Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 8, 2013

The Complete Guide to Turning Your Video Game Console Into a Living Room Media Center – Your video game console is great for playing games, but you might not realize it’s also one of the best media centers around. Here’s how to set up all of the modern consoles so you can stream videos and music to them right from your computer.

How I ditched the security risks and lived without Java, Reader, and Flash – You don’t have to use Java, Flash, and Reader just because everyone else does. I spent more than a week without Reader, Java, Flash, and their respective browser plug-ins to see if it’s possible to live without the software and not suffer massive migraines. My results were mixed, but incredibly illuminating.

Free ways to protect against identity theft – Credit-reporting agencies, banks, and credit-card companies provide free services that help their customers detect, prevent, and recover from identity thieves.

Five apps that will clean up Internet Explorer – Brien Posey discusses five utilities that can help you to clean up Internet Explorer and cover your tracks.

Hands on with Facebook’s new News Feed – Get ready for a dramatic overhaul of the world’s most successful social network. That familiar interface is changing big-time.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Refresh your Windows 8 system from a Recovery Drive – Greg Shultz explains how to use the default mode of the Windows 8 Refresh your PC tool from the Recovery Drive.

Skitch lets you visually highlight images to help your point – When you’re standing next to someone, pointing something out is as easy as could be–just lift a finger or nod, and they get what you’re talking about. But as soon as the Internet comes in the middle, this sort of quick visual communication becomes much more difficult. I’ve seen technical writers describe “the button on the bottom right that looks like a paper airplane” in an attempt to point out a single element on the screen. Free application Skitch can restore the visual element to remote communication.

The secret to buying a good HDMI cable: They’re all good – There’s nothing complicated about buying the right HDMI cable. If it’s long enough and not damaged, it should work. But the people selling the cables may not want you to know that. The more worried you are about buying the right cable, the more likely you’ll spend more money.

Google Unveils Major Street View Expansion in Europe – Google has announced a major expansion of its Street View service across Europe, making its maps of the continent “more comprehensive and usable.”

Connect LibreOffice with your Google Docs account by using OOo2gd – If you use LibreOffice and Google Docs, you can merge the two by using the OOo2gd extension. You can also use OOo2gd to import/export to Zoho and export with WebDAV.

Security:

Bogus alert from Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit carries malware – Malware peddlers are impersonating Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit to convince users to download a malicious attachment and run it on their computers, warns Sophos. The email talks about vulnerabilities, hackers, a new “security measure” developed by Microsoft, and says that all Microsoft users are “required to validate there [sic] email account information”:

Yahoo Mail accounts still hijacked daily – Email account hijacking has been a big problem for Yahoo Mail users since the beginning of the year, as a number of vulnerabilities have been discovered, shared online and exploited by cyber scammers. Yahoo has repeatedly claimed that the flaws were fixed, but the attacks go on and the number of hijacked accounts continues to be considerable.

80 percent of mobile malware runs on Android – The actual figure is 79%, but that’s still more than enough to make Android the king of mobile malware. That comes with the territory when you’re the most popular mobile operating system in the world and when it’s a comparatively small task to do things like flash unofficial ROMs, root a device, or install applications.

Pwn2Own Hackers Take Down Chrome, Firefox, IE10 – Researchers are earning big bucks at the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest, with teams taking down Chrome 25, Firefox 19, IE 10, and more.

Microsoft to release seven bulletins next week – It is the beginning of March and Microsoft just published the Advance Notice for this month’s Patch Tuesday. We will get seven bulletins next week, affecting all versions of Windows, some Office components and also Mac OS X, through Silverlight and Office. Four of the bulletins carry the highest severity rating of critical.

Following breaches, experts call for two-factor authentication on Twitter – Twitter should quickly join many other Internet companies such as Google in providing users with the option of two-factor authentication, experts say. The call for changes in Twitter security followed news Wednesday of the compromise of the official account of Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia.

How Apple’s iWatch could revolutionize mobile security – The iWatch is meant to tether to an iPhone or iPad, which allow it to serve as a security token for advanced authentication.

Company News:

Microsoft Cuts the Price of Windows 8 and Office 2013–for OEMs – If people aren’t buying what you are selling, you can either change the product or change price.

Video Chat App Tango Hits 100M Users, Adds iPad Support – Video chat app Tango on Thursday announced that it has reached a new milestone. 100 million registered users.

