March 21, 2015
Email and Forum Questions
- Email from Arnie in Crownsville: Hi Dr. Shurtz, Take a look at http://www.imore.com/how-to. It appears to be a a neat site to get iPad & iPhone information. You may already use it to answer Tech Talk questions it if not, take a look. Arnie, Crownsville, MD
- Tech Talk Responds: Arnie, looks like a great site. Thanks for the suggestion.
- Email from Alice in Wonderland: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I downloaded a trial version of Adobe Acrobat Pro XI and it came bundled in Adobe Creative Cloud. I have never used Adobe creative cloud and didn’t know that was being installed. I had to uninstall all of the Adobe Acrobat Pro XI files and now no one at Adobe support can remove this creative cloud on my iMac running Yosemite. I can’t delete it in the normal ways. Do you have any idea why or how to get this off my mac? Do you have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Pro? Did you buy it by itself or did you have to buy it bundled with the Creative Cloud? Thanks. Alice in a rabbit hole
- Tech Talk Responds: The Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) Cleaner Tool helps resolve installation problems for Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Creative Suite (CS3-CS6) applications. The tool removes installation records for prerelease installations of Creative Cloud or Creative Suite applications. It does not affect existing installations of previous versions of Creative Cloud or Creative Suite applications. Adobe Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool is indeed a useful helper that will prove its worth for all users who wish to reclaim some disk space and completely get rid of Adobe software leftovers. Here is the official download link. https://helpx.adobe.com/creative-suite/kb/cs5-cleaner-tool-installation-problems.html
- Email from Peggy in Bethesda: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I needed a website for a new business that I started. . I found this video on how to build a site using WordPress. An attorney, a potential client, thought is looked amateurish. Someone at Hostgator said it was not Google friendly because I used WP visual editor widget. Now I am thinking I need to have a professional web-designer redo it or start anew. Not even sure which one makes sense! o you have an opinion on this? Frankly, it might be appreciated by your listeners to have a show devoted to website design issues for small businesses. Thanks Much. Peggy in Bethesda
- Tech Talk Responds: You site does not look professional. You did get some good experience creating links and content. I suggest that you use the templates provided by you ISP. I helped a friend do a website using Network Solutions as an ISP. They have over 200 templates. Templates are designed by a pro. There are others with pretty good templates: web.com, wix.com, weebly.com, squarespace.com. godaddy.com. Purchase high quality pictures from iStock photos or another royalty-free website. Don’t make it too text centric.
- Email from Carl Tyler: Dear Dr. Shurtz: I just upgraded my phone to a iPhone 6, my first smartphone. I think that you and Jim both use iPhone and would like some advice from you both about what you use in your vehicle to answer calls or listen to music. There are number of items I see on Amazon from visor units to speakers for both ears to the one speaker units for one ear. Please help. Thanks to you and Jim for the excellent podcast you produce each week. Carl Tyler
- Tech Talk Responds: I connect my phone to the Bluetooth in my car. It connects my phone. I plays Pandora through the speaker system. It also handles the Waze navigation directions. If your car does not have a Bluetooth connection, it may have a USB connection. If it does not you can connect using an FM system. Just tune the radio to the correct frequency. My son used this method in his old car for playing audio. He did not use it for hands free calling. You can get a combo system with hands free calling and FM audio. The sound for both calls and music goes through the audio system. The combo has a microphone mounted in it for hands free talking. Some units mount in the vents, others on the windshield. You always have the choice of a Bluetooth headset for hands free calling. I hate that option.
- Email from Lynn in Ohio: Dear Doc and Jim. I would like a have a really big screen TV in my basement. We have parties their all the time and would like to watch football games and lots of other shows and DVDs. I would like to fill the entire wall with the picture. We don’t have any windows so we can control the lighting easily. Love the show, Lynn in Ohio
- Tech Talk Responds: I would get a projector and mount it on the ceiling. You can port the signal to the projector using either Wi-Fi or by HDMI cable.
- Like a television, home theaters come in various resolutions. The only two resolutions that are commonly available are 720p and 1080p, both of which are considered high-definition. In its simplest sense, the number represents how many pixels fit the screen from top to bottom. There are several high-quality 720p projectors that cost between $600 and $900, and full-HD 1080p models start at around $900.
