Jul 11, 2012

Jun - 27 2012 | By

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– 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.

In a commercial, Glenn heard that Verizon has a plan where up to 10 devices can have unlimited voice minutes & unlimited text (txt) but the data part of the plan is shared between the (10) devices. So, rather that have a separate voice, text and data plan for each device, they are all on one plan.

Paul remembered back to 1999 when KVMR got DSL service thru AT&T. Third party companies started selling routers that could be hooked to the DSL modem so more than one device can use the DSL connection. AT&T didn't like that because they assumed only one device would be attached to each DSL modem that AT&T sold.

Glenn said that KVMR now has both the DSL connection and the Comcast cable internet service as a redundant backup. Paul noted redundancy is not additive. If the DSL & Comcast each have 98% reliability, combining them will get you maybe 99% reliability. He also said that Monday morning between 6am & 9am is when there's a wave of internet usage going from the East Coast to the West as businesses start their day in each time zone — this is when reliability problems are most noticeable.

Paul mentioned that KVMR attempted to get a dual WAN router to improve redundancy. The 'dual' in the name means it can connect to the internet thru 2 providers at the same time — in this case AT&T & Comcast.

Paul said about 9 months ago the AT&T line between Auburn & Nevada City got cut and the entire community lost phone service, dialup, DSL and cell service. He lamented that AT&T didn't have redundancy.

The guys rambled on a bit about fireworks. Glenn said the 4th of July fireworks display in San Diego went off all at once because of computer error. Paul said that Spanish fireworks displays, during fiestas & saint's days, start with "the grand finale and get worse" — they end with an artillery barrage — Spaniards enjoy the noise and don't wait for nightfall to celebrate.

Thomas called to say that when he clicks on My Computer in the Start menu, he gets the message "The disk in drive A is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?". His machine is running Windows XP that he bought it used.
– When it asks to format the disk, answer NO. Then follow the next 2 steps
– It's possible this machine has a floppy drive. A disk may be in the drive, so try to eject it by pushing the button next to the drive slot.
– You can change the setting in the BIOS to make the computer ignore the floppy drive, if you don't need to use it. You can get to the BIOS settings when the machine first starts up <follow the prompts on the screen>.

Another problem Thomas has is that when he downloads a file from the internet, the window that show a list of files downloaded is blank. He uses the Firefox browser.
– When installing Firefox over a earlier version of itself, there can sometimes be an error. Uninstall Firefox and then reinstall it.
– But before uninstalling it, be sure to download the latest version.
– The new installation shouldn't delete the data <passwords, history etc.> that goes with it.
– This was talked about during the last show — see the notes here.

The Adobe Flash player gets frequent updates. Flash plays animations or videos like the kind you find at Youtube.
– There are 2 components installed, the Flash player itself, that's used by the web browser to play video, and the Adobe Flash Updater. The updater has a tendency to crash even though the player works fine.
– Viruses can get into your computer, bypassing any virus scanner, thru programs like the Flash player that hasn't been updated.
– The Java runtime environment is another program to keep updated in order to avoid malware. The current version is 7 release 5.
– To keep abreast of needed updates you can use a program called PluginCheck.
– As mentioned before, anti-virus software can't keep up with the variety of malware — none of them will catch 100% of the viruses.
– When an update is offered to you, go online & check for yourself that it's not a bogus request. <There is malware designed to get you to click a link, ostensibly to do the update, but in fact will load a virus onto your machine>.
– The other 2 programs that are updated often are Adobe Reader <for .pdf files> and Flash for Director. Again, go to the product's website to confirm or do the update from there, or use PluginCheck.

Ralph called to say AT&T has been offering, for some time, to put multiple cell phones on one bill. <referring to the Verizon plan mentioned above>
– Glenn said that's true but each phone had its own data plan. He expects the other cell phone providers to offer an option similar to Verizon's.

