Show of 12-31-2016

Tech Talk
December 31, 2016


Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz. After one buys an iPhone or iPad or similar smartphone or tablet, and updates are published periodically for downloading. Depending on the capacity or storage, it appears that large updates diminish the storage capacity of the device significantly, especially over time. When one downloads updates, is the update just add on to what’s on the device or do updates erase old updates? Of course adding additional apps also affects storage capacity – and updates again reduce storage space. Then there comes a time when apps have to be deleted altogether for additional space. So the best way to keep storage space is ____? Thanks. Love the show. All sorts of great info. Arnie in Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can check what are the memory hogs on your iPad. Go to Settings/General/Storage & iCloud Usage/Manage Storage. You will get a list of applications and their storage usage. You can decide what to delete. It is true that the new OS used more and more storage, make the 16GB devices nearly useless. Update do delete the old OS, but the new OS is just larger, make storage available for apps less and less. That’s why I got 128GB on my new iPhone. My usage is usally mail, photos, messages, and iBooks.
  • Email from the other side of the studio: Doc: I learned something interesting last week. As I have a propensity to do, I dropped my iPhone and shattered the screen last weekend. On Monday, I took it to the iPhone repair store in South Baltimore I’ve visited so many times. When I returned to get the phone, I noticed an array of swollen iPhone batteries on the counter. When I inquired, the shopkeeper explained that he left them out so when customers arrived with bulging iPhones, he could explain the problem. It seems that improper charging of an iPhone battery can lead it to swell. The external manifestation of this is that the screen bulges slightly out of the iPhone body. I asked the technician to explain the mistakes people can make while charging their phone that leads to this. Leaving the phone plugged in to a charger all the time, thus never allowing the battery to fully discharge can cause it to swell. Using an external battery extender that clips onto the phone case (just like the one you have) can lead to the same problem. There’s no question here. I just found this interesting and thought you might want to discuss this. Signed, Fully charged on the other side of the console, Jim
  • Tech Talk Responds: The swelling is caused by off gassing when the internal components start to break down. Basically the battery is like a layer cake. Very thin layers wrapped around each other. Over time these layers tend to break down and a chemical reaction happens that produces gas. The batteries are sealed so they start to bloat.
  • These batteries have a finite number of times that they can be charged (usually several hundred) before they will begin to swell/fail. Once you exceed that number you will notice swelling.
  • Overcharging is a accelerate the process. There are a number of “smart chargers” out there, and I believe that the OEM Apple Charger is one of those, that will actually stop sending a charge when it detects that the battery is full. If yours does not, charging overnight is a bad idea. Most devices don’t actually take more than 6 hours to charge and you would be amazed at what the extra time on the charger can do if it continuously feeds juice into the phone/tablet.
  • Excessive heat will speed the process up. So normal charging shouldn’t, but if you’re driving using navigation and its charging and the phone gets hot, well that right there over time and especially if its repeated often will cause this to speed up a lot.
  • Email from Tung in Ohio: Dear Doc and Jim. I am travelling to Europe next month. I have heard that people are frequently locked out of their email accounts when travelling. I will be using a Microsoft Hotmail account. What should I do before my trip to ensure that I won’t be locked out. Love the show. Tung in Ohio
  • Tech Talk Responds: Why does Microsoft lock accounts in the first place? The majority of Microsoft accounts are accessed from one, and only one, location. Perhaps more importantly, the vast majority are accessed from one and only one country. Most hackers operate from other countries. If your account, typically accessed from within one country, suddenly has a log-in attempt from a country on a completely different continent, that’s considered “unusual activity”. While it might be you doing the logging in, in the vast majority of cases, it’s not; it’s someone trying to hack your account. When Microsoft sees this kind of unusual activity, they simply must take additional steps to confirm you are who you say you are, and that you are authorized to access your account.
  • The security measures are simply about proving you are not a hacker trying to break in to the account. The way you prove you’re not a hacker is to confirm additional information that you previously associated with your account.
    • Proving you own an email account that you previously configured as one of the alternate emails for your account. You prove this by correctly entering the correct alternate email address (proving you know it), and entering a code sent to this email address (proving you have access to it).
    • Proving you own a telephone that you previously configured as the telephone number associated with this account. You prove this by entering a code sent to this number either by text message, or by voice (call).
  • Note that this information – the email addresses and/or phone number – are things you set up before you need them. If you didn’t set them up, or no longer have access to them, then you’re taken to the account recovery process, which tries to confirm you have the right to access your account via other means. Sadly, those other means are often both time consuming, and not guaranteed to work.
  • Email from Tracy in Fairfax: Dear Tech Talk. I have an iPhone and us iMessage for most of my communication. My boss communicates by iMessage with me on the weekend. I don’t like him to know that I have read the iMessage because sometimes I don’t want to respond. Can I turn off the “read message” notification for him, but leave it on for everyone else? That would make my life so much easier. Love the show. Tracy in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: Everyone knows that you can enable or disable read receipts across the board by opening the Settings app and toggling read receipts on or off from within the Messages menu. Most people want to leave them on, but there are always a few contacts who send you messages and you don’t want them to know if and when you’ve read them.
  • You can turn off notification for just one contact too. And it is so easy. Here’s all you need to do:
    • From within the Messages app, open a conversation with the contact in question
    • Tap the “i” in the top-right corner
    • On that screen, you’ll see a setting for “Send Read Receipts” — toggle it to off
  • That’s it. This setting will override your global setting and this specific contact will no longer know when you open his or her messages.

