Show of 09-10-2016

Tech Talk

September 10, 2016

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz. Have you heard of the programmed thumb drives “Picture Keeper” and “iXpand” for downloading photos and other documents from an iPad, iPhone or laptop? The expense depends on the number of GB one buys, and reviews seem to be okay. A bit pricey for a thumb drive, but you get some benefits.
  • I have iCloud’s 50GB for 99¢/month, Carbonite and some apps to transfer photos from iPad to laptop, but the thumb drive seems easy to use and gives one more control on how the photos are stored, i.e., to an external hard drive where one has control of originals. Photos are lost and/or the originals are reduced in size if put on the cloud aren’t they? If one deletes photos from their iPad, are they also deleted from the cloud as well? How does one keep them on the cloud? That’s why I have an interest in one of the programmed thumb drives. Really like Tech Talk. New format is great. Arnie in Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tech Talk Responds: I would not recommend Picture Keeper. It puts all your pictures on a thumb drive, which I don’t consider really secure. I would recommend that you get a USB external hard drive and simply use backup software to back up your images and documents. I have been doing this for years.
  • iXpand is a flash drive that plugs into the lightning connector of the iPhone. I have been using something similar to it for about a year, the Leef iBridge. You can backup photos on your iPhone directly to this solid state drive. Then you would have to copy them to your laptop for final storage. It just seemed easier to plug the iPhone into the laptop and copy the files directly.
  • In addition, I back up my laptop with Carbonite and also use the iCloud. You are right about iCloud. It synchronizes your devices and if you delete a picture it will be removed from the iCloud too.
  • Email from Mike in Maryland: Hello Mr. Big Voice. I have a brand new 49″ LG smart TV. Can you have your crack team of engineers (Richard & Jim) recommend any FREE websites to watch older or newer TV shows or movies? I am only interested in legal websites and want to avoid any viruses or ransomware (which might be abundant). Love your show. Mike from Maryland
  • Tech Talk Responds: I have a Smart TV at home and watch movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime videos. Netflix is only $7/month and has a large selection of older movies (not new releases). Amazon Prime movies are free if you are a Prime member.
  • There are many bootleg sites with illegal content that I don’t recommend. If you want a legitimate site, it will be supported by ads.
  • Crackle is owned by Sony. In their collection of full-length movies, you’ll find a good number of blockbuster hits, along with generous selection of obscure b-movies. Rather than keeping movies on the site indefinitely, Crackle tends to cycle through movies, posting the most popular titles for a limited amount of time. The movies are interrupted by advertisements and there’s no way around them.
  • Hulu is a joint venture between NBC Universal, Fox, and Disney that offers a wide variety of on-demand movies and TV shows. Most of its content comes from NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, Nickelodeon, and various other studios, so it’s has a solid selection of new stuff. Hulu relies on ads to generate revenue, so you can expect your shows to be interrupted periodically. Hulu also offers access to premium content on Hulu Plus if you’re willing to pay a monthly subscription fee.
  • YouTube is the biggest video hosting service in town, but it’s still worth mentioning. It has a sizable collection of feature-length movies. They way the site is set up makes it difficult to find them quickly, but YouTube has an entire section devoted to free movies.
  • Email from Carl Tyler: Dear Dr. Shurtz: I have been using my Linksys E2000 router for quite a while now and I think it’s time for a change. Do I just disconnect the old router and then install the new router or do I have to uninstall the software of the old router before I install the new router and it’s software? Please recommend a good router that you would use.
  • Could you do a profile of Moxie Marlinspike? Marlinspike is the founder of Open Whisper Systems and is the creator of “Signal”. Marlinspike worked with “WhatsApp” to add end-to-end encryption to every form of communication on the service by integrating the cryptographic protocol used in Signal. He is quite a colorful person and I think a good candidate for “Profiles In IT”. Thanks for the great podcast. I look forward to it being posted each week. Carl Tyler
  • Tech Talk Responds: You don’t need to install any software with a new router. You’ll simply have to select the new network and put in the password. You will want a dual-band router with two radio so you can have both a 2.4 GHz band and 5.8 GHz band operating simultaneously. I am currently using • TP-Link AC1900 Wireless Wi-Fi Dual Band Gigabit Route and am quite happy with it. It is a couple of years old now and currently costs around $119 on Amazon.
  • Other more recent options include: Synology RT1900ac. The RT1900ac isn’t just a great router — it’s also viable NAS server when hosting a storage device. This all-in-one router is an excellent buy for those who wants to enter the world of network storage. It costs around $149 on Amazon. I costs around $199 on Amazon.
  • Linksys WRT1900ACS Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router. The router is easy to use and comes with a mobile app for you to conveniently manage your home network when out and about.

