Jul 25, 2018

Jul - 25 2018 | no comments | By

Beats Headsets & Other BadBoys!

Thrift Stores, Ebay, Craigslist Tech?!

Not here Next Show



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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated 2:18 AM 7-26-2018

Jul 11, 2018

Jul - 11 2018 | no comments | By

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

Fitness watches: Amazfit BIP in particular— Some Info.

OLED– New Display Technology! Low Power!

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

Happy Birthday, App Store!!!

Happy 40th Birthday KVMR July 21!

zombie downloader robot overlord malware.

What Is Alpha Techness?

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

FIFA Fraud… Real or Fake?!


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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Paul was in the studio today. Glenn called in.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated 12:28 AM 7-12-2018

Some useful infoSome useful info

Jun 27, 2018

Jun - 27 2018 | no comments | By

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

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

The intro music was Daft Punk by Pentatonix. Outro music was Bohemian Rhapsody, also by Pentatonix.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated 2:48 PM 6-28-2018

Jun 13, 2018

Jun - 13 2018 | no comments | By

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

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


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


Glenn was in the studio today and Paul called in.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated 12:52 AM 6-14-2018

May 23, 2018

May - 23 2018 | no comments | By

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


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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


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


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated 7:50 PM 5-25-2018

Apr 25, 2018

Apr - 25 2018 | no comments | By

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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated 11:22 AM 4-26-2018

Apr 11, 2018

Apr - 11 2018 | no comments | By

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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Glenn was in the studio today. Paul was on the road and didn’t get a chance to call in. Glenn spent some time trying to contact Paul so the notes are a little light today.


Glenn thanked those who are part of KVMR. <If you’d like to become a contributing member, you can call the business office at 530-265-9073 or go to kvmr.org>

He also invited listeners to call in with their questions and comments at 530-265-9555 or email the guys at zen at kvmr dot org.

On Tue April 17 at 5:30 to 7:30 Paul will be the key speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Church Street in Grass Valley. “It will be a talk on the current Facebook Cambridge Analytica Gold Country UNA USA”.

Version 11.3 of the Apple IOS operating system has been released. Glenn has already installed it on both his iPhone and iPad, but he’s encountered a problem. On many websites and apps it no longer automatically enters his username and password. He hasn’t yet found a solution and asked listeners to call in if anyone has found the answer.

Marilyn called about changing oil in her 1972 vehicle. She has always used 20-50 oil but has been told that 30 weight would work fine. She wanted to know if it’s ok to mix viscosities.

Glenn was a bit hesitant in his reply but said that if it has “always called for that” (the 20-50), it would probably be best to stick with that. And as for mixing the 2 viscosities, he didn’t think that would be a problem if you do a full oil change — drain the old oil & change the filter.

She also a 2-stroke engine in a piece of garden equipment that uses a gas & oil mixture of 50:1. She found out that the oil was bad but was told that instead of throwing it out, she could use it in her car. Glenn didn’t think that would be smart. It would likely cause a smoky exhaust and the oil might not be good for the gas lines, he said, and suggested she give it to a neighbor with similar equipment. She noted again that the oil went bad, so that would be out of the question.

Dave “Buzz” Barnett, the KVMR engineer, came into the studio to add to the conversation. He too didn’t think it was a good idea to put it in a car and suggested putting it a lawn mower, but not at “full mixture”. For a gallon of lawn mower gas “put a pint of the oil mixed in” and “it will burn up..it will get rid of what you need to get rid of”. He said the lawn mower typically has a 4-cycle engine and it’s more forgiving than putting the stuff in a car. He also concurred with Glenn that she should stick with the 20-50 oil in her car.

Scott called from Southern California. He agreed with Dave. He has kept oil around for a long time and never had it go bad.

He also thought she should stick with the 20-50 oil. The “clearances start open up a bit” as an older vehicle puts on a lot of miles and a higher viscosity oil helps keep the oil pressure up.

