Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 7, 2014

Google Glass App Reads Your Emotions;  Google Play celebrates its second birthday with discounted apps, videos, books;  Get better battery life on Android;  Five super useful features in Chrome mobile;  From one tweet, a full-blown hack;  Change this LinkedIn setting before starting your job search;  Who Runs The (Social Media) World? Girls;  Microsoft offers Forza Motorsport 5 free with Xbox One;  Commercial drones legal says federal judge;  Facebook’s shot at WhatsApp data gets both companies an FTC complaint;  Massachusetts approves bill to ban upskirt pics.

New crimeware tool Dendroid makes it easier to create Android malware, researchers warn – The toolkit is called Dendroid and can be used to create “trojanized” apps—legitimate applications with malicious code added to them—that connect back to a command-and-control server over HTTP and allow attackers to perform a variety of malicious actions on devices that have those apps installed. Dendroid is marketed by its creators as an Android remote administration tool (RAT) and is being sold for US$300, security researchers from Symantec said Wednesday in a blog post.

Privacy at peril: From one tweet, a full-blown hack – One tweet was enough to start a chain reaction of information-gathering that could have rivaled the work of a government intelligence agency. And with data, a hacker could have ended up ruining one man’s life.

Google Play celebrates its second birthday with discounted apps, videos, books – You like a good deal, right? What about free things? Google is celebrating its second birthday by offering up a deluge of discounted and free apps, videos, music, and more!

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Five super useful features in Chrome mobile – For a smartphone browser that’s fast and feature-packed, Chrome is a no-brainer choice. Not only did it crush the competition in our browser speed test, but its countless desktop-like tools and settings make it a hot contender against whatever default browser you’re currently rocking. For the best Chrome experience, make use of these built-in features.

Get better battery life on Android – Android gets a bad rap for short battery life, but that’s only if you stick with its default settings. Make these simple adjustments to give your phone or tablet a battery boost.

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Loaded and locked: 3 seriously secure cloud storage services – Cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and SugarSync are convenient, efficient—and notoriously insecure. Files are rarely encrypted, data transfer is typically not protected, and companies are usually able to access your files (even if they state they won’t, they may be legally compelled to do so).

Google Glass App Reads Your Emotions – Do you ever feel like people just don’t understand you? Well, now there’s an app for that. San Diego-based Emotient today announced its Sentiment Analysis prototype app for Google Glass, which is intended to help those wearing the search giant’s futuristic specs to understand the emotions of those who come into Glass’s field of view.

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Who Runs The (Social Media) World? Girls – According to research compiled by FinanceOnline, which was taken from PEW, Nielsen, and Burst Media, women use social media more often and in more ways then men do. Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter all have more women on the platform than men. Pinterest, not surprisingly, has a more female-centric user base with 33 percent of female online adults using the site, compared to 8 percent of all men. But the tables turn with LinkedIn, where 24 percent of all adult men use the site compared to 19 percent of women.

How to use Getty’s vast collection of newly free pictures on your website – Getty just took the radical step of opening the doors to its deep image collection. Here’s how to put the pictures to work on your website.

Vine cracks down on content – Vine content runs the gamut from interesting snippets of everyday life — a sort of extension on the memories created with a snapshot — to elaborate animations or carefully planned short video-form stories. Amongst all the offerings lies an underbelly of raunchy content, however, something Vine is cracking down on.

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10 Luxury Tech Gadgets You’ll Want (But Probably Can’t Afford) – Technology is designed to make life easier and provide us with extra time, the greatest luxury of all, but when it comes to luxe tech items, it’s usually form over function. There’s a tendency in the category to dip iPhones in 18k gold and call it a day. But at the Luxury Technology Show in New York this week, there was a broad showing of big—and little—tech luxuries that could easily fit into most lifestyles and make themselves useful.

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Facebook Rolls Out Simplified News Feed That Leaves Content And Ads Alone – Facebook has gone through many iterations, and some growing pains, in its quest to find a happy balance between an interface that people love to use, and that will serve the best business purpose for ad-funded the social network. Starting today, Facebook will be embarking on another chapter in that story, with the rollout of a new look for its News Feed — announced last year but never launched.

