Show of 05-14-2016

Tech Talk† May 14, 2016

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Ngoc in Ohio:†Dear Doc and Jim. My iPhone is not acting properly. My LinkedIn app is very slow and has trouble displaying my contacts. When I look at my Mail, it has to download the emails each time that I open the application. It does ot save them between uses. Sometimes the mail application and LinkedIn just close without warning. I need help. What are my options? Love the podcast here in Ohio. Ngoc in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Tech Talk Responds: This is common behavior when an iPhone runs out of memory. Applications stop working and storage functions are minimized. I would recommend that you start deleting items you donít need (iMessages with pictures, large applications). To identify large applications go to Settings/General/Storage & Cloud Usage/Manage Storage. The memory hogs will be at the top of the list. Then I would look at hour pictures. They can take a lot memory. You can transfer them to your laptop and then delete them or you can store only thumbnails on your iPhone with the high resolution photos stored on the cloud. Go to Settings/iCloud/Photos. Click on Optimize iPhone Storage.
  • Email from Karen in West Virginia:†Dear Doc and Jim. I have so many pictures on my digital camera and would like to make an album. What are my options? I would like to have a system that is simple to use so my daughter can help me. Love the show. Karen in West Virginia.
  • Tech Talk Responds: The website that his very high ratings for ease of use is Shutterfly (www.shutterfly.com). I have use it and like it. They support a wide range of album formats, as well as, cards, calendars, mugs, etc. You simply upload your pictures to the site and select which ones you want in the album. You then simply drag each photo from the tray to the album. They even have an option to automatically populate an album for you, if you are in a hurry. There are many album out set, but this one is easy to use and not too expensive. A 20 page hard cover album is $30 to print with each additional page 90 cents. Shutterfly has an easy to navigate website and has apps for both iPhone and Android. Using these apps you can upload pictures directly to the sight from our phone.
  • Email from Arnie in Colorado:†Hi Dr. Shurtz, Have you heard about this flashlight intrusion? Apparently it was on a Fox News program also. What next? As you know, I moved to Colorado Springs last May. I thought Verizon FIOS was a challenge at times. Have Comcast Xfinity now. At times have to reboot it often. Have Ooma now also as you’ve mentioned on Tech Talk many times. So far it works great. Good luck with the blizzard this weekend. Payback for the 70į you had Christmas. †Arnie in Colorado Springs, CO.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Free flashlight apps tend to make money by collecting information and selling it to advertisers. I donít think there is real hacking here. I got rid of all my flashlight apps when the iPhone iOS could turn on the LED directly. Glad Ooma is working for you. I love my Ooma. Actually Arnie, I was in California during the snow and only suffered from some rain and overcast. But coming home was a trip.
  • Email from Alice in Alexandria:†Dear Tech Talk. I received password reset requests for my account. Since I have two email addresses associated with my Facebook account, I had the same series of request in both inboxes. The problem is that I didnít request a reset. Is my Facebook account being hacked?Ē Enjoy the podcast because I sleep in on Saturday. Alice in Alexandria.
  • Tech Talk Responds: †A series of Facebook password-reset notifications may or may not indicate that someone was actively attempting to hack my Facebook account. Probably someone attempted to log in to Facebook with the wrong email address. Not realizing theyíve typed in their own email address incorrectly, or not understanding that the email address theyíre typing in isnít theirs, they then assume itís the password thatís at fault, and they start the password-reset process. The real owner of the email address then gets the password-reset confirmation emails.
  • But hacking, or rather an attempted hack, is certainly a possibility. In order for the password-reset approach to work, the hacker needs access to the email account associated with the Facebook account. In other words, they somehow need to intercept the password-reset confirmation email message Facebook sends, and act on it. Once they do, they can reset the Facebook account password.
  • Typically that means the email account or accounts associated with the Facebook account have themselves already been hacked. All the hacker really needs is access to the email messages sent to those email accounts.
  • To protect your account, I would recommend two-factor authentication. In Facebookís Security Settings, you can turn on two : Login Approvals and Code Generator. Login Approvals is two-factor authentication.
  • The technique is very simple: when you log in to Facebook from a device youíve never logged in from before3, Facebook requires you to enter a code (which is sent as a text to your phone) before it allows the login to succeed. †The ďGet codesĒ option allows you to plan ahead for when you have no phone or text coverage by procuring a set of 10 single-use codes to keep with you to use if needed.
  • If you donít have the phone, or the codes, then you canít log in, even if you have the correct password.
  • Email from Mimi in Orlando:†Dear Doc and Jim. I use MAC address filtering and donít use WPA. I realize that means I must physically enter the MAC address of each device that wants to connect to my network, but I believe that MAC address filtering is also a viable security solution (with or without WPA or WEP). What are your thoughts? Love the show. Mimi in Orlando.
  • Tech Talk Responds: The short answer is that is not very secure. A MAC, or ďMedia Access ControlĒ address, is a theoretically unique identifier assigned to every network interface card. It is the hardware network address. The Ethernet port on my desktop machine has a different MAC address than the Ethernet port on my laptop, which is different than the Ethernet port of Mary Annís laptop.
  • The MAC address itself is never encrypted. Even if you specify WPA2 encryption on your wireless connection, the MAC address itself is not encrypted. It canít be, as itís required to tell the computers involved which computer is supposed to receive the packet. Your data is encrypted, of course, but the MAC address is not.
  • So, letís say a somewhat knowledgeable hacker is interested in accessing your WiFi hotspot, on which you have MAC address filtering turned on. He needs only needs to sniff the network and look at the MAC addresses which are allowed access to the WiFi and then configure his network interface to use one of those MAC addresses. This is called MAC address cloning. It takes minutes to do this.
  • Therefore, use WPA2 for more effective security and forget MAC address filtering.

