Monthly Archives: March 2013

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 26, 2013

Deep inside Windows Blue: Its 10 best new features – An early build of the OS update to Windows 8 is full of nifty new tricks, and hints at awesome improvements on deck.

Mozilla begins baking new patch to kill tracking cookies – A new patch for Firefox is now being tested by Mozilla and could see third party cookies banned from being installed if a user hasn’t directly visited the cookie owner.

Ad industry threatens Firefox users with more ads if Mozilla moves on tracking plans – The online ad industry has attacked Mozilla over its decision to block third-party cookies in a future release of Firefox, calling the move “dangerous and highly disturbing,” and claiming that it will result in more ads shown to users. The fierce reaction came from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Association of National Advertisers (ANA), both of which laid out positions in blog posts on March 14.

How to Partition A Hard Drive – Maybe you want to store files in a separate virtual drive. Maybe you want to encrypt a portion of your drive to keep sensitive records private. You may also want to create a recovery partition without all the bloatware that came on your store-bought system. In these and any other case you can think of, creating a partition is easier than you think. Here is our step-by-step guide.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Why Windows Blue heralds the death of the desktop – Brace yourselves, faithful PC enthusiasts. You aren’t going to like what I’m about to say. Heck, I don’t really like what I’m about to say. In fact, I’m almost terrified to lay out my case in black and white. But that doesn’t change the fact that it needs to be said. There’s a very good chance that Microsoft will kill the desktop in Windows 9. No more Task Manager. No more File Explorer. No more legacy compatibility. It’ll be 100 percent Live Tiles, 100 percent of the time.

IsoBuster recovers files from just about anything – The free version of IsoBuster handles CD, DVD and ISO images and will extract files from those as well as create its own images of the physical media. The $40 Personal version does the same, but handles all the other media mentioned. The create image feature can be key here as creating an image that you can then try and recover data from lets you recover as much data as possible while stressing possibly deteriorating media as little as possible.

How to sync files and folders across two PCs – Here are four ways to do this, although–technically speaking–only two of them actually keep the files on both PCs. The others merely make the folder available on both. I’m assuming here that both PCs are attached to the same router (either wired or wirelessly), and through that router can access the Internet.

Google+ iPhone, Android Apps Updated With Photo Filters, More – Google on Monday launched new versions of its Google+ app for iPhone and Android, bringing a refreshed design, photo filters, and a number of other goodies.

Facebook gives the people what they want: threaded comments – Facebook design changes and new features are often greeted by boos and hisses. Protests abound. The world ends. But sometimes those changes are exactly what users have been asking for, like Monday’s rollout of threaded comments for pages.

Infographic: Using Tech to Create an SMB Powerhouse – Salesforce and Intuit recently offered up an infographic with a few tips for small business success. The colorful graphic touts the success of a small business through the use of–not surprisingly–CRM and financial apps.

Linux Mint Debian: A look at the latest edition – What you need to know and where you need to pay attention.

Linux distro update: Ubuntu slashes support, Debian 7.0 draws near – It wasn’t all that long ago that Canonical extended the support period for Long Term Support (LTS) releases of its Ubuntu Linux from three years to five, but last week it made a move in the opposite direction for its non-LTS software. Specifically, beginning with Ubuntu 13.04 “Raring Ringtail,” which is due in April, Canonical will reduce the support period for interim versions of its popular Linux distribution from 18 months to just nine.

Security:

Lime Pop Emerges as the Latest Strain of Android Enesoluty Malware – A new variant of Android.Enesoluty, the Android data-stealing Trojan that spreads through spam messages, has recently surfaced in Japan. This time the malware is reportedly being spread through a malicious app, Lime Pop, that disguises itself as a popular game.

Boring Malware Sneaks By Antivirus Sandboxing – Performing dynamic analysis of unknown software in a controlled environment—or “sandboxing”—is a powerful tool security professionals use to flush out malware. However, the bad guys are wise to the technique and have been introducing new tricks to break out of the sandbox and into your system.

