Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 29, 2014

How to Make Your Phone Number Private;  These Are Twitter’s Biggest Secrets;  Will a cell phone unlocking law really matter?  Know Your Smartphone: A Guide To Camera Hardware; How to install (or replace) a case fan;  The Top Tablets for Your Kids;  Mobile apps galore for managing business cards;  Going The Distance With A Smart Shoe Made In India;  When your computer won’t turn on;  Watch Doom being played on a hacked ATM;  14 antivirus apps found to have security problems; Microsoft reveals the four free games for August’s Games with Gold;  Australian TV pirates refuse to play the waiting game;  Top Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance Threatens Press Freedom and Right to Counsel;  Panopticlick reveals the cookie you can’t delete;  How Amazon knows so much about you; CCleaner for Android (free).

How Amazon knows so much about you – and how to regain your privacy – My Amazon home page shows me how much the company knows about me and my online activities. Here we show you which privacy and security settings can help you reduce the information Amazon holds about you.

These Are Twitter’s Biggest Secrets – Researchers have discovered trends in the way that we perform every major action on Twitter—favoriting, updating, sharing, and following. And there’s even an interesting bit of psychology behind what makes Twitter so attractive in the first place. Here’s a look at the psychology of Twitter: what makes us follow, favorite, share and keep coming back for more.

How to Make Your Phone Number Private – When my daughter was born, we placed an advertisement for a nanny in a local newspaper. At 6:30 a.m. on the first day the ad ran, the phone started ringing. It was the first applicant out of hundreds who would call inquiring about the position. What I would have given then for a disposable phone number — something I could turn off once I’d made my hire. Today, there are options for keeping your phone number private. Here’s what I recommend.

Will a cell phone unlocking law really matter? – Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle pass a bill that will make unlocking a cell phone legal again. But will it really give consumers more choices?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook Forces Users Worldwide To Download Messenger For Mobile Chat – Over the next few days, Facebook will stop allowing messaging in its main iPhone and Android apps, and force all their users around the world to download its standalone Messenger app. Facebook first started requiring users in Europe to use Messenger back in April, but after seeing “positive results” in terms of engagement, its rolling out the plan to the everyone.

Know Your Smartphone: A Guide To Camera Hardware – One of the most important features of smartphones is the camera. Whether it’s for photographing people, landscapes, flowers or food, buyers nowadays demand a good quality camera on the back of their handset. But just what goes in to making a smartphone camera? What hardware do companies use? What do pixel sizes and f-stops really mean? In this article I’ll be exploring smartphone camera hardware, key terms associated with photography, and interesting comparisons along the way.

How to install (or replace) a case fan – Many of the chips inside a typical PC generate a lot of heat and require some form of active cooling to remain stable. System builders usually rely on heatsinks and fans to manage the heat within a PC. If you’re upgrading or building a new PC—or your PC is overheating—you may need to install new or additional fans. Here’s how to identify when you need to replace a fan and how to do it yourself.

Mobile apps galore for managing business cards – Still managing stacks of ‘analog’ contacts? These smartphone applications could make life easier; some even boast direct connections to LinkedIn and Salesforce.com.

The Top Tablets for Your Kids – There’s a wide range of tablet options for youngsters, from kid-friendly units that can take abuse yet don’t insult their intelligence, up to the standard adult-oriented tablets that really are easy enough for any age to master. In a couple of cases the prices on even the best tablets for your young ones are so reasonable you won’t feel too bad when it inevitably gets submerged in the bathtub or stepped on out on the sidewalk. Okay you’ll feel a little bit bad.

wps_clip_image-13868

Why PC Sales Have Stalled – It’s not surprising that PC sales have dipped in recent years. But why? New research provides some insight. I recently got my hands on a rather interesting piece of research that showed how certain age groups use technology. Although the scope of the research was rather broad, it explored how four different age groups used smartphones and tablets in their digital lifestyles.

10 technologies that will transform PCs in 2015 and beyond – You might write off PCs as archaic or boring. You might take for granted that they’ll get faster, lighter, more power-efficient and more convenient to use over time. But if you stop and consider all the things that go into making a computer better, there’s actually a lot to be excited about. Here are 10 PC advancements that will transform PCs over the next several years.

wps_clip_image-2670

Going The Distance With A Smart Shoe Made In India – Forget Google Glass or Jawbone Up, the next wave in wearable tech might just be a smart shoe from India. The Lechal, meaning “take me along” in Hindi, has a Bluetooth enabled shoe insert that hooks up with Google Maps and buzzes to let you know which way to turn on your chosen route. Created by Ducere Technologies Pvt, the shoe hooks up with an app that syncs with Google Maps, tracks your steps and counts your calories burned. The shoe itself can be used for jogging around town.

wps_clip_image-31252

wps_clip_image-2898

Byword: One of the best iOS apps for distraction-free writing – Business users who perform any amount of writing know the distractions inherent with modern computing. Byword is a fantastically simple writing app for Mac and iOS that makes it easy to focus.

Delivery drone flies like a plane, lands like a helicopter, has a 30km range – A trio of engineering grad students have designed VertiKUL, a drone that takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane. The VertiKUL’s wings are in an up and down orientation when it’s on the ground, allowing it to lift off with the propellers like a regular helicopter-type drone. Once it’s in the air, it can rotate and fly like a prop-driven airplane.

wps_clip_image-1720

When your computer won’t turn on – A lot of problems can keep a computer from booting Windows (or any other operating system). Fortunately, you can get a pretty good idea by noting how and when the PC fails. If you press the power button and nothing happens, you’ve got a very different problem than if the PC starts but Windows never loads. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.

Five Apple business apps to boost your productivity – Turn your Apple device into a productivity powerhouse. Tom Merritt highlights five handy business apps.

Watch Doom being played on a hacked ATM – It’s hard to make ATMs more thrilling then they already are, seeing as how they’re designed to spit money at you. But a team of tinkering Australians has done just that by modifying an ATM to play Doom. Yes, that Doom, the demon-blasting game that gave the world a taste for first-person shooters.

wps_clip_image-22552

OkCupid Relaunches OkTrends: A Beloved Blog That Tracks Online Daters’ Fascinating Habits – In 2009, OkCupid gave the people of the Internet a beautiful gift. No, not eternal love. A peek into the its massive treasure trove of user data — exposing everything from strange overshares (How much do Twitter users masturbate?) to serious issues (How does race impact the messages you receive?).

Security:

14 antivirus apps found to have security problems – Vendors just don’t care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software. Organisations should get their antivirus products security tested before deployment because the technology across the board dangerously elevates attack surfaces, COSEINC researcher Joxean Koret says. “Some AV companies don’t give a f**k about security in their products.”

Panopticlick reveals the cookie you can’t delete – You know about cookies, and how to delete them, but what if there was a cookie you couldn’t delete, and what if the steps you took to guard your privacy made you easier to track? The EFF’s Panopticlick tool determines how easy you are to identify based on your web browser’s ‘fingerprint’.

Virtual servers still face real security threats – A new survey from Kaspersky finds that many IT professionals don’t understand the security threats against virtual servers.

Malwarebytes: Android Features Used Maliciously – We hear a lot about the high amount of Android malware running rampant. An interesting tidbit is a vast majority of malware doesn’t need any special ‘magic’ to behave maliciously. They use existing functionality to attack users, functionality available to all developers. We’ll take a look at a couple of these methods in which malware is able utilize, once their permission request is granted and the app is installed.

Anatomy of an iTunes phish – tips to avoid getting caught out – We often forget that many things are “obvious” only with experience, meaning, in fact, that they’re not really obvious at all. That’s why we do phishing walkthroughs fairly regularly on Naked Security. The idea is to step you through a typical email phish, pointing out the telltale warning signs in the original email and the web pages that follow, so you know what to look for in future. So, even if you’d back yourself to spot a phish every time, here’s a step-by-step account that might help to save your friends and family in the future.

Company News:

Comcast disinformation campaign squashed municipal fiber effort – In late 2004, a trio of small cities in Illinois were preparing to vote on what would amount to a municipal fiber Internet offering, something that would have undercut both Comcast and AT&T-owned SBC Communications. In all three locations — Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles — Comcast and SBC took to action, spreading propaganda to squash its budding competition. Reports Vice Motherboard, for the months preceding the vote, both Comcast and SBC blasted locals with postcards decrying municipal fiber, including “disinformation, exaggerations, and outright lies” to sway the vote in their favor. It is reported that before this “disinformation campaign” was initiated, more than 72-percent of residents looked favorably on municipal Internet.

Microsoft China offices visited in apparent antitrust probe – Officials from China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) made surprise visits to four Microsoft offices today as part of what is described by the Financial Times as an antitrust probe. Offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu were inspected by SAIC officials. The nature of the investigation is currently unclear, with neither Microsoft nor SAIC offering any details. So far, the regulator has made no formal complaint against the company.

OkCupid defends Facebook: We test you too – OkCupid is bravely – or foolhardily – wading into the furore over social sites experimenting on users, defending Facebook in the process as it reveals some of the discoveries its own testing has come up with. The stat sifting turns up several insights around the value of pictures on profiles, as well as how suggestible users are, though the fall-out seems less intensive than Facebook’s mood-altering trials.

Qualcomm planting seeds for 4K video, silicon brains in mobile devices – Smarter contextual awareness, 4K video and augmented reality are just some of the new technologies that will be offered by smartphones and tablets over the next year or so, according to Qualcomm’s product blueprints. Qualcomm is planting the seeds for these technologies in mobile devices by loading its chips with new wireless connectivity, computing, sensory and graphics features, said Keith Kressin, vice president of product management at the company.

Mozilla Promotes Interim Chief to CEO – Mozilla on Monday announced it has named Chris Beard as CEO. Beard has been serving as Mozilla’s interim CEO since Brendan Eich resigned in April amidst controversy surrounding a donation he made to an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative. “The Mozilla board has reviewed many internal and external candidates – and no one we met was a better fit,” chairwoman Mitchell Baker wrote in a blog post.

Samsung delays launch of Tizen smartphone – Samsung Electronics said Monday that it would postpone the release of its first smartphone running the Tizen OS, the Samsung Z, which was set to launch first in Russia. The delay does not bode well for the company’s attempt to move away from its heavy reliance on Google’s Android OS. Tizen is an open source, Linux-based system that the South Korean company is using to mount a challenge to dominant smartphone software players Google and Apple. When it announced the Samsung Z in June, it said that the device would be available in Russia in the third quarter.

Games and Entertainment:

Microsoft reveals the four free games for August’s Games with Gold – Microsoft’s ‘Games with Gold’ program gives free games to subscribers of its Xbox Live Gold tier for the Xbox One and the Xbox 360. For the month of August, Microsoft will be giving Strike Suit Zero: Directors Cut and Crimson Dragon on the Xbox One and Dishonored and Motocross Madness on the Xbox 360.

wps_clip_image-26226

Strike Suit Zero: Directors Cut

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer is here – There’s nothing like Lord of the Rings to get fantasy fans drooling, and so the first trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was always going to set the Comic-Con audience a flutter. Happily Warner Bros. isn’t limiting it just to those who strapped on their cosplay and went to San Diego, and now you can see the whole trailer yourself after the cut.

wps_clip_image-13872

New DVD-quality Expendables 3 film leaked online, ranked as #1 most-pirated movie – A pirated DVD-quality version of The Expendables 3 is the wild, several weeks before the film debuts in theaters. The leaked film ranked as the #1 most-pirated movie of the week. But if you are into streaming movies instead of downloading torrents, then you might be interested to know that the Justice Department wants to make “unauthorized” streaming a felony.

(I’m certainly not a defender of ripping off intellectual property – but, the idea of incarcerating people involved in “unauthorized” streaming, is abhorrent. True to form, the U.S. Government continues to over-incarcerate it’s citizens under it’s multi-layer so called “justice” system. As it is – one in four Americans have a criminal record. )

AMD Boosts Gameplay Capture in Gaming Evolved – The update takes advantage of AMD’s Video Codec Engine (VCE) for “hardware-accelerated H.264 encoding of video game streaming and capture” in several ways, the chip maker said. AMD’s VCE is supported on all Graphics Core Next (GCN)-based Radeon graphics cards with Radeon HD 7000/R9/R7 series GPUs as well as GCN-based accelerated processing units (APUs) from the Kaveri, Kabini, Temash, Beema, and Mullins generations.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Australian TV pirates refuse to play the waiting game – Why are Australians such prolific pirates of TV shows? Analysis on the availability of TV shows by tech blog Reckoner may hold some answers.

A tour of the Royal Air Force Museum – The RAF Museum London is just a short tube ride outside the city itself. Warplanes from every era of flight, from WWI to present day, fill its hangars. Here’s a full tour.

wps_clip_image-13418

7 weird facts about NASA – NASA is one of the deepest scientific and bureaucratic rabbit-holes in existence. Here’s a few odd facts about the space agency.

wps_clip_image-16348

John Oliver: Why do floppy disks control nuclear weapons? – The HBO comedian wonders why the hardware and software guarding the United States’ nuclear warheads are so out of date.

wps_clip_image-26961

Something to think about:

“If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.”

-     George Bernard Shaw

Today’s Free Downloads:

Glary Undelete – The Glary Undelete application was designed to be an easy-to-use yet powerful file undelete solution for FAT and NTFS file systems. It will bring back files emptied from the Recycle Bin, in a DOS window, from Windows Explorer with the SHIFT key held down. It will even recover files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses!

Glary Undelete supports all Windows file systems for hard and floppy drives including FAT12/16/32,NTFS/NTFS5 and image recovery from CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMedia and Secure Digital cards.

· Supports FAT, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, NTFS5 , NTFS + EFS file systems

· Supports recovery of compressed, fragmented and encrypted files on NTFS

· Supports Basic and Dynamic Volumes

· Undelete files on removable devices (SmartMedia, Secure Digital, MemoryStick, etc.)

· Filter by file name, file date, size, recovery state

wps_clip_image-12034

CCleaner for Android – The ultimate cleaning app for your Android device! CCleaner optimizes your Android in seconds.

Speed up your phone – In a single click, safely remove the junk that accumulates on your phone, slowing it down. CCleaner can delete application cache, browser history, clipboard content, old call logs and more.

Reclaim storage space – CCleaner allows you to quickly and easily remove installed applications on your device freeing up valuable storage space.

Easy to use – Like CCleaner, the world’s favorite PC optimization tool, CCleaner for Android comes with a simple and intuitive UI so anyone can optimize their Android device in just a few clicks.

wps_clip_image-26479

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Top Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance Threatens Press Freedom and Right to Counsel – To do their jobs properly, journalists and lawyers sometimes need to be able to keep information private from the government.

And because what journalists and lawyers do is so integral to safeguarding democracy and basic rights, the United States has traditionally recognized their need for privileged communications.

But the virtually inescapable government surveillance exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has impaired if not eliminated the ability of news-gatherers and attorneys to communicate confidentially with their sources and their clients, according to a new report by two rights advocacy groups.

The report by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union is based on an exhaustive new survey of journalists and lawyers working in the areas of national security and intelligence. Both groups of professionals describe a substantial erosion in their ability to do their constitutionally-protected jobs.

Not even the strongest versions of NSA reform being considered in Congress come anywhere close to addressing the chilling effects on basic freedoms that the new survey describes.

“If the US fails to address these concerns promptly and effectively,” report author  G. Alex Sinha writes, “it could do serious, long-term damage to the fabric of democracy in the country.”

Even before the Snowden revelations, reporters trying to cover important defense, intelligence and counter-terrorism issues were reeling from the effects of unprecedented secrecy and attacks on whistleblowers.

But newfound awareness of the numerous ways the government can follow electronic trails –  previously considered the stuff of paranoid fantasy — has led sources to grow considerably more fearful.

Senate Expected To Unveil Broad NSA Reform Bill Tomorrow – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is expected to introduce a version of the USA FREEDOM Act (UFA) tomorrow that is far stronger than what the enfeebled House of Representatives managed to pass earlier this year.

According to the New York Times, the bill not only curtails the bulk surveillance of American’s call metadata — the first NSA program detailed by the Edward Snowden leaks — but would also reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to include an opposition voice to the government’s arguments, and force some form of public disclosure of information regarding the court’s decisions.

It also contracts the terms that the government could use to request call metadata from telephone companies.

Given the Times’ summary, it doesn’t appear that the bill would close so-called “backdoor” searches of Americans’ communications. Backdoor searches have come under withering scrutiny due to the use of such techniques by several United States intelligence agencies.

