Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 10, 2014

Malware designed to take over cameras and record audio enters Google Play;  6 awesome new Android apps;  iPad at Work: The Essential Guide for Business Users;  Best practices for rooting your Android device;  Add special effects to your smartphone movies;  $2,400 “Introduction to Linux” course will be free; Invisible Profiles Can Hack Your iPhone;   The NSA Has An Advice Columnist. Seriously;  Spritz App Can Help You Read 1,000 Words a Minute;  Call Tumblr, Post Blog, Thanks to New ‘Post by Phone’ Feature;  Assange Says NSA Holds The Power In The Obama Administration.

Malware designed to take over cameras and record audio enters Google Play – The scourge of the remote access trojan (RAT)—those predatory apps that use Web microphones and cameras to surreptitiously spy on victims—has formally entered the Android arena. Not only have researchers found a covert RAT briefly available for download in the official Google Play store, they have also detected a full-featured toolkit for sale in underground forums that could make it easy for other peeping Toms to do the same thing.

Man arrested for wiretapping after filming police officer – A Massachusetts man is arrested and has his phone taken from him. He was recording a police officer talking loudly and swearing. The recording has now mysteriously disappeared.

iPad at Work: The Essential Guide for Business Users 2014 – Apple’s iPad is an impressive piece of technology. Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of it as a business tool.

Schmidt ‘Pretty Sure’ Your Data Is Safe With Google – The NSA may be after your data, but stick with Google and you’ll be safe. At least, Eric Schmidt thinks so. As reported by CNBC, the search giant’s executive chairman told a SXSW crowd on Friday that he is “pretty sure” users’ private goods are protected. “We are pretty sure the information that is inside of Google right now is safe from prying eyes, especially the government,” he said during a panel in Austin. “We think your data is very safe.”

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Call Tumblr, Post Blog, Thanks to New ‘Post by Phone’ Feature – Ring up a number from the popular publishing platform and Tumblr will post the audio of whatever it is you said directly to your blog. You can now dial a number from Tumblr (say that three times fast), speak into your phone for a bit, and have your thoughts converted into a Tumblr post within just a few seconds.

Best practices for rooting your Android device – Improperly rooting your Android device can turn it into a useless brick. In this TechRepublic Two Minute Drill, we share several best practices.

Addicted: Americans Spend 11 Hours a Day on TV, Phone, Radio and Gaming – The average American adult spends nearly 11 hours a day with electronic media, according to a recent Nielsen report. A chart from the statistics site Statista breaks down our day based on data from the Nielsen Cross-Platform report.

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6 awesome new Android apps you should check out – Whether you’re into games, customization, or utilities, the Play Store has something you’ll love. In fact, the flow of apps and games in Google Play is a little out of hand — there’s so much good stuff it can be hard to keep track. What you want is the best of the best, and that’s just what we’ve filtered out from the noise. Here are the best new Android apps and games we’ve come across on Android.

Spritz App Can Help You Read 1,000 Words a Minute – If you constantly have a big stack of books and magazines on your bedside table, you might have at some point wished you were able to read a little bit faster. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Spritz, a new app making its debut on Samsung devices, promises to help you read 250 to 1,000 words per minute. To put that in perspective, at 1,000 words per minute, you’d be able to read an entire Harry Potter novel in a little over an hour.

Teens get an app banned from Chicago after vicious attacks and threats – The developers of Yik Yak, an app that works as an anonymous message board for up to 500 people in close proximity to one another, have selectively disabled the app’s use in Chicago following vicious sniping and rumor mongering by children using it at school. WLS-TV in Chicago reports that people in the city won’t be able to use Yik Yak until the developers figure out a way to get youth usage under control.

Add special effects to your smartphone movies – Free app FxGuru, now available for both Android and iOS, comes with a dozen dazzling effects. Here’s how to kickstart your moviemaking career.

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The Best Upcoming Cell Phones – You may notice there is no iPhone 6 on this list. We know the iPhone 6 is coming, because Apple is not going out of business. But we don’t actually know anything reliable about the iPhone 6, other than that it’s coming. I’m just going to leave it there until we have more reliable information. Otherwise, check out our picks for the top upcoming cell phones below.

