Monthly Archives: March 2013

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 23, 2013

Grab Glary Utilities Pro for Free (Normally $40) – Glary Utilities is a comprehensive PC maintenance tool, with features to clean and repair your system, optimize startup and memory, shred and undelete files, and more. The Pro edition, normally $40 (but discounted to $28 right now) is completely free with this special promo. The Pro edition promises enhanced system fixing and optimizing, automatic maintenance in the background, free technical support, and allows for commercial use.

12 best practices for better social media privacy – It’s impossible to remain completely anonymous while you’re using social media—anonymity would defeat the point—but every network has a few key, commonly overlooked privacy settings that take only minutes to set up and drastically improve the security of your shared data. Follow these simple steps for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram to ensure you’re not oversharing.

How to Boot From a CD or USB Drive on Any PC – Occasionally, if you’re troubleshooting your PC or installing a new operating system, you’ll have to “boot it from a disc” or USB flash drive. Here’s what that means, and how to do it.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Use Magnifier for Facebook to enlarge photos without clicking – Check out this Chrome extension that will enlarge the photos in your Timeline without having to open each one.

Why You Should Get a Range Extender – Ranger extenders can work wonders, and I specifically recommend those from Netgear.

Quick Cliq – Quick Cliq is a portable menu based application launcher and productivity tool which speeds up your daily computer activities by giving you links to folders, files, programs, URLs and command line operations. It also offers window management, extreme clipboard manipulation, and note taking capabilities. All of this is provided in a compact menu that you can show anywhere and within any application or window through customizable hot keys and mouse gestures.

Google Drive hit by three outages this week – Google Drive, the cloud storage and applications suite used by millions at home and at work, has suffered three service interruptions this week, making it impossible at times for affected users to access their files and applications.

Have an older PC? Try the new Ubuntu Linux-based LXLE – For users of Microsoft Windows, frequent hardware upgrades tend to be a fact of life in order to keep each new iteration of the resources-hungry operating system running smoothly. Not so Linux, however, which is renowned for its generally small footprint and minimal hardware demands. Some Linux distributions do even better at this than others, however, and I’ve already covered Puppy Linux as one shining example of those that excel on low-resources PCs. Recently, however, another one made its debut: LXLE, a brand-new Ubuntu Linux spin created specifically for older hardware.

Make your website stand out in Windows 8 – Although Windows 8 remains controversial, it counts millions of early adopters, and Windows will likely remain the most popular operating system for the foreseeable future. That’s why it matters to optimize your website now for Microsoft’s newest OS. Luckily, all it takes is adding add some custom code to your website, and it doesn’t take heavy-duty developer skills. Read on to get started.

No one likes to pay taxes, eh? Translated from the original Canadian, that reads, “No one likes to pay taxes.” – WinTax is a Canadian payroll tax calculator. WinTax provides users with an easy way to calculate taxes on regular salary, bonus, retroactive pay, and commission. Calculations include CPP, EI, Federal tax, and Provincial tax (including Quebec). WinTax has the following features such as save employee information, easy to understand tax calculation reports, and user definable earnings and deductions. WinTax Calculator can calculate and save payroll tax calculations for one employee for any province.

Senate embraces Internet taxes – Senators vote 75 to 24 to glue an endorsement of Internet sales taxes onto a Democratic budget bill, despite opponents predicting the idea is antibusiness and a “bureaucratic nightmare.”


Apple Takes Tool offline After New Security Hole Surfaces – Less than a day after Apple announced a new two-factor authentication to better protect Apple ID and iCloud accounts, the company was scrambling to fix another major security hole with its own password reset tool.

How To: Chrome Browser Privacy Settings (video 4:04) – Manage privacy settings and security while navigating the web.

Fake Zendesk security notice spammed out, directs traffic to Canadian drug websites – Should you trust the security notice you have just been emailed, telling you to watch out for scam emails and to use hard-to-crack passwords? Perhaps not.

Anatomy of a bug: Battlefield: Play4Free hole allows dodgy updates to go unnoticed – A pair of Maltese vulnerability researchers have found a security hole in Battlefield: Play4Free from digital games giant EA. The vulnerability abuses the fact that different versions of Windows deal differently with erroneous input to the function used to start new processes.

Company News:

Mailbox App Hits 1 Million Users in Six Weeks – Mailbox, the iPhone email app recently acquired by Dropbox, announced a major milestone on Thursday — it hit one million users.

Judge says Xbox doesn’t infringe Google patent – In a ruling that reverses his earlier decision, a U.S. International Trade Commission judge says Microsoft did not infringe a patent owned by Google unit Motorola.

‘Android’ watchmaker Oko sues Google for trademark infringement – Just as rumors resurfaced that Google is getting into the smartwatch game, Oko International, the maker of a wide range of watches and timepieces sold under the brand name ‘Android,’ is suing the company for trademark infringement.

HTC One’s U.S. smartphone launch delayed until ‘end of April’ – While British, German and Taiwanese retailers will begin selling the phone next week, the rest of Europe, North America and “most of Asia-Pacific” won’t see the highly anticipated handset until weeks later.

Barnes & Noble is now just giving Nooks away – The company has announced a limited time deal where customers who order a Nook HD+ tablet ($269 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB version) between March 24th and March 31st will also receive a free Nook Simple Touch E Ink reader ($79). This is a good deal for families trying to decide if they should purchase an e-reader or invest in a more brawny tablet.

Zynga moves beyond Facebook in online game repertoire – On Thursday, Zynga rolled out changes to its homepage allowing users to create an account on the site just for playing games without having to log in first through Facebook, as has been the custom previously. The moves are part of a larger company plan to further distance itself from Facebook in an effort to expand and solidify its own user base.

Webopedia Daily:

Entity-relationship model – Also called an entity-relationship (ER) diagram, a graphical representation of entities and their relationships to each other, typically used in computing in regard to the organization of data within databases or information systems. An entity is a piece of data-an objector concept about which data is stored. A relationship is how the data is shared between entities. There are three types of relationships between entities:

Games and Entertainment:

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is Ghastly entertaining – Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a highly entertaining sequel over a decade in the making and is one of the 3DS’ newest must-plays.

Capcom Reviving DuckTales for Modern Consoles – Capcom today announced plans to revive the classic NES DuckTales (woo-oo!) game. The updated game is set for a summer release on Xbox Live, PSN, and Wii U

Wizardry Online brings 1981 dungeon crawling into the MMO era – This game is not for people with a low tolerance for frustration, or who expect glowing neon arrows leading them from quest to quest, or who want a lot of bright colors and shiny effects. Wizardry Online is gritty, difficult, and brutally unforgiving. The history of MMORPGs strongly hints it will become much less so over time, so, if you want bragging rights of having played when it was tough, start now.

AMD’s newly-announced Radeon HD 7790 guns for the budget 1080p gaming crown – Last month’s release of Nvidia’s Titan graphics card—the most powerful consumer GPU ever announced—may have inspired uncontrollable drooling among the enthusiast crowd, but at a cool $1000, the card simply isn’t priced to move. AMD’s latest release takes a different tack. Today, the company announced the Radeon HD 7790 series graphics card, a $150 mid-range GPU designed to bring better 1080p gaming to the masses.

Blizzard reveals HearthStone strategy card game – World of Warcraft’s maker officially announces a free-to-play collectible card game for PC, Mac, and iPad. The beta starts this summer, with a full product out by the end of the year.

Razer Edge Pro: Our first look at a Windows 8 gaming tablet – The most important thing you need to know about the Razer Edge Pro is that it works—you can use it to play contemporary PC games at decent settings, and the battery lasts long enough to let you play for at least 2-3 hours at a stretch before you need to recharge.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Cracked: 5 Ridiculous Natural Disaster Myths You Probably Believe – Despite all the advancements we’ve made in weather prediction, disaster preparedness, and sandbag technology, most of us are absolutely screwed if Mother Nature decides to throw a fit. That’s why extreme weather has become a sort of boogeyman for humanity, one we love making the bad guy in action movies because we are terrified of how helpless it makes us feel. And like any boogeyman, the urban legends and old wives’ tales have completely outpaced the original threat. So let’s take a minute to put at least five of those absurd legends to bed right now.

The 40 Hottest Women in Tech – Through web development, social media, space exploration, and video game design, we see the world of tech becoming a more equal playing field. Here are 40 women we admire doing work in the field of innovation.

Lifehacker: Want to Be Happier? Stop Doing These 10 Things Right Now – Happiness-in your business life and your personal life-is often a matter of subtraction, not addition. Consider, for example, what happens when you stop doing the following things.

Chinese government builds national OS around Ubuntu – The Chinese government has announced plans to release Ubuntu Kylin, an Ubuntu 13.04-based OS with features targeted at the Chinese market.

The Telephone and How We Use It – This booklet, published in 1951, was a beginner course in telephone use. Targeting elementary school students, it covers everything from basic use to emergency calls and proper etiquette. (e.g. – When using the telephone, hold the receiver close to your ear. The receiver is the end without the cord.)

Anti-drone revolt prompts push for new federal, state laws – Concerns about privacy, facial recognition, cell phone tracking, and infrared surveillance have dealt a setback to law enforcement’s growing enthusiasm for aerial drones.

Today’s Quote:

All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”

–     Winston Churchill

Today’s Free Downloads:

EASEUS Todo Backup Free Edition 5.8 – Protect your PC with EASEUS Todo Backup Home by just a few quick steps. If you lose any files you like or need to go back to an earlier version, don’t worry, you can recover them in time.

Spiceworks IT Desktop – Spiceworks IT Desktop is the only application that combines Network Inventory, Help Desk, Reporting, a built-in TFTP Server, Monitoring, Active Directory Management, and Troubleshooting in a single, easy-to-use interface.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 23, 2013

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 22, 2013

7 Signs You’ve Got Malware – Does your computer have a malware problem? How would you know? Computers are complicated enough that they don’t always do precisely what we expect. Sometimes an unexpected behavior is just a fluke; other times, it’s an outward and visible sign of an inward and terrible malware infestation. If you notice any of these security warning signs, your system may well be compromised.

When you encrypt a file or a hard drive, is it really secure? – There’s no such thing as perfect security. Someone with sufficient time and money, and a strong enough motive, can crack anything. So the real question becomes: Is your encryption secure enough?

Facebook plugs Timeline privacy hole – Europe v. Facebook, an Austrian student organization that keeps tabs on Facebook’s privacy transgressions, recently discovered that Facebook’s latest timeline redesign allowed friends of friends to see the total number of Events a user has attended, even if that person’s privacy settings were set to only allow friends to see such events.

Hands on with Google Keep: Can it kill Evernote? – The note-taking Android app may be rough, but the mobile version is far more refined than the web interface.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The EU Needs to Quit Crying Over Google Search – American practices are always interpreted by foreigners as anti-competitive. In reality, it’s just that the European offerings aren’t competitive. You’d think, for example, that the European Union and Eastern Europe could put their heads together and come up with an operating system that would wipe out Windows. Instead we hear grousing. So now it is Google’s turn to get skewered. With all the brilliant minds in Europe and Russia, can’t anyone develop a search engine to compete with Google? I guess not.

Make your business shine online: 8 steps to boost visibility – Managing your own website and submitting it to Google are good first steps, but they’re no longer enough. Read on to learn how to upgrade your online presence on your own website and on third-party sites, so that people can find you on the Web when they come looking.

New Verizon app untethers text messages from your cell phone – New app and Web client allows customers to send and receive texts from several devices, including PCs and tablets.

MediaMonkey organizes your MP3s – iTunes lets you do a lot with your music, but—let’s face it—Apple’s media management application doesn’t really focus on music. It’s simply too busy handling everything else. If you like the look and feel of iTunes, but wish that it kept its focus on music, you’re going to love MediaMonkey. Especially if you use a mobile device that does not run iOS.

