Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 10, 2013

Snowden: US and Israel did create Stuxnet attack code – NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has confirmed that the Stuxnet malware used to attack Iranian nuclear facilities was created as part of a joint operation between the Israelis and the NSA’s Foreign Affairs Directorate (FAD).

Judge throws out “state secrets” defense in light of NSA leaks – Now armed with Snowden’s releases, five-year-old EFF lawsuit gets green light. The EFF issued a statement with commentary from legal director, Cindy Cohn: “The court rightly found that the traditional legal system can determine the legality of the mass, dragnet surveillance of innocent Americans and rejected the government’s invocation of the state secrets privilege to have the case dismissed.”

How to Clone Your Hard Drive – Want a backup strategy that backs up everything on your PC? Consider cloning—your hard drive, that is.

Floating Touch Makes Android Settings and Apps More Accessible – Things are possible on Android that could never work on iOS. For a user who wants advanced utilities and easy customization, Android is the place to be. Sometimes you can even change the way the phone works just by installing a single app. That’s exactly what Floating Touch tries to do. This app borrows from Facebook’s Chat Heads messaging feature, but brings other apps and settings to the forefront.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Transform your PC into a mean, media-streaming machine – The software we’re going to explore today won’t place a huge demand on your PC, but to be on the safe side, you should probably use a PC that’s running Windows 7 or later, with at least 4GB of RAM, and a discrete video card to ensure smooth rendering while you’re streaming movies. Optimizing Windows 8 to run on an older machine is probably the best way to go, but there are also a few decent free tweaks you can make to improve performance on Windows 7.

12 Tips to Speed Up Windows 7 – The problem with most “speed-up Windows 7” stories is that they tell you to turn off some of the operating system’s more charming visual features. The first nine of my dozen tips show you ways you can speed up your Windows 7 system without compromising its appearance. For those who need even more speed or don’t care about eye candy, I’ve listed three at the end that boost system performance at the expense of some visual effects.

Versal Aims to Make Teaching as Easy as Blogging – A new site lets anyone meld words, pictures, videos and web gadgets into courses.

Anything but PowerPoint: five fresh presentation alternatives – What application springs to mind when you think of creating visual aids to accompany your business presentation? For most people, it’s Microsoft’s PowerPoint. But that’s certainly not the only game in town. Plenty of other tools and services are cooler, faster, easier to use, and—in almost all cases—less expensive.

Google Hangouts gets desktop voice calls (with North America bundled) – Google has restored voice call functionality to desktop Hangouts in Gmail, Google+, and the Chrome extension, after the feature disappeared for those early-adopters who switched from the previous chat widget. The company has offered voice calls through Gmail for some time now, including free calls within the US and Canada as part of a frequently-renewed promotion, and as of this week Hangouts gets the upgrade too.

Peering behind the shroud of online and social media privacy – The privacy landscape online and on social media is being affected by more than governments, and even the idea of privacy rights on social media may be exaggerated.

Three tips for an effective SMB blog – The tips and resources provided in this piece will help you get your SMB blog on the right track; it will give you several tools you can use to leverage effective techniques, getting your key content to the customer through your blog.


Porn Spam on YouTube: The Struggle Against Internet Scams – Spammers are getting wilier at infiltrating websites. According to Jerome Segura from Malwarebytes Unpacked, some have slipped past YouTube’s filters and successfully uploaded pornographic material to the video-sharing website. It’s not simply the appearance of porn on YouTube that poses a serious problem; these uploaded videos further trick users into following a dangerous link.

July’s Patch Tuesday fixes 6 critical Microsoft flaws – If you use the Windows operating system, or just about any of the core products offered by Microsoft, it’s time to install some crucial updates. Today, Microsoft pushed out seven new security bulletins—along with their accompanying patches—as well as a new policy that affects both third-party apps and those developed by Microsoft itself.

Google: Critical Android security flaw won’t harm most users – Bluebox, a mobile security firm, billed the exploit as a “Master Key” that could “turn any legitimate application into a malicious Trojan, completely unnoticed by the app store, the phone, or the end user.” In a blog post last week, Bluebox CTO Jeff Forristal wrote that nearly any Android phone released in the last four years is vulnerable. Bluebox’s claims led to a fair number of scary-sounding headlines, but as Google points out, most Android users are already safe from this security flaw.

How to hide from Facebook Graph Search – It’s all about limiting your audience. Things you’re okay letting the world know about can be set to public, but they’ll also land you in the results for Graph queries. Limiting certain things to friends-only or yourself-only will dramatically lower the odds that you’ll appear when someone does a search.

Nintendo cracks after month-long, 15.5 million-strong hacker bombardment – Out of that splatter, 24,000 bogus login tries struck the jackpot, exposing names, addresses, phone numbers and other personal details of corresponding Club Nintendo customers.

