Show of 10-17-2020

Tech Talk October 17, 2020

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Cheryl in Kansas: Dear Tech Talk. Last night I checked my Yahoo SPAM folder and I found some missing emails. A few were newletters that I requested. Can you help me fix whatever the problem is so I can start receiving my newsletters in my Inbox again? Thanks!! Cheryl in Pittsburg, KS
  • Tech Talk Responds: There are several technical reasons why an email might not be delivered to the recipient’s inbox, but the most common reason is their email provider mistakenly marking the email as either SPAM or “Promotional”.
  • You can stop this action by adding the sender’s email address to your Address Book or Contacts List.
  • You can fix your Yahoo email account by following these steps.
    • Open one of my emails that you found in your SPAM folder.
    • Hover your mouse pointer over my email address or Sender’s name (rlrouse@outlook.com) that’s located in the “Sender” field until a box pops up.
    • Click +Add to contacts.
    • Click the Save button that’s located at the bottom of the right-hand pane.
    • Move the email from the SPAM folder to your Inbox.
  • It is pretty much the same process for all email providers. Good luck in getting your newsletters.
  • Email from Steve in Richmond: Dear Doc and Jim. I have a custom built gaming PC that I bought in January 2014. It came with Windows 8.1 on it. I then updated the machine to Windows 10 while Microsoft was allowing a free upgrade. Now I would like to upgrade the machine itself by installing a new, more powerful motherboard. My question is will I be able to reinstall Windows 10 and have it activate after replacing the motherboard? Steve in Richmond, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds Microsoft has provided an excellent tutorial that explains exactly what you need to do in order successfully get Windows 10 activated after you’ve completed the motherboard upgrade.
  • Link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change
  • You simply have to link your current license to your Microsoft account, rather than to the specific hardware. Be sure to read that information carefully and follow the steps as they appear.
  • Once you have completed those tasks you should be able to install a fresh copy of Windows 10 onto the “new” machine with no trouble at all using the credentials that you retrieved during the procedure Microsoft laid out.
  • Email from Mark in Richmond: Dear Tech Talk. live in an area that’s prone to frequent electrical storms so I’ve always been fanatical about keeping my electronic stuff plugged into surge protectors. But I heard the other day that surge protectors can go bad after a while. Is that true? All of mine are several years old. Mark in Richmond, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: Yes, surge protectors do indeed go bad. However, the reason they go bad has more to do with their environment than with their age. The protective components are MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) that suppress the voltage by shorting out in order to clamp the transient in an electrical circuit. Each time they are used, they are damaged and are less effective. If left in use long enough, a surge protector will lose its ability to protect your equipment at all. That is why many high-end surge protectors have a light that turns of if they are not longer functioning.
  • If your local power grid is “dirty” (which means there are lots of voltage spikes and dips) and/or there are frequent electrical storms in your area, you should consider replacing your surge protectors every fall after the storm season has ended in your area. You should replace your surge protectors immediately if your power grid takes a lightning strike that produces a power surge so strong that it damages one or more of the electrical items in your home.
  • If you have many surge protectors in your house, you might consider a whole house surge protector. In the long run, if may be cheaper. A whole house surge protector (with installation costs) will be around $250. I have used these on some my campuses so I do not need surge protectors everywhere.
  • For instance, the EATON Ultimate Surge Protection 3rd Edition is $99.00 on Amazon. It has great reviews. You need professional installation, which should run around $150. It can fit into the circuit box or beside it (depending on the rating of our circuit box). All current coming into the house would go through this device. Once it is tripped, it has to be replaced. However, you won’t need an electrician for the replacement. When the two indicator lights are on, the device will protect.
