Oct 13.2010

Sep - 29 2010 | By

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NOTE:
There will be a membership drive in 2 weeks and the show will not be broadcast.

 

Glenn said it looks like Apple will be releasing a version of the iPhone that will work with Verizon. He said that he's heard from people in the Bay Area, who use the iPhone with AT&T, who keep getting poor reception & dropped calls and would like to use their iPhone with Verizon.

Paul talked about the data rates one can expect with 3G & 4G networks.
– 3G can go up to about 1.5 megabits per second.
– 4G, when the cell towers are compliant, can go up to 5 megabits per second, or even higher.
– 4G is a new standard and "nothing you've got now is compatible with it".

Paul explained that there are 2 basic types of cell networks.
1) GSM is used by the majority of carriers including AT&T. It uses a SIM card in the device (e.g. cell phone).
2) CDMA is used by Verizon. It doesn't use a SIM card. To activate it you have to go to a retailer who then puts the serial number into their equipment.
Paul then wondered of Verizon will provide a GSM service for the expected iPhone customers.

Glenn thanked Paul for hosting the Flea Market while he was away.

Glenn also said there will be a membership drive in 2 weeks and the Zentech show will not be broadcast.

Ken called with a question about iPods. He wanted to know how to transfer the music from his son's iPod to his own computer.
– Bottom line, you can't do it using iTunes. They don't want you to do that for copyright & other reasons.
– Do a Google search for "ipod ripper". Paul said he's heard that software, for about $25, made by xilisoft.com can do the job. When you use this program, iTunes may start running when you plug in the iPod. In that case, just close iTunes.
– If you use iTunes with an iPod it's never seen before, it will try to wipe out all of the music. Make sure you get the music saved before doing that.
– The software by xilisoft is called iPod Rip and there's a free trial.
<There as another iPod ripper mentioned on the 27jul09 show>

Bill called. He has a Dell desktop PC with a USB optical mouse and the mouse freezes sometimes. He can get it going again by unplugging the mouse & plugging it back in.
– You can just assume the mouse is defective and buy another for about $10.

Bill said he's tried a different mouse and a different USB port. He also said that the mouse light goes out sometimes.
– Paul said that if this machine is using the XP operating system, the mouse driver is not required. Uninstall any mouse software. When you then plug the mouse back in, you'll have only the basic mouse functions, but you'll be sure it's not the drivers that are causing the problem.
– Try unplugging other devices using the USB ports. That's just in case they are drawing too much current.
– Paul said there is only one chip that drives the USB ports. For about $10 you can get a 4-port PCI USB port. That will bypass the current chip, in case there's something wrong with it.

James called. Not having heard an earlier part of the show, he mentioned that the iPhone is coming to Verizon customers.

Glenn said if you have an iPhone that's not on contract and is unlocked, you can a SIM card for a T-mobile or a pay-as-you-go AT&T Go Phone account.

Talk turned to Mac vs. PC. Paul talked about the total cost of ownership, which extends over the entire life of the product. The cost also includes your time in dealing with problems. Paul said dealing with viruses is particularly time consuming. Though Macs may cost 2 to 3 times the PC for similar horsepower, it has far fewer viruses to deal with. Therefore, Paul subjectively estimated, that the Mac can recoup the price difference in as little as 6 months to a year.

The other big plus of the Mac, Paul said, is that it's the only operating system that can do genuine incremental backups using TimeMachine.

The mother of one of Glenn's friends recently started using a Mac and they initially had trouble turning off the feature that reads aloud what's on the screen.

Paul said the Mac has the ability, with a small adaptor, to add a second screen to extend the desktop real estate. Before each show, Paul usually puts up an announcement on his Facebook page.

Glenn announced that Microsoft has come out with smartphones and an operating system for them. He thinks Dell, LG and Samsung are the three major producers of the phones.
Paul said this is their 3rd generation attempt to get into the PDA and smartphone market. Their 1st operating system was Windows CE, then came Windows Mobile; both were not very successful. The exception is that Windows CE version 5 and Windows Mobile are used in many GPS units.

Marilyn called to ask for suggestion for an external hard drive.
– There's no compelling reason to get a full-sized hard drive. At about the size of a pack of cigarettes, a compact hard drive will do. Look for one with a recessed socket so there's less tendency for the cable to break off.
– All major brands (Western Digital, Maxtor and Iomega) come with backup software.
– The important thing is to be able to restore your data. You may want to get 2 smaller drives and alternate between them. You can then store the drives in separate locations for an extra margin of safety.
– You can also store your data online using a site like Carbonite, mentioned in a previous show. In this case you'll need a broadband connection but it may work poorly with a satellite connection.

George called to say his Mac is also reading text aloud and he'd like to turn it off.
– It's an accessibility setting, possibly in the application and utilities folder.
– The location for this option may change with the OS versions. For 10.5 and 10.6 go to the System preference panel and select text-to-speech and uncheck the option that says speak selected text.

Ben called to suggest using a networked drive, in addition to an external USB drive, to do backups. That way the data is available to all computers on the network. And it's another way to keep your data in different locations.

Both Glenn and Paul use a free synchronizing program called Synchback by 2brightsparks.com.
– They use it at the station in conjunction with the station's RAID drive.
– What really needs to be synchronized is the folder called Documents and Settings, except for 6 files in that folder — one of which is ntuser.dat

Nina called to say that on her version 10.3,9 Mac, the setting to turn off the text to speech is under system preferences -> universal access.
Paul noted that Mac OS version 10.5 has the option to define a keystroke to turn that feature on and off from the keyboard.

On the PC there's a program called Jaws can read text aloud.
<In XP you can turn on text to speech by going to the control panel -> "sounds, speech, and audio devices" -> speech. I don't know how good it is but it's worth a try>

The disclaimer:
Views and opinions expressed are those of the hosts and not necessarily those of anyone else.

Gary called to say he gets a 'flag' on his screen occasionally that says "log me in version update" and that it's ready to install. He wants to know if this is malware.
– Paul said it might actually be legit. Log Me In is a remote control program installed by the maker of the PC to help with tech support. It allows the maker to take control of your PC remotely.
– If you think you don't need this feature, you can uninstall it thru Add and Remove Programs in the Control Panel. It should be easy to reinstall if you ever need this form of tech support.

Ross called to mention scroogle.org. It lets you search thru Google but it has its own URL and doesn't use cookies. He said it was created by people who used to work for Google. He also gave the following link scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.
Paul said this is a scrapper that cherry-picks bits of another site and sends them back while accepting the cookies itself so you don't get the cookies, thus providing a bit of anonymity.

Ross said they claim your search attempt is recorded for only 48 hours and then deleted and he wanted to know if he could trust them.
Paul said, if there is no technical limitation, there's no ethical limitation.
Paul added "if they can do it, they will. And you should trust your government".

The cheapest Mac is $699. It's the Mac Mini. It's better than previous versions in that it has a discreet video chip and a 2 core Intel CPU. You still need to get a keyboard, monitor & mouse.

Last updated: 9:16 PM 10/13/2010