Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 30, 2012

Free Tools to Wipe Your Drives Securely – If your drives are encrypted and you trust the encryption protocol (full disk encryption is pretty safe), all you have to do is delete your encryption keys. If you want to safeguard your privacy further–and prevent data theft down the road–here are a few cheap and simple tools designed to wipe your hard drive, solid-state drive, or USB flash drive thoroughly before you dispose of it.

10 Fantastic Websites You Need Now – From tips for shopping or gambling to business and travel resources and reality checks while browsing, here is a roundup of great sites that are largely under the radar (until now).

Disable comments on most Web sites with Shut Up – Commenters can be cruel and stupid as often as they can be witty and insightful. The aptly named Shut Up extension for Chrome hides the comments section of most sites.

Labyrinth Gone HTML5: Google Unleashes Maps Cube Game – Ever wanted to roll through the streets of Las Vegas as a giant marble? Google’s new Cube game makes your wish come true.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Tech Movie Guide for 2012 – The season technically kicks off this week, so check out the superheroes, vampires, secret agents and more that will invade movie theaters this summer.

Flashback malware exposes big gaps in Apple security response – A pair of high-profile malware attacks have given Apple a crash course in security response. Based on recent actions, 70 million current Mac owners have a right to expect much more from Apple than they’re getting today.

Back Up a Bootable CD or DVD – Without the word bootable, the answer would be a no-brainer. You’d simply copy all of the files and folders on the disc into a .zip archive file. Then, when you needed them on disc, you’d copy them back. The problem, of course, is that the new disc wouldn’t be bootable. Not good with a Windows or Linux disc. So instead, create an .iso file. This is basically an image backup of an optical disc–a compressed record of every bit on the CD or DVD. When you restore it, you make an exact copy of the original, including its ability to boot a PC.

CISPA: 4 Viewpoints You Should Hear – Parties with strong opinions are weighing in on the controversial Cyber Information and Security Protection Act making its way through Congress, raising a plethora of questions along the way.

First Consumer 802.11ac Wi-Fi Router Will Ship From Netgear Starting Next Month – Announced on Thursday, the R6300 will start shipping in May, and is capable of speeds up to 1.3Gbps on the 5 GHz band, assuming of course you have a compatible 802.11ac device on the receiving end.

Who’s the King of Smartphone Sales? – Is Apple or Samsung leading the pack? It depends on whose numbers you believe and what you’re counting.

Company News:

IBM Gets Behind Snort, Expands Anomaly Detection – Since its debut in 1998, the open-source Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) known as Snort has become a popular platform for security signatures to protect enterprise IT assets. Today, IBM announced support for Snort signatures as part of an expanded security threat analytics capability that is designed to alert organizations to suspicious outbound traffic from infected “zombie” computers.

Apple highlights job creation in tax-dodge response – Rebuttal comes in the wake of a report claiming the tech giant goes to great lengths to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.

Dell says XPS 13 sales exceed expectations – Dell’s first ultrabook is off to a strong start, offering some hope for the new class of skinny laptops.

Pinterest sees user base double in three months – Launched a little more than two years ago, the social photo-sharing service has doubled its number of daily unique visitors to 4 million since January, according to new data from social media marketer Tamba.

Nvidia Announces GeForce GTX 690 Dual-GPU Video Card – Nvidia claims that the GTX 690, which fuses two Kepler GPUs and introduces a number of new design elements, is the fastest video card ever created.

Webopedia Daily:

Blacklist – In Internet terminology, a generic name for a list of e-mail addresses or IP addresses that are originating with known spammers. Individuals and enterprises can use blacklists to filter out unwanted e-mails, as most e-mail applications today have filtering capabilities. Also referred to as a blackhole list, the blacklist also can include ISPs that allow known spammers to use their services. Compare with RBL, a blackhole list maintained by MAPS LLC.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Hey, kids, more moms want iPads for Mother’s Day – A survey suggests that tablets and smartphones are swiftly catching up to jewelry and flowers as gifts that mothers crave (or, at least, feel they deserve) for Mother’s Day.

Gear4 Renew SleepClock Review: It Knows When You’re Sleeping – Over the last six nights, I’ve learned that I’m not a great sleeper. I need at least a half hour to doze off, and I’m likely to stir from my slumber a few times or more during the night, which in turn prevents me from getting enough deep sleep. Although I’ve suspected those things for some time, Gear4′s Renew SleepClock has delivered irrefutable evidence: charts of my sleep patterns, appearing every morning on a companion app.

iPhone-carrying bra is no bust – Some of us are slaves to technology while others are slaves to fashion, but for those of us who are indentured to both, this iPhone-carrying bra could be the path to liberation. Even if, like me, you don’t possess an iPhone or breasts, it’s still a wonder to behold.

