Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 3, 2014

Science suggests people who watch porn have smaller brains;  Wearables etiquette: How to use your devices without people hating you;  Top Android tablets (June 2014 edition);  Freeware Game of the Week – Red Eclipse;  10 must-have accessories for your tablet;  50 Best iPhone Apps;  All The News From WWDC 2014;  Turn old PC hardware into a home server with FreeNAS;  Press H To Hack: Hacking in Videogames;  Apple says many users “bought an Android phone by mistake”;  Oliver Stone: ‘America always wins’;  Tech worker groups boycott IBM, Infosys, Manpower;  Amazon workers in Germany extend strike over wages;  Gaming Site is New Home to Spammed Free Movie Links;  As Snowden Anniversary Nears, EFF Urges Users to Ramp Up Privacy and Security.

John Oliver spends 13 minutes delivering the best Net Neutrality explainer ever – If you are looking for a good explanation of Net Neutrality in a format that is both amusing and thorough, John Oliver absolutely nails it. He’s tackled climate change, elections in India, and now he’s dedicated nearly half of an episode to Net Neutrality. If you have someone in your life who is unfamiliar with Net Neutrality or why they should care about the things happening at the FCC right now, this is the video you show them.

Science suggests people who watch porn have smaller brains – Many porn studies and analyses have been performed and found that, despite what people may or may not own up to doing when asked, a lot of people watch porn. In 2013, PornHub found that its engine alone received 1.7 million visits per hour, totaling 15 billion visits — and that’s just one site. Earlier this year, it was also revealed that people pirate porn overall more than anything else — more than movies, music, or software. Last year, PornMD also disclosed its search engine statistics, revealing the habits and interests of porn watchers by region. So, basically, it would seem that everyone watches porn. Regardless of how you feel about porn or people who watch it, a ton of people are into it. A new study suggests that those people who frequently partake may have smaller brains.

Five PE Analysis Tools Worth Looking At – In the world of malware analysis, having the right tools can make all the difference. When looking at malicious binaries, they are often in the Windows Portable Executable (PE) format. For this reason, it’s good to have a tools capable of performing in-depth analysis of this file format; fortunately, there are many to choose from, many of which are absolutely free.

Wearables etiquette: How to use your devices without people hating you – One of the newest ways our standards of manners and etiquette is being tested is through wearable technology. Some are more obvious than others: fitness-focused wearables, like Fitbit or Shine, require less interaction; others like Google Glass, well, require you to talk to yourself and tap the side of your head in public. But these are early days.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Wearable tech tsunami approaching – It’s inevitable. Just about every company you can think of is coming out with some sort of wearable tech and most of them seem to have some sort of health-related functionality.

Top Android tablets (June 2014 edition) – Given the broad choice, and combine that with rock-bottom prices, there’s never been a better time to pick up a new Android tablet! Here are my pick of the top Android tablets for June 2014.

Freeware Game of the Week – Red Eclipse – I’ve seen multiplayer shooters only half as good as Red Eclipse and you have to pay for them with your hard earned cash. Red Eclipse is a fun-filled new take on the casual first person arena shooter, built as a total conversion of Cube Engine 2, which lends itself toward a balanced gameplay, with a general theme of agility in a variety of environments. In a classic, no nonsense, multiplayer style, Red Eclipse is a polished, slick and gorgeous looking game. Its small download size of around 650 MB, belies its true potential. The game is very easy to set up, has customisable controls, graphics and other features and you can even design your own maps. Find a server in game or simply play offline against bots. Have a look at the YouTube trailer for a taste:


10 must-have accessories for your tablet – Most of the gadgets in this collection will work with any tablet, with only a few specific to certain models. They are good purchases for self-owned tablets, and good gifts for tablet toting friends and family members. Father’s Day is coming up so these might be just the ticket.

50 Best iPhone Apps – From mainstay essentials to notable newcomers, here’s the 2014 edition of our 50 Best iPhone Apps list.

