Monthly Archives: October 2011

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 31, 2011

Sorry, Dropbox, I still don’t trust you – Last summer, I deleted my Dropbox account after the company admitted to a horrifying security breach. This week, I reluctantly opened a new Dropbox account.

Three Surprising Things About Hard Drive Defragging – If you’re still thinking about your hard drive in Windows XP terms, it’s time to learn how Windows 7 handles the not-so-big-deal that is defragmentation.

Editor’s Collection – Free Halloween Fun: Themes, Screen Savers, and Fonts to Ward Off the Holidays – It’s that time of the year again, when days get short, nights get long, and Christmas seems just over the horizon. Perhaps Halloween is Nature’s way of slowing the inevitable slide to the holidays.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook Adds Security Tools to Protect User Accounts From Hacker Takeovers – Two new security features, App Passwords and Trusted Friends are designed to help Facebook users regain control over their accounts even if they are compromised and protect themselves from malicious third-party apps

This Is Lifehacker’s Evil Episode: Lock Picking, Flight Hacking, Geo-Stalking, and More – It’s Halloween, and we’re finishing off last week’s week of evil fun with our Evil episode of the Lifehacker show. We’re picking locks, geo-stalking, enjoying better flights, and more.

Graphics Cards: Choose the Best Board for Your Budget – Shopping for a graphics card? You have a lot to pick from. We tested the cream of the crop from AMD and Nvidia to help you find a graphics card that fits your needs.

Combating Halloween malware threats – Scammers and malware writers take advantage of this period to trick unsuspecting members of the public with rogue apps, attachments, search engine poisoning and ad scams that divert those clicking on search results towards sites infected with malware or peddling fake apps that will compromise a PC.

The trouble with Bing – Takeaway: With one simple example, Bing shows why it is not ready to overtake Google.

Anonymous Takes On Mexican Drug Cartel – The hacker collective that has targeted business and government agencies that displease it now threatens Los Zetas with a security breach.

Data breaches cause lasting reputation damage – Reports of data breaches affecting some of today’s largest companies continue to grab the headlines of prominent news outlets nationwide. The damage experienced by a company after a data breach has lasting negative effects on brand equity and reputation.

Company News:

Nintendo Posts Disappointing Wii, 3DS Sales – Nintendo lost nearly a billion dollars in the last six months, on the back of lowest ever sales for the Wii console and disappointing 3DS handheld sales.

Report: Samsung Passes Apple to Become Top Smartphone Maker – Apple’s reign at the top of the smartphone heap lasted just one quarter as Samsung moved past the iPhone maker to claim the top spot in smartphone shipments for the third quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

Google Announces Long-Awaited Update to Google TV – Google said Friday that is preparing to push its “Honeycomb” update to Google TV devices, pairing it with apps from the Android Market and improved interfaces.

If HP/ARM rumors are true, AMD might be the big loser – With the rumor mill expecting Calxeda’s announcement on November 1 to be that HP will be utilizing their ARM-based server technology to deliver highly energy efficient servers suitable for web serving and similar tasks, most punditry has expressed the opinion that this is a shot across Intel’s bow. But if you take a step back you will realize that AMD, who has always positioned their server products as less expensive and more energy efficient, while delivering almost as much performance as Intel, is stuck squarely in the middle of this potential fight.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Lifehacker: How to Ditch Big Brother and Disappear Forever – So you’ve decided you want to drop off the map and leave Big Brother behind. It’s harder than ever in our always-connected world, but if you’re ready to plan your big vanishing act, here are a few tips to get you started.

Smartphone Camera Shootout – Can your phone’s camera replace your point-and-shoot? We tested four top smartphone cameras on speed and image sharpness to find out.

A decade’s worth of Windows mistakes that changed Microsoft (for better and worse) – Anyone who worked at Microsoft in the first decade of the 21st Century knows the company made many missteps and wrong turns.

Four Virtual Assistants Tackle Real-World Business Tasks – Think of virtual assistants as old-school secretaries, except that they can’t drop off and retrieve your dry cleaning or take your vehicle to the car wash because they live 7000 miles away. That’s a shame, because following our tests of four such services, we’d feel a lot more comfortable handing over our dirty clothes to these operations than entrusting critical business tasks to them.

Today’s Quote:

Trouble is only opportunity in work clothes.”

–    Henry J. Kaiser

Today’s Free Downloads:

NoScript – Javascript is a very useful type of Web programming, but many online attacks exploit it. Use this plug-in to block sites from running JavaScript in Firefox until you explicitly say it’s okay. You can give one-visit or permanent approval for the sites you trust.

KeePass (2.x) – KeePass solves an increasingly important dilemma: How to keep track of all of your passwords, whether they be for email services, Web sites, bank accounts, or what have you. Increasingly, we are inundated with passwords, with no easy way to keep track of them. KeePass does the job neatly.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 28, 2011

Windows XP: Pros and Cons of Not Upgrading – Microsoft plans to support Windows XP Service Pack 3 until April 8, 2014, which means XP users have 30 months left before they’re on their own.

Security researcher finds major security flaw in Facebook – A security researcher has discovered a major security hole affecting the most popular social networking site, Facebook. Basically, the researcher found a way to upload executable files — such as those most commonly used by malicious software — on the social network site for potential sharing. Needless to say that the potential for abuse by malicious attackers is pretty evident.

