Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 12, 2013

Microsoft tells all Windows 7 users to uninstall security patch, after some PCs fail to restart – Microsoft has advised all users of Windows 7 who installed a security update to uninstall it, after some customers found their computers would not restart or applications would not load.

How to Fix Your Family’s PC Problems – The curse of being even a little tech-savvy is that you automatically get elected Tech Support for friends, family members, and maybe even your coworkers. Still, these are people you care about (or at least, tolerate), and surely it’s a compliment that they look to you as the brains of the outfit. So wear your Computer Repairman badge with honor, and follow these tips to deal with common problems as quickly and painlessly as possible.

How Facebook Uses Your Data to Target Ads, Even Offline – If you feel like Facebook has more ads than usual, you aren’t imagining it: Facebook’s been inundating us with more and more ads lately, and using your information—both online and offline—to do it. Here’s how it works, and how you can opt out.

Justin Bieber’s Twitter Followers Mostly Fake – Justin Bieber passed Lady Gaga earlier this year to become the Twitter user with the most followers on the microblogging site, but a new study suggests more than half of the pop star’s 37.3 million followers are fake accounts, according to the BBC.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Five operating system alternatives to Windows 8 and XP – On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will stop supporting XP, but most people are not moving to Windows 8. Indeed, according to a TechRepublic survey, enterprise XP users are especially reluctant to move to Windows 8, so what are you going to use for your desktop in 2014? Here are my five suggestions in the order I think you should consider them.

Google Inactive Account Manager to control your online presence after you die – What happens to your Google account after you die? With a new tool called Inactive Account Manager, you can now decide for yourself. Inactive Account Manager allows you to set up steps for Google to take if you haven’t accessed your account for a while (However, death isn’t the only case where you might use this tool. Illness or disinterest also could be involved ).

How to set up Google’s Inactive Account Manager – Learn how to use this new Google service that acts as a sort of digital will for the data you have stored with Google in the event of your demise.

Use Win+X Menu Editor to customize Windows 8 – When the WinX menu appears, as shown in Figure A, you can see that it contains fifteen items that provide you with quick access to perform frequently used operations. For example, from the WinX menu you can quickly and easily access such things as Device Manager, Event Viewer, and Command Prompt, just to name a few.

Five small business replacements for QuickBooks – Not every small business can afford to keep up to date with that particular software title, nor does every SMB need software with every feature offered in QuickBooks. Thankfully there are tons of cheap (or free) options available. Some of these options offer a near feature-for-feature comparison to the mighty QuickBooks. Some are much more simple minded and offer only a fraction of the features found in QuickBooks.

Infographic: The Evolution of Google’s Gmail – On April 1, 2004, Google launched the invite-only beta version of its Ajax-powered email system with 1GB of storage, threaded conversations, and the promise that the new feature was not an April Fool’s Day joke.


Researcher takes control of aircraft with Android phone – A European security researcher says his hack allows an attacker to take control of plane navigation and cockpit systems.

Researchers find vulnerabilities in online poker applications – A review of poker applications shows that many suffer security flaws, putting players at risk of attack, according to a Malta-based security company.

Twitter OAuth feature can be abused to hijack accounts, researcher says – A feature in the Twitter API (application programming interface) can be abused by attackers to launch credible social engineering attacks that would give them a high chance of hijacking user accounts, a mobile application developer revealed Wednesday at the Hack in the Box security conference in Amsterdam.

Guantanamo legal files mysteriously disappear from PCs – Legal documents by lawyers representing detainees charged with plotting 9/11 vanish, while hundreds of thousands of e-mails also land on the computers of prosecuting attorneys.

Anatomy of an exploit: Linksys router remote password change hole – A security researcher from San Jose in California has published a how-to guide detailing a number of vulnerabilities in various Linksys routers.

Software-Defined Networking: How it affects network security – SDN technology is set to rewrite the book of networking. Michael P. Kassner looks into how SDN will improve security, and where it’s vulnerable.

How To Bug Mitch McConnell’s Office – ‘Bugging’ in the context of politics raises images of burglars messing with telephones and clunky tape recorders in the Oval Office. Now you’d just use malware.

Company News:

Mozilla goal is half of Internet on Persona ID by year end – Mozilla planning on its federated and distributed authentication idea to catch fire now that it has bridged a major gap.

Foursquare raises $41 million – Location-based social networking site Foursquare has raised another $41 million, and plans to spend it building new features.

LinkedIn buys Pulse newsreader, no changes planned yet – Now changes are in store for another popular newsreading service, Pulse. The professional networking site LinkedIn on Thursday said it will buy the 3-year-old company for $90 million.

Twitter buys We Are Hunted, shuts down services – Australia-based startup We Are Hunted is the latest company to be snapped up by Twitter, lending further credibility to claims that the Twitter Music app is more than just a rumour.

Apple reportedly settles iPhone warranty suit for $53M – Users that unsuccessfully haggled with the hardware giant over faulty early versions of the iPhone and iPod Touch could get a cash payout from the settlement of a class action lawsuit.

Webopedia Daily:

Phase change memory – Abbreviated as PCM, phase change memory is a type of non-volatile memory that is much faster than the common flash memory, from 500 to 1,000 times faster, and it also uses up to one half the power. Phase change memory uses a semiconductor alloy that can be changed rapidly between an ordered, crystalline phase having lower electrical resistance to a disordered, amorphous phase with much higher electrical resistance. Because no electrical power is required to maintain either phase of the material, so phase-change memory is non-volatile.

Games and Entertainment:

Kaspersky discovers hacker group targeting online games – Security firm says a group named “Winnti” has been infiltrating the servers of at least 35 games developers and publishers–many in Asia–since 2009, stealing their source codes for software piracy and virtual currency.