The Start Menu won’t be back until Windows 9 – The good news is that isn’t too far off: Windows 9 is expected to arrive in April of 2015. We’re not used to Microsoft releasing a major version update for Windows that early in the year, but the cycle has changed a lot in the last three years. Windows 8 has already undergone two fairly big revisions, and it’s not even two years old yet. Microsoft’s also been releasing a new Internet Explorer every year, something which took at least three years prior to IE9.

Turn old PC hardware into a home server with FreeNAS – PC lovers tend to collect a lot of hardware as the years roll by. Instead of leaving it to collect dust, why not repurpose it as a file-slinging server? Several free and open-source operating systems run extremely well on a wide array of older hardware. One in particular, FreeNAS, is extremely stable, easy to set up, and laser-focused on storing and sharing files across your home network. All you need is a working system with a reliable hard drive (or three) and a little time to configure everything.


All The News From WWDC 2014 – Apple carpet-bombed the OS X and iOS world at its 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference, lifting the curtain on OS X Yosemite, iOS 8 and more, including the ability to allow iPhones to make calls through a Mac. What follows is TechCrunch’s complete coverage of the announcements including hands-on reports with the upcoming OS X and iOS features.


The desktop, flattened: OS X Yosemite in pictures – The final operating system won’t be released until the fall, but Apple’s site is replete with screenshots that show off most of the biggest changes. We’ve collected those changes below for you to look over while you wait to be accepted into the public beta program.


Apple will preview OS X Yosemite to first 1M beta testers – Apple today said the public can try out early versions of the OS X Yosemite operating system, the first time since 2000 the company has let large numbers of outsiders get an early look at an upcoming Mac OS.

Where to sign up for Apple’s OS X Yosemite beta – Apple just revealed OS X Yosemite, and is letting anyone sign up for a public beta of the new software.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Bing turns five, celebrates with history and Bing homepage gallery – Bing is celebrating its fifth year anniversary with a homepage gallery and brief synopsis of its five year evolution. Behind Google and Yahoo, Bing is the youngest of the three largest search engines.

Four reasons to get a remote control for your iPhone – Your iPhone is smaller than many remote controls—and can function as a remote control itself. So why would you need a remote control for your iPhone (or other iOS device)? A few months ago I would have thought the idea ridiculous. But it turns out that adding a Bluetooth remote control to my iOS devices has enabled me to solve some interesting problems and to make my iOS devices more useful. If you’ve never considered a remote control for your iOS devices, I’d like to suggest four uses that may change your mind.


Governments disrupt botnet “Gameover ZeuS” and ransomware “Cryptolocker” – The Justice Department announced Monday that over the weekend an international law enforcement operation had effectively disrupted a sprawling botnet that delivered “Gameover ZeuS”—a trojan that siphoned passwords to online banking sites from Microsoft Windows computers—as well as the malicious ransomware “Cryptolocker,” which locks individuals out of their own files until they agree to pay ransom to the criminals.

Download: CryptoPrevent 5.2 – CryptoPrevent is a tiny utility to lock down any Windows OS to prevent infection by the Cryptolocker malware or ‘ransomware’, which encrypts personal files and then offers decryption for a paid ransom.


How to protect yourself against Gameover Zeus and other botnets – The U.S. Department of Justice announced today that the Gameover Zeus (GOZ) botnet has been taken down in an effort dubbed “Operation Tovar.” The action was the result of a multinational effort between government agencies, law enforcement, and private companies to shut down the massive botnet responsible for more than $100 million in losses for victims. The cooperation necessary to take down the botnet is impressive, but there will be more, and it’s important for individuals to understand how to avoid falling victim to these threats.

Cybercriminals targeting the vulnerable: Symantec – As part of Stay Smart Online Week 2014, online security companies are warning children, parents, and businesses to remain cautious about the growth of cybercrimes, particularly when it comes to mobile devices.

Press H To Hack: Hacking in Videogames – With the release of Watch Dogs, we ponder the reality of a CCTV World and look at some of the best and worst examples of hacking in video games….

Gaming Site is New Home to Spammed Free Movie Links – Spammers move beyond blogging platforms to direct users to supposed movie downloads and streaming sites. Most recently, they’re using Steam….

