Monthly Archives: October 2012

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 21, 2012

10 Essential iPhone Tips, New and Old – The iPhone is known for its simplicity, but not everything about it is obvious. Beyond its straightforward grid of apps lies plenty of tricks that make Apple’s phone easier to use. Here are 10 essential iPhone tips and tricks, starting with some basics and moving up to more advanced maneuvers:

There’s an app for everything, even infidelity – There seems to be no limit to the imagination of app creators, who want you to simply be happy — even if it’s with someone else’s husband or wife.

Delaying Windows Upgrades: Do You Feel Lucky? – The release of Windows 8 with its new tile-based Start screen might have you thinking about putting off your OS upgrades. But given that XP is eleven years old, a virtual eternity in the computer industry, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?”

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Create a beautiful map for your desktop background – Looking to jazz up your desktop background? If you like maps, then you are sure to love Stamen Design’s Map-to-Image utility.

Cloud Graphics: Could Your Next Smartphone or PC Use a Virtual GPU? – Nvidia’s throwing its silicon hat in the cloud computing ring with something it’s calling a VGX or “virtualized graphics” card, the idea being to offload virtual desktop (VDI) graphics processing from CPUs to GPUs, something existing virtualization tools don’t do well, if at all.

Why Do We Hate Facebook? – “The low-level hum of discontent, revealed in the recent hysteria over messages is due to our evolving relationship with data. It is a relationship most of us don’t really understand, but it gives us a general sense of foreboding”

Raspberry Pi gets a Gertboard  – This week, modders and devs all around the world began receiving their Gertboard expansion boards for the Raspberry Pi. Essentially, the Gertboard is a mini-accessory board that allows users to interface their Pi with all sorts of other devices – allowing programs running on the Raspberry to open doors, lift items, power robotics and more.

How to enable Night Mode on Dolphin for Android – The latest version of the Dolphin browser for Android can theme Web pages for better night-time reading. We’ll show you how to enable Night Mode.

Show Me The Money – Corporations overwhelm consumers with complex fee structures, pages of fine print. It’s not quite fraud, but it’s close. Regulators must step in to enforce simplicity. Competition won’t do that when the market rewards opacity.

Is the Surface display really superior? – Microsoft is telling customers that its display is sharper than the iPad 3. Let’s ask an internationally recognized research scientist.

10 best tablets for kids – Summary: With the tablet becoming more and more commonplace, here are ten options for getting your kids in on the fun.

Security:

HSBC Websites Knocked Offline After Hack – A Thursday attack took down several of the bank’s websites around the world.

Team up to fight cyberattacks, US government official urges – Groups of companies in the same industry could pool infrastructure resources to help each other mitigate the effects of cyberattacks and work together on security issues, a senior official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security suggested on Friday. The comments by Mark Weatherford, deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity, come as a handful of American banks are dealing with a fourth week of DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks on their websites.

Localized Dorkbot malware variant spreading across Skype – Security researchers from Avast have intercepted a currently spreading Darkbot malware campaign, that’s affecting millions of Skype users.

Company News:

Microsoft Kills Facebook and Twitter Apps on Xbox Live, Adds IE9 – Did anyone really use their Xbox 360 consoles to update Facebook or Twitter that often?

Motorola Lists Smartphones Eligible for $100 Jelly Bean Promo – If you’re a bit bummed that your Motorola device isn’t going to get upgraded to Jelly Bean, will $100 change your mind?

Webopedia Daily:

Dorkbot – A family of malware worms that typically spreads through instant messaging, USB removable drives, websites or social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Downloading and installing Dorkbot malware results in it opening a backdoor on infected computers, allowing for remote access and potentially turning the computer into a botnet. The Dorkbot worm gained publicity in late 2011 for an attack on Facebook’s chat system, with users receiving a message with a bogus link that appeared to come from one of their Facebook friends. A similar Dorkbot worm appeared later in the same year, this time preying on Twitter users. A new strain of Dorkbot targeting Skype users appeared in October 2012, with the Skype worm also installing ransomware in this case. The ransomware would threaten to lock a user out of being able to use their computer and demand a payment of several hundreds of dollars be made within a limited timeframe or have files on the computer deleted.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Ben Horowitz: Every breakthrough idea looks stupid – Starting a company, the venture capitalist says, requires intense courage, determination, and the willingness to come across as crazy.

FTC Offering $50K to Anyone Who Can Stop Robocalls – Do you know how to stop robocalls? The FTC might pay you $50,000 for your idea.

What “For Elise” Would Sound Like in a Major Key – What if Beethoven’s popular piece “For Elise” was in a major key instead of minor? For those who don’t know the difference between major and minor, it’s really simple: major has a “happy” sound and minor has a “sad” sound.

The perfect-sound myth – If digital recordings were truly better than analog, they would sound more like real music, but digital just sounds different, not better.

Today’s Quote:

Two of the greatest qualities in life are: Patience and Wisdom.”

image

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wise Care 365 – Wise Care 365 is a bundle of important registry, disk, and other system utilities for your PC. Easy to use and effective, Wise Care 365 is the good solution to improve your PC’s performance.

FotoMorph – An easy way to create professional morphing animations and Flash Rotation Banners. Using FotoMorph you can do everything a professional animator does to create photo animations.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 20, 2012

Lifehacker: How to Crack a Wi-Fi Password – Cracking Wi-Fi passwords isn’t a trivial process, but it isn’t difficult. Learn how it works so you can learn how to protect yourself.

Design fail! Our top 10 PC product peeves – What were they thinking?! Some technology is so annoyingly designed, we have to think manufacturers have outright contempt for customers.

VLC 2.0.4 – A new update to VLC Media Player improves YouTube and Vimeo streams, adds Opus support, and upgrades Blu-Ray disc support, as well as fixing more than 100 bugs.

Move Your Stuff From One Cloud Based File Storage Service To Another With Backup Box – I happened across this service called Backup Box that gives you the ability to backup and transfer files (and folders) from one cloud based file storage site to another.  For example, let’s say you want to move from Dropbox to Box, then Backup Box is a service that can make the transfer happen in a seamless manner. You can also use Backup Box to schedule and automate backing up files from one service to another.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

10 reasons why Ubuntu 12.10 desktop blows away Windows 8 – Ubuntu 12.10 has arrived, and Windows 8 is just around the corner. Jack Wallen says there’s no contest between the two.

Hybrid hard drives: How they work, why they matter – Hybrid hard drives promise the speed of SSDs with the capacities of mechanical drives. Let’s look at their technology… and performance.

ISP Piracy Warnings Launching Within Weeks – The “Copyright Alert System,” which will provide notices to consumers if their ISP suspects there is illegal downloading going on, will start “in the coming weeks.

Internet Crime:Awareness Is Key – By now we all know that Internet crime is rampant on the web, and that most of the crime is aimed at us, the Internet computer users. I’ve stated many times that in order to avoid phishing scams and schemes, computer users must be suspicious of all messages sent to them and to obey their “gut” feeling if they have the slightest hesitation to click.

Refuting Microsoft’s claim of Surface display superiority – Microsoft is telling customers that its new tablet’s display is sharper than the iPad 3. “Not so fast” says an internationally recognized research scientist specializing in display technology.

Instagram Translates Twitter Mentions for Easier Sharing – Have you ever shared a photo from Instagram to Twitter, only to realize that the person you @mentioned in your caption has a different username on Twitter than they do on Instagram..

Capitol Hill Rhetoric Takes Aim at Wrong Cybersecurity Targets – Defense secretary Leon Panetta couldn’t resist, could he? He couldn’t fight the urge to dig deep into the information security cliché handbook and yank out that old chestnut about a Cyber Pearl Harbor. Seriously, is there a more cringe-inducing, FUD-filled phrase than Cyber Pearl Harbor? Never mind that it’s offensive to the families of those who fell on that date, but it raises the questions of whether the leader of the United States Department of Defense is so disengaged from reality that he decides that’s the best crutch to lean on? Or does he just need a new speech writer? Enough questions; how about some answers.

Dear America: Enough with the China-bashing already – China is playing spy games? Prove it with real facts and actions, otherwise, stop thinking and behaving like you’re the greatest country in the world.

Android “Key Lime Pie” likely revealed 10/29 – The next installment in Google’s mobile operating system is expected to be revealed on October 29. The search giant has sent around invitations to an event in New York City on that date, and all the speculation is that it will be the launching pad for the new Android firmware.

Security:

Warning: Here are three emails you don’t want to see in your inbox – Spammers are disguising their emails to pretend to come from YouTube, Google and LinkedIn.

