Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 2, 2013

Identify Fake Facebook Friends: FB Checker finds fake Facebook friends – Not everyone on Facebook is who they claim to be. And while some of the fake info posted on the world’s biggest social network is nothing more than a bit of harmless bragging, some of the fakers can be downright dangerous. Enter FB Checker, a free application that is designed to help you identify fake Facebook accounts.

Smartphones: When is ‘big’ too big? (Smartphones Unlocked) – This year, both the size of smartphone screens –and demand for them — will continue to balloon. But at some point, they’ll pop.

How Facebook is banishing roommate horror stories from the dorm – Ah, the dreaded college roommate. Or the perfect roommate. It’s all less of a guessing game, thanks to — you guessed it — Facebook.

App Lets You Donate Your Leftovers – Or Take Someone Else’s for Yourself – It works like you’d expect: If you’ve got leftovers you’re not going to finish, you can take a photo of the food and post it to the app. If you’re hungry, fire up the app and you’ll see the available leftovers plotted on a map in your area. The hungry person contacts the satiated person to arrange a pickup.

Add folder tree menus to Dropbox in Firefox – If you use Dropbox on the Web but you don’t fancy the way it navigates between folders, here’s a quick tip to make it a lot easier.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

There’s a better way: Getting more for your iPhone than Apple will give you – These easy trade-in services offer most of the convenience and more of the green.

Convert text to image, and image to text – Double-click any word in this paragraph. Your browser will select the word, and you’ll be able to copy and paste it into your word processor or email program. But try double-clicking a word in the picture above (or in any of the other pictures in this article). It doesn’t work. In the digital world, there’s a big difference between real text and an image that looks like text–even if it’s not always obvious to the user. Fortunately, there are ways to turn either one into the other.

‘Backscatter’ network could support the Internet of Things – Researchers in America say they have created a wireless communication system that allows devices to communicate with each other without relying on batteries or wires for power and could play a vital role in the Internet of Things. The communication technique—dubbed “ambient backscatter” by the University of Washington scientists—allows devices to communicate with each other by reflecting or absorbing preexisting radio signals from TV and mobile transmissions.

New stats show Windows 8 usage up sharply as XP usage plummets – The latest monthly NetMarketShare reports contain a few eyebrow-raising numbers. Windows 8 is up sharply, XP usage has plummeted, and Google’s Chrome browser seems to be falling out of favor. But this month’s report might need a big asterisk to account for a key methodology change.

Pakistan bans SMS, voice chat rooms to safeguard ‘moral values’ – The regulator orders telcos to stop offering voice and SMS chat rooms where subscribers can chat anonymously with each other, as they go against the moral values of society.

Target Ticket video service reportedly to launch for consumers soon – Target has been beta testing a video rental and download service called Target Ticket — a service similar to Walmart’s Vudu and Redbox Instant — with select individuals, something that will change soon. Reportedly, workers of the franchise have received notification that the service will soon launch for the public, and with it will be the option to buy or rent digital downloads.

Android mobile app revenue to reach $6.8 billion in 2013 – Android’s smartphone mobile app revenues are projected to reach almost $6.8 billion by the end of 2013, nearly doubling its revenues from the previous year. According to new data from market intelligence firm ABI Research, Android smartphone app revenues will increase from 59.1% to 65.9% when compared to iOS smartphone app revenues over the next twelve months.

Security:

Even suspicious email is too tempting to skip, survey finds – In a study conducted by TNS Global for Halon, an email security service, 30 percent of those surveyed admitted they would open an email, even if they were aware that it contained a virus or was otherwise suspicious.

Trojan entices Craigslist users with fake software freebie – The malware is ending up on the computers of unsuspecting users who click an infected link they encounter on the Internet, expecting to receive an update to a fictitious program called Adobe Photo Loader. After infecting a machine, the malware transforms the computer into a zombie for a botnet making spam postings to Craigslist for a program called Stealth Nanny.

Faux-Facebook Notifications Lead to Browser Hijack Malware – Italian security researchers report that as many as 800,000 Chrome users had browser sessions hijacked after falling victim to phony Facebook messages that eventually led users to malware posing as a video plug-in.

Dropbox dismisses hack demonstrated by developers – Two developers have cracked Dropbox’s security, even intercepting SSL data from its servers and bypassing the cloud storage provider’s two-factor authentication, according to a paper they published at USENIX 2013. Dropbox, which claims more than 100 million users upload more than a billion files daily, said the research didn’t actually represent a vulnerability in its servers.

Police metadata misuse raises questions over accountability – Allegations of police misuse of telecommunications metadata raise questions of how many requests by law enforcement officers are illegitimate.

Company News:

Google Buys WIMM Labs for Wearable Tech – There might be another smartwatch on the horizon with Google’s purchase of WIMM Labs.

Verizon, Vodafone Reach Agreement In $130 Billion Verizon Wireless Deal – Verizon and Vodafone have reached an agreement on a $130 billion deal that gives Verizon total control of Verizon Wireless, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. Verizon has taken Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, which was founded as a joint venture between the two companies in 2000.

Avoiding Proxy Fight, Microsoft Adds ValueAct President to Board – It’s rumored that institutional shareholders are getting a bit fussy about the company’s relatively stagnant stock price.

