Monthly Archives: December 2011

TOP 10/20/50/100 Lists – The Best Of The Best?

imageThe whopping number of “TOP” 10/20/50/100 Software lists, shot our way every year at this time, can in fact, have some value – at least the top 10/20 selections.

Running past the 20 mark though ….. often seems pointless. In most cases, I find my enthusiasm takes a big hit once I’ve bounced past the 20 mark.

So, while Santa was making his list and checking it twice, I took the opportunity to zip around the Web and selected a few “best of”, “top of”, lists – short, manageable lists.

BTW – if you’ve ever wondered as to the popularity of “top” lists – the Google search screenshot below, might surprise you – 200+ Million! Who knew!

image

PCWorld’s Favorite Downloads of 2011 – All year long, PCWorld reviewers immerse themselves in desktop programs and Web software. These programs and services are the ones reviewed for PCWorld Downloads.

20 Best Browser Apps of 2011 – Your browser is now a source of apps for games that you can play for hours, services that will keep you safe, and simple utilities that can be useful or fun. Read on to learn more about the 20 best browser apps of the year.

The Best Games of 2011 – These days, you can play video games on just about every device that can run an app. Home consoles and portables may immediately come to mind but you can also game on phones, tablets and, of course, on PCs–both as installed apps and inside Web browsers. These are the best of the best.

Best of Google Maps and Google Earth 2011 – Using these Google tools, you can now see the insides of large stores, views of the world’s magnificent mountains, and a record of the devastation of Japan, among many other advancements.

TechRepublic: Hot software downloads in 2011 – Disk analysis and optimization, PC diagnostics, and security are among the themes of the software downloads in this year-end roundup. These seven software downloads are among the most downloaded items from TechRepublic’s Software directory in 2011.

Project Gutenberg:  Top 100 EBooks – Project Gutenberg offers over 36,000 free ebooks to download to your PC, Kindle, Android, iOS or other portable device. Choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Freeware

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 26, 2011

Your New PC: What You Need to Know – If Christmas morning brought you a brand new laptop or ultrabook, you may find yourself with questions: What do I need to do to set it up? What programs are safe to remove? How can I protect my new computer? We take you through it all step by step, so read on.

How to Connect Your Laptop to Your TV – With the paper and bows cleared away, you’re probably having fun exploring the features of your new TV or laptop. But what if you want to combine the two? It’s not hard at all, so read on for all the ins and outs of putting your PC on your TV.

Download Official Facebook Messenger for Windows 7 – The news has been going around for quite some time that the Facebook was working on a chat client for Windows 7 platform, and that it would be made available some time soon. Although, the news was out, the official version was not available for public to try to use it. But here is the direct download link for the official Facebook Messenger for Windows 7.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

TechRepublic – The 10 most-read DIY posts in 2011 – Since TechRepublic launched the DIY IT Guy blog in February 2011, Jack Wallen has provided small shops with tips on how to tweak their systems without breaking the bank. The most-read posts covered how to set up wireless access points, tools for removing malicious software, suggestions for finding older versions of Microsoft Office software, and more.

Send and Receive Faxes on Your Phone – The eFax Android app makes it simple to send and receive faxes from your handset, losing very little in the transition from desktop to mobile.

PCWorld’s Favorite Downloads of 2011 – These programs and services are the ones we reviewed for PCWorld Downloads and also kept using for our own productivity and enjoyment. Perhaps you started using them this year, too and if not, well, a shiny new year is right around the corner.

A User s Guide to Android Ice Cream Sandwich – Ice Cream Sandwich adds some delicious upgrades, but it still requires a bit of a learning curve. We ll walk you through the good, the bad, and the ugly of Google s latest version of Android and provide some tips to get you all set up with the new OS.

How to Take Your Holiday Gathering Virtual – In the future, widely distributed consumer technology will enable your family and friends to be right there with you during the holidays, even if they’re on the other side of the world. When I say “in the future,” I mean over the next few days. The technology is here. It’s free. In fact, you’ve already got it.

