Sep 28, 2016

Sep - 28 2016 | By

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

 

Both Glenn & Paul were in the studio today.

 

One of the computers at the KVMR office was installed with Windows 10. Paul didn’t think anyone there deliberately initiated the process. The KVMR staff had trouble accessing the community calendar, public service announcements and broadcast schedules, as well as the Firefox browser, after the upgrade. It was speculated that the upgrade happened automatically.

The staff could access the community calendar with the Edge browser, (the new browser that comes with Win10). Paul said Internet Explorer browser is still available with Win10 but you have to use the Run command and type in ‘iexplore’.

Glenn recently talked to someone shopping for a computer who asked if they should get one with Win10 or a Win7. Glenn enthusiastically suggested Windows 7. Glenn said some people with Win7 have expressed concern about being nagged by on-screen notifications to upgrade to Win10.

Paul said that those people who didn’t choose the Win10 upgrade before the free offer expired (at the end of July) shouldn’t be getting the nagging notification. Some people who had the free Win10 downloaded to their computers but not yet installed, pending their approval, will continue being nagged.

The next iteration of Win10, called Windows Anniversary Edition, was released sometime around the middle of August. Two of Paul’s clients had problems after installing it. When you have serious problems after installing Win10, you may have to start up in Safe Mode and then go into Rescue Mode, Paul said. In Rescue Mode there is an option that says, in effect, go back to the version before this latest update. But be careful not to select ‘Recover System’ — that will make it go back to the factory default condition and you will lose EVERYTHING.

Later in the show Paul said that if you paid to have your Win10 machine serviced and the tech said the problem was due to the Windows Anniversary Edition, get it documented on the invoice in case there’s a law suit against Microsoft.

Around the time the Windows Anniversary Edition came out, Microsoft said there were some problems reported by people with solid state drives (SSD). Paul didn’t elaborate.

Both of the guys said they really tried to like Win10. Glenn explicitly said that he doesn’t like it. Paul said you have 30 days to back out of the upgrade, if you don’t like it.
<Here are some articles about upgrading to Win10. There are links to a couple more articles in the 8-10-16 show notes…
So Now You Want Windows 10
Which way with Windows? Here are your options. Among Windows’ bewildering array of versions, builds, rings, updates, branches, and editions, here’s what you should consider.
How to: Properly Prep, then Force Install Windows 10 Anniversary Update
Windows 10 Installation Superguide>

Paul said Apple has issued an update to its Mac operating system. The latest is called Sierra, replacing El Capitan. If you’re wondering whether to do the update, Paul said it won’t make much difference unless you can appriciate the new features. El Capitan and Yosemite were about 10.6 gigs in size, Sierra is 4.5 gigs. If your hardware ran well with the 2 older versions, Sierra won’t run any slower, Paul said. Also, Sierra comes with Siri.

Paul said don’t “try upgrading your machinery to fix a problem”. “If your machine is behaving kind of squirrelly and ratty and rough around the edges and hesitating” an upgrade to the operating system probably won’t help and might make it worse. Try to figure out what’s gone wrong with your machine before upgrading. On the other hand, updates are a good way to resolve problems. Going from El Capitan (latest version 10.11.6) to Sierra is an update.

Sierra doesn’t come to you thru the normal update process. You need to visit the app store and in the upper left corner you’ll see the offer to get Sierra. The updating process shouldn’t slow down network too much but it’s a good idea to wait until you need to walk away from your machine.

Paul talked about a utility for the Mac called coconutBattery. Besides telling you the serial number of your Mac and its age, it tells you the percentage of the battery capacity that is currently available. The percentage displayed on top right of the bar on your Mac only tells you the battery capacity, not the power. If the battery has lost half of its life and the battery indicator says 100%, it means 100% of its diminished capacity. <As I understand it, it may be charged to 100% but it can’t deliver the power it used to>. So, coconutBattery has a graph to tell you “how far gone your battery is”. Use it when you get an error message on your battery icon that says ‘check battery’ or ‘service battery’.

CoconutBattery will also tell you the current rating for the charger that’s connected to your battery. Apple has 45, 60 and 90-watt chargers. If you connect a 45-watt charger to a Mac, like the Power Book Pro, that consumes a lot of power you may end up overheating the charger. It’s ok to go the other way — to connect the 90-watt charger to a Mac, like the Mac Book 13″, that doesn’t require as much power.

