Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 31, 2013

How NSA leaks are changing minds among the public—and in Congress – The Congressional action comes as evidence of a major shift in public opinion grows. Data out from a new Pew Research poll shows that 50 percent of the public approves of the government’s collection of phone and internet data, while 44 percent disapprove. Those numbers are little changed from a month ago, when 48 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved. However, when asked about whether the programs may be going too far in restricting civil liberties, responses differed sharply from three years ago. In 2010, 32 percent of Americans said anti-terrorism programs had “gone too far in restricting civil liberties.” This month, 47 percent believed that.

Internet privacy in an age of surveillance – Reassert your expectation of online privacy by using Internet services that promise to protect your confidentiality.

Spy agencies shun Lenovo, finding backdoors built into the hardware – Recent news revealing that spy agencies in the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have prohibitions against using the company’s products seem to be based on more than just suspicion.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Bradley Manning not guilty of “aiding the enemy,” convicted on most other counts – WikiLeaks’ best known leaker provided Cablegate docs, “Collateral Murder” video.

Five remote access tools for Android – When all you have at your disposal is a smart phone or tablet, the tools you choose for remote access can really make your day much easier.

Getting around Google+: A guide to the basics – In the two years it’s been around, Google+ has both grown and changed. In the first of three “how-to” guides, we tell you how to get started.

SkyDrive.com Gets More Photo Capabilities, GIF Support – Microsoft on Tuesday released a new set of features for SkyDrive.com aimed at making it a better place to store photos, including support for more file types, new editing tools, and additional sharing options.

DIY website tools for SMBs – For owners and operators of SMBs, these online tools will help you improve your web presence on a smaller budget in areas including e-commerce, marketing, and web development.

There’s no vacation from fitness: Apps and gear for exercising anywhere – Working out on the go doesn’t have to be difficult, however, and the recent boom of fitness tech devices has made it even easier. We’ve found some of the simplest gadgets, apps, and Web services to help you stay fit and on track, whether you’re in the air, on the ground, or flitting from city to city.

Google launches Views Web site for user-uploaded photo spheres – New community Web site lets users submit and browse images captured in the 360-degree panoramic format that Google launched last October.

Create a 3D model of your face, try on glasses using your iPad – Glasses.com has a free iPad app that helps you try on spectacles using a 3D model of your face.

Security:

UK the ‘number 1 target’ of online gangsters in 25 countries – e-crime report – Committee Chair, Keith Vaz MP said: “We are not winning the war on online criminal activity. We are being too complacent about these e-wars because the victims are hidden in cyberspace.” He added: “You can steal more on the internet than you can by robbing a bank and online criminals in 25 countries have chosen the UK as their number one target. Astonishingly, some are operating from EU countries.

The Pwn Plug R2 is a miniature NSA, ready to exploit networks for their own good – The new Pwn Plug looks less like a DC power supply plug—the form factor of its predecessor—and more like a small Wi-Fi access point or router. But inside, it’s really a Linux-powered NSA-in-a-box, providing white hat hackers and corporate network security professionals a “drop box” system that can be remotely controlled over a covert Internet channel or a cellular data connection.

Tampering with a car’s brakes and speed by hacking its computers: A new how-to – Later this week at the Defcon hacker conference, researchers plan to demonstrate an arsenal of attacks that can be performed on two popular automobiles: a Toyota Prius and a Ford Escape, both 2010 models. Starting with the premise that it’s possible to infect one or more of the ECUs remotely and cause them to send instructions to other nodes, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek have developed a series of attacks that can carry out a range of scary scenarios. The researchers work for Twitter and security firm IOActive respectively.

Home automation systems rife with holes, security experts say – A variety of network-controlled home automation devices lack basic security controls, making it possible for attackers to access their sensitive functions, often from the Internet, according to researchers from security firm Trustwave. Some of these devices are used to control door locks, surveillance cameras, alarm systems, lights and other sensitive systems.

Spoofed! Fake GPS signals lead yacht astray – Researchers in the U.S. have managed to spoof GPS (Global Positioning System) signals to send a yacht hundreds of meters off course, while fooling the crew into thinking the yacht was remaining perfectly on course. The test, conducted last month off the coast of Italy, is one of the most sophisticated ever reported against GPS and represents several years of work by the team at the University of Texas at Austin.

Company News:

Samsung caught rigging phones to boost benchmark results – Samsung has been adding code that boosts CPU and GPU clock speeds when benchmarking apps are run. Whatever is going on here, though, it’s clear that benchmarks really aren’t to be trusted on mobile hardware any more than they are on traditional computers.

