Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 24, 2013

British intelligence tapping fiber-optic cables for massive amounts of data – The intercepts have allowed GCHQ to scoop up and filter huge volumes of data, including email content, records of phone calls, Facebook entries and Internet browsing histories. “For the 2 billion users of the world wide web, Tempora represents a window on to their everyday lives, sucking up every form of communication from the fiber-optic cables that ring the world,” the Guardian noted.

Whistle-blower update: Snowden lands in Moscow; WikiLeaker’s Gmail searched – U.S. asks Hong Kong to extradite PRISM leaker Edward Snowden; Snowden departs Hong Kong for Moscow; a WikiLeaks volunteer had his Gmail account searched; and more.

In NSA spying scandal, EU vs US gloves are off – No longer is the EU standing for U.S. lobbying and policy pushing. The EU’s Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is back in the trenches. The gloves are off, and she’s fighting back.

Anger mounts after Facebook’s ‘shadow profiles’ leak in bug – Facebook says it fixed a bug that exposed contact info for over six million accounts. The admission revealed its ‘shadow profile’ data collection activities, and users are furious.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Stop Paying for Texting with These Free Messaging Apps – Do you pay for text messaging? If you have a smartphone, you don’t have to. There are plenty of mobile messaging app alternatives that you can try at no cost. They work with different types of phones, your computer, and even communicate with your friends’ regular phones. Plus they work over Wi-Fi — great if you’re traveling internationally

7 Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop CC – Mad as hell about Adobe’s new subscription model? Check out these low-cost and free alternatives.

10 Sites You Have to Check Every Day – Just like a shower and a cup of coffee, these sites should be part of your morning ritual.

Photo confirms Windows 8.1 RTM in August, retail launch in October – A leaked photo appears to confirm that Windows 8.1 will reach the RTM milestone this August before hitting retail shelves in October. Yes, it’s just two more months until you can have your beloved Start Button back.

5 Reasons You Should Upgrade to Windows 8 – The verdicts in the tech press on Windows 8 have been mixed at best, but we offer some compelling reasons why you should make the upgrade, whether on a new or existing machine.

Strip away all of YouTube’s clutter with Cleanr – I don’t know about you, but whenever I visit YouTube these days, I want to scold it like a child: “Clean up your room!” Because, seriously, what a mess. Thankfully, there’s Cleanr, a browser extension that strips away all of YouTube’s clutter. Specifically, it cleans the page of everything but a large video window. Now you can focus on what you wanted: the video.

5 Chrome extensions for YouTube addicts – Spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos? Check out these five extensions that will make your viewing experience more pleasant.

Discover Android hardware and system info with CPU-Z – PC users who like to tinker with their Windows systems with things like overclocking use CPU-Z to get useful hardware and system data for their projects. The developers over at CPUID have now brought CPU-Z to the Android community. Whether you’ve rooted your Android device and are looking to overclock it or if you’re just curious about your hardware’s internals, CPU-Z can help.

Google quietly updates local search with an image carousel – It’s hard to keep track of new Google features. They can show up as Google trial balloon and surprise you one day. And then the next day poof they’re gone. But one big addition to Google search—introduced with little fanfare over the past couple days—has been a carousel of images served up when making local search requests.

6 Tools for Collecting Music in 2013 – Sean Adams from Drowned in Sound and DiS readers stepped in and shared a bunch of methods they use to deal with the problem of digital-age music collection. The list includes some great ideas, but we began our own hunt for the most efficient way to collect music. Here are some of the best bets we found so far:

3 apps for mobile language learning (roundup) – Want to make use of your free time by learning a new language? Check out these three apps that help get the job done.

Student sues after school uses Facebook bikini pic in seminar – A Georgia student is shocked that a photo she posted to Facebook is used by a school director of technology as an example of how what you post stays public forever. The student wants $2 million.

Why Americans should get mad about slow sites and apps – A survey suggests that when people encounter a slow Web site or a poorly performing mobile app, only 13 percent actually feel angry about it. This needs to change.


Device-disabling Fake AV migrates to Android phones, demands ransom – Enter Android Fakedefender, which researchers from antivirus provider Symantec recently discovered in several third-party Android app markets. The malicious app is still buggy and crude to say the least, but it nonetheless has the ability to create major headaches for smartphone users who install it.

Mozilla and Opera team up to build centralized block list for cookies – Mozilla and Opera are teaming up with Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society to build a centralized block and allow lists for browser cookies. It’s being called the Cookie Clearinghouse (CCH), and it could help users better protect their privacy on the Internet one day soon.

Why social networks draw scams (and how to avoid them) – Social media has changed the way we communicate and conduct business. We need to recognize that this change comes with risks; we must understand them and take action to mitigate our exposure to these risks. Here are three reasons why criminals see social media as great place to find victims.

Simple ways to enhance your Internet privacy – Fortify your browser, opt out of location tracking, and use a virtual private network to hide your IP address.

Company News:

Google has 35 days to delete private Street View data, or else – Today the UK government ordered Google to delete that data in short order, although there will not be a fine imposed, according to the BBC. The search company has to delete all the data within 35 days and notify UK regulators immediately if any more is found. The extra discs found last year were due to “procedural failings and a serious lack of management oversight,” the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found.

Apple notifies parents of in-app purchase settlement details – E-mail lets parents know how they can claim compensation for unauthorized use of in-app purchase in games and apps sold through the App Store.

