Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 18, 2013

Five things missing from the iPhone 5s you can get in Android smartphones – The new Apple iPhone 5s will sell millions and require long lines this Friday, but as we read through the reviews we see Apple held back quite a bit with the latest high end offering.

How to securely erase an iPhone – With a release of the new iPhone 5s and 5c only days away, we can expect a lot of older handsets to be flooding the secondhand market or making their way into the hands of family members who are lower down the tech totem pole. But before you hand over your old iPhone to someone else, you want to make sure that all your data has been securely erased. You want to hand over the hardware, not your entire digital life!

10 underdog open source apps you need to try – You might never have heard of some of these, or perhaps you have, but you’ve dismissed them because you already have a program that does the same thing “just fine.” However, I think these are worth a second look for their numerous features and solid functionality. Let’s take a look and see if I can introduce you to some new software titles.

Firefox 24 fixes many serious vulnerabilities – Mozilla has released version 24 of Firefox and Thunderbird. Firefox 24, which fixes 10 critical and 10 lesser vulnerabilities, becomes the new Extended Support Release.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Katy Perry, Jon Hamm, and Britney Spears top list of most dangerous web celebs – These deadly celebs may not threaten you personally, but if you click the wrong link while searching for these stars, you’re at risk for drive-by downloads, phishing attempts, and scareware.

Virgin Mobile uses webcam to change YouTube ads every time you blink – Virgin Mobile has introduced what it called “BlinkWashing,” an advertisement system of sorts that — with permission — uses your webcam to track your eyes while watching a YouTube video, causing the advertisement to change every time you blink. The company is showing off the feature on its YouTube page, where anyone with a webcam can try it out.

Major advertising group quits Do Not Track standards body – The Digital Advertising Alliance has publicly and pointedly resigned from the standards body that had been lurching uncertainly toward a voluntary standard for online privacy. This might be a final blow to a standards effort that was already staggering.

White House asks for legal phone unlocking – Ban on unlocking cell phones went into effect at the beginning of the year when the Library of Congress opted not to renew a Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemption.

10 free SharePoint tools to make IT admins smile – The SharePoint software vendor ecosystem has produced many free tools that help you administer and configure a SharePoint farm on a day-to-day basis. The vendors would, of course, love to have you upgrade to their for-pay software products, but until you do there is much utility in these free tools.

iPhone fingerprint scanner sparks privacy worries – John Caspar, Hamburg commissioner for data protection and freedom of information, told German news magazine Der Spiegel that the use of biometric technology for the sake of consumer convenience could become a hackers’ treasure trove, granting them access to permanent data that cannot be deleted or changed.

Quitting Facebook – what’s behind the new trend to leave social networks? – If you are ready to commit “virtual identity suicide,” delete your Facebook account, and say good-bye to social networking sites, you are not alone.

Anger Spreads Quicker Than Joy on Social Networks – Sites like Facebook and Twitter help us stay connected to others, but all this interaction is leading to a lot of anger, according to a new study from researchers at China’s Beihang University.

Frozen in time: Tips and tricks for photographing waterfalls – You’ve no doubt seen two kinds of waterfall photos. The first kind is easy to take: Just point your camera at the water and press the shutter release. The camera’s fast shutter speed will tend to freeze the water in place, and you’ll get an unremarkable photo of the scene. There’s nothing wrong with a waterfall photo like that, but you can do better. The other kind of waterfall photo? A slow shutter speed blurs the torrent into a majestic fog of water. That’s what we’ll talk about here.

Google Nexus 7 (2013) review: Improved spec, great screen, top value – The 2013 Nexus 7 is a sleeker, lighter and better-specified device than last year’s model. There’s still no Micro-SD card support, but good all-round performance and battery life, plus a competitive price, add up to superb value for money.

Apple resurrects old app versions to run on old iOS hardware – Apple has added new compatibility features that will allow users running a less-than-current version of iOS to download old versions of apps on the App Store, according to a post on Reddit late Monday (the dialog pop-up was recreated by Engadget). While the new feature serves customers in that the App Store will no longer deny them just because they haven’t updated in a while, it could put an unnecessary onus on developers, who were apparently not even notified of the change.


Microsoft rushes urgent fix for Internet Explorer – It’s not Patch Tuesday, but Microsoft has released a crucial update for Internet Explorer that you should apply immediately. Microsoft included a cumulative update for Internet Explorer in the 13 security bulletins that made up Patch Tuesday last week, and that update was considered Critical as well. Since then, though, a new flaw has been targeted by attacks in the wild, so Microsoft has responded with an out-of-band update.

