Jul 13, 2016

Jul - 13 2016 | By

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For a couple of months, the audio of today’s show will be here. Recent shows are here.

 

Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.

 

Glenn thanked the listeners who support KVMR. If you’d like to become a supporting member please visit kvmr.org.

Over the years, Glenn has used many different phone services. He’s still using he got from AT&T with his landline in 1994. In about 1996 the FCC ruled that you can keep your phone number.

He then used that number with a product called Magic Jack. He was able to use his original phone number with it, but, for reasons he didn’t say, he wasn’t satisfied with Magic Jack.

Then he went to Nettalk until they stopped providing customer service.

More recently, he parked his number at RingTo for a couple of years. Initially free, RingTo eventually started to charge for their service (though the original free users were never charged.) Another service Paul mentioned is voip.ms.

At Google Voice you can sign up for a free phone number. Supposedly, you can get a number with a local prefix, but that’s getting to be harder to do. Alternately, you can port your existing phone number to Google Voice. Google will then give you various telephonic services. Google will only port a cellular number, not a landline number.

Glenn said that if you are leaving a service like AT&T, you have to port your number before you terminate your current service (at AT&T, for instance) or you’ll lose that number. Paul added, that you should port the number first, make sure the porting process completed (the new company actually has the number), then close your account at the old company.

So Glenn tried to port his number from RingTo to Google Voice. But Google rejected his attempt, saying it wasn’t a cellular number. This was because the database that Google checks was still showing it as a landline.

Glenn then went to Puretalk, a cellular company, with his phone number, and that made his number a cellular one. After that, it took less than 24hr for Google to complete the port. When porting an existing number, Google charges $20.

Paul said that Puretalk is good service to know about if you have minimal need for a phone. Their cheapest plan is $5 a month for 60 minutes.

Both of the guys have an Obihai VOIP box. A small box, about 2″ square, that provides voice over internet service.
– It can route Google Voice calls.
– You can call anywhere in the country for nothing, Paul said.
– It has 5 volt power lead to supply its power.
– It also has an ethernet port that connects to your home internet router.
– And it has a POTS (plain old telephone service) port which you use to connect a traditional dial telephone.
– The voice quality is better than a regular landline but expect lower reliability because there a more steps (or devices) the phone call goes thru.

Paul got his Obihai for $39 on a special offer. Usually they’re about $59.

<More about porting and parking can be found in the 7-30-14 show notes>

The disclaimer:
The views and opinions expressed on KVMR are those of the speaker only and not necessarily those of KVMR management, staff or underwriters.

Don called. He wanted to be sure Paul got the email he sent. The two were talking about the Hackintosh project. This is a way of getting the Mac operating system onto a PC, in this case a refurbished Dell that cost about $160.
– This is a hacking project that gets a bit involved and is not intended for the average person or especially a business that depends on reliability.
– The project is in a gray area with regard to the licensing of the Mac operating system. You’ll probably be violating “something somewhere”, Paul said.
– The operating system is normally free to those who have Apple hardware.
– Paul said he’ll update the listeners on the progress they make.

William called about upgrading to Windows 10. He wondered if he can download Win10 and install after the cutoff date for the free upgrade.
– July 29 is the last day to upgrade to Windows 10 for free (free for Win7 and Win8 users.)
– Software developers are no longer supporting Windows 7.
– Microsoft’s support for Windows 7 itself will end at the beginning of 2020.
– Paul thought that, even though you download it now, the validation will take place at the time you install it on your computer. If it’s after July 29, you’ll likely be charged for it.
– Paul is not very fond of Win10 and suggested the continued use of Win7. He said that even XP is “not unusable and not necessarily such a bad idea”.

William had another question regarding Thunderbird, an email program. He has 2 machines and wants to synchronize the Thunderbird data. He’s tried using an addon called Thundersync but it doesn’t do what he wants.
– Paul said he doesn’t have to synchronize if he uses the IMAP protocol. Most mail services, like Google, provide the protocol. Each machine is in synch with the server so both will be alike without any more effort.
– William said he already uses IMAP. The mail itself is synched but not the address book.
– Paul said he uses and addon called Address Book Synch to do that job. Use Thunderbird itself to download Address Book Synch. After installing the addon, while in Thunderbird, go to Tools -> Addons and use the search function. Look for address book synch and follow the instructions.
– After installing Address Book Synch, look under the Tools menu and you should see additional functions.

Michael called. About 2 months ago he got an old laptop and had a friend do some upgrades and he now has Linux Cinnamon 17 for his operating system. He also has an old mp3 player. When he plugs in the player, Linux says “unable to mount Sansa Clip”.
– There might be something wrong with the USB port or the cable that comes out of the computer.
– Or the flash drive (the memory storage) in the player is faulty.
– Try a different cable to connect the player, Paul said. William said he’d done that.
– The other thing that might be bad is the USB port on the computer. It’s a common problem on laptops.
– If the mp3 player is old enough it may not auto-mount. Linux may require a driver. Glenn suggested doing a search with the words: Sansa Clip Linux driver.
– In Linux look for an item called Package Manager (or maybe Installation Interface or Software Repository) somewhere in the menus. Use that facility to search for the words: Sansa Clip. Hopefully, someone has made a ‘package’ for it.
– Glenn suggested going to the Sandisk website to look for the solution. William has tried that but said their customer service website is not very user friendly.
– Since the player used to work on his Windows machine, Glenn suggested he find someone with Windows to get the music off the player so he would a least have a copy.
– Glenn also suggested he call Sandisk or webchat with them.

A self-named “disgruntled caller” noted that many cellular towers have warnings on them saying the following:
Caution: beyond this point radio frequency fields at this site may exceed FCC rules for human exposure. For your safety, obey all signs and site guidelines for working in radio frequency environments in accordance with Federal Communication Commission on radio frequency emissions 47cfr11.1307b. <The caller sounded so belligerent that Glenn disconnected him>.

Paul said that all sort of radio transmitters have that warning, including KVMR’s transmitter and satellite dishes. If you’re close enough to read it, you’re too close, he said. Paul said there will be a special show <didn’t say if it’s a Zen Tech show> that will have the warning as one of the topics.

Len called with a concern about the security of using public wi-fi while traveling. He’ll be going to Europe and has heard about using VPN for privacy. He wanted to know which VPN to use.
– Some people in Nevada County work for companies in San Jose and insure their privacy by using VPN. VPN creates a tunnel for the communication that cannot be traced. And it can make your location appear to be wherever you want it to be. You can watch BBC TV, normally for UK residents only, while in the U.S.
– Paul uses the VPN called TunnelBear. It’s $7 per month for unlimited data or free with a 500meg per month limit.
– With tablets, while not immune to viruses, the odds are low that you’ll encounter problems. Just get an inexpensive tablet to sidestep the issue.
– Open (public) wi-fi is made no more or less secure if it requires a password. It’s made more secure for only the 100 feet or so to the wireless transmitter.
– When you go to an internet site whose address begins with https:// (not http://) you have a secure, encrypted connection. You can trust that connection to the extent you trust the site you connect to (your bank or your Google account, for instance). However, beware of a website being spoofed. Someone may create a site called https://gooogle.com (3 o’s) to trick you into revealing your login/password.
– If you use Thunderbird to pick up your Gmail, it will use a secure connection. Not all webmail services are secure, but Gmail won’t allow a connection that’s not secure.

Last Updated 11:45 PM 7-13-2016