Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 6, 2014

Symantec: Antivirus is DEAD; How to recover deleted files;  The 20 best Chromecast apps;  Google Play Music Finally Arrives in Canada;  Amazon now lets you shop from Twitter;  How to Get the Best Amazon Deals and Discounts; How to time travel with Google Maps;  iOS 7 bug leaves email attachments unencrypted;  Classic Blizzard games now downloadable for free;  You, bottled: Fragrance Lab distills you into a scent;  Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition; Free yourself from the command line with these 10 GUI tools for Linux. 

Symantec: Antivirus is ‘DEAD’ – no longer ‘a moneymaker’ – Symantec, a company that has made huge amounts of cash as the largest antivirus software vendor for the last quarter of a century, looks to be getting out of that business and into fixing hacking problems rather than stopping them. “We don’t think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way,” Brian Dye, Symantec’s senior vice president for information security, told The Wall Street Journal, adding that antivirus was “dead.” Dye said that modern antivirus software only stops around 45 per cent of attack on computer systems and lets the rest through. That’s a bit embarrassing for the firm’s Norton team, who are still advertising the software as “secure and reliable,” rather than “works less than half the time.”

The 20 best Chromecast apps, and counting – The remote-less Chromecast is controlled by compatible apps on Android and iOS phones and tablets, or compatible websites in the Chrome browser. If you don’t know what apps work with your Chromecast, you might only be using it to a fraction of its true abilities. Thanks to an open SDK, the holes in the platform are starting to fill in. Some devs are even experimenting with simple games and collaborative drawing apps; we included a couple that have potential.

How to recover deleted files – Lost files can usually be recovered—if you discover the loss soon enough. But every time you write to the hard drive, you lower the likelihood of a successful recovery. So use that computer as little as possible until the files are recovered or you’ve given up hope. Try these solutions, in this order.

Five Easy Tips For a More Organized Digital Life – We’ve put our whole lives into our computers, tablets, smartphones, and everything else we attach to the Internet. We’ve got our work mixed in with our private lives, old projects mixed in with new, and music on one device that we want to play on another. All this technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but all too often, it’s just plain inconvenient. Here are a few tips and tricks to put your digital world in order, and make your life easier for real.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Play Music Finally Arrives in Canada – Good news, music lovers of the Great White North. Google is giving you yet another music-streaming option with the launch of its Play Music service in Canada, after nearly two years of pumping the jams here in the U.S. The service gives you an all-access pass to 25 million songs from all the major record companies, as well as local and independent labels. With Play Music, you can create an ad-free, interactive radio station from any song or artist, browse recommendations from Google’s “expert music team,” or explore songs by genre.

Shoot time-lapse videos with your phone – Time-lapse photography — when done right — can reveal the beautiful, imperceptible slow movements of an otherwise mundane scene. By speeding up time, a sunset plunges into the horizon, and the slow crawl of cars in traffic take on a look of blood pumping through asphalt arteries. Capturing scenes like this used to take a lot of money, time, and special equipment, but today you can get professional quality results using just your smartphone. The app I’ll be showing here is called Lapse It Pro. It’s available for both iOS and Android. There are a lot of options out there, though, and most of the following tips can be applied to competing apps.

Free yourself from the command line with these 10 GUI tools for Linux – When I broach the subject of Linux with some people, their immediate response is, “I don’t want to have to use the command line.” Ten years ago, I would have understood their trepidation. Today, however, that response is no longer valid. Why? The Linux platform has so many outstanding GUI tools, the command line is no longer a necessity (especially for desktop users). In fact, when on a desktop, I rarely need to use the command line. Here are 10 easy-to-use GUI tools that have replaced commands. Each one does a great job of standing in for the command line — and in many cases, even adds features.


Pinterest launches Guided Search to navigate you through its 30 billion pins – Everyone’s favorite virtual pin-board wants to introduce you to more than just decorated mason jars, apartment envy, and wedding inspiration. Pinterest launched Guided Search on Thursday, a new mobile-first tool that taps into Pinterest’s massive user collection to bring the things you’re really looking for right to the forefront.


