perspective. The CPU and hard drive communication through a communications standard that is the same on both machines.
  • However, your operating system may not boot properly because it does not have all of the drivers for the underlying motherboard. AMD and Intel motherboards differ.
  • Windows may discover the new hardware and automatically install the required drivers. This does happen occasionally.
  • In all likelihood, you will probably need to install that hard drive on that other machine with a different processor, and then install Windows from scratch. Install your applications from scratch and restore your data to that hard drive.
  • Email from a Loyal Listener in Bethesda: Dear Doc, I have lost the driver for my camera. When I connect the camera to the PC, there’s no further window that should normally pop up. I get a yellow triangle in the device manager and the icon suggesting troubleshooting. When I try to do the same, I’m told the driver is missing. Can you help? Thanks, Loyal Listener.
  • Tech Talk Responds: You need to download the driver from the manufacture’s website. In your case, go to the Canon. Go to their support site and locate the drivers for your specific camera model that will install on your specific version of Windows.
  • If you have a piece of hardware (like a camera, or a video camera, or a scanner, or a printer) that you’re connecting to your computer – and the computer complains about the driver being out of date (or not available, or whatnot) then step number one is to go to the web site of that hardware manufacturer and see if they can provide you with the driver you need.
  • Email from Jim in Bowie: Dear Doc, I was wondering if others can see what I’m downloading, say in a coffee shop or some other public place, like the administrator there? Can the ISP tell? Or can they just tell that something is being downloaded. Thanks, Jim.
  • Your ISP can see everything you do. If you’re not taking additional steps to encrypt, or hide what you are doing! Your ISP can see that you are downloading: say, a specific file from a specific location.
  • The administrator of an open Wi-Fi hotspot, that person can in fact monitor all unencrypted traffic. But they probably don’t.  A Starbucks manager has too many other things to worry about.
  • The only way to truly protect yourself from that level of intrusion is to use something like a VPN, a “Virtual Private Network” from a VPN service. It provides an encrypted pipe to the VPN provider. The only IP address available to the download site is the VPN providers IP address.
  • When you’re using a VPN, they may not see what it is you’re downloading – but they can still see that you’re downloading a lot. They can probably figure out which computer connected to their hotspot is the guilty party. So it is still possible for them to identify you as being a bandwidth hog.
  • The real worry now this that ISPs are enforcing illegal download rules. This could mean that you local coffee house could lose it Internet connection, if too many patrons are downloading illegal content. Many fear that this is end the free Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Your real worry is someone at the hotspot sniffing your connection for user names and password.  Always use https for email logins. In in my case, I never do banking at a public hotspot.
  • Email from Bridget: Dear Tech Talk. I have heard that Java is no longer secure. Should I disable it? What do you recommend? Thanks, Bridget
  • Tech Talk Responds: This is a great question and very timely. Less than one week after Oracle released Java 7 update 11 to patch or mitigate two zero-day vulnerabilities in Java that were being actively exploited by attackers, veteran Java bug hunter Adam Gowdiak of Security Explorations in Poland discovered two new vulnerabilities in Java standard edition.
  • As a result, any attacker who used the vulnerabilities would be able to craft malware that tapped the Java runtime environment, thus fully compromising a vulnerable system.
  • Gowdiak numbered the security vulnerabilities 51 and 52, because that’s the number of Java 7 bugs Security Explorations has reported to Oracle since April 2, 2012.
  • News of two new vulnerabilities being discovered comes on the heels of news that another Java vulnerability, unpatched by Oracle, was being offered for sale on an exclusive cybercrime forum. Reported asking price is $5KUS.
  • If you have Java, make certain to get the last update Java 7, Update 11. Then remove the Java plug-in for all of your browsers, except one. Use that one browser to go to trusted sites that require Java for functionality. 

