Nov 12, 2014

Oct - 01 2014 | By

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Podcasts of some Zentech shows are here.

Both Glenn & Paul were in the studio for today's show

Paul alerted us that, despite the end of support for Windows XP, there is another update for it to deal with a serious threat. To do the update, go to Start -> Programs -> Windows Update

Paul further suggested that XP users…
– Take the XP computer offline. Physically unplug the Ethernet cable.
– If you really need to use XP online, don't use Internet Explorer — use some other browser.
– Don't rely on Microsoft Security Essentials. Use some other anti-virus program. Try avast.com or avg.com for free versions or versions with more features, which come at a price. The free versions may be a bit hard to find and you may have to click thru a few pages. <AVG Free should be here.>

Remember that no anti-virus program is 100% effective. Additionally, Paul said, most security breaches are a result of the computer being stolen (along with your sensitive data).

Further tips on protecting your data:
– If you sell or decommission your computer, you can take out and keep the hard drive. The buyer can get a hard drive on Ebay, to replace it.
– You can put your old drive into an enclosure with a USB port and use it externally.
– It's a good idea to back up your data before doing any of this.

Paul talked a bit about browser plugins or add-ons. These are additional programs that work with a browser to extend its functionality. He said the Flash plugin has been a serious problem. <A security problem, as I understand it>
– Many websites on the internet use Flash to enhance your experience — Youtube and Facebook, for example.
HTML5 is poised to take over the job that Flash does now. To a large extent Youtube is viewable without Flash, but not entirely.

Java is another plugin that's had security problems. In fact, some browser manufacturers are now not allowing Java to run as a plugin. Some people will see a box saying something like "Plugin has been blocked" when they access a webpage where Java is required. But, beware that this warning can be faked by those intent on doing you harm. In this case you may see a box that says something like "Plugin has been blocked, Click here". Clicking can then lead you to all sorts of trouble.

If there is a remedy to apply, go to the website of those who created the plugin, instead of "clicking here". To get Flash, go here. He also said that Adobe and Oracle (makers of Java) no longer allow you easily update their plugins using the plugin itself, because alert boxes saying "click here" are so easy to fake. So, go their websites to update. He also said the webpage for the Java update is very confusing. He said do a search for: jre. Or search for: download java.

Before updating Java, make sure you need it. Paul said there's no harm in uninstalling Java and seeing if you can get by without it. Most people don't need it. Do the same with Flash.

Kevin called. He has a HP laptop that's about 4 or 5 years old. When he tries to access Google mail he gets a window that says "File not found. Do you want to cancel or wait". A few seconds after clicking "wait" his email page comes up. Everything else seems to be working normally. He uses Windows 7, the Chrome browser and a Verizon Air Card for his internet.
– Paul asked if he's done a total restart of the computer recently. He says he does a total shutdown, and subsequent restart, every day.
– Paul had Kevin type in www.google.com directly into the address bar instead of clicking the Google icon he has on his desktop. But he clicked the icon anyway and this time the problem didn't appear.
– Glenn thought the home page setting wasn't right. In Chrome, click the 3-bar icon in the upper right and go to settings to change it.
– Paul said that 3G & 4G (cellular) connections can take a few seconds to reconnect after starting up the computer. He may not be waiting long enough and that's the reason he's not going to the website he wants.

There are a couple of ways to change your home page.
– Type an address into the address bar. Find the small logo that looks like a page or a "miniscule icon".
– Either right-click on it an choose "make this a home page". Or you can drag it onto the home button.

The guys talked about batteries — alkaline & rechargeable. Paul got curious about how much energy is in a standard AA battery and found this link where someone researched the subject.
– It turns out that rechargeable batteries can keep up with a fairly heavy current demand.
– The 2 amp NiMh batteries are comparable to the alkaline type, though their voltages are a bit different
– NiMh batteries may not work in some equipment as Paul found out when he tried to use some in a camera he had. The curve of the current per volt was different than what the camera expected. Eventually he found out that the camera had a setting for the type of batteries he wanted to use, and it solved the problem.
– Paul found a voltmeter designed for battery testing. It puts a load on the battery to simulate a real-world situation. See the link at the top of this page.

Glenn talked about battery packs that can recharge a cell phone battery while you're on the go and without having to find a place to plug it in. <This was discussed on a previous show along with tips for conserving your battery.>

Paul mentioned Mac Power Books and Mac Book Airs have a tiny button at the left-hand corner. Pushing it brings up a display that tells you the "capacity of the battery".

The guys talked about Bluetooth speakers ranging in price from $5 for an Enerplex up to about $12 that sound very good.

Marilyn wrote in about needing to get data off of a hard drive without having to install it into her computer. Glenn said this can be accomplished with an external enclosure that has a USB connector. These units are made so you can put a hard drive into it and read and write to it like any other hard drive. He said it's not a simple procedure to put a different hard drive into a computer. It has to have an operating system on it, and even then, it won't have all the drivers and such that are particular to that computer.

If you want to change a hard drive, you can usually find videos from someone who's done it, on Youtube. Search for something like "removing laptop hard drive toshiba satellite 1500" <use the name & model of your machine, of course>. Youtube videos are a great resource for all sorts of repair.

Glenn helped someone who had a problem with an AT&T copper DSL internet connection and a standard telephone. Her modem turned out to be bad and wasn't supported anymore. He got her switched over to AT&T Uverse and she ended up saving $5 per month on her bill, a faster internet speed (758bps doubled to 1.5 megabits per second) and unlimited phone calls in the US.

Paul noted that in the Nevada City area, there is no Uverse movie on-demand service, yet.

Glenn wondered if and how the California Lifeline service provides for people who use Uverse for their phone, because Uverse uses VOIP rather than a plain old telephone <POTS> for the connection. He asked listeners on Lifeline to share their experience in switching to Uverse. Paul noted that VOIP has many points of failure and had doubts about its reliability in emergency situations. <See the notes for the 7-30-14 show where Lifeline was mentioned and a link given.>

Glenn said that if you qualify for the Lifeline subsidy, you also qualify for a free cell phone that comes with about 200 talk minutes and about 200 texts per month. <I don't think you can get both a landline subsidy and a cell phone at the same time, though>.

Paul played a bit of audio from South Park illustrating what can be done to create and edit music using programs like Autotune and Fruity Loops.

Last Update 11:29 PM 11/12/2014