GM concept car is an electric-networked vehicle – What is the car of tomorrow? A flying space car a la the Jetsons? The once popular people mover in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland? 

Or is it, as GM envisions, an electric-networked vehicle which you leave the driving to for the most part while you catch up on the digital daily and drink your coffee on the commute to the office?

Today’s Quote:

The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.”

–    Casey Stengel

Today’s Free Downloads:

CloneSpy 2.63 – CloneSpy can help you free up hard drive space by detecting and removing duplicate files. Duplicate files have exactly the same contents regardless of their name, date, time and location. Also, CloneSpy is able to find files that are not exactly identical, but have the same file name.

Dictionary .NET – Dictionary .NET is a tiny, easy and smart multilingual dictionary translating from/to 52 languages using Google´s services. Integrates Google Dictionary, Translate, Search, Suggest, Wikipedia 5-in-1 without installing them.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 29, 2012

Charge your phone in an emergency – You see that battery meter dwindling down to zero. There’s a knot in your stomach. You’d pay anything just to squeeze another 10 minutes from your phone. Don’t worry; you have options available.

Add Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive to Windows’ Send-To Menu – Looking for an easier way to add a file or folder to your favorite cloud-storage service? It’s just a right-click away.

How to Encrypt Your Email – Data encryption is a complicated subject, but our top-level overview and general guide to email encryption will help you understand the basics. Learn to encrypt your Internet connection, sent and stored email with this basic tutorial.

Dropbox update – The latest version of the Dropbox software lets Windows and Mac users automatically upload photos just by plugging in their cameras. The new Dropbox 1.4 software for Windows, OS X, or Linux can automatically upload photos not just from a camera, but from a smartphone, tablet, SD card, and just about any other gadget that houses your images.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Digital Workflow Basics: Fine-Tune Your Photos Effectively – Making a great photo is more than just composing the shot and pressing the shutter release–you might want to fix the colors, brighten shadows, change the cropping, and sharpen the photo or eliminate noise. The order that you do all those things in is important because it can have a significant effect on the quality of the final photo. Pros call this sequence their “digital workflow.” Here’s a simple but effective digital workflow you can apply to your own photos.

Google Drive Privacy Policies Slammed – Privacy advocates and users voice concerns about Google’s terms of use for its new Drive storage services, including what happens to your data if you ditch the Drive.

Mac Flashback Flaw Re-used by New Malware Campaign – Java has been spotted as a Mac weakness, partly because it isn’t currently patched quickly by Apple and partly because its users leave their computers unprotected.

Avast Offers Free Security for Mac OS X – Mac OS X has caught the attention of malicious developers, and the threat is just going to increase. The free Avast for Mac security software can protect your Mac system against malware.

The 20 Best Skyrim Mods (So Far) – Frustrated with Skyrim’s PC user interface? Bored with its one-dimensional artificial intelligence routines? Looking for dragons that actually put up a fight, or maybe the option to summon one yourself? These best-in-show mods are aimed squarely at you.

Mozilla Unveils Firefox 13 Beta With Speed Boost – Hot on the heels of Firefox 12, Mozilla today unveiled a beta version of Firefox 13, which promises faster and easier Web navigation.

Top 5 Biggest Concerns About CISPA – But what’s the big deal with this bill? How might it affect the average Web user?

Alternatives to Google Maps for Webmasters and App Developers – Once free, Google Maps has become very expensive for high-traffic websites. Here are a number of alternatives for webmasters looking to switch.

Company News:

Google releases full FCC report on Street View probe – Company releases full version of FCC’s report on company’s controversial gathering of personal data with Street View cars.

Samsung knocks Nokia off smartphone top spot – The king is dead; long live the king. After a 14-year run, Nokia has finally lost its crown as the world’s leading cellphone manufacturer.

Blackberry 10 phone due out October: report – What will perhaps be Blackberry’s last chance to stay alive will launch in about six months. Even though the first Blackberry device to be powered by Research in Motion’s ambitious new operating system was supposed to already be out, due to various delays and an unprecedented restructuring within the company, the start of Blackberry 10 had become shrouded in mystery.

Apple v. Samsung: 50 suits, 10 countries — and counting – One year ago this month the two companies locked horns over patents, and their legal fight has since extended around the globe. It will apparently even bring the two CEOs face-to-face in May.

