Monthly Archives: May 2013

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 17, 2013

U.S. attorney general: Government should get a warrant before email, cloud storage snooping – The U.S.’ highest ranking lawyer supports changes to existing email and online storage snooping laws, which are currently under scrutiny in the U.S. House.

Oracle’s Ellison earns $3 a second – The CEO of Oracle, dashing Larry Ellison, earned $96.4 million last year and it’s hard to figure out how he can make ends meet. That’s $11,004 an hour, or if you prefer it, $183.4 a minute, and $3.05 a second.

Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr get social on Google Glass – While Google promotes its Glass head-mounted display as a new way for people to receive and document information on the fly, several social networking companies including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr now want a piece of the action, by offering social applications on the device.

How to Hack Google Glass – Unlock your Google Glass and root it, say two software engineers at Google, who share how to do it. Android developers, get ready to code your apps for Glass!

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Now vs. Siri: Virtual assistants duke it out (video 7:40) – Watch as we pit Siri against Google Now in a live test to find out which one offers the fastest, most accurate, and richest voice command experience.

What my disabled iPod Touch says about Apple customer service – After his iPod Touch became locked until the year 2056, CNET’s David Carnoy sought help. But a trip to his local Apple store Genius Bar only led to more frustration.

Cloud-service contracts and data protection: Unintended consequences – There are things your cloud-service (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Dropbox, etc.) contracts aren’t telling you. Michael P. Kassner interviews an attorney concerned about what’s not being said.

Three methods for transferring files to and from your Android tablet – If your Android tablet doesn’t have a USB port, you can still easily transfer your files to and from a PC. Jack Wallen explains three ways this can be done.

This tablet boots Android, Windows 8 and Ubuntu – If you’re the sort of person who enjoys using multiple operating systems, well, it is probably somewhat difficult for you to choose just one for your tablet. Enter the Ekoore Python S3, which is capable of booting three operating systems: Android, Windows 8 and Ubuntu.

Security:

Apple fixes 41 iTunes security flaws, some more than a year old – Apple released the latest update to iTunes today, version 11.0.3, fixing 41 vulnerabilities in the Windows version and 1 in the OS X version. Many of these flaws are rated critical and we advise you update as soon as possible.

Cyber-Criminals Stole $500 Million in Internet Crime in 2012 – The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 289,874 complaints, or approximately 24,000 complaints a month, in 2012, according to the 2012 Internet Crime Report released this week. Nearly 40 percent of the complaints reported some kind of financial loss, for a grand total of $525,441,110. The average loss for those who claimed a financial impact was $4,573, according to the report. Most of the victims last year were between 40 to 59 years old, accounting for 43 percent of the complaints. The next targeted group was the 20 to 39 year olds, at 39 percent.

iPoker P2P Transfer Suspension Linked to Illicit American Player Ring? – Rumors of Americans playing online poker on international sites via VPN (Virtual Private Network) hookups have increased of late, and there’s new evidence that the iPoker Network’s recent suspension of P2P (player-to-player) transfer capabilities is directly tied to the illicit operation of a ring of anonymous American players participating on the site. (recommended by Michael F.)

Mobile security reality check: What you really need for protecting your phone – To hear the headlines scream it, mobile security is already a lost cause. Android is the king of mobile malware! Umpteen gazillion rogue apps found! THE HACKERS ARE SNOOPING YOUR SNAPCHATS AND SEXTING YOUR GRANDMA! It’s enough to make you want to wrap your phone in tinfoil and cower in a corner somewhere—but don’t believe the hype.

Testing cell networks across America: Phone crime is real – I suppose it isn’t too far away of a concept when a strange looking man (my mother may disagree) pulls up in a sedan and opens a case featuring an assortment of very nice mobile devices that are neatly labeled “AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile.” The fact is, smartphone theft has become a very big issue in the U.S. Numbers are on the rise, and the level of violence around such thefts is rising, too.

Mass Customized Attacks Show Malware Maturity – The malware universe is typically divided into targeted attacks and mass, opportunistic attack, but a middle category–mass customized malware–poses a more serious threat for business

Company News:

Google no-shows: three products missing from I/O – What Google left out of its 3-hour keynote is almost as interesting as what it announced.

The 10 Most Exciting Things Google Announced at I/O – I/O’s 3-hour keynote included several announcements that caught our attention.

Google could land up in the Tower of London – A committee of the House of Commons summoned a Google executive to give testimony again today and raised the possibility that the corporation might find itself in contempt of parliament.

LinkedIn Bans Prostitutes, Escorts – Who’da thunk that the Web would begin turning away prostitutes? But that’s exactly what professional business network LinkedIn has done with a recent update to its user agreement terms.

Al Gore and Bono invest in Biz Stone’s mystery startup – The Twitter co-founder’s new company, Jelly, closes its first round of funding with a celebrity-studded group of investors, including tech notables like Jack Dorsey, Reid Hoffman and Evan Williams.

Webopedia Daily:

Dorkbot – A family of malware worms that typically spreads through instant messaging, USB removable drives, websites or social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Downloading and installing Dorkbot malware results in it opening a backdoor on infected computers, allowing for remote access and potentially turning the computer into a botnet. The Dorkbot worm gained publicity in late 2011 for an attack on Facebook’s chat system, with users receiving a message with a bogus link that appeared to come from one of their Facebook friends. A similar Dorkbot worm appeared later in the same year, this time preying on Twitter users.

Games and Entertainment:

VRcade aims to be the world’s first virtual reality arcade – Described as the “first Virtual Reality Arcade for the 21st century,” VRcade will essentially be a big, indoor space lined with optical motion-capture cameras. It’s not open yet, but the VRcade team has constructed a facility of sorts in Seattle, Washington—a prototype for the finished VRcade. It will have sections dedicated to other activities, but all of the gaming will take place in an area known as The Grid.

Angry Birds Rio Flies to Windows Phone – Another classic Angry Birds title arrived for Windows Phone today – Angry Birds Rio. In this edition, which ties into the 2011 film Rio, the original feathered creatures are captured and sent off to Rio de Janeiro. But they break out and wreak havoc on their captors and cages before setting out to rescue friends Blu and Jewel.

Steam players can now earn coupons for new games by playing old ones – Steam will release a new beta feature within its service called Steam Trading Cards according to an announcement from the company. The trading cards integrate with a handful of Valve titles at launch, and players that collect the cards will be able to use them to earn coupons as well as profile backgrounds and other items to augment their Steam experience.

How Google’s game services API will convince devs to make better games – As of its launch there are about 20 games that utilize the service, though only five were highlighted at the Google I/O keynote. They feature functionality like cloud save, which let users save their level progression and game state across different Play-compatible devices.