Free portrait photography cropping guide – In the latest of our photography cheat sheet series of free infographics, we’ve put together this easy guide for understanding some of the best places to crop a subject in a portrait, and some of the places where you should not. ‘Yes’ areas are marked in green, while ‘bad’ locations are marked in red. Simply drag and drop this free portrait photography cheat sheet on to your desktop and keep it handy for your next photo editing session.

Microsoft Reveals Law Enforcement Data Requests – Microsoft last year received 75,378 law enforcement requests for customer information covering 137,424 accounts or other identifiers. The report covers Microsoft’s online and cloud services, including Hotmail,, SkyDrive, Xbox Live, Office 365, and Skype. The company pledged to release updated information every six months.

Mozilla: Has Firefox become too customizable? – Alex Limi, who works on product design strategy at Mozilla, in a blog post on Monday – “We’re trying to design software that can be used by everyone — that also means we have to keep them safe and not make it so easy to break a product they rely on every day,” he explained. Bottom line: Limi wants Mozilla to reconsider and revamp the Firefox settings. Whether that happens remains to be seen.

6 Note-Taking Alternatives to Google Keep – Here’s a quick look at some of the competition faced by Google Keep.

Microsoft discontinues Office 2010 sales, some retailers jack up prices – Some sellers have raised the price of Office 2010’s lowest-cost multi-license package after Microsoft discontinued retail sales of the suite. Giant online retailer, for example, now lists what Microsoft called the “Full Packaged Product” (FFP) of Office Home & Student 2010 at $170, $20 higher than the former list price, representing a 13% surcharge. Another seller on the site pegged Home & Student 2010 at $250, or 67% above list.


BBC Twitter Accounts Hacked by Pro-Assad Group – The BBC’s weather, Arabic, and Radio Ulster Twitter feeds were hacked by a Syrian group.

Australian banks ‘not immune’ to hack attack – A senior security analyst says the major hacking attack which paralysed several South Korean banks and TV broadcasters this week could happen in Australia. According to the Korea Internet Security Agency, television stations KBS, MBC, YTN and two large banks were “partially or entirely crippled” by the malware attack. Trend Micro Australia’s senior security manager Adam Biviano says it was a sophisticated attack that could occur in Australia. (recommended by Mal C.)

Yontoo Adware Trojan Targets Mac Browsers – Researchers have uncovered a new Trojan, dubbed Yontoo, that installs adware on the browsers of infected systems with just a few clicks. Russian anti-virus firm Doctor Web outlined how the scam works on Macs, but said that a similar scheme is also targeting Windows PCs.

Iran is a more dangerous cyber threat to U.S. than China or Russia – Testifying before the House Committee on Homeland Security’s cybersecurity subcommittee, witnesses drew a sharp distinction between the threats from comparatively mature actors like China and Russia, with which the United States has longstanding—if strained—diplomatic and economic ties, and nations like Iran and North Korea.

Company News:

Intel hopes to trump cable TV packages with new set-top box – Later this year, Intel will release a set-top box that will deliver live TV and on-demand content through a customized Web user interface. The set-top box could replace cable TV boxes, Apple TV, or Roku boxes, and will also deliver TV and Internet content to tablets and smartphones.

DoD Denies Plans to Ditch BlackBerry for Apple – The U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday said reports this month claiming it plans to end support for BlackBerry smartphones were “in error.”

BlackBerry 10 OS Surpasses 100,000 Apps – Less than two months after its release, the new BlackBerry 10 operating system has surpassed 100,000 applications.

Zynga Cuts the Cord With Facebook, Kinda – When social game developer launches next week, it will drop the requirement that players sign in through their Facebook accounts.

Google sticking to plan to keep Android, Chrome separate – Google wants to remind you, once again, that a grand convergence between Android and Chrome OS isn’t happening any time soon. That’s hardly a new revelation, but the recent replacement of Android boss Andy Rubin with Sundar Pichai, who already oversees Chrome OS, fueled speculation that the two operating systems were destined to become one.

Webopedia Daily:

Subscriber identity module – A subscriber identity module (SIM) is a smart card inside of a GSM cellular phone that encrypts voice and data transmissions and stores data about the specific user so that the user can be identified and authenticated to the network supplying the phone service. The SIM also stores data such as personal phone settings specific to the user and phone numbers. A SIM can be moved from one phone to another and/or different SIMs can be inserted into any GSM phone. For example, if a user has one phone but uses it for both personal and business calls, he can change the SIM depending on how he will be using the phone (one card contains his personal identity and data and the second card carries his business identity and data).

Games and Entertainment:

Free Game Friday: Weeklong roguelike challenge – Roguelike games, defined by their high degree of difficulty and randomly-generated loot and enemies, are seeing a resurgence lately—games like Binding of Isaac and FTL remix the tried-and-true Rogue formula and bring a lot of indie attention to the genre in the process. This week we’ve got 5 games from the recent 7 Day Roguelike Challenge, where devs had just one week to make an original roguelike.

March Madness: Get It All Online – Away from a TV? Here’s how you can stream all of the March Madness games and follow the action on Twitter.

5 Things to Build in Minecraft 1.5 – Minecraft 1.5 added tons of features to play with; here are a handful of cool new things to try. Happy crafting!

Star Trek Into Darkness international trailer is here! – Team Abrams has posted the international version of The Star Trek Into Darkness trailer. Warning – major spoilers ahead!

Chrome ‘World Wide Maze’ Experiment Turns Websites Into Playgrounds – Google Chrome’s World Wide Maze turns users’ favorite websites into their personal playground, creating a 3D maze through which gamers navigate a sort of electronic pinball toward ..

Logitech Unveils New G Line of Gaming Accessories – Logitech rebranded their G Series with the same name and has announced it as their official gaming line along with a variety of new keyboards, mice, and headsets.

15 best Android games – Having trouble finding the right games to download on your Android device? Here are 15 of my favorites.

Off Topic (Sort of):

10 Cool Classic Film Cameras – PCMag’s digital camera analyst, Jim Fisher, tests the most advanced digital cameras in the world but he still shoots on film. We don’t review those cameras because we are an all-digital operation these days, but a large amount of his personal work is done on film. He isn’t a Luddite–he isn’t even particularly romantic about film–he just likes the process and the final product. Here are some of his favorite film cameras.

The world’s top porn search terms revealed – The top search term for British-based users of pornography websites was “British”, followed by “Indian” and “MILF” – an acronym referring to pornography featuring older women. The top search terms in other countries were more unusual. Ukrainian porn fans were most likely to search for “Raincoat (gay)”, while in Romania the top term was “Mom and son”.

Video: Zero Charisma analyzes the geek psyche – When I saw the title Zero Charisma on the ‘Net, it definitely made me laugh. It’s a new film about geeks that at least one review says hits the nail on the head pretty hard.

Dongle jokes and a tweet lead to firings, threats, DDoS attacks – A developer tweets her objection to jokes told at a conference, leading to the dismissal of one of the men — and herself as well.

French students’ group seeks $50M in criminal damages from Twitter – A French Jewish student group has filed a lawsuit seeking $50 million in criminal damages from Twitter and its CEO Dick Costolo over the company’s failure to identify those responsible for a series of antisemitic posts last October. Twitter retorted that the union was “grandstanding.”

Microsoft’s cash-for-apps plan reeks of desperation – Awarding a $100 bounty for Windows apps will just lead to crap software, not the triple-A titles Microsoft needs.

Today’s Quote:

Wrong – one of those concepts that depends on witnesses.”

–      Scott Adams

Today’s Free Downloads:

Ghostery 2.9.3 – Ghostery sees the “invisible” web, detecting trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google Analytics, and over 1,000 other ad networks. Protect your privacy. See who’s tracking your web browsing and block them with Ghostery.

Free Video Call Recorder for Skype – Free Video Call Recorder for Skype is an absolutely free application for recording Skype calls without any limitations. It has a very simple interface.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 21, 2013

Google takes aim at Evernote with its new Keep app – After days of rumors fueled by buried code references and a logo, Google Keep launched Wednesday for those seeking an Evernote-esque service with Google Drive integration. You can create checklists, add photos, and take notes on the Google Keep website or by downloading Keep from the Google Play store.

Get started with Google Keep – We take a look at what you need to know to get started with Google’s new note-taking app Keep.

How to save Web stories for reading later on your Kindle – The new ‘Send to Kindle’ feature lets you archive PC browser content straight to your e-reader. Here’s how it works.

Android 4.1 Mini PC – Review – This product is essentially a computer that plugs into any HD television through its HDMI port. It supports Bluetooth, WiFi, USB connections, and even external 3G cards. It does require power (you have to plug it in). It’s very small and easily fits in a pocket, and yet it’s just as powerful as a top-end Android phone, running any of the Android applications available on Google Play. But, unlike a mobile device, it’s designed specifically for operation on a high definition television.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Make over your Facebook page – Give Facebook a near-complete makeover by using this free add-on for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and other browsers not named Internet Explorer.

How To Save and Print A List of Installed Programs On Your Computer – I recently experienced a situation where a person’s computer, that was several years old, required a complete factory restore. When asked, “What programs did they have installed on the computer?”, the person was at a loss. Following this occurrence, I started to wonder if there was an easy way to view, save or print the programs that we have installed on our computers?

Ready for a new Google Docs alternative? Meet open source OX Documents – As the free trial period for Microsoft Office 2013 draws to a close, it’s a pretty safe bet that more users than ever are thinking long and hard about whether or not to buy or subscribe. Unveiled on Wednesday by Open-Xchange, OX Documents will be a productivity suite that’s both open source and browser-based, thus combining a bit of each of those leading alternatives.

Why PCs, not smartphones, rule for social media – Forget everything you think you know about social networking. To get the most from Twitter and Facebook, you’ll need a PC.

10 Reasons Not to Let Your Preteen Have a Facebook Account – The brave new world of technology has expanded so far that even your grandmother may have an account on the social networking clearinghouse that is Facebook. The fact that your elderly relatives have adopted Facebook, however, doesn’t mean that your child is ready to tackle the social media giant. When your tween is pleading with you for permission to start a Facebook account and swearing that all of their friends have them, these are 10 of the reasons why you might want to stick to your guns and continue to ban the site for a few more years.

Convert video files for free with WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe – For a limited time, as part of an Easter promotion, Digiarty Software is offering its WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe absolutely free. It normally sells for $49.95. The program is designed to convert just about any kind of video file to just about any other kind of video format. Thus, you can turn an AVI into an MPEG, a Windows Media Video into an iPhone video, and so on.

Quick Tip: Add useful apps directly to Word 2013 – Microsoft Office 2013 has some new features you need to know about, including the ability to add apps.


Google enhances security for your website look-ups – Google has fully implemented a security feature that ensures a person looking up a website isn’t inadvertently directed to a fake one. Google said it is now checking the digital signatures on DNSSEC-formatted messages, an important step in ensuring correct DNS queries.

Apple iOS 6.1.3 fix contains another lock screen bypass flaw – The latest Apple iOS software fix, designed to fix a nasty bug in which unauthorized users could bypass the lock screen and access user data, contains yet another major flaw.

Microsoft: Hackers obtained high-profile Xbox Live accounts – Several high-profile Xbox Live accounts for former and current Microsoft employees were compromised by attackers using social engineering techniques, the company said late Tuesday.

A DHL delivery which is nothing but malware – Windows users warned of email attack – Have you received an email from DHL about a failed package delivery? Please remember to be on your guard. Cybercriminals are once again up to their old tricks.

Chinese IP address behind South Korea hacking: Report – Police are still investigating the cyberattack on Wednesday that affected broadcasters and banks in South Korea, but the country’s Communications Commission has revealed that the hacking originated from a Chinese IP address.

Exposed Devices Used as Botnet to Scan Internet – A controversial Internet scanning project has come under fire for illegally accessing and running code on remote machines. The Internet Census 2012 project, revealed Sunday in a post to, discovered 420,000 embedded devices accessible using default credentials. The unnamed researcher behind the project then used the devices as a botnet to scan most of the IPv4 address space.

