Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 20, 2013

Tips and tricks for speeding up your Android device – Android smartphones and tablets can become slow and sluggish over time. These easy-to-follow tips will help make your device run like new.

The worst deals in tech: Are you being fleeced by these 7 overpriced products? – As gadget enthusiasts, we accept the idea that products are worth what we’re willing to pay for them, and not what they cost in terms of product development, manufacturing, and materials. Nonetheless, it’s time to name names. Here are some of most egregiously high profit margins in the world of consumer tech.

Who’ll Get Your Gmail When You Die? – If you die or become incapacitated, who will take over your digital life? Google’s Inactive Account manager can help, but is it for you?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Glass: Coming soon to a cop near you? – One Connecticut-based firm is touting Google Glass as a technology that can aid and assist in cases of emergency, particularly when used by first responders. But with a rise in cops with cameras in the street, civil liberties groups say it could be a “win-win” for both police and public.

Loop Makes Quick Animated GIFs on iPad – Creating cool animations doesn’t have to be a tedious endeavor that consumes your life as you draw frame after painstaking frame until your fingers have been into twisted in arthritic claws. No, it’s much easier than that, especially with Loop. That’s a new $0.99 iPad app that lets you create simple animations in a few frames that can be exported as animated GIFs. It’s strangely fun.

Best photo storage sites – Wondering where to stash your photos online? CNET’s Donald Bell counts down the best five digital photo storage services.

Easily find free ebooks – You’ll want to start with Project Gutenberg’s site, which offers the most ebooks. Best of all you can chose from plain text to a Kindle version, so download it and pull it up in your Kindle app and you’re good to start reading.

10 Great Google Reader Replacements – These ten RSS feed readers all offer something different, whether it’s speed, simplicity, social interaction, or DIY-level customization. Which one is right for you?

Tweet all about it: Twitter tells you when tweets become news – In the name of context, the information network now points you to news articles where tweets are embedded.

7 mobile drives: More portable and more powerful – Mobile hard drives have become lighter and smaller while offering higher capacities at lower prices. We look at 7 of the latest models to help you choose.

The top WordPress tools for developers, designers, and consultants – Check out this list of WordPress tools that developers, designers, and consultants can use to write plugins, develop themes, and coordinate with team members and clients.

AirCast Sends Almost Any Video From Your Phone to a Chromecast – Chromecast is good, and has a ton of potential. A glimpse at the incredible things it will be able to do in the near future comes courtesy of none other than Koushik Dutta, better known as Koush from ClockworkMod. Koush has posted a preview version of AirCast, an upcoming app that will let you stream virtually any video from the gallery, Dropbox, or Google Drive.

5 budget laptops for college students: We name the best – To strike the best balance between performance and affordability, I gathered the top five notebooks I could find for $650 or less. Benchmark busters they’re not, but they aren’t budget busters, either.

YouTube lines up its latest hit with major mobile update – A big update to the YouTube app for Android enables people to browse other videos while watching, to search and watch playlists, and to queue videos on connected devices. YouTube for iOS is also expected to update soon.

Microsoft ad: Students fail if they use iPad – It’s back-to-school time. If you want to graduate and get one of the few jobs left for you, don’t use an iPad. You can’t multitask.

LinkedIn recruiting students with career-minded University Pages – The new pages, managed by university staffers, are meant to offer high school and college kids cheat sheets to desired career paths.


Hack to School: Beware the open school wi-fi – Like a lot of public wi-fi systems, the ones in schools are usually unencrypted and require a login. Don’t confuse the login with security of the connection.

The professionalization of malware – The high-end of malware is reaching a new level quality that comes from it being written by professional organizations with real budgets and high standards. Be afraid.

New variation of old malware steals log-in credentials from Steam users – A new variant of the Ramnit financial malware is using local Web browser injections in order to steal log-in credentials for Steam accounts, according to researchers from security firm Trusteer.

Google says UK privacy laws don’t apply to Safari cookies dispute – Google has told British consumers in a privacy claim that it does not have to answer to English courts and U.K. privacy laws don’t apply to it, according to the law firm for the plaintiffs.

Court rules that IP cloaking to access blocked sites violates law – In a case between Craigslist and data harvester 3Taps, a federal judge rules that changing an IP address or using a proxy server to access a blocked Web site violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Training software tracks your eyes to make sure you watch – Feature called FocusAssist pauses an online training course when the viewer looks away, ostensibly to “ensure complete end-user engagement.” Will this improve employee training, or is it too invasive?

Company News:

Tesco supermarket prepping tablet launch – British supermarket giant, Tesco, is looking to enter the competitive tablet market with their own brand of device. Likely to run Android, the tablet will be similar to the iPad and be available for the public around the holiday season, says The Sunday Times, and go on sale alongside the Kindle Fire, iPad mini, and a selection of low-cost Android-based models already stocked by the retailer.

Google Chrome said to unveil ‘Supervised User’ controls – Word has it that the Web giant is extending its multi-user accounts with a “Supervised User” feature that could help parents control what their children see on the Internet.

Microsoft Launches Skype For In The US, UK, Germany, France, Brazil And Canada – Today Microsoft announced that Skype integration inside its email service is now live and out of preview in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Brazil and Canada. The combination of Skype and brings together two of Microsoft’s most popular services, and provides the email service with a material competitive edge in its war with Google’s Gmail.

Instagram Cracks Down On Connected Apps Using “Insta” And “Gram” – Instagram has updated its brand guidelines to ban apps that feature either the word ‘Insta’ or ‘Gram’ in their names, and it has begun sending emails to existing apps requesting that they change those components ’within a reasonable period’.

