Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 29, 2013

Laptops vs. Tablets: Ultimate Showdown – If you’re shopping for a new device, you have a big choice to make. Laptop or tablet, we’ll help you pick.

Smart classroom tools for tech-savvy students – Though your laptop or PC is your school lifeline, it’s not always convenient to bring it to class. For those days, consider bringing more than just a typical spiral-bound notebook and your favorite gel pen. These high-tech notebooks and gadgets—plus one piece of software—will help you stay on top of your study game this semester.

How to: Remote Desktop Access – Our step-by-step guide to Windows Remote Desktop Connection makes it easy to access offsite PCs.

Use RDP Remote Desktop iFreeRDP on your iPad to access a remote PC – RDP Remote Desktop iFreeRDP is a free remote desktop solution that enables secure access to your desktop from anywhere. It supports all operating systems that support terminal services/remote desktop out of the box. With RDP Remote Desktop iFreeRDP, you get full control over Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, and other installed applications.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

In historic vote, New Zealand bans software patents: Patent claims can’t cover computer programs “as such.” – A major new patent bill, passed in a 117-4 vote by New Zealand’s Parliament after five years of debate, has banned software patents. Processes will still be patentable if the computer program is merely a way of implementing a patentable process. But patent claims that cover computer programs “as such” will not be allowed.

China to overtake US in e-commerce in 2013 – Asian giant has grown at 71 percent on average from 2009 to 2012 hitting US$212.4 billion last year, compared to U.S’s growth rate of 13 percent at $228.7 billion for the same period, according to Bain & Co. study.

Get started with shared Facebook albums – Facebook is in the middle of rolling out shared photo albums to users that allow you and your friends to contribute to albums.

Twitter tweaks its site and mobile apps to make conversations easier – IDG News Service – Twitter is updating its site and mobile apps to make it easier for users to carry out conversations on the site and share them with others outside of Twitter. The changes are intended to let users more easily follow along and join in on conversations that are typically carried out on Twitter using the “@ reply” function.

Three free email client apps for Android – Jack Wallen highlights three free email client apps that are more powerful, easier to navigate, or offer more options than Android’s default email client.

Nerd, interrupted: Inside a smartphone addiction treatment center – We often joke about being addicted to our phones, but it’s a problem that actually affects thousands of people worldwide. People addicted to these central accoutrements of the digital age need a dedicated type of rehab therapy and wellness programs to bring them back to reality. Backing away from an obsession with always-on, always-connected gadgets can be as hard as backing away from cigarettes or heroin.

Automattic Adds New Media Explorer Tool For Quick Twitter, YouTube Embeds In – Automattic, the parent company of the popular publishing platform, has released a new Media Explorer tool so users can add tweets and YouTube videos to their posts straight from the post editor. The tool is immediately available for and VIP users, and is coming soon to self-hosted WordPress blogs through Jetpack.

Fact sheet: LibreOffice 4.1 – Here is a quick fact sheet about the changes and improvements you can see in LibreOffice 4.1. LibreOffice is the flagship office suite from the open source community. It offers the best work flow between MS Office and any other office suite on the market. With the latest releases, LibreOffice has made even more strides to bridge the gap between business users and open source. And with the nightmare of licensing that is become of MS Office 2013, users are starting to seriously look for alternatives.

Help migrate users from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice 4.1 – For small businesses, a logical alternative to Office 2013 is LibreOffice 4.1. After just a few short years, LibreOffice has grown to be one of the finest locally installed office suites available. Not only will it save your company budget dollars, it will save users the headache of having to learn yet another iteration of the Microsoft Office interface. Read these migration tips.

6 running apps for people who don’t even like to walk – My friends who run look so much better in their jeans than I do. They enter races—real races, not like the 5K I did last year with zero training just because I wanted a medal. They run half marathons and full marathons, and when they talk about the runner’s high they get, or conversely, how crappy they feel when they can’t run for whatever reason, I get envious. I want to run, too.

Three handy (but often-overlooked) Google Chrome features – We are all of us creatures of habit, and those habits can easily extend to our Web browsers, where we’re so focused on our usual daily routines, we often overlook certain capabilities that can save us time or improve our productivity. In Google Chrome, for example, there are three features so neatly tucked away that I suspect many users have never noticed them.


