Monthly Archives: March 2012

It’s World Backup Day – So What Are You Doing About It?

imageI have some bad news for you this morning. Those graduation pics you treasured, the pics of your toddler’s first steps, this year’s income tax return which was just about ready to be filed, that resume you just finished updating – GONE – ALL GONE. Your Hard Drive just quit overnight – never to be booted again. I know I should feel some measure of sympathy for you – but, I don’t.

I’m not trying to be a big *meanie here but, it seems to me, that you are the architect of your own misfortune. A little pre-planning to safeguard your irreplaceable data; documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work, and important private data – could have saved you considerable distress.

If only you had a backup – but, you don’t – do you? I suspect that it’s little consolation but, you’re not alone. Despite the importance of Hard Drive backups, most computer technicians will tell you that typically, computer users’ do not backup their irreplaceable data.

It’s a little late to tell you this but, if you had been one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users, who regularly and faithfully backup, you would have had some work ahead of you – but, you would have recovered your data.

All of the above of course, is an imaginary scenario – in fact, your system did boot up his morning. But, that’s hardly cause for complacency. Just like death and taxes are a certainty, the fact that your computer’s Hard Drive will crash one day and refuse to respond, is every bit as certain.

If you don’t yet have a backup plan, it’s time you thought seriously about developing one. The effort involved in learning how to protect your data, by developing and implementing a backup plan in today’s computing age, is minimal. Much easier than it was, even as little as two or three years ago.

The best backup strategy includes imaging your Hard Drives and partitions, since that allows you to restore your important data, your complete operating system, as well as your installed applications, user settings, etc.

There are loads of free applications out in the wild blue that, used properly and regularly, will speed to the rescue. One of the best free program – one that I have no difficulty recommending is – EASEUS Todo Backup.

This is a brilliant application which will allow you to backup, recover your backups, image your Hard Drives, clone your Hard Drives, and a host of additional features. All of this, in a “follow the bouncing ball” simple, user interface. If there’s an easier way to backup critical data, I have yet to find it.

The user interface has been designed so that a user with minimum computing experience, should have no difficulty.

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The following screen captures illustrate the simple process of backing up a particular folder.

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In this case, I choose the task name, selected the folder to be backed up, selected the backup media/location, and …..

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Done!

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Recovery, is point and click simple.

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Additional functions and features are available under the “Tools” menu.

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For example – you’ll have the option of creating a system boot disk. You should do so.

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Fast facts:

System Backup and Recovery – One-click system backup. Backs up entire system state including the operating system and installed applications on-the-fly without interrupting your work to get the system up in time after crash.

Restore System to Dissimilar Hardware – The feature of “recover to dissimilar hardware” can simplify system migration with restoring system to dissimilar hardware configuration for hardware replacement under WinPE recovery environment.

File and Folder Backup – Backs up specified files, network shared files, files in use, folders or file types in case of virus attack, hard disk failure, or deletion by accident, etc.

Disk & partition Backup – Full backup disk(s)/partition(s), dynamic volume(s), or GPT disk(s)/volume(s) to image. It ensures PC security and instant data recovery in case of any data loss.

Incremental/Differential Backup – Provide alternatives to perform full backups each time by offering incremental backup and differential backup. To capture changes with saving time & disk space.

Backup Schedule – To run backup automatically at a predefined time. By scheduling a backup task, your system and important data can be backed up now, daily, weekly, monthly.

Network Data Protection – Easy way to full backup network data, including network shared files on NAS and Windows, with full backup, incremental backup, differential backup and schedule backup, etc.

Disk Clone Tool – Clone or transfer all the data on a hard disk to another. Clone disk is especially useful to upgrade your hard drive to a new one without reinstalling operating systems and applications.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8.

Download at: EASEUS

If you’re looking for a free application to handle all of your backup needs, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in EASEUS Todo Backup. Give it a try.

* In recent years, I’ve written 20+ articles on the importance of backing up critical data and, it distresses me somewhat that they have been amongst the least read articles I’ve written.

Good buddy TeX, summed up the backup issue neatly in a comment to a previous backup article when he wrote – There are so many good programs out there for backing up, the problem is getting people to take that whole step seriously. It’s like dying,  “That always happens to someone else” theory.

It’s a point worth considering.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Backup Applications, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging, Software

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 31, 2012

It’s World Backup Day! Celebrate by Finally Backing Up Your Stuff – Today is World Backup Day, a holiday that celebrates the task we all know we should be doing, but one that’s way too easy to ignore—until your hard drive starts to grind or your phone decides to go for a swim. Lucky for you, World Backup Day falls on a Saturday this year. You’ve got the time. Now let’s back up that data.

New addictive games that are near impossible to put down – A few games have come out recently that have that perfect mix of challenge and gameplay to eat up all of my playing time.

MasterCard and Visa payment processor compromised, up to 10 million cards stolen – Over 10 million credit cards may have been stolen by criminals who compromised a credit card processing company last month. Read on to find out what happened and what actions you may wish to take to protect yourself.

Sex Tech: Egyptian Porn Censorship, UK Filesharing Travesty, Wikipedia Sex Wars – Under the banner of anti-porn: Egypt’s boldest move to filter the internet, UK violates broadband user privacy, Wikipedia’s rules are bent. All happens where tech meets sex.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Twitter Shuts Down TweetDeck After Bug Exposes User Accounts – Twitter shut down TweetDeck on Friday, allegedly because of a bug that exposed a number of user accounts without permission, and allowed one user to access them.

The Linux Alternative to Windows 8 – Not everyone will like or want the new Metro interface that’s an unavoidable feature of Windows 8. Plus, Windows XP support is soon to really most sincerely dead. What’s a small business to do? Rethink Linux.

Five invoicing apps for small businesses – A number of decent applications are available to automate your invoicing chores. Here’s a quick rundown of five that are worth checking out.

Targeted domain controller attacks increase 150% – Rather than directly attacking the servers that house the information, the attackers are specifically targeting the domain controllers to gain access to all systems within the company. Because domain controllers store authentication information for everyone at an organization, they have become highly strategic targets for cybercriminals intent on stealing business critical data and conducting protracted attacks.

Foursquare shuts off API for Girls Around Me app – An app that employed Foursquare and Facebook data to show the real-time location of women has raised an uproar and is making people think about how social media exposes them.

Temple Run, Now on Android! – The super addictive arcade-like game Temple Run is now available on Android phones. Read our review to find out whether this first release is ready to buy or too buggy for prime time.

Mac backdoor Trojan embedded inside boobytrapped Word documents – A backdoor Trojan horse, which would allow a remote hacker to access your Mac computer without your knowledge and potentially snoop on your files and activity, has been discovered hidden inside a boobytrapped Word document.

The Good and Bad About Internet Security – IT security pros are doing a better job of dealing with Internet threats, according to an IBM report, as Big Blue has actually seen “surprising improvements.” But as the quality of software has improved, so have attackers’ techniques. Find out what is good and bad in the world of Internet security.