Facebook account hijacked? Get a little help from your friends – Social network to let you set passwords for apps on Facebook and enlist friends to help log into blocked accounts.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Lifehacker: Kick Other Devices off a Wi-Fi Network with WiFiKill on Android – The app works only with rooted phones and works, similarly to FaceNiff, by spoofing ARP replies to trick other devices on the network into thinking your Android phone is the router. WiFiKill then drops all their network packets. To the victims, it still appears as if they are connected to the network, but the internet just appears to have stalled.

The HDTV Has HDMI, but the PC Does Not – Mikeybud wants to connect a PC to his HDTV, but the PC lacks an HDMI port.

DIY: Free tools for removing malicious software – Fighting the malware battle really hurts when you’re spending a good deal of your IT budget (if you even have an IT budget) on software to protect machines from attacks. Here’s how to do it for free.

Clean up the open with list in Windows Explorer – Your Open With list can get cluttered with applications that don’t match the file they are associated with. Mark Kaelin shows you how to fix that.

Firefox partners with The Evil Empire – Mozilla, has joined up with Microsoft to make a special version of Firefox that uses the Bing for its default search engine and home page.

Company News:

HP: We’re keeping the PC unit – HP said it will keep its personal systems group and that it will continue to sell PCs. The company added that its strategic review indicated that the supply chain and procurement hit was too much. Meanwhile, HP’s PC unit performs well.

Endpoint Protector 4 released – Offering enhanced protection, increased effectiveness and the fastest implementation time in its segment, the out-of-the-box Hardware and Virtual Appliance is now available for small, medium and large companies and organizations.

Websense introduces URL categories and social web controls – Websense introduced URL categories and social web controls that enable IT managers to better regulate specific employee actions, reduce exposure to dangerous data-stealing attacks and command-and-control call-home traffic, while preserving bandwidth.

National-scale iris and fingerprint identification – The software includes a larger database capacity, enhanced fault tolerance and a new matching algorithm that provides even greater accuracy, with extremely fast matching speeds of up to 100 million fingerprints per second – with a tolerance of 360 degrees of fingerprint rotation – and up to 200 million irises per second.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Man Carves Smartphone Dock into Prosthetic Arm – After being turned down by Apple, the British caterer worked with Nokia to design a dock that can go everywhere.

The Life and Times of Windows XP – Nobody would have been prescient enough to predict that Windows XP would be flourishing so many years after its debut. Not Microsoft. Not consumers and businesses. Not the analysts who get paid to know where technology is going. And certainly not me.

Hackers attacked U.S. government satellites – Two U.S. satellites have been tampered with by hackers – possibly Chinese ones – in 2007 and 2008, claims a soon-to-be released report by the the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

More Americans warming up to mobile banking (survey) – Approximately 12.7 million U.S. mobile users used their personal devices for checking up on banking information by the end of June 2011 — a 45 percent increase from more than 8.7 million during Q4 2010, according to a new survey from comScore.

Today’s Quote:

Only the mediocre are always at their best.”

–    Jean Giraudoux

Today’s Free Downloads:

Happy Halloween Windows 7 Theme – Does your home look like it’s been attacked by giant spiders? Do you have ghosts in your windows and grinning pumpkins on your front porch? Don’t leave your computer out of the fun. Load up the Happy Halloween Windows 7 theme and enjoy zombie Jack-o-lanterns, haunted wanderers, lovelorn skeletons, and more.

Sandboxie Beta – Tired of dealing with rogue software, spyware and malware? Worried about clicking unfamiliar Web links? Sandboxie runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 27, 2011

Top 10 Windows 7 desktop gadgets – Windows 7 gadgets offer added functionality and convenience in a variety of ways. Here are a few you may want to add to your desktop.

Lifehacker: A Guide to Sniffing Out Passwords and Cookies (and How to Protect Yourself Against It) – Roughly one year ago, a tool called Firesheep introduced a lot of us to just how easily another person on the same network as you can snoop on your browsing session and even masquerade as you on sites that require a login, like, perhaps most notably, Facebook. Here’s a closer look at how network snooping works and how to protect yourself from it.

Utility Check: Control Multiple PCs on Your Desk – Want to save cost and clutter? We look at three network utilities that let you control multiple computers from a single keyboard and mouse.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Doles Out Over $26K for Chrome 15 Security Flaws – Google Oct. 25 paid out over $26,000 to security researchers who found 18 flaws in Chrome 15, including several high-risk issues. Chrome 15 includes a new New Tab page, too.

Update apps, get malware – From the “Wow that’s cool, hope it doesn’t happen to me” files comes news that F-Secure has discovered an Android application that will update itself and install malware known as DroidKungFu.

How to Buy an MP3 Player – Getting an iPod might seem like a no-brainer, but there are still some high-quality non-Apple MP3 players out there. Here’s how to find the perfect portable media device at the right price.

Naked Emma Watson video leads to malware – Fake videos or pictures of naked international celebrities are often used as lures in schemes to propagate malware. The latest of these videos purportedly features popular English actress Emma Watson and users from various websites are redirected to a very expertly made fake YouTube pages where the video is supposedly hosted, complete with comments, “Like” and “Share” buttons and related videos on its right.

