Jun 12, 2019

May - 29 2019 | no comments | By

Please check back around the time of the broadcast

What DOES the Fabulously Vast Google know about little ‘ol YOU?!
This is a followup to an older link we were contacted about.
And what can you do about it?
How about AMAZON and their RING systems?


HuaWei— what up with that? (.. Who>>??)
Small Laptop, Tiny Storage… Extra Storage

Last Show May 29, 2019

May - 29 2019 | no comments | By

1PM PST today.
The nature of subscriptions and likes:
Twitter Examples, YouTube Examples
Starlink & competeing technologies.
versus 5G.


reverse Speech!? https://reversespeech.com/
An example of a timed YouTube clip:

(note the t=xxx part)

Democracy In Iceland : )


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 (but link may be bad). Recent shows are here.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Paul & Glenn were both in the studio today.


Today, it was Glenn who read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors

Paul got a “mailing app” from the county about the fire safety in the area. It was a result of the recently held safety meetings. He then thought of using Twitter. He’s had a Twitter account for about 10 years ago, but he’s barely used it. He said that a lot of what gets tweeted is timely. Unlike Facebook where it can take hours or days for the info to get thru, Twitter tends to be a live stream of info.

But he found that he was bombarded with stuff he didn’t subscribe to. Then he found the checkbox in Twitter’s settings that said “show me things I might be interested in”. Unchecking that brought relief. Now he just gets to see notices about local events and a few others.

Twitter used to attempt to verify the owner of an account and used to use a blue dot to indicate some confidence in the validity of the Tweeter. Paul said people get to depend on technology to be notified of breaking events. A couple of problems with that are that the events happen so quickly, and the infrastructure can break down so you don’t get the notification. A lot of people in the Paradise Fire didn’t leave when they could have, expecting to have been notified. Paul added that he’s even gotten some tech support on Twitter.

Glenn mentioned that Instagram, a Facebook product. It’s more of a social platform than an informational one. It’s one more focused on pictures. Paul hasn”t found a lot of use for it, but Glenn likes it. He likes Dr. Jarrett in Miami for his humor

On Instagram, anyone can follow you, and you’ll be alerted when they do. It’s similar to the way Twitter, works. Facebook is different, they need your consent to follow you or they won’t see any of your content unless you give consent.

One of Paul’s favorite things to subscribe to is Youtube. He hopes it will make him a better broadcaster. One of the channels is hosted by a Scott called Scott Manly who talks about astronomy & space flight. One of the questions he tried to address recently is how come it’s so difficult to put things in orbit around the Moon? It’s has no atmosphere and only 1/5 the gravity of Earth. One of the reasons it that it turns out its gravity is less uniform than that of Earth and it’s hard to continually compensate for. Also, Paul added that the Moon wobbles a bit as it orbits the Earth, which results in our seeing about %106 of its surface over the months (the tidal locking isn’t what you might think it is).

Back to Glenn’s mental health Dr. in Miami, Glenn related that recent post quoting Jim Carrey: “you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love”. He said the doctor also posts depression assistance tools. And another Carrey quote: “I hope everybody can get rich and famous and we’ll have everything they have dreamed of so they will know it’s not the answer.”

Paul noted that on Facebook there a lot of local buy, sell & trade sites. They are categorized under a link called “Marketplace”. And are organized by area codes (530 for Nevada County). A lot of the stuff is free because it’s hard to get rid of, Paul ended with “If you can’t resist getting stuff you didn’t knoow you didn’t need, don’t use it”.

Jesse called. She said that she’s heard that Facebook tends to promote its groups by showing which posts are getting the most replies, especially derogatory ones. She wanted to know if it’s true and what to do about iy. Paul said he tends not to engage in controversy on Facebook. Others tend to get indignant and engage in negative ways. One of Paul’s favorite posts was: “the other day I told somebody just what I thought of them on Facebook, and you know what, they agreed with me.”

Another of Jesse’s question was about a friend of hers who runs a business and has been getting a lot of friend requests. Jesse thought that if her friend and a friend requester don’t have friends in common, you’re likely to be a subject of a bot Is Jesse right? Paul said it’s possible to get requests from people you may have met but don’t remember. It’s ok, he said to leave request pending, for maybe 30 days. Some of them may disappear because Facebook will determine them to be bots. Glenn added that one can go check out the requester’s profile. Paul also suggested creating a page just for your business, where you’ll be given a chance to pose questions to prospective members that bots will have a difficult time answering.

Glenn thanked the supporting members of KVMR. <If you’d like to become a contributing member, you can call the business office at 530-265-9073 or go to the KVMR website.>

Paul said he’s put up a Youtube link in today’s notes (see above). It comes from a website called https://reversespeech.com. It takes speech or music lyrics and converts the speech to “Satanic Verses”.

The new version of WordPress (used on the Zen Tech site) lets you paste a Youtube link in the blog page and video comes up embedded in the page. If what you want others to see starts part way into the video, use “shareable link” (below on the Youtube page), which gives you the link, but now ending in “t=”, where you enter the time you want it to start at.

Glenn reminded listeners that the guys are always open to your question. Just email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Finally, Paul said that he’s put a link on the website to recent Space X launches. He thinks they’re absolutely fascinating. It’s about the 60 satellites. They are part of a deployment that will cover 90% of the Earth with low earth-orbit communications.

Last Updated 11:03 PM 5-29-2019

May 22, 2019

May - 22 2019 | no comments | By

Browse Securely… Check?

Crafty Chrome FAke Address Bar!

— End —



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.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.

NOTE: The next Zen Tech show will be next week 5-29-19, the 5th Wed of the month. There was no show on 5-8-19


Both Glenn & Paul were both in the studio today.


Paul started off by talking about a problem with Whatsapp that was discovered recently. Whatsapp is a communications app that’s more common in Europe where there tends to be cross boarder issues about what your number is when you go roaming. It’s able to do video, text messages, file transfers and other things.

