Oct 10, 2018

Oct - 10 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.
– 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 and Glenn were in the studio today.


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.

Glenn read a message saying “my iPhone contents may have been lost in the IOS 12 upgrade”. Paul has already done the upgrade on his iPhone but Glenn hasn’t. Glenn said there are 2 or 3 ways to do the upgrade and Paul went into some details.

Paul said it’s often quite hard to go back to an older version of IOS, after you’ve done an upgrade on an iPhone and realized you don’t like it.

When the iPhone first came out, you had to cable it to your computer to do the upgrade. Now it is capable of doing the upgrade thru a wireless connection. An iPhone as old as the 5S can be upgraded to IOS 12.

If you’re using iCloud, it will backup your contacts, reminders, tasks, etc. but that doesn’t mean you have a legitimate snapshot of your machine”, Paul said.

Paul did the IOS 12 upgrade on his iPhone 6 with 16gigs of memory most of which was occupied. 2gigs of free memory is needed to do the upgrade. He tried to free up enough memory but in the end decided to cable it to his computer and use iTunes to do the upgrade.

Doing it this way requires the latest version of iTunes. If it’s an older version, “strange things will happen” and you won’t be warned that your iTunes is too old. Paul said that he doesn’t think this is the reason the listener lost her data.

So, start with the latest iTunes (on either a PC or Mac), a reliable cable and the phone to be upgraded. If you connect the iPhone and iTunes doesn’t open automatically, you’ll have to start it up manually. It then will show a popup telling you an upgrade is available.

If there is no popup, look for the logo representing your phone on the bar. There may be logos for your other devices, so choose the correct logo. When you click on that, it will give you the chance to back up your device onto iCloud, which you don’t want to do according to Paul, or to back up to the computer (do tick that check box). You are then asked if you want to encrypt the backups — Paul doesn’t encrypt the backups because “it causes problems”.

At that point it will go thru a long process to take a snapshot of just about anything that’s on your iPhone. It can take 10 to 15 minutes. If it then says your phone was successfully backed up and tells you the name & date of the backup, you’ll be given the option to “restore” the phone, which wipes the phone clean. This is what Paul chose in his case because there was too little free memory.

Paul thought that the listener who wrote in might have gotten to this point, where the phone was wiped clean. After the upgrade, you can then restore your backup from the computer, if you did the backup there, or at least restore from whatever had been backed up on iCloud.

Glenn previously helped someone to change their cellular carrier and he had to go back and turn on iMessage and a few other things. Paul said some things get turned off when you upgrade the iPhone, get a different iPhone or change the carrier by putting in a different SIM card.

Paul threw in a seemingly unrelated but useful tip — you can take a screen shot on the iPhone by pushing both the home & power buttons.

As he said before, it’s more desirable to use cable, whether for backups or network connections, rather than wi-fi, for security and other reasons. Pre-cut Ethernet cables are pretty cheap and are more reliable than making them yourself with a crimping tool.

Paul talked a bit about IOS 12. It has the feature called Screen Time, which shows you the percentage of all your time spent that went to social media, work applications, etc. And it has parental control settings to limit use of social media. IOS 12 will ask you if you want to set up Screen Time. Paul said he would answer ‘no’ to begin with. He said that even if you answer no, it’s “still logging stuff”.

With IOS 12, that really long list under ‘Settings’ now has a search box to help find the setting you’re looking for.

Paul noticed his iPhone 6 runs a bit faster with IOS 12. However, he put it in there by “reloading and refreshing the iPhone, which may in itself have sped it up”. Apple claims better battery performance and Paul seem to think it’s true, but he hasn’t done rigorous testing.

Android is up to version 9, which they call “Pie”. Upgrading your Android device varies by manufacturer because each vendor makes changes to customize it for their devices. Paul pointed out that just because you can upgrade doesn’t mean you should. His old Nexus tablet is running version 6 and it’s working just fine.

Gary called. He heard on last show about recharging batteries at 2amps and pointed out that lithium polymer batteries will last the longest if they are charged at the lowest rate. It’s the heat from the charging that limits the battery lifetime, Paul said. Lithium polymer are older that lithium metal hydride batteries and didn’t reach the mainstream until complex regulatory chips were put onboard that kept track of current, voltage, temperature and the time of charging. Paul agreed with Gary that charging at lower amperage will help prolong the battery lifetime.

From China you can get a USB device that goes between a 5volt wall charger and the USB cable that will show you what current is coming thru, but it doesn’t let you control the amount of current. Some chargers do let you change the current. For example, Paul has a charger with 2 2amp sockets and 2 1amp sockets.

The other tip to prolong the battery life, if you storing it or just not using it much, is to keep it half charged, not fully charged or fully discharged. The other thing is to keep it in a cool place but not in a fridge and definitely not in a freezer.

Glenn was at Costco in the Bay Area and saw a Sky Phantom Wi-Fi FPV Drone for $30. FPV stands for first person view or first person video, meaning “you see what it sees”. That’s opposed to being able to only record the video into memory and then to read the memory when the drone comes back.

Paul said Wi-fi can be interfered with easily and doesn’t have a big range so you need to find out what happens when you lose the wi-fi connection. The quadcopter Paul has will throttle back and slowly descend when its wi-fi gets out of range.

Paul suggested people avoid buying drones that are controlled only by a smart phone. The one Glenn saw has a hand controller to which you can attach a phone for viewing the images the drone is sending.

Scott called to say that according to an email from Tech Connect Daily <maybe it’s this>. Apple is forcing users to buy Apple Care because, if something goes wrong and you try to fix it yourself, it will shut down a Mac Book and not allow you to restart it. Paul vaguely recalled hearing something like that regarding the latest Mac Books — they are not third party serviceable. Paul thought it’s nominally illegal to make things that only the company can fix. Paul thought it might have something to do with security, not allowing you to “monkey with any of the parts of it to get into anything”.

Paul suggested that people find out just which models are subject to this new policy and avoid buying them. Instead, get refurbished or recycled Macs.

Paul left us with something to be paranoid about. The Chinese are making what Paul calls snoopy chips, which are tiny bits of silicon that fit into the plug of an Ethernet cable and draw power from it. The chips watch for certain types of signals and, when the right time comes, send the data to predetermined internet address.
<China used tiny chips on US computers to steal secrets: report>

Also,motherboards have been found with embedded chips the size of a grain of rice.

Finally, there’s a hack that can compromise a hard drive. Every hard drive has a 4-pin J-tag connector or 5-pin firmware connector that developers use to monitor and control what happens between the bus signals and the hard drive. It’s possible to change the firmware in such a way that it will snoop on the traffic and send it out.

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

added link to article about Chinese ‘snoopy’ chip

Last Updated 12:45 AM 10-12-2018

Sep 26, 2018

Sep - 26 2018 | no comments | By

Glen will Call In; Paule Castro back from extensive travels- a bit about this On the Air.

Latest Google Chrome quietly forcing you to Log In– HOw to Fix.
Or– Use Something Else! or, nothing at all

Lightning Connector (iPhone 5 and up, Etc) Corrosion Issues. USB C any better? Dunno.

MacOS “Mojave” (10.14) up from High Sierra (10.3.x) released today Sep 24 2018.
Read More Here do you need or want this? YOU decide. But– patience!
It Won’t Run on anything older than about 2012, rather than approx 2010 for its predecessor.


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.


Paul was in the studio today. Glenn called in.


Paul started off by noting that many old TV ads, commercials and shows have been digitized and now reside on Youtube.

Talk quickly turned to web browsers. “It’s virtually impossible to use Chrome without logging in”, Glenn said. That’s not a big problem. But not logging out can be a problem because, if you don’t, the next person using Chrome on the same machine is able to “see your information, see your account”. He said he’s never been clear on how to log out.

Glenn had tried Chome some time back on his 32bit notebook, but said the latest version of Chrome is only for the 64bit machines. Paul said you can find out what version you have by clicking on the icon with 3 horizontal bars -> Help -> About.

The new version of Chrome is 69 and prompts you to log in or log in as a guest, but doesn’t let you continue unless you do. One way around it is to create an anonymous profile on every machine you use. But creating a guest account limits its function in a number of ways. Chrome is the most popular browser “from the point of view of the number of people, in general, using” it, Paul added.

