Show of 11-25-2017

Tech Talk Radio
November 25, 2017

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Segments replayed from previous shows

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Kevin in San Francisco: Dear Doc and Jim. I have AirPlay envy. All my friends can mirror that Apple laptops to AppleTV. I have a Windows10 laptop and all I can do is stream content using Chromecast. However, sometimes the content is not in a browser tab (like my DVD player). Is there any mirroring option for me? Love the podcast. Kevin in San Francisco.
  • Tech Talk Responds: There is a great solution for you, AirParrot 2. AirParrot 2 is designed to send content to a number of media receivers, even simultaneously. Broadcast to multiple devices like Apple TV and Chromecast, or share audio around the house to AirPlay-enabled speakers. I use AirParrot 2 on my Windows 10 machine to stream DVDs to our AppleTV. It only problem that I had was discovering the AppleTV device. I had to put in the IP address (found by logging into my router). That was a bit annoying, but after that it works perfectly. You can download AirParrot 2 for $12.95 from http://www.airsquirrels.com/
  • Email from Tu in Ohio: Dear Doc and Jim. I was watching the recent Apple iPhone launch and they featured. Wireless charging. What standard does Apple use for wireless charging and how does it work? Thanks for the podcast. Tu in Ohio
  • Tech Talk Responds: Wireless charging will become popular with the adoption of Qi wireless charging in Apple’s iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Most wireless chargers use magnetic induction and magnetic resonance. They offer the promise of being able to place a device on a surface and have it charge automatically.
  • Wireless chargers typically use magnetic induction. The short explanation is that they use magnetism to transmit energy. First, you place the device–like a smartphone—on the wireless charger. The current coming from the wall power outlet moves through the wire in the wireless charger, creating a magnetic field. The magnetic field creates a current in the coil inside the device sitting on the wireless charger. This magnetic energy is converted to electrical energy, which is used to charge the battery. Devices must have the appropriate hardware in them to support wireless charging—a device without the necessary coil can’t charge wirelessly.
  • While the Qi standard was originally limited to magnetic induction, it now also supports magnetic resonance. This works similarly, but the device can be up to 45mm away from the wireless charger’s surface rather than touching it directly. This is less efficient than magnetic induction, but there are some advantages—for example, a wireless charger could be mounted under a table’s surface and you could place a device on the table to charge it. It also allows you to place multiple devices on a single charging pad, and have all of them charge at once.
  • The Qi standard, which is owned by the Wireless Power Consortium, is ahead, but it’s not alone. In second place is the Power Matters Alliance’s Powermat, or PMA, standard. It uses magnetic induction, like Qi. The two are incompatible, though. An iPhone can’t charge with a PMA wireless charger.
  • Some devices are compatible with both, however. Modern Samsung devices like the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, and Galaxy S7 actually support both the Qi and PMA standards, and can charge with either.
  • Starbucks bet on PMA, but they may rethink things now that the iPhone only supports Qi. Apple is betting that airports, hotels, and other public locations will also choose to bet on Qi.
  • Email from Tuc in Virginia Beach: Dear Tech Talk. I like to surf the web and check email with my laptop. I may create an occasional word document. What type of laptop would your recommend? I am trying to save money and need something cheap. Love the podcast. Tuc in Virginia Beach
