Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 8, 2014

CES In-Depth ;  iPhone tips and tricks;  Organize with Windows Libraries;  Improve your iPhone’s battery life;  Workaround for SkyDrive problems;  Quit your job by text;  $100 CryptoLocker kit;  Dual OS support in Intel processors;  Meet the Steamboxes (Gallery);  OpenSUSE forums hacked;  Wireless Pill Bottle To Ensure Patients Take Their Meds;  Far Cry Wild Expeditions bundle;  Free AsteriskPasswordSpy 3.0

CES In-Depth: The top gadgets and stories from Day One at CES – Sony announces their Playstation Now gaming service, we check out Samsung’s bendable TV concept, Panasonic’s high-tech hair dryer and another “C-E-Yes or C-E-No!”

iPhone tips and tricks – A lot of us use our iPhones and iPads for actual work: typing long e-mails, modifying documents, and real research. In this Tech Minute, CNET’s Kara Tsuboi reports on a few simple tips and tricks that will turn your iPhone into an even more powerful workhorse.

24 ways to improve your iPhone’s battery life – Apple’s latest iPhones still don’t pack as much battery life as some of their nearest competitors. But by applying a few system tweaks, you can improve your iPhone’s battery life considerably. Here’s how you can conserve your mobile’s power.

Chinese vendors plan tablets loaded with both Android and Windows – Consumers looking for a cheap tablet later this year will find some devices loaded with both Android and Windows 8, a new trend among Chinese manufacturers. Scores of tablets from Chinese vendors were on display at the International CES show in Las Vegas this week, running only Android or Windows. But several Chinese manufacturers are also advertising upcoming tablets that will load either one of the OSes on reboot, or switch between them during the device’s operation.

Vimeo Rolls Out A Totally Rebuilt HTML5-Based Video Player – One of the key differentiators for Vimeo over the years is simply its user experience, and a lot of that comes from its video player. It’s one of the reasons that all sorts of artsy independent creators decide to upload and distribute their videos on Vimeo instead of just putting them on YouTube.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Organize your digital life with Windows Libraries – It took me a while to get used to them when they came out with Windows 7, but I love using Windows Libraries to keep all my far flung folders and files in order. Beyond the standard Libraries for documents, music, photo, and video that I rely on all the time, I also use Libraries to wrangle work projects and other important things.

Windows 8.1 spring update expected to arrive in April – The spring update for Windows 8.1 that we have been hearing about for some time is expected to arrive in April at Microsoft’s BUILD conference but will not bump the build to 8.2.

Microsoft offers new workaround for SkyDrive problems in Windows 8.1 – Microsoft has backtracked on a suggested fix it offered repeatedly on its support forum for over two months for users having problems with SkyDrive on Windows 8.1. In a permanent message on the SkyDrive section of its support site, Microsoft now offers detailed troubleshooting steps for affected users.

Yahoo enables default HTTPS encryption for Yahoo Mail – The company announced Tuesday it has enabled automatic HTTPS as the default for all users on the network, coming in a day before the January 8 deadline it placed on itself in October. With the upgrade, the Web portal has now using 2,048-bit encryption keys to secure certificates, which are used to set up encrypted communications between a Web server and Web browser.

Reusing Passwords Across Social Media Sites: Don’t Do That! – It doesn’t matter how long and complex your password is: if you use the same password across multiple sites, you are at high-risk for attack.

Want to quit your job by text? This app can help – The same people who brought you the BreakUp Text app team up with job site The Ladders to bring you the Quit Your Job app.

Razer’s modular Project Christine makes building PCs as easy as building Legos – Razer’s calling the concept Project Christine, and promises to open up the full power of PC hardware even to those with no technical knowledge. Each of the branches on this industrial tree is a discrete component—a CPU, a GPU, a hard drive, memory—that simply plugs into the central backbone. Once slotted in, Project Christine automatically syncs the newly added module through the magic of PCI-Express (the same bus that discrete graphics cards currently use).

With Sprint’s new plan, friends and neighbors can be your ‘framily’ – Members of a “framily” won’t share a pool of data or receive a single bill, but they will pay less per month. The first subscriber will pay $55 per month for unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data, and every time another person joins, each member’s bill will go down by $5 per month. As many as 10 people can join a framily, but the maximum savings is $30 per month, bringing each member’s monthly bill to $25 plus taxes and surcharges.

Nvidia’s G-Sync monitor tech makes PC games look smooth as silk – Called G-Sync, it’s a circuit board that display manufacturers mount inside the monitors they sell—it can’t be added to an existing display. The board eliminates annoying visual artifacts such as tearing and stuttering by synchronizing the display’s refresh rate to the video card’s output.

Sony wants to record where you’re going — and what you do on the way – The company has developed a Core sensor that it’s putting into a wristband; it’ll record not only how many steps you take but where you went and what you did.

