Show of 09-08-2018

Tech Talk

September 8, 2018

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Dennis in Baltimore: Dear Doc and Jim. I am trying to get a job in the technology and having trouble. They want experience and I cannot get experience without a job. This is a chicken and egg problem. What comes first, the experience or the job. I am stuck in a rut. Help. Dennis in Baltimore
  • Tech Talk Responds: This is the classic problem. You have also made the classic mistake. No one said that the experience has to be paid.
  • You need to complete some IT projects that interest you.
    • Install a Linux OS and set up a firewall and router for your network
    • Install Apache web server with PHP and MySQL
    • Create a simple database driven website.
    • Install a VMWare on your laptop and create a virtual server.
    • Use Ethereum to create a Blockchain application.
    • Anything that interests you. An IT applicant without interests, or completed projects, is someone to avoid.
  • Join user groups (Linux, MAC, Oracle, MySQL, etc.) and help with the meetings. Ask for assistance with some of your projects. Never ask for a job. If they see you working on an interesting project (with enthusiasm), the jobs will find you.
  • Subscribe to industry magazines. You need to know where the field is going so you can talk intelligently about the future and what you will need to know.
  • Act like you are already a professional in the field. Act the part, get the job.
  • Message from Adelakun Akinsunlola on Facebook: Please educate me on how to protect my bank account against fraudsters using internet.
  • Tech Talk Responds: First, select a strong password that is not used on any other accounts. Second, enable two-factor authentication. Make certain that your second factor (email account or cell phone) is secured. Your second factor email account needs a strong password which is not used on any other accounts. Your cell phone account should be protected against SIM hijacking. Do not do banking on any public Wi-Fi or public computer. If you must use a public Wi-Fi, always enable a VPN before doing any banking. Never use a public computer.
  • Email from Richard in Rockville: Hello Richard and Jim. Thank you for a very informative and enjoyable Saturday morning show on WFED 1500AM. I also do not have cable TV. I do all of my TV viewing in over the air mode.using a simple rabbit ears hook up.  Since I live on an upper floor of a high rise with a window facing NE I am able to get many Baltimore TV stations. Best Regards, Richard in Rockville
  • Tech Talk Responds: So good you can get over-the-air HDTV is great. I like streaming my HDTV over my Wi-Fi so I can watch it on all devices in the houses without splitters or cabling. I love my Tablo for that purpose.
  • Email from Geosynchronous: Hey Doc and Jimbo, Been catching up on old shows by working backwards from your most recent offerings. Listening at 2X speed (highly recommended) via the podcast app I’ve made it to February 2018. Here’s the rub. All shows near or prior to that date come up as “Unavailable” via Apple podcast. Can you check and see if that can be fixed? Need my new favorite show! Ps – If it can’t be fixed might you have an existing FTP endpoint for bulk downloading? Much love, Geosynchronous
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can subscribe to the actual podcast feed:
  • Also note that all shows can be accessed directly with their link, which you can infer from the following link:
  • Thanks for listening. I will check out the Apple Podcast problem too.
  • Email from Lois in Kansas: Dear Doc and Jim. I am planning of giving my old Windows 10 laptop to my nephew. I would like to remove all personal data from the hard drive before giving it to him. How can I do that reliably? Love the podcast. Lois in Kansas
  • Tech Talk Responds: It is difficult to do. Windows stores so much information in so many places, it is nearly impossible to know what to delete and from where.
  • By far the safest approach is to wipe the machine and reinstall Windows 10 from scratch. That is really the only way to be certain. You will have erased absolutely everything, including all personal data. You will then have to re-install all applications on the computer. I hope that you have the kept the licensing information.
  • If you don’t like the idea of a reformat-and-reinstall, the only solution I’d consider would be the following sequence:
    • Create a new Windows user account with administrative privileges.
    • Log out of your existing account and log in to the computer using that newly created account.
    • Delete the old account completely.
  • Then look for additional data you might have placed outside of Windows default locations. Look at the various applications you have installed on the machine, and see where they have been storing data. You may find it in several different places. But you might not find it all. You more secure option is wipe and re-install.
  • Brian in Kansas: Dear Doc and Jim. I just bought a new HDTV and was looking at all of the options. What does game mode on my monitor mean and what does it do? What Does “Game Mode” On My TV Or Monitor Mean? Brian in Kansas
  • Tech Talk Responds: Modern displays have computer parts. That means that, unlike some of the simpler televisions and monitors, images don’t transfer instantly from whatever’s plugged into your screen to the screen itself. There is a delay between when the display receives the signal from the video cable and when it’s fully rendered onto the screen. That’s the amount of time it takes all those electronics inside your TV or monitor to process the image. We call this time the input lag.
  • Input lag is generally between five and ten milliseconds (ms) for most modern LCD screens. As long as your TV’s audio is synced correctly, your brain can’t notice a 1/100th of a second difference. But input lag can be a huge deal for playing modern PC or console games. 1/100th of a second in a fast-paced game might be the difference between a punch landing or not.
  • When you enable game mode on some monitors and televisions, it strips away some or all of the processing that the screen does to the image to get it from the source to the screen panel as fast as possible. Generally, this means going from 10ms of lag down to 6ms. Some high-end TVs or monitors can get that time down to 1 ms.
  • If it is not designed with gaming in mind, “game mode” might not be a setting related to the input lag at all. It might just be another color profile.