Report: Hacks From China Shuttered UK Firm, Cost Economy $43 billion – The head of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Cyber Security Program says that targeted attacks have already caused the premature demise of a UK wind turbine maker, and has cost the country $43 billion in lost economic growth already.

Top Government Security Officials Call For Secure OS Development – One of the keys to addressing the widespread security threats facing both private and government networks is to develop more secure operating systems from the ground up and not rely on trying to secure existing ones, top CIA and Pentagon information assurance officials said.

Company News:

Nokia Lumia Windows Phones Make World Debut – The high-end Nokia Lumia 800 packs some powerful hardware, including a 1.4GHz processor, hardware acceleration and graphics processor and an 8-megapixel camera. Meanwhile, the less expensive Lumia 710 is a “no-nonsense smartphone” is designed for instant social and image sharing. Get a closer look from the London Nokia World event.

Citrix delivers apps to any user on any device – Citrix announced the next stage of its strategy for Citrix CloudGateway, the unified service broker that aggregates, controls and delivers Windows, web, SaaS and mobile apps to any user on any device.

Walmart sells Samsung 4G phone for $30 plus contract, $200 without – T-Mobile announced the Samsung Exhibit II 4G, a 3.7-inch Android 2.3 smartphone selling for just $30 with a two-year contract or $200 without, making it the first no-contract 4G smartphone to be sold at most Walmart stores. Meanwhile, eWEEK reviewed T-Mobile’s version of the Samsung Galaxy S II, finding it to be on par with the Sprint and AT T versions but priced $30 higher.

First public cloud to support Solaris – CloudSigma announced the addition of Solaris to its cloud platform, making it the first major public cloud to support Solaris. Solaris supports more than 11,000 third-party enterprise applications across a wide range of industries and was engineered specifically for cloud environments.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Netflix CEO shows us the fastest way to end a successful career – Many great companies have been brought down by the power of an arrogant leader. In this article executive leadership coach John M McKee discusses Netflix and its leader.

Google Gets Nearly 6,000 Data Requests From Uncle Sam – Google Oct. 25 revealed that the U.S. government made a stunning 5,950 requests for data on Google user accounts or products from Jan. 1 to June 30 this year, a 29 percent hike from the previous six months. For perspective, the U.S. government issued more than three times as many requests for information, mostly concerning criminal matters, than India, whose government made 1,739 queries for data. Google said the increase is natural, as the company adds more Web services and users as time goes on.

What happened to going paperless? – Remember that quaint idea for offices to go paperless? What can we learn from this failed technology revolution?

The 10 most important things to teach your Word users – Sharing these tips and precautions with your Word users will help them become more confident and proficient — which is a win for everyone (including you).

Today’s Quote:

The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.”

–      George Eliot

Today’s Free Downloads:

360Amigo System Speedup Free – Think your PC is slow? 360Amigo System Speedup can quickly identify and fix a wide range of errors and speeds up your slow PC. Both beginners and experienced users will enjoy the available features and options.

Comodo BackUp – Comodo BackUp is the straightforward and powerful utility that allows users to quickly and easily create backup copies of critical data. Protect yourself against ever losing those critical files that took hours to create. Schedule backups to run automatically at a time that suits you.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 26, 2011

How to Optimize Your Windows PC for Free – Here are a few practical tips for improving your computer’s performance by using stock Windows utilities and a few programs you can download for free. Though the associated articles assume that you’re running the latest version of Windows 7, many of them work just as well on older copies of Windows 7, Windows Vista, and even Windows XP.

The 35 Best Free Apple iPhone Apps – Apps are what transform the iPhone from mobile phone to pocket PC. Without them, you might as well be carrying around that old flip phone you had in 2004 that could play an 8-bit knock off version of Tetris. If there’s an app that makes owning the iPhone more worthwhile, we find out about it. And if they’re free—hey, even better.

Android 4.0: Eight new features that actually matter – While Google showed off plenty of the improvements were just eye candy, here’s my list of eight new features in Ice Cream Sandwich that will actually be quite useful.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

“So i googled your name…” Twitter phishing scam – The message is sent from a compromised account belonging to the target’s circle of followers, lending it at least a hint of legitimacy and raising the chances of the link being followed. As predicted, the link takes the user to a rather legitimate-looking – but fake – Twitter login page. Careful users will check the URL in the address bar, find that it isn’t situated on the domain (but, as in this case, on and close the page without giving up their login credentials.

Bend the Rules: Sync Android With iTunes, Text on PC, Keep E-Books Longer – Who says you can’t easily use an Android device with Apple iTunes, send and receive free text messages on a PC, and keep a borrowed e-book longer than two weeks?

RSA Attackers May Have Hit 760 Other Organizations With Similar Malware – Security professionals believe the attack on RSA Security was not an isolated event and that several hundred other companies around the world were hit by similar incidents.

Tsunami, a new backdoor for Mac OS X – Malware authors have taken an old piece of malware developed for Linux and have modified it to attack the Mac OS X platform, warns ESET. The OS X malware has been named Tsunami after the original, and the name hints at its main function: roping the targeted computer into a botnet for executing Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

Infected MyBB release package offered for download – The development team of MyBB (MyBulletinBoard), a popular PHP and MySQL-based free forum package, warned its users about the fact that its latest version available for download on the project’s site has been modified to include code that shouldn’t be there.

