Show of 04-04-2020

Tech Talk

April 4, 2020

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from June in Burke: Dear Doc. Have not setup my fios router with two SSID 2.4 and 5.0. How do I do it? Thanks for your help. June in Burke, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: You need to log onto your routers configuration page. Go to http://192.168.1.1 and enter your user name and password. If you have not changed it, the password may be written on the bottom of your router. Click on Wireless Settings. Click on Basic Security Setting and make 2.4GHz and 5GHz SSIDs different. I like to use XXX_2.4 and XXX_5.8. You can choose which band to use. Make certain to select WPA2 encryption and set the password for each band. Use the same password for convenience. I tend to stream my video with 5.8GHz band and use the other band for low bandwidth activities. The 2.4GHz band penetrates walls much better and provides whole house coverage.
  • Email from John in Kansas City: Dear Doc and Jim. I just started a new blog. I am confused with the traffic statistics. What is the difference between Hits, Page Views, and Visits? Enjoy the podcast. John in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tech Talk Responds: A website receives a hit every time a single file that makes up part of a web page is accessed. For example, if a web page consists of nothing but static HTML code and nothing else, every time a visitor’s web browser visits that page it will result in a total of one hit (for the web page itself). But if the webmaster were to add five photos to that same page, all new views of that page in a browser would result in a total of six hits (one for the HTML page itself and one each for the five photos).
  • A page view is just that. Every time a web page is displayed in a visitor’s browser, one new page view is recorded in the website’s stats regardless of how many photos or other files the page might contain.
  • A visit is recorded every time a person accesses at least one page on a website within a given length of time (aka a session). It doesn’t matter whether the “visitor” looks at one page, ten pages or a hundred pages during a session, a single visit is recorded in the stats.
  • Email from Karen in Newport News: We set up our Wi-Fi routers years ago. Our Windows 10 laptops and phones log on automatically. Unfortunately, we have forgotten the password and now need to connect another computer to the network. Do you know of any way to retrieve the Wi-Fi password from the router? I’d hate to have to go out and buy another new router if I can avoid it.
  • Tech Talk Responds: There is no way to retrieve the Wi-Fi password from your router. But you do have a couple of excellent options that don’t require the purchase of a new router.
  • First, you could always reset your router back to its factory default settings and then create a new Wi-Fi network with a new password.
  • A faster and easier solution is to retrieve the password from your own laptop.
  • Since you are running Windows 10. Just follow these instructions to retrieve the stored Wi-Fi password from your laptop:
    • If it is not connected already, connect your laptop to your Wi-Fi Network.
    • Launch the Control Panel.
    • Click Network and Internet.
    • Click on Status.
    • Click on Network and Sharing Center
    • Click the name of your Wi-Fi network over on the right, then click Wireless Properties in the window that pops up.
    • Select the Security tab. You should now see a box containing the “Network Security Key” displayed as a series of dots. The dots represent your Wi-Fi password in hidden form.
    • Check the box beside Show characters to display the password for your Wi-Fi connection.
  • Enter this password on your new laptop to log into your Wi-Fi network. You might also want to write the password down at this point and keep it tucked away somewhere for later use.
  • Email from Peter in Fairfax: Dear Doc and Jim. Our business has gone remote and is using Zoom for weekly staff meetings. Recently some our meeting have been interrupted by someone posting lewd pictures and making crude remarks. This is unnerving. How can be configure Zoom to some theses unwanted intrusions. Love the show. Peter in Fairfax, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: You have been a victim of Zoom Bombing. Hackers gain access to a Zoom meeting and attempt to disrupt the video chat and upset participants by shouting profanity or racial slurs, or putting disturbing or offensive images in their video feed. The vulnerability also has people wondering if Zoom is safe to use.
  • The majority of Zoom bombing attacks appear not to be the product of flaws in Zoom’s code, but rather of users’ being careless. If a Zoom meeting is set to public, it can be accessed by anyone with the correct link. Bad actors can find these addresses simply by searching for “zoom.us” on social media sites like Facebook, where public meeting links are often posted.
  • Most importantly, Zoom users should not share meeting links publicly. This is perhaps the single most obvious precaution you can take. Rather than posting a meeting link to a Facebook group or in a promotional tweet, distribute information via a more private method, such as email.
  • Second, set your meetings to “private.” Zoom now sets all new meetings to “private” by default, requiring attendees to provide a password for access. But users often opt to make meetings public for the sake of convenience. Given the wave of Zoom bombings, the inconvenience of requiring a password is probably worthwhile in keeping your meeting safe.
  • Don’t use your personal meeting ID. Every registered Zoom user has a personal meeting ID, linked to what is essentially a permanent virtual meeting room. Because that ID does not change, sharing it publicly increases the chance that future meetings using your personal ID might be Zoom bombed.
  • To avoid the risk of Zoom bombing, share your personal meeting ID only with your most trusted contacts. Generally, while Zoom will prompt you to use your personal ID for “instant” meetings, scheduled meetings will use a one-time meeting ID, reducing risk. If you’re concerned that you may have already shared your personal meeting ID in an insecure way, Zur recommends contacting Zoom directly to have it changed.
  • Finally, restrict video sharing. If the meeting host is the only person who needs to share video, such as in a seminar or presentation, the host should change Zoom’s screen-sharing setting to “Host only.”
  • Email from Alice in Alexandria: Dear Tech Talk. I recently bought a Windows laptop after my MacBook died. My MacBook used to start with the same programs and websites when I restart it. Does Windows have that feature? Enjoy the show. Alice in Alexandria
  • Tech Talk Responds: Windows has a special shutdown mode that saves a copy of everything that’s in the system’s RAM to the hard drive, then uses that stored information to re-create the same exact state the system was in the next time you turn on your computer. This special mode is called Hibernation, and if you select it instead of clicking Shutdown the next time you power down your PC you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off when you start it back up.
  • Whether you plan to power your computer back up tomorrow or next month, the result will be the same. As soon as it boots back up into Windows the same programs and websites you were using last time will be open and waiting for you to resume your previous tasks.
  • A hibernating machine is actually in a power-off mode just as if you had selected “Shutdown” instead of “Hibernate”. That means it will consume virtually no power while it’s in that state.
  • A hibernating computer has the last-used contents of the system RAM stored in a file on the hard drive. That file will be used during the next system startup to put everything back into RAM that was in there the last time you used it.
  • Unfortunately, recent versions of Windows have Hibernation disabled by default. If you find that it’s disabled on your machine, it’s very easy to enable it:

