Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 21, 2012

Top 10 Windows apps of 2012 – We’re back with our year-end look at the most popular products on the site in 2012. See which products reigned supreme on Download.com and in its 10 most popular software categories.

Video games to come under scrutiny in U.S. gun violence review – Violence in video games and other aspects of pop culture in the U.S. will be among the areas examined as part of an investigation aimed at reducing gun violence in the country.

Facebook Test Will Let You Message Strangers for $1 – Facebook is testing a feature that will let select users pay $1 to send messages to people with whom they have no connection on the social network.

Facebook begins rolling out new privacy tools – Unveiled last week, the tools are touted as helping users better manage who can see what on the social network.

9 PC games that redefine ‘holiday family time’ – The family that games together, stays together. Get started this year with these 9 addictive multiplayer titles.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Anonymous Twitter Account Returns, Westboro Campaign Continues – The Twitter account associated with the Anonymous hacker collective has returned to the Web after being suspended on Wednesday

Microsoft fixes faulty OpenType security patch – The company has re-released an important security patch, after the first iteration messed with OpenType rendering for some PowerPoint, Coreldraw and Quark Xpress users.

Consumer Reports makes case for Windows 7 PCs – Windows 7 may be the better choice as a PC operating system on new systems than the just-released Windows 8, Consumer Reports magazine said this week.

A Cell Phone for Those Who Just Want a Cell Phone: Doro PhoneEasy 618 – Some folks, especially seniors, just want a simple, standard cell phone rather than a smart phone with all the apps and hardware extras like cameras, GPS, and accelerometers. The Doro PhoneEasy on the budget priced Consumer Cellular network offers clear design and good call quality in a no-frills package.

Shoot, share videos on iOS – Google’s new YouTube Capture app for the iPhone lets you share videos quickly and easily.

Advanced Photo Editing on Your Tablet: Snapseed for Android – Now that the company behind Snapseed has been purchased by Google, we get an Android version of what Apple designated the Best iPad App of 2011. And as our Editors’ Choice designation indicates, it’s tops in photo editing on Android. Best of all? It’s now free

Security:

FCC issues security guidance to smartphone users – The Federal Communications Commission is advising smartphone users on how to protect their mobile devices and data from mobile security threats. The Commission released an online tool called the “Smartphone Security Checker” this week that outlines a 10-step action plan that mobile users can follow to prevent their personal data from being exposed in case their devices get infected with malware or are lost, stolen or resold.

“Facebook 2013 Demo app” leads to phishing – The offer of an app that supposedly allows users to view a new version of Facebook is the newest trick employed by phishers to get their hands on the users’ login credentials, Symantec warns. In reality, there is no “Facebook 2013 Demo” app – the page on which the users’ are urged to log in has only one goal: record the submitted emails and passwords and sent them to a server controlled by the phishers.

PowerPoint about the Mayan “end of the world” secretly booby trapped with malware – Interested in the buzz around the Mayan calendar ceasing to increment after December 21st, 2012? Don’t go looking for presentations about the topic, you might be in for a nasty surprise.

India developing own OS to boost cybersecurity – Defense Research and Development Organization is creating country’s own operating system to reduce its dependence on foreign operating systems, which it says may contain security risks.

Online reputation management tips – AVG announces twelve tips for individuals to safeguard their reputations while engaging in heightened e-commerce and social media activities during the holidays. AVG offers the following twelve tips to maintain control and promote fruitful engagement in digital life.

Will the Sweet Orange exploit kit dethrone Blackhole? – There’s a new exploit kit being offered for sale and it seems to be slowly but surely gaining in popularity. Dubbed Sweet Orange, the kit uses exploits for Java, PDF, IE and Firefox vulnerabilities, and is regularly updated.

Company News:

Is the BlackBerry PlayBook making a comeback? – The latest quarter showed a surprising rise in PlayBook shipments, suggesting a hint of life for the once-mocked tablet.

Patent Office Rejects Apple’s ‘Pinch to Zoom’ Patent – Apple was dealt a setback in its patent battle with Samsung this week when it was revealed that patent officials ruled that they should not have issued a key “pinch to zoom” patent to Cupertino.

CloudMe releases native app for Samsung SmartTV – Swedish cloud powerhouse CloudMe.com launches the first sync / storage app to be available for the Samsung SmartTV range of TV’s and Blu-ray players. CloudMe offers a full range of native apps in HTML5, GoogleTV, Samsung SmartTV, Android, iPhone, Mac, Windows, Linux and WebDAV with even more releases scheduled in the near future.

Google Sells Motorola’s Set-Top Box Business for $2 Billion – Google is selling off Motorola Mobility’s set top box division, Motorola Home, to Arris Group for $2.35 billion, the companies announced on Thursday in a statement.