Spear phishing led to DNS attack against the New York Times, others – The cyberattack that resulted in and some other high-profile websites being inaccessible to a large number of users Tuesday started with a targeted phishing attack against a reseller for Melbourne IT, an Australian domain registrar and IT services company.

FAQs about hacks: Everything you need to know about the Syrian Electronic Army – Should you be worried about the Syrian Electronic Army? Is there a chance you and I could get caught in the crossfire, the way Lulzsec leaked so many passwords a few summers back? Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Syrian Electronic Army.

Researcher: Snapchat names, aliases, phone numbers vulnerable – Australian researchers claim data can be discovered and harvested via the Snapchat Android and iOS API even if an account is private.

Unpatched Mac bug gives attackers “super user” status by going back in time – Researchers have made it easier to exploit a five-month-old security flaw that allows penetration testers and less-ethical hackers to gain nearly unfettered “root” access to Macs over which they already have limited control.

Hack of New York Times holds a lesson for all businesses – Your network is only as secure as the weakest point that has access to it. For the Washington Post it was a third-party advertising platform. For the New York Times it was a weakness at the Web hosting provider. Where is your weak link?

Company News:

Vodafone and O2 switch on UK 4G networks – Londoners can take their pick of three LTE networks from today, with all 4G operators pledging to extend coverage in the near future.

Facebook To Capture 15.8% Of Global Mobile Ad Revenue This Year, Predicts eMarketer, Up From Just 5.35% In 2012 – It’s no secret that Facebook has accelerated its mobile ad business in recent quarters. This mobile ad monetization push is resulting in “dramatic gains” in worldwide mobile ad market share, according to estimates put out today by researchers at eMarketer.

Hugo Barra is leaving Google, will join Chinese handset maker Xiaomi – Google‘s Vice President of Product Management Hugo Barra is leaving Google, and sources appeared claiming that he’ll be taking up employment with Chinese phone maker Xiaomi. Shortly after the news surfaced, Google confirmed that the executive is parting ways and confirmation has appeared on Weibo about the job he has lined up.

E-Readers Are Supposed to Be Dying, but Kobo Keeps Making Fancier Ones – The conventional wisdom about e-readers is that they are slowly getting pushed to the bargain bin, doomed to a life of obscurity at the hands of thinner, lighter and cheaper tablets. Just don’t tell that to Kobo, which continues to push the boundaries on the lowly e-reader. The company has just announced the Kobo Aura, a $150 e-reader with some fancy technologies for reading digital books.

Samsung and LG considering an anti-theft “kill-switch” on future devices – This is said to be addressing lost and stolen devices and will apply to both tablets and smartphones. This is something we have seen Samsung talk about in the past, however this latest Wall Street Journal report also includes LG. While we already have similar tracking services available, this one looks like it will go a bit deeper.

T-Mobile sues AT&T’s Aio Wireless over use of the color magenta – The carrier went after AT&T last month over its Next program, lambasting the program and following it up with some critical advertisements. Now T-Mobile is going at the company again, this time by way of a lawsuit against its subsidiary Aio Wireless.

iOS 7 forced VMware to rebuild, but company doubles down on Android – VMware’s quest to virtualize the smartphone is gaining steam on Android, with some premium devices now getting access to the company’s dual-persona technology.

Games and Entertainment:

Driving Game Makes You Respond to Text Messages While You’re Racing – The premise of the game is simple: You zip around a race course and while you’re driving, you’re tasked with responding to asinine text messages. The challenge, of course, is that responding to the text messages requires taking your eyes off the road. You can play the game yourself by navigating over to Link’s site and either downloading it or playing it inside your web browser. It’s not a game that should be played in real life.

Disney may offer final Clone Wars episodes exclusively on Apple TV – Disney is said to be working on Star Wars app for the Apple TV. The details are still firmly in the rumor category at the moment, however it is looking like the final episodes of the Clone Wars television series will be amongst the first content available on the app. This is said to be coming during the upcoming holiday season and beyond that, additional content is expected.

