Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 11, 2010

CNET to the Rescue: How to tweak your relatives’ computers – This week, as we gear up for holiday travel, we have a special show on preparing to help out your less-than-geeky parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, and assorted relatives. You know they’re going to ask you for tech support. How do you talk to them? Do you fix their computer? With what tools? We’re joined today by special guest Seth Rosenblatt of, who can fill us in.

Ad-Aware Free Internet Security – Most free antivirus utilities are good at either malware removal or malware blocking, but not both. The Editors’ Choice award-winning Ad-Aware Free proved very effective in both areas, almost as effective as Ad-Aware Pro. This is a great free antivirus solution for non-commercial use.

10 pieces of hardware you should replace rather than repair – Any time a computer component stops working, or just becomes unstable — as we all know will happen from time to time — we have to decide whether to replace it, have it repaired, or just get by as is with perhaps a temporary fix.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

New Remotely Exploitable Bug Found in Internet Explorer – Another serious remotely exploitable bug in Internet Explorer has cropped up, this one related to the way that IE handles a specific DLL library on pages that reference CSS files. There also is publicly available exploit code for the new bug.

Lifehacker: Browser Speed Tests: IE 9 Beta, Firefox 4 Beta, Chrome’s Crankshaft, and Opera 11 Beta – Google’s got a new “Crankshaft” in its bleeding-edge Chrome, Internet Explorer 9 is out to prove its modern mettle, Firefox 4 is nearly complete, and Opera’s adding extensions. It’s a good time to put these browsers head to head.

MS Patch Tuesday Heads-Up: 17 Bulletins, 40 Vulnerabilities – Microsoft is planning another massive Patch Tuesday this month: 17 bulletins with fixes for 40 security vulnerabilities. The December batch of patches will cover security holes in Microsoft Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, SharePoint and Exchange, according to an advance notice posted Thursday.

Review: Easeus Todo Backup – Is it possible that a free backup solution is good enough for home and small business use? Most free backup solutions are good for backing up files and folders, but many lack the power to actually restore a system from a major catastrophe. Easeus Todo Backup attempts to break that mold by offering both file and folder backup as well as partition and disk backup so you can restore from either file loss or major disaster.

Under the Hood of Google Apps Security and Privacy – Google Apps is earning headlines for its cost savings and productivity benefits, but many have questions about its security and privacy. Get answers to these important questions directly from the team responsible at Google. (Registration required)

Company News:


Apple iOS Game Center – Apple’s social gaming hub brings a lag-free experience, achievements, matchmaking, and more to iOS devices.

Adobe Premiere Elements 9 – You could certainly do worse than Premiere Elements for your video editing needs, but its speed and usability have fallen behind that of competitors like CyberLink PowerDirector and Pinnacle Studio.

15 Key Features in Google Chrome OS for Netbooks – Dec. 7 didn’t shock anyone with the announcement that Chrome Operating System netbooks wouldn’t arrive until 2011. But that doesn’t mean that the Chrome OS update event in San Francisco didn’t come with some surprises. There was also the unveiling of Crankshaft, a new compilation infrastructure for V8, the Chrome JavaScript engine responsible for making the browser speedy.

Leading PC manufacturers dropping VGA support by 2015 – Get ready to say goodbye to analog display connectivity as several major tech companies have banded together to stop supporting LVDS in 2013 and VGA in 2015. Instead, focus will be placed on DisplayPort and HDMI connections as they support higher resolutions, more color depth, multi-display support, and stereoscopic 3-D technology.

Off Topic (Sort of):


Vaccines Did Not Save Us! Two Centuries of Official Statistics – Here are two centuries of UK, USA and Australian official death statistics which showconclusively and scientifically that modern medicine is not responsible for and played little part in substantially improved life expectancy and survival from disease in western economies. The main advances in combating disease over 200 years have been better food and clean drinking water. Improved sanitation, less overcrowded and better living conditions also contribute. This is also borne out in published peer reviewed research. (submitted by Dar)

Facebook, Twitter Risky for Business – Businesses need to make their people aware of the risks, policies and acceptable behaviors when using social media, an Ernst & Young report cautions.

London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests – Social media has been a major conduit to organising student protests in opposition to the UK government’s plan to raise university tuition fees. One student leader explained how.

Military bans disks after Wikileaks; Should you? – In the Wikileaks aftermath, the military has reportedly banned disks and USB drives and threw in the threat of a court martial for good measure. Should you do the same for your corporate network?

Today’s Quote:


I look at what the phone company does and do the opposite.”

–    Craig Newmark

Today’s Free Downloads:


Calendar Magic – Calendar Magic is very easy to set up and use; all you really need to remember is the Main Screen button, which returns you to the program’s compact, customizable interface.

Microsoft Security Essentials – Standalone antivirus product Microsoft Security Essentials has caused a stir, as might be expected when the words “Microsoft” and “free” are involved. In a post on the day of its launch, I referenced AV-Test performance results from a MSE beta. We now have new results from tests conducted against the final product, and overall MSE looks good:

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