Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 30, 2014

10 ways to maximize the business value of Google+;  Google’s Roadmap to World Domination – infographic;  Filthy words Google voice search doesn’t want to hear;  4 Ways to Maximize Your Super Bowl Watching Experience;  Has a jealous lover hired hackers to get into your e-mail?  Snowden Nobel Peace Prize nomination;  Merkel rebukes US, UK over surveillance;  The easiest way to install Android apps on BB10;  Google’s Street View lands in the Philippines;  Google Chrome Launches Virtual LEGO Land;  Kickstarter – ABCs of the Web.

Feds imply that reporters are in cahoots with Snowden – During Senate testimony, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper refers to whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s “accomplices.”

Merkel rebukes US, UK over surveillance – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued a strong rebuke to the United States and Britain over the sweeping digital spying revealed by fugitive IT contractor Edward Snowden. (Rebuking? How about you kick these asshats in the knackers – financially.)

Grassroots campaign seeks to fry the NSA by turning off the water tap – It takes a lot of water to cool the spy agency’s supercomputers, plus a lot of electricity. Two 4th Amendment-focused nonprofits are putting forth a template for a bill that would enable US states to turn off the lights and the taps and thereby, basically, starve the agency of the juice it needs to run.

4 Ways to Maximize Your Super Bowl Watching Experience: We’ve got the tech to help you stay on top of the action – This Sunday, the Denver Broncos will face off against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII — and football fans across the globe will be watching. Even if you aren’t a fan, it’s likely you’ll want to tune in for the commercials and the halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. No matter what brings you to the screen for this year’s Super Bowl, we’ve got the tech to help you stay on top of the action.

Great smartphone games to get ready for ‘the big game’ – In gearing up for the big game this Sunday, I’ve put together a collection of football games for both iOS and Android.

Dell’s $129 Dongle Puts Android On Any Screen With HDMI Input – Dell continues making bets on Android in its computing lineup with a new $129 device that brings Google’s mobile OS to any TV or display with HDMI input. The new stick runs Android Jelly Bean, also supports MHL connections (mobile high-def) and offers Bluetooth and mini USB for mouse, keyboard and other device connectivity.

10 ways to maximize the business value of Google+ – Google+ offers a more focused, serious take on social networking — and it can give your business a significant boost if you use it the right way.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google’s Roadmap to World Domination: infographic – Welcome to the future where your house keys will tell you they’re still on your desk at work; Your tools will remind you you loaned them to a friend; Your car will drive itself to retrieve both…. (A really neat presentation.)

These are the filthy words Google voice search doesn’t want to hear – By default, Google blocks voice search results that it deems offensive. Presumably, its motive has less to do with keeping you from cussin’ than with shielding users from questionable content in the event that Google’s software misunderstands their spoken request for “pictures of shih tzus,” “chicken plucking contest,” or “How can I get to Bangkok?” What could possibly go wrong, you ask? Just think of Google voice search as a spoken-word equivalent of autocorrect.

The easiest way to install Android apps on BB10 – After the latest update to BlackBerry 10, users can install Android apps with very little effort.

Kickstarter – ABCs of the Web – ABCs of the Web is a child’s first introduction to the language of the web using the ABCs, beautiful imagery, and fun rhymes. Written by a Web Developer and a Pediatrician, this book introduces children under 5 to the vocabulary of programming in a developmentally appropriate way. ABCs of the Web is a great primer to get you and your kids ready for awesome books like A Robot Story and Hello Ruby, board games like Robot Turtles and apps like Scratch Jr.

Coding as a second language? Kentucky jockeys to be next to join the movement – New legislation in Kentucky may soon allow computer programming to count as a high school foreign language credit.

Students around the world participated in’s “Hour of Code” in December 2013. Image:

Coveted $50,000 Twitter username swiped in tale of woe – Naoki Hiroshima talks of how security practices at PayPal and GoDaddy led to him losing his coveted Twitter handle.

Process Explorer v16.0 – Thanks to collaboration with the team at VirusTotal, this Process Explorer update introduces integration with, an online antivirus analysis service. When enabled, Process Explorer sends the hashes of images and files shown in the process and DLL views to VirusTotal and if they have been previously scanned, reports how many antivirus engines identified them as possibly malicious. Hyperlinked results take you to report pages and you can even submit files for scanning. (recommended by Aseem S.)

