Show of 09-11-2021

Tech Talk

September 11, 2021 Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Michael in Boston: Dear Tech Talk. I have an Android phone and an so envious when my friends share digital photos using AirDrop. Is there a simple way that they can transfer their photo to my phone? Thanks. Michael in Boston, MA
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can use ShareDrop to easily and securely share files directly between devices without uploading them to any server first. To send a file to another device in the same local network, open this page (i.e. sharedrop.io) on both devices. Drag and drop a file directly on another person’s avatar or click the avatar and select the file you want to send. The file transfer will start once the recipient accepts the file. To send a file to another device in a different network, click + button in the upper right corner of the page and follow further instructions.
  • ShareDrop uses a secure and encrypted peer-to-peer connection to transfer information about the file (its name and size) and file data itself. This means that this data is never transferred through any intermediate server but directly between the sender and recipient devices. To achieve this, ShareDrop uses a technology called WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication), which is provided natively by browsers.
  • Email from Remy in Reedville: Dear Tech Talk. I have so my pictures on my smart phone. When I have friends over to the house, I would like to print and share the photos. What wireless printer do you recommend for my prints? Remy in Reedville, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: Being able to print pictures on demand allows you to share your pictures on the spot. I use a the Canon Selphy CP1300 Wireless Compact Photo Printer. I love this printer. I is available on Amazon for $129.
  • It is a dye sublimation printer. It passes through the printer four times to transfer four dye colors. Photos be instantly dry, but they will last up to 100 years and are even water resistant. This technology is much better than an ink jet. The printer is wireless and supports Apple Air Print.
  • Question from Kathy in Chicago: Dear Tech Talk. A couple of years ago I had a really bad breakup with an ex. I have thousands of posts on my Timeline about the things we did together, and it seems like one of them is always popping up as a “Memory. Is it possible to block all of those posts about my ex from showing up as Memories on my Facebook newsfeed but still allow other ‘good’ posts to come up as Memories?
  • Tech Talk Responds: The answer to your question is yes, you can block the posts about your ex from popping up as Memories with a simple setting change. Just be aware that the method Facebook uses to do that is far from fool-proof. There’s a good chance that one of those ‘bad’ memories will still pop up from time to time. But you should indeed be able to block the vast majority of them.
  • Follow these steps if you use a laptop or desktop computer:
    • Log into your Facebook account and visit your Newsfeed page.
    • Scroll down and click the Memories link in the left-hand column (you might need to click the See More link first).
    • Click the Hide People link in the left-hand column.
    • Type your ex’s name into the Search box and then click on his profile after it pops up. If it doesn’t pop up try typing just his last name.
    • Click the Save button.
  • That should prevent the vast majority of posts involving your ex from popping up on your Newsfeed as a Memory. Just be aware that it’s likely that one will still pop up on (hopefully) rare occasions.
  • Email from Don in Richmond: Dear Tech Talk. I bought an older Dell laptop after answering an ad on Craigslist. The guy I bought it from told me I’d be able to install a second hard drive in it if I wanted to. I went to Best Buy and bought a 1TB laptop hard drive but when I went to install it I could only find a place for one hard drive (the drive that’s already in it). There is only one plastic cover on the bottom for accessing a hard drive. Could there maybe be a second drive bay somewhere else that is not accessible by simply removing a cover? Don in Richmond, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: Some older Dell laptops do indeed support dual internal hard drives, but without knowing the specific model of your machine I can’t give you a definitive “Yes” or “No” answer. Every older Dell laptop that supports two hard drives allows you to access both of them by removing those small plastic covers to reveal the drive bays. If you can only access one drive bay without taking the entire case apart, I seriously doubt that your laptop supports dual internal hard drives.
  • I recommend that you Google your laptop’s brand and model number and download the user manual. If you discover that your laptop can’t accept a second internal hard drive (and I believe you will), you can always convert that new 1TB hard drive into an external USB drive and simply plug it into an unused USB port.
  • Even better, you could replace the existing hard drive with a super-fast SSD and then convert both hard drives into external USB hard drives.
  • Email from Kevin in Gainesville: Dear Tech Talk. A while back I replaced the hard drive in my HP laptop with an SSD, then installed Windows 7 from the DVD. After I got all the Windows Updates installed I upgraded the system to Windows 10. I bought one of the external USB drive enclosures for the old hard drive, then I plugged it into a USB port and copied all of my files onto another external drive. The SSD is working great and so is the old hard drive (which is now being used as an external drive). The problem is the old drive still contains the original partitions for the operating system and the system recovery files. How can I reformat the old drive as one single large partition? Kevin in Gainesville, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: Since you already have your files copied off the old drive onto another one, you can easily repartition the old hard drive and reformat it as one larger, single partition drive. It is quite simple. Just make certain to reformat the correct disk.
    • Before you do anything else, create a Backup Image of the SSD just in case you accidentally re-partition the wrong drive (trust me, it happens).
    • Disconnect all external drives from the PC (the other USB hard drive as well as all thumb drives and memory cards) except for the old hard drive that you are now wanting to re-partition.
    • Press the Windows+E key combination to open “File Explorer”.
    • Right-click on This PC (in the left-hand column) and then click Manage.
    • Click Disk Management.
    • The bottom section of the Disk Management window should now list both the SSD and the old hard drive along with the partitions contained on each. You will want to ignore the SSD (which should be listed as Disk 0) and make all the changes to the hard drive (which should be listed as Disk 1). You can verify which disk is which in the list by comparing their total storage capacities.
    • Beginning with the right-most partition on the hard drive, right click on the partition and then click Delete Volume. Repeat this process for the remaining partitions.
    • After all the partitions on the hard drive have been deleted, right-click on the hard drive and create a new partition that fills the entire drive, then format it.
  • Now your old hard drive (which is your “new” external USB drive) is usable in Windows as one large hard drive.
  • Email from Alice in Wonderland: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I live in a three level SFH and have Verizon FiOS as my IP service. I have an iMac is on main floor and the apple TV is in the basement. Today, nearly show I selected would not load. All I got was the spinning icon on the screen. I rebooted the power to the apple TV. This did not fix the issue. What are my options? Thanks. Alice, anxious to return to Wonderland
  • Tech Talk Responds: Alice, it sounds like an Internet connection issue. You need to reboot your Wi-Fi router and when the Internet is down. Simply rebooting the Apple TV will not do it. My router has both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz bands. I have given them different names so that I can choose which one to use. The 5.8 GHz band has substantially more bandwidth. I connect my Apple TV using the 5.8 GHz band and never have buffering problems with my FIOS connection.

