Show of 5-5-2012

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Jim: Dear Tech Talk. I recently tried to purchase a surge protector for my computer network at home (computer, router, and printer) and was thoroughly confused by the specifications. What should I buy? How should I evaluate the spec? I am a long time listener dating back to the days on WMAL. Love the show. Thanks, Jim in Ashburn, VA.
  • Tech Talk Responds: You want to get a surge protector that will respond quickly and absorb a large overload. The energy that can be absorbed is rated in Joules. You will want at least 600 Joules per outlet (or more). The response time is rated in nanoseconds. You will want less than one nanosecond. Clamping voltage is the voltage that will cause the MOV to conduct electricity. The lower the better. This should be less than 400V. Finally you want a device that will not provide unprotected power. This will ensure that you replace the surge protector if it fails. There is a lot of hype in this market. I always buy APC surge protectors. They are always designed to block unprotected power.
  • Some other points. Many provide insurance if your equipment is damaged. This can’t hurt either. Get a high enough rating to cover your connected equipment. Get enough outlets for your equipment. Remember that many devices need a wide plug. If the plugs are too close together to may need more.
  • Facebook Post from William Barrett: Tech Talk has great information every week.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks William for your feedback and thanks for listening.
  • Facebook Post from Ken Hutchinson: Could you please give more information about the Windows XP system that is hidden in Windows 7? Is it accessed through the compatibility checker? Thanks for a great show.
  • Tech Talk Responds: It is not accessed through compatibility checker. You will need to download and install both the Windows Virtual PC and the Windows XP Mode environment from the Microsoft website. Windows Virtual PC provides a simple wizard to set up Windows XP
  • You can download them for free from
  • Once installed you can publish and launch applications installed on Windows XP Mode directly from the Windows 7 desktop, as if they were installed on the Windows 7 host itself. You can access your Windows 7 Known Folders, such as My Documents, Pictures, Desktop, Music, Video, from inside the Windows XP Mode environment. You can cut and paste between your Windows 7 host and any virtual machine. You can print directly to your attached printer from your seamless application or virtual machine. You can access USB devices attached to the host directly from Windows XP Mode. These devices include Printers and Scanners, Flash Memory/ Sticks and External Hard Drives, Digital Cameras, and more.
  • Email from Phenomenal Female: Dr. Richard Shurtz, Hoping U can shine a light on my situation. I ‘take attendance’ at digital meetings given by client who uses Office LiveMeeting 2007.
  • This entails me sitting at my remote home office, clicking on the Join Meeting link embedded in the training schedule and clicking on the drop down menu that is provided when I click on “attendees” tab at upper left corner of screen. We also provide an audio dial-in number, rather than using only the Office LiveMeeting audio because some users don’t have speakers in their PC.
  • The List of Attendees in Office LiveMeeting begins with a lot of phone numbers, followed by names of those attending–though it never seems like the attendee names are complete for each facility location that is calling in. When I need to tabulate the attendees, I don’t believe the audio number is being captured. Office LiveMeeting is capturing their phone numbers somehow and sometimes their names. Thanks Much, Devoted and admiring MD Listener
  • Tech Talk Responds: If a number of attendees are using a conference room together. You will not get their names individually. They would need to be logged in separate with their own computer. The separate audio line would not be counted as another user. That number must set up for a conference call and patched into LiveMeeting. It would show up as a single user.
  • Email from Alex: Dear Tech Talk, my hard disk has a partition ‘D’ for restoring, but it is six years old and I keep my own image copies. How can I free up D for my own general use? I’ve got an HP with Vista. Thanks, Alex
  • Tech Talk Responds: Many computers come with the normal C partition on to which Windows is installed and a second partition (sometimes, it’s not even visible; sometimes, it shows up as drive D) on to which the manufacturer has placed their recovery information. And that recover information can, but doesn’t always include the original installation media for Windows.
  • If you take an image backup immediately after getting a machine, the recovery partition, the D partition kind of becomes superfluous. There’s not really a lot of utility for having it around anymore. His relates to a previous discussion on disk imaging.
  • Go to Accessories/System Tools/Computer. Then right click and select Manage. This will open a Computer Management Window. Then select Storage/Disk Management.
  • You might see two disks: C and D. If you are absolutely sure you don’t need what is in D, you can highlight this drive and right click and select Delete. Then you can highlight C and right click and select Extend. This will put the extra space in the C drive.
  • Email from Sammy: Dear Doc, I’d like to know if it is okay to use a different power charger for my netbook. Originally, the charger specs are 19v and 1.6A. This charger is not available anymore and I can only find a 19v and 2.25A. Can I use this as a replacement? Thanks, Sammy
  • You probably can, but you need to check for polarity. Let me explain. Getting the right power supply involves matching voltage, amperage, and polarity. Voltage must be as close a possible. Amperage must be greater than the required value. You need to be able to delivery as many amps as your device will pull. In your case, both voltage and amperage are OK. Now check polarity. Most power supplies are direct current with one site positive and the other negative. There is no standard. Make certain that this matches your device. Often, you’ll see some kind of indication on the power supply that will show which connector is negative or positive.

