Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 25, 2013

Most People Clueless About Online Privacy Protection – If company privacy policies leave you confused, and you’re not even sure where to begin when it comes to controlling your personal information online, you’re not alone.

Groups raise questions about privacy on Skype – The groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reporters Without Borders and GreatFire.org, called on Microsoft and Skype to also release information about whether third parties can intercept Skype calls and to explain their position on complying with U.S. wiretap laws. Forty-five groups and more than 60 people signed the letter to Microsoft officials.

Cyber 9/11′ may be on horizon, Homeland Security chief warns – With the possibility of a massive cyberattack hitting the U.S. in the near future, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urges the government to pass cybersecurity legislation. (Yep, that’s it – take away more civil liberties – that’ll stop cybercrime!)

Windows 8 and Xbox: How to realize hidden synergy – The ties between Microsoft’s Windows OS and gaming console have never been tighter. Here’s how to get the two playing nicely together.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Meet Mageia, a rising Linux star – If the world of Linux distributions has ever had a rising star, it’s Mageia. Launched roughly two years ago as a fork of Mandriva Linux by former employees and contributors to that French distro, Mageia sprinted up the page-hit rankings on DistroWatch, where it has sat at No. 2 for many months.

Temple Run 2 Arrives for Android – Imangi Studios released the Android version of Temple Run 2 today. The game is available as a free download and works on any device running Android 2.1 and above. Imangi promised new graphics, environments, and obstacles, as well as more powerups and achievements, and special powers for each character.

French Court Orders Twitter to ID Authors of Racist Tweets – A French court today ruled that Twitter must hand over data about users who posted racist or anti-Semitic tweets. The micro-blogging service must comply with the court’s ruling “within the framework of its French site,” the AFP reported today.

The 50 Best Mac Apps (Update) – This list of the 50 best Mac apps highlights the software that you should download to your OS X desktop or laptop. The apps will help you express your creativity, be more productive, browse the Web, communicate with others, and much more. Some of the apps are exclusive to the OS X platform; others are cross-platformers that you’ll find on Linux and Windows. Two of the highlighted apps even let you run those operating systems within OS X, which opens the door to even more apps than what Mac natively supports.

Vine’s quick-hit video ‘tweets’ might be the next big thing – With Facebook you use statuses and on Twitter you get 140 characters to tell your story. But with Vine you can easily create a short video out of separate clips that tell your story much better — all in only 6 seconds.

Turn your flash drive into a portable PC survival kit – All the web apps in the world won’t help you when your PC breaks down or falls prey to a particularly nasty piece of malware and refuses connect to the Internet. A properly loaded USB drive, on the other hand, can be a machine saver. And when your grandma calls with a dire PC emergency, you’ll be glad to have an always-ready “ninja drive” to slip into your pocket as you run out the door.

Google adds offline editing, viewing capabilities to Slides presentation software – Google has added Slides, the latest version of its Docs presentation software, to its suite of offline applications, as it tries to play a spoiler role with the official releases of Microsoft Office 2013 and the home user version of Office 365 right around the corner. Slides users will now be able to view and edit presentations without an Internet connection, provided they are using the Chrome Web browser or a Chrome OS device.

Researchers link mental illness with Facebook behaviors – Can social-media activity be used as a tool in psychological diagnosis? The jury’s still out, but a study from researchers at the University of Missouri found a link between social anhedonia and a decrease in Facebook activity, which suggests that therapists can use patients’ Facebook profiles to better understand their mental illnesses.

A Helpful Reminder That Rumors Are Not Facts – An evil-but-clever anonymous game fan, writing under the name X-Surface, has done us all a favor by showing us how little fact-checking some news sources do before they start treating random rumors as fact:

Wow. Mickey Rourke has died snowboarding, just like Sylvester Stallone, Jim Carrey, Christian Slater… – Before anyone gets the wrong idea – let me make this really clear. Despite what you may have read on the internet, Mickey Rourke has not died in a snowboarding accident. If the award-winning actor had been killed, it would have been a crazy coincidence – because it’s just days since there were claims on Facebook and Twitter that Sylvester Stallone had died in a snowboarding accident. And let’s not forget Jim Carrey’s fatal snowboarding accident and the one that killed Christian Slater a year ago.

Security:

Barracuda Networks confirms exploitable backdoors in its appliances – Barracuda Networks has released firmware updates that remove SSH backdoors in a number of their products and resolve a vulnerability in Barracuda SSL VPN that allows attackers to bypass access restrictions to download potentially insecure files, set new admins passwords, or even shut down the device. The backdoor accounts are present on in all available versions of Barracuda Spam and Virus Firewall, Web Filter, Message Archiver, Web Application Firewall, Link Balancer, Load Balancer, and SSL VPN appliances.

Users targeted with phishing scam via Facebook messages - Facebook users are advised to be on the lookout for bogus personal messages supposedly sent by the Facebook Security Team. The message claims that the users’ account has been reported for violating “policies that are considered annoying or insulting Facebook users,” and that they have to “reconfirm” their account within 24 hours if they don’t want it to be disabled. Users who follow the link, they are taken to a website that has nothing to do with Facebook and are urged to complete the “security check”:

Your Network Printer is Wide Open To Attack – ViaForensics researcher Sebastian Guerrero recently released a report in which he describes a number of ways attackers could turn your boring, humdrum printer against you. According to his findings, potential vulnerabilities range from having to reset your printer (annoying) to the breach of encrypted documents (terrifying).