  • Tech Talk Responds: I would get a Chromebook. They are cheap and very effective. You might look at the ASUS Chromebook with 4GM of RAM. Prices vary from $189 to $469 on Amazon. The most expensive is the flip with a touch screen and 64GB of storage (4 GB RAM). The cheapest has 16 GB of storage (4 GB RAM) is not a touch screen. In your case, the cheapest would probably suffice. You can use Google docs on the cloud for your occasional word document.
  • Chromebooks boot instantly, update seamlessly, sync with other devices in the background, and are secure because Google must vet all apps and every webpage runs in a virtual sandbox.
  • Email from Brian in Kansas: Dear Doc and Jim. I was looking at my hard drive and noticed a System Reserved Partition. I am running out of drive space. Can I get rid of this partition? What does it do? Love the show. Brian in Kansas
  • Tech Talk Responds: The System Reserved partition contains two important things:
    • The Boot Manager and Boot Configuration Data: When your computer starts, the Windows Boot Manager reads the boot data from the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) Store. Your computer starts the boot loader off of the System Reserved partition, which in turn starts Windows from your system drive.
    • The startup files used for BitLocker Drive Encryption: If you ever decide to encrypt your hard drive with BitLocker drive encryption, the System Reserved partition contains the necessary files for starting your computer. Your computer boots the unencrypted System Reserved partition, and then decrypts the main encrypted drive and starts the encrypted Windows system.
  • The System Reserved partition consumes 100 MB of space on Windows 7, 350 MB of space on Windows 8, and 500 MB of space on Windows 10. The partition is typically created during the Windows installation process, just before the installer allocates space for the main system partition.
  • You really shouldn’t change the System Reserved partition—it’s easiest and safest to just leave it be.
  • Windows hides the partition by default instead of creating a drive letter for it. Most people never notice they have a System Reserved partition unless they fire up disk tools for other reasons. The System Reserved partition is mandatory if you use BitLocker—or want to use it in the future.
  • Email from Matt in New Jersey: Dear Tech Talk. I love my iPhone6, but the battery life is becoming a problem. I don’t want to buy another iPhone. It there a way to simply replace the battery? I don’t want to get sucked into getting a new phone every two years. Love the show. Matt in New Jersey.
  • Tech Talk Responds: You could but an Apple battery case for around $100 and solve your problem immediately. But your phone will be bulkier.
  • Your second option is to replace the battery. If you purchased AppleCare+, you are entitled to a free battery replacement from Apple. Here are your options.
    • DIY Replacement —You can replace the battery yourself. A replacement kit costs around $20. However, I would not recommend it – too many small screws and glued parts.
    • Third-Party Repair Service — It will cost you anywhere from $50-$80 to hire a shop or service to replace your iPhone battery. They know what they are doing and they will likely give you some kind of warranty. Most finish the job the same day.
    • Apple Replacement —Apple offers a battery replacement service that costs $79 for any iPhone model — a competitive price, and arguably your best option given that no company is better at servicing iPhones. You’ll have to be without your phone for at least a few days. Apple estimates up to five business days if you bring it to an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