Google Waze grab gets FTC interest: Investigation tipped – Google’s acquisition of Waze, the social-powered mapping app, has prompted US Federal Trade Commission interest in the deal and the possibility of a full investigation, it’s been revealed. The search giant confirmed that it had been contacted by the FTC to Bloomberg, after rumors over the past few days that the reportedly $1.1bn purchase of the Israeli company could prompt more regulatory headaches than Google expected.

iPhone users are brain-dead zombies, says new Nokia ad – In its latest attempt to paint those who have an iPhone as retrograde, Nokia offers that its camera doesn’t need to use flash, while the iZombie camera pales by comparison.

Michael Dell’s rationale behind going private – In a presentation for shareholders, the Dell founder documents why he believes going private is the only way forward.

Webopedia Daily:

Vishing – The telephone equivalent of phishing. Vishing is the act of using the telephone in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The scammer usually pretends to be a legitimate business, and fools the victim into thinking he or she will profit.

Games and Entertainment:

Four summer blockbuster games that don’t suck – It’s not uncommon for a mobile game based on a big-budget movie to be a complete waste of time. Here are four (on Android and iOS) that might not be.

Solstice Arena brings competitive MOBA gaming to mobile devices – Can the fast-paced MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre make the transition to touchscreen devices? Zynga’s Solstice Arena aims to find out. The game was recently released onto iOS devices, and is a free-to-play take on the popular genre.

The $300 question: Is Nvidia’s Shield worth it? – This gaming handheld just got $50 cheaper, but is that enough? We debate the math.

Verizon’s Droid Combat game is great MMO fun – As with previous Droid campaigns, there’s a game to go along with the new Droid countdown. Unlike previous attempts, however, this new game is actually good. At the very least, it’s good enough to give it a try.

Trailer Released for Kutcher’s Steve Jobs Biopic – The first full-length trailer for the Steve Jobs biopic debuted today, providing a longer look at Ashton Kutcher as the enigmatic Apple co-founder.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How to run your own NSA spy program – The ideas behind the NSA’s spy program are built into a wide variety of tools available to everybody. Mike Elgan walks you through the steps for building your very own PRISM-like program. Parallax is empowering a wave of DIY robotics, from flying quadcopters to programmable robots.

Unheard music to be broadcast for 24 hours in remote Scottish forest – At the end of August, an FM transmitter will be set up in the middle of the Galloway Forest to broadcast music from dozens of artists over the course of 24 hours. Those who want to hear it will have to head to the forest. There will be no repeats, and the files will be deleted after they are played.

1,556 Instagram pics create stop-motion animation – Instagram may now have video, but stitched-together photos are far more fun to watch. This zany short is perfect for summer’s start.

Kids are taking over as the family CTO, survey reveals – A study from Optus revealed Australia’s moms and dads now have to wait in line for their children’s cast-offs when it comes to technology like old mobile phones and tablets. Optus surveyed 1256 parents of children aged 12 to 30 years, distributed throughout Australia. By waiting for their children’s “hand-me ups,” parents are fast being knocked off their pedestal as the family tech expert.

Talk to the hand: No, really, it’s a glove phone – A British designer develops a glove that works like a phone. Yes, you talk into the pinkie. Why didn’t Google think of this?

Skunk Works: 70 years of cutting-edge aircraft – In June 1943, Lockheed made a bold pitch to the U.S. Army that it could build a jet fighter, and build it fast. Since then, the Skunk Works has conjured up the U-2, the SR-71, the F-117, and more, and it’s still going strong.

Something to think about:

I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some.”

–      Herbert Rappaport

Today’s Free Downloads:

CPU-Z 1.64 – CPU-Z is a freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system.

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit Beta – Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit is a handy and reliable application designed to scan, detect and clean malicious rootkits that reside on your computer.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 24, 2013

  1. Dave B.

    In RE: Anger mounts after Facebook’s ‘shadow profiles’ leak in bug; It was only a matter of time before the data mining they claim they don’t do became public knowledge, no surprise at all.

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Re: Whistle-blower update: Snowden lands in Moscow; WikiLeaker’s Gmail searched

    The poo has really hit the fan, hasn’t it? The US got caught with its pants down and now they REALLY want this bloke Snowden to make an example of him. Friggin’ bullies I reckon. It’s ok for them to do whatever they want, but woe to anyone who does it back.

    This bloke might have technically broken the law, but he did us all a great service telling us what the US was up to. I hope they don’t catch him

    I also heard on the news last night that the US are desperate to get him because he has a couple of laptops with more “interesting” information. If true, that would explain why they are so filthy on him.

    Governments, a necessary evil at times. No, correct that, all the time.


    • Hey Mal,

      A typical prison sentence in the U.S. is often draconian when compared to sentences for similar crimes in more civilized countries. In other words – the “land of the free and the home of the brave” is driven by an incessant need to PUNISH. In this particular case, the sheer stupidity is overwhelming.

      The rest of the world looks on in shock and horror at a Fascist government’s attempt to contain further damage to it’s already worthless brand. Americans should understand, that a significant percentage of the rest of us (those of us who didn’t learn history from comic books and Hollywood), now look at them with contempt.

      Out of the hundreds of people who had access to information on this criminal act, only one man acted on his moral obligation to his fellow man. So, the “land of the free and the home of the brave” – hardly.