Nerds on the Radio: Nerdy Stuff and Online Security!

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Introducer: You’re listening to more compelling talk radio. This is “Mornings with Schopflin and Gibson” on News Talk 105.7 KQMS.

Clark: Good morning, it’s 7:36. It’s the Monday before you paid…you know, you thought you paid, you looked at your check and it said, “Hey, but look, I paid all this much money to the government.” And tomorrow they go, “No, no, no. No, not enough.” So you pay more. I’m Clark Schopflin, 7:37. I’m sorry, what, Steve?

Steve: They’ve got limousines and rocket launchers to buy.

Clark: That’s true, that’s true.

Steve: They don’t buy themselves. Good morning, I’m Steve Gibson. Fifty-two degrees. It rained today, 20-mile-an-hour south winds, mid-60s for the high. Rain overnight, a chance of rain tomorrow, and oh, a chance of rain all week until Friday.

Clark: Beautiful Saturday.

Steve: Oh yeah, just perfect.

Clark: Beautiful, just a gorgeous Saturday. I’m actually kind of in the mood for more of those, but it’ll be a nice rainy week. It’s a day to stay inside and mess around with all your tech stuff.

Steve: Yeah. Maybe this rain will run into those dry wells down in the San Joaquin Valley, somehow, somewhere, some way.

Clark: Yeah, there you go. Now, normally, the lovely Eldridges…I don’t know, lovely? Is that…

Steve: The lovely and talented.

Clark: Usually, we get our Nerds on Call visit on Fridays but this is, boy, perfect way to kick off the week by having you two in. Thanks for joining us, Ryan and Andrea.

Ryan: Well, thanks for having us.

Clark and Andrea: Yeah!

Steve: Anybody have any tech questions for the Eldridges, 68683, put KQMS first in the message part on your cell phone, 68683.

Ryan: Or, of course, just any general nerdiness. So I’m sure you saw the “Star Wars” trailer over the weekend?

Clark: Okay. No…

[crosstalk]

Steve: My son showed me.

Clark: Now, there’s a reason I haven’t. I’m watching it today. I’m going to see it.

Andrea: You’ve been holding out.

Ryan: You’ve been waiting for the 7.1 surround sound when you watch it on YouTube. That’s your plan?

Clark: You’re talking about “The Last Jedi.”

Ryan: Yes.

Clark: Yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited about it.

Ryan: You ever heard any…

Steve: My son showed it to me.

Ryan: Yeah? Have you seen…you haven’t heard the trailer spoilers or anything like that?

Steve: The trailer spoilers?

Clark: No, I haven’t. In fact, I even try to stay away from that.

Ryan: Because if you watch YouTube now, there’s actually trailers before the trailer. They’ll give you a couple of, oh, the new “Star Wars” trailer and it’ll be like, you know, two seconds of the trailer.

Steve: Oh, they wrecked the commercial for me.

Clark: Exactly.

Ryan: That’s exactly it. But I’m super excited. I mean, it’s just coming out and…oh, I just can’t wait. This is the first time I’ll get to see it.

Clark: I’m excited too.

Ryan: So anyway.

Clark: No, I’ll be catching that trailer, I promise. Today.

Andrea: I was looking, actually, at a story online this morning about how they’ve released more details about the new Star Wars Land at Disneyland and Disney World, which, you know, nerds around the world are super excited about. Although Ryan pointed out this morning, in his somewhat pessimistic manner, that we all looked forward to California Adventure too. So keep that in mind.

Steve: Are they gonna put that where Toontown is?

Andrea: You know, I think they were doing something around where the Tom Sawyer Island was.

Ryan: It was right behind…oh that’s right. And Fantasy Land. Parts of Fantasy Land too.

Clark: Because ToonTown was kind of stupid.

Andrea: Well, not if you’re five. So when you’re five, it’s awesome. But yeah, when you get a little older. But no, they’re redoing the Star Tours ride again, so they’re gonna bring in elements from “Rogue One,” from my understanding. And some of the more…and some from “The Last Jedi,” actually. So there’s little details in there.

Ryan: And of course, being able to fly your Millennium Falcon around, that’ll be pretty cool, and chat with Chewbacca.

Andrea: Well, and they’ve actually indicated that it’s supposed to be more of like an interactive, role-playing experience, which was kind of a weird way of phrasing it. So it sounds like there’s some sort of identifying thing that you get when you go into the park. So, as you make choices throughout the land, it affects the way characters interact with you. So they gave the example of like, you go on the Millennium Falcon ride, and if you aren’t a particularly good driver, you’ll get some not so nice words said to you by a certain furry friend when you go into the nearest cantina. So…

[crosstalk]

Steve: He can say, “ARR ARR ARR.”

