Show of 7-14-2012

Email and Forum Questions

·         Email from Margaret: Dear Dr Shurtz, because U are one of the best IT people I know, I hope to learn if you have a device in your car that gives you heads up when you are approaching a speed camera (mobile or fixed pole) unit? I live in Mont County MD and these devices are multiplying every day. They are a GIGANTIC money machine for MD. Most appreciated, Margaret

·         Tech Talk Responds: There are GPS sensors that use a database of known speed cameras and stop light cameras. These require an annual subscription and you must download the data frequently. They can either use your Smartphone or a GPS Navigation System like Garmin or TomTom. Subscription ranges from $35 to $100 per year. Some are stand alone and do not have an annual subscription. GPS Angel V4E Red Light and Speed Camera Detector include lifetime camera database subscription. It sells for only $60.

·         The second type detects the radar or laser signal emitted by the speed cam. They are used to find speed traps and are illegal is most states. They do not require a database and cannot locate red light detectors.

·         The third option is to put a reflective coating on your license plate that will not allow off axis viewing. A spray can of PhotoBlocker Spray is only $29.

·         The fourth option is not to speed.

·         Email from Maryland Listener:

Dear Dr.

Richard Shurtz, I just finished gathering and documenting the Business Intelligence Reporting and Analytics requirements for a complex software tool. We will then create a set of BI Reporting and Analytics reports. Then we will then need to provide training for the users. How long would it take for me to master Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and be able to lead this training. What would be the best method to master this? Most appreciated. Maryland listener.

·         Tech Talk Responds: Reporting Services delivers enterprise, Web-enabled reporting functionality so you can create reports that draw content from a variety of data sources, publish reports in various formats, and centrally manage security and subscriptions. It is an excellent tool if you are using a MS SQL database.

·         If you want to do training you should use SSRS to actually create a report. You will have to learn some basic database theory, including how tables are joined. You will need to have the data dictionary for your database application. Then you should have the tools to need to create the report. If you are only teaching someone of how to use a report, then you simply need to understand the actual reports and how to run and interpret them. This is worth doing.

·         Email from Andrew: Recently I tried to use RoboForm for an account at a large financial institution, but I couldn’t get it to work. In response to my inquiry, this institution said they do not permit log in using credentials that are stored on software because the security of the password could become jeopardized if my computer were hacked, invaded, etc. Is this true? Am I safer not to use RoboForm? Thanks, Andrew

·         Tech Talk Responds: Technically they are correct. However, using a password manager like Roboform is significantly safer than the alternatives most people choose. The real problem is that most people will not do what your bank really wants you to do. The wants you to have a good, strong password and keep it nowhere except in your head. The value of password tools like Roboform and Lastpass make adhering to best practices easier.

·         In my judgment, Roboform and Lastpass are safer than the alternatives. Make your master password strong and do not store it near the computer.

·         Using a password manager allows you to: easily generate and use secure, completely random, and appropriately long passwords without ever needing to type or remember them easily use different passwords on different sites.

·         Email from Ron in Springfield: Dear Tech Talk, I have a home network with three computers (two desktops connected with Ethernet cables to a Linksys router; laptop is wireless). The wireless signal is encrypted and I gave my next-door neighbors my network key so they can wirelessly connect just to check email, do banking, etc. They are not on my home network, but can they still see where I am surfing. Thank, Ron.

·         Tech Talk Responds: If you give someone access to your wireless access point, you have given them access to your home network. I hope you trust them.

    • If you have computers that share files or a printer among themselves, your neighbor may be able to access them.
    • They may be able to sniff your network to detect the traffic. It is no longer encrypted for them.
    • If your neighbor’s computer becomes infected with malware it may propagate to your machines. This is the most serious.
    • They could sap all your bandwidth, if they use peer-to-peer file sharing.

·         To protect yourself, turn on the firewall for each machine on your network. A more secure approach would be use a second router. You want a router between you and your neighbor. You might also get a wireless router specifically designed for this application. In recent years wireless routers have come to market that actually provide two separate wireless connections, one of which is isolated from your local network.

·         There are some legal issues too.

    • It may violate your terms of service with your ISP
    • If they download music of video illegally, you IP address will be identified with the transaction.

·         Email from John in Fairfax: I have an HP OfficeJet 6500 wireless. Sometimes it will not connect to my laptop via Wi-Fi.  I’ve gone to HP’s website, downloaded everything I am able to download to help, but I’m still not able to print. The printer’s four to five years old. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks, John.

