Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 31, 2012

Five portable security apps you should carry on your USB drive – Security is one area where portable apps can make a big difference. But there are so many to choose from, it’s hard to piece together a collection of tools that best fit your needs. To that end, I want to introduce you to some portable security apps you might never have heard of. Even if you only take away one or two of these tools, your portable security toolkit will have improved significantly.

Turn Chrome’s New Tab Into a Stylish Clock and Weather Station – When you open a new tab in Google’s Chrome browser, you typically see thumbnails of your most-visited sites or a collection of Chrome apps. Those are handy options, to be sure, but there are other useful ways to take advantage of that “tab estate.” For example: Currently, a Chrome extension that displays a clock and weather forecast whenever you open a new tab. A rather sexy clock and weather forecast, too.

5 Online Privacy Intrusions You Don’t Know About, and Should – Governments, retailers, wireless carriers, and others collect and use your personal data in ways you may not be aware of. Here’s what you can do about it.

Automatically delete private data from Google Chrome – Not (only) for paranoids, the free browser add-on Click&Clean automatically removes sensitive private data from Google Chrome.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook update aims to beautify its Photos service – Facebook has once again redesigned the look of its Photos service. This time, the company is attempting to beautify the look of Photos on your Timeline, as well as the Timeline of anyone’s profile you stumble upon. The new landing page is just an update of the old one: it has all of a Facebook user’s photos on one page, which Facebook friends can easily Like and comment on.

Google Upgrades Gmail Video Chat With Hangouts – The new video chat feature, based on Hangouts feature from Google+, will be available for phones and tablets as well as browsers.

Microsoft adds Facebook-friend tagging to Bing searches – Bing now lets you tag your Facebook friends while searching so you can ask directly about queries.

The New Kindle Fire: What We Know – According to reports, the new larger Fire will have a quad core processor, front-facing camera, micro USB port, and maybe even an HDMI-out port. The new Fire is also expected to have more design verve. Predictors say it will be lighter and thinner and shed its five-and-dime looks with a new casing made of metal instead of plastic.

The End of the iPod (Thank God!) – This will probably be the last year that the iPod means much to anyone. Its last vestige seems to be the cute little iPod wristwatch lash-up using the nano. However, as the iPod fades, I say good riddance. Its real legacy is that the entire country will now have to put up with a generation of half-deaf Americans.

Apple to Mountain Lion users: “Tell us who your friends are if you want to talk to us.” – When you use the keyboard dictation feature on your computer, the things you dictate will be recorded and sent to Apple to convert what you say into text. (recommended by Dave B.)

Where are the Safari security updates for Windows and Snow Leopard? - Apple released Safari 6 as part of its new Mac operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, as well as a version for Lion that fixes a whopping 121 security vulnerabilties. But what about Windows and Snow Leopard? It seems Apple is leaving users of them behind.

Web Browser Weaknesses Make Tracking Easy – Researcher kicks off effort to catalog all the ways that browsers and popular add-ons can be used to track users.

Ubisoft Updates DRM Following Malware Intrusion – Game publisher Ubisoft has already caught flack for its games’ digital rights management (DRM), which requires an Internet connection to play, but today the company felt some heat when its always-connected DRM opened some players to malware.

Security:

Fake Groupon discount emails carry malware – Cybercriminals have spammed out malware, attached to emails claiming to be related to discounts for offers on Groupon.

Email from disgruntled buyer leads to eBay phishing page – The website hosts a fake eBay login page. Once the victims enter their login credentials and press the “Sign In” button, they are redirected to the legitimate eBay website. Their credentials are forwarded to the phishers, who will then use them to hijack the victims’ eBay accounts and use them for their own malicious purposes.

“Almost every Android device is compromised” turns out to be only almost true – A security expert recently made an astonishing claim at a North American security event: one in three Android apps is malware-infected, and almost all devices are compromised. Sounds like terrible news for Android users – but is it true?

Millions of Mobile Phone Users’ Data Leaked in South Korea Scam – Two men have been arrested in South Korea for allegedly leaking the information of almost nine million of the nation’s mobile phone users, including details of the users’ monthly plans, according to a report issued by the Korea National Police Agency’s (KNPA) Cyber Terror Response Center (CTRC) over the weekend.

New Morto Strain Emerges With File Infection Capability – A new strain of the Morto worm has added a file infection capability in addition to its existing ability to compromise remote desktop connections, according to new research from Microsoft.

Expert: Huawei routers are riddled with vulnerabilities – German security researcher says the Chinese government doesn’t need to demand back doors on Huawei routers because there are already major holes in their firmware.

Company News:

Voxbone Network’s Superb Voice Quality Enables Lexifone to Launch Automated Phone-Translation Service – Voxbone today announced it is enabling Lexifone to launch a real-time language-translation service that combines Lexifone’s innovative automated phone-interpreter technology with the superb clarity of Voxbone’s voice services. The new Lexifone service, aimed at consumers and businesses, allows each party in a telephone call to speak and be heard in his or her chosen language. It is being launched worldwide after availability to selected users in closed beta trials for the past five months.

Microsoft’s radical new business plan is hidden in plain sight – Microsoft is reimagining its entire business model, and they’ve laid out the details for anyone to inspect. You just have to read between the boilerplate sections in the company’s most recent 10-K.

Opera usage surges to 200 million users a month – The latest State of the Mobile Web report released by the firm states that over 200 million mobile users across the globe are taking advantage of the Opera browsers on a monthly basis.

Facebook Spars With Advertiser Over Click Fraud Allegation – Facebook said Monday it has defenses in place to detect click fraud despite one company’s claim it detected suspicious clicks on its advertisements billed to it by the social-networking site.

Yahoo’s Levinsohn Leaves, as Expected, After Mayer Gets Top Job – Ross Levinsohn, who served as Yahoo’s interim CEO for about two months until the company hired former Google executive Marissa Mayer on July 16, will leave the company on Tuesday.

Webopedia Daily:

Connected TV – Another term for Smart TV, connected TVs are designed to provide a more immersive experience for television viewers by delivering interactive features such as Web browsing, social networking, video-on-demand and video streaming in addition to regular television content. Television manufacturers currently sell a wide variety of connected TVs, and users of existing non-connected TVs can add many of the connected features to their current TVs via connected TV-capable Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. Another option is to access free and premium connected TV content over the Web on desktop PCs, tablet computers, smartphones and similar devices.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The truth behind those Nigerian 419 scammers – Why would 419 scammers say they’re Nigerian, even if they are as American as apple pie? Michael Kassner provides some insight as to why.

A Guide to F**king Up in the Digital Age – Fair or not, your missteps will be remembered more clearly than your successes because negative emotion creates stronger, more accurate memories. This doesn’t provide a safe environment for the occasional slip up, and so we tend to try and be perfect. This is the wrong approach, and one that causes more mistakes than it prevents. In this post, we’re going to look at why that is and how you can actually screw up effectively.

Why do Music Labels Want Useless Weapons? – The RIAA knew SOPA and PIPA were useless, yet supported them anyway. Most music files are swapped offline. So why is the RIAA still asking ISPs to spy on us?

The Internet Is Disrupting Every Sector, But at Different Rates – Internet and cloud computing are having a significant impact on businesses in all sectors. Michael J. Miller offers key points from top tech executive-led panels at this year’s Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech 2012. As Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen puts it, “software eats the world,” meaning that software is changing all sorts of industries.

Mobile Security Is a No-Win Game When Cyber-Criminals Have the Upper Hand – Mobile security is at best a zero-sum game in which the bad guys are the only ones with a positive payoff potential. Corporate network and data security managers can only hope to keep cyber-crooks at bay.

