Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 11, 2013

How to add Windows 8’s best desktop features to Windows 7 – It’s too bad that the modern UI has proven so contentious, because aside from the eye candy—or eye cancer, depending on your perspective—an abundance of welcome nuts-and-bolts changes makes Windows 8 the hands-down best version of Windows that Microsoft has ever released. Many of Windows 8’s best under-the-hood improvements can be yours in Windows 7 with the help of a few handy-dandy applications.

Will 90 percent of users always hate Windows 8? – Windows 8 doesn’t exactly seem to be setting the world alight. Perhaps the requirement that indifferent users have to sit down a learn their way around something new is causing problems…

5 Best Open Source Video Editors for Small Business – You don’t have to spend a mint to produce high-quality training and promotional videos for your small business. Just use one of these open source video editing programs.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

A Swifter Way to Type – The latest version of SwiftKey Keyboard for Android adds a new Flow input method along with a smart keyboard that aims to predict your message before you type it. With its smart design, powerful engine, and an array of options, SwiftKey seems as perfect a mobile keyboard as there can be.

Opera’s overhauled Android browser now in beta – The public now can start judging whether it was a good idea for the Norwegian browser company to scrap its own browser engine for the open-source WebKit.

The Browser Wars Reignite – I admit, I’m not exactly a rabid, loyal fan of just one browser. But there are a surprising amount of users out there who extol the virtues of their favorite, be it Microsoft’s IE, Google’s Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or even Maxthon. And with the release of IE 10 for Win 7 users, there’s bound to be some passionate back and forth about which is best. So, gird yourself for battle, as the browser wars heat up again.

IT Departments Prepare to Block March Madness Content – As the March Madness NCAA basketball games approach—with the kick-off set for March 19—a national survey of 500 IT professionals commissioned by Modis reveals that one-third of office IT departments are preparing to block, ban or slow down streaming of March Madness content.

The astoundingly cheesy iPhone app launch from Domino’s – See what you make of Domino’s Pizza Japan President Scott Oellkers as he grins and poses and, perhaps, sells his company’s new iPhone app.

Cloud haters: You too will be assimilated – You despise the idea of losing your individual computing power. You hate subscriber services. You don’t trust our security, reliability or connectivity. It doesn’t matter. We are the Cloud. Do not resist us.

Help! My Mac’s Been Hacked! – No one is immune to malware, even Apple. For years, Mac users were largely ignored by the bad guys, but lately malware targeted at Apple machines is on the rise. So, what can you do if you’ve had a breach? If you are (or suspect you have been) infected with malware, analyst Max Eddy has some tips on how to clean up your system and keep it from happening again.

Security:

Fake Facebook pages promise free gifts in exchange for ‘Likes’ – Promotions purporting to be from Apple and Beats Electronics offer “unsealed” hardware in exchange for “Likes” in an apparent scam to build fan page numbers.

Crackdown on SMS spammers could boost use of SIM mules – A continued crackdown on SMS spammers could induce them to use “mules” to do their dirty work, according to a security expert. That’s because as enforcement agencies like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) put the heat on domestic SMS spammers, they’ll be forced offshore to ply their pernicious trade, explained Andrew Conway, a threat researcher with messaging abuse solutions provider Cloudmark in San Francisco, which fights SMS spam through its security products.

Iran Blocks VPNs to Prevent Circumventing Web Censorship – Only Iran’s officially sanctioned VPNs are available in the country at the moment. “Within the last few days illegal VPN ports in the country have been blocked,” said Iranian official Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard in an interview with Reuters. “Only legal and registered VPNs can from now on be used.”

Hackers break in to RBA, but it’s business as usual – Chinese spies! Advanced persistent threats! Sophisticated “cyber” attacks! They’re just buzzwords for attacks that are happening all the time, so why be surprised?

Company News:

 

Kaspersky acknowledges a bug that causes a system freeze – Kaspersky Lab’s Internet Security 2013 product contains a bug that can be exploited remotely, especially on local networks, to completely freeze the operating system on computers running the software. Although the issue is valid, there was no threat of malicious activity affecting the computers of any users who experienced the rare problem, the company said. “Actions have been taken to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future,” it said. The company could not immediately confirm whether any other of its products are affected as well.

BlackBerry Z10 Coming to AT&T March 22 – AT&T will reportedly begin selling the BlackBerry Z10 later this month, according to Bloomberg. Citing sources familiar with the plan, the news outlet tipped March 22 as the launch date for U.S. AT&T stores.

BlackBerry India chief quits – BlackBerry India is seeking a new managing director just months after the successful launch of its Z10 in the local market.

