Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 20, 2014

Facebook says most outbound email is encrypted now;  Microsoft OneNote comes to Android tablets for free;  19 Hidden Chrome Features That Will Make Your Life Easier;  The Art and Craft of Windows Search;  5 apps for mastering business meetings;  Get Organized: How to Manage Video Files;  The 5 most anticipated smartphone launches coming in September;  21 Flickr Tips for Photo Fanatics;  Microsoft Goes From Cellar to Stellar in New Antivirus Test;  Many Chrome browser extensions do sneaky things;  Relive Microsoft’s Age of Empires with latest Humble Bundle;  Police warned about tweeting drunk or with doughnuts;  Delaware becomes first US state to pass “Digital Inheritance” law;  Man arrested, strip-searched after photographing NYPD wins $125,000;  Emsisoft Emergency Kit (free).

Facebook says most outbound email is encrypted now – Nearly all of Facebook’s outbound notification emails are now encrypted while traveling the Internet, a collaborative feat that comes from the technology industry’s push to thwart the NSA’s spying programs.

Facebook reports enormous uptick in use of snoop-proof email – The social network sends billions of emails to users daily and says adoption of the encryption standard it uses has skyrocketed among webmail providers.

Microsoft OneNote comes to Android tablets for free – Microsoft has introduced a version of its OneNote note-taking application optimized to work on Android tablets — with support for digital inking. The new application is available for download for free from the Google Play store Tuesday. It requires Google’s Android 4.1 operating system or higher. Microsoft has been beta testing the Android tablet version of OneNote for the past several months. The new OneNote for Android release includes handwriting support and “touch-friendly navigation,” according to Microsoft officials.

Virtual hard drives: The IT pro trick that lets you back up your data for free – Once you finally start backing up your data (like you’ve been told to over, and over again), consider using a virtual hard drive (VHD). VHDs have been used by IT professionals for years in virtual machines and server applications, but you can also use them as a free, easy-to-use backup format—especially since the tools required to use it come with Windows.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

19 Hidden Chrome Features That Will Make Your Life Easier – One of the reasons for Chrome’s popularity is its clean, polished UI and its versatility. While Chrome’s abilities multiply greatly when you consider the near-bottomless library of extensions, there’s a bounty of stock functionality embedded all throughout Chrome’s guts that you may not even know about. Click through our slideshow for a list of 19 hidden tricks hidden inside Chrome that you really need to be using.

5 apps for mastering business meetings – Business meetings: they’re sort of like the office equivalent of a root canal. But meetings don’t have to be painful, drawn-out procedures. Whether you need to schedule a meeting, draft an agenda, or simply remember who was there, we have an app for you.

The Art and Craft of Windows Search – (1) Groundwork – Windows Search has been much maligned. There are forums all over the internet where it has been vigorously discussed, often in vitriolic terms. Typical complaints are that it can’t find a file even when you know the file is present, and, most often, “it just doesn’t work!”. I’ve done a lot of research on Windows Search, and one conclusion is that its poor reputation is entirely Microsoft’s fault, but not for the reason you might think. It’s because Microsoft’s documentation on it is poor to non-existent. Useful tips on advanced searching are hidden away on two out-of-date Microsoft web pages, which you could be forgiven for thinking Microsoft doesn’t want you to see.


Get Organized: How to Manage Video Files – Is your computer cluttered with clips of the kids, videos of your cat, and other miscellaneous slices of life? Learn how to organize and archive those files like the pros with these best practices.

21 Flickr Tips for Photo Fanatics – Flickr truly stands out for one core audience: photographers. While Instagram and Facebook are great for sharing casual images, Flickr’s tools and interface and information all scream out for artists with a camera to them seriously. From the camera info stored there to the ability creators have of tagging and copyrighting images, Flickr is an amazing service for those serious about pictures and photography. So take a walk with us, won’t you, to look at the best tricks that will help you get the most out of Flickr, both mobile and desktop, in every way.