According to Apple, after 1000 cycles <charging cycles, as I understand> your battery should have about 80% capacity left. There’s a serial number on the battery and a manufacturer code that indicates its age. Paul’s had some Chinese battery’s fail while under warranty. He sent a printout of the page generated by coconutBattery to the manufacturer along with the failed battery.

Paul said a charge cycle doesn’t mean a going from a 0% charge to 100% charge and back to 0%. And it doesn’t mean the act of pluging and unpluging the charger. In general, it means is “there has been a period when the battery went over at least 80% full and another period when it went below 20%, no matter how often you plugged and unplugged it”.
<A Health Checkup for Your Laptop Battery>

Glenn has a friend with a 3 year old HTC phone that’s worked well for him when he was using Verizon, It has a SIM card and Glenn was thinking he might switch over to H2O Wireless as the cellular provider.

Paul explained that there used to be 2 types of the iPhone 3. The CDMA version worked with Verizon and had no SIM card slot. The GSM model did have the slot. With iPhone 4 Apple started putting both GSM & CDMA on board. This occurred about the time when Verizon went to 4G LTE technology, which requires SIM cards (at least for the date portion of the service — 3G, voice & text don’t require it).

Paul said the chances are good that the HTC phone Glenn was looking at can take a SIM card from an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) <which was discussed in the 8-24-16 show>. These companies resell the cellular service provided by the major companies like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

Some of the alternate cellular providers that the guy mentioned were H2O Wireless, Pure Talk and Google-Fi.

Paul said that if you’re ready to replace a phone, try check online for trade-in offers, don’t just throw it in the trash. Samsung and iPhone models have respectable trade-in values. For example, you can go to Ebay and search for ‘sell my phone’.

Paul upgraded his iPhone to IOS 10 last week. Last weekend Glenn upgraded his 4-year-old iPad to IOS 10 and noticed a significant slowdown as well as some other problems. Paul said there doesn’t seem to be a way to go back to a previous version on the Apple products.

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.

5 weeks ago Glenn had cataract surgery on his right eye and 3 weeks ago the same was done on his left eye. The surgery was done in a couple of hours without the use of lasers. He anticipates not having to use glasses eventually.

Paul talked a bit about hard drive failure. Hard drives have onboard electronics that map out a faulty sector so it’s not used anymore, if it no longer can reliably hold the data. As more sectors fail, you eventually get the “spinning wheel of death” on a Mac. Computer problems often result from hard drive failures “approaching critical mass” and also overheating. Laptops are especially prone to overheating problems due to accumulation of dust. Use cans of compressed air to blow out the dust. And use SMART hard drive utilities to check the condition of your hard drive. Many modern hard drives have SMART technology built in that monitors its status.
<Here are someSMART monitoring utilities I found online…
PassMark DiskCheckup
S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring Tools — open source tools from sourceforge. The download page is here
How to See if Your Hard Drive is Dying with S.M.A.R.T. — mentions CrystalDiskInfo and has a tip to use the ‘wmic’ command without downloading anything:>

Gary called. He has a Mac Pro with 4 hard drives in it. He wanted to know if the “spinning wheel of death” only happens with the boot drive. And, he said, he was told that the spinning wheel meant he was running out of RAM memory.
– It could be any of the drives are having a problem, even an external drive.
– It’s true that the wheel can be caused by a low memory condition. But if you have only a web browse running, it’s not a memory problem.
– There’s a program found in the applications folder -> utility folder called something like “Activity Monitor”. It tells you what each program is doing and how much memory is being used. If the running programs aren’t using much processor time and you get the spinning wheel, look for a hard drive problem.
– Use the SMART utilities to check the hard drives first. If it says all is ok, then look for other problems.
– On the PC use Alt + Cntrl + Del to bring up Task Manager to see what’s going on with your running programs and the processor time they’re using. On the Mac the key combination is Command Option Escape.
– On the Mac the Finder may start to act up and may need to be relaunched.
– The Mac has maybe 15 or 20 temperature sensors in various locations. The spinning wheel can appear if any of the sensors indicate overheating. Paul said there’s a utility for that but couldn’t remember the name.

Glenn thanked the listeners who support KVMR. If you’d like to become a supporting member, you can call the KVMR office at 530-265-9073 or visit kvmr.org. If you’d like to talk to the guys during a Zen Tech show, call 530-265-9555

Changelog:
Added link to an article about checking a laptop battery here
Added link to a few articles on upgrading to Windows 10 here

Last Updated 4:29 PM 10-2-2016