Show of 12-16-2017

Tech Talk

December 16, 2017

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email form Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz, Would you discuss “cognifying” on Tech Talk? Is it artificial intelligence (AI) in real time? Future? Does Stratford University teach it, if it can to be taught? Is it something your listeners/readers can apply to everyday life? It’s pretty new concept to me, and I thought it might be to others as well. Thanks for all the info you cover on Tech Talk. Lots to learn. Many thanks, Arnie, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tech Talk Responds: If an object has a battery in it or a plug at the end of it, it won’t be long before that item is intelligent. Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of WIRED, talks about this shift in his recent book, Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. He suggests a new verb: cognify, and also cognification. This is what Kelly terms the second industrial revolution. The first saw us put the power of muscle into objects in the form of energy – steam, gasoline, electricity – literally giving things like cars a certain amount of ‘horsepower’. Next, we will cognify anything that is electric. You plug it into the grid and it will become intelligent by virture cloud computing that using machine learning. We are already seeing with personal assistants, like Alexa or Siri.
  • Email from Carl Tyler: Dear Dr. Shurtz: I’ve been reading in the tech news about companies revoking trust in “Certificate Authorities”. I know there is plenty of articles on the internet about a certificate authority but they are very technical and hard to understand. You have always had a way of explaining things so most everybody can understand them, which is one of the reasons I listen regularly to your podcast. Could you explain what a certificate authority is? Thanks, Carl Tyler
  • Tech Talk Responds: Asymmetric key exchange has become the preferred method of secure communication. Public-private key encryption is used to encrypt the transmissions. The originating computer uses its private key and the public key of the receiving computer to encrypt the message. The receiving computer uses it private key and the public key of the sending computer to de-encrypt the message. The question then becomes: Can the public keys be trusted.
  • Digital Certificates allow a person, computer or organization to exchange information securely over the Internet using the public key infrastructure (PKI). A digital certificate provides identifying information is forgery resistant and can be verified because it was issued by an official, trusted agency. The certificate contains the name of the certificate holder, a serial number, expiration dates, a copy of the certificate holder’s public key (used for encrypting messages and digital signatures) and the digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority (CA) so that a recipient can verify that the certificate is real.
  • To provide evidence that a certificate is genuine and valid, it is digitally signed by a root certificate belonging to a trusted certificate authority. Operating systems and browsers maintain lists of trusted CA root certificates so they can easily verify certificates that the CAs have issued and signed.
  • What so many revocations? Around 17% of all trusted SSL web servers were vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug when it was publicly disclosed. The bug made it possible to steal a server’s private keys, thus allowing unauthorized parties to impersonate an affected website using its own SSL certificate. All of these certificates must be revoked and replaced. Not all sites are doing with this expeditiously.

Profiles in IT Azim Premji

  • Azim Premji is Chairman of Wipro, one of the largest software companies in India and informally known as the Czar of the Indian IT Industry.
  • Azim Premji was born July 24, 1945 in Mumbai, India.
  • His father, M. H. Premji, was a Muslim businessman known as Rice King of Burma. After partition, his father turned down Jinnah’s request to come to Pakistan.
  • Azim completed his high school education at St. Mary’s School in Mumbai and entered Stanford University in electrical engineering.
  • Premji was forced to leave Stanford after completing his BSEE at the age of 21 to take over the family business when his father suddenly died in 1966.
  • The family business was the Western India Vegetable Product Company (later known as Wipro Ltd.) which made hydrogenated vegetable oils and fats.
  • Azim repositioned Wipro into a consumer goods company that produced hydrogenated cooking oils/fat company, laundry soap, wax and tin containers.
  • In 1975, he set up Wipro Fluid Power to make hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders
  • In 1977, when IBM was asked to leave India, Wipro entered the IT sector.
    • In 1981, Wipro began selling computers becoming India first computer maker.
    • Wipro subsequently developed the first Indian 8086 chip.
    • In the 80s, Wipro developed customized software for hardware customers.
    • In the 90s, Wipro moved off shore, particularly into the US.
    • Wipro expanded into IT Services, R&D Services, Technology Infrastructure Services, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
    • Wipro’s Technology Infrastructure Services (TIS) is the largest Indian IT infrastructure service provider in terms of revenue, people and customers with more than 200 customers in US, Europe, Japan and over 650 in India.
    • Wipro provides BPO services in Finance & Accounting, Procurement, HR Services, Loyalty Services and Knowledge Services.
    • In 2002, Wipro acquired Spectramind and became one of the largest BPOs.
  • Premji is known for his modesty and frugality in spite of his wealth. He drives a Toyota Corolla and flies economy class
  • He prefers to stay in company guest houses rather than luxury hotels.
  • He set up the Azim Premji Foundation. Azim Premji Foundation says it “dedicates itself to the cause of Universalization of Elementary Education in India”.
  • In 2013, he received the ET Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • In April 2017, India Today ranked him 9th in India’s 50 most powerful people.
  • Premji is married to Yasmeen. The couple has two children.
  • He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee for IT in India.
  • Azim Premji was rated the richest person in the country from 1999 to 2005.
  • Azim has pledged to give half his wealth to charity. In July 2015, he gave away an additional 18% of his stake in Wipro, taking his total contribution so far to 39%.

