Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 20, 2013

Override 4GB memory barrier (Win 8.1);  Files Reveal NSA Ignored Courts;  13 Android apps that play nice with your PC;  Five free task killers;  Declutter your PC;  10 Ways to Boost Your WiFi;  India leads social networking growth;  LG TV phones home user’s viewing habits;  Targeted Internet misdirection on the rise; Assassin’s Creed 4 Review;  2013 Holiday Gaming Guide.

Declassified Files Reveal NSA Routinely Ignored Courts – Newly declassified documents reveal that the National Security Agency has a long history of ignoring or avoiding court protections of the 4th Amendment. The heavily redacted 1,000+ page data dump reads like a diary of federal judges scolding intelligence agencies for overreaching their authority.

Override the 4GB memory barrier on 32-bit Windows 8.1 systems – Turn on Physical Address Extension mode and unleash the full potential of your 32-bit RAM memory. Activating proper PAE mode on Windows 8.1 is a fairly easy process.

Essential steps for securing your phone, and what else can be done to foil thieves – As smartphone theft grows, handset owners need to do all they can to secure their devices. Read the steps you can take and find just what else the industry is, and is not, doing.

13 Android apps that play nice with your PC – Getting things done on disparate devices doesn’t mean you have to abandon a cohesive workflow. These 13 Android apps sync, link, connect, or just plain play nice with your computer in ways that make it easier to stay productive no matter where you are—and with minimal hassle. Check ’em out.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Smart TV from LG phones home with user’s viewing habits, USB file names – A blogger has offered evidence that his Internet-connected television has been transmitting detailed information about his family’s viewing habits, including the times and channels they watch and even the names of computer video files stored on connected USB drives. Even more remarkable, he said, the smart TV sent the data even after he waded through the system preferences and set the “Collection of watching info” setting to “off” (it was on by default). But the logging didn’t stop there.

10 Ways to Boost Your Wireless Signal – It doesn’t matter how hot your hardware is—if your network is slow, you’re dead in the water. Our ten tips and video can help.

How to delete and pause your YouTube watch history – Google tracks the videos you watch to provide a handy list so you can return to videos you enjoyed previously. Learn how to delete your history and prevent it from continuing to track your viewing habits.

Five free task killers that are ready to end stubborn processes – There are stubborn cases when Task Manager simply won’t kill a process, that is when you call in specialized apps that won’t take no for an answer.

Tencent bringing free 10TB cloud storage lockers to the U.S. – I was pretty excited when Microsoft announced that early SkyDrive adopters would be getting a bonus bump up to 25GB of storage. But 10TB of free space to store your files in the cloud? Surely that’s got to be a mistake, right? Nope. Chinese Internet giant Tencent has been offering its domestic users cavernous cloud caches since August of this year. Now they’re turning their attention on the West.

Declutter your PC for better security and more storage – Just as you regularly remove expired jars of mayonnaise and uneaten leftovers from your refrigerator (right?), any time is a good time to rid your PC of useless and unwanted programs. It never hurts to clear out old data files you’ll never need again, too. Here are some tips to help you purge all that dreck from your PC.

Samsung suspends Android 4.3 update for the Galaxy S3 – The Galaxy S3 finally started receiving the Android 4.3 update two weeks ago in the UK. Since then, users have reported numerous issues affecting stability, prompting Samsung to suspend updates.

Is Streaming Worth the Malware? – In order to use Netflix on your PC, you have to install Microsoft Silverlight 5. However, Malwarebytes Corporation revealed in a recent blog post that a vulnerability in Microsoft Silverlight 5 is being used on malicious websites to infect PCs with malware. Silverlight, similar to Adobe Flash, is an application framework created by Microsoft that is designed for writing and running rich Internet applications.

How to stretch your savings when shopping on tech deal websites – No matter if you’re looking to get a gift for someone else or just yourself, everyone likes to save money when shopping for the holidays. And deal sites provide a way for savvy tech shoppers to make their spending money stretch long into December. But how to get a jump on those bargains? We talked to the deal collectors themselves for tips on the best ways to use online deal websites.

Five ways Surface RT beats Android tablets – Donovan Colbert highlights five reasons why he’s increasingly been using Microsoft’s Surface RT more than any of his Android devices.

Selfie Named Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year – Oxford Dictionaries today announced that “Selfie” is 2013’s Word of the Year, beating out bitcoin and binge-watch, among other contenders.


Hack of Cupid Media dating website exposes 42 million plaintext passwords – The compromise of 42 million passwords makes the episode one of the bigger passcode breaches on record. Adding to the magnitude is the revelation the data was in plaintext, instead of a cryptographically hashed format that requires an investment of time, skill, and computing power to crack.

