Show of 05-24-2014

Tech Talk

May 24, 2013
Email and Forum Questions
  • Email form Paula in Bethesda: Dear Dr. Shurtz, My neighbor recommended that I change my wireless router to either channel 11 or channel 1 to improve the speed. She logged onto her router (192.168.1.1) and made the changes under Wireless Setting/Basic Security Settings. We are in range of at least four other routers. In my estimation, and our experience improved quite a bit once I turned the router from “automatic” channel selection to a hard-set channel . I have selected 11. Will this improve things??  Thanks! Paula in Bethesda
  • Tech Talk Responds: You are correct. A change in channel may help. The wireless standard 802.11 has 11 frequency channels. These channels overlap. There are only three non-overlapping channels (1, 6, and 11). Most routers are defaulted on 6.  Changing to channel 11 will keep you from interfering with your neighbors Wi-Fi if they are also on 6. You share their bandwidth if you are on the same channel. I also use 11 on my router. However, my FiOS is still slow, even though I opted for 75 Mbps for an extra $14 per month.
  • To change your wireless setting, logon to your router. With your browser, go to 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1, put in the user name and password. It is usually written on the bottom of the router (although I have changed my password). Go to wireless settings, basic security settings and select the channel. This may differ slightly with different router brands.
  • Email from Len in Virginia: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I have been getting certificate errors on all my devices (PC, iPhone and iPad) using Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers.  On Safari, the message is “Cannot Verify Server Identity.” In Firefox, the message is “This Connection is Untrusted.” In Chrome the message is “The site’s security is not trusted.”
  • These messages will pop on well know sites that I have visited over and over. Google.com is one site that this happens to. Sometimes I have no problem accessing the sites. At other times, I get the above messages. Cox is my internet provider. The router I am using is a Linksys WRT310N v2. The router is 4 years old. No firmware updates are available. When I first set up the router, I change the password, change the SSID and set the router not to broadcast the SSID. I set the router to use WPA/WPA2 security and my security key is over 20 characters long.  Remote management Access has been disabled. Recently, I have tried a number of things to solve this problem. I changed the router password, disabled the access via wireless, and restricted the access to the router to devices shown in the MAC address list. A long time listener. I think I first picked up your show on WMAL and have tried to follow you from station to station. Len in VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: This problem has nothing to do with your router. Your computer is checking for an up to date Security Certificate for the SSL connection. One of the checks looks for consistency between your time and the timestamp on the certificate. If your date is wrong, it may trigger this message.
    • “There is a problem with this website’s security certificate. The security certificate presented by this website has expired or is not yet valid. Security certificate problems may indicate an attempt to fool you or intercept any data you send to the server. We recommend that you close this webpage and do not continue to this website.”
  • I suspect that the time on your computer is wrong because I doubt that Google would let its certificate expire. The other option would be that your browser has been hijacked and it is sending you a site that is not valid.
  • You can also turn off this certificate check on IE by going to Tools/Internet Tools/Advanced Tab. Uncheck the certificate check in the Security section. I don’t recommend this option.
  • Email from Jim in Bowie. Dear Tech Talk. I am trying to get back my hacked email account. Can I set up another account while I am trying to recovery my old account. Love the show. A long time listener. Jim in Bowie
  • Tech Talk Responds: Getting back your account is possible. Even if it disappears the data is still there. You must persevere with Facebook and prove your identity. It the automatic recovery techniques fail, this process may take weeks. In the meantime, you could set up another account. However, do not use the same email address for the new one. Your email address is the identifying of the old account. If you use the same address for a new account, I don’t believe you will be able to recover the old account, since its unique identifier is the email address. Good luck and let us know how it works out for you.
  • Email from Carl Tyler: Dear Dr. Shurtz: I tried to download the latest installment of Tech Talk Radio Show and iTunes indicated there was an error in downloading the podcast; an unknown error 302. I just thought I’d let you know. Thanks to you and Jim for the great show. I never miss it. Love those David Burd stop byes, too. Carl Tyler, a long time listener.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Many others emailed me about this problem too. The person who maintains the website, changed the subdirectory for all the show during a routine maintenance operation. As soon as I got your email, we reverted back to the subdirectory that was used for the podcast feed.. We won’t make that mistake again.
