Aug 30, 2017

Aug - 30 2017 | no comments | By

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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can listen to Glenn host the Flea Market tomorrow.

added link to Paul’s Facebook page

Last Updated 5:01 PM 8-31-2017


Aug 23, 2017

Aug - 23 2017 | no comments | By

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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073. Or call the studio when the DJ is not talking on the air at 530-265-9555.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated 11:34 PM 8-23-2017

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Aug 9, 2017

Aug - 09 2017 | no comments | By


Filament style LED

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


animated gifs?



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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated 10:50 PM 8-9-2017


Jul 26, 2017

Jul - 26 2017 | no comments | By

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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Glenn was in the studio with co-host Mikail Graham. Paul called in from London and he’s not expected to be back in time for the next Zen Tech show..


Paul said that Mac products are much more expensive in the UK because of a 21% value added tax. However, people with a US passport can have the VAT they paid returned to them when they leave the UK. There is a VAT desk at the airport where you can apply for the refund.

Glenn mentioned that the iPhone 8 is coming out. Mikail said that at this point it’s just a rumor. He said there are rumors that criticize it, as well. Mikail uses an iPhone 6S that’s a couple of years old and doesn’t anticipate upgrading for a while.

Mikail has a new 2017 Mac Book Pro & a new iPad Pro. He was appalled when in 2016 Mac Book Pro did away with all of the ports and only provided a USB-C port — no HDMI, no standard USB-A OR -B compatibility, no SD card slot, etc. Then he found a device made by Letscom <maybe this is it> for $60 that plugs into one of the 4 ports on the Mac Book Pro 15″. He now has 2 USB3 ports, a mini and standard SD card slot, HDMI port, a standard USB-A port as well as a power port. He likes being able to log in using his fingerprint.

Mikail thinks the Mac Book Pro it’s a bit overpriced when you look at what you can get from Dell, which has a touch screen, the same or a bit faster processor, 32gig of RAM and costs $1600 at Costco. He thinks Dell makes high quality products.

Paul said Dell computers have a service tag that serves as a serial number. If you go to and enter the number from the service tag, you get the details for that particular machine.

Mikail added, if you don’t need all of the processing power of the top end Mac for doing fancy video or audio work, the Mac Book Air is a good choice starting at $800.

One other thing the new Mac lacks is a Mag-Safe connector. But there are 3rd party manufacturers that make adapters to add that feature.

Paul asked what sort of battery life he gets from the Mac Book. The claim is about 10 hours, but it’s more like 6 to 8 hours, Mikail said.

Mikail’s Mac Book has a better graphics engine that previous models — the Intel HD graphics 630 with something like 1500 megabytes. And like some earlier models, it can switch in or out different graphic processors depending on whether AC or battery power is being used, to conserve power when using the battery.

Paul was online looking at the various models and saw a black, vertical, cylindrical Mac. Mikail said he owns one of those too. It’s called the trashcan Mac. It replaced the Mac Pro Tower in about 2013. About 4 months ago Apple admitted it might have made a mistake because people are not able to upgrade it the way they would like to. But Mikail likes his, saying it may be the best Mac he’s ever owned. He added something called a Thunder Bay that holds 4 different drives — 2 10 terabytes drives and 2 6 terabytes drives. It also has a Thunderbolt2 port, 6 USB3 ports, 2 dual A&B 700 graphic cards and 32 gig of high speed RAM. He said it’s very quiet.

Mikail said that it’s going to be superceded by the new iMac Pro in December starting at about $5000. Next year Apple is planning to bring out the new version of the Mac Pro, which will be user-upgradable.

Glen reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073. Or call the studio when the DJ is not talking on the air at 530-265-9555. And you can email the guys at zen at kvmr dot org at any time.

Steve called. He has an old [unintelligible] Unicorn, an MK 828 with Firewire. He wanted to know if it can interface with the Mac Book. Mikail said that with a Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter, he can connect it to the Mac Book Air. The adapter is about $29 from Apple.

Ken called. He wanted to know how to hook up a security camera to his Mac computer. Paul said he has a couple of cameras on his property. One is made by Wansview that you can find on Ebay and Amazon. The other better known camera is called D-link Cloud. You can connect the camera to your wireless network and configure it so that if it detects a certain amount of movement, it will email you an image of what it saw. As mentioned on the 6-21-17 show, create a guest network and put the cameras on that network, Paul suggested. As a security measure this should isolate the camera (or any IOT) device so it doesn’t have access to anything else on your network.

The cameras Paul has don’t have the ability to record the video and store it on a flash drive in the camera. That’s something to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a camera, if it’s important to you, You may not need the feature if high quality is not very important, as the app you use to view the video on the computer typically has the ability to record.

The Wansview camera has a tiny speaker so that if you use it as a door cam, you can talk to the person at the door. It’s $35 and has 720 X 480 resolution.

Harbor Freight sells a nice low cost camera system too. Mikail said. It comes with a flash drive.

iPad Air is good bargain at about $350, Mikail said. Glenn got his for $380 ($420 out the door) with 128gig of RAM. But if you want something better, consider the 10.5″ iPad Pro $649 with 256gig RAM, true tone display and 4 speakers. It’s the best iPad he’s ever owned, Mikail said.

Glenn mentioned that he put Kubuntu on his 10″ touch screen [computer] and then installed teamviewer. He’s getting better at working with the Linux operating system.

Mikail talked about some malware called Fruitfly that can hit the Mac. It can take complete control of a Mac. It can then spy on what’s going on in the machine. It can take over the keyboard, mouse, switch on the webcam and modify files. It can even take low rez screen shots and send them over a low speed connection like dialup. It’s amazing how many people have this malware even though Apple has put out patches for it. Make sure you’ve installed the latest patches, Mikail said. It infects the Mac thru an email attachment, so be extra careful about what you click in your emails. Also, when you’re visiting websites beware of popups that offer updates to software or say things like “you computer has been infected you must call this number now”.

