Show of 08-04-2018

Tech Talk

August 4, 2018

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Doug in Baton Rouge: Dear Dr. Shurtz. Thanks for all of the past help in getting my computer problems and concerns solved. I have created another problem need your help again. I was trying to clone my Windows 10 operating system and all of my files on my desktop computer hard drive to an external drive. Since Windows 10 has a built in cloning program, I used it. A couple of hours later the cloning was completed. When I looked at my external hard drive, it was blank. I think that it was created on my internal hard drive, but I do not see any new files, duplicate files or new drive letters. When I look at my C: / drive properties I can see that my disk free space has greatly diminished. What happened? Where are the cloned files located? How do I delete these files? I enjoy your weekly radio program and all of the archived shows as well. Thanks, Doug in Baton Rouge, LA
  • Tech Talk Responds: Windows 10 can perform files backup, create a system image, or create a restore set point. I suspect that you created a system image. File backup allows you to restore individual files from the backup. The system image can only restore the entire image. If you are doing both a file backup and a system image and your hard drive fails, you must first restore the system image and then restore any files are were created or changed since the system image. System images can still be useful. For example, let’s say you want to upgrade your computer’s hard drive, upgrading from a slower mechanical hard drive to a speedy solid-state drive. You can create a system image of your computer’s hard drive, swap the drive out for an SSD, and then restore that image to the SSD. This will migrate your entire operating system to the SSD. I image is a single VHDX (Virtual Hard Drive) file that is located in the WindowsImageBackup folder. Find the file that was created on the day that you created the image and delete it. You can find it by going to search for Disk Management in Setting. In Disk Management Window, select Actions/Mount VHD. Pick the biggest VHD file for that day. When you mount the VHD, it will be assigned a drive letter to make it accessible. When you are finished with the VHD, right click on the drive letter and select the Eject command, as shown in Figure E.
  • Microsoft did not want the consumer to use Disk Imaging. They originally hid it in the Power Shell. After a major user backlash, they added it back into the GUI. It is difficult to use.
  • I would recommend that you use EaseUS Todo Backup is widely rated among the best disk imaging and backup software for Windows 10. EaseUS Todo Backup is retailing at $29.00, but you can add a more limited freeware version to your desktop/laptop from this page. Cloning Windows 10 with EaseUS Todo Backup is straightforward, and it also has extra software guidelines on its website.
  • EaseUS Todo also integrates with Microsoft Volume Shadow so that users can back up volumes without undermining any other operations. Its sector-by-sector backup provides an identical image clone of the original Windows 10. The software also includes a check image tool that checks image file integrity.
  • Email from Jean: Hi Doc and Jim, Always appreciate your explanations on issues of all types. I am running Windows 10 and it shuts down my screen too soon when it is idle for a very brief period.. It seems as if I barely leave it and then I have to enter my password which is not very efficient. Have looked in msconfig but could not find the solution. Separately I wonder how you can be comfortable giving out the information that using smart devices requires to operate. I am not comfortable when it asks for what I think is not necessary such as when I go to Amazon Music and want to download it asks for access to media, photo and other files. Other files is a red flag to me. I would like to understand this as I would like to use such apps but am reluctant to do so. Thanks, Jean
  • Tech Talk Responds: Go to Settings and select Power and Sleep. You can simply search for Power and Sleep while in Settings. You have two choices for Screen, one for battery and one for powered opeation. You have the same two settings for Sleep,
  • The Battery options go from 5 minutes to 1 hour. I have chosen 15 minutes for Screen and 1 hour for Sleep.
  • The Powered options go from 1 hour to 5 hours to Never. I have chosen 1 hour for Screen and Never for sleep. Never was selected so I could complete my backups.
  • As far as permissions for applications, only give access to those functions that you use. If you are not going to use voice commands, don’t give access to the microphone. If you are not going to use images, don’t give access to the camera. The app always asks for everything, just be selective in what you give.
  • Email from Susan in Alexandria: Gentlemen! Dirty pool. Now, as a result of my tip-off, you’re having Dr. Shurtz announce the run-down of topics on the “Best of Tech Talk Editions!”  What ever happened to transparency? Susan in Alexandria
  • Tech Talk Responds: Earlier Susan told us that she could tell it was a “Best of” show if Jim did the introduction. We corrected out format to fool her and this letter wsa here response. Susan, we are very clever, but still not clever enough to fool you. Thanks the every tip. We intend to perfect our techniques with your feedback.
  • Email from David in Little Rock: Dear Tech Talk. I periodically clean up my hard drive and delete unneeded files. I have been using CCleaner, but don’t want to continue the paid subscription. Are there any free options? David in Little Rock
  • Tech Talk Responds: Tech Talk has not recommended CCleaner for a while. CCleaner nags you to run it because the paid subscription can automatically run itself, you are paying to disable the nags. CCleaner has even been hacked to contain malware.
  • Windows has a built-in Disk Cleanup tool, and it works very well. Microsoft has been improving it, and it works even better in the latest versions of Windows 10. This tool removes temporary files, previous Windows installations, log files, old Windows updates, thumbnails, and various other cache files. If you have never run it, you can probably free up a few gigabytes of space by doing so. We do not recommend a CCleaner alternative because Windows can already do a great job at freeing up space.
  • To access the Free Up Space tool on Windows 10, head to Settings > System > Storage and click “Free Up Space Now” under Storage Sense. Windows will automatically scan for files you can delete. Check the files you want to delete and click “Remove files” to get rid of them.
  • Warning: If you check “Recycle Bin,” Windows will also empty your Recycle Bin. Be sure you don’t want to recover any deleted files from your Recycle Bin before checking this option.
  • Email from Joan in Springfield, MO: Dear Doc and Jim. We are going a vacation to Israel and would like to share our photos as we go. We both have iPhones. What do you recommend? Enjoy the podcast. Joan in Springfield, MO
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can create a shares iCloud folder and both of your will see photos real time that are placed in that folder. Go to iCloud/Shared and then select the Plus sign in the upper left corner. Create a folder and select who you will share it with. Simply add photos to the shared folder. Beware this method using lots of data and data is expensive in Israel. I would suggest sharing using AirDrop it does not use the cellular connection. It uses Bluetooth and it is very fast. Make certain to configure AirDrop in Setting to accept pictures (either Contracts Only or Everyone). Then select the pictures you want to send, click on the AirDrop symbol and they will be sent. The other person must be logged into their iPhone for their AirDrop symbot to appear.

