Show of 07-01-2017

Tech Talk Radio
July 1, 2017

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Segments replayed from previous shows

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Steve: A few comments of the show. The idea of towing an iceberg from the arctic/Antarctic to where it’s needed is quite old. I first read about a in “Engineers Dreams” by Willy Ley. Also, Charles de Gaulle took France out of NATO in the ’60s. Very respectfully, Steve
  • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for the feedback. The significant difference is that this time the UAE has actually scheduled the trip for 2018. It is much closer to actually happening now. Thanks for the history correcting regarding France.
  • Email from Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz, What’s going on with Verizon & it’s email functions? Understand Verizon bought AOL & Verizon is ceasing Verizon email. So are Verizon email holders automatically transferred to AOL? Some of my friends use Verizon email. Only a couple have changed their email addresses & they are not AOL. So how long before the others’ Verizon email addresses are cancelled? Great show with lots of good info. Thanks, Arnie Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tech Talk Responds: According to Verizon’s FAQ, over the next several weeks Verizon be notifying all customers who have a Verizon Email address that they are preparing to leave the email business. However not all customers will be notified at the same time. All customers will be given two options on how to handle their email going forward, including the ability to keep their verizon.net email address. Each customer will be provided their own date and timeline to take action to ensure their access to email is not interrupted. Other than this change, no other Verizon services will be impacted.
  • If you take no action, you will no longer be able to send or receive email using your verizon.net email address. In addition, you will lose your current contacts, calendar(s) and email. Also, after 180 days of inactivity Verizon will delete the account. Doing so helps us reduce our server storage needs and electrical consumption. If you want to keep your verizon.net email address, you must follow the migration process.
  • Email from Frustrated in Burke: Dear Doc and Jim. HELP ME PLEASE! I have an iPhone 6 Plus and just noticed how many webpages I have open in the background. I started trying to close them all but I felt like they went on forever.  Help help.  Is there a way I can close all of them at the same time. Frustrated in Burke.
  • Tech Talk Responds: In iOS 10, Safari supports an unlimited number of tabs. However, if you find yourself with too many tabs open and want to start fresh, there’s a shortcut to close all your tabs at once. Prior to iOS 10, you had to close each tab separately. If you have tons of tabs open, that can be very time consuming. We’ll show you how you can now close all your open tabs in Safari at once in iOS 10. While viewing a webpage or the Favorites page, tap and hold on the tabs button in the lower-right corner of the screen. To close all the tabs, tap “Close X Tabs” on the dialog box that displays, where “X” is the number of tabs you currently have open. This new feature is very useful.
  • Email from Tuc in Virginia Beach: Dear Doc and Jim. I have a small Yacht and cruise the Chesapeake Bay. What are my best options for Internet access while I am cruising? We like to surf the web will on the water. Listen to your podcast while on the boat. Tuc in Virginia Beach
  • Tech Talk Responds: You have several options. If you stay close to the shoreline (less than three miles), you use range extending antennas and amplifiers for both Wi-Fi and Cellular. Units that are more expensive may extend your range to five miles. If you move to blue ocean, you only have two choices: satellite (most expensive, around $4K with $50 monthly subscription, up to $30K) and single side-band (SSB) radio (very low bandwidth, but cheap). SSB Radio is around $600, but the installation could be up to $2,000. You will need a modem ($300) to send email over SSB.
  • SSB has a range up to a few thousand miles, requires a tuned antenna, and patience to select the right frequency. All that’s required is a valid Ship Station license and a lifetime Restricted Radiotelephone Operator’s permit. A marine SSB system operates on a marine radio spectrums called shortwave, medium frequency and high frequency (2 MHz-26 MHz). Lower frequencies have shorter ranges because they don’t bounce as well. The higher frequencies can propagate up to four thousand miles. It is an important blue water safety backup.
  • Once you get the signal on-board, you can use a Wi-Fi router to provide access to multiple devices at the same time. In your case you only need Wi-Fi and Cellular boosters because you are always within 5 miles from shore while cruising the Chesapeake Bay. Here is a suggested equipment suite.
  • Coastal Marine WiFi Anntena connected via Ethernet cable to the POE device that comes with it ($465)
  • Peplink Pepwave Surf SOHO MK3 Router with 1 USB 4G LTE/3G WAN port with automatic failover ($200). Excellent iOS management software.
  • Wilson Electronics Marine Dual Band Cellular High Gain Antenna mounted connected via low-loss coax cable ($99).
  • weBoost Drive 4G-X Cell phone Signal Booster mounted inside the boat ($479).
  • Aircard Sierra 340U USB Modem with unlocked SIM ($199). The USB modem/dongle is then connected to the Wi-Fi Router failover USB port.
  • The last piece of this solution was a SIM card, which you will able to acquire through your cellular provider. You can probably add another SIM card to your existing cell phone plan for an additional $10/month and share the data you already have. If you into another country, you can either buy a local pay-as-you-go SIM card or roam at higher rates with your provider.
  • If you want a turn key operation (with reduced capability, but still pretty good), you can use the Wirie Pro, for WiFi and 2G/3G/4G/LTE cellular. ($699).
  • Email from Joy in Sterling, Virginia: Dear Doc and Jim. I use incognito mode in my web browser to keep my online activities private. I mentioned that to a friend and he said it wasn’t private at all. If he’s right … what’s the point? Love the podcast. Joy in Sterling, VA.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Incognito affects only the information stored in your computer. Information stored or seen elsewhere is completely unaffected by Incognito.
    • Incognito disables extensions.Browser extensions are one way your activities can be exposed, so disabling them by default makes a lot of sense. You can then choose which extensions you trust.
    • Incognito deletes history.The primary function of Incognito mode is that it doesn’t save any history (websites, downloads, searches, cookies, cache).
    • The idea is that once you exit an Incognito window, no trace of the activity that happened within that window is left on your computer.
  • Incognito does not hide what you are doing from others. Incognito only affects the data that is kept on your PC. The websites you visit know about you, your IP address, your history, etc. If you want anonymous browsing you will have to use a VPN (most famously the Onion Router).

