Show of 08-17-2019

Tech Talk

August 17, 2019

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Wije in Germantown: Dear Doc and Jim: I just bought a new iPhone and would like to listen to music and be able to do hands free phone calls. I have a 2007 Ford and a 2009 Lexus. I cannot figure out how to connect my phone to the car audio system. Where is the Bluetooth? How can I make this connection? Love the podcast. Wije in Germantown
  • Tech Talk Responds: The Bluetooth standard was originally conceived by Dr. Jaap Haartsen at Ericsson back in 1994. It was named for a renowned Viking and king who united Denmark and Norway in the 10th century. However, Bluetooth did not start penetrating the car market until 2010. By 2012, it was offered by most manufacturers.
  • Neither of your cars has Bluetooth. You only option is to either replace you radio with one that offers a Bluetooth input, or to use an excellent workaround. I recommend the workaround because it is cheaper. You can get a Bluetooth to FM converter that send the signal to your radio on the FM band. You simply tune the converter and radio to the same station and are good to go. Use the lower frequency stations near 88 MHz for better reception. I ordered an excellent device from Amazon and tested it out this weekend. I purchased the Nulaxy Bluetooth FM transmitter, KM18. This plugs into the cigarette lighter and has two USB charging ports for your phones (a fast charge and a regular 2.4 amp charge). I configured it in less than five minutes. Pandora music sounded perfect. When I answered an incoming call by pressing a button on the device, the music stopped. When the call ended, the music started. I could talk hands-free during the call. I highly recommend this $21 device. Never fear, Bluetooth is always near.
  • Email from John in Kansas: Dear Tech Talk. I have finally moved from Yahoo Mail to a new Gmail account. How can I transfers all my Yahoo emails to my new account? I have a lot of history that I want to preserve. Love the show. John in Kansas
  • Tech Talk Responds: Gmail uses a built-in migration tool offered by ShuttleCloud that lets you import everything from your old inbox for free. ShuttleCloud usually charges a service fee.
    • To get started, log in to your Gmail account where want to migrate all your old emails to, click the settings cog, and then click “Settings.”
    • Click the “Accounts and Import” tab and then click “Import Mail and Contacts.”
    • Click “Accounts and Import,” and then click “Import mail and contacts.”
    • Enter the email address you want to migrate emails from, and then click “Continue.”
    • At the Sign-in page, enter the credentials to your email, and then click “Next.”
    • Based on the email service you used, you need to give the tool different permission to access your email. Click “Yes.”
    • For this application to access emails and contacts in associated with your email account, you have to give it access to your email account. Click “Yes.”
    • You get to choose what information gets imported into your Gmail account. Tick all the boxes that pertain to you and then click “Start Import.”
    • This process can take anywhere between a couple of hours and two days before you start to see anything appear. Click “OK” to finish up.
  • Email from Linda in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Dear Doc and Jim. My friend has told me that I need to force close all apps on my phone to keep it running fasters and to save battery life. Is that true? Just checking. Linda in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
  • Tech Talk Responds: There is a persistent belief that you need to actively manage your mobile apps and use the force-close function to shut them down (much like you’d close an application on your desktop computer like Word before launching a game). When you’re not using an application, the application is effectively suspended in time and space just waiting for you to come back. It does not matter if you’re using an Android phone, an iPhone, or even a Windows phone. All mobile platforms work more or less the same. Closing smartphone apps all the time just makes your smartphone work harder, feel slower, and burn more battery life.
  • Hanging out in the background is actually more efficient as your smartphone has to do less work to bring the app back to the forefront when you want it. That “do-less-work” bit means that by not closing the apps, you’re saving time and battery life. Plus, the apps should feel like they’re opening faster because they’re right there waiting to go.