Profiles in IT: Weili Dai

  • Weili Dai is co-founder of Marvell Technology Group Ltd. She has the distinction of being the only female co-founder of an American semiconductor company.
  • Weili Dai was born in Shanghai, China in 1962.
  • Her father was the chief engineer at one of China’s largest shipbuilding companies and survived the country’s Cultural Revolution during the 1960s.
  • Her grandparents had moved to the U.S. before the onslaught of the Mao-era chaos. The parents had wanted to follow but could not.
  • Between the ages of 9 and 14, Dai played semi-professional basketball in China. It was sports — and basketball — Dai says, that really taught her the skills she needed as a business leader.
  • She emigrated with her family from Shanghai, China, in 1979 when she was 17.
  • She attended Abraham Lincoln High while working after school at her parent’s “Xi Hu” or West Lake Hotel near Moscone Convention Center.
  • She moved in with her grandparents before going on to study at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • She met her future husband at Berkeley. He was studying electrical engineering. They now have two sons.
  • In school, they were always thinking about inventing and developing ideas to make products better.
  • She told her husband, “I will support your Ph.D., and when you’re ready, we’ll start our own company.”
  • After receiving her BS in Computer Science, she worked in software development and project management at Canon Research Center America, Inc.
  • She co-founded Marvell Technologies with her husband and his brother in 1995 and has been driving force behind the company.
  • Marvell was the semiconductor design company with outsourced chip fabrication.
  • He forged partnerships that many thought would be a mistake because many were with competitors like Intel.
  • Ms. Dai’s close relationship with her customers has given her a strong reputation for professionalism and integrity throughout the technology industry.
  • Everyone in her office (herself included) works in same-sized cubicles.
  • Her approach to business is “fair” and “care, ” always striving for a win-win solution.
  • Marvell delivers bleeding edge technology for its partners, always trying to push the envelop to make them more successful.
  • Ms. Dai has served as CEO, EVP, and GM of Communications over the years.
  • Today Marvell is one of the top three producers of fabless semiconductors houses in the world, making chips  for PCs, smartphones, tablets, printers and TVs.
  • In January, Google announced that it had chosen Marvell chipsets to be the reference design for its future Google TV products.
  • Marvell went public in 2000. In 2011, Marvell has $3.6B in revenue with $900M in profits and nearly 6,000 employees.
  • Ms. Dai is an active philanthropist, leading Marvell’s global civic engagements, including major partnership with the One Laptop Per Child program (OLPC).

TED for Education Launched

  • TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.”
  • Talks, and videos that touch on the many heady, relevant issues surrounding Technology, Entertainment, and Design.
  • In March, the organization launched the first phase of its “TED-Ed” initiative, in practice a series of a dozen short animated YouTube videos “created for high school students and lifelong learners,” in the big picture an invitation to teachers to collaborate with TED to create more effective video lessons that can be used in classrooms.
  • · Since launch, TED-Ed’s YouTube channel and its corresponding call to educators and animators to submit lesson ideas and animations has attracted 2.4 million views, 42K subscribers, and 3K comments, and more importantly, the interest of both educators and brands.
  • The new TED-Ed site was built thanks to a $1.25 million commitment from Kohl’s Department Stores.
  • The new site, which launches in beta, will initially only contain a few dozen videos, as it’s really intended for illustrative purposes.
  • TED’s new website also lets educators create lessons from scratch using any TED-Ed video that allows third-party embedding (most of them) and distribute them to a wider audience.
  • The goal of TED-Ed is for each great lesson to reach and motivate as many learners as possible.
  • Web Address:

Don’t Know Where To Put Your iPhone?

  • This segment is for women only.
  • Two University of Washington students have designed a genius solution to this problem with the JoeyBra.
  • It that features pockets on both sides in which ladies can stash their iPhones, id’s, debit cards and a key.
  • The JoeyBra (named after a baby Kangaroo which lives in its mother Kangaroo’s pouch shortly after birth) is the brainchild of Mariah Gentry and Kyle Bartlow.
  • As students at the University of Washington in Seattle, Gentry and Bartlow found that many women didn’t carry purses with them to parties and misplaced their phones.
  • The two met while forming a group in an entrepreneurial class and discussed this idea for the product. And a new company was born.
  • The JoeyBra can be ordered in three sizes – small, medium, or large – via their website for currently $19.99.
  • Website:

Full Moon At Perigee or Super Moon

  • Tonight (May 5, 2012) we will have a Super Moon.
  • It will be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full Moons of 2012.
  • The scientific term for the phenomenon is “perigee moon.”
  • Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon’s orbit. The Moon follows an elliptical path around Earth with one side (“perigee”) about 50,000 km closer than the other (“apogee”).
  • On May 5th at 11:34 pm Eastern Daylight Time, the Moon reaches perigee.
  • Only one minute later, the Moon will line up with Earth and the sun to become brilliantly full. The timing is almost perfect.
  • The best time to look is when the Moon is near the horizon. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects.
  • It’s true that a perigee full Moon brings with it extra-high “perigean tides,” but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this is nothing to worry about.
  • In most places, lunar gravity at perigee pulls tide waters only a few centimeters (an inch or so) higher than usual.
  • Super perigee Moons are actually fairly common. The Moon becomes full within a few hours of its closest approach to Earth about once a year on average.

