Nov 29, 2017

Nov - 29 2017 | no comments | By

3rd. Wednesday in the Month!
Raspberry PI & KODI– oh and a Teeny Keyboard, Too!
Failed High Sierra Update?
Wordpress– How?!
SonOff WIFI Controlled Devices!
Symptoms of a Dead SMC/BIOS battery
Prime Tests

Recycle Road, SAC



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.

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Glenn started out by telling us about the cataract surgery he had about a year ago, which was followed by corrective surgery. He now has mono vision and doesn’t need reading glasses. One of his eyes is set for close-up vision, the other for further out. He can read well out to about 12″. Recently, he went to see the Thor movie in 3D but realized he’ll need glasses to get both eyes to focus at a distance.

Paul told us that the call letters ‘KVMR’ stand for Victoria Museum Radio. The ‘K’ means that it’s a West Coast station. After mentioning that KVMR has audio podcasts, he went on to talk more about podcasts, including videos.

Years ago he used to listen to Science Friday audio podcasts. Science Friday originated from The Canadian Broadcast Corp. They now produce video podcasts and Paul thinks they’re great. To find them, he said to search for the words: cbc science friday videocast.
< I’m not sure these are what Paul found, but they’re pretty good too — here and here>

He implied it was one of these videos that talked about cochlear implants. Earlier implants would regain about 30% of the hearing. The newer ones containing a microprocessor that increases the understanding of normal speech by 80%.

Paul mentioned that colorblind people have difficulty discerning the correct balance of red & green colors. Capuchin monkeys have been used in experiments where a virus is used to insert a gene into the eyes that restores the color receptors needed for the proper detection of color. Apparently it works in monkeys but hasn’t been tried in humans yet. He learned this from another Science Friday videocast, if I heard him correctly.

Paul said Youtube has a channel explaining how things are made. For example, use their search facility to find out how donuts holes are made using the search term: donuts how it’s made. I think the catch phrase is “how it’s made”.

Glenn said he likes the new operating system IOS 11 on his iPhone but isn’t thrilled with the keyboard on his iPad. He didn’t specifically say he upgraded the iPad to IOS 11, but I guess that’s implied.

He uses the feature that turns off notifications while he’s driving. The phone senses movement from driving to implement the feature. Glenn said use ‘Settings’ -> scroll down just a bit to “notifications control center do not disturb” to turn it on. Paul said version 8 of Android (named Oreo) also has this feature.

The guys talked about the new Firefox browser. Glenn said he doesn’t like the black tabs, with the only white tab representing the windows you’re looking at. That’s the only thing he’s noticed that’s new.

Paul said that around version 6 Firefox started putting out updates rapidly and versions jumped by whole numbers. It’s now up to about version 60 and has taken on a version name that he couldn’t remember. <I think it’s version 57 and is called Quantum.> It’s been completely rewritten under the hood but you don’t have to learn a lot of new stuff, he said.

Nobody makes 32bit CPUs anymore, they’re all 64bit now. Firefox used to be available in both versions but is now only for the 64bit machines. “32bit Firefox is still out there. It won’t work in XP. It won’t work in older Macs, which are 32bit. But if you have a new machine, which is 32bit, you can still get Firefox. It tends to rely on the underlying operating system. So if you got Windows 7, you’re going to get the latest Firefox even if it’s the older 32bit. Don’t worry about it,” Paul said.

<If you go to with your browser’s style sheets (CSS) turned off, you should see the links to the older Windows OS versions of Firefox, including XP. I’ve downloaded (but not yet installed v52.5 for XP). The actual 43.4meg .exe file is here.>

There are a couple of ways to upgrade, it will either do it automatically or you can go to the ‘Help’ menu -> ‘About Firefox’. “If it is not up in the 60 region and there is no button that says ‘update’ a couple of things could have happened. One is you are the unfortunate that has a machine that is too old to upgrade any further, especially if it says el1 or ec1, it means end of life or end or cycle. It means that you’re looking at version 40 something and it won’t go any higher. If you try and download it manually, it will not allow you to install it,” Paul said in his sometimes inscrutable manner. <He didn’t say what the second thing is.> <As I said, I haven’t tried to install v52.5, but suspect it will.>

When you go to install version 60 something, it will perform a clean install while saving your bookmarks and history, Paul said. It throws away the cache. To find out more about what’s going on, go to ‘Help’ -> ‘Trouble Shooting Information’. He said the new Firefox gained about 50% in speed and it works a lot better and it works with his plugins. <I heard some old plugins don’t work.>
<New Firefox Quantum Twice as Fast, 30% Less Memory:
Firefox 57 to Kill Many Addons: Tab Groups Alternative>

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

Glenn said the old X10 and DSR home control units don’t work properly to dim LED light bulbs. There are control units called Sonoff that do work and the guys ordered some from Ebay. Soon after, the company disappeared and the guys have to apply for a refund. If you get into a similar situation with Ebay, go look at your order and on that page you can apply for a refund.

Paul found another source for the Sonoff switches. They plug into the wall outlet. Then you plug what you want to control into the switch. They have wi-fi and can be controlled directly by your mobile device. If you create an account, you can control them from anywhere you have an internet connection using a proxy server in China.
<Sonoff Wi-Fi Smart Light Switch,Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home ,No Hub Required, Remote Control your Devices from Anywhere:>

For added security, Paul suggested creating a guest account on your in-house network that the switches will use. That will keep the switches separate from your normal network that you use for computers, mobiles, printers, etc.

A Sonoff unit has a programmable timer so you can set it to turn lights on an off according to a schedule. Paul uses one to switch his patio lights in this way. Glenn said they are about $23 on Ebay.

The Raspbery Pi and Arduino can talk to a Sonoff, too. Paul said they are great for kids to learn programming and build projects. There are knock-offs from China that are around $10, but you may have to download some software to get them to talk your computer.

Glenn noted that the only Sonoff units on Ebay at this time are the type that you have to put in-line in a wire (like an extension cord), not the type you plug into a wall socket. Be careful of the polarity (proper grounding) when you do the wiring. <See below.>

Arnie called. He had bad experience when he had a Mac Mini and did an upgrade only to find out that the software he’d been using no longer worked. So he recently bought a Dell PC and is looking for video editing software that’s easy to use but has a good compliment of features.
Microsoft Movie Creator is free. It’s pretty simple to use and Paul’s had success with it. It supports .mov and .wmv files. BE SURE you download it from the Microsoft site.
– You might also consider getting VLC. It’s free and plays and converts many formats of audio and video.
– There’s also Adobe Premiere and a cut down version called Adobe Premiere Elements. But they might be more than you need.
– Use Youtube for videos of how to use these programs. Search for something like “how to slow a movie down” or “how to create subtitles”.
– Paul looked up Adobe Premiere Elements and found a cyber Monday deal for $60. Be sure you’re not buying the subscription version where you pay yearly to use the software online — get the downloadable version (or CD).
– Glenn said the cyber Monday deal expires today. The regular price is $99. The combo of Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements package is $150.
<I CAN’T VOUCH FOR THIS SITE. If you have an older Windows OS check this out.>

Alan Stahler called with some info about the polarity of wires/plugs (mentioned above). The broad blade of a plug is neutral and it’s connected to the white wire. Short (narrow) blade goes with the black wire. The green wire goes to the ground. He also said that disabling (cutting off) the third prong off a plug is a bad idea, especially for outdoor use. It’s there to keep you from being electrocuted.