The FLIR ONE Case Gives Your iPhone Thermal Vision – The FLIR ONE iPhone case significantly ups the imaging powers of your iPhone 5 or 5S, making it into a thermal imaging camera that lets you see heat signatures from either live people and animals from up to 100 meters away, or from environmental sources including heating ducts, wall gaps and more.

Security:

$100 malware kit lets anyone build their own CryptoLocker – The CryptoLocker ransomware is one of the most alarming developments in malware we’ve seen in recent years. Things may get much, much worse, however. Someone is selling a DIY malware kit that builds custom CryptoLocker knock-offs for just $100.

OpenSUSE forums hacked in ANOTHER vBulletin attack – Linux distro openSUSE’s public forums have been compromised and defaced and tens of thousands of user email addresses exposed after a hacker exploited a zero day flaw in the underlying vBulletin software. OpenSUSE responded quickly to media reports about the breach on Tuesday by admitting the successful exploit had allowed the hacker to upload files and access the forum database. However, contrary to reports, user credentials have apparently not been compromised in the attack.

Hacker Guccifer strikes again, nabbing ‘Downton Abbey’ script – Not only did the hacker get a hold of Julian Fellowes’ season 4 finale, he also breached the accounts of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tina Brown, George W. Bush, Robert Redford, and dozens more.

Should we care if over a million schoolkids have been fingerprinted? – A study released last week claims that as many as 1.28 million schoolchildren in the UK may have had their fingerprints taken by their school authorities last year, with over 30% of those schools not getting permission from parents first.

Company News:

Apple requests removal of antitrust compliance monitor – Lawyers for the tech giant on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Denise Cote to disqualify Michael Bromwich, arguing that he has demonstrated a personal bias against the company. Bromwich was appointed in October to keep tabs on Apple following a ruling that the company had conspired with other publishers to set e-book prices.

Red Hat and CentOS become Voltron, build free operating system together – Red Hat and the CentOS Project today said they will team up to build what they called “a new CentOS” in a bid to accelerate adoption of the free operating system.

AMD to offer virtual Android enviroment on Windows desktop via Bluestacks – AMD has announced an expansion of their collaboration with software company BlueStacks that will offer many Windows PCs a way to use a virtual Android environment on the desktop.

Dual OS support in Intel processors confirmed – At the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas, Intel has confirmed support for running Windows and Android simultaneously on their processors with many similar devices launching at the show.

14 companies will offer Steam Machines in 2014; many will dual boot Windows – Valve has announced that 14 companies have plans to release Steam Machines in 2014, using SteamOS. However, many of these PCs will offer options for dual booting with a Windows OS.

Yahoo Courts Mainstream Audiences With Vertical Sites, Launches Yahoo Food And Yahoo Tech – Add another news portal to the increasingly crowded world of tech news sites, and another food portal if you’re still feeling hungry. Today Yahoo officially launched Yahoo Tech, a new site that will sit alongside Yahoo News and Yahoo Business, providing news about the tech world for a mainstream audience. And it also launched a new digital magazine, Yahoo Food.

Apple: Over $10 billion spent on App Store in 2013 – Apple has announced that its customers spent over $10 billion on the App Store in 2013, and that developers have been paid a total of $15 billion since it launched in July 2008.

Games and Entertainment:

Meet the Steamboxes (Gallery) – More than a dozen vendors have announced that they’ve joined forces with Valve to produce Linux SteamOS-powered PCs and gaming consoles. Here their first wave of devices.

Sony’s game-streaming “PlayStation Now” service coming this summer – The Gaikai-powered service is being called PlayStation Now, and it will let users stream games from previous and current PlayStation systems to the PS4 and Vita over the cloud. Non-console owners will also be able to play these games on Sony Bravia Smart TVs and various mobile devices.

Sony’s new Oculus Rift competitor has a 750-inch virtual screen – Sony’s HMZ-T3Q display can produce a virtual 750-inch video screen in the wearer’s vision. Being a head-mounted display, the measurement of the screen is a loose estimation of how large the screen would be from a distance of 65 feet. The important thing is that the HMZ-T3Q covers almost the entire field of vision with a 3D display. The HMZ-T3Q tracks your head movements and can pan the visual field, which make gaming more immersive. It is also capable of 7.1 virtual surround sound.

The Simpsons might finally get its very own official Lego set – In addition to the beautifully detailed house, you’ll also get Homer’s car and minifigs galore: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. And buenos ding-dong-diddly dias, you’ll even get Ned Flanders and his beloved barbecue Propane Elaine so that you can put the heat to the Lego meat. Other nice details include a quarter pipe for Bart to skate on and a stray plutonium rod for Homer to fling carelessly out the window.

Far Cry Wild Expeditions bundles all the Far Cry games, arrives February 14 – Come February, you’ll be able to pick up a copy of Far Cry Wild Expeditions, which may sound like a brand new game, but is in fact all previous Far Cry games in one neat package. PS4 and Xbox One owners won’t get to enjoy this compilation, but PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 gamers will. And you don’t have to wait too long for the pack, either, as a February 14 release has been confirmed.

