Show of 05-09-2020

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz. What is the best way to search Tech Talk & How-to-Geek archives? I usually use DuckDuckGo for my searches, but going into these files may be a bit different. Do I have to Stratford site first for searching? Thanks. Really enjoy Tech Talk! Arnie in Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tech Talk Responds: With DuckDuckGo, you will searching privately. Search quality depends if the whole site has been spidered by DuckDuckGo or Google or Bing. A complete spidering of a site requires that the site have a complete site maps registered with the search engine. We have a site map of stratford.edu. However, we do not update it with every new show that we post. Therefore, a general search may not pick up everything on a site like techtalk.stratford.edu or How-to-Geek. I would probably search generally first and then go to the specific sites if you did not get a hit.
  • Your email reminded of a few Google search tricks.
    • Use quotes — When searching for something specific, try using quotes to minimize the guesswork for Google search. When you put your search parameters in quotes, it tells the search engine to search for the whole phrase.
    • Use a hyphen to exclude words — Sometimes you may find yourself searching for a word with an ambiguous meaning. An example is Mustang. When you Google search for Mustang, you may get results for both the car made by Ford or the horse. If you want to cut one out, use the hyphen to tell the engine to ignore content with one of the other. Mustang -cars
    • Use a colon to search specific sites — There may be an instance where you need to Google search for articles or content on a certain website. The syntax is very simple: Bill Gates site:techtalk.stratford.edu
    • Use the asterisk wildcard — When you use an asterisk in a search term on Google search, it will leave a placeholder that may be automatically filled by the search engine later. This is a brilliant way to find song lyrics if you don’t know all the words. “Come * right now * me”
    • Find sites that are similar to other sites — Let’s say you have a favorite website. It can be anything. However, that website is getting a little bit boring and you want to find other websites like it. Below is the syntax: related:techtalk.stratford.edu.
  • Email from Dutchie from North Carolina: Dear Doc and Jim. I am in Zoom meetings every day for work and school. I would like to liven the meetings up bit by using Snapchat filters. I can’t figure out how to do it. Help, I need to show up at my next meeting as a giant cat. Dutchie from North Carolina
  • Tech Talk Responds: The app’s downloadable Snap Camera, which allows the full lens studio to be available during video chats, makes it so that your Zoom calls are just a little more fun to sit through with colorful backgrounds, special effects, and silly characters.
  • To get started, download the Snap Camera app for your desktop device. Make sure you are logged into your Zoom account. Then go to settings, select Video, and select Camera. From there, you should be able to click on Snap Camera. The Snapchat lens features should then appear in your Zoom video while you’re on a call. To turn Snap Camera off, go back to the Camera option in your Zoom Settings and click on your computer’s default camera option, rather than Snap Camera. Note: You can only change your Snapchat filter within the Snap Camera app on your computer, not within the Zoom meeting. Something to be aware of so you don’t end up looking like a giant cat during your entire video call.
  • By the way, you can also have a customized background in Zoom. First log in to your account on the Zoom website. Head to Settings, then Meeting Settings, and scroll down to make sure the Virtual Background capability is toggled on. Next, head to the app and click on Settings. In the menu on the left-hand side, you’ll see Virtual Background again, where you can select one of Zoom’s options or upload your own. Click on the plus-sign icon if you do wish to upload the background of your choice.
  • In addition to uploading a large, hi-resolution image, Zoom also recommends users sit in a space with uniform lighting and/or a solid color background for the best effect.
  • Email from Susan in Alexandria: Good morning, Dr. Shurtz. Will you be updating your April 18th edition of “Profiles in IT?” It might lead to another lively discussion like the one on the Smart Toilet. Neil Ferguson, the man behind the CoronaVirus modeling at Imperial College, has resigned because he was having an affair during the lockdown. Susan in Alexandria
  • Tech Talk Responds; Interesting update. Apparently, he was not locked down enough.
  • Email from Emma in Fairfax, VA: Dear Tech Talk. About three years ago I paid to have a website built for me using WordPress. In all this time I’ve never been asked to pay anything to keep using the WordPress program. I was just wondering how they make their money since they let us use their software for free? Emma in Fairfax, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: The company behind WordPress is Automattic, and according to their “About” page they currently have 1,180 employees located in 75 different countries around the world. That means they’re making a lot of money. While the WordPress platform itself is completely free, Automattic offers a wide range of premium add-on products and services that enhance and protect WordPress blogs in various ways. You can see a list of those premium services right on their home page.
  • For instance, VaultPress is a combination WordPress plugin/backup service that makes either daily or continuous backups (depending on the plan you use) of your entire blog. WooCommerce is another popular plugin/service that’s a “cash cow” for Automattic. In a nutshell, WooCommerce makes it easy to turn a WordPress blog into an online business.
  • As you can see, they can easily afford to give WordPress away for free thanks to all the popular premium add-ons and services they offer to augment the millions of WordPress blogs that are up and running every day.
  • Email from John in Baltimore: Dear Tech Talk. I take lots of pictures with my phone and then transfer them to my computer. When I right-click on a photo and look at the properties (metadata) it always displays the name of my phone but my name is nowhere on there as the photographer. I’ve seen lots of photos other people have taken that have their name in the metadata as the “Author”. How can I add my name to the metadata on the photos I take? My computer is an ASUS laptop with Windows 10. John in Baltimore
  • Tech Talk Responds: If you use Photoshop or some other image editing app, there’s a great chance that program has a tool for editing a photo’s metadata. Most image editors have that capability.
  • You can easily add your name to your photos’ metadata even if you don’t use any image editing software at all. You can do it using Windows itself! Just follow the steps below to add your name as a photo’s “Author”
    • Right-click on the photo and select Properties.
    • Click the Details tab.
    • Click on the currently blank Value field of the “Authors” line until the “Add an author” text box pops up.
    • Click on the Add an author box to open it up for editing.
    • Type your name into the text box, then press the Enter key on your keyboard.
    • Click the OK button to close the “Properties” dialog.
  • BTW, some phones will allow you to change a setting that will automatically insert your name into the metadata of every photo you take. Also, someone else can easily change your name to theirs on a whim by following the same steps you did. In other words, you cannot count on adding your name to the metadata to protect your photos from unauthorized use or to prevent an unscrupulous person from claiming your photo(s) as their own. That is where copyright protection comes into play.
  • Email from June in Burke: Dear Tech Talk. I am having problems activating my phone. I lost my last iPhone and had set up two-factor authentication for my iCloud account. Now I cannot log into iCloud to set up my phone. I am stuck in my tracks. What should I do? June in Burke, VA.
  • Tech Talk Responds: You always need to options for TFA. You only choice is to use the Apple help desk and go through a process to prove your identity. They will be very careful because of SIM Card hijacking.