U.S. is home to greatest number of botnet servers, says McAfee – With 631 active command and control servers, the U.S. far surpasses any other country when it comes to malware-controlled zombie computers, says the antivirus vendor.

Practical exploitation of embedded systems Video: 57:21 – This video from Hack in The Box conference is an in-depth exploration of the reverse engineering and exploitation of embedded systems. It covers hardware by showing how to identify and probe debugging and I/O ports on undocumented circuit board layouts. The authors discuss software by exploring the analysis, reverse engineer and binary patching techniques for obscure real time OSes and firmware images with real world examples.

Company News:

Facebook launches ad ROI tool for businesses – Facebook has launched a new conversion measurement tool that measures the return on investment (ROI) of advertisements on the social network. Businesses can track the performance of their advertisements on Facebook and see how many registrations or transactions are being driven from the website.

Apple fires supplier over working age violations – Apple’s latest audit of its supplier factories in the Far East has uncovered a subcontractor using underage labor, prompting the company to terminate its agreement with the firm and report it to the authorities

Amazon Acquires Text-to-Speech Firm Ivona Software – Amazon today announced its acquisition of Ivona Software, a leading text-to-speech technology company that already powers some Kindle Fire features.

RIM’s mobile management software supports iOS, Android – BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has announced new mobile management software that adds support for Apple and Android devices, but analysts say time will tell if the company’s new emphasis on bring-your-own-device (BYOD) will succeed.

Windows sales boost Microsoft revenue, but profit declines – Microsoft credited its Windows overhaul for a boost in quarterly sales when it announced earnings Thursday, as new software and hardware tied to the Windows 8 launch helped the company enjoy higher revenue in its September-to-December quarter. Though Microsoft’s second-fiscal-quarter profit declined, revenue increased, helped by the company’s Windows division, where sales shot up more than 20 percent year on year.

Cisco to Sell Linksys Business to Belkin – Deal for an undisclosed sum expected to close in March, Belkin pledges to service existing Linksys home networking equipment and honor current warranties.

Webopedia Daily:

Eucalyptus – An open source cloud computing and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform for enabling private clouds. Eucalyptus takes a company’s existing IT infrastructure and adds a virtualization software layer with scalable, secure Web services that work together to create elastic pools with the ability to dynamically scale depending on the company’s needs. Eucalyptus also offers an Infrastructure-as-a-Service product in partnership with Amazon that delivers full compatibility with Amazon’s Web Services APIs, enabling support for Amazon’s AWS EC2, S3, EBS, AMI and IAM services. This makes it possible to efficiently extend a Eucalyptus private cloud to a hybrid cloud environment.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Texting woman falls into canal: The movie – A few days ago, a woman texting her lover fell into a canal in Birmingham, England. Now a CCTV video emerges to prove that it was funny. (Or scary, depending on your heart.)

Victorian Divorce Scandals Released On UK Genealogy Website – British genealogical website Ancestry.co.uk said on Tuesday it has put the transcripts of thousands of Victorian divorce proceedings online, which reveal the racy details of an era that most modern Britons consider to have been dominated by imperial duty, a stiff upper lip and formal familial relations.

NASA works out how to build large, commercial flying wing that uses half the fuel of normal aircraft – NASA has successfully demonstrated a manufacturing technique that will allow the creation of large, commercial hybrid flying wing aircraft. These planes would use half the fuel of conventional, tubular jet airliners, and would provide a quieter ride for passengers on board. (suggested by Michael F.)

Pirate Bay documentary to debut next month – A documentary about the founders of the popular file-sharing site will debut on February 8 and be released online for free.

Internet Explorer ad tugs at heartstrings of Gen-Y users – Microsoft’s latest IE ad, dubbed “Child of the 90s,” tries to appeal to people who remember the web browser at its worst. The video shows snapshots of passing 1990s fads, such as Slap Wraps and Pogs. Meanwhile, a narrator describes how things were different back then. (My favorite line: “Lunch was a puzzle, not a picture,” spoken while stacks of Lunchables arrange themselves for an Instagram-style photo.)

Penis-Measuring iPhone App Promises to Quantify Your Shortcomings – The Condom Size app from VSM Enterprises claims to accurately measure not just the length of the male penis but also its girth. You know, for ‘educational purposes.’

Wozniak slams scene in Kutcher’s ‘Jobs’ biopic – Apple co-founder caught a glimpse of the movie’s first scene and proclaims that it is “not close” and “totally wrong.”

Dancing baby vs. YouTube-Prince case set to go to trial – A judge rules that a jury will decide on the legal battle between Universal Music and a mother who posted a YouTube video of her children dancing to a Prince song.

Today in TIME Tech History: Thinking Machine (1949), Flight Simulator (1955), the Super BlackBerry eLink (2000) and More – Let’s hop in the TIME Wayback Machine to see which notable tech-related stories were published on January 24 between 1923 and today.

Today’s Quote:

“In case you’re worried about what’s going to become of the younger generation, it’s going to grow up and start worrying about the younger generation.”

-    Roger Allen

Today’s Free Downloads:

StartMenu8 1.0.0 Final – StartMenu8 offers a perfect solution for users who work with Windows Start Menu all the time and are not accustomed to the new Metro start screen in Windows 8.

PicPick 3.2.2 – PicPick is an all-in-one graphic program that provides full-featured screen capture tool, intuitive image editor, color picker, color palette, pixel ruler, protractor, crosshair and even whiteboard.

4 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 25, 2013

  1. delenn13

    Just for Friday…Star Trek episode #2 “EGGS” - Seemed like fair trade to me. The end of the nightmare….