Nov 22, 2017

Nov - 22 2017 | By

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

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.


NOTE: there will be another Zen Tech show next Wednesday (11-29-17)


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


Glenn talked about upgrading his iPhone 6S to IOS 11 after doing a backup. For 2 weeks he kept putting off giving the final ok for the upgrade, but woke up this morning to find the upgrade had completed. He didn’t know why that happened without his permission. Paul thought that was “naughty” and added that to this day there are lawsuits pending by people who were upgraded from Win7 or Win8 to Win10 unwillingly.

Glenn said he likes IOS 11 so far. “When you push phone, everything is a little different and a little larger. The same thing on messages”. He said the fonts are bigger. And the copy, cut and paste is simpler than the previous IOS, which had different levels of how hard you ‘push’ for each function. Paul, who upgraded to IOS 11 previously, said the performance seems better and Glenn agreed.

Glenn wasn’t so happy with the upgrade to the High Sierra operating system on his Mac Mini. He said that yesterday it was running slowly. He thought it might be because he didn’t do a restart after the upgrade finished. Paul said he’s noticed something similar with other operating systems after they upgrade. The new system needs to do some maintenance before it starts running normally. Somewhere around version 10.12, the filing system was changed and there was a delay before the performance recovered, but then it improved over the previous OS.

Both Windows and the Mac do what’s called indexing, where a database of the files on the machine is built for quicker access in the future, Paul said. When you plug in another hard drive or a flash drive, an index is also built and is stored in a hidden file called .spotlight on the Mac and .index (so he thought) on Windows. The user can set whether a drive is indexed.

Paul talked about online or cloud backups. He said he doesn’t “trust” them. The internet connection speed is a fraction of the network speed that you have at home, which is a fraction of the speed of a local USB or hard drive. 16 gigs of data can take a very long time to backup online. Some people just manually backup the most critical files, not the entire drive. But then you don’t have the convenience of an automated backup system. <He didn’t explain what he meant by ‘trust’. Maybe it was a poorly chosen word.>

Paul said he uses Rsync to synchronize and do incremental backups. It has a graphical user interface. It’s available on all major platforms (PC, Linux, Android, Mac and others). He said it’s important to practice restoring your data. A backup is no good to you if you can’t restore it.

Years ago there was a backup program called Norton Ghost that would take a snapshot of your entire hard drive, which you could recreate later on another drive. The down side is that you could recreate the drive only on the machine from which the snapshot was taken. “That’s almost completely useless”, he said.

On the PC, the data that’s important is located under ‘Documents and Settings’ for the XP, and under ‘Users’ on later Windows systems. On the Mac go to ‘Mac Hard Drive’ -> ‘Users’ where you’ll find folders with names of those who have a login account on the machine. The data you’ll find in these places is what needs backing up. It will contain things like Word documents and photos but not the applications themselves, so keep track of where you keep your software programs. Paul mentioned another sync program called Free File Sync.
<I can’t vouch for this: Free Norton Ghost Alternatives to Create a Full Windows Image …:>

Increasingly, people are getting their applications from the internet. Paul mentioned that Turbo Tax is a 56meg download from If you lose a hard drive, you can just to Intuit and download it again.

Paul cautioned listeners that when they throw their laptops into a bag, be sure to first disconnect the peripherals (hard drives, USB sticks, etc.). Otherwise, the force of the bag on the connectors can damage them. The Mac has a magnetic connector that just slides off if there’s an unusual force put on it. Glenn said he had found an adapter that plugs into the lightning port of the iPhone that provides a similar magnetic connection. He’s been very happy with it.

Next, Paul talked about inductive charging (wireless charging). The standard that was developed a number of years ago is called Qi. <Discussed on the 11-16-14 show.> Of the iPhones, Glenn thought only the iPhone 10 has inductive charging.

The way it works is that there’s a coil in the phone an one on the your table that’s plugged in to the wall socket, and you place the phone on the coil to get the charge. Paul’s Nexus tablet <circa 2013> has the ability to charge inductively. It charges at low frequency (less than 60Hz, he thought) and the field doesn’t go very far. He has to position the tablet directly on the coil.

Alan Stahler, who hosts Soundings, came into the studio and raised some philosophical issues about how much we need computers. He facetiously questioned Glenn and Paul, what will you do when the bubble bursts and people throw away their computers. Paul noted that those of us from the pre-computer generation were more likely to have been educated in critical thinking. He thought it wasn’t being cultivated in this digital age, and without computers, the younger generations would be in trouble.

Paul said the 1st use of word ‘computer’ applied to women who computed trajectories of NASA missions. He’s seen a competition between someone using an abacus and someone using a calculator. The abacus user won.

Talk turned to multitasking and parallel processing. Paul described most modern processors as having at least 2 cores and at least 2 sets of hyper threads, giving you 4 jobs going on at once. There’s also a hardware arbitrator that decides who should be given what to do, and the jobs run in parallel.

The guys rambled on about how some people are tactile, others are visual and how we learn. On a previous occasion, the 3 guys discussed how dogs learn and how it’s possible to breed dogs not just for their appearance but also for their attributes (hunting skills or digging skills). Paul once asked a dog trainer how dogs are trained and got the reply that you don’t train the dog, you cultivate what it already has.

Glenn said Elon Musk <of Tesla> announced some new products. There are 2 different tractor trailers with a 500 mile range, recharge to 85% in 35 minutes or 100% in an hour and have a low drag coefficient. There’s also a roadster with a 600 mile range, accelerates 0 to 60 in 1.2 seconds and possibly an accessory to make it fly.

KVMR’s news director Paul Emery came into the studio. He was motivated by the question about our computers going away. He noted that neutron bombs can destroy silicon chips by inducing high currents in them. He’s heard that the highest levels of the US government have vacuum tube communication systems that don’t contain silicon chips. A neutron bomb may temporarily knock out a tube but it will return to a functional state. Alan said that a couple of decades ago a Soviet pilot defected with a fighter aircraft and it was discovered to have tube-based circuits.

Alan mentioned the Hyperloop, which is a container carrying passengers that rides in an evacuated tube to cut air resistance. Supposedly, it could travel as fast as a 747. It’s being tested now.

On that note, it’s been calculated that a 747 with a full load of passengers while flying at a high altitude has mileage as good (miles per gallon) as a compact car with 1 person. Paul noted that if you double the speed at which a car goes, the air resistance quadruples.

Paul mentioned that energy of motion can be conserved and then used again. Years ago in Britain, trams (streetcars) going downhill would have their kinetic energy harvested and converted to electricity, which helps to slow it down. The electricity would then be used to power a tram going uphill. The conversion is not 100% efficient. Hybrid vehicles, like Glenn’s car, do something similar. When slowing down, they convert the energy of the braking process to charge the battery, giving it great mileage

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

He also said that there will be no Flea Market tomorrow.

Last Updated 12:07 AM 11-23-2017