Show of 08-30-2014

Tech Talk

August 30, 2014

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Daniel in Fairfax: Dear Tech Talk. Please talk about getting a job in technology. I love to program, but am not having much success sending out resumes. I tried different formats and nothing seems to work. Perhaps you could give me some guidance, as to what to do next. Thanks, Daniel in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: Read What Color is your Parachute. Expand your circle of contacts by joining user groups in the area. Create some real projects at home. Subscribe to industry publications (mostly they are free) to keep up with the latest trends. Attend local conferences and meetings. Start doing informational surveys, like Dick Bolles describes in his book. Don’t rely on the resume blast method.
  • Email from Rich in Richmond: Dear Tech Talk. I brought a new computer just a year ago. And now it crashes at random times? What could be wrong with it? Love the show. Rich in Richmond.
  • Tech Talk Responds: The most common cause of random crashes is an overheating computer. The most common cause of an overheating computer is blocked airflow through the computer, followed by a failing or failed fan. Your computer’s processor, hard disk and other components all generate heat, and if that heat is not somehow dispersed, the components themselves become too hot, function improperly, and cause a crash.
  • Particularly when it comes to laptops, it’s very easy to accidentally block the air vents that allow air to flow properly through the device. I actually recommend never putting a laptop on your lap: use a table or “laptop desk” type device that ensures proper airflow.
  • Desktop computers are more vulnerable to dust and pet hair which can clog the air vents. It’s worth unplugging your computer and looking inside. Carefully clean it out if you find large quantities of dust and dirt in there.
  • Hardware failure is another option. Over the years, I have had a bad in section in RAM or on the hard drive. The computer would only crash when it used that portion of the RAM or hard drive; so it appeared to be random. You can scan your system for RAM failure and your hard drive to bad sectors. 
  • Last would be software or device drivers.  Device drivers often operate at a low level where a bug or other unexpected error could cause the driver to fail in such a way that the entire system would crash. In particular, if you’ve recently added hardware to your system that involved some additional drivers being installed, or if a recent update included device driver software, then it belongs on the short list of suspects potentially causing your random crashes.

Profiles in IT: Steven McConnell Case

  • Stephen McConnell Case is best knows as the co-founder and former CEO and Chairman of American Online (AOL).
  • Steve Case was born August 21, 1958 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Case graduated from Punahou School in 1976.
  • He graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1980 with a degree in political science.
  • For the next two years he worked as an assistant brands manager Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • In 1982 he joined Pizza Hut Inc. in Wichita, Kansas, serving as manager of new pizza marketing.
  • In January 1983, he was hired as a marketing consultant for Control Video Corp.
  • The company was marketing a service called Gameline for the Atari 2600 video game console that allowed users to download games via a phone line and modem.
  • Later that year, the company nearly went bankrupt.
  • Frank Caufield, one of the investors, brought in Jim Kimsey as a manufacturing consultant and hired Case as a full-time marketing employee.
  • In 1985, Case helped found Quantum Computer Services, an online services company, from the remnants of Control Video.
  • Jim Kimsey became CEO of the newly renamed Quantum Computer Services and promoted Case to vice president of marketing.
  • In 1987, Kimsey promoted Case again to executive vice president. Kimsey groomed Case to become chairman and CEO when Kimsey retired, and the transition formally took place in 1991 (CEO) and 1995 (chairman).
  • As part of the changes that gave birth to Quantum, Case changed the company’s strategy, creating an online service called Quantum Link (Q-Link for short) for the Commodore 64 in 1985 with programmer (and AOL co-founder) Marc Seriff.
  • In 1988, Quantum began offering the AppleLink online service for Apple and PC-Link for IBM compatible computers.
  • In 1991 he changed the company name to America Online and merged the Apple and PC services under the AOL name.
  • The new service reached 1 million subscribers by 1994.
  • After a decade of quick growth, AOL merged with media giant Time Warner.
  • The $164 billion merger was completed in January 2000 but quickly ran into trouble as part of the dot-com recession, compounded by accounting scandals.
  • Case announced his resignation as chairman in January 2003, although remained on the company’s board of directors for almost three more years.
  • Case still defends the merger saying that it was the correct vision, but that the implementation was poorly executed. True merging never occurred.
  • Case resigned from the Time-Warner board of directors in October 2005.
  • He founded Revolution LLC (www.revolution.com) in April 2005.
  • Revolution is a holding company which focuses on multiple consumer market sectors, including Health, Financial Services, Resorts, Living and Digital.
  • He is chairman of the Case Foundation, which he and his wife Jean created in 1997.

What is Cloud Computer?

  • NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Definition 
  • Publication 800-145, dated September 2011
  • Essential Characteristics
    • On-demand self-service. A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities.
    • Broad network access. Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote heterogeneous (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations).
    • Resource pooling. The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to demand. 
    • Rapid elasticity. Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly with demand. 
    • Measured service. Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.
  • Service Models
    • Software as a Service (SaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to use the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications are accessible from various client devices through either a thin client interface, such as a web browser (e.g., web-based email), or a program interface. 
    • Platform as a Service (PaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages, libraries, services, and tools supported by the provider (i.e. a Windows or Linux server). 
    • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, firewalls, DNS, and other fundamental computing resources so the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software.
  • Deployment Models
    • Private cloud. The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple consumers (e.g., business units). 
    • Community cloud. The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a specific community of consumers from organizations.
    • Public cloud. The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for open use by the general public. 
    • Hybrid cloud. The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public).