Mentioned on previous shows is the website oldversion.com. Apparently, you can get an older version of Chrome, but Google doesn’t want you to do that. “It’s quite possible that Google will stop talking to you if you’re not nice to them by [not] using what they want you to use”. It’s also possible that “some things may stop working”, Paul said. Glenn added that older versions won’t have the latest security fixes, and security is one of features driving Chrome’s popularity.

Paul said that different brands of browsers have varying degrees of security. The lowest in rank is Internet Explorer & Edge, which comes with Windows 10. You should do some research to find the browser that’s best for what you do. It’s less the case now that websites will refuse to talk to certain browsers for security reasons, but if you do banking with an older browser, you may still find that’s a problem. Paul said he’ll continue using Firefox.

Paul started suggesting the use of an ad blocker call Ublock Origin, it’s the most effective blocker at this time. But if you sign in as a guest with Chrome, it won’t work, You’ll “have to then add Ublock Origin back to the guest profile”.
<There’s more about Ublock Origin in the 2-8-17 show notes.
The Wikipedia article is here>

Having to sign in to Chrome has some advantage — you get back your settings from the previous sessions when you use it again. There is also a separate synch setting which stores the settings that you used before, so if “you sign in *and* synch somewhere else, all your bookmarks go too”, Paul said, and he doesn’t like that. So far, signing in and synching are kept separate, but it may be only a matter of time before they are combined. See the “How to Fix” link at the top of this page. It talks about changing the configuration settings of Chrome, which may not carry over the next time you update Chrome.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can send email to the show with questions or comments by using zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul talked about his recent European trip. He spent 2 weeks in Budapest Hungary. And the 8 hour flight that took him thru Stockholm & Sweden interested him in going to visit those countries.

He took his drone aircraft on his visit to Iceland and took a lot of aerial footage. He said he might post some of it to his Youtube channel. Glenn wondered if he had any trouble traveling with a drone. Paul said there were no problems because security personnel are used to seeing them. He just had to be sure it met the dimension requirements for carry-on.

He flew to Iceland from England on a Hungarian airline called Wizz Air for about $45. And for less than $200 he flew on Wow Air from Reykjavik in Iceland to San Francisco.

If you want to know if the discount airline you’re about to use is safe,

federal & European regulations require that on the door jam, as you go in, is a prominent plate with the manufacturing date of the plane. <as I surmise from his fragmented sentence>. All of the planes he flew on were A320 & A330s less than 18 months old

The airlines hold down costs by not serving food and discouraging luggage handling. They try to fill up all of the seats with online booking. The airlines lease just a couple types of planes so pilots need to be trained only on them, allowing the pilots to be easily reassigned routes. The planes are new and therefore fuel-efficient. They often use second tier airports, avoiding much of the tax paid to airports. Contrary to myth, leg room is not cramped.

Paul noted that cell phone service in every country is cheaper than in the US. Glenn asked about using SIM cards in other countries.

Paul said you can buy SIM cards at giffgaff.com. If you buy a card in a particular country, you get a phone number in that country. If you get a card in a country that’s part of the European community, you can call any number in another country in the European for free as long as you don’t call from the country where you bought the card. E.g. you bought a UK SIM card and you’re calling from Iceland, you can call another EU community country for free, but it will cost you to call from the UK. The remedy is to use the data part of the account with apps like Whatsapp or Skype or Facebook Messenger — all of which allow free calls.

The SIM card Paul got from Giff Gaff cost him about $20 and took about 3 minutes to setup. Be sure you have an unlocked phone — one that’s not under contract to AT&T, for instance. Paul got 8gig of data, unlimited calls & text with the SIM card he bought.

The guys talked about corrosion issues with the Lightning connector on the iPhone. Glenn bought a magnetic connector to avoid the problem, which worked fine until the magnets picked up some metal shavings from being on the floor of his car. Paul too has had problems with Lightning connector, even using Apple branded cables. He said there is a temptation to wiggle the cable to get a better connection. But be careful, the socket on the phone is expensive to replace if you ruin it, whereas the cable itself is relatively cheap.

Paul said that people expect gold plated connectors would not have connection problems. But if you charge at a high current rate (2 Amps or so), as he does, you can, if you look with a magnifier, get some corrosion in the gold plate. Gentle use of a pencil eraser (not Emory board) on the gold plate can restore it. Also look for cords with a braided sheath, not cheap plastic.

Brian called. He said he called the show a couple of month ago about a problem with his printer/scanner. The suggestion he got fixed his problem. His new problem is that his computer, with Windows 7, shuts itself off a lot — if he stops using it for about 15 minutes.
– It may be trying to save power and is not able to recover itself. Go to Settings -> Control Panel -> power options and turn off all of the power saving options (the ones that tell it when to shut the screen down or when to shut down the hard drive, etc.)
– Use a program called Speedfan, which looks at the speed of the cooling fan, the voltages on the motherboard, the temperatures of the CPU and motherboard. Anything over about 60 C may cause the computer to shut down. You can also put your nose next to the vents to “smell heat” or feel with your hand if it’s uncomfortably warm.
– The manufacturer may have an update for the BIOS.
– The sleep options used to be called State 1, State 2 and State 3. Google the words: s1 s2 s3.

Apple has released the Mojave operating system, version 10.14. It requires the Mac to be of 2012 vintage or newer. The previous version, High Sierra (10.13), can be installed on machines from around 2010. Paul suggested waiting to do the upgrade while you read the reviews at apple.com/macos/mojave.

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>

Last Updated 10:08 PM 9-26-2018

Sep 12, 2018

Sep - 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.
– 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 Beck from the “Colors” album. I think the track was “Wow


Mikail Graham was alone in the studio today. He talked mostly about Apple products.


Apple had a presentation today to introduce new iPhones. To those thinking of buying an iPhone, he said to hang tight for a while because the pricing has “just changed”. Prices on iPhones 7 & 8 are way down now and start at around $350 $450. What used to cost around $1000 is now about $650

The new stuff:
iPhone XR is replacing the iPhone 8 & 8+. It has edge to edge display and has the face ID that was popular last year with the iPhone 10.

The new iPhone XS is replacing the iPhone 10. It will come in 64gig 256gig & 512gig versions. They will go for $999, $1149 & $1340. It comes in 3 colors — silver, gold and space gray. It’s a little faster with a better camera.

He said he’s still using an iPhone 6S and is quite happy with it.

iPhone 10 costs $999 for 64gig & $1149 for the 256gig.
iPhone 8 used to cost $699 for 64gig & $849 for 256gig.
iPhone 8+ was $100 more expensive for each of those memory options.
iPhone XR is the entry model of this years iPhone lineup.

iPhone XS and XS Max is the same phone in different screen sizes. It has a better display, better camera and better materials — stainless steel. He thought they will be available on the 9/17/18; shipping starts around 9/21/18. The XR comes in 6 finishes red, yellow, blue, gold, black, white.
<Meet Apple’s newest smartphone: The iPhone XS
Summary of the Apple event
Tips on what to do with the old phone when you upgrade>

If you want something cheaper, the iPhone 7 now costs $449 & the iPhone 8 is $599. He thinks those prices are for the 64gig phones, but wasn’t 100% sure. He said the iPhone 7 or 8 are just a fine choice.

The iPhone operating system IOS 12, Grandmaster, also came out today and should be available next week. It brings performance improvements/features to and is compatible with iPhone 10, 8, 8+, 7, 7+, 6S, 6S+, 6, 6+, SE, 5S, 12.9″ iPad Pro first & second generation. 10.5″ iPad Pro, 9.7″ iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 5th generation, iPad mini 4 3 & 2 and iPod Touch 6th generation.
< New features available with iOS 12>

Mikail invited listeners to call during the show with questions and comments at 530-265-9555

A new Apple watch came out today, too. It has IOS 5,
– It can produce an electrocardiogram (ECG).
– It can tell if you’ve fallen. And depending on how you fell, it can make an emergency phone call.
|- It can tell if your heartbeat is irregular.
– It has a 35% bigger screen.

A caller wanted to know the website for the railroad event in Colfax. <mentioned during the Community Calendar at the top of the hour.> Mikail said the calendar is available online. When he looked at the calendar again it just said Colfax Railroad Days, there was no website listed. All it said is “at Colfax Railroad Days”. It will be this Saturday 10am to 6pm and on Sunday 10am to 5pm on Main Street in downtown Colfax.

