Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 9, 2013

10 power tips for molding Windows 7 to your will – You can get a lot more mileage out of Windows 7 if you perform a few tweaks and tap in to some timesaving tricks.

Here’s how to best secure your data now that the NSA can crack almost any encryption – Now that we know that corporations—or at least individuals in corporations—have worked with the NSA to build backdoors into encryption technology, privacy buffs should give commercial encryption technology (such as Microsoft’s BitLocker) the hairy eye. You’re better off using tools that employ open-source or public-domain encryption methods, as they need to work with every vendor’s software and, in the case of open-source encryption, can be scrutinized for potential security flaws. With that in mind, here are some tools worth checking out.

Infographic: Password Pop Quiz – We talk a lot about password security, but how much do you actually know about strong passwords?

Create a Windows 8 USB recovery drive – Perform essential recovery and repair tasks on your Windows 8 PC with a USB recovery drive. A bootable Windows 8 recovery drive can help you repair or restore your PC if and when problems arise. Though you can create a recovery DVD, USB flash drives are much more convenient and are fairly inexpensive. Here’s how to create a Windows 8 USB recovery drive for your PC.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Another free office suite for Android: Olive Office – Jack Wallen takes a look at Olive Office Premium, a free office suite application for your mobile Android device.

Google Glass MyGlass app update allows remote control – If you’re the sort of person that’s on the fence about working with Google Glass simply because you don’t want to have to put your finger up to the side of your head to tap around its controls, you’re in luck. This update to the Android app allows you to remotely control the Google Glass user interface straight from your handset or tablet – easy as pie.

Hybrid hijinks: How to install Android on your PC – The intriguing Android-x86 project has ported Google’s open-source OS from the ARM processors common in smartphones and tablets over to the x86 chips found in everyday computers, so you can take Android for a spin on your PC before plunking cash down on one of the latest examples of computing convergence. And even if you have no plans to buy an Android PC, playing with Android on your current PC is just plain fun.

DIY home security with iSmartAlarm – Home security just got a whole lot smarter — and a whole lot more affordable, too.


Freaking out ScamWare scum – Apparently, the practice of manipulating people with fear into doing things that are not in their best interests is not illegal but the people who perpetrate this stuff are lower forms of life. Check out this video and score one for the human race.

Microsoft readies a tsunami of patches for Windows, IE, Office – For sheer volume of bulletins—14 all together—Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday this month will prove onerous, with one critically important set of patches aimed to fix flaws in all versions of the Internet Explorer browser that can result in remote code execution on victims’ machines.

Encryption still best way to protect data — despite NSA – Properly implemented encryption very hard to beat, even by experts at U.S. spy agency, security experts say.

Yahoo: US wanted data on 40,000 accounts in first half of 2013 – Not surprisingly, the United States leads Yahoo’s list by far. The company reported that during the first half of 2013, American authorities made 12,444 requests of 40,322 accounts. Yahoo handed over content in 37 percent of cases, whereas in 55 percent of the cases, the company handed over only “non-content data” (NCD).

Trust no one, advises security expert after NSA revelations – Some security professionals raise concerns about tech companies potential cooperation with the surveillance agency.

Are password managers safe from the NSA surveillance? – The NSA is decrypting all things. You might have your passwords stored with a password management tool, such as the popular LastPass or 1Password apps. Should you be worried? Yes and no.

Company News:

Verizon’s bid to kill network neutrality law goes to court Monday – In December 2010, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the Open Internet Order, enshrining the concept of “network neutrality”—that Internet Service Providers must treat all data on the Internet equally—into law. ISPs don’t like this, naturally, but Verizon has objected most strenuously of all.

Topping 150M Users, Instagram Promises Ads Within The Next Year – Instagram Director of Business Operations Emily White told the Wall Street Journal that Instagram will begin selling ads within the next year. Are we ready? White comes to Instagram from Facebook, and has been tasked with turning the revenue-free Instagram into a money maker for Facebook, which purchased the photo-sharing app in April of 2012.

Apple reportedly to ship lesser-priced iPhone 5C to China Mobile – Following shortly after iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C advertisements made a brief appearance on China Telecom’s Weibo account, the folks over at The Wall Street Journal have revealed that Apple plans to send iPhone 5C models to China Mobile. Such is the claim of sources who spoke to the media company, with those same individuals confirming the September 10 event launch.

Apple ebook case injunction issued with five-year restrictions and compliance monitoring – The Apple ebook price-fixing legal spat has been a long one, with the Department of Justice and Apple butting heads over various aspects of the case, not the least of which was what Apple called “draconian” suggestions on the DoJ’s part. The Justice Department later agreed to modify some of its penalties, most of which have been included in an injunction filing that was released today.

Games and Entertainment:

Play your own way with these 10 surprising PC game mods – Minecraft in space. Call of Duty meets Star Wars. Grand Theft Auto with no friction. Try these and other fun twists on old games.

PrioVR: A full-body mo-cap suit for gaming – A project currently seeking funding on Kickstarter uses real-time motion capture to put your body’s movements inside a video game.

