Show of 05-10-2014

Tech Talk

May 10, 2013
Email and Forum Questions
  • Email from Quality Woman: Dear Doc. I did read the Verizon valued customer email and had changed the settings when I got their ‘notice’ on this.  I was on the phone w/ the incompetent tech dept. of Verizon for over 2 hours last week on this email issue. The guy went through each of my Verizon accts and it was fixed and working when we hung up. But, about 1 hour later the same errors appeared. All I can do to move on is to click cancel and ignore these accts. This is so maddening. Should I move to another email app for iMacs? Do I have a virus? Whole reason I moved to Apple in 1/2013 was to remove THIS kind of crap from my life and being forced to chew up hours on -viruses are supposed to be rare on apples I thought. Still need your help please :  ) Thanks. Quality Woman, a long time listener
  • Tech Talk Responds: I think that your account has been synchronized using iCloud. You are changing it in your iMac and as soon as the iCloud is synchronized it is changed. You can test this by changing the mail configuration yourself using the parameters in the Verizon letter and then completing an iCloud synchronization.
  • Email from Ken in Maryland: Dear Doc and Jim.  I thought Microsoft was supposed to stop updating windows XP, back in April 2014, and this morning I had an update more specifically Security Update for Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP (KB2964358) . Could you explain why this is so? I pretty much abandoned Internet explorer after April 2014 and now use the Chrome browser exclusively when I use windows XP. I choose to continue to use this old OS XP occasionally,  but it is hard to get away from because there are some applications that just will not run on anything but XP! Ken in Maryland
  • Tech Talk Responds: I covered this last week. The security flaw in IE was so great that Microsoft decided to send this patch even to XP users. But they said it would be the last one….really. They decided to do this when many were recommending dumping IE altogether.
  • Email from Arnie in Davidsonville: Hi Dr. Shurtz. I saw this story on the BBC News iPad App and thought you should see it: Warning over unintentional file leak. People using file storage services like Dropbox and Box are being warned they are at risk of inadvertently leaking their own files when they send someone a public link to their data. Arnie in Davidsonville, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: The shared link on these accounts is actually a public link. They use complexity as a form of security. This public link can be stored in transaction files and seen by others. That is the danger. You might limit access by putting a time limit on the shared link. I will get into more detail later in the show.
  • Email from Lily in Fairfax: Dear Tech Talk, I think that my Facebook account has been hacked. What can I do? Thanks, Hac
  • Tech Talk Responds: Go to the Facebook Hacked Account Page (  A Google search will get you to the link. Click the “My Account Is Compromised” link. Enter your password and follow the instructions. Once your account has been reinstated and is back under your control, reset your Facebook password from the “Account Settings” page by clicking the “Change” link under the “My Account” Password section. From the Facebook Privacy Settings page, click on “Apps and Websites”. Under the “Apps You Use” section, click “Edit Settings” and then click on the “X” to delete any suspicious / malicious apps that may have been used to compromise your account. Alert your friends that your account was hacked and warn them not to click on any links that the hackers who compromised your account may have posted on their walls, in chat sessions, or in Facebook e-mails that the hackers sent to them. Act quickly before it is too late. And if your password is the same on your other accounts, change those passwords immediately.
  • Email from Jim in Bowie: Dear Tech Talk. I just purchased a Google Chromecast and cannot connect with it using my Wi-Fi connection. I have installed the Chromecast application on my iPad, but it does not find the new Chromecast. What can I do? Thanks. Jim a Bowie
  • Tech Talk Responds: I had trouble with my Chromecast out of the box too and Verizon support was useless. They told me that Chromecast is not their product, so they will not provide support for it. I had asked that they send me a newer router. He finally checked the logged and determined that others with my router has successfully installed Chromecast.  I had to change some setting on my Wi-Fi router. I actual settings depend on which router you have. Some of the older ones do not support Chromecast because universal Plug and Play has been disabled. Here is the experience on of person on the Verizon blog.
    • I have had similar issues as everyone else.  I just got the Chromecast today and I could get through the setup all the way to when the Chromecast was trying to connect to my Verizon Router.
    • I have a MI424-WR Rev C Firmware:
    • I turned off IGMP Proxy – didn’t work.
    • I checked the Wireless Settings -> Advanced Security Settings -> Other Advanced Wireless Options -> Switch Network to Broadband – it was already set to Broadband.
    • I went into Advanced -> Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and checked the two check boxes – didn’t work.
    • I finally tried switching the Wireless Settings -> Advanced Security Settings -> Other Advanced Wireless Options Networking – Broadband over to Network (Home/Office) and I was able to connect!!!!!!
    • This Network setting seems to be the opposite of what other people are saying, but maybe something along the way triggered it as well.  This was definitely not an easy set up. I hope this helps.