Company News:

Microsoft to Windows XP: Please Die, Already – Microsoft is eager for Windows XP, its 10-year-old operating system, to fade into computing history. The sooner the better, in fact. But for that to happen, the Redmond company needs millions of XP users to drop creaky, old XP and migrate (hopefully) to Windows 7, or even to Windows 8, which won’t arrive until next year.

Netflix Loses 800,000 Subscribers Over Price Hikes – Not surprisingly, recent Netflix price hikes took their toll, with approximately 800,000 angry customers dropping the service in recent months, the company revealed today.

5 Big Obstacles Standing in the Way of a Real Apple TV – In light of Steve Jobs’ comments to Walter Isaacson in his new biography, it’s pretty clear that Apple has a TV in the works. Although the company has already has its Apple TV streaming box (the “hockey puck”), Jobs said he wanted to re-invent the TV itself with a new, simple user interface. He even told Isaacson that he had finally “cracked” it.

Citrix Launches Virtual Desktop in a Box for SMBs – Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is an increasingly popular technology that enables companies to run their user desktops as a virtual machine. So instead of requiring a fully unique operating system to be installed on each and every machine in a small business, VDI enables a more agile, rapid and centralized approach to desktop management and deployment.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Steve Jobs Exposed: Confessions of a Tech Legend – Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Steve Jobs is the product of dozens of interviews with the Apple CEO, who died earlier this month. It is an exhaustive volume, covering topics as diverse as Jobs’ long-term battle with cancer, attempts to revive Apple in the late 1990s and unvarnished opinions on rivals such as Google and Microsoft and allies. We take a look at some new revelations that the book brings to light.

A Human-like Walking Robot that Requires No Power Source – Yeah, you heard right. Researchers at the Nagoya Institute of Technology in Japan have developed BlueBiped, a set of robot legs that are propelled by their own weight. ET’s Sebastian Anthony walks you through this amazing invention (pun intended, of course).

Wash Your Hands: ATMs Are Germ Havens – A swab test conducted in six U.S. cities of 10 items commonly found in public places showed high levels of a type of germs that cause the common cold.

Infographic: Most Tablet Users Are Educated, Employed, Not Young – Tablet users are educated, employed, and earning money but are not necessarily young, according to new data. At this point, 11 percent of Americans have a tablet device and 77 percent of them use it daily. Approximately 46 percent are in the 30 to 49 age bracket, however, and they are serious about their news, according to an infographic produced by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Economist Group.

Today’s Quote:

The follies which a man regrets most, in his life, are those which he didn’t commit when he had the opportunity.”

–     Helen Rowland

Today’s Free Downloads:

iCopy – When you’re setting up a home office, chances are your budget doesn’t include springing for a photocopier. But it may include a scanner and a printer. If so, an open source utility called iCopy can help you get the copy machine you’ve always wanted.

Advanced SystemCare 5 Beta 3.0 – Advanced SystemCare Free is a comprehensive PC care utility that takes an one-click approach to help protect, repair and optimize your computer. Advanced SystemCare is a very useful system tweak application. This is the last beta before final release.

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21,000 Free Printable Documents and Templates At

imageKevin Savetz is into free with his remarkable web site. Amazingly, there are 80 sites in the Free Printable network offering you, free of charge, over 21,000 printable documents and templates.

Note: Some premium printables will incur a charge.

There are so many freebies available on this site, that it would take page after page just to list them – so take a look at just some of the sample offerings in the graphics below.

Click on a graphic to increase the size to make viewing easier. Better yet, if your Internet browser has a Zoom feature, crank it up!

Free Printables 1

Free Printables 3 Free Printables 2

Before you begin downloading, checkout the FAQ page where you will find instruction for getting the best out of Kevin’s printable documents and templates.

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Filed under Arts and Crafts, Communication, Free Documents and Templates, Freeware

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 25, 2011

Five types of apps you should install on every new Windows desktop – Windows includes numerous apps that are designed to fill basic needs, but there is little denying that such applets are often inadequate. As a result, organizations rarely provide users with a default Windows installation. Usually, additional applications are installed along with Windows. Here are five kinds of apps you might consider including in your Windows deployment images.

Mac malware evolves – time for Apple owners to wake up – Mac users have once again been reminded not to be complacent about the malware threat, with the discovery that cybercriminals have enhanced an existing Trojan horse to disable the rudimentary anti-virus protection Apple has built into Mac OS X.

Facebook Lottery scam emails making rounds – Offline crooks have had a lot of success with the bogus lottery winning letter scam, so it should come as no surprise it is often “translated” into an email and spammed out to unsuspecting targets. The latest version of this online scam aims to trick users into thinking that they have won a prize through a bogus “Facebook Lottery”.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Does Your Business Have a Cyber Plan? New Tool Can Help – The FCC today announced its Small Biz Cyber Planner, a new online tool intended to help small businesses create effective cyber plans.

New mass SQL injection attack making rounds – Again a mass SQL injection attack is making its rounds on the web – this one called jjghui referring to the website it redirects traffic to. So far, a Google search shows 180,000 pages have already been infiltrated by this attack. This attack seems to be targeting smaller sites that lack personnel with the skills and security awareness of larger and more well-known sites.

