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:
– 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:
– 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… 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 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

– from last Week HomeWork: MICROBIT 


Additional notes

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

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

The intro 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:
– 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.. 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:
– 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 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, 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!

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:
– 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 to donate.

Paul said that registered non-profit organizations can go to 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, 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 <I think he may have meant> 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 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

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:
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.|
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

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

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


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.

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

Nov 28, 2018

Nov - 28 2018 | no comments | By


SDR USB radio: GWRX. Cubic SDR

Linux: MINT 19!

Sprint Contracts & more..




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

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

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Paul mentioned that has the audio from recent KVMR shows and that one can listen to a live stream of the shows by going to click on Listen Live.

Forgetting that there was a Community Calendar to present, Paul continued to explain that over the air digital broadcasting <not over internet, but similar to digital TV> has a sub-carrier to carry information such as station ID, weather info, amber alerts, etc.

Paul said he’s had experience as a radio amateur in his teen years when enthusiasts would often build their own radios transmitters. That’s not done much anymore as there are many inexpensive off the shelf transmitters. One lowest cost 2-meter transmitter is from a Chinese company called Baofeng with a digital display and keypad.

The test for a basic level 3 amateur license is no longer about constructing a transmitter, but more about what frequencies you can transmit on, how antennas work, what to do about interference or an emergency, etc.

Paul said he’s thinking about getting back into amateur radio by getting a license, He’s already found a radio for $22 <he gave no details>. Generally, no license is required for listening to radio broadcasts, he added.

Paul bought a Chinese USB device called an SDR, software defined radio. You can plug it into a PC, Linux or Mac computer with one end, and plug an antenna into its other end. The SDR takes the analog radio signal that comes in over the antenna, converts it to digital and then sends it to the computer. It’s the computer that decides what to with it. At this point, Glenn insisted on doing the Community Calendar, which took a few minutes.

After the Community Calendar, Paul announced that Sierra Roots is opening up a cold weather shelter this Sunday and Monday at 4pm at the veteran’s building located at 415 North Pine Street Nevada City.

Paul continued talking about SDR, software defined radio. He said he was aware of 2 SDRs — google either GWRX or Cubic SDR. He thought GWRX can work on PC, Linux and the Mac computers. The documentation that comes with it will get you started.

For radio, the antenna is cheapest part and the weak link, he said. It’s worth the trouble and attention you give it. For shortwave listening it’s simply a spool of wire strung out in such a way so as not to lose current down to ground. This is done by insulating the ends at the point of suspension. It’s not necessarily true that the longer the wire the better. The direction the wire faces and how it’s connected is more important.

GWRX will show you a spectrum of what’s being transmitted, on your screen. You can see all sorts of weird stuff depicted by bumps along the spectrum. He found that 121.5 FM is a frequency used by a local airport.

Paul clarified that no license is required to use an SDR because it’s incapable of transmitting. It’s only a receiver. You “hack and freak and do anything and tune anywhere” with an SDR.

Paul tried to receive the station WWV, which provides precise time signals. It’s the oldest continuously transmitting radio station in the US.

Call letters for radio stations West of St Louis generally start with a ‘K’ (KVMR) and those East with a ‘W’. It got started in the East, around Washington in the 1920s. It’s now in Colorado but retained the ‘W’. Funding for WWV is being threatened in part due to new technology — computers & mobile devices get their time synched over the internet.

Glenn mentioned that he bought a refurbished iPhone 8 (a late 2017 model) with 64 gigs of memory. He found that it’s exactly the same size as his iPhone 6S and fits into the Otter Box that he is currently using.

He said iPhone 8 from Oct 2017 and later models have Qi (chee) charging, meaning it can charge wirelessly. The charging is done inductively.
<More info about Qi here.
Qi was first mention during the 11-26-14 show>

Glenn bought a charging case for his iPhone 6, which does not use Qi charging. It’s from Patriot called a Fuel Ion and it’s $5 at Fry’s. It’s still on sale, he said. When the iPhone 6 is plugged into the case, the case itself can charge the phone. <At first I thought he meant it uses the Qi charger. But Paul pointed out, in a way I couldn’t follow, that it uses some concentric gold plated circles to do contact charging, it’s not inductive.>

When Glenn turned on his iPhone 8 and it got past the ‘language greeting’, it said “if you would like to change over from your previous iPhone to this iPhone, put the two of them next to each other.” Paul said you have to be using at lest IOS 11 to migrate one to the other. Glenn said it did an excellent job with the settings, alarms and the pre-entered wi-fi information. And it was quick. It didn’t migrate the apps. He had to use iTunes for that.

