Show of 09-27-2014

Tech Talk

September 27, 2014

Best of Tech Talk Edition
  • Segments replayed from previous shows
Email and Forum Questions
  • Email from Ken Meyers: Love your show!  I keep missing it, I know you have the podcasts, Thank You!!  Please put the time, day, and station call letters on your edu. website, it would make it easier for mostly everyone to find you live, I prefer live radio listening, of course I found it but for some reason I thought you were live on Sundays….Proving I need more education. Thanks again for a great show…Ken Meyers
  • Tech Talk Responds: The time is on the Tech Talk page. It may be hard to find and we may change the formatting. It is, of course, on 1500 AM in Washington DC at 9 AM Saturdays. You can download the app, TuneIn Radio, to either or Android or iPhone. Search for Federal News Radio and you can listen anywhere in the world. Thanks for listening to the show.
  • Email from Arnie in Crownsville, MD: Hi Dr. Shurtz,  I saw this story on the BBC News.  Users of the “dark net” service Tor who visited hidden websites may have had their identities revealed by a five-month long cyber-attack. This TOR thing has sure showed a lot of interest lately (sent you two emails on TOR previously). Who usually uses TOR? Seems like governments have lots of interest. Any particular use by common email users? Arnie, Crownsville, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: Tor was originally designed, implemented, and deployed as a third-generation onion routing project of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. It was originally developed with the U.S. Navy in mind, for the primary purpose of protecting government communications. TOR originally stood for The Onion Router, but that acronym is no longer by the developers.
  • Today, it is used every day for a wide variety of purposes by normal people, the military, journalists, law enforcement officers, activists, and many others. 
  • Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy. 
  • Individuals use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their family members, or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by their local Internet providers. 
  • Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents.
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they’re in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they’re working with that organization. 
  • Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommend Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online
  • It was also used by Edward Snowden exclusively. He loved Tails, the companion OS that only accessed the web with TOR. 
  • Email from Ian in Greenbelt: Dear Tech Talk. Explain the hotspot on my cell phone. I have this feature, but cannot activate it without paying additional fees. Is it worth it? I enjoy the show every Saturday. Thanks, Ian in Greenbelt
  • Tech Talk Responds: With a mobile hotspot, you can create an Internet connection for up to five mobile devices on a 3G phone and up to 10 on a 4G LTE smartphone. After a few quick steps, the phone creates its own secure Wi-Fi network, which your devices can join. There’s no need for a USB cable, and multiple users can share your phone’s mobile data plan. There are just a few things to keep in mind: Be aware that any data used by a connected device will be deducted from the total amount of data you’ve selected.
  • Also, be sure not to disable the mobile hotspot’s Wi-Fi; if disabled, anyone could connect to the hotspot without your knowledge or permission and potentially access any data being transmitted. The iPhone supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hotspots. Google Glass connects to the Bluetooth hotspot. Some carriers charge extra for activating the mobile hotspot.
  • Email from Duc in Ohio: Dear Tech Talk. I enjoyed your Google Glass segment last week. I am trying to determine whether a Google Glass. Please provide additional reviews about the strength and weaknesses of Google glass. I would like to take this to a private club here in Ohio and have some fun. How much is it. Where can I buy it? Love the show. Duc in Ohio.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Google Glass version 2 is in the works. I would wait to buy the next edition. In general, Google Glass is not ready for prime time. Let’s go through the issues
  • Navigation – Very distracting. It keeps turning off. Phone cannot be connected to the Bluetooth in the car, so Bluetooth music is not possible. It works, but probably not to safe to use on a regular basis. To much fiddling with the phone is requires.
