Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 25, 2014

Consumers Love Their…Desktop PCs?  9 Rules For Emailing From Google Exec Eric Schmidt;  5 ways to use your PC remotely; 10 Must-Have iPhone Apps;  BlackBerry Passport hands-on;  How to restore an iPhone after the botched iOS 8.0.1 update;  New app makes iPhone camera more like a DSLR;  Netflix on Linux: How to get it today;  Use Twitter’s search operators to find specific tweets;  ‘Bigger than Heartbleed’: Bash bug could leave IT systems in shellshock;  In-app browsers for iOS may be sniping your data;  Netflix rejects Canadian regulator’s bid for customer data;  Walmart Now Offering Low-Cost Mobile Checking Accounts;  Nationwide restaurant chain Jimmy John’s hacked;  Don’t Miss the New Humble Mobile Bundle for Android;  The 25 Biggest Video Games of Fall 2014;  Assange dubs Google ‘privatized NSA,’ pillories Eric Schmidt.

Consumers Love Their…Desktop PCs? – The customer is always right, but not always happy: The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) reported that buyers are increasingly displeased with computing devices. According to the 2014 ACSI report, satisfaction with PCs fell 1.3 percent, earning the category a score of 78 out of 100. Laptops took the hardest hit, dropping 4 percent over the year, while their more portable cousin, tablets, dipped only 1 percent. In a surprise twist, however, desktops actually gained favor, and three points, to take the lead. It remains unclear just what led to the sudden change of heart, but ACSI chairman and founder Claes Fornell has an idea.

5 ways to use your PC remotely – Your PC isn’t really stuck at home. You can access the desktop, your files, and even gaming horsepower on the go. You can turn on your PC from halfway around the world! How, you ask? Let’s start with catch-all remote desktop solutions before following up with more specific remote control and access tools for gaming, productivity, and more.

9 Rules For Emailing From Google Exec Eric Schmidt – In a new book out this week chock full of Google-flavored business wisdom, How Google Works, Google Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt and former Senior Vice President of Products Jonathan Rosenberg share nine insightful rules for emailing (or gmailing!) like a professional.

10 Must-Have iPhone Apps – If you have (or are waiting for) a new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, you have some killer hardware. But even with the latest and greatest phone, it’s still all about the apps.

Apple pulls iOS 8.0.1 update due to issues with Touch ID and connectivity – Apple has pulled the latest update for iOS 8 after widespread reports from users that it managed to break Touch ID functionality and cellular service on their iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

How to restore an iPhone after the botched iOS 8.0.1 update – A bug in Apple’s release of iOS 8.0.1 has broken iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices. Here’s how you can fix them.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

11 Headache-Inducing Apple Product Glitches – iPhone 6 Plus #BendGate is not the first time Apple products were released with bugs. In the competitive world of consumer technology, where there are billion-dollar paydays for being the first to perfect a technology that captures the public’s imagination, it’s very much in companies’ interest to keep their cards very close to their corporate chest. That means that in Apple’s case, much of its testing appears to be conducted within the confines of its Cupertino headquarters (though there might be a good reason for that). This inevitably leads to issues to identified and fixed only after the devices hit consumers’ hands.

New Nexus devices launching mid-October, says report, with Android L coming Nov 1 – The long-awaited Nexus 9 tablet, built by HTC, and Nexus 6 handset, from Motorola, are said to be launching on October 15 or 16, followed shortly after by the rollout of Android L to other devices.

New app makes iPhone camera more like a DSLR – Part of the knock on mobile photography is the lack of controls. Unlike a DSLR, the ability to control things like exposure are typically lost on a smartphone. With increased third-party integration in iOS 8, a new app aims to bring you some of the controls you want on a DSLR, but on your iPhone. Manual is aptly named, appropriately priced, and downright cool. The app gives you pure control of your iPhone camera, letting you alter things like exposure, shutter, ISO, white balance, and focus. You also get a thirds grid by default, and a fill-flash gives you better control in terrible lighting.


