Show of 12-19-2015

Tech Talk

December 19, 2015

Email and Forum Questions
  • Email from Lynn in Ohio: Dear Doc and Jim. I have some favorite YouTube videos that I love to watch. However, the Interest connection in my basement is  very weak. Is there a way I can download a few YouTube videos to my hard drive so that I don’t need the Internet to view them. Love the show. Lynn in Ohio.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Third-party software is where many will find the best control for downloading online videos. Typically you just paste the URL for the YouTube video you want into the app, and it downloads the highest quality version it can find, probably in MP4 format.
    • ClipGrab, for Windows/Mac/Linux. As donationware, you don’t have to pay for it, but it’s nice if you do so it can stay afloat.
    • YTD Video Downloader for Mac/Windows. Its free version is pretty good. If you pay $29.90/year, you get more functions, like downloading multiple videos at once and download acceleration.
  • I you want to avoid installing software, you use helper sites. Download helper sites do the work for you, providing conversion and then a download link. It can take a lot longer, depending on the size of the video, but you can’t beat the convenience.
    • is a good option. was smart enough to register the domain name Just type it into a browser, and it forwards you to the site. But if you’re looking at a video on YouTube itself, put that “ss” in the URL after the “www.” and the forward takes you to an instant download page for that video in every format available. 
    • is another option. It takes a URL and lets you download the video hosted there in multiple formats, both video and audio—but also lets you upload your own files for conversion to new formats.
    • supports downloads from 57 sites. Just paste in the video’s URL and click download. You’ll need Java installed for it to work.
  • Email from Rajive in New Delhi: Dear Doc and Jim. I need to transfer some very large files that are around a Gigabyte. What are my options? Enjoy the podcast in India. Rajive.
  • Tech Talk Responds: We use a couple of options at Stratford. There are others, but we find these very convenient. These sites offer free and paid services. I will restrict my review to the free services they provide.
  • Dropbox is a “cloud” service that allows you to store and share files. The files are stored in the “cloud” which means you can access them through an internet connection from anywhere. A good metaphor for Dropbox is a USB storage drive that’s online. Dropbox and USB storage device are very similar: you have limited storage (2GB); you can create, delete, and undelete folders and files.
  • However, you do need an account with Dropbox to use the service. If you don’t have one you can register here. You can also share files and folders in your Dropbox account. The best way to share files is by using a folder, especially if you are sharing multiple files. Each file in Dropbox has a unique url. You can share this url link with someone and they’ll have access to the file. Dropbox also have a Desktop app that sync’s a local Dropbox folder with your online account. The major drawback of Dropbox is the storage limit which is set at 2GB. 
  • Use Dropbox (free) when you have smaller files (less than 1 GB), need to share and store multiple files, and want greater control over your files.
  • WeTransfer is primarily a file sharing site. You can store files using WeTransfer but they limit the storage period to two weeks. WeTransfer does not require that you have an account with them. All you need is an email address and the file you want to share. You also need email addresses of all the people you want to share the file with.
  • You can share a file of up to 2GB in size. And you can share as many files as you want. But you will need to upload each file individually. The greatest limitation of WeTransfer is that all files are inaccessible two weeks after they are uploaded. You also have no control of the file after you’ve uploaded it. For instance you cannot delete the file or move it. You also have a maximum of 20 emails address that you can share the file with.
  • Use WeTransfer, if you’re looking to share multiple large files (more than 1GB, but less than 2 GB) and when you’re not looking for online file storage. Never use WeTransfer while working with confidential documents.
Profiles in IT: Alan Emtage
  • Alan Emtage conceived and implemented the first Internet search engine, Archie.
  • Alan Emtage was born on November 27, 1964, in Barbados, the son of Sir Stephen and Lady Emtage. 
  • He attended high school at Harrison College from 1975 to 1983, where he graduated at the top of his class, winning the Barbados Scholarship.
  • He purchased his first computer in 1981, a Sinclair ZX81 with 1K of memory.
