Show of 06-06-2015

Tech Talk

June 6, 2015

Email and Forum Questions
  • Email from Ms. NerdyPants in Bethesda: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I have to compare and combine multiple versions of a 100 page Federal government Draft proposal. There are SMEs working at the same time on this so we can’t wait ’til SME#1 is done before SME#2 starts their revisions/writing. These people have been assigned different sections to write. I know years back on a former writing job I had no one trusted the combine feature of WORD…I’m hoping it has been improved. Do you believe we can trust this to do an accurate Compare and Combine and not cause more grief than good? What about the track changes feature? Say one of the SME used it and the other didn’t? Or, both used it? How is that factored into the Compare and Combine results? Place I work at isn’t into buying SharePoint. Do you know of a CMS application that is cheap and good?  Most appreciate your thoughts. Thanks, Ms. NerdyPants
  • Tech Talk Responds: The combine function will be excellent for you. In word, just go to the Review tab and select Combine. In order to combine multiple documents, you will have to do several steps. Combine the first two and save to a new document. Then combine the new with the next file and save to a new document. Keep going until all documents are combined. All changes will be noted by author. All tracked changed will be maintained. This should make your job easier as your review all changes.
  • Email from Jim in the Studio: In the continuing quest to improve my WiFi situation, I skipped step one, shielding the existing Comcast tower and moved directly to step two. Based on your recommendation, I purchased the TP-Link AC 1900 Dual Band Router. You were right. It looks great and it was easy to set up. I currently have two devices connected to my new WiFi system; my iPad mini and my iPhone 5. On the iPad, I downloaded OOKLA Speed Test. I ran a series of tests through different servers. The first test in each series yielded very low download speeds; ranging between 4 and 8 mbps. All subsequent download speeds in each series were significantly faster; generally between 40 and 50 mbps, with a high of 62 mbps. Upload speeds were not much improved over the old system. They averaged between 11 and 12 mbps. I’m running the SpeedSmart app on my iPhone. Again I ran a series of tests on multiple occasions via various servers. Download speeds were impressive. Generally between 80 and 110 mbps. Upload speeds were consistently around 12 mbps. By the way, both apps were free. Overall, I’m pleased with how things are working. The guy slumped over the control board.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Good to hear. Now that you have external antennas, you can buy high gain antennas if you need them. Make certain to dual-band antennas. BTW, I use http://broadbandreports.com to check my speed, both on my laptop and my mobile phone. It does not require that I install a separate app.
  • Email from Lynn in Ohio: Dear Doc and Jim. I have a laptop computer in the basement that I use for karaoke. I see this “Get Windows 10? icon on the lower right portion of the screen? Is it legitimate? What should I do? Would you recommend jumping right on this, or waiting a few months while others get the bugs out? Love the podcast every week. Lynn in Ohio
  • Tech Talk Responds: It looks like malware. It shows up without notice, promises you something for free. It is quite legitimate. Click on the icon and a window will come up with the Windows 10 offer. Read it carefully, and you’ll see that this simply reserves your copy of Windows 10 and authorizes it to be downloaded when Windows 10 is finally released, currently scheduled for the end of July. But you can upgrade to Windows 10 after it’s released for free without “reserving” it beforehand. 
  • It’s a three gigabyte download, so it’ll take some time. Once downloaded, you can install it. Once installed, you’re running Windows 10. For free.
  • However, I generally wait a couple of months after release, so that more of the bugs and issues have been identified and worked out.  So, I wouldn’t be in a rush. If you’re running Windows 7 or 8, and you’re content, I’d wait even longer. I would upgrade before the free offer is discontinued, which is a year away. As always, before upgrading make a complete system image backup.
  • Email from Jim on Lake Michigan: Dear Doc and Jim. We have a slow Internet connection here on Lake Michigan. Advertising makes is even slower. Some ads take ten seconds to load. Can I block these ads? What blocker do you recommend? Love the podcast. Jim on Lake Michigan.
  • Tech Talk Responds: I agree that ads are a problem. Advertisers just ported traditional ads to the Internet and didn’t worry about download speeds or data charges. Abusive ads should be blocked. However, ads that meet the fair ads standards should be allowed through. After all that is how websites get paid for their content.
