Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 9, 2013

Supreme Court asked to halt NSA phone surveillance – Privacy group can’t petition secret court, so it goes straight to Supreme Court. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) today filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court to stop the National Security Agency (NSA) from collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans.

Deals with foreign cable owners, secret court rulings broaden NSA spying potential – New information this weekend gave a glimpse into the efforts made by the US to establish a broad network of surveillance around the world. Some of the efforts involve using a proxy telecommunications company to manage the information gathered by local telecom companies in foreign countries, creating internal corporate cells with access to foreign-owned fiber optic cables, and using unchallenged rulings from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts (FISC) to broaden the NSA’s powers.

Advertisers can pay AdBlock Plus to look the other way – Color me disillusioned. First, US representative Anthony Weiner uses Twitter as his own personal Chatroulette and then Lance Armstrong admits that he got some help from science in order to win all the Tour de Frances. And now we find that AdBlock Plus (ABP), the popular ad-blocking browser extension, allows advertisers such as Google to pay to get their ads “whitelisted.” Nothing is sacred.

Get a disposable email address from MailDrop – If you’re registering online for some freebie, promotion, or Web site that you just know is going to deluge you with ads and other spam, it makes sense to supply a disposable address—something you can access as needed for confirmation messages or the like, but that won’t otherwise interfere with your primary inbox. MailDrop gives you a free throwaway email address. Use it in place of your own address, then head to the site to retrieve any messages you might need.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

HP’s Slate 7 Android tablet drops to $140 – Hewlett Packard’s Android tablet was priced at $170 and up when the Slate 7 first launched in April. And now? Well, HP is lowering the cost of its 7-inch (1024 x 600 pixel display) tablet to $140. As previously reported on TG Daily , the Slate 7 is powered by a 1.6 GHz Rockchip RK3066 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. A 16GB iteration of the Slate is also available for $170.

The Top 25 Best Windows 8 Apps – Windows 8’s app store still trails its Apple and Android counterparts, but there are some gems, nevertheless. We identify the cream of the crop for you.

A Nation of Kids with Gadgets and ADHD: Is technology to blame for the rise of behavioral disorders? – The rise in ADHD has coincided with the rise of mobile devices. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children on average spend nearly seven and a half hours each day staring at screens. That’s up 20% from just five years ago. Is there a relationship between the two? Perhaps. It’s not so clear-cut.

App lets you stream TV channels to your Android phone or tablet – The US TV & Radio Free app for Android lets you watch and even record live TV channels — local and cable alike. But how?

GPS on Your Windshield: Garmin Brings Navigation HUDs to Regular Old Cars – As smartphones continue to make standalone GPS devices redundant, Garmin is trying something different with its upcoming heads-up display.

Twitter Updates Apps With DM Syncing – Twitter’s updates bring direct message synching, and improvements for mobile search.

Pink fan arrested for tweet that included the word ‘bomb’ – A Sydney teen, en route to a Pink concert, tweets about “Timebomb,” but shortens it to “Bomb.” He is arrested at the venue and now faces charges.


We interrupt this program to warn the Emergency Alert System is hackable: Publicly available SSH key makes it possible to hijack nation’s warning system – The US Emergency Alert System, which interrupts live TV and radio broadcasts with information about national emergencies in progress, is vulnerable to attacks that allow hackers to remotely disseminate bogus reports and tamper with gear, security researchers warned.

Six critical Windows, Office, IE security vulnerabilities – For Patch Tuesday, Microsoft warns of critical flaws for almost every version of Windows running every bit of hardware.

Keep your pants on: A reality check about this latest Android malware scare – It happens like clockwork: Every few weeks, a new story emerges about some big, bad, scary Android malware threat and how everyone who owns an Android device is in serious soil-your-pants-style danger. The only problem? In nearly every scenario, the threat is purely hypothetical — and the chances of an actual infection are next to none.

Google releases key Android security fix – Google fixed an Android vulnerability that could allow attackers to convert 99 percent of applications into Trojan malware.

Company News:

Windows 8.1 going out to OEMs late next month – Microsoft released a public preview version of Windows 8.1 late last month, and it seems things are going well so far. As a result, it looks like Microsoft is ready to set a date for the final version to be sent out to OEMs. The company is planning to push out a final version of Windows 8.1 to PC makers sometime in “late August.”

Microsoft kicks back $5-$10 to resellers on Windows 8 hardware – Starting today, Microsoft will give resellers up to $10 for each device they sell from a list of 21 Windows 8 touch-enabled PCs and tablets, company executives said.

Barnes & Noble CEO Resigns Amidst Nook Troubles – Barnes & Noble today announced that its CEO, William Lynch, has resigned, effective immediately.

DirecTV and Time Warner said to make power play for Hulu – Several companies put in initial bids to buy the video streaming service, and now it’s looking like both DirecTV and Time Warner also made follow-up offers.

Microsoft will reportedly unveil major restructuring Thursday – CEO Steve Ballmer expected to announce dramatic restructuring around services and hardware this week.

