Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 27, 2013

How to delete your Web accounts with – Some Web sites make it difficult to figure out how to delete your accounts. can save you time by providing direct links to the cancellation pages of numerous Internet sites.

Microsoft will craft XP patches after April ’14, but not for you – Just because Microsoft doesn’t plan on giving Windows XP patches to the public after April 8, 2014, doesn’t mean it’s going to stop making those patches. In fact, Microsoft will be creating security updates for Windows XP for months — years, even — after it halts their delivery to the general public.

Anonymous Document Sharing Site Pastebin Surpasses 1 Million Members, Keeps Growing – The service allowed users to log in using social media tools and control the pastes they uploaded to the site. Members can also edit and delete pieces of information they post to the site. Users can still paste items anonymously.

10 open-source alternatives for small business software – The open-source community offers an array of programs that deliver professional-grade features without the big-business price tag. If you replace your current commercial software products with these open-source equivalents, you can save nearly $2,000 per user.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook prompts users to create shared photo albums – Up to 50 Facebookers can now collaborate on one single photo album — from a wedding, vacation, or other event — with a new feature called “Shared Albums.”

8 Free World-Class College Courses on YouTube – A wealth of information is at your fingertips if you just know where to look; this includes college courses from some of the country’s most esteemed universities

The best Windows 8 Start menu programs – Like a lot of people, I have a very low opinion of Windows 8’s user interface. And one of the things I like least about it is the lack of a Start menu. That’s hardly a unique opinion. Luckily, there are plenty of third-party Start Menu programs. Here are two of the best–with very different approaches.

MeCam launches wearable HD pin-style camera – The camera is small enough to fit in one’s palm and is said to weigh less than a quarter pound. There’s an on board microphone, which has an audio recording range of 10 feet from the camera. The unit records to a microSD card, and is able to support capacities up to 16GB. Power comes from a Lithium Ion battery said to have a run time of 80 minutes, while both charging and data transfer is achieved with a standard USB cable. The camera is available now from MeCam for $49 USD.

Instagram Taps Into Phone’s Sensors for Photo Straighten Feature – Instagram on Monday provided some detail on how its new straighten tool works within Instagram 4.1.

Uncover the note-taking power of Google Keep – If you’re a power tablet users, you know that having the right tool to do the job is tantamount to successful mobile work. Sometimes, however, the right tool might be a bit deceiving. Such is the case with Google Keep. This particular Google application allows you to create and save quick text notes, audio notes, and pictures.

Present wirelessly with Chromecast in your conference room – Google’s $35 Chromecast may be the simplest, least expensive way to present wirelessly from your laptop browser.

Google blocks Chromecast app that streams local media files – You can stream a lot of content to a Chromecast dongle, but one thing you can’t do is stream your personal files from an Android device—and according to one developer, Google’s actively working to keep it that way.

Three handy (but often-overlooked) Google Chrome features – In Google Chrome, for example, there are three features so neatly tucked away that I suspect many users have never noticed them.

Apple’s iPhone Trade-in Program Is Already Being Piloted, Here’s How It Works – Apple is about to introduce an iPhone trade-in program that will allow users to walk into a Retail store and trade up from an old model to a new one. We’ve heard some interesting details about the way that the program will work, and indeed, is working right now in some pilot Apple Stores.


Mobile Threat Monday: Nasty Adware And A Master Key Mystery – This week, we look at several apps that push ads to your phone in undesirable ways and a true-blue Android “master key” exploit found in the wild.

Public Intelligence releases Android threat warning from Homeland Security and the FBI – This report shows that because Android 2.3 Gingerbread it still a widespread operating system, Google’s own mobile system is a threat to citizens on a level that deserves attention. That’s Android 2.3.3 through 2.3.7, released in 2011, and the government suggests that a change needs to be made.

