Apr 24, 2019

Apr - 24 2019 | no comments | By

Renting not owning

 


Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

<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 Paul & Glenn were in the studio today.

 

The guys started by talking about a movie they saw recently called Shazam. Shazam is also a music identification service that had its start in Britain, Paul said.

Paul put a link at the top of this page to an NPR segment about people dealing with housing affordability and the increasing necessity for sharing resources. Owning a mobile device and using the internet serves as an entrance to the sharing economy, as Paul summarized the story. A subject in the story rents a bed in a large room he shares with other people. He finds these places thru a service called Podshare. He rents a desk at a co-working facility call WeWork. Paul thought that it’s largely due to the price of housing and student loan debt that drive people to this nomadic work environment.

Continuing on that theme, Paul noted that there are sites like TaskRabbit where you can hire someone to do a job for you. But he cautioned that when you use services like Uber, Booking.com, Airbnb or TaskRabbit, you need to ask yourself, to what extent is the website responsible for what is said by those advertising their services. Websites are generally not responsible because they defer to the freedom of speech of those who post content on them.

The guys talked a bit more about how our incomes are barely keeping up with the costs of living, and then Glenn invited listeners to call in and share how they are coping with our economy. The number for the studio is 530-265-9555.

Paul noted how the Bay Area traffic has gotten crazy. Google Maps prove how congestion has become the norm for any time of day, not just during commute times.

Susan called with a question about iCloud. She had to get a new battery for her iPhone and the Apple store backed up her data to iCloud. She wanted to know how to see her pictures that are stored there.
– Apple gives you 5 gigs of storage for free on iCloud. Susan pays $.99/mo to bump up her storage space to 50 gigs.
– Paul doesn’t store his pictures on iCloud, only his address book, contacts, calendar, schedules, reminders and some other things. He stores his pics locally on his Mac computer.
– Pictures on iCloud are likely stored at many different physical locations.
– You can see your pictures using any web browser by going to icloud.com. Log in using your Apple ID and password. You’ll then see about 8 “blocks”, one of which is labeled ‘Photos’.
– Alternately, you can store your pictures at Google Drive or Google Photos. Paul thinks it’s a better, more reliable service than iCloud. You get 15 gigs for free at Google Drive.

Glenn asked Susan to do a little experiment. He asked her to go to ‘Settings’ in her iPhone. The top item will have your name and it will say Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes. Click on that. About 4 items down you’ll see iCloud. Click on that. <Glenn stopped at that point & didn’t continue the experiment>. Instead, he went on to say that in most cases, unless your phone runs out of storage space, your photos should be on your phone.

Paul jumped in to say, “if you uncheck the box that says synchronize my photographs, you can easily get by with 5 gigabytes or less”. “If you turned off the photographs, you’ve got to be very careful about what that means if you do that. Because it’s been on, it has now stuffed photographs up on to your cloud”. <He didn’t explicitly say why. I guess it’s because iCloud may have some pics that are not on your phone — the backup is all you have, don’t delete it.>

Paul said that he’s never completely trusted iCloud to store his photos because he doesn’t know for sure when it has completed a synching operation. It can take a long time to synch and there is never a message saying that all of the photos are backed up. That’s why he uses Google Photos instead.

Paul mentioned other cloud services. There’s Microsoft OneDrive, which he strongly dislikes. Glenn jumped in to say he’s looking to move away from iCloud because he recently got a warning that he’s using so much of his 50 gigs that he doesn’t have enough room to backup his iPad, and was offered 2 terabytes for $2.99/mo

Glenn told Susan that if she decided to stop her $.99 subscription to iCloud, she will have to call Apple. Paul added that if you’re using storage in iCloud that you don’t need, you can’t simply turn it off. To reduce what you’re using in order to have less than 5 gigabytes again, and not have to delete item by item, then disable and delete your iCloud account. That sets it back to zero, then you start it again. Paul said he’s not recommending she do that, but that’s what he had to do.

In the end, Paul suggested she start using Google Photos. She should first create a Google account, if she doesn’t have one already. He also said to do backups over wi-fi only, don’t use your cellular plan — look for a check box to use wi-fi only. Using the cellular network could quickly use up your data allotment.

Glenn told Susan to use email if she has any questions or she needs clarification. She can email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul noted that Dropbox is another cloud storage service. They give you just a couple of gigabytes for free. And he said that Google Drive has apps for various platforms — Android, PC, Apple.

Glenn tested Paul’s knowledge by asking, “what is the biggest cloud in the world”? Paul guessed it’s Google, but no it’s Amazon, because they sell cloud services to businesses. It’s called AWS (Amazon Web Services). Paul admitted it’s true because Amazon has to synchronize their servers so if someone in California orders the very last jar of peanut butter, and someone else in Surinam placed the same order, there wouldn’t be a double order.

Paul read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and are not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Scott called in. He uses Timemachine for backing up to 4 hard drives. 2 are in use at a time, and the other 2 he rotates off site. At one point Timemachine stopped backing to one of the drives. One of the error messages was ‘waiting to complete first backup’.
– Timemachine can only backup to drives formatted to the Mac format (HPFS).
– Just because a drive can be formatted doesn’t mean the drive is ok. It may cause trouble when you start writing data to it. There is a utility whose name Paul couldn’t remember, that writes & reads random data to the drive to test its integrity.
– These are USB drives and the only reliable way to test them is to do an in-depth format which reads and writes all over the drive, and doesn’t just wipe out the allocation table. There’s a piece of software called a drive scrubber, which writes random data in an attempt to obscure what was there before. It also reports any difficulty it encounters.
– Timemachine gets very unhappy if there’s anything wrong with the drive and it won’t tell you if there is.
– Scott said he tried a brand new drive and had the same problem. In that case it’s time to ask which USB cable and which ports are you using. You may be getting a bad interaction between a particular cable and a particular port. If the problem occurs with a new drive, it’s time to look at the ‘plumbing’ of your machine.
– Under ‘Disk Utility’ it says ‘select the disk you’d like to erase’ and click the ‘security options button’ (turn it on). That will format it with security options to scrub it. See what happens, Paul said.
– Glenn said it was time to wrap up the show and if Scott has any more questions, he should email the guys.

Last Updated 12:16 AM 4-25-2019

Apr 10, 2019

Apr - 10 2019 | no comments | By

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

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 was in the studio. Paul called in. He was still on his road trip to Southern Calif. Today he was West of Los Vegas at a BLM conservation park called Red Rock Canyon.

 

Some of the wilderness areas at the higher elevations of the BLM park require permits to access. This is to mitigate what Paul pointed out as the tragedy of the commons: “anything that’s readily, commonly available for the enjoyment of people will tend to be spoiled by those same people…”.

Glenn invited listeners to call during the show at 530-265-9555 or send email to zen at kvmr dot org

Glenn heard on the news this morning that Yuba County and possibly Sutter County were going to test an alert system by sending messages to emails and cell phones. And indeed, he got an alert, as a txt, on his phone with the message directing him to bepreparedyuba.org to learn more.

Paul said there is another kind of an alert, a ‘system message’, that’s sent by the cell phone network. He was under the impression that this type of message can be received even if you don’t have txt service or maybe even if you’ve let your cell phone subscription lapse — similar to being able to make 911 calls without a cell plan. Paul’s concern about alerts sent as txt or emails is they can be spoofed.

Paul’s cell phone connection kept dropping out and eventually ended. So while he was calling back, Glenn told us that he’ll he hosting the Flea Market tomorrow at 1pm.

Apple is coming out with a new streaming service this year, Glenn noted. This will be competing with similar services from Nexflix and Amazon. The announcement came about two weeks ago at an Apple event that also introduced Apple TV Plus and a new Apple TV app.

Paul noted that subscription services, like that by Apple, are becoming more popular. AT&T with their Uverse product got in trouble with the justice department when their share value went down and they engaged in bait and switch schemes. But if you want to try these services, all you need is sufficient internet speed — about 2 megabits/sec. Then you can use a set top box like Apple TV and add the appropriate apps to bring in the new Apple streaming service or NBC or HBO etc. This lets you choose more precisely the content you like, unlike the cable companies.

The down side is that there is a learning curve to get used to how the different apps work. Fortunately, many units allow you to issue voice commands — just talk to it, Paul said. On the other hand, devices that take voice commands are listening all of the time, even if it’s just for the command to wake it up. Paul said he doesn’t trust them and he physically unplugs the Amazon Dot when he’s not using it. The devices can hear quite well even while they’re playing music or other content.