Company News:

GoDaddy Faces Boycott Threat From SOPA Opponents – Internet domain registrar GoDaddy is facing a boycott threat after it figured in a list of supporters of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Intuit Offers GoPayment Card, Facebook Store for Small Businesses – The card expands Intuit’s strategy beyond processing credit cards on a mobile device to offering the convenience of a Visa prepaid account linked to GoPayment. The company also recently launched SimpleStore for Facebook, allowing any current SimpleStore user to establish a storefront as part of his or her business page. The free tool automatically syncs the merchant’s Website and Facebook page.

Why HP’s webOS Strategy Is Doomed – After a long delay that left webOS in limbo, HP announced it will make the operating system open source. Here’s a look at why HP’s webOS strategy won’t work, and why making the operating system open source could finally be the last nail in the platform’s coffin.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Ten E-mail Abbreviations You Need to Learn – It kind of amazes me that in this day and age, lots of people still don’t recognize common e-mail shorthand. OMG, WTF is up with that? If you’re constantly confused by some of the alphabet soup floating around in e-mails, text messages, and instant messages, here’s a quick guide to turn you from clueless to cool.

10 Worst Tablets of 2011 – It’s official: 2011 was the year of the tablet. Just about every company that competes in the technology industry is selling a tablet this year. But buyers won’t settle for just any tablet. They want top-rated products with appealing features, like the iPad or Galaxy Tab 10.1. So, many other tablets are languishing on store shelves. Take a look at the some of the biggest losers in the tablet game this year.

Internet Expands to 220 Million Domains: VeriSign – Almost 220 million domain names were registered across all top-level domains at the end of the third quarter, VeriSign found in its quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief released Dec. 22. Registrations have grown by more than 18 million, or 8.9 percent, since the third quarter of 2010, and by 4.9 million, or 2.3 percent, since the second quarter, VeriSign found. The increase was driven primarily by growth in country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), the company said.

Volkswagen’s After-Hours Blackberry E-mail Ban is a Brilliant Idea – Volkswagen is putting its Blackberry e-mail servers on pause after work hours, allowing employees to escape the 24-Hour work cycle. Sign me up.

Today’s Quote:

“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”

–    Marsha Norman

Today’s Free Downloads:

Norton Power Eraser 2.5.0.26 Beta – With the Norton Power Eraser tool, difficult to remove threats are specifically targeted and effectively detected and removed. Users should use the Norton Power Eraser utility when nothing else will remove an annoying software and they are are willing to accept a higher risk that the scanner may quarantine a legitimate application.

Toolwiz Care – Toolwiz Care is a free tool kit designed to speed up your slow PC. With a multi-functional optimization suite, this Windows system optimizer provides a collection of tools which includes System Checkup, System Cleanup, System Speedup, and 40+ powerful tools to enhance your PC performance, local and network security, and optimize the start-up procedure. Toolwiz team guarantees users that Toolwiz Care will stay free forever. This tool kit is designed for all levels of PC users from beginners to experts.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 26, 2011

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Merry Christmas – Joyeux Noel

Dear readers and subscribers,

christmas-message

Despite the push and shove of various societal elements, Christmas (no “happy holidays”, or “seasons greetings” allowed in this house) – the traditional  season of giving and sharing – remains wonderfully inescapable. Its traditions and rituals, established in simpler times, continue to remind us – those we hold close, are the greatest gifts of all.

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The happiness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.

Have a wonderful Christmas, however you define it.

Bill

A little mood music – maybe?

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” by Michael Bublé.

Tech Thoughts is winding down for the Christmas break – so, you might find us fairly quiet the next several weeks. Regular posting will begin again on Monday, January 3, 2012.

48 Comments

Filed under Point of View

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 24, 2011

CNET Security Starter – In our six categories this year, we offer the core essentials of Antivirus and Anti-spyware, as well as ancillary but important categories such as In-browser Security, Firewall, Encryption, and Parental Control. If you’re looking for more than security, there’s also our Windows Starter Kit. Essential utilities have earned their own kit, too: the Windows Utilities Starter Kit.

Holiday Break Tools: How to Look Busy – Maybe you have the week off, or maybe your whole company is shutting down in the week before New Years. Here’s a sampling of technology tools to make you look productive and busy even as you drink eggnog, hang out with friends, and lounge by a warm holiday fireplace.

