Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 7, 2014

Top downloads of 2013;  Advanced Scan to PDF Free;  CES Roundup: 25 Cool Gadgets;  Bruce Schneier joins new firm; How to Go Paperless;  How to set up a child’s first PC;  Could an Android desktop replace your Windows PC?  Hands On With the Pebble Steel Smartwatch;  NSA refuses to deny spying on members of Congress;  Intel kills off McAfee Security brand;  World of Warcraft users hit by account-hijacking malware attack.

CNET: Top downloads of 2013 – You voted with your clicks: These are the most popular Windows and Mac apps of the year on Download.com.

How to set up a child’s first PC – Eventually, your kid will want—and need—a computer. But they’ll still need a parent’s guidance and protection. Start with the right programs—and the right rules.

Advanced Scan to PDF Free – Advanced Scan to PDF Free creates high-quality PDFs from your scanner, camera, files, and other sources and saves them or sends them. It’s designed as an easy means of sending digitally signed paper documents over the Internet using the PDF format, which is practically universal to business. But it’s a good choice for anyone since it’s easy to use, handles a wide range of image and document formats, works with most scanners and cameras, and creates accurate facsimiles of source material.

The Pirate Bay developing tool to free users from censorship – Developers at The Pirate Bay are working on a new tool that would use peer-to-peer technology to help users bypass traditional DNS and server farms while surfing in order to overcome censorship.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The Pirate Bay torrent search to be embedded in Ubuntu desktop OS – Ubuntu, the world’s most discussed user-friendly Linux desktop operating system, is looking to expand its reach once again. The OS is free and distributed via torrent, so it only makes sense that a torrent search would be built into the operating system’s desktop by default. Of course, The Pirate Bay is the biggest torrent search engine out there right now, which is why a TPB backend is being used for the desktop torrent search feature.

CES Roundup: 25 Cool Gadgets (and Cars!) from Monday at the Vegas Tech Show – Here’s a look at some of the things spotted at the big tech show in Vegas on Monday.

Take a tour of the hottest tech at CES 2014 – Walk through the 2014 CES floor, CNET-style, to get your hands on the most innovative, talked-about gadgets and technology this year’s show has to offer.

Facebook Wi-Fi lands in new Netgear routers for free small business Internet access – Facebook Wi-Fi allows merchants and business owners to offer free Internet access when users they check in on a company’s Facebook business page — such as a coffee shop — a benefit for both the business and the user. Businesses can offer discounts and offers, and keep users up to date with their latest news.

Use Dreamweaver to find and fix your website’s broken internal links – See why Dreamweaver is the ideal tool for locating and fixing#8; broken internal links on your local websites.

How to Go Paperless – The reasons to go paperless are compelling: free up square footage, save time finding documents, have redundant secure backup, save trees, and make your home office fully portable. And with banks and other service providers beginning to charge fees for paper statements, you’ll also save money.

Hands On With the Pebble Steel Smartwatch – The device is built on the same hardware platform as the original watch, though it has double the 64KB of memory in the first-gen Pebbles. There’s a single LED light under the Pebble Steel display that lights up when it’s being charged and can be used to signal incoming notifications.

Gartner: 2.5B PCs, Tablets And Mobiles Will Be Shipped In 2014, 1.1B Of Them On Android – As the worlds of communication and technology increasingly become mobile-first, the traditional desktop PC continues to go the way of the dodo bird. The analysts at Gartner are today publishing their annual devices forecast, and they project 2014 to be another banner year for mobile — and its biggest player, Android.

10+ dos and don’ts for using Office templates – If your attempts to use Office templates usually leave you feeling stumped and frustrated, read these expert tips to gain a better grasp on how to use them.

Intel introduces new chips to help PCs see, hear, and feel – Laptops with the integrated 3D camera will be available later this year from OEMs including Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, and NEC.

Asus’ PC convertible can switch between Windows and Android in 5 seconds – PC maker Asus is taking the Windows-Android hybrid concept to another level with a convertible laptop that can switch between the two OSes with the click of an on-screen button. The Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300 comes as a 13.3-inch notebook with a detachable keyboard, which when removed turns the device into a tablet. But unlike other PC convertibles, the new Asus product can switch between the Windows and Android OSes in either tablet or laptop mode.

