Show of 03-01-2014

Tech Talk

March 1, 2014

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Chris: I too went to the Nomorobo site and saw that they say that they don’t support Ooma.  However, there is an option in my Ooma account to do multi-ringing.  Here’s the help from the Ooma website: “Multi-Ring will ring your home phone and a number of your choice when you receive a call. Answer at either location.” To set the option, go to your Ooma account page and under “Preferences” then under “Call Forwarding” enable call forwarding and set the dropdown item to Multi-Ring. I tried Multi-ring to tie my cell phone and home phone and it did work.  However, I found that if my cell phone was off, it immediately sent the call to voicemail without ringing my home phone. I hope that someone will try this with Nomorobo and let us know how it goes. Chris
  • Tech Talk Responds: This is a great suggestion. I have Ooma and just my account. You are right, they now support Multi-Ring. It should work with MoMoRobo. The only disadvantage is that I don’t have a forwarding number in case on an Internet outage.
  • Email from Arnie McKechnie: Hi Dr. Shurtz, What can be done by the average computer, iPad, mobile phone user do about this? I saw this story on the BBC News iPad App and thought you should see it: Contagious’ Wi-Fi threat created. A computer virus that can spread via Wi-Fi like a “common cold” is created by researchers from the University of Liverpool. Also, what do you think of the comment by Verizon that broadband users should pay more for their service. Verizon recently made news when it was accused of throttling Netflix. However, the company denied impeding Netflix traffic and the issue was instead thought to be related to peering congestion.. Arnie McKechnie, Davidsonville, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: The virus has been dubbed Chameleon. It seeks out Wi-Fi access points that have not had their admin password changed. Many people do not change their Wi-Fi admin password. This password is different from the one used to log on to the Wi-Fi network itself, and is often left unchanged from the default setting. Once an access point is under a hacker’s control, new firmware can be installed. Control is then lost. The access point can be configured to recover passwords or steal data. Once installed on one access point, the virus automatically seeks out other vulnerable access points, taking them over when found. This was unlikely to be a threat to business Wi-Fi networks, which have enhanced security in place. Networks in homes, or at small premises like coffee shops, are typically found with less stringent protection measures in place. All the more reason to use VPN as a normal practice when using an Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Email from James Messick: Dear Tech Talk. I’ve been looking for a solution that would allow friends to share large numbers of pictures with me easily and came across DB Inbox (dbinbox.com). You simply register your Dropbox account on the DB Inbox website and then anyone can access an upload page at dbinbox.com/your Dropbox user name. The upload page allows drag-and-drop uploading or you can select files with a traditional dialog box. Files will be uploaded to a folder named “dbinbox” inside the “apps” folder of your Dropbox folder. The software works well with the only shortcoming being that removes any folder hierarchy and places all files at the same Dropbox/apps/dbinbox folder, but you can overcome this by using an archive format such as a .zip file. You can even add a pass phrase to your DB Inbox account so that only people who know the phrase can upload to your Dropbox account. I was so delighted to come across this utility that I wanted to share it with the Tech Talk world, and would like to know if you know of other good solutions for sharing a larger number of files. I never miss the show.  My Best, James Messick, The Original Tech Talk Podcast Listener, Kernersville, NC
  • Tech Talk Responds: dbinbox has gotten great reviews. I set up an account and the inbox appeared on my computer with 10 seconds. Very nice. I have used Flickr in the past to create a picture sharing site. I had each person join Flickr and gave a few admin rights to upload photos. The admin rights, however, is a limitation.
  • Email from Lauren: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I have worked in the IT industry for a decade. I do not code but know about software custom development and business requirements. I would like to become a Certified Salesforce Administrator. I found the ADM 201 course in DC. It was a five day course. The formal training course gave us exercise books and each day we clicked our way through more features and functions. There was next to zero effort spent on educating the student on the why of what.  The Salesforce ADM 201 training class is an expensive course. I am amazed by how little I got out of it and now two weeks since it ended. I am still trying to understand the reasons why certain things are done to get to a given end result. My head was so swimming in features and clicking it was very hard to pull it all into some meaningful working tool. Do you have any recommendation on my best bet in mastering this application? I have now watched over a dozen YouTube videos and am still in a Fog over the relationships between objects, when and where valuation rules need to be written, and relationships. You do have a silver bullet up your sleeve, right? Thanks, Lauren
  • Tech Talk Responds: I don’t this type of certification class. It is like drinking out of a fire hydrant and memorizing answers for a test. In large part, the knowledge you gain has limited long term value, outside of the test. The best way to learn is to actually complete some projects.
  • Since up for a free developer account: http://events.developerforce.com/signup
  • You’ll get your new environment provisioned immediately, letting you begin coding right away. When you sign up for a new DE environment, you will now have access to a number of features. You have direct access to Apex, Visualforce, the Force.com Integration APIs, Force.com Sites, the Database Services, Packaging, Chatter and much more.  
  • A number of licenses are provided for other salesforce.com products as well: Salesforce Customer Portal; 2 Salesforce CRM licenses; 2 Salesforce Mobile licenses; 3 Salesforce Platform licenses; Salesforce Partner licenses; 10 Salesforce Customer Portal Manager Licenses.
  • You will receive: 5.0 MB of Data Storage; 20.0 MB of File Storage ( attachments); 5000 API requests per 24 hours; Any number of applications; A 500 MB bandwidth and 10 minute service request time limits (per rolling 24 hours) for Force.com Sites applications.
  • Developer Edition organizations continue to be available as long you have some type of activity within the previous six months.
  • Download the Book: Download a PDF version of “Creating On-Demand Applications: An Introduction to the Apex Platform”. This manual walks the reader through the process of creating a “Recruiting” application. During this process, you’ll create custom objects, tabs, custom fields, custom formula fields, validation rules, page layouts, and more. All the skills that a Force.com administrator should know are covered in this book, step-by-step.
  • Browse the AppExchange: If you haven’t yet been to the AppExchange, now is the time to check it out. AppExchange is a library of applications built for Force.com. You can demo the applications, view screenshots of them, read user reviews, view online presentations / demos, etc.
  • Check out Successforce at https://success.salesforce.com/  In particular, check out the Guides tab. There are lots of downloads available on this site, including process maps, implementation guides, and free training presentations.
  • Join a Salesforce.com User Group: There are dozens of Salesforce.com User Groups around the globe. To find the Salesforce.com User Group nearest you, check out http://usergroups.salesforce.com/. There are two user groups in Washington DC.
  • Email from Feroze in Fredericksburg: Dear Doc and Jim. We created a PDF album for our 2013 Hajj Journey. We would like to share this album online. Something like an online magazine where your can flip the pages easily. What is the best free option? Love the show. Feroze in Fredericksburg.
  • Tech Talk Responds: What you need is called a Flipbook. There are many paid options online. Most of the free options are cluttered with ads and not very attractive. However, I did find one free options with no ads that is absolutely fantastic. It is www.youblisher.com. You simply upload your PDF file and it creates the flipbook for you and sends you the link. Simply share the link with your friends. If they wish to print the book themselves, they can simply download the PDF file from the site. I have used this for a couple of web books and love it. Youblisher is run by Latour & Zuberbuehler, a Swiss company, as a free service.

