Monthly Archives: July 2014

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 31, 2014

How anyone can hack your Instagram account;  How to blanket your home or small office with Wi-Fi;  9 things you should know about surge protectors;  Evernote: 6 advanced search tips;  FreedomPop’s free data and voice comes to tablets;  A list of all the Google Now voice commands; Popcorn Time refuses to quit, adds AirPlay support;  10 reasons to try Zorin OS 9, the Linux OS that looks like Windows;  For $99, you can now get a quad-core 3G Windows 8.1 tablet;  LibreOffice 4.3: The best open-source office suite gets better;  Zero-day flaws found in Symantec’s Endpoint Protection;  Revolution 60: A game by and about badass women; The NSA’s Patents, in One Searchable Database;  Turkish Women Can’t Stop Laughing at Minister’s Advice to Stop Laughing;  Watch teaser for ‘Family Guy’-‘The Simpsons’ crossover episode.

How to blanket your home or small office with Wi-Fi – When your computer was locked down in one spot, it wasn’t a big deal if your Wi-Fi router couldn’t reach every corner of your home. But you can’t move your TV into the den just to get reception. And you shouldn’t have to limit where you can wander inside—or even outside—your house with your laptop, smartphone, or tablet and still be able to reach the Internet. Those Wi-Fi deadspots have got to go. Lucky for you, we have 10 great tips for blanketing your entire home with Wi-Fi.

FreedomPop’s free data and voice service comes to tablets – If you live in an area where FreedomPop offers service, you can now get the company’s (mostly) free data and voice service on your own Sprint-compatible LTE tablet, or purchase one from the company. Previously, FreedomPop’s free plans were only available on smartphones.

64-bit Google Chrome browser moves into beta – Google’s 64-bit Chrome browser took the last step before being formally released, as Google published a 64-bit beta of the browser on Wednesday morning. If you’d like, you can visit Google’s 64-bit Chrome beta page and download the new browser; Google promises that all of your saved information (passwords, bookmarks and the like) will migrate over.

9 things you should know about surge protectors – Surge protectors are an inexpensive way to protect your gear against random power spike damage. They’re not all the same. Here are a few tips before you start shopping.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to find anything in Evernote: 6 advanced search tips – When it comes to taking notes, you can’t beat Evernote. With its mobile apps and browser plug-ins, it’s incredibly easy to take any article, image, or other data and add it to your personal collection. It’s so easy, in fact, that it often takes less time to add a note than to decide whether you really need it. Before you know it, you’ve got way more info than you know what to do with. So what are you supposed to do when it comes time to find one of your notes?

A list of all the Google Now voice commands – You pick up your phone and say “OK Google”… and then what? Your phone is listening. The microphone icon is pulsing. What do you say to your phone? What can you say to it? Google Now’s voice function has become surprisingly robust over the years. Here’s a list of just about everything you can say to Google Now. Try experimenting with different phrasing, you’ll be surprised how much it understands.

Popcorn Time refuses to quit, adds AirPlay support – A service that is being called “Hollywood’s Worst Nightmare” is back with another update and its biting back at the powers that be. It has added support for Apple’s AirPlay streaming protocol so that not only will users be able to watch streaming torrents on their iOS devices, they can also redirect those to, say, an Apple TV for the ultimate viewing experience. That Popcorn Time continues to operate today is quite an interesting, if not miraculous, situation.


Maingear Spark goes ultra-small for Windows, Linux, or SteamOS – This week one of the most prolific makers of custom gaming PCs, Maingear, has let loose the Spark. This device weighs less than a pound and is 2.34 inches tall, 4.23 inches deep, and 4.5 inches wide. That’s a palm-sized high-powered PC. Inside this PC you’ll find a 4-core AMD A8-5557M APU with a Frequency of 2.1GHz and a Turbo Frequency” of 3.1GHz. You’ll also find a AMD Radeon R9 M275X GDDR5 2GB discrete graphics card with DirectX 11 action – and pre-preparation in place for DirectX 12. This device will be available starting this week for $699 USD WITHOUT the OS and WITH four free games from AMD’s Reward program.


For $99, you can now get a quad-core 3G Windows 8.1 tablet – Since Microsoft announced its decision to waive its OS licensing fees on phones and small tablets, many more companies have chosen to dip their toes into the Windows waters, and the latest to do so is China’s Kingsing. The company already sells a range of affordable Android handsets, but it has now shown off its first Windows tablet, the W8, which will go on sale for just $99, as GizmoChina reports. The W8 has specs appropriate to its low cost. That means you’ll get a quad-core 1.8GHz Intel Bay Trail-T processor and 1GB of RAM, along with 16GB of onboard storage and an SD card slot. You’ll also find an 8-inch IPS LCD screen with 1280x800px resolution, and there are front and rear 2MP cameras too, as well as stereo speakers.


BitTorrent launches decentralised crypto-fied chat app – BitTorrent has joined the increasingly crowded post-Snowden market for anonymous online chat services with “Bleep”, a decentralised voice and text communications platform. The platform uses the BitTorrent network to spread users’ voice and text through nodes rather than a centralised server.


Great replacements for your default iOS Weather, Notes, and Calculator apps – There’s nothing wrong with the built-in iOS versions of Weather, Notes, and Calculator, but if you’re looking for more features, then here are some great replacements.

Tablets “crashing” warns Best Buy chief – Tablet sales “are crashing” Best Buy’s CEO has warned, describing a resurgence in laptops he ascribes to users stumbling across the limits of the “post-PC” revolution. The ominous news comes on the heels of Apple recording a drop in iPad sales in the most recent quarter, while tablet demand as a whole has dropped across the industry. According to the retail chief Hubert Joly, that’s a problem the tablet makers still haven’t addressed.

FCC chair accuses Verizon of throttling unlimited data to boost profits – FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is not happy about Verizon Wireless’ announcement that it will throttle 4G users with unlimited data plans. While he didn’t go quite so far as to accuse Verizon of breaking FCC rules, he told the company that it needs to justify its policy. Verizon’s plan to slow down its heaviest data users when they connect to congested cell sites isn’t surprising—other carriers do it too. But Verizon said it would only apply the policy to users who are no longer under contract and still have grandfathered unlimited data. In other words, the policy may help Verizon push customers onto newer, pricier plans with limited data and overage charges.

Cortana comes to the UK and China; coming to India, Australia and Canada as ‘alpha’ release – Microsoft has launched Cortana in the UK with more localized content and a British accent, and in China with a whole new look – and will be available in India, Australia and Canada as an ‘alpha’

10 reasons to try Zorin OS 9, the Linux OS that looks like Windows – Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution designed especially for newcomers to Linux. With a Windows-like interface and many programs similar to those found in Microsoft’s proprietary OS, it aims to make it easy for Windows users to get the most out of Linux. Zorin OS 9 just made its debut with a familiar, Windows 7-like interface by default. In the wake of XP’s demise, there may be no better time to check it out. Zorin OS 9’s free and premium editions are now available in 32- and 64-bit versions for download from the project website.


LibreOffice 4.3: The best open-source office suite gets better – Ever since LibreOffice split off from the troubled OpenOffice in 2010, this open-source office suite has gotten better and better. With this new release from The Document Foundation, LibreOffice 4.3 has established itself as the best non-Microsoft office suite. The new LibreOffice 4.3 brings many new useful improvements and features to the program.


My favorite new LibreOffice feature: The ability to import and export comments across different document formats, and thus, office suites.


Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS – The Tor Project has warned users about a subtle attack aimed at partially uncloaking their activities on the anonymising network. The Tor Project has removed the attacking relays from its network as well as pushing out software node and client updates to prevent the same type of attack from happening again. A lot of questions remain unanswered for now, but the developers behind the anonymisation network have at least been able to put together a broad overview of what seems to have happened, as explained in an advisory (extract below).

Zero-day flaws found in Symantec’s Endpoint Protection – Symantec’s Endpoint Protection product has three zero-day flaws that could allow a logged-in user to move to a higher access level on a computer, according to a penetration testing and training company. The three flaws, all known as privilege escalation vulnerabilities, were found during a security test of a financial services company, said Mati Aharoni, lead trainer and developer for Offensive Security, in a phone interview late Tuesday.

Facebook “Enter Details Here to Enable Your Account” – We at Malwarebytes do our best to keep you, dear Reader, apprised with the latest threats we encounter that target Facebook users. As you may know, Facebook is one of the few prime targets of online crime, particularly fraud. Here’s one in-the-wild phishing campaign that we spotted homing in on users.


Attackers use domino effect to compromise your accounts – The two-factor authentication used to “protect” your accounts is often insecure itself and poses a weak link that can be exploited by attackers.

How anyone can hack your Instagram account – Should you write instructions that tell everyone how to hack Instagram accounts, including advice like “wait for someone to use the Instagram iOS app”? This security researcher did, after he was denied a bug bounty for reporting the problem.


Company News:

The One-Horse Race: 85% Of The 300M Smartphones Shipped In Q2 Were Android – Another milestone for Google’s Android in its unstoppable march to mobile dominance: the operating system accounted for 85% of all smartphones shipped in Q2 — its highest ever proportion, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics. Google’s win comes at a loss for everyone else, and interestingly for the smartphone market overall. Apple, Windows Phone and BlackBerry all declined, and while there were nearly 300 million (295.2 million, to be exact) smartphone units shipped for sale in the quarter, smartphone growth has nearly halved compared to a year ago.

Samsung sees profits slip in Q2 as demand for smartphones stagnates – Samsung released its Q2 financial statements in South Korea on Thursday, and while the company turned a net profit to the tune of 6.25 trillion Korean won ($6.1 billion), that number represented a decline of 19.6 percent from a year earlier.

Crytek USA staff reportedly quit over lack of pay – Crytek USA’s CEO and others quit last week over lack of pay, according to sources that are said to be familiar with what went down. This follows Crytek’s downsizing that took place recently at the studio in Texas, and is said to have resulted after weeks of salary payments being made late.

Facebook To Shutter Gifts Feature in August – Less than two years after launching a virtual marketplace through which you can send real gifts to family and friends, Facebook announced plans to close down the service. Specifics have not been revealed, but the social network posted the news to its Facebook Cards and Gift Basics FAQ page.

Twitter acquires image search firm Madbits – Madbits, a year-old company that uses deep learning technology to assign relevant information to raw images, has sold itself to Twitter, according to the Madbits website. Image search is its main interest and Madbits aims to create intelligent, dynamic image sets to automatically organize large databases of images, according to the company’s LinkedIn profile.

Amazon Investing Another $2 Billion in India: Amazon CEO says he has “never seen” a market grow quite this fast – Amazon plans to invest an additional $2 billion in its India operations, the company announced Wednesday, in an attempt to grab a growing slice of the country’s online retail market.

Intuit to acquire India-based KDK Softwares – Financial services giant Intuit announced plans to acquire the Indian accounting software firm KDK Softwares in a bid to strengthen its customer footprint in the country. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. The acquisition marks Intuits first in India, as well as its push into the tax computation and e-filing category in the country.

Games and Entertainment:

PlayStation Now Open Beta arrives tomorrow for PS4 – After a long wait, PlayStation Now Open Beta will be arriving for all PlayStation 4 owners in both the United States and Canada starting tomorrow. Thus far, PS Now has been in a private beta that some lucky gamers have had access to, but that’ll all change tomorrow when Sony removes the shackles and begins seeking mass feedback on the offering.


Revolution 60: A game by and about badass women – “If girls don’t like the way games are made,” runs the popular internet adage, “Why don’t they just make their own?” Enter Giant Spacekat, an indie studio who is doing just that. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last year — bringing in $12,728 of its $5,000 goal — the team has just released its first game: Revolution 60 for iPad, described as “Heavy Rain meets Mass Effect” in a stunning 1960s retrofuturistic aesthetic, inspired by Space Channel 5.


Sky launches NOW TV app for Xbox One – Microsoft has been working to improve its Xbox One ever since its launch, and the company recently reaffirmed its commitment to monthly updates to keep adding new features and enhancements to the console. The company’s third-party content partners have also been doing their bit to make the device more compelling, and the latest addition comes from Sky in the UK. Sky has announced the launch of its NOW TV app for the Xbox One, bringing some of its best movies, sports and entertainment content to the platform. The service is now available on over 50 devices, including Sony’s PlayStation 4.


Logitech Announces ‘World’s Fastest’ Gaming Mouse – Heads up, first-person shooter fans. Logitech on Wednesday unveiled a new mouse that promises to track just as fast as you can move and click—with no more annoying lagging. Billed as the “fastest gaming mouse ever made,” the G402 Hyperion Fury does indeed boast some pretty impressive specs, like the “Fusion Engine” and eight programmable buttons. The Fusion Engine combines “state-of-the-art optical sensor technology with an accelerometer and gyroscope” to reliably track more than 500 inches per second, Logitech said.


Off Topic (Sort of):

Watch teaser for ‘Family Guy’-‘The Simpsons’ crossover episode – Check out this nearly-five-minute preview of the upcoming episode where Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson finally meet.


Senate blasts mobile carriers for profiting from phony fees – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile all allegedly “crammed” customers with third-party charges that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, Senate report says.

Hypercolour ice cream changes hue as you lick – Hypercolour t-shirts came and went, but hypercolour ice cream might be something we could get our tongues behind. Everlasting Gobstopper this ain’t: rather than layers of colour that are revealed as you lick the surface, it’s the ice cream itself that changes colour.


Woman files $123M suit against Facebook over photoshopped nude photos – Houston woman Meryem Ali has filed a $123-million lawsuit against both Facebook and a former friend who posted a picture of her on an “imposter” Facebook profile under her name, according to Texas Lawyer. Photographs “that depict the true face of plaintiff” were altered with Photoshop and “attached to false, phony, naked body shots, and at least one pose where there is plaintiff in a graphic pornographic-like photo,” states the complaint, which was filed on July 25 in Harris County.

Can real-time labor analytics save U.S. standard of living? – The U.S. is facing a dim future with its aging population, lower workforce participation and declining productivity. Accenture argues that real-time labor analytics could be a fix.

Something to think about:

“How can we tell a necessary from an unnecessary war? It’s not easy, but here’s one test. If they say you should fight to make the world a better place, decline. If they say you should fight to prevent the world from becoming worse, consider it.”

–      George Jonas

Today’s Free Downloads:

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SUPERAntiSpyware Free is one of 2 free applications (the other being Malwarebytes Free), I often recommend as an addition to a geeky user’s layered security set up.

If you’re unfamiliar with a layered security approach – take a peek at – Tips On A Layered Security Approach To Internet Safety – September 11, 2010.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

The NSA’s Patents, in One Searchable Database – What do a voice identifier, an automated translator, a “tamper-indicating” document tube, and a supersecure manhole cover have in common? They’re all technologies for which the secretive National Security Agency (NSA) has been granted patents by the U.S. government, giving the agency the exclusive rights to its inventions.

The four technologies represent a tiny fraction of the more than 270 sleuthy devices, methods, and designs for which the nation’s biggest intelligence agency has been granted a patent since 1979, the earliest year for which public figures are available. As the patent holder, the NSA can license the particular technology — for a fee — to anyone who wants to use it, so long as the patent hasn’t expired.

Foreign Policy obtained the NSA’s list of patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You can download the entire list here or browse the patents by the dates they were filed. We’ve linked each one to the underlying documents, which include plain-language descriptions, the name of the particular inventor, and in some cases diagrams of the device.

Inside Citizen Lab, the “Hacker Hothouse” protecting you from Big Brother – It was May of 2012 at a security conference in Calgary, Alberta, when professor Ron Deibert heard a former high-ranking official suggest he should be prosecuted.

This wasn’t too surprising. In Deibert’s world, these kinds of things occasionally get whispered through the grapevine, always second-hand. But this time he was sitting on a panel with John Adams, the former chief of the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), the National Security Agency’s little-known northern ally. Afterward, he recalls, the former spy chief approached and casually remarked that there were people in government who wanted Deibert arrested—and that he was one of them.

Adams was referring to Citizen Lab, the watchdog group Deibert founded over a decade ago at the University of Toronto that’s now orbited by a globe-spanning network of hackers, lawyers, and human rights advocates. From exposing the espionage ring that hacked the Dalai Lama to uncovering the commercial spyware being sold to repressive regimes, Citizen Lab has played a pioneering role in combing the Internet to illuminate covert landscapes of global surveillance and censorship. At the same time, it’s also taken the role of an ambassador, connecting the Internet’s various stakeholders from governments to security engineers and civil rights activists.

