Show of 03-12-2022

Tech Talk

March 12, 2022

Best of Tech Talk Edition

  • Segments taken from the November 20, 2021 show.

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Kyle in Miami: Dear Tech Talk. Last week you talked about hibernate vs sleep mode in the Windows OS. Does the hibernate mode exist in the Mac world? I would like to use it. Kyle in Miami, FLA
  • Tech Talk Responds: Macs support a number of sleep states including the good old normal sleep and some special states such as Standby and Safe Sleep.
  • Sleep Mode: When the Mac goes to sleep, not just into idle mode or display sleep, the following things happen:
    • The microprocessor goes into a low-power mode
    • Video output is turned off and a display may turn off or enter its own idle state
    • Apple-supplied hard disks spin down
    • The Ethernet port turns off, if applicable
    • Expansion card slots turn off
    • An AirPort card or built-in modem, if present, turns off
    • Optical media drive, if present, spins down
    • Audio input and output turns off
    • Keyboard backlit illumination, turns off
  • The computer will continue to power RAM in sleep mode, so that whatever was in RAM when the computer went to sleep will still be there when the computer wakes. This also means that computers with more RAM use slightly more power in sleep mode. This is the default sleep mode for all desktop Macs.
  • Safe Sleep: Another sleep state found in Macs is safe sleep. It also puts the contents of the RAM onto the hard disk each time you put it to sleep. In the event the battery begins to run low while sleeping or is left idle for long time, you will not lose any work. Instead the machine enters a hibernation mode, whereby it’s using very little power at all. When you connect the Mac to AC power, safe sleep will read the contents of the disk back to RAM, letting you come right back where you left off—with open applications and documents intact. This is essentially hibernate.
  • Email from Hac in Bowie: Dear Doc and Andrew. My friends has recent iPhones. They keep sending my Animoji’ s. Unfortunately, I have an iPhone7 and it does not support Animoji’s. Is there any way that I can get Animoji’ s on my phone. I would love to use them. Love the podcast. Bac in Bowie, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: Only iPhone X and later support Animoji’s. Your hardware does not. You are in the same boat as all Android users too. Fortunately, you can download an Animoji app. It is not as elegant as the build in Animoji’s. There are over a dozen applications. Here are the top three.
    • Disney Emoji Blitz — Disney Emoji BlitzDisney Emoji Blitz is one of the best animoji apps for android and iOS users which allows you to make 3D Avatar on your smartphone. It is free and easy to use fun app to customize avatar with thousands of Disney, Pixar, and Star Wars emojis and items.
    • Zepeto — Zepeto is a great animoji app developed by SNOW Corporation for android and iOS users which allows you to make 3D character of yourself. You can easily make the emojis of your character and use it in chatrooms to start chat with strangers or your friends. It allows you to edit your character’s face or dress with different costumes.
    • Chudo — Chudo is a great emoji apps which allows you to easily create 3D animated emoji on your android and iOS device. Using this app you can make a 3D emoji mimic anything you do and easily share them with your friends and family using different social media apps. One of the best feature of this app is to allows to upload your own 3D models so that other users can use them.
  • Email from Karen in Virginia Beach: Dear Tech Talk. I am planning trip to Europe. How can I safely access the Internt while I am on vacation? I plan to stay in small boutique hotels and travel via train. Karen in Virginia Beach, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: Using the Internet while you’re away from home is risky business unless you know how to do it safely. Virtually every vacation destination on the planet has hackers and scammers waiting in the shadows for the opportunity to steal the money and identities of as many unsuspecting victims as possible.
  • Here are a few tips for keeping your private information private and your identity all your own while you’re on vacation:
    • Never use the open, un-encrypted WiFi at a restaurant or other establishment to visit any website that requires you to log in or provide sensitive personal information unless there is simply no other alternative for accessing the Internet at your current location.
    • If you simply have no choice but to use an open WiFi connection, make sure you use a really good Virtual Private Network (VPN) app such as IP Vanish or ExpressVPN. Using a VPN will ensure that all of your Internet data will be transmitted over the web in a secure manner.
    • Make sure that any website that offers the option of using https encryption is actually using it by installing the fantastic HTTPS Everywhere browser extension.
    • Never allow your web browser to store your login passwords. If your browser stores your passwords and you lose your laptop or mobile device, whoever finds it will have full access to all of your online accounts.
    • If you don’t keep your devices locked with a password at home, make sure you put a password on them before leaving for vacation.
    • Always be on the lookout for “Evil Twin” Wifi Networks. These are fake WiFi networks that mimic real ones, but were set up solely to steal your sensitive personal and login information.  This post explains how to recognize and avoid them.
  • It is easy to access the Internet in most parts of the world these days, but it’s also easy to get yourself into some serious trouble if you aren’t careful.
  • Email from Barbie in Reston: Dear Tech Talk. I have a very urgent problem and I need your help! Everything was fine when I went to bed last night, but when I woke up this morning and turned on my laptop to check my email, the laptop could not find my WiFi network. I had it scan for available networks and it found just one (and it had a nasty name that I cannot repeat on here). It appears that someone has hacked my router somehow but I don’t know how to take back control of it because it won’t accept my password. Can you help? Barbie in Reston, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: You are right. It sounds like someone has indeed taken control of your router and set up a malicious WiFi network on it.
  • The first thing you need to do is manually reset the router back to its factory settings. Doing so will wipe out that rogue WiFi network and allow you to log in to the router to set up one of your own.
  • You will need to perform a factory reset. With the router power up, look at the back of the router for the reset button. Press and hold the reset for ten seconds. When you reset the router, it will have the default user name and password, as well as, the default internal IP address. You can find this information by downloading the manual from the manufacturer. Since your router is down, you can your mobile phone to search for it. You might find something like User Name (Admin), Password (Admin), Internal IP Address (192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1).
  • Connect your computer to the router using an Ethernet cable, since the WiFi is not linked. After you reset the router, put it the default Internal IP Address in the browser. Log onto the router using the default User Name and Password.
  • First, change the User Name and Router Password to something secure. Second, set up a new WiFi connection. Be sure to use WPA2 security and choose a strong WiFi password that is impossible to guess. Reboot the router and connect to Wifi with your computer. At this point you can disconnect the Ethernet connection. You should now be good to go.
  • Email from Ken: Dear Tech Talk. I want to express my appreciation for Andrew’s interesting, insightful, informative, helpful, constructive, and enjoyable contributions to the show every week. (Incidentally, you mentioned last week that Ted Nelson was responsible for including a back button in web browsers.  I am very glad that he thought of it. This is not exactly about that, but for what it’s worth, I think the undo function is one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century.) Dr. Ken 
  • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for the positive feedback. Kudos to Andrew. 

