Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 3, 2013

Leave early on Friday: time-saving tips and tricks – Or, um, get ahead on your next project, yeah. These 21 hardware and software shortcuts help you finish work faster. We’re going to contribute to your expert education with 21 simple things you can do to waste less time while you’re using a PC. Even if one of these tips saves you just five minutes each week, it’ll save you hours over the next year.

Facebook’s “Trusted Contacts” lets friends bail you out of a hack attack – Facebook Thursday announced a new security tool called “Trusted Contacts” for users who suspect they’ve been hacked. Trusted Contacts allows you to specify three to five Facebook friends to help you regain account access. In case of a security breach, each of these friends gets a code that you must enter to unlock your account.

Google Glass ‘Winky’ App Lets You Snap Photos by Winking – Google Glass is finally rolling out to developers and early adopters, and a number of interesting experiments and hacks have already appeared. But one new Glass app is certain to raise eyebrows, figuratively and literally, because it allows you to take photos with just a wink.

Q&A: The FBI’s role in ‘manufacturing’ terrorism – In his new book, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson analyzes 10 years of terrorism cases that were prosecuted in the United States after Sept. 11. Rather than stopping actual terrorist attacks, like the Boston bombing, the FBI focuses significant resources on using informants and sting operations to entrap would-be Islamic terrorists who “never could have obtained the capability to carry out their planned violent acts were it not for the FBI’s assistance,” he writes in his book.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Hate Facebook mobile ads? Now you can hide them – The social network lets users hide some mobile ads, with even more ad-nixing options on the way.

$70 Drone Shield wants to protect you from flying spies – There are quite a lot of people who are seriously concerned about maintaining their privacy in an age where aerial drones – like the Parrot AR – are increasingly easy to build or buy. Enter the Drone Shield, created by an aerospace engineer who is seeking backing on Indigogo to bring the device to market.

How to Remove Babylon Search Toolbar – Millions of consumers turn to to get software. Unfortunately, some of that software comes with an unwelcome add-on: the Babylon Search Toolbar. How do you get rid of it? It isn’t easy, but PCMag’s Fahmida Rashid can walk you through it.

Revive the F8 method of booting Windows 8 into Safe Mode – It is possible to reconfigure the Windows 8 boot process to allow you to use the F8 key to access the Advanced Boot Options menu of old.

EFF Gives Twitter High Marks for Protecting Users’ Data – How safe are your favorite websites? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) evaluated 18 major Internet companies for privacy and transparency, and Twitter and West Coast ISP came out on top.

Five cheap digital photo apps – The digital photography revolution has resulted in an overabundance of high priced products for editing and managing digital photos. However, there are also free and cheap photo editing and management tools available. In this post we list five such tools that are either free or cost less than fifty dollars.

Would you use a cloud-based version of Windows? – It’s been two years since Chromebooks running Google’s Chrome OS appeared on store shelves. So far, Google’s plan—to turn your Web browser into an operating system and websites into desktop-app replacements—does not appear to be catching on. But what if instead of accessing just websites, Chromebooks connected to a Windows desktop that lived in the cloud? Instead of having the Windows OS and all your apps stored locally, what if Microsoft hosted your Windows desktop on its servers, allowing you to access your personal “PC” from any device?

Android Jelly Bean Tops Ice Cream Sandwich – The most recent version of Android’s operating system, Jelly Bean, has now topped its predecessor, Ice Cream Sandwich, but Gingerbread still reigns supreme.


Fake AV scammers impersonate Microsoft – Cyber scammers continue to impersonate Microsoft and try to trick users into believing that their computer is serious need of an AV solution. Webroot researchers have spotted an active campaign that involves an ever-rotating slew of websites sporting a warning mimicking a Microsoft Security Essentials alert:

Salted Password Hashing – Doing it Right – The most important aspect of a user account system is how user passwords are protected. User account databases are hacked frequently, so you absolutely must do something to protect your users’ passwords if your website is ever breached. The best way to protect passwords is to employ salted password hashing. This page will explain how to do it properly. (A worthwhile read for security pros or high end users.)

Chinese break into US dam database – Chinese hackers have cracked a US Army database that contains information about the vulnerabilities of thousands of US dams.

FinFisher spy kit’s C&C servers are popping up around the world – Some two months ago, Reporters Without Borders identified UK-based Gamma International as one of the “enemies of the Internet” due to their FinFisher spyware tool kit being used by a number of oppressive governments. Privacy International has recently been trying to discover under which conditions Gamma International has been allowed to export FinFisher, but they haven’t had much luck with it, Citizen Lab researchers pointed out. I recommend reading the entire report as it really goes in great detail about how the spyware works. You can download it here.

Serious website vulnerabilities continue to decrease – A new WhiteHat Security report has correlated vulnerability data from tens of thousands of websites from more than 650 organizations, with software development lifecycle (SDLC) activity data obtained from 76 survey respondents. In 2012, the average number of serious vulnerabilities per website continued to decline, going from 79 in 2011 down to 56 in 2012. Despite this, 86 percent of all websites tested were found to have at least one serious vulnerability exposed to attack every single day of 2012.

