Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 15, 2013

7 Ways Google Follows You Online; Security tips for digital nomads; Keylogger Free is great for monitoring keystrokes; Yahoo Mail redesign disaster; Open a file with a strange extension; D-Link router backdoor vulnerability; Nokia Offers Free Netflix in U.K.; Donald Trump demands larger iPhone screen; Use Windows 8.1 Like a Boss.

7 Ways Google Follows You Online – Shared endorsements aren’t the only thing out of Mountain View that have raised eyebrows over the years.

Anger explodes at Yahoo Mail redesign disaster: Key functions removed or broken – Thousands upon thousands of furious Yahoo Mail users are telling the company its new redesign is a failure and want Yahoo to revert the changes — while new reports of serious technical issues mount.

IBM can figure out your personality from just 200 tweets – The folks who built Watson now have a system that can accurately determine your personality from what you share with your Twitter followers. And they can do it from as few as 200 tweets. Where’s this new IBM tech heading? A little Watson-powered in-home psychiatric help, perhaps? It’s a possibility. A better possibility is that corporations will be able to more accurately target us with their advertising after analyzing our tweets.

5 lingering (and silly) tech fees we shouldn’t still be paying – Sveral charges appear on our bills that can drive even the most complacent techie into a screaming fit. How did this advertised price turn into that much on the final bill? Why are they charging for it in the first place? Herewith, five fees that make no sense at all—and yet we still fork over money for them.

Opt out of some Google ads – Targeted ads are nothing new, but the search engine giant is about to make them a lot more personal. You can keep your search criteria and other information out of the ad mix.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Use Windows 8.1 Like a Boss – Don’t believe the naysayers; the new OS is worth mastering. I’m tired of hearing about what a huge adjustment using Windows 8 is. I’m using it on a desktop right now, more speedily than I ever could use Windows 7. Here are 5 tips that can help you make the most of it.

Windows 8.1 Guide: Customizing the Start screen – Windows 8.1 brings with it many new options to customize your Start screen and if you are looking for more ways to adjust your setup, we have a guide for you.

Keylogger Free – Keylogger Free is easy to set up and use and could be useful for worried parents who would like to monitor their young children’s online activities. Keylogger Free is great for monitoring keystrokes, but its stealth mode isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Security tips for digital nomads – I’m a digital nomad, and so are you. These tips and best practices will help you hang on to your expensive mobile gadgets and keep them connected and powered as well—whether you’re sitting in a hookah joint in Marrakesh or a Starbucks in Poughkeepsie. Believe me when I tell you that I’ve learned these things the hard way. But you don’t have to.

Microsoft ships tool to block IE11 on Windows 7 – The IE11 Blocker Toolkit is aimed at businesses that want to keep employees on an older edition of IE. Its tools include a script that can be run locally, as well as an administrative template IT administrators can use to block IE11 through Group Policy settings.

Four tablet apps for enterprise social networks – One of the key selling points for taking your enterprise social network mobile is to give users a powerful tool to stay on top of team conversations, files, and projects from their mobile devices. In the end, such apps are about knowledge sharing. The apps I highlight in the post are free, but some of them have additional business pricing plans.

How to open a file with a strange extension – Before Windows started using them to associate files with an application, people used extensions for all sorts of things. But that was a long time ago. Chances are that the extension on your mystery file does indeed identify a program. But how do you find what program?

Snapchat’s unopened ‘snaps’ can be seized by the police – The whole idea of Snapchat is take a photo, share it, and, poof, it’s gone. But, there are certain circumstances when images could come back to haunt users, especially if law enforcement officials are involved. The ephemeral photo-sharing app says it’s handed over about a dozen unopened user images to law enforcement officials with warrants.

Where can you go next after Windows XP? – On the surface, it seems that Windows 7 or 8 are the obvious choices to replace XP systems simply because of the technologies, behaviour, and application compatibility you’ll carry forward, but there’s more to consider about other systems and your own needs.

