Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 14, 2013

Is your laptop still unencrypted? Perhaps 7 seconds of CCTV might change your mind – Lots of people don’t worry much about encryption. After all, security companies only promote encryption as a way of life because they’ve got encryption products to sell, right? Or perhaps they have encryption products to sell because they think encryption is a useful security tool for your digital lifestyle?

U.S. government tops list of malware buyers – While vocally and repeatedly tying all kinds of discovered cyber attacks to Chinese hackers, the U.S. has quietly been working on their own cyber offensive capabilities – so much so that the U.S. government has become the biggest buyer of zero-day security vulnerabilities and the tools that exploit them, reports Reuters.

Waste less time on YouTube with Videos – Avoid going down the YouTube vortex by installing the Videos for YouTube browser extension, which strips out almost everything on the page but the video player itself.

DOJ Secretly Collected AP Journalists’ Phone Records – The Department of Justice secretly obtained the telephone records of Associated Press journalists over a two-month period in early 2012, the AP alleged in a Monday letter to the agency. The records, which date back to early 2012, cover an AP general phone number in New York City as well as AP bureaus in New York City, Washington, D.C., Hartford, Connecticut, and at the House of Representatives, Pruitt said.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

DIY: Homemade Wireless Extenders – Do homemade extenders – Which cost pennies to make – perform well enough to be worth the trouble of making them? The Wireless Witch weighs in.

How one woman’s abduction led to the Watch Over Me app – Although we’d like to think otherwise, women are still abducted on a daily basis. Sometimes, you get lucky. Sometimes, you don’t. And once in a while, you escape by the skin of your teeth. One woman narrowly fought off a kidnapping last year, and although the incident continues to haunt her, she refuses to stay silent. Instead, she has decided to learn from her experience and create a mobile app designed to help women—anyone, really—avoid falling victim themselves. Here is her story.

Video2Webcam – If you want to be able to play back video files during your video calls, then Video2Webcam is a good choice. The publisher lets you try it free for a while, but you will eventually need a license. We found Video2Webcam worked well and was easy to use, so it’s staying on our system.

Google Merges Free Drive, Gmail Storage to 15GB – Google today unified the storage limits for Gmail and Google Drive, giving users 15GB of free storage across both products. Now instead of having a 10GB limit on Gmail and 5GB on Google Drive and Google+ Photos, users get 15GB overall.

How to migrate to Gmail – Are you still hanging onto that old AOL e-mail account, or worse, the e-mail account your ISP handed you? If so, it might be time for you to consider switching to a Web-based e-mail service like Gmail.

How to Install (Nearly) Everything – Our guide can help you install almost any new hardware in your PC, whether it’s RAM, drives, graphics cards, or more.

Closed-captioning glasses get big rollout to cinemas – More than 6,000 Regal cinemas are about to become a lot friendlier to deaf and hearing-impaired moviegoers with the introduction of special closed-captioning glasses made by Sony.

Top 10 Secret Uses for Your Printer – Did you know your inkjet could print a birthday cake? Create window decals? Find out what other talents your printer is hiding.

Linux 3.10 – The biggest Linux RC 1 Ever? – Late Saturday night, Linus Torvalds released what could well be the largest incremental Linux kernel update in history with 3.10 rc 1. Looking through the commits, obviously there are a lot of driver updates (as there always are). Linux continues to be enable for new hardware faster than ever (and before other OSes too.) Linux 3.10 also looks to be a massive landing pad for KVM virtualization improvements too. Filesystem caching could also be in line for a big performance boost thanks to the new bCache framework which has landed in the 3.10 rc1 milestone.

No touching! 10 Bluetooth solutions for hands-free talking – Keep your calls and your hands free and clear?even in the car?with these ten Bluetooth devices.

Wearable Tech – It’s not all about Google Glass. There’s plenty of other tech you can put on your body for everything from monitoring your health to recording your life.

Building a low-end PC: Just say no – It sounds like a good idea until you realize the level of effort isn’t actually worth it.

Anonymous MSFT developer admits Linux is faster than Windows – This shouldn’t come as any great surprise, but Linux is faster than Windows, and at least one anonymous Microsoft developer is willing to admit it and explain why that’s the case.

