Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 5, 2013
Restoring the Fourth – Joining in on a nationwide protest, hundreds of demonstrators march through the streets of San Francisco chanting “NSA go away” and “Restore the Fourth today.”
Get those precious Facebook moments backed up sharpish with PhotoGrabber – Making backups of everything you put online is always a sound policy. You never know when a site is going to get hacked, shutter their virtual doors, or just decide to shut down your account for whatever reason. One site that makes data backups a really good idea is Facebook.
Bitdefender’s Wildly Different Antivirus Tools Both Shine – Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition (2014) is a complete departure. It offers no configuration settings, and its minimalist main window vanishes any time you click away from it. By default it scans during idle time, so there’s no button to launch a scan (though you can do so from the tool’s tray menu).
Infographic: Twitter Named Most Illiterate Social Network – When you’re restricted to only 140 characters, there is no need to follow the basic rules of the English language, right? That seems to be the popular opinion of social media users, according to Brandwatch and mycleveragency, which teamed up to take a look at social network illiteracy around the globe. Based on their calculations, Twitter takes the cake in the Social Spelling Hall of Shame, boasting the worst spellers — almost twice as likely to deviate from the official English language as Facebook, and 25 percent more inclined than Google+ users.
50 Best Android Apps for 2013 – From high-end Android handsets like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 down to low-cost prepaid phones, you’re not getting the full value unless you load up your phone with some great apps. We’re here to help with 50 app recommendations, from news and weather to productivity and task management. Everything’s in order of price, starting with free apps and moving from lowest to highest.
50 Must-Have iPad Apps – Fifty must-have apps, from A to Z: here’s a list of essentials every iPad owner should consider. Each entry features alternative options to check out too, for well over 150 apps.
50 Best Websites 2013 – TIME’s annual salute to sites and services that keep you entertained and informed, save you time and money — and maybe even change your life
The Fairywren board turns your Raspberry Pi into a full-fledged desktop computer – Plugging your Raspberry Pi into this board gives you a fully functional suite of four USB ports, a 2.5-inch hard drive bay, and connections for a 24-pin power supply. Meanwhile, on the backside you’ll find all the AV connections you’ll need, including HDMI as well as DVI. There’s also a built in IR remote module to make it the perfect XBMC box.
Five things every TechNet subscriber needs to do before time runs out – The hands-down best deal Microsoft ever offered is about to shut down. The TechNet subscriptions service will continue for a little more than a year, but some important deadlines are coming up fast. Here’s what you need to know.
Put your business on the map: The Google Map – Add polish to the business listing that gets displayed on Google Maps using the Places for Business service.
How to change drive letters–even when the letter you want isn’t available – We were using drive letters before DOS, and I’m surprised we’re still using them. Everyone knows that C: is the main drive–or at least the one Windows boots from. (Why C:? Because A: and B: were originally reserved for floppies.) But not everyone knows that if you have an administrator-level account, you can reassign drive letters.
Fake Pinterest “Password changed” email leads to malware – Pinterest users beware: an email purportedly coming from the popular pinboard-style photo-sharing website and notifying you of a successful password reset is fake. If you click on the offered button that will ostensibly show you the new password, you will be taken through a series of redirections and will finally land on a compromised website hosting the Blackhole exploit kit.
‘Darkleech’ malware undertakes ransomware campaign – A persistent, widespread malware campaign that utilizes compromised Apache servers is locking users’ computers and demanding a fee of US$300 to free their data. Researchers from Eset wrote that the ransomware scam is an extension of a long-running attack that compromises the infrastructure of web hosting companies with a variant of a malicious Apache module called “Darkleech.”
China sees rise in international Trojan and botnet attacks – China saw an increase in Trojan and botnet attacks coming from other countries in 2012, as the amount of mobile malware in the country also surged, according to a local security group. During the year, a total of 73,000 Trojan and botnet command-and-control servers had hijacked 14.2 million host machines in the country. The number of Trojan and botnet servers marks an almost 60 percent increase from 2011.
EU increases penalties for cybercriminals and hackers – Looking to deter cyberattacks on national infrastructure and halt the illegal interception of communications, the European Union toughens its laws.
Mega launches Android app with support for other platforms in the works – Mega – the file-hosting website of Kim Dotcom fame – has announced the arrival of its first mobile app, which is for Android and available now on the Google Play Store. Although neither the iOS nor Windows Phone apps are available, the announcement states they are in “the final stages” and will be launched in the near future.
Boston University wants Apple’s profits, sues for patent infringement – The terms of the lawsuit state that a 1997 patent entitle them to all of what Apple has made from products allegedly using their technology — including the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air.