 

Profiles in IT: Chenming Calvin Hu

  • Chenming Calvin Hu is a Chinese/Taiwanese electronic engineer who specialized in microelectronics, best known as Father of the 3D transistor (FinFET).
  • Hu was born 12 July 12, 1947, in Beijing, China, and raised in Taiwan.
  • Hu was a curious child, conducting stovetop experiments on seawater and dismantling, and reassembling, alarm clocks.
  • As he approached the end of high school, he was still interested in science, mostly chemistry. But instead of targeting a chemistry degree, he applied for the electrical engineering program at the National Taiwan University.
  • In 1968, during his last year of college, he decided that semiconductors would be the field for him and applied to graduate programs in the United States.
  • In 1969, he landed at Berkeley, where he joined a research group working on metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS) transistors. He completed his MS in 1970.
  • He switched to researching optical circuits, did his PhD thesis on integrated optics.
  • He completed his PhD in 1973.and went to MIT to continue his work.
  • After the 1973 oil embargo, felt he had to do something useful, not just write papers.
  • He switched his efforts toward developing low-cost solar cells.
  • In 1976, he returned to Berkeley, as a professor, to do research in energy topics, including hybrid cars, an area that transported him back to semiconductors.
  • Government funding for energy research dried up, but a number of San Francisco companies were supporting semiconductor research. In 1982, he spent a sabbatical leave at National Semiconductor in Santa Clara.
  • As the components of a field effect transistors were made smaller, people noticed that the behaviors of transistors were changing with long-term use.
  • Hu, with a group of students, developed what he called the hot-carrier-injection theory for predicting the reliability of MOS semiconductors.
  • He then turned to investigating another reliability problem: the ways in which oxides break down over time, particularly as they oxide layer becomes thinner.
  • He developed a deep understanding of what happens inside transistors. His work evolved into the Berkeley Reliability Tool (BERT) and the Berkeley Short-channel IGFET Model (BSIM), a set of transistor models.
  • He taught his students to step back, to try to visualize where the electric field is distributed in a device, where the potential barriers are located, and how the current flow changes when we change the dimension of a particular feature.
  • By the mid-1990s, with the average feature size around 350 nm, the prospects for being able to shrink transistors further had started looking worrisome. The end of Moore’s Law was in view (doubling the density of transistors every two years).
  • Hu saw the fundamental problem as quite clear—making the channel very thin to prevent electrons from sneaking past the gate. To date, solutions had involved thinning the gate’s oxide layer.
  • In response to a DARPA initiative, he proposed giving the gate greater control over the flow of the charge by extending the thin channel vertically above the substrate, like a shark’s fin, so the gate could wrap around the channel on three sides.
  • This structure was dubbed the FinFET, which had the additional advantage that using space vertically relieved some of the congestion on the 2D plane.
  • He has been called the Father of 3D Transistor for developing the FinFET in 1999.
  • By 2000, at the end of the four-year grant term, Hu and his team had built working devices and published their research, raising immediate, widespread interest.
  • Hu took a three-year break from Berkeley to serve as chief technology officer of semiconductor manufacturer TSMC in Taiwan. He saw that as a chance to pay back the country where he received his initial education.
  • He returned to Berkeley in 2004, continuing his teaching, research in new energy-efficient semiconductor devices, and efforts to support BSIM.
  • The IEEE called him “Microelectronics Visionary” when presenting him the 2009 Nishizawa Medal for “achievements critical to producing smaller yet more reliable and higher-performance integrated circuits”.
  • FinFET technology has swept the industry. And Moore’s Law did not come to an end at 25 nm, although its demise is still regularly predicted.
  • Intel is the first company to use FinFET in 2011 production calling it the most radical shift in semiconductor technology in over 50 years.
  • By 2015 top servers, computers, Android and iOS phones used FinFET processors.
  • He received the National Technology and Innovation Medal from President Obama in the White House in 2016.
  • He has authored five books including a 2010 semiconductor device textbook and 900 research papers, and has been granted over 100 US patents.