Microsoft lobs second Windows 8.1 preview at enterprise IT admins – Microsoft on Tuesday announced a second preview, this one with new features targeting larger IT departments. “Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview builds on the Window 8.1 Preview which is currently available, adding premium features designed to address mobility, security, management and virtualization needs of today’s enterprise,” Windows marketing manager Erwin Visser said in a blog post.

Intel web TV spy camera plans axed – Intel has dropped controversial plans to outfit its upcoming web TV set-top box with a face-recognition camera, admitting that a combination of privacy concerns and performance issues forced its hand. The original goal had been to use a combination of age, gender, and other identification features to track viewers of the web TV service and tailor advertising to suit; however, Intel’s web TV chief Erik Huggers told the WSJ, that’s now been abandoned, at least in the first-gen box.

Surface tablet revenue just $853m Microsoft reveals – Microsoft made $853m in revenue from Surface tablets in its 2013 fiscal year, a disappointing figure that failed to even cover the company’s $900m inventory adjustment charge for the poorly selling Surface RT. The figures, confirmed in Microsoft’s most recent 10K filing, paint an underwhelming picture of the Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, though doesn’t specify exactly how many units have been sold.

Starbucks starts embedding wireless charging mats in its tables – It’s not uncommon to see people sitting in Starbucks sipping their coffee while typing on a laptop, tapping a tablet, or using their phone. The coffee shop chain has embraced such gadgets by providing free WiFi and even power outlets to keep your battery topped up. And that trend is being continued as Starbucks has decided to embrace wireless charging.

Games and Entertainment:

Facebook offers promotional help to small game developers – The new pilot program, called Facebook Mobile Games Publishing, will assist selected game development shops in marketing and deploying their games on Facebook mobile clients, in exchange for an unspecified percentage of the revenue that the Facebook versions of these games generate.

NVIDIA SHIELD review – Delivered in NVIDIA SHIELD is the first full-fledged mobile device crossover into the desktop gaming universe. SHIELD is an Android-based physical gaming controller with its own clamshell hinge-attached display, powered by NVIDIA’s newest mobile processor, stepping up as what the company claims is the world’s most powerful mobile gaming device.

Capcom Essentials pack leaks, bundles five PS3 games for just $60 – On October 8 Capcom is set to offer PS3 owners a pretty sweet deal in the form of the Capcom Essentials game pack. Unfortunately, Capcom hasn’t been able to officially announce the pack themselves as EB Games Canada has jumped the gun and listed it on their website.

The next BioShock Infinite DLC, Burial at Sea, takes us back to Rapture – Set on New Year’s Eve 1958, Burial at Sea features Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth in their own two-part detective story set in Rapture. Yes, 1958 is a year before the city began to fall apart, so we’ll get to see Rapture in its (presumed) functional glory — something series fans wanted in full ever since the first BioShock.

Off Topic (Sort of):

13 Remote-Control Aerial Tours of Abandoned Places – The influx of relatively inexpensive, remotely-controlled flying machines sporting high-definition video cameras has meant that long-forgotten locales can be explored more easily and less dangerously than in the past.

Android tablet gives rare glimpse at North Korean tech – An Android tablet brought back from North Korea by a tourist has provided a glimpse at some of the restrictions placed on IT users in the famously secretive country.

Gallery: 55 images for NASA’s 55th anniversary – A half-century of missions, from Mercury to the Mars Science Laboratory and beyond.

Jetpack man soars over U.S. alongside B-17 bomber – Jetman, as Rossy is known, appeared alongside a vintage B-17 bomber at the EAA AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wis., in his first public flight in the U.S. He flew in formation with the bomber, coming within several feet of the fuselage, before parachuting to a safe landing. Jetman has been thrilling crowds and aviators around the world with his custom-made jet suit, zooming across the English Channel in 2008.

First Open Source Airplane Could Cost Just $15,000 – The goal of Maker Plane is to develop a small, two-seat airplane that qualifies as a light sport aircraft and is affordable, safe, and easy to fly. But unlike other home-built aircraft, where companies or individuals charge for their plans or kits, Maker Plane will give its design away for free.The group behind the project consists of pilots and engineers who are designing the airplane, allowing it to be built using the kind of personal manufacturing equipment

Something to think about:

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

–      Thomas Jefferson

Today’s Free Downloads:

Data Crow 3.11.1 – Using Data Crow allows you to create a huge database containing all your collected items.

Google Chrome Portable 28.0.1500.95 – Google Chrome Portable is a web browser that runs web pages and applications with lightning speed.

Google Drive Google Drive 1.11.4865.2530 – Google Drive is everywhere you are —on the web, in your home, at the office and on the go.

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