Andrea: Yes, just like that, I’m sure. So it sounds really pretty awesome. I can’t remember what else was about it though. But…

Ryan: Well, while we’re talking about Disney, of course we’ve gotta talk about Marvel. Did you see at least the “Thor” trailer?

Clark: No, stop asking me if I’ve seen trailers this…I have not…I’ve seen zero trailers this week.

Ryan: I come here to geek out, and of course, you’re just not involved at all.

Clark: I’ve been totally un-trailer-y this week.

Ryan: I mean, what did you do all Easter, if not watch television?

Clark: I didn’t get to watch trailers.

Ryan: My goodness

Clark: I messed up on the trailers. So how does the “Thor” one look?

Ryan: Well, the “Thor” one looks amazing and they introduce Hela, which is…well, in the comic books, she’s Loki’s daughter, based on Hale from Norse mythology. But here’s the interesting tie-in. Have you been paying attention to the “Infinity War” and how this is all gonna play out?

Clark: A little?

Ryan: So Thanos is sort of the…

Andrea: Just say yes.

Clark: Yes.

Andrea: I’m on it.

Ryan: Thanos is the orchestrator of everything terrible in the Marvel universe right now. And so he has this weird fascination with death and it’s constantly talking about, “Oh, you’re gonna…” Because death is the embodiment that he’s in love with. He’s in love with…and so it could be Hela. Which is kind of interesting, which is Cate Blanchett. And if you see that trailer, you’ll be transfixed.

Steve: She’s a hammer catcher.

Ryan: Yes, a hammer catcher.

Andrea: And the Hulk part’s pretty awesome. When Hulk comes in it.

Ryan: Well, that’s the big surprise.

[crosstalk]

Clark: Was that a trailer spoiler?

Andrea: Just say there’s a Hulk thing and it’s awesome.

Steve: The trailer’s a movie spoiler, totally. I don’t think they should’ve revealed that.

Clark: Well, that’s what they do now is a lot of the trailers, in order to get people interested enough because they worry the audience had made it clear that “Oh, if you don’t show me everything I’m not gonna go,” kind of idea. And so they feel like they have to show everything in order to get people in. Whereas I like more of the mystery.

Andrea: Well, they did…what was that movie that we were looking at this weekend where the girl plays the monster in her head and they did this whole preview where…

Clark: “A Monster Calls?”

Andrea: No.

Ryan: The girl plays the monster in her head?

Andrea: It’s really a story about alcoholism. We were learning how the audiences really hated the preview because it wasn’t in line with what the movie really was and they got this…now, he’s shaking his head.

Ryan: I wasn’t involved in that.

Andrea: And I can’t remember the name of it.

Clark: But it sounds interesting.

Andrea: Yeah, if I come up with it at some point later.

Ryan: I was too busy watching “Thor.”

Andrea: Yes, apparently. So yeah, no, we did kind of an interesting story, actually, a week ago about more electronics exploding, so…

Clark: Really?

Andrea: Yes. You know, we got all of that information about the Samsung Galaxy and how the batteries were catching fire.

Ryan: The Note 7. The Note 7, not…

Andrea: The Note 7, sorry.

Ryan: The Galaxy was fine. You were okay if you got a Galaxy, but the Note 7 is the one that exploded on everybody.

Andrea: That’s right. And there have been…

Steve: Was it just a battery problem?

Andrea: Pretty much, yeah. And it’s not exclusive to Samsung. It just happens to be that the construction of that Note 7 phone exacerbated a weakness in lithium ion batteries that every lithium ion battery has. But just based on its construction, so you know, as we expect devices to get smaller, thinner, lighter but also hold a charge longer. The way a lithium ion battery works is you basically have negative and positive layers of ions, almost like a snack cake. They’re, like, rolled up and then flattened, and so…

Clark: Mmm, snack cake.

Steve: Like a Ho Ho squished down.

Andrea: Yes, it is. And so the smallest amount of damage to that can cause a short circuit where the negative and positive connects. And of course, a lithium ion battery is floating in flammable liquid.

Steve: Of course!

Andrea: So then you plug that device into an outlet and if that short circuit connects, it can cause a fire then, or fire ongoing. There was actually this really crazy video of a teenager who had his laptop sitting on the couch charging next to him. And they had a home security camera system, so you get so watch the footage while the laptop catches fire on the couch next to him. And he’s like, “Oh my gosh,” takes it off the wall, takes it outside, puts it on a patio table. And on this time-lapse video, you can see it catch fire and explode over and over again over time as he’s coming out there with a fire extinguisher trying to stop this thing from being on fire. So it’s kind of this, you know, conglomeration of things happening with our expectations of technology and the limitations of what lithium ion batteries can do. The reality is, in the scheme of things, they’re the best available electronics battery option that we have. But it’s important to kind of keep in mind that not overheating your devices is pretty important. That a lot of people…you know, you’ll see pictures of people playing with their laptops on a bed, or you know, on a pillow on their lap because it’s getting hot and they don’t want to burn their actual legs. And so they’ll cover all the vents and, you know, on the back with this nice, fluffy little thing.

