Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 3, 2012

Price Gouging: It Costs More to Send a Text Message on Earth Than From Mars – The total cost for the Mars Global Surveyor to send a gigabyte of data back to Earth is $284,000. If you’re on a per-message texting plan, scale it up, and you’re paying about $383,000 per GB to text your buddies all day long. OMG!!!

Archify free service stalks your Web travels to build archives – Archify is a free Web service that you might want to have stalking you. Once you set up an account with the service, it will automatically catalog, index, and capture web pages that you travel to and allow you to search through them at any time. Archify has been in private beta since February, but last week it opened its doors to the public.

Should You Buy an Ultrabook Now? – There are dozens of beautiful new designs available this holiday season, but consumers question whether ultrabooks are worth their premium price.

Microsoft Building Cloud-Based Music Locker into SkyDrive – But how will SkyDrive’s musical capabilities work with (or support) Microsoft’s existing Xbox Music service?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Thanks to ISP/Hollywood ‘six strikes’ rules, I’m now using a VPN – The six strikes policy agreement between Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon, Cablevision, and the RIAA/MPAA should have started today for AT&T customers. Rather than sign on for such monitoring, I’ve opted to use a VPN service. Not because I pirate, but because I don’t trust the entertainment industry to uphold its end of the bargain.

Free Wi-Fi Finder (for iPad) – If you are on the hunt for a free Wi-Fi hotspot, JiWire’s Free Wi-Fi Finder app will help you find available networks anywhere in the world, and an offline directory means you don’t have to be online first.

How to bring back the Start menu and button to Windows 8 – Despite Microsoft’s best efforts to ensure that the Start button and menu remain dead, a bunch of third-party replacements have emerged. Microsoft completely stripped out the underlying Start menu code to quash potential Luddite revolutionaries, and yet just weeks after the release of Windows 8 there are dozens of Start menu and Start button replacements. Let’s take a look at the best, cheapest, and most authentic apps for bringing back the Windows Start menu and button.

You’re Doing It Wrong: HDTV Setup – My sister and brother-in-law wondered why the picture on their new HDTV was so fuzzy. I looked behind the set, and the coax cable was screwed directly into the television. A trip to Target and a $20 HDMI cable, and I was the hero of the day. If you have a new HDTV, check out these basic setup tips to optimize your HD viewing experience.

Entertain with ease: 8 apps for holiday parties – The holiday season is upon us. For many of us, the month of December is a veritable smorgasbord of parties, from the office shindig to the “ugly sweater” soiree. Some will take on the considerable responsibility of hosting one of these affairs. That’s where we come in—from cooking and baking to planning the perfect playlist, we’ve got you covered. Here are eight apps to help you entertain with ease.

Will Mozilla Firefox 20 Fix Private Browsing? – Currently when a user enters Private Mode, a new browser window spins up in Firefox (it works the same for Google Chrome’s Incognito mode). The problem with Firefox is that the Private Browsing mode can only operate with the one Private window – that is users cannot concurrently have a regular Firefox window and a Private Browsing Firefox Window open at the same time. Firefox 20 could change that model (maybe).

DIY gifts for the tech-obsessed – From photography lovers to bookworms, there’s a DIY gift for any tech lover on your list. Take a look at what you can make yourself.

Security:

Former spy chief says U.S. has had its cyber ‘9/11 warning’ – Former NSA director tells the Financial Times that a cyberattack could cripple the nation’s banking system, power grid, and other essential infrastructure.

Malware found sucking up data on new Japanese space agency rocket – Malware discovered on a Japanese space agency desktop computer has been stealing data on Epsilon – a new, AI-enabled rocket – and beaming it to controllers outside the agency. It’s only the latest in a string of data-siphoning incidents that’s plagued the agency.

Facebook and Google+ are prime targets for easy attacks – The law created to protect children’s online privacy actually increases risk, according to new research from Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). The researchers found the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), enacted to protect the privacy of children under the age of 13, indirectly puts their privacy at risk because some children lie about their ages when registering on social media sites.