Webopedia Daily:

Email Fax – Email fax services enable users to send faxes through their email accounts (fax from email) and receive faxes as PDF attachments (fax to email) in their email inboxes. Email fax companies generally charge a monthly fee for their services and have tiered plans based on the number of email fax users as well as incoming and outgoing email faxes per month.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Times takes on Apple again, with report on taxes – Following the year’s earlier reports on Foxconn and on Apple’s practice of sending manufacturing overseas, The New York Times publishes a piece that claims Apple has been a pioneer in developing ways to sidestep taxes.

Video: The Most Insanely Important, Tech News of the Week – Important developments concerning the Microsoft-Facebook patent deal, YouTube history, crying on the Internet and Tim Cook’s dismissal of refrigerator-toaster hybrids.

Did WikiLeaks suspect aid the enemy? – Pfc. Bradley Manning is facing charges of aiding the enemy after thousands of classified documents downloaded by the former army intelligence analyst ended up on WikiLeaks.

So who’s behind Apple attacks in Australia? – Samsung denies that it’s behind flashmobs picketing outside Apple Stores in Australia with signs saying “wake up.” But if it isn’t Samsung, who could it be? Google?

Today’s Quote:

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.”

–     W. C. Fields

Today’s Free Downloads:

Avira AntiVir Rescue System April 28, 2012 – The Avira AntiVir Rescue System a linux-based application that allows accessing computers that cannot be booted anymore. Thus it is possible to repair a damaged system, to rescue data or to scan the system for virus infections.

Simple Port Forwarding Portable 3.3.0 – Whether you don’t understand how to forward ports, or your simply looking for an easier way to forward ports then this program is for you. Simple Port Forwarding works with webpages and not directly with your router making it a safe program to use. Supports 52 Languages and 1700+ routers.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

The War for Government Control of the Internet – We’re Losing

Make no mistake – we are unwilling participants in a war – a war to “tame” the Internet. We’ve long been at war on the Internet in a sense and early on, there was no mistaking the enemy – cybercriminals. But, who would have considered that as the Internet evolved, the free thinking and freewheeling principles under which it was established, would come under attack?

While it’s true that the battle against the cybercriminal element continues unabated, the level of conflict – and its direction – has vaulted into a new dimension.

In a world driven mad by economic uncertainty, it’s hardly surprising that the principal players allied against Internet users, in the war to tame the Internet, are right-wing focused governments (who hold little regard for civil liberties and the right to freedom of expression) and, profit hungry corporations (who hold little regard for an individual’s right to privacy).

China, based on it’s aggressive control of Internet dissent, has long borne the burden of being classified as the black sheep of the Internet family but, the reality is somewhat less clear. The U.S. government in its paranoid motivation to address self created issues in it’s war on terror (spurning the Constitution in the process), may well be in the forefront in the drive to change the focus of the Internet as we know it.

In an article this past week on Slate – Evgeny  Morozov (a visiting scholar at Stanford University, a fellow at the New America Foundation, and a contributing editor/blogger at Foreign Policy) wrote –

“While Hillary Clinton likes to give speeches in which she fashions herself the world’s greatest defender of “Internet freedom,” the harsh reality is that her own government is its greatest enemy. Given the never-ending flow of draconian copyright and cyber security laws coming from Washington, this fact is getting harder and harder to conceal from the global public”.

The U.S. is hardly alone in its contempt for the rights of the individual and it should be noted, that the long lineup of draconian governments has been  enthusiastically joined by the governments of Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, in a recent statement made the point –

“Very powerful forces have lined up against the open Internet on all sides and around the world.. . . It’s scary.”

Scary, indeed.

The stakes in the battle for control of cyberspace are enormous and, the outcome will affect you most directly. Taking the “path of least resistance” and allowing restrictive legislated Internet policies to wash over you, is just not on. Certainly not, if you wish to continue to use the Internet in the way in which it has evolved – free of unbridled government interference.

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) recognized that “Knowledge is power” and, if a situation ever existed in which the reality of this truth can be played out – this is one which qualifies. To effectively fight back against unconstrained government interference – you will require the knowledge to do so.

With that in mind, I encourage you to spend some time reading an excellent series of articles published by the London based The Guardian newspaper. The series is wide ranging and includes coverage on issues from – governments attempts to control citizens, the rise of Facebook, Apple-style “walled gardens”’, the seemingly never ending attacks on  privacy, the efforts to “tame” the web – and, much more.

Click on the appropriate links as follows:

Over seven days

The Guardian is taking stock of the new battlegrounds for the internet. From states stifling dissent to the new cyberwar front line, we look at the challenges facing the dream of an open internet.

Day two: the militarization of cyberspace

Internet attacks on sovereign targets are no longer a fear for the future, but a daily threat. We ask: will the next big war be fought online?