Company News:

Lenovo Launches Mobile App Store for Businesses – Lenovo’s first enterprise app shop–the Lenovo Enterprise App Shop–makes it possible for corporate users to access and use productivity apps on their Lenovo tablet or other Google Android-based tablets.

Yahoo to Implement Do Not Track – Yahoo has decided that it’s now time to start implementing a Do Not Track system across its various Web properties. The company is one of the last large Web content providers to officially commit to using a DNT technology, and Yahoo said that it plans to have the system implemented by early summer.

RIM lost $54 million on four-day global BlackBerry outage – The BlackBerry maker said on Thursday that the global outage which spread across the world over four days cost the company $54 million, revised-down from estimates.

Sprint, Cisco Launch Cloud-Based UC Platform – Sprint and Cisco are launching a cloud-based unified communications bundle for large enterprises. It’s the first of several cloud initiatives Sprint will launch this year.

Webopedia Daily:

Converged Application Platform – The converged application platform (CAP) offers a common scalable architecture that supports telephony, video and data services through a single device. CAPs bring together multiple functions such as voice switching, enterprise routing, firewall and VPN, quality of service, application services, WAN and Wi-Fi access.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Google’s Self-Driving Car Takes Blind Man for a Ride – While most of us can just dream about it, one lucky California man recently got the chance to sit behind the wheel of Google’s revolutionary self-driving car.

Arrested Drunk Guy Sings Bohemian Rhapsody – As musical protests go, this one is pretty entertaining. Robert Wilkinson, of Edson, Alta., was arrested by RCMP last November and placed in the back of a police cruiser. In a video taken by security cameras in the cruiser, Wilkinson, 29, is heard using some choice words to berate the officer for saying he’s intoxicated. Wilkinson then launches into an a cappella version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It’s worth it to listen to his entire song for the boisterous finale: “Nothing really matters – even the RCMP!”

Apple’s supply chain: A profile of a Foxconn factory employee – The Fair Labor Association’s report on Foxconn’s working conditions provides a nice composite sketch of your average Apple supply chain worker.

Is Your Country Among The Safest Or Most Infected? – Did you know that according to our malware analysis data, Finland has the lowest rate of infected computers? And would you guess that Albania has the highest rate: 65% of the computers are infected!

10 Hilarious Google Autocompletes – What are people searching for in Google? Well, if autocomplete is any indication, you might not want to know.

Today’s Quote:

We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired?”

-    Seneca

Today’s Free Downloads:

Windows 8 Transformation Pack 4.0 – Windows 8 Transformation Pack will convert your XP, Vista or Windows 7 based system to look like Windows 8 and some of its features emulated. You don’t have to purchase Windows 8 or any 3rd-party applications to get Windows 8 UI experiences. This transformation pack will simply make it done for you for free!

Dr. Web LiveCD 6.0.0 – Dr.Web LiveCD will clean your computer of infected and suspicious files, help you copy important information to a removable data storage device or another computer, and then attempt to cure infected objects.

File Shredder 2.50 - File Shredder will remove files from your hard drive without fear they could be recovered. Choose between 5 different shredding algorithms, each one gradually stronger than the previous one. It also has Disk Wiper which uses shredding algorithm to wipe unused disk space.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

The Paralegal in You: Protecting Your Privacy from Social Media

imageMore than 800 million people around the world share their photos, their latest activities and their innermost thoughts on Facebook on a daily basis and Twitter has more than 100 million active users. While no one can deny the power of social media to connect people with friends and family and to advance political causes, individuals still need to be wary of their personal privacy when using social media.

The obvious concern for many people is that employers and potential employers can gather information that could hurt their careers. Since employers even tend to discredit applicants with online paralegal certification versus an applicant with certification obtained through a more traditional means, there is no telling how having privy to your social media persona could hurt your chances of securing a job.  Not only should individuals be careful of posting inappropriate party photos online, but they may also need to remember not to post their golf score from the day they called in sick to work.

More troubling for many people is that Facebook and other Internet sites use their searches and posts to create a profile that can then be used by advertisers to direct their appeals to their interests. According to a New York Times article, Facebook says they do not share personal data with advertisers. The Federal Trade Commission, in a settlement in November 2011 with Facebook, now requires Facebook to subject itself to regular privacy audits for the next two decades. Facebook will also need to keep its users informed about how their personal information is shared.

While Facebook says it does not share personal information with them, advertisers have embraced social media as a prime method of reaching potential customers. According to The Washington Post, Facebook earned a profit of $668 million in 2011 and had revenue of $3.7 billion, most of it from ads that target users based on their personal data.

In addition to advertisers and employers, other organizations may be trolling Facebook and Twitter for unprotected information. Police departments and detectives have found suspects through their use of social media. Some experts believe life insurance companies may begin searching social media for information about the habits of insurance applicants to be sure they are not lying about avocations such as sky diving.

Consumers of social media can take steps to protect their privacy, but these steps will not necessarily prevent the storage of personal information about individual’s search habits, online shopping or shared photos. In an article in PC World, several steps are recommended for social media users to protect their privacy. First and foremost, everyone needs to think carefully about the information they share in the context of who may be reading it. Even with privacy settings, it is best to assume that anyone can read anything posted in social media and that the information will stay available forever. Avoiding embarrassing or obnoxious comments should be rule number one for every social media user.

Some users assume that when they post something on Facebook, only their friends will see it. However, if a friend comments on your post, a friend of that friend can often trace back the conversation to the original post. Reviewing and frequently updating the privacy settings on a Facebook account provides a barrier to others easily accessing information, but will not prevent information from leaking out to those who are determined to see it.

Guest Author Bio:

Fiona Causer is currently a student pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies.  She enjoys writing and seeks to use it as a vehicle to convey ideas and engage others in discussing relevant issues of our day.

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Filed under FaceBook, Guest Writers, Privacy, Twitter

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 30, 2012

35 Apps That Can Make You More Productive – The 35 programs, plug-ins, and services in this list are among our favorites for helping anyone be more productive. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, but we hope it lets you explore your options among the truly necessary productivity tools, as well as introduce you to some hidden gems that you might have missed while you were busy getting things done.

10 Google search secrets – If you’re looking for unique Google search tips, you’ve come to the right place. These are 10 Google search secrets that not even some of the most astute searchers are aware of!

Adobe’s latest critical security update pushes scareware – Adobe just released a critical Flash Player security update. Good news: it includes a new automatic updater for Windows. Bad news: Adobe’s download page pushes a misleading “system optimizer” designed to scare users into paying for unneeded repairs.

12 Tips for Printing Great Photos – With a bit of knowledge and practice, you should be able to print great-looking photos at home. Here are 12 techniques for improving the quality of your prints.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Reminder: All Facebook Pages getting Timeline today – All Facebook Pages will get the new Timeline design on Friday March 30, 2012 at 11:00 AM PST. Page administrators that haven’t started adding Timeline-specific content should do so asap.