Reflections from the Bunker

  • Never waste a good crisis. Time to accelerate innovation in the company.
  • The COVID-19 shutdown has forced many businesses to change ways.
  • It is a time to innovate and to define a new normal.
  • Our world of interconnected computers and phones has shifted our perspective.
  • Remote operation can be as affective and in=person.
  • The young have known this for a while, now the old fogies are experiencing it.
  • This is a time to innovate business, to increase efficiencies, to change workflow.
  • That is how we approached this situation at Stratford University
  • We created remote advising system, remote financial aid systems, remote student support systems, combined with an expanded online learning platform.
  • We are more efficient that we were before. Student response time is faster.
  • This COVID-19 pandemic will change Stratford University for the better
  • We will be become a organization has uses physical campuses for some activities and remote team the balance.
  • We do not plan to waste this crisis. We will innovate and advance.

The Best Mobile Scanning Apps to Digitize Notes and More

  • Having a digital scanning app on your phone makes it easy to get an instant copy of a receipt, drawing, or important file, and with these handy apps you can forget ever using a bulky copy machine again. Here are three good options.
  • Adobe Scan (Free) is the best scanning app not just because it’s free, but because it makes scanning, editing, and sharing files easy. The app is not picky about which formats you try to scan—it has no problem with magazines, forms, business cards, whiteboards, handwritten notes, or anything else you throw at it. It scans documents into PDFs and offers multiple capture modes to help ensure everything you scan looks clean and professional.
  • Adobe Scan uses Adobe Sensei AI technology to identify and sharpen handwritten text and remove unsightly blemishes, shadows, and other elements. You can also open scanned PDFs in Adobe Reader to annotate them or work on them collaboratively with a team. The app also makes it easy to convert a scanned document into one you can fill out and sign.
  • Genius Scan (Free) — Scanning an important document or receipt should only take a moment, and Genius Scan (Free) understands that. However, the free version of the app offers unlimited high-resolution scans and basic document security, upgrading to Genius Scan+ ($4.99/Android, $7.99/iOS) unlocks optical character recognition, additional exporting options, and more security and organization options. Genius Scan+ lets you synchronize your scanned documents to the cloud and search the PDFs for specific key words.
  • Microsoft Office Lens (Free) – It works on everything from whiteboards to handwritten notes, and makes it easy to trim, crop, and enhance a scanned file so it is readable and professional looking. It uses OCR to identify printed and handwritten text and to make it searchable, which is handy if you’ll be scanning lots of text-heavy documents. Lens can also convert scanned images to PDF, Word, and PowerPoint files, and it lets you save files to OneNote or OneDrive.