Show of 09-17-2016

Tech Talk

17 September, 2016

 

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Segments replayed from previous shows

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Alice Lane:Doctor Shurtz, Did you see the screenshots I attached? Like to know if my screenshots come through!?! or not. I am on an iMAC not a MS OS. Please advise how to get rid of the copy in the trashcan and NOT the TOR App that IS working on my iMAC? Thanks. Alice, a long time listener.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Alice I did make a mistake. I gave you the directions for a PC instead of a Mac. First, try holding the Shift-Option or Option key as you choose Empty Trash from the Finder menu. If that does not work, you will need to unlock the file. Select the file you are trying to delete, and then choose Get Info from the File menu. If the Locked box is checked, deselect it, and then try deleting the file again. There are some terminal commands that you can use. But that can be dangerous. Remember the operator who deleted all of the files on his computer from last week. I hope the unlock trick works for you.
  • Email from Ron in Tysons Corner:Dear Dr. Shurtz and Jim. As a long-time fan, I have followed your suggestions to other listeners many, many times with excellent results. But now I have a question of my own: How can I synchronize files and folders instantly and automatically between two computers? I work with two PCs — one running on 64-bit Windows 7 Professional and the other upgraded to 64-bit Windows 10 Professional.  Both are connected to my home Wi-Fi network.  I use the two machines for different purposes, but there are several spreadsheets, Word documents, and folders common to both computers. It’s time-consuming and inefficient, and I’m not always sure whether or not I synced a particular file. Is there any way to do this synchronization automatically so that any saved changes I make to a file on one computer instantly show up in the same file on the other machine? Thanks, and keep up the great work.  Love your show. Ron in Tysons Corner.
  • Tech Talk Responds: We can use OneDrive to sync the libraries between multiple computers with much ease. Simply associate a library folder with a folder on OneDrive. That way when you open OneDrive on another computer, the files will be there. Furthermore, if you associate the other computer libraries with OneDrive as well, any file that you save in one library on one computer will also appear on the other computer in the corresponding folder.
  • If OneDrive isn’t yet installed, download it from this link. When the installation is complete, and upon first launch, you’ll be asked to log in with your Microsoft account to continue. You will need a Microsoft account.
  • We must now create the proper folders in the OneDrive folder and then link them through Windows. Create folders in OneDrive called Documents, Music, Videos, and Pictures, just like the default Windows folders. Right-click the Documents folder in Libraries and choose Properties. Open-the-properties-of-the-documents-folder. Select Include a folder from this properties window and then select the OneDrive Documents folder. Associate the default save location for documents to be the OneDrive folder. This is done by choosing the folder you just selected and then clicking Set save location.
  • Understand that the current files in the library folders will not sync to the other computer. Only new files added after the folder association will appear as synced items.
  • It’s one sort of benefit to sync one folder between two or more computers. But when we sync the actual library folders that we use on a daily basis, you’ll find it’s like you’re on one computer even if you use two. Just be sure to save your files in these library folders if you want them to sync.
  • I have been using Box Sync to synchronize computers. Box is similar to Dropbox. I simply save my file to the Box Sync folder and it is automatically synced to all other devices. We use this technique for my 10X CEO group.
  • Email from Kirk in Fairfax:I am only able to download the first 25 minutes of this episode (6 MB).  Is this a problem with iTunes, or your end? I tried to download this episode from your site to my MP3 player, but can only listen live.  Can you explain how to download the podcast directly from your site? A faithful listener for more than ten years. Kirk in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for listening. I will have Andrew recreate the file. It should be uploaded by this Monday. We occasionally have this problem and have not figured out why.
  • Email from June in Fairfax:Dear Doc and Jim. I have an iPhone and frequently use group text messages to communicate with my family. However, some of my relatives are very talkative.  Is there a way that I can mute the notifications for this group text? It has become very annoying. June in  Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: To mute a group or any text message on your iPhone, First tap open iMessage and choose the message you want to mute. Then, tap the “Details” link in the top-right corner. Turn on the Do Not Disturb option. You can still read the thread; you just won’t get notifications for it. You can also click, Leave the Conversation. All members will be notified that you left and you won’t get any additional texts.
  • Email from Alicia in Alexandria:Dear Doc and Jim. I am secretary at company and all the developers us the .Net Framework for their projects. What is .NET framework? Love the show. Alicia in Alexandria.
  • Tech Talk Responds: The average person that browses the web or installs software on their computer will probably only run into the .NET name when installing specific software that requires .NET to be installed or to be updated. For programmers, on the other hand, .NET is there to make developing software easier.
  • The idea is that Microsoft package up solutions for common tasks like accessing databases or creating network connections that almost all programs will use. This allows the programmers to get a jump start on their software by being able to easily use these solutions and spend more time on their specific features.
  • Email from Ron in Tulsa:Dear Tech Talk. My laptop has very poor Wi-Fi reception. Is it possible to use USB wireless adapter with my laptop to increase my range. Love the show. Ron in Tulsa.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Yes you can use a USB wireless adapter with a laptop that has wireless already built in. Some of the reasons you might do this would be that your internal wireless isn’t working anymore or maybe you need to connect to two networks at the same time. Sometimes you have to install a driver first and other times you can just connect the USB wireless adapter and it will just work I bought the Alpha Long Range Wireless Adaptor with a 20db antenna. This adaptors is a 1000MW radio and has a very long range. The assembly cost be about $35 and it is very sensitive. Without the system, I could detect only three networks. With the setup, I could detect fifteen networks in my neighborhood.

