Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 25, 2013

10 Essential Windows Apps for Novices – Setting up a new computer for a tech-challenged relative or friend? We explain what software you’ll want to install—without breaking the bank. But even before installing these essential applications, you should take a few actions. Make sure all Windows updates are installed. You should set the novice’s PC to install updates automatically. This way, they’ll often be protected against the latest malware outbreak or benefit from some performance improvement.

Take steps to secure what little online privacy you still have – While the very concept of privacy is rapidly evolving, you can protect yours with a combination of discretion and knowing how to use available privacy-protection tools.

U.S. gives big, secret push to Internet surveillance – Justice Department agreed to issue “2511 letters” immunizing AT&T and other companies participating in a cybersecurity program from criminal prosecution under the Wiretap Act, according to new documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. (Surrogate spies. Start using encryption, or better yet – Push Back. We’re in this mess precisely because YOU didn’t push back.)

The Yahoo app delivers your news visually – The latest version of the Yahoo app is great for browsing the latest news using either headlines or a visual layout. Personalization features let you connect your Facebook account and get stories that match your interests.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Senator rips self-regulatory do-not-track efforts – “I personally have long expressed skepticism about the ability, or the willingness, of companies to regulate themselves on behalf of consumers when it effects their bottom line,” said Rockefeller, sponsor of a bill that would create do-not-track regulations. “I do not believe that companies with business models based upon the collection and monetization of personal information will voluntarily stop these practices if it negatively affects their profit margins.”

MightyText – Free texting service MightyText actually manages to live up to its name. Once the mobile app is installed and you’re ready to use MightyText on your computer or tablet, you have to do a bit of tinkering with your browser’s settings if you’d like to receive notifications of new messages. But MightyText guides you through the process— which involves changing some security settings in Internet Explorer or installing a third-party add-on in Firefox—and it’s a one-time thing.

Microsoft issues new version of patch pulled on Patch Tuesday – Microsoft has issued a new version of a patch after an earlier version caused some users’ machines to suffer the blue screen of death.

Should you trust that report? Open-source tool can help – Aiming to help news consumers distinguish legitimate original content from repurposed or paid content, the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation on Tuesday launched “Churnalism,” an open-source Web tool and browser extension designed to identify reports that are essentially repackaged press releases or Wikipedia articles.

Enable offline cached pages in Google Canary – Canary is a developer and beta version of Google Chrome’s newest features. By allowing both versions of Chrome to run side-by-side, you can test out the newest features without sacrificing your stable version.

AP Twitter feed returns, minus many followers, after hacking – The Associated Press account is back up and tweeting after being offline for almost a whole day and having to reset its follower count.

Security:

Java Sandbox Bypass Discovered that Breaks Latest Update – Optimism and praise followed last week’s Java critical patch update. Oracle not only patched 42 vulnerabilities in the Java browser plug-in, but also added new code-signing restrictions and new prompts warning users when applets are potentially malicious. It took less than a week, however, to deflate any good will toward Java that resulted.

Beware Twitter “password check” sites – there are fakes, and there are fake fakes! – After a widely publicised hack or data breach, you’ll often find “password check” sites springing up. Some of them are legitimate, asking only for your email address and checking it against a list of known data dumps. But other “password check” sites are as bogus as they sound on the surface.

Microsoft Begs to Differ, Says Bing Stops Malware – It seems like only last week that we were telling you about a study from AV-Test which found that Bing delivered five times as many malicious websites as Google. First Yandex challenged the findings, and now Bing has finally piled on saying that their search service is as safe as any other search engine.

Online security: your two-factor authorization checklist – Two-factor authentication is becoming a common security feature for many online services you already use including Dropbox, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. It may be a little inconvenient to deal with two-factor authentication, but anyone who’s lost control of their Facebook or email account can tell you the extra security gain is worth the minor hassle. Here’s a quick look at how two-factor authentication currently works for the major online services you use every day.

Malware C&C Servers Found in 184 Countries – In an attempt to better evade detection, cybercriminals are increasingly configuring their command and control infrastructure in such a way that initial malware callbacks communicate with a server located in the same country as the newly infected machines.

