Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 29, 2013

5 personal safety apps that watch your back;  LightZone: Now free and open;  Xbox 360 for $239.99, today only;  Survey: Younger employees break the rules;  Get Organized: Back Up Your Blog;  The best PC horror games;  Sen. Dianne Feinstein changes tune;  The loss of the unguarded self ;  Zuckerberg said what about privacy?

5 personal safety apps that watch your back – Whether you’re going on a blind date, on a run, to a late movie, or just taking a sketchy cab, it’s worthwhile to have one of these apps on your phone, even if just for peace of mind.

Amazon selling Xbox 360 250GB Kinect bundle for $239.99, today only – The retail website currently lists the 250GB Kinect Xbox 360 bundle for $239.99, a savings of $160. Remember, this deal is for today only and while supplies last. The $160 savings could be used to buy a few more games or perhaps a controller or two.

LightZone: This photo editing alternative to Lightroom is now free and open – LightZone is the essential desktop photo-editing software for people who value their photographs. LightZone is purpose-built for photography and allows anyone, regardless of photographic skillset, to edit photographs quickly and easily. LightZone’s patented image-processing analyzes every photograph and allows photo-editors to make smart visual edits, instantly and with ease.

Rare ‘Star Wars’ blooper reel emerges on YouTube – There are some classic moments on offer, including flubbed lines, stray Wookiee arm hair getting in the way, and Stormtroopers falling all over each other. The first 48 seconds have no sound, which really just adds to the hilarity of costumes failing, C-3PO taking a tumble in the sand, and a land speeder losing part of its undercarriage.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Glass 2 is coming, finally compatible with prescription glasses – The next version of Glass will finally be compatible with people who already wear glasses via “future lines of shades and prescription frames.” The second edition of Glass will also include a mono earbud, likely replacing the terrible bone conduction speaker in the current version.

Starbucks now lets you gift a coffee through a tweet – The new Tweet a Coffee feature is a collaboration between Twitter and Starbucks. It involves you syncing your Starbucks account with your Twitter account and then the gift-tweeting can begin. Simply send a tweet to a person you know and include @tweetacoffee. This triggers a $5 e-gift being sent to their Twitter account, which can then be used in Starbucks either in printed form or just by bringing it up on your smartphone’s display at the counter.

Get Organized: Back Up Your Blog – If the service hosting your blog were compromised or shut down, what would happen to your site? Here are some different methods for backing up a Tumblr, WordPress, or Blogger blog.

App For Doctors Sends Unencrypted Data – Described by developers as a “next-generation medical calculator and decision support tool,” Calculate has already proved popular with between 100,000 and 500,000 downloads from Google Play. But Appthority’s CTO Kevin Watkins writes that app fails to live up to the promises made by its own privacy policy. Specifically, the app sends private data over the network unencrypted and in plaintext. “This action directly contradicts what is stated in the app’s privacy policy: that all data is to be encrypted when transmitted,” writes Watkins.

Study: 38 Percent of Toddlers Have Used a Mobile Device – Within the past two years, the number of children using mobile media has doubled, while the average amount of time they spend on those devices grew three-fold. (Gotta be true – I haven’t met a parent yet, who hasn’t bragged that their toddler is tech savvy. 🙂 )

Pediatricians: Limit kids’ media use to 2 hours a day – American Academy of Pediatrics also tells parents to discourage any screen time for children 2 and younger and keep Internet-connected devices out of kids’ bedrooms.

Get Organized: How I Cleaned Up My Passwords in 5 Weeks – After learning I had 45 weak passwords, I set out to change them all. Here’s how I got strong, unique passwords in just over a month.

How to Set Up Remote Desktop Access – It’s not hard to use Windows Remote Desktop Connection to access an offsite PC, if you follow our step-by-step guide.

Free iWork upgrade angers Mac users – Apple’s iWork free upgrade has angered long-time Mac power users, who have flooded the company’s support forum with complaints about lost features. ‘Serial software killer,’ one customer calls Apple after it yanks features from desktop applications.