Has a jealous lover hired hackers to get into your e-mail? Two Arkansas men face charges for allegedly running a business that helps the suspicious but loving pry into their partner’s e-mails.

Toronto Police constable admits to harassing ex-boyfriend – A police constable who harassed her ex-boyfriend and his wife for a year through Facebook and used police databases while on- and off-duty may lose about seven weeks’ pay after pleading guilty Tuesday to three Police Services Act charges. Const. Dionne Kent faced two charges of insubordination and one for discreditable conduct, for offenses that took place between December 2011 and December 2012. (So where are the criminal charges here? Oh right, Toronto cops seem to be immune to a fair and unbiased application of the criminal code.)

Google’s Street View lands in the Philippines – Web giant uses backpack-attached Street View Trekker camera to capture 360-degree images from within Manila’s walled city of Intramuros.

How to make your gloves touchscreen capable – Add smartphone-friendly fingers to your favorite gloves, and you’ll never have to take them off. Take that, Polar Vortex!

Google Chrome Launches Virtual LEGO Land: Yes, it’s addictive – Google and LEGO have launched an insidious plot, er, app that lets users play with virtual LEGO bricks in their web browsers during work hours while deadlines are rapidly approaching. Google unveiled the productivity-sapping feature, “Build With Chrome,” on Tuesday. Users can stack, rotate and snap a variety of bricks onto a virtual pad, powered by WebGL, a 3D graphics technology for web browsers.

Resolving TrueCrypt and Volume Shadow Copy conflicts – TrueCrypt is a great open source encryption solution to protect data, but it can lock horns with the Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service. Learn how to untangle the two products.

UK Government plans to ditch Microsoft Office, move to open-source solutions – The UK Government plans to end its reliance on proprietary software such as Microsoft Office in favour of solutions like Google Docs, in a move intended to save money and foster greater innovation.

Raising Alzheimer’s awareness through Facebook confusion – A recent campaign to increase awareness of the most common form of dementia put people in photos of fake events, possibly giving them a momentary sense of what the disease might feel like.

Blizzard releases first-ever Warcraft infographic – Blizzard releases an infographic detailing never-before-seen global statistics for its enormous MMORPG World of Warcraft, which turns 10 this year. Guess which pet is the most popular.

India to hit 243 million Web users – India will be home to over 243 million online users by June 2014, up 28 percent year-on-year from 190 million last June, driving growth in other markets such as e-commerce and digital advertising.

Get ready for multicolor fonts — maybe in motion, too – Impelled by a need to support emoji characters, Mozilla, Adobe, Microsoft, and Google are working to standardize technology for showing fonts that aren’t just black and white.

How to make LPs sound better than ever – Turntable phono cartridges’ miniscule voltage output needs high quality amplification, NAD’s nifty little PP2i will transform your analog sound.


Remote code execution bug in Yahoo servers leads to root access – Yahoo has moved quickly to squash a bug that could have seen an attacker gain root access to its servers.

Angry Birds website defaced following reports it enables government spying – For a brief span of time on Tuesday some visitors saw an image of the iconic bird and pig, but with some notable modifications. The image carried the caption “Spying Birds,” and the bird had an NSA logo emblazoned on its forehead. The image was captured here on the Zone-H website.

U.S. Justice Dept Joins The Target Credit Card Data Breach Investigation – The investigation behind Target’s data breach, which affected 40 million customers and is one of the largest hacking incidents in retail history, just intensified. The U.S. Justice Department has joined the hunt for the perpetrator, which already includes the FBI and the Secret Service, which usually oversees the federal government’s credit card fraud cases.

Target says attackers stole vendor credentials – Target said Wednesday that intruders accessed its systems by using credentials “stolen” from a vendor, one of the first details the retailer has revealed about how hackers got inside. As the forensic investigation continues, the spokeswoman said Target has taken measures to secure its network, such as updating access controls and in some cases, limiting access to its platforms.

Spy agencies are slurping personal data from leaky mobile apps – Beyond device details, data shared over the internet by iOS and Android apps can include personal information such as age, gender, and location, while some apps share even more sensitive user information, such as sexual preference.

