Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 22, 2013

MP3 Rocket makes YouTube videos into MP3s – YouTube’s videos attract plenty of eyeballs, but your ears likely get plenty of enjoyment out of its contents, too. And if you’d like to turn those videos into audio files and save them, MP3 Rocket (free) makes it about as easy as it could be.

Dexpot makes virtual desktops feel like a native part of Windows – One or two 24-inch monitors afford plenty of room for a mission-critical application, plus several chat or email windows alongside. But if you’re a laptop user squeaking by with a single 15-inch monitor (or perhaps something even smaller), a virtual desktop might be the next best thing to an extra monitor. Dexpot (25 Euros, which is $33 on 2/21/12; free for personal use) is a great way to get yourself one. Or five.

Racist “McDonald’s” notice posted on Facebook is designed to generate calls of complaint to KFC – Is a branch of McDonald’s really charging African-Americans an extra $1.50? Of course not, but thousands of Facebook fans are spreading the story regardless. A quick internet search reveals that it’s actually the customer satisfaction number for KFC. If only common sense were more common, maybe chain letters and hoaxes like this wouldn’t spread so far and wide.

BlackBerry hands over PIN to Indian govt – Canadian phone maker is reported to have handed over PIN details of BlackBerry handsets in India, but the government will need unique identification numbers of the phones to monitor messages between users in the country and abroad.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The complete guide to Windows Phone 8 settings – Learn the in’s and out’s of how to get the most from your Windows Phone 8 handset.

Cellphone unlocking petition hits 100,000 signatures – The US government will have to reconsider its decision to ban cellphone unlocking, after an online petition reached the necessary 100,000 signatures.

Nevada becomes first state to allow online gambling – The state’s governor signs a bill deeming Internet gaming legal; the law also allows Nevada to partner with other states.

RIAA slams Google as not doing enough to fight piracy – The trade group releases a report card on Google that claims the Web giant’s pledge to demote pirate sites “remains unfulfilled.”

Analysts see a wearable computer device (WCD) future – Wearable computing devices are expected to significantly increase in popularity over the next year. To be sure, with a wave of new devices set to hit the consumer market, wearable computing could soon become the norm for most people within five years.

Is Republic’s $19 cell phone service too good to be true? – Republic Wireless’s $19 wireless service is a steal. But is it too good to be true? In this edition of Ask Maggie, CNET’s Marguerite Reardon highlights why you get what you pay for with this service.

Answer Line: Why do I get so much spam? – Why are there so many unwanted, tricky, manipulative, annoying, dangerous, and often illegal email messages going around? Because unscrupulous people can make a tidy profit mailing Spam. In 2010, Gmail spam expert Brad Taylor told Wired that “It costs $3,000 to rent a botnet and send out 100 million messages. It takes only 30 Viagra orders to pay for that.”

Want to stop the phishers? Encryption and education is key – Targeted attacks are on the rise, which means it’s no longer enough to simply batten down the hatches and hope for the best.


NBC website serving malware – stay away! – According to HitmanPro, the website has been injected with malicious iFrames that lead to one of several compromised sites equipped with Java and PDF exploits. Visiting the NBC’s website is, for the time being, still dangerous, and even Facebook has moved to protect its users by not allowing the posting of the site’s URL.

Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest users hit by data breach – Data on an unknown number of Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest users is at risk after customer service software provider Zendesk was hacked.

Malicious URLs eclipsing botnets as malware distribution leader – McAfee Labs revealed that sophisticated attacks originally targeting the financial services industry are now increasingly directed at other critical sectors of the economy, while an emerging set of new tactics and technologies are being implemented to evade industry-standard security measures.

15 Common Internet Scams and How to Avoid Them – The Internet is a powerful resource that connects you to the rest of the world and helps you access knowledge in the blink of any eye. It can also, however, put you in the precarious position of sussing out legitimate offers versus complete cons. These 15 Internet scams are quite popular, but you can avoid falling victim to them by learning to recognize their common red flags.

Donald Trump has his Twitter hacked by “lowlives” – Quite how Trump’s account was compromised is unclear, but a reasonable guess would be that he had either chosen a weak, easy-to-guess password, or that he was using the same password in multiple places. Never a good idea. Multi-millionaire Trump stopped short of fellow celebrity Jeremy Clarkson, who vowed to kill the people who hacked his Twitter account earlier this week.

