NSA list of spied-on U.S. Citizens to be revealed soon; Five Free VPN Services You Should Check Out; Microsoft warns against XP registry hack; China accuses US of ‘large-scale’ cyberspying; Five free tools to help you translate foreign languages; Microsoft demos live translation of Skype calls; Adidas miCoach SMART BALL connects soccer to smartphone; Share information between your Android device and desktop with Pushbullet; Google’s Chromecast launches in Australia; Iran Summons Zuckerberg Over Instagram; Police at the door? Hit the PANIC button to erase your RAM.
NSA list of spied-on U.S. Citizens to be revealed soon – Glenn Greenwald has a collection of files he’d like to share with the public. As one of the reporters to first have a peek at and chronicle the documents shared by Edward Snowden, Greenwald isn’t exactly one of the NSA’s best friends at this point. He’ll certainly not be gaining any points of positivity once he releases a list of names of citizens illegally spied on by the NSA.
China accuses US of ‘large-scale’ cyberspying – China is accusing the US of massive cyberspying a week after the US charged several Chinese military officials with snooping on US companies. In a new report called “America’s Global Surveillance Record,” the China Academy of Cyber Space accused US cybersurveillance of targeting “the Chinese government and Chinese leaders, Chinese companies, scientific research institutes, ordinary netizens, and a large number of cell phone users,” Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Microsoft warns against registry hack that allows Windows XP updates – Microsoft is publicly warning users against employing the recently revealed registry hack that allows Windows XP to continue receiving updates. The updates may cause more harm than good.
Five Free VPN Services You Should Check Out – In general, totally free high quality VPN services are few and far between. For anyone simply looking for some extra privacy or sporadically accessing a geo-restricted website these get the job done.
3 time-saving Chrome extensions that maximize your Google search efficiency – Like many folks in the Internet age, I spend a huge chunk of my time searching for information on Google. Over the years I’ve learned lots of little tricks to help make those searches faster and more effective. But if turning to advanced queries alone isn’t powerful enough for you, a handful of Google-made Chrome extensions can supercharge your scouring even more.
Share information between your Android device and desktop with Pushbullet – Jack Wallen introduces you to one of the most efficient way of sharing information between your Android device and your desktop. The best feature of Pushbullet, by far, is the notification monitoring. With this, all notifications on the phone will appear as a popup in your browser. This means you don’t have to switch back and forth between your phone and your PC while trying to be as efficient as possible, and the likelihood of you missing an important notification is far less.
Iran Summons Zuckerberg Over Instagram, WhatsApp Complaints – Iran has summoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to court over privacy concerns involving WhatsApp and Instagram. He won’t go, of course, because the U.S. and Iran do not have an extradition treaty. And because the summons is ludicrous. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on the matter. Iran heavily censors the Internet, including Facebook. WhatsApp and Instagram are to be banned as well.
Microsoft demos live translation of Skype calls – Redmond showed off the tool at a shindig called Code Conference in California, and released the video below to show it off. The video uses Redmond’s usual oh-so-shiny optimistic style. If you want to see the translation in action, fast forward to about the 1:15 mark. If you can’t bear that, the video shows Skype re-voicing speech in a machine-generated voice after what looks like less than a second of processing time.
BBC iPlayer app on Windows Phone gets major update with live TV support – A year after its launch on Windows Phone 8, the BBC iPlayer app has received a major update today, with the addition of live TV and an improved interface – but BBC Radio content has been removed. Perhaps the most exciting new feature in the app is the addition of live TV, allowing viewers to watch the Beeb’s UK TV channels anywhere, although Live Restart – which allows users to stream a channel from up to two hours earlier – is not yet available.
Google’s Chromecast launches in Australia – Google has launched its long-awaited Chromecast dongle in Australia, giving locals a new way to stream internet content via high-definition TVs. The device, which has been available in the US since July last year, will sell for AU$49 from JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith, and the Google Play online store. In Australia, Chromecast will support YouTube, Google Play Movies, Google Play Music, and music-streaming service Pandora.
Police at the door? Hit the PANIC button to erase your RAM – The next time the police kick down a hackers’ door, suspects can reach for the Panic button to make it nigh-on impossible for plod to recover any data, even if they freeze their target PCs. The Panic button is a new Python app called “Centry Panic” and was developed to mitigate cold boot and direct memory access attacks on Windows, Mac and Linux that could be used by forensics professionals to capture information from memory.