“When it comes to Citizen Lab, what you have is methodical, careful, but passionate people,” says Gus Hosein, the director of the UK-based Privacy International and a longtime acquaintance of Deibert’s. “That is what I wish every academic research institution was, but clearly they’ve been allowed a degree of freedom that others in academia aren’t given.”

Citizen Lab first made waves in 2009 with “Tracking GhostNet,” a report which exposed a vast electronic spying network that had compromised more than 1,200 computers in 103 countries, ensnaring Tibetan activists, embassies, media outlets, and many others. But it was the boldness of the research—which involved gaining control of an unsecured malware server off the coast of China—that seemed to take the government by surprise. While Citizen Lab only scanned unsecured, public-facing systems, the powers that be apparently thought what they were doing was illegal.

“It’s a bit freaky to hear that,” Deibert said when he recalled the Calgary encounter in an interview with Ars. “When people ask, ‘are you worried about the Chinese or some other adversary out there,’ I say I’m always a bit more worried about my own government, because this is the kind of thing I hear occasionally.”

British Lords: Euro ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling ‘unreasonable and unworkable’ – Peers sitting in the upper house of the British parliament have branded Europe’s court decision on killing links on search indexes – controversially dubbed the “right to be forgotten” ruling – “unworkable, unreasonable and wrong in principle”.

The EU subcommittee on Home Affairs, Health and Education said in a report that the Court of Justice’s (CJEU) ruling, which forces search engines like Google to remove certain links to personal information from search results when requested, just wasn’t working.

The peers said that the requirement itself was unfeasible and the directive it was based on was too old to be meaningful anyway.

“Although this was a short inquiry, it is crystal clear that the neither the 1995 Directive, nor the CJEU’s interpretation of it reflects the incredible advancement in technology that we see today, over 20 years since the Directive was drafted,” said Baroness Prashar, chair of the subcommittee.

“Anyone anywhere in the world now has information at the touch of a button, and that includes detailed personal information about people in all countries of the globe.”

The government officials argued that the search index ruling was impossible to enforce for smaller search engines that don’t have the resources of an ad behemoth like Google to process thousands of takedown requests.

The peer group issued its report after hearing evidence from data protection experts, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the minister for justice and civil liberties Simon Hughes, and Google itself.

(The House of LORDS – parasitic twits by birthright – would hardly know what’s appropriate for the “common” man.)

Turkish Women Can’t Stop Laughing at Minister’s Advice to Stop Laughing – Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc did not intend his Monday speech on “moral corruption” to get big laughs, but when he advised women to suppress their laughter in public, it landed on the public like a well-crafted punch line.

Women in Turkey have since tweeted pictures of their reactions, ranging from grins … to guffaws.

Over the past three days, hundreds of thousands of people have tweeted under the hashtag #kahkaha, the Turkish word for laughter. Sadly, the Deputy Prime Minister wasn’t joking.

(The nasty shit directed towards women never stops with these Muslim extremist morons.)


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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 30, 2014

Senate introduces USA FREEDOM Act to curb NSA spying excesses;  Former NSA director will file “at least” 9 patents to detect malicious hackers; Americans’ online privacy worries center on money – and porn;  iPhone gets first free app for encrypting voice calls;  Antivirus Software for the Morning After;  Swap files between Windows and Android in 2 clicks with Pushbullet;  25 Tips to Turbocharge Dropbox;  Privacy groups call for action to stop Facebook’s off site user tracking;  5 unexpectedly useful apps;  Facebook Begins Forced Migration to Messenger App for Chat;  Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free scores 100% in AV-TEST removal test;  Treating people like lab rats is NOT OK, OKCupid?  How to recover deleted photos from a memory card;  Fox’s Bill O’Reilly: Gadgets got Obama elected;  Kaspersky Security Scan (free).

Senate introduces USA FREEDOM Act to curb NSA spying excesses: Good news if you’re an American, less so for everyone else – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced the USA FREEDOM Act to the Senate and claims, that, if passed, the legislation will severely curtail the amount of mass surveillance that can be carried out by the NSA and others – provided you’re a citizen of the land of the free. “This is a debate about Americans’ fundamental relationship with their government – about whether our government should have the power to create massive databases of information about its citizens,” Leahy said.

Americans’ online privacy worries center on money — and porn, a bit – According to a survey, Americans say their biggest concern with online infiltrators is that their financial info will be spied on. Some even admit they’re worried about privacy while browsing porn.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Antivirus Software for the Morning After – When your antivirus software is nicely installed and integrated with Windows, it has lots of chances to prevent malware infestation. It can block access to the malicious URL, kill the download before it executes, eliminate known malware based on its signature, detect and avert malicious behavior, and so on. But if the malware has already dug in its heels, that’s a different story. An arduous, months-long test by AV-Test Institute evaluated which products do the best cleanup job.

(In earlier comments on last week’s test, I pointed out that the posted results emasculated Malwarebytes Free, based on an upside down methodology. We now have the results based on a more appropriate methodology – “In this latest test from AV-Test, Malwarebytes was the only product to achieve a perfect score, every single threat completely wiped out. This result is more in keeping with Malwarebytes’s reputation as the go-to tool for malware cleanup.”)


PC Magazine – Antivirus Software for the Morning After

Former NSA director will file “at least” 9 patents to detect malicious hackers – Alexander left his government post in early 2014 and went on to co-found a private company, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., with unnamed business partners. Alexander said that these business partners helped him create the “unique” method for detecting hackers that he plans to patent. Of course, Alexander himself had unparalleled access to classified security operations from 2005, when he took charge of the NSA, to 2014, when he retired.

(Washington’s political reward system takes a giant leap forward. Another pig gorging at the trough of political corruption. Reprehensible – but expected.)

iPhone gets first free app for encrypting voice calls – An open-source project has released the first free application for the iPhone that scrambles voice calls, which would thwart government surveillance or eavesdropping by hackers. Signal is notable for two reasons. First, it’s free. There are many voice call encryption products on the market for various platforms, most of which are not cheap and are aimed at enterprise users. Second, Signal is open source code, meaning developers can look at the code and verify its integrity. That’s important because of concerns that software vendors have been pressured into adding “backdoors” into their products that could assist government surveillance programs.

Swap files between Windows and Android in 2 clicks with Pushbullet – Pushbullet makes it ridiculously simple to transfer files from one device to another with just a few clicks. The connection between your devices is always present, meaning you don’t have to reconnect every time you want to swap a picture. Pushbullet doesn’t give you complete access to your phone’s file system like AirDroid does. Instead, it allows you to transfer files, links, notes, and messages from one device to another.

Facebook Begins Forced Migration to Messenger App for Chat – Mobile users still hanging on to Facebook’s in-app chat service are now being forced into the arms of the social network’s standalone Messenger application. In April, the company announced its move from all-in-one network to separate apps, initially requiring folks in a handful of European countries to download Messenger if they wanted to chat. Now, the company is rolling it out to everyone. In Monday emails to some users, Facebook notified them about the impending transition to Messenger, which it said is “a free app that’s faster and more reliable for everyday messaging.”

Privacy groups call for action to stop Facebook’s off site user tracking plans – U.S. and EU privacy and consumer groups called on privacy regulators to stop Facebook’s plans to gather the Internet browsing patterns of its users while they visit other sites. The privacy groups expressed “deep alarm” about Facebook’s June announcement that it would start tracking information from some of the websites and apps its users are visiting in order to serve more relevant ads.

Australia: Illegal downloading in government’s sights as Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper takes aim at consumers, ISPs – The days of downloading your favourite TV show for free could be numbered, with details emerging about the plans to crack down on internet piracy. A leaked discussion paper on the issue, published by news website Crikey, outlines measures the Federal Government is considering to curb illegal downloading, including forcing internet service providers (ISPs) to block offending websites and punishing customers caught infringing copyright. But John Stanton from ISP industry body Communication Alliance says the proposals overlook a major source of the problem — that the content consumers want is not accessible or affordable enough. Australians are among the worst offenders in the world when it comes to illegal downloading. (suggested by Mal C.)

Microsoft debuts Sharks Cove, a costly Raspberry Pi alternative – The pint-sized PC features a 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor with integrated HD graphics, 16GB of EMMC storage, a MIPI connector for display and camera, HDMI, one USB 2.0 port and a micro-USB power port. Ethernet or wifi is available only through USB, meaning users will have to connect to the internet or other networks with a USB adapter. At $299, the board is priced significantly higher than its Raspberry Pi or Arduino board counterparts. Microsoft said the price covers the cost of the hardware, a Windows 8.1 image, and the slightly vague “utilities” required to apply it to the Sharks Cove.


25 Tips to Turbocharge Dropbox – It’s the leading cloud-based sync and storage service—but Dropbox isn’t perfect. Here’s how to make the most of it.

5 unexpectedly useful apps – You probably didn’t know you needed a color-coded goal manager or a dedicated email tracker. But once you try these apps, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

How to perform a factory reset on your Android phone or tablet – While the standard procedure is usually good enough, those with enough know-how can possibly dig up your old data, so you should consider encrypting your phone before resetting it if you’re going to sell or donate it. If you’re just wiping your phone just to start over from scratch, be sure to backup the data and content that’s important to you. You can find a great list of backup options right here.

Android’s factory data reset comes up short – Resetting an Android device using the factory data reset is supposed to remove the owner’s data. According to AVAST researchers it does not. Find out what they learned and a possible solution.


Image: AVAST Software

Google makes Material homescreens of Docs, Sheets, and Slides – Given Google’s most recent modifications of Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you’ll be encouraged to use one or all of the collection as your ever-rotating homepage. When you visit any of the three services now with, /sheets, or /slides, you’ll find an entirely different arrangement than you’re used to.

UK Police Replacing Ads On Piracy Sites With Warnings – UK police have started replacing ads on websites that provide access to pirated or copyright infringing material with warnings to web users that the site is on a watch list — and a call for them to close the browser page in question. The initiative, called Operation Creative, is being carried out by the City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and follows a call by the unit, back in April, for advertisers to get behind a plan to tackle IP related crime by helping disrupt piracy sites’ access to ad revenue.


How to recover deleted photos from a memory card – “Uh oh.” Those are probably the first two words you’ll utter when you realise your photos have disappeared. If you have accidentally formatted your card or you suspect it has become corrupted, there are ways to recover your images. Here’s how to get started. You will need a card reader, a computer, the memory card in question and nerves of steel.


Android crypto blunder exposes users to highly privileged malware – The majority of devices running Google’s Android operating system are susceptible to hacks that allow malicious apps to bypass a key security sandbox so they can steal user credentials, read e-mail, and access payment histories and other sensitive data, researchers have warned. Google developers have introduced changes that limit some of the damage that malicious apps can do in Android 4.4, but the underlying bug remains unpatched, even in the Android L preview.


‘Things’ on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece – Ten of the most popular Internet of Things devices contain an average of 25 security vulnerabilities, many severe, HP researchers have found. HP’s investigators found 250 vulnerabilities across the Internet of Things (IoT) devices each of which had some form of cloud and remote mobile application component and nine that collected personal user data. Flaws included the Heartbleed vulnerability, cross site scripting, weak passwords and denial of service. Some of the unnamed devices contained users’ credit card data, date of birth details and name and address records.

12 of the biggest, baddest, boldest software backdoors of all time – It’s always tough to ensure the software you’re using is secure, but it’s doubly difficult if the creators of the software — or some malicious unknown third party — has surreptitiously planted a back way in. Here’s a look at 12 of the trickiest, subtlest, and nastiest software backdoors found in the wild yet.

Mobile Top-Up Credit Sharing Scams in Circulation – There are lots of mobile providers who allow customers to share their top-up load with friends and family – a handy way to get someone out of a “no way to make a call” pinch, and a more flexible alternative to networks who offer a handful of “call this number, I’m out of money” texts. However, the awesome ability to donate some top-up time to someone who needs it also gives scammers the opportunity to pilfer some of those call credits in a number of ways.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free scores 100% in AV-TEST removal test! – Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is the only product, out of a total of 17 analyzed over a grueling 10-month long period, to achieve a perfect 100% score. We removed and repaired every single threat thrown at us. AV-TEST created a variety of scenarios intended to simulate real user experiences between September 2013 and June 2014.  Malwarebytes was tested against 30 different pieces of the latest malware in two separate situations, and asked to rip them off a Windows 7 machine. Not only did we do this every single time, we also completely disinfected each system, not even leaving harmless file remnants.

1,000,000 lost credit cards = £150,000 fine – A UK travel company has been fined £150,000 for putting an “internal only” parking database system on the internet without securing it first. The vulnerable system was used as a stepping stone for a crook to steal more than 1M e-commerce records.

Company News:

Twitter Skyrockets After Reporting Big Q2 Revenue Of $312M, Profit Of $0.02 Per Share – This afternoon Twitter reported its second quarter financial performance, including revenue of $312 million, and earnings per share of $0.02. The street had expected Twitter to lose a penny per share on revenue of $283.07 million. Its revenue in the quarter was up 124 percent from the year-ago period. In the second quarter of 2013, Twitter’s revenue totaled $139.3 million. In its most recent, sequential quarter, Twitter had revenue of $250 million. In the period, 81 percent of Twitter’s ad revenue came from mobile advertising.

Oracle slashes Larry Ellison’s stock options following shareholder discontent – Oracle has granted CEO Larry Ellison 3 million stock options, a significant reduction from the 7 million options he received in previous years, according to a regulatory filing. Other Oracle executives, such as co-presidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, were also awarded smaller stock option grants than in the past, other filings made Monday show. Each received 2.25 million stock options, compared to 5 million last year. The changes, which were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, come after years of shareholder discontent over Oracle’s executive compensation.

Chinese officials seize Microsoft PCs, emails, financial info in antitrust probe – In a note on its website, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), one of several agencies tasked with enforcing antitrust laws, said that with the help of nearly 100 law enforcement officers, regulators made unannounced visits to four Microsoft offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai. During the raids, SAIC regulators and police seized two Microsoft computers; internal emails, contracts and financial information; and interviewed senior managers and other personnel in the company’s marketing and finance departments.

Netflix strikes peering agreement with AT&T – In the same way it did with Comcast and Verizon, Netflix has struck a peering agreement with AT&T to bring subscribers’ buffering woes to an end. This news was first rumored earlier today, and later on confirmed by AT&T in a statement saying, in part, “We’re now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days.”

Ford and GM sued for millions over CD-ripping tech in cars – The copyright protection arm of the U.S. music industry is suing Ford and GM because the companies sold cars with CD players that can rip music to the vehicle’s hard drive. The lawsuit calls out a feature in Ford vehicles called Jukebox, which records songs from CDs to the infotainment system’s hard drive. The Jukebox function has been available on Ford vehicles since at least the 2011 model year.

BlackBerry focuses on security for the enterprise – Now that BlackBerry has fallen significantly behind Apple and Google in the race to offer features and third-party apps for its smartphones, the company is concentrating on providing devices that, it claims, have the strongest available security—the killer feature for the enterprise. To this end, BlackBerry announced Tuesday that it is purchasing Secusmart, a German company that offers a technology to encrypt voice calls and texts made on BlackBerry devices.

Games and Entertainment:

New Dark Ages Update for Plants vs. Zombies 2 Now Out on Android and iOS – You would have to be living under a very large sound-proof rock to have missed the launch of Plants vs. Zombies 2 last year. The game came with three worlds spread across time and space, but EA has been pushing out updates every few months with new levels and even entirely new worlds. Today the second half of the Dark Ages update is live with new maps, zombies, plants and more.

EA Launches A $30 Per Year Netflix For Games On Xbox One – The game publisher just announced a new subscription service called ‘EA Access‘ for Xbox One users that will give subscribers all the games they can play (from a limited catalog) for $4.99 per month.


P90X for Xbox Fitness arrives just in time for summer – With the highly successful workout program coming to the Xbox One, P90X for Xbox Fitness will offer some unique features. For starters, the program will feature five routines that are exclusive to the console. The Xbox One version will also feature real-time feedback, which will gives users access to their earned fit points, heart rate, and also muscle tension. P90X for Xbox Fitness on the Xbox One will be available for download for $59.99 USD.