Paul mentioned that you don’t have to buy the Amazon Dot, because Amazon’s Alexa is available as an app for Android and iPhone. “As long as you are on the same wireless network, it behaves as if you had such a box. And if you make sure you kill the app when you’re done with it, it probably won’t be listening to you”, he said.
<An alternate app that uses Alexa is here.>

Paul helped some people ‘cut the cord’ recently, and Glenn asked about the difference it made to their subscription costs. Paul explained that one guy was paying over $200/mo for Xfinity for cable TV and internet. And when he decide to change services and called Xfinity to drop them, he was offered 50% discount on his current plan. He decided to stay with Xfinity because it was more convenient than a la carte services.

One of the options when cutting the cord is Youtube TV. It’s not the same as the regular Youtube. You have to get the app called Youtube TV and a subscription. The subscription is about $45 and there’s usually a free trial period. The advantage over something like Netflix is that you can get live politics, news and sports programming.

Glenn read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and are not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Glenn said he just got a notice from Netflix that the $10.99 fee he had been paying is going up to $13. This is for HD streaming for 2 simultaneous streams on different devices at the same time. They also have 4k content with 4 streams on 4 devices for $16/mo. And they still have their basic non-HD stream for $8 to $9/mo.

Paul remembered when Nexflix had combination package that included streaming and a DVD disk. He said it was a loss leader for them. Glenn said they still offer a mail subscription. But though he has the Nexflix streaming service, he can’t search for anything that is available on the DVD thru the mail. Paul said to do a Google search with words like Netflix dvd [the movie name]. The search result is sometimes a third party site, sometimes it’s Netflix itself.

Psul said Netflix adds and removes available content in what seems like an arbitrary way. If he has something on his watch list, he can stream it, but others, who don’t have it on their watch list, can’t get it. Apparently it’s a way to test how people respond to what’s being offered.

Paul mentioned inelastic demand. Normally, when the price goes up demand goes down and when the demand goes up the price goes up. The connection becomes inelastic when the Netflix service is something you feel you need and can’t do without. Netflix relies “on being part of your life so you don’t want to go away.

A fully unlocked iPhone 6S with CDMA & GSM with 64 gigs of memory is about $200 (down from about $600 in 2015). CDMA is used with Verizon and GSM with AT&T. Paul said it’s not easy to tell which model 6S has which or if it has both. He said Wikipedia is a good place to start, as it has much info about iPhones going back to the first one. He then said you have to use the serial number of the phone to do a search at appleserialnumber.com to find out what it has inside.

Paul said Facebook has a lot of groups that trade and sell all sort of items. He asked Glenn if he knew about it. Glenn said he didn’t and that, in fact, he is seriously considering closing his Facebook account.

But continuing, Paul said some of the Facebook groups are identified by area code, like 530 for Nevada City & surrounding area, which makes it easier for buyers & sellers to get in touch.

Paul also said that it’s important for a cell phone to be unlocked by the original carrier and not by some hack. Otherwise the “first upgrade that comes along or the first chance that company gets to relock it, they will” and “you’re basically screwed, to put it mildly”.

Glenn remembered when it was possible to jailbreak the iPhone, which then allowed you to get apps from places other than the Apple store. But it was easy to brick the iPhone, as he did with two of his phones. Paul said if you like the ability to hack your phone, go for an Android phone.

Glenn asked Paul if leaving Facebook means What’s App will stop working, since What’s App is owned by Facebook. Paul thought it would continue to work.

Paul said if you’d like to send him a friend request on Facebook, tell him how it is you know him.

People may be impersonating someone else when they make a friend request. Check their profile to see how long they’ve been on Facebook. That should indicate if they are genuine.

Last Updated 12:48 AM 4-11-2019

Mar 27, 2019

Mar - 27 2019 | no comments | By

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

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 was in the studio. Paul called in from his road trip to Southern Calif. He was in Lucern, which is about 50 miles south of Barstow.

 

Glenn thanked the supporters of KVMR. <If you’d like to become a contributing member, you can call the business office at 530-265-9073 or go to the KVMR website

You can send email to the guys, even during the show. Write to zen at kvmr dot org. And you can also call during the show at 530-265-9555.

After having visited the website Krebs On Security, Paul shared with us what he learned about card skimmers. <Card skimmers steal your credit card info when you use a card reader, an ATM, for instance.>
– You won’t usually see anything outwardly suspicious about the card reader; the skimmer is inside.
– The skimmers work by scanning the magnetic stripe when you swipe the card, not when you insert the card to read its chip.
– ATM technicians are bribed or blackmailed to allow the machines to be compromised.
– Hardware in inserted into an ATM to read the signals coming from the keypad where you enter your PIN and signals coming from the magnetic stripe reader. A membrane is put under the keypad to pick up the PIN as you enter it. And a second stripe reader is placed next to the legitimate one.
– The PIN and card numbers are stored on a flash drive in the skimmer. They are later read out by the crooks using a Bluetooth connection. Of course, the data is encrypted on the flash drive so not just anyone can read it. The crooks don’t want anyone to steal the data that they stole.
– Paul found some websites that sell skimmers for $500 to $700. They are small devices about the size of a chewing gum stick.
– Another way they steal your PIN & card number is to install an entire ATM machine that’s completely bogus, run by company that doesn’t exist. When you use it, it will say something like “sorry, your transaction has been declined”. But at that point it’s already stolen your PIN & card number.
– When the stolen PIN & card numbers are sold, the buyers find a high failure rate because the banks often spot unusual activity, like usage at a distant location, and lock the account. The rightful owner may see a charge of $1 on their statements. That’s a way the crooks test if the card is still valid before selling the data.
– Paul said that some banks let you receive an alert notification when there’s a transaction with the card. He set his alert level at the $1 limit. Check your bank’s website for more info.
– It’s a lot harder to steal from your account using the chip on the card. The crooks have the steal the card itself as well as determine your PIN.

The guys agreed that though there are security problems with credit cards, they are very convenient. The bank Glenn uses offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The Costco card offers 3% to 4% off some purchases. There’s another card that gives you 1% off when you buy something and 1% off when you pay your credit bill.

Paul warned us about quick loan places such as those that give cash advance on wages. Protections have been rolled back under our current federal government. Apparently the person in charge of federal consumer protection is not interested in protecting us against usury. When you’re considering these loans, read the fine print, he said.

Paul said that it was his impression that credit card debt in California is noncollectable after 7 years. However if you go that route, you may end up with ruined credit. Glenn clarified by saying this applies to unsecured loans and that the debt isn’t forgiven after 7 years but it is removed from your credit report, as required by law. “You still owe the debt, but at that point, many people look at that and say ‘well what incentive do I have to pay it off, because it’s no longer reported on my credit and it’s not negatively affecting me'”.

Paul said he uses Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas when he’s out in his RV because of it’s poor gas mileage.

Paul thought about using his old Rand McNally atlas on his road trip. When he found it in his RV it had mold all over it as was unreadable. He realized that keeping the RV sealed not only keeps the weather out but also keeps condensation in. He knows now to keep something open for air circulation, maybe even with a fan, to lower humidity and flush out mold spores.

Glenn noted that he too used Gas Buddy to great advantage 2 weeks ago on his trip to Arizona.

About $.40 of the cost for a gallon of gas goes to the state in taxes. This is not true for tribal lands, which are under federal jurisdiction. Paul said he was able to take advantage of that fact when he came thru Bishop CA.

Glenn mentioned that after he got his refurbished iPhone 8, he passed on his iPhone 6S to a friend. He went to an Apple store to get the data from her iPhone 4 transferred to the 6S. It turned out that he didn’t need Apple’s help. It was an easy process. He backed up the iPhone 4 to iCloud and then used the 6S to download the backup from the iCloud.

Paul related the story about some perfectly innocent guy in South Africa who was periodically raided by the cops. Apparently, when cell phones are involved in crimes the IP address is evidence used to track people down. In this case, the IP address was identified by geolocation to be the center of the town, which is where this fellow lives — the cell network was only able to report that one location.

Paul noted that there is a senior pass available for those who frequent national parks. Glenn said it’s a lifelong pass, but couldn’t remember how much it cost, maybe $10 to $20. He said you can get the pass at a national park ranger office.