Ralph also said he likes the Magic Jack he bought after he heard about it on a previous show. There are substantial savings over a traditional phone service. But…
– When calling out, you have to dial the area code even for a local number.
– Glenn said he has cordless phones and "if you have a setting in there where you've included your area code, then it, when it redials something either from your phonebook or from your caller ID list, does not include the area code when it's redialing. So if you go into the menu and go to the area code and just delete the 530 or whatever it might be, then when you do redial a number from your call ID or your phonebook it will include the area code for calling out". <That wasn't clear to me but may make sense to someone in a similar situation>
– Glenn as also noticed a problem with jitter. <past shows mentioning jitter here and here> If your voice is breaking up it may not be due to a lack of bandwidth. Paul explained, latency is how long it takes a packet <of data> to go from one end of the connection to the other. That should be below 20 milliseconds. Jitter is what happens if the latency varies a lot and the circuits can't cope with it so the voice seems to break up or stutter.
– To check your connection for these conditions got to speedtest.phonepower.com
– If you're watching a movie or doing other things that use a lot of bandwidth, it's a good idea to stop that activity before making or receiving a phone call.

Magic Jack prices: $69.95 for the hardware (requires Ethernet cable), $30 per year service. <I think there are 2 versions — one requires a connection to your computer and the other connects directly to a phone line>

Paul recently went over to a system competing with Magic Jack called NetTalk. it costs about the same.
– As with Magic Jack, you can port your phone number to it. <use the same number you had with your landline>
– Paul found a cheaper price for NetTalk at Amazon.
– You can take it with you if you go abroad. As long as you have an internet connection your local number goes with you.
– One downside is that your caller ID does get sent out when you make a call, though your name does not.
– These companies make iPhone apps so you can make calls with an iPhone thru these VOIP units, using wi-fi or 3G.
– Glenn said Magic Jack has poor support — there's no phone number to call for support. NetTalk does have phone support and their website has a lot of troubleshooting tips.
– If your phone is used for any life-critical applications, lifeline for the elderly, alarm system, surveillance system etc. you still need the copper wire type of connection.
– With Magic Jack or NetTalk you register your address with them, then if you dial 911, the company forwards your address to the authorities. So, be sure they have your latest address, this is important if you start using the device at a different location — like when you're traveling.
– Related to this, Paul once dialed 911 on his AT&T cell phone and got "nothing", indicating that the good old landline is superior for this service.

Paul read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show, and probably some others too; are those of the speakers only, that's myself and Glenn Farr and not necessarily those of KVMR, the heroes who work here, it's board, management, staff or contributors.

Sharon called. Her Motorola Atrix cell phone was dropped into a lake and now the display is hard to see.
– Chances are it's not worth having it fixed…unless it's a smartphone.
– For a phone or similar device that's been in water, take out the battery (if possible) and put phone & battery in a bag of rice for about 4 days. The rice draws out the moisture. Even though her phone is working now, Glenn suggested she try that anyway.
– Get another phone on Ebay (a GSM phone that works with AT&T) . Then take the SIM card out of current phone and put it into the one you bought.
Craigslist is another place to get a used phone. Try to get one from a seller who's near you so you can complete the deal face to face.
– Be sure the phone is unlocked or can easily be unlocked.

Sharon ask for an opinion on the Samsung Galaxy S3 phone.
– Go to a store and handle the phones to find one right for you and take advantage of any trial period that's offered.
– You can get your data transferred to the new phone at an AT&T phone store.

On Monday there was an outbreak of a virus called Alureon or TDSS rootkit. It subverts the DNS (domain naming system). <When you enter an address like 'yahoo.com' a DNS server converts the name into an number which is then used by your browser, or other programs that use the internet, to connect to the destination you want. But, the TDSS rootkit would send the conversion request to server run by the bad guys. Their server would then return the number of whatever website the bad guys wanted you to go to>

When the FBI busted the bad guys, they also took over the nefarious servers, but the FBI made those servers do the correct conversion. On Monday, the FBI finally shut down those servers, after a number of years — enough time for people to have rid their computers of the rootkit. Those who still have the rootkit will notice that their computers can't go anywhere on the net.
– You can google tdss killer and you should find a link that takes you to the Kaspersky website and there you can get a free rootkit hunter. <Presumable you'll do this from an uninfected machine>
– Paul said Microsoft Security Essentials will catch if you have the latest update.
<Related articles:
Don't Lose the Internet in July! FBI Repeats DNSChanger Warning
Malware Targeting Multiple Operating Systems Detected: In the wake of DNSChanger


Glenn made a pitch for membership to KVMR.

Hazel called for a friend who put a picture on Ebay but the picture gets fragmented.
– Ebay may be compressing the picture to reduce its size. Try taking a picture with a different camera.
– Use a different computer to look at the problematic picture. Maybe the particular computer is having a problem displaying it.

Last updated: 9:18 PM 7/11/2012

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