Day three: the new walled gardens

For many, the internet is now essentially Facebook. Others find much of their online experience is mediated by Apple or Amazon. Why are the walls going up around the web garden, and does it matter?

Day four: IP wars

Intellectual property, from copyrights to patents, have been an internet battlefield from the start. We look at what Sopa, Pipa and Acta really mean, and explain how this battle is not over.

Day five: ‘civilizing’ the web

In the UK, the ancient law of defamation is increasingly looking obsolete in the Twitter era. Meanwhile, in France, President Sarkozy believes the state can tame the web.

Day six: the open resistance

Meet the activists and entrepreneurs who are working to keep the internet open.

Day seven: the end of privacy

Hundreds of websites know vast amounts about their users’ behaviour, personal lives and connections with each other. Find out who knows what about you, and what they use the information for.


Filed under Opinion, Point of View

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 28, 2012

The Best Free Stuff of 2012: Alphabetical List – Here’s the complete list of all 59 programs, mobile apps, and Web services in our 17th annual roundup of the best free stuff available online.

First Look at Ubuntu Linux 12.04 “Precise Pangolin” – This release is another “Long Term Support” release, meaning Canonical will support it for longer than other versions—five years, to be exact. It also usually means lots of new features, though this time around it seems to be more polish than anything—though the HUD alone is reason enough to upgrade. Here’s a look at everything that’s new.

Building a budget PC for under $360 – Many of the build-your-own systems that I cover here on Hardware 2.0 are high-end gaming systems or systems designed specifically for a certain tasks, such as running Photoshop. However, not all build-your-own systems have to cost a fistful of dollars. It’s possible to put together a great value PC without having to break the bank.

Survey Finds Secure Sites Not So Secure – A new project that was setup to monitor the quality and strength of the SSL implementations on top sites across the Internet found that 75 percent of them are vulnerable to the BEAST SSL attack and that just 10 percent of the sites surveyed should be considered secure.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Free Ray-Bans and TOMS shoes scams hit Facebook – Have you seen a message on Facebook saying that free pairs of Ray-Bans or TOMS shoes are being given away to users? Don’t believe it.

Add a Facebook status bar to every page in Chrome – Feeling addicted to Facebook? Here’s yet another way to keep an eye on posts and notifications while browsing the Interwebs.

3 Web Tools to Host, Build and Protect Your Website – These three Web resources will help you get your small business on the Web by hosting a domain, building a site and making sure miss-typed URLs don’t take your customers astray.

US House of Representatives passes CISPA – In a move that took the opponents of the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) by surprise, the US House of Representatives has voted on the bill a full day before it was planned and has passed it with a vote of 248-168.

CISPA: House Vote Sets up Senate Cybersecurity Showdown – Ignoring a White House veto threat, the House approved the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which would encourage companies and the federal government to share information collected on the Internet to help prevent electronic attacks from cybercriminals, foreign governments and terrorists.

German Court Rules Victims – Not Banks – at Fault in Phishing Scams – A German court ruled earlier this week that victims of phishing scams, and not banks, are responsible for money lost in online scams.

Report says Hotmail exploit “spread like wild fire,” is now fixed – Microsoft plugged a serious security hole in its Hotmail password reset service last week, after one report claims it was widely exploited.

Company News:

Apple TV set chatter heats up with rumored content talks – Apple’s rumored to have been in talks with content provider Epix to bring content to the Apple TV and potentially even its TV set.

Apple to Build Own Restaurant So Employees Can Eat Without Being Spied On – You’re eating a Waldorf salad with your coworkers, talking about last night’s Seinfeld and sharing proprietary secrets, when all of a sudden you notice a guy from Microsoft behind you quietly taking notes. Well, it looks like Apple has decided to protect its employees from such scenarios by building its own off-campus restaurant.

Google reveals two international probes – According to The Wall Street Journal, the search giant is facing inquiries in Argentina and South Korea. Both are open and ongoing, and Google said it is cooperating with authorities.

ARM threatens Intel’s “momentum” – 

Intel has once again acknowledged that ARM poses a clear and present danger to x86 architecture in the lucrative mobile market.

Webopedia Daily:

Google Drive – Google Drive is a personal cloud storage service from Google that helps users store and synchronize digital content across computers, laptops and numerous mobile devices such as Android-powered tablet and smartphone devices and (coming soon, according to Google) Apple iOS-powered iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. As one might expect, Google Drive additionally provides advanced search capabilities for finding specific information within files, and users can also share and collaborate with others on documents via the service’s built-in access to the Google Docs suite of editing tools.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Internet EX30: The Cardboard Internet – An artistic view of the Internet built from cardboard – pretty neat! (recommended by Michael F.)

