Show of 3-2-2013

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Peggy: Dear Doc Shurtz, I am forwarding to you the exact email that has prompted my following question. I get a ton of junk mail. On this one I saw there was an unsubscribe link and I clicked it. It seemed to take a LONG TIME to let me know I was unsubscribed… Then I got to thinking that I never click on links from an unknown source!!! How can I be sure/certain that these losers who sent this junk to me have not invaded my PC or done something nefarious?  Am I NOT to ever click on unsubscribe links like this one? Thanks!! Peggy
  • Tech Talk Responds: Peggy, I never click on the unsubscribe link unless the email is from a trusted source. Spammer use your response to prove that your email address has been verified and it is them guaranteed to be one every spam list they use.
  • Email from Feroze: Dear Tech Talk. Last week my computer went blank and after a show while the following message appeared on the screen: Your computer has been locked by FBI for child pornography.  Of course, I don’t have anything to do with child pornography. What happened to my computer? How can I fix it? Thanks, Feroze in Fredericksburg
  • Tech Talk Responds: This is malware. It will demand $100 to remove the program. Paying the money will not remove anything. Don’t send them any money. This malware also hijacks your browser so that any site you look at is redirected to their site.
  • The virus removal instructions we have outlined below has been proven remove the FBI Virus. You must be on the infected computer when performing these steps.
    • To begin, go ahead and reboot the infected computer. If the infected computer is turned off, go ahead and turn it on.
    • Immediately as the computer begins to boot, press F8 many times. Pressing F8 allows you to access the Advanced Options Menu.
    • Once you are in the Advanced Options Menu, use your arrow keys and select the Safe Mode with Networking option. Press enter when you have selected that option.
    • Windows will now boot into Safe Mode with Networking. Safe Mode with Networking will allow you to remove FBI which it would not allow when Windows was in normal mode
    • The safest option to remove the FBI Moneypak virus by using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware software (free or paid versions), AVG, and Norton all of which have been documented to scan and remove FBI Moneypak virus. . Or if you have not recently installed new software, you can restore your computer to a restore point that is dated prior to your infection.
  • Email from Bob in Maryland: Dear Doc. I am a loyal listener to Techtalk and I tell my friends about it. I listen to other technology shows occasionally, but I think yours is the best of the lot.  Perhaps it is because we have a similar background; I also have undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics and dabble a bit in technology.  I heard on Techtalk today that you wanted more people to profile. Do the people  have to be dead to be profiled on Techtalk? Some of the people that might be  good candidates are still alive. I have met many interesting characters in technology during my career, so here are some I might suggest. 
    • (a) Bastian Klein, who did the technical part of Skype.
    • (b) Brian Kernihan, who worked at Bell Labs
    • (c) Dennis Ritchie, co-developer of Unix and developer of C. Done.
    • (d) Ken Thompson, co-developer of Unix. Done
    • Mike Noll, who made the first “data glove”
  • I could probably easily come up with more, if you were interested.  I have met and know of lots of other interesting guys in IT. Bob in Maryland
  • Tech Talk Responds: Bob, thanks for the suggestions. I have put them into the Profiles in IT hopper. We have already done Dennis Richie and Ken Thompson, but the other suggestions are new. Thanks and we would love any other suggestions.
  • Email from Graeme in Ireland: Dear Dr. Shurtz. I bought an iPhone5 a few months ago and my daughters love to play with it. They even have my password. They apparently have deleted my App Store. I can’t download any new applications now. What can I do? I love the show and listen to your podcast from Ireland. Graeme O’Toole, Manager, Park Hotel, Virginia, Ireland.
  • Tech Talk Responds: The good news is that the App Store cannot be deleted. It has been hidden by your daughters. Go to Settings/General/Restrictions. You will see a list of restricted (or hidden) applications. You daughter apparently Enabled Restrictions and then restricted the App Store and maybe more application. I would simply Disable Restrictions and all of your apps will be visible. I would also change your password so you daughters cannot do this again.
  • Email for Alex: Dear Doc. I am going to be travelling this summer and would like to print documents on my home computer, while I am travelling. Is there a way to do this? Thanks Alex.
  • Tech Talk Responds: What I would recommend you do instead is to install a “print to PDF” printer driver on your machine. Cute PDF is a good option, but there are others.
  • What that would allow you to print what you need to PDF files. Save those PDF files. You can even mail them to yourself or upload them to a place where you can get at them again later when you’re at home. Or, of course, keep them on a safe place on your PC. Then you can print when you get home.
  • I would not print to a remote printer, unless someone was there to watch it, clear paper jams, add paper, etc. You can do it, but is really does not make sense. It is better to PDF the document and then let the other person print it themselves. I you really want to do this, I would use Google Cloud Printing. It is easy to configure.

