Jan 28, 2015

Jan - 14 2015 | By

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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 < >

Podcasts of some Zentech shows are here.

Both Glenn & Paul were in the studio today


Glenn's been having a problem synchronizing the contacts <address book> between his iPad and iPod. He deleted a particular contact on the iPhone that existed only there, not on the iPad. And there's a contact on the iPad that's not on the iPhone. Both were for the same person, though one was created earlier. He deleted the older one and waited a while for the synching to take place, but it didn't. He plans to go to the Apple store again for help. He had talked to them earlier and they suggested he delete the duplicate contacts in his iCloud backups.

Paul tried feeding a podcast of one Zentech show into Dragon Naturally Speaking, a speech to text converter. It did a fairly good job, he said. Naturally Speaking is available for some mobile devices (Android & iOS), he thought. It works with an internet connection by sending the audio to a server that then converts to text and sends it back.

Also, Android tablets have their own speech to text app. Paul said it works the same way — sends the voice audio to Google, which then sends the text back. <I just tried it on my newly acquired droid tablet, and the speech was converted without being online. So cool!>

Glenn said he's seen email where the first & last character of each word is preserved and the middle characters are blank, and people can still comprehend the content.

Paul mentioned that Jim Baird of Parc Xerox was on the show and he claimed that using a keyboard is the worst way of getting data into the computer. Paul said that words are the least efficient way to communicate because they can have so many different meanings. We have to determine what's meant by the context.

Years ago, the Tech Museum in San Jose had an exhibition of a research project showing a method that helped people read faster. Words were flashed onto a screen in a way that didn't require your eyes to move. You kept your eyes looking at the center, which would be the center of the word, as the words went by. You could control the size of the word and their speed. Because your eyes didn't have to scan thru the sentence your reading speed improved by about 2 times.

Paul talked about cyclic redundancy check and error correction, which is found in hard drives and other storage technology. These are techniques used to insure data is written correctly to the drive. A trivial way to do this is to count the number of bytes in the data before sending and again after it's written to the drive. If the counts matched, it would be a necessary but not sufficient condition for not having an error.

There are 2 techniques for error correction. One is to keep resending the data and doing the error check. The other way is to use a "mathematical algorithm where you only send across a small piece of information that pinpoints that the error was in the last word somewhere", for example — so you don't have to resend all of the data again.

Hard drives an flash memory have chips onboard that address defects in manufacturing as well as defects that appear thru wear and tear. Satellites have chips that can be damaged by cosmic rays and they too need to use error checking and correcting.

Glenn finally got rid of NetTalk and he no longer has a paid VIOP service. He still has Google Voice, which is free. He also uses the Obihai device, And he ported his phone number to ring.to. Paul noted that Glenn achieved the ultimate objective "you've actually got it for completely free". <Of course, he had to pay for the Obihai device>. Ring.to will forward calls and text (txt) messages, transcribe calls, etc. <Check their site for features>. Glenn asked ring.to to be sure their service was free and was assured it was, though they reserve the right to start charging at a future date. Right now they don't charge to port your number to them or away from them. Paul noted that you can't get a (new) phone number from them; you need to have an existing number and then port the number to them.
<Obihai was mentioned on the last show and the 7-30-14 show >
<Android's ring.to app>
<Obihai with ring.to>

During the show, Glenn tested ring.to by successfully calling themselves in the KVMR studio and they played the audio of the incoming call. Paul noted that there was no feedback noise because there was a delay between the sound of Glenn speaking into his phone and the sound eventually coming in to the studio's switchboard.

That led to talk about in-ear monitor speakers that stage performers use to hear themselves performing. Monitor speakers have become so unobtrusive that they're barely noticeable or not noticeable at all from a distance of 50' or so.

