Show of 3-16-2013

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Replaying segments from previous shows.

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from James Messick: Dear Dr. Shurtz, Microsoft used to offer a free service to keep designated files and folders in sync on various computers. It synced from computer to computer without storing the data in “the cloud”, thus requiring at least 2 of the synced computers to be powered on at the same time. The service was smart enough to transfer files directly over the local network when synced computers were both present on the same network. Unfortunately Microsoft shut this service down. I would like a simple solution to do the syncing directly over the local network. Do you know of such a solution? Also, I now have a Microsoft SkyDrive account which gives 25 Gb of free online storage, but it is somewhat of a different animal. This is handy but lacks the convenience of something like DropBox, where a folder is automatically synced to both the cloud and other PC’s. Do you know of a way to simplify storage to Microsoft SkyDrive? Thanks, James Messick, Kernersville, NC
  • Tech Talk Responds: Microsoft SyncToy 2.1 is a free application that synchronizes files and folders between locations. Typical uses include sharing files, such as photos, with other computers and creating backup copies of files and folders. It was released in 2009 and is still available it uses the Microsoft Sync Framework 2.0. It is not supported by Tech Support and is available free for download.
  • Email from Ken: Dear Dr. Shurtz, Today’s repeat show included the topic of numerical weather forecasting and included mention of a website that sounded like NOGAS. I wanted to see the website, so I searched the Tech Talk shows on stratford.edu. I eventually found the discussion on the page for February 13, 2010, but I did not find a weather site with a name like the one you said. I searched for weather websites with Google and in the Open Directory but did not find it. I quit after searching for about an hour. Obviously that spelling is wrong, so what is the correct spelling? In the future, would you please spell names, terms, etc. whose spelling is not obvious? By simply spelling the names you could save a lot of searching by anybody who wants to look up what you are talking about, especially during the show. Almost every week I spend at least half the show searching for somebody or something whose name you did not spell. Thank you. Ken H.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS). NRL link to NOGAPS: http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/metoc/nogaps/
  • Email from a Bethesda listener: Dr Shurtz, I am taking a CBT course for work. It took a great deal of steps to get this to work properly. It all boiled down to a JAVA issue. I don’t really understand JAVA and wish you’d devote a segment of program going over what this appl actually does as it appears to be kind of powerful and important. Thanks Much. PS Is Sun Microsystems OpenOffice ever going to usurp MS Office?  Bethesda listener.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Java was developed by Sun Microsystems. The Java programming language and environment is designed to solve a number of problems in modern programming practice. It is designed to be an improved version of C++. Simplified, automatic garbage collection, small foot print for embedded applications, object oriented, network savvy with built in library, robust with early error checking, secure with embedded encryption, architecture neutral, portable. Multi-threaded, and interpreted.
  • The Java language provides a powerful addition to the tools that programmers have at their disposal. Java makes programming easier because it is object-oriented and has automatic garbage collection. In addition, because compiled Java code is architecture-neutral, Java applications are ideal for a diverse environment like the Internet. For more information, visit http://java.sun.com/.
  • As for Open Office. I don’t think that it will ever surpass MS Office because a lack of support. However, it is a great alternative those on a budget. Website: http://openoffice.org.
  • Email from Greg Johnson: Dear Dr. Shurtz. When you first read a question, it sounds like something one of my grandmother’s less computer literate friends would ask. By the time you’re done answering, I’m like, whoa, I didn’t know anything about the topic!
