Show of 6-27-2009

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Jonathan: Dear Tech Talk ISP connections seem to be rated in download/upload speeds, with download speeds being substantially higher. I’m often urged by my ISP to upgrade my service to a more expensive option that provides higher download speeds. I am confused. Why are upload and download speeds different? Jonathan
    • Tech Talk Answers: Upload and download speeds aren’t related. The fact that a much faster download speed is available actually has nothing to do with the fact that your upload speed is much slower in comparison. You tend to download more than you upload so instead of dividing the available bandwidth equally between the two channel designed make them asymmetrical (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line, ADSL) with more bandwidth devoted to the download channel. An 80/20 allocation is common.
    • ISPs also have another reason to limit upload speeds. They don’t want you to deploy a web server from your home, which would require substantial upload speeds.
    • I like to check my speeds by going to: http://www.broadbandreports.com/. Select tools from the top menu, then speed tests.
    • Email from Leslie: Dear Dr. Shurtz. I cannot receive any emails larger than 1MB but am able to receive emails less than 1MB. The email delivery statement reads that my mail box is full and cannot receive any emails. I just got done deleting all of my old emails. So my inbox should be almost empty. Could you please help me and let me know what I can d in order to fix this problem. Thanks, Leslie.
    • Tech Talk Answers: Without knowing exactly what email service and/or program you use, it’s hard to be specific. You might not have deleted what you think you deleted.
    • If you are running a desktop client, deleted emails on the desktop does not delete them on the server. You can either configure your desktop client to delete them from the server when downloaded, or you can leave them.
    • If you are using a web based client (Gmail, Hotmail), deleting an email from your inbox transfers them to the deleted folder. The are not fully deleted until you clear the deleted items. This is normally done automatically in 30 days.
    • The final possibility is that the attachment exceeds the allowed attachment size and the error message is a full mailbox.
  • Profiles in IT: Drise Buytaert
    • Drise Buytaert is an open source software programmer and the founder and lead of the Drupal CMS.
    • Dries Buytaert was born November 19, 1978.
    • In 2000, Dries Buytaert and Hans Snijder set up a wireless bridge between their student dorms to share Hans’s ADSL modem connection among eight students.
    • At the time they were studying at the University of Antwerp in Belgium
    • While this was an extremely luxurious situation at that time, something was missing: There was no means to discuss or share simple things.
    • This inspired Dries to work on a small news site with a built-in web board, allowing the group of friends to leave each other notes about the status of the network, to announce where they were having dinner, or to share some noteworthy news items.
    • The software did not have a name until the day after Dries moved out after graduation. The group decided to put the internal website online so they could stay in touch.
    • While looking for a suitable domain name, Dries settled for ‘drop.org’ after he made a typo to see if the the name ‘dorp.org’ was still available.
    • Dorp is the Dutch word for ‘village’, a fitting name for the small community.
    • Drop.org slowly turned into a personal experimentation environment, driven by the discussions and flow of ideas. The discussions about these web technologies were tried out on drop.org itself as new additions to the software running the site.
    • It was only later, in January 2001, that Dries decided to release the software behind drop.org as "Drupal." The purpose was to enable others to use and extend the experimentation platform so that more people could explore new paths for development. The name Drupal, pronounced "droo-puhl," derives from the English pronunciation of the Dutch word "druppel," which means "drop."
    • Drupal is based on the open source philosophy of collaborative free software development and is licensed under the GPL.
    • Drupal is coded in the open source scripting language PHP and supports as primary data sources the open source database formats MySQL and Postgresql.
    • Drupal powers hundreds of thousands of web sites for companies including Warner Records, The New York Observer, The Onion, Amnesty International, Sony, Forbes, Harvard University.
    • He reserved drupal.org to maintain and distribute the source code.
    • On December 1, 2007, Dries announced, together with co-founder Jay Batson the launch of Acquia. Acquia wants to be to Drupal what Red Hat has been to Linux.
    • Buytaert defended his PhD dissertation in Computer Science on January 27, 2008 at the University of Ghent in Belgium.
    • Drupal 6.0 was released February 13, 2008
    • On March 31, 2008, Dries launched Mollom, a service dedicated to stopping website spam: Mollom is spam filter and CAPTCHA server."
  • ICANN Announced New President and CEO
    • During its board meeting today in Sydney, the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced Rod Beckstrom, the former U.S. cybersecurity chief, as the new President and CEO.