  • Email from Doug in St. Louis: Dear Doc and Jim. I was cleaning out my closet yesterday morning and I found an old game disc with “Age Of Empires” on it. I remember that I loved playing that game when I was a kid so I installed it on my son’s ASUS ROG gaming PC (with Windows 10). Everything seemed to work fine so I shut the computer down. This morning when he turned it on he noticed that the screen resolution was wrong and the screen was flickering really bad. He shut it down and restarted it and got the same result. I tried resetting the screen resolution but it wouldn’t let me. I re-installed the latest driver from the website. That didn’t help. Do you have any suggestions? Doug in St. Louis, MO
  • Tech Talk Responds: “Age of Empires” was released literally in the last century, and that was a very long time ago in tech years. I’m surprised your son was even able to get that game installed on a practically new ASUS ROG machine in the first place.
  • Since you’ve already tried installing the latest video driver I recommend trying a System Restore back to a time before you installed the game. Here’s how:
    • Click the Start button.
    • Type the words system restore, then click Create a restore point.
    • Click the System Restore button.
    • Click the Next button and follow the prompts as they appear to restore your system back to the way it was before you tried installing the old game.
    • After the System Restore is complete, reboot the PC and see if the problem was fixed. If not, repeat the steps above and select Choose a different restore point .
  • Hope this works. By the way, this is a perfect example of why it’s good to always have a current backup on hand.
  • Email from Emily in Scranton: Dear Doc and Jim. Can I block the posts from a Facebook page without Unliking the page? I have a very dear friend who recently put up a Facebook page for her business. She asked me to “Like” her page, and I did. Now I receive at least a dozen posts from her page in my news feed every day, and to be honest I have no interest whatsoever in the things she is selling. Is there any way to block the posts from her page without having to “Unlike” it? I really don’t want to hurt her feelings if I can help it. Emily from Scranton, PA
  • Tech Talk Responds: It is very easy to do. If you’re using Facebook in a web browser on a laptop or desktop PC:
    • Visit your friend’s Facebook page.
    • Hover your mouse over the “Following” button, then click Unfollow this Page.
    • In the “Notifications” section, select All Off.
  • The process is similar on the Facebook mobile app. From now on you won’t receive any posts from your friend’s Facebook page in your news feed even though you’re still “Liking” the page.
  • Email from Helen in Rockville: Dear Tech Talk. I recently got my first iPhone. It took me a while to get used to it but now that I have, I really like it. My question is should I jailbreak it? My brother says I need to do it because it’ll let me install apps that a normal iPhone can’t run. He said he would do it for me when he visits next month. What is your opinion about that? Should do it or not? Helen in Rockville, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: You should NOT jailbreak your iPhone. Apple has designed operating system to be a “closed” system. The iOS operating system greatly limits what you’re able to do with your phone on a technical level in order to prevent you from accidentally causing serious issues, This “lockdown” also prevents malware from taking control of your phone and using it to steal your personal information and generally wreaking havoc for you and/or other people. A locked-down iOS installation only allows you to do things that are considered to be safe (for the most part). And that includes only allowing you to install apps from the official Apple App Store.
  • Jailbreaking an iOS device removes Apple’s built-in security measures, allowing the user to access the innards of the operating system and install apps that haven’t been subjected to the vetting process that’s required before an app is allowed into the Apple App Store. When someone who doesn’t have the technical skills required to safely access the innards of iOS is able to do so (i.e. after jailbreaking the device), there’s a strong chance that they’ll end up either causing severe issues with the device or bricking it entirely.
  • My advice is to leave your iPhone alone.

