Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 22, 2013

Do Our Mobile Devices Turn Us Into Teenagers? – Do we become different people when we fire up our mobile devices? Could be. In fact, a significant share of users say they feel entitled to do pretty much whatever they want while on their smartphones or tablets, according to a recent survey from McCann Truth Central. If this sounds as if we’re acting like teenagers, well, that’s essentially the point of the report, “The Truth About Connected You.”

Intelligent Ringer adjusts your ringer volume based on ambient noise – Intelligent Ringer uses your Android phone’s microphone to determine the best volume setting for your device. Learn how to install and use this free app.

Six Android apps you’ll thank us for pointing out – These aren’t your basic apps; they are what we think are cool right now in Google Play. Check ’em out.

Infographic: Smartphone Damage 101 – More smartphones mean more opportunities for smartphone-related danger, be it damage, theft, or absentmindedness.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Social nets dominate US users’ time online, study reports – Americans are so fixated on social networks that they spend an average of 16 minutes out of every hour on them, according to a study by Experian Marketing Services. In the U.S., 27 percent of users’ time online is spent on forums and social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Experian said. Experian included both desktop and mobile users in its study.

Get Organized: 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.

Hack your Android like a pro: Rooting and ROMs explained – There are benefits to rooting your Android smartphone, but it can be a tricky world for beginners. Here are some tips.

Quick Tip: Add an Applications folder to the Windows 8 Desktop – With the help of a special code, add an applications folder to the Windows 8 Desktop that grants easy access to all programs.

Security:

CBS affiliates see Twitter accounts hijacked; Password security in focus – Two-factor authentication is in the spotlight again after the Twitter accounts for three CBS brands — 60 Minutes, 48 Hours and a Denver news affiliate — were hijacked and later suspended this weekend. The episodes add to a long list of media outlets and big companies that have been compromised in recent months.

‘BadNews’ Android Malware Briefly Bypasses Google Play Protections – BadNews isn’t unique because of its infection rate; Rather, because of the relatively creative tactics the malware employed in order to mess with users’ devices – and sustain itself on Google Play.

How Often Do You Forget Your Password? – A new study from the Ponemon Institute, sponsored by authentication vendor NokNok Labs, sheds some light on the current state of password use — and as it turns out, misuse. The study surveyed 1,900 people in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. Nearly half of the study’s respondents were unable to execute an online transaction due to some form of password authentication failure. Most of those failures were a result of users forgetting their passwords.

Study shows brainwaves could be security for wearable tech – With the next wave in consumer electronics expected to be smart bracelets, watches, and eyewear, experts are hopeful that thought-based authentication—which recent research shows is possible—could have a significant impact on the technology.

Hosting company Hostgator hacked, suspect arrested after being “rooted with his own rootkit” – A former system administrator from hosting company Hostgator has been arrested for hacking into his former employer’s network. There’s some poetic justice in how he was identified and connected with the crime…Paul Ducklin takes a look, and can’t help smiling.

Facial-recognition tech played no role in ID’ing bomb suspects – Despite images of the suspects at the scene and in official databases, the software could not put names to their faces, Boston’s police commissioner tells the Washington Post.

Company News:

Services seek money in social messaging as SMS declines – A large number of customers are migrating to free or cost-effective social messaging apps. In a new report that examines the findings of its Consumer Insights Survey, the independent telecom analyst firm reveals that 31 percent of respondents to the survey said that using social messaging services has led to a decrease in their SMS usage. Countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, and France have experienced the highest adverse impact on SMS, although respondents from Germany, Russia, and the U.S. stated that they had actually increased their use of SMS.

Twitter partners with Comedy Central to host laugh fest – Five-day festival will feature comedy legends and young comedians telling jokes through tweets and video clips on Vine, The New York Times reports.

Novell unveils Filr as a local alternative to Dropbox – Novell is preparing to release Filr, a new on-premise file sharing product for organisations that want some of the convenience of a Dropbox-like approach while keeping data management under internal control. A key attraction of Filr’s design is that it can sits on top of existing file stores managed through Active Directory policies, which means that employees access it from multiple devices as they would their home file directory.

After 9 years, Canonical stops offering Ubuntu on disc – I’ve already decided that the next PC I build won’t include an internal optical drive. I just don’t need one often enough anymore to warrant the cost or installation. I can instead rely on a USB optical drive I already own. And I think that’s the case for a lot of PC owners now. They either use hardware that has already dumped the optical drive (e.g. Ultrabooks), or won’t consider it a great loss if their next system doesn’t include one. Canonical is seeing that change, too.

NSA Building a Secure Version of OpenStack – The NSA (America’s super secret intelligence agency) is no stranger to open source software and apparently they aren’t strangers to OpenStack either.

Webopedia Daily:

Hekaton – The codename for a Microsoft project that will provide support for mixing in-memory database tables with more traditional on-disk tables in the same database. These hybrid databases will be able to dynamically handle both in-memory and on-disk storage in the same database for optimal performance and reliability. Project Hekaton’s in-memory database technology will be featured in the next major release of Microsoft SQL Server, which is expected to officially debut sometime in 2015. The project gets its codename from the Greek word for 100 times, which is the peak performance improvement goal the company has set for Hekaton.

Games and Entertainment:

Big SimCity Patch Arrives Monday: Is Version 2.0 Enough? – For those gamers who have all but given up on EA Maxis’ SimCity, is the big upcoming patch enough to woo them back?

Bethesda’s The Evil Within Teaser Trailer’s Clichés and Intriguing Bits – Nicely done, Bethesda. You got us to pay attention to something we otherwise might have tossed in the “yay, press release” bin.

The Swiss Army gaming tablet – Take a Windows 8 tablet. Add Nvidia graphics. Mix in a snap-on controller. Toss in a TV-friendly dock. Suddenly, what was a gaming PC in theory can become a console; step back, and a tablet becomes a gaming handheld. This is the promise that the Razer Edge provides: a Surface for the gaming set, if you will. It’s a novel idea that no one else has made tangible yet, and the Razer Edge stands alone in that regard.

New Video Combines Multi-Directional Treadmill Movement with Oculus Rift – Combined with a virtual reality interface, the Omni presents a compelling method of interaction that could allow gamers to immerse themselves into their experiences to an even greater degree – and perhaps shed a few calories in the process, especially for those planning to around the Far Cry 3 island all day long. But don’t take our word for it; Virtuix has released a new video that combines the Omni treadmill with the oft-talked-about Oculus Rift headset.

Off Topic (Sort of):

10 Jaw-Dropping Gigapixel Photos – Recently, British Telecom and partner 360Cities, which specializes in panoramic photos, shot 48,640 individual frames that were digitally collated into a single panorama. All told, the shot required 320 GB of data – the largest, most complex digital photo ever taken. But it might not be the best. We’ve found some, in fact, that we think are better. Click in the “Image” to explore each one.

Google’s Earth Day doodle reflects planet’s complexity – To mark the 43rd Earth Day, Google produces one of its busiest but subtle animated doodles, depicting our planet’s ever-changing landscape.

10 Google Products That Make the Company Cooler Than Apple – Although Apple was once the epitome of cool, Google is now delivering the coolest tech products by innovating with hardware and software without sacrificing its main business of search and advertising.

Wringing out Water on the ISS – for Science! (video 3:18) – CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield performed a simple science experiment designed by grade 10 Lockview High School students Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner. The students from Fall River, Nova Scotia won a national science contest held by the Canadian Space Agency with their experiment on surface tension in space using a wet washcloth. (suggested by Michael F.)

eBay CEO enlists users’ aid to defeat online sales tax bill – John Donahoe e-mails users to prevent enactment of a national internet sales tax he argues would place an unreasonable burden on small retailers.