  • The only real exception to this is applications you have allowed to run in the background (things like a weather app or email that do a little).
  • Email from Mark in Richmond: Dear Tech Talk. I have a very important question for you. How much is Facebook’s cut of all the money that’s donated to charity to honor someone’s birthday? I have heard they keep half of it. If that is true, it should be illegal in my opinion. I would really like to know the answer to this because I’ve made several donations in the recent past. Mark in Richmond
  • Tech Talk Responds: Luckily, the person that gave you that information was terribly wrong. In reality, Facebook doesn’t keep a single penny of the charitable contributions that are made though their website. If you click on the Donations to Charitable Organizations link on this page you’ll see that Facebook doesn’t charge any fees at all when donations are made to any qualified charitable organization.
  • They do charge a small fee when someone runs a personal fundraiser (i.e. when the person or organization benefiting from the fundraiser is not a qualifying charity). The purpose of those fees is to cover the expenses Facebook incurs for running the fundraiser, plus any applicable taxes.
  • Email from Youel Sarkis in San Diego: Dear Dr Richard. Hello and how are you? Love the show and I have been listening for few years religiously. You have a lot of great information that one can learn.
  • I have two questions. First, my church would like to broad cast/stream live our mass every Sunday live. I do not have time to sit there and start up the recording. Then up load it to YouTube or Facebook. Is there an IP camera that we can purchase that can do this automatically on a given time without anyone babysitting it. Mount it and set the program to stream.
  • And on my second question.I have Google Wi-Fi at my home and love it. The only problem that I have is that it is a different network and I like it to have the same as my wired network. Anything on Google Wi-Fi network, I cannot see through the router on my computer. I cannot stream video to my TV. Can I combine them as one network? Where everything is together and can see each other. Thank you for taking my question looking forward on your answers. Have a great show and keep up the great work every week. Thank you again. Youel Sarkis, San Diego, CA
  • Tech Talk Responds: Let’s talk about your Wi-Fi. You can cascading two routers systems. You have plugged your wired network in the Cable Router and the Google Wi-Fi connected to the same Ethernet switch in the Cable Router. So you have two different DHCP servers and two different networks. You can merge them to one network by plugging the wired network into the Google Wi-Fi. Then both your wired network and your wireless cascade through two firewalls and two NAT servers. That should solve your problem, although the piggybacked NAT servers could slow down your gaming. If that is a problem, you can convert you Cable router to a bridge and only use the NAT server in the Google Wi-Fi system.
  • As for your charge, the easiest way to video is to use Periscope or Facebook Live. It is quick and dirty. You need to be mindful that most church music is copyrighted that that broadcasting it is outside of the fair use carve out. This gives a simple single angle view of the event. You should employ a wireless mike for anyone who speaks. Good sound is more important than good video. Plug the wireless mike directly into the camera. We simply use an iPad for the video streaming of the radio show on Periscope.
  • A good turnkey streaming service for Churches is DaCast. DaCast offers a well-rounded and comprehensive service at a competitive price. Smaller churches will gravitate to the Starter Plan, but will receive the same great features as larger churches on the Premium Plan. DaCast is easy to set up and get started, making it attractive for first time broadcaster. For pros, DaCast offers but also comes with sophisticated features and capabilities
    • Starter Plan $19/month (includes 100 GB of bandwidth & 20 GB of storage)
    • Pro Plan $165/month (includes 2,000 GB of bandwidth & 125 GB of storage)
    • Premium Plan $390/month (includes 5,000 GB of bandwidth & 250 GB of storage)
  • I would also suggest that you create a podcast. They are easier to manage. You can concentrate on getting great sound with a sound mixer. A reasonable service to work with is Podpoint.com (https://podpoint.com/). The simplest solution is to use a computer running software like Audacity (free) or GarageBand (free for Macs).