An Israeli company developed tools that can be used to spy on human rights activist and journalists. The tools can be installed on phones using a defect in Whatsapp just by a call to the phone using the app, the call doesn’t even have to be answered. Glenn said that he wasn’t sure if Whatsapp has been patched and cautioned users to keep all of their apps updated.
<From what I was able to determine, the Android version has been fixed. Just update it. The following articles have more info.
WhatsApp Users Targeted By Spyware — Here’s What You Need To Know
WhatsApp flaw let spies take control with calls alone (Update)>

If you want to see what apps are currently running on your phone, tap the square <double rectangle, I think> on the Android or double tap the home button on the iPhone. You can then stop Whatsapp from running. But if you have notification turned on, there’s still a piece of Whatsapp that runs in the background. So you might want to turn off notifications, too.

Glenn found that the contact list in his iPhone has an option to use Whatsapp instead of his phone company to call an individual. But he found a drawback. If he doesn’t give Whatsapp permission to use his contact list, Whatsapp doesn’t let him enter and dial a phone number manually.

Paul read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show, and most others for that matter, are those of the speakers only and are not necessarily, although they might be, those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can ask questions or make comments by email at zen at kvmr dot org or by calling into the studio at 530-265-9555.

Paul explained that the Zen Tech web site has basically 2 types of content — posts and pages. Posts are blog entries that are dated, mainly the show notes, Pages are a more static content and contain more general info about the show itself. He also noted that he had to delete the Google calendar on the web site because it was having problems, but he added a search function.

Debra called with a question about saving the audio she’s listening to on the internet from the WTF website <this may be it>. She said the newer audio was downloadable but older contents wasn’t. Debra uses a Mac computer.
– If there is an audio file and it’s not a podcast (if you just click on a link and then hear it), try right clicking it and select “download this link”
– Paul suggested she contact the website for instructions. She already did and was told Stitcher was hosting the old content. Stitcher told her she will have to pay to be able to download.
– Glenn jumped in to say that there is a way to capture video or audio on a Mac as you are listening. Paul said the process is called “audio capture”. It seemed like Paul did a search for words similar to “audio capture mac” but he didn’t say specifically what he found. There are similar options for the PC. <I don’t know about Win7, 8 or 10, but XP has the Sound Recorder to capture audio. Perhaps some useful info here >
– Try a free program called VLC (Videolan). It can play almost anything and has a record function to capture it. It’s for both the PC and Mac. There is a learning period to get the settings right, read the manual or do a search for “record using videolan”.

For people looking to download Youtube videos there is y2mate.com. You just paste the link to the video on their website. Instructions are on the site. Paul thought it might be capable of getting the audio files from Stitcher. <Another Youtube download site was mentioned on the 1-9-19 show>

Ellen called. She wanted to know how to tether her phone using the Cricket phone service. She once heard that it was possible to tether using a particular website, but she couldn’t recall it.
– Up to a few years ago you could jailbreak the iPhone so you could do things Apple didn’t want you to do, presumably tethering. But now Apple has it locked down pretty tightly. Ellen said she has an Android.
– If you use the one of the 5 major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile…), they allow you to tether as part of the premium price you pay for their service. With the next tier of providers like Cricket you won’t have that option.
– Paul said that it was once possible to tether using the website Ellen mentioned, but didn’t think it is anymore. He asked listeners to call in with a solution.
– Ellen added that with Cricket, she gets 5gigs of data and unlimited talk & text for $35.
– Glenn said he uses PuretalkUSA.com. He gets unlimited data (5gigs at high speed & then it’s throttled) and he can use the phone as a hotspot (tethering). It’s $40/mo and you get 10% off if you use auto-pay with your credit card.
– Some carriers have a separate plan that provides a mi-fi hotspot.
– AT&T has a box that creates a hotspot for you.

Paul talked a bit about Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), which are these lower tier cellular providers, like Cricket. He said there is a great Wikipedia article that explains them and gives a pretty through listing if them. <More about MVNOs in the 8-24-16 show notes>

Nick called to talk about privacy. There was a primetime CBS news segment about the big 5 cellular providers and how they know where your cell phone is. He said there was a misstatement at the end implying that if you don’t want them to know where you are, just turn of location services. Both Glenn and Paul agreed that it’s untrue. The cell towers triangulate to find your location and the carriers can keep a history of where you’ve been. It’s the cell towers that can find you and not that you’re using the web with location services turned on. However, turning off location services when you’re using an app can keep the app from knowing where you are.

Law enforcement is supposed to get a warrant to find out who’s been using a particular cell tower — separate warrant for each tower. Paul thinks that process is routinely abused. And Nick said data from towers is often sold in a somewhat anonymized form, but it’s usually easy to trace down what cell phone belongs to which person. <So, I guess, it’s as easy for the cops to buy the data as to serve a warrant for it.> Nick said if you truly don’t want to be tracked, turn the phone off or put it in a tin box.

Paul also said that switching out the SIM card of the phone won’t help. Each phone has a unique identifying serial number called IMEI
<More about IMEI in the 11-14-12 show notes>

Last night Michael Anderson gave a talk at the Nevada County Tech Center about the fiber optic cables that run thru the county. In summary, there is a lot of fiber in Nevada County that was installed with TARP funds. That fiber is available to neighborhoods that are close to it. But the neighborhoods have to get organized and take the initiative by calling local representatives.

Paul asked what it might cost to tap into the fiber. Nick gave the example of local community of initially 20 but now 30 people. It cost them less than $1000 each and monthly rates that are competitive with the big 5 providers (about $100/mo).

Paul recently got a postcard inviting him to join nextdoor.com. It’s a way for people in a community to connect with each other so they know what’s going on in their neighborhood. The vetting process for joining is substantial and involves sending back personal info via postal mail. Right now he is in lurking mode — he can read but not contribute — as he evaluates the service. He also speculated that it would be a way for a community work toward getting fiber optic cable deployed.

At the end, Paul quickly mentioned zombieload, which exploits of Intel CPU in a way similar to Meltdown and Spectre. <Meltdown & Spectre were covered in the 1-10-18 & 1-24-18 shows>
<New secret-spilling flaw affects almost every Intel chip since 2011
ZombieLoad Attacks May Affect All Intel CPUs Since 2011: What to Do Now
Intel: You don’t need to disable Hyper-Threading to protect against the ZombieLoad CPU exploit>

Last Updated 11:53 PM 5-22-2019

Paul read the disclaimer:

Favorite Programs & Utilities

May - 21 2019 | 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:
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:

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.