DxOMark crowns iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus as camera kings – It’s never just about megapixels. Just days after DxOMark ranked the Sony Xperia Z3, with its 20.7 megapixel sensor and highfalutin camera specs, it has wrested the laurel away and handed it over to the iPhone 6 siblings, giving both an equal score of 82, the highest smartphone to receive that mark to date.

BlackBerry Passport hands-on: 5 things you’ll love and 4 things you’ll hate – The BlackBerry Passport has some truly appealing features for productivity power users–but some awfully unappealing ones, too.


Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to go on sale in 140 countries by the end of October – Samsung has now confirmed that the 5.7-inch Note 4 phablet will be made available to South Koreans on September 26, with it going on sale in 140 countries after that by the end of October.


Wink Relay could be the smart-home breakthrough we’ve been waiting for – A DIY in-wall controller for the price of a cell phone? What’s the catch? Pricey, dealer-installed smart-home systems have one thing in common: A wall-mounted panel with a flashy LCD to control everything. This is the feature that’s most difficult for a do-it-yourselfer to duplicate. So I was intrigued when I heard the DIY-friendly Wink Relay controller had gone on pre-sale for just $300, and that it can manage a wide range of self-installed smart light switches, door locks, thermostats, security cameras, and other devices.


The Wink Relay doesn’t just hang on your wall; it installs inside your wall.

Netflix on Linux: How to get it today, and why it’s such a pain – Netflix on Linux is a hassle for two reasons sure to set open-source aficionados on edge: Microsoft and DRM. But you can get around it.

Whoa: Samsung’s new cable lets you use Galaxy devices to charge other gadgets – You may not need to find a wall charger next time your phone starts tossing out low battery warnings. Samsung just announced a new charging cable that can transfer power directly from a Galaxy S5, Galaxy S Tab, and other members of the Galaxy family to another micro USB-compatible device. Is your phone about to give up the ghost? Just plug it into your charged Galaxy Tab. It’s a nifty idea.


Use Twitter’s search operators to find specific tweets – Trying to find something specific on Twitter? There’s a more efficient way to find specific information; you just need the help of Twitter’s search operators. Read on to find out how to use them.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is the biggest phablet of them all, but is it better? – With its 6-inch display, the Nokia Lumia 1520 is a perfect example of the phablet category. Technically it’s a phone, but in day-to-day use it’s an incredibly small, light tablet. Here are my impressions after a week of use.



‘Bigger than Heartbleed’: Bash bug could leave IT systems in shellshock – Just months after news of Heartbleed made waves across the internet, a new security flaw known as Bash bug is threatening to compromise everything from major servers to connected cameras.

Apple knew about iCloud security issues, Dev says – The ongoing celebrity photo leaks all come back to one thing: iCloud security. The pics were allegedly snatched from iCloud, which has prompted Apple to shore up cloud storage security. A new report claims Apple wasn’t caught off-guard by the attacks, and knew about severe vulnerabilities as far back as March of this year. Ibrahim Balic tells Daily Dot he was in communication with Apple long before celebs had photos pinched and placed on 4Chan and Reddit. He was able to successfully hack iCloud accounts using “brute force”, and let Apple know about his success via direct email as well as Apple’s online bug reporting tool.

In-app browsers for iOS may be sniping your data – The hits keep coming for iOS today, don’t they? A new report suggest in-app browsers for iOS can log you keystrokes, right down to your username and/or password. Via a video, which you can see below, Developer Craig Hockenberry shows just how vulnerable you are outside of Chrome or Safari. An in-app browser is one that an app defaults to when you click a link. This is usually found in third-party Twitter or email clients, but isn’t limited to those types of apps. The vulnerability isn’t limited to the newest version of iOS, either; it affects both iOS 7 and iOS 8.


Nationwide restaurant chain Jimmy John’s hacked – Another retail shop has been hit with a point-of-sale information breach. Jimmy John’s, a nationwide sandwich shop operating over 1,900 stores, reports they’ve been hacked. Just like Home Depot and Target ahead of them, this one points right back to the point of sale terminal.