  • Dear Tech Talk, How does Google Cloud Print work? Can I use it with my old printer? Thanks. John in Fairfax
  • Connect to a laptop or PC, and register with Google Cloud Print using a feature of Google Chrome. Cloud Ready Printers connect directly to the internet and can register themselves with Google Cloud Print without a laptop or PC. On an Android phone, you can print using the Google Cloud Print app. On an iPhone, you can print using Print Central Pro. Using the Google Cloud, you can print to any printer registered with the cloud. Classic Printers Google Cloud Print is a new technology that connects your printers to the web. Using Google Cloud Print, you can make your home and work printers available to you and anyone you choose, from the applications you use every day. Google Cloud Print works on your phone, tablet, Chromebook, PC, and any other web-connected device you want to print from. Tech Talk Responds:
Profiles in IT: Fernando José “Corby” Corbató
  • Fernando José “Corby” Corbató is a pioneer in the development of time-sharing OS.
  • Fernando José “Corby” Corbató was born in Oakland, California on July 1, 1926.
  • He graduated early and enlisted in the US Navy becoming an electronics technician.
  • After the war, he entered the CalTech and received a BS in Physics in 1950.
  • Corby then went to the MIT for graduate school. While a graduate assistant at MIT, he was encouraged by Prof. Philip M. Morse to use the Whirlwind computer.
  • After receiving his Ph.D. in Physics in 1956, Corby joined Prof. Morse’s research staff in the MIT Computation Center, which had an IBM 704 computer.
  • He served as Deputy Director of the Computation Center from 1958 to 1965.
  • Corby proposed a project on the IBM 709 that would demonstrate interactive computing. With Bob Daley and Marjorie Merwin-Daggett, he built the initial version of the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) and demonstrated it in November 1961. It providing simultaneous access for four users who used terminals.
  • In order for time-sharing to work, the computer would have to be able to interrupt a running job, save its state, find and restore another job, and start it up where it had been interrupted. They saved the state information on four magnetic tape drives.
  • CTSS evolved rapidly and a manual was published by MIT Press in 1963
  • In fall 1962, Project MAC, an ARPA funded project, was started.  The plan for Project MAC included the development of a second-generation CTSS called Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service).
  • The most significant feature of Multics was the integration of memory segmentation and paging (both of which existed in other systems) into a virtual memory system.
  • Multics, while not particularly commercially successful in itself, directly inspired Ken Thompson and Dennis Richie from Bell Labs to develop Unix.
  • Corby was appointed Ass. Professor of EE at MIT in 1962, and Professor in 1965.
  • Corby was chosen to lead Project MAC’s Computer System Research group.
  • Corbató is credited with the first use of passwords to secure access to files.
  • Prof. Corbató served as Associate department head for Computer Science and Engineering in the MIT EE and CS Depts. for the years 1974-1978 and 1983-1993.
  • He also served as MIT Director of Information Services and MIT Network Czar in the mid-70s. He retired in 1996.
  • Among many awards, Corbató received the Turing Award in 1990, “for his pioneering work in organizing the concepts and leading the development of the general-purpose, large-scale, time-sharing and resource-sharing computer systems”.
  • In 2012, he was made a Fellow of the Computer History Museum “for his pioneering work on timesharing and the Multics operating system”.
David Burd Surprise Visit
  • Facebook burnout
    • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
    • Too much information about casual acquaintances (TMI)
    • Getting rid of online friends who are not really friends on their birthday
  • Linkedin burnout
    • Everyone looking for a job
  • What is point of Foursquare or Twitter
  • Methods to disappear online (deleting on social media accounts)
NASA Celebrated Earth Day by Making A Giant Global Selfie
  • Last month, NASA asked people to submit selfies of themselves using the hashtag #globalselfie and answering the question “Where are you on Earth right now?”
  • More than 36,000 people from more than 100 countries responded, and the result is beautiful.
  • It’s a 3.2 Gigapixel image that uses the selfies as individual pixels. The image is interactive; you can zoom in on each pixel, and see selfie-takers in that region. 
