Jan 14, 2015

Dec - 25 2014 | By

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Paul gave us a public service announcement. A dog has been found on 1-12-15 in the Alt Sierra and Wolf Creek Road area. He's a friendly young black male cattle dog with gray markings. Call (530) 346-6250.

 

Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in

Paul talked about circuit boards made using surface mounted components (SMC). This is the technology used to make cell phones, for instance. The tiny electronic components are soldered to the surface of a circuit board. The leads of the components are not inserted into circuit board holes, as they were with the older technology. This requires special tools like the SMC workstation from China that Paul bought for $60.
– It has a temperature controlled soldering iron that goes up to 500 degrees C. Temperature control is important for this technique.
– It also has a heat gun that delivers a steady flow of air heated up to 500 degrees.
– Paul uses what he called "helping hands". It has a heavy iron base and a vertical stem that branches off horizontally and has alligator clips on the ends for holding the project that he's working on.

A magnifying glass of about 10X is required because the working area of the circuit board is so small.
– Professional equipment to solder SMCs can cost thousands of dollars and is designed to be used over many hours. It can feature motions sensors to tell when you're handling the soldering iron so it's temperature can be increased when actually being used and reduced when it's not, thus preventing the tip from burning out prematurely.

Glenn called in from somewhere between Flagstaff and Kingman Arizona. He's on vacation and plans to take in some of the sights — the Grand Canyon and Sedona.

Glenn hasn't yet upgraded his iPhone to IOS8. As mentioned on the 12-24-14 show he needs to deletes a bunch of photos to make room for the upgrade. In the mean time, he got a suggestion that using iTunes to do the upgrade would circumvent the need to delete so many files. This would entail connecting the phone to a desktop running iTunes. He has yet to try it.
<"Trying to Update an Overloaded iPhone">

Paul thought, though the upgrade would be faster thru a wire connection, the iTunes trick wouldn't help, if he has insufficient space on the phone. However, he said you can use iTunes Synch to select which photos you want to bring back to the iPhone after you've backed them up and cleared the phone. You can also synch photos from other sources — not just the ones you backed up.

Paul mentioned Photostream, which he says he doesn't fully understand and is not reliable. The way it works keeps changing with each release of iOS and he thinks it's neither secure nor a "good idea to mess" with it.

Paul also said that Glenn's iPhone 4S will slow down after the IOS8 upgrade because it will be "pushing the horsepower that's available". Also, it's difficult to downgrade it, if you don't like IOS8.

Glenn said he's considered jailbreaking his phone but realized that would void Apple's warranty. Paul added that the advantage of jailbreaking is to be able to use apps not approved by Apple. But that's not so much an issue anymore because Apple has "taken mainstream" many of the apps.

People wonder what their iPhone is worth when they decide to get the latest model. AT&T will offer $200 for your end-of-contract iPhone 5 in trade for the model 6. But Paul said you can get a better price if you have AT&T unlock the iPhone 5 and then you sell it on Ebay (or other markets). Paul has heard you only need to have the phone on contract for 60 days to qualify for unlocking — you're obliged to pay to complete the contract, anyway. Glenn said the advantage of unlocking is being able to use it in other countries or with a different cellular provider.

Once a phone is out-of-contract and unlocked, you can often save yourself a bunch of money by shopping around for a cheaper carrier. You can also take your phone number with you for use with your new provider. <porting was discussed on the 7-30-14 show>. This is easier to do now that the FCC has clamped down on the major carriers to keep them from stonewalling and preventing you from leaving them. Glenn has been happy with PureTalk USA, his current carrier.

Nick called. His wife is using a phone service that begins with A and ends with T. She thinks they are scum-sucking weasels and wants to find another carrier. They are about to try OOMA server that provides a phone service over the internet (VOIP). Nick wanted some opinions. They're using Smarter Broadband for their internet — a terrestrial wireless service.
– A wireless service like Smarter Broadband can be somewhat uneven compared to wired. This can be evident in the evening when your neighbors come home and start using the internet, "sucking up all of the bandwidth" and causing problems.
– Use speedtest.phonepower.com to test your connection speed. It will check the sustained bandwidth and not just the burst (max) bandwidth.
– In fact, it will test for latency, jitter and speed <see the 1-25-12 & 7-11-12 show notes for more info>
– It's important to run the test at various times of the day especially the evening, when usage tends to increase.
– VOIP "doesn't actually use that much bandwidth", it's a matter of whether you're happy with the sound quality of the voice — latency & jitter.
– Talk to the people at Smarter Broadband. See what they say about using VOIP.

Ron called. He wanted to know the cheapest place to get a surface mount circuit board made. Paul hasn't gotten that far yet. He's been playing with kits that already include pre-made boards. Listeners were invited to call with suggestions. <See below for the caller who had some advice.>

Eddie called. He got his daughter a Dell Inspiron laptop with a touch screen and Windows 8. Every time she signs on to her computer, it insists she enter her email address and sign on to her Microsoft account.
– Microsoft does this because they want you to go to their site & by apps from them.
– Google for instructions on how to create a LOCAL account.
– When the machine is first used, it insists you create a Microsoft account. In small print further down is the option to create a local account. That's what to choose when you start it for the first time. It's too late for Eddie to do this.
– He'll have to go to the Control Panel -> Users (and maybe -> Accounts) and create a local account (with or without a password).
– You can try to google the words: window 8 direct login — for a way to avoid having to enter the Microsoft password. But it may be better to just create a local account.
– Now you'll have 2 accounts. When you boot up you'll pick the local one to login. You can then change the Microsoft account so you don't have to use it to login in with. But this is not an easy process.

Michael called. He's had the OOMA box for 7 years and it's worked well for him. His answering machine doesn't pick up an incoming call sometimes and he doesn't notice that OOMA picked it up. That's his only complaint.
– Glenn noted that even the slowest internet speed from cable companies is fast enough for VOIP.
– Paul looked at their website ooma.com and their box was available for $129.99, a one-time fee.
– Michael said their support had been very helpful the couple of times he's had to use it.
– Glenn had tried NetTalk in the past and was unhappy with them. <see the 7-30-14 show>

Bruce called with some info about SMC boards.
– Boards less than 4 square inches are $3 per board with a 10 board minimum + shipping.
– Boards of 20 square inches – $8 per board <10 board minimum, I think>.
– You send your circuit design to the company as Gerber file. That's a file generated by the software you use to create (draw) the layout of the board.
– Many people use a program called Eagle to do the layout. Bruce uses P-CAD to do his layout.
– Bruce said Michael (see above) can call him for more info at (530) 270-9214.

Paul noted that the Obihai VOIP device, at about $39, can use your Google Voice phone number. With it you can call a number in the U.S. for free and in a foreign country for about $.01 per minute. He said you can hunt around (or email zen at kvmr dot org) for a discount code and pay only $29. It's very easy to set up after you sign up on their website and enter the information on the box it came in. <More about Obihai on the 7-30-14 show>

The disclaimer:
The views and opinions expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and are not necessarily those of KVMR, its board, management, staff or contributors.

Tony called using his OOMA box. He asked Paul how this call sounded. Generally it sucks, Tony said. Because he's so far away from the service box, his broadband connection is only 248 kilobits down and 54 kilobits up. <We were hearing him talk at 54Kbps and I thought he sounded pretty good, just a little break up but not bad>

Last Update 10:47 PM 1/14/2015