Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 24, 2013

Survey Finds Concern with Government Access to Information – The CSA today also published the results of its recent survey on government access to information. The survey received almost 500 responses from CSA members around the world. It found that 56% of non-US residents were now less likely to use US-based cloud providers, in light of recent revelations about government access to customer information. An overwhelming 90% of respondents said that companies who have been subpoenaed through provisions of the Patriot Act should be able to publish summary information about the amount of responses they have made.

US lawmakers to vote on data mining – US legislators are expected to vote on whether to halt phone and internet data mining not related to terror suspects, a move opposed by the White House. (These so called “lawmakers” aren’t in the least bit interested in securing your “constitutional rights” – this is about $$$. More particularly, the threat of lost business opportunities in markets in which alternatives to U.S. Cyber services exist. Obama stays the course and continues to display his cyber-dummy stance.)

Normal humans – aka “non-celebrities” – are telling Big Brother to go stick his head in a sack – A legal publisher says that privacy actions against police, hospitals and security services in the UK are up 22% over last year. A few years back, it was mostly celebs who were trying to elbow the media out of their private lives, but nowadays, normal humans are using privacy laws to try to claw back their data.

11 Simple Ways to Protect Your Privacy – Your personal information, including your email address, phone number and social security number, is worth a lot of money to legitimate businesses and bad guys alike. The bad guys just want to steal from you. Companies want to know as much about you as possible so they can sell you more products and services or serve you ads that are highly relevant to your demographics and preferences. So take these simple steps to protect your valuable personal information.

Five must-have browser security add-ons – Not all browsers are created equal. Some do a much better job at securing your connectivity and data than others. The browsers you more actively trust are those that allow the addition of extensions (or add-ons) to help enhance the security of your time online. But of the myriad of add-ons, which ones are the “must-haves” among the crowd? I have tracked down the five top add-ons that I feel are most necessary for a safe web-centric experience.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

What’s My Computer Doing? – Don’t look so smug. Do you honestly know everything that is going on under the hood of your perhaps not-so-smoothly running computer?

Use your Samsung Galaxy Note tablet as a digitizer for your PC – Jack Wallen explains how to install the SPenDigitizer application and begin using your Samsung Galaxy Note tablet as a digitizer for your PC.

Getting started with Flipboard on the Web – Flipboard, the app that lets you tap and flip your way through digital magazines on smartphones and tablets, has come to laptops and desktops. You can now access your Flipboard account from a Web browser, complete with the flip animation — for better or worse. You can also use the Web app to create your own magazines to clip articles for later viewing via a bookmarklet.

Create a Windows 8.1 Preview dual-boot setup on your Windows XP system – Creating a dual-boot configuration by installing Windows 8.1 Preview on a partition of your existing hard disk will be a big advantage as you begin your experimentation. To begin with, you can investigate Windows 8.1, but when you need to get some work done, you can boot back into Windows XP. Then, when you are done experimenting, you can easily undo the dual-boot configuration.

Don’t Ask! Avoid unwanted toolbar offered in pushy Java installations – Soluto reports that 59 percent of all users who install the Ask toolbar end up disabling it. Soluto’s data backs up the theory that few people really want to install the Ask toolbar on their PC.

OpenOffice 4.0 arrives – It may be trailing LibreOffice, but OpenOffice is still alive and kicking — now with better Microsoft Office Open XML support.

Push your PC’s productivity with better, faster gear – You thought your PC was fine. It’s not that old, and you make sure it’s not loaded with bloatware or other software-level performance drags. And yet it still seems to wheeze as it boots up each morning, and applications take forever to launch. Your components could be to blame—hardware that’s due for an upgrade. Setting up a speedier system could be as simple as updating your USB ports with an external dock, or you could step up to speedier storage. Read on to find out how you can make your PC more productive.

