Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24, 2014

The Best Browser Privacy Tools (That Don’t Make Life More Difficult);  The teacher’s guide: 50 resources for using tech in the modern classroom;  10 Apps to Get Right Now For Your New iPad;  Ello makes its ad-free promise a legal one, too; Getting started with Inbox by Gmail;  John McAfee has released D-VASIVE, a new app for your smartphone’s security;  View, create, and share PDF files with Google tools;  See the Windows 10 Start menu in action;  Facebook Launches Pseudonymous App “Rooms”;  Attackers change home routers’ DNS settings via malicious code injected in ads;  Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked;  The 5 Best PlayStation 4 Games Right Now;  Ubuntu 14.10 has landed — and it’s not just for desktops;  Get a ‘Lord of the Rings’ game bundle for $9.99;  Photos: The tech behind electric vehicles;  SpyShelter Personal Free;  5 Reasons People Aren’t Buying Tablets Anymore.

The Best Browser Privacy Tools (That Don’t Make Life More Difficult) – In a year when social media giants and governments alike have made headlines for tracking users online without their consent, battening down the virtual hatches has become a vital part of Internet hygiene. Blocking tracking technologies, however, also disables those handy auto-fill log-ins and web personalization features, preventing you from easily shopping online and making your web experience feel as if you’re back in 1999. So we went in search of privacy tools that don’t impact your browsing experience.

Ello makes its ad-free promise a legal one, too – It’s one thing to say your social network will never be like Facebook, it’s another to enshrine that promise in legal documents. Ello, a social site whose claim to fame is an anti-ad manifesto, is doing just that by filing to become a public benefit corporation. A benefit corporation is a company that chooses to be socially conscious of how its decisions affect not just shareholders or investors, but also its customers, employees, and the environment. Ello won’t get any tax benefits for being a do-good social network, but the charter the company filed prevents current and future investors and owners from ever profiting from ads or user data. “In other words, Ello exists for your benefit, and will never show ads or sell user data,” Ello founder Paul Budnitz wrote in a Thursday Ello post.

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The teacher’s guide: 50 resources for using tech in the modern classroom – In the classroom, teachers are more and more often expected to show innovative and progressive thinking by integrating technological solutions into their lessons — but starting out isn’t easy. From learning how to scour YouTube for clips to working out which photos and files can be used under fair copyright terms, while trying to keep up with standard workloads, invigorating lessons with technology can fall by the wayside. To help teachers out, and given the popularity of ZDNet’s last iPad in the classroom roundup, here is an updated, fresh list of tutorials, apps and software to transform your work-life balance and the student experience in today’s modern classroom.

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Effective security techniques we don’t follow enough – It’s not all our fault, security is hard. The IT folks at Target weren’t stupid or lazy. They had actually done a lot of security work, but it wasn’t enough. Modern enterprises are so large and complex that applying best security practices at all times and locations is just too much to ask. But we all can do better. As a starting point, consider these six programming techniques, products and services which tend to minimize the most common of security problems. We know that most attackers are lazy and looking for low-hanging fruit. The harder a target you make yourself, the less likely it is that you will be compromised.

10 Apps to Get Right Now For Your New iPad – Slimmer, lighter, and not as reflective, the new iPad Air 2 is more than just a looker — under the glass there’s a beefed up processor, more powerful camera and Touch ID, to name a few upgrades. Get the most out of your new Apple tablet with these 10 great apps.

Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet: hands-on experiences at McDonald’s – Apple launched its new virtual wallet service with the iOS 8.1 update yesterday while Google has had its system running for a couple of years. ZDNet’s Matt Miller took two devices to McDonald’s and was able to pay without a real wallet.

Getting started with Inbox by Gmail – Google just released a new way to keep your email organized so you can spend more time being productive. Read on to learn how to use all the new features of Inbox by Gmail.

Supercharge your Android Gmail searches – Jack Wallen shows you a quick way to make searching through that massive Gmail inbox on your Android device a snap.

John McAfee has released D-VASIVE, a new app for your smartphone’s security – D-VASIVE by John McAfee is an app that sits in the background of your phone and alerts you whenever another app tries to access your mic or camera, as well as tells you which apps are tracking you.

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Torrent sites hurting after Google’s latest anti-piracy change – Last Friday Google revealed its newest anti-piracy efforts, which largely amounted to a mixture of demoted rankings for torrent websites and a new box dangling legal download alternatives to those looking for content. It hasn’t been quite a full week since the announcement, but the changes are in place and torrent websites are already hurting, with some of the biggest ones reporting massive decreases in traffic in the past handful of days — though, it seems, some of the small sites are benefiting from the change.

View, create, and share PDF files with Google tools – PDF files are easy to share, easy to view, but not so easy to edit. Send someone a PDF, and they’ll likely see your document as you intended. With Google tools, you can view and create PDF files. If you view PDF files in Chrome, you can open the file, then use the down (and up) arrow keys to scroll through the document’s pages. You can also create a PDF from any Google Apps document (i.e., a file in Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Drawings) by downloading the document as a PDF file. Here’s how:

See the Windows 10 Start menu in action – Take a look at the new and improved Windows 10 Start menu, care of the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

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How Apache Spark is bringing analytics to the average Joe – With a new analytics cloud service unveiled earlier this month, CEO Sharmila Mulligan explains how ClearStory’s engine is shifting data insights to ordinary users.

Ubuntu 14.10 has landed — and it’s not just for desktops – Canonical’s latest Linux, Ubuntu 14.10, saves the biggest improvements for its cloud and server versions.

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Police Alerts NOT new on Google Now – So you’d like to keep an eye on your local police department’s doings, yes? Lucky you, there’s a new Police Alerts segment being added to Google Now as we speak. This isn’t brand new, on the other hand – it’s all part of Google’s team-up with Nixle earlier this year. If you don’t see anything on your Google Now app now, you might also just be lucky – this isn’t just a way to see what your local cops are up to, but a way for your local cops to inform you of emergencies.

Facebook Launches Pseudonymous App “Rooms” That Lets You Create Forums About Any Topic – It’s not quite anonymous, but forums standalone app Rooms is Facebook’s first product that allows you to ditch your real name. Rooms lets you set up a mobile-only in-app discussion space about any topic, customize the look and moderation settings, set a screen name for the room, and choose who to invite to share text, photos, videos, and comments with others in the Room.

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Hands-on with Homeboy: This could be the best home-security camera yet – If you’re looking for an IP camera for home security, you’ll want to know about Homeboy. It remedies almost every drawback I’ve seen in security cameras. It doesn’t cost a fortune. And you’ll be able to buy one soon—without having to participate in a crowd-funding campaign. If Homeboy looks familiar, it’s because it built on the intellectual property developed for the Hive camera that garnered a lot of attention about two years ago, but that was ultimately never brought to market.

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Do the research before you upgrade your RAM – Adding more RAM can speed up your PC and allow it to run more powerful programs. But you need to know how much RAM your system can take, and what kind to buy.

4 tips for writing better hashtags – Here are 4 tips to keep in mind when creating hashtags for events or campaigns.

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Plan to tax internet traffic in Hungary sees protesters take to the streets – Thousands of Hungarians are planning a demonstration against the country’s internet tax plan, with businesses and ISPs also criticising the legislation.

Security:

Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL: Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your ‘privacy is important’ – Adobe has tweaked its Digital Editions 4 desktop ebook reader to now encrypt the data it secretly sends back to headquarters – data that details a user’s reading habits. Previously, information on every single tome accessed by Digital Editions 4 was phoned home unencrypted, allowing anyone eavesdropping on a network to intercept it. Now that information is transmitted via HTTPS, and only if the book includes copy-protection measures.

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Pointing up    Are companies such as Adobe, Apple, Microsoft… in their attempts to vacuum personal and private data, imitating the NSA and the U.S. government – or, is it the other way around? In other words – who taught who to be unscrupulous, underhanded, and completely oblivious to ensuring such activities are above board? And, oh yeah  – LEGAL!

Microsoft survey shows four in ten in the U.S. face online attacks regularly – As more of our personal details become connected digitally via our mobile phones and computers, we put ourselves at an increased risk for potential privacy breaches and malicious attacks. According to a new survey by Microsoft, four in ten people in the United States experience some type of attempt to access their personal information on a daily or weekly basis by someone other than themselves.

Encountering the Wild PUP – The Internet is full of dangers; threats like malware, phishing attacks, hackers and drive-by exploits are some of the most commonly mentioned. But did you know that there is a far more common threat to users that no one in the media seems to talk about, a threat that almost everyone who has ever owned a computer has experienced. These threats are known as Potentially Unwanted Programs and they are the day-walking vampires of the internet.

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Do we really need strong passwords? – The idea that computer users should use long, complex passwords is one of computer security’s sacred cows. But is is really necessary? Mark Stockley investigates.

Attackers change home routers’ DNS settings via malicious code injected in ads – Sucuri Security researchers have unearthed a malvertising campaign aimed at changing the DNS settings of home routers in order to lead users questionable and potentially malicious websites. The attackers have embedded the malicious code in question directly into an ad hosted on the googlesyndication.com network, the researchers claim, and the ad has been served to a variety of websites that use that particular ad service.

Company News:

Amazon’s losses balloon to $544 million in its third quarter earnings – Amazon posted its third quarter earnings results today and they were not pretty: the company said it had a operating loss of $544 million, more than twenty times what was lost for the same period in 2013. Its revenues grew to $20.84 billion, an increase of 20 percent over the same period last year, but less than what investors were expecting. In its projections for next quarter, Amazon said it expects the red ink to keep spreading, with losses growing to $570 million.

Amazon Fire Phone Flops – Given that Amazon was tanking the price of the Fire Phone down to 99 cents two months after launch (leading to many a “Fire sale!” joke), this probably won’t come as much of a surprise: the Fire Phone isn’t a success. Who would’ve guessed a phone that existed pretty much solely to sell you stuff from Amazon while relying heavily on a silly gimmick wouldn’t sell well? The final count on Fire Phone inventory left at the end of Q3: $83 million. Eighty. Three. Million. Dollars.

Pointing up    If you were one of the many who laughed your ass off when Amazon announced this walking/talking billboard – you have been vindicated.   Smile

Huawei touts growth as smartphone shipments rise 26 percent – The company says it was able to double the amount of shipments on the premium side of the market and that it shipped nearly 17 million units worldwide in the third quarter.

Microsoft Up 3% After Reporting Better Than Expected FQ1 Revenue Of $23.20B, EPS Of $0.54 – After gaining more than 1 percent in regular trading, Microsoft reported its fiscal first quarter 2015 earnings: Revenue totaled $23.20 billion in the period, leading to profits of $0.54 per share. The revenue figure represents a 25 percent year-over-year increase, a large piece of which is due to the Nokia hardware acquisition.

Surface likely to be the next billion dollar business for Microsoft – Microsoft is in transition to become a devices and services company, and things aren’t looking too bad as Surface could soon be a billion dollar business for the company in the near future.

Aereo denied license request, but hope remains – Aereo, swept up in a legal battle earlier this year that it ultimately did not win, has been denied a license that would let it operate as a cable company. Aereo had requested this license during the late summer, and was told in August that it needed a court ruling on whether it could continue operations under this special designation. An injunction was put in place against the service today, but as the legal battle winds down towards a close, there is still a ray of hope for the service.

Apple and sapphire supplier strike deal to end partnership – GT Advanced Technologies and Apple have agreed to a deal that will let GT close the Mesa, Ariz. and Salem, Mass. factories where it was producing scratch-resistant sapphire, and void the contracts it had signed with its one-time partner. GT, which filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 protection on Oct. 6, will exit the sapphire-making business and re-focus on manufacturing the furnaces used to grow the material. The Merrimack, N.H. company will cut most, but not all, ties with Apple, and the two will go their separate ways.

Games and Entertainment:

Get a ‘Lord of the Rings’ game bundle for $9.99 – You! Shall not! Pass (up this great deal)! Yeah, I’m a “Lord of the Rings” nerd. So it goes without saying that I’m all over today’s deal, which will delight not only my inner 12-year-old, but also my resident 12-year-old. For a limited time, Bundle Stars has The Lord of the Rings Bundle for $9.99. That nets you four complete games and two downloadable content (DLC) packs with a combined value of over $100.

Nvidia brings one of the the GTX 980’s best new features to older graphics cards – Nvidia is bringing “Dynamic Super Resolution” to older graphics cards, letting users enjoy 4K-like visual smoothness on 1080p displays. Dynamic Super Resolution, or DSR, is one of the main features of Nvidia’s latest GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 processors, based on the company’s Maxwell architecture. A new driver update brings the same feature to Fermi- and Kepler-based GeForce GTX 500, 600, and 700 series cards.

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Halloween-themed Humble Bundle offers cheap, spooky games – The Walking Dead: Assault, Dead Effect, and Oscura: Second Shadow can be yours for a pittance of their normal cost.

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PlayStation 4 Update Coming On 10/28 Lets You Play Games With Friends Who Don’t Own A Copy – While Share Play sounds incredible, there’s a footnote or two that Sony seems to be downplaying a bit that might make it a bit less incredible. For example, the company has previously confirmed that Share Play sessions are limited to 60 minute chunks — so don’t expect to be able to blast through an entire game on a buddy’s remote console without shelling out for your own copy eventually. On the upside, the feature should work with all PS4 games right out of the gate, so it’s not something that’ll only work on a title-by-title basis.

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The 5 Best PlayStation 4 Games Right Now – So you just picked up a PlayStation 4, and you’re wondering what to buy. Or maybe you haven’t bought one yet, but you’re leaning in Sony’s general direction. Either way, we think these are hands-down the best games on platform at the moment.

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Check out the latest Halo Nightfall trailer – We had been treated to a teaser trailer in months past for Nightfall, but today Microsoft released the full official trailer from Scott Free Productions (owned by Ridley and Tony Scott). Spoiler alert: this trailer is pretty awesome considering the absence of a Hollywood-like budget.

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CitizenFour, film review: The Snowden revelations, as they happened – This absorbing documentary follows film-maker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald as they make contact with the whistleblower and unleash a media storm.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Photos: The tech behind electric vehicles – There’s a lot of IT that goes into EVs. Here are 10 examples of the tech that makes these cars and the systems behind them work.

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The future health of the internet comes down to ONE simple question… Can ICANN be forced to agree to oversight of its decisions? – When was the last time you gave any thought to how the internet actually works? Despite the extraordinary and never-ending growth in people and devices that connect to the internet every second of every day, we have never seen the equivalent of Twitter’s Fail Whale. The internet, as a whole, just doesn’t go down. There are two main reasons why. One, a very clever decentralised and lightweight design, and two, an engineer culture focused on the network first and everything else second. There is one potential flaw, however. In the middle of this vast, global, decentralised network exists a central core around which the internet binds, and without which the network would start to erode and break apart.

Google teams with Oxford on artificial intelligence – Google, the search company that’s investing heavily in robotics, is teaming with Oxford University researchers to work on artificial intelligence. In January, Google bought the London-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind. Now the Google DeepMind group will work with two of Oxford’s artificial intelligence (AI) research teams. The teams will work on image recognition and natural language understanding, according to Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind and vice president of engineering at Google, in a blog post.

Ford gives pedestrian-spotting bumpers access to the brakes – Ford is rolling out a new set of smart driving aids that the car company claims could potentially eliminate frontal collisions involving pedestrians, using a combination of radar and lasers to spot people walking out into the road unexpectedly. Contrary to what Ford’s graphic might suggest, the system doesn’t involve the new 2015 Mondeo (aka the Ford Fusion) firing laser beams from its grille and cutting pedestrians into sufficiently small pieces so that they fit under the car rather than colliding with its hood. Instead, the invisible beams can call in favors from the braking system.

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Australian ISP stands up to filmmakers hunting pirates – The producer of Oscar-winning film “Dallas Buyers Club” has taken its hunt for pirates of the film to Australia, after filing a barrage of antipiracy lawsuits in the U.S. But at least one Australian Internet service provider is pushing back out of concern that the movie producer aims to intimidate its customers into paying excessive damages. “In plain terms, Dallas Buyers Club wants the names and contact details of our customers they believe may have illegally shared their film,” said iiNet, one of the affected ISPs on Wednesday.

Man accidentally texts probation officer to ask for weed – This could happen to any of us. Well, if any of us was serving probation. This was the case with Alvin Cross Jr. of Albany, Ga. Cross Jr seems to have got his wires crossed — or, more accurately, his fingers — when he reportedly texted who he thought was his drug dealer. The accitext? “You have some weed?” The recipient? His parole officer. As WALB-TV reports, Cross’s parole officer may or may not have been cross, but the authorities were informed. His home was raided. Cocaine was found.

5 Reasons People Aren’t Buying Tablets Anymore – First, some perspective: the tablet industry is still huge. Gartner predicts that over 250 million tablets will ship worldwide by the end of 2014, an impressive figure for any consumer electronics device not named “smartphone.” But there’s reason for tablet makers to be worried. Sales are “crashing” at Best Buy and iPad sales are down year-over-year, a disappointing reversal after three years of explosive growth. Whether it’s a sign of doom or just a “speed bump,” something, on some level, is wrong. Let’s break down five possible explanations:

Something to think about:

“Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.”