Using science to reform toxic player behavior in League of Legends – Riot Games founders and League of Legends creators Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill have encountered bad behavior in massively multiplayer online games since the days of Ultima Online and EverQuest.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Google Glass as congressional catnip: That didn’t take long – A new technology offers Congress a new opportunity to preen for the cameras. Let’s stipulate for the record that Congress has every right to ask questions of private industry as it works on the nation’s behalf. I remember reading something to that effect when I was studying social studies once upon a time. Then you have this: A public letter sent to Google CEO Larry Page by eight members of Congress inquiring “whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American.” News flash: Congress has discovered the 21st century.

Dear Larry Page: Negativity is not always a bad thing – One message that Larry Page dished out at the Google I/O keynote address dealt with negativity in the tech world. My response to Page is that’s not always a bad thing.

Original Star Trek tech: What has (and hasn’t) panned out – As we near the release of the franchise’s latest big-screen offering, Star Trek Into Darkness, it’s a good time to take a look back at which of the fanciful technologies from the original 1966 series have basically become real (or are on the cusp of becoming real). Following are some examples of Shatner-era Star Trek tech that are just about here now.

A Grizzly Ate My GoPro!!! GoPro HD (video 4:13) – When using a GoPro to capture unusually close footage of grizzly bears for the Great Bear Stakeout for BBC, I had a young bear actually chew on the camera. Amazingly there was no damage to the camera! Some of this clip appears in the film Great Bear Stakeoout on BBC and Discovery Channel. (suggested by Michael F.)

Over 200 asteroids strike Mars each year (the poor thing!) – According to NASA, the red planets gets impacted by over 200 small asteroids or bits of comets every year, most of which leave craters at least 3.9 meters in width. Scientists have so far found 248 new impact sites on Mars in the last 10 years, thanks to NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.

Google Recruits Divers, Developers for Underwater Street View – Strap on a scuba tank and start snapping underwater pictures with your Android phone to help save the world’s vanishing coral reefs.

Blogger writes about predatory publishing, is threatened with $1B suit – Citing India law, firm informs Jeffrey Beall he could face up to three years too.

Today’s Quote:

“You will have no sensation of a leash around your neck if you sit by the peg. It is only when you stray that you feel the restraining tug.”

–     Michael Parenti

Today’s Free Downloads:

Advanced SystemCare Free – Advanced SystemCare 6 is a comprehensive PC care utility that takes a one-click approach to help protect, repair and optimize your computer. It cleans, repairs and makes your PC run like a brand new one.

PrivaZer 1.10.0 – With PrivaZer you can master your security and freedom, free up disk space and keep your PC fit and secure.

Skype for Android 3.2.0.6673 – Skype for Android lets you make free voice and video Skype-to-Skype calls, and call phones and landlines at great Skype rates on the move. Video calling now supported on more Android phones.

A note to regular readers – As of now, this column will no longer appear on the weekends.

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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:

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 1.2.0.11 – 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.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 15, 2013

Speed Up PC Performance by Replacing Microsoft’s Built-In Antivirus – AV Comparatives researchers found that about a third of the products tested impacted performance less than MSE alone, so replacing your default antivirus with one of these would actually speed up your computer! Read our story to find out which.

Researcher refuses to help Saudi telco to spy on people – You would think that a Saudi Arabian telecom firm interested in monitoring its users’ mobile communications would not be asking a well-known pro-privacy researcher such as Moxie Marlinspike for help, but you would be wrong.

Windows Blue snags official name, pre-holiday release – Tami Reller, the top Windows marketing and financial exec, tells a J.P. Morgan conference that Windows 8.1 will be free and available later this year.

8 apps you need for summer travel plans (pictures) – From picking your flights and packing your bags to airport layouts and chronicling your adventures, we’ve got you covered.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

First California lawsuit over mobile privacy issues crashes – Court rules that federal airline laws preempt state statutes in suit seeking to force Delta Air Lines to notify mobile app users about data collection plans.

Creep bugs woman with drone – In Capitol Hill Seattle’s complaints blog, a woman has reported a stranger flying a drone near her house and refusing to leave.

Nine Ways to Stretch Your Battery To The Max – We all love our smartphones, and rely on them for a lot of daily tasks. But we’re all left with the same frustration when they run out of power in the middle of an important call or while watching a video. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to extend the life of your battery. Here are nine of the best.

75 PC-Building Tips – These can’t-miss tips will ease your next PC build.

Busting digital piracy myths – The results of a large-scale, analysis of BitTorrent file-sharing of computer games, focusing on using open methodologies are to be published in the International Journal of Advanced Media and Communication and bust some of the common myths about digital piracy.

The right way and wrong way to use Twitter – Tweeting is a great way to share thoughts and information with friends and followers, as long as you stay safe, keep it civil, and most importantly, be interesting.

Five lesser-known web browsers worth trying – Not all web browsers are created equal, but obscurity does not mean they are not worth your attention.

Adaptive learning application lets parents track what kids have learned – A new feature released Tuesday from children’s app maker Kidaptive lets parents track the progress of what their children are learning inside the company’s first story and game application.

The Best Computer Tips and Tricks – Want to dramatically improve your computing experience? Our 142 quick PC fixes will help you work and play simpler, faster, and safer.

Home networking Part 7: Power line connections explained – CNET editor Dong Ngo explains home power line networking and answers frequently asked questions about the technology.

Your Twitter account: A recruiter’s perspective – What do recruiters look for in your tweets? We asked an experienced recruiter, and here’s what he said.

Pinterest is making it too easy to spend all your time on Pinterest – The online bulletin board has quickly responded to requests—and the inevitable complaints—from regular users since its Web and mobile redesigns rolled out earlier this spring. Now Pinterest is tweaking its mobile apps to incorporate features that users asked for.

Security:

Outbreak! Fake Amazon UK emails spammed out, delivering malware – Although there has been increased talk recently on drive-by-downloads and compromised websites being used to deliver malware, it’s worth remembering that email-based malware is far from dead.

Internet Explorer best at blocking malware – While Chrome’s malware download protection improved significantly – rising to more than 83% from 70% in NSS’ October 2012 comparative test – Internet Explorer 10 continues to outperform the other browsers with a block rate of 99.96%. Safari, Firefox and Opera continue to lag far behind Chrome and Internet Explorer with overall block rates of 10.16%, 9.92% and 1.87% respectively.

Windows Malware Techniques Spread to Android – Because its use is so widespread, Windows is an extremely popular target for malware writers. They hone and tune attack techniques and work hard to innovate new sorts of attacks. Android’s growing popularity is making it a similar target.

