Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon explosions online resource guide – Organizations are setting up sites useful for tracking down friends and family, donating blood, or finding out the latest news after the Boston Marathon tragedy.

Free cloud storage for life – CNET has partnered with Pogoplug to offer all CNET members 20GB of free cloud storage for life!

FAA and security researchers at odds over airplane hack security – The avionics bigwigs FAA and EASA have said “bunk!” to a researcher’s claims that his new Android app could potentially hack planes. OK, says fellow plane hacker “Renderman,” if that’s true, there’s no harm in giving public access to your test labs, now is there? Opening up the FAA’s test labs might be the best way to get past this theater to get to the truth. What do you think? Should the FAA and other avionics players play ball, or would that result in more potential danger to us all? (Who to believe? Proven practiced liars or, security researchers with no dog in the fight?)

Hack your Android like a pro: Rooting and ROMs explained – There isn’t anything wrong with most out-of-the-box experiences, but more daring and tech-savvy users who tire of being at the mercy and discretion of carriers and handset makers might be interested in pushing their Android devices to new limits. This where the practice known as rooting comes into play.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Monect controls your PC from a tablet or phone – An XDA Forum member has launched a slick app that allows users to wirelessly control their PCs via either a phone or tablet, effectively transforming Android mobile devices into a keyboard/mouse/joystick/keypad all-in-one combo.

Ouya ARM console fails to live up to expectations – Hopes that ARM might be able to push itself into the gaming market have been dashed as the Ouya console failed to live up to its expectations. Benchmark tests are coming out which reveal that Ouya is not at all up to scratch and there are over 70 other mobile devices that have performed better. The benchmarks suggest that even for the comparatively cheap sub $100 price, it is going to be a turkey.

UB4 Android TV stick packs quad-core power – The Measy U4B is fitted with both a quad-core processor and $100 price tag. Additional specs? 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of integrated storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi, a microSD card slot for storage expansion and a full-size USB port for connecting your mouse and keyboard.

5 Handy Tricks in Microsoft Word – That pesky line in the middle of your document is back! And what’s up with all that unwanted formatting from pasted text? Learn how to fix these problems, as well as master three other productivity tricks in Microsoft Word.

See what’s new with Google Voice – Google Voice can offer solid advantages for business users. Find out what’s new with this free service and how it can help you do your job more effectively.

What to watch out for when adding a second router into a SOHO network – Sometimes, you need to expand a Wi-Fi network, whether it is to accommodate more devices or you’re adding an extra office. What follows is a quick guide on the items you need to plan in advance and a few things to look out for when another wireless router is added to your network. It is a general guide, as opposed to being tied to specific brands of Wi-Fi routers.

Adobe Releases Lightroom 5 Beta – Adobe Lightroom is the choice workflow application for a good number of professional and serious amateur photographers, and today these folks can get a look at the program’s next version for free. The company announced that Lightroom 5 Beta is now available as a free download at

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 review: A useful, if not radical, upgrade – While the public beta of this well-known photo-editing application is not a dramatic reworking, it includes some useful new tools.

Microsoft updates six of its own Windows 8 apps – Microsoft is pushing out updates to six of the Windows 8/Windows RT applications built by the Bing AppEx team, company officials announced on April 15. Five of these app updates — Finance, News, Maps, Sports and Travel — are available today in the Windows Store. The Weather app updates will be “shipping over the course of the coming weeks,” according to company officials.


Steve Gibson’s Fingerprint service detects SSL man in the middle spying – Needless to say, malicious software, typically on a Windows computer, can see passwords before they get encrypted by the web browser. A newer approach – infecting the web browser itself – is far worse. The browser sees everything coming and going, making it the perfect spy. Both sides of the secure SSL/HTTPS connection get lied to. The website thinks it is talking directly to the victim, but it is actually communicating with the intercepting spy machine pretending to be the victim. All the encryption in the world doesn’t help if you are not communicating with the entity you think you are. Man in the middle attacks succeed, in large part, because you can lie to people that don’t fully understand the technology. But, even those that understand it had no easy way to detect it. Now, thanks to Steve Gibson, we have a new service that should expose man-in-the-middle attacks. (Recommended read.)

