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.

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(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.

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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 chromecast.com/offers.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Security:

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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, …).

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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 google.co.uk. Users in Europe, or anywhere else, can still get “full” search results by visiting the US version of the site at google.com.

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.)

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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 25, 2014

  1. Control your Desktop Icons
    I’ve always used a small program called Desktop Icon Save and Restore
    http://www.midiox.com/desktoprestore.htm
    Function: Save and/or restore the layout of the Windows desktop icons.
    Once the program is installed, simply right click on any empty spot of your desktop and select either:
    Save Desktop once you’ve arranged the icons to your liking or,
    Restore Desktop if Windows has messed up your icons. to get it back to what you had saved.