The full text will be the real test, of course, but it does seem that what Leahy has put together is stronger than the bill that the house passed. That bill was infamously shoved through in a hurry, after being so weakened that around half of its original co-sponsors voted against it. What the House passed cannot be called reform.

Unexpected Microsoft Probe Highlights China’s Distrust of U.S. Tech – Officials from China’s State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) visited offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, according to Sina, a Chinese online media company. Microsoft China, which has three major locations in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, has since confirmed the visits, providing no further details, adding that the company would “actively cooperate” with the government’s requests.

The visits reportedly lasted from morning until 6 p.m., and resulted in computers and hard drives being taken away, according to several Chinese news outlets. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the visits were likely preliminary stages of an antitrust investigation, while Microsoft China has reportedly confirmed to the Beijing News that it is, in fact, what the SAIC calls “unfair business.”

Chinese IT analysts believe that suspicions of a Microsoft monopoly are relegated to the operating system market alone. One well-known Chinese IT lawyer told media outlets that it’s likely Microsoft is being accused of using its broad market share to unfairly bundle in other products, like Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011.

Leave a comment

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News, Free Software Downloads

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 28, 2014

How to Manage Your Online Reputation;  Congress finally passes cell phone unlocking bill;  Make calls with Google Voice without a Google+ account;  Microsoft Word tricks to make you an instant expert;  Monitor multiple time zones with the Windows clock;  The best Linux desktop environments;  iSwimband: a wearable to keep your kids safe at the pool;  How to pick the right headphones;  Hidden Google: 10 Fun Search Tricks;  The security flaws in Tails Linux are not its only problem;  Firefox adds anti-malware file reputation service;  The 17 best free PC games;  5 tips for getting the most out of working at home;  Zemana AntiLogger (free);  The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police;  Geeks tend to be Democrats, says DeGrasse Tyson.

How to Manage Your Online Reputation – When was the last time you Googled your name? If you haven’t, it’s a good habit to get into, because it’s exactly what a potential employer is likely to do when they’re sifting through a pile of resumes. “The stuff people care most about is what they find when they Google you,” says Michael Fertik, CEO and founder of online reputation-management firm Reputation.com.

Congress finally passes cell phone unlocking bill: House gives in, passes the Senate version that unlocking activists preferred – The House passed the Senate version of the bill without making any changes to it. That means that the controversial language banning “bulk” unlocking won’t be in the final version of the bill. If that language had stayed in, the bill would have protected consumers while leaving phone resellers and recyclers open to copyright claims.

5 upcoming Android phones that are worth waiting for – Maybe you aren’t smitten with today’s superphones or you have a suspicion that the perfect phone is just around the corner. Here’s a list of the most intriguing upcoming Android phones.

Make calls with Google Voice without a Google+ account – Have Google Voice, but not interested in Google’s social platform? Now you can make calls through your Web browser without signing up for the latter.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

If you steal Microsoft product keys, you will get arrested like Mr. Prabhu – Microsoft makes the majority of its revenue by selling software and if you try to steal product keys from Microsoft, don’t be surprised if they send the authorities after you like they did in India.

Monitor multiple time zones from your desktop with the Windows clock – Windows has so many handy little features hidden all over the place, you can often forget they’re there and until someone reminds you. Here’s a reminder. The system tray clock in Windows 7 and 8.1 can display up to three different world times at once. Here’s how it works.

wps_clip_image-23359

Microsoft Word tricks to make you an instant expert – There’s much more to Word than just pointing, clicking, typing, and spell-checking. In this gallery, I present six of my favorite hidden features to make you more productive when creating and editing Word documents.

TravelByDrone lets you visit all these places without leaving your seat – A simple but innovative new “travel” website called TravelByDrone maps embedded YouTube videos showing drone-shot video of various cities and places. You can do a techno-dubbed fly-over of Paris at night or (likely) see your own city forest from above. Wherever citizens can capture aerial video, TravelByDrone can map it for your viewing pleasure.

wps_clip_image-18266

How to get photos from your digital camera to Instagram in 3 easy steps – The best photos on Instagram weren’t taken with a smartphone. Make your account stand out by learning how to get photos from your DSLR or point-and-shoot onto Instagram in no time.

The best Linux desktop environments – Unlike Windows or Mac OS X, Linux offers a wide variety of desktop environments. Here are my picks of the most important of these PC interfaces.

wps_clip_image-11506

GNOME 3.12

This Site Lets You Check If A Hotel’s WiFi Sucks Before It’s Too Late – There are lots of things that review sites should rank hotels on, but don’t. Is it known for bed bugs? Is the “heated pool” only heated during summer when the sun is out? How many ghosts live there? How fast is the WiFi? This site won’t help you with all of those, but it will help you with that last one.

iSwimband: a wearable to keep your kids safe at the pool – We’ve seen a variety of wristbands targeted towards parents, all of them selling the promise of safety in a world that feels increasingly dangerous. iSwimband is a similar wearable, but one that narrows its purpose down to one specific activity: swimming, and the related prevention of drowning.

wps_clip_image-11167

Russia targets anonymity with Tor bounty – Russia has added another item to its list of controversy, with its interior ministry announcing a bounty for research that will allow them to unmask Tor users. To the lucky one(s) who come up with a method, the sum of 3.9 roubles will be given.

Microsoft wants you to forget Windows 8 – Unless the Redmond, Wash. technology company radically changes its habits, it will throw Windows 8 down a memory hole even before the successor ships. Just like it made Vista persona non grata in its official messaging in 2009, it will shove Windows 8 so far into the background that we’ll need the Hubble telescope to find it.

How to pick the right headphones — for you: The Audiophiliac gives headphone buyers a lot to think about – Headphone buyers have never had it so good, but the range of choices between in-, on-, over- the-ear, noise-canceling, noise-isolating, and wireless models can be overwhelming. What’s the best one for you? Let’s look at what’s what with headphones.

Google granting half of ‘right to be forgotten’ requests – After being called to account over its handling of the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling, it has been revealed that Google is approving around 50 percent of all requests.

Hidden Google: 10 Fun Search Tricks – You could work or you could slack off by trying all these tricks, taking an early lunch and napping in your parked car until 1:30 or 2:00. Totally up to you.

Security:

The security flaws in Tails Linux are not its only problem – A new version of Tails, version 1.1, was released on July 22, 2014 with bug fixes. On top of that, security firm Exodus Intel announced that they discovered bugs in this just-released version. All of this is par for the course. There is, however, another, less obvious, danger for Tails users – the Tails website (tails.boum.org) itself. If I ran a spy agency, the users of Tails Linux would be among the people I most wanted to spy on. Simply by using Tails, they have declared to the world that they want to hide something. As a spy, I would try to trick people into downloading a spyware-infested copy of Tails. A great way to do that, would be to create a scam copy of tails.boum.org. An evil twin, if you will.

IE was the most vulnerable web browser in the first half of 2014 – According to a new security report out by Bromium, Internet Explorer was the most vulnerable web browser in the first half of 2014. The firm states that IE was the most patched and most exploited product in the first half of 2014, surpassing Java and Flash. The chart shows the trending of vulnerabilities; the blue bars represents vulnerabilities in 2013 and those in red are for 2014.

(Yeah – that’s it – blame Microsoft because users are too careless to update. This article is a perfect example of how twisting stats, ensures a click-bait headline.)

wps_clip_image-22956

Firefox adds anti-malware file reputation service – Firefox has blocked known phishing and malware sites for some time. Version 31.0 adds a new feature. If, during a download, the site passes reputation check, then before completion Firefox will send a SHA-256 hash of the file to Google’s Safe Browsing Service, which maintains a database of them. This file reputation service is not a documented part of the Safe Browsing API, but Google has given Firefox access to it. Obviously Google Chrome has had access to this file reputation service since Google launched it in 2012.

Firefox slams Chrome again in our trustworthy browser poll – Firefox once again outpaced Chrome, IE, Safari and Opera as the most trusted web browser. But many are not happy with their browser choices when it comes to privacy. Read on for some of the interesting comments our readers submitted …

wps_clip_image-26613

Company News:

Verizon to begin throttling some users with Unlimited 4G LTE data plans this October – Verizon has tried to win back customers that have lost trust and patience with the company, but they’ve recently backtracked by unveiling a new policy that will throttle some Unlimited 4G LTE users.

Apple will ‘set the world on fire’ with iPhone 6 sales – Analysts anticipate an ‘unbelievably massive’ second half of ’14 for a new, larger-screen iPhone, in part because Apple’s committed a near-record $21B for components, tooling and manufacturing

Bose sues Beats, claims noise canceling headphones violate patents – A timely move, Beats — now owned by Apple — has been sued by Bose. The litigation is said to revolve around noise canceling headphones. Details are sketchy, but it’s a potentially devastating blow to Beats’ hardware division.

Apple buys e-book recommendation engine, report says – The tech giant’s potential purchase could help it compete in an area dominated by Amazon’s prized e-book business, according to TechCrunch.

Games and Entertainment:

The 17 best free PC games – Here, you’ll find a list of games so good the developers could’ve charged money (or, in some cases, did charge money) before going free-to-play. These aren’t just good free-to-play games, they’re good games, full stop.

wps_clip_image-28607

Heroes & Generals

Hands On With the Destiny Beta – Gamers have been waiting for over a year to get their hands on Destiny, and a small group of people were able to play the alpha version of the game after this year’s E3. But a new, ongoing PlayStation and Xbox beta, which kicked off last week, opens the door to an even larger group of people. I played only a few hours of Destiny, but I can’t wait for the game’s official Sept. 9 release. It’s just that good.

wps_clip_image-3232

Ridley Scott’s Halo: Nightfall TV series gets a teaser trailer – Microsoft axed a whole bunch of employees and projects last week, including the staff developing original content for Xbox One. But fear not, the only original content anyone cared about survived the cut.

wps_clip_image-29870

Watch: Rob Zombie’s French Revolution, for Assassin’s Creed – Teaming up with The Walking Dead co-creator Tony Moore, Rob Zombie and Ubisoft have created an animated short showing the brutality of the French Revolution. In support of Assassin’s Creed: Unity, of course, this film is being made. While Pirates are easy to understand, not everyone is up on their history – the significance of this time period must be made plain.

wps_clip_image-11814

You Should Play: Steampunk Tower – These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.

wps_clip_image-25546

Off Topic (Sort of):

Emerging technologies are reducing governments’ stranglehold on the economy – Forget pizza and books, it is now possible to order an entire summer party weekend from a smartphone. The website Airbnb makes it easy to find the perfect rental (I recently stayed at a lovely cabin on a buffalo ranch outside of Golden, B.C.). The ride-sharing site Uber is offering water taxis in Ontario’s Mukoka region. And darknet markets, such as Silk Road 2, allow people to purchase a wide variety of marijuana and other mind-altering substances from the comfort of their own home.

Beware the spin behind Australia’s copyright law discussion paper – Another week, another propaganda-driven proposal from the mind of Australian Attorney-General Brandis. This one assumes that ISPs need to fix other people’s broken product distribution models.

Geeks tend to be Democrats, says DeGrasse Tyson – Is it possible that geeks are all of one persuasion? We know that most of them think alike and would prefer that all humanity thought, acted and dressed like engineers. However, does this also imply that geeks are natural Democrats? Appearing on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” Cosmos presenter and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson explained his belief about nerd politics.

Windows Phone charged by Apple – and Potato – The world’s largest battery has been made using “Organic Charging” – made out of copper wiring, nails, apples, and potatoes. You’ll see a Nokia Lumia 930 in white as well as a Nokia Wireless Charger attached to a rigged-up wire connected to the food. The food that charges the phone.

wps_clip_image-14309

How tech innovation was used for mass killing during WWI – The conflict’s start on July 28, 1914, signaled the beginning of a new era in high-tech warfare, which included fighter aircraft, tanks, chemical weapons, and flamethrowers.

wps_clip_image-19178

Germans testing the climbing power of captured British tanks, redecorated in German colors.

5 tips for getting the most out of working at home – The advantages of working at home, far away from the distractions of the office, are many. But it’s not always a rose garden, and these tips will help those working at home make the most of it.

You can checkout my take on working from home – Working From Home? Are You REALLY Working? (March 1, 2012)

Microsoft explains quantum computing so even you can understand – Quantum computing may someday blow away today’s smartest machines. It’s weird and heavy on the physics, but Microsoft thinks you can handle it.

wps_clip_image-22669

Something to think about:

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

-      Benjamin Franklin

Today’s Free Downloads:

Zemana AntiLogger – AntiLogger is a lightweight app that keeps track of who is doing what on your computer. Instead of identifying malware based on its signature fingerprint, like all malware products with scan functionality, the AntiLogger catches malware at the moment it attacks your computer. It will then prompt you if an illegal program is trying to record your keystrokes, capture your screen, gain access to your clipboard, microphone and webcam, or inject itself into your computer’s sensitive areas.

The AntiLogger features our unique SSL Intrusion Protection technology that guards you against advanced forms of Financial Malware. The AntiLogger is one of the very few products on the market today able to detect these dangerous and complex threats.

Zemana AntiLogger is not designed to replace your installed antivirus software — it’s made to detect serious threats that are outside of their scope. It adds an extra layer of essential protection to whatever anti-malware or anti-virus software you’re currently using.

Stop malicious programs from stealing your usernames and passwords

Monitors your PC in real time, all the time. No scans needed.

100% signature independent: does not rely on a database of known threats

Powerful, yet light. Does not slow down your PC

wps_clip_image-15747

Here’s my take on Zemana Antilogger – Zemana AntiLogger – An Ounce of Prevention (January 9, 2010)

Process Lasso – Process Lasso is a unique new technology that will, amongst other things, improve your PC’s responsiveness and stability. Windows, by design, allows programs to monopolize your CPU without restraint – leading to freezes and hangs.

Process Lasso’s ProBalance technology intelligently adjusts the priority of running programs so that badly behaved programs won’t interfere with your ability to use the computer! In addition, Process Lasso offers capabilities such as default process priorities and affinities, termination of disallowed processes, instance count limits, a system responsiveness graph, logging of processes, keep select processes running (auto-restart), and much more!

Best of all, Process Lasso’s core process management engine is isolated from the GUI. This means it can do its job consuming almost no system resources, and without ever making a peep. You will porbably not even notice it is running, but you will surely notice when uninstalling it.

Features:

ProBalance dynamic priority optimization

Works great for desktops, laptops, and netbooks

Persistent (sticky) priorities and CPU affinities

Instance count limits

Disallowed processes

Keep processes running (auto-restart)

Unique system responsiveness graph

Prevent PC sleep for designated processes

Differentiate between svchost.exe instances

Extremely low resource use

Stand-alone process management engine (uses as little as 1MB of RAM)

Event logging

wps_clip_image-32558

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Microsoft explains why they oppose government demands for personal data – Microsoft has not been shy about fighting the remarks made against the company that they are working with government agencies and allowing them to access their data at will. After the leaks by Edward Snowden, Microsoft’s reputation took a hit after it was stated that they were helping the NSA crack encryption keys. Microsoft was not alone in being called out by the leaks but for a company building out a billion dollar cloud business; the brand needs to be protected.

In the weeks and months following these accusations, Microsoft has gone on the offensive to quiet the fear mongering that its data services were compromised by the US government. In the latest round of pushing back against the government, Microsoft’s top lawyer, Brad Smith, has been conducting interviews about this topic. The most recent being with the Wall Street Journal and you can watch the interview at the top of this post.

The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police – The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudis on “internal security” matters.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that “Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse,” specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly “poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat” of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI’s use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents.

But as the State Department publicly catalogued those very abuses, the NSA worked to provide increased surveillance assistance to the ministry that perpetrated them. The move is part of the Obama Administration’s increasingly close ties with the Saudi regime; beyond the new cooperation with the MOI, the memo describes “a period of rejuvenation” for the NSA’s relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Defense.

In general, U.S. support for the Saudi regime is long-standing. One secret 2007 NSA memo lists Saudi Arabia as one of four countries where the U.S. “has [an] interest in regime continuity.”

2 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 25, 2014

‘Canvas fingerprinting’ tracking is sneaky but easy to halt;  How to get connected home security without breaking the bank;  Everything you need to know about Android launchers;  Make your home more convenient with these three gadgets;  6 awesome new Android apps you should check out;  Microsoft rolls out Skype 5.0 for Android;  Instagram teases their new messaging app ‘Bolt’;  10 technologies that will transform PCs;  Mapbox shows you all the places you can’t fly drones;  Finally, Some Wearable Tech for the Bros;  Control your desktop, or Windows will control it for you;  European Central Bank website hacked; personal info stolen;  ‘Titanfall’ to launch map pack, major update;  There’s A Secret Craigslist Just For Rich People;  EU regulators to Google: “Right to forget” needs to go worldwide.