Profiles in IT: Gil Shwed

  • Gil Shwed is best known as founder and CEO of Check Point Software Technologies, a firewall company.
  • Gil Shwed was born in 1968 in Jerusalem, Israel.
  • When he was only ten years old, Shwed became interested in computers.
  • Two years later he had a summer job developing in a software company.
  • He started an almost full-time job as a system administrator in the University of Jerusalem at the age of 14.
  • Between the ages of 15 to 18, Shwed balanced his job with his academic studies. He was bored with high school
  • At 18 he joined the Army, without completing his degree.
  • During his military service he was part of the Intelligence Corps’ Unit 8200.
  • One of the challenges he had during his armed service was how to connect to very classified systems and networks without creating a security problem. That’s where the idea for a firewall and the underlying state for inspection technology came from.
  • After his military service had ended, Shwed joined the Israeli startup company Optrotech, where he worked as a Software Developer.
  • In 1993, the WWW was born and people started to use it commercially.
  • In 1993, Shwed founded Check Point together with Shlomo Kramer, Shwed’s friend from the military unit, and Marius Nacht with whom he worked at Optrotech.
  • Shwed invented and patented stateful inspection, which served as the basis for the first version of the company’s renowned FireWall-1, released in 1994.
  • A stateful firewall is a firewall that keeps track of the state of network connections (such as TCP streams, UDP communication) traveling across it.
  • The firewall is programmed to distinguish legitimate packets for different types of connections. Only packets matching a known active connection will be allowed by the firewall; others will be rejected.
  • In the beginning, Shwed and his two co-founders ran the sales operation, the marketing, the product development and the R&D. They reached $10M in sales with no additional employees.
  • Now that Check Point is a billion dollar company, Shwed tries to meet with a random employee once a week, in order to keep in touch with the people and the business.
  • He asks people what their three-month, one- and two-year plans are to see how particular department is being managed.
  • The other two co-founders have since left the company to pursue other interests. Shwed is still CEO and currently has no exit plan.
  • In 2010, Shwed was recognized as the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year in Israel.
  • According for Forbes, his net worth  $1.9 B as of March 2012
  • He was #683 on the Forbes billionaire list and #8 in Israel.

