Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 23, 2013

Automatically remove tracking tokens from URLs in Chrome, Firefox – Tired of having your Web browsing habits followed all over the Internet? Check out these add-ons for Chrome and Firefox so you can automatically remove the tracking code from links.

Should you keep using Windows XP? – It looks like a great many people will still be using XP next year and beyond, making it all the more dangerous. Now that I’m telling you not to stick with XP, what should you do? Here are some suggestions….

License plate scanning: The inside story of a cop who tracks our data – First our data packets, and now our license plates? Isn’t anything safe from the prying eyes of the government? But when you look at how plate scanning is being used at the street level, it’s easy to understand the zeal with which police have adopted it.

NSA Revelations Reframe Digital Life For Some – News of the U.S. government’s secret surveillance programs that targeted phone records but also information transmitted on the Internet has done more than spark a debate about privacy.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Tired of spam? Hand out a disposable email address – A new privacy tool called MaskMe may help people evade data harvesting efforts by websites and marketers. Many of the components of MaskMe, created by the privacy software developer Abine, are individually available elsewhere. But Abine has meshed them together into a convenient extension for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

How to perfect your photo’s colors by adjusting white balance – Most people distinguish good photos from bad photos based on just a handful of factors: the focus, exposure, framing, and color balance. And while the first three are pretty obvious, color balance is the most mysterious. As a result, many snapshooters pay little or no attention to it, and that’s too bad—it’s easy to adjust, and can have an enormous effect on your photos.

3 reasons why tablets thrive while PCs dive – Tablets are growing so much in popularity that they will outstrip laptops shipped in 2013, IDC said, while tablets will exceed both laptops and desktops by 2015. There are three key reasons for the tablet’s success. First, tablets, on average, cost less than laptops or desktops — about 60% as much. Second, tablets are lighter and smaller, on average, and, therefore, more mobile, than laptops. Tablets with screen sizes that are less than 8 inches will make up 55% of the market in 2013………

SanDisk unveils wireless flash drives that hold up to 64GB – The new Media drive can stream up to five different HD movies at once to multiple devices. The new drives include the Connect Wireless Flash Drive — a thumb drive — and the Connect Wireless Media Drive, a larger, but still pocket-sized storage device. The Connect Wireless Flash Drive comes in 16GB and 32GB capacities; the Connect Wireless Media Drive comes in 32GB and 64GB capacities.

Three cool ways to tweak File Explorer in Windows 8 – Microsoft may have bungled a few things with Windows 8 (snark reply: “Just a few?!”), but File Explorer isn’t one of them. For one thing, the file manager finally earned a home on the Taskbar (even if you have to switch to the desktop to find it). Even better, Microsoft endowed it with the now-familiar Ribbon interface, making for much easier navigation of your files (and Explorer itself).

Best streaming-video apps for Android – We take a look at some of the best non-YouTube apps on Android for streaming TV shows, movies, and other videos from around the Web.

Best streaming-video apps for iOS – I take a look at the best apps on iOS for watching YouTube videos, movies, and TV shows from around the Web.

Surplus computing power on your Android? Donate it to science – Users of Android 2.3 or higher can become citizen scientists by downloading software and choosing the projects they want to power, such as fighting AIDS and finding new stars.


Cyberattacks account for up to $1 trillion in global losses – A new report by McAfee shows that hacking and cybercrime is costing the global economy billions; however, it’s not as bad as was previously reported. (In the meantime, governments worldwide are focused on  controlling YOU. Cybercriminals are laughing their asses off.)  

Cryptographer cracks the SIM card, millions of devices may be vulnerable – SIM cards have long been considered the most secure part of a phone, and they really have to be. After quite a lot of trying, one security researcher has managed to find a pair of vulnerabilities in SIM cards that could affect millions of devices. At the upcoming Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, German cryptographer Karsten Nohl will explain how he can remotely take over these millions of devices.