‘Canvas fingerprinting’ tracking is sneaky but easy to halt – Widgets such as AddThis can be entirely blocked with tools such as AdBlock Plus or DoNotTrackMe from Abine, both extensions that can block web trackers. DoNotTrackMe, for example, can spot a browser making a request to AddThis for content and block it, meaning AddThis couldn’t transmit JavaScript for canvas fingerprinting, wrote Andrew Sudbury, CTO and cofounder of Abine, via email. AdBlock Plus can also block these kinds of JavaScript requests, but not by default, wrote Ben Williams, public relations manager for AdBlock Plus, in an email. The extension is intended to be used with a series of filters, or lists, that enable certain kinds of blocking. Williams wrote that a user would need to install the EasyPrivacy filter. The AddThis widget would be blocked, along with any other JavaScript, he wrote.

image

(Some of my Firefox addons – including AdBlock Plus. Selected addons are disabled as required.)

Everything you need to know about Android launchers – Android launchers are apps that can spice up your phone’s home screen or act as a personal assistant. Here’s what you need to know about how they work and how to choose one that’s right for you.

6 awesome new Android apps you should check out – Apps and games are pouring into Google Play all day, every day. You don’t need to slog through the stream of new apps in Google Play to find the coolest stuff. We’ve got you covered with this list of the best new apps and games we’ve come across on Android.

Microsoft rolls out Skype 5.0 for Android – Microsoft has introduced a new version of its Skype app for Android devices, finally introducing integration with your handset’s contacts book, and with contacts from other Microsoft services.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Make your home more convenient with these three gadgets – The Internet of Things. Connected devices. The devices we use in our everyday lives are getting a makeover, and with that makeover comes an unprecedented amount of control over and automation in our homes. Lights know when to turn off and on. The house is already cooled down when you get home from work. Menial tasks fade into the background.

Celebrate Chromecast’s Birthday With Free Google Play Music Streaming – Today is the Chromecast’s first birthday; one year of casting YouTube videos, Netflix movies, Pandora playlists, and more to your TV. To celebrate, Chromecast owners can get a Google Play Music All Access subscription free for 90 days. The deal starts today and runs through Sept. 30; get it at chromecast.com/offers.

5 ways to use social media to boost your career prospects – Face it: Employers, both current and future, look you up online. And not just your LinkedIn profile—most of them will also click any public social network links that are floating around. But don’t panic. With a little effort, you can polish your profiles so your personality shines through and makes you a more attractive candidate to recruiters. Here are five tips for leveraging your social networks to give your career a competitive edge.

Finally, Some Wearable Tech for the Bros – Snaptrax caps let you connect hands-free to your smartphone while still fitting right in at the kegger, Spring Break pool party, or even kicking it on the sidelines of a lacrosse game. Crucially, you can wear a Snaptrax Bluetooth cap forwards or backwards. Snaptrax promises to let wearers do pretty much everything they’re used to doing with a smartphone in hand, from making calls and texting to playing music and surfing the Web.

wps_clip_image-667

Free game alert: EA’s giving away The Sims 2 after ending support for the game – From now until the end of the month you can get a free copy of The Sims 2 through Origin.

(Be prepared for an extremely frustrating experience should you choose to take up this offer.)

Google Maps brings ‘Explore Nearby’ to Android, iOS – Explore Nearby is a great way to waste time on the desktop version of Google Maps, and it’s coming to mobile. Google announced today that they’re bringing the feature to both Android and iOS, and it’s going to actually get better on mobile. Now, offering suggestions on what to do with your free time will get contextual as well.

wps_clip_image-19033

How to get connected home security without breaking the bank – Connected homes are fast becoming the new normal, with platforms like Wink coming to the mainstream. Through it all, one thing remains a point of concern for potential customers: home security. A typically expensive proposition, home security is fast becoming more cost-effective for the average consumer. How cheap is it, really, though? We take a look at a few products to find out.

wps_clip_image-27589

Your Smartphone Will Soon Know If You Have Bipolar Disorder – In the United States, 1 in 50 people over the age of 25 have some form of bipolar disorder. In fact, the United States has more cases of bipolar I and II per-capita than any other nation in the world. Researchers at the University of Michigan are now testing a new smartphone app for Android, code-named PRIORI, that can help detect if someone is having a bipolar episode. PRIORI is designed to learn over time to monitor a person’s voice and detect subtle changes in mood. A change is a signal that the user might be having either a manic or depressive episode.

(How about an application that shows people that they’re perfectly normal.)

Instagram teases their new messaging app ‘Bolt’ – As if they haven’t had enough scorn from their Slingshot app, Facebook is toying with messaging again. This time, it comes via Instagram, where some users are seeing an invitation to try something called Bolt. It’s messaging, and it’s photo-centric. Ring a bell?

wps_clip_image-32444

Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition Review & Overclocking Build Guide – To mark the 20th anniversary of its Pentium brand, Intel has released a special fully unlocked Haswell dual-core Pentium G3258 for $72 — just what the overclocking community has been waiting for.

Who’s banned from editing Wikipedia this week? Congress – Most members and staffers of the US House of Representatives won’t be able to edit pages on Wikipedia for more than a week. Administrators of the popular Web encyclopedia have imposed a 10-day ban on the IP address connected to Congress’ lower house. The ban comes after a series of wild “disruptive” edits that appeared following the creation of @congressedits, a bot that monitors anonymous edits from congressional IP addresses and announces them to the world via Twitter. The account was created just over two weeks ago and already has more than 23,000 followers.

Control your desktop, or Windows will control it for you – Windows rarely leaves the icons on your desktop where you want them. Here’s how to fix that annoying problem.

wps_clip_image-31891

Security:

Did Malwarebytes Get a Fair Shake? – The latest report from Dennis Technology Labs contained a shocker for antivirus technology watchers. The free and popular Malwarebytes Anti-Malware came in almost dead last. Does this mean Malwarebytes is no good? Well, not necessarily.

(A skewed and manipulated test that has little value. A disgraceful attempt to knockdown a reliable and highly regarded “malware remover.”)

European Central Bank website hacked; personal info stolen – The website of the European Central Bank has been hacked and personal information of 20.000 users has been stolen. However no market data or internal banking systems have been compromised.

Company News:

Facebook Is Now Worth $190 Billion – Facebook is worth more than Amazon. Following yesterday’s earnings report, Facebook shares hit an all-time high in after-hours trading at $75. Price has been very stable this morning as well, confirming yesterday’s pop. Shares opened at $75.96 a share, then set a new record at $76.74. Now, shares are trading at $75.13. In other words, Facebook’s market capitalization is now around $190 billion, which is above Amazon’s market capitalization of $165 billion.

($190 Billion for a marketing machine? This borders on fantasy.)

Amazon stock plunges after $126 million quarterly loss – Despite Amazon’s recent launch of the Fire Phone, Kindle Unlimited, and HBO on Amazon Prime, the company struggled to turn a profit last quarter. Amazon announced Thursday that it lost $126 million in quarterly earnings. The company’s stock price was down more than seven percent in after-hours trading. The losses show that Amazon may be overstretched at the moment. The company made $274 million in 2013 and nearly $3 billion in total profits from 2009 through 2013.

Chubby Checker, HP settle penis size app trademark suit – Musician Chubby Checker, best known for his 1960 smash hit cover version of The Twist, has settled the lawsuit he brought against Hewlett Packard in 2013, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In the suit the singer claimed trademark infringement after HP included a penis size estimating application, “The Chubby Checker,” in its WebOS store.

Google’s acquisition of Twitch appears to be confirmed – It would seem that Google may have even more of a hold on the world of citizen-made videos published to the internet now as word spreads that they’ve acquired Twitch. Word first surfaced earlier this year as this $1 billion dollar purchase was first spoken about by sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal.

Apple faces privacy suit following Chinese TV report – The U.S. class action lawsuit, filed by a woman named Chen Ma, alleges that Apple has “intentionally intruded” into her privacy with the iPhone’s location tracking service. Apple has also disclosed the data to third parties, including the U.S. government, according to the claims. In making the allegations, the lawsuit cites a July 11 report from the state-run China Central Television, which warned that Apple’s location-tracking functions could be a security threat.

EBay faces class action suit over data breach – The consumer privacy class action lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Collin Green, a citizen of the state of Louisiana, alleged that the security breach was the result of eBay’s inadequate security in regard to protecting identity information of its millions of customers. The e-commerce site’s failure to properly secure the information “has caused, and is continuing to cause, damage to its customers, the putative class members herein,” according to the complaint by Green which asks for class action status.

Qualcomm faces big trouble in China – Antitrust regulators have reportedly found Qualcomm abused its monopoly in China. Meanwhile, the chipmaker is forging ahead there, investing up to $150 million for local startups.

Games and Entertainment:

Microsoft releases first trailer for ‘Halo: Nightfall’ – Microsoft has released the first footage of the upcoming “Halo: Nightfall” digital video series, giving us our first good glimpse of Agent Locke, who will be playable in “Halo 5: Guardians.”

wps_clip_image-18830

PSA: Destiny beta no longer requires pre-order to access – Last week, Bungie and Activision unveiled a beta version of their upcoming online shooter game Destiny, which first launched on PS3 and PS4 consoles. Xbox 360 and Xbox One players had to wait until yesterday to join in. Beta access for users across all consoles had a catch: It required a Destiny pre-order (or luckily snagging a beta download code via social media). That changed on Thursday when Bungie opened the game’s beta doors open to all console players, so long as they were subscribed to their system’s paid subscription service (Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus).

‘Titanfall’ to launch map pack, major update with new credit system on July 31 – “Frontier’s Edge,” the new map pack, will include three previously announced maps, while the fifth title update will bring a system that allows users to purchase burn cards and titan insignias with in-game credit, though developer Respawn stresses the credit won’t cost real-world money. The system, called “Black Market,” will be available to users once they hit level 11; users who have regenerated will keep access to the Black Market regardless of the level in the next player generation.

wps_clip_image-3855

GOG rolls out Linux support with over 50 games, many on sale – While Valve and its Steam distribution platform have been pushing Linux as the future of PC gaming for a long while now, the folks at online store GOG have contented themselves with PC and Mac software. That situation changed today, as GOG (formerly Good Old Games) announced support for Linux, offering over 50 titles for DRM-free download. To celebrate the launch, the site is also offering 29 of its Linux games at reduced prices for up to 75 percent off through Monday.

Destiny Ghost Edition pre-orders are being cancelled by Walmart – The Ghost Edition for Destiny is no joke. In a world where games typically offer a handful of mostly useless digital in-game equipment with a pre-order, the huge crate of awesome that Destiny has is worth it just for the custom Ghost model inside. When you add in the artwork, custom game case, stickers, and the huge map, you get plenty of physical goodies to go along with a list of digital goodies that seems to be increasing every week. The $150 price tag didn’t deter fans, but if you pre-ordered through Walmart you may have an email waiting about your order being bumped down to the Limited Edition of the game.

wps_clip_image-31076

Upcoming PlayStation 4 patch adds support for 3D Blu-ray content – Sony has just announced that an upcoming Playstation 4 patch will add support for 3D Blu-ray playback. However, this does little to appease gamers that feel Sony’s focus is shifting away from gaming.

wps_clip_image-2377

The new 1869-piece Lego Tumbler Batmobile is a $199 masterpiece – The set is going to go on sale September 1st for a whopping $199. That might sounds like a lot, and in the grand scheme it is for a pile of blocks, but these big Lego sets usually cost a few hundred dollars. Well, it also comes with a limited edition Batman and Joker (Heath Ledger version) minfigs, if that makes you feel better about the price.

wps_clip_image-11932

Off Topic (Sort of):

Mapbox shows you all the places you can’t fly drones – As drones and various similar flying contraptions grow in popularity, the legal contention over where they can and cannot be used is growing, and there’s no sign of a simple answer coming any time soon. While the issues are ironed out, Mapbox aims to make the process a little less uncertain, creating a map that shows no-fly zones.

wps_clip_image-14989

There’s A Secret Craigslist Just For Rich People – The Bloomberg terminal is an expensive Wall Street trading and research machine with lots of financial data. It has its own version of Craigslist, called POSH. Prices tend to be higher than what you’d find in typical classifieds sections, with goods such as vast estates, boats, Rolexes, diamond rings, and expensive cars. There’s even a filter for just airplanes and boats!

wps_clip_image-29228

Watching smut at work is bad but emailing it is just fine, says Oz court – Voyeurs rejoice! The Federal Court of Australia has ruled Aussies cannot be easily sacked for emailing porn to work colleagues. The ruling upheld a decision last year by Fair Work Australia which found the nation’s mail service Australia Post was wrong to have sacked the three workers at the Dandenong Letter Centre for emailing smut around the office.

10 technologies that will transform PCs – You might write off PCs as archaic or boring. You might take for granted that they’ll get faster, lighter, more power-efficient and more convenient to use over time. But if you stop and consider all the things that go into making a computer better, there’s actually a lot to be excited about. Here are 10 PC advancements that will transform PCs over the next several years.

Why have consumers spent $1 million on Vessyl, an absurd calorie-counting cup? – The Vessyl calorie-counting cup is probably the most ridiculous, unnecessary gadget I’ve seen demoed in all my years as a tech journalist—yet somehow, inexplicably, the company behind it has just announced that it’s surpassed $1 million in pre-order sales. I have to ask why? What makes this $99 product so compelling that more than 10,000 consumers are willing to throw down for it? Seriously. Someone out there, please tweet me directly and tell me why.

Something to think about:

“Sometimes what’s right isn’t as important as what’s profitable.”

-    Trey Parker and Matt StoneSouth Park, Prehistoric Ice Man, 1999

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Hide IP – Free Hide IP the best way is to keep your IP address from  being shown to others.

Hackers and identity thieves are becoming more and more rampant in today’s society. They may break into anyone’s computer and monitor one’s activity or steal one’s identity or other personal information.

To stay safe online, the best way is to keep your IP address from being shown to others.

Now we provide you a FREE solution to hide your IP address. Use Free Hide IP to hide your real IP address for free, anonymize your web surfing, keep your computer safe from hacker attacks and other risks, all with a single click.

wps_clip_image-2922

wps_clip_image-18447

HotShots – HotShots is an application for capturing screens and saving them in a variety of image formats as well as adding annotations and graphical data (arrows, lines, texts, …).

wps_clip_image-24304

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

EU regulators to Google: “Right to forget” needs to go worldwide – In May, the European Union’s highest court ordered Google to grant EU citizens a “right to be forgotten” that would allow them to remove “inadequate” or “irrelevant” links. Google complied, providing a new form that was used thousands of times—mostly by those seeking to erase links related to accusations of fraud and other serious crimes.

But Google only removed links on its European sites, like google.co.uk. Users in Europe, or anywhere else, can still get “full” search results by visiting the US version of the site at google.com.

That decision is now under fire by EU regulators and experts, who have said the limitation “effectively defeats the purpose of the ruling,” according to a Reuters report. EU authorities are scheduled to meet with Google today, as well as representatives from Yahoo and Microsoft, to discuss the issue.

The text of the European Court of Justice’s ruling doesn’t say anything about how to handle requests across varying national sites. If a link meets the criteria, the court ruling simply states that “the links and information in the list of results must be erased.” It doesn’t detail how and where such deletions should occur.

The idea of stretching the ruling to apply worldwide is a worst-case scenario not just for Google but for critics of the law, who have called it a form of censorship.

You don’t need to be a terrorist to get on no-fly list, US manual says – Federal agencies have nominated more than 1.5 million names to terrorist watchlists over the past five years alone, yet being a terrorist isn’t a condition of getting on a roster that is virtually impossible to be removed from, according to a leaked US “Watchlisting Guidance” manual.

The 166-page document, marked as “sensitive security information” and published by The Intercept, comes amid increasing skepticism over how people are placed on or get off of US terrorism databases like the no-fly list that bars flying to and within the United States.

Attorney General Eric Holder, for example, had claimed last year that national security would be imperiled if the public knew that a Stanford University graduate student was placed on the no-fly list because an FBI agent checked the wrong box on a nomination form. And just last month, a federal judge ruled that the government’s method for allowing the public to challenge placement on the no-fly list was “wholly ineffective” and unconstitutional.

