Show of 05-02-2020

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Alex in Fairfax: Dear Doc and Jim. I am opening a remote customer service business. My company will handle telephone and Internet-based customer service for companies that prefer to outsource that service. It will be absolutely critical that my office have a working Internet connection at all times with zero downtime. I’ve decided to subscribe to two Internet service providers (Xfinity and Verizon) to ensure up time. Can I have both ISPs connected to the same Wi-Fi network at the same time or will I have to manually switch cables to my router if one goes down? Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Alex in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: There are several ways to use two Internet connections with one network, but the one I recommend in your situation is setting up your network with a dual-WAN router. A dual-WAN router will allow you to connect two high-speed Internet connections to a single router to create a single Wi-Fi and/or wired network.
  • The two Internet connections can operate in one of two modes:
    • Failover Mode – If you set the router to use this mode you would designate the Xfinity connection to be the primary (Active) connection and the Verizon connection to be the backup (Passive) connection. If something causes the Xfinity connection to go down the router will detect the lost connection and immediately and seamlessly switch the network over to the Verizon connection. Once the Xfinity connection comes back online the router will switch back to that connection.
    • Load Balancing Mode – If you set the router to use this mode both Internet connections will be used at the same time, splitting the traffic between the two connections. Load balancing is great for times when your network bandwidth is being maxed out because the total amount of Internet traffic will be split between the two connections.
  • I recommend going with Load Balancing to take advantage of the extra total bandwidth that comes from the simultaneous use of two separate Internet connections. Load Balancing actually gives you the best of both worlds. While both Internet connections are active, your Internet traffic will be split between the two connections. However, if one of the connections goes down, the other connection will keep on working without skipping a beat!
  • Synology RT2600ac Dual WAN router is an excellent choice. It is currently $214 on Amazon. It supports both load balancing and failover modes. You may want a backup router to ensure absolute network uptime. Configure the backup router in advance, so can just swap the hardware and go online.
  • Email from Ngoc in Cleveland: Dear Doc and Jim. I am a home during the lockdown here in Ohio and would like to get some projects in the “gig economy.” Are there website where I can place my profile and pick up some remote work? Ngoc in Cleveland, OH
  • Tech Talk Responds: Great idea, Ngoc. This is a real option during the shut down. The gig economy has a growing number of job sites that support finding and posting freelance jobs or projects. Here are a few sites that you review.
    • com — This site has been around since 1998. Excellent results
    • com — The goLance platform has more than 500,000 users.
    • com – This is a micro job market
    • com – This site has been around since 2007 and is UK centric.
    • com –Largest global freelancing site, started in 2010, tech heavy.
    • net – This site has been around since 1999 and is UK centric.
    • Linkedin Profinder – Part of the LinkedIn ecosystem, US centric.
    • com – Started in 2015, with a global focus.
    • com – Built in Vancouver, tech centric jobs
    • com –Australian site that has grown globally through acquisition.
    • com – All types of gig jobs, many non-technical
  • Good luck with your search, Ngoc. This shutdown is a great opportunity to excpand your horizons remotely.
  • Email from Doug in Baton Rouge: Dear Dr. Shurtz and Jim. I want to update my cell phone (Tracfone) to one that has a larger screen and better functions. A factory refurbished Apple or Samsung phone seem to fit my pocketbook. Something like an older Apple series 7 or 8 or Galaxy series would work for me. However, these Apple and Galaxy series are out-of-date and are not generally supported with updates. What concerns me is SECURITY. If Apple / Galaxy does NOT support with updates or security protection, what are the risk using these older phones? Can that type of phone be unsafe in making calls? Can that type of phone be unsafe going online using the internet? What is your recommendation? I always appreciate your insight and recommendations! Thanks, Doug / Baton Rouge, LA
  • Tech Talk Responds: If you plan to surf the web with your cell phone and read emails that arrive via the Internet, you need a phone that receives regular security updates. If you only use it for phone calls, security updates are not as important. iPhones are getting cheaper. You should get one that has a few years of support left. iPhone5 is not longer supported. Next year iPhone6 will drop off the support. iPhone7 has a few more years of support and may be a good budget choice. The new iPhoneSE is a cost effective option (an iPhone 11 in an iPhone8 case). Apple typically supports a phone model for five years. The same is true for other vendors.
  • Email from Bob in Maryland: Dear Doc and Jim and my “special” buddy, Mr. Bigvoice. I just stumbled across a description of the LITHP programming language. It is apparently one of the “lesser known programming languages”: As always, I love the show, even in lockdown. Your faithful listener, Bob in Maryland
  • Tech Talk Responds: A funny programming language. LITHP is a joke language created by John Unger Zussman, and is one of the lesser known programming languages. This otherwise unremarkable language is distinguished by the absence of an “s” in its character set. Programmers and users must substitute “TH”. This is a play on the programming language LISP (with the S replaced with a TH).
  • Email from Helen in Rockville: Dear Doc and Jim. I enjoy creating videos to share with my family. Many of them have told me that I could create a YouTube video and make some money. How does that actually work? How can I make money from my video content? I ready to give it a shot. Helen in Rockville
  • Tech Talk Responds: The first step to making money on YouTube is to join the YouTube Partner program. Partnership gives content creators access to special tools, such as the ability to monetize their videos via Google Adsense. To qualify, content creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of accumulated watch time over the prior 12-month period. Advertisers pay based on clicks and impressions. YouTube gives the content creator 55% of this revenue and takes 45% for itself. Content that contains foul language, adult content, violence and other subjects will not have ads placed against them.
  • A second form of advertising is brand sponsorship, also known in the digital marketing world as “influencer marketing.” A company will pay a content creator to promote a brand or product within a video. For example, early in her YouTube career, Michelle Phan drew the attention of cosmetics brand Lancôme with her popular make-up tutorials. As of 2019, there were more than 700 agencies that help match brands with social media influencers on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.
  • A third way to monetize a channel is through channel memberships. Fans and followers make recurring monthly payments in exchange for bonus content such as badges, emojis, special videos, live chats and other content. YouTube partners who have reached 30,000 subscribers can enable this monetization feature on their account.
  • Email from Craig in Fairfax: Dear Doc and Jim. I have a USB flash drive with several hundred photos on it that I scanned during a visit to my grandmother’s house. These are family pictures that will be difficult to replace if something were to happen to them. I don’t want to lose these photos and I was wondering how long I can count on the drive retaining them if I lock it up in my little fireproof safe? Craig in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: Shaina, most manufacturers claim their flash drives will retain their contents for at least 10 years, but there are a number of variables that can shorten that time span. If the drive was used however, I wouldn’t count it lasting more than one-half to two-thirds of that time. In addition, keeping the drive stored in a cool, dry location will help maximize the life of the data stored on it. However, you a copy of those pictures on another drive or in the cloud, if they are really precious.