  • Pictures and Video – Difficult to share beyond Google+. Streaming video makes the headset so hot that it threatens to shut down in five minutes. Pictures 5MP; Video 720p.
  • Sharing limitations – Google forces you into the Google+ ecosystem. It is difficult to get pictures and videos out of the system. It is possible but a hassle. You can only use contacts that Google knows about and cannot import contacts from Outlook, for instance.
  • Sending emails – Send emails. Contacts limited to Gmail contacts and manually entered contacts to the Glass page. Voice recognition good. But if you pause too long it ends the messages and prepares to send. Not being able to pause is real limitation.
  • Bone conduction audio: surprisingly good. Voice recognition: surprisingly good.
  • Receiving phone calls and using Glass as a Bluetooth headset. Works, but the person you are speaking too will hear a degraded sound quality. I had to switch to my cell phone directly several times.
  • Apps I like: Compass, Duolingo, Evernote, Facebook (dangerous), Gmail, Google Calendar (no Outlook integration),  Google Now, Google+ (keeps you in Google ecosystem),  Livestream (streaming video), MindMeister, Shazam, Star Charts, Stop Watch, Trackendo, Twitter (not used, but convenient), Tumblr (easy pic upload), What’s Around, Word Lens, Word of the Day, YouTube (could be dangerous).
Profiles in IT: Dr Martin Cooper
  • Martin Cooper was born December 26, 1926 in Chicago.
  • He is considered the father of the cell phone.
  • He received his degree in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1950 and received his master’s degree from the same institution in 1957.
  • After four years in the navy serving on destroyers and a submarine, he worked for a year at a telecommunications company.
  • Hired by Motorola in 1954, he worked on developing portable products, including the first portable handheld police radios, made for the Chicago police department in 1967.
  • He then led Motorola’s cellular research. He was eventually promoted to Corporate Director of Research and Development for Motorola.
  • Cooper is the inventor named on US patent 3,906,166, Radio telephone system.
  • Cooper is considered the inventor of the first portable handset and the first person to make a call on a portable cell phone on April 3, 1973 in New York. That first call, placed to his rival Joel Engel, Bell Labs’ head of research.
  • The brick-like phone weighed 30 ounces (1.87 pounds). The phone was 10 inches high, 3 inches deep and an inch-and-a-half wide. The commercially available model was 2.5 pounds, 10 inches x 5inches x 1.75 inches, 35 minute talk time, and 10 hour charge time.
  • Cooper later revealed that watching Captain Kirk talking in his communicator on the TV-show Star Trek inspired him to research the mobile phone.
  • Cooper’s Law is the semantically incorrect name used for his observation that the number of radio frequency conversations which can be concurrently conducted in a given area has doubled every 30 months since Marconi’s spark gap transmitter, over 100 years ago.
  • Cooper believes the next big advancement in the wireless industry will be ubiquitous, wide-area, high-speed access to the Internet.
  • To that end, he is currently serving as chairman and chief executive of privately held San Jose, California-based ArrayComm, which developed a technology which uses smart antennas to increase spectral efficiency and network throughput.
  • Quote from Martin Cooper: I’m rich beyond all imagination in satisfaction and in happiness and in self-fulfillment. But not necessarily in dollars and cents.
The Ten Commandments of cell phone etiquette
  • Thou shalt not subject defenseless others to cell phone conversations.
  • Thou shalt not set thy ringer to play La Cucaracha every time thy phone rings.
  • Thou shalt turn thy cell phone off during public performances.
  • Thou shalt not wear more than two wireless devices on thy belt.
  • Thou shalt not dial while driving.
  • Thou shalt not wear thy earpiece when thou art not on thy phone.
  • Thou shalt not speak louder on thy cell phone than thou would on any other phone.
  • Thou shalt not grow too attached to thy cell phone. For obvious reasons, a dependency on constant communication is not healthy. At work, go nuts. At home, give it a rest.
  • Thou shalt not attempt to impress with thy cell phone.
  • Thou shalt not slam thy cell phone down on a restaurant table just in case it rings.
David Burd Visit

The Doc, David and Jim discuss:
  • Old computer game systems
  • How the iPhone 6 may replace credit cards
  • The iCloud/celebrity cell phone picture hacking incident