Show of 12-09-2017

Tech Talk

December 9, 2017

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Alfred: Hello Andrew, I enjoyed chatting with you Saturday morning during the Tech Talk radio show. I mentioned that, like Dr. Shurtz, I am also a physicist and that I had a Christmas ditty for physicists that he might enjoy.
  • Many years ago when I was a college Physics major in the Bronx, the students and faculty had a tradition of occasionally doing an after-hours beer and pizza party. At one such event held in December, and probably after more than a few pitchers of beer, the following Christmas ditty was composed -sung to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:
    • God rest ye merry Physicists
    • Let nothing you dismay
    • Remember Isaac Newton
    • Was born on Christmas Day
    • To save us from philosophers
    • When we have gone astray
    • O tidings of comfort and joy
    • Comfort and joy
  • We never got past the first stanza but it sort of became a class song. Even today, decades later, whenever I hear that Christmas carol it brings back fond memories of that time of learning and camaraderie with budding physicists. Best wishes to Tech Talk radio for another year of interesting and informative radio! Al
  • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for sharing. Isaac Newton was born on January 4, 1643, in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. Using the “old” Julien calendar, Newton’s birth date is sometimes displayed as December 25, 1642.
  • Email from Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz, I downloaded Authy for two factor authorization, which I still haven’t used or know how to use. Twilio bought Authy. Since then I get invitations to view Twilio webmars. I’ve looked up Twilio, but I’m still not sure what this company does other than help Net developers in some way. Are you familiar with Twilio? Is it something anyone can use or is it esoteric to IT community? Great show! Thanks for all the info in Tech Talk. Arnie in Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tech Talk Responds: Strong passwords are not enough anymore. Two-factor authentication is necessary for important sites. That means using an app that generates authentication codes on your phone or a physical hardware token. Authy is a great app with great reviews. It is compatible with all sites that use Google Authenticator, but is more powerful and convenient. It can be used across multiple devices and has a cloud backup. It generates the token after viewing a QR code on the site. That way the actual authentication code is not sent via SMS and is more secure. Sites that support Google Authenticator (and Authy) include Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Evernote.
  • Twilio is a company that has services that can be embedded into applications using the public API. Services include embedded calling, embedded SMS, embedded VoIP, embedded chat, embedded video. It is designed to help app developers get started quickly.
  • Email from Carl Tyler: Dear Dr. Shurtz: Please explain what “Background App Refresh” is and should I have this turned on in my iPhone. I have read a few conflicting articles that says I should have it turned on and others say keep it turned off especially to prolong battery life. Could you do a “Profiles in IT” on Christopher White. He is a Principal Researcher and Partner at Microsoft. Popular Science calls him “The Man Who Lit Up The Dark Web”. I think he would be a worthy candidate to my favorite part of my favorite podcast. Please tell Mr. Big Voice I love the “Moved to Canada because of Trump” jokes. P.S. I haven’t heard Mrs. Big Voice on lately. Has she taken off with the e mailer who was always giving her compliments? Carl Tyler
  • Tech Talk Responds: Christopher White is a great suggestion for a future Profiles in IT. Background App Refresh allows your apps to check for new information in the background in an intelligent and controlled manner. Because of Background App Refresh, apps do not get a blank check to run in the background, but instead are only able to refresh at certain times, locations, and battery levels. BAR does not give any app a blank check to run whenever it wants. It actually adds a layer of intelligence to the way your phone handles apps in the background.
  • Apps can continue to run for a short period of time and are then set to a suspended state so they are not actively in use, open, or taking up system resources. They will instantly launch when you return to them. Certain tasks or services can continue to run in the background. To lessen the effect on battery life, normal app background refreshing is scheduled for efficient times, such as when your device is connected to Wi-Fi, plugged into a power source, or being actively used. When Background App Refresh is on, apps that take advantage of this feature can refresh themselves in the background.
  • Background App Refresh is a great feature of iOS 7. BTW, BAR is automatically turned off when your phone goes into power saving mode at 20% charge.
  • When you enable Background App Refresh, you can select which applications are included. If you check the app often enough that it is critical to have the app up to date, then turn it on. BTW, one of the biggest drains is caused by display brightness. I always keep my brightness less than 50% unless I am trying to use the phone in direct sunlight.