Popcorn Time Adds AirPlay Support

  • Popcorn is Netflix for torrents. You can stream pirated video.
  • Just a few weeks after Popcorn Time announced expanded support for Google Chromecast, the torrent-streaming platform is introducing support for AirPlay too.
  • Popcorn Time is a cross-platform movie- and TV-show streaming service that beams out torrents in real-time. It’s like Netflix, except it’s peer-to-peer (P2P), offers much more content, and has questionable legality.
  • Popcorn time 730×4101 Popcorn Time shows no sign of slowing, as the Netflix for torrents adds support for AirPlay
  • While the movie industry has been pushing hard against the rise of torrent sites in recent years, Popcorn Time is showing no signs of slowing in its push to make torrents even more easily accessible. 
  • Available for PC, Mac and Android, Popcorn Time is Hollywood’s worst nightmare, with many recent releases available to stream gratis on your desktop, mobile and on your TV.
  • AirPlay support is restricted to the Windows app for now, though the Mac app will receive support shortly too.
  • Andoid apps are available. Availability for jailbroken iPhones is coming soon.

Technology Is Intensifying the Gaza War

  • Graphic accounts from the deadly conflict in Gaza are streaming around the world in real time. Here are 8 ways that technology is at the forefront of the war in Gaza. 
  • APPS
  • More than 750,000 people have downloaded Red Alert, an unofficial smartphone app that uses real-time information from the Israel Defense Forces and Homefront Command to give a warning of between 15 and 90 seconds when a rocket is fired into Israel from Gaza. Developed during the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, it allows users to select push alerts based on where they live. 
  • For those concerned about kidnappings – the current military flare-up was triggered by the capture and murder last month of three Israeli teens – there is SOS, which triggers a personal safety alert with a single right-swipe, making it easier to raise the alarm when a phone call is not possible. 
  • The Red Alert app gives Israelis real-time warnings of incoming militant rockets by sending push alerts to smartphones.
  • There’s also an app that helps Israelis find their nearest bomb shelter. Not all apps have endured: a Palestinian-made iPhone app promoting a third intifada (Arabic for uprising) Palestinians against Israel was reportedly removed by Apple because it was deemed offensive. 
  • TWITTER 
  • The Israeli Defense Force public information account has almost 350,000 followers and supplies a constant stream of official statements and updates about IDF activity.
  • The military wing of Hamas, has several similar accounts in different languages including an English feed with more than 11,000 followers. The accounts are sometimes suspended – but new ones routinely pop up to take their place. Eyewitness pictures are often shared by activists under hashtags including #GazaUnderAttack and #PrayForGaza. 
  • YOUTUBE PROPAGANDA VIDEOS 
  • Both Israel and the Palestinians have uploaded polished videos to YouTube as part of their social media war. The IDF has an official YouTube channel that includes a clip from spokesman Lt. Col Peter Lerner explaining the Israeli military’s position on civilian targets as well as military footage of attacks on Hamas targets. 
  • The Hamas has produced its own slick propaganda videos including a clip boasting of its home-made rocket arsenal. The clips are similar to those created by ISIS – the al-Qaeda-linked terror group running rampant in Iraq – and lean heavily on music which appeals to young supporters and recruits.
  • BLOGS, FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE+ 
  • A group of Israeli students has convened a propaganda “war room” to promote Israel’s case under a website called Israel Under Fire. 
  • Pictures are shared extensively by the Palestinian Interior Ministry on its website and by Hamas on its Google Plus account. 
  • DRONES 
  • Hamas deploy drones for this first time, according to Israel. The first was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.
  • HACKING 
  • The Free Syrian Army hacked into the IDF Twitter account earlier this month, posting a false claim that rockets had hit an Israeli nuclear plant. 
  • Hackers reportedly took control of the Facebook page of Domino Pizza in Israel earlier this month, publishing warnings in English, Arabic and Hebrew. 

Internet of Things No Really Secure YET

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) has connected everything from smoke alarms to fridges and cars, making life easier and safer – but it has also given hackers a new way to attack their victims, warns HP. 
  • In a study of the ten most popular IoT devices (which it did not name in its report) HP found 250 potentially dangerous security vulnerabilities. 
  • The devices came from manufacturers of TVs, webcams, home thermostats, remote power outlets, sprinkler controllers, hubs for controlling multiple devices, door locks, home alarms, scales and garage door openers. 
  • All of the devices included remote smartphone applications which were used to control them. 
  • It was found that 90 per cent of the devices collected personal information, 70 per cent transmitted that data on an unencrypted network and 60 per cent had insecure user interfaces. Eight out of ten failed to require a strong enough password. 
  • The report said that it was vital that these devices were made more secure before the IoT grows to 26 billion devices by 2020.

David Burd Surprise Visit

  • Tech news of the week
  • Google Glass antics with YouTube
  • A mix of humor and technology