Show of 04-15-2017

Tech Talk

15 April 2017

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Jim in Michigan: Dear Doc and Jim. I recently got an iPhone7 and am having trouble syncing it to the Bluetooth in my car. I have tried deleting the previous connections, but nothing works. I tried to do a forced reboot of my phone by pressing the power button and home button at the same time, but that does not work. What are my options? Love the show, Jim in Michigan
  • Tech Talk Responds: When I have problems with Bluetooth connections, I turn off Bluetooth and turn it back on, delete previous connections, and then do a forced reboot. I also make certain that it is not connecting to another device by accident.
  • To force reset an iPhone, users previously had to hold down the Power button and the Home button at the same time until the screens turns black and the Apple logo appears. However, to reset the iPhone7, hold down the Power button on the right side of the device and the Volume Down button on the left side at the same time.
  • Email from Lacy in San Francisco: Dear Tech Talk. I love to play games on my Xbox. I can either buy new games with CDs or download them. The cost is the same. What do you recommend as the best option? Enjoy the podcast here in San Francisco. Lacy
  • Tech Talk Responds: Discs can get scratched, lost, cracked, stolen, and any of a dozen other things that read like a list of disasters not covered by your car insurance. They’re fragile and expensive. If you lose a disc, you lose the ability to play that game. To offset this, some games stores have offer “disc insurance” for a few dollars, so if something bad happens to your game, they’ll replace it free of charge.
  • With downloads, however, your games are totally safe, with or without insurance. They’re tied to your PlayStation Network or Xbox Live account. It doesn’t matter what happens to your console’s hard drive, you can always re-download your games.
  • The biggest thing that physical discs still have going for them is the secondhand market. You can’t sell, trade in or lend a download; it’s yours forever and ever, whether you like it or not.
  • Email from Lynn in Ohio: Dear Tech Talk. I recently started to use Snapchat to send photos to my friends. These photos just disappear quickly. Can they be saved by the person receiving them, or are they really gone. Enjoy the podcast here in Ohio. Lynn
  • Tech Talk Responds: Snapchat is an ephemeral messaging or photo app, which means the messages disappear. It’s now more popular than Twitter and Pinterest, with only Facebook and Instagram having more users daily. The difference is that most of Snapchat’s users are millennials and teens.
  • When you open Snapchat and take the “Snap” and then set a timer for between one and ten seconds and hit send. The recipient is notified that you’ve sent him a Snap. As soon as he opens it, he’ll only be able to see it for ten seconds. After that, it’s gone. He could take a screenshot, but if he did, I’d get a notification from Snapchat telling me that he’d done so. So it really is not that temporary. Beware of the kind of photos that you may send.
  • You can also send short video Snaps and disappearing text messages with Snapchat. A video Snap can be up to ten seconds long. Instead of using a timer, Snapchat’s text messages vanish as soon as the person reading them leaves the chat.
  • Although Snapchat’s appeal is mainly that everything is temporary, sometimes people use it to record things that they actually want to keep. Snapchat Memories is a way for you to privately save your own Snaps and Stories so you can view or share them again later.
  • Your Snaps remain on their servers until all recipients have opened them. If one recipient doesn’t open the Snap for a week, the Snap will stay on their servers for that week. If a Snap isn’t opened for 30 days, it expires and is deleted. The safest thing to do is to assume that anything you send on Snapchat is on their servers for a month.
  • Email from Richard in Kilmarnock, VA: Dear Tech Talk. I just got a new TV and want to watch moves over the Internet. It is not a SmartTV and does not have any Wi-Fi access. What are my options? Richard in Kilmarnock, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: You, of course, need to Wi-Fi at your house to connect to first. Then you will need to plug a stream device into one of the HDMI ports on your TV. You have several options here. Here are three on my favorites.
    • Roku 4 – Supports 4K video, costs $130 dollars, supports multiple streaming services, remote control.
    • Google Chromecast (2nd Generation) – Only supports 1K video, costs $40, supports multiple streaming services, controlled by cell phone.
    • AppleTV (4th Generation) – Only support 1K video, costs $150 (32K) or $200 (64K0), supports apps and multiple steaming services, tightly integrated with iPhone for screen sharing.
  • Email from Trish in Fairfax: I would like to share photos with my family and don’t want to use Facebook because I don’t trust it security. What are my other options? Trish in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: Here are some other solid photo sharing options to make it easy to share photos with friends and family.
    • Flickr — Flickr remains one of the highest profile photo sharing sites on the internet, and with good reason: the entire service is oriented around high quality photo sharing, and the free tier of the service has a lot to offer. A free Flickr account will get you 1TB of storage (more than even most prolific shutterbugs could fill up in years of shooting) as well as flexible privacy settings. Photos are uploaded and stored at full resolution, and you can easily configure your account so the viewers are able to download the full resolution photos (or at home printing or sending them off to a photo service). Your friends and family can either sign up for a free Flickr account (and you can use their Flickr username to manage their access to your photos) or you can share individual photos, albums, or even your entire photo stream through a guest user pass delivered to them via email. Be sure to pay attention to privacy settings before uploading your personal photos. Best for: Photography enthusiasts who want to mix hobby and family time.
    • Google Photos — Previously known as Picasa Web Albums, Google Photos is a pretty appealing option thanks to the unlimited storage for photos under 16 megapixels (which make up the vast majority of snapshots taken by home photographers) and ease of sharing. Your photos are uploaded in their full resolution and once shared with friends and family (via a mobile number or email address), they can be downloaded in the same resolution. Furthermore, you can give those same people upload rights to your album which makes it useful for gathering together all, say, the family Christmas party photos in one place from all the different photographers in the group. Best for: People with lots of photos on their PCs and phones.
    • Amazon Photos — If you’re one of the 63 million Amazon Prime subscribers, you’ve got a solid photo backup and sharing system right at your fingertips (even if you didn’t realize it). Amazon Photos gives you unlimited full-resolution photo backup, the ability to add up to five family members to their “Family Vault” to collect and share photos, and—like Google Photos—you can also share individual photos or albums by email or a shareable link, no Amazon account needed. Best for: People with Prime accounts that want to maximize the value they get out of their Prime Subscription and offer easy photo pooling for family members.
    • Photobucket — For readers who are most interested in sharing photos in a way that makes it simple for the recipients to order prints, Photobucket is a worthwhile option. While it’s a bit light on storage in the free tier (you only get 2GB free plus an 8GB bonus if you install the Photobucket mobile app), it works well as a place to put your best pictures. What Photobucket lacks in terms of storage and extra features (like albums multiple family members can contribute to), it absolutely makes up for in ease of use for physical prints. Your family members will be able to not only easily download the original images without an account (just using the shared link to your password protected album), but also order both prints and even photo products. If grandma wants a mug with Junior’s face on it, she won’t have to bug you to make that happen. Check privacy settings before uploading. Best for: People who want a photo storage/printing service that allows the user and guests to download full resolution photos.
    • Shutterfly — Shutterfly offers unlimited photo storage—the promise to never delete a photo unless the customer deletes it is a prominent part of their business model. Not only can you easily share albums with your friends and family through the same method we’ve seen repeatedly throughout this list—emailing them a shared link—but you can also create a format website for your shared photos with a vanity url like The only downside to the custom site route is that the only way to make it private is if all users have a Shutterfly account. it’s simple, regardless of which sharing method you use, for your family members to easily order both prints and any of the numerous photo products from Shutterfly. Best for: People who want unlimited photo storage combined with a very large print/product marketplace for ease of ordering.

