Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 10, 2014

India won’t partner with Google for elections – NSA spying; 10+ reasons to use SkyDrive; Beyond Verbal – brings emotion analysis to mobile apps; Five note-taking add-ons for Firefox; Snapchat Finally Says Sorry; Yahoo Doesn’t Deserve Praise for Enhanced Security; Router Password Kracker; Blackberry to offer physical keyboards; This product will put you to sleep; PlayStation Now is the future of video games; iPhone 5/5S stun gun case.

The NSA blame game: Singling out RSA diverts attention from others – RSA may well have earned much of the criticism being heaped upon it for allegedly enabling a backdoor in one of its encryption technologies under a contract with the National Security Agency. But singling out the company for reproach deflects attention from the role that other technology vendors may have had in enabling the NSA’s data collection activities.

10+ reasons to use SkyDrive – Everyone wants to work smarter, and SkyDrive helps users and organizations do so in two ways: file sharing and access. It takes only a few clicks to share and access files using a number of compatible devices and from almost any geographical location.

Sliding Explorer is a Fabulous Free File Manager on Android – The Android design guidelines have gone through a number of revisions, so its not hard to make a good looking app these days. Still, there are some apps that manage to do more with the pieces Google provides. Even something as utilitarian as a file explorer can be a lovely app. That’s the case with Sliding Explorer, but it’s not just a pretty face.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

View Instagram in a slick, new way with Negatives – Despite a few limitations, Negatives is a fine (and free) way to browse Instagram on your iPhone or iPad.

New Gmail Feature Allows Anyone On Google+ To Email You & Vice Versa – Google is today making a change to Gmail that will further bake in Google+ to its webmail product in a way that’s actually somewhat practical, though also potentially invasive. Going forward, you’ll now be able to directly email your Google+ contacts from Gmail, even if you don’t know their email address. And by default, anyone on Google+ will be able to email you as well, thanks to this new option, if you don’t adjust your settings.

Eusing Launcher – The free Eusing Launcher frees your desktop by organizing icons in a unique, circular layout that appears and vanishes with hot keys. Icons get lost in the crowd in conventional Windows desktops, but Eusing Launcher’s customizable circle not only makes it easier to remember where icons were when you last used them but also easier to find when you forget. Eusing Launcher 2.6t is freeware, though a pop-up solicits donations by offering registration.

Five note-taking add-ons for Firefox – There are times when you just need to quickly take a note, jotting down something you need to do or a thought that pops into your head that you don’t want to forget. Sure, you could open up a text editor or even text yourself that forgettable notion. But when you’re already working within an application that offers the power of adding easy note-taking features, why not take advantage of it? Firefox is just that. With its powerful add-on system, you can include note-taking to the already long list of things Firefox do.

How to shoot and share slo-mo video on your iPhone 5s – If you haven’t yet played around with Apple’s slo-mo feature on the iPhone 5s, now’s a perfect time to start. This week’s video tip has Macworld associate editor Serenity Caldwell demonstrating how to shoot slo-mo video, preview it on your own device, and share it with others.

Airtame dongle offers wireless HDMI streaming from computer to TV – Whether for an impromptu movie session or to use as a giant monitor, there are occassions where one needs to connect their laptop to their television or other display. Such involves cables, and cables are inherently limiting — that’s where Airtame’s wireless dongle comes in. The company has shown off its device at CES, which plugs into the HDMI port on a display and connects with a laptop via an accompanying app.

Beyond Verbal knows how you’re feeling, brings emotion analysis to mobile apps – Machines are becoming more human-like every day: Beyond Verbal is a Web service that can figure out your mood just by listening to the tone of your voice.

Security:

Fake AV served to Dailymotion visitors via malicious ads – The extremely popular video-sharing website Dailymotion has been found serving malicious ads that trigger fake infection warnings and try to make visitors install a fake AV solution. The attack unfolded as follows: visitors to the site would be automatically redirected via Javascript to a website sporting the fake infection warning, which would then automatically serve the fake AV (guard-cerq.exe) for download.

No critical security updates planned for Microsoft’s next “Patch Tuesday” – Microsoft has announced plans to release four security patches for Windows, Office, and Dynamics AX next week but none of them have been labeled as “critical” updates.

Snapchat Finally Says Sorry For December Data Breach, Updates Android & iOS Apps With Find Friends Opt-Out – It’s taken some sound and fury but Snapchat has finally said sorry for its December data breach which saw 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers leaked. It’s also updated its apps to include an opt-out of the feature that harvests the leaked data.

Target data breach exposes serious threat of POS malware and botnets – In the wake of Target’s massive data breach, Michael Kassner explores the rise of POS malware and botnets.

Yahoo malware turns computers into bitminer slaves – Yahoo have confirmed that for four days of last week, the ads on its website were laced with malware. It is estimated that as many as two million European visitors could have been infected.

Yahoo malvertising attack linked to larger malware scheme – Cisco found hundreds of related suspicious domains that are probably used to push malware

Yahoo Doesn’t Deserve Praise for Enhanced Security – Yes, Yahoo has finally turned on HTTPS encryption for its Mail users, but it doesn’t look as if the company put in any effort towards doing it in a meaningfully secure manner.

Smart TVs, smart fridges, smart washing machines? Disaster waiting to happen – These devices will inevitably be abandoned by their manufacturers, and the result will be lots of “smart” functionality—fridges that know what we buy and when, TVs that know what shows we watch—all connected to the Internet 24/7, all completely insecure.