Book publishers blast Amazon’s plan to control domain names – Two industry groups argue that the retailer’s plan to control several generic top-level domains, including .book, .author, and .read, would be anti-competitive.

A year later, AOL is heading in the right direction – After a year of activist investors and departures, Tim Armstrong has turned AOL into a well-tuned machine.

Webopedia Daily:

Apache Pig – Apache Pig is a high-level procedural language platform developed to simplify querying large data sets in Apache Hadoop and MapReduce. Apache Pig features a “Pig Latin” language layer that enables SQL-like queries to be performed on distributed datasets within Hadoop applications. Pig originated as a Yahoo Research initiative for creating and executing map-reduce jobs on very large data sets. In 2007 Pig became an open source project of the Apache Software Foundation.

Games and Entertainment:

Richard ‘Lord British’ Garriott Turns to Kickstarter for New Ultima Game – Unfortunately, there’s no “reward” tier that will grant you the ability kill the famed game designer (again) with an in-game firewall scroll.

Back in the Big Leagues – MLB The Show 2013 (for PlayStation 3) makes only incremental improvements over last year’s game, but it also makes it more accessible to newcomers and retains the incredible graphics and gameplay that are sure to please baseball fans.

No Digital Refunds for SimCity Players – Electronic Arts revealed that it will not provide digital refunds to those customers locked out of the SimCity reboot. The game maker does offer a 14-day “unconditional guarantee” on any physical products sold through its Origin store, but the many players who downloaded the title directly to their computer have no options.

EA making progress fixing SimCity problems – Electronic Arts isn’t able to say Game On quite yet to all SimCity fans, but it says it has made “huge progress” fixing problems that tarnished the March 5 release. Its servers are now responding 40 times faster than at launch while the franchise is seeing reduced downtimes. While the server upgrades are good news, the improvements are late coming.

Talking Tech with Filmmaker Ang Lee – I’ve long been a fan of director Ang Lee. So I was thrilled (also, jealous) when PCMag’s Chandra Steele had the opportunity to interview the filmmaker on the technology behind his award-winning film “Life of Pi.” His insight into how an artistic vision, combined with the latest in movie-making technology, helped translate book to screen makes for a fascinating read.

Oz: The Great and Powerful sequel already in development – Oz: The Great and Powerful dropped into theaters this weekend, and while it’s long-term earning potential cannot yet be known, Disney clearly has a lot of confidence in its staying power as a franchise, as they’re already working on a second film with this retooled version of the setting and characters from the classic books.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Does the Mobile World Need a Third OS? – In a mobile landscape dominated by Apple and Google, a third player may be just what we need.

At SXSW, techies dish anonymously with GhostPost – Could anonymous chat be the next big thing? At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive, the place that helped put Twitter and FourSquare on the map, a fledgling app for anonymous chatting is gaining some traction. GhostPost is giving attendees a no holds barred forum to say just about anything about what’s happening at the Austin, Texas, conference. Literally, anything.

OHEA Smart Bed Makes Itself (video 0:42) – Spanish furniture maker OHEA has introduced the world’s first automated bed that makes itself.

Making Animals Smarter: Just Add Human Brain Cells – Today, in the “Say Wha’?” department, a team of neuroscientists claim to have boosted the learning rate and memory of mice by grafting fetal human brain cells onto their brains. This particular hack has cast the net a little further, and gives us a unique insight into how brains work, and how we might soon be able to build superbrains.

Ross Nanotechnology’s NeverWet superhydrophobic spray-on coating (video 1:04) – Ross Technology Corp. needed a better way to reduce corrosion on the steel products. They couldn’t find a suitable one so they created their own. That product is NeverWet, a silicon-based spray-on coating that repels water and heavy oils.

How back-illuminated sensors work, and why they’re the future of digital photography – As camera resolutions have increased, pixel sizes have decreased, especially in smartphones with their tiny sensors. The result is that more and more of the surface area of the sensor is covered by wiring, resulting in less and less light reaching the photosites. So there is a natural need to find a way to move the photosensitive region to the top of the chip, allowing it to gather more light.

Today’s Quote:

“The ‘Net is a waste of time, and that’s exactly what’s right about it.”

–     William Gibson

Today’s Free Downloads:

TeamViewer – TeamViewer is the fast, simple and friendly solution for remote access over the Internet – all applications in one single, very affordable module. This is the complete TeamViewer with install and uninstall support.

Avant Browser Ultimate 2013 build 20 – Avant is a multi-processing tri-core browser(Chrome, Firefox and IE) featured with Private Browsing, Anti-Freezing, Low CPU Usage, No Memory Leak, Web Form Auto-Filler and more.

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2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 11, 2013

  1. clas

    avant…a chinese browser…think i will pass.