Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 30, 2013

Advanced SystemCare 7 Free;  1 in 4 Young Adults Hacked;  10 must-have business apps for Android tablets;  The case against Gmail;  Trick your friends – Halloween PC pranks;  PayPal two-factor authentication;  Playtime Ideas to Keep Toddlers Busy;  BitTorrent isoHunt is back;  U.K. ISPs block 21 pirate sites;  WayBack Machine for software; Top-Rated Media Boxes.

1 in 4 Young Adults Experience Hacked Accounts – New research by Marble Security indicates that more than 1 in 4 U.S. young adults born between 1980-2000 have had online accounts hacked. The national average — regardless of age — is closer to 1 in 5 at 21%. The survey results contradict the assumption that Millennials are more tech-savvy and less likely to fall victim to tactics used by hackers, such as social engineering or phishing tactics. Not true. 26% of respondents ages 25-34 reported hacked online accounts.

10 must-have business apps for Android tablets – As a platform, Android has been business-ready for quite some time. However, it’s often difficult to find the right app to do the job. Considering how many apps are available in the Google Play Store, digging out the business-gems can be a long, involved process. With that in mind, I’ve developed a list of what I believe to be the must-have business-centric apps for your Android device.

Keep your PayPal account safer with two-factor authentication – If you use PayPal and don’t take your account security seriously, you are asking for all sorts of trouble, what with all the financial information your account holds. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection between your account and would-be data thieves by requiring you to enter a single-use security code—typically sent to your phone via text message—in addition to your username and password when you log in.

Free Knoala App Offers Crowdsourced Playtime Ideas to Keep Toddlers Busy – Designed for parents of kids aged 0 to 5, the iPhone app is a giant repository of fun, quick activities to boost critical skills in developing minds. Stuck in the grocery store checkout line? Knoala lets you turn that downtime into learning time with its video section. There, you’ll find age-appropriate YouTube clips from Sesame Street, the Muppets and more. Need a new tall tale for bedtime, instead? Knoala also has a Story Starter section that provides you with an idea for a fun absurd story.

Ed Bott’s case against Gmail – Gmail was a breath of fresh air when it debuted. But this onetime alternative is showing signs that it’s past its prime, especially if you want to use the service with a third-party client. That’s the way Google wants it, which is why I’ve given up on Gmail after almost a decade.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Flyne is a Slick New Feed Reader and News Aggregator for Android – There is yet another way to read your feeds and social links on Android, and it comes from a noted developer. Flyne is an offline reader that syncs the full text of articles from multiple sources like Feedly and Twitter. This is the newest project from Falcon Pro developer Joaquim Verges, and it looks to be off to a very good start.

Trick your friends with these Halloween PC pranks – We’ve handpicked our favorite PC pranks to share with you, dear reader, in hopes of sowing some mischief in offices and homes around the world. Each of these tricks is easy to set up: All you need is a wireless keyboard or mouse, and clandestine access to your target’s PC for a few minutes.

Google+ wants you and your photos to never, ever leave – Google+ has struggled to persuade the Internet that it’s more than Facebook Lite, so Google’s social network is taking a new approach: repositioning itself as a hub for photographers.

U.K. ISPs ordered to block 21 pirate sites, including top torrent destinations – The BPI, the trade association which represents the interests of the music business in the United Kingdom, has obtained a court order instructing internet service providers (ISPs) in the U.K. to block access to 21 such websites with immediate effect. The list includes some of the most popular torrent sites, including Monova, Torrentz and BitSnoop.

Not even two weeks after shutdown, BitTorrent search site isoHunt is back – Less than two weeks ago, IsoHunt, the notorious search engine site for BitTorrent files, agreed to shut down and pay $110 million in a settlement with the Motion Pictures of America Association. The site even shut down a day early as a way to avoid being part of an online archive. But now, the next generation of the site (available at and is already back. Whois information on both domains turns up no contact information. However, online records show that the new site is hosted in Australia.

New Windows 8.1 requirements strand some users on Windows 8 – A subtle tweak in Windows 8.1 hardware requirements is leaving some users behind on Windows 8. Even worse, affected users will be cut off from critical updates in 2015.

Historical Software Archive: It’s WayBack Machine for software – Internet Archive, the website that brought us WayBack Machine, is making it that little bit easier for us to recapture our productivity and gaming youth by releasing the Historical Software Collection. And what’s even better is, it’s all free.

