Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 14, 2014

Police drop plans to photograph teen’s erection in sexting case;  Why we need an underground Google;  New app CitizenMe helps you control your online identity;  Speed up your PC’s boot time by finding the worst startup offenders;  Never miss a call on your Android device again with Flash On Call;  Dropbox Adding Speedier ‘Streaming Sync’ Feature;  Viral video: First, strangers kissed; now (surprise) they disrobe;  CrossOver 13.2: Installing Windows program on Linux just got easier; Essential ‘must-have’ apps for small businesses;  Recover deleted files from iPhones, iPads and Android devices;  What would make you quit Facebook? Here’s what you said;  Oracle to release 115 security patches; LastPass Finds Security Holes In Its Online Password Manager;  5 games to keep World Cup fever alive;  Slice 5.0 is a must-have app for online shoppers;  Newly Obtained Emails Contradict Administration Claims on Guardian Laptop Destruction;  Yahoo female executive sued for sexual harassment.

Police drop plans to photograph teen’s erection in sexting case – The decision was made yesterday following a global outcry. In response, the Manassas City police department—which is investigating the case—said Thursday that it would let the search warrant expire. In a statement, the department said, “It is not the policy of the Manassas City Police or the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in cases of this nature and no such procedures have been conducted in this case.” Manassas City Manager Patrick Pate said the town has been bombarded with angry calls from across the US—and the world—about the case.

(IT OBVIOUSLY IS THE POLICY – since these deviant bastards had obtained a warrant and would have enforced it without the show of overwhelming disgust voiced by those of us who understand the importance of speaking out against government insanity. This shouldn’t stop here however – the lunatics behind this should be publically identified (each and every one of them) – and, held up to public ridicule and shaming that they so richly deserve. These “Cops are Tops” alright. Right at the top of the dung heap where they have lots of company!) 

New app CitizenMe helps you control your online identity – An iOS app named CitizenMe will help you understand just what a company might know about you. By scanning your phone for accounts like Google or Twitter (it uses a Facebook log-in, ironically), you get info on what permissions you give the service in question. All the permissions in the privacy policy are laid out in a very simple format, color-coded green, yellow, or red depending on the level of alertness CitizenMe think is required. Red would be something eyebrow-raising, like “we share your pics with other services”.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Speed up your PC’s boot time by finding the worst startup offenders – One of the pains of Windows is how long it takes for an older PC to start up. Sometimes this can be caused by hardware problems like a faulty hard drive, but more often than not the culprits are all those programs trying to activate at boot. As you install more programs on your system, you inevitably end up with more apps that want to insert themselves into your PC’s startup routine. Some of those operations are critical and shouldn’t be turned off such as antivirus, but many are really unnecessary. (Alternatively, download and install WinPatrol (free) and run “Manage Startup Programs” – voila, done!)

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Screenshot from my personal system.

What would make you quit Facebook? Here’s what you said – Last week we asked our readers to take a poll about Facebook’s controversial social experiment on thousands of unknowing users. Lots of you responded – more than 1,000 – and we received a lot of great comments. Here’s what you said …

Essential ‘must-have’ apps for small businesses – Summary: What mobile apps can make running a business easier and less time consuming for SMBs?

Why we need an underground Google – Governments are forcing search engines to show wrong results. It’s time for search engines to go rogue so they can be right. Many parts of the Internet are hard to index, or are blocked from being indexed by their owners. Companies like Google have worked hard to surface and bring light to the “deep, dark” recesses of the global web on a technical level. But in the past few years, a disturbing trend has emerged where governments — either through law or technical means or by the control of the companies that provide access — have forced inaccuracy, omissions and misleading results on the world’s major search engines.

Microsoft: ‘Right to be forgotten’ coming soon to Bing in Europe – Microsoft says it will soon provide a form to accept removal requests for Bing search results under the European ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling, but exactly how soon it will launch remains unclear.

Dropbox Adding Speedier ‘Streaming Sync’ Feature – If you’ve ever found yourself waiting endlessly for a Dropbox file to sync, we have some good news. Dropbox has added a brand-new feature to its desktop client that promises faster file synchronization between devices. The new featured, dubbed “streaming sync,” doesn’t require you to do a thing beyond your standard dragging and dropping of files into your magical Dropbox folder.

