Show of 11-04-2017

Tech Talk

November 4, 2017

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Jim in Bowie: Hi Dr. Shurtz and Jim, I just bought a new Windows 10 computer. I will just be using it for email, web browsing and word processing (no gaming). Maybe some occasional video viewing. I am replacing a several year old computer that was originally Windows 7, but which was upgraded to Windows 10. I have Norton Internet Security and Malwarebytes on the old computer, and have been using Thunderbird for email and Firefox for web browsing (although Chrome and Microsoft Edge are also installed). At work I use Microsoft Outlook for email and Internet Explorer for web browsing. What would you recommend for security programs, email software and web browser for my new computer? I am willing to switch to different programs from what I am using now, if the new programs are better in terms of security and efficiency. I realize that the only reason I am currently using Thunderbird and Firefox on my home computer is those were the most available and popular programs when I first bought a personal computer for home use many years ago. Jim from Bowie, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: Chrome and Microsoft Edge have emerged as fast and secure web browsers. Both have consistently scored high on security tests and rendition accuracy. As far as email is concerned, I am partial to Gmail. It it’s spam detector is outstanding and it has been quite secure since it uses https throughout. I have implemented two-factor authentication. My other email is my work account using Microsoft Exchange. I have included both accounts in the Microsoft Mail program, so checking them is very simple.
  • As far as anti-virus, I don’t like heavy and slow software systems. I am using Sophos Anti-Virus on my computer, which is the system used by Stratford University.
  • I like the recent review of the Best free antivirus software by Tom’s Hardware Guide. Top of the list was Avast. Avast bought its rival AVG last year, and the two companies’ malware-detection engines have been merged, with remarkable improvements. Avast Free Antivirus already has a friendly interface, a nearly imperceptible system impact and useful extra features, including a password manager and a network scanner. They recommend Avast Free Antivirus without reservation. They also noted that Windows Defender, which comes free with MS Windows, is an excellent addition with another AV program.
  • In the paid category, PC Magazine has selected have as five as Editor’s choice for 2017. They include:
    • McAfee ($19.99)
    • Norton by Symantec ($19.99)
    • Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus ($18.99)
    • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus ($24.00)
    • Kaspersky Antivirus ($29.99). Russian hacking may be a problem here.
  • Email from Peter in Dallas: Dear Doc and Jim. I recently heard that location data is stored in my digital pictures. I upload many pictures to the Internet. How can I get rid of this information before upload? Enjoy the show. Peter in Dallas.
  • Tech Talk Responds: How to Scrub GPS Data from Your Photos
  • GPS data is embedded in the EXIF data (Exchangeable image file format) of our photographs. So beware your location can be discovered easily. The good news is that when you upload an image to a majority of popular social media sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), the EXIF data (where location info can hide) is automatically deleted. But can you really trust someone else? Deleting it yourself is the safest way to go.
  • You can make sure any location services are off when you’re taking pictures with your phone or camera. If this is turned off, location info is not attached to the image.
  • To delete the data on an iPhone, you can use the ViewExif app ($0.99). Once you’ve downloaded ViewExif, open Photos and select which image(s) you want to share. You should be able to see ViewExif’s snowflake-like icon. Tap on the icon and you should see the image’s metadata. Click on the share icon in the upper left and a prompt should show up, giving you the choice to save or share without metadata, or to share with the metadata.
  • For the the Android phone, you can download the free Photo Exif Editor from the Google Play store. Once it’s downloaded, open and click on the ‘Photos’ icon. Browse to the image that you want to scrub. Click on the image, and then click on the ‘Remove Exif’ button in the upper right. A new screen should pop up with all of the removable metadata. To remove GPS information, check the ‘Geolocation’ box, and then hit ‘Save.’
  • Email from Tom in Kilmarnock: Dear Doc and Jim. I have heard about Wi-Fi calling and don’t understand it. What is it? How can I use it? Will my iPhone support it? Enjoy the show. Tom in Kilmarnock, VA.
  • Tech Talk Responds: If you are on a carrier that supports it, Wi-Fi calling is a great feature to have. It will allow your smartphone to use the best connection in your house to make and receive calls and text messages. It also allows for higher quality audio, and it is perfect if you do not get good signal in your house. It is also very convenient when travelling outside of the country because you can make free calls back home using the hotel Wi-Fi.
  • To activate it on an iPhone. Go to Settings/Phone/Wi-Fi Calling. Turn on Wi-Fi Calling on this Phone. I also turn on Prefer Wi-Fi While Roaming. You will need to set up your emergency information for 911. Just put in your current home address. Your carrier will have to enable this feature (which is free). For instance, I logged into my Verizon account and enabled with feature. It only took a few minutes.
  • To activate on an Android phone. Pull down the notification shade and long-press the Wi-Fi icon to enter Wi-Fi settings. Scroll to the bottom and select “Wi-Fi Preferences”. Tap “Advanced”. Select Wi-Fi Calling and flip the switch to “On”. Most modern Android phones should support Wi-Fi calling, but it can be hit and miss.
  • The four major carriers support Wi-Fi calling —Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. The last to come onboard was Verizon.
  • Just because your carrier and/or phone doesn’t technically support Wi-Fi Calling natively doesn’t mean you can’t use another form of VoIP. Here are a few of the most popular ones:
  • Facebook Messenger
    • Google Hangouts (you’ll need the Hangouts Dialer app)
    • Google Voice
    • Google Duo
    • Skype (Skype out costs money)
    • Viber (Viber out costs money)
  • It’s also worth noting that these services will also work with mobile data, so you don’t have to be on Wi-Fi to use them.