Mozilla pushes out new Firefox and Thunderbird: 8 security advisories, 3 critical fixes – Not to be outdone by Microsoft and Adobe’s Patch Tuesday releases, Mozilla pushed out its latest browser and email client updates today. There are no bated-breath patches for in-the-wild exploits, but 3 of the 8 security fixes are deemed “critical”.

McAfee Bets on Biometrics With LiveSafe Cloud Security Suite – McAfee is banking on biometric security as the future of authentication, where users rely on voice and facial recognition technology to access their laptops, desktops,

Belkin releases secure switch for government agencies – Belkin released its Advanced Secure KM Switch and its Advanced 8 & 16-port Secure DVI-I KVM Switches. Both product sets are designed for government agencies and financial markets that need to safely isolate networks and connected systems.

Bloomberg accused of “snooping” on customers for journalistic gain – A brouhaha is brewing after claims late last week that financial media giant Bloomberg had been using its proprietary data terminals to snoop on its customers.

Human sensors: How encouraging user reporting strengthens security – Despite the pervasiveness of cyber-attacks threatening the enterprise security today, many organizations are still not taking advantage of their most widely deployed security asset: people.

Company News:

Lawsuit claims Apple sold iPhone 4 with bad on-off button – The tech giant is slapped with a lawsuit, which alleges it knowingly sold iPhone 4 smartphones with power buttons that broke shortly after the 1-year warranty expired.

DOJ: Apple colluded with publishers to raise e-book prices – A new document filed in the e-book price-fixing suit accuses Apple of conspiring to hike prices, but the tech giant denies these claims, saying it was actually partaking in constant one-on-one negotiations.

BlackBerry CEO: BBM to be released as a free app on iOS and Android this summer – If you can’t beat ‘em, develop for ‘em. BlackBerry will bring its popular BlackBerry Messenger software to both iOS and Android devices.

Google close to launching streaming music service – Google has now signed on the three major labels as it gears up to unveil a Spotify rival.

Larry Page Diagnosed With Vocal Cord Paralysis – Page said the ailment will not affect his ability to lead the search giant.

Rovio Releasing Third-Party Games – This is the first time Rovio will release games that were not developed in-house.

Google loses case in Germany over autocomplete search suggestions – The company will not have to remove autocomplete in Germany, but it must evaluate potential defamation claims when they are brought to its attention.

Webopedia Daily:

Kernel – The central module of an operating system. It is the part of the operating system that loads first, and it remains in main memory. Because it stays in memory, it is important for the kernel to be as small as possible while still providing all the essential services required by other parts of the operating system and applications. Typically, the kernel is responsible for memory management, process and task management, and disk management.

Games and Entertainment:

Watch this crazy beautiful short film about an astronaut crashing on a hostile planet – In space, there is no AAA. So, if your spaceship sputters out, that’s sort of it. That’s the premise of the visually striking experimental short film, Grounded. I think?

Nvidia’s Shield gaming handheld launches in June for $349 – Shield takes the form of a console game controller with a 5-inch, pop-up screen that can display images at a 720p (1280 x 720 pixel) resolution. It runs on Nvidia’s latest Tegra 4 chip, which has four CPU cores and 72 graphics cores to support a maximum resolution of 3200 x 2000 pixels, so games can be played at full HD on an attached TV.

It is a good day to Bing: Microsoft adds Klingon support – Don’t know what that means? Don’t fret. Microsoft and its search engine Bing have you covered. The company announced this week that it’s adding Klingon to the languages available at Bing Translator on the Web and in its Windows Phone 8 app.

Video streaming is on the rise with Netflix dominating – With 32.3 percent of the market share, Netflix reigns the entertainment streaming world, but Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube still maintain their piece of the pie.

Google Easter Egg Turns Image Search Results Into Breakout Game – Google’s latest playable Easter egg stirs up nostalgia by commemorating 37 years of Atari’s Breakout.

An X-Files reunion – It’s one of those things that make you feel old, but we were just reminded that The X-Files is now twenty years old. It’s often very hard to make genre work on TV, but sci-fi usually does better than horror, and The X-Files crossed over to all kinds of viewers, becoming a pop culture phenomenon.

Off Topic (Sort of):

10 Cool Things Chris Hadfield Taught Us to Do While in Space – Chris Hadfield, on behalf of my comrades here on Earth, we salute your return to terra firma.

U.S. carriers line up against texting while driving – The major U.S. mobile operators are all putting their weight behind a campaign against texting while driving that will include a blitz of advertising and a driving simulator touring the country this summer.

Study: More Teens Killed Texting While Driving than by Drunk Driving – Chilling new research suggests that texting while driving has become the number one cause of death amongst teenagers behind the wheel, surpassing drunk driving for the first time.

U.S. residents oppose Internet sales tax, say they’ll shop online less – More than six in 10 people answering a survey oppose legislation that passed in the Senate.

Microsoft takes the offensive against Google, and it’s about time – Google was once a humble startup with a big dream—to be the David that takes down Microsoft’s Goliath. Google has become a tech force to be reckoned with, challenging Microsoft in almost every area including Web search, browsers, email, operating systems, productivity software and mobile platforms. Over time, it has chipped away at Microsoft’s market share.

Interstellar Memes – If other other star systems are listening in to our pop culture, these are the jokes and catchphrases they are repeatinf way too much. (suggested by Michael F.)

Meme Me Up, Scotty – Many of the memes that populate the Internet’s consciousness involve Star Trek. We discovered nine of the best and strangest.

Gmail at Nine: The Evolution of an Essential Web Service – I recently chatted with Alex Gawley, the service’s product manager, about Gmail’s first nine years — and a little bit about where it might be going.

Today’s Quote:

Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.”

A. J. Liebling

Today’s Free Downloads:

FirefoxDownloadsView – This utility displays the list of the latest files that you downloaded with Firefox.

BrowsingHistoryView – BrowsingHistoryView is a handy and reliable application designed to view your browsing history from multiple browsers at once.

Cain and Abel 4.9.45 – Allows easy recovery of various kind of passwords by sniffing the network, cracking encrypted passwords and more.

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Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

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 Clea.nr Videos – Avoid going down the YouTube vortex by installing the Clea.nr 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.

Security:

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

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Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 13, 2013

Gingrich to world: Rename the cell phone – It’s time this country addressed the real issues. Things cannot go on the way they are and cometh the hour, cometh the man. That man is Newt Gingrich. No, the great Republican doesn’t want to impeach the President, repeal Obamacare and institute conscription for everyone aged 15 and older. Instead, he believes that for America to progress we need to call the cell phone something else. Please, this is serious.

