How to ditch Google for more privacy and fewer ads; 12 Hidden Firefox Functions for Browsing Like a Boss; E Fun introduces $79 quad-core Android tablet; Disconnect for Android Returns to Google Play; This is what social media is doing to your brain; Heavy VPN users are probably pirates says BBC; Hackers launch Apple ID phishing campaign; Clear the Clutter With Office Delve; Amazon Drone Store: a new section dedicated to UAVs; Microsoft details October’s major Xbox One update; Hitman GO is Free on iOS with a Promo Code from IGN; Why do dead alkaline batteries bounce? Behold, the world’s first Intelligent Car (1956); Lansweeper (free); Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit (free).
How to ditch Google for more privacy and fewer ads – Google’s search engine, browser, and other products present a Faustian bargain: In exchange for excellent, free Google services your data is used for advertising. And for some it’s getting to be too much. If you’ve decided that keeping all your eggs in one online basket is unwise, there are viable alternatives. Some are arguably not as full-featured as what Google has. But using your email without ads or knowing that performing a web search won’t result in a ton of related advertisements may be enough to encourage you to go on a Google-free diet.
E Fun introduces $79 quad-core Android tablet – For only $10 more than the price of a non-touchscreen Kindle, you can get a full-featured Nextbook tablet. Surely there must be a catch?
12 Hidden Firefox Functions for Browsing Like a Boss – After a brief hiatus, Firefox 31 recently nabbed a PCMag Editors’ Choice award for best browser. We were impressed inside and out; Mozilla’s under-the-hood upgrades shined through in our lab tests and we were positively smitten with the browser’s stylish new layout (if you’ve been lured away by other browsers in recent years, Firefox is a far sexier beast than the one you may remember).
This is what social media is doing to your brain – Can you become addicted to social media? Are active social-media users better at multitasking? A video from AsapSCIENCE shows us how social media is changing our brains.
Spotify video ads inbound: Watch a 30-sec mobile ad, get 30 minutes of nonstop music – Spotify is all about audio, but soon ads on the streaming service won’t be. The new video ads will show up on the desktop and mobile, but smartphone and tablet users will have the opportunity to swap up to 30 seconds of their attention for 30 minutes of ad-free music.
A router and an extender: When your laptop doesn’t know which to use – If you carry a laptop, tablet, or smartphone through a home with multiple access points (such as routers and range extenders), the device should latch onto the access point with the strongest signal—presumably the closest one. Therefore, it should appear to be continually connected as you move from room to room. But technology doesn’t always behave the way it should.
Clear the Clutter With Office Delve – With so many Internet-based services to keep us organized, connected, and synergized, the influx of information can have the counterproductive effect of being completely overwhelming. With that in mind, Microsoft has released Office Delve for Office 365 business customers. Essentially, the service will work across Office to pull the most relevant data into one app. Everything is presented in a card-based design, sort of like Pinterest or Flipboard for work.
Disconnect for Android Returns to Google Play with Anti-Tracking Features Intact – You are no longer an anonymous specter floating through the internet tubes. These days there is a massive network of tracking cookies and ads that keep tabs on you to more effectively sell you stuff. Some might say that’s the price for all this free content, but if you’re not cool with it, there’s an Android app that can help.
Motorola Turbo Charger claims to deliver 8 hours of battery life on a 15 minute charge – The Motorola Turbo Charger utilizes Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology to deliver what it claims is 8 hours of battery life in just a 15 minute charge. But is it truly what its cracked up to be?
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates says BBC – BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC that markets its products around the world, has told Australia’s government that heavy users of “IP obfuscation tools” are so suspicious that internet service providers (ISPs) should consider them as likely content pirates. The organisation states that case in a submission (PDF) to Australia’s consultation online copyright infringement, a government effort to decide how the nation should deal with illegal downloading of films and television shows.
(There ya go! Not only are you a potential threat to state security (according to the NSA), if you connect through a VPN – but the BBC considers you a likely pirate. How long then, until a government, or governments, consider outlawing VPNs as an enterprise protection measure? Far fetched? Stay tuned.)
Instagram, Grindr, and more popular Android apps put user privacy at risk, researcher says – The findings comes from the University of New Haven’s Cyber Forensics Research and Education Group (UNHcFREG), which earlier this year found vulnerabilities in the messaging applications WhatsApp and Viber. This time, they expanded their analysis to a broader range of Android applications, looking for weaknesses that could put data at risk of interception. The group will release one video a day this week on their YouTube channel highlighting their findings, which they say could affect upwards of 1 billion users.