Profiles in IT: Nii Narku Quaynor

  • Nii Narku Quaynor has been referred to as the father of the Internet in Africa for his unwavering commitment over two decades.
  • Nii Quaynor was born in 1949 in Accra, Ghana, 1949
  • He graduated from Achimota School (elementary school) and Adisadel College (high school), both in Ghana.
  • He left Ghana shortly after the coup that overthrew the President.
  • He arrived at Dartmouth College in 1969 at the peak of the civil rights movement.
  • He received a BS in Engineering from the Thayer School of Engineering in 1973.
  • He received an MS in Computer Science (1974) and PhD in Computer Science (1977), both from the State University of New York at StonyBrook.
  • In 1978, he was hired as a Senior Software Engineer Manager at the DEC.
  • As one of the first PhDs in computer science on the African continent, and the first in Ghana, he felt obligated to briefly return and establish a department of computer science at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in 1979.
  • In 1994 in left DEC and returned to Africa. Nelson Mandela hd steered his focus towards achieving “techno-liberation”. He believed that the lack of technical know-how has literally self-colonized Africa.
  • That same year, he established the first internet service provider in Ghana and West Africa, operated by Network Computer Systems.
  • He then assisted in expansion of the Internet throughout sub-Saharan Africa, overcoming many political obstacles aimed a controlling the flow of information.
  • He helped set up critical organizations to ensure the success of those connections, such as the African Network Operators Group (AfNOG).
  • He introduced Value Added Networks in the region through the introduction of the SWIFT, Internet and Commerce networks, and was founding chairman of AfriNIC, the African numbers registry.
  • He was the first African to be elected to the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and served as an at-large director of ICANN for the African region from 2000 to 2003.
  • Quaynor is a member of the UN Advisory Group on ICT, member of the ITU Telecom Board, Chair and of the OAU Internet Task Force, President of the Internet Society of Ghana.
  • In 2007, the Internet Society awarded him the Jonathan B. Postel Service Award for his pioneering work in advancing the Internet in Africa.
  • In 2013, he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society.
  • Internet user penetration in Africa is just 9.4 percent in 2016 compared to 90.6 percent for the rest of the world. Quaynor is concerned that Africa will miss out on enormous opportunities.