Mikail related a story about one of his clients who got hacked a couple years ago. Though the computer was cleaned up, the hacker called him up recently offering to return the money he scammed from the client. All he needed was the bank account number to make a direct deposit. Fortunately, the client didn’t fall for it.

Paul said you can get misdirected just by following search results. People may google “microsoft outlook toll free support”. What they may get in the results is something like “microsoft support” but it’s a 3rd party, not Microsoft.

Lorraine called. She depends a lot on her Google calendar where she has certain events assigned a particular color. Suddenly, the calendar isn’t showing any colors. She uses the calendar app that came with her Mac. Paul surmised she is using iCal which has the ability to have multiple calendars. He said the color represents which calendar you’re viewing and has nothing to do with distinguishing individual events — you can’t assign different colors to events in one particular calendar. Somewhere in the menu there is an option to hide and reveal the calendars you want to see. It may happen that they got turned off.

At the top of the screen there is a piece of text that says ‘calendars’. If you don’t see your calendars on the left-hand side, click on that and it will open up a window to show you the available calendars. Make sure they are selected. You can control+click on the calendar name to change its color.

Glenn announced that he’ll be hosting the Flea Market tomorrow.

Last Updated 11:26 PM 7-26-2017

July 12, 2017

Jul - 12 2017 | no comments | By

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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Glenn was in the studio with co-host Mikail Graham. Paul is still in Europe.


Listeners were invited to call during the show with their questions and comments at 530-265-9555.

The hour was devoted to Apple products. Mikail said he has been using Apple computers since the late 70s when he got an Apple 2, which he still has.

Mikail had a tip for the users of the iMac — a thin all-in-one computer that comes in 20″ to 27″ models. He called attention to the venting system on the bottom, especially those made in 2007 to about 2013 (later models were made so thin that it limited their reparability). They need to be cleaned at least every 3 years, he said.

The vents draw in dust along with the air, which then covers the components and leads to failure from running too hot. It’s not an easy thing to do but you need to disassemble the iMac to clean it properly. There are videos online to help you and technicians (including Mikail) who will do it for you, if you think it challenges your abilities. Don’t keep putting it off or you can lose your data, he said. If a hard drive dies, it can cost $800 to $1000, at minimum, to get the data off of it.

Glenn wondered if blowing air into the iMac, without disassembly, would help, if done periodically. Mikail said no. You just can’t get far enough inside to do any good. Keeping the area around the iMac free of dust can help.

Mikail said that the other thing you can do is “put a maintenance program on there like one from Titanium Software called “Maintenance” and run that at least every couple of weeks”. It takes a few minutes to run and it will tell you if the drive is failing.

Steve baker came to the mic and talked to Pascal, a reporter from YubaNet, about the Rex fire near Grass Valley. Fire crews hit the fire hard from the air and on the ground, “and took the heat out of it”. It’s now looking good. There are still some evacuations in the area but that situation is being reevaluated. There are no reports of injuries. It’s going to take a couple of hours to mop up and determine the cause.

Glenn asked Mikail about synching his iPhone iPad and Mac Mini. The iPhone and Mac Mini seem to synch, but his iPad is missing some contacts. He wants to get away from using the cloud and wondered how to best do that.

Mikail said you can export the contacts from the “master source” by synching with iTunes. And there is a product called Imazing for the Mac or PC (2.3 for the PC is coming out soon) for $29 or $39. It will do automatic backups over wi-fi and is well worth having, he said.

You can also transfer files manually if you don’t want to use iTunes. The advantage of the cloud, when it’s working correctly, is that changes on one device will be quickly propagated to the other devices.

Mikail is also having an synching issue. He has a new MacBook Pro and a new iPad and everything synchs. But on his Mac Pro and iPhone, the text replacement shortcuts aren’t synching. With shortcuts, you can type something like ‘tty’ and it will expand to ‘talk to you later’, for example. On Apple devices you can set shortcuts by going to settings -> general -> keyboard (for Android go to “language & input” -> “Personal Dictionary” -> +ADD). Some websites may prevent usage of shortcuts, often for security reasons.

To mitigate synch problems make sure you’re running the latest version of the operating system. Also, there’s much to be said for doing a clean install rather than a restore. That way you don’t bring back old “junk” that you don’t need anymore and that may make the computer run slower. To do that you’ll need to install from a USB drive. Or you can do a recovery over the internet but it can take days.

Ross called to say that the changes to Net Neutrality proposed by the government are open for comment, until July 17 (he thought). It’s important to keep this administration from rolling back neutrality. Mikail suggested going to the website <Maybe it’s here>
John Oliver explains Net neutrality

Ross also suggested getting a hepa air filter & putting it under the air intake of your computer to minimize dust

Ross said he has a late 2008 MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard. He asked Mikail what’s the best, most stable operating system since Snow Leopard for his machine. Mikail said the things he looks for are security & compatibility and thought El Capitan would be a good choice. His machine probably won’t be able to handle anything newer.

They both agreed Snow Leopard boots up & shuts down very fast. Mikail added that going to a different OS may mean a slow down, but replacing the spinning hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD) will regain much of the speed. You can get a 500 gig SSD Samsung for $150 on Amazon or even cheaper with brands like Adata, Kingston or San Disk.

If you want to replace the MacBook Pro, there are good deals right now on 2015 models that have 16 gig of RAM, HDMI, 2 USB ports, SD card slot and Magsafe connector for under $2000. They are new & under warranty.

Mikail noted that he uses a 34″ Dell monitor that he loves. They go for about $700.

