Jan 10, 2018

Jan - 10 2018 | no comments | By

Meltdown! FAQ

Intel CPU Defects


Button Cells like the CR2016: 3.6v

Type Numbers for Bulbs Batteries…

Oil Filters



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 took his first Lyft ride this past weekend. It was from the Golden One Center where he saw a basketball game. He said watching the megatron display was almost better than watching the game directly, because of all the camera angles.

He said the Golden One Center has an area where you can plug in your mobile device to get it charged. And they have an app that you can use order pizza <as well as do other things>.

Glenn wasn’t sure of the range for the ticket prices for a basketball game. He guessed they’re from about $40 to $300. For the seats he was in, a pair of season tickets cost “only” $17,000 and the cheapest are $6700 a pair.

The Lyft driver who served Glenn had a hearing impairment and the guys speculated about how the drivers were covered by insurance. Apparently, Uber does cover its drivers.

A couple of weeks ago Glenn started using the app called Waze, an alternative to Google Maps. Though it’s considered a superior mapping system to others, he didn’t like how it had control of his car’s stereo, via Bluetooth, even when it wasn’t issuing directions — nothing else would play thru the stereo. There is a setting to keep it from using the car’s stereo at all, but that’s how Glenn wanted it to work. For a workaround, he noticed that the Lyft drivers who use Waze will have their phones play music thru the car using Bluethooth which will relinquish control to Waze only when Waze has something to say. He likes, and apparently uses, Google Maps instead.

Paul explained that, as with other map/traffic apps, Waze automatically submits speed <and location> of its users to its central servers, which then aggregates the data to warn drivers of congestion, for instance. Unlike the other apps, Waze lets the users report things like a crash or stop & go traffic on an on ramp.

Paul noted the law that came into effect about a year ago regarding using a device while driving. Though discouraged, a concession was made to allow you to activate a function if it only requires one button press and you’re not actually holding the digital device. Glenn thought there were further restrictions — it’s only for a phone call or to use a map.

Paul thought using Siri by voice would be ok while driving. Glenn said he finds Siri confusing to use in the car. He tried to use it recently to find a gas station and asked Siri for an Arco AM/PM, but Siri couldn’t determine what he was asking for. He switched over to Google Maps, which not only showed nearby stations but also gave the gas prices. Paul said Google seems to be adding more details to their maps every time they update the app.

Gordon called to ask about the best way to backup his PC computer. If you have a network at home you can add network access storage like the Western Digital My Book Live, Paul’s favorite. 2 or 3 terabytes of storage is about $149, The backup software that comes with it is not great, but not bad. The drive works with Macs too, and looks like a Time Capsule to a Mac. Check Youtube for instructional videos to help you set it up or at least give you an idea of difficulties you might encounter.

Gordon expressed concern that the data will be vulnerable to a catastrophe like a fire or flood at his home. Paul said these threats exist but, on the other hand, the data transfer speeds are thousands of times faster than backing up to the internet. A hundred gigabytes will take forever to backup to the internet. The solution is to make a 2nd backup to a portable device, like a USB drive, and physically store it at a remote location.

Backups to the cloud tend to lag behind because they tend to be slow. so you may encounter the problem of not getting them done in a timely manner, Paul said. And keep in mind that uploading can be 10 times slower than downloading, due to the asymmetric nature of the protocol. However, you may be able to get by ok if you have a small number/size of files.

Glenn chimed in suggesting Carbonite for backing up to the internet. He said they have plans for business as well as individuals. He uses Google Drive for document storage and noted that you can synch your files if you install Backup & Synch.
<Google releases Backup and Sync for Mac and Windows>

Gordon said he doesn’t have a lot of data to backup. To find out how much you have, go to the C: drive & right-click on the folder ‘Users’ -> properties to find out how much data there is for all of the users on your machine…that is what you really need to back up. First, you might want to run Ccleaner, which removes all of the extraneous garbage files that you don’t want to backup. <More about Ccleaner in the 12-27-17 show notes.>

Another program the guys have used in the past for backups is Free File Sync. But this one requires more tweaking, Paul said.

Paul talked about the recently reported Meltdown & Spectre faults. They are not viruses but are defects in the CPUs. Modern CPUs process sets of instruction out of order to optimize speed. Some processes are supposed to be hidden from others but there may be a small time frame when they’re not and the data can be exposed. What to do…
– Don’t panic. There haven’t been any exploits seen out “in the wild”, yet.
– Watch out for claims purporting to fix the problem — all you need to do is click this & download that. Be very suspicious of emails with links or attachments unless you’re sure of their origin. Be careful of popups in webpages saying a problem with your computer has been detected.
– Anti-virus programs won’t be especially effective. Only some attempts to exploit these vulnerabilities might be done with a virus.
– Firefox, Chrome and to a lesser extent Internet Explorer browsers have killbits in place where they recognize certain types of things you get thru webpages. <I think the point is to keep your browsers updated.>
– All of the companies are issuing updates. Stay updated. Be sure your updates come from Microsoft itself thru Windows Updates or Apple thru Software Updates.
– Paul thought the problem affects iPhones and those phones with the ARM CPU, too.<Arm CPU, ARM & Spectre>
– The patches are expected to slow down your computer. They will negate the speedup you get with “preemptive look ahead”. In some cases there may be a 25% slowdown, but webpages won’t be affected so much.
– Microsoft didn’t wait until patch Tuesday to issue a patch. Paul speculated that it caused some Windows machines to crash and go into an “infinite boot loop”.

<Spectre and Meltdown Exploits – What You Need to Know:
A followup: Can Malware (Spectre, Meltdown) Spy After Reboot
What You Need to Do Because of Flaws in Computer Chips |
The CPU catastrophe will hit hardest in the cloud— The Verge:
Researchers Discover Two Major Flaws in the World’s Computers>

Glenn thanked those who have become supporting members of KVMR and invited listeners to write with their questions and comments to zen at kvmr dot org.

<The fallout from Apple deliberately slowing down older iPhones as new operating systems come out, has led Apple to offer discounts on battery replacements.> Affecting iPhone SE, iPhone 6 up to the iPhone 10, the battery will be replaced for $29. It’s not expected to begin until later this month & will go to Dec 31 2018. Glenn said he’ll wait until the last minute to get his done.
<Apple iPhone battery replacement program>

Last Updated 2:14 AM 1-11-2018

Dec 27, 2017

Dec - 27 2017 | no comments | By

Strange Minimalist Music from the 1980’s– Electronics.
“O Superman” by Laurie Anderson

Nostalgic? try telehack.com 

and see old BBS style Text Files 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 music was by Pentatonix.
The outro music was a “random track” by Brian Eno.


Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in.


Paul played an excerpt of some music from the English musician Lori Anderson. It’s from 1982, which is when he left England permanently. She used an octave divider to process her voice. Her album is being republished, but an analog version was put on Youtube (see the link above) with a link to the digitally cleaned up version that you can buy.
<Lori’s website>

Glenn called in from a location he didn’t expose and started off by telling us about a problem Marilyn has recently encountered. She’s using Windows 10 and when she upgraded the Firefox browser to the latest version (ver 57.0.2), her computer started to run slow.

Paul said Mozilla did a rewrite of Firefox recently and it’s now called Firefox Quantum. Whichever version you’re using, you can do a cleanup by going to Firefox Health Report (or maybe it’s Trouble Shooting Information) in the ‘Help’ menu. From the page that opens, Paul suggested Marilyn choose ‘Refresh Firefox’ in the upper right-hand corner. It saves your bookmarks and some of your settings, dumps everything else and then reloads the bookmarks & settings. In the process, it dumps the addons, which can cause mischief, and you’ll have to reinstall them as needed. It also dumps caches as well as any bits and pieces left over from any previous upgrades. Paul said when you migrate to Firefox Quantum, it automatically triggers a refresh. <More about Quantum in the 11-29-17 show notes.>

If you had been using a 32bit version of Firefox but you have a 64bit computer you’ll be switched to the 64bit version of Firefox when you update to the new version. It appears Mozilla is no longer making the 32bit version but all of the addons work just the same, Paul said.

We should all have more than one browser on our machines, Paul continued. But he hates the Microsoft Edge browser, “it’s horrible”. It’s what comes with Windows 10. However, you can still get the earlier Internet Explorer browser from the Microsoft site. Right-click the button in the lower left of your screen <I think he meant the Start button> and then and use the word ‘Run’ and type in “iexplore” <w/o quotes>. You’ll get version 11 of Internet Explorer.

So, 1) refresh Firefox as explained above, although upgrading to Quantum should have done the refresh. 2) Get Internet Explorer and see if your speed improves using it <indicating Firefox is the problem>.

