Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 22, 2012

Three New Year’s resolutions for PC users – A new year is upon us, and that can mean only one thing: resolutions. For most folks, these tend to be of the “get in shape” or “quit smoking” variety. I have three suggestions for improving the quality of your computing life in 2013.

Click, Print, Shoot: Downloadable Guns Possible – Downloading a gun’s design plans to your computer, building it on a three-dimensional printer and firing it minutes later. No background checks, no questions asked. Sound far-fetched? It’s not. And that is disquieting for gun control advocates.

3D-Printed Adult Toys? 3DEA Has You Covered – A new pop-up 3D printing emporium in NYC is offering some interesting … gadgets.

Facebook Launches Rumored Snapchat Competitor, Poke – Facebook on Friday released a new app, dubbed Poke, which gives users a new way to chat with their Facebook friends.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Send one-click automated Gmail replies with Chrome extension – Do you find that you are forced to repeat yourself throughout the workday? If this repetition occurs via e-mail, then you might give GmailWiz a try. This Chrome extension adds up to four buttons to Gmail that send automated responses.

Windows 8 previews to go dark in 3 weeks – Microsoft’s free previews of Windows 8 will expire next month, giving users about three weeks to upgrade to a paid copy or face hourly restarts. All three Windows 8 previews — the Developer Preview of September 2011, the Consumer Preview of February 2012, and the Release Preview — expire January 15, 2013.

Bodhi Linux runs on Google’s Nexus 7 tablet – Google’s Nexus 7 is quite the versatile device, as it is capable of running various flavors of Linux and Chromium, as well as its native Android operating system.

Instagram Adds New ‘Mayfair’ Filter, Support for 25 Languages – Perhaps to again say sorry for its recent terms-of-service kerfuffle, Instagram has offered users a peace offering in the form of a new filter and support for more than two dozen additional languages.

FB’s $1 messages: One more way to get your credit card – The update to Facebook Messages is more than a change in a few settings. It’s also a sign of the social network seeking yet an opportunity to encourage impulse spending.

iPad is left behind as rival tablets get multiuser support – Want to loan your tablet to a child or friend but don’t want to provide access to all your data? Windows, Android, and even Amazon tablets make it easy. Apple’s iPad has some catching up to do.

Security:

“Change Facebook color theme” scam leads to spying Chrome extension – This time, the users are required to download a Chrome extension – and accept its EULA and Privacy Policy – that will be able to access their data on all websites, their tabs and their browsing activity.

Ransomware Extortion Scam Locks Machines, Demands Payment – The latest ransomware scam is locking down infected machines and displaying localized webpages warning users that their computer contains “banned material” and won’t be unlocked until a fine is paid, according to a report from McAfee’s Naganathan Jawahar.

How Hackable Is Your Bank Account? Call Customer Service to Find Out – I was recently stupefied to find out it’s extremely easy to get into my (former) bank accounts. All you needed to do was call up customer service and verify very basic information. One bank even reset my security questions when I said I didn’t remember them. This is unacceptable; here’s how to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

Samsung Acknowledges Exynos Root Exploit – Samsung downplayed a root exploit vulnerability in some of its Exynos processors, and promised a patch for the flaw, according to a company statement acquired by AndroidCentral.

Crimeware Enterprises Mirror Legitimate Businesses – Not too long ago, it would have been extremely far-fetched to imagine buying crime services a la carte. But that’s the dynamic that emerged in 2012 to plague cybercrime victims on both the consumer and corporate end of the spectrum. The black-market infrastructure that supports cybercriminals is increasingly backboned by packaged malware, exploit kits, as well as hacks and fraud as a service. Expect that to continue and evolve in 2013, experts say.

Vulnerabilities in Java and Adobe to become main targets for cybercriminals – Software vulnerabilities will be the main target of cyber-criminals next year, according to a list of security trends that will dominate in 2013 by PandaLabs.

Company News:

Google ‘X Phone’ to compete with Apple and Samsung – Google-owned Motorola plans to release a sophisticated new smartphone next year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

EU Charges Samsung With Patent Abuse – The EU formally accused Samsung of patent abuse in its dealings with Apple.

Nokia, RIM End Patent Feud With New Deal – Nokia and Research in Motion have reached a patent deal that ends the companies’ ongoing litigation

No, RIM’s BlackBerry isn’t dead just yet – Despite a declining market share, RIM still maintains a fairly large and loyal install base, especially in the Latin American and Asian markets – providing the industry heavyweight with a steady revenue stream.

Webopedia Daily:

Optical Zoom – On a digital camera, optical zoom is a true zoom feature. It allows you to zoom in (or out) on the subject in the LCD or viewfinder. This will enable you to get a closer view of the subject before taking your picture. Optical zoom changes the magnification of images with the actual optical glass before the images reach the imaging sensor. Optical zoom allows for better photo quality than digital zoom.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Apocalypse Illustrated – 500px’s photographers imagine the end of the world as we know it.

Why You Should Run, Not Walk, in the Rain – Do you stay drier walking or running in the rain? Many of us run, and it seems like common sense, but this question has been debated before. MinutePhysics explains on YouTube the science behind why running is the best strategy if you don’t like getting wet.

Dvorak: Billion Dollar Fads – Which will go down as the biggest tech flash in the pan of the coming year: Instagram? Cloud computing? Facebook? iPad? Time for some faddish prognostication.

Free Advice for the People in These Stock Photos Who Are Grappling with Technology – The people in these stock photos are needlessly frustrated, perplexed or nervous about technology. It doesn’t have to be this way! Here’s some straight talk for each of them.

Infographic: Profile of an Online College Student – College campuses have been an American institution for millennia, but not all higher learning is being done in a traditional classroom anymore.

Today’s Quote:

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

-       George Orwell

Today’s Free Downloads:

CCleaner – Nowadays, cookies, temporary files, and various other means of tracking your Web footprint are par for the course. Some of these trackers are useful, while others can be potentially intrusive. Thankfully, there are myriad freeware cleaners out there that help keep your system in check. CCleaner is one of the better ones for its ease of use and powerful cleaning capabilities.

Desktop Earth – Desktop Earth is a wallpaper program that will appeal to people who are curious about what the Earth looks like from space. Operating on a simple premise, this is a fun and interesting way to spice up your desktop.

3 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 22, 2012

  1. Pingback: Wallpaper of the Week (#101) « What's On My PC

  2. Bill,
    I wish you a Happy New Year. You’re blog is one of the best and I’m proud to consider you a friend.
    Best,
    Paul

    • Hi Paul,

      All the best to you and the family in 2013, my friend. Thank you for the hand of friendship you have offered over the years – one of the hidden benefits of Blogging. :)

      Best,

      Bill