Show of 02-10-2018

Tech Talk

February 10, 2018

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Azra in Fredericksburg: Dear Tech Talk. I changed the password to my MacBook Air a few weeks ago. I also changed the password to my email accounts on Mail. Now whenever I reboot my MacBook, I had to log into KeyChain, over and over again. I finally figured out the KeyChain password and now I only have to log in once (after reboot). How can I get rid of this KeyChain login? It is very annoying. Love the show. Azra in Fredericksburg.
  • Tech Talk Responds: After you or your Mac administrator resets the password of your macOS user account, your Mac might ask you to update your keychain password or enter the password of your login keychain. It might also tell you that the system was unable to unlock your login keychain. That is because your login keychain is still using your old password.
  • If you know your old password (which you do), use that password to update your existing login keychain:
    • Open the Keychain Access app, which is in the the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
    • From the list of keychains on the left side of the window, select “login.”
    • From the Edit menu in the menu bar, choose “Change Password for Keychain ‘login.’”
    • Enter the old password of your user account in the Current Password field. This is the password you were using before the password was reset.
    • Enter the new password of your user account in the New Password field. This is the password you’re now using to log in to your Mac. Enter the same password in the Verify field.
    • Click OK when done, then quit Keychain Access.
  • If you don’t know your old password, you can try to log into your keychain with your Apple ID and password. If that fails, you can create a new login keychain using your admin account password. All stored password will be lost and you will have to save them to the new keychain account.
  • Email from Jim in Bowie: Dear Tech Talk. I have enjoyed your cut the cord series. Based on your recommendation, I recently purchased a Tablo and put the antenna in the attic. I then got the Roku Streaming stick. Everything works perfectly. I am just about ready the cancel my cable TV. I would like to watch the Tablo stations when I am on travel and am having trouble configuring my firewall to allow Table Connect to function. I have a Verizon Fios router. What must I do to allow this. Enjoy the show in Bowie.
  • Tech Talk Responds: In order for Tablo Connect to work you must forward two ports to your Table device. Each of those forwarded ports will be mapped to a second port. In addition, you will need to make the IP address assigned to Table permanent so that the port forwarding rules will always work.
  • To make the IP addressed assigned to Tablo permanent, click on the Advanced Tab. Under Routing, click on IP Address Distribution. Click on Connection list to see all devices connected to the router. On the IP address assigned to Tablo, click on the edit symbol (pencil on the right side of the screen). Clock the box that says Static Lease Type. You might also change the name of the device to Tablo so you can find easily. BTW, the IP address assigned to Tablo should be indicated by your Tablo app, when you turn on Tablo Connect.
  • Next you must port forward the ports. Click on Firewall. Then click on Port Forward from the menu on the left. Select the Tablo IP address from the drop down menu on the left. Select Custom Port from the drop menu on the Right. Click on the Advanced Tab to allow for port mapping.
  • Create the first rule: TCP 21081forwarded to destination port 8887. Click apply.
  • Create the second rule: TCP 21080 forwarded to destination port 80. Click apply.
  • After router reboot, you should be good to go. Go the Tablo app. Turn off Table Connect and then turn it back on. It should show a successful connection to the central server.
  • Email from Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz, My wife and I use Facebook to keep up with friends & family, especially photos. We do not “like” or respond to anything we see on Facebook. We email, iMsg, text or call for any responses. Facebook has updates routinely, and they are large MB size. The last one is 295.5MB. After a while the memory required starts to add up. Or does it? Do Facebook updates both add and delete some things to make the net MB update not as large as they would appear? As another aspect of these updates, I understand from speaking with an Apple Store person, that if left alone, updates will be added even if we choose not to add them. Humm? How does that work? Thanks for having Tech Talk on air. Really like and get lots of good info from your program. Arnie, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tech Talk Responds: The updates files typically replace files on your iPhone. They just do not keep accumulating. You can check how much memory is used by all the apps on your iPhone by going to Settings/General/iPhone Storage. After some delay, you will see a list of applications and the memory that they use. You will also have the option of offloading unused apps and optimizing photos (only storing thumbnails on your phone with the full photo on the cloud). n my case, Mail is the largest application (4.13 GB) with photos coming in second at 2.88GB. Facebook was sixth on the list with 414 MB.
  • Email from Keith in Baltimore: Dear Doc and Jim. How can I check where my PC or Phone is protected against Meltdown and Spectre? With malware in the wild, I am worried. Love the show. Keith in Baltimore.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Even if you have installed patches from Windows Update, your PC may not completely protected from the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws. To fully protect against Meltdown and Spectre, you’ll need to install a UEFI or BIOS update from your PC’s manufacturer as well as the various software patches. These UEFI updates contain new Intel or AMD processor microcode that adds additional protection against these attacks.
  • Unfortunately, they are not distributed via Windows Update unless you’re using a Microsoft Surface device. They must be downloaded from your manufacturer’s website and installed manually.
  • On January 22, Intel announced that users should stop deploying the current UEFI firmware updates due to “higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior”. Intel now says you should wait for a final UEFI firmware patch that’s been properly tested and won’t cause system problems.
  • If you did install a UEFI firmware update from your manufacturer, you can download a patch from Microsoft to make your PC stable again. Available as KB4078130, this patch disables the protection against Spectre Variant 2 in Windows, which prevents the buggy UEFI update from causing system problems. You only need to install this patch if you’ve installed a buggy UEFI update from your manufacturer, and it isn’t being automatically offered via Windows Update. Microsoft will re-enable this protection in the future when Intel releases stable microcode updates.
  • To check whether you are fully protected, download the Gibson Research Corporation’s InSpectre tool and run it. It’s an easy-to-use graphical tool that will show you this information without the hassle of running PowerShell commands and decoding the technical output.
  • Once you’ve run this tool, you’ll see a few important details:
    • Vulnerable to Meltdown: If this says “YES!”, you’ll need to install the patch from Windows Update to protect your computer from Meltdown and Spectre attacks.
    • Vulnerable to Spectre: If this says “YES!”, you’ll need to install the UEFI firmware or BIOS update from your PC’s manufacturer to protect your computer from certain Spectre attacks.
    • Performance: If this says anything other than “GOOD”, you have an older PC that does not have the hardware that makes the patches perform well. You’ll likely see a noticeable slowdown, according to Microsoft. If you’re using Windows 7 or 8, you can speed things up some by upgrading to Windows 10, but you’ll need new hardware for maximum performance.
  • For instance, in my case, I am protected against Meltdown because I have installed the Microsoft Update. I am not protected against Spectre because I am waiting for a stable patch in the microcode to be released by Intel.