Profiles in IT: Craig Newmark

  • Founder of San Francisco-based website Craigslist (http://craigslist.org)
  • Craig Alexander Newmark was born December 6, 1952 in Morristown, New Jersy
  • Newmark attended Morristown High School.
  • He received a BS Degree in Computer Science from Case Western Reserve University.
  • He worked in IT for companies such as IBM and Bank of America.
  • In 1995 while Craig was working at Schwab, he started craigslist as an email list for friends and co-workers about events going on in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • In 1999, Craig retired from IT consulting to work full-time on craigslist.
  • What started as a fun side project in Craig’s living room has since grown into one of the busiest sites on the internet, helping people with basic day-to-day needs such as finding a job, an apartment and a date, all within a culture of trust.
  • Craig is involved with a variety of community efforts and is particularly interested in organizations promoting public diplomacy, mideast peace and new forms of media such as participatory journalism.
  • He’s on the boards of Sunlight Foundation, OneVoice, FactCheckED, and VotoLatino.
  • Newmark is a vocal advocate of keeping the Internet free.
  • According to his bio on Craigslist: Craig continues to embrace his inner nerd though he no longer wears thick black glasses that are held together with tape, and he retired the plastic pocket protector some years ago.
  • Newmark resides in San Francisco’s Cole Valley
  • He appointed Jim Buckmaster as CEO. Buckmaster has been called: anti-establishment, a communist, and a socialistic anarchist.
  • Now he is active at Craigslist in customer service, mostly dealing with spammers and scammers.
  • Newmark has a blog:†http://www.cnewmark.com/
  • He is most noteworthy for his distain for cashing-in on the popularity of social networking sites.
  • Craig Newmark, is kind of a renegade. And, unlike most people in the world, money is not an incentive for him.
  • Newmark’s main comment was: “Who needs the money?”
  • Craigslist earns money by selling ads
    • It serves classified ads to 450 cities.
    • The site receives more than 750,000 job listings a month, and users self-publish about 14 million new classifieds a month.
    • The site has been profitable since late 1999, and it generates revenues by charging nominal fees for job posts in seven cities and for broker’s apartment listings in New York.
    • Analysts estimate the site took in $25 million in revenues last year with no user fees or banner ads.
    • It has only 24 employees.
    • The company has no meetings.
    • Craigslist had nobody in sales and marketing.