Smart tricks to help stay focused – Each new school year brings new challenges — and new distractions. It’s harder than ever to stay focused on work or on studying, but there are old and new tricks to help keep our mind on the game.

Today’s Quote:

“People will forget what you do. People will forget what you say. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

-      Charlie Coffey

Today’s Free Downloads:

ManyCam – ManyCam is free live studio & webcam effects software. You can use your webcam with multiple chat applications at the same time, add webcam effects, use live audio and voice changer, draw over your video window and more.

SlimCleaner – SlimCleaner is the world’s first software that lets you clean and optimize Windows systems using a crowd-sourced approach. SlimCleaner uses aggregated-cloud feedback to recommend optimal settings for programs, start-ups and services.

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Five Steps for a Secure Cloud Transition

In this post, guest author David Maman, CTO and founder of GreenSQL – the database security company – lays out a series of simple steps for cloud migration – ensuring security is systematically addressed.

Five Steps for a Secure Cloud Transition

imageAlmost every type of SMB is examining it’s current IT infrastructure, determining what data and processes can move to the cloud. Of course, security remains one of the biggest concerns.

Here are five steps to make the transition much safer for your data, and your company:

1. Understanding my “Attackability Surface”: Before considering migrating to the cloud, map every project component, and map all the hazards. Including which operating systems will be used, which applications will be installed, which types of security mechanisms are required for each component and, which types of access are required for each service running on this cloud.

Generally, after truly understanding the project scope, the risk becomes controllable.

2. Sharing is Not Caring: Many times, using cloud services involves sharing infrastructure and applications with others, which means that the risk factor is multiplied.

The lack of security configuration at one customer, of application vulnerabilities by other customers, can lead to data loss in your databases. Make sure which components you share, and which are dedicated to you.

Often, when it comes to your customers’ or employees’ sensitive information, you cannot avoid purchasing a private cloud for most components.

3. Command and Control: Demand your cloud providers give you true control and monitoring of any, and all, security components. If necessary, even insist that only you will be able to change the configuration of these components.

If it’s just a network firewall, if it’s a web application firewall, if it’s a database firewall or any other element, those elements ensure your level of risk and your business survival on the cloud. Make sure you are aware of any changes in any security element.

4. The Cat in the Hat: The “Cloud” is a beautiful buzzword; every vendor in the entire IT segment is using the word “Cloud” in presentations and sales speeches. But eventually we have to understand, “Cloud” is really only a hosting service; it might be more advanced; it might support “elastic” growth; it might even provide an extremely easy user interface.

Please make sure you understand that the “Cloud” is “smart” shared hosting, which means that many people may have physical access to the servers that host your data and operating systems.

You can almost never be sure that if – your servers have restarted, it’s not because someone copied the hard drive you are using. Encrypt what you can, and make sure that the most sensitive information is not on the “Cloud.”

5. Software As A Service (SaaS) can work: Salesforce taught us that SaaS can actually work, with extremely high business continuity and extremely high levels of security.

Many Fortune 1000 companies use Salesforce with some of their most sensitive information. The thing is is that Salesforce has invested $100s of millions on infrastructure and security, which more than 90% of other SaaS providers will ever be able to afford.

So, if you decide to go forward and adopt a SaaS provider, keep in mind that size does matter; the bigger the provider (and we’re not talking about boutique providers who cost a fortune), the more secured they are.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 30, 2012

The 15 Best Android Widgets – Widgets: The Android Advantage – Android has one major advantage over iOS: widgets, convenient little apps that are interactive and/or display information directly from the home screen. Widgets usually come with an app; when you download the app, you also get the widget. But you can also obtain “pure” widget apps. Here are 15 of the coolest and most useful widgets for all sorts of uses. And all but three of them are free. Take that, Apple!

Smart Protection for Phones – Offensive content, from porn to malware, is just as easy to find on a mobile device as it is on a PC. Before you give your child a smartphone make sure you have a parental control app installed to prevent your little one from stumbling into the wrong link.

Project Meshnet Aims to Build a Censorship-free Alternative to the Internet – Imagine an Internet without censorship, an Internet built out of like-minded peers and secure connections. Born out of the r/darknetplan Reddit community’s dream of developing a truly free Internet, Project Meshnet may sound like something straight out of a science-fiction novel but it’s actually an idea that is slowly coalescing into reality.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Save storage space by compressing your media files in Windows – If you’re using an older device or have just swamped it with media files, compression may be a good idea. Though it has an effect on playback quality, for most users, adding to their collection is well worth it.

Twitter: Olympics opening ceremony saw 9.66 million mentions – Talk of the London 2012 Olympic Games was expected to take over Twitter, and its community of 140 million active users worldwide didn’t disappoint. On Friday, Twitter saw more tweets in a single day than it saw during the whole duration of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, according to a blog post by the microblogging service.

Top Cloud Services: The Great Hard Drive in the Sky – Cloud-based services offer extra storage space, and many allow you to sync files across multiple devices. But that’s not all: Some can help you collaborate on projects, back up your PC, share photos, and stream music, too. We rounded up 20 cloud offerings across multiple categories, comparing their features, storage limits, and pricing.

Google Maps, Earth updated with high-resolution imagery – In time for the Olympic opening ceremony, Google released a huge update of aerial and satellite imagery for both Google Maps and Google Earth, including for the Olympic Park in London.

ISPs Poised to Battle Google’s ‘Fiberhoods’ – How do Kansas City ISPs and cable providers feel about Google Fiber moving in on their turf?

Monitor Windows 7 boot logs with the help of msconfig – If you just want to analyze what occurs during the boot process on a Windows 7 machine, Jack Wallen says msconfig is the perfect tool for the job.

Three Ways to Make Outlook Easier to Live With – Or: How I learned to stop worrying and tolerate Microsoft’s mail client/information manager.

Security:

Black Hat: Intel Flaw Fixed Six Years Ago by Linux, Hits Windows – Unknown to tens of millions of users, hidden security vulnerability has been lurking on many Intel-based Windows PCs for the past six years. The vulnerability involves the unsafe use of an Intel CPU instruction called ‘sysret’. The risk is that if left unpatched, an attacker could have executed a user-to-kernel privilege escalation attack. In such an attack, the attacker could potential get system access and then execute arbitrary code.

Growing sophistication of Mac malware is cause for alarm – Some OS X organizations and users suffer delusions, believing Macs to be immune to infection. A combination of claims-OS X is a more secure platform that’s more difficult to hack, and OS X boasts less market share making it a less popular target for hackers-lead to some justifiable arguments that OS X is more secure than Windows. But the fact remains: OS X is still vulnerable to infection.

Fraudsters Tempt Olympic Fans With Bogus Streaming Websites – The Olympic Games in London have sparked interest from fraudsters, with a raft of sites supposedly offering live video streams of events.

Researcher Creates Proof-of-concept Malware That Infects BIOS, Network Cards – Security researcher Jonathan Brossard created a proof-of-concept hardware backdoor called Rakshasa that replaces a computer’s BIOS (Basic Input Output System) and can compromise the operating system at boot time without leaving traces on the hard drive.

Company News:

Microsoft Announces New Hardware for Windows 8 – Microsoft on Monday announced new keyboards and mice optimized for tablets and laptops running the Windows 8 operating system. The new devices are lighter and more mobile, and will work with tablets running the latest versions of Windows 8 and RT, which are due for release on Oct. 26. The new mice and keyboards are wireless and connect to devices using Bluetooth, cutting the dependence on USB ports.