Profiles in IT: Andrew Rubin

  • Andrew Rubin is the developer behind the Android OS for mobile devices.
  • Rubin grew up in Chappaqua, N.Y., the son of a psychologist who later founded his own direct-marketing firm, selling electronic gadgets which Rubin would try.
  • Andy Rubin attended Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY
  • He earned a BS in computer science from Utica College in New York.
  • After college he worked for Carl Zeiss, as a robot engineer and moved to Switzerland.
  • A chance encounter in the Cayman Islands brought him back to the US.
  • Walking on the beach there very early one morning in 1989, he Bill Caswell, sleeping on the beach. He had been evicted from his cottage after a fight with a girlfriend.
  • Rubin gave him a place to stay. Caswell offered him a job at Apple, which he accepted. He started Apple in 1989 as an engineer.
  • Rubin got into trouble with IT department after he reprogrammed the company’s internal phone system to make it appear as if calls were coming from the CEO.
  • In 1990, Apple spun off a unit that was exploring hand-held computing and communications devices into a separate entity called General Magic.
  • Rubin joined the new company two years later, where he thrived in total immersion.
  • He and several other engineers built loft beds above their cubicles so they could live at the office and work around the clock developing Magic Cap, an OS for handhelds.
  • It was ahead of its time. Just a handful of manufacturers and telecoms adopted it
  • When Magic Cap failed, Rubin joined Artemis Research, founded by Steve Perlman, which became WebTV and was eventually acquired by Microsoft.
  • Rubin left WebTV in 1999. He rented a retail store he called “the laboratory” in Palo Alto, populating it with robots, as a clubhouse for Rubin and his engineer friends.
  • They decided to make a device that cost less than $10 and allowed users to scan objects and perform an Internet lookup. No VCs were interested.
  • Then Rubin’s team, now called Danger Inc., added a radio receiver and transmitter. They pitched it as an Internet smartphone called the Sidekick. They got VC support.
  • In early 2002, Mr. Rubin gave a talk on the development of the Sidekick to an engineering class at Stanford. Larry Page and Sergey Brin attended the lecture. It was the first time they had met Mr. Rubin. Google was the default search engine.
  • In 2003, Rubin was ousted as CEO by the Board. Probably evil VC influence.
  • Using a domain name that he had owned for several years, Android.com, he started a new business andas assembled a small team of engineers and product planners.
  • Their goal was to design a mobile hand-set open to any and all software designers.
  • Rubin spent all his savings on that project. He called his friend Mr. Perlman from Magic Cap and told him he was broke. Perlman ultimately lent him $100K.
  • This time, VC loved the idea. But Larry Page at Google found out about the company and within weeks, Google acquired Android for an undisclosed sum in 2005.
  • He is currently VP of Engineering at Google, where he is overseeing development of Android, an open-source operating system for smartphones.
  • Rubin says Google business model was a perfect match to Android. He probably would have failed selling the software.
  • His front door has a retinal scanner. If the scanner recognizes you, the door unlocks.
  • His doorbell is a robotic arm which grips a mallet and then strikes a large gong.