Mikail mentioned Apple TV. He thinks it’s one of the best streaming devices. He’s used a Roku for a long tim and said it’s more “open”, but there are aspects to the way Apple TV works that lets him experiment with cord cutting (shift away from cable TV).

5G (the next generation cellular connection) is not supported by any of the new Apple phones. The Chinese company Huawei is expected to be the first to support 5G on their Android phones. The 5G signal is a more “concentrated from of energy” but doesn’t go a long distance, so it requires more cell towers for good coverage. It is much faster, ideally it will be “much faster than broadband in some ways”.

Sacramento is one of the cities where Verizon will roll out 5G. An announcement is expected in a month. It will cost $50 for current Verizon users and $70 for new subscribers. But Mikail said it’s “not 5G, they’re just trying to get you in to go for it and start testing it”; there are no 5G devices yet. He also said that there’s still debate about the health effects of cell phone radiation.

Mikail offered a tip to those who’ve spilled liquid into their computer. He said to make sure the power is off and don’t try to power it up. Don’t think you can just dry it out and it will be ok. Take it in for service.

He related a story about a friend who spilled some beer in to their Mac Book Air. Mikail referred them to a tech for service but his friend waited 2 weeks before taking it in. By that time, the sugar from the alcohol had corrupted the motherboard. This story pointed to the advantage of having Apple Care.

He said there is Apple Care and Apple Care Plus. A new Apple device comes with 1 year Apple Care warranty and 90 days of phone support. You can pay an additional fee to extend the warranty, in which case you’ll have Apple Care Plus. You don’t have to buy Apple Care Plus at the time you buy the device — you have 60 days to decide (30 days if you’re in Japan).

If you buy it later, you’ll have to run a diagnostic test to be sure it’s in good working order. This can be done remotely by Apple or you can take it into a shop. The Apple Care Plus warranty period is counted from the date of purchase even if you waited the 60 days to buy it.

You can check your warranty coverage by going to Apple and giving them the serial number of device. To find the serial number on a Mac go to “About this Mac”. On an Apple mobile device go to Settings -> General -> About and scroll down. Then on the Apple site, search for the page titled “Check Your Service and Support Coverage” and enter your serial number there. You can also buy Apple Care & Apple Care Plus for refurbished Apple devices.

A caller from Taipei said the warranty options there are similar to the Japanese — 30 days to buy Apple Care Plus.

Mikail related a story that happened years ago about an iPhone 3GS he bought and took with him to London. He plugged it in to charge and it got fried. He was distraught for days. He finally got to an Apple store where they looked up the serial number and immediately replaced the phone with no questions asked, because he had Apple Care. He also told another story about the speedy service he got from Apple in fixing a Mac, because of Apple Care.

The cost for Apple Care starts at about $99 for an iPhone, depending in the model, and $120 for the “Plus size”. And its about $199 for the new iPhone X. Apple Care Plus for the SE iPhone is $99. For the 6S 7 & 8 it’s $129. For the “plus size phones” it’s $149. For the iPhone X & XS it’s $199.

You can also go with a SquareTrade waranty. It costs about the same, maybe a little less. They cover not only phones but also other electronic equipment. Mikail said he’s gotten good service from them.

Apple Care for iPads is $99 for 2 year coverage. There is a service fee of $29 for a broken screen. For a Mac Mini it’s $99. An iMac is $169 for 3 years of coverage. The iMac Pro is $169, The Mac Pro is $249, The Mac Book is $249. The Mac Book Air is $249. The 13″ Mac Book Pro is $269. The 15″ Mac Book Pro is $379.

A caller with an iPhone 6 wanted to know how much better the cameras are in the later models like the iPhone 8 10 or 10X. Mikail said the difference is pretty dramatic. With the 6S it’s only slightly better. But with the iPhone 7 it’s so much better that he would recommend upgrading if picture quality were a big deal for you. And the iPhone 8 is even better, especially the Plus version, because they have a dual lens camera. Also the 8 has a true optical zoom, rather than digital zoom. He would recommend the iPhone XR to the caller ($749 for the 64gig model), even though it doesn’t have a dual lens and the screen is regular LED not OLED.

When you buy a new iPhone you have 15 days to try it out. “If you don’t like it, bring it back and get your money back”.

Next, Mikail talked about managing photos. He doesn’t like iPhoto or the Photos app. He prefers Image Capture or Imazing (mentioned on the 8-29-18 show) to pull the photos off his phone directly into a folder. And then there a program called Power Photos from Fat Cat Software for about $30. It allows you to import the photos into 1 library using a lot of the tools that Apple left out.

Last Updated 10:58 PM 9-12-2018

Aug 29, 2018

Aug - 29 2018 | no comments | By

There were no Zen Tech shows for both Wed 8-8-18 and 8-22-18


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 < >

The KVMR audio archive wasn’t working right as I post these notes. Audio for today’s program, if it shows up, and recent shows will be here.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Mikail Graham joined Glenn in the studio today.


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.

According to Mikail, Apple is about to announce a huge lineup of new products, “so they say”. 3 new iPhones are expected. The announcement is expected on Wed Sep 12.

He got a question from a user whose friend has an iPhone 6 with 16gigs of memory. The user wondered if his friend needed to buy a new iPhone just to get more memory. Yes, sadly, that is the way it works, Mikail said.

Mikail then went on to describe a card that plugs into the Lightning connector to which you can then add flash memory. The unit Glenn got is an all-in-one unit that plugs into the lightning connector and it has the flash memory inside giving him an extra 32gigs. <I’m guessing that the iPhone 6 doesn’t have a lightning port.>

But Glenn encountered a problem with his new flash memory unit. His intent was to transfer all of his photos to the flash drive, but it only allowed him to transfer 200 of them and he wasn’t allowed to choose which photos. He said he’ll do more research to resolve the problem.

Mikail asked what brand it is. Glenn thought it was Lexar, but wasn’t completely sure. The unit Mikail ordered for himself is a 128gig San Disk.

Mikail recommended that people get the phone model with the most memory when they go shopping for a phone, no matter what the brand, but especially Apple “because you can’t change it after the fact”. 64gig is the minimum you should consider, he added.

Glenn thanked 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.>

Mikail read the disclaimer this time:
The views and opinions expressed on this show are those of the speakers, being Glenn and I and any guest that might call in, and do not reflect the management, staff or any of the people here.

Mikail highly recommends Imazing, which he’s been using for about 3 years. It’s a backup program that runs on the PC or Mac <he was ambiguous about whether it runs on the iPhone, but it looks like it does>. It can back up everything, not just what Apple allows. It sells for about $39.99 and occasionally goes on sale. On the PC you can bypass iTunes completely, he said. With iTunes you can only add music the way it lets add the music, Imazing frees you from that constraint. It’s one of the best investments he can recommend for IOS users, and support from the company is good. There is a demo you can download for free.

Mikail mentioned that the new operating system for the Mac called Mojave is coming out soon. But he said to stay away from it for a while until it gets a couple of updates to fix things. He waited until April of 2018 to cautiously switch to High Sierra.

Mikail is a beta tester of Apple products. If you’d like to become a beta tester, google the words: apple beta test.

He’s run IOS 12 for a while and it improved the battery usage significantly. Also, it runs on all phones that IOS 11 runs on — all the way back to the iPhone 5S. IOS 12 is snappier — windows open faster, apps open faster and the responsiveness is much better. But he stopped using it because some things didn’t work — the home automation thru iCloud or Home Kit, for example.

To automate his house, he bought a Logitech hub for about $75. It can handle 8 to 15 devices, depending on the remote you have. It can control the home lighting, AC/heating & TV viewing, for example.

One of the new things in IOS 12 is an app that lets you teach Siri to “do all kinds of different things”. For example he’ll be able to tell Siri that he’s going to KVMR to do his radio show and Siri will know to turn off the lights & TV and turn on the porch light. Then when he gets to KVMR, Siri will remind him what he needs to do. <Similar to what Google Assistant does, as I understand it.> Unfortunately, Siri still seems to have problems understanding commands when used in a car, as Glenn mentioned on a previous show.