Pro tip: Turn off location reporting for more privacy – If you’re looking to gain even more privacy from/for your Android smartphone, Jack Wallen shows you how (and why) you might want to turn off location reporting.

Japan Airlines customers’ data leaked – Japan Airlines, or JAL, says personal information of up to 750,000 customers of its miles program had been leaked due to a cyber attack, without confirming if banking details had also been affected. JAL has not yet confirmed if the customers’ passwords or banking account and card details have also been leaked.

Company News:

Walmart Now Offering Low-Cost Mobile Checking Accounts Through Exclusive Deal With Green Dot’s GoBank – Walmart is getting into the mobile banking space, the company announced this morning, through a partnership with financial services provider Green Dot Corporation. The company’s low-cost checking account product called GoBank is now being made available exclusively at Walmart, offering customers an overdraft-free bank account with no minimum balance requirements.

Netflix rejects Canadian regulator’s bid for customer data – Netflix has pushed back against a request by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for what it says is confidential information on subscribers, as well as sensitive data of a potentially competitive nature. This follows an order for such data that was made last week by the regulator.

Pointing up As a Canadian, I applaud Netflix’s decision. The “regulator” in question is nothing more than a government sanctioned cabal of senior ex-telecom arse lickers, tasked with screwing over the Canadian consumer – at every opportunity. Time to relegate this anachronism to the scrapheap.

Report: Apple Buys Digital Magazine Platform Prss – It appears the deal went down a few months ago, based on a tweet from Prss co-founder Michel Elings that chronicled his move from the Netherlands to Palo Alto. But it did not make headlines until Dutch blog iCulture broke the news on Tuesday. Citing an anonymous source, iCulture said several Prss employees have also relocated to San Francisco.

Amazon dips toe in connected home industry – According to reports, the online retail giant is quietly exploring the business potential of smart appliances and the connected home.

Adobe closes China branch, most of 400 employees to be dismissed – Due to poor financial performance, the American software company Adobe is shutting down its Mainland China headquarters and many of its 400 employees will be dismissed, Caixin reports. Adobe employees based in the company’s Beijing office were summoned to a local hotel Wednesday morning for a 15-minute meeting during which they were informed that the majority of the staff would be dismissed. About 30 employees will be reassigned to the offices in the U.S. and India, and only the sales department will remain in the mainland China market, said another report.

Games and Entertainment:

Don’t Miss the New Humble Mobile Bundle for Android – There is a new Humble Mobile Bundle available for Android users, and it offers some excellent games at a low price you get to choose yourself. This bundle contains seven great games across three tiers with more to come later. Remember, the sooner you grab the Humble Bundle the less it will cost to unlock all the games.


The 25 Biggest Video Games of Fall 2014 – This fall’s biggest PC, console and handheld video games are some of the most promising we’ve seen in years.


Forza Horizon 2: massive multiplayer online, massive fun – Forza Horizon 2 is the latest installment of Microsoft’s console racing franchise, and it brings the driving-meets-MMO concept to the Xbox One. As with its predecessor, Forza Horizon 2 is built from Forza Motorsport DNA, which UK-based Playground Games have combined with experience gleaned from titles like Project Gotham Racing, TOCA, and DiRT. Once again, the result is a driving game with that familiar Forza look and feel, but it’s tuned to appeal to a slightly different audience.


Major League Gaming is opening an arena for e-sports in the US next month – Competitive gaming is growing so huge in popularity that it will soon have a dedicated arena in the United States. Major League Gaming has announced that the Arena will open in Columbus, Ohio next month. The company describes it as a “state of the art venue designed to showcase and broadcast competitive gaming year round.” The 14,000-square-foot venue has stadium seating where “hundreds” of spectators can watch tournaments live, but players and teams participating in those contests won’t be distracted by outside cheers thanks to soundproof booths. MLG says the Columbus arena will offer visitors the enthralling experience of its Pro Circuit events but “in a more intimate setting.”


Lego Big Bang Theory set could be their geekiest ever – Brace yourselves, Big Bang Theory fans! There may be an official Lego reproduction of Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment headed your way in the very near future thanks to a successful Lego Ideas campaign.