Profiles in IT: Walter Jeremiah Sanders

  • Walter Jeremiah Sanders best known as co-founder and was a long-time CEO of the American semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
  • Jerry Sanders was born September 12, 1936 and grew up in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. He was raised by his paternal grandparents.
  • At 18, while at a college party, he came to the aid of a friend who was being beaten by several young thugs. The friend took off, and Sanders was kicked and punched and dumped into a garbage can. He was in a coma for three days and given Last Rites.
  • In 1958, he received a BSEE from attended the University of Illinois after receiving an academic scholarship from the Pullman railroad car company.
  • After graduation, he went to work for the Douglas Aircraft Company. He eventually moved to Motorola, then to Fairchild Semiconductor.
  • In the late 50s and early 60s Fairchild was the hottest company on the planet. Led by Robert Noyce, who was only in his 30s.
  • Jerry Sanders, was a young Fairchild salesman taken under wing by Noyce. Sanders was cocky, outrageous, and clever. He was protected from many scandals by Noyce.
  • In 1968, when Fairchild was faltering, Noyce formed Intel with Gordon Moore, his Fairchild co-founder. They brought Andy Grove as their first employee.
  • In 1968, Fairchild brought a new management team, led by C. Lester Hogan, then VP of Motorola Semiconductor. The new team clashed with Sanders’ boisterous style. He was fired at age 33, ready for his next challenge.
  • In 1969, a group of Fairchild engineers decided to start a new company, which became AMD. They founded the company with Sanders as President.
  • Unfortunately, Intel got the VC money and AMD got the crumbs.
  • Sanders realized that the key to earning wealth was for everyone else at AMD to make a lot of money too. Every employee at the company got stock options.
  • Sanders gave the company a strong sales and marketing, so that it was successful even though it was behind its competitors in technology and manufacturing.
  • He shared the success of the company with the employees, usually coincident with sales-oriented growth targets. Bonuses were part of the company culture.
  • In 1974, a particularly bad recession almost broke the company. Instead of cutting employees, he asked them to work Saturdays to get new products out sooner.
  • He was responsible for a licensing deal with Intel that made AMD a second source to IBM for the Intel Microprocessor. When AMD was more successful selling Intel clones than might have been anticipated, Intel unilaterally canceled the agreement.
  • After a lengthy and bitter battle in court, the suit was finally resolved in 1994.
  • Ultimately, AMD developed Athlon chip with superior technology to Intel.
  • In 2000, Sanders recruited Héctor Ruiz, the president of Motorola Semiconductor Products, to serve as AMD’s president and CEO. Ruiz succeeded Sanders in 2002.
  • Sanders maxim was “People first, products and profit will follow!”

AMD Challenges Intel for Server Leadership

  • Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO, announced at the Epyc processor launch that the company has broken 80 performance records and that this new processor is the highest-performing one in the segment.
  • The new Epyc 2 is 64 cores and 128 threads and with PCIe generation 4, it has 128 lanes on top its 7nm technology, which currently also appears to lead the market.
  • Over the years the average performance for the data center chips, according to Su, has improved around 15% per year. This new generation blows the curve out; instead of 15% year-over-year improvement, it is closer to 100%.
  • Using a running comparison between AMD’s fastest processor, the 7743, with Intel’s highest performer, 8780L, the AMD processor is showing 97% higher performance.
  • For HPC testing, the performance drops a bit competitively to 88%, but it is still a nearly overwhelming win using industry benchmarks.
  • Joining Su on stage was Mark Potter CTO from HPE. Potter attested to the fact that some of the most powerful supercomputers coming to market will use this processor.
  • Jen Fraser, a senior director from Twitter, came on stage next and spoke to her company’s critical performance needs. One of their biggest problems is keeping energy use down, and the efficiency of this new second-generation Epyc processor is what attracted them to the product.
  • Moving to 7nm was a massive investment by AMD. This resulted in faster, smaller lower-powered transistors. This change also gave AMD 2x density and the ability to provide the same performance as Intel–but using half the energy.
  • Intel has had a number of dire security problems that it didn’t disclose in timely fashion, making their largest customers very nervous. AMD is going after this vulnerability aggressively and pointing to how they have uniquely hardened Epyc 2.
  • Girish Bablani CVP from Microsoft’s Azure effort then came on stage and indicated that Epyc 2’s performance and workload potential was impressive. He argued that the AMD solutions were the leading solutions on the Azure Cloud.
  • Google was an early adapter of this technology, and it has already deployed it. Their engineers particularly like the generation 4 PCIe, the high core count and the advanced memory fabric and capacity.
  • At this point AMD is winning the chip wars; look for Intel’s next move. But they are not releasing 7 nm technology until 2021. Intel just released 10 nm technology this year.

