Show of 12-15-2018

Tech Talk
December 15, 2018

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Segments taken from previous shows.

Email and Forum Questions                                           

  • Email from Jim in the studio: Dear Doc. I’d like to recover my long-lost iTunes account. It’s been a while (as in years) since I’ve accessed it. I’ve reached the maximum number of devices on the account, none of which exist anymore. What do I do? Please help me recover my ABBA, Bee Gees and Spyrogyra songs that are now lost out in the ether. Signed: Jim, The Troglodyte on the other side of the audio board.
  • Tech Talk Responds: You need to de-authorize those old devices so that you can install iTunes on a new device. Normally, you need the old device to perform this task. I suggest. You iTunes user name and password are the same as the iCloud. You need at least one authorized device to perform this action. Go to iTunes Store/View My Apple ID/Manage Devices. Remove the devices that you are no longer using. If that does not work call, Apple support and they can remove the devices for you.
  • Email from Alex in Fairfax: Dear Doc and Jim. What is an RTF file and how do I open it. Someone at work gave me an RTF file and I am at a loss. Alex in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: A file with the .RTF file extension is a Rich Text Format file. While a normal text file stores only plain text, RTF files can include extra information about font style, formatting, images, and more. They are great for cross-platform document sharing because they are supported by lots of apps.
  • RTF was created by the Microsoft Word team back in the 1980’s. It was intended as a universal format that could be used by most word processors, making it easier for people to share Word documents with people who don’t use Word. Microsoft discontinued the development of RTF in 2008, but it’s still widely supported by apps on almost every operating system. If you’ve got any word processing app installed—Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, AbiWord, and so on—you can open an RTF file with it.
  • Email from Jeannie in Pittsburgh: Dear Doc and Jim. I have DirectTV (without Internet or Phone) and my monthly bill is over $160. My subscription includes HBO and other movie channels. I have had DirectTV for over twenty years and it just keeps going up and up. I have a Verizon Fios box in my basement. I need to get a better deal what are my options. I am not very tech savvy, but I know that I could do better. Jeannie in Pittsburgh.
  • Tech Talk Responds: First of all, you need to get the Internet and Programming bundle. Not to have any Internet is a sin. You might consider just using DirectTV for the Internet and then using DirectTV Now for your programming. You can add HBO to DirectTV Now for only $5/month. Your ace in the hole is Verizon Fios. If you switch to Verizon Fios, you will get the new subscriber rate for two years. After two years, you can switch back to DirectTV. In all likelihood, DirectTV will try to keep by offering their new subscriber rate. You just have to be a tough negotiator and get connected to the recovery specialist.
  • Email from Betty in Oakton: Dear Tech Talk. I avoid Facebook. There are too many problems associated with it, plus it’s just not my thing. Can someone create a Facebook account in my name without my permission or knowledge? How do I check for any? What unique identifier does Facebook use? An email address? If found, how do I delete an erroneous account in my name? Enjoy the podcast. Betty in Oakton
  • Tech Talk Responds: A Facebook account is no different than any other online account. Your “unique identifier”, as you call it, is your email address, and indeed, you are required to set a password on the account. You log in to your Facebook account with your email address and password.
  • When you associate an email address with a Facebook account, you must verify that you actually own that email address. Facebook sends an email to that email address, containing a link you must click to confirm that ownership. While you can associate multiple email addresses with a single Facebook account (a good idea for account recovery), you cannot use the same email address on different Facebook accounts.
  • What people can do is create Facebook accounts in your name using some other email address. It’s not your email address that was used; it’s someone else setting up their own Facebook account and making it look like you.
  • It’s very easy to set up imposter accounts. Somebody can set up an email address using a free email service like Outlook.com or Gmail, and then create the Facebook account using your name and other information. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, they can use any information they know or are able to find to make their fake account look more like the real you.
  • You should definitely contact Facebook; they have a Report an Impostor Account page. If it starts to cross the line into illegal activity, defamation, or worse, you can try to contact law enforcement.
  • Email from John in Kansas: Dear Tech Talk. My Windows 10 computer installed the latest updates. Now is is stuck on “Don’t Turn Off” During Windows Updates. I have waited a day and it is still stuck. Can I turn off the computer? Will that damage my files? John in Kansas
  • Tech Talk Responds: The “Getting Windows ready, Don’t turn off your computer” message appears while Windows is installing updates. Windows will normally finish the installation process if you give it time—but, if it’s been hours, you may just need to restart your PC.
  • The update installation process will fail if you restart your PC during this process. But how badly will it fail? Will it cause problems with your computer?
  • If you turn off your computer and the install progress is less than 30%, Windows will restart normally. You will see the “We couldn’t finish installing updates” notification.
  • If you restart you computer and the update is over 40% installed, your computer will restore the previous version of the OS on reboot.
  • If the “Do not Restart” screen in on for over two hours, I would recommend restarting.
  • Email from Ralph in Reston: Dear Tech Talk. I have been adding additional features to my high performance PC at home. Sometimes I have trouble installing the correct Window10 drivers for this device. What do you recommend? Ralph in Reston
  • Tech Talk Responds: All your computer hardware, from the motherboard to the webcam, needs drivers to function properly. If your PC and its connected devices are working properly, you probably don’t need to download drivers. When you install Windows on a computer or connect a peripheral to your PC, Windows automatically downloads and installs the appropriate drivers. Device manufacturers upload these official drivers to Windows Update so Windows can install them automatically.
  • If you have just installed Windows on a PC or plugged in a peripheral and something isn’t working properly, it’s time to get the official drivers from the manufacturer’s download site.
  • Install the latest graphics drivers for your system’s NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel graphics hardware if you play PC games. The drivers available from Windows Update tend to be older, which means they won’t work as well with newer games. The Windows drivers don’t have useful tools like NVIDIA GeForce Experience and AMD ReLive that you get from the manufacturer, either.
  • To manually download a driver for a piece of hardware, you’ll need to know the manufacturer of the hardware, as well as its model number. If you purchased a desktop computer or laptop, you just need to know which manufacturer and model number of computer you have.
  • If you built your own PC, you’ll need to know which internal components you used. You’ll have to get each hardware component’s drivers from that manufacturer’s website.
  • We recommend you get your drivers straight from the hardware manufacturer’s official websites. Skip the scammy “driver downloader” apps you may see online.

