Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 26, 2013

The Essentials: Best free Windows apps for students – Make sure your PC is equipped with the best of the best to tackle your classes — all without spending a dime.

Facebook hoaxes shared by the scared – Dire warnings and posts on privacy and security regularly appear in our Facebook feed, shared by people that believe they are true. Here is a round up of the hoaxes that are shared the most. They are all fake.

10 cool tools for heading back to school – Looking for back-to-school tech? From advanced note-taking apps to interactive textbooks to the perfect high-tech desk lamp, these items will help college students hit the ground running.

Google Glass Patent to Watch What You Watch, Read Your Emotions – A patent filed earlier this month by Google involves analyzing what you look at and even trying to guess your emotional response all in the name of advertising.

Fake social network PRSM demonstrates we’re willing to share everything anyway – A spoof social network jokes to share absolutely everything (and then some), but then again, how much are you sharing with the likes of Google and Apple already?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Saving YouTube videos for offline viewing – Watching a YouTube video typically requires an Internet connection, but with a little preparation the videos can be saved for later offline viewing.

Five free productivity apps for your Android smartphone – With this collection of applications at the ready, you should be able to get your work done on-the-go without dropping a single penny on software. Does this sound too good to be true? Let’s take a look and find out.

6 awesome new Android apps you should check out – Google Play is no longer a wasteland of mediocre apps and games. No, there’s plenty of awesome stuff coming out all the time — everything from system utilities to racing games is getting some love on Android. There’s so much stuff, it can be hard to keep track of what’s new. So here are the best new Android apps you can find.

Resurrect your old PC as a public kiosk for fun and profit – Repurposing an old desktop system as a public-access PC for the lobby of your business or local school is a great way to put neglected hardware to use. Fortunately, with the right software, setting up a secure public PC is a cinch. Depending on what you want to offer in the kiosk, you may even be able to rely on Windows’ built-in features instead of installing extra software. The trick is to figure out who will be using your public PC and what they’ll be using it for.

Windows 8.1 is ready, gets released to manufacturers – Word is Microsoft has released Windows 8.1 to manufacturing. There’s still no indication that developers or users are going to get the gold bits before October 18.

Chrome, Firefox edge IE in browser reliability test – Recent versions of Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox are measurably less prone to crashes and errors than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10, a new analysis by applications testing firm Sauce Labs has found.

Wean Yourself Off Facebook with Shock Therapy and Harassing Phone Calls – Two MIT students were having trouble finishing their dissertations because of Facebook. Time for some high-tech weaning.


Don’t let paranoia over the NSA and TPM weaken your security – Conspiracy theorists are screaming that the NSA and Microsoft are in cahoots to insert a backdoor into all your hardware.

Your perilous future on Windows XP – Things are even worse than you’ve heard. Expect a flood of new vulnerabilities and no help.

Mobile users rely on simple security methods, report says – Nearly 80 percent of smartphone and tablet users choose simple pass codes to protect their devices from unauthorized use, according to an analysis released recently by a maker of mobile device management solutions.

Download me II—Removing the remnants of the Web’s most dangerous search terms – Who knew that “free” could lead to a PUP? (Sadly, not the cute and cuddly kind.) For instance, a search for “free music downloads” (the worst search query from round one) left my desktop littered with them. From my download notes and desktop count, I went from three to 19 programs while adding six Firefox plugins and 12 extensions that made my browser a cluttered array of toolbars and icons. My computer was dogged with PUPs—point proven. Now this was my mess to clean up. Could I do anything to fix my computer, and was it even worth it?

Company News:

Microsoft: Google’s corrupting your kids at school – Oh, those terrible people at Google. In the latest “Scroogled” ad, Redmond says Google is peddling vitamin supplements to kids. And that’s not all.

