Dec 27, 2017

Dec - 27 2017 | By

Strange Minimalist Music from the 1980’s– Electronics.
“O Superman” by Laurie Anderson

Nostalgic? try telehack.comĀ 

and see old BBS style Text Files Here!



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 a “random track” by Brian Eno.


Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in.


Paul played an excerpt of some music from the English musician Lori Anderson. It’s from 1982, which is when he left England permanently. She used an octave divider to process her voice. Her album is being republished, but an analog version was put on Youtube (see the link above) with a link to the digitally cleaned up version that you can buy.
<Lori’s website>

Glenn called in from a location he didn’t expose and started off by telling us about a problem Marilyn has recently encountered. She’s using Windows 10 and when she upgraded the Firefox browser to the latest version (ver 57.0.2), her computer started to run slow.

Paul said Mozilla did a rewrite of Firefox recently and it’s now called Firefox Quantum. Whichever version you’re using, you can do a cleanup by going to Firefox Health Report (or maybe it’s Trouble Shooting Information) in the ‘Help’ menu. From the page that opens, Paul suggested Marilyn choose ‘Refresh Firefox’ in the upper right-hand corner. It saves your bookmarks and some of your settings, dumps everything else and then reloads the bookmarks & settings. In the process, it dumps the addons, which can cause mischief, and you’ll have to reinstall them as needed. It also dumps caches as well as any bits and pieces left over from any previous upgrades. Paul said when you migrate to Firefox Quantum, it automatically triggers a refresh. <More about Quantum in the 11-29-17 show notes.>

If you had been using a 32bit version of Firefox but you have a 64bit computer you’ll be switched to the 64bit version of Firefox when you update to the new version. It appears Mozilla is no longer making the 32bit version but all of the addons work just the same, Paul said.

We should all have more than one browser on our machines, Paul continued. But he hates the Microsoft Edge browser, “it’s horrible”. It’s what comes with Windows 10. However, you can still get the earlier Internet Explorer browser from the Microsoft site. Right-click the button in the lower left of your screen <I think he meant the Start button> and then and use the word ‘Run’ and type in “iexplore” <w/o quotes>. You’ll get version 11 of Internet Explorer.

So, 1) refresh Firefox as explained above, although upgrading to Quantum should have done the refresh. 2) Get Internet Explorer and see if your speed improves using it <indicating Firefox is the problem>.

The other thing you can do is isolate the problem. Is it the machine or is it the traffic from the internet that’s slowing you down. Test your internet speed by using Speedof will wait until a webpage is fully loaded before it gives you the result. If the page doesn’t load, something else is wrong. Speedof is designed to isolate speed problems due to the machine from speed problems with the internet.

The guys went on to talk about Crap Cleaner (Ccleaner). Glenn said he has someone friends with a Windows Media Center PC they use to watch TV and record cable & other media. It started to give a ‘disk is full error’. They talked previously about it being more efficient to have the operating system on a separate partition and a much larger partition (or a separate drive) for your data. In this case, after using Ccleaner, the free space on their C: drive went from about 8Kb to 305 gigabytes free on a 500gig drive. Paul said it’s a tendency with Media Center computers to store a lot of temporary data that needs to be cleaned out.

Ccleaner used to be at but they are trying to sell you what was once a free version by redirecting you to You can still get the free version by going here. Installing it will put an icon into the system tray in the lower right, but Paul prefers to turn that option off; he prefers to run it on-demand (manually). You can also set it to do the cleanup only when you reboot Windows, but that adds about 60 sec to the boot up time. There are also settings that will keep it from deleting passwords or cookies.
<A version for Android is here>

Paul noted that Ccleaner will tend to ignore files specific to an application. So in Marilyn’s case, she’ll need to do the Firefox refresh and not depend on Ccleaner to do the job.

Since Windows 10 came out, there have been 2 major “patches” or updates. Paul said he’s seen one of the updates shut down Avast Anti-virus, without warning. On another occasion, an update shut down Classicshell, which many people use for a better user interface to Win10 than the default Metro interface. Both programs can be reinstalled, but you may have to download the latest versions.