Chris called. He has an old Mac Book running the Lion operating system. He’s afraid of losing his drawing program called Vector Works if he installs a newer OS. Mikail determined that he does Timemachine backups and said it should be no problem to restore all of his programs after doing the update. Chris clarified that the program he has won’t work on the newer operating system.

Chris also wondered which way the air flows thru his machine. Mikail said the air comes in to the side and is blown out the back.

Gary called. He has a Mac Book running operating system 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard), the last version that can run Apple Works, which he has and likes a lot. The Safari browser is having problems and he wanted to know if it’s possible to reinstall it from the original disks. Mikail said, the problem is that it will need to be updated and the updates will be hard to find. You’ll have to search the internet to find the old updates. And it won’t work until it’s updated, Glenn added.

Paul isn’t expected to return for a couple more Zen Tech shows. Mikail said he has a lot more to talk about on the next show, like the new Mac OS called High Sierra and iOS 11.

Lee called to ask if it’s ok to put a keyboard in the dishwasher to clean it…definitely not. Use a light touch when cleaning or you may knock the keycaps off the Mac and won’t be able to put them on again. Use a gentle cleaner like Fantistik or Green Cleaner or a citrus-based cleaner. Put the cleaner on a cloth first and rub gently.

Someone called (off air) asking for a more precise location of the Rex fire. Glenn said it’s on the town side of Highway 20 as you’re going toward Yuba City, at the intersection of Gibson & Butler.

Last Updated 11:53 PM 7-12-2017

Jun 28, 2017

Jun - 28 2017 | no comments | By

Co-Host Mikail Graham with special guest Michael Anderson from Spiral Internet to talk about Spiral’s new Gigabit 100% fiber optic internet service. Coming this year.



Additional notes

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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Glenn was in the studio with co-host Mikail Graham. Paul was away in Croatia.
Michael Anderson from Spiral Internet was a guest.


Listeners were invited to call during the show with their questions and comments at 530-265-9555.

Mikail talked about a new computer virus going around called Petya. It’s a variation of the recent Wannacry virus mentioned during the 5-24-17 show. He said the malware usually gets into your machine when you click on an attachment [to an email].

Glenn said, if you open an email from someone you don’t recognize, don’t click on attachments <or any links>. Even if the email seems to be from someone that you know be careful, the account may have been hijacked and is being used to spread malware, Mikail added. You can sometimes tell if an email is bogus if the wording is not typical of the person that you think it’s from. Double check if the email is good by calling that friend & asking if they sent you the mail. It’s important to backup the files you want to protect.

Michael said the bad guys are increasingly using artificial intelligence to ferret out info about you. They’ll find out who you communicate with and what services you use. If they see you’re a Fedx customer, they may send email from what looks like a legitimate Fedx account, for example.

Michael also mentioned business networks where one computer is running legacy software — maybe because it will cost too much to upgrade. Keep it off the network because if becomes compromised, it can infect the other computers on the network.

Mikail said Petya was derived from NSA spying software that was leaked to the public. And in the last few weeks, 32 terabytes of Microsoft Windows source code was also leaked. It’s not certain what mischief will come from that, he said. Though Microsoft patched Windows for Petya, many people haven’t kept up with their updates. And computers aren’t the only equipment that can be hacked. There are tractors, cars and other internet connected devices that are vulnerable too.
<The cyber attack that knocked out Ukraine this morning is now going global:
Everything you need to know about the Petya, er, NotPetya nasty trashing PCs worldwide:
This looks like a simple fix for Petya, but I can’t vouch for it…
Vaccine, not Killswitch, Found for Petya (NotPetya) Ransomware Outbreak:>

Adobe and several other companies have come out with software that can recreate a person’s voice from a small sample. It’s about 90% accurate, according to Mikail. There’s also software to do something similar with video. An example is George Bush’s face superimpose on a speaker, making it look like it’s really Bush who’s speaking.

Mikail said Amazon’s Echo Show (with Alexa, the personal assistant) is to debut today. He’ll give us a review of the product on the next show. It’s supposed to have a couple of speakers and a video screen that allows you to have video chats with other people. It could be a useful aid for senior citizens. But he has some questions about how privacy issues will be handled.

Michael gave us an overview of project Spiral Internet is starting. In Dec of 2015 the California Advanced Services Fund awarded a grant of over $16 million for the 1st phase. It was finally approved in mid May 2017 after much review of its environmental impact. Spiral is in the design process now. The first phase is to roll out in areas that are currently underserved. The definition of underserved includes those who currently have less than 6 megabits/sec.

Their network operation center is on Providence Mine Road. The optical fiber will be sent up Brunswick and down 174 (highway?) to Mount Olive Road. Then it will go down to Dog Bar and back up Labar(?) Meadows, up Rattlesnake then circles back thru Grass Valley and reconnects at the Nocks(?). That’s the loop. The laterals go out from huts that are on that loop. Service can be provided as far as 30 km from each hut.

There are 2 types of fiber optics. The type commonly deployed in the U.S. is GPON (passive optical network), which is much like the cable network. It has a fixed bandwidth and as more people access it at the same time, the service degrades.

What Sprial will be using is active Ethernet, which is a little more expensive. It’s a “home run” from a hut to each residence and the speed can be controlled for each segment.

If you do a speed test, you should see about 900 megabits/sec with a 1 gig connection, for both uploads and downloads. And if they change the electronics in a hut it can go up to 10 gig, 40 gig, 100 gig or 1 terabits/sec. That’s the advantage of fiber over cable, which has lower top speeds.

