Sep 27, 2017

Sep - 27 2017 | By

High Sierra OSX– Worth it?

OS 11 for as low as iPhone 6?! Back Down to 10.2.2?

Nothing new only forgotten..



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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio.


If you’d like to talk to the guys during a Zen Tech show, call 530-265-9555 or send email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul started off by saying how years ago NASA had a problem with ballpoint pens not working in the near-zero gravity of an orbiting spacecraft. Gravity is needed to keep the ink flowing. The Russians solved the problem by using pencils, as he heard the story.

Comparing a video tour of the International Space Station and the Mir Station showed that the Russians tended toward the simplest solutions. Even the Sputnik satellite was set to advertise its success by broadcasting its beeps at 108 FM, so it could be widely heard. And, using tubes for the FM transmitter rather than the newly available transistors reflected the Russian’s reliance on long established technology.

Glenn challenged Pauls recollection of NASA’s solution to the ballpoint pen problem. When Paul was unable to remember, Glenn said it was the pressurized ink cartridge.

Repeating what he said on the last show (9-13-17), Glenn said he helped some friends transfer data from old computers running Windows 7 to more modern Dell hardware. He used Windows Easy Transfer, which worked wonderfully. The applications were not transferred, however, but he got a report of what was left behind. For reasons given in previous shows, Norton 365 was not reinstalled on the new machines. Avast, security software often touted on this show was used instead.

Trying to manually move an application to a different machine is usually unsuccessful because many components are left behind, Paul said. It’s best to reinstall an application from the original media (often a CD). There used to be a program called App Mover, but it didn’t do a good job and the app that was moved often ended up being unstable.

Imaging the drive to back it up may not be a good idea, Paul said. The image may carry the seeds of a problem that may not show up until later, when you’ll need the disk image to solve it. Using something like Easy Transfer is a good option to backup the user profile.

In Windows, most backup strategies rely on the user profile, which is under C:\users (on XP it’s under C:\Documents and Settings). If you manually try to copy the files, you’ll run into trouble because you’ll be copying the files that Windows is using while your trying to copy them. Easy Transfer is designed to avoid this problem.

Glenn said he had all of the machines on a local network when he did the transfers. Paul said using a cable instead of wi-fi is better. With wi-fi you may get interruptions that you may not even notice, after which the transfer may not be resumed.

There are an increasing number of wireless networks, Paul said. 2.4 gigahertz is the standard radio frequency of wi-fi routers, which gives you 11 channels. Most routers aren’t capable of switching channels (frequency hopping) and most devices can’t follow the change if it occurs.

There are some apps that show you what the wi-fi environment is like. For the PC there’s one called Net Snoop. For Android there’s Wi-Fi Survey. The droid app shows you the 11 channels and a graph of the signal strength. It’s unusual to find a channel that’s not being used, so pick one with the least number of users on it.
< Though I didn’t find an app with the exact name Wifisurvey, there are a bunch of similar apps. Google the words:, and append to that some variation of wifisurvey, wifi survey, wi-fi survey, etc.>

The price of routers has come down a lot. Paul suggested getting a dual band router, which transmits on both 2.4 and 5.8 gigahertz. A lot of the newer equipment can use the 5.8 gigaherts band. There are hundreds of channels available on 5.8. The down side of 5.8 is that higher frequencies are much more line-of-sight and the signal dissipates quicker (a more limited range). But the shorter range also means less interference.

Some modern routers have programmable QoS (quality of service). It allows you to specify a minimum speed for a particular port on your router. So if, for instance, you’re streaming video, you can make sure you don’t get pauses.