The other thing you can do is isolate the problem. Is it the machine or is it the traffic from the internet that’s slowing you down. Test your internet speed by using speedof.me. Speedof will wait until a webpage is fully loaded before it gives you the result. If the page doesn’t load, something else is wrong. Speedof is designed to isolate speed problems due to the machine from speed problems with the internet.

The guys went on to talk about Crap Cleaner (Ccleaner). Glenn said he has someone friends with a Windows Media Center PC they use to watch TV and record cable & other media. It started to give a ‘disk is full error’. They talked previously about it being more efficient to have the operating system on a separate partition and a much larger partition (or a separate drive) for your data. In this case, after using Ccleaner, the free space on their C: drive went from about 8Kb to 305 gigabytes free on a 500gig drive. Paul said it’s a tendency with Media Center computers to store a lot of temporary data that needs to be cleaned out.

Ccleaner used to be at ccleaner.com but they are trying to sell you what was once a free version by redirecting you to cleanercloud.com. You can still get the free version by going here. Installing it will put an icon into the system tray in the lower right, but Paul prefers to turn that option off; he prefers to run it on-demand (manually). You can also set it to do the cleanup only when you reboot Windows, but that adds about 60 sec to the boot up time. There are also settings that will keep it from deleting passwords or cookies.
<A version for Android is here>

Paul noted that Ccleaner will tend to ignore files specific to an application. So in Marilyn’s case, she’ll need to do the Firefox refresh and not depend on Ccleaner to do the job.

Since Windows 10 came out, there have been 2 major “patches” or updates. Paul said he’s seen one of the updates shut down Avast Anti-virus, without warning. On another occasion, an update shut down Classicshell, which many people use for a better user interface to Win10 than the default Metro interface. Both programs can be reinstalled, but you may have to download the latest versions.

Paul offered a tip to those who want to install Avast: uncheck everything except ‘file updates’, ‘browser check’ and ‘file protect’. He thinks the other options are not needed and Glenn agreed.

The ‘web protect’ option will look at the site you’re visiting and send the data to their servers and then tell you if the site is safe. Things to remember…
– It takes more time — there’s slow down.
– They make money from the aggregated data collected about your browsing habits. It doesn’t mean more advertising popups, as you might think.
– They don’t *guaranty* a website is not a malicious.

The guys mentioned a couple of sites that are a throwback to earlier days in computing. <See the links at the top.> Telehack is not so much a webpage but looks like a “terminal into a console”, Paul said. It uses Linux to make it look like a main frame computer from the late 1970s — in particular it looks like a operating system known as Galaxy that ran on a PDP 1091 or PDP 11.

One of the things you can do on Telehack is type ‘eliza’ and it will run an old program by that name that’s an early attempt at interactive psychological analysis.

Paul briefly noted that Youtube now has a subscription service called Youtube Red to provide movies.

The other nostalgic website is Textfiles.com. It gives you the experience of old bulletin boards. It allows you to download plain, unembellished ASCII text files.

One of the files Paul ran across at Textfiles is about Phil Katz who, circa 1970s, came up with a file compression program called Pkzip, which improved on the .zip compression scheme.

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

Dan from Coloma called. He recently updated his iPhone to IOS 11 and now he notices periodic increases in the data being transferred — on the order of a third of a gigabyte. At other times it can be 2 gigs over the space of 11 minutes. All of this with out doing anything.
– Paul thought it might be updates being done over the cellular connection. You can restrict updates to only using wi-fi and avoid being charged by the phone company. Dan doesn’t have wi-fi at home.
– Paul said the Verizon site has an accounting of when the data is transferred, though it’s 4 to 8 hours after the fact.
– Paul thought it might be because he uses iCloud Photos. Dan said he turned off all of the iCloud stuff. Google Photos can also spontaneously synch up the data.
– Take your phone to a wi-fi hotspot (e.g. a coffee shop) and then do a check for updates to the IOS. The updates are usually big — on the order of 1.8gig. The automatic updates on the iPhone can happen without warning or asking for permission.
– Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Mobile’ (or ‘Cellular’) and you’ll see what items are allowed to use the cellular network. Turn off anything you don’t need. While there, you can see how much data is used by each app. And at the bottom, you can “reset statistics” — handy to use at the start of a billing period.
– Dan asked if it might be a virus. Paul said it’s possible but improbable.
– Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Personal Hotspot’ and keep it off. Dan checked and his was on. So it’s possible some other device was using the hotspot. In particular, Windows 10 may have been using up a lot of data.
– Dan asked if it’s possible to go back to Windows 7. Paul said Microsoft gives you a month to do that but they don’t really want you to. Dan is stuck with using cellular as a hotspot for his Windows computer — he has no other broadband. Paul suggested he take it to some free wi-fi location to let Windows do its updates.
– Dan has gotten some relief from Verizon. They’ve increased his data cap a couple of times — up to 16gigs/mo. That was recently and he’s waiting to see if that’ll be adequate.
– Check with local companies that can provide an internet connection for your computer using terrestrial wireless — aka wireless isp — so you won’t have to use the phone as a hotspot. Check with Smarter Broadband, for instance.
– Go into Windows 10 and turn off “metered connections” or turn off wi-fi entirely <so it won’t use the phone as a hotspot>.
– Call Adam Brodel of Smarter Broadband for any suggestions he may have, even a competitor, if he can’t provide the service. Glenn did a quick search and wondered if Blaze Wifi might be an option. <I’m not sure I heard “Blaze” correctly.>

Last Updated 1:49 AM 12-28-2017


Dec 13, 2017

Dec - 13 2017 | no comments | By

A Bit about the Blockchain & Bitcoin

Raspberry Pi– Arduino…



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 by Pentatonix.

The outro music was Fractal Zoom by Brian Eno


Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in from a Starbucks in San Jose.


Paul’s “been up all night” messing around with the Raspberry Pi & Arduino. He thinks they would be a good gift for the teenage nerd in the family.

Newer cars have the ability to display the tire pressure on the dash. Now there are valve caps for older cars that constantly monitor tire pressure and report the data via Bluetooth. One such valve cap is the FOBO System.

Paul also noted that most modern cars have a temperature sensor mounted near the road surface to warn of near freezing conditions and the possibility of road ice. But he wondered if the distraction of watching all of this info being displayed negates the margin of safety provided.

Glenn invited listeners to write with their questions and comments to zen at kvmr dot org.

The most useful in-car system he’s seen for older cars is an Android dashboard. It’s a 6″ diagonal rectangular screen. On more modern cars, you can take out the radio and put the Android dashboard in its place. “The proper size for the original car radio was called 1 Din, which is a German standard for the height of the radio. 2 Din means double height and a 6″ screen will fit in there.” With Android you can add various apps like GPS and speedometer. You can retrofit whole bunch of useful stuff, which is what Paul has done. From what I understand, the Android dashboard can read and display info from external sensors like the tire valve caps.

<I’m not sure this is what he was talking about, but it seems close…
The Complete Guide to Android Auto – Google Maps, voice commands, messaging, and more in your car:
Or this
You no longer have to buy a new car or stereo to use Android Auto>

When you shop for an Android dashboard, pay attention to the exact size, Paul said. Hopefully, the retailer will have the dimensions on their website.

Some years ago, Paul bought himself a digital caliper (LCD caliper) from Harbor Freight in Roseville for $10 to assist in accurately measuring dimensions. As he recalled, the accuracy is claimed to be about 1/3 to 1/4 of a millimeter.

Talk turned to Bitcoin, a type of virtual currency. If you want to trade in Bitcoins you’ll have to use an exchange, similar to using an exchange if you want to convert dollars to yen. One popular licensed broker is Coinbase, but there are others.

People think using Bitcoins allows you to be anonymous. But the anonymity is questionable because in some places, like California, you have to provide personal information to the broker. “Neither the buyer nor the seller nor the transaction can be associated with you, but it can be identified,” Paul said. In other words, in the entire Bitcoin network, a transaction is visible but not necessarily the person who did it. However it is possible to track it back to the broker (Coinbase, for instance).

Paul said people are mortgaging their houses to invest in Bitcoin. Be diligent. It’s a highly speculative market. Glenn chimed in to say that it’s like gambling and is a very risky bet, in his opinion. Paul said he learned from the book titled “Black Swan” that this sort speculation is based entirely on psychology and perception and not at all on statistics or reality.

Paul mentioned that Bitcoin works on a system called a blockchain, which is a ledger or inventory of transactions. He said he’ll put up a link on the Zen Tech site to an animated diagram of how blockchain works.

