Monthly Archives: October 2012

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 31, 2012

Google Search adds excellent Voice Search (pictures) – Google Search comes with access to Google apps and docs, well-known search capabilities, and new Voice Search that’s tough to beat.

How to report a computer crime: Unauthorised email account access – Well, there is no one size fits all solution – it depends on the individual circumstances and where you are in the world – but we’ve drawn up some scenarios that are typical of some of the crimes that any computer user, at home or work, might come across.

Obey the law, or else. California cracks down on app developers for privacy – Attorney General Kamala Harris is notifying mobile-app developers and companies that they must get in line with California law and post privacy notices for users or else face steep fines.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Chrome Remote Desktop Graduates From Beta – Chrome Remote Desktop lets you remotely access other computers, or allow another user to access your computer securely over the Internet. The Web giant first launched a test version of the tool last year. As part of the transition out of beta, Google has also added some additional features to Chrome Remote Desktop, like a real-time audio feed on Windows. This feature lets you listen to MP3’s stored on your home computer while you’re away. The latest version also lets you copy and paste between your local and remote computers.

Auslogics Duplicate File Finder frees up hard drive space quickly – Duplicate file finders are a great way to free up precious hard drive space. Scanning your drive by file name, date, and content, these tools can point out files which appear more than once on your hard drive, thus helping you get rid of them swiftly. Sounds useful? Auslogics Duplicate File Finder is a quick, simple, and free option.

The smug tweeter posting Hurricane Sandy misinformation – For reasons that can only be his own, a man takes to the Twitter account @ComfortablySmug and posts scary misinformation about the hurricane. Stunningly, he is outed as a hedge fund analyst.

Dual booting Nook Tablets with Android Jelly Bean – If you own a Nook Tablet and want to dual-boot the device’s integrated operating system (Gingerbread) alongside a full-blown version of Jelly Bean, well, you might want to check out N2Acards, formally known as Nook2Android.

Soluto – Soluto is a free, easy-to-use PC utility that lets users perform an array of computer-related maintenance functions, but it’s only as useful as your Web connection.

-ROM, -R, +R, +RW? Understanding optical drive alphabet soup – I can’t blame anyone for being confused. We’ve got three types of optical discs (CDs, DVDs, and BDs), with five different capacities between them.

How to master Storage Spaces in Windows 8 – Windows 8 introduces Storage Spaces, a cool new feature that lets you create virtual data pools from your external storage drives.

Infographic: The generation gap in your office – Ever wondered what constitutes a baby boomer, gen x’er, or a millenial? This infographic breaks it down and shows what the near future will look like in the workplace.

Storage on the go: We test five fast portable hard drives – For system backup, archiving, or simply carrying around large data sets, 2.5-inch portable hard drives rule the roost. Competing flash drives are super portable and convenient, but they top out at 128GB; and at larger capacities, they cost a whopping buck per gigabyte. By comparison, each of the five portable hard drives we tested in this roundup cost about 10 cents per gigabyte—and some cost even less. All five units also feature USB 3.0 interfaces, making them considerably faster than previous-generation drives.

Gmail rolls out new pop-out window for composing emails – Google changes the design of its email service, incorporates photos into contacts and changes how replies are displayed.

Security:

Facebook tries cloaking probe into data leak involving 1 million accounts – Blogger who bought e-mail addresses for $5 told to keep discussions private. Facebook officials told a blogger to keep their discussions with him private as they investigate claims he acquired names and e-mail addresses belonging almost one million account holders for $5 through a publicly available service online.

Are you ready for International Kill A Zombie Day, 2012? – Forget trick-or-treating, use the excuse of Halloween to exterminate some zombie computers instead!

Israel Police pulled computers offline due to RAT infestation – Trend Micro researchers have managed to get their hands on the malware that caused the Israeli Police Department to pull all of its systems offline last Thursday, and the analysis revealed that it’s a so-called Remote Access Trojan (RAT).

Whodunnit? Conflicting accounts on ARAMCO hack underscore difficulty of attribution – A recent report suggests that the devastating cyber attack that wiped out thousands of computers belonging to Saudi Arabia’s national oil company was the work of a lone hacker – days after the US Secretary of Defense cited it as an example of a state sponsored attack. What do we really know?

Company News:

Secunia launches Secunia Vulnerability Intelligence Manager 4.0 – The Secunia VIM 4.0 is the latest evolutionary step in the technology Secunia has developed to help organizations handle vulnerabilities and protect business critical information and assets against potential attacks. Because it covers more than 40,000 software systems and applications, the VIM 4.0 solution provides the most comprehensive intelligence about software vulnerabilities available to organizations, ensuring that all security threats can be dealt with before the IT infrastructure is compromised by cybercriminals.

Ubuntu Linux’s Amazon integration gets a thumbs-down from the EFF – Plenty of customer “feedback” greeted both developments, but the Amazon partnership was recently brought back into the limelight by a statement of disapproval from none other than the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). “It’s a major privacy problem if you can’t find things on your own computer without broadcasting what you’re looking for to the world,” wrote EFF Web developer Micah Lee in a blog post on Monday. “There are many reasons why you wouldn’t want any of these search queries to leave your computer.” It’s also not just Amazon that gets to see your data, Lee charges, but rather a number of third parties.

New Security-as-a-Service Implementation Report Provide Guidance for Deployment of Cloud-based SIEM – The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) today released the Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) guidance report as part of its Security as a Service (SecaaS) Implementation Guidance. The new report, prepared by the SecaaS Working Group, provides guidance for best practices on how to evaluate, architect, and deploy cloud-based SIEM services to both enterprise and cloud-based networks, infrastructure and applications.

ARM Launches New 64-Bit Processors – ARM announced two new 64-bit processors for phones, tablets, and especially servers.

EE Begins Rollout of U.K.’s First 4G Network – The U.K.’s Everything Everywhere (EE) 4G service launched today in 11 major cities, bringing superfast mobile service to the region for the first time.

Facebook stock: Let the insider selling begin – Shares of Facebook, still far below their IPO price, will likely face new pressure as insiders become free to sell hundreds of millions of pre-IPO shares.

Webopedia Daily:

Zombie – A computer that has been implanted with a daemon that puts it under the control of a malicious hacker without the knowledge of the computer owner. Zombies are used by malicious hackers to launch DoS attacks. The hacker sends commands to the zombie through an open port. On command, the zombie computer sends an enormous amount of packets of useless information to a targeted Web site in order to clog the site’s routers and keep legitimate users from gaining access to the site. The traffic sent to the Web site is confusing and therefore the computer receiving the data spends time and resources trying to understand the influx of data that has been transmitted by the zombies. Compared to programs such as viruses or worms that can eradicate or steal information, zombies are relatively benign as they temporarily cripple Web sites by flooding them with information and do not compromise the site’s data. Such prominent sites as Yahoo!, Amazon and CNN.com were brought down in 2000 by zombie DoS attacks. Zombies are also referred to as zombie ants.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Strange Anti-Obama Texts Blowing Up D.C. Area Cell Phones – The messages, from mysterious email addresses, attack the president on Medicare, abortion, and more. (recommended by Michael F.)

Tech skills: Is it getting harder to keep up? – Professional skills and experience are hard won from education, training and time in the industry. But it’s amazing how many people get by despite a fundamental lack of knowledge.

Watch: How to Save the Earth from Killer Asteroids by Using a Paintball Gun – What’s the best way to knock a killer asteroid off a collision course with Earth? Ding-ding if you said “paintball gun.”

ATM heist clears $1 million exploiting Citigroup e-payment flaw – Federal authorities said they uncovered an advanced bank heist that defrauded Citigroup of more than $1 million by exploiting a security loophole in the way it handles electronic payments.

The Story Behind The Famous FedEx Logo, And Why It Works – It isn’t what’s there; it’s what’s not there, argues Matthew May in The Laws of Subtraction. (recommended by Michael F.)

Sitting at your desk could be killing you – If your job requires a lot of sitting, you could be putting your health at danger. Here are some steps to avoid this

Today’s Quote:

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

-     Thomas A. Edison

Today’s Free Downloads:

Surf Anonymous Free – Surf Anonymous Free is the most advanced and reliable software for Internet users who want to ensure that their sessions and all online activities are secure and private. For instance, it is used to protect your sensitive data such as bank account information, private photos from being stolen and pried, or visit those websites, blogs and forums that once blocked you.

Funny Photo Maker 2.1.0 – Funny Photo Maker can easily turn your photos into and artistic, interesting or funny masterpiece without a complicated interface.

AVG Rescue CD (for USB stick) – A powerful must-have toolkit to assist with the rescue and repair of infected machines. This software provides essential utilities for system administrators and other IT professionals. This download is for portable USB drives.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 30, 2012

Organize low-cost video chat with these five apps – Although video conferencing has a reputation for being expensive, there are free or low cost video chat applications available.

