Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 16, 2012

5 addictive (and free!) holiday browser games – If you absolutely must play a browser game at work, you might as well zone out on a holiday-themed title. We won’t tell your boss.

Tech Gifts for Hipsters – PCMag has some gift ideas that even the hipsters on your list have probably never even heard of.

Infographic: The Tech-Savvy Holiday Shopper – According to an iProspect infographic, almost 85 percent of consumers turned to a PC or mobile device to do their holiday shopping.

Do I really need insurance for my smartphone? – In this edition of Ask Maggie, CNET’s Marguerite Reardon answers the age-old question of whether you should get insurance for your handset.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Stay in charge: 10 portable tablet chargers – Tablets typically have excellent battery life, but even eight or nine hours isn’t enough if you’re crunching quarterly sales numbers or planning PowerPoint decks on a cross-country flight, not to mention an intercontinental one. A portable external battery pack can keep you juiced up for your entire trip.

Top Holiday Tech Buys… of 1983 (Gallery) – Join me for the “first” computer Christmas season: when PCs cost thousands of dollars, hard-drives boasted of having megabytes of storage, and connecting to the Internet happened at 1,200 bits per second.

Google Combats ‘Fat Finger’ Ad Clicks With New Prompts – Google has altered how you click through to ads on smartphones in order to minimize the likelihood of an accidental “fat finger” click.

Everything you need to know about Windows 8 upgrades – Upgrading to Windows 8 is a straightforward process, but the details vary depending on your starting point. This second installment of my Windows 8 upgrade FAQ covers the ins and outs of different upgrade paths.

Flickr’s new layout for browsing images (pictures) – The interface refresh for Flickr on iOS makes browsing photos easy and fun.

Microsoft gobbles up AV ground – Microsoft’s free antivirus Security Essentials is now the top antivirus product in the world, and Windows XP continues its downward spiral, according to one report.

Data piles up, but it’s badly disorganized, study warns – Only 0.5 percent of the world’s data is being analyzed, according to an IDC study that also identifies opportunities for companies that can protect and extract value from the massive amounts of data being generated daily by people and machines. The EMC Corporation sponsored study shows that 2.8 zettabytes (ZB) of data would have been created and replicated in 2012 and the digital universe will reach 40 zettabytes (ZB) by 2020.

The 25 most anticipated games of 2013 (pictures) – What will 2013 bring gamers? Here’s a list of CNET’s most anticipated titles in chronological order.

Security:

Senate Panel Approves Franken’s ‘Stalking Apps’ Bill – A Senate panel this week approved Sen. Al Franken’s Location Privacy Protection Act — aka the “Stalking Apps” bill — which would close legal loopholes that allow mobile apps to send personal information about adults and children to third parties without their knowledge or consent.

Mobile malware: It’s bad now, but will be worse in 2013 – If you’re a user of Google’s mobile operating system Android and concerned about your smartphone’s security, expect to worry more in the coming months. “We see as the main trend for 2013 an exponential growth of mobile malware,” cyber security software maker Eset predicts this week in its 2013 trends report. Driving the interest of cybercriminals in the mobile market, Eset says, is the rapid adoption of smartphones, particularly those running Android, and the increased use of the devices for monetary transactions.

Smart TV hack highlights risk of ‘The Internet of Everything’ – A smart TV is only as smart as the person controlling it. So if the person in control is a hacker, the owner could have a problem. Researchers at security consultancy ReVuln say some smart TVs are vulnerable to hacking. It is another example of what experts say is the ever-expanding attack surface of devices that traditionally never faced the Internet, but are now “smart.”

Company News:

Google will alter search to end FTC antitrust inquiry, says report – The search giant will alter its use of “snippets” — bits of text from other sites — and make it easier for search advertisers to shuttle their campaigns to rival services, according to a report.

Infographic: Mozilla Counts 2012 Achievements – Mozilla is celebrating an ‘incredible’ 2012 by sharing some of its biggest and best moments in an infographic

Ray Kurzweil joins Google – The 64-year-old, whose work includes computer and machine intelligence, neuroscience and virtual reality, revealed the move on his blog on Friday. Kurzweil said his work at Google would focus on new projects involving machine learning and language processing. The job begins on Monday, when Kurzweil will take the title director of engineering, he wrote.

Report: Apple Prepping High-Res iPad Mini – So far, the main complaint about Apple’s iPad mini is that it does not boast the high-res Retina display found on Cupertino’s larger tablets. Recent reports, however, suggest that Apple is working on a new iPad mini with a better, higher-resolution screen.

Samsung buys SSD caching vendor Nvelo – Nvelo’s Dataplex software is designed for caching data in SSDs to improve the speed of retrieval in devices that use either HDDs (hard disk drives) or SSDs for their main storage. The company says its technology can identify the data that the user needs most often and place that in the cache.

Webopedia Daily:

Android App – A mobile software application developed for use on devices powered by Google’s Android platform. Android apps are available in the Google Play Store (formerly known as the Android Market), in the Amazon Appstore and on various Android App-focused sites, and the apps can run on Android smartphones, tablets, Google TV and other devices. As with Apple and its Apple App Store apps, Google encourages developers to program their own Android apps. While many Android apps can be freely downloaded, premium apps are also available for purchase by users, with revenues for the latter shared between Google (30%) and the software developer (70%).

Off Topic (Sort of):

Today in TIME Tech History: Death Rays, Spy Tech of the ’60s, How to Find God Online and More – Let’s hop in the TIME Wayback Machine to see which notable tech-related stories were published on December 16 between 1923 and today.

Old London Street Scenes in 1903 (video 4:10) – The seemingly free form and random movement of all the carriages is astonishing – there seems to be no stopping or giving way; just a seamless ballet set in streets that appear to be full of horse droppings. I bet the smell was something else! (An amazing contrast to the reco below – a historical age disappears.)

Colour Footage of London in 1927 (video 10:12) – This is awesome footage. The Cenotaph sequence from around 3:37 to 3:54 is very poignant. This was filmed just nine years after the end of the Great War (WW 1). The women looking at the wreaths would very likely be wives and mothers of the men killed. The Second World War was, at that time, inconceivable.

‘The Hobbit’ and Other Movies That Will Make You Sick (and May Have Killed People) – The nausea and disorientation caused by the new frame-rate format for ‘The Hobbit’ is child’s play, compared to at least two other films that may have actually killed people.

Today’s Quote:

“Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.”

-      Author Unknown

Today’s Free Downloads:

Sandboxie 3.76 Final – Tired of dealing with rogue software, spyware and malware? Worried about clicking unfamiliar Web links? Sandboxie runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.

DarkWave Studio 4.1.6 – DarkWave Studio is a free, open source, Digital Audio Workstation for Windows. Featuring a modular Virtual Studio, Pattern Editor, Sequence Editor and Multitrack Hard Disk Recorder.

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2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 16, 2012

  1. hipockets

    Hi, Bill -
    Re: “Microsoft gobbles up AV ground” –
    This article states that “Microsoft Security Essentials may not have done well in recent independent tests . . .” and “MSE recently failed AV-Test’s certification. . . .”.

    I have visited two or three other sites that say that MSE is now an inferior product.

    I’m tempted to switch to the free version of AVAST.

    Please comment about the MSE statements.

    • Hey Hipockets,

      Perfect timing! I’ve been off my soapbox for 6 months or so – time to get back on, I think. Answering your query in a full post presents a perfect opportunity to do just that. :)

      Look for a new post in the next day or two.

      Best,

      Bill