Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 14, 2013

How to clean and secure your browser like a pro – The Internet runs on ads, but when you see them in your browser, your first instinct should be to run the other way—fast. The lion’s share of the Internet is wallpapered with tacky ads that invite you to “Lose 15 lbs. with this 1 weird tip” and load your browser with spyware in the process. In other corners of the Web, you might download a free game or a piece of music from an untrustworthy site, ending up with malicious adware that hitched a ride along with it.

12 Cyber-Safety Tips for Students – Before you know it, students will be heading back to universities all over the country. Here are our top tips for student security.

Use URL Uncover to check if a shortened link is safe – The Web is a scary place where shortened links can take you to the darkest corner of the Internet.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

These tricks will help you salvage poorly lit, exposed, or composed photos – Not every photo is a keeper. Whatever the reason, the good news is that it’s not hard to rescue many of those shots. The next time you have some photos that you’re not happy with, see if any of these tips can help turn a loser into a keeper.

30-Second Tech Trick: How to Use Google as a Timer – This only works up to 24 hours. If you’re timing something for more than 24 hours, I don’t want to know what you’re up to. Leave me out of it.

Wake-up call: 5 ergonomics mistakes – Find out which mistakes are costing your body the most, and what you can do to fix them.

Boootube brings you the worst YouTube videos – Clear your schedule for the rest of the day and prepare to laugh, cry, and possibly disconnect your Internet in disgust.

10 iPhone Apps That All Gardeners Could Use – Not everyone is lucky enough to be born with a green thumb, and many would-be gardeners give up on the prospect of tending their land because they simply don’t know how to do it and gardening seems too complicated. Luckily, thanks to technology, having a gardening guru in your pocket has become a reality.

3 Apps for Getting Qualified Medical Advice – In cases where an out-and-out doctor’s visit is not required, your smartphone can come to your rescue.

Pinterest Targets Casual Visitors With New “Pinterest For Teachers” Site, May Add More Content Hubs In Future – Pinterest has launched what may be the first of several official “hubs” featuring content targeting a particular segment of its user base, with today’s debut of a new “Pinterest for Teachers” site at

Five Apps: Useable CAD apps on the cheap – Although AutoCAD is the go to CAD application of choice for many organizations, it comes with a hefty price tag. However, there are a number of other less expensive CAD applications available. Some are relatively light weight and are intended primarily for beginners, while others are intended for professionals and are even compatible with AutoCAD drawings. In this article, I will discuss five CAD applications other than AutoCAD.


Google filing says emails sent to Gmail have no expectation of privacy – Google has been caught up in a legal battle that claims the Internet giant uses Gmail as a “secret data mining machine,” something it is fighting against. In a legal briefing the company filed, it contends something that has caused users and others to get a bit riled: that individuals who send emails to a Gmail address have no expectation of privacy because it was “voluntarily turned over to third parties.”

Microsoft patches critical flaws in Internet Explorer and Exchange Server – For the August Patch Tuesday, Microsoft has released eight new security bulletins. That’s not a light month by any stretch, but considering there have been many months with nearly double that amount, it’s not too bad. More importantly, only three of them are rated as Critical, and none of them are being actively exploited in the wild. Security experts seem to unanimously agree that the top priorities this month are Internet Explorer (MS13-059) and Microsoft Exchange Server (MS13-061).

Incapsula study finds 25% of attacks are RFI – what the heck is RFI? – A new study released today by Incapsula found that 25% of all attacks are Remote File Inclusion (RFI) attacks. Furthermore, 58% of all Remote File Inclusion (RFI) attacks are still using TimThumb. The study analyzed data from over 500 million sessions over 6 months. The results reveal that though most RFI attacks are Zero Day threats, they can be re-used for multiple attacks on different targets, and interestingly, have an average lifespan of 60 days or more before detection.

Welcome to the “Internet of Things,” where even lights aren’t hacker safe – Malware attacks on Internet-connected Philips Hue lights cause blackouts – While the so-called Internet of Things phenomenon brings convenience and new capabilities to gadgets, they come at a cost. Namely, they’re susceptible to the same kinds of hack attacks that have plagued computer users for decades. The ability to load a Web page that causes house or office lights to go black could pose risks that go well beyond the typical computer threat.

