Mar 22, 2010

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The USB port provides 5v at .25amps that can be used for various things like charging a battery. A battery charger that works with the USB port came onto the market with a virus. The link above is to an article that describes how viruses can be transmitted thru the USB port.

You can now buy computer monitors that can handle cable TV & have an HDMI interface. Paul said he saw a refurbished Samsung Blue Ray DVD Netflix unit with a HDMI interface for $110. It can be used directly with a monitor, bypassing the computer.
Increasingly, such devices are internet enabled, including TVs. All of them have the HDMI interface, which is like DVI but also has a sound channel. Everyone seems to be settling on HDMI as a common interface.

Paul said, next time you have a disk with something other than DVD material on it, try putting it into your DVD player — the player may be able to present other material like photo slideshows or music.

Glenn came across video files with a .3gp filetype, which contain 3gpp movies. Paul said that format has been around for a while and are usually found on cell phones. He said, the best player for these is VLC, which is VideoLan.
If you use Download Helper that comes with Firefox to grab Google videos <from Youtube, I guess> in the raw FLV format, they won't easily play back. But the VideoLan player knows how to do it.

On a PC you can open a file in a program other than the default, right-click on the file and choose "Open With" and you'll be presented with the choice of other programs that can open that filetype.

VLC is an open source program and that is different than free programs like AVG or Spybot in that the source code is available.

An earlier email from a listener asked for free photo management software. The above link compares about 20 free programs, some of which are open source.
Paul said he likes Picasa. It's meant to be more of a viewer than an editor.
Glenn also mentioned GIMP, which is a free Photoshop type of a program that can edit pictures.
The Mac has iPhoto. The latest versions of iPhoto and Picasa do face recognition — just knows it's a face but does not identify the person.

There are upgrades for FireFox & Thunderbird. If you've been using FireFox from its early versions and have been doing updates, you may have unused portions on your hard drive. So, it's ok to completely uninstall it before installing the newest version. That should delete orphaned files.
– Go to the Control Panel -> Add and Remove Programs and uninstall FireFox.
– Then go to C:\Program Files\ and remove the Mozilla Firefox folder.
– Then install the new version.
– Do the same with Thunderbird.
<It's not strictly necessary to uninstall. Only if you want to remove old unneeded files.>
– The data for these programs — the email messages, profile files, etc — are stored in a different place. They aren't deleted if you follow the above steps.
– Readers are reminded to do regular backups.
– The disclaimer: The views expressed on the show are those of the speakers only.

James called wondering about the Google 1Gig project (mentioned on the last show) and said that Google "bailed out" of San Francisco because the population was "too diverse". For Nevada City's effort to attract Google, visit

James also said he gets a poor connection using EDGE on his iPhone.
– Try Smarter Broadband for terrestrial Wi-Fi.
– There's also http://www.DigitalPath .Net

Paul continued talking about Thunderbird. Why upgrade?
– There's noticeable cosmetic change.
– Earlier version weren't especially good at searching the body of messages.
– He, again, recommends uninstalling the older version, but only if it's earlier than version 3.x.
– Glenn mentioned Revo Uninstaller. Paul said that should wipe out all trace of a program but it would ask for permission before doing so. <He never said if it wipes out the data area too. Just use the Control Panel method if you want to be cautious>
– When you install the new version, give it time to index your messages.
– If you want to revert to the earlier version, you'll be able to do that — the data files are compatible.
– Again, be sure you do your backups.

Glenn asked Paul how to make Outlook 2007 stop being the default email program.
– Go to the Control Panel -> Network and Internet Connections -> Internet Options, then click on "Programs" and change the program you want to use.

After you've installed Thunderbird, the first time you click on an email link in a web page, Thunderbird will give you the option to use a web interface like Gmail and Yahoo Mail, or use Thunderbird itself.

There is a free alternative to the Notepad program that comes with Windows. It's called Notepad ++.
– You can assign multiple filetypes for use with Notepad ++ (e.g. .txt .bat etc.).
– It highlights elements in .bat and html files and matches opening/closing braces.

Source Forge is a great resource for free open source software. Get there by going to or

The web site was mentioned and clip from an interview of Michael Shermer by Colbert was played. See the above link.

Jay wrote in to ask for a good anti-virus for his new laptop.
– Try the free version of AVG.

Jay also asked about the web browser called Chrome.
– Glenn said he uses it sometimes but doesn't like its bookmarking features and its lack of a toolbar. He also has trouble customizing it.
– Paul doesn't regularly use it but likes its speed and the fact that a crash in one tab doesn't affect other tabs.

Joshua called to say the mail program in his Mac freezes the machine and he's not happy using an alternate called Mobile Mac.
– Paul thinks it's the data (the messages) that are screwed up.
– Try deleting the mail folder. Paul thinks it might be under your profile -> library -> application data -> mail data (or something like that).
– Paul has heard that even the latest version of Apple Email has problems and it's not recommended one use the IMAP protocol.
– Use Thunderbird instead. It's available for the Mac.

John called asking about the region code of DVDs.
– For copyright reasons DVDs from one region of the world will not play in a player in another region.
– Choose the USA region to play DVDs made there.

John also wondered if the "magnetic" bar code sticker on the DVDs he gets at the library could damage his player.
– No, they're not actually magnetic but use radio frequencies.

Paul asked if anyone knows what Klaatu barada nikto! (at the top of this page) means. <Answer at the bottom>

Paul suggested, when installing AVG, to do the custom install and turn off the Link Scanner and the feature below it. And turn off scheduled scanning. When you do the custom install, you're given the chance to opt out of installing plugins that check for phishing sites, current browsers do a pretty good job of doing that already. The automatic install doesn't give you the opt out choice.

Richard called to ask if the firewall in XP is adequate.
– Yes, it came with service pack 2.

A caller said the quote is from The Day The Earth Stood Still and means the spaceman is not dead.

Last Updated 11:35 PM 9/29/2010 

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