Profiles in IT: George Charles Devol, Jr

  • George Charles Devol Jr. was an American inventor known for developing Unimate, the first material handling robot employed in industrial production work.
  • George Devol was born February 20, 1912 in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Devol was interested from boyhood in all things electrical and mechanical.
  • He attended Riordan Prep, in addition to studying traditional subjects, he helped construct some buildings and ran the school’s electric light plant.
  • Although he wasn’t very scholarly, he could figure out how things worked easily.
  • Graduating from high school in 1932, he started forming United Cinephone to record directly onto film for the new sound motion pictures (“talkies”).
  • After learning that others were working in the same area, he pivoted.
  • He invented the first photoelectric door, a bar code system for sorting packages at the Railway Express, the first optical registration control for color offset printing, and automated photoelectric people counters for the World’s Fair.
  • When World War II began, Devol United Cinephone so he could help with the war.
  • He was hired by Sperry to develop radar devices and microwave test equipment.
  • In 1943, he was hired by Auto Ordinance in to produce counter-radar devices. The company’s radar counter-measure systems were on allied planes on D-Day.
  • Devol was part of the team that developed the first commercial use of microwave ovens, the Speedy Weeny, which automatically cooked and dispensed hotdogs.
  • In 1946 he applied for a patent on a magnetic recording system for controlling machines and a digital playback device for machines,
  • In 1954, Devol applied and received the patent for Programmed Article Transfer that introduced the concept of Universal Automation or Unimation (termed Unimate).
  • Devol patented the device, without a single prior citation. He he teamed up with Joseph F. Engelberger, who convinced Consolidated Diesel Electronic to back development of the robot. This new division was called Unimation.
  • Unimation designed and machined practically every part in the first Unimates.
  • The first Unimate robot was installed at GM to lift hot pieces of metal from a die-
  • Approximately $5 million was spent to develop the first Unimate. In 1966, full-scale production began. The first production robot was a materials handling robot and was soon followed by robots for welding and other applications.
  • In 1975, Unimation showed its first profit. In 1978, the PUMA (Programmable Universal Machine for Assembly) robot was developed with support from GM.
  • Devol later obtained patents on visual and tactile sensors for robots, coaxial connectors, non-refillable containers, and magnetostrictive manipulators.
  • Elected to honorary member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (1985)[8]
  • Devol was Inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2011 and is a member of the Automation Hall of Fame

