Show of 12-10-2011

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Lauren: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz, Our firm has a Govt client that holds nationwide meetings with about 150 attendees a few times a month. Our firm is being asked to be the meeting owner so the Govt agency can delegate the hosting of the meetings to us. A client is using MS Live Meeting 2007 now.
  • My boss wants to recommend that we take care of this for them with WebEx. Do you have experience with either and any pros/cons to share?
  • Also, I have a Craigslist acct and they are constantly asking me to reenter my phone # for authentication. I have no idea why they keep asking that I redo this nearly monthly. I use to be able to send an email to Craig or the other top guy there and they’d resolve any issue I had. NOW, all that happens when I write to them is a ‘generic’ reply that doesn’t resolve or address my specific issue at all.
  • There also is now no number to reach a person there. The number I had tells me that they don’t support my kind of account. CL use to be a really great site but something has changed there in the past year and I is a real shame. CL is trying my last nerve. They keep making it harder and harder to place a personal ad and I just don’t get why. Is there a site that competes with Craigslist? Thanks Lauren
  • Tech Talk Responds: Windows Live Meeting has a complicated pricing structure depending on the number of seats. It quickly becomes more expensive than WebEx which support 3,000 users for $49/month. Not as many features as WebEx, like applications sharing and drawing tools. As for craigslist, it is the best free online sales site that I know. Just get used to phone authentication and it will not accept IP phones or cell phones.
  • Email from a listener in Burke: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I am going to rent a room in my house and want to give the new tenant internet and cable access. How do I keep my networked devices separate and protected? Thanks, Listener in Burke
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can take a couple approaches. You could have only one wireless device and simply configure your computer as though this was a public site and disable all file sharing and use a VPN. Secondarily, you could cascade two wireless routers together (connected via Ethernet) and give them access to one of them. You take the downstream wireless connection so you are protected by a firewall. Make certain to set them up using a different channel so that they don’t slow each other down. You will still have the problem that they may use all of your bandwidth with downloads.
  • Email from Allen: Dear Tech Talk, I recently replaced my system hard drive and have taken my old internal hard drive out and installed it into a external enclosure. When I plug it in, it shows up as unformatted. It was NTFS as an internal drive. I’m concerned that if I format it, I will lose all of my data now stored on the drive. What steps do I take to format this external drive without losing my files? Thanks, Allen
  • Tech Talk Responds: Do not format the drive. You will make the data even more difficult to recover.
  • Your computer cannot read the MBR, so it shows that the disk is unformatted. It could be caused by a corrupted MBR. It might also be a hardware problem. To check the hardware problem, first plug it into another computer and see if the disk can be recognized. Second check the hardware enclosure and make certain that it is wired correctly. Double check all assembly instructions. If you have another disk that you know to be working put it into the enclosure to verify that it still works.
  • If all that that fails, you need to use data recovery software. We have talked about this before. Recuva by Piriform can recover files on the drive that appears to be unformatted. It is free. Another tool is GetDataBack. It is not free.
  • Once you get your data back, make certain to backup the drive.