Maryland state security sloppiness exposes personal data – Careless practices by the State of Maryland have exposed the data on thousands of background check forms to even the most casual hacker.

‘HoneyDocs’ lays irresistible bait for hackers – HoneyDocs is designed to let people know if someone has been snooping around their files. It works by using a Web “bug” — an invisible, 1 x 1 pixel that, if viewed, unnoticeably sends a piece of data back to a server. HoneyDocs is built around the concepts known as “hacking back” or “active defense,” Carey said. “You’re socially engineering the attacker that’s attacking you.”

China-based hacking group behind hundreds of attacks on U.S. Companies – Hidden Lynx hacking-for-hire group more sophisticated than others, including using malware targeting zero-day flaws, Symantec says.

Address Google Glass vulnerabilities with these best practices – Google Glass provides interesting potential, but it can also be susceptible to vulnerabilities.

Munich to hand out Ubuntu Linux CDs to ward off upcoming Windows Xpocalypse – The end is nigh, and the date of doom has been foretold. The Windows XPocalypse is set to unleash hell on April 8, 2014, and in a bid to preserve the security of its citizens, the German city of Munich is turning to an unlikely savior: Ubuntu Linux.

Company News:

Windows 8.1 brings back full retail versions as Windows SKUs change again – Microsoft has announced the pricing and packaging for Windows 8.1. Retail packages of Windows 8.1 will have a retail price of $119.99, and Windows 8.1 Pro will be $199.99. The Pro Pack, to convert 8.1 to 8.1 Pro, will be $99.99. Media Center will also remain available to Pro users for $9.99. As disclosed in May, upgrading from 8.0 to 8.1 will be no-cost. These packages will be full, supported, retail copies, suitable for installation on systems without an operating system at all, as well as for use within virtual machines.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud Surpasses 1M Subscribers, But Q3 2013 Revenue Falls To $995.1M – Adobe today reported quarterly earnings for its third financial quarter of the year. While the company reported another decline in revenue and earnings per share to $995.1 million and $0.32 respectively – something most analysts expected – the company also announced another quarter of impressive growth for its Creative Cloud subscription service.

T-Mobile rebuked over “flawed” marketing against AT&T – A lie is a lie, even in advertising, a lesson that T-Mobile is seemingly being taught by the National Advertising Division (NAD). This curious reprimand is based on certain claims made by the carrier in its marketing spiels that puts it in a very favorable but, according to the NAD, disputable position over AT&T.

Kaazing Two Times Faster and Five Times More Efficient for Real-Time Web and Mobile – Kaazing, the leading provider of live web and mobile communication and authors of HTML5 WebSocket, today announced the launch of the new Kaazing WebSocket Gateway 4.0. Through the company’s revolutionary standards-based architecture, the new platform significantly improves bandwidth utilization by up to five times, decreases latency by up to 50%, and reduces CPU utilization by up to 25% – bolstering performance and scalability.

YouMagine Brings Some Heat To The Free 3D Model Space – Is the 3D modeling space big enough for multiple competitors? Martijn Elserman, Siert Wijnia and Erik de Bruijn sure think so. They’re the founders of a new 3D object sharing site called YouMagine and were the creators of the Ultimaker, a $1,500 3D printer that comes in kit form and is a favorite with the DIY set.

Google reportedly replacing third-party cookies with AdID to alleviate privacy concerns – Google is reportedly working on an alternative to third-party cookies called AdID, an anonymous identifier that would help mitigate privacy concerns that exist with current third-party tracking cookies. Such has not been made publicly known, but will reportedly be part of talks slated to happen with industry members and related parties “in the coming weeks.”

Games and Entertainment:

Diablo 3 to permanently remove its auction houses in March 2014 – Blizzard has posted a bombshell of an update to the Battle.Net blog. As of 18 March 2014, it is removing both the gold and the real money Auction Houses from Diablo 3. The change will eliminate what has come to be an unavoidable part of the game’s loot collection system, especially as characters pass level 60 and begin to participate in the end-game content.

Megaman descendant Mighty No 9 headed to PS3, Xbox, Wii U – In the annals of Kickstarter history, Mighty No. 9, the descendant of much-beloved Megaman, has achieved widespread success, hitting and quickly surpassing its first goal, as well as a few after it. Now it has hit another milestone, and the announcement has been made that the game will be coming to the Playstation 3, the Xbox 360, and the Wii U, as well as availability through Steam.