Personal info of 9 million Israelis stolen, available online – Personal information of some 9 million Israelis (alive and deceased) has been stolen by a contractor working for the country’s Ministry of Labor and Welfare with the intent of selling it to the highest bidder, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Increase iPad Productivity with Dropbox – Simple to use and extremely useful, the free file synchronization app and service Dropbox will keep all your files in step. You can’t move files between folders, but it’s still a very capable app. If you use an iPad for business, Dropbox is a must-have.

Create an Online Store With Shopify – Shopify takes you step-by-step through setting up your very own online store, including credit card processing, inventory management, and more.

Company News:

Microsoft Pushes Skype for Business – Microsoft has said that it is in the process of integrating Skype, the free communication tool for VoIP audio and video calls, across many of its business communications platforms, even as those platforms helped drive record revenues. The company is in the process of integrating Skype into Lync, Windows Phone, and other consumer-focused platforms too.

T-Mobile announces HTC Radar 4G coming 2 November for $99.99 – T-Mobile revealed some release details for their upcoming HTC Radar 4G Windows Phone 7.5 device on their Twitter account. The HTC Radar 4G will be released on 2 November for $99.99 with a 2-year contract. Generally a device with this subsidized cost comes in at about $399.99 with no contract.

Oracle acquires RightNow for $1.5 billion, aims turrets at – Oracle is jumping into the cloud customer service game via its acquisition of RightNow. The deal is aimed at the heart of

GFI Software reaches into the cloud with Monitis acquisition – GFI Software has acquired Monitis, a provider of cloud-based network and systems monitoring solutions. This acquisition further strengthens GFI’s ability to provide affordable end-to-end systems monitoring for SMBs and to be a one-stop shop for managing heterogeneous IT infrastructures, be they on-premise, hosted or in the cloud.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Top 5 Hacker Fails: Exploits Gone Bad – Taunting tweets, provocative pics, iPad-spam chats — stupid slip-ups lead to high-profile hacker arrests.

Ten Commandments of Office Etiquette – Proper office etiquette often comes down to common sense and common courtesy, but people still have questions.

The global population will reach 7 billion this month; here are 7 things you didn’t know – To commemorate (or perhaps caution against?) the event, the United Nations Population Fund unveiled a new public website called 7 Billion Actions that gives the UN, local governments, economists and NGOs access to data predicting population growth over time.

Wikileaks suspends publication of secrets amid ‘financial blockade’ – Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, said today that the organisation would cease publication of secrets to focus on lifting the “financial blockade” by major U.S. banks.

Today’s Quote:

In great affairs men show themselves as they wish to be seen; in small things they show themselves as they are.”

–      Nicholas Chamfort

Today’s Free Downloads:

Halloween printables – ( featuring 80-plus Halloween signs, cards, coloring pages, and puzzles, there are hundreds more spooky printables on the other sites.

CloudMagic – CloudMagic’s lightning-fast search tool impresses me: I like its speed, I like its layout, and I like the feature added to its latest version: Twitter search. This browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox still searches your Gmail, Google Apps Email, Google Docs, Google Calendars, Google Contacts accounts, too.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24, 2011

Control Windows 7 with your voice – Voice commands aren’t just for smartphone users; they’re for PC users, too. We’ll show you how to use speech recognition so you can launch programs, dictate text, scroll Web pages, and more, all by voice.

Microsoft’s YouTube channel hacked – Videos on the software giant’s page have been replaced with solicitations for sponsorships.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S vs. Droid RAZR: Smartphone Battle Royale – Google’s Galaxy Nexus is the latest addition to this year’s hot smartphone line-up, alongside the iPhone 4S and the Droid RAZR. Unveiled last night, the Galaxy Nexus, manufactured by Samsung, embodies Google’s idea of the perfect smartphone, together with the brand-new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich mobile OS. But does the Galaxy Nexus stand a chance against Apple’s iPhone 4S, which is currently selling like hot cakes, or the skinny Droid RAZR, also unveiled this week?

A-Google-A-Day Is Google’s New Scavenger-hunt Game – A Google A Day is a scavenger hunt type of game which poses questions that you are invited to try to answer using Google’s search engine. It appears that the purpose of the game is to get people to familiarize themselves with some of the lesser utilized features of the Google search engine like the search engine’s ability to translate languages, for instance. The questions are designed in such a way that you will not be able to answer them in one query. Instead, you’ll usually have to use information you learn from your initial query to make another Google search and sometimes use that information to make yet another search.

10 Features of Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich – Google’s Android 4.0–better known as Ice Cream Sandwich–has the usual smorgasbord of new features; we’ve selected the ten most delicious features.

10 Windows 8 Security Threats to Expect – Even though Windows 8 is more than a year away, Microsoft recently touted the new operating system’s security upgrades that include improvements to Windows Defender, Internet Explorer and the OS’ kernel. But given Microsoft’s history, perhaps it’s not such a good idea to get too excited. We take a look at what kind of security holes Windows 8 users should watch out for once the new operating system launches next year.

10 reasons to be wary of Google in business – Google caters well to consumers, but it falls short of meeting the business needs of larger organizations. Here are the biggest areas of concern.

