Monthly Archives: February 2012

PC Tools Top Tips – How To Avoid Online Scams

imageCyber crooks and scam emails – a natural fit – aimed at the significant number of Internet users who remain unaware of the very real dangers that scam emails  hold for their safety, security, identity – and, their wallet.

Cyber criminals are experts at crafting “attention grabbers” designed to reel in the unwary and undereducated Internet surfer. Here’s a few attention grabbers that consistently pay off – targeted towards the blissfully unaware Internet user. Especially those users who seem to have a natural tendency to “just click”.

Online shopping offers e.g. bargains from unknown stores.

Get rich quick schemes/work from home offers.

Offers to download mobile protection software.

Offers to download antivirus software.

Offers to win a prize e.g. answer this survey ‘for your chance to win’…

Movie offers e.g. search for a popular movie such as Twilight and an offer comes up to download the movie for free.

Online donations.

Occasionally, I’ll post an article directed at the “just click” crowd and, I can say without any hesitation – users who fall into this category of Internet user are ripe for the taking – it’s like picking apples from a tree. It couldn’t be easier.

Here’s a couple of past articles which continue to draw huge numbers of the “just click” crowd.

Kate Middleton Nude – As If! 

Nude Pics Of Your Wife/Girlfriend Attached – Click Here

Frankly, I fail to understand how anyone with a lick of common sense, would be drawn in by those nonsense article titles. On the other hand, maybe common sense has nothing to do with it.

It could just as easily be that innate sense of overconfidence that seems to have infected society as a whole – most particularly the “tech savvy” generation. Mark Twain had it right, I think, when he said – “It aint what we don’t know that hurts us. It’s what we do know that ain’t so – that does.” The “tech savvy” generation in a nutshell – maybe.

My friends over a PC Tools, recognizing the continuing need to educate users, have put together a Top Tips article – How to Outsmart Online Scammers – designed to help the unwary (overconfident) Internet user, to identify online scams.

Richard Clooke, PC Tools online security expert reveals in this article – how to avoid being scammed online:

1. ASK – is this too good to be true?

$50 here, a holiday there, unlimited online offers from the world’s biggest brands – if you’re tempted by any of these free offers, then the answer is probably yes.

Many online scams trick us into revealing our personal information to secure something in return. It’s important to be aware of ‘fake offers’ to avoid being lured by savvy scammers. 

2. DON’T – dish your details unless the site is secure.

Never provide personal or financial information in exchange for online offers.  Details such as your mobile number, address, and credit card or banking details should never be entered on a non-secure site. When in doubt:

  • Double check the URL before typing a link into your browser.
  • Check there is a padlock icon in your browser before using your credit card online.
  • Check you’re on a secure site and that the address starts with ‘HTTPS’.

3. THINK – it can happen to me.

Many of us think we are savvy online, but the reality is cybercriminals are cashing in on relaxed attitudes to sharing personal details online. Results from the PC Tools study also showed that most people think scams are more likely to happen to others, rather than themselves.

We need to educate ourselves about online scams and be aware of the risk.

4. DO – invest in scam protection software.

What most of us don’t realize is some online scams don’t involve malware and while traditional Internet security is still essential, we now require additional protection to prevent cybercriminals gaining personal information via other methods.

About PC Tools

PC Tools is dedicated to building simple, effective and affordable PC protection and performance tools.  For over thirteen years, we have offered industry-leading and award-winning products to tackle the world’s evolving threats and security challenges.

The PC Tools Malware Research Centre monitors trends and emerging spyware issues and provides security solutions for the consumer and enterprise marketplace. The company has staff in Mountain View, Sydney, London and Kiev. PC Tools has a global network of distributors, resellers, and retailers.


Filed under Cyber Criminals, Don't Get Scammed, PC Tools

Windows 8 Consumer Preview – Download Now Available

If you’re the adventurous type and can’t wait to get your hands on Microsoft’s latest OS offering – you’re in luck. Windows 8, Consumer Preview, has just been released for download.

Note: From Microsoft.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview is prerelease software that may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. If you decide to go back to your previous operating system, you’ll need to reinstall it from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC.

