Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 16, 2012

7 Superb Utilities for Android – Although games and apps that cater to the desires of the masses to waste time get the most publicity, there are a plethora of apps for the Android platform that help small businesses and regular users get everyday tasks done. Here are seven of the best Android utilities.

NSS Labs expose inadequate AV products – NSS Labs testing showed that 9 of 13 popular consumer anti-virus products tested failed to provide adequate protection against exploits targeting two recent critical Microsoft vulnerabilities. Only 4 vendors – Avast, Kaspersky, McAfee and Trend Micro – successfully blocked all attacks delivered over both HTTP and HTTPS.

Twitter + location = WeKnowYourHouse – Calling itself “another social networking privacy experiment”, WeKnowYourHouse scours Twitter for people using the word “home” in their tweets and picks up their associated geolocation, then publishes said tweet to its site along with information about where the tweeter is. The site tells you where the person is, plots them on a map, shows you the Google Street View picture of that location, tells you nearby places they’ve found on Foursquare, crime statistics for the area, local photos posted to Instagram near that location, and even shows an advert where you can “Meet local sluts”. Nice.

A Hands-On Look at Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet – We got our hands on Samsung’s 10.1-inch Galaxy Note 10.1 and was able to put it through its paces ahead of today’s launch of the tablet. With features ranging from its savvy S Pen stylus to the ability to run apps side-by-side, it’s clear that Samsung is targeting those with creative inclinations–from bloggers to weekend photographers.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Tips to keep kids safe online – Malware is just a step-away when children click on games, free shoes, Justin Bieber videos or gift cards offered on social networks. Hackers use social engineering techniques to exploit kids’ curiosity and easily convince them to click on appealing surveys and videos. These may expose computers to malware, which grabs sensitive information and sends it to a remote machine controlled by cyber criminals.

Germany Re-Opens Facebook Facial-Recognition Inquiry – German officials have re-opened their investigation into Facebook’s facial-recognition technology. Johannes Caspar, a data protection commissioner from Hamburg, said in a note posted to his website that his office has not been able to come to an agreement with Facebook over the use of facial-recognition software.

Microsoft Stops Publishing New Mobile Apps Amid Download Issues – Microsoft has decided to stop publishing new apps for Windows Phone on Marketplace, while it addresses an issue that led to users experiencing problems.

Authors destroy legal e-book lending site thanks to Authors Guild, publisher FUD – The recent strike against LendInk didn’t just take the site offline, it exposed key problems in the underlying infrastructure. Joel Hruska investigates the seedy underworld of publishers, and reveals some scary similarities to the RIAA and MPAA.

Hands On With Windows 8 RTM – As Windows 8 nears its final form, the differences from Release Preview are minimal but potentially significant. We give you an early look.

What’s a Utility? – We spend a lot of time on our PCs, so there’s still a need for software that enhances productivity and the overall computing experience. Software of this type is generally known as a “utility.” But what is it exactly? Check out our in-depth definition of the term.

The Best Tuneup Utilities – A new PC has snappy out of the box performance, but that silky-smooth experience eventually goes bye-bye as the hard drive suffers fragmentation, and junk files clog a system’s insides. Reinstalling the operating system will remedy the issue, but that’s a time-consuming activity that you wouldn’t want to perform on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. There’s another solution: use a PC tune-up utility.

4 Tips for Researching Your Business Competition Online – Keep your friends close and your competitors closer. Which is to say, studying your competition can help you improve your business. These four tips will help you glean vital information online.

Security:

Invisible iFrame drive-by malware attacks explained (video) – iFrames and script tags are being used by malicious hackers to serve up drive-by internet attacks, silently and invisibly. Watch our video to find out more.

Adobe Patches Critical Flash Bug, Releases Massive Reader Update – Adobe has issued a fix for a critical Flash vulnerability that attackers already are taking advantage of with targeted attacks. The flaw can allow attackers to get complete control of vulnerable machines, and Adobe said that it’s aware of attacks that are going after Flash on Internet Explorer.

Serious Vulnerabilities Remain in Reader After Huge Patch Release, Researchers Say – There are still a number of serious vulnerabilities in the application running on Windows and OS X that Adobe failed to patch and so the researchers have released limited details on the bugs and some advice for users on how to mitigate the risks from the vulnerabilities.

Sirefef infections explode due to new infection technique – The Sirefef/Zaccess family of Trojans – designed to download other malware, disable the machine’s security features, and often make lasting changes to the computer – is usually distributed to unsuspecting victims via email spam campaigns. But its peddlers have lately changed tack, and have begun bundling the malware with codecs, game installers and crack/keygen applications, Trend Micro warns.