Standalone On demand Antivirus Scanners for Windows – While one can always visit online antivirus scanners from well-know security software to scan one’s PC – or get a particular file scanned with an online malware scanner using multiple antivirus engines, some prefer to have a standalone on-demand antivirus scanner installed locally. In this post we will see some of the free on-demand antivirus scanners which you can use. Some of them are standalone, while some of them, you may need to install. Let us have a look at the standalone virus scanners first. (suggested by Hipockets.)

Facebook, Attorneys General Team Up on Internet Safety – Beginning on Tuesday, 20 attorneys general and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will begin circulating state-specific public service announcements, which build on the social network’s “Ask the Safety Team Video” series. Additionally, an Internet safety tip sheet – “What You Can Do to Control Your Information” – offers the top 10 tools every Facebook user should know.

Online Poker Rooms Fraught With Vulnerabilities – In the lucrative world of online gambling, many poker rooms – especially those that rely on the user to download a client to play – are marred by insecurities. A recent study conducted by a pair of researchers suggests a number of online gaming companies whose poker clients rely on “skins,” aren’t adequately protecting their users while gaming online. “Skins,” the customizable Web-based poker rooms that exist on companies’ websites, dictate what each gaming environment looks like and what protocols can be modified for each user.

Google Fixes Three High-Risk Flaws in Chrome OS – Google has fixed a series of serious vulnerabilities in its Chrome OS, including three high-risk bugs that could be used for code execution on vulnerable machines. As part of its reward program, Google paid out more than $30,000 to a researcher who found three of the vulnerabilities.

Money can’t buy privacy in Google Play store, study shows – Both paid and free apps in the Google Play store harvest the same amount of private information from Android phones, a security researcher has discovered.

DropSmack: Using Dropbox to steal files and deliver malware – Michael P. Kassner interviews a digital forensic scientist who uses Dropbox to compromise targeted networks — something the bad guys probably figured out as well.

Company News:

Samsung’s knuckles rapped over HTC affair – Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission is looking at allegations that Samsung paid students to attack rival HTC’s smartphones online. If the watchdog rules against the South Korean tech giant, Samsung could face a fine of up to $835,000. According to the Taiwanese press, Samsung allegedly hired students to write online articles attacking HTC and recommending Samsung handsets.

Comcast Rolls Out Basic Cable Encryption – As outlined on a note on its website, Comcast said it will be encrypting its Limited Basic channels, “which will result in the scrambling of those signals.” The move helps providers like Comcast stop people from stealing cable, and also means the provider can troubleshoot and provide other services from afar rather than having to send a technician out to customers’ homes.

Firefox Mobile OS to launch in five countries this summer – Mozilla CEO says that the Firefox Mobile OS will be available this summer in Venezuela, Poland, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain.

Twitter reportedly in talks for video content from Viacom, NBC – Microblogging site would stream video clips to users in exchange for splitting ad revenue with the networks, sources tell Bloomberg.

Webopedia Daily:

Smartwatch – A wearable computing device worn on a user’s wrist that offers functionality and capabilities similar to those of a smartphone. Smartwatches are designed to, either on their own or when paired with a smartphone, provide features like connecting to the internet, running mobile apps, making calls, messaging via text or video, checking caller ID, accessing stock and weather updates, providing fitness monitoring capabilities, offering GPS coordinates and location directions, and more. A number of companies either currently have smart watches on the market or are rumored to be developing smartwatches, including Google, Samsung, Apple (the “iWatch”), LG, Sony, Pebble and various others.

Games and Entertainment:

Defiance: Where Games and TV Collide – Its world simultaneously spans a Syfy TV show and a MMO game, but is this enough to make it a success?

EA Shuttering 3 Facebook Games June 14 – Electronic Arts’s recent struggles seem to have trickled down to its social gaming platform. The company today announced that three of its Facebook-based games will shutter in two months, thanks to a drop in user activity. As of June 14, EA will retire Playfish Facebook games The Sims Social, SimCity Social, and Pet Society, according to a blog post. EA acquired Playfish in 2009 for $300 million.

Microsoft, Lionsgate Partner for ‘Hunger Games Explorer’ – Fans of The Hunger Games may have another five months to wait before the theatrical release of the next film, but you can pass the time online with the new Hunger Games Explorer, a one-stop-shop for all things Katniss, Panem, and District 12. Microsoft and Lionsgate have teamed up to bring the interactive world of Catching Fire directly to fans’ Web browsers.