- The key to a projector is the bulb. The brighter the bulb, the larger the picture can be, and the more visible it will be despite any ambient light. As a rule of thumb, a projector with a brightness rating lower than 2,000 lumens should only be used in a room with very low ambient light. If you have moderate ambient light, like sunlight that comes in even with your curtains drawn, you will have to pay extra for a projector in the 2,000 to 3,000 lumen range. Projectors beyond 3,000 lumen are very expensive.
- If the projector is too close to the screen, you can’t zoom out far enough to create the picture size you are looking for. Before you purchase a projector, you need to decide where you are going to mount it and how big of a screen you want.
- Every theater needs a screen. You might be able to use your bare walls, if they’re smooth and your paint is off-white. Some people choose to spend hundreds on a high-
- Once you have your screen, you will need to mount your projector. You can find decent mounts for around $100.
- If you are watching television from a cable or satellite provider like DIRECTTV, you will need to install their box. If you want to watch DVD movie formats (e.g. Blu-ray), you will need a player.
- Projectors generally don’t come with speakers. All you really need is an old receiver and a couple of speakers to place alongside your screen. The audio outputs from your source connect directly to your receiver, which amplifies the signal before relaying it to your speakers. If you want to get the true home theater experience, you can go with a full surround-sound system.
- Once you have all of your components, you will need to wire them. You will need a video cord, ideally an HDMI cable, to connect the projector to your source. You will also need an audio cable to connect your source to your receiver. Finally, you will need speaker cables to connect your receiver to your speakers.
Profiles in IT: Christopher Poole
- Christopher Poole is best known for founding two web sites, 4chan and Canvas. 4chan spawned Anonymous hackers and memes like LOLcats, RickRoll.
- Christopher Poole was born in 1988. He grew up in New York City.
- As a teenager, Poole was reclusive. He wrote that he was overweight, drank two liters of cola every day, spent a good 6-12 hours per day playing video games in a bedroom with blacked-out windows, and rarely went outdoors or socialized.
- He said that being arrested for throwing water balloons at cars helped him straighten up. The court-mandated community service got him outside and active.
- In 2003 at age 15, founded http://4chan.org, while in high school. It was a space where he and his friends could talk about manga and anime. It was based on a Japanese site called 2channel. His screen name was moot.
- It now has over sixty message boards. The most popular is random. Boards have a fixed number of pages. Oldest entries roll off. Posts on random last 15 minutes.
- By allowing users to only post anonymously, instead of uploading personal information, it has always been edgy. Much not suitable for the office.
- There used to be a tradition on 4chan that every Saturday people would post pictures of cats. It was called Caturday. This tradition grew into the LOLcats meme.
- Anonymous hacking group grew out of 4chan. It you don’t select a user name, you are name Anonymous. The group self-organized during an attack on the Church of Scientology and the rest is history.
- Global ranking: 536. US ranking: 284. Google page rank: 6. Page impressions per month: 615M. Unique visitors per month: 22M. Posts per day: 1M
- Demographic: 18-34, 70% male, 30% female, 47% US, majority with some college.
- The site runs on donations. Advertising is minimal because of the content.
- Known as moot, his name was revealed on July 9, 2008, in The Wall Street Journal.
- In February 2009, The Washington Post reported that Poole had attended Virginia Commonwealth University for a few semesters before dropping out.
- It reported that Poole was living with his mother for much of his 4chan career.
- In April 2009, Poole was voted the world’s most influential person of 2008 by an open Internet poll conducted by Time magazine. 4chan users has hacked the poll.
- In 2010, Poole was reported to have raised $625,000 to create a new online enterprise, Canvas. The web site opened on January 31, 2011, and features digitally modified images uploaded by users who are required to self-identify.
- In January 2014, Poole announced that Canvas, and its DrawQuest feature, would be going out of business. He couldn’t get a good business model here either.
- In 2014, he was on a three month vacation, when the iCloud nude celebrity photos showed up on 4chan. He banned he group and got death threats. It wasn’t fun.
- In January 2015, Poole announced that he would be stepping down as the 4chan administrator after eleven-and-a-half years. He is looking a buyer and cashing out.