 

 

Profiles in IT: Jan Koum

  • Jan Koum is a computer programmer, best known as co-founder and CEO of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application that was acquired by Facebook.
  • Jan Koum was born February 24, 1976 in Kiev, Ukraine and grew up in Fastiv, Ukraine.
  • In 1992, he moved with his mother and grandmother to Mountain View, CA. He was sixteen.
  • The family was supported by welfare and lived in a small two-bedroom apartment.
  • At first Koum’s mother worked as a babysitter, while he worked as a cleaner at a grocery.
  • In 1994, he enrolled in San Jose State University when he became interested in programming.
  • While in school he worked at Ernst & Young as a security tester, where he met Brian Action.
  • In 1996, he also joined a group of hackers that began called w00w00, where he met the future founders of Napster, Shawn Fanning and Jordan Ritter.
  • In 1997, Brian Action hired Koum at Yahoo, as an infrastructure engineer. He quit school that same yeare.
  • Acton served as his mentor, inviting him over to his house and taking him skiing.
  • In September 2007 Koum and Acton left Yahoo and took a year off, traveling around South America and playing ultimate Frisbee.
  • Both applied, and failed, to work at Facebook. In January 2009, Koum bought an iPhone and realized that the App Store was about to spawn a whole new industry of applications.
  • He visited his friend Alex Fishman and over tea in the kitchen talked about an idea for new app. Koum chose the name WhatsApp because it sounded like whats up.
  • A week later on his birthday, Feb. 24, 2009, he incorporated WhatsApp Inc. in CA.
  • Brian Action, who had a computer science degree from Stanford, was his co-founder.
  • The two founded WhatsApp later that year with the idea that smartphone users should be able to easily message each other without incurring fees from phone carriers.
  • WhatsApp does not collect information like name, gender, address or age. Instead, users are approved after their phone numbers are authenticated.
  • This approach was shaped by his experience growing up in a communist country with a secret police. He appreciated communication that was not bugged or taped.
  • A hand-written note on his desk reads: No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!
  • They did not employ a public relations person, relying on the word-of-mouth. The service became popular with friends and family communicating in different countries.
  • Jan and Brian remained devoted to a clean, lightning fast communications service that works flawlessly. Their approach paid off. WhatsApp grew to 450 million monthly users, twice as many as Twitter. The users were active, sending billions of messages per day.
  • The two founders also mostly avoided Silicon Valley investors. They did not take any funding until 2011, when Sequoia Capital invested $8 million in WhatsApp for 15 percent stake.
  • Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg first contacted Koum in the spring 2012. The two began meeting at a coffee shop in Los Altos, CA, then began a series of dinners and walks.
  • On February 9, 2014 Zuckerberg asked Koum to have dinner at his home, and formally proposed Koum a deal to join the Facebook board.
  • Ten days later Facebook announced it was acquiring WhatsApp for US$19 Billion USD
  • Over the first half of 2016, Koum sold more than $2.4 billion worth of Facebook stock, which was about half of his total holdings.
  • In April 2018, Koum announced that he was leaving WhatsApp and stepping down from Facebook’s board of directors due to disputes with Facebook. In 2019, he received an additional $450M in stock options from Facebook.
  • His mother died in 2000 of cancer in the US, while his father died in Ukraine in 1997.
  • In November 2014, Koum donated $1,000,000 to The FreeBSD Foundation, and close to $556 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) the same
  • As of July 2021, his net worth was estimated at $10.4 billion.