SIM card hack has severe implications for business – Lost and stolen phones have become an epidemic for the corporate world, and solutions to this dilemma have been unbearably slow in presenting themselves. Compound that with the risk that a large number of business devices may also be able to be attacked via a remote exploit and cell phones are looking increasingly like the weak link in any business’s infrastructure.

Apple Developer portal breach credited to security researcher – If you’ve been wondering why Apple’s Developer portal was down for a few days, blame it on a security breach. Apple announced yesterday that their dev center was hacked into, but no personal information was accessed, thankfully. So who’s behind the intrusion? A security researcher is taking the credit.

UK’s PM wants to ban child abuse search terms, but would that even work? – The British government wants Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to block Internet searches that are likely to lead to child abuse images. Internet search providers have until October to commit to banning lists of keywords deemed abusive or the government will consider legislation to force them, the U.K.’s Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday in a speech. (Another unworkable solution from a man who understands NOTHING about the Internet, or how pedophiles communicate. Search engines are NOT high on the list. Just another sleazy attempt to broaden government control.)

Stupidity is catchingMP Joy Smith wants Canada to copy David Cameron’s U.K. porn block – An influential Tory backbencher wants to follow the U.K.’s lead on child porn crackdown by pushing for installing a “porn block” for all web users.

How to spot and avoid Facebook ‘Like’ scams – When you click or press the Like button, you may be disclosing more about yourself than you imagine. You may also be contributing to the bank accounts of Internet scammers.

Company News:

Microsoft predicts another cruel quarter for PC sales – Microsoft is prepping Wall Street for a 2% slip in Windows revenue for the third quarter and warning that PC shipments will continue their double-digit tumble.

Google bigger than Facebook, Netflix and Instagram combined – Google, and its bevy of services, including Gmail, search, YouTube and Maps, now account for 25% of all Internet traffic in North America, on average, according to Deepfield, an Internet monitoring company that released the data. 25% sounds good but how significant is that in the online world? To put it another way, Google’s bite is bigger than Facebook, Netflix, and Instagram traffic combined, Deepfield said.

Canonical seeks crowdfunding to develop a smartphone-powered Ubuntu desktop – Canonical is trying to raise $32 million to fund development of a dual-booting, high-end smartphone on crowdsourcing site Indiegogo. Describing the Ubuntu Edge as the “next generation of personal computing,” the smartphone is intended to be a mobile device on the go that’s powerful enough to run a full desktop when docked to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

T-Mobile slams AT&T, Verizon’s ‘deceptive’ early upgrade plans – T-Mobile says its Jump program is materially different than early upgrade programs its larger rivals offer and it wants to educate the customer.

Google buys stake in Himax, maker of the Glass display – Google has acquired a small share of Himax Display Technologies, which is perhaps best known for rolling out the first USB 3.0 pico projector. Perhaps lesser known is its involvement with Glass, having created the tiny display on the device. The acquisition is still pending, and leaves room for additional shares.

Samsung to cut out Google middleman with own developers’ conference – There has reportedly been a bit of tension stirring between Google and Samsung over Samsung’s runaway success as the best-selling Android phone manufacturer. Google’s concern, according to unnamed sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, is that Samsung might eventually try to throw its weight around to control the direction of Android or get a cut of Google’s “lucrative mobile ad business.”

Webopedia Daily:

In-memory database – A database that uses a system’s main memory for data storage rather than the disk-based storage typically utilized by traditional databases. In-memory databases, or IMDBs, are frequently employed in high-volume environments where response time is critical, as access times and database requests are typically considerably faster when system memory is used as opposed to disk storage, particularly hard drive storage.

Games and Entertainment:

10 strategy games that will sharpen your tactics – Strategy games are the best ways to have fun and sharpen those acute decision-making skills we all love to flaunt. Whether you’re planning the perfect assault, finding the most efficient supply chain, or simply running for your life to survive, it’s important to be able to formulate a plan. These games are the way to do it—starting with captaining your own deathtrap, er, spaceship.

Xbox One to record last five minutes of gameplay – We’ve known for awhile now that the Xbox One will be able to record your gameplay and upload those cool moves to YouTube for the world to see, but details as to how exactly that would work have been scarce so far. However, it’s been revealed that Microsoft’s new console will save the last five minutes of gameplay at any one time.