No set-top box required: TVs with baked-in Roku streaming coming in September – Roku is about to break free from set-top boxes, with the first “Roku TVs” from HiSense and TCL shipping next month. Instead of requiring a separate box or streaming stick, Roku TVs have the company’s streaming video and music platform built-in. Roku boasts 1,500 streaming channels, with the ability to search across them all for movies and TV shows.


Google Launches Photo Sphere Camera App On iOS – Google has just launched a new photo application for iOS users called Photo Sphere Camera, which allows you to take 360-degree photos, then publish them to Google Maps or other social networks. The app is an expansion of a feature that was previously available via Google’s Android operating system, and shipped on the Nexus-branded smartphones.


Mailbox Finally Brings Its Email Client To The Desktop, Adds Drafts And Syncing Between Devices – Mailbox, the ultra-awesome email client owned by Dropbox, is making its way onto the desktop. By doing so, it’ll be coming full circle and providing a seamless user experience on all the devices you’d want to view and respond to email on.

The 5 most anticipated smartphone launches coming in September – September is shaping up to be a very exciting month for smartphone buyers around the world: We know that Motorola Mobility, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung Electronics will all launch new smartphones, and it looks like Apple will join the party too. So what new devices are we looking forward to the most? Here’s our countdown:

Fuhu Unveils The World’s Biggest Android Tablet Made For Family Collaboration, Socialization – Fuhu, the company that builds child-focused gadgets, unveiled the 20- and full HD 24-inch nabi Big Tab today to increase collaboration and sharing in the average household. Both tablets come with a carrying frame that acts as a kickstand, as well as a 15-point capacitive touch screen, Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4 processors, and 16 GB of memory. The tablets run Android 4.4.4, but have Fuhu’s Blue MorphoTM operating system over it.


Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare figurines inbound – Plants vs. Zombies has risen to solid success, and nothing indicates that quite like a line of action figures. If your yard is looking a little bare but traditional garden gnomes aren’t your thing, these figurines will be arriving for your lawn next month.


Visual Studio ‘14′ CTP 3 now available for download – Microsoft has announced that they have released the Visual Studio ’14’ CTP 3 for download and also an early build of the .NET Framework vNext. If you have been following along recently, you will know that the Visual Studio team has been releasing updates at an extremely fast pace, so quickly, in fact, you may have missed the last release that came out earlier this month. This release comes with quite a few enhancements as well and we have posted some them below.

Blur Is a New Android Launcher that Integrates Full Apps Right on the Homescreen – There are a few very popular alternative app launchers in the Play Store for Android, but that hasn’t stopped other developers from trying to build a better homescreen. The latest devs to take a swing are the guys from Klinker Apps, already well-known for EvolveSMS and the Twitter client Talon.


Superhero Workout app: Get fit by fighting aliens – This calisthenics-based fitness app uses motion tracking to turn you into a supersoldier saving the world. In your head, anyway.


Fark adds ‘misogyny’ to moderator guidelines – It’s called the World Wide Web, not the World Wide Men’s Club. So why do some commenters on articles, blog posts, and forums feel the need to harass women online? That exactly what the popular community website considered when it added “misogyny” to its moderator guidelines. The new rules were put in place to remind users “that we don’t want to be the He Man Woman Hater’s Club,” founder and admin Drew Curtis wrote. “This represents enough of a departure from pretty much how every other large Internet community operates that I figure an announcement is necessary.”


Microsoft Goes From Cellar to Stellar in New Antivirus Test – Many independent antivirus testing labs have taken to calling Microsoft Security Essentials their baseline, separate from the products undergoing testing. If an antivirus can’t do better than Microsoft, it’s a poor product indeed. However, Dennis Batchelder, director of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC), contends that lab tests don’t reflect the product’s actual user protection, and that in the real world Microsoft is much more effective than the tests show. A recent test suggests that just might be true.


Many Chrome browser extensions do sneaky things – An analysis by security researchers of 48,000 extensions for Google’s Chrome browser uncovered many that are used for fraud and data theft, actions that are mostly undetectable to regular users. The study, due to be presented Thursday at the Usenix Security Symposium in San Diego, forecasts growing security problems around extensions as cybercriminals tap into the rich data contained in Web browsers for profit. They found 130 outright malicious extensions and 4,712 suspicious ones, engaged in a variety of affiliate fraud, credential theft, advertising fraud and social network abuse.