-      William James (1842 – 1910)

Today’s Free Downloads:

SpyShelter Personal Free – The Internet is now a vital part of our personal and business lives. With increasing use of online systems, cybercrime also has grown exponentially. Information-stealing software are produced regularly and are used by thieves to steal personal and business information.

One of the most effective ways of stealing information is through a program that can easily be made to capture keystrokes. SpyShelter captures everything that a user is doing- keystrokes, mouseclicks, files opened and closed, sites visited. More sophisticated programs can capture everything a user sees on his screen when performing a screen capture: just the mere opening of a file can allow an information thief to steal your data.

These sophisticated and dangerous programs are called Keylogging programs (e.g. keyloggers, key recorder, keytrappers, key capture programs, etc.) and they are developed continuously all over the world. SpyShelter anti keylogger can protect you against attacks that happen even when you do ordinary computer tasks like: typing into your computer, getting screenshots, opening files, and visiting sites.

The SpyShelter monitors vulnerable and weak spots in your computer system to ensure that even the most advanced keyloggers are shut down even before these can launch a single dangerous attack against your computer.

SpyShelter antikeylogger system is fast, efficient, and easy-to-use.

Features:

Webcam Logger protection: SpyShelter defends you against hackers who would like to seize control of your webcam, even when it is switched off!

Key Logger protection (kernel mode also): SpyShelter Stop-logger ensures that whatever your type into your computer is protected against dangerous people who steal your data! Whatever you enter into your computer will not leak to malicious parties.

System Defense: SpyShelter guards your registry, your physical memory (RAM), and other sensitive computer parts and processes so that malicious code cannot be injected to seize control of your PC.

Internet security: SpyShelter AntiNetworkSpy protactive module prevents dangerous trojans from stealing your private information while important SSL internet transactions. It also blocks HTTP/HTTPS trojans on user level as well as POP,SMTP,FTP, loggers.

Clipboard Logger protection:

SpyShelter shields sensitive data that can be found on you Windows clipboard as a result of copying, cutting, and pasting. This software ensures that these information will not be under malicious monitoring by other people.

Screen Logger protection: When you take screen-captures, SpyShelter spots suspicious activity that might reveal sensitive data you enter into your computer such as bank account and credit card information.

Anti Sound logger: SpyShelter unique security module that protects your system against VOIP sound trojan loggers. Can be useful when you use instant messangers for voice calls. This module also protect you against voice logger from your webcam or built-in microphone.

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Wise Care 365 – Wise Care 365 is a bundle of important tools including a registry cleaner, disk cleaner, program uninstaller, memory optimizer and more.

Easy to use and effective, Wise Care 365 is the good solution to improve your PC’s performance. Get Wise Care 365 and your computer will never run slow again!

Features:

Clean up, defragment and optimize the Windows Registry

Defragment and free up space on your hard disk

Protect your privacy by erasing personal tracking data

Recover lost files

Hide important files or folders

Prevent unauthorized use of personal applications

Auto shut down your PC

Free up Memory to boost game and enterprise software performance

Simple “One Click Tune-up” option will optimize your PC

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Shakeup At NSA After BuzzFeed News Reports On Potential Conflict Of Interest – One of the nation’s top spies is leaving her position at the National Security Agency, according to two sources, amid growing disclosures of possible conflicts of interest at the secretive agency.

The shakeup comes just a month after BuzzFeed News began reporting on the financial interests of the official, Teresa Shea, and her husband.

Shea was the director of Signals Intelligence, or SIGINT, which involves intercepting and decoding electronic communications via phones, email, chat, Skype, and radio. That’s widely considered the most important mission of the NSA, and it includes some of the most controversial programs disclosed by former contractor Edward Snowden, including the mass domestic surveillance program.

It couldn’t be determined why Shea is leaving her position or what new job she might take. Neither the Sheas nor the NSA responded immediately to requests for comment.

In September, BuzzFeed News reported that a SIGINT “contracting and consulting” company was registered at Shea’s house, even while she was the SIGINT director at NSA. The resident agent of the company, Telic Networks, is listed as James Shea, her husband.

Mr. Shea is also the vice president of a major SIGINT contractor that appears to do business with the NSA. The company, DRS Signals Solutions, is a subsidiary of DRS Technologies, which itself is a subsidiary of Italian owned Finmeccanica SPA.

Last week Buzzfeed News also reported Shea herself had incorporated an “office and electronics” business at her house, and that the company owned a six-seat airplane and a condominium in the resort town of Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Lone lawyer sues Obama, alleging illegality of surveillance programs – Justice Department lawyers have asked a federal court in Pittsburgh to dismiss a sweeping lawsuit brought earlier this year by a local lawyer against President Barack Obama and other top intelligence officials.

In a new motion to dismiss filed on Monday, the government told the court that the Pittsburgh lawyer, Elliott Schuchardt, lacked standing to make a claim that his rights under the Fourth Amendment have been violated as a result of multiple ongoing surveillance programs.

Specifically, Schuchardt argued in his June 2014 complaint that both metadata and content of his Gmail, Facebook, and Dropbox accounts were compromised under the PRISM program as revealed in the documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Pointing up    In the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, ONE MAN STANDS UP!

The surveillance state and you – George Orwell’s 1984 opens with Winston Smith carving out a pocket of privacy by crouching in a corner of his apartment where the telescreen—and thus Big Brother—can’t see and writing a diary entry. These days, that Stalin-inspired nightmare seems quaint. We carry our personal telescreens around with us, and take it for granted that if someone wants to watch us, they can.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 23, 2014

Four in ten web users have experienced online harassment;  Android version report card: How the top phones line up;  Not been a victim of cyber-crime yet? You’re now in the minority;  Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool Beta;  The Best First Smartphone for Your Child;  BitTorrent Sync file transfer speeds blow away Dropbox, Google, and OneDrive;  10 iPad Air 2 reviews in 10 quintessential quotes;  This Technology Could Change the Way Deaf People Live;  Windows 10: Enhancements to security;  Google unveils “Inbox” as combined toolset for mail, calendars, tasks;  Chromebook shipments leap by 67 percent;  DHS investigates 24 potentially deadly cyber flaws in medical devices;  Massive malvertising campaign on Yahoo, AOL … delivers ransomware;   Microsoft is ending free Xbox Music streaming;  ‘Titanfall’ to add new co-op game mode; Study reveals sugar-filled soda ages you just like smoking does;  Advanced SystemCare 8 Free Beta 3.0.

Four in ten web users have experienced online harassment, according to Pew survey – The internet is still a rough place, according to a new survey conducted in June by Pew Research’s Internet Project and released today. A full 73 percent of the survey’s respondents had witnessed someone being harassed online, while 40 percent had personally been the victim of harassment. Eight percent had been physically threatened, while seven percent had seen the harassment continue for a sustained period of time. Most alarming, more than a quarter of women between the ages of 18 and 24 reported some form of online sexual harassment. “The data show that men are more likely to experience name-calling and embarrassment,” the report says, “while young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking.”

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Android version report card: How the top phones line up – Wondering if your recently purchased Android handset will be updated with Lollipop? Check out our handy chart which covers a variety of top smartphones.

5 lesser-known killer features in Android 5.0 Lollipop – Android 5.0 Lollipop looks much different than all previous versions of Android thanks to its significantly updated design language. There’s also a fundamental shift in how apps are being run. These are the headlining changes, but there’s a lot more going on in Lollipop than you might expect — new features lurk behind every menu and around every animation. Here are the five coolest, lesser-known features of Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The Best First Smartphone for Your Child – There’s no more modern rite of passage than the first smartphone. How else for kids to text their friends (all of whom, rest assured, “already have one!”), swap Instagram and Snapchat photos, and stream the latest Iggy Azalea music video? Of course, if they’re clever, they’ll argue the practical side: You’ll always know where they are. They can text you when soccer practice ends early. Apps will help them keep tabs on homework assignments. Pretty good points. So let’s take a look at some kid-friendly smartphones, along with service-plan options that won’t obliterate an allowance — yours or theirs.

PreTweet saves you from looking like an idiot on social media – No more “amazeballs”! Avoid looking like a twit on Twitter by using the PreTweet service to scrub out overused words everybody is tired of seeing on social media.

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BitTorrent Sync file transfer speeds blow away Dropbox, Google, and OneDrive, BT says – When you need to share everyday files between devices, cloud storage services work wonders. But when you need to quickly transfer big files between PCs, tablets, and smartphones, it’s hard to beat the speed of BitTorrent Sync’s cloudless file sharing. And now BitTorrent Inc. says it has hard numbers to show just how fast its peer-to-peer sync app really is. The company behind Sync (and the newer Bleep messaging service) says that based on its tests, BitTorrent Sync transfers are up to 16 times faster than syncing with cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.

This Technology Could Change the Way Deaf People Live – A new device being produced to ship in fall 2015 could be the first compact, real-time interpreter for deaf people who cannot speak.

Check out these great music streaming apps for Windows Phone – Listening to music is great — and there’s no reason to be left out just because you’re on a Windows Phone. Music streaming services are out in force, and just about all of the most popular players have thrown their weight behind Microsoft’s smartphone platform. That gives Windows Phone fans plenty of options to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites.

10 iPad Air 2 reviews in 10 quintessential quotes – After four days with the devices, most outlets were impressed by the slimmed-down iPad Air 2 but would recommend it only to owners of early-generation iPads. The iPad mini 3’s slight update—a new gold option and Touch ID—weren’t enough to win a ringing endorsement from any expert. We’ll be weighing in with our in-depth analysis and test results on both tablets, but until then, we picked out some of the best insights from our fellow journalists around the web.

3 reasons to invest in a Surface Pro 3 instead of an iPad Air 2 – Last week Apple unveiled its new tablet lineup and introduced the iPad Air 2. The Apple iPad is still the de facto leader of the tablet market, but it’s now only marginally compelling in a market saturated with a wide variety of alternative devices. The Surface Pro 3, on the other hand, includes some unique features and capabilities that make a persuasive case for why it should be the tablet you purchase.

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Google unveils “Inbox” as combined toolset for mail, calendars, tasks – On Wednesday, Google revealed “Inbox,” a Web- and app-based e-mail platform that strives to integrate your mailbox with your calendar and to-do list. The Inbox interface screams “Material” redesign, and its sidebar comes with a much wider range of sub-categories, dubbed “bundles,” to divide your mail between. There are so many, in fact, that the typical Hangout list in Gmail has been forced to the right side of the Web app. The mobile app—only shown today as an Android option, natch—appears to put a stress around such bundling by default, as opposed to presenting e-mails in a default time orientation.

Google Inbox is great; here are two more awesome email apps – Google’s Inbox has some great features, and can definitely make your email experience a lot easier. It also might not be right for you. It might do quite a bit, but there are also a lot of things it doesn’t do. Rather than assume Inbox might solve your email woes, we suggest taking a look at a few other email apps that might actually suit you better. If you’re looking to make life easier via email, it depends on your needs.

Sprint undercuts AT&T, Verizon with $20, 1GB family data plan – At $20, Sprint is offering twice as much data as Verizon and more than three times the data as AT&T.

New Barnes & Noble Nook Galaxy Tab goes big with 10.1-inch screen – The Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is launching with an “introductory price” of $300 directly from B&N, which implies the cost may eventually jump up, though it’s likely just marketing speak. To sweeten the deal, buyers get four e-books for free and an episode each of The Newsroom, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Octonauts. Other perks include four, 14-day free trial magazine subscriptions. The internals match up with the non-Nook Galaxy Tab 10, sporting a 1280 by 800 screen with 149 pixels-per-inch. The tablet has 16GB of storage, expandable to 64GB with an SD card. It has a 3MP camera and 1.3MP front facer, if you really plan on taking photos with your 10-inch tablet.

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Windows 10: Enhancements to security – Microsoft is in full development mode for Windows 10, and one item that is likely on the minds of many are the new security features coming with the platform. Seeing that data breaches, identity theft, and malware are real and consistent threats, Windows 10 needs to be built to project against threats of today and tomorrow too. To that degree, Microsoft has posted a rather lengthy piece that talks about the new security features coming with Windows 10, but to save you a bit of time, we have them summarized below.

Windows 10: You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers – There’s more to Windows 10 than just the revamped Start menu. I’ve been fielding questions from readers about the new release. Why is it called Windows 10? Does it really contain a keylogger? What happened to Internet Explorer? And where are the updates?

New Microsoft adapter lets Xbox One’s Kinect play nice with PCs – Xbox One owners will be able to attach their Kinect motion sensors to Windows PCs and tablets thanks to a new adapter introduced by Microsoft. The new $49.99 adapter is specific to Kinect sensors built for Xbox One, and it plugs into the USB 3.0 port of Windows 8 PCs. Microsoft already sold a separate $199.99 Kinect for Windows v2 motion sensor, which plugs directly into PCs without the need for an adapter. There will be no difference in the performance of the Kinect sensors, Microsoft said.

Shutter HALO review: a selfie’s best friend – Capturing the moment is something we all enjoy, and we’re turning to our smartphones more and more to do so. If you’d rather be in the shot than hidden behind the screen, Shutter Halo might be what you’ve been looking for. The small button links to your camera via Bluetooth, and lets you snap a picture remotely. Now you can be in the pic as well as the one taking it! Does a small button really stand up to your wants as a mobile photographer? We find out.

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Avi-on Bluetooth light switch sticks to any wall – Imagine deciding you would like a light switch at some specific place in your home where no switch exists, and being able to add it simply by sticking a switch to the wall like a giant Bluetooth-toting sticker, no cutting or wiring necessary. Such is the nature of Avi-on, the latest product in the growing number of home-centric connected devices. The Avi-on light switch works in conjunction with various GE connected devices, including its Bluetooth light bulbs and Plug-In Smart Dimmer, and is joined by a mobile app. Unfortunately, you’ll not be able to run out and buy one of the Avi-on switches right now, as it is still being funded.

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Wi-Fi is now free when you visit the UK, if you have a MasterCard – MasterCard customers can enjoy free Internet on trips to the UK without paying out a single pound, shilling or ha’penny.

Target offers free holiday shipping, wish lists for the first time – The increasing reach of Amazon has brick-and-mortar retailers changing their game plans. The latest is Target, who for the first time is offering free shipping.

Chromebook shipments leap by 67 percent – ABI Research found that, in the most recent quarter, Chromebook shipments increased by 67 percent quarter over quarter. The research company expects that year over year, Chromebooks shipments will double. They’re not the only ones who’ve seen Chromebook’s growth. Stephen Baker, consumer research company NPD’s VP of industry analysis for consumer technology, said Chromebooks accounted for more than 5 percent of notebook sales and almost 20 percent of the under-$300  category.

Security:

Not been a victim of cyber-crime yet? You’re now in the minority – Just over half the people in Britain have been the victim of an online crime, or cybercrime, according to the latest survey of the issue by Get Safe Online, costing £670m a year in fraud. The crimes include ID theft, hacking and illegally accessing and stealing from bank accounts, but a significant proportion of the crime is never reported because people are not sure who they should report the crime to, the report says. That £670m is the figure for the top 10 internet-enabled frauds reported between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014. Clearly the actual full figure will be higher because not all crime is reported. Of those who’ve fallen victim to cyber-crime, the Vision Critical poll suggests that only a third, 32 percent, actually reported the incident to the authorities.

DHS investigates 24 potentially deadly cyber flaws in medical devices – When the FDA released recommendations to manufacturers to strengthen the cybersecurity of medical devices earlier this month, the agency quoted Dr. Suzanne Schwartz as saying, “There is no such thing as a threat-proof medical device.” Now, coinciding with the “Collaborative Approaches for Medical Device and Healthcare Cybersecurity” public workshop, Reuters revealed that DHS is investigating 24 cases of suspected cybersecurity flaws in medical devices and hospital equipment. “The two dozen cases currently under investigation cover a wide range of equipment, including medical imaging equipment and hospital networking systems.”

Massive malvertising campaign on Yahoo, AOL and other sites delivers ransomware – Malicious advertisements made their way last week to almost two dozen popular websites and used browser-based exploits to infect computers with CryptoWall, a nasty file-encrypting ransomware program. The malicious advertising, or malvertising, campaign was discovered by researchers from security firm Proofpoint and had an impact on visitors to at least 22 popular websites including Yahoo’s Finance and Fantasy Sports sites, realestate.aol.com, theatlantic.com, 9gag.com and match.com.

Facebook prowls the internet looking for your password – Facebook explains that it’s keeping its eye out for credentials – email, password combinations – dropped on sites after data breaches, running them against its own users’ credentials to see if password reuse is going to land its users in trouble.

Company News:

ARM vs. Intel: Why chipmakers want your Chromebook’s brains – As Chromebooks gain credibility among consumers, corporations and schools, Intel has every reason to elbow into what used to be ARM’s turf exclusively.

Apple defeats GPNE’s $94M patent-infringement claim – A San Jose jury rules against the nonpracticing entity, which had accused Apple of infringing its mobile device technology. Apple on Wednesday defeated GPNE in a patent-infringement trial, with a jury determining the electronics giant’s devices didn’t infringe mobile technology owned by the nonpracticing entity. Apple, which called GPNE a patent troll, said in a statement that it was “pleased” by the verdict.