17-year-old arrested for hacking into phones, stealing and distributing explicit images of children – A US teenager has been charged with distributing child pornography he allegedly hacked out of minors’ cellphones with a bogus mobile text ad that installed phone-controlling malware.

North Korea training teams of ‘cyberwarriors’ – South Korea security experts believe the North has been training hackers to conduct cyberattacks, which may prove a cheap and faster than building nuclear devices or other weapons of mass destruction.

Spear Phishing Cause of South Korean Cyber Attack – It appears that a spear phishing campaign was the genesis for the wiper malware infections that ultimately knocked several prominent South Korean banks and broadcasters offline last week, according to a malware analysis performed by researchers from the Finnish cybersecurity firm F-Secure.

XSS Flaw in WordPress Plugin Allows Injection of Malicious Code – Hardly a week goes by without some new vulnerability in WordPress or one of its components showing up on a mailing list or in a security advisory. This week’s first entrant is a newly disclosed flaw in a plugin that displays ad banners on WordPress sites, a bug that enables an attacker to inject malicious Javascript or HTML code on any vulnerable site.

Internet messenger apps face ban in Saudi Arabia – Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and similar OTT messenger players reportedly face a ban in the kingdom unless operators can allow authorities to censor them.

Company News:

In-App Purchases ‘Coming Soon’ to Nook Devices – App and game developers can start prepping to sell digital content to Nook owners via in-app purchases, “coming soon” to Barnes & Noble’s e-reader and tablet devices.

Spotify plans to become an on-demand TV network – Spotify: free music streamer, procrastination enabler, and soundtrack to household chores around the world may soon become much much more. The service is reportedly toying with the idea of offering original video content.

Zynga CIO leaves to run enterprise cloud storage company Nirvanix – The revolving door at Zynga continues as the CIO leaves to run enterprise cloud storage company Nirvanix.

Hulu may not be for sale yet, but buyers are lurking – AllThingsD, citing industry sources, says Ross Levinsohn, formerly of Yahoo, might be interested in buying Hulu, and Yahoo and Amazon also have expressed interest.

Apple supplier Foxconn has record profit – The Taiwan-based components maker has an income of $1.2 billion, after Apple ramps up its iPhone manufacturing.

Apple’s response to Chinese warranty complaint draws ire – A campaign against Apple’s warranty practices in China has taken center stage, with a state-run media outlet calling the company’s statement “empty and self-praising.”

LinkedIn’s search updates bring it closer to Facebook, Google+ – Now more than ever, the search infrastructures behind social networks are getting smarter (and more competitive).

Webopedia Daily:

Chat abbreviation – Used in real-time text-based communications — such as instant messaging, e-mail, online gaming services, chat rooms, discussion boards and mobile phone text messaging (SMS) — chat abbreviations are acronyms and slang terms used to shorten the amount of text you type when chatting online or on a cellphone. For example, if you are in a chatroom and someone types a funny statement, you could answer with LOL (short for Laughing Out Loud) instead of typing the full phrase out. Chat abbreviations are used in many different online groups and by people of all ages.

Games and Entertainment:

Normally $19.95, this incredibly fun and addictive game is free for a limited time – As part of an Easter promotion, PopCap is offering Peggle for PC and Mac absolutely free. The only thing you have to part with is your e-mail address, required so you can receive your download link and order number (which is your activation code). And, yeah, it’ll probably get used for the occasional promotional message, even if you opt out during registration. That’s not such a hardship, is it? (Somehow I get the feeling I’ll hear from some folks who think it is.)

The best entertainment websites you’ve never heard of – We’re kicking off a week-long celebration of the undiscovered side of the web with our picks for the the best, but least-known entertainment sites. These are the sites we like to visit to play games, listen to music, watch videos, be inspired, or to simply burn a few hours.

The most fun I had all weekend: Pinball Arcade – Remember Gorgar? Firepower? Twilight Zone? These and loads of other classic tables await you in this amazing app for Android and iOS.

Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion to launch April 14 – The Rise of the Hutt Cartel is coming, bringing limited but enjoyable updates for players of BioWare’s “Star Wars”-based MMO. CNET’s Kelsey Adams tries it out.

GDC: Kicking Things Off, Assassin’s Creed Style – Big product announcements and teases may come later at the Game Developer Conference, for now, here’s the lowdown on some nuts-and-bolts sessions at GDC.

Amazon Greenlights ‘Zombieland’ Original Series Pilot – Amazon on Monday morning announced it is picking up the pilot for Zombieland, a new television series based on the 2009 cult classic starring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Jesse Eisenberg.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Is Adria Richards a bully, or was she bullied by the internet? – Adria Richards complained about inappropriate comments made by guys at PyCon. She lost her job, as did one of the guys. But was the backlash, abuse, and threats disproportionate to the complaint?

Get that song out of your head the scientific way – Did you overhear a pop song at the supermarket that now won’t leave your head alone? Scientists are claiming to have found the best way to banish it.

Google taps ‘white spaces’ for broadband in South Africa – The Web giant hopes to prove that unused TV broadcast spectrum can be utilized without interfering with licensed spectrum.

Cracked: 5 Brain Hacks That Give You Mind-Blowing Powers – Sure, you could improve yourself the normal way, with hard work and years of slow, incremental progress. Or you could use some of your body’s built-in cheat codes and just hack your way to awesometown. These hacks come with various degrees of difficulty, but no risk or potential for injury. And actual scientists say that all of them work.

Trolls take on 9-year-old girl’s Kickstarter project…and lose – The conspiracy theories swirling around a seemingly benign crowdfunding campaign turned into a tornado over the weekend. Crave’s Eric Mack investigates.

Judge: Using Lengthy News Excerpts Without Paying Is Not Fair Use – The Associated Press last week was handed a victory in its battle against Meltwater, a Norway-based news aggregator that the AP said used its content without permission.

Mobile browsing increases 26% in 3 months in steady climb – Mobile’s gains are in part a side effect of a global slump in personal computer sales as customers instead purchase smartphone and tablets, and as a result, increasingly shift their time-spent-online from PCs to mobile.

Today’s Quote:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

–     Aristotle

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wise Auto Shutdown 1.13 – Wise Auto Shutdown allows you to easily schedule your computer to shut down, log off, restart, sleep, and close power at any time you want (daily, at a specified time, or some time later).

RetroShare – RetroShare is a Open Source cross-platform, private and secure decentralised communication platform. It lets you to securely chat and share files with your friends and family.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 25, 2013

Attack of the killer smart watches – Rumors would have you believe that no fewer than four companies are readying smart watches for public consumption. Problem is, the public hasn’t asked for them.

How Google crushed the RSS industry – The real victims were companies that had planned to build RSS sync engines. Google stomped them out of business like Godzilla sweeping through Tokyo.

Facebook adds weather feature for eventgoers – Facebook is helping people know how to dress for an event, a new feature in its seemingly unending evolution that is puzzling because it offers users the chance to hop off the social networking site. Now when you set up an event on Facebook you can let guests know whether they should wear a jacket, sunglasses or snow boots thanks to an integration with the online weather service Weather Underground.

Swapping Windows 8 for three flavors of Linux on my netbook – I just bought a new Aspire One 725 and loaded it with Linux Mint, openSuSE and Fedora. Follow my adventures.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013 – Every year, TIME recognizes those who exemplify the very best wit and wisdom Twitter has to offer. Here are the 140 feeds that inspire us to laugh, learn or shake our heads in wonderment.

Google Should Kill Chrome OS: 10 Reasons Why – Google’s Chrome operating system was supposed to be a true Windows killer. However, it’s proven to be a flop, and the only sensible thing to do is to kill it off.