The safe way to ‘write down’ your passwords – Use MS Word’s document-protection features to apply a password to your encrypted password file, or hide your passwords in plain sight, but to defeat clipboard loggers you need to add extraneous characters you’ll delete after pasting.

Understanding Android app permissions – Android’s permission mechanism enforces that each app can only perform actions that it declared it could do. Learn how to add permissions to your app’s manifest.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Tablet Users Older Than Smartphone Users – Tablet owners are generally older and more often female than their smartphone-toting counterparts, according to new data from mobile analytics firm Flurry.

How to extend the battery life of your smartphone – CNET’s Sumi Das has tips and tricks on how to keep your smartphone powered up when the lights go out.

Top 12 Surface apps – Now that Microsoft’s Surface is out, you need the apps! Jason Parker and Jaymar Cabebe list their Top 12 favorites so far.

Windows 8 security overview – Safest Windows ever? – Windows 8 is now available and Microsoft is touting the entirely new user interface and app store. What security enhancements were made over Windows 7 and are these changes reason enough to upgrade?

Repair multiple Internet Explorer issues with one application – The free Anvi Browser Repair Tool can repair a multitude of Internet Explorer problems. This time-saving tool is so effective that I now use it immediately when I detect an issue with Internet Explorer. (As of this writing, the tool only solves Internet Explorer issues; Firefox and Chrome versions are in the works.)

Small Business Tech: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started – No matter what type of small business you run (or are thinking of opening), there are some preliminary steps any kind of small business owner can take to implement needed business technology and web services Our step-by-step guide walks you through some of the most important early.

17 Starbucks stores get wireless charging in Boston – Boston-area Starbucks stores are the first in the nation to take part in a pilot program of Duracell’s Powermat wireless charging technology. Seventeen stores in Boston and neighboring Cambridge are included in the wireless charging trial, according to Starbucks spokesperson Linda Mills.

WordPress Lets Bloggers Embed Instagram Photos – WordPress today announced that bloggers can now embed Instagram photos directly into blog posts.

Security:

FBI Moves to Identify More Hackers – The FBI says it is now making a push to not just stop cybercrime but to identify the attackers behind the phishing, credit card fraud and other campaigns that cost consumers and enterprises billions of dollars each year. The bureau is the lead agency charged with addressing cybercrime in the U.S. and has a large division dedicated to the problem, but it mostly has been concerned with stopping ongoing attacks rather than tracking down the criminals themselves. That appears to be changing.

Privacy-invading module in thousands of apps on Google Play – An advertising module embedded into over 7,000 “free” fake versions of legitimate Android apps that can be found on Google Play is actively harvesting a ton of personal and mobile use information from unsuspecting users, warns Trend Micro Senior Threat Researcher Alice Decker.

“STD-like” virus killing off Borderlands 2 video game characters – Gearbox, the maker of the popular game Borderlands 2, is warning Xbox 360 users to be careful of who they play with, following a rash of reports of unexplained character deaths. The culprit: a software flaw that appears to be spreading, “STD-like”, from Borderlands 2 “modders” to other law-abiding players.

Malware authors turn to simpler detection evasion techniques – Among the techniques they have used in the past are making the malware able to check for registry entries, drivers, communication ports and processes whose presence indicates the virtual nature of the environment in which they are run, and well as executing special assembler code or enumerating the system service list with the same goal in mind. If these tests prove that is indeed the case, the malware stops itself from running.

Attacker grabs data for 3.6 million South Carolina taxpayers; governor wants to see culprit “brutalized” – She’s got a right to be incensed, with 77% of the state’s population’s Social Security numbers being snatched out from under the Department of Revenue. But what’s the appropriate penalty for the department, for the crime of leaving the data unprotected?

Phishing attack promises a free version of Windows 8 – On Friday, Microsoft launched Windows 8 to consumers. Today, the experts at SophosLabs have intercepted a phishing attack which plays upon interest in the new operating system.

Company News:

Yahoo! rejects privacy arguments, ignores do not track from IE 10 users – Yahoo! has decided to ignore Internet Explorer 10 users privacy choices. Are IE 10 users losing out on a tailored advertising experience?

Iomega Adds New SMB NAS Devices to Lineup – Iomega announced two new NAS products targeted to the SMB, the StorCenter px2-300d and the StorCenter ix4-300d. Both new products offer integrated cloud technology, remote access and sharing and advanced video surveillance.

Microsoft Makes Windows Phone 8 Release Official – Microsoft is dropping operating systems like they’re hot these days, with WP8 following on from last week’s big Windows 8 showcase.

PayPal Cuts 325 Jobs in Restructuring – PayPal laid off 325 full-time employees, primarily in its product and tech groups, as well as 120 contract workers.

Apple Drops Top iOS, Retail Chiefs – Apple iOS chief Scott Forstall and top retail exec John Browett are out.

Webopedia Daily:

Daemon – Pronounced DEE-mun or DAY-mun. A process that runs in the background and performs a specified operation at predefined times or in response to certain events. The term daemon is a UNIX term, though many other operating systems provide support for daemons, though they’re sometimes called other names. Windows, for example, refers to daemons as System Agents and services. Typical daemon processes include print spoolers, e-mail handlers, and other programs that perform administrative tasks for the operating system. The term comes from Greek mythology, where daemons were guardian spirits.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Moore’s law: About to fail or ticking along nicely? – For over 50 years, progress has been powered by the exponential growth of integrated circuits and the industries they power. Will that trend continue or reach an abrupt end?

US EMP missile fries PCs and electronics in trial run of microwave weapon – Sci-fi turns real as the Boeing and the US Air Force test a drone-like, experimental weapon that targets electronics while sparing buildings and human lives. It sounds too good to be true, which it well might be, given the range of mishaps that have plagued US drones.

Questions remain around the ‘internet of things’ – With current emphasis on the “internet of things” we have the software and hardware, yet very little around how all these devices will communicate, and who will manage, aggregate, and distribute the data.

Middle-aged? Exercise makes you wise – A recent study indicates that sport is both the key to staying fit and maintaining a sharp wit. Middle aged people who were overweight took part in high-intensity interval training–the sort that competitive athletes undergo–for a four-month period. The study found that the exercise program not only reduced the subjects’ BMIs and waist sizes, but also resulted in improved cognitive function as well.

Lawyer: Buyers have the right to resell copyright-protected works – U.S. residents who buy products protected by copyright shouldn’t have to worry about where those products were manufactured before reselling them, a lawyer told the U.S. Supreme Court Monday.

Today’s Quote:

Now that’s what I would call a true HARVEST MOON!!

image

Thought we all could use a smile today!     Smile

Today’s Free Downloads:

Multiplicity 2.0 handy in a multi-computer, multi-monitor setup – If you run multiple computers and monitors in close proximity to each other, Stardock’s Multiplicity 2.0 (free and $40 premium editions) is a cheap and effective alternative to a physical KM switch. It allows you to share a mouse and keyboard with multiple computers.

Skype –  Make internet calls for free with Skype. Call friends and family on any phone with Pay As You Go and Pay Monthly subscriptions, sign up today at Skype.com.  The free VoIP service now integrates with Microsoft and Facebook.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 29, 2012

Google Launches Interactive Hurricane Sandy Crisis Response Map – In response to the super storm hitting the U.S. East Coast, Google has launched a special interactive map site containing vital emergency information.

32GB Nexus 7 tablet spied in wild for $250 – The beefier version of Google’s Nexus 7 tablet has apparently gone from rumor to reality, as reports say Office Depot has it on sale. Also: 16GB tab drops to $200.

Nexus 7 tablet runs Chromium OS – Google’s wildly popular Nexus tablet may run Android as the default OS, but that hasn’t stopped devs and modders from loading alternate operating systems on the device.

Livescribe’s Smartpen Gets Wi-Fi, Embraces Evernote – The newest version of the unique pen makes it a lot easier to get notes, drawings and audio onto all your devices.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Girls on Film: How Innocent Pictures Feed the Internet Porn Machine – I was lucky. There was just one photo as color copies were too expensive for school-age boys. The damage was pretty much limited to one zipcode. And I was dressed. But today, capturing and preserving a girl’s image is an extremely, globally high-risk proposition. One false step and you’re fed to the Internet trolls.

How to Get Microsoft’s Windows 8 – There are a variety of options, from upgrades to entirely new systems. Read on for how to snag Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Maximize your first 30 minutes with Windows 8 – You’ve successfully installed Windows 8. You’re staring at the Start screen, in all its flat-tiled glory, and it all seems completely alien based on your previous experience with Windows. As with any new version of an operating system, your first half-hour is critical. You’ll want to learn the basics of navigation, how some important built-in applications work, and how to set up basic functions, including networking, backup, and user accounts.

How to add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro for free – Unlike Windows 7, Windows 8 will not come with Windows Media Center as part of the operating system. It’s now an add-on that can be purchased through the Add Features option in Windows 8. For a limited time, however, Microsoft is offering Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro customers for free. Here’s how to get it.

