Show of 06-05-2021

\Tech Talk June 5, 2021

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz. iOS 14.5 was a recent Apple update. Now I notice that a few of the apps on my iPad (5th generation) are useless because the developer didn’t update the app. Do you know of any workaround for this dilemma? Can’t revert to older iOS platform that I know of. Things will probably get worse when iOS 15 comes out. My iPhone 6s+ will not handle iOS 15. Great information on Tech Talk. I really enjoy the podcast. Thanks, Arnie Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can revert to an older operating system, but it would be a clean install. You would have to use a backup from that install to load reconfigure your device. I would not recommend this approach because you are leaving yourself open to security bugs. If you choose to revert, several websites can walk you through the process. My advice is don’t do it.
  • When a new OS comes out, apps are frequently buggy. As soon as the OS has been in use for a while, feedback from users will enable the developers to finish the process quickly. I would be patient and wait. This is one reason to wait to upgrade to a new OS. A bigger problem for you is the date that Apple support will end for he iPhone 6s. The iPhone 6s was completely discontinued in the fall of 2018, so should be eligible for hardware support at least up to fall 2023.
  • Email from James Messick: Dear Tech Talk. I believe the drone insurance only works if you still possess the drone, so if it drowns you need to go skin diving to retrieve it. Enjoy the podcast. James Messick
  • Tech Talk Responds: It depends of the insurance. The DJI program will replace a lost drone (flyaway or water burial). It does not cover the control. It is drone only.
  • Email from Bob in Maryland: Dear Doc, Jim, and the ubiquitous Mr. BigVoice. I guess this is just the start, and to be completely expected. Here is an early example of what I expect will be increasingly common, an online AI art gallery: Emotive art by Artificial Intelligence. Unique AI art that will stir your emotions (https://www.artaigallery.com/). What do you think, Doc? All the best, your faithful listener, Bob in Maryland
  • Tech Talk Responds: AI is coming and it is coming fast. Using the painting from earlier artists as training material, these programs can create new artwork quickly. This will transform the art world. I am using an AI program to transform my digital photographs into painting, patterned after the old masters. It is a simple smart phone app called Prisma. It renders my photos as the most beautiful artwork.
  • Email from Lilly in Fairfax: Dear Doc and Jim. I am trying to send of my photos to Costco to be printed on canvas. I cannot upload any of them because they are live photos and Costco will only accept jpg format. What are my options? Lilly in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: The easiest way to pause a live photo on iPhone is duplicate it as still picture in Photo app. Open Photos app and then select the live photo you want to extract a still shot from, tap the Share icon in the left corner and tap Duplicate. Then choose “Duplicate as Still Photos”, the still image will be saved in your library. That is it. You still have the live photo and a jpg duplicate.
  • By the way, the key frame is the one that will be transferred and that remains after the live sequence is played. You can select the key frame, by going to the edit mode and scrolling through the live images and selecting which will be the key frame. Then you can duplicate it.
  • Email from Alex in Richmond: Dear Doc and Jim. I travel frequently on business, often to other countries. The problem I’m having is every time I click on my bookmark to load Google it takes me to the Google site for whichever country I’m in at the time. I really need for my browser to load the Google search results for the United States at all times because only those results are relevant to the research I do for my job. Do you know of a way to force Google to always show the American search results no matter which country I’m in at the time? Alex in Richmond
  • Tech Talk Responds: It is actually very easy to configure Google to display only American search results. All you have to do is change the “Region” setting on Google’s “Settings” page. Just follow the steps below for the device you’re using.