LevineCentral’s Mail Parse: Tracing Emails – To parse, interpret and trace the email headers, just paste in the mail headers from any email message and it will show the mail server hops and the times between hops, both individual and cumulative. Also displayed is an IP address associated with a mail server (if provided in the mail headers) linked to where you can lookup the actual owner of that IP address. This IP lookup is useful if mail server names are forged, which can occur in spam emails. (recommended by Michael F.)

Scammers advertise Pinterest bots on Facebook – Internet scammers have launched a paid advertising campaign on Facebook targeting Pinterest fans, bringing the hunt for victims to a higher level of investment and sophistication to online social fraud, according to Bitdefender.

What Ubuntu users think about Ubuntu 2012 – Ubuntu’s come a long way from being the popular Debian-based Linux distribution for desktops. So, who uses Ubuntu today and what do they think about where Ubuntu is now and where it’s going?

Interview with a Pinterest spammer, earning $1000 a day – A spammer, who claims to earn $1000 a day by automatically posting affiliate links onto Pinterest from thousands of bot accounts, has given an interview describing his operation.

Get More Out of Your Kindle Fire Tablet: Five Tips – Here’s how to rock your Kindle Fire with a new look, better apps, and awesome content–none of which will cost you a dime.

How to Play PC Games on Your HDTV – You can take advantage of your high-powered gaming system to play PC games and classic console games at beautiful resolutions on your HDTV. Here’s how to do it.

Company News:

Dell Ends Smartphone Sales in the US – Dell has stopped selling smartphones in the U.S. as it tweaks its mobile strategy to focus more on emerging markets and higher-margin products.

Red Hat: The first billion dollar Linux company has arrived - Red Hat didn’t just break a billion dollars in annual earnings, it smashed its way pass a billion bucks with a fiscal year revenue of $1.13 billion, up 25% year-over-year.

MasterCard releases tool that predicts ecommerce fraud – Merchants have a new tool at their disposal to help mitigate the risk of fraud in online transactions, with MasterCard’s introduction of Expert Monitoring Fraud Scoring for Merchants.

Spotify Extends Free Listening Period in U.S. – The company just announced it is continuing its free holiday for American users in an effort to drive even more awareness. Spotify currently has 10 million users, but the important figure is that three million of them are paying for subscriptions. It is also an office favorite here at PCMag, so it has that going for it as well.

Box Launches OneCloud for Enterprise Application Sharing – Box OneCloud provides a suite of about 30 free business applications that enable workers to access, edit, and share content from their iPhones or iPads.

News Corp. faces new hacking allegations involving pay TV – A software division of News Corp. is accused of trying to bump off rival pay-TV services by hacking their smartcodes and enabling the public to view the competitors’ transmissions for free.

Webopedia Daily:

Image Dimensions – Image dimensions are the length and width of a digital image. It is usually measured in pixels, but some graphics programs allow you to view and work with your image in the equivalent inches or centimeters. Depending on what you plan to use your image for you may want to change the image size. For example, if you are using a high-resolution digital photograph, you may want to make the image dimensions smaller for publishing to a Web page. When using a graphics or image-editing program, you will usually have two options for changing the image dimensions: resize or resample.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Conservatives trust science less than ever – Political conservatives are increasingly defining themselves as ‘anti-science’, with the number of Republicans saying they trust science having fallen dramatically over the last 25 years.

MIT discovers the location of memories: Individual neurons – By triggering a small cluster of neurons, the researchers were able to force the subject to recall a specific memory. By removing these neurons, the subject would lose that memory. For the first time ever, we have proof that memories are physical rather than conceptual.

End-user IT training: Can it really pass the test? – Technology is so easy to use these days that some might question the need for training when most end-users seem happy just bumbling along.

Attacked by Anonymous: How to defend against a denial-of-service – Alfonso Barreiro witnessed an Anonymous-led attack firsthand. Here is a description of their primary weapons and the countermeasures that can be taken against them.

Half of American Homes Own at Least One Apple Product – The beast that is Apple is infiltrating American homes by way of its iPhones, iPods, iPads, MacBooks, and other now-iconic products. According to a CNBC survey, more than half (51 percent) of U.S. households own at least one Apple product. That comes to 55 million homes with some kind of Apple gadget, and that number is expected to grow.

Today’s Quote:

Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.”

-     Charles F. Kettering

Today’s Free Downloads:

ImgBurn 2.5.7.0 – ImgBurn can write most types of CD / DVD images and it supports all the latest writers (including booktype / bitsetting on many of the major ones – i.e. BenQ, LiteOn, NEC, Plextor, Sony). You can even use ImgBurn to erase / format your rewritable media.

System Mechanic Free – System Mechanic Free is a complete suite of powerful system repair and maintenance tools. The 7 core tools included in System Mechanic Free are designed to boost speed, fix problems, and instantly improve PC performance.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Advanced Uninstaller PRO Version 10.6 – Now Free For Everyone!

imageI’m a big fan of Revo Uninstaller but, I’ve had some problems getting it to behave in Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The screen shot below illustrates Revo attempting to round up surplus Registry entries following an uninstall – and, not succeeding (21,132 entries and still counting – uh, no).

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A robust uninstaller – one which thoroughly cleans out the Registry is a must have application for a software reviewer like myself – so, on the hunt I went for a free replacement. The timing couldn’t have been better since, as it turns out, Advanced Uninstaller PRO is now free.

Advanced Uninstaller PRO is no lightweight, and this latest release features full support for Windows 8 – both 32 bit and 64 bit platforms.

Advanced Uninstaller PRO includes additional handy tools (all in a conveniently laid out GUI), to help you clean your system, and keep it running at top speed – as shown in the following selected screen shots. Clicking on any screen shot will expand it to the original size.

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Uninstalling a selected application is a simple process as indicated.

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If you’re into controlling Windows services – you’ll find that it’s a breeze with the Windows Services module.

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The Installation Monitor module provides granular control over application installation.

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The Internet Browser Tools module includes a robust set of tools all neatly packaged for easy access.

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When you need help – it’s just a click away. Press the F1 key and an advanced help system is readily available – as shown in the following screen capture.

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Fast facts:

Uninstall programs quickly and completely, with full disk and registry clean-up to remove leftovers. Way better than the standard Windows uninstaller!

Installation monitor. Examine all the items an application has installed on your PC, and makes sure all of them were removed.

Startup Manager – manages all Windows startup areas. Fully control what gets started when you turn on your PC.

Windows Services – control the services (background processes) that are run by Windows.

Quick Cleaner – erase the web browsing history and the history traces of over 200 programs.

Start Menu Cleaner – fully clean-up your Start Menu, eliminate all the shortcuts that don’t work anymore.

Start Menu Items Manager – show and hide start menu items, sort them alphabetically, etc.

Font Manager – manage the fonts on your computer, disable or uninstall the fonts you don’t need.