Company News:

ZTE agrees to Android, Chrome patent licensing from Microsoft – Microsoft has inked an agreement with China’s ZTE for its Android and Chrome patent licensing program. Financial details of deal were not disclosed. But the agreement gives ZTE access to Microsoft patents covering phones, tablets, computers and other devices running Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems.

CSA Establishes New SMB Membership Level and Working Group – The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) today announced a new membership level and working group designed to benefit the rapidly growing needs of cloud computing among small and medium businesses (SMB). Launched today, the CSA SMB Membership and SMB Working Group, will focus on providing tailored guidance to SMBs and help cloud providers understand the requirements of this market.

Huawei ‘not interested’ in US anymore, shifts focus to Europe – Chinese telecom equipment maker is moving its focus from U.S. to Europe, seeing a stronger business case for the continent which it sees as a way to increase its presence in developing markets.

Samsung confirms limited supply of Galaxy S4, cites ‘overwhelming global demand’ – Overwhelming global demand may limit initial supplies of the Galaxy S4 smartphone, Samsung said Wednesday, while both Sprint and T-Mobile USA confirmed there would be delays.

Zynga launches Draw Something 2, kills four other games – The social gaming company shuts down The Ville, Empires and Allies, Dream Zoo, and Zynga City on Tencent, but Draw Something 2 goes live Wednesday night.

Webopedia Daily:

ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning – ERP is short for enterprise resource planning. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business. ERP software integrates all facets of an operation, including development, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

Games and Entertainment:

11 killer games that will bring your PC to its knees – If your PC could sweat, it would be drenched after running any of the following games. Indeed, if you’re still using a mid-range PC, you’d best stick with Minesweeper and Facebook games because the titles in this slideshow will bring your machine to its breaking point.

Yahoo to feature 38-year ‘Saturday Night Live’ archive – Still haven’t stopped laughing at Amy Poehler’s rap with Sarah Palin? Yahoo users will soon be able to watch episodes from all 38 seasons of SNL, CEO Marissa Mayer announces.

Microsoft to announce next-gen Xbox on May 21 – Eight years after the first Xbox 360 units shipped, Microsoft will finally pull the curtains off its long-awaited successor on May 21. The company will hold a press event at 10 a.m. PDT at its Redmond headquarters that day that will be live-streamed on the Web on Xbox Live, Xbox.com, and Spike TV.

Razer Comms disrupts the VOIP arena with a free public beta – Comms has a very simple premise: tear down the walled gardens that keep PC gamers from communicating easily and effectively, without requiring them to Alt + Tab out of the action every time someone wants to send them an instant message or give them a call.

After almost 20 years, GPU benchmarking is moving past frames per second – For decades, FPS — frames per second — has been virtually the only metric of GPU performance. Now, that’s changing — and the new tools coming into vogue expose new aspects of relative GPU performance. How do these new frame latency measurements fit in with conventional testing?

Off Topic (Sort of):

Alexander Graham Bell’s voice captured from old recordings – Alexander Graham Bell is known for inventing the telephone; but for someone so associated with sound, it’s curious that no one living has actually ever heard the tenor of his voice. However, as of Wednesday, anyone can hear what he sounded like. New technology has brought a 128-year-old recording made by Bell back to life, according to Smithsonian magazine.

Print your own Yoda at home for $499: 3D printers become affordable – In the very near future, a desktop 3D printer may be greeted in the same way the desktop scanner was in our recent technological past: It’s not a piece of technology that all consumers will use, but it is something few would find out of place on someone else’s desk. Here are a number of consumer 3D printers coming your way.

The Google Glass genie can’t be shoved back in the bottle – Worried that Google Glass technology will fall into the hands of miscreants, ne’er-do-wells, perverts and criminals? I hate to break it to you, but when it comes to cameras, a goofy head-mounted device is the least you have to worry about.

Watch Three Years’ Worth of Action on the Sun – This week, the space agency shared a video which compresses three years’ worth of SDO sun-spotting into under three minutes. It’s a stunning look at our home star as it spins on its axis, its surface a cauldron of activity that is indistinguishable in the searing, white-hot picture the sun presents to the naked human eyes of rebellious and immediately regretful kindergartners.

US DOT: Auto makers should disable in-dash electronics when cars are moving – Automobile makers should prevent drivers from using their in-vehicle electronic devices to browse the Internet and send text messages while their vehicles are moving, the U.S. Department of Transportation has recommended. Auto makers should also lock out drivers in moving cars from reading text messages, viewing photographs, displaying scrolling text, and using video apps, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommended in voluntary guidelines released this week.