The Raven – The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief takes cues from mystery films of the 1960s and does a fantastic job, but the setting brings into sharp relief the shortcomings of the point-and-click genre—shoddy…

Off Topic (Sort of):

Cracked: 5 Terrifying Smartphone Hacks You Won’t Believe Are Possible – Sometimes we fail to appreciate the fact that today, right now, we’re living in a sci-fi universe. The smartphone is a miracle of mathematics and engineering genius, converting a little over 4 ounces of inert matter into a Star Trek-level wondercomputer. But the downside of storing your entire world inside an ass-pocket-dwelling supercomputer is that there are always those who are itching to turn that technology against you in ways you’d never expect, like …

Only 8 pilots in the world are certified to land in Bhutan (video 1:00) – Unbelievably extraordinary! Those pilots are awesome! (suggested by Michael F.)

Want life to feel pointless? Look at these photos of Earth from 900 million miles away – See that tiny bluish dot in the photo above? That’s Earth from 900 million miles away. Feeling small and insignificant yet? It’s simultaneously stunning and a little depressing, actually, to think that you exist on nothing more than a tiny, pale dot. Like ants on the sidewalk, almost.

Crisis? What Crisis? Check Out America’s Swankiest Law Offices – Today, the legal profession is awash with crushing debt, mass layoffs, and a distinct lack of upward mobility. One legacy of the old way: opulent offices designed to woo would-be customers into thinking that a particular firm is rock-solid. Here’s a gallery of some of the legal world’s greatest architectural hits. (suggested by Michael F.)

Facebook confirms men don’t care about royal baby – The social network analyzes the newborn’s first million Facebook mentions and finds out what people expected all along.

The saddest Web site on Earth – A new single-service Web site lets you know approximately how many more times you’ll get to see your parents before they die. Seriously.

Something to think about:

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”

–     Malcolm X

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Port Scanner 3.1.9 – Free Port Scanner is a small, fast, easy-to-use and robust port scanner for the Win32 platform. You can scan ports on fast machines in a few seconds and can perform scan on predefined port ranges. This tool uses TCP packets to determine available hosts and open ports, service associated with port and other important characteristics. The tool is designed with a user-friendly interface and is easy to use.

iSpy – iSpy uses your webcams and microphones to detect and record movement or sound and provides security, surveillance, monitoring and alerting services. Any media that is captured is compressed to flash video and made available, securely over the web. iSpy can be setup to run on multiple computers simultaneously. iSpy is free, open-source software, so if you want it to do anything else, please download the source code and customise it to your requirements. (Terrific app – I’ve used this for years.)



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

7 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 23, 2013

  1. hi Bill,are you aware of anyone successfully upgrading from windows xp to windows 8 ?

    • Hi Billy Roy,

      Absolutely. In fact, there are reports of successful Win 8.1 installs over Windows 1. Bit of a mind blower that one – but hey, it sure points out MS’s commitment to backward compatibility.

      Here’s a good article on how to install Win 8 from my good buddies over at Soluto – How to Install Windows 8 in 7 Simple Steps

      Always good to hear from you. 🙂



      • thanks bill,
        its a pity microsoft answer desk tech’s didn’t know that because they are unable to answer the same question,re upgrades

      • could you point me in the direction of someone who has accomplished this, as I would like to discuss any issue’s that they had.thanks

        • Hi Billy Roy,

          There are no install issues that I’m aware of (other than possible system specific issues), and, I’ve yet to hear of any. This may be old advice, but Google is your best bet.

          Personally, I’m an advocate of “clean installs” only – a reformat and install.



  2. Richard James

    Hi Bill,
    Re: Clean Links – Automatically remove tracking tokens from URLs in Chrome, Firefox.

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve just added Clean Links to Cyberfox and it works a treat. Another add-on that I installed just this week is Self Destructing Cookies. It all adds up to increase privacy!


    Rick J.