Show of 01-02-2021

Tech Talk January 2, 2021

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Segments taken from previous shows.

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz. Let us talk about 5G for a moment. Just how many devices that one has now that will not work with 5G? Current iPhone, iPad, modem, router, laptop, XFINITY TV (do not have Verizon FIOS here in the Colorado Springs). New iPhone SE coming out soon. Will it work with 5G? Moreover, when will 5G really be viable for most people that live in cities? Thanks for such an informative & interesting show! Arnie in ‘Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tech Talk Responds: 5G is the successor to 4G (or LTE), which succeeded. It should be 15-50 percent faster that 4G in the day-to-day in the real world. 5G isn’t just about speed though, about simply being able to watch 4K Netflix on the train home. It’s also about capacity, and being able to get a stronger signal in crowded areas. In other words, you shouldn’t lose connection anywhere near as easily at a crowded sports stadium or a music festival, for example. 5G uses more spectrum thanks to FCC releases of underutilized bands. Expect the 5G networks to roll out over the next couple of years. That rollout should be matched with the availability of handset. Only a few are available now (from Samsung, LG, and OnePlus). The next generation of Android and Apple devices should support it. The iPhone SE, a repackage of current technology, will not support it. The initial phones ran hot and used lots of power. This improves with each successive release. The networks are expensive to deploy and are rolling out slowly, first in the big cities and major corridors.
  • Email from Bob in Maryland: Dear Doc and Jim and the true “star” of the show, Mr. Big Voice. Doc, have you ever heard of this. Computers powered by swarms of crabs. It an article from 2012. It is a bit offbeat! Love the Show Bob in Maryland.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Interesting concept. Swarms of crabs when given choices of which entrance to use behave like a computer AND or OR gate. This was verified with a swarm of 40 crabs. Simple rules can produce complex results with cellular automata. This may be a reflection of that fact.
  • Email from Peter in Fairfax: Dear Tech Talk. I have an old printer that does not support Wi-Fi. I would like to share the printer over the wireless network. Is there any way to convert this printer to Wi-Fi? Enjoy the podcast. Peter in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: I love Wi-Fi printers. You can prints from a computer or cell phone anywhere in the house. You can easily convert your printer to support Wi-Fi by using a Wireless Print Server. Simply place your printer in the place that’s most convenient for everyone who’ll be using it, then plug it into the wireless print server. Plug your wireless print server to the input port of your printer. Add a wireless print server to your network and print from your laptop, desktop and mobile devices without having to switch a cable from one device to another. Your USB-only printer can now be accessed from anywhere in your home without running a cable from the computer or mobile device to the printer! Amazon has an excellent selection of wireless print servers to choose from. They run from $40 to $60. If you want to print from your iPhone, make certain that the print server support AirPrint.
  • Email from Stu in Kilmarnock, VA: Dear Tech Talk. We have a DSL Internet connection. It was pretty good when they first installed it, but it’s been terrible for the past year. We really need the higher speed because our family does a LOT of video streaming. I’ve been seeing commercials for HughesNet satellite Internet that say they have “Unlimited data with no hard data limits“. What exactly do they mean by that? It’s really confusing. Stu in Kilmarnock, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: The “Unlimited Data” part of the phrase means just that. As long as you are subscribed to a HugesNet data plan you can use all the data you want every month without having to worry about your Internet access being cut off because you exceeded some pre-determined data cap. However, their FAQs page states that your download speeds will drop from 25Mbps to 1-3 Mbps after you reach the data threshold that’s defined in your chosen data plan. If you decide to sign up with HughesNet you’ll be able to choose from several plans ranging from 10GB per month to 50GB per month. If you end up exceeding your monthly high-speed data allotment, HughesNet will gladly sell you some “Data Tokens” which will boost your speed back up to 25Mbps for the duration of the extra data purchased.
  • Email from Alice in Alexandria: Dear Doc and Jim. My friend recently forgot their password and was locked out of their Facebook account. And Facebook won’t help them gain access. Is there anything that I can do to ensure that this will not happen to me? Alice in Alexandria
  • Tech Talk Responds: People find themselves in this situation because Facebook has determined that it’s better to have some people locked out of their accounts forever than to make it easy for hackers to reset the passwords of unsuspecting users.
  • You can make some adjustments, but these steps MUST be taken in advance! Once your password has been forgotten or changed by a hacker, it’s too late to go back and set these security measures up because they can only be completed while you’re actually logged into your Facebook account.
  • The first thing you need to do is make a record of which email address (or phone number if you use the Facebook mobile app) you used to open your Facebook account. This should be the same email address or phone number you use to log into your account right now. It’s imperative that you keep this email address and phone number active as long as you are planning to keep your Facebook account open because you’ll need to enter one of them in order to reset your password if the need to do so ever arises. Having access to that email address or phone number will be the only fool-proof way to reset your password and regain access to your account if you ever need to do so.
  • The second thing you need to do is to select anywhere from 3 to 5 “Trusted Contacts”. Trusted Contacts are Facebook friends who you trust completely and would be willing to vouch for you and verify your identity if you ever need to regain access to your account. Having several Trusted Contacts designated for your account will provide a second option for regaining access to your account if you find yourself without access to the Facebook-registered email address or phone number. Trust is very important here because your “Trusted Contacts” could potentially collude allow someone to take over your account simply by clicking the “Forgot password?” link and then all of the Trusted Contacts falsely verifying that the person trying to change your password is you. Choose only trusted family members and/or your very closest trusted friends to be your Trusted Contacts.
  • If you’re using Facebook in a web browser on a laptop or desktop computer:
    • Log into your Facebook account.
    • Click the Down Arrow icon at the right end of the blue bar near the top of the screen.
    • Click Settings.
    • Click the Security and Login link over in the left-hand column.
    • Click the Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you get locked out link and then follow the prompts to select your Trusted Contacts.
  • Email from Lilly in Fairfax: Dear Doc and Jim. How can I hid sensitive notification from my iPhones lock screen? I do not like all they notification visible for anyone to see while my phone is charging. Enjoy the show. Lilly in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Responds: Your iPhone gives you much more control over notifications. You can designate certain apps as “sensitive”, so that it hides the content of notifications while your phone is locked, only letting you see the full preview when you use Touch ID or Face ID to unlock your iPhone. This works in every single app on your phone.
  • To change this setting, head to Settings > Notifications on your phone. Tap the “Show Previews” option at the top of the screen. Set the option to “When Unlocked” and notification previews will be hidden until you unlock your phone, preventing other people from snooping on them. You can also select “Never” and you’ll never see previews, even while your phone is unlocked.
  • Whatever option you choose, you can override it for individual apps. For example, you can hide message previews for all apps, but then allow them for a few apps.