Hurricane Physics

  • Dedicated to Irene, the hurricane of the moment
  • Wind and Rain
    • Air flows clockwise around a high pressure system and counter-clockwise around a low in the Northern Hemisphere.
    • Hurricanes are areas of deep low pressure, so their winds swirl counter-clockwise around the center of the storm – where the eye is located.
    • Both rotations are caused by the Coriolis force
    • Hurricanes impacting the East Coast usually have a northwesterly track. That movement affects the wind speeds felt on the ground: The winds in the northeast quadrant of the storm which blow to the north (counter-clockwise around the eye) combine with the northwesterly movement of the storm.
  • Storm Surge
    • Air  pressure presses down against ocean water at an average sea-level pressure of 1013 millibars.
    • In the eye of a hurricane, the pressure is far lower than average and doesn’t push down as hard on the water. This causes the water to rise higher than water outside the hurricane.
    • This moving hill of water carried in the center of the hurricane is known as storm surge.
    • When the hurricane makes landfall, this hill of water is carried onshore, causing flooding. If the landfall timing coincides with high tide, the flooding can be even worse.
  • Hurricanes always have the potential to spawn tornadoes, though usually weak ones. So no matter how nice it looks outside, keep an eye on the local weather station and stay indoors just to be safe!

iPhone Forensics

  • Law-enforcement experts said iPhone technology records a wealth of information that can be tapped more easily than BlackBerry and Droid devices to help police learn where you’ve been, what you were doing there and whether you’ve got something to hide.
  • “Very, very few people have any idea how to actually remove data from their phone”; said Sam Brothers, a cell-phone forensic researcher with U.S. Customs and Border Protection who teaches law-enforcement agents how to retrieve information from iPhones in criminal cases.
  • Two years ago, as iPhone sales skyrocketed, former hacker Jonathan Zdziarski decided law-enforcement agencies might need help retrieving data from the devices.
  • He wrote a 144-page book, iPhone Forensics for O’Reilly Media.
  • For example:
    • Every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it. Those screen snapshots can contain images of e-mails or proof of activities that might be incriminating.
    • iPhone photos are embedded with GEO tags and identifying information, meaning that photos posted online might not only include GPS coordinates of where the picture was taken and the serial number of the phone that took it.
    • Even more information is stored by the applications themselves, including the user’s browser history. That data is meant in part to direct custom-tailored advertisements to the user, but experts said that some of it could prove useful to police.
    • Clearing out user histories isn’t enough to clean the device of that data. With the iPhone, even if it’s in the deleted bin, it may still be in the database. Much is contained deep within the phone.
    • Most iPhone users agree to let the device locate them so they can use fully the phone’s mapping functions, as well as various global positioning system applications. The free application Urbanspoon is primarily designed to help users locate nearby restaurants. Yet the data stored there might not only help police pinpoint where a suspect was during a crime.
    • Phone call histories and text messages most useful in homicide cases.
    • The iPhone logs everything that you type in to learn autocorrect" so that it can correct a user’s typing mistakes. Apple doesn’t store that cache very securely. Someone with know-how could recover months of typing in the order in which it was typed, even if the e-mail or text it was part of has long since been deleted.
  • The courts have treated mobile phones like a within-reach container that police can search the same way they can check items in a glove box or cigarette pack.
  • However, the Ohio Supreme Court in 2009 ruled to bar warrantless searches of cell phone data. That case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Be careful what you tweet

  • Nothing said online is really private, says Bill Thompson
  • Online tools and services such as Twitter and Facebook create a social space that encourages informality, rapid responses and the sort of conversation that typically takes place between friends in contexts that are either private or public-private, like the street, pub or cafe.
  • Unfortunately, online interaction has other characteristics which are very different from those of a casual conversation in a cafe.
  • Not least the fact that many services make comments visible to large numbers of people and search engines ensure that a permanent record is kept of every inane observation, spiteful aside or potentially libelous comment on a respected public figure.
  • Tweeting in haste may leave you to repent later.

