Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 23, 2013

Eradicate Metro from your Windows 8.1 PC;  Don’t trust VPNs? Create your own;  Feds can’t GPS track without a warrant;  How to Download OS X Mavericks for Free;  Scammers Impersonate Police with Spoofed Caller ID;  India ransomware capital;  Advanced SystemCare 7 Beta 4.0; Guardian should be prosecuted, says Tory MP.

Don’t trust VPNs? Create your own with a friend and a browser extension – A browser extension being developed for Chrome and Firefox will let Web users create VPN-like connections to the Internet by routing all their traffic through a friend’s trusted connection. uProxy is being developed by the University of Washington and Brave New Software, with funding from Google Ideas. Chrome and Firefox are the first browsers it will come to. For now, it’s in a limited release and you can apply for access here.

Edward Snowden: public indifference is the real enemy in the NSA affair – Most people don’t seem to worry that government agencies are collecting their personal data. Is it ignorance or apathy?

Guardian’s animation team will bore you into caring about NSA – Yes, there’s a surveillance nightmare surrounding us; yes, it’s all so terrible. But that doesn’t mean we don’t care. However, to try and get us to expressly tell everyone how much we care, the Guardian has produced “The NSA files: how they affect you”. Warning: it is patronising.

How to eradicate Metro from your Windows 8.1 PC – Windows 8.1 packs some new settings that make it a snap to spend the majority of your time in the traditional desktop. With a few more tweaks and an extra program or two, you’ll be able to shun the modern UI almost completely, while still basking in the glow of Windows 8’s faster boot times, overhauled Task Manager, and other under-the-hood improvements. Desktop nirvana, here we come, step by glorious step.

Apple Introduces The iPad Air – Three years ago, Apple unveiled the original iPad, boxy and thick and heavy by comparison. Four iPads later, we’re here, welcoming the fifth generation iPad into the world. And boy is it a beauty! You’ve been waiting long enough, through a summer of rumors, so let’s just get right down to business on the new Apple tablet.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Mavericks: An operating system in pictures – Apple’s latest OS arrived on Macs today… for free – Today Apple announced that its long-anticipated operating system, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, would be available from the Mac App Store for free. The OS brings solid multi-monitor support, tabbed finder windows, and under-the-hood tweaks to operating efficiency. It also removes some of the skeuomorphic flourishes that have irked users in the past.

How to Download OS X Mavericks for Free – Apple has officially released its latest operating system, OS X Mavericks for free. Mac users can install it immediately. Here’s what you need to know and how to get it.

What you need to know about Apple’s free apps policy – Apple made waves during Tuesday’s media event when the company announced that its iLife and iWork suite would be free for customers who buy a new Mac or iOS device. But the apps are also free for users who already have the apps installed, and one app is free, period. Here’s our guide to demystifying Apple’s new pricing structure on its iLife and iWork apps.

Meandering child? Why not put a GPS on ’em? – Wonder Technology Solutions comes up with a miniature GPS locator for children and pets. Sorry, it’s still not small enough for cats.

4 Apps to Help You with What to Wear – Ever stood looking into your closet and felt like you have nothing to wear? Inspiration can come from a reorganization of your closet–I’ve found sorting by color can be an eye-opening experience–and tapping into one of the following apps.

10 IaaS providers who provide free cloud resources – If you’re still new to cloud technology, but interested in seeing what it’s all about, there’s no better way to learn than taking some of the cloud services for a spin. Fortunately, you can get a pretty good demo for free before you go all-in. Sample these ten tasty IaaS treats for free. You give these cloud providers some details and they give you free stuff.

Sharp puts a touch screen in a chopping board – The Chop-Syc is a prototype high-tech chopping board with an embedded touch screen tablet and built-in scale.

Handwriting support hits Gmail, Google Docs – Gmail and Google Docs now can handle handwriting input in dozens of languages, even if you don’t have a touch screen.

Security:

Appellate court: Nope, feds can’t just GPS track your car without a warrant – The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has handed down a huge decision in favor of privacy rights in America. On Tuesday, the court confirmed in United States v. Katzin (PDF) that federal authorities must get a probable cause-driven warrant before attaching a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s car.

Aaron’s computer rental chain settles FTC spying charges – The rent-to-own computer company settles a complaint that accused it of secretly taking Webcam photos of users in their homes and recording keystrokes of Web site login credentials. (So, here’s my question – WHY aren’t the criminal executives of this trash company behind bars?)

