Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 22, 2014

The top 14 hidden features in Windows, iOS, and Android;  How to improve battery life on any mobile device;  The best free Android apps for students;  68 percent of top free Android apps vulnerable to cyberattack;  5 excuses for doing nothing about computer security!  Walmart Slashes iPhone 5c, 5s Prices;  The 6 best tablets for getting work done in 2014;  Browser extension warns you when articles are paid for by advertisers;  Check Out a Real-Time Map of Spotify Listening;  Five free point of sale apps to optimize your business;  Netflix alternatives: These 7 services are the closest you’ll get;  ‘Facebook Drug Task Force’ hoax cranks up the paranoia;  Have a company laptop? Here’s how to keep your browsing private;  Why your brain just can’t handle video games;  Every Simpsons Episode Ever starts today on FXX;  Microsoft has 8 reasons you shouldn’t buy a Chromebook;  8 Email Fails That Will Make You Cringe.

The top 14 hidden features in Windows, iOS, and Android – You may think you’re a high-tech power user who knows all the nooks and crannies of Windows, iOS, and Android, but let’s be realistic: There could be at least a few undocumented (or poorly documented) commands, control panels, and apps that have slipped by you—maybe more than a few. We’ve dived deep into each OS to uncover the best hidden tips and tricks that can make you more productive—or make common tasks easier. Got a favorite undocumented tip to share with readers? Add them in the comments section at the end of the article.

5 excuses for doing nothing about computer security! – Here are five security excuses that we hear a lot, both from individuals and from small businesses. We’ve given you some advice to help you argue back that security really does matter.

Achieving Anonymity Online Remains Difficult Despite Evolving Privacy Tools – Some things are best kept secret. But when it comes to your online activities, can you ever truly conceal your identity? A variety of tools and best practices can help you achieve some level of privacy when surfing the web, but it is nearly impossible to ensure that your online activities remain completely anonymous. Whether you’re intent on evading every government snoop, or just curious about how much information you’re giving out as you visit your favorite sites, it’s important to know just how public your online behavior can be.

How to improve battery life on any mobile device – Poor battery life is a problem that affects all mobile users. Despite which kind of mobile device you prefer, battery life tends to be an issue that we all face. Understanding what is draining your smartphone or tablet will help you squeeze the best possible battery life out of your device.

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Get productive in the new school year with the best free Android apps for students – It’s time to load up your Android phone or tablet with the right apps for getting things done and staying organized. Google Play is stocked with many excellent tools that will free you from having to do every piece of schoolwork on a computer. The following apps will turn you into a taskmaster, with excellent choices for notetaking, editing files, and collaborating with your classmates.

New browser extension warns you when articles are paid for by advertisers – Native advertising and sponsored content is a big trend at news sites these days. A new browser extension helps let you know when what you’re reading is not editorial content.

Walmart Slashes iPhone 5c, 5s Prices – Walmart is offering Apple’s colorful iPhone 5c lineup for less than $1, but before you run to your local Walmart and start buying all the 5c phones you can find, it’s not simple. It’s true, Walmart is indeed selling the iPhone 5c for $0.97. But that super-low price requires a two-year service agreement for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or U.S. Cellular. Previously, the smartphone was selling for $29—a fairly good deal itself, given that the iPhone 5c starts at $99 if you’re buying it directly from Apple (with the same two-year service deal).

The 6 best tablets for getting work done in 2014 – A few years ago, it was easy to scoff at the idea of using tablets for productivity. The hardware was too weak, and the software was too limited, so turning a tablet into a work device made sense only for a few fringe users. While it’s a lot easier now to use tablets for productivity, some are still better for work than others. Here are six tablets that are best-equipped for the job.

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Netflix alternatives: These 7 services are the closest you’ll get – What makes Netflix so worth using is the massive back catalog of movies and TV shows that are offered up in an all-you-can-watch format through just about everything with a screen and an Internet connection. Plus, almost every device has a Netflix app, and those apps are capable of doing some technically impressive things when it comes to making sure you are getting the best possible video on your device. Netflix is not the be-all-end-all in streaming video though, so if you’re looking for an alternative you should be aware of just how many Netflix alternatives exist today.

Check Out a Real-Time Map of Spotify Listening – Ever wonder if someone else in the world is doing the exact same thing you’re doing at this very moment? Like, if you just pressed play on that catchy song “Stolen Dance,” what are the odds that someone else across the globe did too? It’s a pretty trippy thing to think about and now Spotify is giving us a visual of this phenomenon in action. The music streaming service is celebrating the way music unites us all with a new project, dubbed Serendipity, which visualizes simultaneous music listening worldwide.

