Oct 24, 2012

Oct - 10 2012 | By

The Anatomy of Being Hacked:


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<Remember there's another show this month: on the 31st>

 

During thunderstorms it's a good idea to unplug electrical equipment to prevent lightning damage.
– Surge protectors can protect sensitive equipment but not always. Sometimes the surge is so fast (short duration) that it can get past the surge protector.
– Something like a tree downing a power line can cause a surge, too.
– When power goes off, it's possible for a surge to be created. <If I recall correctly, this is more likely to happen when inductive equipment is involved, like electric motors losing power>.
– It's a good idea to unplug a landline phone, too.
– Led flashlights are handy during power outages — their batteries last quite a long time.

Windows 8 is cheaper than Windows 7 — a bit over $100, and that's for the full not the upgrade version. Paul had a chance to see a pre-release version of Win8. He said he didn't see a significant difference between it and Win7. <From what I've read, it's very different. A couple of articles here and here>

If you have Windows Vista on your machine, now may be a good time to upgrade.
– Paul said doing a direct upgrade might not be successful. Backup your data (and be sure it can be restored), then install the new Windows as if on a 'blank' drive.
– Consider buying a new computer with the latest Windows.

"You can actually do a backup even when the operating system has failed by using a Linux Ubuntu disk. You can boot Linux from a CD and then access/backup the data on the hard drive that failed to boot.

You can do your backups to a flash drive. They are becoming inexpensive. Glenn found a 32gig flash drive for $11 after rebate & tax. Be sure you can restore what you've backed up, on a different computer if possible.

Glenn looked at Fry's website and found 32bit and 64bit Windows 8 for $85. That's for the full version, not the upgrade.

Paul mentioned that the iPad Mini just came out ($329 for the 16gig model). He also saw a video promoting Microsoft's Surface tablet. He said the video was poorly made and he wasn't impressed with the Surface, from what he saw of the presentation. But it does have some revolutionary features.

Paul ordered an Android tablet. Some of the things he looked for and features worth considering in any tablet…
– Multi-touch — can sense multiple fingers on the screen.
– Adequate size. You have to decide what's good for you. 7.5" or 8" is typical now.
– Wi-fi (3G not especially desirable)
– GPS chip, The one he bought doesn't have one but there is some kind of an adapter available, so he can add that later.
– An accelerometer. You can then control things in the apps by moving the tablet around.
– Blue Tooth is not vital to him.
– An SD slot is desirable. The iPad & iPad Mini don't have an external slot for memory.

Glenn almost bought a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 2 10.1" for $550. It included 16gig memory with an additional 16gig SD card. He had hoped it would come with a HDMI port (though he's never needed one) and a USB slot, but it didn't have either.

Overall, Glenn was not impressed with the Galaxy Tablet. The user interface seemed foreign and counter-intuitive. He couldn't find any built-in GPS software so he had to get an app, but it wasn't adequate. It would show his location but wouldn't give directions on how to get from point A to point B. He didn't try the Google Maps service. He decided to go for an iPad. An Apple-refurbished generation 3 iPad goes for $479.

Paul mentioned the Tom Tom GPS software he got for $39. All of the map data resides on the phone so he doesn't have to be online to use it. <More about Tom Tom in the notes for the 5-9-12 & 12-28-11 shows>. You can get Tom Tom Navigator for some Android devices, and they don't have to necessarily have GPS.

Your experience with Android can vary from one brand to another. Each manufacturer customizes it — called skinning. Android "appears in different ways on different platforms and it's not capable of all things everywhere". The Apple experience has always been more unified, for better or worse.

Paul talked about the 2 screen technologies for sensing touch — resistive vs. capacitive. Paul likes the capacitive touch better because he doesn't have to push as hard on the screen to get a response — especially important when typing in text. <More about touch screens here>

Comparing the Galaxy 2 with the iPad 3, Glenn liked the touch on the Galaxy better, it was more responsive. The iPad had a slight advantage when using a capacitive stylus. Glenn bought the stylus at $5 for a 2-pack.

Apple has a new dock called the Lightning connector. It's smaller & has fewer pins. But Apple put a proprietary chip in the cable for the connector, and sells the cable for $49. It wasn't long before the Chinese cloned the chip. How well the clone works, Paul doesn't know. Apple tends to issue software updates that defeat 3rd party addons <so you're taking a chance with clone cables>.