Windows 8 Mega-Guide! 50 Insider Tips – Confused by Charms? Tiles got you riled? Our Windows 8 help guide will make you an app-clicking, screen-swiping expert in no time.

50 Essential Windows 7 Tips, Tweaks, and Secrets – Make the new Windows work for you with our mega-guide of essential shortcuts and secrets.

Facebook makes break-ups harder to take, study says – There is a certain torture that social networking brings, a University of California, Santa Cruz study finds. Many find it difficult to delete digital memories.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The 25 Best Free Windows Store Apps – Free apps for Windows 8 and RT PCs and tablets are popping up all over Microsoft’s new Windows Store. Check out our 25 must-haves.

MedRef for Glass adds face-recognition to Google’s wearable – If there’s one thing people keep asking from Google Glass and other augmented reality headsets, it’s facial-recognition to bypass those “who am I talking to again?” moments. The first implementation of something along those lines for Google’s wearable has been revealed, MedRef for Glass, a hospital management app by NeatoCode Techniques which can attach patient photos to individual health records and then later recognize them based on face-matching.

Windows Blue: Undoing a Mistake is Never a Mistake – I was confused by Microsoft’s decision to remove the Start button from Windows 8, and make it impossible to boot directly to the classic Windows desktop. But I’m equally confused by the notion that there’s any downside to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Blue undoing those bold-but-bad decisions, as it now seems likely it may.

10 reasons why Canonical and Ubuntu will connect the masses with Linux – Could Canonical and Ubuntu give Linux a chance to gain widespread acceptance? Here are 10 reasons why it might play out that way.

13 Essential Steps: Set Up Your New PC – Just got a new laptop or desktop? Don’t check Facebook yet! Here’s what to do first.

Security:

Microsoft warns of new Trojan hijacking Facebook accounts – Malware focusing on the social network’s users in Brazil masquerades as a legitimate Google Chrome extension and Firefox add-on.

Car and electronics shoppers at risk of escrow fraud – Criminals are increasingly taking advantage of the spread of legitimate escrow websites that mediate between buyers and sellers to set up fake sites. Scammers generally pose as sellers on authentic auction websites, then direct buyers to a fake escrow service the seller controls. It’s a tale as old as time – the scammer takes the money and never delivers the goods.

No money mule, no problem: Recruitment website kits for sale – The package includes a backend administration system, web site template, spam email templates, mule correspondence templates and more. The entire package is preconfigured for a fake brokerage company that is searching for “talented people to join our team of professionals.” Our investigation uncovered a map of the company’s headquarters, which is conveniently located in the Moscow University campus.

Cloud project risks: Five questions the board should ask before saying yes – In a period when individual departments are just going out and buying software services – with or without IT’s blessing – international risk association ISACA thinks it’s time the board kept all cloud initiatives on a tighter rein.The body has just issued new guidance on the risks and governance of the cloud, in the form of five questions that boards should pose management teams

Biometric security tested by UK bank using vocal passwords – Barclays Wealth & Investment Management is using Nuance’s FreeSpeech voice biometrics solution to automatically confirm and identify customers, instead of using security questions that rely on the customer’s ability to remember a number of different details.

Can mobile devices be more secure than PCs? – Mobile devices continue to fight an inaccurate perception that they’re not as secure as traditional PCs. Entrust believes that mobile devices, when properly managed and protected, can be a highly secure platform for digital identities and online transactions. Despite the growing reliance on mobility, IT decision-makers still incorrectly believe traditional PCs are more secure than mobile devices. Of those who responded, some 71 percent either somewhat or strongly agreed that desktops/laptops are secure, as opposed to 43 percent that said mobile devices are secure.

Company News:

Apple’s ‘iRadio’ Streaming Service Reportedly Stalls with Sony Music – Sony Music is allegedly the final holdout of the “big three” record labels that Apple needs in order to get its streaming service off the ground

Windows RT already needs an overhaul, analysts advise – One of Microsoft’s top Windows executives this week said the company remains bullish about Windows RT and has no intention of dumping the limited-feature, touch-enabled tablet operating system. Analysts accepted that at face value, but remain suspicious of Windows RT’s chances unless Microsoft makes dramatic changes, including dropping the price of the licenses it sells to OEMs.

Apple Rumored to be Enhancing AppleCare – Nothing’s set in stone yet; however, the changes are said to have been discussed in an Apple town hall session this past Thursday between the company’s tech staff and Apple Vice President Tara Bunch. That’s according to an unnamed Apple employee who spilled the beans to AppleInsider – so take the news with whatever grain of salt you feel befits Apple rumormongering.

Webopedia Daily:

133t speak – Slang used by hackers and by gamers on multiplayer game servers and in chatrooms. 133t is the slang word for “leet” which is short for elite, meaning the best. 133t speak usually consists of numbers replacing vowels in words (example: A=0, E=3), but occasionally the numbers will replace a consonant. It cannot really be spoken or handwritten — as such it is considered to be an Internet language dependent on a keyboard.

Games and Entertainment:

‘Google Play Games’ leaks ahead of I/O signaling new social features – Plenty of games are already available for Android devices through Google Play. But just ahead of Google I/O, a leaked APK indicates that they’re all about to get a lot more social.

ABC will reportedly launch TV streaming app this week – App will allow TV viewers in New York and Philadelphia to watch live streams on their iPhones and iPads, The New York Times reports.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Bill Gates: Steve Jobs was better at design than I was – In an emotional interview on “60 Minutes”, the Microsoft chairman speaks of visiting Steve Jobs in his last days and marveling at how well he understood the concept of brand.

Slaves to the algorithm – Computers could take some tough decisions out of our hands, if we let them. Is there still a place for human judgement? (recommended by Michael F.)

After teen is shot, mom allegedly goes first to WebMD – After her 14-year-old son was shot, a mom goes to WebMD and searches “gunshot wounds” to try to solve the problem, police say. It is seven hours before she takes him to hospital.

Chris Hadfield sings Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ in ISS farewell – In one of the coolest zero-g cover songs ever recorded, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield does a heartfelt rendition of David Bowie’s classic before returning to Earth.

UK student builds his own telepresence ‘Sheldonbot’ – A student at the University of Central Lancashire has created a telepresence robot that mimics human behavior. Known as MAKIIS, the robot is inspired by the Sheldonbot from U.S. comedy “The Big Bang Theory.” Moving on wheels and projecting a live video of the user’s face via an iPad, MAKIIS can allow an office worker in London to chat with a colleague in Paris as if they were in the same room.

Today’s Quote:

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”

–     Mark Twain

Today’s Free Downloads:

Database .NET 8.4.4881 – Database .NET is an innovative, powerful and intuitive multiple database management tool.

xpy 1.3.5 – xpy is a small program which will disable the default threats of your Windows XP installation.