·         Tech Talk Responds: First, I would clear the print queue in your laptop. You can click on the printer symbol in the tray and bring up the active print jobs. Clear the list. Try printing again. Next, I would reboot the wireless router, the printer, and the laptop. If you still can’t print to the printer, I would uninstall the printer. Reboot the computer and then reinstall the printer.

Profiles in IT: Aaron Levie

·         Aaron Levie is the CEO and co-founder of to help people access their information from any location.

·         Aaron Levie was born in 1987 in Seattle, Washington.

·         Aaron Levie grew up in Seattle where he attended high school.

·         As a youngster, he spent most of his time in front of computers.

·         He enrolled in the Marshall School of Business at USC.

·         While in college, he had two internships in the film industry with Miramax for 3 months and then with Paramount Pictures for 4 months. He was a file clerk.

·         He realized he wanted to write software to solve the problem of file and data sharing.

·         Levie a SWOT analysis for file and data sharing as part of a marketing class.

·         He found that there were few meaningful services on the market.

·         That’s when Aaron, then a sophomore, decided to build a company to provide this service-technology to the market.

· was launched from Aaron’s dorm room in 2005 with the help of CFO Dylan Smith, who was an economics major at Duke.

·         They focused on incorporating the best of traditional content management social business software using cloud computing and storage.

·         The project was then incorporated in April 2005 in Mercer Island, Washington.

·         He raised his first investment funds from Texas Billionaire Mark Cuban.

·         Aaron took a leave of absence from school to work full time on Box. Dylan graduated from Duke before going full time.

·         In the summer of 2006, the company moved to Palo Alto, California. They wanted to be part of the Silicon Valley innovative environment.

·         Box is a SaaS and its core is based around combining the core features of traditional content management with the usability of typical online collaboration software.

·         Box aims to reinvent how businesses share, manage and access all of their content with Cloud Content Management Service.

·         Early investors in the company include VC firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Emergence Capital Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, Scale Venture Partners and U.S. Venture Partners.

·         The last round came from Salesforce and SAP reaching total of $162M since launch.

·         They offered 1GB of space free for every new users using the freemium model.

·         Box provide full professional service for the Businesses/Enterprise space.

·         Employees implement the Box solution with their co-workers, inspiring IT managers and CIOs to sign up the entire Corporation for this service.

·         Box is valued at $600 million and has more than 500 employees.

·         Box has 82% of the Fortune 500s companies ( with over 100K clients and 7M users).

·         Their biggest threat at this time is Google GDrive and Microsoft Skydrive.

·         He has been inspired by Steve Jobs. Search for the simplest solution. Allow the user to bring the technology to the enterprise. Prepare for the post-PC world.

·         The biggest push in cloud storage came from the mobile tablets like iPad.

·         He is featured in the “30 Most Influential Under – 30 CEOs” and INC. Magazine’s “Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30” as well as in Fast Company,

·         Website:


Google Nexus Tablet Announced

·         Google launched the Nexus 7 Tablet at the Google I/O Developer Event

·         Nexus 7 is available directly from Google.

·         Asus built the Google designed hardware

·         It is available in both 16 GB ($199) and 32 GB ($249) models.

·         Nexus has a 7-inch screen with 1280×800 resolution with scratch-resistance glass.

·         It sports a front side 1.2 megapixel camera with no rear camera.

·         Nexus 7 weighs 12 ounces and has an 8 hours battery life.

·         Google is shipping Nexus 7 with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

·         Nexus 7 supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

·         An integrated microphone can be used for VoIP phone calls.

·         It does not include cellular connectivity.

·         Also available from Google is the GSM Galaxy Nexus smartphone for $399.


First Internet Photo Was Posted 20 Years Ago

·         Les Horribles Cernettes, a comedic musical group at CERN, strike a pose in the first photo ever to be uploaded to the Internet.

·         Berners-Lee was working on the code that would allow photos to render online.

·         He got a photo from one of the ladies in group and uploaded it.

·         While the Cernettes began as a joke, they were so successful that they kept performing, with various personnel changes, for more than 20 years.

·         The Cernettes will will play final concert at CERN on July 21.

·         Here are two of their songs: Surfing on the Web and Collider.