After the initial rollout to underserved areas, phase 2 will expand to other areas like Banner, Willow Valley, the town of Washington and microwave will cross South Yuba Canyon. Phase 3 will cover Lake Wild Wood and Penn Valley. The price will be $119 for 1 gigabit/sec of speed. At this time, about 20% of houses in the 174 corridor have signed up, and they haven’t started digging yet.

Michael noted that there could be a cost saving with the fiber service after you get rid of your cable service, satellite service, land line, etc.

On the subject of cord cutting, Mikail said he’s tried the Sling service and didn’t really like it. It seems like a good idea, but it’s slow and had a poor user interface. He dropped it after 2 weeks.

Michael said the Comcast cable service gives you a good speed at a reasonable price but the AT&T DSL service is being slowly phased out. There have been cases where a house with DSL is sold but the new owner can’t get the DSL turned back on.

Mikail said he keeps seeing people who upgrade to the Mac Sierra OS (High Sierra coming this Fall) who miss an important setting. Unless you have a very fast connection, he recommends turning off the option to store your desktop and documents in the cloud. He doesn’t recommend the encryption function either.

Michael talked about Client Works The IT Services For Everyone, his other enterprise. He started it in 1997 after having worked for Grass Valley Group.

They provide managed service like maintenance contracts with business. They monitor systems using a proactive approach to head off problems before they occur.

Michael started to explain the Economic Resource Council the Nevada County Tech Connection. It’s a new initiative funded by Nortech, a group from Chico. It’s what’s called a next generation sector partnership. He didn’t finish before attention turned to an incoming phone call…

Donna called. She has a 2012 Macbook Pro running OSX Yosemite version 10.10.5. Her daughter recently went on a trip to Europe and wanted Donna to install Whatsapp on her iPhone. “And it said that if I did that it was going to put my address book from my phone in the cloud, and that if I got rid of the cloud, I was going to lose my address book”.

Mikail asked her if she’s logged into iCloud on her Mac. She said no, she never uses the cloud. He had her go into system preferences in the upper left corner under the Apple menu, find the item called “iCloud”, click on it and see if there’s an email address. She did that and said there was no email address. He explained that what she’s being told is that the contacts <address book> will be uploaded into Whatsapp when it’s installed. Then if you log out of Whatsapp or delete it, the contacts only in Whatsapp will be deleted, not the contacts in the rest of the phone.

He went on to say, if the iPhone and Mac aren’t synched, she’s missing out on some benefits — the contacts on one device will also be on the other.

Last Updated 12:28 AM 6-29-2017

Jun 21, 2017

Jun - 21 2017 | no comments | By

Again, Microsoft has issued an important patch, which includes older Windows OS. See this article…
Patch Your PC: Yet Another Massive Exploit Discovered



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.

NOTE: There is another Zen Tech show scheduled next Wednesday 6-28-17

A couple of songs were played — Fractal Zoom at the start & Pentatonix near the start and at the end.


Paul was in the studio and Glenn called in from Sacramento


Paul said most of the internet providers have been suffering from a slow down. He speculated it might be due to the heat.

Telephony at KVMR uses VOIP and Paul noticed the poor quality of Glenn’s phone call. He went on to explain that cell service, copper wire telephone service and the internet itself used to be pretty independent. Now, the internet provides the backbone for all these services. So when the internet has a problem, the others can suffer.

Paul said that lists all of the major providers and has an algorithm that checks the major backbones to see how they’re doing. It also takes input from users about problems they’re having.

Paul used to check his connection and found he was getting 35 to 40 megabits/sec. But visiting Facebook, Google Drive and some other services resulted in serious problems. He speculated that hopping from one backbone to another caused the inconsistent results.

Glenn remembered that 134 degrees was some kind of heat record and it happened in Death Valley. Looking it up, Paul found that on 7-10-1913 the air temperature was 134 at Furnace Creek, at the bottom of the valley. It’s the hottest atmospheric temperature recorded on anywhere earth.

Paul talked about net neutrality saying there are something like 15 to 30 backbone providers In our area we have Comcast/Xfinity cable and ATT/Uverse DSL. Comcast wants people to buy their movies & content so they prioritize the internet traffic to make it easier for their customers to receive Comcast movies. At some point Comcast had a conflict with the backbone that Netflix resides on, and there was a behind-the-scene deal made between Netflix and Comcast to keep the Netflix video traffic flowing smoothly.

Check out the website to see if net neutrality is being observed or not. It’s explained on the webpage that it tests how traffic moves between major provider backbones.

Paul compared net neutrality with interstate commerce where goods can travel across state boundaries without regulation and tariffs. When you pay for 30 megabits/sec, you want to get that speed no matter where you go, no matter what backbone you go thru.

Paul talked about cars having problems with overheating in this hot weather. He’s seen many cars by the side of the road with overheated engines and was reminded of the friend who was struck and killed while standing on the shoulder by his car. He has a couple of rules to go by: the further you can get off the road, the better and never get out of the driver side of the car.

Paul went on to say that American cars have catalytic converts that get very hot. If you pull off onto a grassy area, the grass can catch fire if it comes in contact with the converter.

Additionally, don’t open the radiator cap. Wait for the engine to cool off. And don’t add cool water to the expansion tank while the engine is hot — it can crack the engine block.

Coming back from Sacramento last Monday, Paul had to take a break in Auburn to let his engine cool. He couldn’t decide if he should let his car idle so the coolant would circulate and hopefully cool the engine faster. He wished he had an infrared temperature gauge, which you can get from Home Depot for about $20. With it, he could have measured the temperature of different parts of the engine block to see how quickly it was cooling.

Glenn chimed it with his tip, saying that if you see the temperature gauge climbing, turning off the air conditioner can delay a overheating problem. You can also turn on the heater to take more heat away from the engine.

