May 28, 2014

May - 14 2014 | 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.
– Editor's comments are delimited by < >


Both Paul and Glenn were in studio

During the show, Glenn said he will post the audio for this show. You should be able to find it here, eventually.


Glenn tried to start a Google Hangout for today's show with no success. Earlier, he managed to 'schedule' a Hangout for today using the Chrome browser but he didn't know where to go to actually start the Hangout.
– When he tried using Firefox, he couldn't get it to download and install a needed plugin. He speculated that you'll have to use Chrome if you're on a PC.
– To find Hangout content for Zentech, go to Youtube and search for the words: zen tech kvmr
– He thought the process doing a Hangout is a lot more complicated than it should be.

Paul shared a historic factiod. Until recently, it was thought that the Mayans had no use for the wheel because they didn't have beasts of burden. Now, toys they made for their children have been found that have wheels.

The guys went to the Maker Fair last weekend, but on different days. Glenn used public transportation from the Millbrae Bart Station to the fair. It was noted that it actually costs less to take Bart all the way to Millbrae than it costs to go to the S. F. Airport, which is along the way.

Paul said that there are apps now for bus schedules.
– There is a free GPS mapping app called OsmAnd which shows transportation routes.
– And there's one called something like Muni just for San Francisco's public transportation. The Muni app is a work in progress and will soon be able to tell you when the next bus will arrive at your stop. The S. F. busses have GPS chips onboard that communicate with the dispatch center.
<This looks like the home page for OsmAnd:
Download the app here:
Also check this out
There are several apps for the Muni, here's one.>

Glenn has been using an app called Embark for Bart schedules. But it failed him during his trip to Maker Fair: it kept saying "no data found". Instead, he discovered that the Bart website worked well in providing real-time info, and he didn't have to use the app at all. On the Bart site, he used the item called "Real Time Departures".
<It looks like Embark is only for iDevices. And there are versions for other cities too:
Embark's home page.
Embark & other similar apps for Android can be found here:>

Paul said those who create apps for mobile devices can register a web address using .mobi as the top level domain. The creator of the application has to demonstrate that the address being registered is intended for use by mobile devices.

A website using web access protocol (WAP) is able to recognize when someone with a tiny screen (mobile phone) is trying to view it. So when you use your phone to view the Bart site, Bart will format the content to fit the small device. However, using the Bart website isn't always convenient, like when you lose your connection while underground. So using an app, which can download and store some of the data, still has some advantages.

Some things seen at the Maker Fair:
– Art objects made from LED lights.
– People in various costumes.
– Vehicles of different types, including wooden frame bikes.
– The Pedal Power Performance Stage had 14 bikes connected to it. <This may be similar to The Shamancycle mentioned during the 8-28-13 show>.

Paul briefly talked about a gift he received and just got around to using. It's a water rocket consisting of a base that's screwed on to a plastic soda bottle that has fins attached. The bottle is partly filled with water and is pumped up with air. The pressure eventually blows the base away from the opening allowing the pressurized water to propel the bottle skyward. He was impressed with the height it reached: maybe 300 or 400 feet. He plans to attach a webcam to it eventually.

Ed called saying his laptop "crashed". He wanted to "reset my programs" and was told by a technician that its memory was too small, the computer was too old and that he should get a new computer. He wanted to know what to look for in a new machine. He downloads music to practice singing and he burns CDs to share with other members of his choral group.
– You may want to consider a tablet instead of a laptop. Often, people have a tablet to compliment their computer but they use the tablet with increasing frequency.
– For web browsing, email etc., the tablet is just fine. If you do a lot of typing, go with a computer instead.
– In a laptop, look for a Core I3, I5 or I7 processor, Glenn suggested.
– Tablets don't come with CD/DVD drives. But on an Android tablet you'll most likely be able to attach an external drive. <Not so with the iPad, as I recall>.
– Some laptops don't come with CD/DVD drives, like later models of the Apple Mac. Consider using storage on the internet (the cloud).
– Instead of burning CDs, get a Google Drive account to store the music where it can be communally shared with the other members. You can even play the music directly from Google Drive.
– If you go with a PC, Glenn suggested one with Windows 7 rather than Win8.

Ed then asked if he would be able to buy an iPad for less than $400.
– The 16gig Mini is $399, if Glenn recalled correctly. A 32gig iPad is about $599.
– Also consider a Mac Mini at around $600, though you'll have to add an external CD/DVD drive for under $50, and a monitor

There are a couple of pieces of software Paul meant to talk about today but will hold off until the next show. Both are free looping applications that take a piece of audio and make it repeat in creative ways while creating multiple tracks.

One is called SooperLooper for the Mac or PC,
– Look up SooperLooper on Youtube to get an idea of what it does. Paul said the instructional video is very good.
– It's also available as an "audio unit", a .au file. That means you can run it in Logic Pro, though it drove Paul nuts when he tried to.
– You can use SooperLooper with a mouse & keyboard, but it can be controlled with Midi instruments where you don't even need a monitor screen.
<I had trouble finding a PC version. Maybe it's only for the Mac>
<I did find a couple of links that may be helpful here and here.>

The other looping program is called Mobius for the PC

Mark called. He was listening to a program about radiation from cell phones, smart meters and microwaves. He's taken some steps to limit his exposure and wanted to know what the guys thought about the radiation issue as well as their thoughts on nuclear power. He saw the movie called Pandora's Promise where some anti-nuclear activists now think nuclear power is not so bad.
– Glenn said that he's no expert on this but is skeptical about claims of harm from such radiation. He's not aware of any research that shows harm.
– Paul said we're often exposed to radiation that we don't suffer from, like the 60 cycle AC current that comes in to our homes or all the radio and TV radiation all around us.
– There are even people in the flight path of aircraft that are exposed to microwave radiation without ill effects.

With regard to nuclear power, Paul doesn't see a good argument for it, given and the alternative energy sources coming online: wind and solar. But Ed argued that the alternative energy still requires backup <peak power, I think it's called> and that nuclear is cleaner than fossil fuels. Paul pointed out the nuclear accidents that have happened and that we tend not to learn that much from them. My take on Paul's comment is that we can't really avoid accidents, "there is no such thing as an accident, there's only the unforeseen", Paul said.

Glenn thought that if we're going to rely on nuclear, we'll need to build in the safety that the nuclear industry is, at this point, unwilling to pay for.

The 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.

Meteom <me.tee.yom> called. She has a relatively new computer and burned a CD for the first time. The CD only plays on her computer, not in her CD player.
– You should burn it as a 'music disk' not a data disk, Paul said. But she said that's what she did.
– Try playing it in some other CD audio player to see if the problem persists. Some old players don't like burned disks. But she said her player has played burned disks before.
– Glenn asked if she created .wav files or .mp3 files. She said .mp3. Glenn said many CD players can't play .mp3, try creating .wav files.
– You may have burned the disk at a speed that's too fast. try a slower rate.
– To find where to change the burn rate in Media Player, which she uses, google the words; windows media player audio burn.
<What I think the guys were getting at was to burn the CD in Red Book Audio (the form commercial music CD come in) and not .mp3 OR .wav (which actually produce a 'data' disk).

Last update 10:47 PM 5/28/2014


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