Profiles in IT: Thomas Reardon

  • Thomas Reardon is an American computational neuroscientist, best known as creating MS Internet Explorer and co-founder of CTRL-labs.
  • Thomas Reardon was born in 1969 in New Hampshire.
  • Reardon took graduate-level math and science classes at the MIT while in high school. He moved to North Carolina at age 16.
  • While in North Carolina, Reardon co-founded a startup at age 19. After its acquisition, he joined MS as a program manager on the Windows 95/98 projects.
  • He served as a program manager and architect for Internet Explorer (IE) through V4.
  • He delivered the first implementation of CSS in Internet Explorer 3.
  • IE3 was the first version of Explorer to compete with Netscape Navigator.
  • In 1996, he bundled IE with MS Windows OS, starting the First Browser War..
  • Reardon was a founding board member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
  • He worked to establish many of the standards that still govern the World Wide Web.
  • Reardon was one of the earliest advocates HTML4, CSS, and XML, designing the first commercial implementations of these languages.
  • In 2001, Reardon left MS to start a wireless networking startup called Avogadro.
  • Reardon later joined OpenWave, a mobile software company, where he served as general manager, Vice President, finally as CTO until 2004.
  • At OpenWave, he worked on developing the first mobile web browser.
  • In 2003, the made MIT Technology Review Top 35 Innovators Under 35 list.
  • In 2004, Reardon went back to college, studying Classics at the Columbia University.
  • A conversation with physicist Freeman Dyson for inspired him to widen his world.
  • In 2008, Reardon graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University with a B.A. in Literature and Classical Languages.
  • By 2010, he had also earned an M.S. in Neurobiology from Duke University.
  • In 2016, Reardon earned a PhD in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia U.
  • In 2015, he co-founded CTRL-labs with Patrick Kaifosh. He serves as CEO.
  • Its flagship device has been called an “API for the brain” by TechCrunch and a “wristband to let human beings control machines with their minds” by CNBC.
  • The CTRL-kit band detects the electrical impulses that travel from the motor neurons to the hand almost as soon as a person thinks about a particular movement.
  • An artificial neural network is trained to map these signals to the device interface.
  • The technology could open up new forms of rehabilitation and access for patients recovering from a stroke or amputation, Parkinson’s disease, or MS.
  • In February 2019, CTRL-labs announced raising $28M in a Series B financing round from Google, Amazon, and others. This brings their fundraising total to $67M.
  • In September 2019, Facebook acquired CTRL-labs for between $500M and $1B. Reardon became Director, Research Science at Facebook Reality Labs.

