Show of 06-20-2020

Tech Talk June 20, 2020

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Bob in Maryland: Dear Doc, Jim, and everyone’s “favorite” Mr. Big Voice. I do love these Tech Talk Radio shows during lockdown with the assorted bumbles and fumbles and stuff. I fear Doc might not have delivered the promised discussion of an app for determining what sort of memory your device can accept. I was anxiously waiting to hear about that, but somehow I missed it. Maybe it was while Doc was lost in his bunker, I am not sure. Anyway, I am sure I will hear about this topic sooner or later. I just ran across this interesting bit of software technology that has just been announced; a special language for programming quantum computers: The first intuitive programming language for quantum computers. Computer scientists at ETH Zurich have designed the first high level programming language, Silq, that can be used to program quantum computers as simply, reliably and safely as classical computers. Anyway, I am still avidly listening to every Tech Talk show. Keep up all the good work! All the best, your faithful listener, Bob in Maryland.
  • Tech Talk Responds: I will get to the memory tool this week. Ran out of time last week. Thanks for the article on Silq, a high level programming language for quantum computers. Finally, the hardware is decoupled from the software, for a more initutive experience. I particularly like the way they do garbage collection through uncomputing. Link to website: https://silq.ethz.ch/
  • Email from Kathy in Boulder: Dear Tech Talk. Facebook has deactivated my account. I got married and changed my name on Facebook to my new last name. The next day Facebook deactivated my account. Now Facebook wants to see a copy of my ID before they will reinstate my account. I don’t want to give my driver’s license out. Is there some way to get my Facebook account reinstated with just my cell phone number? Thanks. Kathy in Boulder, CO.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Facebook does usually request to see a valid ID when certain security-related issues arise, but you do not have to send a copy of your driver’s license if you’d rather not do that. There is actually a long list of documents, which they will accept. You can find this list in the Facebook help section. I do not know of any way to get your old Facebook account reinstated other than sending them proof of your identity. If you would rather not do that, your only real option is to create an entirely new account.
  • Email form John in Pittsburg, KS: Dear Doc and Jim. I just bought a 23″ flat screen monitor to use with my Dell laptop. The laptop has Windows 10 on it. I connected the monitor to the laptop with an HDMI cable, but when I load programs, they still show up on the laptop screen. I would like to make the external monitor the main screen. How do I set it up like that? John in Pittsburg, KS.
  • Tech Talk Respond: A large external monitor makes using a laptop a lot more enjoyable. Here’s how you do it in Windows 10:
    • Right-click on the Desktop and select Display Settings from the drop-down menu. You should now see two screen-shaped icons (labeled 1 and 2) representing your laptop’s built-in screen and the external monitor you just connected via USB. The screen icon that is highlighted in blue represents the laptop’s built-in screen. The blue color indicates that this screen is currently set as the main display.
    • Click on the other screen (the one that isn’t blue) to select it.
    • Scroll down and select Make this my main display.
  • That’s all there is to setting the external monitor as your laptop’s main display. You have another important settings change you can make if you want to take full advantage of your laptop’s new dual-screen setup. You also have the option of choosing how you want each of the two screens to behave. All you have to do is pick a setting in the “Multiple displays” field…
    • (Option 1) If you want to use the larger external screen all by itself you can select the Show only on 2 option.
    • (Option 2) If you want to duplicate the contents of the main display onto the laptop screen you can select Duplicate these displays.
    • (Option 3) If you want to “extend” the displays (to make them operate as one large screen) you can select Extend these displays.
  • Most of my developers at Stratford has multiple displays. They all tend to use extend the displays (option 3). Play around these it and see if you like the flexibility.
  • Email from Roy in Richmond: Dear Doc and Jim. I have been working at home during the lock down. Now that summer has arrived, I would love to make my back yard, my home office. However, Wi-Fi reception there is not very good. How can I improve my Wi-Fi reception in the back yard? Love the show. Roy in Richmond, VA.
  • Tech Talk Responds: You have several options. Here’s what you can do.
  • Get a Wi-Fi extender — A Wi-Fi extender, also known as a Wi-Fi booster, is a device that plugs into the wall and repeats the wireless signal from your router. There are a number of great Wi-Fi extenders that are affordable and easy to set up, like the TP-Link RE220 ($30) or TP-Link AC1750 ($79). If you have a dead zone in your house or directly near it, like a porch or a yard, and you want a low-cost way of curing it, a Wi-Fi extender might be your best bet.
  • Upgrade your router — If the issue is with your Wi-Fi’s speed and range, and you’re comfortable with spending a little more, you might want to think about upgrading your router. A lot of homeowners end up using the modem and router given to them by their internet service providers. It might actually might be the worse and more expensive option (especially in the long run). The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 ($450) or the Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 ($220) are two of the best options in terms of speed, coverage and enhanced technologies (like support for Wi-Fi 6).
  • Get a mesh router system — A mesh router system is a great option for people who want to cure multiple Wi-Fi dead zones in and around their home. You can think of them as a system of Wi-Fi extenders that all talk to each other and create a larger Wi-Fi throughout your home; one mesh hub plugs into your modem and then you place other hubs all-around your home. The two most popular mesh systems are Nest Wifi ($169+), which is owned by Google and great if you have a Google smart home, and eero ($99+), which is owned by Amazon and great if you have a smart home built around Alexa.
  • Get a hotspot — A mobile hotspot is a device that takes a cellular LTE connection and converts it into a Wi-Fi signal. You can actually turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot. There are also dedicated mobile hotspots that you can buy (through your phone carrier), which come with a couple of key advantages. They provide greater Wi-Fi range and bandwidth and there’s no risk of going over your cellular data limit or killing your phone’s battery.
  • Try moving your router — This might be the easiest solution but also one you might not want to do. The signal can be halted by thick walls, pipes, large appliances and any other dense objects, which is why it’s best to place them out in the open. To get better Wi-Fi on your deck, it could be as simple as buying a longer Ethernet cable and an acceptance that it’s OK to see your router a few times a day.
  • Email from John in Baltimore: Dear Tech Talk. I have heard something about discount software for students. Is that real or just a rumor? I would like to save a little money. John in Baltimore, MD.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Academic licensing for software is the real deal. If you are a student, staff, or faculty member of a college or University, you can get academic software at steep discount. You will need an email address that ends in .edu. There are several companies that specialize in this software. The software vendors created this category to reduce the use of pirated software on college campuses and to generate future customers. The cost is a fraction of the retail. My favorite vendor over the years has been JourneyEd (https://www.journeyed.com/). There are many more. Just Google academic software and you will find multiple vendors.
  • It is a great option, if you qualify. For example, Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019 for Windows retails for $499.95, but is available with academic pricing for $29.99 on the JourneyEd site.