Study: iOS has more fake reviews, but Android’s are better – Ever ran into a review on the App Store or Play Store and wondered if it was fake? A new study shows that on either store, about half the reviews are, with iOS holding a slight edge on total number of fakes. When it comes to the “quality” of fake reviews, Android is in the lead, though.
How to get the Start menu back in Windows 8 – Several third-party utilities can serve as Start menu replacements for Windows 8 users who aren’t as keen on the new Start screen. Editors’ note: This story was originally published on August 20, 2012. It has been updated several times since then to include additional programs and other details, most recently with 8Startbutton, StartIsBack, and Start Menu 8 on May 27, 2014.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET
Equil Smartpen now available, digitizing your notes in real-time – Truly mobile note taking can be possible without your device camera. While some simply take a photo of their notes and save to the cloud, the Equil Smartpen aims to digitize your notes as you write them. Even better, you get advanced editing features, making it useful in all kinds of circumstances. A device we saw at CES, the Equil is now available for purchase.
FTC has its eye on regulating shadowy business of “data brokers” – The business of buying and selling consumer data is so vast and murky that Congress needs to pass a law regulating it, said Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “This is an industry that largely operates in the dark,” Ramirez told reporters today on a conference call. “We want to shed the veil of secrecy that surrounds data broker practices.” Most consumers don’t know about data brokers, but the brokers sure know about them.
How to process and edit raw files from your camera – Shooting in raw is one of the best ways to have total control over your images in post-processing. A raw file is the image as seen by the camera’s sensor. Think of it like unprocessed film. Rather than letting the camera process the image for you, turning it into a JPEG image, shooting in raw allows you to process the image to your liking. Applying adjustments to a raw image is a non-destructive method of editing your photos, unlike editing a JPEG.
Adidas miCoach SMART BALL connects soccer to smartphone – You didn’t think Adidas was going to stop making smart device with a smart watch, did you? Today they’ve brought on the Adidas miCoach SMART BALL, made to bring an intelligent – data driven – look at dead-ball kick training. The most popular sport in the world can now merge with the digital world in a way never before available straight from the ball. Connected with Bluetooth 4.0, the miCoach app on your iPhone or Android device – iOS at first, Android later – will bring you data on speed, strike, spin, and flight path. The app brings on kick tips, the ability to capture video, and a record book.
Canada relaxes rules on using mobile devices in-flight – Following the example set in the US, Canadian regulators have relaxed their rules on using mobile devices in-flight. Though travelers will not be able to transmit information, they can use their mobile devices — such as tablets or smartphones — for the duration of their flight.
Klooff: like Instagram for your pets – Social media platform Klooff is a place where pet lovers can go to see nothing but photos of adorable animals.
Five free tools to help you translate foreign languages – Translation has gone mobile and gotten easier. The apps in this gallery work on multiple platforms, allow various kinds of input, and support a vast number of languages.
EBay flaw could be used to hijack accounts, researcher says – A security researcher who found a major vulnerability in eBay’s website last week said a second flaw he found hasn’t been fixed and could be used to hijack user accounts. Jordan Lee Jones, a 19-year-old college student who lives in Stockton-on-Tees, U.K, said he notified eBay on Friday by email of the second vulnerability. It hadn’t been fixed as of Monday, so he decided to publish details of it on his blog.
New security problems keep eBay on edge – Following an attack disclosed last week that exposed sensitive information of up to 145 million people, the auction giant is scrambling to repair several other problems reported in its vast network by security enthusiasts. Three U.S. states—Connecticut, Florida and Illinois — are jointly investigating eBay’s data breach, a sign that regulators and law enforcement are taking a keen interest in how consumer data is protected following Target’s data breach last year.
Spotify will issue new Android app following security breach – Spotify has announced that one of its customers’ user data has been accessed without authorization and as a precaution will release a new version of its Android app in the next few days.
How to defend against Apple’s Oleg Pliss iCloud attack – Australian Apple device users are finding their iDevices locked by some hacker demanding cash. Here’s how to defend yourself, and what to do if you’ve been hit.
