Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss safe selfie zones, Nintendo Switch online, an FBI warning about scammers and online donations, Amazon’s new Alexa devices, ordering for delivery at your airport gate, and more.
Doug in Stevensville, Michigan asked: “I’m trying to help a friend of mine solve a problem, which is trying to stream Netflix or YouTube from her iPhone with a lightning port to her TV. She has no Internet connection at her house and no Wi-Fi at her house. She has a Verizon unlimited, grandfathered in, wireless plan. Is there a way to get this done, as we could not figure it out and I know you’re the man that can!”
Doug, you can buy Lightning to HDMI adapters, but finding one that will support HDCP will probably take some trial and error.
Since almost everyone is wireless these days, most of the big manufacturers don’t bother with these cables anymore, opting instead to share video through devices like Chromecasts, Apple TVs, Rokus, and Fire TVs.
The HDCP hurdle comes from the DMCA and content providers like Netflix not wanting to be used as a source for piracy. Their content won’t play on anything that doesn’t tell them that it’s not a recording device.
Unfortunately, since the adapters you’ll find for this purpose are mostly generics, there’s a lot of trial and error and a lot of “supposedly” HDCP compliant adapters that aren’t. As you go about trying to find one that works, try to buy from a store that takes returns, you’ll probably need to return a few.
Jim in Baton Rouge, Louisiana listens on Talk 107.3 WBRP asked: “I have an old Toshiba laptop that is running Vista. It refuses to boot up. How can I get a bootable USB to start it up so I can get some of my data off of it? It’s about 8 or 10 years old.”
Jim, you can find many free versions of Linux that can help you get the files you need from your dead computer.
You will need another computer, and you will need to choose a distribution to download. Ubuntu is a good option. It’s easy to use, close enough to Windows for you to figure it out without much trouble, and stable and well regarded.
After you have the live distribution you will need to follow the instructions that come with it to turn it into a live USB, unfortunately it takes more than just copying into the drive. Making it bootable usually means using 3rd party software to install it properly. Once it’s done, you should be able to plug it in and boot from it, but after you recover your data, remember to back up so you don’t have to go through this a second time.
Jeff in Amherstburg, Ontario Canada listens on AM800 CKLW – “The Information Station” asked: “What is AI?”
Jeff, AI is artificial intelligence.
That can stand for many things from GMail knowing what canned responses may be useful, or your phone knowing what apps you probably want to open, to those lousy support bots that companies keep trying to push even though they have yet to help a single person.
Artificial intelligence is largely computer learning patterns and using them to make basic decisions. You probably won’t be seeing any truly smart AI for a while, but the fact that some cars are smart enough to figure out you’re nodding off and need to be woken up and told to stop for coffee is very impressive and useful.
Doreen in Milwaukee, Wisconsin listens to the podcast asked: “What is a solid state drive and how is it different from a regular hard drive?”
Doreen, a solid state drive is something like RAM memory, if you can picture that, or like a thumb drive.
There are no moving parts. No disks, just chips that store your information and can be accessed much faster than hard disk drives.
From the perspective of a user, the only change is that computers are faster and maybe more energy efficient. They look the same from the user’s perspective, all that’s different is the technology behind the scenes.
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