Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 12, 2013

Infographic: The Cost of Losing Your Smartphone – It’s no big secret that our smartphones are playing an increasingly important role in our daily lives as repositories for everything from private financial information and address books to the memories we treasure. But taking a look at the raw numbers demonstrating just how tethered to our phones we really are can still be pretty mind-blowing. Trend Micro has mashed together some of that data, which you can check out in the infographic.

Your very own drone, to follow you home – Universal Air got its start with a $15,000 Kickstarter campaign that earned $220,000. Now it wants to make drones that can autonomously follow you around. Without an Internet signal.

Beware the Followers Made of Spam – Have you seen a burst of new followers on your blog in the last couple of weeks? Well, before you pop the cork on the champagne bottle and toast yourself for being master of the blogiverse, first you’d better go see if your new followers actually have a pulse. (recommended by Michael F.)

Hide Your Serial Numbers, Passwords, Phone Numbers and Everyday Notes In A Safe Place – A program that I use on a regular basis to protect and hide my personal text based notes is called Steganos LockNote. In a sense it is like notepad with an encryption option.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Manage to-dos with these four Android apps – With the popular Astrid app soon going away, many users will be scrambling to find a new way to track their tasks. Here are four of my favorite to-do list apps for Android.

My top gadget for 2013 (so far) – There are a lot of gadgets that come through my home office, that range in usefulness from not very to game changing for me. One of the latter is so good it has changed my routine for the better.

Firefox OS puts a good $50 smartphone within reach – I bought a ‘developer preview’ Firefox OS phone to try. It’s a pleasant little smartphone, with the promise of making good, cheap smartphones a possibility.

Lifelogging gets real – Capturing and recording your experiences is no longer science fiction. Suddenly, it’s a consumer product. A company called A.R.O. this week shipped a new iOS and Android lifelogging app called Saga. Saga, which is available free of charge, is designed for easy, natural and unobtrusive recording of everywhere you go and everything you do.

National Park apps aid your trek from sea to shining sea – If you’re carrying your smartphone on vacation in one or more of the 50 states, iOS and Android apps will provide all the guidance you’ll need to traverse the often-challenging terrain of the nation’s 59 national parks, part of the 401-strong network of parks, monuments, preserves, recreation areas, and assorted open spaces, overseen by the government.

Desktop chips zip past 4GHz; next stop 5GHz? – Today, the chip world is seemingly focused on producing low power chips with integrated graphics accelerators that perform swiftly and extend battery life. Many of these chips run well under 2 GHz, which is more than enough to enable vendors to create fast and fan-less tablets and laptops, such as the Samsung Chromebook. But clock rate speeds still matter to some.

Intel Haswell Chip Cranked to 5GHz at Just 0.9V – When’s the last time you saw a tablet or smartphone overclocked to 5GHz and beyond? The answer is “never” and it probably won’t happen for a long, long time yet. On the desktop, well, that’s an entirely different story. Not only are high overclocks common, but early looks at overclocking results on Intel’s Haswell parts would indicate that the fun is just beginning, and you don’t even need exotic cooling to participate.

10 Things You Need To Know About Intel’s New Atom – Atom parts have long been the butt of our jokes for being the anti-performance parts that inspired the Netbook but anyone who ever tried to drive a Netbook for anything beyond browsing knows how much Atom’s sucked in performance. A dual-core, Hyper-Threaded 1.6Ghz Atom N2600 gives up a Cinebench 11.5 score of 0.47. That’s just barely faster than a single-core Athlon 64 3200’s score of 0.42. For reference, a Core i7-2600K gives up about 8.1 and a 3.2GHz Core 2 Duo E8200 gives you about 1.91. The actual performance isn’t known, but the new “Silvermont” version of Atom should offer far more performance than we’ve ever seen before.

Building a sub $300 PC (May 2013 edition) – Sometimes you just want a cheap and cheerful PC to handle some simple tasks. This build – excluding Windows, a display, and peripherals, comes in at under $300.