Instapaper Downloads Jump 600% From Nexus 7 Tablet – Within one week of the device’s launch, the Nexus 7 had already become the device to beat among Instapaper’s Android user base – 15.58 percent of all Instapaper installations came from the Nexus 7 tablet, beating out devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy Note, and the Galaxy S3.

Taiwanese University Claims Apple’s Siri Infringes Its Patents – A Taiwanese university has sued Apple for alleged patent infringement in its Siri voice assistant, as part of an initiative to help Taiwan’s local electronic firms fight back against intellectual property disputes brought by their foreign rivals.

OLPC Brings Tablet Capability to Aging XO Laptop With Touchscreen – One Laptop Per Child is redesigning its venerable XO-1.75 laptop, by adding a touchscreen, the non-profit organization said in a blog post late last week.

Microsoft Crowned Top U.S. Spammer – Again – The research may be skewed by the MSN factor, but outbound spam still indicates a security problem, with systems compromised by botnets and or users who were hooked by phishing.

Webopedia Daily:

Chat Bot – Short for chat robot, a computer program that simulates human conversation, or chat, through artificial intelligence. Typically, a chat bot will communicate with a real person, but applications are being developed in which two chat bots can communicate with each other. Chat bots are used in applications such as ecommerce customer service, call centers and Internet gaming. Chat bots used for these purposes are typically limited to conversations regarding a specialized purpose and not for the entire range of human communication. One well known example of a chat bot is ALICE. A chat bot is also called a chatterbot.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Why Apple users are happy to be more inept than Microsoft’s – Critics of Apple’s new Genius Bar ads declare that they make Apple users look “inept and foolish.” But isn’t that a good thing?

Olympics fans told to stop tweeting if they want TV – The International Olympic Committee tells enthusiasts in London that their texts and tweets are blocking data systems and messing up the TV coverage. CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk offers up his unique take on this development.

Video: Electric airplane loses power, glides home – One of the primary reasons many consumers shy away form electric vehicles is range anxiety, or the fear of a car battery running out of juice while still on the road. So one can only imagine how range anxiety increases exponentially when flying in an electric aircraft.

Cell phone battery catches fire, burns hacker’s tail at Defcon – Freak incident leads to cell phone battery lighting a real fire under a man’s backside. Hotel room key-card saves him.

Zombie preparedness kit sells for $24,000 – When it comes to ravenous zombies, we all know you can’t be too prepared. So if you have an extra $24,000 to shell out on a preparedness kit, Optics Planet’s Z.E.R.O. just might be what are you looking for.

Today’s Quote:

“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.”

-      Rick Cook

Today’s Free Downloads:

WordWeb Free Version 6.8 – WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

NetSetMan 3.4.5 – NetSetMan is a network settings manager which can easily switch between 6 different, visually structured profiles including: IP Address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and more.

Mozilla Thunderbird Portable 14.0 – The popular Mozilla Thunderbird email client bundled with a PortableApps.com launcher as a portable app. This release updates Mozilla Thunderbird to the latest release. It’s packaged in PortableApps.com Format so it can easily integrate with the PortableApps.com Suite.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 29, 2012

Five great tips to get you started with the Nexus 7 – Getting started with the Nexus 7 can be a bit daunting if it’s your first tablet, or if you’re not familiar with Android. But, that’s why we’re here. We have rounded up the best Nexus 7 tips and tricks to help get you started with your latest tech addiction.

$48 mini Android PC is out in the wild – Essentially, the CX-01 is a $48 mini PC with integrated WiFi that’s about the size of a large flash drive. It is powered by a Telechips TCC8920 ARM Cortex-A5 single core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of storage space and runs Android 4.0. The device – manufactured by Pandawill – is designed to plug directly into your TV via an HDMI adapter, allowing you to run Android apps and other content right on your TV screen.

App Lets You Send Pictures via Sound – Chirp uses sound to transmit words, pictures and URLs from one phone to another, and it gets its name because its data transmission sounds like a robotic bird.

5 Things To Do Before You Give Back Your Work PC – With today’s ever-changing job scene, chances are you will end up moving from one company to another at some point. Turning in your work PC will be an inevitable part of the process, but irresponsibly doing so may jeopardize your personal security, leave you ill-prepared for your new job, and unknowingly burn bridges. Here are five essential tips to avoid these pitfalls.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Handwrite Pits Mobile Search Against Your Withered Penmanship – Google has rolled out a feature called Handwrite that works with smartphones and tablets through a simple settings tweak – there’s no app that needs to be installed, in other words. Cruise over to Google.com on your phone, then tap the Settings link at the bottom of the page (on tablets, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of your browser). You can then enable the new Handwrite setting.

iPhone and iPad App Helps Navigate National Parks – This National Geographic offering is a worthwhile tool for planning your next visit to a national park, particularly if you’re willing to download the individual guides for each park, though its scope is limited.

Minding your manners when sharing in social media – We learn how to act with politeness, respect, and courtesy in the real world. But in the virtual world, manners are still developing. Some thoughts on commonsense considerateness in the realm of social media.

Five Cool Things About Google Fiber (and One Not So Cool Thing) – Never before have so many people all of a sudden thought, “I wonder if Kansas City is a nice place to live?” That’s because Google recently announced the details behind Google Fiber, its TV and high-speed Internet service.

Is Windows 8 Really a ‘Catastrophe’ for Content Creators? – Valve Software’s Gabe Newell just called Windows 8 a “catastrophe.” Is he right?

Blizzard patches Diablo III Wizard “God Mode” exploit – Blizzard has rolled out a another Diablo III hotfix – effectively eliminating a “God Mode” exploit that made Wizard-class players invincible.

Security:

Laws on Wi-Fi sniffing still up in the air, say specialists – Got a Wi-Fi network? If someone, say Google or the government, sniffs your open network, you may think you’re legally protected. Don’t be so sure. It remains unclear whether the law protects your unencrypted Wi-Fi from interception, because there are differing interpretations and lack of court precedent, Kevin Bankston, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said in a session at Defcon yesterday.

Tools boast easy cracking of Microsoft crypto for businesses – ChapCrack and CloudCracker reveal sensitive corporate communications — including passwords — protected by the popular PPTP encryption protocol, which is based on an algorithm from Microsoft, a researcher says at Defcon.

New Mac Trojan Targets Specific Individuals – Security firm Intego says the Trojan is actually espionage malware that spies on victims using instant messaging clients, browsers, and Skype.

NSA Chief Asks Hackers at Defcon for Help Securing Cyberspace – Hackers can help educate people who don’t understand cybersecurity as well as they do, and protect help networks, civil liberties, and privacy, the NSA chief said.

Security Experts Cold on Former FBI Official’s Black Hat Keynote – A former FBI official’s keynote at the Black Hat security conference got a chilly reception Thursday from security experts who bristled at his call for business to do more to help the government defend against cyber attacks.

Company News:

No ‘Samsung Didn’t Copy Us’ Notice on Apple Website … for Now – Those of you keeping an eye out for Apple’s “Samsung didn’t copy us” note on its U.K. website will be waiting a bit longer. A London court on Thursday agreed to delay its judgment.

How Low Can Facebook Go? – Facebook shares have fallen 36% since the IPO, which generated $9 billion for company insiders. “It has become a show-me story,” one analyst said.

Is Apple taking a financial interest in Twitter? – The New York Times reports that Apple has had talks with Twitter about taking a major stake in the social-media company.

Galaxy Phones Drive Samsung to Record Profit Again – Samsung, the world’s largest technology company by revenue, reported another record-high quarterly profit as customers flocked to Galaxy smartphones, helping it outdo rivals at a challenging time for the global tech industry.