How to update the Kindle Fire and get much-needed performance fixes – Amazon released an update the Kindle Fire this week, and Geek.com has the details on how to get it. The update fixes some bugs and makes the browsing experience as bit smoother. Haters will no doubt complain that the update does not magically transform the Fire into a 10-inch tablet like the iPad, but you can’t please everybody.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Top 10 Tech Breakthroughs of 2011 – Technology advances at an exponential rate so it’s not surprising that 2011 was an exciting year. We’ve rounded up the 10 most notable breakthroughs so you can get up to speed on all the incredible things that happened over the last 12 months.

Go Daddy spanks SOPA, yanks support – Facing increasing pressure for its support of the Stop Online Piracy Act, domain registrar Go Daddy says it’s no longer supporting the bill.

Comodo adds VPN – An on-demand VPN and improved quick scan get bolted into Comodo Internet Security, as Comodo asserts its security suite is the best available.

Must have Christmas gifts for the tech-savvy woman – Tired of people pestering you for suggestions? Or just want to impress someone special? This lineup’s for you.

Stop being duped by the 3D scam – The entertainment and electronics industries keep trying to push 3D on consumers, even though a lot of smart people have caught on to the fact that it’s a scam. It’s time to stop the madness.

Company News:

30 Antivirus Engines on One Box! – OPSWAT has just completed the first deployment of a custom Metascan package with 30 antivirus engines on one box! Developed for a prominent government defense agency, this box uses the strengths of 30 different engines to offer powerful malware scanning. Metascan custom packages are ideal for the most secure organizations looking for unprecedented scalability in malware scanning.

Microsoft’s Windows Azure Upgrades Shake Up the Cloud – Microsoft recently announced several updates to the Windows Azure platform, including new open-source capabilities, SQL Azure database enhancements, and a simplified Windows Azure billing and management experience. With the new open-source capabilities, customers will benefit from the first-ever Windows Azure software development kit, including language libraries for Node.js and support for hosting, storage and service bus.

Apple loses one in its iPad tablet war with Samsung – A German court has made a preliminary ruling that Samsung’s redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1 does not violates Apple’s iPad intellectual property.

IBM’s Top 5 Life-Changing Innovations for the Next 5 Years – Computers that can read your mind? Biometric technology that eliminates the need for passwords? Junk mail becoming priority mail? Those are some of the technologies that IBM says will become key factors in the way people live, work and interact within the next 5 years. The innovations come from Big Blue’s latest annual “IBM 5 in 5” list.

Off Topic (Sort of):

DARPA’s Iron Curtain Active Protection System (video 1:12) – DARPA calls it the Iron Curtain, and it uses an invisible pulse to detonate shells before they can hit the vehicle. Our only question is how long until they have a beam that just makes the enemy’s own rocket explode right in his face.

EFF Reverse Engineers Carrier IQ – The EFF is pretty popular in the circles I move in, and it is pretty clear Extremetech.com’s Sebastian Anthoney is also a fan. He describes the EFF as “the preeminent protector of your digital rights,” which makes me think he might be interviewing there. Thing is, he ain’t wrong. Right now, the EFF is trying to reverse engineer what exactly a Carrier IQ does and what information it collects.

Timelapse: The City Limits (video 03:28) – Locations include: Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Manhattan and Chicago. (submitted by Michael F.)

Gardens of Time Tops CityVille as Facebook’s Most Popular Game – Facebook released its list of top games for 2011 today and the Playdom-backed Gardens of Time is this year’s winner.

Today’s Quote:

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”

–      Andy Rooney

Today’s Free Downloads:

Comodo Cleaning Essentials 64 Bit – Comodo Cleaning Essentials (CCE) is a set of powerful security tools designed to help users identify and remove malware and unsafe processes from Windows computers. Designed as a portable application, the software requires no installation and can be run directly from removable media such as a USB key.