How to Document Your Workflow – Employees can score big points at new jobs by documenting their workflow and processes. Here’s how.


Steak and cheese internet dinner traps fraudster – The US’ Internal Revenue Service claims to have caught a pair of serial ID fraudsters by using some simple detective work on an Instagram picture of a steak and cheese dinner.

New York Asks Apple, Google for Help Fighting Phone Theft – New York’s attorney general on Monday penned letters to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung asking them to collaborate with his office to come up with ways to deter criminals from swiping their most popular gadgets.

Adobe Shipping Critical Fixes for Reader and Acrobat in May Patch – Adobe is set to publish security updates in various versions of its Acrobat and Reader software packages along with Microsoft in the May edition of Patch Tuesday.

The Need For Threat-Centric Security – Defenders are at an asymmetric disadvantage when it comes to defending their networks. Attackers spend every minute of their day focused exclusively on penetrating your network to accomplish their mission…and opportunities abound.

Sony hacking suspect smashes computers to get out of prosecution – The Columbus, Ohio man has been sentenced to one year of house arrest for stymying an FBI investigation into the 2011 hacks, which saw millions of online players’ data breached.

Company News:

Amazon Launches ‘Coins’ Virtual Currency – Amazon today launched its virtual currency program, dubbed Amazon Coins. To kick things off, Amazon is providing all Kindle Fire owners with 500 free Amazon Coins, which are worth $5. “You can use the coins to buy apps and games, as well as items inside apps and games,” Amazon said in a note on its homepage.

Silvermont: Intel’s silver bullet for mobile? – More than five years after Intel first announced Atom, the company has introduced the first top-to-bottom redesign of its low-power processor. With the Silvermont microarchitecture, does Intel finally have all the ingredients to challenge ARM in smartphones and tablets?

GreenSQL Named “Cool Vendor” in Security by Gartner – Gartner has named GreenSQL, the database security company, a “Cool Vendor” in Security in the Infrastructure Protection Category for 2013.

Twitter buys big-data analyzer Lucky Sort – Twitter has acquired Lucky Sort, a data analytics company, in a move that could give the social network deeper insights into its users’ tweets and how to best place advertisements on its site.

Blizzard Donating Diablo III Funds Secured Via Bug to Charity – Game maker Blizzard is taking the altruistic approach to teaching cheating players a lesson. Following a recent Diablo III patch update, a handful of gamers managed to exploit a bug and squeeze some extra gold into their account. The bug — a result of a coding error — has since been fixed, but not before some people took advantage.

Snapdragon Android devices to get security preloaded after Kaspersky-Qualcomm deal – kaspersky apps could get a jump on rivals it competes with on Google Play. Kaspersky has a locked in a deal with mobile chip giant Qualcomm to offer OEMs “special terms” for preloading its $15 mobile security app on Snapdragon devices.

Fujitsu to raise PC prices amid falling yen – Drop in Japanese currency has pushed the cost of component imports, prompting the Japanese PC maker to jack up prices of their new PC offerings effective July.

Webopedia Daily:

Security vulnerability – An unintended flaw in software code or a system that leaves it open to the potential for exploitation in the form of unauthorized access or malicious behavior such as viruses, worms, Trojan horses and other forms of malware. Also referred to as security exploits, security vulnerabilities can result from software bugs, weak passwords or software that’s already been infected by a computer virus or script code injection, and these security vulnerabilities require patches, or fixes, in order to prevent the potential for compromised integrity by hackers or malware.

Games and Entertainment:

Candy Box – Candy Box is (almost) as basic as computer games can get, and yet it’s an addictive, fun RPG experience. Why not give it a shot and see how much you can discover, if you’re not scared of ASCII art?

Why gamers in Asia are the world’s best eSport athletes – One of the world’s best StarCraft 2 players, Jang “MC” Min Chul of South Korea, has made $365,000 playing in StarCraft 2 tournaments since the game’s launch in 2010. That figure is on top of MC’s income from sponsorships and a salary from his team, SK Gaming. Playing PC games has become a bona fide career option, and right now business is booming. It’s a great time to be a PC enthusiast, and it’s a far cry from 2008, when professional PC gaming – eSports, by any other name – was thought to be on the verge of extinction.

