Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 16, 2013

Infographic: How Much of Your Data is on the Net? – Having all your information in one place is part of what makes the Internet so useful. You can publicly share common interests via Tweets and Facebook posts, or access banking accounts and statements through email. This is great, but it all adds up to a lot of potentially vulnerable information on the Web. Do you know how much of your information is on the Internet? Do you know whether or not it’s secure?

Install any version of Windows using any Windows disc you can find – Reader Chris needs to reinstall Windows 7 Home Basic on his laptop. Just one problem: he lost his recovery discs. A more common problem is when you need to reinstall Windows and you never had recovery discs to begin with. Few manufacturers provide them anymore, and many new PCs don’t have optical drives even if they did. Thankfully, there’s a way around this.

Yahoo court document to be declassified showing FISA opposition – The PRISM news may have slowed in recent weeks, but the backlash against companies who were accused of giving the government unmitigated access to their users’ data hasn’t, and these companies are responding to clear their names. Yahoo! is one such company, and it has recently received a victory in court, with a ruling being issued that will declassify a document showing that it fought against FISA orders.

Open Mic: New Android phones will always be listening – In a bit of a leak of information this weekend, Google’s next-generation software spilled on the heels of the upcoming Motorola smartphone Moto X. This device will be working with Google’s next iteration of their mobile software and will act as a bit of a centerpiece for said software, showing off abilities like voice commands with a system that’s able to listen all the time.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to delete or move a lot of Gmail messages – Gmail lacks an obvious, simple tool for bulk operations. There’s no button to click or menu option to select for deleting or altering all of the messages or conversations that share a specific attribute. But you can still do it.

Linux Mint 15 Xfce released – Could this lightweight desktop for one of the most popular Linux distributions be your next software must-have?

Yahoo IDs Now Up for Grabs After Inactive Account Purge – Yahoo is now accepting requests for desired usernames. The move comes about a month after Yahoo said it would deactivate accounts that have not been used in over a year, allowing people to snap up those once-claimed usernames.

See your Chrome history in a new way with this extension – Searching through your browser history for that one article you read that one time is a painful, often fruitless exercise. With Chrome extension cottonTracks, your browser history is organized by subject, making it easier to drill down to a particular article you read in the past.

Video: Plug wants to be the brain of your devices – CGC has introduced the Plug, a small adapter designed to act like a central “brain” across multiple devices.

Microsoft boosts HomeOS with a new Lab of Things – Microsoft is continuing to advance its HomeOS research project. Now testers can use a framework, with ties to Windows Azure, to more easily monitor and update their device and sensor tests.

Facebook: Users Don’t Care How Many People See Their Posts – Admit it — you get a little bit excited when something you post on Facebook gets a lot of likes and comments. But do you really care how many people actually view your posts? According to Facebook newsfeed engineer Lars Backstrom, the answer is no.

Security:

Femtocell Verizon hack allows exposure of phone conversations, text messages – Hacking into mobile phones isn’t anything new, but a recently-discovered hacking trick has gone undetected for years, and it has opened doors for hackers to expose phone conversations, text messages, and even web browser activity. Research has revealed that low-cost low-power cell base stations called femtocells have been able to hack into mobile phones for years.

Unusual file-infecting malware steals FTP credentials – About 70% of computers infected with this threat are in the US, according to antivirus firm Trend Micro. The new threat is distributed by luring users to malicious websites that host Java and PDF exploits as part of an exploit toolkit. If visitors’ browser plug-ins are not up to date, the malware will be installed on their computers.

Malware campaign strikes Asian, European governments – Trend Micro says it detected a targeted attack that sent malware-laden emails to representatives of 16 European countries and some Asian governments. If the email attachment is opened on an unpatched computer, a “backdoor” program is then installed that steals login credentials for websites and email credentials from Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook.

Remember Jay-Z’s terrible Android app? Privacy group wants feds to investigate – Even Jay-Z, whose real name is Sean Carter, said the fact the app requires access to so much private data was disappointing. As he wrote on Twitter: “sux must do better.” Now, a privacy advocacy group wants the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate.

FBI-themed ransomware now affecting OS X users – Everyone has had to deal with malware of some sort at one point or another, with some being unlucky enough to come across the FBI-themed “ransomware” variety that presents itself as being a government threat of criminal charges should one refuse to pay a fine. This kind of malware has typically been the domain of Windows users, but has made its way to OS X.

Company News:

AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo agree on industry code to combat piracy – The four major advertising giants have signed voluntary codes to help combat online nasties and to improve the integrity of online e-commerce.

Apple pushing for “premium” advertisement-skipping TV service, says sources – Earlier this month, Apple reportedly formed a deal with Time Warner Cable over Apple TV, which we’ll be hearing about towards the end of the year, if the sources are correct. Now word has surfaced that Apple is approaching cable networks with ideas of a “premium” service it would offer that allows the users to skip advertisements, something for which Apple would then pay the network.