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

Apr 24, 2019

Apr - 24 2019 | no comments | By

Renting not owning


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.>

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Paul & Glenn were in the studio today.


The guys started by talking about a movie they saw recently called Shazam. Shazam is also a music identification service that had its start in Britain, Paul said.

Paul put a link at the top of this page to an NPR segment about people dealing with housing affordability and the increasing necessity for sharing resources. Owning a mobile device and using the internet serves as an entrance to the sharing economy, as Paul summarized the story. A subject in the story rents a bed in a large room he shares with other people. He finds these places thru a service called Podshare. He rents a desk at a co-working facility call WeWork. Paul thought that it’s largely due to the price of housing and student loan debt that drive people to this nomadic work environment.

Continuing on that theme, Paul noted that there are sites like TaskRabbit where you can hire someone to do a job for you. But he cautioned that when you use services like Uber, Booking.com, Airbnb or TaskRabbit, you need to ask yourself, to what extent is the website responsible for what is said by those advertising their services. Websites are generally not responsible because they defer to the freedom of speech of those who post content on them.

The guys talked a bit more about how our incomes are barely keeping up with the costs of living, and then Glenn invited listeners to call in and share how they are coping with our economy. The number for the studio is 530-265-9555.

Paul noted how the Bay Area traffic has gotten crazy. Google Maps prove how congestion has become the norm for any time of day, not just during commute times.

Susan called with a question about iCloud. She had to get a new battery for her iPhone and the Apple store backed up her data to iCloud. She wanted to know how to see her pictures that are stored there.
– Apple gives you 5 gigs of storage for free on iCloud. Susan pays $.99/mo to bump up her storage space to 50 gigs.
– Paul doesn’t store his pictures on iCloud, only his address book, contacts, calendar, schedules, reminders and some other things. He stores his pics locally on his Mac computer.
– Pictures on iCloud are likely stored at many different physical locations.
– You can see your pictures using any web browser by going to icloud.com. Log in using your Apple ID and password. You’ll then see about 8 “blocks”, one of which is labeled ‘Photos’.
– Alternately, you can store your pictures at Google Drive or Google Photos. Paul thinks it’s a better, more reliable service than iCloud. You get 15 gigs for free at Google Drive.

Glenn asked Susan to do a little experiment. He asked her to go to ‘Settings’ in her iPhone. The top item will have your name and it will say Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes. Click on that. About 4 items down you’ll see iCloud. Click on that. <Glenn stopped at that point & didn’t continue the experiment>. Instead, he went on to say that in most cases, unless your phone runs out of storage space, your photos should be on your phone.

Paul jumped in to say, “if you uncheck the box that says synchronize my photographs, you can easily get by with 5 gigabytes or less”. “If you turned off the photographs, you’ve got to be very careful about what that means if you do that. Because it’s been on, it has now stuffed photographs up on to your cloud”. <He didn’t explicitly say why. I guess it’s because iCloud may have some pics that are not on your phone — the backup is all you have, don’t delete it.>

Paul said that he’s never completely trusted iCloud to store his photos because he doesn’t know for sure when it has completed a synching operation. It can take a long time to synch and there is never a message saying that all of the photos are backed up. That’s why he uses Google Photos instead.

Paul mentioned other cloud services. There’s Microsoft OneDrive, which he strongly dislikes. Glenn jumped in to say he’s looking to move away from iCloud because he recently got a warning that he’s using so much of his 50 gigs that he doesn’t have enough room to backup his iPad, and was offered 2 terabytes for $2.99/mo

Glenn told Susan that if she decided to stop her $.99 subscription to iCloud, she will have to call Apple. Paul added that if you’re using storage in iCloud that you don’t need, you can’t simply turn it off. To reduce what you’re using in order to have less than 5 gigabytes again, and not have to delete item by item, then disable and delete your iCloud account. That sets it back to zero, then you start it again. Paul said he’s not recommending she do that, but that’s what he had to do.

In the end, Paul suggested she start using Google Photos. She should first create a Google account, if she doesn’t have one already. He also said to do backups over wi-fi only, don’t use your cellular plan — look for a check box to use wi-fi only. Using the cellular network could quickly use up your data allotment.

Glenn told Susan to use email if she has any questions or she needs clarification. She can email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul noted that Dropbox is another cloud storage service. They give you just a couple of gigabytes for free. And he said that Google Drive has apps for various platforms — Android, PC, Apple.

Glenn tested Paul’s knowledge by asking, “what is the biggest cloud in the world”? Paul guessed it’s Google, but no it’s Amazon, because they sell cloud services to businesses. It’s called AWS (Amazon Web Services). Paul admitted it’s true because Amazon has to synchronize their servers so if someone in California orders the very last jar of peanut butter, and someone else in Surinam placed the same order, there wouldn’t be a double order.

Paul read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and are not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Scott called in. He uses Timemachine for backing up to 4 hard drives. 2 are in use at a time, and the other 2 he rotates off site. At one point Timemachine stopped backing to one of the drives. One of the error messages was ‘waiting to complete first backup’.
– Timemachine can only backup to drives formatted to the Mac format (HPFS).
– Just because a drive can be formatted doesn’t mean the drive is ok. It may cause trouble when you start writing data to it. There is a utility whose name Paul couldn’t remember, that writes & reads random data to the drive to test its integrity.
– These are USB drives and the only reliable way to test them is to do an in-depth format which reads and writes all over the drive, and doesn’t just wipe out the allocation table. There’s a piece of software called a drive scrubber, which writes random data in an attempt to obscure what was there before. It also reports any difficulty it encounters.
– Timemachine gets very unhappy if there’s anything wrong with the drive and it won’t tell you if there is.
– Scott said he tried a brand new drive and had the same problem. In that case it’s time to ask which USB cable and which ports are you using. You may be getting a bad interaction between a particular cable and a particular port. If the problem occurs with a new drive, it’s time to look at the ‘plumbing’ of your machine.
– Under ‘Disk Utility’ it says ‘select the disk you’d like to erase’ and click the ‘security options button’ (turn it on). That will format it with security options to scrub it. See what happens, Paul said.
– Glenn said it was time to wrap up the show and if Scott has any more questions, he should email the guys.

