Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 10, 2014

The best free Android apps for teachers;  Amazon Finally Makes Instant Video Available on Android;  The One Slide That Perfectly Illustrates Why Australians Feel Ripped Off;  5 apps business travelers shouldn’t leave home without;  Easy Android file encryption with Encdroid (free);  iTunes users can now download U2’s latest album for free;  The Apple Watch is here, and it’s damn impressive;  MailTime Turns Your Email Inbox Into An SMS Chat Session;  iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus: Apple’s phone gets big and bigger;  Adobe fixes critical flaws in Flash Player, delays Reader and Acrobat updates;  Gain control over app permissions with Ap Ops (free);  EU rejects Google antitrust deal;  Destiny first-look: It’s a small universe after all;  Apple denied retrial in Samsung patent case; Netflix is exploiting our rights in Australia: Foxtel;  The Rise of Mobile Phones from 1916 to Today;  Long lost ship discovery helps put Franklin Expedition to rest.

Be a rock star educator with the best free Android apps for teachers – Whether it is creating engaging lessons, improving behavior, or managing the excessive amount of paperwork that comes with being a teacher, these apps will be a tremendous resource. Many of these apps are ideal for 1:1 environments, where you can instantly get feedback and track assessment data from your students. All of the featured apps are free in the Play Store and work across Android phones and tablets.

Easy Android file encryption with Encdroid – In light of the recent debacle with the iCloud hack, it’s nice to find out you can find some easy-to-use third-party tools on Android to encrypt your more sensitive files and folders. One such tool is Encdroid. This particular encryption tool creates volumes that are compatible with EncFS, so they can be read from Windows, Linux, and Mac. Encdroid allows you to encrypt your files/folders with Dropbox, Google Drive, or the local storage of the device. The app is free and quite simple to use. Let’s walk through the process of installing and using Encdroid to encrypt files and folders within Google Drive.

How to manage your Google location history – Google really is tracking your every move. By default, an Android device records your location and compiles it into a personalized map, complete with timestamps and animation to detail all your moves throughout the day. As creepy as it sounds, it is actually really easy to turn this off and delete the entire location history from Google’s servers. The company even offers a help page for doing so, with the obligatory caveats about differences for specific devices and versions of Android.

Gain control over app permissions with Ap Ops – If you happen to have a rooted Android device and want to gain total control over app permissions, Jack Wallen shows you how with App Ops.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Malware blocking app mysteriously pulled from Play Store – In a time when identity theft and information pinching is prevalent, it seems salient that you’d want something that could protect you from being tracked without your knowledge. Disconnect Mobile does just that, blocking you from being tracked or fed potentially malicious ads. Once removed from the Play Store, Disconnect Mobile came back last night. The return didn’t last long, as Google kicked them out in a few short hours. Google tells Disconnect Mobile they’re in violation of section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement. That section states that no app can interfere with other apps or Android services. There was no detail laid out for Disconnect Mobile, just a blanket excuse for pulling the app.

Apple Pay removes the hassle from online payments – Apple has come up with a whole new way for your to pay, and it is called Apple Pay. With this feature, users can use the card they have on file with iTunes or any card you’ve added to pay for goods, only a simple touch of the TouchID required. This feature will include an option for online payments, as well.

Amazon Finally Makes Instant Video Available on Android – Amazon has a large catalog of streaming video in its Instant Video store, but most Android devices have been locked out of the service until now. After originally being restricted to Fire devices, Amazon has finally released an Instant Video app for all Android devices. The way you get it, though, is quite odd.

5 apps business travelers shouldn’t leave home without – Travel. It’s a fact of life for many professionals. Love it or hate it, chances are good you could use a hand with your plans. Whether it’s booking your flight, finding the perfect seat on the plane, or simply remembering to bring your socks, there’s an app that can help. Here are five of my favorites.

Turn your smartphone into a remote control for your torrent client – The BitTorrent protocol isn’t just for pirates, it’s also a great way to legally download indie documentaries, music, and open source software such as Linux distributions or the Tor Browser. The problem with torrents is that you may across something you’d like to download while browsing on your smartphone or tablet. But how are you going to remember to download that torrent once you’re back at your PC? Remote apps for Android to the rescue. Many major torrent clients offer remote apps on mobile that let you add downloads to an active PC while you’re in the other room or sitting in the back of a taxi downtown.

The Apple Watch is here, and it’s damn impressive – Apple has gone well above what had been imagined by most when it comes to the smartwatch. The design relies on a combination of touch, voice, and a traditional watch crown to handle a whole new kind of UI. They call it the Digital Crown, and it’s designed to control the majority of interactions while also acting as the home button. This square design is smooth and rounded, and comes in the same three colors as the iPhone. Like the variety of phone cases on the market, there are plenty of Apple-made watch bands to personalize the experience.


