November 28, 2015
Best of Tech Talk Edition
- Segments replayed from previous shows
Email and Forum Questions
- Email from Arnie McKechnie: Dear Doc and Jim. On September 9, 1947, the first computer bug was found. It was a moth lodged in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University. So there is a real reason for using “bug” in computer-ease. Arnie
- Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for the reminder, Arnie. In 1947, Grace Murray Hopper was working on the Harvard University Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator. On the 9th of September, 1947, when the machine was experiencing problems, an investigation showed that there was a moth trapped between the points of Relay #70, in Panel F. The operators removed the moth and affixed it to the log. The entry reads: “First actual case of bug being found.” The word went out that they had “debugged” the machine and the term “debugging a computer program” was born.
- In 1990, the log, with the moth still taped by the entry, was in the Naval Surface Warfare Center Computer Museum at Dahlgren, Virginia. They had tried to donate it to the Smithsonian, but that the Smithsonian wouldn’t accept it. Later that year, the
- Curator of the History of American Technology Museum, agreed to accept it. It took years to be actually exhibited due to space and money constraints.
- Email from Len in Springfield: Dear Doctor Shurtz. Is it better to spend more money on additional ram or on a Solid Stated Drive to speed up an old laptop bought in 2011? In the past it has always been said the best money is spend on more memory. I know that a SSD is faster in transferring data that a regular hard drive, but it would seem to me that you still need lots of memory to facilitate the movement of the data to the drive. The laptop in question is a HP Pavilion Laptop with an Intel® Core™ i3 -370M Processor, 4GB Memory, 500GB Hard Drive (7200 RPM), Windows 64-bit OS. Long time listener. Len is Springfield.
- Tech Talk Responds: The good news is that you have a 64-bit machine. 32-bits can only address 4GB of RAM; 64-bits can address much more. At a minimum, I would upgrade your RAM from 4GB to 8GB. This will reduce an disk swapping delays while you are running a program. If you are satisfied with that speed, you set.
- If you want your computer to load programs fasters, boot faster, save data faster, then you might want to upgrade to a SSD. With sequential writes reads and writes, the SSD was more than twice as fast. When it comes to random reads and writes all over the disk, the SSD is more than 400 times as fast. Your computer becomes much, much faster to boot. Your desktop will load much more quickly after you log in too. Launching a program, opening a file, and saving something to disk will all happen much, much faster.
- The good news is that Windows 7 supports SSD. I checked HP support and it looks like your BIOS will support an SSD. Double check this because I did not have your exact model number. You can get a Samsung 850 EVO Internal SSD 500 GB SSD for $164. A 1TB EVO is $333. Prices have really dropped on SSD. Good luck.
- Email from Margaret in Oakton: Dear Tech Talk. I am getting low memory messages in my iPhone. I have many pictures. I transferred my pictures to my laptop and deleted most of my photos. But I am still getting the low memory message. What is wrong with my phone? Love the show. Margaret in Oakton.
- Tech Talk Responds: When you delete photos or videos on your phone, they are transferred to the deleted folder and kept for 30 days. They still consumed memory while in that folder. If you are certain that your photos are safely transferred to you empty the deleted items folder to free up the memory. Open the Photos app and select albums from the bottom menu. Open the Recently Deleted folder and click on Select on the top. Then choose Delete All from the options.
- A better way going forward would be to store you high resolution photos on iCloud and only keep low resolution copies on your iPhone for viewing. To do this, go to Setting/Photos & Camera. Turn on iCloud Photo Library. Select Optimize iPhone Storage. Warning: you may have to pay for additional iCloud space. You only get 5GB free.
- Email from Joe in Herndon: Dear Doc and Jim. A friend of mine recently passed away and his Facebook account is still active. It there a way to change his status or have the account removed? I feel like I should be able to do something. Enjoy the show. Joe in Herndon.
- Tech Talk Responds: Memorialized accounts are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away. Memorializing an account also helps keep it secure by preventing anyone from logging into it. If Facebook is made aware that a person has passed away, it’s Facebook’s policy to memorialize the account. Please keep in mind that they will not provide login information for someone else’s account. To report a profile to be memorialized, fill out a Facebook form that includes a link to a published obituary. (https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/1605213279719667). Note that only verified immediate family members may request the removal of a loved one’s account from Facebook.
