Sep 30, 2015

Sep - 23 2015 | By

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The intro music was by Pentatonix:

Both Paul & Glenn were in the studio today.

Paul kind of rambled a lot today. No callers got on the air.


When Paul switched the Zen Tech website from running on Joomla to WordPress, he wanted to preserve all of the content including hundreds of show notes. He found a plugin for WordPress that was made to import from an old version of Joomla that the site had been running on for some 10 years.

Plugins for WordPress, as with many programs, are generally written by third parties who may not update the plugins in a timely manner, thus leading to security problems.

Some time back, LinkedIn had a security breech due, in part, to the users’ passwords not being properly encrypted. If a person who logs into LinkedIn uses a password that they also use at other sites, that makes it easier for the password thief to impersonate the user on those other sites. <don’t reuse your passwords — especially on critical sites like banks & brokerage companies.>

Captchas (text made so only a human can read) are often used during a login to make it difficult for robotic software to continually entering user name & password combinations until they gain entry. People from third world countries, who are paid paltry wages, are sometimes used in place of robotic software to decipher captchas.

Paul recently updated the version of WordPress at the Zen Tech site. After doing so, he found that the theme (the part that controls the appearance — the lettering, background, etc.) also needed updating because, apparently, of a security issue.

WordPress has become pretty mainstream now. If you go to a hosting company like, they already have WordPress websites ready to go, all you need to do is pay them their fee. Paul said, the easy way to find out how WordPress works is to go to, where you can quickly set up a website. He said, just start creating the site and things will become self-evident as you go along. You don’t have to give an personal information, you can even use a fake name and a throw-away email address.

There’s a trick you can use with Gmail by putting a period in your name. You can use one or more periods in the name ( and you’ll still get email at You can use a name with periods when you sign up for some service, and later set up a filter at gmail to trash any emails with periods, thus disposing any spam that service may send you. You can also use this to find out if a service violated its promise not to give out your email to advertisers.

It once was, and may still be, true that you could use the plus sign in your email name. This was deliberately designed into Sendmail so that if you use the +randomletters would get truncated and the email would be delivered to

The domain naming system is not case sensitive, Paul said. You can use Kvmr.Org and it will still work like In most cases you can use mixed case in the user name, too — for example.

The CAN-SPAM Act required that when you sign up for a mailing list, your request had to be confirmed. An email is sent to confirm your intent to join. And every email from then on has to have a link to let you unsubscribe. Some services make the unsubscribe link hard to find. And some will claim that it will take time to process the unsubscribe request, giving them time to sell your address to some other service.

There was a brief mention of the “Do Not Call List“. After Glenn first put his name on the list, the number of calls went down, but they’ve increased lately. He said he’d have to check if his name is still on the list.

A company can claim they’re calling from outside of the US and therefore not breaking the law regarding the do not call list. “There’s no way of figuring out where the call came from”, Paul said. Caller ID can be faked easily and is not trustworthy. Email addresses can be faked too.

If you get a call from someone claiming to represent your bank, it can be a scam. Hang up and call your bank at the phone number you know is good, <like the one on your monthly statement.>

Domain names that look similar to that of your bank can be created — or or etc. An unsuspecting user can mistakenly type in the wrong name and end up at a bogus website where they end up revealing their username and password.

Glenn asked the listeners if anyone has gotten the new iPhone 6 or 6+ or the new iPad. He’d like to hear from you.

Apple has issued a new operating system, iOS9. Often they’ll have a new iOS to go along with the new hardware. Paul said there some wisdom in waiting to upgrade, there may be some bugs that will be corrected with revisions. Paul thought iOS9 can be installed on an iPad as old as version 2, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Apple has a tendency to abandon older hardware as it improves the software or firmware.

Glenn’s iPhone 4S still has version 7 of iOS and he’s found some of his software won’t update unless it has version 8, and version 8 on a 4S is sluggish (as mentioned on a previous show). Paul’s iPhone 3GS running the Facebook app is so slow it’s unusable.

Paul got a new 20′ RV with a solar panel. Its interior lighting comes from tungstun filiament light bulbs that have a color temperature of 4000 to 5000 Kelvin. You can get direct plugin replacement LED lights on Ebay. Daylight (or warm white) LEDs are 5000 to 6000 Kelvin. Paul found some daylight 12 volt LEDs for $1 each.

The battery used to crank the engine doesn’t like being discharged more than about 10% so a separate, deep cycle battery is used to run the lights. It’s made to discharge as much as 80% without being damage. He found one for $99

There are other gadgets RV campers can get on Ebay like a voltmeter that tells you the house battery voltage. The discharge of a battery vs. voltage is not linear. Most of the time the battery is about 12 volts, it can be as high as 13 volts. “Anything below about 11.5 volts means it’s on the way out”. There’s also the type of indicator with just color bar graphs to indicate the state of the battery.

Paul found a 100watt solar panel that delivers about 17volts to charge a 12volt battery. A charge regulator has to be used between the solar panel and the battery to charge the battery properly. Paul paid $16 for a 20amp charge regulator. If there’s more electricity coming from the panel than is needed to run the equipment in the RV, the excess is used to charge the battery.

Glenn invited people to write to

Paul again offered Windows XP users whose machines are working OK, a CD with Lubuntu (a version of Linux). He talked about this in the 9-23-15 show. See those notes for more details.

Paul told us that while NASA was looking for solution for ballpoint pens not working in space, because they rely on gravity, the Russian solution was to use pencils, or so the story goes

Today’s Zen Tech show was made possible in part by Vermicrop Organic.

Last Updated 10:06 PM 9/30/2015

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