Tweetro – Tweetro is the twitter client for Windows8. It is minimal and gives wide pages where you can scroll through your favorite twitter sections. You can view the teal-time streaming of tweets within ‘Timeline’ and search option. You can mention suggestions when tweeting. It features in-app browser options and URL bar, options to disable auto-loading of links, Ctrl+N keyboard shortcut to compose tweet, F5 keyboard shortcut to manually refresh, and Ctrl+Enter keyboard shortcut to post a tweet.

Microsoft’s picture-password ad: Intriguing or confusing? – Microsoft uses the World Series to pump Windows 8 and its picture-password feature. But will real human beings find it fascinating or just plain odd?

Privacy compliance laws: Why the European Commission finally got it right – The debate about privacy compliance has always been a heated one. Add to the mix new European Commission legislation and you have a recipe for not only a lively debate but also a controversy about the interference in privacy of a European bureaucracy.

US Supreme Court to look at NSA spying, resale of products – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in two cases with potentially broad implications to technology users, one reviewing whether consumers can resell copyright-protected products they have purchased and the second challenging an electronic surveillance program at the U.S. National Security Agency.

Security:

Firefox update fixes security flaws – Several security vulnerabilities in Firefox 16 are being addressed in an update of the browser software released by the Mozilla Foundation. This is the second time in the last two weeks that the browser has had to be updated to address security problems.

Malicious “Your Photos” email from fake LinkedIn users – If you receive an email seemingly coming from a LinkedIn user, asking you to open an attachment in order to see “your photos” – don’t do it! Opening the Image_DIG[random number].htm file with Internet Explorer will lead you to a website sporting the “Please wait a moment. You will be forwarded…” message intended for making users wait long enough to be surreptitiously redirected to a Russian website hosting the BlackHole exploit kit.

Phishing is getting tougher to spot – I don’t know if cybercriminals are trying to boost their revenue streams for early Christmas shopping, but cyberbombs have been landing in e-mail in-boxes and flying onto smartphones via SMS lately. Ironically, the scariest e-mail of all was recently received by a friend and it didn’t come from a Romanian scam-artist or an AFF (Advance Fee Fraud) creep in Nigeria. It came from his health insurance provider.

Anonymous takes aim at Zynga – The hacker group says layoffs at Zynga will lead to the “end of the US game market as we know it” as jobs get shipped overseas, and it vows to take action.

Burglar uses iPhone as flashlight, accidentally records the crime – Sometimes iPhones can be a little too useful, as a burglar discovers when he inadvertently creates the evidence of his own guilt.

Company News:

IBM Shrinking CPU Manufacturing Process Using Carbon Nanotubes – IBM’s latest research, highlighted today, has scientists replacing silicon transistors with carbon nanotubes to shrink the size of the transistors even further and bump up their speeds compared to their silicon-based counterparts.

Privilege Guard 3.6 released - Avecto released Privilege Guard 3.6, which introduces a number of new features, including a challenge/response capability to easily authorize applications for remote users and an application control capability based on download source. This released is compatible with the upcoming Windows 8 operating system and provides enterprise control over apps downloaded from the Windows Store.

VMware Posts 20 Percent Revenue Gain in 3Q12 – VMware reported third quarter fiscal 2012 earnings late Tuesday, showing continued growth at the virtualization vendor. Revenue was reported at $1.13 Billion, which is a 20 percent year-over-year gain. Net income for the third quarter was reported at $157 million, or $0.36 per diluted share. Looking ahead, VMware COO and interim CFO Carl Eschenbach provided fourth quarter revenue guidance of between $1.26 Billion and $1.29 Billion, which translates into year-over-year growth of 19 to 20 percent.

Does OpenOffice have a future? – The Apache Software Foundation has made OpenOffice a top-level project but will that be enough to make OpenOffice matter? Should OpenOffice remain an independent open-source project?

Webopedia Daily:

Storage Networking – The phrase storage networking, or storage network, is used to describe a high-speed network of shared storage devices. The storage network is used by IT departments to connect different types of storage devices with data servers for a larger network of users. As more storage devices are added to the storage network, they too will be accessible from any server in the larger network. Storage networking is a phrase most commonly associated with enterprises and data centers.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Coming soon: Cameras that never stop taking pictures – A company called Oxford Metrics Group (OMG!) plans to ship a $650 camera next month called Autographer. The camera is designed to be worn around the neck, and make its own decisions about when to snap photos. It uses acceleration, direction, temperature, proximity and light sensors to make those decisions. So, for example, when you’re just sitting there, and the scenery isn’t changing, it stops taking pictures. If you get up and walk around, it starts again. The camera has a near-fisheye lens (136-degrees), so it captures a lot of visual information without aiming or pointing.

Space Junk: Declaring War on Orbital Space Debris – The International Space Station has had to change course 14 times to avoid a collision with some kind of man-made orbital refuse. ExtremeTech has more details. Space trash has been a problem for years and it just keeps getting worse.

2 Mistakes Small Business Owners Need to Avoid – Don’t fall victim to these two common mistakes. They can tank your small business faster than you can say ‘I should have known better.’

Man who claimed half of Facebook charged with fraud - Paul Ceglia – the man who tried to claim that he owned half of Facebook – was arrested on Friday and charged with mail and wire fraud that could see him spending 20 years behind bars.

Today’s Quote:

The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.”

-      Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Today’s Free Downloads:

LockHunter 2.0 Beta 2 – LockHunter is a free tool to delete files blocked by something you do not know. LockHunter is useful for fighting against malware, and other programs that are blocking files without a reason.

NirLauncher 1.17.03 – NirLauncher is a package of more than 100 portable freeware utilities for Windows, all of them developed for NirSoft Web site during the last few years.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 28, 2012

Stop strangers from contacting you on Facebook – Eager to stop people you don’t know from sending messages or friend requests on Facebook? Follow these three easy steps so it won’t happen again.

How to add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro for free – Windows Media Center isn’t included with Windows 8, but for a limited time, you can get it free of charge.

Hurricane survival apps to keep you safe from the storm – Here’s what you can do after you hear all the chatter about a hurricane that’s rapidly approaching. The NOAA National Hurricane Center Website is the central source of data that just about every other application listed in this article uses as a data source. This is the one you should have bookmarked on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or other smartphone device.

Hurricane Sandy shuts down Google’s Android event – Sorry, Android fans, looks like you’ll have to wait a little longer to hear more about the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10. Google has cancelled its Monday morning event in New York City because of safety concerns related to Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to hit the island in the next few days.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Android tips for beginners – All at sea on how to use your new Android device? Don’t feel bad. While Google’s phone/tablet operating system is powerful and flexible, it’s easy to flounder in its ocean of options and features. Here are some tips for Android 4.x that will help you get the most out of your device without having to take a course at your local learning annex.

Dragon Mobile is an Android voice assistant – Nuance has rolled out its newly minted Dragon Mobile Assistant, a voice assistant app for Android devices. The new software is designed to recognize natural speech patterns when accepting commands and executing a variety of tasks. Similar to Apple’s Siri, users can book calendar appointments, dictate messages, update Facebook and Twitter, obtain GPS directions, find businesses and lots more.

Trick-or-treat tracking tech – It’s 10pm on Halloween. Do you know where your little monsters are?

Is your smartphone helping you be rude? – The New York Times suggests that our smartphones are making it easier for us to bail on social engagements and turning us into “ill-mannered flakes.” But weren’t we always?

Ubuntu Nexus 7 installer goes live – 

The highly versatile Ubuntu was first spotted running on Google’s flagship Nexus 7 tablet just about a week ago. And now Canonical has released an official tool that allows Linux enthusiasts to install Ubuntu Linux (12.04) on the tablet.

Everything You Need to Know About Windows 8 – Windows 8 is finally available to download, but is your PC ready for the new operating system? Want to know the best new features and how to get around? Need to get your Start menu back? We’re here to help you learn all the new features, shortcuts, and apps so you can be fully prepared for the upgrade.

Windows 8: The five apps you should install first – Debra Littlejohn Shinder lists the five apps businesses users should install on a new Windows 8 device.

How to rip music CDs to FLAC and MP3 at the same time – Ripping your music CDs to multiple file formats can take a very long time, unless you’re able to rip them simultaneously.

Using a tablet SIM to turn a smartphone into a data-only device – In this Ask Maggie, CNET’s Marguerite Reardon advises a reader looking to use a SIM card from a tablet to get data-only wireless service on his smartphone.

Security:

What you should know about Windows 8 security features – Alfonso Barreiro takes a detailed look at all the security features available in each edition of Windows 8, including what’s brand new, improved, and carried over from previous versions.

Company News:

Android’s tablet share jumps to 41 percent in one year – Figures from Strategy Analytics show that while no single Android manufacturer offers a serious threat to Apple’s iPad, they are collectively catching up. The question now is how much of an impact Microsoft makes with Windows 8 and RT.

Is Salesforce the new Oracle? Does it matter? – Summary: In its quest for size and scale, Salesforce.com has begun invading its partners’ turf. Is it becoming just another old-guard platform vendor?

