Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 21, 2013

Good News: Phishing Protection Actually Works – Austrian testing lab AV-Comparatives put 16 popular suites to the test. Over a one-week period they scoured the Internet to locate active phishing sites, eliminating any duplicates or invalid sites and ensuring that every sample actively attempted to steal login credentials. 187 phishing URLs remained after validation. The researchers then simply attempted to visit those sites using test systems protected by each of the 16 suites, noting which ones were blocked by each product.

How non-Dropbox users can send files to your Dropbox account – What if someone wants to send a file to you via Dropbox? Unless they have Dropbox accounts of their own, they can’t. Now they can. Browser-based Dbinbox enables Dropbox sharing in the other direction: It generates a custom link that others can use to send files to your Dropbox.

Get 1GB extra Dropbox space just for using Mailbox – Download a free app, connect it to your Dropbox account, and get 1GB of extra space for free? Sign me up!

Chrome 29 adds a reset button – The update also brings a fresh reset feature, similar to Firefox’s own browser reset button. This is helpful for eliminating all those unwanted extensions and unintended add-ons that you may have accumulated over the years inside your Chrome extensions. Your themes, bookmarks, and Chrome apps should still remain intact.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Handbrake tips for DVD transcoders – Handbrake is a great app. I’ve learned a few things after ripping hundreds of my DVDs you might want to know.

Google Maps Gets Waze Real-Time Traffic Reports – Google on Tuesday provided some details on how it will integrate Waze into Google Maps. This means that when Waze users report accidents, construction, road closures and other incidents, the information will also appear in the Google Maps app for Android and iOS.

Tech legal news site Groklaw shutting down, citing email privacy concerns – Running Groklaw is impossible now due to government surveillance, according to site owner Pamela Jones. Groklaw, which was launched 10 years ago, has been known for its exhaustive coverage of technology law, particularly involving software patents, open source software and privacy issues.

App turns old iPhones, iPads into a home security system – Planning to upgrade your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch? Instead of selling or recycling your old iOS devices, you can turn them into home security cameras with the Presence app by People Power.

Overclocking: Why you should and should not do it – Every processor is packaged and priced to run at a particular clock speed–for instance, 3100 MHz. But that speed is an estimate, and usually a conservative one. You can usually bump it up a bit without causing problems. Sometimes, you can bump it up quite a bit.

Bill Gates pitches in for online education resource Graphite – The Microsoft chairman and longtime donor to educational causes partners with Common Sense Media to launch a Web site that offers free apps, games, and curricula to teachers.

Google Project Loon trial hunts volunteers to test balloon internet – Google is hunting volunteers to test early Project Loon balloon-broadcast internet services, proposing mounting bulbous Loon antennas on participants’ roofs. Limited to those in California’s Central Valley, the research scheme would see the antennas stress-testing Project Loon’s potential bandwidth as the high-altitude balloons pass overhead.

Buy Me a Pie Manages and Syncs Grocery Lists Across Android and iOS – Grocery list apps are a fairly “no frills” endeavor. Well, most of the time they are. Buy Me a Pie has just launched on Android, and it has a really killer UI and feature set.

Google Glass App Lets You Scan Bar Codes, Price Check – In terms of practical applications, there is one new app that is sure to win a lot of fans, particularly among those who take their shopping excursions seriously. It’s called Crystal Shopper, a Google Glass app that lets the wearer scan and price compare products via bar code.

Security:

White House asks Supreme Court to rule on warrantless phone searches – Should cops be allowed to search your phone if you’ve been arrested? The courts can’t make up their minds, and the Obama administration wants to find out.

‘Instagram for PC’ application is a marketing scam – An advertisement circulating on Facebook and Twitter for a desktop version of the photo-sharing application Instagram is a scam, according to security vendor Symantec.

League of Legends is hacked, with crucial user info accessed – One of the world’s most popular online video games falls prey to a security breach involving usernames, e-mail addresses, salted passwords, and 120,000 salted credit card numbers.

Is metadata collected by the government a threat to your privacy? – Seemingly unobtrusive digital bytes known as metadata have been vaulted to the tech media limelight. What is metadata, and why all of a sudden is it so interesting to so many?