System Requirements:

Windows 8 Consumer Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows 7:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device or higher

You can download Win 8 Preview in one of two flavors:

ISO imagehere (I strongly suggest that you take this route). Be sure to take note of the Product Key: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J

Direct install over the Internethere


Filed under downloads, Microsoft, Windows 8

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 29, 2012

The best apps for rooted Android phones – Android is a customizable platform out-of-the-box, but rooting an Android handset gives you complete control over it. If you do take the plunge and decide to root your phone, what are some of the best apps to install? Let’s take a look.

How to Use Public Computers Safely – When you use a public computer, you should clean up traces of your activity before leaving. You don’t want the next user to recover your email conversations or passwords.

The Raspberry Pi is now available to buy – For now, it is the $35 version of the Raspberry Pi that is being offered for sale (and limited to one per customer). You can purchase it by visiting either the Premier Farnell or RS Components websites right now. However, due to the expected high demand, everyone is finding it difficult to access either website at the moment.

Four Must-Have Android Settings, From a Security Expert – Here’s how you can immediately tighten the security of your Android device without downloading any extra software.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to Avoid Targeted Email Attacks – Last year’s Duqu outbreak managed to infiltrate major industrial companies using targeted email messages that looked totally official, with plenty of real-world detail. How can you avoid being the next victim?

Interpol Arrests 25 Alleged Anonymous Members – Interpol said Tuesday that 25 people suspected of being affiliated with the Anonymous hacking group were arrested in four countries in South America and Europe, with authorities seizing IT equipment, payment cards and cash.

Android Tablets Take MWC by Storm – The Mobile World Congress show floor is overflowing with feature-packed tablets ready to jump into the crowded pool of Android-powered offerings, including a waterproof tablet displayed underwater, Samsung’s Note that offers PC-like premium photo editing and drawing experiences, and ZTE’s three Long Term Evolution (LTE) tablets featuring Qualcomm chips. Take a look at some of the more notable devices at the show.

Pro Tip for Thieves: the PIN is in the Wallet – Cambridge University researchers calculate the odds that a wallet thief will guess your banking PIN by the contents of the wallet.

Controversial ACTA is referred to the European Court of Justice – The heated debate across Europe about ACTA has led the European Commission to refer the controversial agreement to the European Union’s highest court.

Company News:

ManageEngine Delivers on Mobile Device Management Promise – ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, today announced that it is delivering on its promised mobile device management (MDM) services. The company has rolled out security, asset and configuration management for Apple iOS-based devices, integrating them into its enterprise-wide, real-time IT strategy that unites mobile, desktop and service desk management under a single, unified user interface.

Mozilla’s Boot To Gecko gets a major boost – Things are looking good for Mozilla’s Boot To Gecko project. In the wake of the snazzy demo they recently released, the Foundation has now announced several top-flight partners who have pledged support. Among them are key industry players like Qualcomm and Adobe, and they’ve been joined by telecommunications giants Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom.

McAfee Unveils New Mobile Security Tools – McAfee has added a number of new features and introduced new versions of its tools to protect and secure your mobile devices.

Dell Updates Servers to 12G with Better Performance and Management – While Intel’s new server chips are at the heart of the 12G platform, Dell is delivering a new Fluid Data architecture to help improve performance beyond the CPU.

Webopedia Daily:

Traffic – The load on a communications device or system. One of the principal jobs of a system administrator is to monitor traffic levels and take appropriate actions when traffic becomes heavy. (2) The measurement of the amount of users that visit a Web site.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Microsoft could lose the techies in their bid to win over consumers – Microsoft is obviously going “all in” to win over consumers with Windows 8, but will that drive the tech savvy away?

Director’s Cut – A sexually provocative hamburger commercial, featuring Kate Upton. Seriously? This looks like a porno. (recommended by Michael F.)

Malware Surpasses 75 Million Unique Pests in a Year – Despite McAfee predicting that unique malware samples would hit 75 million in 2011, the security vendor actually found that the real number actually surpassed that estimate.

Schmidt: Android Customization ‘Fine’ But Not the Best Choice – Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt today said he does not have a fundamental problem with device makers creating their own customized versions of Android, but argued that Android as it was envisioned by Google is often a richer experience.

Today’s Quote:

“What a fool believes he sees; no wise man has the power to reason away.”

