Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 18, 2013

Under CISPA, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, others can’t promise to protect your privacy – An amendment to CISPA failed to pass. This now means major tech and Web companies will be disallowed under law to promise to protect your privacy.

The 10 Best Free Android Apps – As part of our ongoing mission to chart a course through the wilds of Google Play, we’ve assembled this list of the ten best free apps available for Android. These cover everything from budgeting, note-taking, music, security, texting, and other apps. If you’re starting up a new Android device for the first time, or you’re on a bit of a tight budget, these apps will get you up and running.

50 Apps That Can Make You More Productive – Get the most out of yourself and your time with these productivity and efficiency apps for mobile devices, desktop computers, and the Web.

BeerHunt app wants you to have fun and free beer – A beer app turns drinking craft beer into a game — a game that could earn you free drinks and swag if you guzzle down the right brews. (Just for you Mal    Smile   )

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

PCs aren’t dead, they’re microwaves – Pundits say the PC is a dying platform, but the truth is much more mundane: Computers have become commodity appliances. Hear me out.

Facebook launches privacy campaign to protect teens – Facebook, under pressure to educate teenagers on staying safe on the site, has teamed up with 19 US attorneys general to launch a privacy public awareness campaign.

Google adds IT admin features for Chrome browser – Google has beefed up the administration and management controls that IT staff have over their users’ Chrome browsers. Google has added the ability for IT departments to apply the workplace configuration of Chrome browsers to Chrome browsers installed on employees’ home computers.

Watch the first videos recorded with Google Glass (they’re pretty great) – One of the biggest features of Google Glass will be the ability to easily record point-of-view video. If you’ve been wondering why that is a big deal and what that video may look like, the first examples have found their way onto YouTube and Google+.

When the PC is obsolete, how will you do this, this & this? – Tablets are great for casual Web browsing and catching up on email, but can they deliver everything we need in the so-called post-PC era? Before you answer, walk with me through a tour of the PC’s greatest talents. These are the benefits you’ll give up when your last PC dies and you decide you can get by without a replacement.

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Tablet – If you’re in the market for a new tablet, the good news is that there’s a tablet for everyone, regardless of needs and budgets. The bad news is that finding the right tablet can be tricky.

VueScan – Bring to your old photos to life digitally using this full-featured scanner software with the ability to restore faded images and balance colors.

Sherpa for Android is truly your digital assistant – In a crowded field of voice-powered digital assistant apps for Android, Sherpa distinguishes itself with its ability to perform searches on the Web, take notes, post to Facebook, and even stream music on command.

Open source is taking over the software world, survey says – It’s been only a few weeks since the Linux Foundation released its report that enterprise use of Linux continues to rise, but on Wednesday fresh data came out that suggests the same is true of open source software in general.

The Chromebook isn’t selling — so what? – Apparently people aren’t buying Chromebooks. Or they’re buying them but not using them. But does that actually matter?

Japanese ISP leaves Google Fiber in the dust with 2Gbps downloads – While the United States drools over Google Fiber‘s $70 per month residential internet speeds of 700Mbps up and down as it slowly rolls out to certain parts of the country, a Japanese ISP has left those mind-boggling speeds in the dust. For just $51 per month (if subscribed with a two-year contract), So-net Entertainment will provide customers with a 2Gbps download speed, and a 1Gbps upload speed. How’s your Google Fiber now, Kansas City and Austin?


Study: 32.8 Million Android Phones Infected with Malware – The study, which looked at over 5.3 million apps available in 406 different online stores, identified 65,227 different pieces of potentially dangerous malware last year. A quick look at the trend suggests that malware is growing at an exponential rate – there were only 1,649 such malware discoveries in 2009. In total, 32.8 million Android phones were infected with malware in 2012 – more than triple the number of the year before.

Seriously folks, you should know that Facebook warning about a virus burning your hard disk is bunk – It’s the desire to help others that all too often unwittingly perpetuates hoaxes and chain letters and helps them to spread. Take, for the instance, the following photograph that has been shared widely on Facebook, claiming to be a “Red Alert” warning for computer users.

Fingerprints: Is your employer, school, or Internet provider eavesdropping on your secure connections? – Secure browser connections can be intercepted and decrypted by authorities who spoof the authentic site’s certificate. But the authentic site’s fingerprint CANNOT be duplicated!

Microsoft adds two-factor authentication to keep accounts secure – If you’re an active user of Outlook, SkyDrive, Office Web Apps, or other Microsoft services, you may want to add two-step verification for an extra layer of security. Microsoft is rolling out this optional security measure, also known as two-factor authentication, over the next couple of days. Once available, it can be enabled through account settings.

Study: Top Wi-Fi routers are easy to hack – The most popular home wireless routers are easily hacked and there’s little you can do to stop it, says a new study by Independent Security Evaluators.

Sick malware authors exploit Boston Marathon bombing with Trojan attack – With sick inevitability, cybercriminals have exploited interest in the breaking news story of the explosions at the Boston Marathon by spreading malware. Messages spammed out by attackers claim to contain a link to video footage of Monday’s terrorist activity in Boston, with subject lines such as “2 Explosions at Boston Marathon”.

Most corporate computers missing critical software updates – Among the most common missing updates are those for Java, Microsoft technologies, Adobe Flash Player, Firefox and Open Office.

Company News:

Intel lays foundations for SDN gear that could shake up networking – If software-defined networking ultimately changes the landscape of networking, Intel could be one of the biggest beneficiaries — and might be one of the reasons. SDN is intended to take the control of networks out of the equipment that forwards packets and into software that could run on standard computing platforms. If that vision comes true, then makers of sheer computing horsepower could find a whole new market. Intel is a prime candidate.

