Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 20, 2013

America needs a Cyber Bill of Rights – The time has come for a Cyber Bill of Rights, a clear, concise, powerful, understandable, and relevant governance guide to our modern age.

The Best 2013 Security Suites – Many components go into a security suite, and in the best suites all of those components are equally effective. We’ve reviewed three dozen suites to help you make an informed choice.

Search Anonymously With DuckDuckGo – Amidst reports the National Security Agency is harvesting your data from major tech firms, I wonder if the DuckDuckGo search engine will catch on. Unlike Google and Bing, which hand over your information to government snoops, DuckDuckGo doesn’t track you or save your search queries.

Five surefire ways to maximize your laptop’s battery life – You adore your laptop. It lets you get down to business wherever you happen to be—airport lounge, coffee shop, your home office. It’s the key to your competitive edge. That is, until its battery croaks. Just as you’re putting the final details on your PowerPoint presentation. At the airport. Two hours before takeoff. And with no power outlet in sight.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Personalize your video-viewing experience with Vodio – Vodio’s customization options and huge selection of curated channels make it an attractive download for finding and watching videos online.

FBI confirms drone surveillance activity in the US – While it may not come as much of a surprise to some people, the FBI has confirmed and admitted that they perform surveillance with drones on US soil. FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that they use drones for surveillance in the US, but “in a very, very minimal way, and seldom.”

Aviary for Android jumps to 3.0, gets better photo enhancer – One of the more popular photo editors for Android now looks a lot different and has a handful of new features.

Manage passwords, and not just on the Web – I use Password Safe for both. It’s free and open source, and it’s available on multiple platforms. In addition to my PC, I run it on my Android phone and my iPad. Password Safe doesn’t directly integrate with your browser, but it’s reasonably browser-friendly. When you’re at a site’s logon page, you can open Password Safe, right-click the appropriate item, and select Perform Auto Type.

Raspberry Pi goes XBMC – Element 14 has debuted a media center starter kit for the Raspberry Pi – making it easy for users to hook the uber-mini system up to an HDMI display.

Megaupload loses petabytes of data as Euro host pulls plug – Petabytes of Megaupload data trapped on one hosting company’s server has been deleted without warning, outspoken founder Kim Dotcom has revealed, meaning a huge number of predominantly European users have likely seen the end of their content.

App lets you show a doctor your, um, rash down there – An app called STD Triage allows you to photograph your fears and have them checked by a dermatologist within 24 hours.

Good riddance Google Reader: Feedly throws switch on alternate RSS service – New Web app runs in all the major browsers, giving Internet Explorer and Opera users first crack at Reader replacement

John McAfee’s (insane, NSFW) tips for uninstalling McAfee – McAfee mocks himself and his antivirus software mercilessly in a new viral video.

Artificial pancreas tells your tablet when you need insulin – The continuous glucose monitor — which checks levels every one to five minutes — works with a smartphone or tablet to calculate the amount of insulin the patient needs and delivers it via a pump.

Breathalyzer watch puts date, time, drunkenness on your wrist – The Intoxicated Watch tells you the time, date, and your sobriety level. All you have to do is blow into the built-in breathalyzer.

Facebook launches photo comments – The social network has begun the global rollout of a new feature for attaching photos in comment threads.

What’s the ‘Internet of Everything’ worth? $613 billion, Cisco reckons – In 2013, Cisco calculates that companies could produce $613 billion of mostly incremental profit by harnessing the growing networked world of people and things.


New attack cracks iPhone autogenerated hotspot passwords in seconds – If you use your iPhone’s mobile hotspot feature on a current device, make sure you override the automatic password it offers to secure your connections. Otherwise, a team of researchers can crack it in less than half a minute by exploiting recently discovered weaknesses.

Massive Java update won’t get Oracle out of attacker’s crosshairs – Java continues to be Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to computer and network security. Oracle released a huge update for the virtually ubiquitous software, but attackers aren’t done exploiting Java as the weakest link in the security chain, and Oracle isn’t securing it fast enough.

Microsoft unveils bug bounty programs and rewards starting June 26 – Microsoft has announced that it is kicking off three bounty programs this month to encourage hackers to find bugs and exploitations. Each bounty program has its own cash reward, with the highest one being $100,000, and the lowest being $11,000. All three bounty programs start on June 26, and with two of them having an “ongoing” timeframe.

US, Russia to Share Cyber-Security Data to Defend Critical Systems, Avoid Cyber-War – The United States and Russia will exchange cyber-threat data as part of an information-sharing program to increase cooperation between the two countries on cyber-security issues.

Company News:

MakerBot gets bought out, but don’t expect major changes (yet) – MakerBot is perhaps the best-known purveyor of 3D printers—and it now has a new owner. The company announed Wednesday that it has agreed to be acquired by Stratasys, a maker of commercial-grade 3D printers.

Viacom joins Twitter Amplify to bring TV video clips – We’ve heard talk about a possible Viacom partnership with Twitter before, bringing with it social TV show clips. Such rumors became official today with an announcement by Viacom that it has joined Twitter’s Amplify program. To kick things off, Viacom will be launching with the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, and will move on from there to provide content from a variety of stations.