Control Panel Manager – full control over the items in your Control Panel. Disable broken items, etc.

Duplicate Files – find and delete all your duplicate files, saving a lot of disk space!

Live File Compression – harness the powerful and safe file compression built into Windows. Compress rarely used files in such a way that you can still use them normally, but you save disk space.

File Shredder – completely overwrites and destroys the files you want to be destroyed, so nobody can recover them.

Windows Temporary Files – recover lots of disk space by finding and deleting garbage files.

Full web browser management of cookies, history, add-ons, extensions, plugins, temporary cache files for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome – up to date for the latest versions!

Registry Cleaner – to remove errors and to make Windows lighter.

Registry Optimizer – help Windows and the programs run faster by speeding up registry accesses.

Registry Backup and Restore – to avoid disaster where the Windows Registry gets hosed.

System requirements: XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8 (32 and 64 bit).

Download at: Download.com (this file does not contain the usual CNET wrapper).

If you’re looking for a freeware application that not only gets in there and cleans out the deep dirt, but offers a range of additional functionality, then Advanced Uninstaller PRO should definitely make your short list.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Tools, Registry Cleaners, Software, Utilities

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 29, 2012

How to Speed Up, Clean Up, and Revive Your Windows PC - Flowers are blooming and birds are chirping, which means it’s time to start your yearly spring cleaning extravaganza. While you’re emptying your closets, decluttering, and getting rid of the bloat in your life, why not do the same for your computer? Here are some simple, easy to follow tips to give your trusted Windows PC a little spring cleaning of its own.

Browse Anonymously – Every Web site you visit knows your IP address and roughly where you live. With a little effort a site can gather much more information. At times you may want to surf without giving away your identity; here’s how.

Get More Out of Your Kindle Fire Tablet: Five Tips – Here’s how to rock your Kindle Fire with a new look, better apps, and awesome content–none of which will cost you a dime.

The State of ‘Do Not Track’ in Current Browsers – With all the commotion in the tech press these days, it’s worthwhile to take a look at where the browsers stand right now in terms of their ability to protect you from being tracked by behavioral marketing companies.

4 Wireless Networking Tips for Small Business – If you need to deploy a wireless network in your small business — or upgrade it to support the explosion of Wi-Fi devices vying for connectivity — these four tips can help.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Apple faces European rebuke over Apple’s ‘4G’ iPad claim – From Australia to Europe: more complaints are coming in from customers to regulators that the iPad 3’s “4G” capability simply doesn’t work.

Kaspersky Knocks Down Kelihos Botnet Again, But Expects Return – For the second time in six months, researchers from the Russian antivirus company, Kaspersky Lab, carried out an operation to take down the newest iteration of the Kelihos botnet, also known as “Hlux.”

Windows Phone Smokes Android, But Can’t Sell – In our latest Reader’s Choice awards, Windows Phone 7 beat Android on most measures. So why can’t Microsoft sell any phones?

MacControl Trojan Being Used in Targeted Attacks Against OS X Users – Welcome to the age of targeted attacks, Mac users. Perhaps having grown tired of owning Windows machines around the world for the last few years, attackers in China now have taken up the challenge of going after Macs with the same kind of targeted attack tactics that have served them so well in the Windows world.

EyeLeo Reminds You to Take Breaks, Dims Your Screen So You Actually Take Them – The app reminds you to take short eyestrain breaks every few minutes, and longer, get-up-from-the-computer breaks every hour or so. You can schedule the short breaks to take place every two to seven minutes, and the long breaks every 30 to 90 minutes. When it’s time for a short break, you’ll get a small alert at the bottom of the screen reminding you to roll your eyes, look at an object far away (in observance of the 20-20-20 rule), or do something else to relax your eyes.

Angry Birds Space Hits 10 Million Downloads in Three Days – The game was released last Thursday for iOS and Android devices, as well as Macs and PCs, with one of the biggest, and probably most expensive, promotional campaigns for a mobile game ever seen. And it seems to have paid off – just hours after its release, the new Angry Birds title was already at the top of Apple’s App Store charts in nearly 30 countries.

Free and Cheap Software for Benchmarking like a Pro – Whether you’re a power user or a novice, there has never been a better time to learn about benchmarking. Some people enjoy exploring the cutting-edge 3d engines employed in some gaming benchmarks, while others take their custom-painted, neon-lit rigs into competitions for speed just as serious as their four-wheeled hot rod counterparts on real racetracks. Just about every major tech blog or hardware site uses one or more of the suites in this roundup. Despite the power, they’re easy to use.

Company News:

iBuildApp Mobile App Builder Releases API – iBuildApp the mobile app building platform, today launched the beta version of its API for remote app management. The initiative allows developers to manage their apps built using iBuildApp platform without needing to log in to the iBuildApp platform. The API allows developers to create, retrieve, update or delete content such as photos, news, or events.

Microsoft testing malware protection for Azure virtual machines – Microsoft has released a technology preview test build of Microsoft Endpoint Protection (MEP) for Windows Azure, which is designed to allow developers and admins to add antimalware protection to their Azure virtual machines. The MEP tech preview for Windows Azure can be downloaded by anyone for free and installs on top of the Azure software development kit (SDK) 1.6 or later. The MEP antimalware module is imported into the roles’ definition. The module includes SDK extensions to the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio.

ManageEngine Fortifies Firewall Analyzer with Cisco, Fortinet, Check Point Virtual Firewall Support – ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, today announced the immediate support for Cisco, Fortinet and Check Point virtual firewalls in Firewall Analyzer, the company’s firewall log analysis software for SMB, enterprise and MSP organizations. Now, Firewall Analyzer cost-effectively monitors network traffic, manages configuration changes, detects network anomalies, tracks bandwidth usage, archives firewall logs and generates security compliance audit reports for the three vendors’ virtual firewalls.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Gets Certified for Oracle Database – Until last week, the Oracle Database was not certified to run on the latest version of Oracle Linux or the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 release that it is based on. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 was first released in November of 2010. The road to certification was a long one for Oracle, and it involved a non-trivial amount of effort.

Webopedia Daily:

HAVi – Short for Home Audio Video interoperability, a vendor-neutral audio-video standard aimed specifically at the home entertainment environment. HAVi allows different home entertainment and communication devices (such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, security systems, video monitors) to be networked together and controlled from one primary device, such as a PC or television.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The TOOOL Emergency Lock-Pick Card Fits in Your Wallet, Gets You Back Inside When You’re In a Bind – We’ve all locked ourselves out of our home at least once or twice, but locking yourself out without a way to get back in—like a phone or a roommate—can be pretty stressful. This snap-apart card fits in your wallet and turns into a full lockpicking kit in seconds.

iPhone passcode lock defeated in 2 minutes (Video) – A Swedish software developer demonstrates its tool for defeating the iPhone passcode and dumping its data to a PC for analysis.