Companies explore self-detonating data as security control – “It puts controls on what people see, and I can put expiration dates on sensitive documents,” says Marc McDonald, owner of Chicago-based Midland Metal Products, which a few months ago started using the software-as-a-service called VIA from Intralinks Holdings. Via now lets the maker of store fixtures share computer-aided design files for custom manufacturing with business partners. Midland Metal Products restricts download of sensitive information and also sets a time for the files to self-destruct. McDonald says the password-controlled VIA option is simpler and has more security controls than the Dropbox option had previously used. resets all user passwords following breach – Fortunately, the few passwords that were nabbed were salted and hashed. Also, the company doesn’t request sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers and doesn’t store financial data such as credit card numbers or bank accounts. Kudos for good security practices, guys.

Windows Magnifier Hack – Steps to reset a Windows account password given physical access to the box.

Company News:

BlackBerry 10 wins Pentagon’s security approval – The device maker beats out Apple and Samsung to be the first company to get its latest operating system authorized by the U.S. Department of Defense for agency use.

Intel lifts the veil on Haswell graphics – Intel is clearly tired of Nvidia and AMD kicking sand in its face when it comes to graphics performance. The company has had a talented GPU engineering team for many years. With the fourth generation of Intel’s Core CPU line—codenamed Haswell—those engineers finally get to strut their stuff. And Intel Is launching a new brand to boot to mark the occasion.

Microsoft readies ‘Mohoro’ Windows desktop as a service – Microsoft is believed to be building a Windows Azure-hosted desktop virtualization service that could be available on a pay-per-use basis.

Bitcoin exchange partnership dissolves with lawsuit – CoinLab files lawsuit against key Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox alleging breach of contract in deal to manage North America operations.

Rumors swirl around AMD buy – If you read the financial press you might be surprised to learn that AMD is about to be bought by every company under the sun.

Webopedia Daily:

Vertical cloud computing – A vertical cloud, or vertical cloud computing, is the phrase used to describe the optimization of cloud computing and cloud services for a particular vertical (e.g., a specific industry) or specific use application. The cloud provider will offer specialized functions and options that best meet industry-use and specifications. Today, the vertical health-care cloud is one of the more well-established vertical clouds.

Games and Entertainment:

Gamers Spending More Time Online – Online gaming is on the rise, and users are spending more time playing games overall, according to a new report from the NPD Group. The research firm surveyed 8,867 individuals in February and March and found that 72 percent of U.S. gamers play online. This represents a 5 percentage point increase from 2012.

The big picture: Projection basics – TVs are great and all, but if you want really epic entertainment, you need a projector. One-hundred-plus inches of high-definition awesomeness.

‘Angry Birds Friends’ Goes Mobile – Rovio is rolling out Angry Birds Friends to iOS and Android, allowing players to compete against Facebook friends while on the go. The apps are available for free, though the next weekly tournament doesn’t begin until May 6. Once it kicks off, users can compete on mobile or Facebook, with progress synced across both platforms.

‘Star Trek’ Enterprise bridge restoration in warp drive – The New Starship Foundation rescued a version of the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” bridge from the scrap heap. Restoration is under way.

Crackle brings the content front and center (pictures) – Crackle lays out TV shows and movies in a grid, or you can view them in list view for quick scanning of titles.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How to prepare for your last log-off – From will templates to postmortem e-mails, free and low-cost Web services help you put your affairs in order, send messages from the afterlife (sort of), and ensure your online accounts are properly laid to rest

Insect-like flying robot developed by Harvard researchers – Researchers at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed an insect-like robot that achieves flight by flapping a pair of tiny wings. The robot is small enough to sit on the tip of a finger and weighs 80 milligrams — that’s roughly 1/30th the weight of a U.S. penny coin. Its wings, which have a span of 3 centimeters, can flap at up to 120 times per second.

Five Phrases That Fail (video 3:50) – 5 things da kidz don’t say any more. (suggested by Michael F.)

T-Mobile employee: I used vacation time to go to the bathroom – A former T-Mobile employee going through a difficult pregnancy says she was told to clock out every time she used the bathroom, as her visits were too frequent.

Windows 8 Wikipedia page vandalized – Why would anyone wish to besmirch the Windows 8 Wikipedia page? Hasn’t Windows 8 got enough problems? Please don’t say it’s a fanperson from another brand. It seems that it might have been.

Are Americans getting tired of texting? – While people in the U.S. are still sending trillions of text messages per year, they sent 5 percent less in 2012 than they did in 2011.

Today’s Quote:

Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science.”

–     Gary Zukav

Today’s Free Downloads:

Avast! Free Edition – Based on the award-winning avast! antivirus engine, avast! antivirus contains all of the features you would expect in a modern antivirus program. It incorporates anti-spyware technology certified by West Coast Labs’ Checkmark process, as well as anti-rootkit and strong self-protection capabilities, but now provides even faster scanning with improved detection ability. It contains several real-time “Shields” which continuously monitor your email and internet connections and check the files on your computer whenever they are opened or closed.

Wise Data Recovery – Freeware Wise Data Recovery does well in recovering lost data, no matter which are images, documents, audios, videos, compressed files or emails. It can quickly and safely search and recover the file you want as long as you specify the drive, the file type, or the file name. Wise Data Recovery will also show you the difficult level of the recovery by indicating the data as “Good”, “Poor”, “Very Poor”, or “Lost” in the scan result.

Advanced Renamer 3.57 – Advanced Renamer is a free program for renaming multiple files and folders at once. By configuring renaming methods the names can be manipulated in various ways.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 3, 2013

  1. If I need to get to Safe Mode in windows 8 I simply do the following:

    This will also work in earlier versions of Windows provided you are able to get to the operating system.