Amazon now lets you shop from Twitter with #AmazonCart – Amazon has announced a new feature today that lets you shop from Twitter without ever leaving the social network. It’s called AmazonCart, and it’s available now for anyone to try.


How to Get the Best Amazon Deals and Discounts – Beyond the promotional gimmicks, Amazon remains an online shopping mainstay. It has 2 million Amazon Marketplace sellers who shipped 1 billion items in 2013, helping Amazon ring up $74.45 billion in sales in 2013. But how can you get the best prices on Amazon? Use these 12 tips to score better prices and find the best products.

Google Glass may be getting Wallet app to send/receive money – When a friend asks for money, you may soon be able to crane your eye up and speak to the cloud rather than hand them cash. Citing a “source close to the company”, TechCrunch says Google is trying to make their Wallet feature available for Glass. Via a simple command, Glass users cold send money, just as they do via Gmail.

SCiO spectrometer: a handheld physical search engine – Point SCiO at a leaf and your smartphone will tell you what tree it belongs to. Point SCiO at an unidentified pill on your desk and you’ll see that it’s Ibuprophen. SCiO is a device that’s hand-held, eventually aiming to be small enough to fit on your keychain, made to help you identify objects in your world.


Iran banning use of Whatsapp, blames ‘Zionist’ Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – Officially, the acquisition of Whatsapp by Facebook isn’t closed yet, but that is apparently not stopping Iranian censors from banning the messaging service. A new report from Isreal-based Haaretz claims that Iran is putting the blame squarely on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, claiming that he is an “American Zionist.”

How to time travel with Google Maps – Google added a time machine feature to Street View, which lets you take a virtual trip down memory lane to see how locations have changed over the years.

Is Our Love Affair With Tablets Over? – There seems to be three key dynamics that are now shaping the future of tablets. The first is that in developed markets, where tablets have now been shipping since 2010, the consumer audience has figured out what a tablet can do and the need to refresh them yearly or even semi-annually no longer drives their thinking. Indeed, we are already seeing people with two- and three-year-old iPads or similar products that are very happy with what they have. It would take a dramatic new design or new features to get them to buy new models.


Aggressive, persistent Windows tech support scammers continue to stalk consumers – The scams rely on a combination of aggressive sales tactics, lies and half-truths. Cold callers pose as computer support technicians, most often claiming to be from Microsoft, and try to trick victims into believing that their computer is infected, usually by having them look at a Windows log that typically shows scores of harmless or low-level errors. At that point, the sale pitch starts, with the caller trying to convince the consumer or business worker to download software or let the “technician” remotely access the PC. The fraudsters charge for their worthless “help” or sell subscriptions to useless services, and sometimes install malware on PCs while they have the machines under their control.

EFF uses a Badger to protect your privacy – The Electronic Frontier Foundation created an extension for Firefox and Chrome called Privacy Badger that looks for advertisers who ignore “Do Not Track” requests and throws them into a black hole.


iOS 7 bug leaves email attachments unencrypted – A newly-discovered bug in iOS 7 has revealed that any email attachments sent from an iOS 7 device will not properly encrypt, leaving files potentially vulnerable to attacks.

Web Flaw Not the Next Heartbleed – Attacks on the OAuth or OpenID systems—in use by major tech giants like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Microsoft, PayPal, and GitHub—could jeopardize users’ personal information. But this isn’t the next Heartbleed, according to security firm Symantec. A serious vulnerability in OpenSSL, the Heartbleed bug could be exploited by simply issuing requests to unpatched servers—most of which are now fixed. Covert Redirect, however, “requires an attacker to find a susceptible application as well as acquire interaction and permissions from users,” Symantec said.

Company News:

Surface Mini event is on, press event scheduled for May 20th – Microsoft has sent out Surface mini press invitations and May 20th is the date where Microsoft will be announcing the highly anticipated smaller version of the Surface in New York.


