Oct 14, 2015

Sep - 30 2015 | By

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– 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 < >

The intro music was by Pentatonix:


Glenn & Paul were both in the studio today.

A few weeks ago, Paul got an Apple TV 4. He’s amazed by the quality. Youtube is increasingly making available feature-length documentaries and other content for free, and Paul sees no reason to subscribe to any video provider. It takes as little as 1.5 megabits/sec to stream Youtube video, he said.
<A few more details about Apple TV are in the notes for the 9-23-15 show>

Glenn recently installed a router at home, but when he tried to access it with his iPad, he got the message the “router is not connected to the internet”.

Glenn has AT&T DSL upstairs but the wireless signal wasn’t making it downstairs. He ran an Ethernet cable from the upstairs router to the router downstairs that he installed. Paul helped configure the downstairs router by turning off DHCP and assigning an appropriate range of addresses, thus turning it into a switch. He’ll need to look at it again, apparently.

Many residents in Nevada County have DSL and a beige-colored modem made by 2Wire. Some parts of the county have switched to DSL 2 Plus — called Uverse by AT&T. It “hands out the same kind of address range as the original” DSL, Paul assumed, so it shouldn’t look that different.

When routers are configured, they sometimes have 2 buttons, “save” and “activate”, and you need to do both for your changes to be stored in the non-volatile memory. Paul typically reboots the router and then checks to be sure the changes took effect.

Not all routers are the same. They vary in the power of the radio transmitter, the sensitivity to low power and the rejection of stray signals.
– Some routers perform channel hopping over the 11 channels assigned to the 2.4 gigaHertz band. <To find unused channels, I guess>.
– Ideally, you want to set your router to use a channel not used by other nearby wi-fi networks. Diagnostic software can tell you which channels are in use.
– 5.4 gigaHertz routers have a stronger signal and a shorter range. <Higher frequencies have less penetration, as I recall>
– You can use the less common 5.4 gigaHertz band to avoid interference from nearby routers, but the router has to be installed and configured to do that.
– Newer tablets and phones can use the 5.4 gigaHertz band but some older equipment can’t.
– The order of preference in connecting to a router: use a wired connection (not possible with most mobile devices), use 5.4 gigaHertz wireless if your device can use it or use 2.4 gigaHertz (typically used by most mobile units).
– Paul likes the app called Wi-Fi Analyzer, which tells you the channels nearby networks are using so you can configure your router for an unused channel.
<I found 2 called Wi-Fi Analyzer. The more popular one is here.
the other one is here:>

Raymond called about the offer Paul made to people with older computers running Windows XP who’d like to change to Lubuntu — a version of the Linux operating system. Paul was hoping to provide a way for people to bring their old computers and have Lubuntu installed. He said he’ll figure out something before the next show
– It takes about .5 hr to install.
– Make sure you’ve backed up what you want to keep as the hard drive will be wiped clean.
– Go to lubuntu.net to see an animation of what to expect from Lubuntu.
– There’s a version called Edubuntu for people who like science & math and leans toward educating your kids.
– <He talked about this in the 9-23-15 show. See those notes for more details>

You can order a CD with Lubuntu <or other flavors of Linux> for about $10. You can then boot from the CD each time you want to use it, or permanently install it from the CD.

Ubuntu <and Linux in general> allow you to create accounts that have lower privileges than the top level administrator. These accounts, which you can assign to your child, make it difficult for malware to get installed. Viruses generally need administrator access to install and your child won’t have the administrator’s password.

To run Lubuntu your machine has to be able to boot from a CD, some older machines can’t. On Ebay you can find people selling Ubuntu on a flash drive. But, again, not all older computers can boot from a flash drive. You can test if your computer can boot from flash. You have to first insert the flash drive and then boot. While booting, keep pressing the F2, F10 or F12 key (depending on your computer) to get to the menu where you select the device to boot from. <For some computers, you’ll have to go in to the BIOS settings to pick the boot device>. Just remember to have the flash drive plugged in before booting or you won’t be offered the option to boot from it.

For those without an CD drive, there are external units available in the $25 to $35 range. That should get you a CD reader/writer & DVD reader/writer.

Around the time that manufacturers stopped providing CDs, containing the operating system, with new computers, they started providing a recovery partition on the hard drive, From that partition you can create bootable CDs in case you need to restore your operating system.

This is true for the Mac operating system, too. There are command line tools that let you create a bootable flash drive.

Paul talked a bit about monitors.
– You can buy a 24″ LED screen for about $139.
– LED monitors give off very little EMF.
– Negative features of CRTs (tube type monitors): they produce alternating magnetic & electrical fields, soft x-rays, ozone, they warm the air and produce static electricity that makes dust stick.

Ralph called. He has an XP machine that’s been having problems with some websites. He wondered if running Lubuntu will let him access the internet. And he wanted to know if his only choice is to overwrite everything on his hard drive.
– Lunbuntu comes with Firefox. It’s the same version that comes with Windows so there’s nothing new to learn.
– When you boot Lubuntu from a CD or flash drive, you’ll be given a choice of installing it on your hard drive or just run it for a single session while preserving the hard drive content.
– If you choose to only run from the CD, it will be slow (because it’s accessing the CD). And you can’t save things like browser bookmarks because the CD is not writeable. But you’ll have a chance to try Ubuntu before committing to it.
– Ubuntu gives you a third option when you boot it called memtest. This will run a diagnostic program to check the memory chips in your machine.
– Try speedof.me to test the speed of your internet connection. It can test multiple connections at once. It uses HTML5 instead of Flash. <Mentioned in the 9-9-15 show notes>
– There are times a website is accessed by a lot of people at once and it becomes slow for everyone.
– <You might try restarting the browser. If it’s been running for a long time, it can bog down>

Last Updated 10:59 PM 10/14/2015


Leave a Reply