Insurer launches cyber insurance for small businesses – Security attacks targeted at ‘main street’ companies have prompted Farmers Insurance Group to add cyber-liability coverage to its policies for this segment.

Samsung’s Arndale powered by Exynos 5 Dual SoC – 
Samsung has rolled out a dev board powered by its flagship 1.7 GHz Exynos 5 Dual system-on-chip (SoC).

Webopedia Daily:

Netroots – A term derived from “Internet” and “grassroots.” The term is used to describe political activism or the empowering of an electoral campaign through the use of online social media and services such as blogs, podcasts, newsletters, or wikis. May also be seen written as net-roots.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Psychology of Why You Suck at Managing Email (and What You Can Do About) – Inbox zero, spam filters, priority inboxes; we use countless tricks to manage email, but for many it’s a never ending cycle of stress. The BBC suggests it’s just as much a psychological problem as it is a technical one.

Three days in the life of a once and former Microsoft Surface RT user – David Gewirtz showcases three days in the life of a typical consumer, originally excited by the Microsoft Surface RT tablet, who eventually becomes more and more upset and disappointed. David predicts this scenario will be repeated over and over in real life.

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule prepares to head home – The commercial craft will undock from the International Space Station tomorrow morning, as it looks to complete the first of at least 12 regularly scheduled supply missions.

Green roofs will be worth $7 billion by 2017 – This just in — green roofs and walls are big business. 

Or they will be, at least, by 2017, when the market for them is set to hit the $7.7 billion mark worldwide, according to a new study from to Lux Research.

The Internet Archive’s ten petabyte celebration – The Internet Archive – the Internet’s library and home of the Wayback Machine – celebrated the addition of the 10,000,000,000,000,000th byte to its massive collections at its San Francisco home.

Today’s Quote:

Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.”

-      Laurence J. Peter

Today’s Free Downloads:

SSuite Office – Premium HD 2.4 – The world’s first free HD optimized office software. This office suite runs on the Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7 / 8 platforms only.

Waterfox 16.0.1 – 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.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 27, 2012

Microsoft starts $40 Windows 8 upgrade sales – Microsoft on Friday opened its virtual store and began selling upgrades to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99, making good on a promise made last summer. The upgrade, which must be downloaded and installed via a utility called “Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant,” can be applied to Windows XP-, Vista-, and Windows 7-powered systems.

Ninite turns setting up a new computer into a quick, painless process – You begin using Ninite before you even download it, by picking the software you want to install from a list on the Ninite website. Once you’re done checking all of the boxes for the applications you’d like to install, click the big Get Installer button at the bottom of the page. Your computer will then download a tiny installer, customized according to your software choices. Run it, click “Yes” when Windows asks for Administrative permissions, and go have a cup of coffee (or lunch, depending on your Internet connection and software picks).

Yahoo will ignore Do Not Track for IE10 users – Microsoft’s decision to turn on Do Not Track by default in the next Internet Explorer — instead of leaving users to opt out — prompts Yahoo to ignore it.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The fastest way to close all running programs in Windows – With just a handful of keystrokes you can shut down all active apps on your system via Task Manager’s Programs tab. Plus: power off your PC by pressing three keys.

Twitter hits half a billion tweets a day – In London, CEO Dick Costolo tells the audience at IAB Engage that the service now sees 500 million daily tweets, and confirms it’s experimenting with a “like” button, says V3.

For a beginner-friendly distro, try Linux Lite 1.0.0 – On the same day Microsoft’s widely trumpeted Windows 8 made its debut, so, too, did Linux Lite 1.0.0, a brand-new Ubuntu-based distribution targeted at Linux newcomers. “This distro was created for three reasons,” wrote Jerry Bezencon in the official announcement on Friday. “One, to show people just how easy it can be to use a Linux-based operating system–to dispel myths about how scary Linux operating systems are; two, to help create awareness about Linux-based operating systems; and three, to help promote this community.”

Jailbreaking Phones Still Legal, But Not Tablets – The Copyright Office this week renewed rules that make it legal to jailbreak a smartphone like the iPhone, but declined to extend those rules to tablets.

Microsoft releases SmartGlass app to Google Play store – Xbox 360 fans can use the new Android app to control and interact with the console.

Cubieboard is like a Raspberry Pi on steroids – As Geek.com points out, the Cubieboard is a monster of a board with a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor as well as a separate Mali400 GPU. It also packs a whole gigabyte of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage to help it run Android, Ubuntu, or Linux distros.

Yes, Skyrim IS the ultimate game of the year

 – We’ve known for a long time that Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the ultimate game of the year – as the title shipped over 7 million copies to retailers within the first week of its release.

Tumblr takes a tumble, stumbles back to life – Tumblr is back online after an hours-long outage Friday morning. Just a week following its last outage, Tumblr on its Twitter account said it was “experiencing network problems” due to an issue with one of the site’s uplink providers. According to service monitoring site Down Right Now, the outage began shortly after 8 a.m. EDT on Friday.

Animate your Halloween décor – Learn how to bring your Halloween decorations to life with custom automation provided by a low-cost prop controller called a keybanger.

Security:

Millions of SSNs lifted from South Carolina database – Slipshod security at the state Department of Revenue leads to a massive security breach: 3.6 million Social Security numbers are stolen. The state’s population is approximately 4.7 million.

Windows 8 ramps up early malware detection – In Windows 8, Microsoft has greatly improved the operating system’s ability to detect malware before it has a chance to run, experts say. Windows 8 should also make it more difficult for people to unknowingly install malware in the first place.

Blackhole malware attack spread via ‘Your photos’ email – A malware attack has been spammed out widely via email to internet users, posing as a message about photos.

Security scare after airline boarding passes reveal how passengers will be screened – The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) already has a pretty poor record with security experts. The news this week that the agency was tipping its hand by encoding how it planned to conduct passenger screening in boarding passes isn’t helping that.

Company News:

Netflix stock rises on Microsoft acquisition rumor – An unconfirmed rumor that Microsoft seeks to acquire Netflix is what is said to have sent shares of the video-rental service up 13 percent today.

Apple Posts ‘Apology’ to Samsung on U.K. Website – Apple has posted its apology to Samsung on its U.K. website. Well, sort of.

AMD expected to unveil ARM-based server on Monday – AMD has called a press conference in San Francisco on Monday where it’s likely to announce plans for a SeaMicro server based on an upcoming 64-bit processor design from ARM.

Apple planning streaming music radio service – Apple is reportedly working on an Internet radio service, and there’s a reason people are referring to it as the “Pandora killer.”

Webopedia Daily:

Siphoning – In SEO, siphoning is a technique used to “steal” traffic that would normally be directed to another website in search engine results. Siphoning could be the fraudulent use of spyware or cybersquatting to steal the traffic, or it could refer to those who copy a webpage with the content slightly altered to direct the Web search engine to show results of another webpage.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Let’s Play “Blast the Headline”: So many news stories, so few accurate headlines – Over the past two days, news aggregators have been inundated with stories about Windows 8, as if it was recently discovered and we were all surprised by it. Most of the headlines are overly dramatic, trying to make more out of this so-so operating system than is needed. But it is what it is, so I want to go over various headlines that have appeared over the past two days and explain why they are foolish. It’s a little game I like to call “Blast the Headline.” Let’s get started:

Human ancestor ‘Lucy’ lived partly in trees - Australopithecus afarensis is known to have walked upright, but it’s been hotly disputed whether the famous Lucy and her kin spent a lot of time in the branches as well.

The Most Accurate Synopsis Ever For “The Wizard Of Oz”

Anthropologist: Apple is a religion – Dr. Kirsten Bell of the University of British Columbia suggests that Cupertino is the home of something resembling a faith-based organization.

Fact checking Tim Cook on 7-inch tablets and Microsoft’s Surface – The Apple CEO is engaged in his own campaign to highlight faults of competitors’ products in contrast to his unbridled delight in Apple’s products.

Today’s Quote:

Men have become the tools of their tools.”

-      Henry David Thoreau

Today’s Free Downloads:

TaskUnifier 3.0.3 Beta – TaskUnifier is a task management software based on the well-known GTD (getting things done) methodology. It will help you manage your tasks and therefore your time. TaskUnifier is free and open source.

PhotoRenamer 3.2 – PhotoRenamer renames your photos with the date and time you took the shot. Three default masks are available by default and you can add up to 40 customized masks to fit your particular needs.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 26, 2012

Should you lie on Facebook? – A senior government official has advised users of social networks such as Facebook on how to better protect their privacy. Don’t tell social networks the truth.

The CIA de-blurs license plates from outer space. Now you can too, for free – Moscow-based image processing guru Vladimir Yuzhikov has created SmartDeblur, a Windows application that does a remarkable job of making blurry images less blurry. Basically, the blurred bits in an image follow patterns that can be traced backwards mathematically. Deliberately blurred signs, serial numbers, and licenses can be adjusted enough to make them legible again. It also has the potential to make smartphone cameras perform better.