Profiles in IT: Howard Rheingold

  • Howard Rheingold is best known for predicting the cultural, social and political implications of the Internet, mobile phones and virtual communities, a term he invented.
  • Rheingold was born on July 7, 1947, in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, in 1968. After graduating in 1968, he held a variety of jobs before focusing on writing.
  • He spent much of the 1980s exploring the intersections between human consciousness, creative activity, and new technologies.
  • Howard first plugged into the internet in 1983 before the WWW existed.
  • He was one of the first non-programmers to see computers as mind amplifiers rather than just computing or word processing machine.
  • A lifelong fascination with mind augmentation and its methods led Rheingold to the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Xerox PARC.
  • He worked on and wrote about the earliest personal computers. This led to his writing Tools for Thought in 1985, a history of the people behind the personal computer.
  • Although Rheingold gained considerable attention with his book Virtual Reality (1991), it was not until The Virtual Community that he became a leading commentator on cyberspace in general and the notion of online communities in particular.
  • In that seminal work, Rheingold shed light on what users do within virtual communities, especially on The WELL, a online community that he joined in 1985
  • It was there that he was credited with first coining the term virtual community.
  • He also explored community formation within USENET newsgroups as well as identity representation on the role-playing games known as Multi-User Dungeons.
  • According to Rheingold, virtual communities represent human agency at its finest; everyday users of the Internet transformed a once-militaristic computer network into an online public sphere—or, in Rheingold’s words, “an electronic agora.”
  • In The Virtual Community, he also offered a brief, simplified history of the Internet, sprinkling his anecdotal observations with theories of social contracts, reciprocity, and gift economies.
  • That same year, Rheingold coauthored Out of the Inner Circle: A Hacker’s Guide to Computer Security with former hacker Bill Landreth.
  • In 1991, he published Virtual Reality: Exploring the Brave New Technologies of Artificial Experience and Interactive Worlds from Cyberspace to Teledildonics.
  • After a stint editing the Whole Earth Review, Rheingold served as editor in chief of the Millennium Whole Earth Catalog.
  • In 1994 Rheingold helped create HotWired, the first commercial Webzine with a virtual community; it served as the online component of the then relatively new Wired magazine.
  • In 1996 he started Electric Minds, another online magazine with a virtual community. Later that year Rheingold sold Electric Minds.
  • In 1998, he created his next virtual community, Brainstorms, a private successful web conferencing community for knowledgeable, intellectual, civil, and future-thinking adults from all over the world.
  • He later established Rheingold Associates, an online management-strategy business.
  • In 2002, Rheingold published Smart Mobs, exploring the potential for technology to augment collective intelligence.
  • Shortly thereafter, in conjunction with the Institute for the Future, Rheingold launched an effort to develop a broad-based literacy of cooperation.
  • In 2008, Rheingold became the first research fellow at the Institute for the Future, with which he had long been affiliated.
  • Rheingold is a visiting lecturer in Stanford University’s Department of Communication where he has taught courses such as “Digital Journalism”, “Virtual Communities and Social Media”, and “Social Media Literacies”.
  • He is a former lecturer in UC Berkeley’s School of Information where he taught “Virtual Communities and Social Media” and “Participatory Media/Collective Action”.
  • Rheingold lives in Mill Valley, California, with his wife Judy and daughter Mamie
  • Reingold’s net worth in 2021 is about $1 Million.