Bills would require warrants for police to use GPS tracking – A group of U.S. lawmakers has introduced legislation that would require law enforcement agencies to get court-ordered search warrants before obtaining a suspect’s mobile phone location or GPS data, instead of using prosecution-issued subpoenas. Several privacy and civil liberties groups praised the introduction of the bill. Wyden and Chaffetz introduced similar bills in 2011, but that legislation did not pass.

What Microsoft Provides Law Enforcement: Not A Lot of Content – Microsoft this week joined the likes of Twitter and Google to disclose how many law enforcement requests it receives for user data and how many it fulfills. The key takeaway? It’s less than we thought.

The Basketball Tech Revolution – Shoes that track your vertical leap, “smart basketballs,” statistical analysis of game video—it’s all here.

Apple’s Wrongheaded, Dangerous Censorship of Satirical Sweatshop for iPad – Apple’s removal of the satirical iOS game Sweatshop from its App Store continues a dangerous precedent of censorship.

Security:

Forcing us to educate users on cybersecurity won’t work: Telstra – Trying to educate users on cybersecurity is like leading a horse to water, according to Telstra, and making such education a legal requirement isn’t going to solve the problem. (lol – talk about a self serving statement.)

McAfee warns of malware targeting point-of-sale systems – Dubbed vSkimmer, the Trojan-like malware is designed to infect Windows-based computers that have payment card readers attached to them, McAfee security researcher Chintan Shah said last week in a blog post. The malware was first detected by McAfee’s sensor network on February 13 and is currently being advertised on cybercriminal forums as being better than Dexter, a different POS malware program that was discovered back in December.

Web addresses put Indian govt at risk – Government’s technology department lists Web-based GMail and Yahoo accounts as e-mail correspondence, which a security player believes can expose the Indian government to a significant security vulnerability.

South Korea Attack Not From Chinese IP Address After All – It appears that the recent cyber-attacks against South Korean banks and television networks may not have originated in China, the country’s officials said Friday.

Indonesia to regulate online shopping – New laws will be introduced this year in the country to minimize fraud and build consumer trust in e-commerce, including the use of Indonesian domain names.

Company News:

Apple Acquires WiFiSLAM for its Indoor Location-Tracking Tech – And here you thought it was tricky enough to get the correct directions to your driving destination via the GPS-friendly app on your iPhone. Apple’s allegedly upping the ante in the world of location services by acquiring a company that could help give it more of a foothold in the relatively unexplored world of indoor mapping.

T-Mobile kills off the wireless contract – The wireless carrier today seems to have finally done away entirely with contracts for wireless customers, part of broader changes intended to make T-Mobile more competitive.

Indian player launches global SIM card – Jaxtr unveils a pre-paid SIM card which works on various phones ranging from Android, iPhone, Windows and BlackBerry and in over 200 countries.

Samsung: Sorry about that sexist show – In the wake of its slightly perturbing Galaxy S4 launch, Samsung accepts criticism of a South African presentation that featured, yes, swimsuited dancers.

Shutterfly sues Kodak over photo app, report says – The online photo site is looking to shut down an Eastman Kodak app that lets users create albums using Facebook photos, according to Reuters.

Webopedia Daily:

Gorilla Glass – An advanced alkali-aluminosilicate glass technology developed by Corning that is used in a variety of screens for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets as well as displays for PCs and TVs. The scratch- and impact-resistant qualities in Gorilla Glass, combined with its incredibly thin profile, enable it to protect device displays without adding significant weight or interfering with capacitive touch screens. The most recent development in Gorilla Glass was announced in early 2013. Gorilla Glass 3 with Native Damage Resistance offers “enhanced scratch resistance, reduced scratch visibility and better retained strength once a scratch does occur,” according to Corning. The first product to employ Gorilla Glass III, the Samsung Galaxy S4, became available in April 2013.

Games and Entertainment:

Wii U sales so poor retailers considering scaling back support – We’ve known for months now that sales of the Wii U have been pretty terrible. Figures for US sales in January totaled just 59,000 units. February saw that figure improve only slightly to 64,000 units. That’s in stark contrast to the launch in November and subsequent sales of 890,000 consoles before the end of 2012.

