Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 11, 2013

Poll: Most Americans not worried about gov’t phone tracking – The poll, co-sponsored by The Washington Post, surveyed 1,004 adults over the weekend and found that more than half of them, 56 percent, felt the NSA’s dragnet collection of telephone metadata was “acceptable.” Another 41 percent said it was unacceptable, and 2 percent were undecided.

FAQ: 5 things known and alleged about NSA surveillance – Whistleblower Edward Snowden has accused the NSA of collecting massive amounts of data from U.S. residents, but U.S. officials have largely denied his allegations. Here’s what we know so far, from reports in the U.K.’s Guardian, the Washington Post, and other media sources, as well as our own reporting:

Australian Federal Police spied on phone and internet records, over 40,000 accessed without warrant – Australian Federal Police accessed more than 40,000 phone and computer records last year without a warrant. Revelations in a Senate estimates hearing in May also show efforts by the AFP to obtain Facebook and Google data. (suggested by Mal C.)

Operation “Troll the NSA” seeks to jam the agency with nonsense – The Obama administration and NSA have been under extreme public fire lately after a report by The Washington Post revealed a project called PRISM, which snowballed into a variety of other leaks and such that revealed what we already knew: the government is spying on Internet users. In retaliation, an Internet trolling operation has been kicked off called “Troll the NSA,” which is encouraging Internet users to email and/or call a pre-written script loaded with trigger words.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

10 Must-Have iPhone Apps – Want to clean up all the apps littering your iPhone? Or maybe you’re relatively new to the iPhone and want to get started on the right foot with the right apps. Whatever the case, these ten apps are among the very best. If you don’t already have them installed, I highly recommend downloading them and giving them a try.

20 Things to Think Twice About Before Including Them On Your Blog – These are 20 of the things you will want to carefully consider before adding them to your blog, in the interest of safety, improving readability, your professional reputation and anonymity.

Google to be banned in Pakistan if it doesn’t clean up YouTube – The country’s new IT minister reportedly says the Web giant must remove “blasphemous and objectionable material” from its video sharing site, or face serious consequences.

The 30 Best Kindle Fire Apps – Get the most out of your Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD by adding a great set of apps for watching TV, getting work done, and more.

Google may not like it, but facial recognition is coming soon to Glass – Startup founder outlines facial recognition for Glass, calls device a “car for the mind.”

7 Shortcuts for Faster Web Browsing – Up your productivity and efficiency online by mastering these seven essential keyboard shortcuts for browsing the Web.

Automatically delete a huge amount of duplicate files – Before I tell you how to delete all of your duplicate files automatically–without checking each one first–let me give you a warning: Doing so requires you to let software make decisions best left to you. Are the files really duplicates? Is there a good reason for that file to be in two different locations? And if not, in what folder should the file reside?

Google Chromekey may be a $35 HDMI stick PC – There’s some debate about what kind of software the Chromekey will ship with. If the name is accurate, you’d expect Google to go with Chrome OS. Then again, Google has an OS that’s built specifically the kinds of displays that feature HDMI ports — Google TV. Android’s a pretty good fit on those screens, too.

USB 3.5 set to arrive in early 2014 with 10Gbps transfer speeds – The new spec is being viewed as a stop gap solution on the way to USB 4.0. Both the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) and Intel are thought to be working on the spec, with Taiwan’s ASMedia expected to be the first company to offer a USB 3.5 host controller early next year. That should mean we see motherboards and interface cards supporting the faster standard appearing around the same time.

Facebook for BlackBerry 10 update brings UI refresh – Blackberry has announced an update to the Facebook app for Blackberry 10, bringing it up to version 10.2.0 and, according to the announcement, offering a combination of new features and a changed up design. Blackberry promises this new update makes the app the best it has been yet, which you can find out for yourself by grabbing it over at Blackberry World.

The new Mac Pro—you can’t buy it yet, but you can look – For the first time in years, Mac Pro fans have something to really cheer about. Apple today unveiled a redesign of its workhorse computer, which is now a reflective cylindrical case that’s only 1/8 the volume of the current Mac Pro. Apple vaguely said that the new computer won’t go on sale until “later this year,” but it’s never too early to take a look at a device that we will put through its paces as soon as it’s available.