Scammers Impersonate Police with Spoofed Caller ID – Scammers have a new disguise just in time for Halloween. Con artists are taking advantage of caller ID spoofing technology to pose as local sheriff’s offices. They are calling residents and demanding they pay nonexistent fines.

GTA V for PC torrent is 18GB of malware – The torrent is 18GB in size, which just makes it look more legitimate because GTA V is a big game. What’s worse is the fact the installation process looks quite legitimate for the most part, however, while those stupid enough to download it think they are getting the game, instead their machine is being infected.

India ‘ransomware capital’ of APAC, with cyberfraud at $4B in 2013 – The country had 11 percent of cybercrime victims falling to this form of virtual extortion and saw an 8 percent rise in average cost per victim to US$207, according to the 2013 Norton Report.

Top three indicators of compromised web servers – Web servers are a popular target for attackers, and the number of servers, frameworks, and web apps can make it difficult to recognize where the threats are. Here are some common indicators.

Application-layer DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated – The number of DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks that target weak spots in Web applications in addition to network services has risen during the past year and attackers are using increasingly sophisticated methods to bypass defenses, according to DDoS mitigation experts.

Company News:

Google buys Flexycore, creator of a “10x speed boost” app for Android – French site L’Expansion is reporting that Google has completed a year-long acquisition of the company Flexycore. Flexycore’s most prominent product is “droidbooster,” an app that claimed to make an Android device run “ten times faster.”

Apple’s Tim Cook claims competition (Microsoft) is “confused” about PCs – Apple CEO Tim Cook took Microsoft, without naming names, to task during the company’s press conference today, claiming that the competition is “confused” when it comes to supporting new hardware.

LG launches Firefox phone in Brazil – Two Firefox OS phones went on sale on Tuesday in Brazil, a country on which Mozilla has been pinning many of its Firefox OS hopes. In addition to the Alcatel One Touch Fire, already the de facto flagship device for the nascent operating system since it’s available in most countries that offer Firefox phones, Brazil gets the higher-end LG Fireweb.

Report: Microsoft testing Google Glass competitor – According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is deploying prototype Google Glass-style eyewear to testers as part of a positioning effort in the wearable computing market. The information comes from “people familiar with the matter,” which is generally journalism code for people directly involved with the topic at hand who wish to remain anonymous.

Nokia Bags Instagram, Vine and More for Windows Phone – Along with its new phablet, Nokia announced that some very eagerly awaited apps will be coming to Windows Phone soon.

Amazon announces ten-dollar increase to free-shipping minimum – Amazon raised its free shipping minimum on Tuesday from $25 to $35. You won’t find this change telegraphed on the main page next to the Kindle. In fact, it’s kind of hard to find at all. But it’s there, hidden in the depths. “Amazon’s minimum order size for free shipping has changed to $35.

Twitter secures $1 billion credit line ahead of its IPO – Line of credit will help the social network cover unforeseen expenses should its trading debut be delayed.

Games and Entertainment:

Gaming Mice Roundup 2013: Corsair, Steelseries, Gigabyte, Logitech and Razer – Shifting from a standard office mouse to something more appropriate for gaming is worthwhile if you care about your performance, but investing $60 or more in handful of plastic might seem silly if you’ve never experienced the realm of difference a proper mouse can make. Taking that plunge isn’t any easier these days considering how many major manufacturers have entered the ever-expanding arena.

Power-Grid Offers Real-Time PC Stats and Control From Your Mobile Device – When you’re heavily into a gaming session you can’t always check in on the status of your hardware or mess with settings. That’s where the new Power-Grid app comes in. With the connector app, you can control your PC and pipe system stats in real time over to your iPhone or Android device.

Titanfall falls on March 11, 2014 for Xbox One, PC, and Xbox 360 – Publisher Electronic Arts announced today that Titanfall, the highly anticipated hybrid first-person shooter and mech-combat game from Respawn Entertainment, will be available in North America on March 11, 2014 with a European launch two days later.

One month before launch, there are still things we don’t know about the Xbox One – One month from today, Microsoft will launch the Xbox One in 13 markets, but there are still some questions that have yet to be answered about the next generation game console.

