Show of 08-01-2015

Tech Talk

August 1, 2015

Best of Tech Talk Edition
  • Segments replayed from previous shows
Email and Forum Questions
  • Natasha in Fairfax: Dear Tech Talk, Could someone reopen my closed email account? I have terminated my Yahoo account. There’s a clause in the form that says that after 90 days my user ID can be made available to others. Does that mean that if someone then snaps up my old user name they could start impersonating me? Would he see everyone on my contact list? Would my old contacts see him and think I was back on-line? Thanks, Natasha in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: Someone could claim your email account and impersonate you. However, they would not be able to see your contact list, your emails, or any other private data. It would be a new account and none of your data would in store in that account. Your data will have been deleted.
  • When you close or abandon your account with any online service provider, they typically do exactly what you’ve seen in the Yahoo text: after some period of time they make your abandoned user name and email address available again.
  • For most services, if you log in again using your old name before time runs out, it resets the clock. If you’re successfully logging into it, you’re clearly not “abandoning” it. Even if you go through a provider’s steps to cancel an account, there’s often a grace period after that where you can change your mind, log in and
  • However, if your friends have your deleted account in their address book, they could inadvertently send an email to your old account. So it is important to notify your friends of the change in email address.
  • What they will get is any new email that’s sent to your old email address. Deleting your account did nothing to “tell the world” that the email address isn’t you any more. Even if you did try to broadcast the change, it’s very likely that not everyone got the message or updated their records. Chances are your old email address is still in someone’s address book, or included on some mailing list somewhere.
  • Email from Hac in Bowie: Dear Tech Talk. I would like to watch Netflix on my flat screen TV at home. However, my TV is not connected to the Internet at all. I have a Netflix account and am watching it on my iPad and sometime on my desktop computer. We have Wi-Fi in the house, but it does not connect to the TV. Love the show, Hac in Bowie
  • Tech Talk Responds: The good news is that you have an easy fix. You can get the Chromecast device from Google for $35. It is also available from Amazon. Just plug this device into the HDMI port on your computer. Login to the device using either or iPad or your computer and follow the configuration directions. Once it is configured to you can “cast” content to your TV. Set the input to the HDMI port, open Netflix on your iPad and click on the Chromecast symbol (a rectangle with Wi-Fi in one corner). You can also use your desktop. Open your Chrome browser and go to Netflix. You can click on the tab to cast the active Tab to your TV. I use this all the time and it is very convenient.
Profiles in IT: Douglas Engelbart
  • He is best known for inventing the computer mouse and the graphical user interface.
  • Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart was born January 30, 1925 in Oregon .
  • Engelbart received a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University in 1948, a B.Eng. from UC Berkeley in 1952, and a Ph.D. in EECS from UC Berkeley in 1955.
  • He stayed on at Berkeley as an acting assistant professor but a year later he left to work for Stanford Research Institute.
  • Engelbart was influenced by the principle of linguistic relativity which says that language controls the sophistication of the thoughts that can be expressed.
    • Engelbart reasoned that the state of technology controls our ability to manipulate information and our ability to develop new technologies.
    • His philosophy is summarized in Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework, which was published in 1962.
  • He founded the Augmentation Laboratory at Stanford Research Institute.
  • He and his team developed computer-interface elements such as bit-mapped screens, groupware, hypertext and precursors to the graphical user interface.
  • In 1970 he received a patent for an “X-Y position indicator for a display system”.
  • He never received any royalties for his mouse invention. Some years later he learned that SRI licensed the mouse to Apple for $40,000.
  • His version of windows was not patentable at that time.
  • In 1968, a 90-minute, staged public demonstration of a networked computer system was held at the Augmentation Research Center — the first public appearance of the mouse, windows, hypermedia with object linking and addressing, and video teleconferencing. He called the system the On Line System (NLS).
  • In 1969, ARC became the second node in the new ARPANET.
  • Several of Engelbart’s best researchers became alienated from him and left his organization for Xerox PARC due to differing views of the future of computing.
  • Engelbart saw the future in timeshare (client/server) computing, which younger programmers rejected in favor of the personal computer.
  • Engelbart continued to direct SRI’s Augmentation Research Center until 1978 when the lab was closed down for lack of funding.
  • NLS then became the principal line of business in Tymshare’s Office Automation Division under the name Augment.
  • In 1984, Tymshare was acquired by McDonnell Douglas Corporation, which terminated Engelbart’s laboratory in 1989.
  • In December 1995, he was the first recipient of the Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award.
  • In 1997 he was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize of $500,000, the world’s largest single prize for invention and innovation, and the Turing Award.
  • Currently he is the director of his own company, the Bootstrap Institute, which he founded in 1988, devoted to refining the concept of Collective IQ and development of what he calls Open Hyper-Document Systems (OHS).
  • Bootstrap is housed rent-free courtesy of the Logitech Corp., the world’s largest manufacturer of computer mice.
David Burd Visit
  • The Doc, David and Jim discuss ISIS/ISIL’s use of social media and cutting the cable TV cord.
Robot Butler Starts Room Service Deliveries
  • Savioke has announced that it is to start trialing service robots for hotels. 
  • The SaviOne robot can autonomously deliver items to guests in hotel rooms. SaviOne can find its way to a hotel room autonomously and then instructs a guest on how to retrieve the requested item.
  • SaviOne’s sensors include depth cameras, sonar and laser rangefinders. SaviOne is being trialed at the Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, California
  • The company spent 7 months researching and trying to understand the needs of end users like hotel staff and guests. 
  • An agile and iterative approach was taken to the development process. They built a working prototype each month for five months, hitting a milestone every two weeks, so that by the fifth month they had a prototype we could show to customers in hotels.
  • The prototypes each focused on a key aspect of the robot’s design. For example, the ergonomic loading and unloading of the robot, providing an empathetic experience for the user and and ensuring that interaction was quick and easy for staff and intuitive and fun for guests. 
  • The first time SaviOne goes to a hotel, it travels around and maps the building. Hotel staff members then need only program in a particular room number and the robot knows how to get there. 
  • It uses a variety of sensors to navigate and move around, including depth cameras, sonar and laser rangefinders, and is able communicate with elevators via Wi-Fi.
  • SaviOne is based on Robot Operating System (ROS) technology, which is overseen by the Open Source Robotics Foundation. 
  • It is about 3 ft. tall, weighs less than 100 lb. , has a carrying capacity of 2 cubic ft. , and is designed to travel at a human walking pace.
  • Link to video:

