Show of 6-8-2013

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Replaying segments from previous shows.

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Lynn: Dear Doc and Jim. Is anti-virus for my smartphone required? I have an Android. My husband has an iPhone. Sometimes we go to sites that could be considered dangerous. J We have antivirus on our desktop, but do not have any protection on our cell phone. I love to listen to the show streamed live over the Internet. Lynn in Ohio
  • Tech Talk Responds: iPhone has not been with virus yet. So the iPhone is safe for now without any antivirus. That is not the case for the Android. There are many Android attacks that have been successful. You need anti-virus on your Android phone immediately. I would recommend the AVG Antivirus FREE for Android. You can pay for additional features that protect you if you cell phone is stolen, but the free version has the AV basics.
  • Email from Margaret: Dear Doc Shurtz,  It would be so great if you can help me/others navigate Google Groups. I am looking for work as a Business Analyst in DC Metro. I did a general G search and landed on this (see attachment) –exactly what I’m looking for though a bit dated…Anyway,   I want to join this group and cannot determine from this post what G Group it is. If you can decipher and educate me on how best to use g groups I’d be most thankful.  Best, Margaret
  • Tech Talk Responds: The attachment was a search result that included a Google Group’s posting. The name of the group is written in small font above the title of the post. If you click on that name, which in this case is Dot Less, you will be taken the main group page. The main group page has a blue button to join the group. By the way, there is a business analysts group. Just search Google groups to find it. Go to http://groups.google.com and use the search function. You can join using your Gmail user name and password.
  • Email from Lauren: Dr. Shurtz, I am grateful U answered this on 4/20/13, but, you said I didn’t give U enough info, so, I am sending the document (that is in an unfinished state and won’t make sense) and I tried to reduce the Paragraph size down to 1 but that didn’t help. Only issue is Page 11–removing it. If you accomplish this, Please Tell Me what you did!!!! Most appreciated!! Lauren
  • Tech Talk Responds: I got rid of the extra page by highlighting the page and deleting. The highlighted section ha to include the end of the previous page and the beginning of the following page. I added black paragraphs to each page prior to deletion. Lauren wrote back and told me that it worked and told me I am worderful!
  • Email from Led by Brain: Dear Dr. Shurtz. Last January, I bought an iMac for use at home. However, I use MS Office at work and sometimes I need to work in the evening on Word or Excel. I was looking for an inexpensive way to access MS docs on my iMac. Seems like SkyDrive is my answer.  It is appearing I now have access to WORD in the cloud. Screenshot below. WORD that works on my iMac, sweet. Now, am I able to import/open a doc I’ve sent to myself from work that is an email attachment??  I don’t see how that is done yet. Hope you might help. Show is so helpful :  ) All the best, Led by Brain
  • Tech Talk Responds: You could install open office on your computer and work on the documents directly. It supports most of the functions. Some companies have VPN and you can log onto your computer at work from home to work on your documents. It is a thin client application.  I would recommend that you use the company SharePoint portal for group editing of documents.  If your company does not have a SharePoint portal, you can use MS SkyDrive to share documents with the group. If you can’t VPN to your work computer, you can MS Office 365, the cloud-based MS Office. You will need to get a subscription ($60 per year or $6/month). MS has a 30-day free trial. SkyDrive is free for 7GB, but you must pay to add additional storage. MS is putting this suite together to compete with Google Docs.
  • Email from Patricia: Dear Doc and Jim. I have the Bank of American banking app on my iPhone. Is it safe to use this application at an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot like McDonalds or Starbucks? Thanks, Patricia.
  • Tech Talk Responds: How do you know whether your app is using https or not? Banks should use an encrypted connection, but you are really never sure. I did check of the Bank of America application. This applications delivers mobile banking encrypted and with the added security of SiteKey and optional SafePass.
  • The SiteKey is displayed only when BoA recognizes the device you’re signing in from. If you don’t sign in from the device you told they recognize, we’ll ask a challenge question only you can answer. The correct SiteKey assures that you are logging into a legitimate BoA site.
  • SafePass is additional layer of security that lets you authorize transactions using one-time, 6-digit Passcodes sent by text message directly to your mobile phone or tablet.
  • This application has excellent built-in security. That being said, I still will not do any online banking at a hotspot. This is especially true when travelling overseas.
  • If I want to bank using my cell phone and I am at McDonald’s, I will turn off my Wi-Fi and do the banking over the cellular connection, a much safer bet.
  • Email from Alice: Dear Tech Talk, I periodically clean my hard drive using CCleaner. After running the program, my bank does not recognize me and I have to through an authentication process. How can I avoid this? Thanks, Alice.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Many banks that have a good level of security will actually have two stages of verification. On a computer that is unrecognized (in other words, that doesn’t have some extended cookie set by the site to indicate that it has been recognized), the login process may involve asking you for one or more of your security questions before it actually allows you to complete the login. Once the login is complete, then you’re given the opportunity to declare this machine is a safe computer. If you say yes, then the service, the bank, the site, will actually save a cookie on the machine. If this cookie is deleted, you have to start all over.
  • CCleaner gives you the opportunity to identify the cookies and to actually specify exceptions. Look for the BoA cookie and make it an exception.
  • Email from June in Reston: Dear Tech Talk, I am installing a surveillance camera in my basement and want the camera to send emails to my Gmail account. I have to provide the SMTP server, user name, and password. What does this mean? Love the show, June.
  • Tech Talk Responds: In order to send an email through an email service you have to use POP (Post Office Protocol). The incoming mail is forwarded through the POP server. The outgoing mail is forwarded through the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server. You need the name of the SMTP server and if authentication is used (user name and password).
  • Your ISP has provided you with a pop email account and you could use that account. In my case, I have Verizon and my SMPT server is outgoing.verizon.net.
  • If you want to Gmail for outgoing mail, you must configure your Gmail properly. You must first enable POP or IMAP in Gmail. Sign in to the Gmail web interface. Open the ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ tab on your ‘Settings’ page, and configure IMAP or POP. After enabling this in Gmail, make sure you click ‘Save Changes’ so Gmail can communicate with your mail client.
  • Make sure SSL is active for SMTP in your mail client. Check that ‘allow authentication’ is active for the SMTP server in your mail client.
  • Verify that you’ve entered username@gmail.com.  Google Apps customers should enter their entire email address including the domain name. The password is the same as you Gmail password.
  • The Gmail SMTP server is at smtp.gmail.com.
  • If you tried configuring your SMTP server on port 465 (with SSL) and port 587 (with Transport Layer Security –TLS), but are still having trouble sending mail, try configuring your SMTP to use port 25 (with SSL).

