Jan 13, 2016

Jan - 13 2015 | By

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For a limited time, the podcast of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here.

 

Glenn, back from his hiatus, joined Paul in the studio today.

 

KVMR will be holding an open house this weekend.
Sat 10am to 4pm
Sun 10am to 2pm
120 Bridge Street, across from the Miners Foundry and at the back of the Nevada Theater.

Paul gave some tips for searching on Google.
– Paul thinks that using more than 4 words in a search will start to diverge the query and add a chance of getting more false positives.
– Don’t use extraneous words like “if” “and” “by” “to” “for” and “under”. Google tends to exclude them anyway.
– Google will sometimes substitute words for what you entered. If you typed “motor bike”, it will show results for those words first but will also show search results for “motorcycle”.
– Google knows to look at British websites, for example, when you enter words that tend to be used in that country. The example Paul gave: trunk latch on a Hillman Imp — a British car.

Some internet services will bias what they do based on where they think you’re located. It’s not that difficult to figure out where you are using IP addresses. The IP address is a unique address assigned to you when you browse the internet. There is an organization called ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) that doles out IP address across nations.

If you’re in the USA and you try to view or listen to broadcasts created by the BBC by going to bbc.co.uk/iplayer, you’ll be denied access. The British pay a fee to the BBC for the privilege of using it. Those in the US and elsewhere haven’t paid and are excluded. The BBC can tell if you’re in Britain by inspecting your IP address.

You can get around such restrictions that are based on the IP address by using a proxy server. On a PC or a Mac you can install a small piece of software that creates a tunnel (like a wormhole) that makes it appear you’re somewhere else.

Paul was trying tunnelbear.com. It’s available for the PC, Android, Mac, iPhone and iPad.
– PCs and Macs, in their own right, can use VPN (Virtual Private Network) to do the same thing.
– People in the Nevada City area who work for firms in the Bay Area often use VPN to connect to their company. It secures the data they exchange.
– When you install TunnelBear you’ll be asked to create an account. You can use a throwaway email account for the purpose verification, if you’re suspicious.
– You’ll get 500 megabytes of data traffic for free, from them.
– You’ll have a choice of about 15 to 20 countries to choose from as your bogus location.
– You won’t be able to fool all systems all of the time. When Paul tried to view content from the BBC it worked most of the time — a couple of times it didn’t because…
– Many content providers have a blacklist of IP address that appear to be right (in the UK) but are known to be somewhere else.
– As Paul recalled, the base subscription rate to TunnelBear is $5/mo, if the 500meg is not enough for you.
– Strictly speaking, using a tunnel is not a good way to hide who you are or what you’re doing. You can hide the data going thru the tunnel but you’re not hiding the fact that you’re using a tunnel, thus raising suspicion.

There is a similar issue with using the Tor browser. And he noted that after Microsoft bought Skype, they created nodes to handle its traffic but has allow the government access to those nodes. So the origin & destination of Skype calls can be traced and, Paul said, probably their content.

Paul briefly mentioned local weather stations run by private individuals, often using Oregon Scientific weather stations. There are about 15 in the Nevada City area.

Glenn got a rose gold iPhone 6s for the holidays. He’s still using Pure Talk as his cellular provider.

He’s had relatively few problems with the new iPhone but has a question or two that he’s going to pose to Apple tech support. Otherwise, Paul has helped him figure out the new operating system — 9.2. It’s not too horrible, Glenn said.

Glenn installed 9.2 on his previous phone, the iPhone 4S, and now he struggles using Siri (the voice assistant). <As mentioned on previous shows, older Apple hardware has trouble keeping up with newer software and operating systems.>

Paul talked about the newer CPU (Central Processing Units) with multiple cores. They can process instructions out of sequence to improve overall processing speed. They can pretty much keep up with Moore’s Law by clever processing rather than continually making smaller and more numerous chip circuits.