BatteryInfoView – BatteryInfoView is a small utility for laptops and netbook computers that displays the current status and information about your battery.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

2 Comments

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 23, 2011

PCWorld’s Favorite Downloads of 2011 – All year long, we PCWorld reviewers immerse ourselves in desktop programs and Web software. After evaluating a program, often we uninstall it—but several of this year’s finds earned places in our workflows and/or our hearts. These programs and services are the ones we reviewed for PCWorld Downloads and also kept using for our own productivity and enjoyment.

How to Root Your Kindle Fire – No Android device is really yours unless you have root access. Here’s how to install the Android SDK and root your Kindle Fire.

Australia to lead IE6/7 sunsetting – Australia and Brazil will be the first cabs off the rank in January 2012 when Microsoft begins to automatically update users to the latest available Internet Explorer version for their Windows desktop. Users still on Windows XP that use IE6 or IE7 will be automatically upgraded to IE8, while Windows 7 and Vista users will be upgraded to IE9 if they have IE8 installed.

20 Best Browser Apps of 2011 – Those days are long gone. Your browser is now a source of apps for games that you can play for hours, services that will keep you safe, and simple utilities that can be useful or fun. Read on to learn more about our choices for the 20 best browser apps of the year.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Five tips for faster Web browsing – If you’re wasting too much time waiting (and waiting and waiting) for Web pages to load, give these tips a try. You should see an immediate, noticeable boost in speed, making your browsing experience faster and more efficient.

The Best Games of 2011 – These days, you can play video games on just about every device that can run an app. Home consoles and portables may immediately come to mind but you can also game on phones, tablets and, of course, on PCs–both as installed apps and inside Web browsers. These are the best of the best.

Advanced GIMP techniques and tools – A Photoshop alternative that won’t cost you a dime is the GNU Image Manipulation Program, better known as GIMP. Get several tips on using the open source graphics editor.

Is Email Dead? – Email is wasteful. Sure, it doesn’t require chopping down trees like paper mail, but it creates a mess of data that often winds up in the hands of people who don’t need it. So, do businesses need email?

Best of Google Maps and Google Earth 2011 – Using these Google tools, you can now see the insides of large stores, views of the world’s magnificent mountains, and a record of the devastation of Japan, among many other advancements.

Avast Launches Free Android Security Software With Special Features for Rooted Phones – Avast Free Mobile Security supports a number of features that are usually available only in paid-for Android security software. These include privacy reports, call and SMS filtering, SIM-card change notifications, firewall and application management.

Ditching Java might be a good move – As unpatched Java vulnerabilities are frequently taken advantage by exploit kits and users often forget to update Java, F-Secure’s Mikko Hypponen says that maybe it’s time to consider doing without it. “Do not confuse Java with JavaScript: it’s hard to use the web without JavaScript. But JavaScript has nothing to do with Java,” he explains, and shows that the popular BlackHole exploit kit has extreme success in exploiting a recently discovered Java Rhino vulnerability.

Company News:

TappIn Offers Small Business Alternative to Cloud Computing – Prognosticators say that 2012 will see people juggling more mobile devices than ever before. It’s time for business owners to get savvy about leveraging mobile for small business.

Why HP’s webOS Strategy Is Doomed to Fail – After months of leaving its $1.2 billion WebOS investment in limbo, HP finally decided that it would take the technology open source. We take a look at why HP’s move is likely the death knell for the innovative OS.

OneReach Delivers Automated Communications for SMBs – The unified communications platform lets small businesses give non-technical teams the capability to build, measure and refine inbound and outbound communication campaigns across multiple channels.

Juniper Attacks Palo Alto Networks Over Patents – “The innovations of these patents are, among other things, important for efficiently protecting computer networks from dangerous incoming communications and from individuals attempting to gain unauthorized access to computer networks,” Juniper’s complaint states.

Off Topic (Sort of):

GoDaddy Facing Possible Boycott Over SOPA Support – As the U.S. House pledges to continue pushing for the passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) next year, companies supporting the legislation are increasingly coming under fire. Old media like the movie and TV industries are obviously in favor of it, but most tech firms are opposed. One internet heavyweight that is in favor of SOPA is domain registrar GoDaddy. Now that everyone has caught wind of that, many are proposing a “Move Your Domain Away From GoDaddy Day.”