Profiles in IT: Paul Baran

  • Baran was a Polish American engineer who was a pioneer in the development of computer networks, including packet switching techniques.
  • Paul Baran was born in Grodno, Poland on April 29, 1926.
  • His family moved to the United States on May 11, 1928, settling in Boston and later in Philadelphia, where his father, Morris “Moshe” Baran, opened a grocery store.
  • He graduated from Drexel University in 1949 with a degree in electrical engineering.
  • He then joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Company, where he did technical work on UNIVAC models, the first brand of commercial computers in the USA.
  • In 1955, he moved to Los Angeles, and worked for Hughes Aircraft on radar systems.
  • He obtained his Master’s degree in engineering from UCLA in 1959 and was hired by the RAND Corporation.
  • Baran took on the task of designing a “survivable” communications system that could maintain communication between end points in the face of damage from nuclear weapons during the Cold War.
  • Baran decided to automate previous work with emergency communication over AM radio networks with survivable distributed relay node architecture.
  • Baran and his team developed a simulation suite to test basic connectivity of an array of nodes with varying degrees of linking.
  • The simulation showed that networks had a significant increase in resilience against even as much as 50% node loss. His work was published a RAND report in 1960.
  • Baran and his team needed to show proof of concept. They designed first store and-forward data layer switching protocols, a link-state/distance vector routing protocol, and an unproved connection-oriented transport protocol. All were published in 1964.
  • The design flew in the face of telephony design of the time by placing inexpensive and unreliable nodes at the center of the network and more intelligent terminating ‘multiplexer’ devices at the endpoints.
  • Unlike the telephone company’s equipment, his design did not require expensive “gold plated” components to be reliable.
  • The Distributed Network that Baran introduced was intended to route around damage.
  • It provided connection to others through many points, not one centralized connection.
  • Fundamental to the scheme was the division of the information into “blocks” before they were sent out across the network.
  • That enabled the data to travel faster and communications lines to be used more efficiently. Each block was sent separately, traveling different paths and rejoining into a whole when they were received at their destination.
  • AT&T engineers scoffed at his idea of non-dedicated physical circuits for voice communications, at times claiming that Baran simply did not understand how voice telecommunication worked.
  • Leonard Kleinrock developed a theoretical basis for the operation of packet networks in his Ph.D. thesis in 1961.
  • Baran used the term “message blocks” for his design. Donald Davies at the National Physical Laboratory in the UK coined the term “packet switching” in 1965.
  • In 1969, when ARPA started developing an inter-networked set of terminals to share data, they used Baran’s work on distributed communications.
  • In 1968, Baran was a founder of the Institute for the Future and was then involved in other networking technologies developed in Silicon Valley.
  • He went on to found a number of other companies in the 1980’s and early 1990’s that applied packet switching technology to voice, TV, and mesh networks.
  • In addition to his innovation in networking products, he is also credited with inventing the first metal detector, a doorway gun detector.
  • Baran died in Palo Alto, California at the age of 84 on March 26, 2011, due to complications from lung cancer.
  • At his funeral many of his colleagues noted that Baran believed that innovation was a “team process” and he didn’t seek credit for himself.

Observations from the Bunker

  • Defining Open Source Culture
  • Open source culture is more than just reusing free code on GitHub to get products to market faster.
  • It is is an ethos that values sharing.
  • The culture embraces an approach to software development that emphasizes internal and external collaboration.
  • Collaborating on community projects is a way of thinking associated with open source development.
  • Software engineers that use externally created open source components need to collaborate with the people responsible for project maintenance.
  • Usually, interaction is as simple as making sure software updates are integrated into new deployments, which can be solved with a continuous deployment pipeline that checks to ensure components are current and synched with the latest repositories and libraries.
  • This is a good first step to get organizations comfortable with external dependencies, but two-way communication with other project maintainers is what truly denotes the type of collaboration that is essential to maximizing the benefits of open source culture.
  • Examples of open source software
    • TCP/IP – the open source packet switching protocol that powers the Internet
    • Firefox—a Web browser that competes with Internet Explorer
    • OpenOffice—a competitor to Microsoft Office
    • Gimp—a graphic tool with features found in Photoshop
    • Moodle Learning Management System – an open source online learnin platform that competes with Blackboard.
    • Free BSD and Sun’s OpenSolaris—open source versions of the Unix operating system
    • MySQL, Ingres, and EnterpriseDB—open source database software packages that each go head-to-head with commercial products from Oracle, Microsoft, Sybase, and IBM