Glenn brought up a problem Marilyn was having in the past in trying to open .pdf documents. She had the default set to TWINUI which, he thought, has to do with scanning. He said that to handle such a problem, hover your mouse over the file you’d like to open and right-click on it -> click on ‘Open With’ and you’ll be shown various apps that can open the file. At this point choose the app you want to be the default program that will be used to open that particular file type. In the future, that will be the program that’s launched whenever you double click on the particular file type (.pdf).

Gary called. He has old iPhone 5C and has never upgraded the operating system because he’s heard people complaining about problems they’ve had after upgrading. He wondered if he too would have such problems. Glenn replied…
– Yes, it will make a significant change in how you use the phone”. “Every major update has caused something new or different and in some cases actually caused older things not to work”
– He’ll probably have to upgrade by stepping upward thru the version numbers.
– Looking it up, Glenn read an article from last June saying that IOS 11 update ends support for the iPhone 5 and 5C. They will no longer receive software or security updates.
– Not updating a phone means it could be subject to security issues.
– The most recent update you can get for the 5C is IOS 10.
– If you haven’t had security issues, it might be best just to leave it the way it is.

Gary wanted to know how find what version of the OS he has. Glenn said to go to Setting -> General -> About -> Version. Gary found he has version 9.2.1.

Gary said he’s considering just getting the model SE. It has the same smaller size as the 5C and has all the bell & whistles. It’s still being sold new with technical support and the price is not too bad. Glenn thought that it may be a good way to go. He said to back it <the 5C, I guess> up on your computer using iTunes. Then you “can synch the new phone from iTunes, once you get it started and set up”.

A listener Paul called. He has an old iPod he’d like to donate, maybe to some senior citizen. He first wants to save the music from it to his computer.
– Connect the iPod to the computer. If iTunes doesn’t automatically start, then open it manually. You should then see what’s on the iPod and be able to tell it to “back up the music into iTunes”.
– Glenn thought he should then be able to move the music to other devices by using iTunes, but he wasn’t sure.
– On second thought, Glenn said to hold off and check the show notes in the next couple of days, Paul might have some suggestions. <Check some Apple forums or discussion groups for advice.> Or check back in 2 weeks for a more definitive answer.

Paul wanted to make his donation before some program expires. <Supposedly Glenn mentioned some program earlier in the hour that I didn’t hear — probably in when he read the calendar of events.> Glenn replied that “the collection continues thru Sat April 14” and suggested Paul email the guys (zen at kvmr dot org) to get a quicker answer. More info about the donation program can be found at tuneswork.org. It’s Music And Memory, an organization for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Donation sites are KVMR, Center For The Arts, Clock Tower Records, The Wooden Spoon and in Auburn it’s Cherry Records.

Steve called. He wanted to know the difference between an image and a backup. Trying to keep it simple, Glenn said and ‘image’ “takes a picture of the hard drive and duplicates it”. Typically that will involve another hard drive of the same size. In the past it’s been used to clone a drive so you can put a new drive into your computer, which generally doesn’t work if your operating system is on it.

With a backup you can choose what you want to back up and where. It’s recommended having target drive that’s twice (or more) the size of the drive you’re backing up.

Steve wants to back up a program he’s been using. But Glenn said backing up doesn’t work for programs, they need to be reinstalled. Steve doesn’t have the original disks for the program. So Glenn told him to call the company that created the program and ask how to install it on a new computer. Also, you can do a web search for an older program. You might be able to get it cheaply.

Last Updated 10:53 PM 4-11-2018

Mar 28, 2018

Mar - 28 2018 | no comments | By

Busted Technology– where to start?!?
I love HIREN BOOT CD Described Here and
what’s on it
download it here and More Info about Fake Download Links etc.

Cambridge Analytica and you- FB Data Breakout!
Happy Birthday Viagra!

PodCasts, Flash and Old KVMR Radio Shows 

BitCoin, BlockChain Should I Shouldn’t I?!

is it a Currency or a security What is it so we can regulate it!

