Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 4, 2014

7 all-in-one suites: Anti-malware for all your devices;  Quick guide to Microsoft’s Office for iPad;  CCleaner Comes to Android as a Beta App;  Fastest ISPs 2014: United Kingdom;  The Windows 8 activation-key problem;  Get a $1,776 Mac software bundle for $19.99;  10 reasons why the Ubuntu Phone should be your next mobile device;  Hell no, we won’t go: 10 reasons some XP users refuse to upgrade;  Cyberespionage, Not Cyber Terror, is the Major Threat, Former NSA Director Says;  Self-publishing e-books: How to get started;  Wings Of Fury 2: Return Of The Legend – Free remake.

7 all-in-one suites: Anti-malware for all your devices – Today’s security suites try to protect all (or most) of your devices, and provide Web-based management. We examine how seven major apps compare in terms of features, ease of use and which devices they protect.

Quick guide to Microsoft’s Office for iPad – Microsoft has promised regular Office for iPad updates, so future features should reflect the increasing capabilities of iPad range, but the company has made a pretty good start with this release, subject to a few annoying (and unecessary) limitations designed to drive Office 365 sales.

Facebook Messenger for iPhone Gets Updated to v4.1 with VoIP Calling – Facebook Messenger for iPhone has just been updated to version 4.1 with a notable new feature–free voice calls. Yes, almost a year after this feature came to Android, Facebook has opted to bring VoIP calls to Apple’s platform too. Calls can be placed over WiFi or cellular data, but in the age of capped data plans, WiFi is probably the more appealing option.

Huge Chromebook sales growth. Will 2019 be the year of the Linux desktop? – The Chromebook platform goes from strength to strength. Market researchers say they’re selling faster than ever, predicting 11 million sales (in… err… 2019). And it’s not just consumers buying them. Some enterprises are choosing to move most of their Windows users to Chrome OS — motivated by the XP end-of-life and cost savings.

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Hell no, we won’t go: 10 reasons some XP users refuse to upgrade – Windows XP support may be ending soon, but there are a whole lot of folks who refuse to abandon the soon-to-be sunk ship. These are their stories.

10 reasons why the Ubuntu Phone should be your next mobile device – The Ubuntu Phone is set to launch this year. With more and more major players getting on board as hardware suppliers, you can bet the darling of Linux mobility will slowly find its way into every market imaginable. The big question mark is the US market. With Android and IOS having a stranglehold on US customers, can this new mobile platform make it? I firmly believe that the Ubuntu Phone not only can be your next mobile device, it should be. I’ll give you 10 reasons why.

CCleaner Comes to Android as a Beta App – CCleaner is a well known name in desktop software, and now it’s coming to Android as a beta app. You can try it out right now for free, and all it takes is a few clicks. This app can go through your Android device and identify space that can be reclaimed in mere moments.

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The Windows 8 activation-key problem – You can’t reinstall Windows without your activation key. But Windows 8 (and 8.1) don’t make that easy. Here’s what to do about it.

Vine Unveils Private Messaging Feature – You can now privately send your 6-second masterpiece to anyone in your address book, even if they aren’t on Vine.

Privacy program boom coming, once we are done with social media – When the middle-class starts suffering from high levels of identity theft, there will be a privacy programming boom, but don’t expect it to happen while everyone wants to be the next Zuckerberg, says Dr Michio Kaku

Get a $1,776 Mac software bundle for $19.99 – Even if you’re interested in just two of the eight apps collected here, you’ll come out on top.

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Fastest ISPs 2014: United Kingdom – U.K. broadband services are regulated by a government watchdog named Ofcom, which said in a 2007 report that over half the U.K. already had broadband, with an average speed of 4.6 Megabits per second (Mbps). According to our results, things have only gotten better—even though the U.K. ranks only No. 29 on Ookla’s list of countries with high-speed broadband. With major players like Virgin Media, BT, and Sky providing service, the question is, who’s the fastest in the U.K.?

Microsoft Store site selling Surface Pro 2 with free Xbox controller and two games – While we keep waiting for Microsoft to release an Xbox gaming version of its Surface tablets, the company is now offering a way to buy a new Surface Pro 2 with a free controller and two games. The special promotion is now running exclusively on the Microsoft Store website.

