Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 21, 2012

Talk and Toss Disposable Numbers – Need a disposable phone number? Keep in touch while maintaining your privacy with Burner, an iPhone app that masks your real numbers from creeps and snoops. Check it out in our complete review.

Social media not the biggest distraction at work – A new survey reveals the biggest time wasters for workers. The results may surprise some employers. Because of the seemingly worldwide addiction to social media, you might think that Facebook and Twitter would be the biggest time-wasters at work. Not so, according to a new survey from TrackVi.

Windows 8 Advanced Startup Options provide major improvements – It seems that the more recent the operating system, the less you have to reinstall it. The improvements in the OS help to prevent programs, and also users, from adversely affecting the PC’s performance. Still, entropy creeps in and the occasional OS repair is just a part of life for many of us. This article shines a light on what hopefully is a very rarely used feature of Windows 8 – the Advanced Startup Options.

Free speech advocates say UK is too harsh in policing tweets – The UK is one of the world’s leaders in tweeting, but academics and free speech advocates warn that the British government’s heavy-handed response to tasteless and offensive tweets could have a chilling effect.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Windows 8 System Builder Version May Come Cheap – Do-it-yourselfers and users of virtual machines may have a legal, less expensive option than a full retail copy of Windows with Microsoft’s next release.

Small, Light, Cheap Competitors to iPad Mini Abound – Times have certainly changed when it comes to tablet PCs. No longer are 7-inch (or smaller!) tablets “dead on arrival,” as Steve Jobs once put it. Even Apple–from all accounts–will soon provide a smaller, lighter, less-expensive iPad. But it will have plenty of competition when it arrives. Here, eWEEK brings together those devices likely to put up the best fight when the iPad Mini joins the fray.

Walmart Offers $20 Discount on $100 iTunes Gift Card – Walmart is offering a 20 percent discount on a $100 iTunes gift card, dropping the price to $80. The electronic card is sent via email, either to your own personal account, or to a friend, marked as a gift. Each card features a unique iTunes Store code, redeemable for music, movies, TV shows, apps, and more, which can be synced to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

Take a Great Photo Every Time: A Preflight Checklist – Your camera is generally a lot more knowledgeable about exposure controls than you are, and under typical conditions, it’ll take better photos than if you tried adjusting the settings yourself. Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely recommend taking control of your camera to shoot better photos. But when you fiddle with your camera, that’s when you can accidentally adjust settings incorrectly, leading to a ruined photo.

Ubuntu 12.10: New features, new levels of user-friendliness – Ubuntu 12.10 is less than two months away from release. One feature in particular stands out as an overwhelming favorite to launch Ubuntu into new reaches of user-friendliness. The future of Ubuntu is all about web-integration.

How to get the classic Start menu back in Windows 8 RTM – Okay, I confess. After all these months of testing and using Windows 8, I still miss the classic Start menu. Microsoft has attempted to lure me to the new Start screen, and I can see some clear benefits to it. But for me, the Start menu is still the easiest way to organize, locate, and launch my vast array of desktop applications. If you’re in the same boat, fear not. ViStart, Classic Shell, and StartMenu7 all do a good job of duplicating the classic Start menu with its folders, shortcuts, and easy access to common Windows locations.


Royal Mail malware attack distributed via email – Beware emails claiming to come from the Royal Mail. Cybercriminals have launched an attack via email, aiming to infect unwary internet users with a backdoor Trojan horse.

92% of the top 100 mobile apps have been hacked – Ninety-two percent of the Top 100 paid Apple iOS apps and 100 percent of Top 100 paid Android apps have been hacked, according to a new report by Arxan Technologies. They revealed the widespread prevalence of “cracked” mobile apps and the financial impact befalling the multi-billion dollar App Economy due to compromised brands, lost revenues, IP theft, and piracy.

UK Government Websites Attacked by Anonymous Over Assange – The U.K. Ministry of Justice has experienced problems with the availability of its website following a denial-of-service attack by Anonymous, which is demanding freedom for WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange who was last week granted asylum by Ecuador.

Philips hacked, plaintext passwords revealed as R00tbeer gang strikes again – R00tbeer is back, we’re sorry to say. This time the victim is Dutch technology giant Philips. Paul Ducklin looks at some of the mistakes made by Philips, cracks some of the stolen hashes to remind you about password choice, and keeps us mindful of the real offenders here.