New Android Trojan Found in Google Play – FakeLookout.A steals sensitive personal information from Android devices and transmits it to a remote FTP server, mobile security firm TrustGo Mobile said Thursday.

Steam Gaming Platform Vulnerable to Remote Exploits; 50 Million at Risk – More than 50 million users of the Steam gaming and media distribution platform are at risk for remote compromise because of weaknesses in the platform’s URL protocol handler, a pair of researchers at ReVuln wrote in a paper released this week.

42% of lost mobiles have no security in place to protect data, says report – Out of those who reported that they had lost devices, 42% had no security measures in place, and one in five contained access to work-related documents or email. Young, male Londoners, you’re the worst when it comes to losing stuff, but take heart: you’re the best at making sure your lost gadgets are secured.

Company News:

Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud adds 20 social analytics vendors – Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud ecosystem expands to include social analytics vendors to enable more insights from a single dashboard.

Pinterest drives more than window shopping – By this point, most people know that Pinterest creates a massive amount of Internet referral traffic; in fact, the social pinboard recently surpassed Yahoo to become the fourth largest driver of traffic in the world. That’s a lot of window shopping!

Apple begins work on $68m Oregon data center – Work on the iPhone and iPad maker’s new Oregon data center is set to begin, powering more than 150 million iCloud users.

Google considers mobile patent antitrust settlement, report says – The search giant is deciding whether it should settle with the FTC over the agency’s claim that Google refused to grant industry-standard patents to rivals, says a report.

Webopedia Daily:

Off-page optimization – In search engine optimization, off-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are off-site in that they are not controlled by you or the coding on your page. Examples of off-page optimization include things such as link popularity and page rank.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Three of The Easiest Ways to Manipulate People into Doing What You Want – You can do a lot of things to be more persuasive, from learning better ways to communicate to more shady manipulation techniques. Here are some of the easiest (and possibly evil) ways to get someone to say “yes.”

Top court debates police powers for text message eavesdropping – Canada’s top judges pushed the Crown on Monday to explain why giving police the ability to eavesdrop on text messages with a general warrant wouldn’t be handing them too much power. Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin asked Crown attorney Croft Michaelson how long a surveillance leash police should be allowed in asking service providers like Telus to release a customer’s future text messages to them. (recommended by RedNightHawk)

How to not be a jerk on the Internet – I’ve been a technology blogger for more than six years—four of them right here at PC World. And in that time I’ve developed a pretty thick skin. I’ve had to, because I’m often on the receiving end of incredibly mean, nasty, and insulting emails and post comments.

The lights over your head are about to get smart – Bridgelux is building a new kind of lighting that turns your ceiling into a network of smart devices. CEO Bill Watkins has bet his first-class seat on it.

Today’s Quote:

I’m as pure as the driven slush.”

–     Tallulah Bankhead

Today’s Free Downloads:

Right Click Enhancer – Right Click Enhancer gives you power to control the ultimate right click menu everyone use every day. Right Click Enhancer allows you to edit your right click menu in the way you want. Now with help of this wonderful tool you can add some good stuffs to your right click context menu.

SIV (System Information Viewer) 4.33 – SIV by Ray Hinchliffe. ‘System Information Viewer’ is a general Windows utility for displaying lots of useful Windows, Network and hardware info.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 19, 2012

40 Apps That Can Make You More Productive – The 40 programs, mobile apps, plugins, and services in this list are among our favorites for helping anyone be more productive. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, but we hope it lets you explore your options among the truly necessary productivity tools, as well as introduce you to some hidden gems that you might have missed while you were busy getting things done.

Whispercast turns Kindles into viable business tools – Amazon unveiled a new service this week—Whispercast. Whispercast is a tool for schools and businesses that allows them to centrally manage and deploy content for Kindle devices and Kindle apps. Whispercast could make the Kindle much more attractive as a legitimate business tool.

Complete guide to using Windows 8 – Microsoft’s newest operating system has a whole new interface and loads of new features. Here are CNET’s best tips for getting up to speed quickly and getting the most out of Windows 8.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Start8 – Stardock fixes the biggest complaint against Windows 8 before the OS even launches: bring back the Start menu! Get the new exclusive version 1.0 release of Start8. The free trial gives you 30 days to play, tweak, and set everything up just the way you like it before asking you to purchase the full version for $4.99.

U.S. Now 9th Best in the World for Average Broadband Internet Speed – The second quarter 2012 Akamai State of the Internet report found that global average connection speeds grew 13 percent in the second quarter, to 3.0 Mbps. The Global average peak connection speed is growing even faster coming in at 16. Mbps for a 19 percent year over year gain. The U.S is still not the leader in speed, but it is still growing. South Korea, a country that has dominated Akamai’s speed ratings, once again had the highest average connection speed. During the second quarter, the average speed in South Korea was 14.2 Mbps.

Google threatens to omit French media from search – If a proposed French law passes that would require search engines to pay for news articles, the Web giant says it would simply stop linking to the country’s media sites.

Yelp to Issue Warnings About Paid Reviews – How do you know if a review on a site like Yelp is legitimate or from someone paid to sing a business’s praises? Starting today, the reviews site will be displaying warnings on the profiles of those they believe to be gaming the system.

Many Dell, HP printers won’t work with Windows RT – Hewlett-Packard and Dell have published compatibility lists of printers and multifunction devices for the upcoming Windows 8 and RT tablet OSes, with a large number of models listed as bring incompatible with Windows RT.

Windows 8 delivers the goods on benchmarks – Most people may swear by the number seven for luck, but results from CNET Labs show that Microsoft’s new favorite very well could be lucky number 8.

Create binders full of women with your Android device – Using this nifty photo-effects app for Android, you can create and share your own mashup photos.

Bitten: Apple’s ‘blasphemous’ logo under fire in Russia – Some Russian Orthodox Christians see the iconic logo as a symbol of sin that they would like to see outlawed.

Security:

“Im getting paid!” – Websites hosted on WordPress hacked due to users’ poor password security – Millions of blogs hosted on WordPress.com can breathe a sigh of relief – although a hacker did manage to break into thousands of sites and publish a make-money-fast advert, it wasn’t because of any vulnerability on the WordPress.com site. Instead, it seems users had simply been careless with their password security.

Verizon Wireless raises privacy ire over data collection – Verizon Wireless is in the crosshairs of privacy advocates challenging the company’s claim that it may legally collect customer data on app usage, geographical locations and Web browsing and sell it to advertisers. The carrier’s data-gathering activities drive its Precision Market Insights service, which also provides demographic information, such as age range, gender and the zip codes of where groups of customers, work and shop. Verizon also combines its information with data drawn from third-party databases to provide more detailed segmentation of its customer base.

National Weather Service website hacked by Kosova Hacker’s Security – Hackers have breached servers belonging to the National Weather Service, and released data online, after exploiting a vulnerability in the weather.gov website.

Most believe free Wi-Fi can lead to identity theft – A new study by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and PRIVATE WiFi, revealed that 79% of respondents believe that using a free Wi-Fi connection can lead to identity theft.

Illegal content on YouTube? Beware spammed-out malware attack – Internet users are being warned about a malware attack that has been spammed out widely, posing as a communication from YouTube about copyrighted video content. The emails, which have the subject line “Your video may have illegal content”, pretend to come from Google’s YouTube team.

Company News:

Apple ordered by U.S. court to reveal iPhone profit margins – The company must now make public certain information used in its U.S. patent battle against Samsung.

Google, Samsung offer $249 Chromebook with ARM chip – With a $249 Chromebook, Google is taking its biggest shot yet at bringing Chrome OS to the mainstream. The new Chromebook—that’s its official name—is built by Samsung, just like the Series 5 550 that launched last May. But unlike the earlier Intel Celeron-based model, the new Chromebook announced Thursday uses an ARM-based processor, making it thinner, lighter and about $200 cheaper.

Check Point unveils security appliance with 110GB/s throughput – Check Point launched its new 21600 Appliance that provides throughput of up to 110 Gbps, a 30 percent boost in SecurityPower units (SPUs) and ultra-low latency for transaction-oriented environments. The 21600 Appliance is a high-performance system designed to optimize a full range of Software Blade protections, providing large enterprises and data centers with industry-leading security and performance.

Google quarterly financial statement out early, shares pummeled – Google’s third-quarter financial results are out early and its shares are taking a beating because the company missed revenue and net income expectations.

Microsoft Sells Out of 32GB Surface Tablet – According to the Microsoft online store, the $499 32GB Surface model (without the Touch Cover) has sold out in a day

Webopedia Daily:

What is a Surge Protector? – A device that shields computer and other electronic devices from surges in electrical power, or transient voltage, that flow from the power supply. Standard American voltage for home and office buildings is 120 volts. Anything over this amount is considered transient and can damage electronic devices that are plugged into an outlet. Even though power surges are so brief that they are measured in nanoseconds, they can cause considerable damage to electronic equipment.