Profiles in IT: Vic Hayes

  • Vic Hayes is known as “Father of Wi-Fi”
  • Popularly known as the “Father of Wi-Fi”, Vic Hayes is senior research fellow at Delft University of Technology in Delft , Netherlands .
  • The father of WiFi, Dutch engineer Vic Hayes, didn’t invent the technology but steered the sector away from a VHS-versus-Beta-style debacle.
  • In the early 1990s, Hayes corralled the many companies working on wireless-networking technology into an agreement on WiFi standards.
  • The term WiFi was created in 1999 by Interbrand, the consultancy that coined the name Prozac. They were hired by what is now known as the Wi-Fi Alliance. Other name finalists: Torchlight, Elevate.
  • From its inception in 1990 through 2000, Mr. Hayes chaired the IEEE standards workgroup that defined the IEEE 802.11 set of wireless networking standards, better known as Wi-Fi.
    • Hayes’ leadership is one of the reasons that low-cost, nearly ubiquitous wireless LAN connectivity exists today.
    • Hayes helped bring global recognition of the need for additional spectrum for wireless computer networks.
    • Through the Wi-Fi Alliance he mobilized the computer industry into regulatory activities, with the result that the World Radio Conference 2003 allocated an additional 455 MHz of radio spectrum in the 5 GHz area for wireless access devices.
    • The task of developing an IEEE standard around wireless technology was a diplomatic mission for Vic Hayes, the father of Wi-Fi.
  • Ironically, Agere dropped out of Wi-Fi because it could not compete on price with its competitors.
  • He was born July 31, 1941 in Indonesia (at that time Netherland’s Indies )
  • Received his BE degree in 1961 in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from HTS Amsterdam in 1961
  • He was a Radio and Radar Officer at the Dutch Royal Air Force in 1962.
  • 1963 to 1974 — Customer Engineer for Friden Holland (now Singer Business Machines).
  • 1974 to 2003 — Systems Engineer for NCR, Systems Laboratory, (the Netherlands ). This company later became AT&T, then Lucent Technologies, and finally Agere Systems.
  • He is currently Senior Research Fellow at Delft University of Technology,

Tech Talk Celebrates 10th Anniversary on Federal News Radio, WFED 1500 AM

  • On February, 4 2007, Tech Talk Radio aired for the first time on Federal News Radio
  • Here is a segment which aired on the first WFED version of Tech Talk. Dr. Shurtz and Kate Brown, who was then co-host of Tech Talk discuss the kind of topics that would be covered on the show.

