Show of 08-23-2014

Tech Talk

August 23, 2014

Email and Forum Questions
  • Email from Lois in Kansas: Dear Tech Talk. We have been taking pictures for years and are now in the process of converting to digital format. We have slides, prints, and most recently digital photos. I started archiving them on CD some years ago and have started the project again. How to you recommend that I store these pictures. I don’t want a future generation to go to look or print from them, and find that they no longer are accessible. Thank, Lois in Kansas
  • Tech Talk Responds: Digital archiving is difficult because technologies change and so do file formats. You need to choose standards that will not change too quickly.
  • I have a combination of slides, old negatives and prints, and digital photos. I have files stored on CDs, ZIP Drives, IDE hard drives, SATA hard drives, and floppies. I am in the process of moving all my stored files to external USB drives. The USB interface will be around for a long time and CDs are falling out of favor, so I am converting. I currently am using one external drive with a backup to the cloud via Carbonite. Some others may backup to the cloud using: Dropbox, or Flickr, or Picasa. I use Dropbox for some of the files that I want to share. I may go to two external drives in the near future.
  • I purchased a high resolution scanner to convert my slides and negatives. I use a template to scan a batch of slides at the same time, so I can start the scan and go to bed. I store all the files in JPG format, with the highest quality option selected. The JPG format will also be around for a long time. Some digital photographers also store their photos in the “camera raw” format, which includes more metadata. These tend to be proprietary. Nikon uses the .nef format. This format will also survive for awhile.
  • All of my new photographs go immediately to a hard drive on one of my computers. From there they also get automatically backed up to the cloud. The then to a second backup to an external drive. You a get a 1 terabyte drive to $60 and a 4 terabyte drive for a little more than a $100. 
  • Email from Tung in Ohio: Dear Doc and Jim. I have been taking lots of pictures at all of our family parties each Saturday night and download the pics to my computer. It seems slow. I have 1GB of RAM and am running Windows. Do I need a computer memory upgrade? Love the show.  Tung in Ohio
  • Tech Talk Responds: Memory upgrade is typically the easier way to improve system performance. 1GB of RAM is the minimally acceptable amount of RAM. It is not a good idea to operate at the minimum. Minimum RAM for a 32-bit OS would be 2GB and for a 64-bit OS would be 4GB. However, I would put as much RAM in your computer that it can accept. RAM is cheap and more RAM will help you manipulate large picture files without an disk swapping.
  • How much RAM is appropriate for you actually depends on what you do with your machine. If after downloading those pictures you then us an image editing program to crop, tweak or otherwise adjust them, then you need more RAM than the minimum.
  • And if you download photos, check email, surf the web, write documents and tweak photos all at the same time (leaving all those programs open and running at once), you want more RAM.
  • When buying a new machine, I recommend that you make sure the machine can handle more RAM than you need today. For example when I purchased my most recent desktop I ordered it with 8 gigabytes of RAM. But I also made sure that I could add more. The motherboard can actually support up to 64 gigabytes of RAM.
  • Facebook post from Kenneth C. Hutchison: Is there a channel or area on YouTube that Glass videos are uploaded to or a search term to use on YouTube to find them? Thanks, Ken
  • Tech Talk Responds: We don’t have a Glass channel, but here is the link to the David Burd YouTube upload. It not pretty, but you can see the show in action. YouTube link: http://youtu.be/9XAI4Cml8Qw.
Profiles in IT: Chade-Meng Tan
  • Chade-Meng Tan, known informally as Meng, is a software engineer and motivator at Google known especially for greeting celebrities who visit the Google campus.
  • Meng was born in 1970 in the Republic of Singapore. 
  • In 1986, Meng graduated from the Catholic High School in Singapore.
  • In 1988 he graduated from Hwa Chong Junior College in Singapore. 
  • In May 1995, He received a Bachelor of Applied Science (Computer Engineering) from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. 
  • In April 1994, he was hired by Kent Ridge Digital Laboratories, Singapore, as a Senior Digital Engineer.  He worked on a number of optical recognition projects, including license plate recognition and shipping container recognition. 
  • In 1995, Meng created one of the world’s earliest websites on Buddhism. 
  • He moved the US the summer of 1999 to pursue his graduate education.
  • In 2000, he received an MS in Computer Science from UC Santa Barbara. His thesis was: “Finding and using high quality word-pairs for enhanced text classification”. 
  • He joined Google in 2000, as a software engineer and employee 107.
  • He worked for eight years in Engineering. He helped build Google’s first mobile search service and headed the team that kept a eye on Google’s search quality. He enhanced the search engine to include Chinese-language use.
  • He then worked for two years as the GoogleEDU Head of Personal Growth and is now a member of their Talent Team. 
  • Meng is Google’s Jolly Good Fellow, which started as a joke, but eventually became real. His job description is, “Enlighten minds, open hearts, create world peace”
  • One of Meng’s main projects at Google is a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence course called Search Inside Yourself. He wrote an associated book called Search Inside Yourself, which has become a New York Times bestseller.
  • Search Inside Yourself reveals how to calm your mind on demand and return it to a natural state of happiness, deepen self-awareness in a way that fosters self-con?dence, harness empathy and compassion into outstanding leadership, and build highly productive collaborations based on trust and transparent communication.
  • He started collecting celebrity photographs when Jimmy Carter and Al Gore visited the Google campus. This became a tradition and he now has a large collection.
  • He is a Founder and the Chairman of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership 
  • Meng is the Founder and President of the Tan Teo Charitable Foundation, a small foundation dedicated to promoting Peace, Liberty and Enlightenment in the world. 
  • He has won many computing-related awards, including the Championship of Singapore’s National Software Competition. 
  • He delivered a TED talk on compassion and happiness. (http://on.ted.com/Meng)
  • His personal motto is, “Life is too important to be taken seriously”.
A Poem Inspired by Compassion