Bob called with a tip for people with Windows 10. He’s encountered a problem right after a Windows 10 upgrade. The problem is “the display resolution goes to 640 X 480 and the 1920 X 1080 is not available for you.” So the display was crappy. The fix was to do a restore to a restore point just before the upgrade. Apparently, when the upgrade installed the next time, his problem didn’t return. He suspected Microsoft had a bad upgrade package and replaced it, so his second try was fine.

Paul said some people have experienced failure during the upgrade to the latest version of the Apple operating system called High Sierra v11.13. Their machines “blacked out and went squitty”, he said. The solution he offered is that when starting, up hold down the Command key & R keys. That makes it use a recovery partition and you’ll have enough function to go online and use Safari and perform a disk check and reload the operating system.

Glenn said the Flea Market is back to it’s regular schedule and will be on tomorrow.

Last Updated 12:10 AM 11-30-2017

) turned off, you should see the links to the older Windows OS versions of Firefox, including XP. I’ve downloaded (but not yet installed v52.5 for XP). The actual 43.4meg .exe file is

Nov 22, 2017

Nov - 22 2017 | no comments | By

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.

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

Nov 8, 2017

Nov - 08 2017 | no comments | By

Honda Civic– Troubleshoot?!

Raspberry PI Computer SOC

IOS 11.. OK?

Drone Fun



Additional notes

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.


Paul was looking at the wrong entry in the list of the shows because of the recent time change over to Standard Time. He went on to explain that the date we move our clocks forward or back has been changed a number of times over the years, and that there are differences between countries in the date that the change occurs. He went on to say that midsummer day and midwinter day occur midway between a solstice & the following equinox. <I believe these are also called cross-quarter day>

The operating systems we use today reference a data base called “tz data” to know when it’s time to change the computer’s clock to comply with the local custom, no matter where you are in the world.

Glenn thanked new and continuing members of KVMR. <If you’re not yet a member, you can call the office number at 530-265-9073 and make a contribution.>

Paul talked about an incident he had with his 1996 Honda Civic while driving back from Yuba City last weekend up highway 20, which involves a significant accent. He heard a hissing sound coming from under the hood and the temperature gauge went to the top — no alarm or warning lights. He pulled over & checked under the hood to find the expansion tank had water in it. The tank is supposed to let the water back into circulation when things cool down, but it didn’t in this case.

There were a couple of clues as to what was going on. The radiator cooling fan wasn’t running because there was likely no water to set off the fan’s thermostat. Second, when he turned on the heater, there was no heat. By some process yet to be discovered, the engine had consumed all of the coolant. He blamed the thermostat and bought another one for $10 and that seemed to solve the problem. The thermostat doesn’t allow the coolant into the radiator when you first start a cold engine. It waits for the coolant to reach the running temperature before opening up. Paul said that, from now on, before venturing out, he will check not only the expansion tank but also the radiator to be sure there’s adequate water.

The guys took several minutes to chat about transportation. There was nothing particularly interesting. The main takeaway is that when you relieve congestion in one place and it shows up in another. And that Google Maps keeps suggesting routes to avoid traffic only to have those routes become congested.

For the past couple of weeks, Glenn said he’s been getting emails from Judicial Watch but the sender address shows they are from zen at kvmr dot org or fleamarket at kvmr dot org. He asked Paul how to get them to stop.

Paul said Google can be set up to deal with this. “You notify google” … “so that Google actually knows who’s supposed to be sending email.” Check out the Wikipedia article about SPF — sender policy framework. “It sets a policy from the places from which you can reasonably expect to get email while excluding everywhere else.” He said he needs to see a copy of the emails to determine what’s going on.

Glenn said the emails enticed him to click on a link and he warned listeners, as he’s done many times before, not to click on such links. Among other possible mischief, it will at least let the spammers know there’s someone reading the emails and they can sell your email address to other spammers.

Glenn said he got a call last week from what the caller ID identified as his own phone number. It was a recording supposedly from AT&T that asked him for the last 4 digits of his social security number. Sensing an obvious scam he hung up. Paul said he would have been tempted to respond with some fake numbers.

Dennis called to comment on traffic congestion. He said he’s worked for the railroad for almost 2 decades. He lamented that our country is dedicated to the auto — an auto economy. He said in only 7 years, the Chinese went to high speed rail system. He said the rail system in Europe is phenomenal. He worked in Southern California where General Motors and the tire companies who wanted to sell diesel buses gutted the rail system. Paul added that it’s the tyranny of convenience that makes us choose the ease of driving somewhere over dealing with train schedules.

Dennis also commented about the spam situation. He said he has 2 emails. One is for personal acquaintances. The other is for subscribing to websites, newsletters and such. He said he routinely unsubscribes to spam and berates them if they ask him to leave a comment.

Paul said he thinks Gmail is the best email service for filtering out spam. And if they get enough people reporting a spam, their algorithm will block it.

Paul talked about using throwaway Gmail addresses. He said to google the words: infinite number of gmail addresses, and you’ll find how to make your single Gmail address act as many addresses. <Later in the show, Paul searched the words: gmail infinite addresses.> It involves using a ‘+’ symbol. If your address is you can use for a throwaway address. <From what I found, the + should come after, not before the normal name — Check the webpages here and here for more info.>

Paul also said that if you own a domain like, you can redirect mail that’s sent to something like to a Gmail address and you will inherit the spam proofing provided by Gmail. Similarly, you can get Gmail to pickup your Yahoo mail and it will also be spam filtered. He didn’t go into details.

Paul warned users of Gmail to be sure to set up a backup email address in case you loose access to your account. The backup address could be another email of yours on another system or that of a friend. At Gmail there is no customer service to contact for help; the backup email address is crucial.

Rick called about a problem he has with his 2.5-year old desktop HP computer running Windows 10. One day he tried to get online and it “failed to get into Windows.” He got a blank screen instead of the home screen, only the pointer was working. It happened after he tried to login with the Chrome browser. But it also goes black without running Chrome.
– Paul said Windows 10 makes maintenance a bit more difficult to do than earlier versions of Windows.
– Search for the words: hp windows 10 recovery mode. This is a mode that lets you repair the system.
– Paul suspected that a video driver is the problem and that the machine needs an update or upgrade.
– Paul said he’ll get back to Rick. And if he learns more, he’ll post it to the Zentech website.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can email the guys at zen at kvmr dot org with questions or suggestions.

