Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 4, 2013

How safe are online password managers? – People who use online password managers have a lot riding on the application’s integrity. What are the chances of others gaining access to the stored passwords?

How to fix your PC’s worst annoyances – Windows oozes with all sorts of hackle-raising “features” that interfere with just plain using your PC. But don’t chuck your monitor across the room! By the time you’re done reading this article, your headaches should be gone. You can click most of the images in this article to enlarge them. Got it? Good. Let’s get cracking!

Four simple ways to make your tablet run smoothly – Here are four simple fixes that will get your tablet up and running at optimum speed again in no time.

6 mistakes to avoid when setting up your small business wireless network – A fast, reliable wireless network is essential. But building one isn’t as simple as plugging in your ISP-supplied router and connecting your smartphone. In fact if you’ve never done it before, putting together a Wi-Fi network robust enough to support your business can be pretty tricky. To shorten the learning curve, we’ve highlighted some common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Like It or Not, Facebook Now Wants to Use You in Ads – Facebook proposed a change to its Data Use Policy (PDF) yesterday that scrubs a sentence saying you can “use your privacy settings to limit how your name and profile picture may be associated with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us.” It has now been replaced by a sentence that says, well … precisely the opposite.

Very tiny $45 computer, CuBox-i, runs Android and Linux – In the tiny, cheap computing space, the Raspberry Pi is king thanks to the $25 and $35 price tags and marketable name. Once you get into the RasPi, though, you inevitably fall down a deep, dark rabbit hole of other tiny, cheap computers. Formidable opponents to the Pi throne come from SolidRun, and this time around, it’s a $45 cube computer that runs Android and Linux.

World’s thinnest wireless keyboard also acts as a large flexible touch surface – It’s actually a flexible, wireless touch surface that is just 0.5mm thick. That allows it to easily slip inside a tablet or smartphone case, and because it is wireless it offers up a very convenient way to type on a surface that doesn’t cover any of your tablet or smartphone’s display.

How to control your PC from your iPad for free – You don’t have to spend $80 annually for an app like Parallels Access. Free alternatives get the job done just fine.

Fact sheet: Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) – October 2013 will see the release of the next iteration of the Ubuntu Linux operating system. There are plenty of features coming down the pipeline, some of which have caused great controversy with the Linux world. Even with the surrounding controversy, Ubuntu Linux continues to be one of the most popular Linux desktops available.

Login and password troubles revealed – Increasingly lengthy and complex log-in processes and web forms are driving consumers away from websites, according to Ping Identity. This is hardly surprising as nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents had log-ins for up to five websites, while an equal number juggled six to ten websites and almost a third (30%) face the logistical feat of remembering log-ins for between 11 and 20 websites. As a result of this ‘password amnesia’, nearly 50% of consumers have had to re-set a password, with over a fifth (21%) having to do so on a regular basis. The online frustration doesn’t stop with passwords though.

Futuristic bracelet uses heartbeats as a password—but is it secure? – The Nymi is a small bracelet equipped with a sensor that reads the electrocardiogram (ECG) of the person wearing it. Once it has verified that the heart signature belongs to the person who registered it, it provides a means of authentication that can in theory be used to access a virtually endless supply of electronic devices, including airport kiosks, hotel room doors, and sensitive computer networks.

Breaking down an IPv6 address: What it all means – Nick Hardiman explains the seemingly arcane engineering of the IPv6 address. Find out what makes it tick.

Sony Hopes You’ll Carry A Lens In Your Pocket – The Sony QX10 and QX100 are leaking from all corners of the Internet following their surprise appearance last month. The products are essentially two-thirds of a camera designed to connect to a smartphone wirelessly or through a dock. Sony has created a whole new system that replaces a phone’s camera with a new sensor and glass. For better or worse, of course.

Topsy indexes entire tweet history for search, analysis – By ingesting all of Twitter, Topsy becomes a top destination for deep dives into social data.

Security:

Cisco Warns Users of Four Vulnerabilities – Cisco issued advisories warning users of vulnerabilities in the company’s Adaptive Security Appliance, IOS XR software, unified computing system and wireless LAN controllers.

Database of illegal downloaders – are British ISPs to become the “music NSA”? – The major UK broadband providers are being asked to create a database of customers who illegally download films, music and other protected content from the internet.

