Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 15, 2009

Lifehacker: Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2009 – We’ve featured hundreds of free Windows applications over the course of 2009 that we hoped might bolster your productivity, workflow, or your PC usefulness in one form or another. Here’s a look back at the most popular Windows downloads of the year.

Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7 – Windows 7 offers many improvements over XP and Vista, but the absence of the Quick Launch toolbar isn’t one of them. Here’s how to get it back.

Gaming in Windows 7 – One of the least-talked about parts of Windows 7–an OS we talked about a lot this year–is how it does as a gaming platform. That’s surprising, considering it actually has a lot to offer on that front. More on Windows 7, gaming and DX 11 in this report.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Visa Targeted (Again) by Zbot Phishers – The gang of malware distributors who are currently flooding the Internet with bogus Facebook “Update Tool,” CDC “H1N1 Flu Vaccination Profile,” and IRS “Tax Statement” emails and Web pages are at it again – this time, targeting Visa with a fake email alert that leads to a page hosting not only a Trojan-Backdoor-Zbot installer, but that performs a drive-by download as well.

Globalizing the Fight against a Hostile Internet – Two leading security vendors are calling for the creation of a cyber police force to combat the rising tide of cross-border attacks. How do you feel about being deputized in this international effort?

Understanding the Windows Pagefile and Why You Shouldn’t Disable It – As a tech writer, I regularly cringe at all the bad tweaking advice out there, and disabling the system pagefile is often a source of contention among geeks. Let’s examine some of the pagefile myths and debunk them once and for all.

Google’s Schmidt Roasted for Privacy Comments – An Internet privacy watchdog has blasted Google chief executive Eric Schmidt for his comments on Internet privacy, saying his remarks suggest Google misunderstands basic lessons about why privacy is important.

Mozilla Endorses Bing Over Google Privacy Issues – A Mozilla official last week pointed Firefox users to the extension that adds Microsoft’s Bing search engine to the list of the browser’s search engines after Google’s CEO downplayed consumers’ privacy concerns.

Off Topic:

Bruce Schneier’s essay on the value of privacy – We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a …….

The Learned Helplessness of Windows: Where are the Pliers? – Manufacturers make the sealed compressor of a refrigerator off limits to tinkerers like me. I respect that – it is probably easier, cheaper, and even more efficient to make it a unit rather than an assembly of replaceable parts. But Windows is a somewhat different story. Microsoft does its level best to make the OS a sealed unit, but I suspect their motive in doing so is to assure the system remains fully proprietary. (Submitted by Dar)

Marketing the 787 Dreamliner – Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner Gallery to seduce customers is imbued with nature themes and symbols. It’s all part of marketing 787 luxury to airline customers.

How to Buy a Laptop, Period – Shopping for a laptop, but completely baffled by the myriad options available on the market? We clear through the clutter to guide you to your perfect laptop. Check out our full buying guide.

Man Pleads Guilty to Smuggling 44 Rare Lizards in Underpants – According to the court record, the man had altered his underwear with eight hand-sewn compartments in order to carry 24 geckos and 20 skinks. One more lizard, the luckiest of the bunch perhaps, was later found hidden in the man’s suitcase. By the way, the flight from New Zealand to Europe is approximately 26 hours. (Insert ‘drain the lizard’ joke here.) (Submitted by Dar)

Today’s Quote:

“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity”.

–     Christopher Morley

Today’s Free Downloads: – If there’s a young child in your life expecting a letter from Santa Claus, you can lend a hand by downloading and printing one from my site, And speaking of Christmas printables, this issue of the newsletter includes a roundup of the gift tags, coloring pages, stationery, certificates and other fine printables.

Hulu Desktop Integration – Hulu Desktop is an experimental, Hulu Labs-devised app that gives you a remote-controllable interface for the TV-streaming service. Just one problem: You have no way to reach that interface from within Windows Media Center. Enter the free Hulu Desktop Integration download, which adds a Hulu Desktop icon to WMC.

LinkExtend – LinkExtend is a Firefox toolbar that displays a wide variety of information about the Web sites you visit. Whether you’re trying to protect your computer from malicious programs or your children from inappropriate content, LinkExtend can help you stay safe on the Web.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

6 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 15, 2009

  1. Kai

    I’d like to hear your opinion on Eric Schmidt’s comments. Should we be worried? Is privacy a fallacy?

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Kai,

      In September of this year, I addressed the privacy issue in an article “Personal Privacy A Dangerous Concept!”. I think you’ll find readers’ comments on this article, thought provoking.

      As always, good to hear from you. I trust you’re Blog writing is coming along.


      • Kai

        Thanks for pointing me to the article.

        As for my blog, I’d like to thank you for the interest. I’m gonna update it in the coming days (most likely, this weekend or even before).

        Writing a blog is a great challenge for me because it’s a task that requires effort, perseverance and also because it forces me to write in English, which is not my first language. As with many things in life, at first I thought it would be easier lol. I think the whole experience will be very useful for me in other fields and aspects of life.

        Back on topic, I’m still in the process of rescheduling my timetables to achieve the goal of writing 2 – 4 posts a week, which I believe is realistic. As I told Rick (on What’s on my PC), your blogs serve as inspiration for me, and your support means a lot for a beginner like me.

        I’d love to see you drop by from time to time in the future. 🙂


        • Bill Mullins

          Hey Kai,

          First – let me complement you on your fluency in English – you write better than most people I know. I’m sure this will serve you well in the future.

          Second – writing a Blog can be very time consuming, but posting 4 new articles weekly will ensure that your site will place much higher in search results.

          Third – your earlier question on Eric Schmidt’s comments prompted me to write an article on this – Googles CEOs Privacy Statement A Freudian Slip?


  2. Pingback: Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 15, 2009 « Bill Mullins … | Windows (7) Affinity

  3. dar

    Of course,there’s an Open Source workaround:
    Tin Hat: Linux with Paranoia
    ‘Tinfoil hat is useful if:
    -You’re using a computer that could have a keystroke logger installed.
    -You need to use your personal GPG keys at work, school or a web hosting facility where you don’t trust or own the equipment.
    -If you maintain a PGP Certificate Authority or signing key and have to have a safe place to use the CA key.
    -If you simply don’t want to risk putting a PGP key on a hard drive where someone else might have access to it.

    –> The Illuminati are watching your computer, and you need to use morse code to blink out your PGP messages on the numlock key.’