Listen N Write 1.12.0.7 – Listen N Write can be used to play and transcribe ordinary WAV or MP3 recordings.

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Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

The Suitcase Internet – The Internet Free Of Government Control (Updated)

imageOver the past few years, as I’ve compiled the Daly Net News column here, it became obvious that many of the major tech sites retitle and repost previously published articles. I’m not suggesting that this is a bad thing. In fact, it can often be a very good thing.

A particularly good case can be made for the reposting of information designed to educate computer users relative to system and Internet security, for example. So too, with data that addresses issues surrounding the ever evolving threats from governments designed to curb both privacy and freedom of expression, on the Internet.

The threats to twist and bend our civil liberties into unrecognizable shapes, hardly stop there of course. Still, I’m ever hopeful that we (assuming the average person finds the courage), will force governments to park the fascism bus and address the real needs of real people.

At one time, my programed response to the latest and greatest government threat would be to jump up and down like a lunatic (I keep this posture in reserve for those important moments in life). More seriously though, I’ve learned to handle the ever increasing bizarreness that’s coming out of the mouths of politicians, who seem intent on reducing me to a character in Orwell’s, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

I simply reaffirmed my view that no matter the technology that’s developed to attempt to “control” us – a techno solution will always be found that will reverse the field. A pipe dream? Maybe – but, I don’t think so.

It may well be that many of you have read the following article, originally posted here early last year – but, a little repetition when it concerns an issue that impacts us all at such a fundamental level, seems appropriate.

The Suitcase Internet – The Internet Free Of Government Control

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself………….. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it.”

H. L. MenckenDecember 1919

Despite the fact that Mencken wrote those words almost 100 years ago – he might well have been describing current views held by “the man who is able to think things out for himself.” – Generally, governments are increasingly being seen as dishonest, and corrupt.

In recent years, particularly through events loosely termed “The Arab Spring”,   we’ve been witness to the inevitable clash between those who’s views run counter to the status quo (the thinking man), who stood in defiance of corrupt governments who’s very existence relied on violating the most basic tenets of human rights. Dishonest, insane and intolerable governments.

The Internet played some role, in broadcasting the desperate voices of those engaged in violent encounters against regimes who were intent on eliminating those who fought for the right to condemn the repugnant conditions of their existence. How much of a role, is the subject of continuing discussion.

At the height of those conflicts, countermeasures taken by these repressive regimes included, cutting off access to the Internet in an attempt to slam the door on the free flow of information. Information which, to some extent, ultimately led to the “the people”overthrowing unsustainable governments in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.

There are of course, an accumulation of lessons learned (and, still to be learned), by the successful outcomes of the Arab Spring. One rather obvious lesson it seems to me is – those who cherish the right to freedom of expression, and the right to have those views disseminated, will continue on a collision course with the undercurrent of repression circling the Globe.

Attempts are now underway, in Canada, the US and the UK, to limit, by way of regulatory controls (repression by any other name), the rights and freedoms we’ve come to expect when connected to the Internet.

Controls which effectively reduce, or in some cases, obliterate freedom of choice. Controls which could conceivably be used to slam the door on the free exchange of ideas, and political dissent. In a word – censorship.

It might surprise you to learn just how much Internet censorship is already in place world wide. The following graphic from Wikipedia is illuminating.

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The graphic is based on 2009 data. You can bet that the situation has not improved.

It’s a fantasy, in my view, to believe that governments will learn to self regulate their persistent push to impose restrictions on how users travel the Internet. That, they will take the high road – based on an understanding that there is an undercurrent of hostility to interference with what many Internet users now believe is a basic human right. The right to surf the Internet without obstruction.

Instead, it’s much more likely that we will see a progression toward increased censorship and surveillance. Governments just never seem to “get it” – that there’s always a point beyond which people will push back. And, there are those who are pushing back against government Internet control – in a technical manner.

A recent article in Scientific American Magazine – Internet Freedom Fighters Build a Shadow Web – describes one such “push back”. (I’m sorry to report that this article is now a fee article at Scientific American Magazine. Rats!)

“Governments and corporations have more control over the Internet than ever. Now digital activists want to build an alternative network that can never be blocked, filtered or shut down.”

I’m neither a romantic (as Mencken suggest one might need to be to effect change), nor do I have a Don Quixote complex – but, I’m convinced, that in order to safeguard freedom of though and expression, the  transmission of information without government interference and restriction – then, the creation of a  decentralized mesh network (as described in the Scientific American article), that can’t be blocked, filtered, or silenced, is in our best interest.

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Filed under Opinion, Point of View

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.

Security:

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.

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My Phantom Followers – Who Are These People?

There are any number of ways to measure success for those of us who write for the Internet. The number of daily readers seems to be the key criteria most often used as a yardstick.   *

One would expect, that the addition of a substantial number of “followers” (the number of readers following blog posts and post comments), should impact a site’s number of daily reads/visits – in a positive way. I suspect that WordPress had that outcome in mind when, a year or so ago, it introduced a meshed WordPress follow system.

Ostensibly, there are some 8,000+ followers here – at least according to WordPress. And typically, this number bumps up at the rate of 10/12 daily.

Graphic: A slice of the Dash Board from today.

image

So happy days, yeah? Maybe not.

The quandary:

Despite the exposure which one would expect should be gained by an additional 8,000+ followers – the number of daily readers here has gone down and, continues on this downward trend. A curious state of affairs, no?

This is a quick post simply to fill in some blank time (a rare commodity around here) – so, I won’t get into the mathematics of this puzzler. Suffice it to say (for the moment), that something stinks here. The real stinker is – are these people real, imaginary, spammers/scammers – or, the real McCoy  – a cybercriminal?

It’s illogical, at least to me, that a significant number of individuals would take the time to subscribe to a site and then, the majority mysteriously vanish – in most cases never to be heard from again. It’s kind of like throwing a party and nobody shows up.   Smile

I should point out that most new followers seem to have a WordPress connection – a blog, or a Gravatar. So, what’s underway here? What’s the scheme – or, is there one?

I’m more curious about this than I am confused. There’s not much to be confused about in terms of the mechanics. But, I’m more than a little confused at the lack of repeat visits from 8,000+ followers.

As Butch Cassidy remarked to the Sundance Kid, as they focused on their pursuers from a cliff top – “Who ARE these people”?

Me? I’m asking the same question.

Update: May 11, 2013.

Good friend (and very smart fellow) Michael Fisher, was kind enough to pass on the following link to an article – Beware the Followers Made of Spam – which proves beyond doubt, that this follower thing is not what it seems. It’s simply a new type of spam. The author has crafted a very funny article and still manages to make his point very cleverly. A highly recommended read.