Profiles in IT: Ali and Hadi Partovi

  • Co-founders of Code.org, serial Internet entrepreneurs, and angel investors.
  • Twins Ali and Hadi Partovi were born in Iran in 1972.
  • They lived under Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime during a bloody war with Iraq.
  • The family spent evenings, hiding,  as Iraqi planes bombed the neighborhood.
  • When they were 10, their father gave the boys a Commodore 64 computer.
  • Instead of buying software or games, our dad told them to learn to write their own.
  • They devoured the available information and taught themselves BASIC.
  • By the time they came to America, they were proficient programmers.
  • Early in life they learned the value of education, because their father had Sharif University, Iran’s primary technology university.
  • In America, their family shared a single bedroom in their grandparents house.
  • Their parents collectively worked three jobs to provide them a great education.
  • Both completed their BA and MS in Computer Science by 1994.
  • Hadi was hired as by MS Group Program Manager for IE after graduation.
  • After the release of IE 5.0, Hadi co-founded Tellme Networks. Tellme was acquired by Microsoft for a reported $800M. Hadi returned to MS as GM of MSN.com.
  • Ali was hired by Oracle as a Software Consultant in 1994.
  • In 1996, Ali co-founded LinkExchange, which was acquired by MS for $265M.
  • From 1998-2000, Ali worked at MS and created “Keywords,” a pilot project to develop pay-for-placement, keyword-targeted text ads in MSN Search (essentially equivalent to Google AdWords). Ali left MS when the Keywords was shut down.
  • In 2002, the twin brothers co-founded iLike. Ali was CEO; Hadi was president.  They created iLike in an effort to reinvent GarageBand.com, which Ali ran after acquiring the assets of the company from the original owners. iLike created the first successful application on the Facebook Platform.
  • In 2009, Myspace acquired iLike. The twins were hired by MySpace as Senor VPs.
  • In 2010 focused their energy on angel investing and startup advising. Their portfolios included: Facebook, Zappos, Dropbox, and many others.
  • In January 2013, they co-founded Code.org. Code.org is a non-profit foundation dedicated to growing computer programming education. Code.org plans to spread the word about the shortage of computer programmers and that it’s easy to code.
  • They believe that computer science and computer programming should be included in the core curriculum in US K-12 education, alongside other STEM courses.
  • The day that Steve Jobs died, they realized that time would run out if they didn’t not act now. Education is in their blood and they want to give back.
  • More than 28 million people have written over a billion lines of code using Code.org.
  • To celebrate their first anniversary; they launched the custom Flappy game, where you code your own rules and share it with friends!