Apple store vulnerable to xss – There is a cross-site scripting vulnerability in the Apple Store Web site that is exposing visitors to potential attack. The vulnerability was discovered by a German security researcher who says he informed Apple about the problem in mid-May, but the vulnerability still exists.

EU to vote on harsher penalties for hackers – Illegal hackers will face at least two years in prison, botnet creators and herders are looking at three years, and those who go after critical infrastructure will be jailed for at least five – and the proposed directive takes pains to protect pen testers and whistleblowers.

IRC botnet leveraging unpatched plesk vulnerability– A notice on the Plesk command injection vulnerability as well as exploit code was posted last week to the Full Disclosure list by a hacker called kingcope. The researchers who reported the botnet said they were seeing up to 40 infections per hour. Some Apache server configurations are also vulnerable, experts said.

Google Jacks Up Bug Bounties For Serious Vulnerabilities – Google has one of the older bug bounty programs in existence, and the company often makes changes to its rules in an effort to stay current with the security landscape. The latest change is another increase in the rewards that the company will pay to researchers who report certain bugs, including cross-site scripting in sensitive Web properties, to $7,500.

Company News:

Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS goes live – Over a million applications have been built on the service already, and about 2,000 new applications are created every day with OpenShift Online, said Ashesh Badani, Red Hat’s general manager for the service. Every week, the service gets about 1,500 new users.

Nokia Adds ‘Glance Screen’ to Lumia 925 – The Nokia Lumia 925 hit shelves today in Germany, where consumers got their first taste of a feature known as Glance Screen.

AT&T Extends Device Upgrade Eligibility to 24 Months – The carrier said it wants to align its device upgrade eligibility with its standard two-year wireless agreements. The first customers impacted by the change are those whose contracts expire in March 2014 or later.

LG Smart TVs get GameNow cloud gaming – LG’s latest smart TVs will get “console quality gaming” thanks to a Ubitus GameNow deal, streaming cloud gameplay direct to the sets without the need for standalone hardware. GameNow – which is already available on tablets and smartphones, not to mention on Google TV – will work on LG’s LA7900, LA8600, and LA9600 sets, though you’ll need a gamepad controller to actually use it.

TeamViewer Launches New App for Windows Phone 8 – TeamViewer, one of the world’s most popular providers of remote control and online meetings software, today announced the release of the new TeamViewer for Windows Phone 8 mobile app. This announcement brings consumers the first TeamViewer remote control app for Windows Phones. For private users in a non-commercial environment, TeamViewer for Windows Phone 8 is free of charge.

CloudMe integrates with WinZip to provide secure EU cloud storage and file sharing – European cloud powerhouse announces its integration with WinZip compression and encryption software. CloudMe gives customers the added security of storing their files in compliance with strong EU data protection laws.

Webopedia Daily:

RDBMS – Short for relational database management system and pronounced as separate letters, a type of database management system (DBMS) that stores data in the form of related tables. Relational databases are powerful because they require few assumptions about how data is related or how it will be extracted from the database. As a result, the same database can be viewed in many different ways. An important feature of relational systems is that a single database can be spread across several tables. This differs from flat-file databases, in which each database is self-contained in a single table. Almost all full-scale database systems are RDBMS’s. Small database systems, however, use other designs that provide less flexibility in posing queries.

Games and Entertainment:

Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4 – Everything we know about the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One and how each new, yet-to-be-released console compares to each other.

Project Spark for Xbox One lets you create the game – Project Spark from Microsoft Studios is an adventure game where players place items and monsters onto the open-world digital canvas, animate them with behaviors, and then share their game worlds and stories with the community. Project Spark, demoed Monday at E3, is designed to bring game creation to the masses: making up a cool game is part of the game itself.

From Destiny to Transistor: These are the games you’ll play on the PS4 – While Sony was excited to announce the media-services part of its new PS4, including Video and Music Unlimited apps and apps for Netflix, Redbox, MLB, and Flickster, it didn’t forget to spend time discussing games that would be available on the console. Happily, when you buy these games, you’ll be allowed to rent them, lend them, and sell them without restrictions.