PlayStation 4 patch adds support for 3D Blu-ray content – Sony has just announced that an upcoming Playstation 4 patch will add support for 3D Blu-ray playback. However, this does little to appease gamers that feel Sony’s focus is shifting away from gaming.


Assassin’s Creed Unity Trailer Introduces Female Warrior – Following last month’s E3 sneak peek of Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity, the game maker on Tuesday offered another look at our hero, Arno Dorian, as well as the introduction of a young Templar named Elise. A new trailer opens with Arno racing through the war-torn streets of Paris in the late 1780s, the camera panning across another man stepping up to the guillotine. Arno’s sword-slinging skills arrive just in time to save a woman from impending death. Upon rescue, it’s revealed that she sports a Templar necklace and a willingness to fight alongside Arno.


Modern Combat 5: Blackout looks great on mobile (pictures) – Gameloft’s Modern Combat series has always been a hit on mobile devices, but the latest sequel adds even more reasons to play.


Off Topic (Sort of):

Treating people like lab rats is NOT OK, OKCupid? – Christian Rudder, cofounder of dating site OKCupid, believes experimenting on users and outright lies about dating compatibility are hunky dory — because OKCupid is a web site! All the fuss about Facebook’s mood experiments is overblown, and he has the data to prove it!

Smartphone kill switch could save US consumers $3.4B, study says – If kill switches became standard in all phones, consumers could save big on replacement phones and insurance coverage, according to a researcher from Creighton University.

Ed Bott: Four ways the ‘new Microsoft’ will change the lives of IT pros – If you work in a traditional Windows-based shop, you could be in for a bumpy ride. Ed Bott explains how IT pros will need to adapt to a variety of changes. (Registration required)

WTC 18th century mystery ship traced back to Philadelphia – A few years ago, an 18th-century ship was discovered at the former World Trade Center site in New York City. Researchers had suspected at the time that the ship was a Hudson River merchant vessel, and over the years have worked towards learning more about the discovery — something that has recently proven a success.


Fox’s Bill O’Reilly: Gadgets got Obama elected – The Fox News presenter says iPads and the like made it easier to present a candidate’s image that was “false” to narcissistic young people. Perhaps they should talk to one of Fox’s most celebrated and erudite presenters, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He explained only on Friday that most geeks are Democrats. And geeks have influenced human behavior over the last ten years more than anyone else.

Driverless Cars to Hit Public Roads in Britain by January 2015 – On Wednesday, the British government will announce its plans to test autonomous vehicles on public roads by January 2015, but first the Highway Code will need to be revised to allow the driverless cars on the streets

Something to think about:

“Isn’t it interesting that the same people who laugh at science fiction listen to weather forecasts and economists?”

–     Kelvin Throop III

Today’s Free Downloads:

theHunter 736 – Download and play the most realistic hunting game online for free. Go hunting with your friends in multi-player with up to 8 players – or explore the seven diverse and immersive hunting reserves in the world of the Hunter by yourself.

PLAY WITH YOUR FRIENDS – theHunter supports up to eight players in competitive or co-operative multiplayer. Invite your friends, organize an expedition and play together – Or challenge each other for bragging rights and see who can bag the biggest trophy!

AN IMMERSIVE OPEN WORLD – Within the large open world environment of the Evergreen Hunting Reserve are seven hunting reserves for you to explore. Immerse yourself in detailed hunting grounds based on Scandinavian, Central European and North American environments.

SHOW OFF YOUR SKILLS – Take part in competitions, community events and show everyone that you are a master hunter by moving up the leaderboards. Your Hunter Score and skill levels increase as you play – Do you have what it takes to become the number one hunter in the Evergreen Hunting Reserve?


Kaspersky Security Scan – Checks for known malware and software vulnerabilities on your PC – plus advises you on your PC’s security status.

Quick scanning for viruses and other security threats – Checks for known malware and software vulnerabilities on your PC – plus advises you on your PC’s security status.

Access to the latest, cloud-based security information – Our servers in the ‘cloud’ provide real-time information – to scan your PC for the latest viruses and emerging threats.

Real-time results from recognized security experts – Award-winning scanning capabilities – built by the same world-class experts that develop other Kaspersky products.

Won’t conflict with antivirus software that’s already on your PC – Installs quickly and works on PCs that have an active firewall or antivirus software installed.

Advice for a more secure future – Provides advice on how to remedy security problems that have been identified by Kaspersky Security Scan.

The latest data… to find the latest threats – Kaspersky Security Scan uses the latest Kaspersky Lab technologies – plus real-time information from Kaspersky Lab’s servers in the ‘cloud’ – to ensure it can scan your PC for the latest viruses and emerging threats.

image – Envelope Printer – A free app to simplify printing your envelopes. Save and store addresses and even add an image.

The program remembers your settings, so once all ready to go you can open the program, open the address book, choose the address hit use this address and the click print. 4 mouse clicks and you are done.


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Personal Privacy Is Only One of the Costs of NSA Surveillance – There is no doubt the integrity of our communications and the privacy of our online activities have been the biggest casualty of the NSA’s unfettered surveillance of our digital lives. But the ongoing revelations of government eavesdropping has had a profound impact on the economy, the security of the internet and the credibility of the U.S. government’s leadership when it comes to online governance.

These are among the many serious costs and consequences the NSA and those who sanctioned its activities—including the White House, the Justice Department and lawmakers like Sen. Dianne Feinstein—apparently have not considered, or acknowledged, according to a report by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.

“Too often, we have discussed the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs through the distorting lens of a simplistic ‘security versus privacy’ narrative,” said Danielle Kehl, policy analyst at the Open Technology Institute and primary author of the report. “But if you look closer, the more accurate story is that in the name of security, we’re trading away not only privacy, but also the U.S. tech economy, internet openness, America’s foreign policy interests and cybersecurity.”

Over the last year, documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, have disclosed numerous NSA spy operations that have gone beyond what many considered acceptable surveillance activity. These included infecting the computers of network administrators working for a Belgian telecom in order to undermine the company’s routers and siphon mobile traffic; working with companies to install backdoors in their products or network infrastructure or to devise ways to undermine encryption; intercepting products that U.S. companies send to customers overseas to install spy equipment in them before they reach customers.

The Foundation’s report, released today, outlines some of the collateral damage of NSA surveillance in several areas, including:

Economic losses to US businesses due to lost sales and declining customer trust.

The deterioration of internet security as a result of the NSA stockpiling zero-day vulnerabilities, undermining encryption and installing backdoors in software and hardware products.

Undermining the government’s credibility and leadership on “internet freedom” and governance issues such as censorship.

Tech Companies Throw Their Support Behind Strengthened NSA Reform Bill – As expected, Sen. Patrick Leahy introduced the USA FREEDOM Act to the upper chamber of Congress on Tuesday. The bill comes on the heels of a similar, weaker measure passed in the House that was widely condemned as denatured and passed by brute force.

“If enacted, this bill would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago,” Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

The new bill is widely heralded as a compromise, as Leahy sought input from the Obama administration in drafting the bill. Privacy groups, such as the ACLU and The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), as well as tech companies that pulled support from the House version when it became too watered down, praised the bill.

A coalition representing AOL (which owns us), Apple, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo expressed support for the bill. That group, called Reform Government Surveillance (RGS), previously pulled support for the House version of the USA FREEDOM Act after its gutting.

“[The Senate] bill will help restore trust in the Internet by ending the government’s bulk Internet metadata collection and increasing transparency around U.S. surveillance practices,” the group said in a statement.

Leahy’s bill would curtail bulk collection of data under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, create a special advocate inside of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and add a host of language changes to current law that would greatly limit the potential purview of many surveillance programs.

Importantly, if enacted in its current form, the bill would end the now-infamous call metadata program that was first unveiled last June. That program was the first of the National Security Agency (NSA) activities that came to light due to the documents that former-NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked to the media.

Analysis: Bill banning phone metadata collection gives NSA access to it – A prominent senator unveiled legislation Tuesday that would end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of all telephone metadata—a package that still provides the nation’s spooks limited access to the data of every phone call made to and from the US. And the probable-cause standard under the Fourth Amendment is not present.

Conceding the realpolitik, civil rights groups and others are backing the proposal from Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, even though the NSA may acquire the data absent constitutional protections.

The American Civil Liberties Union supported the legislation—called the USA Freedom Act—while admitting that it’s “not perfect.” The ACLU said:

The Senate bill is an improvement over the version passed by the House, but problems remain. It is important that the public understand that there is much more work to be done to narrow the government’s overbroad surveillance authorities to bring them in line with our Constitution and values. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we have miles left to go

The New York Times even weighed in, saying that the measure “represents a breakthrough in the struggle against the growth of government surveillance power.”

All the celebrations concerning the Leahy measure were in response to the bill’s perceived impact of countering greater spying powers for the NSA.

The Center for Democracy & Technology, which opposed the House bill, supported the Leahy measure, saying Tuesday that it was a “significant step forward in protecting Americans from unnecessary and intrusive NSA surveillance.”

EFF Files Motion Asking Judge to Rule NSA Data Collection Unconstitutional – The EFF has asked a federal judge to rule that the NSA’s collection of massive amounts of upstream user data is unconstitutional, violating the Fourth Amendment. The motion for partial summary judgment in the case of Jewel v. NSA, a six-year-old lawsuit related to NSA data collection on AT&T’s network, is based mainly on statements from the government itself about how it conducts such collection.

The Jewel lawsuit is a long-running case that stems from revelations several years ago that AT&T had installed secret taps that allegedly copied massive amounts of inbound and outbound Internet traffic on its network and handed that data to the NSA. The suit was filed by the EFF on behalf of Carolyn Jewel, an AT&T customer, and alleges that much of what the NSA collects via the tap is domestic communications.

The motion by the EFF, filed late last week, is based on the government’s own descriptions of its data collection and alleges that the collection violates customers’ Fourth Amendment right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

“We believe there is enough on the record now for the judge to rule that both the initial mass seizure and the subsequent searching of the content of Internet communications are unconstitutional,” EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said. “By installing fiber-optic splitters on the Internet backbone, and then searching through tens of millions of Internet communications it collects, the NSA is conducting suspicionless and indiscriminate mass surveillance that is like the abusive ‘general warrants’ that led the nation’s founders to enact the Fourth Amendment.”

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 29, 2014

How to Make Your Phone Number Private;  These Are Twitter’s Biggest Secrets;  Will a cell phone unlocking law really matter?  Know Your Smartphone: A Guide To Camera Hardware; How to install (or replace) a case fan;  The Top Tablets for Your Kids;  Mobile apps galore for managing business cards;  Going The Distance With A Smart Shoe Made In India;  When your computer won’t turn on;  Watch Doom being played on a hacked ATM;  14 antivirus apps found to have security problems; Microsoft reveals the four free games for August’s Games with Gold;  Australian TV pirates refuse to play the waiting game;  Top Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance Threatens Press Freedom and Right to Counsel;  Panopticlick reveals the cookie you can’t delete;  How Amazon knows so much about you; CCleaner for Android (free).

How Amazon knows so much about you – and how to regain your privacy – My Amazon home page shows me how much the company knows about me and my online activities. Here we show you which privacy and security settings can help you reduce the information Amazon holds about you.

These Are Twitter’s Biggest Secrets – Researchers have discovered trends in the way that we perform every major action on Twitter—favoriting, updating, sharing, and following. And there’s even an interesting bit of psychology behind what makes Twitter so attractive in the first place. Here’s a look at the psychology of Twitter: what makes us follow, favorite, share and keep coming back for more.

How to Make Your Phone Number Private – When my daughter was born, we placed an advertisement for a nanny in a local newspaper. At 6:30 a.m. on the first day the ad ran, the phone started ringing. It was the first applicant out of hundreds who would call inquiring about the position. What I would have given then for a disposable phone number — something I could turn off once I’d made my hire. Today, there are options for keeping your phone number private. Here’s what I recommend.

Will a cell phone unlocking law really matter? – Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle pass a bill that will make unlocking a cell phone legal again. But will it really give consumers more choices?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook Forces Users Worldwide To Download Messenger For Mobile Chat – Over the next few days, Facebook will stop allowing messaging in its main iPhone and Android apps, and force all their users around the world to download its standalone Messenger app. Facebook first started requiring users in Europe to use Messenger back in April, but after seeing “positive results” in terms of engagement, its rolling out the plan to the everyone.

Know Your Smartphone: A Guide To Camera Hardware – One of the most important features of smartphones is the camera. Whether it’s for photographing people, landscapes, flowers or food, buyers nowadays demand a good quality camera on the back of their handset. But just what goes in to making a smartphone camera? What hardware do companies use? What do pixel sizes and f-stops really mean? In this article I’ll be exploring smartphone camera hardware, key terms associated with photography, and interesting comparisons along the way.

How to install (or replace) a case fan – Many of the chips inside a typical PC generate a lot of heat and require some form of active cooling to remain stable. System builders usually rely on heatsinks and fans to manage the heat within a PC. If you’re upgrading or building a new PC—or your PC is overheating—you may need to install new or additional fans. Here’s how to identify when you need to replace a fan and how to do it yourself.

Mobile apps galore for managing business cards – Still managing stacks of ‘analog’ contacts? These smartphone applications could make life easier; some even boast direct connections to LinkedIn and

The Top Tablets for Your Kids – There’s a wide range of tablet options for youngsters, from kid-friendly units that can take abuse yet don’t insult their intelligence, up to the standard adult-oriented tablets that really are easy enough for any age to master. In a couple of cases the prices on even the best tablets for your young ones are so reasonable you won’t feel too bad when it inevitably gets submerged in the bathtub or stepped on out on the sidewalk. Okay you’ll feel a little bit bad.


Why PC Sales Have Stalled – It’s not surprising that PC sales have dipped in recent years. But why? New research provides some insight. I recently got my hands on a rather interesting piece of research that showed how certain age groups use technology. Although the scope of the research was rather broad, it explored how four different age groups used smartphones and tablets in their digital lifestyles.

10 technologies that will transform PCs in 2015 and beyond – You might write off PCs as archaic or boring. You might take for granted that they’ll get faster, lighter, more power-efficient and more convenient to use over time. But if you stop and consider all the things that go into making a computer better, there’s actually a lot to be excited about. Here are 10 PC advancements that will transform PCs over the next several years.


Going The Distance With A Smart Shoe Made In India – Forget Google Glass or Jawbone Up, the next wave in wearable tech might just be a smart shoe from India. The Lechal, meaning “take me along” in Hindi, has a Bluetooth enabled shoe insert that hooks up with Google Maps and buzzes to let you know which way to turn on your chosen route. Created by Ducere Technologies Pvt, the shoe hooks up with an app that syncs with Google Maps, tracks your steps and counts your calories burned. The shoe itself can be used for jogging around town.



Byword: One of the best iOS apps for distraction-free writing – Business users who perform any amount of writing know the distractions inherent with modern computing. Byword is a fantastically simple writing app for Mac and iOS that makes it easy to focus.

Delivery drone flies like a plane, lands like a helicopter, has a 30km range – A trio of engineering grad students have designed VertiKUL, a drone that takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane. The VertiKUL’s wings are in an up and down orientation when it’s on the ground, allowing it to lift off with the propellers like a regular helicopter-type drone. Once it’s in the air, it can rotate and fly like a prop-driven airplane.


When your computer won’t turn on – A lot of problems can keep a computer from booting Windows (or any other operating system). Fortunately, you can get a pretty good idea by noting how and when the PC fails. If you press the power button and nothing happens, you’ve got a very different problem than if the PC starts but Windows never loads. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.

Five Apple business apps to boost your productivity – Turn your Apple device into a productivity powerhouse. Tom Merritt highlights five handy business apps.

Watch Doom being played on a hacked ATM – It’s hard to make ATMs more thrilling then they already are, seeing as how they’re designed to spit money at you. But a team of tinkering Australians has done just that by modifying an ATM to play Doom. Yes, that Doom, the demon-blasting game that gave the world a taste for first-person shooters.


OkCupid Relaunches OkTrends: A Beloved Blog That Tracks Online Daters’ Fascinating Habits – In 2009, OkCupid gave the people of the Internet a beautiful gift. No, not eternal love. A peek into the its massive treasure trove of user data — exposing everything from strange overshares (How much do Twitter users masturbate?) to serious issues (How does race impact the messages you receive?).