Out-running the leopard: Dodging targeted attacks in cyber-space – It’s time to rethink your security options as internet attackers become smarter and more focused in who they attack – and how.

New adware Trojan circulating that targets Mac OS X systems – Trojan.Yontoo.1 is the most prominent of adware Trojans making the rounds that install a plugin that renders fraudulent ads on Web pages.

Company News:

Only 64,000 Wii U consoles sold in February: Is it time for Nintendo to leave the console market? – The Wii U hasn’t been doing particularly well in the market. It only sold roughly 57,000 units in January, and February isn’t much better. Last month, Nintendo’s latest console only sold an estimated 64,000 units. Considering that the Wii U launched just a few months ago, Grant explains that these numbers are cause for worry.

BlackBerry, UK government reject claims of failed BB10 security certification – Both BlackBerry and the U.K. government have denied reports that the new BB10 software has been rejected for use in sensitive government communications.

AT&T tempts landline users to move to wireless phone services with contract-free offer – AT&T Wednesday announced it now offers its Wireless Home Phone service contract-free for $20 per month, which includes unlimited, nationwide calling. If you already have AT&T wireless service, you can add your home phone to an existing Family Talk plan for an extra $10 per month.

T-Mobile’s non-subsidy strategy stops the $20/month carrier scam – US consumers buy subsidized phones because they are cheaper up front, but then the carrier makes that money back in increased monthly fees. However, when the phone is paid off, those monthly fees don’t change, and consumers are left paying extra for nothing.

Oracle’s Q3 falls short, revenue misses mark; Hardware systems tank again – Oracle’s fiscal third quarter misses on many fronts as revenue comes in way short of expectations. Hardware systems sales continue to fall.

Yahoo buying social recommendation engine Jybe – Yahoo is looking to some of its former employees for its latest acquisition, which beefs up the Internet company’s social media portfolio.

South Korea discount store chain starts mobile service – Home plus, a discount store chain owned by Britain’s Tesco, has become a mobile virtual network operator and is touting more affordable telco services.

Webopedia Daily:

Smart TV – Televisions that integrate the Internet and Web 2.0 features to provide a more interactive experience for users. Also known as connected TVs, Smart TVs provide features like Web browsing; video-on-demand and video streaming via services such as YouTube, Netflix and Hulu Plus; Internet radio from services like Pandora and Rhapsody; social networking from sites like Twitter and Facebook; apps and games and more. Smart TVs are also typically DLNA certified, enabling the sharing of movies, photos, music and similar multimedia content from other DLNA-compliant PCs, tablet computers, smartphones and similar devices.

Games and Entertainment:

Minecraft (version 1.5) – You start Minecraft empty-handed at the beginning of a peaceful day in a strange cube-based landscape. You can explore this world by running with the A-W-S-D keys, and you can punch the ground with a left-click. Everything else is a bit of a mystery, but as soon as you place your first block with a right-click as you build your home, you’ll realize the enormous opportunities that Minecraft offers you.

A trip to the Petting Zoo for iOS (pictures) – Conceptualized and designed by award-winning illustrator Christoph Niemann, Petting Zoo for iOS is a witty interactive picture book geared toward kids.

Valve’s Steam offers early access to beta games – Valve has rolled out a new Steam program that allows users to play games in beta status.

Microsoft’s Xbox 720 (Next): Always online, no second-hand games – Screenshots culled from a Durango software development kit (SDK) appear to validate earlier claims that Microsoft’s 720 (Next) console will require a persistent Internet connection and block second-hand games.

Ken Levine: BioShock Infinite Is Very Much a BioShock Game – BioShock Infinite creative lead Ken Levine says he’d “rather make stuff that has no value.” We cover that and more in the first of my two-part interview with the Irrational Games co-founder.

Off Topic (Sort of):

If Samsung’s Making a Smartwatch, Here Are Its Strengths and Weaknesses – Instead of letting the rumor mill do the talking, a Samsung executive has come right out and said it: The company is building its own smartwatch to compete with whatever Apple might be working on.

Twitter turns seven, releases greatest-hits video – On its seventh birthday, the social networking giant is celebrating surpassing 200 million active users, and 400 million daily tweets. Plus a long list of other accomplishments.

If email was invented today: Walled garden? – In an era of incompatible social networks, how would email evolve if it was invented today? Not too well, cautions a creator of the MIME protocol.

Teenage girl creates sustainable, renewable algae biofuel under her bed – In what is essentially a fancy science fair sponsored by Intel, over 1,700 high school seniors enter projects each year in order to not only be crowned the country’s maddest scientists, but a chance to win $100,000. This year, Sara Volz claimed that crown and a $100,000 four year scholarship, thanks to her efficient algae-based biofuel lab — that she created under her bed.

BP rewrote environmental record on Wikipedia – A British Petroleum representative allegedly rewrote 44 percent of the oil giant’s Wikipedia page, including the environmental sections. Some Wikipedia editors are crying foul.

Today’s Quote:

I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”

–      Kahlil Gibran

Today’s Free Downloads:

PhraseExpress 9.1.14 – No more typing common phrases again! Organize frequently used text snippets, expand abbreviations as you type, launch programs with text shortcuts, Auto-complete repetitive phrases, quick access to the Windows Clipboard History and correct spelling mistakes in any application.

Windows Firewall Control – Windows Firewall Control is a small and easy to use application that runs in your system tray and provides quick access to the most frequent options used from Windows Firewall.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 20, 2013

Cloud Computing Explained – The ‘cloud’ is a real buzzword these days, but what exactly is the cloud, how does it impact what you do, and is it anything really new?

Should you leave a hard drive running when it’s not in use? – These things are fragile, and there’s little agreement on how best to treat them. I checked with two experts on hard drive technology, and got two very different answers to the leave on/turn off controversy.

View lyrics for YouTube videos without looking them up – Frequent YouTube music video watcher? This extension will help you learn the lyrics so you can sing it like a pro later.

Losing your Google Reader? Try Tiny Tiny RSS instead – Marco Fioretti recommends a free software RSS reader that won’t leave you in the lurch.

How to get the most out of Feedly on your desktop – Google Reader users are flocking to Feedly as a potential Reader replacement, now that Reader’s expiration date has been announced. We’ve got some tips to help you get the most out of Feedly on your desktop.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google undeletes RSS extension for Chrome browser – It’s not dead after all. Google has resurrected an extension that lets Chrome handle RSS and Atom feeds, even though it’s not resurrecting the related Google Reader service.

How (and why) to set up a VPN today – Lost amid today’s VPN conversation, however, is the fact that virtual private networks are much more than just pipelines for connecting remote employees to central work servers. And that’s a damn shame, because VPNs can be helpful tools for protecting online privacy, and you need not be an office drone to enjoy their benefits.

25 Kindle Fire Apps You Need Now – Get the most out of your Kindle Fire by downloading a wide range of apps for work, play, and more.

Five cloud sync apps that rise above the rest – Along with the cloud comes the ability to sync your data between desktops. This service allows a much more seamless flow of work between home and business, home computers, desktops, and mobiles, and much more. But no matter what you’re syncing, it all starts with the desktop and the syncing app. Some of the apps, associated with cloud sync, are much better than others.

Google Adds GIF-Finding Filter to Image Search – Google is expanding its image search tools to include a section for the animated clips.

Google Drive goes down for many users – Google’s status page showed a service disruption for the online storage site that left many people unable to access their online files.

Is Windows 9 Coming Sooner Than Later? – Rumor has it that Microsoft is currently developing Windows 9 and intends to release it late next year. I would argue that there is some truth to this gossip based on Microsoft’s past practices with Windows 98 and perhaps Windows 95.


Pope sued over sexual abuse and not wearing seatbelt? Fake CNN and BBC news alerts spread malware – Malware campaigns spammed out in the last 24 hours have pretended to be breaking news stories from the likes of CNN and the BBC.

Rent, Buy, or Lease? Exploit Toolkits A La Carte – Cybercrime has evolved into a complex enterprise complete with leaders, engineers, infantry, and money mules. Mirroring legitimate businesses, cybercrime organizations follow the fundamental laws of economics. In order to make profit, organizations price their products or services based on demand.

EA Origin Security Flaw Could Expose Tens of Millions of Players – When it rains, it pours: Electronic Arts, currently grappling with game-breaking SimCity server issues as well as the surprise resignation of CEO John Riccitiello, might have to add “millions of players at risk of being hacked”

Cyberwar Manual Lays Down Rules for Online Attacks – Even cyberwar has rules, and one group of experts is putting out a manual to prove it. Their handbook, due to be published later this week, applies the practice of international law to the world of electronic warfare in an effort to show how hospitals, civilians and neutral nations can be protected in an information-age fight.

Chameleon botnet steals $6M per month in click fraud scam – More than 120,000 Windows-based computers running Internet Explorer 9 are infected in the U.S., researchers say.

Stolen credit reports: What you can do to protect yourself – Patrick Lambert follows up on the stolen celebrity credit reports. You don’t have to be famous to be at risk. What can individuals and businesses do for protection?

iOS 6.1.3 released – Apple fixes iPhone/iPad passcode-bypass security loophole – Apple has just released iOS 6.1.3, an operating system update for iPhones and iPads that is said to fix a high profile flaw that could potentially allow someone to bypass your device’s lock screen.

Company News:

Microsoft taking bribery allegations ‘seriously’ – The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Microsoft for possible kickbacks made by a Microsoft representative in China, as well as looking into the company’s relationship with some resellers and consultants in Italy and Romania.

Samsung confirms a smartwatch is in the works – Hot on the heels of speculation that Apple is developing a smartwatch, Samsung confirmed reports that it too is preparing a connected wristwatch, probably under the Galaxy brand.

Nvidia aims for late Q2 launch for Project Shield handheld – Nvidia hopes to make its ambitious break into the portable handheld gaming market in the next few months, the company’s CEO said Tuesday. Speaking to analysts on the sidelines of the company’s annual developer conference, Jen Hsun Huang said he “hopes” the Shield will be available through retail outlets in the latter part of the second quarter.

Intel vs. AMD: Battle of the world’s smallest PCs – These incredibly tiny, amazingly quiet computers can fit almost anywhere and perform most any task.

Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch resigns, headed for Apple – Adobe’s CTO Kevin Lynch has resigned, departing the company to go work at Apple as the VP of technology.

Microsoft buys analytics firm Netbreeze, readies CRM updates – Microsoft has acquired social-monitioring analytics vendor Netbreeze and is readying the next two updates to its Dynamics CRM platform, officials announce at the Convergence conference.

Webopedia Daily:

MEMS – Short for micro-electromechanical systems, the name for a micro fabrication technology used in making systems-on-a-chip (SoC) that embeds mechanical devices such as fluid sensors, mirrors, actuators, pressure and temperature sensors, vibration sensors and valves in semiconductor chips. MEMS combine many disciplines, including physics, bioinformatics, biochemistry, electrical engineering, optics and electronics. Typical MEMS devices combine sensing, processing and/or actuating functions to alter the way that the physical world is perceived and controlled. They typically combine two or more electrical, mechanical, biological, magnetic, optical or chemical properties on a single microchip.

Games and Entertainment:

SimCity – Cleverly integrated online elements. Introduces impressive algorithms for road design, sim tracking. New features simplify, expand traditional SimCity game play. Improved city reporting, tracking of statistics. Even with its much-publicized server problems resolved, the latest SimCity installment fails to excite or addict as much as previous games in the series.

ABC may offer live streaming apps, but not for cord cutters – ABC is reportedly planning a mobile app for live, streaming television in an attempt to keep cable and satellite TV subscribers from jumping ship. Would-be cord cutters need not get too excited, though, as the New York Times reports that the app would require a pay TV subscription. The Times’ unnamed sources say the app could be available to some subscribers later this year.