Off Topic (Sort of):

What I Want in a New Email Program – I am sick of the crummy email systems that have come and gone over the years. They have all failed to address the needs of modern power users like me.

Silence Noisy Neighbors by Transmitting Your Music to Their Speakers – If you have a neighbor that’s playing their music too loudly, you can get them back by hijacking their speakers with a little DIY project.

Man hires woman to slap him every time he’s on Facebook – Maneesh Sethi goes on Craigslist to find a woman who will hit him and therefore make him more productive.

Apple Must Publicly Apologize to Samsung – Apple must say Samsung did not copy the iPad design patent with its Galaxy Tab tablets.

The Best Productivity Tricks Used By Evil Dictators – The Best Productivity Tricks Used By Evil DictatorsHistory is full of evil dictators, and while the had their share of bad qualities, it’s undeniable they were efficient at getting things done. Here’s what we can learn from them, despite their evil nature.

Today’s Quote:

There comes a time in every man’s life and I’ve had many of them.”

–      Casey Stengel

Today’s Free Downloads:

VirtualBox 4.2.2 – VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker 4.0.10 – This programs enables you to tweak your Windows 7 taskbar. Reorder items within a tab group, close, minimize, change application ID and more.

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Laptop vs. Tablet: Which One Do I Need?

Guest article.

imageEver since the first laptops became available in the 1980s – in a very different incarnation from the sleek creations we’ve grown accustomed to today – the option of portable computers has revolutionized the market. All sorts of people, from business professionals to home users, welcomed their ease of use and mobility.

However, today that market has leaped much further with the introduction of tablets, smartphones and netbooks, giving users enhanced portability and an ever-increasing choice of technology, and posing a new question: which is better, a laptop or tablet?

For many users, the laptop remains the number one choice. Whereas some struggle with the touch screen keyboards featured on tablets, the fully integrated keyboards of laptops are simple to use, enabling faster and more accurate typing.

The larger screen size is also preferable for many people, particularly when dealing with complicated data on spreadsheets, which can become tricky to view on the smaller tablet screens.

Yet the laptop does not necessarily out-do the tablet in all respects. Despite being introduced as a portable alternative to desktop PCs, laptops are now quite bulky compared to other devices on the market. Whereas a tablet can slip discreetly into a day bag, most laptops require a separate carry case, which can seem cumbersome to many users.

This is where tablets really come into their own. With their integrated touch screen technology, tablets are incredibly lightweight and portable, with many weighing less than a pound. And despite their small size, the majority of devices can still store large quantities of music, video and photo files, making them a top choice for leisure users seeking entertainment on long journeys.

The touch screen, though tricky for some users to negotiate, also has its own advantages over the traditional keyboard and mouse set-up, with the hands-on, tactile technology often proving particularly useful for designers and digital artists.

With both laptops and tablets offering their own benefits, the decision of which product to choose must ultimately come down to your own personal needs and preferences – if you’re a fairly casual computer user who is often on the go, a tablet may be the best option for you.

On the other hand, if you often need to carry out complex word processing and data handling tasks, a fully-equipped laptop is likely to serve you better.

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Filed under Connected Devices, Guest Writers, Tablet Computing

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 18, 2012

App scanner tells you if a mobile app is safe—before you install it – You know that Android app you’re about to download? It could be a security risk. If you’re concerned about app security in your organization, or even just on your own smartphone, ZAP is worth checking out. If nothing else, it can help you spot a potentially problematic app before you install it.

Infographic: The ABC’s of Basic Online Security – Even if you think you know everything there is to know about password security and online safety, this basic primer from SecurityCoverage is still worth a read

StumbleUpon (for iPhone) – StumbleUpon, one of the most sophisticated and fun ways to explore new content on the Web, delivers an excellent experience on the iPhone.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Go Virtual: Multiple OSes, One Device – Want to run Windows on a Mac or any flavor of Linux on Windows 8? Virtual desktop software is the answer. Here’s a look at some of the best.

Pinterest rolls out user blocking, flagging, and reporting – As a way to curtail users who pin banned items like nudie pictures, hateful symbols, and violent images, Pinterest debuts a feature that lets users block and report questionable activity.

How to move from Gmail to Outlook.com – So you’ve decided you like the cut of Outlook.com’s jib, so much so that you’re ready to ditch Gmail and move your mail into Microsoft’s camp. Easier said than done, right? Actually, it’s less complicated than you might think. In fact, you can keep your Gmail address active while still managing all your messages in Outlook.com. Here’s how to make your move.

Ubuntu 12.10 released: Quantal Quetzal, now with extra cloud – Under the hood, 12.10 will be shipping with some incremental upgrades, like the 3.5.4 Linux kernel which will be powering some Gnome 3.6 apps and libraries. While the full Gnome shell isn’t present in this build, it does still serve as the building blocks for the oft-maligned Unity interface. Whether you like it or not, Unity is here to stay as the major changes in the OS come not in the technical underpinnings, but in the way that the Unity Dash interacts with your digital content stored both locally and in the cloud.

Slideshow: Say hello to Ubuntu 12.10 Linux – The latest version of Ubuntu Linux is ready for your inspection.

Apple resumes User Tracking with iOS 6. Here’s how to disable it – Apple was eager to promote the many new features in iOS6, but avoided mention of one: IFA – or identifier for advertisers – the company’s newest device tracking technology.

A Home Automation Primer – How can you take control of your home and monitor it 24/7 from your laptop, tablet, or phone? Home Automation is the key and here are the basics to get you started.

How to Buy an MP3 Player – Getting an iPod might seem like a no-brainer, but there are still some high-quality non-Apple MP3 players out there. Here’s how to figure out which player type is right for you.

Preserve all your precious images (the right way) – Here are some simple ways to quickly and correctly scan a shoebox full of photos, slides, or negatives.

Security:

Facebook partners with Panda Security – Panda Security signed a collaboration agreement with Facebook to protect users. Facebook users will be able to download a free 6-month version of Panda Internet Security 2013 from the AV Marketplace. Additionally, both companies will share their databases of malicious URLs to protect users while surfing the Web.

Researchers: Steam URL protocol can be abused to exploit game vulnerabilities – Attackers can trick gamers into opening malicious steam:// URLs that exploit security issues in games to execute malicious code.

The FBI’s “Cyber Surf Island” game aims to promote internet safety amongst students – The FBI is taking its lead from popular online games like World of Warcraft with a new online safety education program for school age children that’s light on content, but heavy on scrolls and whacky, animated characters.

Phishing attacks increasingly target brands – The number of brands targeted by phishing attacks sustained an all-time high of 428 in April of this year, the second record-breaking quarter for cybercrime brand abuse reported by the APWG this year. Meanwhile, the number of unique phishing sites reached an all-time monthly high of 63,253 in April, eclipsing the previous record high of 56,859 in February of this year by more than 11 percent.

High-bandwidth denial-of-service attacks more common, security firm says – Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks with an average bandwidth of over 20Gbps have become commonplace this year, according to researchers from from DDoS mitigation vendor Prolexic. This is significant because very few companies or organizations have the necessary network infrastructure to deal with such attacks.

Company News:

IBM releases ten integrated security solutions – IBM announced a broad set of security software to help holistically secure data and identities. IBM’s new software capabilities help clients better maintain security control over mobile devices, mitigate internal and external threats, reduce security risks in cloud environments, expand database security to gain real-time insights into big data environments such as Hadoop, and automate compliance and data security management.

U.K. judge shoots down Apple’s Galaxy Tab appeal – Apple loses an appeal against Samsung in the U.K. after the first judge claimed the Galaxy Tab 10.1 could not have infringed the iPad because it wasn’t “cool” enough.

Microsoft breaks silence, slates preview of Windows 7’s IE10 for November – Microsoft today said it will ship a preview of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) for Windows 7 next month, but would not commit to a timetable for a final release. IE10 will run on Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows 7: Early on, Microsoft confirmed that the browser would not work on Windows Vista, much less Windows XP, which remains stuck on 2009’s IE8.

The Pirate Bay Ditches Servers, Embraces the Cloud – The Pirate Bay is transitioning to The Pirate Cloud. The beleaguered file-sharing service today announced that it is ditching the servers and embracing the cloud. “Slowly and steadily we are getting rid of our earthly form and ascending into the next stage, the cloud,” the group said.

