Show of 04-26-2014

Tech Talk

April 26, 2014

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Jim: Doc:  My daughter will be “studying” in London this July. She will be taking her iPhone 4 with her. Please tell me what you do when you travel abroad to keep your cell costs down. I really don’t have time for a third and fourth part time job to pay for her phone bill. Thank you. Jim (from across the console).
  • Tech Talk Responds: If her carrier is Verizon, the iPhone4 does not have SIM slot and her only option will be to buy a cheap mobile phone for her London trip. If she has a GSM carriers (AT&T or T-Mobile), it has a SIM card. In this case, she will have to make certain that the phone is unlocked by the carrier (or unlock it herself with a hack). Once in London, she will have to get a free SIM card for her phone and then top it up. I would recommend going to a T-Mobile shop and getting one of SIM cards. She could them top it up with the equivalent for $10. This SIM card has pretty good calling rates (a few pence per minute). There are many SIM vendors in London.
  • A friend just returned from the UK and got an ORANGE pre-paid SIM card for his iPhone. The SIM came with 100MB data plan, free incoming calls and SMS. He paid 10 pounds for the card and the first top up and got an addition 5 pound top up while there. Her friends may have other suggestions.
  • Email from Feroze in Fredericksburg: Dear Doc and Jim, I do a lot of driving and would like to listen to audiobooks in the cars. We have iPhones. What are my options? Thanks, Feroze in Fredericksburg.
  • Tech Talk Responds: You have a couple of options. You can simply buy audio CDs and play them in your car while drive. This is the low tech option. A higher tech option is to use apps on your smart phone or tablet and plays those apps through your Bluetooth or USB audio connection in your car. Kindle has some very good options. The audio book and the text book actually sync. So you can listen or read and always be on the right page. Amazon has released a Kindle app for the iPhone with audio capability. You can also download Audible (on both iPhone and Android), which is a great app also tied to Amazon books. If you want to use the Apple ecosystem, you can buy audio books using iTunes. They will be displayed under the Audiobook tab on the bottom in iTunes.
  • Email from Hester Christopher: Hi Guys, Long time listener, first time questioner 🙂 For years I’ve forwarded malicious looking emails to, but recently they’ve been returned as address unavailable. Is this address no longer active?  And if so, is there a new address?  Finally, is emailing them productive or not?  I mean do they really investigate the Nigerian money scam, phishing, probable malware, and other nefarious looking emails I send them? Thanks, Hester Christopher
  • Tech Talk Respond: I sent a message to this address and it was not bounced. I went to the FTC website and they still list this address as current: Some blogs reported bounced emails occasionally, but they eventually went through. This service simply consolidates data and if a large number of complaints are received they forward it to FTC for action.
  • If you request to be taken off a mailing list and are not, you can file a complaint with the FTC directly. BTW, you ca report the text spam to your cell phone carrier by forwarding the message to 7726 (SPAM).
  • Email form Arnie in Davidsonville: Hi Dr. Shurtz, Don’t know if you’ve featured Robert Noyce yet. A little history for today.  Did you know what happened on this day in history on April 25, 1961? Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit.  Arnie  Davidsonville, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: We have featured him. But this is a great suggestion and we may revisit his story sometime in the future. The invention of the integrated circuit after Bell Lab invented the transistor is a very compelling story which show how a disruptive technology can change everything.
  • Email from Ngoc in Ohio: Dear Doc and Jim. A couple of months ago, I bought a new laptop. It had Windows 8 pre-installed and no discs were supplied. I searched the internet to look for an ISO of those discs. I came across ISO. I downloaded it and if I try setup.exe it works and it doesn’t ask for a product key it goes on to the installation. Since I don’t need to install, I exited from it. The question is -is it the correct ISO and is it taking the key from the BIOS which would be great? Thanks, Ngoc in Ohio.
  • Tech Talk Responds: There is no official download of Windows 8 in ISO form that I know of. You can download it and install it from the Windows store, but that’s a purchase, and as I understand it, it’s not an ISO; it’s a download-and-run kind of a thing. I could not find any official source for an ISO of Windows 8.
  • What that means then is actually very clear. Any Windows 8 ISO that you do find to download is very likely to be completely illegal.
  • One of the common ways that malware is distributed is by making repackaged software available, especially software that you can’t get through normal or official channels. I would stay away from all unofficial ISO’s of Windows.
  • If you can’t get installation media with your machine, then the very first thing you should do when you get that machine is to create a complete image backup. Save that backup somewhere, and even make a backup copy of the backup. That then becomes your replacement installation media should you ever need it again in the future.
  • No, you can’t use it to install Windows, but if you ever get to the point where you need to reinstall Windows from scratch, you can do something else that’s actually much, much easier. You simply restore that backup image. Then the machine is as it was on the day that you got it, just as if you had reinstalled from an installation image.
  • Email from John in Alexandria: Dear Tech Talk. I have a Windows XP computer with a lot of downloaded programs. I want to install Windows7. How do I do this simply? A friend of mine told me to just get a Windows 7 disk and upgrade. What do you recommend? John in Alexandria
  • Tech Talk Responds: Windows 7 will let you upgrade a Windows XP installation. But I don’t recommend it. A clean install is always better. A clean install is more work, but the results are certainly more reliable.
    • Back up your machine Macrium (
    • Install Windows 7, having it perform a clean install (not an update). That means reformatting the hard disk and erasing everything on it.
    • Then reinstall your applications. You will need disk and license numbers. You cannot install the applications from the backup.
    • Restore your data from the backup.
  • One more thing, this may be a good time to consider upgrading your hardware. Prices have dropped dramatically and getting last year’s model offers some great bargains.

