Jul 10, 2013

Jun - 05 2013 | 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 < >


There will NOT be a Zentech show on 7-31-13 (the 5th Wednesday),


The KVMR FM transmitter was down for the entire show, but the internet stream was working.


The guys rambled a lot more than usual and about non-tech subjects, so these notes will seem VERY 'sketchy'.


Both Glenn & Paul were in the studio.


Paul noted that he's had a decline in his vision over several years due to a disorder common in people as they get older. Glenn told us that presbyopia a condition caused by the cornea getting harder, making it difficult to focus.

Paul said that names can mean different things to different people. For instance, CPU is sometimes used to describe the case and its contents that comprise the computer; including the motherboard, what's plugged into it and the peripherals (drives etc.). CPU is also used to describe the main chip that's on the motherboard. It's good to be aware of such distinctions when talking to tech support.

Paul went on to talk about the differences between England, Britain, Great Britain and The United Kingdom.

If you're about to scrap a computer, there's no reason you can't have a look inside. For instance, you can pry open the CPU (the chip), and satisfy your curiosity (or that of your kids). There are "no toxic materials to speak of" in a computer and there aren't any voltages that will do you a lot of harm. <But stay away from a CRT monitor: high voltages> Do this outside and wear gloves as there may be some sharp objects inside.

The disclaimer:
"All views and opinions expressed here are of curious children and nothing to be recommended".

<A more proper disclaimer:
The views and opinions expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, its board, management, staff or contributors.>

There are podcasts of some KVMR shows available here. Paul may actually make this show available <since there was no FM broadcast, but don't hold your breath. The Zentech shows, when available, can be found here. An older archive of Zentech shows is here.>

Glenn thanked the supporters of the station. If you'd like to become a member please visit kvmr.org.

Starting 7-15-13, KVMR will have a membership drive lasting 1 week.

The only phone call came from Kevin. The only reason he called was to let the station know that there was no FM signal.

Paul talked a bit about how the broadcast goes from the studio to the nearby Banner Mountain and eventually to the listeners. Your reception can vary due to the distance from the transmitter (or the regional translators) as well as how far, on the radio dial, KVMR's frequency is from other stronger stations. In fact, there is a radio station whose frequency is exactly 89.5. It's in the Bay Area with the call letters KPOO.

Paul talked about nominal conditions and how knowing what's normal) helps you tell if something is going wrong when the condition changes. Originally, Fahrenheit meant 100 degrees on his scale to represent the normal human body temperature and 0 the freezing point of alcohol. Obviously, he was off a bit on the high end: normal body temp is considered 98.6.

Glenn told us he had a problem with his car, which he eventually resolved. That got Paul started about how, as cars became more complicated, instrumentation became simpler thus making it harder to diagnose problems from the indicators on the dashboard. On modern cars, when a warning light comes on, special equipment is used to diagnose the problem <as mentioned on the 11-14-12 show>. One thing Paul liked about old cars was the vacuum gauge: it could be used to indicate how much throttle you're using, and thereby the mileage you're getting. The feedback it gave helped you become a more efficient driver.

Continuing on the theme, Paul mentioned SMART hard drives that are able store information about the condition of the drive (like temperature). Then on the next bootup, the user is warned of any conditions that are not nominal. Glenn reminded people to backup important data on the drive — don't wait for an error condition.

Paul was in Alaska this time last week. His GPS could not plot his return route back to the US, it said "roads are discontinuous". The reason was that it had no map of the Yukon Territory. It turned out he didn't have any Canadian maps installed.

Glenn wondered how to find the point on Earth that's directly opposite of where he is now. Paul suggested he first find the latitude & longitude of his current location, say it's 49 North 130 West, then use 49 South 130 East for the point that's opposite. <I don't think that works: e.g. 179 West and 179 East are only 2 degrees apart> <more abut the antipodal point here.>

Talk turned to the Earth's circumference being different depending on the direction you measure (around the equator or around the poles). Also the gravitational force varies depending on where you are.

Due to the Coriolis Effect, the water in a flushed toilet goes clockwise or counter clockwise depending on weather you're in the Southern or Northern Hemisphere. This effect was then debunked because the distance over which the Coriolis effect acts, the width of the toilet, is too small to have anything but a vanishingly small effect. Legend has it that syrup also exhibits a similar effect when you get some on a spoon and let it dribble its long strand back into the jar.

Explaining why there was no show last week the guys said Paul was in Alaska and Glenn was on Santa Catalina Island. Glenn gave some details of his enjoyable adventure.

Paul said that he left for Alaska just before the big heat wave here in Calif. and that the Alaskans were lamenting the 80 degrees they were experiencing. He was surprised by the big vegetables he saw there. He said plants benefit from the prolonged daylight hours and are less effected by the low temperatures.

There was some talk about bigger vegetables having less taste. And, how consumers are more likely to buy bigger ones, caring less about the taste.

During his Alaska trip, Paul said he went to remote cabin and was surprised that he could get cell phone service. It turned out that there was a cellular tower on a mountain across the lake. It ran on a diesel-powered generator. Despite the expense of such an arrangement, in many Alaskan locations, such towers provide the only means of outside communication. Police, fire and emergency service use cell phones. Law enforcement has the ability to override civilian cell phone calls "with a priority bit", in case of an emergency.

Last updated 9:54 PM 7/10/2013

Leave a Reply