Nov 9, 2016

Nov - 09 2016 | By

During the show, Glenn announced a lost female brown and white pitbull who’s 4-years old and about 75lbs with a red collar. She’s missing in the Brownsville area. She has Addisons and needs medication, so may appear sick. She’s been missing for 2 weeks. Call 530-448 2526 and ask for Laura if you have any info.


There was no Zentech show on 10-26-16 due to membership drive

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.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Glenn thanked those people who continue to support KVMR thru their generous contributions and the new members who joined during the recent membership drive — the drive that preempted the Zen Tech show on 10-28-16.

If you’d like to call in during the show, the number is 530-265-9555.

Glenn said that he and Paul are both using a new cell phone service. Paul is using it to make free international calls to England. They were going to talk about it today but didn’t get around to it.

Paul talked about SMART utilities for hard drives. SATA (Serial ATA) drives going back 10 years have the ability to record the parameters of their activities in non-volatile memory — things like temperature excesses or slow startups or sector reallocations. On 5 recent occasions Paul was able to diagnose hard drive problems using SMART utilities. You won’t necessarily hear the classic clicking noises from a drive indicating a problem, he said.

Paul found 2 SMART utilities, one each for the PC and the Mac. For the PC there’s a free one from Japan that, he assumed, you don’t have to install — you just run it directly. It’s called CrystalDiskInfo. When you click the download link you’ll be offered different versions. The one Paul got was 239 megabytes in size. It should work with Windows XP “all the way up to Windows 10”.

The program uses colored indicators in red yellow and green to tell you the condition of your hard drive. An orange indicator means impending doom. Red means something is wrong and data is being lost.

Paul related his adventure with a hard drive. Most hard drives made by Hgst (Seagate Technology) have a 3-year warranty, some have a 1-year, he said. A SMART utility will give you a serial number. You can then google the words: hgst rma, which means Return Merchandise Authority, and follow the link. Using the serial number you’ll be told if it’s still under warranty <and be given the authorization to return the drive>. Paul was able to get a replacement drive.

The SMART utility can print out the info it generates so you have something to look at while talking to tech support. The SMART utility works with drives connected by Firewire, IDE cable or directly over Serial ATA. It tends not to work on drives connected via USB.

The Macs have, typically, the same hard drive technology. The utility he found is free for 10 days and is called Drivedx. You can find it at Solid state drives (SSD) have their own issues and utilities. Samsung and Intel each have SSD utilities for their own drives.

SSD drives are being used increasingly in laptops but are typically smaller in size than what used to come with laptops because they are more expensive. However, they’re worth it because of the gain in speed, Paul said.

Paul said some Mac hard drives have a temperature sensor on the outside of the drive with wires from it going to the motherboard. But there were some Apple drives made with a built-in sensor and the temp data is sent thru the SATA cable itself — no external sensor or wires. If you have to replace such a drive and want to save money, you can get a generic drive and a sensor that attaches in series with the SATA cable. You can get more information at Search for the words: 2011 23″ imac, at You should be able to find pictures of people replacing the hard drive.

You can share your expertise at fixing something. At ifixit you can create your own guide that others can use to repair stuff. It works in a way similar to Wikipedia where others can contribute their knowledge to the guide you’re creating.

There’s a utility available from the terminal on PCs, Macs and Linux called ddrescue. Its a command line utility that you can use to pluck data off a hard drive sector by sector, track by track, cylinder by cylinder or platter by platter. If it has trouble in reading the data at some point, it creates a log file and continues on. You can then have it go back and revisit the bad area. Some drive cloning software will wear the drive out trying to read a bad area and make it unreadable. Ddrescue is smart enough not to do that.

Paul said that on a Mac he uses macports, which gives you access to Unix command line utilities beyond what’s normally available.

Many Unix developers use the terminal screen of a Mac because it’s a perfectly legit version of Unix. It’s pretty well standardized and it will run most of the familiar things from the Linux world including Midnight Commander (named after Norton Commander from the DOS world). More info at

Glenn talked about his 2007 iMac that can’t run an OS newer than 10.6.3 (Snow Leopard). He was having trouble copying files an Paul suggested he use a program called Free File Synch, but it wouldn’t run on his machine. The alternate suggestion was Carbon Copy Cloner. Glenn found an older version (ver 3.5.7) that runs on Snow Leopard at

Glenn is going to rely on Pauls knowledge to replace the CPU in his iMac, taking it from an Intel Core Duo to an Intel Core 2 Duo, which Paul says use the same socket. The firmware has to be modified too so the Mac “doesn’t mind” a change of the CPU. That will allow Glenn to install the Lion OS (ver 10.7). This later OS version will allow the use of iCloud and Messenger. Paul said he’s found these CPUs from China for about $4.

Don called. He said that ddrescue can also be used to get data from DVDs that may have gotten scratched up. He said the data extracted is still an encrypted ISO image so you can’t create another playable DVD but you can play the ISO image directly using VLC if you have a particular DVD decoder <css or dss decoder, I could discern what Paul said>. And to avoid copyright problems, VLC can’t play encrypted files & DVDs unless you also get a ‘package’ called lib dvd css 2. Ddrescue can also make backups of flash drives, Don said.

When Paul is recovering data from an iffy hard drive, he’ll often clone the drive and then work with the cloned drive, In case something goes wrong, he’ll still have the original.

Paul said he had a problem with Timemachine because it wouldn’t back up his pictures folder. Timemachine thought there was no need to backup the folder because it was unreadable to Timemachine. He made a clone of it and repaired the clone with “hms repair tools” using Unix. He didn’t use the Mac operating system because its disk utilities are “not nearly comprehensive as you might like”.

Paul said that in Linux most of the useful things you do are with the command line where you end up typing in arcane commands to get things done. However, there are ‘front ends’ to some of the programs where you’re presented with a graphical interface and where you can select the options using check boxes and such. The interface then constructs the command and executes the program in the background without you having to type anything.

Paul mentioned a website that has old versions of software for Windows, Android, Linux and Mac called For instance version 2.95 of the venerable Winamp is available there. Don’t use old software unless you have a compelling reason, Paul said.

Paul had to leave the show about 10min early for a dental appointment and Glenn handled the last caller.

You can contact the guys by email to zen at kvmr dot org. Or you can visit the Zen Tech website at And Glenn’s show The Flea Market has special content on the page. Go to the bottom right of the page and click on the ‘for sale’ sign.

Jack called. He started using a tablet to access Facebook and thru his interactions with people on the site he started getting porn involuntarily. He doesn’t know how to stop it. Glenn isn’t familiar with Android but wondered if there is a way to reset the tablet to factory conditions <there is. In Settings look for ‘backup’, as I recall>. He suggested backing up the apps and data to Google first and then restoring after the factory reset. Glenn also suggested he delete the Facebook account and create a new one while being more selective about making friends. Glenn he only seeks out whom to be friends with and not just accept any friending request.

Last Updated 11:43 PM 11-9-2016

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