Sprint nabs control of Clearwire through the back door – The company won’t acquire Clearwire outright, but has obtained enough shares to take majority voting power, and thus, control the company.

Webopedia Daily:

Capacitive touch – One of the two primary types of touchscreen displays (along with resistive) employed on smartphones, tablets, laptops and similar electronic devices. The Apple iPhone is the most popular example of a capacitive touchscreen-based device. Capacitive touch screens distinguish and sense specific touch location based on the electrical impulses in a human body, typically the fingertip. This enables capacitive touch screens to not require any actual force to be applied to the screen’s surface; at the same time, capacitive screens typically don’t respond to styluses or gloved hands due to the lack of electrical impulses generated.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How DRM will infest the 3D printing revolution – Is DRM going to be the future of 3D printing? Noted patent troll Intellectual Ventures thinks so.

Reddit CEO Defends Free Speech, Talks Violentacrez Scandal – In the wake of a controversy over offensive content posted across his network, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong this week defended his site’s policies, but acknowledged that a ban on Gawker links was misguided.

Google Has a Stormtrooper Guarding Its Data Center – At Google’s North Carolina data center, there is a model of a stormtrooper guarding the computers, a new peek inside the facility revealed. (recommended by Michael F.)

A Brief Guide to Incorporating Your Small Business – Incorporating your small business may be the next logical step in your growth progression, but what kind of corporation should you choose? We break down the pros and cons of the three types.

When does AEST not mean AEST? – Only in Australia could we have two identical time-zone abbreviations that mean different things.

Undercover cop outed on Facebook, woman arrested for posting photo – Police arrested a Texas woman for allegedly posting a photo of an undercover police officer onto her Facebook page. The case shows that it’s time that police learn how vulnerable they are in a social media world.

Gagarin Statue Lands At NASA’s Birthplace – Former space-race foes from Russia and the United States have inaugurated a bronze statue in Texas of Soviet space pioneer Yury Gagarin to accompany one nearby of John Glenn in a salute to the first two men to orbit the Earth. (recommended by Michael F.)

Today’s Quote:

Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up?”

–      Joe Barton: Republican politician: Chair Emeritus of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Subcommittee on Environment and Economy.

Today’s Free Downloads:

Freemake Video Downloader – Download videos from YouTube, Hulu, Vevo, Facebook, MTV, ComedyCentral, Vimeo and 40+ sites, extract lossless audio, convert online videos to AVI, MKV, MP3, iPod, iPhone, PSP, Android with our free video downloader!

Soluto – Soluto allows you to understand your boot, discover which applications are slowing it down (and keep running later in the background, affecting your ongoing experience), and allows you to significantly improve it. While Soluto focuses on the boot, it already researches for frustrations and helps map the PC Genome, allowing you to share your wisdom with others.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 17, 2012

Think Your Phone Number on Facebook is Private? Not Likely – Facebook has a reverse lookup feature where users can lookup phone numbers to find people the number belongs to. Up until this week, that feature could be abused to look up thousands of numbers at once. But even after the fix, most users will be surprised to hear that Facebook can be used as a reverse lookup directory.

Verizon draws fire for monitoring app usage, browsing habits – “We’re able to view just everything that they do,” Verizon Wireless exec has boasted. Privacy groups say initiative — including linking databases showing whether customers own pets — may violate wiretap law.

Facebook said to let some companies see pages you like – The social network allows select marketers to look at their fans’ other interests to help plan advertising efforts, Adweek reports.

Citrix lets users access PCs and Macs from Kindle Fire – Citrix Systems has released an enhanced GoToMyPC app for Android devices allowing anyone with an Android phone or tablet, including Amazon’s Kindle Fire family, to access their Internet-connected Mac or PC over a mobile network.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to Create a Super Private BitTorrent Community for You and Your Friends – These are dark days for BitTorrent. Using it leaves you open to fake torrents, viruses, an ISP that throttles your connection, and media companies that snoop to see what you’re downloading. If you want to avoid all that, you can create an uber-private BitTorrent community that only you and your friends can access. Here’s how.

Microsoft Surface With Windows RT vs. Apple iPad: Specs Compared – Will the new Surface tablet finally be Microsoft’s iPad-killer? We stack up the numbers to see.

Five reasons to try the new Razor-qt Linux desktop – Particularly on older hardware, this lightweight contender can offer a speedy alternative. If you’re tired of the dominant desktop choices out there–and particularly if you have older hardware–Razor-qt could be a nice option to test out.

Firefox 16 – Firefox remains a browser to be reckoned with: its clean design, fast performance, and vanguard support for Web technologies shouldn’t be ignored. Web devs in particular should take notice.

Add useful tools to your Skype desktop app with Pamela Professional – If you’re a heavy user of Skype, or the owner of a small business, Pamela Professional a software app to get.

Most people want control of information collected by data brokers – As Congress examines how data brokers collect, aggregate and share consumers’ personal information, a new survey by TrustedID shows that most people are confused about how data brokers operate and want centralized control of how data brokers handle their personal information.

AT&T’s ‘Six-Strikes’ antipiracy policy launches in November, leaked documents say – AT&T is expected to be the first ISP to implement a new policy developed with U.S. content providers that involves sending several anti-piracy warnings, redirecting users’ browsing, and finally filing legal charges.

Free Parental Control Utilities – Parents want to make sure their kids aren’t misusing the Internet or getting bullied online, but tools to help keep watch can cost a bundle. Fortunately, a few good parental monitoring tools are available for free.

Areca offers SMBs a free backup solution for Windows and Linux – Backups can be problematic to keep running and costly to purchase or maintain. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools, including free solutions, for this specific purpose. One such free solution that is available for Windows and Linux is Areca Backup.

The Windows 8 UI: How do interface and usability experts rate all the changes? – Raluca Budiu, a user experience specialist for usability consultancy firm Nielsen Norman Group, has been running user experience tests with the Windows 8 preview releases to see how people deal with the new interface changes. Budiu says that users generally experience several pain points in Windows 8, most notably hunting around for traditional functionality that’s now hidden in pop-up sidebars.

Security:

Facebook beefs up security with new anti-virus partners – Facebook is stepping up its security focus to better protect users from malicious links and malware. The social networking giant on Tuesday announced seven new additions to the its Antivirus Marketplace. The new security partners include Avast, AVG, Avira, Kaspersky, Panda, Total Defense, and Webroot. Those companies join existing partners Microsoft, McAfee, Norton, TrendMicro, and Sophos to offer Facebook users desktop and mobile anti-virus software.

Warning! British Airways e-ticket receipt malware arriving in an inbox near you – Criminals are spamming out a malware via email, posing as an e-ticket from British Airways. Be on your guard – or risk ending up with an infected computer.

What “Do Not Track” Doesn’t Do – The “Do Not Track” setting available in most web browsers is a great option to have if you don’t want websites tracking your browsing history. However, as How-To Geek points out, “Do Not Track” provides a false sense of security because it doesn’t block as much as you’d think.

Kaspersy and Norton Earn AAA Protection Ratings – Dennis Labs has, for the first time, released a public report on their testing of eight significant security products; the results are quite interesting.

Can Your Trust Android Antimalware Rankings? – I’ve reviewed dozens of Android security apps for PCMag, and often wondered how much I can trust the rankings of independent testing labs’ Android security app tests. And here’s what I’ve come to conclude: about as much as you’d trust an advertisement.

Company News:

IObit Leads Software Utility Innovation With The Release of Advanced SystemCare 6 – Building on the core functions of previous versions, Advanced SystemCare 6 creates a safer online environment with improved online surfing protection that detects and prevents risky websites and other e-threats from harming the PC. Advanced SystemCare 6 also offers performance monitoring that allows users to watch the health of their PC in real-time. These tools are complimented by a next generation of internet boosting technology and a high-powered disk defragment engine, both designed to speed up system performance. Advanced SystemCare 6 is fully compatible with Windows 8, providing comprehensive protection for the latest version of Windows.

OpenStack Gets Integrated Into Red Hat – Red Hat leverages its existing platform tools as OpenStack solution matures. Red Hat’s OpenStack distribution isn’t just about the upstream project, though; it’s also about integration with Red Hat’s existing Linux platform tools.

Intel revenue drops on weak economy, poor sales – Intel Tuesday said its revenue and profit dropped during the third quarter of fiscal 2012 compared to the same period a year earlier, and blamed a tough economy for poor sales of its products.

Iomega launches new flagship network storage array – Iomega has a new network storage array that can house up to 48TB of data on your network.