Profiles in IT: Drew Houston

  • Drew Houston is co-founder and CEO of Dropbox, a privately held Internet company which provides cloud storage and synchronization services
  • Houston was born in 1983 in Massachusetts.
  • Houston graduated from Acton- Boxborough Regional High in Action, MA in 2001.
  • He enrolled in the MIT Computer Science program in 2001
  • In April 2004, he started Accolade, an online SAT prep company while a Junior.
  • Company was Ramen profitable, meaning that it generated enough income to pay his living expenses.
  • He took one year leave from school to work on Accolade.
  • He played guitar in the band, AngryFlannel, which played mostly a school events.
  • In 2006, Houston received a BS in Computer Science from MIT in 2006.
  • In January 2006, Drew landed a job with Bit9. He worked on Windows internals to support various applications. He quit in May 2007 to start Dropbox.
  • As an MIT student, Drew Houston was inspired to create Dropbox out of his frustrations with forgetting his USB drive.
  • He worked on multiple desktops and a laptop, and could never remember to keep his USB drive with me. His hard drive failed at home and he had no backup.
  • He found that existing storage services suffered problems with Internet latency, large files, bugs, or just made him think too much.
  • He began making something for himself, but then realized that it could benefit lots of people with the same problem.
  • He wrote the first lines of code for Dropbox while at a train station in Boston.
  • Houston co-founded Dropbox, Inc. in 2007 with fellow MIT student Arash Ferdowsi.
  • The Dropbox client enables users to drop any file into a designated folder that is then synced with Dropbox’s Internet service and to any other of the user’s computers and devices with the Dropbox client.
  • Dropbox focuses on synchronization and sharing. It supports revision history.
  • Shortly thereafter secured seed funding from Y Combinator. They provide $17K of seed money and help with the start-up process for around 6%
  • Dropbox officially launched at 2008’s TechCrunch50, an annual tech conference.
  • Dropbox raised a $7.25 million Series A round from Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners,
  • Dropbox’s official domain name was actually “getdropbox.com” until October 2009, when they acquired, “dropbox.com”, from a domain squatter.
  • In 2009 Dropbox hired Adam Gross, a former Salesforce veteran, as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales.
  • In January 2010 Dropbox had more than 4 million users.
  • Dropbox only uploads the pieces of the file that are changed when syncing.
  • Dropbox uses Amazon’s S3 storage system to store the files.
  • In the little free time he has, Drew can be found jamming on his guitar.
  • He is on Facebook at facebook.com/houston
  • Company website: http://www.dropbox.com