    • Beckstrom will be replacing Dr. Paul Twomey who had been serving this position since March 2003 and announced his resignation earlier this year.
    • Dr Twomey has lately been reported as the primary candidate for heading Australian Government’s proposed $43 billion investment in a new National Broadband Network. Dr. Paul Twomey will remain as ICANN’s Senior President until 1st Jan 2010.
    • Throughout 2008, Rod served as the Director of the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he reported to the Secretary of DHS, and was charged with cooperating directly with the Attorney General, National Security Council, Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
  • NASA Announced Innovative Partnership Awards
    • In honor of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s 50th anniversary, the Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP) Office hosted an evening event that commemorated Goddard research that has developed into spin-off technologies. The key technologies highlighted by decade.
    • 1960s:
      • The original SPACE Blanket was developed into a life-saving product that can be found in emergency kits owned by thousands. According to Travis Smith of Grabber, Inc., this technology began as a plastic film originally used to improve the reflection of radio signals from NASA balloon satellites.
    • 1970s
      • Black & Decker teamed with Goddard researchers to develop a drill Apollo astronauts used to collect the first lunar soil samples. Today this technology has led to a multi-billion-dollar cordless tool industry.
    • 1980s
      • The MiniMed insulin pump is based on NASA’s Programmable Implantable Medication System, or PIMS, and evolved from several NASA technologies, including one originally developed for life search experiments on Mars. MiniMed pumps have been used in medical applications to dramatically improve the quality of life for thousands of patients.
    • 1990s
      • QwikBoost refrigerant and lubricant helps customers save money while protecting the environment. The QwikBoost additive was originally developed for NASA and is based on a chemical/mechanical heat pump that increases the performance of air conditioners, heat pumps, refrigerators and freezers.?
    • 2000s
      • Bartron Medical Imaging system, based on a Recursive Hierarchical Segmentation software system developed at Goddard, enhances a digital medical image uncovering features in the image that are not visible to the naked eye. The MedSeg device allows physicians to more quickly and more accurately diagnose diseases and other medical conditions. The Hierarchical Segmentation software was developed by Dr. James C. Tilton.
  • HP reincarnates calculators on iPhone
    • HP now sells an HP 12C calculator app for the iPhone.
    • Reverse Polish notation is reborn.
    • In Reverse Polish notation, which stemmed from the work of Polish logician Jan Lukasiewicz: there’s no equals key. If you want to add 2 and 4, you type 2 "enter" 4 "plus."
    • Hewlett-Packard’s new iPhone application that fully emulates the company’s 12c financial calculator. The $14.99 application is accompanied by a $29.99 emulator of the 15c scientific calculator, which is better at handling trigonometry and integration than mortgage payments and net present value.
    • And tapping the HP logo on the calculator application shows the condensed reference guide that appears on the back of the real-world calculators.
    • The software versions of HP calculators are clever applications for HP to sell.
      • First, HP attracted a lot of engineers, scientists, real estate agents, and Wall Street brokers with its calculators in years gone by, and the tool is genuinely useful still to those folks.
      • Second, software comes with good profit margins compared with hardware.
    • The HP line is probably as endangered a species today as the mechanical slide rules became decades ago when HP’s first pocket-sized electronic calculator, the HP-35, arrived in 1972.
  • Web slows after Jackson’s death
    • The internet suffered a number of slowdowns as people the world over rushed to verify accounts of Michael Jackson’s death.
    • Between 5.40PM and 6.15PM EST some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson.
    • Those who searched for the star’s name on Google were greeted with an error page.
    • It warned users "your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application".
    • Google’s trends page showed that searches for Michael Jackson had reached such a volume that in its so called "hotness" gauge the topic was rated "volcanic".
    • BBC news website reported that traffic to the site at the time of Jackson’s death was 72% higher than normal.
    • The microblogging service Twitter crashed with the sheer volume of people using the service. Searches for topics related to Michael Jackson peaked at 6PM EST
    • Queries about the star soon rocketed to the top of its updates and searches. But the amount of traffic meant it suffered one of its well-known outages.
    • Before the company’s servers crashed, TweetVolume noted that "Michael Jackson" appeared in more than 66,500 Twitter updates.
    • The number of Twitter posts Thursday afternoon containing "Michael Jackson" totaled more than 100,000 per hour.
    • That put news of Jackson’s death at least on par with the Iran protests, as Twitter posts about Iran topped 100,000 per hour on June 16 and eventually climbed to 220,000 per hour.
