Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 9, 2013

How to fix your PC’s worst annoyances – Windows oozes with all sorts of hackle-raising “features” that interfere with just plain using your PC. But don’t chuck your monitor across the room! By the time you’re done reading this article, your headaches should be gone. You can click most of the images in this article to enlarge them. Got it? Good. Let’s get cracking!

30-Second Tech Trick: How to Find a Lost or Stolen Android Device – This trick comes straight from Google — there’s no need to install an app on your phone or tablet first.

Android antivirus products compared – Independent test lab AV-Test compared 30 Android antivirus products. There are some winners and some serious failures. But do you really need any of them?

10 things you shouldn’t virtualize – Virtualization delivers a host of benefits — but that doesn’t mean that everything is a good fit for a virtual environment. Here are 10 things that should probably stay physical.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Top 4 open-source PCs – Single board or “open-source” PCs have become a hot market, with the Raspberry Pi selling in the millions and competitors getting in on the act, including Intel’s recently announced MinnowBoard. These PCs have open designs that can be replicated by other hardware companies, are inexpensive to manufacture as components get smaller and can run Android, Ubuntu and other flavors of Linux. Here’s a look at the open-source PCs that are available and finding a number of uses, including as media servers.

Five Apps for VNC Remote Desktop Access on Windows – It is important to have a VNC client handy to give you the power to access any other machine over an intranet or the regular Internet.

How the iPhone Gets You Laid – There’s a reason the latest phones from Samsung, HTC, Moto, and LG will never be as cool as Apple’s iPhone, and it’s most apparent in the singles scene.

Home, home is in range with the Revolv Hub – The Revolv Smart Home Solution Wi-Fi Hub looks to simplify control for a wide variety of smart connected appliances. Using a home’s existing Wi-Fi network and smart devices, the hub can control things from near and afar.

13 awesome science apps to express your inner nerd – Whether you’re camping under dark skies or touring rocky canyons, we’ve found more than a dozen stellar science apps to fuel your inner astronomer, geologist, meteorologist, or naturalist. Some of the apps are a little rough around the edges—hey, science is about experimentation, after all—but their geeky cool factor more than makes up for any shortcomings.

Nexus 7 tablet owners reporting GPS problems – Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet is garnering a fair bit of complaints from users who are reportedly having problems using GPS navigation with the recently launched slate. Complaints are lighting up forums across the Internet, including over on Google’s own product forums, all of them sharing the same story: GPS works fine for X amount of time, then begins endlessly searching.

How to report problems to Google, Facebook, other Web services – The most effective way to reach a human at a big-name Web service is to use the company’s own “report something” tools.

Become a part of the HTML5 Hub – The HTML5 Hub is a new community project bringing together developers to brainstorm and collaborate. It also offers some handy tools, such as the App Starter.

Mozilla bridges Gmail to Persona log-in – Missing from its first months in beta, Mozilla’s Persona Web site log-in system now adds Gmail to its list of sign-in credentials you can use.

Security:

DIY stalker boxes spy on Wi-Fi users cheaply and with maximum creep value – You may not know it, but the smartphone in your pocket is spilling some of your deepest secrets to anyone who takes the time to listen. It knows what time you left the bar last night, the number of times per day you take a cappuccino break, and even the dating website you use. And because the information is leaked in dribs and drabs, no one seems to notice. Until now.

Dutch DNS server ‘hack’: Thousands of sites serve up malware – Problems with domain name servers caused unsuspecting websites to carry the Black Hole exploit kit.

PayPal tests mobile payments using your face for verification – A new trial in the U.K. lets people pay for items using the PayPal app, a mobile phone, and a photo to prove their identity.

Google Reveals the 10 Worst Password Ideas – Man’s best friend does a terrific job of protecting your home. But when it comes to protecting your online accounts, your beloved pet is literally the worst choice possible.

Microsoft to clean up after Oracle’s patch mess again – Microsoft will deliver eight security updates next week to patch dangerous vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer and the business-critical Exchange Server, as well as less-serious bugs in all versions of Windows.

Young Android Users At Risk, Won’t Someone Think of the Children? – I got my first cellphone when I was 16, but if the latest report from Bitdefender is to be believed, I’d be way behind the curve of the modern cellphone-using populace. According to their report, children as young as five are getting phones—and are at risk for malware and fraud.

Company News:

Apple’s very busy day in court – There are two new, strong doses of Apple vs. Samsung, and an argument over the fallout of the Justice Department’s e-books case against Apple — all in one day.

YouTube founders take on Vine, Instagram with leap back into video – The men behind YouTube, the biggest video site on the Internet, are jumping back into the fray. YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who sold the site to Google, launched the Mixbit.com website and an app, that together enable users to shoot, edit and stitch together videos that can be uploaded to the site and remixed.

Google adds 79 open-source patents to lawsuit-free pledge – Web giant adds patents related to software used to manage data centers to the patent collection it’s making freely available to anyone, without fear of legal repercussion.

BlackBerry first to secure U.S. DOD device management approval – The smartphone maker retains its security crown as it becomes the first mobile device management provider to be awarded an “authority to operate” on the U.S. Defense Dept. networks.

Amazon says oops, Chromecast not delayed after all – Internet retailer says it erred when it informed customers that their wireless video-streaming device might not be delivered until the end of October.

Microsoft to sell MakerBot 3D printers in USA stores – Microsoft has become the first US retailer to sell MakerBot’s desktop 3D printers on the shop floor for customers to take home on the same day.Microsoft has partnered with 3D printing manufacturer MakerBot to offer customers the chance to buy their own MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer from 18 retail stores across the USA.

