Show of 01-18-2014

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Replaying segments from previous shows.

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Mary in Bethesda: Dear Doc Shurtz,   I often find people on LinkedIn I’d like to be able to send an email to. I don’t have a paid for level of access to LinkedIn and therefore can’t send an ‘inmail’ to them.
  • I have learned over time that if you know where someone works (and on LinkedIn the current position is listed), you can go into google and search on for example, @intel.com
  • and often find someone’s email and then learn the ‘recipe’ of whether email is firstname.lastname, or whatever. What I am wondering is, hasn’t someone come up with a master list resource someone with this need of mine can go to and put in a company name and learn the firm’s email formula/recipe?
  • Your thoughts are appreciated. This show of yours is a treasure and you serve the listeners with a beneficial resource that I find of real value. I hope U and Jim have a great summer :  ). Mary, Bethesda
  • Tech Talk Responds:  Mary, this is a great idea. I could not find any such service. You can use LinkedIn Inmail for $10 a pop if you are not a member. I can give you some tips on locating the email address using the advanced search tools in Google.
  • If you know the person’s name, you can search for “First Last” email @domain. This will give you a list of all webpages that list the email address. Usually, the email is private and only located in documents (word, excel, etc.) You can search only in documents for the email address using the following search sequence. Here would be the search sequence for this specific search: “First Last” email @domain filetype:pdf  filetype:doc  filetype:xls filetype:ppt. Only use one file type at a time when doing the search!
  • Email from Tung in Ohio: Dear Doc and Jim. My friend has been sending me small videos via text messages. I would love to be able to make my own movies and send to him via text message. These are private movies so I want to send them myself. How can I do this? We listen to the live stream each Saturday morning. Love the show. Tung in Ohio.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Tung, you cannot send a movie using text messages. You are simply attaching a picture to the text message. In your case the image is a specially formatting image. Rather than a simple JPG format, you are receiving images are formatted as GIF images.
  • GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. It is bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 and has since come into widespread usage on the web. GIF supports animation by displaying a series of images in fast succession.  If the GIF is formatted to loop the movie will continue indefinitely.
  • Photoshop can be used to make animated GIFs. You can create a series of images and Photoshop can format them as an animated GIF.  Photoshop will also open videos in MPEG, MP4, AVI, and MOV formats. When you open it, select Range to Import to get only a few select frames—the fewer the frames, the faster the animated GIF. It will import the frames as layers, which you’ll convert back to frames for the animated GIF file. You can even resize and crop the layers to produce a smaller the animation.
  • Picasion.com lets you create an animated GIF by uploading individual photos. They must all be resized to the same dimensions. You can also use your own Webcam to get an animation of yourself. With the Webcam option, you can set a speed from slower to faster and a size from Userpic (100 pixels wide) up to big (400 pixels wide), and let the site do the rest of the work.
  • Gifninja is another free option. If you’ve got a video file that’s smaller than 20MB, Gifninja will accept it as an upload and turn the first few frames into a very good animated GIF.
  • Email from Sophia in Alexandria: Dear Tech Talk, I keep have an advertising pop up on my computer and I can’t get rid of it. When I do a search, my browser keeps going to the same website for some type of prize. I am using Windows XP and IE9. What should I do? Thanks, Sophia in Alexandria
  • Tech Talk Responds: This sounds like a browser hijack. A browser hijack is a type of malware that infects your system. Once downloaded, it waits until you do an internet search; when it sees a page with search results, it updates the results with its own links to advertisements or other websites. No matter what you click on, you see what the malware wants to show you.
  • You definitely want to treat this as malware. My first suggestion would be to make sure you’re running up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware scans. It sounds like whatever tool that you’re using worked once before, but I would also consider running Malwarebytes, a free tool available for download at malwarebytes.org.
  • After you’ve taken the malware off of your computer, my first suggestion is to watch what you’re doing. The key to preventing problems like this is vigilance and good anti-malware software that’s up-to-date.
  • Email from Wije in Sri Lanka: Dear Tech Talk, I am in Colombo, Sri Lanka and listen to the podcast each week. My computer is locked up and I am told that in order to unlock it that I will have to pay $300. They are implying that I have done something wrong. What should I do? Love the show, Wije
  • Tech Talk Responds: You have been infected by ransom ware. We covered a type of ransom ware a couple of weeks ago. It was the FBI scam, where you were told that your computer was locked because you had visited child porn sites. You have a similar infection.
  • ‘Ransomware’ is a type of malware that attempts to extort money from a computer user by infecting and taking control of the victim’s machine, or the files or documents stored on it. Typically, the ransom ware will either ‘lock’ the computer to prevent normal usage, or encrypt the documents and files on it to prevent access to the saved data.
  • The ransom demand will then be displayed, usually either via a text file or as a webpage in the web browser. This type of malware leverages the victim’s surprise, embarrassment and/or fear to push them into paying the ransom demanded.
  • Ransomware may arrive as part of another malware’s payload, or may be delivered by an exploit kit such as Black hole, which exploits vulnerabilities on the affected computer to silently install and execute the malware.
  • Though earlier ransomware samples tended to be simple, blatant attempts at extortion, recent ones have been more subtle in design. In 2012, there were multiple instances of ‘police-themed’ ransomware that cunningly disguise their ransom demands as official-looking warning messages from a local law enforcement agency.
  • In most cases, F-Secure’s Easy Clean removal tool is able to remove the ransomeware, restoring normal access to the system. Many other removal tools are available from legitimate anti-virus vendors. Here is a link to one that I have used.
  • Email from Don: Dear Tech Talk, I would like to use Google drive on my PC and my iPhone. How does it work? Love the show. Thanks, Don
  • Tech Talk Responds: Google drive is an Internet based storage system, aka Cloud Storage. You will need to download the Google Drive app on the iPhone and create an account using your Gmail user name and password. Then you will need to go to the Google Drive webpage on your PC and click the download PC application. That applications will create a Google drive on your PC, after to login with your Gmail user name and password. Any document that you put into your Google drive folder will be synchronized with the drive on your cell phone. Any document can be opened using Goolgle docs. It is very easy to use and set up.