Paul sent a text (txt) to the show saying he won’t call in, but wanted to say hello from Budapest Hungary, where he just arrived.

Kate called about a problem she has with her iPhone concerning email. She uses iCloud, Gmail and SBC Global for email. The iCloud and Gmail accounts work ok. However, SBC would seem to load the mail and say you have 74 messages but nothing would open up. She was on the phone with the iPhone help desk for 2 hours last night but nobody was able to help her.
– A quick fix suggested by Mikail is to go to your SBC account and set up a mail forwarding to the Gmail address, so all of the SBC mail is forwarded to the Gmail account. That way you don’t have to abandon SBC mail and then have to notify everyone that you’ve changed to a different email address.
– He recommend using the Gmail app. It works with other email services including SBC, not just Gmail. And when replying, you can tell it to to use the address the email came from (SBC) or your Gmail address.
– Go into Setting -> Email -> Accounts & Passwords, then check to see if Yahoo <meant SBC? – are they the same?> is looking for a password.
– Also check to see if the Yahoo <SBC?> account is using IMAP or POP. If it’s IMAP, you can log out and then log in again and “everything will repopulate”. Often that will rest everything so it will start working again. She said she did that but the problem persists.

Art called. He has an older Toshiba laptop that was able to play DVDs until he upgraded to Windows 10. He was told that Microsoft has a new program that plays DVDs. He’s tried other players like VLC but no luck.

He went into Device Manager and clicked on the drive, and it said “Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information in the registry is incomplete or damaged. Code 19”
– The driver is not installed correctly, Mikail thought. But Art searched for and installed the latest drivers.
– Its possible the DVD drive is no longer supported.
– Try going to the Toshiba website and search for drivers for your specific laptop.
– For under $30 you can get an external DVD drive and under $100 a Blueray drive. That’s cheap enough to avoid the hassle of resolving issues with a built-in drive. And you can use the external drive on other computers.

Last Updated 11:53 PM 8-29-2018

Jul 25, 2018

Jul - 25 2018 | no comments | By

Beats Headsets & Other BadBoys!

Thrift Stores, Ebay, Craigslist Tech?!

Not here Next Show



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 Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


Glenn thanked 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.

Glenn noticed that Paul wasn’t wearing the activity tracking Amazfit BIP watch he bought recently. Paul talked about it on the last show (7-11-18). But since then, he has lost ‘track’ of it. It’s somewhere in his house and he can communicate with it using Bluetooth. The watch is telling him that he’s not been meeting his exercise goals, obviously, since he hasn’t been wearing it.

He can make the watch buzz remotely so he can find it by sound, but the watch has some built-in rule not to do that often so as not to drain the battery. His other strategy to find it is to synchronize with the watch using Bluetooth as he walks around the house. When it won’t synch, he can assume it’s because he’s out Bluetooth range (about 30 feet). He hopes to narrow its location down to a particular room.

Paul said that local thrift stores are a great source for stuff you can’t get elsewhere — like power supplies, cell phone cables, inexpensive tv sets and monitors and even complete refurbished computers. The Salvation Army has computers with monitors for about $150. And if you keep the receipt, some stores will let you return electronic products within 3 days, if they don’t work right. Often you will get store credit, not cash back.

Paul also mentioned freecycle.org <he said freecycle.com> for recycled & repurposed goods.

Glenn reminded listeners they can call the guys at 530-265-9555 with their questions or comments.

Paul has a 2013 vintage Google Nexus 7 tablet that originally came with version 4 of Android. He’s now using version 6.01. All the apps in the Play Store work on it even though the current Android is version 8.

He wanted to try out the new features in the latest version, but Google won’t let him update to version 8 because they don’t want to support it on an old tablet, even though version 8 will work on it. Google is entitled by law to stop support after 7 years, which can mean that newer apps may not work on it (though the older apps should continue to work).

Since he couldn’t get Google to update the Nexus to version 8, he decided to install a hacked version from the open source community. Unfortunately he ended up bricking the unit. He not only deleted the original operating system, which he thought he had backed up, but he also couldn’t load the new one. After much research and going thru a bunch of steps, he managed to get version 6.01 back on it.

Glenn looked up Android on Wikipedia and noticed that the various versions of Android were named after confections in alphabetical order. The guys noted that some of the street names in San Francisco are also in alphabetical order.

Getting back to updating Paul’s Nexus, Glenn asked if he can install Nugget (version 7) and then go to version 8 (Oreo). Paul said it’s quite possible but there’s a chance an older tablet won’t run so well as you keep updating it.

After issuing the disclaimer that you shouldn’t try this, Paul explained that if you hold down the power button & the down-volume button, the Nexus will go into recovery mode. This is a special mode that will use the USB port when it’s connected to a Linux machine, Windows or Mac in conjunction with ADB (a debugging console) to transfer files to and from the tablet. You can then put a specially named file on the tablet. When you restart the tablet it looks for that file, unpacks it and uses it. <I think this is supposed to be the new operating system.>

The file is supposed to contain a signature so the tablet will know that it’s legit. One of the problems Paul had when installing the new Android version was that the signature wasn’t right and he had to go thru some steps to get around that. He said that if you want to hack your tablet, first do a Google search for “back to square one Nexus tablet” or “bricked Nexus tablet”, so you’ll know how to recover,

Glenn recalled that back when it was possible to jailbreak the iPhone, there was no way to get back. Paul said the early iPhones allowed you to recover from a jailbreak but not anymore.

One reason to jailbreak is to be able to tether a phone that uses any of major cellular services. Tethering allows you to make the phone act as a hotspot and to be able to get on the internet using another device. Since about IOS 10, Apple has made it impossible to jailbreak the iPhone.

There is a company that makes a forensic tool that hooks up to the iPhone and allows police to get information off a locked iPhone. Apple then created a patch (version 11.4.1) that makes the port available for only 1 hour before locking it, Anyone trying to hack in thru the port will normally need more than 1 hour.

Glenn said he recently ordered a 32gig USB stick with a Lightning kit. It arrived yesterday and he has not had a chance to use it.

Paul went on a rant about iCloud. He said don’t trust it with your photos. It’s horrible…a bloody nightmare. Though the keeps turning it off, Apple turns on iCloud photos by default when there’s a software update. The phone then starts sending photos to the iCloud photo repository. At some point the free 5gigs you are allotted is used up and then your phone stops backing up contacts, calendars, reminders and addresses. It gets worse, because you can’t be sure which photos are “on the iPhone”. You can buy additional storage, but when that is used up, you end up with the same problem. When he goes to delete the photos from the phone he can’t be sure they’ve been backed up. More often than not, when he goes to iCloud.com he can see that some photos are not there.

The other problem occurs when you want to retrieve photos from iCloud. There is no way to highlight the photos you want to put back on the phone and download them. You have to use a PC and download the iCloud app and tell it you want all of your pictures from iCloud to be put into the ‘my photos’ folder. “And then it will only do it when it feels like it.”

What you have to do is “go to iCloud.com look at all of your photographs and in a buried and hidden place it tells you how many photographs you got.” It may tell you you’re using 20gig and have 3000 pictures. “You write that number down and stick it on your PC and you don’t believe a word that stupid software tells you until the PC tells you got at least 3000 photographs down. Then it becomes your business to jam them over back on the Mac where they should have come from.” Paul thinks it’s “a bloody mess” and he doesn’t trust it.

Gordon called. He “recently had his operating system redone” and moved away from AOL software to Firefox. But now when he tries to download a file he doesn’t know where it’s stored. He’s not given a chance to specify the location it’s downloaded to.
– Glenn said it typically should end up in the Download folder.
– He said you can find where it ended up by clicking on the blue arrow that shows you’ve downloaded it. It will then show the name of the file you’ve downloaded. Right-click on the name and then click on ‘open containing folder’
– Paul: if you’re using Firefox, “make sure you got your entire menu bar up.” Right-click on a blank spot in the address bar and choose ‘menu bar’. After that go to ‘tools’ -> ‘downloads’ (or Control-J).
– Glenn explained again how to get the ‘tools’ — On the bar that has the address bar, right-click on a blank space next to the home icon or reload button.
– When you get to tools’ go to ‘options’ and scroll down to where it says ‘save files to’ and pick a location. Or you can choose ‘always ask me where to save files’.
– After changing the settings, restart Firefox so they take affect.

