Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 9, 2013

Everything We Know About What Data Brokers Know About You – Data companies are scooping up enormous amounts of information about almost every American. They sell information about whether you’re pregnant or divorced or trying to lose weight, about how rich you are and what kinds of cars you have. But many people still don’t even know that data brokers exist. Here’s a look at what we know about the consumer data industry.

Court curbs Homeland Security’s laptop border searches – Appeals court slaps down Obama administration’s claim that customs agents can peruse Americans’ electronic devices for evidence — without having even a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

Lost Photos Finds Old Pictures You’ve Misplaced, Is Free This Weekend – Windows/Mac: You’ve probably received a ton of photos over email in the past few years, but never really added them to your photo library. Lost Photos is an app that scrubs your email for all those missing pictures, and it’s free this weekend only.

VideoGhost allows you to watch online videos in the background – Have you ever wanted to watch the latest movie trailers and music videos or stream shows in the background while you work? Now you can with a little homegrown program called VideoGhost from Greedy Glutton Software. VideoGhost is free to use but if you really like it, head on over to Greedy Glutton Software and throw some money at the developer for this awesome idea.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The Ubuntu guide for displaced Windows users – With Windows 8 pushing a “touch-first” desktop interface—Microsoft’s words, not ours—and with Valve’s Steam on Linux beginning to bring much-needed games and popular attention to the oft-overlooked operating system, there’s never been a better time to take Linux out for a test drive. Dipping your toes into the penguin-filled waters of the most popular open-source ecosystem is easy, and you don’t have to commit to switching outright to Linux.

‘Should I choose Android or iOS?’ The truth may surprise you – Should you go for an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet? The truth is, it doesn’t really matter. Here’s why.

Researches: Android malware problem is not hyped – Big industry vendors warned for many years that “next year” mobile malware will truly take off, but the threat never quite materialized, he said. “Now that the problem is well and truly here — the last two years have both been called ‘the year of mobile malware’ at several points — we have a problem persuading the world at large that we are not crying ‘Wolf!’ yet again.”

iSpy lets you monitor and record multiple webcams and IP cameras for free – Video surveillance isn’t just for governments. With a simple webcam, you too can keep a close eye on what’s happening in your home or office. Developerinabox’s iSpy is an open-source application that lets you connect to a number of cameras and microphones, monitor them for movement and sound, and automatically start recording whenever something interesting is detected. Although iSpy is free to use, some of its features (such as remote viewing) cost money. The free features provide plenty of functionality, though.

Seattle dive bar becomes first to ban Google Glass – Owner says “it’s because it’s kind of a private place that people go.” Will other businesses follow the example?

Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD is a great budget upgrade – Looking to boost that old, slow computer? The Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD might just be what you want.

1,168 keywords Skype uses to censor, monitor its Chinese users – One U.S. researcher has deconstructed a constantly updated file in the China-only version of Skype that contains a list of more than 1,100 words used to censor and monitor its users.

MIT, Stanford Rank as Top Schools for Computer Science – Are you looking for a career in computer science? Then you should check out the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of universities for computer science. No surprise–MIT nailed first place. See which schools rounded out the top 10.


Firefox, Java, Flash All Taken Down at Pwn2Own – Finding and exploiting new vulnerabilities in the major browsers has become a difficult exercise for security researchers, thanks to the exploit mitigations, sandboxes and other protections that Microsoft, Google and Mozilla have added in the last few years. The same has become true of Adobe Flash, but difficult is not the same as impossible, as the contestants at the Pwn2Own contest here have shown.

Mozilla and Google Patch Browser Flaws Used in Pwn2Own – Within less than 24 hours of the vulnerabilities being used and disclosed to them, both Mozilla and Google have issued patches for flaws employed by participants in this week’s Pwn2Own contest.

Apple Finally Fixes App Store Vulnerabilities – Apple has fixed several App Store security issues that first arose last summer, but it hasn’t explained why it took so long to start encrypting communications using public Wi-Fi networks. A Google researcher working on his own time discovered in July 2012 that Apple was serving up data over an unencrypted HTTP connection, leaving its Apple App Store customers open to attacks from anyone using the same public network. Six months later, the company finally flipped on the encryption.

Malware peddlers exploit death of Hugo Chavez – As predicted, the death of such a well-known and controversial politician as the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been exploited by cyber criminals to lead users to malware. The email subject and body contain speculation about the true nature of Chavez’s death, and the text is peppered with links:

Germans bombarded in malware attack, shipment firm caught in crossfire forced to suspend email address – A hard-hitting malware attack is hitting German email inboxes, and causing a headache for an innocent shipment firm mentioned in the messages.

Facebook’s in-house drills were crucial for smooth response to watering hole attack – Their security team has not only been the first to discover the presence of the malware in its networks and to identify it, but has also discovered the source of the infection and the C&C server that the malware was sending information to. But what allowed Facebook to react so well to the breach?