Researcher blasts Siemens for lying about SIMATIC bugs – The contentious issue of responsible and coordinated vulnerability disclosure has been revisited again as security researcher Billy Rios reacted to a statement made by Siemens claiming that “there are no open issues regarding authentication bypass bugs at Siemens.”

Ding Dong, AT&T, T-Mobile Deal Is Dead – AT&T’s failed in its $39 billion bid to buy T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom has failed, leading to much rejoicing amid public interest groups and also T-Mobile customers.

What’s Firefox worth to Google? Nearly $1 billion – Sure, this has been a year of growing pains for Firefox, but the renewed search deal that parent Mozilla reached with Google could be just what the doctor ordered.

Today’s Quote:

“The only lost cause is one we give up on before we enter the struggle”

–     Václav Havel

Today’s Free Downloads:

Christmas Eve Crisis – It’s Christmas Eve, and Santa’s having some issues. His shiny new sleigh malfunctioned in midflight, scattering presents far and wide. Your task is to guide Santa as he searches for gifts and delivers them to the correct houses. This game is great for casual gamers and kids alike.

AVG LinkScanner – Verifies the safety of web pages you visit, and of links returned from web searches. AVG LinkScanner is up and running immediately from the moment of installation.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 23, 2011

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 22, 2011

Avast now protects your Android booty – A few months after it bought the Android security firm ITAgents, makers of Theft Aware, Avast releases a rebranded app with some cool new features. It won’t cost you a cent in gold, though: It’s 100 percent free.

Five versatile screen-capture apps for Windows – Screen captures aren’t just for tech writers anymore. If you support users, you probably need to capture screen shots occasionally. When needs are simple, you can probably get by with Print Screen and Windows Paint. If you’re using Windows 7, try Snipping Tool. But if you want serious control or more polish, you need something more powerful. Any of the following apps should fill most needs.

Christmas Lights – So you’ve set up your Christmas tree and covered it with ornaments; hung up your stockings with care; and installed hundreds of sparkly Christmas lights on your house (perhaps even a mechanical Santa). How about your computer? Don’t leave your trusty workhorse out of the holiday fun: This free Christmas Lights Windows 7 theme will decorate your desktop with beautifully photographed lights and add a few surprise sound effects.

Irish Regulators Order Facebook to Boost Privacy Protections – In response to an audit by Irish data protection officials, Facebook has agreed to be more transparent about its facial- recognition feature and how its European users’ data is used.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Firefox 9: Faster on PCs, all-new on tablets – Just in time for the holidays, Mozilla gives Firefox fans something new to play with: 30 percent speed gains on the PC, and a completely new skin for the app on Android.

10 plus must have Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets – Desktop Gadgets in Microsoft Windows 7 are more sophisticated and more useful than in previous versions of the operating system. Here are 10+ gadgets that should be in your desktop management portfolio.

Amazon Kindle Fire OS Update: 5 Fixes Outlined – Amazon released Wednesday yet another update to the software in its popular Kindle Fire tablet computer. The product, which has already shipped six million units, is only five weeks old but is already on its second software upgrade. This update, revision 6.2.1, addresses five problems that many Fire users found vexing.

How to Completely Erase a Hard Drive – Sometimes simply deleting files isn’t good enough. In this how-to video segment, PC World explains a number of simple techniques for permanently and securely removing sensitive data from old drives before recycling or disposing of them.

Fake eBay pages offering iPhone 4S for half the price – The pages themselves are almost perfect copies of the pages set up by legitimate sellers, and all the links except the “Buy It” button are linked back to legitimate eBay pages. The fake pages are hosted on domains that are followed by /www.ebay.ie/ in order to give an impression of legitimacy.

Chinese hackers infiltrated US Chamber of Commerce – According to several sources familiar with the investigation, it seems that the hackers have initially gained access by sending spear phishing emails rigged with malicious links to the Chamber’s employees. One (or more) of them must have followed the link and unknowingly installed the malware.