Company News:

Intel to deliver cheaper 4K monitors in partnership with Samsung – Intel has partnered with Samsung to get you a 4K monitor very soon, and at half the price you’d pay today. Intel is specifically partnering with Samsung to increase delivery on high-quality, 23.6-inch PLS 4K panels, with a stated aim of such monitors hitting a US$399 (£239, AU$430) price point. For Intel based All-in-Ones, Intel believes we will also see 4K All-in-One prices starting from US$999 (£599, AU$1,080). This is around half the typical current price of 4K IPS and PLS monitors. These PLS, or Plane to Line Switching, monitors are very high-quality, with 100 percent sRGB coverage and Technicolor certification.

Google investing $1bn to bring Internet worldwide via 180 satellites – The new project will be an extension of Project Loon, which uses high flying balloons to carry Internet signal across the 40th parallel of the southern hemisphere. The project will be launching 180 high capacity low-orbiting satellites across the world, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Greg Wyler, satellite communications expert and founder of O3b Networks is said to be leading the project.

Apple says many users “bought an Android phone by mistake” – Apple CEO Tim Cook spent a moment during his keynote at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference today comparing user adoption of OS X Mavericks with that of Windows 8, mocking Microsoft’s OS for only managing to convince 14% of the total Windows user base to the 8.x versions. But Windows wasn’t the only operating system that he spent time berating.


5 iOS 8 features Apple obviously borrowed from Android – Tim Cook sure took some time out of today’s WWDC keynote to pick on Android users and the fragmentation that plagues the platform. He then followed up the jabs by introducing a slew of new features to the forthcoming iOS 8 that sounded really familiar—because many of them seem to have been lifted from Android.

Nine more countries to get Chromebooks, says Google… with a poem – Google has revealed that nine new markets around the world will soon be able to buy Chromebooks – although its announcement came in a slightly unusual manner; specifically, in the form of a poem.


Tech worker groups boycott IBM, Infosys, Manpower – Three U.S. tech worker groups have launched a labor boycott of IBM, Infosys and Manpower, saying the companies have engaged in a pattern that discourages U.S. workers from applying for U.S. IT jobs by tailoring employment ads toward overseas workers. The companies should look first for U.S. workers to fill U.S. IT jobs, said representatives of Bright Future Jobs, the Programmers Guild and WashTech.

Intel unveils Devil’s Canyon, its first 4GHz CPU, plus a 20th-anniversary Pentium processor – Intel’s fifth-generation Core processor family—code-named Broadwell—might be late, but the company has cooked up a couple of brand-new Haswell-class desktop CPUs that PC enthusiasts are sure to dig. Code-named Devil’s Canyon, Intel unveiled the all-new Core i7-4790K and Core i5-4690K processors at Computex on Tuesday (Taiwan time). Intel is also marking the 20th anniversary of its Pentium processor by introducing the all-new Pentium G3258.


Amazon workers in Germany extend strike over wages – Amazon’s trouble with workers in Germany isn’t going away, and the situation appears to be getting a bit worse. More than 600 people walked off the job over the weekend following a dispute over pay.

Games and Entertainment:

‘Dark Souls’ Now Available for Free on Xbox 360 – Xbox 360 owners with an Xbox Live Gold subscription can now pick up a free copy of From Software’s Dark Souls. Normally priced at $20, the game is free for Xbox Live Gold members from now through June 15 as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Games With Gold program. Even better — Microsoft this month is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Games With Gold by offering gamers an extra free Xbox 360 game on top of the usual ration of two. The two other free titles for June are Charlie Murder (normally priced at $10) and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (normally $30). These two will be available for download from June 16 to June 30.


Xbox One Games with Gold become unplayable if you stop paying for Xbox Live – Microsoft has confirmed that for Games with Gold on its latest console, you can only play the games with an active subscription. If you stop being a paid Gold member, the games remain on your Xbox One hard drive, but they are unplayable. However, if you start your subscription again they unlock.