14 antivirus apps found to have security problems – Vendors just don’t care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software. Organisations should get their antivirus products security tested before deployment because the technology across the board dangerously elevates attack surfaces, COSEINC researcher Joxean Koret says. “Some AV companies don’t give a f**k about security in their products.”

Panopticlick reveals the cookie you can’t delete – You know about cookies, and how to delete them, but what if there was a cookie you couldn’t delete, and what if the steps you took to guard your privacy made you easier to track? The EFF’s Panopticlick tool determines how easy you are to identify based on your web browser’s ‘fingerprint’.

Virtual servers still face real security threats – A new survey from Kaspersky finds that many IT professionals don’t understand the security threats against virtual servers.

Malwarebytes: Android Features Used Maliciously – We hear a lot about the high amount of Android malware running rampant. An interesting tidbit is a vast majority of malware doesn’t need any special ‘magic’ to behave maliciously. They use existing functionality to attack users, functionality available to all developers. We’ll take a look at a couple of these methods in which malware is able utilize, once their permission request is granted and the app is installed.

Anatomy of an iTunes phish – tips to avoid getting caught out – We often forget that many things are “obvious” only with experience, meaning, in fact, that they’re not really obvious at all. That’s why we do phishing walkthroughs fairly regularly on Naked Security. The idea is to step you through a typical email phish, pointing out the telltale warning signs in the original email and the web pages that follow, so you know what to look for in future. So, even if you’d back yourself to spot a phish every time, here’s a step-by-step account that might help to save your friends and family in the future.

Company News:

Comcast disinformation campaign squashed municipal fiber effort – In late 2004, a trio of small cities in Illinois were preparing to vote on what would amount to a municipal fiber Internet offering, something that would have undercut both Comcast and AT&T-owned SBC Communications. In all three locations — Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles — Comcast and SBC took to action, spreading propaganda to squash its budding competition. Reports Vice Motherboard, for the months preceding the vote, both Comcast and SBC blasted locals with postcards decrying municipal fiber, including “disinformation, exaggerations, and outright lies” to sway the vote in their favor. It is reported that before this “disinformation campaign” was initiated, more than 72-percent of residents looked favorably on municipal Internet.

Microsoft China offices visited in apparent antitrust probe – Officials from China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) made surprise visits to four Microsoft offices today as part of what is described by the Financial Times as an antitrust probe. Offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu were inspected by SAIC officials. The nature of the investigation is currently unclear, with neither Microsoft nor SAIC offering any details. So far, the regulator has made no formal complaint against the company.

OkCupid defends Facebook: We test you too – OkCupid is bravely – or foolhardily – wading into the furore over social sites experimenting on users, defending Facebook in the process as it reveals some of the discoveries its own testing has come up with. The stat sifting turns up several insights around the value of pictures on profiles, as well as how suggestible users are, though the fall-out seems less intensive than Facebook’s mood-altering trials.

Qualcomm planting seeds for 4K video, silicon brains in mobile devices – Smarter contextual awareness, 4K video and augmented reality are just some of the new technologies that will be offered by smartphones and tablets over the next year or so, according to Qualcomm’s product blueprints. Qualcomm is planting the seeds for these technologies in mobile devices by loading its chips with new wireless connectivity, computing, sensory and graphics features, said Keith Kressin, vice president of product management at the company.

Mozilla Promotes Interim Chief to CEO – Mozilla on Monday announced it has named Chris Beard as CEO. Beard has been serving as Mozilla’s interim CEO since Brendan Eich resigned in April amidst controversy surrounding a donation he made to an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative. “The Mozilla board has reviewed many internal and external candidates – and no one we met was a better fit,” chairwoman Mitchell Baker wrote in a blog post.

Samsung delays launch of Tizen smartphone – Samsung Electronics said Monday that it would postpone the release of its first smartphone running the Tizen OS, the Samsung Z, which was set to launch first in Russia. The delay does not bode well for the company’s attempt to move away from its heavy reliance on Google’s Android OS. Tizen is an open source, Linux-based system that the South Korean company is using to mount a challenge to dominant smartphone software players Google and Apple. When it announced the Samsung Z in June, it said that the device would be available in Russia in the third quarter.

Games and Entertainment:

Microsoft reveals the four free games for August’s Games with Gold – Microsoft’s ‘Games with Gold’ program gives free games to subscribers of its Xbox Live Gold tier for the Xbox One and the Xbox 360. For the month of August, Microsoft will be giving Strike Suit Zero: Directors Cut and Crimson Dragon on the Xbox One and Dishonored and Motocross Madness on the Xbox 360.


Strike Suit Zero: Directors Cut

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer is here – There’s nothing like Lord of the Rings to get fantasy fans drooling, and so the first trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was always going to set the Comic-Con audience a flutter. Happily Warner Bros. isn’t limiting it just to those who strapped on their cosplay and went to San Diego, and now you can see the whole trailer yourself after the cut.


New DVD-quality Expendables 3 film leaked online, ranked as #1 most-pirated movie – A pirated DVD-quality version of The Expendables 3 is the wild, several weeks before the film debuts in theaters. The leaked film ranked as the #1 most-pirated movie of the week. But if you are into streaming movies instead of downloading torrents, then you might be interested to know that the Justice Department wants to make “unauthorized” streaming a felony.

(I’m certainly not a defender of ripping off intellectual property – but, the idea of incarcerating people involved in “unauthorized” streaming, is abhorrent. True to form, the U.S. Government continues to over-incarcerate it’s citizens under it’s multi-layer so called “justice” system. As it is – one in four Americans have a criminal record. )

AMD Boosts Gameplay Capture in Gaming Evolved – The update takes advantage of AMD’s Video Codec Engine (VCE) for “hardware-accelerated H.264 encoding of video game streaming and capture” in several ways, the chip maker said. AMD’s VCE is supported on all Graphics Core Next (GCN)-based Radeon graphics cards with Radeon HD 7000/R9/R7 series GPUs as well as GCN-based accelerated processing units (APUs) from the Kaveri, Kabini, Temash, Beema, and Mullins generations.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Australian TV pirates refuse to play the waiting game – Why are Australians such prolific pirates of TV shows? Analysis on the availability of TV shows by tech blog Reckoner may hold some answers.

A tour of the Royal Air Force Museum – The RAF Museum London is just a short tube ride outside the city itself. Warplanes from every era of flight, from WWI to present day, fill its hangars. Here’s a full tour.


7 weird facts about NASA – NASA is one of the deepest scientific and bureaucratic rabbit-holes in existence. Here’s a few odd facts about the space agency.


John Oliver: Why do floppy disks control nuclear weapons? – The HBO comedian wonders why the hardware and software guarding the United States’ nuclear warheads are so out of date.


Something to think about:

“If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.”

–     George Bernard Shaw

Today’s Free Downloads:

Glary Undelete – The Glary Undelete application was designed to be an easy-to-use yet powerful file undelete solution for FAT and NTFS file systems. It will bring back files emptied from the Recycle Bin, in a DOS window, from Windows Explorer with the SHIFT key held down. It will even recover files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses!

Glary Undelete supports all Windows file systems for hard and floppy drives including FAT12/16/32,NTFS/NTFS5 and image recovery from CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMedia and Secure Digital cards.

· Supports FAT, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, NTFS5 , NTFS + EFS file systems

· Supports recovery of compressed, fragmented and encrypted files on NTFS

· Supports Basic and Dynamic Volumes

· Undelete files on removable devices (SmartMedia, Secure Digital, MemoryStick, etc.)

· Filter by file name, file date, size, recovery state


CCleaner for Android – The ultimate cleaning app for your Android device! CCleaner optimizes your Android in seconds.

Speed up your phone – In a single click, safely remove the junk that accumulates on your phone, slowing it down. CCleaner can delete application cache, browser history, clipboard content, old call logs and more.

Reclaim storage space – CCleaner allows you to quickly and easily remove installed applications on your device freeing up valuable storage space.

Easy to use – Like CCleaner, the world’s favorite PC optimization tool, CCleaner for Android comes with a simple and intuitive UI so anyone can optimize their Android device in just a few clicks.


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Top Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance Threatens Press Freedom and Right to Counsel – To do their jobs properly, journalists and lawyers sometimes need to be able to keep information private from the government.

And because what journalists and lawyers do is so integral to safeguarding democracy and basic rights, the United States has traditionally recognized their need for privileged communications.

But the virtually inescapable government surveillance exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has impaired if not eliminated the ability of news-gatherers and attorneys to communicate confidentially with their sources and their clients, according to a new report by two rights advocacy groups.

The report by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union is based on an exhaustive new survey of journalists and lawyers working in the areas of national security and intelligence. Both groups of professionals describe a substantial erosion in their ability to do their constitutionally-protected jobs.

Not even the strongest versions of NSA reform being considered in Congress come anywhere close to addressing the chilling effects on basic freedoms that the new survey describes.

“If the US fails to address these concerns promptly and effectively,” report author  G. Alex Sinha writes, “it could do serious, long-term damage to the fabric of democracy in the country.”

Even before the Snowden revelations, reporters trying to cover important defense, intelligence and counter-terrorism issues were reeling from the effects of unprecedented secrecy and attacks on whistleblowers.

But newfound awareness of the numerous ways the government can follow electronic trails –  previously considered the stuff of paranoid fantasy — has led sources to grow considerably more fearful.

Senate Expected To Unveil Broad NSA Reform Bill Tomorrow – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is expected to introduce a version of the USA FREEDOM Act (UFA) tomorrow that is far stronger than what the enfeebled House of Representatives managed to pass earlier this year.

According to the New York Times, the bill not only curtails the bulk surveillance of American’s call metadata — the first NSA program detailed by the Edward Snowden leaks — but would also reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to include an opposition voice to the government’s arguments, and force some form of public disclosure of information regarding the court’s decisions.

It also contracts the terms that the government could use to request call metadata from telephone companies.

Given the Times’ summary, it doesn’t appear that the bill would close so-called “backdoor” searches of Americans’ communications. Backdoor searches have come under withering scrutiny due to the use of such techniques by several United States intelligence agencies.

The full text will be the real test, of course, but it does seem that what Leahy has put together is stronger than the bill that the house passed. That bill was infamously shoved through in a hurry, after being so weakened that around half of its original co-sponsors voted against it. What the House passed cannot be called reform.

Unexpected Microsoft Probe Highlights China’s Distrust of U.S. Tech – Officials from China’s State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) visited offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, according to Sina, a Chinese online media company. Microsoft China, which has three major locations in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, has since confirmed the visits, providing no further details, adding that the company would “actively cooperate” with the government’s requests.

The visits reportedly lasted from morning until 6 p.m., and resulted in computers and hard drives being taken away, according to several Chinese news outlets. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the visits were likely preliminary stages of an antitrust investigation, while Microsoft China has reportedly confirmed to the Beijing News that it is, in fact, what the SAIC calls “unfair business.”

Chinese IT analysts believe that suspicions of a Microsoft monopoly are relegated to the operating system market alone. One well-known Chinese IT lawyer told media outlets that it’s likely Microsoft is being accused of using its broad market share to unfairly bundle in other products, like Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 29, 2014

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 28, 2014

How to Manage Your Online Reputation;  Congress finally passes cell phone unlocking bill;  Make calls with Google Voice without a Google+ account;  Microsoft Word tricks to make you an instant expert;  Monitor multiple time zones with the Windows clock;  The best Linux desktop environments;  iSwimband: a wearable to keep your kids safe at the pool;  How to pick the right headphones;  Hidden Google: 10 Fun Search Tricks;  The security flaws in Tails Linux are not its only problem;  Firefox adds anti-malware file reputation service;  The 17 best free PC games;  5 tips for getting the most out of working at home;  Zemana AntiLogger (free);  The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police;  Geeks tend to be Democrats, says DeGrasse Tyson.

How to Manage Your Online Reputation – When was the last time you Googled your name? If you haven’t, it’s a good habit to get into, because it’s exactly what a potential employer is likely to do when they’re sifting through a pile of resumes. “The stuff people care most about is what they find when they Google you,” says Michael Fertik, CEO and founder of online reputation-management firm

Congress finally passes cell phone unlocking bill: House gives in, passes the Senate version that unlocking activists preferred – The House passed the Senate version of the bill without making any changes to it. That means that the controversial language banning “bulk” unlocking won’t be in the final version of the bill. If that language had stayed in, the bill would have protected consumers while leaving phone resellers and recyclers open to copyright claims.

5 upcoming Android phones that are worth waiting for – Maybe you aren’t smitten with today’s superphones or you have a suspicion that the perfect phone is just around the corner. Here’s a list of the most intriguing upcoming Android phones.

Make calls with Google Voice without a Google+ account – Have Google Voice, but not interested in Google’s social platform? Now you can make calls through your Web browser without signing up for the latter.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

If you steal Microsoft product keys, you will get arrested like Mr. Prabhu – Microsoft makes the majority of its revenue by selling software and if you try to steal product keys from Microsoft, don’t be surprised if they send the authorities after you like they did in India.

Monitor multiple time zones from your desktop with the Windows clock – Windows has so many handy little features hidden all over the place, you can often forget they’re there and until someone reminds you. Here’s a reminder. The system tray clock in Windows 7 and 8.1 can display up to three different world times at once. Here’s how it works.


Microsoft Word tricks to make you an instant expert – There’s much more to Word than just pointing, clicking, typing, and spell-checking. In this gallery, I present six of my favorite hidden features to make you more productive when creating and editing Word documents.

TravelByDrone lets you visit all these places without leaving your seat – A simple but innovative new “travel” website called TravelByDrone maps embedded YouTube videos showing drone-shot video of various cities and places. You can do a techno-dubbed fly-over of Paris at night or (likely) see your own city forest from above. Wherever citizens can capture aerial video, TravelByDrone can map it for your viewing pleasure.


How to get photos from your digital camera to Instagram in 3 easy steps – The best photos on Instagram weren’t taken with a smartphone. Make your account stand out by learning how to get photos from your DSLR or point-and-shoot onto Instagram in no time.

The best Linux desktop environments – Unlike Windows or Mac OS X, Linux offers a wide variety of desktop environments. Here are my picks of the most important of these PC interfaces.


GNOME 3.12

This Site Lets You Check If A Hotel’s WiFi Sucks Before It’s Too Late – There are lots of things that review sites should rank hotels on, but don’t. Is it known for bed bugs? Is the “heated pool” only heated during summer when the sun is out? How many ghosts live there? How fast is the WiFi? This site won’t help you with all of those, but it will help you with that last one.

iSwimband: a wearable to keep your kids safe at the pool – We’ve seen a variety of wristbands targeted towards parents, all of them selling the promise of safety in a world that feels increasingly dangerous. iSwimband is a similar wearable, but one that narrows its purpose down to one specific activity: swimming, and the related prevention of drowning.


Russia targets anonymity with Tor bounty – Russia has added another item to its list of controversy, with its interior ministry announcing a bounty for research that will allow them to unmask Tor users. To the lucky one(s) who come up with a method, the sum of 3.9 roubles will be given.

Microsoft wants you to forget Windows 8 – Unless the Redmond, Wash. technology company radically changes its habits, it will throw Windows 8 down a memory hole even before the successor ships. Just like it made Vista persona non grata in its official messaging in 2009, it will shove Windows 8 so far into the background that we’ll need the Hubble telescope to find it.

How to pick the right headphones — for you: The Audiophiliac gives headphone buyers a lot to think about – Headphone buyers have never had it so good, but the range of choices between in-, on-, over- the-ear, noise-canceling, noise-isolating, and wireless models can be overwhelming. What’s the best one for you? Let’s look at what’s what with headphones.

Google granting half of ‘right to be forgotten’ requests – After being called to account over its handling of the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling, it has been revealed that Google is approving around 50 percent of all requests.

Hidden Google: 10 Fun Search Tricks – You could work or you could slack off by trying all these tricks, taking an early lunch and napping in your parked car until 1:30 or 2:00. Totally up to you.