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FireChat Brings Its Anonymous Offline Chat Network To Android – The Android version of FireChat is now available in the Play store. It features a somewhat different user interface, but in terms of functionality, it’s virtually the same app and just like on iOS, you can use it anonymously. While Android doesn’t feature anything like Apple’s Multipeer technology, the team at Open Garden has long worked on using mesh networks to allow users to share network connections. Now it is using this homebuilt framework to power FireChat on Android, too.

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Self-publishing e-books: How to get started – It’s not difficult to put out your own e-publication, but there are several decisions to sort through first. We walk you through the process.

Popcorn Time Has A New Home – This cycle of being a virtual rolling stone is the result of the shady nature of the program. Popcorn Time is without question the easiest way to watch pirated, and illegal content. By constantly moving, the program is staying somewhat hidden in the belly of the Internet — that is, until we shoot the new address to the masses.

GemShare is like Yelp written by only people you know – This private reviews network lets you search for and share recommendations for local businesses and services, but only within a community of trusted friends and friends of friends. It’s designed to help you find recommendations quickly by accessing your entire personal network at once.

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You Can Now Create Windows And Windows Phone Apps In One Go With Microsoft’s App Studio – Microsoft’s App Studio service is fun. At launch, it supported the creation of simple Windows Phone applications so everyone could get their hands dirty and build something. The service has been upgraded throughout its life, and today picked up a key update: The ability to create a combined Windows and Windows Phone application in one go.

Victory For Euro Consumers As EU Votes To End Roaming Charges, Guarantee Net Neutrality – Some big advances today in the often frustrating, slow moving world of communications regulation: the European Union has voted in favor of ending mobile roaming charges, and also in favor of guaranteeing net neturality on data networks. The decisions come at a key time when net neutrality is under threat in other big markets like the U.S.

How to use Google Drive add-ons – This past March, Google introduced a new app store for its Docs and Sheets service inside of Google Drive. The marketplace offers various add-ons from the company’s developer partners that bring even more functionality to the service. Here’s how you can start adding new features to your documents and spreadsheets inside of Google Drive.

Security:

Users face serious threat as hackers take aim at routers, embedded devices – Attacks are likely to continue and manufacturers are largely unprepared to respond, security researchers say. Home routers and other consumer embedded devices are plagued by basic vulnerabilities and can’t be easily secured by non-technical users, which means they’ll likely continue to be targeted in what has already become an increasing trend of mass attacks.

Microsoft reveals final Windows XP and Office 2003 security patches – Microsoft has revealed the security patches it plans to release for many of its software products on Tuesday, including the final ones for Windows XP and Office 2003.

Don’t fall for hot bots as Tinder invaded by malware – Heartbreak isn’t the only thing to worry about in the dating game. If you use Tinder, you could also find yourself chatting up a potential mate with just one thing on its mind: malware. Antivirus company Bitdefender warns that a series of bots have invaded the popular dating app, using alluring profiles to seduce those looking for love before stinging their hapless suitors with dodgy downloads.

iOS 7 bug turns off Find My iPhone and bypasses Activation Lock – Apple builds in security features and the ability to track a lost or stolen iPhone into the iOS 7 and higher operating system. Those features allow a user to track their smartphone if it is lost or stolen and prevent someone from being able to remove the iCloud account tied to the device and avoid tracking. The problem is that an easy to exploit security issue in iOS 7 and higher has been found that makes bypassing those features easy.

Hardcoded Miracast password means anyone can remotely control Philips smart TVs – When it comes to security, “smart” as in smart TV is like an oxymoron. This time Philips hard-coded the default password, which is an uninspired ‘Miracast,’ into the Miracast wireless network. In a nutshell, that means anyone within range could connect to the TV remotely to carry out everything from mischievous to devious acts. Revuln researchers suspect all 2013 Philips smart TVs, due to the firmware version, are at risk.

How much is a security bug report worth to Facebook? About $2,100 – Most of the valid bug reports were filed from India, but they appeared to be of low value – Facebook got 136 flaws from the subcontinent and paid out an average of $1,353 for each. Russians earned the most last year, with 38 submissions earning $3,961 on average. As for the home-grown talent, US researchers found 92 correct flaws, with an average payday of $2,272 each, while the British contingent sent in 40 valid bugs each worth $2,950 on average. Facebook’s highest payout went to Brazilian researcher Reginaldo Silva, who earned $33,500 for finding an XML external entity vulnerability within a PHP page.