Seagate unveils three new enterprise-class HDDs – Seagate announced three new enterprise-class hard disk drives optimized for traditional data centers and emerging cloud infrastructures. Perfect for cloud bulk data storage, the Seagate Enterprise Value HDD provides up to 3TB of storage in a low-power configuration that is perfect for efficiently and affordably storing the ever-growing amount of unstructured data typically stored in the cloud.

Foxconn Admits to Hiring Underage Interns – Foxconn, Apple’s manufacturing partner responsible for the iPhone, has admitted to hiring underage workers at its China factories.

Best Buy will match online prices this holiday season – Retailers are wary of “showrooming,” which refers to customers visiting brick-and-mortar retail outlets only for a hands-on look at merchandise, which they then buy cheaper online. To fight this, some retailers are offering discounts for buying in person and promoting sales staff expertise.

Webopedia Daily:

Flame (malware) – An extremely sophisticated strain of malware that shares similarities with Stuxnet, although Flame is much more massive in terms of complexity and size, at 30MB or larger when all modules have been installed vs. Stuxnet’s 500KB. Also known as Flamer or Skywiper, Flame was discovered by Kaspersky Lab following a significant increase in infected systems in Iran and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa over the past two years.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Has Apple lost its polish? – Flawed features, shattered secrecy and atypical apologies: meet the Apple of 2012 and beyond.

The good, bad and ugly history of Microsoft hardware – Microsoft built its identity on software development. Just refer to the name, and pay special attention to the “soft.” But throughout its storied history, the company has progressively become much more of a multi-discipline workshop, producing physical gear alongside ethereal software code.

Bizarre adverts gone viral: gallery – After release on social media, some odd advertising stunts manage to attract worldwide fame.

Infographic: Demand for IT networking professionals in US – Takeaway: Here’s an infographic that looks at what the future of tech holds in terms of in-demand skills.

How to detect and protect against workplace bullying – October is National Bullying Prevention Month. In honor of that and in an effort to further raise awareness about workplace bullying, we have a guest piece from Rakesh Malhotra, the founder of Five Global Values, a world-traveled, values-driven business leader who specializes in organization behavior.

Gary McKinnon saved from extradition after ten year fight – Gary McKinnon, the British hacker who has been fighting a high profile campaign for ten years to avoid extradition to the United States, has had his extradition blocked by the UK government.

Today’s Quote:

At least two-thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity: idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political ideas.”

–      Aldous Huxley

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wise Folder Hider 1.26 – Wise Folder Hider is a free file/folder hiding tool. User can use it to hide files and folders on local partitions or removable devices. The data can’t be accessed by other programs or on other operating systems such as DOS. The only way to access or unhide these data is to enter the valid password. However, this application is designed for home use only but not recommended for commercial settings which require stricter confidentiality.

VirusTotal Scanner 2.0 – VirusTotal.com is a free online scan service that analyzes suspicious files using 40+ Anti-virus applications. ‘VirusTotal Scanner’ is the desktop tool which helps you to quickly scan your file using VirusTotal without actually uploading the file.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 16, 2012

Three not so simple but necessary security tips – It should be easier to block Flash cookies, enable security settings in your browser, and rate your Facebook profile’s privacy. Follow these steps to accomplish all three essential safety measures.

How Secure Is Google’s Data Bank? – Google knows more about you than you know, but that information could easily be stolen or fabricated. I find it peculiar that Americans seem to be much less concerned than Europeans about all these bad outcomes and dark possibilities. They collectively know better than us about bad outcomes. Google needs to rein this in.

The Best Firefox Extensions and Add-Ons of 2012 – Firefox has more ways to extend functionality than any other browser. Here are the best add-ons that you should be using.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Five portable antivirus and antimalware tools to carry with you at all times – Let’s face it, one of the primary jobs a Windows admin does is keep machines free of infection. It’s inevitable – end users will open files, install cutesy apps, and go to sites they shouldn’t. When they do these things, their machines get infected. When their machines get infected, you could wind up fighting a losing battle – unless you have the right tools. Sometimes the antivirus tools installed on the machine just aren’t enough. When that time comes, you’ll be glad you have one (or more) tools on your USB drive to help you out. I’ve found five such tools that could certainly get you out of a serious pinch. All of these tools are portable and work like champs.

Don’t kill my Windows XP! – As Windows 8’s official arrival date nears, it may be time to remember that many of us are still happily using Windows XP and we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Four Web-based scheduling tools for small businesses – If your business involves meeting with clients, you know what a hassle scheduling can be. Doesn’t matter if you’re a real-estate agent, a financial advisor, or a contractor—appointment management can be a full-time job. Before you hire someone to tackle that job, consider a Web-based alternative. Wouldn’t it be great if your customers could simply visit your Web site, check your availability, and schedule their own appointments — no receptionist required? I’ve rounded up a quartet of online-scheduling services designed for exactly that purpose.

Logitech’s illuminated Windows 8 keyboard connects to 3 devices at once – Logitech announced on Monday a glowing, Bluetooth keyboard that can connect to as many as three devices simultaneously and switch among them at the press of a button. You could, for example, use the Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810 to switch among your Windows 8-powered Ultrabook, Android smartphone, and an iPad. The new keyboard is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8 (or Windows RT), iOS 4.0 or later, and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) or later.

Six tips for keeping mobile devices secure at work – Many organizations are feeling a little overwhelmed as they try to work out appropriate security levels and device management boundaries. When you take into consideration all the platform and application updates chewing through corporate bandwidth, plus the potential for rogue applications and malware to gain illicit access to company data, there are many headaches for security managers to deal with. Here are six tips to help get the efficient and secure management of mobile devices under control.

Consumers actually really like cloud storage, report says – It turns out that consumers, by and large, really are interested in moving as much as they can into the cloud.

Security:

FBI warns users of malicious mobile malware – In a warning issued by a government task force, mobile users are told to beware of malware that is especially lured to Android’s operating system and ways to avoid it.

Google to fight malware on Android handsets – Google appears to be planning to fight malware on the handset level, according to a report posted to the Internet on Monday. The report, posted Monday by enthusiast site AndroidPolice, analyzes a new resource file for the Google Play Store app. Resource files are loaded into memory before an application begins to run.

miniFlame discovered, designed for targeted cyber espionage – Kaspersky Lab announced the discovery of miniFlame, a small and highly flexible malicious program designed to steal data and control infected systems during targeted cyber espionage operations.

Oracle Patch Update to Include 109 Patches – OracleBuckle up Oracle administrators for 109 patches coming your way tomorrow. Oracle’s quarterly Critical Patch Update is due, and the company is releasing fixes for security vulnerabilities across most of its enterprise products, addressing a host of remotely exploitable flaws. This comes a little more than a month after exploits of a serious zero-day vulnerability in Java were reported, as well as a critical zero-day vulnerability in Java SE.

SMBs not concerned about cybersecurity – U.S. small business owners or operators have a false sense of cybersecurity as more than three-fourths say their company is safe from cyber threats such as hackers, viruses, malware or a cybersecurity breach, yet 83 percent have no formal cybersecurity plan.

Windows 8 brings malware improvements, says researcher – Microsoft has put in some protections to ensure that anti-malware from vendors that have gone through Microsoft’s digital-signing review process will be loaded up first to check to see if a system is clean before continuing the boot process, says Goretsky. There is one wrinkle in all this in that Microsoft itself is shipping its own anti-malware software with Windows 8 called Windows Defender.

Merchants ineffectively fighting online fraud – Although most merchants have made a concerted effort to fight e-commerce fraud, their methods are largely ineffective against fraudsters and off-putting to consumers, according to a new survey by Card Not Present and SignatureLink.

Company News:

Amazon offers ebook refunds in price-fixing settlement – Amazon will offer partial refunds to customers who bought ebooks between April 2010 and May 2012 a result of the settlement in a price-fixing case between publishers and the attorneys general of most U.S. States. The retailer is notifying eligible customers by email. Compensation ranges from $0.30 to $1.32 per ebook from three publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. The firms have agreed to pay some $69 million into a fund for the settlement. The refunds will be either in account credit or as a check if requested, and won’t arrive until February 2013, subject to court approval.

McAfee debuts data center security suites for physical, cloud environments – Touted to offer more security while using less resources, McAfee’s latest release is aimed at servers and databases in a variety of data center environments.

Eugene Kaspersky Unveils Plans for New Secure SCADA OS – Attacks against SCADA and industrial-control systems have become a major concern for private companies as well as government agencies, with executives and officials worried about the potential effects of a major compromise. Security experts in some circles have been warning about the possible ramifications of such an attack for some time now, and researchers have found scores of vulnerabilities in SCADA and ICS systems in the last couple of years. Now, engineers at Kaspersky Lab have begun work on new operating system designed to be a secure-by-design environment for the operation of SCADA and ICS systems.