Profiles in IT: Alan Mathison Turing

  • British mathematician and logician, who made major contributions to mathematics, cryptanalysis, logic, philosophy, and biology and to the new areas later named computer science, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and artificial life.
  • The son of a British member of the Indian civil service, Turing entered King’s College, University of Cambridge , to study mathematics in 1931.
  • After graduating in 1934, Turing was elected to a fellowship at King’s College in recognition of his research in probability theory.
  • In 1936 Turing’s paper On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem [ Decision Problem] sought an effective method for deciding which mathematical statements are provable within a given formal mathematical system and which are not.
  • As part of the proof, he showed that any effectively calculable function can be calculated by a Universal Turing machine, a type of abstract computer that Turing had introduced in the course of his proof.
  • At the outbreak of hostilities with Germany in September 1939, he joined Britain ‘s wartime program at Bletchley Park to break the Enigma code, used by the German military for their radio communications.
  • Turing and others designed a radically different code-breaking machine known as the Bombe, kept the Allies supplied with intelligence for the remainder of the war. They decoded over 39,000 intercepted messages each month.
  • Turing was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire for this work.
  • In 1945, Turing was recruited to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in London to design and develop an electronic computer.
  • His design for the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) was the first complete specification of an electronic stored-program general-purpose digital computer.
  • University of Manchester built the world’s first working electronic stored-program digital computer in June 1948. His earlier theoretical concept of a universal Turing machine had been a fundamental influence on the Manchester computer project.
  • He then took a job as Manchester as Director and designed the programming system of the Ferranti Mark I, the world’s first commercial electronic digital computer.
  • In 1950, he asked the philosophical question, Can Machines Think? The Turing test as a criterion for whether a machine thinks.
  • In March 1952, he was prosecuted for homosexuality and lost his security clearance.
  • Turing began working on what is now known as artificial life. He wrote ?The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis,? He used the Ferranti Mark I computer to model the way that genes could control the development anatomical structures.
  • Turing was discovered dead in his bed, poisoned by cyanide. Some have postulated that Apple’s logo (an Apple with a bite taken out) is a tribute to Turing.