  • In 1987, he received a BS in Computer Science from McGill University in Montreal.
  • In 1991, he received as MS in Computer Science from McGill University.
  • In 1989 and in the second year of his Master’s program, he was a system administrator for his department, which gave him access to latest “toys” in the field.
  • One of his jobs was to locate and retrieve Open Source software packages for the use of the faculty and staff. 
  • He automated the process and built a rudimentary database of the available files on hundreds of repositories sprinkled around the network, known as “archive” servers. 
  • One day his boss and fellow grad student Peter J. Deutsch asked him to locate some files that a user in an online forum needed. He quickly posted the results online.
  • The department was soon inundated with many similar requests. With the help fellow syadmins Bill Heelan and Mike Parker, he built a public interface to the database. 
  • Since it worked with archives, he named it “archie”?—?“archive” without the “v”. 
  • On September 11, 1990 they announced Archie, the first Internet Search Engine.
  • Soon Archie was the destination for half of all the network traffic to Eastern Canada.
  • In 1992, Emtage along with Peter J. Deutsch formed Bunyip Information Systems the world’s first company expressly founded for and dedicated to providing Internet information services with a licensed commercial version of the Archie search engine.
  • They purposely didn’t patent the algorithms underlying Archie, algorithms that every search engine now use. They believed that they were working in a new field whose development could be significantly held back if everyone started patenting.
  • In the same spirit CERN in 1993 released the WWW software into the public domain.
  • Emtage was a founding member of the Internet Society and went on to create and chair several working groups at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the standard-setting body for the Internet. Working with other Internet pioneers, Emtage co-chaired the Uniform Resource Identifier working group which created the standard for Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).
  • He has no regrets about the open source decisions. He said, “Being a small part of one of the greatest revolutions in the history of humanity has its own rewards. The history of technology is littered with financially unsuccessful firsts.”
  • Emtage is chief technical officer at Mediapolis, a web engineering company in NYC.
2016 Gift Guide for Geeks — A Personal Journey Continued
  • Streaming Media – Three good options are available for streaming media to your TV using Wi-Fi. They each have about the same content. Style is somewhat different
    • Chromecast — $35 This is the most popular. Cast from smartphone or laptop.
    • Roku — $58 With remote that has a port for ear phones
    • Apple TV – Third Gen ($65), Fourth Gen ($149 for 32GB and $199 for 64GB). Fourth Gen supports third party applications and games. Recommend Third Gen.
  • Wi-Fi LED Lightbulb – This is the latest addition to the smart household. Lights that can be controlled using a Wi-Fi connection.
    • Phillips HEU—This was the first to market and is the most expensive. Three colors and very bright. About $60 per bulb. Require a central hub for wireless control. The central hub connects to the Wi-Fi router. Integrated with Apple home kit and Amazon Echo. A starter kit with three bulbs and central hub is $199.
    • WeMo Smart LED Bulbs — WeMo Smart LED Bulbs are warm, bright light bulbs similar to traditional 60-watt incandescent, and they only consume 10 watts of energy and produce very little heat. One color only. These bulbs will help reduce the amount of energy you use and help with your cooling costs–saving you money. With a life expectancy of up to 23 years (based on 3 hours of daily usage), these may be the last light bulbs you ever buy. A starter kit with two bulbs and a central hub is $50.
tech talk
  • Pebble Time Smartwatch — If you want to give someone a smartwatch this Christmas, it doesn’t have to be obscenely expensive. The Pebble Time Smartwatch, compatible with both iOS and Android, is equipped with an E-Paper display so the wearer can clearly see notifications such as missed calls and app alerts, the weather, news and sports updates. Price: $149.99
  • Canon Selphy CP910 Photo Printer. This compact printer wirelessly connects to your iPhone, iPad, or iTouch to print borderless 4-by-6-inch pictures. The best part: The ink dries quickly, so you can touch the image immediately after printing with no risk of smudging. Even a dip in water won’t affect the printout! $95 from
