Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 29, 2014

The first five apps to install on your new Android device;  6 powerful Google Drive features you’re probably not using;  Here come the cheap devices, Archos introduces $149 Windows 8.1 tablet;  5 reasons a small Windows tablet might be in your future;  Contact Center is speed dial on steroids for iPhone users;  4 steps to a better LinkedIn profile;  Microsoft updates OneDrive apps, everyone is getting new features;  In App takes search deep within your phone’s apps;  Six tips for great summer photos;  Convincing YouTube look-alike fires RIG Exploit Kit;  Google Challenges Amazon For Drone Supremacy; Xbox One September Update now rolling out;  Massive cyber attack on oil and energy industry in Norway;  Feds balk at court’s order to explain no-fly list selection process;  You Can Now Buy a GoPro Camera Harness For Your Dog.

The first five apps to install on your new Android device – You finally purchased that new Android device you’ve had your eye on. Now it stares back at you, waiting for you to give it a task. Where do you go from here? Naturally, that depends upon the intended use of the device. But certain applications will come in handy no matter how you plan to use the device. Here are five tools that should be among the first you install. These applications range in scope, but each offers a solid solution to help you get your work done.

6 powerful Google Drive features you’re probably not using – Google Drive apps are loved for their simplicity and ease of use, but don’t let that fool you. There’s a whole lot of power locked up in these web apps. And while we’d never put the suite on a par with Microsoft Office, there are some impressive features in Docs, Sheets, and Slides that you’ve likely overlooked. We’ve highlighted some of the newest features and hidden gems that can help save you time and anguish and create documents that are sure to impress your professors, colleagues, and most importantly, your boss.

4 steps to a better LinkedIn profile – One of the most important things to remember about LinkedIn is that it’s not strictly a resume. Like Facebook or Twitter, it’s a social profile that has to be maintained. If you’re looking to step up your LinkedIn game, here are four tips for improving your page.

Facebook tries to quell Messenger rumors – Facebook is going on the offensive, trying to do damage control for its Messenger app. The social network is responding to a firestorm of user anger that erupted when it appeared that Facebook was forcing people to load its Messenger app in a veiled attempt to usurp their privacy. Now Facebook is trying to set the record straight.

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Contact Center is speed dial on steroids for iPhone users – For iPhone owners in constant communication with their family or coworkers, Contact Center could help speed up some common tasks.

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Annotate Gmail attachments with Chrome extension – If your workflow involves sending loads of email attachments back and forth, the aptly titled Annotate Attachments in Gmail extension for Chrome can help streamline your operation. After installing the extension and restarting Chrome, the next time you mouse over an attachment in Gmail, you’ll see a button has been added next to the Download and Save to Drive buttons. It opens the attachment via the Annotate Attachments in Gmail extension, which lets you annotate and add comments to the file. The extension supports images and PDF, DOC, XLS, and PPT formats.

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Matt Elliott/CNET

Here come the cheap devices, Archos introduces $149 Windows 8.1 tablet – When Microsoft announced that Windows would be free on devices smaller than 9 inches, it was only a matter of time before entry level competitors started putting their OS on cheap tablets.

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5 reasons a small Windows tablet might be in your future – There are a number of smaller Windows tablets hitting the shelves now from Microsoft OEM partners and more on the horizon. At face value it seems like a late attempt by the Windows ecosystem to get in on the mobile device game. The reality, though, is that Microsoft can still capture a respectable—possibly dominant—stake of the tablet market. I can hear the uproar already, but let’s look at why that might not be so crazy. Here are five reasons a small Windows tablet makes sense, and why you might find yourself owning one very soon.

Microsoft updates OneDrive apps, everyone is getting new features – Microsoft has updated nearly all of its OneDrive apps and depending on the platform that you use, there are OS specific updates that are rolling out now.

Dominate your fantasy football league with these 6 apps – From maximizing the draft to scoping out sleepers and making weekly adjustments, these apps will help you crush your friends this season.