Paul has been trying to get a good sense of the differences between Intel I3 I5 I7 processors and has discovered there is no simple answer, each comes in different flavors. About all you can do is use benchmark tests to determine how fast each can complete various tasks — how fast can it perform a calculation, how fast can it draw a on the screen, etc. You may have to look around bit, but there is free benchmark software at cpubenchmark.net that uses 15 or 20 types of tests to see how your CPU performs.

The test results from the benchmark test are then uploaded to cpubenchmark where they keep the “real world” statistics from many users. <Presumably, the results are available to the public — Paul didn’t say.>

Benchmark tests run you computer very hard and can reveal overheating problems. Paul uses cpubenchmark in conjunction with speedfan (another piece of software) that monitors the actual temperature in your computer. If your laptop overheats, Paul said to take it out side and blow the dust out with compressed air. Be careful not to damage the laptop’s cooling fan — keep the compressed air to 60psi or lower. If you don’t have a compressor, you can buy compressed air in a can, he said. Some Mac laptops were designed with marginal cooling ability and may need more frequent blowouts.

Paul’s been having fun with gadgets from China. The latest is a USB device that measures the current and voltage going thru a USB cable. It’s about $5

There’s another similar device for your car, which additionally shows if your car’s battery is charging.
<There’s an app that displays the current, voltage and internal temperature of a phone or tablet that I like. You can find it here.>

Greg called to warn people about air compressors. They tend to accumulate water internally from condensation because compressing air wrings moisture out of it. Be careful not to blow water into your computer. There’s usually a valve on the lower part of the compressor to bleed the water out. At least blow the air gun in a safe direction a few times before using it.

Glenn said another way to clean out your computer is to use a fine brush to dislodge and a vacuum cleaner to suck up, the dust. That’s OK if the dust is held on by static charges, but if you use the computer near your kitchen the dust may be held on by grease particles, Paul said.

John called. He said he’s more interested in hearing Paul talk about how data is processed rather than the psychological and sociological aspects of computing.

The guys mentioned that Apple’s iPad has split into 2 branches: iPad Pro and iPad Air. The Air economized on some features but definitely on space and weight.

Paul suggested that people who’ve never thought about using an Apple product visit an Apple Store and be evangelized by the Apple zealots. He said that in spite of his recent visit to the Roseville store where he was told to use Photo instead of iPhoto. Taking their advice he still wasn’t able to email photos out of Photo. He was then told to use the Apple Mail Program, but it still didn’t work. The Apple techs finally admitted there is a problem. Paul didn’t say how he eventually resolved it, if at all.

Paul talked a bit about the iPad Pro.
– It can do 5-point multitouch. You can use 5 fingers at once on the screen.
– “You have a lot of gesture based stuff” that makes it look a lot like the operating system used in the computer in the movie Minority Report.
– It recognizes how fast and how hard you hit the screen with your finger. This can be useful if you’re a graphic designer or artist.
– The price for the 13″ iPad is somewhere in the $900 region.
– You can get a keyboard for it. It attaches using physical contacts along the edge rather than using Bluetooth.

Pat, a local musician, called. He currently uses 5 computers and uses an artist’s airbrush to blow out the dust. He said to be careful not to use metal tipped air guns/brushes close to the electronics, especially capacitors. Just because you turn off the computer or pull out the power plug, that doesn’t mean all of the electricity has gone away. <For good measure, ground yourself to eliminate static electricity.>

Paul explored the world of DJ-ing software for the Mac and mentioned 2 that he found: DJAY and Pacemaker. Pacemaker allows you to take your iTunes playlist and mix and match the beats and “do that stuff”.

The other thing Paul said about the iPad Pro is that it has an unbelievable sound system. It has 4 tiny speakers, one in each corner. The sound rotates with the movie you’re watching if you happen to rotate the tablet. It also has Dolby stereo.

Paul noted that the audio of many of KVMR’s shows, as well as Zentech, is now available. Follow the ‘archive’ link at kvmr.org. <See the top of this page for the link to todays show and more info>.

Last Updated 12:30 AM 1-14-16

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