Apple plans to open 25 new stores in China by 2016 – Apple CEO Tim Cook plans to open an additional 25 retail stores in China within the next two years. The Apple executive hopes to increase the number of stores from 15 to 35 within 24 months, according to an interview transcript posted on Sina.com. The company’s future plans in the region were revealed during a visit by Cook to China, where the 53-year-old has been inspecting Apple facilities and has also met with China’s Vice Premier Ma Kai.

Microsoft and IBM commit to providing their enterprise software on Azure, IBM clouds – Microsoft and IBM have cemented a cloud alliance via which they will provide elements of their respective enterprise software on each other’s clouds. The partnership, announced on October 22, will enable IBM’s middleware software — including WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere MQ and DB2 database — to run in virtual machines on Azure for development and deployment purposes. In addition, Microsoft and IBM are working together to provide .NET runtimes and tooling in IBM’s Bluemix, which is IBM’s platform-as-a-service offering. The pair will start by providing a limited preview of .NET within Bluemix.

Sony to slash its smartphone forecast, again — report – The company had planned to ship 50 million smartphones this year, but that figure has been falling and will drop even more, according to Bloomberg.

Games and Entertainment:

‘Titanfall’ to add new co-op game mode – With the new game mode, called Frontier Defense, four players will be able to take on waves of A.I. opponents, with new enemy types also being added to the game. Players will defend objectives in the mode, which will take place on all maps already available in the game. The update, which will be available tomorrow, will be free to all users.

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Microsoft is ending free Xbox Music streaming – Microsoft is closing its free Xbox Music streaming service effective December 1st. The company will continue to offer music streaming through its Xbox Music service, but users will need to purchase an Xbox Music Pass to do so, at a monthly price of $9.99. The company doesn’t specify why it’s removing the free, ad-supported streaming option, but says it’s “focusing Xbox Music to deliver the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience for our customers.”

Voice Commander is an insanely addictive game for the Xbox One from Microsoft Garage – What would happen if Resogun and Asteroids had a baby, only instead of being on the PS4 it’s taking advantage of all the Kinect goodness on the Xbox One? Voice Commander is an Xbox One game made through Microsoft’s Garage, which basically means it was made by Microsoft employees in their extra tim. Plus, it’s free, so if you have an Xbox One there is no reason to not give it a shot.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Camera made from one tiny Lego brick actually works –  The inspiration began with a pine nut. Ryan Howerter, a graphic design student at Colorado State University, took a photography class and his teacher shared the story of the Pinholo, a miniscule functioning pine-nut pinhole camera. Howerter hollowed out a tiny Lego brick (just two studs square) and turned it into a working pinhole camera. He place photographic paper inside, exposed it and processed it to turn out some seriously small black-and-white images. To truly understand the scale, look closely at Howerter’s image of a minifig holding up a pinhole photo showing a tree on the campus at Colorado State.

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This Lego brick is also a camera.

I’m wearin’ it! Survey shows users would buy wearable tech from McDonald’s – The future of wearable technology could involve strapping a few Big Macs to your body for convenient snacking. At least that’s one possible conclusion from a new survey on wearables from PricewaterhouseCoopers. One of the survey questions asked the 1,000 respondents how excited they’d be about wearables from various brands. While Apple unsurprisingly came out on top, the bottom of the list is much more interesting.

Study reveals sugar-filled soda ages you just like smoking does – Before you crack that next can of soda, you might want to think again. The results are in on a study that followed 5,309 adults for 14 years to see what, if any effect drinking sugary soda had on aging. The study conducted by University of California professor Elissa Epel indicates that high sugar consumption may result in increased aging in the same way regular smoking does. After analyzing the data, researchers found that people who drank one 8-oz serving per day (i.e. less than a standard 12-oz can) resulted in 1.9 years of additional aging. Consuming 20-oz each day caused about 4.6 extra years of aging, which the authors are keen to point out is the same seen in studies of smoking. Epel arrived at these estimates by tracking the length of telomeres in the participants’ cells.

Hungary’s Internet providers could soon be taxed per gigabyte – Internet usage is still mighty expensive in some regions, but all could pale in comparison to what residents in Hungary may soon be paying: the country is set to impose the first-ever tax on Internet usage, and it’s a hefty one. The announcement was made earlier today by the nation’s Minister for National Economy Mihaly Varga, and it has received harsh criticism from both locals and those abroad. Calls for protests have already happened, but as of right now, the measure is set to start in 2015.

Zuckerberg Wows Beijing Audience With Fluent Mandarin – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited Beijing this week, where he sat down for an interview at the Tsinghua University School of Economics, speaking to students and faculty members for 30 minutes. In Mandarin. That’s right, Zuck spoke for a half hour in front of an auditorium full of native speakers, conversing in Chinese the entire time.

This is how NASA banishes odors in space – How do space agencies keep the International Space Station from smelling like a sweaty locker room? NASA engineer Robert Frost and retired astronaut Clayton C. Anderson reveal a few secrets.

Something to think about:

“We all know that the beautiful dream of the internet as a totally ungoverned space was just that — a beautiful dream. Like all utopian visions, it was flawed because it failed to account for the persistence of the worst aspects of human nature”

-       Sir Iain Lobban, the departing director of GCHQ

Today’s Free Downloads:

Unchecky Beta 0.3.3 – Unchecky aims to keep potentially unwanted programs out of your computer.

Have you ever felt, while installing software, that the installer tries to push additional unwanted programs at all cost? Ever missed a checkbox, and spent hours afterwards removing adware? Ever opened your browser after an installation, only to find out that you have a new homepage, a new search engine, or even a new browser?

Nowadays it’s a reality that many software installations are bundled with potentially unwanted programs, such as toolbars or scareware system cleaners. If you’re a power user, you probably know that you have to be very careful while installing software, because if you miss a checkbox you might spend hours afterwards cleaning up the mess. If you’re an average PC user, you possibly leave everything by default, thus installing lots of additional unwanted programs without even knowing it.

Unchehky’s primary feature is automatic unchecking of unrelated offers, such as potentially unwanted programs, offers to change your homepage or your search engine. With Unchecky, these offers become opt-in instead of opt-out, i.e. they will be installed only if you explicitly choose you want them (you usually don’t).

Another important feature of Unchecky is that it warns when you accept a potentially unwanted offer. Installers often provide them as a natural part of the installation, so they can easily be accepted by mistake. With Unchecky, it’s less likely to accidentally accept such offers.

Unchecky is not an universal solution, and might not support installers which were not released yet. Thus, it’s worth noting that Unchecky updates automatically, so you don’t have to worry about running the latest version.

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Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool Beta – Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool for PC is a free app that identifies and removes unwanted apps such as adware, malicious hijacker programs, annoying toolbars and other browser add-ons. Keep the apps you like, get rid of the programs that bug you. The tool will only erase those apps that you wish to be removed. It scans your computer for adware, and produces a list of apps marked for removal.

App is portable, no install or uninstall needed.

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Advanced SystemCare 8 Free Beta 3.0 – Advanced SystemCare 8 Free takes a one-click approach to protect, repair, clean, and optimize your PC. With over 150 MILLION downloads worldwide, this fantastic, award-winning, free PC repair software is a “must-have” tool for your computer. It’s easy to use and 100% safe with no adware, spyware, or viruses.

Why waste money on expensive “registry cleaners” to fix your PC when Advanced SystemCare Free can repair, tune up, and maintain it for you – for FREE! Study reveals sugar-filled soda ages you just like smoking does

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

After review, NSA’s CTO can no longer work part-time for agency’s former chief – A top National Security Agency official will no longer be moonlighting part-time with a private consulting firm run by former NSA chief Keith Alexander. The end of that arrangement comes days after the NSA said this particular work situation was “under internal review” due to potential conflicts of interest.

The private company at issue— IronNet Cybersecurity—was founded by Alexander, who ran the spy agency from August 2005 until March 2014. IronNet Cybersecurity offers protection services to banks for up to $1 million per month. Patrick Dowd, the NSA’s current chief technology officer, had been working with Alexander’s private venture for up to 20 hours per week.

It’s the second possible conflict of interest involving former NSA head Keith Alexander.

Reuters reported Tuesday that the deal was over. “While we understand we did everything right, I think there’s still enough issues out there that create problems for Dr. Dowd, for NSA, for my company,” Alexander said.

Hidden camera fingerprints link photos to individuals – Your camera’s digital sensor has a unique fingerprint. Due to minute manufacturing variations across millions of pixels, some pixels are consistently “hotter” or “cooler” than intended.

Signal processing algorithms can extract this unique Sensor Pattern Noise (SPN). Since each sensor is slightly different, the SPN is also different — and unique — a fact that has been known for almost ten years.

Recently researchers in Europe — see their paper (pdf) On the usage of Sensor Pattern Noise for Picture-to-Identity linking through social network accounts — took the next logical step in our social media-mad culture: exploiting SPN fingerprints to see if they could link social network accounts to specific cameras.

How this works: A lot of computing goes into digital images. The artifacts of these processes can identify a brand of camera, but only if the SPN is unique.

Here’s a diagram from the paper:

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 22, 2014

Microsoft warns of Windows zero-day;  Congress to the FBI: There’s ‘Zero Chance’ We’ll Force Apple to Decrypt Phones;  Five Free Mobile Apps Every IT Professional Needs;  18 Google Maps Tricks You Need to Try;  Three social media apps for scheduling and more;  Website blocking is not internet filtering: Australian government;  Stop typing and start dictating documents in Windows;  Free videoconferencing tools: 5 creative ways they can help you get things done;  Second-screen apps for every World Series fan;  Google launches support for Security Key;  Simpsons World app and website stream all 500+ episodes;  Xbox One’s new digital TV tuner lets you stream TV to a tablet or smartphone;  Watch the ‘First Real’ Hoverboard;  Junkware Removal Tool (free);  Avast Free Antivirus 2015.

Stop typing and start dictating documents in Windows – Just because you can’t type doesn’t mean you can’t create documents. All you need is a microphone for your PC and Microsoft Word to take the stress off your hands and start using your voice. Here’s how.

Five Free Mobile Apps Every IT Professional Needs – A slew of new apps have stepped up to capitalize on the flood of smartphones and tablets in the hands of IT managers and administrators – aiming to make the day-to-day work of IT professionals easier and more flexible. Here are a few great apps that IT pros will find useful at the office, on the road and everywhere in between:

18 Google Maps Tricks You Need to Try – Regardless of how you feel about it, Google Maps (and its cousin Google Earth) remain powerful and versatile tools—and most of us are only scratching at the surface of what they have to offer. (And we’re just talking about the Web version, the mobile incarnations are a whole other bag of magic.) Here, we present 18 cool things you didn’t know Google Maps could do. Click on through and experience just a little bit of the power of the everyday.

Collaborate for free with Annotate Attachments in Gmail – Gmail users who collaborate with coworkers should check out the free Annotate Attachments in Gmail extension for Chrome from Framebench. The utility lets you mark on email attachments right in the inbox. It’s easier to do with a touchscreen but works pretty well on Chromebooks and other laptops with touchpads.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Post like a pro: Three social media apps for scheduling and more – Managing your social media presence can be a full-time job—and an expensive undertaking. A host of products is available to help, but not every tool is right for everyone. Read on to learn about three apps that can help you post your content across various social networks, and, in some cases, a bit more.

PhotoMath on Windows Phone lets you solve math problems instantly – PhotoMath, a camera-based app on Windows Phone and iOS, utilizes photo recognition to instantly display the results of almost any mathematical expression you point your phone at.

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First major update to Windows 10 Preview, delivered through Windows Update – We’ve written before about Windows 10’s new updating policy, and today we’re seeing the real-world result for the first time. The Windows 10 Technical Preview, build 9849, is being updated to build 9860. That update will roll out automatically to members of the Windows Insider program, and it will be delivered through Windows Update. The operating system upgrade is a little more heavyweight than a regular hotfix; systems will need to reboot to finish installation, and Microsoft says that the reboot will take longer than normal.

ZOTAC unveils the ZBOX PI320, a $200 Windows 8.1 PC the size of a chunky smartphone – ZOTAC – who, you may remember, were among the first companies to sign up to Valve’s Steam Machines platform – has unveiled a new Windows PC that has the footprint of a smartphone, albeit with a body that’s a good deal thicker than most modern handsets. Nonetheless, the ZBOX PI320 packs plenty of specs into its tiny form factor, including a quad-core Intel Bay Trail Z3735F processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, three USB ports, full-size HDMI port, microSD slot, Ethernet port, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

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Homeboy WiFi camera cuts power cord with 3 month battery – WiFi cameras like Dropcam aren’t new, but while baking in wireless connectivity has helped cut one cord, they’ve always needed to be plugged into a power supply. Now, Homeboy claims to have severed that second tether, with its eponymous camera running on batteries and promising around three months of use from a single charge. That makes positioning all the easier, and Homeboy has taken advantage of that with a magnetic base that means the camera can be pointed in any direction or even hung upside-down from the ceiling.

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Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight Monitors Home Alarms From Afar – The Smart Alert Nightlight plugs into the wall and connects to your home Wi-Fi network using the Leeo app. The nightlight then “listens for the frequency and pattern of your existing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms” and sends an alert to your phone if they go off. It can also monitor climate for anything too hot or cold. The Smart Alert Nightlight also works as, well, a nightlight. Use your phone to set its brightness, or to go on at a certain time – illuminating your way to the bathroom or kitchen at night, for example. The plug-in Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight is on sale now for $99.

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Free videoconferencing tools: 5 creative ways they can help you get things done – A free videoconferencing tool belongs in any productivity kit, and not just for meetings. Used creatively, the combination of webcams and collaboration features can help you streamline other tasks and interactions in your workday, in ways you might never have considered.  Here are five extra ways you can put a free system to work for you.

Lowly DSL poised for gigabit speed boost – DSL was one of the first widely adopted technologies for bringing high-speed Internet access to homes and businesses, but it hasn’t been the fastest. That’s all changing. At the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam this week, several companies are announcing and demonstrating products that bring DSL — or digital subscriber line — into a future with a speed of 1 gigabit per second. That’s about 1,000 times the data-transfer speed the technology offered when it arrived in the late 1990s.

Second-screen apps for every World Series fan – The World Series has returned, with the San Francisco Giants set to battle the Kansas City Royals for baseball supremacy. And thanks to second-screen apps, you don’t have to be merely a passive viewer of the this year’s Fall Classic. These apps for your iPhone or iPad can enliven the experience, whether you’re watching on TV, streaming the games online—or you’re even lucky enough to attend in person.

Security:

Microsoft warns of Windows zero-day; hackers serve exploits in PowerPoint files – Microsoft on Tuesday warned Windows users that cyber criminals are exploiting a zero-day vulnerability using malicious PowerPoint documents sent as email attachments. In an advisory, Microsoft outlined the bug and provided a one-click tool from its “Fixit” line that customers can use to protect their PCs until a patch is available.

Flash vulnerability being exploited in large-scale attacks, mere days after patch – If you haven’t updated your Flash Player with the fixes released on Oct. 14, you may be vulnerable to new attacks using a commercial exploit kit called Fiesta, security researchers warn. The vulnerability, which is being tracked as CVE-2014-0569 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database, was fixed in Flash Player updates last week.

Google launches support for Security Key, a simpler kind of two-factor authentication – It just got a little easier to log into Gmail. Today, Google launched support for Security Key, an open standard that lets you log in to an account with a physical device, usually in the form of a USB. The device takes the place of the six-digit confirmation codes currently used by Google’s two-factor authentication. Instead of typing in the code, you’ll simply insert your USB key before logging in. A password is still required, so a thief wouldn’t be able to log into your account just by stealing your security key. On the other hand, if your account password ended up leaking onto the web, it would be useless without the corresponding security key.

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First man convicted in child predator sting with virtual girl Sweetie – An Australian man with previous child pornography charges is believed to have been the first convicted in an operation using a CGI child to lure predators.

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Company News:

Yahoo’s Minuscule Growth Enough to Exceed Expectations – Yahoo beat Wall Street estimates with $1.15 billion in third-quarter revenue, up from $1.14 during the same quarter last year. Surprising analysts is always nice, but the Internet search giant should be especially happy about the revenue bump, even if it is just a 1% increase. Sales had declined in four of the previous five quarters, including a 3% year-over-year drop in this year’s second quarter.

Google, Facebook continue massive lobbying efforts in Q3 – Google and Facebook continued to pour millions of dollars into federal political lobbying in the third quarter in attempts to influence U.S. lawmakers and have legislation written in their favor. Google spent $3.94 million between July and September while Facebook spent $2.45 million, according to disclosure data published Tuesday. The only tech-related company to outspend Google was Comcast, which is trying to convince politicians to look favorably on a merger with Time Warner and spent $4.23 million during the quarter. But Google stands as the largest spender in the entire tech industry to date this year.

More lawsuits over “no poach” deals get filed against Oracle, Microsoft – A class action lawsuit against Google, Apple, and other tech companies that struck deals to not “cold call” each other’s employees may be on the verge of wrapping up. Similar cases against Oracle and Microsoft have just been filed. The suit against Microsoft (PDF) says that in 2007, the company struck a deal with several other tech companies not to pursue employees who were at “manager level or above,” even if the candidate reached out.