Angry Birds Friends update brings new Halloween tournament – With Halloween coming up fast, Rovio has gotten into the holiday spirit, and is pushing out an Angry Birds Friends update that brings along a spooky-specific Halloween theme. In addition, starting tomorrow a new Halloween Tournament will be launched, bringing with it some gaming particulars that last for one week.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How the internet is breaking journalism (and what it means to you) – When it comes to journalism and other information that you read on the internet, there’s a very strong argument that things are seriously broken. The result is that we all need to be more vigilant than ever to separate the truth from falsehood and recognize what’s important as opposed to what’s popular.

Activists, U.N. take aim at ‘killer robots’ – International effort to outlaw or limit fully autonomous, weaponized robots is launched at the United Nations.

Nokero launches $6 solar bulb for off-grid users – Those who use kerosene as a source of light at night face the danger of fumes and fire. Lighting startup Nokero has launched what it calls the world’s most affordable solar bulb, the N180-Start, which sells for $6 on its Web site. The bulb has a 5-lumen LED that can shine for about four hours on a full charge after hanging outside in the sun.

NASA says first space Internet test ‘beyond expectations’ – NASA scientists say the first tests of what could someday become an outer space Internet have far surpassed their expectations. With the tests already going so well, NASA is encouraged that a laser communications system could be the building blocks of an outer space Internet.

The Biggest Facebook Fails – Facebook’s decision to lift the ban on beheading videos is just one of many fails by the company and some of its users.

Here’s why new car tech is four years out of date – Think you can upgrade your car’s hardware? Not anytime soon.

Something to think about:

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

–     Mahatma Gandhi

Today’s Free Downloads:

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition 5.2.6427 – With Macrium Reflect Free Edition you’ll be able to easily make an accurate and reliable image of your HDD or individual partitions. Using this image you can restore the entire disk, partition or individual files and folders in the event of a partial or complete system loss.

Advanced SystemCare 7 Beta 4.0 – 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. This is only for those comfortable with beta testing software.

Remote Desktop Manager 9.0.3.0 – Remote Desktop Manager is a small application used to manage all your remote connections. Add, edit, delete, organize or find your remote connection quickly. Compatible with Microsoft Remote Desktop, Terminal Services, VNC, LogMeIn and Team Viewer, Ftp, SSH, Telnet and more.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Wikipedia: 2013 mass surveillance disclosures – The 2013 mass surveillance disclosures refer to a slew of media reports which revealed operational details of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its international partners’ mass surveillance of foreign nationals as well as US citizens. The series of reports emanated from a cache of top secret NSA documents leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Is French outrage against U.S. spying misplaced? – The anger expressed by French officials following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency gathered data on millions of phone calls involving French citizens appears misplaced considering reports of the country’s own record of domestic and international surveillance. (Pot – meet Kettle!)

Bills Offer Clear Choice: End Bulk Collection of Americans’ Data or Endorse It – Members of Congress are responding to the NSA surveillance scandal with two new bills that go in very different directions. The Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act offered by Senator Wyden – as well as legislation that will soon be introduced by Senator Leahy and Representative Sensenbrenner – would balance civil liberties and security by requiring that information collected pertains to an agent of foreign power, which would effectively end the bulk collection program. In contrast, Senators Feinstein and Chambliss are drafting legislation that would codify bulk collection, with only minimal concessions to privacy rights.

Edward Snowden NSA files: Guardian should be prosecuted, says Tory MP – Several MPs criticised the format of the parliamentary debate as they were denied an opportunity to intervene while Smith read out his speech and then the Home Office minister James Brokenshire gave the government’s view that the Guardian’s publication of the Snowden leaks had damaged national security. (Obviously a twit who views complex issues through his rectum. Just another example of an intellectually deficient politician.)

Obama calls French president over NSA spying report – President Obama called French President Francois Hollande on Monday to discuss a report that the National Security Agency (NSA) gained access to the phone records of over 70 million French citizens over a 30-day period. Obama told Hollande that the United States is reviewing its intelligence-gathering to ensure a balance between security and privacy. The White House said both presidents agreed they should continue diplomatic discussions about the issue.

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2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 23, 2013

  1. delenn13

    Hi Bill
    My apologies if you have posted this but I don’t remember seeing it. A Rally Against Mass Surveillance | Stop Watching Us Love the fact it has Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) in it. 🙂