Next Show Jun 28, 2017

Jun - 22 2017 | no comments | By

Please check back around the time of the broadcast

Last Show Jun 21, 2017

Jun - 21 2017 | no comments | By

Again, Microsoft has issued an important patch, which includes older Windows OS. See this article…
Patch Your PC: Yet Another Massive Exploit Discovered

 


 

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– 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 < >

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

NOTE: There is another Zen Tech show scheduled next Wednesday 6-28-17

A couple of songs were played — Fractal Zoom at the start & Pentatonix near the start and at the end.

 

Paul was in the studio and Glenn called in from Sacramento

 

Paul said most of the internet providers have been suffering from a slow down. He speculated it might be due to the heat.

Telephony at KVMR uses VOIP and Paul noticed the poor quality of Glenn’s phone call. He went on to explain that cell service, copper wire telephone service and the internet itself used to be pretty independent. Now, the internet provides the backbone for all these services. So when the internet has a problem, the others can suffer.

Paul said that downdetector.com lists all of the major providers and has an algorithm that checks the major backbones to see how they’re doing. It also takes input from users about problems they’re having.

Paul used speedof.me to check his connection and found he was getting 35 to 40 megabits/sec. But visiting Facebook, Google Drive and some other services resulted in serious problems. He speculated that hopping from one backbone to another caused the inconsistent results.

Glenn remembered that 134 degrees was some kind of heat record and it happened in Death Valley. Looking it up, Paul found that on 7-10-1913 the air temperature was 134 at Furnace Creek, at the bottom of the valley. It’s the hottest atmospheric temperature recorded on anywhere earth.

Paul talked about net neutrality saying there are something like 15 to 30 backbone providers In our area we have Comcast/Xfinity cable and ATT/Uverse DSL. Comcast wants people to buy their movies & content so they prioritize the internet traffic to make it easier for their customers to receive Comcast movies. At some point Comcast had a conflict with the backbone that Netflix resides on, and there was a behind-the-scene deal made between Netflix and Comcast to keep the Netflix video traffic flowing smoothly.

Check out the website battleforthenet.com to see if net neutrality is being observed or not. It’s explained on the webpage that it tests how traffic moves between major provider backbones.

Paul compared net neutrality with interstate commerce where goods can travel across state boundaries without regulation and tariffs. When you pay for 30 megabits/sec, you want to get that speed no matter where you go, no matter what backbone you go thru.

Paul talked about cars having problems with overheating in this hot weather. He’s seen many cars by the side of the road with overheated engines and was reminded of the friend who was struck and killed while standing on the shoulder by his car. He has a couple of rules to go by: the further you can get off the road, the better and never get out of the driver side of the car.

Paul went on to say that American cars have catalytic converts that get very hot. If you pull off onto a grassy area, the grass can catch fire if it comes in contact with the converter.

Additionally, don’t open the radiator cap. Wait for the engine to cool off. And don’t add cool water to the expansion tank while the engine is hot — it can crack the engine block.

Coming back from Sacramento last Monday, Paul had to take a break in Auburn to let his engine cool. He couldn’t decide if he should let his car idle so the coolant would circulate and hopefully cool the engine faster. He wished he had an infrared temperature gauge, which you can get from Home Depot for about $20. With it, he could have measured the temperature of different parts of the engine block to see how quickly it was cooling.

Glenn chimed it with his tip, saying that if you see the temperature gauge climbing, turning off the air conditioner can delay a overheating problem. You can also turn on the heater to take more heat away from the engine.

Should the coolant all boil away, irretrievable damage can be done to the engine within the 1st minute of running without water, Paul noted. You may not notice it at first but problems can show up later. One thing that can happen is the head gasket can be damaged and there may be oil lost into the coolant, coolant into the oil or coolant may enter the cylinders. The lesson is to take care not to let your engine overheat, which can happen very quickly, Glenn said.

After he has a high temperature event, Paul likes to check the coolant hoses as well as his oil. He said, that you don’t get more mileage with synthetic oil than natural oil. The wearing out of oil is due more to combustion products getting into it than something happening to the oil itself.

Program director Steve Baker came to the mic to say that the KVMR radio signal is no longer broadcasting and won’t be until repairs are made. The internet stream is still working. Paul said he’ll archive this show. <I’m not sure what he meant. The show is automatically archived — see the links at the top of this page>.

Paul talked about his Sonoff remote control device. It’s a wi-fi based internet of things (IOT) home automation system that you can get for $5.75 on Ebay or about $10 on Amazon. It’s a small rectangular white block that you can hold in the palm of your hand that has 2 screw terminals on the left and right, a push button and an LED. The push button is used to pair the device with your router.

He then got a common electrical extension cord, which he cut. He then bared the wires and connected them to the screw terminals (observing the polarity).

Next, you need to get an app called ewlink. With the app you create an account somewhere in China to which the device logs in. Since your router has a firewall, you won’t be able to directly communicate with the device when you’re out and about. What happens is your app logs on to the server in China where you created the account. The remote control device logs in to that server too. Now, the server acts as a go between for the device & app, and they can talk to each other.

Now, it’s proper to be suspicious of such a device when you don’t know everything it’s doing. It could be snooping on you, gathering passwords, etc. So you should create a guest network. Most routers are able to do this including Apple Airport routers. Essentially, this creates a separate login for the device so it can’t see the other traffic going thru the router — traffic from your computers, tablets, etc.

Glenn related a question by a listener named Marilyn. Can a cell phone that is not activated on a cellular service still be used to browse the internet using wi-fi? Paul said that it can. Glenn then asked if you take the SIM card out of an iPhone, could you still use the wi-fi. Paul replied that it might be problematic. If it’s a locked phone, it wants to see a SIM card that belongs to the company that originated it. <A locked phone is tied to a cellular company and may still be under contract.>

Paul gave an example. He got a used Sprint iPhone and reloaded the latest version of iOS. He turned it on and it said he needed to active the phone. But he didn’t have the SIM card for the service the phone had on it. He said that there are dead SIM cards (with no service on them) being sold for a couple of bucks. The iPhone just wants to see the cellular provider’s card, it doesn’t care if it works. Paul said if you deactivate your phone to give it to someone else, don’t throw away the SIM card. Also be sure the cellular company won’t be charging you for having the card in the phone, Paul said.

Glenn’s audio was breaking up pretty badly but it sounded like he said there will be another Zen Tech show on 6-28-17. Paul said he won’t be here but will be on the way to Croatia for his niece’s wedding.

Last Updated 12:42 AM 6-22-2017>

May 31, 2017

May - 31 2017 | no comments | By

Acronis Backup– protects against Ransomware?!

Android Malware– Punch N Judy!!

 


 

Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– 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 < >

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

 

Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.

 

The intro music was Fractal Zoom by Brian Eno. Paul noted that Eno is a contributing member and a major force in the Long Now Foundation.

Listeners were invited to call during the show with their questions and comments at 530-265-9555

Paul revisited the concept of ransomware that was discussed on the last show (5-24-17). He said it has spawned a plethora of copycats. Ransomeware is not new; it’s been around 12 to 15 years. In the wake of the fear it elicits, others have been encouraged to offer solutions claiming to protect you, but not one is guarantied to work. Though PCs are usually targeted, other operating systems are vulnerable, Paul said.

Another form of malware is foistware, which is foisted on you by pretending to be something else, like when you’re prompted to do a Flash, Java or Adobe Acrobat update, for instance.

