Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 20, 2013

The Top 30 Best Windows 8 Apps – Now with over 100,000 apps in the Windows Store, there are actually some good choices. Here are the top apps we think you should install on your Windows 8 PC.

5 Things You’ve Done That Are Probably Crimes – The United States—and the world—is plagued by dumb, stupid laws—so many in fact that there are two websites dedicated to the most ridiculous: Dumb Laws and Stupid Laws. But one area those sites don’t get into much is technology. Read on for five offenses you didn’t know were illegal and start prepping your defense should you need one. Maybe your case could change one of these dumb, redundant tech laws for the better.

Google makes Quickoffice free, throws in an extra 10GB of storage – Not to be overshadowed by Microsoft and Apple for their in-the-cloud document curation services, Google announced that Quickoffice is now free for iOS and Android users. The company also plans to bundle in 10GB of free storage for Google Drive for anyone who logs into their Google account from the app by September 26.

PC security, NSA-style: 7 tips from the spymasters – If you’re like most users, you take your privacy seriously. So we went right to the experts—the NSA itself—and pored over the agency’s security tips and recommendations for its Department of Defense and intelligence-community customers. From there, we identified seven measures that both consumers and small businesses can easily implement to protect themselves from hackers and cybercriminals—and perhaps even from the NSA. (An article which includes coverage on security issues often missed in “expert” articles.)

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Playing Starcraft 2 Might Make You Smarter – This won’t come as a surprise if you’re familiar with the game’s genre, but playing Starcraft 2 might make you smarter. Starcraft 2 is a so-called “real-time strategy game,” a form of video game that involves resource management and military planning in parallel, while restricting the amount of information that each player has.

Easy ways to protect your Android phone – Your Android phone not only enables you to do nearly everything online, but also allows you to carry your life in your pocket. Although having all that information in a single location and always on hand may be especially convenient, it makes for an appealing target to thieves and hackers. But you’re not defenseless: You can take a number of steps and precautions to ensure that your stuff stays safe.

Facebook giving advertisers more data on user habits – The company is sharing information with telecom companies on how particular ads prompt people to buy new mobile devices or switch carriers. Other industries may follow.

The complete guide to iOS 7 (roundup) – After months of leaks, testing and teasing from Apple, iOS 7 is finally available for all to download. The new OS is a big change, packed full of new features to compliment the new look. We walk you through them.

Flawed Microsoft Office update tells users to buy suite – Microsoft yesterday acknowledged yet another problem with its Sept. 10 updates, confirming that one of those fixes broke Office 2010 Starter Edition by changing the file associations of already-created documents.

Make Sure You Know Who Will Inherit Your Twitter Account – People draft estate plans that carefully detail how their money and property should pass to their heirs after they become incapacitated or die. But what about our so-called digital assets, such as an iTunes account containing thousands of songs, or a Twitter account with hundreds of followers? Can people pass those on as well? And how do they ensure that heirs get access to password-protected bank and trading accounts that exist only online?

Mobile app download tally will soar above 102B this year – Gartner on Thursday said the number of overall mobile app downloads — both free and paid — will soar to 102 billion by the end of this year, up from 64 billion in 2012. By 2017, the number of app downloads should reach nearly 269 billion. Mobile app revenues will be $26 billion in 2013, up from $18 billion last year, Gartner said. That $26 billion in revenues comes from paid downloads and in-app purchases — even though only 9% of all downloads this year cost money. The rest, 91%, are free.

$199, 4.2” computer is Intel’s first Raspberry Pi competitor – With the Raspberry Pi, Arduino Due, and BeagleBone, the world is full of cheap, tiny computers that can be used by creative developers in everything from robots to space flight. One thing these platforms have in common is an ARM processor. Now they have some competition from Intel with its “MinnowBoard,” a $199 computer in the form of a 4.2″ x 4.2″ board with an Intel Atom processor.

Understanding tech language: The difference between malware and a virus – Once common, true computer viruses have become quite rare. Criminals have found better ways to spread malicious code. So if viruses are rare, why do people still talk about them? And why do we still run antivirus programs?