Paul said there’s some indication that Google is trying to change Android into a platform independent OS so its apps will work on more platforms.

Paul mentioned that SSDs (solid state drives) are replacing the spinning drive market. Their price keeps coming down and one day soon, if not already, the number of machines sold with SSDs will exceed those with mechanical drives. Glenn noted that they use less electricity. Paul said it’s typically 1.5 to 2 watts, judging from the one he bought. And they work much faster. If Paul has to repair someone’s computer, he’ll often replace a spinning drive with an SSD. Paul said he tends to stick with brand names for SSDs like Samsung, Sony or San Disk. <SSDs were mentioned on the 8-9-17 show.>

Glenn spoke more about the refurbished iPhone 8 he just bought. It comes with a 1-year warranty. And you can buy Apple Care for it for $130, which adds an additional year. But Glenn contacted customer service for his Citi Costco Credit Card to ask about, what he thought, a 1-year extension on the warranty. He found out that they now offer a 2-year extension. So he didn’t get the Apple Care. However, Paul pointed out that Apple Care covers more than his credit card would.

Glenn invited listeners to call 530-265-9555 with their questions and comments.

Ellen called. She had to get a new phone along with a new number, and ported her old number to Google Voice. Her phone now rings “when it comes in to the other number”, but when she answers it, the call is cut off. Glenn said that he also has Google Voice and he’ll have Paul call him to see if he has the same problem. He’ll report the results in the show notes.

Paul said there are a bunch of setting for Google Voice. Go to One of the settings Paul likes requires the caller has to say their name. He thought she might have it turned on in her settings and it’s causing the problem. She can test it, but not by using her own phone — she should call her Google Voice number from an unrelated phone line and see what happens.

Scott called about the 121.5 airport frequency that Paul talked about. He said it is the emergency frequency. He thought that particular frequency might soon be decommissioned. The aircraft band goes from about 108 megahertz up to 135. The lower half, up to about 118, is generally for navigation. The rest is for voice. And it mostly uses AM, not FM.

Scott expressed his surprised that it’s taken so long for inductive charging to come to phones. His toothbrush uses it, and it’s 10 years old. Paul said the reason might because of the need to insure the rest of complicated phone circuitry isn’t adversely affected.

Glenn had been charging his iPhone 8 inductively during the show. He reported that it just now hit 100%. It took 53 minutes to go from 81% to 100% charged. The iPhone 6S, where he “added the inductive charge”, it went from 78% to 95% charged.

Paul said induction charging side steps the potential problems of using a large current of around 2 amps to charge a phone, which can shorten the lifetime of the battery and possibly damage the contacts.

Battery life can also take a hit if it’s much above room temperature — nearing 90 degrees F. Battery “age stars to degrade and the number of cycles available decreases with temperature over time.”

Paul said he’s been using Ubuntu Linux for many years. Others have espoused Mint Linux. He’s now found out that Mint is based on Unbuntu and uses the same upgrade path. It’s much more lightweight and uses the Cinnamon desktop. The Cinnamon desktop is also very lightweight and it’s “the most efficient distribution of Linux” Paul has seen for old machines with limited hardware. It should be a good replacement for Windows XP. It’s also available for 32bit machines. If you’re about to turn you computer over to the recycler, give Mint a try.

Paul mentioned an internet of things (IOT) alarm system for around $50-$60 from China. The Nest thermostat learns your behavior, Glenn added. There’s a potential to save energy and money as products get smarter.

Last Updated 12:29 AM 11-29-2018

Nov 14, 2018

Nov - 14 2018 | no comments | By

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

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

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


Before the guys did the community calendar, Glenn mentioned that he finally updated his iPhone and iPad to IOS 12.

Paul talked a bit about top level domain names (.com .net .org .coop). Glenn wasn’t sure if .coop had a dash in it. Paul said the domain names are case insensitive — Kvmr.ORG is just as good as Most punctuation marks, like the dash, cannot be included in the domain name.

Originally, there were just a few top level domain names: .com .net .org [.gov]. Now it’s been opened up and people can bid on the names they want to use such as .xxx .mobile .world .mob. <By ‘people’ I think he meant those who will later resell (register) the use of the domain names.> Go to Wikipedia and search for the words: top level domain naming.