NVIDIA ShadowPlay released for ease in screen recording – This morning NVIDIA sent out the newest version of the GeForce Experience, a software suite allowing users to optimize the settings of their games based on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics processor they have running. This suite gained a major addition this week called ShadowPlay. ShadowPlay allows the user to add a high-powered screen video recording system to their experience with a tap of a switch and a set of shortcuts.

OS wars 2013: How the latest Mac and Windows upgrades compare – After reviewing Mac OS X Mavericks last week and with the release of Windows 8.1 the week before, I figured it’s time to take another look at how operating systems are evolving — for better or worse.


Syrian Electronic Army hacks President Obama’s websites, social media – The Syrian Electronic Army hacked US President Barack Obama’s nonprofit website Organizing for Action last night, sending reverberations throughout the President’s social media presence. The SEA proceeded to hack into the President’s campaign website as well as OFA’s custom URL shortener. It then began posting pro-SEA URL redirects to the President’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, among other politically motivated mischief.

“You have no idea how much we can f**k with the US,” alleged hacker says – Federal prosecutors have accused a UK man of hacking thousands of computer systems, many of them belonging to the US government, and stealing massive quantities of data that resulted in millions of dollars in damages to victims.

ATM malware may spread from Mexico to English-speaking world – A malicious software program found in ATMs in Mexico has been improved and translated into English, which suggests it may be used elsewhere, according to security vendor Symantec. Two versions of the malware, called Ploutus, have been discovered, both of which are engineered to empty a certain type of ATM, which Symantec has not identified.

Survey: younger employees break the rules and put your company at risk – Despite the freewheeling autononmy implied by the “bring your own device” movement, companies that embrace the consumerization of IT still have policies in place to govern the management and security of those devices. According to a new survey from Fortinet, though, a majority of younger employees are more than willing to ignore those policies if they don’t agree with them.

Company News:

Apple confirms future versions of OS X will also be free – This confirmation came aside several comments from Apple on how the decision to make their software suites – and operating system for desktop computers – free was an easy decision in the end. They also made clear that this move is prepared to follow suit with a $900M increase (sequentially) in net revenue appearing thanks to software upgrade rights and non-software services.

Apple Sold 33.8 Million iPhones, 14.1 Million iPads, And 4.6 Million Macs In Q4 2013 – Well, folks, Apple has just put up some mixed numbers in its fiscal Q4 2013 earnings release — $37.5 billion in revenue and $7.5 billion in net profit to be exact — but how exactly did the tech titan fare in terms of hardware sales? This time around Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones (which it notes is a record for Q4), 14.1 million iPads and 4.6 million Macs during the quarter.

Samsung Nets $100M NBA Courtside Tech Deal – Samsung will serve as the NBA’s official handset, tablet, and television provider, supplying the courtside technology used by referees to review plays throughout the season.

Huawei ban upheld in Australia following government review – Huawei, alongside with ZTE, has been the subject of concerns and scrutiny by the United States government and others, with fears revolving around possible spying that could be taking place on behalf of the Chinese government. The maker has previously been banned from use on Australia’s National Broadband Network, something that was recently reviewed with the anticipation that the block would be ended. Such was not the case, however.

Nvidia cuts high-end graphics card prices to fight AMD – In a textbook example of why competition is good, Nvidia has dropped the price on two of its high-end graphics cards, presumably to keep up with rival AMD.

Games and Entertainment:

Now panic and freak out: The best PC horror games – If you can’t find something here that terrifies you, you’re probably already dead.

BioShock Infinite Burial at Sea Episode One DLC lands November 12 – One of the most popular video game franchises that 2K Games has is BioShock. The original game had players fighting and a dilapidated under sea city where they battled against all sorts of crazy characters. The latest game in the franchise is BioShock Infinite and 2K and Irrational Games have announced a new DLC pack will be coming on November 12.

Assassin’s Creed IV review: Enormous, but ultimately empty – Ubisoft takes to the seas, but there’s a hole in its open-world pirate ship.

Xbox One gameplay tour shows console’s interface in action – As the Xbox One’s launch date closes in, Microsoft has been dropping teasers and snippets of its various console-related offerings, not the least of which is a gameplay tour video it has posted today. With the video, gamers are given their first look at the Xbox One’s interface, which is very similar to Windows 8 and its various tiles.