  • If you use Google on a laptop or desktop computer:
    • Click the Settings link located in the lower-right corner of the window.
    • Click Search Settings.
    • Scroll down to the “Region Settings” section and then click Show more.
    • Select United States.
    • Click the Save button.
  • If you use Google on a mobile device, the process is similar. Google should now provide you with search results from their American index instead of the one for the country you’re in. This is easily reversible by the way. All you have to do is repeat the steps you followed above and change the setting back to Current Region.
  • Email from Richard in Madison: Dear Tech Talk. I am planning to buy a new laptop and give my old one to my daughter. What I’m looking for is a simple way to transfer my files from the old laptop to the new one. I was hoping I could just connect the two laptops together with a USB cable and transfer the files that way. Is that possible? Richard in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can transfer your files to the new laptop the way you described, but you will need a special cable called a USB Bridge Cable. They aren’t all that expensive and they are quite easy to use. I would recommend the Plugable USB 2.0 Transfer Cable. It is $24.95 on Amazon.
  • Email from Peter in Fairfax: Dear Tech Talk. I see many forms on websites that have a button that I have to click on to prove that I am a human and not a robot. My question is how does this prove I am not a robot? Wouldn’t it be easy for a hacker to program a bot to pretend to be a human by recognizing the button from the page code and “clicking” on it? What am I missing here? Peter in Fairfax, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: While the single-button reCAPTCHA “challenges” can’t prevent 100% of all bots from passing as humans, their success rate is high enough for them to be considered effective. The software behind the single-box reCAPTCHA challenges are designed to provide the best balance between user friendliness and effectiveness as possible.
  • The challenges that require you to click on all the boxes that contain objects like cars and traffic lights are indeed more effective than the ones that simply require you to click on a button. The problem is they also make for an absolutely horrible user experience. As always, it is a tradeoff.
  • Second Email from Bob in Maryland: Dear Doc, Jim, and the ever-suave Mr. BigVoice. I noticed that Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum co-founder, burned $6.6B worth of Shiba tokens. It’s quite a normal transaction, says Coin Market Cap, which is typically carried out by the development team of the actual cryptocurrency. The most common way to burn crypto tokens or coins is by sending them to what’s called an “eater address,” which still publicly shows the balance on the blockchain, but no one can access them. What is going on here, Doc? All the best, your faithful listener. Bob in Maryland
  • Tech Talk Responds: Because crypto currency is in the blockchain, it cannot simply be deleted. The development teams initially mint quite a bit of crypto to validate their software and then remove it from circulation to protect the market value for the miners. The easiest way to remove it from circulation, so it cannot be stolen, is to send it to an eater address. That was probably done in the case of Bitcoin too.
  • Shiba Inu is a cryptocurrency token is named after the dog breed that’s the same mascot of another popular cryptocurrency, Dogecoin – a crypto asset that started as a joke but has become popular with the “meme” crowd.
  • Shiba Inu is a decentralized cryptocurrency created in August 2020 by an anonymous person known as “Ryoshi”. Shiba Inu is a token on the Ethereum blockchain. The SHIB token does not have any smart contract utility, nor is it backed by any asset or rights; it is simply a transferable token. Shiba Inu (SHIB) already has a market value of more than $3.8 billion as of early June 2021, making it the 31st-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. In another sense, Shiba Inu is quite small. Each token is only worth $0.000009677. That makes it attractive for new cryptocurrency investors, especially when well-established picks such as Bitcoin cost more than $38,000 for a single token. On 13 May, Vitalik Buterin donated more than 50 trillion Shiba Tokens to the India COVID-Crypto Relief Fund.