Stop looking at your phone, start using this head-up display with Sygic GPS app – Head up displays (HUDs) were developed for military applications to allow pilots to see important data while (literally) keeping their heads up and eyes forward, rather than looking down at instruments. HUDs are starting to appear as options in new cars in the form of displays embedded in the car’s dash that reflect onto the windshield. Garmin offers a version of this feature with its Garmin HUD, a display accessory that can be placed on the dashboard to reflect navigation data from company’s apps.

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$310 million DRAM price fixing settlement could get you $10 – or much, much more – If you bought a computer or other device that uses DRAM around the turn of the century, you could be eligible for a payout as part of a price fixing settlement. Consumers can make a claim for any purchases made between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2002 for devices that contain dynamic random access memory, a common component in consumer electronics. The settlement covers computers, game consoles, MP3 players, printers, PDAs, graphics cards, DVRs, DVD players and servers, but does not include direct purchases of DRAM from the manufacturer. Proof of purchase isn’t necessary to make a claim, but the claim form says the court may request proof later of the verifications process. An FAQ recommends keeping any “any documentation/proof you may still have.”

Hands on with Findery, a note-based social discovery tool – Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake brought her latest project to iOS on Thursday: Findery, a social discovery platform that lets you learn about specific places on a map through notes and tidbits curated from other users.

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Privacy groups to FTC: Block the Facebook purchase of WhatsApp – The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy have filed a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, asking them to block Facebook from buying WhatsApp.

$2,400 “Introduction to Linux” course will be free and online this summer – The course will be held this summer, although an official start date has not been posted yet. Jennifer Cloer, Director of Communications for the Linux Foundation, said that over 2,500 people signed up for the course within the first 24 hours of it being posted. There are no prerequisites, and a note on the course’s information page says that most users will find the course takes between 40 and 60 hours to complete.

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The future of computing has a name: Chromebook – Jack Wallen tackles the enigma of enigmas, otherwise known as the Chromebook. Do you think the Chromebook is the future of computing?

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Security:

Watch Out! Invisible Profiles Can Hack Your iPhone – I’ll probably never forget the day that Skycure hacked my phone as part of a demo. Within just a few minutes, company founder Yair Amit was telling me what I was seeing on my screen, despite being on the other end of a telephone. Then he took total control, and I was helpless. It was a sobering experience, and new research from Skycure shows that it could get even worse.

Google Play ‘night vision camera’ app will empty your wallet – It’s no secret that Android is the target for almost all identified mobile malware. Generally speaking, though, if you stick to the official Google Play store your odds of downloading something nefarious are significantly lower than when you download apps from a third-party app store. That isn’t always the case, though, as AVAST claims to have discovered an app in the Google Play app store designed to steal your money. The app is called Cámara Visión Nocturna—which is Spanish for “night vision camera”—and the name seems ironically apropos for an app engineered to rob you blind. As I write this, it’s still available for download.

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Microsoft Patch Tuesday – 5 bulletins, 2 critical, 1 for Mac users! – Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday for March 2014, the second-to-last scheduled patch that Windows XP users are ever going to see, will fix critical holes in all versions of Windows. OK, not quite all: Server Core installations will receive updates, but not critical ones.

New Attacks on HTTPS Traffic Reveal Plenty About Your Web Surfing – Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed new attacks that analyze HTTPS traffic and can accurately determine what pages you’ve visited during an encrypted session.

Chameleon WiFi Virus Spreads Like a Cold – A team of researchers at the University of Liverpool developed a virus dubbed Chameleon that travels over WiFi networks and spreads “as efficiently as the common cold spreads between humans.” Unlike most viruses, Chameleon doesn’t go after computers or internet resources, but focuses on access points (APs), or where you connect to the internet. The research team says the virus spreads fast, avoiding detection and identifying “the points at which WiFi access is least protected by encryption and passwords.” If the virus hits a roadblock when trying to propagate, it simply looks for other access points “which weren’t strongly protected including open access WiFi points common in locations such as coffee shops and airports.”