Build your own supercomputer: First $99 Parallella boards ship – Linux is the top supercomputer operating system. But while you can build your own Linux supercomputer using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products, even with just Raspberry Pi boards, these don’t natively support massively parallel computing — the cornerstone of modern supercomputing. That’s where Adapteva, with its $99 Parallella parallel processing single-board supercomputer, comes in.

Icky or Not, New Ads Make Gmail Worse – Fortunately, the new Gmail inbox isn’t mandatory. You can get rid of it by clicking the gear icon on the top-right corner of the screen and going to “Configure Inbox.” From there, you can deselect all the boxes except “Primary” to go back to the old inbox. You can also just deselect “Promotions” if you like the new inbox sorting but don’t want to see the new ads.

Security:

Symantec spots two Android apps using ‘master key’ vulnerability – Hackers are now using a critical vulnerability in Android to modify legitimate smartphone applications, putting users at risk of being spied on. Security vendor Symantec wrote on Tuesday that it found two applications being distributed in Chinese Android marketplaces that have employed the “master key” vulnerabilities discovered earlier this month.

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.

Syrian Electronic Army hacked Tango, swiped user data – TangoMe Inc., the company behind Tango, confirmed the breach on its Twitter account, saying that it “experienced a cyber intrusion that resulted in unauthorized access to some data.” The company went on to state that it is in the process of improving its security system. This came after the Syrian Electronic Army posted screenshots as proof of their hacking endeavors.

Lakeland hacked and passwords reset, customers advised to change passwords elsewhere – Lakeland, the home of all things kitchenware, has been hacked. In a email sent to customers yesterday, it reported it had suffered a “sophisticated and sustained” attack, with the hackers gaining access through a “very recently identified” Java flaw.

S’pore launches new 5-year cybersecurity roadmap – Country’s third masterplan for the next five years focuses on enhancing the resiliency of critical infrastructure, and growing pool of homegrown cybersecurity professionals.

Company News:

iPod sales down 31% from last year, gets no mention from Apple – We’ve heard a lot of numbers from Apple today, including record iPhone sales for the third quarter, as well as iPad and Mac sales that were slightly down, but still better than expected by the company. However, what didn’t get mentioned at all in the press release or the earnings call was how well the iPod is doing.

Facebook wants to know why users hide News Feed items – Feedback could help increase engagement while serving up more relevant ads and limiting exposure of offensive content.

LinkedIn selling more marketing content into users’ feeds – The marketing content will be visible on desktop PCs as well as on smartphones and tablet devices, and will clearly be marked “sponsored,” appearing in the member’s homepage feed along with organic posts from their network and the companies that they already follow.

Foursquare Launches Self-Serve Ads for Small Businesses – The location-sharing social network on Tuesday launched self-serve ads, a new service designed to help small businesses reach potential customers. Foursquare is rolling out the new service to “a few thousand local businesses” today, before opening it up more broadly over the coming months.

Games and Entertainment:

Oculus Rift may be headed to smartphones – Oculus Rift, which made its Kickstarter debut last summer, can best be described as a high field of view (FOV), low-latency, consumer-priced virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). According to Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, the company is excited about the possibility of plugging the upcoming headset “right into a next-gen cellphone.”

Poker Holdem No Limit training software – Improve your game and test new strategies, by playing against up to 9 computer opponents having different playing styles. Highly configurable blinds structure using the open source poker-eval library for hand simulations, with a custom-built AI works as a standalone software, no need for an internet connection.

Riptide GP 2 Review – The developers at Vector Unit have this week unveiled Riptide GP 2 for the public, having created the original well over a year ago to waves of Android devices that still continue to jetski forth with this classic today.

Top 5: iOS Match Three Games – Bored and looking for fun games to pass the time? Try one of these match three games and you’ll be sure to get addicted.

The Walking Dead Gets No Emmy Respect – Zombies may be swarming the earth, but one of the only places they haven’t taken over is with the major award ceremonies. It’s great to see that two of the hottest shows on TV right now are Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. They’re both genre shows, and thankfully they’re also playing a big hand in finally bringing reality TV to an end.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Hey kids! Learn to be “cyber smart” from the NSA’s youth page! – Word searches, code games, and tips on how to behave online while surveilled.