What Aereo should do to stay alive?

  • Earlier in the summer, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that Aereo, the free over-the-air broadcast TV service, violated the Copyright Act. 
  • Shortly after, the company suspended its service and has been trying to stay alive.
  • It’s now been over a month since Aereo’s last communication with the public about its attempts in lower court. 
  • When the Supreme Court heard Aereo’s case in April, the company rose from obscurity and ended up on the front page of major news outlets. 
  • Aereo’s major appeal was never just the ability to access over-the-air TV content, but the ability to easily DVR it to view across devices in the cloud. 
  • By the time Aereo had lost, it didn’t talk much about the consumer demand for cloud DVR technology.
  • After Aereo lost, other obscure companies started gaining attention. Mohu, a North Carolina-based startup that launched in 2011 has made a name for itself by providing TV watchers with high definition indoor antennas. 
  • It recently launched “Mohu Channels,” which allows viewers to turn any website or app into a channel. There’s also a built-in DVR functionality for up to 30 minutes.
  • Mohu website:
  • Simple.TV is providing DVR capability for free over-the-air TV. Originally a Kickstarter funded in 2012, Simple.TV allows you to use its device, an antenna and a hard drive to easily DVR content and access that content across platforms.
  • Simple TV website:
  • Aereo’s $92 million in funding compared to Simple TV’s $5.6M and Mohu’s $144,000 should position it to continue make a big impact on the cord-cutting market. 
  • Aereo should consider an acquisition.
  • Aereo’s website:
Ignore No More’ App To Force Her Kids To Mom 
  • Kids don’t call parents and frequently ignore their calls.
  • One mom in particular, a Houston resident named Sharon Standifird, got so fed up with her unresponsive kids that she went ahead and literally developed a solution: a phone app called “Ignore No More.”
  • The app allows parents to remotely lock their kids’ phones.
  • It takes away texting, it takes away gaming, it takes away calling their friends. The only way one can resume normal cellphone activity?
  • You have to call mom and ask for the unlock password.
  • It’s not on iPhone yet. Must be only released for Android.