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Microsoft has 8 reasons you shouldn’t buy a Chromebook – Microsoft thinks the new generation of cheap Windows laptops are superior to Chromebooks. Ok, so that doesn’t shock anyone, but maybe you’d like to know why Microsoft thinks that way. It turns out they’ve posted a helpful little list on their website. No, they don’t resort to those silly Scroogle tactics. It’s a pretty straight up list. While both Windows laptops and Chromebooks let you surf the web and run web-based apps, here’s where Microsoft says Chromebooks fall flat:

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Opera Mini Now Default Browser on Microsoft Feature Phones – Microsoft and Opera inked a licensing deal that will make Opera Mini the default browser on mobile phones based on the Series 30+, Series 40, and Asha platforms. Those already using Nokia’s Xpress browser on these handsets will be encouraged to make the switch to Opera. New devices, meanwhile, will come with Opera Mini pre-installed.

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Vemory Automatically Compiles Video Memories From Your Social Media Photos – Vemory is an app that automatically configures all of your images — not just the ones from your camera roll, but the content you’ve posted to Facebook, Instagram, etc. — to create beautiful videos between 60 seconds and two minutes. But the compelling part of the app is that you can go from having no video compilations to having a dozen or more, all from simply signing up.

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Microsoft’s Windows 9 Unveil Said To Be Coming September 30 – Windows 9 has been leaked, and seems to show a backing away from the aggressively touch-focused Windows 8, with a mini start menu and dropping of the Charms bar, but we’ll get a better look September 30, according to the Verge. The blog reports Microsoft is planning an official unveiling of what’s next for its desktop OS for that date, with a technology preview available for early adopters following quickly after that.

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Google now removing 1 million links per day thanks to DMCAs – Google’s search engine crawls all corners of the web on a daily basis and because it is so massive, there are millions of links that copyright owners would prefer to have removed from the company’s search index. The requests are now coming in so frequently, that every 8 milliseconds Google is receiving a takedown request, compared to one request per six days back in 2008. The information comes from Google’s Transparency Report which indicates that last week alone, 7.8 million links were removed, and as you can see from the graph, the trend is only rising with the spike during the last few days.

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Five free point of sale apps to optimize your business – Running a retail business is no walk in the park; many aspects of the business demand your attention. However, selecting and maintaining a point of sale system shouldn’t be one of them. A simple point of sale system should include some of the basic features, like inventory and register, and run without much intervention. When a point of sale system is free or low-cost, it becomes even more attractive. Here are five free point of sale apps for the web and desktop.

5 Cheap Must-Have Apps for Back to School – Once you’ve picked out a tablet or laptop for your student, it’s time to grab the software that will make it the most useful. We’ve found the best cheap apps and programs to help kids study, work more efficiently and keep up with their assignments.

Security:

Have a company laptop? Here’s how to keep your browsing private – Your employer may let you take a company laptop home, but that doesn’t mean they’re not looking over your shoulder.

Stealing encryption keys through the power of touch – Researchers from Tel Aviv University have demonstrated an attack against the GnuPG encryption software that enables them to retrieve decryption keys by touching exposed metal parts of laptop computers.

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68 percent of top free Android apps vulnerable to cyberattack, researchers claim – After analyzing the 1,000 most-downloaded free Android applications in the Google Play store, the FireEye Mobile Security Team found that a significant portion of them are susceptible to Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks. According to a blog post published Thursday, the researchers found that as of July 17, 2014, 674 out of 1,000 contained at least one of three SSL vulnerabilities studied. In other words, 68 percent of the most popular apps could become a pathway for cybercriminals to lift sensitive data.

‘Facebook Drug Task Force’ hoax cranks up the paranoia – Just in time for Facebook’s newly announced “Satire” tag, a satirical news site brings us Facebook’s corporate police force, replete with assault weapons and anti-bomb vehicles, transporting their first two busted users to the nation’s first corporate jail – which is in Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, of course.

US universities at greater risk for security breaches than retail and healthcare: BitSight – A new report says the majority of attacks experienced by higher education institutions come from malware infections, and most universities are ill equipped to prevent and handle such attacks.