Security:

D-Link router backdoor vulnerability fix in the works – Over the weekend, researcher Craig Heffner of Tactical Network Solutions revealed that a fairly simple hack would allow certain D-Link routers to be breached, bypassing the authentication process and leaving one’s data open to snooping. Presently, there’s no way to patch the issue, but now D-Link has come forward stating that it will have a solution by the end of this month.

Reseller account hack caused Google’s Malaysia sites to redirect – The Malaysia Network Information Center (MYNIC) said in a news release that a compromised reseller account resulted in “www.google.my” and “www.google.com.my” being redirected for a few hours to a page controlled by a group of hackers calling themselves Team Madleets.

Malcovery Security: The company spammers and phishers hate – During the first quarter of 2013, more than 97 billion spam, phish, and malware-laden emails clogged the Internet every day (Commtouch). The financial fallout is harder to track, but most research has the unwanted email costing Internet users and companies billions of dollars per year. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could put these evil doers out of business using information they unknowingly provided themselves? If you agree, you will be happy to know that is exactly what tech start-up Malcovery Security is doing.

Tech Support Scams: Coming to a Mac near you – You may be familiar with cold calls where someone pretending to be from Microsoft is telling you that your computer is infected and needs to be repaired ASAP. In most cases, if you said you were running a Mac instead of Windows, the scammers would hang up and move on to the next victim. This might change soon.

Company News:

Nokia Offers Free Netflix in U.K. With Lumia Phones – In an effort to boost sales of its Lumia smartphones in the U.K., Nokia has inked deal to provide free access to Netflix on devices offered by Vodafone and Phones 4u in the region. Those who purchase a Lumia 625 or 925 on Vodafone will get six months of free Netflix, while those who opt for the higher-end Lumia 1020 will get a year-long Netflix subscription, the carrier confirmed.

BlackBerry Reaffirms It Isn’t Gone Just Yet In An Open Letter To Customers – Here’s the thing though — as optimistic as the letter is, words are cheap and platitudes are unconvincing. BlackBerry needs to prove to its core customers that it’s still a viable horse in a race dominated by nimble giants, and I wish them the best. They’re going to need it.

Twitter prepping to sell ads in others’ apps, report says – The social network reportedly has a plan to boost revenue by targeting ads off Twitter.

Enterprises will snub Microsoft’s faster release tempo by sticking with Windows 7 – Enterprises will standardize on Windows 7 and Office 2010 and will ignore Microsoft’s newer operating system and suite for years, research firm Gartner predicted.

Microsoft criticises U.K. government for investing in high speed rail, not broadband – A Microsoft executive has criticised the U.K. government’s decision to invest so heavily in high speed rail rather than in broadband infrastructure – a move that he called “a strategic mistake”.

Australian Startups Zookal And Flirtey Delivering Textbook Orders By Drone – Flirtey plans to launch commercial drone delivery of textbooks purchased from Zookal for domestic customers in 2014 before expanding to the U.S. in 2015. The startup says this marks the first use of fully automated commercial zones for package delivery in the world.

Games and Entertainment:

The future of video games will be in your browser – The future of PC gaming is in the browser, and it’ll be here sooner than you expect. I’m not talking about silly Flash games or Facebook time-wasters. We’ll soon be playing AAA games that don’t require pricey investments in new hardware. Even better, most of them will be absolutely free to play.

Kami is an Intuitive, Beautiful New Puzzle Game for iPad and iPhone – A touchscreen is perfectly designed for a visual puzzle experience, and the new game Kami for iOS seems to get that quite well. This is a color matching game where you must fill the game board with a single shade. That’s by no means a new idea, but Kami has style and great design to set it apart.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown for iOS Gets Asynchronous Multiplayer and Goes on Sale for Half Off – Today XCOM for iOS had gotten a big update that includes asynchronous multiplayer mode and iOS 7 optimizations. The price has also been slashed to $9.99 for a limited time.

Nintendo 2DS Now on Sale for $129.99 – The device went on sale this weekend in red or blue for $129.99, and its launch coincided with the release of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Can you beat Zuckerberg when it comes to Facebook privacy? – The newly created Realistic Facebook Privacy Simulator offers you the chance to see just how smart you are with respect to your Facebook privacy.