Asian network of on-line card fraudsters dismantled – Finnish law enforcement authorities, working closely with the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol, have dismantled an Asian criminal network responsible for illegal internet transactions and purchasing of airline tickets.

Company News:

Facebook Partners with Data Brokers for Better Ads – In late February, Facebook forged a partnership with four of its most prolific data brokers in order to more accurately target users with relevant advertisements.

BlackBerry Giving Away $100 For You To Build an App Generator App – BlackBerry is going a bit overboard with the BlackBerry 10 app bounties at SXSW 2013. They have decided to create a blog bounty for anyone who uses the BlackBerry App Generator to create an app. They are giving away $100 per app you create with your own content (up to $2,000 per vendor up to $500,000) for apps submitted between March 8, 2013 and 11:59:59 pm ET on March 17, 2013. (suggested by Aseem S.)

WordPress unveils hosting package for small businesses – The aptly named WordPress Business caters to small businesses needing a domain, storage, and a wide selection of themes for building a Web site. Essentially a bundle of premium upgrades, WordPress business includes not only site hosting and a free domain, but also live support (via chat, or email when chat isn’t available), unlimited storage, and your choice of unlimited premium themes. All this runs $299 annually. WordPress points out that if you were to purchase these items and upgrades separately, they’d cost you closer to $700.

Judge says Apple’s Siri case against Samsung can proceed – U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh had said last month that a second patent case pitting Apple against Samsung in Northern California might be put on hold. Now she says otherwise.

Facebook acquires blogging site Storylane – Facebook says its new News Feed is a “personalized newspaper,” so it hires the staff behind a storytelling platform to help people tell stories.

Webopedia Daily:

Parallel processing – The simultaneous use of more than one CPU to execute a program. Ideally, parallel processing makes a program run faster because there are more engines (CPUs) running it. In practice, it is often difficult to divide a program in such a way that separate CPUs can execute different portions without interfering with each other. Most computers have just one CPU, but some models have several. There are even computers with thousands of CPUs. With single-CPU computers, it is possible to perform parallel processing by connecting the computers in a network. However, this type of parallel processing requires very sophisticated software called distributed processing software. Note that parallel processing differs from multitasking, in which a single CPU executes several programs at once.

Games and Entertainment:

Get Max Payne 3 (PC) for $13.59 – This long-awaited sequel is one of the best games to hit PCs in years, and for a limited time you can grab it on the cheap. Through March 11, Steam has Max Payne 3 (PC) for $13.59. That’s 66 percent off the current $39.99 list price.

Supercharge Your Gaming Experience This Weekend – With such versatile technology, your gaming systems can do more than play games and your other devices can double as fantastic gaming platforms. Take a few hours this weekend and supercharge your gaming experience.

Age Of Fear 2 brings back classic turn-based strategy gaming – Age of Fear 2: The Chaos Lord is a turn-based fantasy strategy game, though it likes to push the “fantasy” boundaries a bit; one scenario features modern soldiers vs. zombies. It deliberately and unapologetically invokes the spirit of early 90s strategy games, before real-time strategy became the fashion and reflexes became more important than tactics. I reviewed the PC version, but it’s available for Linux and Mac as well.

Urban blight: SimCity’s failure to launch – The last three days have been rough. EA’s servers have struggled to keep up with the legions of SimCity fans that have waited nigh on a decade to climb back into the mayor’s saddle. And while problematic opening days are common in the massively multiplayer online gaming space, SimCity’s general failure to launch sets a troubling precedent for PC gaming.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Tips on Coping With Daylight Saving Time – The loss of an hour of sleep that comes with the switch to daylight saving time overnight Saturday can be uncomfortable if you don’t take some simple steps to prepare, experts say. To help you adapt, Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., offers the following tips.

Here’s the $4.99 utility that might just have saved Windows 8 – Veteran software outfit Stardock has offered Microsoft an elegant way to escape its Windows 8 Metro Notro dilemma. With Windows 8, Redmond foisted a new and radical touchscreen-driven user interface on a desktop PC market that was already in a once-in-a-generation slump – and both consumer sales and enterprise interest have been … (suggested by Michael F.)

The enormous societal benefits to working from home – There are enormous societal benefits to working from home, but no one is really aware of them. We can save up to 60.5 billion gallons of gas and 36.9 billion wasted hours each year if we work from home.

Zynga: Oh, sure we copy other people’s games – Zynga VP Dan Porter seems perfectly open that his company isn’t entirely original. What a refreshing admission that there really is copying in the tech world.

Today’s Quote:

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”

–     Dee Hock

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wipe – WIPE is a free, easy to use and powerful security tool that allows you to protect your privacy by clearing browser history and cache, cleaning index.dat files, securely removing cookies, history and temp files and erasing any other tracks that you leave behind after having used your pc.

Wise Care 365 – Wise Care 365 is a bundle of important registry, disk, and other system utilities for your PC. Easy to use and effective, Wise Care 365 is the good solution to improve your PC’s performance.

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