Paul discovered a highly effective ad blocker called Ublock Origin that works in Firefox and Chrome. Use the full name to find it, there are others with similar names. Do a Google search for “Ublock Origin firefox” or “Ublock Origin chrome”. Be aware that some sites won’t serve up their content when they see you’re using this ad blocker and you may have to temporarily disable it.

Jess called. He added to Paul’s rant about iCloud — people say that when they delete photos off their iPhone, thinking they are backed up, they are also deleted from iCloud. It doesn’t tell you when it’s synchronizing, it tells you nothing, Paul said.

Paul mentioned that the KVMR program schedule is now in the .pdf format. You can make your own .pdf files with the free PDFcreator. Glenn really likes PDFescape — a free program for editing .pdf file.

Last Updated 2:18 AM 7-26-2018

Jul 11, 2018

Jul - 11 2018 | no comments | By

Some useful info about what makes a ‘good’ and ‘easily findable’ site.

Fitness watches: Amazfit BIP in particular— Some Info.

OLED– New Display Technology! Low Power!

Do you need screen protection?? Likely Not, thanks to Corning Gorilla Glass

Happy Birthday, App Store!!!

Happy 40th Birthday KVMR July 21!

zombie downloader robot overlord malware.

What Is Alpha Techness?

“We Know What We Are Doing, You Don’t” AKA Technical Elitism
Case in Point: is /dev/urandom really that random, as it affects cryptography?

FIFA Fraud… Real or Fake?!


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.


Paul was in the studio today. Glenn called in.


When Paul read the events calendar he mentioned that KVMR will have an open house with tours of the facilities on Wed Jul 18 6p to 8p. The location is 120 Bridge Street, Nevada City, CA. Also see the link above regarding KVMR’s 40th birthday.

There was a brief mention of the ability of telemarketers to use bogus phone numbers when they call. You might even see your phone number showing up in the caller ID.

Paul said that video card and chip maker Invidia produced hardware algorithms that work with artificial intelligence (AI) that can render images in such a way as to pull out all of the noise in them more efficiently. Watermarks can also be removed. Also, Facebook has algorithms to process photos to turn closed eyes into open eyes and frowns into smiles.

Paul went on to speculate that there will be machine learning systems for robodialers that will engage you in a conversation. This is already being done with text chatbots purporting to be Russian bride hopefuls who then phish the target for their money, if the target doesn’t realize it’s a robot.

If you get one of these robo calls and you’re asked to make vocal ‘yes’ ‘no’ responses to seemingly innocent questions, your voice print can be recorded and later used on a bank site. Paul said that he hasn’t heard of this happening, but the possibility exists.

Paul found a website he likes a lot. It talks about what makes a good, easy-to-find site. The link at the top goes to 160 very readable pages in .pdf format that explain how to be authoritative, how to get linked, how to make sense and how to make your site palatable.

Google has put out some info about sitemap.xml and how to create a map of your website and give some indication of how you want it to be viewed. There are tools to help you, such as the Yoast plugin, for those running a WordPress website, which generates the site map for you.

Paul did some searching for a health monitor similar to a Fitbit and came up with an interesting device on Amazon called Amazfit BIP <see the link at the top> for about $79. He was interested in one that has GPS so he wouldn’t have to use his phone’s GPS. It’s able to run for a month on its rechargeable battery. Its low power drain is due to an OLED (organic LED) display. The display is made of a light-emitting semi-conductor using organic compounds that change color when a voltage is applied. It is viewed by reflected light and it appears similar to a magazine page. A backlight is available for dim light situations. He seems to like it a lot and thought Apple might use this type of display in future iPhones.

For those of us using regular LED displays Paul offered the tip of lowering the screen brightness to prolong the battery life.

He also noted that the Amazfit uses Corning Gorilla Glass <see link at the top>. It’s regular glass that’s dipped into a sodium & potassium bath at 500 or 600 degrees C, which makes the surface much tougher and less prone to scratches. Apple eventually started using it in their phones. Though Corning first developed it, the Japanese & Chinese have their own version of the glass. If you see the demo of it on Youtube, you probably won’t waste your money on a screen protector, Paul said. However, he does use silicone case to absorb the shock of a fall.

It’s been 10 years since Apple created their app store <see the link at the top>. It originally opened with 500 apps for the iPhone 3G. Both Android and Apple screen their apps now and are able to send a killbit to disable an app that’s misbehaving. A number of researchers have found that, over all, the Android apps “are somewhat less secure and will communicate in ways they shouldn’t with servers that shouldn’t know the things you’re doing”. “They don’t steal voice messages or voice communications but…potentially can steal things like your call logs and your contacts”. Pay attention to the permissions the app requests when you’re installing it, but be aware that denying it a permission may limit its functionality. Glenn found that out when he installed Whatsapp on his iPhone.

Jul 21 is KVMR’s 40th birthday. <See the link at the top>

Glenn said the domain name .pharmacy will be available soon. Those using it will supposedly be vetted. Paul noted that the definition of pharmacy varies from place to place and that regulations differ by region. In Mexico you can buy pretty much anything over the counter. Glenn said he thought that the domain will be closely regulated, but said he’ll check into that some more.

Talk turned to domain names (top level domains) in general. You can buy a domain and then resell its use for profit. Glenn, for instance, might buy the domain .fartoo and hope enough people will want to use it so he can recoup his investment and even make money.

Paul explained that if you want to register a domain like .fm you can start by going to nic.fm (put nic in front of it) to find out who runs it. In this case he found several place where he can register his site that will end in .fm. Paul then tried that with nic.pharmacy to find out more about the .pharmacy domain. If you want to know what domains are available, go to Wikipedia and look up tld (top level domain).

Glenn reminded listeners that they can call 530-265-9555 during the broadcast if they have any questions or comments for the guys. They can also send email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul tried to find out how to watch FIFA matches live on the internet so he did a Google search. When he typed in “fifa live” a bunch of bogus websites came up. He said there’s no way you’ll get to see it for free, but these websites claim you can if you just sign up and give them your credit card number.

Paul talked a bit about Linux, an operating system that runs not only on personal devices but also on servers that make the internet possible. ‘What Is Alpha Techness?’ is an article about Linus Torvalds, its creator and randomness. <See the link at the top>

One of the central features of cryptography is randomness, Paul said. When Paul was studying computer science there was a saying — “randomness is much too important to be left up to chance.” True randomness won’t come from a mathematical formula because it will eventually repeat itself. What’s used in the world of computers is something that’s indeterminable and unpredictable like movement of the mouse or the touching of the keys or even the temperature of the CPU.

There are 2 sources of true randomness that are readily available, Paul said. One is the rate of thermal conductivity thru a cheap semi-conductor (like a cheap germanium transistor). The other is nuclear decay where it’s impossible to know when the next particle will decay.

Paul reminded listeners they can hear past broadcasts of this and other KVMR shows at archive.kvmr.org.

If you want to look at websites from the past, go to archive.org. <There are all sorts of books, audio, etc, too>.

Last Updated 12:28 AM 7-12-2018

Some useful infoSome useful info

Jun 27, 2018

Jun - 27 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.
– 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 Daft Punk by Pentatonix. Outro music was Bohemian Rhapsody, also by Pentatonix.


Both Glenn & Paul were in the studio today. Jeff Cox was a guest.
<There’s a little more about Jeff in the 4-25-18 show notes>


Glenn thanked 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.>

Paul talked a bit about his trip to Poland a couple of weeks ago. The Polish people pronounce words like ‘Warsaw’ with a ‘v’ sound in place of the ‘w’. The Polish language is more like Russian and the only words he could recognize were those borrowed from English or have English roots.

Paul went on to talk about the Mandela Effect, named after Nelson Mandela. It’s the tendency for the brain to fill in the blank spots of our knowledge. When Mandela was in prison, a rumor got started that he had died in prison. People tended to believe that because he was an old guy and there was a paucity of reliable information coming from the government, so it was plausible. Paul said he sometimes falls victim to the effect during troubleshooting. You may think you know what happened but there is no evidence for it. Your brain fills in what it thinks makes sense when there’s a lack of understanding.