 

 

Space Elevator Update

  • A Japanese construction company, Obayashi Corporation, has been investigating the concept for a space elevator. Their researchers believe that advances in carbon nanotechnology could make a space elevator possible as soon as 2030. A Japanese construction company, Obayashi Corporation, has been investigating the concept for a space elevator. Their researchers believe that advances in carbon nanotechnology could make a space elevator possible as soon as 2030.
  • The concept for an elevator into space is almost 120 years old and was first published by the Russian father of modern rocketry Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895.
  • Advances in nanotechnology could finally produce a cable strong enough to tether an orbiting space station.
  • A space station tethered to the earth at the equator would need a cable some 96,000km long. While researchers have only produced short lengths of tough and lightweight ‘nanothreads,’ scientists say advances that would make a space elevator possible are only decades away.
  • Robotic cars with magnetic motors would take seven days to reach the space station, lifting cargoes and people into space at a fraction of the current cost.
  • According to the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC), space payloads would cost in the order of just hundreds of dollars per kilogram rather than the current $20,000 a kilogram that rocket technology costs.
  • A 2.5-inch thick cable made from carbon nanotechnology could lift the equivalent of three International Space Stations per day into orbit, according to ISEC.
  • John Badding, professor of chemistry at Penn State University, told CNN his team had made the breakthrough while examining the properties of benzene molecules and that it took 18 months of study to make sense of what the team had been seeing.
  • The experiments involved putting benzene — a liquid — under compression to form a solid material.
  • Everybody thought that the benzene molecules would link together in a way that was very disorganized, like a glassy amorphous material.
  • Instead, there was order in the benzene. That all this occurred at room temperature was a further shock to the research team.
  • They hope that the nanomaterials could be used to make the super-strong, lightweight cables that would make possible the construction of a “space elevator” which so far has existed only as a science-fiction idea.

David Burd Visit

  • The Doc, David and Jim talk about drones being sold at Seven-Eleven
  • People doing dumb things with drones
  • Google Glass and the iPhone 6.

Food Science: Chocolate

  • Cocoa have originated in the Amazon at least 4,000 years ago.
  • It was used by the Maya Culture, as early as the Sixth Century AD.
  • Maya called the cocoa tree cacahuaquchtl “tree,” and the word chocolate comes from the Maya word xocoatl which means bitter water.
  • To the Mayas, cocoa pods symbolized life and fertility.
  • Aztecs believed that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cocoa tree.
  • The use of chocolate worldwide begins with the discovery of America.
  • The Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella got its first look at the principal ingredient of chocolate when Columbus returned in triumph from America.
  • During his conquest of Mexico, Cortez found the Aztec Indians using cocoa beans in the preparation of the royal drink of the realm, “chocolatl”, meaning warm liquid.
  • In 1519, Emperor Montezuma, who reportedly drank 50 or more portions daily, served chocolatl to his Spanish guests in great golden goblets, treating it like a food for the gods. Montezuma’s chocolatl was very bitter.
  • To make the concoction more agreeable to Europeans, Cortez and added sugar.
  • It did not take long before chocolate was viewed in Europe as a healthy food.
  • In 1657 the first of many famous English Chocolate Houses appeared.
  • By 1730, chocolate had dropped in price to within the financial reach of all.
  • The invention of the cocoa press in 1828 reduced the prices even further.
  • In 1847, an English company introduced solid “eating chocolate” through the development of fondant chocolate, a smooth and velvety variety.
  • The second development occurred in 1876 in Vevey, Switzerland, when Daniel Peter devised a way of adding milk to the chocolate, creating milk chocolate.
  • It was in the pre-revolutionary New England — 1765, to be exact — that the first chocolate factory was established in the US.