NetTraveler Variant Adds Java Exploits, Watering Hole Attacks to Bag of Tricks - A new version of NetTraveler has been spotted, this one using Java exploits and a watering hole attack to spy on and steal from diplomats, manufacturers, scientists and military contractors.

Inside the Response to the New York Times Attack – As troublesome as the attack was, it easily could have been far worse. Had the attackers modified the time-to-live, or expiration time, of the DNS cache in the records of the Times and the other targets, the effects would have lasted much longer.

Hand of Thief Trojan Not Ready For Primetime – Upon further examination, a new banking Trojan called Hand of Thief that targets Linux, may not be as commercially viable as it was thought to be.

Cyberextortion by US gov, or simple P2P security lapse by medical firm? – Company X leaks data. Company Y finds data. Y shills for security work. X refuses. Y tells the FTC. FTC asks X to explain. X says Y is unobjective. FTC asks X to explain, no ifs and buts. X writes a book about it.

Company News:

Amazon Launches A Home Automation Store Featuring Smart Locks, Sensors, Thermostats & More – Amid a bevy of Amazon-related announcements surrounding Kindle – some intentional (the arrival of Kindle MatchBook), some not (news of an updated Kindle Paperwhite leaked a bit early) – Amazon has also quietly launched a new storefront focused on Home Automation products, including things like programmable thermostats, smart locks, sensors, video monitors, and more.

LinkedIn To Raise Up To $1.15B To Fuel Acquisitions, “Infrastructure” Investments – LinkedIn has filed to raise more than $1 billion by selling stock in its company to both the public, and banks that will underwrite the issuance.

Android reaches 1 billion device activations milestone – Android’s Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai has tossed out a couple of announcements about Google’s mobile operating system today, first bringing quite a bit of surprise with the revelation that Android 4.4 will be named Android KitKat after the same-name candy bar. He also revealed that Android has reached a new milestone, with over 1 billion activations to date.

Chinese Internet Giant Baidu Enters The Smart TV Wars With Launch Of TV+ – Baidu, the Internet giant that operates China’s largest search engine, has launched its own smart TV to compete with rival platforms from Alibaba, as well as other companies including Xiaomi, Samsung and Apple.

Google plans to launch app store for Google Glass next year – Web giant confirms that users and developers of the high-tech specs will get an app store but declines to give additional information.

Games and Entertainment:

Sony reportedly working on 3D virtual reality headset for the PS4 – Sony’s VR headset will work in a similar fashion to the Oculus Rift. There will be two screens inside to give the user the correct view for each eye that combines to produce the 3D effect. Sources claim the device has been integrated with Evolution Studios’ upcoming PS4 racer DriveClub. The integration goes so deeply that players can look around in the interior of the car by turning their heads.

Microsoft Xbox One to get a CPU boost in retail units – As we get nearer to a still unknown November release date, details about Microsoft’s next generation console are slowly coming out, enticing gamers to prepare themselves, and their wallets, for the official launch. The news this time is quite positive, with the Xbox One said to be sporting a faster CPU speed than previously seen.

Total War: Rome II review: A total mess – Like Rome itself, the Total War series could have been an empire that lasted for decades. Rome II should have been its crowning achievement. So why is it such a failure? The reasons are big, messy, and complicated, but to sum it up: Rome II takes everything that the Total War series does well and gets it just wrong enough to remove all the tension.

Microsoft Xbox One and Surface NFL partnership bears fruit, features detailed – Football season is here and Microsoft wants to be a big part of it, redefining the way sports fans experience the game. When Microsoft unveiled its next-gen gaming console, it also announced a partnership with NFL to bring a new football experience in your living room. Now we’re getting more information about new features that will be hitting not only the Xbox One but the Surface tablet as well.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Cars and computers: A look at the future of autos – The computerization of cars has already begun, but the technology will take off dramatically now with the mobile Internet and self-driving vehicles. Here’s a look at technology that’s changing the auto industry.

First, smart cars. Next, smart transport grids – A new world beckons in which urban transit networks will be able to warn about road conditions or adjust road speeds to relieve traffic congestion.

Woman claims e-cigarette blew up, shot 4-foot flames – An Atlanta woman plugs an electronic cigarette into her computer’s USB port. Next, in her own words: “Kaboom!”