Company News:

SDK advances face recognition for large surveillance systems – Neurotechnology announced VeriLook Surveillance 2.0, a SDK for biometric face identification using live video streams from single or multiple high-resolution digital surveillance cameras. It provides real-time identification of faces and can be used in a wide range of surveillance systems for retail and commercial areas, entrance monitoring and counting, automated time-attendance systems, law enforcement applications and transportation security.

Red Hat Grows Million-Dollar Linux Deals – For the quarter, Red Hat reported revenue of $290 million, which is a 23 percent year-over-year gain. Net income hit $38.2 million or $0.19 per share, up from $26 million or $0.13 per share last year. Moving forward, Red Hat provided fourth-quarter guidance for revenue to be in the range of approximately $289 million to $292 million. Growth is coming from multiple areas of the company and thanks in no small part to a large number of big deals.

Sony Sued For Preventing Playstation Network Users From Suing Sony – You may remember that Sony updated the PS3 Terms of Service in September to forbid users from filing class action lawsuits against Sony if they wanted to access the PlayStation Network service. Now a Northern California man may have filed a lawsuit against the very clause that forbids PlayStation Network users from filing lawsuits.

Exostar updates identity management solution – Exostar, whose cloud-based solutions enable secure business-to-business collaboration, announced it has expanded its Managed Access Gateway (MAG) identity management service offering to accept one-time password (OTP) hardware tokens.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Stunningly Stupid Tech Tricks of 2011 – At the end of each year, our eWEEK Labs analysts turn their gaze not only upon the products they tested that most impressed them by their quality, innovation or overall importance, but on the technology gaffes that left us scratching our heads. With that, we present our list of Stupid Tech Tricks of 2011.

LG Rolls Out Voice-Controlled TVs With a Magic Remote – Being first to the market is always important, and LG’s voice-controlled remote control is officially out of the gate.

You Know You Want It: Top 10 Tech Toys – There’s still time to make your favorite geek’s dreams come true this holiday (you are your own favorite geek, right?) Here are the best 10 toys and tools you know you want.

10 Surprising Rules for Leaders – In the wired world of business, one social-media authority suggests that professionals unplug, stop texting, and take a nap. Digital Leader: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence (McGraw-Hill/Available now), includes author Erik Qualman’s counterintuitive strategies for high achievers looking to distinguish themselves. Interestingly, many of his insights have little to do with technology; his view of meaningful connectivity has more to do with leadership by example and human interaction than Tweets and power apps.

Today’s Quote:

“Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all.”

–      Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Today’s Free Downloads:

Comodo Firewall (64-bit version) – Comodo Firewall is an extremely effective protection tool for keeping yourself safe from Internet dangers. It blocks Trojans, hackers, and other threats–without charging you a penny.

Waterfox 9.0 – Waterfox is basically a 64-Bit version of Firefox. The Firefox source code is taken and compiled to run specifically for 64-Bit Windows computers. To make Waterfox stand out a bit more, it’s compiled with optimizations so that it will run more efficiently and faster than just compiling Firefox as a 64-Bit program.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 22, 2011

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 21, 2011

How to Turn Your Dumbphone Into a Smartphone Using Nothing But SMS – The smartphone revolution may be in full swing, but there are still a lot of you out there rocking a basic, inexpensive phone that doesn’t have any “smart” features—or so you’ve been told. If you want to get email, Facebook, driving directions, and other web features on your phone, you can cheat a little bit and get them through SMS messages. Here’s how.

DeSopa for Firefox Bypasses SOPA DNS Blocking – DeSopa is the latest Firefox add-on that can counter the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)’s DNS blocking if the bill passes. The extension gets you through sites censored by DNS and lets you browse them by IP address.

Top Websites of 2011 – What makes a great website? There’s a lot that goes into one these days. Universal appeal, good design, and useful features are just the beginning of the list of essentials. This year, we chose 39 Undiscovered and 61 Classics for our list. If you haven’t checked them out by now, you really should.

Firefox 9 closes security holes – Mozilla released Firefox 9 that fixes several security and stability issues.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Top 5 Security Predictions for 2012 – Looking ahead, what headlines will Security Watch see in 2012? Dozens of security vendors weighed in with their predictions (my personal favorite being: more security vendor predictions). There was very little overlap but below, we name the five most common ones.

