Show of 12-12-2015

Tech Talk

December 12, 2015

Email and Forum Questions
  • Email from Dave in Elkridge: Hello Doc and Jim, I would like to set our Android and iOS phones to only connect to our home Wi-Fi network, and never to public Wi-Fi, whether in restaurants, airports, or wherever. We have a 10GB per month family plan that we never use up, so I would like to stay on the Cellular connection all the time, except when at home. But I don’t want to have to disable Wi-Fi every time we leave the house. When we return to the house, we always forget to re-enable Wi-Fi. Also, out in public, I don’t want pop-up Wi-Fi screens asking me to connect to a public Wi-Fi network. Thanks, Dave in Elkridge
  • Tech Talk Responds: You need to forget all networks that you don’t want to connect to. Go to each of those networks and bring up network properties. Then click on Forget this Network. Then you want to turn off Wi-Fi notification when another Wi-Fi signal is detected. Turn off Ask to Join Networks. I did both of these things a while ago and it works like a charm. If you have Sprint, you also have to turn off the Sprint Connection Optimizer. This will also be located in Settings.
  • Email from Robert Tyler: Dear Dr. Shurtz: I heard your story on your last show about Bitcoin and thought you might be interested in the Gizmodo investigation that has uncovered new evidence in the search for Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin. Gizmodo and Wired Magazine both conclude that the Bitcoin creators are Craig Steven Wright, an Australian businessman and Dave Kleinman, a computer forensics expert who died in 2013. Both magazines offer compelling evidence that this time they may have the right people who invented the digital currency. Thanks to you and Jim for the great podcast. Long time podcast listener, Carl Tyler
  • Tech Talk Responds: This is a great link. I have read about this latest their about Satoshi’s location. Craig Steven Wright seems to fit the bill. There were a series of leaks that led to him. Either he has launched a clever hoax or he is the real deal. I will talk about this at length later.
  • Email from Allen in Kansas: Dear Doc and Jim. I have heard many people talk about tracing the route of packets on the Internet to see how many hops there are to get to the destination. How is that accomplished? Love the show. Allen in Kansas
  • Tech Talk Responds: This is done with an Internet service called Traceroute. Traceroute is a computer network diagnostic tool for displaying the route (path) and measuring transit delays of packets across an Internet Protocol (IP) network. The history of the route is recorded as the round-trip times of the packets received from each successive host (remote node) in the route (path); the sum of the mean times in each hop indicates the total time spent to establish the connection. Traceroute proceeds unless all (three) sent packets are lost more than twice, then the connection is lost and the route cannot be evaluated. Ping, on the other hand, only computes the final round-trip times from the destination point.
  • The traceroute command is available on a number of modern operating systems. On Apple Mac OS, it is available by opening “Network Utilities” and selecting “Traceroute” tab, as well as by typing the “traceroute” command in the terminal. On other Unix systems, such as FreeBSD or Linux, it is available as a traceroute command in a terminal. On Microsoft Windows, it is named tracert. You need to open the command window and type “tracert” to check the number of hopes to the Stratford University website.
Profiles in IT: Liu Chuanzhi
  • Liu Chuanzhi is the founder of Lenovo, the largest computer maker in the world.
  • Liu Chuanzhi was born April 29, 1944 in Zhenjiang near Shanghai.
  • After the Communist victory in 1949, Liu’s family moved to Beijing.
  • After graduating from high school in 1962, Liu applied to be a military pilot. Liu was declared unfit for military service because a relative had been denounced as a rightist. 
  • Liu then entered the People’s Liberation Army Institute of Telecommunication Engineering. Liu was assigned to study radar and was introduced to computing.
  • In 1966, he told his classmates that the revolution was a terrible idea and was sent to a state-owned rice farm near Macau in Guangdong.
  • Liu returned to Beijing where he took up a post in 1970 as an engineer-administrator at the Computer Institute. He worked on magnetic data storage for mainframes.
  • In 1984 he joined the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). That year, Liu came up with the idea to start Lenovo in response to a lack of CAS. Liu’s superior arranged for the academy to loan him and the 10 other co-founders the 200,000 yuan  (US$31,000)
  • Their first significant transaction, an attempt to import televisions, failed. The group rebuilt itself by conducting quality checks on computers for new buyers.
  • Lenovo developed a circuit board to allow IBM PCs to display Chinese characters. 
  • For more than ten years, Lenovo served as Hewlett-Packard’s distributor in China.