The security flaws in Tails Linux are not its only problem – A new version of Tails, version 1.1, was released on July 22, 2014 with bug fixes. On top of that, security firm Exodus Intel announced that they discovered bugs in this just-released version. All of this is par for the course. There is, however, another, less obvious, danger for Tails users – the Tails website ( itself. If I ran a spy agency, the users of Tails Linux would be among the people I most wanted to spy on. Simply by using Tails, they have declared to the world that they want to hide something. As a spy, I would try to trick people into downloading a spyware-infested copy of Tails. A great way to do that, would be to create a scam copy of An evil twin, if you will.

IE was the most vulnerable web browser in the first half of 2014 – According to a new security report out by Bromium, Internet Explorer was the most vulnerable web browser in the first half of 2014. The firm states that IE was the most patched and most exploited product in the first half of 2014, surpassing Java and Flash. The chart shows the trending of vulnerabilities; the blue bars represents vulnerabilities in 2013 and those in red are for 2014.

(Yeah – that’s it – blame Microsoft because users are too careless to update. This article is a perfect example of how twisting stats, ensures a click-bait headline.)


Firefox adds anti-malware file reputation service – Firefox has blocked known phishing and malware sites for some time. Version 31.0 adds a new feature. If, during a download, the site passes reputation check, then before completion Firefox will send a SHA-256 hash of the file to Google’s Safe Browsing Service, which maintains a database of them. This file reputation service is not a documented part of the Safe Browsing API, but Google has given Firefox access to it. Obviously Google Chrome has had access to this file reputation service since Google launched it in 2012.

Firefox slams Chrome again in our trustworthy browser poll – Firefox once again outpaced Chrome, IE, Safari and Opera as the most trusted web browser. But many are not happy with their browser choices when it comes to privacy. Read on for some of the interesting comments our readers submitted …


Company News:

Verizon to begin throttling some users with Unlimited 4G LTE data plans this October – Verizon has tried to win back customers that have lost trust and patience with the company, but they’ve recently backtracked by unveiling a new policy that will throttle some Unlimited 4G LTE users.

Apple will ‘set the world on fire’ with iPhone 6 sales – Analysts anticipate an ‘unbelievably massive’ second half of ’14 for a new, larger-screen iPhone, in part because Apple’s committed a near-record $21B for components, tooling and manufacturing

Bose sues Beats, claims noise canceling headphones violate patents – A timely move, Beats — now owned by Apple — has been sued by Bose. The litigation is said to revolve around noise canceling headphones. Details are sketchy, but it’s a potentially devastating blow to Beats’ hardware division.

Apple buys e-book recommendation engine, report says – The tech giant’s potential purchase could help it compete in an area dominated by Amazon’s prized e-book business, according to TechCrunch.

Games and Entertainment:

The 17 best free PC games – Here, you’ll find a list of games so good the developers could’ve charged money (or, in some cases, did charge money) before going free-to-play. These aren’t just good free-to-play games, they’re good games, full stop.


Heroes & Generals

Hands On With the Destiny Beta – Gamers have been waiting for over a year to get their hands on Destiny, and a small group of people were able to play the alpha version of the game after this year’s E3. But a new, ongoing PlayStation and Xbox beta, which kicked off last week, opens the door to an even larger group of people. I played only a few hours of Destiny, but I can’t wait for the game’s official Sept. 9 release. It’s just that good.


Ridley Scott’s Halo: Nightfall TV series gets a teaser trailer – Microsoft axed a whole bunch of employees and projects last week, including the staff developing original content for Xbox One. But fear not, the only original content anyone cared about survived the cut.


Watch: Rob Zombie’s French Revolution, for Assassin’s Creed – Teaming up with The Walking Dead co-creator Tony Moore, Rob Zombie and Ubisoft have created an animated short showing the brutality of the French Revolution. In support of Assassin’s Creed: Unity, of course, this film is being made. While Pirates are easy to understand, not everyone is up on their history – the significance of this time period must be made plain.


You Should Play: Steampunk Tower – These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.


Off Topic (Sort of):

Emerging technologies are reducing governments’ stranglehold on the economy – Forget pizza and books, it is now possible to order an entire summer party weekend from a smartphone. The website Airbnb makes it easy to find the perfect rental (I recently stayed at a lovely cabin on a buffalo ranch outside of Golden, B.C.). The ride-sharing site Uber is offering water taxis in Ontario’s Mukoka region. And darknet markets, such as Silk Road 2, allow people to purchase a wide variety of marijuana and other mind-altering substances from the comfort of their own home.

Beware the spin behind Australia’s copyright law discussion paper – Another week, another propaganda-driven proposal from the mind of Australian Attorney-General Brandis. This one assumes that ISPs need to fix other people’s broken product distribution models.

Geeks tend to be Democrats, says DeGrasse Tyson – Is it possible that geeks are all of one persuasion? We know that most of them think alike and would prefer that all humanity thought, acted and dressed like engineers. However, does this also imply that geeks are natural Democrats? Appearing on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” Cosmos presenter and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson explained his belief about nerd politics.

Windows Phone charged by Apple – and Potato – The world’s largest battery has been made using “Organic Charging” – made out of copper wiring, nails, apples, and potatoes. You’ll see a Nokia Lumia 930 in white as well as a Nokia Wireless Charger attached to a rigged-up wire connected to the food. The food that charges the phone.


How tech innovation was used for mass killing during WWI – The conflict’s start on July 28, 1914, signaled the beginning of a new era in high-tech warfare, which included fighter aircraft, tanks, chemical weapons, and flamethrowers.


Germans testing the climbing power of captured British tanks, redecorated in German colors.

5 tips for getting the most out of working at home – The advantages of working at home, far away from the distractions of the office, are many. But it’s not always a rose garden, and these tips will help those working at home make the most of it.

You can checkout my take on working from home – Working From Home? Are You REALLY Working? (March 1, 2012)

Microsoft explains quantum computing so even you can understand – Quantum computing may someday blow away today’s smartest machines. It’s weird and heavy on the physics, but Microsoft thinks you can handle it.


Something to think about:

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

–      Benjamin Franklin

Today’s Free Downloads:

Zemana AntiLogger – AntiLogger is a lightweight app that keeps track of who is doing what on your computer. Instead of identifying malware based on its signature fingerprint, like all malware products with scan functionality, the AntiLogger catches malware at the moment it attacks your computer. It will then prompt you if an illegal program is trying to record your keystrokes, capture your screen, gain access to your clipboard, microphone and webcam, or inject itself into your computer’s sensitive areas.

The AntiLogger features our unique SSL Intrusion Protection technology that guards you against advanced forms of Financial Malware. The AntiLogger is one of the very few products on the market today able to detect these dangerous and complex threats.

Zemana AntiLogger is not designed to replace your installed antivirus software — it’s made to detect serious threats that are outside of their scope. It adds an extra layer of essential protection to whatever anti-malware or anti-virus software you’re currently using.

Stop malicious programs from stealing your usernames and passwords

Monitors your PC in real time, all the time. No scans needed.

100% signature independent: does not rely on a database of known threats

Powerful, yet light. Does not slow down your PC


Here’s my take on Zemana Antilogger – Zemana AntiLogger – An Ounce of Prevention (January 9, 2010)

Process Lasso – Process Lasso is a unique new technology that will, amongst other things, improve your PC’s responsiveness and stability. Windows, by design, allows programs to monopolize your CPU without restraint – leading to freezes and hangs.

Process Lasso’s ProBalance technology intelligently adjusts the priority of running programs so that badly behaved programs won’t interfere with your ability to use the computer! In addition, Process Lasso offers capabilities such as default process priorities and affinities, termination of disallowed processes, instance count limits, a system responsiveness graph, logging of processes, keep select processes running (auto-restart), and much more!

Best of all, Process Lasso’s core process management engine is isolated from the GUI. This means it can do its job consuming almost no system resources, and without ever making a peep. You will porbably not even notice it is running, but you will surely notice when uninstalling it.


ProBalance dynamic priority optimization

Works great for desktops, laptops, and netbooks

Persistent (sticky) priorities and CPU affinities

Instance count limits

Disallowed processes

Keep processes running (auto-restart)

Unique system responsiveness graph

Prevent PC sleep for designated processes

Differentiate between svchost.exe instances

Extremely low resource use

Stand-alone process management engine (uses as little as 1MB of RAM)

Event logging


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Microsoft explains why they oppose government demands for personal data – Microsoft has not been shy about fighting the remarks made against the company that they are working with government agencies and allowing them to access their data at will. After the leaks by Edward Snowden, Microsoft’s reputation took a hit after it was stated that they were helping the NSA crack encryption keys. Microsoft was not alone in being called out by the leaks but for a company building out a billion dollar cloud business; the brand needs to be protected.

In the weeks and months following these accusations, Microsoft has gone on the offensive to quiet the fear mongering that its data services were compromised by the US government. In the latest round of pushing back against the government, Microsoft’s top lawyer, Brad Smith, has been conducting interviews about this topic. The most recent being with the Wall Street Journal and you can watch the interview at the top of this post.

The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police – The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudis on “internal security” matters.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that “Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse,” specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly “poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat” of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI’s use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents.

But as the State Department publicly catalogued those very abuses, the NSA worked to provide increased surveillance assistance to the ministry that perpetrated them. The move is part of the Obama Administration’s increasingly close ties with the Saudi regime; beyond the new cooperation with the MOI, the memo describes “a period of rejuvenation” for the NSA’s relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Defense.

In general, U.S. support for the Saudi regime is long-standing. One secret 2007 NSA memo lists Saudi Arabia as one of four countries where the U.S. “has [an] interest in regime continuity.”


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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 25, 2014

‘Canvas fingerprinting’ tracking is sneaky but easy to halt;  How to get connected home security without breaking the bank;  Everything you need to know about Android launchers;  Make your home more convenient with these three gadgets;  6 awesome new Android apps you should check out;  Microsoft rolls out Skype 5.0 for Android;  Instagram teases their new messaging app ‘Bolt’;  10 technologies that will transform PCs;  Mapbox shows you all the places you can’t fly drones;  Finally, Some Wearable Tech for the Bros;  Control your desktop, or Windows will control it for you;  European Central Bank website hacked; personal info stolen;  ‘Titanfall’ to launch map pack, major update;  There’s A Secret Craigslist Just For Rich People;  EU regulators to Google: “Right to forget” needs to go worldwide.

‘Canvas fingerprinting’ tracking is sneaky but easy to halt – Widgets such as AddThis can be entirely blocked with tools such as AdBlock Plus or DoNotTrackMe from Abine, both extensions that can block web trackers. DoNotTrackMe, for example, can spot a browser making a request to AddThis for content and block it, meaning AddThis couldn’t transmit JavaScript for canvas fingerprinting, wrote Andrew Sudbury, CTO and cofounder of Abine, via email. AdBlock Plus can also block these kinds of JavaScript requests, but not by default, wrote Ben Williams, public relations manager for AdBlock Plus, in an email. The extension is intended to be used with a series of filters, or lists, that enable certain kinds of blocking. Williams wrote that a user would need to install the EasyPrivacy filter. The AddThis widget would be blocked, along with any other JavaScript, he wrote.


(Some of my Firefox addons – including AdBlock Plus. Selected addons are disabled as required.)

Everything you need to know about Android launchers – Android launchers are apps that can spice up your phone’s home screen or act as a personal assistant. Here’s what you need to know about how they work and how to choose one that’s right for you.

6 awesome new Android apps you should check out – Apps and games are pouring into Google Play all day, every day. You don’t need to slog through the stream of new apps in Google Play to find the coolest stuff. We’ve got you covered with this list of the best new apps and games we’ve come across on Android.

Microsoft rolls out Skype 5.0 for Android – Microsoft has introduced a new version of its Skype app for Android devices, finally introducing integration with your handset’s contacts book, and with contacts from other Microsoft services.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Make your home more convenient with these three gadgets – The Internet of Things. Connected devices. The devices we use in our everyday lives are getting a makeover, and with that makeover comes an unprecedented amount of control over and automation in our homes. Lights know when to turn off and on. The house is already cooled down when you get home from work. Menial tasks fade into the background.

Celebrate Chromecast’s Birthday With Free Google Play Music Streaming – Today is the Chromecast’s first birthday; one year of casting YouTube videos, Netflix movies, Pandora playlists, and more to your TV. To celebrate, Chromecast owners can get a Google Play Music All Access subscription free for 90 days. The deal starts today and runs through Sept. 30; get it at

5 ways to use social media to boost your career prospects – Face it: Employers, both current and future, look you up online. And not just your LinkedIn profile—most of them will also click any public social network links that are floating around. But don’t panic. With a little effort, you can polish your profiles so your personality shines through and makes you a more attractive candidate to recruiters. Here are five tips for leveraging your social networks to give your career a competitive edge.

Finally, Some Wearable Tech for the Bros – Snaptrax caps let you connect hands-free to your smartphone while still fitting right in at the kegger, Spring Break pool party, or even kicking it on the sidelines of a lacrosse game. Crucially, you can wear a Snaptrax Bluetooth cap forwards or backwards. Snaptrax promises to let wearers do pretty much everything they’re used to doing with a smartphone in hand, from making calls and texting to playing music and surfing the Web.


Free game alert: EA’s giving away The Sims 2 after ending support for the game – From now until the end of the month you can get a free copy of The Sims 2 through Origin.

(Be prepared for an extremely frustrating experience should you choose to take up this offer.)

Google Maps brings ‘Explore Nearby’ to Android, iOS – Explore Nearby is a great way to waste time on the desktop version of Google Maps, and it’s coming to mobile. Google announced today that they’re bringing the feature to both Android and iOS, and it’s going to actually get better on mobile. Now, offering suggestions on what to do with your free time will get contextual as well.


How to get connected home security without breaking the bank – Connected homes are fast becoming the new normal, with platforms like Wink coming to the mainstream. Through it all, one thing remains a point of concern for potential customers: home security. A typically expensive proposition, home security is fast becoming more cost-effective for the average consumer. How cheap is it, really, though? We take a look at a few products to find out.


Your Smartphone Will Soon Know If You Have Bipolar Disorder – In the United States, 1 in 50 people over the age of 25 have some form of bipolar disorder. In fact, the United States has more cases of bipolar I and II per-capita than any other nation in the world. Researchers at the University of Michigan are now testing a new smartphone app for Android, code-named PRIORI, that can help detect if someone is having a bipolar episode. PRIORI is designed to learn over time to monitor a person’s voice and detect subtle changes in mood. A change is a signal that the user might be having either a manic or depressive episode.

(How about an application that shows people that they’re perfectly normal.)

Instagram teases their new messaging app ‘Bolt’ – As if they haven’t had enough scorn from their Slingshot app, Facebook is toying with messaging again. This time, it comes via Instagram, where some users are seeing an invitation to try something called Bolt. It’s messaging, and it’s photo-centric. Ring a bell?


Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition Review & Overclocking Build Guide – To mark the 20th anniversary of its Pentium brand, Intel has released a special fully unlocked Haswell dual-core Pentium G3258 for $72 — just what the overclocking community has been waiting for.

Who’s banned from editing Wikipedia this week? Congress – Most members and staffers of the US House of Representatives won’t be able to edit pages on Wikipedia for more than a week. Administrators of the popular Web encyclopedia have imposed a 10-day ban on the IP address connected to Congress’ lower house. The ban comes after a series of wild “disruptive” edits that appeared following the creation of @congressedits, a bot that monitors anonymous edits from congressional IP addresses and announces them to the world via Twitter. The account was created just over two weeks ago and already has more than 23,000 followers.

Control your desktop, or Windows will control it for you – Windows rarely leaves the icons on your desktop where you want them. Here’s how to fix that annoying problem.



Did Malwarebytes Get a Fair Shake? – The latest report from Dennis Technology Labs contained a shocker for antivirus technology watchers. The free and popular Malwarebytes Anti-Malware came in almost dead last. Does this mean Malwarebytes is no good? Well, not necessarily.

(A skewed and manipulated test that has little value. A disgraceful attempt to knockdown a reliable and highly regarded “malware remover.”)

European Central Bank website hacked; personal info stolen – The website of the European Central Bank has been hacked and personal information of 20.000 users has been stolen. However no market data or internal banking systems have been compromised.

