Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 1, 2013

Delaying XP upgrades: Do you feel lucky?  Best Apps Home Insurance Inventory; 10 productivity tips;  Public Facebook posts now searchable;  See faces of 1.2 billion Facebook users;  McAfee’s device could disallow the NSA from accessing your phone;  Latest IE 0-day still unpatched, attacks exploiting it;  Become a hacker – no experience needed.

Save time and trouble with these 10 productivity tips – Get more work done in less time — and with fewer interruptions — by doing a quick system check and making a few simple, straightforward tweaks.

The Best Apps for Creating a Home Insurance Inventory – No one wants to dwell on the negative, but if a disaster strikes—whether in the form of a wildfire, hurricane, or something else entirely—it’s best to be prepared. The biggest step you can take toward being prepared is creating a home inventory, which will help you get reimbursement from your insurance company for any lost possessions. Having a detailed inventory makes it easier to file an insurance claim and will help your claim get processed quickly.

Delaying XP upgrades: Do you feel lucky? – Given that Windows XP is 12 years old, You’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?

NSA Marina metadata tracking hoards online social lives of millions – The NSA is hoarding vast quantities of metadata about millions of internet users, piecing together records of their social networking use, locations, and other personal details, it’s alleged, even if those individuals aren’t in any way suspected of illegal activities. The year-long record of user data is gathered as part of a clandestine program called Marina, The Guardian reports, with leaked documentation about the system indicating that it uses browser tracking and more to build up automatic summaries of “pattern-of-life” activity and movement.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The 50 Best Free iPhone Apps – Got a brand-new iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s? Load it up with the best free iPhone apps. Here are 50 of the best.

All public Facebook posts ever made are now searchable – Facebook Graph Search now includes posts and status updates in its results, according to a Facebook blog post Monday. Such searches will accept modifiers like time—“All of my posts from 2012” for instance—location, or people who participated.

See the faces of all 1.2 billion Facebook users, including yours – A Web site called The Faces of Facebook provides glimpses of every single member of the popular social network.

How to delete or disable your Facebook account – Privacy concerns surrounding Facebook have been well documented, but you may have other reasons for wanting to walk away from the social network. Perhaps you don’t find it all that useful, or you’ve gotten one too many FarmVille requests. If this sounds like you, you might consider deactivating or outright deleting your Facebook account.

Forget fingerprints: Your iris is your new identity – Dropping prices, fast processing speeds and more user-friendly designs have given a boost to this highly accurate biometric technology.

Google Launches Web Designer, A Visual Tool For Building Interactive HTML5 Sites And Ads – Google today announced the launch of Web Designer, a new tool for building interactive HTML5 sites and ads. Web Designer, which Google calls a “professional-quality design tool,” is now officially in public beta and available for download for Mac and Windows.

Why the blue screen of death no longer plagues Windows users – The dreaded blue screen of death is familiar to any long time Windows PC user, but Microsoft has been developing tools to keep the dreaded BSOD at bay.

Microsoft to launch Translator app for Word and PowerPoint 2013 today – Microsoft has announced it will launch a Translator app for Word and PowerPoint 2013 users in the Office store later today, allowing users of those programs to select any text for instant translation.

McAfee’s device could disallow the NSA from accessing your phone – Software tycoon John McAfee announced a device that would stop government surveillance agencies from hacking your phones. Dubbed “Decentral”, he claims every college student will be lining up for one.

How non-Dropbox users can send files to your Dropbox account – What if someone wants to send a file to you via Dropbox? Unless they have Dropbox accounts of their own, they can’t. Now they can. Browser-based Dbinbox enables Dropbox sharing in the other direction: It generates a custom link that others can use to send files to your Dropbox.

After switching 37,000 PCs to Ubuntu, French Armed Forces says open source cuts costs 40 percent – The French Gendarmerie, a branch of the French Armed Forces in charge of public safety, has been a leader in moving away from proprietary software in recent years.

Ad injectors replace website ads on major sites, study says – Rogue web plug-ins that inject their own content over the top of legitimate ads are still in widespread use by unscrupulous advertisers—and Google, Yahoo, and other major networks are keeping them in business, according to a recent study.

An ex-privacy advisor for Microsoft claims he no longer trusts the company – Caspar Bowden, was in charge of Microsoft’s privacy policy in 40 countries, claims he did not know about the NSA’s PRISM program while he worked there and now says he no longer trusts Microsoft.