Security:

Shady App Install Ads Are Automatically Redirecting Mobile Users To App Store, Google Play – For many weeks now, mobile users on both iOS and Android have been encountering a problem where visits to certain websites and apps have automatically redirected them to the platform’s app store to download various games, like King’s “Candy Crush Saga” or Supercell’s “Clash of Clans,” for example. The issue involves errant ad networks, which should be blocking these shady ads, but aren’t.

Some routers found to be listening on undocumented port – Many consumer routers have recently been found to be listening on the undocumented TCP port 32764, which could allow the hardware to be vulnerable to remote attacks.

Move over, CryptoLocker. Criminals are talking up more advanced PowerLocker – Discussions of the new malware, alternately dubbed PrisonLocker and PowerLocker, have been occurring on underground crime forums since November, according to a blog post published Friday by Malware Must Die, a group of researchers dedicated to fighting online crime. The malware appears to be inspired by CryptoLocker, the malicious software that wreaked havoc in October when it used uncrackable encryption to lock up victims’ computer files until they paid hundreds of dollars for the decryption key.

Company News:

Intel kills off McAfee Security brand – Intel takes branding ownership of McAfee’s computer security suite and severs founder John McAfee’s name from the security software that has borne it for more than 20 years. The software will remain unchanged except for changing the name from McAfee Security to Intel Security. The iconic red McAfee shield will remain, for now, and some components of the mobile versions of the software now will be free to use on iOS and Android devices. The rebranding is expected to take up to a year to complete.

AT&T finds an end run around net neutrality with ‘Sponsored Data’ plan – The telecom giant will allow online services to pay for the data they use, which will save you money while stifling competition.

BlackBerry to create security tech center in Washington, D.C. – BlackBerry CEO John Chen says the embattled smartphone maker will be opening a security center to work with government agencies on security issues.

Nevermind the hack: Snapchat hires lobbyists – Snapchat remains mum on specifics of how it plans to prevent another database breach, but it has already hired a Washington lobby firm.

AT&T says it still has BlackBerry’s back – AT&T has not abandoned BlackBerry. In fact, the Dallas telecom giant continues to lend its help to the struggling company, which is in the middle of transforming itself into a more business-focused company. “We’re supporting their efforts to continue being a viable supplier,” said Ralph de la Vega, head of AT&T’s mobility business, in an interview with CNET.

Palo Alto Networks buys ex-NSA founded startup Morta Security – The startup was founded by ex-NSA employees after they left the controversy-hit intelligence agency, which reportedly carries out similar attacks that Morta tries to prevent.

SOASTA Reveals 5 Technology Predictions for 2014 – Out of the global $1.2 trillion dollars’ worth of business conducted online in 2013 across the globe, SOASTA is trusted with protecting 10% of that figure –or $150 billion.  Based on the hundreds of brands SOASTA worked with this year and listened to the challenges they face, there are 5 predictions that are pretty clear as we look ahead to 2014.  Hint: Simplify, the User Experience, and M-commerce will be buzz words for successful enterprises and e-commerce vendors.  The Top 5 Predictions for 2014 are……

Games and Entertainment:

World of Warcraft users hit by account-hijacking malware attack – World of Warcraft players have been hit with a malicious trojan that hijacks accounts even when they’re protected by two-factor authentication, officials have warned. The malware is infecting systems by posing as an installer of Curse, a legitimate add-on that helps players manage other World of Warcraft add-ons.

14 companies will offer Steam Machines in 2014; many will dual boot Windows – Valve has announced that 14 companies have plans to release Steam Machines in 2014, using SteamOS. However, many of these PCs will offer options for dual booting with a Windows OS.

10 Steps for Getting Started with Rust – Although it’s only an alpha build, I already feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth from Rust, having spent many hours trying to survive the game’s dog-eat-dog world. But every time I log in to the game, there are always a few players asking for help via Rust’s in-game chat, having no idea what to do, where to go or how to avoid getting murdered by bandits. For all the Rust newbies out there, I offer this guide to escaping death and achieving happiness in the wilderness:

Microsoft spokesman promises Xbox One’s Halo will be released in 2014 – A spokesman for the Halo franchise has confirmed the Xbox One’s first installment of the franchise, which is currently untitled, will launch later this year.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Could an Android desktop replace your Windows PC? – HP and Lenovo are betting that Android PCs can convert both office and home Windows PC users to Android.