  • I recommend AdBlock Plus. Adblock Plus is a free extension that allows you to – among other things – block annoying ads, disable tracking and block domains known to spread malware. It is vailable for all the major browsers.
  • It was created by Wladimir Palant in 2006 and is maintained by Eyeo.  Adblock Plus is an open source project. 
  • Adblock Plus doesn’t block anything until you “tell” it what to block by adding external filter lists. Filter lists are essentially an extensive set of rules that tell Adblock Plus which elements of a website to block. You can add any filter list you want. For example, block tracking or malware. You can also create your own filter lists. Almost all filters are open source, therefore many filter lists have been created by Internet users. Filter lists enabled by default include: An ad-blocking list selected based on your language (EasyList); The Acceptable Ads list. These are enabled to get you started. You can remove them or add others – it’s up to you. 
    • EasyList corresponds to your browser language and is aimed at disabling ads that are considered to be intrusive by our community of users.
    • The Acceptable Ads list displays ads that comply with the acceptable ads criteria agreed upon by our community of users.
  • Ad Block Plus is financed by donations from our users or payment from some larger entities that want to participate in the Acceptable Ads initiative.
  • Download link: https://adblockplus.org/?
Profiles in IT: Sean Parker
  • Sean Parker cofounded Napster and served as the first president of Facebook. He also cofounded Plaxo, Causes, and Airtime.
  • Parker was born December 3, 1979 in Herndon, Virginia.
  • When Parker was seven, his father taught him how to program on an Atari 800. 
  • One night, while hacking a Fortune 500 company, Parker was unable to log out after his father confiscated his keyboard. Because his IP address was exposed, FBI agents tracked down the 16-year-old.  He was sentenced to community service.
  • Parker attended Oakton High School in Fairfax County, VA for two years before transferring to Chantilly High School in 1996. He graduated in 1998.
  • He persuaded his principal to count his coding time as a foreign language class.
  • By the end of his senior year, he was mostly writing code and starting companies.
  • While in high school, he interned for Mark Pincus, the former CEO of Zynga. 
  • He won the VA state computer science fair for a Web crawler. By his senior year of high school, Parker was earning more than $80,000 a year through various projects.
  • When Parker was 15, he met 14 year-old Shawn Fanning over the Internet. A few years later Fanning and Parker cofounded Napster. Parker raised the initial $50,000.
  • They launched Napster in June 1999 and within a year it had tens of millions of users.
  • Lawsuits by various industry associations eventually shut down the service.
  • In 2002, he launched Plaxo, an online address book and social networking service.
  • Two years after founding Plaxo, Parker was ousted by the VC backers.
  • In 2004 Parker saw a site called “The Facebook” on the computer of his roommate’s girlfriend, who was a student at Stanford. Parker met with Mark Zuckerberg and a few months later joined the five-month-old company as its founding president.
  • As president, Parker brought on Thiel as Facebook’s first investor. He negotiated for Zuckerberg to retain three of five board seats, giving Zuckerberg control.
  • Sean transformed Facebook into a real company. After a drug arrest, Facebook investors to pressured Parker into resign, but continued to meet Zuckerberg.
  • While working at The Founders Fund, Parker invested US$15M in Spotify, a Swedish streaming music service and negotiated a partnership with Facebook.
  • In 2011 Parker reunited with Napster cofounder Shawn Fanning to found Airtime.com. Parker will serve as executive chairman and Fanning as CEO.[52]
  • In 2006 Parker became managing partner at the Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund founded by Peter Thiel. Parker has carte blanche from Thiel when finding investments. 
  • Parker also hosts The TechFellow Awards, a partnership between TechCrunch and The Founders Fund that annually gives 20 startup entrepreneurs $100,000 each.
  • Parker has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many causes.
  • Net worth in 2015: $2.7B. Mom should be happy, even though no college.
Stratford University Receives 2015 Hero Award for World Peace
  • The PeaceJam Foundation’s “One Billion Acts of Peace” campaign has awarded its first annual Hero Award to Stratford University for “Best University Act.” 
