Apr 24, 2013

Mar - 27 2013 | By

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Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio.


Glenn thanked all those who became members of KVMR. To become a member, please go to KVMR.

The guys briefly talked about the algorithm for determining Easter.
<Refer to the 3/24/08 show>

Glenn said he recently got a used iPhone 4S. He got a pretty good deal but there were some issues. Paul said there's quite a market for used, unlocked or refurbished 3GS & 4GS iPhones on Amazon.

Glenn has been looking for one for a few months. He previously bought a Sprint iPhone 4S while mistakenly thinking he could get it to work on T-Mobile but found out that, until it's unlocked, he couldn't use a different SIM card <which lets him change carriers>. Even then, that option may only be available to international travelers, not to those within the USA.

Pure Talk (Glenn's carrier) doesn't require a phone to be unlocked because they use the AT&T network, so an iPhone originally on contract with AT&T should be good to go. Nevertheless he had problems…
– He brought the person he was buying the phone from to an AT&T store to verify the phone was indeed hers.
– After verifying, he asked that the phone be unlocked and was told that they couldn't do it because she was still under contract. And they couldn't unlock it later (after Glenn bought it and the contract was up) because the phone would not be hers by then. He didn't argue further because he didn't really need it unlocked to use it on Pure Talk.
– He then told her he'd like to go over to Apple and have them do a diagnostic to check if anything has been replaced, if there's water damage, etc. Apple found that it did have water damage. Paul noted that some other cell phones have a dye spot under the battery that changes color after contact with water.
– Because of the water damage, he got her to come down on the price and they settled on $280.
– After the transaction, he found out she had a warranty under Apple CarePlus. Glenn, "…had this not been under any kind of extended care, they <Apple> would have exchanged it for $150". With Apple Care there's only a $50 deductible so he's not worried as he can get the phone replaced before the Apple Care runs out.
– Paul mentioned there are other warranties available (not from Apple) that cover specific things like the glass breaking. Glenn said that some cell carriers also offer limited insurance for about $7 or $8 per month plus deductible.

Paul has had phones come off his belt clip and fall to the ground. So, on Ebay, he found a latchable belt halter, which can't come off without the loop being ripped. He's had success with that as well as a silicon rubber case (about $4 form Hong Kong) that has thick corners to cushion a fall.

Glenn mentioned a phone case called an Otter Box. He got one for his iPhone 3GS on Ebay for less than $30. He said they make cases with varying degrees of protection going up to waterproof.

Paul talked about the iPad being used as a "control surface". Instead of a traditional computer interface controlling a mixer or lighting on a stage or an irrigation system, for example, a control surface (iPad) tells the computer what to do, which in turn controls the equipment. This gives a sound engineer, for example, the ability to change the sound while standing in different places in a theater.

Paul went on to say that iPads are also being used as cash registers. Some of the software is free, but if you want it to print receipts, keep tax records, integrate with tax software, etc., you'll have to pay a subscription fee. This type of software often stores data on the internet and if you lose the iPad, the data is still safe.

Glenn said he was in a restaurant that used an iPad to process payments using Square. His complaint was that he couldn't see what items were being charged, unless the iPad was deliberately turned in his direction.

Paul said that even though people like the MacBook Air, its thinness makes it vulnerable to damage. Glenn noted that the ASUS 12" netbook, which they both own, is surprisingly sturdy.

One of Paul's peeves is that laptops are still being made with power sockets that fail. Apple has an improved connector called magsafe that allows the plug to come out easily, reducing the force put on the interior of the computer. He thought that if other laptops would at least use a right-angled power connector, it would be an improvement. Paul said he's never secured the VGA computer-to-monitor connector with its screws, preferring it come out accidentally than rip the screws or bend the pins.

Glenn said he has an iPad app to give him information about the Moon: rise/set times, phase, etc. The app is simply called Moon. Paul loves the astronomy app called Star Walk from the European Space Agency (ESA). It keeps track of ephemera: things that come & go in the sky like comets, planets as well as the moon. And it has cool music. It uses some of the sensors in the iPhone, so at least an iPhone 3G is required.
<I think this may be the Star Walk app>

Paul said you should have nothing older than an iPhone 3G because current apps won't load.
– The 3G can run the latest operating system: 613 <maybe 6.1.3>.
– The 3G won't take panoramic photos.
– The 3G won't run Siri. Siri won't run on a iPhone 4 either, you need a 4S.
– There is a Google app that's alternative to Siri. <He didn't name the app>. The app is for both the Android and iPhone. Glenn said it understands his spoken words better than Siri. But it doesn't integrate with iPhone's operating system: you can't set your calendar, for instance.

Paul offered a tip for those who don't have a data plan and can't surf the web. If you want to know what the weather is, you can text (txt) the word 'weather' to Google. This works for 'movies' and many other things. It will tell you what's in your vicinity. If you text 'location' followed by your zip code, Google will tailor the results to your location. It will associate your phone number with the zip code so subsequent queries will also be tailored to your location. Text the word 'help' to learn more.