LEGO City Undercover (Nintendo Wii U) – LEGO City Undercover isn’t a game-changer for the Nintendo Wii U, but it’s a compelling argument to dust off the four-month-old system and play something that isn’t a Nintendo franchise or a port of a game released a year ago. It’s fun, friendly, and funny, even if it’s not especially deep or remotely challenging.

TiVo adds Mini piece to its whole-home system – This little box allows TiVo users to extend viewing of live and recorded TV and streaming content to another room without adding an entire DVR. But, boy, are you gonna pay for it.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Politician arrested over Facebook IPO – A US Republican politician has been arrested and charged with using the Facebook IPO as a Ponzi scam.

Urban wingsuit flying into Rio de Janeiro – Ludovic Woerth & Jokke Sommer (video 2:46) – Ludovic and I doing a wingsuit flight into Rio de Janeiro. We did not have permission to fly into the city, but to respect the commercial air traffic we did the jump 05:45 in the morning. The first flights arrive at 06:05

Gender gap? In tech salaries, it’s all gone, Dice reports – The field of IT is notorious for being persistently male-dominated, but that doesn’t mean women still suffer from a gender gap when it comes to pay. In fact, the compensation gender gap has disappeared for tech workers, according to the latest salary survey from IT careers site Dice.

U.S. Now Has 500M Internet-Connected Devices – In 1993, the word “Internet” had barely entered the public lexicon. Twenty years later, the Web is inescapable, connected to more than half a billion devices in the U.S. A recent report from The NPD Group points to smartphones and tablets as the driving force behind the milestone, though PCs are still king.

Cracked: The 5 Most Popular Ways Statistics Are Used to Lie to You – Humans are terrible with numbers. They just don’t fit in our brains. It’s why scientists can hammer us with statistics about global warming but we will stop believing in it as soon as it gets cold where we live. You don’t have to understand long term data trends in order to change a goddamn light bulb. But there are some basics that everyone should know. Each of them sounds incredibly simple when it’s explained, yet each of them will fool you again within days of reading this article. So try to keep in mind …

Americans Prefer Native Mobile Apps Over HTML – A recent BiTE Interactive survey showed that most Americans prefer native mobile apps over HTML5 standard-based apps, and one in five Americans will not consider switching mobile operating systems once they have spent $25 on apps.

Today’s Quote:

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.”

–      Eric Hoffer

Today’s Free Downloads:

EverNote – Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.

Skitch – Skitch is a free, innovative, easy-to-use application that’s changed the way people capture, annotate and share images. You can take screenshots or open photos, add arrows, shapes and text.

Tweak-SSD – Compared to competitive products, Tweak-SSD does not require any user knowledge when it comes to activating SSD related system tweaks. The included wizard guides the user from one tweak to the other and suggests the best setting by intuitive red-green switch buttons, and an additional system status gauge visualizing the system’s optimization status. Tweak-SSD works on Windows 7 and Windows 8, both on 32bit and 64bit editions. It includes an English user interface.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 19, 2013

Justice Department bends on (some) e-mail privacy fixes – But the administration will tell Congress tomorrow that the feds need more surveillance powers over e-mail messages, Twitter direct messages, and Facebook direct messages in other ways.

New BFFs: Facebook and Netflix – Netflix and Facebook are now best friends, but you may not want them to be. Here’s what you need to know to control what information is shared between the two.

Microsoft to push Windows 7 Service Pack 1 to users starting March 19 – Microsoft is starting to push Windows 7 SP1 to Windows 7 users via Windows Update, ahead of the early April end-of-support date for the RTM version of the product.

Haven’t got Windows 8 yet? Here comes Windows 9 – The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured another hell on earth yarn which suggests that Microsoft plans to release another version of Windows next year. The word on the street is that the Voles are beavering away on Windows 9 which will hit the streets a year from November next.

ARM wants to replace cable boxes with HDMI sticks – There are a variety of cheap HDMI PCs-on-a-stick on the market today. Most are loaded with Google’s popular Android operating system, allowing users to easily run apps and stream media on big screen TVs in the living room.

Centralize file access to your cloud accounts with Documents.Me – Will Kelly reviews Documents.Me, a free app that can help centralize file access to your cloud accounts.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Infographic: Navigating a Post-PC World – Mobile website design software company Moovweb previewed what the modern post-PC revolution means for global consumers.

Google updates Jelly Bean Gmail app – Google has updated its Gmail Android app, which now allows users to save time on the actions they use most often: reply, archive, and search.

India sets up social media monitoring lab – Mumbai police have set up a facility to monitor social networks for public sentiment and moods, to detect in advance possible mass gatherings or protests.

Turn a Photo Stream album into a public Web site – Photo Stream is a great way to view photos across your various iOS devices. Snap some shots on your iPhone and — boom! — thanks to Photo Stream, they can be viewed in full on your iPad. That’s how I have been using Photo Stream to date, but I’ve overlooked a feature that makes it easy to share a Photo Stream album with anyone, Apple and non-Apple folk alike. From either your iPhone or iPad, Photo Stream includes a feature that will create a quick Web site with your photos, whose link you can share as you wish.

Linux 101: Easy VNC server setup – If you need to remote into your Linux server, VNC might be the best option. Jack Wallen walks you through the steps of setting up a VNC server on an rpm-based distribution.

Rootkit coders beware: Malwarebytes is in hot pursuit – Antimalware heavy-hitter Malwarebytes is now laser-focused on eliminating rootkits. Michael P. Kassner asks the creators of MBAM what they have in mind when it comes to malware developer’s favorite tool.

Chase denies hack behind sudden account drains – Banking giant says an internal glitch is responsible for zero balances, and not a security breach as some customers suspect.

Twitter taking over the Middle East – The information network is growing fast in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, where the highest percentage of Internet users are also Twitter users.

New Pinterest tool watches, analyzes your pins – Businesses with Pinterest accounts can now see which photos are repinned and drive traffic to their sites.


One password cracked and your business is history – Imagine that an old, nearly forgotten password is the only thing standing between a hacker and your entire business…

US cryptographer sounds alarm over security – A top US cryptographer has warned that your internet connection might be grassing you up to every spook with access to a database.

Express Shipment Notification emails contain malware – Online criminals have spammed out messages, claiming to come from DHL Express International, that are designed to install malware onto the computers of unsuspecting PC users.

Making online payments safe from fraud – Patrick Lambert looks at online payment fraud. Is there a way to make payment forms both convenient and secure?

Security in a hyperconnected world – In this video (1:47), recorded at RSA Conference 2013, Qualys Chairman and CEO Philippe Courtot talks about the threats caused by intelligent devices as well as the changes required to secure this new era.

A Virtual Machine Is Still an Endpoint: The Real Risks of Virtualization – Read this eBook to learn the benefits and risks of virtualization, security options, and the business arguments for implementing virtualization security. (registration with Kaspersky required).

Google Chrome OS Linux WAS Exploited at Pwnium 2013 for $40,000 – Earlier this month, Google Chrome running Chrome OS (Linux!) was hailed as being a survivor in the Pwnium/Pwn2own event that hacked IE, Firefox and Chrome browsers on Windows. Apple’s Safari running on Mac OS X was not hacked and neither (apparently) was Chrome on Chrome OS. Google disclosed this morning that Chrome on Chrome OS had in fact been exploited – albeit, unreliably.

Data breaches in higher education – The unwanted distinction of suffering the largest reported data breach in 2012 by a U.S.-based institution of higher learning came from the University of Nebraska, which reported a breach of 654,000 records on May 25, 2012. Rounding out the 2012 Higher Education Data Breach Madness “Final Four” were the University of North Carolina (350,000), Arizona State University (300,000) and Northwest Florida State College (279,000).

Company News:

Verizon Wants to Pay for TV Channels People Actually Watch – With DVRs, online-only TV, and mobile gadgets shifting the way we consume TV, it’s not surprising that providers are experimenting with different models.

BlackBerry CEO Dismisses iPhone as Old News – With the long-awaited BlackBerry Z10 set to go on sale later this week, the company’s CEO is confident that the next-gen device can hold its own against the iPhone

RadioShack slashes prices on Galaxy S3, iPhone 5 and 4S – The retailer is offering up to $150 in savings on some of Samsung’s and Apple’s newest devices.

Pebble Shows Off Mario Watchface, SDK Coming in April – The makers of the Pebble smartwatch announced that developers will be able to get their hands on the gadget’s watchface SDK in the second week of April.

Webopedia Daily:

Nanotechnology – A field of science whose goal is to control individual atoms and molecules to create computer chips and other devices that are thousands of times smaller than current technologies permit. Current manufacturing processes use lithography to imprint circuits on semiconductor materials. While lithography has improved dramatically over the last two decades — to the point where some manufacturing plants can produce circuits smaller than one micron (1,000 nanometers) — it still deals with aggregates of millions of atoms. It is widely believed that lithography is quickly approaching its physical limits. To continue reducing the size of semiconductors, new technologies that juggle individual atoms will be necessary. This is the realm of nanotechnology.

Games and Entertainment:

From Zelda to Donkey Kong, the Best Video Game Hacks – Playing Super Mario as Pauline? Wedding proposals by homicidal AI? That’s just what happens when gamers hack into today’s most popular video games.

Let’s Look at the PS2 and PS3 Versions of Kingdom Hearts Side-by-Side – HD versions of classic PlayStation 2 titles are all the rage these days, with everything from Resident Evil 4 to Shadow of the Colossus getting a new coat of paint.

SimCity Players Can Start Downloading Their Free Game – Those affected by the recent SimCity launch disaster can begin claiming their free PC game download this week, Electronic Arts’ Maxis Label said in a Monday email to players.

The video game business is still in a slump – The video game business has endured a lot of ups and downs, and there often isn’t a gradual drop off in sales.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Viral video ad: Why (toilet) paper is better than a tablet – The war between paper and digital ends in a “no contest” in a French ad that has captured more than 2 million views in a week.

Cracked: The 4 Worst Things People Are Making with 3D Printers – When mankind mastered 3D printing technology, it was a definitive sign that the Future had arrived. Finally, we could realize our dreams. We could make anything, in any shape, at the merest press of a button. We could almost … be gods. Well, that was the idea, anyway. Instead, we’re using the hottest thing technology has to offer on stupid crap like …

Will 3D Printing Put a Gun in Your Hand? – Current advances in 3D printing technology are threatening to render gun control arguments—and proposed legislation—entirely moot.

Firearm license granted to 3D gun maker – Defense Distributed, the world’s first maker of 3D-printed guns, has managed to obtain a federal license to manufacture and market firearms in the US.

Would you hire someone with poor grammar skills? – Takeaway: Think grammar isn’t important in the world of IT? That misconception could cost you a job.

Today’s Quote:

I believe that professional wrestling is clean and everything else in the world is fixed.”

–      Frank Deford

Today’s Free Downloads:

Simply Slideshow 1.1.60 – Simply Slideshow is a simple application that enables users to display images in Pan & Zoom effects with numerous options. Unlike other slideshow software, “Simply Slideshow” is very flexible and very high performance.

EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition 5.8.5 – Free and powerful data recovery software to recover 1 GB data free of charge. It solves all data loss problems – recover files emptied from Recycle Bin, or lost due to software crash, formatted or damaged hard drive and more.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 18, 2013

Google Chrome: Best security tips for safer browsing – The browser offers unique sandboxing functions and privilege restrictions, and even updates itself in the background to help better protect you from hackers and malware. But like all browsers, Chrome is imperfect, and there are steps you can take to protect it from attack. Here’s how to get the most from Chrome’s built-in security features, and work around its security shortcomings.

FCC cracks down on campaign robocalls to cell phones – Two companies face fines of nearly $5 million for allegedly making millions of artificial voice messages without consumers’ prior consent.

