Best free stuff, 2013 edition – The Internet is full of free stuff. We’ve spent countless hours culling the jewels from the junk to craft our 18th annual roundup of free stuff, a virtual smorgasbord of the very best no-cost programs, apps, and services available online. To make your life easier, we’ve categorized the entries by the types of people they’ll help most. Dig in. You’re sure to find something unexpectedly awesome.
Privately share a video that only a select few can watch – Streaming video is the obvious and easy way to share home movies, but sometimes you need to control who can jump into that stream. You may want everyone in the world to enjoy your cat videos, but humans often object when their drunken dancing turns up all over the Internet. I’ll give you privacy control settings for three free and popular streaming services.
Proposal seeks to lock copyright infringing computers, force owners to contact police – The Internet-using public is no stranger to off-the-wall plans and ideas to stop the so-called blight of copyrighted content sharing, but a new proposal recently submitted to the government is perhaps unlike any before it in terms of craziness. In a report, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property proposed many ways piracy can be combated, including infecting alleged violators’ computers with malware that can wreck havoc, including and up to destroying the user’s computer.
Cops want 3D gun banned – While the US is scratching its head about what to do about 3D printed guns finding their way into the hands of criminals and right-wing nutjobs, the Australian cops want them banned. According to Gizmodo, the New South Wales Police Force downloaded the 3D printable weapon known as The Liberator to print for themselves, and it scared the billabongs out of them. According to the Police Commissioner: “they are truly undetectable, truly untraceable, cheap, easy to make”. They have the potential to turn Australia into the Wild West.
How to use Google Voice with two-step authentication – There’s one important detail you have to know should you want to use your Google Voice number with a two-step authentication service.
Five apps to help secure Thunderbird – If you’re looking for some added security for Thunderbird, you might want to look into the various available extensions.
Zorin OS 7: This may be the Linux distro you’re looking for – Ubuntu-based Zorin OS has always been a particularly compelling choice for those making the transition to Linux from Windows, but updates in this new version promise to make it more attractive than ever. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights.
Google to Migrate Your Buzz Data to Google Drive – The ill-fated Buzz service is a goner, and any remaining data is moving to Drive.
Now You Can Find Google+ Photos Through Main Search Bar – Google this week announced that you can now search for photos that have been uploaded to Google+ through the main Google Search bar.
Essential photo composition tips and tricks – Composing a compelling photo can be a challenging artistic endeavor; after all, what looks great in real life can be flat and uninspired when captured as a photo. It’s not enough just to capture what you see with your eyes; you need to reinterpret the scene for the medium that we used to call film. Thankfully, photographers have had almost two centuries to codify successful compositional techniques into a set of rules.
Malware in the Google Play Store: Enemy inside the gates – Google Play has experienced some recent malware infestations. Learn about the details and how to protect yourself and your users.
How to Hack Twitter’s Two-Factor Authentication – Experts say Twitter’s two-factor authentication won’t stop hackers. Worse, hackers could well take over your account’s two-factor authentication and thereby lock you out
Anatomy of a hack: How crackers ransack passwords like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331” – In March, readers followed along as Nate Anderson, Ars deputy editor and a self-admitted newbie to password cracking, downloaded a list of more than 16,000 cryptographically hashed passcodes. Within a few hours, he deciphered almost half of them. The moral of the story: if a reporter with zero training in the ancient art of password cracking can achieve such results, imagine what more seasoned attackers can do.
Chromium browser gets new reset options for easier recovery from malware – Chromium’s new features prevent the need to raze everything to the ground if Bad Things Happen to a single aspect of your browser. For example, if a rogue Gmail extension borks your browser, you’ll be able to reset just your extensions and leave your homepage and content settings alone. Plus, Chromium’s profile settings bring all the default restoration options together in a single, easy-to-find menu. Win-win!
Chinese hackers reportedly accessed U.S. weapons designs – More than two dozen advanced weapons systems were accessed, although documents obtained by The Washington Post do not indicate whether the breaches occurred on government or contractor networks.
Google eyes wind power with Makani acquisition – The prospects for high-altitude wind technology are looking a little more buoyant with the revelation that Makani Power has been acquired by Google[x], the semi-secret Google lab that’s dabbled in wacky stuff like driverless cars and wired eyeglasses.