Glenn said that he and Frank McClain will host the Flea Market show tomorrow from 1pm to 2pm.

Paul mentioned the KVMR app, which is available for free. It also streams KVMRX. And it has the schedule of shows, too.
<The KVMRX live stream is here.>
<The app for Android might be a little hard to find using the link a KVMR. You can get it here.>

Tom called in, but his audio was breaking up badly. It sounded like he was looking for another internet provider. He has Digital Path now but their price keeps going up. It’s now up to $112 per month. He said something about a Verizon package, the Jet Pack, and wanted an opinion.

Glenn read the disclaimer before going on:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, or contributors

Paul thought the reason for the rate going up is that people are streaming so much stuff these days it’s hard for a provider to keep up with the volume. Streaming audio is approx. 35 meg per hour and video at a modest rez is maybe 3/4 gigabytes per hour. Most cell phone packages give you 3 to 5 gigs per month, so you use up your allotment quickly. ISPs know this and charge more because they don’t have that kind of data limit.

Glenn said he has a friend who use an AT&T service with unlimited data, but he couldn’t remember name of the plan. He said the plan does not throttle the speed after passing a certain data cap. He suggested that Tom call Verizon to get more info about the Jet Pack.

Glenn said there is another provider in the area called Smarter Broadband.

Paul had a quick item at the end of the show. What can you do with an old iPhone like the iPhone 4? If you unlock it, you can use it as a hot spot. Put a data-only SIM card in it and use it as a mi-fi hot spot.

Last Updated 1:33 AM 3-28-2019

Mar 13, 2019

Mar - 13 2019 | no comments | By

Your Home Network
Happy 30th Birthday, WWW!

Flame Mappers from my predecessor
March 19 Town Hall Meeting


 

Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

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

The intro music was Fractal Zoom by Brian Eno
The outro music was by Pentatonix.

 

Paul was in the studio. We didn’t hear from Glenn during the show.

 

If you’d like to call in with questions or comments, the number is 530-265-9555.

March 12th was the 30th birthday of the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web while working for CERN. His job was to collate the data from the atomic research conducted there. (See the link at the top.)
<Remembering the Day the World Wide Web Was Born
Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, By Tim Berners-Lee>

At that time the internet had been around for a while. What made it the World Wide Web is the hypertext (the clickable link) Tim developed to allow easy navigation between documents and websites.

Paul noted that, originally, the hypertext links were to be double-clicked. He then continued by talking about clicking, double-clicking and triple-clicking in some word processors, which will highlight differing amounts of the text. He said it’s worth experimenting with.

He also said that the concept of clicking on hypertext went back to about 1965 when there was no web as we know it now. He brought up the example of an encyclopedia on CD that he used, where clicks took you to different subject matter.

In its wisdom, CERN decided to release all claim to their copyright for clicking hypertext, <which facilitated the rapid expansion of its use and the web itself.>

Flame Mappers (see the link above) was mentioned on the show preceding Zen Tech. It has something to do with near real-time wildlife predictive analysis and landscape mitigation modeling. Paul said he just found out about it and intends to check into it more.

Paul went on to talk about networks. If you’re using the internet at home, the chances are high that you have a network. He distinguished the internet, the decentralize network outside your house, from the intranet, the network inside. The box (modem/router) in your house, what the cable carrying the internet data connects to, is the boundary between the internet and the network in your house (the intranet).
<A quick reference to the difference between internet & intranet.>

He mentioned some of the devices that are on the intranet: your computer, printer and cell phone in wireless mode. You can discover what else is on you network by using Windows in the command line mode. Go to the Start Menu and in the search box type “cmd” (w/o quotes) (on the Mac search for the word “terminal”) and you’ll end up with a mostly black screen where you type in your commands. The command to type is “arp -a” (arp is address resolution protocol). This will show the hardware addresses of things on your network and the associated software addresses that the router uses. Some things may not show up if your network hasn’t been running for long. The very least it will tell you is how many devices are connected to your network.

If you have something like a Roku Sound Bridge, as Paul does, or a Chromecast, you can find out even more information about it using one of several apps. One free app is called The Angry IP Scanner. This app will only report information but will not change anything.

With the info from Angry IP Scanner you can use your web browser to access the web page that some of your local devices have inside of them. For example, if you have a Canon printer, the scanner might report its name as canon1066. In your web browser’s address bar type in canon1066.local. In many instances, you’ll get that internal webpage if you append the .local domain to the end of the device’s name.

If you use the Chrome browser to do this, it might do something weird. It might do a search and take you to the Canon USA website. In this case you can force it to retrieve the local webpage by typing “//canon1066.local” (w/o quotes).

There are an increasing number of devices we have in our houses that connect to the internet — the internet of things (IOT). These devices, like web cameras, are pretty autonomous and don’t require much input from you. But they are sending data out on the internet so you can, for instance, use your phone to see what’s going on at home when you’re at work. But it’s only in the last couple of years that the manufacturers started encrypting the data traffic these IOT devices send. Otherwise, it’s good to be wary of it being intercepted. He suggested using Ethernet cables to connect your IOT devices rather than do it wirelessly.

Paul mentioned that mainstream support for Windows 7 has already ended and extended support will end Jan 14 2020. He also said that the recent 7 or 8 updates to Windows 10 have “messed stuff up”.

Ward called. He’s really into low tech and is looking for some kind of publication that will help him do even more low tech. He has seriously questioned the good the internet has done for us. He asked Paul to point out the good it’s done.

Paul said there’s an up side and a down side to tech. He thinks it’s actually neutral but it brings out the best and the worst in us. In particular, it helps him stay in touch with family and friends that he wouldn’t otherwise see. He thinks technology is for the better but we have to stay vigilant.

In signing off, Paul reminded listeners they can write to the hosts using the address zen at kvmr dot org.

Last Updated 11:03 PM 3-13-2019

Feb 27, 2019

Feb - 27 2019 | no comments | By

New Forms of Gambling Addiction: Loot Boxes
Avatars versus Reality.. Which is Which? DEEP FAKES
Russian Internet Research Agency and their Pro/Anti/Vax/Abortion/Party Research
… And Why. YHBTYHL
Gaming Page Ranking with Conspiracies : Giving you More of what you did before..
Title 47 Federal Law  The Comminications Decency Act and its meanings


 

Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

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 & Paul were both in the studio today.

 

Glenn thanked the people who made donations to KVMR during the recent membership drive, <If you’d like to become a supporting member, you can call the KVMR office at 530-265-9073 or visit the website.>

Admitting he rarely plays video games, Paul talked about Loot Boxes <see the link above>. You might get video games for free on the internet but to improve your chance of progressing, you buy things while you play, like extra armor, a key or invisibility cloak. The prices of such objects are cheap but they are adjusted dynamically as you play to maximize the profit for the game’s creator.

Paul went on to talk about Deep Fakes. <See the link above>. This is where a video of a US President or even an admired personality is made to say something they didn’t, with the facial expressions and mouth movement to match. The idea got its start in the Pixar animation studios where they do live action capture. Our laws do not yet deal with Deep Fakes, he added.

How do you tell if what’s said has been faked? “What would happen if you would like it if they had said that”, he asked. For example, if you saw the faked CEO of Wells Fargo saying everyone is going to get a million dollars put into their accounts.
<Advancing Face-Swap Apps Blur More Lines>
<The Reality-Distorting Tools Of The Future>
<Create a digital synthesized clone copy of your voice>
<Radiolab did a story on deepfakes:>

After telling the listeners that they can call in to the show at 530-265-9555, Glenn read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Glenn continued with some weather-related announcements. Butte County Sheriff’s office issued evacuation orders as of 7:30 this morning for the Richvale area between the Sacramento River and Highway 99, from Nelson Shippy Road to Highway 162. In the Chico area, Andrew Court, Magnus Court, Vosca Drive and Taffy Ave have flooding problems.

Glenn reminded listeners that when it’s raining or in fog, state law requires that you have your headlights on — not your daytime running lights, DRLs. Turning on the DRLs does not turn on your rear lights.

Marilyn called about a problem she has with her email. Her email is blocked when she sends it to a Gmail account. She gets a notification that it’s Bulk or Unsolicited mail or Unauthenticated. There’s no problem sending email to other systems.