Kurdistan Will Power Iraqi Tech Growth

  • Iraqi Kurdistan, or the Kurdistan Region, is the autonomous region in the north of Iraq. Its economy is mainly powered by oil, and to a lesser extent other industries.
  • Its capital city is Erbil, its government is known as the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and it is set to power Iraq’s tech ecosystem growth.
  • It Is Secure, Developed And Has A Strong Business Culture
    • The Kurdistan Region has enjoyed relative stability during recent periods of conflict in Iraq and is not really at risk of disruption from ISIL. It is this security coupled with developmental funding in the region since before 2003 that has allowed it to advance much quicker than the rest of Iraq.
    • Kurdistan has become a real enterprise hub. In recent years Erbil’s skyline has been dotted increasingly with new hotels, luxury apartment buildings and office complexes, with demand making the city increasingly a cosmopolitan centre in the Middle East.
  • Its Oil And Gas Sector Provides A Reliable Revenue Stream
    • While the growing tech ecosystem will diversify Iraq’s economy away from a reliance on natural resources, oil and gas revenue trickles down into other areas of the country. Iraqi Kurdistan, with its massive oil and gas reserves, relies heavily on this sector. Oil and gas revenue goes towards investment of all kinds in the region.
  • The KRG Has Invested Heavily In Infrastructure
    • Erbil, the region’s capital city, counts on high speed internet, a wide range of commercial office space, and significant investment in city development. Erbil and Sulaimaniyah are home to two new international airports, with a third under construction in Duhok.
  • The Region Produces A Highly Educated Workforce
    • Kurdistan has 11 public and ten private universities. Many teach in English. This strength in education is complemented by the arrival of skilled Iraqis from other parts of the country and of Iraqi professionals returning home from working abroad. English is increasingly spoken as a second or third language.
  • Kurdistan is already attracting investment as Iraq’s tech business hub
    • There are a number of reasons why Kurdistan is fast becoming a tech ecosystem hub. They include the trickle-down benefits from natural resource revenue, heavy regional investment, the production of highly educated new graduates, an entrepreneurial spirit and an inspired appetite to “catch up” with impressive Middle Eastern tech development elsewhere. More skilled professionals from other countries have chosen Kurdistan to live and work than any other region in Iraq.
    • Iraq’s Kurdistan region has a very promising near future, and it is this region that is uniquely placed to power the country’s tech ecosystem growth in coming years.

Amazon and Walmart Will Define Future Shopping

  • Walmart and Amazon are in a death match.
  • Following its purchase of Jet.com to advance its e-commerce efforts in 2016, Walmart has starting accelerating its shift from retail giant to tech-focused partner.
  • Those deals now include a partnership with Alphabet’s Waymo for rides to and from stores; Japan’s Rakuten for Kobo e-readers; and Uber, Lyft, and Postmates for grocery delivery.
  • In July, Walmart switched its entire cloud operation to Microsoft Azure and Office 365, in addition to working with the company on AI projects in a new five-year deal.
  • That Microsoft partnership might include helping open a cashier-less, brick-and-mortar retail store to compete with Amazon Go.
  • In addition, Walmart has plans to transform its Vudu subsidiary into a legitimate Amazon Prime Video competitor by the end of the year.
  • The company also maintains two tech incubators, one in California, and one in Texas, designed experiment with ideas like cashier-less stores and personal shopping services and investing in areas like artificial intelligence and computer vision.
  • Walmart is a legacy retail operator trying to compete in a world moving toward online commerce, on-demand delivery, and bundled services.
  • Amazon pioneered that model, losing money for years while it built logistics and gained dominants in industries as diverse as books (Kindle), shoes (Zappos), and video streaming (Prime Video and Twitch).
  • Amazon built up a loyalty program (Amazon Prime) to lock customers into its ecosystem (with more than 100 million subscribers), and a cloud computing division (AWS) to help bolster profits and improve its own network infrastructure.
  • Amazon’s Whole Foods is tied directly to Prime, helping Amazon further branch out into everyday purchases as well as delivery of groceries and household goods.
  • Amazon is increasingly moving offline as its online business continues to dominate e-commerce, and Walmart rethinking its future as customers decide to buy more everyday items online and have them delivered.