Should the coolant all boil away, irretrievable damage can be done to the engine within the 1st minute of running without water, Paul noted. You may not notice it at first but problems can show up later. One thing that can happen is the head gasket can be damaged and there may be oil lost into the coolant, coolant into the oil or coolant may enter the cylinders. The lesson is to take care not to let your engine overheat, which can happen very quickly, Glenn said.

After he has a high temperature event, Paul likes to check the coolant hoses as well as his oil. He said, that you don’t get more mileage with synthetic oil than natural oil. The wearing out of oil is due more to combustion products getting into it than something happening to the oil itself.

Program director Steve Baker came to the mic to say that the KVMR radio signal is no longer broadcasting and won’t be until repairs are made. The internet stream is still working. Paul said he’ll archive this show. <I’m not sure what he meant. The show is automatically archived — see the links at the top of this page>.

Paul talked about his Sonoff remote control device. It’s a wi-fi based internet of things (IOT) home automation system that you can get for $5.75 on Ebay or about $10 on Amazon. It’s a small rectangular white block that you can hold in the palm of your hand that has 2 screw terminals on the left and right, a push button and an LED. The push button is used to pair the device with your router.

He then got a common electrical extension cord, which he cut. He then bared the wires and connected them to the screw terminals (observing the polarity).

Next, you need to get an app called ewlink. With the app you create an account somewhere in China to which the device logs in. Since your router has a firewall, you won’t be able to directly communicate with the device when you’re out and about. What happens is your app logs on to the server in China where you created the account. The remote control device logs in to that server too. Now, the server acts as a go between for the device & app, and they can talk to each other.

Now, it’s proper to be suspicious of such a device when you don’t know everything it’s doing. It could be snooping on you, gathering passwords, etc. So you should create a guest network. Most routers are able to do this including Apple Airport routers. Essentially, this creates a separate login for the device so it can’t see the other traffic going thru the router — traffic from your computers, tablets, etc.

Glenn related a question by a listener named Marilyn. Can a cell phone that is not activated on a cellular service still be used to browse the internet using wi-fi? Paul said that it can. Glenn then asked if you take the SIM card out of an iPhone, could you still use the wi-fi. Paul replied that it might be problematic. If it’s a locked phone, it wants to see a SIM card that belongs to the company that originated it. <A locked phone is tied to a cellular company and may still be under contract.>

Paul gave an example. He got a used Sprint iPhone and reloaded the latest version of iOS. He turned it on and it said he needed to active the phone. But he didn’t have the SIM card for the service the phone had on it. He said that there are dead SIM cards (with no service on them) being sold for a couple of bucks. The iPhone just wants to see the cellular provider’s card, it doesn’t care if it works. Paul said if you deactivate your phone to give it to someone else, don’t throw away the SIM card. Also be sure the cellular company won’t be charging you for having the card in the phone, Paul said.

Glenn’s audio was breaking up pretty badly but it sounded like he said there will be another Zen Tech show on 6-28-17. Paul said he won’t be here but will be on the way to Croatia for his niece’s wedding.

Last Updated 12:42 AM 6-22-2017>

May 31, 2017

May - 31 2017 | no comments | By

Acronis Backup– protects against Ransomware?!

Android Malware– Punch N Judy!!



Additional notes

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

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


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


The intro music was Fractal Zoom by Brian Eno. Paul noted that Eno is a contributing member and a major force in the Long Now Foundation.

Listeners were invited to call during the show with their questions and comments at 530-265-9555

Paul revisited the concept of ransomware that was discussed on the last show (5-24-17). He said it has spawned a plethora of copycats. Ransomeware is not new; it’s been around 12 to 15 years. In the wake of the fear it elicits, others have been encouraged to offer solutions claiming to protect you, but not one is guarantied to work. Though PCs are usually targeted, other operating systems are vulnerable, Paul said.

Another form of malware is foistware, which is foisted on you by pretending to be something else, like when you’re prompted to do a Flash, Java or Adobe Acrobat update, for instance.

Paul mentioned Acronis Backup software. He said it does a reasonably good job. <See the link at the top>. There’s a lightweight version for individuals and a version for corporations. Though they claim that 500,000 business trust it, it’s unclear if that number refers to those who just started to download it or completed the download or went ahead and installed the software. Paul said, “there is no security software that you should ever trust, at all”…”behave with total circumspection and total distrust”. <That seems a bit hyperbolic, but I felt the need to include it>.

That said, Paul prefers FreeFileSync for backup. It does require the user to make some decisions about what to backup and what to skip. Generally, you’ll want to backup the content of C:\users (C:\documents and settings for XP users). <This program was mentioned during last week’s show (5-24-17) and on the 10-1-14 show.>
<FreeFileSync is here
The 12.1meg program .exe is here:
More info here>

Although an anti-virus program will prevent viruses from being backed up, there’s nothing to stop files encrypted by ransomware from being copied. There’s no reason to back them up, Paul said.

Glenn reminded listeners that the Zen Tech website is at And you can email the guys at zen at kvmr dot org at any time.

One of the project of The Long Now Foundation is a “monumental, scale multi-millennial, all mechanical clock as an icon to long term thinking”. Paul has seen one version of the clock at Fort Mason in San Francisco.
<The Clock of the Long Now>

Paul briefly talked about the Egyptian mummies and how recent advances in DNA extraction revealed that their origins were mainly Mediterranean populations rather than those from sub-Sahara.

Glenn has had time to evaluate the new LED headlights he got for his car that he talked about on the last show (5-24-17). He likes the illumination and no one has flashed their lights at him to indicate they were too bright. When Paul stood in front of the car, he found the upper boundary of the low beam lights terminated very precise, which was probably what kept the lights from blinding oncoming drivers. Glenn paid $100 for the kit from Amazon. It’s another $100 for the daytime running lights “and for the high beams”.