Paul mentioned Acronis Backup software. He said it does a reasonably good job. <See the link at the top>. There’s a lightweight version for individuals and a version for corporations. Though they claim that 500,000 business trust it, it’s unclear if that number refers to those who just started to download it or completed the download or went ahead and installed the software. Paul said, “there is no security software that you should ever trust, at all”…”behave with total circumspection and total distrust”. <That seems a bit hyperbolic, but I felt the need to include it>.

That said, Paul prefers FreeFileSync for backup. It does require the user to make some decisions about what to backup and what to skip. Generally, you’ll want to backup the content of C:\users (C:\documents and settings for XP users). <This program was mentioned during last week’s show (5-24-17) and on the 10-1-14 show.>
<FreeFileSync is here
The 12.1meg program .exe is here:
More info here>

Although an anti-virus program will prevent viruses from being backed up, there’s nothing to stop files encrypted by ransomware from being copied. There’s no reason to back them up, Paul said.

Glenn reminded listeners that the Zen Tech website is at zen.kvmr.org. And you can email the guys at zen at kvmr dot org at any time.

One of the project of The Long Now Foundation is a “monumental, scale multi-millennial, all mechanical clock as an icon to long term thinking”. Paul has seen one version of the clock at Fort Mason in San Francisco.
<The Clock of the Long Now>

Paul briefly talked about the Egyptian mummies and how recent advances in DNA extraction revealed that their origins were mainly Mediterranean populations rather than those from sub-Sahara.

Glenn has had time to evaluate the new LED headlights he got for his car that he talked about on the last show (5-24-17). He likes the illumination and no one has flashed their lights at him to indicate they were too bright. When Paul stood in front of the car, he found the upper boundary of the low beam lights terminated very precise, which was probably what kept the lights from blinding oncoming drivers. Glenn paid $100 for the kit from Amazon. It’s another $100 for the daytime running lights “and for the high beams”.

Paul said, “in this country, I don’t think, it’s ok to run around with running lights only — they don’t count for daytime use”. Glenn said, “if you use them in an area that isn’t designated for ‘you must use your headlights’, your daytime running lights do not count”.

Paul noted that over the years, safety regulations have reduced auto accidents and fatalities. Though still on the decline, the rates are leveling off due to cell phones and distracted driving.

There’s been discussion to make cell phones with a feature that will disable them when the car is in motion. Paul uses an app on his phone called Gas Buddy that, besides finding cheap gas prices, does detect if a car is in motion and, if so, will naggingly ask if the user is the driver or passenger.

Many radios in cars are Bluetooth enabled and you can get a device that attaches to the steering wheel that you can use to control a radio. The radio has to say it is “Bluetooth steering control enabled”. It is a standard. So even if you get a cheap Chinese knockoff for around $12, it should work. Paul said he’s still tempted to look at it even though you’re supposed to use it without taking your eyes off the road.

One of Paul’s favorite technology site is theregister.co.uk or in the USA it’s theregister.com. Yesterday he noticed an article about advertising fraud malware called Punch ‘n Judy that has targeted Android users. <See the link at the top>. It was found in 41 app in the Google Play Store. They have all been removed.

Version 7 of Android has a way of isolating suspicious activity of an app and notifying Google, which can then either kill the app or stop it from working and issue a warning.

Paul’s not sure what users can do about the Punch ‘n Judy malware. He said to google the words: punch ‘n judy android. And before you download apps, look at the user comments, how many downloads and how many stars (rating) they have.
<As I understand it the app is designed to click on ads in the background in a way the user may not notice. The pay-per-click payments somehow accrue to the malware creators. See here for another article>

Marilyn emailed a picture of a popup she keeps getting in her web browsers. It’s a side bar on the left with a green bar and the items Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus. She hasn’t found a way to get rid of it from her Windows 10 machine.
– Glenn asked the listeners for help.
– Paul suggested right-clicking the side bar to see what come up.
– Glenn did some research the other night but couldn’t remember the details of what he found. It had something to do with setting notifications in Windows.
– Paul thought it might be a browser plugin. In Firefox got to Tools -> Addons. If you don’t recognize something on the list, remove it. Even if you remove all the addons, Firefox will still work.
– An addon can appear in both Firefox and Chrome browsers even though you installed it once.
– In Chrome you can find the addons by going to the triple bar in the upper right -> Settings -> Plugins,
– In Chrome go to the triple bar -> Settings -> About to find out what version it is and to check for updates. This isn’t true for XP users because Chrome is no longer supported.
– In Firefox go to Help -> About Firefox -> Check for Updates.
– With frequent updates over the years, Firefox accumulates a bunch of junk. You can refresh it on a PC by going to Help -> Trouble Shooting Information -> Refresh Firefox. You can also try safe mode & restart. Paul said he’s never lost his bookmarks doing this. And it leaves what it cleaned up in a folder on the desktop called ‘Old Firefox Data’, which Paul has never seen a reason to keep.

Glen reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073. Or call the studio when the DJ is not talking on the air at 530-265-9555

Last Updated 11:21 PM 5-31-2017

/p

May 24, 2017

May - 24 2017 | no comments | By

Microsoft has a patch for the WannaCry ransomware for users of older Windows 8, Vista and even XP. Some of you, and XP users in particular, may have noticed that using Windows Update does not show a patch for WannaCry. You have to go here and get it manually. Once you have the .exe file, just run it and it will install itself.
How to Protect Yourself From Ransomware Attack
Frenchmen claim cure for WannaCry-infected computers. The software is here

There was no show on 5-10-17 due to membership drive

 


 

Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– 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 < >

Looks like there was a problem with the KVMR archive. I couldn’t find today’s show there. Recent shows are here.

NOTE: There is another show scheduled for next week – 5-31-17

 

Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio

 

Listeners were invited to call with their questions and comments during the show at 530-265-9555

Glen reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073

Paul talked a bit about ransomware and a version of it called WannaCry. <see the link at the top> Ransomware hijacks your computer by encrypting and locking up your vital data until you pay a ransom. Ransomware is not something new, as it first appeared a few years ago. Some 10 years ago a virus call AIDS emerged and it encrypted databases. Don’t depend on software to defend against ransomware, Paul said, use offline backups of your data.

Glenn said a researcher was able to find a way to decrypt the data and recover from WannaCry, but it requires that you haven’t rebooted your computer since the infection. <See the link to the article at the top.>

Glenn cautioned people about clicking on links in emails. An email may look like it’s from your bank, for instance, but it might be bogus. Use a web address you know is good to go to the bank’s site. <Or call them.> <Also at the top, is an NY Times article with security tips.>

Those still using unsupported versions of Windows (Vista & XP) can find a patch for WannaCry by following the instructions at the top of this page.

Paul noted that makers of anti-virus software or purveyors of security services don’t warranty or guaranty their products. The answer is offline backup, he said. That means keeping the backups separate from the computer or else the backups can be compromised.

He went on to say that it’s desirable to have at least 2 if not more storage media. Flash drives are relatively inexpensive — 128 gig flash drive can be found for under $30. Determine how many gigs of data you have for backing up and get drives that are twice that size.

