Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 24, 2014

A common sense guide to tech courtesy;  The very best tech you can buy for $150 or less;  Essential PC, smartphone and tablet repair tools;  Inside the minds of internet trolls;  20 tech brand names you’re saying wrong;  Adobe pushes out critical Flash update;  Avast Free Antivirus 2014;  How to delete your Facebook search history;  Change your name in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook.com;  The Dark Side of Social Networking;  Many home wireless routers vulnerable;  All EA Games FREE Until February 28th on BlackBerry 10;  IRS warns of leading tax scams.

Don’t be a techhole: A common sense guide to tech courtesy – Google issued guidelines to help Google Glass users not be “Glassholes,” but why stop there? Here’s the missing manual to put an end to some top technology peeves.

The very best tech you can buy for $150 or less – Buying tech on a budget? These 17 gadgets are the very best for $150 or less — from speakers to streamers, coffee machines and computer peripherals.

How to delete your Facebook search history – Facebook keeps a record of everything you search for on its Web site. Check out this How To guide for cleaning up the list, or just limiting what information Facebook is storing about you.

Quick Tech Trick: Type Less with Text Shortcuts for Your Phone – There’s no reason to type out commonly-used phrases over and over again.

Microsoft concedes Windows 8.1 needs more work – Microsoft on Sunday publicly acknowledged what leaks had shown, that the company will issue an update to Windows 8.1 this spring that provides more tools for owners of traditional PCs controlled by mouse and keyboard.

Essential PC, smartphone and tablet repair tools – If you’re in the business of repairing PCs, smartphones, or tablets, then these tools will help you get the job done in a fast, efficient, and safe way.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Yahoo announces UK edition of its news app – Yahoo has just made official the launch of the UK edition of its Yahoo News Digest app. Nick D’Aloisio, the former teenage CEO of the Summly and current Yahoo Product Manager after he sold the company to Yahoo, made the announcement via a press release. The iOS app will deliver the top news for UK readers two times a day and uses aggregation algorithms to generate a story based on multiple sources and which are then editorially curated.

LinkedIn gives users ‘member blocking’ – LinkedIn users who’d rather not receive job inquiries or other messages, or allow access to their profiles from certain other members, can now block them. The tool is available in a dropdown menu on the profile page, by clicking on “block or report.” If a user chooses block, then the two members won’t be able to access each other’s profiles or send messages to each other. If the two are already connected, then they won’t be connected anymore if one person blocks the other.

Change your name in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook.com – You can change the From: name in your Web e-mail accounts. We’ll show you how to change it in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook.com.

Bing Maps Preview app for Windows 8.1 adds 15 new 3D cities – Microsoft has updated the Bing Maps Preview app for Windows 8.1 which adds 15 new cities around the world that have been mapped with the company’s 3D imaging technology.

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The Dark Side of Social Networking – No matter what you think about Facebook, you have to admit it’s a pretty impressive networking tool. Along with other social media websites, Facebook allows people to stay connected with friends and family. However, there’s a darker side to this connection as well: Facebook also connects its user to a number of Internet security risks. To celebrate Facebook’s tenth anniversary, SecurityCoverage Inc. shared some interesting facts about today’s social networking sites and advice on how users can protect their personal information.

Vbox’s V@Home TV Gateway DVR – The VBox V@Home TV Gateway over-the-air DVR might not exactly roll off one’s tongue, but it can prove its use when it streams broadcast TV to any connected device in a user’s home, including tablets, phones, gaming consoles, and laptops.

Dropbox’s terms of service changes met with anger in user comments – Dropbox has announced it will be changing its terms of service on March 24th, but one change that stops the use of class action lawsuits for disputes has been met with anger in comments from users.

RealNetworks says its video-sharing service is ready for a worldwide stage – After launching in the U.S. and Canada five months ago, RealPlayer Cloud rolls out to the rest of the world Monday.

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Home networking explained, Part 9: Access your home computer remotely – If you’ve been following this series, you’ll know that I explained the LAN and WAN ports on a home router in part 1. And now, I need to tell you how you can use this information to remotely access your device at home. For example, if you know how to use Remote Desktop, a built-in feature of Windows, to control a computer in a different room of your home, how about doing that from somewhere away from home, and save yourself from having to pay for similar services such as Logmein or GotoMyPC?

Toughpad tablets that can make voice calls – The Japanese company calls its two new devices, the FZ-E1 and FZ-X1 tablets, but they look more like 5-inch smartphones.