Last Updated 11:52 PM 11-8-2017

Oct 25, 2017

Oct - 25 2017 | no comments | By

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.

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


Glenn thanked new and continuing members of KVMR. If you’re not yet a member, you can call the office number at 530-265-9073 and make a contribution.

The local organization is a place to adopt all sorts of animals, and in particular, ones who were displaced by the recent fires, but no dogs or cats.

Wireless communications like wi-fi have been with us in some form for about 20 years, Paul said. Security protocols for wi-fi have changed over the years, too. Originally, there was no security. Then came WEP (wired equivalent privacy). It was cracked some time ago and is no longer in general use. The more secure WPA followed, but it’s had a long-standing flaw in its implementation that has been brought to the media’s attention recently. It’s been shown to be subject to the ‘man in the middle attack‘. With this exploit it’s not possible to determine the passwords used on the wireless network but it is possible to snoop on the wireless data itself. The snooper has to be within range of the wireless (radio) signal to accomplish this.
<New Wi-Fi Crack can Intercept Your Data: What You Need to Know
Keep Your Wi-Fi off KRACK
This is suppose to be the research paper that exposed the vulnerability>

Nobody needs to worry, but everybody needs to be aware of the threat, Paul said. He went on to warn users of potential scams enticing people to download supposed fixes for the problem. It’s a great opportunity to play on people’s fears and get them to download malware. Instead, do some Google searches specific to your particular hardware to find the recommended remedy. If you have Apple equipment, be sure to get your advice from the domain (like rather than discussion groups devoted to Apple products.

After addressing the problem with your phone, the next step is to see if there is an upgrade to your wireless router. Not all routers can be fixed. Paul said. The defects may be in the hardware. He asked listeners for any feedback about solutions they’ve found for their particular situation. He said you may be out of luck if your equipment is no longer manufactured. He went on to say that when you buy equipment the law says it’s supposed to be supported for up to 7 years after it’s taken off the market, but what ‘support’ means isn’t well defined.

Also, consider using wired a connection instead of wi-fi. It’s a lot less trouble, a lot more secure, there’s less interference and it’s faster. You can then just turn off the router’s wi-fi.

Paul has come across the word ‘nonce’. It’s a single serialized number that’s used for mathematical calculations. It sounded like he was describing a seed number for a random number generator. When equipment is reset, it may go back to 0 but the nonce makes it start at a different number, which makes it more difficult to steal the wireless data.

Glenn told listeners to note the model number of their router and check with the manufacturer for upgrades. Paul said that if your router is within its warranty period, call tech support. If you do a search for “linksys 800 number” (assuming you have a Linksys router) you’ll likely get a bunch of search results that go to some 3rd party, not Linksys, who will then try to sell you what you don’t need.

When you think you have reached the website of for your hardware, check the address bar for the green portion to the left. It’s a validation that the name of the site corresponds with the name in the certificate. It doesn’t mean you’ve reached the correct website, it means that “your information is encrypted and certified to be the property of a site that calls itself” by the name in the address bar.

Buzz, the KVMR engineer, called. He said the WPA exploit really doesn’t matter for most people unless you’re using the wi-fi to access some other equipment in your house. If you’re only accessing the internet, look in the address bar to be sure you’re using https not http. That way you data is encrypted using something other than WPA. The exploit takes advantage of poorly configured websites and can change a https connection to one that’s merely http, leaving your data unencrypted. Pay attention to your address bar to be sure it says https. If you use wi-fi to access in-home equipment, you’re not using https. The data is not encrypted and can be seen as plain text by this exploit. Paul said if you have visiting guests who want to use your wi-fi, create a guest network for them so they don’t have access to your primary network. Not all routers are capable of doing this.

Sheree called about scareware. How does it get on your computer and does that mean your anti-virus failed?

There are 2 flavors of scareware, software that gets on your computer and a scare web page that looks like your computer generated it. The 2nd type can appear when you mistype a popular URL (like, which can then proceed to scare you into downloading malware. An anti-virus can’t deal with the 2nd type. Google can catch web pages of the 2nd type and mark them in red. A scare page may be difficult to close because its control buttons are made not to work. In this case use Control+Alt+Delete (Option+Apple+Escape on a Mac) and close your browser. <I’ve had success by just closing the tab.> Also, be sure you’re running the latest version of the browser. In Firefox go to ‘Help’ -> ‘About Firefox’ to check for updates.

Glenn got an email yesterday from Nick. He asked for the “best method of getting emergency audible phone text email without spam on mobile devices and landlines.” This relates to the recent fires and to the fact that many people turn their phones off at night to avoid spam phone calls. Glenn said he doesn’t get spam calls at night and keeps his phone on. Paul said that Android and Apple have a ‘do not disturb’ (dnd) setting that mutes all but emergency calls. Search for the word: dnd.

Glenn did a quick search for “amber alerts on cellphones” and found that for Android the dnd options are under settings -> more options (under the wireless network section) -> scroll down to ‘cell broadcast settings’

Jonathan called. He has a late 2012 Mac Book Pro. About a month ago the wi-fi reception had gotten worse and wondered if the wireless card inside can go bad.
– As more people use wi-fi you may be subject to interference. But he said he’s been having the problem at work and at home. At home there are no other users nearby.
– Wireless cards can indeed go bad and they are pretty easy to replace.
– It can cost a lot if you buy from Apple.
– On some Macs it’s painfully difficult to replace.
– Upgrade to the latest operating system, High Sierra. However, he’d rather not because he’s afraid some of his software would stop working.
– Update but not upgrade the operating system to maintain software compatibility. Go up to the Apple logo -> check for updates. It may offer Sierra but somehow (he didn’t say how) just do an update.
– Check places like Ebay for used (parted) wireless cards.

He also asked Paul for his opinion of the latest operating system.
– “There’s a lot more going on under the hood than on the surface.” There are a more features for software developers to use, like biometrics.
– Paul said it can speed things up a little.
– Older Adobe products have trouble running on the new operating system.

Glenn read some questions from Marilyn. Is there a way to make PC laptop, running Win10, open and close document files without delay. They take time to fade in and fade out, she said. Since she didn’t say what program she is using, the guys couldn’t help her.

She also asked if there’s a way to hook up on a network 3 separate computers each running a different operating system — XP, Win7 & Win10. Paul said they will join a network fairly naturally. Ideally, use a cable rather than wi-fi. Each shouldn’t care about the others if you just want to use the internet. If you want to share file between them, make sure XP has the latest patches and strong passwords. If you add a Mac to the network, they can talk to each other as long as the PCs have file sharing turned on.