Rather than dragging your data to the flash drive, use a program like FreeFileSync, Paul said. <It was mentioned on the 10-1-14 show.> To determine how much data will be synched, Go to the C: drive and find the folder called “Users”, right-click on it and then click on “properties”.
<FreeFileSync is here
The 12.1meg program .exe is here
More info here>

Once you’ve done the 1st backup, take out the flash drive and label it ‘A’. Then repeat the process with a 2nd flash drive & label it ‘B’. The drive that’s not currently plugged into the computer is considered secure from malware. <Presumably you should alternate the 2 drives as you continue making backups.>

Should you get hit with ransomware, don’t even consider plugging in the offline backup drive into your computer until you’re sure you’ve cleaned out the infection. Paul said he’s seen viruses working in pairs. You think you’ve eliminated the virus and the other one brings the 1st one back. And when you think you’ve deleted the 2nd one, the 1st one brings it back. So, Paul suggested making a copy of the drive you’re going to use for restoring. <I think he meant having 2 offline copies in case there are still remnants of the virus you missed.>

He went on to suggest occasionally doing a practice run of restoring your data to a completely different computer. A backup won’t do you any good if you can’t restore it. Even a Mac can read a flash drive made on a PC.

Glenn replaced the headlights in his car with LED headlights. When he went shopping for them he found that one issue is the wattage the lights required. Of the ones he saw, each LED bulb had 4 LEDs in it and required 120 watts per bulb instead of the 55 watts of his original H11 bulbs. So Paul did some searching and found, on Amazon, bulbs with 2 LEDs inside, which made the wattage requirement close to what he was already using.

LEDs require a fixed current at whatever voltage it takes but the tungsten type bulbs need a fixed voltage at whatever current it takes. So the guys had to make sure there was a current regulator circuit between the bulb and the rest of the car’s electrical system. It turned out that the LED bulbs are much brighter (3500 lumens) and had a whiter light (6000 K).

Speaking of lumens, Paul mentioned an app for his Android tablet that turns it into a light meter. It’s called Lux. He said the tablet has a light sensitive cell, which normally controls the brightness of the screen based on the amount of ambient light. The app uses this cell to indicate the brightness of the light shining on it. <There are a number of apps that use the word Lux. Do a google search for the words: site:play.google.com lux meter.>

When Paul replaced the lights in his RV with LEDs and found that they don’t put out a uniform spectrum. When he replaced the running light with an LED, he found that the red lens in front of the bulb muted the light more than he liked. The correct solution is to replace the lens rather than finding an LED with a suitable color.

On modern cars there is a system called CAN bus. Its originally a German standard that uses a buss topology. It allows the car’s computer to tell if a light is out by measuring the current going to the bulbs. But since the LEDs use less current, the computer thinks a light is out when it isn’t. Paul didn’t say what or if there’s a solution.

Ralph called. He’s about to buy an replacement headlight for his car but he thinks the LED bulbs are too expensive & piss off people because they are so bright. Glenn said he got 2-year warranty and paid $90 for the pair that he bought.

Paul said the brightness became an issue when the high voltage zenon bulbs came on the market years ago. And misalignment can also cause the headlights of on-coming cars to be blindingly bright. There’s not much regulation, though some East Coast states will ticket drivers if the headlights are not aligned properly. Ralph said he’ll just get an old fashion tungsten headlight this time around. Glenn said he’ll be evaluating the new headlights and will have more to say about them on the next show.

Scott called from Topanga in Southern Calif. He said he flies Cessna aircraft and had light burn out regularly. But since the fleet switched over to LEDs, he’s not seen one burn out. Glenn said the ones he bought are rated for 55,000 hours. Paul said tungsten filament bulbs lose brightness as they age but the LEDs don’t.

Scott asked for opinions about cloud backups, like Carbonite. Paul said that besides Carbonite there’s Google Drive (his favorite), Drop Box as well as others. They will dutifully copy whatever is on your machine. He emphasized ‘whatever’. The point he seemed to make is that the backup happens so frequently and there may not be much time between a virus infection and a backup. So the consequence of an infection will get backed up, too.

The other problem with cloud backups is that there may not be enough bandwidth, if you’re working on a large project. Video editing especially can be problematic because files tend to be big. And when you first start using Carbonite, it can take hours or days to do the initial backup. After that, the backups are incremental where only the changes are backed up. And keep in mind that the upload speed is typically slower than the download — maybe only 4 or 5 megabits/sec. To beat ransomware the best option is local offline storage of your data, like to a flash drive.

Glenn asked if Time Machine on the Mac is susceptible to a ransomware attack. Paul said yes. If you or one of your programs can read and write data, so can the malware. He noted 2 of the big vectors for infection is the Flash player and Java. He said no one should be using Java anymore, Paul said.

Terry called to express her low opinion of bright headlights. She thinks that even if they are pointing down at the ground, they can have a bad effect. She didn’t elaborate but she’s practicing her high pitch singing in hopes of being able to break the glass of those headlights. Paul noted that there is tradeoff between seeing more with bright headlights and blinding on-coming drivers.

Paul briefly mentioned the Cree tactical flashlight, which were also talked about on the 6-29-16 show. Glenn found one for just a few bucks, for the flashlight alone. It uses a proprietary battery, which Paul got from an old laptop that’s 3.7 volts and 3 amp hours. The flashlight packages the guys got were $20 and included, among other things, a charger. At one time Paul tried shining the flashlight into his eyes & couldn’t see anything for 2 or 3 minutes. I think it was an expression of amazement as well as a warning because he followed with a disclaimer — he does not recommend shining them into people’s eyes.

Last Updated 12:15 AM 5-25-2017

/abp

Apr 26, 2017

Apr - 26 2017 | no comments | By

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– 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 < >

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

Note: Zentech won’t be on in 2 weeks (5-10-17) due to a membership drive

 

Both Glenn an Paul were in the studio today

 

Glen reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073.

Webcal is a standard by which people can share their calendars (schedule). You can use it with Outlook, Ical, Android Calendar and with Google Calendar. Paul said the Google Calendar is very adequate and suggested that people try it out. Go to calendar.google.com. Clever people have been known to share their paper-based calendar by taking a picture of it and sharing the picture. Generally, when you share a calendar, you can make it read-only so no one else can make changes to it, Paul noted.

Paul found a wonderful website called webcal.fi. It has access to thousands of calendars. Some have times of sunrise/set, length of day, moon phase and all sort of calendar-related info — anniversary of historic events (on this day in history) and trivial holidays (Hug An Australian Day, etc). And there are calendars specific to different countries.
<This is a similar service for Ical>

Glenn asked if webcal calendars can coordinate with Ical. Paul said it’s possible. “On the left hand side of that webpage there is what they call Manual Subscription, Other File Formats and Help How Does It Work”. Rather than going into details, Paul suggested using the help feature to set up Ical.
<Other interesting calendar sites I’ve run across…
timeanddate.com
http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar
Excel calendars>

Listeners were invited to call with their questions and comments during the show at 530-265-9555. Or email the guys anytime to zen at kvmr dot org. Any question related to technology is welcome <not necessarily about computers>.

Glenn noted that in the last 3 or 4 years there’s been an expansion in the number of top level domain names such as .com, .org, .gov and country domains (.fi)

And there’s .me as in speedof.me, where you can test the speed of your internet connection. Also, you don’t have to live in the country whose domain you register with — you can live in the USA and register a .fi name.

Paul said InterNIC & IANA are the organizations that create domain names and addresses. One gives out (registers) numbers <the ip address I presume> and the other gives out names. Stakeholders can spend millions to have a domain created, like .toyota, if they think there might be a demand for it, and then they resell it.

A lot of the top level domain names are in Unicode characters. Unicode uses 2 bytes for each character to give a broader choice of letters in foreign languages.