Dungeon Hunter 4 and the trouble with the free-to-play fun tax – Two minutes: that’s about how long it took before Dungeon Hunter 4’s in-app purchase system first reared its ugly head, with the tutorial explaining that equipment upgrades could be “sped up” by paying a few gems.

EVE Online Gamers Treated to Sci-Fi Come to Life at Fanfest – Leaders of prominent private-sector space ventures will gather in Iceland to discuss asteroid mining, space elevators, and more at confab hosted by CCP Games

Microsoft’s Xbox 720 will interact with your cable box – Microsoft has spared little effort in transforming its flagship Xbox 360 into a versatile entertainment hub, making the system much more than a gaming console.

EA Layoffs Hit Montreal Mobile Studio – Electronic Arts has laid off an undisclosed number of employees from its Montreal-based mobile studio. The company confirmed the layoffs to PCMag, but declined to comment on the number of people impacted. Joystiq reported that 60 to 70 permanent employees, plus more than 100 contracted workers, were let go today.

Off Topic (Sort of):

7 things you need to know about Bitcoin – Bitcoins are all the buzz. The virtual currency is riding a rollercoaster of speculation, rising exponentially in value and reaching a high of $260 this Wednesday before plummeting to $130. What’s more, the largest bitcoin exchange in the world just survived a coordinated hack attack, and bitcoin-generating malware is spreading across Europe like wildfire via Skype.

The Complete Guide to Setting and Negotiating Freelance Rates – Setting and negotiating rates can seem like one of the most complicated and intimidating parts of freelancing but it really doesn’t have to be. Today I’m going to give you an in-depth overview of how to set and negotiate rates with prospective and existing clients. Although I’m a freelance writer, I believe that most of the following advice applies to any service-based business.

Create your own apps for free with open-source LiveCode 6.0 – LiveCode has traditionally been available only as a paid development environment, but on Wednesday its maker rolled out the platform’s first-ever free, open source version. If you’ve got a mobile, desktop, or server app idea for your small business, the new LiveCode 6.0 could be the tool you’ve been waiting for to help make it happen.

Always On Is Always Wrong – Microsoft creative director Adam Orth irked gamers on Twitter last week by hinting that the next-gen Xbox will be “always on.” The exchange resulted in Orth leaving the company after insulting rural communities. This entire always-on and hooked to the Internet concept is increasingly controversial because the entire idea is daft and counter-revolutionary.

The real reasons to blame Windows 8 for plummeting PC sales – PC sales suffered a 14 percent drop in the first quarter, the largest drop for a single quarter in the 20 years that IDC has been tracking the data. Fingers immediately began pointing at Windows 8, but the new Microsoft OS isn’t to blame—at least not in the way you might think.

Artist turns Google Maps into powerful Persian rug (pictures) – See the world in a completely different way through David Thomas Smith’s incredible geometrical vision of Google Maps.

New research highlights that social sharing is driven by ego – Why do we share links on social sites that our friends are not particularly interested in? And why do articles about fashion get a higher percentage of clicks than articles on business?

Today’s Quote:

No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other.”

–      Jascha Heifetz

Today’s Free Downloads:

Speccy – Speccy is an advanced System Information tool for your PC. At first glance, Speccy may seem like an application for system administrators and power users. It certainly is, but Speccy can also help normal users, in everyday computing life.

System Explorer 4.2.0 – Detailed informations about Tasks, Processes, Modules, Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services, Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.

3DMark for Android – Use 3DMark to test the performance of your smartphone or tablet, then see how it compares with other Android and iOS devices.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

6 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 12, 2013

  1. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    I installed the Microsoft updates with no problem and so am not going to uninstall the questionable one. Seems like a case of MS protecting their posteriors (surely not, they cried!).

    Clearly it’s annoying if an update causes problems, we’ve all been there, but I don’t intend to fix what ain’t broke. Hope it doesn’t come back to bite me in my posterior :).

    Kind regards

    • Hi John,


      No problem here with both 7 and 8 updates. Luckily, I’ve never had to deal with a problem OS update. But, AV updates? That’s a different story.

      My problem for today? Just lost a rare old tree at the corner of the property from the weight of the ice storm overnight (which continues even yet). On the plus side – haven’t lost the Internet or electricity, yet.

      Ah, life is good. 🙂



      • John Bent

        Hi Bill,

        Sorry to hear of your loss. If you have an open fireplace, some good may come of it and your tree will not have died in vain.

        Seems as if spring may be arriving here at last. The very cold, by our standards, weather has given way to prolonged rain and milder temperatures. Could even get to double figures over the weekend; woo hoo!

        Kind regards

        • Hi John,

          Gotcha on that. 🙂

          I’ve been following the weather news from your place and I have to say that it is pretty brutal. Even around here, we’d consider that to be harsh weather for this time of the year. Can’t be much fun for those who are less used to it, I don’t expect.

          The big ice storm here yesterday did me no bloody favours – shutting me down for most of the day, and early evening, following a power outage. Boring, boring, boring…….. 🙂



  2. Laurence

    Bill, I’m just grateful that you’re here for us everyday!
    After I’ve installed Windows security update this Tuesday some of my softwares on my Windows 7 machine would not work and further more the task mgr wasn’t function right so I just went ahead reimage HDD use the system backup I’ve had made earlier with Paragon backup and recovery. I got busy working and not aware what happened until now. Thanks for the heads-up! This is why I love your blog and visit every single day of year.

    Best regards,


    • Hi Laurence,

      A very nice recovery from an intolerably frustrating experience. Welcome to the “few.” 🙂

      Thank you for being such a loyal reader. What a nice comment to read on a dull, cold Saturday morning. 🙂