Ubisoft releases Watch Dogs Exposed E3 trailer – The last time we got to see any new footage from Ubisoft’s upcoming game Watch Dogs was about a month ago when were presented with 6 minutes of uninterrupted gameplay. As you’d expect with E3 kicking off today, Ubisoft is keen that Watch Dogs doesn’t get lost in the crowd so has released yet another video.

Ubisoft hopes you’ll race, dance, assassinate, and play TV in 13 upcoming games – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Just Dance 2014, Watch Dogs, and Tom Clancy’s The Division highlighted Ubisoft’s E3 press conference, an hour-plus event revealing 13 new titles from the developer.

Off Topic (Sort of):

One-third of Americans now own a tablet, Pew finds – The survey found that 56% of households earning more than $75,000 have a tablet, making it the biggest category of device owners. Adults in the 35-44 make up the biggest tablet-owning age group (49%). By contrast, smartphones are much more popular with younger adults. Those in the 18- to 34-year-old category own the most smartphones in the U.S., Pew said last week.

How Google built a 52-terapixel time-lapse portrait of Earth: 30-meter-per-pixel video of entire planet – In May, Google unveiled Earth Engine, a set of technologies and services that combine Google’s existing global mapping capabilities with decades of historical satellite data from both NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS). One of the first products emerging from Earth Engine is Timelapse—a Web-based view of changes on the Earth’s surface over the past three decades, published in collaboration with Time magazine.

Segue 2 is record-setting tiny galaxy held together by dark matter – Sometimes big things come in small packages, or so the saying goes. Such is the case with Segue 2, the name of a tiny galaxy near our own that is being called the “most lightweight” ever discovered. What’s more, however, is the reality that its relatively small number of stars are bound together with dark matter, distinguishing it from a star cluster.

Cities search for solution to phone-theft epidemic – Upgrade your firewalls, insist on 16-character passwords, and apply all your security patches the day they come out. None of that may matter: The sad reality is that the biggest computer crime your organization is likely to face is the physical theft of a mobile device, should one of your traveling sales staff find their car broken into and their laptop bag stolen or merely become the victim of a subway bump-and-grab.

Why Am I Still on Facebook? – Facebook is one of the few large companies that I’m not convinced will be dominant or even around in five years. With each new update, I feel like the company is going backward — not forward.

Kim Dotcom could be safe from extradition to the US until 2014 – As a result of Kim Dotcom’s ongoing legal battles in New Zealand, his extradition hearing has now been delayed yet again. A North Shore District Court spokesperson told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that the August 2013 date has now been moved to November 21, 2013—with a backup date of April 14, 2014.

Today’s Quote:

A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.”

–     William S. Burroughs

Today’s Free Downloads:

Kingsoft Office Free 2013 – Create, read, edit and share word, spreadsheets and presentation documents.

JPEGView Portable – As a small photo viewer and editor, JPEGView Portable allows the user to use basic editing operations on their photos quickly, easily, and on-the-go. This freeware program lets you edit and view your photos from any removable device.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 11, 2013

  1. I consider the poll results pretty favorable. If you ask 1000 uninformed, uneducated and uncaring people, and still get 45% of these people to agree that this latest infringement is unacceptable, it proves how serious this matter realy is.
    Surveys can always be manipulated to prove your point. Regardless of what your point happens to be.

  2. Bill Martin

    Hi Bill, Here’s a “just wondering” comment on The Tech Thoughts Blog.
    There are several topical headings in the list, such as SECURITY, GAMES, etc. I have an interest in only one or two of them and when scrolling down I easily miss the topic headings, thanks to poor eyesight. Can the topic headings be made more noticeable? Really enjoy your daily postings and always come away with useful info.
    Thanks. B. Martin

    • Hi Bill,

      A perfect example of me, not being able to see the forest for the trees. 🙂

      You’re absolutely right – the previous headings were camouflaged, in a sense. Note, the previous. I’ve just now changed the heading font as per your suggestion. Let me know if that helps.

      I appreciate you pointing this out. Thank you.