Security experts debate moving critical infrastructure online – Paul Simmonds, Co-Founder of The Jericho Forum, has suggested that companies attempting to reduce costs by moving critical systems online could be opening themselves up to cyber attacks. Speaking at the Cybergeddon 2012 event, Mr Simmonds’ comments were echoed by other security experts – citing the discovery of highly advanced malware this year as a reason for greater caution.

Polymer dollars: Fingering Canada’s plastic bills – The new polymer $20 now in circulation may look and feel fake, but it’s designed to stop counterfeiting.

Kaspersky Labs: – Tips for Shopping Online – We produced this short video to help consumers stay safe online, not just on Cyber Monday and Black Friday, but throughout the holiday shopping season.

Company News:

PC Makers Quibble With Microsoft’s Windows 8 Outlook – While Redmond paints a rosy picture of early adoption of its new operating system, PC makers and analysts have been decidedly more conservative in their assessments.

ARM Cortex-A15 posts impressive performance, threatens Intel and AMD – The Cortex-A15′s Linux performance shows that the platform has serious legs. The chip could be a potent competitor for Intel and AMD as the two companies ramp next-generation products of their own.

Open Source Startup Acquia Raises $30 Million in New Funding – There is a lot of money backing the open source Drupal content management system (CMS).

Report: Apple Doesn’t Trust European Carriers’ 4G-LTE Networks – Apple taking the ‘unusual’ step of running independent tests of mobile operators’ 4G-LTE readiness before okaying their sale of the 4G-LTE-ready iPhone 5, Telecoms.com reports.

Webopedia Daily:

Lightning Connector – An 8-pin power connector developed by Apple, Inc. in 2012 as a replacement for the traditional 30-pin connector previously used on Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The Lightning Connector is currently utilized by the iPhone 5, iPad Mini, fourth generation iPad (iPad 4), fifth generation iPod touch and seventh generation iPod Nano. The Lightning connector is much more compact than the previous connector and can be inserted with either side face up. The downside for consumers is that the Lightning connector is incompatible with cables and devices designed for the older 30-pin connector, although an adapter is available that the Lightning connector can plug in to in order to work with these devices.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The secret afterlife of your smartphone – You sell, recycle, and donate your old phones, but what happens after that? Some could actually wind up right back in your hands.

3D-printed consumer electronics just became a reality – Embedding sensors and electronics inside of 3D objects in a single build process has been a long sought after goal of the field of 3D printing. A group led by Simon Leigh, at the University of Warwick in England, has now developed a low-cost material they call carbomorph, which lets them do just that.

Navy Replacing Mine-Finding Dolphins with Robots in 2017 – The reason? It’s not that the Navy’s team of 24 mine-hunting dolphins is doing a bad job. It’s just that it’s a lot easier to manufacture and program a, “12-foot, torpedo-shaped robot,” as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, than it is to stick a dolphin in a multi-year training program.

Spaun, the most realistic artificial human brain yet – A group of neuroscientists and software engineers at the University of Waterloo in Canada are claiming to have built the world’s most complex, large-scale model simulation of the human brain. The simulated brain, which runs on a supercomputer, has a digital eye which it uses for visual input, a robotic arm that it uses to draw its responses, and it can pass the basic elements of an IQ test.

‘The Human Face of Big Data’ shows how tech changes lives – “The Human Face of Big Data” is an ambitious and attractive new large-format book that aims to give readers, through photography and short articles, a glimpse of how powerful new data processing capabilities are changing people’s lives.

Today’s Quote:

“Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all life really means.”

–      Robert Louis Stevenson

Today’s Free Downloads:

Writemonkey 2.4.0 – Writemonkey is a Windows zenware writing application with an extremely stripped down user interface, leaving you alone with your thoughts and your words. It is light, fast and free. With an array of innovative tools under the hood, it helps you write better. Editing is for another day.

VirusTotal Scanner 2.5 – 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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