Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 25, 2013

Parental controls on the Xbox One;  4 best gadgets to bring Internet video to your TV;  Top Android Tablets;  Microsoft updates remote apps;  NSA Has 50,000 ‘Digital Sleeper Agents’ Via Computer Malware;  Hearing aids iPhone support;  Next big thing is already here;  HP Black Friday special sub-$100 Android tablet;  Mobile broadband,  Free Wi-Fi, tablets killing TV;  Infographic: 50 Years of Doctor Who;  HDD Raw Copy Tool (free).

The 4 best gadgets to bring Internet video to your TV – Ready to cut the cord to your cable company? As the holiday season approaches, here are the best Internet to TV device choices – for yourself or your gifting pleasure.

Six things every new iPad (or iPhone) owner should do immediately – Just get a new iPad (or iPhone)? Here are a few critical things that you should do right now to keep your new gadget safe and your privacy protected.

How to set up parental controls on the Xbox One – Microsoft gives parents complete control over the content and features their kids can access on the Xbox One. Here’s how to get started.

Aacorn app anticipates what kids want to say – A new app out of Australia enables kids with speech impairments or developmental delays to convey their thoughts more quickly and easily.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Smartwatches aren’t the next big thing. The next big thing is already here – One chart shows why it’s going to be an uphill battle for smartwatch makers to convince buyers to hand over their cash. History is repeating itself, while the real gadget innovation is coming from another direction.

Top Android Tablets – No love for Apple’s iPad? Not to worry: We’ve tested some great Android alternatives, and these are the best of the bunch.

DDR4 memory won’t show up in PCs, tablets until 2015 – Another memory vendor expects to ship DDR4 this year, but Intel and AMD don’t expect to support the new memory boards with their processors until late 2014 or early 2015.

Taking pay for links means you may be gambling with Google – Ever gotten an email offering to pay you to publish links on your blog? This black hat SEO trick could get you in hot water with search engines.

See the very first (surprisingly handsome) selfie… from 1839 – A Philadelphia photographer was believed to be the first person to turn the camera on himself, unwittingly launching a revolution that would stay dormant until the smartphone age more than 170 years later.

Microsoft updates remote desktop apps – Microsoft adds new features and fixes for its popular Remote Desktop apps for iOS, Android and Mac OS X.

Hearing aids to gain iPhone support – iWhat? According to reports, Apple has partnered with hearing aid device companies to provide wireless iPhone connections.

Could Mozilla become a branch of Google? – Mozilla, the open-source Web browser group behind Firefox, doesn’t appear to have much to do with Google until you look at the bottom line. There, you’ll find that 90 percent of Mozilla’s revenue comes from Google.


NSA mass surveillance leaks: Timeline of events to date – The U.S. government mass surveillance scandal may be the biggest ongoing story of the year. In this updating timeline, you can explore the full scope of the Edward Snowden leaks, which have implicated the world’s most powerful nations in the worldwide spying operation.

Twitter Enables Perfect Forward Secrecy Across Sites To Protect User Data Against Future – Twitter has enabled Perfect Forward Secrecy across its mobile site, website and API feeds in order to protect against future cracking of the service’s encryption. The PFS method ensures that, if the encryption key Twitter uses is cracked in the future, all of the past data transported through the network does not become an open book right away.

Security experts praise Google’s tougher encryption – Google’s faster-than-expected upgrade of all its SSL certificates to an RSA key length of 2048 bits will make cracking connections to the company’s services more difficult without affecting performance, experts say.

Android, Bitcoin top malware targets, McAfee reports – Security vendor McAfee’s research arm, McAfee Labs, has identified growth across four threat trends, including Android-based malware, signed malware, spam, and virtual currencies.

We’re making TOO MUCH CASH, say CryptoLocker scum in ransom price cut – The soaring price of BitCoin has prompted the cybercrooks behind the infamous CryptoLocker malware to reduce the levy they impose on victims from 2 BTC to 0.5 BTC. The reduced price scam was spotted in variants of the malware, which encrypts personal files on infected Windows PCs, spotted earlier this week by security firm F-Secure.

CryptoLocker gang teams with botnet-builders on ransomware – The cyber-gang running the CryptoLocker extortion racket is splitting its ransomware take with criminal botnet owners, says Symantec, which is monitoring this underworld activity online.