Chrome For Windows Will Now Only Install Extensions From Google’s Web Store – This has been a long time coming, but starting today, Chrome users on Windows will only be able to install extensions from Google’s own Chrome Web Store. Google argues that this is meant to keep malicious extensions — which are often installed from third-party sites — in check. Users who have already installed extensions from third-party sites may find that they have been disabled and cannot be re-enabled or re-installed. The only way to get them back up and running is by installing them through the Chrome Web Store (assuming the developer has made them available there).
VirusTotal releases file-scanning tool powered by 50-plus AV engines for Mac users – Popular file and URL scanning service VirusTotal released a new application that allows Mac OS X users to scan suspicious files with more than 50 antivirus engines supported by the service.
It’s happening: Intel and Rockchip are teaming up to develop low-cost SoCs for Android devices – Intel has teamed up with Chinese semiconductor SoC maker Rockchip to work together on Intel’s SoFIA line of SoCs that intend to penetrate the entry-level mobile device market.
Satya Nadella: We’re not selling off Bing and Xbox – In an interview yesterday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella came out and said directly that, despite pressure from certain investors, he is not looking to sell off either the Xbox or Bing divisions.
Google may expand to home-security, Dropcam acquisition rumored – A recent post online claims that Google are looking to enter the home-security market. It is rumored that a popular service from Dropcam could be sold to Google, allowing for livestream monitoring.
Apple plots home break-in, home automation move – Apple will trumpet its entry into the home automation market next week at its annual developers conference, according to online reports. Analysts today viewed the move as a necessary long-term play for the company to keep iOS, particularly the iPhone, relevant as the buzz phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) captures mindshare. Apple needs to stay up with the other Joneses, which includes everyone from Google and Samsung to Cisco and Intel, they said.
Yahoo’s YouTube clone set for summer launch? – Yahoo intensifies talks to launch its delayed rival to Google’s massive home for user-generated videos, according to a report.
Games and Entertainment:
Here’s How Much Time People Spend Playing Video Games – The good news is that we’ve finally gotten our priorities in order. According to Nielsen, the average U.S. gamer age 13 or older spent 6.3 hours a week playing video games during 2013. That’s up from 5.6 hours in 2012, which was up from 5.1 hours in 2011. If you like fun, we’re trending in the right direction. As for which systems were used most often in 2013, seventh-generation consoles (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) beat PCs by a percentage point – 34% to 33% – while mobile phones took a distant third at 10%. Tablets followed at 9%, dedicated gaming handhelds at 6%, eighth-gen consoles at 4% and “other” at 4%.
10 things you probably didn’t know about Super Mario – How did Mario get his name? Where did the creators get their inspiration for the power-up mushrooms? Those questions and more, answered at last.
Next Xbox 360 Minecraft pack adds Halo content, coming Wednesday for $3.99 – Microsoft has announced the latest add-on pack for Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, to be released Wednesday, will bring a number of Halo characters, textures and locations to the popular sandbox game
Valve: Steam Machines delayed until 2015 – Valve attached this controller sketch image to its announcement. Go ahead, pick it apart for clues about new hats coming to Team Fortress 2! On Tuesday evening, Valve Software used a forum in the Steam games-store app to announce a delay, though for once, it wasn’t for an internally developed video game. Instead, the company slapped a “when it’s done” sticker on its Steam Machine living-room PC project, which has now been bumped to “a release window of 2015, not 2014.”
Watch Dogs Companion App Lets You Play Without the Game – Ubisoft is celebrating today’s highly anticipated launch of Watch Dogs with a new companion app for iOS and Android devices. The free app, dubbed ctOS Mobile, puts “Chicago in the palm of your hand,” letting you connect to and play live with any Watch Dogs player who is logged in. You don’t actually need to own Watch Dogs to play, but you’ll need to connect with others who have the console or PC game to get the most out of the app.
Ka-pow! ComiXology rolls out daily free-comics promotion – The maker of the digital comics app launched its Free Summer Reading List promotion on Monday. But you’ve still got 19 days worth of free comics to download.
Off Topic (Sort of):
Google’s prototype electric self-driving car seats two, has no steering wheel – Google had previously been retrofitting Toyota Priuses and Lexus SUVs with its self-driving technology. The cars were approved last week for use on public roads in California, and Google demonstrated the technology’s ability to navigate complex traffic situations in cities at the end of April.
A real-life prototype, left, and an artist’s rendering, right, of Google’s own self-driving car.