NSA Director Says Agency Should Not Monitor Private Networks – The hysteria in Washington regarding the comprehensive infiltration of U.S. government and civilian networks by China has gotten to the point now that the director of the National Security Agency is saying in open Congressional hearings that his agency, the U.S. Cyber Command and others should be presenting the White House with recommendations for non-cyber options for retaliation against Chinese hackers.

Google needs to take back Android from the OEMs – Is Google to blame for the fragmentation of the Android OS and delayed updates, or does the blame lie with the OEMs and the mobile carriers?

In DC, Google and Facebook Position Republican Insiders – As SOPA fades Google and Facebook pick Republican veteran DC insiders and lobbyists for key positions in tech’s new political era.

Today’s Quote:

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

-     Chinese Proverb

Today’s Free Downloads:

Core FTP Lite – This free, secure FTP client gives you a fast, easy, reliable way to update and maintain your website via FTP. It also provides a secure method (via SSL, TLS, or SFTP) to upload / download files to and from FTP servers.

Mozilla Thunderbird 11.0.1 Final – Thunderbird makes emailing safer, faster and easier than ever before with the industry´s best implementations of features such as intelligent spam filters, a built-in spell checker, extension support, and much more.

TeamViewer QuickSupport 7.0.12979 – TeamViewer is the fast, simple and friendly solution for remote access over the Internet – all applications in one single, very affordable module. Simple and small customer module, runs immediately without installation and does not require administrative rights – optimized for instant support.

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Windows 8 Satisfies The Need For Speed

imageI’m a speed sensitive kind of guy – when it comes to computing, that is. Late last year, to satisfy my need for speed, I installed a Solid State Drive – running Windows 7 Enterprise – in place of a Western Digital HDD, as a boot drive.

The benefits of running with an SSD were immediately noticeable – faster boot times, faster system shutdown, faster application load times (including games), along with faster sleep and hibernation modes.

In the meantime, Windows 8 Consumer Preview was dropped on my doorstep – and, since there is some degree of SSD optimization built into Windows 8, taking the opportunity to race with this new engine was a natural fit.

It’s been quite a race – Windows 8 is perceptibly faster on my hardware than on the same configuration running Windows 7. Not milliseconds faster – but, measurable faster. Still, there’s little real value in a single user’s Windows 8 running experience. Hardware is a variable – system configurations are variable – usage factors need to be considered, and so on.

So, rather than write a full report on my personal experience running Windows 8, I gave Sandro Villinger from TuneUp Software (the developers of TuneUp Utilities 2012) a buzz to get his take on Windows 8.

Thank goodness for Skype – a planned 15 minute call to Germany turned into a 2 hour conversation – much of it focused on the state of Internet journalism. A conversation so satisfying, that it led me to craft an article on a number of issues raised in conversation, which I’ll post in the next few days.

But, I digress.

As it turns out, Sandro and his team had tested Windows 8 extensively – not just on a single system – but, on a mix of hardware which included Desktops, Laptop/Tablets, and a low powered Intel Atom Netbook.

Sandro has generously shared his extremely comprehensive report with me – which I’ve posted below. If you’ve had any questions regarding Windows 8 performance capabilities, then Sandro’s report is just what you’ve been waiting for.

Enjoy the read.   Smile

A Close Look at Windows 8 Performance: Winners and Losers

Don’t let the shiny new Metro interface of Windows 8 fool you—the new operating system (OS) has been improved not just with a spanking new outfit but also in the performance department. For instance, Microsoft’s future OS needs to work with both high-end PCs as well as small-factor devices like ARM and low-powered Intel tablets, which is why its overall footprint needed to be reduced drastically.

As VentureBeat noted, “Windows 8’s secret feature [is] resurrecting old PCs.” Microsoft promised that Windows 8 would run equally well or better on low-powered machines than Windows 7. This is a bold statement, but the real question is, did the company deliver? In this blog post, we’ll explore that with early benchmarks, showing if and how much Windows 8’s performance compares to Windows 7’s on the very same machines.

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Windows 8 has been optimized from the ground up to work great with low-powered mobile devices. But how fast is it really? Our lab tests will give you the answers.

Our Test Beds: A Broad Range

To get comparable results, we put Windows 8 through a variety of tests on several very differently equipped systems. We used:

  • Two Desktop PCs: We installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on both a 2007-era desktop PC (Core 2 Duo, 2.66 GHz) and a recent Alienware gaming rig (Core i7 930, 8 GB RAM).
  • Two Laptops/Tablets: We also tested a low-powered Core i7 1.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM 13” laptop, which includes a 256 GB SSD, as well as an Asus EP121 tablet sporting a Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 64 GB SSD.
  • Netbook: We used a very common Samsung NC10 netbook running a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom and 2 GB of RAM.

We didn’t install any tools on those machines except for the applications that we frequently use for benchmarking. As usual, we performed all tests three times to get a good idea of the results. As usual, we put both OSs through the typical rounds of analyzing boot time, raw processing power and application launch speed. However, since this is a Consumer Preview, we just want to give a quick impression rather than perform a full-blown review—we’ll save that for later!

#1 – Boot Time Performance

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Windows 8 is widely known for booting up extremely quickly. I used a stopwatch to determine how long it took until the desktop under Windows 7 and the new Metro user interface under Windows 8 was visible. The results will blow you away.

On all machines, Windows 8 was able to surpass its predecessor—right out of the gate, the new OS booted much more quickly. Once the final version hits, we’ll go through our usual paces of running Windows Performance Analyzer to determine if and how much background activity during boot was reduced.

#2 – Processes on a Fresh System

Last September, Microsoft boasted about less processes and reduced RAM consumption. Obviously, the less things that are running in the background, the better performance and longer battery life will be, as idle times are much higher. Right after we clean installed both Windows 7 and Windows 8, we compared the usage.

What we found was not necessarily a big achievement, but an achievement nonetheless. We saw a decrease of five processes as well as a drop in RAM usage by about 100 MB. In your day-to-day routine, this won’t be of particular help. What is helpful, however, are the drastically reduced idle activities. On Windows 8, Microsoft managed to reduce overall background activity noticeably—both on the software and on the driver side. By default, the bare OS’s processes and services rarely cause any noticeable spikes.

#3 – Application Start-up Times

Application start-up times give us a good indication of the OS’s ability to pre-load data and quickly manage smaller file chunks. To test this, we “trained” Windows’s own SuperFetch feature by loading Outlook 2010 every morning at exactly 9 a.m. and keeping it running on both the Windows 7 SP1 and the Windows 8 OSs all day long. After a couple of days, Windows had adapted. Then, we were able to use the trusty AppTimer, which automatically launches applications and measures start-up times down to the millisecond.

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Now, how long does it take? We only performed this test on the Core i7 1.8 GHz laptop.

There was a difference in so called “cold” and “warm” startups – cold refers to the first startup of the application right after boot, and warm refers to subsequent launches that are all completely loaded from memory and, thus, faster. The differences were hardly noticeable, but there was a clear trend towards Windows 8 loading applications a tad slower; however, this could be attributed to hard disk controller drivers.