Profiles in IT: Moxie Marlinspike

  • Moxie Marlinspike is a computer security researcher. He created the end-to-end encryption application Signal, which is used in WhatsApp and by Apple.
  • His real name is Matthew Rosenfeld according to some, but not confirmed by Moxie.
  • Originally from Georgia, Marlinspike moved to San Francisco in the late 1990s.
  • He then worked for several technology companies, including enterprise infrastructure software maker BEA Systems Inc.
  • During the mid-2000s, Marlinspike bought a derelict 27-foot Catalina sailboat and, along with three friends, refurbished it and sailed around the Bahamas.
  • In 2008, Marlinspike settled in a decrepit brick mansion in Pittsburgh and started writing security software. The next year he appeared for the first time at the Black Hat security conference to demonstrate a program he called SSLstrip, which exposed a critical flaw in web encryption.
  • In 2010 he debuted GoogleSharing, a Firefox plugin that let anyone use ­Google services anonymously.
  • With a Phd student from the Carnegie Mellon, he launched Whisper Systems, along with Text­Secure, to encrypt text messages, and RedPhone, to protect voice calls.
  • He moved back to San Francisco to promote Whisper Systems as a for-profit startup.
  • The company was acquired by Twitter for an undisclosed amount in late 2011. The acquisition was done primarily so that Marlinspike could help the Twitter.
  • Twitter ultimately made Whisper Systems’ apps open source.
  • Marlinspike left Twitter in early 2013 and founded Open Whisper Systems for the continued development of TextSecure and RedPhone.
  • In November 2015, Open Whisper Systems unified the TextSecure and RedPhone applications as Signal.
  • Signal, widely considered the most secure and easiest-to-use free encrypted messaging and voice-calling app. It is recommended by Edward Snowden.
  • Between 2014 and 2016, Marlinspike worked with WhatsApp to add end-to-end encryption by integrating the cryptographic protocol used in Signal.
  • In May 2016, Google revealed that it too would integrate Signal into the incognito mode of its messaging app Allo.
  • In June 2016, Facebook Messenger began its own rollout of the protocol in an encryption feature called “secret conversations,”
  • His blog: He discusses his many adventures, politic views, and projects. He has ridden trains across the country as hobo. He has lived in vacant warehouses. He has sailed into forbidden ports. Authority was always his enemy.



How does Signal Work?

  • Assume that Alice wants to create a secure communication link.
  • When Alice installs an app that uses Marlinspike’s protocol, it generates pairs of numeric sequences known as keys. With each pair, one sequence, known as a public key, will be sent to the app’s server and shared with her contacts. The other, called a private key, is stored on Alice’s phone and is never shared with anyone. The first pair of keys serves as an identity for Alice and never changes. Subsequent pairs will be generated with each message or voice call, and these temporary keys won’t be saved.
  • When Alice contacts her friend Bob, the app combines their public and private keys—both their identity keys and the temporary ones generated for a new message or voice call—to create a secret shared key. The shared key is then used to encrypt and decrypt their messages or calls.
  • The secret shared key changes with each message or call, and old shared keys aren’t stored. That means an eavesdropper who is recording their messages can’t decrypt their older communications even if that spy hacks one of their devices. (Alice and Bob should also periodically delete their message history.)
  • To make sure she’s communicating with Bob and not an impostor, Alice can check Bob’s fingerprint, a shortened version of his public identity key. If that key changes, either because someone is impersonating Bob in a so-called man-in-the-middle attack or simply because he ­reinstalled the app, Alice’s app will display a warning.

iPhone 7 Announced

  • Apple’s latest smartphone, iPhone 7, will have an upgraded camera, dust & water resistance, stereo speakers, a longer battery life, and no ear phone jack.
  • Apple is including a 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter for free.
  • 12MP rear camera, 7MP front camera. Dural lens on the plus. It will have a larger camera bulge
  • With a brand new dual-lens camera, a refined design, a better screen and a whole lot of power, the iPhone 7 Plus is competing with Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
  • It will feature the latest Apple A10 Fusion processor and host iOXS 10.
  • The other major visual change is the addition of a new color, with Jet Black joining the usual Space Gray, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold models.
  • Pre-order is now with shipping starting on September 16
  • Demand looks to be high though, with Jet Black orders now quoting November for shipping. If you haven’t already pre-ordered online it looks unlikely you’ll get any variant of the new iPhone 7 on release day, unless you queue up.
  • Here is the retail pricing from Apple
    • 32GB – $649
    • 128GB – $749
    • 256GB – $849

Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note 7

  • With more devices exploding in the US, Samsung has made the recall official.
  • In a statement earlier today, the CPSC confirmed that it is working with Samsung to formally announce the recall as soon as possible.
  • In the statement, the CPSC tells customers to power down, don’t charge, and stop using the device. We expect Samsung and the CPSC to reveal more information regarding the recall over the coming days.
  • The short story there is that new units should start arriving in the US next week.
  • Samsung Official Statement: We are aware of the Federal Aviation Administration’s statement about the Galaxy Note7. Consumer safety and peace of mind are our top priority. We plan to expedite new shipments of Galaxy Note7 starting from this week in order to alleviate any safety concerns and reduce any inconvenience for our customers.
  • The company will also open up an IMEI database which customers can also use to ensure their device is not affected by the recall.

Website of the Week: Google Arts & Culture