Fake Evernote Extension Serves Advertisements – Recently a Malwarebytes researcher informed me of a Multiplug PUP that installs a fake Evernote browser extension. Fellow researchers can find the link to this sample on VirusTotal here. A quick look shows the PUP is digitally signed by “Open Source Developer, Sergei Ivanovich Drozdov”, although the certificate has since been revoked by the issuer. This serves as another reminder that you can’t always trust a program just because it’s digitally signed.

(Another excellent article from the folks over at Malwarebytes. I encourage you to read this very instructive piece.)


Supervalu says it was breached – is it the next Target? – US retailer Supervalu is warning customers that an intrusion of its network may have resulted in the theft of credit and debit card account numbers from up to 200 of its stores. Meanwhile, a related data breach affected another 800 stores for which Supervalu provides IT services. Could this be the next Target?

Company News:

Samsung’s smart home push continues with purchase of HVAC maker Quietside – On Tuesday, Samsung announced that it would acquire Quietside, a manufacturer of air conditioners, heaters, and other HVAC appliances, for an undisclosed sum. This follows Samsung’s purchase of smart home all-in-one solution SmartThings last week, an acquisition that had been hinted at in July, and the combination points to Samsung’s desire to take over American homes by controlling their every device.


The current incarnation of the SmartThings hub.

Microsoft is reportedly dropping Samsung patent case – Software patents have snowballed into giant wars in recent years, ending, changing and growing partnerships between various technology juggernauts. Signaling what could be the beginning of the end of this battle, details have emerged that Samsung and Microsoft have taken steps to restart their negotiations and discussions over the matter. An industry official reportedly informed the Korea Times that the settlement is intended to be quickly resolved so that both companies are able to close the chapter on the disputes.

Apple stock reaches all-time closing high – Earlier today Apple was granted a patent which fairly obviously suggested they would be creating a smartwatch in the near future. This patent number 8,808,483 does include “iPhone” in its description, but its claims do not assign it to a specific device, leaving it open to any similar device within reason – small enough for a smartwatch. Wallstreet thinks it’s obvious enough, anyway, driving the stock to over $100 for the first time since the stock split in early June of this year.

Steve Ballmer leaves Microsoft board – Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced that he’s stepping down from the company’s board, effective immediately. With his ownership of the LA Clippers, teaching, and “civic contribution” taking his time, Ballmer wrote that he’s now “very busy,” and with both a new NBA season and new class of students, it would be “impractical” for him to remain on the board.

Twitter updates policy after Williams death pics abuse on daughters account – The Internet never fails to create new lows when a celebrity dies, this time around Twitter has been forced to update its policy after gruesome images appeared on Zelda Williams account.

FunPlus strikes nearly $1B deal to sell a game subsidiary to a Chinese company – The video game company, whose titles resemble Zynga’s FarmVille, is selling four of its games, using the profits to help fund its ambitions to make more.


FunPlus makes games like Family Farm Seaside.

Uber hires an Obama insider for its political fights – Uber has hired David Plouffe, a former campaign manager for President Obama with deep ties to the White House, to help it enter new markets and bolster its fight against taxi competitors. Plouffe managed President Obama’s 2008 campaign and then served as an outside adviser to the president. In 2011, when top White House adviser David Axelrod resigned, Plouffe replaced him.

Uber tests local delivery with Corner Store – Uber, the car-hailing app, is experimenting with a new local-delivery service it calls Corner Store. Starting on Tuesday, some Uber users in Washington, D.C., will be able to order certain household items and have them delivered to their door on the same day by accessing Corner Store from the service’s mobile app. There are several limitations to the service: it will “run for a few weeks,” it’s only available “to a select number” of users in Washington, D.C., in two delivery zones, and runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Games and Entertainment:

Relive Microsoft’s Age of Empires with latest Humble Bundle – Today’s Humble Bundle is of particular interest to fans of the Age of Empire series. For only $15, you can own Age of Empires II HD and Age of Empires III: Complete. In addition, you receive Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten DLC, which adds five more civilizations, seven extra campaigns, and other bonus features. The real-time strategy game was a big hit back in the day and the gameplay is still fun, even today.