Create an IT risk assessment program for SMBs – It’s only a matter of time before most SMBs will experience a compromised IT infrastructure. To minimize the fallout from a data breach, SMBs should begin an IT risk assessment program. (registration required.)

Company News:

Aereo loses appeal to be recognized as cable operator – Aereo’s fight for survival was dealt a setback Thursday when a federal court rejected the streaming television service’s argument that it should be recognized as a cable-TV service.

Xiaomi, Ouya ink deal to bring Android games to China – Ouya, which is trying in earnest to make a home on your living room shelf, has inked a deal with Xiaomi to bring their software to the Chinese market. An agreement between the two was confirmed by Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman and Xiaomi executives. Though not a hardware distribution agreement, the deal will see the Ouya platform on various Xiaomi devices.

Amazon’s latest business move: Shanghai’s free-trade zone – Amazon announced today that it will be coming to the Shanghai free-trade zone soon, something that will potentially boost its sales in China. According to the Internet retailer, a deal has been penned with the related authorities, and it is slated to launch a logistics warehouse to “experiment with financial innovation,” among other things.

Mozilla expands ad experiment to many more Firefox users – The current “directory tile” ad experiment shows only for new Firefox users. A new “enhanced tile” program to launch soon will mean existing users can see some ads, too.

China Telecom to sell unlocked iPhone 6 – China Telecom said it will unlock the next-generation iPhone by supporting the SIM cards of the other two major telecom players in the market.

Games and Entertainment:

Every Simpsons Episode Ever starts today on FXX – Back when FX purchased the rights to the entire Simpsons back-catalog, it was instantly clear what they’d planned to do with it. Show every single episode of The Simpsons in order. The one true Simpsons Marathon begins (or began, depending on when you’re reading this) today at 10:00 AM Eastern Time and runs non-stop through the first of September.

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Shadowgate review: This castle still wants to kill you, 25 years later – Shadowgate is unapologetically retro, bringing the difficulty of the original Shadowgate into 2014 and barely softening the blow in the process. It’s fantastic.

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Temporarily Free games hit PC and Xbox One: Titanfall, Max – It appears to be the dawn of the “temporarily free” games here this summer from both Microsoft’s Xbox One division and EA Games’ Origin group. What you’ll be seeing from Origin first is Titanfall, while the Xbox One program is in beta testing with Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.

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Xbox One getting Free Play Day with Gold feature – One of the incentives for subscribing to EA’s new Access service is the ability to play new or pre-release games early for a limited time. Now it looks as though Microsoft is going to introduce a similar feature for gamers who sign up for Xbox Live Gold on the Xbox One.

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The gorgeous computer interfaces of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ – The CG company responsible for the UIs in “Guardians of the Galaxy” has released a showreel highlighting its stunning work.

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Disney goes after Clash of Clans with new Star Wars game – Walt Disney thinks the force is strong with this one. The company unveiled a new strategy game Thursday called Star Wars Commander. The title, which Disney worked on for about 18 months in collaboration with Lucasfilm, mimics the popular Supercell game Clash of Clans, which encourages players to build up armies and towns in an effort to battle one another.

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Why your brain just can’t handle video games – This video from host and writer Anthony Carboni explains the many ways our brains just completely suck at video games. From the 80-millisecond delay between the time we see something onscreen and our brain processes that information, to how our brain uses sensory gating to filter out things that your brain deems unimportant, our brains are hardwired in such a way that we sometimes struggle during periods of intense focus, like when gaming. So the next time you want to curse the game, controller, or other players when you die in a video game, just remember that the problem is probably your brain.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

8 Email Fails That Will Make You Cringe – An embarassing email snafu can happen to anyone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t delight in the digital misfortunes of others. The 40-year history of email has bseen plenty of Email Fails, but here are eight recent mega-mishaps that we’re happy didn’t happen to us.

Android fragmentation charted: 18,796 different devices in use – It seems like each week, we learn of a new Android device coming out. It probably feels that way because it is that way, and a new report only highlights just how bad the issue is. According to Open Signal, there are nearly 20,000 Android devices in the wild, up from almost 12,000 last year. To be clear, I’ll note the actual number is 18,796 devices in 2014, compared to 11,868 this time last year.

Monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted, US regulators say – United States copyright regulators are agreeing with Wikipedia’s conclusion that a monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted by a nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the ape in the jungle. The animal’s selfie went viral. The US Copyright Office, in a 1,222-page report discussing federal copyright law, said that a “photograph taken by a monkey” is unprotected intellectual property.

