Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 17, 2013

NSA spying flap extends to contents of U.S. phone calls – National Security Agency discloses in secret Capitol Hill briefing that thousands of analysts can listen to domestic phone calls. That authorization appears to extend to e-mail and text messages too.

NSA leaked documents reveal U.S. spied on Russian president – Hours after President Obama met with then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in 2009, U.S. spies reportedly intercepted top-secret communications between Medvedev and his delegation.

Tell Me What Is Being Done In My Name – “Let us persist in the notion that I am an American citizen. Let us persist in the notion that I have a say — an important and equal say — in the operation of my government here and out in the world. Let us persist in the notion that, in America, the people rule. If we persist in these notions there is only one question that I humbly ask of my government this week: Please, if it’s not too damn much trouble, can you tell me what’s being done in my name?

Woz: This is not my America – Stopped by Spanish language tech journalists at an airport, the Apple co-founder says that after the NSA revelations, he questions his own government and wonders whether it’s behaving like a king. Who is to blame for this apparent diminution of the American way? “The trouble is, it comes from the top,” is Woz’s conclusion. Perhaps it’s one more encouragement for him to continue on his path to Australian citizenship.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

UK political bigwigs demand return of snoopers’ charter. Seriously? Today? – In a stirring display of bad timing, a cluster of top UK political figures has issued a public letter insisting on the revival of the so-called “snoopers’ charter” – legislation to give British police and intelligence services more access to personal data.

View recent Google activity – To help you protect your Google account, Google tracks your recent account activity and allows you to review them for suspicious log-ins and password changes, all from your Google Dashboard.

How to clear all your Android app caches with App Cache Cleaner – If you want to clear the cache for every app on your Android device, you normally have to clear them one at a time. With App Cache Cleaner, you can clear them all with a single tap.

US cloud providers may have a harder time in Europe following NSA revelations – European cloud providers say customers will prefer local alternatives to Amazon Web Services or Rackspace. Generally, the news about Prism and other programs will have a big effect on people’s confidence in using the Internet, according to Johan Christenson, CEO at City Network from Sweden.

Take a 3D tour of Paris — as a rat – Digital simulation offering a view into animal vision reveals that rats have a distinct visual disadvantage when touring Paris landmarks. They do squeeze into places for free though.

How to fix Web pages that print too small – When printed Web pages come out too small, the likely culprit is the Shrink to Fit option, which Internet Explorer uses by default to try to squeeze all the elements of a Web page onto a sheet of paper–often at the expense of proper sizing. Thankfully, it’s easy enough to fix. Here’s how.

For watching music videos, it’s better than YouTube – Vevo has an extensive catalog of premium, music-related video content. Creating an account isn’t required, but doing so gives you playlists and more. For watching music videos, live performances, and other music-related content, Vevo is arguably the best app on the market.

How to use Facebook hashtags safely and effectively – While hashtags are widely used on other sites, there are a couple of things you need to know about the new feature and how it does and doesn’t affect your Facebook privacy.

Five Rules to Get the Best Price Online Every Time – There’s more to online shopping than just price comparison sites and apps. Check out our expert tips for how to maximize your savings.

How super high-def displays change everything – The new super high-resolution screens bring beauty, clarity and precision to our work and play, writes columnist Mike Elgan. Are they worth the extra money? Definitely.

Prepare the Internet for battle, suggests UK official – Published as the result of a lengthy study by the UK’s Defense Academy—the educational and academic liaison unit of the Ministry of Defense—the report calls for the Internet to be significantly “hardened” from a security perspective, in order to avoid adverse effects for all its users.

3D printing on demand, delivered via vending machine – The most interesting window here in the offices of SkyDeck—an incubator and accelerator for the university’s startups—is inside a small room, on the face of a 400-pound metal box. Behind its plexiglass is a vending machine that can make almost anything you want.

Security:

Australia’s National Consumer Fraud Week starts today – the motto is, “Outsmart the scammers!” – Do you know someone who’s been scammed online? Chances are that you do – or you may have been scammed yourself. The National Consumer Fraud Week aims to spread the word about how to avoid becoming a victim online.

Yahoo, Bing Found Directing to Bitcoin Phishing Site – Phishers have managed to poison Bing and Yahoo search results for Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.

Ideas for Keeping Your Data Safe from Spying – Phone call logs, credit card records, emails, Skype chats, Facebook message, and more: The precise nature of the NSA’s sweeping surveillance apparatus has yet to be confirmed. But given the revelations spilling out into the media, there hardly seems a single aspect of daily life that isn’t somehow subject to spying by the U.S. Agency. Here are some basic tips to avoid having your personal life turned into an intelligence report:

Six ways to protect yourself from the NSA, other eavesdroppers – Are these privacy measures worth the effort and sacrifice required? You be the judge.

New autorun worms spiking – Microsoft made a change to newer versions of Windows that disables the autorun functionality, cutting of this infection vector, but there are still a lot of older Windows XP systems out there that still have the function enabled. Researchers recently have seen a major increase in the volume of autorun malware in some countries, thanks to a couple of new worms infecting those older machines.

Saudi Arabia may block WhatsApp from July 9 – Country telecom regulator says talks with communication platforms have stagnated, and following Viber’s block from the country last week, WhatsApp, and Skype are next on the list.