–    Michael McDonald

Today’s Free Downloads:

Lumzy – When thinking up ideas for new software or websites, wireframes often come in handy because they let us iterate through ideas quickly, focusing on substance rather than style (which comes later). Lumzy is a free Web-based wireframing tool that can be used as a gentle introduction to the art of wireframing.

Unknown Device Identifier – Unknown Device Identifier enables you to identify the yellow question mark labeled Unknown Devices in Device Manager.

Sandboxie Beta 3.65.02 – 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.


Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Exfoliate – Automates Removal Of Facebook Content

imageI like the idea that technology makes it easier to stay “connected”, but Facebook , Twitter and the like, take that connected feeling well past my comfort zone. While I do have a Facebook account, that account is dedicated to professional use only.

On balance, social networking is a good thing – it’s opened new doorways of opportunity to stay connected. But, with those positive opportunities, comes a new set of problems. With Facebook, those problems include a corporate philosophy that includes unethical behavior and bullying.

It’s unfortunate that Facebook users make the assumption that Facebook is essentially safe, and harmless – despite the fact that it’s anything but. Facebook is a scam and malware magnet without parallel.

Look, it’s natural for we humans to communicate, be friendly, and generous – and, Facebook is certainly a vehicle for that. But, the lack of privacy controls – or, perhaps more accurately – the ever changing privacy controls on Facebook, are cause for concern. There’s little doubt that Facebook’s privacy settings are a continuing source of controversy.

Regular reader, and good friend John B., recently pointed me to an application – Exfoliate (currently priced at 99 cents) – which can automate the removal of content from Facebook – content that perhaps you now regret posting.

From the site:

Exfoliate helps you remove old content from Facebook(tm). Content on social networking sites is a potential threat to your privacy. Removing this content by hand is tedious, and practically impossible. On your wall, Exfoliate can remove any post, comment, like, or photo, whether made by you or by others, older than a time you specify. Exfoliate can remove your own posts, comments, likes, and photos, from your friends’ walls too. You can choose the age of items you wish removed, and Exfoliate will remove any items that are at least as old as your selection from any of your selected content areas. It is important, though, to understand that Exfoliate truly deletes the content. It is not backed up and it is not recoverable – well, that’s kinda the point.

Exfoliate is easy to use. Here are the three simple steps:

1. Set your preferences. Indicate the age of the items you wish removed, from where (your wall and/or friends’ walls) you want the items removed, and the type(s) of items you want removed (posts, comments, likes, photos).

2. Log in to your Facebook account using Exfoliate.
3. Start the automatic cleaning process.

Application screen shots:




System requirements: Android: 2.2 and up.

Download at: The Android Marketplace


Filed under Android, Connected Devices, downloads, FaceBook, Privacy

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 28, 2012

21 Ways to Buff Up Your Browser – You probably spend more time working (and playing) in IE, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari than in any other application. Here are our favorite tips, tricks, and add-ons to supercharge your Web browser.

Get a Siri-like interface on Android with Vlingo Virtual Assistant – Even though Vlingo isn’t a sexy name, it does have a pleasant feminine voice that reads back your incoming texts and email, as well the ability to take your spoken input and achieve plenty of results.

7 Essential Apps for the Small Business IT Professional – Small business IT professionals need the capability to respond to issues from anywhere and at a moment’s notice. Fortunately, mobile apps for both the Android and iOS platforms let you manage computer and network issues from your smartphone or tablet. Here are a seven of our favorite free apps

Microsoft India Warns Hackers May Have Compromised Customer Financial Data – Microsoft has warned customers that their financial data such as credit card information may have been compromised by hackers who attacked the company’s online store in India earlier this month.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Oops! Selena and Bieber’s hidden camera bedroom video Facebook scam – Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber in a sex video? Your Facebook friends may be sharing the link with you – but take a reality check, it’s another survey scam.

Online dating services: Risking more than a broken heart – People looking for companionship are trusting online services more than ever. Is that trust misplaced? Michael Kassner looks for the privacy and security gaps in online dating.

Multimedia: A Linux Achilles’ heel – Jack Wallen takes on one of the problems with Linux as a desktop environment — multimedia. His most recent experiences collide with his past to conclude the Linux desktop does have an Achilles’ heel.