Survey: One in Five Would Buy Apple’s ‘iWatch’ – That’s quite a bit of interest for a product that only exists in rumors thus far

Today’s Quote:

I love everything that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.”

–      Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield

Today’s Free Downloads:

Fotosizer 2.01.0.530 – Fotosizer is a freeware batch image resizer tool. It resizes your photos in just 3 easy steps – 1. Photo selection, 2. select resize settings, then 3. Start the resize!

CrystalDiskInfo 5.6.1 – CrystalDiskInfo is a HDD health monitoring utility. It displays basic HDD information, monitors S.M.A.R.T. values and disk temperature.

SlimBrowser 7.00.022 – SlimBrowser is a fast and secure internet browser for Windows fully loaded with powerful features. It starts up quickly and opens web pages right in front of you with minimum delay.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 21, 2013

An America without privacy – Here’s the thing, and in this case, I’m directly addressing those so-called “representatives” we send to Washington theoretically on our behalf. It’s a simple concept, so I want you to say it out loud, roll it around in your mouth, and think on it. The Constitution must not end where the digital domain begins.

Chris Wysopal, Veracode: U.S. Government worst at data security – One of America’s most respected security researchers discloses that the U.S. Government’s data security practices are shockingly negligent. This is what CISPA supporters don’t want us to know.

How do you know if an anti-virus test is any good? – Anti-virus tests are a bit of a minefield. Why are they all different? How do you know who to believe? What makes one test better than another, or are they all equally brilliant/useless/biased/random? John Hawes takes a look.

Windows Repair (All In One) – A couple of friends of mine recently ran into a situation where the windows updates service was broken on a computer they were working. The fix in this situation was not a fix that everyday computer user would want to attempt, due to edits to the registry being required. As a result of this specific situation I started to explore around for an easier solution; and, just by chance happened across a utility called Windows Repair (All In One), that not only will fix the Windows Update service, but a whole host of Windows OS based problems.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

You won’t believe how crazy this password infomercial is (and neither did Ellen DeGeneres) – When there’s nothing funny on American TV, you can always rely upon an infomerical selling some crazy product to have you chuckling or simply agog in disbelief that anyone would ever buy such a thing. Watch this video, you won’t believe your eyes.

Film ‘War for Web’ warns of CISPA, SOPA, future threats – The late Aaron Swartz said in an interview for the documentary film, set to be completed late this year, he was more worried about the U.S. government than teenage hackers in basements.

Cheap Intel devices will run Google, Microsoft OSes, sources say – Really cheap Intel-based tablets and laptops will run Google and Microsoft operating systems, sources tell CNET.

Smaller Windows 8 tablets will be huge – Microsoft has confirmed that smaller Windows 8 tablets will come to market in the near future. These will fill a gap in the Windows ecosystem and boost demand for Windows 8 by addressing key downsides to the early Surface tablets.

Nokia’s wireless chargers perk up local coffee shops (pictures) – What will it take for wireless charging to catch on? Nokia and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf shops hope that making stations public will do the trick.

In Boston manhunt, online detectives flourish – The intensive manhunt for the bombers behind the deadly Boston Marathon attacks didn’t take place only on the streets with professional police officers and SWAT teams. In an era of digital interactivity, it also unfolded around the country from laptops and desk chairs filled with regular folks.

Boston drama grips television networks – So much for scripted police procedurals. The marathon manhunt in Boston was a real-life drama that kept the biggest television networks and their viewers on edge for most of the day and into Friday evening, with a city’s safety hanging in the balance. It had a prime-time conclusion, too. Shortly before 9 p.m. EDT, and three hours after the sound of gunfire indicated the end might be near, Boston police announced that the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing had been taken into custody.

Security:

Two-Step Verification: Know What It Is? You May Have To Soon – What is two-step verification (or authorization), and why are WordPress, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox and others proposing we use it?

Trojan horse malware destroys delivery files to hide its tactics – The Trojan downloader, called Win32/Nemim.gen!A, is the latest example of how malware writers are using sophisticated techniques to protect their own trade secrets. The Trojan essentially makes downloaded component files irrecoverable, so they cannot be isolated and analyzed.

8 tips for a security incident handling plan – Most of us know that there is no such thing as 100% security, and that – unfortunately – it’s only a matter of time until a security incident occurs. It’s a vast topic, but here are 8 tips that you can keep in your back pocket should that day come.

Widely used routers easy to hack even by remote attackers – Security researchers have tested thirteen widely used small office/home office routers and wireless access points, and have discovered that every single one of them has critical security vulnerabilities that allow local and remote attackers to take control of the device.

Sony Pictures LulzSec hacker sentenced – 25-year-old LulzSec hacker Cody Kretsinger (aka “recursion”) has been sentenced to spend one year in prison for his involvement in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack that resulted in the the compromise of over one million user accounts. After his release he will also have to pay $605,000 in restitution and perform 1,000 hours of community service.

Anatomy of a phish – how to spot a Man-in-the-Middle attack, and other security tips – Even if you are used to phishing scams, it still pays to take the occasional look at a scam campaign, just to remind yourself not to let your guard down. Paul Ducklin digs into a recent “tax refund” phish with an added Man-in-the-Middle attack.

Bing is fine, insecure as ever, but fine – No, Bing isn’t malfunctioning; Google isn’t playing games with it; Bing’s working just fine, the same way it always has… without security support.

Company News:

How Twitter #Music plays to the company’s most important asset – By promoting the celebrity and ingenue music makers on the platform, Twitter is defending its prized “follow graph” against competitors.

Verizon’s Galaxy S4 sign-up page is finally live – America’s biggest carrier was slow to get on board with Samsung’s latest Android flagship device, but now it’s official.

10 Google Products That Make the Company Cooler Than Apple – Although Apple was once the epitome of cool, Google is now delivering the coolest tech products by innovating with hardware and software without sacrificing its main business of search and advertising.

Yahoo CEO reaffirms decision to prohibit telecommuting – Mayer decided to break her silence on the decision this week at the Great Place to Work conference in Los Angeles, an ironic venue, since her telecommuting decision, in the eyes of many, made her company a little-less-great place to work.

Webopedia Daily:

Apache Hbase – Apache HBase (HBase) is the Hadoop database. It is a distributed, scalable, big data store. HBase is a sub-project of the Apache Hadoop project and is used to provide real-time read and write access to your big data. According to The Apache Software Foundation, the primary objective of Apache HBase is the hosting of very large tables (billions of rows X millions of columns) atop clusters of commodity hardware.

Games and Entertainment:

It’s about time: RuneScape dumps Java for HTML5 – A widely used online game and longtime Java ally is ditching Oracle’s security-plagued programming technology. Your move, Minecraft.

Gamma World – At first, there was Dungeons & Dragons. My initial exposure to it was a short game at church camp, played in the cabin one rainy day with a small group of kids. The concept of playing a “role” and creating a “character” to act out was immediately recognizable. It fit in my brain like a key in a lock. This was something I could do, but I didn’t want to play the characters – I wanted to run the game. More than that, I wanted to create the environment.

The 10 Best iPod touch Games – The iPhone and iPad aren’t the only way to take advantage of the great games on iOS. Check out our list of the best iPod touch games around.

The 12 most frustrating PC games we can’t help but love – These games will drive you to the brink of madness—but you won’t be able to quit, no matter how hard you try.

Off Topic (Sort of):

image

Patrick Corrigan for the Toronto Star

Research shows Hurricane Sandy shook ground on West Coast – When Hurricane Sandy roared ashore on the Northeast coast last October, it not only caused flooding, but it also shook the ground as far away as the West Coast, triggering seismometers monitoring vibrations in the Earth’s crust. Scientists announced their findings about the massive storm at the Seismological Society of America’s annual meeting, which wraps up today in Salt Lake City.