Blizzard Releases In-Game Footage for Diablo III on PS3 – It’s the (gaming) world’s worst-kept secret: The console port of Blizzard’s Diablo 3 to Sony’s PlayStation 3 (and ultimately, the PlayStation 4). Blizzard’s been teasing what the game might look and feel like since its official announcement last month, but it’s taken until now for eager demon-killers to get their hands on an actual video of Diablo 3 on a living room console. Unless, of course, you’re one of the many attendees at this year’s PAX East, where Blizzard is putting the game on full display.

Cable-Free HBO GO? 10 Shows to Watch – For years, HBO was the exclusive province of cable and satellite providers. Now, HBO’s chief executive has raised the possibility of freeing HBO’s services from the cable monopoly and offering them directly to consumers. We run down our 10 favorite shows on HBO, or 10 reasons you should be excited about the possibility of it actually going a la carte.

Game of Thrones on the eve of season three – We’re a week away from the debut of Game of Thrones on March 31, and you get the feeling the show’s probably going to be bigger than ever this time around.

The 10 Best Games to Play on a Mac – These 10 video games may convince you that your Mac deserves a place among other video game platforms.

Forget FPS games: Biting Elbows is an absolutely insane first person music video – We play video games in the first person all the time, but it’s not often you find a real video in the same format, aside from Doom the movie of course. Check out this music video done entirely in first person view and you’ll have a new standard with which to judge other music videos.

Scrooge McDuck will make a cane-wielding comeback in DuckTales Remastered – Today Capcom announced that Scrooge McDuck — the world’s richest duck — will return to gaming with DuckTales Remastered. The game, which is scheduled for Summer 2013, will be published by Capcom and developed by WayForward Technologies. It is slated for the Wii U, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

BioShock Infinite (trailer) – BioShock Infinite takes to the skies to the fictional floating city of Columbia in 1912.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Propose and cons: ‘Will you marry me’ meets social media – As if men don’t have enough to worry about, now they have to concoct proposals as a production, complete with cameramen, so that they can subsequently adorn Facebook and YouTube.

Stop the Cyborgs: The Anti-Google Glass Movement – At first, I thought this was a joke. People aren’t afraid of Web browsers, laptops, cameras, or voice recognition system; your phone can do all that right now. So why would anyone be afraid of glasses with those things built in? It doesn’t make sense to me, but it seems that people are genuinely afraid. And the product isn’t even available yet. I don’t think it will last, but Google has clearly hit a nerve.

ICANN’s CEO sees crucial times in efforts for a free Internet – Defenders of a free and open Internet are “facing a pretty dangerous time right now,” as countries that want censorship and control of the Internet push their agendas at the International Telecommunications Union and other forums, ICANN leader Fadi Chehadé said last week.

Liability Issues Will Plague the Future of Social Media – A lawsuit involving hate speech on Twitter begs for an international treaty governing freedom of speech. This highlights a rudimentary problem with the Internet: the lack of international treaties regarding material published on the Internet. I have personally advocated for this for over 15 years.

Do not attempt: Mixing alcohol with a Krypton laser – This eye-popping video shows how Scott Stevenson sets off fireworks with precisely aligned bottles of booze.

Today’s Quote:

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.”

–     John Gaule

Today’s Free Downloads:

SystemRescueCd 3.5.0 – SystemRescueCd is a Linux system rescue disk available as a bootable CD-ROM or USB stick for administrating or repairing your system and data after a crash. It aims to provide an easy way to carry out admin tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the hard disk partitions.

Tweaking.com – Advanced System Tweaker 2.0.0 – Tweaking.com – Advanced System Tweaker is a central hub for any kind of tweak or anything else that can be done via registry files, commands and vbscript files. 100 new tweaks!