Microsoft backs away from CISPA support, citing privacy – Microsoft has been counted as a supporter of CISPA since the beginning. Now the company tells CNET any new law must allow “us to honor the privacy and security promises we make to our customers” and protect “consumer privacy.”

Yahoo Accuses Facebook of ‘Retaliation’ in Patent Fight – Yahoo today hit back at Facebook, arguing that the social network’s counterclaim in the companies’ patent battle is retaliatory and based on information to which Facebook couldn’t possible have access.

Proposed Bill Would Protect Employees’ Facebook Passwords – A bill filed in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday would protect people from snooping employers and schools.

Today’s Quote:

No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.”

–     Bertrand Russell

Today’s Free Downloads:

RoboForm2Go 7.7.6 – RoboForm2Go is a portable version of RoboForm – a secure password manager and form filler. Plug your USB key with RoboForm2Go on it into any computer, anywhere in the world.

Free MP3 Cutter and Editor – This is an extremely simple and handy Windows software for editing mp3 files.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 27, 2012

How to Buy Security Software – Security software is a must for any Internet-connected computer, be it PC or Mac. Some will choose the simplicity of an all-in-one suite, others may prefer gathering best-of-breed products for each area of protection. We’ll help you decide.

Five handy apps for recording audio notes – Are you starting to feel like typing your notes just takes too long? Today’s note-capturing apps make it easy for us to grab those great ideas, whether we’re scribbling on an envelope, chatting with a friend, or whistling while we walk. Here are several popular apps you can use when you need to hear yourself think.

Cloudfogger – Cloudfogger provides fee file encryption for Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive and Others. You don’t have to worry about your privacy, your provider or lost devices any more. Cloudfogger secures your files and you’re in control, no matter where you keep your files.

Google Drive Cloud Storage: 10 Things You Should Know About It – After a long development program, Google Drive has finally been released to general availability. But what should customers know about the platform before they start using it?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

15 Cloud Storage Alternatives to Google Gdrive – Google is finally giving to the world–after six years of waiting–its long-anticipated GDrive cloud storage service. But that long wait has given competitors quite the head start. In fact, there are literally dozens of cloud-storage providers available to handle your files in a safe place. Here are 15 of them, most of which offer a “freemium” deal with limited free storage.

Majority of web apps vulnerable to most frequent exploits – 84 percent of web applications from public companies were deemed unacceptable when measured against the OWASP Top 10 most frequently exploited web application vulnerabilities, says security testing firm Veracode in a feature supplement of its annual “State of Software Security Report”.

36 websites selling credit card details shut down – Cybercrime is big business these days, in fact it’s an industry. So it’s not a surprise to find that criminals are embracing ecommerce. But I’m sure some will be surprised to discover just how professional and legitimate criminal websites can appear. For instance, watch the following video to see footage of a website that was selling stolen credit card details.

Microsoft rushes out fix after hackers reset passwords to hack Hotmail accounts – Microsoft says it has fixed a serious vulnerability in Hotmail, that was allowing hackers to reset account passwords, locking out the account’s real owner and giving attackers access to users’ inboxes. News of the critical bug spread rapidly across underground hacking forums, and Whitec0de reported earlier this week that hackers were offering to break into any Hotmail account for as little as $20.

Conficker Worm Remains ‘Ongoing’ Threat – Three-year-old ‘dead’ Windows worm infection is still spreading — mainly via weak or stolen passwords, new Microsoft report says.

Kaspersky: Mac security is ’10 years behind Microsoft’ – In an interview, the security firm’s CEO says Apple has a lot more malware coming its way, and that it’s not putting enough resources into protecting users.

Company News:

Samsung Unveils New Chip, Will Power Next Galaxy Device – The ARM Cortex A9-based, 1.4-GHz processor provides double the processing power of its predecessor, the 45nm process-based Exynos 4 Dual, while consuming 20 percent less power.

Laptop manufacturers planning cheaper clones of high-priced Ultrabooks – Laptop makers are supposedly no longer waiting for Ultrabooks to reach more budget-friendly prices, and have decided to create cheaper models that mimic the design of the Intel notebook platform.

Red Hat and SUSE join IBM in new Linux system, Canonical opts out – While Red Hat and SUSE are throwing their support behind IBM’s new Linux POWER servers, Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, has opted to sit this one out.

T-Mobile Wants FCC to Reject Verizon AWS Spectrum Purchase – T-Mobile says Verizon Wireless doesn’t need more AWS spectrum and that proposed spectrum bands that Verizon is offering in exchange for the bands it wants to buy are undesirable and not readily usable.

