Tech Talk September 4, 2021
Email and Forum Questions
- Email from Philip Nicholson: Sorry to hear today of the loss of Jim Russ. I cannot tell you how much the show with Doc and Jim has meant to me over the years. I hope and pray for the wellbeing of his family – such a shock. I hope that your show can continue though I know it will be a challenge. .A listener for many, many years. Dr Philip Nicholson
- Tech Talk Responds: Thank you for your comments. Thanks for your loyalty.
- Email from Bob in Maryland: Doc, I was shocked and saddened when I heard of Jim’s passing today on the show. I imagine this must have been somewhat of a shock for you as well. I know you have had a number of other co-hosts over the years, but I think the chemistry between you and Jim (and Mr. Big Voice) was pretty good, actually. I do not really know what to say, except that I will miss Jim (and his version of Mr. Big Voice; I am not sure if there will be a replacement or not, at this point). I will of course continue to be glued to my radio every Saturday morning at 9 am for Stratford University Tech Talk show. All the best, your faithful listener, Bob in Maryland
- Tech Talk Responds: Thanks Bob. Your attention to Mr. Big Voice was an inspiration for Jim.
- Email from Arnie in Colorado Springs: Hi Dr. Shurtz. Tuned into Federal News Network to listen to Tech Talk podcast today and was taken back at the news that your partner, Jim Russ, had died the 18th of a heart attack – a day or so before his 58th birthday. My deepest condolences to you for the loss of a really good friend & colleague. What a shock. 57 is a bit young to have a heart attack, which makes his death so surprising. My prayers are with you & colleagues at the radio station and Stratford University for your loss. A Frequent Tech Talk listener, Arnie in Colorado Springs, CO
- Tech Talk Responds: Thanks, Arnie. You started listening in the DC area and continued with the podcast when you moved to Colorado Springs. Thanks for your loyalty.
Tribute to Jim Russ (from August 28, 2021)
- Andrewsâ€™s recollections of Jim, his life, and his contributions.
Profiles in IT: Ada Lovelace (Jimâ€™s Favorite from June 9, 2007)
- Ada Byron was the daughter of a brief marriage between the Romantic poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabelle Milbanke
- Ada married William King. King inherited a noble title; they became the Earl and Countess of Lovelace.
- Lady Byron wished her daughter to be unlike her poetical father, and she saw to it that Ada received tutoring in mathematics and music, as disciplines to counter dangerous poetic tendencies.
- Ada met Charles Babbage in 1933 when she was 17 and they began a voluminous correspondence on the topics of mathematics, logic, and ultimately all subjects.
- Charles Babbage, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, was known as the inventor of the Difference Engine, an elaborate calculating machine that operated by the method of finite differences.
- Babbage held the same post as Sir Isaac Newton (known for the equations of motion and calculus) and Steven Hawkings (Black holes and Hawkings radiation).
- Babbage had made plans in 1834 for a new kind of calculating machine (although the Difference Engine was not finished), an Analytical Engine.
- His Parliamentary sponsors refused to support a second machine with the first unfinished, but Babbage found sympathy for his new project abroad.
- In 1842, an Italian mathematician, Louis Menebrea, published a memoir in French on the subject of the Analytical Engine.
- Babbage enlisted Ada as translator for the memoir, and during a nine-month period in 1842-43, she worked on the article and a set of Notes she appended to it.
- She rightly saw it as what we would call a general-purpose computer.
- She understood the importance of keeping the calculating machine and the program separated.
- Proposed a method to computer Bernoulli numbers using the analytical engine
- The methods she proposed included loops, branches, and conditional statements.
- She is thus credited with being the first programmer.
- Babbages analytical machine anticipated most of the features of computers that were invented over a hundred years later
- The programs for his machine developed by Babbage and Lovelace anticipated computer programming methods that were developed over a hundred years later.
- In May 1979, the new DOD-1 programming language was named Ada in her honor.
Observations from the Bunker
- Remembering Jim Russ. Reflections of a co-host.
- Jim has been my co-host since March 11, 2007. Before Jim, David Burd was my co-host when I started the show in 2000.
- Jim Russ kept the show interesting. When I would get too technical or too serious, he would liven it up.
- Jim loved to create theater of the Mind
- Observations from the Bunker
- Big Voice
- The Pop Quiz
- He created the Best of Shows when I was travelling for Stratford University
- I regret not coming back to the studio sooner after the pandemic. The last time I saw Jim in person was March 2020, prior to the lockdown.
- I loved working with Jim. He made the show fun for me. Jim, I will miss you.