Profiles in IT: Fathers of the Internet (originally aired – 7/7/2007)

  • Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn
  • The first wide area network was the ARPANET (proposed in 1967). Its goal was to connect various mainframe computers for the purpose of time sharing resources.
  • In the early seventies, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) developed two other packet switched technologies, one for synchronous satellites (SATNET) and the other for ground-based packet radio (PRNET).
  • Neither of these networks could communicate through the ARPANET.
  • Kahn’s decision to link these networks as separate and independent networks resulted in the creation of new internetworking technologies.
  • Kahn collaborated with Cerf on both the protocols and the architecture of this Internetworking project.
  • Out of this collaboration was borne Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and ultimately the Internet.
  • This protocol would be divided into two software “layers” with TCP in charge of connection management and reliability and IP in charge of packet delivery.
  • DARPA contracted with Cerf’s group to develop the initial protocol design, with BBN and University of London to build implementations of the protocol.
  • This program connected ARPANET, SATNET, and PRNET.
  • The ARPANET was converted to TCP/IP as it standard protocol on January 1, 1983.
  • In the mid-1980s, the National Science Foundation (NSF) commissioned a high performance network based on TCP/IP internetworking architecture of the ARPANET.
  • This network would not be used or commercial purposes.
  • In 1995, NSF ceased its support for the NSFNET. The Internet, as we know it today, was born.
  • The Internet, in its current configuration, is global and not controlled by any country, but rather by an elected group within ISOC.
  • The Internet is supported by the fees that individuals pay to their Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • The ISPs pay for their usage of the Internet backbone, which is operated by the Telcos
  • It works because everyone voluntarily supports the standards defined by Internet Engineering Task Force, which is run by the non-profit Internet Society which was founded by Cerf and Kahn.

Hot Fuel Contains Less Energy than Cold Fuel (originally aired – 7/7/2007)

  • Gasoline expands as temperatures rise. That means motorists get less energy from a gallon of so-called “hot fuel” than from a cold one.
  • Hundreds of consumers in more than a dozen states who are suing oil companies and gas retailers. The lawsuits allege that higher temperatures of gasoline cost consumers between 3 and 9 cents a gallon extra at the pump.
  • The litigation seeks to force the oil industry to install gas pumps that have temperature-compensation equipment.
  • The consumers’ attorneys say that in Canada temperature-adjustment equipment already has been installed at the gas pump.
  • My Calculation
    • Volumetric Coefficient of Thermal Expansion: 950×10-6 [1/T(Celsius)]
    • Delta T = (90-60)F = 30 F (or 16.66 C)
    • Cost per Gallon = $3.00
    • Over charge is 4.75 cents per gallon
  • However, gas is stored in underground tanks (20 feet deep) and there is almost no temperature fluctuation.