Hackers launch Apple ID phishing campaign playing on iCloud security worries – The hackers behind the Kelihos botnet are trying to capitalize on users’ increased awareness about the security of Apple online accounts through a new phishing campaign. The fake messages instruct users to click on a link if they didn’t initiate the purchase. The link leads to a phishing site that masquerades as the Apple ID log-in page and harvests credentials inputted by users for later misuse.
Home Depot Finally Confirms Its Payment System Was Hacked For Months – Remember that “suspicious activity” that Home Depot was looking into last week? Six days later, the company has at last publicly confirmed that the “suspicious activity” was a breach of its payments system. Credit card data was exposed, though Home Depot is quick to note that PINs were not. If you used a credit card at Home Depot in the past 4-5 months, you should consider it stolen.
iCloud now notifies you if account accessed via web – Of course, this isn’t a security stopgap. If someone other than you accessed your iCloud account, they may have made off with documents or pictures. All you’d really get is an early notification, and a prompt to change your password if necessary. Still, it shows Apple is taking the cloud seriously, and is continually working on fixing issues as they see fit.
(Is this HACKING – or not?)
CloudAlloy Makes Docs In The Cloud More Secure By Breaking Them Into Pieces – One of the key issues facing companies when they put their content in the cloud is security, but what if you could send your documents to the cloud without security concerns? CloudAlloy, a company displaying at the Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt this week, breaks your documents into pieces, spreading them across the cloud services and putting them back together whenever you call the document.
Amazon Drone Store: a new section dedicated to UAVs – Amazon’s drone delivery service mightn’t be a reality, but your ability to buy drones through the Internet retailer is, and it just made the task a bit simpler. The company has rolled out a new section aptly called the Amazon Drone Store, which is dedicated to UAVs of all sorts and their related gear.
Facebook Hits 100M Users In Africa, Half The Continent’s Internet-Connected Population – The news suggests that if drones, satellites, and deals for free access from local carriers can spread the Internet to more people around the world in places like India and South America, a big percentage of them will become consistent Facebook users.
Netflix Joins Sept. 10 ‘Internet Slowdown’ Event – On Sept. 10, a number of top startups – from Kickstarter and Etsy to Reddit and WordPress – will add widgets to their sites that display the dreaded “loading” wheel one might see when trying to watch a video over a slow connection. Unlike the 2012 Internet blackout day in protest of SOPA and PIPA, the “Slowdown” event won’t actually slow service on these companies’ websites. Instead, it will serve as “a call to action for users to push comments to the FCC, Congress, and the White House.”
Alcatel OneTouch says it plans to launch Windows Phone tablets, including 10-inch device – Alcatel OneTouch launched a Windows Phone 7.8 device back in 2012, but its chief marketing officer says it plans to return with tablets running Windows Phone, including a 10-inch device.
Another victory for Kim Dotcom, he’s getting all Megaupload data back – Megaupload, shut down in January 2012, is getting back the data confiscated by the FBI at the time of said shut down. It’s a small victory for both founder Kim Dotcom and the users that paid him.
Tinder settles sexual harassment lawsuit with former exec – A lawsuit from a former employee accused the dating app’s co-founders of condoning a “frat-like” environment, in which she was called disparaging names.
Games and Entertainment:
Hitman GO is Free on iOS with a Promo Code from IGN – Are you interested in picking up one of the best strategy games ever to grace a mobile device? You don’t even have to pay full price. In fact, there’s no price. Hitman GO is currently available for free on iOS via a promotion on IGN. Just click a few buttons, and you’ll get a promo code to download the game for free. It’s a very polished game with lots of content and more arriving all the time. It’s more than worth the usual $4.99 asking price, but for free you really can’t complain.
Microsoft details October’s major Xbox One update with a video preview – Microsoft is planning on adding a wealth of new features to Xbox One over the coming months, and they’ve posted a new video showcasing all of the new additions coming in October.
Bungie opts to hold off on early reviews for Destiny – No early reviews for ‘Destiny’ as Bungie opts to hold off reviews until after the game has launched so that reviewers can explore more of the game before publishing scores.
White PlayStation 4 (DS4) controllers USA release tomorrow – Just in time for the midnight release of Destiny, Sony is releasing their “Glacier White” DualShock 4 controllers to the public. These controllers will be available inside the United States through Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and GameStop as early as tomorrow morning. Pre-orders start today, if you (for some reason) believe they’ll sell out before you can hit the store.