There is a problem when Unicode is used in a browser that doesn’t support it. English doesn’t need Unicode for its character set and a browser may not use it to display the characters properly. A domain can be registered in Chinese Unicode characters. But then what should appear as Chinese in your browser’s address bar could end up being displayed in what looks like plain English — something innocent looking like apple.com. If your browser is modern enough, there will be a warning saying something like “this is not the site it appear to be”.
<Chrome and Firefox Phishing Attack Uses Domains Identical to Known Safe Sites>

Johnny called. He has cell phone & a 2gig cellular plan with AT&T. He needs more data but the next step up with AT&T is way more than he needs. He’s heard of other plans mentioned on this show that use the AT&T network and wanted to be reminded again.
– Two were mentioned before: h2owirelessNOW.com and puretalkusa.com.
– For info about 2nd tier providers, google the word: mvno. It stands for mobile virtual network operator.
– Your coverage (reception) shouldn’t change because you’ll still be using AT&T with these 2 providers.
– Glenn said H2O is a little bit cheaper and you get more gigs for your money. They have a month to month plan, but with auto-billing you get a 10% discount.
– These two are the ones the guys are familiar with. There are many more choices.
– There don’t seem to be any such alternatives if you are currently with Verizon.
– Its very important to sign up with the new carrier and port your number to them BEFORE you terminate your account with AT&T or you’ll lose you phone number.
– Another thing to consider is you’ll no longer be able to tether with your phone (make it a hotspot for other devices to use the internet).
– Check with AT&T to see if you’ve completed your contract that pays for your smartphone, or there’ll be a termination fee.
– You’ll also need a PIN or security code from AT&T. It’s a layer of security to insure your number doesn’t get stolen in the process.

Eric called. He has tons of CDs and he wants to put the audio onto his phone.
– With a Google account you’re given the space to store 20,000 audio files for free. Go to music.google.com.
– Once your music gets transferred to Google, you can use an app on your smartphone to either listen to it stream or to download selected playlists.
– You can upload .mp3 or .aac files but not .wav or .flac, to Paul’s recollection.
– Eric said most of his music is in .flac format. Glenn said he’s had to convert some 9,000 files into .mp3 and suggested a program called alltomp3..
– Paul said the Android app he needs is Google Music.
– Eric brought up the issue of running down the battery on phone while listening for some 4 hours a day <and using up his data plan>. Paul suggested using wi-fi as much as possible. And he noted that auxiliary battery packs are now pretty cheap — about $12 for a 5 amp hour pack.
– Or consider getting an mp3 player.
<How to use Google Play Music
Add your music with Google Play Music Manager>
<For the PC: About All To MP3 Converter>

Michael called to say he’s found a cheap cell phone & plan from Republic Wireless for $20/mo. It runs on wi-fi for unlimited talk & text & 1 gig of data. Paul looked it up and noted that it looks like calling abroad is also free. Glenn jumped in to say H2O Wireless also has free international calling to some countries.

Michael said that if he gets out of wi-fi range, it will search for and connect to a cellular network automatically. Paul cautioned people to research whom Republic or other second tier providers use for the cellular network to be sure you’ll have adequate coverage in your area. And though he wasn’t sure, Michael thought the phone has to come from Republic because it’s special in that it can do the wireless hand-off. Paul noted not all phones can do that

Glenn invited listeners to visit the KVMR home page and look for the Day of Giving and you’ll find that Paul is featured.

Paul mentioned opensignal.com, which provides a map of coverage of the major cellular networks. The data it gets comes from people while they’re using the app and combining it with their GPS location.

Glenn said he uses Google maps a lot when he’s driving to get the traffic conditions ahead. Paul said Google uses data from transit authorities whereas the app called Waze uses data from the driver’s phones while using Waze, similar to opensignal.
<Waze For Android>

Paul mentioned an app for Android & PC called Wi-Fi Finder. It will overlay on a Google map the points where wi-fi is available. It shows the signal strength and the wi-fi name, and it’s updated continually.
<There are many such apps. Google the words: site:play.google.com wi-fi finder>

Sue called. She has a Dell laptop with Win10. The lower left Windows button on her keyboard stopped working.
– Paul suggested she use keytest at en.key-test.ru to test her keyboard.
– Try a can of compressed air to blow out the keyboard.

Last Updated 12:41 AM 4-27-2017

Apr 12, 2017

Apr - 12 2017 | no comments | By

Technology Of Travels!

What> Vista Dead? And what’s this Windows 10 Creator Update?!
And by the way… ‘Don’t Be Evil‘ (Transmogirfied into “Do the Right THing?!”)
Google is now pushing its Google Express shopping opportunity!!!!

Instant Vulnerability in WORD

 


 

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– 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 < >

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.

 

Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in from Point Richmond in the Bay Area.

 

Siri uses the Microsoft Bing search engine by default, which Paul thinks is useless. If you want it to use Google, prefix your query by saying ‘google’.

Glenn reminded listeners that they may view show notes by going to zen.kvmr.org. And you can send email to the guys at zen at kvmr dot org.

There have been 2 major updates to Windows, Paul said — Windows 10 Anniversary, which “broke a lot of stuff” and Windows 10 Creators Update that came out in the last few days.

Big updates like these are a compilation of all the patches that have come out in the mean time and usually just fix thing under the hood. But the Creators Update actually adds some features. See the link at the top of this page. Paul said he would prefer to wait on doing the Creators Update.

<Here are a few articles I’ve come across (but didn’t read)…
Yes, Another Windows 10 Update Is Here. By Biersdorfer
Windows 10 Creators Update. A David Pogue review
New Creators Update build lets you block Windows 10 updates
Today’s the day to block Windows 10 Creators Update
>

Microsoft has been working on Cortana, their personal assistant, Paul says it’s not as good a Siri. Glenn said hasn’t tried it yet. Glenn said he uses Siri while driving but prefers Google search.

If you use Microsoft Office or its components, it will not be updated in conjunction with a Windows update. There is an option to select <Paul didn’t say where> that will make other Microsoft products update when the operating system is updated. In particular, there is a vulnerability in Word that needs attention, and there’s a link about it at the top of this page.

Google is pushing its shopping service called Google Express. There’s a link about it at the top of this page. Paul wasn’t clear about it but somehow it’s tied in with doing a Google search by voice.

The Microsoft tablet called Surface used to run a version of Windows 8 called Windows RT (runtime). It was different than the Windows for the desktop/laptop. The current model of the Surface uses a version of Windows 10 that is the same as the desktop version. Paul had a chance to try one of these tablets and thought it would have been great if it had come out a few years ago. It seems that he likes it but said the tablet is pricey — in the $900 – $1200 range.

Last night Glenn updated his iPad to version 10.3.1 of the operating system and it slowed it tremendously.

Paul said Apple recently came out with a new iOS filing system for solid state flash drives called APFS. <Talked about during the 3-29-17 show>. And he suggested that Glenn shut down and restart the iPad.

Paul said he’s more familiar with Android, but there are apps for Apple’s iOS to clean up the junk an operating system tends to accumulate. He mentioned an article from Mac World — ‘How To Clear Out Your iPhone’s Memory And Cache’.

One of the things iOS 10.3 does is to recognize incompatible apps. Each new version of iOS gives apps additional resources to run more efficiently. Apps written for an older version may not have been updated to take advantage of a newer iOS. Version 10.3 will notify you that you have one of these older apps, though you may still be able to use it.