Paul said, “in this country, I don’t think, it’s ok to run around with running lights only — they don’t count for daytime use”. Glenn said, “if you use them in an area that isn’t designated for ‘you must use your headlights’, your daytime running lights do not count”.

Paul noted that over the years, safety regulations have reduced auto accidents and fatalities. Though still on the decline, the rates are leveling off due to cell phones and distracted driving.

There’s been discussion to make cell phones with a feature that will disable them when the car is in motion. Paul uses an app on his phone called Gas Buddy that, besides finding cheap gas prices, does detect if a car is in motion and, if so, will naggingly ask if the user is the driver or passenger.

Many radios in cars are Bluetooth enabled and you can get a device that attaches to the steering wheel that you can use to control a radio. The radio has to say it is “Bluetooth steering control enabled”. It is a standard. So even if you get a cheap Chinese knockoff for around $12, it should work. Paul said he’s still tempted to look at it even though you’re supposed to use it without taking your eyes off the road.

One of Paul’s favorite technology site is or in the USA it’s Yesterday he noticed an article about advertising fraud malware called Punch ‘n Judy that has targeted Android users. <See the link at the top>. It was found in 41 app in the Google Play Store. They have all been removed.

Version 7 of Android has a way of isolating suspicious activity of an app and notifying Google, which can then either kill the app or stop it from working and issue a warning.

Paul’s not sure what users can do about the Punch ‘n Judy malware. He said to google the words: punch ‘n judy android. And before you download apps, look at the user comments, how many downloads and how many stars (rating) they have.
<As I understand it the app is designed to click on ads in the background in a way the user may not notice. The pay-per-click payments somehow accrue to the malware creators. See here for another article>

Marilyn emailed a picture of a popup she keeps getting in her web browsers. It’s a side bar on the left with a green bar and the items Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus. She hasn’t found a way to get rid of it from her Windows 10 machine.
– Glenn asked the listeners for help.
– Paul suggested right-clicking the side bar to see what come up.
– Glenn did some research the other night but couldn’t remember the details of what he found. It had something to do with setting notifications in Windows.
– Paul thought it might be a browser plugin. In Firefox got to Tools -> Addons. If you don’t recognize something on the list, remove it. Even if you remove all the addons, Firefox will still work.
– An addon can appear in both Firefox and Chrome browsers even though you installed it once.
– In Chrome you can find the addons by going to the triple bar in the upper right -> Settings -> Plugins,
– In Chrome go to the triple bar -> Settings -> About to find out what version it is and to check for updates. This isn’t true for XP users because Chrome is no longer supported.
– In Firefox go to Help -> About Firefox -> Check for Updates.
– With frequent updates over the years, Firefox accumulates a bunch of junk. You can refresh it on a PC by going to Help -> Trouble Shooting Information -> Refresh Firefox. You can also try safe mode & restart. Paul said he’s never lost his bookmarks doing this. And it leaves what it cleaned up in a folder on the desktop called ‘Old Firefox Data’, which Paul has never seen a reason to keep.

Glen reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073. Or call the studio when the DJ is not talking on the air at 530-265-9555

Last Updated 11:21 PM 5-31-2017


May 24, 2017

May - 24 2017 | no comments | By

Microsoft has a patch for the WannaCry ransomware for users of older Windows 8, Vista and even XP. Some of you, and XP users in particular, may have noticed that using Windows Update does not show a patch for WannaCry. You have to go here and get it manually. Once you have the .exe file, just run it and it will install itself.
How to Protect Yourself From Ransomware Attack
Frenchmen claim cure for WannaCry-infected computers. The software is here

There was no show on 5-10-17 due to membership drive



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 < >

Looks like there was a problem with the KVMR archive. I couldn’t find today’s show there. Recent shows are here.

NOTE: There is another show scheduled for next week – 5-31-17


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio


Listeners were invited to call with their questions and comments during the show at 530-265-9555

Glen reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073

Paul talked a bit about ransomware and a version of it called WannaCry. <see the link at the top> Ransomware hijacks your computer by encrypting and locking up your vital data until you pay a ransom. Ransomware is not something new, as it first appeared a few years ago. Some 10 years ago a virus call AIDS emerged and it encrypted databases. Don’t depend on software to defend against ransomware, Paul said, use offline backups of your data.

Glenn said a researcher was able to find a way to decrypt the data and recover from WannaCry, but it requires that you haven’t rebooted your computer since the infection. <See the link to the article at the top.>

Glenn cautioned people about clicking on links in emails. An email may look like it’s from your bank, for instance, but it might be bogus. Use a web address you know is good to go to the bank’s site. <Or call them.> <Also at the top, is an NY Times article with security tips.>

Those still using unsupported versions of Windows (Vista & XP) can find a patch for WannaCry by following the instructions at the top of this page.

Paul noted that makers of anti-virus software or purveyors of security services don’t warranty or guaranty their products. The answer is offline backup, he said. That means keeping the backups separate from the computer or else the backups can be compromised.

He went on to say that it’s desirable to have at least 2 if not more storage media. Flash drives are relatively inexpensive — 128 gig flash drive can be found for under $30. Determine how many gigs of data you have for backing up and get drives that are twice that size.