Microsoft chases lead in web security with SSL for devs – If there’s been a theme online over the past couple of years, it’s the rise of web service hacks and privacy blunders, and Microsoft is hoping to help developers keep their users safer with a push for SSL. Currently, getting an SSL certificate – which allows the browser to authenticate what it’s showing with the legitimate company behind it – costs money, but as of today Microsoft is offering free SSL security for Azure developers.

Company News:

Brendan Eich Resigns As Mozilla CEO Following Criticism Of His Support For Prop 8 – Recent Mozilla CEO pick Brendan Eich is no longer CEO, according to a new blog post from Mozilla itself (via Re/code). The post, penned by Mozilla’s Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, explains that the company felt it didn’t “move fast enough” to properly address the issues the community had with Eich as they arose, and resolved to “do better.” Eich stepping down is described as his own decision, in order to help Mozilla and its community.

AdBlock Plus spreads its gospel of unintrusive Net advertising – A new manifesto from an ad-blocking company Eyeo tries to build support for the idea that some ads are OK. That’s good for its business, since big advertisers pay to get on its whitelist.

Google ‘Glass’ trademark submission stalled – Google’s effort to register the word ‘Glass’ as a trademark for its wearable electronic glasses has been stalled by the United States’ Trademark Office. While Google has already registered the term ‘Google Glass’ as a trademark, a report in the Wall Street Journal this week revealed that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has objected to the ‘Glass’ trademark application, submitted last year.

Western Digital under fire for weeklong My Cloud outage – Customers are annoyed with a lack of communications over the outage of WD’s remote personal storage service, which has also highlighted the vulnerability of such products.

Games and Entertainment:

Why now is the time to become a PC gamer – The new consoles from Microsoft and Sony are available at a store near you, and there are finally some games worth playing on them. As anxious gamers stress over which one to buy, it might be worth stopping and considering for a moment that the correct answer might be neither. Right now is the best time in years to direct the money you’d otherwise spend on an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 toward becoming a PC gamer. This doesn’t have to be a crazy PC gamer master race thing — there are legitimate reasons you might want to do this.

Family Guy launches FarmVille-esque game with a twist – An excellent narrative – Fox and TinyCo, a San Francisco-based mobile game developer, have gone to decent lengths to create an authentic Family Guy experience. And that’s because the two companies are announcing the joint venture they’ve been working on for over a year now: A Family Guy-themed cross-platform mobile game titled Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff.

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Unreal Engine 4 Gets Support For Making Linux And SteamOS Games – Unreal Engine 4, the newest version of the game engine that powers many a AAA gaming title, just got a feature that may prove quite important in the near feature: the ability to build games that run on Linux. This news comes just weeks after the entry fee for making an Unreal Engine-powered game got slashed considerably. Instead of requiring weeks of licensing negotiation and hundreds of thousands of dollars up front, Epic Games decided to license Unreal Engine 4 to developers for $19 a month (plus 5 percent of gross revenue).

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15 games worth playing on Amazon’s Fire TV – Amazon now lists Fire TV-compatible apps on its online store, including dozens of video channels and a quickly expanding list of over 100 “bonus” games. As expected, there’s a lot of forgettable Android shovelware among the Fire TV’s initial gaming lineup and few exclusive titles. Still, there are some standouts that we’ve enjoyed on other platforms like iOS and Ouya, including…………….

Microsoft to release Age of Mythology: Extended Edition May 8th – A few weeks after a teaser video was released, Microsoft has now confirmed it plans to publish Age of Mythology: Extended Edition. This will be a graphical remake of the 2002 fantasy RTS game that was originally developed by the now defunct Ensemble Studios and will be released via Valve’s Steam service on May 8th. Both the game’s official website and a new trailer went live today, revealing that the remake will have the content of the original Age of Mythology and its expansion pack, The Titans. It will contain a number of graphical upgrades, including better lighting and shadow support, day and night cycles, improved water and more.

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Monument Valley Is A Legend In The Making You Must Play Now – Monument Valley is one of those games that you never want to end, and so far, I haven’t been able to play through the entire thing. But it’s also a feast for the eyes, and a game where you can see the level of care taken in creating each individual part of the whole. It’s beautiful in the extreme, and a testament to a time when games were something contained and crafted as a top-to-bottom experience, and not a rough framework to fuel continued commerce through in-app purchases. If you have an iPhone or an iPad, you must play this game; paying just $3.99 for a universal app that works on both feels like theft given the quality of the experience so far, and I’m just a few levels in.

