Show of 01-07-2017

Tech Talk

January 7, 2017

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Jim in Michigan: Dear Doc and Jim. I recently got an iPhone7 and am having trouble syncing it to the Bluetooth in my car. I have tried deleting the previous connections, but nothing works. I tried to do a forced reboot of my phone by pressing the power button and home button at the same time, but that does not work. What are my options? Love the show, Jim in Michigan
  • Tech Talk Responds: When I have problems with Bluetooth connections, I turn off Bluetooth and turn it back on, delete previous connections, and then do a forced reboot. I also make certain that it is not connecting to another device by accident.
  • To force reset an iPhone, users previously had to hold down the Power button and the Home button at the same time until the screens turns black and the Apple logo appears. However, to reset the iPhone7, hold down the Power button on the right side of the device and the Volume Down button on the left side at the same time.
  • Email from Lacy in San Francisco: Dear Tech Talk. I love to play games on my Xbox. I can either buy new games with CDs or download them. The cost is the same. What do you recommend as the best option? Enjoy the podcast here in San Francisco. Lacy
  • Tech Talk Responds: Discs can get scratched, lost, cracked, stolen, and any of a dozen other things that read like a list of disasters not covered by your car insurance. They’re fragile and expensive. If you lose a disc, you lose the ability to play that game. To offset this, some games stores have offer “disc insurance” for a few dollars, so if something bad happens to your game, they’ll replace it free of charge.
  • With downloads, however, your games are totally safe, with or without insurance. They’re tied to your PlayStation Network or Xbox Live account. It doesn’t matter what happens to your console’s hard drive, you can always re-download your games.
  • The biggest thing that physical discs still have going for them is the secondhand market. You can’t sell, trade in or lend a download; it’s yours forever and ever, whether you like it or not.
  • Email from Lynn in Ohio: Dear Tech Talk. I recently started to use Snapchat to send photos to my friends. These photos just disappear quickly. Can they be saved by the person receiving them, or are they really gone. Enjoy the podcast here in Ohio. Lynn
  • Tech Talk Responds: Snapchat is an ephemeral messaging or photo app, which means the messages disappear. It’s now more popular than Twitter and Pinterest, with only Facebook and Instagram having more users daily. The difference is that most of Snapchat’s users are millennials and teens.
  • When you open Snapchat and take the “Snap” and then set a timer for between one and ten seconds and hit send. The recipient is notified that you’ve sent him a Snap. As soon as he opens it, he’ll only be able to see it for ten seconds. After that, it’s gone. He could take a screenshot, but if he did, I’d get a notification from Snapchat telling me that he’d done so. So it really is not that temporary. Beware of the kind of photos that you may send.
  • You can also send short video Snaps and disappearing text messages with Snapchat. A video Snap can be up to ten seconds long. Instead of using a timer, Snapchat’s text messages vanish as soon as the person reading them leaves the chat.
  • Although Snapchat’s appeal is mainly that everything is temporary, sometimes people use it to record things that they actually want to keep. Snapchat Memories is a way for you to privately save your own Snaps and Stories so you can view or share them again later.
  • Your Snaps remain on their servers until all recipients have opened them. If one recipient doesn’t open the Snap for a week, the Snap will stay on their servers for that week. If a Snap isn’t opened for 30 days, it expires and is deleted. The safest thing to do is to assume that anything you send on Snapchat is on their servers for a month.
  • Email from Richard in Kilmarnock, VA: Dear Tech Talk. I just got a new TV and want to watch moves over the Internet. It is not a SmartTV and does not have any Wi-Fi access. What are my options? Richard in Kilmarnock, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: You, of course, need to Wi-Fi at your house to connect to first. Then you will need to plug a stream device into one of the HDMI ports on your TV. You have several options here. Here are three on my favorites.
    • Roku 4 – Supports 4K video, costs $130 dollars, supports multiple streaming services, remote control.
    • Google Chromecast (2nd Generation) – Only supports 1K video, costs $40, supports multiple streaming services, controlled by cell phone.