Car Battery Charging.. what’s the dealy?! (PDF)

Learning JQUERY for Web Pages Clever Demo Here


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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Glenn reminded listeners that backups are critical to mitigate failure of hard drives. Paul added that it’s important to test your backups by trying to restore the data.

Paul mentioned things from the past that assisted the visually impaired. He noted that webpages are much more readable than they used to be by complying with the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act). He recalled the software “Jaws”, which is a screen reader. But it had a bug that made it repeatedly read any flashing text that it encountered.

There also was a device that was basically a camera on a tripod. It would read whatever you put under it, like a book. Then it would perform optical character recognition and read it to you.

Glenn told us about an app, whose name he couldn’t recall, for the visually impaired that will read the ingredients on food labels. And that reminded Paul of the time he used Google Translate to read the instructions for a front door security alarm he got from China. It was all in Chinese, not a word of English, and though the translation was a bit funky, it was surprisingly successful.

Paul talked a bit about trouble shooting computers. His first step is to be sure the hardware is ok before diagnosing the software. So, how does one test the hardware?

The underlying hardware of PCs & Macs is now more similar than it ever was. They both use Intel CPUs and the PCs can also use the AMD CPUs. They have the same kind of memory and same peripheral ports: PCI & PCI Express.

The free Linux based Hiren Boot CD is a piece of software that comes on a bootable CD for diagnosing both a PC and Mac. <see link above> It bypasses the operating system and doesn’t touch the software on your computer. It tests such things as memory, hard drive, temperature sensors, the bus, camera, internet connections, wi-fi interface, etc.

It has 300 to 400 utilities among which is one to recover your password. If you forgot the password to your Windows machine, it can look at the hard drive that contains Windows and reset the password. Paul’s favorite test is the hard drive SMART test, which performs a detailed diagnostic of your hard drive. Paul advised googling the test results from Hiren to get more details on what it found.

It’s such a sought after program that you should be wary of websites that you might find in searching for it. There are many pretenders that are up to no good. Use the link above.

Paul has been trying to change the way files as big as 50 or 60 megs are uploaded to <downloaded from> KVMR’s website called Podhawk. When Podhawk was installed in 2010, “Flash was the way to go”. But the tech industry is trending away from using Flash and many people have disabled it on their machines. So Paul has begun educating himself in using Jquery, <see link above> which is a library <of helpful code> that makes using Javascipt easier. The goal is to use a different method of file transfer.

In talking about transferring audio files, Paul mentioned audio.kvmr.org where, under the item called ‘archive’, there are KVMR shows that go back more than 10 years. You can play them directly or download. Assembling this archive is what led Paul to study Jquery. Right after the Jquery link above is a demo site that shows how it works.

The guys talked about Cambridge Analytica and how it acquired information on millions of Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica offered money to Facebook users if they allowed the Analytica app access to their profiles. It then went further and gathered info about all of the ‘friends’ of the initial user. Paul said he keeps changing the info in his profile to something that’s bogus — “just because a site asks you questions, doesn’t mean you need to tell them the truth”.
<How Calls for Privacy May Upend Business for Facebook and Google>

Glenn said he recently used the new iteration of Whatsapp on the iPhone. When he tries to ‘call’ using the handset & + icon in the upper right, where you put in the phone number, it says “New call. Whatsapp doesn’t have access to your contacts. Whatsapp needs access to your iPhone’s contacts to connect to other people on Whatsapp. To enable access, tap settings and turn on contacts”. Glenn has never given Whatsapp access to the contacts, but this latest version won’t work unless he does. <He didn’t say if he’ll continue using it>.

For over 10 years European law has entitled users to get all of the information a site has about them. Facebook has feature that lets you download all the data they have about you. It’s useful if you’ve lost photos that you put up on Facebook. And as a side effect, you get to find out all they know about you, not just what you’ve told them, Paul said. Someone found that by giving their phone number, the app had been able to access all their call records. Paul said that though he uses Facebook he doesn’t trust it.