     •  The Elusive Twins
           By Richard Shurtz
     •  Happiness is fleeting.
           Contentment is elusive.
     •  These twins can envelop us like an early morning mist.
           And then evaporate is an instant.
     •  They can’t be bought; they just exist.
           But when, and why, and how?
     •  We know what does not bring them.
           It is not money; it is not status; it is not possessions.
     •  The answer is within and without.
           It is everywhere; but it must be accepted.
           I see a young, deformed boy cleaning trash cans with perfection in Sri Lanka.
           He sings; he dances; he is joyful; and he is happy.
     •  I see a teacher helping a struggling student in Thailand.
           His compassion morphs to joy when the youngster solves the math problem.
     •  I see a young mother living in a hut beside the road in India
           She thanks God for her two healthy sons and feels contentment.
     •  Happiness and Contentment are always there.
           We must stop looking and just be.
     •  We must be the best that we can be, like the young trash collector.
           We must show compassion for others, like the teacher.
     •  We must thank God for what we have, like the young mother in a hut.
           Then, and only then, will we see the Elusive Twins.

Creator of Pop-Up Ads Apologizes
  • Ethan Zuckerman was a designer and programmer for the early web-hosting service Tripod.com when a car company freaked out. 
  • The unspecified manufacturer had bought a banner ad on a page that “celebrated sex,” and was not too pleased at the association of its brand with sexual escapades.
  • Tripod had the solution: what if an advertisement could launch in its own window?
  • Zuckerman wrote the code for the world’s first pop-up ad, and for many years it was impossible to browse without being inundated by pop-ups.
  • You’ll still find some pop-ups in the seedier parts of the internet, of course, but they’re few and far between. 
  • Thanks to work from Netscape and Opera, who were the first to add pop-up blockers into their products, the majority of web browsers now prevent sites from launching hundreds of ad windows. Regardless of public opinion, the pop-up ad was instrumental in defining advertising as the primary business model for websites, but Zuckerman now believes there’s a better way. 
Robot Butler Starts Room Service Deliveries
  • Savioke has announced that it is to start trialing service robots for hotels. 
  • The SaviOne robot can autonomously deliver items to guests in hotel rooms. SaviOne can find its way to a hotel room autonomously and then instructs a guest on how to retrieve the requested item.
  • SaviOne’s sensors include depth cameras, sonar and laser rangefinders. SaviOne is being trialed at the Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, California
  • The company spent 7 months researching and trying to understand the needs of end users like hotel staff and guests. 
  • An agile and iterative approach was taken to the development process. They built a working prototype each month for five months, hitting a milestone every two weeks, so that by the fifth month they had a prototype we could show to customers in hotels.
  • The prototypes each focused on a key aspect of the robot’s design. For example, the ergonomic loading and unloading of the robot, providing an empathetic experience for the user and and ensuring that interaction was quick and easy for staff and intuitive and fun for guests. 
  • The first time SaviOne goes to a hotel, it travels around and maps the building. Hotel staff members then need only program in a particular room number and the robot knows how to get there. 
  • It uses a variety of sensors to navigate and move around, including depth cameras, sonar and laser rangefinders, and is able communicate with elevators via Wi-Fi.
  • SaviOne is based on Robot Operating System (ROS) technology, which is overseen by the Open Source Robotics Foundation. 
  • It is about 3 ft. tall, weighs less than 100 lb. , has a carrying capacity of 2 cubic ft. , and is designed to travel at a human walking pace.
  • Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F70He3mVrUQ
What Aereo should do to stay alive?
  • Earlier in the summer, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that Aereo, the free over-the-air broadcast TV service, violated the Copyright Act. 
  • Shortly after, the company suspended its service and has been trying to stay alive.
  • It’s now been over a month since Aereo’s last communication with the public about its attempts in lower court. 
  • When the Supreme Court heard Aereo’s case in April, the company rose from obscurity and ended up on the front page of major news outlets. 
  • Aereo’s major appeal was never just the ability to access over-the-air TV content, but the ability to easily DVR it to view across devices in the cloud. 
  • By the time Aereo had lost, it didn’t talk much about the consumer demand for cloud DVR technology.
  • After Aereo lost, other obscure companies started gaining attention. Mohu, a North Carolina-based startup that launched in 2011 has made a name for itself by providing TV watchers with high definition indoor antennas. 
  • It recently launched “Mohu Channels,” which allows viewers to turn any website or app into a channel. There’s also a built-in DVR functionality for up to 30 minutes.
  • Mohu website: http://www.gomohu.com/
  • Simple.TV is providing DVR capability for free over-the-air TV. Originally a Kickstarter funded in 2012, Simple.TV allows you to use its device, an antenna and a hard drive to easily DVR content and access that content across platforms.
  • Simple TV website: https://us.simple.tv
  • Aereo’s $92 million in funding compared to Simple TV’s $5.6M and Mohu’s $144,000 should position it to continue make a big impact on the cord-cutting market. 
  • Aereo should consider an acquisition.
  • Aereo’s website: https://www.aereo.com/
Ignore No More’ App To Force Her Kids To Mom 
  • Kids don’t call parents and frequently ignore their calls.
  • One mom in particular, a Houston resident named Sharon Standifird, got so fed up with her unresponsive kids that she went ahead and literally developed a solution: a phone app called “Ignore No More.”
  • The app allows parents to remotely lock their kids’ phones.
  • It takes away texting, it takes away gaming, it takes away calling their friends. The only way one can resume normal cellphone activity?
  • You have to call mom and ask for the unlock password.
  • It’s not on iPhone yet. Must be only released for Android.