Terrible Management at Microsoft

·         Vanity Fair has an article in its August issue that tells the story of how Microsoft since 2000 has fallen flat in every area it entered: e-books, music, search, social networking, etc., etc.

·         The article finds a destructive management technique at the heart of Microsoft’s problems.

·         Author Kurt Eichenwald interviewed employees and found that a management system known as “stack ranking”—a program that forces every unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, good performers, average, and poor—effectively crippled Microsoft’s ability to innovate.

·         Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees.

·         If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, 2 people were going to get a great review, 7 were going to get mediocre reviews, and 1 was going to get a terrible review.

·         It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.

·         One former Microsoft engineer says that his performance reviews were “always much less about how I could become a better engineer and much more about my need to improve my visibility among other managers.

·         A former Microsoft senior marketing manager concludes: “I see Microsoft as technology’s answer to Sears. In the 40s, 50s, and 60s, Sears had it nailed. It was top-notch, but now it’s just a barren wasteland. And that’s Microsoft. The company just isn’t cool anymore.


DNS Changer Deadline Aftermath

·         On Monday July 9th, the DNS servers that had been acting as temporary hosts for users infected by the DNS Changer malware were taken offline.

·         The Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) had been tasked by the FBI to operate replacement DNS servers — and those DNS server were in fact taken down on July 9th.

·         However, U.S.-based ISPs have stepped in to cushion the fall by re-routing users to ensure they don’t lose their Internet access.

·         Among those ISPs continuing to operate re-direct users even after the July 9th takedown is Verizon, as well as CenturyLink and Cox Communications.

·         The DNS Changer malware changes a computer’s DNS settings in order to redirect unsuspecting users to fraudulent and harmful websites.

·         Less than 1 Percent of Users Still Infected

·         To check if you are infected, go to


Apple Maps Behind the Times.

·         So when Apple announced that iOS 6 would include a new Maps app built from the ground up by Apple.

·         It all sounds great on paper, but the company is still a late entrant to a mapping space.

·         When iOS first launched in the iPhone in 2007, Apple used Google Maps as its mapping back-end.

·         Over the years, as the rivalry heated up, Apple decided to dump the Google backend.

·         Because Apple knew it was eventually going to drop Google as its back-end, there was no point in pushing further innovation or integration.

·         As a result, turn-by-turn was never introduced in iOS, though users could tap into expensive third-party apps for the same support.

·         Apple’s been building its own mapping platform for quite some time. Over the past three years, the company has acquired several different mapping-related startups like Placebase, Poly9, and C3 Technologies.

·         Apple couldn’t tap Google for help, because Google owns Android. Navteq would have made a good partner, but it’s owned by Nokia.

·         This left TomTom as the primary source for Apple’s bespoke mapping platform.

·         Google now covers 26 million miles of road globally in 187 countries.

·         Whereas TomTom, which has been around since 1991, and covers less territory: approximately 22.4 million navigable miles in 109 countries.

·         Apple is going to have to plow serious dollars to keep up in the mapping space.


Voyager approaches edge of solar system

·         The Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched from Earth in 1977, will be the first man-made object to leave the solar system within the next year or two, according to NASA

·         The spacecraft is billions of miles beyond the orbits of the planets in our solar system, but it is still within the system, continuing to detect solar winds, or electrically charged gases ejected from our sun.

·         Based on new data from the craft, NASA announced last week that Voyager 1 was nearing the “heliopause,” which scientists believe is the border between our solar system and interstellar space, says NASA scientist Eric Christian in Greenbelt, Md.

·         The heliopause is the point where solar winds stop and magnetic fields shift from the solar system to that of deep space.

·         Voyager 1 and its identical sister ship, Voyager 2,also launched in 1977, between them explored all of the solar system’s outer planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in the 1980s.

·         Back in 2004, the spacecraft crossed a boundary called the “termination shock,” where the solar winds slow as they first meet interstellar space, which some scientists thought was the edge of the solar system.

·         Where exactly the solar system “ends” is an ongoing debate among scientists.

·         Both Voyagers continue to make unexpected discoveries about the physical structure of the solar system.

·         The Voyager mission is one of NASA’s best success stories. That both Voyagers are still working well, nearly 35 years after launch, and sending back important science from 10 billion miles.

·         Though they will lose the power to transmit data back to Earth sometime between 2020 or 2025, both will continue their journey into deep space.