Bafruz Trojan wreaks havoc on infected systems – Microsoft has announced that its Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool has recently been modified to detect two new malware families: Matsnu and Bafruz. The latter one is a insidious and eminently efficient backdoor Trojan capable of performing a number of malicious actions and changes on the infected computer. It can hijack Facebook and Vkontakte accounts, launch Distributed Denial of Service attacks, perform Bitcoin mining, download additional malware, and disable security and antivirus products.

Reuters hacked again – Reuters’ blogging platform has been hacked for the second time in two weeks, and this time false news that Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal had died was posted on one of the journalists’ blog. Reuters confirmed that the story was not posted by the journalist, that the news was completely untrue, and that they are working to solve the situation.

Company News:

Netflix Expands to Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland – Netflix will launch its streaming service in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland by the end of the year.

Comcast: Nearly 400K Americans participating in cheaper Internet program – Comcast has announcing that in its first full year of availability, nearly 100,000 families — or 400,000 Americans — gained access to the Internet at home with the Internet Essentials. In Chicago specifically, Comcast is working with more than 1,100 community-based organizations, school districts, faith-based organizations, elected officials to provide digital literacy training and educate community members about the Internet Essentials initiative.

Quora listened to you and changed its “Views” privacy setting – Quora added a new feature to “Views” that displayed data about what people are viewing on the web in the main Quora feed. User blacklash seems to have convinced Quora to remove it.

Samsung plans to dominate the microserver market – Summary: Samsung is setting their sights (and their production capability) on the 64-bit ARM SoC market.

Webopedia Daily:

Computer Repair – Computer repair companies specialize in troubleshooting, servicing and repairing a wide variety of hardware and software-related personal computer issues and computer network problems. Issues that typically require computer repair include failed hardware components, software bugs, driver incompatibilities, spyware and malware problems, network connectivity problems, operating system upgrades, and complete computer overhauls. When faced with the need for computer repair, options include do-it-yourself solutions, technical support help, computer repair stores such as BestBuy’s GeekSquad, and remote computer repair services.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Today’s Internet: All the Fake News that’s Fit to Publish – Fictional Apple screws, phony New York Times editorials, bogus sources — is anything on the Net not a fake?

Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary in The Economist’s top 10 list of most-livable cities – Vancouver, for nearly a decade the unassailable first-place city in the economics magazine, slid to third place in 2011 and stayed there this year in the semi-annual report. Seven of the top 10 cities were in Canada and Australia, a strong reflection of what the newsmagazine considers livable: a mid-sized city that’s not congested, with a low murder rate, good transit and health care and decent recreation.

The Byte Cellar Is the Ultimate Geek Dream Den – Check out Blake Patterson’s “Byte Cellar” room of 122 vintage computers, retro consoles, pocket PCs, and more.

Skinning the Fourth Amendment: The Sixth Circuit’s Awful GPS Tracking Decision – In the summer of 2006, agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency used GPS tracking technology to locate drug courier Melvin Skinner’s prepaid phone, ultimately seizing more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana from Skinner’s mobile home. The judges on the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit then apparently smoked all of it before issuing their ruling in United States v. Skinner this week, because the opinion approving DEA’s use of GPS technology in this case is easily one of the most muddled examples of legal reasoning I’ve ever encountered—a surreal potpourri of factual misunderstandings, inapt analogies, sloppy and selective appeals to precedent, and logical leaps worthy of Nijinsky. (recommended by Michael F.)

Easy Home Automation Projects for the Weekend Warrior: Part One – Home automation is finally becoming both affordable and simple enough for a do-it-yourselfer to install and set up. In this series, I’ll cover everything you need to know to turn your own home into the home of the future, and I’ll specify how much each device will cost (using street pricing, unless otherwise noted).

Today’s Quote:

“Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

–      Thomas Sowell

Today’s Free Downloads:

Chains.cc – Jerry Seinfeld is said to have used “productivity chains” in which he would do something each and every day, and never “break the chain,” and in this way make steady progress. Chains.cc is a slick and simple free service built on this concept.

Joe’s Goals – You can use Joe’s Goals to track habits that don’t require daily repetition (for example, if you have an exercise routine you do every other day). Joe’s Goals can also track bad habits: For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking, you can use Joe’s Goals to log every day in which you’ve smoked.

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