Company News:

China’s Alibaba Sets up Fund to Back Mobile OS – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is readying the next update of its mobile operating system as a company subsidiary launched a new fund to support app development for the OS. In July, subsidiary Alibaba Cloud Computing unveiled its Aliyun OS, a Linux-based operating system aimed at helping the e-commerce giant promote its products in China.

Facebook Launches HTML5 Resource Center – Facebook has opened a new HTML5 Resource Center to help developers build, test and distribute HTML5 apps. The center is available as a resource to all HTML5 developers.

Cisco Launches Multi-Tenant Cloud Virtual Firewall Appliance – Cisco rolled out new network switches, including a new firewall product, to expand its data center portfolio with virtual security offerings.

Synnex to Help VARs Capture the Cloud – Synnex is getting into the cloud-computing space with CloudSolv, a portal designed to simplify and streamline your efforts to create, build and grow your cloud businesses.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Steve Jobs on Bill Gates: ‘Basically Unimaginative’ – In the upcoming biography of Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder comments about his chief rival.”Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas,” Jobs is quoted as saying.

10 cool technologies to look for in your next PC – Impressive new technologies are revolutionizing PC performance, but should you buy now or wait for more improvements? These details will help you decide.

Microsoft’s OmniTouch turns any surface into a touchscreen (photos) – Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University have shown off technology that can turn any surface into a touchscreen.

What If Steve Jobs Is Right? – According to leaked excerpts from the Steve Jobs biography which will be officially released tomorrow, Jobs is quoted saying, “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” Jobs is also credited with stating, “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong.”

Today’s Quote:

An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.”

–     Sydney J. Harris

Today’s Free Downloads:

System Explorer 3.5.2 – System Explorer is free, award winning software for exploration and management of System Internals. This small software includes many useful tools which help you Keep Your System Under Control. With System Explorer You get also fast access to File Database which help you to determine unwanted processes or threats. System Explorer is translated into 21 languages and is available for download in installer and portable version.

Windows Firewall Control – Windows Firewall Control is a small and easy to use application that runs in your system tray and provides quick access to the most frequent options used from Windows Firewall.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 23, 2011

How to Repair a Faulty Windows Installation Without Reformatting – Nothing will put a crimp in your computing style quite like a Windows error. Although Microsoft’s OS has gotten exponentially more stable over the years, it’s still very possible for Windows system files to become corrupt. When you encounter a Windows error, your first instinct may be to back up your data, grab the ol’ installation disk, and weep silently as you press the Reformat button. We’re here to tell you there’s another way.

BlueStacks App Player – Are you thinking about buying an Android…but want to try out the smart phone’s apps first? Or maybe you already have an Android phone and want to run your favorite apps on a larger PC monitor. BlueStacks App Player, now in alpha, lets you do both of these things on a Windows PC.

Match your browser to your bandwidth on Android – Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get the best browsing experience based on your connection speed? Now you can with one small and simple app.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Hacker Collective Anonymous Strikes at Child Porn Sites – The group takes credit for shutting down more than 40 websites used for sharing child porn, and says it exposed information about more than 1500 users of the sites.

Hard drives could get scarce: Apple, analysts – The hard disk drive is a component that has always been in plentiful supply. But that could change over the next few months if conditions worsen in Thailand.

Police data leaked as cop confab kicks off – Hacking collective Anonymous says it has once again leaked sensitive law enforcement information, in time for the National Day of Action Against Police Brutality as well as the opening of the annual conference of The International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Cool Site of the Week: Encyclopedia of Life – As of 2010, scientists have managed to find and catalog 1.7 million different species of life. Sounds like a lot, right? Not when you consider that the very same lab geeks feel it’s possible that there may still be another five million species out there that we haven’t stumbled across yet. Before depriving anymore of those lifeforms of their habitats for the sake of a new strip mall or a few rolls of toilet paper, maybe we’d do well to get to know them a little bit better (you know, just in case the planet finally decides to rise up and rebel against us). To this end, we’re declaring Encyclopedia of Life our Cool Site of the Week.

Can iPhone spy on you as you type on different device? – Computer scientists at Georgia Tech report that they figured out how to get an iPhone 4 to correctly decipher sentences typed on a nearby keyboard with up to 80 percent accuracy. The solution? Don’t keep your phone close to your computer

World’s Most Sophisticated Rootkit Is Being Overhauled – Security experts warn that TDL4, one of the most sophisticated pieces of malware in the world, is being rewritten and improved.

Company News:

McAfee Talks DeepSAFE, Intros Channel Initiatives – McAfee used its SecurityAlliance Partner Summit to showcase its first product co-developed with Intel — DeepSAFE — and to provide details about some new channel initiatives.

Google exploring Yahoo buy? – The search site and advertising purveyor has talked to at least two private-equity firms about helping them bankroll a deal to buy Yahoo’s core business, says The Wall Street Journal, which cites “a person familiar with the matter.”

Sony reportedly developing PS4 games – New rumor follows an earlier report confirming the existence of a PlayStation 4 by Sony’s own executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Research: Web porn stops men from performing – Studies show that Internet porn images are so desensitizing that many men in their 20s believe low libido is “normal.”

10 Ways Microsoft Makes Google Look Bad – Whenever there is talk of Google, the company’s supporters cheer the fact that they believe the search giant is making Microsoft look bad. They point to the firm’s dominance in search, its control of the advertising market, and its ability to succeed in the mobile space with Android as proof of that. And they hold no punches back when they say that Microsoft simply doesn’t have what it takes to compete on the same level as Google any longer.