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Watch the Red Bull RB8 race in infrared – Modern technology has allowed us to get glimpses of many cool things we wouldn’t ordinarily see, and Red Bull’s new infrared racing video may be near the top of the list. FLIR Thermography, in partnership with Infiniti Red Bull Racing, has used its cameras to capture footage of F1 racers in infrared.

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ISIS terror fanatics invade Diaspora website after Twitter ban – Medieval terror bastards ISIS have moved from Twitter to the non-profit social network Diaspora to spew their cant – and there’s apparently nothing that can be done to stop them.

Analysis of Ferguson tweets shows Twitter’s quick grip on the news – Roughly 146,000 posts related to the shooting were published to Twitter on Saturday, Aug. 9, the day Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, Pew researchers found. MSNBC and Fox did not devote prime-time coverage to the shooting and the surrounding events until Monday, with 21 minutes and 6 minutes of coverage a piece, respectively. CNN began its prime-time coverage on Tuesday, with 24 minutes.

Something to think about:

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

-      Shel Silverstein

Today’s Free Downloads:

VideoCacheView – After watching a video in a Web site, you may want to save the video file into your local disk for playing it offline in the future. If the video file is stored in your browser’s cache, this utility can help you to extract the video file from the cache and save it for watching it in the future.

It automatically scans the entire cache of Internet Explorer and Mozilla-based Web browsers (Including Firefox) and finds all video files that are currently stored in it. It allows you to easily copy the cached video files into another folder for playing/watching them in the future. If you have a movie player that is configured to play flv files, it also allows you to play the video directly from your browser’s cache.

Using VideoCacheView:

VideoCacheView doesn’t require any installation process or additional DLL files. In order to start using it, simply run the executable file (VideoCacheView.exe)

After running VideoCacheView, it scan the cache folders of your Internet Explorer and Mozilla browsers, as well as the temporary folder of Windows. Wait 5 – 30 seconds until the scanning process is finished, and the main window of VideoCacheView should display all the video files that are currently in cache.

After the video list is displayed, you can use one of the following options, assuming that the video files are stored in the cache (‘In Cache’ = Yes):

Play Selected File: Allows you to play the video file directly from the cache, assuming that you have a video player that is configured to play .flv files.

Copy Selected Files To: Allows to copy the video files from the cache into another folder, so you will be able to play them in the future.

If you have a video file that is not stored in the cache (‘In Cache’ = No), you can use the ‘Open Download URL In Browser’ option (F8) in order to download the video file. You can also use the ‘Copy Download URLs’ option (Ctrl+U) to copy the download URLs to the clipboard, and then use then in your browser or in other download software.

Be aware that some Web sites may not allow you to download a video file in this way.

Flash Video Files In Temporary Folder

Each time that a Web browser plays a Flash video file, the .flv file is saved into the temporary folder of Windows. Normally, you cannot copy this temporary file to another folder, because the flash player locks the file exclusively. Also the file is automatically deleted when you close the Web browser.

Starting from version 1.10, VideoCacheView displays the flash files in the temporary folder, and allows you to copy them into another folder. VideoCacheView can handle temporary flash files created by Internet Explorer, Mozilla/Firefox, Opera Web browser. Be aware that you must wait until the browser finish to download them. otherwise, the copied files will be corrupted.

Playing Video Files Directly From The Cache

Most Web sites today use Flash video files (.flv extension) for playing video inside the Web page. VideoCacheView doesn’t provide a build-in video player, but if you already have a video player that is configured to play .flv files, VideoCacheView will be able to use it for playing the video files directly from the Web browser’s cache.

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GlassWire – GlassWire displays your network activity on an easy to understand graph while searching for unusual Internet behavior that could indicate malware or violations of your privacy. Once unusual network activity is discovered you’re instantly alerted with detailed information so you can protect your computer, privacy, and data.

Features:

Network Monitor

Visualize your current and past network activity by traffic type, application, and geographic location, on an easy to use graph. GlassWire lets you see what applications are sending out data over the Internet and shows you what hosts they are communicating with.

Internet Security

GlassWire adds extra Internet security to your computer or server by visualizing all past and present network data in an easy to understand graph. Instantly see every application or process communicating over the Internet, then dive in deeper to see who or what your computer is communicating with.

Bandwidth Usage Monitor

Keeping track of your daily, weekly, or monthly bandwidth usage is easy with GlassWire. Go to the usage tab to see what apps, traffic, or hosts are using the most bandwidth.

