Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 3, 2013

How the US (probably) spied on European allies’ encrypted faxes – Part of a secret document published by The Guardian detailing “Dropmire,” a program that reportedly spied on encrypted faxes sent to the European Union’s Washington, DC, mission.

Reddit, Mozilla, WordPress, and others plan July 4 protest against NSA surveillance – As part of the Restore the Fourth campaign, many website members of the 30,000-member Internet Defense League plan to display a protest of NSA surveillance and the text of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Websites participating include Reddit, where Restore the Fourth originated, WordPress, 4chan, Mozilla, Fark, and Organizers of Restore the Fourth are also planning live protests in dozens of U.S. cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Houston and Atlanta.

Two free ways to encrypt Google Drive files – Encrypt text documents before you upload them to Google Drive via Fogpad, or encrypt and transfer all your Google Drive files to the Tresorit cloud-storage service. (Preferably, one shouldn’t store “for your eyes only” documents in the cloud in the first place.)

Hack your Android like a pro – There are benefits to rooting your Android smartphone, but it can be a tricky world for beginners. Here are some tips.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Windows 8.1 deep-dive review: Well, it’s a start – Although the preview of Windows 8.1 fixes some of the problems users complained about in the previous version of the OS, is it enough? We take a close look at Microsoft’s update.

Five handy web development tools – Although big budget Web development tools such as Microsoft’s Visual Studio tend to be favored by professional developers, there are a number of other tools available. Many of these tools are free or inexpensive, and simple to use. Rather than trying to provide a comprehensive development environment, such tools might focus on a single aspect of the Web development process. In this blog post, I want to share with you some of the tools that I have found to be the most useful.

How to own (and love) a 3D printer – Your new 3D printer is sitting in the box. What do you do? How do you start? Take a deep breath. There—now read on.

Microsoft, Autodesk Bring 3D Printing Closer to the Mainstream – Is 3D printing ready for prime time? The addition of a “3D printing pipeline” in Windows 8.1 allows apps like Autodesk’s 123D Design to make it as simple as pushing a button.

When there are no words, Face to GIF lets you make personal reaction GIFs – Are emoticons (o_O) or weird reaction GIFs not doing enough to explain exactly how you feel on the Internet? Now there’s a new, simple Web tool called Face to GIF that makes it super easy to record your face and turn the resulting clips into motion selfies for the Web.

MP3 player buying guide – What you should know when shopping for an MP3 player.

Windows 8: 100,000 Apps, Still Plenty of Gaps – Microsoft deserves to brag, but quantity isn’t everything.


Facebook Android App Leaked Hundreds of Millions of Users’ Phone Numbers – It was revealed this weekend by independent third-party researchers that virtually all users of the Facebook for Android app had their private phone number disclosed to the social network without permission – a software blunder that could affect hundreds of millions of smartphone owners worldwide. While the social network can likely be taken at its word on this latest news, the company’s past cover-ups and willful underestimation of the impact of privacy leaks make the apology that much harder to swallow. For many users, it may just be time to permanently delete their Facebook profile once and for all.

With BlackBerry reportedly hacked, is anything secure? – Apparently, the NSA and Britain’s spy agency GCHQ (and/or other governments/agencies) were able to hack into the BlackBerry streams of government officials attending a G20 summit in London. If true, this raises a bigger question: Is any encrypted communication safe anymore given the massive amount of brute-force computing power that can be applied to code-breaking and pattern recognition?

Ubisoft warns of account database breach after website attack – Game maker Ubisoft said on Tuesday an account database was breached due to unauthorized access of one of its websites, revealing users’ personal information. The attack divulged user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords, Ubisoft said. The company said it does not store payment information.

Countdown to chaos: Top 10 security stories of 2013 – Hold onto your tin hats as we’re sure to experience even more cyber-threats for the rest of the year.

Job hunting, Facebook, and privacy settings – Takeaway: If you think your social media presence is safe from the prying eyes of potential employers just because you’ve tightened your privacy settings, you could be wrong.

Company News:

Best Buy brings Pebble smartwatch to stores this weekend – Pebble will arrive in stores on June 7 for $150—the same price as pre-orders from Pebble’s website. Pebble connects via Bluetooth with iPhones and Android phones, allowing it to show incoming messages, e-mails, caller ID and other alerts. Users can also download additional apps and watch faces for Pebble’s 1.26-inch low-power LCD display. Instead of using touch controls, Pebble uses navigation buttons on the side of the device.

Apple TV nears Time Warner Cable deal – The Apple set-top box would get a wealth of new channels, and its first mega cache of live ones, if it reaches a deal with the cable provider, which Bloomberg reports is close.

Yahoo acquires Qwiki to battle Vine with video sharing – This week the folks at Quiki have confirmed that they’ve been acquired by Yahoo, the latter company aiming to make use of the former’s video sharing app environment. That said; if you’re able to keep track of all the clever names for companies aiming for mobile glory these days, you deserve a gold star. Quiki will make Yahoo a real competitor for top spot in mini-video sharing if they keep with the aim of the original app, that’s for certain.

Toshiba acquires intelligent energy management firm cyberGRID – Toshiba has acquired a 76 percent stake in the Austrian firm, making cyberGRID GmbH a subsidiary of the electronics maker.

