Show of 08-20-2016

Tech Talk

August 20, 2016

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Carl Tyler: Dear Dr. Shurtz: Have you heard about the new computer storage by Intel that is 1000 times faster than a SSD? I would like to hear what you think about this and how it might change the future of computing. Thanks for the great podcast you and Jim produce each week.
  • S. Now that your show is broadcast on Periscope do you think Jim might train the camera on Mr. Big Voice as he comes in the Virtual Faculty Lounge to deliver his lines or is this against union rules. Carl Tyler
  • Tech Talk Responds: It was announced about a year ago and test devices are being deployed this year. This is a real memory breakthrough. The new 3D XPoint technology is 1,000 times faster than your SSD. It was jointly developed by Intel and Micron after 10 years of research. This is the first new type of storage to be created in 25 years.
  • At the heart of XPoint is a new type of data storage mechanism. It doesn’t use transistors or capacitors like traditional flash storage. It’s composed of a lattice of perpendicular conductors stacked on top of each other. The memory cells sit at the intersection of these conductors and can be addressed individually bit-by-bit. The ability to quickly read small data clusters is what makes XPoint so fast.
  • XPoint is fast enough to replace both non-volatile storage (your SSD) and RAM. The first XPoint chips will connect to computers over PCI Express. New motherboard technology will be needed to take full advantage of the XPoint. Intel and Micron expect to make the memory available sometime next year.
  • The new technology will be branded Optane. Intel has said it will put 1TB of storage into a 1.5-millimeter-thick Optane drive for laptops and tablets, and up to 15TB of storage on a larger 2.5-inch drive.
  • Some 3D Xpoint SSDs have already shipped to testers, mainly cloud providers. Facebook is collaborating with Intel on 3D Xpoint as part of its Open Compute Project.
  • Email from Lilly in Fairfax: Dear Tech Talk. I frequently work from home and need to set up conference calls. I only have an iPhone at home. Is there any service that I can use for conference calls? Love the show. Lilly in Fairfax.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Your iPhone allows you to call up to five people at once, making it easy to set up a quick conference call. The other people don’t need anything special–just any old cellular or landline telephone.
  • Start your conference call by calling one of the participants normally from the Dialer app. You may want to tell the person that you’re going to add more people to the call. While in the call on your iPhone, tap the “Add Call” button. The first call will be placed on hold while you place the second call. Dial the second person’s number or choose it from your contacts.
  • After the second person answers the call, you’ll see the first call on hold and the second call active below it. If you have the names of the people in your contacts, their names will be displayed here. Otherwise, you’ll just see their phone numbers. Tap the “Merge Calls” button and you’ll now have a conference call involving you and the two people you called.
  • Repeat this process several more times if you want to add other callers. Just tap “Add Call”, dial the next person, and then tap “Merge Calls” after they answer. You can call up to five people at once. H
  • Email from Hac in Bowie: Dear Doc and Jim. I love to use my laptop for reviewing and editing my pictures and movies. I am confused by a couple of options in Windows. What is the difference between Sleep and Hibernate in Windows? The terms seem to be the same to me. Love the show. Hac in Bowie
  • Tech Talk Responds: Windows provides several options for conserving power when you are not using your PC. These options include Sleep, Hibernate, and Hybrid Sleep.
  • Sleep mode is a power saving state that is similar to pausing a DVD movie. All actions on the computer are stopped, any open documents and applications are put in memory while the computer goes into a low-power state. The computer technically stays on, but only uses a bit of power. You can quickly resume normal, full-power operation within a few seconds. Sleep mode is useful if you want to stop working for a short period of time.
  • Hibernate mode is very similar to sleep, but instead of saving your open documents and running applications to your RAM, it saves them to your hard disk. This allows your computer to turn off entirely, which means once your computer is in Hibernate mode, it uses zero power. Once the computer is powered back on, it will resume everything where you left off. It just takes a bit longer to resume than sleep mode does (though with an SSD, the difference isn’t as noticeable as it is with traditional hard drives). Use this mode if you won’t be using your laptop for an extended period of time, and you don’t want to close your documents.
  • Hybrid Sleep mode is a combination of the Sleep and Hibernate modes meant for desktop computers. It puts any open documents and applications in memory and on your hard disk, and then puts your computer into a low-power state, allowing you to quickly wake the computer and resume your work.

Profiles in IT: Vinton Gray Cerf

  • Vinton Gray Cerf is an American Internet pioneer, who is recognized as one of the fathers of the Internet and co-inventor of the TCP/IP.
  • Cerf was born June 23, 1943 in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • In 1961, Cerf graduated from Van Nuys High School in California.
  • In 1965, he received his BS in Mathematics from Stanford.
  • After graduation, he worked for IBM as a systems engineer supporting QUIKTRAN.
  • In 1967, he started graduate school at UCLA, earning his MS in 1970 and his PhD in 1972. During his graduate student years, he worked in Professor Leonard Kleinrock’s data packet networking group that connected the first two nodes of the ARPANet.
  • After receiving his doctorate, Cerf became an assistant professor at Stanford University, where he conducted research on packet network protocols.
  • He co-designed the DoD TCP/IP protocol suite with Robert Kahn. Cerf then moved to DARPA in 1976, where he stayed until 1982.
  • In 1982, he was hired by MCI as VP of Digital Information Services. Cerf led the engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial email service on the Internet.
  • In 1986, he joined Bob Kahn at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, working on Digital Libraries, Knowledge Robots, and gigabit speed networks.
  • In 1992, that he and Kahn, founded the Internet Society (ISOC) to provide leadership in education, policy and standards related to the Internet.
  • Cerf rejoined MCI during 1994 and served as Senior VP of Technology Strategy.
  • During 1997, Cerf joined the Board of Trustees of Gallaudet University, which serves the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Cerf himself is hard of hearing.
  • Since 2005, Cerf has served as VP and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google.
  • Since 2010, Cerf has served as a Commissioner for the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a UN body to make the Internet widely available.
  • Cerf joined the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 1999, and served until November 2007. He was chairman from November 2000 to his departure from the Board.
  • Cerf is also working on the Interplanetary Internet, together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other NASA laboratories.
  • On February 7, 2006, Cerf testified before Congress in support of network neutrality.
  • Cerf is chairman of the board of trustees of ARIN, the Regional Internet Registry of IP addresses for United States, Canada, and part of the Caribbean.
  • In 2008, Cerf chaired the Internationalized domain name working group of the IETF.
  • Notable awards include: IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal (1997), National Medal of Technology (1997), Marconi Prize (1998), Turing Award (2004), Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005), and Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (2013)