  • The ads. Can you just find some way to get a variety of real, money-grubbing ads for yourselves? Repeating the same long, poorly produced ad just drives me into the despair of wanting to unsubscribe. Can you get some new ads? Thanks, Greg Johnson
  • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for the feedback….both the good and the bad.
  • Email from Marshal: Dr Shurtz advised last week that Ooma will begin charging tax on March 23, 2012. I have been considering getting a VOIP service for my home but, from a cursory glance of the Ooma hardware I am wondering how I could use one device to “VOIPify” all of my home phone jacks? I could plug the unit directly to my router, then plug in a cordless phone with multiple handsets. This however, would not give me VOIP access to use at the other jacks in my home for an actual corded phone and a fax machine on another floor. How could I accomplish this without buying multiple devices or paying for multiple subscriptions?
  • You mentioned on the April 17, 2010 show that faxing was “bandwidth needy” and a “good internet connection” is needed. In your opinion – How would Ooma or other VOIP solution work with my “medium” speed DSL Internet connection? Do I have to bite the bullet and upgrade to a higher speed/cost option?
  • Thank you for your research and for putting on a Great show every Saturday! A loyal listener for almost 10 years, Marshall
  • Tech Talk Responds:  A DSL link should be adequate so long as you have enough upstream bandwidth. VoIP is bi-directional. You can check your bandwidth by going to www.broadbandreports.com. Go the tools section and select speed test.
  • You can connect one voice system to OOMA. I have a wireless distribution system in my house with a Uniden DECT6. You can connect your wired system to the OOMA device by simply plugging it into the wall connection. Make certain to disconnect your home system from the outside line. If you are using fax, make certain to disable error checking with the prefix *99. I plug the fax and phone system into OOMA using a simply splitter.
  • Email from anonymous: Dr. Shurtz, I have been unemployed for a very long time, and employers are not hiring me. Are employers using the normal hiring process and just hiring people as contractors, or is there a different procedure for finding contracted jobs? Second, I have been told that my PhD is worthless because it is from 1987. Is there any employer that will consider my degree valuable? Now I am told that my education and experience are worthless. Thank, anonymous
  • Tech Talk Responds: I will talk about these job website later in the show. A degree is not what employers are looking for. It is a check box to be considered. They are looking for what you did with your degree after you got it. You need to highlight projects and accomplishments that are identifiable. I would also read the book, What Color is Your Parachute by Dick Bolles.
  • Email from Margaret: Richard Shurtz, Listen every Sat and like your program!
  • I work for a large tech company based in Japan. I got a software course approved by my boss several months back and every time I go to take it, there are tech difficulties and I never get into the course.
  • Most recently I sent the ‘final’ screenshot –showing up to where I get to and can’t get into the actual course–to the support staff for the CBT and got back his list of needed info: Java 6.0 Developer Kit, VPN, PC, LAN setting.
  • What would likely be most helpful for me is for you to please explain what all these selections/options mean. I don’t understand the ramifications from selecting one choice and not the other. Thanks, don’t recall a session on LAN settings in the past. Thanks, Margaret Bethesda MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: The two key factors are VPN and LAN setting. The VPN provides a secure link to your companies servers. You will to have the proper VPN client and password. That is the most probable area for failure. The LAN settings simply ensure that you can reach the Internet. They include automatic detection of the proxy server (or dial up configuration) which is the gateway to the Internet. If you can surf the web your LAN setting are correct.