These Probably Aren’t the Mario Games You’re Looking For (But They’ll Do) – Autumn’s still a few weeks off, but brace for a slew of holiday-focused price drops on games you’ve already played, like Nintendo’s Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Wii Sports Resort.

Terraria looks, sounds, and plays just like the original, but the controls are lacking – The popular open-world adventure game originally for PCs and consoles is finally on iOS, but some control issues make it difficult to recommend for all your iOS devices.

Microsoft Works to Save Face After Xbox Backlash – There were no flashy videos, sensational demonstrations or celebrity appearances. Instead, Xbox Live programming director Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb candidly took questions on stage from the crowd for 30 uninterrupted minutes.

Off Topic (Sort of):

California poised to implement first electronic license plates – The idea is that rather than have a static piece of printed metal adorned with stickers to display proper registration, the plate would be a screen that could wirelessly (likely over a mobile data network) receive updates from a central server to display that same information. In an example shown by a South Carolina vendor, messages such as “STOLEN,” “EXPIRED,” or something similar could also be displayed on a license plate.

An App For Kids, By A Kid: Meet The 9-Year-Old Co-Creator Of ‘Super Fun Kid Time’ – The best way to build a great product is to really understand the problem it is trying to solve. The latest awesome example of this is Super Fun Kid Time, an app made for scheduling kids’ playdates that was created at the Disrupt Hackathon by nine-year-old programmer Alexandra Jordan.

Mocking Muslims on Facebook gets Walmart manager fired – A Hamburg, N.Y., Walmart assistant manager likens two Muslim women’s full-cover clothing to a Halloween costume. He is fired, even though he says he didn’t post the comments and picture from work.

Watch Virgin Galactic break the sound barrier at the edge of space – The single perspective in the video was shot from the tail of the craft, which is convenient for seeing the rocket engine do its thing.

The most expensive Pokémon card of all time is on sale for $100,000 – The Pikachu Illustrator card is said to be the most rare card in the Pokémon CCG, only having six total in circulation. One of the six is practically out of circulation, in that it belongs to the Official Pokémon TCG Blog. The card was a reward to those who won the Pokémon Card Game Illustration Contest, which picks out player-submitted illustrations and features them on playable cards.

Something to think about:

In Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”

–      Neil Postman

Today’s Free Downloads:

EasyBrake – EasyBrake makes conversion videos to MP4 or MKV easier than ever. EasyBrake uses the great engine of HandBrake which is well known and popular.

FrostWire 5.6.4 – FrostWire is a peer-to-peer file sharing program for the Gnutella and BitTorrent protocols. FrostWire is written in Java, and is a fork of LimeWire, another popular Gnutella client. Released under the GNU General Public License, FrostWire is free software.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Let us count the ways: How the feds (legally, technically) get our data – Given that we now know that the National Security Agency (NSA) has the ability to compromise some, if not all of VPN, SSL, and TLS forms of data transmission hardening, it’s worth considering the various vectors of technical and legal data-gathering that high-level adversaries in America and Britain (and likely other countries, at least in the “Five Eyes” group of anglophone allies) are likely using in parallel to go after a given target. So far, the possibilities include……………

Google boosts encryption efforts as NSA snoop saga worsens – Google is accelerating efforts to toughen its data encryption, the company has revealed, aiming to curtail unofficial snooping on user information in the aftermath of NSA PRISM controversy. “It’s an arms race” Eric Grosse, vice president for security engineering at Google, told the Washington Post, describing government-mandated hackers as “the most skilled players in this game” and insisting that as “a point of personal honor” the search giant would not do anything to ease NSA intrusion into its servers.

NSA Can Reportedly Hack Your Smartphone – The National Security Agency can reportedly spy directly on smartphones, according to leaked documents from Germany’s Der Spiegel. Der Spiegel reports that the NSA can “tap most sensitive data held on these smart phones, including contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information about where a user has been.”

Spooks break most Internet crypto, but how? – The short answer is almost certainly by compromising the software or hardware that implements the encryption or by attacking or influencing the people who hold the shared secrets that form one of the linchpins of any secure cryptographic system. The NYT alludes to these techniques as a combination of “supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders, and behind-the-scenes persuasion.”

Long-shot bill forbidding NSA backdoors in encryption has renewed attention – In the wake of revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has broken through many Internet privacy protections, Representative Rush D. Holt (D-NJ) has introduced legislation to prohibit the NSA from building backdoors into encryption mechanisms, according to The New York Times. While Rep. Holt actually introduced the legislation to the House in July under the name “Surveillance State Repeal Act,” recent news may bring this bill more attention.

SARAH Lets You Request Information From 21 Government Agencies At The Same Time – The federal government collects gobs and gobs of data on people, and thanks to a little something called the Freedom of Information Act, people can make requests to liberate some of it. It sounds simple enough, but navigating the labyrinthine process and drafting the request is no easy thing. That’s where SARAH comes in.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 9, 2013

  1. Here’s a video I put together some time ago about Planning For a Disaster Before It Happens.Which shows how to set up a recovery USB drive.

    Hope it helps someone.