Wireless Surveillance Camera

  • Factors to consider
    • Pan, tilt, and zoom
    • Field of view
    • Resolution and sensitivity
    • Indoor versus outdoor housing
    • Night vision capability with infrared illuminator
    • Triggered storage of images when motion detected
    • Monitoring service available
  • Front Point Security Wireless Pan and Tilt Camera
    • Stream live footage of your home and property, using your home broadband service. View the live feed from any online device – a laptop, tablet or smartphone. The system will proactively push video clips to you whenever the camera detects motion.
    • Panning range: 350° swivel capability
    • Tilt range: up to 90° and down to 35°
    • Live resolution options: 1280×800, 640×400, 320×200, 176×144
    • Recording resolution options: 1280×800, 640×400, 320×200
    • High, medium and low compression options, in H.264 and MPEG4
    • Wireless encryption: WEP, WPA, WPA2
    • Adjustable motion detection settings
    • Low light sensitivity: 0.3 lux at 1/5 sec.
    • No audio. No night vision.
    • Monitoring available. Complete security system.
    • List price: $279. (Not discounted)
  • Foscam FI8910W Wireless B/G/N IP Camera
    • The Foscam FI8910W features high quality video and audio, wireless N connectvity, pan/tilt, remote internet viewing, motion detection, night-vision, embedded IR-Cut filter as well as a built in network video recording system.
    • Remote internet monitoring from anywhere in the world
    • IPhone/IPad, Android & Blackberry compatible
    • IR-Cut filter for true color video and images
    • Two-way audio
    • 300 degree pan, 120 degree tilt
    • IR lights for night vision up to 8 meters
    • List price: $159 (Street price: below $100)

Headphones in my Life

  • This week I will review two high quality headphones in different price ranges.
  • QuietComfort 15 is Bose’s best headphone. And it should be at $299.
    • I bought a pair and love it. The noise cancellation is superb on an airplane, especially for baby cancellation on long trips.
    • These unit fit over the ear, seal extremely well, and are comfortable.
    • Lifelike sound that reveals even the most subtle nuances of your music.
    • Comfortable fit with soft, around-ear cushions
    • Includes two audio cables, one with mic/remote for iPhone®/iPod® control and hands-free iPhone calling
    • 35 hours of use on average from AAA battery
  • RHA SA950i headphones. Reasonably price at $60.
    • The SA950i headphones are lightweight and comfortable supra-aural phones.
    • Surprisingly good sound. No active noise cancellation, but the padding did block a substantial amount of ambient noise.
    • The SA950i headphones are almost perfect for traveling. I say almost because they don’t come with a protective case , and you can’t fold them into something easily packed away.
    • The SA950i headphones are made from plastic, metal, and some very soft faux-leather pads.
  • Both sold in Apple stores. I would recommend either. It is just a budget issue.

How Microprocessors and Shipping Containers have Disrupted Labor

  • Some observations by Charles Davi in Quartz are very insightful.
  • Labor supply has been disrupted by two seemingly unrelated inventions — the microprocessor and the shipping container — conspired to create a global market for all assets, including people.
  • A century of achievements in computing power and shipping ushered in an era of global trade so expansive that it completely disaggregated the process of doing business (especially in manufacturing), allowing firms to treat finished goods as a bundle of globally sourced components and services.
  • As more than a billion new workers flooded a global labor market open to multinational companies, capable workers became less scarce, and therefore, less valuable. In order to understand how all of this happened, we have to dig into recent economy history, exploring the rise of digital technology and global trade.
  • Although no single invention can take full credit for the current ubiquity of digital devices, the microprocessor is generally credited as the core driver of smaller, more powerful digital devices. This dramatic reduction in scale, coupled with a new ability to realistically reproduce sensory information, transformed the computer from a tool of industry and academics into a consumer item.
  • Just as computers led to the proliferation of a common unit of information, world trade has been transformed by a common unit of shipping capacity — the container.
  • Prior to containerized shipping, each piece of cargo had to be individually loaded onto and unloaded from shipping vessels using manual labor, forcing ships to spend substantial amounts of time idle in port. Containerization dramatically reduced the amount of time it takes to load and unload ships, leading to a spike in the amount of time ships spend at sea, from around 50% of the ship’s life to around 90%.
  • Since the points of production and service along a supply chain are now geographically independent, the pool of labor that can be utilized to perform any task along the chain is global, effectively increasing the supply of labor — and decreasing the value of workers in developed economies.
  • The freedom of capital to move throughout the world in search for labor has fundamentally changed the balance of power between labor and capital, and technology and trade continue to expand the scope of tasks that can be performed at a distance.
  • The US is simply not producing enough college graduates in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (“STEM”). We can either produce more STEM graduates domestically or encourage more immigration of STEM graduates from abroad, or perhaps utilize some combination of both.