Last Updated 12:16 AM 4-25-2019

Apr 10, 2019

Apr - 10 2019 | 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.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Glenn was in the studio. Paul called in. He was still on his road trip to Southern Calif. Today he was West of Los Vegas at a BLM conservation park called Red Rock Canyon.


Some of the wilderness areas at the higher elevations of the BLM park require permits to access. This is to mitigate what Paul pointed out as the tragedy of the commons: “anything that’s readily, commonly available for the enjoyment of people will tend to be spoiled by those same people…”.

Glenn invited listeners to call during the show at 530-265-9555 or send email to zen at kvmr dot org

Glenn heard on the news this morning that Yuba County and possibly Sutter County were going to test an alert system by sending messages to emails and cell phones. And indeed, he got an alert, as a txt, on his phone with the message directing him to bepreparedyuba.org to learn more.

Paul said there is another kind of an alert, a ‘system message’, that’s sent by the cell phone network. He was under the impression that this type of message can be received even if you don’t have txt service or maybe even if you’ve let your cell phone subscription lapse — similar to being able to make 911 calls without a cell plan. Paul’s concern about alerts sent as txt or emails is they can be spoofed.

Paul’s cell phone connection kept dropping out and eventually ended. So while he was calling back, Glenn told us that he’ll he hosting the Flea Market tomorrow at 1pm.

Apple is coming out with a new streaming service this year, Glenn noted. This will be competing with similar services from Nexflix and Amazon. The announcement came about two weeks ago at an Apple event that also introduced Apple TV Plus and a new Apple TV app.

Paul noted that subscription services, like that by Apple, are becoming more popular. AT&T with their Uverse product got in trouble with the justice department when their share value went down and they engaged in bait and switch schemes. But if you want to try these services, all you need is sufficient internet speed — about 2 megabits/sec. Then you can use a set top box like Apple TV and add the appropriate apps to bring in the new Apple streaming service or NBC or HBO etc. This lets you choose more precisely the content you like, unlike the cable companies.

The down side is that there is a learning curve to get used to how the different apps work. Fortunately, many units allow you to issue voice commands — just talk to it, Paul said. On the other hand, devices that take voice commands are listening all of the time, even if it’s just for the command to wake it up. Paul said he doesn’t trust them and he physically unplugs the Amazon Dot when he’s not using it. The devices can hear quite well even while they’re playing music or other content.

Paul mentioned that you don’t have to buy the Amazon Dot, because Amazon’s Alexa is available as an app for Android and iPhone. “As long as you are on the same wireless network, it behaves as if you had such a box. And if you make sure you kill the app when you’re done with it, it probably won’t be listening to you”, he said.
<An alternate app that uses Alexa is here.>

Paul helped some people ‘cut the cord’ recently, and Glenn asked about the difference it made to their subscription costs. Paul explained that one guy was paying over $200/mo for Xfinity for cable TV and internet. And when he decide to change services and called Xfinity to drop them, he was offered 50% discount on his current plan. He decided to stay with Xfinity because it was more convenient than a la carte services.

One of the options when cutting the cord is Youtube TV. It’s not the same as the regular Youtube. You have to get the app called Youtube TV and a subscription. The subscription is about $45 and there’s usually a free trial period. The advantage over something like Netflix is that you can get live politics, news and sports programming.

Glenn read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and are not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Glenn said he just got a notice from Netflix that the $10.99 fee he had been paying is going up to $13. This is for HD streaming for 2 simultaneous streams on different devices at the same time. They also have 4k content with 4 streams on 4 devices for $16/mo. And they still have their basic non-HD stream for $8 to $9/mo.

Paul remembered when Nexflix had combination package that included streaming and a DVD disk. He said it was a loss leader for them. Glenn said they still offer a mail subscription. But though he has the Nexflix streaming service, he can’t search for anything that is available on the DVD thru the mail. Paul said to do a Google search with words like Netflix dvd [the movie name]. The search result is sometimes a third party site, sometimes it’s Netflix itself.

Psul said Netflix adds and removes available content in what seems like an arbitrary way. If he has something on his watch list, he can stream it, but others, who don’t have it on their watch list, can’t get it. Apparently it’s a way to test how people respond to what’s being offered.

Paul mentioned inelastic demand. Normally, when the price goes up demand goes down and when the demand goes up the price goes up. The connection becomes inelastic when the Netflix service is something you feel you need and can’t do without. Netflix relies “on being part of your life so you don’t want to go away.

A fully unlocked iPhone 6S with CDMA & GSM with 64 gigs of memory is about $200 (down from about $600 in 2015). CDMA is used with Verizon and GSM with AT&T. Paul said it’s not easy to tell which model 6S has which or if it has both. He said Wikipedia is a good place to start, as it has much info about iPhones going back to the first one. He then said you have to use the serial number of the phone to do a search at appleserialnumber.com to find out what it has inside.

Paul said Facebook has a lot of groups that trade and sell all sort of items. He asked Glenn if he knew about it. Glenn said he didn’t and that, in fact, he is seriously considering closing his Facebook account.

But continuing, Paul said some of the Facebook groups are identified by area code, like 530 for Nevada City & surrounding area, which makes it easier for buyers & sellers to get in touch.

Paul also said that it’s important for a cell phone to be unlocked by the original carrier and not by some hack. Otherwise the “first upgrade that comes along or the first chance that company gets to relock it, they will” and “you’re basically screwed, to put it mildly”.

Glenn remembered when it was possible to jailbreak the iPhone, which then allowed you to get apps from places other than the Apple store. But it was easy to brick the iPhone, as he did with two of his phones. Paul said if you like the ability to hack your phone, go for an Android phone.

Glenn asked Paul if leaving Facebook means What’s App will stop working, since What’s App is owned by Facebook. Paul thought it would continue to work.

Paul said if you’d like to send him a friend request on Facebook, tell him how it is you know him.