Peter Wilson called. He tuned in late and asked about the security issue already discussed earlier in the show. The guys referred him to the archive of this show.

Paul added that if your router is older than about 6 months, consider replacing it with a newer one. They are pretty cheap. Be sure the new router is upgradeable. If you choose to upgrade your router, be sure the upgrade specifically states it’s for the WPA exploit.

Paul also said it’s worth looking at dd-wrt, the Linux router project.

The Flea Market is on tomorrow from 1 to 2pm.

Last Updated 1:06 AM 10-26-2017

Oct 11, 2017

Oct - 11 2017 | no comments | By

Pascale of YubaNet.Com & Steve Baker, KVMR Program Director in studio about fires

HTTPS now in Common Use for CMS etc.

IOSs slows down previous & older iPhones? No.

Antivirus used for snooping?




Additional notes

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.

The intro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


For the first 14 minutes or so, KVMR program director Steve Baker and Pascale Fusshoeller of talked about the fire situation in northern Calif. There were no important warnings. Listen to the audio if you need details. The more notable items in the report include…
– Fire fighters are working hard to contain the Lobo fire. The head of the fire is in the Deer Creek drainage and is headed toward Lake Wild Wood. A north wind is expected this afternoon that may whip up that fire.
– Stay inside to avoid smoke and set your air conditioning to recirculate the air, not to bring in air from the outside.
– Put out water for the wildlife in your neighborhood.


Glenn got a new tablet from Fry’s in Sacramento. Called Naxa Core it comes from China and was only $35. It has a 7″ screen with a front & back cameras and a 30 day return policy. It comes with Android 6.1, which I believe is Marshmallow. The guys were wondering if it has GPS.

Paul has a Nexus tablet he bought in 2013. It’s still “working like a champ”. He recalled that there’s a an app that can scan a tablet and determine its features. He couldn’t remember the name of the app and did a search for it at the Google Play Store. Google the words: playstore android hardware diagnostic.

This time he found an app called “phonetester”. It’s presumably the one he has on his Nexus, but there were a bunch of others in his search results.
<This might be the app>

When he searched previously, he ran across an article that said Android has a built-in hardware diagnostic test. It’s mostly used by customer support for those times you call in with a problem.

Some of the hardware you might expect to find in an Android tablet:
– An accelerometer, which measures changes in motion.
– An inclinometer, which indicates the angle at which the tablet is held.
– A magnetometer tells you which way is north.
– A GPS chip picks up signals from navigation satellites so you can tell your location on earth.
– At least one if not more temperature sensors. The tablet needs to know if it’s over heating.
– A barometer to tell you the atmospheric pressure. It’s usually pretty accurate because the GPS provides altitude info, which is used to apply a correction to the barometer.|
– A light meter (lux meter), which may work in conjunction with the camera lens.
– All tablets have a speaker.
– Most have a microphone. The accuracy is usually pretty good for doing sound level checks — within a few percent of a professional unit used by sound engineers.

Glenn encountered a problem with his new tablet. He wasn’t able to use the apps until he truned on the location services. Paul explained that location services can help with things like Google searches. If you search for fish & chips, for example, you don’t have to say where you are, Google will already know that and complete the search for your particular location.

Glenn knows someone with a Samsung phone who discovered that saying “hey, Google” activated voice input. When he went into the settings for that option, he was told the microphone will always be on if he wanted to take advantage of that feature. That led to a realization that the phone is always listening. The same is true with the iPhone if you want to be able to summon Siri with a voice command. Paul said he has that option turned off and instead touches a button to manually activate voice input.

Glenn invited listeners to email their questions or comments. Send email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Google & other places are beginning to insist that websites be secure. Chrome and to some extent other browsers pop up a warning if you’re filling in a form on a website that’s not secure. You have a secure connection if the address in the address bar starts with https rather than http.

Paul recently changed the way the Zen Tech site works. People going to were supposed to be automatically redirected to using He didn’t set it up right and the Zen Tech site wasn’t working right until some time yesterday (Tue).

WordPress, the software running the Zen Tech site and large proportion of the blogs on the web, is expected to start enforcing the use of secure connections.

The patent for the use of secure certificates has run out. Issuers of the certificates used to charge for their service and in return went to the trouble to insure those applying for them are who they say they are — that was really going to be used by KVMR. Free or low-grade certificates are available now where this check is not made, but they still insure that the data between your browser and a website is encrypted. Unless you’re doing something like a financial transaction or revealing personal information, the authentication hardly matters, only the data encryption.

Paul noted that those who administer websites shouldn’t use the login name ‘admin’. It’s been commonly used for many years and is now one of the first things hackers try when they want to break into a site.

Bongo called with a complaint. He said that many websites like the US government, the VA, AARP and a few other places don’t properly warn Apple users that their devices aren’t supported. He’s found that after a long session of filling out forms, it’s only at the end that he’s told Apple devices are not supported. He wants them to say that at the beginning. Paul suggested hitting the submit button before filling out a form. That may generate the error message to keep you from wasting your time.

Bongo also said he’s irritated with the requirement that location services be turned on. He doesn’t know why people use Google instead of DuckDuckGo, which doesn’t require your location. Paul said that it’s not the websites but the browser that wants the location service turned on. Going back to Glenn’s tablet problem, he suggested Glenn use a different browser like Firefox or Opera. While Paul was talking, Glenn turned off location services and had success using Firefox.

James called. He’s been aware that Paul has promoted the Firefox browser and Thunderbird mail programs in the past, and he wanted to know how he feels about them now.

Paul said he still likes Firefox. He’s been avoiding Chrome because “it tends to store your information, save it and present it to others is a very insecure way”. He’s found Firefox to be very compatible and have few problems. Website designers try to stay compatible with Internet Explorer and secondly with Firefox. He quickly caught his error and said he was looking at a 2004 browser rankings The current worldwide ranking has Chrome as the most popular followed by Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer trailing.

Glenn managed to inventory the hardware on the tablet. <He didn’t say which app he used>. It looks like his new tablet doesn’t have GPS — the app kept searching without a result.

Glenn noted that Paul’s Nexus tablet has wireless charging. Paul said it uses the Qi standard. <Mentioned during the 11-26-14 show>. He said the price for the Nexus at that time was $240. He had tried some cheap tables by Pandawill for $99 but found they were of poor quality.

Paul said the latest version of Google maps has an option in the upper left to download a rectangle of maps for offline usage. It’s useful for people who go for a period of time unconnected to the web. The maps are cached for 29 days. It’s assumed you’ll get back online within that time. Obviously, it won’t show traffic and current events.

Glenn thanked those who have become supporting members of KVMR.