Firefox 25 update brings Web Audio and more – Mozilla has rolled out Firefox 25, something that brings with it a variety of new happenings, the most touted of which is Web Audio. Mozilla goes into extensive detail about this, as well as a sound demo called Songs of Diridum as a special demo of LOD: Legend of Diridum, an upcoming game. For those who aren’t terribly enthused with Web Audio changes, you might be happy to know that Firefox no longer clears browser sessions when reset.

10 tech products that belong to the walking dead – Deathless, slow moving, yet relentless, the walking dead are among us in the form of scary, disintegrating tech bits that refuse to die. Here are 10 that need the double-tap.

Readers’ Choice: Top-Rated Media Boxes – From PlayStation to Roku, PCMag readers rate the entertainment devices that connect to their HDTV.

How to resolve website response and performance issues – If your websites are experiencing response and performance problems, follow these steps to try to resolve the issues and make users smile.

BBM app to add video and voice calling features “within months” and remain free – If you are one of those people that were overjoyed when BlackBerry Messaging finally came to Android and iPhone after a month delay caused mainly by an accidental early release to the Play store, and issues with the Android version, then you might be excited to learn that video and voice calling are features that will be added “within months”.

ConnecTV second-screen TV companion app adds 6-second clip-and-share functionality – ConnecTV, the second-screen app that syncs to whatever you’re watching on TV for an information-rich, social sharing experience, is today rolling out a new feature that lets you select 6-second clips and share them via Twitter, Facebook, and email.


Microsoft: Windows XP malware infection rate nearly six times higher than Windows 8 – Microsoft really wants Windows XP owners to realize that there is a serious threat in the continued use of the 12 year old OS which will see its support end on April 8th. In the company’s latest version of its Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, it goes over some new statistics that show Windows XP is still a big target for malware.

Microsoft may turn on Windows Defender for unprotected PCs – Microsoft may eventually automatically turn on Windows Defender for PCs that are left— deliberately or not—in an unprotected state, executives said Monday afternoon. Microsoft executives said, consumers who try out a firewall or antimalware package aren’t aware of when the trial period expires, so that the PC slips from a protected to an unprotected state. (Whoa – interfere with any of my machines in any way, and we’ll see how that goes Microsoft. Hint – get your checkbook out.)

Some 10,000 titles in Apple’s App Store may be susceptible to redirection hack – A large number of apps for iPhones and iPads are susceptible to hacks that cause them to surreptitiously send and receive data to and from malicious servers instead of the legitimate ones they were designed to connect to, security researchers said on Tuesday.

Adobe breach affected 150 million accounts – 38 million users were directly affected and have already been contacted by Adobe to change their passwords. That figure is above and beyond the 2.9 million accounts whose encrypted credit card information was stolen. The breach, it is now known, also included stolen source code for more of Adobe’s programs than previously believed.

MongoHQ scrambles to address major database hack – After users’ hashed passwords, e-mail addresses, and other information is exposed in a security breach, the cloud-based hosting service neutralizes the attack and works to prevent future incidents.

Company News:

Dell goes private officially – This was expected for some time, and today Dell’s Founder, Chairman, and CEO – as well as Silver Lake Partners – joined together to complete their go-private transaction for real. Terms of this agreement were also shared this morning in brief.

Intel to start manufacturing ARM chips for rivals – Intel will soon start manufacturing ARM chips by lending out its foundries to some of its rivals. It’s a huge strategic move that in the long run may benefit both Intel and consumers.

Voxbone Helps Wengo with International Expansion – Voxbone today announced that Wengo, provider of telephone expert advice, has selected Voxbone’s inbound service numbers to quickly expand its services internationally while cutting costs by consolidating existing service with Voxbone.

BlackBerry met with Facebook over possible bid for the company – As rumours swirl that its $4.7bn deal to sell to Fairfax may collapse, BlackBerry executives reportedly met with Facebook last week to discuss the possibility of it bidding for the struggling company.

Are You a Human Broadly Launches PlayThru Game-Based Verification Service for Brands – Are You a Human has broadly launched PlayThru a verification ad unit that allows marketers to deliver a brand message while users play a quick game to prove they are, well, human. PlayThru can replace CAPTCHA, a series of distorted characters traditionally used by websites providing a much better user experience, and in the process creating a new interactive branding platform.

New report shows Twitter social revenue up 300 percent – Twitter has significantly increased its Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) beating Facebook and Pinterest according to a new report out today.