Beyond x86: “New and different” AMD plans ARM chips for consumers – The x86 and ARM chips will be pin-compatible, meaning that designers could swap an ARM chip for an x86 one without changing anything else about the design. In theory, an OEM could build a full x86 Windows 8.1 tablet, swap the chips, and release an ARM-based Android tablet while keeping the rest of the design the same. In addition to being AMD’s first ARM chips for consumers, Project Skybridge will be AMD’s first platform to feature Android compatibility.


Target CEO resigns five months after massive data breach – The huge credit and debit card breach at Target that happened in December has finally claimed its leader. The company announced today that Gregg Steinhafel has resigned his positions as CEO, president and chairman of its board of directors. Steinhafel had been with the company for 35 years. He became president of Target in 1999, and CEO in 2008. Officially, Target’s feelings towards Steinhafel’s work as its leader is positive, even when it came to its breach of personal information, saying, “He held himself personally accountable and pledged that Target would emerge a better company.” He will stay on as an advisor until a permanent CEO is found.

Oculus slams Zenimax over VR code theft allegations – Oculus has fired back over allegations that John Carmack stole code from his former employer Zenimax and used it in developing the Rift, among other things. “There is not a line of Zenimax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products,” the company said today in an extended statement, pointing out that despite its full source code for the Oculus SDK being available online, Zenimax is yet to actually pinpoint what was stolen.

Games and Entertainment:

Classic Blizzard games now downloadable for free, including The Lost Vikings – Arguably Blizzard’s best game (and easily its best-written), The Lost Vikings, as well as Rock n’ Roll Racing and Blackthorne, are available for free right now. Simply log into your account, then click on Game Client Downloads toward the bottom of the page. Scroll down to the Classic Games section (or click on the link toward the top), and you can download both The Lost Vikings and Rock n’ Roll Racing for Windows, while Blackthorne is available for both Windows and OS X.


The Ars indie showcase: 30 games to watch in 2014 – This year’s PAX East and Game Developers Conference left a lot of games in their wakes. Really, a lot. Way more than 30. But now that those shows’ hubbub (and resulting illnesses) has died down, we’ve had time to pare down our full lists from what we played to what we’re dying to play again. For this year’s annual round up of noteworthy indies, we’ve settled on 30 gems, most of which we haven’t mentioned in Ars’ pages before. These showcase games have been enjoyed on show floors, at private parties, and between bathroom entrances. These are the up-and-coming games that, once they’re available for everyone, we think you’ll want to play everywhere, too.

Viral website launches for Xbox One exclusive game ‘Sunset Overdrive’ – “Sunset Overdrive” was teased at E3 2013 as an exclusive shooter for Microsoft’s Xbox One console, and it appears this year’s E3 will show the game in all its glory, if a new viral website is any indication. Microsoft and developer Insomniac Games have launched a website for OverCharge Delirium XT, the fictional beverage in “Sunset Overdrive.” According to the site, Delirium XT will allow users to “become a better you,” likely hinting that the beverage will power up users with special abilities.


Review: Amazing Spider-Man 2 – I really liked the movie Amazing Spider-Man 2 tried to be. Well, I really liked one of the movies it tried to be. The other two were decent, but since all three were crammed into two and a half hours, the entire thing became a messy jumble. That’s different than a jumbled mess (Spider-Man 3, Batman and Robin), mind you; I enjoyed the film as a whole. I just would have enjoyed it more if it did less.


Off Topic (Sort of):

Tango PC Wants To Be The First Everywhere Computer Without Compromise – Smartphones are more powerful than they’ve ever been, but PCs are still able to do more, and do some things better, too. Size advantage has generally meant sacrifices when it comes to computing, but Tango PC wants to change that with its modular dock and computer design that moves space-heavy heat diffusion components out of the main body using technology tricks borrowed from space ships.

THREE BILLIONTH person to come online in early 2015 – Sometime in the first weeks of 2015, someone will become the three-billionth person to connect to the internet. So says the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which on Monday emitted a new batch of statistics about how humanity connects. Person three-billion will probably be in what the ITU calls, but does not offer a definition for, a “developing” country and will probably use a mobile broadband service. That’s because ITU says the developing world is now adding internet users at a faster rate than more economically-advanced nations and also because mobile broadband growth is out-stripping fixed line services in the developing world.