With revenue at stake, companies seek business-savvy tech workers – Financial concerns in the wake of the recession are causing companies to better align IT and business and this shift is changing what is expected from technology workers, say executives and staffing professionals. Business acumen is now on par with possessing stellar technical skills, with in-demand employees those who can contribute more than code to the company.

Today’s Quote:

Nine Great Quotes From Great Business Books – When we read a passage that really stands out, of course, we often highlight it. With that in mind, a site called Quartz has presented the following business and management quotes and passages from a list of the most “Recently Heavily Highlighted Passages” from Amazon.com, as designated by users of the online e-tailer’s Kindle e-reader software.

Today’s Free Downloads:

CCleaner Portable – CCleaner Portable is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure.

FrostWire – FrostWire is a peer-to-peer file sharing program for the Gnutella and BitTorrent protocols. FrostWire is written in Java, and is a fork of LimeWire, another popular Gnutella client.

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Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 24, 2013

55% of net users use the same password for most, if not all, websites. When will they learn? – A study by Ofcom, the UK communications watchdog, has unearthed some appalling statistics which reveal just how badly the general public treat password security.

Forget online drives, sync directly with BitTorrent Sync – If you do not trust online storage drives for file syncing across your devices or are frustrated with storage limits, there is another player in town. BitTorrent has released a new alpha version of its Sync software, which supports syncing folders across the Internet without going through an intermediary like Dropbox, Cloud Drive, or iCloud.

The 21 worst tech habits—and how to break them – You bite your nails. Your house is a sty. You never signal before changing lanes, and when you finally reach your destination, you’re 30 minutes late. We all have bad habits in real life. Why can’t technology help cure them? While technology should help us break bad habits, all too often it makes things worse. Are you guilty of a bad tech habit? Here are 21 of the worst technology-oriented habits, plus potential fixes for all of them. (And we have a bonus at the end, on mending bad email habits.)

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Fiber’s TV app lets users stream directly to an iPad – Similar to the same app for Android, the new iOS app doubles as a television remote and also lets users browse, select, record, and stream movies and shows.

Cut Down Search Time with These Search Shortcuts – Searching the web for information is a skill. Yes, you can enter a term into a search engine and find information, but that’s the blunt force method. By using a few simple tricks, the scalpel method, you can quickly and easily whittle down your results to get exactly the information you’re looking for.

Five things worth noting about Google Keep – Google Keep is Google’s new competitor to EverNote and Microsoft OneNote. Here are five interesting details about it.

Mozilla Firefox OS Developer Phones Sold Out – Developers were eager to get their hands on the new Firefox OS developer phones today. Spanish provider GeeksPhone sold out within hours of making them available. The online shop is currently shut down for maintenance, but according to TechCrunch, the dual devices were listed as “Out of stock” a few hours after going on sale.

Swype keyboard app exits beta, enters Google Play – The app monitors users’ activity to better understand their writing style and help predict when common words or phrases are at hand, saving input time.

The BlackBerry Q10 blends the best of old and new – The BlackBerry Q10 has arrived, bringing with it a modern OS, an excellent keyboard, and long battery life.

Security:

Australian police arrest alleged leader of LulzSec hacking group – Australian Federal Police arrest man who reportedly called himself the leader of the hacking group, which has been the target of recent prosecution after a brief hacking run in 2011.

AP Twitter Feed Hacked With Bogus Report of White House Attack – The hack, of course, comes just over a week after the Boston Marathon bombings, and one day after Canadian officials said they had thwarted a major attack on transportation systems there. The AP tweet got hundreds of re-tweets shortly after it was posted, though many immediately suggested that the feed had been hacked.

The Secunia Country Reports – the state of private PC security, country by country – The Secunia Country Reports provides insight into software security – more specifically, how much vulnerable software is present on private PCs in a number of different countries.

Boston Marathon Bombing Links May Hide Java-Based Exploits – My social media accounts and email inbox are full of links to stories about the horrific incident in Boston earlier this week. I am reading about the victims, the bystanders and first responders that rushed to help, and looking for updates on the investigation. It turns out I should be careful about what links I click on, as cyber-criminals have already started exploiting the tragedy for their own nefarious purposes, security experts told SecurityWatch.