Bitcoin exchange BitFloor halts operations, shuts down – Exchange specializing in the virtual currency announces it’s ceasing all trading operations and plans to return funds to its users.

Twitter will target ads based on your tweets – The social network on Wednesday rolled out keyword targeting for advertisers. Companies will rejoice because the new feature lets them market to Twitter users who would be likely to take advantage of an offer or ad.

Message Bus Announces Record Momentum While Reinventing Email in the Cloud – Message Bus, the pioneer of cloud-native infrastructure for email, mobile and social messaging, is pleased to announce record momentum since closing $11 million in Series B funding from North Bridge Venture Partners, True Ventures, Ignition Partners, James Lindenbaum, Tim Young and Jesse Robbins six months ago.

Google upgrades its mobile search – Google moves to keep up with its mobile users, updating search on devices this week. The company added two new features, both aimed at getting users on the run to the information they want more quickly.

Webopedia Daily:

Automatic online backup – In storage technology, online backup means to back up data from your hard drive to a remote server or computer using a network connection. An automatic online backup is a feature offered by some online backup service providers that lets users select any file to have the service automatically back that data up on a regular basis without the user having to make any further action.

Games and Entertainment:

Bioshock pays up in blasphemy action – A born-again Christian is claiming a victory after the distributors of the computer game Bioshock refunded his money after he claimed they violated his beliefs. Halfway through the game you are required to be “baptised” by a preacher and there is no way around it. Breen Malmberg, a gamer and a Christian, had murdered his way to that point in the game when he had an attack of conscience. After all, Jesus might shoot anything that moves, because Jesus believed in the right to bear arms, but he certainly would not allow himself to be baptised in a rival religion.

Nintendo releases a bevy of new and old games on its 3DS – The game-maker harkens back to the ’90s by releasing old hits — such as The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong Country, and Yoshi’s Island — on its 3D handheld console.

Activision releases 24 Black Ops II: Uprising screenshots to celebrate launch – Activision has stated that Call of Duty: Black Ops II saw the largest day-one shipments in its and the game industry’s history (even though a pirate copy appeared a week before the launch). So DLC for the millions of gamers who picked up the game was a given. Yesterday, Xbox 360 owners gained access to the second DLC pack, called Uprising, first, and Activision/Treyarch have released 24 screenshots in a bid to entice a purchase.

Finally, an Official The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Sequel – Strap in, Nintendo- and Zelda-philes, because you definitely weren’t expecting this: a sequel to — that’s right, not a remake of — Super Nintendo phenom The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

Gran Turismo 6 listing for PS3 appears on Newegg – The Gran Turismo series is a system seller for Sony. Whenever a new game carrying that name gets released it sells millions of copies and console sales spike. So with the launch of the PlayStation 4 later this year we were a bit surprised to discover in February that Gran Turismo 6 will remain a PS3 title.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Con Academy, Volume 1 – This is volume 1 of The Con Academy videos—another resource in the Skeptics Society’s arsenal of Skepticism 101 for teaching critical thinking and promoting science through the use of humor, wit, and satire. In this faux commercial for The Con Academy you’ll see how psychics count on the confirmation bias to convince people that their powers are real when, in fact, they are just remembering the hits and forgetting the misses. We also demonstrate how psychic “organizations” con people by taking their money for services that are not real. (suggested by Michael F.)

Crowdsourcing or witch hunt? Reddit, 4chan users try to ID Boston bomb suspects – Social-media users take the FBI’s request for photo clues one step further by attempting to ID suspects without hard evidence or legal procedure.

Nintendo game purchased at Goodwill for eight bucks is a $15,000 collectors’ find – It’s a nice thought. That hidden within every small town second hand store, there lies a hidden collectable that can be purchased for pocket change and sold on eBay for thousands. And it appears that a North Carolina woman was able to do just that. The unnamed woman picked up a copy of the 1987 NES collectable Stadium Games at a local Goodwill for $7.99, a find that may prove to be worth upwards of $15k.

Aussies Thirsty for Drinking Reform – Australians are drinking to get drunk in greater numbers and feeling guilty afterwards, but remain overwhelmingly in favour of fixing the collective national hangover, a new Poll has found. This year’s Annual Alcohol Poll found that in 2013, 40 per cent or 4.5 million Australians drank to get drunk, 31 per cent or 3.5 million Australians felt guilty after drinking, and an overwhelming majority of Australians (74%) believe more must be done to address alcohol‐related harms.

Stephen Hawking: So here’s how it all happened without God – In a speech in Pasadena, Calif., the famed physicist wonders what God was doing before the universe was created and says he’s grateful that he wasn’t subject to a church inquisition.

Google will brick Google Glasses if owners resell or loan them out – Terms of service warn users that their $1,500 high-tech specs will be deactivated if they try to resell or loan them to another person.

Today’s Quote:

The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant–and let the air out of the tires.”

–       Dorothy Parker

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wavepad 5.40 – WavePad is a full featured professional sound editor for Windows. WavePad will let you edit and make voice and other audio recordings. When editing audio files you can cut, copy and paste parts of recordings and more.

Defraggler 2.14.705 – Quickly and simply defrag the files you want to, without having to process the whole drive. Simply run it, select the file and defragment in seconds. No more struggling with the Windows defragmentation tool!

Free Ringtone Maker – Free Ringtone Maker is an extremely simple and handy Windows software for making your own free ringtones. Make Your Own Ringtones in 3 Easy Steps.

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