Feds uphold jailbreaking laws on DVDs, game consoles, tablets – While smartphone jailbreaking remains legal, new rules published by the U.S. Copyright Office dictate that cracking DVDs, gaming consoles, and tablets is against the law.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Small Business Tech: What You Need – This step-by-step guide will help you get started on your website, your hardware, and your software and services.

10 Windows 8 Features That Will Delight Users – Beginning today, consumers and businesses will be able to experience all that Windows 8 has to offer, including a beautiful new user interface and a wide range of apps with the grand opening of the Windows Store. We take a look at a few of the many new Windows 8 features that will appeal to users.

10 Windows 8 apps you should download first – We’ve taken the liberty of sharing some of our favorite Windows 8 apps in order to help you get up to speed as quickly as possible so that you can take advantage of all that Windows 8 can offer. Microsoft does a pretty decent job of covering your basic computing needs with apps like Messaging, Mail, SkyDrive and Skype, but there are a few excellent third-party apps you should download post-haste.

Windows 8 Apps designed for the tech savvy – Greg Shultz shows you a couple of the Windows 8 apps he has found that he thinks provide a great techy experience.

Box joins the Windows 8 party with launch of new app – Obscured by the Microsoft Windows 8 launch event, Box today officially launched its new Windows 8 app. The Box app is precisely the sort of thing that Windows 8 needs, and arguably should have been spotlighted by Microsoft at the event, along with Skype, Evernote, Netflix, Kindle, and other key apps from major players that have invested the time and effort to embrace the new Windows 8.

Google Maps now details the footprints of buildings – Google Maps now offers details about the height and size of structures shown in its maps, calculated by algorithms in the map tools. First to get the new data are major U.S. cities.

Windows XP turns 11, still not dead yet – On the same day Microsoft loudly proclaims Windows 8 in New York, the aging-but-still-going Windows XP today quietly celebrated its 11th birthday. On Oct. 25, 2001, Microsoft launched Windows XP, unknowingly unleashing its most successful operating system ever. If they only could do the same today, the company’s executives must think as they assemble for a day-long Windows 8 launch party.

Don’t like Ubuntu’s Unity? Try the new GNOME Remix instead - Now offering a compelling new alternative for Ubuntu fans who are not so fond of the Unity interface that’s now used by default in Canonical’s popular Linux distribution, the new Ubuntu GNOME Remix is definitely worth a closer look. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll find.

Amazon Celebrates Halloween With 7 Days of Free Apps – The Amazon Appstore is offering up seven days of Halloween deals to get smartphone users in the spirit. Today through Oct. 31, the Amazon Free App of the Day will feature spooky apps like The Haunt and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Babbel in a New Language – For an inexpensive and little-known language-learning program, Babbel exceeds expectations, delivering high quality courses in 11 languages for anyone who doesn’t mind an online-only program.

Security:

Delta-themed spam run delivers deficient malware – The email claims that the ticked for the flight booked by the recipient is attached to the email, and that it should be downloaded and printed out. But the attached Delta_A_Ticket_Print_Document_3477.zip is actually a variant of the infamous Bredolab Trojan, whose main goal is to download more malware on to the compromised computer, and this particular variant is currently detected by only 3 of the 43 AV solutions used by VirusTotal.

Six critical vulnerabilities in Adobe Shockwave patched – If your Windows or Mac computer uses the Adobe Shockwave Player, it’s time to update your systems.

Open DNS resolvers increasingly abused to amplify DDoS attacks – Open and misconfigured DNS (Domain Name System) resolvers are increasingly used to amplify distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, according to a report released Wednesday by HostExploit, an organization that tracks Internet hosts involved in cybercriminal activities.

Anonymous hacks police forum, sends emails to police officers – Anonymous is mostly known for their real-life and online protests, DDoS attacks, and shaming of businesses and government organizations by publicly releasing confidential data stolen from their servers. But the group has recently executed a variation on those themes by compromising a U.K. police-related forum and using the collected e-mail addresses to urge law enforcement officers to “stand with us” in the upcoming protest campaign on the 5th of November, when England celebrates Guy Fawkes Night / Bonfire Night, and Anonymous plans a peaceful protest in front of the Houses of Parliament.

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo fix serious email weakness – Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have remedied a cryptographic weakness in their email systems that could allow an attacker to create a spoofed message that passes a mathematical security verification.

Company News:

Apple Tips December Earnings Drop, But Why? – Apple today revealed that it expects to see its first earnings per share decline in its history come December. But why?

Microsoft, Google European Privacy Concerns Could Affect U.S. – Google and Microsoft continue to face tough business and privacy scrutiny in Europe. Analysts discuss whether tougher actions by European authorities will bring stronger rules to the U.S.

Hosting Site Found Liable for SumoTorrent’s Infringement – A Dutch court this week found that hosting company XS Networks is liable for the activity of SumoTorrent, a torrent site it hosted.

Apple turns U.K. legal loss into new Samsung attack – The company maker turns a legal requirement to publicly acknowledge defeat in its U.K. High Court patent case against Samsung into a new chance to say Samsung copied the iPad

Webopedia Daily:

iSCSI – Pronounced eye skuzzy. Short for Internet SCSI, an IP-based standard for linking data storage devices over a network and transferring data by carrying SCSI commands over IP networks. iSCSI supports a Gigabit Ethernet interface at the physical layer, which allows systems supporting iSCSI interfaces to connect directly to standard Gigabit Ethernet switches and/or IP routers. When an operating system receives a request it generates the SCSI command and then sends an IP packet over an Ethernet connection. At the receiving end, the SCSI commands are separated from the request, and the SCSI commands and data are sent to the SCSI controller and then to the SCSI storage device. iSCSI will also return a response to the request using the same protocol.

Off Topic (Sort of):

10 Percent of Campaign Donations Made Via Cell Phone – About 10 percent of 2012 presidential campaign donations were made via text or mobile apps, according to new data from Pew.

Microscope photos: See a beautiful blood-brain barrier – Nikon releases the results of its annual Small World Photomicrography Competition, and algae, larva, and bat embryos have never looked so good.

Retelling history, 140 characters at a time – Twitter is known for real-time reporting of events. But now, a number of projects are doing “real-time” reporting of historical events like World War II and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Features that Google Chrome should steal from other browsers – Despite my deeply ingrained habit of always clicking on the Firefox icon when I want to go online, those of us that follow these things generally acknowledge that Chrome is the best and fastest browser around. It performs better on benchmarks and seems to be improving faster than IE, Firefox, or Safari. That said, it could still use some tweaking. The guys at ExtremeTech have some suggestions for what Chrome could stea–er–learn from its competitors.

U.S. looks to replace human surveillance with computers – Security cameras that watch you, and predict what you’ll do next, sound like science fiction. But a team from Carnegie Mellon University says their computerized surveillance software will be capable of “eventually predicting” what you’re going to do.

Today’s Quote:

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it.”

-     Mary Wilson Little

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wise Program Uninstaller – What Windows leaves behind, Wise Program Uninstaller aims to scrub, clean, and totally destroy. Remove stubborn software and clear out the post-removal detritus.

PhraseExpress – No more typing common phrases again! Organize frequently used text snippets, expand abbreviations as you type, launch programs with text shortcuts, Auto-complete repetitive phrases, quick access to the Windows Clipboard History and correct spelling mistakes in any application.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 25, 2012

Skype 6 with improved social integration now available – New versions of Skype for Windows and OS X were released Wednesday by Microsoft. These latest versions add support for signing in through Facebook and Microsoft accounts. For subscribers to Microsoft’s services like Hotmail, Outlook.com, and Windows Live Messenger, the new Skype 6 will allow you to communicate with other subscribers of those services via instant messaging.

Google Drive Apps Added to Chrome Web Store - Google is making it easier to access its Drive cloud-storage service on the Chrome browser, bringing its Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations apps to the Chrome Web Store. Starting today, the programs – now known as Docs, Sheets, and Slides – are available in the Chrome store. Add them to your browser for one-click access whenever you open a new tab. Drawings, Forms, and Script apps are also available.

Wikipedia Revamps Mobile Site - The next time you load up Wikipedia on your mobile device it will be easier to read.

Windows 8 Security Solutions Certified by AV-Test – Windows 8 includes built-in antivirus protection, but most industry experts agree that you’ll want more. Which products are ready to protect your brand-new Windows 8 systems?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Worst passwords of 2012 – Just in time for Halloween comes something that might scare anyone who spends a lot of time online: SplashData’s annual list of the most common passwords used on the Internet and posted by hackers. Users of any of these passwords are the most likely to be victims in future breaches.

Learn to use strong passwords – Passwords protect every part of your online life. If you don’t treat them properly, you’re exposing yourself to a whole mess of trouble.

