Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 22, 2013

Google – Encrypt everything;  LG smart TV spies on home networks;  AVG Antivirus Free/Smartphones & Tablets;  6 awesome new Android apps;  How to find free Wi-Fi;  ESPN Releases All-New SportsCenter App;  Five apps for screen capture;  Black Friday Amazon deals starting Sunday;  Does Facebook need a cemetery?  Free Wise Folder Hider;  50 Best Free iPhone Apps.

How to find free Wi-Fi during your holiday travels – A public Wi-Fi access point is like a public restroom. All kinds of businesses along travel routes offer restrooms to bring in customers. They offer free Wi-Fi for the same reason. The fact is, finding Wi-Fi on the road has become a lot easier over the past ten years. You just have to know where to look for it.

6 awesome new Android apps you should check out – Google Play is no longer a wasteland of mediocre apps and games. In fact there’s plenty of awesome stuff coming out all the time — here are our top picks.

The 50 Best Free iPhone Apps – This list highlights 50 apps, across a number of genres, that we at PCMag think have shown outstanding performance, have been well received by a variety of technology users, and are truly “free.” No gimmicks, no “membership required” or in-app purchase necessary. Free. Period.

Browser extension creates ‘disposable’ data for privacy – The new features are being added to “DoNotTrackMe,” an extension for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari that blocks tracking technologies used by advertising and social networks and data collectors. The latest capabilities, which were already in Abine’s MaskMe password management tool, allow users to give out a one-time use credit card number to e-commerce vendors, along with a disposable email address and phone number.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Black Friday Amazon deals to run every 10 minutes starting Sunday – We are fast approaching Thanksgiving, and as well as a holiday, retailers across the US take the opportunity to kick off some crazy sales in a bid to get us all spending lots of money come Black Friday. However, Black Friday is just the finale, with many sales now starting in the days before Thanksgiving. In the case of Amazon, their deals are set to start this Sunday, November 24, and will run as frequently as every 10 minutes in the lead up to the holiday.

Here’s how Walmart will fight off Amazon on Black Friday – The retailing giant is pulling out all stops, from free shipping to price match guarantees. And for Walmart, Cyber Monday starts on Saturday.

Microsoft Bringing Message Encryption To Office 365 In Early 2014 – Microsoft is bringing message encryption to Office 365. The system will allow email to be automatically encrypted, even when sent to non-Office 365 users. So, you can use the protection with anyone, on any other email service. In the age of pervasive data abduction by government agency, keeping your private stuff private is an increasingly important issue.

Five more apps for screen capture in Windows – Last month, I shared with my take on five effective tools for capturing your screen in Windows, and it has attracted quite a few comments with suggestions for different utilities to check out. You can never have too many options for something as seemingly pedestrian as taking pictures of your desktop and windows. For this next round up, here are my five picks sourced straight from the TechRepublic community.

Kiss goodbye to quiet skies: Now FCC ready to OK in-flight cellphone use – The move comes less than a month after the Federal Aviation Authority announced it was relaxing the rules on the use of electronics on flights to allow them to be used throughout a flight so long as the plane is flying at over 10,000 feet. The decision was welcomes by the airlines and Delta and Jet Blue have already relaxed their policies.

How to find everything in Windows 8.1 – The new Windows is a culture shock, and it can be a challenge to figure out how to find common features and applications unless you know this one tip.

Pro tip: Track down the Create a System Image tool in Windows 8.1 – Learn where to find and launch the Create a System Image tool in Microsoft Windows 8.1, because it is not where it used to be.

Vine Focuses On Global Expansion With 19 New Languages – Twitter’s six-second video sharing app, Vine, today launches in a number of new languages. 19, to be exact. New languages include Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Thai and Turkish on both the iOS and Android apps, as well as Filipino and Polish on the Android app.

ESPN Releases All-New SportsCenter App – Keeping up with your favorite sports teams is about to get a little easier. ESPN on Thursday launched an all-new SportsCenter app for iPhone and Android handsets, designed to “provide sports fans a comprehensive, personalized mix of the ESPN content they want, anytime, anywhere.” Users will receive the new SportsCenter app as an update to ESPN’s ScoreCenter, which is the most popular free sports app of all time with more than 43 million downloads.

SkyDrive now auto-uploads photos from iOS devices – Although iOS users may want to store their photos within Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft now gives them the option of autouploading them to SkyDrive.

