Show of 02-04-2017

Tech Talk

4 February 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 (2ndGeneration) – Only supports 1K video, costs $40, supports multiple streaming services, controlled by cell phone.
    • AppleTV (4thGeneration) – 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

  • Rasmus Lerdorf, Creator of PHP
  • PHP – PHP Hypertext Preprocessor
  • Software engineer and Apache Web Server team member
  • First part of PHP was developed for his personal use in 1994
  • He used it for his personal web page and wrote as a CGI application
  • CGI (Common Gateway Interface) was a scripting language for server-side operations using Perl.
  • He released Version 2 which included a Form Interpreter for parsing SQL-queries
  • By 1997 PHP was being used on 50,000 web sites worldwide.
  • He turned it over to a core development team – “a benevolent junta”
  • Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutman, two Israeli programmers, developed PHP3 and PHP4.
  • Growth of PHP Usage
    • By 1998, 100,000 unique domains used PHP
    • By 1999, 1,000,000 unique domains used PHP
    • Today more than 15 million domains use PHP
  • PHP had become another open source success.
    • PHP is easy to learn
    • Allows you to create a database driven web site quickly and easily.
    • PHP5 is the current version, which seeks to incorporated object oriented programming methods.
  • Conclusion: Rasmus Lerdorf was a man with a vision who wanted to share it with the world via open source.

Action Plan for Killer Asteroid

  • Paper presented at AIAA Planetary Defense Conference, GW, March 7-9, 2007
  • Presented by Russell L. Schweickart , Chairman, Committee on NEOs, Association of Space Explorers, a professional body for astronauts and cosmonauts.
  • Association of Space Explorers web site (space-explorers.org)
  • Proposed draft UN treaty to determine what would have to be done if a giant asteroid was on a collision course with Earth is to be drawn up this year.
  • The NEO treaty group will have its first meeting in Strasbourg in May this year. It is hoped the final document will be presented to the UN in 2009.
  • The UN draft treaty would establish who should be in charge in the event of an asteroid heading towards Earth, who would pay for relief efforts and the policies that should be adopted.
  • The threat of an asteroid hitting the Earth is being taken more and more seriously.
    • NASA tracks all objects greater than 700m (2,300ft) in diameter.
    • NASA is monitoring 127 near-Earth objects (NEO) that have a possibility of hitting the Earth.
    • The agency’s new goal is to track all objects greater than 70m (230ft) in diameter.
    • NASA estimates that there are about 20,000 potentially threatening asteroids yet to be discovered.
  • How could we deflect the asteroid?
    • Hitting the asteroid with a spacecraft or rocket to deflect its orbit.
    • Other less destructive proposals include a "gravity tug" that would simply hover over the asteroid and use gravity as a "towline" to change its path.
    • Any decision to deflect an NEO could come with its own set of conundrums for the UN, as changing its path may simply alter its final target.

Computer Games to Smithsonian

  • When Henry Lowood, curator of the History of Science and Technology Collections at Stanford University, started preserving video games and video game artifacts in 1998.
  • Proposal to archive computer games was submitted to the Library of Congress in September 2006 by a consortium made up of Stanford, the University of Maryland and the University of Illinois.
  • Announced at Annual Game Developments Convention
  • Ten most important video games of all time:Spacewar (1962), Star Raiders (1979), Zork (1980), Tetris (1985), SimCity (1989), Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990), Civilization I/II (1991), Doom (1993), the Warcraft series (beginning 1994) and Sensible World of Soccer (1994).
  • Almost all of the games on the list represent the beginning of a genre still vital in the video game industry.
    • Spacewar, for example, created by a group of early computer programmers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was the first multiplayer, competitive game, and the first action game too.
    • The first threeWarcraft games represent the introduction of real-time strategy overlaid on a narrative
    • Zorkintroduced the world to the adventure game.
    • SimCityhelped establish the genre known as god games
    • Super Mario Bros. 3, said the game was important for its nonlinear play and new features like the ability to move both backward and forward.
  • The hardware that games are played on changes so frequently that there are already thousands that can be played only through computer programs called emulators.

Rick Shurtz’s All-Time Favorite Games – The Myst Franchise

  • Myst – Innovative Mystery puzzle game
  • Riven – Sequel to Myst
  • Myst III Exile – A Perfect Place for Revenge
  • Myst IV — Revelation
  • Myst V — End of Ages
  • Myst Uru – Ages Beyond Myst
  • The Myst creative team consisted of the brothers Rand and Robyn Miller, with sound designer Chris Brandkamp and graphical artist Chuck Carter.
  • Robyn Miller designed the Ages of Myst Island, Stoneship and Channelwood, while Carter was responsible for the Selenitic and Mechanical Ages, as well as D’ni (K’veer).