  • “Our judges recognized Stratford University as a true agent of change in helping to solve some of the biggest global issues around the world”
  • The campaign, which boasts supporters like His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is designed to inspire average citizens around the world to work together to create one billion high quality projects that address major issues facing humanity, such as rights for women and children, access to clean water, global climate change and alleviating extreme poverty. 
  • Being recognized with a Hero Award is one of the highest accolades for service in helping to drive positive change worldwide, and Stratford University is one of only five worldwide recipients this year. 
  • “Our judges recognized Stratford University as a true agent of change in helping to solve some of the biggest global issues around the world,” said Dawn Engle, executive director of the Hero Awards and co-founder of PeaceJam. Stratford’s “act of peace” included students and staff working with area schools to address the poverty that exists within the local communities. 
  • Winners will be recognized at a ceremony on June 14 in Monte Carlo led by Nobel Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his leadership for human rights and true democracy for the people of Latin America. 
  • Mary Ann Shurtz, executive vice president, and Carolyn Kroeger, student support officer, will accept the award on behalf of Stratford University. 
  • Website link: http://www.1billionacts.org/
ISIS Command Post Bombed After Photo Posted
  • Air Force General Hawk Carlisle, head of US Air Combat Command, told a conference that analysts at the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group spotted a selfie snapped and posted online by an ISIS fighter standing outside a command-and-control building in the Mid East.
  • The airmen are combing through social media and they see some fighter standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about command and control capabilities for Da’esh. 
  • According to the general, the analysts worked out the position of the building based on the information posted online. 22 hours later the Air Force dropped three bombs on the building, destroying it.
Google to Report Driverless Car Accidents
  • Google will begin reporting incidents encountered by its driverless-car program on a dedicated website, the search company announced Friday.
  • A number of its fleet of self-driving cars had been involved in accidents during years of testing on the streets of Mountain View, Calif.
  • Google created a site to report on the driving record of its fleet. 
  • In addition to detailing any accidents (with human-driver details redacted), the site will give examples of how the cars, which by law are still accompanied by a Google driver, adapt to everyday traffic situations, and it will provide a forum for community feedback.
  • After nearly six years of testing and 1.8 million miles driven, the Google fleet has been involved in 13 accidents.
  • Google self-driving car project leader noted that all of the accidents were the fault of other drivers and not the overly cautious driverless cars. A number of the incidents involved motorists rear-ending the Google cars at stop lights.
  • Google’s chaperon drivers have noticed a range of distracted driving behavior over the years. They have spotted people reading books and even one playing a trumpet.”
Linux Foundation Offers Free Online Course
  • More than 20 years ago, Linus Torvalds started an open source revolution with a short email declaring he was doing a new project “just for fun.” 
  • Today, Linux powers 98% of the world’s super computers, most of the servers powering the Internet, the majority of financial trades worldwide and tens of millions of Android mobile phones and consumer devices.
  • The Linux Foundation is dedicated to expanding the role of Linux to other industries and markets.
  • The Linux Foundation is pleased partnered with edX to deliver an Introduction to Linux course to anyone.
  • The Linux Foundation courses can be audited free or students can choose to receive a verified certificate for $99. 
  • EdX offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the world’s best universities, colleges and organizations. Online courses from MITx, HarvardX, BerkeleyX, UTx and many other universities can be taken here. 
  • Link to course: https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-linux-linuxfoundationx-lfs101x-2
Hack exposes personal data of 4 million Federal workers
  • A cyberattack on the US government’s personnel office compromised the data of up to 4 million current and former federal employees, officials said Thursday.
  • The FBI said it is investigating a hack of network security at the Office of Personnel Management. 
  • Federal officials suspect Chinese hackers are behind the data breach, believed to be the largest in a recent wave of attacks targeting federal agencies. 
  • Investigators said that the hack, detected in April, is believed to be separate from an attack detected last year. 
  • The New York Times reported last year that Chinese hackers worked their way into US government servers in March 2014 in an attempt to steal information on thousands of federal employees with top-secret clearance.
  • Chinese government hackers were suspected in that attack, as well as one on the US Postal Service, in which data for more than 800,000 employees was compromised.
  • The Office of Personnel Management said it detected the intrusion in April and has since added additional security defenses to its network.
  • The OPM also said it plans to notify approximately 4 million individuals whose personally identifiable information may have been compromised in the breach.