Google scraps Chrome’s RSS extension along with Reader – Chrome’s best option for handling feeds already has met the same fate that will come to Google Reader. There are replacements, though.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Feedly picking up where Google Reader leaves off – Feedly is cleaning Google Reader’s plate. The reason? Feedly has made it simple for Google users to switch and retain all their Reader feeds and categories. You just sign into Feedly with your Google account credentials.

10 steps to animating clipart in PowerPoint – With a few basic skills, you can turn a piece of clipart into a purposeful message using animation. In this article, you’ll ungroup a clipart object and then animate individual pieces to create a simple spring scene. I’ve kept the example simple to keep you focused on the tools rather than the art. (This article includes instructions for PowerPoint 2003 through 2010.)

Android malware analysis tool – Bluebox Labs announced Dexter, a free tool to help researchers and enterprise security teams analyze applications for malware and vulnerabilities. The Dexter platform provides software architecture information presented through a web-based user interface.

Killing Comic Sans: 5 fonts that protect your dignity – Comic Sans has ruined graphic design for years, but now it’s time to stuff this ‘fun’ font into the shredder. Alternatives abound.

Small Business Data Backup Woes Persist: Survey – The survey of 1,012 IT decision makers, commissioned by cloud backup services provider Carbonite, unearthed some startling statistics on the state of data protection among small enterprises. Forty-five percent of respondents admitted that their organizations had suffered some form of data loss. Among the respondents who reported data loss, 54 percent said that a hardware failure was to blame. And recovering data to get their businesses back on track is turning out to be a pricey proposition for shop owners.

Two charged in theft of $40K from hacked Subway keypads – The pair allegedly sold point-of-sale terminals preloaded with remote desktop software to load value on Subway gift cards.


Infographic — Cloud Security – Ponemon Institute surveyed nearly 750 IT and IT security practitioners for the 2013 Security of Cloud Computing Users Study to see how cloud security has progressed over the past two years. The results: while security is improving, lingering doubts remain.

Flaw allows attack on Origin gamers, security researchers say – Users of Origin, the game distribution platform of Electronic Arts (EA), are vulnerable to remote code execution attacks through origin:// URLs, according to two security researchers. The vulnerability allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on Origin users’ computers by tricking them into visiting a malicious website or clicking on a specially crafted link, the researchers said. In most cases the attack will be automatic and require no user interaction, they said.

Seagate blog compromised, leads to Blackhole and malware – A blog of well-known hard disk drive manufacturer Seagate has been compromised to contain malicious iFrame injections that redirect users to websites hosting the Blackhole exploit kit, warns Sophos. Even though the compromise has been spotted late last month and Seagate has been informed of it, the company has still not reacted and cleaned the blog up.

‘NotCompatible’ Android malware showing rise in activity – The “NotCompatible” malware, designed to infect Android devices and turn them into unwitting Web proxies, is suddenly showing a sharp uptick in activity, according to mobile security vendor Lookout. The malware is essentially a simple network proxy, which pretends to be a system update in order to get unwitting users to install it. The idea seems to be gaining access to protected networks through victims’ infected Android devices.

Spam sources cluster in ‘Bad Neighborhoods,’ report says – Fewer than two dozen “bad neighborhoods” on the Internet are responsible for almost 50 percent of the world’s spam, according to a research report [PDF] released last week. Of the countries where spamming hosts were found, 20 percent were in India, said the study of more than 42,000 ISPs worldwide. India is followed by Vietnam and Brazil, both with a 7 percent share of spamming IP addresses.

Company News:

Apple Continues Android Offensive, Launches ‘Why iPhone’ Webpage – Apple’s latest site, also emailed to its customers, highlights 12 different reasons why the iPhone rocks.

Google’s Schmidt to Visit Myanmar to Promote Web Access – After traveling to North Korea in January to spread a message about Internet openness, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is now taking his crusade to Myanmar.

Linksys brand name survives as Belkins takes over from Cisco – Belkin completed its acquisition of Linksys on Friday and will keep the longtime home networking company’s brand, products and support channels. Cisco Systems agreed to sell Linksys to privately held Belkin in January for an undisclosed price. The move continued a shift by Cisco away from consumer products and toward large architectures for enterprises and service providers.

Apple Selling Refurbished 4th-Gen iPad, iPad Mini – Apple has started selling refurbished versions of its latest iPad lineup, which could help you save between $30-$50.

IBM Partners With Boston in Developing Smarter Cities Projects – The city of Boston, Boston University and Massachusetts are leveraging IBM software to improve operations and cut costs.

Webopedia Daily:

Enterprise cloud backup – Enterprise-grade cloud backup solutions typically add essential features such as archiving and disaster recovery to cloud backup solutions. Archiving features help to satisfy an enterprise’s legal requirements for data retention, and as part of a company’s disaster recovery plan, the remote, off-site storage provided by cloud backup helps ensure the data remains safe should the enterprise’s local data be jeopardized by a disaster such as a fire, flood, hacker attack or employee theft.

Games and Entertainment:

The Best PS3 Games – The PS4 is coming soon, but the PS3 is still a great console. Here are 10 reasons why.

Gears of War: Judgment: Old dog, new tricks – In Gears of War: Judgment a few new gameplay mechanics and some fresh faces add some longevity to a series that has just about run out of gas on Xbox 360.

Valve’s Steam Box: The plot thickens for PC-based game consoles – For a product that’s received so much attention from the technology press, it’s astounding how little we actually know about Valve’s Steam Box, the half-PC, half-console hardware concept that could potentially redefine the video gaming landscape.

Saints Row 4 August Release Date Confirmed, Preview Trailer Launched – The ever-crazy Saints Row series – which takes the normal, one-person-army motif of Grand Theft Auto-like games and injects it with an absurd amount of, well, absurdity – is getting its fourth official incarnation for consoles and the PC, but you’re going to have to wait a little bit before you can terrorize yet another city. According to publisher Deep Silver, Saints Row 4 is going to officially hit stores on August 20.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Internet of Things Worth $14.4 Trillion – Cisco detailed its views on the IoT during its Editors Day event, parading out a Padmasree Warriorconga line of distinguished technologists and engineers to talk about the future connected world. “The value at stake of the Internet of Everything is $14.4 Trillion,” Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s president of Development and Sales, said during the event.

We Should Have Killed These Internet Pioneers Back In the 1990s – I am a newspaperman. Before my freelancing days, my business card had the name of my paper, and under that it said my own name, and then: “Staff Writer.” These days, I’m barely getting by as a freelancer, and my business card has a little graphic of a quill by my name. I often think about how different the media landscape would be if newspapers had invested in killing off the “Web content” people once they became a clear danger to journalism. (suggested by Michael F.)

White spaces networks are not “super” nor even Wi-Fi – The government is hoping that making a band of unlicensed spectrum available as part of the upcoming incentive auctions will help build a nationwide wireless network. Is that the best use of that spectrum? (suggested by Aseem S.)

Ask Alex: Tech Etiquette Tips You Can Use – Mastering the art of digital sarcasm; Can your dysfunctional Facebook friendship be salvaged?; The politics of interoffice online dating……

Ekso Bionics Offers a Way Out of the Wheelchair – Take the battery-powered Ekso bionic suit for an eye-opening walkabout.

Today’s Quote:

“Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.”

–    Terry Pratchett

Today’s Free Downloads:

Memtest86 4.2.0 – Memtest86 is a thorough, stand alone memory test for x86 architecture computers. BIOS based memory tests are a quick, cursory check and often miss many of the failures that are detected by Memtest86.

DropIt 5.5 – You can configure DropIt to do 8 different actions to your files and folders (Move, Copy, Compress, Extract, Rename, Open With, Delete and Exclude), filtering files by name, extension, location, size and/or date.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 17, 2013

FBI Files Unlock History Behind Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool – FBI documents show how easy it is for them to monitor your movements using cellphones. It was described recently by one rights group as a “secretive new surveillance tool.” But documents just released by the FBI suggest that a clandestine cellphone tracking device known as the “Stingray” has been deployed across the United States for almost two decades—despite questions over its legality.

Teach your old iPod new tricks: Six unauthorized upgrades – Got an old iPod sitting around gathering dust? (In fact, maybe you even have three or four of them.) If so, here are 7 fun things you can do with yesterday’s classic iPods to give them new life.

Quick Tip: Remove shared permissions in SkyDrive – Donovan Colbert shows you a quick way to remove permissions to all files in a single shared SkyDrive folder.

Hitting the Computer Information Technology Motherload With The NEW – If you are not familiar with Bookmarks4Techs, I suggest that you bookmark or blogroll it for future reference. Bookmarks4Techs is one of the largest indexes of tech sites on the internet (over 600 links). If you are looking for information regarding software, apps, android, apple, windows, hardware, gadgets, tech news, tech blogs; then you hit the mother load with …

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Apple refurbs start to hit the street – Consumers want cheaper tablets and even Apple has given in to the trend, with the introduction of the iPad mini last year. Now it is going a step further, by selling refurbished iPads online.

Get started with Twitter for Windows 8 – The new Twitter app for Windows 8 has some familiar features as well as a few new ones that are specific to Windows 8.

Infographic: Is Google a Monopoly? – Or are they just out innovating other search engines?

Airport posts Facebook pic of crash to boast about safety – England’s Luton airport decides a fun way of claiming that it is always prepared for snow is to post an image of a plane crash in which a child died.

Camera phone comparison; HTC One, BlackBerry Z10, iPhone 5, Lumia 920, and Note II – You can’t replace your point and shoot with most camera phones, but they do the job for social media and online sharing. As you can see, most any of these phones have decent cameras.

Mobile computing and social media innovation can mean less user control – The Internet freaked out this week after Google announced the closure of its cloud-based RSS reader, Google Reader. What Google Reader and RSS fans fear is not the loss of a good service and a great format. They fear the loss of control. They fear a future in which decisions about what they see, watch, read and listen to are determined by secret algorithms and the whims of the social media masses. It’s not an unreasonable fear: The taking away of control from the user is the way the whole industry is going.

Connect to your Zoho Docs cloud from your Android tablet – Jack Wallen takes a look at Zoho Docs, a free application that lets you view, upload, share, and tag documents in your Zoho Docs cloud account from your Android tablet.

The first four rules of social media for business – Before launching your company’s social media initiative, read and take to heart these quotes to make sure you start off on a good footing.


Two charged with gift-card hacking scheme – Two California men face charges in Massachusetts of hacking into point-of-sale computers at Subway restaurants and adding more than $40,000 in value to gift cards, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

New Trojan Malware Encrypts All Files, Demands Ransom – According to a Net article, a new ransomware malware called the ArchiveLock Trojan targets PCs to be attacked via the Internet and then proceeds to encrypt all files on the computer, and rigs the computer so that restoring the data to useable form is not possible.

Sophisticated Trojan horses target banks, Symantec says – The financial sector is under threat from increasingly sophisticated malware attacks a Symantec report has claimed, with many security solutions ineffective against modern Trojans. The report claims that criminal groups responsible for the attacks have become more knowledgeable about the financial sector as attacks have become more sophisticated, and are supported by a service industry of widely available malware.

Has HTTPS finally been cracked? Five researchers deal SSL/TLS a biggish blow – Cryptographers have once again put SSL/TLS (that’s the padlock in HTTPS) in their gunsights and opened fire. This time, they’ve done some severe damage.

Cyber crime punishment questioned by Internet advocacy group – The Electronic Frontier Foundation isn’t defending the alleged actions of Matthew Keys, a former Tribune Company employee who could face as much as 25 years of jail time over federal charges accusing him of conspiring with members of Anonymous to hack into a Tribune website. But the San Francisco-based advocacy group says current law means cyber crimes are often prosecuted much more severely than crimes of violence.

North Korea restores Internet access, blames US hackers – Internet connectivity to North Korea was restored Friday after a day-and-a-half-long outage that the country’s official media blamed on international hacking. Connections to the Star, North Korea’s sole Internet service provider, hit problems on Wednesday when websites became inaccessible from outside the country. The sites remained largely offline throughout the incident, although occasionally made brief returns.