Bugbear’s Next Car Game includes amazing vehicular destruction – The maker of Flatout, Ridge Racer Unlimited, and Sega Rally Revo is no stranger to mad Mustangs and violent Vipers, so to drive home just how serious the team is about car destructibility, they’ve released a behind the scenes video all about their work in that area. It’s basically two and a half minutes of the same car crashing over and over — and damned if it isn’t entertaining.

Hulu inks deal with BBC for 144 shows, including ‘Doctor Who – Deal is the video-streaming service’s largest content acquisition since taking itself off the auction block in July, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Why aren’t we building a space elevator? – It has the potential to revolutionize our relationship with space, and we have plans for building one. So the question becomes: What’s the hold-up?

The human recipe includes a kilo of calcium, a pinch of salt – Though we do seem terribly complicated, it turns out that a human being can be built, completely intact and complete, with just 22 ingredients. From A to zinc, evolution has shaped just these two dozen or so elements to make up everything from Mozart to Manson.

Is There a Word for That? – Historically, the British have looked upon American word inventions with all the enthusiasm of an art museum curator examining Elvis-on-velvet paintings. In a famous exchange with American lexicographer Noah Webster, an English naval officer named Basil Hall expressed dismay about the many new words he heard while visiting America in the late 1820s. Webster defended the verbal creativity of his countrymen. If a new word proved useful, he asked, why not add it to the vocabulary? “Because there are words enough already,” responded Hall. (recommended by Michael F.)

Disney Researchers Create A Way To Make Geared Figures That Look Amazingly Life-Like (video 5:10) – For centuries the creation of geared automata has been sort of a dark art. To design a mechanical device to move like a human or animal was a trick in itself and to build the gears and rods necessary to propel the thing was even trickier. A team of Disney researchers, however, have created a system that will let puppeteers and fans of clockwork build geared robots using 3D printings and some metal rods. Most important, they look far cooler than this dude.

Interview: Dr. Jillian Roberts on children, apps, and education – What exactly is the intersection of education and entertainment on a smartphone or tablet, and how do you use that to reach children with your content? I sat down recently with Dr. Jillian Roberts to discuss her sexual education app for children, and the process that lead her to creating this experience.

Something to think about:

I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

–      Robert McCloskey – State Department spokesman

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wise Video Downloader 1.53.73 – Easily search and download high-quality, high-definition videos so you can save them to your local computer or server.

Youtube Downloader HD – Youtube Downloader HD is a free tool to download videos from YouTube and save it to your local computer. The videos can be converted to avi video format or to mp4 (compatible with iPod, iPhone).

Clean Master for Android – Clean out your junk files, clear out your private information, uninstall and backup, and kill rogue apps.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA Spying Justification Declassified – The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), America’s super-secret spy court, has finally revealed the legal justification for the National Security Agency’s phone record dragnet program. According to the decision, judges had declared that every single call record was relevant to the fight against terrorism, and thus legal for spy agencies to collect en masse. Perhaps most importantly, telecommunications companies never challenged the NSA’s authority to collect the data.

BitTorrent and Madonna join forces for free speech – BitTorrent is making its biggest move yet in its quest to become a legitimate source of legal content: partnering with Madonna. The queen of pop is using BitTorrent to distribute her new film, secretprojectrevolution, for free beginning Sept. 24. Madonna co-directed the 17-minute movie with photographer Steven Klein in an effort to raise awareness about human rights—specifically, free speech.

LinkedIn files motion for greater transparency on spy requests – The social network joins Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and others in effort to reassure customers by winning right to publish specific numbers on government requests for user data.

Verizon exec slams Google, Microsoft, Yahoo for NSA lawsuit grandstanding – Verizon says that the issues raised by the Snowden leaks are questions for society, not press releases.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 18, 2013

  1. delenn13

    “I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

    – Robert McCloskey – State Department spokesman

    If you can explain it, you have won the internetz.

    It just makes my brain hurt.

    • Hey Delenn13,

      Yep – here’s the explanation. “Folks, what I’ve just given you here is a carefully crafted pile of bullshit. Despite that fact, you will report it. After all, the media is in the same game as we are – cultivating and distributing bullshit.”



  2. delenn13

    Hackers need to learn the first rule of using a weapon.

    Know/identify your target. Duh!

    Hackers accidentally defaced NASA sites. Here’s how to tell NASA and the NSA apart.

    t’s no secret that hackers haven’t taken too kindly to the revelations about NSA snooping on telephone and Internet data. And according to reports, last week, a group of Brazilian hackers posted messages on U.S. government Web sites asking them to “stop spying us.” But the sites didn’t belong to the NSA — they belonged to NASA.