Over 500 million iTunes users can now download U2’s latest album for free – After months of speculation and rumor, Apple has announced the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch, and Apple Pay. While these devices and services will undoubtedly become huge news pieces over the next couple of days, what could be lost in the mix is Apple’s announcement that they would be launching U2’s latest album, “Songs of Innocence”, for free on iTunes.


iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus: Apple’s phone gets big and bigger – The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is packing a 1334×750 resolution display with 38% more pixels that the iPhone 5S, while the iPhone 6 Plus manages to be the first iPhone with a 1080p display and 185% more pixels than the 5S. Instead of the highly rumored sapphire display, Apple has opted for what they call Ion-strengthened glass with a better IPS display and an improved backlight. Apple has made the 16GB iPhone 6 available at $199 and the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus available at $299, with 64GB and 128GB versions available for $100 and $200 more respectively.


iPhone 6: 8 Reasons to Buy, 6 Reasons to Wait – Do you really need one of Apple’s bigger iPhones? These 14 pros and cons should help you decide.

How Turnitin Helped Me Catch a Plagiarist – I knew the essay had been plagiarized, but I couldn’t prove it. It’s a predicament I’d heard around the department coffee pot perennially, only this time, I was saying it. I had wasted the afternoon testing free plagiarism checkers like Plagium and the aptly named, yet frustratingly concise (capped at 32-word excerpts), PlagiarismChecker. None of tools had been able to locate any clues. Had my instincts led me astray? It was the last month of the semester. Perhaps all the caffeine had scrambled my judgment. There was something askew with this essay, but I wouldn’t be able to identify what it was until I found iParadigms’ Turnitin.

Google Voice not completely dead, now rolling out to Hangouts – Earlier this year it was rumored that Google was killing off Google Voice completely, opting instead to integrate VoIP features to Hangouts; that rollout has started and you can migrate to it now.


MailTime Turns Your Email Inbox Into An SMS Chat Session – MailTime, which launches today as part of the Startup Battlefield, is designed to change the way in which users interact with email and make it more like text messaging. The app has an intelligent content parsing engine and the ability to summarize long emails in a way that places messages into a conversation view.


Adobe fixes critical flaws in Flash Player, delays Reader and Acrobat updates – Adobe Systems released a critical security update for Flash Player that fixes 12 security vulnerabilities, but pushed back its planned patches for Reader and Acrobat by a week. The Flash Player updates, available for Windows, Mac and Linux, address nine vulnerabilities that could lead to remote code execution and three that can allow attackers to bypass security features, including memory address randomization and the same-origin policy.

Cisco says ‘Kyle and Stan’ attack is spreading through compromised ad networks – Cisco has spotted some big names serving up malicious advertising: YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! among them. A Borg blogger, Armin Pelkmann, with fellow-authors Shaun Hurley and David McDaniel, writes that what the company calls the “Kyle and Stan” malware campaign began in May, and uses redirects to try and trick users into downloading a new media player that ships malware in its payload. The high-profile serving domains – along with many others – are, of course, receiving the “malvertising” from ad networks that have been tricked into hosting the attack content.

Microsoft Has Just One Critical Patch in September Patch Tuesday – Microsoft is giving administrators a break with a relatively light Patch Tuesday release in September. The company fixed 42 bugs across four bulletins covering Internet Explorer, the .NET Framework, Windows Task Scheduler, and Microsoft Lync. Apply the Internet Explorer update. It may protect you from zero-day attacks.

‘Anti-router’ stops drones, cameras, and Google Glass from connecting to Wi-Fi networks – Are you paranoid that strangers are using drones, security cameras, hidden microphones, or even Google Glass to spy on you? If so, you might be interested in a little device called Cyborg Unplug. Just stick it into a power outlet and watch as it sounds an alarm whenever such a surveillance device enters the vicinity of your home. Even better, you can lock those devices from connecting to your Wi-Fi network. If you’re really looking to make a statement, you can even show those “Glassholes” who’s boss by preventing all surveillance devices near your Cyborg Unplug from connecting to any Wi-Fi network.


Encryption failures fixed in popular PGP email security tool Enigmail – Developers of the popular Enigmail email security extension for Thunderbird have fixed several issues that could have exposed messages users believed to be encrypted. Enigmail provides a graphical user interface in the Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey programs that allows users to digitally sign and encrypt email messages using the OpenPGP standard.

Salesforce warns customers of malware attack – users are being targeted by a new version of a computer Trojan that has typically attacked online banking customers until now. The malware threat is called Dyre or Dyreza and came to light in June. Like most online banking Trojans, it hooks the browser process to capture log-in credentials entered by users on websites belonging to financial institutions.

