Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 22, 2012

The Best Freeware for Small Businesses – For too many people, the phrase “free software” conjures up images of pirated brand-name applications or poorly supported third-class programs. If that’s what you think of freeware, you’re missing an opportunity to save your business a lot of cash. For this roundup, I’ll examine five software categories of significant interest to small businesses – productivity suites, photo editors, website design programs, project management tools, and computer management utilities – and name the best freeware alternatives to the most well-known payware packages in each.

How to browse sensitive subjects without being tracked – For most Web activities, many people won’t be bothered that they are served up ads for cars or even acne cream if they have been reading news about the newest Tesla or visiting dermatology Web sites. But what about when someone is researching a hereditary or embarrassing medical condition that one would not want revealed to advertisers, shoulder surfers or, worse yet, insurance companies?

Apple Patent Looks to Clone Your Online Identity – Apple recently secured a patent that would allow for the cloning of your online identity, but Cupertino insists that the effort is intended to help keep you more secure online. Patently Apple called the technology “one of the most surprising patents ever to be granted to Apple,” and said it reads like a science-fiction novel, with shades of Blade Runner and The Matrix.

Are Nigerian scammers crazy e-mails actually very clever? – An analysis from Microsoft Research suggests that Nigerian scammers need to sound as ridiculous as possible, so that only the most gullible will reply to them.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Smart TVs are vulnerable to attacks – Home entertainment has expanded beyond the traditional television. Modern TV sets are very similar to a desktop computer: they have a processor, memory, a hard disk and some sort of an operating system running. Codenomicon robustness tested six well-known TV manufacturers’ top model smart TVs. The bad news is that none of them cleared all of the tests where critical communications protocols were scrutinized.

37 Tech Shortcuts From the Experts – Fly through your daily tasks with these 37 proven productivity boosters.

Security beyond passwords: What’s next? – Let’s face it, user names and passwords are a crappy way to deal with account security. We’re basically relying on having every single user to remember an obscure series of numbers and letters in order to log in. There are so many potential problems with this, that it’s no surprise we’ve had so many breaches in the past years. Users can forget their passwords, which means all sites need a password recovery link; these passwords may be weak, which means they can be brute forced; and any time the secret string gets out in the wild, then it’s too late, and users are left scrambling to change their passwords before their accounts are exploited for some nefarious reason.

Indian outsourcing: Why skills shortages persist despite the graduate glut – The boom in India’s services has spawned the growth of new engineering colleges. Yet the outsourcing industry thinks too few of their graduates are up to scratch.

Company News:

eBay Commits to Renewable Energy for Next Data Center – EBay is continuing its green business initiatives by building the next phase of the company’s data center primarily using renewable energy. In partnership with Bloom Energy, eBay will build the country’s largest non-utility fuel cell installation. Though renewable energy typically supplements an electric grid, eBay is building the energy source into its core, incorporating 30 Bloom Energy servers into the new center’s architecture.

ScaleXtreme Announces Next-Generation “Big Data” Systems Management – ScaleXtreme, the leading provider of cloud-based monitoring and systems management, announced plans to provide “Big Data” systems management functionality as part of its next-generation systems management products.

IBM Exploring New Use Cases, Business Model for Watson Cloud Services – IBM says its all-knowing, English-speaking computer that triumphed in the “Jeopardy” television show last year will add value to IT systems in both health care and financial services in 2012 and beyond.

Startup Wraps User Tasks In Virtual Containers – A security startup co-founded by executives from Citrix,, and Phoenix Technologies emerged from stealth today and shed light on its new technology that employs small virtualized containers to isolate malware and prevent it from infecting the underlying operating system or other members of the enterprise network.

Apple fined $2.25m in deliberate 4G hoodwink – A court ruling has closed Cupertino’s run in with the ACCC, and Apple is left with a fine and footing the bill. Federal Court Justice Mordy Bromberg delivered his judgment in the dispute between Apple and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today. The ruling leaves Apple with a $2.25 million fine and an order to pay $300,000 in costs.