The leaked manual says there are a dozen-plus US agencies that have nominating power for the several watchlists the government maintains. But the guidance given to the agencies is vague and confusing, and it says that “concrete facts” about whether somebody is a danger “are not necessary.” All nominations to the National Counterterrorism Center are considered “valid” unless that agency has evidence to the contrary. Of the nearly 470,000 nominations last year, the agency rejected 4,915.

(Idiots doing an idiots job – with the expected results – idiotic! At the core – lies, manipulation, and excessive control.)

2 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 24, 2014

How a Netflix subscriber used VPN to thwart Verizon’s streaming slowdown;  Five calendar apps to keep you on track;  Adding a HUD to your car: three options;  The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist;  Majority of UK broadband users opting out of porn filters; Dorm Room Tech Every Student Needs;  OS X Yosemite beta goes PUBLIC on July 24;  Sense sleep tracker analyzes room for smarter rest;  File-encrypting Android ransomware’s extortion attempts mimic FBI;  The world’s most secure OS may have a serious problem;  How to secure your iOS device to prevent unwanted access;  Amazon Expands Prime Music Catalog By “Hundreds Of Thousands” Of Songs;  First there was analog sound, then digital, what’s next?  Man ejected from Southwest flight for tweeting that a gate agent was rude;  Gameloft’s Modern Combat 5: Blackout Hits Android and iOS;  SkyBell WiFi Doorbell hands-on;  MPs to sue UK. gov over ‘ridiculous’ EMERGENCY data snooping law.

How a Netflix subscriber used VPN to thwart Verizon’s streaming slowdown – That’s what one tech-savvy Netflix subscriber did when performance lagged on Verizon’s network. The result? A 10x boost in his streaming speed.

American Users Spend An Average Of 40 Minutes Per Day On Facebook – American Facebook users spend way more time on the social network than exercising. Mark Zuckerberg said today on Facebook’s Q2 earnings call that “people on Facebook in the US spend around 40 minutes each day using our service”, while the CDC recommends Americans exercise 21 minutes a day but only 20% of people meet that goal.

Overwhelming majority of UK broadband users opting out of porn filters – UK broadband users are rejecting the ISP-level porn filters introduced at the behest of the government, with 95% of BT Broadband customers, and 92% of those on Sky Broadband, opting out of using them.

(Once more, the notion that a government can legislate it’s own sense of morality goes down in flames. It seems that morally ambitious governments are incapable of logical thought.)

Obscure but handy: Five calendar apps to keep you on track – Whether we’re tracking a busy work schedule, school classes, our children’s activities, or social events, calendars help us keep up with our commitments. Most users tend to stick with what is known. That means Outlook, Google Calendar, or iCal. But what would you say if I told you that countless other calendar tools are available — some of which are even easier to use than the standard fare? Most would say, “Show me what you got!” That’s what I intend to do.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Oracle Linux 7 released – Oracle has supported Linux almost from day one. But it wasn’t until 2006, when Larry Ellison got into a disagreement with Red Hat, that Oracle decided it had to have its “own” Linux distribution — a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone, Oracle Linux. It’s eight years later, and Oracle is still copying RHEL with its release of Oracle Linux 7.

Dorm Room Tech Every Student Needs – Over the years, universities have modernized their dorms – from A/C and cable to private phone lines and Internet connections. But most setups probably leave something to be desired. Of course, you should be out enjoying the college experience most of the time and not stuck in your room, but you still have to study, sleep, and relax. And in those hours, you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible.

Let family track you in traffic with Google Maps creator’s app PlaceUs – A new app from one of the chief creators of Google Maps, Sam Liang Ph.D, is appearing this week to allow your family to track you at all times. Contextual awareness is key to the existence of “PlaceUs,” an app which allows you to tell your family you’re running late without ever taking your smartphone out of your pocket. This app is entirely free and – again – is available only on iOS through the iTunes App Store for the iPhone at the moment.

Sense sleep tracker analyzes room for smarter rest – A new sleep-tracking gadget which aims to do for the bedroom what wearables like Fitbit and Jawbone have done for exercise claims it can wake you more naturally without a frustrating wristband, figuring out sleep cycles but also taking into account the state of your bedroom. While there’s no shortage of products out there which will analyze how you’re sleeping, new Kickstarter project Sense promises to go several steps beyond simply tracking light and deep phases of rest.

(All these years we’ve been doing the sleep thing all wrong – but, technology has finally come to the rescue. Good grief!)

wps_clip_image-28250

SkyBell WiFi Doorbell hands-on: HomeKit’s digital doorman – Your doorbell isn’t smart enough, and SkyBell wants to change that: a hockey puck scale upgrade to the traditional push-button that delivers motion-triggered video direct to your phone. After having raised almost six-times its crowdfunding goal in late 2013, the WiFi-enabled doorbell is counting on some big names like Apple to help it stand out from the growing home automation melee.

wps_clip_image-31323

OS X Yosemite beta goes PUBLIC on July 24 – Apple fans eager to take OS X Yosemite for a spin will be able to get their hands on it from July 24. Paid-up developers have been able to test drive the desktop operating system for the past few weeks. The iPhone giant confirmed to The Register today that version 10.10 of OS X will, come this Thursday, be available for download by users who have signed up for the public beta program.

Amazon Fire Phone review roundup: misfiring on almost all cylinders – Amazon’s first foray into the smartphone world after the success of its Kindle Fire tablets has hit a snag: it’s not very good. Or at least that’s what the first reviews pouring out of the US seem to indicate.

wps_clip_image-7856

Amazon Expands Prime Music Catalog By “Hundreds Of Thousands” Of Songs – One of the major complaints with Amazon Prime Music, the company’s new streaming music service bundled in with its Amazon Prime membership program, was its lack of song selection, and especially current hits. Today, Amazon is taking a small step towards remedying that problem with an announcement of an expansion of the Prime Music service, which now has grown by “hundreds of thousands of songs.” The expansion includes both songs from artists who are new to Prime Music, as well as additional tracks from artists who already offered some content to Prime Music subscribers.

3D print space probes and asteroids, courtesy of NASA – NASA has released STL files so you can 3D print your own scale models of space probes, asteroids and the surface of the moon.

wps_clip_image-1813

Model of Mars’ Gale crater.

Matter Lets You Add And Edit 3D Objects In Your Photographs – Pixite, a company that creates high-quality photo editing apps on iOS, is increasing its creative suite today with the launch of Matter, an app that allows users to add 3D effects with shadows and reflections into their existing photographs. Matter has four packs of geometric and architectural models that you can pick a color for, and style it as reflective, opaque, refractive or translucent. You can add shadows in real time and move its position and opacity as well. You can even erase the shadow or model by clicking the tool and rubbing your finger on the parts you want to erase. The app is $1.99 on the App Store.

wps_clip_image-613

What ‘one Windows’ really means (and doesn’t) – Is Microsoft building a single version of Windows that will run on phones, tablets, PCs and gaming consoles? Nope. Here’s a refresher as to what really is happening.

Security:

File-encrypting Android ransomware’s extortion attempts mimic FBI – A ransomware threat that encrypts files stored on the SD memory cards of Android devices has been updated to target English-speaking users with FBI-themed alerts. A new variant found recently displays a message to victims in English that masquerades as an alert from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation about illegal pornographic content being found on the device. The victims are instructed to pay a so-called fine of $300 through a payment service called MoneyPak.

The world’s most secure OS may have a serious problem – The Tails operating system is one of the most trusted platforms in cryptography, favored by Edward Snowden and booted up more than 11,000 times per day in May. But according to the security firm Exodus Intelligence, the program may not be as secure as many thought. The company says they’ve discovered an undisclosed vulnerability that will let attackers deanonymize Tails computers and even execute code remotely, potentially exposing users to malware attacks. Exodus is currently working with Tails to patch the bug, and expects to hand over a full report on the exploit next week.

Dirty Dozen Spampionship – which country is spewing the most spam? – With the 2014 World Cup complete, and the Commonwealth Games just round the corner, we thought it was a good time to publish the latest SophosLabs Spampionship charts. We measured which computers in the world sent the most spam in the second quarter (April, May and June) of 2014, and turned our measurements into a pair of League Tables.

wps_clip_image-5350

Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS – Security outlet VUPEN has revealed it held onto a critical Internet Explorer vulnerability for three years before disclosing it at the March Pwn2Own hacker competition. The company wrote in a disclosure last week it discovered the vulnerability (CVE-2014-2777) on 12 February 2011 which was patched by Microsoft on 17 June (MS14-035). The flaw affected Internet Explorer browsers eight through eleven and allowed remote attackers to bypass the protected mode sandbox.

How to secure your iOS device to prevent unwanted access – Leaving your iOS device unattended can pose a security risk as more iOS users are carrying personal information on their devices. Keep it secure with these handy tips.

Firefox 31 has arrived – 11 bulletins, 3 critical, 0 visual surprises – Firefox 31 is out. So is its updated conservative older brother, the Extended Support Release, now at 24.7. And Firefox’s email-oriented cousin Thunderbird gets updated, too.

Company News:

Google has to face U.S. privacy suit over new user data policy – A California court has allowed a privacy class action suit against Google to continue, though only in part. After evaluating each claim of each sub-class in the suit, Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal has allowed two claims of the “Android Application Disclosure Subclass,” which includes all persons and entities in the U.S. that acquired an Android-powered device between Aug. 19, 2004 and the present, and downloaded at least one Android application through the Android Market or Google Play.

BlackBerry offers BES10 as a hosted service through partners – Businesses wanting the security of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 without the complexity of managing it onsite can now buy it as a hosted service from six BlackBerry partners.

Sony agrees to $15m settlement for 2011 PSN attack – The massive attack that brought down the PlayStation Network is not yet forgotten. Sony has finally agreed to a $15m settlement, mainly giving away free games and services to affected users.

Qualcomm delivers blowout Q3, but cuts outlook over China woes – Mobile processor giant Qualcomm said a regulatory investigation in China and licensees that aren’t reporting sales of licensed products will hurt fourth quarter results.

Games and Entertainment:

$10 Xbox credit for those that pre-order ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ – If you haven’t pre-ordered ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ yet, it might be a good time to do so. The Microsoft Store is currently offering a $10 Xbox code for those that pre-order.

wps_clip_image-28253

Life On Kim Kardashian’s D-List – Is there anything Kim Kardashian can’t sell? The Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game is now #1 in the App Store with a 5-star rating and more than 140,000 reviews. It’s slated to gross an estimated $200 million in annual revenue and the stock price for the company that created it, Glu Mobile, has nearly doubled in the last month!

(Reading this makes me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.)

wps_clip_image-9303

Gameloft’s Modern Combat 5: Blackout Hits Android and iOS – Gameloft is back with the newest installment of its flagship Modern Combat series on iOS and Android. Modern Combat 5: Blackout can be downloaded right now for $6.99 on Android and $8.99 on iOS. Unlike many of Gameloft’s other titles, Modern Combat 5 is free of in-app purchases. You buy it once, and you get all the content. That alone might tempt some people.

wps_clip_image-25720

Why Simpsons World will destroy the U.S. but not Canada – The U.S could fall into ruin as millions tune in to cable channel FXX’s marathon showing of every “Simpsons” episode ever, to be followed by a “Simpsons World” website and app. A perfect opportunity for Canada, which is geo-blocked, to take over the continent, as it’s always really wanted to.

(No worries – in Canada, the VPN rules.  Hot smile  )

wps_clip_image-25877

Hands-on with PlayStation Now – Sony’s ambitious streaming-only game service is about to hit public beta. Here’s what to expect.

wps_clip_image-10928

Access over 15,000 Marvel digital comics for 99 cents – Clear your calendar. For the next month you can treat yourself to Marvel Unlimited’s massive online comic library for just under a buck.

wps_clip_image-9277

Just three of the digital comics released this week that you can read through Marvel Unlimited.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Adding a HUD to your car: three options – A head-up display (HUD) enables drivers to see all the details they need while driving without any hassle or risk of distraction (not to mention giving one’s car the snazzy sci-fi feel of having data projected onto the windshield). Your car may not have included the technology, but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily equip it with its own HUD feature, and fortunately there are multiple ways to do this.

wps_clip_image-13929

First there was analog sound, then digital, what’s next? – Sound waves are analog in nature, as they are continuous variations in air pressure. An LP’s grooves directly correspond to sound waves, a digital recording does not. It converts the original sounds into a sequence of numbers, and digital recording and playback requires conversions, first from analog to digital, and then digital to analog. The quality of those conversions determine sound quality. Analog recording avoids those conversions, but is subject to a number of distortions that digital audio avoids. Neither format is perfect; we need a new recording and playback technology that sounds more like the real thing.

Comcast’s Internet for the poor too hard to sign up for, advocates say – A California nonprofit says that a Comcast Internet service program for poor people is too difficult to sign up for, resulting in just 11 percent of eligible households in the state getting service. Comcast had to create the $10-per-month Internet Essentials program in order to secure approval of its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011. About 300,000 households containing 1.2 million people nationwide have gotten cheap Internet service as a result, but the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) complains that the signup process is riddled with problems, a charge Comcast denies.

wps_clip_image-10649

The Guardian: Telling the story of the first world war with 2014 technology – Today we launched our most recent multimedia interactive to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the first world war. It’s a summary of the war, but with a global twist: stories from the outbreak of war to its aftermath are told through the voices of 10 historians from 10 different countries. It is available in seven languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Hindi and Arabic. We are also inviting our readers to translate the project into even more languages for relaunch in the autumn.

wps_clip_image-8284

Man ejected from Southwest flight for tweeting that a gate agent was rude – A Minnesota man was ejected from a Southwest Airlines flight for a tweet calling a gate agent rude, reported CBS Minnesota Wednesday. After tweeting, the man was removed from the plane and stated he was “forced” to delete the tweet before he could re-board. Duff Watson is an “A-list” passenger with Southwest, which gives him priority boarding. Watson was miffed when the agent in question told him his two children couldn’t board the plane as priority passengers with him, and Watson let her know that Twitter would, in fact, be hearing about this.

wps_clip_image-8909

Model drone finds elderly man, missing for three days, alive – It took just 20 minutes for a model drone to locate a missing elderly Wisconsin man, a feat that helicopters, search dogs, and volunteers couldn’t accomplish in three days. Just don’t tell that to the Federal Aviation Administration, whose regulatory wings are already flapping about model drones. This weekend’s discovery of the 82-year-old man in an area of crops and woods comes amid a legal tussle between flight regulators and model drone operators—the latest of which coincidentally involves search-and-rescue missions.

Watch LG roll up an 18-inch OLED panel while it plays video – The latest innovations to make it into the TVs we can buy today are 4K resolutions and curved screens. But if LG has its way, the TVs we purchase in the future are set to be a lot more flexible and transparent.

wps_clip_image-8255

Something to think about:

“America’s admirers overseas accept that money talks in Washington politics, since money talks in everybody’s politics. It is the energetic ideological justification of the dollar’s power in Washington that seems perverse. To citizens of other liberal democracies, the Supreme Court doctrine that money in politics deserves the protections accorded speech seems like doctrinal insanity. For other Western democrats money is plainly power, not speech, and needs to be regulated if citizens are to stay free. It’s difficult to defend liberal democracy with much enthusiasm abroad if it works so poorly at home.”

-     Michael IgnatieffAre The Authoritarians Winning?

Today’s Free Downloads:

Disconnect – Used by over a million people – Disconnect is the easiest way to protect your online privacy.

“There is an entire invisible ecosystem that is reliant on my data,” says Casey Oppenheim, co-founder of online privacy service Disconnect. “My very personal information about what I’m browsing for, searching for, is being combined with real-world information about where I work, who I’m friends with. People are creating very detailed profiles, not just for advertising but also for employers and also for insurance companies.”

Mr. Oppenheim’s company issued an update on Monday notifying users that his service can block third-party software attempts at canvas fingerprinting.

About us:

Why Disconnect – You should be in control of your personal info. But these days thousands of companies, governments, and other parties invisibly collect your Internet activity. Often, this very personal data is packaged, sold or inspected without your permission. We make tools that put you back in control of your online privacy.

What we believe – Understanding online data collection and controlling access to your personal info should be easy. You should be free to move about the Internet without anyone looking over your shoulder and without fear that your online activity might be analyzed, your searches scrutinized, or your security compromised.

