Show of 01-03-2015

Tech Talk

January 3, 2015

Email and Forum Questions
  • Email from Feroze in Fredericksburg: Dear Tech Talk, I purchased a GoPro Hero3 Black. My son configured the camera and set up its Wi-Fi network and forgot the password. I should be able to set the camera back to its default Wi-Fi settings, but cannot figure out how to do this. Help. I am getting ready for a vacation and need my GoPro. Thanks, Feroze in Fredericksburg.
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can’t press a button and reset the Wi-Fi network. You will have to create a setup file and copy it to the Micro SIM card in the camera. When the camera reboots it will read the Update folder and reset the Wi-Fi name and password. You can go the GoPro support website and it will create the update files for you. Just register the camera and assign the Wi-Fi name and password. After it creates the file copy to the camera SIM card and fire it up. This is like the old autoexec.bat files DOS PCs. GoPro should really update this process. It is so old school.
  • Email from Tuc in Virginia Beach: Dear Tech Talk, I have an old computer and it died on me. I have some pictures that I would love to recover. What are my options for getting this data back? Love the show, Tuc in Virginia Beach
  • Tech Talk Responds: Extracting data from hard drive in a dead computer isn’t typically all that hard – unless it’s the drive itself that caused the problem. First, get your data from a recent backup. But I suspect this may not be possible. 
  • IF you can boot the machine into safe mode, then the place to start is to run CHKDSK /R on the drive. That will scan the disk for surface errors that can cause the disk to become inaccessible. If you can’t boot at all, or if CHKDSK doesn’t help, it might be worth trying SpinRite to see if it can repair the drive. If not, you can get your money back. SpinRite boots from its own media and can perform a lengthy pass on the drive to attempt to both diagnose and possibly repair errors on the disk surface.
  • If those options simply don’t work, perhaps the most flexible way of dealing with a hard drive in a dead computer is to purchase a USB hard-disk drive enclosure. These are almost identical to any of the external USB drives you might purchase, except there’s no drive inside. Current drives are either 3.5 inches or 2.5 inches wide, and the enclosure must match. The enclosure must also support the correct interface used by that drive: IDE or SATA. You can determine which you have simply by looking at the drive after removing it from your system. SATA interfaces are most common on newer machines, and can be identified by the flat connector style, whereas IDE connectors consist of two rows of pins.
  • After you’ve recovered the data you care about, that drive can often have a very useful second life as an external drive. Perhaps you can use it to create the backup.
  • Email from Lynn in Ohio: Dear Tech Talk, I have run out of memory in my iPhone. After installing iOS8, I keep getting low memory notifications and cannot take any more pictures. What are my options? How can I increase the memory? Thanks, Lynn in Ohio.
  • Tech Talk Responds: My iPhone users are unhappy after the iOS8 memory upgrade. Those with iPhone4 saw a dramatic reduction in speed. Everyone saw a reduction in useable memory. In fact, there is a class action lawsuit against Apple regarding this deficiency. You cannot upgrade memory. 
  • Remove all unwanted apps; they can hog a lot of memory. You can check memory by going to Settings/General/Usage/Manage Storage to see how much. Remove your music library by not syncing with iTunes. Delete your photos after storing them on your computer or in the cloud. Eliminate your share albums after saving the pics. 
  • I downloaded Checker from the App store and clean my memory. It freed up some space. Make certain to do a hard boot (hold down both buttons until it reboots). As for me, I will never buy another iPhone with only 16G of memory.
Profiles in IT: Dale Hetherington
  • Dale Hetherington was born in 1948 in Orlando, Florida
  • Dale played in his Dad’s machine shop. Dale’s uncle showed him how to build crystal radios at 9. His grandfather showed him how to process film at age 11. 
  • He built wind powered land vehicles, small rockets, acetylene/oxygen balloon “fireworks”, low powered radio and TV stations, flying spot scanner, homemade stereo system, video tape recorder, automatic phone dialer,  and audio tape recorder.
  • Dale went to college at Florida Institute of Technology and flunked out after one semester. He had spent too much time overhauling his 57 Chevy engine.
  • He then went to Southern Methodist University without his 57 Chevy and graduated.
  • While a SMU, he built an AM radio station transmitter and console, scavenging parts from school trash and ran a room to room intercom called “The Sponge Line”. 
  • After graduation, he was hired by the Norman’s Electronics to repair components.
  • After several years Dale was hired by National Data Corp to design custom electronic devices. Dale met fellow NDC employee Dennis C. Hayes and everything changed.
  • Dale and Dennis pooled their funds and bought an IMSAI 8080 computer kit. After they got it working they designed a modem for it. 
  • Dale was all about electronics design, while Dennis was business and marketing. 
  • In 1977, they founded D. C. Hayes Associates, later named Hayes Microcomputer Products. Initially modem kits were packaged and shipped from Dennis Hayes house.
  • They initially build internal modems, including Micromodem-II for the Apple II.
  • The internal modem was commercially impractical, since a different design was needed for every computer bus. Using the RS-232 serial port was an obvious solution.
  • The problem was controlling the phone line be controlled over the data connection.
