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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3 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 30, 2012

  1. delenn13

    Heads up! Another Sega game from 08/14/1989. Don’t have any idea how long they are going to keep doing this “Free Sega Game of the Day” offer.

    Requires dexterity? Good thing it’s a game.

    A call for help comes from deep in the universe. Fantasyland has been taken over by destructive forces.

    Quick on the scene is Space Harrier™ equipped with his laser, who must attempt to outwit and outmanoeuvre the hoards and prevent Fantasyland from being blown into oblivion!
    Key Features:

    > A catchy and dynamic soundtrack

    > Several stage with its own end boss

    > Bonus stages!

    > A game that requires dexterity!

    Download Space Harrier II – PC Game

    Laters..got things to do.

    • Hey Delenn13,

      Huh – I got one of those “deep in the universe” calls this morning. Didn’t understand a word he/she/it was saying, so I just hung up. :)

      Best,

      Bill

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