How to Install an SSD in Your Laptop – Laptops are ideal candidates for solid state drives: These drives are more rugged and shock resistant than standard hard drives, since they have no moving parts. Since laptops get thrown quite a bit, replacing a more traditional, rotating hard drive with a more robust SSD can be good idea.

Remote SMS Attack Can Force Mobile Phones to Send Premium-rate Text Messages – Attackers can force mobile phones to send premium-rate SMS messages or prevent them from receiving messages for long periods of time by leveraging a logic flaw in mobile telecommunication standards. The flaw was discovered by independent security researcher Bogdan Alecu, who demonstrated how it can be exploited at the DefCamp security conference in Romania on Saturday.

Amazon users targeted with fake shipping notices – The BlackHole exploit kit has become an increasingly popular way of delivering malware to unsuspecting users. By exploiting a series of unpatched Windows, Java and Adobe Reader flaws, it manages to compromise the systems of enough users to be considered a good investment.

Company News:

Mozilla, Google Seal New Firefox Search Deal – Mozilla and Google today said that they had struck a new search deal that will provide “significant revenue” to the maker of Firefox.

Exostar updates identity management solution – Exostar, whose cloud-based solutions enable secure business-to-business collaboration, announced it has expanded its Managed Access Gateway (MAG) identity management service offering to accept one-time password (OTP) hardware tokens.

Enterprise Mobility: IBM Gets iPad, Android Tablets Ready for Enterprise With New Mobile Apps – IBM is rolling out eight new social-networking and collaboration mobile apps specifically designed to address enterprise-class requirements on Apple’s iPad and Android-based tablets. The new software, available for download now from most of the popular app stores, takes IBM’s industry-leading social-networking, real-time collaboration and online-meeting capabilities from behind the company firewall and places it into the hands of tablet users.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Anonymous: We’re Stealing Credit Cards, Funds From Banks for Christmas – Hacktivist collective Anonymous has announced a new campaign for the holiday season: to steal from the rich. Dubbed “DestructiveSec,” the collective said it will steal virtual credit cards from banks and give “back to the people who had everything taken,” according to a statement posted on text-sharing site Pastebin on Dec. 12. The statement did not name any targets or provide any details.

EFF helps travelers defend their data privacy – Anytime you travel internationally; you risk a broad, invasive search of your laptop, phone, and other digital devices – including the copying of your data and seizing of your property for an indefinite time. To help travelers protect themselves and their private information during the busy holiday travel period, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a new report with important guidance for safeguarding your personal data at the U.S border.

Stop SOPA! A Plea from the Inventors of the Internet – Congress seems to be taking its cues from industry lobbyists when it comes to pending SOPA legislation, but hopefully it will take into consideration a letter from Internet luminaries begging it to reject this bill before it kills the thing they’re ostensibly trying to protect.

Anonymous aims to make US Senators accountable for their votes – A group of Anonymous-affiliated hackers has made public a considerable amount of detailed personal information of the majority of the 86 US Senators that voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Pastebin entry includes information such as dates of birth, spouse and children names, addresses, phone numbers, Twitter accounts, memberships in various committees, information about education, profession and religion, their staff, previous votes on a number of issues, their campaign contributors, suites filed against them, and more.

Today’s Quote:

“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

–      Winston Churchill

Today’s Free Downloads:

PC Shower 2011 – It’s hardly uncommon to stumble upon Web sites that leave you feeling like you need to take a shower, but keeping your PC clean and free of junk files, invalid registry entries, and other issues pays off in not only enhanced security but also increased performance. Add in a variety of tweaks, tune-ups, and other system utilities and you have a versatile PC toolkit. That’s what you get with Arafasoft’s PC Shower 2011. It’s a free bundle of useful tools for cleaning and tuning your PC. Unlike many free versions of premium tools, it actually cleans what it finds without requiring paid upgrades.

Soda 3D PDF Reader – Soda 3D Reader is Lulu Software’s answer to Adobe Reader. While it may not be the most powerful Adobe alternative out there, it does have some nice features and unique 3D functionality that make it worth a look.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 21, 2011

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News