Dec 11, 2013

Nov - 27 2013 | By

Both Glenn & Paul were in the studio

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– They're tagged with #Zentech.
– When what's said is unclear to me (or I'm unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (" ") verbatim.
– Editor's comments are delimited by < >

NOTE: There will not be a Zentech show Christmas day 12-25-13

Paul said that sometimes, when you see a pop-up in your browser telling you to upgrade a program, like the Adobe Flash player, you might end up installing a bogus tool bar. He asked, why would someone create such a tool bar? Apparently, it's because there's typically an affiliate fee that is paid by an advertiser — usually a fraction of a cent per click — to those who create & install such tool bars.

Glenn thanked members of KVMR. To become a member, please visit the KVMR website. There's even a vehicle donation program.

When viruses infect his laptop, Glenn said the easiest remedy he's found is to reinstall the operating system. He reminded listeners to backup, backup, backup!

Paul offered a tip for finding the backup program that comes with Windows 7 (possibly in Windows 8 too). Hit the Windows key in the lower left of the keyboard and then perform a search with the word: backup. He said that will launch the backup program. He said that increasingly, operating systems use the search facility to run programs, rather than having to look for a program in the folders.

Paul said the backup program in Windows 7 isn't called "backup" but rather something like "File History" or "File Manager". He was told, but hasn't yet verified, that it can do incremental backups — like Time Machine on the Mac.

Paul noted that flash drives are getting so cheap that one might consider using them for backups. Glenn added that flash drives give no warning of impending failure. Paul said that hard drives might make a noise before failing, or you might notice data not being saved correctly. Flash drives fail catastrophically.

Glenn warned listeners to be sure that all files have finished being written to the drive before removing it. Use the 'Eject' command <right-click on the drive in My Computer or the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the system tray>. This will insure that all reading & writing to the drive have been completed.

Paul said the flash drives have a limited number of times they can be written to <they "wear out">. Computers use a temporary storage area (a cache) where data to be written is stored. Eventually, the data is written to the flash drive all at once. Also, these drives have internal circuitry to insure that all parts of the drive are used evenly. No one spot is written to over and over — so it doesn't "wear out" there. These two strategies combine to maximize the life of the drive.
<In Windows XP, you can set whether the computer uses the write cache: in My Computer right-click on a removable drive & go to -> properties -> hardware -> properties -> policies>

The guys talked about the good old days when mass storage involved tape machines and large hard drive platters. When the computer user typed the command 'mount', technicians at the main frame would litterly mount the tape on the tape machine and then send the message 'Ready' back to the users screen.

Frank called in with 2 questions. He's shopping for a laptop and wanted guidance for comparing the CPUs — like an AMD with 4 cores at 2 gigaHertz speed compared to an Intel CPU with 2 cores and 2.5 gigaHertz. He plans to do some video editing.
– Look for video benchmark software to run speed tests.
– A lot of the video performance would depend on the hard drive access speed rather than on the CPU.
– Much of the performance depends on the type of video circuitry. If it's integrated on the motherboard, it will likely be slower than an independent video card and inadequate for video processing and gaming.
– Laptops don't typically allow you to change the graphics processor. Dell can custom-build a laptop with the video processor of your choice.
– Getting back to comparing the CPUs, Paul said use the word 'versus' in a search along with the CPU names. While talking, Glenn did the search with the words: compare amd versus intel cpus. He found cpubenchmark.net.
– AMD chips are cheaper, but that doesn't mean they are any less in quality or performance.
– If price is not an issue, get an Apple. Be aware that the low-end Mac Books do have an integrated graphics processor. And though the difference between the integrated and discrete processors is less than it used to be, the difference still exists.
– Paul found the website videobenchmark.net that compares video cards.

Frank's second question is about finding a laptop that he can run with a remote control so he can operate its DVD recorder. Frank said there used to be something called Media Center that would do what he wants, but he can't find it now.
– Paul said there's nothing in Media Center that you can't do in other ways — like an infrared USB device with a remote control. Search Ebay with the words: remote control for pc. He thought there might now be such a device that responds to wireless signals (instead of infrared).
– There is a BlueTooth wireless device called the Atom or something like that. It should do the trick. Paul found the SMK Link Blue Link Remote Control Adapter for $25 at Target. Or you can google the words: bluetooth remote control.
– If you don't have BlueTooth on the laptop, there is a USB dongle for about $3 that will enable your computer with BlueTooth. The range of BlueTooth is about 30 feet.
– Also, consider getting a refurbished laptop from Joy Microsystems. They don't have their own outlet, but they sell thru Amazon, Overstock and other places. Google the words: joy refurbished.

Ron called looking for external hard drive for the iPad Air. Does he need to jailbreak the iPad to use these drives? He saw the app called iFile that lets you manage the files like Finder does on the Mac. Ron is an artist and would like to access files that reside in his iMac, using his iPad.
– Glenn has seen wi-fi hard drives that might work for him. They also work with Android and desktop computers.
– Paul looked up iFile and it said you do have to jailbreak the iPad.
– Android devices can connect directly to an external hard drive and, unlike the iPad, the file system is readily accessible.
– If the iMac has iPhoto on it, you can use PhotoStream. It uses iCloud, an online storage service. Frank's internet connection is finicky, so that might not work well for him.
– If you go with Glenn's suggestion of a wi-fi drive, check out the Western Digital Mybook Live from Best Buy for roughly $149. It uses the protocols of Apple Time Capsule and acts like an inexpensive version of it. Paul has actually been using a refurbished 2 teraByte unit he got for something like $70.
– If you go with jailbreaking the iPad, you may find some apps no longer work, as Glenn found out.

Steve Baker, KVMR's program director came into the studio. He said KVMR had its volunteer recognition party the other day and Glenn & the Flea Market were the winners of the Osborne Woods Award For Community Service. Glenn was also named to the Volunteer Hall Of Fame for his service to KVMR.

Doug called with a question about the different types of memory cards — Compact, Memory Stick, SD cards, etc. He asked if some are more reliable than others.
– Glenn said no one is better than the others and you usually have no choice but to use the type your particular device can take.
– In general, SD cards are usually preferred. Compact is hard to find & expensive. Memory stick is particular to Sony products.
– Get brand name memory cards. Paul has had problems with off-brand and recycled cards.
– Multi-card readers are cheap & useful, especially around the holidays when guests arrive with their own particular memory cards.
– Check the speed rating of the flash media, especially for video cameras where something like 10X is required.
– Memory cards are pretty cheap — usually under $1 per gig.
– Be aware that some cameras take cards up to only a certain size.

Last updated 9:45 PM 12/11/2013