Don called with a caution for Facebook users. He said just by using Facebook you implicitly trust them even though you think you don’t. You don’t know what their code does. Even if they ask permission for access to your phone number, you don’t know if they scrape all your information anyway, no matter whether you granted permission. Don thought it’s a good idea to move to a different platform that has better morals.

Marilyn called. She wanted to know that if you use your laptop at a public wi-fi, can your internet usage be associated with your laptop or only the wi-fi provider? Paul said that the IP address can be “traced to wherever it came from. If you’re at a Starbucks in Roseville, it’s traceable if somebody plugged in a computer there and the odds are very high, because of the use of cookies and so forth, that the next time you take that laptop and plunk it down somewhere else, they know where you are for a second time. And because of the use of cookies and so forth, they can then link together where the computer was with who the user was. So the answer is yes”.

Additionally, the Firefox and Chrome browsers have the incognito mode, which won’t send or receive cookies, supposedly. It’s not the same as being anonymous — you become “largely unknown, not completely unknown”.

She also asked if there’s a way to block incoming junk phone calls. Paul said, “if you have every contact that you know in there and the number comes up and it’s not somebody you know, it’s probably junk”. When you get a call from someone in your contact list, their name will be displayed. If no name shows up, it likely junk.

Marilyn realized she didn’t ask the right question. She meant to ask about junk text (txt) messages. Paul said he didn’t know a way to block spam text messages though there is software to block text from a particular sender.

Paul went on to say there is a way to block unsolicited phone calls. Some systems, including the one he uses called Voip.ms, “will require that when the phone rings and you pick it up that you press 1 to receive the call. So what will happen is that if it rings and rings and rings and then goes dead, the automated system on the other end didn’t know to press 1. It tells the CALLER ‘you must press 1 to continue'”.

She also said that she has suddenly been getting tons of spam email, she got very little before. Paul suggested she get a Gmail address. She said she’s using an old version of Outlook (from 2000) and Paul said it can’t be used with Gmail, she’ll have to get a later version. But that won’t solve the spam problem. Gmail, on the other hand, handles spam on their servers, she won’t be able to do anything about it on her home computer.

Paul said he’d like to do a special show about cryptocurrency (Bitcoin and blockchain) and bring in “our money guy” to explain.

Last Updated 8:10 PM 3-29-2018

Last Show Mar 14, 2018

Mar - 14 2018 | no comments | By

Steven Hawking no longer with us : (

How good is “Captcha” at stopping Rogue log-ins to any site(s)?!
V1 Captcha Shut Down…(reading road-signs and street names)
V2 Long Live That! Solve some Puzzles and Google will Remember you are NOT a Robot!
(Thanks for your patience, Alex!)

Air Gapped Security? Wazzat?
EternalBlue- the Exploit. Wazzat?!
WannaCry Ransomeware- SMB Defect & WinXP
CryptoMining Viruses and JavaScript, Etc.

Old IMac Linux– Whooppeee!
CALIBRE– Ebook Read/Convert:

WordPress: a Stable set of Plugins..
Google ReCaptha by BestWebSoft.. etc.



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

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


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


It was a rainy day in Nevada City and Glenn reminded those who were driving to turn on their headlights. If the windshield wipers are on, a California State law requires the headlights be on too. Daytime running lights don’t count.

Students were in the studio today. 24 of them from a combined 5th & 6th grade class were there to see how a radio station worked. Katie came to the mic to read the station ID and others were briefly interviewed. Hudson was impressed by the CD collection. Glenn said that the CDs were being digitized for easier access to the music, eliminating the need to handle the discs.

Glenn said there are KVMR apps for both Android & iPhone. You should be able to find the links to them on the front page at kvmr.org.
<The link to the Android app makes it a bit difficult to find. I found it more directly by going here>

Next it was Aden who came to the mic. He noticed the abundance of rooms at the station. Glenn said the studio doors are usually open during the Zen Tech broadcast to make it seem more inviting and to capture the ambient sounds (as long as they’re not too loud).