Games and Entertainment:

Civilization finally becomes a true MMO with Civilization Online – The game will begin with four civilizations at launch (with more added later), and players will create an avatar for a civ of their choice, aiding their civ from the usual staple of ages — from Ancient to Modern.

Papers, Please Review: Government repression meets engaging puzzles in this striking, “serious” game – Papers, Please is the latest in a growing wave of “serious” games that aren’t educational, per se, but where the “fun factor” isn’t immediately evident. As a border control guard in a fictional Eastern European country, your actions are mostly confined to shuffling papers and confirming or denying someone’s entry into Arstotzkan. Often, that means finding fake and forged documents, which all of those charts and lists in your office will help you verify.

New YouTube Easter egg lets you play Missile Command – Activating the Easter egg is easy enough. Head over to YouTube, select a video, play the video, then type 1980 into nothing in particular (not the search field). If performed correctly, the video will stop playing, and a game of missile command will invoke above it. The video will resume playing once you begin the game of Missile Command.

Amazon plans waves of pilots to tap crowd input — and hook you – Amazon Studios will release original-show pilots a couple of times a year and get customer feedback about them, part of a plan to crowdsource content decisions that may help lure in Prime subscribers.

Off Topic (Sort of):

New research says: cellphone use+driving=death…not so much – You are more likely to kill yourself reading this article than you are talking on your cellphone and driving. That’s our guess, but for almost 20 years, it has been a wide-held belief that talking on a cellphone while driving is dangerous and leads to more accidents. However, new research from Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that talking on a cellphone while driving does not increase crash risk.

Incredible Avatar-themed aquarium has underwater waterfalls – Everyone has their hobbies, but it’s rare to become so adept at one that people completely unfamiliar with your obsession have to stop and take note. Case in point, you’ve probably seen a lot of aquariums in your life, but how often is one so cool you want to see a video of it? Well, you’ll want to see this one, which has faithfully reproduced the floating landscape from the film Avatar complete with underwater waterfalls.

A brief history of disruption: Technologies that upended enterprise IT – 15 years and four bottom-up developments that changed the face of IT.

Researchers closing in on effective malaria vaccine – The early stage clinical trial is small, but out of the 15 volunteers given the highest dose of a malaria vaccine, 12 are showing total resistance to the disease.

Bill Gates criticizes Google for not uplifting the poor – Microsoft’s chairman says Google is just doing its core thing with its balloon-powered Internet access project, but it won’t do much help to people suffering from malaria.

RAM wars: RRAM vs. 3D NAND flash, and the winner is…us – While resistive RAM’s chances of crowding out NAND flash anytime soon are slim, the coming RAM wars mean mobile users are likely to have hundreds of gigabytes, or even a terabyte, of storage at their fingertips.

The short, speedy life of a Goodyear racing tire – Goodyear revs up its tech chops to make more than 100,000 racing tires a year for Nascar. CNET Road Trip 2013 shows you the life cycle, from manufacturing to hitting nearly 200 mph.

Something to think about:

“If you really do put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”

–     Anonymous

Today’s Free Downloads:

PrivaZer – PrivaZer allows you to: See exactly what can still be recovered of your past activities on your PC at home or at work. Clean in-depth unwanted traces of what you’ve done watched, downloaded, deleted, etc. and prevent recovery. Master your security & freedom. Free up disk space. Keep your PC fit and secure!!!

Wise Folder Hider – Wise Folder Hider is a free file/folder hiding tool. User can use it to hide files and folders on local partitions or removable devices. The data can’t be accessed by other programs or on other operating systems such as DOS. The only way to access or unhide these data is to enter the valid password. However, this application is designed for home use only but not recommended for commercial settings which require stricter confidentiality.

IP Camera Viewer – IP Camera Viewer allows you to view live video from your USB or IP cameras on your PC. Use any USB or IP camera to keep an eye on your home, office, parking area or anywhere you need security.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Apple CEO, President Obama meet to discuss tech surveillance – Apple CEO Tim Cook, together with other tech chiefs, met with U.S. President Obama for a secret meeting to discuss technological surveillance.

Ed Snowden’s e-mail service shuts down, leaving cryptic message – Less than a month after Snowden was revealed to have used the service, it has been shut down. The owner of Lavabit, Ladar Levison, has left a cryptic and chilling message stating that he had to walk away from the ten years of work he put into Lavabit, lest he “become complicit in crimes against the American public.” Until real reform happens, Levison says he “would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”

After Lavabit shutdown, another encrypted e-mail service closes – Silent Circle, a company that specializes in encrypted communications, said it is preemptively turning off its Silent Mail product. It’s doing so despite no urging at all from the government—no subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else, company co-founder Jon Callas wrote in a blog post today. “We see the writing on the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now.”

NSA captures Americans’ Internet content if it mentions overseas suspects – According to a new report by The New York Times, the National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting content—not just the previously acknowledged metadata—of Americans who simply “mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.”

Freedom Hosting and ‘torsploit’: Troubles on the Onion router – The arrest of the Freedom Hosting CEO has set in motion a crisis for TOR and unleashed a java exploit designed to expose Freedom Hosting users.

Can Australia’s digital spooks escape an NSA-level backlash? – Lavabit and Silent Circle’s secure email services have been shut down as part of a generational-scale anti-surveillance pushback, but only US and UK agencies are under the microscope. Why not Australia?

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