Profiles in IT: John T. Draper

  • Also known as Captain Crunch, a former phone phreak
  • Named after Cap’n Crunch, the mascot of a breakfast cereal.
  • Draper was born in 1944, son of a US Air Force engineer.
  • Draper himself entered the Air Force in 1964, and while stationed in Alaska helped his fellow servicemen make free phone calls home by devising access to a local telephone switchboard.
  • He was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1968 and did military-related work for several employers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • He adopted the counterculture of the times and operated a pirate radio station out of a Volkswagen van.
  • A blind friend of John Draper’s named Joe Engressia (later known as Joybubbles) informed him that a toy whistle that was packaged in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal.
    • Emitted a tone at precisely 2600 hertz (Listen to 2600 wave file)
    • Called Cap’n Crunch Bosun whistle
    • First released in 1971
    • The same frequency that was used by AT&T long lines to indicate that a trunk line was ready and available to route a new call.
  • This 2600 Hertz tone would effectively disconnect one end of the trunk, allowing the still connected side to enter an operator mode.
  • The class of vulnerabilities Draper and others discovered was limited to call-routing switches that employed in-band signaling.
    • Newer equipment relies almost exclusively on out-of-band signaling; the use of separate circuits to transmit voice and signals.
    • Though they could no longer serve practical use, the Cap’n Crunch whistles did become valued collector’s items.
  • Some hackers sometimes go by the handle ?Captain Crunch? even today; 2600: The Hacker Quarterly is named after this whistle frequency.
  • The 1971 Esquire Magazine article which told the world about phone phreaking got Draper in hot water.
  • Draper was arrested on toll fraud charges in 1972 and sentenced to five years’ probation.
  • He forced the phone companies to move from in-band switch control (SS5) to out-of-band switch control (SS6 in 1977 and SS7 in 1980). SS7 is still in use.
  • The Esquire article also brought him to the attention of Steve Wozniak.
  • In the mid 1970s he taught his phone phreaking skills to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who later founded Apple Computer.
  • He was briefly employed at Apple and created a telephone interface for the Apple II.
  • Draper wrote EasyWriter, the first word processor for the Apple II, in 1979.
  • Draper ported EasyWriter to the IBM PC, beating Bill Gates for the IBM contract.
  • Draper’s company, Capn’ Software, posted less than $1 million revenue over 6 years.
  • In the 1980s, Draper worked for Autodesk, but was laid off.
  • Currently he writes computer security software and hosts Crunch TV via the Internet.
  • He is also portrayed in the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley.
  • He inspired Kevin Mitnick the first well-known and first-arrested computer hacker.