New Apple ‘Genius’ Ads: Hit, Miss, or Insulting? – Apple debuts a new series of “Genius” ads during the Olympics, but not all are taking kindly to their treatment

Skype Responds to Claims of Increased Involvement with Law Enforcement – Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a story claiming that Skype recently expanded its cooperation with authorities, and the architecture changes let the company provide more chat and user info to feds. Last evening, Skype officially responded to the various allegations in a blog post by COO Mark Gillett. In a nutshell, Gillett says the rumors are nuts.

Webopedia Daily:

Sleekbook – A marketing term developed by Hewlett-Packard to refer to AMD-powered ultraportable laptops that fit between Intel’s ultrabook designation and the more traditional notebook or laptop. While HP’s sleekbooks share many similarities with ultrabooks, the company created the sleekbook name to give it more leeway in creating new thin and light notebook computers that don’t meet all of Intel’s restrictive specifications for ultrabooks.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Ecuador: US WikiLeaks extradition would be “evil” – The Ecuadorian government is reportedly attempting to prevent the “evil” extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States.

@NBCOlympics: ‘Great opening show; too bad you can’t see it’ – The network tape-delays the Olympics opening ceremony in the U.S., yet live-tweets the event (to get you all excited about not being able to see it on NBC?). Even Salesforce’s Marc Benioff tweets a link to a pirate site.

Amazon CEO Gives $2.5 Million for Washington Gay Marriage Law – Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announced Friday they are donating $2.5 million to the campaign to defend Washington’s same-sex marriage law.

Alcohol + energy drinks = risky sex? – There just may be a link between caffeinated energy drinks mixed with alcohol and casual sex. How so, you ask?

The Mojave, the beating heart of the aviation world (pictures) – The vast desert northeast of Los Angeles is filled with military and civilian aviation facilities — and some of the most exciting aircraft in history fly, and have flown, there.

WWII German U-boat found off Massachusetts coast – A team of divers organized and funded by New Jersey lawyer Joe Mazraani recently discovered a German submarine nearly 70 years after it was sunk in a World War II naval battle off the Massachusetts coast.

Today’s Quote:

“And so faith is closing your eyes and following the breath of your soul down to the bottom of life, where existence and nonexistence have merged into irrelevance. All that matters is the little part you play in the vast drama.”

-     Real Live Preacher

Today’s Free Downloads:

Waterfox 14.0.2 – Waterfox is basically a 64-Bit version of Firefox. The Firefox source code is taken and compiled to run specifically for 64-Bit Windows computers. To make Waterfox stand out a bit more, it’s compiled with optimizations so that it will run more efficiently and faster than just compiling Firefox as a 64-Bit program.

AppRemover 2.2.28.1 – AppRemover is a software application which enables you to uninstall security applications such as antivirus and antispyware from your computer. It completely removes applications and extraneous files left behind.

Google Chrome Portable – Google Chrome Portable is a web browser that runs web pages and applications with lightning speed. It’s designed to be simple and stylish. It’s packaged as a portable app, so you can take your browsing experience with you.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 28, 2012

Five-minute Facebook security checkup – In just a few minutes you can tweak the social network’s default privacy settings to ensure you’re sharing posts and photos only with the friends you intend to share them with.

Easy Ways to Clear Space on Your Laptop’s Hard Drive – Do you live with a thin-and-light laptop that has a small drive? Or just have a large drive that’s filled to overflowing? Here’s how to get some breathing room back.

Google Talk Users Lash out Over Major Outage – Google Talk, a desktop and mobile text and voice chat service used by many Google Gmail customers, suffered a widespread outage Thursday morning that the company says affected “a majority of users.”

How to skip Windows 8 and continue using Windows 7 – If you’re perfectly happy with Windows 7 and skeptical about Windows 8, I have good news for you. You’ve got seven more years before you have to give it up. Here are the facts, figures, and dates to know.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Failed to Delete All Unauthorized Street View Data – Google admitted to U.K. officials that it failed to delete all the unauthorized data collected by its Street View cars

Edit PDF documents with LibreOffice Draw – With LibreOffice Draw, you can edit basic PDFs without splurging for Adobe Acrobat or jumping through any hoops with add-ons.

How to extract images from Office documents – Pull images like blueprints or schematics from Office documents with the help of this easy-to-use application.

How to decide: should you buy the Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire? – Back when I wrote for CNN, I was taught we had eight seconds to get the main point across. So, here goes. Buy the Nexus 7. Unless you’re a huge Amazon user. Then get the Fire. There you go. No beating around the bush. Just a simple answer. Or is it?

Linux Mint 13 KDE released: But does it live up to expectations? – Hot on the heels of its Xfce build, the final release of Linux Mint 13 KDE is now available for download. This is an iteration that a lot of people have been anxiously awaiting, because it combines a lot of good things in a single package.

Turn your old smartphone into a great media player – When it’s time for a new phone, don’t be so quick to recycle your old one. Most can be easily turned into dedicated media players that can make great additions to your home, workplace, or car. Here are some tips to make the most of them.

Security:

New Mac ‘Crisis’ Trojan Taps Into Webcam, More – Security researchers have discovered a new Mac Trojan, dubbed OSX/Crisis, which eavesdrops on unsuspecting users by intercepting communications like email and IMs.

More Than Half Of Major Banks Infected With Conficker, Zeus, Fake AV, Other Malware – Users who get hit with malware infections tend to be repeat offenders, and 18 of the 24 largest banks around the world suffer from infamous malware, such as Conficker, DNS Changer, Gameover Zeus, BlackHole Exploit Kit, and fake antivirus, according to new data.

Personal and financial information under attack – “The reason why criminals are focusing their attacks on stealing personal data is simple. It’s the sheer volume of people working from multiple devices that leaves them vulnerable to attacks,” said Rik Ferguson, director of security research and communication, Trend Micro. “While Trend Micro has been integral in working with authorities to break up a number of cybercriminal rings over the last year, these cybercriminals have acquired new techniques and tools from collaborating with one another to accelerate their ‘industry.’ The fact is: business is booming for cybercrime and everyone needs to take notice.”

Mahdi Malware Makers Push Anti-American Update – Spy malware, seemingly built by Iranians, gets update that searches for “USA” and “gov” on targeted machines, security researcher says at Black Hat.

Most users think content is more important than the device – “Protection from viruses, malware and other online threats remains as important as ever before. What’s new is that consumers are also seeking safe ways to store and synchronize content across their many devices, and also to share this content online, anywhere and anytime”, says Samu Konttinen, Executive VP, Customer and Market Operations, F-Secure.

Windows 8 Security Garners Praise at Black Hat – For years, hackers have had an easy time exploiting Windows heap memory manager. However, all that is going to change with Windows 8, according to new research released at Black Hat.

Company News:

Microsoft sets lowest price for paid apps at $1.49 for Windows 8 Store – The base price is higher than the 99 cents iOS and Android store customers are used to, but seven-day trial periods will be an option for paid apps. Prices can rise in 50-cent increments all the way up to $999.99. Developers can choose to release free apps, and support them with in-app purchases. Unlike other app stores, the Windows 8 will allow seven-day trial periods for users to test paid apps before purchasing them.

Broadcom introduces 5G WiFi combo chip for smartphones – With 3X faster speeds, consumers can download web content from a mobile device, and synch large files such as videos, in a fraction of the time it would take on a similar 802.11n device. Since 5G WiFi transfers the same volume of data at a much faster rate, devices enter low-power mode quickly and, as a result, are up to six times more power efficient than equivalent 802.11n solutions.

Apple buys fingerprint sensor firm AuthenTec for $356 million – Enterprise loves hardware that incorporate fingerprint readers, now Apple is in a position to add this feature to Macs and iOS devices.