Paul told her to look at the header of the returned email (that didn’t go thru). Invoke the option to look at the entire header. Wade thru the entire thing and you should find a link that you can copy and paste into your browser. The link says something like google.com/article/question15/id=… Go to that address to find out what’s happening and then send what you found out to your internet service provider <whose email service you use>. They will have to fix things on their end.

Marilyn also said that she had sent the guys some email earlier in Feb and had not heard back and hadn’t received a failure notification. Glenn said he hasn’t seen any email from her. Paul said that all emails to the kvmr.org domain is handled by Gmail using the non-profit Gsuite. So it’s possible that Google blocked that email too.

Glenn suggested she use Thunderbird as her email program to replace the Outlook she’s using now. She said she used it on her old Windows XP and it worked wonderfully. But on her new Windows 7 machine, when she clicks to send an email, she gets the warning “Add security exception. You are about to override how Thunderbird identifies this site. Legitimate banks, stores and others will not ask you to do this”.

Paul realized what’s going on. When you use Thunderbird or Outlook, they “use certificates to go back and forth to make sure you’re connected to the site you think you’re connected to”. If the warning is coming from your current internet service provider, then they’ve screwed up the certificate. Gmail should never say that because their certificates are always valid.

Paul suggested they talk off the air to resolve the problem. In the mean time, she should take pictures of the error messages on the screen and send them to him.

Dave called. He seemed impressed with the Lexus (car) when a woman told him that the windshield wipers come on automatically when rain is detected. Paul related the trouble he and Glenn had getting into a Tesla, which they had a chance to see at the Roseville Galleria recently. They had trouble finding the door handle. And the trunk was a mystery too, until they realized there was a button on a screen that had to be pushed to open it.

The guys talked a bit about the automation found on modern cars: warning on the dash if a headlight is burned out, tire pressure indicator, warning if you stray across the yellow line (Lane Assist), adaptive cruse control that keeps the right distance from the car ahead and automatic braking in heavy traffic.

Jamey called. He’s using Sonic for his internet provider and Open VPN, which is an open source program. Sonic set him up with the VPN but doesn’t support it. When he uses the VPN, the keyboard starts missing letters and the mouse starts missing clicks. And when he has a diminished screen, its border flickers. He called Sonic but they don’t know what’s going on, the VPN is not their product.
<Sonic might be the same as Sacramento Fusion that was mentioned in the 8-24-11 show>

Paul thought the problem may be the result of the VPN putting a heavy burden on the CPU. It uses a lot of resources to do it’s job. Hit Control+Alt+Delete to bring up the task manager and look under processes and you might see that the VPN is using up a lot of processor time. Look for other processes that may be using up the CPU’s time.

Paul suggested he install a utility called Process Explorer. Google those 2 words and be sure you end up on the Microsoft site. It’s much better than Task Manager. It not only shows you a process, but also what started it. And it helps you google to get more info, just right-click on it.

Process Explorer is only about 2megs and it doesn’t need to be “installed”, just run it. If you experiment and kill a process, and Windows no longer works right, you can restart Windows and be back in business.

Finally, Paul briefly mentioned the Russian Internet Research Agency <see the link above>. This is the group that interfered with the US elections by trolling in the social media sites. They would foment animosity by arguing for both sides of an issue and thereby perpetuating acrimony.

Last Updated 1:51 AM 2-28-2019

Jan 30, 2019

Jan - 30 2019 | no comments | By

TODAY!
– from last Week HomeWork: MICROBIT 


 

Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

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 that there will not be a Zen Tech show on Feb 13 due to a membership drive.

 

Both Paul & Glenn were in the studio today.

 

Glenn started off talking about paying thru your bank. Zelle & Venmo are a couple of the more popular options. He’s been using Zelle thru Wells Fargo. A typical example is paying back a dinner companion at a restaurant where you want to split the bill — you pay your portion after the companion pays the entire bill. There is no fee for using Zelle. To send someone money you just need their email address or cell phone number.

Glenn also has an online bank where he wanted to use Zelle. He couldn’t use his email address at both banks so he tried using his cell phone number, but it came back saying it’s not a cell number. So he reversed things, using the cell number at Wells Fargo and the email at the online bank. That worked.

Paul said that in the US, there is no way to know for sure if a number is cellular if you’re using a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) as your cellular service. A MVNO is a company that resells a service that comes from one of the major carriers (Version, AT&t, etc.). Glenn uses Pure Talk.

Glenn went on to say that Zelle transactions are nearly instantaneous. The recipient gets an email or text message when the transfer occurs. The transaction is irrevocable. Both parties have to have to subscribe to Zelle. Glenn said he doesn’t know of any bank that doesn’t use it.

This type of service is nothing new to Europeans. They’ve had Postbank and Gyro, interbank transfer systems, for a long time, Paul said. In Japan they don’t use checks, only interbank transfers.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can send email to the show hosts at zen at kvmr dot org.

Turning to the homework links at the top, Paul talked about the Raspberry Pi. The pi comes from the programming language Python developed approx. 15 or 18 years ago. It was named, in part, for Monty Python.

The Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer on a board that’s no more than a couple of inches square. It uses a 5 volt power supply and a micro USB connector. It has some LED lights to indicate what’s going on and an HDMI output to hook it up to your TV set. The USB port lets you hook up a mouse & keyboard. One of the models of the Pi (the 3B Paul thought) has wi-fi and Bluetooth.

Don’t buy this as a home computer, Paul cautioned. It’s primarily for the hobbyist. Nevertheless, it is the 3rd highest selling platform, behind the PC and all things by Apple.

The Pi is used in all sort of applications. Paul is using it to make a security camera and also a weather station. Weather sensors for humidity, temperature and air pressure are about $2 each, Paul said. The 3b is the model that has all the bells and whistles and costs about $32. <See the links at the top for more info.>

It has a short but sharp leaning curve. And once you develop something with the 3B you can take the micro SD card and put it into the Pi Zero, the low budget model. The Pi Zero will then do what the 3B did but with “less space”, smaller dimensions and fewer interfaces. The latest Pi Zero, which is about the size of a chewing gum stick, comes with wi-fi. Paul plans to use his Pi Zero to augment his Roomba vacuum cleaner.. The Roomba doesn’t have very much suction but it does have patience and is good for the dust bunnies under the bed, he said.

You can get a Pi starter kit on Amazon, Banggood or Aliexpress. You can choose which operating system to run on it. Most people use Linux in a form called Raspbian, a free version of Debian Linux. It’s a real learning experience and you do have to follow the instructions.

Talk turned to DJ’ing. Glenn said that music is not a big part of his life. He finds iTunes confusing and would have trouble with software that a DJ would use. Paul thought he could get comfortable with a free piece of software called Mixxx <see the link at the top> for the PC and Mac, but had no clue on how to proceed. <Mixxx was mentioned on the 8-26-15 show>.

The idea is to use 2 turntables, on the screen as I understand it. You cue up on one and play on the other. Mixxx reads your playlist from iTunes.

PCs and Macs have just one audio output (the speaker) but you “can get a cheap audio device and connect it to a headphone” so you’ll have 2 audio outputs — the headphone and the speaker. This is the very basic setup. You can buy a USB adapter that gives you a headphone jack. The computer will identify it as a second audio channel with a name something like “USB audio”.

So now you play from your playlist out of one side, to your speaker, and something else to the headphone. Mixxx can detect the beat of the music and you can change the pitch and the speed. If one song is 60 beats per minute and the other is 90, the software can alter one to coincide with the other. It was at this point that Paul got bogged down with all of the options and buttons in Mixxx. It’s a learning experience, he said. If you know how to mix with 2 physical turntables, you should have little trouble proceeding.

Mixxx supports Midi devices. And for $40 to $60 you can get a USB device that has “2 tiny rubber turntables” and “a couple of actual real physical sliders”. “So you’re interfacing with the software on the screen in such a way that it looks like the hardware the formal DJ would use”. Despite making all sorts of mistakes, Paul said he’s having a blast.

Glenn invited listeners to call in with their questions and comment at 530-265-9555. You’ll be put on hold and then attended to in the order of your call.

He then read the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Paul talked about WMA office. <See the link at the top>. This is, apparently, an office suite that, to a degree, mimics Microsoft Office. But it doesn’t come with Arial, Verdana and a couple of other fonts. They are under Microsoft license but can be downloaded for free. <See the link at the top>.