Diablo 3 graphics comparison: PC vs. Xbox One – Diablo 3 is not a new game by any stretch, but its arrival on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in the form of an Ultimate Evil Edition means we can take a moment to appreciate how the game has evolved to replace keyboard and mouse with a gamepad. Naturally, since we had a PC sitting around that is packing superior hardware to the Xbox One, comparing the two side-by-side seemed like a must.


Watch this Unreal Engine 4 rendering look entirely lifelike – It looks real. The computer-generated rendering you’re about to see looks like a real life video tour of architecture, complete with lights and far-off greenery. This comes courtesy of French developer koola, making use of Intel and NVIDIA processors as well as Unreal Engine 4.


12 indie games worth checking out right now – If you think there’s nothing good to play during the summer, odds are you’re looking in all the wrong places. Indie games are available on every platform and a lot of these titles don’t require a powerhouse PC to run them. Best of all, the majority of summer’s greatest titles can be yours for a fraction of the price of a standard game.  I’ve scoured the year’s best indie titles and have organized them in no particular order. Be sure to click through for the best, most affordable titles before the rush of fall games hits!

Off Topic (Sort of):

Police warned about tweeting drunk or with doughnuts – Police officers have been warned not to tweet while naked, drunk or eating doughnuts. Some boys in blue have failed to show such good judgement online in the past, with UK officers revealed to have committed such offences as making racist or homophobic comments or posing with weapons. Nearly one in 10 such misjudgements proved to be career-ending.


Motorcyclist pulls off superhero landing during crash – The biker slams into the back of the car at what appears to be faster-than-average speeds, and it looks for a moment like a tragedy unfolding. The motorcyclist is catapulted into the air, where he does a complete flip off of the bike and over the car’s roof. Rather than meeting an unfortunate demise, however, he manages to land standing up on top of the car’s roof, pulling off a real-world Spiderman manuever against quite a few odds. He crouches down as the car slows, and appears to be okay, all things considered.


Delaware becomes first US state to pass “Digital Inheritance” law – Last week, according to Arstechnica, Gov. Jack Markell signed the Fiduciary Access to Digital Access and Digital Accounts Act. This law gives heirs and executors of wills the legal authority to take control of a digital asset or device, just like any physical document or item. For those of you wondering, other states have some provisions, but their scope is limited. Delaware is the first state to enact such a broad law.

Drinkable 210-year-old booze recovered from shipwreck – But just because science says something is drinkable doesn’t mean that anyone should actually go ahead and drink it. This particular Polish spirit has an aroma you’d have to get past that’s reportedly not very pleasant, but at least you wouldn’t poison yourself if you did decide to power through and take a sip or two.


Your texts displayed on the big screen – I confess that when I’m at a movie theater, rare is the occasion when I don’t hear someone talking out loud because, well, this is America and that’s what we do. Some movie theaters in China have decided on offering these talkers — especially tech-obsessed youths — an outlet for the constant voice in their heads. They’re offering so-called bullet screens. These are sections of the theater screens that accommodate texts sent by members of the audience. Who are, of course, charged for the privilege.


This movie sucks!!!

Something to think about:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”

–    Steve Jobs

Today’s Free Downloads:

OSForensics – Discover relevant forensic evidence faster. Find files quickly. Search within Files. Search for Emails. Recover Deleted Files. Uncover Recent Activity. Collect System Information. View Active Memory. Extract Logins and Passwords.

Find files quickly

OSForensics allows you to search for files many times faster than the search functionality in Windows.

Results can be analyzed in the form of a file listing, a Thumbnail View, or a Timeline View which allows you to determine where significant file change activity has occurred.

Search within Files

If the basic file search functionality is not enough, OSForensics can also create an index of the files on a hard disk. This allows for lightning fast searches for text contained inside the documents. Powered by the technology behind Wrensoft’s acclaimed Zoom Search Engine.