Profiles in IT: Lisa T. Su

  • Lisa Su is best known for developing silicon-on-insulator manufacturing and for increasing chip efficiency while at IBM. She is currently CEO of AMD.
  • Lisa T. Su was born in Taiwan in November 1969 and came to the US at two.
  • She was 10 when she began taking apart and then fixing her brother’s remote control cars and she owned her first computer in junior high school, an Apple II.
  • She attended the Bronx High School of Science in NYC, graduating in 1986.
  • She enrolled in MIT in 1986, majoring in electrical engineering.
  • She worked as an undergrad research assistant manufacturing test silicon wafers for graduate students. During the summer, she worked for Analog Devices.
  • She received her BSEE in 1990, her MS in 19991, and he PhD in 1994 all from MIT.
  • Su was one of the first researchers to look into silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, for increasing transistors’ efficiency by building them on insulators.
  • In June 1994, Su joined the technical staff at Texas Instruments.
  • In February 1995, IBM hired Su as a research staff member specializing in device physics and appointed her VP, Semiconductor Research and Development Center.
  • In 2000 Su became technical assistant for Lou Gerstner, IBM’s CEO.
  • As head and founder of IBM’s Emerging Products division, she focused on biochips and low-power and broadband semiconductors for handheld devices.
  • MIT Technology Review named her a Top Innovator under 35 in 2001.
  • Su joined Freescale Semiconductor in June 2007 as CTO, heading the company’s R&D and putting the house in order. The company filed for an IPO in 2011.
  • In January 2012, Su became SVP and GM at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), overseeing the global business units and “end-to-end execution” of AMD’s products.
  • Over the next two years, she pushed the company to diversify beyond the PC market, including working with MS and Sony to place AMD chips in Xbox One and PS4.
  • On October 8, 2014, AMD announced Su’s appointment to president and CEO.
  • Su stated that her plan for the company involved focusing on making the right technology investments, streamlining the product line, and continuing to diversify.
  • By February 2015, roughly 40 percent of AMD’s sales came from non-PC markets such as video game consoles and embedded devices (up from 10%).
  • In 2015, Su and others presented a strategy focusing on high-performance computing and graphics technology for gaming, datacenters, and immersive platforms.
  • In January 2016, Su announced new FinFET-based chips to create new microprocessors, accelerated processing units (APUs), and graphics chips.
  • AMD’s share value spiked in July 2016 when AMD reported strong revenue growth.
  • As of 2016 she has published over 40 technical articles and she also co-wrote a book chapter on next-generation consumer electronics.

