Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 2, 2012

Microsoft Outlook.Com: A Hands On First Look – Less than 24 hours after Microsoft rolled out, one million people are already using the service. Here’s what you need to know if you join them.

Unleash the Power of Android with These Automated Apps – If you’ve ever thought “I wish my Android phone would do [X] whenever [Y] happened”—for example, text your significant other whenever you leave work; silence your phone when you walk into a movie; or turn on your ringer when you wake up in the morning—Tasker makes it possible.

Gmvault – Imagine an application that lets you effortlessly back up your gigantic Gmail account to your computer in one fell swoop; that can move your entire email history, labels and all, to a new Gmail account at the push of a button; that is completely free; that works across Windows, Mac, and Linux; that takes less than a minute to configure; and that doesn’t require administrative privileges to install and use? If that sounds too good to be true, you’ll be be very pleasantly surprised with Gmvault

The world’s first 3D-printed gun – An American gunsmith has become the first person to construct and shoot a pistol partly made out of plastic, 3D-printed parts. The creator has reportedly fired 200 rounds with his part-plastic pistol without any sign of wear and tear. In short, this means that people without gun licenses — or people who have had their licenses revoked — could print their own lower receiver and build a complete, off-the-books gun. What a chilling thought.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Grab Over 80 Free Ebooks from Microsoft and Learn Something Tech-y – Microsoft’s MSDN blog has released a boatload of free ebooks on a range of technologies and programs, including a power users guide for Windows 7, programming Windows 8 apps and Windows Phone 7, SQL Server tutorials, and much more. Most of the ebooks are hundreds of pages long, and you’ll likely find something worth your while in this collection of 80+ ebooks—whether you’re a home user, teacher, or IT pro.

Raising the dead: Can a regular person repair a damaged hard drive? – Having a hard drive die without warning will ruin anyone’s day. It certainly ruined Joel Hruska’s! Here’s what he learned about data recovery in the process of trying to fix his own hardware. It’s a just a shame the story doesn’t have a happy ending.

Google Drive Adds 450 Fonts to Presentations Options – You know to stay away from Comic Sans, but what about the seemingly all-encompassing Arial? If you’re working in Google Drive/Docs presentations, it got a bit easier today. Look for “Add more fonts” on the bottom of the font list in the editor, and you’ll get a pop-out window with many, many choices.

What happened to Google’s Nexus Q? – Google’s Nexus Q was unveiled last month at Google’s I/O conference and immediately was offered for pre-order in the Google Play store alongside the Nexus 7 tablet. But the Android-based social streaming media player has now been removed from sale and those who pre-ordered informed that they are receiving a free “preview” device. What went wrong?

Google Chrome 21 Fixes Six High-Risk Vulnerabilities – Google has released Chrome 21, the most recent stable version of its flagship browser. The new release includes more than two dozen security fixes, among them patches for six high-priority flaws.

Three More Browser Shortcuts You Should Know – Now that you’ve mastered keyboard-powered bookmarks and downloads, let’s focus on navigating your browser–without touching your mouse.


Bogus “Your eBay funds are cleared” email leads to exploits – eBay sellers are targeted by scammers once again. While the first email threatened with negative feedback, this one entices with the promise of a huge amount of money supposedly made available to the recipient. Users who click on the embedded link are taken to a page sporting the “Loading your Transaction Details…” caption, which also hosts the Blackhole exploit kit.

Dropbox Links Spam Attack to Employee Account Breach – Dropbox acknowledged that a recent spam attack was likely caused by a stolen password that allowed access to an employee project document.

Fake Lloyds TSB emails lead to phishing – An email supposedly coming from UK retail bank Lloyds TSB is doing rounds, trying to trick recipients into following the embedded link to a malicious page. The email claims that the bank is setting up new online banking authentication procedures, and urges clients to confirm their banking details, warning that they will not be able to access their accounts if they do not do this.

Skype spamming tool offered for peanuts – It’s any wonder that a lot of individuals who want to earn a quick buck turn to setting up online scams when the tools to do it are widely available and cheap, and the likelihood of getting caught is very small? Take the Skype Flooder as an example. This Skype spamming tool is in its second iteration. It can be bought on underground forums for a mere $10 and, as a bonus, the buyer also receives 5000 already harvested Skype user names.

HTML5 WebSockets Identified As Security Risk – WebSockets offer the promise of faster communications than traditional TCP — but according to a pair of security researchers, there is a hidden risk. Speaking at the Black Hat conference last week, Qualys engineers Sergey Shekyan and Vaagn Toukharian detailed how WebSockets could be exploited for malicious gain. Support for WebSockets is currently available in the latest Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE 10 web browsers. According to the two researchers, WebSockets are already in use by websites and embedded applications around the world today, and often without proper security.