Glenn restarted his iPad and said it seems to be a little faster.

In the Linux world, the Unity user interface has been discontinued, Paul said. There are at least 10 window managers (the user interfaces) for Linux that show you the desktop, its icons and allow you to operate the computer. Gnome & KDE are the mainstream interfaces for Linux. And there are lightweight interfaces like XFCE & LXDE, which work even on an old Intel 386 or 486 computer. If you replace Windows XP with Lubuntu on an older machine and use the LXDE window manager, it will run even faster that it did under XP.

Glenn told us about a project where he used Kunbuntu to copy the user files from a machine that would no longer run Windows. After reinstalling Windows, the user files were then returned to their correct location and the machine’s operation was restored.

Paul noted that Microsoft now allows you download the ISO image of Windows for free. It’s what the guys used for reinstalling Windows the just-mentioned project. You can search for the words: microsoft 10 iso image. Make sure it comes from the Microsoft website. Paul said, “the reason they give it to you free is because you are tied down with the whole key mechanism.” For the particular machine the guys worked on, the key was stored, as it came from the manufacturer, in the UEFI partition of the hard drive <I think he meant the firmware >.

If you tried to boot the ISO image on a machine that doesn’t already have a key, you’ll end up with an unregistered version of Win10 and it will be missing some of the customizing options. You can get a key from Microsoft for no less than $99, Paul surmised.

The type 6 Kindle Paperwhite Reader that Paul has (mentioned on the 3-29-17 show) runs a slimed-down version of Linux. The current version of their operating system is 588. Amazon makes the souce code available and there is a hacker community called Kindle Hackers dedicated to modifying the Kindle. One such modification makes the Kindle into a message board that you can stick on a refrigerator with double-sided tape. The newest Kindles can run for 1 month between recharges. That’s reduced to 10 days if the backlight is on and it’s using wi-fi.

Dennis called about his a 2007 iMac running Mountain Lion OS. He’s not been able to upgrade to a newer OS. Also, he gets black squares and flashes while running the browser. He wanted to know if there is something like Ccleaner he can run to get rid of junk files. Paul said that there are cleaners but the Mac should do its own cleaning.
– Read carefully the error message you get when trying to upgrade to narrow down the problem.
– People tend to think upgrading the operating system is the way to fix a problem. “If you’re not careful it will just go wrong faster”.
– Find out if the machine is overheating. The machine has several internal temperature sensors. It’s not just a matter of feeling the outside of the machine.
– The storage system (like the hard drive) may be messed up. Tech Tools Pro for Mac will check the hard drive and give you a report. You can first try the built-in program called Disk Utility (go to the Applications folder -> Utilities folder). There’s also Disk Warrior for Mac.
– Paul said he’ll put links to utilities for smart drive checking & temperature monitoring on this page.

Paul mentioned H2O Wireless that he and Glenn use for their cellular provider. You get 3gig of data & unlimited calling & texting for $27/mo.

Things are finally starting to get competitive in the cell phone market in the USA, Paul said. Most use the AT&T network, some use Verizon. If you currently have poor connections to AT&T, for instance, you’ll have trouble using a provider that run on the AT&T network. And you’ll have to unlock your AT&T phone to switch over to a second tier provider that’s using AT&T.

Glenn gave the disclaimer:

The opinions and thoughts you that you hear on KVMR are those of the speaker only and not necessarily those of staff, management, underwriters or board or other broadcasters

The cell phone companies, especially with the the latest phones, are able to “lock down what you do”. <I think he meant cellular providers>. So you can’t do any tethering — can’t use it as a hotspot. And they shut down Apple’s Facetime — a video conferencing feature. But Paul discovered that the free app called Whatsapp is a fine replacement. And it allows Apple users to communicate with not just other Apple users but the rest of the world.

Glenn was at first hesitant in using Whatsapp because it wanted to use his contact list. But since Paul had been using it for a while with no problems, Glenn is OK with it now. You don’t have to allow access to your contacts but you’ll then have to key in the phone numbers manually.

Tim called. He had sent an email last week about a problem and wondered if there was a solution. He has Windows 10 but he can’t access anything on the internet from a desktop icon. He just gets a white screen and a spinning wheel. Paul suggested he google the words: chkdsk windows 10. This is a utility that will check the underlying file system to see if the files are stored properly. Also look up ‘safe mode’, Paul said. Glenn said he’ll take a look at the email Tim sent and get back to him in the next couple of days.

Last Updated 12:06 AM 4-13-2017

Favorite Programs & Utilities

Apr - 01 2017 | no comments | By

 Programs & sites often mentioned during the shows. All, I think, are free!! Some make money with Ads on the Pages, so be careful which link you click! SOME offer a Chekcbox to install things like Yahoo! Toolbar that they get a small Commission from. Always EXCLUDE such things.


For a description of how to save audio you're listening to over the internet, see the bottom of this page.


Let's start with those free utilities that passively help report what exactly your machine is and does…. IE they do not change anything but just provide useful information about the PC every time they are run…

BELARC PC Inventory Program; the free download is here
CPUID from HERE identifies Brain, memory type and maker etc.
SPEEDFAN Hard Disk and machine temperature and fan S.M.A.R.T. Troubleshooter
WinDirStat gives statistics about your hard drive usage
memtest86 gives info about the computers memory.
The machine has to be booted from separate media like a bootable CD, floppy or flash drive

 


Ckean up 'intrinsic' Windows slowdowns: In general THIS
site is Very Informative: http://www.blackviper.com and I have used many of its notes for the presentaion:
USE WITH CAUTION!
For XP Optimizing: http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/supertweaks.htm
For Vista Optimizing: http://www.blackviper.com/WinVista/supertweaks.htm
Yes, Windows SEVERN Now already!: http://www.blackviper.com/Windows_7/supertweaks.htm


This section lists programs that will optimize the PC by cleaning defragmenting and otherwise improving things..

CCLEANER – Venerable Cleaner of Crap off PCs! Removed temporary/scratch and cache files that can accumulate over time and slow things down. Also has a REASOBALY good Registry Cleaner

EUSING Registry Cleaner Trims entries in the single datafile Windows uses called the Registry that are orphaned or are otherwise wrong..

NTREGOPT  Optimizes the Registry by converging fragmented parts of the branches of the database and clearing empty entries.. I Think. REBOOT after thsi one.

MYDEFRAG is a simple Disk Defragmenter that in default install mode provides an ingenious screen saving defragmentation routine

REVO UNINSTALLER uninstall programs.
Mentioned in the May 22, 2010 show.


Spybot AntiMal/Spyware Software (Home Page) <or maybe here>

AVG Free Anti Virus. Or…
For those who don't want to deal with a download manager to get AVG (e.g. if you're using a library's computer), you should be able to get the file directly here:
http://free.avg.com/us-en/download-free-all-product


Thunderbird (email & Usenet client)
Firefox (a web browser, many plugins, more basic interface)
Opera (a web browser, some plugins, more user-friendly interface)
UBUNTU Linux an alternative operating system
For the PC there's Syncback Lite, a free backup program
Blender is a suite free tools for 3d graphic creation

Ad-Aware anti-spyware form Lavasoft
Zone Alarm firewall (for those without XP + service pack 2)
Audacity Audio editor
Audacity plugin called Lame (for saving your work in mp3 format)

crucial.com gives info similar to mentest86
Winamp plays audio files

Picasa a picture editing & managing 
Paint Shop Pro is now a Corel product but earlier free versions can be found
   The version I got at this location seems to be working ok but USE AT YOUR OWN RISk.

