Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 24, 2013

Secure your Facebook account; Gmail hit by message delivery delays;  Five free programs for Google Apps;  Search engine bias?;  Valve Introduces SteamOS,  Microsoft’s Surface 2 And Surface Pro 2,  Bruce Schneier: NSA Spying Is Making Us Less Safe.

Using IP cameras to create a security system – Not all security is in software, and Tony McSherry shows how to make a home camera system on the cheap.

Search engine bias: What search results are telling you (and what they’re not) – Search-engine bias affects our perception of what online information is available, is that a good thing or not? Are there risks?

Search files in a flash with SwiftSearch – Check out SwiftSearch, a free, portable search utility that’s remarkably small and remarkably fast. With it you can find just about any file, on any drive, in about the time it takes to read this sentence. In fact, forget sentence; the time it takes to read this word!

Camgirls account for 20% of the entire porn business – It’s as anonymous as anonymous can be, and the internet lets you can access porn right when the mood strikes and shame hasn’t yet taken hold. Because of this, the internet sector of the porn industry is massive — and the porn industry with everything else is even bigger. That’s why it’s incredible that webcam porn — camgirls and boys and whatever else — account for 20% of the entire industry.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Apache OpenOffice 4.0 review: New features, easier to use, still free – Apache OpenOffice is a full suite of office applications: word processor, database, spreadsheet, presentation, and graphics. Each of them is full-featured and robust. Though not always matching Microsoft Office in terms of maximum bells and whistles, each application goes far beyond the basics in its class. Not bad for a free suite.

High-tech outdoor gear to help you fight (and win!) against Mother Nature – Many of us insist on venturing far from the safety and comfort of civilization to camp out in the great outdoors—for fun. If you are indeed foolish enough to try your lot out there, then please—please!—take a moment to read through this list of high-tech (and mostly affordable) outdoor gear designed to help you survive a direct confrontation with Mother Nature. Godspeed, nature lover.

Gmail hit by message delivery delays, close to 50% of users affected – A bug bit Gmail on Monday and almost half of the webmail service’s users have been affected by the problem, which causes email delivery delays and problems downloading attachments.

Hands-on with Kidoodle.TV, a Netflix just for kids – A new contender has entered the ring, with a kids-only streaming service called Kidoodle.TV launching Monday as a free beta for those in the U.S. and Canada. After playing with it for a few days, I can say it shows some promise, and will be even more useful if it extends beyond the desktop with mobile and console apps. (Although free while in beta, the final service will cost $5 a month.)

Now even supermarket chains are making cheap Android tablets – Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain and the world’s second-most-profitable retailer behind Walmart, has announced it is launching an Android tablet. The device mostly runs stock Android 4.2.2 (including the Google Apps), but Tesco has added a small “T” to the left side of the system bar that will bring up an app for Tesco’s myriad services.

Up Close And Personal With Microsoft’s Surface 2 And Surface Pro 2 – Now that the dust from Microsoft’s Surface event has settled, we’re left with two new tablets and one grand vision for the holidays — with three Surfaces now on the market, Microsoft has carved out a seemingly strong position for itself as people began to plan for some big purchases.

Five free programs for Google Apps you should check out – The Google Apps Marketplace offers plenty of free enhancements to Google Apps. Here are five programs which can help your business at zero cost.

The Peachy Printer is a $100 3D printer and scanner – The premiere consumer-level 3D printers from the likes of MakerBot cost around $2,000. A new project seeking crown funding on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo called the Peachy Printer promises to deliver a functional 3D printer for a fraction of that price — just $100.

Google begins barring browser plug-ins from Chrome – Reliant on plug-ins like Silverlight, Unity, and Java? Make plans to move on or change browsers, because most plug-ins will be banned from Chrome in the next year. Most Chrome plug-ins (not to be confused with the lighter-weight add-on option called extensions) use a technology that predate Google’s browser by years.

Microsoft adds 200GB SkyDrive option for $100 a year – Microsoft has officially added a new storage option for its SkyDrive cloud service, allowing anyone to store up to 200 GB of photos and documents on their account for $100 a year.

Apple TV 6.0 Update Returns With iTunes Match In Tow After Buggy First Version Pulled – Apple has re-issued the 6.0 update for Apple TV devices it released last week, after the original version’s many problems including slow downloads, library loss and even some apparent bricking led the company to pull it from servers.


