Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 9, 2011

PC World: The Best Free Downloads of 2010 – If you’re looking for high-quality free software, here are some of 2010’s best-reviewed and most-popular programs from our Downloads library. From effective antimalware tools to handy utilities to media helpers, here are the top free downloads of the year.

Improve your SATA disk performance by converting from IDE to AHCI – In this Windows Quick Tip, Jack Wallen shows you how to improve the performance of a SATA hard drive using a Windows Registry tweak.

Microsoft to patch Windows, but not IE – Microsoft says it will fix three Windows holes but it is still investigating or working on fixing holes in IE that have been reportedly exploited in attacks.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Alt media player VLC cut from Apple App Store – Popular media player VLC has been pulled from Apple’s App Store at the request of one of the program’s original developers–in a move that’s caused some hard feelings in the world of open-source software. The situation involves a conflict between the General Public License, which governs VLC and many other open-source programs, and App Store policies.

The Real Cost of 4G – 4G is going to allow carriers to permit their subscribers to download data at unprecedented wireless speeds. But what is that really going to translate to in terms of cost?

10 ways to keep hard drives from failing – Hard drives are precious commodities that hold the data employees use to do their jobs, so they should be given the best of care. Inevitably, those drives will die. But you can take steps to prevent a premature hard disk death. Let’s examine 10 such steps to care for the health of your drives.

Facebook ‘Attack a Teacher Day’ invite gets girls arrested – Six girls in Nevada are arrested after one of them allegedly invites 100 kids to assault their educators. 18 allegedly accepted the Facebook invite.

Leeds man’s stolen laptop riddle – Police do not know the location of a stolen laptop – despite the burglary victim telling them where it is. (submitted by Dar)

Self-Encrypting Drives Soon To Be The Norm – Many small businesses risk enormous expense if they have to notify customers or employees of lost or compromised data. It’s one reason more and more hard drive and solid state drive products will have self-encryption capabilities built in, storage industry experts say.

Company News:


CES Photo Gallery – Hands-on look at Samsung’s new portable media players.

Maxwell Technologies snags $1.7 million for portable energy research – Surely, this is one with which we can all relate: a lighter, longer-lasting power supply type for our increasingly mobile gadgetry. That’s the intended focus of a new $1.7 million research contract awarded to ultracapacitor developer Maxwell Technologies by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Is Google Getting Better or Worse with Age? – With recent news of Google’s quality results supposedly deteriorating, what’s the takeaway? You may be surprised by the emptiness of the hype.

4G RIM PlayBook Tablet Computer Coming – RIM says it’s received much corporate interest in its new tablet device, the PlayBook, and announced that a 4G version would come out this summer, following the initial launch of a Wi-Fi-only version in March.

Off Topic (Sort of):


Magnetic north pole shift: NASA and Egyptians say this has happened before – Today’s news about the magnetic north pole shift being the cause behind the closure of an airport in Tampa, Florida happening during this period of recent mass animal deaths, has prompted a flurry of doomsday scenarios, included a theory of mass destruction, if ever the poles reversed magnetic polarity. (submitted by Dar)

Do we perceive reality? The checker shadow illusion – I recently finished Steve Pinker’s The Blank Slate (recommended!), and in one chapter was taken by his discussion about whether human senses perceive a real, external reality or whether that reality is somehow “constructed” socially or by our senses. If you’ve read the book, you know that Pinker comes down on the “it’s real” side (this solution is obvious to all but a moron*) – but not always: what we perceive as “real” is sometimes distorted by our expectations. That, of course, is the basis of optical illusions. (submitted by Michael F.)

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 is required)

Touchscreen-friendly gloves: stay warm while texting in the cold – If you’ve got your smartphone in your hand for most of the day, you know that touch screens and gloves don’t mix. But if you’re outside and just have to send that text, tweet or email – or answer a phone call — it can be a chilling experience. There are a few solutions to this problem. You could choose not to send that text, tweet or email until you’re inside – but really, who’s gonna do that? Better yet, you can buy smartphone-friendly gloves, or even make your own. (submitted by Dar)

Today’s Quote:


You talk to God, you’re religious. God talks to you, you’re psychotic.”

–   Doris Egan

Today’s Free Downloads:


Studioline Photo Basic – Studioline Photo Basic gives you an and easy way to edit your digital photos. Import from camera, scanner and all popular file formats. The image archive is a central database to conveniently categorize your images and add keywords and descriptions. (CNET 5 Star)

Game Booster – Back in the 1980s, gamers would laboriously hand-edit autoexec.bat files to squeeze every kilobyte of RAM they could from their cutting-edge 80286 boxes. Today, we have computers to do that for us. Game Booster frees you from special boot floppies, by looking for unnecessary processes (such as a tablet driver when you don’t have a tablet PC) and turning them, temporarily, off. You can easily turn them on again by exiting “Game Mode”.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 9, 2011

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 9, 2011 | Bill Mullins' Weblog – Tech Thoughts --

  2. poch

    ‘Do we perceive reality? The checker shadow illusion’

    This is great Bill. I’m an avid researcher on ‘reality’.