How You’re Breaking the Law Every Day (and What You Can Do About It) – You share music, rip DVDs, make Hitler whine about your first world problems, and much more in the course of your regular online activities—and more often than not, you do these things without giving a thought to the fact that you’re actually breaking the law. Here’s a look at how you’re inevitably circumventing copyright law and what you can do to protect yourself.

Facebook, Flickr, others accused of reading text messages – Reports surfacing this weekend claim that popular smartphone applications can access users’ text messages amongst other personal data, even when that phone is not being used.

Firms embrace Do Not Track for targeted ads only – Privacy advocates say consumers are expecting more from a Do Not Track policy than marketers are willing to give. What Do Not Track means to you and what it means to companies that are collecting your data crumbs across the Internet are likely two very different things.

Company News:

0-day risk analysis service by Qualys – Qualys launched Zero-Day Risk Analyzer, a new service to help companies protect their IT systems against zero-day attacks which is delivered as part of the QualysGuard Cloud Platform and it includes Verisign’s iDefense zero-day vulnerabilities and global threats.

OnForce Teams with Apple to Offer Small Business IT Support – Through novel partnership with Apple, OnForce retools its service model to shepherd small business customers through their IT configurations.

IBM Expands QRadar to Deliver Security Intelligence – Big Blue integrates its Q1 Labs acquisition to provide deeper threat intelligence and security insight.

Telefonica Plans Q2 Launch for Virtualized Phones – Telefonica expects to start selling virtualized Samsung Galaxy S II phones with VMware technology in Spain, starting in the second quarter.

Webopedia Daily:

Apache Traffic Server – Apache Traffic Server is an open source extensible HTTP/1.1 compliant caching proxy server. Apache Traffic Server boasts caching capabilities that can improve response time while reducing server load and bandwidth needs by caching and reusing frequently requested web pages, images, and web service calls. It also offers “proxying” (see proxy server) to add keep-alive, filter or anonymize content requests, or add load balancing by adding a proxy layer.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Advocacy Group Takes Aim at Anti-Porn Bill – One of the advocacy groups that worked to stall the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act in the U.S. Congress has taken aim at a bill that would require U.S. ISPs to retain the Internet Protocol logs of all their customers for a year, in the name of fighting online child pornography.

Personal data encryption, IT and the Fifth Amendment – Last week, a federal court for the first time ruled that the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — the right to not self-incriminate — protects against “forced decryption.”

The true state of cloud security – Alert Logic released its first State of Cloud Security Report, a semi-annual quantitative analysis comparing real world security incidents observed in hosted and cloud environments with those observed in traditional on-premise environments. Counter to the conventional wisdom that infrastructure in service provider managed cloud environments is inherently less secure, the analysis found these environments tend to face a lower level of risk than on-premise environments.

U-2 spy plane keeps on soaring (photos) – The Pentagon, smitten with the Global Hawk drone, had been ready to ground the U-2 fleet for good. But the latest Air Force budget proposal tells a different tale.

Today’s Quote:

“Success is really about being ready for the good opportunities that come before you. It’s not to have a detailed plan of everything that you’re going to do. You can’t plan innovation or inspiration, but you can be ready for it, and when you see it, you can jump on it.”

–     Eric Schmidt

Today’s Free Downloads:

Partition Assistant 4.0 – Partition Assistant is a comprehensive disk partition solution, which includes a Partition Manager and Extend Partition Wizard for Windows 7/XP/2000/Vista and Server 2008/2003/2000.

CurrPorts 2.00 – CurrPorts displays the list of all currently opened TCP/IP and UDP ports on your local computer. For each port in the list, information about the process that opened the port is also displayed, including the process name, full path of the process and more.


Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Secunia PSI 3.0 (Beta) – Automatic, Comprehensive Patching Of Insecure Applications

imageOne of the most frequently repeated pieces of advice on this site is – “Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched, and up to date”. Taking this simply step, reduces the likelihood that malware will become an issue a user will have to deal with – significantly.

Sounds like good, practical advice – and it is. But as those of us involved in computer security know; this is advice that is not always followed. Some hold the view (including me), that it is rarely followed.