Company News:

Facebook Trades North Of $60 For The First Time – In after-hours trading today, investors rewarded Facebook with a rising share price after it reported stronger than expected revenue. The company reported that it earned $0.31 per share, and had revenue in the quarter of $2.59 billion. As reported earlier, the analyst set had predicted that Facebook would earn $0.27 on revenue of $2.33 billion.

Microsoft faces new brand dispute over OneDrive name – Microsoft faces a fresh trademark dispute over its OneDrive brand, as cloud provider tells Neowin that the name could “lead to confusion” and that it is “consulting trademark experts”.

Google Keeps ‘Vast Majority’ Of Motorola Mobility Patents In Sale To Lenovo – Motorola Mobility is being sold to Lenovo, in a deal worth $2.91B. Google is divesting itself of the handset division it purchased for $12.5B in 2011, but it will keep some of the assets — including patents.

Twitter plans to roll out search filters for news, video and more – Following an announcement earlier today that it has partnered with both Dataminr and CNN, Twitter sent out a tweet revealing a work-in-progress on new search filters. Once available, users will be able to filter their searches using multiple parameters, such as people and news, to get the best results.

Games and Entertainment:

8 Minutes of Ridiculously Beautiful The Elder Scrolls Online Cinematic Footage – I’m cringing watching this easily Blizzard- or Square Enix-worthy new trailer for Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls Online. Not because it’s bad — it’s a deftly rendered slice of CGI. But it must have cost a fortune. It makes me want to say “Spend the money on knocking the game out of the park, please, not the frippery, Bethesda.” But oh what frippery.

Hands-on: Steam’s streaming beta already feels like magic – You too could play Assassin’s Creed IV on an 8-year-old MacBook with integrated graphics, thanks to the power of the stream.

GTA V PC pre-orders expected to start on Friday – To say there’s a desire for Rockstar to release GTA V for the PC is a bit of an understatement. The game has had glowing reviews on the PS3 and Xbox 360, and there’s many a PC gamer who wants to have the chance to play it on their rig and at a much higher level of detail than current-gen consoles can achieve. We expect Rockstar will eventually announce the game for PC, but we don’t know when. However, we’re now hearing that pre-orders for the game on PC are expected to start this coming Friday.

Xbox One 2014 plans reportedly leak, white and cheaper models inbound – A user over on Neogaf has been dishing out an incredible amount of detail about what Microsoft’s Xbox One plans include and while we can’t verify the information, it is reported to be accurate.

Dead Trigger 2 Update Adds European Missions and Video Sharing on iDevices – The Dead Trigger franchise is one of the best places to go for zombie shooting on the go. Dead Trigger 2 has managed to attract a huge number of players, and today they are getting a big update to version 0.4.0. It brings gameplay tweaks, new guns, and a new video sharing feature for some devices.

2014 Super Bowl commercials: The teasers have landed – If you are getting ready to watch the Super Bowl you have a few more days to go, but if it’s just commercials you want, you can get started watching right now. While I’m sure there’s a lot to be excited about for this year’s big game, the commercials are the highlight of the evening for many of us.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The long-term effects of ugly political discussions on Facebook – Political discussions on Facebook are, in fact, undermining both people’s relationships and use of the website. A new study from researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that users who try to talk about politics on Facebook are often surprised by the political opinions of their acquaintances. And researchers say that a diverse set of opinions among a user’s friends makes everyone want to speak up less.

Toshiba’s hilarious new ad series demonstrates extreme, absurd product testing – Toshiba decided to show off their new laptops and tablets with a series of tests that go above and beyond what “the nerds back at the office” say their devices are capable of handling. The resulting ad campaign is amusing not just because of the abuse, but because Toshiba isn’t afraid to occasionally show that their hardware can fail in these obviously extreme scenarios.

Cold-weather testing for the Airbus A350 (pictures) – Making sure the new energy-efficient jet works fine at minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit, the French aircraft maker takes its A350 to northern Canada. Here’s a look at the testing.

Collectively, humanity’s genomes carry a fifth of a Neanderthal – The completion of a Neanderthal genome showed that there was a very clear signal of Neanderthal DNA in all non-African populations of modern humans, demonstrating that the two populations had interbred during the latter’s migration into Eurasia. But a statistical signal doesn’t really tell you what’s there. Do all humans carry the same few pieces of Neanderthal DNA, suggesting it has been contributing to our fitness? Or have bits of Neanderthal been scattered through the human genome, kept around by little more than random drift?