Profiles in IT: Charles Kuen Kao

  • Charles Kuen Kao is a pioneer in the development and use of fiber optics in telecommunications. Kao commonly refered to as the Father of Fiber Optics.
  • Charles Kuen Kao was born November 4, 1933 in Shanghai, China.
  • Kao’s family moved to Hong Kong in 1948 where he completed his secondary education at St. Joseph’s College in 1952.
  • He did his undergraduate studies in electrical engineering at Woolwich Polytechnic (now the University of Greenwich), obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree.
  • He then pursued research and received his PhD degree in electrical engineering in 1965 from University College London, while working at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories (STL) in Harlow, England.
  • In 1963, Kao was appointed head of the electro-optics research group at STL.
    His research first theorized and proposed to use glass fibers to implement optical communication, becoming the basis of today’s optical fiber communications.
  • Kao concluded that the fundamental limitation for glass light attenuation is below 20 dB/km and that losses were caused by impurities in the glass.
  • Kao proposed the use of high purity of fused silica (SiO2) for optical communication.
  • The results were first presented by Kao to the IEE in January 1966 in London, and further published in July with George Hockham.
  • At the time of this determination, optical fibers commonly exhibited light loss as high as 1,000 dB/km and even more.
  • Kao was also a strong advocate for single mode fibers for long-distance optical communication, instead of using multi-mode systems.
  • In spring 1966, Kao traveled to the U.S. but failed to interest Bell Labs, which was a competitor of STL in communication technology at that time.
  • Kao visited many glass and polymer factories, and discussed techniques and improvement of glass fiber manufacture. He focused on high purity fiber fabrication.
  • In 1969, Kao with M.W. Jones measured the intrinsic loss of bulk-fused silica at 4 dB/km. Bell Labs started considering fiber optics seriously.
  • Kao has published more than 100 papers and was granted over 30 patents.
  • He predicted in 1983 that world’s seas would be littered with fiber optics, five years ahead of the time that such a trans-oceanic fiber-optic cable first became serviceable.
  • Kao joined the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 1970, to found the Department of Electronics.
  • In 1974, he returned to ITT Corporation in 1974 (the parent corporation of STC at that time) in the United States and worked in Roanoke, Virginia.
  • In 1982, he became the first ITT Executive Scientist and was stationed mainly at the Advanced Technology Center in Connecticut.
  • In 1986, Kao was appointed the Corporate Director of Research at ITT.
  • Kao became Vice-Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1987 until retirement in 1996. He has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease since early 2004
  • Pottery making, a traditional Chinese handiwork, is a one of his hobbies.
  • On October 6, 2009, Kao was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the study of the transmission of light in optical fibers and for fiber communication.

Big Trend of 2011: BYOD

  • BYOD means Bring Your Own Device
  • The rise of personal technology — smartphones, tablets, storage devices and cloud services — has forced IT departments to deal with personal technology.
  • Taken a hint from their Trekkie cousins and accepted that resistance is futile.
  • CIOs have begun to accept that the battle against employee-liable technology in the workplace.
  • A key advantage is that employees who are permitted to use a single device for all work and personal needs will have a better knowledge of the technology, making them more efficient and less reliant on IT’s support.
  • They’re also more likely to afford special care to devices they own, in turn helping to ensure that data stored on them remains safe.
  • The flipside of IT’s growing acceptance of the BYOD culture is that the onus for procuring, maintaining and troubleshooting technology is now shifting to consumers.
  • Individuals now expect the anywhere, anytime access that comes with a smartphone, cloud storage, etc. — and their employers are starting to expect them not only to have it, but also to maintain it.
  • As technologies that were once the exclusive purviews of the enterprise enter the personal technology space, adopters of these technologies need to be proactive about thoroughly vetting the hardware, software and service providers they select, and understanding how to navigate the challenges that come with them.
  • Employees will be expected to become self-sufficient in their use of technology
  • Mobile users need to focus on multiple levels of security — not just on the device level, but on the application and content levels as well.
  • Apps that keep you signed in even upon exit are storing your passwords and leaving access to your digital content open. Apps with an automatic log-out feature ensure that your content is protected — no matter where, or in whose hands, your phone resides.
  • Consider password protecting data or using a service that allows you to access content remotely without creating a copy on the device.
  • The personal cloud has exploded over the past year as consumers have increasingly demanded enterprise-class access solutions (like the iCloud).
  • Work documents to which employees need home access go into the same cloud solution as family photographs and grocery lists.
  • Mobile empowerment of the workforce is a new reality IT must learn to embrace.
  • Developing corporate-wide mobile usage policies is a good first step. Next comes implementing the tools to enforce them.

Kepler Confirms First Planet in Habitable Zone

  • NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the “habitable zone” of a distant sun-like star.
  • The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth.
    The “habitable zone” of a planetary system refers to the band of orbits where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface.
  • Kepler has recently discovered more than 1,000 new planet candidates. Ten of these candidates are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of their host star.
  • Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are actual planets.
  • “This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin,” said Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
  • Kepler-22b is located 600 light-years away. While the planet is larger than Earth, its orbit of 290 days around a sun-like star resembles that of our world.
  • The planet’s host star belongs to the same class as our sun, called G-type, although it is slightly smaller and cooler.
  • Kepler discovers planets and planet candidates by measuring dips in the brightness of more than 150,000 stars to search for planets that cross in front, or “transit,” the stars.
  • Kepler requires at least three transits to verify a signal as a planet.
  • The Kepler science team uses ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope to review observations on planet candidates the spacecraft finds.
  • Of the 54 habitable zone planet candidates reported in February 2011, Kepler-22b is the first to be confirmed. This milestone will be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