Regulations regarding bringing a drone aboard a passenger airliner can be ambiguous. When Paul was flying in Europe, his drone & laptop exceeded the weight allowance for the Icelandic airline he was using, but he got thru the security check. They seemed to be more interested in his laptop than the drone. When Jeff flew to New York recently, he didn’t get any clear answers from American Airlines about bringing a drone and he decided not to bring it.

England is a couple of years behind the US when it comes to regulating drones. Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is just getting around to requiring registration. Taking your drone with you when you travel is called drone tourism and there are websites catering to these tourists.

Glenn invited listeners to call 530-265-9555 with their questions and comments. Or you can reach the guys by email zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul related the story of a journalist who had heard that the NSA was gathering information about phone numbers of US citizens. The journalist decided to request the info they had about a couple of his phone numbers, under the Freedom Of Information Act. A couple of weeks later he got the reply: “The NSA can nether confirm nor deny the existence of the information you have requested.” That reply supposedly fulfilled their obligation to provide information even though it was useless.

Jeff asked for comments about the differences between the Apple watch and the Fitbit watch. He had heard that the Fitbit does pretty much the same thing as the Apple in monitoring health and fitness but costs about 1/3 the price.

Paul actually said that the Apple watch “is better integrated so that it automatically you can change the faces on your iPhone or your Mac or whatever it is”. Apple always knew that “people are more than willing to pay for style and convenience…they cornered that market”.

The Mac has what’s called the health interface, which looks like a red heart. “And when you download the Fitbit app it integrates with the health app, which has the heart on it, and it stores on your phone the data it gathered from the Fitbit, so it’s now in a central location”. Look on your phone for ‘health’. If you don’t find it there, do a search for the app called ‘Health’. <I think Paul may have conflated the Mac & iPhone.>

The iPhone 6 and newer models have an accelerometer, magnetometer and inclinometer built in. It can tell your position and which way you’re going. All these sensors record your physical activity. <I’ve heard this done by default, You may want to turn it off for privacy reasons.> Paul discovered that his phone has recorded such things as how far he’s walked, how many steps he took and how high he’s climbed. In answering Jeff’s question, Paul said maybe you don’t need the Apple watch or Fitbit at all.

Jeff said he knows someone with a heart condition who uses an Apple watch with another device that gives him a “single trace EKG” in real time. He didn’t know if the Fitbit can do the same thing.

Somewhere around IOS 9 or 10, “Apple announced that they were cooperating with the health industry to collect and distribute this information”. Machine learning is then used to look for anomalies in all of the data.

Gwen called. She wanted to know if there was free video driver support for her Windows 7 PC. The machine had been upgrade many times before she bought it.
– If this machine got an upgrade from an older operating system like XP, there may not be a driver available.
– Find out who made the computer. If it’s not on the front then it may say that on back.
– If you can’t find who made it, use the free program Belarc from belarc.com. It creates an inventory and describes everything it can find on the machine.
– Use the info Belarc gives you and go to the specific company that made the video card and get the driver from them. Don’t use Google search or you may end up in “places you don’t want to go to”. <Search results may take you to shady places.>
– It was eventually determined that her computer is a Dell — it said Dell in the BIOS setup. Belarc will reveal the “asset tag” number <later he said “service tag”>, which you can then use when you go to support.dell.comto get further support.
– It may be easier just to buy a new computer.
– If you can’t find a “service tag” number, you might get help by calling Dell and giving them the serial number.

Gwen also said she had used a Fitbit. She said she had a “muscle sensing thing” and it completely destroyed her “energy field”.

One thing fitness trackers like Fitbit are good for is “nominal medicine”, Paul said. They track what’s happening when you’re normal. No two of us are alike and the Fitbit will determine readings are normal for you. <Baseline readings>.

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 mentioned what he thought were other differences between the Apple watch and Fitbit. He wondered if the Fitbit can answer phone calls, read and send messages. Jeff said the one his friend has can do email and text (txt) and things he wasn’t interested in — activity monitoring was the only desired feature.

In comparing things like a Fitbit and Apple watch, Paul says he likes to go to Youtube to compare products. A good product review will take only 5 minutes and will go thru all of the features it has and doesn’t have. He doesn’t trust search result in this situation. “You’re asking for trouble to look for drivers or product comparisons. There’s too much at stake to just go anywhere and get the results”.

Brian called. He has a Windows 7 machine with an HP scanner. He is having trouble scanning and emailing the image. When he sans an item and tries to send it, most of the time it does send and sometimes it says ‘ready to be sent’ but some of them have already been sent and he can never know which have been sent, unless he asks the person who was to receive the email.
– The workaround is to send a copy to yourself at the same time <name yourself as one of the recipients in the To: field or the CC: or BCC: fields.>
– Alternately, don’t use the software that came with the scanner to do the scanning and sending all in one step. Do the scan and bring it into the computer. Then attach the scan to your outgoing email.
– On the computer use the “Start” button -> “Programs” and look at the list of programs under HP and find “HP Update”. Use that to update your software. It may not solve the problem, but do the update anyway.
– If the scan is too large it may not be sent. Gmail, for instance, is limited to about 9 or 10 megs.

Last Updated 2:48 PM 6-28-2018

Jun 13, 2018

Jun - 13 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.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

For a couple of months, the audio of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here.
There was no Zen Tech show on 5-30-18


Glenn didn’t play intro music. The outro music was by Pentatonix.


Glenn was in the studio today and Paul called in.


Paul called from Warsaw where it was 10:10pm their local time, a 9 hour difference from Pacific Time. It was 65 degrees & overcast. He got to Warsaw On Ryan Air for $75 return from London.

He and a couple of other people shared an Uber from the airport in Poland and he soon found that his cell phone no longer wanted to use the cellular network.

Paul had previously downloaded about a 60 meg map of the Warsaw area using Google Maps in the offline mode, just in case he lost the internet connection. But offline maps don’t do any routing to an address. He had to arrange a signaling system to find which unit of a thousand units AirBNB apartment building was his rental. The host was to flash the unit’s light on and off & he was to wave at her from down below. He expects to leave Warsaw on Monday.
<In case your phone didn’t come preinstalled with it, the Google Maps app is here.>

Paul talked a bit about his “British” teeth. He’s having his 4th implant done. It costs less in eastern and central Europe than it does in the West — by about a third or half.

Glenn said there was an update for IOS to version 11.4. He had installed it in both his iPad and iPhone. He asked Paul if he’s done the update yet, and that got Paul to talk about his iPhones.

Paul has both an iPhone 5 & 6. The iPhone 6 refused to work in Poland so he took out its SIM card and put it into the 5, which then worked fine. Virgin Media, who I assume is the provider, didn’t have a solution.

Paul said he did the 11.4 upgrade and he was using it in England. “It did seem to improve a number of things”. he said. Glenn said he did the upgrade last night and hasn’t formed an opinion yet.

Over the past 3 or 4 weeks Glenn’s iPad had been giving him trouble. It was freezing up. It wouldn’t restart but would come back to a point where he had to enter his password again. That happened about a dozen times and he hopes the update will resolve the problem.

Glenn thanked contributing 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.>

Paul continued talking about the 11.4 update. The iPhone 6 is the oldest phone that can take the update. The iPhone 6 was the 1st one with the finger print sensor but it had a sluggish response. 11.4 improved the response. He said he uses the sensor mainly when he’s traveling. He thinks it’s the best way to keep the phone secure in case it’s lost or stolen.

Glenn said he keeps his iPhone 6S in a case and it never recognizes his finger print, so he uses a pass code instead.

Chips on credit and ATM cards are only now gaining popularity in the US. Europe has had them for something like 10 years. Now cards are coming out with RFID and you only need to tap the card on the ATM terminal, not insert it. And purchases less than $30 don’t require a signature “or anything” <a PIN>.

But if the card is lost/stolen the villain can make multiple purchases of less than $30. So in Europe, you can login to your account and inactivate the card until you want to use it again. However, Glenn pointed out that you might not realize the card is missing until you try using it much later. Paul said he’s notified his bank to alert him if his card is used for any amount more than 10 cents. He said that someone intending to misuse the card might run the card for $1 just to see if the card is good.

Paul noticed an experimental feature on Google Maps. One of the markers is a human figure with a thumb out. It’s to let people know that there is a hitchhiker needing a lift. He highly recommends Google Maps for not only for finding your way around but also for locating points of interest.