Findery for iPhone Lets You Leave Virtual Billboards Chronicling Your Adventures – Findery is a location-based social tool from Flickr founder Caterina Fake. The app lets users post notes that are tied to a specific geographical location for everyone to see. It’s like putting up your own virtual billboards.

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Use TheFind on Android to shop, compare retail outlets – Instead of visiting a number of retail Web sites to find the best deal on an item, use this free app and let it do the hard work for you.

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Change this LinkedIn setting before starting your job search – Looking for a job is stressful enough without the potential of LinkedIn reading an edit to your profile as you landing a new job and then broadcasting the great (but false) news to your contacts.

Security:

Microsoft to offer final fix for IE10 exploit Tuesday; four more security patches – Microsoft has announced it will release a final fix for an exploit discovered in IE10 on Tuesday, March 11 as part of its “Patch Tuesday” event that will also see four more security updates released.

Twelve million hit as Korea suffers ANOTHER massive data breach – The South Korean government was forced to launch an inquiry today after another massive data breach rocked the country, time the theft of account information belonging to 12 million customers of telco KT Corp. The data grab apparently went undetected by KT for an entire year with the suspects allegedly snatching up to 300,000 records in a single day. The nabbed details included names, registration numbers and bank account info. This is the third time in two years that the country’s second biggest carrier has been hit with a major data breach.

Sally Beauty may have suffered credit card breach – The security of credit card systems at major retailers has been on the forefront of the minds of many shoppers since the major Target credit card breach that happened a few months ago. In that breach a huge number of credit cards were compromised. It looks like another retailer may have suffered a serious credit card security breach.

ComiXology Hacked! Change Your Password Now – In an email to users on Thursday, ComiXology revealed that “an unauthorized individual” accessed one of its databases containing usernames, passwords, email addresses, and encrypted passwords. The company discovered the breach during a recent review and upgrade of its security infrastructure. Luckily, payment account information is not stored on the affected server, meaning your credit card number is safe.

‘Internet of Things?’ Cisco Can’t Secure Things Already Here – Cisco’s push for “connected everything” will be a hard sell if we keep hearing about bugs in its networking products.

Cisco patches vulnerabilities in small business routers and wireless LAN controllers – Cisco Systems released new firmware versions for some of its small business routers and wireless LAN controllers in order to address vulnerabilities that could allow remote attackers to compromise the vulnerable devices or affect their availability.

Company News:

Facebook’s shot at WhatsApp data gets both companies an FTC complaint – The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Facebook’s $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp based on privacy concerns, according to a document released Thursday. EPIC and CDD’s problems with the acquisition center around the fact that WhatsApp staked its reputation on—that it’s a company keeping a reasonable distance from its customers’ data. Now that it will fall under the aegis of Facebook, its users stand to lose those privacy guarantees, even though WhatsApp told its users nothing would change.

Apple again denied permanent US sales ban against Samsung products – Apple failed to provide enough evidence to warrant an injunction, so a judge ruled that legal damages should be sufficient.

Spotify buys The Echo Nest for smart music curation – Spotify has announced plans to buy The Echo Nest, a music intelligence company which specializes in content curation for services like Nokia Music, as well as more unusual apps built on its deep data feed. The streaming music company will use The Echo Nest’s tech to power its updated “Discover” section, which tries to predict and suggest new music the listener might like based on their previous playlists and social networks.

Games and Entertainment:

Thinking Caps On: QuizUp Arrives in the Play Store – So you think you’re pretty smart, eh? Why not put your brain to the test with a rapid fire stream of trivia in QuizUp? This game was hugely popular on iOS, but now Android users can get in on the fun (and frustration) too. This ongoing head-to-head trivia competition has hundreds of categories so you should be able to find something you have a shot at winning.

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Microsoft offers Forza Motorsport 5 free with Xbox One starting next week – The “limited time” offer starts on Monday, March 10, a Microsoft representative told Ars, and it only applies in the United States for the time being. The Forza offer is separate from Microsoft’s previously announced Titanfall bundle, which starts March 11; new buyers will be able to get one game or the other for free, but not both. Microsoft would not provide a complete list of participating retailers, instead urging customers to “check with your local retailer for details.”