Profiles in IT Alex Kipman

  • Alex Kipman is best known as lead developer for the Xbox Kinect and Microsoft Hololens. He is the driving force behind augmented virtual reality at Microsoft.
  • Alex Kipman was born in 1979 in Curitiba, Brazil. He grew up in Natal, Brazil.
  • When he was five years old, he played Atari games. His parents bought him three Atari 2600s, and he broke the two because he wanted to figure out how they worked.
  • He was less than ten years old when he started figuring out a Windows XT computer. At that time, he started to learn Basic on his own.
  • I had 12,000 songs in his pocket; from Metallica to the Black Eyed Peas. However, it was in classical music that he discovered the similarities with technology. Beethoven was his favorite composer, because he broke all the rules.
  • In 1996, he went to the Rochester Institute of Technology to study software engineering with emphasis in artificial intelligence.
  • He changed direction and began working with research for NASA at the University. He made the image algorithms so that scientists could see through the lens of a telescope attached to a plane that was searching for life on other planets.
  • He had three jobs. In NYC, he worked on the merger between Chase Bank and J.P. Morgan’s banking systems. In in Boston he worked at RSA, security doing research 9 at night. Then he would fly back to Rochester to work on his senior project.
  • In 2000, he got job offer from MS. He interviewed on a fluke and after meeting Bill Gates took a job on the spot, over the objectives of his girlfriend.
  • In 2001, he got married, bought a dog and, on June 25, I began working for MS.
  • His career started in .NET systems. He spent three years working twenty hours a day.
  • In 2003, he and a colleague and I did a six-hour pitch to Bill Gates about a project that would become Windows Vista. Despite hard work, Windows Vista flopped.
  • In 2007, he took time off from Microsoft and then went to spend some time at his aunt´s ranch. It is a place without any technology. In this scenario, he had a “Eureka” moment: what if we make the technology disappear.
  • He came back to Redmond and talked with the Xbox team. He created the project that year and named the project, Natal, his home town in Brazil. Kinect was born.
  • With a team of engineers, scientists, and artists, Kipman persevered and made the Kinect a success. Kinect sold 8M copies in its first three months of release. He saw the Kinect as the first step in the company’s goal of “making technology disappear.”
  • In 2010, he earned a space in TIME’s “Top 25 Nerds of the Year”. Kipman was recognized alongside tech genius Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Kipman is the primary inventor and holder of 60 patents, all issued since 2001. In 2012, he was named IPO Foundation’s 2012 Inventor of the Year.
  • In 2015, Kipman and Microsoft unveiled the HoloLens, a holographic headset that changes the way we experience computing. The project code name Baraboo. He had been working on this holographic headset for five years.
  • Kipman, with shoulder-length hair, is a restless inventor. He is an innovator who seeks to change the way technology interacts with the real world.

Cutting the Cord: The Odyssey Continues.

  • Live TV is good and only getting better.
    • Mohu Air60 Antenna in the attic
    • Channel Master Amplify amplifier (17db and 30db)
    • Tablo (4 tuner) with 2TB hard drive.
    • I am recording many shows (old series that I love like MASH). It like I have my own cable operation without using the Internet.
  • The best OTT application for my was DirectTVNow ($35/month).
    • I tried them all Hulu, Playstation Vue, Sling, Youtube TV, and DirectTV Now.
    • DirectTV included all the channels that I normally use, except the local CBS channel. I get that on live TV.
  • I am using Apple TV with the DirectTVNow, Tablo, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.
  • I changed my Verizon account to Internet only. I am getting 75/75 connection for $60 per month, with a $100 gift card included.
  • Verizon did no make it easy to cancel TV and then they did not want me to get a good rate on Internet only. I had to cancel TV and get the Internet with no contract for $94.
  • Then I could sign up for a two-year contract and get a $35 per month discount and a $100 gift card.

Net Neutrality Protests

  • Protesters gathered outside a Verizon store in New York City in an effort to stop the FCC from repealing net neutrality protections.
  • The protests were organized by several advocacy groups, including Fight for the Future, in the hope of pressuring Republicans in Congress to stop the FCC from rolling back the controversial rules adopted in 2015 under President Barack Obama.
  • The FCC is expected to vote next week on a proposal that would repeal regulations prohibiting broadband and wireless companies from slowing or blocking access to the internet and banning them from charging internet companies fees to access their customers faster than competitors.
  • The proposal will also strip the FCC of authority to regulate broadband networks, leaving policing of the internet to another federal agency, the Federal Trade Commission.
  • The protests are the latest sign of the public support for net neutrality, which is the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally. Democrats and consumer advocacy groups argue the rules are necessary to ensure the internet service providers don’t abuse their power, favoring some traffic — like their own services — over the competition.
  • But broadband companies support FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to dismantle the rules, arguing the regulation is heavy-handed and has hurt investment.
  • Verizon was the target of the protest because Pai worked as a lawyer for the carrier before his appointment to the FCC. The company has said it has no plans to block or slow access to the internet. But Verizon has opposed the reclassification of broadband, which imposes stricter regulation on its networks.