Search for Emails

An additional feature of being able to search within files is the ability to search email archives. The indexing process can open and read most popular email file formats (including pst) and identify the individual messages.

This allows for a fast text content search of any emails found on a system.

Recover Deleted Files

After a file has been deleted, even once removed from the recycling bin, it often still exists until another new file takes its place on the hard drive. OSForensics can track down this ghost file data and attempt to restore it back to useable state on the hard drive.

Uncover Recent Activity

Find out what users have been up to. OSForensics can uncover the user actions performed recently on the system, including but not limited to:

Opened Documents

Web Browsing History

Connected USB Devices

Connected Network Shares

Collect System Information

Find out what’s inside the computer. Detailed information about the hardware a system is running on:

CPU type and number of CPUs

Amount and type of RAM

Installed Hard Drives

Connected USB devices

and much more. Powered by Passmark’s SysInfo DLL.

View Active Memory

Look directly at what is currently in the systems main memory. Attempt to uncover passwords and other sensitive information that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Select from a list of active processes on the system to inspect. OSF can also dump their memory to a file on disk for later inspection.

Extract Logins and Passwords

Recover usernames and passwords from recently accessed

websites in common web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera.


(You can read my complete review of an earlier version of this application – You Can Be A Computer Detective Too, With OSForensics Beta (February 14, 2011)

NxFilter – NxFilter is a freeware web-filter designed for enterprise environment. You can monitor and filter Internet activity in your network with NxFilter while protecting your users from malware and botnet.



Emsisoft Emergency Kit – A collection of programs that can be used without a software installation to scan and clean infected computers for malware.

Emsisoft Emergency Kit Scanner

With the Emsisoft Emergency Kit Scanner you have got the powerful Emsisoft Scanner including graphical user interface. Search the infected PC for Viruses, Trojans, Spyware, Adware, Worms, Dialers, Keyloggers and other malign programs.

Run the Emsisoft Emergency Kit Scanner with a double click on a2emergencykit.exe. Found Malware can be moved to quarantine or finally deleted.

Emsisoft Commandline Scanner

This scanner contains the same functionality as the Emergency Kit Scanner but without a graphical user interface. The commandline tool is made for professional users and can be used perfectly for batch jobs.

To run the Emsisoft Commandline Scanner, do the following actions:

– Open a command prompt window (Run: cmd.exe)

– Switch to the drive of the USB Stick (e.g.: f 🙂 and then to the folder of the executable files (e.g.: cd run)

– Run the scanner by typing: a2cmd.exe

Next you will see a help page describing all available parameters.

Next is an example to scan drive c: with enabled Memory, Traces (Registry) and Cookie scan with active Heuristic module and archive support. Found Malware is moved to quarantine.

a2cmd.exe /f=”c:” /m /t /c /h /a /q=”c:quarantine”

Emsisoft HiJackFree

HiJackFree helps advanced users to detect and remove Malware manually. With HiJackFree you can manage all active processes, services, drivers, autoruns, open ports, hosts file entries and many more. For your full control over your system.

Emsisoft BlitzBlank

BlitzBlank is a tool for experienced users and all those who must deal with Malware on a daily basis. Malware infections are not always easy to clean up. These days the software pests use clever techniques to protect themselves from being deleted. In more and more cases it is almost impossible to delete a Malware file while Windows is running. BlitzBlank deletes files, Registry entries and drivers at boot time before Windows and all other programs are loaded.

Self made Emergency USB stick

Expand the content of the Emsisoft Emergency Kit to an USB stick and make your own universal tool to scan and clean infected PCs.

A pre compiled Emergency USB (2 GB) stick can be purchased standalone online for US $25.00 (includes worldwide shipping)


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Australia: Telstra found divulging web browsing histories to law-enforcement agencies without a warrant – The federal government has been left red-faced following revelations that law-enforcement agencies have been accessing Australians’ web browsing histories without a warrant.

Access to phone and internet data held by telecommunications companies has been the subject of much debate recently, as the government seeks to extend the power of intelligence agencies to fight terrorism. It has proposed telcos retain customers’ metadata for up to two years for investigation.