Profiles in IT: Lawrence “Larry” Page

  • Lawrence Page was born March 26, 1973 in East Lansing, Michigan.
  • Larry Page is co-founder of Google and inventor of the page ranking system.
  • Page attended the Okemos Montessori in Okemos, Michigan from 1975 to 1979, and graduated from East Lansing High School in 1991.
  • He holds a BS in computer engineering from the University of Michigan with honors and a MS in computer science from Stanford University.
  • After enrolling in a PhD program at Stanford, Page considered exploring the mathematical properties of the web, using its link structure as a huge graph.
  • Page then focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page as a way of ranking. His research project was nicknamed, BackRub.
  • He was soon joined by Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford PhD student.
  • The computing resources required to crawl 10 million web pages and their links was well beyond the bounds of a student project. Page began building out his crawler.
  • To convert the backlink data gathered by BackRub’s web crawler into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm.
  • In August 1996, the initial version of Google was made available on the SU website.
  • Page and Brin had raised $1 million from friends and family to launch their startup.
  • In 1998, Brin and Page founded Google. Page and Brin were co-presidents.
  • Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital agreed to invest a combined total of $25 million, agreeing to let Page and Brin retain control.
  • Page was controlling because he wanted to make sure everything was done right.
  • Larry Page was an erratic CEO. He fired all the engineering managers. He agreed to bring in adult supervision. In 2001 Eric Schmidt, CEO Novell, was made CEO.
  • Larry was on the sidelines for ten years, launching Google Books, Android, YouTube. He redesigned the servers to increase server density by a factor of 30.
  • The Android acquisition was a Larry Page production. Page didn’t tell Schmidt about the deal, which cost $50 million, until after it was done.
  • Page turned Android into a passion, devoting a large block of his time to Andy Rubin.
  • When Eric Schmidt held meetings with his direct reports, the Operating Committee, Page would show up and have a laptop open in front of him the whole time.
  • As his comfort level with Schmidt increased, Page receded further.
  • On April 4, 2011, Page officially became the chief executive of Google, while Schmidt stepped down to become executive chairman of Google.
  • Many feel that Larry’s ten years in the wilderness have matured him, much like Jobs firing from Apple. He is still a visionary who wants to change the world. But now he know how to delegate and manage a large organization.
  • As of October 2012, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index lists Page as the 27th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of 21.1 billion.

Codecademy gets a Major Redesign

  • Two years after launching, and with more than 24 million users learning how to code on its platform, Codecademy is getting a facelift.
  • The New York City startup unveiled a new website redesign, which should make Codecademy easier to use for newcomers as well as make the site more useful overall for the company’s existing members.
  • Codecademy is also dramatically updating its training platform to guide its members through lessons while still giving them plenty of hands-on time with code.
  • The first example of this new experience is a lesson that guides HTML newbies through the process of creating AirBnb’s website.
  • The new lesson experience will be launching on Monday, while the overall site redesign hits today.
  • Codecademy focused on 10 major design principles for its new look, including using single columns whenever possible, highlighting the progress made by other members on the site, and not forcing members to deal with as many form fields.
  • One 50-something user was laid off from her secretarial job and ended up using the site to land a web administration gig after just a few months of training.
  • Tommy Nicholas, cofounder of Knox Payments, used his early coding skills from Codecademy to help build Coffitivity, which was named one of Time Magazine’s top 50 websites last year.
  • By simplifying its training process and making its site more welcoming, Codecademy is giving people afraid of coding yet another reason to choose it over any potential competitors.
  • Codecademy has raised more than $12 million from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, and others.

David Burd Surprise Visit

  • FAA Drone regulations
  • Google glass (Don’t be a glasshole)
  • Death of the WWW and the rise of applications
  • iPad mini usefulness (books, surfing, music)

How to Reduce the Number of Ads in Gmail

  • You can’t stop Google from scanning your inbox or serving you ads, but you can opt out of receiving personalized ads in Gmail. And you can eliminate one prominent ad banner altogether.
  • Google updated its terms of service to clarify the manner in which software automatically scans and analyzes the content of your emails so the company can deliver what it calls “tailored advertising,” in addition to finding spam and malware.
  • Click on the Gear in the upper right and select settings. Scroll down to Importance signals for ads: You can view and change your preferences here.. Click this line to open the Google Ad Setting.
  • In Google’s Ad Settings page. Scroll down to the “Opt-out settings” area and click the “Opt out” link for “Opt out of interest-based ads on Google.”
  • To get rid of the narrow banner text ad that sits above every Gmail message you open. Click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner and choose Settings. Then click on the Web Clips tab and uncheck the box for “Show my web clips above the Inbox.”