Paul talked briefly about how a service can tell where you are. DSL connections in this area are broadly identified as coming from Sacramento and Comcast from Yuba City or Chico. And people <concerned about privacy> may be interested to know that wi-fi connections "do know how to figure out where they are". Paul's not sure how they do that, he speculated it may have something to do with the information Google collected when it sent out vehicles for its Street View project.

Glenn said he had thought that the Google cars (used for the Street View project) were driverless when in fact they had drivers. But the drivers were there only for emergencies — so the cars were essentially autonomous. Googles software for driverless cars is being considered for long haul trucking and costs about $150,000. Insurance liability and legislation, as usual, need to catch up to the technology.

Robert called only to say he loves the show.

Michael called. He has a Nook (an ereader from Barns & Nobel) that he dropped into water. He had previously done the same with a cell phone. He tried putting them into a container of rice to speed up the drying. The cell phone recovered but not the Nook. He asked if anyone repairs them.
– Yes, there are places in Sacramento.
– There is a place in Rocklin near the intersection of Rocklin Blvd & Sierra College Blvd (near the college). Paul did a search and found Yakety Yak.
– If the circuit board is damaged, the cost of repair will be pretty high.

Michael said he didn't use it as an ereader but only as a tablet and wondered if some other cheap tablet would suit him.
– Glenn seemed to think so. He's seen tablets down around $70. Check Buy.com <now Rakuten>, overstock.com, Ebay or Amazon for bargains.
– If you were interested in ebooks, the Android, iPhone, iPad <and the PC> have the Kindle ebook software, which you can use to buy ebooks from Amazon. There's similar Nook software too. Just make sure the device you get has a display that's adequate for reading.

Michael asked what differences to expect between the cheapest tablets and those just a little over $100.
– Screen size might be bigger as you go up in price.
– They may have capacitive touch vs. resistive touch, which is not as responsive.
– Fry's sale for today & tomorrow offers a 7" tablet for $69.
– Do some hand-on shopping before buying. Especially to compare the 2 different types of touch screens.

Michael has had trouble listening to KVMR over the internet. Paul thought using an app to listen to radio stations might be more reliable than clicking on a webpage link. He couldn't remember the app he was about to recommend. He did mention that KVMR has many (mostly non-music) shows available online.

Paul talked about hacking (in the traditional sense) Android devices. Some Android devices allow root access when they are hacked in a procedure called rooting. This will allow you to access features the manufacturer didn't intend you to have: like installing the latest operating system. Not all Android devices will allow this. To find out more, google the words: root android followed by the name of your device.

Glenn previously used Evasi0n to jailbreak his iPhone 3GS but found it doesn't work with his 4S: only works on iPhone 4 and earlier. It doesn't work with iOS version 6.1.3 and Apple changed version 6.1.2 to foil Evasi0n. Expect the cat & mouse game to continue with newer updates.

Scott called. He has MacBook Pro with a faulty Nvidia card (apparently a known defect). He got it to work by turning down the screen resolution but wondered if he's just postponing the inevitable and should start looking for another computer.
– There have been 2 rounds of recalls for this problem and now it's been long enough that there are units that fall outside of the recall period.
– The symptoms are so sporadic it's advised to take pictures of the malfunction. Then go to the Apple store and (no promises) they'll "care of it" for $150,
– It's a problem that goes back several models. The video chip would become dislodged, possibly from thermal stress.
– Rumor says you can take the back off and insert some foam, so when the case is closed the foam will push the chip back into contact with the circuit board. Make sure the foam is heat resistant so it doesn't melt or burn.
– During manufacture, special soldering equipment is used, because the pins are so small and close together. It's not a project for the average hardware hacker to attempt.
– Try an external monitor.
– Try a USB cooling pad underneath the computer.
– Later Macs have an onboard video chip that's part of the Intel CPU, as well as the 'external' video chip, which uses more power. The Mac software arbitrates the usage as the demand for graphic processing changes.
– Google the words: switch gpu. One of the results is a reference to TomsHardware that talks about a piece of software that lets you force it to use one graphics chip or the other. In this case, tell it not to use the Nvidia chip.

Paul offered some general tips when your hardware goes wrong:
– Check to see if you have a warranty. Refurbished stuff will sometimes have a limited warranty.
– Check if you have an extended warranty that comes thru using credit card. That can double the warranty for up to an additional year.
– See if you have additional insurance like Apple Care.
– Check for recalls. Google the words: recall with the make & model of your unit.
– It may be a well-known defect that has a well-known solution. Like the above suggestion to use a cooling pad.
– Some problems are age related. Google the words: bad caps. There is a group of machine made for about 10 years, ending a few years ago, that have bad capacitors: the caps dried up over time.

Last updated 11:57 PM 4/24/2013

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