Paul said he goes to thrift stores occasionally. He picked up a replacement remote control at one place recently because he doesn’t like universal remotes. He said all sorts of tech stuff is showing up at thrift stores. At many stores you can get store credit if you buy a gadget and it doesn’t work. Glenn noted that some thrift stores specialize in certain categories of merchandise.

Paul found a good location for recycled auto parts and it’s in Rancho Cordova. He said to google the words: recycle road rancho cordova. About the only thing you can’t find at these auto dismantlers are air bags, for legal reasons.

Brian called. He just bought an ASUS laptop with Windows 10. It came with a 1 terabyte mechanical hard drive and an empty slot for a second drive. So he bought a 275 gig solid state drive (SSD) to put in it. Now he’s not sure how to get the operating system to run off the SSD and use the original 1 terabyte drive for data.
– The problem is copying a bigger drive to the smaller one.
– It’s possible the software you need transfer the operating system came with the new SSD drive.
– Before you install the 2nd drive, unplug the power and take out the laptops battery.
– Glenn wondered if he could use the ‘restore function’ in Win10 and point it toward the new drive. Paul said it might work but he wasn’t sure. He said to call the computer company.

Buzz, the KVMR engineer, was listening to the show and came into the studio with a suggestion. It’s a method he’s used before. This may not be the only way, but it works. He suggested Clonezilla, which is a low level of Linux that uses a function called ‘dd’ to copy a drive. To copy from a larger to a smaller drive there is an option in Win10 to change the partition size of the drive. You can shrink the partition of the 1 terabyte drive to the same size of the smaller drive. You can even do this with the 2nd drive connected via the USB port, if you don’t have space for a 2nd drive inside the laptop. Google the words: shrink partiton windows 10.
<More about Clonezilla here>

Also, there is software called Easeus Free Partition Magic, Paul said. It’s a bit tricky and he didn’t go into it, but said there are some pitfalls.

Glenn said the Win10 operating system might already be in its own, smaller partition on the 1 terabyte drive. Look under “My Computer” to see what drives you have. You might have a C: drive and a much larger D: drive. And the C: drive will have the operating system. From his experience, Glenn said ASUS has an excellent tech support and suggested calling them. Brian had a look and found there was only 1 partition.

Paul said something he meant to say a few shows ago. If you lose Win10 on your laptop and you have a sticker on the machine or you know Win10 is already registered, you can download Win10 from the internet and burn a CD with it. So if you want to experiment with methods of transferring the OS, there would still be a way of recovering Win10.

The same thing is true for Winows 7 users. Be sure you use the Microsoft site to download it. Microsoft will want you to type in the number (key) on the sticker a.k.a. the COA (certificate of authenticity).

Brian also asked for a local technician that can help him. Paul said there’s Quiet Tech and Roy’s Computers. He asked Brian to send an email and he’ll reply with a list of local techs.

Dan called. <His audio was terrible.> He has a Dell laptop from 1998 that he upgraded to Windows 7. He wondered what using an iPad 2 is like. The audio was so bad Paul had to end the conversation. Glenn asked Dan to write in with his question — zen at kvmr dot org.

Next show will have an interview of someone who knows more about Bitcoin.

Last Updated 12:16 AM 12-14-2017


Nov 29, 2017

Nov - 29 2017 | no comments | By

3rd. Wednesday in the Month!
Raspberry PI & KODI– oh and a Teeny Keyboard, Too!
Failed High Sierra Update?
Wordpress– How?!
SonOff WIFI Controlled Devices!
Symptoms of a Dead SMC/BIOS battery
Prime Tests

Recycle Road, SAC



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

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

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Glenn started out by telling us about the cataract surgery he had about a year ago, which was followed by corrective surgery. He now has mono vision and doesn’t need reading glasses. One of his eyes is set for close-up vision, the other for further out. He can read well out to about 12″. Recently, he went to see the Thor movie in 3D but realized he’ll need glasses to get both eyes to focus at a distance.

Paul told us that the call letters ‘KVMR’ stand for Victoria Museum Radio. The ‘K’ means that it’s a West Coast station. After mentioning that KVMR has audio podcasts, he went on to talk more about podcasts, including videos.

Years ago he used to listen to Science Friday audio podcasts. Science Friday originated from The Canadian Broadcast Corp. They now produce video podcasts and Paul thinks they’re great. To find them, he said to search for the words: cbc science friday videocast.
< I’m not sure these are what Paul found, but they’re pretty good too — here and here>

He implied it was one of these videos that talked about cochlear implants. Earlier implants would regain about 30% of the hearing. The newer ones containing a microprocessor that increases the understanding of normal speech by 80%.

Paul mentioned that colorblind people have difficulty discerning the correct balance of red & green colors. Capuchin monkeys have been used in experiments where a virus is used to insert a gene into the eyes that restores the color receptors needed for the proper detection of color. Apparently it works in monkeys but hasn’t been tried in humans yet. He learned this from another Science Friday videocast, if I heard him correctly.

Paul said Youtube has a channel explaining how things are made. For example, use their search facility to find out how donuts holes are made using the search term: donuts how it’s made. I think the catch phrase is “how it’s made”.

Glenn said he likes the new operating system IOS 11 on his iPhone but isn’t thrilled with the keyboard on his iPad. He didn’t specifically say he upgraded the iPad to IOS 11, but I guess that’s implied.

He uses the feature that turns off notifications while he’s driving. The phone senses movement from driving to implement the feature. Glenn said use ‘Settings’ -> scroll down just a bit to “notifications control center do not disturb” to turn it on. Paul said version 8 of Android (named Oreo) also has this feature.

The guys talked about the new Firefox browser. Glenn said he doesn’t like the black tabs, with the only white tab representing the windows you’re looking at. That’s the only thing he’s noticed that’s new.

Paul said that around version 6 Firefox started putting out updates rapidly and versions jumped by whole numbers. It’s now up to about version 60 and has taken on a version name that he couldn’t remember. <I think it’s version 57 and is called Quantum.> It’s been completely rewritten under the hood but you don’t have to learn a lot of new stuff, he said.

Nobody makes 32bit CPUs anymore, they’re all 64bit now. Firefox used to be available in both versions but is now only for the 64bit machines. “32bit Firefox is still out there. It won’t work in XP. It won’t work in older Macs, which are 32bit. But if you have a new machine, which is 32bit, you can still get Firefox. It tends to rely on the underlying operating system. So if you got Windows 7, you’re going to get the latest Firefox even if it’s the older 32bit. Don’t worry about it,” Paul said.

<If you go to mozilla.org with your browser’s style sheets (CSS) turned off, you should see the links to the older Windows OS versions of Firefox, including XP. I’ve downloaded (but not yet installed v52.5 for XP). The actual 43.4meg .exe file is here.>

There are a couple of ways to upgrade, it will either do it automatically or you can go to the ‘Help’ menu -> ‘About Firefox’. “If it is not up in the 60 region and there is no button that says ‘update’ a couple of things could have happened. One is you are the unfortunate that has a machine that is too old to upgrade any further, especially if it says el1 or ec1, it means end of life or end or cycle. It means that you’re looking at version 40 something and it won’t go any higher. If you try and download it manually, it will not allow you to install it,” Paul said in his sometimes inscrutable manner. <He didn’t say what the second thing is.> <As I said, I haven’t tried to install v52.5, but suspect it will.>

When you go to install version 60 something, it will perform a clean install while saving your bookmarks and history, Paul said. It throws away the cache. To find out more about what’s going on, go to ‘Help’ -> ‘Trouble Shooting Information’. He said the new Firefox gained about 50% in speed and it works a lot better and it works with his plugins. <I heard some old plugins don’t work.>
<New Firefox Quantum Twice as Fast, 30% Less Memory:
Firefox 57 to Kill Many Addons: Tab Groups Alternative>

Glenn invited listeners to write with their questions and comments to zen at kvmr dot org.

Glenn said the old X10 and DSR home control units don’t work properly to dim LED light bulbs. There are control units called Sonoff that do work and the guys ordered some from Ebay. Soon after, the company disappeared and the guys have to apply for a refund. If you get into a similar situation with Ebay, go look at your order and on that page you can apply for a refund.

Paul found another source for the Sonoff switches. They plug into the wall outlet. Then you plug what you want to control into the switch. They have wi-fi and can be controlled directly by your mobile device. If you create an account, you can control them from anywhere you have an internet connection using a proxy server in China.
<Sonoff Wi-Fi Smart Light Switch,Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home ,No Hub Required, Remote Control your Devices from Anywhere:>

For added security, Paul suggested creating a guest account on your in-house network that the switches will use. That will keep the switches separate from your normal network that you use for computers, mobiles, printers, etc.