Company News:

Google Faces Antitrust Heat In India – Google could face a penalty of up to $5 billion if found guilty by the Competition Commission of India in a two-year old probe launched to investigate if the company abused its dominant position in the business of Internet search and advertising. India started antitrust investigation against Google in 2012 based on complaints from the advocacy group, CUTS International, and a local matrimony website.

eBay stockholders! There’s MORE to COME, thunders Carl Icahn – Activist investor Carl Icahn is continuing his campaign to get eBay to spin off PayPal, writing yet another letter to shareholders that said he hadn’t even begun to fight to get his way. The investor said that a recent shareholder survey by Bernstein Research had shown that a majority of eBay investors thought the composition of the board should change, which he held up as support for his position, while 43 per cent thought that splitting PayPal away from the online marketplace was the right thing to do.

PayPal Is Rolling Out Its New “Mobile First” Website Globally – PayPal, the eBay-owned online payments platform that made up some 40% of its $16 billion in revenues in 2013, has turned on a redesigned website — it’s biggest attempt yet at putting a contemporary, simplified face on one of the older services on the web (founded: 1998); and to introduce users to some of the newer features it’s hoping will take off, such as mobile and physical store payments.

Report: Ouya Ditching Console to Focus on Software – The fate of the original vision for the Android-powered, living-room gaming hardware seems to be sealed, with company executives telling The Verge that the Ouya is no longer going to be a hardware device. Rather, the company will concentrate on building out Ouya as a software platform that could run on devices made by others — set-top boxes, televisions, other Android-based gaming consoles.

Twitter paid $36 million over IBM patent threat – Twitter’s first annual financial results were revealed on Thursday. Buried deep in the document is the price it paid IBM after it was confronted with a patent infringement threat by Big Blue: $36 million. Bloomberg was first to highlight the price tag. IBM sent a letter to Twitter in November saying it was infringing at least three IBM patents. That resulted in a negotiation that ended up with Twitter getting a license to IBM’s patents, acquiring about 900 of them for itself, and (we now know) paying $36 million.

Games and Entertainment:

The Console Market Is In Crisis – Neither of the games industry’s new flagship boxes — the PS4 and the Xbox One — is selling well compared to previous generations of flagship home consoles. The console market as a whole appears to be shrinking significantly — and that’s having a knock-on impact on games studios and game development.

EA nixes Titanfall for South Africa after poor network performance – When Titanfall finally sees its worldwide release next week, South Africa will not be among the countries to get a version of the game. Early this morning, EA South Africa announced via Facebook that it has decided to hold off on a local release after poor Internet performance during the game’s recent beta test. South Africa’s Gamezone reports that local preorders are being canceled both by Origin and area brick-and-mortar retailers.

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Angry Birds’ next game trailer is eerily medieval – They may call it ‘the most epic soft launch ever’, but if you ask us there is nothing soft about the launch or the theme of the next Angry Birds game. According to the trailer released on the official YouTube channel of Rovio Mobile, the next epic Angry Birds game has a very medieval theme. If you listen closely to the background score of swords swishing and slaying imaginary enemies, you will find the sounds eerily familiar.

Netflix Reviving Cult Comedy Hit, Trailer Park Boys – Start getting excited, Trailer Park Boys fans! The incomparable trio of Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles are gearing up for some new substance-fueled antics. The Canadian comedy series is coming back for two more seasons, airing exclusively on Netflix, the television and movie streaming giant announced this week. The series ended in 2007 after seven seasons, but fans will be able to watch all-new episodes on Netflix later this year.

10 hidden gems you can stream right now – One of the joys of being a movie buff is experiencing the honor of “discovering” an overlooked movie or a hidden gem. Of course, you’re not really discovering anything—the filmmakers knew about it before anyone else—but if you’re the one that gets to introduce this treasure to a new fan, it’s a great feeling. Here’s a selection of new releases on Netflix that you may or may not have seen or may have never even heard of. But all of them are worth checking out, and some of them may become someone’s new favorites someday.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Cracked: The World of Tomorrow if Smart Phones Disappeared Today

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Police foil down under drone drug drop – Victoria’s finest were called to the maximum security Metropolitan Remand Centre in the Melbourne suburb of Ravenhall on Sunday afternoon, after reports a drone was buzzing about near the facility. Media reports suggest that when Police arrived, they found a man, a woman, a quadracopter and a bag of illicit drugs.