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Amazon Fire TV as game console: the good, the bad, and the weird – Can a $99 streaming-video box be your next game console? That all depends on your expectations.

Ridley Scott to produce Halo Digital Feature for Microsoft – Ridley Scott is the man that was behind some of the most popular science fiction films of all times. Scott was involved with great films like the Alien franchise and Blade Runner. A Microsoft rep recently confirmed that a project with Ridley Scott as the Executive Producer is in the works. The best news is that the statement did confirm that the project was a Halo digital feature that will launch alter this year. As some might have suspected, the denial of a Halo project being worked on earlier this year was an effort to keep the project secret until Microsoft was ready for the reveal.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Skydiver almost hit by meteorite in midair, has video to prove it – Jumping out of plane several miles above the Earth is already dangerous enough without space rocks bombarding you, but that’s what happened to Anders Helstrup back in 2012. The experienced Norwegian skydiver was filming a jump with some friends when something strange happened — he was almost hit by a meteorite in midair. This wasn’t just a rare occurrence — it’s the first time a meteorite has been filmed in freefall after it has cooled.

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Google Project Loon Internet balloon circled the globe in 22 days – Google’s plan to deliver Internet service from balloons seems to be flying along nicely, as the company says one of its balloons just completed “a lap around the world in 22 days, and has just clocked the project’s 500,000th kilometer as it begins its second lap.” Project Loon, unveiled nearly a year ago, is an attempt to use solar-powered balloons to create networks that can send wireless Internet signals to areas that would be hard to reach with wired Internet. The balloons are supposed to form a mesh network 20 kilometers above the ground, with each balloon communicating with its neighbors and ultimately to ground station

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White House condemns Samsung’s use of Obama selfie as an ad – Samsung attracted attention Thursday when it turned out to be the force behind what fans thought was a genuine impromptu selfie of Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz and President Barack Obama. Reportedly, the company provided Ortiz, who has an endorsement deal with Samsung, information on “how to share images with fans” prior to his visit.

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Nofan’s new fanless CPU cooler has 62 feet of heatpipes – The latest fanless cooler from the appropriately named Nofan Corporation is one of the most unusual I’ve encountered. There doesn’t seem to be much to it, but take a closer look and you’ll find an abundance of heatpipes. In fact, the Nofan CR-80EH boasts 62-feet (19 meters) of copper heatpipe split across 80 pieces of ICEPIPE as Nofan call it.

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Tech tattoos: The good, the bad, and the crazy – Facebook logos, binary codes, Steve Jobs quotes — tech-inspired tattoos run the gamut. We found some photos of the most bold, creative, and geeky tattoos out there.

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Something to think about:

“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would suffice.”

–    Meister Eckhart

Today’s Free Downloads:

SuperTuxKart – SuperTuxKart is a Free 3D kart racing game. You can play with up to 4 friends on one PC, racing against each other or just try to beat the computer (a network multi-player feature is planned). See the great lighthouse or drive through the sand and visit the pyramids. Race underground or in space, watching the stars passing by. Have some rest under the palms on the beach (watching the other karts overtaking you 🙂 ). But don’t eat the bananas! Watch for bowling balls, plungers, bubble gum and cakes thrown by opponents. You can do a single race against other karts, compete in one of several Grand Prix, try to beat the high score in time trials on your own, play battle mode against your friends, and more! SuperTuxKart comes with an add-on manager, so you can download additional karts and tracks in the game. Just click on the add-on button in the main menu of STK to install add-on’s.

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Net Share Monitor – Net Share Monitor is the free software to monitor your shared files from unknown users in the network. Whenever any remote user accesses your Shared Files, Net Share Monitor alerts you by blinking the icon in the systray or making the alert sound. For each connection, it shows the IP address, user name & shared files being accessed by the remote host. In addition to this, your can also monitor your system from hackers (Null Session Detection) and worms (pipebrowse) which spreads through network shares. New HTML based Live Session Logging helps you to keep track of all the remote systems connected to your file shares. Each connection log records the time of the event, IP address of remote host, user name and type of event. Also ‘Accessed File Logging’ helps you to know all the shared files accessed by remote user during the session.