A Sonoff unit has a programmable timer so you can set it to turn lights on an off according to a schedule. Paul uses one to switch his patio lights in this way. Glenn said they are about $23 on Ebay.

The Raspbery Pi and Arduino can talk to a Sonoff, too. Paul said they are great for kids to learn programming and build projects. There are knock-offs from China that are around $10, but you may have to download some software to get them to talk your computer.

Glenn noted that the only Sonoff units on Ebay at this time are the type that you have to put in-line in a wire (like an extension cord), not the type you plug into a wall socket. Be careful of the polarity (proper grounding) when you do the wiring. <See below.>

Arnie called. He had bad experience when he had a Mac Mini and did an upgrade only to find out that the software he’d been using no longer worked. So he recently bought a Dell PC and is looking for video editing software that’s easy to use but has a good compliment of features.
Microsoft Movie Creator is free. It’s pretty simple to use and Paul’s had success with it. It supports .mov and .wmv files. BE SURE you download it from the Microsoft site.
– You might also consider getting VLC. It’s free and plays and converts many formats of audio and video.
– There’s also Adobe Premiere and a cut down version called Adobe Premiere Elements. But they might be more than you need.
– Use Youtube for videos of how to use these programs. Search for something like “how to slow a movie down” or “how to create subtitles”.
– Paul looked up Adobe Premiere Elements and found a cyber Monday deal for $60. Be sure you’re not buying the subscription version where you pay yearly to use the software online — get the downloadable version (or CD).
– Glenn said the cyber Monday deal expires today. The regular price is $99. The combo of Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements package is $150.
<I CAN’T VOUCH FOR THIS SITE. If you have an older Windows OS check this out.>

Alan Stahler called with some info about the polarity of wires/plugs (mentioned above). The broad blade of a plug is neutral and it’s connected to the white wire. Short (narrow) blade goes with the black wire. The green wire goes to the ground. He also said that disabling (cutting off) the third prong off a plug is a bad idea, especially for outdoor use. It’s there to keep you from being electrocuted.

Bob called with a tip for people with Windows 10. He’s encountered a problem right after a Windows 10 upgrade. The problem is “the display resolution goes to 640 X 480 and the 1920 X 1080 is not available for you.” So the display was crappy. The fix was to do a restore to a restore point just before the upgrade. Apparently, when the upgrade installed the next time, his problem didn’t return. He suspected Microsoft had a bad upgrade package and replaced it, so his second try was fine.

Paul said some people have experienced failure during the upgrade to the latest version of the Apple operating system called High Sierra v11.13. Their machines “blacked out and went squitty”, he said. The solution he offered is that when starting, up hold down the Command key & R keys. That makes it use a recovery partition and you’ll have enough function to go online and use Safari and perform a disk check and reload the operating system.

Glenn said the Flea Market is back to it’s regular schedule and will be on tomorrow.

Last Updated 12:10 AM 11-30-2017

) turned off, you should see the links to the older Windows OS versions of Firefox, including XP. I’ve downloaded (but not yet installed v52.5 for XP). The actual 43.4meg .exe file is

Nov 22, 2017

Nov - 22 2017 | 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 and outro music was by Pentatonix.


NOTE: there will be another Zen Tech show next Wednesday (11-29-17)


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


Glenn talked about upgrading his iPhone 6S to IOS 11 after doing a backup. For 2 weeks he kept putting off giving the final ok for the upgrade, but woke up this morning to find the upgrade had completed. He didn’t know why that happened without his permission. Paul thought that was “naughty” and added that to this day there are lawsuits pending by people who were upgraded from Win7 or Win8 to Win10 unwillingly.

Glenn said he likes IOS 11 so far. “When you push phone, everything is a little different and a little larger. The same thing on messages”. He said the fonts are bigger. And the copy, cut and paste is simpler than the previous IOS, which had different levels of how hard you ‘push’ for each function. Paul, who upgraded to IOS 11 previously, said the performance seems better and Glenn agreed.

Glenn wasn’t so happy with the upgrade to the High Sierra operating system on his Mac Mini. He said that yesterday it was running slowly. He thought it might be because he didn’t do a restart after the upgrade finished. Paul said he’s noticed something similar with other operating systems after they upgrade. The new system needs to do some maintenance before it starts running normally. Somewhere around version 10.12, the filing system was changed and there was a delay before the performance recovered, but then it improved over the previous OS.

Both Windows and the Mac do what’s called indexing, where a database of the files on the machine is built for quicker access in the future, Paul said. When you plug in another hard drive or a flash drive, an index is also built and is stored in a hidden file called .spotlight on the Mac and .index (so he thought) on Windows. The user can set whether a drive is indexed.

Paul talked about online or cloud backups. He said he doesn’t “trust” them. The internet connection speed is a fraction of the network speed that you have at home, which is a fraction of the speed of a local USB or hard drive. 16 gigs of data can take a very long time to backup online. Some people just manually backup the most critical files, not the entire drive. But then you don’t have the convenience of an automated backup system. <He didn’t explain what he meant by ‘trust’. Maybe it was a poorly chosen word.>

Paul said he uses Rsync to synchronize and do incremental backups. It has a graphical user interface. It’s available on all major platforms (PC, Linux, Android, Mac and others). He said it’s important to practice restoring your data. A backup is no good to you if you can’t restore it.

Years ago there was a backup program called Norton Ghost that would take a snapshot of your entire hard drive, which you could recreate later on another drive. The down side is that you could recreate the drive only on the machine from which the snapshot was taken. “That’s almost completely useless”, he said.

On the PC, the data that’s important is located under ‘Documents and Settings’ for the XP, and under ‘Users’ on later Windows systems. On the Mac go to ‘Mac Hard Drive’ -> ‘Users’ where you’ll find folders with names of those who have a login account on the machine. The data you’ll find in these places is what needs backing up. It will contain things like Word documents and photos but not the applications themselves, so keep track of where you keep your software programs. Paul mentioned another sync program called Free File Sync.
<I can’t vouch for this: Free Norton Ghost Alternatives to Create a Full Windows Image …:>

Increasingly, people are getting their applications from the internet. Paul mentioned that Turbo Tax is a 56meg download from intuit.com. If you lose a hard drive, you can just to Intuit and download it again.

Paul cautioned listeners that when they throw their laptops into a bag, be sure to first disconnect the peripherals (hard drives, USB sticks, etc.). Otherwise, the force of the bag on the connectors can damage them. The Mac has a magnetic connector that just slides off if there’s an unusual force put on it. Glenn said he had found an adapter that plugs into the lightning port of the iPhone that provides a similar magnetic connection. He’s been very happy with it.

Next, Paul talked about inductive charging (wireless charging). The standard that was developed a number of years ago is called Qi. <Discussed on the 11-16-14 show.> Of the iPhones, Glenn thought only the iPhone 10 has inductive charging.

The way it works is that there’s a coil in the phone an one on the your table that’s plugged in to the wall socket, and you place the phone on the coil to get the charge. Paul’s Nexus tablet <circa 2013> has the ability to charge inductively. It charges at low frequency (less than 60Hz, he thought) and the field doesn’t go very far. He has to position the tablet directly on the coil.

Alan Stahler, who hosts Soundings, came into the studio and raised some philosophical issues about how much we need computers. He facetiously questioned Glenn and Paul, what will you do when the bubble bursts and people throw away their computers. Paul noted that those of us from the pre-computer generation were more likely to have been educated in critical thinking. He thought it wasn’t being cultivated in this digital age, and without computers, the younger generations would be in trouble.

Paul said the 1st use of word ‘computer’ applied to women who computed trajectories of NASA missions. He’s seen a competition between someone using an abacus and someone using a calculator. The abacus user won.

Talk turned to multitasking and parallel processing. Paul described most modern processors as having at least 2 cores and at least 2 sets of hyper threads, giving you 4 jobs going on at once. There’s also a hardware arbitrator that decides who should be given what to do, and the jobs run in parallel.

The guys rambled on about how some people are tactile, others are visual and how we learn. On a previous occasion, the 3 guys discussed how dogs learn and how it’s possible to breed dogs not just for their appearance but also for their attributes (hunting skills or digging skills). Paul once asked a dog trainer how dogs are trained and got the reply that you don’t train the dog, you cultivate what it already has.

Glenn said Elon Musk <of Tesla> announced some new products. There are 2 different tractor trailers with a 500 mile range, recharge to 85% in 35 minutes or 100% in an hour and have a low drag coefficient. There’s also a roadster with a 600 mile range, accelerates 0 to 60 in 1.2 seconds and possibly an accessory to make it fly.