Thanks Michael.

A quick outtake on numbers:    *

Numbers? Followers? It may surprise you to know that I have little or no interest, in either one. Numbers or followers, don’t make me a better IT professional. My self-esteem is not impacted by activity, or the lack of activity, on this site. I write here because it’s fun – as it should be.

You’ll not be surprised to know, I’m sure, that the pack that I hang with on the Net (almost all bloggers), hold a similar view. Despite a seemingly lack of concern for numbers, these bloggers run some of the most successful one person sites on the Web.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 11, 2013

The Pirate Bay now offering banned 3D-printed gun files – The State Department has successfully demanded the removal of the files from Defcad. The Pirate Bay has picked up the slack.

Windows Blue Preview Coming Next Month – We’ve heard a lot about Microsoft’s next move for Windows, including a possible return of the Start button and the addition of more core functions to the operating system’s modern side. Now, Microsoft is promising to reveal a lot more next month, when it’ll release a preview of the software, codenamed Windows Blue. In a blog post, Microsoft’s Julie Larson-Green says the preview will arrive in late June, timed with the company’s Build conference:

Tiny Tech 2: Tools for travellers – Tired of lugging large tech accessories? Compact your carry-arounds.

Apple deluged by police demands to decrypt iPhones – ATF says no law enforcement agency could unlock a defendant’s iPhone, but Apple can “bypass the security software” if it chooses. Apple has created a police waiting list because of high demand.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Drive documents list goes empty for users – A problem wiped out the list of documents for many people using Google’s online tools for word processing and spreadsheets. The data remained intact, though, and Google said the problem is fixed.

Comment on Facebook Directly From Bing – The Microsoft search engine has more tightly integrated with Facebook to let users interact with friends’ posts directly from the right-hand social sidebar.

Free services make Gmail, Google Drive, Google search more private – Sendinc encrypts mail sent via a Gmail, Outlook, or other account; BoxCryptor encrypts Google Drive, SkyDrive, DropBox, and other cloud storage; and Startpage serves up Google search results without recording your IP address or otherwise tracking you.

How to undo accidental browser zoom – Earlier today my dad called the Hassle-Free Hotline (also known as my home phone number). The poor guy seems to encounter more than his fair share of inadvertent computer problems. For example, somehow, while using his laptop’s touchpad, he’d made everything in his browser bigger. Consequently, he had to scroll pages left and right, not just up and down.

Firefox OS on the Geeksphone Keon – What does a smartphone based on the Firefox browser look like? Here’s one ultracheap handset that paves the way for Firefox phones.

City of Boston drops Microsoft Exchange for Gmail – It’s another win for Google — Boston city employees make the switch to some of the search giant’s business services.

Hangtime: a Better Way to Find Facebook Events – An iPhone app aims to make it a whole lot easier to find things to do among millions of listings from Facebook and elsewhere.

Finally, a Huggies Device that Lets Babies Tweet When They Pee – This is important: a device that attaches to your baby’s derriere, then relays Twitter-like alerts to your smartphone to let you know when it’s time for a diaper change.

Security:

Hijacking Facebook accounts via expired Hotmail accounts – Three researchers from Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, have discovered a simple way to hijack Facebook accounts by just by misusing existing features and responses of Facebook, Microsoft’s Hotmail web-based email service and its Windows Live Messenger. The limitations of this attack is that attackers cannot target a specific user – they have to take what they can get. They also have to start from their own friends. Still, this does not matter much to spammers and scammers, who don’t care what account they compromise.

Hackers breached Washington state court with Adobe ColdFusion flaw – Hackers used a flaw in Adobe’s ColdFusion software to breach Washington state’s Administrative Office of the Courts. The hackers may have accessed as many as 160,000 Social Security numbers and up to one million drivers license numbers, according to a statement by the court on Thursday.

Academic institutions urged to take steps to prevent DNS amplification attacks – Colleges and universities are being encouraged to scrutinize their systems to keep them from being hijacked in DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks. The Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC) advised academic institutions this week to review their DNS (Domain Name System) and network configurations in order to prevent their systems from being abused to amplify DDoS attacks.

May’s Patch Tuesday to fix two critical flaws in Internet Explorer – This coming Tuesday, Microsoft will issue fixes for 33 vulnerabilities in total, including two critical flaws relating to Internet Explorer, affecting all versions of Windows.

India has a new National Cyber Security Policy – The Indian government has approved the proposed National Cyber Security Policy, which is aimed at creating a “secure computing environment and adequate trust and confidence in electronic transactions”. The policy is not aimed only at government entities and big business, but at home users as well.

Dangerous Android Apps This Week – Security companies regularly warn about the perils of malicious mobile apps lurking in app stores pretending to be legitimate apps. SecurityWatch is partnering with a handful of security companies who monitor apps on Google Play and third-party marketplaces to identify malicious apps you should not have on your Android device.

The Onion Peels Back Layers of Syrian Electronic Army Twitter Hack – On Wednesday, the parody news outlet took an atypical moment to very seriously explain how the hacktivists weaseled their way into the company’s digital confines. “In summary, they phished Onion employees’ Google Apps accounts via 3 separate methods,” the site’s tech team posted in a May 8 blog post.

Company News:

Physical Google Wallet is dust – Google is planning to revamp its Google Wallet digital payments platform at Google I/O. However, it seems plans for a physical credit card have been shelved, at least for the time being.

Backlash rises against Adobe’s subscription-only Creative Suite plan – A petition on Change.org demanding that Adobe back away from its subscription-only model for its creativity software, including Photoshop, has collected over 4400 signatures by late Thursday. And those thousands of customers were unhappy at Adobe for pushing them toward subscriptions. Very unhappy. “Paying Adobe rent for the rest of my life is absurd,” said Nick Scott, who left a comment on the petition’s page. “I’ll definitely be looking elsewhere next time I need to upgrade.”

BitTorrent to monetize its file-distribution platform – The new BitTorrent Bundle builds a store within a torrent to enable content producers to charge for files or collect user information.

Report: Microsoft Prepping Streaming Set-Top Box – Citing inside sources familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft has been working on a set-top box that would ditch the Xbox’s gaming features and focus solely on streaming video content into consumer’s homes.

Twitter Buys Scalable Computing Company Ubalo – Twitter has acquired Palo Alto, Calif.-based scalable computing startup Ubalo, the companies announced on Friday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Acer PC sales slump – Acer seems to be getting the worst of the PC slump. Friday the company reported its April sales plunged 18.8 percent from a year ago, Reuters reports.