Lessons from a Lost Computer

  • My laptop is missing this week. I have looked everywhere and canít locate it after an offsite. I am now resigned to buy a replacement and move on. Here are a few lessons.
  • It Can Happen to Anyone: Be Prepared
  • Importance of Cloud Backup: Carbonite
  • Importance of Disk Encryption: Windows 10 (synced with Microsoft account)
  • Importance of IMAP Email: Exchange, Gmail, etc.
  • Painful, But Recoverable: No data loss or security breach

Imagining the Tech World in 2050

  • Scientists go collaborate with cinema faculty and producers at the USC School of Cinematic Arts,Five IBM scientists offered their best guesses on how life would be different in 2050.
  • Bill Pulleybank on Super computers
    • Bill Pulleybank led the development of IBM’s Blue Gene systems, which account for 4 of the world’s top 10 most powerful supercomputers.
    • By 2050, he predicted, the capabilities housed in those giant supercomputers will be available in the palm of your hand.
  • Sharon Nunes on Harnessing Biological Processes
    • Sharon Nunes, who leads IBM’s green-research initiatives, launched IBM’s Computational Biology Center.
    • She predicted that by 2050, clean water and energy would be available to the entire planet.
    • Nunes is looking to synthetic biology and systems biology to help solve the critical problems the planet faces.
    • She gave an example of applying an understanding of the chemical and biological processes of photosynthesis to building solar cells and converting algae into environmentally friendly fuels.
  • Don Eigler on Nanotechnology
    • Don Eigler was the IBM scientist who, in 1989, took a small number of xenon atoms and spelled out “IBM” using a liquid helium temperature-scanning tunneling microscope that he had constructed.
    • In his 2050 predictions, Eigler focused on embedded and nanoscale technologies that could lead to life extension.
    • In the labs today, people are discovering how to fabricate new nanometer-scale structures for regenerative medicine.
    • Eigler believes that this technology could blossom over the next 10 to 15 years and that it eventually will result in pharmacies built into the human body that automatically administer medicines based on readings from internal sensors.
    • He also discussed parallel human processing. The idea is that a person could think about two problems at once consciously. This capability could be realized through training or symbiant embedded devices.
    • Eigler also said that by 2050, we would have a laptop with 100,000 times more horsepower than the state-of-the-art machine today.
  • Ajay Royyuru on Genomes and Synthetic Biology
    • Ajay Royyuru leads the Computational Biology Center at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, researching topics such as bioinformatics, functional genomics, and systems biology.
    • He predicted that before 2050, everyone will have personal genome.
    • People will have access to a steady stream of genetic data, and they will use that information to make choices of what to eat.
    • Today, we don’t know how the machinery works. The genome is a parts list.
    • We will get to a point where we can re-create things so we understand how it works or fails.” The result will be a personalized, predictive model of behaviors based on an individual’s genome.
    • Stem cells and synthetic biology (design and fabrication of biological components) will cure diseases in specific places rather than tolerate the absence of an organ or other tissue, Royyuru predicted.
  • Jeff Jonas on Collective Intelligence
    • Jeff Jonas, an IBM Distinguished Engineer, is chief scientist of the Entity Analytic Solutions Software Group.
    • He works on projects such as data correlation, using irreversible cryptographic hashes.
    • Jonas predicted that by 2050, a 14-year-old will make $10 billion working in his bedroom in a day.
    • It took Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg three years to be worth $1 billion.
    • More pertinent to his research, Jonas said “collective intelligence will be in the cloud and available to all.”
    • He described collective intelligence as lots of piles of data, much gleaned from a ubiquity of sensors that have to be stitched together and put in context.
    • In 2050, collective intelligence is your personal digital agent, locating and telling you what you need..
    • Jonas also expects that people will be spending more time in virtual worlds in 2050. “It’s a way to escape the trails you create by popping into an avatar.”