Company News:

Facebook shuts off data tap to startup MessageMe app – Facebook slapped a “dislike” on startup MessageMe on Friday when it barred the app from accessing data from the social network. Facebook cut off MessageMe’s access to the social network’s “Find Friends” functionality sometime on Friday, less than a week after the mobile messaging app was launched, according to TechCrunch.

Apple sued over sound tech by George Lucas’ THX – The audio-and-visual tech firm founded by Lucas claims Apple is infringing on a speaker patent in its iPhone, iPad, and iMac products.

What’s Going On with Nintendo’s Wii U? – Last night, as part of its monthly ritual, retail-tracker NPD Group released its estimates of February’s video game hardware and software sales.

Engadget Opens First Ever Expand Tech Show in SF – Sponsored by Microsoft, Lenovo, and Toyota, two-day event to feature the likes of Ouya’s Julie Uhrman, Nest’s Matt Rogers, Microsoft Kinect for Windows director Bob Heddle.

Webopedia Daily:

Ransomware – Ransomware is a form of malware in which rogue software code effectively holds a user’s computer hostage until a “ransom” fee is paid. Ransomware often infiltrates a PC as a computer worm or Trojan horse that takes advantage of open security vulnerabilities. Most ransomware attacks are the result of clicking on an infected e-mail attachment or visiting a hacked website. Upon compromising a computer, ransomware will typically either lock a user’s system or encrypt files on the computer and then demand payment before the system or files will be restored.

Games and Entertainment:

EA Defends SimCity’s Always-On Approach – Electronic Arts today defended its decision to require an “always on” environment for the recently released SimCity, arguing that that the move is key to its vision for the game, boosts performance, and will be instrumental for upcoming, social-based upgrades.

Review: Heart of the Swarm a big step in StarCraft II’s evolution – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm doesn’t just upgrade and expand the exceptional StarCraft formula—it also hacks, cuts, and refines the core gameplay. The good news: With series antihero Sarah Kerrigan as its star, this expansion pack to 2010’s Wings of Liberty makes the original game better, improves the multiplayer, and progresses the story in new and interesting ways.

How playing video games can help improve visual search – Researchers at the University of Toronto claim that playing shooting or driving videogames, even for a relatively short time, can help improve player ability to search for a target hidden among irrelevant distractions in complex scenes.

Battlefield 4 reveal set for March 26 – According to an official invitation sent to Gamespot, Electronic Arts and DICE plan to “celebrate a new era of Battlefield” at an upcoming Battlefield 4 event in San Francisco on March 26 at 7 p.m. PT. The event occurs during the 2013 Game Developers Conference that takes place from March 25-29.

Jurassic Park 4 finally has a director – A fourth Jurassic Park movie has been in the works for some time now, and it’s a trip to think the groundbreaking first installment is now twenty years old.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Security Engineering – The second edition of Ross Anderson’s fantastic book, “Security Engineering,” is now free online. Required reading for any security engineer.

Danger Lurks in Growing New Internet Nationalism – For technology that was supposed to ignore borders, bring the world closer together, and sidestep the influence of national governments the Internet is fostering an awful lot of nationalism right now. We’ve started to see increased concern about the country of origin of IT products and services; U.S. companies are worried about hardware from China; European companies are worried about cloud services in the U.S; no one is sure whether to trust hardware and software from Israel; Russia and China might each be building their own operating systems out of concern about using foreign ones.

Paradox of Hoaxes: How Errors Persist, Even When Corrected – Knowledge changes around us all the time. Yet we don’t always have the most up-to-date facts. This is true, I’d argue, even in an age of instant and massive information. Despite our unprecedented ability to rapidly learn new things and crowdfix mistakes, Knowledge and its sinister twin Error continue to propagate in complex and intriguing ways. Errors persist among us for far longer than they should and even when there is more accurate knowledge elsewhere. Newer knowledge does not spread as fast as it should and weaves its way unevenly throughout society.

Cracked: The 5 Biggest Badass Popes – It used to be that to become pope, you had to sit pantsless in a horseshoe-shaped chair and let a couple of cardinals see if you had the goods. Back then, the Papacy was reserved for the hardasses, guys you wouldn’t mess with–the gangsters, the demon-summoners, the corpse-digger-uppers. Here are the ones we consider the biggest badasses. And, no, we didn’t make any of this up.

Big data roadblocks will slow adoption of driverless cars, analyst says – Privacy, cybersecurity and safety are the first concerns that come to mind when autonomous cars are discussed. But another problem with just as much of an impact lurks around the corner, and leaves plenty of questions to be answered. “It’s extremely valuable data,” Brennan says. “I can’t argue that point. That data will be worth a lot, and it’s still not clear, again, how the consumer will play out.”

Today’s Quote:

Nobody believes the official spokesman… but everybody trusts an unidentified source.”

–       Ron Nesen

Today’s Free Downloads:

PrivaZer 1.8 – With PrivaZer you can master your security and freedom, free up disk space and keep your PC fit and secure. PrivaZer also shows you exactly what can still be recovered of your past activities on your home or work PC.

MadAppLauncher – MadAppLauncher is a simple application launcher. Group applications, folders, scripts, etc. with ease. It supports drag and drop and manual editing.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 16, 2013

Get Norton AntiVirus 2013 (3 PCs) free after rebate – Widely praised as the best malware removal and prevention tool, it normally sells for around $50. Newegg has Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2013 for 3 PCs for free. That’s after paying $45 and redeeming a $45 mail-in rebate (PDF), which comes in the form of a prepaid debit card. (And, please, don’t tell me it’s “not really free.” That’s Symantec semantics, people.)

Security reporter hit by ‘swatting’ attack – A well-respected computer security reporter says he was the target of a con that sent an armed SWAT team to his front door. “Swatting” is what you do to a fly that’s buzzing around your head. But when that fly is respected security reporter Brian Krebs, swatting is what you do to him when you want to scare him and possibly cause him serious physical harm.

Why Do Chrome Extensions Need to Access All My Data? – Extensions are an amazing way to customize your Chrome experience, but some of them ask for a lot of data for no apparent reason. I talked with programmer Joe Flores and Meldium co-founder Boris Jabes to get insight into how permissions work, and see if it’s something you should be worried about or not.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Get your company started with Evernote for Business – If your staffers simply need a note-taking application, Evernote is an obvious choice—it’s the 800-pound gorilla, having grown in five years to 50 million users. But the program also offers an eclectic assortment of productivity features, and this is where its utility in business environments is much less obvious.

Enhance photos with sound – When sharing photos with your friends and family, why not add a sound effect or a voice caption to narrate what they’re looking at? In this Tech Minute, CNET’s Kara Tsuboi reports on two of her favorite smartphone apps that allow you to include sound with images.

Throw ideas against a virtual wall with Padlet – Web app Padlet calls itself a “multimedia friendly, free-form, real-time wiki.” Which is to say, it’s a blank canvas where you can throw ideas around with a virtual group. Each participant can post his or her thoughts, along with any files, photos, videos, and links that pertain to the discussion.

How to Share Your Wi-Fi Network with Friends, No Password Typing Required – If your friend wants to get on your Wi-Fi, you don’t have to share your (possibly long and confusing) password. Here’s how to generate a QR code containing your network password and have them log on in one snap.

After Reader, which Google services will be next to fall? – Whether you were a Google Reader fan or not, the key questions are: Which other Google services are on the chopping block? Which ones either see their popularity on a similar decline, or just aren’t profitable enough? Put another way: If Google is willing to kill its products, should we feel safe using them? The answer is complicated.

HBO and top Microsoft’s new Flash blacklist – The good news for anyone who uses Internet Explorer 10 is that Microsoft’s new blacklist for sites that use Adobe Flash content is small. Only a dozen sites made the “Dirty Dozen Flash Domains.” But one of them is a media giant and the other is a superstar of tech news.

Opinion: CISPA isn’t the evil, privacy-infringing legislation you think it is – A bill that would foster stronger cyber security by enabling government and private sector companies to share information is facing opposition from privacy and civil liberties groups. The controversy is misguided, though, and the legislation is a step in the right direction.

The eight-core era arrives – Samsung is set to start making its Exynos 5 Octa and other chipmakers aren’t far behind, even though few apps are designed to really take advantage of many-core processors. The real reason mobile chipmakers are pushing eight cores may simply be because they can.

Ubuntu Linux 13.04 ‘Raring Ringtail’ hits beta 1 – Ubuntu 13.04 is now technically in beta, but the only variations with actual beta images to see are Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, UbuntuKylin, Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu.

Telly is more than just a Vine clone – Social-video apps are more popular than ever, but with Telly you get more options and features than are currently available in other popular apps.


Reckless IT pros are missing security holes in non-Microsoft software – Secunia reports that only 14 percent of the vulnerabilities found in the 50 most popular programs last year were in Microsoft products while 86 percent were in third-party software.

New ZeuS-based modular rootkit offered to cybercriminals – Some plugins are already available – a DDoS module, a HOSTS File Modifier module, a Back Connect Hosts module (to allow cybercriminals to connect and abuse hosts behind a NAT), and a module to convert the malware-infected hosts into anonymization proxies. The price? Between $50 and $380. The bot with the rootkit functionality is sold for $1,500, and the buyer gets a user manual with it. The bot’s control panel is simple, and all the interactions with the admin panel are encrypted.

Researcher: Hackers can cause traffic jams by manipulating real-time traffic data – Hackers can influence real-time traffic-flow-analysis systems to make people drive into traffic jams or to keep roads clear in areas where a lot of people use Google or Waze navigation systems, a German researcher demonstrated at BlackHat Europe.

3G and 4G USB modems are a security threat, researcher says – The vast majority of 3G and 4G USB modems handed out by mobile operators to their customers are manufactured by a handful of companies and run insecure software, according to two security researchers from Russia.

Hacker swarm attacks dummy critical infrastructure honeypot – Fake industrial control systems set up test the vulnerability of internet connected critical national infrastructure came under sustained attack, with the majority of attacks originating in China.

Apple Fixes OS X Flaw That Allowed Java Apps to Run With Plugin Disabled – Apple on Thursday released a large batch of security fixes for its OS X operating system, one of which patches a flaw that allowed Java Web Start applications to run even when users had Java disabled in the browser. OS X 10.8.3 fixes 21 total vulnerabilities, and also includes a new version of the malware removal tool for Apple machines.

Ramnit Malware Back and Better at Avoiding Detection – The Ramnit malware family has been given a facelift with new anti-detection capabilities, a troubleshooting module, as well as enhanced encryption and malicious payloads.

Company News:

Belkin completes Linksys deal; looking towards tackling smarter homes – With new Linksys products promised to roll out this spring, Belkin’s focus for the unit is going to center around networking solutions for mobile devices and smart homes.

LogMeIn limits freeloaders to 10 PCs. So what? – A little over a week ago, LogMeIn Product Specialist Sean Keough announced a change to the company’s LogMeIn Free remote-access product: Instead of using it on unlimited PCs, customers would be limited to 10 PCs each.

Dropbox adds a Mailbox to build out mobile services portfolio – Dropbox’s purchase of Mailbox offers another glimpse at the cloud company’s evolving mobile strategy.

Coming soon: The Samsung Phone platform – Samsung’s roadmap to completely obscure the fact it uses Google’s OS is almost complete. Samsung Phone will be coming soon to a smartphone and tablet near you.

Facebook promotes Mike Schroepfer to CTO – A former VP of engineering at the social network, Schroepfer steps into the company’s empty chief technical officer position.

Webopedia Daily:

Cloud provisioning – The deployment of a company’s cloud computing strategy, which typically first involves selecting which applications and services will reside in the public cloud and which will remain on site behind the firewall or in the private cloud. Cloud provisioning also entails developing the processes for interfacing with the cloud’s applications and services as well as auditing and monitoring who accesses and utilizes the resources. The most common reference to cloud provisioning is when a company seeks to transition some or all of its existing applications to the cloud without having to significantly re-architect or re-engineer the applications.

