Show of 6-23-2007

  • Email Questions
  • Dear Tech Talk. Love the show. My computer is so slow now. What can I do to fix it? Also, how can I attach another computer to my Internet connection? I am now connected directly to my cable modem and don’t have any other place to connect. Sue
  • Let’s talk about your Internet connection first. Then about fixing your computer.
    • You don’t have a hardware firewall. Not a good idea.
    • Get a router (either wired or wireless). I prefer wireless if it is secured.
    • It will also serve as a hardware firewall and give you a more secure connection.
    • You could also use Internet connection sharing, but your current situation is not secure and I would not recommend it.
  • Now let talk about speeding up your computer.
    • Make certain your virus protection is up-to-date (Symantec or McAfee AV)
    • Scan for spyware (MS Windows Defender or Ad-aware are free)
    • Fix registry errors (Registry Mechanic is $29 or $39 for 3 computers)
    • Perform a disk defragmentation (Free MS utility)
  • Profiles in IT
    • Linus Torvalds, Developer of Linux
    • Linus Torvalds was born on December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland.
    • Named after Linus Pauling (winner of Noble Prize in Chemistry). Torvalds later claimed to have been named after the blanket carrying, Linus, in Peanuts.
    • His mascot is a Penguin, named Tux
    • Web site:
    • His parents were communist radicals and other children used to tease Linus about it.
    • His grandfather bought him a Commodore VIC 20, one of the first personal computers, and Linus learned to write computer games for it when he was twelve.
    • In 1988, Linus began studying computer science at the University of Helsinki. He invested in a better computer with a 386 processor and began learning the assembly language for the processor. He coded a number of advanced software projects, including a floppy disk driver and software assembler.
    • In 1990, he began learning Unix when the university purchased a MicroVAX system.
    • UNIX was common on huge computers with many users, but it was bulky, expensive, and impractical for personal computers.
    • Torvalds had a PC that came MS-DOS. He installed Minix, a PC-compatible mini-mimic of UNIX, but he wanted something more flexible and user-friendly.
    • In 1991 Torvalds spent several months writing a compact operating system for his PC.
      • He almost called it Freax, but later decided on Linux.
      • He posted an announcement to the Minix group on USENET, and made the Linux source code available to other nerds free of charge.
      • Programmers everywhere started adding their own improvements
      • Eventually companies like Red Hat, Corel, Caldera, and TurboLinux began selling their own versions of Linux.
      • Linux quickly became a symbol of the open source movement, with a tuxedo penguin as its mascot.
    • Torvalds earned his masters degree in computer science at the University of Helsinki.
    • From 1997 to 2003, Linux worked for Transmeta Corporation.
    • To handle Linux matters, Linus created the Linux Foundation, a non-profit corporation that holds the trademark name Linux.
    • In 2004 he was named one of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine.
    • At this point, he has actually written about 2% of the kernel.
  • Nerd – History and Other Thoughts
    • Linus Torvalds is quoted as follows: I was a nerd. Geek. From fairly early on. I didn’t duct-tape my glasses together, but I might as well have, because I had all the other traits. Good at math, good at physics, and with no social graces whatsoever. And this was before being a nerd was considered to be a good thing.
    • Bill Gates the richest nerd. The New Yorker wrote: “To many people, the rise of Bill Gates marks the revenge of the nerd. Actually, Gates probably represents the end of the word nerd as we know it.”
    • Charles J. Sykes is quoted as saying: "Be nice to nerds. Chances are you will end up working for one."Nerd is used a derogatory designation to refer to somebody who passionately pursues intellectual knowledge rather than engaging in social activities.
    • Variations of the name include Nurd. Derived by spelling drunk backwards, since nerds party backwards by only studying.
    • The word "nerd" first appeared in Dr. Seuss’s book, If I Ran the Zoo (1950).
      • Nerd was one of Seuss’s imaginary animals.
      • The narrator Gerald McGrew claims that he would collect "a Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too" for his imaginary zoo.
    • Nerd Pride Day is May 25. Started in Spain in 2006. We overlooked it last month.
    • Slashdot ( motto: “News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters”
    • Being a nerd is now hip. Made popular by the world’s wealthiest nerd, Bill Gates.
    • How nerdy are you?
    • Nerds are now even datable. Check the Internet for all the reasons that nerds are worth dating.
  • Beach Gear for the Geek
    • Solar Powered Laptop
      • Laptop of choice
      • Two 30-watt solar panels
      • Voltage regulator
      • Reserve battery (optional)
      • $600-$800 for solar power
      • Suggested web site:
    • Wi-Fi Internet access
    • Solar Umbrella (alternative power)
  • Hacker Penetrates Pentagon Email
    • Hacker penetrated an unclassified Pentagon email system and as many 1,500 accounts were taken offline
    • "Elements of the OSD unclassified e-mail system were taken offline yesterday afternoon due to a detected penetration," US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, using an acronym for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
    • On Wednesday, a congressional panel disclosed that hackers also have succeeded in penetrating computers at the Department of Homeland Security, the lead government agency in providing security against cyber attack.
    • The Pentagon email system carries "routine email" involving administrative manners but not classified information related to military operations, Colonel Gary Keck, a Pentagon spokesman said.
    • Gates said the Defense Department computers are under constant attack, but he could not say why this attack unlike others forced authorities to take down part of the system.
    • Pentagon officials would not comment on the source of the attack, or whether the hacker was able to read email sent over the system.
  • PC Magazines: Best and Worst ISPs
    • Show down on the last mile in the last mile
    • Rated the following factors: Connection type, Overall satisfaction, Reliability, Download speed, Upload speed, Customer service, Tech support, E-mail , Spam, AV/Security
    • Verizon came out on top with its FiOS ISP service; last year’s favorite, Cablevision, came in a close second, tied with Cox. Cablevision and Cox lagged in Spam blockage and AV Protection.
    • AOL and MSN were near the bottom.
    • Competition for the last mile is working: Verizon versus the Cables a good match-up.
  • Pleo –Latest Smart Robotic Pet
    • Company web site:
    • Product web site:
    • Pleo is a a one week-old dinosaur
    • Pleo’s sensory system has devices that enable him to hear, to see, to sense touch, and to detect objects
    • Each Pleo has a unique personality that develops based on Pleo’s life experiences with you. New personalities can be downloaded.
    • Significant Processing Power
      • 32-bit Microprocessors – central and image processing 
      • 8-bit Subprocessors – motor control
    • Highly Articulated Movement
      • 14 Motors
      • Over 100 custom-designed gears 
    • Complex Sensory Network
      • Camera-based vision system – light detection and navigation
      • Microphones – binaural hearing
      • Skin sensors – head, chin, shoulders, back, feet
    • First units will ship October 15, 2007
    • Cost $345
  • Survey Results: Ten Most Hated Words on the Internet
    • UK pollsters YouGov have just completed a survey on the web’s most-hated words
    • Here is the list with most hated listed first.
      1. Folksonomy (web classification system)
      2. Blogosphere (all blogs on the Internet)
      3. Blog (web log)
      4. Netiquette (Internet etiquette)
      5. Blook (book based on a blog)
      6. Webinar (online or web-based seminar)
      7. Vlog (video blog)
      8. Social Networking (friends on the Internet)
      9. Cookie (method to store information on client)
      10. Wiki (protocol that allows users to edit web pages)