#4 – Office Performance

To test day-to-day performance, we used the dependable PCMark 7 benchmark tool that automatically performs tasks such as website rendering, virus scans, photo manipulation and video editing. It should easily prove how well Windows 8 can handle both CPU and hard disk heavy tasks.

We found mixed results. While Windows 8 achieved quite a leap in performance on the faster machines, the lower-end devices, especially the netbook, actually suffered a bit. This ran noticeably slower during the tests, which was also noticeable during day-to-day usage.

#5 – Gaming Performance

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. benchmark is a very well established test program designed to measure frames per second in DirectX games. As usual, we performed all tests three times and averaged the results.

The gaming front seems to profit from Windows 8’s reduced memory usage and apparent optimization to DirectX. But, those results should be taken with a grain of salt: Windows 8 installed some more recent beta drivers that were not available for Windows 7 SP1.To compensate for the effect, we downloaded the most recent beta drivers for nVIDIA and Intel onboard graphics. Overall, the netbook suffered a small amount again, while the faster machines gained quite a bit of performance.

#6 – Overall Verdict: Good Improvements, Some Losses

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview runs well on higher-end devices, but we were surprised to see that it lost some performance on lower-end machines—the very exact devices that it’s supposed to run well on. However, I’ll wait for the release candidate to make a final judgment. We may have an odd combination of unfinished drivers and code and bugs that may affect benchmarks (which is exactly why I only used a handful of my tests to get a general feel for new OS’s performance).

Overall, Windows 8 is going in the right direction. However, judging bare operating systems can only reveal so much.We’ll find out how it really works when we’re able to test third-party applications and the Metro-style apps. Do these negatively impact performance over time? We’ll find out in part two of our Windows 8 performance series.

A Close Look at Windows 8 Performance: Winners and Losers (Part 2)

In last week’s blog post, we performed some early performance benchmarks and compared Windows 7 SP1 with the recently released Windows 8 Consumer Preview. While speed improved in some scenarios, other aspects suffered a bit. However, the important thing to remember is, performance doesn’t just depend on the underlying operating system (OS); it also relies on the applications that run constantly in the background.

Third-Party Applications: Still a Problem

I’ve now been productively working with Windows 8 for a couple of weeks! I have been using this OS day in and day out and have installed all of my applications.

While I was surprised by the system’s initial responsiveness, overall speed reduced after installing about 80 programs, which consisted of Skype, Live Messenger, SnagIt and games and office applications. It didn’t slow things down to a crawl, but it introduced quite a bit of lag and noticeably less performance—so I found myself again having to use tools such as TuneUp Program Deactivator, Autoruns, Startup Manager and Windows’ own service tools to turn off certain applications. This isn’t out of the ordinary though. It’s a fact of life, and Microsoft will likely stay away from this department, despite the fact that the company has introduced quite a nice Task-Manager that shows the impact of start-up applications.

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Closed Apps Still Run in the Background

Having worked with Windows 8 on both a desktop and a tablet, in addition to switching between a variety of apps, I noticed a bit of a lag when handling apps. First, switching between apps had a delay of between one second and several seconds. Second, the system slowed down in “classic desktop” mode although no applications were running.

Microsoft promised several times on its Engineering 8 Blog that inactive applications would be frozen and couldn’t consume PC resources. When looking at the multi-tasking switcher on the left, I was proven right. Windows 8 actively held about six apps at a time before apparently closing them. What I found instead, however, annoyed me a bit. The so-called frozen applications remain in the background.

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While only the most critical of those apps were active in the background (Mail, Messaging, Music, etc.), all other apps just sat there consuming memory. Overall, I had about 500 MB worth of apps sitting in memory and not doing a whole lot. That’s not as bad as some browsers, but it’s still not quite as effective as it could be.

Why is this happening? The memory is actually consumed by the frozen state of the app. This means that once an app is closed (which is done by a swiping gesture from the top to the bottom of the screen), it can be resumed instantly. Even though this is a good feature, most users likely aren’t aware that this instant resume may have a detrimental effect on performance—and there are applications that most people only start once, use for 10 minutes and don’t touch again. So why keep those apps =running in the background?

Of course, a restart purges the memory of all app states, but many users go a long time without ever shutting down or restarting their PCs. In fact, Microsoft has designed Windows 8 to be more of an “Always On Standby” experience—they hide the restart and shutdown buttons in the charms menu and encourage users to use their power buttons to go to standby.

Is this really a problem? Well, it all depends on the usage of the user. If you’re just using three or four of your favorite apps, this doesn’t concern you. A hundred MB won’t make a huge difference. If you’re using a wide array of Metro-style apps and switch back to your classic desktop applications, this might affect performance. Having half a gig of apps sitting in memory just waiting for you to start them again is detrimental to performance. I wish apps would actually close if you perform the aforementioned swipe gesture.

Again, it’s very early to talk about these things. Windows 8 is in its Consumer Preview stage, but I am not sure if Microsoft really is considering giving back more control to the user who actually wants it. We’ll keep you up-to-date on this.

Sandro Villinger’s professional background – IT Journalist/Consultant

Managing Editor: Hewlett-Packard HPIO Germany

PR Manager/Technical Consulting: TuneUp Software GmbH

Publications US: IDG ITWorld, HP Input/Output, TuneUp Blog

Publications DE:  ComputerBILD, PC Pr@xis, MS Press, Windows-Tweaks.info

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 28, 2012

Top 20 Mobile Web Sites and Services – Apps, schmaps. Who needs to download anything when these mobile sites and services offer fast information and entertainment right in your mobile browser?

Facebook Profile Viewer rogue application spreads on social network – A rogue application which claims to allow you to see who has viewed your Facebook profile is spreading between accounts on the popular social network.

Bishop claims the Bible can help with password security – A British Bishop claims that the Bible can provide invaluable support.. for those who want to use a better password online. The Bishop of Rochester in Kent, is urging his congregation this Easter to use Bible quotations to help them remember their website passwords.

If Desktop Linux Is Dead, Someone Had Better Tell All Those Users – It’s hard to take seriously assertions of Linux’s desktop ‘death’ when usage is growing around the globe.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Ubuntu Unity 5.8 seriously impresses – Jack Wallen gives Ubuntu Unity 5.8 a go and is seriously impressed. Read about the improvements and why Jack is so willing to admit his mistake when proclaiming the Ubuntu desktop dead.

Coming to LibreOffice: Collaborative Editing – Now in prototype form, this new capability will fill in one of the last remaining gaps in the free office suite’s feature set.

U.S. Army Launches App Marketplace Prototype – The U.S. Army has launched an app marketplace prototype that supports iOS apps and will soon support Android apps. The move follows the U.S. Air Force’s deal to secure thousands of iPads.

What are All Those Different Document Formats in Word, and Why Would I Use Them? – If you use Microsoft Word (or a similar word processor), you probably know well enough how to save a document. You click Save, choose a folder, give the document a name, and then click Save, OK, or whatever. What you may not know is how to choose a different format for that document, or why you’d want to.

