Thanksgiving tech support survival kit – 2012 edition – Thanksgiving is a time of year which sees “the techies” and “the non-techies” come together, and chances are that you being the techie, the non-techies will spot you and hunt you down — The Walking Dead style, albeit slower thanks to the tryptophan — in search of “help”. With this in mind, I’ve put together what I call a “Turkey Day” tech support survival kit. While I’ve called it a “Turkey Day” kit — I’m certain that it will work just as well at other times of year — this seems to be the time of year when the techie’s superhero skills are in greatest demand.
Firefox 17 arrives – 2365 bugs zapped, OS X Leopard left behind – The new version fixes an officially-listed 2365 bugs and covers six critical advisories. It also drops support for OS X Leopard and earlier.
Mobile maps showdown – Google has enjoyed a considerable head start on the mobile-mapping front, but Apple and Microsoft haven’t been idle. Both companies have licensed data from a number of services to flesh out their competing map offerings in an effort to bolster their respective phone platforms and chip away at Google’s dominance. Here’s a look at which mapping service offers the best features and functionality.
Senate bill to allow warrantless government access to your online services – In a dumbfounding display of politics at work, a U.S. Senate bill that, at one point, would have protected e-mail privacy has gone the opposite way, and would allow government surveillance of online services without a warrant if passed into law.
Mozilla tests Facebook integration with Firefox – Instead of keeping Facebook open in a separate tab, the new Facebook plug-in adds the notifications sidebar you normally see on the side of your Facebook page, so you can keep up with social news and browse the Web simultaneously. Your Facebook chats will also appear on the side of your browser.
From Win 8 to Win 7: How to downgrade your OS – You don’t have to stick with Windows 8 just because it came pre-loaded on your new PC. Here’s the full story on downgrading to Windows 7.
Android tethering apps: 6 excellent options – Data tethering is built natively into Android. However, some carriers make that feature difficult to use — they’d rather have you pay extra to subscribe to their tethering services. As a result, your carrier may not approve of the use of these apps. (Apple definitely doesn’t approve; there are no tethering apps in the App Store.) With one of these six apps, though, you can harness your phone’s 3G/4G connection to quickly get your tablet or laptop online.
Pinterest Kicks Off 30 Days of Holiday Inspiration – Pinterest is getting into the holiday spirit with a new project, dubbed 30 Days of Pinspiration, which unveils a new series of holiday boards each day through the new year.
Western Digital boosts Black hard drive capacity to 4TB – Western Digital has had 4TB internal hard drives for a little while now, but the drives were suited for the enterprise. On Tuesday, WD announced that with its new 4TB Black drive, WD customers on the consumer level can now get a 4TB performance-based internal hard drive.
Boingo Wi-Finder (iPad) Helps You Avoid Rogue Networks – If you are on the hunt for a free Wi-Fi hotspot, Boingo’s free Wi-Finder app will help you find free wireless anywhere, even the ones not part of the Boingo network. The app’s Secure Me mode is a built-in VPN service to protect users from rogue networks.
Beware of scammy “Free $500 Target voucher” offers – With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the end-of-year holidays rapidly approaching and people’s minds being turned towards shopping and gift-giving, scammy offers for luxury goods and free gift cards are starting to target would-be online shoppers at a faster rate than usual. Facebook users are particularly easy targets, as Facebook scams often get unknowingly propagated and endorsed by the victims.
Why privacy matters: Video (16:03) – Privacy International asked lawyers, activists, researchers and hackers at Defcon 2012 about some of the debates that thrive at the intersection between law, technology and privacy. They also wanted to know why privacy matters to them, and what they thought the future of privacy looked like. This video is a result of those conversations.
Parents Worried About Web Firms Tracking Their Kids – According to a new Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project survey, more parents are stepping up to monitor their kids’ digital behavior.
Making sense of computer forensics – Alfonso Barreiro goes over the basics of computer forensics that all IT pros should know. Preparing your organization for the possibility of a legal investigation should be part of any security incident and response plan.
Experian defends database security practices in face of investigations – Data brokers are on the hot seat as the Irish regulators begin an investigation into Experian’s security methods and the US Congress demands more transparency into what’s collected and how it’s handled.
Facebook says proposed European data protection fines could lead to court battles – The draft of the regulation proposes that companies that fail to adhere to the aforementioned laws as well as the ones regarding data breach notifications could be ordered to pay fines as high as 2% of their global revenue, Computerworld reports. Facebook insists that faced with this, companies will resort to starting court battles that could end up costing EU states quite a lot
HP Takes $8.8B Hit Over Alleged Autonomy Book-Cooking – Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday said it will take an $8.8 billion impairment charge related to what HP characterized as “willful” cooking of the books by former executives at Autonomy, the U.K.-based enterprise software company acquired by HP in October 2011 for $10 billion.
Color App Shutting Down Next Month – After a series of ups and downs, the company known as Color Labs has finally decided to shut down, bringing an end to a tumultuous Silicon Valley story.
HTC Scoffs at Talk of $6-8 Per Phone Apple Patent Deal – HTC this week denied that it will pay Apple $6-8 per phone as part of a recent patent settlement.
IBM Drops Lotus Brand, Takes Notes and Domino Forward – IBM has dropped the Lotus brand from its collaboration software products as it prepares to release a new version of Notes and Domino.
Amazon Silk – A split-architecture Web browser that taps into Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) cloud computing services to offer a faster, richer browsing experience. Amazon Silk made its debut on the Kindle Fire tablet computer, which utilizes Silk’s split browsing capabilities to take the processing load off of the Kindle Fire CPU for heavier browser processing tasks. These tasks are instead sent to Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) cloud servers, which have the RAM and CPU to more efficiently handle heavier processing.
Off Topic (Sort of):
Ten things Linux and open source have to be thankful for – Linux and open source has a lot to be thankful for. Jack Wallen takes a moment to highlight ten things this community should give thanks for. You might be surprised at what you read!
Why can’t you just buy an iPad mini? – It’s a good thing Apple’s devices are so simple to use because their buying process is the polar opposite of simple.
Parody New York Times Twitter Account Restored – Twitter has restored a New York Times parody account one day after it was pulled amidst complaints from the paper.
Call of Duty and World of Warcraft double as language class – Mette-Ann Schepelern remembers when she first heard a curious sound coming from her son’s bedroom. Someone was speaking fluent English loudly, peppered with mysterious slang. To her surprise, it was her 9-year-old Danish son. Carl was playing World of Warcraft, a multiplayer online game with more than 10 million players and available in 11 languages, none of them Danish. To survive, players must communicate both out loud and through typed commands with others in their “guild,” or team.
The right to be forgotten: Between expectations and practice – The right to be forgotten is one of the elements of the new proposed regulation on data protection of the European Commission. The right allows people to ask for digitally held personal information to be deleted. The regulation is still to be adopted by the European Parliament.
‘The Hobbit’ at 48fps: Frame Rates Explained – Peter Jackson’s grand experiment with 48-frames-per-second digital footage is just the latest in a long line of filmmakers pushing the technological envelope in Hollywood
“Time is that quality of nature which keeps events from happening all at once. Lately it doesn’t seem to be working.”
Today’s Free Downloads:
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.
Wise Folder Hider 1.29 – 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.