Oracle quietly slashes BI software prices – Oracle has quietly cut the list price of its flagship BI (business intelligence) Foundation Suite significantly, possibly in response to increased market competition. BI Foundation Suite was previously priced at $450,000 per processor license, but on an official price list dated June 25, the cost is listed at $300,000. However, a named user plus license remained listed at $3,675.
Boot to Gecko – Boot to Gecko, or B2G, is an ambitious Mozilla project initiated to build a complete, standalone operating system for the open Web. Boot to Gecko’s primary focus is for use on mobile and tablet devices as an open source mobile operating system that provides the infrastructure to build apps with Web APIs. Boot to Gecko ultimately seeks to provide Web developers with the same capabilities as those building for operating system-specific stacks.
Games and Entertainment:
Sentinel 3: Homeworld Free for iPad and iPhone This Weekend, Usually $3 – This solid tower defense game is going from $3 to free for the next few days on iOS.
Xbox One Headset now reportedly bundled as Microsoft U-turns again – Microsoft’s Xbox One will now include a headset as part of the standard bundle, it’s reported, with the company apparently having another change of heart and opting to include the accessory after gamers voiced their dissatisfaction. The Xbox One Chat Headset had initially been billed as a separate purchase, but according to information from the official Microsoft distributor for the console, ElectronicTheatre reports, will now be thrown in the box too.
Final Fantasy VII out now on Steam for $12, PC only – The legendary RPG has arrived on Valve’s online game network, but there’s no Mac version in sight.
Bungie releases 12 minute 1080p Destiny gameplay trailer – When Bungie announced it was developing a new IP called Destiny back in February, millions of gamers stopped what they were doing and started listening. This is the company that brought us Halo after all, so they know what they are doing when it comes to first-person console shooters.
Limbo – Limbo developer Playdead has two triumphs on its hands here: getting me to purchase the same game for the third time, and making it such a painless, seamless transition. Getting the controls right on a game built for touch-screen devices is really hard—doubly so for platformers. I’m pleased to say they’ve knocked it out of the park here, with a presentation that’s delightfully simple: just swipe and hold anywhere on screen to move, and swipe up to jump. So simple, without any need to rely on kludgy virtual joysticks or on-screen buttons that take up most of the screen real estate. Bravo.
Off Topic (Sort of):
Internet fills the gap as some TV stations shut down in Egypt during transition – The Internet held up in Egypt as the military deposed the country’s president Wednesday, with both the former president’s aides and the opposition using Twitter and Facebook extensively to communicate with followers in Egypt and the rest of the world.
How much to turn around Zynga? Try $50m – How much is turning around ailing casual game company Zynga worth? If you’re ex-Microsoft Don Mattrick, the answer is a cool $50m. Details of Mattrick’s reward package – starting with a $1m salary and climbing from there – have emerged courtesy of the SEC, with the former interactive entertainment business president taking home a $5m signing bonus, among other things.
Survey: Most Americans don’t want wearable tech like iWatch, Google Glass – The April telephone poll of 1,011 Americans 18 and older found that only 34 percent of those polled who make $100,000 or more a year would consider buying or wearing a consumer-grade smart watch or smart glasses. For those with a significantly smaller income, $35,000 annually, the percentage of those interested in the technology increases to 47 percent.
Solar panels don’t have to be shiny black surfaces anymore – For anyone worried about aesthetics, solar panels can be a real drag. An environmentally-friendly, socially-conscious drag, but a drag nonetheless. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Germany are working on a new type of photovoltaic using thin-film technologies to do away with the dark-colored cells and bring a little color to the panels.
Something to think about:
“You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”
– Ayn Rand
Today’s Free Downloads:
Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) – The Secunia PSI is a free security tool designed with the sole purpose of helping you secure your computer against vulnerabilities in programs. 98 out of 100 PCs have 1 or more insecure programs installed! Download the free Secunia PSI and check your PC for insecure programs exposing you to security threats!
BB FlashBack Express – BB FlashBack Express is a free screen recorder with the best-of-breed recording features of BB FlashBack. Our ‘capture driver’ technology gives us a head start on other free screen recorders. It creates high frame rate, high quality movies without affecting PC performance, even on lower powered PCs.
Ghostery 2.9.6 – Ghostery sees the “invisible” web, detecting trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google Analytics, and over 1,000 other ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers – all companies interested in your activity. Ghostery allows you to block scripts from companies that you don’t trust, delete local shared objects, and even block images and iframes.