Website of the Week: Corkd

  • Cork’d is a free service for wine lovers.
  • You can use Cork’d to catalog, rate and review wines you’ve tasted.
  • You can also keep track of wines you’d like to try and buy as well as subscribe to what your buddies have reviewed.
  • It’s a new way to discover and share wine. It includes the following features.
    • Wine Journal. This is where you catalog, rate and review the wines you’ve tried.
    • Wine Cellar. Your Wine Cellar is a list of bottles that you own, but haven’t tried yet.
    • Shopping List. Here’s where you can keep track of wines you’d like to buy.
    • Drinking Buddies. You can add other Cork’d members as Drinking Buddies. By doing so, you’ll be alerted each time a buddy adds a new Wine Jounal entry.
    • Recommendations. After you’ve reviewed a wine, you have the option of recommending it to any or all of your Drinking Buddies.
  • This is a great idea. Social networking applied to wine.

David Burd Visit

    • David brings Doctor Shurtz a homework assignment. He’s interested in the best options for a remote controlled gate and video surveillance system for his property. Of course, David wants to keep costs at a minimum.

Food Science: Tea

  • Tea History (severely Tea History (severely abridged)
    • 2737 BC The second emperor of China, Shen Nung, discovers tea when tea leaves blow into his cup of hot water or so the story goes.
    • 479 AD Turkish traders bargain for tea on the border of Mongolia.
    • 593 AD Buddhism and tea journey from China to Japan. Japanese priests studying in China carried tea seeds and leaves back.
    • 648-749 AD Japanese monk Gyoki plants the first tea bushes in 49 Buddhist temple gardens. Tea in Japan is rare and expensive, enjoyed mostly by high priests and the aristocracy
    • 1589 AD Europeans learn about tea when a Venetian author credits the lengthy lives of Asians to their tea drinking
    • 1610 AD The Dutch bring back green tea from Japan (although some argue it was from China). ? Dutch East India Company market tea as an exotic medicinal drink, but it’s so expensive only the aristocracy can afford the tea and its serving pieces.
    • 1618 AD Chinese ambassadors present the Russian Czar Alexis with many chests of tea, which a1650 ? The Dutch introduce several teas and tea traditions to New Amsterdam, which later becomes New York.
    • 1908 AD New York tea importer Thomas Sullivan inadvertently invents tea bags when he sends tea to clients in small silk bags, and they mistakenly steep the bags whole.
  • Black, Green and Oolong teas are all derived from the Camellia sinensis evergreen plant. The difference comes from how the plant is processed. Common processing terms are withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying or firing.
    • Withering: Newly picked leaves are thinly spread to dry during this process. Heated air is forced over the leaves if the climate is not suitable. The main goal of this process is to reduce the water content. By the end of this process, the leaves should be pliable enough to be rolled.
    • Rolling: From the withering racks, the leaves are now twisted and rolled so that the leaf cells are broken up. Sometimes shaking is done as well. Oils are released with this rolling process that gives the tea its distinctive aroma. The leaves can be rolled with machinery or by hand. The juices that are released remain on the leaf; a chemical change will occur shortly.
    • Oxidation: This is the chemical process where oxygen is absorbed. This process began once the leaf membranes were broken during the rolling process. Oxidation causes the leaves to turn bright copper in color. This process is the main factor whether we have Green, Oolong or Black tea.
    • Drying or Firing: In this stage the leaves are dried evenly and thoroughly without burning the leaves. Firing the leaves stops the oxidation process.
  • Types of processes tea
    • Black Tea: The Black tea process goes through the most stages. Once the leaves are picked, they are left to wither for several hours. After the leaves are rolled, oils from the leaves are brought to the surface. These aromatic oils aid in the oxidation process, which last for several hours. The last step consists of placing the leaves in an oven with temperatures reaching up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting product is brownish (sometimes black) in color.
    • Oolong Tea: Oolong goes through a similar process that black tea goes through. The first two steps are withering and rolling. Instead of rolling, sometimes shaking is done to bruise the outer edges of the leaves. The oxidation period for oolong is half that of black tea.
    • Green Tea: The process for making green tea is the shortest. Withering is done first, but this step might be omitted. Rolling the leaves to break the membranes for oxidation is skipped, hence the oxidation process is also skipped.

Food Science: Low Fat Baked Goods

  • Fat serves as a binder in the product as well as a taste enhancer.
  • When fat it reduced, the new binder must be substituted.
  • Usually the sugar content in increased significantly because sugar can bind.
  • Then the product tastes too sweet.
  • So salt is added to cancel the sweet taste
  • The net result is that low fat baked goods are high in calories and in sodium