Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 20, 2013

Skype adds video messaging – Did you ever want to leave a message for a Skype buddy who just wasn’t there? Skype’s new video-messaging feature, now in a beta of sorts, is the interactive way to do it. Available today for users in the U.S., U.K., and other select countries (Skype isn’t listing them all,) video messaging sends a recording to friends who may be offline or on another call.

Top 10 Surefire Ways To Lose Your Data In 2013 – Global computer security company Symantec released an infographic illustrating the top 10 ways small businesses can lose their data or put it at risk. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, but it delivers some valuable tips on what not to do. It’s bad habits like these that often lead to large security breaches and loss of data.

Debunking five Windows 8 myths – The best thing about Windows 8 is that the OS gives users more options than ever. You can do with Windows 8 everything you could with previous versions, and then some. The learning curve for Windows 8 isn’t as daunting as some experts would have you believe.

Google Touts 99.7 Percent Reduction in Hacked Gmail Accounts – Google said it has reduced the number of compromised Gmail accounts by 99.7 percent since the number of these hijacking attempts peaked in 2011.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Office showdown: Microsoft Office 365 vs. Google Apps – Google and Microsoft each allow personal and business use of their online platform, as well as simultaneous logins to multiple accounts in different browser tabs. Beyond that, however, their platforms differ greatly in usability, functionality, and mobile support. Read on to discover the standout features and surprising weak points of each.

Connectify Hotspot turns your laptop into a hotspot – Your phone isn’t the only piece of equipment able to share an internet connection with other devices. Windows has been able to do this for years; the problem is getting it accomplished quickly, easily and wirelessly, especially on the go with a laptop system. Connectify Hotspot (two editions, various pricing) provides the tools to do precisely this, acting as a software router between whatever internet connection you provide and the other computers connected to your laptop.

12 great PC games even your grandmother could love – Sure, some games let us indulge our baser instincts, but plenty of other titles are innocent enough for impressionable youths yet complex and fun enough for experienced players to enjoy. These 12 games are just a handful of what’s out there, but they’re more than sufficient to help you introduce new players to your favorite pastime.

Get More From Your Games: A Beginner’s Guide to Graphics Settings – You’ve built a gaming PC and it’s time to start playing, but you’re thinking your games could look a bit better or run a bit smoother. You want to tweak your graphics settings, but you don’t know where to start. We’re here to help you out.

Mozilla debuts in-browser PDF, patches 13 Firefox bugs – Mozilla Tuesday released Firefox 19, adding a built-in PDF viewer to the browser. The integrated viewer was the one noticeable change to users, although Mozilla enhanced under-the-hood features as well for website developers, and added support for additional HTML5 standards. Firefox 19 also included patches for 13 security vulnerabilities, 10 pegged as “critical,” the company’s most severe threat ranking.

5 Things to Know About Nvidia GTX Titan – Nvidia released its latest graphics card to an eager gaming market yesterday. The GTX Titan is touted as the most powerful available. Get all of the details here and stay tuned for reviews of the new processor and some of the systems running it.

Review: Handy Backup is plain, powerful, and easy to use – Handy Backup is utilitarian in the best sense; it’s a backup program with a no-nonsense interface and a boatload of features. Despite its plain countenance, one of its iterations is sure to appeal to IT types and smart consumers. I looked at Handy Backup Free, which is… free.

Rackspace: How to create and destroy a VM – If you are still considering the first, basic steps of moving some part of your infrastructure to the cloud, this gallery will give you a quick view of Rackspace’s interface from sign-up to creating your first virtual machine.


Apple, Facebook, Twitter hacks said to hail from Eastern Europe – Investigators say the surge of malware attacks on U.S. companies may be coming from Eastern European cybercriminals rather than being Chinese state-sponsored espionage.

Delta Airlines spam delivers Citadel Trojan – The link included in the email leads to a compromised site where the ZIP archive – – is offered for download. The archive contains a screensaver file by the same name and it, in turn, contains the Trojan, which currently has a pretty low detection rate.

Anonymous hacks U.S. State Department and investment firm, leaks data – From the former they exfiltrated – and published – databases containing a treasure trove of personal information about their employees (names, birth dates, phone numbers, email addresses, home and work addresses, and so on).

Hackers Target Jeep Twitter Account – Chrysler’s Jeep brand is the latest company to fall prey to Twitter hackers. The @Jeep Twitter feed was defaced on Tuesday, its profile image replaced with that of the Cadillac logo, while its background photo was switched to a car bearing the McDonald’s logo.

The sophistication of risky apps, mobile misbehavior and spyware – McAfee Labs found that 75 percent of the malware-infected apps downloaded by McAfee Mobile Security users, who are apt to be more security conscious than the average consumer, were housed in the Google Play store, and that the average consumer has a one in six chance of downloading a risky app. Nearly 25 percent of the risky apps that contain malware also contain suspicious URLs, and 40 percent of malware families misbehave in more than one way.

