Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 11, 2013

CES to humans: Be happy, but first be very paranoid – Instead of looking at what CES exhibitors are showing, look at what they’re saying. It’s an interesting picture of humanity’s state and what the tech world thinks it should be.

Write Right in Your Browser – When writing is one of those things you’d like to be able to do from anywhere, any time, on virtually any device, the Web app and Chrome app Writebox (free) offers a quick and elegant solution by saving anything you write in its distraction-free text editor to a connected Dropbox account.

A Must Learn Windows 8 Tip: How To Get To The Quick Access Menu And To The Windows 8 Start Menu – Recently, through conversation with a co-worker about Windows 8, they were expressing their dismay about not knowing an easy way to access the more advanced power user or system management functions in Windows 8 such as Control Panel, File Explorer (formerly called Windows Explorer), Search, etc… Their dismay soon turned to WOW, after I showed them how to access what is called the Quick Access Menu in Windows 8.

Doggie’s AWOL? Fire up this tracker app – Tracker Technology’s collar and Android app let you follow your pet wherever it goes.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Wikimedia Foundation launches travel site ‘Wikivoyage’ – Adhering to Wikipedia’s no-advertising business model, the nonprofit rolls out a new user-generated travel help and information site.

Uh-oh, Windows RT, Samsung’s got second thoughts – Mike Abary, the head of Samsung’s PC and tablet business in the U.S., tells CNET that the company will not be releasing its Windows RT device in the U.S. because retail partners don’t see strong demand and because the value proposition for Windows RT isn’t clear to consumers.

EU still unhappy with how Google shows search results – Antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia says Google must offer to change how it shows in-house services such as maps, comparison-shopping info, and flight details — or face formal antitrust charges.

Prepare an old PC for a new owner – Before you give away a computer, you should make sure that your most private, sensitive files are irretrievable. You don’t want them to fall into the wrong hands. But that’s not all. You should also return the hard drive to its factory condition, so that the new owner can set it up as they choose.

Watermark your photos before sharing online with Marksta – Worried the photos you share on your various social networks are being used without your permission? For iPhone photographers, Marksta is easily worth the $1.99. The app lets you add a watermark to your photos and provides a wealth of formatting options to protect your photos without ruining them.

Find out who has viewed your LinkedIn profile – A clever trick lets you find out who has viewed your LinkedIn profile without upgrading your account.

Obama signs Netflix-backed amendment to video privacy law – Legislation allows video rental companies to obtain customer consent to share information about their viewing preferences online.

Mobile, Hotmail users hit by access troubles – Those trying to access Microsoft’s Hotmail and from iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and other mobile devices are continuing to encounter problems.


New Java 0-day exploited in the wild – A new Java zero-day being exploited in the wild has been found. With the files we were able to obtain we reproduced the exploit in a fully patched, new installation of Java. Right now the only way to protect your machine against this exploit is disabling the Java browser plugin. Let’s see how long does it take for Oracle to release a patch.

Bogus U.S. Airways registration confirmation leads to info-stealing malware – A new email spam campaign impersonating U.S. Airways is hitting inboxes, warns Webroot, and the airline’s customers would do well to be on the lookout for the following “booking confirmation” email. The offered links take the victims to compromised sites that host the Blackhole exploit kit, and once it does its thing, they are unknowingly served with a variant of the Cridex information-stealing Trojan, currently detected by a little over half of the AV solutions employed by VirusTotal.

Europol launches European Cybercrime Centre – The new European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) based at Europol headquarters in The Hague will be officially launched on Friday, January 11, and will be the focal point in the EU’s fight against cybercrime, protecting citizens and businesses against cybercrime threats.

Vulnerability reported in Foxit PDF plugin for Firefox – how to mitigate it – Italian security researcher Andrea Micalizzi has recently reported a vulnerability in the latest Foxit PDF plugin for Firefox. Paul Ducklin examines the situation and gives a simple workaround.

California AG issues first-in-U.S. mobile app privacy guidelines – California continues to toughen its stance on mobile privacy as the state’s attorney general issues privacy protection guidance.

Company News:

Apple Exec Dismisses Notion of a ‘Cheaper’ iPhone – Despite a flurry of rumors, Apple won’t be making a cheaper iPhone any time soon, according to senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller. Schiller reportedly told Chinese-language daily the Shanghai Evening News that “despite the popularity of cheap smartphones, this will never be the future of Apple’s products.”

Kogan unveils a dual-SIM ‘phablet’ for just $158 – There’s been a virtual stampede of five-inch smartphones unleashed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, but a new device launched by Australian Kogan sets itself apart with dual-SIM capabilities and a particularly compelling price. Priced at just A$149, or about US$158, the Agora Android phone will begin shipping in mid-February.

Amazon squares up to iTunes with launch of ‘free’ MP3 music – The CD may be getting a shot in the arm with the launch of AutoRip, a new service from Amazon that gives customers buying CDs a free MP3 version – including any music bought since the company’s Music Store started up in 1998.

HP tops Lenovo in lackluster PC market – HP was the top PC vendor for the fourth quarter of 2012, says IDC, though global PC sales fell by 6.4 percent from the prior year’s quarter.

IBM crowned patent king for 20th year in a row – The computing giant wins the patent game again, but it looks like Samsung, Google, and Apple will be tough competitors in the future.