Observations from the Bunker

  • Impact of 9/11 on technology. It is a double-edged sword.
  • At the time, there were no smartphones to initiate a video call with loved ones. The active cell phone service was down after the Twin Towers were hit in New York City, which made it difficult to hear from family and friends.
  • Substantial changes to news transmission, technology innovation, telecommunications networks, disaster preparedness, personal privacy, digital inequity, and security levels arose after the tragic events of this day.
  • So many things have shifted over the last two decades that it is hard to imagine the world as it existed in 2001.
    • Instant News and Misinformation — News spreads quickly through digital websites, social media platforms, mobile calls, and instant messages. Tweets fly around the world and people know about important events almost as soon as they take place. This has created echo chambers, where you only hear those who agree with you. The national discourse has been damaged. We are a divided nation.
    • More Robust, yet Vulnerable, Networks — Our communications networks are more broad-based and robust today than 20 years ago. Government agencies and private companies have beefed up their disaster preparedness and telecommunications providers have strengthened their digital infrastructure. However, we are now threatened by ransomware attacks and unwanted digital intrusions. These attacks can occur from state-sponsored sources or criminal enterprises that operate with impunity.
    • Privacy vs National Security — The balance between privacy and national security shifted markedly following 9/11. With the passage of the U.S. Patriot Act in October 2001, government officials gained new authority to surveil possible threats. For American citizens, administrators could go to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court and request permission to monitor phone calls, emails, and/or text messages.
  • We must find a way to retain hope and humanity through the use of technological advances. More importantly, we must address the problems of misinformation, personal privacy, cybersecurity, and civic toxicity.