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 24, 2013

Get a $32 Mac app bundle for free – These three handy tools would normally cost you $32, but through Sunday, you can get them gratis.

A flowchart for not feeding the trolls – This flowchart by the United States Air Force serves as a good baseline for social media interaction and for dealing with pesky and potentially harmful Internet trolls.

Tips from a Social Media One-night Stand – Some thoughts and advice from the latest in a series of advanced social media workshops around the country. Some say they have a memorable name.

Block social networking sites with DansGuardian – If your SMB doesn’t want to fool with the hassle of monitoring employees’ use of social media sites and creating a social media policy, try the open source DansGuardian to block such sites altogether.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Five Star Rated Calculator For Google Chrome – If you are a regular here, then you know I especially like software made clocks, weather apps and calculators. Several months back, while exploring the Google Chrome Web Store, I happened across a really nice looking, functional and handy calculator that is an extension to the Google Chrome browser.

8 myths about the smartwatch revolution – Pundits, journalists and bloggers are writing a lot about the new smartwatch category. But almost everything they’re predicting about the future of smartwatches is wrong. Here are the 8 biggest myths about the coming smartwatch revolution.

Google Keep has the basics down, but that’s it – Enough with the talk of Google Keep killing Evernote. In its current form, this newborn app would be no match. That said, it’s still a pretty good note-taker that has a lot of upside.

Password’s rotten core not complexity but reuse – Summary: SANS Institute list of Top 7 Human Risks in computing includes phishing, passwords, devices.

Do we need another Windows OS? – Microsoft made a case this week for Windows RT, its stripped down version of Windows 8. But do we really need a third version of Windows, or should Microsoft simply throw its weight behind Win 8?

Microsoft to update all built-in Windows 8 apps – Microsoft appears ready to roll out updates to its full set of core Windows 8 applications.

Lawmakers seek to ban drivers from wearing Google’s high-tech specs – West Virginia lawmakers are already pouncing on the existence of Google Glass and introducing a bill that would prohibit drivers from making a spectacle of themselves.

New report details cyberwar rules, puts hackers in crosshairs – Use of lethal force on those behind a cyberattack on a nation would be legal if the virtual attack meets criteria similar to those currently accepted for real-world warfare, said Michael N. Schmitt, chairman of the International Law Department at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Security:

Apple ID security issue fixed, password page back online – The page was taken down yesterday, after reports of an exploit that could let hackers with a user’s e-mail address and birth date change the user’s Apple ID password. The company has fixed the issue.

Botnets Used For Click Fraud – Botnets “can allegedly generate more than $6 million a month through bogus clicks on online adverts.” Cybercriminals are very smart in their use, and cross use, of the tools they have to commit money-making crime.

South Korean cyberattacks used hijacked patch management accounts – According to South Korean antivirus company AhnLab, the 20 March attacks used stolen IDs and passwords for its Patch Manager software to distribute the malware to an unknown number of the 32,000 PCs affected inside the victim firms, including the Munhwa, YTN, Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) TV stations, and the Shinhan, Jeju and Nonghyup banks.

GSA breach highlights dangers of SSNs as IDs – A recent security breach at the U.S. General Services Administration highlights the dangers of using your Social Security Number for identification. Federal and state laws restrict use of SSNs by public and private organizations.

Security vendors fix flaw in Samsung phones screen lock – The problem comes from Samsung’s implementation of the emergency call feature, which allows people to dial emergency services or reveals a contact people can dial if they find someone’s phone, said David Richardson, a product manager at Lookout Mobile Security.

Company News:

Apple buys WiFiSlam, maker of tech for locating phones indoors – The startup’s product lets smartphones pinpoint their location using ambient Wi-Fi signals already present in buildings.

Blackstone proposes counterbid for Dell, reports say – Blackstone’s proposed counterbid is in the price range of between $13.65 and $15 per share, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday. That either matches or exceeds the $13.65 per share offered by Michael Dell and equity investor Silver Lake to take the company private.