Phone scammers call the wrong guy, get mad and trash PC – Have you ever received a call from someone with a heavy Indian accent from Microsoft saying your computer had errors or viruses? The purpose of these calls is to get an easy $299 (or whatever amount they choose) by scaring you into thinking there’s something really wrong with your computer and that they can fix it for you. These telephony scams have been going on for many years and scammers keep robbing innocent people sadly because their success ratio is still worth their time and effort.

Exploit for recently patched Java flaw added to CrimeBoss exploit kit – If you are still using Java, you insist on updating in manually and you haven’t gotten around to installing the latest Critical Patch Update released a week ago, you are advised to do it now, as an exploit for one of the vulnerabilities it patched has been incorporated into a popular exploit kit and is being actively used in the wild.

Remote users expose companies to cybercrime – Results of new remote access security research show half of companies with a remote workforce had their websites compromised in 2012, over a third had passwords hacked, and twice as many companies with remote users were victims of SQL injection attacks. (And, in other News – water is wet, …… )

Company News:

Telepathy One aims to compete with Google Glass with added intimacy – A smaller projector and a simple set of functions are part of a Japanese headset that hopes to be a social communication tool.

Microsoft signs patent deal with Chinese phone maker ZTE – The software giant says it now has patent deals with companies that make 80 percent of Andriod phones sold in the United States and a majority of those sold worldwide.

Cook promises ‘amazing’ Apple products in the fall – Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday that the company will announce some new products this fall but wouldn’t offer any specifics.

Facebook hires Web-based mobile-game developer team – The social network nabs the crew behind Spaceport, a company that focuses on cross-platform development.

Webopedia Daily:

Assortment intelligence – In electronic commerce (ecommerce) terminology, assortment intelligence refers to a set of tools and software used to help online retailers track a competitor’s inventory and product supply. The software, in real-time, uses artificial intelligence, data-mining, and image-recognition algorithms allowing retailers to view, compare and analyze the differences between inventory. Assortment intelligence reporting tools can then help a retailer determine what products competitors have — and do well on — and decide if they should add these products to an existing catalog.

Games and Entertainment:

Smart pajamas read your kids a bedtime story – Get ready to scan your children. The timeless onesie’s getting a digital upgrade with a set of jammies that link to stories and lullabies on a smart device.

What the ‘console-ification’ of PCs means for gamers – Traditionally, gamers have voluntary segregated themselves into two camps: console gamers and PC gamers. Hostility between the two runs irrationally deep, and rare is the gamer who’s willing to proclaim allegiance to both sides. Either you’re part of the Alliance, or you’re part of the Horde. But the times, they are a-changin’.

Temple Run – Passing time playing games with your smartphone or tablet requires applications that are quick to learn and fun. Temple Run’s excellent graphics and easy-yet-satisfying gameplay make it a good option for casual gamers. Temple Run comes as a free application, but payment is required for additional power-ups. Installation through the Google Play store completed quickly, and there were no log-ins required to play the game

Samsung Galaxy S4 has the fastest gaming graphics of any phone – With the latest version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 processor, the Galaxy S4 catapults itself to the top of the smartphone gaming heap.

Off Topic (Sort of):

3D-printed guns are inevitable – At the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo, Defense Distributed’s Cody Wilson argued that politicians can’t stop innovation.

Anti-ogle goggles for the modest set – An ultra-Orthodox organization has developed a range of products to act as a first line of defense against the threat of seeing immodest women. Two semi-transparent stickers applied to the lenses of the user’s spectacles blur vision of anything beyond the range of a few meters and so diffuse immodestly dressed women to a harmless blot.

Groovy mantis shrimp – Just a rather brilliant info-cartoon. (suggested by Michael F.)

Video 3:26: This algorithm simulates evolution – A research team led by Cornell University’s Creative Machines Lab has created a computer algorithm that simulates virtual creatures evolving their squishy, muscle-like features in order to teach themselves to walk.

Judge gives taxi-hailing apps in NYC the go-ahead – After a lawsuit put a yearlong e-hail pilot program on hold, taxi-hailing app startups like Uber, GetTaxi, and Hailo are now given a green light.