Company News:

HP eyes Black Friday special with sub-$100 Android tablet – Intel has got the scoop on some tablet deals for Black Friday, including an Android tablet that’s very light on the wallet. That 7-inch HP tablet, branded the Mesquite, packs an Intel processor and will sell for $89 at Walmart. Don’t expect any barn-burning specs, though. You’ll likely get what you pay for. And Intel has the skinny on a few more deals too.

Apple confirms purchase of original Kinect sensor creator PrimeSense – Apple has now confirmed previous rumors that it has acquired the Israel-based PrimeSense, which developed the technology behind Microsoft’s original Kinect sensor.

Foxconn invests $40M in Pennsylvania to tap research, talent – Foxconn, best known as the maker of Apple’s iPhone and iPad, plans to spend $30 million over the next two years to expand its existing office in Harrisburg, Penn. The investment will involve hiring 500 employees, the company said in an email.

Free talk time minutes on Tata Telecom for watching mobile ads – Over the past few months, Tata has been pushing their TataSky Mobile aggressively in India. Now, in a bid to lure even more customers, they’re offering free talk time minutes by simply watching mobile ads.

Facebook Still ‘Useful’ to Teens, Says COO Sheryl Sandberg – Is Facebook losing its teens? Depends who you ask at the 1.19-billion-user social network. Surely, a not-so-insignificant chunk of the service’s 728 million daily active users falls between 13 and 19, right? Facebook CFO David Ebersman said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call that teen activity is down slightly on the social network.

Games and Entertainment:

PS4 and Xbox One game install, load, and boot times compared – Now that Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are out in the wild, you’ve probably seen or heard — numerous times — that the PS4 is the more powerful, more games-focused of the two, while the Xbox One is the more media-focused. We’ve been testing the two consoles side-by-side, and wanted to compare either’s install time, as well as the time it takes from inserting the disc to being able to play the game.

PlayStation 3, Vita, Nintendo 3DS to get new “Persona” games – Fans of the long-running Persona series of role-playing games and animes are in for a triple helping of new material. Atlus, the maker of the games, announced the upcoming titles one at a time over the course of this weekend’s Persona event. Their Japan releases will be staggered over the coming 12 months.

Blizzard Designer Apologizes for Comments on Sexy Characters – A game director at Blizzard Entertainment is taking to a company blog to apologize for comments made during a recent interview, though some fans still maintain that Dustin Browder had nothing to apologize for and it was the journalist’s questions that were in the wrong.

Clap along to Happy, Pharrell Williams’ 24-hour long interactive music video – The video lets you skip around Los Angeles through various dance venues, floating down city streets, around boxing gyms and through what looks like an elementary school, to name a few identifiable locales.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Mobile broadband, free Wi-Fi, tablets killing TV, statistics show – While this in itself may not be news to our readers, the nitty gritty details and the statistics to back it all up should confirm what you might already suspect. TV watchers, movie buffs and sports fans are no longer anchored to a physical home.

FCC, Please Don’t Allow Phone Calls On Planes – The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering lifting the ban on making phone calls on planes, which would be an incredibly bad idea. Fortunately, Delta Airlines has already come out against this, but any airline even faintly considering it should stop right now. Right now.

Restaurant offers 50 percent discount for turning off phone – A restaurant owner in Israel has had enough of cell phone chatter and mute couples staring into their phones during dinner. So he’s offering an incentive.

5 Recent Trends That Make It Hard to Trust the Police – If there’s one thing I think we can all agree on, it’s that, much like clowns, everybody loves a cop. And for good reason! After all, in the unfortunate event that one of us should fall victim to a crime, who are we going to call first? No matter what my N.W.A-based childhood understanding of law enforcement taught me, the answer, of course, is the police. There are some among us, though, who’ve developed a slightly less positive opinion of law enforcement. That likely explains why, out of all the fascinating stats in this article about things that are more deadly than terrorism, this was the one that blew up on Twitter: You are 8 times more likely to be killed by the police than a terrorist.

Tech issues block people from N.J. Internet gambling test – If all goes well, Internet gambling will be available to gamblers in New Jersey starting Tuesday. The only other states with online gambling are Nevada and Delaware. It wasn’t going well for Joseph Brennen. The unemployed bartender from Ventnor was excitedly trying to log on to any gambling site that would take him. Sitting in a McDonald’s, with the Atlantic City Boardwalk casinos glittering in the distance, he kept getting security messages saying complex technology designed to ensure all players are within New Jersey’s borders didn’t believe he was in the state and were shutting him out. (suggested by Michael F.)