- Email from Loyal Listener in Bethesda: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz. I have to buy a printer for my home office and it needs to work with both a PC and a Mac.What do you think of the Brothers Printer Model # 9340CDW All-in-One. Is this printer a Good choice? I will not be doing a lot of printing but do need an all-in-one. Where to get best price? Is there a better option? Thanks! Loyal Listener in Bethesda
- Tech Talk Responds: This is an expensive printer with high capacity, perhaps more that you need. It has a list price of $449 and I found it on Amazon for $330. It prints duplex, 23 pages per minute, and has a 250 page paper tray. It is a color laser printer. It support Wi-Fi, Air Print, and Google iCloud. It has good reviews. You can’t go wrong with this printer. It has good reviews. You might look at a lower capacity printer since you don’t print much. You may save $100. Players in this area are Dell, HP, Cannon, and Brother. All have color laser and LED printers. I agree with your choice not to go with an inkjet. Dried print heads and expensive ink have soured me on that technology.
- Email from Tuc in Chantilly: Dear Tech Talk. I need to record some high quality audio files using my iPhone. What do you recommend? Love the show. Tuc in Chantilly
- Tech Talk Responds: The iPhone is an excellent storage platform. I would get a cheap lavalier mic that you can keep under you clothes. You can just get a pair of earbuds with a mic if you are on a budget. Instead of using the native app to store the audio, I would iTalk by Griffin. There is a free iPhone app and a premium version for $1.99. You can sync with audio with a video of your song and get a great final result.
- Email from Tom in Dallas: Dear Doc and Jim. I have my old Outlook .pst file on a flash drive, but I cannot get it to my hard drive. The found the location of the newly created Outlook.pst, but when I look at that location, there is no “AppData” folder. What am I missing? By the way, I am using Windows 7. Love the show. Tom in Dallas
- Tech Talk Responds: Windows is trying to be helpful by protecting you from yourself. Windows is hiding that folder. Windows1 has a “hidden” attribute for files and/or folders. When a file is set to be hidden, many programs simply do not display its existence. In Windows 7 and prior, click the Tools menu in Windows Explorer (if the menu isn’t visible, press the ALT key and it should appear), and click the Folder options… item. Change the setting to “Show hidden files, folders and drives”, and click OK. You should now see the missing subdirectory.
- By the way, you can also see hidden files using the command prompt. Go to search and enter, cmd. Then open that program. Type dir /A:H. This is the directory function with the attribute, show hidden, activated.?
Profiles in IT: Jacobus Cornelis Haartsen
- Jacobus Cornelis Haartsen is a Dutch electrical engineer best known as the father of Bluetooth communication.
- Jaap Haartsen was born 13 February 1963, in The Hague, Netherlands.
- In 1986, he received an MSEE with honors from Delft University of Technology.
- He worked briefly for Siemens in The Hague and Philips in Eindhoven.
- In 1990, he received a PhD in EE from Delft University of Technology with honors.
- His thesis dealt with the design of programmable filters in silicon surface acoustic wave devices.
- In 1991, he was hired by Ericsson, working in Raleigh-Durham, NC. In 1993 he was transferred to the Ericsson Mobile Terminal Division in Lund, Sweden.
- He was tasked with finding solutions for short-range (3m to 4m) radio connections to enrich mobile phone functionality. Cost and power were driving factors.
- Because the frequency band was shared with many consumer devices, he initially decided to use frequency hopping. He already had a working solution in the 2.45 GHz range using frequency hopping communication.
- Bluetooth devices change frequencies within the designated band, ‘hopping’ around on 79 frequencies 1,600 times each second.
- While Dr. Haarsten was working initially alone, a team was quickly built. In 1995, he was joined by Sven Mattisson. The team eventually grew to 30 people.
- The name in the initial development phases was MC (Multi-Communicator) Link.
- By 1997, the team had a workable solution and Ericson realized that it needed to collaborate with other firms to ensure adoption.
- In 1998, a Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed by five founding members: Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, Toshiba and IBM. Intel was selected as the lead.
- Jim Kardach, representing Intel, suggested the name Bluetooth. Harold Bluetooth was a 10th century Danish king who united Denmark. The symbol is based on his initials.
- The Bluetooth SIG has formed a patent pool for Bluetooth, defined the standard, provided licenses to manufacturers and examined devices for compliance.
- Five patents, filed by Dr. Haartsen can be considered fundamental for the Bluetooth standard. In total, Dr. Haarsten has filed more than 200 patents. The SIG patent pool was essential for the early success of the technology.