Company News:

Verizon to Allow Third-Party Tethering Apps on Android Phones – The FCC has determined that Verizon is not allowed to prevent its customers from downloading third-party tethering apps and circumventing the carrier’s extra $20 tethering charge. Thanks to an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, Verizon has agreed to stop blocking its Android users from downloading third-party tethering apps. Verizon has also agreed to pay the FCC $1.25 million in fines.

Samsung Denies Trying to Sway Jury With Statement to Media – Samsung lawyer John B. Quinn defended the decision to release to the media information about evidence that was excluded from its patent trial with Apple.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 Released to Manufacturers – Microsoft on Wednesday released its upcoming Windows 8 operating system to manufacturers (RTM), largely considered to be the final step before general availability.

EA Adding Free Version of Star Wars: The Old Republic – Electronic Arts announced that it will offer a free version of its massively multiplayer online game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, starting this fall.

Google Wallet goes cloud-based to support all major credit, debit cards – Google Wallet is likely on a more mainstream path to wider adoption with U.S. consumers as the system is moving to the cloud, meaning it should be able to accept all major credit and debit cards. Specifically, the new cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

Webopedia Daily:

GridGain Big Data – An open source Java-based tool for real-time big data processing. GridGain is an alternative to Hadoop’s MapReduce that is compatible with the Hadoop Distributed File System. It offers in-memory processing for fast analysis of real-time data. The open source version can be freely downloaded or you can choose to purchase a commercially supported version. GridGrain requires Windows, Linux or the Mac OS X operating system.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Virtual Reality Is Addictive and Unhealthy: Interactive technologies give us a quick fix, and that’s not a good thing – In my days as an engineer, I ran the microprocessor division at Intel Corp. I then became a venture capitalist, investing in companies that built semiconductors, computers, networking systems, and Internet-related services. I focused on products that helped businesses run more effectively and gave little thought to how they might affect our minds, social interactions, and governance. That lapse now comes home to me as I see people walking down the street, eyes fixed on the screens of their mobile phones, ears plugged into their iPods, oblivious to their surroundings…to reality itself. They are not managing their tools; their tools are managing them. Tools now make the rules, and we struggle to keep up.

Google Glass Horror Stories From Your Privacy-Free Future – Google’s stylish augmented reality glasses may extend the company’s powerful reach from the digital world into the real world, with some alarming implications.

French Firm Tries to Trademark Anonymous Logo, Group Vows Revenge – A French apparel company is trying to trademark the Anonymous logo and tagline, prompting a backlash from the Internet hacker collective.

First map of the human brain reveals a simple, grid-like structure between neurons – It’s rather weird: If you’ve ever seen a computer ribbon cable — a flat, 2D ribbon of wires stuck together, such as an IDE hard drive cable — the brain is basically just a huge collection of ribbons, traveling parallel or perpendicular to each other.

Def Con: How to Hack All the Transport Networks of a Country – “I did not do it! I just downloaded a torrent I found when I was looking for porn,” stated 24-year-old Alberto García Illera at the beginning of his Def Con presentation called “How to hack all the transport networks of a country.” His talk mixed humor, knowledge, social engineering and hacking as he made it look amazingly easy to pwn all the transport networks. Illera referenced “Anatomy of a subway hack,” a talk from Def Con 16 which scared enough people in power that a judge barred the MIT students from giving the presentation.

The Frugal Entrepreneur’s Starter Kit – As a start-up, keeping costs low can help you achieve success faster. Here are three ways to act like a bigger, more established firm minus the massive overhead.

Today’s Quote:

“To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell.”

–     Buddhist proverb

Today’s Free Downloads:

Image Tuner 3.4 – Image Tuner is a free software for batch resizing, converting, watermarking and renaming your digital photos and images from and to JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and GIF formats. The program will help you to prepare your digital photos to upload and publish them in the Internet or send via e-mail.

Opera 12.01 Final –  A full-featured Internet browser, Opera includes pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, integrated searches, and advanced functions like Opera’s groundbreaking E-mail program, RSS Newsfeeds and IRC chat.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 2, 2012

  1. bob3160

    The only way to stay safe on the internet is not to use it.
    Any other scenario requires protection.
    I’ve found that avast! Anti Virus does an excellent job protecting my computer and Android based Cell and tablet.
    It also does an excellent job protecting those using Linux and Apple.
    Even better, since I’m a home user, I get all of this protection for free.

    • Hi Bob,

      Have to agree – avast! does an excellent job on both a Desktop and an Android device. In this case “free” has a lot of punch.