CrossOver 13.2: Installing Windows program on Linux just got easier – Sometimes, you really need a Windows desktop application, even if you’re a die-hard Linux user. For those times, I recommend CodeWeavers’ CrossOver. Better still, the latest version makes installing Windows programs on Linux systems easier than ever. Office running on Mint Linux with CrossOver. Microsoft Office 2010 running on Linux? Sure, it’s easy to do with CodeWeavers’ CrossOver.

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Microsoft Office 2010 running on Linux? Sure, it’s easy to do with CodeWeavers’ CrossOver.

Viral video: First, strangers kissed; now (surprise) they disrobe – I want to reveal some secrets for making sure your YouTube video goes viral. Inserting cats almost never fails. Nudity and sex also help enormously. There are clear and deep psychological reasons for this. Appealing to the essentially animalistic nature of humans is just one. So how clever of filmmaker Tatiana Pilieva to follow up her runaway viral success, which featured alleged strangers kissing each other, with something even more bracingly viral. Yes, alleged strangers taking each other’s clothes off and lying down.

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Microsoft is looking for beta testers for OneNote – Microsoft is looking for beta testers to try out an update for OneNote on Android and has a put up a registration page that takes a few seconds to fill out if you are interested in trying out the app.

Gamer raided by SWAT live on Twitch over prank call – While playing Counter-Strike live on Twitch, gamer Jordan Gilbert was raided by his local SWAT team over what turned out to be a prank call. His camera caught the raid on video, with it being posted on YouTube for all to see. The relevant part of what went down is posted in the YouTube video below, with the small box on the right side of the capture showing the officers briefly searching what appears to be the gamer’s bedroom.

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Twitter Adds Metrics to Tweet Activity Dashboard – Twitter this week refreshed its tweet activity dashboard, offering more detailed insights into how your 140-word masterpieces are performing. Until now, the dashboard measured a tweet’s impact based on the number of retweets and favorites it received. This information is still available in the new dashboard, but it also now shows details about how people are engaging with your tweets and how many impressions they have raked in.

Never miss a call on your Android device again with Flash On Call – There are so many times when I have to place my phone on mute, that I often forget to un-silence the beast. When that happens, I miss calls. With the help of a handy little app called Flash On Call, those missed calls are a thing of the past. The idea behind the app (and the host of similar apps) is to use the smartphone’s built-in flash to do its thing and alert the user of an incoming call (or SMS).

Slice 5.0 is a must-have app for online shoppers – This free app puts all your receipts in one place and notifies you of price drops, package delivery, and more.

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Slice for iOS can list your purchases in a collapsed or expanded view – Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET.

Microsoft launches Windows Apportals – Microsoft has announced Windows Apportals, a new line-of-business app management tool for business and enterprise, bringing together Modern apps, web apps and Windows 7 applications in a single hub.

New Start menu leaks in Windows build 9788 – Well here it is. A new leak shows the Start menu in a leaked build of Windows ‘Threshold’ and it looks exactly like the one that was shown off at Microsoft’s Build conference earlier this year.

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Netflix ranked second in Australia despite geo-blocking: Pocketbook – The absence of an official Australian launch, along with an active geo-blocking campaign, has not prevented Netflix from becoming the second most popular subscription media platform in the country, according to new research by Pocketbook.

Recover deleted files from iPhones, iPads and Android devices – Lost some important data on your iPhone, iPad or Android device? Here are some tools that might be able to help you get it back.

Security:

Oracle to release 115 security patches – Oracle is planning to release 115 security patches for vulnerabilities affecting a wide array of its products, including its flagship database, Java SE, Fusion Middleware and business applications. The update includes fixes for 20 weaknesses in Java SE, all of which can be exploited by an attacker remotely, without the need for login credentials, Oracle said in an announcement prior to Tuesday’s patch release. Oracle releases patches on a quarterly basis. The last update, in April, delivered 104 fixes.

Gmail users on iOS at risk of data interception – Apple users accessing Gmail on mobile devices could be at risk of having their data intercepted, a mobile security company said Thursday. The reason is Google has not yet implemented a security technology that would prevent attackers from viewing and modifying encrypted communications exchanged with the Web giant, wrote Avi Bashan, chief information security officer for Lacoon Mobile Security, based in Israel and the U.S.