Chinese firm hitches ride on drones to deliver packages – Shenzhen-based courier company, SF Express, begins trials in Guangdong using drones each outfitted with eight propellers and able to fly up to 100 meters to deliver packages.

Homeless in Silicon Valley: Hardship in America’s innovation heartland – Silicon Valley has a serious homeless problem, despite the fact that the Valley is home to some of the richest zip codes in the United States.

Parliamentary attempts to access porn revealed – Nearly 300,000 “attempts to access websites categorised as pornography” were made from computers within parliament in the past year, official records show. The figure, which averages more than 800 per day, was released by IT chiefs at the Palace of Westminster in response to a freedom of information request.

Lego finally releases a female-scientist minifig – A new minifig blazes a new trail for females in Legoland by being the first woman figure with “scientist” as a career.

Something to think about:

Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent.”

-     Langston Coleman

Today’s Free Downloads:

PaperScan Free 2.0.0 – PaperScan is a powerful scanning software with an OCR engine centered on one idea : making document acquisition an unparalleled easy task for anyone.

Mozilla Firefox for Android – The Mozilla Firefox Web browser brings the best of desktop browsing to mobile. It’s fast, easy to use and customizable, with the latest security and privacy features to help you stay safe online.

AntiToolbar 1.0.4 Beta – AntiToolbar finds and displays a list of toolbars, homepage, and search settings on your browsers and then lets you choose the ones you want to remove.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

French foreign ministry tapped by NSA, says German magazine – A report published on the website of the German news magazine the Spiegel says the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) tapped into computers used by French diplomats to communicate with each other and the foreign ministry in Paris (pictured above) through virtual private networks (VPN). VPN internet connections are generally considered to offer a high level of security.

The NSA Wants To Ban Sales Of This T-Shirt On Zazzle – File under, “Your tax dollars at work”: The NSA sent a cease-and-desist letter to Zazzle , the T-shirt site, asking it to remove a series of NSA parody T-shirts. The shirts featured the NSA’s eagle logo and the motto, “The only part of the government that actually listens.”

The Real Threat To Our Way Of Life – “Terrorism and national security are wholly distinct concepts. Terrorism involves a violent incident. It merely kills people and wrecks buildings. It acquires power only by generating an exaggerated response, and is countered by good policing and not overreacting. Not even IRA terror, more systematic than anything spawned by al-Qaida, threatened national security – that is, the integrity of the British state or its institutions”

Bruce Schneier: Our Newfound Fear Of Risk – “We tend to exaggerate spectacular, strange, and rare events, and downplay ordinary, familiar, and common ones. This leads us to believe that violence against police, school shootings, and terrorist attacks are more common and more deadly than they actually are — and that the costs, dangers, and risks of a militarized police, a school system without flexibility, and a surveillance state without privacy are less than they really are”

Al-Qaeda operatives applied for NSA jobs, say new Snowden files – The CIA found that among a subset of job seekers whose backgrounds raised questions, roughly one out of every five had “significant terrorist and/or hostile intelligence connections,” according to the document, which was provided to The Washington Post by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

If you think the NSA is bad, try the Putin-controlled Chrome toolbar – I am not making this up. You can’t make this stuff up. This is what the world is coming to.

National Security Agency (Defending Our Nation. Securing The Future) – Press Statement on 30 August 2013 – Correcting The Record On “Possible Insider Threats” Recent reporting stated that “NSA planned to investigate at least 4,000 possible insider threats in 2013, cases in which the agency suspected sensitive information may have been compromised by one of its own.” That’s not accurate.

5 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

5 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 4, 2013

  1. Fixing Annoyances is great but when you fix one possible problem and replace it with a worse one, that’s not good.
    For those that aren’t careful, installing Unlocker blindly will also install a bonus: The dreaded Delta Toolbar.
    Be careful, don’t use default install. Read before you proceed.
    Some of the tools listed to remove this toolbar are even worse than the toolbar itself. If you get Delta on your system be extra careful from where you get your removal instructions.
    Spybot offers very detailed instruction on manually removing the Delta toolbar:
    http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?68390-Manual-Removal-Guide-for-Delta-Toolbar

  2. Keith

    Great quote! Give that 100% first, then you have a better chance of being “lucky”.