  • Email from Sam in Manassas: Dear Tech Talk. Do I need more than one browser on my computer?  I run Windows 7, Internet Explorer and Firefox on my laptop. When accessing a video link from an email with IE, for example, I get sounds but no picture. When booking an online ticket with IE, I can’t complete the process as when pressing “next” I’m returned to the first page. I don’t have either of these problems with Firefox. Any suggestions? Thanks, Sam in Manassas
  • Tech Talk Responds: I have five browsers on m laptop: IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. I use these to check browser compatibility with the Stratford website. In your case, I don’t know why you need more than one. If I had to choose only one, I would select Chrome. It is fast and secure.
  • I have no problem recommending that you use any one of them as your primary browsers. Pick whichever one feels best to you; the one whose interface you feel is the most intuitive; perhaps the one you feel performs the best on the sites that you typically visit. Then install another one. If you use and like IE and then have either Firefox or Chrome installed as well, make sure that you leave the default browser set to the one you like the most. However, I can pretty much guarantee that sooner or later you’re going to want one of the others.
  • Some websites work well in every browser, and some don’t. Cross-browser compatibility is a difficult thing to achieve with 100% success. While there are standards, there are enough variations in how things work that it’s not that hard to accidentally overlook something that works a little differently in one browser as compared to another. The site that works fantastic in Firefox just might not look good in IE.
Profiles in IT: Chaitanya “ Chet” Kanojia
  • Chaitanya “ Chet” Kanojia is the founder and CEO of Aerio TV, a revolutionary TV service that puts over-the-air TV signals on the net for a low subscription fee.
  • Chet Kanojia was born in 1971 in Bhopal, India.
  • He grew up in an upper-middle-class household in Bhopal where his parents were so conscious of his future that they largely spoke English instead of the native Urdu.
  • According to Kanojia, a self-described “back bencher” in his youth, he spent too much time smoking and drinking and too little time studying in his hometown, Bhopal. But his friends disagree with his unstated self-assessment.
  • After the Union Carbide chemical leak in 1984 that killed thousands in Bhopal, he was responsible for changing oxygen tanks for the dying, and would routinely discover dead bodies. He feels lucky to have lived upwind.
  • After his father’s heart attack, the years of recovery that followed influenced the younger Kanojia to a perhaps greater extent. Oftentimes after dinner, his father would take long walks with him. They’d talk about classic Hindu principles, of leading a Vedic life, or of yoga practice. These talks with his father a an impact on his him.
  • Kanojia came to the US in 1991 after his B Tech in mechanical engineering from Bhopal. He changed his first name to Chet shortly after arrival.
  • He enrolled at Northwestern University for a MS in computer systems engineering.
  • In 1999, he founded Navic Networks, to study television viewer behavior in order to optimize television advertising. Nine years later, he sold it to Microsoft for $230M.
  • He launched Aereo in June 2011 the help of some powerful backers, including the media mogul Barry Diller. It grew through word of mouth and then went viral
  • Aereo is a legal way to stream network TV straight to viewers, online. Each viewer has their own small antenna (about one square inch) attached to a cloud-based DVR.
  • Aereo maintains warehouses full of powerful micro-antennas that receive network broadcasts and then streams programming to viewers’ devices for $8 per month.
  • The problem is that broadcasting industry is convinced that this is illegal. They are worried that they will lose $3B a year in cable re-broadcasting fees.
  • Kanojia claims that Aereo is legal according to the Communications Act of 1934, in which Congress created the FCC and granted TV stations access to the airwaves.
  • So far, the courts have been on Aereo’s side. The company, which is based in New York and Boston and has about 100 employees, has yet to lose a legal challenge.
  • He is positive the Supreme Court will rule in his favor. Their decision is due shortly.
  • He counts among his favorite music Fleetwood Mac and  Indie pop from the 1980s.
  • His wife and two children have remained at their home in Newton, Mass. He returns there on weekends to watch hockey games and supervise the engineering aspects of the company, which are still based there.
  • But while in New York for the week, Mr. Kanojia rises at dawn to run along the West Side Highway to keep his weight down./
Amazon, Netflix Defend Net Neutrality
  • Big names in tech have gathered together to sign a letter protesting the proposed net neutrality rules the FCC is considering ahead of its May 15 meeting.
  • Amazon has come out against the FCC’s purported plan to bifurcate the internet into faster and slow lanes as part of its new network neutrality rules.
  • Amazon joins a list of more than 100 tech firms that include Netflix, BitTorrent, the National Association of Realtors, and Lyft.
  • Other significant signatories include Facebook, Google, Kickstarter, Twilio, Codecademy, OpenDNS, Zynga, Tumblr, Reddit and Foursquare.