16 products that Microsoft has killed off – Every product has its end. It is either replaced, upgraded or merged in with something else. Even Microsoft, a company that is notoriously generous and patient with letting a product gain momentum, is willing to pull the plug when necessary. Here are some of the most notable Microsoft products that have met their demise.

Store owner installs surveillance cameras to spy on police – A Miami convenience store owner is fed up with his employees and customers being allegedly harassed by police. So he installs surveillance video to get evidence against the local cops.

Infographic: 50 Years of Doctor Who – The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special is upon us. But it’s been a long five decades, so compiled an refresher infographic on The Doctor, his numerous incarnations, his precious TARDIS, and the various tools that have helped him save the world over and over and over again.

Something to think about:

I’m not sure I want popular opinion on my side — I’ve noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts.”

–      Bethania McKenstry

Today’s Free Downloads:

HDD Raw Copy Tool 1.10 – HDD Raw Copy Tool is a utility for low-level, sector-by-sector hard disk duplication and image creation. The tool creates a sector-by-sector copy of all areas of the hard drive (MBR, boot records, all partitions as well as space in between). HDD Raw Copy does not care about the operating system on the drive – it could be Windows, Linux, Mac, or any other OS with any number of partitions (including hidden ones). Bad sectors are skipped by the tool.

Everything Home 1.0.959 – Love your phone again with Everything Home. With over a million downloads in the first three months, Everything Home changes the way people feel about their phones. Your smartphone can now be as exciting and dynamic as your life, constantly adapting to your needs and interests at any given moment. Whatever is on your mind at any given moment – games, food, movies, pets, shopping – Everything Home has you covered on just about everything.

Chasys Draw IES – Chasys Draw IES is a suite of applications including a layer-based image editor with animation, vista-style icon support and super-resolution via image stacking (Chasys Draw IES Artist), a multi-threaded image file converter (Chasys Draw IES Converter) and a fast image viewer (Chasys Draw IES Viewer).

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA Has 50,000 ‘Digital Sleeper Agents’ Via Computer Malware, Says Latest Snowden Leak – Sleeper agents are among the most sinister spy assets: they lie in wait, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and then deliver a critical blow when activated. The NSA has 50,000 of those waiting for the literal push of a button, according to the latest batch of leaked Snowden documents, as seen by Dutch daily evening newspaper NRC. But these aren’t people, like Keri Russel and Matthew Rhys in The Americans – these are computers, infected with malware and untroubled by conscience or the risk of going native.

Meet the Spies Doing the NSA’s Dirty Work – With every fresh leak, the world learns more about the U.S. National Security Agency’s massive and controversial surveillance apparatus. Lost in the commotion has been the story of the NSA’s indispensable partner in its global spying operations: an obscure, clandestine unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that, even for a surveillance agency, keeps a low profile. (recommended by Aseem S.)

NSA “SIGINT Strategy” paper targeted “anyone, anytime, anywhere” – The NSA just can’t get a break these days. The latest Snowden paper revelation shows the spy agency speaking plainly last year about pursuing unlimited vision of the digital world. The top secret paper, entitled “SIGINT Strategy” (SIGINT being Spy for “signals intelligence”) was distributed internally Feb. 23, 2012.

Privacy International begins tracking surveillance industry – Activist group Privacy International has launched an ambitious project to track the spread of commercial surveillance, spying, and tracking technology and the often secretive firms selling into the booming sector.

Singapore, Seoul key players in ‘Five Eyes’ spy ring – Leaked NSA map confirms Singapore and South Korea as key “third players” supporting the United States government’s “Five Eyes” surveillance network.

New NSA leak reveals invasion of the management consultants – Crack teams of Microsoft marketing droids, sleeper cells of incognito TEDx speakers and the greatest sociologists ever to torture a syntax into confessing to crimes of postmodernism have all been recruited to take the battle back to the spooks by befuddling them with the worst excesses of corporate language-mangling. The strategy appears simple: by making it impossible for anyone in the NSA to understand what they were being told, the agency wouldn’t be able to wreak too much havoc on the IT sector.

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