Glenn reminded us that the Flea Market will be on tomorrow (10-12-17) at 1pm.

Paul warned listeners not to use Kaspersky anti-virus. The Israelis tried to subvert the product to make it snoop on those who use the program. And it was found that the Russians had already done just that.
<Kaspersky Labs Accused of Working for Russian Spies>

Last Updated 12:32 AM 10-12-2017


Sep 27, 2017

Sep - 27 2017 | no comments | By

High Sierra OSX– Worth it?

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

Nothing new only forgotten..



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.

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

Sep 13, 2017

Sep - 13 2017 | no comments | By

Paule In-Studio. Glenn will Call In

It’s Recovery Month – a 12 month a year issue

A Bit About VPN &

iPhone X and commodity/Consumerism, and why Good Design is Like Pornography!
(you know what it is when you see it but cannot easily define it)
Jony Ive & Dieter Rams, * ‘Originality’ apropos Emulating things.

The EquiFax Fiasco & what to (try) to Do
Irma, Harvey and the Red Cross and What to Do– Due Diligence.

Milo Yiannopoulos and the role of agent provocateurs (is that the correct plural form?!)


Additional notes

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.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in.


Reading from today’s show notes (above), Paul said that this is National Recovery Month, and gave a link to a government website for substance use and mental health disorders.

Since the law has changed to allow internet usage information to be logged and sold, virtual private networks (VPN) are a way to keep your browsing habits private. Normally, a provider such as AT&T or Comcast, for example, can gather the info about what sites you visit. If your connection to a website is secure (the URL starts with https, not http) the content of your transactions will remain private, only the destination information can be logged.

A VPN may be built into an operating system or added as a separate program. It will encrypt the data exchanged between you and the website before sending it over the public internet (Comcast, AT&T, etc.). A drawback is that the VPN company itself can gather & sell your info. <Do some research before picking the company.>

Paul has been experimenting with Pure VPN It’s based in Hong Kong and has about 100+ peer points around the world. You can pick any of those locations and make it appear your connection is originating from there.
<For example, the BBC makes some of its content available only to citizens of the UK. You can use a VPN to make it look like you are located in Britain when trying to access it.>

In checking out Pure VPN, Paul googled the words: purevpn issues. He found some bad reviews, saying that the service doesn’t keep the DNS lookups private. <DNS is domain name service, which converts the name of a website into numbers that are needed to connect to it>. As a consequence, AT&T (if that’s your provider) is able see who you’re connecting to while using Pure VPN. The data itself is still being encrypted and remains private.

Paul said that the iPhone 10 has just come out with IOS version 11. He noted that there is no iPhone 9. He then talked a bit about design.
<Apple Unveils iPhone X and 8 Models as It Upgrades TV Set-Top Box
The Samsung S8 came out recently, too. I don’t think it was ever mentioned on the show…
The Samsung Galaxy S8 has 27 features the iPhone lacks>

Jony Ive has been the iPhone’s designer for a long time. He followed in the tradition of a German designer named Dieter Rams, who also worked for Apple. Rams formulated 10 principles of good design. <See the Wikipedia article link at the top of this page>. Paul listed the principles and made some related remarks.

Equifax had data from about 140 million accounts stolen. You may be in their database even if you think you have nothing to do with them, Paul said. Paul made a connection, which wasn’t clear to me, between Equifax and Milo Yiannopoulos. He said, both Equifax and Milo Yiannopoulos (link above) have appeared on Facebook and elsewhere with basically false and misleading statements.

Paul said he’s seen numerous sites that ask you to fill in your data to get money back from Equifax, but they are really scams. There is a reliable site you can go to, and he posted the link to it at the top of this page.
<An NBC article on the Equifax hack.
A how to freeze your credit: here and here>

Glenn, who had called in, said he was disturbed to learn that Equifax knew about the breach for a month before making it public. In that time, some managers from Equifax divested their company stock.

Glenn also said that if you go to the Equifax to check if your info was compromised, the terms and conditions state that you give up your right to sue them later. <I also heard this, but then later heard Equifax changed their terms to rescind the waiver. Their website seems to reflect this. Paul’s follow-up statement seemed to concur>.

Glenn said you can also freeze your account to prevent anyone from getting credit in your name. In some states it won’t cost you anything, in others it’s $10 at each of the 3 big credit-reporting agencies. You can still continue using the credit card as before.

Paul mentioned Lifelock, which is a service that’s suppose to protect your identity. But they got sued for failing to do that, Paul said.

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

Paul said you’re entitled to an annual review of your credit status. You’ll also be able to see if anyone has made credit inquiries. Also, when your card is stolen or lost, report it right away, because the credit card companies will try to find a way to make you liable for unauthorized charges.

Another solution is not to have a credit card, Paul said. But that doesn’t mean the credit reporting agencies don’t have info about you. They gather the info from all sort of places — bank accounts & cash transactions.

Paul said he’s head that it is possible to change your social security number. But it can be a difficult process. Paul said he has used a fake social security number in those places where it’s only function is to identify him. <Like a password or an optional security question. Obviously, don’t do this where it’s used for things like tax reporting or Medicare etc.>

Glenn found a couple of computers for a friend. They were Windows 7 machines made by Dell with 2 terabyte hard drives, Intel core I5 processors and 8 gig of RAM. They cost less than $230 each from Ebay. They had a 90 day warranty but Ebay offered a 3 year warranty for an additional $21.

He used the transfer facility that comes with Win7 to transfer the data from the old machines. He said to use the Start Button & search for Easy Transfer. There are 3 ways to connect the machines — a local network, a special cable or flash drive.

It took 2 To 3 Hours to do the transfer over the local network. One machine had about 60 gig the other about 90 gig of data to transfer. Applications like Word or Quicken were not transferred. Glenn had trouble finding out how to print some of the reports on what was transferred and what wasn’t. He could see the report on the screen but couldn’t find the file associated with it. He said he’ll do more sleuthing on how to do that.

XP doesn’t have the Easy Transfer software but it can be downloaded and installed, Paul said. The Mac has something similar called Migration Assistant. He seemed to say that it does transfers from a Windows machine to the Mac.

While he was talking, Glenn found how to print the reports he talked about earlier. He had to look at the bottom of Internet Explorer where it says “‘this is blocked content. Do you want to allow it’ went you’re opening appinfo.html.” The file was on the C: drive in a hidden folder.

An .html file on the machine is treated with some suspicion because it’s possible to have some malicious content, more so than what’s on the internet, Paul said. That’s why Glenn was asked to unblock it.

The guys talked briefly about how Microsoft went about getting people to upgrade to Windows 10. It was suggested before that people use the GWX Control Panel to manage their upgrade options. <See the notes for the 5-11-16 show.>

If you want to contact the guys, email at zen at kvmr dot org.