  • According to NASA, the mosaic is based on views of each hemisphere that were captured around April 22 through a Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite that’s on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite.
  • The global selfie took weeks to complete; NASA had to go through more than 50,000 submissions from Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, and Google+.
  • Link to Global Selfie: http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/155294
Facebook Offers Privacy Checks
  • On May 22, 2014, Facebook announced that it would give a privacy checkup to every one of its 1.28 billion users worldwide, conducted by a cartoon dinosaur.
  • Facebook will also change how it treats new users by initially setting their posts to be seen only by friends. Previously, those posts were accessible to anyone.
  • The change in default settings and the person-by-person review is a sharp reversal for Facebook, whose privacy settings are famously complicated. Some users may be shocked when they see just how widely their personal information has been shared.
  • The company recently concluded that its growth depended on customers feeling more confident that they were sharing intimate details of their lives with only the right people.
  • Zuckerberg has also watched the rapid growth of privacy-friendly services like WhatsApp and Snapchat and anonymous sharing apps like Secret and Whisper, which compete for the time of many Facebook users.
  • Facebook said that when people signed in to post something on the company’s popular social network, they would soon see a blue cartoon dinosaur that popped up with the message, “We just wanted to make sure you’re sharing with the right people.”
  • The service will then walk users through the privacy settings for their status updates, remind them of the applications that have permission to use their Facebook data, and review the privacy settings for some of the most private information on their profiles, like their hometown, employer, phone number and birth date.Facebook has been testing portions of the privacy checkup for months and has not yet decided how extensive it will be.
EBay Users Still at Risk After Cyberattack, Even If They Change Passwords
  • When eBay admitted Wednesday that it had been the victim of a cyber-attack, the company asked all of its 145 million active users to change their passwords.
  • But the intruders had access to a customer database that also included other personal information, including names, mailing addresses and dates of birth — data that can’t so easily be changed.
  • EBay representatives told Mashable the company had no idea how many of its 145 million active accounts were seen by the intruders. Millions more inactive accounts could also be affected.
  • The company said that the attack occurred between late February and March, and that the following information was accessible to the hackers:
    • Customer name
    • Encrypted password
    • Email address
    • Physical address
    • Phone number
    • Date of birth
  • Many password-reset questions involve a birthday, phone number and physical address. At the very least, this sort of data would make it easy for criminals attempting to bypass security settings. It could also be used to aid identity-theft schemes.
  • It’s quite likely that the email addresses on this list will receive more spam, including phishing attacks.
  • This kind of database could be a gold mine for telephone-based scam artists. Armed with just bits of information about people, scam artists can often dramatically improve the success of schemes that try to trick people into giving away more data.
  • The only data that was encrypted were the passwords. No other data was encrypted.
  • There is now a call for data security standards, about how such data should be stored.
  • For such, change your password and beware for scams. Some identity theft protection may make sense. For instance, I use Lifelock. Much of what Lifelock does is free, but you must keep doing quarterly checks. Using the service is easier for me. It about $10/month.
Text 911: Calling for help without making a call
  • Sometimes a voice call to 911 just won’t work, such as for deaf people in need of help or in certain domestic violence cases.
  • Now four major wireless phone companies are providing text-to-911 service to local governments that want it and have the capability to use it.
  • Local governments in 16 states are using the service that allows people to send text messages to report emergencies, according to the Federal Communications Commission, and Vermont became the first to offer the technology statewide Monday.
  • The four major providers — Sprint, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T — voluntarily committed to providing the service by May 15.
  • The FCC has required all service providers to offer it by the end of the year.
  • The FCC tells people to limit texts for help to circumstances when voice calls can’t be made, such as for the deaf or hard of hearing, or in domestic violence cases or at other times when it’s not safe to speak.
  • Black Hawk County, Iowa, became the first to use text 911 in June 2009, said Judy Flores, director of the county’s consolidated communication, located in Waterloo.
  • The text-to-911 service is now limited to text only.
    • In Maryland, only Frederick County has it.
    • In Virginia, only Henry, James City, Southhampton, and York Counties.
    • DC does not offer the service.
  • The next step is for widespread adoption, now that the major carriers are onboard.