VIDEO: Mortal Kombat X Coming in 2015 – Start practicing your finishing moves, because Mortal Kombat X is headed to a console near you in 2015. There is no official word on compatible platforms, but based on a leaked listing posted to Amazon U.K. Sunday, which was quickly removed, the title will be available for PC, PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One sometime next year.


Homefront The Revolution preview: Overthrow American occupiers with open-world guerilla warfare – I’ll be honest: I’d sort of forgotten that THQ ever contracted Crytek for a Homefront sequel. I’d definitely forgotten that Crytek then purchased those rights when THQ went bankrupt just so they could finish creating said sequel. It exists. Crytek is making Homefront 2—titled Homefront The Revolution—a reality. They’re really making a sequel to a game best remembered (and not in a good way) for its infamous “Press X to hide in a mass grave” sequence. Even more of a surprise? Homefront 2 actually looks pretty interesting.


Apple gets heavy with gaming, announces Metal development platform: Epic, Crytek, PopCap reveal working demos of games with “ten times” the power – On Monday, Apple announced a new gaming development platform, dubbed Metal, at its Worldwide Developer Conference. The platform, much like DirectX12 or Mantle, bypasses the overhead of OpenGL, which currently serves as the standard for 3D graphics in iOS games and apps.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How does your brain respond to pain? The answer may surprise you – How does your brain handle pain? That’s the question educator Karen D. Davis set out to answer in her TED Ed educational video, an animated short that shows just how differently our brains respond to painful stimuli. It’s only about five minutes long, which shouldn’t be too, um, painful for you to sit through.


Oliver Stone: ‘America always wins’ – Oliver Stone got so sick of always reading the sanitised version of US history that he decided to write his own. He talks about the real reason America dropped the atom bomb, how Kennedy is a hero and why he can’t stand Hillary Clinton.

VIDEO: Kids React to 90s-Era Internet – Whether it’s at work or at home, the Web users of 2014 are constantly connected. Using the Internet today is easy, but 20 years ago, it was a relatively new tool that today’s teenagers take for granted. That was evident in the latest video from The Fine Brothers, who have a popular YouTube series in which they ask kids about a variety of topics – from gay marriage to early Apple computers. Their latest video features teenagers reacting to a very cheesy video tutorial of the Internet from 1997.


Dice rolled in space: a collection of space photography – Dice — or perhaps just a singular die — was rolled in wide-open space for what may be the first time by American astronaut Reid Wiseman, who snapped a picture of the little red cube as it floated above the Earth. Despite how it might appear, the die is entirely real, and is accompanied by some other nifty images.


New process can extract clean water from cow poop, and it might change the world – This new solution takes advantage of the fact that manure, like almost everything else in biology, is made up mostly of water. Extracting that water can reduce the sheer volume of the poop enormously, making it easier to store and discard. What’s more, this technique lets the researchers extract some of the most useful agricultural substances in the manure, so the clean, extracted water can itself be used as a fertilizer.

Watch the secret life of your dirty dishes – In 2013, YouTube user Bito had a dream: To see exactly what goes on inside his running dishwasher. So he stuck a GoPro Hero 3 camera in there, along with two light sources, and let ‘er rip! Ladies and gentleman, this is what happens during the full wash cycle of Bito’s older-model dishwasher. Spoiler: The video’s footage may make you feel a little more dirty than clean. You’ve been warned.


Something to think about:

“History is more or less bunk.”

–    Henry Ford

Today’s Free Downloads:

NirLauncher – NirLauncher is a package of more than 100 portable freeware utilities for Windows, all of them developed for NirSoft Web site during the last few years.


NirLauncher can be used from USB flash drive without need of any installation.

NirLauncher and all the utilities in the package are completely freeware, without any Spyware/Adware/Malware.

NirLauncher package includes variety of tools that you may need for your daily computer use, including utilities to recover lost passwords, to monitor your network, to view and extract cookies, cache, and other information stored by your Web browser, to search files in your system, and more…

For every utility in the package, you can easily run it, view the help file, or jump to the Web page of the utility.