Automotive Idea of the Week: Inflatable Electric Cars

  • “XP Vehicles, Inc. is an electric powered automobile technology startup with patent protected technologies utilizing safe non-grid-connected energy cassettes to produce the electricity to run a polymer airbeam, carbon fiber constructed ultra light automobile.
  • 300 Miles on one charge
  • Hot swapping can increase the range indefinitely.
  • Hot-swap XPack Multi-CoreTM Battery/Fuel Cell power plant has been patented
  • Vehicles can be flat-pack shipped directly to users. Users perform final inflation.
  • Cost less that $5,000. This may be a real innovation.
  • Special stabilization provides stability on the road. Some speculate that air cushion makes the cars very safe in collision. May be able to survive going over a cliff.

Rubik’s Cube Can Be Solved With 23 Turns

  • Tom Rokicki has proven that all positions of Rubik’s cube can be solved in 23 or fewer face turns.
  • Previously he proved the theorem for 25 turns.
  • This proof was made possible by the contribution of CPU time from Sony Pictures Imageworks with the help of John Welborn, on the same machines used for movies such as Spider-Man 3 and Surf’s Up.
  • Tom is currently working on the theorem for 22 turns.

History of Rubik’s Cube

  • Rubik’s Cube was invented by Erno Rubik.
  • Erno Rubik was born in Budapest, Hungary during World War II.
  • Rubik studied sculpture in college, but after graduating, he went back to learn architecture at a small college called the Academy of Applied Arts and Design.
  • Rubik’s initial attraction to inventing the Cube was not in producing the best selling toy puzzle in history. The structural design problem interested Rubik; he asked, “How could the blocks move independently without falling apart?”
  • In Rubik’s Cube, twenty-six individual little cubes or cubies make up the big Cube.
  • Each layer of nine cubies can twist and the layers can overlap.
  • His solution was to have the blocks hold themselves together by their shape.
  • Rubik hand carved and assembled the little cubies together. He marked each side of the big Cube with adhesive paper of a different color, and started twisting.
  • That was how the Cube as a puzzle, was invented in the spring of 1974, when the twenty-nine year old Rubik discovered it was not so easy to realign the colors to match on all six sides.
  • Rubik applied for his Hungarian patent in January 1975 and left his invention with a small toy making cooperative in Budapest. The patent approval came in early 1977.
  • The first Cubes appeared at the end of 1977.
  • Ideal Toy Corporation bought the rights to Rubik’s Cube.

Toy of the Week: MegaZooka

  • Compression Wave Gun Produces Air Balls
  • Blows a harmless mega-ball of air towards any object or person!
  • The Megazooka is really a vortex generator.
  • The ball of air that shoots out is actually a flat vortex of air, similar to smoke rings blown by a cigarette smoker.
  • Available from Edmond Scientifics: http://scientificsonline.com/
  • Price: $24.95 plus shipping