Gamdias EROS V2 gaming headset Review – High quality headsets aren’t often cheap – the folks at Gamdias are hoping to change that. Releasing the Gamdias EROS V2 earlier this year, the team behind the gaming company made an awesome combination: a surprisingly pleasant gaming headset experience with a price that won’t eviscerate your wallet.
Off Topic (Sort of):
Incredible vintage Soviet space gear headed for auction – An auction on September 13 will see the sale of 104 pieces of memorabilia from the Soviet space program, including a cognac bottle signed by Yuri Gagarin.
Why do dead alkaline batteries bounce? – You might have heard that the difference between a dead and good alkaline battery can be determined by seeing which one bounces when dropped. A battery with usable capacity doesn’t bounce, but a dead once bounces quite a bit when dropped. If you are curious why that is, a genial older gentleman has a YouTube video that explains everything.
Behold, the world’s first Intelligent Car – Amid chat of a new wave of smart vehicles for their Cadillac line this week, General Motors also made note of the first “Smart Car” they ever produced. Amongst the first smart vehicle concepts to have ever graced the showroom floor was the Firebird II. Today we’re having a brief look at what the future looked like in 1956.
Superman gets limited edition coins from Canadian mint – For a superhero whose earliest battle cry was “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”, this might have been that last thing you’d expect. But perhaps proving that Superman’s appeal, message, and influence reaches beyond the borders of any single country, or planet for that matter, the Royal Canadian Mint is giving tribute to the fictional alien who has made our planet his home.
Meet Some Australian Families Giving Their Children Medicinal Cannabis – They don’t need a bag packed at night any more, they can go to bed without preparing for the worst, and their kids are energetic, whereas before they were just zonked out all the time. The only thing bad about the kid-friendly marijuana tincture they use is that it’s hard to get. Two questions emerge here: is medicinal cannabis is actually medicinal? And if so, will removing it adversely affect sick children. To find out, we spoke to some of the parents around the country who use the Mullaway tincture. Here’s what they said.
Why Steve Ballmer wrote Windows’ classic Crtl+Alt+Delete text himself – Windows is famous for its blue screen of death, but back in the early days of the operating system, that familiar blue hue wasn’t limited to system-crashing errors alone. Windows 3.x featured a similar CRTL + ALT + DELETE screen that provided you with various options for misbehaving programs. And as it turns out, those options were written by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer himself, who led the company’s Systems Division at the time, according to Microsoft veteran Raymond Chen.
Something to think about:
“It’s the company, not the cooking, that makes a meal.”
– Kirby Larson, Hattie Big Sky, 2006
Today’s Free Downloads:
Lansweeper – Lansweeper is an automated network discovery and asset management tool which scans all your computers and devices and displays them in an easy accessible web interface. There is no need to install any agents on the computers, all scanning is done by standard build-in functionality.
Software inventory – With Lansweeper it’s easy to track and audit all your installed software, you can create powerful software inventory reports to find out which application is installed on which computer. Google unknown software and publishers right from the web interface and find out who is running software that’s not up to date.
Hardware inventory – Lansweeper cannot only detect all hardware devices in your computers but with it’s change tracking it can find out when a device was changed or removed. Not only does Lansweeper scans windows devices, it also gathers details about all other IP enabled devices on your network from the network discovery scan. (Linux, Printers, Routers, …)
License compliance – If you want to keep all software and operating systems licenses up to date it can be a time consuming work. With Lansweeper computer inventory it doesn’t need to be… The webinterface will tell you how many software versions are installed and how much licenses you are missing.
Compliance reporting – Every company needs policies to get a smooth running network. Compliance reporting and the dashboard can help you to make all kinds of asset management reports. Who doesn’t have the latest version of our virus scanner, Who is missing the latest patch for our ERP solution. The only limit is your imagination…
Active directory integration – Lansweeper gathers all active directory user and computer details for your scanned machines. Create reports based on OU, integrate user pictures, Clean up your Active directory…
Eventlog integration – Every windows computer logs errors into the Eventlog. Thanks to Lansweeper you can now consolidate all these errors and get an alert e-mail as soon as an important error occurs.
Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit – Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit, formerly ExploitShield by ZeroVulnerabilityLabs, protects you from zero-day exploits targeting browser and application vulnerabilities. Its proprietary technology shields your browser and applications in that critical period between the release of a new exploit and its subsequent security patch. Easy to install and lightweight. Download Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit now and crush the most dangerous breed of malware attack.