Webopedia Daily:

Internet fax – A device that uses IP networks to transport faxes instead of PSTN as its means of transporting a fax document. More specifically, Internet Fax uses e-mail as the transport medium. Internet fax services typically include e-mail to fax (fax from an existing e-mail application), fax to e-mail (receive faxes in your e-mail), and PC to fax (fax documents from your desktop).

Games and Entertainment:

Popular iOS apps made free to celebrate App Store 5th anniversary – Apple’s App Store will be celebrating its fifth anniversary in just two days time, on June 10. In order to coax us all into celebrating the five-year mark, Apple has made some of its most popular apps and games free for us to download.

Build your own prison-industrial complex with Prison Architect – Prison Architect is a management game of sorts, akin to Dungeon Keeper or Dwarf Fortress. Your primary task is to design habitats for your “citizens”—living quarters, kitchens and cafeterias, showers, and so on. Of course, these are prisoners, in a prison, so caveats abound. Your charges will stop at nothing to escape their fetters, which means erecting lots of fencing, designing cell blocks that’ll keep hardened criminals and prison staff separate, and hiring plenty of guards to keep the peace.

Limbo is an eerie puzzle masterpiece for iOS – It’s already an award-winning hit on Xbox Live Arcade, and you’ll now be able to play this dark and eerie platformer on iOS devices.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Squinto throwable “ball” camera granted patent with prototype in the works – A device called Squinto has just been granted its second US patent, with the filing calling it a “Ball with camera and trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation.” In essence, Squinto is a black and yellow ball that can be thrown, ending up with either a stabilized video or a panorama created by stitching images together. We have a video of it in action after the jump.

Workers do not trust employers with personal data – Workers using their own mobile devices for work remain fearful of their employer accessing their personal information. A new Aruba Networks report features a study of over 3,000 employees around the world and reveals that almost half of European (45 percent), 40 percent of Middle Eastern and 66 percent of American respondents fear the loss of personal data.

Dear Heidi Klum, in Georgia they clear out their naked selfies most – With Heidi Klum exposing her backside on Twitter, app maker KS Mobile reveals exclusively which states clean their phones and which don’t. In Wyoming, they just can’t quit their naughty selfies.

US agency baffled by modern technology, destroys mice to get rid of viruses – $170,000 of PCs, printers, keyboards, cameras, and mice destroyed in gross overreaction. The total cost to the taxpayer of this incident was $2.7 million: $823,000 went to the security contractor for its investigation and advice, $1,061,000 for the acquisition of temporary infrastructure (requisitioned from the Census Bureau), $4,300 to destroy $170,500 in IT equipment, and $688,000 paid to contractors to assist in development a long-term response. Full recovery took close to a year.

New research points to over 3500 species in Antarctic’s Lake Vostok – In the middle of the frozen Antarctic wastes, 800 miles from the South Pole is Lake Vostok. Well, it would be more correct to say that it’s under 2 miles of solid ice, but why quivel? This massive pocket of water has been sealed in the ice for 15-35 million years, and scientists now believe it could harbor life.

Students create smartphone-powered driverless car – A group of Australian students has developed an autonomous car driven by a smartphone. But don’t expect to see it on the road just yet.

Something to think about:

After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say – I want to see the manager.”

–      William S. Burroughs

Today’s Free Downloads:

YUMI – YUMI can be used to create a Multiboot USB Flash Drive containing multiple operating systems, antivirus utilities, disc cloning, diagnostic tools, and more.

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition – With Macrium Reflect Free Edition you’ll be able to easily make an accurate and reliable image of your HDD or individual partitions.

Sandboxie 4.0.4 – Run programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

7 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 9, 2013

    • Hey Delenn13,

      Thanks for that – no doubt it’s needed. Wouldn’t be needed of course, if users made at least a minimal effort to familiarize themselves with the applications they use. Adblock has always offered users the choice of disabling the Acceptable Ads whitelist.

      Frankly, if I was the Adblock developer I would seriously consider suing both PCWorld, and the author, for substantially misrepresenting the application. The headline is crafted in a manner designed to provoke.

      Thanks for looking out for those who won’t look out for themselves. You know you’re appreciated.



  1. Don

    Hi Bill; been a long time since I exchanged bytes with you. The new format is a bit challenging to add a reply as opposed to the older method. Anyway, just a comment about the GPS on your windshield article: Personally, I’ve never looked at the screen while driving, but rather just listen to the audio prompts. I have a Garmin unit, but recently tried out the Google maps feature on my Android Droid 4 .. works great, AND I can plug it into my cars sound system for great audio. The “fly by wire” method probably has its usefulness, but driving a car requires more attention than flying a plane! Ha ha. I’d hate to be following the display as a car pulls out of a side street without stopping!

    Best always Don

    • Hi Don,

      Yes, I agree with you. The very idea that a transference of a military technology used in advanced aircraft (for example), can easily make the shift into every day use is – in this case – not on. I suspect that pilots (again, for example), train intensively to overcome the numerous distraction issues inherent in this technology. That, ain’t gonna happen in the real world. So yeah, side streets may become an issue. 🙂

      Great to hear from you.



  2. serialboy

    Dear Bill,

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    Thank you and sorry for my bad english .