Rather than dragging your data to the flash drive, use a program like FreeFileSync, Paul said. <It was mentioned on the 10-1-14 show.> To determine how much data will be synched, Go to the C: drive and find the folder called “Users”, right-click on it and then click on “properties”.
<FreeFileSync is here
The 12.1meg program .exe is here
More info here>

Once you’ve done the 1st backup, take out the flash drive and label it ‘A’. Then repeat the process with a 2nd flash drive & label it ‘B’. The drive that’s not currently plugged into the computer is considered secure from malware. <Presumably you should alternate the 2 drives as you continue making backups.>

Should you get hit with ransomware, don’t even consider plugging in the offline backup drive into your computer until you’re sure you’ve cleaned out the infection. Paul said he’s seen viruses working in pairs. You think you’ve eliminated the virus and the other one brings the 1st one back. And when you think you’ve deleted the 2nd one, the 1st one brings it back. So, Paul suggested making a copy of the drive you’re going to use for restoring. <I think he meant having 2 offline copies in case there are still remnants of the virus you missed.>

He went on to suggest occasionally doing a practice run of restoring your data to a completely different computer. A backup won’t do you any good if you can’t restore it. Even a Mac can read a flash drive made on a PC.

Glenn replaced the headlights in his car with LED headlights. When he went shopping for them he found that one issue is the wattage the lights required. Of the ones he saw, each LED bulb had 4 LEDs in it and required 120 watts per bulb instead of the 55 watts of his original H11 bulbs. So Paul did some searching and found, on Amazon, bulbs with 2 LEDs inside, which made the wattage requirement close to what he was already using.

LEDs require a fixed current at whatever voltage it takes but the tungsten type bulbs need a fixed voltage at whatever current it takes. So the guys had to make sure there was a current regulator circuit between the bulb and the rest of the car’s electrical system. It turned out that the LED bulbs are much brighter (3500 lumens) and had a whiter light (6000 K).

Speaking of lumens, Paul mentioned an app for his Android tablet that turns it into a light meter. It’s called Lux. He said the tablet has a light sensitive cell, which normally controls the brightness of the screen based on the amount of ambient light. The app uses this cell to indicate the brightness of the light shining on it. <There are a number of apps that use the word Lux. Do a google search for the words: lux meter.>

When Paul replaced the lights in his RV with LEDs and found that they don’t put out a uniform spectrum. When he replaced the running light with an LED, he found that the red lens in front of the bulb muted the light more than he liked. The correct solution is to replace the lens rather than finding an LED with a suitable color.

On modern cars there is a system called CAN bus. Its originally a German standard that uses a buss topology. It allows the car’s computer to tell if a light is out by measuring the current going to the bulbs. But since the LEDs use less current, the computer thinks a light is out when it isn’t. Paul didn’t say what or if there’s a solution.

Ralph called. He’s about to buy an replacement headlight for his car but he thinks the LED bulbs are too expensive & piss off people because they are so bright. Glenn said he got 2-year warranty and paid $90 for the pair that he bought.

Paul said the brightness became an issue when the high voltage zenon bulbs came on the market years ago. And misalignment can also cause the headlights of on-coming cars to be blindingly bright. There’s not much regulation, though some East Coast states will ticket drivers if the headlights are not aligned properly. Ralph said he’ll just get an old fashion tungsten headlight this time around. Glenn said he’ll be evaluating the new headlights and will have more to say about them on the next show.

Scott called from Topanga in Southern Calif. He said he flies Cessna aircraft and had light burn out regularly. But since the fleet switched over to LEDs, he’s not seen one burn out. Glenn said the ones he bought are rated for 55,000 hours. Paul said tungsten filament bulbs lose brightness as they age but the LEDs don’t.

Scott asked for opinions about cloud backups, like Carbonite. Paul said that besides Carbonite there’s Google Drive (his favorite), Drop Box as well as others. They will dutifully copy whatever is on your machine. He emphasized ‘whatever’. The point he seemed to make is that the backup happens so frequently and there may not be much time between a virus infection and a backup. So the consequence of an infection will get backed up, too.

The other problem with cloud backups is that there may not be enough bandwidth, if you’re working on a large project. Video editing especially can be problematic because files tend to be big. And when you first start using Carbonite, it can take hours or days to do the initial backup. After that, the backups are incremental where only the changes are backed up. And keep in mind that the upload speed is typically slower than the download — maybe only 4 or 5 megabits/sec. To beat ransomware the best option is local offline storage of your data, like to a flash drive.

Glenn asked if Time Machine on the Mac is susceptible to a ransomware attack. Paul said yes. If you or one of your programs can read and write data, so can the malware. He noted 2 of the big vectors for infection is the Flash player and Java. He said no one should be using Java anymore, Paul said.

Terry called to express her low opinion of bright headlights. She thinks that even if they are pointing down at the ground, they can have a bad effect. She didn’t elaborate but she’s practicing her high pitch singing in hopes of being able to break the glass of those headlights. Paul noted that there is tradeoff between seeing more with bright headlights and blinding on-coming drivers.

Paul briefly mentioned the Cree tactical flashlight, which were also talked about on the 6-29-16 show. Glenn found one for just a few bucks, for the flashlight alone. It uses a proprietary battery, which Paul got from an old laptop that’s 3.7 volts and 3 amp hours. The flashlight packages the guys got were $20 and included, among other things, a charger. At one time Paul tried shining the flashlight into his eyes & couldn’t see anything for 2 or 3 minutes. I think it was an expression of amazement as well as a warning because he followed with a disclaimer — he does not recommend shining them into people’s eyes.

Last Updated 12:15 AM 5-25-2017


Apr 26, 2017

Apr - 26 2017 | no comments | By

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

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

Note: Zentech won’t be on in 2 weeks (5-10-17) due to a membership drive


Both Glenn an Paul were in the studio today


Glen reminded listeners that they can become contributing members of KVMR by calling the office number 530-265-9073.

Webcal is a standard by which people can share their calendars (schedule). You can use it with Outlook, Ical, Android Calendar and with Google Calendar. Paul said the Google Calendar is very adequate and suggested that people try it out. Go to Clever people have been known to share their paper-based calendar by taking a picture of it and sharing the picture. Generally, when you share a calendar, you can make it read-only so no one else can make changes to it, Paul noted.