Google Expands 3D Imagery to iPhone, iPad – Google Earth now supports 3D imagery on the new iPad, iPad 2, and iPhone 4S on Thursday, making the world as seen through an electronic screen a little more real.

Dell re-enters high-end Linux laptop market with Red Hat Enterprise Linux – Dell, which has and off and on relationship with desktop Linux is on again with a pair of new high-end RHEL laptops.

Webopedia Daily:

GIS – Geographic Information Systems – Short for Geographic Information Systems, tools used to gather, transform, manipulate, analyze, and produce information related to the surface of the Earth. This data may exist as maps, 3D virtual models, tables, and/or lists. GISs can be as complex as whole systems that use dedicated databases and workstations hooked up to a network, or as simple as “off-the-shelf” desktop software.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Hacker delves into secret warranty world – Nobody likes to read the tiny, legalese-ridden warranty statements that come with tech products. But a 17-year-old hacker at Defcon has been doing so, and has advice for consumers and companies alike.

Skype talks back to critics on security and privacy – Critics have been slamming Skype (and its corporate parent Microsoft) with insinuation that it’s taking shortcuts with its users’ privacy. In an unusually direct blog post, a top Skype spokesman labels the allegations false.

Snafu over pricing of Microsoft Surface highlights trouble with web rumors – Yesterday, the tech echo chamber went into a feeding frenzy over the discovery of a small Swedish web site that had posted prices for Microsoft’s Surface tablets. The story was bogus, but what does it say about how the tech press covers rumors?

Print a Smell on a Postcard – A concept device could let you take pictures and capture the smell on a postcard.

Court Throws Out Airport Bomb Tweet Conviction – Charges have been dropped against a Northern Ireland man who, in jest, sent a tweet threatening to blow up an airport two years ago.

Today’s Quote:

“He who builds a better mousetrap these days runs into material shortages, patent-infringement suits, work stoppages, collusive bidding, discount discrimination–and taxes.”

-      H. E. Martz

Today’s Free Downloads:

WinPatrol – Clean up your Taskbar, ActiveX, Brower, and Startup programs. WinPatrol monitors and exposes adware, keyloggers, spyware, worms, cookies, and other malicious software.

Recuva 1.43.623 – Recuva (pronounced “recover”) is a freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This includes files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images and other files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera memory cards or MP3 players. It will even bring back files that have been deleted from your iPod, or by bugs, crashes and viruses!

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 27, 2012

Sexting is here to stay – University of Michigan researchers have concluded that the practice of sending sexually explicit photos or messages – aka sexting – is likely just another normal, healthy component of modern dating. According to Professor Jose Bauermeister, the above-mentioned findings contradict public perception of sexting, which is often portrayed by the media as unsavory, deviant or even criminal behavior.

How to Get Mountain Lion’s Best New Features on Windows – Apple’s release of Mountain Lion (aka OS X 10.8) has dominated the news since yesterday’s release, but have no fear, Windows fans: Lifehacker’s got your back. The new version of OS X has some slick features to be sure. Here’s how to get them in Windows.

What 6 months of cell phone data logs say about you – We live in a digital age where pretty every new gadget we buy is connected in some way. That connection doesn’t happen without a service be in place providing it, and in the process collecting data about your every call, website visit, IP address, and real-world location. Depending on where you live in the world that data could be on file for a few months, a few years, or indefinitely. But regardless of how long it is kept, have you ever considered how useful it is to anyone who cares to look at it?

Twitter Crashes Day Before Olympics Kick Off – Outage comes just a month after a cascading bug shut down Twitter twice in a day.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

My Twitter Account Has Been Hacked! – If you appear to be sending tweets and/or direct messages that you haven’t actually sent, your Twitter account has been hacked. Here’s what you need to do.

All It Took Was Unplugging the Computer and Plugging It Back In – A tech (and gardening friend) of mine (Puterguy) sent me this story (actually as a comment on the blog), that compelled me to share his experience with you in hope that it will help someone else.

The iPad as an affordable gaming device? Yes – It may seem ridiculous at first, but all things considered, the iPad can be an affordable gaming device! Add in everything else the iPad is great for, and the price of one is suddenly a no-brainer.

‘Twiplomacy’ Study Says Majority of World Leaders Use Twitter – Almost two-thirds of world leaders have joined the Twitterverse. But the rise in so-called “Twiplomacy” resembles something of an echo chamber, according to an analysis of 264 government accounts in 125 countries.

The 10 Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts you need to remember – There are 100+ keyboard shortcuts available for Windows 8, but there are a small number you’ll want to remember because you’ll use them often.

The strange case of the Google certificate roadblock – Certificate errors while browsing the web can be confusing, especially when trying to access known good sites. Learn how one sticky Google certificate error got resolved.

Security:

Carly Rae Jepsen nude photos stolen by hackers – Carly Rae Jepsen – yes, her of the “Call Me Maybe” (potentially one-hit-wonder) song-of-the-year-so-far – has lodged a complaint to the Vancouver Police Department after allegedly having naked photos stolen from her personal computer.

Outbreak: Blackhole malware attack spreading on Twitter using “It’s you on photo?” disguise – Watch out! Malicious links are being spammed out on Twitter, designed to infect your Windows PC using the Blackhole exploit kit.

Bogus Olympics ticket site spotted – If you’re looking to score tickets for Olympic events you should be extremely careful when buying them online, as fake ticket sites are still around.

Mac malware hijacks video and audio data – Morcut malware – aka Crisis – was apparently specifically coded to spy on infected Mac OS X users by hijacking video and audio data.

5 Security Lessons From the FBI – A former FBI official shared five tips regarding security at this week’s Black Hat conference. Find out why “not everyone has to be on the network” and the reasoning behind other sage advice.

Hidden security risks of top mobile apps – Appthority cast a spotlight on the hidden behaviors of the top free mobile apps. The report reveals the security issues raised by the BYOD movement, app market fragmentation for developers, popular app categories and the sensitive data that apps can access.

Company News:

Facebook’s First Public Quarter Proves Solid, but Stock Tumbles – Facebook’s first earnings report as a public company had solid numbers, but in the end it landed with a thud – much like its rocky initial public offering two months ago.

Accenture taps Australia for next SAP demo center – Accenture opens a new shop to show off SAP wares in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a small hint at which world regions are willing to spend on IT services.

EA’s Crysis 3 trailer is an interactive demo – Electronic Arts (EA) and Crytek have released an interactive trailer demo for the long-awaited Crysis 3 FPS. The clip can best be described as a video run-through of the upcoming first-person shooter that offers branching decisions to show how gameplay is influenced by various combat strategies.

Qualys adds IPv6 support to FreeScan – Qualys announced at Security B-Sides Las Vegas that FreeScan – a popular free service that allows organizations to scan web sites or publicly facing IP addresses for vulnerabilities, malware and SSL issues – now includes support for IPv6.

Google to Offer Kansas City Ultra-Fast Internet for $70 per Month – Google Inc. revealed Thursday what it will charge for its long-awaited, ultra-fast Internet service in Kansas City: $70 per month. The $70 per month will pay for “gigabit” Internet service, about 100 times faster than a basic cable modem. For another $50 per month, Google will provide cable-TV-like service over the fiber, too.

ARM bullish on FinFET technology for SoCs – ARM CEO Warren East says he is unconcerned that rival chip designer Intel has developed a salient lead in process technology over the foundries ARM licensees typically deal with.

