Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 15, 2013

Infographic: Americans would give up sex before smartphones – Recent poll results show that Americans are more willing to give up sex than their smartphones, but caffeine is even more important than that. Take our poll to see if we get similar results.

Bad ads are ruining our (sex) lives, say Americans – In a survey performed by an analytics company, Americans complain that bad ads — especially when repeated — are stopping them from surfing the Web, working, and even, say almost 1 in 5, sex. Pop-up ads and lottery scams are the worst offenders.

Kill the desktop: Can man survive in Metro alone? – The mission: To spend a week solely in the Windows 8 modern UI. The results: Enlightening. The verdict: Read on to find out.

Why your clothes need a mobile upgrade – The clothing most of us wear hasn’t changed to keep up with mobile technology. But there are apparel makers that are rising to the challenge.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Exploring the PCLinuxOS 2013.04 rollup release – Now with 32-bit mini, normal and full monty versions, and a 64-bit KDE version as well. But be careful, it still doesn’t support GPT disk partitioning.

The Internet is a surveillance state (Bruce Schneier) – Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. (Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and author of “Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Survive.”)

If Hackers Didn’t Exist, Governments Would Have to Invent Them – The myth of malicious adolescents out to wreak havoc on our technology spurs Internet regulations that are far more stringent than is reasonable. The hackers who dominate news coverage and popular culture — malicious, adolescent techno-wizards, willing and able to do great harm to innocent civilians and society at large — don’t exist. The perceived threat landscape is a warped one, which directs attention and resources to battling phantoms, rather than toward preventing much more common data-security problems.

Google’s Schmidt Calls for Civilian Drone Regulation – Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, told The Guardian in a recent interview, that civilian drones need to be regulated lest they infringe on our civil liberties. (Obviously, this man has little understanding of the notion of irony.)

Mozilla’s TowTruck project brings real-time collaboration to websites – Mozilla has taken the wraps off an early version of TowTruck, a Mozilla Labs project that aims to bring Skype-like collaboration to websites using new real-time capabilities shipping with Firefox and Chrome. Mozilla Labs yesterday unveiled a proof of concept version of TowTruck that will enable real-time authoring, chat and voice on any webpage simply by adding the TowTruck JavaScript snippet to the site.

10 worst-case BYOD scenarios (and how to prevent them) – When it comes to BYOD, the best defense is a good offense. These proactive strategies will help you anticipate and avoid potential problems.

The best Mac antivirus applications – All Macs need antivirus. Apple made the pronouncement years ago. Yet, few Mac users load anti-malware software. As OS X share increases, and as Mac laptop sales continue increasing, in particular, OS X will become a greater malware target. Here are two leading applications businesses and end users can load to protect their Macs and their businesses.

Security:

Shylock Trojan aims for global targets, Symantec warns – The prodigious Shylock man-in-the-browser (MitB) banking Trojan is still being upgraded as part of a campaign to migrate from its traditional targets in UK financial services to foreign ones, Symantec has reported.

Common security flaws leave applications open to amateur hackers, security report says – The software industry’s inability to reduce the number of security flaws in its code is fueling an age of the “everyday hacker,” criminals who can exploit vulnerabilities with a minimum of technical skills, Security testing firm Vercode’s latest State of Software Security (SoSS) report suggests.

WordPress blogs and more under global attack – check your passwords now! – If you have a web service that supports remote users, you will know that malevolent login attempts are an everyday occurrence. But hosting providers worldwide are reporting an onslaught at well above average levels.

‘Winnti’ Malware Targeting Online Gaming Firms – Attacks on gaming firms might not be isolated incidents. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab this week said they uncovered a series of targeted attacks originating in China that are taking aim at Web-based gaming companies.

Email privacy in focus as Tax Day arrives – The Internal Revenue Service has taken the position it does not need a search warrant to gather email in criminal investigations, despite opposition from lawmakers and privacy advocates and a ruling by a federal appellate court.

Company News:

Google reportedly offers search results changes to EU – Package of concessions includes clear labeling of its own products in search results, as well as prominent placement of rivals’ services, sources tell The Wall Street Journal.

Rockmelt shifts focus, tests a PC interface to the digital life – While the company that’s already had $40 million sunk into it by investors—including Marc Andreessen, multi-millionaire and co-author of the original Web browser, Mosaic—acknowledged last week it is deserting the browser business, it also announced that it will build a Web presence called Rockmelt for Web. The move suggests that Rockmelt sees plenty of life left in the PC market and is staking its future on that notion.