Poll: Climate change now more divisive than abortion, gun control – The poll, conducted in January and February of this year by the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute and released last week, found that the further to the right a Granite Stater’s political persuasion, the less likely they were to trust scientists as a source of information about environmental issues. The Institute did discover, however, that scientists are trusted not only by a majority of Democrats and Independents, but also by Republicans: a full 60 per cent of members of the Grand Old Party trust scientists on environmental matters. Couple that number with the 31 per cent who answered “unsure” or don’t know” to the question, “Would you say that you trust, don’t trust, or are unsure about scientists as a source of information about environmental issues?” and only a mere 9 per cent of Republicans don’t trust scientists about the environment.
“The problem with climate change is there’s never been a day in the history of the world in which the climate is not changing,” says Tea Party favorite Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
CT scans let you see inside a mummy in amazing detail – Egyptologists have been using medical imaging technology to study mummies for many years now. An exhibit at the British Museum called “Ancient lives, new discoveries” is letting visitors peel back the layers for a closer look — virtually, of course. The image you see was generated from CT scans, and the 3D images produced using rendering software that’s more commonly used in the automotive industry. Visitors to the museum will be able to tap and swipe on a series of interactive displays (likely provided by Samsung, who are sponsoring the exhibit) to explore the mummies in unprecedented detail.
Kids React to Old Computers – Watch the kids try and figure out how to use a 1970’s era computer in another special Old Technology episode! (So, you think Win 8.1 is tough? )
German Researchers Build A Plane Controlled By Your Brain – While the more pedantic among us would argue that every plane is controlled by our brains, German researchers at the Technische Universität München and the TU Berlin have created a plane that eschews all the messy, meaty bits (your head, your hands) that sit between the brain and the plane. Called Brainflight, the EU-funded project aims to prove that brain-controlled flight is possible and has already demonstrated that even pilots with little or no experience can easily fly using a direct brain interface. Obviously these novice pilots were “going up” in simulators, but the idea is the same.
South Korea thinks women are worse drivers, creates super-sized female parking spaces – Women think that men are worse drivers, and men think that it’s women who can’t drive very well. The South Korean government is clearly siding with men in this debate, with news of the introduction of so-called “she spots” to its capital city Seoul. These she-spots take the form of parking spaces specifically aimed at and reserved for women drivers. The lines are pink, they have a female in a skirt symbol painted inside them, and they are significantly larger in terms of both width and length.
150 reasons why bacon smells so good – Why oh why do those salty fried strips have such a hypnotic power over us? Scientists from the American Chemical Society are all over it.
Something to think about:
“I have not lost my mind – it’s backed up on disk somewhere.”
Today’s Free Downloads:
EnhanceMy8 Free – Windows 8 is fast and it is quite satisfying in the role of replacing Windows XP and Win7, but you can make it much faster and responsible with EnhanceMy8.
EnhanceMy8 includes any tweaks and tools you need to keep your Windows 8 in mint condition.
Process Identification – Identify unrecognized software
Start-Up Management – Disable unnecessary software increasing performance
Registry Cleaner – Can easily checks your registry and repair incorrectly linked registry entries, automatically remove invalid entries
Disk Cleaner – Find out which files or folders engross your disk space and shown with chart
Registry Defragmenter – Rebuilds and re-indexs your registry to reduce application response time and registry access time
Disk Defragmenter – Reduces the amount of fragmentation in file systems
Hard Drive Monitor – Gives the current values of various hard disk parameters such as Temperature, Head Flying Height, Spin-Up Time etc.
System Tools, File, Network and Security Tools
Security – EnhanceMySe7en has easy to configure security settings for managing the new security features of Windows 8
Optimization – Optimize settings for maximum speed and stability
Customization – customize system desktop, menus, toolbar and notifications settings
Network – Optimize your Internet connection speed
Ginger Proofreader – Ginger Proofreader, the first product to be released based on the NLP platform, is a free spelling and grammar checker, intended for both speakers of English as their mother tongue, and English as a second language (ESL). Ginger Proofreader checks and corrects spelling mistakes, misused words, and corrects grammar mistakes, based on the context of the full sentence. Even when a word is spelled correctly, Ginger Proofreader checks grammar to see whether it makes sense in the sentence, and offers alternatives to the word.