Company News:

EU rejects Google antitrust deal – Google is known pretty much throughout the world for its innovation in search and development of new technologies, such as self-driving cars that can navigate city streets. This does not mean that they do not encounter trouble from time to time, such as lawsuits from Microsoft, or even scrutiny from regulatory bodies. We covered that the European Union (EU) rejected Google’s antitrust deal last year. In fact, part of the reason of that rejection was probably due to complaints from companies like Microsoft.

Microsoft said to be buying the maker of ‘Minecraft’ for $2 billion – Microsoft is nearing a deal to buy Mojang AB, makers of the Minecraft video game franchise, according to a new report. According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal would value Mojang at more than $2 billion and could be signed as soon as this week.

Netflix is exploiting our rights in Australia: Foxtel – Foxtel won’t seek government intervention in stopping Australians from bypassing geoblocks to access Netflix in the United States, stating that it is up to film studios to pressure Netflix to stop ‘exploiting’ a market it hasn’t launched in yet.

Apple denied retrial in Samsung patent case – Apple will not be allowed a new trial on damages for infringement of its patents by Samsung Electronics, a U.S. court decided Monday. Apple had asked Judge Lucy Koh in the San Jose division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for a retrial over some patents. It made the request after a jury awarded it $119.6 million in damages in May, much less than the $2 billion it had asked for.

Snapchat settles suit with booted co-founder Reggie Brown – After much legal wrangling, the fraternity brothers come to an agreement about the early development of the ephemeral messaging app. launches new European data center in France – With a UK data center set to open this fall, Salesforce plans to expand its European base by also moving in to France and Germany.

Games and Entertainment:

Destiny first-look: It’s a small universe after all – Enough paper-thin preview events, enough alphas, and enough betas: As of midnight early Tuesday morning, we at Ars finally began fulfilling our Destiny. The long-hyped online shooter from Bungie launched on four consoles simultaneously overnight, and with no major press or critical preview period to speak of, we are only a brief number of missions, multiplayer battles, and public events into our loot-loaded, outer-space quest.


Madden NFL 15 update will scrub all traces of Ray Rice from game – Amidst all the controversy surrounding disgraced NFL player Ray Rice, who was captured on video hitting his fiance in an elevator, comes news that he will be scrubbed from Madden NFL 15 with an upcoming game update. EA confirmed the plan to USA Today’s Brett Molina.

When We Play Video Games, Who Are We? – That players have choices is considered one of the medium’s exciting traits, but I always struggled a little bit to connect to games that have that kind of openness—am I playing a character, or am I being me?


Asus squeezes a fanless dual-GPU Radeon 290x card into a single slot – As graphics cards have become ever more powerful we’ve seen them move to a form factor that takes up the space of two slots on your motherboard. It’s required to fit in the necessary cooling for all that processing power. However, Asus is bucking the trend and has managed to produce a single-slot dual-GPU card thanks to the use of a water block as standard.


VIDEO: Teens React to the Original NES – In 1983, Nintendo released one of the best-selling consoles ever and helped to revitalize the video game market. But by today’s standards, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is rather quaint. When the Fine Brothers—producers of the popular “Kids React to…” Web series—presented the retro machine to a group of teens, most scoffed at the dated technology. “It looks like a brick,” 15-year-old Michael said. “From like 1920,” twin sister Miracle added.


Watch the DuckTales opening sequence filmed with real ducks – The folks over at official Disney blog Oh My Disney have sure been busy. To kick off 90s week, they’ve decided to celebrate a 90s Disney icon: DuckTales, starring Huey, Dewey, Louie, and their uncle, Scrooge McDuck. And not just any old how, either: from somewhere, the team has rustled up a bunch of ducks and put them in adorable little hats and aeroplanes to recreate the opening sequence: Scrooge’s money vault, Launchpad McQuack flying his plane, even the famous submarine scene — although sadly lacking the shark kiss. Watch it below — along with the original opening sequence for a side-by-side comparison, if you like — for an adorably fluffy trip down memory lane.


Off Topic (Sort of):

The One Slide That Perfectly Illustrates Why Australians Feel Ripped Off – The slide was presented by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and shows the long delays and exorbitant charges laid on Australians with regards to film, TV and music using three recent examples.


Amazon owns to stop you using it in anger – The majority of Amazon’s employees are focused on ensuring the company can sell as many products as possible and deliver them on time to very happy customers. But sometimes that’s not possible, customers get angry, and they need to vent. Amazon is well aware that this can happen, and so it is buying up anti-Amazon domain names to ensure angry people can’t use them.

iPhone: A visual history – In early 2007 Steve Jobs announced the very first iPhone. Designed to “reinvent the phone,” Apple’s iPhone has revolutionized smartphones and shaped the industry into what it is today. The first iPhone mixed a capacitive 3.5-inch multi-touch display with touch-optimized software in a simple package that was unlike anything else on the market. Over the last seven years, Apple has refined and tweaked its iPhone into what it is today: the iPhone 6.