    • AppleTV (4th Generation) – Only support 1K video, costs $150 (32K) or $200 (64K0), supports apps and multiple steaming services, tightly integrated with iPhone for screen sharing.
  • Email from Trish in Fairfax: I would like to share photos with my family and don’t want to use Facebook because I don’t trust it security. What are my other options? Trish in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: Here are some other solid photo sharing options to make it easy to share photos with friends and family.
  • Flickr — Flickr remains one of the highest profile photo sharing sites on the internet, and with good reason: the entire service is oriented around high quality photo sharing, and the free tier of the service has a lot to offer. A free Flickr account will get you 1TB of storage (more than even most prolific shutterbugs could fill up in years of shooting) as well as flexible privacy settings. Photos are uploaded and stored at full resolution, and you can easily configure your account so the viewers are able to download the full resolution photos (or at home printing or sending them off to a photo service). Your friends and family can either sign up for a free Flickr account (and you can use their Flickr username to manage their access to your photos) or you can share individual photos, albums, or even your entire photo stream through a guest user pass delivered to them via email. Be sure to pay attention to privacy settings before uploading your personal photos. Best for: Photography enthusiasts who want to mix hobby and family time.
  • Google Photos — Previously known as Picasa Web Albums, Google Photos is a pretty appealing option thanks to the unlimited storage for photos under 16 megapixels (which make up the vast majority of snapshots taken by home photographers) and ease of sharing. Your photos are uploaded in their full resolution and once shared with friends and family (via a mobile number or email address), they can be downloaded in the same resolution. Furthermore, you can give those same people upload rights to your album which makes it useful for gathering together all, say, the family Christmas party photos in one place from all the different photographers in the group. Best for: People with lots of photos on their PCs and phones.
  • Amazon Photos — If you’re one of the 63 million Amazon Prime subscribers, you’ve got a solid photo backup and sharing system right at your fingertips (even if you didn’t realize it). Amazon Photos gives you unlimited full-resolution photo backup, the ability to add up to five family members to their “Family Vault” to collect and share photos, and—like Google Photos—you can also share individual photos or albums by email or a shareable link, no Amazon account needed. Best for: People with Prime accounts that want to maximize the value they get out of their Prime Subscription and offer easy photo pooling for family members.
  • Photobucket — For readers who are most interested in sharing photos in a way that makes it simple for the recipients to order prints, Photobucket is a worthwhile option. While it’s a bit light on storage in the free tier (you only get 2GB free plus an 8GB bonus if you install the Photobucket mobile app), it works well as a place to put your best pictures. What Photobucket lacks in terms of storage and extra features (like albums multiple family members can contribute to), it absolutely makes up for in ease of use for physical prints. Your family members will be able to not only easily download the original images without an account (just using the shared link to your password protected album), but also order both prints and even photo products. If grandma wants a mug with Junior’s face on it, she won’t have to bug you to make that happen. Check privacy settings before uploading. Best for: People who want a photo storage/printing service that allows the user and guests to download full resolution photos.
  • Shutterfly — Shutterfly offers unlimited photo storage—the promise to never delete a photo unless the customer deletes it is a prominent part of their business model. Not only can you easily share albums with your friends and family through the same method we’ve seen repeatedly throughout this list—emailing them a shared link—but you can also create a format website for your shared photos with a vanity url like fitzpatrickphotos.shutterfly.com. The only downside to the custom site route is that the only way to make it private is if all users have a Shutterfly account. it’s simple, regardless of which sharing method you use, for your family members to easily order both prints and any of the numerous photo products from Shutterfly. Best for: People who want unlimited photo storage combined with a very large print/product marketplace for ease of ordering.