Twitter unveils Australian headquarters – Social networking giant Twitter is expected to open its first office in Australia later this week.

Ad agencies pick Google over Apple – In what many might view as a remarkable reversal of fortune, a survey of senior advertising figures shows their enthusiasm for working with Apple is fading a little.

Games and Entertainment:

Is It Time to Buy Nintendo’s Cheaper Wii U? Here’s a List of Pros and Cons – In hopes of ramping up Wii U sales momentum, Nintendo finally dropped the price of the Wii U Deluxe from $350 to $300 this week, bringing the only game console that ships with a dedicated gaming tablet in line with what you’d pay for a new PS3 or Xbox 360, while putting a bit more distance between the system and Sony‘s upcoming PS4 ($400) or Microsoft‘s Xbox One ($500), both due in November. Should you buy one? Let’s step through a few pros and cons.

Dragon Age: Inquisition preview shows combat and consequences – The new title, set for release late next year, is all about being a force for change in an expansive world that’s churning around you, leaving behind a more insular focus on the internal dynamics of a few characters.

World of Warcraft movie to begin filming in January, 2015 release expected – The movie will be directed by Duncan Jones (Moon) with a script penned by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond). Legendary Pictures has already begun setting up in Vancouver, Canada.

Bethesda is offering a DOOM pewter miniatures set for $200 – There are 15 miniatures including all the classics — the cyberdemon, Arch-vile, Hell Knight, our anonymous protagonist, and all the rest. These miniatures are re-castings of a set originally sold by Reaper Miniatures in the late 90′s. Those sets were never widely distributed, and were never sold all together. These new sets come as a package deal with all 15 miniatures and are identical to the originals except for the updated stamp on the bottom.

Godus preview: Ambitious, expansive, and “absolutely crazy” – Peter Molyneux’s effort to revive the god game makes some bold gameplay choices.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Man allegedly pawns office computers (gets caught) – We all need money. But one imperfect way to get money is to take your boss’s technological property, get money for it, and then get caught.

10 things you should keep to yourself at the office – Discretion is the better part of professionalism. Here are a few unwritten rules to keep you from getting in hot water at work.

Geek Answers: Why do some foods last forever? – As an archaeologist, you don’t get many opportunities to sample the delicacies of the ancient cultures you study. Even wine turns sour and undrinkable with time — despite that 400 BC was a “good year.” Yet, there are a few foods upon which a hungry tomb raider might hope to stumble, foods that remain edible no matter how long they’re left out.

Imagining today’s world from 50 years ago – In 1964 sci-fi visionary Isaac Asimov predicted today’s tech. From K-cups to Skype to self-driving cars, he got a surprising amount right.

Something to think about:

I believe that freedom is the deepest need of every human soul.”

–   George W. BushPress Conference, White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Today’s Free Downloads:

CDBurnerXP 4.5.2.4255 Official Mirror for CDBurnerXP – CDBurnerXP is a free application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilingual interface. Everyone, even companies, can use it for free. It does not include adware or similar malicious components.

Acoustica Basic Edition 6.0 Build 10 – Acoustica is a comprehensive solution for professional audio recording, editing and mastering. The intuitive user interface was designed with speed, accuracy and ease-of-use in mind and gives access to a large set of powerful tools to make your recordings sound the best. The consistent workflow simplifies your production work all the way from recording, editing, batch processing, sound design and audio restoration to Red Book compatible CD burning.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US agencies performed 231 offensive cyber-ops in 2011, leak reveals – This week has seen a new batch of documents swiped by Edward Snowden hit the media, with The Washington Post leaking a barrage of information in recent days. Among this information was data about a hacking collective the NSA has for targeting foreign subjects, and that was followed up today with information stating US agencies performed 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011.

Latest Snowden leak: NSA spied on Al Jazeera communications – On Saturday, German paper Der Spiegel reported that it had viewed a document obtained by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, in which the agency wrote that it had spied on Qatar-based Arab news broadcaster Al Jazeera. This appears to be the first confirmation that the NSA has used its powers to secretly monitor media outlets.

Microsoft will move forward with litigation over NSA data collection – Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said on Friday that the company would move ahead with its lawsuit against the U.S. government, seeking permission to release more information on demands Microsoft receives from the National Security Agency (NSA) and others for Internet user data. In a blog post, Smith dismissed as inadequate the Obama Administration’s announcement late on Thursday that it would begin publishing, on an annual basis, the total number of national security requests for customer data made to Internet and telecom service providers.

Welcome to the United States: Discriminated, detained, searched, interrogated (special report) – America may be the land of the free, but upon arrival, millions of visitors cross a legal purgatory at the U.S. border. We explore the worst-case scenarios — what happens to thousands of travelers at U.S. airports each year, and what rights (or lack thereof) they have.

Vendors question new interception law – Huawei, Microsoft, and Facebook weigh in on the dangers of a draft Bill before New Zealand’s parliament.

The NSA pays millions for U.S. telecom access – The government agency pays “hundreds of millions of dollars a year” to U.S. telecommunications companies for the equipment and service required to intercept telephone calls, emails and instant messages of potential interest, according to a story in Thursday’s Washington Post.

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