Are Microsoft ‘updates’ like Blue really more than service packs? – Are Microsoft’s new, more rapidly delivered releases like Windows Blue and the Visual Studio 2012 updates just ‘service packs in chunks’? One Microsoft exec explains why they’re not.


Google security plan targets login authentication, hijacking – Google has released a draft of its next five-year plan for login authentication that tries to stay at least on par with criminal hackers, but recognizes that strong security requires industry collaboration. The draft, which was released last week for security pros, may be discussed further at the Google I/O conference next week. It explores where Google might head following its first five-year plan, issued in 2008.

Anti-virus Programs: Is Running Two Better Than One? – It’s well known that some anti-virus programs are better than others at given times. Mostly because of how soon the signatures (tells that are used to identify malware) are updated. There is also a difference between their methods: some use signatures to identify the malware and some use an analysis of the behavior of the computer and the malware to identify anomalies and alert you when they’re found; and a few anti-virus programs use both methods of detection. So, given that some are better than others at identifying malware, is it a good idea to run more than one anti-virus program for better protection?

Bank security weaknesses led to cyber looting of $45M from ATMs – Alberto Yusi Lajud Pena, found dead in the Dominican Republic two weeks ago, was the leader of the New York cell of an international gang of cyber thieves that authorities allege stole a staggering $45 million from ATM machines around the world. One startling aspect of the case, sure to be closely reviewed by banks worldwide, is that Pena and his cohorts pull off the theft quickly using just 17 prepaid debit cards.

An unholy alliance – Fake Anti-Virus, meet Bogus Support Call! – What happens when a scammer decides to marry fake anti-virus and bogus support calls? Paul Ducklin has a bit of a weekend chuckle at the result…

Cybercrooks reportedly hang out in Latin America, Caribbean – Internet criminals have opened a new front in Latin America and the Caribbean and seem to have founded booming businesses thanks to low levels of cybercrime protection and awareness, a rare but timely analysis of the region by Trend Micro has found.

Company News:

Microsoft douses comparisons of Windows 8 to ‘New Coke’ – Microsoft is firing back with a little pop of its own amid criticism that its Windows 8 operating system is like New Coke, which fizzled after its debut. A communications executive for the Redmond, Wash.-based company, Frank Shaw, said in a blog post this week that such characterizations are more about getting page views on Web sites than predicting doom for the product.

Apple said to be mulling single warranty for multiple devices – The iPhone, iPad and Mac maker is said to be planning a revamp of its basic AppleCare warranty service to become a subscription that will cover all the Apple devices a user owns. AppleCare currently has to be purchased on a per-gadget basis. According to AppleInsider the company held a meeting about the changes on Thursday and plans to roll them out this fall.

Report: ESPN may pay to exempt its content from wireless data caps – Net neutrality groups raise alarm about rumored deal for preferential treatment.

Nvidia does better than analysts expected – Graphics chip maker Nvidia has done a lot better than analysts were expecting and announced third quarter results which are not that bad.

Carl Icahn targets Dell, HP before the PC goes ‘downhill’ – The U.S. PC industry for sale? Carl Icahn thinks so. And he wants to move fast before the PC dies.

Webopedia Daily:

Imgur – The name of a popular online image sharing website. Imgur is a free service to share photos with social networks and online communities. Users can upload images to a public directory or share a private URL to view the images with family and friends. The Imgur homepage offers images of today, sorted by popularity and posted images offer a discussion forum where comments can be left by other users. Users can “upvote” (give a “thumbs up”) favorite images and user comments.

Games and Entertainment:

MOBAs Dominate Raptr’s List of Most Played Games of April 2013 – Gaming social network Raptr, which has over the past few years published yearly lists of the most popular games based on its users’ gaming habits, last month began doing so on a monthly basis. Earlier this week, it published the second such monthly list of “most played games.”