Cutting the Cord: My Journey

  • .OTA television streaming options
    • Mohu AirWave
      • Great directory on Apple TV
      • No support for iOS, Android, or Roku
      • Does not support amplified antenna.
      • If I got better reception, this would be my choice.
    • ClearStream TV™ Over-The-Air WiFi Television Digital Tuner
      • Support any antenna, even amplified antennas.
      • Usable directory. Not as slick as Mohu’s
      • Will evaluate reception in the new couple of weeks.
    • OTT providers
      • Direct TV Now – DirecTV Now is only $10 if you already have AT&T as your cell phone provider. That’s a great deal, but only for the first year. The channel lineup is solid (click here). The HBO add-on is only $5. You won’t get a price that low anywhere else. The interface is a mess and does a bad job curating shows. You are only allowed two concurrent streams, which is comparatively low. You can pause, but you can’t fast forward after pausing; you can only press play. No DVR.
      • Sling TV — Sling TV might be your best bet if you are NOT into sports and still want cable. Sling Blue is $25/month, Sling Orange is $20/month, or you can get them together for $40/month. Supports most devices. You can change the stream’s video quality by adjusting the amount of bandwidth allowed. Sling doesn’t focus much on sports. You can’t pause live TV. This is a feature on all of the other services. It doesn’t make sense because Sling has DVR capabilities. They don’t have a traditional guide with the grid, which is fine, but scrolling through channels and lineups isn’t easy. There are no profiles. You are stuck with a DVR and settings filled with everything the rest of your household likes.
      • Hulu — Hulu uses huge fonts and focus on getting content in front of you through a curation process, rather than just showing channel names. It’s great at recommending new content to watch. You get Hulu Limited Commercials for free. So if you’re already a Hulu member, Hulu with Live TV is only $32/month. You can change your location four times each year. You get a universal experience on all the apps. It’s perfectly in sync. You can pause TV, but once you do, you can’t fast forward at all. With the DVR, you can’t fast forward commercials either. You only get two simultaneous streams. For $15, you can get unlimited streams.
      • PlayStation Vue — PlayStation Vue is the most polished live service around. All regional sports teams are available. You can stream with five devices at once with all of the packages. If you want to see your local sports teams, it’s $45/month; if you don’t care to see them, it’s $40/month. You can set up your favorite channels to show up first on the guide list. You can watch from your web browser without downloading an app. If you want to watch local sports teams, Vue is probably your best bet. They give you the Fox and Comcast regional sports channels (depending on your location. It’s compatible with almost all devices. Sony should have called it Vue instead of PlayStation Vue. You can’t use it if you leave your city without calling customer support.
      • YouTube TV — YouTube TV’s Cloud DVR is amazing. You get unlimited storage and your stuff is stored for nine months. Shows are easy to find, record and watch. YouTube TV is by far the best in terms of DVR. The interface on the phone is very easy to use. You get six accounts. Everyone in your household gets their own account for DVR. Membership is simple; it’s $35/month. That is a great price for the content and the three simultaneous streams you’re getting. You will get your local sports teams in almost any location. There is no Apple TV app, nor does it look like there are plans for Google to make one. You can watch on the iOS app and use AirPlay.
    • Recommendation — PlayStation Vue is the best bet for most people. You will get the old-fashioned guide, great channel lineup, five streams at once, great compatibility, and a solid stream. All five services have a free trial period. I would recommend that you check out these services during the trial period to see how they meet your needs.
    • Streaming devices
      • Apple TV 4 (64GB) – Great single remote interface. It will turn on the TV, but it will not turn it off. Supports both Mohu and ClearStreamTV app. The best streaming quality. Price: $199.
      • Roku Ultra – Great single remote interface. It will turn the TV on and off. Supports ClearStream TV app. Does not support Mohu yet. Streams 4K HD. Features fast quad-core processor and 802.11ac dual-band wireless. Enhanced remote (voice, remote finder, headphone jack, TV power and volume). Great streaming quality. Price: $99.
      • Chromecast Ultra – Chromecast Ultra offers one of the best values for streaming video devices for 4K TV owners. Requires that you cast from a mobile device or from a Chrome browser. Not convenient for regular TV viewing. Great streaming quality. Price: $69.
      • Amazon Fire TV – The latest Fire TV is a great media streamer, with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, support for 4K HDR streaming, and Dolby Atmos support. It is competing with the leader of the pack, Apple TV. The integration with Amazon Echo makes it easy to control you TV with voice commands. Price: $70.

Uber Added Multiple Stops to it Trips

  • Uber has launched a multiple stop feature that lets you add up to three stops to your trip.
  • The company promises the feature will ensure “more transparency on the fare for both riders and drivers.”
  • “So whether you’re picking up friends en route or heading home from a night out, it’s easier than ever to ride together,” Uber said in a statement.
  • After you open the Uber app, you just need to tap the “+” icon next to the “Where to?” box to add addresses.
  • You can add and remove stops during your trip and modify the destinations on the go, in real time. The driver will be automatically notified of the changes.

Idea of the Week: Mobile Phone ID Cards

  • Polish citizens will be able to carry around electronic versions of their ID cards on their mobile phones starting in 2018.
  • Similar systems already exist in a few other EU member states including Austria and Estonia.
  • The government is preparing changes to current legislation so Poles will be able to pull out their mobile phones when they need to show identification to police officers and others.
  • The new system will be rolled out gradually, starting with young people.
  • Mobile phone versions of driving licenses, vehicle registration papers, student cards and other documents will follow.
  • Citizens of the country of 38 million people will see their ID cards stored in the cloud and will be able to call up the documents on their mobile phones using a code received by text message.