Popular software programs contain millions of line of code. Bad guys exploit flaws (vulnerabilities) in the code to deliver malware. Except when they can’t. Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit wraps three layers of security around popular browsers and applications, preventing exploits from compromising vulnerable code. Not an antivirus, but compatible with most antivirus, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit is a small, specialized shield designed to protect you against one of the most dangerous forms of malware attacks.
Protects Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera browsers
Protects browser components, including Java, Adobe Reader, Flash, and Shockwave
Defends against drive-by download attacks
Shields vulnerable applications, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, Apple Quicktime, and VLC Player
Blocks unknown and common exploit kits, including Blackhole, Sakura, Phoenix, and Incognito
Is compatible with most common anti-malware and antivirus products
Doesn’t use a signature database—no need for constant updating
JPEGsnoop – Ever wondered if that UFO photo or sasquatch sighting is a fake? … or if that camera manufacturer’s sample images have been touched up?
Simply open an image in JPEGsnoop and scroll down to the section titled, *** Searching Compression Signatures ***. This option can be enabled/disabled with the Signature Search item in the Options menu.
The utility will compare the compression characteristics of the photo against an internal database of thousands of camera “signatures” to locate a match. If a match is found, the matching digital camera or editor is shown. If the signature matches a photo editor (such as Photoshop), then there is a good chance that the photo has been edited (i.e. not original!).
The assessment line indicates one of four possible outcomes:
Class 1 – Image is processed/edited
Class 2 – Image has high probability of being processed/edited
Class 3 – Image has high probability of being original — NOTE: Please see description below!
Class 4 – Uncertain if processed or original
In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:
Snowden shouldn’t be extradited to US if he testifies about NSA spying, says Swiss gov: Extradition could be off the cards, says attorney general – According to two separate reports in Swiss newspapers Sonntags Zeitung and Le Matin published on Sunday, Snowden would not be extradited to the US if he stands as a “witness in criminal proceedings, or [appears] as part of a parliamentary inquiry” in Switzerland.
That’s apparently the opinion of the country’s attorney general, who expressed that view in November last year to help work out legalities relating to any potential visit from whistleblower Snowden.
The two newspapers reported the Swiss government law advisor’s opinion, after viewing a confidential document.
The top Swiss lawyer added that any US efforts to extradite Snowden if he were to testify in Switzerland would be considered “political” and thereby rejected by authorities in the country.
Only “higher state obligations” could overrule that position, the AG reportedly added.
Report: Congress won’t shut down NSA database this year: USA Freedom Act even has support from James Clapper, but still can’t pass – Despite widespread support, a bill that would put limits on widespread surveillance is unlikely to get a vote before the elections—or even after them.
According to National Journal, the USA Freedom Act, which would essentially stop the government’s bulk collection of telephone call data, is flailing. The bill is struggling despite the fact that it won a stunning new supporter last week: Director of Intelligence James Clapper, one of the top defenders of the surveillance programs.
A Senate staffer told NJ that it was “extremely unlikely” the bill would be considered in September. It was originally introduced in July by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and it has co-sponsors ranging from liberal senators like Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) to Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
But multiple sources told National Journal that the measure “is not a top priority” for a Senate packed with other concerns. The failure to pass the USA Freedom Act, which still had plenty of problems, will top off a Congress in which virtually no progress was made on any significant tech policy issue.
The compromise bill was fleshed out in the Senate after a weaker version in the House was denounced by reform-minded groups. However, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology are on board with the Leahy bill, which they see as an imperfect but necessary compromise.
The USA Freedom Act would leave the call data in the hands of the phone companies, creating a system in which intelligence agencies would have to ask for data related to a “specific selection term” such as a phone number or name.
Who wins when cops wear cameras? – If nothing else, this summer from hell has put out-of-control policing front and center in the American conversation. Once Staten Island resident Eric Garner was killed by an NYPD officer’s apparently illegal choke hold in July, the floodgates opened and flagrant civil liberties violations seemed to be all around us.
The deluge culminated in the macabre spectacle that was the the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and its cartoonishly militarized aftermath. Now Ferguson cops are wearing cameras in a nod to concerns about their treatment of black citizens in the St. Louis suburb; such devices are already used (at least on a trial basis) in cities like Los Angeles, Oakland, Las Vegas, and Seattle. And on Thursday, embattled New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that the NYPD would launch its own camera pilot program.
But how big of a deal is it for local police to sport a recording device, and more importantly, do cameras actually reduce police brutality?