One particular application that I have reviewed and recommended a number of times – that assists users in keeping a system fully patched is – Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) – which constantly monitors a system for insecure software installations, notifies the user when an insecure application is installed, and then provides the user with detailed instructions for updating the application, when available.

There’s less reason now, than ever, to disregard this critical advice. Today, Secunia launched version 3 (Beta) of its free Personal Software Inspector (PSI), with a host of new features. The new version makes patching software more comprehensive, automatic, and easier than ever. How simple is that? PSI 3 takes the burden out of updating and patching.

Fast facts:

Extended automatic patching using the Secunia Package System (SPS), removing the dependency on vendors providing silent installers.

It automatically detects insecure programs – from all software vendors, not just those from Microsoft – that need updating.

The Secunia PSI then downloads the required security updates and installs them without any effort from the user, making it much easier to maintain a secure PC.

New and dramatically simplified user interface

Non-intrusive authenticated vulnerability and patch scanning

Auto-update of programs

Covers programs and plug-ins from thousands of vendors

Unprecedented accuracy

Reports security status for each.

Wondering just how PSI does its job? Secunia explains:

The Secunia PSI works by examining files on a computer (primarily .exe, .dll, and .ocx files). These files contain non-specific meta information provided by the software vendor. This data is the same for all users and originates from the installed programs on your computer — never from their configuration.

After examining all the files on the local hard drive(s), the collected data is sent to Secunia’s servers, which match the data against the Secunia File Signatures engine. This information can then be used to provide a detailed report of the missing security related updates for the user’s system. The Secunia PSI automatically performs scans every seven days to ensure that the latest secure versions of the software is installed.

The Secunia PSI 3.0 (beta) can be downloaded from Secunia’s website now at

Previous reviews of this must have application here include:

Not Running Secunia PSI? Why Not?

Secunia Personal Software Inspector – Insurance Against Vulnerabilities

How secure do you think you are? Run a quick scan of your computer with Secunia Online Software Inspector.

About Secunia:

Founded in 2002, Secunia is the leading provider of IT security solutions that help businesses and private individuals globally manage and control vulnerability threats, risks across their networks, and end-points. This is enabled by Secunia’s award-winning Vulnerability Intelligence, Vulnerability Assessment, and Patch Management solutions that ensure optimal and cost-effective protection of critical information assets.

Secunia plays an important role in the IT security ecosystem, and is the preferred supplier for enterprises and government agencies worldwide, counting Fortune 500 and Global 2000 businesses among its customer base. Secunia has operations in North America, the UK, and the Middle East, and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Filed under 64 Bit Software, Application Vulnerabilities, downloads, Freeware, Malware Protection, Secunia

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 27, 2012

WinBubble: Take control of your Windows experience – WinBubble is an application for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 that is designed to take the TweakUI concept to the next level.

How to Jailbreak an iPhone 4s – When you first hear someone talking about Jailbreaking an iPhone or an Android device, it sounds illicit, unethical or even illegal. But the fact is, it isn’t any of those things. When you Jailbreak your iPhone you are simply untying yourself from Apple’s restrictions which are designed to benefit Apple and not you.

Remove Internet Explorer and more with the Windows Features tool – The Windows 7 version of the Windows Features tool allows you to remove more than just optional features.

AT&T Appeals Ruling in Throttling Case – The company?s move is no surprise: Half of its smartphone users — about 17 million customers — are on so-called unlimited plans and it could find itself in a legal nightmare if other customers win similar cases.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview: What We Know So Far – The preview essentially is an open beta for users who want a sneak peek at the new operating system. It is expected to be announced at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Browser Add-On Stops Google (and others) from Tracking You Online – Abine offers browser add-on that prevents Google, advertisers, Facebook, and other marketing companies from tracking you online via a free browser tool.

How to Opt Out of Google’s New Privacy Policy (Sort Of) – Google’s policy update is unavoidable, but you can partially side-step its effects. Here’s how.

Which Browser Should You Use? – Everyone needs a browser, but it can be hard to decide which one you actually want. Are you looking for something blazing fast? Or maybe you ve been burned in the past and you’re looking for a browser with the tightest security. Or you need add-ons–lots and lots of add-ons. Each of these browsers has its own appeal.

How to Overclock Your Graphics Card – Overclocking your graphics card will increase performance and potentially stave off an expensive upgrade. We’ll show you how to do it.