Apple quietly launches iWork for iCloud public beta – Anyone with an iCloud account can try the Web-based apps that are free for now

US Postal Service explores entering the cloud business – Can the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) find a new future running a cloud-based authentication service for the government? The USPS intends to try and do just that under a three-year $15.12 million contract awarded to SecureKey Technologies last week for some foundation technology to build a cloud-based authentication exchange.

Uber To Purchase 2,500 Driverless Cars From Google – Local transportation and delivery giant Uber announced its biggest bet on autonomous vehicles yet, saying it would purchase 2,500 driverless cars from Google. In addition, the two companies have agreed to a deal in which Uber will share data from its local transportation services with Google, which will use it to further improve its own autonomous car-routing algorithms

Games and Entertainment:

The Elder Scrolls Online: Boldly Going Where Other MMOs Have Failed Before – Has Bethesda lost its mind? TIME Tech’s Matt Peckham and Jared Newman debate the company’s upcoming MMO, which costs a one-time fee of $60 and a recurring fee of $15 per month.

The game in the map (pictures) – Artist Lisa Hoffman builds a mysterious puzzle game directly into the official Burning Man map. Players are encouraged to team up with others to solve the clues and learn about the Cult of the Hat.

Battlefield 4 multiplayer will have dynamic battlefields Dice calls Levolution – EA and Dice are trying to infuse something new into Battlefield 4 in the form of a new layer of dynamically changing play areas. It’s being called Levolution, and while the name may sound ridiculous, the features it introduces promise to offer something new to the gameplay.

PlayStation 4 will win 2013 sales, not the Xbox One – Are you ready for a battle? Starting this November, the video game industry will be headlined by two major competitors: the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One. And both devices, which promise enhanced graphics and outstanding game libraries, are looking to win this year’s 2013 sales competition.

Off Topic (Sort of):

California burning: The view from outer space (pictures) – It’s been another hot summer for firefighters in the Golden State with a series of huge blazes.

Top 10 Steve Ballmer quotes: ‘%#&@!!’ and so much more – As he prepares to make his transition from top dog at Microsoft, we thought it would be a good time to survey some of the most memorable Ballmerisms of past years, and see how they worked out in practice. Some are prescient, others scary – and in some cases he’s flat out wrong.

Forget Your Phone – This video made the rounds yesterday, tugging at heartstrings and giving us all in the Era Of Communication a bit of a kick in the buttocks. It shows a woman who forgot her phone. The premise is hokey at best, but it still tells us something about ourselves these past few years. Our world is endlessly mediated through lenses and screens. They used to tell us we’d get cancer if we sat too close to the TV. Now we have TVs in our hands at all times. Where is that nagging voice now to tell us when enough is enough?

Why Steve Ballmer Failed Microsoft shares soared on the news that its lacklustre boss will soon be leaving. “Ballmer is roughly the tech industry’s equivalent of Mikhail Gorbachev. When he took control Microsoft was one of the most powerful and feared companies in the world. As he leaves, it’s a sprawling shadow.” He alienated employees, missed every trend, came late to every innovation. Microsoft needs a successor who is his opposite in every way

Zuckerberg’s Internet sharing push draws doubts, praise – After Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a coalition with several other major tech companies to bring the Internet to areas of the globe that remain disconnected, the tech world reacted with a mix of criticism, mockery, doubt, and praise.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running Your Business – This is going be a bullet FAQ on starting a business. No joke. If you’re a lawyer, feel free to disagree with me, so you can charge someone your BS fees to give the same advice. If you can think of anything to add, please do so. I might be missing things. If you want to argue with me, feel free. I might be wrong on any of the items below. There are many types of business. Depending on your business, some of these won’t apply. All of these questions come from questions I’ve been asked. The rules are: I’m going to give no explanations. Just listen to me.

Something to think about:

Jobs, Robots, Capitalism, Inequality, And You – Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe everything will be fine. Maybe the “widening gap between rich and poor” is temporary. Maybe the steady growth in the proportion of jobs that are part-time and/or low-paid will soon reverse. Or maybe the idea that all the homeless need are old laptops and a few JavaScript textbooks is not unlike the claim that new technologies automatically create new jobs for everyone. Maybe, unless something drastic changes, most people are totally screwed.