Profiles in IT: Mark Andreessen

  • Marc Andreesen is co-author of Mosiac, the first widely-used browser and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation.
  • Marc was born July 9, 1971 in Cedar Falls, Iowa and raised in New Lisbon, WI.
  • Andreessen received his BS in computer science from the University of Illinois.
  • He worked at the university’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
    • While at NCSA, he became familiar with Tim Berners-Lee’s open standards for the World Wide Web.
    • Andreessen and a full-time salaried co-worker Eric Bina worked on creating a user-friendly browser.
    • The resulting code was the Mosaic web browser.
  • After graduating 1993, he moved to CA to work at Enterprise Integration Tech.
  • Andreessen met with Jim Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics.
  • Clark believed that the Mosaic browser had great commercial possibilities.
  • Soon Mosaic Communications Corporation was in business in Mountain View, California with Andreessen as co-founder and vice president of technology.
  • The University of Illinois was unhappy with the use of the Mosaic name.
  • Mosaic Communications changed its name to Netscape Communications and its web browser was named Netscape Navigator.
  • Andreessen was featured on the cover of Time in 1995.
  • Netscape’s success attracted the attention of Microsoft.
    • Microsoft licensed the Mosaic source code from Spyglass, Inc., an offshoot of the University of Illinois, and turned it into Internet Explorer.
    • The resulting battle between the two companies became known as the Browser Wars.
  • Netscape was acquired in 1999 for $4.2 billion by AOL, which made Andreessen its Chief Technology Officer.
  • He would soon leave to form Loudcloud, a services-based Web hosting company that underwent an IPO in 2001.
    • Loudcloud sold its hosting business to EDS.
    • It changed its name to Opsware in 2003 with Andreessen as chairman.
    • Opsware was purchased by HP in September 2007 for $1.6 billion.
  • His latest project is Ning, which launched in October 2005. (http://www.ning.com/)
  • Andreessen has a blog: (http://blog.pmarca.com/)
  • Andreessen is married to Laura Arrillaga, who is the chairwoman of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, and the daughter of Silicon Valley real estate billionaire John Arrillaga

E-mail of the 18th Century (The Optical Telegraph)

  • More than 200 years ago it was already possible to send messages throughout Europe and America at the speed of an airplane wireless and without need for electricity.
  • In 1791, the Frenchman Claude Chappe developed the optical telegraph.
  • The optical telegraph network consisted of a chain of towers, each placed 5 to 20 kilometres apart from each other.
  • On each of these towers a wooden semaphore and two telescopes were mounted
  • The semaphore had two signalling arms which could be placed in seven positions.
  • The wooden post itself could also be turned in 4 positions.
  • A total of 196 different positions were possible.
  • Every one of these arrangements corresponded with a code for a letter, a number, a word or (a part of) a sentence.
    • Every tower had a telegrapher, looking through the telescope at the previous tower in the chain.
    • If the semaphore on that tower was put into a certain position, the telegrapher copied that symbol on his own tower.
    • Next he used the telescope to look at the succeeding tower in the chain, to control if the next telegrapher had copied the symbol correctly.
  • A telegrapher could reach a speed of 1 to 3 symbols per minute.
  • In this way, messages were signed through symbol by symbol from tower to tower.
  • The first line was built between Paris and Lille during the French revolution.
  • It was 230 kilometres long and consisted of 15 semaphores.
  • The transmission of 1 symbol from Paris to Lille could happen in ten minutes, which comes down to a speed of 1,380 kilometres an hour.

Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job

  • LinkedIn has over 150 million members in over 140 industries.
  • Most of them are adults, employed, and not looking to post something on your Wall or date you.
  • Executives from all the Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn.
  • Most have disclosed what they do, where they work now, and where they’ve worked in the past. Talk about a target-rich environment, and the service is free.
  • Here are ten tips to help use LinkedIn to find a job.
  • If you know someone who’s looking for a job, forward them these tips along with an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
  • Before trying these tips, make sure you’ve filled out your profile and added at least twenty connections
    • Get the word out.
    • Get LinkedIn recommendations from your colleagues.
    • Find out where people with your backgrounds are working.
    • Find out where people at a company came from
    • Find out where people from a company go next.
    • Check if a company is still hiring using the New Hires page.
    • Get to the hiring manager using connections no more than two degrees away.
    • Get to the right HR person by chatting with some from the company.
    • Find startups to join by searching for startup or stealth.
    • Build your network before you need it.

Dumb Idea of the Week: Mask to Charge iPhone

  • The AIRE Mask would help you cut down on electricity costs by using your own breath to charge your iPhone.
  • The mask was designed by Joao Paulo Lammoglia as a serious concept that won a Red Dot design award in 2011.
  • The device is basically a tiny wind generator that straps onto your face.
  • Your breath turns interior turbines that produce electricity which goes straight to your phone.
  • You can use it at any time – when you’re out exercising, at work, enjoying some quiet time with a good book or sleeping.
  • Although to keep the suspicious looks to a minimum we would have to imagine that wearing the mask while sleeping is the best choice.
  • According to the designer, the mask not only cuts down on energy usage but encourages users to be more active since more breathing = faster charging.

First Internet Photo Was Posted 20 Years Ago

  • Les Horribles Cernettes, a comedic musical group at CERN, strike a pose in the first photo ever to be uploaded to the Internet.
  • Berners-Lee was working on the code that would allow photos to render online.
  • He got a photo from one of the ladies in group and uploaded it.
  • While the Cernettes began as a joke, they were so successful that they kept performing, with various personnel changes, for more than 20 years.
  • The Cernettes will play final concert at CERN on July 21.
  • Here are two of their songs: Surfing on the Web and Collider.