How to Make Your Windows PC Boot Faster – Looking to slash your Windows PC’s boot time to the bone? We’ll show you how we made one system boot 30 percent faster–without any hardware upgrades.

Company News:

LinkedIn Buys Rapportive Gmail Contact Plug-In – Professional social network LinkedIn has acquired startup Rapportive, which makes a browser plug-in that injects contact information from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and into Google’s Gmail application.

HP Profit Dives as Whitman Positions for a Turnaround – HP is starting off its fiscal 2012 year on a down note financially. HP reported first-quarter fiscal 2012 earnings late Wednesday with declining revenues and income. For the quarter, HP reported net revenues of $30.0 billion, which is a 7 percent year-over-year decline. Net earnings were reported at $1.5 billion, a 44 percent year-over-year decline.

Aruba Networks Delivers BYOD Control with ClearPass – Networking vendor Aruba is now debuting a solution for BYOD, built on Linux and leveraging the open source FreeRADIUS access control solution to help return control to enterprises.

GreenBytes Debuts All-SSD Storage Arrays for SMBs – GreenBytes joins a swarm of storage vendors debuting flash-based products this month. Companies like HP and Nimbus have unveiled solid state disk storage arrays for enterprises. However, the Ashaway, R.I.-based firm has an unconventional type of customer in mind: small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Webopedia Daily:

RAM – Pronounced ramm, acronym for random access memory, a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes. RAM is the most common type of memory found in computers and other devices, such as printers.

Off Topic (Sort of):

WikiLeaks publishes Stratfor emails stolen by Anonymous – WikiLeaks has begun publishing internal emails exfiltrated from the systems of strategic intelligence company Stratfor and has teamed up with 25 media organizations who will be going through them all, revealing the most interesting information to the public.

Top Smartphone Apps for Pet Lovers – Use these 12 apps to treat, manage, photograph or even save the life of your cat or dog. There are some for both Apple iPhone and Google Android smartphone users.

The beautiful 3D behind America’s great engineering feats – The Historic American Engineering Record contains gorgeous 3D documentation of big projects like the Space Shuttle Discovery, some of the country’s great bridges, and more.

Studies wrong to link IQ to specific genes – Most of the genes thought to be linked to human intelligence have nothing to do with it at all, according to Harvard researchers.

Today’s Quote:

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

–     Samuel Johnson

Today’s Free Downloads:

TreeSize Free – If you’re looking to free up hard drive space, TreeSize Free can give you the answers you need. Just pick a drive to scan, and let TreeSize do its thing. The program gives you in-depth info on every folder: Size, allocated space, number of files and folders, percentage of parent, and change/access times.

Password Safe – Whether the answer is one or hundreds, Password Safe allows you to safely and easily create a secured and encrypted user name/password list. With Password Safe all you have to do is create and remember a single “Master Password” of your choice in order to unlock and access your entire user name/password list.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 27, 2012

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

TweakNow PowerPack 2012 – A Free Menu-Driven Windows Tweaking Application

Geeks know exactly how, and where, to tweak a Windows operating system – without necessarily running a dedicated tweaking application. Average users on the other hand, generally lack the background and experience, to venture into the dark and hidden spaces of a Windows environment.

But, that doesn’t mean an average user can’t tweak just like a pro. Luckily, there are more than a few free tweaking apps available that can help average users apply the most common system tweaks.

In past reviews of tweaking applications, more than a few readers have mentioned TweakNow PowerPack as their go-to tweaking application. So, I thought I’d take a very quick peek at TweakNow PowerPack’s capabilities.

As with most  tweaking applications, TweakNow PowerPack is menu-driven – making it easy to accomplish system changes without the drudgery of having to go through menu after menu, or manually editing the Registry.

TweakNow PowerPack has a clean, easy to understand interface that provides access to over 100 system settings, some of which are hidden, and others that are just hard to find. The interface is organized for easy navigation, so, I can see no reason why a careful average user should have any problem tweaking their system with TweakNow PowerPack.

Fast facts:

Fully-integrated suite of utilities that let you fine-tune every aspect of your computer’s operating system and Web browser.

Access to more than 100 hidden Windows settings.

Quick Optimizer.

