Show of 02-15-2014

Tech Talk
15 February 2014

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Replaying segments from previous shows.

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Alice in Wonderland: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I am looking for a new job. Ever since I put my resume on dice/monster, etc. I now get 150+ junk emails Daily!  I don’t know why someone hasn’t devised a way to rid our lives of junk mail. That individual would be The biggest hero of the century—more loved than the Beatles/Elvis and the Rolling Stones combined in my opinion. There is this one vendor, Duke Careers that email me every day and sometimes 2X a day!! I can’t even move them to my junk folder (using Apple’s mail application on an iMac) as they have done something unique that I can’t cancel or stop in any way that I‘ve tried. And all of this is before the recruiters show up, so many of whom are collecting resumes for proposals and send me bogus job descriptions for jobs they don’t even have! People likely stop looking for work after month of this, all this distraction and misguided effort. I am about to take my resume off these large job boards because of this abuse.  Thanks for a great program. Alice
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can block a particular sender address inside of your email program. I would add Duke Careers to the blacklist. This works unless they keep changing the originating domain. I think you should use some the principles in What Color are Your Parachute by Dick Bolles. It is a far more effective way to get employment. It includes information interviews.  I recommend this book for all of our graduates. The tradition resume mill is really set up to favor the employer and not the applicant.
  • I would also look at some of the job outsourcing sites like Guru.com to pick up some work.
  • Email from Allen in Herndon: Dear Tech. What’s a browser cache? How do I clear it? Why would I want to? It doesn’t seem to bother me. Love the show. Allen in Herndon
  • Tech Talk Responds: Cache is actually used to store web pages and images locally. So that the next time to go to that webpage it will load faster, even if your computer connection is slow. This is developed in the days of the slow connection and is still used. If the particular elements don’t change often, this works perfectly.
  • The cache has a limit of how big it can get and you can usually configure how much space to set aside for it. Essentially, when the cache gets full, the items in it that haven’t been used in a while are discarded.
  • But the cache can be problematic if you are looking at an old version of a webpage from cache. Or your cache may be corrupted because of a partially downloaded web element. So whenever, you encounter a problem of concurrency or corruption. The first thing to do is to clear the cache. For Internet Explorer, click the Tools menu or click the gear icon in the upper right of the Internet Explorer window, then the Internet Options menu item. In the resulting dialog box, under Browsing History, click the Delete… button. In the resulting Delete Browsing History dialog, it’s the Temporary Internet files and website files item that specifically refers to the browser cache. You can select or deselect other items as you see fit. Once you’ve done so, click the Delete button: Delete Browsing History. Your browser cache is now empty.
  • By the way, the website owner by force a page reload with a particular metatag: <meta http-equiv=”expires” content=”0″>
  • Email from Doug in Richmond: Dear Tech Talk What is the best option for backing up my laptop. I had heard many things discussed. What is my cheapest option? Thanks, Doug
  • Tech Talk Responds: I tend to use a cloud backup for my laptop because it is so easy to maintain even when I am travelling. Files are backed up as I create them. Sometimes a little too fast…..because I can save to them while they are being backed up. But this is not the cheapest. I am paying around $59 a year for Carbonite. The cheapest is going to be an external hard drive. I just bought an external 1 T external hard drive with a USB 3.0 for only $62. This was branded Toshiba. It is powered by the USB port. This drive is very small so I could easily carry it with me. This could be a good option for you. Or you could get a file server for your home network and schedule automatic backup to it. Doing it yourself is always cheaper, just more work.
  • Email from Susan: Dear Doc and Jim. I have a 64GB flash drive and have stored all my pictures on it. It is very convenient but is it reliable? Love the show. Sue from Reston
  • Tech Talk Responds: Susan, USB flash drives are great for file transfer. However, they are easily corrupted or damaged I would never use them as my primary backup device. I would get an external USB hard drive for a more reliable backup. My USB thumb drives have been very reliable and I have never lost a file, but I have heard horror stories from others. So beware.
  • Email from Nathan: Dear Dr. Shurtz. I have a nine year old son who loves to build things. He just worked on a small project and would like to do more…like build a robot or a remote control vehicle. What do you suggest?
  • Tech Talk Responds: Nathan, I would suggest Lego Mindstorms EV3. You can build many projects and program the processor (called a brick). It is a great father/son activity. In fact, I just brought one for my nephews. Both are technically inclined and their dad is an engineer. I wanted them to do more than just learn video games. I want them to program video games and this is a great way to start. There is also a Mindstorms forum for sharing ideas and projects. Along with the kit which cost $349, I bought them a Mindstorms EV3 project book which got great reviews.