Company News:

Facebook Is Now Worth $190 Billion – Facebook is worth more than Amazon. Following yesterday’s earnings report, Facebook shares hit an all-time high in after-hours trading at $75. Price has been very stable this morning as well, confirming yesterday’s pop. Shares opened at $75.96 a share, then set a new record at $76.74. Now, shares are trading at $75.13. In other words, Facebook’s market capitalization is now around $190 billion, which is above Amazon’s market capitalization of $165 billion.

($190 Billion for a marketing machine? This borders on fantasy.)

Amazon stock plunges after $126 million quarterly loss – Despite Amazon’s recent launch of the Fire Phone, Kindle Unlimited, and HBO on Amazon Prime, the company struggled to turn a profit last quarter. Amazon announced Thursday that it lost $126 million in quarterly earnings. The company’s stock price was down more than seven percent in after-hours trading. The losses show that Amazon may be overstretched at the moment. The company made $274 million in 2013 and nearly $3 billion in total profits from 2009 through 2013.

Chubby Checker, HP settle penis size app trademark suit – Musician Chubby Checker, best known for his 1960 smash hit cover version of The Twist, has settled the lawsuit he brought against Hewlett Packard in 2013, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In the suit the singer claimed trademark infringement after HP included a penis size estimating application, “The Chubby Checker,” in its WebOS store.

Google’s acquisition of Twitch appears to be confirmed – It would seem that Google may have even more of a hold on the world of citizen-made videos published to the internet now as word spreads that they’ve acquired Twitch. Word first surfaced earlier this year as this $1 billion dollar purchase was first spoken about by sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal.

Apple faces privacy suit following Chinese TV report – The U.S. class action lawsuit, filed by a woman named Chen Ma, alleges that Apple has “intentionally intruded” into her privacy with the iPhone’s location tracking service. Apple has also disclosed the data to third parties, including the U.S. government, according to the claims. In making the allegations, the lawsuit cites a July 11 report from the state-run China Central Television, which warned that Apple’s location-tracking functions could be a security threat.

EBay faces class action suit over data breach – The consumer privacy class action lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Collin Green, a citizen of the state of Louisiana, alleged that the security breach was the result of eBay’s inadequate security in regard to protecting identity information of its millions of customers. The e-commerce site’s failure to properly secure the information “has caused, and is continuing to cause, damage to its customers, the putative class members herein,” according to the complaint by Green which asks for class action status.

Qualcomm faces big trouble in China – Antitrust regulators have reportedly found Qualcomm abused its monopoly in China. Meanwhile, the chipmaker is forging ahead there, investing up to $150 million for local startups.

Games and Entertainment:

Microsoft releases first trailer for ‘Halo: Nightfall’ – Microsoft has released the first footage of the upcoming “Halo: Nightfall” digital video series, giving us our first good glimpse of Agent Locke, who will be playable in “Halo 5: Guardians.”


PSA: Destiny beta no longer requires pre-order to access – Last week, Bungie and Activision unveiled a beta version of their upcoming online shooter game Destiny, which first launched on PS3 and PS4 consoles. Xbox 360 and Xbox One players had to wait until yesterday to join in. Beta access for users across all consoles had a catch: It required a Destiny pre-order (or luckily snagging a beta download code via social media). That changed on Thursday when Bungie opened the game’s beta doors open to all console players, so long as they were subscribed to their system’s paid subscription service (Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus).

‘Titanfall’ to launch map pack, major update with new credit system on July 31 – “Frontier’s Edge,” the new map pack, will include three previously announced maps, while the fifth title update will bring a system that allows users to purchase burn cards and titan insignias with in-game credit, though developer Respawn stresses the credit won’t cost real-world money. The system, called “Black Market,” will be available to users once they hit level 11; users who have regenerated will keep access to the Black Market regardless of the level in the next player generation.


GOG rolls out Linux support with over 50 games, many on sale – While Valve and its Steam distribution platform have been pushing Linux as the future of PC gaming for a long while now, the folks at online store GOG have contented themselves with PC and Mac software. That situation changed today, as GOG (formerly Good Old Games) announced support for Linux, offering over 50 titles for DRM-free download. To celebrate the launch, the site is also offering 29 of its Linux games at reduced prices for up to 75 percent off through Monday.

Destiny Ghost Edition pre-orders are being cancelled by Walmart – The Ghost Edition for Destiny is no joke. In a world where games typically offer a handful of mostly useless digital in-game equipment with a pre-order, the huge crate of awesome that Destiny has is worth it just for the custom Ghost model inside. When you add in the artwork, custom game case, stickers, and the huge map, you get plenty of physical goodies to go along with a list of digital goodies that seems to be increasing every week. The $150 price tag didn’t deter fans, but if you pre-ordered through Walmart you may have an email waiting about your order being bumped down to the Limited Edition of the game.


Upcoming PlayStation 4 patch adds support for 3D Blu-ray content – Sony has just announced that an upcoming Playstation 4 patch will add support for 3D Blu-ray playback. However, this does little to appease gamers that feel Sony’s focus is shifting away from gaming.


The new 1869-piece Lego Tumbler Batmobile is a $199 masterpiece – The set is going to go on sale September 1st for a whopping $199. That might sounds like a lot, and in the grand scheme it is for a pile of blocks, but these big Lego sets usually cost a few hundred dollars. Well, it also comes with a limited edition Batman and Joker (Heath Ledger version) minfigs, if that makes you feel better about the price.


Off Topic (Sort of):

Mapbox shows you all the places you can’t fly drones – As drones and various similar flying contraptions grow in popularity, the legal contention over where they can and cannot be used is growing, and there’s no sign of a simple answer coming any time soon. While the issues are ironed out, Mapbox aims to make the process a little less uncertain, creating a map that shows no-fly zones.


There’s A Secret Craigslist Just For Rich People – The Bloomberg terminal is an expensive Wall Street trading and research machine with lots of financial data. It has its own version of Craigslist, called POSH. Prices tend to be higher than what you’d find in typical classifieds sections, with goods such as vast estates, boats, Rolexes, diamond rings, and expensive cars. There’s even a filter for just airplanes and boats!


Watching smut at work is bad but emailing it is just fine, says Oz court – Voyeurs rejoice! The Federal Court of Australia has ruled Aussies cannot be easily sacked for emailing porn to work colleagues. The ruling upheld a decision last year by Fair Work Australia which found the nation’s mail service Australia Post was wrong to have sacked the three workers at the Dandenong Letter Centre for emailing smut around the office.

10 technologies that will transform PCs – You might write off PCs as archaic or boring. You might take for granted that they’ll get faster, lighter, more power-efficient and more convenient to use over time. But if you stop and consider all the things that go into making a computer better, there’s actually a lot to be excited about. Here are 10 PC advancements that will transform PCs over the next several years.

Why have consumers spent $1 million on Vessyl, an absurd calorie-counting cup? – The Vessyl calorie-counting cup is probably the most ridiculous, unnecessary gadget I’ve seen demoed in all my years as a tech journalist—yet somehow, inexplicably, the company behind it has just announced that it’s surpassed $1 million in pre-order sales. I have to ask why? What makes this $99 product so compelling that more than 10,000 consumers are willing to throw down for it? Seriously. Someone out there, please tweet me directly and tell me why.

Something to think about:

“Sometimes what’s right isn’t as important as what’s profitable.”

–    Trey Parker and Matt StoneSouth Park, Prehistoric Ice Man, 1999

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Hide IP – Free Hide IP the best way is to keep your IP address from  being shown to others.

Hackers and identity thieves are becoming more and more rampant in today’s society. They may break into anyone’s computer and monitor one’s activity or steal one’s identity or other personal information.

To stay safe online, the best way is to keep your IP address from being shown to others.

Now we provide you a FREE solution to hide your IP address. Use Free Hide IP to hide your real IP address for free, anonymize your web surfing, keep your computer safe from hacker attacks and other risks, all with a single click.



HotShots – HotShots is an application for capturing screens and saving them in a variety of image formats as well as adding annotations and graphical data (arrows, lines, texts, …).


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

EU regulators to Google: “Right to forget” needs to go worldwide – In May, the European Union’s highest court ordered Google to grant EU citizens a “right to be forgotten” that would allow them to remove “inadequate” or “irrelevant” links. Google complied, providing a new form that was used thousands of times—mostly by those seeking to erase links related to accusations of fraud and other serious crimes.

But Google only removed links on its European sites, like Users in Europe, or anywhere else, can still get “full” search results by visiting the US version of the site at

That decision is now under fire by EU regulators and experts, who have said the limitation “effectively defeats the purpose of the ruling,” according to a Reuters report. EU authorities are scheduled to meet with Google today, as well as representatives from Yahoo and Microsoft, to discuss the issue.

The text of the European Court of Justice’s ruling doesn’t say anything about how to handle requests across varying national sites. If a link meets the criteria, the court ruling simply states that “the links and information in the list of results must be erased.” It doesn’t detail how and where such deletions should occur.

The idea of stretching the ruling to apply worldwide is a worst-case scenario not just for Google but for critics of the law, who have called it a form of censorship.

You don’t need to be a terrorist to get on no-fly list, US manual says – Federal agencies have nominated more than 1.5 million names to terrorist watchlists over the past five years alone, yet being a terrorist isn’t a condition of getting on a roster that is virtually impossible to be removed from, according to a leaked US “Watchlisting Guidance” manual.

The 166-page document, marked as “sensitive security information” and published by The Intercept, comes amid increasing skepticism over how people are placed on or get off of US terrorism databases like the no-fly list that bars flying to and within the United States.

Attorney General Eric Holder, for example, had claimed last year that national security would be imperiled if the public knew that a Stanford University graduate student was placed on the no-fly list because an FBI agent checked the wrong box on a nomination form. And just last month, a federal judge ruled that the government’s method for allowing the public to challenge placement on the no-fly list was “wholly ineffective” and unconstitutional.

The leaked manual says there are a dozen-plus US agencies that have nominating power for the several watchlists the government maintains. But the guidance given to the agencies is vague and confusing, and it says that “concrete facts” about whether somebody is a danger “are not necessary.” All nominations to the National Counterterrorism Center are considered “valid” unless that agency has evidence to the contrary. Of the nearly 470,000 nominations last year, the agency rejected 4,915.

(Idiots doing an idiots job – with the expected results – idiotic! At the core – lies, manipulation, and excessive control.)


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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 24, 2014

How a Netflix subscriber used VPN to thwart Verizon’s streaming slowdown;  Five calendar apps to keep you on track;  Adding a HUD to your car: three options;  The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist;  Majority of UK broadband users opting out of porn filters; Dorm Room Tech Every Student Needs;  OS X Yosemite beta goes PUBLIC on July 24;  Sense sleep tracker analyzes room for smarter rest;  File-encrypting Android ransomware’s extortion attempts mimic FBI;  The world’s most secure OS may have a serious problem;  How to secure your iOS device to prevent unwanted access;  Amazon Expands Prime Music Catalog By “Hundreds Of Thousands” Of Songs;  First there was analog sound, then digital, what’s next?  Man ejected from Southwest flight for tweeting that a gate agent was rude;  Gameloft’s Modern Combat 5: Blackout Hits Android and iOS;  SkyBell WiFi Doorbell hands-on;  MPs to sue UK. gov over ‘ridiculous’ EMERGENCY data snooping law.

How a Netflix subscriber used VPN to thwart Verizon’s streaming slowdown – That’s what one tech-savvy Netflix subscriber did when performance lagged on Verizon’s network. The result? A 10x boost in his streaming speed.

American Users Spend An Average Of 40 Minutes Per Day On Facebook – American Facebook users spend way more time on the social network than exercising. Mark Zuckerberg said today on Facebook’s Q2 earnings call that “people on Facebook in the US spend around 40 minutes each day using our service”, while the CDC recommends Americans exercise 21 minutes a day but only 20% of people meet that goal.

Overwhelming majority of UK broadband users opting out of porn filters – UK broadband users are rejecting the ISP-level porn filters introduced at the behest of the government, with 95% of BT Broadband customers, and 92% of those on Sky Broadband, opting out of using them.

(Once more, the notion that a government can legislate it’s own sense of morality goes down in flames. It seems that morally ambitious governments are incapable of logical thought.)

Obscure but handy: Five calendar apps to keep you on track – Whether we’re tracking a busy work schedule, school classes, our children’s activities, or social events, calendars help us keep up with our commitments. Most users tend to stick with what is known. That means Outlook, Google Calendar, or iCal. But what would you say if I told you that countless other calendar tools are available — some of which are even easier to use than the standard fare? Most would say, “Show me what you got!” That’s what I intend to do.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Oracle Linux 7 released – Oracle has supported Linux almost from day one. But it wasn’t until 2006, when Larry Ellison got into a disagreement with Red Hat, that Oracle decided it had to have its “own” Linux distribution — a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone, Oracle Linux. It’s eight years later, and Oracle is still copying RHEL with its release of Oracle Linux 7.

Dorm Room Tech Every Student Needs – Over the years, universities have modernized their dorms – from A/C and cable to private phone lines and Internet connections. But most setups probably leave something to be desired. Of course, you should be out enjoying the college experience most of the time and not stuck in your room, but you still have to study, sleep, and relax. And in those hours, you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible.

Let family track you in traffic with Google Maps creator’s app PlaceUs – A new app from one of the chief creators of Google Maps, Sam Liang Ph.D, is appearing this week to allow your family to track you at all times. Contextual awareness is key to the existence of “PlaceUs,” an app which allows you to tell your family you’re running late without ever taking your smartphone out of your pocket. This app is entirely free and – again – is available only on iOS through the iTunes App Store for the iPhone at the moment.

Sense sleep tracker analyzes room for smarter rest – A new sleep-tracking gadget which aims to do for the bedroom what wearables like Fitbit and Jawbone have done for exercise claims it can wake you more naturally without a frustrating wristband, figuring out sleep cycles but also taking into account the state of your bedroom. While there’s no shortage of products out there which will analyze how you’re sleeping, new Kickstarter project Sense promises to go several steps beyond simply tracking light and deep phases of rest.

(All these years we’ve been doing the sleep thing all wrong – but, technology has finally come to the rescue. Good grief!)


SkyBell WiFi Doorbell hands-on: HomeKit’s digital doorman – Your doorbell isn’t smart enough, and SkyBell wants to change that: a hockey puck scale upgrade to the traditional push-button that delivers motion-triggered video direct to your phone. After having raised almost six-times its crowdfunding goal in late 2013, the WiFi-enabled doorbell is counting on some big names like Apple to help it stand out from the growing home automation melee.


OS X Yosemite beta goes PUBLIC on July 24 – Apple fans eager to take OS X Yosemite for a spin will be able to get their hands on it from July 24. Paid-up developers have been able to test drive the desktop operating system for the past few weeks. The iPhone giant confirmed to The Register today that version 10.10 of OS X will, come this Thursday, be available for download by users who have signed up for the public beta program.

Amazon Fire Phone review roundup: misfiring on almost all cylinders – Amazon’s first foray into the smartphone world after the success of its Kindle Fire tablets has hit a snag: it’s not very good. Or at least that’s what the first reviews pouring out of the US seem to indicate.


Amazon Expands Prime Music Catalog By “Hundreds Of Thousands” Of Songs – One of the major complaints with Amazon Prime Music, the company’s new streaming music service bundled in with its Amazon Prime membership program, was its lack of song selection, and especially current hits. Today, Amazon is taking a small step towards remedying that problem with an announcement of an expansion of the Prime Music service, which now has grown by “hundreds of thousands of songs.” The expansion includes both songs from artists who are new to Prime Music, as well as additional tracks from artists who already offered some content to Prime Music subscribers.

3D print space probes and asteroids, courtesy of NASA – NASA has released STL files so you can 3D print your own scale models of space probes, asteroids and the surface of the moon.


Model of Mars’ Gale crater.

Matter Lets You Add And Edit 3D Objects In Your Photographs – Pixite, a company that creates high-quality photo editing apps on iOS, is increasing its creative suite today with the launch of Matter, an app that allows users to add 3D effects with shadows and reflections into their existing photographs. Matter has four packs of geometric and architectural models that you can pick a color for, and style it as reflective, opaque, refractive or translucent. You can add shadows in real time and move its position and opacity as well. You can even erase the shadow or model by clicking the tool and rubbing your finger on the parts you want to erase. The app is $1.99 on the App Store.


What ‘one Windows’ really means (and doesn’t) – Is Microsoft building a single version of Windows that will run on phones, tablets, PCs and gaming consoles? Nope. Here’s a refresher as to what really is happening.