Cryptolocker: How to avoid getting infected and what to do if you are – There’s a big threat wiling around on the Internet right now: A particularly nasty piece of ransomware called Cryptolocker. Many, many organizations are being infected with this malware, but fortunately, there are surefire ways to avoid it and also ways to mitigate the damage without letting the lowlifes win.

Bogus PS4 and Xbox One giveaways popping up – Trend Micro researchers have unearthed a number of survey scams, on and off Facebook, that are promising a prize consisting of the latest game console if users participate and solve one or more of the offered surveys, and “like” and “share” the “contest” with their friends.

Google strengthens its SSL configuration against possible attacks – The company completed its planned switch to SSL certificates with 2048-bit keys ahead of schedule

1.2% of apps on Google Play are repackaged to deliver ads, collect info – Not a month goes by without security researchers finding new malicious apps on Google Play. According to BitDefender, more than one percent of 420,000+ analyzed apps offered on Google’s official Android store are repackaged versions of legitimate apps. In the long run, their existence hurts the users, the legitimate developers, and Google’s reputation in general.

Warning! Targeted Internet misdirection on the rise – Unknown attackers have successfully hijacked and redirected Internet traffic belonging to financial services companies, VoIP providers and governments many times over the past year. A total of about 1,500 individual IP blocks from 150 cities around the world have been intercepted, inspected and possibly compromised in incidents lasting from a few minutes to several days.

AFP admits to accessing MPs’ call records – The Australian Federal Police has admitted to accessing the call records of up to 5 members of the Australian parliament.

Hackers could control Brisbane traffic controls: Report – Security measures designed to prevent hackers from taking over Brisbane’s traffic management systems are woefully inadequate or missing.

Company News:

Nokia Shareholders Approve $7.2BN Deal For Sale Of Devices Business To Microsoft – Nokia’s shareholders have approved the sale of its devices & services unit to Microsoft at an EGM held today in Helsinki, the FT reports. The transaction is still expected to close in the first quarter of next year, with Nokia in a caretaker role of its own mobile making division until early 2014.

Microsoft opens up its own eBay storefront – Microsoft has announced it has launched its own storefront on eBay, allowing visitors to the site to buy new and refurbished hardware products from the company.

Snapchat Sees More Daily Photos Than Facebook – Snapchat now shares 400 million snaps each day, according to an unnamed source who spoke with Business Insider. In September, Evan Spiegel announced on the Disrupt stage that the disappearing photo-sharing service was seeing 350 million snaps sent per day, up from 200 million in June. Clearly, growth on the hot new service is staggering.

Russia’s Mail.Ru Arrives in U.S. With iOS, Android Apps – Russian Internet giant Mail.Ru today announced its first foray into the American market with startup The new initiative provides U.S. consumers with communication and entertainment apps aimed at managing email, keeping in touch with people, and discovering new games.

Nintendo reportedly working on Android tablet – Nintendo appears to be making a tablet—and I don’t mean the one that comes with the Wii U. The Japanese game company is reportedly working on an Android-powered tab that will run educational games for kids.

Games and Entertainment:

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag for PC Review – Ubisoft has created a masterpiece of the modern age of relatively-open sandbox gameplay tied closely with the next-level graphics finesse afforded them by NVIDIA – every bit as spectacular as we saw in demo form earlier this year up in Montreal.

Review: Super Mario 3D World – The game taps into every single Wii U resource to show off what is possible if other developers were to reach in and do the same, and it’s fantastic.

2013 Holiday Gaming Guide – Games hit the sweet spot when it comes to fun holiday gifts—but only if you buy the right one. Which games are you going to buy for that special gamer on your list (or for yourself)? Our list can help you decide.

Gaming company slapped with fine over secret bitcoin mining – E-Sports Entertainment Association, otherwise known as the ESEA, was fined a total of $1 million due to secret bitcoin mining software that resulted in gamers’ unknowing harvesting the digital currency. The work was said to be the result of a single employee who went rogue and was later fired, but that didn’t stop legal actions from being initiated.

The PS4 costs $381 to manufacture– Research firm IHS has put together a costing based on the components identified as used in the PS4. Their total comes to $381 for manufacturing the machine, which is just $18 less than the console’s retail price. That translates into a loss when you factor in packaging, shipping, the retailer’s profit margin, advertising, and the research and development costs Sony incurred, but this is still good news for Sony.