Profiles in IT: Evan Thomas Spiegel

  • Evan Thomas Spiegel is best known as co-founder and CEO the social media company Snap Inc. (formerly known as Snapchat).
  • Evan was born June 4, 1990 in Los Angeles, CA. Spiegel grew up in the Pacific Palisades. He is the older son of two Ivy League-educated lawyers.
  • He attended the exclusive Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica.
  • Spiegel took design classes at the Otis College of Art and Design while in high school and at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena the summer before college.
  • Spiegel enrolled in Stanford, his father’s alma mater, to study product design, where he met Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy.
  • The three were members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Spiegel was social chair.
  • While at Stanford, a friend of the family let Spiegel sit in on a graduate-level class on entrepreneurship and venture capital. In that class he heard talks from tech luminaries like Google CEO Eric Schmidt and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley.
  • Spiegel befriended Intuit founder Scott Cook after he gave a talk at one class. Cook ended up letting Spiegel work on a product Intuit planned to release in India.
  • Spiegel developed Picaboo, a disappearing messaging concept, as a class project.
  • In 2012, Spiegel dropped out of Stanford just a few credits short of graduation to co-found Snapchat with Robert Murphy and Reggie Brown. It was headquartered in his dad’s house. It was later moved to offices on the Venice boardwalk.
  • In 2013, he rejected an offer of $3B to buy Snapchat by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2013. Facebook tried to clone Snapchat with a failed app called Poke.
  • In November 2014, Spiegel moved out of his dad’s house and bought his own house.
  • In 2014, emails from Spiegel’s days at Stanford were leaked. In expletive-laden messages to members of his fraternity, Spiegel made offensive jokes about women. Once the emails were publicized, Spiegel issued an apology.
  • The Snapchat’s user base and valuation continued to swell. After Snapchat completed a big funding round in June 2015, Spiegel bought himself a Ferrari.
  • Spiegel started dating supermodel Miranda Kerr during the summer of 2015.
  • In May 2016, the couple purchased a 7,164-square-foot house that had been owned by Harrison Ford for $12 million. They were engaged in June 2016.
  • He’s a licensed helicopter pilot who also enjoys flower arranging. His signature shirt is a James Perse white V-neck, which retails for $60.
  • In September 2016, Spiegel renamed Snapchat to Snap Inc. and called it a “camera company.” He also unveiled camera-equipped sunglasses called Spectacles.
  • He intends to issue an IPO in 2017 with a $20 billion valuation.
  • The 26-year-old has been named the youngest self-made billionaire in the world by Forbes for the past two years. He has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion.

Thermal Imaging Camera for Smartphones

  • Flir One, a thermal camera attachment for iPhones and Android phones.
  • The new Flir One features a new image processor and higher resolution visual camera, and is cheaper than its 2015 predecessor — just $199 instead of the old price of $250.
  • Flir Pro is a more ruggedized version of the Flir One that comes with a higher resolution thermal sensor. The Flir Pro will run $399.
  • Thermal cameras are not a thing that everyone needs, but they’re fun to use and are the kind of thing you can find uses for if you have one. That Flir is making them more affordable, more compatible, and easier to use can only be a good thing.

Patterned clothing to prevent facial recognition

  • The Guardian reports Berlin-bound artist and independent researcher Adam Harvey is developing a new technology which aims to overwhelm and confuse computer vision systems by feeding them false information.
  • The Hyperface Project, as Harvey calls it, revolves around printing deceitful patterns onto attire and textiles with the purpose of rendering your face illegible to surveillance systems.
  • The method essentially dodges facial recognition by presenting computer vision devices with an overload of patterns closely resembling facial features like eyes and mouths.
  • As Harvey explains, the Hyperface technology ultimately prevents computers from scanning your face by inundating “an algorithm with what it wants, oversaturating an area with faces to divert the gaze of the computer vision algorithm.”
  • The patterns, which Harvey developed in collaboration with interaction studio Hyphen-Labs, can then be worn to shield off the areas facial recognition systems seek to interpret.
  • You can also wear a pair of these 22 cent sunglasses to achieve the same result.

Putin ordered campaign to influence US election, say intel agencies

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking attacks and propaganda campaigns leading up to the 2016 elections, US intelligence agencies said in a declassified report Friday.
  • What’s more, the Russian efforts had a very specific purpose: shake faith in US democracy and undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
  • The report, which was issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, summarizes the findings from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency.
  • It’s the fullest public account to date from the US intelligence community on Russia’s role in several hacks during the presidential campaign. It also resolves weeks of speculating about whether the three agencies reached the same conclusions. The report shows the CIA, FBI and NSA unified in the belief that Putin was directly involved in the influence campaign and aimed to boost Trump’s chances in the election.
  • The report also talks about “Guccifer 2.0,” an online persona claiming to be a lone Romanian hacker who hacked the Democratic National Committee. Documents leaked by Guccifer 2.0 were traced by intelligence officials to the Russian intelligence agency called the GRU, the report says.
  • The agencies believe the GRU “relayed” emails and documents it stole from the DNC and “senior democratic officials” to WikiLeaks.
  • The declassified version of the report doesn’t contain much supporting evidence, however. Its authors acknowledge that fact, saying the spy agencies need to protect their sources.