The Personal Computer Radio Show  WBAI-FM 99.5
New York City

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January 2007 Show Summaries
January 31, 2007  January 24, 2007  January 17, 2007  January 10, 2007  January 3, 2007
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January 31, 2007 Show

Back on the air, for fund raising and more. Our guest was Dr. Rebecca Mercuri and our subject was electronic voting.

We mentioned the Secunia Software Inspector a great little program that reports whether the software installed on your computer is up to date or if it is vulnerable to known bugs (a.k.a. security holes, vulnerabilities). Both Hank and Michael thought their computers were up to date, but the Software Inspector found old versions of Flash on their machines. Secunia is a software security company. 

The Software Inspector runs online, you do not have to download it and install it. However, it is a Java applet, so unless you have Java installed on your computer, it won't run. How do you know if you have Java? Go to Michael's website www.javatester.org. Just having Java in not sufficient however, it must be version 1.5.0_06 of Java or later. Michael's Java Tester website reports the version of Java installed on your computer.

If you were looking for the podcast/mp3 version of this show, it went online two days late. We make three recordings of the show every week. There were technical problems with the first two of them. As Hank always says: backup, backup, backup.

Next week we will not be heard on the air as the WBAI fund raising drive enters its fourth and final week. We will however record a show at the station and will make the show available on our website and by Podcast sometime Wednesday night. It will not be a fund raising show. Among our topics will be Windows Vista (what else?). 

 

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January 24, 2007 Show

This show was not heard over the air, we were pre-empted for WBAI fund raising. It was recorded January 17th. There were no listener phone calls.

Alfred reported on his trip to Consumer Electronics Show (CES). There was much discussion of TVs: Plasma, LCD, High Definition and wireless.

Beware when purchasing a security suite online from Symantec, McAfee or Microsoft. They all default to automatic renewals every year and after purchasing, you have to take an extra step to not re-purchase the software year after year.

Next week we are back on the air for fund raising.

 

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January 17, 2007 Show

This show was part of the WBAI January Fund Raising/Membership Drive.

We offered three membership premiums.

Much of the show was a discussion of the software in the first toolkit. For example, IE PassView is a small utility that reveals the passwords stored by Internet Explorer. 

Michael likes 7-Zip a Zip program that can both encrypt files and make a self-extracting file. Thus, you can safely send someone files and the recipient does not need to have 7-Zip installed. He also likes Page Defrag, a very small utility that shows you how fragmented your page file and registry are. If they are fragmented, it can defrag them the next time Windows boots up. 

Next week, the show will not be heard over the air, but we will be in the studio recording a Podcast show. The pre-emption is due to the WBAI fund raising drive. Since we won't be live there will be no listener phone calls. The Podcast will be made available on Wednesday the 24th. You can also download the show manually from our audio archives

There were no listener phone calls. On the show were Joe King, Hank Kee, Alfred Poor and Michael Horowitz. 

 

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January 10, 2007 Show

The company that was Apple Computer is now just plain old Apple. Apple just announced their iPhone. Hours later, they were sued by Cisco, the company that owned the trademark having gotten it when they purchased Linksys. Last year a billion cellphones were sold. Apple is shooting for 1% of the market for their iPhone. In other words, 10 million phones - at $500 to $600 each.  

Intel just announced a quad core processor. In English, this means a computer can literally do four things at the same time. While faster than a single "core" processor, it is not four times faster. Many programs are not designed to make full use of multiple processors. The processors are for servers and gamers, who always want the fastest of the fast. 

Our guest was Constantine Kaniklidis (ckane at ieee.org) and the topic was Windows Vista. Constantine is the President of Technology Education Support and an industry-recognized expert in Web-enabled technologies, e-Commerce, Web Development, Web Services, Data and Internet Security, Windows XP/2000/2003, as well as the legacy environment. Joe started off by asking the features in Vista that the average home user will care about.

Constantine said better security, but we've heard this before from Microsoft.

Then there is the new user interface which as been radically revised. While nerds may think it's "slick", it it easier for the average user? Constantine felt not, at first. There is a steep learning curve with the new interface and you can expect that many users will do all they can to make Vista look like XP so they can get on with their work. However, studies show that in long run, the new interface will make users more productive. Nerds and gamers will like the new user interface. The XP interface is now referred to as "Classic". 