Observations from the Faculty Lounge

  • Impact of the hippie culture on the Internet and computer technology.
  • In the early 1960s, computers haunted the American popular imagination.
  • Bleak tools of the cold war, they embodied the rigid organization and mechanical conformity that made the military-industrial complex possible.
  • But by the 1990s and the dawn of the Internet, computers started to represent a very different kind of world: a collaborative and digital utopia modeled on the communal ideals of the hippie. Computers could augment the mind like LSD.
  • The movement was driven by a highly influential group of San Francisco Bay–area entrepreneurs: Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth network.
  • Between 1968 and 1998, the Whole Earth Catalog, the computer conferencing system known as WELL, and, ultimately, Wired magazine, Brand and his colleagues brokered a long-running collaboration between San Francisco flower power and the emerging technological hub of Silicon Valley.
  • Thanks to their vision, counterculturalists and technologists alike joined together to reimagine computers as tools for personal liberation, the building of virtual and decidedly alternative communities, and the exploration of bold new social frontiers.
  • Howard Rheingold was part of that movement as he tried to quantify the rules of the new virtual communities.

Emoji to Animoji

  • In 1881, an American satirical magazine Puck included real emoticons as a part of their Typographical Art issue, published on 30 March. Using typography, it portrayed several emotions: joy, melancholy, indifference, and astonishment.
  • In 1999 that Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese artist, created the first 176 modern emoji while he worked for i-mode, a mobile internet service company.
  • In 2007, Google became the first US Company to incorporate emoji into their e-mail service, Gmail. It was a part of their effort to expand their presence in Japan and Asia.
  • In 2008, Google released their own 79 animated emoji for Gmail and Apple also launched their own version of emojis.
  • In 2010, emoji became part of the Unicode Standard with each emoji having its own dedicated block and accessible worldwide.
  • In 2011, emoji finally made it into Apple keyboard on its iOS 5 update. Two years later, Android made emoji accessible on their keyboard as well.
  • In 2017, Facebook revealed that five billion emoji were sent each day in Messenger..
  • In 2017, iOS 11 introduced face-tracking emoji called Animoji. It enables users to create custom animated emoji using their own face.  The Emoji Movie was released.
  • The next year Samsung created their own AR Emoji. And the rest his history.
  • Emojipedia link: https://emojipedia.org/

Metaverse: How Facebook rebrand reflects a Dangerous Trend

  • Facebook’s rebranding as Meta has been seen by many as the company’s latest attempt at corporate crisis control.
  • It also represents an attempt to rebrand the growing power of tech monopolies to shape all areas of our lives through social expansion.
  • It points to a troubling new era of metacapitalism, as Forbes called it in 2000.
  • It reflects a disturbing trend of massively expanding tech conglomerates and the dangerous privatization of technological knowledge.
  • Technology is rapidly transforming our world—from instantaneous digital communication to AI decision-making to virtual and augmented reality.
  • The driving force behind these changes has been private technology firms, whether global start-ups or famous Silicon Valley conglomerates.
  • Huge technology firms such as Google and Facebook are increasingly criticized for unethical data collection and the use of algorithms which encourage hateful beliefs and viral misinformation.
  • These problems point to the threat of capitalist tech monopolies where, according to theorist Neil Postman, the culture “seeks its authorization in technology, finds its satisfactions in technology, and takes its orders from technology.”
  • What is needed instead is a real discussion about fostering open-source culture, data rights and ownership, and the use of technology for positive social transformation—not simply selling more products.

Facebook Drops Facial Recognition to Tag Photos

  • Facebook will stop using facial recognition technology to identify people in photos and videos and delete accompanying data on more than 1 billion people.
  • Facebook has used a facial recognition system to automatically detect people in photos, videos, and Memories since 2010.
  • However, the billions of photos tagged with the assistance of facial recognition over the span of the past decade will keep those labels.
  • Facial recognition has come to embody privacy and human rights concerns that have led more than a dozen major US cities to ban use of the technology.
  • The decision comes after Facebook underwent weeks of intense scrutiny following the leak of thousands of internal documents that revealed holes in moderation.
  • Facebook will still use the technology to do things like help users gain access to a locked account or verify their identity in order to complete a transaction.
  • Although Facebook will delete data on more than a billion faces, the company will retain DeepFace, the AI model trained with that data.
  • Facebook is the latest major tech company to set aside facial recognition use. IBM stopped offering facial recognition to customers last year.