Webopedia Daily:

Multi-core technology – In consumer technologies, multi-core is usually the term used to describe two or more CPUs working together on the same chip. Also called multicore technology, it is a type of architecture where a single physical processor contains the core logic of two or more processors. These processors are packaged into a single integrated circuit (IC). These single integrated circuits are called a die. Multi-core can also refer to multiple dies packaged together. Multi-core enables the system to perform more tasks with a greater overall system performance. Multi-core technology can be used in desktops, mobile PCs, servers and workstations. Contrast with dual-core, a single chip containing two separate processors (execution cores) in the same IC.

Off Topic (Sort of):

OpenCandy brings the bucks to desktop software – Software installation wrapper OpenCandy argues that it’s still lucrative to make desktop apps and points to one billion installs as the proof.

Google’s Schmidt Urges N. Korea to Loosen Web Restrictions – Schmidt said the secretive state risks falling even further behind in the global rat race if it does not provide more access to Internet and cellphone service.

Telephonic irony – “Hello, this is the Do Not Call Register calling” – It was a breach of the law serious enough to attract a $110,000 fine, but you still have to laugh. The company that operates Australia’s Do Not Call Register has been found guilty of making unlawful calls to subscribers on the Do Not Call Register.

Supercomputer Watson Gets Mouth Washed Out With Digital Soap – Supercomputer Watson has proven itself more than just smart; turns out it’s a bit of a smart alec, too. The brainchild of IBM, Watson beat its human competition on Jeopardy, but also picked up some schoolyard jargon along the way.

Google’s Kurzweil on teaching human language to computers – The noted inventor and futurist tells Singularity Hub that one of the challenges to language processing is teaching computers to process information in a hierarchical fashion, as mammals do.

Google Called the Current Flu Outbreak Two Weeks Ago – Google Flu Trends currently has North America awash in dark orange and red — the colors used to mark a region that’s experiencing a high or intense period of flu activity.

Survey Reveals Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Your IT Folks – Solar Winds released a comprehensive survey which really digs deep into the minds of Information Technology (IT) workers.

Today’s Quote:

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

–    Plato

Today’s Free Downloads:

GigaByte EasyTune – EasyTune 6 presents the most convenient Windows based system performance enhancement and management utility for Gigabyte boards. Featuring several powerful yet easy to use tools such as: overclocking for enhancing system performance; C.I.A. and M.I.B. for special enhancement for CPU and Memory; Smart-Fan control for managing fan speed control of both CPU cooling fan and North-Bridge Chipset cooling fan; PC health for monitoring system status.

Sandboxie Beta 4.01 – Sandboxie requires neither the disabling nor blocking of functions available to Web sites through the browser. Instead, Sandboxie isolates and quarantines the outcome of whatever the Web site may do to your computer, including the installation of unsolicited software. There is no trade-off of functionality for security: the Web site can use the full range of active content tools, and if it uses these tools maliciously to install software or otherwise make changes in your computer, then these changes can be easily undone.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

10 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 11, 2013

  1. Wow Bill…

    Thanks for the link back… You just made my day!


  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Re: New Java 0-day exploited in the wild
    A few days ago I got a call from a mate saying his computer was infected. There were about 5 different trojans, and one of them was described by Microsoft Security Essentials as a JS Zero day exploit. It was a nasty piece of work which I could only nail through Hitman Pro. He also had one of those fake AV scanners popping up. One of these trojans had managed to turn off MSE as well.
    My point: Java is a piece of crap that if people should seriously consider getting rid of. I know it aint on my machine.

    • Hey Mal,

      You’re the MAN! Your mate owes you – maybe as much as a barrel full. 🙂 Another example as to why running in a sandbox is so important.

      Thanks for the report.



  3. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Actually, having just read what I posted above, I realize that the problem with my friends machine was a Java Script exploit, different to Java. I still think Java is a piece of crap though lol.

  4. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    Re: “Amazon squares up to iTunes with launch of free MP3 music”

    I think this is a superb idea. I have taken to downloading most of my music lately for convenience. Having the CD as well for no extra cost would be great from the point of view of quality (played on hi-fi equipment or in the car) and having the accompanying booklet, which I miss. Backdating the MP3 download for previous CD purchases is a welcome move (it’s not April Fools day is it?),

    It will be very interesting to discover what, if any, effect this will have on CD sales, and associated equipment..

    Downside? Not sure if it is available in the UK yet; I’ve asked the question and will let you know the response.

    Kind regards

  5. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    Well, I have my answer and, as I suspected, AutoRip is not available in the UK and no information as to when, or if, it will be. I have expressed my disappointment to Perhaps other UK readers of your blog might care to do the same.

    Kind regards

    • Hi John,

      You’re not alone – this is a most familiar story to Canadians. Despite the fact that we live next door, when it comes to Net availability (for virtually anything in the field of entertainment), we are treated like a cousin who should be kept in the cupboard. I do understand the restrictions various governments have in place regarding digital media – I don’t however agree with those that are in place here, since they are primarily driven by Multimedia conglomerates who have little interest in serving the common good.

      Essentially, if it’s available here – then you must buy it here. Not yet available here – tough!! Just one more example of people not standing up and screaming bloody blue murder. Acceptance of the status quo – a modern day plague!

      Keep on pushing back, John. 🙂