Company News:

Facebook And 6 Phone Companies Launch Internet.org To Bring Affordable Access To Everyone – Facebook has just announced a partnership with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, and Qualcomm to launch Internet.org, a project aimed at bringing affordable Internet access to the five billion people without it.

ZTE Open Firefox OS smartphone sells out – Though it just went up for sale on Friday, the ZTE Open is already sold out on eBay after just a weekend’s availability. Both US and UK eBay stores no longer have any stock of the Firefox OS-running phone, the Telegraph reports, which means consumers will need to wait until another production run is made before they can get their hands on one.

HP equips WorkSite with file-sharing service – Hewlett-Packard has launched a file storage service for users of its Autonomy WorkSite document management software that it promises can be more helpful than consumer-focused hosted file services.

VMware, Citrix and Microsoft virtual desktops get encryption security – AFORE Solutions today announced encryption software aimed at securing data in virtualized environments where Microsoft Windows applications are used, including virtualized desktop infrastructure deployments based on VMware, Citrix or Microsoft VDI.

McAfee exec tapped for top Homeland Security post – Phyllis Schneck will take the position of Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), which has four divisions that oversee physical and cybersecurity for U.S. infrastructure.

Barnes & Noble backtracks, decides to keep designing Nook tablets after all – Barnes & Noble is backtracking on an earlier decision to stop designing its own tablets, and says it will produce at least one new Nook device in time for the holiday shopping season.

Games and Entertainment:

Plants vs. Zombies 2 hints, tips, and tricks: Gameplay and cash shop mastery – If you’re feeling stuck or like the cash shop is insurmountable, these quick hints, tips, and tricks will get you through both the game, as well as help you figure out how you should approach the cash shop (which can turn the game from free-to-play to rather expensive quite quickly).

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified launch hits USA today; overseas August 23rd – The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is now available in North America. Developed by 2K and 2K Marin of BioShock 2 fame, The Bureau combines typical strategy and action game elements into a story-driven tactical shooter that expands the world of XCOM all while still staying true to the brand’s reputation and traditional themes.

Divekick review: A much needed kick in the face for fighting games – Surprisingly deep two-button gameplay is accessible, engrossing, and pure. By stripping out most of the modern complexities of fighting games and many of the features that were taken for granted even 20 years ago, it reduces the genre to its bare essentials. What’s left is a refreshingly pure strategic experience that’s still surprisingly deep.

Minecraft headed to PlayStation 4: Notch-gifted Golden PSOne a success – As the multi-platform gaming title Minecraft continues to expand in popularity with web browser, mobile, and console-based block-building action, today Sony announced the continuation of the title for PlayStation 4.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Why Can’t My Computer Understand Me? – In a terrific paper just presented at the premier international conference on artificial intelligence, Levesque, a University of Toronto computer scientist who studies these questions, has taken just about everyone in the field of A.I. to task. He argues that his colleagues have forgotten about the “intelligence” part of artificial intelligence. (suggested by Michael F.)

Billions Wasted: Do Gift Cards Make Sense When So Many Go Unused? – Retailers and restaurants love gift cards—so much so that they load them with bonus cash in order to sell more cards. This makes total sense once you realize how often gift cards aren’t used at all, and how all those cards add up to billions of dollars in profits.

Who’s Responsible for the Internet? – I got an email from a reader the other day that basically accused me of colluding in child exploitation and harassment by CloudFlare, an international company that supplies Internet optimization and security to hundreds of thousands of websites. Why? Because this reader disapproves of a website that uses CloudFlare’s services, and I have written about CloudFlare.

Elmore Leonard, crime novelist, dies aged 87 – US crime writer Elmore Leonard, author of such books as Get Shorty, Maximum Bob and Out of Sight, has died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke. The author of 45 novels, Leonard had been in the process of writing his 46th. (suggested by Michael F.)

How your iPhone uses more energy than a refrigerator – Maybe you drive a hybrid car and recycle your plastic containers. Perhaps you have bought carbon offsets, and even installed solar panels on your roof. But if you’re using an iPhone, you should know that a new study claims it uses more energy than a refrigerator.

School Has Become Too Hostile to Boys – As school begins in the coming weeks, parents of boys should ask themselves a question: Is my son really welcome? A flurry of incidents last spring suggests that the answer is no. In all these cases, school officials found the children to be in violation of the school’s zero-tolerance policies for firearms, which is clearly a ludicrous application of the rule. But common sense isn’t the only thing at stake here. In the name of zero tolerance, our schools are becoming hostile environments for young boys.