Windows Cleaner includes – Disk Cleaner, Disk Usage Analyzer, Registry Defragmenter, Registry Cleaner, Secure Delete, Startup Manager, Tracks Cleaner and an Uninstaller.

Virtual Desktop module lets you run as many as four custom-designed desktop configurations simultaneously.

Detailed information on your motherboard, processor, video card, memory, hard disk and network.

Even more tweaks to suit your fancy.

The interface is organized for easy navigation, so, I can see no reason why a careful average user should have any problem tweaking their system with Quick Optimizer.

The following screen captures illustrate just a few of the large feature set built into this free application.

Quick Optimizer:


Windows Secret:


Miscellaneous Tools:


System requirements: Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP.

Download at:  Author’s site.


Filed under downloads, Freeware, Software, System Tweaks

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 26, 2012

The 75 Best Android Apps – A lot of garbage lands in the Android Market, thanks to a relatively low barrier to entry. We’ve done some of the dirty work for you and selected 75 quality Android apps.

3G vs. 4G: What’s the Difference? – For average consumers, ‘3G’ and ‘4G’ are two of the most mysterious terms in the mobile technology dictionary, but they’re used relentlessly to sell phones and tablets. If you’re shopping for a new phone, the answer isn’t clear-cut, and you shouldn’t always go for the higher number. Our primer will help explain which technology to pick.

Free Game Rentals at Redbox Next Week – Redbox Coinstar’s kiosks are set to hold “game night” next week, with a free one-night game rental. To take advantage of the offer, customers need to visit the Redbox site between Feb. 26 and Mar. 1 and reserve a game online.

Size Matters: A Guide to Tablets, Great and Small – From the teensy Galaxy Note to the Motorola Xoom, tablet computers come in all sizes.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The 10 Best Job Search Websites – There are dozens of sites designed to find you the perfect gig. From them, we’ve picked our 10 favorites. Though we can’t guarantee you’ll find your dream job right away, you’ll certainly have a panoramic view of what’s out there. Who knows, you may even decide to explore a new career path.

The Cloud Gets More Awesome with New Offers – Dropbox, Box and others announce enhancements such as automatic uploads and free storage to lure you onto their particular cloud.

How to Install Boot Camp and Run Windows on Your Mac – With these simple instructions, you can install Boot Camp on your Mac and dual-boot it into Windows.

Learn to code – Codecademy is the easiest way to learn how to code. It’s interactive, fun, and you can do it with your friends.

Why the word ‘mango’ might spell trouble online – There are certain words that online scammers use to suck the unsuspecting into their scams. “Acai” is one. “Mango” is another. A new study also suggests that Americans are generally more susceptible to scams than they’ll admit.

Most Consumers Clueless About ‘Do No Track’ Technology – A survey reveals that more than 86% believe ‘Do Not Track’ technology guards their privacy more than it actually does.

Bye Bye Virtual; Hello, Augmented Reality – You can find this tech almost anywhere—in smartphones, toys, movies, and maybe someday your pants (we’re not kidding).

Company News:

Samsung Returns With a New Projector Phone – Samsung has launched the Beam, an Android 2.3-based smartphone that comes with an integrated projector that can project a 50-inch high-definition image, the company said on Sunday. This isn’t the first time that Samsung has tried to convince consumers that putting a projector in a smartphone is a good idea. A similar product, which was also called the Beam, was launched in 2010.

Lenovo Stops Selling Netbooks Online – Lenovo has stopped selling netbooks through its website and hasn’t decided if it will start selling them again there in the future, the company said on Friday.

Acer Liquid Glow With Ice Cream Sandwich, Expected at MWC – Acer announced today that it will reveal the Liquid Glow at next week’s Mobile World Congress, a smartphone targeted towards young people that runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Liquid Glow features a 3.7-inch screen, curved edges, and chrome details. It comes in three colors – Sakura Pink, Alpine White, and Cat’s-eye Black – and the color of the display varies based on the color of the phone.

Webopedia Daily:

Multi-user interface – Multi-user interface typically refers to an operating system that allows concurrent access by multiple users on the system. For example on UNIX operating systems, two users can log in to the system at the same time.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Buy laptop, TV, monitor a while back? You may be owed money – If you bought a laptop, computer monitor, or TV with a flat-panel LCD display between 1999 and 2006, you could be eligible for a damages payment under a class-action lawsuit.