ICANN will take over Internet Domain Naming System

  • The National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it will hand over the internet domain naming system, or DNS, to a non-U.S. entity: the multi-stakeholder nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
  • Essentially, the DNS, which links web addresses to a site’s servers via an IP address, will become privatized. The system will remain the same; it’s just changing hands. The average Internet user will likely be unaffected.
  • The NTIA said that the decision will “maintain the security, stability, and resiliency” of the DNS, meet the demands of a global market, and maintain the “openness” of the Internet.
  • They also emphasize the importance of the “multi-stakeholder” model, which combines a variety of voices — from business, from tech, from government, and so on — to collaborate on Internet governance.
  • Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling explained that the deal had been 18 years in the making, and that the federal government’s position in regulating the DNS was always intended to be temporary.
  • The deal is not without critics.
  • Over on Capitol Hill, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent a letter with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), that read, “American businesses, consumers, and all those who rely upon a .com domain for communication and commerce will be ill-served” by the transition.
  • But it seems that the deal is final. It was fully negotiated several years ago. Vint Cerf has been and continues to be a strong advocate for the independence of the Internet from any direct government control.

Virginia Governor’s Workforce Innovation Datathon

  • Fifteen teams will compete to analyze Virginia’s open source data sets. The goal is to analyze curated Jobs Demand dataset and turn it into actionable information.
  • The first session of the Datathon will be held in Richmond on August 25 and 26.
  • Stratford University is fielding a team of four faculty and six students for this event. Six are from the Falls Church campus and four are from the Glen Allen campus. This team was assembled by our Falls Church research division, as part of its big data and machine learning initiative.
  • The innovations developed through the Governor’s Workforce Innovation Datathon will address this fundamental challenge and better position Virginia to fill its open jobs. He are some of the potential outcomes of this initiative.
    • Real-time view of the state by county (and by cc service region, and WIB areas, ideally) that shows those sectors most in demand
    • Develop an embeddable app or api to allow a user to call a list of job postings (with drill-down) based on credentials and/or call a list/group of jobs based on job title (SOC)
    • Application to make charts describing job openings by characteristics, with the option to choose subsets of the data.
    • Application to help employers flag openings that are not posted any longer, or add openings that haven’t been included.
    • Application to use traffic data to connect residential addresses with job postings within an X-minute commute (with the ability to choose X; and type of commute: public transit, car, walk).
    • Better skills alignment/job placement (eharmony for jobs) where analysis looks beyond a hire to look as a successful hire (duration, promotion, time to productivity) which would have second tier skills gap remediation app.
  • This is an example of project based learning that we employ at Stratford University. Real projects, lead to real learning.
  • Link to event:

$5 Onion Omega2 Supports Internet of Things

  • Onion’s Omega2 computer may give the Raspberry Pi a run for its money if the success of the Kickstarter campaign is any indication.
  • With an initial goal of just $15,000, over 13,084 backers have pledged the company $510,074. Why the excitement?
  • Omega2 is powerful and only costs $5. Billed as the world’s smallest Linux server, complete with built-in Wi-Fi, the Omega2 is perfect for building simple computers or for a web connected project.
  • The tiny machine is roughly the size of a cherry, before expansions, and runs a full Linux operating system.
  • For $5 you get a 580MHz CPU, 64MB memory, 16MB storage, built-in Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port.
  • A $9 model is also available with 128MB of memory, 32MB of storage, and a MircoSD slot.
  • Omega2 supports the Ruby, C++, Python, PHP, Perl, JavaScript (Node.js), and Bash programming languages, so no matter your background in coding you should be able to figure something out.”
  • You can also add Bluetooth, GPS, and 2G/3G support via add-ons or expansions.
  • Link to project:

Self-driving Uber cars to carry passenger soon in Pittsburgh

  • In a few weeks, Uber will start using self-driving cars to carry passengers in Pittsburgh
  • Customers will be able to opt into the test program, which will use autonomous Ford Fusions summoned via smartphone. Although other companies are testing self-driving cars on public roads, this is the first time the public will get access to them.
  • The rides, which come with a human backup driver to handle situations that the autonomous cars haven’t seen, will be free to those willing to take part.
  • Uber, which has a self-driving research lab in Pittsburgh, has no immediate plans to deploy autonomous cars beyond the Pittsburgh experiment.
  • Uber has said that without drivers, the cost of geting a ride will be cheaper than owning a car.
  • Uber also announced a $300 million alliance with Volvo to supply vehicles and technology and the acquisition of an autonomous truck startup in San Francisco.
  • Pennsylvania has no laws governing autonomous cars and how they relate to ride-hailing, but local laws may require a driver behind the wheel.