    • Early reports of Mr Jackson’s death and the confusion surrounding it caused a rash of changes and corrections to be made on his Wikipedia page as editors tried to keep up with events and the number of people trying to update the page.
    • Keynote Systems reported that its monitoring showed performance problems for the web sites of AOL, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo.
    • Beginning at 5.30 EST "the average speed for downloading news sites doubled from less than four seconds to almost nine seconds.
  • A Smaller Tweet Outbust
    • The source of the recent flurry of AT&T tweets is Adam Savage of MythBusters fame, who tweets that for ?a few hours of web surfing in Canada? he was charged a whopping $11,000.
    • AT&T is apparently claiming that Savage managed to download 9 gigabytes in Canada using his USB data connection .
    • What’s worse, the customer service rep Savage was dealing with was apparently a bit loose with their decimal points.
    • Now Twitter is in revolt. With over 50,000 followers Savage has a pretty loud voice, and his outraged tweets certainly resonate with a broad audience.
    • An AT&T spokesman says that any phone taken abroad that begins racking up excessive charges will automatically receive an SMS alert, but apparently there are no such mechanisms in place for members using the USB wireless connections.
    • Clear Card Shuts Down
  • Clear Lanes Are No Longer Available
    • At 11:00 p.m. PST on June 22, 2009, Clear ceased operations.
    • Clear will protect its customer’s personally identifiable information, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s Security, Privacy and Compliance Standards.
    • Each hard disk at the airport, including the enrollment and verification kiosks, has now been wiped clean of all data and software. The triple wipe process completely overwrites the contents of the entire disk.
    • Lockheed Martin is the lead systems integrator for Clear, and is currently working with Verified Identity Pass, Inc. to ensure an orderly shutdown as the program closes.
    • Lockheed Martin remains committed to protecting the privacy of individuals’ personal information provided for the Clear Registered Traveler program consistent with the TSA’s federal requirements.
    • The computers that Verified Identity Pass, Inc. assigned to its former corporate employees are being wiped using the same process described for computers at the airports.
    • Clear intends to notify members via email when the information is deleted.
    • Refunds will not be issued.
    • Go to www.flyclear.com for updates.
  • Food Science: Freezing Meats
    • Freezing Duration
      • Frozen meats can be safely frozen indefinitely as long as your freezer maintains a temperature of 0°F or lower.
      • At this temperature, bacteria, yeasts, and molds are inactive (not destroyed). Freezing meat simply stops the clock when microbes are concerned.
      • Enzymes are not stopped by freezing, but merely slowed down, so the quality of the food may diminish over time. This is not a safety issue, but a food quality concern.
    • Freezer Burn
      • An avoidable quality detractor is freezer burn. Freezer burn occurs when air comes in contact with the surface of the food. Frozen water on the surface or just under the surface sublimates (like evaporation except going from solid The meat is still safe to eat, but the freezer burned sections won’t taste good.
      • The risk of freezer burn can be minimized by good packaging.
    • Packaging Meat For Freezing
      • Here’s how I freeze individual pieces of meat:
      • First place the a portion of meat onto a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Create a double seal by folding overlaps.
      • After all the meat has been wrapped, label a plastic freezer bag and place foil wrapped meat inside. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag and seal.
      • Plastic bags that are not rated for freezing may be gas permeable and may result in freezer burn if frozen for longer than two months.
      • Wrapping the meat in aluminum foil first keeps portions separate, seals each piece of meat, and allows me to selectively thaw or refreeze portions.
    • Thawing
      • There are a few safe methods of thawing meat, but only one way that allows you to refreeze the meat if you don’t use it. Thawed meat inside the refrigerator is safe to be refrozen as long as the refrigerator maintains a temperature of 40°F or less.
      • Refrigerator – Takes a long time to thaw (one or two days for modest sized meats, 5 hours per pound for large meats like whole chicken or turkey). Can be frozen after thawing.
      • Cold Water Bath – Place the meat in a leak proof bag and submerge in cold water until defrosted. Change the water every 30 minutes to an hour for the duration of the thaw. Cook the meat immediately. Do not refreeze.
      • Microwave Oven – Follow the directions provided with your microwave oven when defrosting. Meat usually comes out unevenly defrosted, so some parts may be warm (a prime breeding ground for microbes). Cook immediately. Do not refreeze. Not recommended