Richard Clarke: China has hacked every major US company – Cybersecurity advisor Richard Clarke is warning the U.S. that its major companies are being regularly infiltrated by Chinese hackers employed by the Chinese government to steal R&D.

Security Firm AVG Releases Do-Not-Track Feature for Windows – Security Firm AVG Releases Do-Not-Track Feature for Windows If the recent debates around the Federal Trade Commission’s call for a Do-Not-Track tool have you concerned about online privacy, computer security firm AVG recently announced a new do-not-track feature for Windows. AVG’s new tool is available to users of its free and paid security products as a free update.

Using White Balance With RAW, Resetting a Photo’s Date, Understanding Crops, and More – Have a question about digital photography? Send it to me. I reply to as many as I can–though given the quantity of e-mails that I get, I can’t promise a personal reply to each one. I round up the most interesting questions about once a month here in Digital Focus.

Company News:

Apple Dismisses iPad Battery Charging Concerns – An Apple VP explains that the battery charging “issues” with the new iPad are really just normal operating behavior working as designed.

Lenovo Launches Mobile App Store for Businesses – Computer maker Lenovo announced its first enterprise app shop—the Lenovo Enterprise App Shop—to bring end-to-end mobile app services to large businesses, enabling custom management, deployment and publication as well as volume pricing.

Dell, Ubuntu Make Private Clouds More Appealing – Dell and Ubuntu are teaming up to give enterprise customers the opportunity to deploy open-source private clouds with the same features as public clouds, without the cost and risk.

Apple to Offer Refund Over Australian 4G iPad Claims – Apple will offer refunds to people who bought its latest iPad following a claim by Australia’s competition regulator that it ran misleading advertisements over the device’s 4G connectivity. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Apple to the Federal Court in Melbourne on Wednesday for allegedly violating sections of the Australian Consumer Law.

Webopedia Daily:

Authoring tool – Also known as authorware, a program that helps you write hypertext or multimedia applications. Authoring tools usually enable you to create a final application merely by linking together objects, such as a paragraph of text, an illustration, or a song. By defining the objects’ relationships to each other, and by sequencing them in an appropriate order, authors (those who use authoring tools) can produce attractive and useful graphics applications. Most authoring systems also support a scripting language for more sophisticated applications.

Off Topic (Sort of):

‘Silence gun’ leaves talkers speechless — literally - Deactivating someone’s voice without their consent is some serious stuff. But the silence gun doesn’t cause any physical harm nor alters the person’s voice in any way. Instead, it operates on a phenomenon called delayed auditory feedback wherein an attached microphone picks up the speech and plays it back with a delay of 200 milliseconds. The echo effect causes the person’s brain to become so disoriented that it literally shuts down the region responsible for speech.

Underhanded tactics guaranteed to land a bigger bonus – Greg Miliates offers some tips — some underhanded — for getting a bigger bonus.

FTC Chairman: Do-Not-Track Law May Not Be Needed - A do-not-track law focused on protecting Web users’ privacy may not be necessary, with private groups working to implement recommendations from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the agency’s chairman said Monday.

Twitter libel case won by ex-cricketer over 24 word tweet - Lawyers are being engaged more often over alleged defamation through Twitter by injured parties hoping to get justice for insults and bullying. £90,000 is a considerable sum for a 24 word tweet.

Online Video Expected to Overtake DVD, Blu-ray Viewing this Year – Online Video Expected to Overtake DVD, Blu-ray Viewing this YearAmericans will watch more movies from legal, online sources in 2012 than they will on DVD or Blu-ray, according to a new study by IHS. Online movie consumption will rise to 3.4 billion views or transactions this year, IHS projects, compared with 2.4 billion views for physical media.

Today’s Quote:

The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.”

-     Benjamin Disraeli

Today’s Free Downloads:

Privoxy – Some people feel that ads are not only irritating, but also violate their privacy. If you are one of these people, you’ll like Privoxy. This free tool offers a wealth of ways to rid yourself of ads and tracking.

Adblock Plus – Adblock Plus is a powerful, and free, plugin for Firefox, Chrome, and Thunderbird that strips out almost all advertising from the Web pages you view. Install the plugin, restart your browser, and resume surfing.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 27, 2012

How to Test a Laptop in the Store – You need a new laptop. In the store, you see three different models that might work, but you don’t know how to decide on the best one for you (not the best one for the salesperson). These sets of quick and simple in-store performance tests will separate the winners from the posers, and lead you to a decision you can feel good about.

Mozilla Sets End of Firefox Windows XP Support – Next month’s Firefox 12 will be the last version of Mozilla’s browser to run on early editions of Windows XP and the 12-year-old Windows 2000. Starting with Firefox 13, the browser’s minimum requirements will be XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). Firefox 13 will not work on Windows 2000, Windows XP RTM (release to manufacturing, the original mid-2001 build) or XP SP1.

Facebook teaches users how to remove adware (video) – Facebook has released a video warning its users about adware. The social networking giant explains how to get rid of the malware from your computer and how to cleanup your Facebook account.

High school expels student for tweeting f-word – An Indiana high school expels a student for a silly, profane tweet, even though it seems to have been sent at 2:30 a.m. The school suggests that it may track all of its students’ tweets, regardless of what time or where they were sent.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

New US counter-terrorism guidelines can hold data on citizens for years – Last week, US counter-terrorism officials were granted permission to increase the period of time they can retain information about citizens, even if those citizens aren’t tied to terrorism.

Fake eBay identity confirmation message hitting inboxes – Ebay users are once again targeted with fake notifications asking them to “confirm their identity”. The link points to a spoofed eBay login page. The victims are first asked to type in their login credentials, and then urged to answer their security question and enter their email address. Finally, they are redirected to the real eBay website, while the information inserted in the bogus site is sent to the phishers that set it up.

Apple ‘Must Fix’ iPad Battery Issue, Study Warns – Apple ‘must fix’ the new iPad’s battery charging indicator issue or face a costly replacement of the batteries.

Free online tool teaches IT security procedures – AVG Technologies launched SMB BootCamp, a free, online tool to help SMBs demonstrate to customers that their company is seriously committed to following AVG’s recommended IT security procedures.

Verizon Data Breach Report Offers Scary Truths About Security – The Verizon study finds that the best way to prevent data breaches is not expensive or new, but rather simple. The fact that businesses don’t adhere to good security practices is more frightening than the breaches themselves.

LulzSec hacks Military Singles – LulzSec is back. The hacktivist group has hacked MilitarySingles.com and exposed 170,937 accounts belonging to U.S. military members looking for a date. Is this the start of another 50 days of “lulz”?

Company News:

Adobe Gaining Digital Marketing Momentum – Adobe’s digital marketing business continues to thrive, as evidenced by its 30 percent year-over-year growth. Last week’s Adobe Digital Marketing Summit represented the pinnacle of what Adobe has accomplished in its digital marketing push.