No, your data isn’t secure in the cloud – While online data storage services claim your data is encrypted, there are no guarantees. And with government surveillance programs crawling the web for metadata and email, there’s little doubt online privacy can exist without strong safeguards.

Company News:

Facebook Reveals 78% Of US Users Are Mobile As It Starts Sharing User Counts By Country – Today Facebook announced it will start sharing country-by-country web and mobile monthly and daily user counts. Facebook’s 101 million US daily mobile users make up a whopping 78% of its 128 million daily US users.

Investor Carl Icahn Admits Large Apple Position, Lobbies For Larger Stock Buyback Program – Today activist investor Carl Icahn indicated on Twitter that he has amassed “a large position” in the computing giant Apple. Following, in another tweet, he stated that in a conversation with current Apple CEO, he had “discussed [his] opinion that a larger [stock] buyback should be done now.”

Class-Action Lawsuit Alleges Microsoft “Issued Materially False And Misleading Statements” About Surface RT – A class action lawsuit filed against Microsoft alleges that the company issued false statements regarding the performance of its Surface RT tablet, and did not fairly value its inventory of the devices at the end of its third fiscal quarter. The issue is that Microsoft took an unexpected $900 million charge relating to the value of its Surface RT inventory during its fiscal fourth quarter.

New York’s Financial Services Subpoenas Bitcoin Firms To “Root Out Illegal Activity” – Twenty-two Bitcoin companies received a letter from New York’s top banking regulator to determine whether they respect the current financial regulatory guidelines. More importantly, the authority wants to create a new set of rules to make sure that bitcoins are not used for illegal activities.

Intel revives OLPC rivalry with new Android tablet design – Intel’s 10-inch and 7-inch Android tablet designs are now available to manufacturers, and the resulting products could rekindle a long rivalry in the education market with One Laptop Per Child, whose first Android tablet became available in July.

Games and Entertainment:

Grand Theft Auto V coming to PC this fall, according to NVIDIA – Grand Theft Auto V has been the talk of the gaming town for months now, and speculation is continuing to build as we get closer to the game’s release date. However, while we’ve seen past GTA titles release on the PC, Rockstar has yet to announce availability for GTAV on PC, but according to NVIDIA, it seems like we will, in fact, see the newest GTA title come to the PC in a timely manner.

DuckTales Remastered is everything you wanted it to be – As amusing side-scrolling games from our past goes, it’s hard to do much better than DuckTales. Capcom’s best selling NES title wasn’t as popular as it probably deserved to be when it was first released, but Capcom and Disney saw fit to re-release this classic game and make it available on all three consoles. We took an evening and joined the cane wielding Scrooge McDuck on an HD remastered trip down memory lane.

Pixlgun 3D lets you play a Minecraft-like first-person shooter – The game that currently sits atop the Most Popular list in the App Store challenges you to survive as long as possible against attacking zombies, but it could be a lot better.

Ubisoft reveals how hacking works in Watch Dogs – Watch Dogs has certainly grabbed our attention, and that’s because Ubisoft is mixing an open world shooter with some intelligent gameplay that relies on hacking. But how integral is hacking to the whole experience? The answer to that question is “very,” in fact, hacking seems to permeate every aspect of the Watch Dogs’ experience. Ubisoft has revealed this in a new video detailing the game called “Hacking is Your Weapon.”

Off Topic (Sort of):

Hyperloop explained in 10 images – Elon Musk revealed the Hyperloop to the world. It’s a futuristic mass transit system that would essentially run alongside regular trains, and would only replace planes for trips of short distance. It’s all a bit complicated, so if you can’t be bothered to read through a 57-page PDF, these 10 images should roughly explain the Hyperloop concept in a just a few seconds.

OKCupid stakeout finds men prefer women who cheat – A fascinating experiment suggests that man predominantly use dating Web sites to hook up and prefer women who admit they’re cheating. The reverse experiment has very different results.

The lie of multitasking – The ability to perform multiple activities at once is usually regarded as an asset. Recent research may prove that wrong.

