Show of 02-20-2016

Tech Talk

February 20, 2016

Best of Tech Talk Edition
  • Segments replayed from previous shows
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.
  • 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 
Profiles in IT – Fathers of the Internet
  • Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn
  • The first wide area network was the ARPANET (proposed in 1967). Its goal was to connect various mainframe computers for the purpose of time sharing resources.
  • In the early seventies, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) developed two other packet switched technologies, one for synchronous satellites (SATNET) and the other for ground-based packet radio (PRNET).
  • Neither of these networks could communicate through the ARPANET.
  • Kahn’s decision to link these networks as separate and independent networks resulted in the creation of new internetworking technologies.
  • Kahn collaborated with Cerf on both the protocols and the architecture of this Internetworking project.
  • Out of this collaboration was borne Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and ultimately the Internet.
  • This protocol would be divided into two software “layers,” with TCP in charge of connection management and reliability and IP in charge of packet delivery.
  • DARPA contracted with Cerf’s group to develop the initial protocol design, with BBN and University of London to build implementations of the protocol.
  • This program connected ARPANET, SATNET, and PRNET.
  • The ARPANET was converted to TCP/IP as it standard protocol on January 1, 1983.
  • In the mid 1980s, the National Science Foundation (NSF) commissioned a high performance network based on TCP/IP internetworking architecture of the ARPANET.
  • This network would not be used or commercial purposes.
  • In 1995, NSF ceased its support for the NSFNET. The Internet, as we know it today, was born.
  • The Internet, in its current configuration, is global and not controlled by any country, but rather by an elected group within ISOC.
  • The Internet is supported by the fees that individuals pay to their Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • The ISPs pay for their usage of the Internet backbone, which is operated by the Telcos
  • It works because everyone voluntarily supports the standards defined by Internet Engineering Task Force, which is run by the non-profit Internet Society which was founded by Cerf and Kahn.
Phantom 2 Vision Update: 
  • I have been flying this drone for a couple of weeks now.
  • After having broken six propellers, I have purchases propeller guards.
  • I had on incident where I hit the neighbor’s tree around 80 feet up. The drone came crashing down to the frozen ground. The camera and battery separated from the body.
  • I got it repaired an authorized DJI dealer in Riverside, MD for only $93. The name of the company was IntelligentUAS. I highly recommend them.
  • I have taken aerial photos for two of our campuses so far, in Falls Church and Richmond.
  • This Phantom 2 Vision is a very elegantly designed device. Easy to fly and maintain.In fact I just flew at the studio.
Phantom 2 Vision On Air Test Flight, January 11, 2014 show 

Are Drones Practical for Delivery?
  • Amazon is betting it. So are FedEx and USP.
  • What about the FAA?
  • The FAA released a plan last month, outlining how it would establish regulations for non-military autonomous drone operations.
  • Bezos said FAA guidelines are expected in 2015, but the FAA’s planning document is full of varying timelines for different types of services.
  • It’s unclear which category Amazon’s drones would fall into.
  • The FAA did say it’s selecting six drone service sites by the end of the year to do testing and gather data for these guidelines, which would determine how to safely incorporate commercial drones into our airspace.
  • Only one commercial operator has been approved so far, and it’s located in the Arctic.
  • Amazon said it has not applied to be a part of these tests, but the company is in contact with the FAA to provide input during the process.
  • There will be other regulatory hoops to jump through, particularly with the public perception of what flying robots mean for privacy issues.
  • The Senate had already planned to hold a hearing specifically on Amazon’s new drones as a part of its efforts to review the general use of commercial drones.It’s past hearings have focused on surveillance drones used by police and other government agencies.
Device of the Week:  Chromecast by Google
  • Chromecast is a digital media player developed by Google.
  • The device, a 2.83-inch HDMI dongle, plays audio/video content on a high-definition television by directly streaming it via Wi-Fi from the Internet or a local network.
  • Users select the media to play from Chromecast-enabled mobile apps and Web apps, or through a beta feature called “tab casting” that can mirror most content from the web browser Google Chrome.
  • The device was first available July 24, 2013. I finally got mine last week.
  • Google sells it for $35. I bought mine on Amazon for $30.
  • I plugged it into the HIMI 2 port on the back of the TV. It has a USB power connection at the other end.
  • Setting it up required that I download a Chromecast application and attach to a temporaty Chromecast Wi-Fi network to program the device. That is inputer Wi-Fi network name, password, and time zone. After configuration, the temporary Wi-Fi link disappears.
  • With a desktop computer: To “cast” to your TV, you need to use the Chrome browser and install the Chromecast extension. You can then “cast” a tab to the TV.
  • Phone or iPad: Only two apps are castable: Netflix and YouTube. Just click on the cast icon to begin sharing.
  • In both case, web content is streamed directed to your TV and you can use your device for other tasks.
Food Science: Chopsticks and Rice
  • Chopsticks
    • History of chopsticks
    • Types of chopsticks (crasftmanship, carvings)
    • Confucius and chopsticks (used to promote non-violence)
    • Non-chopstick countries
  • Rice
    • History and usage
    • Types of rice (rough rice, brown rice, white rice, wild rice)
    • Rice wine (sake)