Webopedia Daily:

BlackBerry Secure Work Space – Secure Work Space is a BlackBerry service for government and corporate agencies to secure and manage devices powered by Google Android and Apple iOS mobile operating systems. Secure Work Space is managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10, allowing customers to control mobile devices on internal networks. Features include an integrated management console to easily see all devices on the network and to manage those devices and connect to them securely. Secure Work Space enables IT managers to secure corporate email, calendars, contacts, tasks, Web browsing and document editing from personal apps.

Games and Entertainment:

Hulu Plus gives you high-quality video-streaming on the go – If you’re a paying Hulu Plus subscriber, then you won’t want to miss the Hulu Plus app for Android.

Microsoft kicks off Xbox Live Ultimate Game Sale – With Independence Day fast approaching, it’s not surprising to see a number of online sales kicking off to entice you to spend some money over the holiday. And Microsoft isn’t one to be left out or miss an opportunity, so has decided to offer a number of games at a discount on Xbox Live between now and July 5.

Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is all too familiar – Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, a 1080p reimagining of the decidedly sophomoric 1987 MS-DOS adventure game/farcical sex comedy. It’s the latest in a recent line of point-and-click refreshes, but unlike similar modern takes on the Broken Sword and Monkey Island series, Lowe and company promised a bottom-to-top redo—or at least a re-groping-and-fondling—of the original game.

Titanfall is first-ever game to receive six E3 Game Critics Awards – At the 2013 E3, Titanfall became the first-ever game to receive a half-dozen Game Critic Awards, winning in every nominated category. The game is slated for the PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, and was the brainchild of Jason West and Vince Zampella, both of whom previously worked with Infinity Wards, perhaps best known for the Call of Duty franchise.

GTA V has an 8GB mandatory install, ships on 2 discs for Xbox 360 – There was never any doubt that Grand Theft Auto V was going to be a big game. But that’s not a problem for the PS3 and its relatively massive Blu-ray discs. On Xbox 360 though, the continued reliance on a DVD drive has meant the game can’t ship on a single disc.

Top reasons to get a Nintendo 3DS (pictures) – Nintendo’s DS successor has finally come of age: here are the best summer picks to download on the go.

Off Topic (Sort of):

U.K. Hotel Chain Preps App-Controlled ‘Smart’ Rooms – The U.K.’s largest hotel group today announced the launch of the country’s first hotel rooms that allow guests to control their experience via a mobile phone

Dvorak: Google+ Is a Loser – I use two social networks: Twitter and LinkedIn. Other people are hung up on Facebook, which I refuse to use because I’m not looking to screw the secretary, find a new wife, or keep up with old high school buddies whom I didn’t even hang out with in the first place. I definitely do not use Foursquare to check in every place I go as if I am on parole and I’m not impressed with badges that tell me I’ve been a good boy for checking in consistently. I did join Google+ and once in a while I’ll go over there if I happen to be in a good mood and I want it ruined.

New York City set for first geographic domain name in the USA – If you see a webpage with “.NYC” at the end of it in the future, you’ll know good and well that the city itself approved. That is to say that New York City will indeed, once the domain name launches, be the first geographically-based group to have their own top-level address. And it’s not just limited to government sites, mind you.

Porn played on giant screen outside Chinese train station for 10 minutes – Showing pornographic or erotic content on a public display is a big no no wherever you are in the world, but that didn’t stop it happening back in 2009 during the Super Bowl. And now it has happened again, only this time outside a train station in China.

LOUD footage launch failure: Russian Proton-M cargo rocket – Don’t wear headphones! Baikonur Cosmodrome 2nd July 2013. (suggested by Michael F.)

Yes, this really is a flying electric bicycle – Have you ever thought to yourself that you wished you owned a flying electric bicycle? Well, maybe you haven’t, but some inventors out of the United Kingdom have, and are currently seeking crowd funding through Kickstarter to help kickstart their dream of one day unveiling Paravelo to the public.

60 billion planets in Milky Way could hold life – Scientists from around the world have been scanning the heavens for other habitable planets to find an answer to the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe? A study released Monday by a team of researchers from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University finds that the odds are good that we’re not.

Something to think about:

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

–      George Washington

Today’s Free Downloads:

RAMDisk 4.2.0 RC18 – RAMDisk creates a virtual RAM drive, or block of memory, which your computer treats as if it were a disk drive.

Hamachi – Hamachi will allow you to establish secure direct connections to PCs that are not accessible otherwise due to the restrictions in network setup. By installing Hamachi on two computers and clicking a couple of buttons you can connect them instantly and securely. For example, if your home computer is connected to the Internet via Connection Sharing or Broadband Router, you will not generally be able to access it, say, from your office. By installing Hamachi on both computers and clicking a couple of buttons you can connect them instantly and securely. Now you can browse file shares, run remote desktop or even host a multiplayer game on one computer and join in from another. Just as if they were connected with a physical wire.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 3, 2013

  1. Laurence

    Hi Bill,
    it seems everyone’s talking about the NSA’s spying on it’s citizens nowadays.
    Recently, I stumbled upon an article about the search engine DuckDuckGo and I found it quite interesting so I wanted to share with you.
    “Still trust DuckDuckGo?”
    Submitted by AlexanderHanff on Sat, 06/22/2013 – 13:20
    In my resent blog post PRISM – Where do we go from here? I made the point that using services such as DuckDuckGo on the presumption that they are safe, is a dangerous thing to do and explained why. You can read more @

    Best regards.

    • Thanks Larry.

      The article raises some interesting questions – does it not? It certainly points out the necessity to be conversant with the technology employed. Definitely a recommended read.



  2. Laurence

    Hi Bill,
    I made a typo, an article should’ve been a blog.
    Best regards.