Show of 04-24-2021

Tech Talk April 24, 2021

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Tom Schum: Dear Doc and Jim. Charles ‘Chuck’ Geschke, co-found Adobe, could be a great candidate for Profiles in IT. He died this month at age 81., co-founder of Adobe and inventor of the PDF, dies at 81. A long time listener, Tom Schum
  • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for the suggestion. We will feature him today.
  • Lynn in Cleveland: Dear Tech Talk. I frequently have to sign PDF documents and return as PDFs from home. I only have printer and it does not scan documents. I have an iPhone and a Windows computer. What would be my best options. Lynn in Cleveland, OH
  • Tech Talk Responds: Fortunately, Adobe Scan can do this. This app can install on either iPhones or Android phones. The free version will everything that you need. There is a paid level with more features. Just scan your document using you iPhone camera and save as a PDF. It can do multipage documents by simply hitting continue. I have been using this for years. I simply print the documents, sign it, and then scan it with Adobe Scan. The PDF is stored in the cloud and you can send a link via email.
  • Email from Craig in Virginia Beach: Dear Tech Talk. I bought a new Acer laptop that has a camera built into it. I don’t ever plan to use the camera for anything and I’d like to completely disable it. Everything I’ve read so far just explains how to prevent apps from accessing the camera, but I’m wanting to disable it completely. Can you tell me how to do that? Right now I have it covered with masking tape and it looks awful! Craig in Virginia Beach, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: You are in good company. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, puts tape over his laptop camera. Since you have no plans to ever use the camera there’s really no reason to leave it enabled.There’s a fairly straight-forward way to disable many of the hardware devices in a Windows 10 machine, and that includes a built-in camera.
  • Just follow the steps below to disable the camera in your laptop:
    • Press the Windows key to open the Start Menu.
    • Type the words device manager and select Device Manager from the list of search results that pops up.
    • Click the arrow beside the word Cameras to expand that line.
    • Right-click on the camera that listed there and select Disable from the drop-down menu.
    • Click the X in the top-right corner of the Device Manager window to close it.
  • Your laptop’s camera should now be completely disabled. That means no app (or hacker) should be able to snap photos of you or anything else using the camera. Now you can safely remove that ugly piece of masking tape!
  • There may a one problem you encounter. Like its predecessors, Windows 10 has a may re-enable some hardware devices that have been disabled via the Device Manager, usually upon Startup or when the machine is Restarted manually. The next time the machine is Restarted you might want to go into the Device Manager and check to make sure the camera is still disabled.
  • Email from Angela in Woodbridge: Dear Tech Talk. I have used the desktop version of MS Office for years, but I recently switched to Microsoft 365. It took me a few days to get used to it but I believe I’m going to like it ok. There is one thing that I need help with though. Every time I create a new document in any Microsoft 365 app and tell it to save the file it always saves it to OneDrive. I do not feel comfortable using online storage. Is it possible to make Microsoft 365 save my files to my computer’s hard drive instead of to OneDrive? Angela in Woodbridge, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: It is very easy to force all of your Microsoft 365 apps to start saving the files you create and/or edit onto your local computer’s hard drive instead of in your OneDrive storage space. Just follow the steps below:
    • Open any Microsoft 365 app and either create a new document or open an existing one.
    • Click File.
    • Click the Options link that’s located at the bottom of the left-hand sidebar.
    • Click Save.
    • In “Save Documents”, check the box next to Save to Computer by Default.
    • Click the Browse button and navigate to the local folder where you wish to have Microsoft 365 save your files, then click OK.
  • From now on Microsoft 365 will save the files you create and/or edit in any Microsoft 365 app to the selected folder on your computer’s hard drive.
  • Email from Doug in St. Louis: Dear Doc and Jim. I love to listen to the Tech Talk radio podcast. Recently, I have been listening to old shows and ran across one where you talked about your drone. Do you still have the drone? Have you upgraded it? I am planning to buy a drone and would like some information. Doug in St. Louis, MO
  • Tech Talk Responds: I purchased the DJI Phantom, on the first drone model sold by the Chinese company, DJI. They still make the most advanced drones, but they are pricey. The old drone has really become obsolete. It does not have obstacle avoidance and I need that when flying in cluttered areas with trees. I just bought a new drone, the DJI Air 2S. I love it and have been playing with for the past week.
  • The DJI Air 2S is a small folding drone with a premium 1-inch sensor camera, 5.4K video, and a number of automated flight and safety features, including obstacle detection and avoidance. It is a dream for amateur photographers. I has automated camera shots and video sequences and a 30-minute flight time. It will save pictures, either as JPG or raw. The based price is $999.00, with the combo going for $1299.00. I also bought the two-year replacement package for $169. I can replace the drone three times, in the event of crash or flyaway. Giving the types of flights I plan over the water, this seemed like a good idea. The larger camera sensor and 5.4K recording are worthwhile upgrades for professional photographers and videographers alike.
  • Tuc in Chantilly: Dear Doc and Jim. I have been reading about how much data Google collects about anyone who uses their “free” services. Moreover, that they will keep it forever unless you tell them to delete it. Is there any way I can delete my entire search history on Google? Tuc in Chantilly, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: It is quite easy to delete your entire Google search history. If you’re using a web browser on a laptop or desktop computer:
    • Visit the myactivity.google.com page on the Google website, and then sign in if you are prompted to do so.
    • Click Delete activity by.
    • Click the arrow below “Delete by date” and select All time from the drop-down menu..
    • Click Delete and then follow the prompts as they appear.
  • Your Google search history has now been deleted. The procedures are similar if you are using a mobile phone.
  • Just be sure to keep in mind that Google will start compiling a brand new search history beginning with your very next search. It likely will not be long before you’ve built up another fairly lengthy record of your online activities. You will need to repeat this procedure on a regular basis if you want to keep the content of all of your searches confidential. Most people I know do it about once a month.
  • Email from Bob in Maryland: Dear Doc, Jim, and the cheerful Mr. BigVoice. I just came across a website full of historical stuff: THE CHIP HISTORY CENTER (https://www.chiphistory.org/). This is a virtual museum of semiconductor It starts with some of the earliest events, such as the invention of The Field Effect Transistor (FET) in 1925. While William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain often credited with the invention of the transistor, they actually only discovered it as it had been invented 22 years earlier. A loyal listener, Bob in MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: This is fantastic site. So much early history. I enjoying going through the early years of chip history. Thanks for the recommendations. I am sure that this will be a source for Profiles in IT candidates.