 

 

Profiles in IT: David Heinemeier Hansson

  • David Heinemeier Hansson is a Danish programmer, best known as the creator of Ruby on Rails web development framework and the Instiki, a ROR wiki.
  • He grew up lower-middle class on the outskirts of Copenhagen. He grew up in housing provided by AAB, a union-founded affordable housing association.
  • He took two important lessons away from this upbringing. First, as long as your basic needs are met, the quality of your life is only vaguely related to material success.
  • David Heinemeier Hansson was born October 15, 1979, in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • He started selling pirated CDs when he was 14 through his Elite BBS contacts.
  • In 1999, Hansson founded and built a Danish online gaming news website and community called Daily Rush, which he ran until 2001.
  • After responding to a blog post on Signal vs. Noise about how to do pagination PHP, he was hired by Jason Fried, co-founder of 37signals, to build a web-based project management tool, which ultimately became Basecamp software as a service product.
  • He worked from Copenhagen, Denmark making $15 an hour that was actually being in Apple hardware because it was difficult to send money at that time. He would send them an invoice every week or every two weeks for ten hours of work per week.
  • In 2004, 37signals released Base Camp, which transitioned it from a consultancy to a product company. At the same time, the company name was changed to Base Camp.
  • Hanson did all the original programming for Base Camp and about a year later Base Camp was doing well enough that it could pay all the bills for the company.
  • To aid the development process, Hansson used the then-obscure Ruby programming language to develop a custom web framework. Rails is a group of shortcuts that allow a developer to launch an application in hours rather than months.
  • He released the framework separately from the project management tool in 2004 as the open source project Ruby on Rails.
  • Minimalism in software is their mantra. They tried to build something simpler than the competition. They tried to under do the competition instead of trying outdo them.
  • He cares both about the craft of writing beautiful code and also about having an impact with that code.
  • In 2005, Hansson was recognized by Google and O’Reilly with the “Hacker of the Year” award for his creation of Ruby on Rails.
  • In 2005, after receiving his BS in Computer Science and Business Administration from the Copenhagen Business School, he moved to Chicago, Ill. He was committed to work on Basecamp full-time as a partner in the firm.
  • They marketed Base Camp through the blog, Signal vs. Noise. The blog is a collection of essays that centered on project management. Readership grew from 4,000 to 75,000. The sought to out teach, rather than out spend, in marketing.
  • In 2006, Jeff Bezos became a minority partner in Base Camp. The accepted his offer to accept his help as a mentor. Each of the Base Camp partners netted millions from the deal. Bezos was attracted by their approach to software development.
  • Hansson co-wrote Agile Web Development with Rails with Dave Thomas in 2005 as part of The Facets of Ruby Series. He also co-wrote Getting Real, Rework, Remote, and It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work with Jason Fried.
  • David Heinemeier Hansson lists photography and race car driving among his hobbies.
  • He took part in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans driving for OAK Racing.
  • He also drove a Morgan-Nissan P2 car for Conquest Racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), winning two races in the season.
  • Hansson joined OAK Racing full-time in 2013, taking five 2nd-place finishes to finish 2nd in the Trophy for LMP2 Drivers.
  • Hanssons’s network in 2019 was estimated to $40M.