Lastly, it was Persephone who took a turn at the mic. Her interest in radio stations centered on listening to county music

Glenn reminded listeners that they can listen to this show again at archives.kvmr.org.

There have been changes to the Zen Tech website as well as the KVMR site. The Zen Tech website and KVMR now use secure certificates to keep the traffic between your computer and the website from being intercepted.

Also, when you login to the Zen Tech site, you have to prove you’re not a robot by completing the captcha challenge. This feature is provided by Google and has changed recently, version 1 is no longer available. You now have to use version 2, which involves identifying objects in photographs. You have to click on all photos that have cars in them, for instance. With this version of the captcha it’s hard to know if you’ve clicked the right photos and it keeps sending you more photos to identify. <I hate it, and it’s the reason I was so late in posting the last show notes. It may not be the last time that happens.>

Paul went on to say that once you pass the captcha test, a cookie is set on your computer, which is then valid on other websites that use version 2 to let you pass thru without the hassle of the captcha. He said that’s the reason they made it so hard. If you think you’re solving the captcha wrong, chances are it’s ok and that the system is just putting you thru the paces.

The captcha system Paul uses for the Zen Tech site is a plugin for WordPress, which runs the site. The plugin is called Google Recaptcha by BestWebSoft. There are several captcha systems he could have chosen and one of the things that helps him decide is how many time has it been downloaded. He’ll favor the plugin that’s been downloaded most often. Obviously, he also checks for compatibility for the version of WordPress he’s using — there were several in the last few months.

Paul started to talk about compiling site maps “so that Google will know where our site was”. The popular pluging for that is ‘Yoast’. It’s free and it analyzes the site to see how palatable it is for search engines like Google. It sounded like he didn’t say all that he wanted when he suddenly changed the subject to thanking supporters of KVMR.

Glenn continued by thanking the contributors and underwriters and he thanked the members who support KVMR thru their donations. <If you’d like to become a member, you can call the station at 530-265-9073 or go to kvmr.org>

The guys noted the passing of Stephen Hawking, a famous mathematical physicist.
<A brief history of Stephen Hawking’s discoveries.
Stephen Hawking: pop culture icon>

Glenn has been educating himself in using Word and Excel recently. He said there’s a lot more to Excel than just spreadsheets. One of his projects is creating name badges. He found that the border color can change depending on what is entered in certain fields. He was using the 2013 version of Excel but thought that earlier versions might be capable of the same thing.

Paul mentioned the possibility of getting malicious code when someone gives you a Word <or Excel> document. The document may have macros (mini programs), which enhance the functionality but can be made to do strange things. Your Excel application should warn you that there are macros in the document you’re about to open, and ask you if the macros are to be executed.

The macros are in English and Paul said you can look thru them to see if the words like ‘delete’ are present or a website is mentioned, which might hint at something malicious. Glenn said the main Excel file has the extension .xlsx and the macro files are .xlsm. Otherwise, just be aware where you get your document and what it’s supposed to be doing.

A long time ago there was defect in Windows that would allow code to be executed if you clicked on a .gif file — “the picture viewer could be tricked into overrunning the code.” The .gif picture file could be longer than what it was meant to be and code could be stuck on the end, which would then cause what was called “arbitrary code execution”. Adobe .pdf files have had a similar problem. And the worst of all have been .swf, Shock Wave Flash files, which exploit defects in the Flash player.

Next, Paul talked about crytocurrency viruses. A lot of computer processing is needed to manage cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. So someone came up with the idea of using the computers you or I have to help out — to distribute the processing out to the computers on the internet. The virus will use your computer’s spare time to do a small fraction of the processing that would otherwise require a huge array of computers. Paul reasoned that it shouldn’t use more then 50% of your computer’s time, otherwise you’ll suspect something’s going on.