You Can Now Buy a GoPro Camera Harness For Your Dog – GoPro, which makes tiny cameras popular with adventurers and travelers, has launched a new camera mount for dogs called Fetch. The dog harness is adjustable to accommodate dogs of all sizes, and GoPro cameras can be attached in two different locations: on the dog’s back and underneath its chest. With Fetch, you can watch your dog chew its bone close-up or frolic through a dog park.

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Minuum Previews Its Size-Shifting Virtual Keyboard For iOS 8 – Toronto startup Minuum is readying its iOS 8 custom keyboard software, now that Apple has made it possible for developers to create that kind of app. The system-wide Minuum virtual keyboard is nearing completion, just in time for the launch of iOS 8 in September, and its developers are looking for those eager to be among the first to try out the software.

In App takes search deep within your phone’s apps – When you’re searching on your smartphone, one of the avenues search often doesn’t look into is apps. Not searching for apps, but in them. A new iOS app is doing just that, diving into the information we store in our apps to make sense of it all.

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How to set up Raspberry Pi, the little computer you can cook into DIY tech projects – The tiny $35 Raspberry Pi computer doesn’t come from a bakery, but it can power your robot army or other DIY electronics project. Here’s how to install Raspbian and get cooking with Pi.

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Six tips for great summer photos – Summer is the perfect time for capturing memories on camera. Here are some quick tips designed for beginner photographers to get the most out of holiday photos.

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Security:

Convincing YouTube look-alike fires RIG Exploit Kit – The lure of salacious videos is often used to trick people into downloading and running malware. As you will see in this example, the bad guys went through enough trouble to make the page look real, from picking a similar URL to creating a convincing error message.

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(This security risk illustrates perfectly why you should not download any extension/add-on/codec……..  from a site other than the author/developer’s site. Never deviate from this practice.)

JPMorgan hackers altered, deleted bank records, says report – The scope of yesterday’s computer attack against JPMorgan Chase and at least one other bank appears to be much larger than initially reported. In addition to possibly affecting seven financial organizations, instead of two as originally reported, some bank records at JPMorgan were altered and possibly deleted, reported CNN, citing unnamed sources. The source of the attacks is not yet known.

Mozilla accidentally left email addresses, passwords of 97k Bugzilla users out in the open – Email addresses and encrypted passwords of around 97,000 users who tested early builds of the Bugzilla bug tracking software were left exposed for three months following a server migration. This is the second accidental data disclosure incident reported this month that affects one of the projects supported by the Mozilla Foundation.

Massive cyber attack on oil and energy industry in Norway – Image of oil platform courtesy of ShutterstockAs many as 300 oil and energy companies have been targeted by hackers in the largest ever coordinated cyber attack in Norway. The Local reports that 50 companies in the oil sector have already been breached while another 250 are at risk.

Company News:

Google Challenges Amazon For Drone Supremacy – Need a tube of toothpaste, but don’t want to wait? Google wants to drone that to you, the Mountain View-based technology giant announced today. Google follows Amazon in announcing that it is building consumer delivery-facing drone technology. Amazon previously disclosed that it is working to build drones that can deliver small parcels to shoppers. The two companies have differing visions, however. Google’s plan appears slanted towards incredibly quick delivery, perhaps in as little as two minutes, a long profile in The Atlantic indicated. Amazon, instead, is focusing on a timeframe closer to thirty minutes.

Apple Sends Invites for Sept. 9 Event – Apple is widely expected to launch its next-gen iPhones next month. Rumor has it that Cupertino will release a 4.7-inch iPhone, as well as a 5.5-inch phablet for the first time. Though Apple chief Tim Cook has expressed doubts about phablets in the past, there’s no question that phones with larger screens are all the rage at the moment. In some cases, they have eaten into small tablet market share as consumers look to save money and purchase just one device. Whether Apple is finally ready to increase its phone sizes from 3.5 and 4 inches to 4.7 and 5.5 inches will be revealed on Sept. 9.

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Valve hit with legal action in Australia over misleading consumers – Valve, the owner of online gaming platform Steam, is facing legal action in the Federal Court of Australia for misleading Australian customers over refunds, warranties and consumer guarantees. The action relates to Valve’s alleged contravention of the Australian Consumer Law — a range of protections that govern consumer contracts, rights when buying goods and services, and product safety.