Good Idea of the Week: Floating Windmills

  • At great heights the wind blows much more powerfully and steadily than it does at lower altitudes.
  • Wind turbines only spin one tenth of the time at their maximum output, which makes wind not a very reliable energy source.
  • At higher altitudes, wind conditions are much better.
  • Floating windmills, which send the generated electricity to the earth by means of a cable, could harvest much more energy.
  • Canadian firm Magenn Power developed concept based on the principle of zeppelins.
  • It uses a helium filled balloon. Around the balloon is a wheel, driven by the wind.
  • Inventor Fred Ferguson also has been working on the system since the eighties ? but today it is the concept which is close to reality.
  • If all goes well, the floating wind turbine of Magenn Power will be on the market in 2008.
  • The first model will deliver 10 kilowatts of electricity, and floats at an altitude of around 330 metres ? more or less twice the height of a normal windmill.
  • Larger versions are planned, and the company also aims to develop a small system that fits in a backpack.
  • The drawback of the technology is that the balloon has to be re-filled with helium every 6 months.
  • Website:†http://www.magenn.com/

Good News of the Week: Solar Panels to Get Cheaper

  • Solar electricity is about to get much cheaper because a shortage of the silicon used in solar panels is almost over.
  • Solar power is more than three times the cost of electricity from conventional sources, according to figures from the industry tracking firm Solarbuzz and the United States Energy Information Administration.
  • The added silicon production capacity is now starting to begin operations.
  • While only 15,000 tons of silicon were available for use in solar cells in 2005, by 2010, this number could grow to 123,000 tons.
  • Prices for solar panels could drop by as much as 50 percent from 2006 to 2010.
  • In areas that get a lot of sun, that will translate to solar electricity which matches the average price of electricity in the US . Demand will soar.
  • That will make solar affordable and, eventually, will vastly increase the market.

Turn Any Monitor Into A Windows or Linux

  • The Intel Compute Stick, a 4-inch long dongle that turns any HDMI display into a Windows 8.1 or Linux machine.
  • Intel Compute Stick is offered for $149 with Windows 8.1, or $89 for a Linux version running Ubuntu.
  • It includes an Intel Atom quad-core CPU, Windows 8.1, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage and a microSD slot to extend that capacity, Bluetooth 4.0, Wireless 802.11b/g/n connectivity, and a full-size USB port.
  • It can run all Windows 8.1 apps. You can browse the web and send emails via the TV in your hotel. Businesses could use it as a very inexpensive thin client.
  • Add Logitechís K400 Wireless Keyboard and Touchpad combo for $19.99 and you have an entry-level, highly portable PC-on-a-stick for a grand total of $169.
  • The Linux version of Intelís Compute Stick will run Ubuntu for $89, and ship with 8GB of storage and 1GB of memory.

Boy Builds Braille printer with Lego kit

  • 13-year-old Shubham Banerjee, a California eighth-grader, has launched a company to develop low-cost machines to print Braille, the touch-based writing system for the visually impaired.
  • Last year, Shubham built a Braille printer with a Lego robotics kit as a school science fair project after learning that current printers cost at least $2,000 ó too expensive for most blind readers.
  • After his Lego-based printer won numerous awards and enthusiastic support from the blind community, Shubham started Braigo Labs this past summer with an initial $35,000 investment from his dad.
  • In November, Intel Corp. invested an undisclosed amount of venture capital in Shubham’s startup, making him perhaps the youngest entrepreneur to receive such funding.

The Museum of the Future Is in NYC

  • Every visitor to the Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonianís recently reopened design museum, will receive a giant pen. This pen is not really a pen.
  • Next to every object on-display at the Cooper Hewitt is a small pattern that looks like the origin point of the coordinate plane. When the pen touches it, the digital record of that object is added to the visitorís personal museum collection.
  • When they leave, they will have to return the pen, but information about and high-resolution photos of the object will be waiting for them. The pen bridges the digital and the physical.
  • Every object, every designer, every nation, every era, even every color has a stable URL on the Internet. Everything is designed to support the digital world and be connected to the Internet.
  • The Cooper Hewitt welcomed visitors again after a three-year-long closed-door renovation. . The Cooper Hewitt resides in Andrew Carnegieís old Manhattan.
  • The Cooper Hewittís API connects to the museumís two operational databasesóits vast collections database and its complex customer and ticketing databasesóand fuses them. Then it makes the collections part public and accessible.
  • What ‘digital’ in the museum means is really that everything is available whenever you want through standardized APIs.