Hacking courses offer cybercrooks tips on how to hone skills – A growing number of experienced hackers have begun offering structured hacking courses for crooks seeking to make a career in cybercrime. The courses range from the basics of online fraud to advanced courses on online anonymity tools, botnets, cleaning up electronic evidence and dealing with law enforcement, according to RSA, the security division of EMC Corp.

iOS 7 Lock Screen Vulnerability Discovered Which Gives Access To Photos And Social Sharing, Apple Is Working On Fix – Vulnerabilities in Apple’s iOS lock screens have become a fixture of new iOS releases over the past few years, and iOS 7 is not exempt. A new method for bypassing the passcode on a lock screen has been discovered by idle hands and reported by Forbes’ Andy Greenberg. Update below.

How to Safeguard Your Device from iOS 7’s Lock Screen Bypass Bug – It’s a simple setting, but you have to give up something cool in the bargain.

Security Researchers Claim Apple Technically Capable Of Intercepting iMessages – Apple had previously claimed, via its security documents, that iMessages were encrypted end-to-end and that it is unable to read them. Researchers ‘GG’ and Cyril ‘Pod2G‘ Cattiaux of firm Quarkslab claim that they have discovered a method to perform a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, which can intercept these messages and allow them to be read, despite the encryption used by Apple.

Banks to block foreign websites in UK anti-porn Internet crusade – In support of the government’s planned default Internet porn filter, UK regulators will ask banks and creditors to cut off business with legal, foreign adult websites for not having “adequate” age checks. (The U.K. – East Germany in fancy clothes.)

We need to stop masking passwords – Masking passwords doesn’t defend against any likely threat, causes user frustration, and drives them to pick poor passwords.

Company News:

Pinterest Will Start Showing Ads As Traffic Keeps Growing But Shifts To Mobile – After four years, Pinterest is taking its first serious steps towards monetization. CEO Ben Silbermann today told users “we’re going to start experimenting with promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses” because “it’s so important that Pinterest is a service that will be here to stay.”

Ubuntu Touch release set for October: Android Nexus devices up first – In a month from the time of the release of this article – that’s October 17th – the folks at Ubuntu will be releasing the newest desktop OS version 13.10, and along with it an image of Ubuntu Touch. This mobile software will be available “ready to install” on devices we’ve seen running early versions since January of 2013. This means the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets (2012 editions, at least), and the LG Nexus 4 will be ready to roll by Halloween with full smartphone-optimized Ubuntu.

GoDaddy buys domain marketplace Afternic – Domain name provider GoDaddy acquired domain marketplace Afternic from NameMedia in a move to make it easier for small business owners to buy domain names. The acquisition is GoDaddy’s fourth in the last 14 months. GoDaddy also will acquire domain parking service SmartName and business name generator NameFind from NameMedia, it said Thursday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Twitter gunning to go public before Thanksgiving, says report – The social network reportedly wants to raise more than $1 billion before the US holiday, which is just two months away.

Games and Entertainment:

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is how remakes should be done – Nintendo did such a good job that they set a new standard upon which other remakes and ports should be judged.

GTA V: That rape scene? No, that’s just cannibalism – Rockstar Games would like gamers to know that Grand Theft Auto V isn’t depicting a disgusting evil act. Well, not the one of which it’s accused.

Zombie Gunship Begins Patrolling the Skies Over Google Play – There are any number of games that allow you to shoot zombies, but very few of them involve a heavily-armed AC-130 ground attack aircraft. There’s really only the one, actually.

Artillery Teases Upcoming Game ‘Atlas,’ An HTML5-Based ‘Spiritual Successor To Starcraft’ – Artillery, the HTML5-centric gaming startup from a team of former Googlers and Facebook engineers, just teased its first title. Codenamed “Atlas,” the game is meant to be the “spiritual successor” to Starcraft — except that it’s entirely in the browser and requires no downloadable software. You can play it by opening up a link.

Ubisoft’s Child of Light might be the next great RPG – Amidst a flurry of first person shooters, racing games, and yet another Assasin’s Creed, Ubisoft has managed to schedule a few really interesting titles for the coming year. If you haven’t been drawn in by the hacker action of Watch Dogs, it looks like the upcoming Child of Light might be the RPG you’ve been looking for in the next generation of games.