Webopedia Daily:

AC/DC Virus – A malware worm that first appeared in July 2012, targeting Iranian nuclear facilities and turning infected PCs on at night before blasting the music band AC/DC’s classic hit “Thunderstruck.” The AC/DC virus follows several earlier attacks on Iran’s nuclear program and oil facilities, including the Stuxnet and Flame viruses. Iran has stated it believes the U.S. and Isreal are responsible for the attacks.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Apparently the Government Did Create the Internet After All – The experts don’t agree with a Wall Street Journal author’s stance that the government’s role in launching the Internet is an “urban legend.”

Things I’ll Give Up for Free Internet Access in My Hotel Room – I’ll be out-of-state for an upcoming wedding in October, and was planning to work from my hotel room. I was unsurprised to learn that I’ll have to pay for Internet access, but was still annoyed: In-Room Wireless Internet: $9.95. Here are free amenities I am willing to forgo for free Internet access: (recommended by Michael F.)

Babson Professor: Apple’s Crazy, Bing-like Attempt to Force People Everywhere to Act like American Teenagers Will Fail – A blog post by a management expert argues that Mountain Lion, iCloud and Facebook integration are a potentially catastrophic mistake on Apple’s part.

The Worst Coworkers and Workplace Annoyances (and How to Deal with Them) – The workplace chatterbox. The lunch thief. All those pointless meetings. We’ve all dealt with annoying workplaces and coworkers at some point. Here’s how to actually confront those problems and make your workplace better for everyone.

Today’s Quote:

“When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.”

-     Norm Crosby

Today’s Free Downloads:

Open Hardware Monitor 0.5.0 Beta – The Open Hardware Monitor is a free open source application that monitors temperature sensors, fan speeds, voltages, load and clock speeds of a computer. The Open Hardware Monitor supports most hardware monitoring chips found on today’s mainboards.

Miro – Miro is the only internet TV you’ll need — it’s an application that brings together thousands of shows from all over the web. There’s TONS of great content, lots of it in HD, and fresh shows are added all the time. You can watch and organize video feeds when you’re offline or traveling, find TV programs on sites like Hulu, and download from sites like YouTube. Miro downloads in HD, whenever it’s available!

ColorPic – ColorPic is a free and simple utility with a single-minded focus: To help you grab colors from anywhere on your screen and assemble them into a palette you can use in your designs. It is fast–and free of banners and nag messages–but it takes a bit of fiddling to get it to play nice with Windows 7.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 26, 2012

Man who tricked women into taking hacked webcams into shower is jailed – It’s jail for a 21-year-old Californian man who tricked female victims into taking their spyware-infected laptops into the shower with them. Thousands of secretly-taken still images and videos were found on Trevor Harwell’s computer.

Need Help Choosing a Smartphone or Tablet? – Head to Versus IO This clever site compares a huge selection of models head-to-head, giving you the reasons you should choose one over another. Versus IO also tells you how many reasons there are in favor of one model over the other. For example, the Galaxy S3 has 19 points in its “Pro” column, versus just 10 for the iPhone.

Location tracking becomes more attractive – In a GFI Software survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents, 12% say they would use location tracking to monitor their spouse’s whereabouts, while 31% of respondents say they would track where their teen goes on a Friday night. More than half (59%) also say they would use such a service to make sure their children were safe or in the location they are supposed to be.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Free Retro Games to Suit Every Gamer – Do you miss the scrolling shoot ‘em ups from the 1990’s? The point-and-click adventure games from Lucasarts’ and Sierra’s golden age? Dungeon Master’s slick two-step dance? The rich, unfiltered flavor of vintage Diablo? Despite legions of fans, publishers retired some of the industry’s most popular and successful styles long before their time. You can’t keep a good game down, though; these styles and other hidden gems live on in the surprisingly vast world of free and free-to-play games.

How to prepare your PC for Windows 8 – Windows 8 is due to be released to consumers on October 26. Priced at just $39.99, the upgrade is surprisingly affordable. If you’re thinking about upgrading to Microsoft’s latest operating system, now might be a great time to start your preparations. Having an upgrade plan can help mitigate many of the risks involved with a major OS upgrade. Here are some suggestions to help your upgrade go as smoothly as possible.

The Best Personal Finance Apps – Trying to get your head around your finances? Some excellent apps are available to help, but you need to pick the right ones based on your needs. We explain which apps fit different kinds of users, and rounded up several of our favorites in this article.

How Much Do Data Brokers Know About You? – Several House lawmakers on Tuesday penned a letter to nine data brokers that asks for more information about how these companies use consumers’ personal information. “By combining data from numerous offline and online sources, data brokers have developed hidden dossiers on almost every U.S. consumer,” the members wrote. “This large scale aggregation of the personal information of hundreds of millions of American citizens raises a number of serious privacy concerns.”

Mountain Lion Roars – Once again, Apple’s OS X takes the prize as the world’s best consumer operating system money can buy, and it looks well positioned to hold off the challenge of Windows 8.

How to Get Started Screencasting – Want to start your own Internet show, share PC tips and tricks with friends, or just show off your gaming skills via video? Here’s how to start producing your own screencast.

London Olympic Organizers Ban 3G Hotspots – The Olympic Committee has banned spectators from bringing 3G wireless hotspots to the games. While they are convenient, hotspots will also eat up available bandwidth in the area, which likely prompted the ban. But there might be another reason. As GigaOm pointed out, U.K. ISP British Telecom (BT) is an official partner of the Olympic Games, and is offering paid access to its network at Olympic venues.

Cybersecurity Bill Rhetoric Heats Up in Washington – President Barack Obama says foreign adversaries could seek to exploit U.S. computer vulnerabilities, taking down vital banking systems, and that could cause a financial crisis.

Security:

Warning: New Android malware tricks users with real Opera Mini – Cybercriminals have created a new variant of the OpFake malware for Android that comes bundled with a legitimate version of the Opera Mini mobile browser. This helps trick users into thinking that nothing is wrong as they can simply use the real software as expected.

Antivirus on Windows 8: Looking at Your Options – Windows 8 will come with bundled antivirus software, but will you need to supplement it with other programs? We look at some of your options

VirusTotal starts sandbox-testing, shares behavioral information – Developer Emiliano Martinez has recently confirmed what many users of VirusTotal have already noticed: that the online file scanning service has added behavioral information in its reports.

Anonymous hackers delay posting stolen Australian ISP data – A major security breach expected to hit an ISP last night following a threat from the hacker movement Anonymous has been delayed. An active member of Anonymous yesterday told The Australian that the hackers planned to leak a very large cache of data stolen from a major Australian ISP around 9pm Australian Eastern Standard Time last night. (recommended by Mal C.)

Scientists develop tool for improving app security – A team led by Harvard computer scientists, including two undergraduate students, has developed a new tool that could lead to increased security and enhanced performance for commonly used web and mobile applications. Called RockSalt, the clever bit of code can verify that native computer programming languages comply with a particular security policy.

Company News:

Zynga’s big collapse: Is the social-gaming fun over? – From the looks of Zynga’s results, the company’s window of social-gaming opportunity may be closing. Meanwhile, Zynga generates Facebook Payments revenue. If Zynga is taking its lumps, Facebook may also take a hit.

BitTorrent Looks to Share Some Revenue With Artists – The file-sharing company BitTorrent has begun testing an advertising model through which it would share ad revenue with content producers.

Samsung Galaxy S III Loses Local Search – In an effort to avoid further patent battles with Apple, a recent software update for the Galaxy S III has removed the local search functionality.

HBO Refutes Possible Netflix Partnership – HBO quickly squashed any hopes for fans to stream True Blood, Entourage, or any other network program via Netflix, following the video rental CEO’s suggestion of a partnership.

