Friday, October 11, 2019

Devices & SQRL

Part 1:  I had a great title for this week's presentation, "Devices for Dummies" but little to go on.  So this became a high-level overview of the devices that are taking over our lives from the useful to the sorta ridiculous.  (Who really needs to be texted from their toaster?)

Part 2:  On the other end of the spectrum is SQRL ... the Secure, Quick, Reliable Login system.  The problem it solves is one that bedevils us all the time: how can we prove we're who we say we are - to the police, to a bank, to Google, or to every *&%$ website that wants us to setup an account.

Technology caused this problem (plus an abundance of people) and technology can solve it - even in the face of a small percentage of people that want to steal your stuff, your money, your property, your 'identity' or even your vote.  The answer is called a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and understanding how PKI works is key to trusting it.

I talked about how this can be done with a secret number assigned to each person which *never* disclosed to *anyone*.  This concept is so important l'll repeat how it works here using the example of Alice wanting to get some money from her Bank.  (slides 41-43)  There's no math here, the actual math can get quite complicated.

How PKI works:
  • Setup:
    • Assume Alice has a secret number only she knows and the Bank has the corresponding public number.  
    • The two numbers, both "secret" and "public," are related so that which one encrypts, the other can decrypt.  (and vice versa)
    • Neither number can be derived from the other; i.e., knowing one does not tell you anything about the other.
  • The Bank has an account for a Alice, but has to confirm Alice is who she says she is before they give her the money
  • The Bank gives Alice a random string of characters
  • Alice encrypts the random string of characters with her secret number
  • Alice then gives the encrypted string back to the Bank
  • The Bank looks up Alice’s public number in their account records
  • The Bank decrypts the string with Alice’s public number
  • If the decrypted string matches the original random string of characters, Alice's identity is confirmed.
  • Why?  Because only Alice holds the right secret key that matches the public key.
Why this is really cool:
  • The secret number itself is never revealed, it’s only used to encrypt the random string of characters
  • There are *no* shared secrets to prove Alice’s identity and nothing to hide in transmission
  • No one listening in on the conversation between Alice and the Bank can learn anything that can compromise the process
This process is the basis for HTTPS - the system we use everyday to secure Internet communications.  The SQRL system extends this technology to usernames and passwords, eliminating the need for *either* usernames or passwords!  There are, of course, a bunch of "what if's" and special cases to account for, but it really is that simple.

In this presentation there is a simplified explanation of the SQRL system, slides 46-56.  For all possible details from how to get started to how the crypto really works, check out the very active SQRL user forums here: 

Friday, September 20, 2019

Audience Choice: Windows Annoyances & OneDrive

Only 2 people in the audience voted for BitCoin. 😕
And I think that was only to be contrarian.  Oh well.

So the chosen topics were: 
  • Annoyances in Windows 10 and there fixes - based on a PC Mag article
  • Microsoft OneDrive - how to install it, use, or kill it

And I really wanted to talk about BitCoin.😀
So I won't feel like I wasted my time, here's that presentation:

You'll probably never see this live.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Q&A Session

Topics of the Day

Even More ‘Stuff’ from the Senior Surfers and a Q&A on:
  • Smart Phones: Differences, File transfer, updates
  • Media: Photos, Videos, Music
  • Internet:  Open Wi-Fi, Facebook, Clouds
  • Others: Buying, Migration, email, Scanner

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Icy Moons of the Solar System

And the possibility of alien life?
Judith Provencal - U of D Astronomy

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Bob's Briefs II

Since we had a cancellation and I still had topics left over from last week ...

  • More SS ‘Stuff’
  • “Smart” TVs and STBs - What make them Smart?
  • More CNET ‘How to’ Videos: Free Streaming, Equifax, Credit One, Translating Phone
  • Podcasts - where I got the above and you can too.
  • Kodak Scanner Revisit - ok, I upped it to 2 stars, but it's still bad
  • Game Bar Fun- If you computer can handle it.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bob's Briefs - August 2019

Bloom'in #243 - my presentation slides from August 8, 2019.  (I'm finally caught up!)

  • More SS ‘Stuff’ - more free stuff to excess!
  • Kodak Film Scanner Review - It's cheap!
  • Microsoft TOS – Scam? (nope)
  • 10 Common Misteaks - from Bob Rankin with my comments
  • Marcus Hutchins Update - he's free, with caveats
  • Restart and Update Pop-up? - not a scam either, but recommended.  And some Philosophy on fighting with computer change
  • CNET ‘How to’ Videos - Free streaming TV, Capital One Data Breach, Can you get money from Equifax, and Translate text with your phone.
  • Podcasts - Where the above videos came from.
  • BobBloomGeek & Twitter - I'm finally 'on' Twitter, but don't look for a bunch of posts from me! (@BloomGeek)

Facebook and Twitter

A presentation by Jodi Boyko on August 1, 2019.

(The presentation itself was mainly just a show and tell on Facebook and Twitter.  But I had to post the picture!)

Bob's Briefs for July 11, 2019

(I've run out of clever titles for my presentations.  So it's Doug's Shorts and Bob's Briefs for the foreseeable future!)

Topics of the Day:
  • Computer Club “Stuff” (Free, for sale, for auction)
  • Is that site safe? - How can one tell?
  • Chrome auto-fill & passwords - how to correct or turn off
  • WinDirStat - Where's all the space on my disk?
  • Who sent that email? - Tracing mail to it's source
  • Disposable email addresses - handy for some situations, and easy!