 

 

Profiles in IT: Jacobus Cornelis Haartsen

  • Jacobus Cornelis Haartsen is a Dutch electrical engineer best known as the father of Bluetooth communication.
  • Jaap Haartsen was born 13 February 1963, in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • In 1986, he received an MSEE with honors from Delft University of Technology.
  • He worked briefly for Siemens in The Hague and Philips in Eindhoven.
  • In 1990, he received a PhD in EE from Delft University of Technology with honors.
  • His thesis dealt with the design of programmable filters in silicon surface acoustic wave devices.
  • In 1991, he was hired by Ericsson, working in Raleigh-Durham, NC. In 1993 he was transferred to the Ericsson Mobile Terminal Division in Lund, Sweden.
  • He was tasked with finding solutions for short-range (3m to 4m) radio connections to enrich mobile phone functionality. Cost and power were driving factors.
  • Because the frequency band was shared with many consumer devices, he initially decided to use frequency hopping. He already had a working solution in the 2.45 GHz range using frequency hopping communication.
  • Bluetooth devices change frequencies within the designated band, hopping around on 79 frequencies 1,600 times each second.
  • While Dr. Haarsten was working initially alone, a team was quickly built. In 1995, he was joined by Sven Mattisson. The team eventually grew to 30 people.
  • The name in the initial development phases was MC (Multi-Communicator) Link.
  • By 1997, the team had a workable solution and Ericson realized that it needed to collaborate with other firms to ensure adoption.
  • In 1998, a Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed by five founding members: Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, Toshiba and IBM. Intel was selected as the lead.
  • Jim Kardach, representing Intel, suggested the name Bluetooth. Harold Bluetooth was a 10th century Danish king who united Denmark. The symbol is based on his initials.
  • The Bluetooth SIG has formed a patent pool for Bluetooth, defined the standard, provided licenses to manufacturers and examined devices for compliance.
  • Five patents, filed by Dr. Haartsen can be considered fundamental for the Bluetooth standard. In total, Dr. Haarsten has filed more than 200 patents. The SIG patent pool was essential for the early success of the technology.
  • In 1999, Bluetooth 1.0 was released. In 2000, the first mobile phones with Bluetooth appeared, as did first PC cards and prototype mice, keyboards and USB dongles.
  • In 2001, the first Bluetooth-enabled printers, laptops, and car kits were introduced.
  • In 2011, the SIG had 15,000 member firms. Bluetooth V4.0 was released.
  • Between 2000 and 2008 he was a part-time professor at University of Twente, teaching mobile radio communications systems.
  • In 2010, he became CTO of Tonalite in the Netherlands, a company which creates wearable wireless products.
  • In 2012, he was hired by Plantronics as Senior Expert, Wireless Systems.
  • In 2015, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Observations from the Bunker

  • Importance of standards and standards groups
  • A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.
  • Standards allow technology to work seamlessly and establish trust so that markets can operate smoothly. They:
    • provide a common language to measure and evaluate performance,
    • make interoperability of components made by different companies possible, and
    • protect consumers by ensuring safety, durability, and market equity.
  • Standards can be used to predict future technology trends. Backward compatibility firmly grounds the future in the past.
  • Collaboration, not competition, is the key to a successful standards group. Access to a shared patent pool is essential.
  • For instance, the Bluetooth SIG is a global community of over 36,000 companies serving to unify, harmonize and drive innovation in the vast range of connected devices all around us.
  • Link to website: https://www.bluetooth.com/

Google Project Zero Increases Time to Fix Window

  • Google’s Project Zero security arm announced it will be testing a new model governing how it reports vulnerabilities and security flaws that should give companies more time to issue fixes.
  • Project Zero will keep its usual 90-day disclosure period for vulnerabilities that remain unpatched, but if a patch appears within this time, the team will now wait for 30 days after the patch is released to release the technical details of its investigation.
  • Previously, Project Zero would always publish details of any flaws it uncovered after 90 days, whether or not a patch had been released.
  • However the team now wants to alter this to allow vendors more time to ensure patches roll out properly.
  • When it comes to vulnerabilities that are already active in the wild, Google will still look to issue a disclosure a week after notifying the affected party, with technical details also included if the flaw isn’t fixed.
  • But if a patch is released during the 7-day notification window, the technical details will appear 30 days later.

Is Wikipedia the Most Reliable Source on the Internet?

  • Wikipedia is a fascinating corner of the web.
  • But as any teacher or professor will tell you, it’s not a primary source. Use it as a jumping-off point, but scroll to the bottom and seek out original sources for the “truth.”
  • Is that fair? Is Wikipedia indeed a repository for half-truths?
  • It’s a topic that Professor Amy Bruckman from the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Computing has researched extensively.
  • She argues that the content of a popular Wikipedia page is actually the most reliable form of information ever created.
  • A peer-reviewed journal article is reviewed by three experts (who may or may not actually check every detail), and then is set in stone.
  • The contents of a popular Wikipedia page might be reviewed by thousands of people. If something changes, it is updated.
  • Those people have varying levels of expertise, but if they support their work with reliable citations, the results are solid. On the other hand, a less popular Wikipedia page might not be reliable at all.