Liberty Reserve shuts down; founder arrested in Spain – Digital currency Liberty Reserve was shut down last Thursday after founder Arthur Budovsky Belanchuk was arrested in Spain as part of a money laundering investigation between law enforcement agencies in the US and Costa Rica involving suspicions that Budovsky was involved in money laundering using numerous shell companies that were created to operate Liberty Reserve. (suggested by Michael F.)
Apple under European investigation over iPhone, iPad sales tactics and 4G restrictions – Europe is quizzing mobile operators about Apple’s distribution methods for its mobile hardware.
Demand more transparency from us and vendors: Huawei – The company that bills itself as the most probed and audited has said that others should be subject to the same security checks, as users can’t be sure what they’re getting.
Changing tax laws won’t bring in ‘big cheques’: Gates – Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has welcomed reviews of taxation laws to close loopholes for multinationals, but he has warned that it won’t bring in “big cheques” to government coffers.
RAID – redundant array of independent disks – RAID is short for redundant array of independent (or inexpensive) disks. It is a category of disk drives that employ two or more drives in combination for fault tolerance and performance. RAID disk drives are used frequently on servers but aren’t generally necessary for personal computers. RAID allows you to store the same data redundantly (in multiple paces) in a balanced way to improve overall storage performance.
Games and Entertainment:
Scrolls, the second game from Minecraft creator Mojang, gears up open beta on June 3 – When your studio’s very first game is Minecraft, the monumentally successful indie classic that went on to sell millions and inspire extreme devotion in gamers around the globe, what could you possibly follow up with? For Mojang, the answer is Scrolls, a game that ditches Minecraft’s 8-bit world building in favor of cartoonish, Magic: The Gathering-esque collectable card slinging.
Zombies!!! – The dead are a problem. Whether they are the walking or evil varieties, their predilection for eating flesh is proving to be a problem for those who prefer to keep their organs intact. That’s the basis for Zombies!!!, a new game of post-apocalyptic survival from Babaroga. It’s based on a popular board game from Twilight Creations in which players compete to escape from a town infested with brain-biters.
4 Ways Minecraft Hasn’t Actually Changed Gaming – Four years after Minecraft’s alpha launch, its impact on the rest of the gaming world has ranged from immeasurable to insignificant. That’s no knock against Minecraft. If anything, it’s a testament to how unique the game actually is. Rather than pretend Minecraft has been an industry-changing force, let’s instead count the ways in which Minecraft was an anomaly whose successes won’t be so easily duplicated:
Pixel art all around us – Pixel art is all around us. It may have been popularized by computer graphics and, more specifically, video games, but it’s much, much more than that.
Off Topic (Sort of):
German rail network to fight graffiti with drones – Deutsche Bahn wants to deploy silent drones to thwart vandalism to its trains and property, which cost the operator nearly $10 million last year.
If everything fades into the background, you may have a high IQ – Ignoring a specific visual distractor correlates with IQ scores. So, if you forget to notice something like your significant other’s new haircut, can you safely conclude that it’s ok because it just means you’ve got a high IQ? Maybe. These are just general tendencies and there’s lots of variability among individuals, even if they collectively show a clear trend. And that’s without even getting into the value of the aspect of intelligence measured by the IQ score.
Teachers searching for cell phone strip-search students – A Canadian school board admits that staff at at high school went too far in ordering 28 students to remove their clothes, as one was suspected of having a cell phone in a math exam. (Sexual assault charges should be laid immediately.)
A high school student just built a submarine that really dives underwater – The West Morris Mendham High School student built a nine-foot-long, 1300-pound submarine dubbed the Nautilus. This underwater vessel, fashioned mostly out of lightweight corrugated plastic tubes typically used in drainage pipes, doesn’t just look the like a submarine; Justin says it can dive to depths of 30 feet.
Google Maps rolls out bike routes in six European countries – Adding Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein to the mix, the Web giant boosts mapping data for cyclists.
“There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.”
– G. K. Chesterton
Today’s Free Downloads:
Free File Wiper 1.62 – Delete files securely with this software. Just drag & drop directories and files on the trashcan and the software will erase them completely!
Cain and Abel 4.9.46 – Allows easy recovery of various kind of passwords by sniffing the network, cracking encrypted passwords and more.