Race the Sun – Grand Theft Auto V—too good for the PC, by Rockstar’s reckoning—thinks it has a monopoly on driving really fast while fleeing for your life. Well, their 800 million dollar (!) magnum opus might be the bee’s knees, but indie-darling Race the Sun is an utterly fantastic take on the endless runner that’ll only set you back $10. And it’s available on PC, Mac, and Linux; take that, smug console gamers.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Hungry? Let’s print lunch – Companies are beginning to use 3D printers to make cakes, candies and even chocolate. At the same time, food labs are working on printing entire meals that would be customized to each person’s metabolism.

Nielsen TV ratings to include monitoring on digital devices starting in 2014 – Nielsen, the premier American television ratings agency, will finally enter the modern age when it begins to count people watching TV on smartphones and tablets starting next fall. The new Digital Program Ratings will include 5,000 Americans and will pull demographic data from Facebook user data.

Expanding camera lens combines insect, human vision – This hybrid approach could give smartphone cameras dynamic focus, and add depth to surgical imaging.

10 glorious examples of conspicuous PC excess – When it comes to sheer technological audacity, nothing beats a desktop. From face-meltingly fast hardware to ridonkulous workstations to massive CPU coolers that could blend into an art installation, the following examples of glorious excess are possible only with a PC.

Do soldiers get too attached to battlefield robots? – A University of Washington researcher finds that soldiers develop emotional bonds with robots deployed in place of humans — and that may affect their battlefield performance.

Something to think about:

“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

–     Zig Ziglar

Today’s Free Downloads:

Complete Internet Repair – Complete Internet Repair does exactly what it says. It attempts to repair everything internet related, including networking problems.

Right Click Enhancer 4.1.2 – Right Click Enhancer gives you power to control the ultimate right click menu everyone use every day.Right Click Enhancer allows yo to edit your right click menu in the way you want. Now with help of this wonderful tool you can add some good stuff to your right click context menu.

SlimDrivers 2.2.32534 – SlimDrivers uses crowd-sourcing to spider and aggregate millions of devices. Using our cloud-based system, SlimDrivers not only detects when a driver needs updating, but also identifies the proper executable for your system and initiates the driver install automatically.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Tech group asks 21 countries to disclose surveillance requests – Countries that have pledged to support Internet freedom should allow technology vendors to report the number of electronic surveillance requests they receive, a tech advocacy group said Thursday. The governments include those of the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Germany, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, France and Ireland. As part of the coalition, they have committed to work together to advance Internet freedom.

Justice Dept. watchdog never probed judges’ NSA concerns – The Justice Department’s internal ethics watchdog says it never investigated repeated complaints by federal judges that the government had misled them about the NSA’s secret surveillance of Americans’ phone calls and Internet communications. Two judges on the court that oversees the spying programs separately rebuked federal officials in top-secret court orders for misrepresenting how the NSA was harvesting and analyzing communication records. In a sharply worded 2009 order, one of the judges, Reggie Walton, went so far as to suggest that he could hold national security officials in contempt or refer their conduct to outside investigators.

The Outrageous NSA Opinion – The secret surveillence court has weighed in on the NSA—but its decision, unfortunately, is more political than legal, writes Pentagon Papers lawyer James C. Goodale.

RSA Security advises users to avoid encryption possibly containing NSA backdoor – Word surfaced not too long ago that the NSA could have a backdoor for a specific type of encryption algorithm popularly used by developers. Today RSA Security, which offers this encryption to its customers by default in a toolkit, has sent out a notification advising those users to stop using it for the time being, as well as instructions for different options.

NSA Sends Letter to Its ‘Extended’ Family to Reassure Them That They Will ‘Weather’ This ‘Storm’ – The National Security Agency sent out a letter to all of its employees and affiliates, including contractors, that could be printed and shared with family, friends and colleagues. It was intended to reassure them that the NSA is not really the abusive and unchecked spying agency engaged in illegal activity that someone reading former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures might think it happens to be.

Snowden’s role provided ‘perfect cover’ for NSA data theft – NSA official says fugitive document leaker wasn’t “that clever,’ he just happened to be in right place at the right time.

Privacy perverted: No telco ever disobeyed NSA phone record orders – No telecommunications company ever refused to follow the secret US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s orders to turn over bulk phone records under the Patriot Act, despite a legal mechanism to do so, the court has revealed.

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