People may be impersonating someone else when they make a friend request. Check their profile to see how long they’ve been on Facebook. That should indicate if they are genuine.

Last Updated 12:48 AM 4-11-2019

Mar 27, 2019

Mar - 27 2019 | 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.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Glenn was in the studio. Paul called in from his road trip to Southern Calif. He was in Lucern, which is about 50 miles south of Barstow.


Glenn thanked the supporters of KVMR. <If you’d like to become a contributing member, you can call the business office at 530-265-9073 or go to the KVMR website

You can send email to the guys, even during the show. Write to zen at kvmr dot org. And you can also call during the show at 530-265-9555.

After having visited the website Krebs On Security, Paul shared with us what he learned about card skimmers. <Card skimmers steal your credit card info when you use a card reader, an ATM, for instance.>
– You won’t usually see anything outwardly suspicious about the card reader; the skimmer is inside.
– The skimmers work by scanning the magnetic stripe when you swipe the card, not when you insert the card to read its chip.
– ATM technicians are bribed or blackmailed to allow the machines to be compromised.
– Hardware in inserted into an ATM to read the signals coming from the keypad where you enter your PIN and signals coming from the magnetic stripe reader. A membrane is put under the keypad to pick up the PIN as you enter it. And a second stripe reader is placed next to the legitimate one.
– The PIN and card numbers are stored on a flash drive in the skimmer. They are later read out by the crooks using a Bluetooth connection. Of course, the data is encrypted on the flash drive so not just anyone can read it. The crooks don’t want anyone to steal the data that they stole.
– Paul found some websites that sell skimmers for $500 to $700. They are small devices about the size of a chewing gum stick.
– Another way they steal your PIN & card number is to install an entire ATM machine that’s completely bogus, run by company that doesn’t exist. When you use it, it will say something like “sorry, your transaction has been declined”. But at that point it’s already stolen your PIN & card number.
– When the stolen PIN & card numbers are sold, the buyers find a high failure rate because the banks often spot unusual activity, like usage at a distant location, and lock the account. The rightful owner may see a charge of $1 on their statements. That’s a way the crooks test if the card is still valid before selling the data.
– Paul said that some banks let you receive an alert notification when there’s a transaction with the card. He set his alert level at the $1 limit. Check your bank’s website for more info.
– It’s a lot harder to steal from your account using the chip on the card. The crooks have the steal the card itself as well as determine your PIN.

The guys agreed that though there are security problems with credit cards, they are very convenient. The bank Glenn uses offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The Costco card offers 3% to 4% off some purchases. There’s another card that gives you 1% off when you buy something and 1% off when you pay your credit bill.

Paul warned us about quick loan places such as those that give cash advance on wages. Protections have been rolled back under our current federal government. Apparently the person in charge of federal consumer protection is not interested in protecting us against usury. When you’re considering these loans, read the fine print, he said.

Paul said that it was his impression that credit card debt in California is noncollectable after 7 years. However if you go that route, you may end up with ruined credit. Glenn clarified by saying this applies to unsecured loans and that the debt isn’t forgiven after 7 years but it is removed from your credit report, as required by law. “You still owe the debt, but at that point, many people look at that and say ‘well what incentive do I have to pay it off, because it’s no longer reported on my credit and it’s not negatively affecting me'”.

Paul said he uses Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas when he’s out in his RV because of it’s poor gas mileage.

Paul thought about using his old Rand McNally atlas on his road trip. When he found it in his RV it had mold all over it as was unreadable. He realized that keeping the RV sealed not only keeps the weather out but also keeps condensation in. He knows now to keep something open for air circulation, maybe even with a fan, to lower humidity and flush out mold spores.

Glenn noted that he too used Gas Buddy to great advantage 2 weeks ago on his trip to Arizona.

About $.40 of the cost for a gallon of gas goes to the state in taxes. This is not true for tribal lands, which are under federal jurisdiction. Paul said he was able to take advantage of that fact when he came thru Bishop CA.

Glenn mentioned that after he got his refurbished iPhone 8, he passed on his iPhone 6S to a friend. He went to an Apple store to get the data from her iPhone 4 transferred to the 6S. It turned out that he didn’t need Apple’s help. It was an easy process. He backed up the iPhone 4 to iCloud and then used the 6S to download the backup from the iCloud.

Paul related the story about some perfectly innocent guy in South Africa who was periodically raided by the cops. Apparently, when cell phones are involved in crimes the IP address is evidence used to track people down. In this case, the IP address was identified by geolocation to be the center of the town, which is where this fellow lives — the cell network was only able to report that one location.

Paul noted that there is a senior pass available for those who frequent national parks. Glenn said it’s a lifelong pass, but couldn’t remember how much it cost, maybe $10 to $20. He said you can get the pass at a national park ranger office.

Glenn said that he and Frank McClain will host the Flea Market show tomorrow from 1pm to 2pm.

Paul mentioned the KVMR app, which is available for free. It also streams KVMRX. And it has the schedule of shows, too.
<The KVMRX live stream is here.>
<The app for Android might be a little hard to find using the link a KVMR. You can get it here.>

Tom called in, but his audio was breaking up badly. It sounded like he was looking for another internet provider. He has Digital Path now but their price keeps going up. It’s now up to $112 per month. He said something about a Verizon package, the Jet Pack, and wanted an opinion.

Glenn read the disclaimer before going on:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, or contributors

Paul thought the reason for the rate going up is that people are streaming so much stuff these days it’s hard for a provider to keep up with the volume. Streaming audio is approx. 35 meg per hour and video at a modest rez is maybe 3/4 gigabytes per hour. Most cell phone packages give you 3 to 5 gigs per month, so you use up your allotment quickly. ISPs know this and charge more because they don’t have that kind of data limit.

Glenn said he has a friend who use an AT&T service with unlimited data, but he couldn’t remember name of the plan. He said the plan does not throttle the speed after passing a certain data cap. He suggested that Tom call Verizon to get more info about the Jet Pack.

Glenn said there is another provider in the area called Smarter Broadband.