Games and Entertainment:

What I’m Playing: Fishing with chainsaws and strolling through the forest after dark – Welcome to the weekend! Here’s a few of the mobile games I’ve been playing all week that I think are worth your time and money. Of course, hundreds of new games grace Google Play and the iOS App Store every week, so I’ve likely missed a few hidden gems.

Lego City: Undercover: The kid-friendly ‘GTA’ – If you don’t mind waiting for the game to load, Lego City: Undercover has a lot of fun packed inside, even if most of the gameplay is stuff you might have seen before.

Release of Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs film pushed back – The film, starring Ashton Kutcher as late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, was originally set for release next month.

EA’s Real Racing 3 a hit despite ‘freemium’ gripes – The mobile racing simulator boasts more downloads in its first week than Real Racing and Real Racing 2 combined. Also, don’t expect a Real Racing 4 anytime soon; there are no plans for one.

Is Darth Vader the world’s favorite ‘Star Wars’ character? – It’s Light Side vs. Dark Side in Lucasfilm’s “This is Madness” tournament-bracket style competition to see who is the all-time favorite “Star Wars” character.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Erin Go Bragh! – It’s St. Paddy’s Day again, my Irish friends. While Ireland is most often recognized for its Guinness, Whiskey, Corned Beef, a distinctive style of folk dancing, leprechauns, drinking songs and firey Red-haired women, it’s also often overlooked as a source of some key developments in Science and Industry. Let’s take a look at the top contributions to tech from the Emerald Isle.

4D printing – the new frontier – Autodesk, academia and coming-of-age firms like Stratsys and Organovo are all collaborating on an incredible new dimension on creation with programable materials

Tattoo Body Map: What Your Bad Decision Says About You – Tattoos are reverse time machines: with time travel you can send a warning back to your younger self, with tattoos you send a mistake forward to your older self.

The Thrill is Gone: Why the Galaxy S4 is just another Android device – Nice hardware. But where’s the innovation? The disruption?

RSS inventor doesn’t see what all the fuss is about closing Google Reader – As far as Dave Winer, one of RSS’s creators, is concerned, Google turning off Google Reader isn’t a big deal. The potential for Google to control the news flow is what he finds worrisome.

Today’s Quote:

Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”

–     Malcolm X

Today’s Free Downloads:

VirtualBox 4.2.10 – VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

FotoMix 9.2.1 – FotoMix is a versatile program that allows you to mix and manipulate different pictures, to create a wide variety of images.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 15, 2013

Video: How to secure your home Wi-Fi network (video 1:50) – Unsecure networks allow neighbors or anyone within range to use your Internet connection. That will slow it down, make you more vulnerable to hacking or, even worse, have your connection used for illegal activity. In this IDG News Tech Tip video, we’ll go beyond simply setting a password, and talk about three security options available in most modern base stations—WEP, WPA and WPA2. We’ll also show you how to find out which one of those you’re using as well as how to stop your base station from broadcasting its SSID—the name you see when you scan for a WiFi network.

Facebook unfriends CISPA cybersecurity bill over ‘privacy’ – Authors of cybersecurity bill criticized for privacy invasions used Facebook’s enthusiasm to attract political support in D.C. Now the company’s execs have backed away from CISPA.

8 Google Reader alternatives for your PC – Google Reader will be shut down as of July 1, but never fear. Here are eight desktop and laptop alternatives to keep track of your favorite Web site updates.

Three Lessons from the Death of Google Reader – Google’s decision to shut down Google Reader has left some in the tech world feeling battered and bruised.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Backing up your entire drive: Cloning vs. imaging – Both cloning and imaging create an exact record of your drive or partition. I’m not just talking about the files, but the master boot record, allocation table, and everything else needed to boot and run your operating system. This isn’t necessary for protecting your data–a simple file backup will handle that job just fine. But should your hard drive crash or Windows become hopelessly corrupt, a clone or image backup can quickly get you back to work.

Create a custom recovery image for Windows 8’s Refresh your PC tool – Greg Shultz shows you how to use Recimg in the command line to create a custom recovery image for Windows 8’s Refresh your PC tool.

The S4: Samsung’s unstoppable hit – There’s so much momentum behind the Galaxy S franchise that Samsung could have put out nearly anything and had a hit on its hands.

7 Cool Browser Tricks – Most people think of browser as a flavor-free portal software, one the same as the next. Wrong! Each browser has at least one cool party trick.

Mint Your Money – We keep looking for something better, but Mint is the best personal finance software available. It’s free and ad-supported, but even the ads add value to a fantastic tool for managing your money.

Make your PC kid-friendly with four custom operating systems – For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to run through Qimo, Edubuntu, DoudouLinux, and KIDO’Z. All of these operating systems limit what your PC can access, so it’s easier to keep tabs on what kids are doing. Of course, none of these tools are an adequate substitute for real hands-on parenting with tech-savvy tykes, but they’re far more powerful, user-friendly, and educational than the parental controls baked into Windows.

A New Advertising Model for All – A fuss erupted today over the announcement that Google is removing all the ad-blocking software from Google Play. Given the state of advertising today, Google should instead ask why people need or want this software. The current discussion about ad-blockers is going to forgo the inevitable. In all contexts, advertising has to change.

Facebook Users Trying to Be Private Face ‘Sisyphean’ Feat – While Facebook users have been increasingly discreet, the information they’re sharing has increased “exponentially,” a new report says.


Seagate’s blog pushes malware on unsuspecting visitors via rogue Apache modules – SophosLabs informed Seagate of the issue back in February, but at the time of writing the site remains infected. Two weeks ago, Fraser Howard reported how rogue Apache modules were pushing iFrame injections with the intention of driving traffic to the notorious Blackhole exploit kit. SophosLabs has seen countless victims of this attack, with Mal/Iframe-AL remaining the most prevalent of the web threats encountered. Seagate is just one of the high profile examples of a site that has been hit.

Bill Gates’s social security number, address, credit report and more published by hackers – Bill Gates is the latest celebrity to have had his personal information published on a website that has exposed the social security numbers, addresses and personal financial information of a number of people in the public eye.

Fake Pope Twitter account proves malicious potential of breaking news – A Twitter account (@JMBergoglio) using his name and photo was promptly discovered, and as many users considered it to be legitimate, it attracted over 100,000 followers in just a day. Luckily for the followers, the individual behind the account wasn’t set on promoting malicious links, but this example shows just how easy it is for scammers to find a way of reaching hundreds of thousands of users by simply taking advantage of the massive interest some global events garner.

Encrypting Trojan targets users, demands $5,000 – Russian anti-virus company Doctor Web is warning users of an active ransomware campaign executed through brute force attack via the RDP protocol on target machines. Then the Trojan presents the victim with a long message, explaining the situation and asking $5,000 for the password that would decrypt the archives

Ex-Tribune staffer accused of conspiring in Anonymous hack – A former Tribune Company employee could face as much as 25 years of jail time over federal charges accusing him of conspiring with members of the hacker group Anonymous to hack into a Tribune website.

NIST National Vulnerability Database down due to malware – U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Vulnerability Database is unavailable, and has been since they discovered malware on some of its servers last Friday.

Company News:

Digg Building Google Reader RSS Replacement – Digg today confirmed rumors that it will create its own RSS service, announcing in a blog entry that it hopes to complete the project in the 109 days left until Google Reader close..

Spin control: Apple goes on offense against Android – On the eve of Samsung’s big Galaxy S4 launch, Apple’s marketing head decides that it’s time to talk trash. Expect more of the same for 2013.

AMD wins big time with Wells Fargo – While many in the known universe have written off AMD, it seems the fabless chipmaker has been given the thumbs up by the former pony express courier Wells Fargo. Now turned bankers and analysts, Wells Fargo have claimed that there is gold in them thar AMD hills and have claimed the outfit will outperform expectations this year.

Facebook to finally add hashtags, says WSJ – Catching up to Twitter and other rivals, the company will incorporate hashtags into its network, The Wall Street Journal reports.

HTC mounts smartphone attack in Manhattan – Troubled smartphone maker HTC is not giving in yet. It used the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch event to stage a guerrilla marketing event of its own. HTC can’t take on Samsung in a set piece battle or in a war of attrition, but it seems eager to fight on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets. The streets of New York that is.

Netflix Offers $100,000 for Cloud Computing Improvements – Netflix is challenging global developers to improve the features, usability, quality, reliability, and security of cloud computing, and will hand over $100,000 to the teams that can do it best.

Webopedia Daily:

SSID – service set identifier – SSID is a case sensitive, 32 alphanumeric character unique identifier attached to the header of packets sent over a wireless local-area network (WLAN) that acts as a password when a mobile device tries to connect to the basic service set (BSS) — a component of the IEEE 802.11 WLAN architecture. The SSID differentiates one WLAN from another, so all access points and all devices attempting to connect to a specific WLAN must use the same SSID to enable effective roaming. As part of the association process, a wireless client must have the same SSID as the one put in the access point or it will not be permitted to join the BSS.

Games and Entertainment:

Redbox Instant Streaming Opens in Public Beta – Verizon today launched the public beta version of its Redbox Instant movie service, throwing its hat into the movie streaming ring to take on rival heavyweights Netflix and Amazon. The service provides four one-night DVD rentals and unlimited video streaming for an $8 monthly subscription fee. A Blu-ray option will be available for $1 extra per month.

Collecting live music in the digital age – On June 19, 1976, the Grateful Dead played the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey, kicking off the first set with a great run of “Help on the Way,” “Slipknot!” “Franklin’s Tower,” and “The Music Never Stopped” before launching into a spirited version of “Brown-Eyed Women.” I know it because I’ve listened to a recording of the show many times. Fans recorded it during its live broadcast on WOUR Utica and WNEW New York, and a soundboard recording is also in circulation. This performance and thousands of other concerts by a multitude of artists are part of my collection of live music, amassed in various formats over the past 20 years—and aided by a changing trading scene that has gone both digital and online.

Vimeo launches pay-to-watch video service – Vimeo on Demand allows video producers to choose how much they will charge viewers for their movie, how long it’s available to watch, and which countries it’s available for viewing. The service has been in the works for a few months, before Vimeo announced at this week’s South by Southwest Interactive + Film Festival in Austin, Texas. It is now available to all Vimeo’s Pro subscribers.

Hands on with Marvel’s new subscription comics app – With Saturday’s release of the new Marvel Unlimited iOS app (an Android app is forthcoming), Marvel’s subscription service has a new name and a home on mobile devices at last. Marvel Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital, Peter Phillips, admits that his team has been anxious to get the service off of Flash for some time. “We wish we could’ve done it a little bit faster,” Phillips said. “This app offers a much better user experience and provides access to a lot more digital comics.”

Pre-orders for Razer Edge Pro halted due to overwhelming demand – Razer’s Project Fiona gaming tablet went up for pre-order earlier this month. However, pre-orders have now been put on hold due to overwhelming demand.

Off Topic (Sort of):

INFOGRAPHIC: Users weighed down by multiple gadgets – survey reveals the most carried devices – Just how many devices does the average person carry on them? Which country loves their laptops? And who will come out on top – iPhone or Android? See what our survey says about your most favorite gadgets.

A Day in the Life of an Italian Deli in New York City – “We no serve tomatoes, we no serve avocados, no liverwurst, ketchup, mayo …” Walter Momentè says. “This is no regular deli! We try to keep it as Italian as possible.” This short documentary from the New Yorkers series follows Momentè through an average day, sourcing authentic ingredients from local businesses, making stops at two bakeries for various kinds of bread. (suggested by Michael F.)

Doctors used silicone fingers to fool fingerprint scanner – Fingerprint scanners might not work with severed fingers, but artificial ones still manage to fool them, as proved by the recent discovery of a fraudulent scheme set up by doctors working in the Ferraz de Vasconcelos hospital in the Sao Paulo state in Brazil.