LastPass Finds Security Holes In Its Online Password Manager, Doesn’t Think Anyone – When you’re in charge of keeping many hundreds of thousands of passwords under lock and key, trust is everything. Maintaining that trust means fessing up when things go wrong — even if it’s something you don’t think affected your users. Such is the case today for LastPass, a popular password manager for Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera. They’ve just published details of two security exploits discovered lurking in their products, though they say they don’t believe the exploits were ever used maliciously.

Google changing Chrome malware, phishing warnings – New designs for interstitial warning pages for malware and phishing sites detected by Google Safe Browsing are simpler.

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The 5 biggest data breaches of 2014 (so far) – In the battle to keep your personal information private, it’s not just hackers you have to worry about but lax security and stupidity. A survey of data breaches in the first six months of this year shows an increasing number of incidents in which data, including names and addresses, credit card and Social Security numbers, and medical records was lost to criminals or exposed.

Company News:

Apple quickly counters China claim of iPhone spying: Fast response shows how important the market is to the U.S. Company – Apple on Saturday denied claims by China’s state-run television that its iPhones track owners’ locations. The 600-word message was linked from Apple China’s home page.

Amazon finds a simple way to bypass a new French law – Amazon France has changed their shipping price in order to comply with a new law that went into effect starting this week. The €0.01 shipping cost will still allow Amazon to offer great prices.

Motorola loses patent suit in Germany, Moto G and X faces ban and recalls – The Mannheim Regional Court in Germany found Motorola guilty of infringing on a patent held by engineering firm LPKF, and now Motorola has to stop selling the Moto G and X, and recall some devices.

Samsung discovers child labor evidence, suspends supplier – Samsung has suspended business with a supplier following the discovery of ‘evidence’ related to the use of child labor.

Games and Entertainment:

5 games to keep World Cup fever alive – Well, the World Cup is over—time to stop thinking about soccer for another four years, right? It’s a sensation that many of us are no doubt familiar with. Want to change that? Get interactive! Perhaps you’re not up for joining a local league, but investing time in soccer video games can keep you immersed in the culture and also help you learn the little intricacies of the so-called beautiful game. Here’s a look at five of the most entertaining mobile options around, all of which can help stoke the footie flames so they don’t fade.

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How Steam in-home streaming can turn your old laptop or Windows tablet into a PC gaming force – The new in-home streaming feature Valve recently introduced in its blockbuster Steam gaming platform can turn any laptop into a full-fledged gaming machine—even older notebooks with ho-hum power, or Linux or OS X machines or Windows 8 tablets. It’s all done by streaming games from your primary gaming PC to any computer in your house in OnLive-like fashion, but Steam’s in-home streaming only works on your home network—and it’s dead simple to set up.

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Using Steam’s in-home streaming feature to stream Assassin’s Creed IV from a desktop with a Radeon 7850 graphics card (the black display) to an 8-year-old MacBook. Games run full-screen on both devices during streaming.

South Park to move behind Hulu’s paywall and end unlimited free streaming – Since 2008, fans of the Comedy Central cartoon South Park have been able to stream the show’s entire library (minus a few permanently redacted episodes) from the South Park Studios site. But according to a new post on the show’s official blog, this fan-friendly unlimited streaming arrangement will soon be ending: South Park is moving to Hulu. Folks who want to watch more than a limited selection of old South Park episodes will either have to resort to physical media or begin paying $7.99 per month to subscribe to Hulu Plus.

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Xbox exec: lower frame rates and screen resolutions are imperceptible on Xbox One – Microsoft’s management team clearly still hasn’t got the message when it comes to commenting on the performance of their latest games console. Harvey Eagle, the Xbox UK marketing boss has demonstrated that this week by claiming gamers can’t tell the difference if a game runs at a lower resolution and frame rate on Xbox One. I, and probably millions of other gamers out there, disagree. Informing gamers they can’t tell the difference is not great marketing and a little insulting.

Doctor Who Season 8 full length trailer depicts a doubting Time Lord – This is definitely not your grandfather’s Doctor Who. BBC has just released the first full length trailer for the upcoming Series 8 of the much-loved science fiction series. This time, however, the atmosphere is a bit different, a bit charged you could say. Doctor Who isn’t going through time just to save the universe per se. He is going through time to save the universe from himself. Doctor Who fans are undoubtedly all fueled up by now and are just counting the days before the series premieres 23rd August on BBC One.