Demographic Impact in India

  • Demographic Bonus
    • Improved healthcare, followed by improved education, creates a peak of unencumbered youth who focus of jobs and career
    • Occurred first in the south of India (responsible for IT boom)
    • Next will occur in the north
  • Challenge for Education
    • If the demographic bonus is not educated and employed, it will be squandered
    • Can India meet the challenge in K-12 and post-secondary
    • K-12 challenge is to keep the students in school rather than drop out to help with the family business
    • Post secondary challenge is to make certain that graduates are employable
    • English and communication skills are a premium
    • Critical thinking and leadership skills are valued by industry
    • Traditional education is focused too much on memorization

Gift of Techies

  • Smart Home Gifts (Google vs Apple vs Amazon ecosystem).
    • Amazon Echo ($79), Amazon Echo Dot ($49), Amazon Echo Plus ($149)
    • Google Home ($129), Google Home Mini ($49)
    • TP-Link Smart Plug, Wi-Fi, Control your Devices from Anywhere, Works with Alexa and Google Assistant ($19 on Amazon)
  • Apple Watch Finally (LTE made it a winner)
    • Existing Series 1 (base price $249)
    • GPS-only Series 3 (based price $329)
    • GPS + Cellular Series 3 (base price $399) – the clear winner
  • Drones at Still Fun (DJI is still the best, $500 to $1,500)
    • DJI Spark ($399) is a fund portable mini drone with 720p video.
    • DJI Phantom 3 ($499) is the best budget drone with 720p video.
    • DJI Phantom 4 ($899) is the best pro drone with 1080p video.
    • DJI Phantom 4 Pro ($1399) for the pro with no budget with 4K video.
  • OTA TV Gifts (Tablo, Mohu Airwave)
    • Tablo 4 Tuner ($299)
    • ClearStreamTV ($129)
    • Mohu Airwave ($149)
  • Streaming Devices (Apple TV 4K, Roku Ultra, Amazon Fire TV)
    • Apple TV 4K (64GB) — $199
    • Roku Ultra 4K UHD — $79
    • Amazon Fire TV4K UHD – $55
    • Google Chromecast 4K UHD — $69
  • Chromebooks
    • Acer Chromebook 14 ($299) Best overall
    • ASUS Chromebook C202 ($229) Best price overall
  • WonderTech Omnisight VR Headset for iPhone Android Windows Smartphones with Built-in Headphones and Gaming Bluetooth Remote Controller ($29 on Amazon)
  • Sensor Bag Light. Reach in your bag and this turns on when it senses your hand. No touch needed. $29.95 from Thegrommet.com.
  • Epica Digital Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Radio, Flashlight, Smartphone Charger with NOAA Certified Weather Alert & Cable. What do you do if you forget to charge your backup charger. $39.95 from Amazon.com.