IBM creates breathing, high-density, light-weight lithium-air battery – As part of IBM’s Battery 500 project — an initiative started by in 2009 to produce a battery capable of powering a car for 500 miles — Big Blue has successfully demonstrated a light-weight, ultra-high-density, lithium-air battery.

Webopedia Daily:

Compulsory License – Also referred to as a statutory license. According to U.S. law, a license to use content under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, defined by act of Congress. For example, radio broadcasters need a license to play music published through ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. They don’t need to obtain permission from the copyright holders to play a song but must pay usage fees to the copyright holders based on how often a particular song is played.

Off Topic (Sort of):

House Poised to Debate CISPA: Where Are We Now? – There was a massive outcry when Congress tried to enact SOPA to enforce U.S. copyright laws, but don’t expect the same response to the new CISPA act that is before Congress right now. CISPA opposition doesn’t have any other natural base of support. In Washington, that means the odds are CISPA passes.

Never-before-seen photos from 100 years ago tell vivid story of gritty New York City – Almost a million images of New York and its municipal operations have been made public for the first time on the internet. Culled from the Municipal Archives collection of more than 2.2 million images going back to the mid-1800s, the 870,000 photographs feature all manner of city oversight — from stately ports and bridges to grisly gangland killings. (recommended by Michael F.)

The Future of the $200 Tablet – The low-end, under-$200 tablet market is on the brink of a transformation — and that means you’ll soon be able to get a lot more value for a lot less money.

A Facebook ‘Election’ Could Change Democracy – Think about the implications of a Facebook straw poll between Obama and Romney: one day, millions of “votes,” just weeks before the election. Would Facebook do it?

Living in Public: What Happens When You Throw Privacy Out the Window – I am an extremely private person. I don’t broadcast my location, I use privacy tools to keep advertisers from tracking me, and almost never give any app access to Facebook. Of course, a lot of people don’t have a problem with living publicly. I’ve always wondered what the benefits and downfalls of doing so are, so I decided to give it a three-week test run. Here’s how it went.

Should you refill your printer’s ink cartridges? HP says no (of course) – You’ve undoubtedly heard or seen advertisements for businesses that promise to save you money on printer ink cartridges — one problem, though, according to HP: Refilling doesn’t work.

Today’s Quote:

The best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter-he’s got to just know.”

–     Will Rogers

Today’s Free Downloads:

SUPERAntiSpyware Free – Detect and Remove Spyware, Adware and Remove Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, HiJackers, Parasites, Rootkits, Rogue Security Products and many other types of threats.

VirtualBox 4.1.14 – VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 26, 2012

Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0 free PC security software ready for download – Microsoft has released a new version of its Security Essentials software for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 PCs.

Facebook Launches Antivirus Marketplace With Free Downloads – Facebook on Wednesday teamed up with several leading antivirus firms to launch an Antivirus Marketplace, which will allow users to download a six-month free trial of the companies’ software. The marketplace is currently offering products from McAfee, Norton, Microsoft, Sophos, and Trend Micro.

15 Free (or Almost Free) Wi-Fi Security Testing Tools – Attempting to “hack” into your own wireless network can help you better understand Wi-Fi security vulnerabilities and how to protect against them.

Google clones Dropbox: lock, stock, and privacy gaffe – Google Drive looks like just another ho-hum Dropbox clone. Same feature set, same market positioning. But was it really necessary for Google to copy the outrageously unfair terms of service.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

If you have something to hide from the government, don’t use Google Drive – Just as with Dropbox, SkyDrive, or any other cloud service provider, if you have something to hide from the government, don’t put it in the cloud. Here’s why.

11% of secondhand hard drives contain personal information, study reveals – Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has discovered that more than one in every ten secondhand hard drives contains recoverable personal information of the original owner. In the case of the hard disks, 11 percent contained personal information. According to the ICO report, 37 percent contained non-personal information, and only 38 percent of devices had been wiped. A further 14 percent of the drives were too damaged to be readable.

Writing fake online reviews? New Google algorithm will catch you out – Changing online sentiment is hard enough. But fraudulently working together to try and control the sentiment about a product or web site is just plain wrong.

3 Software Products Small Businesses Need to Know – Small business analyst Laurie McCabe offers a quick rundown of three software products — AnyMeeting, and Xero — that are well suited to help small businesses.

IDs of 2.5 million dead Americans abused annually, new study shows – Dead or alive, your identity is always at risk: New data shows that fraudsters use the Social Security numbers and other personal data of more than 2 million deceased people in the U.S. annually in order to get credit card and cell phone services each year under phony names.

Google Begins Penalizing Search ‘Over-Optimization’ – Google is making a change to its search algorithm to penalize what the company’s head of Web spam called “over-optimization” and instead favor websites with high-quality content and less refined search-engine optimization.