However, spy agency ASIO and federal police have given assurances that data on what websites Australians visit – know as web history – could only be obtained with warrants.

Now a paper published by the parliamentary library on Monday has revealed an industry practice of providing website addresses (URLs) to law enforcement without warrants. (recommended by Mal C.)

The Intercept: A Night in Ferguson – Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, and a Jail Cell – With rifles trained on us, we turned right on Highmunt Dr., in the direction of W. Florissant and toward another police vehicle, which had more guns pointed at us.

As we made our way forward, I heard a pop and felt a stinging in my lower back. I jumped up instinctively, and realized that the officers behind us, the ones who had asked us to move forward, had shot us with what I believe were rubber bullets. I was hit once and Hermsmeier was hit twice.

The shooting left a mean bruise, but all the guns trained on us provided an ample distraction from the sting. We were frightened. The police, who made no verbal commands that we had heard, had clearly demonstrated their willingness to shoot us. With several similarly armed and approaching officers directly in front of us, we dove behind a car, expecting more shooting. The police came upon us with their guns pointed directly at us.

We continued repeating that we were journalists. They pulled us out from behind the car, walked us to their armored vehicles, and zip-tied our hands behind our backs.


The author, detained by a St. Louis County Police Department tactical team Tuesday morning, explains to an officer how to turn off his digital recorder. Photo: David Carson/St Louis Post Dispatch/Polaris


Man arrested, strip-searched after photographing NYPD wins $125,000 – Settlement comes weeks after a bystander’s video captured NYPD chokehold arrest – A New York man who claimed police arrested and strip-searched him after he photographed a stop-and-frisk of three African-American youths has settled his civil rights suit with the New York Police Department for $125,000. The settlement, first reported Monday by the Daily News, comes weeks after the NYPD reminded its officers that it was legal to peacefully record police activity. That department-wide memo followed the videotaped NYPD arrest of a man who died after being subdued by a chokehold last month.

In New York City, Police Brutality Is Bringing People Together – All across the country, the police are under fire for killing unarmed people of color—and that’s spurring people from all backgrounds to embrace new forms of resistance.


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

6 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 20, 2014

  1. Dave B.

    RE: Virtual hard drives: The IT pro trick; I kind of skimmed the article but didn’t see this mentioned. This or any other backup should be on a separate physical hard drive. Any backup that is stored on the same physical hard drive as the data that’s being backed up is a pointless waste of time. That’s one reason I hate those do all AV apps (I’m looking at you Norton). The backup is stored on the same drive as the data, people see the pretty green check mark that says their data is backed up and think they are fine and dandy. They are actually shocked to learn that their backup will not get their data back if the hard drive dies.

    • Hey Dave,

      I hear ya! Why that’s almost as good as backing up to a separate partition. 🙂



      • Dave B.

        A lot of people can’t grasp the concept of multiple partitions on a single drive vs. multiple drives. Had a client with an HP with Win 7, not only did he create a 2nd swap file on the HP recovery partition, he created a 3rd partition and used it for another swap file. 3 swap files on 1 physical drive, took me 15 minutes to get him to understand why that gained him absolutely nothing.

        Keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. Fred

    Hi Bill,
    ‘Microsoft Goes From Cellar to Stellar in New Antivirus Test’
    We had discussed this a year or so ago. I said well these tests the winners change over time and so I’d stick with MSE, now it has been a bit uncomfortable at times reading it being in the basement but I thought, despite MS being what it is, that they might be embarrassed enough to turn things around. And so the musical chairs competition continues and MBAM is still the best to date.
    Keep up the great work, Bill, it is as vital as any news source extant.
    Best wishes,

    • Hi Fred,

      Yes, I recall several conversations we’ve had on this.

      Funny how when the proper criteria is evaluated, MSE takes it’s well deserved place. Not much different than the MBAM “revised” results.

      Not so long ago, one of these AV test organizations (can’t recall the name), got caught attempting to blackmail several AV developers. I’ve long maintained (10 years or more), that the results of these tests have never represented “real world” conditions.