KVMR’s news director Paul Emery came into the studio. He was motivated by the question about our computers going away. He noted that neutron bombs can destroy silicon chips by inducing high currents in them. He’s heard that the highest levels of the US government have vacuum tube communication systems that don’t contain silicon chips. A neutron bomb may temporarily knock out a tube but it will return to a functional state. Alan said that a couple of decades ago a Soviet pilot defected with a fighter aircraft and it was discovered to have tube-based circuits.

Alan mentioned the Hyperloop, which is a container carrying passengers that rides in an evacuated tube to cut air resistance. Supposedly, it could travel as fast as a 747. It’s being tested now.

On that note, it’s been calculated that a 747 with a full load of passengers while flying at a high altitude has mileage as good (miles per gallon) as a compact car with 1 person. Paul noted that if you double the speed at which a car goes, the air resistance quadruples.

Paul mentioned that energy of motion can be conserved and then used again. Years ago in Britain, trams (streetcars) going downhill would have their kinetic energy harvested and converted to electricity, which helps to slow it down. The electricity would then be used to power a tram going uphill. The conversion is not 100% efficient. Hybrid vehicles, like Glenn’s car, do something similar. When slowing down, they convert the energy of the braking process to charge the battery, giving it great mileage

Glenn invited listeners to write with their questions and comments to zen at kvmr dot org.

He also said that there will be no Flea Market tomorrow.

Last Updated 12:07 AM 11-23-2017

Nov 8, 2017

Nov - 08 2017 | no comments | By

Honda Civic– Troubleshoot?!

Raspberry PI Computer SOC

IOS 11.. OK?

Drone Fun



Additional notes

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

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


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Paul was looking at the wrong entry in the list of the shows because of the recent time change over to Standard Time. He went on to explain that the date we move our clocks forward or back has been changed a number of times over the years, and that there are differences between countries in the date that the change occurs. He went on to say that midsummer day and midwinter day occur midway between a solstice & the following equinox. <I believe these are also called cross-quarter day>

The operating systems we use today reference a data base called “tz data” to know when it’s time to change the computer’s clock to comply with the local custom, no matter where you are in the world.

Glenn thanked new and continuing members of KVMR. <If you’re not yet a member, you can call the office number at 530-265-9073 and make a contribution.>

Paul talked about an incident he had with his 1996 Honda Civic while driving back from Yuba City last weekend up highway 20, which involves a significant accent. He heard a hissing sound coming from under the hood and the temperature gauge went to the top — no alarm or warning lights. He pulled over & checked under the hood to find the expansion tank had water in it. The tank is supposed to let the water back into circulation when things cool down, but it didn’t in this case.

There were a couple of clues as to what was going on. The radiator cooling fan wasn’t running because there was likely no water to set off the fan’s thermostat. Second, when he turned on the heater, there was no heat. By some process yet to be discovered, the engine had consumed all of the coolant. He blamed the thermostat and bought another one for $10 and that seemed to solve the problem. The thermostat doesn’t allow the coolant into the radiator when you first start a cold engine. It waits for the coolant to reach the running temperature before opening up. Paul said that, from now on, before venturing out, he will check not only the expansion tank but also the radiator to be sure there’s adequate water.

The guys took several minutes to chat about transportation. There was nothing particularly interesting. The main takeaway is that when you relieve congestion in one place and it shows up in another. And that Google Maps keeps suggesting routes to avoid traffic only to have those routes become congested.

For the past couple of weeks, Glenn said he’s been getting emails from Judicial Watch but the sender address shows they are from zen at kvmr dot org or fleamarket at kvmr dot org. He asked Paul how to get them to stop.

Paul said Google can be set up to deal with this. “You notify google” … “so that Google actually knows who’s supposed to be sending email.” Check out the Wikipedia article about SPF — sender policy framework. “It sets a policy from the places from which you can reasonably expect to get email while excluding everywhere else.” He said he needs to see a copy of the emails to determine what’s going on.

Glenn said the emails enticed him to click on a link and he warned listeners, as he’s done many times before, not to click on such links. Among other possible mischief, it will at least let the spammers know there’s someone reading the emails and they can sell your email address to other spammers.

Glenn said he got a call last week from what the caller ID identified as his own phone number. It was a recording supposedly from AT&T that asked him for the last 4 digits of his social security number. Sensing an obvious scam he hung up. Paul said he would have been tempted to respond with some fake numbers.

Dennis called to comment on traffic congestion. He said he’s worked for the railroad for almost 2 decades. He lamented that our country is dedicated to the auto — an auto economy. He said in only 7 years, the Chinese went to high speed rail system. He said the rail system in Europe is phenomenal. He worked in Southern California where General Motors and the tire companies who wanted to sell diesel buses gutted the rail system. Paul added that it’s the tyranny of convenience that makes us choose the ease of driving somewhere over dealing with train schedules.

Dennis also commented about the spam situation. He said he has 2 emails. One is for personal acquaintances. The other is for subscribing to websites, newsletters and such. He said he routinely unsubscribes to spam and berates them if they ask him to leave a comment.

Paul said he thinks Gmail is the best email service for filtering out spam. And if they get enough people reporting a spam, their algorithm will block it.

Paul talked about using throwaway Gmail addresses. He said to google the words: infinite number of gmail addresses, and you’ll find how to make your single Gmail address act as many addresses. <Later in the show, Paul searched the words: gmail infinite addresses.> It involves using a ‘+’ symbol. If your address is johnsmith@gmail.com you can use mr+johnsmith@gmail.com for a throwaway address. <From what I found, the + should come after, not before the normal name — johnsmith+mr@gmail.com. Check the webpages here and here for more info.>

Paul also said that if you own a domain like finerailroad.com, you can redirect mail that’s sent to something like info@finerailroad.com to a Gmail address and you will inherit the spam proofing provided by Gmail. Similarly, you can get Gmail to pickup your Yahoo mail and it will also be spam filtered. He didn’t go into details.

Paul warned users of Gmail to be sure to set up a backup email address in case you loose access to your account. The backup address could be another email of yours on another system or that of a friend. At Gmail there is no customer service to contact for help; the backup email address is crucial.

Rick called about a problem he has with his 2.5-year old desktop HP computer running Windows 10. One day he tried to get online and it “failed to get into Windows.” He got a blank screen instead of the home screen, only the pointer was working. It happened after he tried to login with the Chrome browser. But it also goes black without running Chrome.
– Paul said Windows 10 makes maintenance a bit more difficult to do than earlier versions of Windows.
– Search for the words: hp windows 10 recovery mode. This is a mode that lets you repair the system.
– Paul suspected that a video driver is the problem and that the machine needs an update or upgrade.
– Paul said he’ll get back to Rick. And if he learns more, he’ll post it to the Zentech website.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can email the guys at zen at kvmr dot org with questions or suggestions.

Last Updated 11:52 PM 11-8-2017

Oct 25, 2017

Oct - 25 2017 | 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 and outro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Glenn and Paul were in the studio today.


Glenn thanked new and continuing members of KVMR. If you’re not yet a member, you can call the office number at 530-265-9073 and make a contribution.

The local organization animalplace.org is a place to adopt all sorts of animals, and in particular, ones who were displaced by the recent fires, but no dogs or cats.

Wireless communications like wi-fi have been with us in some form for about 20 years, Paul said. Security protocols for wi-fi have changed over the years, too. Originally, there was no security. Then came WEP (wired equivalent privacy). It was cracked some time ago and is no longer in general use. The more secure WPA followed, but it’s had a long-standing flaw in its implementation that has been brought to the media’s attention recently. It’s been shown to be subject to the ‘man in the middle attack‘. With this exploit it’s not possible to determine the passwords used on the wireless network but it is possible to snoop on the wireless data itself. The snooper has to be within range of the wireless (radio) signal to accomplish this.
<New Wi-Fi Crack can Intercept Your Data: What You Need to Know
Keep Your Wi-Fi off KRACK
This is suppose to be the research paper that exposed the vulnerability>

Nobody needs to worry, but everybody needs to be aware of the threat, Paul said. He went on to warn users of potential scams enticing people to download supposed fixes for the problem. It’s a great opportunity to play on people’s fears and get them to download malware. Instead, do some Google searches specific to your particular hardware to find the recommended remedy. If you have Apple equipment, be sure to get your advice from the apple.com domain (like support.apple.com) rather than discussion groups devoted to Apple products.

After addressing the problem with your phone, the next step is to see if there is an upgrade to your wireless router. Not all routers can be fixed. Paul said. The defects may be in the hardware. He asked listeners for any feedback about solutions they’ve found for their particular situation. He said you may be out of luck if your equipment is no longer manufactured. He went on to say that when you buy equipment the law says it’s supposed to be supported for up to 7 years after it’s taken off the market, but what ‘support’ means isn’t well defined.