Who we are – Disconnect was founded in 2011 by former Google engineers and a consumer-and privacy-rights attorney. We develop award-winning, user-friendly privacy and security software in Palo Alto, California. By being an advocate for Internet users everywhere, we hope to create enduring, positive change in the way personal info is handled online.

Certified B Corp Disconnect exists to help solve an important social issue and our founding principles are reflected in the way we run the company. We’re proud to be a Certified B Corp.

wps_clip_image-11981

Disconnect running on my personal system.

Wireshark – Wireshark is a network packet analyzer. A network packet analyzer will try to capture network packets and tries to display that packet data as detailed as possible.

You could think of a network packet analyzer as a measuring device used to examine what’s going on inside a network cable, just like a voltmeter is used by an electrician to examine what’s going on inside an electric cable (but at a higher level, of course).

In the past, such tools were either very expensive, proprietary, or both. However, with the advent of Wireshark, all that has changed.

Wireshark is perhaps one of the best open source packet analyzers available today.

Examples:

network administrators use it to troubleshoot network problems

network security engineers use it to examine security problems

developers use it to debug protocol implementations

people use it to learn network protocol internals

Beside these examples, Wireshark can be helpful in many other situations too.

Features:

The following are some of the many features Wireshark provides:

Available for UNIX and Windows.

Capture live packet data from a network interface.

Display packets with very detailed protocol information.

Open and Save packet data captured.

Import and Export packet data from and to a lot of other capture programs.

Filter packets on many criteria.

Search for packets on many criteria.

Colorize packet display based on filters.

Create various statistics.

… and a lot more!

wps_clip_image-28386

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist – The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.

Over the years, the Obama and Bush Administrations have fiercely resisted disclosing the criteria for placing names on the databases—though the guidelines are officially labeled as unclassified. In May, Attorney General Eric Holder even invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent watchlisting guidelines from being disclosed in litigation launched by an American who was on the no fly list. In an affidavit, Holder called them a “clear roadmap” to the government’s terrorist-tracking apparatus, adding: “The Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed … could cause significant harm to national security.”

The rulebook, which The Intercept is publishing in full, was developed behind closed doors by representatives of the nation’s intelligence, military, and law-enforcement establishment, including the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI. Emblazoned with the crests of 19 agencies, it offers the most complete and revealing look into the secret history of the government’s terror list policies to date. It reveals a confounding and convoluted system filled with exceptions to its own rules, and it relies on the elastic concept of “reasonable suspicion” as a standard for determining whether someone is a possible threat. Because the government tracks “suspected terrorists” as well as “known terrorists,” individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being a suspected terrorist, or if they are suspected of associating with people who are suspected of terrorism activity.

wps_clip_image-10771

Senate May Pass NSA Reform Bill Before Upcoming Recess – After some pessimism that a deal couldn’t be reached, there is indication in Washington that the Senate may be able to pass its version of the USA FREEDOM Act (UFA) before the coming August recess.

Until the final text of the bill can be examined, all analysis is synthetic, but Senator Patrick Leahy — its sponsor in the upper chamber — has indicated that it will put in place “clear cut guidelines” on what the nation’s intelligence apparatus “can and cannot do.” The Act will also “let the American people know that their privacy is going to be protected,” according to the Senator.

MPs to sue UK.gov over ‘ridiculous’ EMERGENCY data snooping law: DRIP Act was rubber-stamped in THREE days – Two MPs are planning to sue the UK government over its controversial emergency data snooping law, which was rushed through Parliament last week with what they described as “ridiculous and unnecessary haste”.

Conservative David Davis and Labour’s Tom Watson are looking for a judicial review of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIP), which was announced and rubber-stamped in a few days after the Europe’s top court ruled against long-term data retention.

The European Court of Justice said in April that ISPs were no longer required to log comms data on their subscribers for up to 12 months under the Data Retention Directive because the directive interfered with privacy rights. The judgement called into question existing UK law on data snooping, including the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that covers law enforcement and government agency surveillance of individuals.

The government quickly drew up the DRIP Act forcing telcos to hang onto customers’ information to allow spooks to continue slurping Brits’ phone and internet activity. The act became law in just three days, following discussions between the three main party leaders.

Russian parliament approves law requiring all internet companies to store data within the country – A new amendment put forward by Russia’s Duma and signed into law by Russian president Vladimir Putin may see tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter face a ban from the country unless they comply with new potentially privacy-invading regulations.

The “Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information” amendment, which modify’s Russia’s existing anti-terrorism laws, would require any communications concerning a Russian citizen — including tweets, status updates, and search histories — to be physically stored within the country for potential use by Russian intelligence and security agencies like the FSB. At current, Russia can’t legally access any data from foreign companies without submitting a legal request, which is likely to be denied. This amendment is an attempt to circumvent those regulations, but considering Russia’s stored history with personal privacy and data rights, the potential for abuse is strong.

If internet companies don’t physically store user data within Russia, they could face being banned from the country entirely — which means services from companies like Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Microsoft would effectively cease to operate within Russia. Despite a difference in methodology, the potential law isn’t far from recent incidents in other countries, like Turkey’s sweeping ban of Twitter and Iraq’s wide-ranging block of all social networks.

Dutch spy agencies can receive NSA data, court rules – Dutch intelligence services can receive bulk data that might have been obtained by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) through mass data interception programs, even though collecting data that way is illegal for the Dutch services, the Hague District Court ruled Wednesday.

The possibility that data received by Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD could have been collected in a way that would not be legal for the Dutch services, doesn’t mean that receiving this data violates international and national treaties, the court said.

The Hague District Court ruled in a civil case file by a coalition of defense lawyers, privacy advocates and journalists who sued the Dutch government last November. They sought a court order to stop the AIVD and MIVD from obtaining data from foreign intelligence agencies that was not obtained in accordance with European and Dutch law.

The coalition’s lawyers had argued that the NSA’s mass data collection programs violate human rights guaranteed by international and European treaties including the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

However, under Dutch law, Dutch intelligence services are allowed to collaborate with the NSA , the court said. And the NSA in turn is bound by U.S. law which, in general, does not conflict with the human rights convention privacy requirements, the court said.

2 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 23, 2014

How to make Android Voice Search even smarter;  Google Docs: 3 incredibly useful tools for edits and revisions;  13 YouTube Tricks for True PowerYOUsers;  Members of UK Parliament call for judicial review of data retention law;  Users Love Pinterest, Ready to Unfriend Facebook;  William Shatner reviews the Facebook app you can’t have;  If you see this woman’s knickers in your Facebook feed, don’t click the link;  OpenCurriculum Looks To Foster Open-Source Education By Releasing Free Online Library;  Facebook and Twitter Users: Don’t Fall for MH17 ‘Actual Footage’ Scams;  iOS backdoor? Yes… No… Diagnostics!! Advanced Uninstaller PRO (free);  Tweaking.com – Envelope Printer (free);  EU ups antitrust pressure on Google; cites NSA scandal, Android domination.

How to make Android Voice Search even smarter – Android Voice SearchAndroid’s Voice Search system lets you do tons of useful stuff by speaking to your phone — but when it comes to actual hardware control, the system’s always been pretty limited. At least, until now. A 16-year-old (!) developer named Ryan Senanayake has come up with a clever little hack that adds a potent range of powers to Google’s voice command system. It’s called Commandr, it’s completely free, and it’s something you’re almost certainly going to want on your Android device.

13 YouTube Tricks for True PowerYOUsers – The engineers making things run at the Google subsidiary have their game locked down. But even within its vast, well-oiled ecosystem, there are features you’ve never even used. Here are 13 little-known tricks and features that even you, o’ veteran of the Internet, may have never even heard about.

Google Docs: 3 incredibly useful tools for edits and revisions – While it still can’t stand toe-to-toe with the standard-setting Microsoft Word, the Docs app is no slouch when it comes to writing and editing documents, and its collaboration tools are better in many respects. Here are three features you’ll definitely want to use to reap the greatest benefit from Docs.

William Shatner reviews the Facebook app you can’t have – Curious what Facebook Mentions is like? You’re likely not alone, but also not alone n that you’re just not cool enough to be able to take advantage. One of the coolest guys on earth has reviewed it for you, though. William Shatner, who is probably your hero anyway, compares Mentions to your existing Facebook experience.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Cabin review: Track your family’s location, send messages, and assign tasks – Track location, chat, and share tasks among Android-using family and friends.

wps_clip_image-21486

Users Love Pinterest, Ready to Unfriend Facebook – According to a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook and its business-focused counterpart LinkedIn rank the lowest in user satisfaction out of the major social media sites. Twitter didn’t rank much better, though all three sites have improved since last year, the survey found. Meanwhile, social media websites rank among the worst-performing companies overall, only beating out airlines, cable companies, and internet service providers in terms of user satisfaction.

OpenCurriculum Looks To Foster Open-Source Education By Releasing Free Online Library – Aimed at providing teachers with educational materials by making them open and competitive, OpenCurriculum, which launched in Pittsburgh, curates and organizes material from sites such as teacher blogs and lesson material publishers. Teachers can create lesson plans and more through OpenCurriculum.org.

wps_clip_image-6730

‘Job Explorer’ Maps Your Future Career – Do you hate your job? Need a change? Glassdoor feels your pain. The career community today launched the free “Job Explorer” visualization search tool, which is intended to make it easier for Americans to find new employment. Via a color-coded interactive U.S. map, the search tool ranks job openings by density of relevant listings, population, and unemployment rate in specific areas; darker regions provide a greater volume of opportunities. And if you’ve got a significant other or family to help support, Job Explorer also provides location suggestions for couples and children.

Dating app Wyldfire tries to avoid creeps by letting women take the lead – There’s a new dating app trying to let in only the most desirable bachelors, by letting women choose who can join. The app Wyldfire launched Tuesday in New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., London, Boston and Chicago. Previously it was available only in beta in California. It’s free for iOS. An Android version is in the works, said co-founder and CEO Brian Freeman.

wps_clip_image-18617

Intel Locks Down New Enterprise SSDs – The new Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series drives are available in 2.5-inch and M.2 (60mm and 80mm) form factors, with storage capacities ranging from 120GB to 480GB, the company said. The latest professional-class SSDs from Intel are self-encrypting drives (SEDs) that bake in hardware-based 256-bit encryption, while offering policy controls that comply with the Trusted Computing Group’s OPAL 2.0 standard and Microsoft eDrive, like crypto erase capability.

Comcast on hellish customer service call: Rep did ‘what we trained him’ to do – The cable giant says it will review its training and incentive programs after a maddening customer service call goes viral.

Security:

If you see this woman’s knickers in your Facebook feed, don’t click the link – Facebook users are being warned not to click on a link that looks like a video of a woman taking her clothes off on a webcam, as it could lead to them downloading a virus that will steal their personal data. Online security firm Bitdefender issued the warning about the malware, which it believes was developed in Albania. The link is designed to look like a YouTube video, but when clicked, leads them to sites that try to install the malicious software under the guise of an update to Adobe’s Flash software.

wps_clip_image-30677

Facebook and Twitter Users: Don’t Fall for MH17 ‘Actual Footage’ Scams – Be very careful which MH17 news stories you click on, especially on Facebook and Twitter, where scammers are exploiting the tragedy to spam you. The BBC reports that fraudsters are exploiting the tragic destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, ostensibly shot down by a ground to air missile on July 17, by bait-and-switching users with promises of shocking video footage or tribute pages to victims that instead link viewers to spam or other offensive content.

iOS backdoor? Yes… No… Diagnostics!! – Have you ever wanted to be able to magically hack mobile phones like hackers do in the movies? If recent claims are true that security holes, backdoors, and packet sniffers are present in every iPhone, iPad, or other iOS device — you can! Speaking at the HOPE/X hacker conference, security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski gave a presentation on the alleged backdoors and packet sniffing tools found in iOS.

Followed by Apple’s – “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time”, response.

Apple: we don’t build backdoors into any services – Recently, Apple products were run through a gamut of tests by a forensic scientist. This expert claimed that a backdoor existed in Apple products, and those were used by the NSA to exploit features in iOS. Though this expert didn’t directly blame Apple for creating a loophole, he did note they tend to be widespread. Apple has since issued a response.

AirMagnet’s Wi-Fi security tool takes aim at rogue drones – Drones themselves don’t pose any special threat to Wi-Fi networks, and AirMagnet isn’t issuing air pistols to its customers to shoot them down. The reason the craft are dangerous is that they can be modified to act as rogue APs (access points) and sent into range of a victim’s wireless network, potentially breaking into a network to steal data, according to Greg Rayburn, a security analyst at AirMagnet.

Hacker worms their way into WSJ computer systems – The Wall Street Journal is a fresh target in what appears to be a renewed assult against media publications online.

Company News:

Google back in Europe’s crosshairs over web domination claims: Antitrust investigation set to widen after rivals trash settlement deal – Regulators in Europe are about to rewrite a settlement with Google and expand their anti-competition probe into the web giant, it’s claimed. The company was already under the microscope for allegedly screwing over its rivals in web search results. The Wall Street Journal cited the proverbial “person with knowledge” in reporting that Brussels may now scrutinize other Google products, such as Android and YouTube, as well as tack extra demands onto a proposed settlement with the advertising giant.

Google privacy policy lawsuit to forge ahead, judge rules – US District Judge Paul Grewal ruled Monday not to throw out the suit, which alleges that Google misled consumers by spreading user data across several products and gave it advertisers without user consent. The suit is in federal court in San Jose, Calif. The case came about after Google changed its privacy policy in early 2012. The changes involved the company consolidating its numerous services — like Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube — under one privacy policy. While Google claimed the changes provided a better experience for users, privacy advocates alleged they increased the company’s advertising opportunities.

Apple Faces Class-Action Lawsuit In California Over Alleged Labor Violations Affecting 20K Employees – The company is being sued in a class-action suit over a series of alleged violations of the California Labor Code, including the “timely” granting of meal and rest breaks as well as final paychecks. The case potentially affects some 20,000 current and former Apple employees in the state, the plaintiffs say. The case was originally filed in 2011 by four people who worked across both Apple’s retail and corporate operations. It was only certified as a class action yesterday, widening the pool of plaintiffs considerably.

Apple has purchased 29 companies since FY 2013 – Apple CEO TIm Cook revealed today the company has snapped up 29 smaller companies since their FY 2013 ended. Some we know of, and some we’ve only heard snippets of information about. If what we know is any indication, it’s easy to see where Apple is going to push forward.

PayPal Expands Its Working Capital Service To UK, Switches From Loans To Cash Advances – As payments platforms look for more ways to grow their margins and usage among businesses, they continue to push into a wider and deeper range of financial services. In one of the latest moves, eBay’s PayPal is expanding its Working Capital service to the UK. This is its first market for PayPal’s lending platform outside of the U.S., where it first launched the service in September 2013 and has provided $140 million in capital to businesses to date.

wps_clip_image-15996

Apple Going Big With New iPhone Orders – The Cupertino tech giant has asked its suppliers to manufacture between 70 and 80 million of the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handsets by Dec. 30, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. That’s Apple’s biggest initial iPhone production run, surpassing the 50 million to 60 million iPhone 5s and 5c models it ordered last year, the report notes.

Games and Entertainment:

Mozilla-powered Web games now available – Dungeon Defenders, a popular game title from Trendy Entertainment and previously only available on native code platforms like iOS, Windows, and Mac OS X, can now be played in a browser window. The browser version of the tower defense and action role-playing game, Dungeon Defenders Eternity, will be available from Steam later today. It marks one of the first popular titles built on the Unreal Engine to be ported to the Web without using a plugin.

wps_clip_image-9476

Accessories every mobile gamer needs – As tablets and smartphones increase in power and display quality — not to mention the ever-growing library of games — mobile gaming has become a staple way to pass the time for many. Still, mobile gaming has its downsides, namely in the form of usability: trying to control two digital joysticks with your thumbs on your phone’s display isn’t nearly as much fun as physical joysticks, and having your battery run dry mid-game is beyond frustrating. That’s where these essential accessories come in.

wps_clip_image-24223

This is the iOS game you should be playing – Great for kids, fun for adults, and one that will make you miss the good old-fashioned side-scroller, Pixel Press Floors is one of the best games we’re playing for iOS right now. Here’s how it works: you draw your level, then you play it. Yeah, it’s a dream come true for those who spent hours sketching out their dream levels in school when they should have been studying (okay, so, that was me). Draw it out, take a picture, and the Pixel Press software will compile the meat-and-potatoes of the level.

wps_clip_image-21546

11 mischievously clever anti-piracy measures – The most effective DRM doesn’t prevent would-be pirates from pirating a game — it prevents them from enjoying it. You can still pirate and run the software below (not that you should), but they each have a failsafe to make using the pirated copy so obnoxious that you’ll knock it off and make the purchase.