Microsoft reportedly considering selling a smartwatch of its own – The tech giant has requested components for a potential touch-enabled watch device, executives at Asian suppliers tell the Wall Street Journal.

Justice Dept. approves Google’s $2.3B sale of Motorola Home – Arris Group buys set-top box maker for $2.35 billion, relieving the Web giant of 7,000 employees and a series of patent lawsuits.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft execs back CISPA through trade group – Tech trade group whose members include Eric Schmidt and Marissa Mayer sends letter to House Intelligence panel commending its work on the controversial bill and expressing interest in added privacy protections.

Webopedia Daily:

Cognitive Radio (CR) – Cognitive Radio (CR) is an adaptive, intelligent radio and network technology that can automatically detect available channels in a wireless spectrum and change transmission parameters enabling more communications to run concurrently and also improve radio operating behavior. Cognitive radio uses a number of technologies including Adaptive Radio (where the communications system monitors and modifies its own performance) and Software Defined Radio (SDR) where traditional hardware components including mixers, modulators and amplifies have been replaced with intelligent software.

Games and Entertainment:

Minecraft Creator Places Second in Time 100 Poll – Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson is the second most influential person in the world, according to Time magazine voters. Persson earned 156,694 online votes for the 2013 Time 100 Poll, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. He trailed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who had 173,091 votes.

20 must-grab digital Marvel Comics – At last, the long-anticipated Marvel 700 Make-Good Promotion has begun, and hundreds of thousands of comics fans—both the newly-minted and long-suffering kinds—can lower their heads into a trough of free comics and snorkel up as many as they wish.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Kicks Ass and Chews Bubblegum – What do you get when a development team decide to stay in on a Saturday night, get drunk and watch a dozen 80′s and 90′s B-Grade action flicks? Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.

National Geographic Channel makes the case for the ’80s as ‘The Decade That Made Us’ – The three-night, six-part documentary series explains how many aspects of everyday life now can be traced back to developments 30 years ago.

Sony takes us on a hexacopter drone tour of Battleship Island – After the latest Bond film, Skyfall, came out the internet became briefly obsessed with Hashima Island. The tiny land mass off the coast of Japan was featured prominently in the film, serving as the hideout for the movie’s villain, the vaguely menacing Raoul Silva. The island, which was once densely populated, is now bereft of inhabitants, serving only as a reminder of the mining operation that existed there from the late 19th century to the 1970s.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Online poker players gambling on a life abroad After the three largest online poker websites in the U.S. were closed, professional players sought new places to play, like Panama. Sitting in his bedroom, Nathan Singer says he makes upwards of 10,000 decisions a day. The vast majority are automatic, with almost no conscious thought whatsoever. But they can result in thousands of dollars in profit or loss each week for the Californian, who makes his living playing online poker in Panama.

The Dangers of Surveillance – Other than the vague threat of an Orwellian dystopia, as a society we don’t really know why surveillance is bad, and why we should be wary of it. To the extent the answer has something to do with “privacy,” we lack an understanding of what “privacy” means in this context, and why it matters. Developments in government and corporate practices have made this problem more urgent. We need a better account of the dangers of surveillance.

Can ants predict earthquakes? – Researchers from Germany say that red wood ants change their behavior markedly just before an earthquake hits — a possible indication they can feel it coming. This is not the first time the predictive powers of ants have been observed. Prior to rainstorms, they’ve been seen to extend the height of their mounds, or even sprout wings and fly away. The newest evidence, about ants predicting earthquakes, was presented by Gabriele Berberich at the European Geosciences Union’s annual meeting in Vienna.

Computer program learns to play classic NES games – PhD computer science researcher Tom “Tom7” Murphy has developed a program called Playfun that can play NES games by itself. Surely the robots are ready to take over now.

How much tax do big tech companies pay? – Tech-sector companies have been especially adept at moving cash assets around the globe, and at muddying the waters as to precisely where their profits came from.

Today’s Quote:

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.”

–      George Carlin

Today’s Free Downloads:

7+ Taskbar Tweaker – This programs enables you to tweak your Windows 7 taskbar. Reorder items within a tab group, close, minimize, change application ID and more.

ClickyMouse Free Edition – Turn your computer mouse into more powerful device by assigning user-defined macros to variety mouse events such as clicks, mouse move to a screen edge, mouse move to a screen corner and others.

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