Estonian Charged with Cybercrime

  • The first defendant to face charges in a huge Cyber fraud scheme that hijacked millions of computers worldwide was deported from his native Estonia to face federal conspiracy charges in the U.S.
  • Anton Ivanov, the first of six defendants charged with using malware and manipulating online advertising, will face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer intrusion, among other offenses.
  • Invanov and his co-defendants allegedly operated a massive, sophisticated Internet fraud scheme that infected more than four million computers in more than 100 countries with malware between 2007 and the fall of 2011.
  • Federal authorities allege that the malware secretly altered the settings on infected computers, enabling Ivanov and his team to digitally hijack Internet searches and re-route computers to certain websites and advertisements.
  • The men subsequently received millions of dollars in fees as a result of unintended visits to the Websites and ads by users of infected computers.
  •  The malware also prevented anti-virus software installation and operating system updates on infected computers, leaving those computers and their users unable to detect or stop the defendants’ malware and exposing them to attacks by other viruses.
  • Ivanov, 27, of Tartu, Estonia, faces a maximum sentence of 85 years in prison in connection with the charges in the Indictment.
  • Federal authorities allege that the ring operated from 2007 until October 2011, when it controlled and operated various companies that masqueraded as a legitimate “Publisher Networks” in the Internet advertising industry.
  • The defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly used “rogue” Domain Name System (DNS) servers and malware designed to alter the DNS server settings on infected computers.
  • Victims’ computers allegedly became infected with the Malware when they visited certain websites or downloaded certain software to view videos online. The Malware altered the DNS server settings on victims’ computers to route the infected computers to rogue DNS servers controlled and operated by the defendants and their co-conspirators through “click hijacking” and “advertising replacement fraud.”

Blackberry is Doomed

  • The company’s former CEO, Jim Balsillie, just sold off his entire stake in the company.
  • Enterprise customers are no longer interested in Blackberry: The police force of New Zealand just opted for iPhones over BlackBerrys. That’s 6,000 iPhones and an additional 3,900 iPads.
  • In the US, construction and hardware retailer Home Depot finds Apple’s hardware and software so compelling that even older-model iPhones are better, in their analysis, than the new BlackBerry phones.
  • A spokesperson at Home Depot revealed that 10,000 new iPhone 4S smartphones will be handed out to members of the company’s management team.
  • Analysts are cutting their revenue and profit forecasts for BlackBerry. Only 43% of current BlackBerry owners plan to make BlackBerry their next phone, compared to 85% of iPhone owners.

Google Select Ireland for Data Center

  • A cold climate is perfect for reducing the operating costs of data centers.
  • Ireland is usually cold and rainy and has a low corporate tax.
  • The cold weather helps keep down the running costs of enormous data centers.
  • Google recently built a $75 million data center close to its European head in Dublin.
  • The cooler weather helps make the center more energy efficient, as less power is required to keep its servers cool.
  • According to Google, its data centers use 50 percent less energy than typical data centers by incorporating smart temperature controls, the latest power distribution methods, and what it describes as ‘free-cooling’ techniques, enabled by building the centers in cool locations like Ireland where it can use outside air and water to keep servers at the optimum temperature for safe and efficient operation.
  • Microsoft has also invested over $600 million in such facilities in the last few years while UK firm Telecity last year spent around $131 million on a center in Dublin.
  • The 12.5 percent rate has in recent years encouraged many tech- and online-related businesses to base their regional headquarters in Ireland, including  Facebook, PayPal, Twitter, LinkedIn, IBM, Zynga, HP and Dropbox.
  • The government recently spent €5 million ($6.6m) on the Irish Centre for Cloud Computing and Commerce (IC4), a new cloud computing research center located in Dublin.
  • With investment like that, and plenty of cold weather to go with it, Ireland is well positioned to maintain its European computer lead.