Google’s Partner Program Looks to Get More Businesses Into the Cloud – For businesses looking to jump into cloud computing options, Google is offering a new partner program to make it easier. This new offering also looks to make Google more competitive with Microsoft and others.

iPad Mini Coming in September, Analyst Says – As new competitors, such as the Google Nexus 7 and Microsoft Slate, add to an already competitive tablet market, industry leader Apple will launch its long-rumored iPad mini sometime in September, according to a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that was picked up on the Apple-centric blog MacRumors. As reported on the site, Apple will debut a 7-inch iPad tablet after a production ramp-up in August, and Kuo said he expects sales of just 1.8 million units in the third quarter, which will balloon to more than 13 million units in the following quarter, overtaking sales of the full-side iPad.

Webopedia Daily:

Chromeless – The Chromeless project is a more ambitious undertaking that takes over for Mozilla Labs’ recently retired Prism project, which allowed users to create desktop-like apps from individual websites. Chromeless utilizes the Python programming language and the same rendering engine found in the Mozilla Firefox 4 Web browser, and is available for major operating systems such as Mac OS X (v10.5 and later), Microsoft Windows (Windows XP and later) and most versions of Linux. Chromeless is not affiliated with Google nor does it share any relation with the company’s Google Chrome Web browser.

Off Topic (Sort of):

London Olympics: How 1948 compares to 2012, in photos – The technology behind the Olympic Games has changed beyond all recognition since the international sporting event was last held in London, more than 60 years ago

My Big Fat Belizean, Singaporean Bank Account – Earlier this month, I decided to see how hard it would be to set up my own offshore bank account. I figured it would be pretty difficult, because I’m not rich and don’t have a team of tax lawyers to oversee my money and because the E.U. and U.S. governments have been cracking down on tax havens by imposing stricter tax-sharing requirements. So I proceeded with some caution. (recommended by Michael F.)

Feel Like You’re Faking It? That Might Not Be a Bad Thing – For the vast majority of people, confidence and ease come with practice and accomplishment. But even being at the height of your career is no guarantee you’ll feel comfortable in your own professional skin—”imposter syndrome” is common even for those at the top, experts say. It turns out not only are there ways to manage your feelings of being a fraud, but the worry about being unmasked actually has its upsides.

Cloud-connected HondaLink service is powered by your smartphone – More new cars—not just electric ones—are hooking into mobile apps. Honda has announced that its upcoming 2013 Accord will feature HondaLink, an in-car system that uses your iOS or Android smartphone as its connection to cloud-based services.

Technology and the lost art of reading comprehension – Technology has indeed become miraculous and immediately available. Maybe that’s why so many of us are losing some important skills–like reading comprehension.

Today’s Quote:

“If love is the answer, could you please rephrase the question?”

-     Lily Tomlin

Today’s Free Downloads:

Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition – Thanks to Panda Security’s Collective Intelligence malware and goodware online database, Panda Cloud Antivirus detects more malware than traditional signature-based solutions which take longer to detect the most recent, and therefore most dangerous, variants. Panda Cloud Antivirus protects you while you browse, play or work and you won’t even notice it.

Advanced SystemCare Free 5.4.0.251 Final – Advanced SystemCare 5 is a comprehensive PC care utility that takes a one-click approach to help protect, repair and optimize your computer. It cleans, repairs registry and makes PC running like a brand new one with enhanced “Turbo Boost”, an advanced technology in optimizing PC.

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The Stigma of Being a Private Person – The Ad Industry Is Losing The Battle

imageTry as they might – apologists for the Internet’s ad industry push to overwhelm common sense in the creation of a bizarre concept – personal openness – appear to be losing. Despite an invasive and manipulative strategy, which has led to a manic drive to strip consumers of any semblance of privacy, it seems we just aren’t buying it.

Contrary to the claims by pseudo social scientists, supported by far to many tech pundits (who, in the real world, wouldn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground), that personal privacy is dead – that consumers don’t care about personal privacy – uncomfortable facts (uncomfortable for the ad industry, that is), appear to tell a different tale.

Hardly surprising, given that these pundits and social scientists deal in “bought and paid for” points of view. Manipulation and deception – by any other name – propaganda – has lost its luster. It’s been recognized for what it is – bullshit.

We are not as complacent, when it comes to personal privacy, as we have been led to believe. More users than ever, have come to the realization that the price of admission to active interaction with the Internet, should not be the complete stripping of the right to personal privacy. Consumers are advancing the notion that the right to privacy is a “natural right”, and should be recognized as such.

Better yet, consumers are pushing back against privacy predators who continuously boost the “creep factor”. In a just released survey from TRUSTe – one more in a long line of recent surveys which refutes the bought and paid for assertions of the ad industry’s propaganda merchants – it’s clearly apparent that these “lie merchants” are taking it on the chin.

Survey highlights:

94 percent think privacy is an important issue, with 55 percent saying that online privacy is a really important issue they think of often.

69 percent say that they trust themselves most when it comes to protecting their own personal information online (up sharply from 45 percent in 2011).

40 percent say a targeted advertisement has made them feel uncomfortable.

53 percent (52 percent in 2011) believe personally identifiable information is attached to browsing behavior.

Consumers take a variety of precautions to protect their privacy online, such as:

76 percent do not allow companies to share their personal information with a third party (up from 67 percent in 2011).

35 percent say that they have stopped doing business with a company or using their website because of privacy concerns.

90 percent say they use browser controls to protect privacy, including deleting cookies (up from 84 percent in 2011).

40 percent say a targeted advertisement has made them feel uncomfortable.

53 percent (52 percent in 2011) believe personally identifiable information is attached to browsing behavior.

For far too long, the Internet’s ad industry (and, the bad actors who support it), have gotten away with their attempts to stigmatize those of us who believe in the concept of the “private person”  – those of us who have sought a balance between the public and private. I’m hopeful, that we may have reached a stage where consumer action will result in tighter controls being implemented against what has turned out to be, a largely unethical Internet ad industry.

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Filed under Point of View, Privacy

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 25, 2012

Save time with these three Chrome extensions – Navigate around and between Web pages without clicking, browse faster by loading your next pages automatically, and get a big preview of thumbnail images when you mouse over them.

3 Great High-End Smartphones with Cheap, No-Contract Wireless Service – Here are three of the best phones you can get without a traditional $70-and-up monthly bill. All three are also currently available on major wireless carriers at a higher monthly price, so consider these alternatives if you’re on an individual plan and want to save some cash by paying a little more up-front.

Online Privacy: Americans Want It, and They Want It Now. So Why Can’t They Get It? – A new survey by Truste claims 94 percent of people care deeply about online privacy. Unfortunately, none of them are in the online advertising industry. According to the survey, a whopping 94 percent of the 1000+ people surveyed consider privacy issues “really important” or “somewhat important,” and six out of ten are more concerned about it than they were a year ago. More than a third claim they’ve stopped visiting a Web site or doing business with a company because they were concerned for their privacy, and 83 percent are aware of behavioral (ie, targeted) ads, up from 70 percent last year.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Vodafone Germany Sued for Storing Customer’s Mobile Traffic Data – A customer in Germany is suing mobile operator Vodafone because it allegedly stores connection data without having any legal obligation to do so, the plaintiff’s lawyer said Monday. Lawsuits against other telecom operators will follow soon, he said.

Ouya will be as small as a Rubik’s Cube – The Android-based game console that has attracted so much attention will not look anything like your standard console. That is to say, it won’t be a big and bulky box that takes up space in your living room. Instead, as lead hardware designer Yves Behar said in a Kotaku interview, it will be much smaller.

Netgear Wi-Fi Booster Fills Mobile Dead Zones – The global networking company unveiled today the WiFi Booster for Mobile, a compact device that punches up your home Wi-Fi coverage, eliminating that obnoxious dead zone in your living room, which also happens to be your favorite spot to stream movies on your tablet. PCMag sister site Geek.com reported that the device is expected to hit shelves in mid-August, for $39.99.