Trouserheart is an Accessible Hack-And-Slash for iOS and Android – Trouserheart is a hack-and-slash adventure where you play the role of a king whose pants have been stolen by kleptomaniac monsters. So, it’s off on a quest to find your stolen pants. You’d expect the king to have a change of clothing, but he makes it through the whole game in his red heart-patterned underwear.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The loss of the unguarded self – Historians will look back at the past 20 years as a unique period, a time when there was great opportunity to see deep into the collective soul of entire societies because people’s online behavior was largely naked of any fears of being judged or monitored. People now go “dark” — ditching their natures, becoming self-monitored, self-critical, and second guessing themselves and everything around them, in the wake of the NSA disclosures and the enormous amount of corporate spying on individuals, so that they will buy more products. We lose far more than we gain.

A decade of Express trips to Mars (pictures) – Images from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express take viewers on an unforgettable journey across the Red Planet.

Zuckerberg said what about privacy? Researchers create archive to find out – The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is hosting the Zuckerberg Files, a digital treasure trove containing over 100 full-text transcripts and about 50 video files documenting Zuckerberg’s public statements for scholars to download and analyze. The statements include Zuckerberg-authored blog posts, company presentations, and print and video interviews going as far back as 2004.

If Google Glass could do this, it’d start a revolution – Taiwan’s ITRI has a floating augmented-reality touch-screen system that would improve upon “Minority Report” technology, and it’s ready to license it.

FAA approves World View balloon ride plans – The capsule used by World View was expected to be classified as a spacecraft and to be forced to meet guidelines for space travel. The FAA has now reportedly giving a preliminary classification approval to World View and the capsule will in fact qualify as a space launch vehicle under section 50902(8) of its guidelines covering commercial space launch vehicles.

It’s criminal: Data sharing lags among law enforcement agencies – Only 23% of law enforcement agencies participate in a national data warehouse — here’s why.

Something to think about:

Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

–     George Bernard Shaw

Today’s Free Downloads:

SystemRescueCd 3.8.1 – SystemRescueCd is a Linux system rescue disk available as a bootable CD-ROM or USB stick for administrating or repairing your system and data after a crash.

Free Ringtone Maker – An extremely simple and handy Windows software for making your own free ringtones.

Artweaver Free 4.0.3 – Artweaver lets you paint creatively with the help of a huge range of painting tools. You can create sketches from photos or just experiment with colors.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Either Obama Knew About NSA Spying On Chancellor Merkel, Which Is Bad, Or He Didn’t, Which Is Worse – The U.S. government is in a bind this week after conflicting reports have emerged regarding its surveillance of German Chancellor Merkel’s phone. According to the Wall Street Journal, government officials informed it that President Obama halted spying efforts on a number of world leaders, Merkel included, after an administration audit.

Senator changes tune, now is “totally opposed” to foreign leader surveillance: “Our oversight needs to be strengthened and increased,” says Sen. Dianne Feinstein – “Let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed,” Feinstein said. “Unlike NSA’s collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed. Therefore our oversight needs to be strengthened and increased.”

Human rights commission questions NSA surveillance – The U.S. government needs to answer for human rights abuses related to the National Security Agency’s massive worldwide surveillance of Internet communications and telephone records, privacy advocates told an international human rights board Monday.

Lavabit founder says he fought feds to protect the Constitution – In a sit-down at CNET headquarters, Lavabit CEO Ladar Levison discusses the legal bureaucracy the US government employed to try to force him to become complicit with NSA surveillance.

Spain demands details of US eavesdropping – Spain has demanded details of reported mass US eavesdropping on its citizens, denouncing the alleged surveillance as ‘inappropriate and unacceptable’ as outrage spreads over the worldwide espionage program.


Is Italy next in line for NSA spying revelations? – As reports of NSA spying in Italy start to surface, the government and others have called for more clarity on just how far the country’s communications are being monitored.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

5 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 29, 2013

  1. libertynikka

    Reblogged this on Liberty in Journal.

  2. Kilroy_Lives

    Reblogged this on My Wireless Technology.