Bitstream & Adobe are companies that digitize fonts and they collaborated, with other companies to standardize the TrueType fonts specification. There are a huge number of free fonts.

If you type something in one font and send the document to someone, they may not have that font. The TrueType font file has information in it that allows automatic substitution of another similar font for the missing font. But it still may look a little different. That’s why people started using the .pdf document format. The .pdf would render the fonts as dots <essentially a picture>.

The Microsoft Word program has a way of embedding the definition of a font within the document. So if the recipient doesn’t have the correct font, the one in the document will be used.

All major platforms now use TrueType fonts, including Linux. But you’ll have to download Arial and Verdana separately.

Paul mentioned an interesting documentary about the Helvetica font and the influence a font can have on society in general.

Neil called. He had bought some rechargeable nicad batteries but they don’t work in his cordless phone. But they do work in a flashlight. If he replaces just one battery in the phone, it works
– Maybe the contact points are the problem. Use an emery board on the contacts.
– It’s not a good idea to mix batteries as Neil did. The stronger battery might dump the current into the weaker one and cause corrosion or make it over heat.
– Look closely at the contact points to be sure they’re connecting. There may be a physical difference between the original & replacement battery.
– Get a cheap battery tester. The tester should put small load on the battery. A multimeter is designed not to load the battery.

Steve called. He uses a popular CAD program (Computer Aided Design). He’s seen older versions for sale on the internet from dealers who aren’t authorized to sell them. They buy the software from a abroad and sell it in the US. He wants to know if it’s legal software.

If you buy software that comes with a key and you can successfully activate it using the key, the odds are high that it’s legitimate software. If it doesn’t activate, ask for your money back. Some software may get hacked so it doesn’t need activation. Some may have had the key stolen from a school or college that was using what’s called a VLK (volume licensing). Some software may be so old that it isn’t rigorous about how it activates (it may not connect with the company over the internet to confirm).

If you really want to know if the software is legit, communicate the company and ask if the key is legitimate.

If someone bought software and later decided to sell it or move it from one machine to another, the key should be deactivated. The license can then be transferred. If a reseller is involved, you’re in a gray area.

You don’t actually own the software, just the license to use it. And there’s the question of whether it’s the person who owns the license or the machine.

Glenn opined that there isn’t much in open source CAD software. As soon as he said that, Paul found Freecad. But it seemed that wasn’t an option for Steve, he needs compatibility with the software he’s now using.

Another option might be to buy an older version of software legitimately, and then use it as an upgrade path to get a newer version. Of course, first check that the upgrade is available.

Doug called about Neil’s battery problem. He suggested that the cordless phone may not have been designed for nicad batteries. Be sure the replacement batteries are of same type. Some devices may have a switch to select for the type of battery you’re about to put in.

Paul called. He wants to get a simple phone, not a smartphone, for his disabled son. Are there free phones for those on SSI, he wondered.
– Do a Google search but beware of scams.
– Call the social service you use or a county social worker to find out what’s available.
Tracfones are cheap.

Last Updated 12:45 AM 1-31-2019

Jan 23, 2019

Jan - 23 2019 | no comments | By

1) Out-Of-Date Google Searches?? IE: Google’s own “oAuth” system supersedes
old Username/Password system which remains Documented but worthless…
2) the MICRO:BIT Embedded System
3) aaa = “authentication authorization accounting” and the Recovery Process…
4) Prime and Punishment and the 2nd A “Authorization”
5) Real World Music from its Own Countries– HOW?!
6) QR Full Business Card Generator
7) “White” LED Light?
8) Twinning App & 10 year challenge- DON’T. It helps Facial Recognition.

 


 

Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

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 & Paul were in the studio today.

 

Before getting to the Community Calendar, Paul mentioned that he was on the Other Side show yesterday to present some music. The show is produced by Mikail Graham and can be found in the archives, along with other KVMR shows. Paul also mentioned that KVMR has another archive that goes back 12 to 15 years and has mostly talk shows here.

Glenn did the disclaimer:
The views expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, our board, staff, volunteers or contributors.

Paul started the main part of the show talking about how websites like Google or Facebook do authentication, authorization and accounting when a user logs in. Authentication is to make sure you are who you claim to be. Authorization determines what you’re allowed to do once you’re logged in. Accounting is about keeping a record of your activity on the site.

A number of years ago Google started using the improved authenticating system Oauth. <Also see the link above> It comes from a consortium of companies: Microsoft, Google and a few others. If you try to create an new account, as in the Thunderbird email program for instance, to read/write to your Gmail, Oauth will popup a box to fill in the user name & password and will take you to Google for verification. When Google verifies you, it will create a token (like a long serial number), which Thunderbird will use to access your Gmail content. The actual password is not stored in Thunderbird, only the token.

Paul quickly noted that you might have trouble finding info about how Google uses Oauth. If you do a search about authenticating with Google (or anything for that matter), the top search results tend to be old because they’ve been around the longest.

Older equipment may not know how to do Oauth authentication, which Google insists on using. There is a workaround that Paul was reluctant to mention. He said there’s a setting in Google to make it use less secure authentication, the way things were before it started using Oauth. But if you do, you may have some problems. Paul did just that for one of his clients and they started getting inundated with security warnings in their email. The other workaround is to use your browser to go to Gmail and access your email.

For years, email programs have used SSL to secure the transmission of username and password to the servers. But now that’s not good enough. Google and others don’t want the username & password stored on your machine by programs they don’t trust. Paul thinks Oauth should be adopted industry wide.

A few years ago there was a transition to using HTTPS. <It secures data going to and from a website>. It used to be only banks and other critical sites that used it, but almost all websites use HTTPS now, Paul said.. Secure web certificates are now free from Letsencrypt. <Mentioned in the 1-31-18 show>. Google will downgrade sites that don’t use certificates, in their search results.

Moving on to item 4 (in the list above), Paul talked about how Amazon authenticates and authorizes you as a member of Amazon. You get authorization by doing reviews of the products you buy. But the process can be subverted. Read the Prime and Punishment article that’s linked to at the top of this page.

Glenn asked if Ebay has a similar problem. Paul said it’s quite different from Amazon. But it has it’s own problems. He once paid for a Mac Book from a fraudulent Ebay seller and the computer never arrived. Eventually, Ebay figured out it was scam, and when Paul complained, he was told to click the link “go to resolution”.

Paul related an experience of his friend who bought a bunch of Apple devices. He accidentally typed in the wrong Apple ID password 3 or 4 times and got locked out. Apple uses reciprocal backoff where every time you enter the wrong password, it takes longer to respond. After 3 errors, it waits 24 hours and if you try again before the 24 hours have gone by, you’re locked out for 3 days. It gets hard to know what’s going on because they don’t tell you that you’re being punished for your errors.

Item 5 from the top of this page refers to internet radio stations that stream content from all over the world. Paul said that you can listen to these stations with a “wifi hardware radio”. He said you can find stations with the kind of music you like by doing a Google search.

Item 6 is about QR codes, which are 2 dimensional barcodes that can contain an address tag, web tag, Twitter tag, Facebook link, etc. Paul has one on his business card. If you point your phone at a QR code it will tell you the information it contains. In Paul’s case, it will display his contact information. An app called Scannable can read these codes. The link at the top for Full Business Card Generator will take you to a site that will generate for free a .pdf file that has several business cards, using the information you provide <with the QR code I guess>. You can then take the .pdf file to a place like Staples to have it printed.

The Japanese company that developed the QR code did take out a patent but made its use free of royalty.

Item 8, the 10 year challenge, is about people posting pictures of themselves on Facebook. One is a current picture the other is from 10 years ago. Paul said this makes it easier for facial recognition programs to identify you. He also spoke of another picture that shows a cassette tape and a pen and you’re asked if you know what these items are. If you answer yes, you’ve just revealed that you’re likely over 50 year old. The takeaway being that it’s easy to unknowingly reveal things about ourselves.

Item 7 is about the relatively new technology of LED lights. The white ones come in different color temperatures: daylight, tru white, warm white. They have the same kind of spectrum as tungsten filament bulbs (incandescent). The LED light starts as blue and when it hits the phosphorus coating in the bulb a white glow is generated. On the other hand, the colored LED light you get from other products is propagated directly, is much brighter and comes from a narrow spectrum that is a much purer color.

A caller corrected Paul when he attributed a quote to Jefferson when it actually came from Ben Franklin. It was a quote about giving up a little bit of liberty for safety and deserving neither.

