Mar 13, 2013

Feb - 27 2013 | By

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Both Glenn & Paul were in the studio today

The guys talked about the recent switch to Daylight Savings Time. Paul noted that those running older versions of Unix, which hasn't been updated recently, may find that it uses the wrong date to do the time change. There is a database of world timezones called TZdata that keeps track of the latest changes to timezone laws. <Keep your software updated>

Speaking of updates, Paul said nothing older than Windows XP should be on the internet. Anything older is not supported with patches and might be ignored by some anti-virus programs, too.

KVMR has a new low-power translator (boosts the signal for a local area) in Woodland at 104.7 FM. Listeners were asked to try it and report their results to David Barnette via email to: engineer at kvmr dot org

Glenn said AT&T internet service is available along Highway 49 North of the South Yuba river. He's not sure if it's U-verse or DSL. To find out if it's available to you, go to att.com -> shop -> internet -> check for new service. He said it is available at the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road & Hwy 49.

Paul lamented that Firefox updates its browser so often. When he upgrades, the settings sometimes get changed from those he prefers.

Glenn said KVMR's office computer currently has a virus on it, possibly due to someone carelessly clicking in a popup window. He said the virus would sometime pop up a box saying something like "did you forget your password" and asking that a link be clicked to resolve the issue. But instead of solving your problem, it takes you to some advertisement. Paul called that a "link redirection virus" and said some of them could be very nasty.

He said some viruses come as a "blended threat" with multiple components. You might run an anti-virus check and get rid of some of it but other parts remain to reenable the threat. He recently had to deal with the pihar rootkit. Sometimes a rootkit is just one element of a virus. Rootkits infect "behind or below" the operating system making them more difficult to remove. On previous shows, Paul talked about Tdsskiller and Blacklight, which can be used to remove rootkits. Paul said Symantec also has a tool to remove pihar. <I think this might be it (NPE, Norton Power Eraser). Be sure to read the warning on that page>

Paul said Thunderbird (an email, RSS, newsgroup reader) now has the ability to put in Facebook messenger and a number of other thngs".

Paul noted that various versions of Windows are not true multi-user systems — they only seem that way on the surface. Linux, PS2 and Macs, on the other hand, do keep users completely partitioned off from each other.

Pam called. She's in the process of moving and wanted to know how to find out what choices she'll have for internet service.
– Ask the neighbors.
– Go to the websites of various providers and use their facilities to find if service is available. Try AT&T, SmarterBroadband, Spiral Internet (an agent for Digital Path). SmarterBroadband and Spiral Internet both offer line-of-sight wireless.
– Low on the list is satellite broadband thru Hughsnet and maybe DishTV.
– Internet thru your cell phone service is another possibility, but can be costly and have a limited data allowance (data cap).
– Be aware of the "get out" time, within which you have the chance to try the service and end it without penalty. Also, check the contract to be sure you're getting what you expect. Get it in writing — don't rely on verbal promises.

Paul said callers who didn't get their question resolved on air can email the guys at zen at kvmr dot org. In the email, note if you want your name mentioned during the show. In fact, you can email questions during the show, if you don't want to talk on air.

KVMR has a schedule of its broadcasts here. Glenn thanked all of the KVMR broadcasters & volunteers.

Ellen called. She has dead external drives and an old computer. She wanted to know how to scrub the data off the drives. She took a hammer to her drives, but wanted to know if there's a better way.
– There are software programs to do that but the drives have to be working. They scrub by overwriting the data several times with random bytes. Be sure you get such software from a trusted source — there may be some that harvest your date for nefarious reasons.
– Take the drives apart to get to the platters & destroy them. Some drives may require a special screwdriver called Torx, which you can get on Ebay for $8 or $9.
– Alternately, you can use the platters for wind chimes. Hang them on fishing lines and you might be pleasantly surprised by the sounds they make.
– If you want to scrub the drive in a computer you're selling, a reasonable approach is to reformat the drive & reinstall the operating system.

The Disclaimer
The views and opinions expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, its board, managers, staff or contributors

Michael called. He wondered if microwaving a hard drive would destroy the data. Paul suggested putting a container of water in there too. He thought that the ovens need to dump their energy into an energy sink (the water) to prevent damage. Paul also suggested lowering the drive into a bucket of vinegar while it's connected to a power source and is spinning. The reason for vinegar is because it's conductive.

Michael said he has XP Home Edition and when he right-clicks, sometimes the context menu just briefly flash on and then goes away. He can't get it to stay open on the screen.
– Paul suggested he try a different mouse.
– If you find the mouse is the problem, try cleaning the inside.
– If you decide to replace the mouse, consider the optical type as they have fewer moving parts.

Michael also said he's not had internet service at home because his only option is to use dialup and he's gotten frustrated waiting for pictures to load. Now that he finally has wireless internet available in his area, he and wanted to know if he has to buy a bunch of hardware.
– No. They should provide an antenna modem, which goes on the outside of the house. That will service 1 computer.
– If you want to distribute the wireless signal to multiple devices inside, then you'll need to get a router.
– <For dialup users: you can also turn off image loading in many browsers. You may be surprised how little images add to the content. If you need to see an image, it's usually easy to load just that one.>

Paul searched for the words: windows xp no right click. He found some information at Microsoft in a forum called "groups microsoft public windows xp help". He said Microsoft is more trustworthy than other sites that offer help.

The instructions he found involved editing the registry. He said it's absolutely important to follow instructions when dealing with the registry. And, when reading forum messages, don't stop at the first proposed fix, read the follow-up messages before trying a remedy.

Glenn said his Asus netbook needs to have the operating system reinstalled because it running so slow. He said he found out the it doesn't have a partition from which he can do the reinstall and Asus wanted $50 to send him an installation DVD. He said he'll try to install from an after-market version of XP.

Paul wondered about the experience people have had with Windows 8. You can get a licensed version of Win8 for $39 but he didn't look favorably on the tiling system it uses. The tiles are similar to the apps on the mobile phones but many people hate them on a desktop computer. He said there is an app called Desktop that's supposed to replace tiles with the familiar desktop. There's something similar already built-in to Win8, but you have to look for it.
– If you have the Vista version of Windows, you'd do well to get Win8.
– If you have Win7, he doesn't see a compelling reason get Win8.
– If you have XP, hold on to it as long as it's working.

Glenn asked if one could buy a Windows 8 machine and put XP on it. Paul said it's not easy. Older versions of the PC had only a BIOS (Basic Input Output System), which handled the input/output of the keyboard, mouse, drive, etc. With Win8 Microsoft requires manufacturers to have additional firmware called UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface). He said it keeps your product code in firmware to make hacking and stealing more difficult.

Paul said one could put Win8 on machines that don't have UEFI if they have enough horsepower to run it. It's just that Microsoft does not allow manufactures to distribute Win8 unless the machine has UEFI.

Daine <day.nee> called. She just got a MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion (operating system) and wanted to know if she can put Windows 8 on it.
– Glenn said Macs that use the Intel processor can handle any version of Windows.
– Paul said he'll have a more detailed answer for her next time.

Paul asked how do you tell if a program you're about to download is not adware or just a demo version.
– Glenn said, if he does a Google search, he looks at the URL of the link to give him a clue about the website it goes to. Otherwise, it's hard to explain what to look for.
– Paul didn't have a good solution either. It seemed all he had to suggest is that past experience with bogus downloads helps to build an intuitive sense for these things.

Last updated 11:16 PM 3/13/2013