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Move big files lightning fast in Windows 8 with TeraCopy – Virtualization expert Rick Vanover says TeraCopy is an easy and great way to easily move big files. Get details about TeraCopy in his review.

Security:

Adobe pushes out critical Flash update – the second zero-day hole of the month – Adobe has just updated its Flash product for the second time this month, pushing out an emergency patch for an RCE exploit that has been seen in the wild.

IRS warns of leading tax scams – The list of nasty scams sounds familiar, with identity theft and phone fraud leading the way as they have for the past few years. “Taxpayers should be on the lookout for tax scams using the IRS name,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “These schemes jump every year at tax time. Scams can be sophisticated and take many different forms. We urge people to protect themselves and use caution when viewing emails, receiving telephone calls or getting advice on tax issues.” The following are the Dirty Dozen tax scams from the IRS for 2014.

Neiman Marcus Hackers Set Off Nearly 60,000 Alarms – The hackers were forced to reload their software daily, which set off alarm bells that went unnoticed. Neiman’s centralized security system flagged the hackers’ behavior, but it did not recognize the code itself as malicious, allowing the attackers to continue their scam, according to a 157-page internal report cited by Bloomberg.

Crypto weaknesses in WhatsApp “the kind of stuff the NSA would love” – WhatsApp, the mobile messaging app developer that Facebook is acquiring for $19 billion, may be an attractive addition to the social network, thanks to WhatsApp’s 450 million active users and en vogue status. It may also be attractive to government spies and criminal hackers, thanks to several weaknesses in the encryption WhatsApp uses to protect messages from eavesdropping, researchers say.

Study: Google Play-based Android apps with malware up 388 percent in two years – The report from the RiskIQ firm claims that in 2011 there were just 11,000 malicious apps in the Google Play store, but that number increased 388 percent to 42,000 malware apps in 2013. The firm adds that Google only removed 23 percent of those apps in 2013, versus 60 percent in 2011. A whopping 12.3 percent of all apps in the Google Play store contained malware in 2013, according to RiskIQ. Google has yet to respond to the firm’s claims.

Many home wireless routers vulnerable, study finds – Using the top 50 selling home routers for sale on Amazon, the firm detected software vulnerabilities in three quarters with a third of these having publically documented flaws open for any attacker to exploit. Common problems included vulnerable management interfaces and dodgy authentication. Disturbingly, there was also evidence of identical flaws across products from different vendors indicating the possibiliity of a common but undocumented software heritage.

Apple admits Mac has same security flaw as patched on iOS – Apple will release a Mac update “very soon” that will address a newly-identified OS X security loophole that could allow hackers to remotely access sensitive information from users’ computers. The flaw was identified after Apple admitted it had spotted a similar glitch in iOS, releasing an update for iPhones and iPads on Friday to patch it.

When will Apple get serious about security? – The tech community (and beyond) is an uproar over the recently revealed iOS and OS X SSL/TLS code flaw. Apple developers have questions about Apple’s commitment to quality and the flaw itself.

Company News:

Microsoft to cut the cost of Windows 8.1 for low-end devices – Microsoft, if you read between the lines, has confirmed that they will be cutting the cost of Windows 8.1 for lower end devices which will help lower the floor on tablet pricing. The cut in price will help to accomplish several goals. First, it will help OEMs shave more dollars off their products and that will help them to lower the price of consumer products. Second, it should help to move more Windows 8.1 licenses, and while it will help Microsoft’s bottom line, albeit to a lesser degree, it should help Microsoft gain more market share with it’s latest version of Windows.

Mozilla aims for the emerging world with plans for the $25 smartphone – In Barcelona today, Mozilla announced its Firefox OS plans for the next year. The highlight: plans for a line of smartphones starting at $25 each, bringing HTML5-powered smartphones to billions of people who can’t afford more expensive devices. Central to this plan is a partnership with Chinese fabless semiconductor designer Spreadtrum. The company has designed a trio of chipsets built around the ARM Cortex A5 processor.

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Apple and Samsung back to court as mediation fails – Apple and Samsung are headed back to court next month, after attempts at negotiating a settlement over ongoing patent infringement disputes in the US failed. The two firms had been pushed into mediation by court order, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung mobile communications CEO J.K. Shin meeting for a full day of negotiations in February, along with legal teams and other advisors. However, despite numerous follow-ups, “the mediator’s settlement proposal to the parties was unsuccessful” the jointly-filed report confirms.