Profiles in IT: John V. Blankenbaker

  • John Blankenbaker created Kenbak-1, the world’s first personal computer, advertised for $750 in Scientific American.
  • The Kenbak-1 was designed in 1970 and pre-dated microprocessors.
  • John Blankenbaker was born in Berkley County, South Carolina on July 4th 1933.
  • He received a BS in Physics and Math from Oregon State College in 1952 and an MS in Physics from UCLA, and an MSEE from MIT.
  • John Blankenbaker started the design of a computing device in 1949, when he was a freshman at OSC, to calculate logarithms for his weekly physics lab.
  • In the summer of 1951, John worked for NBS on the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer (SEAC).
  • After graduation from OSU in 1952, he worked at Hughes Aircraft Company and was assigned to a department working on digital computers.
  • At Hughes, he found that a computer design needed at the most one flip-flop if it had the appropriate memory. This was a spur to design a computer for private use.
  • After the Hughes business data processor unit was terminated, he returned to school and earned earned an MSEE from MIT
  • After a short period of consulting, he worked eight years at Scantlin Electronics, an early pioneer in real time communications to bring stock market prices to brokers.
  • In 1970, he founded Kenbak Corporation and designed a small computer, the Kenbak-1, which was based on small-scale integrated circuits.
  • Using standard medium-scale and small-scale integrated circuits, the Kenbak-1 relied on switches for input and lights for output from its 256-byte memory.
  • Instead of being microprocessor based, Kenbak-1 was built almost entirely from TTL.
  • Intel 4004 (the worlds first microprocessor) was introduced the next year in 1971.
  • Kenbak-1 was a true stored-program computer that offered 256 bytes of memory, a wide variety of operations and a speed equivalent to nearly 1MHz.
  • One year later he sold the first two of these to a private girl’s school.
  • Approximately 40 of these machines were built and sold for $750, mostly to schools.
  • The largest program Blankenbaker ever wrote for the Kenbak-1 which took the very last byte of memory was a program to play 3D tic-tac-toe (4 x.4 x 4).
  • Actually, it was a bit short of memory as there was not room for the program to recognize when someone had won.
  • The world just wasn’t quite ready for personal computing and the Kenbak-1 lacked some critical capabilities (such as expandability and I/O).
  • The slot on the front panel was presumably intended to account for these deficiencies.
  • In 1973, after selling only 40 machines, Kenbak Corp. closed its doors.
  • Kenbak-1 was purchased by CT. Educational products and renamed CTI 5050.
  • The Computer Museum of Boston judged this to be ?the first commercially available personal computer.?
  • Blankenship worked for International Communications Sciences on a system to transmit voices over 9600 bps line and for Symbolics Coporation to create LISP computer.
  • He retired in 1985 and works with Germana Colonies, a genealogy organization.
  • You can still buy a Kenbak-1 Series II kit for $999 (http://www.kenbakkit.com/)

Chef Christopher Carey on the Tech Talk Listeners Dinner featuring Dr. Richard Shurtz

  • Stratford University’s Chef Christopher Carey gives us all the details about the dinner celebrating the wonderful listeners of his Tech Talk Radio Show on Thursday evening, February 27th, featuring Tech Talk host, Dr Richard Shurtz.
  • Chef Carey, former Executive Chef of acclaimed restaurants and inns such as the Goodstone Inn,  The Ashby Inn, and The Wine Kitchen, reveals the three-course menu that his culinary students will prepare that evening. 
  • A 7:00pm hors d’oeuvres reception will precede the Dinner.  Dinner begins at 7:30pm sharp.
  • The cost of this Dining Event is $20.00 per person, which includes soft drinks, sales tax, and gratuity. Discounts and vouchers are applied during registration. Tech Talk Winners are encouraged to use their voucher. Wine and Beer will be available for $5 per drink (cash only).
  • Chef Carey also discusses the culinary Program at Stratford and profiles the type students who are enrolled in it.