Uber expands: “55% of US population” now covered – This week the folks at Uber have suggested that their vision of “UberEverywhere” is coming to fruition. With the addition of 24 new cities with Uber coverage, the company now has service in 205 cities across 45 countries. Uber also suggests that they cover 55% of the United States population.

Nadella plans China trip amid antitrust probe — report – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will visit China next month, according to a report. Nadella, who took over as Microsoft’s chief executive from Steve Ballmer earlier this year, will visit China in late September, Reuters reported Thursday, citing an unnamed person who claims to have knowledge of Nadella’s plans. While it’s not clear whether the reason for his trip is China’s ongoing antitrust probe, it’s a possibility.

Deutsche Telekom could part with T-Mobile for $35 a share – Deutsche Telekom, the majority owner of T-Mobile, wants to unload its stake in the US wireless carrier. But only at the right price. The German carrier is willing to negotiate for the sale of T-Mobile if a bid values the company at $35 per share or more, Bloomberg said Thursday, citing unnamed sources. That price isn’t substantially higher than last month’s offer from French telecom company Iliad to buy a majority stake at $33 a share, which T-Mobile rejected.

Games and Entertainment:

Miegakure lets you use the 4th dimension to solve puzzles – Miegakure isn’t your normal platformer. It’s been in development since at least 2009 — but, when you think about the concept behind it, well, it’s not very hard to see why. The game is about folding dimensional space, slipping between two, three, and four dimensions to circumnavigate obstacles. If you’re feeling a bit confused as to how it all works, developer Marc ten Bosch has created a trailer to explain how slipping into the fourth dimension will enable you to walk “through” walls. Although you don’t actually walk “through” them; when you change dimensions, space itself changes, and the walls change too — giving you options that simply weren’t available before.

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GOG news flash: DRM-free movies, local prices, removing games – Good Old Games has just let out a flood of announcements that changes the face of the video game distribution service, both literally and figuratively. Starting today, GOG will be selling games in four new currencies that players can choose, plus a rather enticing offer when US dollar and local prices don’t match. And quite interestingly, GOG is going beyond selling just games, as it now has a few videos in its catalog. All DRM-Free, of course.

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NFL Sunday Ticket Service Now Available For Windows Phone and Xbox One Users – Microsoft adds the NFL Sunday Ticket service to their Windows Phone 8 and Xbox One platforms. The new service offers live and on-demand services for all 32 NFL teams in addition to other features.

Capcom shows us how good Resident Evil remastered looks – Earlier this month Capcom announced that it had decided to remaster the original Resident Evil game first released in 1996. This update on a classic will be re-released on modern hardware, including the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC. Some may view it as a grab for cash, but the original game is now 18 years old, meaning there’s a lot of gamers out there who’ve never experienced Capcom’s survival horror. Now they can, and with a number of much needed enhancements. So how good will this game look when it is released next year? Capcom is keen to show us and has released a bunch of comparison screenshots.

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Xbox One September Update now rolling out, including new Media Player – Microsoft’s Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb has said that the September Update for the Xbox One is now rolling out, including features such as a new Media Player app, and the ability to boot directly to TV.

ALONE… for iOS and Android Is an Endless Runner You Might Actually Want to Play – Think the endless runner genre of mobile gaming has been done to death? Clearly you have not picked up ALONE, the newest title from developer Laser Dog. Just like Laser Dog’s last game, Puk, ALONE is fast-paced and seriously challenging. There are also no in-app purchases.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Microsoft’s latest patch: What went wrong? – Buggy updates are certainly a problem, but the company’s poor communication is an even bigger cause for concern.

Texas ‘Gaming Academy’ Teaches Gamers to Lead – The first students arrived at the University of Texas at Austin this week to study with veteran game developer Warren Spector in a bid to become the next generation of industry leaders. The Academy promises to give students the ability to deal with the real world challenge of running big teams – maintaining communication, staying organized, keeping the creative vision at the fore – from initial concept to post-ship support, and handling the inevitable crises along the way. Spector also wants to get philosophical, encouraging students to think about games as part of popular culture, and where they might be going next as a commercially driven art form.