Hey, Word Geeks! Now There’s a Website for You – Quick, use autochthonous in a sentence. And before you ask, no, it’s not what a chthonous uses to drive to work. How about lorgnette or phrontistery? OK, it’s fair to say that none of these come up much in conversation, but hey, they’re there for a reason and it would be nice if we all took these and other friendless words out for a little fresh air every now and then. Vocabulary.com could actually make speaking well cool again.

Today’s Quote:

It’s pretty clear now that what looked like it might have been some kind of counterculture is, in reality, just the plain old chaos of undifferentiated weirdness.”

–      Jerry Garcia

Today’s Free Downloads:

Toolwiz Time Freeze – Toolwiz Time Freeze is a free instant system protection tool to keep your system safe and always like new. It protects your system from any unwanted changes and malicious activity in low disk level. With a simple click, it puts your actual system under virtual protection on the fly and creates a virtual environment as a copy of the real system, on which you can evaluate applications, watch movies, and perform online activities. It provides higher-level security to computer protection, and greatly improves the efficiency of virtual system

Malware Scene Investigator 1.25 – Malware Scene Investigator is a free tool to scan your system for unknown malware. It´s a heuristic scanner that locates undetected malware by searching for symptoms and modifications they cause. The scanner is extremely fast and provides a log file after the scanning process is completed. The program is very easy to use, does not require installation, and is completely free. Requires: Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0.

PrivaZer – PrivaZer allows you to: See exactly what can still be recovered of your past activities on your PC at home or at work. Clean in-depth unwanted traces of what you’ve done watched, downloaded, deleted, etc. and prevent recovery. Master your security & freedom. Free up disk space. Keep your PC fit and secure.

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Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 23, 2013

Companies obscuring breach risks with assurances of secured financial data – “No financial information was accessed.” Another hack, another vendor placating victims with this simple phrase that ignores the fact that hackers are actually stealing the data they want — password hashes and email addresses. The benefits of matching user accounts with re-used passwords can be a long-term fountain of gain as attacks take on many layers and play out over a number of years.

Microsoft to bring the Start button to Win 8, reports say – Microsoft appears ready to concede what virtually every critic, user, and analyst knows about Windows 8: the new OS needs the Start button back, badly. Heeding user feedback, Microsoft will bring back the iconic Start button later in 2013 with the release of Windows Blue, also known as Windows 8.1, The Verge reported Monday. The Verge’s claim adds to similar reports about the return of the Start button from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley and Windows watcher Paul Thurrott, all of whom cite anonymous sources inside or close to the company.

Home networking explained, part 6: Keep your network secure – If you were concerned after reading CNET’s recent report that most home routers can be easily hacked, I don’t blame you. The study did sound ominous, but the good news is that your network is likely far less susceptible than the report suggests. And more importantly, there are things you can do to make sure it’s secure. This post is part of an ongoing series. For the other parts, check out the related stories section.

One antivirus program is better than two – Running two antivirus programs simultaneously is a bit like mixing a fine, vintage Cabernet with breakfast cereal. Each is good on its own right, but the combination may have unpleasant effects. Before I explain why, let’s get some definitions out of the way.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

F-Secure, McAfee, Symantec Apps Ace Mobile Antivirus Test – F-Secure, McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro received 6.0 points for protection, the highest rating, because they literally detected 100 percent. The other seven products didn’t quite detect everything, but did well enough that their scores rounded to 100 percent.

12 ways Windows 8 dominates the competition – Don’t let all the Live Tile bashing fool you. Windows 8 is better than OS X, Linux and Chrome OS in a dozen crucial ways.

The dangers of CISPA – Even though it is expected that the Senate will reject the bill, privacy-minded individuals, organizations and hacker groups continue to raise awareness about the consequences the passing of such a bill would have for Internet users both in the U.S. and the rest of the world. But there is one smaller detail that should also raise the ire of users, and that’s that the last-minute amendment to the bill that would prohibit employers from legally asking their employees to share their social media passwords has been shot down and removed from the final version of the bill.

Wall Street tries to kybosh social networking privacy – Financial securities regulators are leading the charge against initiatives to prevent companies keeping tabs on employees’ social media accounts, stressing that the potential for abuse takes urgency over worker privacy. (Irony: spoken to by an economic sector that knows all about abuse.)

