Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 29, 2013

Eyes on the Stars (video 3:17) – On January 28, 1986, NASA Challenger mission STS-51-L ended in tragedy when the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff. On board was physicist Ronald E. McNair, who was the second African American to enter space. But first, he was a kid with big dreams in Lake City, South Carolina. (suggested by Michael F.)

Roozz rents software in the cloud – Many of the titles on Roozz are available for free, but some are available for rental only. The prices, which are set in per-day, per-week, or even per-year fees, seem very affordable. Some titles cost 99 cents for a week, while others are less than $4 per day. Prices are determined by the software publishers, but Roozz says it has offered input on pricing, as this rental model is somewhat new.

Get a free shared workspace for your small business – Bitrix24 offers a free shared workspace for up to 12 users. It’s part file-sharing service, part chat client, part CRM tool, part project manager, part employee manager, and so on, all wrapped up in a familiar, Facebook-style interface.

How to activate Windows 8’s File History feature – One caveat, though: It’s not a full-system backup tool like Windows Backup; by default it preserves only those files in your Libraries: documents, music, photos, and other media. You can add other folders if you wish, but only by adding them to your Libraries.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Netherlands, Canada Say WhatsApp Still Violates Privacy Laws – Dutch and Canadian officials say the popular mobile text messaging app WhatsApp violates their countries’ privacy laws because it rifles through users’ contacts to find other devices hooked up to the service.

KeePass makes strong passwords and keeps them safe – If you adopt just one security tool this year, make it KeePass. This free and open-source password manager is available for Windows, with unofficial ports for iOS, Android, Linux, and Mac OS X. A secure, lengthy, completely random password goes a long way towards improving your security–and having a separate password for each and every website and service you use is the single most important thing you can do to keep secure.

Get your cheap Windows 8 upgrade now – Microsoft’s $39.99 Windows 8 upgrade special ends Thursday, so you may want to buy it now even if you don’t plan to install it yet.

Fake Twitter followers: An easy game, but not worth the risk – Buying followers is morally dubious, possibly dangerous and can tear down even the most trusted social media figures, yet it’s poised to continue to grow in the immediate future. But hey, it can get you friends, right?

Court: Government Need Not Justify Warrantless Data Requests – A Virginia appeals court on Friday denied a right-to-access order filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir and computer security researchers Jacob Appelbaum and Rop Gonggrijp. The denial confirms a lower court’s ruling that neither those individuals nor the public has the right to see the documents a court uses to justify its warrantless acquisition of information.

Google vows to push legal reforms to protect user privacy – “It’s important for law enforcement agencies to pursue illegal activity and keep the public safe,” wrote Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond. “We’re a law-abiding company, and we don’t want our services to be used in harmful ways. But it’s just as important that laws protect you against overly broad requests for your personal information.”

Twitter grants data requests by federal government 69 percent of the time – Twitter released new numbers showing that the social network complied with government data requests 69 percent of the time in the United States, as government requests for user information worldwide continue to rise. “All signs suggest that these government inquiries will continue to climb into the foreseeable future,” Twitter said.

FixTracking Shows You How to Browse Securely and Privately on Any Browser – We’ve mentioned plenty of helpful tools for keeping your browsing anonymous and secure, but it’s hard to remember every single one and figure out what’s right for your needs. DuckDuckGo’s FixTracking site explains all your options and shows you how to set everything up so you can browse without worry who may be tracking your activity.


Facebook Graph Search Mines Potentially Rich Data for Phishers, Attackers – So why are security and privacy experts nervous? There’s some serious horsepower behind Graph Search, and there are users whose interests aren’t as benign as finding friends of friends in a particular location who happen to like country music, fine wine and yoga.

U.S. DoD’s cybersecurity force to increase fivefold – The Pentagon is poised to start searching for more than 4,000 new employees for the Defense Department’s Cyber Command, in a bid to boost its cyber defensive and offensive capabilities. The news, shared with The Washington Post by department officials that wished to remain anonymous, is expected to be announced soon.

Bug makes Java’s latest anti-exploit defenses moot, claims researcher – Java’s new security settings, designed to block “drive-by” browser attacks, can be bypassed by hackers, a researcher announced Sunday.

Trojan uses anti-spam system to keep in touch with C&C servers – The latest innovation in this particular “field” has been spotted by Symantec researcher Takashi Katsuki, who recently discovered a Trojan that uses Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to keep the connection between malware and C&C servers alive and well. Ironically, the SPF is an email validation system designed to spot email spoofing and, therefore, spam.

48% of IT staff fear unauthorized access to virtual servers – Data security in visualized environments is often neglected by IT organizations, with 48% either reporting or suspecting unauthorized access to files on visualized servers, according to Varonis. The study, conducted at VM World conferences, suggests that there is a limited awareness of security matters when it comes to visualized servers, with 70% of respondents having little or no auditing in place on virtual servers.