Something to think about:

Would We Have Drugged Up Einstein? How Anti-Authoritarianism Is Deemed a Mental Health Problem – In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by 1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians; and 2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.

Today’s Free Downloads:

Restore Point Creator 1.3.12 – Create and manage System Restore Points quickly and easily, all from a free simple program. No more drilling through multiple menus in Windows just to create a System Restore Point, now all you have to do is run this program and that’s it. Follow the simple program layout and you have your System Restore Point created in no time at all.

Cool PDF Reader – Cool PDF Reader is the smallest PDF viewer/reader to view and print PDF files, and convert PDFs to TXT, BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, WMF, EMF, EPS. It is only 655KB to download and doesn’t need lengthy installation, just download and run.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

UK Home Office defends nine-hour interrogation of journalist’s partner – Reactions are heating up surrounding the dramatic actions of the British government revealed in the last two days—specifically the Sunday detention of reporter Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda at Heathrow airport, and Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger’s revelation that GCHQ intelligence agents destroyed the newspaper’s hard drives in an attempt to block more reporting on National Security Agency (NSA) leaks.

Now Is The Time For All Good Nerds To Come To The Aid Of The Internet – The Internet is broken. It is burning. Facebook and Twitter fiddle while it smokes and we, the sapped members of the Internet class, watch the flames and wonder what’s next. Ignore this moment at your peril. To be clear, what the NSA is doing is far from technologically advanced. It is simple signals intelligence. It is grep writ large. However, the degree to which it has ensconced itself into the fabric of the Internet is breathtaking and the nonchalance and ignorance of the government officials involved is stunning. Now is the time for the nerds – and I mean this with all seriousness – to rally.

New Revelations Detail How The NSA Scans 75% Of The Internet Through Telco Partnerships – Meet Blarney, Fairview, Oakstar, Lithium and Stormbrew. The programs allow for far greater surveillance than the government has admitted to, and, importantly, detail how the government forces Internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over raw data.

Smashed Hard Drives, Shuttered Email Services, And The Slow Leak Of Free Speech – It can’t be easy defending the NSA’s surveillance efforts. The task continues to be made increasingly difficult by the myriad revelations that continue to spill from the treasure trove of information that Edward Snowden released to the world. It’s just metadata. It’s just metadata on all phone calls. No they can’t call up your emails. Well, yes, XKeyscore is real, and you should be happy we have it. No, there have been zero privacy abuses. Well, fine, in one 12-month period ending in 2012 there were 2,776, but that’s just proof of oversight and none were willful! Wrong.

What’s Wikileaks hiding in its 400GB of ‘insurance’ files? – On 16 August Wikileaks released an enormous collection of mysterious ‘insurance’ data on to the web. The data was released in 3 sizeable torrent files alongside a message asking the people of earth to mirror the data far and wide. The only statements by WikiLeaks have been released via Twitter – “WikiLeaks releases encrypted versions of upcoming publication data (“insurance”) from time to time to nullify attempts at prior restraint.”

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13 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

13 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 21, 2013

  1. Not surprised by the top 3 in those AV-Comparatives. Excellent!

  2. System Restore Point Creator
    The following video may help the average computer user:

  3. Philip

    So….what can those who use one of the lesser performing AVs do to increase anti-phishing effectiveness? Thanks

  4. The System Restore Point creator software seems nice, but it is completely unnecessary.
    In Windows 7 you can create a desktop shortcut directly to the System Restore dialog box.
    First, create a GodMode folder on the desktop:
    Right-click the Desktop > New > Folder
    Name the folder “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”, without the quotes.
    Double-click the GodMode folder, which will display an expanded version of Control Panel.
    Scroll down to the System section and right-click on “Create a restore point”, and select “Create shortcut”.
    You now have a shortcut directly to the System Restore dialog box.

  5. delenn13

    Between Godmode, Windows 7 In a Box (I use this page to download it…some of the other pages I don’t trust to download) and one of my favs…Take Ownership of Windows 7 and Vista Files with a Shortcut, you can make Windows 7 your bit..errr…I mean, YOURS.