Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 5, 2011

Basic Windows 7 Tutorials –, which sells the Windows 7 Superguide as a DVD-ROM and as a digital download, also offers 17 video tutorials for free. If you’re having trouble adjusting to the latest version of Windows, or to computing in general, or if you know someone who’s having trouble, these tutorials are a great place to start.

Problem-Solving Sites: Convert Files, Find Deals, Get Tech Support – These immensely useful Web sites let you convert files to almost any format, find bargains on hard drives, and get remote tech support.

Laptop Helpers: TouchpadPal, BatteryBar – Solve laptop hassles with free tools that disable your touchpad while you’re typing, and keep you updated on your battery’s condition.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How You Know When It’s Time to Switch to Linux – The majority of the computing world “grows up” on Windows, of course, since Microsoft’s operating system still holds by far the largest share of the market. Not everyone stays there, however. Growing numbers, in fact, are switching to Linux every day, and for good reasons. How do you know when it’s time to switch to Linux? Here are just a few (mostly) serious signs.

Defragging: Why, How, and Whether – The short answer: Defragging isn’t vital anymore, but it’s still a good idea–unless you have a solid state drive. And Windows’ own defragger is fine.

Firefox Becomes Most-used Browser in Europe – The open-source Web browser held a 38.11 percent market share in Europe, while IE had a 37.52 percent share, according to StatCounter. The company compiles its statistics from its tracking code, which it says is used on more than 3 million websites worldwide that receive about 15 billion hits monthly.

Cloud Computing: The Executive Summary – Does computing terminology constantly befuddle you? You’re not alone. Nobody ever takes the time to explain new tech terms fully, and it seems we’re supposed to figure it all out on our own. Cloud computing is simply this: the same stuff you do with your computer, such as office tasks or storing files, except done online.

Fake Microsoft security update carries Autorun worm – There are a lot of people out there who will immediately recognize this message for what it is, since Microsoft isn’t in the habit of sending critical security patches via e-mail. But, there are also those who don’t remember such things, and might be fooled by the timing (Tuesday is the usual weekday when Microsoft issues security patches) or by the signature (the real Steve Lipner is actually a senior member of Microsoft’s security team).

Critical vulnerability in ImgBurn – A vulnerability has been discovered in ImgBurn, which can be exploited by malicious people to compromise a user’s system, according to Secunia.

Company News:


Is Google losing its fight against spam? – Once upon a time, Google was unequivocally the best and the most popular search engine in the world. But lately – in the last two years or so – people have been noticing that when searching for evaluations of and quotations for consumer items or academically-related information, it is practically impossible to find relevant search results.

QualysGuard integration with BeyondTrust PowerBroker – BeyondTrust and Qualys announced a technology partnership to integrate QualysGuard with BeyondTrust’s PowerBroker for Unix Servers. The integration will enable customers to manage user access and privileges while expanding the coverage of security scans for a more complete, accurate view of IT security and compliance.

Dell to acquire SecureWorks – Dell has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SecureWorks, a provider of information security services. SecureWorks protects information assets, improves compliance and reduces costs for organizations of all sizes.

Microsoft Blames Hotmail Outage on Server Issues – Microsoft claims the Hotmail outage affecting 17,355 users last week was caused by mailbox load balancing between servers. It also insists service is restored.

Off Topic (Sort of):


Cracked: 5 Ridiculous Gun Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks to Movies) – Even in gun-crazy America, most of us aren’t shooting things as part of our day-to-day routine. So most Americans actually know very little about guns. Hollywood writers realized this a long time ago and, being writers, used it as an excuse to never do any fact-checking ever again.

Weird Questions Google, IBM, Others Ask Job Applicants – “How do you weigh an elephant without using a weigh machine?” “How many ridges [are there] around a quarter?” The unconventional queries seem to have been designed to not only force job applicants to think outside the box, but also give potential employers a sense of their logic and mathematics skills. Here is a sampling of what companies ask to help determine the most powerful and elastic minds to hire.

The spectacle of underwater photography – Many of the most fascinating places on the Earth lie beneath the surface of the planet’s oceans, which makes for colorful photography and desktop wallpaper.

Cracked: 6 Things That Are Secretly Turning You Into A Bad Person – Most of us go through life doing our best to be morally sound, or at least well-meaning. We may fall short every once in a while, but our parents taught us right from wrong, and it’s going to take a lot to make us lose sight of that. Well, unless you run into one of the many seemingly inconsequential things that can turn you into the human embodiment of evil. It turns out none of us are safe, thanks to stuff like …

Today’s Quote:


Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”

–    H. L. Mencken

Today’s Free Downloads:


SugarSync Free – Download and install SugarSync Free on each PC, then tell the software what files and folders you want to keep synchronized. SugarSync uploads those files to your free online backup, and synchronizes them between your PCs.

HostsMan – Hosts files translate human-readable domain names–“”–to machine-readable IP addresses. HostsMan is a free yet powerful and comprehensive tool for managing, merging, updating, disabling, editing, protecting, and duplicating hosts files from a single interface. It packs some useful extras, too.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 5, 2011

  1. Jerry Chance

    Hi Bill

    Thanks once again for really informative ‘tech thoughts’. I was particularly interested in the piece on Cloud Computing. You are absolutely right with your assertion that – “Nobody ever takes the time to explain new tech terms fully, and it seems we’re supposed to figure it all out on our own”.
    No wonder novices and newcomers to computers find it all so confusing.

    Keep up the good work!


  2. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    HostsMan sounds useful so I’ve downloaded it. Anything that allows the user more control is ok in my book. Thanks for suggesting it.

    Kind regards