Researchers modify GSM cell phones to function as cellular blocking device – A Technical University of Berlin telecommunications security research group has revealed that it was able to block local cell phones from receiving calls and text messages using a software modification on a GSM phone. As such, this method can be used as a telecommunications hack that prevents a specific network area from properly sending communication on to handsets.

Google Palestine Hacked And Defaced Through A Domain Registry Attack – Google’s primary search domain for Palestine has seemingly been hacked, with the standard Google search interface for the region being replaced by a political message from its hackers.

Turbo-charged cracking comes to long passwords – For the first time, the freely available password cracker ocl-Hashcat-plus is able to tackle passcodes with as many as 55 characters. It’s an improvement that comes as more and more people are relying on long passcodes and phrases to protect their website accounts and other online assets.

Researchers modify GSM cell phones to function as cellular blocking device – A Technical University of Berlin telecommunications security research group has revealed that it was able to block local cell phones from receiving calls and text messages using a software modification on a GSM phone. As such, this method can be used as a telecommunications hack that prevents a specific network area from properly sending communication on to handsets.

Company News:

AdBlock launches crowdfunding campaign to create ads about blocking ads – Prepare to have your mind blown: This weekend, the creator of the popular AdBlock software—which kills the ads you’d normally see while trawling the Web—launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for ads encouraging people to use AdBlock and block Internet ads.

Android Developers Can Now Use Google’s Play Store To Distribute Their Free Apps In Iran – Google today announced that Android developers can now make their free apps available in Iran, one of the few countries where app downloads through Google’s store were completely unavailable until now. Paid apps and apps that use in-app billing, Google notes, will still remain unavailable in Iran for the time being.

Worth $100B, Facebook Has Recovered $58B In Market Cap Since Last September – Today Facebook ended normal trading with a market valuation of $100.6 billion, capping a long return to form after a botched IPO and mobile concerns led investors to unload the shares in the company in its first year as a public entity. The company has recovered $58 billion in market capitalization since last fall, more than doubling in value since its 52-week low.

Games and Entertainment:

Video games do not make vulnerable teens more violent – Do violent video games such as ‘Mortal Kombat,’ ‘Halo’ and ‘Grand Theft Auto’ trigger teenagers with symptoms of depression or attention deficit disorder to become aggressive bullies or delinquents? On the contrary, the researchers found that the playing of such games actually had a very slight calming effect on youths with attention deficit symptoms and helped to reduce their aggressive and bullying behavior.

Xbox One will have a high-performance custom chip: The chip was designed by Microsoft and AMD – The high-performance, low-power chip has specialized processors beyond the CPU and GPU to handle tasks such as audio processing, video decode and encode and other small game characteristics. The system has 5 billion transistors, and uses an eight-core AMD CPU code-named Jaguar, which is also being used in the Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4.

Grand Theft Auto V special edition content detailed – Rockstar loves to tease its fans, and it’s been doing a lot of that recently with Grand Theft Auto V. The game is planned for release next month, but that isn’t stopping Rockstar from slowly providing us with more and more details on the upcoming game. This time around, it’s more screenshots and details from the special editions of the game.

Oculus Rift used to simulate skydiving while suspended from a tree – The brain is used to certain rules — it assumes the visual data being fed into it is actually indicative of the real world. That’s why a video game or other immersive experience can produce the sensation of falling, or induce motion sickness in some people. YouTuber Dan Borenstein has taken things to the next level with an Oculus Rift, a skydiving demo game, and a tree.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Assange’s brilliant mullet-wearing, classic-miming video – In the run-up to Australia’s elections, the WikiLeaks founder sings an ’80s classic on a marvelously demented “Game of Thrones” satirical video.

Owlet, A Bootie That Tells You How Your Baby Is Breathing, Hits The Crowdfunding Trail – The lives of new parents are fraught with stress but now the weight of knowing whether or not your wee one is breathing can be lifted. Owlet is a small bootie that the baby wears while sleeping. It signals heart rate and respiration and you can check in on the little shaver via a mobile device

When It Comes to Phones, How Big Is Too Big? – Samsung rolled out its Galaxy Mega phablet in American markets last week but I’m skeptical as to whether consumers will latch onto the new form factor.