15 years of, the original app store – Nostalgia and software usually go together like spray cheese and sushi. But today we’ve got a good reason to look back: it’s the 15th anniversary of

iPod at 10: Game changer shows age – As the iPod hits a decade this weekend, the device that rocketed Apple into massive profits and popularity has taken a back seat to the company’s newer products.

Today’s Quote:

One of the hardest tasks of leadership is understanding that you are not what you are, but what you’re perceived to be by others.”

–      Edward L. Flom

Today’s Free Downloads:

Amazifier – Amazifier is an easy tool for jazzing up your digital pictures. It can resize images, correct red-eye, and add frames, stickers, text, and other effects, but its unique interface makes for a user-friendly experience. We tested the freeware version; a premium upgrade adds more features. If you’re new to photo-editing tools or feel intimidated by Filters, Layers, and Gammas, Amazifier could be just what you’re looking for.

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition 5.0.4076 – With Macrium Reflect Free Edition you’ll be able to easily make an accurate and reliable image of your HDD or individual partitions. Using this image you can restore the entire disk, partition or individual files and folders in the event of a partial or complete system loss.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 22, 2011

How To Share Big Files Over the Internet the Fast, Easy and Free Way – The Internet has been around for decades now, and even though we all use it every day, the simple act of sending an electronic file to a friend isn’t always so simple. We’ve grown accustomed to e-mail and instant messengers, which work well for sending small handfuls of small files to small groups of people. As soon as you start trying to send anything en masse there are a lot of roadblocks. So what exactly is the best way to send a large file, or a lot of files, or—dare we say—a lot of large files?

Beware of Orbitz and ‘deceptive’ practices – Orbitz, the beleaguered service that aggregates air and hotel fare so users can compare prices via the Web, has again been caught trying to dupe customers.

Skype can be used to tie users to illegal download activity – A team of researchers has proved that it is possible to determine the IP address of a user and tie it with his Internet use, and even correlate this information to his file-sharing activity with high accuracy, by taking advantage of a privacy hole in Skype.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook Ireland accused of compiling ‘shadow profiles’ – Irish Data Protection Commissioner is reportedly launching an investigation of Facebook for allegedly extracting data from current users–without their consent or knowledge–and building profiles on people who haven’t even signed on for the service.

Small businesses, beware the Office 365 fine print – If you sign your small business up with Office 365, make sure you read the fine print carefully. An obscure clause in the terms of service limits the number of recipients you’re allowed to contact in a day. As one reader discovered, the effect can be very bad for business.

Java update plugs 20 critical security holes – The patch, which provides a fix for the SSL Beast attack, comes at a time when anti-malware vendors are reporting an “unprecedented wave” of exploits against vulnerabilities in Java.

Gmail Redesign Fixes Annoyances, But Adds a Pesky Ad – The upcoming Gmail redesign looks good at a glance, but upon closer inspection there maybe one annoying new feature – more ads.

Silk: EFF approved – Despite initial eyebrow-raising, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says it’s resolved most of its issues with Amazon’s coming Silk browser.

Bloody photos of Gaddafi used as bait in malware-laden email run – As predicted, the violent death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi has been taken advantage of by cyber criminals in order to trick gore-hungry users into downloading malware.

Nasdaq attackers spied on companies – Sources familiar with the investigation have come forward and revealed that the hackers did more than just scouting – they have actually installed malicious software that allowed them to spy on communications between executives and board members of publicly held companies and peek into documents exchanged via Directors Desk, a Web-based management suite for Boards of Directors.

Company News:

Microsoft accused of Windows Phone tracking ‘cover-up’ – The class-action lawsuit over the Windows Phone camera app tracking scandal has been updated by the plaintiff, who now claims that Microsoft has tried to ‘cover-up’ the issue.

IBM Intros New Servers, Storage for Analytics, Cloud, Virtualization – IBM’s rollout of 55 new and enhanced server and storage technologies is aimed at helping organizations better manage and leverage the massive amounts of date they’re generating.

AT&T Activates 1 Million iPhone 4S Smartphones – AT&T said today that it has activated one million iPhone 4S devices as of Tuesday, making the launch of the next-generation Apple smartphone the carrier’s most successful iPhone launch in AT&T history.

How Much Does it Cost to Make the iPhone 4S? – Apple is charging between $199 and $399 for its new iPhone 4S, but how much does it cost to make?

Off Topic (Sort of):

10 Stupidest Hacks of All Time – Some security attacks can be quite sophisticated, using zero-day vulnerabilities. Some are just plain devious, relying on phishing scams. And there are the others. We take a look at some of the dumbest cyber-attackers, either in the attack itself or because of how they got caught.

Preview: Steve Jobs biographer on 60 minutes on Sunday – With the official Steve Jobs biography set to arrive on Monday, here’s a preview of the biographer’s interview on 60 minutes and links to leaks.

Why More of Us Aren’t Telecommuting – Far more employees are qualified to work from home than the number who actually do so, according to the report, “The State of Telework in the U.S.” from the Telework Research Network. Find out what’s blocking our progress.