Paul offered a tip to those who want to install Avast: uncheck everything except ‘file updates’, ‘browser check’ and ‘file protect’. He thinks the other options are not needed and Glenn agreed.

The ‘web protect’ option will look at the site you’re visiting and send the data to their servers and then tell you if the site is safe. Things to remember…
– It takes more time — there’s slow down.
– They make money from the aggregated data collected about your browsing habits. It doesn’t mean more advertising popups, as you might think.
– They don’t *guaranty* a website is not a malicious.

The guys mentioned a couple of sites that are a throwback to earlier days in computing. <See the links at the top.> Telehack is not so much a webpage but looks like a “terminal into a console”, Paul said. It uses Linux to make it look like a main frame computer from the late 1970s — in particular it looks like a operating system known as Galaxy that ran on a PDP 1091 or PDP 11.

One of the things you can do on Telehack is type ‘eliza’ and it will run an old program by that name that’s an early attempt at interactive psychological analysis.

Paul briefly noted that Youtube now has a subscription service called Youtube Red to provide movies.

The other nostalgic website is It gives you the experience of old bulletin boards. It allows you to download plain, unembellished ASCII text files.

One of the files Paul ran across at Textfiles is about Phil Katz who, circa 1970s, came up with a file compression program called Pkzip, which improved on the .zip compression scheme.

Listeners were invited to call with their questions and comments at 530-265-9555. And they can send email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Dan from Coloma called. He recently updated his iPhone to IOS 11 and now he notices periodic increases in the data being transferred — on the order of a third of a gigabyte. At other times it can be 2 gigs over the space of 11 minutes. All of this with out doing anything.
– Paul thought it might be updates being done over the cellular connection. You can restrict updates to only using wi-fi and avoid being charged by the phone company. Dan doesn’t have wi-fi at home.
– Paul said the Verizon site has an accounting of when the data is transferred, though it’s 4 to 8 hours after the fact.
– Paul thought it might be because he uses iCloud Photos. Dan said he turned off all of the iCloud stuff. Google Photos can also spontaneously synch up the data.
– Take your phone to a wi-fi hotspot (e.g. a coffee shop) and then do a check for updates to the IOS. The updates are usually big — on the order of 1.8gig. The automatic updates on the iPhone can happen without warning or asking for permission.
– Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Mobile’ (or ‘Cellular’) and you’ll see what items are allowed to use the cellular network. Turn off anything you don’t need. While there, you can see how much data is used by each app. And at the bottom, you can “reset statistics” — handy to use at the start of a billing period.
– Dan asked if it might be a virus. Paul said it’s possible but improbable.
– Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Personal Hotspot’ and keep it off. Dan checked and his was on. So it’s possible some other device was using the hotspot. In particular, Windows 10 may have been using up a lot of data.
– Dan asked if it’s possible to go back to Windows 7. Paul said Microsoft gives you a month to do that but they don’t really want you to. Dan is stuck with using cellular as a hotspot for his Windows computer — he has no other broadband. Paul suggested he take it to some free wi-fi location to let Windows do its updates.
– Dan has gotten some relief from Verizon. They’ve increased his data cap a couple of times — up to 16gigs/mo. That was recently and he’s waiting to see if that’ll be adequate.
– Check with local companies that can provide an internet connection for your computer using terrestrial wireless — aka wireless isp — so you won’t have to use the phone as a hotspot. Check with Smarter Broadband, for instance.
– Go into Windows 10 and turn off “metered connections” or turn off wi-fi entirely <so it won’t use the phone as a hotspot>.
– Call Adam Brodel of Smarter Broadband for any suggestions he may have, even a competitor, if he can’t provide the service. Glenn did a quick search and wondered if Blaze Wifi might be an option. <I’m not sure I heard “Blaze” correctly.>

Last Updated 1:49 AM 12-28-2017


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