Oracle, IBM to unwrap new Unix server processors at conference – Demand for mainframe and high-performance Unix servers is falling, but a new wave of SPARC and IBM Power chips for the servers will be unwrapped at the Hot Chips conference in late August.

LG to mass-produce flexible displays for smartphones – Looking to get a leg-up in the bendable display market, LG Display is going full throttle ahead with production of the new technology for mobile devices.

Vdio streaming service opens up to public in US and UK – Popular music streaming service Rdio launched a companion video streaming site back in April for a limited number of users. Vdio, as it’s called, is now open to everyone inside the US and UK. Previously, only Rdio unlimited subscribers had access to the new service, but it’s now open to the public and is ready to stream movies to your screen.

Webopedia Daily:

Linux Mint – A popular open source distribution of the Linux operating system that provides several desktop environment options for users dissatisfied with GNOME 3 or for users looking for a desktop environment more similar to the task-oriented GNOME 2 than the more application-oriented GNOME 3. Linux Mint users can select the GNOME 3 environment with the option of two new GNOME 3-based desktop environments — Cinnamon and Mint GNOME Shell Extensions (MGSE) — or they can choose the GNOME 2-based MATE environment.

Games and Entertainment:

Xbox One? More like Xbox 180 – In a stunning policy reversal, Microsoft ditches 24-hour check-ins, allows trading and rentals, and eliminates regional restrictions.

GameStick Pushes $79 Game System Back to August – When GameStick put its $79 game console on Kickstarter last January, the projected April delivery date seemed a little too good to be true.

ESPN, HBO come to Apple TV – Users of Apple’s set-top box who want to watch a game of baseball followed by a “Game of Thrones” are in luck. HBO and ESPN apps are now available, but you need a pay-TV subscription for most content.

Lifetime, History, and A&E Streaming Apps Launched for Android – Lifetime, History, and A&E launched Android applications that allow free, though limited, access to episodes of their shows, without any TV subscription necessary.

Sony pulls PS3 firmware update on reports of bricked systems – Sony has temporarily taken down the version 4.45 PS3 system update that was supposed to provide “improved system stability” after a number of users reported the new firmware was bricking their systems.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Lawyer brilliantly bites township trying to shut his client’s site – Sometimes, cease-and-desist letters are mere morsels of intimidation, their legal grounds swamps. One lawyer decided that the accuser, West Orange, N.J., itself needed to shut up and go away. His letter smacks of literary genius.

How to Catch A (Beer) Thief – Check out the setup the Wireless Witch put together to catch the evildoer who’s been raiding our beer fridge after hours.

Scientists develop long-lasting batteries from wood and sodium – We’ve seen different battery innovations popup this year, such as the microbatteries revealed back in April that are as powerful as they are small. The latest one to surface, however, is environmentally friendly, using tin, wood, and sodium to create a battery with an extremely long life cycle, able to be charged hundreds of times during its lifespan.

3D printer creates lithium-ion batteries the size of a grain of sand – Researchers have found a new application of 3D printing that produces lithium-ion batteries the size of a grain of sand. The batteries could some day enable the development of miniaturized medical implants, compact electronics or tiny bots.

The 10 fastest supercomputers on Earth – The latest twice-yearly Top 500 listing of the fastest supercomputers in the world is out – and this time the winner is the monolithic Tianhe-2, built by the Chinese government. Here’s a walkthrough of the 10 mightiest computing machines out there.

The dirty dozen: 12 tech mulligans (photos) – Microsoft’s backpedaling on DRM restrictions for its upcoming Xbox One is not the first reversal from a tech giant. Here are 12 others.

Something to think about:

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

–     Mahatma Gandhi

Today’s Free Downloads:

FeedDemon 4.5 – FeedDemon enables you to quickly explore the world of RSS from your desktop without having to visit hundreds of sites.

Comodo Internet Security – Comodo Internet Security, Comodo’s award-winning free security suite, offers prevention-based, Default Deny Protection (DDP) technology to prevent malware in your PC.

Winamp 5 Full – The Winamp application was developed to be more than just a player. It’s your window to the multimedia world. From MP3s to streaming video, Winamp is the one place you go to feed your audio/video habit.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 20, 2013

  1. Michael Fisher

    I still don’t know who nicked the beer…

  2. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    Re: “Search Anonymously With DuckDuckGo”.

    I have used this in the past, but my search engine of choice is currently Startpage, which purports to be “the world’s most private search engine” (; I have it set as my home page on all browsers. How much you believe their claims is, of course, down to trust and personal choice.

    I also use Comodo Dragon (Chrome based) and Comodo Ice Dragon (Firefox based) browsers. Both purport to have extra security features built in. Finally, I set the browsers to delete search history and cookies and empty the cache on closing.

    This makes things a little less convenient, sure, but the bad guys are great at exploiting our laziness and the handholding we are spoonfed by software suppliers in order to get us to use their products.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi John,

      Thanks – that’s some good sensible advice.

      Like you, Startpage is my “search engine of choice.” I found that DuckDuckGo got in my face too much.