NORAD, Russia Practice Intercepting Hijacked Airliners – U.S. and Russian forces began a joint exercise Monday over the Bering Sea despite the raised tensions with U.S. naval forces moving into position to potentially fire cruise missiles into Syria. The exercise will simulate the response to a hijacked airliner. It’s the third iteration of the exercise named Vigilant Eagle run Aug. 26–30 by North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Russian Federation Air Force. (suggested by Michael F.)

Gas stations in the sky: 90 years of aerial refueling – In 1923, Army aviators began running a fuel hose from one biplane to another and setting endurance records. Today, B-2 bombers can fly from Missouri to Korea and back, nonstop.

Should You Keep Your Mental Illness a Secret at Work? – It’s bad enough that most health insurance companies will gladly discriminate against you for having a pre-existing mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But what about other people, like your coworkers? Will they still treat you the same if they knew you had a mental illness? Depending on where you worked, you might find the answer surprising, even in the year 2013.

Something to think about:

Surveillance And The State – It is not the role of politicians or civil servants to determine the limits of public discussion. Nor should the debate be circumscribed by attempting to criminalise the act of journalism − without which, in this instance, there could be no debate. Citizens of free countries are entitled to protect their privacy against the state. The state has a duty to protect free speech as well as security.

Today’s Free Downloads:

MyPhoneExplorer 1.8.5 – Connect your phone via cable, bluetooth or infrared and you’ll be surprised how easy and efficient you can manage your phone with this compact software.

Wise Program Uninstaller 1.53.72 – Wise Program Uninstaller helps you uninstall your unwanted programs or forcibly uninstall the program you can’t uninstall by Windows or other programs. Moreover, it also can remove the residual entries which may drive you mad.

CCleaner Portable – CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA: fear of a black van – Most of us are good citizens. And yet. What if the government is listening in, or watching, or scanning, and some algorithm triggers an investigation and some quota-happy g-man decides to make one of us a pet project?

German politician: Stop US trade talks until NSA surveillance is disclosed – A German political opposition leader has called for a complete halt to the ongoing European Union-United States trade negotiations, further indicating a breakdown between the two longstanding allies over spy-related issues.

New Zealand appears to have used NSA spy network to target Kim Dotcom – A new examination of previously published affidavits from the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)—the New Zealand equivalent of the National Security Agency (NSA)—appears to suggest that the GCSB used the “Five Eyes” international surveillance network to capture the communications of Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload.

Justice Department slip names Google in data demands case – A recent court filing by the Justice Department redacts Google’s name in all instances but one, finally making official what had been an open secret.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

5 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 27, 2013

  1. ‘Anonymous Document Sharing Site Pastebin Surpasses 1 Million Members, Keeps Growing’

    Hey Bill
    Do you think Pastebin is the safest anon publisher? Is it safer than self-destructing texts or eMails?

    • Hey Pochp,

      If you believe that the surveillance technologies being employed by the U.S. is in fact a reality, then anonymity is effectively dead. On the other hand, assuming one does not draw the attention of the NSA, then Pastebin is as “safe” as one could expect. But, the “safest”? There ain’t no such thing, my man. 🙂 Should I paste to Pastebin, I would only do so through a VPN.

      Trust all is well with you.



  2. Unfortunately I am unable to recommend a website to due to still using IE 8; which does not support. If I could recommend a website it would be After numerous attempts to delete my email account with I resulted to listing them as spam in my email program. More than one way to skin a cat.

    • Hi John,

      I’ve been dealing with Ashampoo for years – pretty good company with an interesting lineup of applications at a good price-point. Even so, I quite agree with you – far too many product offers (spam in any language). So, just like you, I brought down the spam hammer.