Magic Leap Secures $542M Led By Google For “Lightweight Wearable” Tech That Merges Physical And Digital Worlds – It’s rare that a company can stay relatively secretive while raising a huge amount of funding, but Florida’s Magic Leap has managed that. The startup, led by CEO Rony Abovitz, announced today the close of its $542 million Series B, featuring investors led by Google, Inc., and including KPCB, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Qualcomm and Legendary Entertainment.

Microsoft Drops Nokia Name, Sticks With ‘Lumia’ For Windows Phones – After a long and complicated relationship that first involved just a close partnership with Nokia handling hardware duties, and then Microsoft acquiring Nokia’s phone-making business during what appeared to be a fairly acrimonious separation, there will be no more confusion as to who’s making first-party Windows Phone hardware going forward: they’ll be called just “Microsoft Lumia” devices going forward. The rebranding will begin in France, according to The Verge, and then move around the world from there, and will apply across product branding, social media accounts and all online presence.

Verizon misses Q3 mark as it shrugs off rivals’ promotions – The carrier still managed to post strong customer growth, again driven largely by an increase in tablet sales.

Games and Entertainment:

Xbox One’s new digital TV tuner lets you stream TV to a tablet or smartphone – Microsoft announced its digital TV tuner back in August, and it’s finally going on sale in European countries today. The 29.99 EUR ($40) accessory plugs into a USB port on the Xbox One to pick up channels using free-to-air DVB-T, DVB-T2, and DVB-C television standards. This also enables the TV functionality on Xbox One along with TV listings from OneGuide. While recording isn’t supported yet, Microsoft is allowing Xbox One owners to pause live TV and rewind or fast-forward. The pausing works even if you switch back to a game. It’s not clear if the software maker plans to enable DVR functionality in future, but the pausing live TV temporarily uses part of the 500GB hard drive storage on the console

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Launch trailer for Xbox One exclusive ‘Sunset Overdrive’ released – “Sunset Overdrive” from Insomniac Games and Microsoft will be released for the Xbox One on Oct. 28, and the duo today released the final trailer for the game. A launch trailer highlights the game’s plot and humor, but it also gives a good look at the gameplay from various sections in “Sunset Overdrive.” The launch trailer follows commercials for the game that recently began airing on major networks.

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Indie game pulled off Steam after dev threatens Gabe Newell on Twitter – In a post on the Code Avarice blog, Mike Maulbeck announced that he is stepping down from the company, and has sold his interest in it to fellow developer Travis Pfenning. The move is an effort to convince Valve that it “has no reason to harbor any more ill will towards the company, and maybe even if we can’t see Paranautical Activity restored [to Steam], at least future Code Avarice games may be allowed onto the platform.” After apologizing again for his intemperate tweet, Maulbeck noted that “my temper and tendency to use twitter to vent has been a consistent problem since I entered the games industry, and I just can’t do it.

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Simpsons World app and website stream all 500+ episodes, but require a cable subscription – Fox was pleasantly surprised when its recent Simpsons marathon on extended cable channel FXX pulled in massive ratings. It turns out people are interested in watching at least some of the more than 500 episodes of The Simpsons that have been created in the past quarter century. In order to take proper advantage of that, a new FXX app is coming that will let you watch every single episode whenever you want. The catch? The FXX Simpsons World app will require a cable subscription.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Take an action flight over Paris on the back of an eagle – An eagle’s breathtaking flight at 180km/h over the City of Light has been captured by a Sony Action Cam attached to the bird’s back.

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The top 10 Dilbert cartoons, according to creator Scott Adams – The first syndicated comic that focused on the workplace, the exploits of the office everyman and his crew of incompetent colleagues never loses relevance.

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Why are some sugars sweeter than others? Chew on this – The American Chemical Society looks at why some foods taste sweet, and why some sweeteners are, well, sweeter than others.

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About GamerGate – If you’re sick of GamerGate, consider this a trigger warning. We’re entering month three of the controversy, and things aren’t getting any better. In fact, the whole issue seems to be increasing in frequency of mentions. It was on the front page of the New York Times the other day and your co-workers and relatives are going to start asking you about it because “You play games, right?” So now’s your time to ask away. Let’s get started.

IllumiBowl turns your toilet into a color-changing party light – If you install the colorful IllumiBowl light, it will look like someone’s hosting a party in your toilet.

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Watch the ‘First Real’ Hoverboard – The idea that a man or woman could someday glide effortlessly through the air has captured our imaginations ever since Michael J. Fox hopped on a hoverboard in 1989’s Back to the Future Part II. Now it’s even more so, thanks to the Hendo, touted as “the world’s first REAL hoverboard,” named after inventor Greg Henderson.

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Something to think about:

“To FBI Director Comey and the Admin on criticisms of legitimate businesses using encryption: you reap what you sow.”

-      California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa

Today’s Free Downloads:

Avast Free Antivirus 2015 – Download.com Exclusive – Keep your system updated and protect it against the latest viruses and spyware with the new Avast Free Antivirus 2015, featuring Smart Scan. Avast Free Antivirus 2015 has added utilities to an already comprehensive set of security tools. The new Smart Scan detects vulnerabilities in your home network, checks for program updates, and fixes PC performance issues with just one click. Avast continues to improve its anti-malware protection, as well as making it easier to manage security for multiple devices via the Web client.

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Junkware Removal Tool – Junkware Removal Tool is a security utility that searches for and removes common adware, toolbars, and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) from your computer. A common tactics among freeware publishers is to offer their products for free, but bundle them with PUPs in order to earn revenue. This tool will help you remove these types of programs.

Junkware Removal Tool has the ability to remove the following types of programs:

Ask Toolbar

Babylon

Blekko

Claro / iSearch

Conduit

Crossrider

DealPly

Delta

Facemoods / Funmoods

Findgala

Globasearch

Hao123

iLivid

Iminent

IncrediBar

MocaFlix

MyPC Backup

MyWebSearch

PerformerSoft

Privitize

Qvo6

Searchqu

Snap Do

Swag Bucks

Wajam

Web Assistant

WhiteSmoke

Zugo

And many more…

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Congress to the FBI: There’s ‘Zero Chance’ We’ll Force Apple to Decrypt Phones – The FBI’s director wants Congress to force force Apple and Google to do away with default smartphone encryption. Congress, however, doesn’t look to be with him.

Last week, FBI director James Comey suggested that encryption “threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place” and suggested that if Apple and Google don’t remove default encryption from iOS and Android then “Congress might have to force this on companies.”

But years of National Security Administration surveillance and other privacy oversteps and surveillance creep by the federal government has lawmakers skittish to do anything that’ll be seen as expanding the surveillance state, even if Congress still isn’t ready to roll back the laws it already has on the books.

“To FBI Director Comey and the Admin on criticisms of legitimate businesses using encryption: you reap what you sow,” California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa tweeted. “The FBI and Justice Department must be more accountable—tough sell for them to now ask the American people for more surveillance power.”

Issa holds considerable power on such matters, and The Hill reported that other lawmakers have echoed his sentiments. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (a California democrat who has been staunchly anti surveillance for some years now) said that Comey’s proposal would have “zero chance” of passing; Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told the publication that he doubts more than “a handful” of lawmakers would support such a bill.

So, while it’s disappointing Congress won’t roll back NSA surveillance, it’s at least heartening to hear that Congress thinks that passing a bill like Comey has suggested would be political suicide.

Website blocking is not internet filtering: Australian government – Summary: The Department of Communications has argued that forcing ISPs to block certain websites under Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act is not a form of internet filtering.

Supreme Court to decide if cops can access hotel registries without warrants – The Supreme Court is weighing in on another Fourth Amendment privacy case, this one concerning a Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotels to surrender guest registries to the police upon request without a warrant.

The justices agreed Monday to hear Los Angeles’ appeal of a lower court that ruled 7-4 that the law—meant to combat prostitution, gambling, and even terrorism—was unconstitutional. The law (PDF) requires hotels to provide the information—including guests’ credit card number, home address, driver’s license information, and vehicle license number—at a moment’s notice. Several dozen cities, from Atlanta to Seattle, have similar ordinances.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) welcomed the high court’s intervention in Los Angeles v. Patel.

“The Supreme Court will consider both the scope of privacy protections for hotel guests and also whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits laws that allow unlawful searches,” EPIC wrote. “The second issue has far-reaching consequences because many recent laws authorize the police searches without judicial review. Thus far, courts have only considered “as applied” challenges on a case-by-case basis.”

The appeal is the third high-profile Fourth Amendment case the justices have taken in three years.

More Crypto Wars II – FBI Director James Comey again called for an end to secure encryption by putting in a backdoor. Here’s his speech:

There is a misconception that building a lawful intercept solution into a system requires a so-called “back door,” one that foreign adversaries and hackers may try to exploit.

But that isn’t true. We aren’t seeking a back-door approach. We want to use the front door, with clarity and transparency, and with clear guidance provided by law. We are completely comfortable with court orders and legal process — front doors that provide the evidence and information we need to investigate crime and prevent terrorist attacks.

Cyber adversaries will exploit any vulnerability they find. But it makes more sense to address any security risks by developing intercept solutions during the design phase, rather than resorting to a patchwork solution when law enforcement comes knocking after the fact. And with sophisticated encryption, there might be no solution, leaving the government at a dead end — all in the name of privacy and network security.

I’m not sure why he believes he can have a technological means of access that somehow only works for people of the correct morality with the proper legal documents, but he seems to believe that’s possible. As Jeffrey Vagle and Matt Blaze point out, there’s no technical difference between Comey’s “front door” and a “back door.”

Britain’s Intel Chief: Our Spies Would Rather Quit Than Do Mass Surveillance – GCHQ Director Sir Iain Lobban has continued to equivocate and dissimulate around the issue of surveillance in his valedictory speech, which he gave today ahead of his retirement at the end of this week.

Though the British intelligence agency is the NSA’s closest foreign partner in defending the West from critical threats to national security, Lobban neither mentioned Edward Snowden nor directly addressed the many allegations of mass snooping that have recently been levelled at the organisations. Instead, he chose to talk up the agency’s work against paedophiles, drug cartels, and terrorists, whilst defending GCHQ as a bastion of liberty.

However Snowden, the ex-NSA contractor who exposed the epic surveillance operations of intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic, can’t have been far from Lobban’s mind. “The people who work at GCHQ would sooner walk out the door than be involved in anything remotely resembling ‘mass surveillance,” Lobban said.

But then Lobban described some of the work the agency carries out in a way many would deem as resembling exactly that. “We access the internet at scale so as to dissect it with surgical precision,” he said during his speech at the Churchill War Rooms in London. “You can’t pick and choose the components of a global interception system that you like—catching terrorists and paedophiles—and those you don’t—incidental collection of data at scale: it’s one integrated system.”

He claimed only a small percentage of global communications are within reach of the agency’s sensors and GCHQ only intercepts a small percentage of that. And of the data it intercepts, it stores only a “miniscule” amount for a limited period of time.

But Professor Ross Anderson, a long-time critic of the UK’s intelligence operations and head of cryptography at the University of Cambridge, said over email that Lobban’s definition of ‘mass surveillance’ is “nothing like yours or mine.”

“How come they collected over a million people’s Yahoo video chats, including a significant number of intimate chats?” Anderson asked. “There is no conceivable way that can be justified as targeted, proportionate or necessary. It fails the human rights test. It is mass surveillance.”

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 21, 2014

Six browser plug-ins that protect your privacy;  12 surprising ways personal technology betrays your privacy;  Meet Flic, the iOS photo manager for lazy people;  Office 16: Public beta could start soon;  8 ways Google is tying Chrome OS and Android together;  $179 10-inch Windows 8.1 tablet coming to Walmart;  How to Set Up Apple Pay on Your iPhone or iPad;  Six been-around-the-block tips for working more efficiently in Excel;  Gmail Android App to Support Yahoo, Outlook Accounts;  What’s in the hidden Windows AppData Folder;  Staples probes potential theft of customer credit card data;  Apple could sell record 62 million iPhones this quarter;  GTAV Beta scam: don’t get fooled;  Talk like a modern technology marketer (humor);  What can we learn from netbooks?  Candy Crush Soda Saga Arrives on Facebook;  System Explorer (free);  Australian government warrantless data requests pass 500,000;  Tech industry on the offensive against government.

12 surprising ways personal technology betrays your privacy – Our great privacy fears tend to be centered around others invading our privacy, whether it’s Google reading email, the boss monitoring your computer use, or the NSA eavesdropping on phone calls. The problem is, we don’t think about the very technologies we voluntarily embrace and what kind of snooping they do, and they do a lot of tracking. Some of it can and is used for benign or helpful reasons, but that can be turned against you very fast. Here are 12 ways your personal technology is betraying your privacy.

Six browser plug-ins that protect your privacy – Some plug-ins go beyond mere filtering, promising full-on privacy protection against cookies, trackers, third-party scripts and widgets, and other unwanted invasions. In this roundup I chose six products: AdBlock, Adblock Plus, Disconnect, DoNotTrackMe, Ghostery and Privacy Badger. There are dozens of other, similar, tools, but these represent a good cross-section of what’s available. They’re also among the most popular picks in the Chrome and Firefox extensions libraries.

Office 16: Public beta could start soon, with Android and touch versions to follow – The next version of Microsoft Office is reportedly on track for a spring 2015 launch, but Microsoft may offer a public beta much sooner. According to the well-connected Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft may launch a public test version of its desktop productivity software “any time now.” The company may also launch an Android tablet version of Office within a couple of months, and launch a touch-optimized Windows Store version in the spring.

Facebook sues lawyers of man who claimed to own the social network – Facebook says when Paul Ceglia claimed to own at least half of the world’s largest social network, at least one of his lawyers figured out he was lying. That’s the crux of a lawsuit filed by the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company against DLA Piper, one of the world’s largest law firms, and several other lawyers connected to Ceglia and his claim that he owned 84 percent of Facebook.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

8 ways Google is tying Chrome OS and Android together – Chrome OS and Android are two separate and distinct operating systems, but the lines are beginning to blur, to the benefit of people who’ve gone all-in on Google.

$179 10-inch Windows 8.1 tablet coming to Walmart – The E Fun Nextbook will feature a quad-core Intel Atom processor and include a detachable keyboard when it becomes available in time for the holiday shopping season.

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Spotify’s Family plan offers separate accounts for everyone in your house – Tired of sharing your Spotify account with everyone at home, but don’t want to bother creating a second account? Pretty soon you won’t have to thanks to Spotify Family.

Meet Flic, the iOS photo manager for lazy people – People have been calling Flic the Tinder of photo apps, and that’s the perfect description: Use gestures to quickly clear out your Camera Roll and keep only the photos that matter.

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Six been-around-the-block tips for working more efficiently in Excel – Just because a tip has been used for a long time doesn’t mean it isn’t new to you. Learn a few of Susan Harkins’ old but reliable tips for working more efficiently in Excel.

Build polished business dashboards with these five web-based apps – Dashboards provide an effective way to present a focused look at selected data. Here are five tools that let you tap different data sources and quickly put together a custom dashboard.

Apple Pay: Your full list of stores, apps, and banks supporting it – Now that iOS 8.1 is here, so is Apple Pay! The update, which launched about 90 minutes ago (at the time we publish this article), brings in Apple Pay. For those with an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, you’ll get the ability to make purchases at several point-of-sale terminals via a myriad of banks (likely yours). For those without an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, Apple Pay is still usable. To help, we’ve put together a list of apps and stores where you can use Apple Pay.

How to Set Up Apple Pay on Your iPhone or iPad – Apple Pay, the newest “next big thing” out of Cupertino, hits shopping carts across the U.S. Monday both online and in stores. Paying with a swipe of your smartphone? That sounds like the stuff of the future. Or the stuff of Android phones since 2011. Or the stuff of Japan as far back as 2004. Regardless, it’s still a welcome leap for the 42.4% of American smartphone users who own an iPhone. Here’s how to set up Apple Pay, the company’s new cashless, cardless way to pay.

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Skype for Windows Phone Gets Snapchat-Like Drawing Feature – The Microsoft-owned chat service on Monday unveiled a new version of its Windows Phone app, complete with a brand new Snapchat-like drawing feature to help you harness your inner Picasso. With the latest version of the app, you can now draw on a blank canvas or add some silly additions to a photo, then share your masterpieces with friends.

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Google rolling out new anti-piracy search algorithm – Google will begin rolling out a change to its search algorithm that the media giant says will “visibly affect” rankings of piracy sites globally. The Mountain View, California company promised to do this in 2012. But at the time, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and others said the changes to its search algorithm had “no demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy.” Google said the latest global algorithm changes, to roll out this week, will work.

Office Mix now lets PowerPoint users create on the fly – Microsoft wants to deliver a new wave of apps that are intuitive, intelligent, and mobile- and cloud-friendly—and its latest move is with Office Mix, a PowerPoint add-on aimed at teachers, for recording presentations and making them more interactive. Office Mix, launched in May, now lets presenters create “mixes” while they are giving their presentations live, by adding a new control panel that contains only the most essential features for building “mixes” without sacrificing the screen real estate for the slides the audience is seeing.