Glenn reminded listeners that questions or comments can be sent to the guys using zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul expanded on the problem of the 3G cellular not working when he got outside of the airport. If you ever have network problems on your iPhone, go to ‘Settings’ in the iPhone & iPad then to ‘About’, and at the bottom you’ll find the option to reset. Be careful about resetting the whole phone, which will “wipe the iPhone like it was new.” There is also another reset for all of the cell and wireless networks, which he said you can try. It didn’t work in his case and it took him 3 days of trying before he did the SIM card swap, as mentioned above.

Glenn asked what the Uber prices were like compared to the US. Paul said Uber quoted $25 or $30 to go 25 miles from the airport to town after midnight.

Glenn read an email from Betsie. One of the main reasons she recently got an iPhone X was to screen music for her DJ work. Her problem is that the ‘recently added’ playlist only goes back a short amount of time and the things that appear after that are her other playlists, not recently added songs. Paul said he wasn’t sure, but it’s likely there’s a setting that needs to be changed. Go to settings and see if there is a setting for iTunes and tell it how recent you want ‘recent’ to mean.

Paul went on to talk about storing photos online. He’s “driven to distraction” by iCloud Photos and refuses to use it. Glenn said he uses iCloud Photos. But due to some trouble he’s had, he had to reset his iPhone a couple of months ago, and every time he has to reset his Mac Mini or iPad or iPhone it messes up his synching. Right now, even though it says things are being backed up to iCloud the synching isn’t happening.

The big problem Paul has had is never being quite sure what’s been backed up to iCloud and uses Google Photos instead. On the iPhone 6 with IOS 11.4, the latest Google Photos has a prominent area that says “back up my photos now” where you give it permission to look at your repository of photos and back them up while counting down as they’re backed. There’s a setting that will let it do the backup only while using wi-fi, not the cellular network. You’ll probably want to use wi-fi only so as not to use up your allotted cellular data. After the backup, Google Photos asks you if you want to delete them from the phone. The program is the first one Paul has seen that tells you clearly what it’s done. At Google you get 15 gigs for free, compared to iCloud’s 5 gigs.

Glenn mentioned Vocre, an app that does language translation. <Find more about it and its developer in the 2-13-13 show notes>. Paul said he doesn’t use Vocre, but Google Translate instead. He used it while in Poland. He pointed his phone at a street sign and Google Translate changed the words to English right in the photo of the sign. Paul was really amazed. He said it can translate words in the photos you’ve taken in the past.
<The Google Translate app is here. And Vocre app is here.>

Paul said he uses the phone so much that he’s using a battery pack with it. The battery pack weighs 3 times as much as the phone. It’s 10 ampHour battery pack that cost him $10 from Amazon.

Paul said he’ll post some of the photos from his drone quadcopter to his Facebook page (not the Zen Tech Facebook page).

Last Updated 12:52 AM 6-14-2018

May 23, 2018

May - 23 2018 | no comments | By

Amy called about losing her dog Wally last night. He’s a chocolate brown bulldog wearing a light blue collar. She lives near Brooks Road and Tiger Lily off of Rattlesnake. Call 510-606-0445 if you have any info.


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.


Paul won’t be on the next show, on 5-30-18 and Glenn might be serving jury duty. So there’s a chance Zen Tech will not broadcast next week.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Glenn thanked subscribing members of KVMR. <If you’d like to become a member, you can call the station at 530-265-9073 or go to kvmr.org>


Paul talked about the GDPR <he said GDPA> — aka General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a European law to give users more control over how their personal information is gathered and shared by internet companies.
<U.K. vs. U.S.: How Much of Your Personal Data Can You Get?
How Facebook and Google Could Benefit From the G.D.P.R., Europe’s New Privacy Law>

Scheduled to go into effect in Europe on 5-25-18, it has some teeth and should be adopted in the U.S., Paul said, In particular, it requires a company to have a data protection officer and 2% of the company’s revenue will be levied as a fine for a violation.

Paul noted that some browsers have a setting to notify the site you’re visiting that you don’t want to be tracked, but it’s pretty ineffective and may even draw attention to you.

Glenn has seen notifications coming from some services that have changed their privacy policies. He wondered if they will now allow the users to see what data has been collected about them and to change it. In his answer, Paul wasn’t clear if he was talking about European users, but said that users will be able to see but not necessarily modify the data. <Google does let you delete the data. Facebook lets you see your data but not all can be deleted.>
<Google’s File on Me Was Huge. Here’s Why It Wasn’t as Creepy as My Facebook Data.
It’s worth reading those policy notifications. Getting a Flood of G.D.P.R.-Related Privacy Policy Updates? Read Them>

Paul told us about someone in Europe who looked at what data was collected abut him and found that his phone number was included. He’d never given out his phone number. Apparently, the number came from the data aggregated from the people who knew him.

Also, Paul warned us that there will be scams that take advantage of the GDPR. You may receive emails saying something like “in order to remain in compliance with the GDPR” you have to do this or that. Just ignore them, he said. If it was a reputable site trying to contact you, you’ll find out soon enough.

Glenn invited listeners to call in with comments or questions: 530-265-9555. Or you can email the guys: zen at kvmr dot org

One other requirement of the GDPR is that businesses must report any data breaches within 72 hours, if there’s an adverse effect on user privacy. And Glenn noted that when you request your data, don’t expect an instant response. The website is allowed some time to gather all of your information. Paul said Google used to have your info scattered among its various service, now everything about you is in a centralized location.

Security of companies like Google and Apple is becoming stricter for things like recovering passwords or even establishing an account.

Paul explained what happens when you fail with repeated attempts to login to an account, normally the account gets locked. It used to be that you’re notified that you’ve exceeded the allotted tries for username/password, that’s not true with many websites now. This to discourage anyone trying to break into an account. A lockout can last anywhere from 30 min to 3 days.

Glenn said if you tried to log in but failed a couple of times while using a password that you’re sure is correct, instead of taking a chance of being locked out, use the “forgot my password” link. Another tip is to use fake replies to the security questions like “who was your 1st girlfriend”, “your dogs name”, etc. That way they’ll know less about you. Just be sure to remember the answers you have on record so you can give the correct answers when challenged.

There are 2 things you should have for services like Google, a backup phone number where a text message can be sent, and a secondary email address (use a friends email if you don’t have another of your own).

As Glenn warned many times, be aware of phone calls <or emails> offering help with your tech issues, they’re often scams. If you need help with something, you should be the one to initiate the help request. <And in doing so, use a known good email address or phone number.>

Paul said both he and Glenn have had problems with the Apple ID. Sometimes they would enter the ID & password and it would just sit there with the spinning icon for a long time. Paul suspects it’s a security feature to deter those trying to break into the account. The hackers depend on quickly guessing the ID & password over and over. He said there is a number you can call if you have problems logging in with your Apple ID, but do it only as a last resort.

There’s someone at KVMR who had the firmware password changed on their Mac. In a case like this, one would have to authenticate that they were the original purchaser of the Mac. It was the first time Paul has seen this problem.

Neil called. Last week he got a phone call that was supposedly from Microsoft saying that he needed to renew his license. He ignored it, thinking it was bogus. Paul said it’s true that you don’t need to renew a license and, furthermore, Microsoft doesn’t call people. For private users, the computer manufacturer is your support — if you have a Dell computer, you deal with Dell not Microsoft.

Paul read a question from a listener. Verizon sent me a notice to pay for extra storage and to make a copy of the my stuff because it will be deleted on May 31. How do I find out what is being stored at Verizon?
– Don’t click any links in the notification.
– Verizon offered a bunch of free perks for a year when you signed up. Now that the year is up, they want to switch you to a pay service.
– If you don’t have a Verizon phone, ignore it.
– If you do have a Verizon phone, you have an online login where you pay your bills. That’s where you can look at your storage
– It’s possible that what’s stored at Verizon exists nowhere else (not on the phone itself). So it’s important to check, if you don’t want to lose something that might be important.
– Glenn said you can dial 611 to take you the tech support of your carrier. You can then ask how to get the data back onto your phone or computer.
– Paul said he likes having 15gig of free storage for his pictures at Google Photos, <As an alternative to storing your stuff with Verizon.>
– Glenn said he pays $.99/mo for extra storage on iCloud but is planning on moving everything to his home devices and dumping iCloud.