An iPhone X now costs $1,700 in India 

  • The price hike came less than a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said it was increasing import duties on mobile phones.
  • India is already one of the most expensive places in the world to buy an iPhone, and 14 of Apple’s latest models — from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone X — will now cost about 3% more.
  • The 256 GB version of the iPhone X, for example, will cost 109,000 rupees ($1,700), an increase of $50. The same version in the U.S. costs $1,149.
  • The increased tariffs are meant to encourage smartphone companies trying to cash in on India’s lucrative market to manufacture their products in the country.
  • While the change will impact other smartphone brands as well, top rivals such as Samsung (SSNLF) and Xiaomi already make most of their Indian phones locally. Apple imports an estimated 90% of its devices.
  • The Silicon Valley giant began making lower-end iPhone SE models at a plant in Bangalore last year, trying to get around manufacturing regulations that have prevented it from opening stores in India.
  • As a result, the price of an iPhone SE in India remains unchanged despite the higher import tariffs.
  • The price of an Apple Watch, however, has gone up by almost 8%, to around $520.

Drones Are Being Featured at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

  • More than 1,200 drones were on display at the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
  • In the first drone performance, the drones light up in the form of a snowboarder. The drones then disperse and quickly transform into Olympics rings as they fly through the sky.
  • The drone performance was put on by Intel. According to Wired, 1,218 drones were flying at the same time. The drones themselves were a foot long and weighed eight ounces, but thanks to Intel’s Shooting Star service, which controls the drones in unison, more than a thousand can take to the sky to create visual experiences.
  • Intel will produce live drone shows throughout the Olympics and will have nightly shows during medal ceremonies.
  • And because the drones rely on lithium-ion batteries that don’t always do well in the bitter cold during PyeongChang winters, Intel tested the drones in Finland to evaluate their performance under similar conditions.
  • The preparation worked: the opening ceremony reportedly went off without a hitch.

Fun Things to Do with Alexa

  • There are thousands of third-party Alexa Skills that you can enable for your Amazon Echo, and that number continues to rise. Here are a few third party Alexa Skills that you should check out.
  • To install Alexa Skills, tap on the menu button in the top-left corner of the screen in the Alexa app. Select “Skills” from the list. Tap inside of the search box at the top where it says “Search All Skills” and type in the name of an Alexa Skill that you want to install. Then tap on the Search button to the right.
  • You can search through Amazon’s massive library in the Alexa app and discover Alexa Skills on your own, but here are a few fun apps to get you started.
  • You can enable a Lyft or Uber Then Alexa can order your car. Make certain to set the address and car type correctly.
  • You can enable a Dominos or Pizza Hut skill and have Alexa your pizza. You will need an accounts for each store, an default address, and method of payment. You can browse menu items and order pizza right from the Echo without lifting a finger.
  • The Bartender skill has all sorts of drink recipes. All you have to do is say “Alexa, ask The Bartender to make a Grasshopper”. Alexa will tell you the ingredients. The Bartender to surprise you with a random cocktail.
  • The Big Sky skill is an advanced weather forcasting app, much better than Alexa’s default weather forcast. You can ask Big Sky just for the basic forecast, but if you want more specifics, you can say things like “Alexa, ask Big Sky what the humidity is” or “Alexa, ask Big Sky what the temperature will be at 5pm”.
  • Night Light is an Alexa Skill that allows you to turn on the glowing blue ring on your Echo for any amount of time. Just say “Alexa, open Night Light” and the blue ring will light up. Granted, it does oscillate a little bit, but it should give you just enough light so that you don’t trip over anything. When you want to turn it off, just say “Alexa, stop” or hit the wake button on the Echo. You can also turn it on for a specific amount of time by saying “Alexa, open Night Light for two minutes”.
  • AnyPod is perhaps one of the best podcast-related Alexa Skills you can use. Once enabled, just say “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play Stratford Tech Talk or any other podcast. You can also fast-forward and rewind podcasts by specific lengths, as well as subscribe to podcasts that you like.
  • The 7-Minute Workout skill is extremely popular, consisting of several high-intensity exercises that take just seven minutes to get through. With the 7-Minute Workout Alexa Skill, you can have your Amazon Echo lead you through the workout without having to time everything yourself. All you have to say is “Alexa, start 7-Minute Workout” and you’ll be guided through all the exercises. nice touch.
  • Translated is a great skill, if you want to know how to say a certain phrase in a specific language. Simply say “Alexa, ask Translated to say where is the restroom in Spanish. You can also tell Alexa to slow down if you need to hear the translation more carefully, or just tell her to “repeat” it and she will repeat the translation.
  • That should get your started. Enjoy Alexa skills.