The caller also said that he upgraded his Mac OS from Snow Leopard to El Capitan. Now he gets frequent popups from the Java Developer Kit (JDK). Paul was perplexed about how it got on his machine in the first place. He suggested deleting it. Do a Google search on how to remove the Java Runtime. Time was running short so Glenn asked him to email the show so they’ll be reminded to follow up.

Last Updated 1:06 AM 1-24-2019

Jan 9, 2019

Jan - 09 2019 | no comments | By

On Air Shortly– 1 pm Pacific Time
Battery University!

PDF: Process in WPS, OR, Save to Google Drive & Open with Word Processor

Download video straight from YouTube etc..
https://www.youtubnow.com/ and a little about webm

Zen Tech is not Zantac (Text Dictation!)
– although we hope you turn to us if you are sick of technology!

Refurbish Old PCs && MACs with Windows? Linux Mint is Ideal, But….!

DVDStyler DVD movie authoring software for PC & Linux..!
A good example of simplicity competing with comprehensiveness and usability..
“If computers are so smart how come they do not know what we want?”

 


Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

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.

 

Paul was in the studio and Glenn called in.

 

Paul started off talking about how KVMR’s Community Calendar is displayed on his screen as he reads it. He said the way a screen appears is determined by markup not layout. Layout is more concrete and deals with things like how many inches and pixels and point size of text. Markup is a more general and determines how the elements of the page relate to each other — for example, H1 text is bigger than H2 text with out saying the exact size. He then introduced what’s called ‘responsive web design’, which makes a webpage readable on a small phone screen or a huge monitor.

Glenn saw the movie Aquaman the other night, He thought it was a pretty good movie and was impressed with some of the technology used in making it.

Paul found the Battery University website extremely interesting. <See the link above>. Going on he said that Lead-acid batteries (as in a car) leak current between the plates and will eventually become discharged, if they are left to stand unused. They also supply a tiny amount of current to the car’s radio so it can remember the preset stations. The car battery will not “do well” if the charge peak drops below 85% or 90%.

Paul bought a small solar panel of about 15 watts from Harbor Freight. He hooked it up to a battery to provide a trickle charge to make up any loss in charge from standing around for a long time. It’s perfect for his RV that doesn’t get much use. However, he cautioned listeners not to connect solar cells directly to a battery. It should first go thru a regulator.

He said “the peak natural voltage of a lead-acid battery that’s not being charged or discharged is somewhere around 12.7v”. So, from China you can get an LED display that will tell you if the battery needs charging, if it’s at peak charge or if it’s busy charging. He noted that if the alternator in the vehicle goes bad, it can pump too much current into the battery and damage it. <Presumably, the LED display will warn you about this.>

Recently Glenn had the battery in his iPhone replaced for $29.95, under a special program Apple created. The program covers the iPhone 6 and later. In later iPhones go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Battery’ to find out how much capacity is left. If it’s below about 80%, it’s time to think about replacing it, Paul said. If you replace the battery yourself or have it done by a third party, the battery won’t be as good as one furnished by Apple. The Apple battery will give you the best service lifetime — 80% capacity after about 3 years or 1000 charge cycles.
<The special Apple program was mentioned during the 1-10-18 and 10-24-18 shows>

Glenn has noticed that his refurbished iPhone 8 has been using up the battery at an unusual rate. Last Wednesday it went from 100% to about 16% in about 6 hours, without using it much. If it continues, he said he’ll have a chat with Apple. He thinks he may have turned on some feature that used a lot of current. Paul suggested he go to settings and find how much of the battery each app has used. In ‘Settings’ you can use the search box to find ‘battery’. He said IOS 12 and possibly IOS 11 has this search feature.

Glenn thought his mail service might been what was using up his battery. Paul suggested using ‘battery saver’ mode, which can be found the battery menu. This mode will suppress the push notifications from Skype, Facetime, email, etc.

When the guys went to the Apple Store at the Roseville Galleria to get the batteries replaced, they got the chance to examine a Tesla 3. It’s $47,000 out the door with up to $10,000 in rebates. But the federal rebate may be going away, Glenn said. The dashboard was very simple, just a 17″ touch screen display.

It has 7000 batteries similar to those in a laptop, probably NIMH Paul said. They are arranged in a big rectangle under the floorboard. And is has 4 electric motors, one in each wheel — the area under the hood and the trunk is available for storage. It comes with a charger and there are 10,000 charging stations in the US. The greatest distance between charging stations is 160 miles. The Tesla’s range is about 270 miles.

Paul chimed in to say that it takes 30 to 40 minutes to charge up at a charging station, which uses a high current that you won’t get at home. At home it will take about 10 hours using the standard 110v & 15 amps. 240v and 30 amps takes about 5 hours. Check with your utility as electricity rates can vary with the time of day.

In Asia and maybe Europe, Hyundai & Kai have a car similar to the Tesla in features with 310 mile range for $30,000. It will be available in the US some time this year, Glenn said.

The other question Paul asked the Tesla rep is what happens if you get stuck between the charging stations. He was told that Tesla has a charging truck that they will send out to juice up the battery. You should get plenty of warning before you run out and the navigation system will direct you to the closest station. Glenn vaguely remembered that Tesla offers free charging at their stations for the first 6 months.

Backtracking a bit, Glenn said having the battery replaced out of warranty is $49 for those with an iPhone 5se to the 8 Plus.

Talk turned to downloading videos from Youtube. There used to be plugins for Firefox and Chrome to download Youtube videos. But Youtube doesn’t want you to download so they tweak their service to discourage it and those plugins don’t work anymore. They’re not updated often enough to keep up with the changes at Youtube.

The site youtubnow.com lets you paste in the link to the Youtube page of the video you want to download and it gets the video for you to download.
<Though I haven’t used these for some time, keepvid.com is similar to the above. And the Dentex Youtube Downloader is an app for mobile (The apk is here)>

WebM is becoming a standard for streaming media. It comes from a consortium of companies like Youtube, Facebook, Microsoft, etc who wanted a royalty-free format that can play in HTML5. If you download a WebM video you’ll have a file that ends in .webm, which you can then play using VLC (Videolan). It’s a free program that will play many video and audio formats.
<More about Webm here>

Paul added that Youtubnow works with sites other that just Youtube. And it can extract and download just the audio.

If you have an older Mac to re-purpose with an Intel Core Duo, or Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, which are 32bit processors (later processors are 64bit), and as long as you have enough memory, you can boot and run Windows on it. You can buy a license key for Windows 7 from Microsoft. Or you can install it without a key, in which case it will nag you a lot. Or you can burn (on CD) a copy of Linux Mint, which is free.
<Linux Mint was mentioned in the 3-25-15 show>

Paul also mentioned DVD Styler for Linux and Windows (and possibly for Mac). It’s free and is used for burning DVD movies with many interesting options like making it start to play a some point other than the beginning.

Last Updated 12:55 AM 1-10-2019

Dec 26, 2018

Dec - 26 2018 | no comments | By

20 Year Public Domain Copyright Lapse at last!

Apple IOS 12.1.2 now has FRONT FLASH!

Baiting Competing Amazon

Non-Office Suite? Free?! WPS Office!
Compare To: OPENOFFICE and LIBREOFFICE

Keeping a crapload of Tabs open so you are Scared To Re Start?
Some Hints to Save Pages On Exit

 


 

Additional notes

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

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.

 

Paul started by talking about copyrights. On Jan 1 2019 for the first time in more than 20 years, copyrighted works will enter the public domain, which means the their copyrights expire. This is because 20 years ago the length of copyright protection was extended from 55 years to 75 years.

Public domain is different from Creative Commons and open source. Open source software can be amended by someone who isn’t the original author to create what’s called a fork of the original program.

A fork resulted when Open Office, a suite of programs similar to Microsoft Office, became Libre Office — “a more dynamic system, which had more updates and more features”, Paul said. He uses Libre Office because it’s “evolving somewhat faster”. The latest software suite that Paul found is WPS Office. <All are free. See the links at the top>.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can call in with their questions or comments during the show. The number in the studio is 530-265-9555. Or they can send email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Also, Glenn noted that for every donation to KVMR thru 12-31-18, Incredible Pets will donate 5 LBS of pet food to Nevada County Pets In Need. Go to kvmr.org to donate.