“The Red Cross is not all it should be,” practice due diligence, Paul said. He didn’t say you shouldn’t donate to the Red Cross, but do some research for the best way to help the victums of the recent hurricanes.

Glenn invited people to tune in to the Flea Market show tomorrow at 1pm.

Last Updated 12:55 AM 9-14-2017

Aug 30, 2017

Aug - 30 2017 | no comments | By

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.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


This time it was Paul with co-host Mikail Graham who were in the studio. Glenn was the one who called in.


Steve Baker came to the mic and talked to Pascal, a reporter from YubaNet about the Ponderosa fire in Butte County. She said officials found and arrested a local guy from Oroville who allegedly started the fire. It started because of carelessness with a campfire. 10 house & 20 outbuildings are lost, more loss is expected. The fire covers 2500 acres. 1200 people have been evacuated and 400 are sheltering in place. An optimistic estimate of containment is on Sep 6, Steve added.

Pascal said there is a new fire of 5 or 6 acres near Placerville. She used satellite pictures to pinpoint its location at Highway 49 &∓ Diamond Springs. The highway hasn’t been closed yet, but that may change if the fire expands.

Listeners were reminded that campfires must never be left unattended and are thoroughly extinguished before leaving. And there are areas where campfires are not permitted, like the South Yuba River Canyon and in state parks. BLM allows only a cooking stove on their lands and only if you have a camping permit. Also, be aware that discharging firearms can set a fire. Bullets carry enough kinetic energy to convert to heat when entering a substance like a tree, or set off sparks when hitting something hard like a rock. The Mariposa fire resulted from target shooting.

Paul noted that drones should not be flown near wildfires. They can interfere with flight operations of the tanker aircraft. And if you’re caught, there is a significant fine and jail time, Pascal added. Paul said his drone just received a software update that’s supposed to keep it from flying in restricted airspace.

Pascal is amazed by the satellite pictures coming from GOES-16, even though it hasn’t been declared fully operational. The pictures are animated and show the progress of the fires. Yubanet has links to the fire news on their home page.

Paul had some equipment set up when he was in Oregon for the solar eclipse. He said he’ll put a link on the Zen Tech site to the video he shot. You can also go to his Facebook page. To find eclipse images, google the words: eclipse 2017, then click on ‘images’

He briefly mentioned the Mavic Pro Quadcopter made by the Chinese company DJI that he got for around $1000. He had a $60 quadcopter before, but the more expensive ones are more stable and easier to fly.

If you’d like to talk to the guys during the show, call 530-265-9555.

On Sep 12 at about 10am, Apple is expected to announce the new iPhone 7S, 7s Plus and the iPhone 8, which is rumored to start at $999 for the base model. <You’ll find little more about it in the 8-23-17 show notes>. It’s rumored that there’s a 4K Apple TV coming, though Apple is having some trouble “getting their movies locked in to be able to show them and sell them”.

Mikail has seen some of the “views” of the AR Kit <actually ARCore> by Google, which is not yet released. One of the apps for it is called Giphfy. It allows you to create a video and overlay on it items in your house. So suppose someone is house sitting for you, you can designate that it’s ok for them to eat the bananas but not the chocolate in your kitchen. Presumably, they will be able to point a smartphone camera at the kitchen and next to the items is a note or a thumbs up/thumbs down indicator, on their screen.

Ikea has an app that lets you measure your room. Then for example, as you shop for a chair using the app, it will place an image of the chair into the image of your room to see how it will look.

While looking up ‘giphfy’, Paul found, the largest database of animated GIFs. These are short videos of a few seconds each that usually repeat in a loop. This is an old format dating from the 1990s that are becoming popular again.

Lorraine called to thank the guys for the help she received on a recent show.

Lora called. She has a 2009 iMac whose display got progressively worse and is now showing stripes. She’s talked to some techs who thought it might be the video card or possibly the display.
– Mikail is almost certain the problem is with the graphics processor.
– You may find some people on Ebay who can service it.
– Take a picture of your screen to better communicate your problem with a technician.
– If you send it in for repair you’ll be paying for the shipping and about $149 for the repair.
– Mikail suggested a shop in Sacramento run by Ed Barnes:
Computer Hub on J str
2612 J St Ste 8
Sacramento, CA 95816-4345

Lora was thinking of getting a newer iMac but thought her old version 5 of Adobe Creative Suite won’t run on it. She doesn’t want to get a new version because Adobe only offers it on a rental basis, where you pay for a subscription and run it on the internet. Mikail said version 5 sort of runs on the newer Sierra operating system. It’s a little buggy but there may be some workarounds.

Her other thought is to buy a refurbished 2015 Mac that can run Creative Suite 5. Paul told her to carefully check out what she’s buying with regards to the warranty, and if there is anything at all wrong with it, send it back. Paul suggested and for refurbished Macs.

And another concern is that the newer Macs don’t have CD drives to read her Creative Suite disk. Mikail said she can get an external CD drive for about $30. Be sure to get one that’s “M disk” compatible. It can take disks that last a 100 years.

Listeners were invited to write to the guys with their questions or comments at zen at kvmr dot org.

Lorraine called again and related her experience at having bought a $200 version of Apple Care at Mikail’s suggestion. When she had to take in her Mac Book Pro for service, which she bought some 3 years ago, she got a new replacement.

Mikail explained that when you buy a new Apple product you can get Apple Care for the computers and Apple Care Plus for the IOS mobile devices. For the computers, you can wait up to 1 year to buy Apple Care for $200 to $300, depending on where you buy it. You can buy it cheaper from a third party than you can from Apple — check Ebay. Apple Care for a Mac Book Pro costs $350 from Apple but about $230 elsewhere.

Mikail told about the experience he had where he needed his laptop serviced and thru Apple Care he got a quick replacement.

Mikail said if you’re buying a used Mac, for example, get the serial number and go to “manage my device” on Apple’s site and you’ll be told if it’s stolen as well as other info.

You can listen to Glenn host the Flea Market tomorrow.

added link to Paul’s Facebook page

Last Updated 5:01 PM 8-31-2017


Aug 23, 2017

Aug - 23 2017 | no comments | By

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.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.

NOTE: another Zen Tech show is scheduled for 8-30-17, the 5th Wed.


Glenn and co-host Mikail Graham were in the studio. Paul was dodging wildfires in Oregon and was unable to call in today.


Mikail said that nowadays its easy to create music, even on your tablets. The Brass Rail, one of the last of the “old school” bars in the area, is featuring an evening of electronic music. He marveled at how much times have changed that even the Brass Rail is offering a newer genre of music. Glenn asked if such venues have audio equipment (speakers, mic, etc.) that can hook up with the music producing devices. Mikail said that most of them do, all you need is a headphone jack on the device to plug into the audio equipment.
<There are many apps for creating music on the Android. Google the words: create music>

Glenn has been hearing lot of skips in the audio while listening to the radio (AM & FM), KFBK & KNCO in particular. Mikail said he’s noticed it to but wasn’t sure why. Maybe it has something to do with cosmic phenomena affecting local magnetism, he said.