Secure your Facebook account – View your Facebook profile as the public and your friends see it, and then use Facebook’s global settings to restrict access to and use of your posts, photos, and other information.

New York Attorney General sets up sting operation to crackdown on fake online reviews – Fake and misleading reviews are everywhere online, and now New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will be announcing a crackdown on a number of groups engaged in illegitimate review practices. A report from the New York Times says that the Attorney General has come to terms with some 19 different companies, forcing them to pay fines to a tune of around $350,000 in total, on top of forcing them to stop the deceiving practices. (recommended by Aseem S.)

Amazon service popular among pedophiles for distributing illicit images – Amazon’s web hosting service is under scrutiny after it was found to be providing a breeding ground for illicit images. Some images have been found to violate level five of the scale of child abuse.

Lucky Kids: California Gives Minors the Right to Delete Things They Put Online – The Golden State becomes the first state to demand that children have an “eraser button” online. Coming as part of a bigger minor-focused bill that prohibits targeted online marketing of products like alcohol and firearms, the erasing provision states that any minor in the state of California be able “to remove … content or information posted on the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application.”

Company News:

Valve Introduces SteamOS, A Linux-Based Platform To Bring Steam To Your Living Room – Valve just announced the first part of its living room strategy with SteamOS, a free Linux-based operating system that takes the ‘Big Picture’ feature one step further. In addition to playing your game collection, SteamOS allows you to watch movies and listen to music.

Qualcomm former executive vice president charged in financial scheme – Qualcomm former executive vice president, Jing Wang, has been indicted by the U.S. government for obstruction of a federal investigation and for the use of insider information in a financial scheme for tax evasion and ill-gotten wealth. The former executive is no longer working at Qualcomm, reports Reuters, and was arrested earlier today by the FBI.

BlackBerry Signs Letter Of Intent To Go Private For $9 Per Share In Deal Valued At $4.7 Billion – Today BlackBerry announced a $9 per share offer for its outstanding stock, a deal worth around $4.7 billion. The $9 per share price is a slight premium over its current stock price, which traded at $8.23 before it was halted pending the news.

Poor Sales In India Force Maps Provider Sygic To Release Navigation App For Free – App developers are struggling to make money in India because of low credit card penetration, according to Michael Stencl, CEO of maps provider Sygic, which has now dropped the $5.58 fee to download its GPS navigation app.

Nokia scores victory over HTC in patent lawsuit, seeks to block certain devices – When it comes to patents, it seems there is always one big tech company suing another, claiming violation and damages over the use of technology that is in some way infringing. One such recent lawsuit came from Nokia over rival HTC, which filed a patent suit against the company claiming some of its smartphones and tablets were infringing, something a preliminary ruling has agreed with.

Games and Entertainment:

Virtual Reality Gaming Gets Real with EVE: Valkyrie on Oculus Rift – For months now, I’ve been reading raves for Oculus Rift, the virtual-reality gaming headset that’s among the most famous Kickstarter projects. One of them came from my own colleague Lev Grossman. Like many folks, he got downright giddy after receiving a demo. On Friday, I finally tried the headset for myself. And even though my expectations were sky-high, it exceeded them. It really is spectacular.

GTA V is crashing Xbox 360s manufactured before 2009 – There’s growing frustration on the unofficial from gamers who own Xbox 360 consoles manufactured between 2005 and 2009. These consoles typically shipped with 20GB or 60GB hard drives and were the most prone to the Red Ring of Death (RRoD) issue. GTA V isn’t causing any RRoDs as far as I can tell, but it isn’t playable for more than 30 minutes on certain machines.

Rockstar Investigating GTA 5’s Missing Vehicles Glitch – Stolen cars are an implicit part of the Grand Theft Auto gameplay, but disappearing vehicles seem to be an unintended consequence of new GTA 5 upgrades. Some players reported missing cars following an upgrade and a completed mission, saying that they found their virtual garage empty.

Tanktastic is the Closest You’ll Get to World of Tanks on iOS and Android – Tanktastic is a 3D massively multiplayer online game (MMO) that puts you in the driver’s seat of digital recreations of over 40 real tanks in an all out fight to the death. This game offers combat that’s very easy to get into, and it’s free-to-play.