The Love Machine

  • Web Address:http://www.lovemachineinc.com/lovemachine.php
  • What is it?
    • Crowd-sourced review and bonus system
    • Eliminate 90% of management time spent on reviewing performance
    • Greatly increase morale
    • Evaluate employees more accurately
    • Know much more about what your company is actually doing
  • How It Works
    • All employees, using email or a webpage, can send short messages recognizing anyone else for any reason
    • Everyone can see the contents of all the messages, as well as various statistical summaries
    • Performance review consists of selecting those messages from others that you feel best represent you
    • Employees are empowered to give away a bonus pool to each other, using an audited but anonymous process
  • Why it works
    • The basic unit of review (‘love’) can be collected in less than 10 seconds and is fun to do
    • The collective opinion of everyone is the highest quality review of a person
    • The absence of positive feedback is a more effective critique of performance than any constructive/negative feedback people will ever be willing to give.
    • Empowering employees to evaluate and bonus each other creates a culture of trust with far greater benefits than risks
    • Interesting employment policy too
    • We are also a different kind of company.
    • Instead of interviewing to work here, you just get to work.
  • If you’d like to join our team, first sign up at the worklist, where you can see and bid on the jobs we need done, then enter our live workroom and talk to other team members!
  • Our first products are also now available for beta users. We’d be happy to come and help you improve your own company’s culture and productivity.

Website of the Week: 99Designs.com

  • Web Address:http://www.99designs.com
  • Web-enabled and crowd-sourced design
  • Create a “design contest”, where designers compete to create a design you love.
  • Post your design project
  • Launch your design contest — Create a design brief which is simply a clear outline of what you need. Post this brief to 99designs and set your prize amount.
  • Collaborate with the designers — Designers then submit concepts to compete for your prize. Be sure to provide continual feedback to help the designers deliver a concept you love!
  • Choose your favorite design — At the completion of your contest, you’ll need to pick your favorite design and award the prize. You’ll then receive the final design along with copyright to the original art work.

Food Science: Why is Fish White? (originally aired 7/12/2008)

  • There are two types of protein myosin that be found in muscle
  • Slow fibers
    • Slow fibers burn fats to provide energy.
    • These muscles need oxygen to operate.
    • Slow fibers are suited for working continuously.
  • Fast fibers
    • Fast fibers burn glycogen and do not need oxygen.
    • Fast fibers do not need myoglobin and are always white.
    • Fast fibers can only operate in short bursts.
    • Fibers are short and fall apart when cooked.
  • Land animals need to support their own weight and hence must have slow fibers.
  • Fish swim in busts and are supported by water and can be by with fast fibers.
  • Sharks which must continuously are an exception.

Games: Man versus Computer (originally aired – 7/28/2007)

Chess ? Computer wins usually

  • In chess, checkers and backgammon, every contest starts the same way, then evolves through an enormous, but finite, number of possible states according to a consistent set of rules.
  • With enough computing power, a computer could simply build a tree with a branch representing every possible future move in the game, then choose the one that leads most directly to victory.
  • That’s essentially the strategy IBM’s Deep Blue computer used to defeat chess champion Gary Kasparov in their famous 1997 match.
  • No computer can calculate every single possible move in a chess game, but today’s best chess programs can see an astounding 18 moves ahead.

Checkers ? Computer will never lose. Best move always known.

  • After 18-and-a-half years and sifting through 500 billion billion (a five followed by 20 zeroes) checkers positions, Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer and colleagues have built a checkers-playing computer program that cannot be beaten.
  • Completed in late April this year, the program, Chinook, may be played to a draw but will never be defeated.
  • The results of this research are published today in the academic journal Science.
  • With the help of some top-level checkers players, Schaeffer programmed heuristics (“rules of thumb”) into a computer software program that captured knowledge of successful and unsuccessful checkers moves.
  • Then he and his team let the program run, while they painstakingly monitored, fixed, tweaked, and updated it as it went.
  • An average of 50 computers with more than 200 running at peak times were used every day to compute the knowledge necessary to complete Chinook.
  • If Chinook’s opponent also plays perfectly the game would end in a draw.

Poker ? Man still in the lead barely

  • Phil Laak and Ali Eslami, two poker players from Los Angeles ranked as the world’s best, prevailed against a program named Polaris by just 570 points in the fourth and final game in the match.
  • Rows of weary-looking computer scientists and a few spectators watched the grueling poker battle as it stretched on until 11 pm last Tuesday.
  • When the humans won, the room erupted in cheers.
  • The previous three games over two days resulted in one draw and one win each for humans and the machine.
  • Darse Billings, a one-time professional poker player, was lead architect of the Polaris team at the University of Alberta.
  • Polaris showed scientists that it is possible for a computer to do well at the essentially psychological game of poker.

Service of the Week: Slydial (Originally aired – 7/26/2008)

  • But a free new phone service called Slydial might make it easier to get through awkward moments without actually having to talk to anyone.
  • Slydial lets you connect directly with another person’s cell phone voice mail by bypassing the traditional ringing process that often results.
  • You are guaranteed that the other person will not pick up.
  • Users call (267) SLY-DIAL from either a cell phone or a landline, and are prompted to enter another person’s cell phone number.
  • The service is free.
  • You must listen to on ad before being connection to voicemail.