When Glenn went camping recently, he wasn’t able use his phone to listen to his music collection because it was in the cloud. He asked Mikail for a solution.

First, Mikail explained that the cloud refers to data servers where your data is stored. Companies like Google or Apple have data servers in many different countries and locations in a country. Your data is backed up in many places, not just one location, he said.

If you have an iTunes account, then on an iPhone, iPad and even a Mac there is a cloud symbol next to the name of each audio track. If you click or touch the symbol, that tells the server you want bring the track into your device so you can play it when you no longer have an internet connection. If you delete the track from your device, a copy will still be retained in the cloud. Amazon Prime’s music server works similarly.

There’s an additional feature that comes with using the cloud. If you uploaded a bunch of music and some of it is at a lower quality like 64kbps or 128kbps, the server will replace those tracks with higher quality versions. <Whether you want that or not? He didn’t say if that is an optional choice>. He said this is what iTunes does but Amazon doesn’t and he wasn’t sure about Google.

Mikail mentioned that a few years ago, Apple forced a U2 song (or album) onto people’s iPhones without asking. Many people were angry. What else can Apple put on your iPhone that you don’t know about, he questioned. It started a big conversation that’s still going on today.

Mikail said IOS 11 is coming out next month, Sept 12th he thought. Rumor has it that Apple will unveil the iPhone 7S & 7S+ and an iPhone 8 anniversary model.

If you lock your iPhone with a fingerprint, a cop can force you to unlock it with your finger. The same is not true with a pass code because you can’t be compelled to verbalize the password to the cop. In IOS 11, if you hit the home button 5 times it will disable the fingerprint feature and you can later unlock the phone using a password only.

The disclaimer:
The views expressed on this program are mine, Glenn’s and any guests’ we might have or callers’ and do not reflect those of the board, management or KVMR in general.

Reading from a Jun 28th article at The Verge, Glenn said Google Drive will soon be offering a computer backup service that can backup your entire computer. It will monitor and backup files inside of any folder you point it to. The app will be called Backup and Sync.

The article didn’t mention cost but Glenn thought it will be similar to the way Google Drive is now — free for a limited amount of space and additional space for a fee. As mentioned many times before, backing up is very important, especially in light of all the ransomware going around.
<Apparently it’s not for mobiles, yet. Here are some articles.
Google releases Backup and Sync for Mac and Windows
Now available for download
An earlier article — Google Drive will soon back up your entire computer


Mikail said hard drives can be bought rather cheaply from Best Buy or Amazon. A Western Digital My Passport series 4-terabyte drive was selling at $10 more than the 3-terabyte drive, which can be bought in the $110 to $130 range. A 1terabyte drive can be had for about $70. He said if you get a 2-terabyte drive, you won’t have to think about running out of space for quite a while.

The Timemachine backup program on the Mac will warn you when you’re about to run out of space and will let you continue using it by deleting old backups or allow you to switch to another drive.

Mikail’s first drive was 10 megabytes and cost him in the $700 to $800 range. Later, he got a 650-megabyte drive for $2000. He currently has 23 terabytes of storage and he’s looking for more.

Glenn looked up an ad from Best Buy for a 4 gig external USB connected drive on sale for $99.99, and a portable external for $10 more. The portable drive is powered thru the USB rather that an AC wall outlet. <I think he meant 4-terabyte drive>.

Glenn wondered if these drives would be ok as network drives. Mikail thought maybe not. He suggested a NAS drive, instead. He said he bought 2 10 terabyte drives for himself. They came with 3 years of data protection where the drive will be replaced and the data recovered. There are smaller NAS drives in the 4 terabyte range from Seagate.

Mikail reminded listeners that data can still be recovered from a drive after you delete files. <Deletion only tells the system that a previously used area of the drive can be used for new data. It doesn’t actually alter the bits in that area>. You need to use a file shredder to get rid of the data. It will do that by, typically, rewriting random bits over the file you’re deleting. <There is a shredder in Spybot Search and Destroy>.

The other way to destroy the data is to take the drive apart and take a hammer to the disk platters. Glenn likes doing just that because he gets to keep the magnets.

The Seagate drive Mikail mentioned above is the Ironwolf model. There’s the regular version and the Pro. Mikail has the Pro with the 3-year data recovery and a 5-year warranty on the drive itself.
<Seagate IronWolf HDD 10TB Review>

The Samsung SSD drive mentioned on the 8-9-17 show comes with a 10 year warranty for the Eagle Pro model. Amazon has 500 gig EVO drive for $150. Solid state drives (SSD) improve performance massively, as mentioned before. The other improvement you can make is to install the maximum amount of RAM your computer can take.

Using extra drives at home for backups is fine but doesn’t protect the data in case of a fire or burglary. That’s another advantage of using the cloud for backups — you move your data to a completely different location.

Mikail mentioned that the iPhone has a feature called Find My iPhone that lets you locate it in case it’s stolen. He’s actually had to use that function. It also has a option that will erase all of the data if it takes more that 5 or 10 tries to enter the password.

Glenn 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.

Ann called. A friend of hers inherited a PC computer but can’t use it because it’s password protected. She wanted to know how to bypass the password. Both Glenn and Mikail said they weren’t familiar with the process and thought Paul would have an answer. She was asked to email her question to zen at kvmr dot org.

Ellen called. After upgrading her Mac she’s been getting all sorts of ads, mostly for cleaning the Mac. Mikail said it’s malware and a scam that gets on the Mac when you visit websites and click things that say you need to update a program (the Adobe Flash player is a common one). Mikail suggested she do a Google search first. And if she still can’t find a solution, to call him for professional help.

Glenn noted used to be a pretty good site for getting software. But lately, it’s gotten bad because all the ads make it hard to find the right button to click to get the program you’re after.

Dave Barnett, the KVMR engineer, came into the studio with a suggestion for Ann (above) who wanted a way to get into a password protected PC. He said to google the words: password recovery windows xxx. Where you replace the xxx with the version of Windows you have. He said the best ones are based on Linux. You’ll create a Linux CD to boot from, at which point you’ll be running Linux. It will guide you to where the password is stored. You’ll then deleted, not change, the password. You’ll also have the option of copying the files from the Windows drive, to a flash drive for instance.

Another method is to take the hard drive out and put it into another computer as a secondary drive. At that point you can copy data from it.

Mikail remembered getting an email regarding a previous discussion about using solid state drives (SSD) on a Mac. He said he misplaced the email and asked the listener to resend the email.