Does VMware Have a Real Future? – Price is a big weakness when every player in the virtualization market is offering a good-enough free option. Of course, VMware will say its rivals’ commoditized virtualization hypervisors aren’t nearly as good as its polished programs. That may be so, but it doesn’t really matter when what the competition is offering for free is good enough. That’s a deal that’s awfully tough to beat.

D-Link Network Switches Connect SMBs with IPv6 – D-Link readies small businesses for the future with IPv6 support, managed switch capabilities and energy-saving features.

HTC Shutting Down Sense Backup Services – HTC plans to shut down its HTCsense.com cloud backup services on April 30 in preparation for the launch of “new and improved services,” it said on its website.

Webopedia Daily:

Joomla open source CMS - Joomla! is a free and open source content management system (CMS) designed to assist users in building websites and other online applications. The Joomla open source CMS, which is offered under the General Public License (GPL) version 2.0, is a continuation of the work of the development team that unanimously resigned from the Mambo project in August 2005 (see “fork”). Joomla version 1.0 is derived from Mambo 4.5.2.3 but includes many additional bug fixes and security patches.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Israel Law Requires Magazines to Disclose Photoshopped Models – A law passed Monday in Israel requires publications to disclose when models have been Photoshopped to appear thinner and bans ads from using underweight models, or models with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of lower than 18.5.

Digital Mailbox Services off to the Races in Australia – On Monday, Australia Post began soliciting people to sign up for its Australia Post Digital Mailbox, a web-based application for receiving bills and a storage “vault” for important items such as tax documents and passport copies.

The world of social media arrests and prosecutions – What happens when a tweet or Facebook page becomes of interest to the law?

Paper vs digital: Why you can’t flog a dead encyclopaedia – We’re living through the closing chapter of paper and the printed word – and we shouldn’t mourn their passing.

Top 5 April Fools’ Day photo pranks – I’m usually an April Fools’ Day scrooge (when you have kids, it gets old quick). But a few photo-related jokesters had me cracking a smile.

Today’s Quote:

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

-    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today’s Free Downloads:

AVG LinkScanner – Verifies the safety of web pages you visit, and of links returned from web searches. AVG LinkScanner is up and running immediately from the moment of installation.

FrostWire 5.3.4 – FrostWire is a peer-to-peer file sharing program for the Gnutella and BitTorrent protocols. FrostWire is written in Java, and is a fork of LimeWire, another popular Gnutella client.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 26, 2012

How to Test a Phone in the Store – You need a new phone. In the store, you see three different models that might work, but you don’t know how to decide on the best one for you (not the best one for the salesperson). These quick and simple in-store performance tests will separate the winners from the posers, and lead you to a decision you can feel good about.

Android Gets Bad Rap for Risk, Security Rearchers Say – A growing number of reports and white papers over the past several months — most from security vendors — have announced, sometimes in breathless terms, that Google’s Android operating system is now the primary target of malware attacks on mobile devices. To which some respondents, such as one going by the alias “fotoflojoe,” post sarcastic comments like, “In other news, water is wet and the sky is blue.”

Facebook Scammers Host Trojan Horse Extensions on the Chrome Web Store – Cybercriminals are uploading malicious Chrome browser extensions to the official Chrome Web Store and use them to hijack Facebook accounts, according to security researchers from Kaspersky Lab.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Navigate Windows 8 like a pro with the Windows Key – Greg Shultz shares some very useful keyboard shortcuts involving the Windows key that can help you navigate Windows 8.

Child porn pages disguised as legitimate sites – A report from British watchdog Internet Watch Foundation says that pedophiles are successfully disguising websites to hide their illegal content.

Instagram for Android imminent: Now taking sign-ups – Android device users, get ready to join the Instagram fun. Makers of the popular photo-sharing app are now taking e-mail addresses for those who want to be first in line.

10 Hot Smartphone Features Every User Needs – Smartphone vendors, take note: There are certain features every user needs. Even for those vendors whose smartphones aren’t keeping pace with the iPhones and Galaxy Nexuses of the world, it’s not too late–as long as they make sure their latest devices include these 10 hot smartphone features.

Three ways to research your family tree – The do-it-yourself approach to getting the lowdown on your ancestors may lead you down a series of blind alleys. An alternative to the high-end genealogical resources offered by Ancestry.com is the personal and affordable services of a mom-and-pop operation.

Top 3 Controversies Hounding Apple’s Newest iPad - In a betting mood? We discuss the top three issues facing new iPad owners and handicap which will be the most annoying. See if you agree.

Company News:

Facebook Taps IBM for 750 Patents to Help Beat Back Legal Claims: Report – Facebook has acquired 750 patents from IBM in an attempt to help protect itself from lawsuits such as that leveled against the social networking giant earlier this month by Yahoo, according to a source cited in several published reports.

Sony to Launch PlayStation 3 Photo Suite This Week, to Link With Cloud Service – Sony said Monday it will sell new photo editing software for the PlayStation 3 this week, as it prepares for the global launch of its cloud-based photo service.

Microsoft and the feds stage raids on Zeus botnets – Microsoft and its allies aim not to just stop a network of remotely infected and controlled computers, but also to disrupt how criminals use them.

Google Ends Chrome Search Rank Penalty Period – At some point during March, Google lifted the penalty it had imposed on Chrome the first week of January, when it demoted the search ranking of the browser’s download page.

Webopedia Daily:

Windows Embedded – A collection of operating systems from Microsoft designed to power embedded systems and help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in their development of devices such as smartphones and automobile infotainment systems. Embedded systems are complete computer systems designed to perform specific functions within a larger system or machine.

Off Topic (Sort of):

India-Based Tech Firms Boost U.S. Economy, Job Growth – While the overall unemployment in the United States remains disturbingly high, the direct workforce employed in the country by the Indian IT sector has almost doubled in the last five years to 107,000, and it is estimated that the industry supports more than 280,000 jobs in the United States, growing even in a weak economic environment, according to a study by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).

Don’t call me a ‘consumer’ or an ‘end-user’ – Language matters, and people who use these terms likely view you as a sheep or supplicant.

Facebook Privacy Debate a Passionate One – While privacy is important in online social settings, standing up for personal responsibility doesn’t mean you are against online privacy.

The new Gmail look is about to become the permanent Gmail look – On March 27, 2012, Google will make the new look for Gmail the permanent, and only, look for Gmail for all users.

Today’s Quote:

Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.”

-     Baltasar Gracian

Today’s Free Downloads:

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair 1.6.5 – Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including registry errors and file permissions as well as issues with Internet Explorer, Windows Update, Windows Firewall and more.

WinPatrol 24.5.2012 – WinPatrol takes snapshot of your critical system resources and alerts you to any changes that may occur without your knowledge. WinPatrol was the pioneer in using a heuristic behavioral approach to detecting attacks and violations of your computing environment.

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