Webopedia Daily:

iPod Shuffle – The smallest device in Apple’s lineup of iPod digital portable music players. Now in its fourth generation, the iPod Shuffle features an all-metal, unibody design with an integrated belt clip for listening to the player in a hands-free fashion, as well as 2GB of flash memory storage and VoiceOver capabilities for audibly reporting song details and the current battery level. The iPod Shuffle was refreshed in 2012 and now sells for $49.

Off Topic (Sort of):

5 Awesome 2012 Google Doodles – Google has been brightening up Google.com all year with a variety of doodles.

Today in TIME Tech History: Rube Goldberg (1970), Picture-in-Picture (1987), 96 Megabytes of RAM (1998) and More – Let’s hop in the TIME Wayback Machine to see which notable tech-related stories were published on December 21 between 1923 and today.

We need standard disclosure for online privacy. Here’s how – Instagram. Facebook. Google. Apple. Microsoft. How can we debate over an acceptable standard of privacy online if there’s little transparency at every turn? I propose a new approach.

Dvorak: The Spelling Error That Survived – You know the near 40-year-old word processor is in a sorry state when writers can still get away with typos and grammatical errors. A revolution in word processing can and must come soon.

Highest profile software failures of 2012 – SQS compiled a list of the worst software failures over the past 12 months. This year’s annual survey is based on major software failures throughout 2012 and highlights the continuing problems faced by the financial and banking sector, which have dominated the software glitch top ten lists over the past three years

Doomsday and 5 Other Things Not to Believe – Doomsday is not occurring on Dec. 21. But we believe a lot of silly things.

Today’s Quote:

“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.”

-      W. H. Auden

Today’s Free Downloads:

CrystalDiskInfo – This free system utility monitors the health and status of your drives and displays the information in a compact, easy-to-read interface. CrystalDiskInfo monitors and displays your drives’ temperature and SMART data, and it can even alert you when things start to go wrong.

MediaHuman YouTube to MP3 Converter – Save your favorite music from YouTube to MP3 format easily with this handy little app. MediaHuman YouTube to MP3 Converter software is extremely easy to use and allows you to extract audio tracks from YouTube videos and YouTube playlists with the highest quality possible.

8 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

8 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 21, 2012

  1. Dave B.

    In RE: Video games to come under scrutiny; I think a harder look should be taken at the parents that allow their children to play these games. We have a game rating system, you can’t blame the games for poor parenting skills, just like you can’t blame the car for the drunk driver, or the gun for the shooting.

    • Hi Dave,

      Totally agree with you on all your points.

      The notion of “parental responsibility”, as we once knew it, seems to have almost vanished.

      Merry Christmas Dave, to you and your family.

      Best,

      Bill

  2. delenn13

    No one takes responsibility for their actions. It is always someone else at fault. That is why they have the ratings on movies and games because parents made them.

    I was raised to respect a gun. Yes, I know how to shoot. Oh my and I play some violent games. :0

    • Hey Delenn13,

      Amen to that. Hell, the average person can’t even spell “responsibility” – too many letters. No, I’m not kidding. Stupidity, and lack of societal engagement (including personal responsibility) is epidemic.

      Best,

      Bill

  3. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    Catching up on emails after the festive season (part one).

    It is a fact of life, sadly, that the responsible majority suffer for the misdemeanours of the irresponsible minority. A classic example of this is in car insurance, where those who insure have their premiums increased to pay for those who don’t bother.

    Living in the UK, I am not qualified to comment on US (and Canadian?) gun laws. However I do ask myself why anyone needs an AK47 for self-defence.

    Kind regards
    John

    • Hi John,

      lol!! Part one, huh? :)

      Comparing gun laws, U.S. vs Canada, is pointless in a broad sense. Yes, there are differences (far fewer than many realize) – but, it’s the insane “wild west” attitude (despite the fact that in reality there never was a “wild west”) held by a significant percentage of Americans, that’s culturally NUTS! Couple that attitude with the belief that “the right to keep and bear arms” is applicable in the twenty-first century, and the ingredients for continuing tragedy are in place.

      I’m sure there are those who will take issue with my views – but, for those who do – suck it up, you’re a dying breed (pun intended).

      Finally, as a High School shooting champion (a Lord Strathcona winner here in Canada), with 6 years of service in the Army Reserve, I hardly lack experience with small arms. Which is why – I would not allow a weapon in my home. Not ever!

      Best,

      Bill

      • John Bent

        Hi Bill,

        Spot on in every respect. Despite the hand-wringing and good intentions (sincerely felt, I’m sure), there seems to be an inevitability that the tragedies will continue.

        I hope you are right and that those who espouse this craziness are a dying breed. I’m afraid that their extinction is a long way off, though.

        Kind regards
        John

        • Hi John,

          Sad to think that it will take generations to eradicate a vicious mindset camouflaged as “freedom”, “unalienable rights”, and all of the usual BS that accompanies what is effectively the coffin lid closing on a civilized America.

          Best,

          Bill