Today’s Free Downloads:

Process Lasso – Process Lasso’s ProBalance technology intelligently adjusts the priority of running programs so that badly behaved programs won’t interfere with your ability to use the computer! In addition, Process Lasso offers capabilities such as default process priorities and affinities, termination of disallowed processes, instance count limits, a system responsiveness graph, logging of processes, keep select processes running (auto-restart), and much more!

Protector Plus – Windows Vulnerability Scanner 3.4 – Protector Plus – Windows Vulnerability Scanner checks your system for Windows Vulnerabilities. It guides you to update with the right patch to make your system secure. This program is updated regularly by Proland Software to detect all the vulnerabilities discovered.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Don’t tell me you thought we’d be done with NSA stories – The NSA story just gets more and more out of control, Assange phones it in to the Wikileaks party, Manning gets sentenced, and oh so much more. If this stuff weren’t true, you’d think it would be in a bad Bruce Willis movie.

NSA paid tech firms over Prism, says latest Snowden leak – Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Microsoft all received money to cover costs related to surveillance requests, the UK’s Guardian reports, citing documents provided by former contractor Edward Snowden.

The NSA Reportedly Bugged The UN’s New York Headquarters – Some of the documents obtained by Der Spiegel speak nicely to the sort of banality those involved ascribed to their actions — “The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),” one of them reads. In the weeks that followed the number of decrypted communications surged from 12 to 458 (and almost assuredly grew from there) and it appears that the NSA has only expanded its surveillance of extra-national bodies.

Tech firms’ responses to latest NSA disclosures cloud the truth, experts say – Technology companies may be hiding behind legal jargon to avoid being more forthcoming in their responses to new documents on government surveillance that were disclosed Friday, some experts say. Internet and software companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Facebook “are legally compelled to lie,” said security expert Bruce Schneier, citing national security letters that companies are prohibited from disclosing.

Guardian teams up with New York Times for future Snowden GCHQ coverage – Faced with a mounting backlash from UK authorities, The Guardian newspaper has announced that it will collaborate with The New York Times to release further documents detailing the activities of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters. The move comes after CCHQ agents reportedly smashed up hard drives and computers belonging to Guardian staffers when editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger refused to turn over materials leaked by Snowden.

Report: Secret British spy base in Middle East taps region’s internet – Among the vast haul of information lifted from secret networks by former US intelligence sysadmin Edward Snowden are details of a top-secret British spy base placed in the Middle East to tap into undersea communications cables and eavesdrop on the region’s internet, it has been reported. According to the Independent, the clandestine base is used to hoover up huge amounts of data, such as emails, telephone calls and web traffic.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 26, 2013

  1. Fred

    Hi Bill!
    “Process Lasso” Now in the past you have linked to various programs for download of a similar type, i.e. control of running programs, however I didn’t download any as it seemed a bit complicated for my level of knowledge, would this program kind of do this stuff automatically, without input required from the user. I would like something of that nature to give my computer a boost instead of it overheating most of the time when it goes to 100% CP usage, so perhaps this might help, don’t know, and that is why I ask THE MAN.
    Wishing you, as always, the best,

    • Hi Fred,

      The beauty of this type of application is – the user gains virtually finite control of various parameters of the OS. Which means (at least in my estimation), that the user really needs a good solid OS background. That’s not to say that these types of programs don’t offer a great opportunity for learning – they do. In such a case, slow and cautious are the operative words.

      Here’s a solution that might do the trick re: 100% CPU usage. Checkout my old article – Soluto Latest Release – Fixes Crashes And Speeds Up Your Boot Time.

      But, to the overheating issue –

      Generally, overheating is caused by dust/dirt buildup on sensitive components – especially the CPU/Fans, HD. Checkout another older article – Cleaning Your Computer – 5 Step Guide.