How to avoid fake Download buttons – You know the old saying, “Look before you leap”? Let’s give that a modern-day twist: Look before you click. See that screenshot up top? It’s from popular daily-download site Giveaway of the Day. On the left, there’s a description of the day’s freebie. On the right, a big, tempting Download button. Obviously that’s what you click to get the software, right? Wrong.

Google’s Windows 8 Search App Lets Users Bypass Browser – Google has built an app for the new Microsoft Windows 8 operating system that lets users tap an app to access its services rather than obtaining them through a Web browser.

Pinterest pierces Top 50 most-visited sites list – Though Google still reigns as No. 1, a ComScore study shows that Pinterest joined other social networks for the most frequently visited sites in the U.S. for September.

Demystifying Microsoft’s Surface tablet hardware: When 32GB isn’t actually 32GB – With just 24 hours until Surface’s release on October 26, we finally have real-life data on battery life, screen resolution and quality, typing speed on the Touch Cover, and that all-important kickstand. Oh, we also found out that the 32GB Surface doesn’t actually have 32GB of storage; more like 20GB.

Security:

Beware of fake Facebook emails about offensive comment – If you receive an email seemingly sent by Facebook, sharing an offensive comment that has seemingly been left on your Wall by an unknown user, please don’t be tempted to follow the link. If you do, you’ll be redirected to a fake Facebook page hosting a malicious iFrame script that triggers the infamous Blackhole exploit kit, and if it finds a vulnerability to exploit, you will be automatically saddled with some or other malicious software.

Bogus MS “Windows license delivery” email leads to malware – A fake Microsoft email is doing rounds, tempting users to follow the offered link that “delivers” a license for the Windows OS. Experienced users will probably have a quick glance at the stark look of the email and immediately conclude that the email is fake, but inexperienced ones might believe that Microsoft delivers Windows licenses in this way and follow the link.

Bogus Twitter DMs lead to iPad scam, surveys and phishing – Yesterday’s unveiling of the iPad Mini has not lead to a decrease in desirability of its bigger version, and the offer of a free device is still a very effective lure employed by online scammers. The latest of these “Get a free iPad” starts with Direct Messages on Twitter asking users to check out a picture of themselves with an unnamed woman.

Spy agency’s cyber warning – ONE of Australia’s most secretive intelligence agencies, the Defence Signals Directorate, has emerged from the shadows to warn of the deepening threat of cyber espionage. In a four-minute video posted on its website, DSD warned that the threat of cyber attack for industry and government was a daily occurrence. (recommended by Mal C.)

How likely is a cyber ‘Pearl Harbor’? – Patrick Lambert considers a recent speech by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warning about cyberwar threats.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 experiences its biggest hack yet – A hacker group finds a secret set of codes that can decrypt the PlayStation 3’s Level 0 security layer — the holy grail of secrecy within Sony’s console.

Company News:

Mozilla Begins Firefox Social API Testing – Mozilla begins formal testing of new integration that could change how millions of users interact with the social web.

Zuckerberg touts mobile during Facebook’s earnings announcement – Mark Zuckerberg thinks mobile devices represent a big opportunity for Facebook to expand user engagement while bolstering the social networking company’s ad revenue.

Qualys extends QualysGuard Cloud Platform – Qualys announced that QualysGuard Vulnerability Management will now feature vulnerability prediction capabilities within a new dashboard and threat reports for zero-days and Microsoft Patch Tuesday Analysis. These reports provide security professionals with insight into zero-days and upcoming security patches along with exposure ratings, helping them plan and prioritize remediation of the associated vulnerabilities including Verisign’s iDefense exclusive zero-day vulnerabilities and global threats.

Entrust IdentityGuard delivers mobile smart credentials – To enable organizations to secure and leverage mobile devices in the wake of BYOD trends, Entrust extends its identity-based security platform with Entrust IdentityGuard Mobile Smart Credentials. Available for the iOS, Android and BlackBerry mobile platforms, Entrust transforms mobile devices into multipurpose digital identities for authenticated access to logical networks, cloud applications, physical facilities and building entrances.

Webopedia Daily:

Cloud Provisioning – The deployment of a company’s cloud computing strategy, which typically first involves selecting which applications and services will reside in the public cloud and which will remain on site behind the firewall or in the private cloud. Cloud provisioning also entails developing the processes for interfacing with the cloud’s applications and services as well as auditing and monitoring who accesses and utilizes the resources. The most common reference to cloud provisioning is when a company seeks to transition some or all of its existing applications to the cloud without having to significantly re-architect or re-engineer the applications.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Five tips for shooting great Halloween photos – Halloween is practically custom-made for photographers. You’ve got a perfect storm of colorful costumes, dramatic lighting, and creative decorations, all of which are screaming out (excuse the expression) to be captured by your camera. However, taking Halloween photos can be very challenging. Dim lighting is often the death of photos, and simply firing your flash to cut through the darkness can lead to rampant red-eye and overblown highlights. Fear not! Here are a few tricks for treating yourself to some excellent Halloween photos this year.

The Most Valuable Investing Lesson I Ever Learned – My father was never much of an investor, though he possessed all of the attributes of a potentially successful one. He grew up in a lower-middle-class family in Worcester, Mass., and never had much money to put aside as a young man. Just when he finally started earning a decent salary, he passed away suddenly. Even though he wasn’t an active stock market participant, he did make one, big investment that delivered an incalculable return for him and his family. And that particular investment, as we’ll soon learn, illustrates perfectly the incredible power of having a long-term outlook. (recommended by Michael F.)

Memoto is a wearable lifeblogging camera that captures your entire existence – With the increasing number of photos people are sharing on Instagram and Twitter, we all might as well start lifeblogging our entire lives. A group of Stockholm-based entrepreneurs believes this too, and they want make a seriously small, wearable camera called Memoto that will lifeblog your existence for you. The Memoto is a postage stamp-sized, five-megapixel camera that you can clip to yourself to capture a visual record of your entire day.

Ten Bizarre Excuses for Calling in Sick - Three out of 10 workers call in sick when they’re not actually ill, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. They do so because they don’t feel like going to work (cited by 34 percent of employees), want to relax (29 percent) or catch up on sleep (16 percent), or need to run errands (15 percent). And—how’s this for a coincidence?—they tend to call in sick more frequently around the approaching winter holiday season.

Google Street View treks into the Grand Canyon – Google announced Wednesday that the Grand Canyon would soon be coming to Google Maps Street View courtesy of Trekker, the search giant’s new backpack Street View camera. The company is gathering images from the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park, but did not say exactly when the images would go online. This is the first major task for Trekker after Google introduced the new Street View camera in June.

Canada prototypes lunar, planetary vehicles (pictures) – The Canadian Space Agency shows off small and large space rovers designed to scout locations on Mars or transport astronauts on the moon. Check out these otherworldly wheels.

Today’s Quote:

The best mirror is an old friend.”

-      George Herbert

Today’s Free Downloads:

Avira Free Antivirus 2013 – Detect and eliminate viruses, get free protection for home users.

Balabolka – Try a basic, clean, and free solution for converting text to speech.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24, 2012

Do you really need that free download? – You can often solve whatever problem the freebie claims to fix without the drain on system resources the app causes, and without the risk of downloading more than you bargained for.

Apple Unveils iPad Mini – As expected, Apple unveiled a smaller version of its iPad tablet, dubbed the iPad mini. The 7.9-inch mini includes a 1,024-by-768 display, and pricing starts at $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version.

Use Puush to share images and screenshots quickly – If you are a tech blogger or engage in another pursuit that requires the regular capturing and sharing of screenshots, Puush (Mac | Windows) could prove useful. It’s a free and easy multiplatform app that automatically uploads screenshots as you snap them. It works on both Macs and Windows systems, and there is also a Puush iPhone app. I tried out the free Mac app and iPhone app.

Top 10 biggest drawbacks of Windows RT – Sometimes new isn’t always better. CNET takes you through a few things you’ll need to keep in mind before buying a Windows RT device.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to optimize Windows 8 on old hardware – Microsoft has made a point of advertising the performance enhancements and optimizations being made to Windows 8. Although Windows 7 was well received and typically offered better performance and stability than its much-maligned predecessor, Windows Vista, Microsoft had some loftier goals in mind for the jump to Windows 8.

Two analytics companies to settle charges for online user tracking – A web analytics company has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated federal law by using its web-tracking software that collected personal data without disclosing the extent of the information that it was collecting. The company, Compete Inc., also allegedly failed to honor promises it made to protect the personal data it collected.

Over half of Brits have fallen victim to cyber crime, but most haven’t changed their online behaviour – 56% of adults in the UK have suffered from cyber crime, according to a recent survey by getsafeonline.org. But that doesn’t seem to have changed their online behaviour, with nearly three quarters of them not having changed the way they use the internet.

Get Organized: Best Practices for Gmail – In this installment of our Get Organized series, we’re taking a look at your Gmail account. Understanding a few core features of the email service will help you keep it an organized and efficient place to communicate.

Secure your Business PCs without slowing them down – GFI’s small-footprint antivirus keeps businesses secure without slowing them down. Vipre is currently offering a free 30-day trial.

