Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 16, 2013

5 Essential Steps for Keeping Your Computer Safe – Computers house so much of our personal data that it’s essential to set up protective measures in case of cyber attack or mechanical failure. These five must-do steps dramatically increase the odds your computer (and your privacy) will remain safe from the latest online criminal activity and let you salvage your most important files if your computer becomes irretrievably infected.

Ultimate tech tools for the household CTO – Running a household smoothly is like heading up a small business—even more so if you manage a home office on top of it all. You need to be detail-oriented, organized, and well equipped. Luckily, even if you lack those first two traits, the proper tools can go a long way toward filling the gap. The following hardware, apps, and Web-based services are designed to help the chief technology officer of your family.

How to Delete Your YouTube Account – Want to ditch your YouTube channel (and all the videos you’ve uploaded) but can’t figure out how? We’ve got you covered.

Get started with the Hangouts app – You can start using Google’s new Hangouts app on your iOS or Android device right now. There are a few things you’ll need to know to get started.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Twitter users in Bahrain jailed for allegedly insulting tweets – As the Middle Eastern country is in the midst of a popular uprising, six people are sentenced to a year in prison for allegedly posting offensive tweets about King Hamad.

Tech Tip: Advanced Google search functions – Searching Google is a quick way to find information, but more advanced functions can help users find more helpful information faster.

The proper care and feeding of SSD storage – Ditching your hard drive for one of the latest SSD models is like dumping your go-kart and hopping into a Formula One car. I’m not exaggerating: SSDs can produce a four- or fivefold jump in speed. They have no mechanical parts to break, and they emit zero noise. SSDs are the perfect storage medium—until things go pear-shaped. Or until you seek hard information about the technologies involved.

What you can learn from the NSA’s declassified guide to online spying – The National Security Agency has just declassified a disarmingly written document called “Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research”, comprised of over 600 pages of common-sense advice on internet sleuthing. The guide was last updated in 2007, and it is simultaneously a look at the NSA’s internal communications and a reminder of how quickly the internet changes; this is just six years old and parts of it already read like “Duke Nukem Does The Internet”. Still, there is some useful information here, and some really fascinating insights into how real national security personnel conduct research online.

Google+ Gets a Major Facelift – Google adds new photo management tools, expanded storage, a redesigned layout, and more to its social networking platform.

Google Maps gets stunning makeover for Web, enhancements to mobile – “A perfect map of the world is foundational to delivering exactly what you want, when you want, and where you want it.” With those words from senior VP Amit Singhal, Google ushered in a brand new experience for Google Maps, both on the desktop and on mobile devices.

Google combines camera and cloud into a new darkroom – As part of the overhaul of its Hangout feature, Google has launched new photography functionality designed to take the labor out of on-the-spot shooting and editing in the cloud. The new features will roll out this evening.

Amy’s Baking Company crashes and burns on Facebook after Kitchen Nightmares show – If there are lessons to be learned about not responding to trolling comments on Facebook, Amy’s Baking Company ignored them — and crashed and burned big time.

New Yorker ‘Strongbox’ Accepting Anonymous Tips – Strongbox, an online whistleblower system, allows sources to anonymously share info.

How the Chromebook succeeds beyond all other Linux distributions – The Chromebook has taken off. It’s a Linux-based device that has one key thing in its favor. Jack Wallen explains what he thinks it is.

Arch-based Manjaro Linux touts user-friendliness – Looking for a new Linux flavor to try? The Manjaro team targets newcomers and pros alike, promising ease-of-use and performance.


Security IQ Quiz: How You Scored – Our recent security IQ quiz turned that concept around, putting you in charge of identifying the malware type represented in ten simple scenarios. Your response was overwhelming, and many of you scored quite well. SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t already taken the quiz, do it now, as the rest of this article contains a spoiler or two.

Latest Dorkbot Malware Spread Via Facebook Chat – A new variant of Dorkbot made the rounds of Facebook this week, infecting users as it hopped from one friend to another over the site’s chat service, researchers said.

Is Microsoft reading your Skype communications? – The question of whether Skype – a Microsoft subsidiary since May 2011 – allows U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies to access the communications exchanged by its users has still not been adequately answered by Microsoft.

Hacking charge stations for electric cars – The vision of electric cars call for charge stations to perform smart charging as part of a global smart grid. As a result, a charge station is a sophisticated computer that communicates with the electric grid on one side and the car on the other. To make matters worse, it’s installed outside on street corners and in parking lots. In this video recorded at Hack In The Box 2013 Amsterdam, Ofer Shezaf, founder of OWASP Israel, talks about what charge stations really are, why they have to be ‘smart’ and the potential risks created to the grid, to the car and most importantly to its owner’s privacy and safety.

Honeynet Project Researchers Build Publicly Available ICS Honeypot – Two industrial control system researchers have built an ICS honeypot they hope others will deploy on critical infrastructure networks.

Syrian Internet service comes back online – Internet traffic in and out of war-torn Syria has been restored after a disruption of nearly eight and a half hours, according to Internet traffic charts.

IT security jobs: What’s in demand and how to meet it – So, let’s say you want a career in information security, where do you start? What credentials do you need? What are employers looking for? Read on to find some answers.

Company News:

Google demands shutdown of Microsoft’s new YouTube app – Google is seeking to block Microsoft’s new YouTube app for Windows Phone 8 because it blocks ads and allows downloading of videos from YouTube’s site, in violation of its terms of service.