Off Topic (Sort of):

German Cartel Office Says Google, Other Tech Giants Could Be Regulated Like Utilities – Germany has not been the biggest fan of tech giants that it believes overreach their influence. Now, a report claims that it is considering a new way to deal with them: regulating them like utilities. If the reports about the German proposals are accurate, they are a sign that even without a change in that European ruling, Google could potentially face problems in individual countries.

Yahoo female executive sued for sexual harassment – A major executive at Yahoo was named in a lawsuit Friday that accuses her of sexually harassing a female employee who reported to her. Maria Zhang, a senior director of engineering, plays a key role in Yahoo’s mobile efforts — an important piece in Yahoo’s strategy to turn around the lumbering Internet portal. Zhang heads content and developer-tool teams for several of the company’s mobile properties, including Yahoo Sports and News Digest. According to the lawsuit, Nan Shi, a principle software engineer, was forced by Zhang to have sex with her on multiple occasions. When Shi began to resist her advances, Zhang allegedly responded by removing Shi as a project lead and giving her a negative performance review.

Watch: DARPA shows off first successful test of STEERABLE bullet – The video, shot at a government firing range in February and April, shows two .50-cal rounds maneuvering in flight towards the target spot. The second manages two course corrections before hitting its target.

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Police beating of woman goes viral, rekindles images of Rodney King – “This is not just jabs, they are hooks. Those are lights-out punches. Those aren’t like taps. You see it, you heard it. It was like ‘thump, thump, thump’ and then you see her head bouncing ‘bam, bam’ on the concrete. Then you hear her screaming, ‘No, don’t, stop.’ Then you even—at the end where she has her hands up like this—when it’s clear there is no more resistance, he takes another four or five shots.” The assault—which has generated millions of hits on YouTube and elsewhere—has prompted protests seeking justice, politicians demanding a federal inquiry, threats of lawsuits, and outrage against the CHP.

(This animal (with full apologies to all animals), will walk away from this (despite graphic evidence of criminal assault), since he is protected by a Mafia style “brotherhood”. It happens all too often. Keep on believing that this won’t happen to you – until it does. If you believe that your social status will offer you some protection – you have not been paying attention.)

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Is there more police brutality, or is the rise in technology bringing it to light? – Police brutality has been a problem for many years in the United States. The police have taken their brutality a step further and have begun killing innocent people. In 2007 USA Today featured a story about the rise of police brutality since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. USA Today stated that the use of excessive force increased by 25 percent from 2001 to 2007. In reality, I do not think that police brutality is increasing. I think that the number of police being caught is increasing. With new technology come new methods of documenting what happens.

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Yellowstone National Park limits visitor access because roads are melting – Asphalt is pretty neat stuff. Heat it up, mix it, lay it down, pack it, and you’ve got a nice, smooth roadway for people to drive on. Heat it back up, and you’ve got the potential for both hilarity and enormous problems. That’s exactly what Yellowstone National Park is contending with right now. Stretches of the Park’s paved roads are sweating, blistering, and melting. As bizarre and alarming as it might sound to tourists, according to park officials it’s all perfectly normal stuff.

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13 bits of classic software whose code is now accessible – The source code behind proprietary software doesn’t always remain hidden forever. Here’s a baker’s dozen examples where the code behind well-known applications has come to light.

FCC Votes to Require Closed Captioning for Web Clips – The Federal Communications Commission today unanimously approved a rule that will require closed captioning for certain online videos. The move extends rules that the agency adopted in 2012 to require closed captioning on video clips, not just full-length videos. Once in place, the rules will require broadcasters, cable, and satellite distributors to caption clips that are played on TV and then posted on a website or mobile app.

Something to think about:

“The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls, or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will find a way.”

–    George W. Bush – Speech to UN General Assembly, September 21, 2004

Today’s Free Downloads:

PasteCopy.NET – PasteCopy.NET enlarges the capacity of Windows Clipboard and lets you organize csv (Comma separated values), html, rtf (Rich Text Format), text, unicode text & images into customizable categories. The supported formats can be previewed and copied to Windows Clipboard with a mouse-click, or by keyboard navigation. PasteCopy.NET is a portable* freeware tool, and can run from a USB memory stick.

Features:

Portable freeware tool

AutoFill (-Forms)

Auto- Copy & Paste Windows Clipboard

Convert html to rtf or txt (-automatically)

Convert rtf to txt (-automatically)

(Auto-) resizable/hide preview

Mouse-hover/keystroke preview

Clipboard-content preview

Export and print function

Multilingual support

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BlitzSound – BlitzSound – it’s a simple application, which can capture your special moments and pieces of your favorite song from a youtube video, or a TeamSpeak3/Skype conversation without any problem.