Ron called. He as iMac and is using an app (Adobe Go Live) that can only be used on Snow Leopard OS or earlier. And he has apps that can only run on newer versions of the OS. He'd like to upgrade to a newer OS and he wondered of it makes sense to have different versions of the OS on different hard drive partitions.
– Paul said, "if you can possibly avoid it, I would".
– Ideally you can get a small external Firewire hard drive and put the app on that drive. <He implied that the drive should be made bootable with the alternate OS>. When you boot the Mac, hold the Option key and it will allow you to choose which drive to boot from.
– When you boot the alternate OS you'll generally be able to access the data on the other drive. But Paul said it may be a concern "operating systems can change their attitude to where thing are as far as your application libraries are".
– You might even try a 64gig flash drive instead of a hard drive.
– Glenn wondered if Ron knows for sure that Adobe Go Live won't work on an newer OS or it's just not supported, and therefore he just assumes it won't work.
– Glenn recalled that when Windows Vista and Windows 7 came out, some of the XP software wouldn't work. But if you right-click on the program -> properties, you could change the compatibility mode. There's nothing similar for the Mac.
– Paul speculated that after Snow Leopard, Apple started using a 64bit OS exclusively — no more 32bit mode. That might be the reason Adobe Go Live won't run in the newer OS. It used to be you could force the computer to start in 64bit mode by holding down the '6' & '4' keys when starting it up.
– Paul quickly looked up a message in discussions.apple.com that suggested Mavericks OS can be forced to start in 32bit mode. He said he'll explore the issues some more.

William called with 3 questions. First, he wants to uninstall a program from a new PC he just got. It wasn't installed correctly and isn't working right. When he tries to uninstall it, it says it's being used by another program. Ron heard that AVG Anti-virus might be interfering with it.
– Start machine in safe mode by repeatedly tapping on F8 while booting (don't hold F8 down or it may think there's a problem with the keyboard). Then try to uninstall the errant program.
– Try to disable AVG by right-clicking on its icon in the system tray (lower right corner).
– Paul likes Revo Uninstaller. Google the words: revo free
– iTunes has been known to install incorrectly sometimes.

William then said he used the Easy Transfer facility to transfer iTunes from one machine to a newer one, but the ratings didn't transfer. <I think that's the meta data about each song — genre of music, star ratings & other attributes>
– Easy Transfer is known to fail in transferring everything — like iTunes and the Thunderbird data folder.
– Try to manually transfer the iTunes folder that's in the Music folder on the old machine to the Music folder on the new machine (after deleting the existing iTunes folder on the new machine.) You'll be moving just the data not the iTunes program itself. It's a big folder but you can use a big flash drive — 64gig should do it.

William also asked the guys what they thought about anti-malware programs like MalwareBytes. Paul didn't seem be familiar with it, but Glenn said he's used it after using Combofix for a particular virus he encountered. Also try adwcleaner, it does pretty good job on browser addons and "extra programs that pop up nonsense on your screen and so forth".
<One place you can get adwcleaner>

Lastly, William asked about the trackpad on the Lenovo laptop. The left/right click buttons are above the pad. <It wasn't clear if he didn't know how to use them or he didn't like where they were positioned.>
– Paul said, if you don't like it don't use them.
– You can go to the Control Panel and you'll find "Lenovo trackpad". "Then just reprogram it".
– Use an external mouse.
– Just get used to it.

Glenn said he's heard one report that Windows 10 will be good.
The newest hidden tricks and fixes in Windows 10
What you'll love and hate about Windows 10
12 things to know about Windows 10
It's Official: Windows 10 Free For Many Users:
– Pogue reviews Windows

Marilyn called. She likes the used computer she was given but can't get it to play any audio. When she goes to Sound -> Audio Devices it says "no audio device".
– You need to "have something plugged in to the correct audio socket which then gets discovered by the software." It used to be if you didn't have speakers plugged in and you tried to play something, you just wouldn't hear anything. Now, apparently, the computer detects if the speakers are plugged in.

Last update 11:53 PM 1/28/2015