Bob called from southern Brazil using Skype. In 2 weeks he’ll be coming to the US. He’ll be using a smartphone for Uber or Lyft service because he doesn’t drive anymore. He wondered what’s a good choice for a mobile carrier. He thought T-mobile had a pretty good plan but wanted to know how to find the best carrier.
– You’re not limited to the 4 major carriers. There are mobile virtual network operators who lease access from the major carriers and resell to the public. <There’s more about these MVNO’s in the 8-24-16 show notes.>
– As an example, Paul uses the MVNO called Total Wireless, For about $25/mo you get a SIM card for your phone giving you unlimited voice and text. 5 gig of data is and extra $10. That’s about the lowest he’s found.
– Newer phones made in the last year or two “don’t care about CDMA or GSM“, Paul said. However, Bob’s phone is GSM so he won’t be able to use Verizon, which uses CDMA.

Bob then asked for a recommendation of an Android phone for under $200. Paul suggested looking on Amazon for unbranded Chinese Android phones in that price range. You can spend more for something like a Samsung Galaxy phone and you’ll get value for the extra money. But Bob said he doesn’t need a fancier phone. If you buy thru Amazon and you don’t like it, you can always send it back. And check out the user reviews on Amazon, not always spot on but they give you the general idea about a product. Also check out Kmart or Walmart where you can get a prepaid SIM card.

There’s also the used and refurbished market. But Bob doesn’t want to buy used due to a bad experience he had when he bought an iPad in the US and brought it back to Brazil. When he had problems with it, they wanted him to return it to the store. Paul said he could have gotten better service if he also bought Apple Care.

There has been resistance from the major carriers to the FCC effort for a portable SIM. It’s a SIM card that lets you switch carriers easily without removing the card. An example of it is called the eSIM. Paul said it’s not available yet but it will be. <I recall seeing and ad for a phone with an eSIM but don’t remember who it was.>

Paul talked about losing a password to a Windows 10 machine. Make absolutely sure a local account is used, he said. When you first boot a Win10 machine it tries to lure you to create an account at Microsoft, but in the far lower left you can choose “Local account”. There’s something similar with an Apple computer, but depending on the version of the operating system, there are “various incantations” to do it.

The Mac has an increased level of security now. There’s an “online repository of your keychain and your password”. You can use Command + R to get the recovery console on any version of the Mac OS going back to about 10.9. When you do that, it boots from a separate partition with a miniaturized version of the operating system, the Safari browser and wireless access. From that point you can reinstall your operating system. The other thing it lets you do is reset your password.

The last time Paul tried to reset the Mac password it was for his friend and it asked him to sign in with his Apple ID. He said that anyone with a Mac should be absolutely sure which Apple ID you’re using. Your Apple ID is an email address. His friend couldn’t recall which of his many email addresses had been used before. The solution was to use a different machine to go to appleid.apple.com and try to sign in. Paul suggested using the same Apple ID for all of your Apple products. “You should put in a recovery and you should answer the security questions,” he added emphatically.

Added link to article regarding privacy policy updates you may be seeing in your emails

Last Updated 7:50 PM 5-25-2018

Apr 25, 2018

Apr - 25 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.
– 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 said there will be a membership drive during the 2nd week of May. There might not be a Zen Tech show on 5-9-18


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio with guest Jeff Cox.
Today’s show was more conversational than instructive. I tried to capture the highlights.


Besides training to be a KVMR broadcaster, Jeff, like Paul, has an interest in quadcopter drones and the hour was spent talking about them.

Jeff works for Holdrege & Kull, which was acquired by NV5 about 1 year ago.
It’s located at 792 Searls Avenue, Nevada City, CA 95959, (check their webpage for other locations.)
Phone: 530-478-1305
Learn more by going to any of the following websites.
You can contact Jeff here.

Paul started off talking about bugs that have existed in the Intel CPUs since at least about 2007 and possibly as far back as 1997. <The bugs are known as Meltdown & Spectre are were covered the the 1-10-18, 1-24-18 and 1-31-18 shows> The problem affects anything that uses the Intel CPU and is thought to affect the AMD CPUs also.

Linux, Microsoft, and Apple have sent out patches to mitigate the problem but the computer can be slowed up to 15% as a result. The slowdown shouldn’t be noticeable when surfing the internet but will affect video rendering or audio production. Paul said he’ll post more info to the Zen Tech website. It’s not a substantial issue, he said. The danger is that it’s possible at all to exploit the bugs, not that it’s prevalent. Only about 1 in 100 attempts succeed. “It also relies on the fact that you must recently, before you rebooted, have done something that involved secure data”. <There has to be some sensitive data sitting in the CPU’s cache, as I understand it.>

Jeff Cox intoduced himself. He’s been working as a geologist at Holdrege & Kull for about 15 years. Holdrege & Kull has been recently acquired by NV5.

Jeff went on to say that his employer uses drones for aerial survey work. They don’t just take pictures from the drones, they also acquire thermal and multi-spectral data — useful in agriculture and forestry. They also fly LIDAR missions, which uses laser light to find distances and can determine topography in dense forests because the light can go between the tree leaves to reach the ground.

The advantage of using a drone over manned aircraft for LIDAR is that it’s able to fly close to the ground. It can get up to 400 returns per square meter, where the manned aircraft might get only 25. Using LIDAR, there have been many recent discoveries about the Mayan civilization in the jungles of Central America. Jeff’s company had deployed drones to survey sinkholes and landslides in the area, after all of the big rains this year.

But there is still a need for boots on the ground. Land surveyors are used to set markers in the ground at known coordinates, Targets are then attached to the markers that can be seen by the drones. <So they act as reference marks, as I understand it.>

Paul said the 1st drone he bought was the Syma X1 from Amazon. He wanted to get cheap drone, since he was just starting to experiment. It weighs under 1/2 a pound and therefore didn’t need to be registered with the FAA. It has no GPS and it sends no signal back to the operator. It does have a camera with a flash card. Paul discovered that it’s easier to keep track of it at dawn and dusk when the sun is below the horizon. That’s when by its red & green navigation lights are most noticeable.

Paul actually lost it once. He found out that just because the air is still at ground level doesn’t mean it’s still at higher elevations. The wind carried it off but fortunately he had his phone number attached to the it.

Paul said Amazon has the Syma X1 for $29. <This might be the one. There are others listed on that page.>

The guys mentioned a Chinese company called DJI that sells drones with more features. Jeff’s company uses one of their drones to fly the LIDAR unit. He said that drone is $5000 or $6000 for the base unit.

Jeff said that a license is required to operate a drone commercially. You’ll have to study and take A test. There are many rules and regulations to flying a drone commercially, including notifying pilots of other aircraft, e.g. those using hospital heliports that you’ll be operating in their vicinity. The acronym he used was NOTAM — Notice to Airmen.

Jeff mentioned the need to be sure the drone’s batteries are good condition — voltage, temperature and charge. Some have sensors to do that for you. Some drones carry a set of backup batteries for redundancy. If you have professional payloads costing thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, you don’t want it falling out of the sky.

Jeff said his company certifies the accuracy of their surveys to 1/10 of a foot. That meets the standards most professional land surveyors would like to achieve.

“The high level of accuracy possible with these quadcopters is achieved using a Russian navigation system called GLONASS“, Paul said.

Glenn thanked supporters of KVMR. If you want to become a member please call the business office at 530-265-9073.

Paul mentioned that the Falcon space missions by Spacex have something in common with the operation of drones — the autonomous robotic navigation systems that bring the booster rockets back to the ground.

The only phone call came from Ward. He commented that high school students went down to Texas for final competition in robotics and they did pretty well, though they didn’t win. There were teams from all over the world including Israel where robotics is part of the curriculum. And there was a heavy presence of defense contractors. If you want to see drones fly locally, go to the Gilmore School in the mornings. Some of the drones are able to come back to the same spot without using GPS: they process visual information and recognize the location.

Paul’s not very happy with the militarization of drones. He said there’s been talk of having treaties to prevent drones from being used as antipersonnel devices.

Last Updated 11:22 AM 4-26-2018

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