Get ready! Oracle to fix 40 holes in Java on Tuesday, 18 June 2013 – In the future, Oracle expects to switch Java onto a quarterly update cycle, keeping it aligned with other Oracle products. For the time being, just keep your eyes open on Tuesday 18 June 2013, or engage auto-updating before then: this update sounds important. We’ll spell out the detail of what’s changed once Oracle’s updates have gone public.

Company News:

Google plans to wipe child porn from the Web – The search giant is creating a database of images depicting child exploitation — to be shared with tech companies, law enforcement, and charities — in order to scrub the images from the Internet.

Apple denies PRISM backdoor: iMessage end-to-end encrypted – Apple has released a public statement on the NSA PRISM surveillance program, denying any backdoor server access for government agencies, and revealing just how many court orders for data disclosures it has seen in recent months. Between December 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013, Apple received as many as 5,000 requests from US law enforcement for data on Apple customers, the Cupertino firm said, covering between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices. However, Apple points out, the most frequent reason wasn’t counterterrorism, as you might expect.

Google’s Project Loon uses giant balloons to bring affordable Internet – On May 24, we reported on a tip that Google plans to launch wireless Internet service in emerging markets that have little or no access to the Internet. While the leaked details were extensive, one bit stuck out among the rest: the use of balloons to transmit signals over long distances. At least that aspect of the rumor has turned out to be true, with Google announcing the method as Project Loon.

Lomography Selling DIY 35mm SLR Camera for $35 – Lomography’s Konstruktor DIY Kit provides you with a means of taking funky photos, as well as the satisfaction of having built the device yourself.

Intel wants to be your new cable provider – Intel this year plans to sell a set-top box and Internet-based streaming media service that will bundle TV channels for subscribers, but its plans will likely face hurdles from the 800-pound gorillas of the streaming media market.

Microsoft goes ‘Windows Everywhere’ with Best Buy takeovers, new ad – Best Buy will be partnering with the software giant to add stores-within-a-store to 500 selected locations within the United States, plus another 100 more within Future Shop and Best Buy locations in Canada. And the size will be in your face as well: 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet, on par with the size of the homes into which those PCs will be installed.

Webopedia Daily:

Apple Lossless Audio Codec – ALAC – Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple for playback on iTunes and QuickTime and on Apple iOS devices, including the iPhone, iPad and iPods. The ALAC data compression method is “lossless,” meaning it reduces the size of audio files with no loss of information. When decoded, the ALAC stream is identical to the original uncompressed audio file, bit-for-bit. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec sources are available under the Apache license. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec is a similar to other lossless codecs including the Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC).

Games and Entertainment:

The 12 most exciting games of E3 2013 – E3 2013 was home to dozens of unique titles and brand new franchises. Here are 12 titles we’re most excited about.

Playing Planetary Annihilation early on Steam costs $90 – One of the benefits of purchasing your PC games through Steam is the cost savings you can enjoy due to the regular sales the service has. There’s always games set at full price when they launch, but they soon fall and eventually become available for a handful of dollars. Now one developer is trying something new on Steam–offering early access to an unfinished game, but charging $90 for the privilege.

How Iron Man helped crush Batman and Superman – Okay, so it’s only in box office terms, but this awesome chart from the Economist says it all. Of course, in the real world, the kind of real world, Superman would just wipe the floor with everyone.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to play a T-800 in Terminator 5 – Schwarzenegger is set to start filming Terminator 5 in January or February next year. Very little is known about the movie yet, and rumors he would be playing a human in it have turned out to be false. But at 65 years of age the story either needs to paint a different picture of the form a T-800 can take, or they need some very good make-up artists working on set every day.

Off Topic (Sort of):

FAQs About FAQs – “Q: Why do I often find my question missing from the F.A.Q.s?” “A: By their very definition, lists of frequently asked questions strive to include all questions that are frequently asked. If you don’t find your particular question, the most likely reason is that it isn’t frequently asked”

Joeffice, an open source office suite one developer built in 30 days – Don’t like Microsoft Office? Just build your own office suite—this guy did.

7 graphs that prove America is overrated – While civil liberties continue to face erosion by heightened security and surveillance programs, there are many other areas where the American reality doesn’t match the hype. Here are seven metrics that show US citizens’ quality of life isn’t as high as many imagine.

Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere – I have been asked by my superiors to give a brief demonstration of the surprising effectiveness of even the simplest techniques of the new-fangled Social Networke Analysis in the pursuit of those who would seek to undermine the liberty enjoyed by His Majesty’s subjects. I will show how we can use this “metadata” to find key persons involved in terrorist groups operating within the Colonies at the present time. I shall also endeavour to show how these methods work in what might be called a relational manner.

Something to think about:

Show me the man and I will find the crime.”

–      Lavrenti Beria (of Joseph Stalin’s KGB).

Today’s Free Downloads:

EditBone 6.3.4 – Powerful text editing tool that comes with syntax highlighting support for over 50 languages and scripts, and 22 ready made styles.

ImgBurn 2.5.8.0 – ImgBurn is a lightweight CD / DVD / HD DVD / Blu-ray burning application that everyone should have in their toolkit!

WinHTTrack 3.47-19 – WinHTTrack is a easy-to-use offline browser utility. It allows you to download a site from the Internet to a local directory.

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