Paul found out how such a virus can get on your computer. It appears that some Windows machines still have a flaw despite all of the recent patching. The flaw is called Eternal Blue that exists in the “networking stack”. It was first developed by the NSA and is now used by the cryptocurrency miners and also by the ransomware Wannacry virus.

Microsoft came out with a patch for Eternal Blue. If you have Windows XP and are keeping it off the internet for security reasons, you can download the patch to a flash drive and then plug the flash drive into the XP machine to update it. You should also have an updated anti-virus program to protect it from compromised flash drives.
<Further info from Microsoft.>

Glenn invited to call with their questions and comments at 530-265-9555. And they can send email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul has a Kindle app for his Android tablet for reading books and such. And though it can read .pdf files, it’s pretty rudimentary. So he discovered a free app called Calibre, which is an ebook reader and converter that runs on a PC or Mac. It can convert a .pdf file into a Word document, which you can then edit. In fact it can convert between 20 different formats, including..mobi, the native format for the Kindle.

Calibre has a bit of a learning curve and the interface is clunky, but it’s a far better program than he first thought. It also lets you subscribe to various free magazines, news sources, periodicals and documents. And it comes with a list of websites where you can get all of this free stuff

Caroline called. She has an iPhone 4 and keeps getting the error message “Can not get mail. The mail server ‘IMAP Gmail.com’ is not responding. Verify that you have entered the correct account info into mail settings.”
– Paul said the email app on your old phone is out of date for what Gmail expects. Google has started imposing a a more stringent authorization scheme called OAUTH.
– Use the Safari browser to go to Gmail and get your mail. Though eventually Safari will become out of date and fail to access the mail.
– It’s not obvious, but there is a setting in Gmail to permit less secure authentication. But then you’ll get warnings saying something like ‘less secure applications are accessing your account’ <referring to your email app>.
– Get a new iPhone.
– Gmail is the least hacked mail service and this problem is the price you ‘pay’ for more security.

Last Updated 12:59 AM 3-15-2018

Feb 28, 2018

Feb - 28 2018 | no comments | By


Ryan is In the Studio Today!




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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Glenn was a bit late coming into the studio because he had a problem with his Canon MX922 printer, He didn’t put the ink cartridge in quite right and it got stuck. He had to call tech support to get it resolved. The printer was under warranty, but he didn’t even have to verify that with them.

The rest of the show was an interview with Ryan Trauntvein who is part of the Github enterprise and he told us what it’s all about. Git is the guts of Github and git is a derogatory word in England that refers to someone who makes stupid mistakes. Github is a website where you can collaboratively work out your mistakes, Paul quipped.

Ryan said Git is a version control system and Github is a host <the website> for version control using Git. It’s a way for 2 or more people working on something, like writing a computer program, to prevent changes made by one person from being lost when another person makes changes to another version of that program.

The old way of doing this is to allow only one person to “check out” a file and work on it, thereby not allowing anyone else to work on it until it’s checked back in. With Git each person can work on their own copy at the same time and, when the file is sent back up to the server, the choice is made about how to merge the two (or more) versions. It’s not just for writing software, it can be generalized for use on many collaborative projects.

For instance, in writing a novel, if 2 people edited a paragraph, Git will highlight changes made by each editor while noting who made which changes. It will then be up to the editors (or project managers) to decide which changes to keep or delete.

Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, also created Git. When Linux was created, the version control system he used was called Bit Keeper and it was proprietary, so he created Git.

You can create a free account at Github. You don’t need to download anything to your computer, it can be run from their webpage using their editor. If for instance you want to work on a novel, you create a project on the website and proceed to create sections for your chapters. Other collaborators on your project will than have to first create an account on Github and be invited to contribute to your novel. Alternatively, there are desktop applications available that can be used for collaboration. Collaborators can be restricted to work on just a certain portion of the project, like just a particular chapter of a novel.