To do this, head to the Settings > Notifications screen and tap the app you want to configure. Scroll down on the app’s notification settings screen, tap “Show Previews” under Options, and select your preference. You can select “When Unlocked”, “Never”, or “Always” here. Unless you select custom preferences for an app, it will use the default setting you choose for all apps.

Profiles in IT: Jacobus Cornelis Haartsen

  • Jacobus Cornelis Haartsen is a Dutch electrical engineer best known as the father of Bluetooth communication.
  • Jaap Haartsen was born 13 February 1963, in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • In 1986, he received an MSEE with honors from Delft University of Technology.
  • He worked briefly for Siemens in The Hague and Philips in Eindhoven.
  • In 1990, he received a PhD in EE from Delft University of Technology with honors.
  • His thesis dealt with programmable filters in silicon surface acoustic wave devices.
  • In 1991, he was hired by Ericsson, working in Raleigh-Durham, NC. In 1993 he was transferred to the Ericsson Mobile Terminal Division in Lund, Sweden.
  • He was tasked with finding solutions for short-range (3m to 4m) radio connections to enrich mobile phone functionality. Cost and power were driving factors.
  • Because the frequency band was shared, he decided to use frequency hopping. He already had a working solution in 2.45 GHz using frequency hopping communication.
  • Bluetooth devices change frequencies within the designated band, hopping around on 79 frequencies 1,600 times each second.
  • While Dr. Haarsten was working initially alone, a team was quickly built. In 1995, he was joined by Sven Mattisson. The team eventually grew to 30 people.
  • The name in the initial development phases was MC (Multi-Communicator) Link.
  • By 1997, the team had a workable solution and Ericson realized that it needed to collaborate with other firms to ensure adoption.
  • In 1998, a Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed by five founding members: Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, Toshiba and IBM. Intel was selected as the lead.
  • Jim Kardach, representing Intel, suggested the name Bluetooth. Harold Bluetooth was a 10th century Danish king who united Denmark. The logo too consists of a Viking inscription, called the bind rune, that brings together the king’s initials.
  • The Bluetooth SIG has formed a patent pool for Bluetooth, defined the standard, provided licenses to manufacturers and examined devices for compliance.
  • Five patents, filed by Dr. Haartsen can be considered fundamental for the Bluetooth standard. In total, Dr. Haarsten has filed more than 200 patents. The SIG patent pool was essential for the early success of the technology.
  • In 1999, Bluetooth 1.0 was released. In 2000, the first mobile phones with Bluetooth appeared, as did first PC cards and prototype mice, keyboards and USB dongles.
  • In 2001, the first Bluetooth-enabled printers, laptops, and car kits were introduced.
  • In 2011, the SIG had 15,000 member firms. Bluetooth V4.0 was released.
  • In 2010, he became CTO of Tonalite in the Netherlands, a company which creates wearable wireless products. Tonalite was acquired by Plantronics in 2012.
  • He was hired by Plantronics as Senior Expert, Wireless Systems.