  • In 1990. Lenovo started to assemble and sell computers under the name, Legend.
  • Lenovo tried and failed to market a digital watch. They lacked marketing experience.
  • Liu’s father, a Hong Kong banker, facilitated loans. He, and five others, moved to Hong Kong in 1988. They walked to work and rented hotel rooms for meetings.
  • Lenovo became a publicly traded company after listing in Hong Kong in 1994, raising nearly US$30 million. Proceeds from the offering were used to finance sales offices in Europe, North America, and Australia; expand production and R & D.
  • Lenovo’s later takeover of IBM’s personal computing business made him the first Chinese CEO to lead the takeover of a major American firm.
  • Liu says that at first he behaved “like a kind of dictator.” Over time, Liu was able to relax his authoritarian style and Lenovo became an employer of choice.
  • In June 2012, Liu stepped down as chairman of Legend Holdings, the parent company of Lenovo.
  • Liu spearheaded an initial public offering for Legend on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2015 to diversify beyond the IT sector.
  • Liu is a member of the China Entrepreneurs Club (CEC). The CEC was founded in 2006. Its purpose is to strengthen the sense of social responsibility among China’s young entrepreneurs. Liu is married and has three children.
2016 Gift Guide for Geeks — A Personal Journey

  • Sphero BB8 droid — It’s unlikely you’re going to get past this holiday season without hearing about the Sphero BB8 app-controlled droid — especially with the Star Wars movie on the horizon. Compatible with both iOS and Android devices, you let your child control their own droid through a smartphone, whether it be movements or commands such as sleep or run. If your child wants to see BB8 do their own thing, there is also an autonomous mode for the toy. An interesting feature is the augmented reality mode — which shows videos stored on mobile devices through projection. Price: $149.99
  • Microsoft Xbox One game console — Reduced in price ahead of the holiday season, Microsoft is offered the Xbox One gaming console with bundled games for as little as $299. Lots of  fitness and family games
  • Parrot Bebop 2 drone — Drones are some of this year’s hot presents. Parrot is well-known maker of hobbyist unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and has now come out with the Parrot Bebop 2 in time for the holiday season. Bebop 2 is a 500 gram quadcopter capable of flying for up to 25 minutes at over 300 feet at a rate of 37 mph horizontally and 13 mph vertically. Controllable via your smartphone, the drone’s embedded fisheye camera takes HD shots and video for you while off the ground quickly and at a decent quality — likely to appeal to any enthusiast this Christmas. Price: $550
  • DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter 4K UHD Video Camera Drone — 4k UHD video recording with fully stabilized 3-axis gimbal; Vision Positioning system allows stable flight indoors. Lightbridge digital streaming allows live viewing of 720p video (full resolution video is simultaneously recorded on the internal microSD card). Included flight battery and rechargeable remote controller means this system is ready to fly out of the box DJI Pilot app for iOS and Android allows live viewing and complete camera control (phone/tablet sold separately; see DJI’s website for compatible models). Flying this product is restricted within 15 miles radius of the White House. $1,232.00 on Amazon.
  • Nixplay Seed digital photo frame — For a personalized gift which displays photos of friends and family, Nixplay’s Wi-Fi digital photo frames make both fun and sentimental gifts for a loved one. The latest in the range, the Nixplay Seed, comes in 7, 8 and 10-inch models and a variety of colors. The high resolution display pulls images stored into a cloud-based account or shared through your mobile device in a slideshow format — and the Seed update now also includes motion sensors which turn on the device when you enter the room, or off when you exit. Price: $89.99 – $169.99
  • Apple iPhone6S – This is the obligatory item on the gift list. Make certain to get enough memory. I want it to get simultaneous data and voice with Verizon. Powered by Apple’s A9 processor, the iPone 6s is the latest flagship model. Available in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, and equipped with Retina display, TouchID and Apple Pay capabilities. Price: $649+
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 — Available in white, black or gold, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 is the firm’s flagship tablet. Equipped with an AMOLED display, 32GB internal storage, an octa-core processor and a set of apps to improve syncing between your devices, this tablet could make a great gift for someone looking for an upgrade. Price: $399.99
  • LED jewelry — The online marketplace Etsy is a great place to find unusual, handmade gifts. One that stands out for a female fan of tech is this LED sterling pendant, complete with LED lighting and circuitry. There is a wide variety of technology-inspired jewelry. This is the year that LEDs became widely affordable. Price: around $60 on Etsy.