Microsoft Tag service slated for shutdown in 2015 – QR codes have been a bit slower to catch on than some had anticipated, yet their victory over competing codes is solid, and again reaffirmed with an announcement by Microsoft today: its Tag service will be shut down on August 19, 2015.

BotObjects Vows To Put A 3D Printer In (Almost) Every High School – BotObjects, an intriguing 3D printing outfit that builds real, full-color additive prints out of multiple colored plastic filaments, has announced that they will offer free printers to select high schools in the United States and the UK.

Games and Entertainment:

Jobs deflates at the box office – Why would you make a film about such an iconic person and treat it like a Lifetime movie of the week and put Ashton Kutcher at the head of the cast? This should have been an earth shattering biography.

Xbox One launch titles reach 50 (with 19 exclusives) – With the 50 games listed by Microsoft today, the company has suggested that a whopping 38% of them (that’s 19 titles, if you’re counting) will be exclusive to the console. Have a peek and see if these names are worth the purchase in and of themselves.

EA begins offering refunds for its digital game sales on Origin – In its continuing effort to set itself apart from market leader Steam, EA has announced that titles it publishes on its Origin digital distribution service can now be returned for a full refund up to seven days after purchase if the consumer isn’t completely satisfied.

Find Virtual Reality Games With Oculus Share Marketplace – Oculus VR today launched its Share virtual marketplace in beta form, allowing developers to self-publish, download, and play the best VR experiences.

The Nvidia Shield Seemed Like A Fringe Device, But It’s Actually A Mobile Gaming Must-Have – After trying it out, I can say that no matter what Nvidia’s purpose was in putting together the Shield, I’m glad they’ve done so. More than my 3DS and Vita, this is a portable gaming console I could see myself using for a long, long time, and it is so much more than that.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Why We Want TV to Be Disrupted So Badly – TV providers aren’t technology companies. We know the technology and the experience can be so much better.

Scanning the Internet in 45 Minutes – The Internet is a big thing. Or, more accurately, a big collection of things. Figuring out exactly how many things, and what vulnerabilities those things contain has always been a challenge for researchers, but a new tool released by a group from the University of Michigan that is capable of scanning the entire IPv4 address space in less than an hour.

CouchBunker Couch Stops Bullets Better Than Your Non-Bulletproof Couch – If you’re in the market for a new couch, bulletproof cushions might not be on your list of desired features, but let me ask you this: Are bulletproof cushions NOT on your list of desired features now that you know bulletproof couch cushions exist?

New Microsoft Tech Turns Any Surface into a Touchscreen – Software startup Ubi, in conjunction with Microsoft, has begun selling a system capable of turning any surface into a touchscreen.

Something to think about:

When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening, foreign entity, it ignores the fact that in our democracy, government is us.”

–    Barack Obama

Today’s Free Downloads:

Emsisoft Emergency Kit – The Emsisoft Emergency Kit contains a collection of programs that can be used without a software installation to scan and clean infected computers for malware.

Toolwiz Care – 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.

IObit Driver Booster Beta 3.1 – Driver Booster is a brand new driver updating tool. It protects your PC from hardware failures, conflicts, and resolves system crash problems caused by outdated drivers. All old drivers can be detected by simply clicking on the “Scan” button, and then you just need to click “Update All” button to refresh these outdated drivers. Compared with other driver updating tools, IObit Driver Booster can improve your PC performance for gaming as well.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

UK Govt. Destroyed Journalists’ Hard Drives In Failed Attempt To Stop NSA Story – The plot thickens. British authorities reportedly destroyed hard drives in an attempt to stop the Guardian from disseminating stories about classified mass-surveillance projects. Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger details how security experts from British intelligence agency, GCHQ, told him that the Guardian would have to either hand over their information or have their hard drives destroyed. The revelation is especially damaging to British authorities after yesterday’s international incident, where they detained David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, in London’s Heathrow airport and confiscated his laptop and camera.

NSA-dodging mail service explains why email can never truly be private and secure – Earlier this month, Lavabit and Silent Circle—two privacy-minded email providers—decided to shut up shop rather than give the U.S. government the chance to access to their customer data. Shortly thereafter, Lavabit owner Ladar Levison told Forbes, “If you knew what I knew about email, you might not use it.” This weekend, Silent Circle’s Louis Kowolowski dropped the cryptic comments and explained a major, inherent vulnerability with email: metadata.

Data-driven analysis debunks claims that NSA is out of control (Special Report) – Just how heinous is the National Security Agency? If press reports and blog postings are to be believed, the NSA and the entire government surveillance apparatus of the United States are completely out of control and we’re headed for a Gestapo-style state. But is that really true? What does the data have to say about it?

Don’t let NSA paranoia destroy your productivity – There’s an awful lot of paranoia going around these days. But the biggest threats to your privacy don’t come from the NSA or the FBI. They come from private companies building massive databases to track your movements. Here’s a sensible set of strategies to minimize privacy risks.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

5 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 20, 2013

  1. Hey Bill,

    Readers might want to know that Sticky Password 6.0 is available free today at BitsDuJour. It’s a pretty good password and secure notes manager, makes it easy to use complex passwords, and doesn’t keep your passwords in the cloud. You can also spawn a portable version from the installed version to take your passwords with you on a flash drive or memory card.

    Re: the bulletproof couch.
    Many of us, as kids, made forts out of couch cushions. I’m surprised the couch manufacturers didn’t make it transformery and have it change into a fort shape when needed.

    • Hey Aseem,

      Thanks for that. Nice – the offer is good for another 20+ hours.

      Great suggestion on the Transformer thingy – gotta be some $ in that. Look for it soon at your local ToysRUs. 🙂



  2. ‘Jobs deflates at the box office’

    Most watchers of ‘Jobs’ would be techies or geeks. If the Kutchers/Jobs movie really bombed, it still proved the big population of geeks.