Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 30, 2012

Organize low-cost video chat with these five apps – Although video conferencing has a reputation for being expensive, there are free or low cost video chat applications available.

The safe way to ‘write down’ your passwords – Use MS Word’s document-protection features to apply a password to your encrypted password file, or hide your passwords in plain sight, but to defeat clipboard loggers you need to add extraneous characters you’ll delete after pasting.

Understanding Android app permissions – Android’s permission mechanism enforces that each app can only perform actions that it declared it could do. Learn how to add permissions to your app’s manifest.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Tablet Users Older Than Smartphone Users – Tablet owners are generally older and more often female than their smartphone-toting counterparts, according to new data from mobile analytics firm Flurry.

How to extend the battery life of your smartphone – CNET’s Sumi Das has tips and tricks on how to keep your smartphone powered up when the lights go out.

Top 12 Surface apps – Now that Microsoft’s Surface is out, you need the apps! Jason Parker and Jaymar Cabebe list their Top 12 favorites so far.

Windows 8 security overview – Safest Windows ever? – Windows 8 is now available and Microsoft is touting the entirely new user interface and app store. What security enhancements were made over Windows 7 and are these changes reason enough to upgrade?

Repair multiple Internet Explorer issues with one application – The free Anvi Browser Repair Tool can repair a multitude of Internet Explorer problems. This time-saving tool is so effective that I now use it immediately when I detect an issue with Internet Explorer. (As of this writing, the tool only solves Internet Explorer issues; Firefox and Chrome versions are in the works.)

Small Business Tech: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started – No matter what type of small business you run (or are thinking of opening), there are some preliminary steps any kind of small business owner can take to implement needed business technology and web services Our step-by-step guide walks you through some of the most important early.

17 Starbucks stores get wireless charging in Boston – Boston-area Starbucks stores are the first in the nation to take part in a pilot program of Duracell’s Powermat wireless charging technology. Seventeen stores in Boston and neighboring Cambridge are included in the wireless charging trial, according to Starbucks spokesperson Linda Mills.

WordPress Lets Bloggers Embed Instagram Photos – WordPress today announced that bloggers can now embed Instagram photos directly into blog posts.


FBI Moves to Identify More Hackers – The FBI says it is now making a push to not just stop cybercrime but to identify the attackers behind the phishing, credit card fraud and other campaigns that cost consumers and enterprises billions of dollars each year. The bureau is the lead agency charged with addressing cybercrime in the U.S. and has a large division dedicated to the problem, but it mostly has been concerned with stopping ongoing attacks rather than tracking down the criminals themselves. That appears to be changing.

Privacy-invading module in thousands of apps on Google Play – An advertising module embedded into over 7,000 “free” fake versions of legitimate Android apps that can be found on Google Play is actively harvesting a ton of personal and mobile use information from unsuspecting users, warns Trend Micro Senior Threat Researcher Alice Decker.

“STD-like” virus killing off Borderlands 2 video game characters – Gearbox, the maker of the popular game Borderlands 2, is warning Xbox 360 users to be careful of who they play with, following a rash of reports of unexplained character deaths. The culprit: a software flaw that appears to be spreading, “STD-like”, from Borderlands 2 “modders” to other law-abiding players.

Malware authors turn to simpler detection evasion techniques – Among the techniques they have used in the past are making the malware able to check for registry entries, drivers, communication ports and processes whose presence indicates the virtual nature of the environment in which they are run, and well as executing special assembler code or enumerating the system service list with the same goal in mind. If these tests prove that is indeed the case, the malware stops itself from running.

Attacker grabs data for 3.6 million South Carolina taxpayers; governor wants to see culprit “brutalized” – She’s got a right to be incensed, with 77% of the state’s population’s Social Security numbers being snatched out from under the Department of Revenue. But what’s the appropriate penalty for the department, for the crime of leaving the data unprotected?

Phishing attack promises a free version of Windows 8 – On Friday, Microsoft launched Windows 8 to consumers. Today, the experts at SophosLabs have intercepted a phishing attack which plays upon interest in the new operating system.

Company News:

Yahoo! rejects privacy arguments, ignores do not track from IE 10 users – Yahoo! has decided to ignore Internet Explorer 10 users privacy choices. Are IE 10 users losing out on a tailored advertising experience?

Iomega Adds New SMB NAS Devices to Lineup – Iomega announced two new NAS products targeted to the SMB, the StorCenter px2-300d and the StorCenter ix4-300d. Both new products offer integrated cloud technology, remote access and sharing and advanced video surveillance.

Microsoft Makes Windows Phone 8 Release Official – Microsoft is dropping operating systems like they’re hot these days, with WP8 following on from last week’s big Windows 8 showcase.