Paul had a quick item at the end of the show. What can you do with an old iPhone like the iPhone 4? If you unlock it, you can use it as a hot spot. Put a data-only SIM card in it and use it as a mi-fi hot spot.

Last Updated 1:33 AM 3-28-2019

Mar 13, 2019

Mar - 13 2019 | no comments | By

Your Home Network
Happy 30th Birthday, WWW!

Flame Mappers from my predecessor
March 19 Town Hall Meeting


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.

The intro music was Fractal Zoom by Brian Eno
The outro music was by Pentatonix.


Paul was in the studio. We didn’t hear from Glenn during the show.


If you’d like to call in with questions or comments, the number is 530-265-9555.

March 12th was the 30th birthday of the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web while working for CERN. His job was to collate the data from the atomic research conducted there. (See the link at the top.)
<Remembering the Day the World Wide Web Was Born
Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, By Tim Berners-Lee>

At that time the internet had been around for a while. What made it the World Wide Web is the hypertext (the clickable link) Tim developed to allow easy navigation between documents and websites.

Paul noted that, originally, the hypertext links were to be double-clicked. He then continued by talking about clicking, double-clicking and triple-clicking in some word processors, which will highlight differing amounts of the text. He said it’s worth experimenting with.

He also said that the concept of clicking on hypertext went back to about 1965 when there was no web as we know it now. He brought up the example of an encyclopedia on CD that he used, where clicks took you to different subject matter.

In its wisdom, CERN decided to release all claim to their copyright for clicking hypertext, <which facilitated the rapid expansion of its use and the web itself.>

Flame Mappers (see the link above) was mentioned on the show preceding Zen Tech. It has something to do with near real-time wildlife predictive analysis and landscape mitigation modeling. Paul said he just found out about it and intends to check into it more.

Paul went on to talk about networks. If you’re using the internet at home, the chances are high that you have a network. He distinguished the internet, the decentralize network outside your house, from the intranet, the network inside. The box (modem/router) in your house, what the cable carrying the internet data connects to, is the boundary between the internet and the network in your house (the intranet).
<A quick reference to the difference between internet & intranet.>

He mentioned some of the devices that are on the intranet: your computer, printer and cell phone in wireless mode. You can discover what else is on you network by using Windows in the command line mode. Go to the Start Menu and in the search box type “cmd” (w/o quotes) (on the Mac search for the word “terminal”) and you’ll end up with a mostly black screen where you type in your commands. The command to type is “arp -a” (arp is address resolution protocol). This will show the hardware addresses of things on your network and the associated software addresses that the router uses. Some things may not show up if your network hasn’t been running for long. The very least it will tell you is how many devices are connected to your network.

If you have something like a Roku Sound Bridge, as Paul does, or a Chromecast, you can find out even more information about it using one of several apps. One free app is called The Angry IP Scanner. This app will only report information but will not change anything.

With the info from Angry IP Scanner you can use your web browser to access the web page that some of your local devices have inside of them. For example, if you have a Canon printer, the scanner might report its name as canon1066. In your web browser’s address bar type in canon1066.local. In many instances, you’ll get that internal webpage if you append the .local domain to the end of the device’s name.

If you use the Chrome browser to do this, it might do something weird. It might do a search and take you to the Canon USA website. In this case you can force it to retrieve the local webpage by typing “//canon1066.local” (w/o quotes).

There are an increasing number of devices we have in our houses that connect to the internet — the internet of things (IOT). These devices, like web cameras, are pretty autonomous and don’t require much input from you. But they are sending data out on the internet so you can, for instance, use your phone to see what’s going on at home when you’re at work. But it’s only in the last couple of years that the manufacturers started encrypting the data traffic these IOT devices send. Otherwise, it’s good to be wary of it being intercepted. He suggested using Ethernet cables to connect your IOT devices rather than do it wirelessly.

Paul mentioned that mainstream support for Windows 7 has already ended and extended support will end Jan 14 2020. He also said that the recent 7 or 8 updates to Windows 10 have “messed stuff up”.

Ward called. He’s really into low tech and is looking for some kind of publication that will help him do even more low tech. He has seriously questioned the good the internet has done for us. He asked Paul to point out the good it’s done.

Paul said there’s an up side and a down side to tech. He thinks it’s actually neutral but it brings out the best and the worst in us. In particular, it helps him stay in touch with family and friends that he wouldn’t otherwise see. He thinks technology is for the better but we have to stay vigilant.

In signing off, Paul reminded listeners they can write to the hosts using the address zen at kvmr dot org.

Last Updated 11:03 PM 3-13-2019

Feb 27, 2019

Feb - 27 2019 | no comments | By

New Forms of Gambling Addiction: Loot Boxes
Avatars versus Reality.. Which is Which? DEEP FAKES
Russian Internet Research Agency and their Pro/Anti/Vax/Abortion/Party Research
… And Why. YHBTYHL
Gaming Page Ranking with Conspiracies : Giving you More of what you did before..
Title 47 Federal Law  The Comminications Decency Act and its meanings


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.

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Glenn & Paul were both in the studio today.


Glenn thanked the people who made donations to KVMR during the recent membership drive, <If you’d like to become a supporting member, you can call the KVMR office at 530-265-9073 or visit the website.>

Admitting he rarely plays video games, Paul talked about Loot Boxes <see the link above>. You might get video games for free on the internet but to improve your chance of progressing, you buy things while you play, like extra armor, a key or invisibility cloak. The prices of such objects are cheap but they are adjusted dynamically as you play to maximize the profit for the game’s creator.

Paul went on to talk about Deep Fakes. <See the link above>. This is where a video of a US President or even an admired personality is made to say something they didn’t, with the facial expressions and mouth movement to match. The idea got its start in the Pixar animation studios where they do live action capture. Our laws do not yet deal with Deep Fakes, he added.