Netflix is paying Comcast for direct connection to network – Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast for a direct connection to the cable and Internet service provider’s network, a move that will improve streaming video quality for Comcast customers, the Wall Street Journal reported today. News of a paid peering deal comes two days after a traceroute showed that the two companies were exchanging traffic with each other directly. Netflix performance on Comcast had been getting worse for months, suggesting a feud between Comcast and Netflix or between Comcast and Cogent, one of Netflix’s Internet transit providers.

Google buys Spider.io to combat online fraud – Google has purchased Spider.io, a company specializing in the combat of online fraud. The acquisition was announced on Google’s DoubleClick Advertising blog on Friday. Spider.io has developed fraud detection technology designed to discover malicious coding and scams that are embedded within links and media — and Google plans to immediately integrate this technology within its video and display advertisement products.

Games and Entertainment:

All EA Games FREE Until February 28th on BlackBerry 10 – There is am awesome deal going on from EA in BlackBerry World until the end of the month. BlackBerry announced on their blog that all EA games (based on your region) are free until February 28th. This includes Plants vs Zombies, NBA Jam, Monopoly, Bejeweled, and more! (suggested by Aseem S.)

What’s Your Lowest Super Mario Bros. Score? Watch This Guy Break the World Record – Call it overachievement through underachievement: getting the lowest score possible in Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. while at the same time completing it. YouTube maverick NotEntirelySure seems to have done just that, and he offers the video above (noticed by Kotaku) as testimony – a start-to-finish gallop through Nintendo’s most famous platformer using warp points to skip around and finish the game in a little less than nine minutes, with a paltry 500 points. Rock bottom high-five!

The Original Godzilla is Headed Back to Theaters – The original Godzilla from back in 1954 will be hitting theaters again in time for its 60th anniversary. As The Wrap tells us, this is the original version of the film, just as it was first screened in Japan all those years back. It will be interesting to see how audiences today will react to the Godzilla movie that started it all. A lot of moviegoers in modern times don’t watch movies in the context they were made, so it’s important to remember that Godzilla came out during a period when nuclear annihilation was a real threat to the world.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Inside the minds of internet trolls - Canadian researchers find that trolls just want to have fun. Unsurprisingly, they also reek of what scientists call the Dark Tetrad of noxious personality variables: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).

Controversy after cops’ aggressive arrest of jogger wearing earbuds – In Austin, Texas, bystanders photograph and film an arrest made by officers of a jogging woman, who claims she couldn’t hear the policemen because she was wearing earbuds. The arrest, for alleged jaywalking, appears to some excessive. (Move along – nothing to see here. Just another example of American cops abusing another woman.)

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The minority report: Chicago’s new police computer predicts crimes, but is it racist? – Chicago police say its computers can tell who will be a violent criminal, but critics say it’s nothing more than racial profiling. (suggested by Aseem S.)

20 tech brand names you’re saying wrong – Sometimes it’s the result of a lost-in-translation effect — a tech brand that might have worked in the company’s native country but doesn’t quite make sense to our English-tuned brains. Other times, it’s the result of a silly name that’d seem strange no matter where you saw it. So how many names have you been saying wrong? Time to find out. Here are 20 of the most confusing tech brands — and how they’re meant to be said.

This is what happens when a bird smashes a plane’s windshield – You’re flying along at 170mph in Florida’s happy skies. Suddenly you have a gatecrasher. Or, rather, a windshield crasher. In remarkable footage taken from the cockpit by Rob Weber, everything seemed to be going fine, before it wasn’t.

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Without REAL ID driver’s license, will TSA require passport if plane never leaves USA? – In April, the law requiring REAL ID driver’s licenses goes into effect, but 13 states are not ready. The Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License has warned that Americans without a REAL ID license may need “acceptable” ID like a passport to get through TSA security screenings . . . even if U.S. citizens are not flying outside of the USA.

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton’s Facebook job application rejected in 2009 – It has emerged that WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton applied for a job at Facebook in 2009, and got rejected. More than five years later and his start-up application has fetched a whopping $19bn.

Has it come to this in 2014?

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(Thanks Mike!)

Something to think about:

Most middle-class whites have no idea what it feels like to be subjected to police who are routinely suspicious, rude, belligerent, and brutal.”