A brief history of computer chess – Since the 18th century, people have been fascinated by the idea of machines that could play chess against humans. With the advent of the digital electronic computer in the mid-20th century, that dream finally became feasible. What followed was six decades of intense development in the field of computer chess, from research projects to commercial products.

Jimmy Kimmel gets celebrities to humiliate Twitter trolls – In what is becoming an uplifting series, celebrities such as Elizabeth Moss, Russell Brand, and Gwen Stefani read out some of the nasty things people have sent to them on Twitter. Moss even offers a curt reply. Now that’s “gesture control.”

How Internet star Lil Bub clawed her way to fame – Lil Bub has parlayed her cute kitten face into feature films, books, and a Web TV deal.

Off Topic (Sort of):

This Ear Was Made With A 3D Printer And It Hears Better Than Your Ears – While some people are using 3D printers to make guns, scientists at Princeton University are using them to create working human ears. By combining “bio-printed organic materials” and electronics, scientists have created an ear that can hear things that regular human ears can’t.

Are you obligated to point out security flaws if you’re just hired for a small job? – You don’t want to throw an employee under the bus, but security holes should be fixed.

Going Open Office – Recently, my company has decided to go “open office.” We’re getting rid of the cubicles. Those of us who have offices (myself included) will be losing them. We’re going to tear down the walls, and we’ll all be working in one big office with rolling desks so that we can “embed” with other teams as needed. This is intended to increase collaboration and make the environment more suited to pair-programming, code reviews, and easy collaboration. On the other hand, there’s still the question of, “who wants to work in a big open office?” I think the answer is that probably very few of us find this completely satisfactory.

Appeals court ruling could be ‘death’ of software patents – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Friday that four patents held by electronic marketplace Alice are too abstract for a patent, despite a long-standing legal assumption that software running on a computer is eligible for patents.

Twisted Sister’s legal threats over coffee shop’s URL – A tiny coffee shop In Kansas called Twisted Sisters has been served with legal papers by lawyers for the rock band of a similar name. Oh, yes, they’re claiming trademark.

Smartphones driving violent crime across U.S. – On Feb. 27 in the middle of the afternoon, a 16-year-old girl was walking through San Francisco’s Mission district when she was ordered at gun point to hand over her cellphone. The robbery was one of 10 serious crimes in the city that day, and they all involved cellphones. Three were stolen at gun point, three at knife point and four through brute force.

Today’s Quote:

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.”

–     William Shakespeare

Today’s Free Downloads:

Don’t Sleep 3.00 – Don’t Sleep is a small portable program to prevent system shutdown, Standby, Hibernate, Turn Off and Restart.

FileMenu Tools 6.5 – FileMenu Tools allows you to customize the context menu of Windows Explorer. Add some built-in utilities that perform operations on files and folders. Add custom commands which run external applications, copy/move to a specific folder or delete specific file types. Configure the “Send to…” submenu. Enable/disable commands which are added by other applications to the context menu.

Homedale 1.35 – Monitor the signal strength of multiple WLAN Access Points. View a summary of all available access points with their signal strength, encryption [WEP/WPA/WPA2], speed, channel and other settings.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 12, 2013

  1. Fred

    I was wondering if this “Beware the Followers Made of Spam” could partially explain your remarks made yesterday in this “My Phantom Followers – Who Are These People?”
    I have a bookmarks section on my browser and your smiling face is #1 on the list. THAT should tell you how vital your blog is to me. I would assume that any genuine human being who comes across this blog would value it as much as I do.
    Always grateful,

    • Hi Fred,

      Explains it in full actually. I loved that article – funny as all get out.

      Fred, you sure know how to make a guy feel good. Keep ’em coming. 🙂



  2. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    Re ”Anti-virus Programs-Is Running Two Better Than One?”.

    I’ve commented on this on Paul’s site.

    Kind regards,