Jul 27, 2011

Jul - 13 2011 | By

Apple NEws: Thanks Mikail!


Free Healing Music! : )


 PLUTO is even Weirder than you can imagine


More on The Curious Forge!


Delusions or Illusions: The McGurk Effect: (Thanks, Reinette) and what we do technically & otherwise to maintain a coherant view of the world


More on Tim DeChristopher.


Additional notes 

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart
They're tagged with #Zentech

Editor's comments are delimited by < >

Paul briefly mentioned that the dwarf planet Pluto is a strange object. See the above link.

He then went on to talk about what an operating system is. It's software to get between the operator <usually the user> and the hardware. It handles things like storing files on the hard drive and the input from the keyboard or mouse. He said the human brain is much like an operating system that takes care of the minutia so you don't consciously have to. That led to his talking about the perceptual blindness test illustrating the McGurk Effect. He played some of the video from the above link. It showed that watching a person's lips move influences what we hear.

Paul then went on to say that, since the Zentech show involves trouble shooting, one has to be aware of perceptual blindness. He said, "When trouble shooting you tend to see what you want to see and it overrules, sometimes, what's actually happening." And, the troubleshooter shouldn't ask the user what the user thinks is wrong. Instead, one should ask what exactly the user observes when the symptom occurs.

Glenn said there is perceptual effect where words can often be discerned by just noting the first & last letters even if the interior letters are wrong. Paul said authors need an independent proofreader because the author's brain will continue to interpret their poor writing as being correct.

Witnesses in our judicial system, Paul continued, are notoriously flawed when they're presented with something they didn't expect to see. He also said it's easy to plant ideas into people's heads. He thought it would be interesting, for instance, to ask people coming from Disney Land where it was they saw Bugs Bunny. If you ask leading questions, many will "remember" seeing Bugs. Of course, Bugs is not a Disney character but from Loony Tunes.
<Here's an NPR segment about how people can miss seeing the person in a gorilla suit. And a Sciam blog post>

Bottom line, be as objective as you can when troubleshooting.

Glenn related the time he was thinking one thing and his fingers typed something else. The spelling was correct but the words were unintended so his spell checker didn't flag them. One should proof read for context not just spelling.

Glenn's remark led Paul to remember that Jim Baird <I probably heard the name wrong> from Parc Xerox, who helped develop the mouse and keyboard, was on the show and claimed that using a keyboard is the worst way of getting data into the computer because perceptual blindness can lead us astray.

Paul said he saw a demo at the San Jose Tech Museum that illustrated how you can pack words and sentences into your mind at an incredible rate if your gaze is held at the center of a screen where words zoom out directly at you one at a time.

Bonnie called to say she had downloaded a printer driver and wanted to know how to install it.
– She said it's an executable file (.exe) — so just double click on it and it will install itself as needed. She said she did that, but after rebooting the MF Wizard <I think that's what she called it> can't find the driver.
– In that case pick the option "Not at this time" in the wizard.
– Paul added that when installing a network printer (a TCP/IP printer) "you have to tell it it's a local printer of type TCP/IP". This, Paul said, appears not to make sense because TCP/IP is a networking protocol.
– In relation to that, Paul mentioned cognitive dissonance — we are averse to doing the opposite of what makes sense.

Paul found some free healing music used by massage therapists and the like. See the above link. Glenn speculated that the therapists use the music to cue themselves to how much time has passed into their session.

Paul said that XM Radio (satellite service) and CDs may not be played in a business without paying a royalty. Be careful playing music in a public environment that you bought for private use. If the medium specifically says ok, then you're safe — like the software Logic Pro, which Paul just got, that comes with a huge number of royalty-free sound samples.

Glenn directed attention to the Apple news link near the top of this page, one to Curious Forge and also to the Tim DeChristopher link. DeChristopher is the guy who made illegal bids for oil leases to keep them out of the hands of the oil companies. Paul ended this segment with the quote "when good people do nothing, nothing good gets done".

Ellen called to say there's documentary about music remixing and mashups in relation to copyrights. She said it was on the documentary channel.

Ellen also asked about making backups of her movie data using online backup services like Carbonite. She wanted to know if hackers can get to the data.
– No form of backup is completely safe but some are safer than others.
– Movies are huge. It may cost more than the base subscription rate of the service and take a long time to transfer big files.
– Paul suggested using an external hard drive and to use Firewire for the connection, leaving your USB ports free. Paul has seen 3 terabyte drives for about $179.
– Use 2 external hard drives of the same size. Connect them together & to the computer using Firewire.
– With version 10.5 or higher on the Mac, use TimeMachine and tell it to back up the 1st drive to the second drive.
– Use the newer Firewire 800 if you have it, it's faster.
– It's appropriate to turn TimeMachine off while you're engaged in rendering a project. Then turn it on to do the back up afterward.
– The same drives are sold for both the Mac & PC. The one you buy may be formatted for the PC, just reformat for the Mac.
– Firewire is a cascading technology. You can plug in devices along a chain and then into just one port on the computer.
– Check that the Firewire drive has 2 ports unless it's going to be used at the end of the chain. Some drives come with both an '800' port and a '400' port.

Sally called. She got notice that her Google account was accessed from China and she knew it wasn't her.
– The notice may be a specially crafted bit of socially engineering trying to get you to click on it or give up information. But, she said, it was not an email but rather a notice that was part of the Google web page. This gives it more credibility.
– Go into the account settings & change your password. Change it often.
– Fill in additional information to use as secondary authentication (alternate email address or a cell phone number, for instance). These are known as password recovery options and will help if you forget your password or the account gets hijacked.
– Use a strong password — a mixture of upper & lower case, numbers and symbols, if permitted.
– It makes a difference to report gmail spam to Google. They aggregate the reports to determine what to block.

Daniel called. He has trouble with his AT&T cell phone reception where others don't.
– It is possible that of 2 people next to each other, one will get reception and the other not.
– AT&T has been giving out a device to put in your house if you've been getting a poor signal indoors. It uses your internet connection to carry the call. <This may be what's known as a femtocell>
– Try holding phone away from head/body — use BlueTooth or wired earpiece.

Sierra Makers is now The Curious Forge. They're a local Maker group of about 40 members and they're looking for a home. They have a meeting coming up a week from today. See the above link. You can still use their old Facebook page here.
<Zentech show about Makers Fair>
<Zentech show about Makers Fair & Sierra Makers with guest Liam Ellerby>

The Zentech show also has a Facebook page here.

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Next show Aug 10, 2011

Last updated: 9:15 PM 7/27/2011