Also, consider using wired a connection instead of wi-fi. It’s a lot less trouble, a lot more secure, there’s less interference and it’s faster. You can then just turn off the router’s wi-fi.

Paul has come across the word ‘nonce’. It’s a single serialized number that’s used for mathematical calculations. It sounded like he was describing a seed number for a random number generator. When equipment is reset, it may go back to 0 but the nonce makes it start at a different number, which makes it more difficult to steal the wireless data.

Glenn told listeners to note the model number of their router and check with the manufacturer for upgrades. Paul said that if your router is within its warranty period, call tech support. If you do a search for “linksys 800 number” (assuming you have a Linksys router) you’ll likely get a bunch of search results that go to some 3rd party, not Linksys, who will then try to sell you what you don’t need.

When you think you have reached the website of for your hardware, check the address bar for the green portion to the left. It’s a validation that the name of the site corresponds with the name in the certificate. It doesn’t mean you’ve reached the correct website, it means that “your information is encrypted and certified to be the property of a site that calls itself” by the name in the address bar.

Buzz, the KVMR engineer, called. He said the WPA exploit really doesn’t matter for most people unless you’re using the wi-fi to access some other equipment in your house. If you’re only accessing the internet, look in the address bar to be sure you’re using https not http. That way you data is encrypted using something other than WPA. The exploit takes advantage of poorly configured websites and can change a https connection to one that’s merely http, leaving your data unencrypted. Pay attention to your address bar to be sure it says https. If you use wi-fi to access in-home equipment, you’re not using https. The data is not encrypted and can be seen as plain text by this exploit. Paul said if you have visiting guests who want to use your wi-fi, create a guest network for them so they don’t have access to your primary network. Not all routers are capable of doing this.

Sheree called about scareware. How does it get on your computer and does that mean your anti-virus failed?

There are 2 flavors of scareware, software that gets on your computer and a scare web page that looks like your computer generated it. The 2nd type can appear when you mistype a popular URL (like facebook.com), which can then proceed to scare you into downloading malware. An anti-virus can’t deal with the 2nd type. Google can catch web pages of the 2nd type and mark them in red. A scare page may be difficult to close because its control buttons are made not to work. In this case use Control+Alt+Delete (Option+Apple+Escape on a Mac) and close your browser. <I’ve had success by just closing the tab.> Also, be sure you’re running the latest version of the browser. In Firefox go to ‘Help’ -> ‘About Firefox’ to check for updates.

Glenn got an email yesterday from Nick. He asked for the “best method of getting emergency audible phone text email without spam on mobile devices and landlines.” This relates to the recent fires and to the fact that many people turn their phones off at night to avoid spam phone calls. Glenn said he doesn’t get spam calls at night and keeps his phone on. Paul said that Android and Apple have a ‘do not disturb’ (dnd) setting that mutes all but emergency calls. Search for the word: dnd.

Glenn did a quick search for “amber alerts on cellphones” and found that for Android the dnd options are under settings -> more options (under the wireless network section) -> scroll down to ‘cell broadcast settings’

Jonathan called. He has a late 2012 Mac Book Pro. About a month ago the wi-fi reception had gotten worse and wondered if the wireless card inside can go bad.
– As more people use wi-fi you may be subject to interference. But he said he’s been having the problem at work and at home. At home there are no other users nearby.
– Wireless cards can indeed go bad and they are pretty easy to replace.
– It can cost a lot if you buy from Apple.
– On some Macs it’s painfully difficult to replace.
– Upgrade to the latest operating system, High Sierra. However, he’d rather not because he’s afraid some of his software would stop working.
– Update but not upgrade the operating system to maintain software compatibility. Go up to the Apple logo -> check for updates. It may offer Sierra but somehow (he didn’t say how) just do an update.
– Check places like Ebay for used (parted) wireless cards.

He also asked Paul for his opinion of the latest operating system.
– “There’s a lot more going on under the hood than on the surface.” There are a more features for software developers to use, like biometrics.
– Paul said it can speed things up a little.
– Older Adobe products have trouble running on the new operating system.

Glenn read some questions from Marilyn. Is there a way to make PC laptop, running Win10, open and close document files without delay. They take time to fade in and fade out, she said. Since she didn’t say what program she is using, the guys couldn’t help her.

She also asked if there’s a way to hook up on a network 3 separate computers each running a different operating system — XP, Win7 & Win10. Paul said they will join a network fairly naturally. Ideally, use a cable rather than wi-fi. Each shouldn’t care about the others if you just want to use the internet. If you want to share file between them, make sure XP has the latest patches and strong passwords. If you add a Mac to the network, they can talk to each other as long as the PCs have file sharing turned on.

Peter Wilson called. He tuned in late and asked about the security issue already discussed earlier in the show. The guys referred him to the archive of this show.

Paul added that if your router is older than about 6 months, consider replacing it with a newer one. They are pretty cheap. Be sure the new router is upgradeable. If you choose to upgrade your router, be sure the upgrade specifically states it’s for the WPA exploit.

Paul also said it’s worth looking at dd-wrt, the Linux router project.

The Flea Market is on tomorrow from 1 to 2pm.

Last Updated 1:06 AM 10-26-2017

Oct 11, 2017

Oct - 11 2017 | no comments | By

Pascale of YubaNet.Com & Steve Baker, KVMR Program Director in studio about fires

HTTPS now in Common Use for CMS etc.

IOSs slows down previous & older iPhones? No.

Antivirus used for snooping?




Additional notes

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

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

The intro music was by Pentatonix.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


For the first 14 minutes or so, KVMR program director Steve Baker and Pascale Fusshoeller of yubanet.com talked about the fire situation in northern Calif. There were no important warnings. Listen to the audio if you need details. The more notable items in the report include…
– Fire fighters are working hard to contain the Lobo fire. The head of the fire is in the Deer Creek drainage and is headed toward Lake Wild Wood. A north wind is expected this afternoon that may whip up that fire.
– Stay inside to avoid smoke and set your air conditioning to recirculate the air, not to bring in air from the outside.
– Put out water for the wildlife in your neighborhood.


Glenn got a new tablet from Fry’s in Sacramento. Called Naxa Core it comes from China and was only $35. It has a 7″ screen with a front & back cameras and a 30 day return policy. It comes with Android 6.1, which I believe is Marshmallow. The guys were wondering if it has GPS.

Paul has a Nexus tablet he bought in 2013. It’s still “working like a champ”. He recalled that there’s a an app that can scan a tablet and determine its features. He couldn’t remember the name of the app and did a search for it at the Google Play Store. Google the words: playstore android hardware diagnostic.

This time he found an app called “phonetester”. It’s presumably the one he has on his Nexus, but there were a bunch of others in his search results.
<This might be the app>

When he searched previously, he ran across an article that said Android has a built-in hardware diagnostic test. It’s mostly used by customer support for those times you call in with a problem.

Some of the hardware you might expect to find in an Android tablet:
– An accelerometer, which measures changes in motion.
– An inclinometer, which indicates the angle at which the tablet is held.
– A magnetometer tells you which way is north.
– A GPS chip picks up signals from navigation satellites so you can tell your location on earth.
– At least one if not more temperature sensors. The tablet needs to know if it’s over heating.
– A barometer to tell you the atmospheric pressure. It’s usually pretty accurate because the GPS provides altitude info, which is used to apply a correction to the barometer.|
– A light meter (lux meter), which may work in conjunction with the camera lens.
– All tablets have a speaker.
– Most have a microphone. The accuracy is usually pretty good for doing sound level checks — within a few percent of a professional unit used by sound engineers.

Glenn encountered a problem with his new tablet. He wasn’t able to use the apps until he truned on the location services. Paul explained that location services can help with things like Google searches. If you search for fish & chips, for example, you don’t have to say where you are, Google will already know that and complete the search for your particular location.

Glenn knows someone with a Samsung phone who discovered that saying “hey, Google” activated voice input. When he went into the settings for that option, he was told the microphone will always be on if he wanted to take advantage of that feature. That led to a realization that the phone is always listening. The same is true with the iPhone if you want to be able to summon Siri with a voice command. Paul said he has that option turned off and instead touches a button to manually activate voice input.

Glenn invited listeners to email their questions or comments. Send email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Google & other places are beginning to insist that websites be secure. Chrome and to some extent other browsers pop up a warning if you’re filling in a form on a website that’s not secure. You have a secure connection if the address in the address bar starts with https rather than http.

Paul recently changed the way the Zen Tech site works. People going to http://zen.kvmr.org were supposed to be automatically redirected to using https://zen.kvmr.org. He didn’t set it up right and the Zen Tech site wasn’t working right until some time yesterday (Tue).