Old school Batman is back – Today’s generation may find the Batman of the 60’s rather silly, but we wouldn’t have the modern Batman we know and love today without the TV show.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Dvorak: Why I Hope Google Glass Flops – I hope to God that Google Glass is a huge flop. I wish I could predict its failure for sure, but since everyone I know under the age of 30 wants a pair, I’m reluctant to make such a claim. Still, one can dream.

Gordon Lightfoot hailed a master journalist – The song in question, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” involves 457 of the most powerful journalistic words you will ever read, according to a new line-by-line deconstructon by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Lightfoot’s use of first- and second-level nut grafs and employment of sweep, scope, tension, sensory detail and other writerly devices make the song an outstanding example of narrative journalism, the Nieman Story Board blog contends.

13 PC technologies that need to disappear, stat! – Time marches on, but some PC technologies don’t know when they’ve worn out their welcome. While we applaud motherboard manufacturers for helping us extend the lives of our hardware, we also realize that we’re paying for many components that we’ll never, ever use. So we’ve rounded up a baker’s dozen of legacy technologies that no longer serve much of a purpose.

Video: Granny Gives Oculus Rift the Thumbs Up – Viral video turns up of 90-year-old grandmother test-driving an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and apparently having her mind good and blown.

The 10 most important graphics cards in PC history – The mid-’90s were a precursor to a revolution in graphics and gaming alike, and at the center was the video card, in the midst of its coming-of-age party. Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

Today’s Quote:

Time is that quality of nature which keeps events from happening all at once. Lately it doesn’t seem to be working.”

–    Anonymous

Today’s Free Downloads:

Sophos Mobile Security – Sophos Mobile Security is a lightweight app which protects your Android device without reducing performance or battery life. Using up-to-the-minute intelligence from SophosLabs, we automatically scan apps as you install them. This anti-virus functionality helps you to avoid undesirable software which can lead to data loss and unexpected costs. We also protect your device from attacks via USSD or other special codes. And if your device is lost or stolen, a remote lock or wipe will shield your personal information from prying eyes.

PhoneClean – PhoneClean is uniquely designed to reclaim more free space on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and make all iOS devices running faster.

SnapPea Beta – Manage your Android from your PC; download apps for FREE, import your iTunes music, save your data plan, send text messages and more.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

6 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 16, 2013

  1. Bill,

    I just want to express how great of a job you do with presenting Tech Thoughts – Daily Net News… You know what is important and you get it to us.


  2. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    re: The Boston marathon bombings

    It’s unclear who was responsible for this outrage. No doubt there will be the usual crop of those jumping to conclusions and I don’t intend to add to their number, just to add my sympathy for those killed and injured during what should have been a joyous family occasion.

    It seems that the London marathon will go ahead on Sunday, which I applaud. We need to show those concerned that we are not cowed by these cowardly acts, whatever the excuses given for perpetrating them. Security will be reviewed as it will tomorrow for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, which will bring its own challenges.

    I hope you do not have anyone close who was caught up in this tragedy.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi John,

      And, it remains so – most unusual. I share your concern re: the usual “jumping to conclusions.” Although, at least to this point (to me), there seems to be an unetheral sense of calm. Again, most unusual.

      As well, I share your response to the upcoming London marathon. As a sign of our resolve, it needs to take place.

      As for me – no, I don’t know anyone personally who was involved. But, in that 6% of separation thing – I know more than one person who is related to or, personally involved with, someone who ran the race. It seems trite to say that it’s a small world but, it’s increasingly so.



  3. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Re: Steve Gibson’s Fingerprint service detects SSL man in the middle spying
    You have been reading my mind again. I was just on GRC the other day reading about this (and of course I had to check whether I was compromised, which I aint). Well worth the few minutes for anyone to run the check and see where they are at.
    Been hanging around Steve Gibson’s site for about 12 years now, the dude knows his stuff and provides great services for internet users.

    • Hey Mal,

      Same here – Steve’s been on my route since the Great Flood. 🙂

      I’ll put up a reference to the finger printing service in the AM.