.com was the first and most popular domain in use. At some point, maybe more than 10 years ago, there was a claim that every word in the Oxford and Webster’s dictionaries has been registered to use with .com ( etc.) Eventually, many foreign words were also claimed.

Two letters is the least you can have ( The exceptions are the, and is owned by Yahoo and by Paypal. The maximum number of characters allowed went from 64 to something like 254 (Paul couldn’t remember exactly).

Paul went on to say that some people, though not so much now, would ‘park’ a domain name like because it doesn’t cost much to register a particular name. The hope is that Harvard ( would pay to take over to prevent abuse of its name. And then there’s the incidental collision of names like Apple using to the dismay of Apple records. That was not such a problem until Apple started selling Beatles music on iTunes. There was some litigation about that, which was eventually settled. <There’s more about top level domain names & registering for one in the notes for the 7-11-18 show>

Paul mentioned a Stephen Colbert show that talked about how televangelists can get away with soliciting funds in the name of religion to pay for things like private jets. Because religion is such a touchy subject in this country, the IRS doesn’t even try to crack down on them. The concepts Paul came away with are that freedom of speech doesn’t mean you have to tell the truth and you should never confuse opinions with facts

Glenn cited the disclaimer:
Our opinions are not necessarily those of our staff, our broadcasters, our underwriters or contributors to the station.

As Glenn mentioned at the beginning, he has upgraded his Apple devices to IOS 12 but noted that the current version is now 12.1. Paul said there is an improvement in Facetime in 12.1 that allows the user to talk to multiple people at once. The downside, Paul said, is that if you’re talking to someone and you want to flip the screen around, you have to do 3 things: touch the 3 little dots that pops the menu up, “go flip to turn it around the other way” which you don’t actually see happening and then “drag it back down again”.

Paul encountered a problem with his Mac. He was listening to music playing on his Mac using Airplay which was sending it over to his stereo. When Glenn called him, it showed up on the screen of the Mac. He then used his phone to answer the call, but the Mack stopped playing the music and Glenn’s voice came out of the speakers instead. Paul said he’ll have to look into why that happens.

Paul talked about the problem I’m having with logging into the Zen Tech website, which uses WordPress. The trouble is with the Google captcha that requires me to provide the correct answer to a graphical challenge — picking which of several images have a particular object like street signs or cars or store fronts. The idea is to prevent bots from logging in and creating mischief.

As far as we can determine, the web browsers I’ve tried are out of date and it’s getting increasingly difficult to get a newer browser that will run on an older operating system and still work with Google’s captcha system. <I’ll have to do some experimenting and hopefully find one that works.>

Next, Glenn talked about the Camp Fire, one of the biggest and most deadly fires California has ever had. He’s tried to find a website that has satellite pictures of the area but was unable to. Butte County has announced a service that will allow people to search for an address and get the status of the property.

Paul asked listeners to suggest authoritative sources that provide information about the fires. Glenn mentioned that has some info, including a status map of the structures in the area of the Camp Fire. Paul thought that might also have some info.

Paul talked about, which is a nonprofit side of Google that provides free service to people who want to use their mapping and search engine. In particular he found It’s overlaid with data that’s provided by fire services of various places around the country. He said you can zoom in on the maps provided there. Also check out, which is has a broader category of subjects including weather. And talks about the work they do.

Glenn invited people to call in to 530-265-9555 with questions and comments.

Paul noted that used to be a porn sight. Apparently, when the government website was created, no thought was given to reserve the name in other domains. is a political parody website.

Laurel called from Sacramento to say that looters and others with nefarious intent can use the fire mapping services to facilitate their crimes.

Paul said the US Postal Service lets you register with them to get advanced notice that a letter is coming to you. They take a photo of the outside of the letter and email it to you. The problem is that they can’t be sure that the person registering for the service is the one who actually lives at that address. Someone with criminal intent can use the service to tell if a credit card <or maybe a check> is on its way and intercept it. Someone looked into the method used to verify that the address belongs to the correct resident and found it severely lacking.