Star Wars: Galactic Defense coming soon to Android, iOS – If you were concerned that the “Star Wars” franchise might leave any game genre unturned, rest easy. Star Wars: Galactic Defense is coming soon for Android and iOS, marking the first time the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire will duke it out in a tower-defense setting.


Off Topic (Sort of):

A properly licensed gallery of Alex Wild’s amazing insect photography – Wild was kind enough to share with Ars his personal experiences of being a copyright-reliant photographer in the Internet age. His imagery has recently appeared on billboards, YouTube commercials, pesticide spray labels, website banners, exterminator trucks, T-shirts, iPhone cases, stickers, company logos, e-book covers, trading cards, board games, video game graphics, children’s books, novel covers, app graphics, alt-med dietary supplement labels, press releases, pest control advertisements, crowdfunding promo videos, coupons, fliers, newspaper articles, postage stamps, advertisements for pet ants (yes, that’s a thing), canned food packaging, ant bait product labels, stock photography libraries, and greeting cards. And that list includes only the outlets that displayed his work without permission.


The First Four-Seater, Solar-Powered Vehicle Hits The U.S. Road – Stella, the first ever family sized road vehicle that runs on the sun has made its U.S. debut. The car took first place in the World Solar Challenge and won the Michelin Cruiser Class for completing a 3,000 kilometer journey from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia last fall. While other solar-powered vehicles have been made for racing, the solar-powered Stella is the first vehicle made for road travel. A large solar panel sits atop the roof to power the car up to 500 miles on a single charge. Compare that to a Tesla Roadster, which can run on an electric charge for 245-300 miles.


Facebook says its internet drones will be the size of 747s and fly for years – We’ve known for a few months now that Facebook wants to beam wireless internet access to unconnected parts of the world using solar-powered, laser-equipped drones. But now one of the leaders of the project has revealed more mind-boggling details, including the fact that Facebook envisions drones the size of a Boeing 747 commercial airliner and wants to keep them flying for months, even years, at a time.

DHL drone will make deliveries to German island starting Friday – Starting Friday, DHL will use drones to deliver medical supplies to a small German island. The company’s quad-rotor “parcelcopter” will transport packages to the island of Juist, home to between 1,500 and 1,700 people, and DHL claims this marks the first unmanned drone delivery service to launch in Europe. Flights will occur daily through October; Reuters says the drone will make trips when ferries and flights — the typical methods of traveling to Juist — aren’t running.


This Emma Watson hoax is proof the internet is broken – Behold the viral bot-owners. After Emma Watson’s speech at the United Nations aimed at Gender equality earlier this week, a viral campaign was launched in the opposite direction. A website suggesting there’d be a leak of nude photos of the actress went up – “EmmaYouAreNext” was released and a viral marketing scheme was hatched.


India’s MOM Spacecraft Enters Mars Orbit – India’s unmanned, shoestring-budget Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft entered Mars orbit on Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) reported. The MOM orbiter, also known as Mangalyaan or “Mars craft” in Hindi, is the first spacecraft sent by an Asian nation to travel to Mars. The probe joins a handful of other spacecraft currently orbiting Mars, including NASA’s recently arrived MAVEN and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express, as well as NASA’s Opportunity and Curiosity rovers, which are operating on the planet’s surface.

Something to think about:

“Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories.”

–     John Wilmot

Today’s Free Downloads:

Foxit Reader – Whether you’re a consumer, business, government agency, or educational organization, you need to read, create, sign, and annotate (comment on) PDF documents and fill out PDF forms.

Foxit Reader is a small, lightning fast, and feature rich PDF viewer which allows you to create (free PDF creation), open, view, sign, and print any PDF file. Foxit Reader is built upon the industry’s fastest and most accurate (high fidelity) PDF rendering engine, providing users with the best PDF viewing and printing experience. Available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

PDF Viewer – Lighting fast PDF view and print of PDF files and portfolios quickly without exhausting system resources.

Easily View Multiple PDF Files – Multi-tab style document display allows users to go back and forth between different PDF documents quickly and easily.