Paul mentioned a couple of open source projects that have custom compiled Linux kernels <firmware> to use in your router to give it more functionality than it used to have. He warned that if you’re satisfied with how your router works, don’t mess with it. Paul installed one version of the firmware in a router and the bandwidth actually came down. I turned out that the [old] CPU in the router couldn’t keep up with the demand.
<He named the projects as and didn’t seem to go anywhere and I think the correct URL is>

Over the years, wireless router standards have evolved from the original 802.11 to 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n. Paul said he wouldn’t “use any router that didn’t have the letter ‘n’ on it somewhere”. “It’s more resistant to interference and the range is higher”.

The cheapest router Paul has seen is a no-name router from China for $20. “You can’t go wrong with that”, he said. He’s never had to send a no-name router back, which he bought from Amazon.

The guys talked a little about the new operating system for the Mac called OS High Sierra (version 10.1.3). It came out yesterday and Paul just had a chance to read a review of it. It has a new file system called WWDC that’s more suited to solid state drives (SSD). All of the Macs sold now have a solid state drive, which speeds file accesses by about 10%.

Glenn noted that prices have come down on solid state storage. He was looking at an external 3.0 USB drive that also has a micro USB connection so you can plug it into an Android device. It’s a 128 gig duo for $34 from Fry’s. Paul said that its OTG designation means it will appear as storage unit rather than a device (like a camera) when you plug it into an Android.

The Lightning port on the Mac is able to connect to various devices & networks, when you buy the proper adapters, Paul said. And there are docking stations for the Mac that can provide various ports, but he’s not sure how good they are. You can get one for about $99.

Lorraine called. She wanted to know how to transfer calendar data between a Mac and an Android phone. Paul said there’s an app you can put on the droid that lets you sign in to your iCloud account. He looked up one called ‘Sync for iCloud‘.

Paul read that remains of a Viking chieftain had been found in an embellished tomb and it was long assumed it was a male. It turned out to be female. He also noted that, in Celtic culture, the poorer people were often buried in a bog. The bogs tend to preserve the bodies because of their acidity.

Glenn said he downloaded, but didn’t yet install, IOS 11 to his iPad. He’s read about some wonderful features it has — pictures taking up less space and an improved filing system.

Glenn went on to say this is the one time, and he can’t guaranty that tomorrow it won’t go away, that if you backup your iPad or iPhone onto your computer (computer only, not iCloud) prior to upgrading to the new IOS, you will be able to revert to the old IOS if you don’t like the new one. The other condition is that Apple continues to support the older IOS.

Glenn mentioned that people used to jailbreak their iPhones to make them more functional. It’s not being done much now in part because Apple has improved the IOS so there’s less need to. <On a previous show, Paul said the iPhone can’t be jailbroken anymore (after IOS 9.3).> Glenn addedhat those who did jailbreak their iPhones, were not able to restore an older version of the IOS, and they could end up with a useless phone (they ‘brick‘ their phone.) When experimenting, be sure you can go back to your starting point — i.e. undo what you did.

The disclaimer:
The views and opinions expressed on KVMR are those of the speaker only and not necessarily those of KVMR management, staff or underwriters.

Glenn took apart an old iPhone of his, some months back. He’s still not been able to reassemble it. Paul said to be sure you that have the tools you need when you start a project. And there’s a lamp to can get inexpensively from China that has a magnifying lens surrounded by a light to, do work on small items.

Glenn thanked those who have become supporting members of KVMR and reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073. Or call the studio when the DJ is not talking on the air at 530-265-9555

Norman called. He has a DVR with a 6 terabyte hard drive for a security system. He wanted to know if was possible to use a flash drive with it. Yes, but it would be very expensive, Paul said. And there would be little advantage because the rate at which the video is written to the drive is pretty low to begin with.

Expanding on his comment above (Nothing new only forgotten), Paul treated us with some items from the past. It has recently been found that [ancient] Greeks probably knew about steam engines, Paul said. There was a Greek called Hero with a rotating steam device and it’s thought he attached it to a carriage about 2000 years ago and “had it go places”. There is a computer called the Antikythera mechanism that calculated planetary motion.

Last Updated 12:17 AM 9-28-2017