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Apple making 64-bit support mandatory soon – Your shiny new iPhone is about to get apps that work with it properly. Via the Apple Developer page, we find that starting early next year, all apps must have 64-bit support. Those apps must also be built with the latest Apple developer environment, and utilize the latest iOS SDK. It’s a push toward the future, but not one that should come as a surprise. Apple did the same thing with iOS 7, which was more a push for visual upgrades.

What’s in the hidden Windows AppData Folder, and how to find it if you need it – You know about Documents and other libraries. But some important data files are stored in the difficult-to-access AppData folder. Here’s what you need to know.

Report: Gmail Android App to Support Yahoo, Outlook Accounts – Support for Yahoo, Outlook, and other email providers within the Gmail app means you’ll soon be able to get all your mail without switching apps. Just like you can switch between different Gmail accounts within the email app, you’ll be able to move from Gmail to Yahoo to Outlook without leaving the Gmail app.

Security:

Staples probes potential theft of customer credit card data – Staples said late Monday that it is investigating a “potential issue” involving its customers’ credit card data in what could be the latest US retailer to fall victim to a payment card system security breach. The office supply chain announced it was working with law enforcement officials after security reporter Brian Krebs reported that “multiple banks” had identified patterns of payment card fraud that suggested data had been stolen from several locations in the Northeastern US.

FYI: OS X Yosemite’s Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you’re searching for – There’s growing disquiet over Apple’s desktop search app Spotlight, which sends queries for things back to the company’s servers to process. Spotlight phones home in OS X Yosemite, version 10.10, and it is enabled by default: it can be switched off, but with Apple insisting that it now takes people’s privacy seriously, the software has raised some eyebrows. It appears Spotlight sends queries, along with your location, back to Apple over the internet so the company can suggest related things from the web using Microsoft’s Bing engine. Apple says it needs to see your queries so it can improve Spotlight’s algorithms for suggesting things.

Apple clarifies Spotlight Suggestions data collection practices – Responding to concerns that Apple was automatically collecting user location and search query data through its latest Mac operating system, the company issued a statement Monday clarifying its customer data collection policies.

Chinese Big Brother launches nationwide attack on iCloud – The Great Firewall of China is the man-in-the-middle attack point targeting Chinese iCloud users by redirecting them to a fake iCloud site to hoover up usernames and passwords.

China again blames US for disrupted cybersecurity talks – China claimed on Sunday the U.S. has derailed cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries and that it doesn’t tolerate hacking. The statement came a day after Yang Jiechi, a state councilor who deals with foreign affairs, held discussions on Saturday in Boston with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on topics that included cybersecurity.

One of the most convincing phishing attacks yet tricks you with Dropbox sharing – Dropbox’s file storage service was used for a tricky phishing attack, although the service was quick to shut it down, according to Symantec. The security vendor said it detected a batch of phishing emails advising recipients that they’ve been sent a large file and included a link to Dropbox-hosted page. “The email claims the document can be viewed by clicking on the link included in the message,” wrote Nick Johnston of Symantec in a blog post. “However, the link opens a fake Dropbox login page, hosted on Dropbox itself.”

Cloud security: Think you’re blocking staff access to certain sites? Think again – Stopping staff using certain web services may be in decline outside regulatory environments, but even where it is being attempted it may be falling well short of its aims.

Company News:

Dish loses 7 channels in contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting – Dish Network customers lost access to CNN, Turner Classic Movies, and a handful of other channels late Monday as the result of a contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting. Turner Broadcasting, which licenses the channels for distribution to subscription services, pulled the channels from Dish’s lineup upon the expiration of its current deal with the satellite service after the two companies were unable to negotiate renewed distribution terms. Other channels removed from Dish include Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN en Espanol, Headline News, and truTV.

App Store Downloads Top 85 Billion, Revenue Up 36 Percent Year-Over-Year – Apple CEO Tim Cook announced today during the company’s FY Q4 2014 earnings call that Apple’s cumulative App Store downloads have now topped 85 billion up from 60 billion around a year ago. The number was announced alongside news of Apple’s massive quarter, and its record-breaking sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices.

Apple could sell record 62 million iPhones this quarter, analyst says – In an investors note released Monday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster forecast iPhone sales for the October-through-December quarter of anywhere from 56.7 million to 62.7 million. That range compares with overall Wall Street estimates of 60 million and some investor expectations as high as 63 million. The last quarter of the year is Apple’s first fiscal quarter, so these numbers actually mean Apple would start fiscal 2015 on a high note.

Lenovo tipped to make a bid for BlackBerry this week – Either Lenovo is very serious about stepping up its mobile phone business or it is getting very desperate. Aside from setting up a third mobile business to target China specifically, rumors are resurfacing that Lenovo is eying to buy BlackBerry out of its woes. Or perhaps the two moves are one and the same, which doesn’t make sense either. Whatever Lenovo has planned, we might very well know this week as sources close to the matter tip that Lenovo will be making an offer to buy BlackBerry sometime this week.

Qualcomm pushes 4K video streaming with prototype TV dongle – Qualcomm has a plan to liberate 4K video from high-end smartphones, and it involves a Chromecast-like prototype TV dongle. Qualcomm primarily sees the device as a way for users to beam homemade 4K video to their televisions, but it could eventually be used to stream 4K content from online sources such as Netflix. The dongle could also double as a wireless dock for phones and tablets, mirroring the display onto the big screen.

Yahoo’s Mayer set to outline her plan as criticism mounts – Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will defend herself and her strategy at a third-quarter investor conference call Tuesday, according to a new report. After Yahoo announces its third-quarter results that day, Mayer will take to the company’s earnings call to outline her plan for growth and announce that Yahoo is planning to make a major acquisition or two, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the chief executive’s plans.

Apple eyes $5 per month for Beats Music, report says – That’d be a substantial cut. Right now, Beats Music streaming costs $10 per month, in line with most other streaming services.

Games and Entertainment:

GTAV Beta scam: don’t get fooled – Over the past several weeks there’ve been an increased number of scams and phishing schemes showing up related to Grand Theft Auto 5. So very many of them have appeared, in fact, that RockStar Games are getting involved with massive warnings. What better way to continue fueling your own hype machine than by piggybacking on the mini-hype machines others are attempting to use to piggyback on you?

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343 Industries apologizes for Halo’s 20GB day-one content update – On November 11 Microsoft and 343 Industries will launch the Halo: Master Chief Collection for Xbox One. It brings together the first four Halo games, multiplayer modes, and additional content, as well as unlocking access to the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta. However, there’s a feature of the release that not all gamers are going to appreciate, and it takes the form of a day-one 20GB content download. 20GB is a lot of data, but an amount most gamers will be able to cope with hopefully without incurring a charge. But let’s not forget those who have chosen to purchase a digital copy of the game. Come release day they’ll be waiting for 65GB of data to download.

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Xbox One to get custom backgrounds and many more features with November update – Microsoft has published a list of updates that are coming to the Xbox One as part of the November update and they include personalization, TV enhancements, IE updates and more.

‘Candy Crush Soda Saga’ Arrives on Facebook – Game maker King today launched a new reason to ignore your family and friends: Candy Crush Soda Saga. The sister title to everyone’s favorite time waster, Candy Crush Soda Saga is set in the familiar Candy Kingdom, but boasts new graphics, games modes, candy combinations, and gameplay mechanisms. Designed to be played alongside the original game, this installation promises fresh challenges for even those players who’ve managed to fight their way to the end of the original Candy Crush Saga.

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Pokémon teams up with manga horror legend Junji Ito to ruin your childhood – One of the world’s finest creators of comic book horror has teamed up with The Pokémon Company for a special “scary” collaboration.

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Lionsgate streaming service to join HBO and CBS in 2015 – The studio behind The Hunger Games is set to join CBS and HBO in their efforts to add a streaming service to the masses. This is Lionsgate Films, and they’re being joined in their efforts by Tribeca Enterprises. This service will be launched in the first half of next year, and it’ll be called – oddly enough – “Tribeca Short List.” This service will include John Wick, Crash, Monster’s Ball, The Hurt Locker, Juno, Ender’s Game, and Snitch. And don’t forget The Expendables – and a whole lot more.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Talk like a modern technology marketer (humor) – Made-up words were in abundance during this fall’s software conference season. Your dauntless reporter traveled the world to bring back the latest in tech marketing speak. If you want to sound like you’re current with today’s dubious jargon, here’s a quick primer to get you all caught up.

DDoS Attacks: Legitimate Form of Protest or Criminal Act? – A basic premise of a democratic society gives its citizens rights to participate in debate and effect change by taking to the streets to demonstrate. In the U.S., this is enshrined in the Bill of Rights under the First Amendment. But what happens when we all effectively live, work, shop, date, bank and get into political debates online? Because online, as Molly Sauter points out in her book The Coming Swarm, there are no streets on which to march. “Because of the densely intertwined nature of property and speech in the online space, unwelcome acts of collective protest become also acts of trespass.” Sauter argues that distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are a legitimate form of protest. Or at least one that needs to be examined in a larger context of lawful activism, rather than hastily and disastrously criminalized under the Patriot Act.

Man falls into sea on live TV while possibly taking selfie – A man lifts his cell phone in front of his face to take the perfect shot. And then, a YouTube-worthy calamity.

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Professor Wozniak takes on new role at Australian university – Sydney’s University of Technology has a new teacher, with Steve Wozniak taking on his first ever adjunct professorship and being dubbed “the coolest person in the universe” in the process.

John Oliver’s all-dog Supreme Court on ‘Last Week Tonight’ is hilarious and free for anyone to remix – Comedian newscaster John Oliver has aired some hilarious and incisive sketches so far throughout the first season of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. But there’s a new top dog among them: last night’s bit featuring an all-animal Supreme Court. Inspired by Keyboard Cat, the sketch — which features dogs as the nine justices, a duck as an assistant, and a pitch-perfect pecking chicken as a stenographer — is meant to mock the absurdity of the US Supreme Court’s refusal to allow its proceedings to be televised, despite permitting audio recordings.

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What can we learn from netbooks? – From 2007 to 2009, we saw the rise of the low-powered, dirt-cheap netbook. Today these clunky computers are frequently mocked — but they did teach us a lesson.

Monica Lewinsky joins Twitter – Describing herself as a social activist, public speaker and contributor to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky decides now is the time to enter the fray of immediacy.

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Something to think about:

“Only sick music makes money today.”

-      Friedrich Nietzsche  (1844 – 1900)

Today’s Free Downloads:

AdwCleaner – AdwCleaner is a program that searches for and deletes Adware, Toolbars, Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP), and browser Hijackers from your computer.

By using AdwCleaner you can easily remove many of these types of programs that intefere with your computers normal operations and get a better user experience particularly while browsing the web.

AdwCleaner specializes in removing:

- Adware: Programs which have been installed that are running unwanted advertisements on your system.

- PUP’s or Potentially Unwanted Program

- Toolbars

- Hijacker Home page, browser and advertisment hijackers.

For help using AdwCleaner check out our Malware removal guides or ask for help in our Majorgeeks Support Forums.

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WinMend Folder Hidden – WinMend Folder Hidden is a file / folder hiding tool. While ensuring the absolute system safety, this application can quickly hide files and folders on local partitions and/or on removable devices. The hidden files / folders will be safely hidden whether the drive is accessed in another operating system on the same computer or reinstalled on another computer.

You can set a password for this application. Hidden data can be displayed and unhidden only when the user enters the valid password. The data is completely invisible to other programs or on other operating systems.

Features:

Safety First:

The hiding technology will never damage any file data. It is safe and reliable.

High-Speed Hiding and Unhiding:

Whether it’s a file of dozens of GB, or a folder containing a lot of files, the file or the folder can be hidden and unhidden instantly.

Removable Drives Are Supported:

Files and folders on removable drives such as USB drives hidden by WinMend Folder Hidden are invisible not only in the computer where the hiding was completed, but in any computer.

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System Explorer – Detailed informations about Tasks, Processes, Modules, Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services, Drivers, Connections and Opened Files. Portable version also available.

System Explorer is free, awards winning software for exploration and management of System Internals. This small software includes many useful tools which help you Keep Your System Under Control. With System Explorer You get also fast access to File Database which help you to determine unwanted processes or threats. System Explorer is translated into 21 languages and is available for download in installer and portable version.

Features:

Detailed information about Tasks, Processes, Modules,

Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services,

Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.

Easy check of suspicious files via VirusTotal, Jotti

service or our File Database.

Easy monitoring of processes activities and System changes.

Usage graphs of important System resources.

Tray Hint with detailed System and Battery status

WMI Browser and System Additional Info

Multilanguage Support

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Australian government warrantless data requests pass 500,000 – Requests from government agencies for Australian telecommunications customers’ phone, internet, and address data surpassed 500,000 in the last financial year, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The figure was revealed in the ACMA’s annual report (PDF) released this month. It says that there were 563,012 authorisations granted to government agencies for access to telecommunications “metadata” in the 2013-14 financial year.

Under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, government agencies can force telecommunications companies to hand over details about their customers, including address, phone number, IP address, call data, SMS data, and other held information without a warrant for the purpose of enforcing the law.

The ACMA recorded that total disclosures amounted to 748,079 for the financial year including to law enforcement for a range of reasons, such as to avert a threat to life, assist the ACMA, or enforce the criminal law of a foreign country.

The number of requests by far exceeds the more than 300,000 requests made in the 2012-13 financial year reported by the Attorney-General’s Department in its Telecommunications (Interception and Access) report last year. The report for this year has yet to be tabled in parliament.

Tech industry on the offensive against government – In 2008 the U.S. government threatened Yahoo with daily $250,000 fines if it refused to comply with its demands for user data. What was Yahoo to do? Without any relief from the (secret) courts it had either to comply or commit corporate suicide. And we didn’t find out about it until just a few weeks ago.

Things have changed a lot. The biggest companies in the business are taking on the national security state. It began with court maneuvers by Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Facebook to protect their reputations with customers by allowing them to disclose aggregate information about the extent of their compliance with government information requests.

The FISA court has permitted some, though not enough disclosure. The numbers these companies actually released don’t prove a lot, because the court would not allow them to disclose all important categories of government requests. The important part is that it shows the companies are taking their customers’ interests seriously and are working to protect them to the greatest extent possible. Assume this is the norm, such as in this recent letter from Facebook to the US DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) telling them that they are obligated to follow Facebook’s terms of service the same as everyone else, and they are not permitted to use fake profiles in investigations.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 20, 2014

Hacked: The six most common ways non-tech people fall victim;  All your OS X 10.10 Yosemite how-to needs met, right here;  Secure, Private Email and Cloud Storage Alternatives to Gmail and Dropbox; Use Tinfoil for Facebook to protect your privacy on Android;  Android 5.0, Lollipop: The complete FAQ;  Windows 10: The votes are pouring in for these 10 features;  Here’s how Google’s Nexus 9 stacks up against Apple’s iPad Air 2;  Microsoft withdraws another buggy update;  7 must-have apps for iPad;  10 mirroring devices let you present without wires;  Can’t Sleep? 7 Apps to Help You Snooze;  Three services that take the headache out of creating a website;  Apple patches 144 security flaws across seven products;  Kickstarter Suspends Anonabox Campaign;  Once the FBI has a backdoor into your phone, everyone does.

Secure, Private Email and Cloud Storage Alternatives to Gmail and Dropbox – In this article, we take a look at some of the privacy-focused email and cloud storage services that have either sprung up or gained popularity in the wake of what’s popularly been referred to as the Summer of Snowden.

Use Tinfoil for Facebook to protect your privacy on Android – The developer, Daniel Velazco, refers to this app as “a wrapper for Facebook’s mobile site,” but it’s much more useful than it sounds. Behind the scenes, Tinfoil creates a sandbox for all of Facebook’s cookies, storing them independently from your normal browser cookies. This keeps your information from being leaked and tracked across other websites. Here’s how to get started.

Android 5.0, Lollipop: The complete FAQ – Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop release is full of interesting new features and flavors. Here’s a detailed FAQ on everything related to the release.

All your OS X 10.10 Yosemite how-to needs met, right here – Apple’s OS X 10.10 Yosemite brings its desktop and laptop OS closer to the look and feel of iOS 8. It also includes a bevy of new exclusive features you won’t find on any other OS. At least for now. Here you’ll find every Yosemite tip, trick, how to, explainer and DIY — don’t expect many of those — the CNET How To team has posted. Expect constant updates over the next few weeks as we continue to delve deeper.

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Here’s how Google’s Nexus 9 stacks up against Apple’s iPad Air 2 – On Wednesday, Google took the wraps off the Nexus 9, a spectacular new high-end tablet manufactured by HTC. Thursday, Apple announced the iPad Air 2, a modest upgrade to last year’s stellar iPad Air. Naturally, one runs iOS 8 and its associated apps, and one runs Android Lollipop and its apps. For many users, that’s difference enough to choose one over the other. If you’re not married to either ecosystem, and you want to know where to dive in, consider these points of comparison.