ACCC accuses HP of violating Aussie consumer law – HP’s Australian branch has been accused of misrepresenting consumer guarantee rights detailed by law, according to the ACCC.

Zynga sues former exec for ‘wholesale theft’ of data – The gaming company is going after its former general manager of CityVille, saying that he stole “sensitive and commercially valuable data” and left a “forensic trail of his wrongful conduct.”

Rumor: Amazon Eyeing TI’s Mobile Chip Business – The Kindle Fire maker is reportedly in “advanced talks” with Texas Instruments to buy TI’s mobile chip business.

Webopedia Daily:

CAMP – Cloud Application Management for Platforms – CAMP, short for Cloud Application Management for Platforms, is a specification designed to ease management of applications — including packaging and deployment — across public and private cloud computing platforms. According to the technology vendors behind the CAMP specification, which includes CloudBees, Cloudsoft Corporation, Huawei, Oracle, Rackspace, Red Hat and Software AG, CAMP is intended to provide a common basis for developing multi-cloud management tools as well as a REST-based approach to application management.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How to Lie Without Actually Telling a Lie – We all lie sometimes, whether you’re seeking to hide your true feelings about someone’s fruitcake or a housing a deep, dark secret. Nonetheless, most of us don’t enjoy being dishonest and you don’t have to be. By utilizing misdirection, you can lead others to believe a lie without ever telling it.

Application bloat survey: if you don’t know the answer make something up – Survey silly season is well under way. Company after company is sending the results of surveys and hoping ZDnet will publicize the results. Unfortunately, these studies are often self serving, badly designed and produce results that are seldom representative.

Congressman to FTC: Don’t mess with Google – A Democrat from Colorado pens a letter to the Federal Trade Commission to warn the agency not to go too far with its antitrust probe or there may be “congressional action.”

10 Hilarious Tech Comedy Skits – SNL went after tech bloggers this weekend for their iPhone 5 complaints, but it’s hardly the only tech-related skit of late.

Today’s Quote:

There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.”

–     Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today’s Free Downloads:

Toolwiz Pretty Photo 1.5.0.0 – With this free tool, you can modify your photos and make them look better with only few clicks. It does not only include more than 30 professional image filters, but also support Image Resize, Flip, Crop, Rotate, Layers, add Shadow, add Frame and so on. With Toolwiz Pretty Photo, you can change the HUE, Staturation, Color Balance, Curves Tools, Levels, Brightness and Contrast of one photo. You can add special objects to the photo, such as Line, Text, Image, Rectangle, Ellipse, Arrow, Sharp, Pop Message. Toolwiz Pretty Photo has many speical features to help you modify your photos. Such as Soft Focus, Color Paint, Mosasic Paint, Scrawl Paint, Image Warp, Skin Polish, Skin Color Change. Also Toolwiz Pretty Photo allows you to add Blush, EyeBrows, EyeShadow, Pupil, Eyelashes to the photos.

AVG AntiVirus Free Edition 2013.0.2741 – AVG Anti-Virus FREE Edition is the well-known anti-virus protection tool. AVG Anti-Virus FREE is available free-of-charge to home users for the life of the product! Rapid virus database updates are available for the lifetime of the product, thereby providing the high-level of detection capability that millions of users around the world trust to protect their computers. AVG Anti-Virus FREE is easy-to-use and will not slow your system down (low system resource requirements).

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 15, 2012

US court says reading other people’s online email is OK, privacy be damned – The case involves a woman’s hacking into her former boss’s Yahoo account to uncover evidence of his extramarital affair. Judges decreed that email stored in the cloud, such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail, doesn’t meet the definition of “electronic storage” as written in the Stored Communications Act.

CloudMagic offers fast, accurate searches – CloudMagic delivered speedy Gmail searches in the past, but only in the Firefox and Chrome browsers. Now the free tool is more impressive than ever, offering searches of everything from Facebook and Dropbox to Box and AOL, and in more browsers than before.

How NQ Mobile’s Family Guardian will protect your kids – The Android app can access all mobile activity on a smartphone. Bad news for kids, but good for parents.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Safari for Windows – Why? Why not? Windows users can get a small taste of the other side’s software with this nimble and reliable Web browser.

How to Reset a Windows 8 PC – Formerly, it was a chore to return a computer to a pristine state, if it was running Windows 7. The new Windows 8 changes all that. We’ll show you how.

Slinging TV Shows – TV providers make it exceptionally difficult to watch the programming you pay for from computers and mobile devices. Enter the venerable Sling Media Slingbox 500, which makes it easy to watch live TV and recorded DVR content on any device over the Internet when you’re away from home.

YouTube to base search rankings on time watched, not clicks – YouTube has beefed up its Analytics function, saying the extra information whould help people make more popular videos.

EU inching towards Microsoft antitrust charge, record fines loom – Microsoft is reportedly only days away from receiving a formal antitrust complaint after the software giant left out its required ‘browser choice’ screen to 28 million users. Record fines loom not far away.

Raspberry Pi doubles the RAM, but resists price hike – Rather than add a more-expensive Raspberry Pi, the cheap Linux device’s backers have bumped up the memory in the current Model B to 512MB as standard.

Microsoft launches Xbox Music: What you need to know – Let’s face it, Zune is a joke—literally. It was a punchline on The Simpsons just last week. Although many of the Zune products earned high marks from the press, the brand has become the poster child for “that me-too gadget nobody really wants.” Rather than put more weight behind a failed brand, Microsoft decided to kill the Zune player and service, preparing to replace it with Xbox Music.

How Googling others affects voting, hiring and dating – A new study confirms the importance we place in personal search results. Plus, tips on improving what others see about you

Freshening up your Google juice with robots.txt – Using the robots.txt sledgehammer properly can help you clean up loose ends in your search results. Use it wrong, and you could, effectively, nuke yourself off the Internet.

Security:

Beware! DHL Express malware attack appearing in inboxes – Take care folks if you’re returning to your inbox today, after a weekend away. A malicious email could be lurking there – waiting to infect your computers. SophosLabs has intercepted a widespread malware campaign that has been spammed out, disguised as a communication from DHL Express.

Hackers pwn the sun – Exploit code released for software used to manage solar energy plants – The US Department of Homeland Security has issued an alert that hackers have released proof of concept exploit code for vulnerabilities in a common SCADA software package used to manage solar energy systems.

Company News:

Microsoft Office 2013 Released to Manufacturers – Microsoft last week reached another Windows 8-related milestone. The company’s updated productivity suite, Office 2013, has now been released to manufacturers.

Adobe ships Acrobat XI featuring new cloud services – Adobe is shipping Acrobat XI, a new version of its cross-platform PDF authoring and viewing software, featuring augmented tools for cloud services such as online forms and digital signatures.

HP Shows Why It Remains World’s Top Workstation Maker – In the mid-’70s David Packard and Bill Hewlett headquartered Hewlett-Packard’s desktop computer division in Fort Collins, Colo. Today, that has morphed into the workstation headquarters for the company and thus, the world, as HP is the world’s No. 1 workstation maker. On Oct. 11, HP gave a tour of the facility, which we highlight in this slide show.

Softbank as Sprint’s savior: What $20.1 billion does, doesn’t do – Sprint can definitely use the cash infusion from Softbank to complete its 4G LTE rollout and better compete in the U.S. However, Sprint will still be squeezed from above by AT&T and Verizon and below by T-Mobile.

Webopedia Daily:

Osborne Effect – The term used to describe a negative outcome from a company prematurely releasing information about future products and impacting sales of their current products. The Osborne Effect is normally seen when the company misjudges the timing for announcing the future products. The phrase “Osborne Effect” is derived from the late 80’s when a company called Osborne Computer Corp. introduced the first popular portable computer. Osborne made the mistake of pre-announcing a successor machine months before it could be delivered and sales of its existing line dried up sending the company into a tailspin it never recovered from.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Cyber warfare a real threat, the US Secretary of Defense warns – The U.S. is facing a dramatically increasing threat from cyber attacks and a future attack on the country’s critical infrastructure could have an effect similar to the September 11 terrorist attacks of 2001, the U.S. Secretary of Defense said last week.

Cyber War? Bring It On! – The so-called imminent threat of cyber-attack by U.S. enemies is another in a long line of fear-mongering propaganda lines.

‘Dancing Baby’ YouTube copyright case goes to court – The lawsuit is challenging the takedown of a home video from YouTube because Universal Music claims the video infringed copyrights owned by the company. In the video, a toddler is dancing while a song by Prince, “Let’s Go Crazy,” plays in the background.