Coming soon to Linux: A lightweight KDE alternative – Choice has always been a hallmark of the desktop Linux world, where users can select not just the distribution they prefer but also the desktop environment, among virtually countless other features. The project, currently codenamed “KLyDE,” for “K Lightweight Desktop Environment,” aims to create a lightweight version of the popular KDE desktop.

Video: AllWinner (ARM) A10 boots Linux in just 1.2 seconds – A developer by the name of “threewater” has posted a video showcasing a device powered by the ARM-based AllWinner A10 booting Linux in just 1.2 seconds. As CNX Software notes, the actual boot is 0.85s, weighing in at 1.2 seconds with a Qt app.

Three quick ways to ease your transition to Windows 8 – For anyone brand new to Windows 8, anyone who’s already familiar with an earlier version of Windows, that tile-based interface can be startling, confusing, and ultimately very frustrating. Can you learn it? Sure. Should you have to? No. With a few simple steps, you can make your new Windows 8 PC much more familiar, both in look and operation.

Security:

XKCD cartoon reminds users to log out for better security – It’s disturbing just how many people seem to leave their computers permanently logged in to online services. Yes, an admin password can prevent a passer-by from installing a keylogger on your computer without your knowledge, but just what have you left your computer logged into from its desktop browser? Sometimes an XKCD cartoon can tell it better than words.

ACLU Asks FTC to Investigate Carriers’ Lack of Android Security Updates – The next shoe has fallen in an effort to force wireless carriers and handset makers to provide regular security updates to Android mobile devices. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint this week with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission accusing four leading carriers of deceptive business practices and knowingly selling defective phones to consumers and businesses.

108,000+ account details of Sims players leaked – NewSeaSims, a website where Sims players can download custom content for their characters, has suffered a breach which resulted in the compromise of registered users’ email addresses, username and passwords, Cyber War News reports. To make matters worse, a list containing the aforementioned details of some 108,000+ users has been leaked online by the hacker known as “Game Over,” who seems to be the person behind the hack which was executed some time last week.

New Malware Targeting the Dutch Through Twitter – Once a user stumbles upon a malicious page, the page injects Javascript (below) into the victim’s Twitter account page, which in turn swipes the user’s Twitter authentication token. With the token, the malware can contact Twitter’s API and post whatever it sees fit – or in this case – a boatload of Dutch spam.

Twitter plays cat-and-mouse with hackers of the Syrian Electronic Army – Twitter’s security team appears to be playing whack-a-mole with a group of hackers who have made a name for themselves hijacking the accounts of high profile media organisations.

Verizon data breach report: State-sponsored attacks surge – Espionage campaigns seek data that furthers national interests, such as military or classified information, economy-boosting plans, insider information or trade secrets, and technical resources such as source code.

World’s largest bitcoin exchange under DDoS attack – Mt.Gox, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, has been downed earlier today by what appears to be a “strong DDoS attack”. The company has already employed Prolexic in order to minimize the impact of the DDoS attacks to which it is subjected.

Company News:

Microsoft Tackles Privacy With New Site, Commercial – While not offering specific illustrations of privacy holes in our daily online lives, the commercial is nevertheless effective in outlining the dicey new world of inadvertently sharing one’s activities and personal information online, without taking a direct shot at any one company, as it has in the past. Accompanying the commercial is a message from company stating: “The lines between public and private may never be perfect, but at Microsoft we are going to keep on trying, because your privacy is our priority.”

Reddit ‘Wrong’ on Marathon Bomber Crowd Sourcing – Reddit on Monday addressed the controversy surrounding the Internet sleuths who crowd sourced the search for the Boston Marathon bombers, admitting that the effort got out of hand.

Unity invites BlackBerry 10 game design with open beta – Unity’s tools can be used to create games simultaneously for a number of different platforms, including smartphones, PCs and game consoles. The open beta version of Unity’s Blackberry add-on will become available later this Spring, the company said in a blog post.

Report: Facebook Planning World’s ‘Most Advanced’ Data Center in Iowa – The Des Moines Register, citing two unnamed lawmakers familiar with the project, reported over the weekend that city leaders have already approved a 1.4 million-square-foot facility, which is expected to be completed in two $500 million phases. All told, however, the experts predicted the facility will cost Facebook $1.5 billion.