Daylight Saving Time (First Show with Jim, March 11, 2007)
- On August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
- Act changed the time change dates for Daylight Saving Time in the U.S.
- Beginning in 2007, DST will begin on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November.
- The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress.
- Congress retains the right to resume the 2005 Daylight Saving Time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete.
- When does the actual time change occur?
- In the U.S., clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time.
- In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
- Now we Spring Forward; in Winter instead of Spring.
- Daylight Saving Time is NOT observed in
- American Samoa
- Puerto Rico
- Virgin Islands
Phone Call from David Burd (Second Show with Jim, March 18, 2007)
- David Burd calls to comment of Jim Russ and Tech Talk
- One co-host to another.
Google Release April Foolâ€™s Joke (April 1, 2007)
- Google today announced the launch of Google TiSP (BETA), a free in-home wireless broadband service that delivers online connectivity via usersâ€™ plumbing systems.
- The Toilet Internet Service Provider (TiSP) project is a self-installed, ad-supported online service that will be offered entirely free to any consumer with a WiFi-capable PC and a toilet connected to a local municipal sewage system.
- Simply flush fiber optic with weight down toilet for connectivity
- Go to www.google.com and look at latest breakthrough
Warning of the Week: USB-C to Lightning Can Hack Your Data
- Security researcher MG has developed a series of cables that can secretly record personal information and send it to threat actors, with one being a Lightning to USB-C cable that mimics the design of an official Apple cord.
- That means it can be used on a Macbook, iPad and iPhone to record anything that’s written on a keyboard.
- The cable can record the keystrokes of an unsuspecting victim and wirelessly send private data to hackers that can reportedly be over a mile away.
- It does this with a hidden chip, found in the USB cable’s plastic shell, that creates a Wi-Fi hotspot that hackers can remotely connect to. Using an interface on a web browser, threat actors can then record keystrokes.
- Cybersecurity company Hak5 sells different versions of the invention, also known as the O.MG cable after creator MG.
- The cable “is built for covert field-use, with features that enhance remote execution, stealth, and forensics evasion.”
- This cable and variants are at least $119.99 at Hak5.org (https://hak5.org/)
Why FTC is investigating broken McFlurry Machines
- McDonald’s McFlurry machines never seem to work.
- Even McDonald’s has hinted it might have a problem with its ice cream dispensers.
- A website (McBroken.com) even tracks the broken machines.
- The FTC is reportedly looking into why MacDonald’s ice cream machines often seem to be out of order.
- Why you may ask. It is because the McDonald’s franchisees may be restricted from repairing the machines themselves. The FTC want know about this restriction.
- The FTC this summer has been ramping up its enforcement of rules about illegal repair restriction.
- The US agency’s focus here extends beyond McDonald’s machines.
- If you’ve ever cracked the screen on your phone or wished you could replace its battery, those repairs could fall under those guidelines too.
- A recent executive order from President Joe Biden and a new policy statement from the Federal Trade Commission are both designed to help you save some money the next time you need to fix your phone.
- Biden’s executive order referred to as “right to repair,” is a series of rules that in theory would force phone developers, manufacturers of cars and washing machines and the makers of pricey farm equipment and medical devices to publicly post the diagnostic tools and documentation they use to fix products when they break.
- This would allow everyday people to either fix the product themselves or go to a third-party repair shop, rather than rely on “official” authorized repair centers, which are almost always the most expensive option.
- The FTC quickly followed Biden’s and will begin to look at any warranty or repair restrictions that violate antitrust laws. This is good news for consumers.
Good News of the Week: FTC Bans Spyware Maker SpyFone
- The Federal Trade Commission has unanimously voted to ban the spyware maker SpyFone and its chief executive Scott Zuckerman from the surveillance industry.
- The agency accused the company of harvesting mobile data on thousands of people and leaving it on the open internet.
- The agency said SpyFone “secretly harvested and shared data on people’s physical movements, phone use, and online activities through a hidden device hack, allowing the spyware purchaser to see the device’s live location and view the device user’s emails and video chats.
- SpyFone is one of many so-called stalkerware apps that are marketed under the guise of parental control but are often used by spouses to spy on their partners.
- The spyware works by being surreptitiously installed on someone’s phone, often without their permission, to steal their messages, photos, web browsing history, and real-time location data.
- The FTC also charged that the spyware maker exposed victims to additional security risks because the spyware runs at the “root” level of the phone, which allows the spyware to access off-limits parts of the device’s operating system.
- A premium version of the app included a keylogger and “live screen viewing.