Ubisoft teases May 27 release date for Watch Dogs – The release date appears at the end of a new, story-focused trailer that first appeared on Xbox.com; it was later released on Ubisoft’s European YouTube channel. That trailer has yet to appear on the official US website or YouTube channel for the game, but it was tweeted via the game’s official Twitter feed, suggesting a coordinated worldwide release. That Twitter feed also confirmed that a worldwide beta is in the works.

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iOS hero horror game “Year Walk” heads to Steam – While generally it’s the case that a high-powered game will be released to consoles and PCs first, then (years later) it’ll be ported to mobile devices, the developer crew at Simogo have turned the tables. In a manner that we’ve only really seen Angry Birds be especially successful at in the past, Simogo are releasing what many critics suggested was the Game of the Year for iOS in the year 2013, “Year Walk.”

Off Topic (Sort of):

Massachusetts approves bill to ban upskirt pics – After a case that seemed to defy any sense that might be common, the Massachusetts legislature speeds through a bill that would classify upskirt pics as sexual harassment.

The Amazing Lens Technology That Is Going To Change Wearables – You may not know the name Lumus now, but expect to be hearing a lot from them in the future. When we first met the Lumus rep Ari Grobman two years ago he showed us some amazing technology. It was basically an augmented reality display embedded into a standard lens that could fit into a standard pair of glasses. The 720p model displayed a binocular image at near HD quality right in front of your face, allowing you to watch movies, play games, and even interact with mobile devices on a screen floating in mid-air.

Commercial drones legal says federal judge – The Federal Aviation Administration has claimed in this day of increasing technology that flying drones for commercial purposes in American skies is against the law, and as such ended up initiating its first legal action against an individual flying a drone for commercial purposes. Today a judge dismissed the case, saying such activities are legal.

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Razer Mechanical Switch: a first for gamers – Today Razer has announced its latest device for gamers, the Razer Mechanical Switch, which is the company’s first mechanical switch keyboard designed for game play. The company says it has engineered the keyboard from the ground up, doing so with a focus on its gaming customers, rather than the typists such devices are often aimed at.

Rocket Cats and 5 Other Armed Animals – In the 1500s it seems that they didn’t love cats as much as we do now. Instead of stuffing them into little outfits or subjecting them to the red carpet, military engineers considered the possibility of strapping a fire-packed device to cats and then aiming them in the general direction of a target to “set fire to a castle or city which you can’t get at otherwise,” according to a German military manuscript from 1530 that’s recently been translated. Presumably this was before the phrase “herding cats” and its implications were well known.

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Something to think about:

“Nothing changes your opinion of a friend so surely as success – yours or his.”

-     Franklin P. Jones

Today’s Free Downloads:

ManyCam – ManyCam is free live studio & webcam effects software. You can use your webcam with multiple chat applications at the same time, add webcam effects, use live audio and voice changer, draw over your video window and more.

MarkdownPad – Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML). The goal for Markdown’s formatting syntax is to be as readable as possible. A Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions.
In short, you can create beautiful HTML documents without knowing any HTML.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Survey: IT pros not concerned about NSA spying – You may have heard that the NSA has been spying on just about everyone, everywhere without regard for whether or not they are an actual threat to national security. The allegation that RSA accepted a payment of $10 million in exchange for cooperating with the NSA led some to boycott the recent RSA Conference, or participate in the TrustyCon counter-conference that was hosted around the corner. As it turns out, though, most IT professionals don’t seem all that concerned with the activities of the NSA. AppRiver conducted a survey of the attendees at the RSA Conference. AppRiver’s Fred Touchette describes in a blog post how the boycott and the apparent success of TrustyCon piqued his interest about where government hacking ranks on the overall threat landscape for IT professionals.

Criminalizing news about leaks and sharing links to hacks: America the censored? – If the powers-that-be have their way, then the media sharing news about national security leaks as well as people sharing hyperlinks to hacks could become criminal offenses in the USA. The CIA, however, can alledgely hack Congress to spy on spy documents without it being a crime.

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

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 7, 2014

  1. Reblogged this on khrystleraineduste and commented:
    Again: Too many fine articles not to pass on…