Company News:

Acer Launches SMB-friendly AC100 Micro Server – The PC and laptop maker rolls out a small server that’s big on data protection and energy- saving features.

Sprint’s network overhaul off to good start, but risks loom – Sprint’s first quarter was solid relative to expectations as the company activated 1.5 million iPhones and said its Network Vision plan is off to a good start. However, the execution risks over the next year are huge.

LANDesk Acquires Data Analytics Company – LANDesk Software, a global leader in systems lifecycle management, endpoint security and IT service management, today announced the acquisition of Managed Planet. The company has unique technologies in the areas of IT asset management, business to business connectors, hardware discovery, reporting and asset analytics.

Report: Microsoft to Unveil Spotify-like Music Service – Code-named Woodstock, Microsoft’s new streaming service will reportedly be playable from a browser, with support for Windows 8, Android, iOS and Xbox 360.

Facebook IPO Could be Delayed Until June – Facebook’s recent acquisition spree could delay the social network’s highly anticipated Wall Street debut until June, according to reports.

Webopedia Daily:

Windows Server 8 Codename – The official codename for the successor to Microsoft’s Windows 7 Server operating system. While the Windows Server 8 codename was initially rumored to be the launch name used for the next generation server OS, Microsoft has since reported that the new server OS will be named Windows Server 2012. The Windows 8 codename is also being used for the desktop version of the operating system, as an official name for the desktop has not yet been announced.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Man Who Makes The Future – Interview with Marc Andreesen, who at 22 invented early graphical web browser, Mosaic/Netscape, and staged the first dotcom IPO in 1995. Now he’s a big-time venture capitalist. His firm just made $800m on Instagram.

Why Apple Is Winning: Innovation, Opportunity and Execution – Thanks to a combination of anticipation and luck, Apple — which nearly went bankrupt before the last tech boom — is poised for even greater heights if it can continue to out-think, out-innovate and out-execute its competitors. Here are three major forces buoying Apple’s growth and pushing the company forward.

Images Of Earth From Above – There really isn’t much of a theme to tie these 39 photographs together, other than that they were all taken in the air, looking down. But, my, there are some beauties. Worth a few minutes of anyone’s time.

Carl Honoré on Slow Living – In a culture obsessed with speed, the author of In Praise of Slow asks us to take a step back, from slower eating to unhurried thinking – and traces the leisurely history of the slow movement.

Steam Native Linux Client Near? Gabe Newell Trashes Windows 8? – If you’re a Linux buff, you already know how to get Steam working under the scrappy Unix-like operating system using intermediary connectors like Wine, but as any Wine user knows, game performance generally suffers. What about a native Linux client, long rumored but so far a no-show?

Has Physics Made Philosophy And Religion Obsolete? – Yes it has, says Lawrence Krauss, theoretical physicist, interviewed here. Religion and philosophy struggle to answer fundamental question of why there is something rather than nothing. But physics can explain that perfectly well.

Today’s Quote:

The basic currency of the Internet is human ignorance, and, frankly, our database holds a strong cash position!”

–     Christian Rudder

Today’s Free Downloads:

File Grinder 0.1.2 – File Grinder is a program for batch file renaming, copying and moving, based on file name templates and multiple file format meta-tags, e.g. MP3, OGG, FLAC, FictionBook 2, JPEG etc. It also has a console UI, which makes it easy to use in scripts.

Google Drive 1.0 – Google Drive-keep everything, share anything. Google Drive is everywhere you are—on the web, in your home, at the office and on the go. So wherever you are, your stuff is just…there. Ready to go, ready to share.


Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 25, 2012

10 Commandments of Windows Security – Here are 10 tips–commandments, if you will–for ensuring your desktop or notebook computer can be used productively as well as safely. Many of the recommended tools are free, and all are affordable–and certainly less expensive than the potential problems of an unsecured computer. Similarly, many will take you only a minute or two to perform–again, far less time than you’d spend recovering from a security problem.

How To Tell If Your Phone Is Infected – Most people have no idea if their mobile devices have been infected with malware, simply because they don’t think mobile malware even exists (call it the Mac syndrome?).

Google Drive Launches, With Less Free Storage Than SkyDrive – Google officially announced its anticipated Google Drive cloud service on Tuesday, although the storage capacity is less than Microsoft added to its SkyDrive service a day earlier.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 12 With Silent Updates – Mozilla on Tuesday released Firefox 12, which incorporates silent updates, among other enhancements. The browser maker initially promised silent updates – or updates that occur in the background – with Firefox 13, but the feature has made its way into today’s release.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Users worry about data security, but still trust social networks – Although the majority of people (71 percent) are worried about the amount of personal information held online, a significant proportion would still share confidential information with people they didn’t know, with almost a third (32 percent) stating they would send a password, bank account number or their mother’s maiden name via email or a social networking website, say the result of a recent Faronics survey exploring UK web users’ attitudes to online security.