In 2015, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Technology of the Week: Green Light for Fishing

  • Scientific research shows that all members of this food chain have eyes sensitive to the colors blue and green. This probably evolved because the water absorbs longer wavelengths.
  • Fish and some members of their food chain have color receptors in their eyes optimized for the light of their “space”. Eyes that can see a single space color can detect changes in light intensity.
  • It has been known for a long time that a light attracts fish, shrimp and insects at night. Based on the biology of visual receptors, the light should be blue or green.
  • The light first attracts microorganisms, which attract bait fish, which attract predator fish.
  • This light works very effectives after it has been one for a couple of hours.
  • I ordered the Extra Bright Single Dock Light System from or $499.00
  • It is a 250W submersible arc-lamp. It burns hot enough to keep barnicles from forming on the light fixture itself.
  • My grandkids are happy and are catching 14 inch fish every nights (striped bass, puppy drum, perch, and speckled trout)

The Woman Who Discovered Corona Viruses

  • June Almeida was an electron microscope operating at the Ontario Cancer Institute.
  • She developed new techniques and published several papers describing the structures of viruses previously unseen.
  • An electron microscope blasts a specimen with a beam of electrons and then records the particles’ interactions with the specimen’s surface. Since electrons have much shorter wavelengths than light, this shows scientists an image with much finer, smaller detail. The challenge is figuring out what you are looking at.
  • To solve the problem, Almeida realized she could use antibodies taken from previously infected individuals to pinpoint the virus.
  • Antibodies are drawn to their antigen-counterparts—so when Almeida introduced tiny particles coated in antibodies, they would congregate around the virus, alerting her to its presence. This technique enabled clinicians to use electron microscopy as a way to diagnose viral infections in patients.
  • Almeida moved to London for a position at St. Thomas’s Hospital Medical School.
  • In 1964, Dr. David Tyrrell sent her a flu-like virus they labeled “B814” from a sick schoolboy in Surrey. They suspected that B814 might be a new type of virus.
  • Not only did Almeida find and create clear images of the virus, but she remembered seeing two similar viruses earlier in her research: one while looking at bronchitis in chickens and the second while studying hepatitis liver inflammation in mice.
  • With the sample from Tyrrell, Almeida was confident they were looking at a new group of viruses.
  • As Almeida, Tyrrell, and Almeida’s supervisor gathered to discuss their findings, they wondered what to call the new group of viruses.

After looking over the images, they were inspired by the virus’s halo-like structure and decided on the Latin word for crown, corona. The coronavirus was born.

Observations from the Bunker

  • I met with Elijah Cumming a couple of years ago on Capitol Hill.
  • He believed that education was the key to Baltimore future. He had great hopes for youth of Baltimore.
  • Elijah died October 17, 2019 at age 68. He was taken away too soon.
  • Cummings was born on January 18, 1951, in Baltimore. His parents were sharecroppers.
  • Cummings graduated with honors from the Baltimore City College high school in 1969. He then attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. Cummings graduated from law school at the University of Maryland in 1976.
  • He practiced law for 19 years before being elected to the State House in 1996 and the US Congress a few years later.
  • We originally has a five minute photo op meeting scheduled. It turned into a two hour meeting as we talked about Baltimore and his hope for the youth of Baltimore.
  • We talk about the five things that I believe education should provide youth: A Growth Mindset, Communication Skills, Critical Thinking Skills, Mindful Leadership, Happiness.
  • Even though we were on opposite sides of the aisle, there was no daylight between us. We pondered how our experience would be helpful for Congress.

He believed in non-violent protest, in the spirit of Martin Luther King, who walked in the shoes of Mahatma Gandhi from India.

Food Science: Champagne Bubbles

  • The bubble patterns evolve as the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide changes in the glass. They start out as strings of bubbles that rise in pairs, then gradually transition to bubbles in groups of threes, and finally settle down in a clockwork pattern of regularly spaced individual bubbles.
  • The researchers observed the carbon dioxide bubbles in a champagne glass as they rise from nucleation points on the glass wall. The nucleation points are small defects in the glass that trap tiny vibrating pockets of carbon dioxide. Dissolved gas in the champagne gradually collects in a vibrating bubble inside the defect, causing it to grow and soon expel gas from the defect, forming another bubble that sticks to the outside of the defect. That bubble, in turn, grows as more dissolved carbon dioxide collects inside it and it eventually breaks free of the defect to rise through the champagne. Then the process begins again with a new bubble expelled from the defect, forming rising strings of tiny bubbles.