Paul said that registered non-profit organizations can go to techsoup.org to download legitimate versions of operating systems, like Windows 7, for very low cost. They will also be able to get the 2016 version of Microsoft Office. This is for 501C non-profit organizations.

Coming back to WPS Office, Paul said that it will automatically recognize .doc & .docx files and save in those formats too. It can dynamically produce .pdf files as well as open .pdf files to be read. WPS Office comes out of China, he added.

Paul went on to say that he’s been using Google Docs for a long time. With it you’ll can open .doc files and save them in the native Google documents format. So you don’t need to install software to handle .doc files that you get elsewhere.

You can upload .pdf files to the Google Docs directory <you’re given storage space for your documents.> And if the .pdf contains a graphic of some text, Google can perform OCR (optical character recognition) to extract and create plain text. He said he’s only been told this and hasn’t tried it yet.

Glenn said he’s been using pdfescape.com, which is free, to edit .pdf documents while online. He also noted that there’s free software called PDF Creator. Paul said “it becomes a print driver so you can print to a printer called PDF Creator”. Glenn said if you want to make a .pdf out of a webpage, for instance, it will “print” the page out to a file instead of an actual printer. You can then treat it like any other .pdf file.

With PDF Escape, Paul cautioned about uploading sensitive information you don’t want to be generally known. <That’s true for most situations where you’re working online.>

Paul said that in Apple’s IOS 12.1.2 the screen can light up and act like a flash when taking a picture with the front camera (the one pointing at the user, as in a selfie).

Paul talked about the situation where you have many tab open in your browser and you need to shut it down or restart your machine. How do you get those tabs back? If you are using Firefox, go to the 3-stripe icon in the upper right, go down to the cogwheel, find “restore previous sessions” and check the checkbox. There’s a similar option in Chrome in the settings menu.

Marilyn called. She has migrated to a machine with Windows 7 from Window XP machine. XP converted her 2002 Microsoft Office .docx files just fine but “it will not convert on my Windows 7”, she said. She has “to take it over to the XP computer, convert it and then bring it back”. <She installed Microsoft Office on the Win7 machine from the original CDs.>
– Paul said that there is an addon that allows an older version of Office to read newer versions of Word documents (.docx). The addon has to be downloaded separately, and he’s not sure it’s available anymore. It might be at oldsoftware.com. <I think he may have meant oldversion.com> Paul did a quick search and found what’s called Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 file format.
– Be sure you end up on the Microsoft site when you search for this kind of stuff or you may end up downloading something malicious.
– Paul thought she can try a converter — try the WPS word processor.
– Glenn suggested she save in the older .doc format rather than .docx. That also makes it easier to share the document with others who might have trouble with .docx.

Paul explained what’s special about the x in .docx. Microsoft decided to use the xml markup specification. Inside the .docx document is a template that that reports where all of the resources are (where the pictures, graphics, fonts, formatting are). You can experiment with a .docx file you’re willing to lose. Change the file name with .docx to .zip and unzip it. You can then pull out the contents, like fonts, he said.

One of the things Marilyn tried was to save her documents in an older format (2003). It was an .xlsx doc and it saved to an .xls file, but she still couldn’t get the Win7 machine, with Office reloaded from a CD, to open the file. Paul thought she needed to install the Office service packs on the Win7 machine. Google the words: latest service pack for office 2002. If it comes up saying it’s service pack 3, you may need to install the previous service packs (1 & 2) first. Installing Office from the CD onto her Win7 machine means its no longer able to update itself from Microsoft Updates, so she has to do it manually. In Word on the Win7 machine, go to Help -> About and it will say Microsoft Word 2002. If it says nothing else, no service packs are installed. If it says SP1 or SP2 or SP3, then those service packs are installed.

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

Paul had a tip for those needing to find the key for the software installed on their machine, like Microsoft Office. This might occur if you’ve lost the CDs. Go to belarc.com to get the free Belarc Adviser. It will tell you all sorts of info about your machine, including the keys use to install various software.

The guys raised the point that WPS Office comes from China and there may be fear of being spied on. Paul noted that everybody, including the US, spies on everyone else, and that it’s good to be suspicious of software no matter where it comes from. But he doesn’t mean to imply that WPS is malicious. You can get it at wps.com.

Glenn talked about how he saves passwords. He uses keywords like the word ‘home’. He gave an example where the word ‘home’ would refer to the street number of his first home, and he wants to use the number as the password. He then creates a contact for, say, KVMR, and he’ll enter ‘home’ in one of the fields. Now, if he needs to remember his password to log into KVMR, he’ll pull up the contact for KVMR. see the word ‘home’ and be reminded that the password is the number for the address.

Glenn said the new Apple IOS creates very a secure password. It asks you if you want to store it on your keychain. With the keychain all you need is your Apple ID.

Paul said Apple no longer sends you email to reset your Apple ID, they use security questions now. Be very careful how you answer those questions, he said. When Paul sets up answers for the security questions he doesn’t use capital letters or even use spaces between words. He doesn’t use punctuation and tries to keep it short. This makes it easier to remember — he doesn’t have to remember if he capitalized his father’s name, for instance.

Paul doesn’t seem to like third part utilities to handle passwords like One Password. He doesn’t know how trustworthy or secure they are. The company can be hacked and your password compromised.

Dana called. His screen died and someone gave him an ASUS monitor as a replacement. But it says “splendid demo” on the screen and it doesn’t go away.
– Disconnect it from the computer. If it persists, then you won’t be able to get rid of it.
– It won’t go away until a valid signal comes across.
– Unplug the monitor, shut down your computer, then reconnect the monitor, and start the computer. Then the operating system can determine the resolution of the screen.
– Windows 7 (what he’s using) and the monitor talk to each other thru a protocol called One Wire.
– Start Win7 while holding down the F8 key. <Paul didn’t seem to finish the thought>.
– If there is no wording on the screen when booting up the computer, then they aren’t talking to each other. Pull the connector out of the VGA socket and check the pins. Some may be bent.

Dana said it’s annoying to have “splendid demo” on the screen along with the game he’s playing. Paul apologized for assuming that nothing else was being displayed. That means another round of trouble shooting, but they’ve reached the end of the broadcast. Paul is going to look into it some more. And at the very end he found a Youtube video on how to deal with it. <Maybe he searched for the words: ASUS splendid demo>.

Last Updated 1:18 AM 12-27-2018

Dec 12, 2018

Dec - 12 2018 | no comments | By

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.|
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
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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.

 

Paul spent some time talking about converting VHS videotapes to a newer format. There is a device available that can extract the video as it comes thru the left & right audio and the yellow composite video leads. This device costs 6 or 7 dollars and plugs into the USB port of the computer & the other side has the inputs for the 3 leads that come from the VHS player or video camera. You’ll end up with an .mp4 or .mpg file. These are compressed video file formats that are generated at the rate of about 1 gig for every hour of the original video.

You can then upload a video to Youtube and set it as being private so it’s not visible to just anybody. If you want to allow someone to see it, you can just send them the Youtube link.

On the other hand, you can’t just burn one of these files to a DVD disk. It may play back on some computers but most will fail.

Some Macs have IDVD that allows you to author these disks.

Paul has a friend who converted videotapes to DVDs. There wasn’t much content on each DVD so he asked Paul to combine everything onto a single DVD. He was given 10 DVD disks each with about 30 minutes of video.

When you open a DVD you made yourself (a generic DVD, not one you bought at the store), you’ll find a folder called video_ts. By the way, DVD stands for digital versatile disk, not digital videodisk and is meant to be a large capacity storage medium on which you can store any file. Though it never caught on, there is a format for storing audio on the disks and they would be stored in the folder audio_ts.

So you open the DVD and in the folder video_ts and you’ll find many files, some ending in the letters ‘vob’. You can double click one of these files and play it in a player like VLC. These files are video files in the format of mpeg2 (motion picture experts group type 2). Some of the other files are additional information that let you skip around and move back & forth in the vob files while you’re playing them. Without this additional info, you won’t be able to move the slider button and the time indicator may show a bogus value.

Paul tried to edit his friend’s video to cut out the blank areas and found that a special program was needed. One is called Handbrake, which works on the PC, Mac and Linux. You first have to convert the vob files into something else. Paul chose .mp4. The .mp4 is a highly compressed format that you can put directly on your website. When a modern browser using HTML5 displays the webpage with the link to that file and the user clicks on the link, the browser knows how to play the video.