Drone ban at Yosemite appears legally questionable – This new dispute is just the latest chapter in an ongoing tussle between drone enthusiasts and regulators invoking what many experts and even one court has suggested are insufficient or invalid laws to crack down on the growing use of small, unmanned aircraft across the nation. Regulators’ attacks on the commercial use of drones have included everything from drone journalism to a non-profit search-and-rescue outfit using drones just a few feet big. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International maintains the US is losing billions and thousands of jobs because of the government’s relentless attack on drones. The group reported that ending the uncertainty over drone use could add 34,000 manufacturing jobs and 70,000 new jobs in three years with an overall impact of $82 billion.


You, bottled: Fragrance Lab distills you into a scent – What’s the perfect perfume for you? Journey through a sensory experiment and you might discover that the scents of iron filings and galactic ascension suit you best.

Level pup! Canines get their own game console – Give your dog a challenge with the CleverPet, a gaming device that keeps your pooch on its toes to earn treats.


Vampire therapy: young blood may reverse ageing – It sounds like the stuff of vampire movies, but scientists have shown that an infusion of young blood can reverse signs of ageing. Although the ghoulish experiment was conducted on laboratory mice, the next step could involve a study of elderly humans. The researchers believe young blood may contain natural chemicals that turn back the clock to rejuvenate the ageing brain.

Something to think about:

“You know, it’s funny, Smithers. I tried every tincture and poultice and tonic and patent medicine there is, and all I really needed was the blood of a young boy.”

–      Montgomery Burns

Today’s Free Downloads:

XBMC – XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OSX, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet. Our forums and Wiki are bursting with knowledge and help for the new user right up to the application developer. We also have helpful Facebook, Google+, Reddit, Twitter and Youtube pages.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition – Award-winning, free protection. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition uses the best technologies created in Bitdefender’s labs, internationally recognized for their ability to block even the threats that other products miss.


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Groups want to ‘reset the ‘Net’ to resist NSA surveillance – Web users and developers should take new steps to avoid surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency and other spy organizations, a group of privacy and digital rights advocates said Monday.

The 30-plus groups, including Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Reddit, Free Press and the Libertarian Party, have set June 5 as the day to “reset the ‘Net” by deploying new privacy tools. June 5 is the anniversary of the first news stories about NSA surveillance based on leaks by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Governments are building a “prison” around the Internet, the groups said in a video. “But government spies have a weakness,” the video said. “They can hack anybody, but they can’t hack everybody. Folks like the NSA depend on collecting insecure data from tapped fiber. They depend on our mistakes—mistakes we can fix.”

The groups are encouraging Web users and developers to use privacy and security tools HTTPS, a secure version of HTTP, HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), a Web security policy tool, and Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), a public key cryptography tool.

Monk School of Global Affairs: Citizen Lab * – Responding to the Crisis in Canadian Telecommunications – On April 29, 2014 the Interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Chantal Bernier, revealed that Canadian telecommunications companies have disclosed enormous volumes of information to state agencies.

These agencies can include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canadian Border Services Agency, as well as provincial and municipal authorities. Commissioner Bernier’s disclosure followed on news that federal agencies such as the Canadian Border Services Agency requested access to Canadians’ subscriber data over 19 thousand times in a year, as well as the refusal of Canadian telecommunications companies to publicly disclose how, why, and how often they disclose information to state agencies.

This post argues that Canadians are not powerless. They can use existing laws to try and learn whether their communications companies are disclosing their personal information to state agencies. I begin by explaining why Canadians have a legal right to compel companies to disclose the information that they generate and collect about Canadians. I then provide a template letter that Canadians can fill in and issue to the telecommunications companies providing them with service, as well as some of the contact information for major Canadian telecommunications companies.

Finally, I’ll provide a few tips on what to do if companies refuse to respond to your requests and conclude by explaining why it’s so important that Canadians send these demands to companies providing them with phone, wireless, and internet service.

* The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Canada focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), human rights, and global security.



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

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