Show of 08-27-2016

Tech Talk

August 27, 2016


Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Segments replayed from previous shows

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Mary Kay in Alexandria:Dear Doc and Jim. Should I Upgrade to Windows 10? The free Windows upgrade ends on July 29, 2016. I have to make a decision on whether to upgrade from Windows 7 Help! Enjoy the show. Mary Kay in Alexandria
  • Tech Talk Responds: I have been using Windows 10 for nearly a year and it is solid. So the short answer is yes. Windows 10 is better. It’s faster, more secure, richer in features, and compatible with and able to exploit all the features of the latest hardware. It is definitely an improvement over Windows 8, and even over Windows 7, which was my previous OS.
  • However, if your hardware has issues with Windows 10, then upgrading isn’t the right thing to do. Similarly, if applications you use and rely on won’t work in Windows 10, then, again, Windows 10 is not the way to go.
  • The Windows 10 compatibility check tells you can’t upgrade. Unfortunately, that check is sometimes wrong, particularly with peripheral devices, like printers or scanners. If you have Windows XP, your hardware probably won’t be suitable.
  • Many are worried about privacy issues. I believe that MS is collecting all this data in the aggregate to understand how people (not individuals) use the product and to make the product better. So I don’t think privacy is a reason to avoid upgrade.
  • Before upgrading, back up everything. I mean make a complete image backup – a backup image of the entire machine. If, after upgrading, you find that Windows 10 fails miserably, you don’t like it, you can restore to that backup image.
  • Email from Kevin in Manassas:Dear Tech Talk. I have a lot about Pokémon Go. What is it and how does it work? I have heard some bad things about it and have wondered whether I should let my kids us it. Love the podcast. Kevin in Manassas.
  • Tech Talk Responds: In simple terms, Pokémon Go is a game that uses your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon “appear” around you (on your phone screen) so you can go and catch them. As you move around, different and more types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is. The idea is to encourage you to travel around the real world to catch Pokémon in the game. This mix of a game and the real world interacting is known as “augmented reality.” Pokémon Go is now available for a free download on Android and iOS. It’s so popular that it’s now competing with Twitter in terms of daily active users on Android.
  • The Pokémon games take place in a world populated by exotic, powerful monsters — they can look like rats, snakes, dragons, dinosaurs, birds, eggs, trees, and even swords. In this world, people called “trainers” travel around the globe to tame these creatures and, in an ethically questionable manner, use them to fight against each other. The you can go to stop to get prizes. When you are Level 5, you can go the gym and compete with other trainers.
  • Two issues are: privacy because it grabs all your Google data (they are fixing this), battery drain (they say they are fixing this), and dangerous settings (criminals have waited at remote Pokémon locations to attack). This last warning is real, so beware.
  • Email from Jim in Michigan:Dear Tech Talk. Why does antivirus software quarantine viruses and malware instead of completely deleting them? I think it would be better to make sure your computer is safe by completely getting rid of them. How can I manually remove quarantined items? Enjoy the podcast. Jim in Michigan
  • Tech Talk Responds: Anti-malware applications provide a quarantine option, which is often on by default for two reasons:
    • Keeping a backup of the items identified as threatening in case of a false positive. Although not very common, I have seen cases of false positives on many different legitimate application files and drivers.
    • Having the items in quarantine may allow for them to be better (further) investigated. The fact that a particular virus or malware matches a known signature does not mean that it is exactly the same, but may actually have other unique characteristics.
  • If a virus or malware has embedded itself into a file you actually want, such as a Word document or similar, then outright deletion may be the worst option from the user’s perspective. Quarantine at least gives you a chance, however risky, to get the actual file contents you need back.
  • Email from Tina in Ohio:Dear Tech Talk. How can I delete an iMessage for SMS from my iPhone? I want to keep some of the messages, but not all of them. Tina in Ohio
  • Tech Talk Responds: First, we’ll look at deleting specific messages from a conversation. In your Messages app, tap the conversation to open it. In the conversation, tap and hold any message. On the pop-up that appears, tap “More”.
  • Tapping “More” reveals selection bubbles you can use to select one or more messages in the thread. When you’ve got the messages selected that you want to delete, tap the trash can icon at the bottom left. Just note that iOS won’t ask you to confirm your choice, so be sure you’ve selected the right messages before hitting delete.
  • You can also delete entire conversations at once. Back at the main messages view, just slide a conversation to the left to reveal a Delete button. Tap the button to delete the whole conversation.
  • And finally, you can delete multiple conversations at a time. On the main Messages screen, tap “Edit.” Tapping “Edit” reveals selection bubbles you can use to select as many conversations as you want. When you’ve selected the conversations you want to delete, tap “Delete” at the bottom right. And once again, there’s no additional confirmation. The deletion happens right away.
  • By the way, getting rid of iMessages can free a lot of memory, if your messages contain photos. Those photos use valuable memory and may be keeping you from taking more pictures.