Apple Also Targeted by Hackers, Company Reveals – Just days after Facebook revealed that its systems were “targeted in a sophisticated attack,” Apple has now made the rare admission that it too was the victim of hackers. The Cupertino tech giant’s computers were attacked by the same online miscreants who targeted Facebook. No data appears to have been stolen in the Apple hack.

Apple patches the Java hole its own developers fell into – eventually – Shortly after admitting that its own techies got infected thanks to a Java hole, Apple has pushed out a Java update for the rest of us. Apple, with this most recent update, seems to have washed its hands permanently of browser-based Java.

After Monday Twitter hack, Burger King reigns again – For one day, at least, Burger King didn’t have things its way. The fast-food chain saw its Twitter account fall victim to hackers on Monday, with Twitter ultimately suspending the account. By Monday evening, Burger King had been restored to its rightful place on the throne.

Company News:

Feed me: eBay rolls out new homepage to all users – The e-commerce giant unveils a site redesign that includes a feature, dubbed Feed, that curates a user’s favorite items on a personalized page and displays them in a setup similar to Pinterest.

Cisco puts a huge value on the ‘Internet of everything’ – The so-called “Internet of everything,” the rapidly approaching world where objects from refrigerators to factory robots can talk to people and other machines, will create a massive business opportunity worth US$14.4 trillion over the next decade, according to a new study from Cisco Systems.

HTC One looks great. But will anyone care? – CNET looks at the fundamental problem plaguing the company: the lack of marketing muscle. While HTC has had a history of showing off buzz-worthy products, dating back to the first Android smartphone in the G1 and the first 4G phone in the Evo 4G, the company has more recently shown a troubling trend: the tendency to get ignored in the marketplace.

Google stock hits new record, closes above $800 – Google’s stock closed at an all-time high of $806.85 today, becoming the first tech firm to pass the $800 mark and signaling that Wall Street approves of the company’s rumored move into retail stores. The stock has jumped 14 percent since the start of the year, more than double the Nasdaq’s 6.4 percent gain.

Webopedia Daily:

Hadoop Distributed File System – HDFS – The Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) is a sub-project of the Apache Hadoop project. This Apache Software Foundation project is designed to provide a fault-tolerant file system designed to run on commodity hardware. According to The Apache Software Foundation, the primary objective of HDFS is to store data reliably even in the presence of failures including NameNode failures, DataNode failures and network partitions. The NameNode is a single point of failure for the HDFS cluster and a DataNode stores data in the Hadoop file management system. HDFS uses a master/slave architecture in which one device (the master) controls one or more other devices (the slaves). The HDFS cluster consists of a single NameNode and a master server manages the file system namespace and regulates access to files.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Every Webpage Is Connected by 19 Clicks or Less – Hungarian physicist Albert-László Barabási recently discovered that of the roughly 1 trillion Web documents in existence — 14 billion-plus pages as well as every image, video, or other hosted file ever — most are linked to only a few other pages or documents. Barabási’s findings, published over the weekend in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, chalk the “small world after all” concept up to simple human nature. In the real and virtual worlds, people tend to group together into communities of like-mindedness.

Software update goes bad – International Space Station lost and then found – Even if you have everything from Plan B all the way to Plan Z just in case the A-plan fails, you’ll know that things can still go wrong. So spare a thought for NASA flight controllers, who lost contact with the ISS for a nerve-racking three hours during a recent software update.

Microsoft loses yet another fanboy – Microsoft lost one of the fanboys I happen to work with. This person is one of those guys that gets it on many levels. Not only is he incredibly intelligent, he’s also a brilliant bench technician. But when Microsoft started announcing their licensing terms for Office 2013 — he started asking me questions. The questions all began with “So Jack, talk to me about Linux.” And so I did. It didn’t take long after that before he had installed Ubuntu 12.10 over his Windows 7 installation and was happily working, sans Microsoft, without missing a beat.

Photoshop 1.0 source code now a museum artifact – The technocurious now can peruse the inner workings of Adobe’s first version of the famed image-editing software, written in Pascal and assembly code and released in 1990.

Dvorak: A Farewell to Compact Cameras – No matter what anyone says, phone cameras are still pinhole cameras. They should be used only in an emergency, when you don’t have a real camera handy. These cameras are also fit for people who wouldn’t normally own a real camera and probably will take very few pictures with the phone anyway. But this trend toward using smartphone cameras appears to be unstoppable. It will eventually decimate the market for compact cameras, leaving only the DSLRs and mirror-less versions of the DSLR.

Today’s Quote:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”

–     Upton Sinclair

Today’s Free Downloads: – Windows Repair – – Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including registry errors and file permissions as well as issues with Internet Explorer, Windows Update, Windows Firewall and more.

Microsoft Security Essentials – Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

5 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 20, 2013

  1. Hi Bill

    “19 clicks or less” surprises me, but when I went to the link I note the guy doesn’t show his working ~ figures pulled from out of his a** is my guess. Without even journeying from one site to another I recall some poorly organised sites that take nearly that number of clicks to find the “customer service” email link!

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