Robyn called. She says that she’s getting notifications on her Android LG phone that she’s getting low on space. She has a bunch of apps but uses only 3. She wanted to know how to tell for sure which apps she won’t need and can safely delete.
– Put your finger on the app [icon] that you want to delete and then start to drag it. The uninstall “target” will then appear and you finish by dragging to that target.
– You can use the free app called Clean Sweep to free up the scratch and temporary files that are taking up the memory space. Then it will ask you about old photos you haven’t looked at in a while. Then it will do the same with messages. It may try to get you to install other things you don’t need — ignore all of that. <There’s also CleanMaster>
– Paul said that apps generally don’t take up much space. The Facebook app is only about 300 Kbytes to 400 Kbytes. But it will bring in a lot of Facebook content and store it on the phone. If you delete the app, the data will be cleared out. You can then reinstall the app and start fresh.
– If you delete an app and then find you need it, you can usually reinstall it.
– Some apps come preinstalled by the phone maker and you’ll have to make a special effort to uninstall them. <Typically you’ll have to ‘root‘ the phone.>
– Go to Settings (the cogwheel) -> Storage and check how much memory is being used and how much is available. Also check the storage used by each app. Look for the applications you don’t use but take up a lot of space.
– Write down which apps you delete so if you discover you can’t do something you used to do, you’ll know which apps to reinstall. Usually it’s the Play Store that has the apps you’ve deleted, <though it’s possible to get them elsewhere>.

Last Updated 12:00 AM 11-15-2018

Oct 31, 2018

Oct - 31 2018 | no comments | By

5th Wednesday of the month– Halloween!
Have Some Spooky Sound Track for your Haunted House!
Like Here
Then there is always Thriller by Michael Jackson from 4m:10s

Ancient but worthy slide scanner or flatbad?
Try these 3rd party non-free solutions:
There is This from Amazon under $300
Then these actual softwares; SILVERFAST
Then there is my preferred software VueScan
All work fine on newer MACOS & handle ICE scratch removal..
Demos to Download. Final Cost: About $100 for a license key.

Google Project FI for use Abroad- Needs a Compliant Phone such as the $250 Moto X4 (Cheapest) More HEre

BOKEH! New Words To Learn!



Additional notes

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

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

The intro music was by Michael Jackson. The outro music was by Pentatonix.
More info about the music is here.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Glenn recently switched to IOS 12, the operating system for Apple’s mobile devices, So far, he likes it but found a problem with the ringtones. The ringtones reverted to the default tones that came with the iPhone, except in a couple of instances. He said this has been a problem with previous IOS updates, but it hasn’t affected him until now.

Paul said that in the early days of cell phones there was quite a market in the sale of ringtones and the companies made it deliberately difficult to create your own.

He went on to distinguish the difference between ringtones and the ringing sound the phone company provides. There are different ringing sounds, like 2 quick rings, that a company such as Verizon can provide you for a fee. There is also an optional sound (e.g. music) that a caller hears before those being called answer the phone, but implementing that is not straightforward, Paul said.

To fix the ringtone problem, Paul did some googling and found some advice that said “just plug your phone in to iTunes and resynch it, that’s supposed to fix it”.

Paul talked about spooky sounds for Halloween. There’s a link at the top of this page to what he found. To find more sounds, go to and put in [to search] ‘spooky music sound track’, he said.

Paul was given a piece of equipment that was state of the art 15 years ago. It’s a Nikon LD40 slide scanner that takes 35mm slides and negatives for digitizing. Nikon stopped making the scanner, the drivers and software for it a long time ago.

He talked a bit about how it scans in the primary colors and then recombines them in the final image. He said there is a huge section about color in Wikipedia, just search for ‘color’.

One of the colors it scans is in the infrared because it’s strongly absorbed by surface defects like scratches. Using this extra information, the software can later subtract the artifacts that got onto the slide’s surface.

Paul used a Linux driver with the scanner and it worked to a degree. It did the basic scan but couldn’t take advantage of the advanced features like the infrared information to remove dust & scratches. You can use photo editing software like Photo Shop to remove the defects manually but it’s tedious, he said.

However, there are scanning software packages that may help you out. He mentioned Silverfast and VueScan for the PC & Mac, See the links at the top. The packages are not free but they have demo versions. The demos produce images have the words ‘demo version’, but you can at least judge if the software does a good job. If you like it you can buy a license key to unlock it for about $100.

Paul said he likes VueScan because, once you have the key, it will talk to any scanner. Silverfast is much more advanced & professional but it will work only with the hardware you register for.

