Dec 30, 2015

Dec - 24 2015 | By

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For a limited time, the podcast of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here.


Paul was in the studio. We didn’t hear from Glenn but he should be back soon.


Paul said he’s still trying to implement his project to install Linux on older computers for people in the vicinity of Nevada City.

There’s a particular distribution of Linux called Debian. Paul said Ian Murdock participated in producing that distribution. He died at the age of 42. The Debian name is the mashup of his wife’s name, Deborah, and his. The Ubuntu version of Linux, and a few others, have their roots in Debian. Their distribution files end in .deb. He read about this at

Paul has seen refurbished computers with Windows 7 for as little as $99. Maybe not real fast game-playing, video-editing machines, they do come with reasonably useful software and 1 year warranties. The best deal he’s seen was a 4 or 5 year old off-lease computer at If you want a new computer, you wouldn’t go wrong at paying about $250 for what Paul called a “domestic grade” computer — one that’s not a slouch but still not great for more demanding video games.

Christy called. He has a Mac running El Capitan. He got a popup offering the download of the latest version the Flash player. As per previous warnings on Zen Tech, he didn’t want to download. The other option he was given was to delete Flash. He chose to delete it and now can’t play some media. He wanted to know if he could use HTML5 instead.
– Increasingly, websites are switching to HTML5. Flash is being phased out.
– If you use the Chrome browser you ‘usually’ don’t need Flash. Chrome handles most of the job. Christy uses the Safari browser.
– Paul had him go to Youtube and Ctrl-click (maybe Command-click) on any video to find out whether Flash is required or whether HTML5 is being used. Paul said you can do this on any site that’s trying to show you a video.<Momentarially forgetting Chris uses a Mac, Paul first said right-click on the video, so maybe that’s what to do if you have a PC.>
– HTML5 is so prevalent that if you get a message that says Flash is required, be suspicious.

Kim called. She’s happy with her Dell PC running Windows 7. She keeps being prompted to upgrade to Windows 10. She wanted to know if that’s a good idea.
– If you’re happy with Win7, don’t upgrade. Paul said he doesn’t see a compelling reason.
– Since about April, Microsoft has suggested people upgrade. They have become progressively more insistent.
– If you’re using Win8 and are not happy with it, many people aren’t, then go ahead and do the upgrade. It takes a couple of hours.
– Paul said he hasn’t seen the Win10 upgrade cause many problems.
– Win10 is very similar to Win7 but has remnants of the Metro interface that Win8 had. Metro allows Microsoft to sell apps to go with it.

<Here are some articles about the Win10 upgrade. Some may be a bit dated.
Get Windows 10? Microsoft’s push comes to shove
Microsoft to Force Windows 10 Download by Default
Shield yourself from coerced ‘Get Windows 10’ updates
Get ready for Windows 10 as an Automatic Update (how to turn off update nags)>

Kim also said she uses Avast for an anti-virus and keeps getting popups saying “everybody can see what you’re doing. You better upgrade now for privacy”. Paul talked about it later in the show, see below.

Preston called. He doesn’t have good internet options near Loma Rica Airport and wants suggestions for getting a service at a good price — maybe in the $50 range. There is no cable or DSL service in that area.
– See if any of your neighbors have wireless service and if they’re willing to split their bill with you for letting you use their connection.
– Preston looked into terrestrial wireless service but it was $114/mo.
– Another choice is a mi-fi unit. It’s a small box that connects to a cellular phone service and converts it to a local wi-fi connection. It’s a data only service, no voice, and typically costs about $50/mo.
– Costco sells mi-fi at Click the ‘mobile hotspots’ link. You can get plans from all the major cellular providers.

Uncle Nick called to encourage people to do the Linux upgrade Paul talked about earlier. A variety of free Linux software is available to meet most needs.

Nick said he’s done an number of upgrades to Win10 for his clients and has notice significant glitches with some applications. In particular, the email program that comes with it has had many complaints when used with Usenet (a service for discussing many topics). Paul said the Thunderbird mail program works fine and can import the data from Outlook Express, which the guys don’t think too highly of.

Nick thought that development for Thunderbird has or will stop. Paul said it’s not the development that will stop, but that new features will no longer be added.

Nick suggested as a resource for import, export and conversion issues with Outlook and Outlook Express.
<Their site says: Our major activity is researching and solving problems with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server>

Nick said there is a local newspaper whose website automatically plays Flash videos when the user just wants to read the news. He wished there were something that stopped Flash from playing.
– Paul said there is a free plugin called Flashblock that works with Firefox and does just that. Do a google search with the words: firefox plugin flashblock.
– Blocking the videos helps reduce data usage for those with limited data plans because you’re not downloading the videos you don’t want to watch.

Getting back to Kim’s concern about the Avast anti-virus, Paul said Avast and AVG are among the better programs out there.
– An anti-virus is not the way to go to protect privacy, as the Avast popup implied.
– Instead, use the incognito mode of your browser to prevent a track record of where you’ve been going or doing on the internet. This mode is available in many modern browsers. <Also known as private tab or private browsing.>
– Incognito mode won’t retain the history or the cache from your browsing activity. It will keep bookmarks and “several other things”.
– It’s not “private or secure” Paul said. Your internet provider can still know where you’ve been. It does not make you anonymous.
– What Paul looks for in an anti-virus is just virus protection. He’ll choose to do a ‘custom’ install to avoid installing more than he wants.

Paul said KVMR is open to visitors, during normal business hours, who want to see what goes on in the studio. Contact the particular broadcaster you’re interested in.

Bruce called. He wondered if upgrading to Win10 would improve anything if you’re running Win7 and it’s working poorly.
– Paul wasn’t sure but “it would not be a bad move. Just make sure you’re backedup”.
– The resources required by Win10 are equal to or less than for Win7 or Win8.

Bruce also said he has a Linux partition and he deleted a file he thought was unnecessary and now Linux won’t start.
– Just reinstall the Linux. First reformat that partition.
– Then choose the “something else” option during installation. Linux will find the previous partition.
– After installation Bruce be able to dual boot again. On bootup he’ll be given a choice to run either Window or Linux.
– Linux has a great memory tester. Paul has been known to run it over night so it has time to go thru many iterations of the test.
– You can find the memory tester, by itself, at

Marilyn called. She’s been shopping for a laptop and noticed that one would say it has xxx bytes of memory and yyy bytes on the hard drive. Another would say yyy bytes of ‘storage’ (instead of ‘hard drive’). What’s the difference?
– Storage will probably refer to SSD, a solid state drive. A lot of laptops now come with flash memory for storage — no moving parts.
– SSD drives are expensive — up to 10x that of hard drives.
– Some come with hybrid drives that use a combination of flash memory and a spinning disk hard drive.

Joey called to say he finally got his Mac working. He had called on 12-9-15 about a problem he encountered after upgrading the OS to El Capitan. He spent about an hour and a half with an Apple tech and after tweaking port numbers and other minor things they got it working.

The other problem Joey had was that his Safari browser sometimes crashes. His brother in-law had the same problem with his wife’s Mac. It was determined that the Invidia video card in the computer is not compatible with El Capitan. It worked well with the previous OS, Yosemite. Joey doesn’t have a backup of the previous operating system so he can’t go back and undo the operating system update.
– Paul said there’s no big reason to stay one version behind the latest operating system.
– Paul will do some research on this issue.

Last Updated 11:27 PM 12-30-2015

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