Games and Entertainment:

Grand Theft Auto V sells nearly 29 million copies in first six weeks – Rockstar Games’ parent company Take Two Interactive announced today Grand Theft Auto V has now sold nearly 29 million copies in its first six weeks, well ahead of the lifetime console sales of GTA IV.

Halo: Spartan Assault coming to Xbox One, 360 in December – The exact date wasn’t announced, but you can bet it’ll show up in time for the holidays. Currently the game is available only on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 machines, as it has been since its Jul. 18, 2013 release. The Xbox versions, which will be available as a digital download, come with some exclusive features.

Off Topic (Sort of):

‘The Zuckerberg Files’ Catalogues Facebook Founder’s Public Life – The collection spans almost a decade of Zuckerberg appearances, from his first interview on CNBC in 2004 to a speech he gave last February on “What Schools Don’t Teach.” The researchers believe that analyzing Zuckerberg’s thoughts can help us observe the influence of Facebook, as well as the dominance of social media in general, on our own contemporary lives.

Happy birthday, Internet! Here are your lamest lifetime moments – On the occasion of its 44th birthday, the Internet is still young, still having growing pains, and still capable of all manner of foibles and folly. Here are our favorite dummheits from the Internet’s history so far.

10 hard-earned lessons from a lifetime in IT – Much of today’s talk is about youth ruling development and IT. Sure, there are a lot of eager, bright young people in tech, and most of them like to think that they “rule,” but the truth is we oldsters still run the show. Why? Because hard-earned lessons provide the wisdom to distinguish fantasy from reality, and the determination to do what’s necessary, not just what’s fun or cool.

Researchers build family tree with 13 million people – Geneticists mine a social network for useful data showing relationships going back centuries, and one of the world’s largest family trees.

FiberFix resin tape is 100 times stronger than duct tape – A new product aims to supplant duct tape as the ultimate fixer of broken things. FiberFix is a resin-based adhesive material that is reportedly 100 times stronger than duct tape after it has had time to cure. Simply get a strip of FiberFix wet, wrap it around the thing you want patched, and it hardens in about 10 minutes.

Steve Jobs’ Los Altos home designated historic resource – The label was applied last night following a unanimous vote by the Los Altos Historical Commission, which has officially dubbed the home a historic resource. For those unaware, this is the home where Jobs co-founded Apple and constructed some of his first computer systems.

Norwegian man’s forgotten $27 investment in Bitcoin now worth $886,000 – A Norwegian man bought $27 worth of Bitcoins back in 2009 and promptly forgot all about them. As the cryptocurrency became more popular, he was reminded of his minuscule electronic nest egg. After inspecting the contents of his Bitcoin wallet, Kristoffer Koch realized his initial $27 investment was now worth an incredible $886,000.

Something to think about:

Just put up a walls around the entire United States. Put up an electronic wall. Put up a perimeter fence. Forbid travel to or from the America and make it illegal to trade with America or its companies. Completely isolate this country inside a vacuum, make it the world’s first ‘no-go’ zone for 100 years. That way, Americans will be safe from the outside world and the outside world will be safe from America!”

–     Anonymous Canadian

Today’s Free Downloads:

Advanced SystemCare 7 Free – 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. Scanning and finding what other utilities miss, it can keep your PC error-free and smooth than ever. This fantastic program is available free of charge.

McAfee Stinger – Stinger is a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses. It is not a substitute for full anti-virus protection, but rather a tool to assist administrators and users when dealing with an infected system. Stinger utilizes next generation scan engine technology, including process scanning, digitally signed DAT files, and scan performance optimizations.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Intelligence chief Clapper cites ‘Casablanca’ in dismissing Merkel mess – Director of National Intelligence James Clapper refers to a famous scene from the classic film in downplaying the tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.

‘We’re Really Screwed Now,’ Says NSA Official After Surveillance Hawks Switch Sides – The National Security Agency is having a very bad day: two of the most ardent surveillance hawks have officially turned against the spying agency. California Senator Dianne Feinstein broke ranks and came out against the NSA spying on foreign leaders. Even worse, the author of the Patriot Act, Jim Sensenbrenner, dropped a co-authored bill to end bulk collection of Internet and telephone data.