Bad Idea of the Week: A Null License Plate

  • Droogie registered a vanity California license plate consisting solely of the word “NULL” — which in programming is a term for no specific value — for fun.
  • He admitted to the off chance it would confuse automatic license plate readers and the DMV’s ticketing system. He hoped to be invisible to the system.
  • But it didn’t work out that way. Instead, I got lots of tickets.
  • As Droogie explained, he’s a cautious driver and didn’t get any tickets for the first year he owned the vanity plate.
  • Then he went to reregister his tags online, and, when prompted to input his license plate, broke the DMV webpage. It seemed the DMV site didn’t recognize the plate “NULL” as an actual input.
  • That was the first sign that something was amiss. The next sign was, well, a little more serious: Thousands of dollars in random tickets starting arriving in the mail at his house, addressed to him.
  • It seemed that a privately operated citation processing center had a database of outstanding tickets, and, for some reason — possibly due to incomplete data on their end — many of those tickets were assigned to the license plate “NULL.” I
  • n other words, the processing center was likely trying to tell its systems it didn’t know the plates of the offending cars.
  • Instead, with Droogie’s vanity plate now in play, it pegged all those outstanding tickets on him. Specifically, over $12,000 worth of outstanding tickets.
  • Droogie went on the painstaking process to explain the situation to the DMV and the LAPD, both of whom advised him to change his plate.

Satya Nadella’s 3 Leadership Rules

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is one of the most transformative leaders.
  • It will be five years since Nadella was announced as Microsoft’s chief executive.
  • Since taking charge, he has turned Microsoft’s fortunes around, making it the most valuable company in the world for the first time since 2002.
  • Here are Nadella’s top winning rules to future-proof your business.
  • Lead with Culture.How are decisions made and what kind of culture do you aspire to have? A winning culture means moving from a know-it-all mindset to a learn-it-all one. One of Nadella’s first bold moves was to change the mission from the archaic-sounding “a computer on every desk in every home” to the much more customer-focused aim of “empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.” Teams are encouraged to focus on passion projects and think of Microsoft not as a 42-year-old company but as a challenger organization with day one in its DNA.
  • Act Quickly, Think Slowly.Nadella is a long-term thinker who embraces new trends and weak signals early to stay ahead of the curve. He values high-speed decision making, where 80 percent confidence is enough to act. In a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous), he understands that waiting for 100 percent certainty before making a decision is simply too slow a pace.
  • Learn-It-All Beats Know-It-All.The 2000s were Microsoft’s lost decade, where it seemed to lose touch with its customers and fall into an existential crisis. In 2014, Nadella became Microsoft’s new CEO and declared the new game was to be a “learn-it-all” company rather than a know-it-all one. A learn-it-all company makes the decision that every day will be a new day, with learning, exploring, and experimenting as the norm.

China Tech Threat

  • In 2015 the Chinese government launched the “Made in China 2025” plan and targeted 10 global industries which the country should dominate in 10 years (including information technology, pharmaceuticals, robotics, automobiles, strategic manufacturing etc.).
  • There are numerous examples of Chinese actors penetrating American military and corporate networks to steal secrets.
  • In recent years, Chinese hackers stole or compromised design plans of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, C-17 transport plane, F-22 fighter jet, Patriot missile system and various naval platforms.
  • A growing number of Justice Department indictments have demonstrated how state-sponsored Chinese actors have led phishing campaigns to target U.S. government agencies as well as private sector aviation and aerospace firms.
  • A 2018 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission calls out the supply chain risks not just from Huawei and ZTE, but also Inspur, Legend Capital/Holdings, Lenovo, Lexmark, Lishen Power Battery Systems, Tianma Microelectronics, TPV Technology Ltd, Tsingua Holdings, and Shenzen Laibo HiTech Co. Ltd.
  • Products or services from these firms could present itself as a supply chain attack or fail through a compromised product, such as batteries, acoustic components, magnets, shielding materials, or cables and power connectors.
  • Lenovo products are banned by use of intelligence agencies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States (Five Eyes Countries) since the mid-2000s, when British military intelligence discovered “backdoors” and suspicious components in Lenovo products.
  • A 2017 report by the bipartisan IP Commission concluded that Chinese theft of American intellectual property currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion each year.