Many of the projects on Github are open source. Of those let you only look at the contents of the project. Some, however, let you make changes without being formally invited to the project. The changes you make will create a ‘fork’ of the original project and be kept separate from it.

Later, your fork of a project can be submitted to the original project with a ‘poll request’. Those running the original project can then look at the changes you’ve made and make suggestions on how you can improve your fork. Eventually, your fork may be merged with the original project.

Paul mentioned another open source repository called Source Forge.

Github is a for-profit enterprise. If you are creating a non-profit project, Github is free to use, as long as you keep it open to the public. If you want to close it to the public, then you’ll have to pay to use Github.

Paul asked Ryan if musicians could use Github to work on their music. There are a number of music projects, Ryan said. One is called Sonic Pie. Images & 3-D printing models also have their own projects

Paul then asked if Github keeps track of all the changes made on a project. Ryan said there are different ways to go back and compare parts of a project as they’ve changed over time.

A project with plain text is easy for Github to keep track of, but what if the collaborators use something like Microsoft Word to create the content? Ryan said that Github can only display a limited number of formats online, and the rest has to be sent to the collaborators for display on their own computers.

On a related topic, Paul mentioned the meetup event that happened yesterday at Quietech Associates in Grass Valley called the Nevada County Free Code Camp. They have a Facebook group. And you can find them on Github if you search for Nevada County Free Code Camp, where you can see their repository.

There are “mini modules” thru which you can progress when learning programming at Free Code Camp, which is a global organization. There are 3 areas of certification: front-end web development, data visualization and back-end development. The entire free learning experience is covered in 400.

The certifications offered are for skills that are widely used in industry. There are thousands of testimonials from people who’ve gotten jobs after going thru the program.

Paul wondered where the big demand for jobs is, Ryan said there’s a big demand for documentation and, perhaps, back-end development (cloud services).

Glenn said that if you go to freecodecamp.org and click on ‘map’ in the upper right-hand corner, it lists the various projects.

Paul asked what sort of [Github] projects there are for non-profit organizations. Ryan thought that modernizing what they already do would be helpful — things like data visualization or mobile apps. And many organizations need a membership database, Paul added.

Glenn asked how one should prepare themselves to attend a Free Code Camp meetup. Ryan said there’s usually an initial short talk on something like a coding topic or how a company has been using a software product. Then there’s a freeform class where you can immediately start learning and where people can help you thru challenges. <Bring your laptop was implied.>

Paul said you can find various meetups in your area by going the meetup.com and search on your geographic location.

Every Thursday there’s a meeting of Coffee and Code which is put on by the Nevada County Hackers meetup group, a spin-off of Free Code Camp. It’s more of a heads-down working session.

Glenn asked if Free Code Camp is for people who want to develop mobile apps. Ryan wasn’t sure but thought there are a number of people who have that interest. He thought that’s something that will be addressed in the future.

On the other hand, a lot of the design done at Free Code Camp is mobile friendly. The term for that is ‘responsive design‘. This is where the website will display differently based on the device you’re using — it will to fit better if it determines you’re using a small screen. The Zen Tech web site is like that. WordPress, the content management system it uses, makes it display properly.

If you’d like to program apps for the iPhone and iPad you can get the free Xcode developer platform and run it on a Mac, Paul said. It also lets you collaborate on a program with Github using the ‘check out’ ‘check in’ method. If you then want to put your completed app into the Apple App Store, it will cost you $100.

The best way to reach Ryan…
– On the meetup website.
– On Facebook
– On a Github-related chat site called Gitter.
– Or come to one of the meetups.
<Other info about him…
At Github, here and with his picture here.
– On Twitter>

Listeners were invited to write to the guys with questions or comments, even those they’d like to be forwarded to Ryan: zen at kvmr dot org

Paul closed with this thought: Education is when you learn more and more about less and less until you know everything in the world about nothing at all.

Last Updated 4:25 PM 3-1-2018

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