BlackBerry unveils its own social network, BBM Channels – Trying to succeed where its competitors have failed, BlackBerry on Tuesday announced that it’s launching what amounts to its own social network, BBM Channels.

95 Percent of Q1 Android Smartphone Profits Went to Samsung – Samsung’s first-quarter earnings of $5.1 billion helped the South Korean phone maker net 95 percent of all Android smartphone profits.

Google ordered to muzzle defamatory autocompletes by German court – In Germany Google will have to prevent autocomplete from suggesting certain searches if it becomes aware they are defamatory, the German federal court has ruled. A cosmetics and nutritional supplements company and its CEO, only identified as RS, has won an injunction from the court which prevents Google from suggesting two search terms that are defamatory.

Google Play for Education Launching This Fall – Google today unveiled Google Play for Education, which will allow teachers to discover apps designed specifically for K-12 students.

Google shows off better, faster mobile Chrome – From Google I/O, the Chrome browser is getting updates to both the desktop and mobile versions, plus new developer tools.

Google announces e-mail money transfers for Google Wallet – At its annual Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Google makes announcements that will expand Google Wallet far beyond its tap-and-go NFC roots.

Webopedia Daily:

Network security – A specialized field in computer networking that involves securing a computer network infrastructure. Network security is typically handled by a network administrator or system administrator who implements the security policy, network software and hardware needed to protect a network and the resources accessed through the network from unauthorized access and also ensure that employees have adequate access to the network and resources to work. A network security system typically relies on layers of protection and consists of multiple components including networking monitoring and security software in addition to hardware and appliances. All components work together to increase the overall security of the computer network.

Games and Entertainment:

Your Ultimate Gaming Sanctuary – Your game cave needs more than a powerful PC. Build yourself a better battle station with our ultimate guide to gaming accessories.

‘Star Wars’ and ‘Doctor Who’ fans in altercation at sci-fi convention – Police are called to a sci-fi convention in the U.K. after fans of “Doctor Who” — allegedly uninvited — enter the convention, to the displeasure of certain forceful “Star Wars” fans.

Google+ Games to get ax in favor of Google Play Games – Games on Google’s social network will be retired on June 30 as part of a switch to a new game development platform.

Talk of Independence Day sequels continue – You would have thought that with the incredible success of Independence Day that there would have been at least one sequel by now, but there’s only recently been any serious talk of one.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Was the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year faked with Photoshop? – It turns out that the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year — the largest and most prestigious press photography award — was, in actual fact, a fake. The World Press Photo association hasn’t yet stripped the photographer, Paul Hansen, of the title, but presumably it’s just a matter of time. Rather than discussing the politics of photo manipulation, though — is it faked, or is it merely enhanced? — we’re going to look at how Hansen managed to trick a panel of experienced judges with his shooping skillz, and how a seasoned computer scientist spotted the fraudulent forgery from a mile off.

The $8 million attempt to figure out the teenage mind – No wonder you can’t figure out your teenager’s mind. The gnarly thing takes $8 million to decipher. Researchers will scan the brains of 300 people between 14- and 24-years-old to determine changes that take place in the organ during adolescent years, the BBC reports. “During the teenage years, scientists believe that the brain rewires itself, and that this rewiring, specifically at the front, will increase the mind’s ability to think ahead and control emotions,” a BBC video explains.

My first day as a Glasshole: How Google Glass looks from the inside – Since their launch at Google I/O nearly a year ago, few tech gadgets have been more talked about than Google Glass. Billed as the next best thing to being a cyborg, Glass promised all-the-time, always-on sharing and connectedness that has traditionally been the province of science fiction stories.

The rise of alternative learning in laneways, pubs and new ’schools’ – From long intensives to short courses and with fees starting at AUD$50 (USD$49), students can choose to enroll in classes like “How to have better conversations,” “How to worry less about money,” “How to find a job you love,” “How to be confident” and a number of other unorthodox subjects. And The School of Life is hardly alone in its unconventional approach. It is part of Melbourne’s rising ”altucation,” or alternative adult education scene, consisting of small-scale, creative, non-accredited systems of education that recognize people’s urge to continue to learn well past graduation.

Today’s Quote:

No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”

–       Everyday Life Lessons

Today’s Free Downloads:

Joy To Mouse Free – Completely free program designed for people with disabilities who have difficulty using the mouse. Joy To Mouse allows you to use a joystick or joypad as if it were a normal mouse by transferring the operating system movements and clicks.

Rename Master 3.4 – This utility will add, remove, or replace parts of the filename with ease and also supports renaming via file properties, MP3 tags, JPEG JFIF and EXIF tags, and text files. Batch renaming that’s simple to use, yet still very powerful.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 16, 2013

  1. Larry

    Hi Bill,
    An intriguing article about the NSA! When I found about the existences of NSA, I literally jumped out of my skin. Could our government spying on us without a search warrant? Is it for a real? Is it our constitution just a piece of paper? I was just dumbfounded. I’ve never thought of it, not even in my wildest dream.
    I’ve been encrypting all my outgoing personal emails to relatives and friends, ever since I opened my eyes to the internet security. My personal life is nobodies business.
    Best regards,


    • Hi Larry,

      Absolutely – government (not restricted to just the U.S. government), under the guise of protecting us against terrorism (no protection of course against the insanity of the recent events in New Orleans), monitor and record all electronic communications. So, keep on using encryption – stay one step ahead of the bastards.

      Shamefully, western democracies allow the export of sophisticated spy software to countries which are known to violate their citizens civil liberties. It would be naive to assume that such sophisticated applications are not being employed “elsewhere.”