What Will it Take for Smart TVs to Succeed? – The Financial Times recently released a special report titled “Digital and Social Media Marketing.” The folks at Social Commerce Today summarized the lengthy release and drew out several bullet points I find especially interesting regarding the state of television.

Nintendo gets the chance to Wii – Nintendo has won a US appeals court decision in a patent case that will allow it to keep importing its Wii system into the United States.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Man Sells Access to Personal Browsing Data on Kickstarter – The data generated from our online activity is worth a lot to companies like Facebook and Google, but individual Web surfers don’t get paid for it. Federico Zannier doesn’t think that makes a lot of sense, so about a week ago he started offering access to his own browsing activity for $2 a day.

Dvorak: Dear Microsoft: Windows 8 Is Great – And if you think I really believe that then you clearly don’t read my columns often enough.

Human-powered helicopter prize unclaimed for 33 years – In 1980, the American Helicopter Society (AHS) set up the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition — named for the aviation pioneer who designed the world’s first mass-produced helicopter, the Sikorsky R-4, in 1942. The prize was initially $20,000. With no winners in the last 30 years, the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has now pledged $250,000 for a successful design.

Google Australia calls for mandatory comp sci until year 10 – Google says that Australia must use education to turn from a nation of technology consumers to technology creators.

Don’t have access to Google Glass? Try a simulation – Mobile developer Mutual Mobile lets people pretend they own the wearable tech with a prototyping tool that simulates the view of Glass.

Today’s Quote:

Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.”

–      Jesse Stuart

Today’s Free Downloads:

SPAMfighter 7.6.39 – If you are looking for an Outlook or Outlook Express tool to remove spam and phishing emails from your inbox, look no further. SPAMfighter is the tool you are looking for.

Windows Live Movie Maker 16.4.3508 – Windows Live Movie Maker is a very simple point and shoot video editing software from Microsoft with the ingenuity and precision that comes with most Microsoft products.

Process Lasso – Process Lasso is a unique new technology intended to automatically restrain running processes that are consuming too many CPU cycles.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 14, 2013

  1. delenn13

    Hey Bill,

    Like usual. Amazon Coins are not available at your location.

    From the comments……
    Also keep in mind that when you use Amazon coins, you now have another payment method to keep track of, one that–unlike a credit card payment–must be funded up front.

    Finally, I urge you to review the 1000-word Terms and Conditions statement before “investing” in Amazon coins. Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights, depending upon your point of view):

    –“All purchases of Coins are final. We do not accept returns of Purchased Coins except where required by law.” (I love it when a company won’t do something unless they get served with a subpoena.)

    –“Coins cannot be resold, transferred for value, redeemed for cash or applied to any other account, except to the extent required by law.” (Good luck getting anything for unused Amazon coins, folks.)

    –“We may change, suspend or discontinue the Program, or any part of it, at any time without notice.” (Isn’t it interesting that they don’t say anything about giving back your money if they kill the program? It’s probably related to the clause above.)

    –“We may make available to you software for your use in connection with the Program.” (I’d tell you what that means, but I don’t have time to read the separate 3,437-word Software Terms and Conditions statement.)

    –“For communications concerning this Agreement, please write to Amazon, Attn: Legal Department, P.O. Box 81226, Seattle, WA, 98108-1226.” (Got any questions about the program terms? I’m sure the legal team will get right on it once your letter arrives in the mail.)

    I can see a lot of reasons for Amazon to deploy a payment system like this. I just wish I could see any compelling reasons for customers to use it.

    Think I will just watch from the sidelines…

    • Hey Delenn13,

      American companies continuously make this mistake. In my view, the U.S. is not a suitable market for this type of product introduction. The U.S., in terms of financial products, is leagues behind the rest of us.

      For example, the U.S. is well behind in the use of debit card – the rest of us “wouldn’t leave home without it. 🙂

      That’s a simple example – there are many more.