Skimtacular: All-in-One ATM Skimmer – The skimmer pictured below is the backside of a card acceptance slot overlay. It was recovered by a customer at a bank in the San Fernando Valley who called the cops upon her discovery. (recommended by Michael F.)

Windows 8 Release Preview Coming in Early June – The announcement comes about two months after Microsoft released the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 during an event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Sinofsky also spoke at that briefing, where he said the “goal with Windows 8 is to deliver PCs without compromise,” meaning that the OS scales with you depending on how you want to use the OS and with what gadget – tablet, PC, or touch-based PC.

All your tweets are belong to us – A New York judge has ruled that prosecutors aren’t required to obtain a subpoena for deleted tweets, as they are considered public information owned by a third party.

Take Notes on Your iPad – If you need a free iPad note-taking app that syncs with Dropbox or, PaperPort Notes is a great option, especially for its speech-to-text dictation tool.

Spy Software for Tablets Released – Retina-X Studios, LLC, today announced release of what they’re calling the “world’s first spy software” for tablets. PeekTab runs on iPad and Android tablets; a version for the BlackBerry PlayBook is in the works.

The 10 Best New Skyrim Mods for April 2012 – Want to craft weapons made of dragon bone? Fight in your own personal arena? Increase your follower count to 15? Fly a Dwemer airship? You can do that and more in our pick of April 2012’s best new Skyrim mods.

Company News:

JetBrains Enhances WebStorm JavaScript IDE – JetBrains delivers WebStorm 4.0, the latest version of its integrated development environment (IDE) for JavaScript developers.

First portable malware intelligence system – ValidEdge has unveiled a real-time malware analysis engine built into a standard laptop, delivering the power to analyze up to 1000 malware samples per day in a fully functional laptop without compromising the integrity of the laptop’s functions, data or operating system.

Google Selling Phones Again, Adds Galaxy Nexus to Google Play – About two years after pulling the plug on its online smartphone store, Google today announced that the Galaxy Nexus is now available for sale via Google Play.

Netflix Horror Show: The Real Reason Shares Plunged 17% – As a purely financial matter, Netflix’s quarterly report should not have precipitated the absolute shellacking that the company’s stock suffered after-hours Monday, wiping out about $1 billion in shareholder equity.

Webopedia Daily:

iCloud – iCloud is a suite of free cloud-based services from Apple that helps users store and synchronize digital content across computers and numerous iOS-supported devices such as iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. iCloud serves as the successor to Apple’s MobileMe service and is included free as part of Apple’s iOS 5, which first became available in October 2011. The service provides users with an initial 5-GB of iCloud storage for free, with additional storage capacity available for purchase on a monthly basis.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Are today’s students truly ‘tech savvy’? – Summary: A new report released by the ESRC puts doubt in the theory.

The Patent Racket – Microsoft is buying and selling patents like a kid trading snacks in the cafeteria. Clearly, the patent system needs an overhaul.

Google Didn’t Steal Wi-Fi — Here’s Why – The Federal Communications Commission cleared Google of wrongdoing in the so-called “WiSpy” case. It was the right decision. Why? Because Google didn’t do anything wrong.

The strange tale of India’s $35 Aakash tablet – News of India’s $35 Aakash tablet has been making headlines around the world, but was never available for sales. Undeterred, the government this week announced an updated version to be launched in May.

Apple’s Cook Disses Convertible Tablets – Apple chief executive Tim Cook said Tuesday that Apple would manufacture both MacBooks and iPads for some time to come, suggesting that the two products should not be brought together. “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but you know those things are not going to be probably be pleasing to the user,” Cook told analysts during a Tuesday earnings call.

IPv6: It’s the end of the Internet as you know it, and I feel fine – On June 6, many major Web sites and Internet providers will start supporting IPv6 full time. But, worry not, the IPv4 Internet you’ve used for years will still be fine.

Today’s Quote:

God created Whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the World.”

–     Traditional

Today’s Free Downloads:

Hotspot Shield – Hotspot Shield is a private VPN service that will secure your wireless communications–for free. It employs OpenVPN, which is a well-documented, stable piece of open source virtual private networking software.

SPAMfighter 7.5.133 – If you are looking for an Outlook or Outlook Express tool to remove spam and phishing emails from your inbox, look no further. SPAMfighter is the tool you are looking for. Simple, reliable and efficient.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News