Bill Gates says Microsoft Bob will make a comeback – Speaking Monday at the Microsoft Research event, the chairman said Microsoft Bob didn’t get it right, but he thinks the personal assistant feature will reemerge with a bit more sophistication.

Webopedia Daily:

Virtualization-aware networks – Also known as VM-aware networks, virtualization-aware networks are powered by network switches that fully recognize and manage virtual machines (VMs). As a result, virtualization-aware networks enable data centers to efficiently configure and migrate virtual machines across the network as well as into the cloud while avoiding potential access or security issues. Whereas traditional network switches lack awareness of virtual machines, creating the potential for security and migration issues in virtualized environments, VM-aware network switches provide network configuration at a virtual port level, enabling the dynamic and automatic movement of VMs across the network.

Games and Entertainment:

Who needs a HUD? Metro: Last Light and the return to realism – The world of Metro: Last Light isn’t pretty. To escape nuclear war, millions of the game’s Russian citizens descended into subway stations the instant the air raid sirens cried out, forced to leave their lives on the surface behind. Below ground, life is bleak.

Pokémon, added into the nightmarescape of Skyrim mods, is absolutely terrifying – You can’t say never, but it certainly seems like Nintendo really, really doesn’t want to make a Pokémon MMO, so there is a place for an expansive world like Skyrim’s to be the backdrop for a pocket monster style game. The mod, by DJSuperGenius, not only sticks some pocket monsters into the world, but also adds the infamous Team Rocket to battle.

Angry Birds Star Wars II arriving in September with Telepods interactive figurines – Last week, we reported on a new Angry Birds teaser from Rovio that briefly discussed a “brand new” Star Wars game that looked to take on the prequels of the film’s saga. Today, Rovio has released a teaser trailer that gives us a glimpse at what to expect in the game, which is set for release on September 19.

Ultra Street Fighter IV announced with 5 new characters, 6 new stages – Ultra Street Fighter IV looks likely to be the last update for the now 5-year-old game. It introduces another 5 new characters including Hugo, Elena, Poison, Rolen, and a secret character. In total that means the game will ship with 44 characters to choose from. There’s also 6 new stages to compete in, of those only Cosmic Elevator, Half Pipe, and Pitstop 109 have been confirmed.

Mad Max video game full gameplay trailer tips Xbox One and PS4 digs – Here in this week’s first gameplay trailer for the title, you’ll find the “soul of a man” song turning the Australian outback’s post-apocalyptic sensibilities back on a 2013 title for devices both current and next-generation in name. While the story is based in hopelessness, the conservation of fuel and scrounging for firearms and food, Mad Max will have a few more rounds to blast.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Top Artificial Intelligence system is as smart as a 4-year-old – Scientists often talk about creating artificial intelligence, but how “intelligent” are these systems really? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago came up with an answer after giving one of the top artificial intelligence (AI) systems an IQ test. The MIT-built system, dubbed ConceptNet 4, is as smart as the average four-year-old.

Google Glass enters a casino: Watch what happens (or doesn’t) – Chris Barrett, the same intrepid Google Glass explorer who recently filmed an arrest with his device, decides to probe the sensitivities of Glass action in a casino. The results are instructive.

NSA data center will use 1.7M gallons of water per day to read your email – Data centers are notorious for using a lot of power and other resources, but residents of Bluffdale, Utah are a little annoyed by the volume of water that will soon begin flowing to a new NSA facility. When it is completed in September, cooling the massive collection of servers will require as much as 1.7 million gallons of water each day. That’s no drop in the bucket when you’re in the middle of a desert like Bluffdale happens to be.

61 percent of Americans say they’ll work during vacations – Thanks to the infinite reach of technology, a majority of Americans resignedly accept they are a sad cog in capitalism’s big wheel. At least according to TeamViewer’s annual study.

Teens who friend their parents online feel closer to them in real life, study says – A Brigham Young study of nearly 500 families also finds that those students who engage with their parents online are more generous and kind to others.

Reports of the Telegram’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated – Instead of bidding the telegraph a patronizing farewell and making wisecracks about extinct media, we should be hailing it as a dogged, miraculous survivor.

Something to think about:

Character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self respect springs.”

–     Joan Didion

Today’s Free Downloads:

WinPatrol 28.5.2013.0 – WinPatrol takes snapshot of your critical system resources and alerts you to any changes that may occur without your knowledge. WinPatrol was the pioneer in using a heuristic behavioral approach to detecting attacks and violations of your computing environment. Now, using our “Cloud” technology you can benefit from the experience of other WinPatrol users. WinPatrol continues to be the most powerful system monitor for its small memory footprint.

RegSeeker 2.55 – RegSeeker is a FREEWARE utility designed to manage your Windows Registry. You can search for items, uninstall applications, clear histories, clean your registry (wrong entries) and more!

System Spec 3.08 – This standalone, system information utility can also perform various windows functions. Additional advanced info includes CPU, drives, applications, display, memory, networking, internet, CD / DVD drives and more. This utility can be used for comparing the specifications of different machines. The spec can be outputted to a text file or printed to a report.

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