Mar 11, 2015

Feb - 25 2015 | By

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The intro music was by Pentatonix.

Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in from the Bay Area. There were other KVMR personnel in the studio who remained pretty quiet during the show.

March 14 from noon (maybe 11am) to 4pm will be the official celebration of the new KVMR facility at 120 Bridge Steet. The public is invited

The Zentech show is made possible in part by Quietech Associates. They've been providing local tech support since 1985.
They're at 465 South Auburn Street Grass Valley


Glenn is still using IOS 7.1 on both his iPhone & iPad and has not upgraded to version 8.1 yet. His iPad is continuing to do updates but the iPhone has stopped updating because it's not using IOS 8.1.

Paul got a PCI diagnostic board (link above) from China for $13. PCI is a hardware standard specifying the way in which cards (circuit boards) are inserted into a slot in a computer's motherboard.

The diagnostic board, when put into one of the PCI slots, will display error codes generated by the computer when there is a problem. You can then look up the meaning of the codes online. It can report errors even if the computer is largely dead — as long as there are signals on the PCI lines. It also indicates the state of the power supply voltages.

The ATX power supply, that's widely used in today's computers, has a special line along which it sends a signal to the motherboard telling it that the power is good. Only then does the motherboard "fire up".

Lyle called. He accidentally lost the contacts on his iPhone. He also has an iPad where a copy of the contacts is still intact. And he's using the cloud <presumably iCloud>.
– On the iPad go to the settings (cog-shaped icon) and check to see if you have only one account on iCloud. Both iPhone & iPad have to be using the same account <as I understand it>.
– The iPhone may have "disconnected" from the iCloud account.
– Be careful. If you synchronize the iPhone without its contacts, it may clear the contacts off the cloud. Paul didn't explain further.
– Glenn suggested he call Apple for help to be sure he doesn't lose his contacts altogether.

Glenn said he was surprised to find out that Bluetooth speakers are not stereo. Paul said he's read up on Bluetooth recently and it "doesn't have a lot of facilities to make high quality audio". That's mainly because it's subject to "interference and fade". But he has indeed seen Bluetooth stereo speakers.
<The transmitting device & speakers must both have the A2DP profile for stereo to work>

Paul mentioned KVMR's podcast. Go to and click the 'Listen' button. You'll find podcasts of various shows, some going back about 5 years. <They are mostly talk shows. There are copyright issues with music shows, so you won't find many podcasts for them>

Paul talked a little more about the diagnostic board he bought. Unlike his old PCI board, this one displays the actual voltages coming from the power supply. The ATX power supply of the computer does a self-check after the voltage has some time to stabilize. "The on/off switch of the computer is not actually a power switch at all. It's a signal to the power supply: "we're good to go"". When you plug the power supply into the diagnostic board, the board itself gives the go ahead signal for the power supply to power up.

Paul then talked about smart meters — the kind used for domestic gas & electricity monitoring. He saw a $99 offer by PG&E for an in-home device to show electricity usage. That set him on learning adventure about the wireless technology used by smart meters.
– They use a protocol called Zigbee. The word comes from the dance honey bees use to tell the other bees where the nectar is. The bees learn the information and pass it on from one bee to the next.
– The Zigbee is a mesh network where each power meter relays information to a nearby meter, and that one to the next one. Somewhere in your neighborhood is a master router.
– The Zigbee protocol use encryption to keep the info secure.
– The protocol consumes little power, transmits intermittently (not continuously) and very little data is transmitted. So there should be no concern about the effects of radio frequency radiation from the meters.
– The information gleaned from the data allows power companies to monitor for voltage spikes, brownouts, outages, etc.
– There are units using Zigbee for other types of in-home monitoring — e.g. monitoring the temperature of the butter in your refrigerator. One such proprietary device is called Nova sold by Home Depot.
<A Zigbee tutorial here.>

Ross called to ask Paul if he actually got the $99 unit from PG&E. Paul said he didn't and that he's been trying to find a cheaper way to do it.

Ross also said that a SIM card maker in Holland was hacked by the NSA and a similar agency in England. The codes that allow the SIM cards to generate a cipher were stolen. He didn't hear anything more about it since the initial report and wondered of Paul knew anything about it. Apparently this is the first Paul's heard of it.
<NSA helped British steal cell phone codes from Gemalto, the world’s biggest manufacturer of SIM cards, a couple of articles here, here and here >

Ross said that someone in <our> government said there had been a ten-year effort to create an X code <OSX I guess> to mimic the Mac computer code <operating system>. Supposedly they were successful and now they are able to insert bogus apps that spy on people. Paul thought he might have been talking about the MAC address.

Ross also mentioned a "shark device" that can spoof a cell phone tower. Using it, the police can make a cell phone think it's connected to a legitimate tower while spying on people by recording the data being transmitted. <Sounds like he was talking about the Stingray aka IMSI catcher >
– Ross heard that the Stingray collects data even if the phone is off.
– Paul said that in standby mode a cell phone still communicates with the tower. If you turn the phone off completely they won't be able to intercept your data, Paul said.
<Some articles about the stingray devices here.>
<An app to detect a Stingray device
The download link for the app>

Last update 10:37 PM 3/11/2015