From Why Evolution Is True – Winner(s), “Dear evolution” contest – This week’s contest, in which I asked readers to write a letter, as an animal or plant, to evolution (based on this Scientific American post), elicited a number of funny entries. My six favorites were these.

Chinese firm deluged with applications for e-smut appraising job – A Chinese company has received 5,000 resumes and 300,000 emails expressing interest after it advertised for a “chief appraiser” of pornography. Safety Alliance, a company looking to offer web filtering in the already-restricted Middle Kingdom internet, is recruiting five people to check for obscene or “harmful” content online, as well as a “Chief Pornography Identification Officer” at a salary of 200,000 yuan ($32,375), according to its advertisement on the Chinese social media site Sina Weibo,

Samsung explores touchless tablet interaction with brainwave technology – Try and wrap this one around your noggin. Samsung is currently working with researchers at the University of Texas on a project involving EEG caps that harnesses the power of one’s mind to control tablets and smartphones, and if that weren’t enough, the company’s actually hoping to take it mainstream. Now, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s be clear: in its current stage, the system is cumbersome and aimed at those with disabilities, but Samsung’s already proven that it’s interested in alternative input methods, and this could certainly be the logical conclusion.

Texas teacher denies molesting girl, 6: Says she’s too racist to touch black people – Irene Esther Stokes, 61, used her prejudice against African-Americans as a defense against accusations of fondling the ‘vaginal area’ of a first-grade girl at Northwest Prep Academy, say police in Humble, Texas.

Today’s Quote:

Hold a book in your hand and you’re a pilgrim at the gates of a new city.”

–     Anne Michaels

Today’s Free Downloads:

Advanced Onion Router 0.3.0.18 – Advanced Onion Router is designed to be a client for OR network and intended to be an improved alternative for Tor+Vidalia+Privoxy bundle for Windows users.

Capture .NET – Capture .NET Free v2 is an integrated, multi-functional, powerful and general-purpose System, Design, File, Desktop and Develop utility. Includes many helpful tools.

Wise Disk Cleaner 7.81 – Have you ever been worried about a large number of temporary files and junk files creating by using computer everyday, what’s more, over time these files take up more and more of your disk space and slow down your PC? Yes, Wise Disk Cleaner Free can help you to solve your problems. It is a software program for freeing up disk space by deleting junk files and temporary files. This free disk cleaning tool can run almost all Windows OS including Windows 7, Windows 2008 Server, Windows Vista, Windows XP etc.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 20, 2013

Tracking the Boston manhunt – The search for the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings illustrates how Web sites and apps have changed news coverage.

Get your privacy ducks in a row with DuckDuckGo – DuckDuckGo isn’t new, and it won’t topple Google or Bing anytime soon, but it is the best search engine in regard to respecting user privacy. It’s refreshing to see a common-sense privacy policy that has all the settings tuned in your favor by default, and that alone is reason enough to give DuckDuckGo a shot.

Finally, an App That Lets You Grope Your Special Someone over the Internet – This one’s for all you long-distance lovaaaahs out there. Durex, purveyor of prophylactics, has rolled out Fundawear: The getup consists of his-and-hers unmentionables that connect to the Internet and are lined with sensors that deliver little touch-like zaps to various body parts.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Boston Explosion Spammer shifts to Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion – Yesterday recipients of the Malcovery Today’s Top Threat report were among the first to get a detailed analysis of the new spam campaign offering videos of the Boston Explosion. By mid-afternoon, we had already seen 80,000 copies of this spam! Today, our analysts have uncovered the newest update to the threat … more than 18,000 emails already received this morning with subjects related to the Texas Fertilizer Plant explosion. (suggested by Michael F.)

People Are Buying Boston Marathon Bombing Domain Names and Putting Them Up for Auction – Just as after 9/11 and the death of Osama bin Laden, you can now find web addresses related to this week’s unforgettable event on registrar auction sites. Go Daddy, the largest domain name registrar, tells TIME that on Monday it saw a 430% increase in registrations that included words such as Boston, marathon and bomb. The next day, that spiked to 555%.

WhatsApp Messenger lets you text for free with extra features (pictures) – WhatsApp Messenger has only a few more useful features than regular text-messaging apps, but makes it easy to add locations, voice memos, and other information with a simple in-app menu.

10 nifty Windows 8 apps — all free – Need help negotiating the corporate landscape? Want to track your network usage? Just looking for a fun little time-waster? These free apps for Windows 8 can help.

Track down a lost BlackBerry 10 device with BlackBerry Protect – One of the first things you should do on your brand-new BlackBerry 10 device after going through the initial setup process is to enable BlackBerry Protect. The free service offered by BlackBerry will allow you to locate a lost or stolen BlackBerry 10 device.

Apps That Make You More Productive (Updated) – Get the most work done in the least time with these seriously efficient apps.

The 13 Best Android Widgets for 2013 – Work faster and stay better-informed by adding these essential Android widgets to your homescreen.

Tech Minute: Wedding photographer for a day – Nothing will ever replace the formal photos from a wedding photographer. But for those silly dance floor pics or perhaps candid shots of cocktail hour, there are several new apps that make it easy for guests to act as amateur photographers. These apps let guests snap shots throughout the day and then share the special photos with the married couple.

FingerLink turns paper into touch screens – With just the swipe of a finger, Fujitsu’s FingerLink interface lets you scan paper documents and project graphics onto them.

Security:

Apple keeps Siri data for two years – Apple has confirmed that it keeps Siri-related data for up to two years after the information is anonymized.

New Android Trojan downloaded from Google Play by millions – Millions of Android users have been tricked into downloading a new Trojan masquerading a slew or legitimate apps directly from Google Play, warns Lookout researcher Marc Rogers. The newly discovered malware family has been dubbed BadNews, and it’s capable of harvesting and sending information about the device to its C&C server, send out fake news messages, and prompt users to install additional malicious applications such as the AlphaSMS premium rate SMS Trojan.

New version of Gozi financial malware bundles MBR rootkit – Researchers from security firm Trusteer have found a new variant of the Gozi banking Trojan program that infects a computer’s Master Boot Record (MBR) in order to achieve persistence.

Security certificate problem trips up Bing Web site – Using Microsoft’s search service over a secure network connection yielded serious warnings because of a security certificate problem Friday.

Beware of fake SourceForge site offering malicious downloads – Cyber crooks have been misusing the reputation of the popular online source code repository SourceForge (sourceforge.net) and gave been pushing out malware from the sourceforgechile.net domain registered in the US earlier this month.

Russian malware mines bitcoins via botnet, security firm warns – The malware, named “Fareit,” has been circulating on the Internet for at least six months and infects Windows computers. It has been modified to “mine” the virtual currency, said Dodi Glenn, director of AV Labs at ThreatTrack Security, which was spun off from GFI Software last month.

Company News:

Microsoft says small Windows touch devices are in the works – Microsoft may be busy making changes to the Windows technical requirements and licensing terms to pave the way for smaller Windows tablets. For the most part, however, the company has only hinted that sub 10-inch tablets could be in the works. That changed recently after the company came awfully close to confirming a 7-inch Windows tablet was on the way.

Microsoft’s Strong Quarter Leaves Critics in the Dust – Microsoft may be having the last laugh with Thursday’s report that the company enjoyed a strong uptick in sales and profits for the first three months of 2013.

Yahoo tries to freshen up, kills a bunch of products – Yahoo is doing some spring cleaning. The company announced it will shut down Yahoo Deals, SMS Alerts, and Mail and Messenger apps for feature phones at the end of April.

Dell confirms Blackstone drops takeover bid amid PC slump – The private equity firm also cites Dell’s “rapidly eroding financial profile” as part of its reason to withdraw from the takeover process.