DEF CON Plans to Show US Election Hacking is Kids Play

  • Last year, the hackers at DEF CON showed how easy it was to crack into voting machine software and hardware.
  • The 2018 DEF CON Vote Hacking Village will let kids have a shot at spreading voting result confusion.
  • Beginning on Friday, August 10, teams in three age ranges, 8-11, 12-14 and 15-16, will hack replicas of American government websites that report election results.
  • In elections in the Ukraine and Ghana, these were hacked to spread confusion about the voting process and its results. The conference organizer hope that the teams can do the same with US-style tech.
  • The websites were built by Brian Markus, one of the best ethical hackers in the US who, when not who running DEF CON’s Capture The Packet competition, runs a security consultancy, has served on the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee and develops hacking training materials for the US and Australian military.
  • In two three-hour contests held on Friday and Saturday the kids will compete to best derail and meddle with the reporting of election results in 13 key US battleground states, which would, in real life, spread confusion and doubt.
  • Prizes will be awarded to the first to exploit a security hole, whoever comes up with the most innovative and best social-engineering exploits, and the youngest to exploit a vulnerability.
  • With US national midterm elections coming in three months, the need for better election security has never been more pressing.
  • Only a handful of state and local governments have received their cyber assessments from DHS and we still have thousands of jurisdictions that do not yet have the sensors needed to identify if an attack is taking place.

Tech Idea of the Week: Automatic Dog Feeders

  • Automated dog food dispensers won’t just make your life easier, they can also improve your dog’s health by giving them consistently timed and portioned meals.
  • WOpet ($90) — WOpet Pet Feeder gets the job done and is reasonably prices. The programmable timer can be set to dispense food up to four times per day in portions from 2 teaspoons to 4.5 cups in a serving. The WOpet is wall-powered and battery-powered in case of power outages. You can record a message that plays during feedings so he can hear your voice.
  • Feed and Go ($249) — The Feed and Go Smart Pet Feeder is an automatic food dispenser that can be controlled with an app on your Andriod, iOS, or Windows smartphone. Watch your dog eat via the camera on the feeder (as long as your feeder is connected to Wi-Fi), or even schedule feedings. Whether you want to trigger one feeding session or regular meals, just click the button on your app and you’re good to go. Wet food or dry, treats, or even medication—you can put what your dog needs in any of the 6 compartments (each compartment holds up to 8 ounces, just don’t keep wet food in for more than 24 hours). Finally, if the feeder is offline or the Wi-Fi cuts off, the Feed and Go still feeds as scheduled.
  • PetSafe ($93-$106) — PetSafe Automatic Feeder can deliver up to 12 consistent meals and is durable enough so that your dog won’t break into the dispenser. The PetSafe’s locking lid keeps paws out and food fresh. With a 24-cup capacity and a digital timer that portions food from ⅛ cup to 4 cups, this feeder is perfect for both small and large dogs. The PetSafe is battery operated but the power adapter can be purchased separately for those worried about the power going out. You also don’t need to rely on Wi-Fi to make sure your dog’s feeding is on schedule, just program the schedule directly on the feeder! If you are interested in a Wi-Fi-enabled version, check out the PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Feeder which is compatible with smartphones.

Google Glass Helps with Autism Therapy

  • Children with autism generally have problems interacting with other people.
  • In particular, they have difficulty making eye contact and as well as having problems identifying emotions through facial expression.
  • Traditional forms of therapy involve having someone go through exercises with the child to identify expressions depicted on flash cards.
  • Unfortunately, the number of therapists available is so small that patients often have to wait for more than a year to get their turn.
  • Standford biomedical data scientist Dennis Wall and his colleagues decided to conduct a study that substituted the therapist with a $1,500 Google Glass.
  • Instead of flash cards, the Google Glass camera records the face of a person in front of the child and feeds the image into a connected smartphone app.
  • That app then uses artificial intelligence to differentiate between eight core expressions of happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, surprise, fear, contempt, and calm.
  • The result is then given to the child via the Google Glass’ earpiece or via an emoticon on the tiny display.
  • Participants exhibited not only improved facial expression recognition but even social skills and eye contact.