Black Light Anti-Rootkit 
   mentioned in show notes here and here

Openoffice is mentioned. It's a great alternative to Microsoft office and handles many of its file types.

LibreOffice is similar to OpenOffice. It branched off of OpenOffice when it looked like Oracle wanted to make money off of OpenOffice. Though they've backed off that idea, OpenOffice seems to be struggling and it's my impression that more people are going with LibreOffice. Here are some articles about it.
1) Former OpenOffice.org developers offer their first stable OpenOffice competitor
2) OpenOffice.org vs. LibreOffice
3) Facing closure, OpenOffice.org begs for survival. (This article has a link to more about LibreOffice)
4) Apache asserts OpenOffice stewardship

Gmail is an web based email service; can be used as a POP & SMTP mail service.
Google Docs is sort of like using Microsoft Office online

Check your connection speed with speedtest.net



 

This is intended to allow you to record while you're listening to streaming audio over the internet, like the Zentech show.

It's my understanding that not all audio cards support this feature, the newer the computer/audio card the LESS likely the support. Supposedly, the hardware manufacturers have bent to the demands of the recording industry who don't want you be able to record. But, this is simple enough and can be undone if you're not happy.

Preface:
These instructions are for Windows XP.
The Task Bar is the bar with the row of buttons beginning with the "Start" button, and is usually at the bottom of the screen. The System Tray is the portion of the Task Bar at the opposite end of the "Start" button which includes the clock.

Right-click on the speaker icon in the System Tray.
Then left-click on "Open Volume Control".

In the window that opens, go to Options and click on Properties.
In the window that opens, put a dot next to the "Recording" button in "Adjust volume for" section.
In "Show the following volume controls" section, put check mark next to "Stereo Mix". Click OK

You'll see the that the "Master Volume" window has changed to "Recording Control" and one of the items is "Stereo Mix".
In the Stereo Mix column put a check mark next to "Select". Initially, you should probably adjust the slider in that column to somewhere near the middle.

That's it. You can close the volume control window.

You can use the Windows Sound Recorder to capture and save the audio from radio programs, but it seems to record 1 minutes at a time — you have to keep clicking the record button for more minutes — whether you're using "Stereo Mix" or not. So you may want to use something better like Audacity. Links to it and a plugin for saving in MP3 format are given above.

You can find Sound Recorder by going to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Entertainment

Last updated: 4:09 PM 10/16/2011

Mar 29, 2017

Mar - 29 2017 | no comments | By

Kudos for last week’s guests and project about “Screen Dependency” (not “Addiction” as I might have Said)

– there was enough material for several hours of programming, but there is a Town Hall hosted by KVMR in April in person about this and I mean to be there  in the Audience with Questions:
– So Kindles Count? Is a Kindle a Book? Weren’t book once dreaded as an alienator of storytelling traditions?
After all it’s always Books that get Burned when Trouble Starts, right?
– Does each new generation tax the previous with progressions like these?

BBC article on newly scrapped internet privacy laws So what does this mean to Anonymous Browsing? how about SSL pages (which are increasingly prevalent).. In general your Destinations can be tracked, but what exactly you are looking at, less so. IE I can tell you are visiting parts of San Francisco but not what you are looking at there….
Backlash will hopefully kill this. Can you Subvert it? TOR Browser is a Risky Proposition
So that was what the “Do Not Track” Cookie Setting was about?
Now companies can legally ignore it (as it was only an Advisory) which they likely did anyway

Next wil likely be the Do NOT CALL Telephone listing: http://www.donotcall.gov (another Program covered Spoofed Caller ID’s-)

TAILS is an Internet Browser on a Stick to sidestep untrustworthy operating systems using Debian Linux

IOS 10.3 now out using a NEW Filing System called APFS better geared to flash memory, etc. Thought to only activate on newer devices like iPhone 6 & above. Protracted Update

WhatsApp now prominently does Video very well, circumventing possible FaceTime Blocking by cell phone company. Works Across Platforms and uses Encryption as the attack on Westminster Bridge in London showed (the attacker used WhatsSapp)

 

 


 

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– 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 < >

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.

 

Glenn was in the studio. Paul called in from the Salton Sea in Southern California

 

If you’d like to call in to the show during the broadcast, call 530-265-9555. Or you can email the guys anytime: zen at kvmr dot org

Instead of using the regular studio lines, Paul called in using WhatsApp. The quality was much better this time.

Referring to last week’s show, Paul reminded listeners that George Lynn will be at a local town hall meeting at the Nevada Theater April 18 6pm to 9pm, adding that the event will be broadcast on KVMR. The topic will be screen dependencies (dependency we have on our gadgets).

Paul said he was intrigued by the subject of last week’s show and wondered if a Kindle ebook reader leads to screen dependency. He’s read many books with his Kindle while on his RV excursions and he asked “do I have screen dependency? I don’t know”.

He has a Paperwhite Kindle, an Amazon product that sells for $120. The screen looks like paper — a white screen and very sharp text for which you can select fonts of different sizes. It’s a welcome feature for Paul’s problematic eyesight.

The Kindle screen is not very responsive, but it’s not intended to show animation or even webpages. It was specifically designed for reading. Paul finds it easier to read than a book, even in bright sunlight. He loves it.

Because of his attraction to bargains, Paul got a collection of Dickens’s classics for 99 cents. They were cheap because their copyright has expired, he said. There’s free material available for the Kindle, too. And you can put your own documents on it, with some fiddling. However, there is no way to edit something on the Kindle; it’s for reading only.

There’s a link to a BBC article at the top of this page about a coming change to internet privacy laws. If it gets signed into law, your ISP (internet provider) will be permitted to keep a log of where you go. Although pages whose addresses start with https (not http) are encrypted and the ISP won’t see what you send or receive, they can tell that you used, for instance, Facebook to post an article. They “may even, in some circumstances be able to read back the URL“.
<Congress Moves to Overturn Obama-Era Online Privacy Rules>

It won’t help to anonymize your web surfing by using the incognito mode of your browser, as in Firefox. This mode only prevents the local machine (your laptop/desktop) from storing browsing information. The ISP can still tell where you go. And using the Tor browser (link at the top) makes you stand out as someone trying to hide something.

If you don’t trust your operating system <or suspect you have malware>, Tails (link at the top) is a browser on an memory stick. From the way Paul described it, it comes with the Linux operating system as well as the browser. You can then boot your computer from the stick (flash memory) to run Linux & the browser. Tails uses the Tor network.

Don called to describe his efforts to stay anonymous. He bought a computer & cell phone with cash. He then went to Microsoft Live and got an email account. “Now I never use this device with my home wi-fi”, he said. He only gets on the internet when he’s at a library or a coffee shop. “I don’t think they can catch up with me”, he said. At this point Glenn accidentally dropped Don’s call.

Paul responded by saying “I tend to avoid anything except a local login”. Microsoft tends to badger you to login with Microsoft Live. But during the setup process there’s tiny option at the bottom that says “create a local account”. “You authenticate the account name like Don with possibly a password, but you don’t need to be online to do it. And, in fact, there’s no other reason to have an online Live account for Windows 10 or 8 or 7. There’s no other reason to do it than that Microsoft wants to sell you stuff and they want to track you”. Using access points away from home “won’t help much with the fact that Microsoft actually knows where he is”.