Moore’s Law: The rule that really matters in tech – In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore foresaw an inexorable rise in chip power that eventually delivered the computer to your pocket. While long in the tooth, Moore’s prediction still has plenty of life in it. Here’s why.

Make your own screen cleaner – Stop overspending on store-bought screen-cleaning sprays — you can make your own in large quantities for just a few bucks.

Seven apps for street art fans – There are a lot of apps that show street art; we’ve found seven of the best.

Today’s Quote:

Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth.”

–     Lillian Hellman

Today’s Free Downloads:

System Explorer 3.9.7 – Detailed information about Tasks, Processes, Modules, Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services, Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.

Iobit Uninstaller 2.3 – IObit Uninstaller helps you uninstall and remove unwanted programs and folders from your computer fast and easily. Where the built-in and sluggish “Windows Add or Remove Programs” option fails, IObit Uninstalller works as always and picks up the slack.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 13, 2012

3 must-have freeware apps for multiple desktops – QSynergy, Mouse without Borders, and Win Switch all let you seamlessly switch between computers without leaving your chair, and they’re all free.

Windows 8 apps: The good, the bad, and the ugly – With the clock winding down, Microsoft is working diligently to improve some of its Windows 8 apps, but there are still some big question marks remaining for Windows 8 apps.

Group chat showdown: Which instant messaging service is best for your business? – Sometimes, when you can’t meet in person, it’s better to meet in a virtual space. Group chat services offer private rooms for business discussions, with handy features like transcripts, file sharing, and mobile apps. It’s like regular instant messaging, but with an express focus on group conversations.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

What are the cheapest and easiest upgrade paths to Windows 8? – Microsoft has finally spilled most pricing details for Windows 8. But buying and upgrading is still confusing. Use this guide to find the cheapest, best way to upgrade. Oh, and be sure to read this if you plan to stick with Windows 7. You can avoid a big gotcha if you know your rights.

OwnCloud: Build your own or manage your public cloud storage services – If you want a cloud of your own, ownCloud makes it easier than ever to build a private cloud of your own and you can also use it to manage your use of public cloud storage services, such as Amazon S3, Box, and DropBox.

Deeply Flawed Apple-Owned Fingerprint Reader Software a Tough Fix – Now that word is out on a serious password bug in the ubiquitous UPEK Protector Suite fingerprint readers found in most new laptops today, Apple-owned Authentec surely will be able to fix the issue on the double. Not so fast, says one of the researchers looking at the problem.

CV Maker Creates Beautiful, Professional-Looking Resumes Online in Minutes – Regardless of the job you apply for, you’ll need a sharp-looking resume that looks good on-screen and in-print to make a good impression. CV Maker is a webapp that makes it easy to create multiple professional, good-looking resumes online, save them for future updates and editing, and print them off whenever you want, all for free.

Linux Foundation unveils a workaround for Win 8 Secure Boot – Scarcely a week goes by these days without the emergence of some new approach to the vexing “Secure Boot” problem facing Linux users on Windows 8 hardware, and this week is no exception.

Anonymous declares war on Wikileaks – The hacking collective insists it will not attack any of the Wikileaks web assets, as the site is considered a media outlet. According to the group, any future attacks on the site attributed to them is a “lie”, but what they can and will do is withdraw support not only for the whistleblower site, but the site’s founder Julian Assange — who is currently taking refuge in the London-based Ecuadorian embassy.

How long will Microsoft support Windows 7? – Through January 12, 2015, Microsoft will provide the same complete support you have today. You’ll receive both security and non-security updates. Your warranty claims will be considered and possibly honored. If your license came with no-charge incident support (yes, it exists), you’ll continue to receive it. But in 2015, Windows 7 will go onto extended support, which just covers the basics.

Microsoft rolls out massive Windows 8 update – As Windows 8’s launch date nears, Microsoft begins to tailor its core apps like Mail and Calendar to clear the high bar set by Apple and Google while also updating the OS itself.

Security:

Poisoned links plague Microsoft’s Bing search – A recent study by Fraser Howard, a principle virus researcher at SophosLabs, suggested that the risk of clicking on a “poisoned” link while using Bing was more than twice that from using Google, even though Google has more than four times the “market share” of Bing in search engine rankings.

SOPA reincarnates to hold your computer hostage – The so-called SOPA cryptovirus which warns users that their IP address is on a copyright infringement blacklist has been discovered. The ‘ransomware’ holds a computer hostage, warning that unless a victim hands over money, data will be wiped. U.S. and Canadian victims have to pay via a MoneyPak prepaid voucher, whereas others have to use Western Union. Once accused of distributing illegal files, infected users are told they must pay $200 within three days.

Mozilla Adds Click-to-Play Plugin Security Feature to Firefox Beta – The new feature is in the beta version of Firefox right now and it works in conjunction with a blacklist of vulnerable versions of popular plugins. When a user lands on a site that requires the use of a plugin, say Adobe Flash, if the version running in the user’s browser is on the list of known vulnerable applications, Mozilla will disable it and show the user a message saying that she needs to update the plugin. The idea is to help protect users from themselves, something that security people have been trying to do for as long as there have been users.

Capital One Latest Victim in Series of Attacks on U.S. Banks – Capital One Financial Corp. told Bloomberg’s Businessweek that its online banking services had been temporarily disabled on Tuesday but that no customer and account information was ever at risk.

Exploit Code Released Targeting Firefox 16 Vulnerability – It’s been an interesting couple of days for Firefox users. First Mozilla released version 16 of the popular browser on Wednesday, then quickly pulled it back yesterday after a serious security vulnerability was found in the new version. Less than 12 hours later, Mozilla had repaired the problem and re-released the updated browser, but not before exploit code was released.

Company News:

PayPal could be cutting up to 400 jobs – Things look grim at PayPal as reports are circulating about major layoffs at the payments processing giant.

AMD preps layoffs that could hit 30 percent of its workers – The chipmaker, buffeted by rivals and a rough economy, could announce the move as soon as next week

Google Launches New Enterprise Search Appliances – Google’s new search appliances allow enterprises to search content in 500,000 to more than 1 billion documents at once to find specific information.

ReVuln Emerges as New Player in Vulnerability Sales Market – It’s getting difficult these days to keep track of all of the companies, public and otherwise, that are buying and selling vulnerabilities or information on bugs, and now there’s another group on the scene: ReVuln. But, unlike other companies in the industry, ReVuln is mostly focusing its efforts on vulnerabilities in SCADA and ICS software, the applications that run utilities, industrial systems and other sophisticated systems.

Webopedia Daily:

Email Software – Software for creating, sending, receiving and organizing electronic mail, or email. Modern desktop email clients like Microsoft Outlook, Windows Live Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird offer advanced features for managing email, including WYSIWYG editors for composing email messages, anti-spam and anti-phishing security protection, advanced search capabilities, and rules and filters for more efficiently handling and organizing messages and email folders. A large number of online email services, called webmail, exist with features and functionality for managing e-mail similar to their desktop email software counterparts. Some of the more popular online email services are Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Hotmail (Windows Live Mail) and AOL Mail.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Why smartphones point to smarter cameras – It’s time to stop emulating film in digital cameras. The next generation of smartphones are a pointer to the future of photography.

Rejected by Kickstarter? ‘Roll your own’ with Selfstarter instead – There’s been no shortage of controversy surrounding Kickstarter this year as the crowdfunding platform has gained popularity, prompting the institution of new rules and belt-tightening measures in recent months. Now, however, there’s a brand-new alternative: Meet Selfstarter, an open source platform that lets anyone “roll their own” crowdfunding effort by simply forking its code.

Want to Read Faster? Stop Saying The Words in Your Head As You Read – When you read, do you hear the words in your mind or even subconsciously say them under your breath? Break this one habit, called subvocalization, and you can double or even triple your reading speed.

Geek Trivia: What other sci-fi franchise unofficially ‘shares’ a universe with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? – Douglas Adams wrote several early drafts of the Hitchhiker’s Guide movie script — and made a special effort to secretly tie the movie universe into another well-known science-fiction franchise.

League of Legends the world’s ‘most played video game’ – Video games come and go, but Riot Games considers League of Legends the current king of them all — for now.

Today’s Quote:

“My mother used to say that there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet. She’s now in a maximum security twilight home in Australia.”

–     Dame Edna Everage

Today’s Free Downloads:

AVG LinkScanner – Verifies the safety of web pages you visit, and of links returned from web searches. AVG LinkScanner is up and running immediately from the moment of installation.

Camfrog – Camfrog is a multi video chat program for switching between your different video chat usernames without having multiple platforms open. They also have group video and voice chats for a plethora of different topics from cooking to software development whatever your hobby your bound to find it in Camfrog!