25% of DDoS attacks in 2013 will be application-based – Twenty-five percent of DDoS attacks that occur in 2013 will be application-based. During such incidents, attackers send out targeted commands to applications to tax the CPU and memory and make the application unavailable.

Oxford University blocks Google Docs because of phishing attacks.. for 2.5 hours – Flooded with phishing attacks, which staff and students were falling for, the IT team at Oxford University blocked access to Google Docs – hoping to wake up users to the threat. Would such a technique work in your organisation?

Company News:

Google announces $1299 touchscreen Chromebook Pixel – Would you pay $1299 for a laptop that only runs Web apps but has a high-quality, touchscreen display? Google sure hopes so. On Thursday the company announced the Chromebook Pixel, a pricey slab of hardware that runs Google’s Web-centric Chrome OS, but defies conventional Chromebook wisdom.

Skybox Security Continues Aggressive Push with Record Sales in 2012 – Company poised to take advantage of fast growth markets for network security management, vulnerability management, and threat management.

IBM makes big mobile push with MobileFirst – The effort pulls together a raft of IBM products and services, some recently acquired, under a new umbrella brand: MobileFirst. It’s aimed at a market that many view as ripe for expansion–helping business turn the proliferation of smartphones and tablets from a management headache into an advantage.

PayPal readies launch of mobile payments system in Europe – Payment processor unveils new hardware that will read credit and debit cards that use the Chip and PIN system, which is more prevalent in Europe.

Nielsen to Begin Counting Online Viewership – The company that measures television viewership will soon begin counting people who watch programming through broadband instead of a traditional broadcast or cable hook-up.

Social-media aggregator Memolane to shut down – Reflective service that organized user content from social networks into a timeline announces it is joining another company and will delete accounts tomorrow.

Nikon signs patent deal with Microsoft for Android-based cameras – Microsoft has convinced another device maker using Android as an embedded OS to pay it patent royalties.

Webopedia Daily:

Cloud backup service provider – A third-party entity that manages and distributes remote, cloud-based data backup services and solutions to customers from a central data center. Cloud backup providers enable customers to remotely access services using a secure client login application to back up files from the customer’s computers or data center to the online storage server using an encrypted connection. A cloud backup solution enables enterprises or individuals to store their data and computer files on the Internet using a storage service provider, rather than storing the data locally on a physical disk, such as a hard drive or tape backup.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The case for smartwatches – Smartwatches are only in their infancy, and some people are wondering what the fuss is all about. Lex Friedman argues that they represent technology worth getting excited about.

Firefox add-on: AddOmmmm – You won’t need it, since it totally doesn’t do anything useful. Plays weird meditational music, turns pages around 180 degrees and displays a lasagna with horse noises every 15 seconds. (suggested by Michael F.)

Video (1:00): A journey to the limits of space time – Black holes shape the growth and death of the stars around them via powerful gravitational pulses and explosive ejections of energy.

North Korea readies mobile Net service, but not for residents – A month after getting cell phone access, foreigners inside the country will soon get 3G mobile access to the Internet, a privilege not afforded to residents.

I miss removable batteries – No one is expected to use PCs anymore in this supposed post-PC world, but everyone is supposed to plug in all their post-PC devices into the USB ports of their no-longer-used PCs to charge.

Today’s Quote:

“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, the responsibility lies with you.”

–     J. K. Rowling

Today’s Free Downloads:

USB Image Tool – USB Image Tool can create images of USB flash drives and MP3 players, that are mounted as USB drives. It allows you switch between images with different music styles on your MP3 Player or to make an exact backup image of your USB Stick. USB Image Tool works with any device, that implements the USB Mass Storage protocol. This includes flash drives, card readers and a lot of other devices, like digicams, cell phones and mobile music players.

Fresh Diagnose – Fresh Diagnose is an utility designed to analyze and benchmark your computer system. It can analyze and benchmark many kinds of hardware, such as CPU performance, hard disk performance and many more.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 22, 2013

  1. Dave B.

    RE: Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest users hit by data breach; And the response is the same old “bla bla bla, we weren’t doing what we should have been doing to protect your data, but we promise we’re going to start doing it”, pure ignorance and stupidity, which sadly seems to be in abundant supply.

    • Hi Dave,

      It’s hard to believe that users will put up with this continuing assault – but, they are and they will.

      “Pure ignorance and stupidity” sums it up.



  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Re: NBC website serving malware – stay away!
    Old Hitman Pro comes through again. That’s why I love this program – it really does find crud that most other AV’s miss.