Bing now pulls in TripAdvisor results for travel searches – Microsoft’s search engine is integrating TripAdvisor data into its search results, stepping up the search competition with Google.

Take scheduled mini-exercise breaks with FitBolt – Sitting at a desk all day, day after day, is not good for your well-being. FitBolt reminds you to stretch and exercise throughout the workday, helping you to improve your health.

Saying Goodbye to Winamp with One Last Spin – Perhaps you heard the news, shed a tear of nostalgia, made an off-hand llama-whipping joke and moved on. Winamp deserves more than that. This is a legendary piece of software whose responsibility for the digital music revolution goes hand-in-hand with Napster. Illegal file sharing services merely provided the tunes. Winamp let us play them. As AOL has been gracious enough to give us a month’s notice before yanking Winamp from its servers, it’s only appropriate to give the 16 year-old MP3 software another listen.


LG smart TV snooping extends to home networks, second blogger says – In addition to transmitting a list of shows being watched and the names of files contained on USB drives, the Internet-connected TV also sent the names of files shared on home or office networks. He (a second blogger) made the discovery after plugging the Wireshark packet-sniffing program into his home network and noticing that an LG TV—model number 42ls570, purchased in April—was transmitting file names that sounded vaguely familiar even though there was no USB drive plugged in.

Encrypt everything: Google’s answer to government surveillance is catching on – And the Giants of the Web seems to agree in the wake of recent NSA spying revelations. Lock it all down!

Pogoplug Safeplug shifts home web use to Tor for internet secrecy – Pogoplug has launched a new privacy adapter, Safeplug, which the company says can add internet anonymity within seconds by re-routing all internet traffic through Tor. The compact box, priced at $49, pushes web use through Tor’s randomized path of interconnected computers, which are commonly used by journalists, activists, and others wanting to avoid being observed or located in their internet use.

Carriers say smartphone ‘kill switch’ would be a juicy target for hackers – Mobile carriers are opposed to the plan for a smartphone ‘kill switch’ that would render smartphones inoperable after they are stolen, claiming that it could be misused by hackers to block critical services.

Company News:

Mozilla banked $274M in ’12 from Google-Firefox search deal – Mozilla today said that income from search partners jumped 88% last year, with the portion attributed to its 2011 deal with browser rival Google increasing by even more. The Mozilla Foundation’s 2012 revenue was $311 million, up 90% from the year before and more than triple what it recorded in 2009, according to the financial statement released Thursday.

Samsung to pay Apple another $290 million for patent infringement – The verdict is in! Apple wanted $380 million, Samsung wanted to pay only $52 million, but now the jury has decided Samsung owes $290 million in damages for patent infringement.

New Acer CEO abruptly resigns as founder takes helm – Acer’s newly-named CEO has abruptly resigned from the troubled PC maker, in a surprise move that will result in founder Stan Shih temporarily taking over leadership. Two weeks after Acer named Jim Wong to be its next CEO, the PC maker on Thursday announced he was stepping down “in light of the company’s recent performance.”

Microsoft tipped for Winamp and Shoutcast acquisitions from AOL – Just when you think you have the rug pulled from under you, Microsoft seems to want to put it back again just as suddenly. That’s what’s appearing to happen this week when not one day after the music player app Winamp was announced as shuttering its doors, Microsoft has been tipped to buy it.

Games and Entertainment:

Playing video games makes opponents think and feel alike – New research out of Sweden suggests that empathy may actually provide a competitive advantage to help anticipate an opponent’s next move.

Classic Fighting Game SoulCaliber Arrives on Android – SoulCalibur was one of the most advanced fighting games of its day when it hit the Dreamcast back in 1999. While it really shook up the 3D fighter genre, it wasn’t enough to save the Dreamcast from an early death. However, the game has remained in the hearts and minds of gamers all these years, and has shown up on a few other platforms as an HD remake. Today it has reached Android with all 19 characters and multiple game modes.

Microsoft offers up a Xbox One “Doctor’s Note” to get out of work – Microsoft has posted a funny “Doctor’s Note” that people who have just bought their Xbox One could use to get out of work to play their new next generation console at home.

Latest South Park episode continues PS4/XB1 war storyline with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates – The latest episode of South Park, which continues their Xbox One-PS4 storyline, features Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and chairman Bill Gates playing major roles.

Ride the rails with Pocket Trains – iOS and Android device owners can become a railroad tycoon with this fun empire-building causal game.

