Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 2, 2012

Step-by-step on how to use the $15 upgrade offer for Windows 8 Pro – Greg Shultz shows us all of the steps involved in using the $15 upgrade offer to download Windows 8 Pro and burn it to a DVD.

U.S. Carriers Launch Stolen Phone Databases – The top wireless carriers on Wednesday launched a database of stolen phones, which will prevent them from being used by the thief on networks here in the U.S.

Get Windows 8 for Dummies: Pocket Edition e-book for free – Dell is offering a free copy of “Windows 8 for Dummies: Dell Pocket Edition” in e-book form. All you do is complete a short form and bam, you’ve got a universally compatible PDF. This 147-page guide covers everything from the new Start screen to the traditional desktop to my favorite chapter of all: “10 Things You’ll Hate About Windows 8 (and How to Fix Them).” And, of course, it’s written in that friendly, conversational “Dummies” style.

Grab your photos from Batch before it shuts down – One year after its launch, iPhone photo-sharing app Batch is calling it quits. You have a week to download any photos you shared via the app. Learn how before they’re gone.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Upload masses of images lightning-fast with Hyperdesktop – Hyperdesktop (free) is right up your alley if you are a blogger, involved in tech support, or like to upload lots of images for Facebook and Reddit. Hyperdesktop turns image uploading into an easy and pain-free task. What’s more, it’s a portable app, so there’s no installation involved. You can carry it around on a USB stick or put it on Dropbox for easy access, no matter what computer you happen to be working from.

How Square can help you sell more cupcakes – With its analytics tools, Square is making it possible for even the smallest merchants to understand patterns in their sales — and to make decisions based on what they learn. For free.

Amazon Launches Cloud Drive Photos App for Android – If you have tons of photos kicking around on your Android phone or tablet taking up too much space, then you’re probably going to be interested in this new app from Amazon.

Bend Windows 8 to your will with these free tools – So if you miss the Start button from Windows 7, if you’re an Apple fan who needs a little more visual consistency to ease your transition to Windows territory (or just install it on a virtual machine), or if you’re tired of looking at the same ol’ lock and start screens on Window 8, we have a great list of free utilities that you can use to bend Windows 8 to your will. Let’s get started!

Google Earth 7 adds more 3D imagery to desktop app – Google has updated the desktop version of Google Earth with 3D imagery that was previously only available to mobile users of the mapping program. A new tour guide feature—also included in the Google Earth update—allows you to fly over given areas where Google has prepared guided tours.

Get started with Xbox Music – Xbox Music is the new streaming-music service from Microsoft. Like Spotify, it can stream full songs on demand, as well as play taste-based radio like Pandora.

Is Windows Phone 8 the secret to greater Windows success? – Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 have more than just a numeral in common. Take one look at the two operating systems, and you can tell that Microsoft wants to unify Windows Phone devices, Windows 8 tablets and PCs, and its Xbox game console.

Google Wallet may get physical… with a real card, rumors say – A loosely sourced report says credit cards linked to Google Wallet accounts are now in testing.

Security:

VUPEN Researchers Say They Have Zero-Day Windows 8 Exploit – Controversial bug hunters and exploit sellers VUPEN claimed to have cracked the low-level security enhancements featured in Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Nuclear power plant cybersecurity warnings silenced by legal threats – One vendor’s threat to sue has resulted in two canceled talks about a nuclear power plant’s potential vulnerabilities to cyber-attack.

Scareware and Phishing Scams Play on Windows 8 Launch – Windows 8 isn’t yet a week old, but the scammers and phishing crews already are taking their swings at it, setting up new campaigns based on the shiny new operating system. Security researchers have identified a new scareware campaign playing off of the Windows 8 launch, as well as a phishing email trying the same tack.

Judge prods FBI over future Internet surveillance plans – Federal judge tells FBI to do more to comply with open government laws when disclosing what backdoors it wants Internet companies to create for government surveillance.