Joshua called about an old Mac he got from his mother. It has a Hypercard file of family recipes that he and his brother would love to recover. He wanted to know how to read the file. Mikail suggested that he google the words; hypercard import mac xxx. Where the xxx is the version of the Mac OS that’s running on machine you want to import to. As a last resort, call Mikail for professional help

To sum up, Mikail said the Mac operating system called High Sierra is coming in Sept as well as IOS 11. He really likes his iPad Pro, which Apple won’t be updating until about mid 2018. The next iPhones will start with 64 gig of memory and there will be versions with 256 gig and 512 gig. The 128 gig version is no longer made. The new operating systems were tweaked to use smaller files. <There’s more info in the notes from the 8-9-17 show>.

Last Updated 11:34 PM 8-23-2017

a HREF=”″

Aug 9, 2017

Aug - 09 2017 | no comments | By


Filament style LED

Search eBay or Amazon. nice. Dimmable, correct color…


animated gifs?



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.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Glenn and co-host Mikail Graham did the broadcast from the KVMR boot at the Nevada County Fair and no phone calls were taken. Paul called in from Hastings in England and it’s not likely he’ll get back in time for the next show.


Glenn reminded listeners that they can send email to the guys using the address: zen at kvmr dot org.

Glenn knows someone with a 2011 vintage Mac Book Pro. He hasn’t upgraded beyond version 10.6.8 (the last version of Snow Leopard), even though he can, because he has some older programs that won’t run on a newer version of the operating system. Glenn asked if there is a way to upgrade to Sierra and not have to buy new programs to go with it.

Mikail said he’s helped people do exactly that and explained how. He suggested buying a larger hard drive and partitioning it so one part will have Sierra and the other Snow Leopard. Then when you boot up, you’ll be able to choose which operating you want to use. You’ll need to use a USB installer to achieve this. <Maybe this will help>

Mikail went on tell us, first do a Time Machine backup of your data. Then reformat your drive or get a new drive of about 1 or 2 terabytes, Next, make a small partition for Snow Leopard and a bigger one for Sierra and install the respective operation systems to their partitions. Your backup will be restored to the Snow Leopard partition the way you had it before.

You can use only the programs that are in the Snow Leopard partition when running Snow Leopard, though you’ll be able to access the data on the other partition.

Paul suggested an alternate setup. If there are just a couple of old programs you need to run, You can install Snow Leopard and the old apps onto an external drive, even a USB drive. Mikail said his method means the user wouldn’t have to keep the external drive handy and remember when to plug it in. But he agreed with Paul that it’s another way to do it. You can get a 256 gig flash drive a Costco for about $40, he added.

Also, an older application may run on newer operating systems even though it’s not officially supported, Paul said. You can try “dragging” the application’s folder from the old machine to a machine running a newer OS and see if it works. You can use Google to find out if others have already tried this with a particular old program.

Paul related his experience at Gatwick Airport. He had plans for using Easy Jet, a discount airline, and wanted to find out what platform to use for the train to the airport but there was no staff around and he had to use an phone app. When he came to the Easy Jet check-in, he found it was unmanned and he had to check his bags himself. Furthermore, the boarding pass was produced on the cell phone and he didn’t have a way to print it out — good luck if something happened to the phone. “There is no ability to manually write down your boarding pass number and there is no ability for the operator to manually key the boarding pass in”, he said.

The lesson is to print out your pass if you can, Paul said. Glenn suggested taking a screen shot. Paul said you can also use Apple wallet, which allows you to save all of your boarding passes and tickets.

A similar situation occurred while catching a bus to London. He could have booked the bus online for an extra pound, but he thought he’d buy the ticket it at the station. When he got to the station, the only way to buy the ticket was online. His point was that much of what we do depends on the internet.

The disclaimer:
“The views expressed on this show are those of the individuals and do not represent KVMR management, KVMR staff, board of directors or anything else”

Mikail noted that there is an easy upgrade you can do to older computers of any variety — replace the hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD). It’s the best thing you can do to make your old computer feel like it’s brand new. A Mac that takes 2 to 3 minutes to boot from a 5400 rpm drive will take 12 to 15 sec to boot from a SSD. Apps will run faster too. You can get a 256 gig drive for under $100, 128 gig drive for $60-$70, 500 gig drive under $150 and a 1 terabyte drive for under $230. Mikail said he can refer you to documents and videos to help you make the conversion.

Paul mentioned that he bought an Asus EEEPC computer a few years ago that originally had a SATA hard drive and he installed a SSD in it. He bought a used 128 gig SSD drive that came out of a Mac Book Air for $7. Since the Mac drives use a PCI Express interface, he bought a SATA-to-PCI Express solid state drive interface for $5. He loves the result.

Paul briefly mentioned the tech behind this broadcast. He’s using Skype right now. He said he’s able to send photos while he’s talking. He sent an animated .gif during the show.

The .gif format originated with Netscape 15 to 20 years ago. The format is making a reappearance on Facebook and Facebook Messanger. Mikail noted the correct pronunciation is jif <like the peanut butter> not gif <as in gift>.

Mikail said the new Apple Mac operating system, High Sierra, is coming out this Fall. The disk format is changing as well as the graphic format. The pictures will take up half as much room on the hard drive. If the images get on a machine with an older OS, they show up as .jpg files. He said the beta testing is coming along fine. Once you upgrade, you can’t go back to an older OS.

Paul noted that the iPhone’s OS newer than about 10.2 has a filing system called APFS that’s geared to solid state drives. Spinning hard drives are also being phased out in the Macs, where High Sierra is tailored to the SSD.

Paul’s sister-in-law has Fitbit and her iPhone has an app called Health (with a red heart) that coodinates with it. Paul, not having a Fitbit, wondered how to get the app and asked Siri. He was surprised to learn that the app was already on his phone and has been logging his activity without his knowledge. It was using the phone’s accelerometer to monitor his movement without the need of the Fitbit.

Paul said the Fitbit also tracks your sleeping patterns so you can, hopefully, improve your sleep. Mikail said there are all sorts of self-improvement apps, even ones that track your sexual activity.

Mikail said that IOS 11 for the Apple mobile devices has a mode to disable the phone when it notices you are in a car and moving.

Paul said he’s seen light bulbs with LED filaments inside — LED retro bulbs. It wasn’t clear what he was getting at. I think it’s supposed to make for a warmer (less bluish) light. To find out more, google the words: filament style led.

Mikail said there is the Perseid meteor shower this Saturday night, the later the better. It’s supposed to be spectacular. There’s not going to be another like it for 96 years. And then there’s the lunar eclipse on the morning of the 26th <starts 9:02am, maximum at 10:17am, ends 11:35am Pacific Time, from what I heard>.

Last Updated 10:50 PM 8-9-2017


1 2 3 4 31