Bob's Briefs for June 2019

Given on June 13, 2019

  • We've got a new Senior Surfer Board of Directors
  • Salute to Ed Wirth
  • Class Survey Results
  • “BlueKeep” Exploit - FBI's 2018 Internet Crime Report
  • Is a Https site safe?  (Hint: no!)
  • Acronis Backup Offer (recommended)
  • Is it safe to open an email? (This may surprise you.)
  • Windows 10 upgrade v1903 (finally one I like)
  • Program Updaters: Ninite vs. PatchMyPC

Caring for Family Photos: Print & Digital

Presentation by Dr. Melissa Tedone, Assoc. Conservator/Lab Head for Books & Library Materials, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library - given on May 23, 2019.

Next! - News and a Q&A

It seems awhile since I gave a presentation.  Here's the one from May 2, 2018

  • Pictures and excitement on my Branson MO trip.
  • News and Comment
    • Facebook asks for password.  Bad Facebook!
    • Marcus Hutchins update
    • USB Killer on Amazon?
    • Presentation Laptop SSD update w/benchmarks
  • Your Questions, my Answers
  • A couple of questions an Excel spreadsheet can answer.

If you would like to play around with the Excel Spreadsheet of the last topic, it's here:!AnjSwOmsFbmGtGJBWi9p6q1DXncP?e=SEFU2w

University of Delaware Physical Therapy

Presentation given by Meredith Christiansen, Certified Clinical Orthopedic Specialist.  She talked about the resources available and on-going projects at the STAR campus, Department of Physical Therapy.

ID Protection

A Presentation by Lauren Cooper, Ameriprise Financial Advisor on April 11, 2019

In a similar vein, I gave this analysis of a scam I received.  It was semi-scary!

Odds & Ends

I'm starting to catch up on posting old presentations.  This one is from April 4, 2019.

  • NSC Sale Stuff
  • Stuff in the News
    • Zerodium
    • Japan & IoT Devices
    • Equifax breach
    • Slow Websites, uBlock Origin
  • SSD for SS Laptop
  • Installing Windows 10
  • Computer Performance

Thursday, August 8, 2019


Short presentation by Elaine Drain on July 18, 2019.
See links included below.

       There is one particular search engine that will help you find lots of stuff, even take you back in time with the “Wayback Machine”.
       And there are many more; here are just a few:

       My new favorite search engine is called Startpage – it pays Google to use its results, but does not track and does not bombard you with ads like most other search engines do.

       Want to see an explanation of how the Google Search Engine works?

Friday, March 8, 2019

Basic Home Networking

Topics of the Day:
  • Stuff in the News
  • Basic Home Networking
    • Terminology
    • The Router
    • How things work together
    • Privacy implications

Sunday, February 17, 2019

NSC Senior Surfers Computer Club Overview

From Doug Gibney ...
  • Resources for all Senior Center Members
  • Additional Resources for Senior Surfer Members - Must also be a member of the Senior Center
  • A Tour of our Lab & Website

Friday, February 8, 2019

Taxes, Podcasts, YouTube and other Entertainments

As stated:

Topics presented were:
  • The Google+ Shutdown, 
  • Filing 2018 Income Taxes and Bob's experience with TurboTax, 
  • Unboxing of the Amazon Echo Dot (it worked, "no step 2"), 
  • Podcasts (go listen to RadioLab's "The Punchline") and iTunes, then,
  • Lots of videos to watch on YouTube.
This was a link- and video-heavy presentation.  Even the in-class handout had 10+ links and many things to search for.  Rather than copy all of those links into this posting, just click <here>.  Or, if you want the same thing in a Microsoft Word file, <link>.

That should open a PDF/DOCX file in a separate window with my notes - and that includes a lot more information than the hand-out the attendees got in the class.  Plus, because it's a computer file, there are many links to click on and investigate!  If you don't have time to look at them all, just save the file for a rainy day.*

To be honest, I spent a lot more time on this than my typical presentation.  It was, and is, an interesting time waster entertainment exercise.  I hope you enjoy reading/watching it as much as I did preparing it.

-Bob Bloom
p.s.  *it's raining today!

Friday, January 25, 2019

What's up with Hearing Loss and Technology

A presentation by Linda S. Heller, MACCCA, CM, CAP-S, of the Hearing Loss Association of Delaware.  {}

Click {here}for the PDF presentation slides.

Hearing Loops video:  {link}


    Hearing Loss Association of Delaware {}
    Delaware Assistive Technolology Initiative (DATI)  {}
    EasterSeals Delaware {link}
    Sprint (CapTel) cpationed phones {}
    Hearing Loss Association of America {}
    Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America {}
    National Institute on Disability and Rechabilitation Research (NIDRR)  {link}
    Williams AV {link}
    Serene Innovations {}
    Learing Sight & Sound Made Easier {}
    Hearing Loop {}
    Action of Hearing Loss (UK) {link}
    Oarktree Products {}

Sunday, January 6, 2019

New Year - New (almost) Q&A

(Yea, I recycle too.)

Prepared topics:
  • The Ccleaner Saga
  • Windows 10 Feature Update(s)
    • What's a "Feature Update?"
    • What's Microsoft "Support?"
    • What's "For the Life of the Machine" really mean?
    • What's in v1809 and do you care?
  • My battle with FiOS contracts
Links of note:
  • Ccleaner: <link> I still like it, but off my recommended list due to aggressive advertising.
    • Link to the less-aggressive Ccleaner version 5.40 <link>
  • MalwareBytes: <link> Free version is recommended for a second opinion virus scanner.
  • Microsoft's Update Assistant Tool: Creates a DVD or Flash drive to install or fix Windows.  <link>  Installs the newest version of Windows 10.
  • PC Mag's Best Features in Windows 10 v1809 <link>
    • Turn on Clipboard history <link>, [Win]-V to access.
  • The original Robin Thicke & TI Pharrell "Blurred Lines" <link>  (Catchy tune, confusing lyrics)
  • Weird Al's take on "Word Crimes" <link> (Same tune, funny lyrics)