Keepsake – In 1881, as the nation was mourning James Garfield’s assassination, the following advertisement appeared in 200 newspapers ………… (suggested by Michael F.)

A peek at Perseids’ meteoric peak (pictures) – Stargazers and photographers alike came out Monday for the climax of the annual meteor shower.

Straight Pride UK, A “Heterosexual Rights” Group, Sics The DMCA On A Journalist – In an excellent example of the Streisand Effect working its sordid magic, a group called Straight Pride UK has forced to pull a story by student journalist Oliver Hotham that featured an interview with the group in regards to heterosexual rights in UK.

SF Chronicle said to demolish paywall after four months – The newspaper introduced a new subscription-only Web site in March that charged for access to “premium” stories and columns. But its content is reportedly free now.

Something to think about:

“If you have something very important to say, whisper it”

–     Nassim Taleb

Today’s Free Downloads:

Microsoft SkyDrive 2013 – SkyDrive for Windows is the easiest way to access your SkyDrive from your PC. When you install SkyDrive, a SkyDrive folder is created on your PC. Everything you put in this folder is automatically kept in sync between your computers (PC or Mac) and, so you can get to your latest files from virtually anywhere. Whenever you add, change, or delete files in one location, all the other locations will be updated.

Toolwiz Care – Toolwiz Care is a free tool kit designed to speed up your slow PC. With a multi-functional optimization suite, this Windows system optimizer provides a collection of tools which includes System Checkup, System Cleanup, System Speedup, and 40+ powerful tools to enhance your PC performance, local and network security, and optimize the start-up procedure. Toolwiz team guarantees users that Toolwiz Care will stay free forever. This tool kit is designed for all levels of PC users from beginners to experts.

IsMyLcdOK 2.33 – IsMyLcdOK is a small program but effective solution to easily check for dead/paralysed/stuck pixels on LCD monitors. IsMyLcdOK does not have to be installed and can be executed easily from the desktop, and can be carried on a small usb-stick or other memory device.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Lavabit founder, under gag order, speaks out about shut-down decision – Ladar Levison took 10 years to build his company—and he’s 32, so that’s most of his adult life. So when he shut down his encrypted e-mail service, Lavabit, without warning last week, it was like “putting a beloved pet to sleep.” What was that other choice? “Unfortunately, I can’t talk about that,” Levison said during today’s interview. “I would like to, believe me. I think that if the American people knew what our government was doing, they wouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore.

The Lies Aren’t What Makes Obama’s NSA Stance So Awful – President Obama’s repeated comments that “there is no spying on Americans” and that “we don’t have a domestic spying program,” as he told Jay Leno, were contradicted by two revelations at the end of last week. These revelations led news outlets like the Huffington Post and others to ask: “Did Obama lie on national television?” And it’s certainly true that the evasive language the administration uses to describe what it’s doing is increasingly corrosive.

How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets – This past January, Laura Poitras received a curious e-mail from an anonymous stranger requesting her public encryption key. For almost two years, Poitras had been working on a documentary about surveillance, and she occasionally received queries from strangers. She replied to this one and sent her public key — allowing him or her to send an encrypted e-mail that only Poitras could open, with her private key — but she didn’t think much would come of it.

Zimmermann’s Law: PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder Phil Zimmermann on the surveillance society – The surveillance landscape is far worse than it has ever been and I feel like everything we do is now observable. We are going to have to have Congress react to this and we need to get the population to react, perhaps through the economic consequences we face of losing a lot of business for American internet companies. Maybe American internet companies can push back because of economic harm that comes with the rest of world turning its back on us.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 14, 2013

  1. Fred

    Hi Bill,
    I am consistently astounded by how much relevant and interesting information you provide for us all each and every day. I just wished to mention that I’ve got a file where I am collecting many of these quotes you’ve submitted, they are so full of both wit and wisdom that I can always impress the relatives by adding some as a signature in my emails, which Google and I’m sure everyone in .gov are reading.

    • Hi Fred,

      Well, you get to read what I have to read. So, not quite as hard as it looks. 🙂

      Good move on the quote thing – well spun quotes often have a powerful message.

      Always good to hear from you.



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