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Wings Of Fury 2: Return Of The Legend – Free remake of classical arcade shooting game with modern 3d graphics including some nice special effects. The game rules remained the same – plane moves left & right. Your mission is to fight enemy installations, ships, planes and soldiers. Plane can be equipped with bombs, topedoes or rockets. Machine gun is always available. Aircraft carrier is the place where the plane is repaired & resupplied. Successful take off and touch down is essential. Several mission types (bombing run, assasination, naval, dogfight). Levels differ by landscape, enemy force and daytime. Modding capabilities.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Cyberespionage, Not Cyber Terror, is the Major Threat, Former NSA Director Says – The list of threats on the Internet is long and getting longer each day. Cybercrime, nation-state attackers, cyber espionage and hacktivists all threaten the security and stability of the network and its users in one way or another. But the one threat that some experts have warned about for years and has never emerged is cyber terrorism, a former top U.S. intelligence official said. In the years after 9/11, as the Internet became an integral part of daily life in much of the world, some in the national security community warned that the network also would become a key conduit for terrorist attacks against a variety of targets. Utilities, critical infrastructure, banks and other vital pieces of the global economy would be choice targets for groups seeking to wreak havoc via electronic attacks. However, those attacks have not materialized. “I don’t have a single example of cyber terrorism. Not one incident,” Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and NSA, said during a keynote speech at the Systems Engineering DC conference here Thursday.

U.S. Created “Cuban Twitter” To Stir Dissent, Sought Funding From Jack Dorsey, AP Reports – The U.S. government created its own version of Twitter based on SMS messaging to help undermine the Cuban government, according to a new, eye-opening report by the Associated Press today. The report details efforts by a team of tech contractors to build and launch a messaging network in Cuba that would be hidden away from the country’s strict surveillance and control of the flow of information. The network was called ‘ZunZuneo,’ which is Cuban slang for the song of the hummingbird, and it was designed to be essentially a so-called “Cuban Twitter” that could function without the web and build an audience using safe content initially, like talk about sports, music and extreme weather systems moving through the area. Once there was an audience, in terms of enough regular active users, the plan was to flip the switch on content that was critical of the ruling powers, and also intent on motivating political action activities called “smart mobs” in documents obtained by the AP. ZunZuneo had around 40,000 Cubans on its network at its peak popularity, and at no time did the network make anyone aware that it was involved with the U.S. government or its contractors. That’s by design, and the AP’s documents are quoted as saying that the absence of mention of the U.S.’ involvement was “absolutely critical” to both the success of the service and the mission. That’s likely because they wanted the political activism that resulted to seem self-directed and grassroots in nature.

Box’s Aaron Levie: We haven’t received any NSA requests – The enterprise storage company Box is headed toward an initial public offering, so there are certain things CEO Aaron Levie can’t talk about in the quiet period leading up to the company’s stock market debut. But on Thursday, there was one topic the normally outspoken CEO was happy to remark on: the National Security Agency. “We haven’t received any NSA requests,” said Levie, speaking at the Demo Enterprise conference here. Although he added that the company has in the past received subpoenas from other places. Because of the nature of Box’s business, dealing mostly with companies, he said snooping from the government agency hasn’t been a problem. Tech companies have been on the defensive about privacy and security since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents to the press last year about the agency’s spying tactics. Silicon Valley giants have since then released regular transparency reports that detail information requests made by the federal government.

Dutch authorities now allowed to film citizens using drones – The Dutch parliament has approved legislation that will allow drones to be used for video surveillance of the country’s citizens. Almost all political parties voted in favour of an amendment to the snappily named municipal act relating to the extension of the authority of the mayor to deploy camera surveillance, which had been proposed by two MPs, Ivo Opstelten and Ronald Plasterk. With the amendment now voted into law, in the near future, Dutch municipalities will be allowed to use mobile cameras, including drones, to monitor residents. According to the amendment, existing legislation relating to camera surveillance needed to be extended to allow law enforcement agencies to intervene in the event of persistent disturbances that that move between areas — for example, a riot spreading between neighbourhoods. Under the new legislation, it’s now up to the mayor of a city to decide what form of camera surveillance should be used: fixed, vehicle mounted, or airborne.

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