Ray turns Android phone into device for the blind – As part of its Wireless Reach initiative, Qualcomm teams with Israeli firm to create Ray, a multifunction device that brings streamlined smartphone functionality to the visually impaired.

FTC Issues Best Practices for Facial Recognition Tech – The Federal Trade Commission released a set of guidelines for how it believes companies should implement facial-recognition technology, and the overarching theme is – get people’s permission

Security:

Hackers steal customer data from Barnes & Noble keypads – Point-of-sale terminals at 63 bookstores are found to have been modified to hijack customers’ credit card and PIN information.

‘Parasite’ porn websites steal and spread images and videos of young people – A new study shows that 88% of sexually explicit photos and videos of children and other young people found online have been lifted from legitimate source sites, including social networking sites such as Facebook, video sites such as YouTube, or stolen/lost phones.

‘Jesus,’ ‘welcome’ join list of worst passwords – Internet users continue to use many of the same weak passwords used a year ago, according to a new list compiled from password files released by hackers.

Sony PSN hacking lawsuit dismissed by judge – A judge rules that “there is no such thing as perfect security,” after 75 million customers’ billing addresses, user names, passwords, and phone numbers were stolen in a massive cyberattack.

Company News:

Facebook Posts Loss But Strong Mobile Growth – Facebook suffered a $59 million loss due to share-based compensation.

Netflix Streaming Users Hungry for Episodic TV – More and more of Netflix’s now 29 million streaming members are signing on for TV shows.

Huawei offers Australia ‘unrestricted’ access to hardware, source code – In the aftermath of a U.S. House Committee investigation, the Chinese giant is opening up its hardware and software in a transparency push in Australia, after it was previously barred from competing for government contracts in the country.

Windows’ share of Microsoft sales falls to four-year low – The Windows division’s share of Microsoft’s revenue last quarter dropped to a four-year low as Windows 7 sales stalled before the launch of Windows 8.

Report: Layoffs, Office Closures at Zynga – Game maker Zynga has allegedly laid off more than 100 employees from its Austin office, and possibly shut down its Boston location, as well.

HP Launches Service Anywhere SaaS Platform – The cloud-based service, which starts at $89 per user per month, employs a range of HP technologies to provide service desk capabilities.

Webopedia Daily:

BYOD – bring your own device – BYOD is short for bring your own device. In the consumerization of IT, BYOD is a phrase that has become widely adopted to refer to employees who bring their own computing devices – such as smartphones, laptops and PDAs – to the workplace for use and connectivity on the corporate network.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Is Customer Service Dead? – Following a debacle at Amazon, I can’t help but wonder where customer support at tech companies has gone.

Infographic: What Social Media Says About the 2012 Election – Livefyre broke down the four presidential and vice presidential debates, to find out what voters’ real issues are, based on social media.

Do you just hate everything? – Chronic negativity can be a career killer. Here are some ways to know if you’re a chronic complainer and what you can do about it.

Apple mocks Google Nexus tablet – At its San Jose event today, Apple draws unflattering comparisons between the iPad Mini and its rival, from screen size to app availability.

Today’s Quote:

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”

-     Dorothy Parker

Today’s Free Downloads:

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

Daphne 1.53 – Daphne is a small (system tray) application for killing, controlling and debugging Windows’ processes. It was born to kill a windows process and became almost a task manager replacement.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 23, 2012

A faster, easier, tree-saving way to share documents – It works like this: Using TagMyDoc’s tools, you add a QR code to, say, a Word or PowerPoint file. That document gets tagged and uploaded to TagMyDoc’s cloud storage, where it effectively becomes an on-demand file: Anyone who scans the code from your hardcopy immediately gets a copy.

Microsoft legalizes collection of user info from its free services – In a move that has not been noted by the great majority of Microsoft users, the Redmond giant has changed its Services Agreement on Friday in order to legalize the collection of all personal information and customer content that can be gathered from the consumers of its free Web-based products (Hotmail, Bing, Outlook email service, etc.), and to use it to improve its other services.

Windows 7 to Windows 8: The system’s biggest improvements – Here are 15 improvements to Windows that you’ll want to check out in Microsoft’s latest OS, including some new tools in the Modern UI. Some of these improvements have no corresponding feature in Windows 7. If they do, we’ll show you what they look like in Windows 7 and (for comparison) provide a screenshot showing how they are enhanced in Windows 8. Let’s dive in.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Free dual-engine malware scanner – The free Emsisoft Emergency Kit 3.0 can detect and remove malware by simply starting it directly from a USB stick or CD without the need for installation. The kit comes with a dual-engine scanner and utilizes almost 12 million signatures and runs as fast as a single scan engine due to the removal of redundant signatures. There are hourly updates which can be downloaded manually.

20 Best WordPress Plugins – There are over 15,000 WordPress plugins available, which can make it extremely difficult to discover beneficial additions to your website. Supercharge your WordPress blog with these 20 must-have plugins.

Seven apps making the most of HTML5 – Here’s a look at how seven powerful apps are implementing the HTML5 vision and how one high-profile detractor lost its love for the Web’s next big thing. All provide insights on how to make the most of HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS, while avoiding the hard truths of relying on Web technologies to deliver your treasured app to your users.

Amazon Web Services outage takes out popular websites again – Just five months after storms took down Amazon-powered sites such as Instagram, Pinterest and Netflix, issues at Amazon’s Northern Virginia datacenter gave Amazon Web Services customers fits on Monday.

Skype for Windows 8 Launches Friday – One of the most compelling uses for a tablet is easy video calling, and today, the leading player in that space, Skype, announced that it will launch a version that works on the newest tablet platform around—Windows 8.

Hulu Plus App Coming to Windows 8 – Hulu today unveiled an updated Hulu Plus app for Windows 8

Ubuntu moves some Linux development inside – Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and its popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, announced in his blog that they’ll be working on some new features behind closed doors for the next release.

Security:

Over half of Brits have fallen victim to cyber crime, but most haven’t changed their online behaviour – 56% of adults in the UK have suffered from cyber crime, according to a recent survey by getsafeonline.org. But that doesn’t seem to have changed their online behaviour, with nearly three quarters of them not having changed the way they use the internet.

How Hotmail lets down its users security-wise compared to Gmail and Yahoo – With hacks of web mail accounts being worryingly common, you would imagine that any popular online email service would give its users a way to check if their account has recently been accessed from somewhere unusual, or at a time when you weren’t surfing, or from a device that you don’t own. Google and Yahoo, both arch-rivals of Hotmail, have just such a system. But where it it on Microsoft’s Hotmail service? Sadly, it doesn’t appear to exist.

Researcher Develops Patch for Java Zero-Day, Puts Pressure on Oracle to Deliver its Fix – A security researcher has submitted to Oracle a patch he said took him 30 minutes to produce that would repair a zero-day vulnerability currently exposed in Java SE. He hopes his actions will spur Oracle to issue an out-of-band patch for the sandbox-escape vulnerability, rather than wait for the February 2013 Critical Patch Update as Oracle earlier said it would.

Flashing on the Queen’s highway can reveal your identity - a cautionary tale – How cautious are you about identity theft? Are you a flasher or a hider? Here’s Sam’s cautionary tale…

Service Offers Cheap Access to Hacked Servers – An online service that sells fairly cheap access to compromised corporate machines creates a pay-to-play scenario for criminals seeking access to the networks of high-profile organizations, according to a Krebs on Security report.

Open-Redirect Vulnerability, Fake Government URLs Duping Users – Spammers have recently taken advantage of an open-redirect vulnerability to phish users and trick them into clicking through links that appear to be coming from government (.gov) URLs.

Company News:

Yahoo Reports Solid Quarter Under New CEO Mayer – Yahoo on Monday filed earnings for the first time under the full-time direction of new CEO Marissa Mayer, reporting a relatively flat third quarter in terms of revenue against the same period in 2011.

Iomega Launches New StorCenter Small Business NAS – New NAS hardware from Iomega gives small businesses a cloud-connected edge.

First application firewall for Google Apps - CloudLock launched CloudLock Apps Firewall, which helps enterprises discover, classify and enable trusted third party mobile and web apps that require access to users’ Google Apps accounts and data.

Ancestry.com to be Acquired for $1.6 Billion – Genealogy site Ancestry.com this morning announced that it has agreed to be acquired by an investor group led by European private-equity firm Permira in a deal valued at $1.6 billion.

Valve Opens Steam Mobile iOS App to All – A recent update to the Steam Mobile app for iOS officially opened the doors to all account holders

Report: Samsung Display terminates LCD contract with Apple – Samsung Display has terminated a contract to make LCD panels for Apple due to supply chain issues and financial strain, according to a news report published in The Korea Times on Monday.