Profiles in IT: John von Neumann

  • Von Neumann was born in Budapest , Hungary , in 1903. Von Neumann was the oldest of 3 children of a banker.
  • John von Neumann was known for his contributions to the fields of mathematical logic, quantum mechanics, economics, game theory, strategic thinking, and computer architecture.
  • Dr. von Neumann was also a pioneer of modern computing, devising the computer infrastructure that is now known as the “von Neumann Architecture.”
  • At 6, he could divide two 8-digit numbers in his head; by 8 he had mastered calculus; by 12 he was at the graduate level in mathematics.
  • . In 1925, he received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and in 1926, he completed his doctoral degree in mathematics at the University of Budapest .
  • In 1930 he joined the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study. He became one of the 6 full-time people in the School of Mathematics (Einstein was one of the others).
  • His first book, published in 1932, was on quantum mechanics.
  • He became a US citizen in 1937, and during the Second World War distinguished himself with his work in weapons development.
  • During and after the war, he became one of the best applied mathematicians. When some of the best engineers in the world were at Los Alamos trying to decide how to bring the atomic fuel together quickly enough to create an explosion the (A bomb), he refined the technique for the implosion of plutonium by developing the “implosion lens” that would correctly compress plutonium.
  • His work is said to have accelerated the development of the hydrogen bomb.
  • In 1955 he was named a Commissioner of the Atomic Energy Commission, a position he held up to his death from cancer in 1957.
  • During the last part of the war he became involved with the development of computing machines. It was his idea to store the program (the sequence of instructions) in the machine as simply another kind of electronic data. Until then, in order to reprogram a computer a person had to physically rewire it.
  • Computers which perform their operations sequentially are called “von Neumann machines” as opposed to those perform several operations using “parallel processing.”
  • The four properties that characterize the von Neumann architecture.
    • Instructions and data are distinguished only implicitly through usage.
    • Memory is a single memory, sequentially addressed
    • Memory is one-dimensional
    • Meaning of the data is not stored with it
  • After the war, in 1945, von Neumann drafted a report and machine description that would lead to the construction of the EDVAC, or Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer.
  • As director of the Electronic Computer Project at Princeton ‘s Institute for Advanced Study (1945-1955), he developed MANIAC (mathematical analyzer, numerical integrator and computer), which at the time was the fastest computer of its kind. MANIAC was run on thousands of vacuum tubes.
  • He was appointed Atomic Energy Commission in 1955 and died of cancer in 1957.

Top 5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Albert “Bad Boy” Einstein

  • It seems like every field planet has a resident “bad boy”. It doesn’t matter if the occupation is figure skating or physics, there is always someone who doesn’t quite fit in.
  • Albert Einstein was the “bad boy” of the science world. He was an outsider in his younger years, a misunderstood genius who couldn’t even get an academic job, much less a doctorate in his field of expertise.
  • Here are some Einstein-isms that have particular meaning for the technology entrepreneurs of today.
    • Imagination is more important than knowledge. So true, it’s one thing to know the technical aspects of how to do something, but when you work in a creative field, imagination trumps knowledge every single time.
    • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. When you’re creating something out of the blue, it’s going to take lots-o-tweaking before you get it just right, and you have to get comfortable with not knowing the end result. Sometimes ideas take off and become extremely profitable. Other times they just flop.
    • Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds. I think that when you look at opposition in the right light, it can be a major motivator. You want to show them your vision, show them that you know what you’re doing. The trick is to turn negativity into positive momentum.
    • The only real valuable thing is intuition. You need to develop a “gut feel” that will help you detect if a person, idea or situation is healthy for you. Those who have the best intuition have the greatest success.
    • We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Einstein’s creativity was heavily influenced by a thinking technique he called “thought experiments”, which was actually just plain old fashioned daydreaming.. This just goes to show that imagination, play, and a willingness to try new things is the key to being a visionary.

Food Science of Taste

  • The receptors for taste, called taste buds, are situated chiefly in the tongue, but they are also located in the roof of the mouth and near the pharynx.
  • Our taste buds, on the other hand, detect just five basic flavor sensations: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory. It is also known that some tongues have a higher degree of sensitivity to flavors and textures than others.
  • Savory is also called “umami” from taste receptors sensitive to amino acids.
  • Generally, the taste buds close to the tip of the tongue are sensitive to sweet tastes, whereas those in the back of the tongue are sensitive to bitter tastes.
  • The taste buds on top and on the side of the tongue are sensitive to salty and sour tastes.
  • At the base of each taste bud there is a nerve that sends the sensations to the brain.
  • The sense of taste functions in coordination with the sense of smell.
  • The number of taste buds varies substantially from individual to individual, but greater numbers increase sensitivity.
  • Women, in general, have a greater number of taste buds than men.
  • As in the case of color blindness, some people are insensitive to some tastes.
  • Memory, experience, and expectations play an enormous part in how individuals react to aromas and flavors, and may even be determinative.
  • Why we notice some flavors and aromas but not others, and why we enjoy some but not others, results from the interplay of visual cues, genetic endowments, physical.
  • Taste tests you can try at home.