  • Seagate wireless mobile storage — As we move towards streaming and downloaded content such as games and movies instead of physical mediums, we have more need for storage. One option which could make a great gift for gamers, streamers and professionals on the move is the Seagate Wireless mobile storage device. With 500GB of storage space, you can safely store movies, games, documents and music — while setting up the device as its own Wi-Fi hotspot without the need for cables. For such a small device the battery life isn’t bad either when on the go — lasting up to six hours per charge. Price $89.99
  • Fitbit activity trackers — If gyms are not an option, one gift you could give to help people keep track of their activity is something from the Fitbit range. The wearable activity and fitness trackers include mini gadgets and wristbands which monitor everything from heart activity to sleep patterns. Price: $80-$250.
  • Jawbone UP2 activity tracker — The Bluetooth-enabled wristband, which comes in a selection of colors, works with an accompanying app to track your fitness and sleep patterns, offer advice, display stats on your activity — including distances traveled and calories burned — and recommend ways to slowly edge towards a healthier lifestyle. Price: $99.99
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 3 — A gift to be appreciated for the working professional is Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. The company has always said it wanted to replace the laptop with a viable tablet — and the Surface now seems to hit the mark. The 12-inch tablet runs on the Windows 10 operating system and comes with up to 8GB RAM, an Intel core i7 processor and up to 128GB storage. Price: $699
  • 13″ MacBook Air – Apples light weight and highly portable laptop. Battery life up to 12 hours. For those on the Apple ecosystem, this is a great option. With 128 GB SSD ($850.00), with 256GB SSD ($1,019.00)
  • Chromebook – Get 4GB RAM, 16 GB SSD is large enough because everything is store on the cloud. The 13 inch screen is a good tradeoff between usability and portability. 
    • Acer, 15.6″ Screen, Intel Celeron, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD – White ($269.00)
    • Toshiba, 13.3″ Screen, Intel Celeron, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD, Silver ($249.00)
  • Amazon Echo — The Amazon Echo is essentially a voice-activated personal assistant for your home. People in the house can ask it questions, ask it to read books from Audible, ask for sports scores, set timers and even get it to tell terrible jokes. Some people set it up as an alarm clock, and have it read the day’s news from NPR when it wakes them up. It also is linked to Amazon Prime Music, which means it acts as a credible speaker that will play any music that’s available in your personal Amazon music library or the free music available for Prime members. Amazon launched with access to streaming music from TuneIn and iHeartRadio, but it now growing to other services including Pandora.
  • Sonos Starter Speaker System — Sonos is the smart speaker system that streams all your favorite music to any room, or every room. Control your music with one simple app, and fill your home with pure, immersive sound.
    • Sonos Play:1 is a stylish and exceptionally well-made wireless speaker. It offers the full Sonos experience, with support for most key services (including Spotify, Pandora, Rdio) and super-reliable wireless streaming. Sound quality is good considering the size and gets even better when paired with a second Play:1 for true stereo playback. And Sonos Controller apps are available for Android, iOS, Mac, and PC. Play:1 earned CNET’s Editors’ Choice Award in the category. $199.00 each.
    • Sonos Bridge creates a dedicated wireless network for your Sonos system so you get reliable performance, no matter how large your home or how many WiFi devices you use. Just connect a BRIDGE to your router using a standard Ethernet cable.  Then a simple button press will start SonosNet, a secure AES encrypted, peer-to-peer wireless mesh network that improves performance and range compared to your home WiFi network. $50.000
Permanent Broadband Tax Exemption
  • Congress is expected to pass a permanent ban that will prevent local governments from taxing Internet access, a big win for consumers that ensures your broadband bill won’t ever look like your wireless bill.
  • If passed, the bill will permanently ban state and local governments from imposing new taxes on Internet access, including broadband service.
  • The ban would be good news for broadband consumers, who wouldn’t see tax-related price hikes on their bills. 
  • The legislation would also phase out taxes over four years in seven states — Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin — where local taxes were imposed on Internet access before a federal moratorium was passed in 1998.
  • Most broadband customers have never been taxed for Net access. Back in ’98, when the Internet was just gaining steam, Congress passed the Internet Tax Freedom Act, prohibiting state and local governments from adding taxes to Internet bills.
  • But the fix was only temporary, and every few years the law has had to be renewed. With the latest temporary Internet Tax Freedom Act set to expire, broadband providers and consumer advocates have warned that without a law banning these taxes for good, consumers could see their bills increase.
  • President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation. He’s supported previous renewals of the moratorium.