Data privacy concerns could derail EU-US trade talks – Europe’s Justice Commissioner warned Tuesday that data privacy concerns could derail a major trade deal between the U.S. and the E.U. “The U.S. will have to take European concerns about privacy and data protection very seriously … otherwise, the European Parliament may decide to reject the TTIP,” Commissioner Viviane Reding said at a conference in Washington. TTIP—the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership—is being negotiated in secret between the E.U. and U.S. It has provoked concerns in Europe that it could weaken citizens’ privacy rights.

Proposed USA FREEDOM Act Would Dramatically Curtail The NSA’s Surveillance – Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner have introduced a new bill, called the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection, and Online Monitoring Act (USA FREEDOM Act), designed to dramatically curtail the ability of the NSA to collect information on the average United States citizen.

White House approved spying on allies, officials reportedly claim – Some current and former U.S. intelligence officials say that the administration was not only aware of but OK’d the snooping, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Dozens in Congress now ready to end bulk data program – It’s almost set up like a joke: how do we fix the Patriot Act? With the USA FREEDOM Act. Now, the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring Act” (or USA FREEDOM Act) has been introduced. With 70 bi-partisan co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and a dozen in the Senate, it might actually have a chance of passage.

Top U.S. spies defend surveillance of foreign leaders – Intelligence agencies in other countries do the same thing, U.S. national intelligence director Clapper tell lawmakers.

Man sues DHS, NSA for the right to parody them on mugs, T-shirts – “The agencies’ attempts to forbid McCall from displaying and selling his merchandise are inconsistent with the First Amendment,” said Paul Alan Levy, the Public Citizen attorney handling the case, in a statement. “It’s bad enough that these agencies have us under constant surveillance; forbidding citizens from criticizing them is beyond the pale.” Public Citizen is representing McCall in his suit against those government agencies, and it is asking a federal court to declare that these federal laws are unconstitutional on the grounds that they violate the First Amendment.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

8 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 30, 2013

  1. Scott

    Tried your Advanced SystemCare 7 Free, and much like all the ones you see advertised on TV, it makes a big deal about cookies and web history files, making it look like your computer is so infected and bad that you pay the bucks to buy the PRO version (that you can’t help but notice you NEED because it reminds you of that ever 10 seconds with huge active buttons and notices that this option only works in PRO mode). I hate to see people download these types of programs because it gives them a false sense of security. Get yourself a good malware scanner, run a good AV suite and firewall and don’t click on anything the pops up or demands you to update from a browser window or from an email message and you will be just fine. These programs are all fluff and not real value. (Also watch out for the additional software it tries to install when you run the installer – another bad sign).

    • Hi Scott,

      Agree with much of what you say. Tested (minimum 30 day test period) various versions of Advanced SystemCare Free (Ver 1 through Ver 5 over the years), until the bloat just wore me down. An over-reliance on “in your face” purchase suggestions (as you point out), is just mercenary. Unfortunately, this in your face approach continues to gain strength with major developers.

      The 2 freebie AVs I installed last week for testing, for example, regularly throw up pop-ups with one offer or another.

      I appreciate your comment – good to get your views.



  2. Tom

    The “Something To Think About” from an Anonymous Canadian does not represent proper English, as it has at least two grammar mistakes. I believe you once said you live in Ontario.. Since 70% of people living in the GTA were not born in Canada, heavy accents & bad grammar are now common.

    • Hi Tom,

      I suspect that you’ll find grammar mistakes in more than a few previous versions of “Something To Think About”. And no doubt, many more in versions to come. But the intent is not the presentation of a grammatical structure for analysis.

      Instead, it’s the though, or lack of the same (depending on one’s perspective), that’s intended to raise inquiry. For example – today’s thought strikes me as a reactionary’s overly emotional response to an issue which will require level-headed coolness and extreme negotiations to ensure sanity reigns. You see – it got me thinking. Not you apparently.

      Your observation regarding the Greater Toronto Area (and yes I live here), indicates that you were still wrapped up in that “non-thinking” comfort zone (your xenophobic zone it seems), when you scribbled that.

      The reality: (August 29, 2013) Toronto again named world’s 4th most liveable city

      Toronto has again made the Top 5 in a list of the most liveable cities in the world, according to an annual survey by an independent business associated with The Economist magazine. The city placed fourth on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of 140 cities for the third year in a row, behind Melbourne, Vienna and Vancouver and ahead of Calgary. The ranking is based on 30 factors including the quality of health care or the threat of military conflict. London and New York have been ranked as numbers 55 and 56 respectively.

      Step up your game – you’re lagging behind the rest of us.