The Destiny Beta Just Went Dark Until Wednesday – So that’s it PlayStation owners, the horn just sounded and it’s time for everyone to climb out of the pool: Bungie’s Destiny beta, which arrived last Thursday for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 owners, is now offline for a two-day maintenance hiatus.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Emberlight Turns Any Dimmable Bulb Into A “Smart” Light You Control With Your Phone – Smart light bulbs – like the Philips’ Hue connected bulbs or those from LG, GE or Samsung – are an easy jumping off point for those wanted to experiment in the “connected home” arena without the complexity or costs involved with the installation of a full “smart home” system. But a new company called Emberlight wants to make it easier and more affordable for you to enjoy the benefits of a connected bulb by offering a product that works with your existing lightbulbs. It also doesn’t require the “wireless hub” that ship with competing smart bulb products.

wps_clip_image-3751

105-inch Samsung UHD TV available for pre-order soon – If you’re in the market for a 100-inch TV, we’ve got great news for you! The massive Samsung Curved UHD TV, which checks in at 105-inches, will be available for pre-order this week. With a price-tag to match it’s screen size, it may not be one for your living room, though.

wps_clip_image-18242

The Defender Is What You Get When You Combine A Camera, Automated 9-1-1, And Pepper Spray – Safety first! That’s what my mom always says. Which is why it’s somewhat shocking that technology hasn’t already been leveraged to provide additional personal protection to people on the go. But the Defender looks to change all that. It’s a new pocket-sized device that combines a camera, a 24/7 monitoring system for police and health services, and pepper spray to provide an all-in-one portable defense system that might actually help catch the assailant. Here’s how it works.

wps_clip_image-30957

New Yorker Opens Archives With Site Redesign – The New Yorker is making its archive dating back to 2007 available for free into the fall, the magazine said in a tweet on Monday. The weekly magazine is famous for publishing new fiction and essays, often ground-breaking investigative journalism, and of course, the cartoons. Founded in 1925, The New Yorker still highlights social life in the city of its origin but has had a national scope for decades, with its list of contributors over the years rivaling that of any publication.

wps_clip_image-22120

Meet your second car: How the small, slender, $6800 Elio seeks a bigger audience – That’s right, second car. Elio harbors no illusions about this slender automobile’s capabilities. Built to accommodate a single person and a non-claustrophobic friend, along with a few belongings, it’s simply too small on its own to do more than run a few modest errands. Elio has some busy months ahead. The engine could be in production by the end of the year, and the car itself is due to ship in September of 2015.

wps_clip_image-6070

One Fast Cat: A hamster wheel for kitty – If you like to keep your kitty indoors, at some point or another, you’re probably going to see them go a bit crazy: rocketing down hallways, making flying leaps onto furniture, and otherwise hullabalooing about the house. This is because all cats — even the indoor ones — need to exercise. One solution? A hamster wheel — for cats. One Fast Cat is a kitty treadmill designed to keep your kitty happy, healthy, and safe.

wps_clip_image-29434

Something to think about:

“Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.”

-     Fran Lebowitz

Today’s Free Downloads:

Advanced Uninstaller PRO – Advanced Uninstaller PRO is the ultimate uninstaller for Windows, allowing you to uninstall programs quickly and completely using its simple and intuitive interface.

No need to worry about stubborn programs ever again!

Advanced Uninstaller PRO features and the Installation Monitor keep track of all changes performed to your computer during software installations; this way you can later completely uninstall any program and make sure nothing is left behind. Advanced Uninstaller PRO is able to uninstall any program without a trace.

Advanced Uninstaller PRO can also remove a lot of items that other uninstallers can’t even touch. It can repair broken registry entries, clean non-functional Start Menu shortcuts, uninstall annoying browser toolbars, plugins and hijackers, remove fonts and get rid of startup programs that run in your system tray and slow down your computer.

The program is especially designed to be very clear, fast, pleasant and intuitive. Easy to read information and help is readily available throughout the program, guiding you every step of the way.

wps_clip_image-15953

wps_clip_image-21715

Screenshots from my personal system.

Tweaking.com – Envelope Printer – A free app to simplify printing your envelopes. Save and store addresses and even add an image.

Each month when I have to pay bills I hate having to write out the envelopes (I am not lazy, my hand actually hurts when I handwrite). So I wanted to be able to print them out as I need them and have the addresses I choose. While I could have custom ordered envelopes I decided why not just print out my own and save money from having to order custom ones?

So I made Tweaking.com – Envelope Printer. Not only will it save and store all the addresses you want but it can even print out a picture along side your return address for a added personal touch to the envelopes. In this case my company logo.

So now when I pay bills and need an envelope I put an envelope in my printer, then open the program, load the address and hit print.

While I could have used MS Office Word and other 3rd party programs to print out envelopes, I wanted something that was far easier to use and that required a heck of a lot less mouse clicks to get the job done. The program remembers your settings, so once all ready to go you can open the program, open the address book, choose the address hit use this address and the click print. 4 mouse clicks and you are done :-)

wps_clip_image-14316

wps_clip_image-10810

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Members of UK Parliament call for judicial review of data retention law – Two members of the British Parliament are seeking judicial review of a surveillance law that extends U.K. data retention rules and was rushed through by the government.

David Davis and Tom Watson are working with U.K. human rights organization Liberty to get the law reviewed, the organization said Tuesday.

Liberty contends that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, also known as DRIP, which was adopted last week, is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which cover fundamental privacy rights.

DRIP was fast-tracked by the U.K. government after EU laws requiring communications providers to retain metadata were ruled invalid by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in April because they seriously interfered with fundamental privacy rights.

Under the EU’s Data Retention Directive, communication service providers had to retain communications data for periods of between six months and two years for law enforcement purposes. That directive was transposed into U.K. law and the CJEU’s ruling directly affected the legislation. DRIP was introduced to allow law enforcement agencies to access telecommunications data.

However, according to civil rights advocates, the new law is worse than the one it replaces. For instance, it not only gives law enforcement officers access to metadata but allows them access to the content of messages, even if they are held by companies outside the U.K.

Lawyer reviewing terror laws and special powers: Definition of ‘terrorism’ is too broad – The definition of terrorism in current UK law is too broad and should be narrowed to avoid “catching” journalists, bloggers and hate criminals, a top lawyer said today.

David Anderson QC, who is Britain’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, argued during an interview on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme this morning that the word “influence” should be removed to prevent the wrong type of offences being caught up in terror law.

He said that instead the legislation should require that terrorists must be shown to “intimidate or coerce or to compel”.

An annual report (PDF) was laid before Parliament today in which Anderson urged MPs to review the definition of terrorism “to avoid the potential for abuse,” according to the Guardian.

EU ups antitrust pressure on Google; cites NSA scandal, Android domination as a factor – European regulators may soon revisit a proposed settlement with Google as the continent steps up its offensive against the search giant.

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday cited people familiar with the case, pointing to the likely reopening of a number of antitrust jars, which may see the Silicon Valley poster child land back in hot water after previously reaching a broad range of antitrust settlement agreements.

It may be the last punch EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia throws as he is expected to leave his position as the 28 member state’s chief antitrust official in November.

According to one antitrust lawyer speaking to the newspaper, the concerns worsened following the National Security Agency surveillance scandal, in which documents leaked by Edward Snowden suggested a level of complicity on Silicon Valley’s part in domestic and international spying.

2 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 22, 2014

EFF’s snoop-stopping, ad-smashing Privacy Badger plugin hits beta;  Simpsons World to provide every Simpsons episode without costing you any d’oh!  Hidden network packet sniffer in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert;  Traffic to The Pirate Bay has doubled since ISPs started blocking it;  12 Apps to Jumpstart Your College Social Life;  US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account;  Six grocery shopping apps to replace your paper list;  How do I get internet on my iPad?  ‘Save’ Facebook Content to Read Later;  This tiny device will tell you if someone drugged your drink;  Russian government is looking to dump Microsoft;  AskMen.com compromised again;  Italy Gives Google Deadline to Change Data-Use Policies;  GE releases instructions for 3D-printable jet engine;  5 easy Word tips that every user should know;

EFF’s snoop-stopping, ad-smashing Privacy Badger plugin hits beta – The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy rights group, has released a downloadable plugin for Chrome and Firefox designed to stop third parties from tracking people’s Web browsing. The extension is not meant to block online ads outright. It’s a broader privacy tool designed to stop third parties from gathering a record of the pages people visit across the Web. “Our aim is not to block ads, but to prevent non-consensual invasions of people’s privacy because we believe they are inherently objectionable,” the group says. The tool is also designed to stop the tracking that happens when people click on social media widgets such as the Facebook “like” or Twitter tweet button on sites outside of Facebook or Twitter.

wps_clip_image-1056

5 easy Word tips that every user should know – Even new users catch on to Word’s easy-to-use interface and can start entering and formatting text quickly. As you learn, you’ll stumble upon shortcuts that make your daily work even easier. Here are five tips that I use frequently when working in Word. None of these tips are new, which is why I’m always surprised to hear a user exclaim that they’re unfamiliar — they are so much a part of my Word sense that I forget that others might not know about them.

Six grocery shopping apps to replace your paper list – If you’re used to consulting paper grocery lists, you know that they’re easy to lose—and to forget. If you carry a smartphone with you, it makes a lot of sense to put your grocery list on your mobile device. A number of apps can help you organize your shopping, create master lists of things you buy every time you go to the store, and even share lists with your spouse or partner. Here are six great grocery list apps you can use on your smartphone.

Simpsons World to provide every Simpsons episode without costing you any d’oh! – Simpsons World launches in October and was unveiled Monday by FXX, the cable channel that has bought the rights to reruns of the TV series. Any time you want to watch any one of The Simpsons’ 552 episodes, just fire up Simpsons World. Episodes will be available to stream on demand, with Simpsons World creators promising that it will be easy sort through the hundreds upon hundreds that make up the show’s back catalog. In fact, according to TV critic Alan Sepinwall’s account of the Simpsons World presentation, search capabilities will be so refined, you’ll be able pinpoint favorite jokes or scenes and share them across social media.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How do I get internet on my iPad? – Today we’re going to address a simple problem many users have with their iPad – finding a Wi-Fi network to access the internet. The following post is part of SlashGear’s Family IT collection, helping those new to technology with the devices they own. These posts will also be helpful for those of you inundated with questions from family members about their devices if you just to happen to be your family’s IT specialist.

12 Apps to Jumpstart Your College Social Life – College is filled with all sorts of confused, eager folks like you. It can be difficult to find your footing, socially. You’ll have the dorm, the quad, and the cafeteria. But surely there is more! Well, lucky for you, there is, college face. Thanks to technology, the entire world is just a few taps away.

How much of your job can you really do on an iPad? – Tim Cook says he does 80 percent of his job on his iPad. So we asked some our colleagues: Could you do the same?

‘Save’ Facebook Content to Read Later – Can’t get enough of those BuzzFeed quizzes or long-form news stories friends post to Facebook, but just don’t have the time to dive into them during work? Now you can save them to the social network to read later. Collect everything from links and places to movies, TV, and music so you don’t miss out on a new recipe or restaurant to try out. All saved items are kept secret, unless you choose to share them with online friends.

Framed 2.0 puts motion-controlled digital art on your wall – Inside the Full HD 1080p displays there’s WiFi b/g/n, motion sensors, and a 720p camera for gesture recognition from the person stood in front of the display. There are also stereo speaker outputs and a mono microphone input. The Framed 2.0 team says the display has a 180-degree viewing angle and can show 16.7m colors. As standard, it gets a wooden-finish frame, but there’s also the option for custom finishes.

wps_clip_image-23289

This tiny device will tell you if someone drugged your drink – There’s a decent chance you or someone you know has had a drink tampered with before. Fortunately, a Canadian medical imaging specialist and his team have figured out how to protect us all — with science!

wps_clip_image-11628

An iPad App To Make All Your Selfies Go 3D – This kind of tech used to require an expensive 3D scanning unit that was tied to a game console or a computer. Now anyone with an iPad and the Structure Sensor can create 3D models using objects they see around them. This opens up a world of possibilities for engineers, designers, inventors, architects and manufactures. One example might be an architect creating a 3D tour of what the building will look like inside and out before it’s ever built or an interior designer creating a virtual room to display their work.

wps_clip_image-17868

Another Screen Shot Of The Upcoming Windows Start Menu Leaks – Another week, another leak. Today we have a new, purported screenshot of the upcoming return of the Start Menu to Windows.

wps_clip_image-20342

National Geographic Experiments With Storehouse – Six months after its launch, award-winning iPad app Storehouse has formed a strong community of storytellers, including the likes of GQ Germany, RTÉ, and its most recent participant — National Geographic. Storehouse is a visual storytelling app that lets you import photos and videos from your camera roll, Instagram, Dropbox or Flickr and create a free-form layout with or without text to tell a story.

wps_clip_image-29773

Smart toilet paper holder won’t be ignored when roll runs out – On the surface, the RollScout looks like a modern, sleek, wall-mounted toilet paper holder, but it hides an infrared emitter and sensor. When the roll empties down enough, the emitter and sensor connect and the holder pulses with a round amber light to alert unsuspecting bathroom users to the dire nature of the situation.

wps_clip_image-20917

(I can hardly wait! I’m just flushed with anticipation.)

Hasbro opens doors to 3D-printed Fan Art sales – In an initiative called “SuperFanArt”, Hasbro has teamed up with Shapeways to create a portal through which fans of Hasbro’s characters can create and sell their own 3D-printed toys. The first line to have its license opened to fans through this program is My Little Pony. This should appeal to some of the stranger fans out in the fan universe – but Hasbro’s collection has some far larger names in the mix as well.

wps_clip_image-24929

Russian government is looking to dump Microsoft for homegrown software – Russia has stated that it is working to move away from foreign software products like Microsoft’s Windows in favor of home grown software as a result of rising political tensions with the US.

Traffic to The Pirate Bay has doubled since ISPs started blocking it – The continued growth of The Pirate Bay, despite clumsy attempts to block access to it, suggests that the entertainment industries’ efforts to kill piracy through censorship are not succeeding. More and more users are connecting to the web every year, and with each attempt to block high-profile sites like The Pirate Bay – and each failure to do so – awareness of P2P file sharing only increases, effectively paving the way for further growth in the number of users sharing copyrighted content.

Security:

Hidden network packet sniffer in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert – An analysis of iOS by a security expert has highlighted various tools in the operating system that could be used for surveillance. Jonathan Zdziarski concluded that the vast majority of iThing owners are unaware of lax mechanisms protecting their data. Data forensics expert and author Zdziarski wrote an academic paper on his findings in March, and gave a related talk [PDF] at the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference in New York on Friday. The results of his research – triggered by reports of the NSA spying on Apple products – indicate a backdoor in iOS, although it’s not as wide open as some reports have suggested.

(Followed by this nonsense!)

6 ways Apple protects your privacy in iOS 8 – One of the most interesting reports I read this weekend looks at some of the ways Apple aims to keep your private life private, at least within the current dystopian regulatory environment.

Fingerprinting Computers By Making Them Draw Images – Here’s a new way to identify individual computers over the Internet. The page instructs the browser to draw an image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, this can be used to uniquely identify each computer. This is a big deal, because there’s no way to block this right now.

Backup your data now: New, more powerful ransomware using Tor spotted in the wild – When did you last backup your data? Let that serve as a reminder to do so since a new ransomware, touted as a more powerful version of Cryptolocker, has been spotted in the wild. It uses the Tor network to anonymize its communication with the command and control server; that’s a relatively new twist for ransomware as it is more commonly seen with “banking Trojans.”

wps_clip_image-22436

IBM Fixes Code Execution, Cookie-Stealing Vulnerabilities in Switches – IBM recently patched a handful of vulnerabilities in some of its KVM switches that if exploited, could have given an attacker free reign over any system attached to it.

AskMen.com compromised again – Last month, security firm Websense reported that popular website AskMen.com was compromised to serve malicious code. Today, our honeypot captured an attack coming from AskMen.com in what appears to have been malicious code injected in their server.