NSA critic Bruce Schneier joins new firm as CTO – Security expert Bruce Schneier has been hired by Co3 Systems, and we can expect more NSA-related work in the future. The well-known security expert and vocal critic of the National Security Agency (NSA) revealed in a blog post this week his new role at Co3 Systems, a company that specializes in cybersecurity incident response.

What Every Website Owner Should Know About Copyright Trolls – Infographic.

Germaphobes rejoice: Corning reveals new antimicrobial smartphone glass – At CES, Corning introduces an updated version of its Gorilla Glass that inhibits the growth of a wide range of potentially harmful bacteria. Make sure to still wash your hands.

Get savvy on the latest cloud terminology – As with all technology, some lingo stays popular, while other phrases decline in use. Use this list to find out the newest terminology for all things cloud.

Boston moves 76K city employees to Google Apps – Every Boston city employee from police officers to public school teachers now have a Google Apps account.

The Social Media War – Infographic.

Schwinn CycleNav is a cheap and simple satnav for your bike – You need to set it up before you start your ride — open up the Android or iPhone app, type in where you want to go, and check the route out to make any changes as you would on any phone app. Then send the route via Bluetooth to the device, and off you go.

RAF fighter jets successfully flown with 3D printed replacement parts – While 3D printing enthusiasts in the civilian world are mostly working with smaller desktop printers, the military is looking into ways to use industrial 3D metal/plastic printing to repair machinery and vehicles.

Extraordinary earthquake lights explained – The rare and colorful lights sometimes seen before major earthquakes could come from electric charges in certain types of rock.

Flight makes emergency landing after camera found in bathroom – A San Francisco-New York American Airlines flight is forced to land in Kansas City, after a flash-drive-like device was found taped in the bathroom. Officials now say it was a camera.

Something to think about:

Retribution often means that we eventually do to ourselves what we have done unto others.”

–      Eric Hoffer

Today’s Free Downloads:

IE Password Decryptor 6.5 – It automatically detects the installed IE version and use appropriate technique to successfully decrypt all the stored passwords. This single tool comes with both GUI as well as command-line interface making it useful for pen testers as well as forensic investigators.

NetworkConnectLog 1.02 – NetworkConnectLog is a simple utility that repeatedly scans your local area network (Using ARP and Netbios protocols) and add a new log line every time that a new computer or device connects to your network, and when a computer or device disconnects from your network.

Why Can’t I Connect? 1.6.2 – “Why Can’t I Connect” makes it easier to resolve TCP/IP connection errors. Use it to diagnose connections to common server types and create generic clients and / or servers. A source tar, a 32 bit rpm, a 32 bit deb, and a 32 bit Windows install exe are available. The 32 bit Windows executable runs fine in 64 bit Windows systems. 64 bit Linux systems, however, should compile from source.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA refuses to deny spying on members of Congress – The NSA has refused to confirm or deny that it is collecting information on the communications and email activities of members of Congress after being questioned directly by Bernie Sanders, the Senate’s only independent who represents Vermont. “Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other America elected officials?” Sanders wrote in a letter published on Friday to General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS), and commander of the United States Cyber Command. The NSA’s response was hardly reassuring.

Report: Obama set to approve “public advocate” position, more NSA reforms – According to the Los Angeles Times, President Barack Obama is set to announce a “package of intelligence reforms” that would put a public advocate in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) for the first time. Anonymous sources within the White House also told the Times that the changes will include transferring control of the telephone metadata records from the National Security Agency to a private entity. Advisers are also considering a separate proposal to require a federal judge’s approval each time a national security letter is issued, except in emergencies.

Will the NSA’s activities handicap IT in the United States? – NSA spying has given U.S. IT a black eye, possibly triggered a recession in its tech industry, and fueled data protectionist movements.

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