Red Hat smashes expectations with solid Q1 earnings – Wall Street analysts predicted Red Hat would continue to turn out another positive quarter, and the open source giant did just that on Wednesday afternoon. Red Hat reported a net income of $37.5 million, or 19 cents a share (statement). Non-GAAP earnings were 30 cents a share on a revenue of $314.7 million, an increase of 19 percent from the same time last year.

Webopedia Daily:

E-waste – Short for electronic waste. The term e-waste is applied to all waste caused by discarding electronic devices, especially consumer electronics. E-waste is a major concern in areas of personal computing and wireless devices that are quickly discarded by consumers. The lifespan of these electronics are short-lived due to rapid technological advances and lower costs to purchase each year. Consumers generally buy new instead of reusing because their electronic device quickly becomes obsolete or it may be cheaper to purchase new. Inkjet printers are one example of a common e-waste problem as consumers believe they can save money to purchase a new printer with ink than to buy ink refill for their old one.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Japan’s Funniest Tech Commercials – Japanese television commercials veer from the frantically funny to the fantastically flummoxing, and this sensibility suits no industry perhaps as well as it does tech.

Malware-as-a-service allows victim management – A big amount of the malware out there are RAT (Remote administration tool) samples. This is software created by people specialized in it, people that develop, improve and sell their tools. It has capabilities that let the attacker spy on the victims with actions like screen capturing, keylogging, password stealing, command execution and remote access and controlling. Clients of these services usually pay to gain access to the tools and additional services like support, zero or low antivirus detection.

10 Ugly Truths Facebook Tells Us About Ourselves – There’s a lot to be said for maintaining some moderation, and preserving a little bit of mystery. Some say that too much of a good thing is bad for you; others claim there’s no such thing. Where you stand on such issues will no doubt influence how you feel about these next observations about social networking, specifically Facebook. Here are 10 ugly truths that Facebook tells us about ourselves.

Norton: What’s Next – This year’s Next@Norton event, held in San Francisco, drew tech journalists from seventeen countries. Past events have featured some amazing demonstrations including building a Trojanized Android app onstage and using Stuxnet to blow up… a balloon. This year the ambitious demos hit a few glitches, but attendees received an impressive dose of brand-new information. During the full, presentation-packed day, Symantec representatives revealed quite a few initiatives that had never before been made public.

Microsoft Goes After Sites Hosting Leaked Xbox 720 Docs – Microsoft is reportedly trying to have a 56-page document with details about its next-generation “Xbox 720” wiped from the Web.

10 newbie mistakes you can easily avoid in the field – Remember when you were fresh out of college and you started your first IT job? Remember the mistakes you made that not only cost you time but maybe, in some cases, cost you respect? Those newbie mistakes can be easily avoided with just a bit of care, caution, and knowledge. Most important is simply knowing that they happen. Knowing is, after all, half the battle. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of the newbie mistakes I’ve either committed or witnessed over the years, so you can file them away under “Remember not to do this.” I won’t tell you which mistakes I’ve made and which I’ve witnessed, but I’m fairly certain you’ll find at least one on this list that you’ve either committed or seen.

Today’s Quote:

“A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.”

–     Saki

Today’s Free Downloads:

BringFocus – This free utility is designed to keep you focused on a set task for a certain period of time. It offers a clock, which you can set to one of several pre-determined intervals, that counts down the time. You’re supposed to assign yourself a task to accomplish during that time. BringFocus is designed to help you get more done in shorter periods of time by helping you stay focused, for short periods of time, at least.

Right Click Shortcuts Creator – Right Click Shortcuts Creator allows users to add file, folder and application shortcuts to user’s right click context menu. Users can totally customize the behavior of the shortcut with custom icon, name and command line arguments. Users also have a option for file and folder context menu that allows them to add the shortcuts to right click without touching this tool.

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  1. Pingback: june-22-2012 – Bill Mullins' Weblog – Tech Thoughts – Blog | Top Internet Security