Wage Hikes in China, Higher Tech Prices Here? – Some companies are better able to absorb higher manufacturing costs, but they still might pass them along to consumers.

Man shoots himself to test bulletproof vest – In a video that is as painful as it is apparently scientific, a man points a gun at his own stomach, in order to test the efficacy of his body armor.

States Challenge Google Privacy Policy Change – Attorneys General from 36 U.S. states are blasting Google for its modified privacy policy, especially for users of Android phones.

Today’s Quote:

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.”

–     John Quincy Adams

Today’s Free Downloads:

TweakNow PowerPack – TweakNow PowerPack is a fully-integrated suite of utilities that let you fine-tune every aspect of your computer’s operating system and Web browser. For Windows tweaking lovers, the suite provides more than 100 hidden Windows settings in the Windows Secret section. Using modules included in this section, you can easily customize your Windows like geeks do.

WinPatrol – WinPatrol takes snapshot of your critical system resources and alerts you to any changes that may occur without your knowledge. WinPatrol was the pioneer in using a heuristic behavioral approach to detecting attacks and violations of your computing environment.


Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

The Suitcase Internet – The Internet Free Of Government Control

image“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself………….. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it.”  – H. L. MenckenDecember 1919

Despite the fact that Mencken wrote those words almost 100 years ago – he might well have been describing current views held by “the man who is able to think things out for himself.” – Generally, governments are increasingly being seen as dishonest, and corrupt.

In recent years, particularly through events loosely termed “The Arab Spring”,   we’ve been witness to the inevitable clash between those who’s views run counter to the status quo (the thinking man), who stood in defiance of corrupt governments who’s very existence relied on violating the most basic tenets of human rights. Dishonest, insane and intolerable governments.

The Internet played some role, in broadcasting the desperate voices of those engaged in violent encounters against regimes who were intent on eliminating those who fought for the right to condemn the repugnant conditions of their existence. How much of a role, is the subject of continuing discussion.

At the height of those conflicts, countermeasures taken by these repressive regimes included, cutting off access to the Internet in an attempt to slam the door on the free flow of information. Information which, to some extent, ultimately led to the “the people”overthrowing unsustainable governments in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.

There are of course, an accumulation of lessons learned (and, still to be learned), by the successful outcomes of the Arab Spring. One rather obvious lesson it seems to me is – those who cherish the right to freedom of expression, and the right to have those views disseminated, will continue on a collision course with the undercurrent of repression circling the Globe.

Attempts are now underway, in Canada, the US and theUK, to limit, by way of regulatory controls (repression by any other name), the rights and freedoms we’ve come to expect when connected to the Internet.

Controls which effectively reduce, or in some cases, obliterate freedom of choice. Controls which could conceivably be used to slam the door on the free exchange of ideas, and political dissent. In a word – censorship.

It might surprise you to learn just how much Internet censorship is already in place world wide. The following graphic from Wikipedia is illuminating.



The graphic is based on 2009 data.

It’s a fantasy, in my view, to believe that governments will learn to self regulate their persistent push to impose restrictions on how users travel the Internet. That, they will take the high road – based on an understanding that there is an undercurrent of hostility to interference with what many Internet users now believe is a basic human right. The right to surf the Internet without obstruction.

Instead, it’s much more likely that we will see a progression toward increased censorship and surveillance. Governments just never seem to “get it” – that there’s always a point beyond which people will push back. And, there are those who are pushing back against government Internet control – in a technical manner.

A recent article in Scientific American Magazine – Internet Freedom Fighters Build a Shadow Web – describes one such “push back”.

“Governments and corporations have more control over the Internet than ever. Now digital activists want to build an alternative network that can never be blocked, filtered or shut down.”

I’m neither a romantic (as Mencken suggest one might need to be to effect change), nor do I have a Don Quixote complex – but, I’m convinced, that in order to safeguard freedom of though and expression, the  transmission of information without government interference and restriction – then, the creation of a  decentralized mesh network (as described in the Scientific American article), that can’t be blocked, filtered, or silenced, is in our best interest.


Filed under Opinion, Point of View