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 12, 2012

Ten simple, common-sense security tips – Security doesn’t have to be complicated, as shown by these quick and easy alternatives to the conventional wisdom on passwords, privacy, backups, ID theft, and other tech-safety matters.

Facebook private messages trigger ‘likes’ without telling – A new Facebook feature lifts links from your private messages and adds anonymous “likes” to those sites without alerting you.

How to Spot Truth in the Sea of Lies, Rumors, and Myths on the Internet – The internet is full of crap. For every piece of reputable information you’ll find countless rumors, misinformation, and downright falsehoods. Separating truth from fiction is equal parts a mental battle and diligent research. Here’s how to make sure you never get duped.

Reuse an old router to bridge devices to your wireless network – Reuse an old router to connect wired-only devices, like your TV, DVR or game console, to your wireless network.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

U.S. Government To Crack Down on Privacy Violations, Maybe – I’m happy to see that at least one U.S. senator is clued in to the dangers of using cell phone data to track people like dogs. As chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, Senator Al Franken (MN) decided that the government needs to act because carriers, handset makers, and everyone in between all ignore this.

25 percent of adult Americans own a tablet, research reveals – Tablet sales are growing steadily, according to reports from the Pew Research Center’s American Life Project. Ownership is up 6 percent since January, and most buyers are older than 30. Tablets are most popular among adults in the 30- to 49-year-old group (31 percent), followed by 50- to 64-year-olds (27 percent), 18- to 29-year-olds (25 percent) and those older than 65 (13 percent).

Google Street View Gets Major, 250K Mile Update – Google on Thursday launched its biggest-ever Street View update, adding 250,000 miles of roads worldwide.

Whonix: Anonymous operating system – Whonix (called TorBOX or aos in past) is an anonymous general purpose operating system based on Virtual Box, Debian GNU/Linux and Tor. By Whonix design, IP and DNS leaks are impossible. Not even malware with root rights can find out the user’s real IP/location.

FXAA Post Process Injector – Originally developed by Nvidia’s Timothy Lottes, this tool has been embraced by the modding community and expanded to work with both Nvidia and ATI graphics cards. It provides a series of sliders and toggles in a small, tabbed window that allow control and implementation of video features not originally included with a game. In addition to AA, HDR, and Bloom, it also adjusts color, lighting and sharpness along with novelties like a sepiatone filter. Particularly popular with Skyrim and Battlefield 3 users.

Why Mobile Carriers Are So Despised – Mobile carriers have long been among the most despised companies in the technology world. But it’s hard to feel sorry for them, since it’s really due to their own ill-advised practices. This slide show highlights some of the top reasons customers despise their mobile carriers.

No homecoming queen vote if you don’t wear RFID tag? – San Antonio schools have become very enthusiastic about RFID tagging students. One student reportedly claims to have been told “No tag. No vote for homecoming king and queen.”

Netflix to Caption All Streaming Content by 2014 – Netflix has reached an agreement with a national deaf-rights group that will require the company to add closed captions to 100 percent of the content on its Watch Instantly streaming platform by 2014.

Security:

Fake Angry Birds games hijack Google Chrome browser – Developers are distributing unauthorized versions of the newest Angry Birds title, and the fakes can hijack the Chrome browser to follow your web travels and display extra ads.

Thousands of student records stolen in Florida college breach – Confidential information of nearly 300,000 students, faculty, and employees is accessed in hack, education officials warn.

Malware attack strikes, posing as Skype password change notification – If Skype users didn’t have enough to worry about this week security-wise (with a worm spreading across the system), there’s now another threat to warn about.

Nude photos of Justin Bieber a ruse: bellybutton tells the tale! Think before you click – Nude photos allegedly of the star began circulating soon after his laptop and camera were stolen. Clicking on such files is always a bad idea, given that malware loves to piggyback on celebrity news. Besides, as any true Belieber knows, Justin has an outie.

Four Out Of Five Phishing Attacks Use Security Scams – Email scammers are increasingly using security as their chief weapon for fooling users into clicking on infected links and attachments, according to a report issued this week.

Mozilla rereleases Firefox 16 after fixing critical flaw – Browser was pulled from download after only a day, to fix bug that could reveal which Web sites a user had visited.

Company News:

eBay creates Facebook-like community in brand refresh – eBay has recognised that its users search for goods within eBay so it is creating a new social community to capture deeper customer insight from its users and improve its customer offering.

Apple’s market value drops $60 billion following iPhone 5 quality control issues – Apple sold five million iPhone 5 smartphones on its opening weekend in September, making it fastest selling phone of all time — and yet, astonishingly, this figure was below analyst expectations, causing Apple’s stock price to plummet almost 10% in the last month, slicing $60 billion off the market capitalization of the world’s most valuable company. The cause? The easily-scuffed anodized aluminium chassis.

Qualys expands QualysGuard PCI cloud platform – Qualys has expanded QualysGuard PCI to assist organizations of all sizes to meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS), including new internal scanning requirements.

ManageEngine Strengthens Password Manager Pro with Session Recording – ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, today announced the immediate availability of session recording capabilities in its privileged password management software, Password Manager Pro. Now, privileged sessions launched from Password Manager Pro can be video recorded, archived and played back to support forensic audits and let enterprises monitor all actions performed by privileged accounts during privileged sessions.

Amobee and Nimbuzz Partner to Bring Socially Relevant Mobile Advertising Inventory to Advertisers Globally – Amobee, a leading provider of mobile advertising solutions, and Nimbuzz, one of the fastest growing mobile instant messaging applications in the world (with over 105 Million users worldwide), are officially announcing a global partnership. The deal will enable both companies to bring highly relevant, socially connected mobile advertising inventory to Nimbuzz mobile users around the world.

Microsoft takes on Google directly in German patent lawsuit – Microsoft has finally taken its battle against Android directly to the source. In a German courtroom today, Microsoft’s lawyers announced they were adding Google as a defendant in a patent-infringement lawsuit against Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility.

Sony halts sale of Xperia Tablet S – Sony has halted sales of its Xperia Tablet S due to a manufacturing flaw that leaves the “splash proof” tablet susceptible to water damage.

AMD: Third quarter unravels amid weak demand, and excess inventory – AMD is hobbled amid weak demand and excess inventory. Company plans a $100 million writedown of excess product.

Webopedia Daily:

Intelligent Platform Management Interface – Abbreviated as IPMI, the Intelligent Platform Management Interface is a remote hardware health monitoring and management system that defines interfaces for use in monitoring the physical health of servers, such as temperature, voltage, fans, power supplies and chassis. It was developed by Dell, HP, Intel and NEC, but has many more industry promoters, adopters and contributors.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Humanity’s ‘last pictures’ in space disc – The Last Pictures Project is a photo exhibition that will launch on a satellite and enter permanent orbit around Earth. It’s designed as a message to future aliens who discover the remains of our civilization.

The Science of the Perfect Nap – According to a growing body of research, napping is a smart thing to do. It can help refresh the mind, make you more creative, boost your intelligence, and even help you live a longer, healthier life. It’s slowly gaining acceptance as part of a healthy lifestyle, even in some corporate offices.

Internet censorship: Let it rot in walled gardens – Attempts to shut us up in walled gardens and curb our online freedoms are impossible to implement and police. The nature of the internet sees to it that they are doomed to fail.

Will the cloud be the end of the IT department? – Thoran Rodrigues looks at the ways that the cloud is likely to change the nature of the IT department and the roles that it serves.

Bust online poker company relocates to the Isle of Man – An online poker company which went bust in 2011, leaving players £115m out of pocket, is to relocate from Alderney to the Isle of Man. Full Tilt Poker has since been taken over by Isle of Man based PokerStars, which has agreed to pay the outstanding player liabilities in full. The deal will see PokerStars acquire the Full Tilt Poker brand and its software and install new management. (recommended by Michael F.)

Phone company to woman: You owe us $15 quadrillion – In a story that gives new meaning to the phrase “bill shock,” a French carrier charges a customer a sum that would easily wipe out the European debt crisis.

Today’s Quote:

A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don’t have a J.O.B.”

–    Fats Domino

Today’s Free Downloads:

MSI Afterburner: Brand-agnostic PC overclocking utility – Platform-agnostic PC overclockers have MSI’s venerable Afterburner utility to tweak their video-card collection. Afterburner (free) is designed to work with MSI’s own products, but in actuality works with most modern hardware.

ZoneAlarm Free – For basic, “no frills” firewall protection, ZoneAlarm is the popular first step for many home PC users.

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Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News