Ouya says it has 10,000 developers – Ouya – which recently began shipping its Android-powered console to early Kickstarter backers – says it has signed on up to 10,000 game developers.

Report: Google Buying Provo Fiber Service for $1 – Residents of Provo, Utah got some good news this week when Google announced plans to buy a city-owned fiber-optic system and upgrade it to ultra-fast gigabit technology. But just how much does one pay for a city-wide fiber network? If you’re Google, the answer is $1, according to a new report from The Associated Press.

Webopedia Daily:

Thunderbolt – Intel’s Thunderbolt input/output (I/O) technology is designed to connect high-performance peripherals and HD video displays via a single port using two communications methods, or protocols, PCI Express for data transfer and DisplayPort for displays. Thunderbolt provides data transfer rates up to 10 Gbps, which is 20 times faster than the USB 2.0 standard and 12 times faster than FireWire 800. With Thunderbolt, you can also daisy-chain up to six devices, including a display, without the need for a hub, and also provides 10 watts of power to peripherals. Thunderbolt made its initial debut in the 2011 release of the MacBook Pro laptop series.

Games and Entertainment:

Hooked Up: It’s the best of celebrity tech. Exposed – I’m pretty juiced to announce an all-new show that you’ll be able to find right here on CNET called “Hooked Up.” It’s a partnership between CNET and CBS Television Distribution, and it will be a new weekly Web series that brings you today’s hottest stars and the technology that surrounds them. There’s never been a show that’s combined the two worlds of celebrity and technology, and we’re excited to bring it to you.

There’s a Legendary version of Skyrim coming to PC and consoles – At the beginning of this week Bethesda announced that they were done with Skyrim. The development team is leaving the game behind and moving on to their “biggest and best work yet.” In other words, the original game and three major DLC packs are all we are going to see from this Bethesda title.

Skulls of the Shogun is a fun, funny strategy game – Slay my foes, and then eat their skulls? Well, that’s hardly sporting. Or sanitary. But the horde of undead foes I’m facing in 17Bits’ Skulls of the Shogun certainly won’t hesitate to tap into the unparalleled power that a calcium-rich snack will offer, so it’s a case of getting them before they get us, really. And who doesn’t enjoy crushing the occasional skull?

Netflix kicks off latest original series ‘Hemlock Grove’ – All 13 episodes of Netflix’s newest original series are available for streaming starting Friday.

The 12 most frustrating PC games we can’t help but love – These games will drive you to the brink of madness—but you won’t be able to quit, no matter how hard you try.

Feet-on with Zombies, Run! 2 jogging game – Part RunKeeper, part “Walking Dead,” this unique app turns your everyday run into a virtual run-for-your-life adventure. But is it any fun?

Metro: Last Light requires a GeForce GTX Titan to run optimally – To play the game you only need a 2.2GHz dual core processor, 2GB RAM, Windows XP, and either a GeForce GTS 250 or Radeon 4000 DirectX 9 card. That’s a minimum though, and Deep Silver suggest you have at least Windows Vista, a 2.6GHz quad core chip, 4GB RAM, and a DirectX 11 graphics card like the GeForce GTX 580/660 Ti or Radeon HD 7870.

Android app hints at future Game Center-like feature – Speculation about a “Game Center for Android” picked up after Android Police found some clues to the new feature buried inside the recently released Google Glass companion app, My Glass. The new Google service is expected to have features such as the ability to challenge your friends, have in-game chats, track gaming achievements, and view leaderboards. Google was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Breaking news on social media: Worse info, faster – The unfolding of breaking news on social media can create a dangerous well of misinformation. Time for some ground rules.

Man Uses Toddler to Steal Package from Front Door (video 2:07) – An Amazon package lasted 23 minutes at our Seattle home on April 5th, 2013 before Washington’s Father of the Year strolled up our block, noticed it sitting helplessly on the front doorstep, and casually unleashed his toddler from the stroller to retrieve the box. The kid hobbles to the front door, grabs it, and brings it back to Dad. They exit the crime scene doing a sweet stroller wheelie and a stolen box with dog vitamins tucked underneath it.

Survey: Internet users like targeted ads, free content – The survey shows that many Internet users understand that advertising pays for free content. Nearly 69 percent of respondents to the survey said free content like news, weather, and email is “extremely important” to the value of the Internet. More than 75 percent said they’d prefer ad-supported free content on the Web to paying for ad-free content. Just 9 percent said they’d prefer to pay for content.

The Scandalous History and Strange Physics of Donuts – Because food is comfortable and domestic we tend to forget that it’s also part of an ongoing scientific process of discovery. Even the humble doughnut has its own history that includes physics, technology, and competing claims of intellectual property.

Today’s Quote:

I have an existential map. It has ‘You are here’ written all over it.”

–      Steven Wright

Today’s Free Downloads:

BrowsingHistoryView 1.26 – BrowsingHistoryView is a handy and reliable application designed to view your browsing history from multiple browsers at once. The software includes in the report details such as: visit time, visit count, user profile and the web browser that was used to access that webpage. BrowsingHistoryView features support for the following web browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome.

WirelessKeyView 1.65 – WirelessKeyView recovers all wireless network security keys/passwords (WEP/WPA) stored in your computer by the ‘Wireless Zero Configuration’ service of Windows XP and by the ‘WLAN AutoConfig’ service of Windows Vista.

Ghostery 2.9.4 – 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, behavioral data providers, web publishers – all companies interested in your activity. Ghostery allows you to block scripts from companies that you don’t trust, delete local shared objects, and even block images and iframes.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 19, 2013

Secret way to zoom in closer on Google Maps – A simple edit to the URL for a Google Map can get you a closer look than what Google allows via its zoom-in button.

Antivirus Fails 1 in 500 PCs – The latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report reveals that PC users who lack up-to-date antivirus protection are 5.5 times more likely to get hit with a malware infection than those who correctly install and update such protection. Looked at from a different angle, though, the figures reveal a surprising conclusion: one in 500 PCs that do have up-to-date protection will get hit by malware regardless. It’s a sobering thought.

CISPA passes U.S. House: Death of the Fourth Amendment? – The controversial cybersecurity Bill has passed the U.S. House and is now on its way to the Senate chamber. Privacy groups believe this tramples on the Fourth Amendment.

Facebook gives U.S. users free calls in Messenger for Android – The social network now allows people in 24 countries to use its messaging app for Android to make phone calls without using minutes from their smartphone’s voice plan.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Free Clipboard Help+Spell adds a lot of power to your clipboard – You may recall developer Mouser from other hits such as Find and Run Robot, Snapshot Captor, and Web Link Captor. And indeed, Clipboard Help+Spell carries his distinctive style: comprehensive Options dialog, multiple interface layouts, and other niceties that add up to the feeling that if you just dig deep enough, you can get Clipboard Help+Spell to do just about anything.

Cool, Geeky USB Gadgets – Looking for the most useful gadgets to plug into your PC? Here are some of the coolest accessories any geek would be happy to stick in a USB port. From the Leap Motion Controller to the best microphone you can buy for podcasting, these are some of our favorites.

New Perk browser lets you rack up reward points for surfing – If you like to shop online, you may like Perk, which is a new browser that lets you rack up reward points for surfing, searching, and shopping online. Perk is based on the same technology underlying Google’s popular Chrome browser.

BlackBerry 10.1 update provides dozens of useful tweaks – It’s still not clear when the BlackBerry 10.1 update will be publicly released, but developers on the platform already received access to ‘Bundle 1485’ of the OS and began reporting several new features and improvements to look out for.

Leave a smaller PC footprint – In celebration of Earth Week, try four small, full-featured (and free!) software programs that don’t use much disk space or memory.