Violence Is the Answer – It is far past midnight on July 14th. Passionate cries of protest can be heard through the night air outside the Florida State Capitol. Bright blue and shocking red lights flash over the grass and into my eyes now as heavy as the damp air and my heart at the news. The trial has passed, the evidence presented, a vicious fight wrought and the verdict has come down.

Vibrating bike seats!? Bicycling not on the list of banned pornographic pastimes – Apparently, in Britain, there is a sex store that sells a vibrating bicycle seat because, that is the only way anyone will ever, ever get pleasure from sitting on a bicycle seat. Bicycle seats suck. Bad choice of words, but now they massage the nether regions and provide bliss. The world teeters on the edge of an ironic abyss.

Grabbers Official Trailer #1 – Oh the irony, aliens invade the earth, their only weakness is alcohol and – they land in Ireland! (suggested by Michael F.)

Challenges unmet: Unclaimed prizes in science and technology – There are plenty of prizes still out there, driving innovation and inspiring hard work. Here is a selection of science challenges still waiting to be conquered.

Self-driving cars could create 1GB of data a second – Self-driving cars, which some experts have predicted will be readily available within five years, will come with a myriad of sensors creating machine-to-machine data at the rate of 1GB a second, according to one strategist.

The world’s first Google Glass porn movie – James Deen — well, who else? — is at the forefront of technology in a new movie that showcases Google Glass in a prostrate position.

Something to think about:

“We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.”

–     Talmud

Today’s Free Downloads:

OpenOffice.org – OpenOffice.org is a free, Open Source alternative to MS Office with a Word compatible word processor, a complete Excel compatible spread sheet program and a Power Point like presentation software and drawing program and also allows to save to PDF file. In addition, OpenOffice.org offers enhanced printing capabilities and options for direct connection with external email programs as well as form-letter management to send letters to addresses from a database.

BitDefender Free Edition 1.0.18 – BitDefender Free Edition uses the same ICSA Labs certified scanning engines found in other BitDefender products, allowing you to enjoy basic virus protection for no cost at all. This free antivirus software download is an on-demand virus scanner, which is best used in a system recovery or forensics role.

SmoothDraw 4.0.1 – SmoothDraw is an easy natural painting and digital free-hand drawing software that can produce high quality pictures. Support many kinds of brushes (pen, pencil, dry media, airbrush, bristle brush, image hose, etc.), retouch tools, layers, image adjustment, and many effects… Works great with tablets and Tablet PC.

10 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

10 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 24, 2013

  1. “Obama stays the course and continues to display his cyber-dummy stance.)”
    Is that the same as saying Obama continues his ways of undermining our constitutional rights ?

  2. Avoiding unwanted Toolbars
    In most instances this is a simple matter of always following the rule of using the Custom (Advanced) Method of installing all programs.
    When you select the default method, you’re telling the manufacturer of the product to hurry up, install the program and I don’t really give a hoot what else gets installed.
    Using the custom method means that you get to see what’s being installed and, where it’s being installed. You also get the opportunity, in most instances, to uncheck and prevent the installation of those things you don’t want installed. Toolbars are the most common items in the unwanted column.
    Being careful and prudent in how you install a program always pays off in the long run.

  3. Here’s what I do for my clients: I go to ninite dot com and select the programs they have installed on their computers such as Reader, Java, etc. I then download and save the link to their desktop and rename it to Update.

    I tell them that whenever they get a notice that Java or Reader has an update available, they should run the Update link rather than click on the notification.

    Ninite will then download and install updates for all the programs and ensure that there are no toolbars installed. It makes if very easy for them to avoid getting fooled. Especially my seasoned customers, or any that aren’t very computer savvy.

    For Adobe Flash, you can tell it to automatically install any updates. When you do this, no notice is displayed – you simply get your Flash updated and you don’t have to worry about any toolbar “offers.”

    Matt