Hands On With Batman: Arkham Origins, More – Comic book video games might be getting consistently good with three upcoming sequels: Batman: Arkham Origins, Scribblenauts Unmasked, and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Oracle refuses to pay $33,540 strip club bill – Oracle is facing a lawsuit stemming from a $33k strip club bill that one of its employees racked up at last year’s OpenWorld conference and that the company is now refusing to pay.

Computer simulations suggest war drove the rise of civilizations – According to British historian Arnold Toynbee, “History is just one damned thing after another.” But Peter Turchin of the University of Connecticut in Storrs questions this premise then tries to answer it in a new study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He and his colleagues show history may be deterministic to a certain extent. And their computer simulations show that warfare may have been the main driver behind the formation of empires, bureaucracies, and religions.

Part of Apollo 12 rocket engine returns after decades in deep space – This incredibly cool gif shows the remarkable path taken by debris from the Apollo mission as it approached Earth for the first time in 31 years. For 31 years this piece of debris circled the sun, but in the early 2000′s it wandered a little too close to the Earth and entered the planet’s Hill Sphere.

Interview: Steve Wozniak on new iPhones, smart watches, Google Glass, and more – Ahead of his conversation on stage at Apps World with’s editor Nate Lanxon, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak spoke to us about his view on new iPhones, wearable technologies, the future of apps, and Google Glass.

Google Constitute unveiled as site to explore the world’s constitutions – Google, with support coming from the Comparative Constitutions Project have announced Constitute. This newly launched site provides access to digitized copies of the world’s constitutions. And as a side effect, also makes these same constitutions browsable and searchable. In fact, it was shown that you will be able to narrow searches down to specific topics and even specific time periods.

NY Installs ‘Text Stops’ Along State Highways – New York State is taking an unconventional step toward curbing distracted driving.

Something to think about:

If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.”

–     Mary Kay Ash

Today’s Free Downloads:

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit (formerly ExploitShield) 0.9.3 – Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit BETA, formerly ExploitShield, protects you from zero-day exploits targeting browser and application vulnerabilities. Its proprietary technology shields your browser and applications in that critical period between the release of a new exploit and its subsequent security patch. Easy to install and lightweight. Download Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit BETA now and crush the most dangerous breed of malware attack.

Wise Game Booster – Wise Game Booster is a free game speedup tool. Users can use it to boost up games by improving PC performance. With one click optimization, users can easily do this even novices. For advanced users, it is possible to manually close processes and unnecessary Windows services, and also do other optimizations. Add the games into “my games”, and then you don’t need to find the game from crowded desktop icons.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Bruce Schneier: NSA Spying Is Making Us Less Safe – The security researcher Bruce Schneier, who is now helping the Guardian newspaper review Snowden documents, suggests that more revelations are on the way.

NSA surveillance goes beyond Orwell’s imagination – ‘All sorts of people around the world are questioning what America is doing,’ Alan Rusbridger told an audience in New York. Speaking in the wake of a series of revelations in the Guardian about the extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations, Rusbridger said: “Orwell could never have imagined anything as complete as this, this concept of scooping up everything all the time.

These 12 Bills Are the NSA’s Worst Nightmare – These pending bills seek to keep the NSA from sweeping up phone records en masse, take the rubber stamp away from the top-secret spy court that approves surveillance requests, and allow tech companies to tell the public more about the government requests they receive for user data, among other things. Here’s a guide to 12 pending bills that target US government spying (collected with help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation ).

Keep Calm, Keep Encrypting — With A Few Caveats – The NSA’s systematic crypto-cracking and other tactics have changed the data-protection game for enterprises. Encryption remains a key security tool despite newly leaked documents revealing the National Security Agency’s efforts to bend crypto and software to its will in order to ease its intelligence-gathering capabilities, expert say. But these latest NSA revelations serve as a chilling wake-up call for enterprises to rethink how they lock down their data.

Federal Cybersecurity Professionals To Leadership: We Can Do Better – MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, today announced the results of its new report, “FISMA Fallout: The State of the Union.” The report, underwritten by NetApp, examines the state of cyber security at Federal agencies and looks at whether the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is hurting or helping agencies improve cyber security and protect data. According to the report, Federal cyber security professionals lack confidence in FISMA, and do not believe their agencies’ current cyber security solutions are sufficient and sustainable.

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