Profiles in IT: Charles Matthew Geschke

  • Charles Matthew “Chuck” Geschke was a computer scientist best known for founding the graphics and publishing software company Adobe. with John Warnock in 1982.
  • Charles Matthew Geschke was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 11, 1939.
  • As a young man in Cleveland, Charles Geschke was fascinated by the science behind letterpress printing. His father and grandfather were both photoengravers. Adobe’s products made the technology his father used obsolete.
  • He attended Saint Ignatius High School.
  • He went on to attend Xavier University and received a Bachelors in Classics in 1962.
  • He contemplated joining the priesthood, but instead he pursued a Masters. He earned in HS in Mathematics in 1963 from Xavier.
  • Geschke came across computer science practically by accident. While teaching math at John Carroll University in the 1960s, he had to fail a master’s student out of the program. About a year later, the student called to say he had discovered computer programming and would love to teach Chuck Geschke the ropes.
  • Geschke soon wrote his first computer program, which he used to print mailing labels for the birth announcement of his second child.
  • Geschke was hooked and enrolled in a doctoral program at what is now Carnegie Mellon University. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1973.
  • His thesis advisor was William Wulf. Geschke co-authored, with Wulf, The Design of an Optimizing Compiler, a book published in 1975
  • He joined the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) research department and was known as an ARPA brat, the type of person that defined the Silicon Valley startup culture.
  • Geschke started working at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in October 1972. His first project was to build a mainframe computer.
  • Afterward, he worked on programming languages and developed tools that were used to build the Xerox Star workstation.
  • In 1978, Geschke started the Imaging Sciences Laboratory at PARC, and conducted research in the areas of graphics, optics, and image processing.
  • He hired John Warnock, and together they developed Interpress, a page description language (PDL) that could describe forms as complex as typefaces.
  • Unable to convince Xerox management of the commercial value of Interpress, the two left Xerox to start their own company.
  • Funded by venture capital firm Hambrecht & Quist, Geschke and Warnock founded Adobe in Warnock’s garage in 1982, naming the company after Adobe Creek that ran behind Warnock’s home.
  • Interpress eventually evolved into PostScript. Working together with Steve Jobs, they incorporated PostScript into Apple’s LaserWriter printer.
  • Its use resulted in one of the first desktop publishing (DTP) systems which allowed users to see documents on screen exactly as they would appear in print, a process known as WYSIWYG, an acronym for What You See Is What You Get.
  • Apple would eventually team up with Microsoft and attempt to challenge Adobe in desktop publishing, but Adobe triumphed in what is known as ‘the font wars.’
  • As Adobe grew, Geschke served as its COO and then president until his 2000 retirement, though he remained co-chairman of the board until 2017.
  • He once said, Every asset we have at Adobe gets into an automobile and drives home at night. Without them, there is nothing of substance in this company. It is the creativity of individuals, not machines, that determines the success of this company.
  • Geschke had the reputation for being a kind and humble man. He wanted to surround himself with smarter people and referred to that as a larger pool.
  • Geschke was also known for surviving a 1992 kidnapping attempt. Two men snatched him as he arrived at work one morning and held him for four days, demanding ransom. He was eventually rescued by the FBI.
  • In 1999, Geschke was inducted as a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
  • He also won the 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, awarded by President Barack Obama.
  • On October 15, 2010, the Marconi Society co-awarded Geschke and Warnock the Marconi Prize.
  • Geschke was a Catholic and met his wife Nancy “Nan” McDonough at a religious conference on social action in the spring of 1961. They married in 1964.
  • Geschke, died on April 16, 2021, at the age of 81, in Los Altos, CA The cause of death was cancer.
  • He is survived by his wife, three children and seven grandchildren.