Security:

Symantec seizes part of massive P2P botnet ZeroAccess – The cybercriminals behind ZeroAccess, one of the largest botnets in existence, have lost access to more than a quarter of the infected machines they controlled because of an operation executed by security researchers from Symantec.

Latest IE 0-day still unpatched, attacks exploiting it go back three months – Microsoft acknowledged the existence of the vulnerability and its active exploitation earlier this month, and has issued a Fix it tool to mitigate the danger until a patch can be released. Since then, FireEye researchers have tied the attacks to the Chinese hacking group that hit Bit9 earlier this year, and have shared that the campaign (“Operation DeputyDog”) was aimed at Japanese organizations and started on August 19 at the latest.

Fake AdBlock Plus app removed from Google’s Play store – Google has removed an application from its Play store that purported to be AdBlock Plus, a well-known application that blocks online ads. The bogus application actually delivered more advertisements to users, wrote Dmitry Bestuzhev, who is head of Kaspersky Lab’s research and analysis team for Latin America.

Singapore aims to up cybersecurity with youth training, public awareness – Singapore IT Security Authority will open an Advanced Cyber Security Training Facility with Temasek Polytechnic to provide youths with real-world hands-on training, and launch an interactive game to raise public awareness.

Become a hacker. Coding experience not needed – I recently watched a YouTube video in which Bogdan Botezatu, senior e-threat analyst for BitDefender, demonstrated the ease with which someone can infect an Android app. What made the process a snap was a free tool called AndroRAT, which anyone can find with a simple web search. The version of AndroRAT Botezatu used required no coding. With just a few clicks by the user, the software decompiled the APK of an app downloaded from Google Play, inserted the malicious code and then repackaged everything. The tool also configured the app with the IP address needed to communicate with a C&C server.

Company News:

Apple Unseats Coca-Cola as No. 1 Brand – Apple has replaced Coca-Cola as the world’s No. 1 brand of 2013, according to a new study from Interbrand Corp. Apple’s brand value grew 28 percent to $98.3 billion, while Google took second place with $93.3 billion, and Coca-Cola, which has held the top spot for 13 years, dropped to third with $79.2 billion. IBM came in fourth with $78.8 billion, followed by Microsoft at $59.5 billion.

Microsoft reveals new business accessories for Surface tablets – Microsoft has announced three companies will be providing a number of business-themed accessories for the company’s Surface tablets, and also provided an update on its Surface enterprise efforts.

Intel to acquire network security firm Sensory Networks – Intel has signed a deal to acquire Sensory Networks, a provider of software pattern matching technology for network security applications. Chris Kraeuter, a spokesman at the chip maker, said he could confirm that Intel has signed an agreement to acquire Sensory Networks, but couldn’t comment on the deal terms. Some reports said Intel paid about US$20 million for the company.

‘Bang With Friends’ Settles With Zynga, Will Change Name – The creators of the Bang With Friends app have reached a deal with Zynga whereby it will change the name of its app to avoid infringing on Zynga’s “With Friends” trademark.

Games and Entertainment:

Grand Theft Auto Online launch Tuesday could see server melt-down – Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer gaming environment for billion-dollar title GTA5, could encounter launch day hiccups given a greater-than-predicted crowd eager to take part, developers Rockstar North has warned. The online arena, which will allow up to sixteen players to compete against each other simultaneously, could well be swamped with gamers after sales of Grand Theft Auto 5 surprised the studio with its early sales performance.

Microsoft: Kinect on Xbox One can listen to two people at once – Microsoft has now indicated that the new Kinect hardware for the Xbox One console can both listen to and understand two different human voices at once and can also see mouths moving in a dark room.

‘Day One’ update for Xbox One will take 15-20 minutes to download – Microsoft confirms that the ‘Day One’ software update for the Xbox One – which all owners will be required to install when first launching the console – will take about 15 to 20 minutes to download.

Poll: Consumers significantly more likely to purchase PlayStation 4 than Xbox One – A Reuters poll indicates a larger percentage of consumers are likely to purchase Sony’s PlayStation 4 than Microsoft’s Xbox One, with younger consumers even more likely to purchase the PS4.

