Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 29, 2013

Here, there, everywhere: 3 personal cloud storage systems – Cloud storage services like Dropbox or Box are useful, but they can become costly — and who is controlling your data? One of these three personal cloud storage systems could be your alternative.

The Best Places to Find Free Music Online – You can find almost any song you can think of online and download it for free. If you want to do it legally, it’s a little tougher – but not impossible (in many cases). We rounded up a list of places to look if you want to score a free song but don’t want to break the law.

How to Hack Twitter’s Two-Factor Authentication – We’ve pointed out some problems with Twitter’s new two-factor authentication. However, security experts indicate that the problem is worse than that, a lot worse.

Social media privacy explained – In plain English – Researchers at Canada’s University of Victoria have published a website, CATSMI, that provides information on more than 20 social networks privacy policies and what they mean to you.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Hisense Sero Tablet Breaks the $100 Barrier, Beware the Battery – It never ceases to be surprising when the price of tablets drops to new lows. Take Hisense’s Sero 7 LT tablet, for example. The 7-in. (17.8 cm) Android tablet is on sale now through Walmart for a mere $99, undercutting bargain-tablet front runners like the Amazon Kindle Fire ($159), Barnes & Noble Nook HD ($199), Google Nexus 7 ($199) and HP Slate 7 ($170).

New vending machine aims to democratize 3D printing – Instead of making you pick from a selection of items, this new vending machine lets you create what you want by 3D printing custom-ordered objects.

Tablets to Top Laptops This Year, All PCs in 2015 – It’s long been said that tablets will at some point become more popular than laptops, but according to a new forecast from IDC, that shift is poised to occur this year.

Chinese Cyber Espionage: Don’t Believe the Hype – Within a day of each other, the Washington Post published a shocking list of U.S. defense programs whose designs have reportedly been stolen by Chinese cyberattacks and ABC news said the plans for Australia’s spy headquarters were also stolen by Chinese hackers. It makes China sound like a secret-sucking cyber espionage machine, but is that really the case?

Dislike Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscriptions? Tough beans – Adobe will adjust its subscription plans to appeal better to photo hobbyists, but it won’t restore what many critics want — an option to buy perpetual licenses to new versions of its software.

Unprecedented e-mail privacy bill sent to Texas governor’s desk – Assuming that Texas Governor Rick Perry does not veto it, the Lone Star State appears set to enact the nation’s strongest e-mail privacy bill. The proposed legislation requires state law enforcement agencies to get a warrant for all e-mails regardless of the age of the e-mail.

The Big Bad Kinect Will Not Spy on You – I’m incredibly leery when it comes to snooping devices in the house. In fact, I put small pieces of gaffer’s tape over the gratuitous cameras on laptops and monitors. Who needs some stealth program snooping on you or listening in? But the fears that have sprouted up around the new Kinect on the Xbox One are just ludicrous, not because they are impossible but because they are impractical and mostly idiotic. Here are the top four bogus notions I’ve heard over the past week

Best Linux distributions for enterprise computing needs – There are a lot of Linux distributions out there. Out of those hundreds of variations, which are best suited for enterprise-level servers and desktops?


Five steps to ultimate Firefox security – Follow these five steps to lock down Firefox. Start with the essentials in the browser’s own settings, then choose some useful add-ons. Finally, keep track of your plug-ins so you can patch the inevitable security holes.

Block rogue apps with Windows Server — for free – Windows in some organizations is a free-for-all — users have local administrator rights, install software to their hearts’ content, never update it and generally are susceptible to running bad stuff on good machines. Fortunately for Windows administrators, there is a way to stop that.

Malware-splosion: 2013 Will be Malware’s Biggest Year Ever – According to the German security company AV-Test, malware has exploded in the past five years to unprecedented levels. More troublingly, they anticipate seeing over 60 million new pieces of malicious software by the end of the year.

Sprint, SoftBank reportedly reach security deal with U.S. – The tentative agreement includes a security committee at the company should the merger go through and gives the U.S. government veto power over equipment purchases, sources tell The Wall Street Journal.

Critical Ruby on Rails bug exploited in wild, hacked servers join botnet – Attackers’ success shows many servers still aren’t patched. Is yours?

Phishers try flattery with Facebook Page owners – Beware, fanboys and fangirls: phishers are targeting Facebook Page owners with a bogus message supposedly sent from Facebook Security. According to Hoax-Slayer, the scam claims that Facebook is rolling out a new security feature to protect Page owners. This supposed new security feature is dubbed the “Fan Page Verification Program”.

Anatomy of a change – Google announces it will double its SSL key sizes – Google just announced that its secure web pages will be ditching 1024-bit RSA keys in favour of 2048 bits. We look at the lessons to be learned from whats, the whys and the wherefores of this change.

Company News:

Mozilla, Foxconn Teaming Up, Reportedly for Firefox OS Tablet – Mozilla and Foxconn will hold a joint press event in Taipei next Monday, where the firms are rumored to be unveiling a new Firefox OS mobile gadget. Reports about a device from Mozilla and Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai) first emerged this morning in a report from Reuters. The news service said the firms are prepping a Firefox OS-based gadget that will reportedly be a tablet, according to Focus Taiwan.