Wi-Spy Google Engineer Outed

Marius Milner, formerly known as Engineer Doe, the Googler who created a Wi-Fi sniffing code which allowed Street View cars to collect usernames, passwords, and emails.

Google had previously declined to identify him publicly, but a state investigator who had been looking into the “Wi-Spy” case revealed Milner’s name.

When the Wi-Spy data collection was originally revealed in 2010, Google said it was an accident, due to code mistakenly created by a rogue engineer.

However, the project design documents clearly stated the objective. Google supervisors claim to have never read the documents.

Milner, now an employee at YouTube, created NetStumbler, a tool for detecting wireless access points. I love NetStumbler.

During the investigation by the FCC, Milner plead the Fifth, declining to provide evidence that could be used against him.

Obama vs. Romney: Social Networks

  • The two will wage electoral war from now until November, but how do their social profiles compare?
  • Facebook
    • Barack Obama’s Facebook page has more than 26 million followers and 283,000 “talking about this.”
    • Mitt Romney’s Facebook page has fewer than two million followers and about 127,000 people “talking about this.”
  • Twitter
    • President Obama’s campaign account, @BarackObama, has nearly 15 million followers.
    • Mitt Romney’s campaign account @MittRomney has under 500,000.
  • YouTube
    • The Obama campaign has created many longer-form, documentary-style videos intended to get potentially disillusioned supporters back on board. These videos often showcase a multitude of the president’s accomplishments.
    • Romney has produced almost entirely videos of only a few minutes’ length. Many of them are designed as attack ads, going after President Obama’s record.
  • Google+
    • On Google+, Barack Obama’s page is shared to more than one million followers.
    • Mitt Romney carries about half a million followers on Google’s social network.
  • Pinterest
    • President Obama’s page includes infographics, behind-the-scenes pictures of the campaign and life in the White House. It’s even got a list of Obama-inspired recipes, such as cupcakes with his famous campaign logo.
    • Team Romney’s Pinterest page is actually run by Ann — perhaps a courting of the site’s mostly female demographic. Pinboards include “Crafts/DIY,” “Family” and “Recipes.”

Language Immersion extension for Chrome

  • If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your foreign language skills but can’t devote much time to studying.
  • Use All Five and the Google Creative Lab have launched a Language Immersion extension that intersperses text on the web with random words from one of a number of languages.
  • You can select the frequency of foreign words on a sliding scale from novice to fluent, and they show up in your text highlighted in blue — clicking them instantly reveals the translation in your native tongue.
  • The list of supported languages is pretty long, though for some reason it doesn’t work with Japanese right now.
  • Given the well-documented problems with machine translation we wouldn’t take this as a solid resource for studying complex grammatical structures, but it could well be a handy tool for boosting your vocabulary.

Who Googled You? This Website Knows

  • Online reputation manager BrandYourself now helps you figure out who is searching for your name.
  • The startup, which helps individuals control Google results for names through SEO, launched a new feature on Tuesday that shows users where visitors to their BrandYourself profiles work and where they’re located.
  • BrandYourself built a database of organizations’ publicly-available IP addresses in order to create the feature. They use it to match IP addressees of profile visitors with the companies that own those addressses.
  • Visitors most frequently reach BrandYourself profiles through Google, but the feature works the same way if visitors reach a user’s profile from another search engine or website.
  • The system isn’t foolproof. While it’s easy to track down IP addresses for large organizations, many smaller companies won’t be listed.
  • The feature is more a way for BrandYourself to keep users engaged than it is a core part of its product.
  • Since launching in March, Ambron says the site has signed up 25,000 users — 80% of whom have set up profiles. About 1,000 users have subscribed to a $10-per-month premium product that allows them to optimize unlimited links.
  • BrandYourself competitors such as Ziggs and Naymz also track the geographic locations of profile visitors, but they don’t provide the names of the organizations.
  • Career sites such as LinkedIn show exactly who visited your profile along with their work history.
  • Web Address:

The Collapse of Moore’s Law

  • Moore’s Law is finally breaking down, according to theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.
  •  He’s talking about the so-called law that says the number of transistors that can be fit on a computer chip will double every two years.
  • According to Kaku, in about ten years or so, we will see the collapse of Moore’s Law.
  • Moore’s Law, introduced by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in a 1965 paper, was never a law in any scientific sense — it’s always been more a rule of thumb.
  • There is an ultimate limit set by the laws of thermal dynamics and set by the laws of quantum mechanics as to how much computing power you can do with silicon.
  • Kaku says Moore’s Law can be tweaked with three-dimensional chips, optical chips, and parallel processing.
  • Beyond that, Kaku hypothesizes several options: protein computers, DNA computers, optical computers, quantum computers and molecular computers.