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system – Google isn’t backing down on its social network, Google+. Instead the search giant is ramping up integration with other services. Now, if you write a blog or regularly comment on one using Blogger, you can comment using Google+.

Security:

‘Magic’ Espionage Malware hits Thousands of UK Computers – Thousands of U.K. business computers have been infected by espionage malware using a custom protocol to communicate with its command and control servers. Researchers at Israeli security company Seculert added that the malware is still percolating with a number of capabilities yet to be deployed.

Snapchat sexting spam – how to stop messages from Honey Crush 9 and her friends – Many Snapchat users complain that they were sent photos from scantily-clad women with names such as “Honey.Crush9” inviting them to join them in a Skype conversation. Here’s what happened, and how to stop it from happening again.

WordPress attack highlights 30 million targets – The recent botnet attack on websites running WordPress hasn’t had much impact — yet. But with millions of vulnerable sites and a knowledge gap at the low end of the market, things could get much, much worse.

Warning! Hackers are exploiting Waco explosion news to spread malware – Once again, cybercriminals are leaping at the opportunity to take advantage of breaking news stories to spread malware.

Mozilla takes hard stance on protecting Web site certificates – After telecom giant TeliaSonera allegedly allowed authoritarian governments to snoop on their citizens, Mozilla contemplates whether or not to issue it a new root certificate.

Failed authentication frequently thwarts online shoppers – About half of online shoppers are “very frequently” or “frequently” prevented from buying online good and services because they can’t get their credentials to work at business websites, a study released Wednesday finds. Most of those authentication failures are due to forgotten passwords, user names, or answers to confirmation questions, such as “What was your mother’s maiden name?”

Company News:

Google’s revenue rises 31 percent, nudged by advertising gains – Total sales at the company were $13.97 billion for the quarter, which ended March 31, representing “a very strong start to 2013,” Google CEO Larry Page noted in the company’s earnings announcement. The revenue excludes the commissions and fees that Google pays to other sites that run its ads. Taking those into account, revenue for the quarter was $11.01 billion.

Microsoft fined $731m by EU in browser choice screw-up – Summary: EU authorities have hit Microsoft with yet another fine, after falling foul of previous antitrust commitments, showing that if you’re operating in Europe, you must abide by its rules.

Twitter, BBC America announce video partnership – The pair will offer the first “in-tweet branded video synced to entertainment TV series,” according to a BBC America tweet.

Plummeting CPU sales drive down AMD revenue – Overall revenue for the quarter, ended March 30, was $1.09 billion, AMD said. It reported a net loss for the quarter of $146 million, or 19 cents per share, an improvement on its loss of $590 million, or 80 cents per share, a year earlier.

IBM reportedly in talks to sell server biz to Lenovo – Big Blue is seeking up to $6 billion for its x86 server business, and Lenovo is a top candidate as it does not pose a threat to other parts of IBM’s business.

Webopedia Daily:

Apache Pig – Apache Pig is a high-level procedural language platform developed to simplify querying large data sets in Apache Hadoop and MapReduce. Apache Pig features a “Pig Latin” language layer that enables SQL-like queries to be performed on distributed datasets within Hadoop applications. Pig originated as a Yahoo Research initiative for creating and executing map-reduce jobs on very large data sets. In 2007 Pig became an open source project of the Apache Software Foundation.

Games and Entertainment:

‘Cut the Rope: Time Travel’ Now Available – If you loved the addictive mobile game Cut the Rope, then it’s time for a new challenge with the OmNom monster. Developer ZeptoLap on Thursday released the latest installment of the franchise, Cut the Rope: Time Travel, which takes the game’s little green star OmNom back in time to feed his ancestors with candy.

‘Star Wars’ hits lightspeed: A new film every summer from 2015 – Hang onto your fur. There’s going to be a new “Star Wars” film in theaters every summer, with spin-offs in the years between episodes. “Star Wars” overload? Or bull’s-eyeing womp rats for Disney?

Harrison Ford storms out of ‘Kimmel,’ confronted by ‘Star Wars’ characters – Harrison Ford appears with Jimmy Kimmel. He agrees to take questions from the audience, but demands that none be about “Star Wars.” Trouble ensues.

YouTube beats Big Content rap – Attempts by Big Content to accuse YouTube of piracy have crashed into the iceberg which is the US legal system.

Iron Man 3 to Debut as a 4DX Film in Japan – 3D movies made a comeback in recent years, driven primarily by the $3 billion success of James Cameron’s Avatar. Now, a new dimension in film presentation may be about to take audiences into brand-new territory by targeting our other senses via something called 4DX.

Off Topic (Sort of):

What’s your obsolete tech really worth on eBay? – Looking for gold in that Commodore 64? Here’s what some signature hardware specimens of the last 40 years command in eBay auctions.

Google Glass and the Glasshole culture – Lifelogging augmented-reality devices are going to become commonly used technologies. But what are the cultural and sociological implications?

LG’s curved OLED TV wants to make flat screens obsolete – Now that flat, rectangular screens have become the norm for televisions, it’s hard to believe we were ever satisfied with the huge cube TVs of yesteryear. You might think it doesn’t get any better, but you’d be wrong.

The Windows 8 Revolt – Microsoft still has the chance to ditch Windows 8 and return to its tried-and-true operating system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will happen.

Ask Alex: Your Tech Etiquette Questions Answered – A better way to end your emails; texting during meals; sharing passwords with your partner? Alex Colon proffers his advice on the essential questions of living with modern technology.

Adobe shows off Photoshop camera shake-reduction tool – Adobe has released a video showing a tool intended for the next version of Photoshop. In the video, Adobe’s senior Photoshop product manager Zorana Gee shows a a new tool aimed at photographers called Shake Reduction.

Today’s Quote:

He who laughs, lasts!”

–      Mary Pettibone Poole

Today’s Free Downloads:

AceMoney Lite 4.34 – With AceMoney you can manage multiple accounts of different types: checking, savings, credit cards, loans, debt accounts, etc. You can even create your own specialized account types, such as cash allowances for the kids! AceMoney makes it a breeze to create and manage your budgets. The program has more than 100 pre-defined spending categories, and you can define your own. You can set up budget limits for every category and track the difference between actual and budgeted values.

LibreOffice Productivity Suite 4.0.3 RC1 – LibreOffice was developed to be a productivity suite that is compatible with other major office suites, and available on a variety of platforms. Beta test the next version.

Maxthon 4 – Maxthon Browser is a powerful tabbed browser built for all users. Besides basic browsing functionality, Maxthon Browser provides a rich set of features to improve your surfing experience. It can open multiple Web pages in just one window.

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Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

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?

Security:

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.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 18, 2013

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

OPSWAT’s Security Score Beta – NOT Ready for Primetime

imageThe concept behind OPSWAT’s  Security Score (currently in Beta) – that is – active PC monitoring with a view to insuring the security status of the machine is in good order – has obvious value. In this case unfortunately, the execution could do with a shake-up. Let’s take a quick walkthrough.

As a security professional it came as more than just a mild surprise to see my test bed (a Win 8 reinstall just 2 days ago), pop out of this application with a dismal security score of 60/100, as shown in the following graphic. Yikes!!

BTW, I ran a series of identical tests – the results – identical – 60/100.

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No, no, no – it won’t get away with it.   Smile

Firewall:

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The lack of response, in the application, to the Windows Firewall – I’m assuming that the Windows Firewall has not been certified by OPSWAT – is a head-shaker.

If I can make the argument that the majority of computer users are not particularly “PC savvy”, I suspect that a “Not Detected” notification might be cause for panic.

The reality – as the following graphic illustrates; Windows Firewall is up and running.

I’ll take 5 points back, thank you!