Webopedia Daily:

Internet marketing – Internet marketing, or online marketing, refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and e-mail to drive direct sales via e-commerce as well as sales leads from Web sites or emails. Internet marketing and online advertising efforts are typically used in conjunction with traditional types of advertising like radio, television, newspapers and magazines.

Games and Entertainment:

Half-Life 2 is now playable on Linux and gets official Oculus Rift support – If you are one of the lucky few who got their hands on an Oculus Rift and/or you run your PC on Linux rather than Windows, there’s two lots of good news today.

Ace Patrol is a shining beacon of what iOS games should be – Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol sets itself apart from the rest of the phone gaming scene by managing to be a phone game you opt to play over more robust PC or console games.

The Ultimate Star Trek Poll: The Captains, Cool Tech, and More – As we prepare for Star Trek Into Darkness, we want to know what you consider the most beloved aspects of the Trek franchise going back almost 50 years. Let your voice be heard!

Games edited into movies: The 10 best video game films – The ten best video game-to-movie adaptations on YouTube. Our picks include MGS4, AC3, SC2HotS and other acronyms.

YouTube launches subscription service with 53 channels – It’s been teased, hinted, and all but demanded for over a year now. Subscription-based content has come to YouTube in a big way, and it looks great.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Apple iPads could be bad for your heart – Apple fanboys, with heart conditions, who take their iPads to bed with them, could find that their next rounded rectangle is a coffin.

Google: Mobile Web sites 30% faster this year – Pages load much faster on smartphones and tablets now compared to last year, as measured by the Google Analytics service.

7 cool consumer technologies coming soon to a cubicle near you – Move over, tablets and phones. Here are seven user technologies heading for the enterprise.

The 10 most important milestones in Web browser history – Far more than the blank slate it appears to be, a Web browser is ridiculously sophisticated and entirely capable of morphing the code-crazed reality of the Internet into the Matrix-like façade we now can’t live without. But how did we get where we are today? We thought you’d never ask.

Bill Gates and learning from Leonardo da Vinci – What inspires a billionaire? In the case of Bill Gates, it’s a 500-year-old manuscript penned by Italian genius Leonardo da Vinci. And at $30.8 million, it was probably a bargain to the Microsoft founder, who considers it a priceless symbol of knowledge. Charlie Rose talks to Gates about the historic document — the world’s most valuable — for a 60 Minutes story to be broadcast Sunday, May 12, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Desktop Othermill carves out circuit boards, jewelry – This successful Kickstarter project lets you make anything from printed circuits to brass earrings and molds for precision parts.

Today’s Quote:

There are two ways to slide easily through life; to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.”

–     Alfred Korzybski

Today’s Free Downloads:

CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor 9.8 – The CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor is a full-featured web design system. With built-in FTP uploading, wizards for tables, frames, fonts, and more, support for HTML5 and CSS3, and 100% valid code output.

MediaHuman Audio Converter 1.8.9 – MediaHuman Audio Converter is a freeware application that helps you to convert your music absolutely free in WMA, MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC, OGG, AIFF or Apple Loseless format. This software was designed especially to simplify as much as possible the process of audio conversion. At the same time, it gives you an opportunity to adapt it to your needs. That’s why the user interface is simple, intuitive and very easy to understand. It doesn’t contain anything superfluous

EverNote – Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 10, 2013

10 great technologies to secretly install on Mom’s PC – Mom kept you safe and happy when you were a kid, and now you can do the same for her—or at least her PC.

Test Your Security IQ – Your security software says it offers “antivirus” protection, but in reality it protects against many other kinds of malware. See if you can identify the different types in our security IQ quiz.

Hacking back: Digital revenge is sweet but risky – As cyberattacks increase, victims are fighting back. But retaliation has its own consequences—and potential damages.

Nordstrom tracking customer movement via smartphones’ WiFi sniffing – Tara Darrow, a company spokeswoman, told CBS DFW that sensors in the stores are collecting information from customers’ smartphones as those phones automatically scan for WiFi service. Darrow said that the sensors monitor which departments you visit and for how long, but the sensors don’t actually follow your phone from department to department, and they don’t identify personal information tied to a phone’s owner.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Virtual Piggy – Virtual Piggy, a safe online payment system for kids, is a great idea in need of some fine-tuning. Virtual Piggy is free to use. Parents sign up for an account, and then create profiles for each child they’d like to use the service. This requires entering the child’s name and date of birth, and then creating a username and password for that child.

Snapchat images that have “disappeared forever” stay right on your phone – Snapchat is a new way to share moments with friends. Snap an ugly selfie or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend (or maybe a few). They’ll receive it, laugh, and then the snap disappears. But – It’s stored on your phone, but you’d expect that because you took it, so that’s your lookout. And it’s stored on the recipients’ phones, from where it apparently won’t be deleted at all, though it will be marked “not for display,” which seems to be synonymous in Snapchat’s argot with “disappears forever”.

Linux code is the ‘benchmark of quality,’ study concludes – Fans of free and open source software (FOSS) may recall a report from Coverity last year that found open source code typically has fewer defects per thousand lines of code than proprietary software code does. Following the analysis of more than 450 million lines of software code through the Coverity Scan service, Coverity’s 2012 Coverity Scan Open Source Report, which was released Tuesday, concludes that “Linux remains the benchmark for quality.”

Weather forecasting becomes a smartphone affair – Although high resolution screens, elaborate application processors and cameras tend to grab all the smartphone headlines, another change is starting to take shape under the bonnet of our favourite toys.

What to do when you can’t boot from an external source – When you turn on a PC, you usually want and expect it to check the hard drive or SSD and, from there, load Windows or another operating system. But occasionally you need to boot into an alternative environment that isn’t on your hard drive. You might, for instance, need to install an operating system or scan for malware from inside a clean environment. That’s when you need to boot from a CD, DVD, or flash drive.

Chromebook is no Windows killer – Once touted as Google’s great white hope, it appears that Chromebooks are becoming a great white shark to the company’s bottom line.

Reset your password in Windows 8 – To reset a password in Microsoft Windows 8 you have to use the online version of the Reset your password tool.

Syria and 7 Other Places the Internet Has Been Shut Off – Internet outages in the Middle East have been more common than one might expect, given that the undersea fiber optic cables connecting the region and Europe are occasionally sliced by ship anchors. In recent years, however, building redundancy into the network or alternative routes have mitigated these problems, leaving government intervention a more likely culprit.

Senator John McCain pushes to end the cable bundle – The Arizona senator introduces new legislation that would kill the cable bundle and repeal blackout restrictions for local sports teams using publicly funded stadiums.