Company News:

Microsoft gives Windows app developers 180 days to patch — or else – Microsoft today said it would give third-party app developers 180 days to patch serious vulnerabilities or the company will yank their software from its online stores. (IMMEDIATELY is the only common sense approach. What am I saying –“common sense”? Duh! In that case, scrub – immediately.)

YouTube offers creators free use of production facility – YouTube has opened the doors at its production center in Los Angeles, allowing partners to use their sound stages, video editing equipment, and professional cameras. CNET’s Sumi Das gets a tour of YouTube Space LA and explains what YouTube stands to gain.

Microsoft settles thousands of software piracy cases – Working to protect its intellectual property, the tech giant settled 3,265 counterfeiting suits worldwide during the past year.

Dropbox aims to replace the hard drive altogether – With Dropbox Platform, announced at its first developer conference Tuesday, the company continues the build-out of its own cloud ecosystem.

Yelp Expands Into Food Delivery – Yelp today announced the launch of a new platform that will allow users to order food directly from within Yelp.

Webopedia Daily:

Application virtualization – Also called application service virtualization. Application virtualization is layered on top of other virtualization technologies, such as storage virtualization or machine virtualization to allow computing resources to be distributed dynamically in real time. In standard computing, applications install their settings onto the host operating system, hard-coding the entire system to fit that application’s needs. With application virtualization, each application brings down its own set of configurations on-demand, and executes in a way so that it sees only its own settings. This leaves the host operating system and existing settings unaltered.

Games and Entertainment:

Grand Theft Auto V official gameplay video debuts – As if you’re not already hurting to play some new Grand Theft Auto, the folks over at Rockstar Games released an almost 5-minute long gameplay video to the public. This is the first time that we’re seeing gameplay of Grand Theft Auto V, and Rockstar narrates us through an introduction of the game to get us prepared.

4 trends that make mobile gaming lame – A number of trends do little to improve the mobile gaming experience. We cover the four biggest culprits.

PlayStation 4 GameStop pre-orders halted as inventory runs dry – GameStop is one of the go-to brick-and-mortar establishments for many gamers for their gaming needs, and the store has been offering gamers the chance to pre-order next-generation consoles, including the PlayStation 4 from Sony. However, GameStop has halted pre-orders for the new console, as inventory is beginning to dry up.

Game developers: Nintendo’s Wii U is a ‘disappointment’ – Electronic Arts’ Peter Moore hints that his company may not bring other games to the Nintendo console.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Its not Facebook, its Crackbook – and we all suffer FOMO – Summary: FOMO — fear of missing out is keeping us addicted to our social networking sites according to a new connecting and communicating study released today.

Make anything a quadcopter with Drone it Yourself – The only real requirements for a quadcopter is that it has four propellers and is light enough to leave the ground for some length of time. Based on those rules, there’s a lot of things you could make into a quadcopter with the right parts. Drone It Yourself wants to make those parts easy to get, and then super simple to setup and use.

Cracked: 21 Awesome Real Easter Eggs Hidden on the Internet – An Easter egg is a wonderful thing to find in a movie or a video game. It’s an even more wonderful thing to find in real life. We asked you to show us some Easter eggs that’ll add a little joy to our day.

A Homeless Man and His BlackBerry – The idea of a homeless man with an iPhone, but no job or roof over his head, is discomfiting, mostly because poverty is perhaps one of the last bastions of unexamined prejudice in the U.S. Few would argue that people of different races or genders shouldn’t own phones, but it’s still common to temper sympathy for the homeless or destitute if they have a phone.

Fugitive tweets ‘catch me if you can’; caught – A woman flees to Mexico, perhaps in the belief that she won’t be caught there. Her confidence reportedly spills over into a tweet. It is misplaced.

Pirate Bay founder creating surveillance-free messaging app – Looking to develop a way to block the government and private companies from monitoring people’s messages, Peter Sunde is working on an app called Hemlis “where no one can spy on you, not even us.”

Were the Wright brothers really first? Not in Brazil – In the U.S., the Wright brothers are recognized for making history with the world’s first airplane flight. In Brazil, the first aviator goes by the name of Santos-Dumont.

Something to think about:

Cynicism is not realistic and tough. It’s unrealistic and kind of cowardly because it means you don’t have to try.”

–      Peggy Noonan

Today’s Free Downloads:

QGifer 0.2.1 Beta – QGifer is a tool for extracting part of a video to an animated GIF file.

HotShots 1.2.0b2 – Capture screens and save them in a variety of image formats as well as adding annotations and graphical data.

Startup Sentinel – Startup Sentinel (a.k.a. SuS) makes your PC startup faster and more secure by giving you full control on loaded software.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 10, 2013

  1. John

    Hi Bill,
    Enjoyed the story about the “Homeless Man and his Blackberry”, as it made me think how close I sail to the wind sometimes and gives food for thought so to speak!


    • Hi John,

      I fear that many of us are forced to sail too close to the wind these days – not on a sea of our choosing, unfortunately. Still, hard as it is, we’ll survive all this.

      Keep your chin up mate. 🙂