WordPress, the software running the Zen Tech site and large proportion of the blogs on the web, is expected to start enforcing the use of secure connections.

The patent for the use of secure certificates has run out. Issuers of the certificates used to charge for their service and in return went to the trouble to insure those applying for them are who they say they are — that https://secure.kvmr.org was really going to be used by KVMR. Free or low-grade certificates are available now where this check is not made, but they still insure that the data between your browser and a website is encrypted. Unless you’re doing something like a financial transaction or revealing personal information, the authentication hardly matters, only the data encryption.

Paul noted that those who administer websites shouldn’t use the login name ‘admin’. It’s been commonly used for many years and is now one of the first things hackers try when they want to break into a site.

Bongo called with a complaint. He said that many websites like the US government, the VA, AARP and a few other places don’t properly warn Apple users that their devices aren’t supported. He’s found that after a long session of filling out forms, it’s only at the end that he’s told Apple devices are not supported. He wants them to say that at the beginning. Paul suggested hitting the submit button before filling out a form. That may generate the error message to keep you from wasting your time.

Bongo also said he’s irritated with the requirement that location services be turned on. He doesn’t know why people use Google instead of DuckDuckGo, which doesn’t require your location. Paul said that it’s not the websites but the browser that wants the location service turned on. Going back to Glenn’s tablet problem, he suggested Glenn use a different browser like Firefox or Opera. While Paul was talking, Glenn turned off location services and had success using Firefox.

James called. He’s been aware that Paul has promoted the Firefox browser and Thunderbird mail programs in the past, and he wanted to know how he feels about them now.

Paul said he still likes Firefox. He’s been avoiding Chrome because “it tends to store your information, save it and present it to others is a very insecure way”. He’s found Firefox to be very compatible and have few problems. Website designers try to stay compatible with Internet Explorer and secondly with Firefox. He quickly caught his error and said he was looking at a 2004 browser rankings The current worldwide ranking has Chrome as the most popular followed by Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer trailing.

Glenn managed to inventory the hardware on the tablet. <He didn’t say which app he used>. It looks like his new tablet doesn’t have GPS — the app kept searching without a result.

Glenn noted that Paul’s Nexus tablet has wireless charging. Paul said it uses the Qi standard. <Mentioned during the 11-26-14 show>. He said the price for the Nexus at that time was $240. He had tried some cheap tables by Pandawill for $99 but found they were of poor quality.

Paul said the latest version of Google maps has an option in the upper left to download a rectangle of maps for offline usage. It’s useful for people who go for a period of time unconnected to the web. The maps are cached for 29 days. It’s assumed you’ll get back online within that time. Obviously, it won’t show traffic and current events.

Glenn thanked those who have become supporting members of KVMR.

Glenn reminded us that the Flea Market will be on tomorrow (10-12-17) at 1pm.

Paul warned listeners not to use Kaspersky anti-virus. The Israelis tried to subvert the product to make it snoop on those who use the program. And it was found that the Russians had already done just that.
<Kaspersky Labs Accused of Working for Russian Spies>

Last Updated 12:32 AM 10-12-2017


Sep 27, 2017

Sep - 27 2017 | no comments | By

High Sierra OSX– Worth it?

OS 11 for as low as iPhone 6?! Back Down to 10.2.2?

Nothing new only forgotten..



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.


If you’d like to talk to the guys during a Zen Tech show, call 530-265-9555 or send email to zen at kvmr dot org.

Paul started off by saying how years ago NASA had a problem with ballpoint pens not working in the near-zero gravity of an orbiting spacecraft. Gravity is needed to keep the ink flowing. The Russians solved the problem by using pencils, as he heard the story.

Comparing a video tour of the International Space Station and the Mir Station showed that the Russians tended toward the simplest solutions. Even the Sputnik satellite was set to advertise its success by broadcasting its beeps at 108 FM, so it could be widely heard. And, using tubes for the FM transmitter rather than the newly available transistors reflected the Russian’s reliance on long established technology.

Glenn challenged Pauls recollection of NASA’s solution to the ballpoint pen problem. When Paul was unable to remember, Glenn said it was the pressurized ink cartridge.

Repeating what he said on the last show (9-13-17), Glenn said he helped some friends transfer data from old computers running Windows 7 to more modern Dell hardware. He used Windows Easy Transfer, which worked wonderfully. The applications were not transferred, however, but he got a report of what was left behind. For reasons given in previous shows, Norton 365 was not reinstalled on the new machines. Avast, security software often touted on this show was used instead.

Trying to manually move an application to a different machine is usually unsuccessful because many components are left behind, Paul said. It’s best to reinstall an application from the original media (often a CD). There used to be a program called App Mover, but it didn’t do a good job and the app that was moved often ended up being unstable.

Imaging the drive to back it up may not be a good idea, Paul said. The image may carry the seeds of a problem that may not show up until later, when you’ll need the disk image to solve it. Using something like Easy Transfer is a good option to backup the user profile.

In Windows, most backup strategies rely on the user profile, which is under C:\users (on XP it’s under C:\Documents and Settings). If you manually try to copy the files, you’ll run into trouble because you’ll be copying the files that Windows is using while your trying to copy them. Easy Transfer is designed to avoid this problem.

Glenn said he had all of the machines on a local network when he did the transfers. Paul said using a cable instead of wi-fi is better. With wi-fi you may get interruptions that you may not even notice, after which the transfer may not be resumed.

There are an increasing number of wireless networks, Paul said. 2.4 gigahertz is the standard radio frequency of wi-fi routers, which gives you 11 channels. Most routers aren’t capable of switching channels (frequency hopping) and most devices can’t follow the change if it occurs.

There are some apps that show you what the wi-fi environment is like. For the PC there’s one called Net Snoop. For Android there’s Wi-Fi Survey. The droid app shows you the 11 channels and a graph of the signal strength. It’s unusual to find a channel that’s not being used, so pick one with the least number of users on it.
< Though I didn’t find an app with the exact name Wifisurvey, there are a bunch of similar apps. Google the words: site:play.google.com, and append to that some variation of wifisurvey, wifi survey, wi-fi survey, etc.>

The price of routers has come down a lot. Paul suggested getting a dual band router, which transmits on both 2.4 and 5.8 gigahertz. A lot of the newer equipment can use the 5.8 gigaherts band. There are hundreds of channels available on 5.8. The down side of 5.8 is that higher frequencies are much more line-of-sight and the signal dissipates quicker (a more limited range). But the shorter range also means less interference.

Some modern routers have programmable QoS (quality of service). It allows you to specify a minimum speed for a particular port on your router. So if, for instance, you’re streaming video, you can make sure you don’t get pauses.

Paul mentioned a couple of open source projects that have custom compiled Linux kernels <firmware> to use in your router to give it more functionality than it used to have. He warned that if you’re satisfied with how your router works, don’t mess with it. Paul installed one version of the firmware in a router and the bandwidth actually came down. I turned out that the [old] CPU in the router couldn’t keep up with the demand.
<He named the projects as dd-wrt.org and openwrt.org. dd-wrt.org didn’t seem to go anywhere and I think the correct URL is www.dd-wrt.com>

Over the years, wireless router standards have evolved from the original 802.11 to 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n. Paul said he wouldn’t “use any router that didn’t have the letter ‘n’ on it somewhere”. “It’s more resistant to interference and the range is higher”.

The cheapest router Paul has seen is a no-name router from China for $20. “You can’t go wrong with that”, he said. He’s never had to send a no-name router back, which he bought from Amazon.

The guys talked a little about the new operating system for the Mac called OS High Sierra (version 10.1.3). It came out yesterday and Paul just had a chance to read a review of it. It has a new file system called WWDC that’s more suited to solid state drives (SSD). All of the Macs sold now have a solid state drive, which speeds file accesses by about 10%.

Glenn noted that prices have come down on solid state storage. He was looking at an external 3.0 USB drive that also has a micro USB connection so you can plug it into an Android device. It’s a 128 gig duo for $34 from Fry’s. Paul said that its OTG designation means it will appear as storage unit rather than a device (like a camera) when you plug it into an Android.

The Lightning port on the Mac is able to connect to various devices & networks, when you buy the proper adapters, Paul said. And there are docking stations for the Mac that can provide various ports, but he’s not sure how good they are. You can get one for about $99.

Lorraine called. She wanted to know how to transfer calendar data between a Mac and an Android phone. Paul said there’s an app you can put on the droid that lets you sign in to your iCloud account. He looked up one called ‘Sync for iCloud‘.