PayPal Cuts 325 Jobs in Restructuring – PayPal laid off 325 full-time employees, primarily in its product and tech groups, as well as 120 contract workers.

Apple Drops Top iOS, Retail Chiefs – Apple iOS chief Scott Forstall and top retail exec John Browett are out.

Webopedia Daily:

Daemon – Pronounced DEE-mun or DAY-mun. A process that runs in the background and performs a specified operation at predefined times or in response to certain events. The term daemon is a UNIX term, though many other operating systems provide support for daemons, though they’re sometimes called other names. Windows, for example, refers to daemons as System Agents and services. Typical daemon processes include print spoolers, e-mail handlers, and other programs that perform administrative tasks for the operating system. The term comes from Greek mythology, where daemons were guardian spirits.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Moore’s law: About to fail or ticking along nicely? – For over 50 years, progress has been powered by the exponential growth of integrated circuits and the industries they power. Will that trend continue or reach an abrupt end?

US EMP missile fries PCs and electronics in trial run of microwave weapon – Sci-fi turns real as the Boeing and the US Air Force test a drone-like, experimental weapon that targets electronics while sparing buildings and human lives. It sounds too good to be true, which it well might be, given the range of mishaps that have plagued US drones.

Questions remain around the ‘internet of things’ – With current emphasis on the “internet of things” we have the software and hardware, yet very little around how all these devices will communicate, and who will manage, aggregate, and distribute the data.

Middle-aged? Exercise makes you wise – A recent study indicates that sport is both the key to staying fit and maintaining a sharp wit. Middle aged people who were overweight took part in high-intensity interval training–the sort that competitive athletes undergo–for a four-month period. The study found that the exercise program not only reduced the subjects’ BMIs and waist sizes, but also resulted in improved cognitive function as well.

Lawyer: Buyers have the right to resell copyright-protected works – U.S. residents who buy products protected by copyright shouldn’t have to worry about where those products were manufactured before reselling them, a lawyer told the U.S. Supreme Court Monday.

Today’s Quote:

Now that’s what I would call a true HARVEST MOON!!


Thought we all could use a smile today!     Smile

Today’s Free Downloads:

Multiplicity 2.0 handy in a multi-computer, multi-monitor setup – If you run multiple computers and monitors in close proximity to each other, Stardock’s Multiplicity 2.0 (free and $40 premium editions) is a cheap and effective alternative to a physical KM switch. It allows you to share a mouse and keyboard with multiple computers.

Skype –  Make internet calls for free with Skype. Call friends and family on any phone with Pay As You Go and Pay Monthly subscriptions, sign up today at  The free VoIP service now integrates with Microsoft and Facebook.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

6 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 30, 2012

  1. Dave B.

    RE: Attacker grabs data for 3.6 million South Carolina taxpayers; The people that should be brutalized here are the ones that were responsible for safekeeping the data. Unencrypted SSN’s and credit card data, seriously? Anyone who doesn’t know by now the risk of that should not be in the business of securing customer information, and the people in SC obviously have absolutely no clue.

    • Hi Dave,

      You are so right. The sad part is – this is just one more example in the continuing saga of the laissez-faire attitude held by governments, financial organizations, etc. It’s hard to imagine that given all the focus on this type of issue, that encryption of sensitive data is not rigourously enforced. Insanity rules!



  2. Fred

    The safe way to ‘write down’ your passwords
    “defeat clipboard loggers you need to add extraneous characters you’ll delete after pasting.”
    Bill I recall reading an article you had linked to sometime ago about a US envoy to China who would use copy & paste for his password on mail so as to avoid the key loggers, now this: clipboard loggers

    The article says use Word 2010, which I don’t have and could not afford to buy, and other ideas however none seemed very applicable to the less sophisticated user. The idea of adding extraneous figures to be subsequently deleted from a password, well I think that might be a real issue for me at least. When you type or paste a password it doesn’t show the letters, characters or numbers just black dots, at least on my screen.

    On a side note, but not totally unrelated you linked to a story about how the FBI will NOW start to go after the bad actors who perpetrate these malicious attacks on the public and businesses, maybe if they lock these criminals up we won’t have to worry about these clipboard loggers.

    Thanks for keeping us informed!

    • Hi Fred,

      Have to admit – this is a totally off-the-wall method of hardening password security. Can’t imagine a typical user considering using such a convoluted approach.

      As it turns out – just in the last few days, I’ve had a request to review a free version of Zemana AntiLogger. I’ll be posting a review of this application shortly. In the meantime (if you like), you can download this free application here.



  3. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    I see you’ve taken advantage of the ability to embed photos in your blogs. It did make me smile, even though it is a bit of a bum joke :).

    Kind regards