Feb 14, 2018

Feb - 14 2018 | By

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

The intro music was by Pentatonix.

 

Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.

 

Glenn thanked listeners & supporters of KVMR. <If you’d like to become a member, you can call the station at 530-265-9073 or go to kvmr.org.>

Glenn was given a 9″ tablet made by Digital Reins recently. It runs the Kit Kat operating system — version 4.2.2 <but their webpage says it 4.4>. He said it’s kind of slow and that he might add an external SD memory card (up to 32gig) to it. You can get it at Amazon for about $100.
<This might be the tablet>

He said it sometimes displays the message “cannot start android.google.(something) upgrade”. It seem to be trying to do something in the background, but can’t.

Paul said people should keep in mind that products you buy to experiment or have fun with may not be adequate for your need to get work done. He’s cautious about buying new off-brand products. Brand-name products that are similar can cost twice as much, but that doesn’t mean you get twice the performance.

There are various benchmarks <apps> you can get to check network performance. video rendering, etc.

Off-brand manufacturers get permission from Google to use the Android operating system without having to pay a royalty. Google expects to make up for it when people come to Google for resources and products — apps, email, media, etc. That will give Google the opportunity to gather information about the users.

You can learn more about your tablet by going to Settings -> About. Toward the top you’ll see the model number. Glenn’s tablet shows it’s model m920. Paul said the company may have put the firmware made for a different model with the same chipset into this tablet. He speculated that might be the reason Glenn was getting the error message.

Paul went on to say you can upgrade such tablets. There is a hacker community that will offer you recompiled images <of the operating system> that you can put on the flash card. You can then upgrade the OS from the flash card.

The cheaper tablets have a more reflective display because they don’t use an anti-glare coating, Paul noted. And several years ago cheap tablets would have a resistive display, which is less responsive to finger movement. This type of display is what you’ll find on GPS devices. The preferred type is capacitive display.

Taking tablets apart can be tricky. Paul bought a tool that looks like a pair of plastic tongs with suckers on them. You’re supposed to wet the suckers and put one on the front and one on the back of the tablet and squeeze the tool. If you patiently exert a fixed amount of force, eventually the glue will give way and the two halves of the tablet will come apart. You can speed up the process by using a hot air gun or hair drier but be careful not to apply too much heat. The glue will start to loosen at about 160 degrees F.

If you venture into upgrading your tablet, you’ll notice that newer versions of Android don’t demand much more from the hardware. The current version of Android is 7. And you shouldn’t have much trouble of installing most of the common apps on an older tablet.

Paul said most of the apps you would need would be able to run on version 4.2, so why would you want to upgrade? One reason is better advantage can be taken of the hardware resources. For example, Google made version 7.1 more responsive to touch.

Talk turned to cord cutting. Until recently, the content you got over the internet tended to be prerecorded, like Youtube. Now there’s Google Live, which lets you watch live TV relays of sports, political events, news broadcasts, etc.
<Maybe its Youtube TV
Engadget article
The app for it.>

Glenn’s experience was that he watched only a small fraction of what was available thru his cable subscription. Then he got the least expensive package from Direct TV called the Family Pack, which gave him something like 28 or 48 channels. But it was still kind of pricey. He’s intrigued by the internet channels but thinks the cost can still add up by the time you subscribe to enough services to meet your viewing desires. Glenn’s had some success bargaining with cable companies for better rates by claiming he can’t afford to pay more than the introductory rate he started with, and then settle for a marginal increase in his fee.

Steve Baker entered the studio to give an update on the shooting in a Florida high school. There are a number of fatalities — one source said 14 dead. The gunman is in custody.

Paul said there is feature in Google Maps to find the distance between 2 points in a straight line (as the crow flies) rather than driving distance. He thought the feature is available on the mobile app for Google Maps, too.

If you use your computer to go to Google Maps, you can discover other features you might not have been aware of. Google Earth, Street View are now integrated into Google Maps.

In the upper left corner of Street View is an option to see a particular street view from the past — different instances of that view photographed over time. Metro areas get photographed more often.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can call in with their questions &amp; comments: 530-265-9555.

Glenn was impressed by the scenery of the opening ceremony from the Olympics and recommended listeners check out the recorded videos, wherever they can be found on the internet — maybe on Youtube.

Paul thought people might like to know how to watch the Olympics online for free. If you signed up at Google Live, you can watch for free during the 30-day trial period. After that it’s a $35/mo subscription. Otherwise, he hasn’t found any good options to watch the Olympics for free.

There was some chitchat about Elon Musk & Space X. There was mention of the recent launch of the Falcon Heavy and how the boosters do a soft landing on a barge.
<Watch video of the launch and landings if you missed it live earlier, or if you just want to watch a rerun.>

Douglas called. A mouse ate the fuel injection wires in his car. He thought a car would have to be parked for a long time before mice can get to it. He uses his car often and the mice needed less than 13 hours to do the damage. It cost $1500 to $2000 in repairs because the engine had to be partially disassembled to get to the wires. When the tow truck came for the car, the driver said <maybe jokingly> that he should put a bar of Irish Spring under the hood because the smell will keep them away. It didn’t help that in 2012 the auto makers complied with European laws that demanded the wire insulation be biodegradable and, perhaps more attractive to mice.

Glenn related the story of how Ivory soap was made to float. One of the vat tenders accidentally let it go too long and it got too much air in it. First thought to be an error, consumers were impressed.

Paul’s humorous contribution was about a workman at a factory that made glasses who fell into a vat of molten glass. The news headlines: glass worker makes a spectacle of himself.

Douglas also said that mint oil and the sonic devices you plug into a wall socket also keep mice away.

Paul mentioned a local company called Sonic Technology that discovered a way to modulate ultra sound in such a way that it drives rodents away and they don’t get used to it.

Adding to what was said before, Paul said you don’t have to drop your cable TV subscription before you experiment with the alternatives. You can get a Roku box for an “Android TV unit”, which he just bought for himself for $28. <He didn’t give a model number of the Roku.>

Robin called. She thought Douglas said menthol would keep the mice away. Glenn clarified by saying it was mint oil.

She also asked about where to have her broken computer looked at.
– Locally there’s Rod’s Computers.
– She was asked to email the guys to get a reply for other repair shops.
– Call the shop in advance to see if there’s a charge to determine if it’s worth repairing. Understandably, shops generally have a service minimum.
– If you want to recycle it, that’s usually free. Take the hard drive out first to protect your personal info. The best way to get rid of it is to take a hammer to it <or keep the drive & put it into your next computer.>

Last Updated 12:47 AM 2-15-2018