Webopedia Daily:

Information Technology (IT) Director - The information technology director oversees the information technology strategy for an organization, developing and implementing the policies and goals for the IT department. The IT director analyzes the business requirements of different departments and conducts feasibility studies to determine the best use of technical resources. Technical investments may include a new information system or upgrades to hardware or software components. The IT director coordinates information systems managers and reports to the chief information officer.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Five Worst Companies for Customer Service - In honor of evil week, we’re switching up the Hive Five a little bit. Instead of picking the five best in a category, this week we want to talk about the five worst in a category, specifically customer service. Some companies excel at it, but others—specifically major companies—fail more often than they succeed. This week we’re going to look at five of the worst, and show you how to beat them and get the answers you need.

HackRF Jawbreaker Could Bring Low-Cost Wireless Hacking to the Masses – Generations of hobbyists hardware hackers have spent countless hours messing with piles of radio gear, happily tinkering away in garages and basements looking for new ways to connect to people around the world. Now, a researcher has put together a new radio called HackRF that is a kind of all-in-one hacker’s dream with functionality to intercept and reverse-engineer traffic from a wide range of frequencies and sources.

FTC: Companies should limit facial recognition in some cases – Web companies using facial recognition technology should avoid identifying anonymous images of consumers to someone who could not otherwise identify them, unless the companies have the consumers’ consent, a U.S. Federal Trade Commission report said.

Italy’s electric bike boom - Bikes in general are making a strong comeback in Italy, a country where biking as a form of personal transportation (instead of just recreation) lags behind many other European countries. But this year, for the first time since World War II, the country had more bike sales than car sales. And e-bikes, battery-powered bikes that assist with pedaling, are becoming increasingly popular in Italy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Intel strives toward tiny chips to run wearable computers – If your memory needs a nudge, you may someday be able to wear a device the size of a brooch or a Bluetooth earpiece to record your daily activities and conversations. Then days or years later you can get a digital reminder of that important meeting or particularly beautiful sunset. Intel evangelist Manny Vara, in an interview Monday, said wearable computers may be two to five years away. Unlike some early attempts that were too bulky, these would be small, light and convenient.

Today’s Quote:

The best index to a person’s character is – how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and – how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

-      Abigail van Buren

Today’s Free Downloads:

DVDStyler 2.3.2 – DVDStyler is a cross-platform free DVD authoring application for the creation of professional-looking DVDs. It allows not only burning of video files on DVD that can be played practically on any standalone DVD player, but also creation of individually designed DVD menus.

Eye Pro 2.0 – EyePro is a handy PC application that regularly reminds you to take “Short Breaks for your Eyes” with many exciting, customizable and Innovative features. It is an innovative tool done under the guidance of eminent Eye Doctor.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 22, 2012

Windows 8, the new XP – This new version of Windows is a disaster. Power users can’t wait to replace the UI, and businesses are avoiding it like the plague. I’m talking, of course, about Windows XP. Ah, how quickly we forget.

What are you agreeing to when you install Facebook Applications? – In a recent study of 50 million Facebook users and 500,000 Facebook applications, the following conclusions paint a different picture than what most people perceive about the apps they’ve come to love.

Norton Hotspot Privacy – Symantec has launched a new personal VPN service under its trusted Norton brand and the result is an easy-to-use VPN service that delivers consistent performance with no bandwidth requirements. Even though the field of VPN services is getting a little cluttered, Norton Hotspot Privacy stands apart from its competition because it’s one of the first products from a major security vendor. For a fairly affordable price tag, users can secure their network connections without any bandwidth limitations and for multiple devices.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft kicks off free Office 2013 upgrades – Microsoft on Friday launched an Office upgrade offer that gives customers who purchase the current Office 2010 a free copy of the upcoming Office 2013.

Video: Ubuntu Linux hits Google’s Nexus 7

 – It’s no secret that Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth wants the highly versatile Ubuntu loaded and running on mobile devices like tablets.

How to get a free Ivy League education online – Didn’t get into MIT? Student loans wouldn’t cover Yale? Was Stanford too far to commute? It’s never too late to get an Ivy League education—or take advantage of college courses at any number of universities from just about anywhere. And what’s even better: It’s often free. Universities everywhere are opening their virtual campuses to anyone with an Internet connection and motivation.

iPad Mini Buyer’s Guide: Your Guide to Your First Seven-Inch Tablet – Don’t get caught up in next week’s craze: There’s a lot to think about before you plunk down for a seven-inch Apple tablet.

Tweets from the spies: Tool checks for data use and leaks – In a demonstration last week at the Breakpoint security conference, Roelof Temmingh, who founded the company Paterva in South Africa, showed how his company’s application, called Maltego, can scoop up scattered online clues, quickly providing an insightful picture of individuals or organizations.

How to restore the classic Start menu with Pokki for Windows 8 – The latest in a lineup of Start menu replacements for Windows 8, Pokki is a free, fluid tool for users who crave more than the new Start screen.

Salesforce.com CEO says Windows 8 spells doom for Microsoft OS – Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 will mark “the end” of the computer industry’s dominant OS due to increasing competition and choice sparked by alternatives, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff predicted Friday.

Security:

Pacemaker hack can kill via laptop – Pacemakers from several manufacturers can be commanded to deliver a deadly, 830-volt shock from someone on a laptop up to 50 feet away, the result of poor software programming by medical device companies. The new research comes from Barnaby Jack of security vendor IOActive, known for his analysis of other medical equipment such as insulin-delivering devices.

Trend Micro’s Q3 threat report: Mobile malware surged from 30K to 175K – Mobile malware rates for Q3 grossly outpace predictions, according to Trend Micro’s latest report.

Popular Android apps under security scrutiny – You know that latest free app you downloaded? SSL flaws could leave you vulnerable to data theft.

Spammers find way to link .gov domains to scams – The .gov domain is reasonably trusted by users as being a safe place, but spammers have recently figured out how to make .gov URLs redirect to malicious content.

Company News:

Dart, Google’s attempt to outdo JavaScript, passes first milestone – The Internet giant has issued the first stable release of the programming language for Web apps. Also: a host of tools to help it gain a foothold.

White House Denies Networking Firm Huawei Cleared of Spying for China – No review has cleared Huawei or any other vendor supplying telecommunications equipment to U.S. firms of spying allegations, a White House official said.

Apple sued over deal locking iPhone to AT&T – Plaintiffs claim the company violated the Sherman Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act by not obtaining customers’ permission to have their iPhones locked to AT&T’s network.

BlackBerry Dropped by Booz Allen, Latest Example of RIM’s Struggle – Government adviser Booz Allen Hamilton is decommissioning its BlackBerry server and devices, suggesting that even regulated industries are no longer a sure bet for RIM.

Webopedia Daily:

Data Center Container – Also called a modular data center or data center-in-a-box. A data center container is a method of deploying data centers that is designed to add data center capacity and to reduce an organization’s cooling and power consumption costs. The container refers to a modular, portable self-contained environment that can be shipped and deployed. The container is portable, so it can be relocated or deployed in non-traditional data centers, such as urban spaces. A data center container is also faster to deploy than a traditional data center. An example of a container is HP’s Performance Optimized Datacenters, or PODs, a 40-foot shipping container with up to 22 racks of servers inside – pre-installed and ready to go. Container data centers have become popularized by vendors like Sun Microsystems and Rackable Systems and are considered to be a part of the modern data center.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Windows prelaunch paranoia: 17 years of gloom and doom – Everything is on the line with Windows 8 and Microsoft. It’s do or die, according to pundits. So goes the headline hyperbole. But here’s the zinger: Dire make-or-break predictions for the launch of the latest Windows, tying it to the failure of Microsoft itself, have also greeted the releases of Windows 7, Vista, XP, Windows 98, and Windows 95.

Kaspersky’s exploit-proof OS leaves security experts skeptical – Eugene Kaspersky, the $800-million Russian cybersecurity tycoon, is, by his own account, out to “save the world” with an exploit-proof operating system. In a blog post this week quickly picked up by news outlets around the world, Kaspersky confirmed rumors that Kaspersky Lab is “developing a secure operating system for protecting … industrial control systems used in industry/infrastructure.”

Why Microsoft Wants To Be Like Apple – Microsoft is developing competitive products to emulate Apple’s hardware, software, and services ecosystem.

Italian court acknowledges cell phone health hazard – The Supreme Court of Italy has found something that scientists have been unable to find since the introduction of the cell phone: a link to brain tumors. In a decision widely reported Friday, the justices upheld a lower court ruling that declared an Italian businessman could request worker’s compensation based on a disability he claims was caused by the removal of a tumor linked to cell phone use required by his job.

Today’s Quote:

The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.”

-      George F. Will

Today’s Free Downloads:

Ashampoo ClipFinder HD 2.2.9 – ClipFinder HD is a like a 3D web browser. You just enter search words in the Search bar and the search results from up to 15 video portals are displayed as clip thumbnails in the 3D Video Wall.

Emsisoft Emergency Kit 3.0.0.1 – The Emsisoft Emergency Kit contains a collection of programs that can be used without a software installation to scan and clean infected computers for malware.

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