Observations from the Bunker

  • David Heinemeier Hansson has always focused on a balanced life – technical achievement and happiness. He believes that Expectations, not outcomes, govern the happiness of your perceived reality.
  • Here are three big ideas from Hansson.
  • Develop skillsets necessary for after you “make it”. If you are doing 100-hour weeks, sacrificing time with friends and family and not developing any other interests aside from your business, then how do you expect to be happy once you sell your business and suddenly have a life composed of only undeveloped friends and family relationships and withered interests?
  • The key: Maintain your outside pursuits, however minor the effort. In my own case, selling my first startup didn’t land me in early retirement, but it did bring up many emotional issues on how a major part of my life was now gone. Imagine if it had been longer than a year of my life – and imagine if I had sacrificed being a present father, husband and friend along the way.
  • 2. Your sacrifice now doesn’t increase your chances of happiness later. Hansson notes that he and Basecamp co-founder Jason Fried manage a successful company on a 40-hour a week schedule.
  • The key: If your quality of life sucks now, then, after a decade, you will be in the habit of burnout, hypertension, depression or any other aliments your body becomes accustom to. Better to take things day by day and pull in as much enjoyment within the time you have now.
  • Focus on process, not success. Success is often a deceptively vague outcome. If your goal is to be rich, then do you have a number in mind, and rich compared to whom, exactly? If your goal is to be famous, then is it to the world, to strangers on the street or to a handful of people who matter to you? And, as I’ve confessed recently, reaching goals is elusive because ambitious people always move the goal post as soon as they near meeting it.
  • The key: Focus on the parts of the journey/struggle that motivate you, as they will be the same whether you have financial success or not. Hansson says that he enjoys himself the most when nurturing the programming language Ruby on Rails. The happiest among us do what we love now because we recognize where we feel the most alive, and, for better or worse, recognize that money will not change that basic principle.

App of the Week: System Scanner Tool

  • System Scanner Tool by Crucial helps you choose the correct type of RAM for upgrading a computer. The tool is free and easy to use.
    • Visit www.crucial.com with any web browser on the first computer that you wish to upgrade.
    • Once the Crucial home page has finished loading, click the Scan Computer button located over on the right to download the System Scanner tool to your computer.
    • Double-click on the downloaded file to launch the System Scanner tool.
  • The System Scanner tool will now scan your PC’s hardware to determine what kind of RAM your system uses, how much is currently installed and what your upgrade options are (if any).
  • At this point you can easily choose an upgrade option from the list and purchase it from Crucial on the spot.
  • If you would prefer to buy your RAM elsewhere, either print the page or write down the EXACT specs for the RAM your computer needs and use that info to either buy the RAM locally or online from Amazon or another reputable company.

Ring of Fire Solar Eclipse This Weekend

  • The full annular eclipse will be visible across parts of Africa and Asia, but you can also follow the action online.
  • The first of two solar eclipses for the year will turn the sun into a glowing “ring of fire” on June 21 or June 20, depending on your location.
  • An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon is too far away from us to completely hide the sun, leaving a circle of brightness around the moon. That is how it gets the poetic “ring of fire” nickname. The full annular eclipse will be visible from parts of Africa and Asia.
  • A NASA website also shows the eclipse path on an interactive map and lets you zoom in to find a viewing location.
  • Eclipse fans in the US will need to stay up late. The Virtual Telescope Project will kick off coverage at 10:30 p.m. PT on Saturday night.
  • A total solar eclipse is on tap for Dec. 14 for viewers in parts of South America.

Using Social Media to Find Protestor Who Burned Police Car

  • Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal, 33, of Philadelphia, is currently in federal custody and had her initial court appearance on Tuesday.
  • According to United States Attorney William M. McSwain, on May 30, two vehicles, one PPD sedan (number 2514) and one PPD SUV (number 1612), were parked on the north side of City Hall.
  • During the violence that began around City Hall following peaceful protests, Blumenthal allegedly set fire to both vehicles.
  • The FBI says it was Blumenthal’s T-shirt and a forearm tattoo that helped authorities identify her.
  • In amateur photos given to authorities, she is seen wearing a T-shirt that says, “Keep the immigrants, deport the racists.”
  • They were able to trace the T-shirt back to an Etsy shop, where a review was left by a user that displayed a Philadelphia location.
  • Investigators say open searches for the username led them to a Poshmark user by the name of lore-elisabeth.
  • Open searches for a Lore Elisabeth in Philadelphia led investigators to a LinkedIn profile for a woman who was employed as a massage therapist.
  • If convicted, Blumenthal faces a maximum possible sentence of ten years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.