Profiles in IT: Ira H. Fuchs

  • Ira H. Fuchs is best known as co-founder of BITNET, an important precursor of the Internet. He was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2017.
  • He was born December 1948 in Queens, New York.
  • Ira Fuchs’ passion for network communications began as a ham radio operator. As a teenager, he talked with people around the world from his bedroom in Queens, NY.
  • Ira Fuchs received a BS in Applied Physics (1969) and an MS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (1976) from Columbia University.
  • Fuchs became interested in computers in the 1960s while studying physics at Columbia. It was a time when mainframes were becoming important in academia.
  • During his MS, he was introduced to email and advanced networking systems.
  • In 1973, he served as the first Executive Director of the Computer Center at CUNY until 1980 and then as CUNY’s Vice Chancellor of University Systems until 1985.
  • Fuchs’ inspiration to expand the network to other colleges and universities came from talking to a college classmate who was working on IBM’s VNET system, which connected all of IBM’s locations. He friend thought he should do it for higher ed.
  • Fuchs took the idea to Greydon Freeman, director of computing at Yale, and the idea for BITNET was born. The name originally stood for “Because it’s there NET,” but they renamed it to “Because it’s time NET”
  • They began by connecting Yale and CUNY, while Fuchs simultaneously wrote to about 40 other universities, mostly along the East Coast.
  • In the mid-1980s BITNET connected millions of users from more than 1,400 institutions of higher education, government laboratories, and IBM’s VNET network.
  • Fuchs went on to become a co-creator of LISTSERV, the first networked list manager; a founder of JSTOR, a nonprofit organization dedicated to archiving and providing access to important scholarly journals; and a founding trustee of both the Advanced Computing Systems Association (USENIX) and the Internet Society.
  • From 1984 until 1989 Mr. Fuchs was President of BITNET Inc. and from 1989 to 2003 he was President of the Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (CREN), a not-for-profit organization that operated the BITNET academic computer network, as well as the CSNET network.
  • From 1985 until 2000 Fuchs was VP for Computing and IT at Princeton University.
  • From 2000 until 2010 he was Vice President and Program Officer for Research in Information Technology at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • From 2010 until 2012 he was Executive Director of Next Generation Learning Challenges, which is dedicated to identifying and scaling technology-enabled approaches that dramatically improve college readiness and completion.
  • Now retired, Fuchs said he has, among other things, gone back to playing with ham radio.

Scam of the Week: Laptop Battery Life Estimates

  • Laptops promise anywhere from 15 to 24 hours of battery life, but you will be lucky to get 10 hours. Those estimates are not wrong, and there’s no mistake: Manufacturers choose the most unrealistic benchmark with the highest numbers.
  • If you look close, you will see the words “up to” before the battery life estimate. The manufacturer does not promise 16 hours of battery life; it promises “up to 16 hours.” You will get 16 hours in the ideal, perfect circumstances—not under regular PC use.
  • Here is a secret: It’s all about video playback. Manufacturers start playing video on the laptop and time how long it takes for the laptop’s battery to die. They just let a video play until the laptop dies, and that is it. They might disable background features and set the screen brightness to lower than normal levels, too.
  • Unfortunately, constant video playback is not representative of regular use. Modern laptops (and smartphones) use hardware-accelerated video decoding. The laptop has special hardware in its graphics processor unit (GPU) that efficiently decodes the video while using as little power as possible, keeping CPU usage down.
  • Manufacturers don’t care whether this represents your experience or not. They use this benchmark because it produces the longest battery life.
  • Rather than relying on manufacturer benchmarks, it’s best to find independent reviews of the laptops you’re considering buying. For example, while Microsoft touts up to 17 hours of battery life on the Surface Book 2, Anandtech found it lasted for about 9.7 hours while browsing the web.

Streaming Deal of the Week: Spotify with Hulu and Showtime

  • Students Can Get Spotify Premium, Hulu, and Showtime in $5 a Month Bundle
  • US students can get Spotify Premium for $5 a month, with Hulu and Showtime thrown in.
  • Spotify Premium alone usually costs $10 a month, so this is already a good deal. Access to Hulu Limited Commercials normally costs $8 a month, and Showtime normally costs $11 a month. The first three months only cost $1 a month. The deal expires October 9,
  • Why do they offer this deal? These companies want college students to get into the habit of paying for subscriptions, and hope that a low deal will be enough to get the ball rolling. It is probably smart, considering how rampant piracy tends to be on college campuses.