Bing boosts Twitter, Facebook findings in search results – The changes are designed to give users at-a-glance answers to their search queries while at the same time highlighting the relationships between results, Microsoft announced last week in a blog post.

Juniper to unveil new advanced switch, promises networking improvements – Juniper Networks is readying a new programmable core switch to address software-defined networking in campuses and data centers. Sources say it is called the EX9200 and is based on the MX router. It comes in three configurations: 4-slot, 8-slot and 14-slot chassis, the same form factors as the company’s successful MX 240, 480 and 960 routers for enterprises and service providers.

Webopedia Daily:

Willow Glass – An advanced, flexible screen currently in development by Corning that is expected to be used in making bendable mobile devices like smartphones of the future and possibly smart watches such as the rumored Apple iWatch. Corning’s Willow Glass is an extremely thin, malleable glass that’s only 100 microns (0.1 millimeters) thick. While easily bendable, Willow Glass can also break fairly easily if bent too much. Willow Glass is also capable of roll-to-roll production runs rather than the sheet-to-sheet production runs that are used for most of the screens on existing mobile devices. Devices with Willow Glass could appear on the market as soon as early 2014, although some analysts believe advanced “wearable computing” devices with flexible Willow Glass screens are still several years away from becoming publicly available.

Games and Entertainment:

GarageBand adds Audiobus support to make it even better – GarageBand is the best app for music creation on a touch screen. With real-world instruments, true-to-life sounds, and tons of easy-to-use tools, there is simply no other app in its class for iOS.

Game maker: Apple banned our sweatshop iPad game – Sweatshop HD, designed to get kids thinking about where some of their favorite products are made, falls foul of Apple’s, well, taste levels.

NHL celebrates 20-year anniversary of NHL ’94 in awesome throwback fashion – Arguably the most coveted hockey game of all time gets honored on NHL.com with a throwback spin on some modern highlights.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Could Google Glass someday start breakfast or do chores? – Google last week filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for technology that enables Google Glass to control everyday devices, such as a garage door opener, a refrigerator with a control interface, a home alarm system, or a copy machine. So, someday, Google Glass might just fire up your coffee maker, if Google sees its vision through.

Embrace, extend, extinguish: How Google crushed and abandoned the RSS industry – Most of the commentary I’ve read so far about the loss of Google Reader has been about its use as an RSS client. But that’s a red herring. The real victims were companies that had planned in 2005 and 2006 to build RSS sync engines. Google stomped them out of business like Godzilla sweeping through Tokyo.

Techie Fired After Tweeting About Men’s Comments – A female developer was fired after tweeting about a group of men she said were making sexual comments at a computer programming conference, fueling an already vigorous debate about gender equality and culture in Silicon Valley.

Cracked: 28 Inspirational Image Memes (Revised for Honesty) – Motivational sayings have been plastered on images in poster form for years. And now that anyone can type on images they found on Google Image Search, and your parents have figured out how to forward emails, they’re apparently here to stay.

Man accused of selling golf-ball finders as bomb detectors – A British businessman allegedly charged 27,000 pounds (around $41,000) for devices that weren’t quite what he said they were. Government organizations bought them.

Today’s Quote:

Play by the rules, but be ferocious.”  

–     Phil Knight founder of Nike

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free One Click ZIP & RAR Wizard 2.0 – Zip, unzip and unrar made easy with just one click. This great program is especially designed for beginners who are new to computers and user interfaces.

SpyShelter Personal Free 8.0 – The SpyShelter monitors vulnerable and weak spots in your computer system to ensure that even the most advanced keyloggers are shut down even before these can launch a single dangerous attack against your computer. SpyShelter antikeylogger system is fast, efficient, and easy-to-use.

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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.”

Security:

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.

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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, Outlook.com, 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 Amazon.com, 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.

Security:

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 Zynga.com 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.

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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.

Security:

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 Seclists.org, 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 3.9.1.2 – 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.

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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.

Security:

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.

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