Default settings leave external hard drives connected to Asus routers wide open – Private files can be accessed over the Internet by anyone with basic knowledge.

Company News:

Nook sales crashed by over 66 percent during 2013 holiday season – On Thursday, Barnes & Noble announced that “device and accessories sales” plummeted to $88.7 million during the October through December 2013 holiday period, a drop of 66.7 percent. The company attributed the drop to “lower unit selling volume and lower average selling prices.” Of course, that’s prime shopping season, when most retailers see a spike in sales. The company added that “digital content sales” were $36.5 million during the same time frame, a drop of 27.3 percent.

Blackberry smartphones to offer physical keyboards in bid to redirect company’s future – Blackberry kicked off 2013 with a bang, and though it had tried valiantly to remake itself, the company was down by summer’s end and, ultimately, limped into the new year with a different CEO and more than a few wounds to be licked. With 2014 comes a bit more wisdom and a new perspective, however, and so it isn’t surprising to hear from the company’s new CEO that most of Blackberry’s new phones will have physical keyboards.

Valve ‘days away’ from releasing virtual reality software development kits – Valve set to release virtual reality software development kits that will provide developers and gamers with a standardized user interface for virtual reality gaming.

Games and Entertainment:

Halo co-writer Joe Staten returns to Microsoft; new teaser released for Xbox One Halo game – Joe Staten, a co-writer for all of the Halo games from Bungie, has returned to Microsoft in a new development role. Meanwhile, Microsoft released a new teaser image for the Xbox One Halo game.

Microsoft plans to fix Xbox One’s social features in software update – Microsoft’s Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten said in an interview today that the company plans to fix many of the social features in the Xbox One console in a software update in the near future

Why PlayStation Now is the future of video games – Unlike its surname suggests, PlayStation Now is about the future of video games.

Off Topic (Sort of):

This product will put you to sleep — but that’s a good thing – The Good Night Bulb from Lighting Science removes the kind blue hues of light that can keep your brain alert when you should be winding down for the day.

PC shipments worldwide had the worst year on record in 2013, going down 10 percent – Research firms IDC and Gartner both agreed that PC shipments worldwide went down by 10 percent in 2013, making it the worst year on record for the PC industry, although the worst could be over.

Wikimedia Foundation employee ousted over paid editing – The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit which owns Wikipedia, has apparently terminated an employee who was engaged in editing for pay. The issue of editing for pay has been a hot topic among Wikipedia editors, and it resulted in hundreds of account terminations a few months ago.

It’s time to examine rules on data collection and privacy, U.S. commerce secretary says – The International CES might never have seen so many connected devices in its history. Never mind phones and tablets, everything from cooking pots to cars and fitness bands now connect to the Internet and broadcast information. That can mean new levels of convenience, but it also raises important questions about privacy and who gets to see the data, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is paying attention.

Yellow Jacket iPhone 5/5S stun gun case hands-on – Yellow Jacket is here at CES 2014 showing their latest stun case for the iPhone 5/5S. Their previous iPhone case was for the 4. Specific iPhone models aside though, what we have here is a case with a built-in stun gun that is capable of delivering 18,000 volts. Naturally, this sort of device just had to be seen in person.

Scientists Determine Great White Shark lifespan is as long as a human’s – Many would agree that one of the scariest creatures in the ocean is the great white shark. We can thank Jaws for most of that fear of the sharks. Scientists studying the great white have made a very interesting discovery recently.

Something to think about:

People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.”

-     Unknown

Today’s Free Downloads:

Run-Command 2.12 – Run-Command is a small windows program created as an alternative to the standard Windows Run-Dialog. In this program you will find a number of improvements e.g. the function run as administrator and add to favorites commands for frequently used commands. You can comfortably manage the favorites and grouping by command categories is also possible.

EventSentry – Failed service? Defective hard drive in a RAID? Database running out of space? Intrusion attempts resulting in logon failures? Performance bottlenecks? EventSentry will notify you immediately when important events occur and take corrective action before they result in expensive disruptions.

Router Password Kracker 2.5 – Router Password Kracker is an easy to use application that will allow you to quickly restore a lost passphrase that you use to connect to your router for network and Internet access. The method used by Router Password Kracker program is the Dictionary attack and to help you get started on the spot, it comes with a built-in dictionary file.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Worried about snooping, India won’t partner with Google for elections: Anonymous official tells Reuters that the country is concerned about NSA spying – The Commission Election of India (CEI) has decided not to select Google as a partner to create an online voter registration tool that would also provide information about voting locations and card numbers. Some American tech firms have seen lost business as a result of the post-Snowden fallout, including Cisco and other companies that provide cloud-based services. Foreign companies, by contrast, have used the opportunity to market themselves as resistant to NSA pressure due to their presence overseas.

Snowden foes say NSA leaks endanger troops, help terrorists – Two members of the House Intelligence Committee say a secret Pentagon report shows Edward Snowden’s leaking of NSA documents has “tipped off US adversaries.” But they don’t provide any details.

European Civil Liberties Committee Votes To Ask Snowden To Contribute To Its NSA Surveillance Inquiry – NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will be invited to contribute to a European Parliamentary committee’s ongoing inquiry into the U.S. NSA surveillance program. The European Parliamentary Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee voted to ask Snowden to contribute to its inquiry via video conference earlier today, with 36 votes in favour of inviting the whistleblower to air his views. There were just two votes against, and one abstention.

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