Game of the Week: Google Feud
- Google autocomplete suggestion is based on what the rest of the world is asking.
- Google Feud is based on this autocomplete data. Like Family Feud, the game presents the first half of a phrase and players must guess the second half based on their limited knowledge of what the rest of the human race is thinking.
- The game gathers answers from Google’s API, so the results are a real-time depiction of what the world is Googling.
- The site also features a very realistic warning message: “Beware, certain results may be offensive and/or incomprehensible. And they are right.
Idea of the Week: Drone Sonar
- A new crowdfunding project available on Kickstarter called the eBumper4.
- It retrofits drones with four sonar sensors, so they can detect walls before they crash into them.
- Panoptes’ sonar bumpers are aimed beyond the build-it-yourself crowd, and can make for easy commercial drone retrofits.
- Made by Panoptes Systems, eBumper4 is right now only available for DJI’s Phantom 2 and 3DRobotics’ Iris+ lines of drones. $359 to get a prototype system. They have rasied $20k with an $80k goal. 17 backers have order systems. Others only t-shirts.
- The principles of design are universal enough that if successful, it’s likely the concept would work for other quadcopters.
- With sonar facing forward right, left, and up, the eBumper4 lets drones detect nearby walls and ceilings, and then keeps it from colliding into them.
- In order for the sonar to work, the bumper-equipped drone can’t fly at full speed, instead limited to a pace more like walking.
- The sonar sends out a signal that bounces off objects. By determining the time between when the signal leaves and when the sensor reads the bounce back, the sonar can see how far away an object is. If too close, the drone will stop flying towards it.
Amazon Receives Approval to Fly Drones from FAA
- The FAA has issued a special “experimental airworthiness certificate” to Amazon, allowing the company to conduct outdoor research, testing, and training of its Prime Air delivery drones.
- Amazon announced it ambitious drone plans back in December of 2013, but it filmed the highlight reel video for that outside the US to avoid running violating FAA rules.
- A year later it threatened to take its operations overseas if the FAA didn’t allow it to begin performing outdoor testing.
- FAA published a proposal for new rules to help legalize commercial drone flight and has been granting a number of exemptions to different companies that want to begin field testing with flying robots.
- The exemption granted to Amazon, insist that the drones remain within line of sight of the pilot at all times. In Amazon’s case they must also have “at least a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.”
- Those kind of restrictions make sense for initial testing, but would definitely prevent the rollout of any scalable commercial operation if they remain in place, since they severely limit the use of autonomous drones over a meaningful distance.
Google’s Anti-Competitive Practices
- An FTC investigation in 2013 accused Google of illegal practices against rivals.
- Key staff members at the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) were in favor of suing Google for violating antitrust rules before the agency settled its investigation in 2013, according to a confidential report cited by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
- The report by the staff of the FTC’s competition bureau argued that the owner of the world’s biggest search engine illegally took information from rival websites to improve its own results and placed restrictions on websites and advertisers.
- The report recommended suing Google for several of its business practices.
- The FTC settled its multi-year investigation of Google in 2013, concluding that the company had not manipulated its search results to hurt rivals.
Researcher made $225,000 by Hacking Browsers
- For the past two days, security researchers have been in Vancouver for a Google-sponsored contest called Pwn2Own, which offers prizes for anyone who can publicly exploit bugs in popular browsers and other widely used software like Adobe Flash.
- JungHoon Lee (also known as lokihardt) came away from the contest with a record $225,000 for three bugs, affecting Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari.
- The Chrome bug was the most lucrative, earning $110,000 in total, bringing in extra money because it involved a beta version of Chrome and because Lee was able to exploit the bug into system access.
- At the end of the contest, all vulnerabilities are privately disclosed to vendors in the “Chamber of Disclosures.”
- This year’s contest found 21 bugs in total — including five bugs in Windows, four bugs in Internet Explorer and three bugs in Firefox — and paid a total of $557,500 to participating researchers.
Strategy for Getting a Tech Job
- Complete a project at home (Linux, Firewall, Web Server, Database, etc.)
- Read Industry Rags
- Join User Groups (don’t ask for a job) Talk about your projects
- Survey the industry using information survey (don’t ask for a job)
- Attend meeting and conferences in your areas that are free
- Ask like a professional, before you are a professional