The Rise of Mobile Phones from 1916 to Today – Here’s how portable telephones — and the ways we use them — have evolved over the past century, from the front lines of World War I to selfies with the Queen.



1980 – An early mobile phone during the Iranian Embassy siege at Princes Gate in South Kensington, London.

Long lost ship discovery helps put Franklin Expedition to rest – More than a century ago, two British ships took off to explore the Arctic with a total of 129 men, seeking to chart the Northwest Passage. Unfortunately, both ships disappeared with all on-board, and for the past several years, the Canadian government has been searching for the ships’ remains. Today it announced that one has been located.


Reddit is a failed state – As Reddit trips over itself trying to contain its stolen nude photo problem, CEO Yishan Wong finally addressed the controversy on Saturday by releasing a remarkably clueless manifesto. Reddit, he wrote, is “not just a company running a website where one can post links and discuss them, but the government of a new type of community.” So, then, what type of government is Reddit? It’s the kind any reasonable person would want to overthrow.

Something to think about:

“Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn’t have in your home.”

–     David Frost

Today’s Free Downloads:

VirtualBox – VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.


Modularity. VirtualBox has an extremely modular design with well-defined internal programming interfaces and a client/server design. This makes it easy to control it from several interfaces at once: for example, you can start a virtual machine in a typical virtual machine GUI and then control that machine from the command line, or possibly remotely. VirtualBox also comes with a full Software Development Kit: even though it is Open Source Software, you don’t have to hack the source to write a new interface for VirtualBox.

Virtual machine descriptions in XML. The configuration settings of virtual machines are stored entirely in XML and are independent of the local machines. Virtual machine definitions can therefore easily be ported to other computers.

Guest Additions for Windows and Linux. VirtualBox has special software that can be installed inside Windows and Linux virtual machines to improve performance and make integration much more seamless. Among the features provided by these Guest Additions are mouse pointer integration and arbitrary screen solutions (e.g. by resizing the guest window).

Shared folders. Like many other virtualization solutions, for easy data exchange between hosts and guests, VirtualBox allows for declaring certain host directories as “shared folders”, which can then be accessed from within virtual machines.

A number of extra features are available with the full VirtualBox release only.

Virtual USB Controllers. VirtualBox implements a virtual USB controller and allows you to connect arbitrary USB devices to your virtual machines without having to install device specific drivers on the host.

Remote Desktop Protocol. Unlike any other virtualization software, VirtualBox fully supports the standard Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). A virtual machine can act as an RDP server, allowing you to “run” the virtual machine remotely on some thin client that merely displays the RDP data.

USB over RDP. With this unique feature, a virtual machine that acts as an RDP server can still access arbitrary USB devices that are connected on the RDP client. This way, a powerful server machine can virtualize a lot of thin clients that merely need to display RDP data and have USB devices plugged in.


Emsisoft Emergency Kit 9 – 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.


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International – Privacy International has taken the “Five-Eyes” spying issue to court, filing a demand that the agreements between participant countries – the US, the (currently) UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – be made public. As its filing states, the court action follows a freedom of information (FOI) request for information about the UK’s GCHQ, which Privacy International filed mainly with the aim of getting a rejection. That FOI request was rejected (as the privacy group knew it would be) because GCHQ is specifically exempted from FOI laws. Similar requests were filed and turned down in the other four countries party to the “Five-Eyes” agreements.

As the group explains, “Privacy International has asked the European Court of Human Rights to rule that intelligence agencies should not be entitled to keep the details of such arrangements hidden from the public.”

Microsoft agrees to contempt order so e-mail privacy case can be appealed – Microsoft has reached a deal with the US government in which it will agree to be held in contempt of court in order to move an e-mail privacy case on to appeal.

The case is over a government demand for e-mails stored on a Microsoft server in Dublin, Ireland, that are related to an investigation into narcotics trafficking.

The Obama administration has said that the company must comply with valid warrants for data, even when the data is held overseas. Microsoft say that’s wrong and that the ability to enforce US law stops at the nation’s borders.

It’s a case with big implications, but it got mired down in procedural confusion after US District Judge Loretta Preska sided with the government. Microsoft stated that it would still not hand over the e-mail and would continue to an appeals court; the government said that if Microsoft wanted to do that, it should be held in contempt.

“Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court,” Microsoft said in a statement last week. “This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen.”

As of yesterday, the procedural disagreement appears to be resolved. Microsoft and the Department of Justice agreed to a deal in which it would be held in contempt, but not be punished in any way—for now. The government said it “reserves its right to seek sanctions” if the situation changes.


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