Best Buy to Host Nationwide Madden NFL 25 Tourney on PS4 – Gamers, start your consoles–Best Buy is organizing a nationwide Madden NFL 25 tournament to celebrate the arrival of Sony’s PlayStation 4 in stores around the country

Off Topic (Sort of):

Interactive Dylan video takes surreal roll through TV land – Cutting-edge new video for the 1965 Bob Dylan song “Like a Rolling Stone” lets you flip through TV channels as a host of recognizable characters lip-synch their way through the iconic song.

UK stuck with ageing IT workforce as offshoring squeezes out starter jobs – The proportion of under-24-year-olds working in the UK IT industry has halved over the 10 years, with part of the blame for the shortfall placed on the offshoring industry of entry-level jobs.

India leads social networking growth globally in 2013 – The country saw user numbers jump by 37.4 percent, ahead of Indonesia and Mexico, and is set to overtake U.S. as largest Facebook population by 2016, says eMarketer study.

Never Forget That Wireless Carriers Are Evil – In today’s edition of “U.S. wireless carriers are dicks”, we’re going to look at the latest in how carriers and the CTIA are protecting valuable revenue streams by blocking features that would curb smartphone theft.

Google India’s viral tear-jerker vid said to mirror student short – A Google India ad that has gone viral and racked up more than million hits has also racked up accusations it’s plot was largely borrowed from a Pakistani film , the director of said film has claimed. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll question the cruel legacy of colonialism

People who don’t forget can still be tricked with false memories – “Time is the thief of memory,” wrote Stephen King in one of his many books. For some people, however, that’s not true. These people are gifted with what scientists call “highly superior autobiographical memory” (HSAM), which means that they can remember in vivid detail nearly every day of their life going back to childhood. But new research shows that even these special people are susceptible to forming false memories, sometimes even more so than normal people.

In role reversal, Ballmer stays composed, Gates chokes up, in shareholder meeting – At his final shareholder meeting appearance, Microsoft’s outgoing CEO says he’s certain the company is well positioned to succeed in the decade ahead.

The 18 most cringe-adorable TV commercials from technology’s awkward years – You once had an awkward stage. You dressed horribly, your hair was an embarrassing approximation of something you saw on TV, and you showed poor judgment in just about everything you did. Just as our awkward stages remain enshrined in high school yearbooks and family videos, technology’s weird years—as documented in the television ads of the time—have been YouTube-preserved forever. Observe.

Something to think about:

Your car is Japanese. Your beer is German. Your wine is Spanish. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Colombian. Your tea is Chinese. Your watch is Swiss. Your fashion is French. Your shirt is Indian. Your shoes are Thai. Your radio is Korean. Your vodka is Russian. And then you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant?”

–      Unknown

Today’s Free Downloads:

The Weather Channel 4.2.4 – Animated radar & more! Download the power of The Weather Channel to your phone. The Weather Channel provides the most accurate and relevant weather information whenever weather matters to you. With 200+ meteorologists and, our ultra-local forecasting technology, we provide you with the weather tools you need to plan your day, week, or even the next hour.

Supremo Remote Desktop – Supremo provides many useful features for remote assistance and remote support to customers. You can transfer files and folders (upload and download) with an FTP client-like interface, and so very easy to use. You can send files and folders to the client’s PC with a simple drag&drop over the remote desktop window, or you can download a file or a folder from the remote computer to your local computer.

Glary Utilities – Glary Utilities is a smart and reliable application that offers numerous powerful and easy-to-use system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC. It allows you to clean common system junk files, as well as invalid registry entries and Internet traces. You can manage and delete browser add-ons, analyze disk space usage and find duplicate files. You can also view and manage installed shell extensions, encrypt your files from unauthorized access and use, split large files into smaller manageable files and then rejoin them.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US senators say there’s “no evidence” bulk metadata surveillance is useful – The First Unitarian Church and its fellow plaintiffs have new allies in three United States senators who have been at the forefront of surveillance policy reform. In a new amicus brief filed on Tuesday, Senators Mark Udall (D-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) say that they “have seen no evidence that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records has provided any intelligence of value that could not have been gathered through less intrusive means.”

Curbing data use is key to reining in NSA – Any effort to rein in the National Security Agency (NSA) after its widespread spy activities were revealed last summer in leaked documents must focus on more than simply limiting what personal data can be collected. The key to maintaining some semblance of privacy for ordinary citizens is to limit how any data about them collected by the spy agency is used.

EU Parliament could block data sharing with the US – The European Parliament is demanding that E.U. citizens have legal recourse when their personal data is transferred to the U.S. before it OKs any data-sharing deal with the United States.

Court order allowing NSA data collection program revealed – A trove of documents released by the Obama administration appears to contain a 2004 opinion authorizing the agency’s massive data collection program.

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