What Kind of Trends Will We Watch?

  • Mainframe to PC to Web Apps (IBM to Microsoft to Google)
  • Web 1.0 (non-interactive) to Web 2.0 (interactive with Wikis, Blogs, YouTube)
  • The Rise of Social Networking (Facebook, My Space)
  • Evolution of IT in Business and it impact on jobs and careers
  • Outsourcing to India and China and how to protect your career turf
  • Impact of Convergence of Voice/Data/Video on the Internet
  • Legislation affecting Internet Access
  • Wireless Networking and Security
  • Home Theater Technology (what to buy and not to buy)
  • Space Technology like the Mars Rover
  • Developments in science like nanotechnology or string theory
  • Computer Chip Technology (breakthroughs and limitations)
  • Computer purchase decisions (this is the year of the laptop)
  • Anything else in the news that grabs our interest

Food Science: Champagne Bubbles

  • A team of scientists at the University of Reims have revealed the secrets behind the bubbles in Champagne, and why your glass might leave the wine as flat as a pancake or fizzing furiously.
  • A single bottle of Champagne contains 10 million bubbles. As the bubbles reach the surface of the wine they explode, and this phenomenon – known as the Worthington Jet – has been captured by the scientists on a 5000-frames-per-second camera.
  • It explodes, making a tiny crater on the surface. The crater closes up and then ejects a thread of liquid, which then breaks up in droplets that can fly up to 10 centimeters.”
  • They also figured out why strings of bubbles, known as the bead, rise from certain points in glass. It happens when microscopic fibers ¬– left by a kitchen towel or often just an airborne particle –  stick to the side of the glass, allowing molecules of dissolved carbon dioxide to coalesce and form bubbles.
  • The finding is important for Champagne lovers and for the restaurant industry.
  • Glasses that are retrieved from a dishwasher, where they have been washed and blown dry upside down, could be so ultra-clean that horribly few bubbles form.
  • Top-end glass manufacturers now use lasers to etch a tiny crown of spots at the bottom of the glass, creating flaws to make bubbles form and rise in a pretty ring.
  • Should you drink Champagne from a tall, long-stemmed glass or a shallow cup?
  • The shallow cup loses CO2 one-third faster than a flute, so the flute is preferred.
  • Drinking Champagne from a plastic cup can be a drab experience because the sides are hydrophobic, or liquid repelling. The bubbles adhere to the sides through capillary action and inflate into the size of tiny balls.
  • “The easiest way to produce finer bubbles is to reduce the quantity of CO2 which is dissolved in the Champagne, and this is linked to the amount of sugar.
  • The tradition was to add 24 grams of sugar per liter of Champagne along with yeast to induce the second fermentation, but the trend now is 18 grams of sugar.
  • Although its carbon dioxide that dissolves in both wine and mineral water under pressure, the label on the bottle actually says “contains carbonic acid.”
  • The reason for this is the chemical process that causes carbon dioxide molecules to combine with water molecules under high pressure to produce carbonic acid.
  • Because carbonic acid is a very unstable molecule, it quickly disintegrates again when the bottle is opened and the pressure drops, and then bubbles up as carbon dioxide.
  • Scientists have named their new branch of science “blaseology” – the science of bubbles.

Live Champagne Bubble Demonstration

  • Demonstration Props
    • Bottle of Champagne (Brut)
    • Two crystal Champagne Flutes with etched bubble ring in bottom
    • Two Plastic Glasses
  • Observations
    • Bubbles originate from etched ring rough area in flutes
    • Bubbles stick to the sides of the plastic glasses
  • On air question: To drink or not to drink.