Paul read that remains of a Viking chieftain had been found in an embellished tomb and it was long assumed it was a male. It turned out to be female. He also noted that, in Celtic culture, the poorer people were often buried in a bog. The bogs tend to preserve the bodies because of their acidity.

Glenn said he downloaded, but didn’t yet install, IOS 11 to his iPad. He’s read about some wonderful features it has — pictures taking up less space and an improved filing system.

Glenn went on to say this is the one time, and he can’t guaranty that tomorrow it won’t go away, that if you backup your iPad or iPhone onto your computer (computer only, not iCloud) prior to upgrading to the new IOS, you will be able to revert to the old IOS if you don’t like the new one. The other condition is that Apple continues to support the older IOS.

Glenn mentioned that people used to jailbreak their iPhones to make them more functional. It’s not being done much now in part because Apple has improved the IOS so there’s less need to. <On a previous show, Paul said the iPhone can’t be jailbroken anymore (after IOS 9.3).> Glenn addedhat those who did jailbreak their iPhones, were not able to restore an older version of the IOS, and they could end up with a useless phone (they ‘brick‘ their phone.) When experimenting, be sure you can go back to your starting point — i.e. undo what you did.

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 took apart an old iPhone of his, some months back. He’s still not been able to reassemble it. Paul said to be sure you that have the tools you need when you start a project. And there’s a lamp to can get inexpensively from China that has a magnifying lens surrounded by a light to, do work on small items.

Glenn thanked those who have become supporting members of KVMR and 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

Norman called. He has a DVR with a 6 terabyte hard drive for a security system. He wanted to know if was possible to use a flash drive with it. Yes, but it would be very expensive, Paul said. And there would be little advantage because the rate at which the video is written to the drive is pretty low to begin with.

Expanding on his comment above (Nothing new only forgotten), Paul treated us with some items from the past. It has recently been found that [ancient] Greeks probably knew about steam engines, Paul said. There was a Greek called Hero with a rotating steam device and it’s thought he attached it to a carriage about 2000 years ago and “had it go places”. There is a computer called the Antikythera mechanism that calculated planetary motion.

Last Updated 12:17 AM 9-28-2017

Sep 13, 2017

Sep - 13 2017 | no comments | By

Paule In-Studio. Glenn will Call In

It’s Recovery Month – a 12 month a year issue

A Bit About VPN & http://www.purevpn.com

iPhone X and commodity/Consumerism, and why Good Design is Like Pornography!
(you know what it is when you see it but cannot easily define it)
Jony Ive & Dieter Rams, * ‘Originality’ apropos Emulating things.

The EquiFax Fiasco & what to (try) to Do
Irma, Harvey and the Red Cross and What to Do– Due Diligence.

Milo Yiannopoulos and the role of agent provocateurs (is that the correct plural form?!)


Additional notes

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

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

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Paul was in the studio. Glenn called in.


Reading from today’s show notes (above), Paul said that this is National Recovery Month, and gave a link to a government website for substance use and mental health disorders.

Since the law has changed to allow internet usage information to be logged and sold, virtual private networks (VPN) are a way to keep your browsing habits private. Normally, a provider such as AT&T or Comcast, for example, can gather the info about what sites you visit. If your connection to a website is secure (the URL starts with https, not http) the content of your transactions will remain private, only the destination information can be logged.

A VPN may be built into an operating system or added as a separate program. It will encrypt the data exchanged between you and the website before sending it over the public internet (Comcast, AT&T, etc.). A drawback is that the VPN company itself can gather & sell your info. <Do some research before picking the company.>

Paul has been experimenting with Pure VPN It’s based in Hong Kong and has about 100+ peer points around the world. You can pick any of those locations and make it appear your connection is originating from there.
<For example, the BBC makes some of its content available only to citizens of the UK. You can use a VPN to make it look like you are located in Britain when trying to access it.>

In checking out Pure VPN, Paul googled the words: purevpn issues. He found some bad reviews, saying that the service doesn’t keep the DNS lookups private. <DNS is domain name service, which converts the name of a website into numbers that are needed to connect to it>. As a consequence, AT&T (if that’s your provider) is able see who you’re connecting to while using Pure VPN. The data itself is still being encrypted and remains private.

Paul said that the iPhone 10 has just come out with IOS version 11. He noted that there is no iPhone 9. He then talked a bit about design.
<Apple Unveils iPhone X and 8 Models as It Upgrades TV Set-Top Box
The Samsung S8 came out recently, too. I don’t think it was ever mentioned on the show…
The Samsung Galaxy S8 has 27 features the iPhone lacks>

Jony Ive has been the iPhone’s designer for a long time. He followed in the tradition of a German designer named Dieter Rams, who also worked for Apple. Rams formulated 10 principles of good design. <See the Wikipedia article link at the top of this page>. Paul listed the principles and made some related remarks.

Equifax had data from about 140 million accounts stolen. You may be in their database even if you think you have nothing to do with them, Paul said. Paul made a connection, which wasn’t clear to me, between Equifax and Milo Yiannopoulos. He said, both Equifax and Milo Yiannopoulos (link above) have appeared on Facebook and elsewhere with basically false and misleading statements.

Paul said he’s seen numerous sites that ask you to fill in your data to get money back from Equifax, but they are really scams. There is a reliable site you can go to, and he posted the link to it at the top of this page.
<An NBC article on the Equifax hack.
A how to freeze your credit: here and here>

Glenn, who had called in, said he was disturbed to learn that Equifax knew about the breach for a month before making it public. In that time, some managers from Equifax divested their company stock.

Glenn also said that if you go to the Equifax to check if your info was compromised, the terms and conditions state that you give up your right to sue them later. <I also heard this, but then later heard Equifax changed their terms to rescind the waiver. Their website seems to reflect this. Paul’s follow-up statement seemed to concur>.

Glenn said you can also freeze your account to prevent anyone from getting credit in your name. In some states it won’t cost you anything, in others it’s $10 at each of the 3 big credit-reporting agencies. You can still continue using the credit card as before.

Paul mentioned Lifelock, which is a service that’s suppose to protect your identity. But they got sued for failing to do that, Paul said.

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

Paul said you’re entitled to an annual review of your credit status. You’ll also be able to see if anyone has made credit inquiries. Also, when your card is stolen or lost, report it right away, because the credit card companies will try to find a way to make you liable for unauthorized charges.

Another solution is not to have a credit card, Paul said. But that doesn’t mean the credit reporting agencies don’t have info about you. They gather the info from all sort of places — bank accounts & cash transactions.

Paul said he’s head that it is possible to change your social security number. But it can be a difficult process. Paul said he has used a fake social security number in those places where it’s only function is to identify him. <Like a password or an optional security question. Obviously, don’t do this where it’s used for things like tax reporting or Medicare etc.>

Glenn found a couple of computers for a friend. They were Windows 7 machines made by Dell with 2 terabyte hard drives, Intel core I5 processors and 8 gig of RAM. They cost less than $230 each from Ebay. They had a 90 day warranty but Ebay offered a 3 year warranty for an additional $21.

He used the transfer facility that comes with Win7 to transfer the data from the old machines. He said to use the Start Button & search for Easy Transfer. There are 3 ways to connect the machines — a local network, a special cable or flash drive.

It took 2 To 3 Hours to do the transfer over the local network. One machine had about 60 gig the other about 90 gig of data to transfer. Applications like Word or Quicken were not transferred. Glenn had trouble finding out how to print some of the reports on what was transferred and what wasn’t. He could see the report on the screen but couldn’t find the file associated with it. He said he’ll do more sleuthing on how to do that.

XP doesn’t have the Easy Transfer software but it can be downloaded and installed, Paul said. The Mac has something similar called Migration Assistant. He seemed to say that it does transfers from a Windows machine to the Mac.

While he was talking, Glenn found how to print the reports he talked about earlier. He had to look at the bottom of Internet Explorer where it says “‘this is blocked content. Do you want to allow it’ went you’re opening appinfo.html.” The file was on the C: drive in a hidden folder.

An .html file on the machine is treated with some suspicion because it’s possible to have some malicious content, more so than what’s on the internet, Paul said. That’s why Glenn was asked to unblock it.

The guys talked briefly about how Microsoft went about getting people to upgrade to Windows 10. It was suggested before that people use the GWX Control Panel to manage their upgrade options. <See the notes for the 5-11-16 show.>

If you want to contact the guys, email at zen at kvmr dot org.

“The Red Cross is not all it should be,” practice due diligence, Paul said. He didn’t say you shouldn’t donate to the Red Cross, but do some research for the best way to help the victums of the recent hurricanes.

Glenn invited people to tune in to the Flea Market show tomorrow at 1pm.

Last Updated 12:55 AM 9-14-2017

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