- In 1999, Bluetooth 1.0 was released. In 2000, the first mobile phones with Bluetooth appeared, as did first PC cards and prototype mice, keyboards and USB dongles.
- In 2001, the first Bluetooth-enabled printers, laptops, and car kits were introduced.
- In 2011, the SIG had 15,000 member firms. Bluetooth V4.0 was released.
- In 2010, he became CTO of Tonalite in the Netherlands, a company which creates wearable wireless products.
- In 2012, he was hired by Plantronics as Senior Expert, Wireless Systems.
Food Science: Frozen Turkey
- Peter Snyder, Jr., Ph.D. has a new way to roast your Thanksgiving turkey: put it in the oven frozen solid.
- Dr. Snyder is the president of the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management in St. Paul , Minnesota .
- A common problem on Thanksgiving is waking up on Thanksgiving morning and realizing that the turkey has not been thawed, and there is not enough time to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator or in flowing water at 70ºF, which takes hours.
- However, there is a very simple solution ? cook the entire turkey from the frozen state.
- The FDA Food Code allows this. The HACCP-based procedure for cooking a 12-to-13-lb. frozen turkey is shown below.
- Start 5 to 5 1/2 hours before you want to serve the cooked turkey. Set the oven temperature at 325ºF. It is much better that the turkey be done 30 minutes before mealtime than to rush and serve an undercooked turkey.
- Remove the wrapping from the turkey and put the turkey on a rack on a pan that has been covered with foil to make cleaning easy.
- In the first 2 to 2 1/2 hours, the legs and thighs get up to approximately 100ºF. The breast, about 1 inch into the flesh, is still at the soft ice point, about 25ºF. At this point, begin to monitor breast temperature.
- After about 3 1/2 hours, the legs and thighs will be around 150 to 160ºF, and the breast, about 40 to 50ºF. The bag of heart, liver, etc. and the neck can be removed.
- At 4 1/2 to 5 hours, the turkey is nicely cooked. Check the temperature. The leg and thigh should be tender and at a temperature of 175 to 185ºF, while the breast will be moist at a temperature of 160 to 170ºF.
- Cooking a turkey from the frozen state has benefits over cooking a thawed turkey.
- If one thaws a turkey in a home refrigerator, there is a significant risk of raw juice with pathogens at high levels getting on refrigerator surfaces, other foods in the refrigerator, countertops, and sink, thus creating a hazard and a need for extensive cleaning and sanitizing.
- The second benefit is that, because the breast has greater mass, it takes longer to thaw. Therefore, the thigh and leg are well cooked and tender, while the breast is not overcooked and dried out. The breast will cook to a juicy 160-to-165ºF endpoint without difficulty.
Food Science: Gravy without Lumps
- Grains have both starch and protein. Starch provides food when the seed begins to grow. If you remove the protein from corn flour, for instance, you get corn starch. Most sauces and gravies are thickened with some kind of starch. The most common are flour and cornstarch, though potato starch, arrowroot and tapioca flour also work well. When starch is in liquid it gels around 130-160 F. The transition is dramatic. The key is to manage this gelling process to keep from getting lumps.
- If you attempt to thicken a pan sauce or gravy by simply stirring flour into the simmering liquid, you will inevitably end up with lumps. This is because the starch around each lump of flour expands rapidly when it comes into contact with hot liquid, forming a sort of waterproof gel that prevents the granules from separating properly. The same is true for any other starch.
- To prevent this, you need to separate the granules before adding them to the sauce so that they can slowly disperse and expand to create the desired thickening effect.
- You can accomplish this in several ways. The first is to use what’s called a roux. Made from a mixture of fat — either pan drippings or butter — and flour, a roux is slowly cooked on its own before it is added to the sauce. The fat helps the starch to expand and separate, and it lubricates it so it can be smoothly incorporated into the liquid. A roux should be cooked, then cooled slightly, then whisked into the sauce when you’re ready to thicken it. The precooking also eliminates the unpleasant raw-flour taste that sometimes occurs if a sauce isn’t simmered long enough.
- Another method is to use kneaded butter. This is essentially the same as a roux, only the flour is worked into the butter by hand or with a fork, then formed into small balls and added, uncooked, to a sauce.
- If you want a medium-thick sauce or gravy, you should add about 2 tablespoons of flour per cup of liquid. If you’re using cornstarch, use 2 to 2 ½ teaspoons per cup.