XXX Domains Now Available

  • The internet’s new red light district is now open for business but URLs including names of politicians, celebrities and businesses cannot be registered lest they become hijacked by enterprising pornographers.
  • The .xxx internet domain opened up for general registrations on Wednesday.
  • ICM Global, the US company responsible for administering the new domain, has confirmed it has pre-emptively removed from registration URLs that relate to 4000 public figures, including, and
  • A further 80,000 URLs were taken off the market during a two-month period before Wednesday’s general launch when copyright holders could pay $200-$300 to register a domain to prevent others from using their brands. Among those who did so were many of the ASX Top 20 Companies.
  • These are what the industry calls “defensive” domain registrations: people and organizations who have signed up for a URL to prevent someone else from using it in a way that might damage their reputation.
  • A registration costs about $100 for one year.
  • The .xxx extension was approved by ICANN, the internet domain regulator, last year. It is an attempt to entice pornography sites to move into their own corner of the internet so that they can be more easily filtered and regulated.
  • All .xxx registered websites will be scanned for viruses by McAfee. The domain is being sold to the adult industry as a means of reassuring consumers that their websites are legitimate and free of viruses and illegal content.
  • More than 50,000 .xxx domains were registered on Wednesday but how many of these were claimed by so-called domain name speculators and how many by people actually 

Website of the Week: Khan Academy

  • Web address:
  • The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.
  • All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.
    • Over 2700 videos. The library of videos covers K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even reaches into the humanities with playlists on finance and history. Each video is approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer.
    • Math exercises. Practice math at your own pace with our adaptive assessment exercises. You can start at 1+1 and work your way into calculus or jump right into whatever topic needs some brushing up. Each problem is randomly generated, so you never run out of practice material.
    • Track your progress. Every time you work on a problem or watch a video, the Khan Academy remembers what you’ve learned and where you’re spending your time.
    • Knowledge Map. The knowledge map shows all of the exercise concepts. You can zoom in and out and pan around all the different exercises, just like on a normal map. You can start working anywhere on the map.
    • Your classroom data. Teachers and coaches can access all of their students’ data. You can get a summary of class performance as a whole or dive into a particular student’s profile.
    • Achievement badges. You earn badges and points for learning.

Blogging styles revealed

  • In an article published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Networking, James Baker and Dr. Susan Moore describe the scale that categorizes four blogging styles: Therapeutic, Self- bloggers were recruited to participate in an online survey and asked to rate their blog activity and readership, social interaction, coping and mood. Based on their responses the researchers identified four distinct blogging styles.
    • Therapeutic bloggers were open and expressive and more directed to their own concerns that those of their readers. They were less satisfied with their friendships; scored higher on depression, anxiety and stress and endorsed numerous coping mechanisms to deal with stress. For them, blogging provided an emotional outlet to connect with others and to seek support.
    • Connected bloggers tended to be less stressed and depressed, more satisfied with friendships, received more comments from others and have more subscribers to their blogs. They used their blogs to connect and communicate with others rather than solve emotional problems.
    • Self-censoring bloggers also blog to communicate, but focus on positive self-presentation rather than the more open style of communication usually favored among friendship groups.
    • Substitution bloggers used their blogs to substitute for rather than enhance face-to-face friendships and social networks. These types of bloggers used the internet to overcome loneliness or social anxiety. While they may have been dissatisfied with their offline relationships, their focus on feedback from others and readership appeared to be successful, as they reported a higher number of subscribers and comments from their readership.

The Stratford Advantage

  • Competency-based Education
    • Competencies are employer centric
    • Teaching methods are student centric
  • Assessment methods
    • Formative and Summative
  • Fast track programs with five ten-week quarters
    • Associate Degree (15 months)
    • Bachelors Degree (30 months)
    • Masters Degree (15 month)
  • Inverted Curriculum at Undergraduate Level
  • Website:
  • Phone Number: 800-444-0804