Observations from the Bunker

  • Chuck Geschke, a humble leader.
  • Leader is a striking word. For many people, it evokes thoughts of power and personal accomplishment. It’s like an image of someone standing on a mountaintop, looking out over conquered territory — or the territory they’re about to conquer.
  • But it’s important to remember the leadership qualities that don’t always evoke such self-regard. One of my favorites is humility.
  • I would even go so far as to say it’s the most common characteristic among the effective leaders I’ve known.
  • Humility, rather than self-promotion, helps leaders keep an eye on their actual purpose: the success of the team.
  • Chuck Geschke was humble. He took his success lightly, attribution to the achievements of the team around him.
  • To be humble isn’t to downplay success or pretend that achievements don’t exist. It means acknowledging that various people contributed — and sharing the credit with them. It means collaboration rather than coercion. And it means honoring people when possible.
  • The results you get and the reactions you inspire are not separate matters. Positive results and positive feelings are not coincidental. But it’s not a sign of “softness” in a leader either. Ultimately, it’s a matter of respect. And respect is an outcome of good leadership.
  • Humility not as weakness but its own kind of strength. It is a form of confidence that does not feel threatened by widespread responsibility and credit.

DJI Air 2S Drone – Fun to Fly

  • The new $999 Mavic Air 2S has a one-inch sensor is capable of shooting 20-megapixel photos, 5.4K video, and 4K up to 60fps.
  • The Air 2S also debuts a new automated flight mode called SmartShots. Once you activate it, the drone takes a few minutes to capture a few pre-programmed videos.
  • It has options like wide circular shots, tight circular shots, dronies, top-downs, and so on.
  • It records five to ten “must-have” clips, and the app automatically generates a short edit.
  • On the Air 2S, the only controls you have are for ISO and shutter speed, so DJI has included a set of ND filters in its Fly More bundle ($1,299, also includes extra batteries and other accessories) to allow you to limit the amount of light coming into the lens.

Product of the Week: Apple AirTag

  • Apple’s newest product is a tracker called an AirTag. You attach it to an item and can keep track of it.
  • Despite its tiny size, the Apple AirTag has Bluetooth, ultrawideband and NFC to help you keep track of your items.
  • But the biggest selling point for the AirTag is Apple’s Find My network, which is made up of hundreds of millions of Apple devices.
  • Last week, the Find My network was opened up to third parties that can use the network for items like bikes and headphones.
  • This will only increase that number of devices on Find My and make it even more robust. And that’s important, because let’s say you lost your keys and they had an AirTag attached.
  • As soon as someone with another device on the Find My network, like an iPhone, crosses its path, the AirTag will communicate securely with the iPhone in the background to update the location of your lost keys
  • An AirTag is a bit bigger than a Junior Mint. It weighs roughly the same as two quarters. One side is white, the other is stainless steel.
  • It is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance and can survive being submerged up to 1 meter (about 3 feet) for 30 minutes. Behind the stainless steel back is a replaceable CR2032 battery, which Apple claims will last a year.
  • Even if you don’t have the Find My app open on your iPhone, you can say, for example, “Hey Siri, where are my keys?” The AirTag will chime in response. The AirTag uses Precision Finding to guide you to it

Trivia of the Week: The First Odometer in Ancient Greece

  • While we think of odometers in this modern context, the history of the odometer reaches back over two millennia.
  • The earliest evidence we have for the use of an odometer dates back to writings in both Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, referencing the measuring feats of two of Alexander the Great’s bematists.
  • Bematists were specialists in Ancient Greece that served a key role in record keeping and map making by measuring off distances by carefully tracking their steps between places.
  • The device used by the Romans is believed to be the same kind of device used during the reign Alexander the Great.
  • The axles of a wagon would engage a horizontal wheel on the wagon bed and would turn the horizontal wheel once for every mile traveled.
  • As the horizontal wheel turned, it would drop rounded pebbles from the small holes into a box.
  • By simply ensuring the wheel remained loaded with pebbles and counting the number of pebbles in the box every time they stopped to rest, they could easily and accurately