How do you tell if what’s said has been faked? “What would happen if you would like it if they had said that”, he asked. For example, if you saw the faked CEO of Wells Fargo saying everyone is going to get a million dollars put into their accounts.
<Advancing Face-Swap Apps Blur More Lines>
<The Reality-Distorting Tools Of The Future>
<Create a digital synthesized clone copy of your voice>
<Radiolab did a story on deepfakes:>

After telling the listeners that they can call in to the show at 530-265-9555, Glenn read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Glenn continued with some weather-related announcements. Butte County Sheriff’s office issued evacuation orders as of 7:30 this morning for the Richvale area between the Sacramento River and Highway 99, from Nelson Shippy Road to Highway 162. In the Chico area, Andrew Court, Magnus Court, Vosca Drive and Taffy Ave have flooding problems.

Glenn reminded listeners that when it’s raining or in fog, state law requires that you have your headlights on — not your daytime running lights, DRLs. Turning on the DRLs does not turn on your rear lights.

Marilyn called about a problem she has with her email. Her email is blocked when she sends it to a Gmail account. She gets a notification that it’s Bulk or Unsolicited mail or Unauthenticated. There’s no problem sending email to other systems.

Paul told her to look at the header of the returned email (that didn’t go thru). Invoke the option to look at the entire header. Wade thru the entire thing and you should find a link that you can copy and paste into your browser. The link says something like google.com/article/question15/id=… Go to that address to find out what’s happening and then send what you found out to your internet service provider <whose email service you use>. They will have to fix things on their end.

Marilyn also said that she had sent the guys some email earlier in Feb and had not heard back and hadn’t received a failure notification. Glenn said he hasn’t seen any email from her. Paul said that all emails to the kvmr.org domain is handled by Gmail using the non-profit Gsuite. So it’s possible that Google blocked that email too.

Glenn suggested she use Thunderbird as her email program to replace the Outlook she’s using now. She said she used it on her old Windows XP and it worked wonderfully. But on her new Windows 7 machine, when she clicks to send an email, she gets the warning “Add security exception. You are about to override how Thunderbird identifies this site. Legitimate banks, stores and others will not ask you to do this”.

Paul realized what’s going on. When you use Thunderbird or Outlook, they “use certificates to go back and forth to make sure you’re connected to the site you think you’re connected to”. If the warning is coming from your current internet service provider, then they’ve screwed up the certificate. Gmail should never say that because their certificates are always valid.

Paul suggested they talk off the air to resolve the problem. In the mean time, she should take pictures of the error messages on the screen and send them to him.

Dave called. He seemed impressed with the Lexus (car) when a woman told him that the windshield wipers come on automatically when rain is detected. Paul related the trouble he and Glenn had getting into a Tesla, which they had a chance to see at the Roseville Galleria recently. They had trouble finding the door handle. And the trunk was a mystery too, until they realized there was a button on a screen that had to be pushed to open it.

The guys talked a bit about the automation found on modern cars: warning on the dash if a headlight is burned out, tire pressure indicator, warning if you stray across the yellow line (Lane Assist), adaptive cruse control that keeps the right distance from the car ahead and automatic braking in heavy traffic.

Jamey called. He’s using Sonic for his internet provider and Open VPN, which is an open source program. Sonic set him up with the VPN but doesn’t support it. When he uses the VPN, the keyboard starts missing letters and the mouse starts missing clicks. And when he has a diminished screen, its border flickers. He called Sonic but they don’t know what’s going on, the VPN is not their product.
<Sonic might be the same as Sacramento Fusion that was mentioned in the 8-24-11 show>

Paul thought the problem may be the result of the VPN putting a heavy burden on the CPU. It uses a lot of resources to do it’s job. Hit Control+Alt+Delete to bring up the task manager and look under processes and you might see that the VPN is using up a lot of processor time. Look for other processes that may be using up the CPU’s time.

Paul suggested he install a utility called Process Explorer. Google those 2 words and be sure you end up on the Microsoft site. It’s much better than Task Manager. It not only shows you a process, but also what started it. And it helps you google to get more info, just right-click on it.

Process Explorer is only about 2megs and it doesn’t need to be “installed”, just run it. If you experiment and kill a process, and Windows no longer works right, you can restart Windows and be back in business.

Finally, Paul briefly mentioned the Russian Internet Research Agency <see the link above>. This is the group that interfered with the US elections by trolling in the social media sites. They would foment animosity by arguing for both sides of an issue and thereby perpetuating acrimony.

Last Updated 1:51 AM 2-28-2019

Jan 30, 2019

Jan - 30 2019 | no comments | By

– from last Week HomeWork: MICROBIT 


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.

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.


Note that there will not be a Zen Tech show on Feb 13 due to a membership drive.


Both Paul & Glenn were in the studio today.


Glenn started off talking about paying thru your bank. Zelle & Venmo are a couple of the more popular options. He’s been using Zelle thru Wells Fargo. A typical example is paying back a dinner companion at a restaurant where you want to split the bill — you pay your portion after the companion pays the entire bill. There is no fee for using Zelle. To send someone money you just need their email address or cell phone number.

Glenn also has an online bank where he wanted to use Zelle. He couldn’t use his email address at both banks so he tried using his cell phone number, but it came back saying it’s not a cell number. So he reversed things, using the cell number at Wells Fargo and the email at the online bank. That worked.

Paul said that in the US, there is no way to know for sure if a number is cellular if you’re using a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) as your cellular service. A MVNO is a company that resells a service that comes from one of the major carriers (Version, AT&t, etc.). Glenn uses Pure Talk.

Glenn went on to say that Zelle transactions are nearly instantaneous. The recipient gets an email or text message when the transfer occurs. The transaction is irrevocable. Both parties have to have to subscribe to Zelle. Glenn said he doesn’t know of any bank that doesn’t use it.

This type of service is nothing new to Europeans. They’ve had Postbank and Gyro, interbank transfer systems, for a long time, Paul said. In Japan they don’t use checks, only interbank transfers.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can send email to the show hosts at zen at kvmr dot org.

Turning to the homework links at the top, Paul talked about the Raspberry Pi. The pi comes from the programming language Python developed approx. 15 or 18 years ago. It was named, in part, for Monty Python.

The Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer on a board that’s no more than a couple of inches square. It uses a 5 volt power supply and a micro USB connector. It has some LED lights to indicate what’s going on and an HDMI output to hook it up to your TV set. The USB port lets you hook up a mouse & keyboard. One of the models of the Pi (the 3B Paul thought) has wi-fi and Bluetooth.