Features:

One press of the button screenshot.

One press of the button selected screenshot

One press of the button record everything you hear.

YouTube Extension, download and convert from youtube with ease.

Limitations – Requires Microsoft .NET Framework.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Newly Obtained Emails Contradict Administration Claims on Guardian Laptop Destruction – On July 20, 2013, agents of the U.K. government entered The Guardian newsroom in London and compelled them to physically destroy the computers they were using to report on the Edward Snowden archive. The Guardian reported this a month later after my partner, David Miranda, was detained at Heathrow Airport for 11 hours under a British terrorism law and had all of his electronic equipment seized. At the time, the Obama administration—while admitting that it was told in advance of the Heathrow detention—pretended that it knew nothing about the forced laptop destruction and would never approve of such attacks on press freedom. From the August 20, 2013, press briefing by then-deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest:

Q: A last one on the NSA—The Guardian newspaper, following on everything that was discussed yesterday—The Guardian is saying that British authorities destroyed several hard drives, because they wanted to keep secrets that Edward Snowden had leaked from actually getting out.  They were stored in The Guardian‘s—they had some hard drives there at their offices.  British authorities went in there and destroyed these hard drives. Did the American government get a heads up about that the way you did about the person being detained?

MR. EARNEST:  I’ve seen the published reports of those accusations, but I don’t have any information for you on that.

Q: And does the U.S. government think it’s appropriate for a government, especially one of our allies, to go in and destroy hard drives? Is that something this administration would do?

MR. EARNEST: The only thing I know about this are the public reports about this, so it’s hard for me to evaluate the propriety of what they did based on incomplete knowledge of what happened.

Q: But this administration would not do that, would not go into an American media company and destroy hard drives, even if it meant trying to protect national security, you don’t think?

MR. EARNEST: It’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate.

But emails just obtained by Associated Press pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) prove that senior Obama national security officials— including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-NSA chief Keith Alexander—not only knew in advance that U.K. officials intended to force The Guardian to destroy their computers, but overtly celebrated it.

One email, dated July 19 (the day prior to the destruction) bears the subject line “Guardian data being destroyed” and is from NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett to Alexander. He writes: “Good news, at least on this front.” The next day, almost immediately after the computers were destroyed, Alexander emailed Ledgett: ”Can you confirm this actually occurred?” Hours later, under the same subject line, Clapper emailed Alexander, saying: “Thanks Keith … appreciate the conversation today”.

It’s hardly surprising that the Obama Administration was fully informed in advance: It’s virtually inconceivable that notoriously subservient London officials would ever take any meaningful action without the advance knowledge and permission of their Washington overseers. There are, however, several notable points from these new disclosures……

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2 Comments

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

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 14, 2014

  1. Fred

    Hi Bill,
    “IT OBVIOUSLY IS THE POLICY”
    That is clear. I couldn’t believe they were going to do that and you are quite correct it was the PUBLICITY and the citizens reaction to this outrage that halted it. When I was a boy the police were someone to look up to but now they view the citizen as the enemy. Obama has also given MILITARY WEAPONRY, including tanks, to the police. Little rural towns have armored personnel carriers and much worse. Where this all ends I don’t know but it may be wise to keep this in mind:
    DEMOCIDE: MURDER BY GOVERNMENT
    Professor R.J. Rummel on the subject of democide, 170,000,000 people who had been killed by despotic governments during the 20th Century.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/MURDER.HTM

    • Hi Fred,

      Thanks for that – excellent recommendation.

      To buttress your point – “When I was a boy the police were someone to look up to but now they view the citizen as the enemy” – it has been reported here in Canada (many, many times) that a substantial percentage of Canadians are afraid of the police. As for trusting the police – here in Canada, that’s a non-starter. Both the fear and the lack of trust is well justified. Murder, committed by law enforcement is now brutally common.

      Until such time as society meets out of control police violence with matching violence (we desperately need legislation to empower us to defend ourselves against systemic brutality), nothing will change. Even politicians it seems, are afraid of the police. Now, how sad is that in a so-called democracy?

      A simple Google search – police murders youtube – returns 94,400,000 results. That number speaks volumes.

      Best,

      Bill