Profiles in IT: Eric S. Yuan

  • Eric S. Yuan is a software engineer from China who founded Zoom, a video communications company.
  • Yuan was born in 1969 and raised in Shandong Province of China.
  • In 1987, he enrolled in Shandong University of Science and Technology in his hometown to stay close to his parents.
  • His girlfriend attended school a 10 hour train away. He took the train to visit her and swore to develop a way to visit her virtually and avoid the commute.
  • In 1991, he earned a degree in applied math with a minor in computer application.
  • He received his masters at China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing, where he started his first business creating HR software for large enterprises.
  • Yuan yearned to come to America, learn about the Internet and its impact.
  • However, getting a Work Visa was extremely difficult. His applications were denied eight times. Eventually, he succeeded with the ninth try when he was sponsored by WebEx in 1997. He became WebEx’s 10th employee and moved to Silicon Valley.
  • He could not speak English and had no choice but to just write code.
  • In 2006, he earned an Executive MBA from Stanford University School of Business.
  • WebEx continued to scale and expand. In 2007, WebEx was purchased by Cisco in for $3.2B. At the time, WebEx had 2,800 employees. As VP of engineering, he supervised 800 developers. After the acquisition, he was a Corporate VP at Cisco.
  • By 2011, Yuan was getting frustrated in the job: Cisco was focused heavily on selling expensive, complex teleconferencing hardware, and acting too slowly to reconfigure the underlying systems behind its meeting software to meet the new demands created by the rise of smartphones and tablets in the workplace.
  • In June 2011, he left Cisco to start Zoom Video Communications. Within a month, 40 WebEx engineers followed him. Zoom unifies cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, group messaging, and a software-defined conference room solution into one platform. They built the new platform from scratch.
  • Yuan’s thought was that if Cisco wants to go after huge enterprise contracts and sell them complex solutions to their videoconferencing problems, then Zoom could go after the largely-ignored market for smaller companies.
  • He raised $3M initial seed money from friends. Three months later, he closed the B round with well-known VCs. Their first paying customer was Stanford University.
  • He told his wife that it would be so good, he would only have to travel twice a year.
  • The service started in January 2013 and by May 2013, it reached one million participants; By June 2014 (10 million); and by February 2015 (40 million).
  • In January 2017, Sequoia Capital invested $100 million in a Series D funding round.
  • The company issued an IPO in 2019. The first-day pop boosted Zoom’s market cap to $15.9 billion and the net worth of Yuan, who owned 20%, to $3.2 billion.

Way-Back Machine: CD Drives Remembered

  • First CD manufactured by Philips factory, Hanover, Germany, August 17, 1982.
  • Philips and Sony co-developed CD.
  • The original target storage capacity for a CD was one hour of audio content, and a disc diameter of 115 mm was sufficient for this, however both parties extended the capacity to 74 minutes to accommodate a complete performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
  • The first CD to be manufactured at the plant was “The Visitors” by ABBA.
  • By the time CDs were introduced on the market in November 1982, a catalogue of around 150 titles, mainly classical music, had been produced.
  • The first CDs and CD players, including Philips’ CD100, were introduced in Japan in November, followed by a US and European market introduction in March of 1983.
  • Over 200 billion CDs sold its first 25 years of existence.
  • If all CDs ever produced were piled up, the stack of CDs would circle the earth six times.

Observations from the Bunker

  • The coronavirus shutdown will change our attitudes forever.
  • The move to replace people with robots in production will accelerate
  • Companies will continue to expand remote operations with reduced cost.
  • AI and machine will continue to absorb routine office jobs.
  • Self-driving truck caravans will be deployed to keep our supply chain filled.
  • How will humanity fit into the future framework of the world?
  • Why are human beings special and how can we adapt to the brave new world?
  • Out humanity is defined by our mind, a miraculous learning machine.
  • We must use this learning machine to develop and adapt to new circumstances.
  • Just as man adapted to dominate that world, he must adapt to continue to prosper.
  • In the past, only royalty or aristocrats had the time to study, to become cultured.
  • This is a time to learn, a time to be a continue learner, to be curious, to fullfil the potential of your personal learning machine. Everyone is royalty.
  • That places responsibility on education to provide a framework for the future.
  • What do you teach when the world is changing at an exponential rate?
    • Project centric courses to give a Growth Mindset.
    • Critical thinking to help students solve problems they have never seen before.
    • Communication Skills (written and spoken), especially in the remote environment.
    • Mindful leadership Skills to develop Level 5 leaders.
    • Goal setting Skills that embody what it means to be happy.
  • Enjoy the lockdown. It is an opportunity to thrive.