Company News:

Mozilla blames Microsoft for 9 million fewer Firefox downloads – Daily Firefox downloads decreased by 63 percent during the nearly 15 months that Microsoft failed to show users of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 a court-mandated browser choice screen, according to figures released by Mozilla. In settlement of a European Union antitrust case, Microsoft agreed to present new Windows users with a screen allowing them to choose a web browser to install instead of, or in addition to, Internet Explorer.

Kim Dotcom Returns With Megaupload Successor, Mega – Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom unveiled Mega, a revamped version of his file-sharing service that will allow users to encrypt their data.

Netflix readily accepts Icahn’s business advice – With billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn now owning a 10 percent stake in the streaming-video company, Netflix is ready to listen to what he has to say.

Mozilla Exec Fires Back at HTML5 App Barbs – With Facebook recoding it’s iPhone app in native code for much faster response, open-system torchbearer Mozilla responds to the HTML5′s black eye.

Apple Must Revise ‘Non-Compliant’ Apology to Samsung in U.K. – Do you remember that court-ordered “apology” to Samsung that Apple posted on its U.K. website recently? A U.K. court this week said Cupertino’s efforts on that document were less than stellar, and ordered the company to post a revised version. As reported by The Guardian, judges on a U.K. court of appeal found the notice to be “non-compliant” with court orders. They demanded that Apple change the wording of the statement currently on its website within 48 hours, put the note on its homepage, and use at least 11-point font.

Rumored Sprint Flash promises budget-friendly price, 12-megapixel camera – As reported by Android Police, it looks like Sprint may soon be delivering a reasonably-priced Android phone from a currently yet-to-be-named maker. There’s speculation that the OEM might be ZTE—an unsurprising possibility given Sprint’s relationship with the company but, really, who cares about that when you consider the phone’s specs.

Webopedia Daily:

Free Cooling – In data center terminology, free cooling is the phrase used to describe a strategy for reducing energy consumption by leveraging the natural low air temperatures and cooler climates in some geographical regions. In this process, naturally occurring cold outside air is used inside the data center to aid the cooling process. Leveraging cooler outside air uses less power than other cooling methods and can reduce or replace parts of mechanical refrigeration that requires high energy consumption to operate. The free cooling process typically uses a mixture of outside air and air recirculation systems to cool air temperatures inside the data center by replacing or eliminating the compressor operation in air conditioning units or can be used to reduce the chiller operation for chilled water systems.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Unboxing Videos Teach Us Nothing – Who came up with the idea of an “unboxing” video? I’ve concluded that they are about as idiotic as a cat playing the piano. Everyone has seen these videos. (The unboxing ones, not the cat ones. Well, maybe those too.) They are used as link bait by companies that do not actually want to write a detailed review of a product but would love to have some advertising money from the maker of the product inside the box. It’s the only reason to do it.

This tech lets you combine your smartphones into one big screen with a pinch – While multitouch isn’t new—anyone who has ever owned an iOS thingie can certainly tell you that—the idea of being able to connect multiple displays and interact with them simultaneously is still something of a novelty. Sure, there’s been stuff like Sifteo Cubes, but there’s never really been anything that allows you to, say, hook up a bunch of iPhones and an iPad to create a mechanical Frankenstein. Until now. Sort of.

Hacker or user? How to tell friend from foe – With so many staff and customers operating outside the conventional firewall, firms are rethinking their controls and security – which is where the identity perimeter comes in.

Survey: App users put premium on performance, not pretty – Patience may be a virtue, but it isn’t one you’re likely to find in users of mobile apps. A survey by app development tools maker Apigee found that nearly half (44 percent) of mobile users will delete an app immediately—even if they paid for it—if it doesn’t perform as advertised.

Today’s Quote:

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”

-      Thomas Szasz

Today’s Free Downloads:

GOM Media Player plays just about anything – Open-source media player VLC’s ability to play back just about any file I can throw at it has made me a fan, but its geeky feel and utilitarian interface can be a turnoff. Enter GOM Media Player (free). It’s a full-featured video player that can handle almost anything, and looks good doing it.

NetSetMan 3.5.1 – 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.

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