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Hard Disk Encryption: Sorry – but, I don’t do full disk encryption. However, since I do encrypt selected files/folders (a much better choice for most users in my view), using what has long been considered the premier free encryption application available – TrueCrypt (shown below) – I’ll take my 10 points back, thank you.

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Patch management: Now I’m insulted – sort of. I’m a bear for patch management!   Smile

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Secunia PSI, a free patch management application (again, perhaps the premier example of such software), begs to differ with OPSWAT’s  Security Score. This application, as it has for many years, runs in the background on all my machines.

I’ll take my 10 points back, thank you.

Todays score:

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Public File Sharing: Yes, I do run a torrent application on this machine but, not all file sharing is illegal. To the contrary – virtually all file sharing is legal.

I’ll take my 5 points back, thank you.

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Antivirus score – 18/30: During the system reinstall on this machine, on the recommendation of super user and regular reader Bob Gostischa, I installed avast! Free Antivirus (substituting for AVG Free – a great app too). Much to my delight, incidentally.

avast! Free Antivirus, has been, and continues to be, an exceptional free application ( a quarter of a Billion downloads on CNET alone, speaks to that) – so, an OPSWAT certification of “Bronze” puzzles me. I’m not suggestion that popularity equates to an effective solution – we all know better.

Equally however, many of us do know that avast! Free Antivirus is a very effective solution.

Since OPSWAT suggests that the user may well be better off substituting the installed security application with an OPSWAT certified higher level product, let me counter-suggest that the developer provide access to an explanation of the certification process and, the testing methodology.

In this particular case, OPSWAT’s assessment of avast! Free Antivirus falls short of the generally accepted view as to this application’s effectiveness. I know that, and I suspect that you do as well – but, a typical computer user may not.

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avast! Free Antivirus – My new number one.

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I’ve long been a fan and a strong supporter of OPSWAT, and continue to be – with good reason – the company provides a series of superb free products which techies have come to rely on. AppRemover, as well as Metascan Online and Secure Virtual Desktop.

Yep – I realize this application is in Beta – but, there are Betas and then there are Betas. In the past few years, we have gotten quite use to the “Beta” that for all practical purposes, represents a fully functioning product. This is not one of them. Nice presentation, but…………….

I like the idea – so c’mon guys, hurry with a fix.

I have no doubt that this application will be brought up to the standard we have come to expect from OPSWAT. But, in its current state of Beta, this application provides neither accurate, nor complete information. Incidentally, I awarded myself a 10 point bonus just for the sheer aggravation.   Smile

If you want to take this one out for a test drive, you can download the application here. If you do so, I’d be interested in hearing about the results.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, downloads, Freeware, Malware Protection, OPSWAT

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 17, 2013

CISPA vote: Companies can’t promise to protect your privacy – Proposed amendment to CISPA says Internet companies’ promises to protect customer privacy should be legally enforceable. But then Republicans vote it down.

Obama threatens veto of CISPA database-sharing bill – White House veto threat says CISPA does not protect Americans’ privacy adequately, raising the chances that the bill is doomed this year.

Google Glass Tech Specs – A 5-megapixel camera that records video in 720p. A bone conduction transducer for audio. Bluetooth. Wi-Fi connectivity. 16GB of flash memory. Find out what else are in the Google Glass tech specs.

Cubiez: Apps that Bring Your Favorite Content to Your Desktop – Cubiez takes what you love the most about your mobile phones and brings it to your computer: instant access to your favorite content and apps.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Snapchat Users Sending 150M Images Every Day – Users of the self-destructing message app Snapchat are now sending more than 150 million photos through the service every day. To put that into perspective, users of the uber-popular Facebook-owned photo sharing app Instagram are currently posting 40 million photos per day, according to the Instagram press site. Moreover, photo-sharing on Snapchat has increased threefold in just four months.

Black Menu for Chrome puts all your Google services a click away – Black Menu for Chrome puts all Google services just a click away. Once installed, this extension adds a button to your browser that reveals an attractive drop-down menu for all Google’s best stuff: Search, Google+, Translate, Maps, Gmail, Calendar, and the like. Even better, when you mouse over any of these items, you get an interactive window for using them.

Investigators comb social nets to look for bombing clues – With federal and state investigators searching for clues about the person or organization behind the Boston Marathon bombing, social networks could hold a treasure trove of information.

Windows Blue may bring back boot-to-desktop, Start button – Citing unnamed sources, both ZDNet and The Verge say that Microsoft is considering a boot-to-desktop option in Windows Blue, an update to Windows 8 that’s expected to arrive this summer. This option, disabled by default, would allow users to bypass Windows 8’s modern-style Start screen when turning the computer on.

Tips for Better Business Tweeting – Trying to give your business the extra edge through social media? These pointers will help SMBs get off to a strong start on Twitter.

Six good reasons to try Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 – Manjaro Linux, a distro I first covered only a few months ago, just released a fresh update, and it’s particularly notable for the addition of a graphical installer and other beginner-friendly features. By February, Manjaro had already reached the No. 15 spot in DistroWatch’s page-hit rankings. Today, it’s up even further, at No. 10. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll find in this promising new release.

8 Great Websites for Kids – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all for children under two, and one to two hours a day for those older. So which sites should kids visit during their allotted time? Young ones will undoubtedly race to seek out their pals from that other screen—the television—or get right to gaming. Their choices might make you cringe but we’ve found eight sites where kids can catch up with favorite characters, play a few games, and expand their horizons while they’re at it.

How to test Firefox 23 change on unsecured content before it happens – Mozilla announced that the next version of its browser, Firefox 23, will automatically block unsecured content on encrypted web pages. You can check how that change will affect your own or other websites now. – Mozilla announced that the next version of its browser, Firefox 23, will automatically block unsecured content on encrypted web pages. You can check how that change will affect your own or other websites now.

StreamWriter – More and more radio stations are streaming online, and there’s a lot of great music and other programming broadcast throughout the Interwebs everyday. With Alexander Nottelmann’s fab freeware StreamWriter, you can record streaming audio as easily as you could pop a tape in a deck and press “record” to capture traditional broadcasts. Not only is StreamWriter free, it’s open source and community supported, with regular updates, bug fixes, and enhancements.

Pocket Filmmaker: How to light smartphone videos like a pro – We look at a few ways to light videos when shooting with your camera phone, including using natural light, reflectors, or a portable and inexpensive light pack. We also examine which settings on your phone can help you get the best images possible.

Security:

2.4M cards compromised in US supermarket chain breach – Popular US supermarket chain Schnucks has announced on Monday that some 2.4 million credit and debit cards used at 79 of its 100 stores may have been compromised during a four month period.

Symantec Declares On-Demand Antivirus Tests “Misleading” – Last week independent antivirus lab AV-Comparatives released the results of an on-demand antivirus detection test. The fact that Microsoft came in near the bottom wasn’t big news; the fact that Symantec scored even lower was surprising indeed. In a blog post released today, Symantec decried the entire practice of performing on-demand malware scanning tests, calling it “misleading.”

Targeted attacks hitting small business have increased threefold – Designed to steal intellectual property, these targeted cyberespionage attacks are increasingly hitting the manufacturing sector as well as small businesses, which are attractive targets themselves and a way in to ultimately reach larger companies via “watering hole” techniques.

Java 7 Update 21 to fix bugs, change applet warning messages – Thirty-nine of the vulnerabilities patched by the new Java 7 Update 21 (7u21) can be exploited remotely without authentication, Oracle said in a pre-release announcement. Some of them have the maximum score on the CVSS 2.0 scale used by Oracle to rate the severity of vulnerabilities. In addition to security fixes, the new update will also make changes to how Java applets — Web-based Java applications — are handled and presented in Web browsers that have the Java plug-in enabled.