Bitcoin Exchange MtGox Goes Dark After Theft Report

  • The website of major bitcoin exchange MtGox was offline Tuesday after it suffered t suffered a major bitcoin theft
  • MtGox Issues Statement: “In the event of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly.”
  • Also Tuesday, all the posts had been erased from the MtGox Twitter account.
  • Around midmorning in the U.S., the company released a statement saying it had closed off transactions “to protect the site and our users.” It offered no further details.
  • “The price of bitcoin fell to $425 by 6 a.m. London time, according to CoinDesk, after starting the day at $545, but rebounded shortly afterwards.
  • The price of the currency on Mt Gox had fallen to around $100 before the exchange’s website became inaccessible.”
  • MtGox has been dealing with “technical issues” in recent days and earlier this month had “halted all customer withdrawals of the digital currency after it spotted what it called ‘unusual activity.’ ”
  • An unverified document circulating online claims that Mt Gox has lost 744,408 bitcoins (worth around $350 million) due to theft related to the trading fault.
  • Earlier this year, about $2.7 million worth of bitcoins were stolen from the Silk Road 2 exchange.

SanDisk’s 128GB microSD

  • MicroSD cards are a popular form of external storage for some Windows and Android phones and tablets.
  • SanDisk has announced 128GB SDXC. Previously the highest capacity was 64GB.
  • To boost capacity, SanDisk said in a statement that it had “developed an innovative proprietary technique that allows for 16 memory die to be vertically stacked.”
  • The new card will be available exclusively through Amazon.com and BestBuy.com initially, and as a Class 10 SD card it offers minimum read and write speeds of 10 megabytes per second.
  • This should be sufficient for recording 1080p video, according to the SD Association’s speed ratings.
  • Sandisk’s MSRP for the new microSD card is $199.99, about $1.56 per gigabyte, that’s well over what you’d pay for a modern SSD or a standard-size 128GB SD card.

Website of the Week: www.someecards.com/

  • A combination of deadpan humor and old-timey drawings has transformed Someecards into the Hallmark of the web, with 7 million unique visitors a month.
  • Cofounder and head writer Brook Lundy designed the cards to be the antithesis of the musical color-bomb ecards of yesteryear.
  • He issues a daily assignment to contributors and matches the wittiest responses to illustrations culled from image databases.
  • They like to play off the minutiae of life and call attention to it in a funny way.
  • If you nail the honesty, you don’t have to work too hard at the make-it-funny part.
  • The cards are free, but we make money from the ones we create for advertisers like Ford and Clorox. We’ve made them for shows like The Walking Dead and Modern Family. We combine the tone of Someecards with the voice or plot points of the show and release them online the same way as our other cards.
  • They make six to 10, but it depends on the day and what’s happening.

Windows XP Retirement

  • Windows XP due to be retired April 8, 2014
  • Windows XP operating system will continue to operate as before
  • After this date no security updates will be issued
  • XP is more vulnerable than Windows 7 or 8
  • Cyber criminals will bank their Windows XP zero-day vulnerabilities until after Microsoft stops patching the aged operating system next April, a security expert argued today.
  • The average price on the black market for a Windows XP exploit is $50,000 to $150,000, a relatively low price that reflects Microsoft’s response.
  • Because of the large number of installed systems, particularly in developing countries, expect frequent attacks after retirement.
  • If you have XP, isolate it from the Internet for stand-alone systems.
  • If you must surf the web, it is recommended that you upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.