  • The letter protests the FCC’s plans to implement net neutrality rules that could let ISP’s charge content providers like Netflix or Amazon to deliver their packets faster or at a higher quality.
  • This proposed change in rules, which comes after the original network neutrality rules implemented in 2010 were struck down by a U.S. Federal Court of Appeals earlier this year, has caused the tech and media world to freak out about the death of the open internet.
  • While the FCC has tried hard to downplay this threat, it has so far been unable to convince people knowledgeable about the industry that this plan isn’t a step back for the open internet.
300,000 servers still Vulnerable to Heartbleed
  • According to security researcher Robert David Graham,  one month after the critical Heartbleed vulnerability was first revealed, there are still more than 300,000 servers vulnerable to the bug.
  • Graham arrived at the number through a global internet scan, which found a full 1.5 million servers that still support the “heartbeat” feature of OpenSSL that allowed the bug, and exactly 318,239 systems that are still vulnerable.
  • The number counts only confirmed cases and there may well be other systems that escaped Graham’s accounting, either because of spam blocking or unorthodox OpenSSL setups.
  • Now that the bug has been revealed, it’s also a fairly simple attack to carry out.
  • Major services like Google patched their servers almost immediately, but this scan suggests that bad actors could still do plenty of damage against smaller and less technically adept services.
  • Once a vulnerable server is located, an attacker could use Heartbleed to steal private keys, eavesdrop on passwords in transit, or hijack a session entirely.
  • Beware and if you work for s small company, make certain that your IT department is aware of this patch.
And The WinnerOf TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2014: Vurb
  • Twenty-seven startups took the stage to present. The six finalists were Boomerang Commerce, ISI Technology, Mimi, Mink, ShowKit, and Vurb.
  • Vurb was the winner. Vurb is a web and mobile contextual search engine.
  • When you type a query in Vurb, you get everything you need without having to leave the search engine. The company is rolling out search for Places, Movies, and Media.
  • It will soon launch search for add People, Startups, and others.
  • For example, if you search for a film, you get a trailer, Showtime’s, reviews, a link to watch the movie on Netflix, the IMDb score and more.
  • PS: I tried to join the beta version. My future spot was only reserved, so I have not actually tried Vurb yet.
Website of the Week: Oyster
  • Oyster is bringing the Netflix model to e-books.
  • After raising a total of $17 million,  Oyster has surpassed half a million titles and managed to win new deals with publishers: HarperCollins, Chronicle, and Wiley.
  • The firm’s iPhone and iPad app debuted in October 2013 with just 100,00 titles.
  • At 500,000, Oyster is set to eclipse Amazon’s own Kindle “lending library,” which currently sits at 500,000 titles.
  • Oyster wants to combine social networking to make book selection easier using recommendations from friends using shared reading lists.
  • I have a trail membership and the offering looks intriguing. Not many first run best sellers, but still a large selection of last year’s best sellers. Just like Netflix.
Beware: Your Snapchat Selfie May Resurface
  • The developers behind the Snapchat photo-sharing app have agreed to a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission over allegations of collecting and mishandling user data.
  • The Commission said that it has agreed with Snapchat to a set of measures that will be placed on the company that will include regular monitoring of the company’s operations for the next 20 years.
  • The settlement will put to rest complaints filed by the FTC alleging that the company misled consumers when it claimed to offer self-deleting photos that could not be stored long-term.
  • The FTC notes that in addition to enabling third-party applications to store Snapchat photos, the company kept data outside of the app sandbox and failed to disclose is geolocation tracking practices to users.
  • “If a company markets privacy and security as key selling points in pitching its service to consumers, it is critical that it keep those promises,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in announcing the settlement (PDF).
  • The complaint also references Snapchat’s January data breach, in which the company admitted to exposing 4.6 million users’ account details.
  • Snapchat, meanwhile, admitted to making mistakes in the handling of data and it dealings with end users.
Drone, Passenger Plane Involved in Near Collision
  • Federal officials say a U.S. jet airliner nearly collided in March with an airborne drone in the sky over Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Jim Williams of the Federal Aviation Administration’s unmanned aircraft office acknowledged the incident Thursday at a San Francisco drone conference.
  • The near collision was reported to air traffic control on March 22 by the pilot of an American Airlines Group jet as the pilot approached the Tallahassee runway en route from Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • The pilot said the drone was at an altitude of about 2,300 feet, 5 miles northeast of the airport.
  • The FAA has investigated the incident, but in a statement released Friday said it was unable to identify the pilot or the drone’s operator.
    • Purpose, Question
    • Data Required, Conclusions, Implications of conclusion
    • Underlying model used for analysis
    • Assumptions, Point of view
  • Faculty inspire, students teach themselves (Sugata Mitra)
  • The true value of education is what you know after you have forgotten all you memorized.