Turing Test

  • The Loebner Prize
  • The Chatterbox Challenge
  • The Turing Hub
    • Website:
    • A switchboard that connects people to chatterbots or other people.
    • Have a conversation with something and then guess what you were talking to.

Food Science: Easter Egg Dye

  • Most food dyes are acid dyes, so called because they only work in acidic conditions.
  • The vinegar—a solution of 5 percent acetic acid in water—is there to bring the pH low enough that the dye will actually bind.
  • But is there an ideal pH for perfect egg-dying saturation? A normal box of food dye says to add 1 teaspoon of vinegar for every half-cup of water—but would tweaking that acidity by adding more or less vinegar get you better results?
  • The colored molecules themselves are sodium salts of a phenolic acid. Once those dyes get thrown into water, the sodium ions fall off, leaving behind the negatively-charged part of the molecule.
  • Add vinegar, and you’re adding lots of free protons—positively charged hydrogen ions—which take the place of those missing sodium.
  • The hydrogens, now associated with the dye molecules, are important because they allow hydrogen bonding.
  • Their slightly positive charge acts like a magnet, attracting it (and the dye, in tow) to slightly negative atoms in the protein molecules and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the eggshell.
  • The color you see on the egg—red, yellow, blue, green–depends on how each particular dye molecule absorbs and reflects different wavelengths of light.
  • But the saturation of that color depends on how strong a bond you can get between the egg’s calcium-filled surface and the dye molecules.
  • Wired tested the effects of different levels of normal white vinegar, 5 percent acetic acid, on the color of a hard-boiled egg, while tracking its pH.
  • They tested six different conditions: Pure water (pH 7), a cup of water with 1/8 teaspoon of vinegar (pH 6), a cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar (pH 5), a cup of water with 2 teaspoons of vinegar in it (pH 4), half and half water and vinegar (pH 3), and pure vinegar (also pH 3).
  • Pure vinegar was good at dying the eggs a vibrant color, but it presented a different problem. There was so much bubbling on the surface of the egg when we dropped it into the vinegar that it actually left spots on the surface of the egg where the dye wasn’t able to attach.
  • In the end Wired found the boxed instructions are pretty good. A teaspoon of vinegar per half-cup of water gives you a pH around 4, and it consistently gave smooth color.
  • A lower pH—the half-and-half water and vinegar—created a more saturated color.
  • But that extra acid still caused a little bit of the bubbly splotching that plagued the all-vinegar dye solution. Any more basic than pH 4 and you’ll get splotches of white.
  • If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, you have options! Lose the vinegar, and replace it with any other edible household acid, maybe the citric acid in some strained lemon juice. Then buy some cheap pH strips on Amazon, add just enough acid to get you to pH 4.

Food Science: Cereals

  • The first modern and commercial cereal foods were created by the American Seventh-day Adventists.
  • The Adventists formed the Western Health Reform Institute in the 1860s.
  • It was renamed the Battle Creek Sanitarium after its location in Battle Creek, MI.
  • The Adventists manufactured, promoted, and sold wholesome cereals. Cereal or grain is a member of the grass plant family, with starchy seeds used for food. Common cereals are: wheat, rice, rye, oats, barley, corn (maize), and sorghum.
  • In 1894, Will Keith Kellogg was trying to improve the diet of hospital patients. He was searching for a digestible bread substitute using the process of boiling wheat.
  • Kellogg accidentally left a pot of boiled wheat to stand and the wheat became tempered (soften). When Kellogg rolled the tempered or softened wheat and let it dry, each grain of wheat emerged as a large thin flake. The flakes turned out to be a tasty cereal. Kellogg had invented corn flakes.
  • Kellogg received his M.D. from Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York City, in 1875. He was a Seventh-day Adventist.
  • Will Keith Kellogg founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906.
  • Rice Krispies were introduced by Kellogg in 1929.