Configurable PDF Viewer – Configure document views with read mode, reverse view, and text viewer options. Configure page display with full screen, single page, continuous scrolling, split, two page facing, continuous facing, separate cover page, auto-scroll, and page transition options.

Bookmark Support – Easily add, edit, and modify bookmarks in a PDF document.

Multiple Views – Rotate pages between landscape and portrait. Configure zooming or adjust magnification using the marquee, loupe, and magnifier tools.


Pioneer Space Sim Alpha 14 – Pioneer is a space adventure game set in our galaxy at the turn of the 31st century.

The game is open-ended, and you are free to eke out whatever kind of space-faring existence you can think of. Look for fame or fortune by exploring the millions of star systems. Turn to a life of crime as a pirate, smuggler or bounty hunter. Forge and break alliances with the various factions fighting for power, freedom or self-determination. The universe is whatever you make of it.

Pioneer is under constant development and has a friendly community of players, modders and developers around it.


LastActivityView – LastActivityView is a tool for Windows operating system that collects information from various sources on a running system, and displays a log of actions made by the user and events occurred on this computer.

The activity displayed by LastActivityView includes: Running .exe file, Opening open/save dialog-box, Opening file/folder from Explorer or other software, software installation, system shutdown/start, application or system crash, network connection/disconnection and more…

You can easily export this information into csv/tab-delimited/xml/html file or copy it to the clipboard and then paste into Excel or other software.


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Court Throws Out Case Against TSA Nude Body Scanners – Jonathan Corbett has been at the forefront of challenges against the TSA’s use of full-body X-ray scanners which he and other critics say violate U.S. citizens’ Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches. Corbett, who has documented his efforts over the past several years at his blog, TSA Out of Our Pants!, claims to have shown that the TSA’s Rapiscan Secure 1000 body scanner and other similar devices can be easily tricked to allow a person hiding weapons through security checkpoints.

An independent study presented by researchers from several universities at last month’s Usenix Security Conference appeared to corroborate Corbett’s claims about the ease with which TSA airport scanners can be spoofed.

But the 11th District Court of Appeals did not appear to take the independent study into consideration. Instead, two of three judges on the appellate panel dismissed Jonathan Corbett’s complaint against the TSA’s airport screening procedures on the grounds that his failure to file it within a 60-day deadline from the date at which the Department of Homeland Security agency first deployed full-body X-ray scanners at U.S. airports made it “untimely” on claim-processing grounds.

Australia’s spy agency to get power to tap unlimited devices – Attorney-General George Brandis has said he is not in favour of limiting the amount of devices Australia’s peak spy agency can access under a single warrant because he cannot determine what their requirements may be in the future.

The legislation, first introduced back in June, rapidly expands the powers the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has under warrants over tapping computers.

The proposal was vetted by a parliamentary committee, where it was warned by legal academics Keiran Hardy and Professor George Williams that the proposals could see every computer on the internet subject to a single warrant.

“I suppose the short answer is: The internet is a computer network, and it is commonly understood as such, and that is why there is some understandable confusion that attaches to these words, because clearly it ought not to be directed at that. But, if that is the case, you would want to see text in the legislation making that clear,” Williams said.

Electronic Frontiers Australia’s executive officer Jon Lawrence also warned that the legislation could be interpreted to mean the whole internet.

“It is quite arguable that the definition could be applied to the entire internet, given the way the legislation is currently worded. That will need some additional work to tie that down to what we believe the department is actually proposing.”

But despite the warnings, the amendments proposed by the committee did not seek to place a limit on the number of devices ASIO could access under the legislation, and the government rejected an attempt by Greens communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam to amend the legislation to put a limit on the scope of the warrant.

Deconstructing the Surveillance State (with Julian Sanchez) – Julian Sanchez joins Trevor Burrus and Matthew Feeney for a discussion on the surveillance state. If the government’s been spying on us for decades, what’s new now? Why is bulk data collection so particularly nefarious? What is metadata anyway, and what does the government do with it? Does the government actually catch terrorists through mass surveillance? Why do people treat terrorism differently from other violent crimes? The defenders of surveillance always say “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to be afraid of” —does this justification hold water?