Waymo and Uber Settle Before Case Goes to Jury

  • Under their agreement, Waymo gets 0.34 percent of Uber’s equity, worth about $245 million given Uber’s estimated valuation of $72 billion.
  • Uber also agreed to not incorporate Waymo’s confidential information into hardware and software used in its self-driving cars. Waymo had been seeking $1.8 billion in damages.
  • The case centered on 14,000 “highly confidential” files that Google’s former star engineer Anthony Levandowski allegedly downloaded before quitting in January 2016 to form his own self-driving truck company, Otto.
  • Uber acquired Otto seven months later. Waymo claims its trade secrets found their way into Uber’s self-driving cars.
  • Uber’s board rejected Waymo’s proposed settlement of almost $500 million.
  • Uber responded Thursday with its offer of about $245 million.
  • Uber also agreed not to incorporate any of Waymo’s confidential information into its hardware or software. Waymo has said all along that the primary goal of its lawsuit was making sure Uber wouldn’t use its proprietary technology.
  • The settlement is a win for new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who aims to put a cleaner face on a company known for its overly aggressive.

Amazon to take on UPS and FedEx

  • According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the online retailer’s new shipping service, named “Shipping with Amazon” (SWA), will roll out in Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
  • With SWA, Amazon will pick up packages from businesses and ship them to customers, relying almost entirely on Amazon’s shipping infrastructure.
  • Amazon plans to abandon UPS, FedEx in favor of its own delivery service
  • Aside from first starting in LA, SWA will first serve third-party merchants that already sell on Amazon. The company plans to send drivers to pick up shipments from these businesses and deliver the packages for them.
  • While shipping and delivery will mostly go through Amazon, anything outside of the retailer’s reach will be given to the USPS and other shipping services for the “last mile” portion of the delivery.
  • In the future, Amazon reportedly wants to open up SWA to businesses that are not affiliated with the site—meaning Amazon could ship and deliver packages from companies of all sizes.
  • Amazon also believes it can compete with UPS and FedEx by making SWA more affordable for business customers, but its pricing structure hasn’t been revealed.
  • Amazon has been slowly building out its shipping and delivery infrastructure, and it seems the company is ready to extend those services to other businesses.

Another near Asteroid Miss

  • An asteroid bigger than a city bus is zoomed by Earth Friday (February 9, 2018) at a safe but close distance, less than one-fifth as far away as the Moon.
  • Called asteroid 2018 CB, the space rock passed Earth at around 5:30 pm (2230 GMT).
  • It will remain about 39,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) from Earth, which is less than one-fifth the distance to the Moon.
  • The asteroid is estimated to be between 50 and 130 feet (15 and 40 meters) in size.
  • Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Russia five years ago in 2013.
  • The asteroid was discovered by astronomers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) near Tucson, Arizona.

iOS 9 Source Code Leaked: What it Means

  • Leaked copies of iOS 9 were posted to Github. Apple filed an action for force it immediate removal.
  • Though iOS 9 is a dated version of the company’s mobile operating system, it is possible that the leaked code could be used to jailbreak older devices or worse.
  • Publication of the code violated Apple’s rights under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
  • Ninety-three percent of users have downloaded iOS 10 or later, and 65 percent have downloaded iOS 11, which includes the latest protections, according to the company.
  • While only a portion of the iOS 9 code was released on GitHub, the part that was made public is important to the overall security structure of the operating system
  • iBoot is critical to the secure boot process on the phone. The code is for an older version of iBoot, but still could be used to help people jailbreak the system and find new ways to bypass controls or allow an attacker to develop an exploit against a vulnerability.
  • Since the code that was leaked handles loading the OS, the bugs can be used for anything from enabling jailbreaks to loading something prior to the OS.