Windows 10: The votes are pouring in for these 10 features – One reason users hated Windows 8 is because it was thrust upon them. They had to like it or lump it. With the Windows 10 Technical Preview, that’s all changed. Microsoft wants to know what you want before the OS ships, and it’s provided a feedback mechanism: The Windows Feature Suggestion Box. Users can suggest and vote for new features to add. And the votes are pouring in, for everything from a revamped Notepad to a Persian calendar. The following 10 features have the most votes so far. Here’s hoping we’ll see them in Windows 10.

Microsoft withdraws another buggy update – A non-patch security update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 was causing systems to reboot. It’s been a rough few months for Microsoft’s update quality control.

7 must-have apps for iPad: Make the most of your iPad with these iOS apps – Just one month after announcing new iPhones and watches, Apple will unveil another set of new products on Thursday. While nothing is official yet, we’re anticipating next-generation iPads and Macs, the final release of Yosemite OS, and perhaps an Apple TV update. For the iPad, there are rumors of fingerprint sensors and a new color. Whether or not you’re ready for a tablet upgrade, our seven app picks will enhance your iPad experience.

Google’s latest anti-piracy efforts: download suggestions, demoted rankings – Google has been active in helping combat the issue of piracy, and as such has tried various methods to deter users away from copyright-infringing sources to legitimate download websites. Last year Google published a report called “How Google Fights Piracy”, which detailed the methods with which it was trifling and what users could expect as a result. That report has now been updated to encompass the changes that have taken place since its first publication, and among those changes is the addition of a large legit downloads suggestion box.

10 mirroring devices let you present without wires – Wirelessly sending a presentation from your laptop or tablet to a large screen is a breeze with one of these mirroring devices. The ten devices we’ve rounded up plug into a projector or large monitor and can mirror the display of a laptop, tablet or smartphone so you can make presentations from your own device — and from anywhere in the room.

This is not a toy: $250 Samsung Chromebook 2 has Intel CPU, fanless design, aluminum reinforcement – Chromebooks are moving beyond basic browsing. Samsung’s $250, aluminum-reinforced Chromebook 2 is designed to take a school’s worth of rough handling, and it’ll appeal to consumers as well.

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Can’t Sleep? 7 Apps to Help You Snooze – The solution to getting a good night’s sleep could lie in fitness devices that also function as sleep trackers, like the Misfit Shine and Basis B1 Band, giving us insight into our behaviors before bedtime and our patterns of sleep. But before you invest in another piece of hardware, you may want to try downloading an app or two. Though it might seem counterintuitive, there are apps and services that are intended to help you wind down and count virtual sheep instead of Facebook likes for awhile.

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Smartphones and tablets may be the cause of your sleepless nights but they could also be the cure.

Twitter starts adding tweets to your timeline from accounts you don’t follow – With immediate effect Twitter will start adding tweets to your timeline from accounts you have not chosen to follow. These aren’t promoted tweets (those will continue to appear, too), they are tweets Twitter has decided are either popular or relevant to you, and therefore you should see them.

Three services that take the headache out of creating a website – Even in this time of Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook many people argue you need your own online presence with a personal or professional website. Having your own website gives you a place to represent you that is under your complete control. Here are three free services that can help you create a website. By default, they all direct your newly created site to a generic domain name, but all three also let you use your own purchased website name if you choose.

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WordPress.com

Intel Bay Trail-based USB stick capable of running Windows 8.1 goes on sale – An Intel Bay Trail-based USB stick has gone on sale on Chinese retailer Alibaba’s website for just $110 excluding shipping. Unlike other USB dongles that provide the ability to mirror content to televisions, the Intel-based stick listed as Meegopad features a full blown x86 CPU capable of running most operating systems including Windows 8.1 and popular Linux distros such as Ubuntu and Fedora. The USB stick is just under 100mm long and is packed with a quad core Intel Atom CPU running at 1.7 GHz. Other specifications of the device include 1 GB DDR3 RAM, 2 MicroUSB ports, 1 HDMI port, 16 GB and 32 GB storage options, a memory card slot, WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.

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SoftMaker beta for Android tablets: A throwback to old-school ways – Back in the day, there wasn’t a single thing wrong with the tools we used. Yes, in comparison to how we work today, they were a bit limited, ugly, and single-minded. But they got the job done and did it well. So, when I installed the beta version of SoftMaker Office HD tools, I immediately tossed back to those “good ol’ days.” That’s right, SoftMaker has brought their tools, in full force, to the Android platform — and the second you open them, you’ll be right at home.

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Internet trolls will face up to two years in prison under new UK bill – British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling stated his intentions today to raise the criminal penalty for cyber trolling in the UK up to a maximum two year sentence, in an attempt to halt the spread of online abuse happening on social media and other sites.

Security:

Apple patches 144 security flaws across seven products – Patches are released for Mavericks, Mountain Lion, OS X Server and iTunes. A fix for the POODLE bug is included where appropriate. Most of the bugs are old ones in iTunes.

Anonymous app Whisper allegedly tracks user location, shares data with government – The app is accused by The Guardian of tracking users’ locations.

Hacked: The six most common ways non-tech people fall victim – In the era of BYOD, the less technical among us are prime targets for cybercrime attacks against your company. Learn the six top ways non-tech people get hacked.

MasterCards will soon come with a built-in fingerprint scanner – With all the recent security issues surrounding credit card numbers, there’s increasing interest in adding additional security measures. For example, PIN codes are being integrated with cards in many regions, but a company called Zwipe has something a little different in mind. Zwype is partnering with MasterCard to make a new kind of card that uses your fingerprint for authorization when the time comes to pay, and there’s no transaction limit.

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Once the FBI has a backdoor into your phone, everyone does – FBI director James Comey believes tech companies should be forced to insert back doors to bypass encryption on smartphones. But experts say once that happen,s security is moot and anyone can breach your privacy.

New Web vulnerability enables powerful social engineering attacks – Users who are careful to download files only from trusted websites may be tricked by a new type of Web vulnerability: this one cons them into downloading malicious executable files that are not actually hosted where they appear to be. The attack has been dubbed reflected file download (RFD) and is somewhat similar in concept to reflected cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks where users are tricked to click on specifically crafted links to legitimate sites that force their browsers to execute rogue code contained in the URLs themselves.

BBC takes a stand against ‘right to be forgotten’ – The BBC has taken a stand against what it says are wrongful removals under the EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling, and is planning to publish a list of its articles which are removed from Google.

Company News:

Google And Microsoft Battle For Market Cap Supremacy – Update: Microsoft pulled it off, and at the time of writing (2:45 pm London, 9:45 am New York), Microsoft is worth more than Google. We’ll check back in at the end of the day: – Google and Microsoft are currently locked in a dogfight to be the second-most valuable technology company in the world.

Kickstarter Suspends Anonabox Campaign – Well, it sounded good on paper, at least. Said Kickstarter, which raised an impressive amount of funding ($585,549) over its brief few days of existence, has since been suspended. While it blew past its initial funding goal of $7,500, Reddit members questioned the project’s integrity as a result of its creator’s claims that the Anonabox was an original creation which took four years’ worth of development to build.

Report: Microsoft is about to jump into the smartwatch fray – According to Forbes, Microsoft plans to release a smartwatch of its own “within weeks.” Forbes goes on to say that the smartwatch “will passively track a wearer’s heart rate and work across different mobile platforms,” and that it would be able to go two days between charges. That would be an improvement over many current smartwatches, which often need to be charged nightly.

HBO may price online-only subscription service at $15 a month – HBO’s plans to bring its programming to Internet users via a Netflix-style streaming service may cost as much as bundling it with a cable package, according to a report.

Microsoft CEO ‘humbled’ by backlash to equal pay comments, outlines diversity plan – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is not done addressing the criticism over his recent remarks that women in the notoriously sexist technology industry shouldn’t be “asking for a raise” but should instead be “having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.” After making those comments in early October at a conference celebrating women in tech, and then walking back them back on Twitter and in an internal email, Nadella is taking even more steps to apologize and emphasize that he is committed to greater gender equality at Microsoft.

Games and Entertainment:

The Binge-Watch List: Gilmore Girls are three generations of charming – It’s not hard to find TV shows to watch these days. But finding good ones to watch amid all the streaming video services fighting for your attention and your eyeballs? That’s more of a challenge. Every other week, we’ll help you separate a would-be House of Cards from the rest of the pack, as we look at which streaming TV shows are worth your time.

Watch ‘The Hobbit,’ as told in 72 seconds of Lego stop-motion animation – The YouTube stop-motion artists Brotherhood Workshop have condensed the story of The Hobbit down into 72 tight seconds (it is a kid’s book, after all) and animated it using Lego’s Hobbit-themed minifigs and sets. The results are simultaneously hilarious but also quite fun for Middle-earth fans — the whole thing feels like it could easily have been produced by Lego itself.

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Does your Xbox One controller randomly disconnect? – If you have an Xbox One, have you had any issues with your controller randomly disconnecting? We have received quite a few tips and it happens to us as well on occasion.

You Should Play: Side-scoller El is all about the powerful storyline – El isn’t your typical mobile game: For one thing, it’s wholly uncompetitive—the levels are only moderately challenging, and there are no bonuses awarded for completing the game at a higher difficulty. While El may not satisfy your lust for competition or endless gameplay, it’s absolutely worth a look for the following reasons.

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The game may be short, but it’s storyline is one you’ll want to visit again.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Do you think this cartoon is offensive? Many Indians do – Indians around the world have expressed outrage at the cartoon ostensibly because they’re tired of being depicted as snake charmers, fakirs or perched on flying carpets; they regard this cartoon as merely an extension of the gaze through which the West has looked at the East for hundreds of years. Indeed, Edward Said’s landmark book Orientalism chronicles much of this tendency.

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The recent New York Times cartoon referencing India’s Mission to Mars

Watch Earth roll by live in HD, streamed from the ISS – Get your relaxing Internet fix by sitting back and watching the Blue Marble roll away in real-time under the orbit of the ISS.

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The season you’re born in affects your moodiness, study says – Sometimes we struggle to discover why we’re the way we are. There are people who believe they’re naturally caring or miserable or just sensitive — whatever that might mean. Now a scientific study has come along to explain, at least to some extent, why people are moody. It seems to be quite simple: those born in the winter tend to be placid, friendly, lovable adults. Those born in the summer, however, are allegedly prone to be the moody snivellers whom we tolerate at our own peril. This, at least, is how the Telegraph reports a piece of research from Hungary.

Watch These Tiny Robots As They Fly Well With Others – The quadccopters at the University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab are truly trained to follow the golden robot rule: fly with others as you’d fly with yourself. Thanks to researchers Yash Mulgaonkar, Gareth Cross and Vijay Kumar, we can see how close these little flying robots are to their noble goal. The team has also created a system for a sort of uncanny flocking behavior.

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Amazing footage of a F/A-18 Super Hornet’s low-level maneuvers – Despite being in service for more than 30 years, the F/A-18 Hornet continues to be a mainstay of American air power. The video was taken as planes took off and landed on the deck of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65), an Enterprise-class aircraft carrier that actively served from 1962-2012. The jets take up their positions on the deck and are latched to a hydraulic arm that accelerates them down the short runway. When landing, a tailhook is used to slow the plane before it shoots off the other end of the ship. You can see what both of these moments are like from inside the cockpit in the video.

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Harnessing depression: One Ars writer’s journey – In his final piece for Ars, Dave Girard talks about life with depression – Getting to the point where I could write this article involved a series of debates. I debated talking about my father’s suicide; I debated “outing” myself as a depression sufferer; I debated not talking about it and what that meant. I decided in the end that I would be the worst kind of hypocrite if I believed that dialog about depression was essential but was unwilling to start that dialog myself. I hope that my story can help others understand why the traits that cause depression have been both a plague and a gift to so many.

Pointing up   As a traveller on the devastating road to major depression, I can tell you that depression is real. Thankfully, I have been symptom and medication free for better than 15 years, but the scars remain.

I encourage you to read this article – you may recognize someone you know. If you do, please hold out a helping hand.

Microsoft’s biggest Windows 10 challenge: Generating enthusiasm – There’s more to getting Windows 10 right than just perfecting the code. Microsoft needs to make us once again enthusiastic about Windows.

Secrets become history: Edward Snowden on film as Citizenfour – Citizenfour is filmmaker Laura Poitras’ account of the first meetings between herself, Glenn Greenwald, and Edward Snowden. It was first shown publicly last Friday, and it will open in theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco on October 24. For those who have followed the news around the Snowden documents, even in small doses, Citizenfour isn’t full of revelations (though there are a few surprises). But for viewers interested in surveillance, or the future of the Internet, or journalism—it won’t matter. The film is riveting, and its power is in its source material.

Something to think about:

“If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent. […] the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.”

-      David Dunning

Today’s Free Downloads:

Earth Alerts – Earth Alerts is a Windows-based application that allows you to monitor in near real-time a variety of natural hazard events that are occurring anywhere around the world. Alert notifications, reports, and imagery provide the user with a convenient way to view natural phenomenon as they occur, whether close to home or some far-flung corner of the globe!

Earth Alerts uses a variety of online resources provided by organizations such as the National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Smithsonian Institution (just to name a few), to identify what sort of activities “Mother Earth” is currently dishing out on the planet.

To use Earth Alerts, you simply select the specific natural hazards — earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, tropical cyclones, wildland fires, landslides, severe weather, local weather, etc. — and the locations that interest you. The application will then automatically retrieve the latest information from various live data feeds available on the Internet and present it to you in a convenient arrangement of reports, maps and images.

Earth Alerts has been available to the general public since 2005. In that time it has undergone a number of significant enhancements. As a hobby, a one man production and a labor of love, conceiving the ideas and creating Earth Alerts has been a (time consuming) pet project over the past few years!

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WirelessNetView – WirelessNetView is a small utility that runs in the background, and monitor the activity of wireless networks around you. For each detected network, it displays the following information: SSID, Last Signal Quality, Average Signal Quality, Detection Counter, Authentication Algorithm, Cipher Algorithm, MAC Address, RSSI, Channel Frequency, Channel Number, and more.

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Combofix – Combofix is frequently updated, so we only provide a direct link to the author to ensure you are getting the latest version. Be sure to download it every time you need Combofix so you have the most recent version.

ComboFix is a program, created by sUBs, that scans your computer for known malware, and when found, attempts to clean these infections automatically. In addition to being able to remove a large amount of the most common and current malware, ComboFix also displays a report that can be used by trained helpers to remove malware that is not automatically removed by the program.

You should not run ComboFix unless you are specifically asked to by a helper. Also, due to the power of this tool it is strongly advised that you do not attempt to act upon any of the information displayed by ComboFix without supervision from someone who has been properly trained. If you do so, it may lead to problems with the normal functionality of your computer.

It is also understood that the use of ComboFix is done at your own risk.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

“Under internal review,” NSA CTO works part-time for agency’s former chief: It’s the second possible conflict of interest involving former NSA head Keith Alexander – The National Security Agency is now conducting an internal investigation of a top official’s part-time work for a private cybersecurity firm, according to Reuters.

That company, IronNet Cybersecurity, was founded by Keith Alexander. Alexander served as the head of the spy agency from August 2005 until March 2014. IronNet Cybersecurity currently offers protection services to banks for up to $1 million per month.

Last Friday, Reuters cited Alexander himself as well as other intelligence officials, reporting that current NSA CTO Patrick Dowd can work up to 20 hours per week for IronNet Cybersecurity.

This investigation marks the second time in less than two weeks that serious questions have been raised about possible conflicts of interest and questionable ethics involving Alexander. As Ars reported earlier this month, newly released documents show that during his tenure as director, Alexander personally had thousands of dollars invested in obscure technology companies that could have materially benefited as a result of his actions running the NSA.

The FBI Director’s Evidence Against Encryption Is Pathetic – FBI Director James Comey gave a speech Thursday about how cell-phone encryption could lead law enforcement to a “very dark place” where it “misses out” on crucial evidence to nail criminals. To make his case, he cited four real-life examples — examples that would be laughable if they weren’t so tragic.

In the three cases The Intercept was able to examine, cell-phone evidence had nothing to do with the identification or capture of the culprits, and encryption would not remotely have been a factor.

In the most dramatic case that Comey invoked — the death of a 2-year-old Los Angeles girl — not only was cellphone data a non-issue, but records show the girl’s death could actually have been avoided had government agencies involved in overseeing her and her parents acted on the extensive record they already had before them.

In another case, of a Lousiana sex offender who enticed and then killed a 12-year-old boy, the big break had nothing to do with a phone: The murderer left behind his keys and a trail of muddy footprints, and was stopped nearby after his car ran out of gas.

And in the case of a Sacramento hit-and-run that killed a man and his girlfriend’s four dogs, the driver was arrested in a traffic stop because his car was smashed up, and immediately confessed to involvement in the incident.

Comey described the cases differently. Here’s one….

Are American Tech Companies Disloyal? – FBI Director James Comey had some choice words this week for startups and technology companies about their increasing use of encryption and their responsibilities to law enforcement. Speaking at Brookings, Comey argued that “…if the challenges of real-time interception threaten to leave us in the dark, encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place.”

He specifically named Apple and Google as companies challenging the FBI in its pursuit of criminals. “Both companies are run by good people, responding to what they perceive is a market demand. But the place they are leading us is one we shouldn’t go to without careful thought and debate as a country.” He argued that the FBI is not looking for backdoors, but rather “We want to use the front door, with clarity and transparency, and with clear guidance provided by law.”