  • Amazon Fire 7” Tablet — 7″ IPS display (171 ppi / 1024 x 600) and 1.3 GHz quad-core processor. Rear and front-facing cameras.  8 GB of internal storage. Free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos taken with Fire devices. Add a microSD card for up to 128 GB of additional storage.  Up to 7 hours of reading, surfing the web, watching videos, and listening to music. ($50.00)
  • Swingbyte — This one-ounce 3-D analyzer clips onto clubs to deliver real-time data on each swing’s speed, angle, and plane for immediate adjustments (or post-game review from the comfort of the 19th hole). It also saves the records so golfers can track their progress over time. $170 from
  • Newisland Selfie Stick — It works well, features a sturdy extendable arm, and includes a rearview mirror for when you’d rather use your phone’s higher-resolution rear-facing camera. It easily stands apart from the competition. A short, coiled cable with a 3.5mm connector protrudes from the tip of the arm. When you plug the connector into your smartphone’s 3.5mm audio port, it will recognize the stick’s shutter button as a Volume Up control, which is the default physical shutter button on iOS devices. CNET Editors’ Choice award. ($39.00)
  • iPro Lens Systems for smartphones – Just slide you phone into a special case and attach the lens. The basic Trio kit ($279) comes with three lenses: a 2X telephoto, a super-wide angle, and a macro lens. You can also purchase additional lenses, such as a powerful 4x tele and a 165-degree wide angle. The lenses are made with Schneider Century optics. Link to company:
  • Photojojo lens for iPhone — Photojojo gives you six lenses for $115, including Fisheye, Super Fisheye, Telephoto, Wide Angle, Macro and Polarizing lens. Each lens is crafted out of solid aluminum and outfitted with thick, high-clarity glass. Each set comes with an adhesive removable metal ring that fits any phone. Lenses clip on magnetically. Link:
  • PowerUp 2.0 Paper Airplane Kit. Put a propeller on your paper airplane. An included power pack makes any paper airplane fly. $17 from Ran out of time and not covered on air.
  • Smart Sensor Basketball Pack. The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball Pack ($180) includes a regulation-size basketball equipped with technology that offers instant feedback on every shot and dribble. The ball, which has an 8-hour battery life, communicates with an app over Bluetooth. The app shows the player’s performance data (including spin and acceleration) and can also guide them through drills and other workouts. Ran out of time and not covered on air.
  • Netflix Subscription – Its only $8.00 per year. Ran out of time and not covered on air.
Li-fi 100 times faster than Wi-Fi
  • A new method of delivering data, which uses the visible spectrum rather than radio waves, has been tested in a working office.
  • Li-fi can deliver internet access 100 times faster than traditional Wi-Fi, offering speeds of up to 1Gbps (gigabit per second).
  • It requires a light source, such as a standard LED bulb, an internet connection and a photo detector.
  • It was tested this week by Estonian start-up Velmenni. Velmenni used a li-fi-enabled light bulb to transmit data at speeds of 1Gbps. Laboratory tests have shown theoretical speeds of up to 224Gbps.
  • CEO Deepak Solanki said that the it could reach consumers “within three to four years”.
  • The term li-fi was first coined by Prof Harald Haas from Edinburgh University, who demonstrated the technology at a Ted Conference in 2011. His talk showed an LED lamp streaming video. Prof Haas described a future when billions of light bulbs could become wireless hotspots.
  • One of the big advantages of li-fi is the fact that, unlike wi-fi, it does not interfere with other radio signals, so could be utilized on aircraft and in other places where interference is an issue.
  • While the spectrum for radio waves is in short supply, the visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger, meaning it is unlikely to run out any time soon.
  • But the technology also has its drawbacks. It cannot be deployed outdoors in direct sunlight, because that would interfere with its signal.
  • It cannot travel through walls so initial use is likely to be limited to places where it can be used to supplement Wi-Fi networks, such as in congested urban areas or places where Wi-Fi is limited, such as hospitals.

App of the Week: SpeakEmoji 

  • We have hit peak emoji. The little pictograms used to act as accompaniments to actual words, and sometimes substituted a few, but now SpeakEmoji wants them to replace our entire language.
  • The free app for iOS and Android is simple to use – you just speak into the microphone and it processes what you say into a sentence using only emoji.  You can then share the result as a text, on Facebook, Twitter, Messenger and via email.
  • It does a pretty good job of translating, but some strings are hard to understand.