YouTube Asks Users to Post Real Names in Bid to Clean Up Comments – When a YouTube user now tries to comment on a video, a box pops up asking that person to start using their “full name” at the video sharing site. The “full name” is taken from the person’s Google+ account since Google requires the real name of someone signing up for a Google+ account.

So, yesterday someone asked me ‘What is DOS?’… – I remain convinced that a strong background in the tools and techniques you needed to use in the DOS days still have a place in our GUI-driven culture. Aside from obvious things, like using the command prompt to get extensive directory listings or deal with detailed network settings in reasonable ways, not being afraid to edit (or at least look at) system files, tweaking settings, and compiling and editing batch files are still worthwhile. The specific skills may be useless in this day and age, but the problem solving and mental engagement they encouraged are timeless, and of use in endeavors far beyond computers.

Security:

iPhone and iPad Security: 5 Often-Overlooked Settings – Take a few minutes now and enable these settings; you’ll be glad you did. Some of you may not even realize that these features exist and how easy they are to use. Let’s walk through the top five security settings for these devices.

Malware attack spread as email from your office’s HP scanner – In these high-tech times, scanners and photocopiers aren’t just dumb machines sitting in the corner of the office. They are usually connected to the corporate network, and – in some cases – can even email you at your desk to save you having to wear out your shoe leather. And it’s precisely this functionality that we have seen cybercriminals exploiting today, pretending that their malicious emails in fact come from an HP scanner inside your organisation.

Windows malware slips into Apple’s iOS App Store – It’s a low-threat malware package that won’t hurt iOS or MacOS but may pop Windows users who manage the app in their iTunes account.

New OSX/Crisis malware found for OS X 10.6 and 10.7 – While the mode of infection is currently unknown, this new threat has uniquenesses over past malware for OS X.

Sharp rise in SQL injections – FireHost revealed the latest statistical analysis of attacks successfully blocked by its servers. During the period of April to June 2012, web applications, databases and websites spread across 33 countries worldwide experienced a total of 17 million cyber attacks, of which more than two million were categorized as the most serious kind of attack, the Superfecta.

Managing the Google Threat – Google is a relationship of convenience for users, but people and organizations should understand that Google has made it clear they intend to own your data regardless of its legality or your desire for privacy. Google’s actions clearly show that it operates with impunity. From reading your emails and voicemails, collecting data from personal wireless networks, online book publishing without permission and use of third party applications, Google’s intent is demonstrated through their track record.

Company News:

Apple revamping iPod Touch – Apple is reportedly revamping its stalwart iPod Touch. The latest iteration of Cupertino’s popular media player will apparently include components from both the next-gen iPhone and existing iDevices like the iPhone 4S.

Google seeks campaign money by touting Net as prime info source – The company’s “Four Screens to Victory” effort makes the case that the TV screen is decreasing in importance for political campaigns as people surf Internet screens — phones, tablets, and PCs — for information on candidates and issues.

Apple: Samsung, you owe us $2.5B – Battling with Samsung in the U.S. over patent issues, Apple reckons that the amount of damages it’s due should come in at a cool $2.5 billion.

ManageEngine Applications Manager Gains Ruby on Rails Support – ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, today announced the immediate availability of Ruby on Rails support in its performance monitoring software package, Applications Manager. The move lets Applications Manager monitor applications running on Ruby on Rails environments as well as measure user satisfaction of critical web applications, capture transaction traces and view performance metrics of Ruby components.

Blackberry 10 to have voice control – The next version of RIM’s mobile operating system is getting a feature that might look familiar to iPhone owners. After years of believing that it didn’t need to follow in the footsteps of the iPhone or Android (because people obviously prefer mobile operating systems based on a 20-year-old platform), it looks like RIM is now going after the most talked-about feature of the iPhone – Siri.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook may debut this month – The new model tablet is expected to launch in Canada through Bell and possibly other Canadian carriers on July 31. Citing an internal document from Bell, blogging site MobileSyrup says the tablet will be priced at $549.95. The specs revealed by the document point to a 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage.

EU Issues Warning to Suspected Disk Drive Cartel – The European Commission on Tuesday warned 13 optical disk drive suppliers that they may face a formal antitrust investigation for participating in a worldwide cartel. The Commission believes the companies have been engaged in bid rigging for at least five years. The companies in question supply optical disk drives, which read or write data on CDs and DVDs on PCs. According to the Commission, they are accused of rigging bidding events organized by two major original equipment manufacturers for optical disk drives to the detriment of consumers.

Webopedia Daily:

Connected TV – Another term for Smart TV, connected TVs are designed to provide a more immersive experience for television viewers by delivering interactive features such as Web browsing, social networking, video-on-demand and video streaming in addition to regular television content. Television manufacturers currently sell a wide variety of connected TVs, and users of existing non-connected TVs can add many of the connected features to their current TVs via connected TV-capable Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. Another option is to access free and premium connected TV content over the Web on desktop PCs, tablet computers, smartphones and similar devices.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Russia’s Top Cyber Sleuth Foils US Spies, Helps Kremlin Pals – “Kaspersky Lab isn’t just an antivirus company; it’s a leader in uncovering cyber-espionage. Heading such a firm would be a powerful position for anyone. But Kaspersky’s rise is particularly notable given his KGB-sponsored training. (recommended by Michael F.)

Post-PC Bunkum – Some pundits claim the PC is dead, but you should ignore those nuts. If something becomes a commodity, it doesn’t mean that it is going to disappear anytime soon. Rather, it means it has become ubiquitous. Do pundits understand this at all? Apparently not. To them, the PC is dead. They are very similar to the bicycle nuts who seriously think the car is dead and the vegans who think that bacon is dead. They have a skewed perspective. Unfortunately, it gets printed and distributed to the public as some sort of reality.

London Olympics: Five-Ring Circus Of White Elephants – “The siting of surface-to-air missiles in parks and on top of flats completes the city-under-martial-law look. It’s like stepping into a dystopian future in which Britain is run by a military junta headed by Ronald McDonald”

D.I.Y. Smart Glasses Translate Foreign Languages in Real-Time – The universal translator is such a ubiquitous presence on science fiction TV that it’s not surprising that someone would actually try and make one. Engineer Will Powell’s inspiration, however, wasn’t Star Trek or Doctor Who; it was Google’s Project Glass.

Why does the IT industry continue to listen to Gartner? – Another day, another provocative research report from Gartner, which has a long track record of spectacularly wrong predictions. I’ve collected some of their greatest hits. Er, misses.

Sleepless In America: A $32.4 Billion Business – We don’t get enough sleep. Or enough good-quality sleep. Or something like that. Something that makes us shell out for pills, medical devices, sleep consultants, special mattresses, noise-cancelling machines. What is our problem?

The computer technician who’s allergic to technology – Phil Inkly, 36, now lives in the woods because, he says, gadgets give him nosebleeds, blackouts, and many other unpleasant things.

Today’s Quote:

“Associate with well-mannered persons and your manners will improve. Run around with decent folk and your own decent instincts will be strengthened.”

-      Stanley Walker

Today’s Free Downloads:

Dropbox 1.5.9 Experimental – Dropbox is a useful tool that will enable you to instantly store your files online and share them. It can also synchronize the files from your offline directories and online storage. Latest beta.

Better Explorer – If you’re eager to get a sense of what Windows Explorer will look like in Windows 8–or simply want a different and more powerful alternative to Windows 7’s file management tool–consider this free project of the CodePlex open-source community.

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