Security:

Adobe warns customers of unpatched critical flaw in ColdFusion – Adobe has warned users of its ColdFusion application server platform of a critical vulnerability that could give unauthorized users access to sensitive files stored on their servers. The company is working on a fix and expects to release it publicly on May 14. Until then, customers are advised to restrict public access to certain sensitive directories like CFIDE/administrator, CFIDE/adminapi and CFIDE/gettingstarted.

Sex and the City author hacked, draft of new book is leaked online – Candace BushnellCandace Bushnell, the author famous for “Sex and the City”, has fallen victim to a hacker who not only broke into her Twitter account, but also posted extracts of her as-yet-unfinished next book online.

Microsoft to Patch IE Flaw, 9 Others Next Week – The Microsoft Security Response Center announced today that it will ship ten bulletins in the March edition of patch Tuesday. MSRP considers just two of the patches critical, one of which supplements the currently available “Fix it” tool that resolved the IE vulnerability exploited recently in an attack targeting the U.S. Department of Labor.

Germany gears up for cyber war – The German Army held its first cyber warfare military exercise open to the public earlier this week and a select core of tech hacks were there to see what it was all about.

How the SEA Compromised America’s Finest News Source – The satirical Onion news website wrote a legitimate post-mortem describing how it was compromised by the Syrian Electronic Army.

Company News:

Facebook close to acquiring navigation app Waze so it can sell you ads while you drive – The Facebook rumor mill is churning with reports that Zuckerberg and company are inching ever closer to sealing the deal on a purchase of the popular crowdsourced navigation app, Waze. Waze has been the subject of a bidding war between both Apple and Facebook over the past year.

Report: Amazon Working on Smartphone With 3D Screen – Rumors about an Amazon smartphone have been circulating for some time, but according to a new report, the phone may have 3D capabilities. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed “people familiar with the company’s plans,” on Wednesday reported that Amazon is gearing up to expand its hardware lineup beyond its current slate of Kindle devices.

YouTube launches pilot program for subscription-based paid channels – In a move that will surprise precisely no one who’s been paying attention to the state of streaming media, YouTube announced a pilot program Thursday that will herald a new age of subscription-based paid channels on the Google-owned video site.

Canonical staff to get working Ubuntu phones by late May – Canonical on Wednesday announced its next moves on the way to market with a Linux-powered phone. By the end of this month Canonical plans to equip its employees with early versions of its widely hyped “Ubuntu phone” for testing and refinement.

Webopedia Daily:

Parallel processing – The simultaneous use of more than one CPU to execute a program. Ideally, parallel processing makes a program run faster because there are more engines (CPUs) running it. In practice, it is often difficult to divide a program in such a way that separate CPUs can execute different portions without interfering with each other. Note that parallel processing differs from multitasking, in which a single CPU executes several programs at once.

Games and Entertainment:

$99 Ouya game console delayed until late June – Ouya has delayed the retail launch of the console from June 4 to June 25. CEO Julie Uhrman told Joystiq that Ouya was pushing the launch date back to meet high anticipated demand at retail. The three-week delay, she said, would allow the company to “create more units and, basically, have more units on store shelves in June.”

Bluestacks Bites Back at Ouya with Free (at First) Android Game Console – The race to disrupt traditional game consoles already has a few hopefuls, including Ouya, Gamestick and Nvidia. Now, you can add GamePop to the list. GamePop is an Android-based console from Bluestacks, a company best known for software that lets you run Android apps on Windows and Mac. It will ship with a controller, and it will also allow users to control games from their smartphones by tilt and touch. But instead of charging up-front for the hardware, Bluestacks is giving GamePop away to those who pre-order in May.

Massive Lego Helm’s Deep awes (pictures) – Two Lego and “Lord of the Rings” fans combined their passions into a 150,000 piece Helm’s Deep model that encapsulates the epic battle.

First Ender’s Game trailer should make fans uneasy – After years of back and forth, rumors, and heartbreak, a movie adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel Ender’s Game is set to be released later this year. The first official trailer dropped yesterday, and it’s chock-full of fast cuts and dialog delivered by a mildly disinterested Harrison Ford. There’s not much plot, but it looks pretty.

The Inexorable Decline of World of Warcraft – Blizzard’s turning heads that probably shouldn’t be turning today off news that World of Warcraft – the most successful online roleplaying game in history — lost 14% of its subscriber base over the past three months. Make that 1.3 million players. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Even with that sharp drop, the not-so-little fantasy MMO that could still has over eight million subscribers worldwide; most MMOs these days, say Star Wars: The Old Republic, are lucky to swing a million.

Off Topic (Sort of):

New Google timelapse project shows how Earth has changed over 28 years – The times, they are a-changin’—but a new Google timelapse project shows just how much the world’s geography is a-changin’ too, based on nearly 30 years of satellite imagery.

3D holograms show if baby’s smiling in the womb – Want to see how your unborn baby is reacting to life on the inside? Pioneer has started printing the expressions of tiny tykes as ultrasound holograms.

Why fear of 3D-printed guns is overblown – Despite worries about the dangers of 3D printed firearms, there’s little chance of anyone with a MakerBot gunning people down. Even gun-control advocates think the hype is too much.

U.S. State Department latest to crack down on 3D-printed guns – The State Department demands that Defense Distributed, which has created a series of 3D files used to print firearms, take down the files because they could violate export restrictions.

Dismantle the State: Q&A With 3D Gun Printer Cody Wilson – How did we get to 3D-printed guns, and what’s the endgame for the man who brought us here?

Three centuries of geek-milestone devices in one epic auction – A German “Auction of Firsts” includes relics and creations from tech luminaries from Pascal to Woz and Jobs.

Principal suspends teen for Instagramming her mug shot – In Georgia, a school principal is not happy to see her mugshot on Instagram. She allegedly tries to get a police officer to arrest the teen responsible. The police officer refuses.

Today’s Quote:

Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”

–      George Orwell

Today’s Free Downloads:

Google Translate for Android 2.7 – Translate words and phrases between more than 60 languages using Google Translate for Android. For most languages, you can speak your phrases and hear the corresponding translations.

The Uniform Server 8.8.3 – The Uniform Server is a WAMP package that allows you to run a server on any MS Windows OS based computer. It is small and mobile to download or move around and can also be used or setup as a production/live server. Developers also use The Uniform Server to test their applications made with either PHP, MySQL, Perl, or the Apache HTTPd Server.

SUPERAntiSpyware Free – Light on System Resources and won’t slow down your computer like many other anti-spyware products. Won’t conflict with your existing anti-spyware or anti-virus solution! Repair broken Internet Connections, Desktops, Registry Editing and more with our unique Repair System!

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