Company News:

Chromebooks taken to school: More than a million sold to schools in last quarter – Chromebooks, you either love them or hate them. The low-cost laptops running Chrome OS from Google are appealing to consumers, and the education segment especially likes them. The latest word from Google indicates schools bought more than a million Chromebooks in the last quarter.

wps_clip_image-28211

Microsoft is looking to patent Google Glass like headset – Microsoft, not wanting to miss out on the head-mounted fun, has filed a patent for a device that appears to be a Google glass competitor. The company describes the device as “a see through display apparatus includes a see-through, head mounted display and sensors on the display which detect audible and visual data in a field of view of the apparatus”.

wps_clip_image-17138

Netflix Tops 50M Users Ahead of Fall Expansion – Netflix now has more than 50 million members worldwide, about 36 million of which are in the U.S. Netflix now operates in more than 40 countries, but in September, it will also expand to Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable – Though the app stores continue to fill up with ever more mobile applications, the reality is that most of these are not sustainable businesses. According to a new report out this morning, half (50%) of iOS developers and even more (64%) Android developers are operating below the “app poverty line” of $500 per app per month.

Facebook closes Oculus deal – Facebook and Oculus VR say they have officially finished their $2 billion deal, placing the world’s largest social-networking company squarely in the consumer electronics industry. In a joint statement Monday, the two companies said they look forward to working together “building the next computing platform and reimagining the way people communicate.”

Italy Gives Google Deadline to Change Data-Use Policies – An Italian data-regulation official told Google it has 18 months to change how it stores users’ information. Italy is one of several European countries that have been jointly investigating Google’s consolidation of 60 different privacy policies into one last year, Reuters reports. The Italian watchdog said in a statement that Google’s disclosures about data use were insufficient, despite the company’s efforts efforts to abide by local laws. A spokesperson for Google said the tech company has consistently cooperated with the inquiry and will continue to do so after it reviews the watchdog’s latest decision.

(Google cooperate? Baloney! Google is driven by the need for greed. Simple!)

Games and Entertainment:

Zotac Zbox EN760 Plus review: Don’t be fooled by its size, this box has graphics horsepower – Zotac’s flyweight PC kicks more gaming ass than any console, costs less than a tower PC, and will fit almost anywhere—including the back of your monitor.

wps_clip_image-11808

That’s no router. Zotac’s EN760 Plus is a powerful PC with a strong graphic processor.

‘The Imitation Game’ trailer shows brilliant portrayal of Alan Turing – Turing was a mathematician and philosopher, and formalized many concepts used for computer science. In creating the Bombe machine which looked for algorithmic similarities in the German Enigma code, Winston Churchill called Turing’s contribution the greatest contribution to the Allied victory against Nazi Germany. Turing was also a man with is own closely guarded secrets, which the movie seeks to shed light on. A gay man in a time when homosexual activities were illegal in England, Turing wrestled with his own emotions while shouldering the burden of cracking the Enigma.

‘Dance Central: Spotlight’ launching for Xbox One on Sept. 2 for just $10 – The newest entry in the Dance Central franchise will hit Xbox One on Sept. 2 and come with 10 songs, though content purchased for previous entries will be compatible with the new game.

wps_clip_image-22602

Gamers win free early copies of iOS game, respond by leaking it – Smartphone gamers don’t have a wealth of quality first-person shooter options, but in spite of its unoriginal name, Gameloft’s Modern Combat games have been solid enough to lead the mobile sales charts. Ahead of the series’ fifth release, Gameloft celebrated Modern Combat 5: Blackout’s upcoming launch by awarding early free downloads to fans via social network contests. As reported by Polygon, that move backfired when one of the contest winners cracked the iOS version and uploaded its IPA file over the weekend, allowing the game to be pirated in droves ahead of its launch.

wps_clip_image-24286

New Fire Phone games highlight ‘Dynamic Perspective’ – On launch, the Amazon Fire Phone was a curiosity with a lot of promise. Whether or not you need Amazon at your fingertips, the screen and camera ensemble on the device are intriguing. Tracking the orientation of your head, and letting you “peek around” object on-screen, a clear angle for the Fire Phone is gaming. Now there are two new games specifically designed for the device.

Freight Train Simulator – 3D train simulation game. Take control of several freight trains and drive them to points of destinations in time. Watch after train’s speed and avoid high speed derailment. Features: 10 levels, 10 trains.

wps_clip_image-9050

Have Unwanted Gift Cards? Trade Them in for GameStop Credit – Heads up, gamers. If you have any old gift cards lying around that you don’t plan on using you can now trade them in for credit at GameStop. The video game retailer will allow customers to exchange unwanted gift cards for a GameStop e-gift card via a program powered by gift card exchange platform Cardpool.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Epic Super Mario Bros. Lego aquarium took 336 hours to build – This is the Super Mario Bros. aquarium, created by graphic designer and blogger Kelsey Kronmiller. It’s 55 gallons of gaming-inspired glory, and it appears as though it took her about 336 hours in total to build it. Yes, the 336 posted as the time actually does mean something.

wps_clip_image-22257

Candid camera, part 1: Five times video footage showed police misconduct – The following examples are situations where police officers have been caught lying or acting improperly after video footage surfaced showing their apparent malfeasance.

Candid camera, part 2: Claims of officer misconduct and video footage redeeming the officer – We’ve often commented on the double-edged nature of persistent surveillance. On the one hand, constant surveillance can lead to various privacy and civil liberties abuses. But as the following stories show, widespread adoption of surveillance cameras by both law enforcement actors and civilians can also help hold both parties accountable.

GE releases instructions for 3D-printable jet engine – If you head over to Thingiverse, you can get instructions for a hand-cranked, 3D-printable jet engine, courtesy of GE.

image

Something to think about:

“Speak when you are angry–and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”

-     Laurence J. Peter

Today’s Free Downloads:

Burd’s Proxy Searcher – Burd’s Proxy Searcher enables you to find public proxy servers that you can use for anonymous web surfing. The program uses a customizable search engine query that retrieves a list of proxy servers and then tests the results for connection speed and availability.

Advanced users can tweak the query settings to their preference and also add custom searches for specific proxy types, but if you just want to find free HTTP or SOCKS proxies, there is no need to tinker with the settings.

Proxy Searcher displays a list of proxies that it found, along with a color coded status indicator, country and response times. If you are using supported browsers, you can apply the proxy settings with the click of a button, other programs need to be configured manually.

Proxy lists – Proxy Searcher supports saving search results into public proxy lists. So if you don’t wan’t to use our program and just looking for proxy list please use following links. They contains up-to-date information about alive proxies (lists are updating automatically).

wps_clip_image-1270

zSILENCER 00022 – Silencer was a game from Mind Control Software, playable online through the WON (World Opponent Network) service, which was discontinued by Valve in favor of the Steam platform. Along with the demise of WON.net, Silencer went with it. zSILENCER is a re-creation of the original Silencer game.

Silencer is multiplayer only, and is essentially a team based capture-the-flag style game. You navigate your player to active computer terminals strewn throughout the map and siphon files off of them, until a Top Secret file is acquired. You pick up the secret file and bring it back to your base, careful of opposing teams trying to kill you and steal it for themselves. When your team returns three of these files, you win.

Each team must spawn their base “door” somewhere in the level, usually in a strategic spot. Teammates enter and can heal their shields and health, buy inventory items, and the back of the base is where the secret file must be returned.

There are five “agencies”, each with special stats or unique items, and online supports up to 24 players in a match at once. Play a 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, or 3v2v4v1, anything is possible.

wps_clip_image-29492

Glary Utilities – Glary Utilities is a smart and reliable application that offers numerous powerful and easy-to-use system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC.

It allows you to clean common system junk files, as well as invalid registry entries and Internet traces. You can manage and delete browser add-ons, analyze disk space usage and find duplicate files.

You can also view and manage installed shell extensions, encrypt your files from unauthorized access and use, split large files into smaller manageable files and then rejoin them.

Furthermore, Glary Utilities includes the options to optimize memory, find, fix, or remove broken Windows shortcuts, manage the programs that start at Windows startup and uninstall software. Other features include secure file deletion, an Empty Folder finder and more.

All Glary Utilities tools can be accessed through an eye-pleasing and totally simplistic interface.

Features:

Disk Cleaner – Removes junk data from your disks and recovers disk space

Registry Cleaner – Scans and cleans up your registry to improve your system’s performance.

Shortcuts Fixer – Corrects the errors in your startmenu & desktop shortcuts

Uninstall Manager – Uninstalls programs completely that you don’t need any more

Startup Manager – Manages programs which run automatically on startup

Memory Optimizer – Monitors and optimizes free memory in the background

Context Menu Manager – Manages the context-menu entries for files, folders…

Tracks Eraser – Erases all the traces,evidences,cookies,internet history and more

File Shredder – Erases files permanently so that no one can recover them

Internet Explorer Assistant – Manages Internet Explorer Add-ons and restores hijacked settings

File Encrypter and Decrypter – Protects your files from unauthorized access and use.

Disk Analysis – Shows you the disk space usage of your files and folders

Duplicate Files Finder – Searches for space-wasting and error producing duplicate files

Empty Folders Finder – Finds and removes empty folders in your windows

File Splitter and Joiner – Splits large files into smaller manageable files, and then rejoin them.

Process Manager – Monitors programs that run on your PC and stop spyware and Trojans.

Windows Standard Tools – Provides direct access to the useful windows default functions.

wps_clip_image-9163

Screenshot from my personal system.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Activist group sues US border agency over new, vast intelligence system – The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has sued the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in an attempt to compel the government agency to hand over documents relating to a relatively new comprehensive intelligence database of people and cargo crossing the US border.

EPIC’s lawsuit, which was filed last Friday, seeks a trove of documents concerning the “Analytical Framework for Intelligence” (AFI) as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. EPIC’s April 2014 FOIA request went unanswered after the 20 days that the law requires, and the group waited an additional 49 days before filing suit.

The AFI, which was formally announced in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), consists of “a single platform for research, analysis, and visualization of large amounts of data from disparate sources and maintaining the final analysis or products in a single, searchable location for later use as well as appropriate dissemination.”

The new system appears to be a one-stop shop for classified and nonclassified materials and can include a target’s name, address, race, physical characteristics, gender, social security number, family relationships, occupation, and more. The AFI went into effect in August 2012.

wps_clip_image-30656

Snowden wants YOU – yes, YOU – to build spy-busting tech – National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wants the geeks of the world to develop anti-spying technology to prevent governments spying on their citizens.

In a keynote address delivered to the Hope X hacker conference in New York City on Saturday, Snowden said encryption was the “first step” in fighting against government surveillance and that new platforms to prevent traffic analysis techniques being used to figure out users’ associates were key.

He said it was the “civic duty” of technologists to educate the public on how systems work so that they can understand the risks posed by the devices, apps and services they use.

“You, in this room right now, have both the means and the capabilities to help build a better future by encoding our rights into the programs and protocols on which we rely on every day,” Snowden told the conference’s audience of hackers and hacktivists, adding that that was where he planned to focus his future work.

“Generally I say [we need] encryption, encryption, encryption … but when we talk about how we fix this stuff for the future … association is often the problem.

“How governments discover their adversaries uses the same techniques they use to discover spies [and] journalists.”

He urged technologists to develop “padded protocols” resistant to traffic analysis, even if they reduced performance, along with mixed routing which divorced individual connections from origination points that went further than Tor.

Geeks should collaborate to build these platforms and then form teams to hack them to bits in order to discover – and subsequently close off – avenues which a government may use to attack users.

US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account – A US judge has ruled that the Feds can have access to a Gmail user’s entire account to search for evidence in a money laundering case, a decision which clashes with at least two other recent rulings on email privacy.

New York District Judge Gabriel Gorenstein said in an opinion that email accounts were the same as hard drives as far as the law was concerned, which means they can be seized in their entirety when the cops have a warrant.

The judge issued the opinion, which explains his decision to allow prosecutors access to the Gmail account in the criminal case, because it conflicts with at least two other recent rulings. Other judges have previously said that handing out sweeping warrants was giving government agencies too much access to far too many emails, instead of just the relevant ones.

Gorenstein cited two other rulings in particular: one in the District of Columbia, and one in Kansas. In Washington DC, judge John Facciola rejected a warrant application to seize the contents of an Apple email account belonging to a defence contractor in a bribery case, while in Kansas the judge denied warrants for emails and other info stored by Google, Verizon, Yahoo!, Skype and GoDaddy in a case regarding a stolen computer.

In both cases the warrant applications were rejected because of a lack of limits on what the authorities would sweep up by gaining access to entire email accounts.

4 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 21, 2014

See who is using your Wi-Fi on Windows;  EFF asks you to share your Internet to improve security worldwide;  Get Facebook’s Nose Out Of Your Business;  How to protect yourself from smartphone bill cramming; Beware the spin behind Australia’s new surveillance laws; UK set to launch new anti-piracy campaign;  Stay ahead of the weather with these apps; Why Google Chrome thinks uTorrent is malware;  Government-grade malware in hacker hands;  Google to stop referring to games with in-app purchases as ‘free'; Woman chooses to be shot, rather than give up Samsung phone;  Dumb fun: 15 dead stupid, utterly joyful PC games; Microsoft announces all the details for the August Xbox One update;  This is the 2015 Smart car: Is it ridiculous? US needs to restore trust following NSA revelations, tech groups say.

See who is using your Wi-Fi on Windows – Sometimes a Wi-Fi password just isn’t enough to keep a neighbor or a stranger from stealing your Internet connection. You may notice that websites, videos, or file transfers aren’t moving as fast as they used to. The problem may not be theft, but simply a case of too many devices trying to share a slow connection. To get to the root of the issue you can use a free app for Windows. Let’s investigate.

EFF asks you to share your Internet to improve security worldwide – The Electronic Frontier Federation is soon to release router software which will allow you to open your Internet up to strangers — while keeping a separate, secure portion for yourself.

wps_clip_image-12559

Quick tip: Add events to Google Calendar via the search box – Google just rolled out a new way to add events to your calendar without leaving the homepage. As an added bonus, Chrome users can use this feature from the omnibox.

Win XP antivirus compared – last time? – Independent test lab AV-Test has completed a test of nine corporate and 23 consumer antivirus products on Windows XP. Nearly all of the products detected all or nearly all of the malware in the test. AV-Test has stated that this test will probably be their last such comparison on Windows XP.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Get Facebook’s Nose Out Of Your Business – You’re being tracked on the web. Of course, you already knew that. Luckily, Adblock Plus, a content filtering and ad blocking extension for web browsers, is here to save the day. Or at least some of your privacy. Last year, it released a handy feature, the Social Media Tracking Blocker, that lets you stop Facebook and other social networks from tracking your activity. The blocking list of the feature currently stops over 6,500 different trackers.

How to protect yourself from smartphone bill cramming – You might not be familiar with the term “cramming.” But if you’re not careful, it could be costing you money on your mobile phone bill each month.

Get more out of the Windows Taskbar with these 3 shortcuts – Looking to cycle through your apps or just get a more standard right-click context menu? There are a few shortcuts for that.

Windows 8.1 update 2 said to arrive on August 12th – Windows 8.1 update 2 is right around the corner and thanks to a few leaked documents, it looks like August 12th will be the day that the update is released as part of Patch Tuesday.

Turn your old iPod into a security camera for free – Manything is a free iOS app that lets you convert a spare iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone into a video surveillance camera. The next part is up to you: either use a second device to view footage remotely and receive alerts and Cloud-saved clips based on motion activity, or simply track what’s happening on the Manything Web app. Basically, it works like an IP camera without requiring a separate purchase.

wps_clip_image-8000

Stream your own film festival of Netflix recent releases – In our increasingly complex world, it seems as if we don’t have the time we once enjoyed to actually go to the movies, and see new movies in theaters. Yes, we still love our big blockbusters, but what about those slightly smaller movies, the ones that don’t get the same kind of advertising push? Well, here are nine movies from the past 18 months, plus one cult classic that slipped through the cracks some decades ago—all of which are available with the convenience of streaming on Netflix. There’s something for everyone here: documentaries, dramas, comedies, some deep thoughts, and a little sex and violence.

Stay ahead of the weather with these apps – Though Google Play Store is teeming with hundreds of weather apps, the most popular titles all hail from the big names in weather, including the Weather Channel and Accuweather. I’ve rounded up some of the best options out there, including a few lesser-known choices. Armed with any of these, you’ll never get caught in the rain again.