‘Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes,’ ‘Halo 3’ to be October’s free Xbox Live Gold games – Microsoft has announced that Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes and Halo 3 will be October’s free downloadable Xbox 360 games which can be accessed by its paid Xbox Live Gold members.

From the Makers of Tiny Tower, Pocket Trains Pulls into the Android and iOS Stations – NimbleBit took casual gaming by storm a few years ago when it released the horribly addictive game Tiny Tower. Now that same engrossing free-to-play style is back on iOS and Android with Pocket Trains.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Court: website alleging police corruption shouldn’t have been shut down – Local cops posted text, audio showing claimed corruption—then their bosses sued.

Thinking of quitting? Make a YouTube video as moving as this – Marina Shifrin was tired of the hours she worked for viral video animation company Next Media Animation. So she made a dancing video to tell her bosses that. It’s already enjoyed more than 600,000 YouTube hits.

Google Voice number forwarding could be a potential liability – Donovan Colbert forgot to disable Google Voice forwarding when his regional number lapsed and was assigned to an underage girl’s phone. Find out what happened.

Miss World Professes Love of Role-Playing Games, Gaming World Swoons – Gamers’ hearts skipped a beat when newly crowned Miss World, Megan Young, declared herself an “RPG-kind-of-girl,” using the gamers’ shorthand for role-playing game. It gets better. “I was playing Fable and Assassin’s Creed at one time, and I just couldn’t let go of the two to get into Final Fantasy,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Christian groups sue Kansas schools, say teaching science is ‘atheistic’ – An attempt by Kansas schools to adopt teaching standards for science is being challenged by organizations that say science teaching “endorses a non-theistic world view.”

Fake social media accounts aren’t bad enough to be computer fraud – Principal sues parodying students, but an Oregon court dismisses the claim.

Something to think about:

Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.”

–    Evan Esar

Today’s Free Downloads:

Advanced SystemCare 7 Beta 3.0 – Slow down, freeze, crash and security threats are over. Advanced SystemCare Free is a comprehensive PC care utility that takes an one-click approach to help protect, repair and optimize your computer. Advanced SystemCare is a very useful system tweak application. This is only for those comfortable with beta testing software otherwise download the latest stable build here.

PaperScan Free 2.0.0.5 – PaperScan is a powerful scanning software with an OCR engine centered on one idea : making document acquisition an unparalleled easy task for anyone.

Partition Wizard Home Edition 8.1.1 – Home users can perform complicated partition operations by using this powerful yet free partition manager to manage their hard disk. Functions include: Resizing partitions, Copying partitions, Create partition, Delete partition, Format partition, Convert partition, Explore partition, Hide partition, Change drive letter, Set active partition, Partition Recovery.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Verizon: ‘No comment’ on FISA court challenge, as Foursquare, WordPress join anti-secrecy fight – While Verizon remains mum on challenging any secret U.S. court order that authorizes the mass vacuuming of U.S. and international data, a growing number of technology firms are calling on Congress for greater transparency and data request reporting.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald to host Reddit Q&A about NSA files – Guardian reporter will field questions during an Ask Me Anything discussion on the social news Web site.

BitTorrent Chat promises encrypted P2P chat away from NSA prying – BitTorrent has revealed BitTorrent Chat, its secure take on instant messaging using the peer-to-peer technologies that made it notorious for file-sharing so as to escape the eyes of the NSA. Described as “a pre-Alpha experiment in server-less messaging” the new chat client promises to shuttle conversations across an encrypted, peer-to-peer network rather than routing them through a central server, as iMessage, Skype, and other services currently do.

Snowden says his “sole intention” was to prompt national security debate – Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden spoke publicly for the first time in many weeks, sort of. The famed leaker didn’t speak for himself; rather, someone read a written statement on his behalf before a committee hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday.

Tech firms push for NSA surveillance transparency bills – The U.S. Congress must act quickly on legislation that would make electronic data collection efforts by the U.S. National Security Agency more public, a group of tech firms, civil liberties groups, and other organizations said Monday. Internet and telecommunications companies that receive data collection and surveillance requests from the NSA should “have the right to publish basic statistics about the government demands for user data,” the coalition said in a letter to the judiciary committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Is your data more private on foreign servers? – Companies outside the US are marketing their Internet services as more private, out of reach of the US government.

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