Profiles in IT: Bradford Parkinson

  • Bradford Parkinson United States Air Force colonel best known as one of the fathers of Global Positioning System (along with Roger L. Easton and Ivan A. Getting).
  • Bradford Parkinson was born in Madison, Wisconsin on February 16, 1935.
  • Parkinson attended the Breck School, all-boys prep school, graduating in 1952.
  • He then attended the Naval Academy, graduating in 1957 with a BS in Engineering.
  • Parkinson discovered he had a deep interest in controls engineering, which was not a research focus of the Navy at that time. he decided to transfer to the Air Force.
  • After graduating from the Naval Academy, he served two years as a chief Communications-Electronics officer at an early warning station Southeast Asia.
  • Parkinson then attended MIT, studying controls engineering, inertial guidance, and electrical engineering. He received a MS in Aeronautics in 1961.
  • Parkinson was then assigned to work at Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
  • There he continued to study inertial guidance and electrical and controls engineering, gaining a deep understanding of both of both theory and application in the battlefield.
  • After three years, Parkinson was assigned to a Ph.D. program at Stanford University.
  • He returned to combat duty in Vietnam in 1969 after finishing his PhD at Stanford.
  • His assignment was to improve the AC-130 Spectre gunship and to understand how the technology performed. He logged more than 170 hours of combat missions.
  • In 1973, Parkinson was assigned to an Air Force program called Project 621B.
  • This program was a navigation-focused collaboration between The Aerospace Corporation and the Air Force. He became the de facto manager and later the director.
  • When Parkinson first took over 621B, the program was in its early theoretical stages.
  • Parkinson’s responsibilities shifted to managing the program and ensuring funding.
  • The Pentagon was publicly skeptical of satellite-based navigation systems, as they believed the accuracy would always be too poor to be of substantial value.
  • In 1978 the first working prototype of a GPS system was launched. 621B transitioned to the larger NAVSTAR program and Parkinson decided to retire from the Air Force.
  • Parkinson spent a year teaching mechanical engineering at Colorado State University.
  • He then became VP of the Space Systems Group at Rockwell International, Inc., where he was involved in developing the space shuttle.
  • Parkinson joined Intermetrics as VP and helped take them public in 1982.
  • In 1984, Parkinson accepted a research position at Stanford University.
  • He is on the boards of Trimble Nav., EMS Tech, and Navigation Tech Ventures.
  • GPS has become a ubiquitous and a technology and critical to military operations.
  • Most current cell phones include GPS receivers for navigation and location.
  • He is an avid skier, snowshoer, hiker, and sailor.

Visit by David Burd

  • David stops by to talk about:
  • Differences between the iPhone 5C and 5S
  • Transferring pictures from your old phone to your new phone.
  • Apple’s thumbprint recognition iPhone feature
  • Sleep hacking
  • Google Glass

Cutting the Cord: My Journey Continued

  • .OTA television streaming options
    • Mohu AirWave
      • Great directory on Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV
      • No support for iOS, Android, or Roku
      • Does not support amplified antenna.
      • If I got better reception, this would be my choice.
      • Cost: $149 for Wi-Fi and antenna. Antenna not good enough for my location.
      • Purchased Mohu Air60 for $126 on Amazon. I mounted it in the attic. I used a cell phone app to point the antenna.
      • Now I get 49 stations with excellent picture quality (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, FoxPlus, plus many more). Works well.
    • ClearStream TV™ Over-The-Air WiFi Television Digital Tuner
      • Support any antenna, even amplified antennas.
      • One tuner only. Streams to multiple TVs
      • Usable directory. Not as slick as Mohu’s
      • Will evaluate reception in the new couple of weeks.
      • Price: $99 without antenna.
      • Purchased a ClearStream 4MAX antenna with 70+ range and a slightly wider FOV. I plan to compare with the results from the Mohu Air60.
    • Tablo Wi-Fi DVR
      • Support any antenna, even amplified antennas.
      • Either 2 or 4 tuners. Steams different channels to multiple TVs
      • Directory costs $5/month or $150 for lifetime.
      • Will evaluate reception in the new couple of weeks.
      • Price: $299 for four tuners, plus $70 for 2TB WD hard drive.
    • Poor Wi-Fi reception in attic: If you don’t have good Wi-Fi signals in the attic, you can use power line Ethernet to connect your Wi-Fi bridge to the Router. The Netgear solution is $70. The TP Link solution is $45. Both got good reviews.