As the debate over end-to-end encryption heats up, there is a fundamental question at work: What loyalty do companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook have to the U.S. government?

Facebook tells the DEA it can’t use phony profiles to go after suspects: Everyone has to use their real name on Facebook, even the feds – Facebook has a message for the DEA: if you want to use our service, you have to use your real name.

In a letter sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration on Friday, chief security office Joe Sullivan chided the agency for allowing one of its officers to lure criminals with a fake Facebook account created in a suspect’s name. “We regard the DEA’s conduct to be a knowing and serious breach of Facebook’s terms and policies,” writes Sullivan. He adds that the social network “asks that the DEA immediately confirm that it has ceased all activities on Facebook that involve the impersonation of others or that otherwise violate our terms and policies.”

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 17, 2014

FBI Director: If Apple and Google Won’t Decrypt Phones, We’ll Force Them To;  Whisper accused of monitoring users’ locations even after they opt out;  The best SSDs of 2014: A buyers guide;  All you need to know about Apple’s new iPads, iMac;  Speed up Chrome on Android with this handy hack;  Twitter Introduces New Way to Listen to Audio;  Which size Apple device is right for you?  Microsoft rolls out Skype 5.6 for iPhone; Windows 10: The biggest problems, gripes, and missing features so far;  Top free iOS, Android apps to learn how to program;  Firefox Hello adds video chat to Mozilla’s browser;  OS X Yosemite is now available to download;  Google reports $16.52 billion in revenue;  Drupal releases patch for serious SQL injection flaw;  CBS Announces Its Own Live TV And Streaming Service;  Steam’s biggest free weekend ever lets you play 10 top PC games for nothing;  Right Click Enhancer (free);  Free game alert: Steal a no-cost copy of Payday: The Heist for today only;  Court Limits Police ‘StingRay’ Cell Phone Tracking for the First Time.

FBI Director: If Apple and Google Won’t Decrypt Phones, We’ll Force Them To – Everyone is stoked that the latest versions of iOS and Android will (finally) encrypt all the information on your smartphone by default. Except, of course, the FBI: Today, its director spent an hour attacking the companies and the very idea of encryption, even suggesting that Congress should pass a law banning the practice of default encryption. It’s of course no secret that James Comey and the FBI hate the prospect of “going dark,” the idea that law enforcement simply doesn’t have the technical capability to track criminals (and the average person) because of all those goddamn apps, encryption, wifi network switching, and different carriers.

Whisper accused of monitoring users’ locations even after they opt out – Anonymish social network Whisper is tracking some users’ location even after they opt out of tracking, according to a new report. The Guardian reports that Whisper built a tracking tool enabling it to pinpoint users’ location to within 500 meters, an ability it has used to monitor messages sent from the Pentagon and the National Security Agency, among other targets. “A team headed by Whisper’s editor-in-chief, Neetzan Zimmerman, is closely monitoring users it believes are potentially newsworthy, delving into the history of their activity on the app and tracking their movements through the mapping tool,” the report says. “Among the many users currently being targeted are military personnel and individuals claiming to work at Yahoo, Disney and on Capitol Hill.”

All you need to know about Apple’s new iPads, iMac – With a fresh coat of gold paint and a Touch ID sensor, Apple beefs up its tablets. The new iMac also packs more pixels than an Ultra HDTV. Bridget Carey wraps up the highlights from Apple’s announcement.

The best SSDs of 2014: A buyers guide – When I sat down to write this article, I thought it would be straightforward: “Write an SSD guide,” my editor said. “Make some recommendations!” he said. What could be simpler? It turns out, quite a bit — but the good thing about getting hip-deep into a product segment is that I get to wade back out and describe the thinking process that ought to go into choosing an SSD. This guide is written for those of you who bought a small SSD back in 2008-2010 and are now looking for an upgrade, as well as those who are hopping in for the first time and are looking for a basic primer.

Pro tip: Speed up Chrome on Android with this handy hack – If you’re looking to squeeze out as much performance from Chrome on your Android device, Jack Wallen has two simple hacks that’ll bring you a much improved experience.

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Twitter Introduces New Way to Listen to Audio – Twitter has created a new way for users to play audio inside tweets, announcing Thursday that they have teamed up with Soundcloud to bring a full catalogue of music and other recordings to Twitter. Embedding audio inside tweets is nothing new, but this freshly developed audio card allows a user to additionally “dock” a music card inside the app while continuing to scroll through the timeline while listening simultaneously.

Get your phone into the holiday spirit with these great Halloween apps – Whether you want to blast the undead or practice pumpkin carving with your little goblins, there’s plenty of ways to ramp up your Halloween spirit with Android apps. We’ve dug up both spooky and cute games, wallpapers, and apps that should put you in the Halloween spirit. Most are either free or just a couple of bucks, well worth the cost for some spooktacular delight.

Microsoft rolls out Skype 5.6 for iPhone, now optimized for every display size – Microsoft has released an updated version of its Skype app for iPhone, with improvements to optimize the UI to display more conversations and messages on the larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

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Firefox Hello adds video chat to Mozilla’s browser – Eager to infuse the Web with the communications interactivity of mobile apps, Mozilla on Thursday announced a video chat service called Hello. The technology, built into the beta version of Firefox, lets people set up free video or audio calls with others using Firefox. Mozilla will gradually enable the feature in coming weeks.

Dictionary.com launches new app for word nerds – One dictionary, one would think, is much like any other dictionary: a useful resource, to be sure, but with little variance in general functionality. But Dictionary.com is working hard to prove that not all dictionary apps are created equal. The service, which originally launched in 1995, is celebrating Dictionary Day this year by giving its iPhone app a massive overhaul. Possibly the new feature that users will notice first is that the app is consolidating all its premium dictionaries.

Which size Apple device is right for you? – With so many different sized iPhones and iPads, how do you pick the device for you needs and hand size? We have a handy guide to help you.

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OS X Yosemite is now available to download – Apple’s latest desktop operating system, OS X Yosemite, is now available to download from the Mac App Store. It’s a free update, and it delivers a whole host changes, most notably a revamped visual style that’s a lot more colorful than the OS X you’re used to. In fact, the Yosemite makes your Mac’s operating system look a lot more like iOS than traditional OS X, and it brings the two operating systems together in a few more ways too.

A visual tour of OS X Yosemite’s changes – When the first Yosemite Public Beta was released, we ran through a bunch of apps and compared them side-by-side with their Mavericks iterations to show just what had changed, and by how much. Apple continued to tweak the look of the interface throughout the beta period, addressing a few of our initial gripes. Below is a comprehensive visual tour of Yosemite’s new changes. Many of these screenshots are similar to what shipped with the Public Beta, so we’ll be sure to highlight those elements that have changed significantly since then.

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Windows 10: The biggest problems, gripes, and missing features so far – Two weeks in, and already 1 million people have joined the Windows Insider Program to try out the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Solid usage doesn’t mean that everyone loves Windows 10, however — in fact, using Windows 10′s built-in feedback tool, thousands of testers have made it very clear that Microsoft’s new OS still has lots of irksome bugs and misses many much-needed features. Here’s an excerpted list of what people think of Windows 10 Technical Preview so far.

Apple Built A SIM Card That Lets You Switch Between AT&T, Sprint, And T-Mobile – Whoaaa — here’s an interesting bit that went unmentioned in today’s Apple announcement: Apple has seemingly built a SIM card that lets you jump between AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile without having to swap it out (or, more annoyingly, track down/purchase a new SIM card when you want to switch carriers). Instead of swapping the card, you just pick a new carrier through the device’s on screen settings. As it should be!

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Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 RC is available to download now – Back in July, Microsoft rolled out its Release Candidate (RC) for Visual Studio 2013 Update 3, and revealed that it was already working on the next update to its suite of developer tools. Today, the company announced that Update 4 RC is now available to download.

Microsoft updates Windows App Studio Beta with 9 new languages and Windows Phone 8.1 – Microsoft has released an update for the Windows App Studio Beta to enable localization in nine new languages and the ability to sideload apps on Windows Phone 8.1 for testing. Windows App Studio was launched by Microsoft last year, to introduce new developers to Modern Apps on Windows and Windows Phone. The relatively easier process to develop apps with App Studio was received well and managed to bring 55,000 new apps to the platform.

Kid-Friendly Osmo iPad Accessory Coming to Apple Stores – The evolution of children’s toys, from Matchbox cars to smartphone-controlled droids, continues with the learning-enhanced Osmo product for iPad. Developed last year by a pair of ex-Googlers under the working title of Tangible Play Inc., Osmo uses a reflective mirror that clamps over an iPad’s camera to turn the surface in front of the screen into an interactive play area.

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Top free iOS, Android apps to learn how to program – No matter the age, learning a programming language is a marketable skill. Here are mobile apps to assist you.

Security:

Drupal releases patch for serious SQL injection flaw – Drupal, which is a volunteer open-source project whose software is used by websites such as The White House and the Economist, said all of 7.x releases prior to 7.32 are affected, according to an advisory. Administrators should update to version 7.32. If that is not possible, a patch is available for the “database.inc” file that fixes the problem.

Got a Mac? Prevent OPSEC leakage by cleaning hidden OS X files from USB drives – If you have a Mac, and if BadUSB or the code released at DerbyCon to make BadUSB work didn’t scare you off from using thumb drives, then you might want to start using a free app like CleanMyDrive. Why? Because OS X has been accused of leaking data and metadata that “really shouldn’t be there” as it copies “hidden” files to USB drives. F-Secure’s Sean Sullivan related the following “true story” that involves “unknowns.”

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‘The Snappening’: stolen Snapchat photos site defaced, details of site owner published – Owner of TheSnappening.org photo site, Mudit Grover, took the stolen Snapchat images and the site down. But within hours, attackers identifying themselves as “Team Danny” allegedly took over the domain and published Grover’s personal details.

Utterly crazy hack uses long-distance lasers to send malware commands via all-in-one printers – If you saw it in a movie, you’d never believe it’s true. But it is. Researchers have developed Morse code for transmitting data via pulses of light sent to a scanner via a laser.

Company News:

Google reports $16.52 billion in revenue, profits stutter as ads move to mobile – Google posted mixed results for its third quarter this year. Revenue was $16.52 billion, not excluding traffic acquisition costs, a 20 percent rise over the same period in 2013. But its profit of $3.72 billion was down slightly from the same period in 2013, when it reported $3.76 billion in profit. Analysts were expecting the company to generate earnings per share of $6.53, but Google reported an EPS of $6.35. The stock was down a little, about 3 percent, based largely on that miss.

CBS Announces Its Own Live TV And Streaming Service, CBS All Access – The new subscription-based service will begin offering live streams from 14 of CBS’s largest markets (and soon, more), plus full seasons of 15 prime time TV shows after they air, as well as past seasons of 8 popular series (e.g., The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, Survivor, etc.). The service also includes free access to over 5,000 “classic” TV shows from its back catalog like Star Trek, Cheers, MacGyver,Twin Peaks, and CSI:Miami, and access to exclusive special events like the The Grammy Awards, The Academy Of Country Music Awards, The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and more.

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AMD plans to cut staff by 7% – AMD’s new chief is making her mark quickly: By the end of 2014, the chipmaker will cut worldwide headcount by about 7 percent in a restructuring plan it hopes will put it on the path to improved profits. The layoffs will start immediately, and come just a week after AMD appointed former chief operating officer Lisa Su as the company’s CEO. She replaced Rory Read, who held the post since August 2011.

Oracle sued over employee no-poaching agreement with Google – A former employee of Oracle has sued the company for allegedly conspiring with Google to prevent poaching of certain categories of managers from each other, in a bid to keep salaries low. Oracle’s restricted hiring agreement with Google was part of a bigger conspiracy by technology companies, located mainly in Silicon Valley, that prevented solicitation of each other’s managers, according to a class action complaint from Greg Garrison, who handled sales of Oracle’s Crystal Ball software from about December 2008 to June 2009.

Photo-sharing site Twitpic to shut down after all – After announcing it had found a mystery buyer, the company again announces its plan to shut down at the end of the month.

Wal-Mart’s e-commerce sales to hit $12.5 billion as investment continues – Wal-Mart’s digital reinvention revolves around leveraging the retailer’s unique assets instead of chasing Amazon.

Games and Entertainment:

Steam’s biggest free weekend ever lets you play 10 top PC games for nothing – Ten top PC games can be played in full on Steam this weekend, and the titles are being discounted if you want to keep playing when Monday rolls around.

Here Is ‘Hatred’, a Video Game Where You Do Nothing But Murder Innocent People – Many have pointed out that, over a decade ago, proponents of video games defended them against claims their violence inspired school shootings, and now threats are lodged to shoot up a school over video games. A game about slaughtering everyone for shits and giggles rolled out the red carpet for itself amid all that. Now, does that mean Hatred will lead to violence? Probably not. Violent video games? Ditto. Does that mean we don’t get to call Destructive Creations living garbage? Not in the slightest!

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A still from Hatred. Image: Destructive Creations

Microsoft gamifies the Xbox One Preview program – In a bid to make sure beta testers submit as much feedback as possible Microsoft is now adding some small game elements and a point system to its Xbox One Preview program. Other rewards may come soon.

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Sony unveils version 2.0 of PlayStation 4 OS, biggest update yet – Sony has announced a new system update for its PlayStation 4 console, one that will bring the OS to version 2.0. This update will bring new features, bug fixes, UI changes and more.

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‘Lord of the Rings: Legends’ Begins Its Quest on iOS, Android – There’s a new Lord of the Rings Game in town, and it’s got more than 100 characters from the LotR universe for you to discover and unite into the ultimate fellowship. Of course, there are orcs and other creatures to battle as you explore Middle Earth. The Lord of the Rings: Legends is free-to-play and available on iOS and Android. Wondering how the in-app purchases work? Well, they aren’t bad.

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Free game alert: Steal a no-cost copy of Payday: The Heist for today only – You can get a copy of Payday: The Heist for free on Steam today, and you don’t even have to steal it. From now until 10AM Pacific on Friday, Overkill Software is letting you waltz into the vault and leave with the game at zero cost. It’s part of Overkill’s “Crimefest” promotion, which gave out rewards as more people joined the Payday 2 Steam group. The group reached its goal of 1.5 million members, so for 24 hours the original Payday is free to grab (and keep forever).

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Google’s Schmidt Stands Firm On Not Applying Europe’s Search De-Listing To Google.Com – Google’s Eric Schmidt has held the line against extending European search de-listing requests to Google’s .com domain. As it stands, successful requests made by private individuals under the ruling for information to be de-indexed by Google in a search associated with their name are only implemented by Google on European sub domains, such as Google.co.uk or Google.de, not on Google.com. And that’s not about to change, according to comments made by Schmidt today — presumably unless Google is compelled to expand de-indexing to .com by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the future.

The US Is Trying to Get 10 Countries to Enforce Its Draconian Copyright Laws – The Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between the United States, Canada, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, has come under fire plenty of times already for its potential ability to rewrite global privacy and copyright laws. A newly leaked draft, however, suggests that certain types of pirates and counterfeiters will be a main target of the agreement.

Court rules parents can be held responsible for kid’s Facebook posts – Kids are notorious for saying dumb things, and now that communication has shifted towards a digital medium, those dumb things are often posted for everyone to see. If a new court ruling is any indication, parents may be held responsible for any legally dubious thing their child posts in the future, whether it is a fake threat or very real cyber bullying. Such is the case for two individuals in Georgia, where a court as ruled that they could be held responsible for a fake Facebook page operated by their son.

Saudi Arabia Beheaded 59 People So Far This Year — But Hardly Anyone is Talking About It – The string of beheadings of American and British hostages at the hands of the Islamic State has drawn horror and intense media scrutiny the world over, redoubling international determination to defeat the extremist group. But with IS dominating headlines, it is easy to forget that Saudi Arabia, a member of the UN’s Human Rights Council and a close ally of America in the war against the Islamist fighters, is itself routinely carrying out the practice of beheading. Last month saw Saudi Arabia behead at least 8 people — twice the number of Western hostages who have so far featured in IS’s barbaric execution videos

Unplug While on Vacation? Never! – Most modern travel checklists include a passport, enough underwear to last the trip, a phone charger, an e-reader charger, a laptop charger, and a book—in case you lose one of your chargers. A new study from travel service Expedia and its business brand Egencia reveals the deep connection people feel toward their mobile devices: 94 percent of folks carry at least one gadget during a personal vacation, and 97 percent bring one or more on a business trip.

Something to think about:

“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”

-      Chinese Proverb

Today’s Free Downloads:

Right Click Enhancer – A control panel for your right click menu on windows. Add most used applications and folder shortcuts in your right click menu. Manage these right click shortcuts by creating right click sub menus and putting them into these sub menus. Easily remove or disable right click menu entries added by other applications. Save valuable time by using right click tweaks that provides easy to use quick operations directly in your right click. Save time in copy paste operations by adding new folder shortcuts in send to menu. Add new file types into New menu to ease the operation of creating new files. Add templates files to new menu so you can get preformatted files upon creating new files and start working on it in less time.