James called about a problem with a Belkin router. His iPhone 3 doesn't connect to it and his laptop often gets a notification that he has lost his internet connection. If he uses a cable connection, it's fine.
– "Make sure that nobody else is transmitting." James lives on 160 acres so there's no one else around.
– Check the router settings so as not to use WEP encryption. Use WPA instead and change your password, too. Also, Some Apple products don't like WEP.
– On the iPhone, tell it to forget the Belkin network and have it make a fresh connection. Go into settings and there is a right-pointing arrow beside the name of your network, one of the choices is 'forget this network'. Forgetting a network is a good general remedy for wireless problems because wrong information sometimes gets stored and it's best to start fresh to reestablish a connection.
– Forgetting a connection is a different process on his HP laptop. When you see 'view wireless connections', there is usually a dialog box on the left. Pick 'configure my wireless settings', go to the name of the Belkin router and say 'remove', then say 'apply' or 'ok'.
– In XP it's possible to have 20 or 30 networks listed and it may take a while for Windows to go thru the list to find the appropriate one, when you're within range of a wireless signal. In this case, you may want to remove them all, reboot and start over reestablishing network connections. <That should get rid of the ones you don't use anymore>

James also asked about backing up his iPhone to his laptop. He was told to get the iTunes software and then connect the iPhone into the computer.
– That's correct. The iPhone will then be able to synch with iCloud. "To insure you have a backup, on the left you'll see the name of your iPhone"…"When you bring up iTunes, on the left side will be a list of your music and library and playlists. When you plug the phone in and it's properly synching, the name of your iPhone will appear and you right click on it and go 'backup now'". Note, text messages will not be backed up.

Glenn thanked people who've become KVMR members. Apparently the goal was not quite met so please consider becoming a member.

The Nevada City hackathon is to take place on Sat December 1 from 8am till 'late' and also on Sun Dec 2 at 107 Sacramento Street (which is the Sierra Commons). There is also a meetup.com group; look for 'nevada city hackers'. Also check sierracommons.org.

Ellen called. She asked Glenn if he had a chance to try out the "continuous ink supply system" in a printer.
– This system replaces the relatively small ink cartridges with large reserve tanks. It's used by those who have a lot to print.
– He got it to work with the black ink but picture quality is way off with the colored ink.
– Paul uses online printing services for photo printing — Flickr, CSV or Picasa.

Kelly called. He's a realtor has trouble reading MLS data on his smartphone. He doesn't want to spend $500 for an iPad and wanted a cheaper alternative. MLS data is something you normally view in a web browser.
– Paul wondered if the MLS service has an app for his phone. Apps tend to present the information in a way more suitable for a small screen.
– Glenn thought there might be an alternative MLS web address that's dedicated for mobile devices (small screens).
– Zillow is an application that handles real estate listings from across the country. It's "based on realtor.com".
– Samsung will be making a ChromeBook — a 12" device like a laptop for $250.
<An article about ChromeBooks here>

Fritz called. He just got a new computer running XP and is using a dialup connection. He now gets error 691 saying his username/password doesn't match or the protocol for the server doesn't match. Also, he's not getting replies from the internet provider to the emails he's sent them.
– Call the provider — Cwnet in his case.
– That error message jogged Paul's memory and he recalls having to turn off "windows domain".
– You may have to turn off all methods of authentication except PPP. Your username/password may be correct but the authentication method being used may be wrong.
– Do a google search with the words: dialup error 691.
– Glenn suggested a google search with the words: error 691 xp.
– If you're not getting a response from Cwnet, consider getting a different provider.

Paul reminded listeners that the new Macs no longer come with a modem nor do they support dialup, even with an external modem.

Rocky called. He asked if there are any apps for smartphones to assist dyslexic people.
– Dragon Dictate will convert text to speech. It's free for the iPhone and possibly for the Android. <Talked about in the 8-9-2010 show>
– Some Google apps allow you to speak your search rather than typing. Glenn often uses an app like that.
– iPhone 4S or later has Siri — a virtual assistant that acts on voice commands.

Rocky said he didn't want to buy from a company that employs "slave labor".
Foxconn, maker of Apple products, also makes products for other companies so it's hard to avoid buying anything not made, in part, by them or other manufactures with questionable labor practices.

Last updated 9:22 PM 10/25/2012
Changes:
added link – article about iPad Mini
added link – article about Microsoft's Surface tablet
added link – CNET review of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet 2 10.1"
added links – Flickr, CSV & Picasa photo printing services
added link – article about ChromeBooks
added link – previous show notes about Dragon Dictate
added link – Siri Wikipedia article
corrected – minor typos