People Named Wiener or Butts Have Trouble Creating Accounts Online

  • What if your real name contains an obsene words? Natalie Weiner, a writer for SB Nation, was recently filtered by just such a system. She talked about on her blog.
  • Soon, Weiner’s mentions were filled with hundreds of comments from people who sympathized with her plight. “I get this a lot, surprisingly,” said Kyle Medick. James Butts “knows these problems” and Matt Cummings has “been there.” Arun Dikshit said algorithmic bias has become almost a daily occurrence. “At one of my jobs, IT had to create a rule on email server to stop my emails from being rejected as porn spam,” said Clark Aycock.
  • These sites are just trying to prevent certain words in fake names from becoming common on the site, but the automated measures end up making life harder for innocent people. It’s a problem.
  • This has to be frustrating for people. My last name, Pot, has triggered jokes from near strangers my entire life. This is annoying enough, so I can only imagine how bad it must be when the machines are adding to it by refusing to accept your actual name.
  • For these unfortunate few, they have to reach a person who will allow their account to be created, once they verify that it not fake.

New iPhones are on the Way

  • The 2018 iPhones are coming and September 12th is the iPhone keynote date.
  • Preorders should then start two days later, and deliveries and in-store launches are scheduled for September 21st.
  • According to a Redditor, Apple has hired almost all the available air transport out of China for a few weeks, and the iPhone can be the only explanation:
  • Apple has reserved almost all air freight going from China -> USA for the upcoming weeks for a Product Launch.
  • The 2018 iPhones they should be more affordable than the 2017 models.
  • An all-screen iPhone with Face ID could cost as low as $699, even if the phone will only have an LCD and single-lens camera on the back.
  • There will be a cheaper iPhone X successor and a Plus version that might have an entry cost of $999, like the original iPhone.

Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’

  • A Japanese team working to develop a “space elevator” will conduct a first trial this month, blasting off a miniature version on satellites to test the technology.
  • The test equipment, produced by researchers at Shizuoka University, will hitch a ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by Japan’s space agency from southern island of Tanegashima next week.
  • The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in—a box just six centimetres (2.4 inches) long, three centimetres wide, and three centimetres high.
  • If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two mini satellites that will keep it taut.
  • The mini-elevator will travel along the cable from a container in one of the satellites.
  • “It’s going to be the world’s first experiment to test elevator movement in space,” a university spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.
  • The movement of the motorised “elevator” box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites.
  • The space elevator idea was first proposed in 1895 by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky after he saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and was revisited nearly a century later in a novel by Arthur C. Clarke.
  • Japanese construction firm Obayashi, which is collaborating with the Shizuoka university project, is also exploring other ways to build its own space elevator to put tourists in space in 2050.
  • The company has said it could use carbon nanotube technology, which is more than 20 times stronger than steel, to build a lift shaft 96,000 kilometers (roughly 60,000 miles) above the Earth.

US to Charge North Korea for Sony Breach, WannaCry

  • The DoJ plans to charge North Korean threat actors for their involvement in two major cyberattacks.
  • The Department of Justice is preparing to charge North Korean hackers for the 2014 Sony cyberattack and WannaCry, the May 2017 global ransomware campaign.
  • A New York Times report on the indictment states the US government has long had the suspect, North Korean spy Pak Jin-hyok, on its radar.
  • Intelligence officials believe Pak worked with the North Korea Reconnaissance General Bureau, the country’s equivalent to the CIA and the same organization believed to be responsible for both WannaCry and Bangladesh bank thefts.
  • The indictment was delayed, the New York Times continues, because much of the incriminating information officials wanted to leverage against Pak was classified and could not be used.
  • Reuters reports that the DoJ will charge multiple North Korean hackers for both the Sony and WannaCry attacks. It also states the charges are part of a US government strategy to prevent future cyberattacks by publicly identifying the alleged threat actors.

How to Call Back a Private Number

  • When you receive a private call, you may feel you have no way of knowing who the caller is without answering. This can be irritating, especially if you receive a series of calls from unknown or private callers.
  • Because of the FCC’s mandate to allow private calling, telephone companies have created a service called Last Call Return that automatically calls back the last number that called your phone, regardless of whether the call is private or not.
  • The service is free, and to activate it, dial *69 before another call comes in. This code works for landlines, while cell phones usually require a #, rather than *. After dialing, if the person answers, you can ask who they are.
  • Some providers will provide you with a computer-generated voice telling you the actual number, with the option to place a call. Other telephone providers simply call back the private number and do not provide you with the number.
  • Some carriers limit the time window to activate *69 to 30 minutes after the call was received.