Will a hacker cause World War III? – The chance some random hacker on the Internet could trigger a nuclear blast is ridiculously tiny. For one thing, all the control systems for these mass destruction weapons are so old, they couldn’t even be plugged into the Internet, much less accessed remotely. Plus, the risks are well understood, and there’s a large amount of very smart people working on making sure such a scenario never leaves the world of Hollywood.

Today’s Quote:

If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon.”

–     George Aiken

Today’s Free Downloads:

PC Brother Memory Optimization Free – Older and slower PCs with limited memory resources can benefit from a memory optimizing tool. These tools don’t add memory or alter the way it works (such as by overclocking) but simply free up system resources, usually by purging unnecessary files, emptying caches, and scrounging for available RAM. PC Brother Memory Optimization Free is just such a tool. It displays your system’s memory use and helps you optimize it for your needs.

SpyShelter Personal Free 6.0 – The SpyShelter monitors vulnerable and weak spots in your computer system to ensure that even the most advanced keyloggers are shut down even before these can launch a single dangerous attack against your computer. SpyShelter antikeylogger system is fast, efficient, and easy-to-use.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 21, 2011

Flash bug allows spying of website visitors through webcam – A slight variation of a previously designed clickjacking attack that used a Adobe Flash vulnerability has once again made it possible for website administrators to surreptitiously spy on their visitors by turning on the user’s computer webcam and microphone.

Ice Cream Sandwich: 7 More Cool Features – Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s latest update to the Android franchise, has plenty of improvements and changes hidden under the surface that make the mobile OS even sweeter. With more Android phones being announced every day in preparation for the holiday shopping season, here are seven new features in Ice Cream Sandwich you should be aware of.

10 things you should know about UEFI – If you’re a bit fuzzy on what UEFI is all about — and how it will significantly change modern PC functionality — these quick facts will get you up to speed.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

A Sneak Peek at Gmail’s New Look – Google is busy at work on a dramatic makeover of Gmail’s drab, utilitarian interface, and that’s a good thing. In August, the search giant unveiled a new Gmail Labs feature called Preview Pane, which lets you preview messages in your Gmail inbox. But more changes are coming.

Windows 8: Early Speed Tests – It’s too early to pass judgment on Windows 8 performance, but, in comparisons with its predecessor, the Developer Preview of Microsoft’s new OS shows a lot of promise.

Create a Quick and Easy Website for Your Business, for Free – From a basic contact site to a social media aggregator, these Web services will help you establish an online presence in no time.

Not got an iPhone 4S, but still want to use Siri? – If you’re the lucky owner of a new iPhone 4S, you can skip this section. Otherwise, if you have an Android phone, check out our list of Siri alternatives — and likewise, if you have an older iPhone, iPod, or iPad touch, we got you covered as well.

Make the Choice command work for you even in Windows 7 – Use the batch file command Choice to make your batch files interactive. Greg Shultz shows how it can come in handy even in Windows 7.

Company News:

VMware, Verizon Partner for Upcoming ‘Dual-Identity’ Smartphone – The new VMware Horizon system will enable enterprise staff members to bring their own devices to work and deploy them for work and personal use without having to forfeit the device when the worker leaves the company.

Trend Micro Expands Mobile Protection For Android – Trend Micro today announced an agreement with KDDI to provide a new security service for Android (TM) smartphones and tablets.

Is AMD’s Bulldozer a success? – As usual when it comes to things like AMD vs Intel, there’s been mixed reaction to the launch of AMD’s Bulldozer, or FX series, desktop processors.

In bid for SMBs, Doyenz debuts rCloud; 15-minute disaster recovery – Doyenz says its rCloud product will help small and medium businesses restore virtual environments in less than 15 minutes.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Divorce is less stressful than safeguarding confidential data – IT managers are feeling the pressure and saying that data loss incidents put their jobs on the line and that the stress of managing their company confidential data is greater than divorce, managing personal debt, or a minor car accident. But help is on the horizon as headline-grabbing security incidents have promoted data security talks amongst top management and have driven focus on security, including the need for additional budget.

Crank Up Your Laptop’s Gaming Power with an External Video Card Dock – If your laptop’s integrated graphics just aren’t cutting it for the games you want to play, you can actually connect a desktop graphics card to your ExpressCard slot with an external dock.

Apple’s Siri Shuns 35 Million Americans–Are You One? – The new voice-recognition feature in Apple’s iPhone 4S, known as Siri, carries out simple tasks for you when you speak to it, but only if you’re an English speaker in the United States.

We’ll Strike First In Cyber Warfare – British foreign secretary William Hague says England is prepared to strike first to defend against a cyberattack from an enemy state. The Foreign Secretary’s warning to the world is the first clear signal that the UK has developed new weapons for the online battlefield. In an exclusive interview, he also revealed the globe was in the grip of a new and financially-crippling “arms race in cyber space”.

Today’s Quote:

Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vaccuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1.5 tons.”

unknown, Popular Mechanics, March 1949

Today’s Free Downloads:

Say “Boo!” With Free Fonts for Halloween – Welcoming trick-or-treaters? Scaring off solicitors? These free fonts will please both the candy-and-costume crowd and the old-school ghouls. – Simple Performance Boost 1.0.2 – – Simple Performance Boost is designed to bring only the safest tweaks to your system to increase speed and stability.

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