-      Benjamin Spock

Today’s Free Downloads:

Avast Free Antivirus 2014 – This year’s Avast release has distinguished itself as not just a malware or antivirus solution, but also as a full-on security monitor for your machine. It comes with great design, displaying a lot of information yet maintaining a high usability factor for the core feature of virus removal and malware scanning. Avast has created value beyond the security scanner, and this version is a huge leap over last year’s Avast 8. We expect its protection scores to continue to increase as protection scores from third-party vendors get released.

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Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is an easy-to-use anti-malware application available in both a Free and PRO version. The Free version is well-known for its detection and removal capabilities, and the PRO version uses advanced protection technologies to proactively stop malware infections. Additionally, Malwarebytes offers a host of extra utilities as well as an approachable forum community to help you combat any piece of malware that exists in the wild.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA moves from bugging German Chancellor to bugging German ministers – On Sunday it was revealed that the NSA, forbidden by President Obama from tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone directly, has ramped up its spying on her senior government officials, according to the German Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag. The paper said that the information’s source is an anonymous, high-ranking NSA official stationed in Germany. In October, German magazine Der Spiegel reported that the US had been spying on Chancellor Merkel for years, tapping her phone and the phones of 34 other world leaders. The sources of the fall accusations were damning, and they led one German politician to call for a complete halt to trade negotiations between the European Union and the US. In January, President Obama ordered the NSA to stop spying on the leaders of US-allied nations.

Australia, NSA, lawyers tangle in spy case – Reported interceptions by an Australian spy agency of a U.S. law firm’s communications with overseas clients violates long-standing legal protections, the American Bar Association charges. The ABA, in a Thursday letter to National Security Agency leaders, said it is concerned about a recent New York Times report saying the Australian Signals Directorate had intercepted communications between a U.S. law firm and its client, the government of Indonesia. The Australian spy agency offered to share the information with the NSA, according to the Times story.

Snowden’s impact an ‘operational matter’: Brandis – In Senate Estimates today, Australian Attorney-General George Brandis held the line on his previous statement that documents released by Edward Snowden had endangered lives, but that specifics were ‘operational matters’.

George Brandis refuses to back up claim that Snowden put lives at risk – Australia’s attorney general, George Brandis, has told a Senate committee he is unable to provide confidential details to substantiate his claim that disclosures by the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have put lives at risk. Brandis also said on Monday he had no hesitation in describing Snowden as a “traitor”, arguing the National Security Agency (NSA) leaker had betrayed his country and prejudiced the interests of its intelligence partners.

Edward Snowden ‘humbled’ by his election as Glasgow University rector – In a statement to the Guardian, Snowden described it as bold and historic decision in support of academic freedom. “In a world where so many of our developing thoughts and queries and plans must be entrusted to the open internet, mass surveillance is not simply a matter of privacy, but of academic freedom and human liberty,” Snowden said. The vote is purely symbolic as Snowden is unlikely to be in a position to become a working rector, able to represent students at meetings of the university’s administrators. He is wanted by the US for leaking tens of thousands of documents to journalists and has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

4 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 24, 2014

  1. justsayin93

    Reblogged this on graceshonestblog.

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Re: Snowden’s impact an ‘operational matter’: Brandis
    This is typical of George “Mr. Magoo” Brandis. He can’t tell you anything due to “operational matters”. In fact, this whole government uses this well worn line with everything they do. For instance, you may have heard about their strong position on turning back refugees who arrive by boat, but they won’t tell us (the public) about any specifics due to “operational matters”.

    It’s pathetic and I hope this idiot stuffs things up and is sent on his way, back to the hole he crawled out of.

    Cheers
    Mal

    • Hey Mal,

      I focused on this guy over the past few days simply because he appeared to lack a connection to cyber reality – just another mouthpiece for a regressive ideology.

      Similar secret “operational matters” are par for the course here in Canada. In living memory, we have not had such a repressive government populated by corrupted mafia types. Lying, cheating, stealing from the public purse ….. the list goes on.

      What I find curious is – Australia, Canada, and the UK (all parliamentary democracies), seem to be under the thumb of the same fascist type control freaks. It appears that all of us are beginning to realize the major shortcoming in the parliamentary system – one man (the Prime Minister), holds all the power. Not too unlike a dictatorship, is it? Benevolent in the past – not so much now, however. Way too much American influence is a considerable part of the problem.

      Best,

      Bill