Tech Talk #37 – October 29, 2016

When you buy your computer from a retailer – Amazon, Costco, Best Buy – you’re getting a system that was designed to meet most people’s needs. And also to make everybody involved (except you) some money. But if you build the computer yourself, you’ll probably end up with a better computer and you’ll learn some new skills.


Note: there are absolutely no soldering or programming skills needed. Everything either screws together or plugs into something else. Easy peasy!


PC parts

For any computer, the major components are the case, the motherboard, the processor, a power supply, RAM, an optical drive, and a boot drive.


So, how do you know what kind of which part goes with the other parts? Relax, we’ve got the internet for that. My favorite sites are: and


Both sites have parts lists at various price points and sort things that way. The sites do mostly focus on gaming computers, but they also have basic computers at under $400 as well. Note: none of their pricing includes Windows so head over to Amazon for that.


OK, so now you’ve got a pile of parts on your dining room table. How do you assemble all of that into a real, working computer?


The basic steps are; install the CPU, install the CPU cooler, install the RAM, install the motherboard in the case, install the power supply and plug everything into it, then route all the cables so it looks neat and keeps the air moving inside the case. Then you hook up your monitor, keyboard, and mouse and turn it on. Once it boots you install your copy of Windows.


For a nice step by step walkthrough of a computer build, on the PCPartPicker site you can search their blog for build videos. The process is the same even if the parts in the video are different than yours.


Handing over control of the internet – not really

On September 30, 2016, the U.S. government’s oversight of propsed changes to a small part of the global Domain Name System (DNS) expired. On October 1, 2016 the same non-profit corporation that had been doing it for 30 years kept right on doing it. And no one even noticed.


OK, some history. In 1972, what was to become the modern internet was known as ARPANET. Vinton Cerf and John Postel (working at UCLA) created the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), to keep track of IP addresses on ARPANET.


Jon Postel, who moved from UCLA to USC, managed the IANA functions from its inception on the ARPANET until his death in October 1998. Over  the next 30 years, from his office in Playa Vista, Postel developed the de facto authority to manage the global coordination of the Domain Name Service (DNS) Root, Internet Protocol (IP) addressing, and other internet protocol resources. After his death, USC managed the transition Postel’s work to another organization.


Here’s what happened next:

  • In January 1998 the National Telecommunications and Information Administration(NTIA) department of the U.S. Department of Commerce asked for help to create a private sector organization to perform the IANA functions.
  • In September 1998 the not-for-profit corporation Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) incorporated in the state of California and are headquartered in Playa Vista, California.
  • In December 1998 USC entered into a transition agreement with ICANN, transferring the IANA project to ICANN, effective January 1, 1999
  • In 1998 ICANN and the NTIA at the Department of Commerce agreed to develop the procedures necessary to transfer DNS root management to ICANN.
  • In February 2000, the Department of Commerce entered into an agreement with ICANN to perform DNS root management. The NTIA at the Department of Commerce provided oversight, verifying that DNS root zone changes and additions complied with IANA policies.
  • In August 2016 the Department of Commerce (DOC) confirmed that the criteria for transitioning IANA stewardship to ICANN had been met and that the DOC intended to allow its contract with ICANN to expire on September 30, 2016, allowing the transition to take effect.


So, this thing has been going on for years.


Almost 30 years ago, a department in the Department of Commerce began planning to eliminate itself. That finally happened on Sept 30, 2016.


Computer security humor

During a routine company password audit, an engineer noticed that an employee had a network password of “MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofySacramento.” When asked why they had such a long password, she rolled her eyes and said: “You guys said it had to be eight characters and include a capital.”


Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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