UK set to launch new anti-piracy campaign – For what seems like forever, Internet service providers have been attempting to fight consumers that pirate content. Last year, ISPs in the UK were ordered to block 21 sites that were regularly used to pirate content, including many database websites that are used for torrents. Most recently, the co-founder of The Pirate Bay, Pete Sunde, had been arrested in Sweden, after nearly two years of being on the run. Now, “People in the UK who persistently pirate music and movies will soon start getting emails warning them that their actions are illegal,” according to BBC.

SOS Online Backup offers a lifeline to those concerned about data privacy – Online backup is a great thing, and there are a lot of companies offering it. But many farm out your data to storage sub-contractors and are reluctant to share even basic facts about how they go about their business. Even large concerns such as Microsoft and Google are reticent to provide details. SOS Online Backup owns all its own data centers and is very forthcoming about how they handle your data. Add affordable pricing, online access, and support for mobile devices and you have a storage service worthy of the name.

wps_clip_image-18931

Rise of the Planet of the Lockscreens – Lockscreens were supposed to be a subordinate interface — a kind of screen saver for smartphones that told you the time and put a barrier between your phone’s home screen and the world. But soon, lockscreens will take over, moving from the least important interface on your phone to the most important. Here’s why I’m going bananas over the new smart lockscreens.

wps_clip_image-5234

Slidelock Locker illustrated.

Security:

Why Google Chrome thinks uTorrent is malware – If you’ve tried to download uTorrent in the last few days and you’re a Google Chrome user, you may have noticed something alarming: Chrome seems to think that uTorrent is malware. Wonder what’s going?

wps_clip_image-5596

Critical industrial control systems remain vulnerable to Heartbleed exploits – The products are used to control switches, valves, and other equipment in chemical, manufacturing, energy, and wastewater facilities. Heartbleed is the name given to a bug in the widely used OpenSSL cryptographic library that leaks passwords, usernames, and secret encryption keys. While Siemens has updated some of its industrial control products to patch the Heartbleed vulnerability, others remain susceptible, an advisory published Thursday by the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team warned.

Government-grade malware in hacker hands – New research suggests that ‘government-grade’ malware designed to operate undetected on computer systems is in the hands of cybercriminals who are integrating it into rootkits and ransomware.

Snowden plans to work on anti-surveillance technology – Edward Snowden says he plans to develop and promote anti-surveillance technology to hamper government spying across the globe. The former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, who leaked confidential documents detailing the extensive surveillance activities of the NSA and the UK’s GCHQ, called for support at the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE) conference via a video link from Moscow, Russia. Snowden addressed the conference on Saturday, requesting that the hacking community channel its resources into developing anti-surveillance technologies which will making government spying more difficult — and said that he planned to spend much of his future time doing the same.

Home router security to be tested in Defcon contest – Researchers are gearing up to hack an array of different home routers during a contest next month at the Defcon 22 security conference in Las Vegas. The contest is called SOHOpelessly Broken — a nod to the small office/home office space targeted by the products — and follows a growing number of large scale attacks this year against routers and other home embedded systems. The competition is organized by security consultancy firm Independent Security Evaluators and advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and will have two separate challenges.

Microsoft password research has fatal flaw – I wrote yesterday about a report from Microsoft researchers, which goes against established password security best practices. The new guidance from the Microsoft researchers makes sense to me, because it fits how I handle password management already. However, at least one security expert feels that there is a fatal flaw that makes the new password advice impractical: You.

Company News:

Google reportedly confronted Samsung over wearables strategy in ‘tense’ meeting – Google’s Larry Page is said to have expressed frustrations over Samsung’s wearables strategy in a ‘tense’ meeting – but Samsung isn’t happy either, privately referring to Google as a “bully”.

Huawei’s enterprise business helps lift sales by 19 percent YoY – Despite continued hostile exchanges with the Australian, British, and US governments, Huawei Technologies has reported an increase in revenue and profit for the first half of 2014. Huawei chief financial officer Cathy Meng said the revenue and profit for the first half of 2014 are in line with company’s expectations, and believes its efforts in the enterprise business have “begun to pay off” where the company has “enjoyed accelerated growth” in this area.

BlackBerry’s Passport to the future – The odd dimensions of the BlackBerry Passport make it an ugly duckling, but the phone focuses on innovation that should excite fans.

Games and Entertainment:

Dumb fun: 15 dead stupid, utterly joyful PC games – “Video games will rot your brain,” said one of my elementary school teachers. Well, Mrs. You’re-A-Fictional-Placeholder, they haven’t managed to empty out my skull yet, but that’s not for lack of trying. To commemorate the lack of summertime learning, here are 15 dumb games, full of explosions and frogs and explosions and goats and explosions and 50 Cent and more explosions. These games are utterly stupid—and utterly wonderful for it.

wps_clip_image-27868

Destiny Beta begins: detailing 20 minutes of gameplay – The video you see here was recorded on the first day of the Destiny Beta for PlayStation 4. It was recorded with an Elgato GameCapture HD and transferred in 1080p to YouTube. As good as the game looks here, it looks even better straight to the TV set from the PS4, of that you can rest assured.

wps_clip_image-7255

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet unofficially unveiled, priced at $299 USD – While there have been leaks about an upcoming gaming tablet by NVIDIA, this leak is probably the most comprehensive and detailed. The leaked documents shows the tablet, its specifications, and a couple of its accessories. This will be NVIDIA’s latest attempt at a portable gaming device, a follow-up to last year’s SHIELD.

wps_clip_image-24031

Microsoft announces all the details for the August Xbox One update – Over the next few days, Microsoft will push out an update to those of you who are in the ‘Xbox Preview Dashboard’ program that will bring with it new features which will eventually be released in August. The update will add quite a few new features to the Xbox One and we have them listed below.

wps_clip_image-8458

Google to stop referring to games with in-app purchases as ‘free’ – Google has now said that it will stop using the word ‘free’ to describe games with in-app purchases, as well as introducing specific guidelines for developers to prevent them from targeting children and encouraging them to buy more. These changes will be implemented in late September, but while Google has responded with a commitment to action, the EU has expressed disappointment that Apple has so far failed to do so.

You Should Play: Doug Dug – The first thing you will discover when you fire up Doug Dug, an iOS game that runs on both the iPhone and the iPad, is that it has nothing to do with Dig Dug, the 1980s arcade classic from Namco. There are no Pookas, no Fygars, and definitely no inflating monsters until they burst. And that will be a bitter disappointment to you. I understand that. But it will be the last thing to disappoint you about Doug Dug. Because the game manages to inspire Flappy Bird-levels of addictiveness without resorting to frustrating gameplay or gimmicks to do it (which is very much unlike Flappy Bird).

wps_clip_image-6454

Off Topic (Sort of):

Woman chooses to be shot, rather than give up Samsung phone – No one knows for certain how they’d react if confronted with an armed robber. One Harris County, TX. woman, however, decided that she’d take the chance of being shot rather than hand over her Samsung Galaxy phone. She said: “He was like, hey, let me get that phone. I was like, I’m not giving you my phone sir. He’s like, I’m going to shoot you, so I put my hands up.” She says she crouched down and prepared to be shot. Could a phone really be worth this risk?

Apollo 11 turns 45: a lunar landing anniversary retrospective – Fortunately for amateur and professional historians wondering how the effort succeeded despite its comparatively primitive computing, NASA has extensive historical resources about project Apollo available in the public domain to study, including the outstanding Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (along with its companion site, the Apollo Flight Journal). We’ve combed through gigabytes of documents and images to bring you this brief retrospective of some lesser-known interesting historical tidbits around Apollo 11 and that one small step nearly a half-century ago.

wps_clip_image-12562

The Apollo 11 spacecraft rolls out from the Vehicle Assembly Building a few days prior to launch.

Japanese aquarium uses penguins to make the best AR app ever – Turn-by-turn navigation has changed how many of use get around, but apparently we’ve been doing it wrong this whole time. The Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo has found the missing element in all of our walking directions: penguins.

Penguin AR

How to pack like a true geek – Geeks have a tendency to find hard things easy, and easy things hard. For instance, a geek might look at a complex logical or mathematical problem and see the solution immediately — but confront them with something more mundane, like an empty stomach, and they tend to voluntarily make things much more difficult. Now, a consummate nerd has brought the obsessive mentality to bear on perhaps the most defining issue of our times: how much underwear should you bring on vacation?

wps_clip_image-4027

This is the 2015 Smart car: Is it ridiculous? – Smart is back with a new version of its ForTwo city car, promising more internal space and distinctive design while still preserving the tiny footprint, and it’s resurrecting the ForFour in the process. Sticking to the parking-friendly 2.69m (8.83 feet) length, the new ForTwo keeps its rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout with a trio of new three-cylinder engines, an electric version, convertible option, and plenty of safety technology and other components borrowed from Mercedes’ C-Class.

wps_clip_image-29298

Something to think about:

“We live in a time of transition, an uneasy era which is likely to endure for the rest of this century. During the period we may be tempted to abandon some of the time-honored principles and commitments which have been proven during the difficult times of past generations. We must never yield to this temptation. Our American values are not luxuries, but necessities – not the salt in our bread, but the bread itself.”

-      Jimmy Carter

Today’s Free Downloads:

Win Toolkit – Win Toolkit is a lightweight and easy to use application that was created in order to help you customize your Windows installation!

With this tool you can integrate Addons, Drivers, Gadgets, Language packs, Modified Files, Theme Packs, Tweaks, Silent Installers, Updates. You can also remove features such as Windows Media Player and customize Windows default services state. Win Toolkit also comes with extra tools which helps you convert files, make ISOs, download the latest updates (thanks to SoLoR and McRip), and completely customize your images to tailor your Windows installation disk to your exact needs.

wps_clip_image-15910

wps_clip_image-31795

Windows Tweaker – Windows Tweaker is a free Windows tweaking utility using which you can tweak your Windows 8/7 both x86 and x64 systems are supported. It contains several tweaks grouped into 11 main categories, and access to 38 Windows tools (Device Manager, Registry Editor, DirectX Troubleshooter, Advanced Disk Cleanup, etc) all in a single place.

Features:

Has over 100 useful tweaks for your Windows 8/7 which you can’t find available, by default in Windows.

A one-stop place for all your important tweaks bundled in a single place.

Highly reliable and doesn’t affect your system in any way. All the applied tweaks can be safely undone, without leaving any traces (our main focus is reliability).

Small, efficient and easy to use tweaker.

You can enhance your Windows for smooth running, faster performance and lower memory consumption.

What more??? You can even schedule Shutdowns, configure startup programs and hide files/folders with System File privileges very easily.

wps_clip_image-10368

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Snowden Calls On Developers To Champion Privacy By Design – Speaking at the Hope X conference taking place in New York this weekend, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden put out a call for developers to build systems that protect privacy and constitutional rights by design. He also revealed his own intention to work on developing privacy protecting technology.

Snowden was speaking via videolink from Russia where he currently has asylum after the US government cancelled his passport, following his leak last year of classified NSA documents detailing security agency surveillance programs.

Responding to a question about what people working in technology can do to counteract dragnet, overreaching surveillance, Snowden said encryption is an “important first step”. But he added that simply securing the content of communications is not in itself enough. New privacy-protecting protocols and infrastructures need to be designed.

“It doesn’t end at encryption it starts at encryption,” said Snowden. “Encryption protects the content but we forget about associations… These programs like section 215 [of the Patriot Act] and mass surveillance in general is not about surveilling you, it’s not about surveilling me. It’s about surveilling us collectively. It’s about watching the company. For everybody in the country and on a global scale.

“This is basically a big data program which provides the raw data that can then be analyzed, it can be filtered, it can be subjected to rules for example… it says everything you do is being analyzed, it’s being weighted, it’s being measured and that’s without regard to whether or not you’ve done anything wrong.”

Snowden argued that government dragnet surveillance programs constitute an “unreasonable seizure” of information, under the 4th and 5th amendments, being as there’s no proven suspicion to justify what happens in advance. He also argued it can be seen as a due process violation under the 5th amendment – “where the government is basically saying we’re going to use warrantless surveillance to collect evidence to then secretly use to get a warrant application” – and a violation of 1st amendment rights that give US citizens freedom of association.

The continuous, programmatic analysis of the connections of everybody is “a fundamentally un-America thing”, he argued. “If you let you go of your rights for a moment, you’ve lost them for a lifetime. And that’s why this matters. It’s because it happened, and we didn’t know about it. We weren’t told,” he said.

Beware the spin behind Australia’s new surveillance laws – “Now, Alison, I’m a liberal, so philosophically I have a very strong predisposition against big government and against expanding state power,” said Australia’s favourite Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis QC, to ABC Radio National journalist Alison Carabine last Thursday. “And that is why, in the legislation that I introduced into the Senate yesterday, we have taken the most conservative possible approach in empowering the national security agencies with additional powers, but it was necessary to contemporise the legislation.”

Except that the 124-page National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 is not “the most conservative possible approach”. That’s just part of the jumble of spin and logical fallacies that Brandis is using to “justify” substantial increases to the surveillance powers of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

The most significant change, at least for ZDNet readers, would give ASIO the power to hack into the computers of completely innocent people in pursuit of their target.

Computer access warrants can already give ASIO permission to access a specific computer if there are “reasonable grounds” for believing the data in that computer will “substantially assist” the collection of intelligence in a matter that is “important in relation to security”. The warrant may also allow ASIO to do “any thing reasonably necessary to conceal the fact that any thing has been done under the warrant” — that is, to erase their tracks.

The relevant law is section 25A of the ASIO Act 1979, although those provisions reflect more recent amendments.

Brandis’ Bill extends the definition of computer access warrants. “The target computer may be any one or more of the following: (a) a particular computer; (b) a computer on particular premises; (c) a computer associated with, used by or likely to be used by, a person (whose identity may or may not be known).”

ASIO would also be able to use “any other computer or a communication in transit to access the relevant data and, if necessary to achieve that purpose, adding, copying, deleting or altering other data in the computer or the communication in transit”, provided that they’ve considered other methods of obtaining that data that are “likely to be as effective” and using these third-party systems is “reasonable in all the circumstances”.

What a moron – he condescendingly  claims to be a Liberal – and then leads off with a classic definition of a Conservative, which he applies to himself. Chuck this guy out on his arse.

Will the next US-EU trade pact prevent Brussels acting against US tech giants? – The European Union government in recent years has proven to be perhaps the most willing to take on the world’s major tech companies over digital rights and wrongs. But that could come to an end if planned measures allowing companies to sue governments for lost profits are implemented as part of the next EU-US trade agreement.

A controversial chapter of the agreement currently being negotiated would give multinationals the right to sue the government concerned if new laws lead to lower profits. So if, for example, a new law caused Apple’s profits – or Google’s, or Samsung’s, or Amazon’s, or any of a thousand others – to drop sharply they could take the government to tribunal.

Such an action could have followed such previous events as the EU forcing Microsoft to institute browser choice, or the recent ECJ “right to be forgotten” ruling, which could end up throwing a significant administration burden on Google and other search engines. It might stymie ongoing moves by the EU to enforce stricter intellectual-property compliance on the internet giants, too.

Digital civil liberties groups have reacted with horror to the suggestion that investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) will be enshrined in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement being negotiated in Brussels this week.

US needs to restore trust following NSA revelations, tech groups say – The U.S government can take action to slow the calls in other countries to abandon U.S. tech vendors following revelations about widespread National Security Agency surveillance, some tech representatives said Friday.

Decisions by other governments to move their residents’ data away from the U.S. are hurting tech vendors, but Congress can take steps to “rebuild the trust” in the U.S. as a responsible Internet leader, said Kevin Bankston, policy director of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.

Still, other governments will continue to try to use the NSA revelations by former agency contractor Edward Snowden to their advantage, said panelists at a Congressional Internet Caucus discussion on the effect of NSA surveillance on U.S. businesses.

“What we have here is an inflection point — a moment for other countries, other companies, to close the gap and to use this as an opportunity to really catch up to the IT industry in the U.S.,” added Chris Hopfensperger, policy director with software trade group BSA.

BSA is hearing “anecdotal” evidence of foreign governments turning away U.S. tech vendors because of NSA surveillance, Hopfensperger said. He noted news reports last month of the German government dropping a contract with Verizon Communications because of spying.

Hopfensperger called on U.S. policymakers to actively address worldwide concerns about NSA surveillance, instead of waiting to see what the impact on the U.S. tech industry will be. “There’s a very large focus on what is the dollar impact on this,” he said. “The problem with looking at the numbers of what has happened is, by the time you have a real dollar amount, that business is lost, and it’s not coming back to the U.S.”

6 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News