Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 11, 2013

Feds ‘not welcome’ at Def Con hacker conference – Last year NSA Director Keith Alexander keynoted the annual Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas. This year, Def Con organizers warn that U.S. government Federal agents are explicitly not welcome.

Yahoo fights to declassify NSA court documents – Filing a motion with the secret FISA court, the tech giant seeks to prove that it “objected strenuously” to handing the government customer data.

Five tips for the new Google Maps on Android – Checking out the new version of Google Maps and noticing some new features, but also some missing ones? Here’s five quick tips to help you navigate the new interface.

Five free application launchers to make a better Windows desktop – Though many may scoff at the idea of adding launchers to the Windows 7 desktop – it’s actually quite remarkable how much more efficiently you can work with multiple means of launching a tool. I’ve found five different launchers that I think fit the bill perfectly. Everything from an OSX Dock-like tool to popup-type launchers. Let’s take a look and see if, at least, one of these will entice you into the land of launchers.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The Self-Destructing Email – AT&T has scored a patent for so-called “self-destructing e-mail.” Let me begin by saying that there is no such thing. It’s not possible. These schemes are only good for keeping long-term storage to a minimum and possibly preventing embarrassing revelations during the investigative process when you are being sued.

How elite security ninjas choose and safeguard their passwords – There are many ways to manage your digital keys. Here’s how five experts do it.

6 Apps That Turn Your Phone into a Radio – Listening to the regular old radio is a drag. You have to suffer through commercials, DJs who talk too much and songs you don’t like. But if you have a smartphone, you don’t have to put up with it.

WifiInfoView – WifiInfoView scans the wireless networks in your area and displays extensive information about them. It displays network name (SSID), MAC address, PHY yype (802.11g or 802.11n), RSSI, signal quality, frequency, channel number, maximum speed, company name, router model and router name. WifiInfoView also has a summary mode, which displays a summary of all detected wireless networks, grouped by channel number, company that manufactured the router, PHY type, or the maximum speed.

Infographic: Tweeting Your Way to a Successful Business – A new infographic from Fedelta urges businesses to jump head first into the social media pool, suggesting that every day, millions of people express their feelings and experiences about products and services through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other Web-based platforms. More than 70 percent of people actually rely on social media to help guide their purchase decisions; 92 percent of shoppers, in fact, have more confidence in information sought online versus anything they learn from a human salesclerk.

PCWorld Exits Print, and the Era of Computer Magazines Ends – The news isn’t shocking. In fact, it’s sort of a shock it didn’t happen several years ago. After slightly more than thirty years in print, PCWorld magazine is ceasing publication, effective with the current issue, to focus on its website and digital editions. If I have to explain why, you haven’t been paying attention to the media business for the past decade or so.


Alert! Study finds Internet users heed browser warnings – Security warnings displayed by Web browsers are far more effective at deterring risky Internet behavior than was previously believed, according to a new study. The study looked at how users reacted to warnings displayed by Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome browsers, which warn of phishing attempts, malware attacks and invalid SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates

BullGuard Releases Free Online Antivirus Scan – Is your antivirus program doing its job? Well, in all likelihood it is. But perhaps you’d like a second opinion? Today BullGuard has released a free online antivirus scan that you can use to double-check your protection. It just takes a minute to run, and you don’t have to disable or uninstall your existing antivirus solution.

Three billion devices run Java. Yeah, but do they like it? – When you install Java, you see a graphic that informs you of Java’s popularity. But the question is, do we as users, have a choice? The answer is, “Yes, but.”

Google Fixes 17 Flaws in Chrome 28 – Google Chrome 28 includes fixes for three high-risk security flaws and just one critical bug. The lone critical vulnerability is a use-after-free flaw in network sockets reported by Collin Payne. The big winner in the Google bug bounty program for this release is Andrey Labunets, who reported a pair of vulnerabilities that earned him the special reward of $21,500.

U.K. Ministry of Defence hit by cyberattack, data stolen – The U.K. government department was victim of a cyber-espionage attack that saw sensitive data stolen by unnamed hackers, a parliamentary report discloses.

Adobe’s July Patch Release Fixes Bugs in Flash, Shockwave, ColdFusion – The flaws in Flash Player and Shockwave could allow hackers to remotely install and run malware on the underlying system hosting the Adobe software. The ColdFusion bugs could allow someone to remotely call a public method on ColdFusionComponents using WebSockets, or cause a denial-of-service condition on a ColdFusion server.

Company News:

Apple found guilty of conspiring to raise e-book prices – Apple has been found guilty of conspiring with publishers to raise the price of e-books. The decision was reached by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan, with damages levied against Apple to follow in a separate trial.

Shouldn’t Apple just call it a day and admit defeat? – Evidence submitted at the e-book trial paints a picture of a scheming company clearly on the wrong side of the law.

Google accused of ‘shameful hypocrisy’ in helping re-elect anti-global warming senator – The search giant is hosting a fundraising lunch for Senator James Inhofe — who’s notorious for calling global warming a hoax.