Did you know Google’s self-driving cars can’t handle 99% of roads in the US? – Many people have heard that Google’s autonomous cars can “drive anywhere a car can legally drive,” but it can’t drive in snow, heavy rains, see “unmapped” traffic lights or stop signs. In other words, Google’s self-driving cars can handle the “matrix” but it can’t navigate on 99% of the roads in the U.S.

3D-printed vertebra successfully implanted for the first time – Spinal injuries are often life-changing, and the solutions are decidedly archaic, sometimes involving surgical cement and screws. The future is finally upon us, however, and with it comes the first implanted 3D printed vertebra. Using 3D printing, the vertebra is designed to match the patient’s spine.

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Radley Balko on the militarization of America’s police force – On August 9th, 2014 a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. The death of Brown fueled days of unrest in Ferguson. Protestors took to the streets and were met with heavily armed police officers in armored vehicles. It wasn’t long before Ferguson, a town of 21,000, resembled a war zone. This week’s VICE Meets is a conversation about the militarization of America’s police force, with journalist and author of Rise of the Warrior Cop, Radley Balko.

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Something to think about:

“I’ve always followed my father’s advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be goddamn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble.”

–       John Wayne

Today’s Free Downloads:

Ratool (Removable Access Tool) – Removable Access tool is a very simple-to-use portable application that helps an individual or a system administrator control USB storage devices. You can protect your confidential data from being copied by others.

Ratool can disable USB storage access or enable write protection on all USB Flash drives thus prevent data from being modified or deleted.

There are a lot of such tools available on the internet but they are not effective, for example if you use a USB disabler and disable any USB storage/pendrive you can use another tool and enable it again easily, meaning; they actually do not protect your USB ports. If you use Ratool you don’t have to worry about such a situation because other tools can not easily break Ratool’s protection.

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Sandboxie 4.13.3 Beta – Run programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.

Sandboxie requires neither the disabling nor blocking of functions available to Web sites through the browser. Instead, Sandboxie isolates and quarantines the outcome of whatever the Web site may do to your computer, including the installation of unsolicited software. There is no trade-off of functionality for security: the Web site can use the full range of active content tools, and if it uses these tools maliciously to install software or otherwise make changes in your computer, then these changes can be easily undone.

Sandboxie has originally been designed to increase the security of browsing with Internet Explorer, however it is just as effective with any other browser, and in fact, any other program. Sandboxie wraps a protection layer around the programs it supervises. It is this layer that intercepts and isolates any changes the programs make to the computer. And this layer is impartial to the specific program it wraps.

Sandboxie is a software that allows you isolates and quarantines website.

When you browse the web, changes occur to your computer system. Most of the time these changes are harmless, like recording the addresses of web sites you have visited (and when), so the browser can help you complete a web address that you type in. Whether these changes are harmless or harmful, they do in fact happen to your computer system.

When you use Sandboxie to protect your browsing session, it catches all these changes just as the browser is about to apply them into your computer system. Sandboxie does record these changes on behalf of the browser, but it records them in a special isolated folder, called the sandbox.

The benefit of having a sandbox is that it ensures your ability to get rid of all changes done by the browser, simply by deleting the sandbox folder.

Another useful feature of Sandboxie is the ability to terminate all sandboxed programs at once. As some web sites tend to pop up three new browser windows for each one you close, you can have Sandboxie close all of them with a click of a button.

You may use Sandboxie free of charge for any length of time that you desire. However, if you use Sandboxie for more than 30 days, the software will occasionally remind you to consider paying the registration fee. By doing that, you would show your support for further development and improvement of Sandboxie.

By paying the registration fee of $20 US-dollars you get a life-time registration key to this and and all upcoming versions of the Sandboxie product.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Feds balk at court’s order to explain no-fly list selection process: The US shouldn’t place innocent people on the no-fly list, lawyer says – The Obama administration is fighting a federal judge’s order requiring it to explain why the government places US citizens who haven’t been convicted of any violent crimes on its no-fly database.