Don’t buy this as a home computer, Paul cautioned. It’s primarily for the hobbyist. Nevertheless, it is the 3rd highest selling platform, behind the PC and all things by Apple.

The Pi is used in all sort of applications. Paul is using it to make a security camera and also a weather station. Weather sensors for humidity, temperature and air pressure are about $2 each, Paul said. The 3b is the model that has all the bells and whistles and costs about $32. <See the links at the top for more info.>

It has a short but sharp leaning curve. And once you develop something with the 3B you can take the micro SD card and put it into the Pi Zero, the low budget model. The Pi Zero will then do what the 3B did but with “less space”, smaller dimensions and fewer interfaces. The latest Pi Zero, which is about the size of a chewing gum stick, comes with wi-fi. Paul plans to use his Pi Zero to augment his Roomba vacuum cleaner.. The Roomba doesn’t have very much suction but it does have patience and is good for the dust bunnies under the bed, he said.

You can get a Pi starter kit on Amazon, Banggood or Aliexpress. You can choose which operating system to run on it. Most people use Linux in a form called Raspbian, a free version of Debian Linux. It’s a real learning experience and you do have to follow the instructions.

Talk turned to DJ’ing. Glenn said that music is not a big part of his life. He finds iTunes confusing and would have trouble with software that a DJ would use. Paul thought he could get comfortable with a free piece of software called Mixxx <see the link at the top> for the PC and Mac, but had no clue on how to proceed. <Mixxx was mentioned on the 8-26-15 show>.

The idea is to use 2 turntables, on the screen as I understand it. You cue up on one and play on the other. Mixxx reads your playlist from iTunes.

PCs and Macs have just one audio output (the speaker) but you “can get a cheap audio device and connect it to a headphone” so you’ll have 2 audio outputs — the headphone and the speaker. This is the very basic setup. You can buy a USB adapter that gives you a headphone jack. The computer will identify it as a second audio channel with a name something like “USB audio”.

So now you play from your playlist out of one side, to your speaker, and something else to the headphone. Mixxx can detect the beat of the music and you can change the pitch and the speed. If one song is 60 beats per minute and the other is 90, the software can alter one to coincide with the other. It was at this point that Paul got bogged down with all of the options and buttons in Mixxx. It’s a learning experience, he said. If you know how to mix with 2 physical turntables, you should have little trouble proceeding.

Mixxx supports Midi devices. And for $40 to $60 you can get a USB device that has “2 tiny rubber turntables” and “a couple of actual real physical sliders”. “So you’re interfacing with the software on the screen in such a way that it looks like the hardware the formal DJ would use”. Despite making all sorts of mistakes, Paul said he’s having a blast.

Glenn invited listeners to call in with their questions and comment at 530-265-9555. You’ll be put on hold and then attended to in the order of your call.

He then read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Paul talked about WMA office. <See the link at the top>. This is, apparently, an office suite that, to a degree, mimics Microsoft Office. But it doesn’t come with Arial, Verdana and a couple of other fonts. They are under Microsoft license but can be downloaded for free. <See the link at the top>.

Bitstream & Adobe are companies that digitize fonts and they collaborated, with other companies to standardize the TrueType fonts specification. There are a huge number of free fonts.

If you type something in one font and send the document to someone, they may not have that font. The TrueType font file has information in it that allows automatic substitution of another similar font for the missing font. But it still may look a little different. That’s why people started using the .pdf document format. The .pdf would render the fonts as dots <essentially a picture>.

The Microsoft Word program has a way of embedding the definition of a font within the document. So if the recipient doesn’t have the correct font, the one in the document will be used.

All major platforms now use TrueType fonts, including Linux. But you’ll have to download Arial and Verdana separately.

Paul mentioned an interesting documentary about the Helvetica font and the influence a font can have on society in general.

Neil called. He had bought some rechargeable nicad batteries but they don’t work in his cordless phone. But they do work in a flashlight. If he replaces just one battery in the phone, it works
– Maybe the contact points are the problem. Use an emery board on the contacts.
– It’s not a good idea to mix batteries as Neil did. The stronger battery might dump the current into the weaker one and cause corrosion or make it over heat.
– Look closely at the contact points to be sure they’re connecting. There may be a physical difference between the original & replacement battery.
– Get a cheap battery tester. The tester should put small load on the battery. A multimeter is designed not to load the battery.

Steve called. He uses a popular CAD program (Computer Aided Design). He’s seen older versions for sale on the internet from dealers who aren’t authorized to sell them. They buy the software from a abroad and sell it in the US. He wants to know if it’s legal software.

If you buy software that comes with a key and you can successfully activate it using the key, the odds are high that it’s legitimate software. If it doesn’t activate, ask for your money back. Some software may get hacked so it doesn’t need activation. Some may have had the key stolen from a school or college that was using what’s called a VLK (volume licensing). Some software may be so old that it isn’t rigorous about how it activates (it may not connect with the company over the internet to confirm).

If you really want to know if the software is legit, communicate the company and ask if the key is legitimate.

If someone bought software and later decided to sell it or move it from one machine to another, the key should be deactivated. The license can then be transferred. If a reseller is involved, you’re in a gray area.

You don’t actually own the software, just the license to use it. And there’s the question of whether it’s the person who owns the license or the machine.

Glenn opined that there isn’t much in open source CAD software. As soon as he said that, Paul found Freecad. But it seemed that wasn’t an option for Steve, he needs compatibility with the software he’s now using.

Another option might be to buy an older version of software legitimately, and then use it as an upgrade path to get a newer version. Of course, first check that the upgrade is available.

Doug called about Neil’s battery problem. He suggested that the cordless phone may not have been designed for nicad batteries. Be sure the replacement batteries are of same type. Some devices may have a switch to select for the type of battery you’re about to put in.

Paul called. He wants to get a simple phone, not a smartphone, for his disabled son. Are there free phones for those on SSI, he wondered.
– Do a Google search but beware of scams.
– Call the social service you use or a county social worker to find out what’s available.
Tracfones are cheap.

Last Updated 12:45 AM 1-31-2019

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