Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 23, 2013

Steam Offering Free ‘Call of Duty’ Weekend Play – The newest Call of Duty installment is poised for a big Steam promotion this weekend. Gamers will have a chance over the next three days to try out Call of Duty: Black Ops II free of charge. Those who want to purchase a downloadable copy, meanwhile, will get a 33 percent discount to $40, or $54 for the Digital Deluxe Edition.

Facebook adds free calling to iOS app – The social network is giving even more of its mobile users a free way to reach friends through voice over IP.

NYPD creates special team to recover stolen Apple devices – The number of Apple products stolen in the Big Apple prompts city police to dedicate a team of officers for device recovery, according to the New York Post.

How to ask for tech help, 2013 edition – I first tackled this subject a few years ago, then updated it back in 2011. Given the recent batch of incomplete, incomprehensible, and/or inappropriate e-mail I’ve received, this seems like a good time for another update. If you want help, you need to go about it the right way. Here’s how to get the best possible results when you’re contacting me, an online forum, or a company’s tech-support department.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

CloudOn 4.0 brings virtual Microsoft Office to Android smartphones – CloudOn does the seemingly impossible. It hosts Microsoft Office in the cloud, then makes it available on your iPhone, iPad, or Android tablet.

Microsoft’s attempts to clarify Office licensing policies fall short – Microsoft’s new “no transfer” policy for Office 2013 has left some customers asking what happens if the original PC fails and needs replacement. A corporate blog post tries to “add clarity” to the issue, but what the company really needs to do is change the license terms themselves.

Microsoft’s Hotmail phase-out: What’s a user to do? – Microsoft is moving all of its Hotmail users to Outlook.com by this summer. Here’s what the hundreds of millions still using Hotmail need to know about the transition.

How to change the built-in PDF viewer in Firefox – Mozilla’s latest version of Firefox conveniently includes a built-in PDF viewer. If you prefer your own PDF viewer, here’s how to change it.

Songbird Desktop is much more than just a media player – Songbird Desktop is a media player that’s not chained to your desktop, despite its name. Although this free application for PC and Mac will organize you collection and playback audio and video files from your computer, it’s also a tool for discovering new music, learning more about your favorite artists, and connecting with friends.

Chromebook Pixel hands-on (photos) – The Chromebook Pixel has only been out a few hours and we’ve got our hands on one. Have a look at the very expensive, nicely designed laptop from Google.

Meet Manjaro Linux, a brand-new distro on the rise – Manjaro Linux, a brand-new contender that launched last August and has already sprinted up DistroWatch’s page-hit rankings to No. 15. Why all the interest? The project has released a few key updates this month. Here’s a rundown of some of the distro’s best features.

Watch YouTube videos in a floating window – Wish your phone had the split-screen multitasking feature that is available on the Samsung Galaxy Note II? Now you can grab some of that functionality for YouTube videos.

Microsoft Azure Cloud Storage Suffers Major Outage Over Expired SSL Certificate – Various news outlets reported late Friday that Microsoft’s public cloud storage service suffered a global outage due to a lapsed security certificate. Beginning around 4 p.m. EST, developers and other Azure customers began being blocked from accessing files.

Illinois lawmaker hastily pulls bill that would have stripped online anonymity – An Illinois state senator who earlier this month introduced a bill that would have required anonymous online posters to reveal their true identities is planning on pulling the bill after taking intense criticism from those opposed to it.

Security:

Police Investigating Coordinated Poker Bot Operation in Sweden – National operator Svenska Spel has suspended 14 accounts thought to have won at least $280k using illegal software. (suggested by Michael F.)

OAuth flaw allowed researcher full access to any Facebook account – A flaw in Facebook’s OAuth system that allows the communication between applications and users has enabled web application security specialist Nir Goldshlager to gain full control of any Facebook account. And the best part of the attack is that the stolen and thus used access tokens work until users change their passwords, which could mean for a very, very long time.

Chrome 25 Fixes Nine High-Risk Vulnerabilities – Google has fixed nine high-severity vulnerabilities in its Chrome browser, as well as a dozen other flaws with the release of Chrome 25. This release is one of the few for which the company did not pay out much in the way of bug bounties, only giving out $3,500.