Nintendo 3DS region locking can be bypassed with a flashcard – The patch does not allow for pirated games to be played, it just removes the region locking from your 3DS. However, there are some prerequisites. You will require a compatible DS or 3DS flashcard with which to apply the patch, and the update will only work on 3DS hardware using v4.5 firmware or older. If you have a more recent version then this patch isn’t for you.

Off Topic (Sort of):

2013: The year in memorable tech industry quotes – We don’t pretend that this is a definitive list, but it should give a pretty good look at some of the major themes that were covered by tech news outlets in 2013.

Inmotion SCV is a cheaper, smaller Segway – The latest version of Inmotion’s single-person vehicle is coming to the US in the next few weeks. We give it a test-drive.

Window on Infinity: A New Year’s Photo Album From Space – The universe has been around for 13.8 billion years, and has been gorgeous for every one of them—as this year-end collection of images from 2013 helps prove.

AdhereTech Introduces Wireless Pill Bottle To Ensure Patients Take Their Meds – Prescription drug adherence is a big problem in the U.S., costing the healthcare system hundreds of millions of dollars per year and often leading to health complications for patients who don’t follow their doctors’ orders. A startup called AdhereTech thinks it has a solution to that problem: a wireless pill bottle that alerts patients when they have to take their meds and keeps track of their usage and dosage.

Why Some Civil War Soldiers Glowed in the Dark – All told, the fighting at the Battle of Shiloh left more than 16,000 soldiers wounded and more 3,000 dead, and neither federal or Confederate medics were prepared for the carnage. As dusk fell the first night, some of them noticed something very strange: their wounds were glowing, casting a faint light into the darkness of the battlefield. Even stranger, when the troops were eventually moved to field hospitals, those whose wounds glowed had a better survival rate and had their wounds heal more quickly and cleanly than their unilluminated brothers-in-arms.

Yes, tossing boiling water in cold air makes snow (but it also burns you) – In the freezing parts of America, some are entertaining themselves with a snow-making scientific experiment. Oh, they’re burning themselves too.

This Tech-Infused Bed Is So Much Better Than Your Bed You’ll Wonder Why You Even Bother Sleeping – If you’re going to spend a cool eight grand on a bed, said bed might as well come with all the bells and whistles. And believe me, this bed comes with all the bells and whistles.

Something to think about:

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.”

-    H. L. Mencken

Today’s Free Downloads:

Remo MORE – Remo MORE is a PC performance application. It provides “One Click Maintenance” feature to clean up junk files, fix issues and speed up your PC with a simple click. You can automate this process and maintain your PC on daily basis without any intervention. Remo MORE comes with 30+ functionalities to Manage, Optimize, Recover and Enhance your Windows PC.

AsteriskPasswordSpy 3.0 – Asterisk Password Spy is the FREE tool to instantly reveal the hidden password behind asterisks (*****). It’s user friendly interface can help you to easily find the passwords from any Windows based application. You can simply drag the ‘search icon’ to any password box to find the real password hidden by those asterisks.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

How should states fight the NSA? Turn off the water, say some – Two California state senators have introduced a bill that would stop state agencies from assisting the National Security Agency to collect “any electronic data or metadata… not based on a warrant.” The California bill (PDF), proposed by state senators Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), is the first state-level proposal to compel non-cooperation with the federal agency, which has been in the spotlight since its widespread surveillance programs were revealed last summer. In addition to stopping state agencies and officials from helping with warrantless surveillance, it would ban corporations that do business with the state from offering such assistance. That could leave the large telecom companies that provide the bulk metadata to NSA in a legally difficult position: following orders from the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would put them them in violation of state law.

NSA employee will continue to co-chair influential crypto standards group – A National Security Agency employee will continue to co-chair an influential group that helps to develop cryptographic standards designed to protect Internet communications, despite calls that he should be removed.

More researchers join RSA conference boycott to protest $10 million NSA deal – By Tuesday afternoon, there were eight previously scheduled RSA participants who had publicly cancelled their engagements. They included Adam Langley and Chris Palmer, both on various security teams at Google; Chris Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union; EFF special counsel Marcia Hoffman; Mozilla Global Privacy and Public Policy Leader Alex Fowler; Josh Thomas, who is listed as “chief breaking officer” at Atredis Partners; and Jeffrey Carr, CEO of security consultancy Taia Global. They joined F-Secure Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen, who announced his plans to withdraw two weeks ago.

Startup Empeopled jumps to Lavabit’s aid against the US govt – Chicago-based startup Empeopled is urging to have its voice heard in the Lavabit v. the United States case currently before the US Court of Appeals. Lavabit found itself before the courts, ordered to hand over SSL keys that would have enabled the US government to read the email of one of its customers, presumably Edward Snowden. Having failed to do so, and shutting down its business instead, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison raised $101,545 to fund an appeals process. Although not implicated in the court case, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union, and Empeopled have filed an amicus curiae brief in Lavabit’s support.

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