Paul said if you’re already set up, you can convert to a local account without losing your data. Paul said to google the words: revert windows 10 account to local. The instructions he found are at HowToGeek.
<Possibly this>

Mark called. His Firefox browser is notifying him to upgrade and he wanted to know if that’s a safe thing to do. Paul said it’s probably legitimate, but to find out, first dismiss any warning about updates. Then go to the help menu -> About. That will tell you what version of the browser you have, and you’ll know if you’re due for an update. In the same menu there’s an option to “update now”. Use that to do your update.

Paul said there’s an update to the IOS (operating system) on the iPhone 6. It’s now up to version 10.3. In this version there’s a substantial change to the underlying file system, the first change in 30 years. It used to be HPFS+ (High Performance File System). It’s now APFS (Apple filing system), which is more suited for flash drives. When Paul did his update, it took a while because it had to rewrite the entire file system. He said it freed up some memory and it runs a bit faster.
<A ZFS developer’s analysis of the good and bad in Apple’s new APFS file system>

Pilar called in from Sacramento. Her family has Mac computers and she’s looking to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). She’s read a review of The Best VPN Services of 2017 in PC Magazine. She asked for suggestions.

Paul said that a VPN will keep an ISP from tracking you, but “the other end of a VPN now knows where you are”. What a VPN does is take the outbound data, “crams it inside the packet that goes thru the phone company with encryption, scuttles it thru the internet, god know where, it will pop somewhere completely different”. “But the place where it comes out is no longer AT&Ts IP address. It could now be somebody else’s IP address”. The point of a VPN is to look like you are in a different location, even a different country. You can make it seem your IP address is in Britain so you can get to content that’s only available to people living in Britain, for instance.

In the end, the VPN company itself can sell your information. Paul suggested a VPN called TunnelBear. He said it’s pretty easy to use. It gives you the 1st .5gig/mo of data for free. PCs & Macs have VPN built-in, but it takes some persistence to get it working. Most VPNs cost about $5/mo. A VPN will slow things down, no way around that. Some content providers can tell if you’re using a VPN. So, for instance, the BBC might deny you access after all.
<Help file for TunnelBear
Tunnelbear for Android here>

Don called back. He said his strategy for anonymity involves using a fake ID when signing up at Microsoft Live email. Then he can use that account to sign up at, say, Facebook. Paul countered by saying you’ll be followed around the internet by the cookies placed on your machine, despite having a fake email account.

Glenn read a question by Andy who said he has a 2011 iMac with OS version 10.7.5. He needs to go up to at least 10.9 to install some tax software. An Apple rep told him versions 10.8 & 10.9 are no longer available to download but can take his 10.7 directly to 10.11.

Paul said, if he has 10.7, that probably has the application called “app store” which should offer an upgrade. Click the banner at the top of the “app store” and it says get Sierra (10.12) now, but it may not allow an older machine to upgrade. So “look up in the search window 10.11 and low and behold there will be a not very prominent icon that does allow you to download 10.11, if 10.12 is too new for your machine”. It will be a free download. Also, Paul has seen someone selling flash drives with the operating system on them for about $19.

Ralph called. He has a fairly new Windows 10 machine. And about 10 days ago he could no longer connect to the internet. He tried Ethernet & wi-fi. He just gets a spinning icon that says “waiting for…(whatever your homepage is)”
– one of the Microsoft patches broke DHCP — the ability of your machine to get an address from your router.
– You have to go into Windows 10 and hard code an IP address into your Ethernet interface to get the internet working so you can then get the updates to fix the problem.
– Try unplugging then plugging in the Ethernet cable.
<This was mentioned during the 12-14-16 show>

Last Updated 12:09 AM 3-30-2017 now prominently does Video very well, circumventing possible FaceTime Blocking by cell phone company. Works Across Platforms and uses Encryption as the attack on Westminster Bridge in London showed (the attacker used WhatsSapp)

Mar 22, 2017

Mar - 22 2017 | no comments | By

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– 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 < >

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

NOTE: There is another Zen Tech show scheduled next Wednesday 3-29-17

 

Glenn was joined in the studio by author Jordan Fisher Smith (twitter: @JordanFSmith). Paul called in from Southern California. Jordan interviewed two guests by phone.

 

The entire show, including the callers toward the end, focused on addiction to the internet and to electronic gadgets. Jordan led the interview of George Lynn & Cynthia Johnson authors of the book “Breaking The Trance. A Practical Guide For Parenting The Screen-Dependent Child”. I’ll just outline the highlights of the show. For details please listen to the audio.

George Lynn is a mental health counselor from Bellevue Washington who pioneered the use of psychotherapy for people with neropsychological issues and who authored 5 books on parenting children with behavioral problems.

Cynthia Johnson is the founding director of The Venture Program at Bellevue College, the nation’s first degree program for student with learning & intellectual disabilities. She’s also a therapeutic tutor of challenged students in pre-kindergarten, elementary and secondary school.

George will be at a local town hall meeting at the Nevada Theater April 18 6pm to 9pm. Parents, teachers and mental health professionals should make an effort to attend, Jordan said.

Jordan asked Cynthia to name some typical behavioral or learning challenges that are the marks of screen dependence in children.
– High disorganization
– Apathy toward school
– Failure or low performance in school
– Sleep deprivation
– Memory issues
– Reading & writing issues
– Issues in problem solving & critical thinking skills

George was asked to describe the nature of screen dependence. He said that games are designed to create a dependence. They are created to have what he called compulsion loops to give kid the feeling of not wanting to break away but to stay engaged. He said that once the kid is hooked into playing a game, the brain releases adrenaline — the neurochemical of excitement that’s also perceived as pleasure. Eventually, the brain expresses dopamine that locks in the need to stay engaged with the activity. Adrenaline goes up, dopamine goes up, pleasure goes up and then, as the compulsion loops kick in, frustration begins, bringing on the need to master the game. The kid can spend up to 8 hours with recreational screen media, which includes social media.

Cynthia said kids are a great marketing target for these electronic baby sitters. George said he’s talked to some Microsoft people who told him that the child’s brain normally thinks at about 600 words per minute, but the games are designed to overclock the brain, in terms of stimulus response, to about 1000 words per minute. In the long run that creates brain exhaustion and a whole variety of psychiatric symptoms that go along with that. He said that kids need to learn self control, with the help of the parents.

Cynthia said that some students find school boring because it doesn’t provide the stimulus the screen-dependent child had gotten used to.

Glenn asked if the adoption of digital devices in schools contributes to the problem. Cynthia said it does and some parents produce printed material for their kids so they won’t focus on using a device. She said that there are other workarounds.

Cynthia said that kid with autistic spectrum disorder may be more at risk for screen dependence. These kid tend to be more socially isolated and the parents think the kid’s screen time is better than no social contact at all, so they tend to let their kids indulge.

Paul asked what a parent should do to limit or block the use of screen media. George said there should be a plan. There should be rules as to content and times of access. There are some good apps to monitor the usage of screen media. <He didn’t mention specific ones.>

Jordan brought up the issue, and Cynthia confirmed, that kids get manipulative and parents don’t know what to do. Having a plan for screen time does much to mitigate the situation, Cynthia said.

Parents sometimes feel a sense of guilt that they have a problem with a screen-dependent child at home and they are reluctant to communicate with other parents. George said this is a huge problem. He said support groups could help. Many parents themselves use electronic devices to work after hours and that makes it hard to set an example for the kids.