Another way to get usable video off of the DVD is with an extractor like FFMPEG Native. It’s a very versatile program that can convert between many formats. The drawback for some people is that it’s a command line program. Like the good old days of DOS, you type in the instructions that you want the program to execute. It’s not to bad in this case. You can type ‘ffmpeg -i filename.vob output .mp4’, where filename.vob is the file you’re converting. <I’m guessing that he meant to say something like type: ffmpeg -i filename.vob -o .mp4>.

Continuing, Paul said that .mp4 is a good format for the final product, but it’s not the best if you want to do more editing — special effects, cuts, fades, dissolves etc.

These programs are free, Paul noted. Glenn added that the program Gimp is a free editing program for photos, and an alternative to Photo Shop. But Paul said it doesn’t do everything Photo Shop does and is not a replacement for it, but it still very useful.

The back of a modern TV has many inputs, among which is a USB port. If you plug in a USB flash drive containing videos, music or pictures, you can play those thru the TV. On some TVs you can play .mp4 videos. And if you name the videos for their content — holidayinspain.mp4 or wedding1996.mp4 — navigating the files is much easier. The order in which the videos are played depends on how the TV is programmed. Often it will be in alphabetical order. So you can rename your files to start with a_, b_, c_ or 1_, 2_, 3_ etc., in the order you want them to play.

Glenn said he was helping a friend put his videos on a 64 gig flash drive and found his TV wouldn’t play it. Eventually, they had to use 8 gig drives before the TV could play them. Check the specs of the TV before you make a commitment to using a particular size drive, he said. In this case the flash drives were to be sent to family members over seas.

Paul said it’s true of older equipment that larger drives can be a problem. It’s not that the engineers couldn’t anticipate that larger drives would eventually become available, but that the standards for accessing the larger drives weren’t agreed to until much later, when they went into production.

Paul talked about smart TVs that can be connected to the internet, You can store your videos on the web using Youtube, for instance, or your own website. You can then use a web browser, of course, or the Youtube app to play them. But many current TVs come with a Youtube app or Roku that can play the videos. And then there are plugin devices like Chromecast and Apple TV that you can also use.
<The Chromecast app is here>

Moving on, Paul said Google Drive is available on Android devices & iPhones. Google gives you 15gigs of storage for your videos <or other data>. Once you have uploaded some content, you can click on the folder containing the videos and share the link with anyone by typing their email address. That person can then view or download the video. Google Drive is a good way of distributing content. To be able to download; one needs a Google account, which is free. The guys have used Google Drive to great advantage over the years.

Glenn said he use both Gmail & Yahoo for email. His Yahoo account is for those casual things that won’t compromise privacy like signing up somewhere to get a discount coupon. Paul said he dislikes Yahoo but if you’re going to use it, get the mobile app as it does a somewhat better job. The app will also work for users of SBC Global, which uses Yahoo. Glenn mentioned that Gmail also has an app for its service.
<Yahoo app is here. This might be the one for iPhone>

Paul said that on the iPhone and probably on the Android, “when you create and log in to your Yahoo account with the settings under email, you can add more than one account”. Then “when you synchronize it, there is a bunch of little slider switches” that set exactly what you want to synch — like the calendar and contacts. But if you import contacts and you already have contacts on the iPhone, you can end up with 2 records for the same person and there is no easy way to remove them. Turning off the synchronization won’t make the duplicates go away.

Something similar happens on the iPhone when you use the Facebook app. But in this case, if you have synch turned on, it can drag in a bunch of other stuff from Facebook on to the iPhone.

Glenn talked about a problem he has while using his iPhone, iPad and Mac Mini. When he logs out of Facebook and later clicks an link in an email notification that says, for example, “David sent you something about their anniversary party last night”, he is taken to Facebook and automatically logged in there. He asked Paul how to stop that. Paul said, “the Facebook app requires a login. When you log out of the Facebook app, you haven’t been logged out of the account that’s been set up for Facebook”…”The reason for that is it logs you in without actually being able to show you the Facebook content. The only purpose behind it is to deliver notifications synchronize contacts”.

Paul added, “there is one single useful feature about creating a Facebook account login on your iPhone and that is if you synchronize calendars, all those events that come up that are a myriad of events all going around here in Nevada County”…”if you synchronize a calendar, they come up with a colored event in your iPhone calendar”. Unlike synching contacts, if you turn off the synching, the events will go away, you have an actual Ical link. <You can subscribe to other Ical calendars and the events will blend in with the calendar on your phone, and disappear when you unsubscribe, as I understand it.>

Glenn had the problem of multiple contacts showing up when he got an iPad some time ago and Apple told him they didn’t have a solution. But it was suggested that he export the contact list from the iPad and then import it to Google Contacts, because Google has a tool to eliminate duplicate entries or to merge entries that were only similar. He found that very useful.

Glenn said that some time ago, on another show, Mikail talked about a $30 tool to coordinate things without having to use the cloud for synching.
<That was at the end of the 9-12-18 show. The program is called Power Photos from Fat Cat Software>

Paul & Glenn both have upgraded their Apple device to IOS 12.1. And Paul mentioned on a previous show that the new Facetime made it tricky to flip the camera. “You had to hit 2 or 3 different things and you couldn’t see the camera, so a slider would come up on the screen”…”instead of showing what’s in front of the iPhone I want to show what’s behind the iPhone. You had to go thru several hoop to do that”. That was one of the things fixed in the latest version 12.1.1, you just tap on the screen to flip the camera.

Paul had a tip for iPhone users who have trouble positioning the cursor in the text they are editing. Hold your finger down on the spacebar and you will get what looks like a mouse pad that you can then use to move the cursor.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can call in with questions or comments at 530-265-9555.

Some time ago Paul suggested the Clean Sweep app for the Android to purge unnecessary files. It’s a widely used app from China, but it has a problem. It’s not a security issue. “It would hook into the system and artificially grab credit for your download of other apps that didn’t belong to it”, Paul said. Developers get a kickback from Google if their apps are installed and the makers of Cleansweep were raking in the money, instead. Google hasn’t removed the app or disabled it on all user devices (a killbit). Paul suggested that users delete the app on their devices. He didn’t have suggestion for a replacement. <CM Security Master has a cleaning function and there’s also CleanMaster.>
<Other apps involved in a similar scam are listed in this article: Android Ad Scam Hijacks Phones; Drains Data, Battery>

Glenn read 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.

Brian called about a problem with his printer. He had called about it some time ago and was told how to make it the default printer. He wanted to be reminded how to do that because the default got changed. Brian said others use the computer and Glenn thought that the other person selected a different printer and the default automatically changed. Paul said the setting can be reached by clicking the Start button (lower left) -> Control Panel -> Devices and Printers and look at the list of printers. The one that’s the default will have a check mark. If you need to change it, right-click on the one you want and choose it as the default.

WordPress has gone to version 5. It now uses a different editor called Gutenberg. Paul doesn’t like it but “not all hope is lost”. He’ll talk more about it on the next show.

Glenn has a friend who got the latest iPad (6th generation) and it will only communicate using iMessage. It won’t use the phone number or email to communicate with non-Apple products. Paul said, “it will only be able to receive text messages that come thru the other device. So something has to receive the text message and it would be another device like the iPhone. So the text comes into the iPhone. That iPhone, under settings, has to be configured in such a way that it shares its messaging with the iPad. So when the iPad sees the text message it’s not because the iPad got a text message, it’s because the iPhone got it and shared it with the iPad.” Paul thought the setting on the iPhone is under Settings -> Messages or iMessage. “It should know about the iPad as long as the iPad is signed in to the same iCloud account. And that way the phone has to be on and the text message and even voice calls will pop up on the iPad.” Glenn looked at his phone and found the correct path to the setting: Settings -> Messages -> Text Message Forwarding.

Paul said that when you get a new device, rename it in a sensible way. “If you migrate all your settings from the iPhone 5 to your iPhone 6 and you called your iPhone 5 “iPhone 5″, that’s its name when it when it goes over to iPhone 6. So watch out for that one, that will bite you”. When you get a new device, give it a new unique name, Glenn said.

Changelog:
added link to a program Glenn said Mikail mentioned on a previous show for offloading pictures from your phone.
added link to article — check for apps you may have on your phone that are used to scam advertisers

Last Updated 10:03 PM 12-19-2018

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