Product of the Week: Microsoft Power Toys

  • Microsoft is creating a new set of PowerToys for Windows 10. This open-source project adds many powerful features to Windows, from a bulk file renamer to an Alt+Tab alternative that lets you search for windows from your keyboard.
  • You can download PowerToys from GitHub and enable the features you want from within the PowerToys Settings application. It’s free and open-source. Download the MSI file from the website and double-click it to install it.
  • To access PowerToys settings after installing and launching the application, locate the PowerToys icon in the notification area (system tray) on your taskbar, right-click it, and select “Settings.”
  • On March 31, 2020, Microsoft released PowerToys version 0.16.0 with four new tools.
    • PowerRename, a Bulk File Renamer.
    • Image Resizer, a Bulk Image Resizer.
    • FancyZones, a Zone-Based Window Manager.
    • Windows Key Shortcut Guide.
  • The PowerToys package is still in its early stages, with more tools planned before the 1.0 release. Microsoft expects to release the final version in September 2020.
  • https://github.com/microsoft/PowerToys/releases/download/v0.16.0/PowerToysSetup-0.16.0-x64.msi

Folding@home Seeks Computers to Study CoronaVirus

  • Stanford University’s Folding@home distributed computing project is seeking volunteers to help researchers develop treatment therapies for the novel coronavirus.
  • Folding@home uses the processing capacity of networked computers to simulate the complex process of protein folding, which helps determine how to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, and SARS, another coronavirus.
  • For coronavirus, the first step of infection occurs in the lungs, when a protein on the surface of the virus binds to a receptor protein on a lung cell. This viral protein is called the spike protein … Proteins are not stagnant—they wiggle and fold and unfold to take on numerous shapes. We need to study not only one shape of the viral spike protein, but all the ways the protein wiggles and folds into alternative shapes
  • Studying how the protein folds could eventually help researchers develop drugs that could treat infections of the virus.
  • To participate in the coronavirus project, download the FAH software, and your computer’s unused resources will go to the Folding@home Consortium.
  • Go to the Folding@home webpage and download the program for your computer. It supports Windows, Macs, and Linux.
  • Link: https://foldingathome.org/

Zoom Freezes Feature Development to Fix Privacy Issues

  • Coronavirus lockdowns have pushed Zoom to its limits, exposing a series of severe security cracks that have gone overlooked for years.
  • The video-conferencing service announced Thursday it would pulling out all the stops to patch them.
  • Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan announced the company is freezing development on new user features to exclusively focus on privacy improvements over the next 90 days.
  • He revealed that the video-conferencing software has grown nearly 1,900% and now hosts 200 million daily meeting participants (both free and paid), up from 10 million in December last year.
  • In the past few weeks, security researchers have discovered a range of alarming vulnerabilities inside Zoom’s infrastructure.
  • The California-based company was also found lying about its end-to-end encryption which meant its employees, if they so chose, could access your video meetings.
  • On top of that, Zoom was hit by a class-action lawsuit over its data-collection practices.

Google Is Publishing Location Data To Show Lockdowns

  • Google is using the location data it collects from billions of smartphones to show how people’s movements have changed as governments around the world lock down cities and issue shelter in place orders to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Reports generated using this data, which is normally used to show how busy a certain location is on Google Maps, and which Google says does not identify individual people, are freely available on a brand new website called COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports. “
  • The data is currently available for 131 countries, and in many locations including the US, you can also access data for individual counties.
  • Link: https://www.google.com/covid19/mobility/

Coronavirus may Spread through Normal Breathing

  • The new coronavirus might spread through the air via normal breathing and speaking.
  • Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, indicated that the guidance on masks would be changed because of some recent information that the virus can actually be spread even when people just speak, as opposed to coughing and sneezing.
  • As it stands, the official advice is that only sick people need to cover their faces, as well as those caring for them at home.
  • The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) sent a letter to the White House on April 1 that summarized recent research on the subject.
  • It said that though the research is not yet conclusive, “the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing.”
  • Until now, US health agencies have said that the primary pathway of transmission is respiratory droplets, about one millimeter in diameter, expelled by sick people when they sneeze or cough. These quickly fall to the ground around a meter away.
  • But if the virus can be suspended in the ultrafine mist we expel when we exhale, in other words an aerosol, it becomes much harder to prevent its spread, which in turn is an argument in favor of everyone covering their faces.
  • The NAS scientists also pointed to two other studies—both not yet peer reviewed—from Hong Kong and from mainland China.
  • So far, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been more cautious on the airborne threat.
  • In an analysis published on March 29, it wrote that aerosol transmission was only known to occur during particular medical treatments that required assisted breathing.