Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 17, 2011

Lifehacker: WTF Desktop Environments: GNOME, KDE, and More Explained – You can customize nearly every last inch of your Linux installation to fit your liking, and it starts with choosing the right desktop environment. Whether you’re a Linux beginner or you’re just looking for a new interface, here’s an overview of how desktop environments work and how to pick the right one for you.

Cop: parents should steal their kids’ Facebook passwords – Some parents are friends with their children on Facebook so they can keep an eye on things. Those that aren’t, however, should hack, steal, or do whatever it takes to get their kids’ Facebook passwords, and they should not feel guilty about it, according to a New Jersey cop.

10 Security Best Practices for USB Drives – As USB drives and devices proliferate, organizations have enjoyed higher levels of productivity. But not without consequences. USB can spread malware. In order to balance productivity with safety, Channel Insider has put together 10 important best practices that every organization should consider instituting.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Timing is Everything for New Tax Malware Scam – Tax season malware attacks are a dime a dozen, but brilliant timing makes one new threat particularly dangerous.

New Windows Zero-Day Surfaces as Researcher Releases Attack Code – A security researcher yesterday disclosed a new unpatched bug in Windows that some experts believe could be used to remotely hijack a PC. Microsoft said it is investigating the flaw, but provided no information on any analysis it’s conducted thus far.

Microsoft: AutoRun Change Not Automatic on XP – Initial announcement was incorrect: For Windows XP the update is tagged Optional, so users with default settings for Automatic Updates will not get it by default.

Microsoft continues push for infected computers to be quarantined – Microsoft Scott Charney is pushing ahead with a proposal to implement a public health model to curb the damage from botnets of malware-laden computers around the world. “If a device is known to be a danger to the Internet, the user should be notified and the device should be cleaned before it is allowed unfettered access to the Internet, minimizing the risk of the infected device contaminating other devices or otherwise disrupting legitimate Internet activities”

Mobile Tips: How to Turn a PC into a Wireless Router – Whether you’re traveling and want to share Wi-Fi access or just need to extend your wireless reach at home, a your computer can double as a virtual router. We’ll show you how.

Company News:


Overheating Apple iPad Lawsuit Dismissed: Report – The Apple iPad isn’t just like a book, or it wouldn’t overheat, three rather literal-minded plaintiffs asserted in a lawsuit that has since been thrown out.

Hulu Steps on Netflix’s Toes, Starts Streaming Movies – A rivalry between Hulu and Netflix continues to silently brew. Where the two streaming services once had distinct roles – Hulu for television, Netflix for movies – they are increasingly overlapping. To that end, Hulu just added 800 movies to its Hulu Plus subscription service, courtesy of Criterion Collection.

Identity Finder 5.0 Announced – At the RSA Conference in San Francisco on Monday, Identity Finder announced the newest version of its eponymous product, Identity Finder 5.0. Identity Finder locates unsecured private information on a computer and allows users to delete or secure what it has found. “Hackers and identity thieves continue to employ more sophisticated methods to gain access to private information for personal gain,” Identity Finder’s chief executive, Todd Feinman, said in a statement. “Identity Finder 5.0 helps organizations and individuals locate and secure old, forgotten sensitive information.”

Off Topic (Sort of):


The Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Tablet – Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom–tablet PCs are flooding the market. But does anybody need one? We give you five reasons why a tablet is a useful tool.

How to Do an Online Background Check for Free – In fact, everyone should do at least one online background check on–you guessed it–themselves. After all, if you can find out sensitive information about yourself with a little (free) online sleuthing, there’s no telling what employers, stalkers, and ex-girlfriends or -boyfriends will be able to uncover.

What Is Wrong With The U.S. Economy? Here Are 10 Economic Charts That Will Blow Your Mind – The 10 economic charts that you are about to see are completely and totally shocking. If you know anyone that still does not believe that the United States is in the midst of a long-term economic decline, just show them these charts. (submitted by Michael F.)

It’s Time to Move Away From the Build or Break Mentality – The vulnerability disclosure and patching arms race that has developed in the last decade or so in the security industry has made life extremely difficult not just for the developers writing code, but also for the folks who are interested in helping to fix broken applications. A new model and mindset is needed to help solve the problem.

Today’s Quote:


“Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until your forehead bleeds.”

–    Douglas Adams

Today’s Free Downloads:


PC Decrapifier – You buy a shiny, brand-new PC. You expect it to be clean, lean, and mean. Wrong! Buy any new PC, and you’ll find it full of “craplets”–software installed for no reason other than that the PC maker gets paid to put it there. These craplets slow down your PC startup and its general operation. Dell is particularly notorious for filling new PCs with craplets.

Sumatra PDF – Adobe Reader is a bloated, buggy piece of software that’s far more trouble than it’s worth. With the free Sumatra PDF, you can throw it away forever. Unlike Adobe Reader, it’s slim and takes up very little RAM and few system resources. It doesn’t “phone home” in search of updates. And it most likely won’t crash your system. What it will do is load PDF files very, very quickly. And it won’t cost you a penny.

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