First Firefox OS phones arrive Tuesday for developers – Geeksphone begins selling two phones, the Keon and Peak, starting Tuesday. These lower-budget models are geared for programmers building Web apps for Mozilla’s open-source OS.

Reuters fires social media editor after Anonymous hacking probe – Matthew Keys says he was told his termination was related to his tweet activity during the Boston Marathon bomber manhunt, but that his federal indictment was not mentioned.

Lenovo tipped to buy IBM X86 business – Just as Lenovo started climbing the ladder to become a top PC seller when it picked up IBM’s PC business, it is now rumoured to be in early discussion about buying Big Blue’s x86 server business.

Webopedia Daily:

Curated commerce – In electronic commerce (ecommerce) terminology, curated commerce refers to creating unique product lines that provide customers with a distinct collection not offered by other online retailers in a market. The demand for personalization in online shopping is a driving factor behind curated commerce. Retailers often use marketing tactics such as email marketing to show a selection of curated products to customers based on personal taste and purchase history with the retailer.

Games and Entertainment:

Dead Island: Riptide: Rinse and repeat – Dead Island: Riptide probably should have been downloadable content. Even at its attractive price point ($50 on consoles, $40 on PC), there’s not much evolution from the original’s debut in 2011. After a less than engaging opening scene, you’re washed onto the shore of yet another tropical island. From there, it’s like you’re playing a bizarro carbon-copy of the first Dead Island game, replete with the same gory action that addicted gamers two years ago — but also with the same forehead-slapping bugs and inconsistencies.

Netflix doubling down on exclusive content – “If it’s not exclusive and on cable and other services, it’s pleasant to watch but it’s not reinforcing customers to stay with Netflix,” says CEO Reed Hastings.

BitTorrent partners with Cinedigm for first film promotion – BitTorrent’s evolution into a legitimate content-publishing platform continues, as the company once linked with movie piracy partners with indie film distributor Cinedigm to promote the new release “Arthur Newman.” Cinedigm is using BitTorrent to release the first seven minutes of the movie starring Emily Blunt and Colin Firth, which hits theaters April 26. The studio is also offering film stills and a trailer on the file-sharing protocol.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Dumped! by Google – One recent Thursday morning, I logged into my email and made an alarming discovery. Instead of opening my inbox, Google directed me to a notice: Account has been disabled . . . . In most cases, accounts are disabled if we believe you have violated either the Google Terms of Service, product-specific Terms of Service . . . . or product-specific policies . . . . it might be possible to regain access to your account.  The vagaries left me reeling. I read the terms and policies, but they offered few clues. Suggested by Michael F.)

Before the Web: the Internet in 1991 – Many of you know that the Web will turn 20 this year. I certainly do since, back in the day, I was the first person to write about this new thing called the WEB that would change everything about the Internet.

Happy birthday, Mosaic: 20 years of the graphical web browser – We take the web for granted today. But 20 years ago, the “WEB” was a mystery that only techie geeks knew about. Then along came the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Mosaic, the first popular graphical web browser, and everything changed.

Voice delivered by LED signals to enable underwater conversation – A Japanese company has developed a device enabling divers to “talk” underwater by converting their voices into blinking signals for transmission and back again, allowing them to hear each other.

Coolest Earth Day ride: The Sora electric superbike – Recently certified by the Canadian government, this slick ride can do 0 to 60 mph in four seconds and cruise around for 185 miles.

3D Printing Conference Hits the Big Apple – Organizers bill it as “the first business to business conference and expo to delve into the present and future impact of 3D printing.” It features talks and tutorials by key people in the field, and the latest 3D printers and related products will be demonstrated by exhibitors.

Today’s Quote:

“Wine can be a better teacher than ink, and banter is often better than books”

–    Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles

Today’s Free Downloads:

FotoMorph – An easy way to create professional morphing animations and Flash Rotation Banners. Using FotoMorph you can do everything a professional animator does to create photo animations.

MediaHuman Audio Converter – MediaHuman Audio Converter is a freeware application that helps you convert your music absolutely free in WMA, MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC, OGG, AIFF or Apple Loseless format.

TaskUnifier – TaskUnifier is a task management software based on the well-known GTD (getting things done) methodology. It will help you manage your tasks and therefore your time. TaskUnifier is free and open source.

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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.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 22, 2013

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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