Deport Bieber petition succeeds — earns votes for White House response – The petition asking the White House to deport Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber has been wildly successful, taking just six days to collect the 100,000 online signatures needed to earn a presidential response. Hours after the petition crossed the signature threshold in the U.S., Mr. Bieber, 19, turned himself in to police in Toronto to answer assault charges stemming from an incident last month. (suggested by Michael F.)

NASA sued for not investigating a Mars rock thoroughly enough – The lawsuit targets NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and demands that NASA perform more extensive testing on the rock, as Joseph claims the rock was clearly spawned from spores, rather than simply knocked over into the pathway either via meteorite or the rover itself. Basically, Joseph is claiming that the substance that caused the rock to exist was there the whole time, and the rock eventually grew large enough for the rover to notice.

Something to think about:

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.”

–     Mark Twain

Today’s Free Downloads:

Simple Port Tester Portable 3.0.0 – Simple Port Tester is a free program by to help users test if their ports are open with just a few clicks. The trick with testing if your port forwarding is working is to have something on your computer actually listening on the port. If nothing is listening on the port the test will fail no matter what. This program will open the port, listen for the connection and help ensure a proper and reliable test as to whether or not your port forwarding is working. Download and run it. Put in the port you wish to test and hit begin, that’s it! The program now tests both TCP & UDP ports.

LibreOffice – LibreOffice is the free power-packed open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. LibreOffice is one of the friendliest and fastest growing projects in the free and open source software world. We commit ourselves to produce truly great and free software.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Senator pushes for an end to NSA phone records program – Senator Patrick Leahy questioned how the Constitution allows the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. telephone records and repeated his calls for President Barack Obama’s administration to end the program during a hearing Wednesday. The Obama administration should heed the recent advice of the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and end the phone records collection program, said Leahy, a Vermont Democrat. “Is there anything in the U.S. Constitution that gives authority to the Congress to pass a law that enables and empowers an executive agency such as the NSA … to open, to listen or to seize either the mail, the phone conversations or the electronic conversations of U.S. citizens?” asked Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Clapper: Snowden and media “accomplices” should return our documents – Director of National Intelligence James Clapper isn’t the most popular guy in Washington these days. Support for reforming bulk surveillance continues to grow. More lawmakers are becoming convinced of the point of view of US Senator Ron Wyden: that Clapper lied to Congress when he denied that “any type of data at all” was being collected “on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.” On Monday, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) and five other lawmakers sent a letter to President Obama saying Clapper should be fired. It’s unlikely that Clapper’s comments today at a hearing of the US Senate Intelligence Committee will quiet things down at all. Clapper reiterated his position that the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden are continuing to cause “profound damage” to the US security.

Lavabit appeals contempt of court ruling surrounding handover of SSL keys – Lavabit, a now-defunct private email service, has appealed against a contempt of court ruling centred around the company not handing over unencrypted data of one of its users – widely believed to be Edward Snowden.

Snowden Nobel Peace Prize nomination up for “stable and peaceful world order” – This week it’s been made clear that two members of Norway’s Socialist Left Party intend on adding Edward Snowden to their shortlist for possible recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize – nominating him, that is. While the nomination certainly makes sense given the aim of award itself, critics on both sides have begun to set in for this NSA leakster, gainer of one massive amount of publicity over these past 12 months.

In rare move, terrorism suspect challenges core of warrantless snooping law – An Uzbek man in Colorado is the first person to challenge warrantless collection of specific evidence in a criminal case against him. The Supreme Court effectively shut down less-specific petitions last year. The US government argues such data collection is authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act.

German government faces legal action over NSA spying – The German government and the German Federal Intelligence Service are facing legal action because they allegedly aided the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) data collection program. “We will send the legal action to the authorities next Monday,” said Constanze Kurz, a German computer scientist and spokeswoman for the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), in an email on Wednesday. “There are several persons as well as organizations which are suing our government and other named persons in charge,” she said, adding that one of them is the International League for Human Rights, a German section of the International Federation for Human Rights.

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