Clark: I’ve got a little stand everybody makes fun of me for having. It’s got soft on the bottom and hard on the top.

Andrea: Hard on the top is good.

Clark: Yeah. I put it on my lap and put my laptop on.

Andrea: Yes, so that’s fine. You just don’t want the soft covering the vents because it needs airflow to stay cool. And you know, they talk about not overcharging your devices. I don’t know how realistic that is though because so many people charge their devices at night. But when it comes to your laptops, and your tablets, and smartphones, just try to be aware of the fact that you don’t want to, ideally, leave that charging forever.

Steve: Shouldn’t the device be smart enough to know when it’s fully charged and stop charging?

Andrea: It’s supposed to be. Yeah.

Ryan: It’s supposed to be but the problem with the Note 7 was it had, like, a supercharge method, so it was trying to charge the battery faster than it’s supposed to, and that would sometimes fail. And of course, then the battery would become overcharged and then it would breach the battery walls and then it would catch fire or explode.

Andrea: Well, and they did some research actually. They found that the Note 7, the location of the battery was right up along the upper right-hand corner of the phone that was rounded. And it caused this kind of weakness on the corner of the battery that, when compressed, caused that short circuit effect that I was talking about. And you know, that can happen if you drop your phone. A lot of people just think, “Oh, I’m just mostly concerned about the screen.” But an actual, like, hard drop or something if you’ve got some physical damage on the corners or edges of your phone, that can also put your battery at risk.

Clark: So the one interesting charge thing…now, tell me if this is true or if this is just…but the one cool thing I heard over the weekend that was like, “Hey, here’s a little charging tip. Put your phone in airplane mode or whatever,” the thing I originally thought was the thing you were supposed to put it or whatever so you could call from airplanes. Anyway…

Andrea: Airplane mode, yes.

Clark: …the thing that I saw, they say, “Put it in airplane mode when you charge it because then it’s only doing one thing. It’s like charging…is that true?

Andrea: It is. It’ll speed up the process quite a bit because it turns off your Bluetooth and your Wi-Fi which otherwise is pretty battery-draining over time. It’s another reason that, like, if you’re in the car and you know you’re not going to be using your Wi-Fi and your Bluetooth, that you might not necessarily want to go into airplane mode because then you won’t receive calls and texts. But you can certainly turn off your Wi-Fi and your Bluetooth so your phone isn’t constantly searching for an available signal.

Steve: And if you’re on an actual airplane, you want to have it at the ready in case you get dragged off against your will.

Clark: Oh, dragged. Exactly.

Andrea: There’s that, yeah.

Ryan: If you fly United, yes.

Andrea: Yeah.

Ryan: Here’s the other thing that happened last week. Vista is officially gone. You have Windows Vista on any of your machines?

Clark: No, but I’m familiar so it’s…

Ryan: So some people do. I think it’s like 3% of the world still has Windows Vista but it’s officially dead. Microsoft completely does not support the operating system at all, and so you’re more vulnerable to viruses attacks and malware just by running that system.

Clark: So Vista is not Bella anymore.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s gone. So if you’re running Vista, you want to make sure you get some new operating system on there. Likely, if you’re running Vista, you’ve got an older machine anyway, so it may be time to upgrade. But you can still pick up an older version of Windows 7 or jump to the Windows 10.

Steve: Wasn’t Microsoft really heavily pushing Windows 10 onto anybody with Windows Vista?

Ryan: Yeah, they were giving it away free for about a year. They gave away Windows 10 for free, trying to get everybody to upgrade to get them all to the same one so that way they didn’t have to support all these old legacy operating systems.

Clark: And who wouldn’t?

Ryan: I agree, who wouldn’t. But here’s the problem, we as humans hate change, and so we like our icons a certain color and a certain way and when, all of a sudden, Microsoft changes the Start menu, we all freak out like the world’s coming to an end and…

Clark: Well, it is.

Andrea: Well, and the issue for a lot of people was the change from XP when, you know, they stopped supporting XP, that was a huge deal because so many businesses were running software that was specifically written to work with XP, and so it wasn’t just a matter of…

Steve: We were.