Fake Amazon reviews surge around Prime Day

  • Fake reviews on Amazon tend to surge around Prime Day.
  • For the past two years, the percentage of fake reviews has jumped between June and July, the month of Prime Day.
  • In 2018, that percentage jumped 12 percentage points: from 16 percent fake reviews in June to 28 percent in July.
  • While it is too soon to provide this data for 2019, Fakespot does not expect this year to be any different.
  • In fact, it could be even worse, since Fakespot estimates that, already, over 34 percent of reviews on Amazon are “fake or unreliable,” as of June 2019.
  • It estimates that 90 percent of bad reviews are “computer generated,” and is using machine learning to analyze and remove “inauthentic” reviews.
  • Cell phones and accessories have it particularly bad, skyrocketing from 16 percent fake reviews in June 2017 to 39 percent in June 2019.
  • To spot inauthentic reviews, Fakespot says shoppers need to “drill down” into the reviews themselves. Often, we just look at the amount of stars a product has — but Fakespot says this is not necessarily reliable.
  • If reviews all sound the same, they could be bot-generated or even written by real people, just using boilerplate language provided by the company.
  • Reviews that are not from “verified purchasers” should be discounted.
  • Use Fakespot to spot fake reviews: https://www.fakespot.com/

An Issue for Democracy: Google Accused of Political Bias

  • Conservative watchdog group, Project Veritas, released a video of a Google executive allegedly insinuating the company is manipulating its algorithms to work against President Trump.
  • The clips show a woman Project Veritas identifies as Jen Gennai, who they said is Google’s Head of Responsible Innovation.
  • One clip has her saying, “Everybody got screwed over, so how do we prevent it from happening again,” about the 2016 campaign.
  • The article by Veritas links to an online post by a Jen Gannai and her response to this video. It said she was filmed without her consent and that the video was edited and spliced to distort her words.
  • Still, Google and other big tech companies have come under fire on Capitol Hill.
  • Republican Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX, talked about the Project Veritas video during a hearing Tuesday.
  • The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, had a hearing on ‘Optimizing for Engagement: Understanding the Use of Persuasive Technology on Internet Platforms.’
  • Concerns of alleged bias and manipulating algorithms were coming from both sides of the political aisle.
  • Lawmakers are clear they will continue to question Google and companies like it to see if future regulation is needed.

Congress Must Deal with Facial Recognition

  • Lawmakers pressed officials on the federal government’s use of facial recognition.
  • Activists push for an outright ban on the technology.
  • The issue came under renewed scrutiny after a report on how Immigration and Customers Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are using the technology in investigations.
  • “Americans don’t expect and certainly don’t consent  to be surveilled just because they get a license or ID card,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
  • A coalition of civil rights advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote to the Committee on Homeland Security asking for the Department of Homeland Security to “immediately suspend” its use of facial recognition.
  • “It is imperative that Congress impose safeguards against mission creep,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) said.
  • Despite some bipartisan concern about the implications of facial recognition, lawmakers hardly agreed on what regulation might look like.

Using artificial intelligence to Detect Discrimination

  • A new artificial intelligence (AI) tool for detecting unfair discrimination, such as on the basis of race or gender, has been created by researchers at Penn State and Columbia University.
  • Preventing unfair treatment of individuals on the basis of race, gender or ethnicity, for example, been a long-standing concern of civilized societies.
  • However, detecting such discrimination resulting from decisions, whether by human decision makers or automated AI systems, can be extremely challenging.
  • This challenge is further exacerbated by the wide adoption of AI systems to automate decisions in many domains, including policing, consumer finance, higher education and business.
  • Artificial intelligence systems, such as those involved in selecting candidates for a job or for admission to a university, are trained on large amounts of data. But if these data are biased, they can affect the recommendations of AI systems.”
  • For example, he said, if a company historically has never hired a woman for a particular type of job, then an AI system trained on this historical data will not recommend a woman for a new job.
  • The team created an AI tool for detecting discrimination with respect to a protected attribute, such as race or gender, by human decision makers or AI systems that is based on the concept of causality in which one thing, a cause causes another thing, an effect.
  • The researchers tested their method using various types of available data, such as income data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine whether there is gender-based discrimination in salaries.
  • They also tested their method using the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program data to determine whether there is discrimination against people of color in arrests made after stops.