Trivia of the Week: The First YouTube Video

  • The very first video uploaded to YouTube, in April 2005, was a simple 19 second video of YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim visiting the San Diego Zoo.
  • Karim, standing in front of the old elephant exhibit, says: “All right, so here we are in front of the, uh, elephants, and the cool thing about these guys is that, is that they have really, really, really long, um, trunks, and that’s, that’s cool, and that’s pretty much all there is to say.”
  • Since it was published, that first video has received over 116,000,000 views over the years and YouTube has gone on to become the most popular video sharing service on the internet with over 400 hours of video uploaded every minute of every day.
  • To put that into perspective, a person would have to watch YouTube 24/7 from birth until retirement age to consume every minute of video uploaded to YouTube in a single day.
  • Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNQXAC9IVRw

Tip of the Week: MS Office 365 Free for Students and Teachers

  • If you meet the requirements of the program, you can download and run MS Office 365 on your PC, Mac and mobile devices without having to lay out any cash whatsoever.
  • All that’s required to qualify is a verifiable and valid school-supplied email address.
  • You don’t even to have go through your school to sign up since you can easily do it yourself once Microsoft has verified the email address you use to apply for the program.
  • This is what you’ll get if you qualify and sign up for Office in Education:
    • The latest version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for up to five PCs or Macs and up to 5 mobile devices
    • Office Online for in-browser editing, collaboration and co-authoring
    • Microsoft Teams
    • Free OneDrive storage
  • If you’re a student or teacher, visit this page to enter your school-supplied email
  • Link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/products/office

FCC Will Move To Regulate Social Media After Censorship Outcry

  • Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said that the agency will seek to regulate social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter at the behest of the Trump administration’s executive order signed earlier this year.
  • “Members of all three branches of the federal government have expressed serious concerns about the prevailing interpretation of the immunity set for in Section 230 of the Communications Act.
  • Section 230 is a piece of Internet legislation in the United States, passed into law as part of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996, formally codified as Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934.
  • Section 230 generally provides immunity for website publishers from third-party content. At its core, Section 230(c)(1) provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an “interactive computer service” who publish information provided by third-party users.
  • The statute in Section 230(c)(2) further provides “Good Samaritan” protection from civil liability for operators of interactive computer services in the removal or moderation of third-party material they deem obscene or offensive, even of constitutionally protected speech, as long as it is done in good faith.
  • There is bipartisan support in Congress to reform the law,” Pai said in a statement Thursday. “Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech. But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”
  • On Thursday, Pai said that the commission’s general counsel said that “the FCC has the legal authority to reinterpret Section 230.”
  • He continued, “Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning.”
  • “Pai’s decision to move forward with rulemaking follows a series of moderation decisions on Wednesday made by Facebook and Twitter against a New York Post article regarding former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who has been the subject of political attacks from the right throughout the 2020 presidential election,” the report adds.
  • Facebook reduced the reach of the story, while Twitter banned linking to the story entirely. “These moves from Facebook and Twitter incited an outcry over conservative bias from Republicans,” reports The Verge.

Senate to Subpoena Twitter CEO over Blockage of Biden Article

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to issue a subpoena on Tuesday to Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey after the social-media company blocked a pair of New York Post articles that made new allegations about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, which his campaign has denied. From a report:
  • The subpoena would require the Twitter executive to testify on Oct. 23 before the committee, according to the Republicans who announced the hearing.
  • GOP lawmakers are singling out Twitter because it prevented users from posting links to the articles, which the Post said were based on email exchanges with Hunter Biden, the Democratic candidate’s son, provided by allies of President Trump. Those people in turn said they received them from a computer-repair person who found them on a laptop, according to the Post.

“This is election interference, and we are 19 days out from an election,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a committee member who discussed the subpoena with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), told reporters. “Never before have we seen active censorship of a major press publication with serious allegations of corruption of one of the tw