  • Heatherington decided the only practical one was to have the modem operate in two modes: the data mode and the command mode.
  • The problem was how to move from mode to mode. One option would be to signal this via one of the many pins in the RS-232 cable. However, pin outs standard.
  • Heatherington instead came up with (and patented) the idea of using a rarely seen sequence of characters.  The sequence he decided on was +++ (three plus signs). 
  • He only switched modes if the sequence was led and followed by a one-second pause.
  • He added AT for “attention”, which is prefixed on all commands, to allow for automatic speed detection. It was known as the Smartmodem.
  • In 1984 Dale decided his privately held Hayes stock was worth enough to retire.
  • A deal was structured so Dale was paid for his shares over the next 10 years. 
  • When Rockwell introduced the V.32bis 14,400 chip set in 1991, Hayes lost market share. Hayes eventually went bankrupt in 1999 but not before paying Dale.
  • He continues to tinker with technology in his personal lab and small machine shop. 
  • He lives near Roswell GA with his wife and cats.
Device of the Week: Camkix Universal Selfie Stick
  • Camkix Universal Smartphone Monopod (11 to 40 inches). Holds all Smartphones.
  • Great for taking vacation photos without help from bystanders.
  • Camkix Stick with Bluetooth remote ($30 on Amazon). Works with iOS and Android.
  • Camkix stick without Bluetooth remote ($20 on Amazon). This stick requires that the Smartphone have a delayed shutter exposure.
Food Science: Champagne Bubbles
  • A team of scientists at the University of Reims have revealed the secrets behind the bubbles in Champagne, and why your glass might leave the wine as flat as a pancake or fizzing furiously.
  • A single bottle of Champagne contains 10 million bubbles. As the bubbles reach the surface of the wine they explode, and this phenomenon – known as the Worthington Jet – has been captured by the scientists on a 5000-frames-per-second camera.
  • It explodes, making a tiny crater on the surface. The crater closes up and then ejects a thread of liquid, which then breaks up in droplets that can fly up to 10 centimeters.”
  • They also figured out why strings of bubbles, known as the bead, rise from certain points in glass. It happens when microscopic fibers ­– left by a kitchen towel or often just an airborne particle –  stick to the side of the glass, allowing molecules of dissolved carbon dioxide to coalesce and form bubbles.
  • The finding is important for Champagne lovers and for the restaurant industry.
  • Glasses that are retrieved from a dishwasher, where they have been washed and blown dry upside down, could be so ultra-clean that horribly few bubbles form.
  • Top-end glass manufacturers now use lasers to etch a tiny crown of spots at the bottom of the glass, creating flaws to make bubbles form and rise in a pretty ring. 
  • Should you drink Champagne from a tall, long-stemmed glass or a shallow cup?
  • The shallow cup loses CO2 one-third faster than a flute, so the flute is preferred.
  • Drinking Champagne from a plastic cup can be a drab experience because the sides are hydrophobic, or liquid repelling. The bubbles adhere to the sides through capillary action and inflate into the size of tiny balls.
  • “The easiest way to produce finer bubbles is to reduce the quantity of CO2 which is dissolved in the Champagne, and this is linked to the amount of sugar.
  • The tradition was to add 24 grams of sugar per liter of Champagne along with yeast to induce the second fermentation, but the trend now is 18 grams of sugar.
  • Although it’s carbon dioxide that dissolves in both wine and mineral water under pressure, the label on the bottle actually says “contains carbonic acid.” 
  • The reason for this is the chemical process that causes carbon dioxide molecules to combine with water molecules under high pressure to produce carbonic acid. 
  • Because carbonic acid is a very unstable molecule, it quickly disintegrates again when the bottle is opened and the pressure drops, and then bubbles up as carbon dioxide.
  • Scientists have named their new branch of science “blaseology” – the science of bubbles.
Live Champagne Bubble Demonstration
  • Demonstration Props
    • Bottle of Champagne (Brut)
    • Two crystal Champagne Flutes with etched bubble ring in bottom
    • Two Plastic Glasses
  • Observations
    • Bubbles originate from etched ring rough area in flutes
    • Bubbles stick to the sides of the plastic glasses
  • On air question: To drink or not to drink.
How to celebrate New Year’s in every time zone
  • There is a very easy way to celebrate midnight on New Year’s Eve in every time zone over a 24 hour period: Grab a bottle of Champagne, a heavy down coat, and catch a flight to Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole.
  • As it turns out, orbiting a pole* is basically the only way to toast the New Year in every time zone. The further you get from a pole, the longer it takes to get from time zone to time zone, for the simple reason that the vertical lines that delineate time zones converge at the top and bottom of the world. 
  • Which raises an interesting question: Assuming one doesn’t live at the South Pole, how many time zones could you practically celebrate New Year’s in, if you had a fast enough car or plane? Is it possible to celebrate New Year’s with a drink in all 24 time zones and in a more temperate climate?
  • If you want to do it by car, the first question is pretty easy to answer. The most time zones you can hit is almost certainly three. At several points on the planet — such as where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan meet — three time zones converge on a single point. Drive around that point at midnight, and you can ring in 2015 three times. 
  • If you head to Central Russia, you have two hours to cover 1.5 miles from Sakha Republic to Krasnoyarsk Krai and hit three time zones.