Paul found a wonderful website called It has access to thousands of calendars. Some have times of sunrise/set, length of day, moon phase and all sort of calendar-related info — anniversary of historic events (on this day in history) and trivial holidays (Hug An Australian Day, etc). And there are calendars specific to different countries.
<This is a similar service for Ical>

Glenn asked if webcal calendars can coordinate with Ical. Paul said it’s possible. “On the left hand side of that webpage there is what they call Manual Subscription, Other File Formats and Help How Does It Work”. Rather than going into details, Paul suggested using the help feature to set up Ical.
<Other interesting calendar sites I’ve run across…
Excel calendars>

Listeners were invited to call with their questions and comments during the show at 530-265-9555. Or email the guys anytime to zen at kvmr dot org. Any question related to technology is welcome <not necessarily about computers>.

Glenn noted that in the last 3 or 4 years there’s been an expansion in the number of top level domain names such as .com, .org, .gov and country domains (.fi)

And there’s .me as in, where you can test the speed of your internet connection. Also, you don’t have to live in the country whose domain you register with — you can live in the USA and register a .fi name.

Paul said InterNIC & IANA are the organizations that create domain names and addresses. One gives out (registers) numbers <the ip address I presume> and the other gives out names. Stakeholders can spend millions to have a domain created, like .toyota, if they think there might be a demand for it, and then they resell it.

A lot of the top level domain names are in Unicode characters. Unicode uses 2 bytes for each character to give a broader choice of letters in foreign languages.

There is a problem when Unicode is used in a browser that doesn’t support it. English doesn’t need Unicode for its character set and a browser may not use it to display the characters properly. A domain can be registered in Chinese Unicode characters. But then what should appear as Chinese in your browser’s address bar could end up being displayed in what looks like plain English — something innocent looking like If your browser is modern enough, there will be a warning saying something like “this is not the site it appear to be”.
<Chrome and Firefox Phishing Attack Uses Domains Identical to Known Safe Sites>

Johnny called. He has cell phone & a 2gig cellular plan with AT&T. He needs more data but the next step up with AT&T is way more than he needs. He’s heard of other plans mentioned on this show that use the AT&T network and wanted to be reminded again.
– Two were mentioned before: and
– For info about 2nd tier providers, google the word: mvno. It stands for mobile virtual network operator.
– Your coverage (reception) shouldn’t change because you’ll still be using AT&T with these 2 providers.
– Glenn said H2O is a little bit cheaper and you get more gigs for your money. They have a month to month plan, but with auto-billing you get a 10% discount.
– These two are the ones the guys are familiar with. There are many more choices.
– There don’t seem to be any such alternatives if you are currently with Verizon.
– Its very important to sign up with the new carrier and port your number to them BEFORE you terminate your account with AT&T or you’ll lose you phone number.
– Another thing to consider is you’ll no longer be able to tether with your phone (make it a hotspot for other devices to use the internet).
– Check with AT&T to see if you’ve completed your contract that pays for your smartphone, or there’ll be a termination fee.
– You’ll also need a PIN or security code from AT&T. It’s a layer of security to insure your number doesn’t get stolen in the process.

Eric called. He has tons of CDs and he wants to put the audio onto his phone.
– With a Google account you’re given the space to store 20,000 audio files for free. Go to
– Once your music gets transferred to Google, you can use an app on your smartphone to either listen to it stream or to download selected playlists.
– You can upload .mp3 or .aac files but not .wav or .flac, to Paul’s recollection.
– Eric said most of his music is in .flac format. Glenn said he’s had to convert some 9,000 files into .mp3 and suggested a program called alltomp3..
– Paul said the Android app he needs is Google Music.
– Eric brought up the issue of running down the battery on phone while listening for some 4 hours a day <and using up his data plan>. Paul suggested using wi-fi as much as possible. And he noted that auxiliary battery packs are now pretty cheap — about $12 for a 5 amp hour pack.
– Or consider getting an mp3 player.
<How to use Google Play Music
Add your music with Google Play Music Manager>
<For the PC: About All To MP3 Converter>

Michael called to say he’s found a cheap cell phone & plan from Republic Wireless for $20/mo. It runs on wi-fi for unlimited talk & text & 1 gig of data. Paul looked it up and noted that it looks like calling abroad is also free. Glenn jumped in to say H2O Wireless also has free international calling to some countries.

Michael said that if he gets out of wi-fi range, it will search for and connect to a cellular network automatically. Paul cautioned people to research whom Republic or other second tier providers use for the cellular network to be sure you’ll have adequate coverage in your area. And though he wasn’t sure, Michael thought the phone has to come from Republic because it’s special in that it can do the wireless hand-off. Paul noted not all phones can do that

Glenn invited listeners to visit the KVMR home page and look for the Day of Giving and you’ll find that Paul is featured.

Paul mentioned, which provides a map of coverage of the major cellular networks. The data it gets comes from people while they’re using the app and combining it with their GPS location.

Glenn said he uses Google maps a lot when he’s driving to get the traffic conditions ahead. Paul said Google uses data from transit authorities whereas the app called Waze uses data from the driver’s phones while using Waze, similar to opensignal.
<Waze For Android>

Paul mentioned an app for Android & PC called Wi-Fi Finder. It will overlay on a Google map the points where wi-fi is available. It shows the signal strength and the wi-fi name, and it’s updated continually.
<There are many such apps. Google the words: wi-fi finder>

Sue called. She has a Dell laptop with Win10. The lower left Windows button on her keyboard stopped working.
– Paul suggested she use keytest at to test her keyboard.
– Try a can of compressed air to blow out the keyboard.

Last Updated 12:41 AM 4-27-2017

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