The administration is challenging the demand from US District Judge Anthony Trenga, who is presiding over the Virginia federal court case. In asking Trenga to reconsider his August 6 order, the government responded last week: “Defendants request clarification of the purpose of the requested submission so that defendants may respond appropriately.”

Trenga’s decision is among a series of setbacks to the government’s insistence that any serious discussion about the no-fly list—about how people get on or off it—would amount to a national security breach.

A federal judge in June, for example, ruled that the Department of Homeland Security’s method for the public to challenge placement on a no-fly list is unconstitutional. The government was ordered to revise the removal process, which was called “wholly ineffective.” And just last month, a government manual on how the authorities place people on the no-fly database—being a terrorist not required—was leaked and published by The Intercept.

The manual describes how somebody can get on the list, which names thousands of individuals. The government refused to acknowledge (PDF) that the manual was leaked.

Data retention critics alarmed by Australian federal police breach – Civil rights groups, legal bodies and information security experts have expressed renewed concern about the government’s push to store greater amounts of phone and web users’ personal information following revelations that the federal police mistakenly published sensitive information and metadata about ongoing criminal investigations.

Guardian Australia reported on Thursday that the AFP provided documents to the Senate that were published online for several years, accidentally disclosing information about the subjects and focus of criminal investigations and telecommunications interception activities.

The revelations have sparked concerns from Labor and the Greens about the AFP’s handling of sensitive telecommunications data, while the Australian Lawyers Alliance has warned that criminal investigations and trials may have been jeopardised as a result of the disclosure.

The federal government has ramped up its push for a mandatory data retention scheme, which could see a greater amount of phone and web information stored for two years that would then be subject to access by the AFP and other enforcement agencies.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns told Guardian Australia the error could have serious implications for criminal investigations and trials if juries became aware that information was accessible online about an investigation that could prejudice a trial.

“It can impact on a person’s rights if there’s information that is adverse to them which has been published and which ordinarily wouldn’t be published because it would be highly prejudicial to any criminal investigations that might result,” he said.

He said the mistaken disclosure showed why the government’s proposals were a grave risk for personal privacy.

Must We Give Up All Sense of Privacy? – Privacy is dead, right? I mean, that’s all I’ve been hearing over the last year. From Edward Snowden to repeated hacks to claims that the US federal government is accessing personal information, we have nothing in the way of real privacy. No, according to all of the reports surrounding the Web, security, and privacy, the only thing we have going for us is, well, the realization that we’re not actually anonymous at all – either online or in our lives.

One can say what they’d like about the anti-privacy efforts going on across the world. Some say that when we head to the Web, we should expect to lose all privacy and to believe that we have it is following a fool’s errand. Others, however, argue that anonymity is a right and privacy is an expectation, and we should stop at nothing to get both.

Unfortunately, the pessimist in me believes that there’s really no way to achieve that goal. While I’d like to see the governments around the world spend less time allegedly intruding our privacy, I’m a realist. I understand that we’ve come to a place where we can never go back. Like it or not, our privacy is dead. And to believe it’s not is a mistake.

Hillary Clinton wants a global pact on surveillance and data collection – Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a “global compact” on surveillance and the use of collected data, saying the U.S. isn’t the only country that does it and American technology companies are unfairly targeted for the government’s actions.

“The U.S. government doesn’t use information for commercial purposes,” while other countries do, Clinton said.

“We need to make it clear to other countries that our technology companies are not part of our government, and that we have more legal processes than any other country that I’m aware of” covering government requests for information, Clinton said during her appearance at the Nexenta OpenSDx Summit, a technology conference in San Francisco.

The threat of electronic spying was so great in some countries that when traveling as a U.S. official she couldn’t carry any electronics, she said.

“Every time I went to countries like China or Russia, I mean, we couldn’t take our computers, we couldn’t take our personal devices, we couldn’t take anything off the plane, because they’re so good, they would penetrate them in a minute,” Clinton said. She and her staff removed the batteries and left the devices on their plane.

Though she wants to see an international agreement on the collection and use of data, Clinton acknowledged that would take long and careful effort.

Note: Tech Thoughts Daily Net News will not publish on Labour Day – September 1st.

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