Apple Denies Having a Monopoly With App Store – Apple this week hit back at the assertion that it is violating antitrust laws by only allowing iPhone users to download apps via its App Store.

Samsung confirms it will stop selling its Windows RT tablet in Germany – The sales of the tablet will also be halted in other European countries, according to the German tech news site Heise, which first reported the news.

Webopedia Daily:

Google Chromebook Pixel – A high-end, touch-screen Chromebook device from Google that runs the company’s Chrome OS operating system. The Google Chromebook Pixel debuted in early 2013 with a 12.85” Gorilla Glass-display that provides a screen resolution of 2560 by 1700 pixels (239 pixels per inch), and pricing for the Google Pixel starts at $1299. The Google Chromebook Pixel differs from other Chromebooks in its price (close to $1000 more than entry-level Chromebooks) as well as the fact that Google itself commissioned the production of the Chromebook rather than relying on a more traditional PC manufacturer like Samsung or Acer.

Games and Entertainment:

SimCity Already Has Over 38 Million Buildings – Now this is infrastructure investment. SimCity has only been live for a few days, but there are already 38 million buildings in-world. Server problems are slowing down some early players, but those are still pretty good numbers. Check out Geek.com to find out how many miles of poop-filled sewer pipes have been laid so far.

7 City-Building Games Like SimCity – Whether you’re hesitant to rely on EA’s servers or you simply want to take a stand against the policy of always-on games in genres that are usually single-player with multiplayer available as an option, you might want to look for other city-building games. These seven games aren’t as new as SimCity, which just came out this week, but you can play them offline, and you’ll be able to keep playing them even if the companies that make them disappear.

Bungie starts accepting applications for Destiny beta testers – Last month Bungie revealed its next project as Destiny, and described it as an online shared-world shooter. It’s a massive undertaking that’s expected to have a 10-year lifecycle, with the first game arriving for PS3 and Xbox 360 on December 31 (although I suspect that will be pushed back to 2014).

Ang Lee on Tech and Filmmaking – The story from the novel Life of Pi wouldn’t have been possible to tell on screen without advanced technology, says director Ang Lee. In this interview, he explains how technology has reshaped his craft.

HBO’s Game of Thrones broadcast strategy aimed at thwarting piracy – With the third season of the hit series Game of Thrones set to debut at the end of March, HBO hopes winter is coming not just to the land of Westeros, but also to digital piracy. In an apparent effort to reduce illicit downloads overseas, HBO plans to release new episodes of Game of Thrones Season 3 (or GOT S03 in pirate-speak) to worldwide audiences faster than usual.

Off Topic (Sort of):

House orders Pentagon to disclose domestic drone use – The Pentagon operates drones abroad that are armed with sophisticated sensors, Hellfire missiles, and laser-guided bombs. The House of Representatives wants to know if they’re used at home.

US Attorney General defends handling of Aaron Swartz case – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has defended the role of the prosecution in the case of the late Internet activist and innovator Aaron Swartz, stating that “there was never an intention for him to go to jail for longer than a three, four, potentially five-month range.”

The Boeing 787 produces over 500GB of data during every flight – With the introduction of the 787 Dreamliner (battery and electrical problems aside), Boeing produced a commercial jet that’s packed full of tech. The windows have an electrical dimming system, engine noise has been reduced with a clever wave pattern design around each jet engine exhaust, and the aircraft even employs accelerometers to counteract turbulence.

MegaUpload’s closure boosts movie rentals and sales – A new study shows that in the months following the takedown of Kim DotCom’s cyberlocker, online movie revenue increased by 6 percent to 10 percent.

Advice for the IT consultant’s significant other – Chip Camden advises IT consultants to watch out if their relationship with their significant other isn’t based on mutual support.

Snowballs undies want to help men (and their sperm) chill out – This Kickstarter project may be the most important news you’ll read about scrotal cooling today.

Today’s Quote:

“Follow your inclinations with due regard to the policeman round the corner.”

–     W. Somerset Maugham

Today’s Free Downloads:

Sandboxie Beta 4.01.03 – Tired of dealing with rogue software, spyware and malware? Worried about clicking unfamiliar Web links? Sandboxie runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.

VMware Player – Get more out of your existing computer hardware. Use the free VMware Player application to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single PC.

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