AMD’s blog hacked, user data leaked – The main page of the blog – located at – has been defaced to include the group’s logo, member names and a link to its (recently opened) Twitter account. Given that AMD uses the WordPress platform for its blog, it’s very likely that the breach was the result of not keeping the software updated, allowing the attackers to exploit vulnerabilities present in some previous version.

Company News:

Windows Phone to Top BlackBerry in U.S. by Year’s End – New data suggests that Windows Phone might best RIM’s BlackBerry in the U.S. by year’s end for the No. 3 spot behind Android and iOS.

Motorola Files New Patent Case Against Apple – Samsung isn’t the only company Apple is battling over patents. Cupertino is also at odds with Motorola Mobility, and that fight just got a bit bigger. Motorola has filed another complaint against Apple with the International Trade Commission (ITC). It accuses Apple of infringing on seven Motorola patents for mobile phone features like Siri, location reminders, phone and video player, and email notifications.

Cloud Security Alliance Announces Open Certification Framework for Cloud Providers – The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) today announces additional details of its Open Certification Framework, and its partnership with BSI (British Standards Institution). This partnership will ensure the Open Certification Framework is in line with international standards and is based upon a comprehensive certification process.

Microsoft opens registration for Windows 8 upgrade – Customers who purchased a Windows 7 PC after June 2 can now register for the upgrade to Windows 8 for $14.99.

Barnes & Noble Nook Devices Coming to U.K. This Fall – Barnes & Noble announced that it is bringing its line of Nook e-readers and digital content to the U.K. this fall. Releases First Update for iPad Mobile Productivity App Projectbook –, today announces the release of the first update for Projectbook, the first “Active” notebook. Projectbook. 1.01 includes support for printing, tighter Dropbox integration, and more than a dozen other user requested features. Projectbook 1.01 is a free update available now in the App Store. is extending its special introductory price of $1.99 to new users through September 7.

Webopedia Daily:

AMD Trinity – The codename used for AMD’s second-generation accelerated processing units (APUs). AMD Trinity processors follow the company’s first generation “Llano” processors, and are designed to compete with Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, particularly in the ultrathin laptop category, which includes Intel-powered ultrabooks and AMD Trinity-powered sleekbooks. Trinity processors are also designed to be used in desktop PCs, laptops, all-in-one PCs, home theater systems and more.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Windows security highlights through the years (images) – With nearly three decades spent building its software, Windows 8 is the pinnacle of Microsoft?s operating systems and benefits from all the security successes and mistakes previous versions have had. With Windows 8 coming right around the corner, here is a look back at some of the high points and low points for security in Microsoft’s flagship product.

Zuckerberg Better Watch His Back – I’ve been following the exploits of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook long enough to know that Zuckerberg is toast. He shouldn’t be toast, though, because Facebook is not better off with a different CEO, which seems to be the goal of some dark powers. The forces of evil are lining up to pepper Zuckerberg with invectives and doing everything possible to create insecurities within the company and among its users.

8 Amazing Curiosity Images – The Mars Science Laboratory keeps busy by playing photographer on the surface of the Red Planet.

Star Trek v. Star Wars: A comparison in comics format – Finally, some help answering that all-important geek question: Which is better, Star Trek or Star Wars?

5 Crowdfunding Sites for Entrepreneurs – Bank turn you down? Try appealing to the collective entrepreneurial spirit — and funding sources — of the Internet at large.

Indian Government, Social Networks Lock Horns Again – An Indian federal minister said social networks have to be more responsive and responsible, even if they have their headquarters abroad, after some content on these networks was said to have stoked fears of communal violence in India. While ruling out shutting down social networks, Sachin Pilot, the country’s minister of state for communications and IT, told the TV channel IBNLive late Monday that social networks had not been very cooperative when asked to block inflammatory content, and warned them about the laws of the country.

iPhone photos as art: Amazing iPhoneography (pictures) – Mobile photography gets the red-carpet treatment at the upcoming LA Mobile Arts Festival, which features more than 500 works by iPhone photographers from around the world. Glimpse some of their stunning creations here.

Today’s Quote:

“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

–      George Orwell (1903 – 1950), “Animal Farm”

Today’s Free Downloads:

MotionArtist – Smith Micro touts MotionArtist (free beta) as the answer for graphic novel and comic creators who want to create motion/interactive comics without coding. You upload your artwork from any of a number of common file types and export the animation in video formats that play well in HTML and YouTube.

Cozi – Cozi makes life more comfortable. If your family organizational system is anything like mine, complete with an illegible dry-erase board, a whole lot of magnets, scraps of papers, and plenty of chaos. This free online tool reduces the clutter and makes family organizing a cinch.


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