The 2021 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

  • The 2021 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at the 31st First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, on Thursday, September 9, 2021. Each winner has done something that makes people LAUGH, then THINK. Here are a few of awards.
    • BIOLOGY PRIZE: Susanne Schötz for analyzing variations in purring, chirping, chattering, trilling, tweedling, murmuring, meowing, moaning, squeaking, hissing, yowling, howling, growling, and other modes of cat–human communication.
    • CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Jörg Wicker, Nicolas Krauter, Bettina Derstroff, Christof Stönner, Efstratios Bourtsoukidis, Achim Edtbauer, Jochen Wulf, Thomas Klüpfel, Stefan Kramer, and Jonathan Williams, for chemically analyzing the air inside movie theaters, to test whether the odors produced by an audience reliably indicate the levels of violence, sex, antisocial behavior, drug use, and bad language in the movie the audience is watching.
    • ECOLOGY PRIZE: Leila Satari, Alba Guillén, Àngela Vidal-Verdú, and Manuel Porcar, for using genetic analysis to identify the different species of bacteria that reside in wads of discarded chewing gum stuck on pavements in various countries.
    • MEDICINE PRIZE: Olcay Cem Bulut, Dare Oladokun, Burkard Lippert, and Ralph Hohenberger, for demonstrating that sexual orgasms can be as effective as decongestant medicines at improving nasal breathing.
    • ECONOMICS PRIZE: Pavlo Blavatskyy, for discovering that the obesity of a country’s politicians may be a good indicator of that country’s corruption.
    • PEACE PRIZE: Ethan Beseris, Steven Naleway, and David Carrier, for testing the hypothesis that humans evolved beards to protect themselves from punches to the face.
    • ENTOMOLOGY PRIZE: John Mulrennan, Jr., Roger Grothaus, Charles Hammond, and Jay Lamdin, for their research study “A New Method of Cockroach Control on Submarines”.
    • TRANSPORTATION PRIZE: Robin Radcliffe, Mark Jago, Peter Morkel, Estelle Morkel, Pierre du Preez, Piet Beytell, Birgit Kotting, Bakker Manuel, Jan Hendrik du Preez, Michele Miller, Julia Felippe, Stephen Parry, and Robin Gleed, for determining by experiment whether it is safer to transport an airborne rhinoceros upside-down.
  • Most of the new winners will give free public talks to explain, if they can, what they did and why they did it.

Why Don’t People Use Two Factor Authentication

  • Two-factor authentication is simple and easy to use. Whenever you log in to your email, work account, or social media platform, you get a text message or email asking you to confirm your identity.
  • It is easy and safe and we are all using it. Actually not. The numbers do not look good.
  • Information Security professionals are always trying to get their clients to adopt multi-factor authentication, but the clients do not seem to be listening.
  • Twitter recently disclosed that the number of accounts using 2FA is only 2.3 percent, a depressingly tiny number.

The Judgement is Here: Epic versus Apple

  • Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued a permanent injunction in the Epic v. Apple case on Friday morning, putting new restrictions on Apple’s App Store rules and bringing months of bitter legal jousting to a conclusion.
  • Under the new order, iOS apps must be allowed to direct users to payment options beyond those offered by Apple. The injunction is scheduled to take effect in 90 days.
  • In a separate judgment, the court affirmed that Epic Games was in breach of its contract with Apple when it implemented the alternative payment system in the Fortnite app. As a result, Epic must pay Apple 30 percent of all revenue collected through the system since it was implemented — a sum of more than $3.5 million.
  • Under that market definition, “the court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws. However, the trial did show that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive conduct under California’s competition laws.
  • Apple and Epic Games have been at odds for years over the transaction fee system in the iOS App Store, which Apple sees as a necessary operating cost but Epic sees as a monopolistic tax. The fight came to a head in August 2020 when Epic installed an alternative payment system in Fortnite to circumvent the App Store’s transaction fees. Apple responded by removing Fortnite from the App Store, which sparked an immediate legal complaint from Epic.

Idea of the Week: LinkJoin

  • Seth Raphael was in middle school when the pandemic hit, sending millions of students from the classroom to Zoom practically overnight.
  • Seth and his friends found themselves facing a surprisingly common problem: being frequently late to Zoom class.
  • Teachers stored links to their classes in what felt to Seth like a jumbled cascade of Google docs and spreadsheets.
  • Seth devised a solution to his problem. His idea has evolved into LinkJoin, a web app that stores and automatically opens Zoom links to deliver on its promise of helping users “never be late again” to a virtual meeting.
  • He wrote the original code for LinkJoin in Python and shared the file with his friends, each one running the program locally on their computers.
  • Seth created the first iteration of LinkJoin in January 2021 and built the website himself, incorporating elements written in JavaScript, HTML and CSS. A friend offered to design the graphics, and he made the web app publicly available around March. He still managed to garner about 650 sign-ups before the school year ended.
  • Seth has added more features since then. Users can disable links from opening automatically, sort them and add notes to meetings. His next plans include adding premium features, like text or email reminders, for a monthly fee and licensing the service to schools.
  • Seth says, even to his plans to present a poster on LinkJoin at the EDUCAUSE higher education IT conference in October.
  • Link: https://linkjoin.xyz/