Julian Sanchez is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, where he studies issues at the busy intersection of technology, privacy, and civil liberties, with a particular focus on national security and intelligence surveillance.

Assange dubs Google ‘privatized NSA,’ pillories Eric Schmidt – The first (and so far only) meeting between Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange turned out to be a bust when it occurred in 2011.

And given what Assange had to say about Schmidt on Wednesday at a Manhattan launch party to promote his new book, “When Google Met WikiLeaks,” it’s unlikely he’ll be able to line up a second tête-à-tête.

Attending the event live by videoconference from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he’s been granted sanctuary, Assange called Google a “privatized NSA.” The reference is to the US National Security Agency, whose surveillance practices caused an uproar last year when classified information about them was disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Assange went on to claim that the search giant has links to other departments within the US government and US military.

“People who use Google are the product,” Assange said, likening the search giant’s collection of data for marketing purposes to what some have called the NSA’s strategy of collecting as much information as it possibly can. Referring to Android, Google’s mobile operating system, Assange said it’s “constantly sending your location…streaming back your contacts, emails and everything you search for. It’s all collected.”

Despite his dislike of Google’s business practices, Assange said he and Schmidt are actually “quite similar” to each other.


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

6 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 25, 2014

  1. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    re: Australia’s spy agency to get power to tap unlimited devices

    Now, the Oz Goverment would just love that wouldn’t they. Total power over all of us. Nothing out of the ordinary though, for this mob.


    • Hey Mal,

      Apologies for yesterday’s – my initial reply got lost in a system crash and I never got back to it. I’m humbled. 🙂

      Part of my response yesterday touched on the question as to why all this upheaval is happening in Australia. Is this a test to gauge the public acceptance of draconian anti-privacy legislation sponsored by others? – the usual “homeland” obsessed, “patriotic” governments, come to mind. Or, is all this legitimate and it’s simply a matter of Australians being cowed by a paranoid and excessively punitive government.

      Or, is it as simply as – “The internet poses one of the greatest threats to our existence,” said Senator Glen Lazarus on Thursday night. Hah! A former rugby player says something dumb, that’s always funny, right? No. This mix of ignorance, fear, and sometimes plain laziness infests so many of Australia’s lawmakers — and right now that’s dangerous.”

      No matter the reason, it shocks me that Australians are not in the streets protesting against this fascist regime.

      Still, Summer is on the way Mal, so kick back this weekend, snap a cap (or two), and contemplate on that. 🙂



  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Glenn Lazarus is known as “The Brick with Eyes” from his rugby league days. A great player too. But he is as dumb as crap making that stupid comment about the internet.

    He is only a Senator because of a quirk with our voting laws. Not very many people voted for the party he belongs to, but they got there on preference deals. So, unfortunately, we have morons holding the balance of power.

    Rest assured, if people get angry enough, they will be in the streets. Us Ozzies have always had a healthy skepticism of authority, and I believe that people are just watching and waiting to see what happens. The Government is already on the nose here, they are using this latest terror crisis to make themselves look “tough”. But I know for a fact that people here are not buying it, because everything else they have done is just so cruel and nasty.

    Let them just try their shit on. Watch the Ozzies react.


    • Hey Mal,

      “We have morons holding the balance of power” – I’d laugh – except, there’s damn little funny about it. Proportional representation is the best of a bad lot – but, this brute is a fine example of it’s limitations. Still, it beats hell out of first past the post. A favourite of dictators-in-waiting, like our Stephen Harper and his con-bots. “Cruel and nasty” – like your fella Tony Abbot – is Harper’s method.

      As for guts, grit, and determination – nobody beats Ozzies. Er, except for Canadians mate. 🙂



  3. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    You’re right, if they weren’t such a bunch of idiots, it would be funny. Still, with the passage of the new terror laws, us Ozzies are taking it all in our stride, with our usual sense of humour. Have a look at the following link, it is a good laugh.