Paul said he found some slide scanners on Amazon, and one that doesn’t involve a computer — it scans the slide and saves the image directly into a USB drive. See the link at the top.

He also suggested going to a second hand store and getting a slide projector. While projecting the image from the slide on a screen, you can use a [digital] camera on a tripod to take its picture.

Also, there is a scanner for $179 that will digitize your 8mm or 16mm movies. Then you can use open source software to remove blurring, jittering and grain.

Colter called. He has a Mac desktop computer running the Mojave operating system. He can’t get it to go completely asleep and it keeps waking up on its own.
– There is a facility called ‘wake on LAN’. If there is something on the network that needs to talk to it, then it can wake up. Also, it’s possible the Mac is misinterpreting such messages when they’re not even meant for it. To test this, turn the wi-fi off and unplug the Ethernet.
– Check for consistency in its waking up. Is it done in a cycle. This may give you a clue.
– Check the power options under ‘Settings’.
– Go up to the Apple logo [on the screen] and check for updates.
– Also try unplugging the keyboard, in case there’s something wrong with it. <It may be sending a signal to the Mac as if a key had been pressed.> Similarly, check the mouse.
– Or it may be waking up to do a Timemachine backup. To test this, “Unplug your Timemachine”.
– Some peripheral may be trying to talk to the Mac. Unplug one thing at a time to see if the problem goes away

Douglas called to say that his machine has a similar problem with waking up. It can happen when the refrigerator comes on or a truck drives by.
– It can be due to EMF spikes due to a bad voltage regulator.
– A surge protector will not correct the problem, but a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) will “take care of what you describe”.

The reason Douglas called had to do with his cell phone getting text (txt) messages. He had upgraded to the iPhone 5 from a 4. He had been exchanging messages with a friend but then wouldn’t receive any for a while. Suddenly, there would be a bunch of unread messages waiting for him.
– Are these green messages or blue, Paul asked. Douglas said he gets both. Blue means the message was delivered via the internet, not thru the cellular service via SMS (short message service).
– Glenn had seen a similar problem with a friend’s phone when he helped her change cell phone providers. He had to go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Messages’ and turn iMessage back on.
– Paul told Douglas to look on the older iPhone 4 to see if any of the messages ended up there. It can receive messages even though it no longer has a SIM card in it. If it’s still connected to the internet, it can still receive iMessages.
– Try texting with that friend in the same room. You may just have a weak internet connection. Or use the app called Speed Test. Don’t just depend on the number of bars to tell you the connection is good.
– Back up your phone to iTunes and then reload and refresh the operating system. Paul said he’s so many problem corrected with this procedure. So, back up, then press ‘restore’ to wipe the phone clean, then reload the latest operating system, and finally restore the data you just backed up.
– Paul asked that listeners call in if they have suggestions
– As a last resort, use a messaging app other than iMessage — Whatsapp, for instance.

Continuing, Paul asked what phone company he uses. Douglas said it’s H2O. That made Paul recall problems Glenn had with that company. He then suggested turning off MMS (Multi Media Service). If the friend tries to send Douglas a picture and “it doesn’t go with iMassage” it will try to use a data service over the cellular service called Multi Media Service which doesn’t work with H2O on the iPhone. Under ‘Settings’ -> ‘Messages’ turn off MMS

Nick, an electrical engineer, called about the symptoms Douglas experienced when the refrigerator came on or a truck drove by. Nick said its a sign of something that should be investigated and corrected because it’s highly likely the wiring in the building (the power wiring) has loose or inadequate connections. It’s a fire hazard, he warned.

Buzz, the KVMR engineer, came into the studio to offer a tip in finding the faulty wiring. He said, take an old AM radio and tune it to a blank spot on the dial where there is no station broadcasting. Then walk around the house waiting for the phenomenon to occur. When it happens, you’ll hear a bunch of static on the radio. Wander around to where the static is the loudest. Then take apart the AC outlets in the wall or tighten the joint in the circuit breaker panel. Wherever the static is the loudest is where the [electrical] arc is happening. If there is no static, chances are the problem is not in your house, Buzz said.

Nick said all of this may be beyond the average person’s ability but this is stuff that can hurt you and light your building on fire. Get it checked out.

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.

Finally, Paul added, powder fire extinguishers are fairly inexpensive. The last thing you want all over an electrical fire is a bunch of conductive liquid.

Last Updated 12:07 AM 11-1-2018

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