First anti-malware product for UEFI – Kaspersky Lab released Kaspersky Anti-Virus for UEFI (KUEFI) – an anti-malware solution which can protect the user’s PC before the operating system even starts loading.

Employees admit to accessing or stealing private company information – In a survey of 2,000 employees, 23 percent admitted to having accessed or taken confidential data from their workplace.

Company News:

Microsoft exec talks mobile smack, trashes iOS as ‘boring,’ Android as ‘a mess’ – Microsoft’s top executive for mobile phones took shots at both iOS and Android today, calling Apple’s operating system “boring” and claiming Google’s is “a mess.” Speaking at a conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D, Terry Myerson, who heads Microsoft’s Windows Phone group, knocked the competition.

Intel profit dives 25 percent amid PC market slump – Intel reported a drop in profits and revenue for the first quarter, as the biggest PC market slump in recent memory weighed on its business. Despite the drop in profit, Intel managed to do slightly better than analysts had forecast. Excluding one-time items, Intel reported pro forma earnings for the quarter of $0.41 per share, a penny ahead of the consensus analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters.

Red Hat, Hortonworks prep OpenStack for Hadoop – Merging the worlds of big data and cloud computing, Red Hat, Hortonworks and Hadoop integrator Mirantis are jointly building a software program, called Savanna, that will make it easier to deploy Apache Hadoop on an OpenStack cloud service. The software will “allow Hadoop to take advantage of the scale-out storage architecture that OpenStack offers,” said Adrian Ionel Mirantis CEO. “Enterprises will have a much easier way to deploy and use Hadoop at scale.”

Windows 8 touch devices to drop to $200, says Intel CEO – Windows 8 touch devices will dive in price, according to Intel executives. The price of Windows 8 touch devices, including laptops, will sink to price points that penetrate inexpensive tablet territory. These new “innovative” designs will be based on Intel’s upcoming quad-core “Bay Trail” chip, Intel executives said today during the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call.

Pirate Bay co-founder charged with alleged hacking and fraud – After sitting in Swedish prison for months following a high-profile arrest and extradition from Cambodia, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg is expected to go to trial in May.

Microsoft inks patent protection deal with Foxconn parent – In exchange for unspecified royalties, Microsoft agrees not to sue the parent company of the world’s largest hardware maker for devices it produces that run Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems.

Webopedia Daily:

Cloud backup solutions – Cloud backup solutions enable enterprises or individuals to store their data and computer files on the Internet using a storage service provider, rather than storing the data locally on a physical disk, such as a hard drive or tape backup. Backup providers enable customers to remotely access the service using a secure client log in application to back up files from the customer’s computers or data center to the online storage server using an encrypted connection.

Games and Entertainment:

90% of game hacks and cracks contain malware – Computer and online gaming is big business for companies creating the games, but a considerable drain on the finances of gamers, so it should not come as a surprise that many of the latter decide against buying games and add-ons, choosing instead to download cracked games, keygens, patches and more from torrent or file-sharing sites.

Satirical Steve Jobs movie now available for viewing on Web – Comedy site Funny or Die releases “iSteve,” a 79-minute movie about the Apple co-found based largely on Wikipedia research.

Black Annex is the best QBASIC game you’ve ever seen – Not only are the simple visuals awesome, but the gameplay actually looks complex and tough to master—not something you’d expect from a programming language with simple loops and statements. It’s an isometric corporate sabotage and infiltration game. What that means exactly I’m not sure but you can choose your own playstyle and outfit agents to “steal, destroy, kidnap and kill” as you wish.

Time Warner Cable Adds Live, On-the-Go TV Streaming for iOS – Time Warner Cable on Tuesday announced that subscribers will soon be able to watch certain live and on demand content outside of their homes on their iPhones and iPads.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Can the Feds Shut Down Cell Phone Service? – In an age when our smartphones are a constant companion, what is the protocol for shutting down wireless networks in an emergency? Is it allowed, and would it even help?

Video: Florence Police Pursuit (Through our Eyes) – Florence Police Motor Officer Troy Gurley attempted to stop a vehicle driven by Justin O. Sanders, 24, for traffic violations. The vehicle refused to stop. Mr. Sanders led police on a chase through the City of Florence and was subsequently charged with various drug, firearms, and traffic violations.

The 10 best words the internet has given English – From hashtags to LOLs to Cupertinos and Scunthorpe problems, Tom Chatfield picks the most interesting neologisms drawn from the digital world. (suggested by Michael F.)

Report: Apple’s 30-year ban at California resort lifted – Apple historians tell us that Steve Jobs and his charges were thrown out of the La Playa Carmel in 1983 for their bad behavior. “All is forgiven,” the new owners say.

Today’s Quote:

“You can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forty percent of all people know that.”

–      Homer Simpson

Today’s Free Downloads:

MarkdownPad – Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).

Speak-A-Message 9.0.2 – Speak-A-Message offers the widest range of features for voice recording and voice email. Audio recording is three times faster than typing. New: Post your voice and photo messages to Facebook!

VSO Downloader 3.0.3.5 – Download videos from thousands of sites with fast download speed. Steaming content is automatically detected and downloaded extra fast. Convert downloaded videos to MP3, AVI, iPad, iPhone, Mp4, H264, Xvid. Compatible with any web browser.

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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 labs.adobe.com.

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.

Security:

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.

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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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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 14, 2013

What is CISPA, and what does it mean for you? FAQ – Dubbed as one of the most privacy infringing pieces of legislation ever to have hit the Capitol, what exactly is CISPA, and how does it affect you?

7 mobile apps that jump-start team collaboration – From conducting video meetings to coordinating to-do lists, these collaboration apps for iOS, Android and more will have your far-flung team working in sync in no time.

Sorry, PC Industry: You’ve Apparently Managed to Perfect the PC – It’s not just that people are stubbornly refusing to see newer versions of Windows as superior to older versions of Windows. Back in the 1990s and early years of this century, PC hardware was getting better at such a rapid clip that new PCs were often far better than the machine you’d bought two or three years earlier. Today, even a four- or five-year-old PC may still have more processing power, RAM and disk space than you need. And the industry is having trouble coming up with new features that large numbers of people find irresistible. (A balanced look at the realities behind the soft PC market. Not the usual BS on the fantastically stupid – “Death of the PC”).

CloudOn brings Microsoft Office to your Tablet Computer and Phone for FREE – Appears in today’s world of computing we are definitely moving away from the desktop form of computing to the more mobile form of computing, such as tablets and smartphones. In the end, no matter which direction we go, we still need to use the computer, whether it be in the form of desktop or tablet, to get our work done.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Boot discs explained: An overview of booting your PC from something other than your hard drive – When you boot your PC, it generally loads an operating system (such as Windows) from a hard drive or SSD. But you can bypass this process by booting from a specially-prepared CD, DVD, or flash drive. Why would you do this? Perhaps Windows is so messed up that it fails to boot on its own. Or you want to scan for malware in a clean environment. Or perhaps you just want to play with another operating system without bothering to install it.

3 minute video offers crash course on how Bitcoin works – The subject of Bitcoin pops up on occasion when you’re dealing with technology. The virtual currency is gaining traction with the computer-savvy crowd, but is still mostly unknown to the general public. You’ve probably heard that Bitcoins are worth a ton when converted to “real” currencies, but how much do you really know about how Bitcoin works? If only there was a handy 3 minute video to explain it…

Facebook Home panned by some early users – Facebook’s new Home launcher for Android phones isn’t getting a lot of love in some circles, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a whirl. The social networking behemoth released the offering Friday, but early users so far are giving it significantly more one-star ratings on Google Play than five-star ratings.