      Profiles in IT: Anthony M. Fadell

  • Anthony M. Fadell is best known as the inventor of the Apple iPod.
  • Anthony M. Fadell was born in 1969 in Detroit.
  • Born in Detroit, he moved with his family throughout the country, attended eleven schools and as an eight-year old held his first job selling eggs.
  • Fadell graduated from Grosse Pointe South High School in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI.
  • He received a BS in Computer Engineering in 1991 from the University of Michigan.
  • While still at Michigan, he founded Constructive Instruments, which marketed multimedia composition software for children.
  • In 1992, he started working for Apple spinoff General Magic, starting as a diagnostics engineer and progressing to a systems architect for the Magic Cap PDA platform.
  • During his three-and-a-half years at General Magic, Fadell lost touch with his family, screwed up his personal relationships, gained 40 pounds and then lost 50.
  • In 1995 he was hired by Philips where he was co-founder, Chief Technology Officer, and Director of Engineering in the Mobile Computing Group.
  • As a condition for joining, he demanded that his team be allowed to operate like a startup. The Mobile Computing Group got its own building, with walls painted yellow and purple. There were open cubicles, free soda and fruit.
  • He calls himself a “studied engineer” and “self-proclaimed designer”. His passion is designing portable devices. He feels limited space forces more creative solutions.
  • During the 1990s, Fadell started his own company called Fuse. His vision was to become the Dell of the Consumer Electronics.
  • One of the devices he had in mind was a small hard disk-based music player.
  • Fuse failed to find a second round of funding and Fadell started exploring options.
  • He first approached RealNetworks in 2000 but left after only six weeks.
  • The second company he approached was Apple, where Jobs was very receptive.
  • He started doing work for Apple from February 2001 as a contractor.
  • In April 2001 he was hired by Apple to assemble and run its iPod & Special Projects group, where he oversaw the design and production of the iPod and iSight
  • Tony Fadell partnered with a company called PortalPlayer who had been working on their own MP3 player to design the software for the new Apple player.
  • Within eight months, Tony Fadell’s team and PortalPlayer completed a prototype iPod and Apple polished the user interface adding the famous scroll wheel.
  • On October 23, 2001 Apple Computers announced the iPod, created under project codename Dulcimer. The iPod was formally released November 10, 2001.
  • Fadell was already kept out of the picture – even though he had developed the device from the very beginning, as head of a team of 35 designers and engineers.
  • Jobs was always the face of the iPod. Jobs was afraid that the competition could steal his best engineers. That’s why no one could interview Fadell
  • He was promoted to vice president of iPod engineering in 2004.
  • On March 31, 2006, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of the iPod Division.
  • As of April 2007, the iPod had sold over 100 million units worldwide. This unit, in combination with iTunes, restored Apple.
  • On November 4, 2008, Fadell stepped down as Senior Vice President but would remain as an adviser to CEO Steve Jobs.

Last VCR maker will stop production: RIP

  • Funnai Electric has ceased production of VCSs. They are the last manufacturer.
  • They sold VCRs it sold under their own brand, Funai Electric and also produced them for other companies like Sanyo.
  • It’s always a little sad to see a beloved technology go, but VCRs probably won’t be missed by most people.
  • For the vast majority of the world, though, the era of VCRs and VHS tapes ended long ago. The switch to DVD players, Blu-rays and then to digital downloads and video streaming.
  • I remember having to often literally smack my old VCRs around and untangle VHS tapes to get them to work.
  • Also, who can forget the days of going to a physical video rental store like Blockbuster and getting slapped with a fee because you forgot to rewind a tape?
  • It’s been 44 years since the first VCR was introduced by Philips. In the intervening years, VHS fought off Sony’s Betamax and brought video into everyone’s home. VCRs ruled the ’80s and ’90s, but will rule no more.

Pokemon Update

  • I have been playing Pokemon for three weeks and am up to Level 23.
  • This will be the week that am powerful enough to start competing at the gyms.
  • Trick that I have learned along the way.
  • Double XP points using Lucky Eggs and then have an evolution party. You get 1,000 point for each evolution. Pidgey stacking (only 12 candies) is one of the best plays.
  • Hatch your eggs by driving slower that 20 miles per hour.
  • Save your star dust. Using candies to evolve your Pokemon. When you have your final players, Power Up using your star dust. Don’t waste star dust on lower valued Pokemon.
  • Hatch a lot of eggs. You can get rare Pokemon with candy to Power Up.
  • Turn off VR to catch Pokemon more easily.
  • Hold down on the ball and only throw it when there is a colored circle. Green means easiest to catch. Yellow more difficult. Red very difficult. The color may let you know when to use to Strawberries or Super Balls.
  • All third party Pokemon apps (like PokeRadar) have been disabled with the latest update. Users are in revolt.
  • Each successive Level takes more points and the Pokemon are more difficult to catch. Niantic is forced users to buy more balls. This is a very effective strategy to get users to pay. Supervise kids and restrict in-app purchases.
  • Commercial uses
    • Universities are using Pokemon to attract potential students to campus. They are even issuing Pokemon maps.
    • Restaurants attract and keep diners with Pokestops and Lure Modules.
  • You can 3-Print your own ball guide. We printed on this week using Stratford’s 3D printer. Here is a link to the print file.