Ginger Proofreader can also be used seamlessly by users writing documents, presentations, and emails, in MS-Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, IE, Firefox, and Chrome, enabling them to correct words in the sentence with a single click.
Ginger Proofreader is integrated with MS Office ® and with all major browsers
Contextual grammar and spell checking
Ginger Proofreader identifies and marks both spelling and grammar mistakes while considering their context
Corrects as you type or scans entire documents
In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:
‘I was trained as a spy’ says Snowden – Government whistleblower Edward Snowden said he was “trained as a spy” by the US government, and that he worked with an assumed name and identity while serving both the CIA and the NSA in overseas positions.
In the first part of a larger interview filmed with NBC News, Snowden disputes the idea that he was a “low-level” outside contractor who managed to manipulate his way into possession of the massive cache of data which would become a massive leak of US government intelligence information.
“I was trained as a spy in the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas, pretending to work in a job that I am not and even being assigned a name that was not mine,” Snowden told the network.
“But I am a technical specialist. I am a technical expert. I don’t recruit people. I don’t recruit agents. I put systems to work for the United States.”
The remarks come in the first interview Snowden has given to the US media since his flight abroad and eventual settling in Russia. Thus far, aside from isolated TV and print media appearances, Snowden has for the most part chosen to funnel information through media sources, particularly journalist Glenn Greenwald.
That Snowden chap was SPOT ON says China – China is ramping up its war of words with the USA over online espionage, releasing a report by its Internet Media Research Center that – surprise! – concludes Uncle Sam does a lot of spying online.
There’s lots of pompous language in the report, such as this opening paragraph:
“As a superpower, the United States takes advantage of its political, economic, military and technological hegemony to unscrupulously monitor other countries, including its allies. The United States’ spying operations have gone far beyond the legal rationale of “anti-terrorism” and have exposed its ugly face of pursuing self-interest in complete disregard of moral integrity. These operations have flagrantly breached International laws, seriously infringed upon the human rights and put global cyber security under threat. They deserve to be rejected and condemned by the whole world.”
China’s specific allegations suggest the USA conducted the following activities against it and other nations:
Collecting nearly 5 billion mobile phone call records across the globe every day
Spying over German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone for more than 10 years
Plugging into the main communication networks between Yahoo’s and Google’s overseas data centers, and stealing data of hundreds of millions of customers
Monitoring mobile phone apps for years and grabbing private data
Waging large-scale cyber attacks against China, with both Chinese leaders and the telecom giant Huawei as targets
The document goes on a bit, mostly repeating Snowden allegations and throwing in a few other incidents reported by other nations. Expressions of outrage about NSA activities voiced by the United Nations and privacy groups others are given a new airing, as is just about every report from any newspaper anywhere about Snowden-sourced NSA activities.
Edward Snowden: From zero to exiled zero in three months – On Wednesday, NBC’s Brian Williams airs an hour long interview with now NSA document thief and ‘whistleblower’, Edward Snowden. He was also featured at SXSW this year. Do we really want to give him this much air time?
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know the name Edward Snowden. Snowden is the “whistleblower” who gave NSA documents to journalists in Hong Kong back in May 2013, while he was employed by NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) in Hawaii. I hope that venues such as SXSW and NBC stop giving this guy air time because basically he’s a ne’er-do-well who’s managed to fake credentials, fake education, and fake experience to get on the inside of the NSA and steal government documents and then hand them over to the press.
Has no one ever seriously questioned him about his credentials during any of these interviews or are we so caught up in the stink that he’s let out that we’re now blinded to his lack of credibility?
To liken him to Benedict Arnold, as some have done, is wrong too. Benedict Arnold was at least somewhat reputable before he committed treason. Snowden isn’t. Yet, we give him air time as if he actually did something great and he has not. I think we need to refocus on what a hero really is and the name Edward Snowden shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence.
I used to have some respect for SXSW until it aired an hour long Hangout with Snowden, where he talked about encryption and oversight protecting the public from surveillance. Really, Edward? And who told you that would work?
I also used to have some respect for Brian Williams, who until his interview with Snowden tomorrow night proves that he’s just another attention-seeking journalist. (A fascist apologist at his finest. Character assassination seems to be this moron’s forte. But then, that’s what makes this asshole a fascist pig.
It’s difficult to understand how this man could advance in his profession and hold such anti-democratic views.)