Talking, Texting While Driving More Common in U.S. Than Europe – Drivers in the U.S. are more often texting and talking on the phone while behind the wheel than their counterparts in several European countries, according to a new study.

Coming soon: Self-healing chips for smartphones, computers? – A team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology) said they now can envision smartphone and computer chips not only defending themselves but also repairing themselves, recovering from trouble—like total transistor failure—in microseconds. The scientists reported that they destroyed different parts of their self-healing chips, which were running power amplifiers, with a high-power laser and then watched the chips automatically develop a work-around to bypass the damage in less than a second.

Today’s Quote:

“Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”

–     Bill Gates

Today’s Free Downloads:

Better troubleshooting with SysExporter for Windows – NirSoft has done a fine job with this freeware gem. SysExporter is a must-have for those who wish to inspect window elements at the object level for diagnostic and data harvesting needs. The utility is also portable, thus it can be loaded right onto a thumb drive and launched at will, ready to serve on command. It should also be noted that this tool is incredibly small, 45 kilobytes in size, and is incredibly fast.

Flagfox 4.2.7 – Flagfox is an extension that displays a flag icon indicating the current webserver’s physical location. Knowing where you’re connected to adds an extra layer of awareness to your browsing.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 14, 2013

Privacy backlash against CISPA cybersecurity bill gains traction – A petition to the White House asking the president to “stop” a controversial cybersecurity bill passes the 100,000 mark. The only problem: President Obama has already threatened to veto it.

Dropbox 2.0 – The Windows client for the popular online file-hosting and file-sharing service updates to version 2.0 with new sharing and notification features and a revamped interface.

Spy agencies to be granted access to US citizen finances – The financial data of American citizens is set to be open season for spy agencies as the fight against terrorism and cybercrime continues.

CEOs ask Obama for soft approach to cyberattacks – On Wednesday, President Obama and his security advisors met with leaders hailing from the technology, finance and energy industries to discuss how the government should respond to such risks. While corporate figures agreed that action had to be taken, they did request a flexible, “light touch” from the government when it comes to future legislation, according to Reuters.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Open-source and free software: Free, as in beer – The difference in reasons why people who create, manage, and develop open-source and free software, and why end users consume it is a major philosophical disconnect.

Convert Chrome tabs to a list to save memory and your sanity – With the OneTab extension for Chrome, you can better manage that clutter of open tabs, saving system memory in the process.

The ultimate Linux starter kit for small business – Linux machines can save your business cold, hard cash. Here’s how to pick the best OS and apps for yourself, your workers and your IT pros.

Google Reader Is Shutting Down; Here Are the Best Alternatives – Google announced today that it’ll be closing Google Reader’s doors on July 1st of this year, meaning you’ll need to find a new way to get your news fix. Here’s how to export all your feeds and put them into a new reader.

Google Glass: Everything You Need to Know – We’re just coming up on the one-year point since its unveiling, so it’s a great time to summarize everything we know about Google Glass; here are the key facts.

BleachBit offers free, comprehensive disk cleaning and privacy protection – There are so many system cleaners out there, you could pack a Start screen with them. They’re not all equally good, though, and some are have restrictions for business use. CCleaner and PC Decrapifier are among the best, but they are not completely free to use in a professional setting. Businesses wishing to use either of these have to pay up. If you’re a business user looking for a truly free system cleaner, one interesting option is open-source, cross-platform BleachBit

Know the Difference Between “To” and “CC” in an Email – You’d think email is old enough to be considered common sense by now, but it has a lot of basic etiquette rules that people just don’t follow. Productivity weblog GTD Times points out a simple one: knowing the difference between “To” and “CC.”

HDMI vs. DisplayPort: Which interface reigns supreme? – Both specs can handle high-def video and audio, so what’s the difference? And which is best for your next PC and display?

Netflix Finally Adds U.S. Facebook Integration – After overcoming a regulatory hurdle, Netflix announced today that U.S. users can now link their Facebook accounts to Netflix. The move means users can share what they’re watching on Netflix’s streaming service with their Facebook friends via new “Friends’ Favorites” and “Watched by your friends” rows on Netflix.

Facebook, Twitter called out for deleting photo metadata – Photographers turning to social networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote their work may be losing the legal rights to their photos because the sites are deleting the images’ metadata. The deletion of such data is a problem for professional photographers because the metadata often includes key information such as who owns the image’s copyright, the photographer’s name, captions and other descriptive data.

Anatomy of a problem – Bitcoin loses 25% in value due to a long-missed bug – Bitcoin is an algorithmic currency, backed not by printed banknotes or government assurances, but by a database of cryptographic proofs-of-work. That’s fancy talk for: find a block of data that produces a cryptographic hash with a specific bit pattern (this gets harder and harder as you lock more bits into the pattern); convince a majority of other participants you’ve come up with a solution; and add the new proof-of-work into a blockchain. (Don’t know what Bitcoin is? This will give you a good overview.)


Issue with SWFUploader Could Lead to XSS Vulnerabilities, Content Spoofing – Many versions of SWFUpload – an applet that combines Flash and JavaScript that’s used in millions of websites, including WordPress sites- are vulnerable to content spoofing and a cross-site scripting vulnerability that could lead to the takeover of accounts, according to reports this week.

New Google site aims to help webmasters of hacked sites – Google has launched a site for webmasters whose sites have been hacked, something that the company says happens thousands of times every day. The new site features articles and videos designed to help webmasters identify, diagnose and recover from hacks.

Published celeb credit reports came from government-mandated website – U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and socialite Kris Jenner are four additional victims of the hackers who set up a site and posted on it confidential personal and financial information of a slew of celebrities and politicians.

Adobe patches Flash again, but not the flaws exploited at Pwn2Own – What is missing from the update is a patch for the three zero-days (an overflow, a ASLR bypass technique and a IE9 sandbox memory corruption) that the team from Vupen security chained together to exploit Adobe Flash on IE 9 on Windows 7 at the Pwn2Own competition held last week at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver.

Microsoft to roll out fast Windows Store app patches – Microsoft will release security updates for applications in its Windows Store as those patches are available in order to speed up the updating process. The policy will apply to applications that are preinstalled on Windows 8 but updated through the Windows Store, such as Mail, wrote Mike Reavey, senior director of the Microsoft Security Response Center, part of the company’s Trustworthy Computing group.

Company News:

As Z10 preorders start, BlackBerry nets huge order for new devices – In the same week that AT&T and Verizon begin preorders for the new BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry reveals that it has received an order for a historic 1 million new devices.

Google yanks ad-blocker apps from Google Play – A handful of app developers receive notices from the Web giant saying that their ad-blocking software “interferes with or accesses another service or product in an unauthorized manner.”

Amazon permanently drops prices on its 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD tablets – Amazon fired a shot at rival cheap tablet makers Wednesday by dropping the price of its Kindle Fire HD 8.9” to $269 and up. The permanent price drop applies to all versions of the 8.9-inch tablet. Here’s a summary of the price changes:

Defcad, the ‘Pirate Bay’ of 3D Printing, Seeks Funding – A group that garnered controversy last year for developing 3D printed gun parts is working on a new project – what it calls “the world’s first unblockable, open search engine for all 3D printable parts.”

Google I/O registration: Open and shut in 45 minutes – The show used to take days or weeks to sell out, but starting in 2011 it filled up in less than an hour and that’s been the routine since (we’re awaiting official word from Google on the exact sell-out time). This year’s show, which will accommodate 5,500 or so attendees, is slated for May 15-17 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Google Combines Android, Chrome Teams, Pichai Takes Over for Rubin – Google announced today that it will combine its Android and Chrome teams, and hand over control of the newly formed division to Sundar Pichai, current senior vice president of Chrome.

Webopedia Daily:

Dorkbot – A family of malware worms that typically spreads through instant messaging, USB removable drives, websites or social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Downloading and installing Dorkbot malware results in it opening a backdoor on infected computers, allowing for remote access and potentially turning the computer into a botnet. A new strain of Dorkbot targeting Skype users appeared in October 2012, with the Skype worm also installing ransomware in this case. The ransomware would threaten to lock a user out of being able to use their computer and demand a payment of several hundreds of dollars be made within a limited timeframe or have files on the computer deleted.

Games and Entertainment:

Why we should be thankful for $70 PS4 and Xbox 720 games – Get ready to pay more for video games. The PS4 and Xbox 720 are going to be big powerful machines, but taking advantage of that hardware is going to require some serious money. As the next generation of video game systems near launch, rumors of a price hike are bubbling to the surface.

Spotify reportedly launching free streaming music service overseas – It’s something of a full-circle move for Spotify, which launched its streaming service in Europe first before arriving in the US in 2011. Now the company is expanding its service to mobile device in Europe to match its US offerings, according to Bloomberg.

‘Veronica Mars’ Movie Kickstarter Quickly Top $1M – Three seasons and a movie? Cult TV favorite Veronica Mars may be getting the big screen treatment – if you pay up. The Veronica Mars Movie Project hit crowd-funding site Kickstarter this morning, and has received a flood of early support.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Infographic: The death of packaged software – While there are those who vow to hold on to their data and servers until someone pries their cold, dead fingers from them, there is no doubt that the cloud has become less of a fringe trend and more of a reality — certainly in the lives of consumers, and increasingly, by bits and pieces, in the everyday operations of organizations, small and large. The infographic below, courtesy of Engine Yard, rounds up some statistics that might surprise you.

A brief history of pi – Everybody knows the value of pi is 3.14…er, something, but how many people know where the ratio came from? Actually, the ratio came from nature—it’s the ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter, and it was always there, just waiting to be discovered. But who discovered it? In honor of Pi Day, here’s a semi-brief history of how pi came to be known as 3.14(1592653589793238462643383279502884197169…and so on).

Calling BS on Jeff Gordon ‘Test Drive’ Prank – This whole stunt was staged and news outlets should be ashamed for not spotting the deceit. No modern American company would undertake a “practical joke” like this, putting the passenger in danger of not only an accident, but also a heart attack. Can you image what Pepsi lawyers would have said if the company actually tried to swing this for real?

How to Avoid Sounding Like an Idiot When Discussing Politics – We all know someone who loves to talk politics but sounds like a jerk every time they do. Talking about politics may be taboo for many of us but it doesn’t have to be. Discussing—not arguing—politics is important to broadening our horizons, cementing our opinions, or just understanding others. Here’s how to do it without frothing at the mouth, in an actual intelligent way.

Big eyes gave Neanderthals less room to think – Big eyes may be beautiful, but they could be what did for the Neanderthals, say University of Oxford scientists. Looking at data from 27,000–75,000-year-old fossils, mostly from Europe and the Near East, the team compared the skulls of 32 anatomically modern humans and 13 Neanderthals to examine brain size and organisation. And in some of these, they found, the Neanderthals had significantly larger eye sockets, and therefore eyes.

Without models and celebrities, how do you reinvent perfume? – As reported by Co.Design, one branding agency based in L.A. believes so. With the Internet explosion, businesses now have an instant medium to reach broader audiences, and no longer have to rely on attractive advertisements in print media or on television. So how can the web be used as an effective tool to entice consumers to buy?

Today’s Quote:

“It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.”

–     John Andrew Holmes

Today’s Free Downloads:

Random Password Generator 1.3 – Random Password Generator is developed to create powerful passwords which are not easy to be cracked. This smart and easy-to-use tool allows you to securely and easily manage your passwords and IDs with editable remark.

Microsoft Security Releases ISO Image March, 2013 – This DVD5 ISO image file contains the security updates for Windows released on Windows Update in February 2013. The image does not contain security updates for other Microsoft products. This DVD5 ISO image is intended for administrators that need to download multiple individual language versions of each security update and that do not use an automated solution such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). You can use this ISO image to download multiple updates in all languages at the same time.


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