File-encrypting Android ransomware’s extortion attempts mimic FBI – A ransomware threat that encrypts files stored on the SD memory cards of Android devices has been updated to target English-speaking users with FBI-themed alerts. A new variant found recently displays a message to victims in English that masquerades as an alert from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation about illegal pornographic content being found on the device. The victims are instructed to pay a so-called fine of $300 through a payment service called MoneyPak.

The world’s most secure OS may have a serious problem – The Tails operating system is one of the most trusted platforms in cryptography, favored by Edward Snowden and booted up more than 11,000 times per day in May. But according to the security firm Exodus Intelligence, the program may not be as secure as many thought. The company says they’ve discovered an undisclosed vulnerability that will let attackers deanonymize Tails computers and even execute code remotely, potentially exposing users to malware attacks. Exodus is currently working with Tails to patch the bug, and expects to hand over a full report on the exploit next week.

Dirty Dozen Spampionship – which country is spewing the most spam? – With the 2014 World Cup complete, and the Commonwealth Games just round the corner, we thought it was a good time to publish the latest SophosLabs Spampionship charts. We measured which computers in the world sent the most spam in the second quarter (April, May and June) of 2014, and turned our measurements into a pair of League Tables.


Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS – Security outlet VUPEN has revealed it held onto a critical Internet Explorer vulnerability for three years before disclosing it at the March Pwn2Own hacker competition. The company wrote in a disclosure last week it discovered the vulnerability (CVE-2014-2777) on 12 February 2011 which was patched by Microsoft on 17 June (MS14-035). The flaw affected Internet Explorer browsers eight through eleven and allowed remote attackers to bypass the protected mode sandbox.

How to secure your iOS device to prevent unwanted access – Leaving your iOS device unattended can pose a security risk as more iOS users are carrying personal information on their devices. Keep it secure with these handy tips.

Firefox 31 has arrived – 11 bulletins, 3 critical, 0 visual surprises – Firefox 31 is out. So is its updated conservative older brother, the Extended Support Release, now at 24.7. And Firefox’s email-oriented cousin Thunderbird gets updated, too.

Company News:

Google has to face U.S. privacy suit over new user data policy – A California court has allowed a privacy class action suit against Google to continue, though only in part. After evaluating each claim of each sub-class in the suit, Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal has allowed two claims of the “Android Application Disclosure Subclass,” which includes all persons and entities in the U.S. that acquired an Android-powered device between Aug. 19, 2004 and the present, and downloaded at least one Android application through the Android Market or Google Play.

BlackBerry offers BES10 as a hosted service through partners – Businesses wanting the security of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 without the complexity of managing it onsite can now buy it as a hosted service from six BlackBerry partners.

Sony agrees to $15m settlement for 2011 PSN attack – The massive attack that brought down the PlayStation Network is not yet forgotten. Sony has finally agreed to a $15m settlement, mainly giving away free games and services to affected users.

Qualcomm delivers blowout Q3, but cuts outlook over China woes – Mobile processor giant Qualcomm said a regulatory investigation in China and licensees that aren’t reporting sales of licensed products will hurt fourth quarter results.

Games and Entertainment:

$10 Xbox credit for those that pre-order ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ – If you haven’t pre-ordered ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ yet, it might be a good time to do so. The Microsoft Store is currently offering a $10 Xbox code for those that pre-order.


Life On Kim Kardashian’s D-List – Is there anything Kim Kardashian can’t sell? The Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game is now #1 in the App Store with a 5-star rating and more than 140,000 reviews. It’s slated to gross an estimated $200 million in annual revenue and the stock price for the company that created it, Glu Mobile, has nearly doubled in the last month!

(Reading this makes me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.)


Gameloft’s Modern Combat 5: Blackout Hits Android and iOS – Gameloft is back with the newest installment of its flagship Modern Combat series on iOS and Android. Modern Combat 5: Blackout can be downloaded right now for $6.99 on Android and $8.99 on iOS. Unlike many of Gameloft’s other titles, Modern Combat 5 is free of in-app purchases. You buy it once, and you get all the content. That alone might tempt some people.


Why Simpsons World will destroy the U.S. but not Canada – The U.S could fall into ruin as millions tune in to cable channel FXX’s marathon showing of every “Simpsons” episode ever, to be followed by a “Simpsons World” website and app. A perfect opportunity for Canada, which is geo-blocked, to take over the continent, as it’s always really wanted to.

(No worries – in Canada, the VPN rules.  Hot smile  )


Hands-on with PlayStation Now – Sony’s ambitious streaming-only game service is about to hit public beta. Here’s what to expect.


Access over 15,000 Marvel digital comics for 99 cents – Clear your calendar. For the next month you can treat yourself to Marvel Unlimited’s massive online comic library for just under a buck.


Just three of the digital comics released this week that you can read through Marvel Unlimited.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Adding a HUD to your car: three options – A head-up display (HUD) enables drivers to see all the details they need while driving without any hassle or risk of distraction (not to mention giving one’s car the snazzy sci-fi feel of having data projected onto the windshield). Your car may not have included the technology, but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily equip it with its own HUD feature, and fortunately there are multiple ways to do this.


First there was analog sound, then digital, what’s next? – Sound waves are analog in nature, as they are continuous variations in air pressure. An LP’s grooves directly correspond to sound waves, a digital recording does not. It converts the original sounds into a sequence of numbers, and digital recording and playback requires conversions, first from analog to digital, and then digital to analog. The quality of those conversions determine sound quality. Analog recording avoids those conversions, but is subject to a number of distortions that digital audio avoids. Neither format is perfect; we need a new recording and playback technology that sounds more like the real thing.

Comcast’s Internet for the poor too hard to sign up for, advocates say – A California nonprofit says that a Comcast Internet service program for poor people is too difficult to sign up for, resulting in just 11 percent of eligible households in the state getting service. Comcast had to create the $10-per-month Internet Essentials program in order to secure approval of its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011. About 300,000 households containing 1.2 million people nationwide have gotten cheap Internet service as a result, but the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) complains that the signup process is riddled with problems, a charge Comcast denies.


The Guardian: Telling the story of the first world war with 2014 technology – Today we launched our most recent multimedia interactive to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the first world war. It’s a summary of the war, but with a global twist: stories from the outbreak of war to its aftermath are told through the voices of 10 historians from 10 different countries. It is available in seven languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Hindi and Arabic. We are also inviting our readers to translate the project into even more languages for relaunch in the autumn.


Man ejected from Southwest flight for tweeting that a gate agent was rude – A Minnesota man was ejected from a Southwest Airlines flight for a tweet calling a gate agent rude, reported CBS Minnesota Wednesday. After tweeting, the man was removed from the plane and stated he was “forced” to delete the tweet before he could re-board. Duff Watson is an “A-list” passenger with Southwest, which gives him priority boarding. Watson was miffed when the agent in question told him his two children couldn’t board the plane as priority passengers with him, and Watson let her know that Twitter would, in fact, be hearing about this.


Model drone finds elderly man, missing for three days, alive – It took just 20 minutes for a model drone to locate a missing elderly Wisconsin man, a feat that helicopters, search dogs, and volunteers couldn’t accomplish in three days. Just don’t tell that to the Federal Aviation Administration, whose regulatory wings are already flapping about model drones. This weekend’s discovery of the 82-year-old man in an area of crops and woods comes amid a legal tussle between flight regulators and model drone operators—the latest of which coincidentally involves search-and-rescue missions.

Watch LG roll up an 18-inch OLED panel while it plays video – The latest innovations to make it into the TVs we can buy today are 4K resolutions and curved screens. But if LG has its way, the TVs we purchase in the future are set to be a lot more flexible and transparent.


Something to think about:

“America’s admirers overseas accept that money talks in Washington politics, since money talks in everybody’s politics. It is the energetic ideological justification of the dollar’s power in Washington that seems perverse. To citizens of other liberal democracies, the Supreme Court doctrine that money in politics deserves the protections accorded speech seems like doctrinal insanity. For other Western democrats money is plainly power, not speech, and needs to be regulated if citizens are to stay free. It’s difficult to defend liberal democracy with much enthusiasm abroad if it works so poorly at home.”

–     Michael IgnatieffAre The Authoritarians Winning?

Today’s Free Downloads:

Disconnect – Used by over a million people – Disconnect is the easiest way to protect your online privacy.

“There is an entire invisible ecosystem that is reliant on my data,” says Casey Oppenheim, co-founder of online privacy service Disconnect. “My very personal information about what I’m browsing for, searching for, is being combined with real-world information about where I work, who I’m friends with. People are creating very detailed profiles, not just for advertising but also for employers and also for insurance companies.”

Mr. Oppenheim’s company issued an update on Monday notifying users that his service can block third-party software attempts at canvas fingerprinting.

About us:

Why Disconnect – You should be in control of your personal info. But these days thousands of companies, governments, and other parties invisibly collect your Internet activity. Often, this very personal data is packaged, sold or inspected without your permission. We make tools that put you back in control of your online privacy.

What we believe – Understanding online data collection and controlling access to your personal info should be easy. You should be free to move about the Internet without anyone looking over your shoulder and without fear that your online activity might be analyzed, your searches scrutinized, or your security compromised.

Who we are – Disconnect was founded in 2011 by former Google engineers and a consumer-and privacy-rights attorney. We develop award-winning, user-friendly privacy and security software in Palo Alto, California. By being an advocate for Internet users everywhere, we hope to create enduring, positive change in the way personal info is handled online.

Certified B Corp Disconnect exists to help solve an important social issue and our founding principles are reflected in the way we run the company. We’re proud to be a Certified B Corp.


Disconnect running on my personal system.

Wireshark – Wireshark is a network packet analyzer. A network packet analyzer will try to capture network packets and tries to display that packet data as detailed as possible.

You could think of a network packet analyzer as a measuring device used to examine what’s going on inside a network cable, just like a voltmeter is used by an electrician to examine what’s going on inside an electric cable (but at a higher level, of course).

In the past, such tools were either very expensive, proprietary, or both. However, with the advent of Wireshark, all that has changed.

Wireshark is perhaps one of the best open source packet analyzers available today.


network administrators use it to troubleshoot network problems

network security engineers use it to examine security problems

developers use it to debug protocol implementations

people use it to learn network protocol internals

Beside these examples, Wireshark can be helpful in many other situations too.


The following are some of the many features Wireshark provides:

Available for UNIX and Windows.

Capture live packet data from a network interface.

Display packets with very detailed protocol information.

Open and Save packet data captured.

Import and Export packet data from and to a lot of other capture programs.

Filter packets on many criteria.

Search for packets on many criteria.

Colorize packet display based on filters.

Create various statistics.

… and a lot more!


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist – The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.

Over the years, the Obama and Bush Administrations have fiercely resisted disclosing the criteria for placing names on the databases—though the guidelines are officially labeled as unclassified. In May, Attorney General Eric Holder even invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent watchlisting guidelines from being disclosed in litigation launched by an American who was on the no fly list. In an affidavit, Holder called them a “clear roadmap” to the government’s terrorist-tracking apparatus, adding: “The Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed … could cause significant harm to national security.”

The rulebook, which The Intercept is publishing in full, was developed behind closed doors by representatives of the nation’s intelligence, military, and law-enforcement establishment, including the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI. Emblazoned with the crests of 19 agencies, it offers the most complete and revealing look into the secret history of the government’s terror list policies to date. It reveals a confounding and convoluted system filled with exceptions to its own rules, and it relies on the elastic concept of “reasonable suspicion” as a standard for determining whether someone is a possible threat. Because the government tracks “suspected terrorists” as well as “known terrorists,” individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being a suspected terrorist, or if they are suspected of associating with people who are suspected of terrorism activity.


Senate May Pass NSA Reform Bill Before Upcoming Recess – After some pessimism that a deal couldn’t be reached, there is indication in Washington that the Senate may be able to pass its version of the USA FREEDOM Act (UFA) before the coming August recess.

Until the final text of the bill can be examined, all analysis is synthetic, but Senator Patrick Leahy — its sponsor in the upper chamber — has indicated that it will put in place “clear cut guidelines” on what the nation’s intelligence apparatus “can and cannot do.” The Act will also “let the American people know that their privacy is going to be protected,” according to the Senator.

MPs to sue over ‘ridiculous’ EMERGENCY data snooping law: DRIP Act was rubber-stamped in THREE days – Two MPs are planning to sue the UK government over its controversial emergency data snooping law, which was rushed through Parliament last week with what they described as “ridiculous and unnecessary haste”.

Conservative David Davis and Labour’s Tom Watson are looking for a judicial review of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIP), which was announced and rubber-stamped in a few days after the Europe’s top court ruled against long-term data retention.

The European Court of Justice said in April that ISPs were no longer required to log comms data on their subscribers for up to 12 months under the Data Retention Directive because the directive interfered with privacy rights. The judgement called into question existing UK law on data snooping, including the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that covers law enforcement and government agency surveillance of individuals.

The government quickly drew up the DRIP Act forcing telcos to hang onto customers’ information to allow spooks to continue slurping Brits’ phone and internet activity. The act became law in just three days, following discussions between the three main party leaders.

Russian parliament approves law requiring all internet companies to store data within the country – A new amendment put forward by Russia’s Duma and signed into law by Russian president Vladimir Putin may see tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter face a ban from the country unless they comply with new potentially privacy-invading regulations.

The “Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information” amendment, which modify’s Russia’s existing anti-terrorism laws, would require any communications concerning a Russian citizen — including tweets, status updates, and search histories — to be physically stored within the country for potential use by Russian intelligence and security agencies like the FSB. At current, Russia can’t legally access any data from foreign companies without submitting a legal request, which is likely to be denied. This amendment is an attempt to circumvent those regulations, but considering Russia’s stored history with personal privacy and data rights, the potential for abuse is strong.

If internet companies don’t physically store user data within Russia, they could face being banned from the country entirely — which means services from companies like Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Microsoft would effectively cease to operate within Russia. Despite a difference in methodology, the potential law isn’t far from recent incidents in other countries, like Turkey’s sweeping ban of Twitter and Iraq’s wide-ranging block of all social networks.

Dutch spy agencies can receive NSA data, court rules – Dutch intelligence services can receive bulk data that might have been obtained by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) through mass data interception programs, even though collecting data that way is illegal for the Dutch services, the Hague District Court ruled Wednesday.

The possibility that data received by Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD could have been collected in a way that would not be legal for the Dutch services, doesn’t mean that receiving this data violates international and national treaties, the court said.

The Hague District Court ruled in a civil case file by a coalition of defense lawyers, privacy advocates and journalists who sued the Dutch government last November. They sought a court order to stop the AIVD and MIVD from obtaining data from foreign intelligence agencies that was not obtained in accordance with European and Dutch law.

The coalition’s lawyers had argued that the NSA’s mass data collection programs violate human rights guaranteed by international and European treaties including the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

However, under Dutch law, Dutch intelligence services are allowed to collaborate with the NSA , the court said. And the NSA in turn is bound by U.S. law which, in general, does not conflict with the human rights convention privacy requirements, the court said.


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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 23, 2014

How to make Android Voice Search even smarter;  Google Docs: 3 incredibly useful tools for edits and revisions;  13 YouTube Tricks for True PowerYOUsers;  Members of UK Parliament call for judicial review of data retention law;  Users Love Pinterest, Ready to Unfriend Facebook;  William Shatner reviews the Facebook app you can’t have;  If you see this woman’s knickers in your Facebook feed, don’t click the link;  OpenCurriculum Looks To Foster Open-Source Education By Releasing Free Online Library;  Facebook and Twitter Users: Don’t Fall for MH17 ‘Actual Footage’ Scams;  iOS backdoor? Yes… No… Diagnostics!! Advanced Uninstaller PRO (free); – Envelope Printer (free);  EU ups antitrust pressure on Google; cites NSA scandal, Android domination.

How to make Android Voice Search even smarter – Android Voice SearchAndroid’s Voice Search system lets you do tons of useful stuff by speaking to your phone — but when it comes to actual hardware control, the system’s always been pretty limited. At least, until now. A 16-year-old (!) developer named Ryan Senanayake has come up with a clever little hack that adds a potent range of powers to Google’s voice command system. It’s called Commandr, it’s completely free, and it’s something you’re almost certainly going to want on your Android device.