Dictionary .NET – Dictionary .NET is a tiny, easy and smart multilingual dictionary translating from/to 52 languages using Google´s services.

Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese-simp, Chinese-trad, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish

Integrates Google Dictionary, Translate, Search, Suggest, Wikipedia 5-in-1 without installing them.

Features:

Smart Translation

Translate selected text with a hotkey

Full-Text Translation

Text suggestions

Single click without selected text

Translate a web page

Open File to Translate

Multilanguage List

Wikipedia Search

Dictionary .NET is provided as freeware for personal use.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

FBI director to citizens: Let us spy on you – In a post-Snowden plea for a policy more permissive of spying, FBI Director James B. Comey raised the specters of child predators, violent criminals, and crafty terrorists to argue that companies should build surveillance capabilities into the design of their products and allow lawful interception of communications. In his speech given at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, Comey listed four cases where having access to a mobile phone or laptop proved crucial to an investigation and another case where such access was critical to exonerating wrongly accused teens.

All of that will go away, or at least become much harder, if the current trend continues, he argued.

New Zealand cops raided home of reporter working on Snowden documents – New Zealand’s national police ransacked the home of a prominent independent journalist collaborating with The Intercept on stories from the NSA archive furnished by Edward Snowden. The stated purpose of the raid was to identify the source for allegations that the reporter, Nicky Hager, recently published in a book that caused a major political firestorm and led to the resignation of a top government minister. But authorities may have also taken source material concerning unrelated stories.

Court Limits Police ‘StingRay’ Cell Phone Tracking for the First Time – The  Florida Supreme Court has ruled that warrantless tracking of people’s location using their cell phone signal is unconstitutional, a move that could have far-reaching consequences and suggests that the most common use of police surveillance tools called StingRays is illegal.

First draft of ‘internet bill of rights’ revealed in Italy – An early version of the document puts anonymity, privacy, and net neutrality at the heart of Italian web users’ rights – but not everyone’s happy.

Australian spy agency spies on itself – You wouldn’t use an agency that didn’t realise it was spying on itself; and spying on its own is exactly what Australia’s domestic spy agency did.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) accidentally intercepted calls made by one of its own regional offices.

The interception was a breach of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, which allows ASIO to use listening devices and computer access.

The breach, which was revealed in the agency’s annual report, was self-reported by ASIO staff and blamed on a technical glitch.

ASIO deleted the intercepted information, and said processes have been put in place to prevent the error from occurring again.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 16, 2014

My five favorite free Windows utilities;  You Can Now Watch Vines on Your Xbox;  5 steps to lock down your webmail account;  The 6 best features of Google’s new Nexus 6;  The 9 best features of Google’s new Nexus 9 tablet;  When and where to get Android 5.0 Lollipop;  Get quick translations with Google’s Translate extension;  Facebook Safety Check;  6 apps for tuning your guitar;  Confide app – – messaging for professionals;  Mobile advertisers use malware tricks to get installs;  How to take a screenshot on your Android phone;  Look out, cable TV, Netflix! Here comes HBO to the Internet;  The 21 games that should be installed on every iPhone;  Google introduces the $99 Nexus Player;  Xbox One October update goes live;  UN Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights;  Root Genius (free);  Cop cracks woman’s iPad passcode to rescue her after crash.

My five favorite free Windows utilities: Whenever I set up a new PC, these are the first programs I install – Everyone has their favorite tools, especially when it comes to Windows. Today I thought I’d share my favorites — the programs I absolutely must have. They’re all free, and they’re always free, so no worries today about anything selling out or a sudden price change.

Android 5.0 Lollipop is here along with the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player – Google’s next version of Android is here, and we now know that the “L” from that Android L preview back at Google I/O stood for Lollipop. Android 5.0 brings with it an army of UI and functionality changes, but perhaps more importantly the announcement brings new hardware. Lollipop is launching with a three screen attack plan in the form of a 6-inch smartphone from Motorola, a 9-inch tabletfrom HTC, and another attempt at putting Android on your television.

The 9 best features of Google’s new Nexus 9 tablet – Don’t feel blindsided—Google surprised us all with its new Nexus devices, but its tablet is chock full of powerful, next-gen features.

The 6 best features of Google’s new Nexus 6 – The Nexus 6 is a pretty remarkable step forward for the company. Nexus phones and tablets have typically been middle-of-the-road, aimed at developers more than everyday consumers. Here are the best features of the newly announced phone.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

When and where to get Android 5.0 Lollipop: Find out when your device will be updated to the latest version of Android – The operating system is the most drastic change to Android since the release of Ice Cream Sandwich in late 2011. Lollipop features a redesigned user interface referred to as Material Design, along with improvements to the lock screen and notification menu. The update also delivers improved battery life and performance. The first two devices to run Android 5.0 Lollipop are the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, but what about your existing device?

Get quick translations on websites with Google’s Translate extension – This extension lets you skip the copy and pasting from one tab to another by offering an easy-to-use right-click menu that translates words or phrases.

Facebook Safety Check tells friends you’re okay during natural disasters – Facebook is introducing a new Safety Check feature designed to help friends and family members check on loved ones during natural disasters. The tool works by triggering a push notification on devices that are near an affected area. Facebook determines location from cities listed in profiles, last location from the Nearby Friends feature, or the city you’re connecting and using the internet from. If a Facebook user is safe they simply hit the ‘I’m safe’ button and a notification and News Feed story will be generated automatically.

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Google wastes no time refining Classroom, its app platform for education – Making clear that it’s serious about its foray into education software, Google has pushed out a set of enhancements for its Classroom app, barely two months after its release. Classroom, announced in May and released in August after being tested by 100,000 teachers in 45 countries, is available to Google Apps for Education customers and taps suite components like Gmail, Drive and Docs. It’s meant to be a tool that helps teachers with basic tasks, such as creating and organizing assignments, providing feedback and communicating with students. Classroom also provides a section for teachers to post information about their classes.

Meet Ubi, the tiny voice-activated computer that wants to control your smart home – While it’s small enough to be an oversized wall wart, the Ubi is far more interesting for what it can do. Plug this tiny computer into an AC outlet, connect it to your Wi-Fi network, and you gain the ability to control many of your home-control systems—lighting, thermostat, music-streaming services, and so on—using nothing more than voice commands.

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How to take a screenshot on your Android phone – Once upon a time, in order to take a screenshot on an Android phone, you had to install the Android developer tools. These days, you can take screenshots on phones running Android 4.0 or later with the press of a couple buttons. On most Android phones, you can take a screenshot by holding down the Sleep/wake button and the volume-down button simultaneously. Hold these buttons down until your screen flashes.

Getting in tune: 6 apps for tuning your guitar – If you play guitar or another string instrument, one of the thankless tasks you do before you play—and in between songs—is getting your instrument in tune. There are several ways you can do this: You can have another instrument—preferably one that doesn’t go out of tune—play a note, and then tune your other strings to that one. You can use a tuning fork for one string, and tune the rest of your strings to that. Or you can buy an electronic tuner that you clip on your guitar. But if you have an iPhone or iPad, why not use an app? There are lots of apps that can help you tune your guitar, or other instruments; here are five of them.

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Gibson’s free tuning app shows the precise frequency of the note you’ve played.

Confide app adapts ephemeral messaging for professionals – The way Confide works is this: Users can sign up with either a phone number or a work email address. When messages are sent, they’re encrypted end to end. A user receiving a message will see a screen with blocks over the words. Using a process the founders dubbed “wanding,” the user runs his or her finger just below the blocks revealing a few words of the message at a time. Part of the thinking behind these blocks is that they prevent screenshots of more than a couple words. If someone does try and take a screenshot, he or she is kicked off the message.

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Best business phones? Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry – There are some outstanding smartphones available for the business user and in this article Matthew Miller identifies the best ones running iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.

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You Can Now Watch Vines on Your Xbox – The Xbox marketplace launched a new app Wednesday that brings Vine’s hypnotically looping 6-second videos to a bigger screen: the living room TV. The Vine app, now available for download, displays the most popular clips in channels such as Art, Music & Dance and Comedy. Users can swipe through clips by making air gestures at Kinect’s motion sensor or giving voice commands from the couch.

Security:

5 steps to lock down your webmail account – For most people Gmail, Outlook.com or Yahoo! Mail is their main personal account. Here are some of the most important steps to keep unwanted people out of your web-based email account.

Mobile advertisers use malware tricks to get installs – We’ve written about advertisers misleading users with scary “you are infected” ad pop-ups in order to get installs of a certain security app and we also know malware uses these tactics. Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more of this, but this time advertisers are using these banner and pop-up ads to get installs of more trustworthy apps like Dolphin browser. The messages are less scary than the virus related ones, but they are still meant to get your attention. It seems a bit backwards but it’s all about making money, ad developers are just as greedy as malware authors–just not as malicious. Using a tool like Adblock Plus which will filter URL traffic can help prevent most of these ads. Adblock Plus is a third-party app, will require a bit of configuration and only blocks WiFi traffic.

Attacker takes over Facebook page set up for ‘Bucket List Baby’ Shane, posts porn – A Facebook page set up to chronicle the extremely short life of a baby with the rare, terminal condition of anencephaly was hijacked within days of the infant’s death and set to display lewd images. The parents, who had lost their child mere days before, fell for one of the most vile phishing attacks ever.

SQL injection flaw opens Drupal sites to attack – The Drupal 7 core is vulnerable to a “Highly Critical” SQL injection bug that could allow an attacker to compromise the site.

Company News:

Reddit Acquires Alien Blue, The Most Popular Unofficial Reddit App – If you’re even kind of active on reddit, you probably know of Alien Blue. As far as perusing reddit on iOS goes, it’s pretty much the undisputed champ. It seems reddit would agree. The company has just taken Alien Blue under its wing, acquiring the project assets and hiring its sole developer.

eBay misses slightly on revenue, but PayPal stays strong – The company’s marketplace business continues to grow, despite a security breach in the spring, but it doesn’t meet Wall Street’s expectations for overall revenue.

Netflix stock tanks after hours in response to low subscriber numbers – Netflix stock is down nearly 20 percent after hours, following lower-than-expected subscriber figures during Q3 2014 and rising threats from many of Netflix’s competitors.

Look out, cable TV, Netflix! Here comes HBO to the Internet – HBO has long offered some Internet video streaming to its existing cable customers. Starting in 2015, HBO will fully embrace the cord-cutter revolution by delivering a standalone Internet service.

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HBO GO style Internet TV streaming will be available to anyone who wants to pay for it in 2015.

Intel to hit 40 million mobile chip units with aid of subsidies – Intel is buying its way into the mobile market with subsidies to vendors, but that investment — on track to lose $4 billion in 2014 — is needed if it’s going to threaten the ARM ecosystem.

Games and Entertainment:

Google introduces the $99 Nexus Player, a set-top box for entertainment and gaming – A third device was unexpectedly announced by Google today: the Nexus Player – a set-top box built by ASUS, which runs Android TV and includes a voice-activated remote, with a gamepad sold separately. Nexus Player will be available for pre-order on October 17, with wider in-store availability beginning on November 3. The device will cost just $99, which includes a remote controller that incorporates a microphone for voice interactions with the box itself.

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GOG.com dangles free copies of Alien Versus Predator game for Galaxy client testers – PC gaming service GOG.com wants your help in trying out the multiplayer chops of Galaxy, its upcoming Steam-like gaming client, and it’s enticing sign-ups by offering free copies of Alien Versus Predator Classic to testers.

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The 21 games that should be installed on every iPhone – Too many of the best games for iPhone are victims of an out of sight, out of mind economy. After a game’s launch, it sinks into the quicksand of mobile gaming junk until it’s buried deep beneath thousands of free-to-play cash-ins. Curation has in large part been left to those who remain passionate about the phone as a gaming platform, despite Apple. What follows is a list of the 21 games that should be installed on every iPhone. As exceptional games continue to be released on the iPhone, we will expand this list. And we will create a similar list dedicated the the iPad and games that make the best use of its larger screen.

Xbox One October update goes live with UI changes and MKV support – The October update for the Xbox One is now rolling out to all users. With it comes a brand new Friends tab on the dashboard, MKV support and numerous improvements to Snap Center.

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Every episode of ‘Friends’ is coming to Netflix in USA and Canada – Every episode of Friends is coming to Netflix, according to a tweet from Netflix and an announcement at today’s Time Warner investor event. The show, which ran from 1994 to 2004, follows the hijinks of a group of friends living in a version of New York City that looks absolutely nothing like New York City. It is one of the most popular television shows of all time, making it a big get for the streaming company. The show will arrive on Netflix on January 1, 2015.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Cop cracks woman’s iPad passcode to rescue her after crash – After a driver’s OnStar alert system reportedly gives police inaccurate locations for a crash, the local department’s tech geek thinks fast, breaks into the driver’s iPad at her home and finds her via an Apple app.

Gamergate backlash hits front page of the New York Times – The New York Times today published a front-page article on the increasingly hostile threats that female video game critics are facing, underscoring the growing backlash against the so-called Gamergate movement. The report, published Thursday, comes one day after the leading video game trade group spoke out against the controversy, whose supporters claim they are rallying against perceived corruption in gaming journalism but who have become inextricably linked with misogyny and harassment.

Sexism, alive and well in the tech world – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has backed off from his remarks, but the bottom line is that Microsoft, along with much of the tech industry, still sees women as second-class citizens.

Parents face defamation trial over fake Facebook page their kid made – Two parents whose teenager set up a fake Facebook page to ridicule a classmate will face a defamation trial, a Georgia appeals court ruled yesterday. Even though they didn’t create the page, the parents could be liable because they allowed it to remain up for more than a year, the court said.

TechSpot: History of the Microprocessor and the Personal Computer, Part 5 – This is the fifth and final installment in a series exploring the history of the microprocessor and personal computing, from the first transistor to modern day chips powering our connected devices.

Too much Google Glass lands one man treatment for Internet addiction – A man who used Google Glass for 18 hours a day was admitted to a substance abuse and recovery program for Internet addiction disorder, according to a report from The Guardian Tuesday and a scientific paper published about the patient. The 31-year-old man was serving the US Navy at the time he was admitted to the program, where he was using Google Glass in his job making inventories of convoy vehicles, according to Newsweek. He had a history of substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. He only removed the device to sleep and take showers.

Something to think about:

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

-      Bob Dylan

Today’s Free Downloads:

Tor Browser Bundle 4.0 – Protect your privacy. Defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.

The Tor Browser Bundle lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained.

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Root Genius – Root Genius is the best tool for root any Android smartphone or tablet PC supporting more than 10000 Android devices. Root Genius windows version doesn’t require any installation on your PC. Simply download rootgenius and run while your device connected to the PC. You can root Android Kitkat 4.4.2 within one click, for example. Root Genius is developed by Chinese developer team “Shuame”. Please go through our Root genius tutorial, Troubleshoot section and Kitkat rooting video before you start root your device.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

A Good Reason to Encrypt Your iPhone: To Prevent DEA from Creating a Fake Facebook Account – At Salon yesterday, I pushed back against the Apple hysteria again. In it, I look at the numbers that suggest far more Apple handsets are searched under the border exception than using warrants.

Encrypting iPhones might have the biggest impact on law enforcement searches that don’t involve warrants, contrary to law enforcement claims this is about warranted searches. As early as 2010, Customs and Border Patrol was searching around 4,600 devices a year and seizing up to 300 using what is called a “border exception.” That is when CBP takes and searches devices from people it is questioning at the border. Just searching such devices does not even require probable cause (though seizing them requires some rationale). These searches increasingly involve smart phones like the iPhone.

These numbers suggest border searches of iPhones may be as common as warranted searches of the devices. Apple provided account content to U.S. law enforcement 155 times last year. It responded to 3,431 device requests, but the “vast majority” of those device requests involved customers seeking help with a lost or stolen phone, not law enforcement trying to get contents off a cell phone (Consumer Reports estimates that 3.1 million Americans will have their smart phones stolen this year). Given that Apple has by far the largest share of the smart phone market in the U.S., a significant number of border device searches involving a smart phone will be an iPhone. Apple’s default encryption will make it far harder for the government to do such searches without obtaining a warrant, which they often don’t have evidence to get.

Almost 20% of Americans this year will have an iPhone, and that number will be far higher among those who fly internationally. If only 20% of 5,000 border searches involve iPhones, then there are clearly more border iPhone searches than warranted ones.

Meanwhile, we have an appalling new look at what law enforcement does once it gets inside your smart phone. A woman in Albany is suing DEA because — after she permitted DEA to conduct a consensual search of her phone — DEA then took photos obtained during the search, including one of her wearing only underwear, and made a fake Facebook page for her with them. They even sent a friend request to a fugitive and accepted other friend requests. They also posted pictures of her son and niece, on a site intended to lure those involved in the drug trade.

And they consider this a legitimate law enforcement activity!

UN Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights – The United Nations’ top official for counter-terrorism and human rights (known as the “Special Rapporteur”) issued a formal report to the U.N. General Assembly today that condemns mass electronic surveillance as a clear violation of core privacy rights guaranteed by multiple treaties and conventions. “The hard truth is that the use of mass surveillance technology effectively does away with the right to privacy of communications on the Internet altogether,” the report concluded.

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