Dec 13, 2017

Dec - 13 2017 | By

A Bit about the Blockchain & Bitcoin

Raspberry Pi– Arduino…



Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at:
– 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 < >

For a couple of months, the audio of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here.

The intro music was by Pentatonix.

The outro music was Fractal Zoom by Brian Eno


Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in from a Starbucks in San Jose.


Paul’s “been up all night” messing around with the Raspberry Pi & Arduino. He thinks they would be a good gift for the teenage nerd in the family.

Newer cars have the ability to display the tire pressure on the dash. Now there are valve caps for older cars that constantly monitor tire pressure and report the data via Bluetooth. One such valve cap is the FOBO System.

Paul also noted that most modern cars have a temperature sensor mounted near the road surface to warn of near freezing conditions and the possibility of road ice. But he wondered if the distraction of watching all of this info being displayed negates the margin of safety provided.

Glenn invited listeners to write with their questions and comments to zen at kvmr dot org.

The most useful in-car system he’s seen for older cars is an Android dashboard. It’s a 6″ diagonal rectangular screen. On more modern cars, you can take out the radio and put the Android dashboard in its place. “The proper size for the original car radio was called 1 Din, which is a German standard for the height of the radio. 2 Din means double height and a 6″ screen will fit in there.” With Android you can add various apps like GPS and speedometer. You can retrofit whole bunch of useful stuff, which is what Paul has done. From what I understand, the Android dashboard can read and display info from external sensors like the tire valve caps.

<I’m not sure this is what he was talking about, but it seems close…
The Complete Guide to Android Auto – Google Maps, voice commands, messaging, and more in your car:
Or this
You no longer have to buy a new car or stereo to use Android Auto>

When you shop for an Android dashboard, pay attention to the exact size, Paul said. Hopefully, the retailer will have the dimensions on their website.

Some years ago, Paul bought himself a digital caliper (LCD caliper) from Harbor Freight in Roseville for $10 to assist in accurately measuring dimensions. As he recalled, the accuracy is claimed to be about 1/3 to 1/4 of a millimeter.

Talk turned to Bitcoin, a type of virtual currency. If you want to trade in Bitcoins you’ll have to use an exchange, similar to using an exchange if you want to convert dollars to yen. One popular licensed broker is Coinbase, but there are others.

People think using Bitcoins allows you to be anonymous. But the anonymity is questionable because in some places, like California, you have to provide personal information to the broker. “Neither the buyer nor the seller nor the transaction can be associated with you, but it can be identified,” Paul said. In other words, in the entire Bitcoin network, a transaction is visible but not necessarily the person who did it. However it is possible to track it back to the broker (Coinbase, for instance).

Paul said people are mortgaging their houses to invest in Bitcoin. Be diligent. It’s a highly speculative market. Glenn chimed in to say that it’s like gambling and is a very risky bet, in his opinion. Paul said he learned from the book titled “Black Swan” that this sort speculation is based entirely on psychology and perception and not at all on statistics or reality.

Paul mentioned that Bitcoin works on a system called a blockchain, which is a ledger or inventory of transactions. He said he’ll put up a link on the Zen Tech site to an animated diagram of how blockchain works.

Paul said he goes to thrift stores occasionally. He picked up a replacement remote control at one place recently because he doesn’t like universal remotes. He said all sorts of tech stuff is showing up at thrift stores. At many stores you can get store credit if you buy a gadget and it doesn’t work. Glenn noted that some thrift stores specialize in certain categories of merchandise.

Paul found a good location for recycled auto parts and it’s in Rancho Cordova. He said to google the words: recycle road rancho cordova. About the only thing you can’t find at these auto dismantlers are air bags, for legal reasons.

Brian called. He just bought an ASUS laptop with Windows 10. It came with a 1 terabyte mechanical hard drive and an empty slot for a second drive. So he bought a 275 gig solid state drive (SSD) to put in it. Now he’s not sure how to get the operating system to run off the SSD and use the original 1 terabyte drive for data.
– The problem is copying a bigger drive to the smaller one.
– It’s possible the software you need transfer the operating system came with the new SSD drive.
– Before you install the 2nd drive, unplug the power and take out the laptops battery.
– Glenn wondered if he could use the ‘restore function’ in Win10 and point it toward the new drive. Paul said it might work but he wasn’t sure. He said to call the computer company.

Buzz, the KVMR engineer, was listening to the show and came into the studio with a suggestion. It’s a method he’s used before. This may not be the only way, but it works. He suggested Clonezilla, which is a low level of Linux that uses a function called ‘dd’ to copy a drive. To copy from a larger to a smaller drive there is an option in Win10 to change the partition size of the drive. You can shrink the partition of the 1 terabyte drive to the same size of the smaller drive. You can even do this with the 2nd drive connected via the USB port, if you don’t have space for a 2nd drive inside the laptop. Google the words: shrink partiton windows 10.
<More about Clonezilla here>

Also, there is software called Easeus Free Partition Magic, Paul said. It’s a bit tricky and he didn’t go into it, but said there are some pitfalls.

Glenn said the Win10 operating system might already be in its own, smaller partition on the 1 terabyte drive. Look under “My Computer” to see what drives you have. You might have a C: drive and a much larger D: drive. And the C: drive will have the operating system. From his experience, Glenn said ASUS has an excellent tech support and suggested calling them. Brian had a look and found there was only 1 partition.

Paul said something he meant to say a few shows ago. If you lose Win10 on your laptop and you have a sticker on the machine or you know Win10 is already registered, you can download Win10 from the internet and burn a CD with it. So if you want to experiment with methods of transferring the OS, there would still be a way of recovering Win10.

The same thing is true for Winows 7 users. Be sure you use the Microsoft site to download it. Microsoft will want you to type in the number (key) on the sticker a.k.a. the COA (certificate of authenticity).

Brian also asked for a local technician that can help him. Paul said there’s Quiet Tech and Roy’s Computers. He asked Brian to send an email and he’ll reply with a list of local techs.

Dan called. <His audio was terrible.> He has a Dell laptop from 1998 that he upgraded to Windows 7. He wondered what using an iPad 2 is like. The audio was so bad Paul had to end the conversation. Glenn asked Dan to write in with his question — zen at kvmr dot org.

Next show will have an interview of someone who knows more about Bitcoin.

Last Updated 12:16 AM 12-14-2017


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