Microsoft joins list of recently hacked companies – Microsoft joins a list of companies that have recently reported being hacked, including Facebook, Apple, Twitter, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Mobile phishing geared towards online banking users – When it comes to deploying phishing sites designed to trick mobile users, the great majority of cyber criminals opts for targeting those who engage in e-banking and e-commerce via their mobile devices.

Zendesk Compromised, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest Users Affected – In the wake of high-profile compromises of companies such as Facebook, the New York Times, Apple and others, officials at Zendesk, an online customer support provider, said that the company also had been compromised and the attackers had made off with the email addresses of customers of Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, all of which use Zendesk’s services.

Company News:

Best Buy to cut Windows 8 touchscreen PC prices by $100 – Best Buy is kicking off a limited time, $100 promotional discount for Windows 8 touchscreen laptops and desktops, starting this Sunday.

Coby MID4331 is an $83 4.3-inch Android tablet – Coby currently offer a number of Android-powered tablets for sale, including the 7-inch MID7065 which we discussed several months ago.

HTC settles FTC charges over device security – HTC America has agreed to send out a fix for potential security vulnerabilities in its handsets as part of an agreement with the FTC.

Court backs Einhorn bid to stop Apple proxy vote – Legal victory for hedge fund manager’s bid to force Apple to share more of its wealth with investors.

Google I/O registration opens to developers in March – With the pending releases of the Chromebook Pixel and Glass, Google I/O 2013 is going to be one of the hottest tickets in San Francisco.

Qualcomm’s RF360 puts 40 mobile bands onto a single chip – Qualcomm brings worldwide support for worldwide support for 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and LTE into a single chip.

Webopedia Daily:

Software-defined data center – SDDC – Software-defined data center (SDDC) is the phrase used to refer to a data center where all infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service. Control of the data center is automated by software – meaning hardware configuration is maintained through intelligent software systems. This is in contrast to traditional data centers where the infrastructure is typically defined by hardware and devices. The software-defined data center is considered by many to be the next step in the evolution of virtualization and cloud computing as it provides a solution to support both legacy enterprise applications and new cloud services.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The mystery of Google Street View’s blurred Brooklyn brownstone – Why would a whole residential building in Brooklyn be blurred on Google’s famed site? Do the residents have something to hide? Is a cast member from “Girls” visible?

Finally, Tattoos That Let You Control Objects with Your Mind – Science hasn’t been easy on the paranormal, routinely deflating fantastic claims by hucksters purporting psychic abilities. So wouldn’t it be ironic if scientists were on the verge of making paranormal-like abilities a reality?

NASA’s cold fusion tech could put a nuclear reactor in every home, car, and plane – The cold fusion dream lives on: NASA is developing cheap, clean, low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) technology that could eventually see cars, planes, and homes powered by small, safe nuclear reactors. (suggested by Michael F.)

Get lost in a stunning 320-gigapixel image of London – If you’ve never had a chance to visit London, zooming around the city in the world’s largest panoramic image might be the next best thing.

Today’s Quote:

“Be kind – Remember every one you meet is fighting a battle – everybody’s lonesome.”

-     Marion Parker

Today’s Free Downloads:

Windows 8 Codecs 1.45 – Windows 8 Codecs is an audio and video codec package for Windows 8. The installer will automatically remove most other popular codec releases from your computer before installing this concise yet comprehensive package.

VueMinder Calendar Lite – Are you looking for a free and easy-to-use calendar program to help you manage your schedule, remember key dates, or gain a competitive edge in the business world? Look no further, because VueMinder Calendar Lite is the solution.

2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 23, 2013

  1. Fred

    How to change the built-in PDF viewer in Firefox – Bill, once again you’ve saved me aggravation! I had even sent feedback to Firefox about this atrocity. I LOVE my Sumatra, which you tipped me off to some years back. Only 4mb in total and none of the grief from Adobe. Now I am sure there are plenty of people who will love the PDF viewer in browser, I’m not one of them however and so I have been stewing these last few days and there was the solution this morning where I get ALL my solutions TECH THOUGHTS!
    Thanks,
    Fred