Off Topic (Sort of):

One out of seven people use social networks, study shows – About one in seven people around the globe use a social networking site at least once a month, and that number is expected to see grow significantly over the next several years. About 1.61 billion people will use a social networking site, such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram or Twitter, this month, according to eMarketer, a market research company. That’s a 14.2% increase from 2012, and double-digit growth is expected to continue through next year. By 2017, 2.33 billion people will use social networks, the company said.

100 years of rock ‘n roll storage – Today’s young people can enjoy listening to 60s groups like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. But back in the 60s no one listened to 50-year-old pop. Why?

Does Facebook need a cemetery? – The creators of the Sanctri app believe there needs to be a separate place on Facebook to mourn the dead and honor them.

The enigmatic wisdom of Deepak Chopra – It has been said by some that the thoughts and tweets of Deepak Chopra are indistinguishable from a set of profound sounding words put together in a random order, particularly the tweets tagged with “#cosmisconciousness”. This site aims to test that claim! Each “quote” is generated from a list of words that can be found in Deepak Chopra’s Twitter stream randomly stuck together in a sentence. (suggested by Michael F.)

India’s tribal regions using Facebook, WhatsApp to fight corruption – Ahead of federal elections next year, politicians have been embracing social media to their advantage. Now, that same space could be used against them when tribal groups attempt to expose some of their unethical practices.

Bitcoin becomes an official payment option at its first university – Bitcoin has been around for a handful of years, but has only recently seen widespread attention and a skyrocketing value all the while. ATMs that work with the currency cropped up earlier this year, and soon retailers and different services started announcing acceptance of the digital monies. That red carpet has expanded, with the first-ever university revealing that students can now pay tuition in bitcoins.

Something to think about:

Most people have seen worse things in private than they pretend to be shocked at in public.”

–     Edgar Watson Howe

Today’s Free Downloads:

AVG Antivirus Free for Smartphones & Tablets – AVG Antivirus for Smartphones & Tablets automatically detects harmful Apps & SMS. AVG Mobilation is a free security solution that protects your phone from viruses, malware, spyware & online exploitation in real-time.

Wise Folder Hider – User can use it to hide files and folders on local partitions or removable devices. The data can’t be accessed by other programs or on other operating systems such as DOS. The only way to access or unhide these data is to enter the valid password. However, this application is designed for home use only but not recommended for commercial settings which require stricter confidentiality.

ContaCam 4.9.0 – This Free Video Surveillance and Live Webcam software for Windows is extremely easy on system resources, and does not contain unnecessary bloat. It is fast, light, and versatile enough to meet all your security needs while still being very user friendly and able to run on even the most moderate systems.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Report: NSA also had the green light to spy on UK residents – The Guardian first reported the 2007 agreement between the two allies on Wednesday, citing documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The newspaper reported that the agreement between the American and British signals intelligence agencies show that the NSA is now allowed to analyze and keep British mobile phone numbers, fax numbers, and other “selectors” as a way to conduct “contact chaining” analysis. Previously, the NSA had only been able to collect UK landline numbers.

Inside America’s Plan to Kill Online Privacy Rights Everywhere – The United States and its key intelligence allies are quietly working behind the scenes to kneecap a mounting movement in the United Nations to promote a universal human right to online privacy, according to diplomatic sources and an internal American government document obtained by The Cable. The diplomatic battle is playing out in an obscure U.N. General Assembly committee that is considering a proposal by Brazil and Germany to place constraints on unchecked internet surveillance by the National Security Agency and other foreign intelligence services. American representatives have made it clear that they won’t tolerate such checks on their global surveillance network.  (suggested by Aseem S.)

Congress Draws Battle Lines Over NSA Phone Snooping Program – In the wake of revelations about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs over American phone records and Internet activities, Congressional leaders are demanding reform to rein in the agency’s broad powers. “The constant stream of disclosures about U.S. surveillance since June has surprised and appalled me as much as it has the American public and our international allies,” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis), the original author of the Patriot Act, said recently. Sensenbrenner has argued that the Patriot Act was never supposed to give NSA the powers it has claimed to collect domestic telephone records. The question remains, however: exactly how far will these reforms go?

Five takeaways from the NSA and Internet surveillance disclosures – The ripples from Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing on NSA surveillance tactics continue to be felt. What are the biggest takeaways for those in the technology field?

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