Company News:

Kindle Fire Nabs 33 Percent of U.S. Android Tablet Market – The U.S. is dominating the Android tablet race, and consumers here seem particularly enamored with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, according to Localytics.

Newegg Crushes Patent Troll in Online ‘Shopping Cart’ Suit – Online retailer Newegg scored a major victory against a well-known patent troll last week, meaning Newegg will not have to hand over $2.5 million to Soverain Software.

Pinterest tests new look with bigger pins, restructured navigation – The addicting social-networking site is mixing things up a bit to make its pins even more gripping.

Google+ Tops Twitter as World’s No. 2 Social Network – Google+ has passed Twitter and YouTube to become the world’s second largest social network, beaten out only by Facebook, according to a U.K. market research firm.

Google sued by iPhone users in U.K. over Safari tracking – A new privacy battle against the Web giant is heating up in the U.K. as Apple users claim their Internet habits were illegally tracked on the Safari Web browser.

HP will jump on the Chromebook bandwagon: Report – Another week, another major PC vendor announcing that it’s planning a Chromebook offering of its own. Last week, it was Lenovo; this week, according to reports, it’s none other than HP.

Lenovo Downplays RIM Acquisition Report – PC giant Lenovo is downplaying a recent report that the company is looking to acquire BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.

Webopedia Daily:

High-level language – A programming language such as C, FORTRAN, or Pascal that enables a programmer to write programs that are more or less independent of a particular type of computer. Such languages are considered high-level because they are closer to human languages and further from machine languages. In contrast, assembly languages are considered low-level because they are very close to machine languages. The main advantage of high-level languages over low-level languages is that they are easier to read, write, and maintain. Ultimately, programs written in a high-level language must be translated into machine language by a compiler or interpreter.

Off Topic (Sort of):

1.8 gigapixel ARGUS-IS. World’s highest resolution video surveillance platform by DARPA – Where it will be used, however, with the war in Afghanistan apparently winding down, is another question entirely. Its efficacy in a military setting would be unsurpassed, but it’s easy to imagine how ARGUS could be used here at home in the US, too. (suggested by Michael F.)

Dvorak: Vine: 6 Seconds of Crap – I’m coining this era “the Instagram era” because it is marked by taking good things in life and making them crappy. Music mashups do this, Instagram does this, and in my opinion, even Twitter manages to do this, though it is debatable whether short posts are bad or good.

The Evolution of the BlackBerry – With BlackBerry 10 on the horizon, we take a look back at the long history of RIM’s hot handhelds.

Cracked: 6 Ridiculous Myths About the Middle Ages Everyone Believes – When you think of the Middle Ages, chances are you picture gallant knights sitting astride brilliant destriers galloping through a sea of plagues, ignorance, and filth. And you can hardly be blamed for that, when everything from the movies you watch to your high school history teacher (who was mainly the football coach) has told you that …

House panel demands answers regarding Swartz prosecution – Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder says committee has “many questions” about the Justice Department’s handling of prosecution of the Internet activist, who committed suicide earlier this month.

Today’s Quote:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and thus clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

–     H.L. Mencken 1880 –1956

Today’s Free Downloads:

Outlook on the Desktop – Outlook on the Desktop will place the Microsoft Outlook Calendaring system right on your desktop. The calendar object gets pinned to your desktop and stays there all the time in plain sight so you can always see what’s upcoming. Of course, the benefits don’t stop there.

FastStone Image Viewer – FastStone Image Viewer is a free image browser, viewer, converter and editor that supports all major graphic formats. Other features include a batch image converter / resizer, a Full Screen image viewer with Select-Zoom support, a clear magnifier and a slideshow with 150+ transitional effects.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 29, 2013

  1. Michael Fisher

    Re “DARPA 1.8 gigapixel ARGUS-IS”
    I can see no possibility of ARGUS use being excluded from operations in US airspace ~ it’s just too seductive. I note that the numerous police departments have a lot of leeway in equipment purchases & to a British eye it’s all a little crazy ~ e.g. the popular LENCO Bearcat G4 ATV ~ a nice bit of kit that can be supplied with a gun turret.

    From my distance it’s becoming difficult to spot the difference between policing & military activity in the USA. Mind you I’ve been brought up on films such as The Big Heat with Glenn Ford [born Canadian] where individuals & their judgement count for something. Human intelligence [or HumInt] is being replaced by massive data collection & it ain’t gonna turn out well!

    Almost related ~ This is worth a read [ignore scare title]:- America’s mindless killer robots must be stopped

    • Hi Michael,

      Not much of a stretch from – “If you build it, he will come” (Field of Dreams). To – “If you build it, they will sure as hell use it”. We live in a world of the “Tom Clancy” effect. Anyone who’s read one of his books and, who possesses an iota of intelligence, will understand my reference.

      Thanks for the link. I see this past week, that the UN is undertaking a study on this issue killer drones). The history isn’t written yet of course – but, I suspect that future generations will look back with some degree of horror on the insanity involved – not forgetting the legal issues.