Red Hat will switch from Oracle MySQL to MariaDB, reports – Officially, Red Hat still isn’t saying that MariaDB, instead of Oracle’s MySQL, will be its default database management system in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. But off-the-record people close to Red Hat tell a different story.

T-Mobile Announces ‘Jump’ Upgrade Plan – T-Mobile today announced a new upgrade plan called “Jump” where subscribers on installment plans will be able to, after six months, trade in their phones for new devices twice a year. “Two years is too long to wait. That’s 730 days of watching new phones come out that you can’t have,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said during a Wednesday event in New York.

BlackBerry Ousts U.S. Sales Chief, Makes Name Change Official – While BlackBerry has reported encouraging growth in emerging markets, its performance in the U.S. has faltered—a major point of contention for investors at the company’s annual general meeting held this week.

Webopedia Daily:

PRISM Program – A massive surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). The PRISM program utilizes extensive data mining efforts to collect information and analyze that data for patterns of terrorist or other potential criminal activity. The PRISM surveillance program falls under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). According to the Director of U.S. National Intelligence, PRISM is operated under strict supervision and cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States.

Games and Entertainment:

Listen to realistic thunderstorms while you relax – There are a number of storm and white noise simulators in the App Store, but Thunderspace takes it to the next level with 3D stereoscopic sound and lightning flashes.

Deus Ex: The Fall Arrives on iOS Fully Augmented and Ready to Go – Deus Ex games are a hybrid of stealth and direct-confrontation shooting. You can choose how you want to play the game, and that affects the outcome. It’s the same for The Fall, but on a somewhat smaller scale.

Harry Potter Fans Invited to Tour Diagon Alley on Google Street View – Welcome, Muggles, to Diagon Alley. Google’s recent addition of the cobbled wizarding alley (actually the Warner Bros. Studio set in England) to Street View gives Harry Potter fans realistic access to the magical shopping area, now accessible without Floo powder or via Apparition.

Dota 2 finally leaving beta, officially launching – The time has come for yet another MOBA (a genre of game we should all start classifying as YEMOBA) to enter the many-charactered, arena-based fray. This time, though, there is a good chance you’ve already played the game, as Valve’s Dota 2 has been in beta for around two years.

Petition seeks to bring back Xbox One policies – Xbox fans have created a petition on to bring back the features and policies that Microsoft removed in the face of mass fan outrage.

Dice confirms Battlefield 4 on Xbox One will use Kinect – Dice general manager Karl Magnus has confirmed that the developer will be taking advantage of Kinect as part of the Battlefield 4 experience on Xbox One.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Google Graveyard – Here it is in all of its glory and beauty: the stuff that Google did that it don’t do no more. All delivered a la carte in an infographic from the people over at Wordstream.

Report: 579,001 out of 888,856 iPhone apps are zombies – Apple’s App Store is now five years old and contains over 900,000 apps. It’s impact on mobile technology and how we consume media is undeniably huge, but a new report from analytics firm Adeven claims that the effective size of the App Store is much smaller. Adeven’s analysis seems to show that the overwhelming majority of apps have received virtually no downloads.

India to overtake U.S. on number of developers by 2017 – Today, the U.S. leads the world in software developers, with about 3.6 million. India has about 2.75 million. But by 2018, India will have 5.2 million developers, a nearly 90% increase, versus 4.5 million in the U.S., a 25% increase though that period, Evans Data projects. India’s software development growth rate is attributed, in part, to its population size, 1.2 billion, and relative youth, with about half the population under 25 years of age, and economic growth.

Google Street View Captures Weird Stuff – Google Street View cars map the world and take in some interesting sights along the way.

The Definitive History of Peeing in Space – The Space Age was a more innocent time, when doing one’s duty was more about honor and courage than that other thing. So much so that the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, was expected to just hold it during the pioneering Mercury-Redstone 3 flight on May 5, 1961, like a kind of rugged, spacefaring Ken doll.

Star Apps: Jordan Casey – Thirteen-year-old Irish app developer Jordan Casey has already made a name for himself with kids’ games Alien Ball vs. Humans and Greenboy Touch. Now the Casey Games founder chats with about his rise to stardom and his upcoming releases.

50,000 year old forest found on the bottom of the ocean – The world is being mapped in ever greater detail by companies such as Google, but our oceans are still mostly unknown and hold untold secrets. One of those secrets has recently been discovered off the coast of Mobile, Alabama, in the form of an ancient Cypress tree forest that’s anywhere from 50 to 80,000 years old.

Something to think about:

One of the hardest tasks of leadership is understanding that you are not what you are, but what you’re perceived to be by others.”

–      Edward L. Flom

Today’s Free Downloads:

Android Advanced Task Killer – A task menu and controller for your phone great for uninstalling apps or just keeping buggy ones in check.

Adobe Reader for Android – The global standard for reliably viewing and sharing PDF documents across platforms and devices.

Gmail for Android – The dedicated Gmail application integrated with Contacts and Android applications.

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