Profiles in IT: Raymond Samuel Tomlinson

  • Website: raytomlinson.org
  • Born in Amsterdam, NY in 1941, he invented email in 1971 at age 30.
  • He received a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1963 and an MS from MIT in 1965 where he developed an analog-digital hybrid speech synthesizer.
  • He wrote his first computer program in 1960 as an intern for IBM
  • In 1967 he joined the technology company of Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN).
  • During the summer and autumn of 1971, he was part of a small group of programmers who were developing a time-sharing system called "TENEX" that ran on Digital PDP-10 computers, which serves as node in the ARPANET.
  • Earlier, he had worked on the Network Control Protocol (NCP) for TENEX and network programs such as an experimental file transfer program called CPYNET.
  • He was making improvements to the local inter-user mail program called SNDMSG.
  • The idea occurred to him that CPYNET could append material to a mailbox file just as readily as SNDMSG could.
  • It remained to provide a way to distinguish local mail from network mail.
  • He appended an @ sign and the host name to the user’s (login) name.
  • The first message was sent between two machines that were literally side-by-side.
  • His pet peeve: email versus e-mail. The hyphen should be dumped!

Another Cell Phone Bites the Dust

  • My cell phone died last week.
  • This is my third cell phone in less than a year.
  • First two suffered water damage (beach and washing machine)
  • Fortunately I have replacement insurance.
  • I had backed up my contact list so I just restored it the new phone.
  • Now I have to hack my new phone so I can upload ring tones and wallpapers.
  • Software required
    • Motorola Phone Tools
    • Motorola Programming Tools
    • Programming Hacks from cellcables.com

Food Science: Frozen Turkey

  • Peter Snyder, Jr., Ph.D. has a new way to roast your Thanksgiving turkey: put it in the oven frozen solid.
  • Snyder is the president of the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management in St. Paul , Minnesota .
  • A common problem on Thanksgiving is waking up on Thanksgiving morning and realizing that the turkey has not been thawed, and there is not enough time to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator or in flowing water at 70 degrees F, which takes hours.
  • However, there is a very simple solution – cook the entire turkey from the frozen state.
  • The FDA Food Code allows this. The HACCP-based procedure for cooking a 12-to-13-lb. frozen turkey is shown below.
    • Start 5 to 5 1/2 hours before you want to serve the cooked turkey. Set the oven temperature at 325 degrees It is much better that the turkey be done 30 minutes before mealtime than to rush and serve an undercooked turkey.
    • Remove the wrapping from the turkey and put the turkey on a rack on a pan that has been covered with foil to make cleaning easy.
    • In the first 2 to 2 1/2 hours, the legs and thighs get up to approximately 100 degrees The breast, about 1 inch into the flesh, is still at the soft ice point, about 25 degrees F. At this point, begin to monitor breast temperature.
    • After about 3 1/2 hours, the legs and thighs will be around 150 to 160 degrees F, and the breast, about 40 to 50 degrees The bag of heart, liver, etc. and the neck can be removed.
    • At 4 1/2 to 5 hours, the turkey is nicely cooked. Check the temperature. The leg and thigh should be tender and at a temperature of 175 to 185 degrees F, while the breast will be moist at a temperature of 160 to 170 degrees
  • Cooking a turkey from the frozen state has benefits over cooking a thawed turkey.
    • If one thaws a turkey in a home refrigerator, there is a significant risk of raw juice with pathogens at high levels getting on refrigerator surfaces, other foods in the refrigerator, countertops, and sink, thus creating a hazard and a need for extensive cleaning and sanitizing.
    • The second benefit is that, because the breast has greater mass, it takes longer to thaw. Therefore, the thigh and leg are well cooked and tender, while the breast is not overcooked and dried out. The breast will cook to a juicy 160-to-165 degrees F endpoint without difficulty.

Food Science: Gravy without Lumps

  • Grains have both starch and protein. Starch provides food when the seed begins to grow. If you remove the protein from corn flour, for instance, you get corn starch. Most sauces and gravies are thickened with some kind of starch. The most common are flour and cornstarch, though potato starch, arrowroot and tapioca flour also work well. When starch is in liquid it gels around 130-160 F. The transition is dramatic. The key is to manage this gelling process to keep from getting lumps.
  • If you attempt to thicken a pan sauce or gravy by simply stirring flour into the simmering liquid, you will inevitably end up with lumps. This is because the starch around each lump of flour expands rapidly when it comes into contact with hot liquid, forming a sort of waterproof gel that prevents the granules from separating properly. The same is true for any other starch.
  • To prevent this, you need to separate the granules before adding them to the sauce so that they can slowly disperse and expand to create the desired thickening effect.
  • You can accomplish this in several ways. The first is to use what’s called a roux. Made from a mixture of fat – either pan drippings or butter – and flour, a roux is slowly cooked on its own before it is added to the sauce. The fat helps the starch to expand and separate, and it lubricates it so it can be smoothly incorporated into the liquid. A roux should be cooked, then cooled slightly, then whisked into the sauce when you’re ready to thicken it. The precooking also eliminates the unpleasant raw-flour taste that sometimes occurs if a sauce isn’t simmered long enough.
  • Another method is to use kneaded butter. This is essentially the same as a roux, only the flour is worked into the butter by hand or with a fork, then formed into small balls and added, uncooked, to a sauce.
  • If you want a medium-thick sauce or gravy, you should add about 2 tablespoons of flour per cup of liquid. If you’re using cornstarch, use 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons per cup.