Vista has integration of function - navigation, browsing and searching is now all integrated. There are folder breadcrumbs. You can set bookmarks to folders (something Windows XP and 2000 could mostly do without calling them bookmarks). The web browser concepts have moved into local file system.

What about those new 4 way processors? Fuggeddaboutit. Vista supports a maximum of two processors and that's only on the high end versions - Enterprise and Ultimate. There will be a server version of Vista that will support four "cores". Four cores is called multi-processing (four distinct processors). The ability of a program to chop itself up into pieces that can run concurrently (more or less) is called multi threading. Excel 2007 can multi-thread 16 ways. If you give it more than one processor, it can hog both of them at the same time. A smarter way to work. 

Joe asked will users still need third party anti-virus or anti-spyware software. Constantine said yes even though Windows Defender will be integrated into Vista. He also said that some IE7 security features are missing when it runs on XP. Same for Windows Defender which he trashed as missing important things and catching the trivial.  

Should you buy a PC now or wait for Vista? Constantine said don't wait. It's now official, everyone on the show says the same thing. 

Hank had big problems upgrading Windows XP to Vista. The upgrade ran for 7 hours until Hank gave up and killed it. Then he wiped the hard disk and did a clean install which took under 45 minutes. There are two types of upgrades: internal and external. Internal is done from within Windows XP. External is from a vista boot CD. Unless you are a power user, don't attempt to upgrade Windows XP to Vista. The problem with a clean install is moving/saving all your files and re-installing your applications. Constantine recommended an internal upgrade. 

A caller asked about using Partition Magic with Vista. Constantine said it is not compatible but that Vcom's Partition Commander will be Vista compatible very soon.

On the show were Joe King, Hank Kee and Danny Burstein.

 

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January 3, 2007 Show

Microsoft bribed a handful of bloggers. Or did they? The AACS system used to protect high definition and Blu-Ray DVDs has been hacked. There was a close election in Florida, so one of the candidates asked to see the source code used to program the voting machines. A court in Florida ruled it a trade secret.

Michael's big gripe for 2006? Same as always, bad documentation. Joe disagreed, pointing out there usually is no documentation at all. Alfred, who has written technical documentation, pointed out the expense of paper. And it was noted that documentation is an expense, not a profit generator. And the pay is terrible for the technical writers doing documentation, which of course, leads to lesser qualified people doing it. Alfred said we wouldn't believe how little technical writers are paid.

A new storage medium recently made is commercial debut - holographic. The first devices offer 300 gigabytes of storage on a disc the size of a CD for $180. The catch, the holographic drives cost $18,000. And they are a write-once medium (think CD-R vs. CD-RW). But, holographic storage is very fast, it can write at 20 MB/sec which is enough for uncompressed high definition video. Joe said that Turner was already using holographic storage for its vast library of old movies.

Olivia reviewed Quicken's Medical Expense Manager. See www.quickenmedical.com

Can you trust the Seller ratings on eBay? Probably not. Recent articles in Forbes (EBay Feedback: Fatally Flawed?) and the Wall Street Journal pointed out huge flaws in the system. For one thing, Sellers get a single approval rating that reflects feedback on both on their sales and also on purchases they make. So all they have to do is buy a bunch of cheap items and they get a good rating before they even sell a single thing. And a positive review of a sale of a penny item counts as much as a positive review of an expensive item. And all sellers have approval ratings over 98% How can this be? One article said that fear of retribution makes unhappy purchasers without a rating. And, of course, eBay does not tell you the total number of sales a Seller makes vs. the number of feedbacks they have recieved.

If you send us a question by email, please turn off any challenge-response spam filtering system, so that we can respond.

There was the usual 30 minutes of listener phone calls. One call was from someone who could no longer play DVDs after letting Windows Update install Windows Media Player version 11. After the show, a listener suggested the free VLC Media Player (www.videolan.org) for playing both audio and video.

On the show were Joe King, Hank Kee, Alfred Poor, Michael Horowitz, Olivia Whiteman and Danny Burstein.
 

 
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