Internet Privacy Protection

GlassWire shows all your network activity on an easy to use graph to help protect your Internet privacy. Easily see what apps are sending out data to the Internet and what host in what country they are communicating with. When you visit a website click the graph to see every server that your computer communicated with while that web page loaded.

Remote Server Monitoring

GlassWire installs easily on servers so you can monitor their network activity on your local computer via our remote access feature. Go to GlassWire’s settings and choose “remote server” to logon to your server after you have installed GlassWire on your local computer and remote server.

Discreet Alerts

We specifically designed the GlassWire alert system so it wasn’t annoying to users. GlassWire alerts appear briefly and then disappear into the background.

Network Time Machine

Use the sliders to go back in time and analyze past network activity on the graph. Check your bandwidth usage by day, week, and month in detail with resolved hosts.

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System Explorer – System Explorer is free, awards winning software for exploration and management of System Internals. This small software includes many useful tools which help you Keep Your System Under Control. With System Explorer You get also fast access to File Database which help you to determine unwanted processes or threats. System Explorer is translated into 21 languages and is available for download in installer and portable version.

Features:

Detailed information about Tasks, Processes, Modules,

Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services,

Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.

Easy check of suspicious files via VirusTotal, Jotti

service or our File Database.

Easy monitoring of processes activities and System changes.

Usage graphs of important System resources.

Tray Hint with detailed System and Battery status

WMI Browser and System Additional Info

Multilanguage Support

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Screenshot from a personal system.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Edward Snowden story to be told at Museum of Sydney – In June 2013, US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leaked sensational details of global surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.

The Snowden files revealed a number of programs undertaken by the NSA and its UK counterpart GCHQ that enabled those agencies to collect information stored by major US technology companies, as well as intercepting data from the fibre-optic cables which make up the backbone of global phone and internet networks.

The revelations prompted a groundbreaking series of articles and an international debate about national security, individual privacy and the meaning and value of metadata. These subjects have sprung to the very centre of political debate in Australia where, on 3 September, the story of Snowdon’s extraordinary whistleblowing will be shared for the first time on a Sydney stage by one of the key journalists involved.

Guardian journalist Luke Harding, author of The Snowden Files book, will reveal to David Marr his experiences researching and writing about the Edward Snowden case, including some truly bizarre encounters with global intelligence agencies, as well discussing the implications for public interest journalism and free speech. The Guardian and the Washington Post were jointly awarded the 2014 Pulitzer prize for public service for their coverage of the NSA’s activities.

This free event at the Museum of Sydney, co-hosted by Guardian Australia and the Brisbane Writers Festival, will be a fascinating conversation about Snowden and the swirling nexus between public interest, political censorship and national security.

Those TSA scanners were literally only good for seeing you naked – The full-body X-ray scanners only retired last year amid long-standing concerns that they intruded on privacy by showing travelers naked were also riddled with security loopholes, new research claims. The TSA used the Rapiscan Secure 1000 scanner between 2009 and 2013 in airports across the US, but computer scientists have demonstrated that with a little preparation the machine could miss knives, guns, and even explosives from being smuggled onto planes.

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The primary NSA issue isn’t privacy, it’s authority – I celebrate Judge Richard J Leon’s opinion that the government’s mass collection of communications metadata is “almost Orwellian”, and I decry Judge William H Pauley III’s decision that the NSA’s collection is both effective and legally perfectly peachy.

But I worry that the judges, as well as many commentators and Edward Snowden himself, may be debating on the wrong plane. I see some danger in arguing the case as a matter of privacy because I fear that could have serious impact on our concept of knowledge, of what is allowed to be known and thus of freedom of speech. Instead, I think this is an argument about authority – not so much what government (or anyone else) is allowed to know but what government, holding unique powers, is allowed to do with what it knows.

Indeed, the Fourth Amendment, which is often called upon in this argument, is explicitly about controlling authority:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In the search for a legally protected right to privacy in the United States, begun with Brandeis and Warren in 1890, the Fourth Amendment has been interpreted as affording privacy protection as have the First Amendment (freedom of belief) and the Fifth (freedom against self-incrimination). In each case, though, the right is not so much for something – privacy – as against something – namely, government abuse.

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2 Comments

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

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 22, 2014

  1. Bill,
    Enjoying Tech Thoughts very much. Keep it up.
    Paul Lubic