13 YouTube Tricks for True PowerYOUsers – The engineers making things run at the Google subsidiary have their game locked down. But even within its vast, well-oiled ecosystem, there are features you’ve never even used. Here are 13 little-known tricks and features that even you, o’ veteran of the Internet, may have never even heard about.

Google Docs: 3 incredibly useful tools for edits and revisions – While it still can’t stand toe-to-toe with the standard-setting Microsoft Word, the Docs app is no slouch when it comes to writing and editing documents, and its collaboration tools are better in many respects. Here are three features you’ll definitely want to use to reap the greatest benefit from Docs.

William Shatner reviews the Facebook app you can’t have – Curious what Facebook Mentions is like? You’re likely not alone, but also not alone n that you’re just not cool enough to be able to take advantage. One of the coolest guys on earth has reviewed it for you, though. William Shatner, who is probably your hero anyway, compares Mentions to your existing Facebook experience.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Cabin review: Track your family’s location, send messages, and assign tasks – Track location, chat, and share tasks among Android-using family and friends.


Users Love Pinterest, Ready to Unfriend Facebook – According to a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook and its business-focused counterpart LinkedIn rank the lowest in user satisfaction out of the major social media sites. Twitter didn’t rank much better, though all three sites have improved since last year, the survey found. Meanwhile, social media websites rank among the worst-performing companies overall, only beating out airlines, cable companies, and internet service providers in terms of user satisfaction.

OpenCurriculum Looks To Foster Open-Source Education By Releasing Free Online Library – Aimed at providing teachers with educational materials by making them open and competitive, OpenCurriculum, which launched in Pittsburgh, curates and organizes material from sites such as teacher blogs and lesson material publishers. Teachers can create lesson plans and more through


‘Job Explorer’ Maps Your Future Career – Do you hate your job? Need a change? Glassdoor feels your pain. The career community today launched the free “Job Explorer” visualization search tool, which is intended to make it easier for Americans to find new employment. Via a color-coded interactive U.S. map, the search tool ranks job openings by density of relevant listings, population, and unemployment rate in specific areas; darker regions provide a greater volume of opportunities. And if you’ve got a significant other or family to help support, Job Explorer also provides location suggestions for couples and children.

Dating app Wyldfire tries to avoid creeps by letting women take the lead – There’s a new dating app trying to let in only the most desirable bachelors, by letting women choose who can join. The app Wyldfire launched Tuesday in New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., London, Boston and Chicago. Previously it was available only in beta in California. It’s free for iOS. An Android version is in the works, said co-founder and CEO Brian Freeman.


Intel Locks Down New Enterprise SSDs – The new Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series drives are available in 2.5-inch and M.2 (60mm and 80mm) form factors, with storage capacities ranging from 120GB to 480GB, the company said. The latest professional-class SSDs from Intel are self-encrypting drives (SEDs) that bake in hardware-based 256-bit encryption, while offering policy controls that comply with the Trusted Computing Group’s OPAL 2.0 standard and Microsoft eDrive, like crypto erase capability.

Comcast on hellish customer service call: Rep did ‘what we trained him’ to do – The cable giant says it will review its training and incentive programs after a maddening customer service call goes viral.


If you see this woman’s knickers in your Facebook feed, don’t click the link – Facebook users are being warned not to click on a link that looks like a video of a woman taking her clothes off on a webcam, as it could lead to them downloading a virus that will steal their personal data. Online security firm Bitdefender issued the warning about the malware, which it believes was developed in Albania. The link is designed to look like a YouTube video, but when clicked, leads them to sites that try to install the malicious software under the guise of an update to Adobe’s Flash software.


Facebook and Twitter Users: Don’t Fall for MH17 ‘Actual Footage’ Scams – Be very careful which MH17 news stories you click on, especially on Facebook and Twitter, where scammers are exploiting the tragedy to spam you. The BBC reports that fraudsters are exploiting the tragic destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, ostensibly shot down by a ground to air missile on July 17, by bait-and-switching users with promises of shocking video footage or tribute pages to victims that instead link viewers to spam or other offensive content.

iOS backdoor? Yes… No… Diagnostics!! – Have you ever wanted to be able to magically hack mobile phones like hackers do in the movies? If recent claims are true that security holes, backdoors, and packet sniffers are present in every iPhone, iPad, or other iOS device — you can! Speaking at the HOPE/X hacker conference, security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski gave a presentation on the alleged backdoors and packet sniffing tools found in iOS.

Followed by Apple’s – “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time”, response.

Apple: we don’t build backdoors into any services – Recently, Apple products were run through a gamut of tests by a forensic scientist. This expert claimed that a backdoor existed in Apple products, and those were used by the NSA to exploit features in iOS. Though this expert didn’t directly blame Apple for creating a loophole, he did note they tend to be widespread. Apple has since issued a response.

AirMagnet’s Wi-Fi security tool takes aim at rogue drones – Drones themselves don’t pose any special threat to Wi-Fi networks, and AirMagnet isn’t issuing air pistols to its customers to shoot them down. The reason the craft are dangerous is that they can be modified to act as rogue APs (access points) and sent into range of a victim’s wireless network, potentially breaking into a network to steal data, according to Greg Rayburn, a security analyst at AirMagnet.

Hacker worms their way into WSJ computer systems – The Wall Street Journal is a fresh target in what appears to be a renewed assult against media publications online.

Company News:

Google back in Europe’s crosshairs over web domination claims: Antitrust investigation set to widen after rivals trash settlement deal – Regulators in Europe are about to rewrite a settlement with Google and expand their anti-competition probe into the web giant, it’s claimed. The company was already under the microscope for allegedly screwing over its rivals in web search results. The Wall Street Journal cited the proverbial “person with knowledge” in reporting that Brussels may now scrutinize other Google products, such as Android and YouTube, as well as tack extra demands onto a proposed settlement with the advertising giant.

Google privacy policy lawsuit to forge ahead, judge rules – US District Judge Paul Grewal ruled Monday not to throw out the suit, which alleges that Google misled consumers by spreading user data across several products and gave it advertisers without user consent. The suit is in federal court in San Jose, Calif. The case came about after Google changed its privacy policy in early 2012. The changes involved the company consolidating its numerous services — like Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube — under one privacy policy. While Google claimed the changes provided a better experience for users, privacy advocates alleged they increased the company’s advertising opportunities.

Apple Faces Class-Action Lawsuit In California Over Alleged Labor Violations Affecting 20K Employees – The company is being sued in a class-action suit over a series of alleged violations of the California Labor Code, including the “timely” granting of meal and rest breaks as well as final paychecks. The case potentially affects some 20,000 current and former Apple employees in the state, the plaintiffs say. The case was originally filed in 2011 by four people who worked across both Apple’s retail and corporate operations. It was only certified as a class action yesterday, widening the pool of plaintiffs considerably.

Apple has purchased 29 companies since FY 2013 – Apple CEO TIm Cook revealed today the company has snapped up 29 smaller companies since their FY 2013 ended. Some we know of, and some we’ve only heard snippets of information about. If what we know is any indication, it’s easy to see where Apple is going to push forward.

PayPal Expands Its Working Capital Service To UK, Switches From Loans To Cash Advances – As payments platforms look for more ways to grow their margins and usage among businesses, they continue to push into a wider and deeper range of financial services. In one of the latest moves, eBay’s PayPal is expanding its Working Capital service to the UK. This is its first market for PayPal’s lending platform outside of the U.S., where it first launched the service in September 2013 and has provided $140 million in capital to businesses to date.


Apple Going Big With New iPhone Orders – The Cupertino tech giant has asked its suppliers to manufacture between 70 and 80 million of the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handsets by Dec. 30, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. That’s Apple’s biggest initial iPhone production run, surpassing the 50 million to 60 million iPhone 5s and 5c models it ordered last year, the report notes.

Games and Entertainment:

Mozilla-powered Web games now available – Dungeon Defenders, a popular game title from Trendy Entertainment and previously only available on native code platforms like iOS, Windows, and Mac OS X, can now be played in a browser window. The browser version of the tower defense and action role-playing game, Dungeon Defenders Eternity, will be available from Steam later today. It marks one of the first popular titles built on the Unreal Engine to be ported to the Web without using a plugin.


Accessories every mobile gamer needs – As tablets and smartphones increase in power and display quality — not to mention the ever-growing library of games — mobile gaming has become a staple way to pass the time for many. Still, mobile gaming has its downsides, namely in the form of usability: trying to control two digital joysticks with your thumbs on your phone’s display isn’t nearly as much fun as physical joysticks, and having your battery run dry mid-game is beyond frustrating. That’s where these essential accessories come in.


This is the iOS game you should be playing – Great for kids, fun for adults, and one that will make you miss the good old-fashioned side-scroller, Pixel Press Floors is one of the best games we’re playing for iOS right now. Here’s how it works: you draw your level, then you play it. Yeah, it’s a dream come true for those who spent hours sketching out their dream levels in school when they should have been studying (okay, so, that was me). Draw it out, take a picture, and the Pixel Press software will compile the meat-and-potatoes of the level.


11 mischievously clever anti-piracy measures – The most effective DRM doesn’t prevent would-be pirates from pirating a game — it prevents them from enjoying it. You can still pirate and run the software below (not that you should), but they each have a failsafe to make using the pirated copy so obnoxious that you’ll knock it off and make the purchase.

The Destiny Beta Just Went Dark Until Wednesday – So that’s it PlayStation owners, the horn just sounded and it’s time for everyone to climb out of the pool: Bungie’s Destiny beta, which arrived last Thursday for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 owners, is now offline for a two-day maintenance hiatus.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Emberlight Turns Any Dimmable Bulb Into A “Smart” Light You Control With Your Phone – Smart light bulbs – like the Philips’ Hue connected bulbs or those from LG, GE or Samsung – are an easy jumping off point for those wanted to experiment in the “connected home” arena without the complexity or costs involved with the installation of a full “smart home” system. But a new company called Emberlight wants to make it easier and more affordable for you to enjoy the benefits of a connected bulb by offering a product that works with your existing lightbulbs. It also doesn’t require the “wireless hub” that ship with competing smart bulb products.


105-inch Samsung UHD TV available for pre-order soon – If you’re in the market for a 100-inch TV, we’ve got great news for you! The massive Samsung Curved UHD TV, which checks in at 105-inches, will be available for pre-order this week. With a price-tag to match it’s screen size, it may not be one for your living room, though.


The Defender Is What You Get When You Combine A Camera, Automated 9-1-1, And Pepper Spray – Safety first! That’s what my mom always says. Which is why it’s somewhat shocking that technology hasn’t already been leveraged to provide additional personal protection to people on the go. But the Defender looks to change all that. It’s a new pocket-sized device that combines a camera, a 24/7 monitoring system for police and health services, and pepper spray to provide an all-in-one portable defense system that might actually help catch the assailant. Here’s how it works.


New Yorker Opens Archives With Site Redesign – The New Yorker is making its archive dating back to 2007 available for free into the fall, the magazine said in a tweet on Monday. The weekly magazine is famous for publishing new fiction and essays, often ground-breaking investigative journalism, and of course, the cartoons. Founded in 1925, The New Yorker still highlights social life in the city of its origin but has had a national scope for decades, with its list of contributors over the years rivaling that of any publication.


Meet your second car: How the small, slender, $6800 Elio seeks a bigger audience – That’s right, second car. Elio harbors no illusions about this slender automobile’s capabilities. Built to accommodate a single person and a non-claustrophobic friend, along with a few belongings, it’s simply too small on its own to do more than run a few modest errands. Elio has some busy months ahead. The engine could be in production by the end of the year, and the car itself is due to ship in September of 2015.


One Fast Cat: A hamster wheel for kitty – If you like to keep your kitty indoors, at some point or another, you’re probably going to see them go a bit crazy: rocketing down hallways, making flying leaps onto furniture, and otherwise hullabalooing about the house. This is because all cats — even the indoor ones — need to exercise. One solution? A hamster wheel — for cats. One Fast Cat is a kitty treadmill designed to keep your kitty happy, healthy, and safe.


Something to think about:

“Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.”

–     Fran Lebowitz

Today’s Free Downloads:

Advanced Uninstaller PRO – Advanced Uninstaller PRO is the ultimate uninstaller for Windows, allowing you to uninstall programs quickly and completely using its simple and intuitive interface.

No need to worry about stubborn programs ever again!

Advanced Uninstaller PRO features and the Installation Monitor keep track of all changes performed to your computer during software installations; this way you can later completely uninstall any program and make sure nothing is left behind. Advanced Uninstaller PRO is able to uninstall any program without a trace.

Advanced Uninstaller PRO can also remove a lot of items that other uninstallers can’t even touch. It can repair broken registry entries, clean non-functional Start Menu shortcuts, uninstall annoying browser toolbars, plugins and hijackers, remove fonts and get rid of startup programs that run in your system tray and slow down your computer.

The program is especially designed to be very clear, fast, pleasant and intuitive. Easy to read information and help is readily available throughout the program, guiding you every step of the way.



Screenshots from my personal system. – Envelope Printer – A free app to simplify printing your envelopes. Save and store addresses and even add an image.

Each month when I have to pay bills I hate having to write out the envelopes (I am not lazy, my hand actually hurts when I handwrite). So I wanted to be able to print them out as I need them and have the addresses I choose. While I could have custom ordered envelopes I decided why not just print out my own and save money from having to order custom ones?

So I made – Envelope Printer. Not only will it save and store all the addresses you want but it can even print out a picture along side your return address for a added personal touch to the envelopes. In this case my company logo.

So now when I pay bills and need an envelope I put an envelope in my printer, then open the program, load the address and hit print.

While I could have used MS Office Word and other 3rd party programs to print out envelopes, I wanted something that was far easier to use and that required a heck of a lot less mouse clicks to get the job done. The program remembers your settings, so once all ready to go you can open the program, open the address book, choose the address hit use this address and the click print. 4 mouse clicks and you are done 🙂



In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Members of UK Parliament call for judicial review of data retention law – Two members of the British Parliament are seeking judicial review of a surveillance law that extends U.K. data retention rules and was rushed through by the government.

David Davis and Tom Watson are working with U.K. human rights organization Liberty to get the law reviewed, the organization said Tuesday.

Liberty contends that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, also known as DRIP, which was adopted last week, is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which cover fundamental privacy rights.

DRIP was fast-tracked by the U.K. government after EU laws requiring communications providers to retain metadata were ruled invalid by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in April because they seriously interfered with fundamental privacy rights.

Under the EU’s Data Retention Directive, communication service providers had to retain communications data for periods of between six months and two years for law enforcement purposes. That directive was transposed into U.K. law and the CJEU’s ruling directly affected the legislation. DRIP was introduced to allow law enforcement agencies to access telecommunications data.

However, according to civil rights advocates, the new law is worse than the one it replaces. For instance, it not only gives law enforcement officers access to metadata but allows them access to the content of messages, even if they are held by companies outside the U.K.

Lawyer reviewing terror laws and special powers: Definition of ‘terrorism’ is too broad – The definition of terrorism in current UK law is too broad and should be narrowed to avoid “catching” journalists, bloggers and hate criminals, a top lawyer said today.

David Anderson QC, who is Britain’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, argued during an interview on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme this morning that the word “influence” should be removed to prevent the wrong type of offences being caught up in terror law.

He said that instead the legislation should require that terrorists must be shown to “intimidate or coerce or to compel”.

An annual report (PDF) was laid before Parliament today in which Anderson urged MPs to review the definition of terrorism “to avoid the potential for abuse,” according to the Guardian.

EU ups antitrust pressure on Google; cites NSA scandal, Android domination as a factor – European regulators may soon revisit a proposed settlement with Google as the continent steps up its offensive against the search giant.

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday cited people familiar with the case, pointing to the likely reopening of a number of antitrust jars, which may see the Silicon Valley poster child land back in hot water after previously reaching a broad range of antitrust settlement agreements.

It may be the last punch EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia throws as he is expected to leave his position as the 28 member state’s chief antitrust official in November.

According to one antitrust lawyer speaking to the newspaper, the concerns worsened following the National Security Agency surveillance scandal, in which documents leaked by Edward Snowden suggested a level of complicity on Silicon Valley’s part in domestic and international spying.


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