Food Science: Champagne Bubbles

  • A team of scientists at the University of Reims have revealed the secrets behind the bubbles in Champagne, and why your glass might leave the wine as flat as a pancake or fizzing furiously.
  • A single bottle of Champagne contains 10 million bubbles. As the bubbles reach the surface of the wine they explode.
  • It explodes, making a tiny crater on the surface. The crater closes up and then ejects a thread of liquid, which then breaks up in droplets that can fly up to 10 centimeters.
  • They also figured out why strings of bubbles, known as the bead, rise from certain points in glass. It happens when microscopic fibers left by a kitchen towel or often just an airborne particle stick to the side of the glass, allowing molecules of dissolved carbon dioxide to coalesce and form bubbles.
  • The finding is important for Champagne lovers and for the restaurant industry.
  • Glasses that are retrieved from a dishwasher, where they have been washed and blown dry upside down, could be so ultra-clean that few bubbles form.
  • Top-end glass manufacturers now use lasers to etch a tiny crown of spots at the bottom of the glass, creating flaws to make bubbles form and rise in a pretty ring.
  • Should you drink Champagne from a tall, long-stemmed glass or a shallow cup?
  • The shallow cup loses CO2 one-third faster than a flute, so the flute is preferred.
  • Drinking Champagne from a plastic cup can be a drab experience because the sides are hydrophobic, or liquid repelling. The bubbles adhere to the sides through capillary action and inflate into the size of tiny balls.
  • The easiest way to produce finer bubbles is to reduce the quantity of CO2 which is dissolved in the Champagne, and this is linked to the amount of sugar.
  • The tradition was to add 24 grams of sugar per liter of Champagne along with yeast to induce the second fermentation, but the trend now is 18 grams of sugar.
  • Although its carbon dioxide that dissolves in both wine and mineral water under pressure, the label on the bottle actually says contains carbonic acid.
  • The reason for this is the chemical process that causes carbon dioxide molecules to combine with water molecules under high pressure to produce carbonic acid.
  • Because carbonic acid is a very unstable molecule, it quickly disintegrates again when the bottle is opened and the pressure drops, and then bubbles up as carbon dioxide.
  • Scientists have named their new branch of science blaseology the science of bubbles.

Live Champagne Bubble Demonstration

  • Demonstration Props
    • Bottle of Champagne (Brut)
    • Two crystal Champagne Flutes with etched bubble ring in bottom
    • Two Plastic Glasses
  • Observations
    • Bubbles originate from etched ring rough area in flutes
    • Bubbles stick to the sides of the plastic glasses
  • On air question: To drink or not to drink.

FCC Cancels Net Neutrality Regulations

  • In a 3-2 vote, the FCC approved the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The order reverses a decision made by the Obama administration to regulate internet service providers (ISPs) under the Telecommunications Act of 1934 – a law intended to establish rules for phone and local electric companies enacted decades before development of the internet.
  • Although the internet operated effectively and efficiently without net neutrality, Obama’s FCC in 2015 suddenly and inexplicably determined a radical transformation was required to “save” it.
  • When information technology experts speak of “net neutrality,” they usually mean consumers should be able to access the legal content they want using the legal applications and devices they want. For example, Verizon’s network should not block data going to and from an AT&T customer’s computer.
  • However, under the Obama administration, liberal activists took a concept everyone agreed on and warped its definition.
  • Obama’s net neutrality rule – officially called the Open Internet Order – prohibited a practice called “paid prioritization.” This is a kind of contractual agreement between a content provider like Netflix and a network owner like Verizon.
  • Such agreements allow data to travel on less-congested networks when main routes are clogged up, and there are very good reasons why paid prioritization should be allowed.
  • When it comes to getting data to your computer or TV, different kinds of data have different requirements. Therefore, a content provider – especially companies like Netflix and YouTube – may wish to pay a little bit extra to a network company to guarantee better quality for its customers.
  • Further, because YouTube, Netflix and other internet video streaming businesses consume lots of data compared to almost all others going online, it might make sense for Verizon and other ISPs to ask such businesses to pay a little more for their services.
  • By ending net neutrality, the Trump administration’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order gets government out of the business of telling ISPs how to run their networks.