Soviet intercontinental bomber on eBay for a cool $3 million – For the man who has everything, there’s always a Soviet-era intercontinental strategic bomber. It’s not the sort of thing you can pick up at the corner store, but there is one for sale on eBay right now. A working Tupolev Tu-95MS bomber is just sitting there in Ukraine waiting for someone with a little over $3 million to scoop it up.

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Software Patents Are Bullshit – “Patents are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution for a single purpose: to promote the progress of science and useful arts.” Alas, when it comes to software, it is difficult to imagine a system worse at this than the current one. Everyone knows this–and most people will readily admit it–but no one, with the possible eventual exception of the Supreme Court, is willing to do anything about it.

Men’s and women’s brains are the same, says scientist – A neuroscientist declares that there is no scientific basis for myths such as women’s alleged inability to read maps and men’s alleged inability to care.

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How to make the best coffee: Six geeky ways – If you want to make the perfect cup of coffee, you might want to try a new method. Here are six geeky ways to brew your best ever beverage.

Something to think about:

Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn’t have to experience it.”

–     Max Frisch

Today’s Free Downloads:

Toolwiz Time Freeze – A free instant system protection tool that will protect your system from any unwanted changes and malicious activity in low disk level. With a simple click, it puts your actual system under virtual protection on the fly and creates a virtual environment as a copy of the real system, on which you can evaluate applications, watch movies, and perform online activities.

DVDStyler – DVDStyler is a cross-platform free DVD authoring application for the creation of professional-looking DVDs. It allows not only burning of video files on DVD that can be played practically on any standalone DVD player, but also creation of individually designed DVD menus. It is Open Source Software and is completely free.

CDBurnerXP – CDBurnerXP is a free application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilanguage interface. Everyone, even companies, can use it for free. It does not include adware or similar malicious components. (Great little app – been using this one for years.)

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Assange Says NSA Holds The Power In The Obama Administration – Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gave a rare talk via video at annual tech mega-conference SXSW, where he came out swinging not only at President Obama but also Google and Facebook. Assange claimed that in the Obama administration, the intelligence agencies “wear the pants” and he called out Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as part of “an unprecedented theft of wealth.”

Assange at SXSW: ‘Who really wears the pants in the administration?’ – Julian Assange doesn’t use the blustering rhetoric you might expect from the founder of the activist publishing group WikiLeaks. Assange is responsible for leaking documents that have changed America’s political landscape— State Department cables and Iraq War logs—yet to a South by Southwest audience on Saturday, he spoke quietly and matter-of-factly even when uttering the most inflammatory statements. “Who really wears the pants in the [Obama] administration?” Assange asked during a Skype call with the SXSW audience. “Is it the intelligence agencies or is it the civilian part of that administration?” The obvious answer from Assange’s perspective: The National Security Agency runs the show and would dig up any and all of President Obama’s buried skeletons to force him out of office if he tried to disband the surveillance agency.

The NSA Has An Advice Columnist. Seriously – An NSA official, writing under the pen name “Zelda,” has served as a Dear Abby for spies. One of her most intriguing columns responds to an NSA staffer who complains that his (or her) boss is spying on employees.

Congressman Denounces SXSW For Allowing Snowden To Speak – A member of the House Intelligence Committee is denouncing the massive technology conference, SXSW, for allowing NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, to deliver a keynote. “Rewarding Mr. Snowden’s behavior in this way encourages the very lawlessness he exhibited,” said Representative Mike Pompeo in a letter to the organization [PDF] calling for his invitation to be withdrawn.

Secret court judge rejects US gov’t request for longer metadata retention – Last month, in a filing with the notoriously secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the United States said that it wants to keep existing records beyond the existing five-year limit due to the handful of lawsuits challenging the National Security Agency’s bulk metadata collection program. But on Friday, in a win for civil liberties advocates, a FISC judge denied (PDF) that motion.

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3 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 10, 2014

  1. info@alandonson.com

    Dear Bill…  please write an expose on gmail….. so many people globally claim problems originate from gmail…thank you.

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