Logitech’s G602 gaming mouse has 1,440 hour battery life – If you are in the market for a new gaming mouse, chances are there’s a few prerequisite features you are looking for. Top of the list will be a very fast optical sensor for precision, then there’s the ability to program the buttons as well as having more buttons available to use. And then there’s battery life.

3DGo streams 3D movies you might actually want to watch – The service, which is currently available only on Vizio 3DTVs, carries about 50 movies from the likes of Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Paramount, and National Geographic. Current titles include Monsters, Inc., Captain America: The First Avenger, Cars 2, Wreck-It Ralph, Tron: Legacy, Thor, the Toy Story trilogy, and even Top Gun (yes, that Top Gun). Iron Man 3 will soon join that list.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Surgeon live-streams knee repair with Google Glass – A Google Glass-wearing surgeon transmits video of major knee surgery to colleagues and students. It’s a first-of-its-kind moment in the US and a big step for wearable tech.

Geek Answers: Why does NASA use so much gold foil? – Why doesn’t the cash-strapped agency use something less opulent than gold? Wouldn’t aluminum foil get the job done?

Honda tech warns drivers of pedestrian presence – Honda demonstrated a new system to prevent cars from hitting pedestrians today. A communication link between a car and a pedestrian’s smartphone warns the driver of an impending collision.

Eight excellent car technologies for safer driving – If you’re ready to trade in your well-worn 1999 model year ride, get ready for a whole new world of driving. New cars come with a wide array of technologies that improve safety, convenience, and your driving comfort.

Gamification: Using play to motivate employees and engage customers – Gamification is a long, awkward word, and some industry experts deride it as somewhat deceiving and inaccurate. But the concept it describes is simple—to make nongame activities more fun and engaging, you make them more like games. That idea can mean a lot of different things in practice, but here are a few of the most basic characteristics of gamification in action:

Something to think about:

The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.”

–     Lord Acton

Today’s Free Downloads:

Google Keyboard for Android – Google Keyboard makes text input smart and easy. Glide through letters with Gesture Typing – just lift to finish a word, no spacebar required. Compose notes on-the-go with Voice Typing. With amazing word recognition and next-word prediction, Google Keyboard helps you type faster and more accurately on all your Android devices.

Hotspot Shield 3.13 – Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop and the wireless router. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers and hackers from viewing your email, instant messages, credit card information or anything else you send over a wireless network. Which means you remain anonymous and protect your privacy. Hotspot Shield security software is free to download, employs the latest VPN technology, and is easy to install and use.

Undelete Navigator – Undelete Navigator allows you to find and undelete your accidentally lost or intentionally deleted files from all your internal and external hard disks, USB flash sticks and SD memory cards.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Usage for Tor doubles in wake of secure email shutdowns, arrival of the PirateBrowser – The Tor anonymity network is enjoying a massive uptick in popularity after two significant privacy-minded events took place earlier this month. By August 18, the number of users accessing the Tor network started creeping up, and it has only climbed higher and higher (and higher) since. Tor now regularly sees more than twice as many daily users as it did before the email shutdowns and the PirateBrowser’s release.

Eric Holder Pressed On DEA, NSA – Eight Democratic U.S. senators and congressmen have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about a Reuters report that the National Security Agency supplies the Drug Enforcement Administration with intelligence information used to make non-terrorism cases against American citizens.

Why the NSA PRISM program should terrify America – When the government says it is not reading the content of your emails and other digital communications, just collecting the “metadata,” rather than being reassured, you should be alarmed. Let’s see how this works.

NSA employees spied on their lovers using eavesdropping programme – Staff working at America’s National Security Agency – the eavesdropping unit that was revealed to have spied on millions of people – have used the technology to spy on their lovers.

U.S. tech sector feels pain from NSA PRISM revelations – A separate report this month by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, or ITIF, a Washington think tank, said US cloud providers stand to lose $22 billion to $35 billion over the next three years due to revelations about the so-called PRISM program.

The secret war – Infiltration. Sabotage. Mayhem. For years, four-star general Keith Alexander has been building a secret army capable of launching devastating cyberattacks. Now it’s ready to unleash hell.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 29, 2013

  1. Larry

    Hi Bill,
    I really appreciate that you’ve added a new column (In Pursuit of Freedom) to your blog.

    Best regards,