Living in the Last Mile: How to Improve Rural Internet Access – Internet access, and in my case, broadband, is often taken for granted. When you don’t have the same access, you quickly realize how valuable it is.

Rupert Murdoch calls for Google to be ‘exposed’ – The News Corp. head tweets portentous suggestions about Google and Eric Schmidt. What secrets could he be referring to?

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others join in Hour of Code campaign – Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are two of the people who are participating in the Hour of Code campaign, designed to help foster promote computer science education.

Canada to politely force cable companies to unbundle – Finally, you won’t be forced to pay your cable company for making the Game Show Network available—at least if you live above a certain latitude. The Canadian government will soon require cable and satellite providers to offer channels à la carte rather than force users to buy a bundle of content.

Donald Trump demands larger iPhone screen – It’s one thing for Apple to ignore whiners who criticize it. But when a true business genius speaks, Cupertino must listen.

Something to think about:

When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.”

–    Lord Falkland

Today’s Free Downloads:

Advanced Uninstaller PRO 11 – Advanced Uninstaller PRO 11 is the ultimate uninstaller for Windows. You can uninstall programs quickly and completely using its simple and intuitive interface. The new Metro (Windows 8) style offers a much better user experience while the software remains fully compatible with all other versions of Windows (7, Vista, XP, Server both 32 and 64 bit editions).

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair 2.0.1 – Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including registry errors and file permissions.

Auslogics Duplicate File Finder – Auslogics Duplicate File Finder will find and remove duplicate files so you won’t experience lack of free disk space! Auslogics Duplicate File Finder has the MD5 search engine which allows you to find duplicate files by content, regardless other match criteria. It would be helpful, for example, when two identical mp3 tracks or video files have different names. Give Auslogics Duplicate File Finder a try to see what it’s really capable of!

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA “Is Harvesting Hundreds Of Millions Of Contact Lists,” Reports WaPo – The National Security Agency has been secretly “harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans,” reports the Washington Post from documents obtained by whistleblower on the lam, Edward Snowden. PowerPoint slides reveal that, “During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers.”

To Get Around US Law, The NSA Collects Email Address Books And Chat Buddy Lists From Foreign Locations – The Washington Post broke news this afternoon that the National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting huge numbers of email address books and chat buddy lists for both foreign individuals and United States citizens. It appears that the NSA lacks Congressional authority to collect buddy lists and address book information in the way that it currently does. As the Post rightly points out, address book data can include physical addresses, very personal information, and more.

Gov’t moves to keep NSA surveillance lawsuit away from Supreme Court – Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who represents the Obama Administration at the Supreme Court, has advised the justices not to take the case. It’s not a surprising move. Just the publicity of a Supreme Court debate over NSA spying would be a giant headache for the administration; not to mention, the government obviously doesn’t want the program shut down.

How NSA breakthrough may allow tracking of “burner” cell phones – Cato Institute researcher and Ars alum Julian Sanchez recently pulled a few sentences from a 2009 declaration by NSA Director Keith Alexander. They describe an unnamed tool that routinely accessed the vast database of call records assembled by the NSA. Sanchez argues that the purpose may be to identify burner phones used by NSA targets

Lavabit goes live temporarily for user data recovery – The Lavabit debacle has been ongoing for weeks now, with details about the previously hush-hush case coming to light in recent days. For those who were affected by the spontaneous shutdown this past summer, a temporary window is being provided to get your data. Starting today, a subdomain of the site is up allowing users to change their email password. This will be up for 72 hours, after which point there will be a similar window for grabbing emails.

Brazilian government to ditch Microsoft in favour of bespoke email system – President Dilma Rousseff requested the deployment of the in-house communications platform across all federal government bodies.

2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 15, 2013

  1. avast! 2014 was officially released today.
    I’ve created a video of the installation of the free version of avast! 2014 on a Windows 8.1 Pro computer.