WordPress Celebrates 10 Years of Blogging – It may be hard to remember, but there was a time before Tumblr, memes, GIFs, and mainstream blogging — back when a LiveJournal account was all it took to earn a seat at the cool-kids table. But that was 2003, when WordPress was the new kid on the block, and iTunes songs still cost only 99 cents. Ten years later, WordPress this week celebrates a decade of blogging with a look at the past and a peak into the future.

Apple settles iPhone water damage lawsuit for $53M – Class-action lawsuit claimed that owners of the early versions of the iPhone and iPod Touch were unfairly denied warranty coverage.

Facebook crafts new policies to better combat hate speech – Facebook is admitting that it can do a better job in removing certain types of hate speech on the site, and is introducing some new policies to improve its track record. The changes also come amid concerns voiced by groups like Women, Action and the Media and the Everyday Sexism Project about hateful and violent content targeting women appearing on Facebook.

Twitter triumphs in spam lawsuit settlement – In its fight to deter spammers, the social network gets tool provider TweetAdder to agree to a strict settlement regarding Twitter’s terms of service.

Webopedia Daily:

DNS – Short for Domain Name System (or Service or Server), an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic, they’re easier to remember. The Internet however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, therefore, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address. For example, the domain name might translate to The DNS system is, in fact, its own network. If one DNS server doesn’t know how to translate a particular domain name, it asks another one, and so on, until the correct IP address is returned.

Games and Entertainment:

Chrome experiment ‘Roll It’ turns your browsers into multiplayer Skee Ball – There are some games that just don’t translate to the digital world very well. Until today, Skee Ball was one of them. Google decided that needed to be fixed, and the new Chrome Experiment, Roll It, is the remedy.

‘Mine of Steel’ expertly puts the new Superman movie in Minecraft form – There are claymation films and stop motions films, but have you ever seriously considered watching a movie rendered in Minecraft‘s iconic blocky designs? What if that movie was the upcoming Man of Steel?

Blizzard reboots Titan next-gen MMO: Reportedly reassigns 70% of team – Bizzard Entertainment has been teasing us about its next-gen MMO, codenamed Titan, since 2007, but a decision to reset the game’s development means we’ll have to wait even longer to play it: potentially 2016 at the very earliest

After 13 years, a new Final Fantasy 9 side quest has been discovered – For such a highly acclaimed piece of playable media released 13 years ago, you’d think players would have found everything hidden across the game’s four discs by now. YouTube user GarlandTheGreat proved that notion wrong, and showed us all that the game still has full-blown side quests hidden beneath the well-crafted story.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Microsoft says social tools help foster productivity, but many disagree – New research released by Microsoft on Tuesday dives into raging debate of whether social tools like Twitter, Microsoft Lync, and Facebook belong in the business realm. Do they enable employees to become more productive, or are they distractions that should be limited in the workplace? The answer, it seems, depends on what country you work in.

IE piggybacks on Everest celebration to showcase new browser tech – Renowned Everest explorer David Breashears teams with Microsoft Internet Explorer to create an immersive site that takes you as close to the tallest mountain in the world as possible without actually being there.

Structure-Aware Hair Capture (video 3:45) – Existing hair capture systems fail to produce strands that reflect the structures of real-world hairstyles. We introduce a system that reconstructs coherent and plausible wisps aware of the underlying hair structures from a set of still images without any special lighting. We show reconstruction results for a variety of complex hairstyles including curly, wispy, and messy hair. (recommended by Michael F.)

PayPal denies teenager reward for finding website bug – A 17-year-old German student contends PayPal has denied him a reward for finding a vulnerability in its website. Robert Kugler said he notified PayPal of the vulnerability on May 19. He said he was informed by email that because he is under 18 years old, he did not qualify for its Bug Bounty Program. He will turn 18 next March.

Cheers! PR2 robot knows where to pour your beer – You know summer’s around the corner when robots are helping you grab a cold one. Now, an anticipatory algorithm is helping them refill your glass when you’re ready for another round.

Researchers capture image of hydrogen atom’s electron orbital for first time – An international team of researchers has managed for the first time to visualize the electron orbital of a hydrogen atom. The image was acquired with a revolutionary new instrument called a quantum microscope, which allows scientists to push the limits of quantum states and observe what was once only theory. It almost goes without saying this is a huge deal.

Today’s Quote:

The one thing more difficult than following a regimen is not imposing it on others.”

–    Marcel Proust

Today’s Free Downloads:

Shrink photos and clear up some hard drive space with JPEGmini – JPEGmini can help you shrink popular JPEG images to almost a fifth of their original size, potentially clearing up to 80 percent of hard drive space.

Skitch for Windows – Skitch is a free app that helps you communicate visually with friends, co-workers, and the world. Annotate images with arrows, shapes, and text. Use Skitch to sketch something new, mark up maps, screen captures, or even a photo. Then save or share your Skitch annotation to help others see and understand your ideas.

Ccleaner – Nowadays, cookies, temporary files, and various other means of tracking your Web footprint are par for the course. Some of these trackers are useful, while others can be potentially intrusive. Thankfully, there are myriad freeware cleaners out there that help keep your system in check. CCleaner is one of the better ones for its ease of use and powerful cleaning capabilities.

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