When using it from USB flash drive, the configuration of every utility is saved into .cfg file on the flash drive.

On x64 systems, NirLauncher automatically run the x64 version of the utility, when there is a separated x64 version.

NirLauncher also allows to add more software packages in additional to the main NirSoft package.


Simple Sticky Notes – Simple Sticky Notes is a lightweight and easy to use piece of software designed to enable you to take notes so you never forget about anything ever again.

This application will sit quietly in your system tray, just in case you need it and help you create as many notes as you might need.


RichText support

Colorful and Transparent


Snap to desktop edges

Hide/Show all notes option


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

As Snowden Anniversary Nears, EFF Urges Users to Ramp Up Privacy and Security – Time flies when you’re having fun. But it apparently also flies when there’s a new story every other day about NSA surveillance. It’s been nearly one year since the first story sourced from the documents Edward Snowden stole from the agency appeared, and with that in mind, the EFF is encouraging people to commemorate the day by installing privacy and security tools to protect their communications.

The EFF has been at the forefront of the resistance to NSA surveillance programs for years, filing a number of lawsuits and legal challenges to the agency’s authority and collection programs. The group also has been lobbying Congress to pass legislation to restrict the NSA’s surveillance activities. Now it’s trying to get everyday users to motivated to resist mass surveillance efforts by installing and using a group of privacy and security apps and extensions for Web and mobile communications.

The Privacy Pack, which is what the EFF is calling the group of tools, includes encrypted chat apps, encrypted text and private calling apps for Android, encryption extensions for browsers, as well as the Tor anonymity tool. Along with Tor, the bundle includes HTTPS Everywhere, Textsecure and Redphone for Android, Pidgin and Adium for private chats and GPGtools and Enigmail.

Edward Snowden NSA whistleblowing story to be filmed by Oliver Stone – He has tackled the Kennedy assassination and the Watergate break-in, the Vietnam conflict and the Bush administration’s “war on terror”. Now the Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone is set to whip up fresh controversy with his adaptation of The Snowden Files, an account of the ongoing NSA scandal written by the Guardian journalist Luke Harding.

Stone’s thriller will focus on the experiences of the American whistleblower Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency who leaked thousands of classified documents to the former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald back in June 2013. The film is to be produced by Stone’s regular business partner Moritz Borman, with Harding and other Guardian journalists serving as production and story consultants.

“This is one of the greatest stories of our time,” Stone, 67, said in a statement. “A real challenge. I’m glad to have the Guardian working with us.” Stone’s previous films include Platoon, JFK and W. The director has also made documentaries on Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, together with a 2012 TV series, Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States.

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden would not get a fair trial – and Kerry is wrong – As the author knows from direct chat-log conversations with him over the past year, Snowden acted in full knowledge of the constitutionally questionable efforts of the Obama administration, in particular, to use the Espionage Act in a way it was never intended by Congress.

John Kerry was in my mind Wednesday morning, and not because he had called me a patriot on NBC News. I was reading the lead story in the New York Times – “US Troops to Leave Afghanistan by End of 2016” – with a photo of American soldiers looking for caves. I recalled not the Secretary of State but a 27-year-old Kerry, asking, as he testified to the Senate about the US troops who were still in Vietnam and were to remain for another two years: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

I wondered how a 70-year-old Kerry would relate to that question as he looked at that picture and that headline. And then there he was on MSNBC an hour later, thinking about me, too, during a round of interviews about Afghanistan that inevitably turned to Edward Snowden ahead of my fellow whistleblower’s own primetime interview that night:

There are many a patriot – you can go back to the Pentagon Papers with Dan Ellsberg and others who stood and went to the court system of America and made their case. Edward Snowden is a coward, he is a traitor, and he has betrayed his country. And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so.

On the Today show and CBS, Kerry complimented me again – and said Snowden “should man up and come back to the United States” to face charges. But John Kerry is wrong, because that’s not the measure of patriotism when it comes to whistleblowing, for me or Snowden, who is facing the same criminal charges I did for exposing the Pentagon Papers.

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