Suryl Guardian – Suryl Guardian can restore your suddenly wonky or malfunctioning Windows PC to a previously created stable “environment” with the click of a button. If that sounds a lot like the System Restore tool already built into your copy of Windows, you’re right. Suryl Guardian basically does what System Restore does; namely, rolls your system back when something’s messed up. So what do you get with Suryl Guardian? Two things: 1) It offers lots more than System Restore, like easy scheduling, kiosk mode, password protection, and other options; and 2) it’s way easier to use. Suryl Guardian is free to try for 30 days.

WeVideo for Android lets you edit videos while on the go – This mobile video editor is good for quick and dirty video edits while on the go, plus it can sync your content to the cloud.

Zuckerberg bores staff in new Home ad – In a quite stunning acting debut, Facebook’s CEO shows the virtues of Home and the difficulties of being a CEO. His employees aren’t impressed.

Wi-Fi, not storage, is the power hog, researchers say – Cloud service providers have previously drawn ire from environmentalists for not being transparent when it comes to the energy efficiency of their data centres. However, a new report from the University of Melbourne in Australia says that the real sustainability threat comes not from the growing demand for data centers to house cloud-ready infrastructure, but from the rising use of cellular and Wi-Fi networks to access cloud services.

Security:

Protecting Your Kids Online – “We all want the best for our children, including the ability to leverage technology. However, with technology come risks, risks that our children are often not aware of or prepared to deal with. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure our children understand these risks and how to protect themselves.

Federal Aviation Administration says Android plane hijacking isn’t possible – “The FAA is aware that a German information technology consultant has alleged he has detected a security issue with the Honeywell NZ-2000 Flight Management System (FMS) using only a desktop computer … The described technique cannot engage or control the aircraft’s autopilot system using the FMS or prevent a pilot from overriding the autopilot. Therefore, a hacker cannot obtain ‘full control of an aircraft’ as the technology consultant has claimed.”

Huge attack on WordPress sites could spawn never-before-seen super botnet – Security analysts have detected an ongoing attack that uses a huge number of computers from across the Internet to commandeer servers that run the WordPress blogging application. The unknown people behind the highly distributed attack are using more than 90,000 IP addresses to brute-force crack administrative credentials of vulnerable WordPress systems, researchers from at least three Web hosting services reported. At least one company warned that the attackers may be in the process of building a “botnet” of infected computers that’s vastly stronger and more destructive than those available today.

China, U.S. to huddle on cyberspying issue – After meeting with China Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Secretary of State John Kerry says the countries have agreed to work toward cybersecurity for both nations.

Company News:

Intel releases Web-based app programming kit – The chipmaker is jumping on the HTML5 bandwagon — sort of. Its newly acquired AppMobi software lets programmers create Web apps that can be converted into native Android and iOS apps.

T-Mobile’s first day iPhone sales exceeds all expectations – T-Mobile was more than pleasantly surprised when it discovered that in almost all of its 3,000 stores across the nation, people were lining up in order to purchase an iPhone. It was the only major carrier to not sell the iPhone.

Ebooks represent nearly a quarter of 2012 publisher sales – The Association of American Publishers has published its 2012 revenue data, which shows that ebooks have grown steadily over the last decade and now represent nearly a quarter of US publishers’ sales at 22.55-percent. The industry saw a fairly large rise in revenue of 6-percent last year over 2011, and while the substantial number of ebook revenue has shown a steady increase in electronic books, there’s an indication that 2013 could see a slowing.

Uber Goes After Rivals, Embraces Ridesharing – App-based taxi service Uber has officially, if not reluctantly, entered the ridesharing business. After avoiding the informal ridesharing business for fear of regulatory scrutiny, Uber said today that it will start offering the service in regions where regulators have indicated that they approve of the practice.

Webopedia Daily:

Memory card – An electronic flash memory storage disk commonly used in consumer electronic devices such as digital cameras, MP3 players, mobile phones, and other small portable devices. Types of memory cards include PCMCIA, CompactFlash, SD Card, MiniSD, xD-Picture Card and others. Memory cards are usually read by connecting the device containing the card to your computer, or by using a USB card reader.

Games and Entertainment:

Things to think about when buying speakers – For starters, there’s speaker size and price, but room size is also a major factor. Also, do you listen to more music than movies?

Dark Souls sells over 2.3 million copies worldwide – Action-RPG Dark Souls has sold an estimated 2,367,000 copies worldwide, according to the executive director of “From Software” (Dark Soul’s publisher in Japan), Eiichi Nakajima. The sales have amazed From Software so much that it decided to launch an Xbox 360 version of the game in Japan. While the game was released for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 overseas, it was only limited to the PS3 in Japan.

A Dark Souls Fanatic’s Gut Reaction to Dark Souls II Footage – As someone who has poured at least 200 combined hours into Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, the preview footage has left me excited, relieved and also a little bit uneasy. Here are my gut reactions.

Will there be a prequel, along with a sequel, to the Shining? – Doctor Sleep is the next novel by Stephen King, which is set for release this September, and it’s the long awaited sequel to The Shining.

Off Topic (Sort of) – An all Cracked Sunday:

5 Common Misconceptions That Destroy Computers – Look, not everyone is a computer genius. I know that. The computer guy who hates you knows that. If you have a parent, grandparent, or child just getting into computers for the first time, do the world a favor and teach them these basic misconceptions before you end up getting the call to come over and ……

The 5 Creepiest Ways Major Companies Are Watching You – The information age has been steadily providing technology that is allowing corporations to get to know their customers better than their own families. How creepy you find this tends to depend on how old you are, and in fact we’re betting that the next generation won’t find anything weird about it.

The 26 Stupidest Invention Ideas (You’d Use Every Day) – A lot of idiotic patents make it all the way to production, and society ends up worse for it. We asked our readers to show us the idiotic patents that would actually help improve things.

22 Lies You’ve Probably Read Online (Revised for Accuracy) – The Internet is bullshit’s natural habitat. We asked you to take some of the more popular lies the Internet loves to tell, and vandalize them with the truth.

5 Major News Stories That Forgot to Tell You the Best Part – If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the Internet age, it’s that we lose interest in news stories long before they’ve run their course. And as we’ve written before, sometimes that means we miss the biggest details that never made the front page. More often than not, those missing details change everything we learned about the story in the first place.

5 Ways Video Games Are Saving Mankind – Far from being the harbingers of obesity, virginity, death, and destruction that many people (still) insist they are, video games have been shown to be beneficial in many surprising ways. We’ve documented this before, and we’re about to do it again, since science continues to find ways that video games are helping the species become better, stronger, and faster (figuratively, anyway).

Today’s Quote:

We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants. And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world.”

–      Mark Zuckerberg

Tonsils vs. Circumcision

Two little kids are in a hospital, lying on stretchers next to each other outside the operating room, the first surgeries of the day.

The first kid leans over and asks, “What are you in here for?”

The second kid says, “I’m getting my tonsils out, and I’m afraid.”

The first kid says, “You’ve got nothing to worry about. I had that done when I was four. They put you to sleep, and when you wake up they give you lots of Jell-O and ice cream. It’s a breeze.”

The second kid then asks, “What are you here for?”

The first kid says, “Circumcision.”

“Whoa!” the second kid replies, “Good luck, buddy. I had that done when I was born. Couldn’t walk for a year.”

Today’s Free Downloads:

The Godfather 0.85 – No more strange file names and endless search for “that song”. Rename,update Tags,restructure files on hard disk, create/merge play lists,encode-decode with LAME/Ogg Vorbis/MpcEnc, export/import to/from file, play, use freedb.org & allmusic.com, catalog them in a library.

Advanced Mobile Care for Android – Advanced Mobile Care is a veritable Swiss Army knife for Android tuning up. It gives Android users an excellent way to protect their smartphones from Android security and performance problems.

VirtualBox 4.2.12 – VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

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