Andrea: Yeah, so you know, it wasn’t just a matter of just going, “Yeah, well let’s just install the new OS,” when it causes everything else about the way you’ve run your business to stop working properly. So I don’t know how much that affects Vista. Vista was never really a big business operating system but that’s, you know, some of the case. You know, an interesting…actually, McAfee is an antivirus program and they come out with their quarterly threat report, which measures the amount of malware out there, you know, malware being viruses and spyware and popup ads and things that are intended to, you know, kind of make your internet experience miserable really, in the scheme of things. And they said that there’s been a massive increase in the amount of malware targeting Mac systems. So for Apple lovers out there…

Ryan: Why you looking at me?

Andrea: I know, I know. They said a more than 700% increase in the 4th quarter of 2016 over the previous quarter. And just to kind of give you an idea of numbers. It says more than 460,000 reports of malware affecting Mac OS overall during the 4th quarter, which is an exponential increase over Quarter 3, which was barely 50,000. So 50,000 to 460,000, most of which is malware related to, like, pop-ups and things like that, so it’s just…

Steve: I remember you guys saying before that the reason that there wasn’t a lot of this bad stuff targeting Macs is just because Windows is so much more common.

Ryan: Yeah, security by obscurity.

Andrea: Yeah, and that’s kind of becoming a little more balanced out as more people buy Macs.

Steve: So it’s not necessarily that Mac is more secure, it was just not the low-hanging fruit.

Ryan: Correct, and well, I mean…Mac’s operating system…

Steve: Ah, Apple. Yeah.

Ryan: Mac’s operating system is based on Unix, which has a better underlying security system but no, they’re still vulnerable. Any…

Steve: They cut off the part that’ll distract them. Yeah, Unix.

Ryan: Exactly, but any…

Andrea: Well, the other issue too is that they have a closed ecosystem for their apps. I mean, and that’s significantly…although I guess because you can run Chrome on a Mac you can certainly still expose yourself to regular based malware.

Ryan: Yeah, and you can buy things outside of the App Store for a Mac OS, so that certainly…you can still get an infection on a Mac, you just…people are kind of stupid when it comes to being on the internet. We download things, we open things, we click things we’re not supposed to.

Steve: That was a diplomatic way to put it.

Ryan: I was trying to think of a nice way to say it but no, we’re just dumb.

Andrea: And you failed. But yeah.

Clark: They say one of the scams are people will call people and say, “Hey, I’m calling from the internet to tell you that you’ve got a virus.” And they’ll say, “Where is it you’re calling from again?” And they’ll say, “The internet.” And they’re able to scam people that way.

Steve: A woman, who I will not identify because it’s embarrassing to her, fell for that. The guy said he was calling from Microsoft. She gave him access to her computer. Fortunately, it was stopped in time before he cleaned her out.

Ryan: We see that a lot. Yeah, we see that a lot. We have a call center down in Sacramento, so when people call our 800 number, we often hear this complaint that, “Hey, I just got off the phone with Microsoft. The guy started doing something really weird on my machine and I disconnected. Can you help me?” And then we immediately go in there, we see if the guy’s left anything behind, and then we lock down their system for them. But that is a very common thing. It’s usually someone with an Indian accent that’s calling up and saying, “Hey…” because they can just call hundreds of thousands of numbers and they get some unsuspecting person who believes them and that’s it. Cleans them out.

Steve: That’s low down. Dirty rotten. We need to do a few things. You guys stick around?

Andrea: Yeah, sure.

Clark: All right. It is 7:52, take a quick break. News Talk 105.7 KQMS

Clark: 7:59, wow. Hit us with some stuff, you guys. Nerds on Call here for a minute.

Steve: You’ve got 50 seconds to make us smart.

Andrea: So is this where we should say our argument about how I think social media is making the world a worse place and Ryan thinks it’s a better place?

Ryan: It is a better place!

Andrea: Because of Facebook’s emoticons that they’ve just added.

Ryan: I mean, Cleveland notwithstanding, if you think about social media, it allows us to be not isolated in our crazy, so…

Andrea: And vomit pizza slices.

Ryan: Assuming our crazy isn’t really crazy. But if you’re, like, into just something a little odd, you can feel sort of isolated and alone. And the internet gives you the ability to connect with other people that are into the same weird stuff you’re into. From fly-fishing to…

Steve: To convince yourself you’re not a weirdo even if you are.

Ryan: Yeah, you might like chicken Parmesan on your face and that’s just awesome for you. And there’s probably millions of people that enjoy that and you could only find them on the internet.

Andrea: That’s true, that’s true. And that’s probably a good thing.

Clark: Nerds on Call, find them next to Target. And callnerds.com. Thanks, you guys.

Andrea: Thank you.

Ryan: You’re welcome.

Steve: Thanks a lot.

Ryan and Andrea stopped by KQMS in Redding, CA to talk about the new Star Wars and Thor Trailers, the Note s7’s battery problem, Windows Vista expiring, Microsoft Scams, and how Social Media allows you to connect to other people!

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