Rick called. He has 2 15-yearolds and has had battles over the use of electronic devices. He wondered if there are subliminal messages embedded in the screen images that contribute to screen addiction. George said that the media itself is what’s addictive. And also, the blue tint of screens tends to keep people awake and interferes with sleep. He’s not aware of any subliminal messages. They’re not needed to make the applications a huge hit.

Clay called. He has no TV, no cell phone and no computer. He confirmed what was said earlier, the kids seem to be in charge.

George reiterated that self-control takes a while to develop and the parents can help their kids by setting limits.

George said that too much recreational screen media sabotages identity development. Kids go thru predictable stages of maturity to adulthood. You don’t want a kid to get stuck at a particular stage because they don’t get out enough in the real world.

Don called. He’s taught <sp> at CSU in Sacramento for 17 years and in the last 10 years he’s noticed more inattention and distraction in his classes. He thinks the factors discussed today have contributed to the situation where students are incapable of 15 minutes of sustained critical thinking. He characterized it as a disaster.

George concluded by saying that parents can take back the authority and that they shouldn’t give up.

Last Updated 9:54 PM 3-22-2017

Mar 8, 2017

Mar - 08 2017 | no comments | By

TODAY!


Claim Misplaced Fund from the California State Controller– (Check URL Carefully) but
WATCH FOR SCAMS! .. Usually done state by state but use
Caution Throughout! Other States


Hey Look– POWERPOINT  (.pptx) files can be taken to bits! They are actually ZIP files,
so rename them that way (Slideshow.pptx -> Slideshow.zip) & open ’em up with the likes of free IZARC (Windows) to extract all that lovely Content from the Archive


TRAVEL! Yea!!
Icelandic Airlines? WOW!
!s that Low Cost? Or Not.. Actual Cost of Living? accomodations: AirBNB? Couchsurfing? Sleep inthe jungle- it’s free. Further north like oh say Iceland… not so easy… Then: Is the Airline Trustworthy? Remeber ICEBANK?


Home Automation & the Woes of the Internet of Things— Internet connected Gadgets with backdoors and schemy schemes. How about going Open Source? Strictly Hackers!


Superwonderful YOuTube Documentaries about the Apollo 11 computers and here about Linux Opensource


 

Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– 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 < >

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

Both Paul & Glenn were in the studio today.

 

A link at the top of this page goes to a California government page where, if you enter your name, it will tell you if you have unclaimed property.

If you’re going to use the site, Glenn suggested entering your name in various ways — 1st name then last name, last name then 1st name, with or without middle initial, etc.

Glenn also mentioned a couple other websites where you might find forgotten or missing assets — unclaimed.org and missingmoney.com.

Paul cautioned listeners about fake websites, saying you can be more (but not entirely) confident about a website if the address ends in .gov. “Even having a secure certificate, that you can click up on the left, even having that secure certificate is not an absolute guaranty you are at the right place.”

Using the website, Glenn said he found $20 of a rebate he never received. Paul figured the state will hold on to unclaimed property for 6 or 7 years before it goes into the general fund.

Paul had a couple of other warnings. Don’t enter any personal information unless you’re sure you’re on the right site. There no need for a third party to get involved to reclaim the property.

Glenn told of a time he had an inheritance coming from a cousin. The information made it into the media and some companies got in touch with him saying they could help claim the inheritance for a 25% to 35% cut of the proceeds. Glenn contacted the a county office that handles these situations and got a resolution without the help of a third party.

Paul said that when something goes to probate it’s supposed to be published. When you’re contacted by someone offering to help you, assume it is a scam and don’t give away any personal information. Take the time to track down the sources of the information.

You can email the guys with your questions at any time using the address zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul said he added unclaimedmoney.org to the notes above <I don’t see it there>. One of the purported government sites Paul saw was virginiagovernment.org and he said he doesn’t trust that address. Glenn added that state websites that don’t end in .gov should be suspected. An address may have .gov in it, but if there is anything after that (like xxx.gov.org) you may be dealing with a scam site.

Paul said that later versions of Microsoft Word or Powerpoint use the file extensions .docx & .pptx, which are a modified XML format. Paul looked at the raw data in a .pptx file and found it started with the letters ‘PK’. That reminded him of a .zip file, which also begins with ‘PK’. So, he renamed a .pptx file to .zip and had Windows open as if it were a .zip file. To his surprise, he found all of the components (the text, graphics, movies, etc.) that make up the Powerpoint file. You can try the same thing with .docx files. Paul said the utility Izarc enhances your Windows machine “to do more things with more archives.” <The link to it is at the top of this page>.

Related to this are files resulting from pictures that you take with a phone. They will have exif data inside. The data will contain such info as the latitude & longitude of where the pictures was taken. Usually, you can change the phone settings to exclude this extra data from pictures you take.

Glen threw out the quote “oh, I wasn’t naked. I had the radio on”. He asked listeners to call if they know who said it. The answer is at the bottom of this page.

The guys talked about budget airlines. Glenn mentioned an airfare he saw for $65 from a out-of-the-way airfield in New York to Edinburgh. Paul found that the Icelandic airline named Wow has cheap fares. <Link at the top of this page>. The airfare Paul saw to Iceland restricted your baggage to 1 bag that you have to carry and must be smaller than what you can stuff into the overhead bin.

And he warned that nothing is cheap in Iceland. The cost of living is high, which Paul found from another website, which gives you the cost of living in every country in the world. <Link at the top of this page>

Paul mentioned a couchsurfing website that works by referral of both guests and hosts. <Link at the top of this page>. Similar to AirBNB, the idea is to put up travelers for a short time to avoid the cost of more traditional accommodations such as hotels.

Paul said that though HDMI cables are all the same type, DVI comes in different flavors. Be careful to get the right kind when you order one online. Some current displays are 2HD, which require cables to carry 4 times the data rate of HD. Some DVI cables may not handle the higher rate.

Glenn updated us on the Mac Mini he bought recently. As mentioned on the on 2-8-17 show, he found out the RAM was not upgradable. He exchanged the one he bought for the next higher model for $200 more. It has 8gigs of RAM, a 1 terabyte hard drive and an iris video card.

Paul again talked about home automation and internet of things <IOT>. He expressed concern about security. Firewalls are supposed to keep your home devices from being reached from the internet. But all bets are off if the devices are reaching out to a proxy server on the internet. If you buy devices from China, the proxy servers are in China. The data the device sends would normally be what’s required to get the expected service from the device, but who know what else it’s sending.

There are open source projects to perform home automation. But there’s is no guaranty of safety and they’re strictly for hackers. Paul listed a few links at the top of this page. Paul named some of the projects: Calaos, Domoticz, Home Assistant, OpenHAB and OpenMotics. The intention of the open source projects is to avoid having the device communicate with Chinese servers. <Paul talked about home automation on the 1-11-17 show>

Paul likes the documentaries he finds on Youtube from AME, Discovery and National Geographic. One in particular he liked talked about the computer subsystems that helped send Apollo 11 to the Moon. Some of those early computers had only 76K of memory.

The answer to the quote puzzler is Marilyn Monroe. Paul said wikiquote.com is a good place to look up quotes.

It was noted that today is Women’s Day. In that regard, both the guys said they enjoyed the movie ‘Hidden Figures’, which was about women who did, by hand, the math for the Apollo projects. The women themselves were called computers.

Last Updated 12:25 AM 3-9-2017

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