Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 7, 2014

Tips for Stopping Identity Theft;  Camera51 for Android Helps You Take Better Photos;  Guard your privacy online;  Windows 10: How to uninstall preview updates;  Battery Widget Reborn v2.0 Gets Android L Makeover;  Skype will block local calls in India starting November 10th;  Bing integrates song lyrics into search results;  Microsoft scores poorly in latest virus protection test for Windows 7;  All about drive letters and drive names;  Yahoo confirms servers infected;  Angry Birds Transformers Trojan targets Android;  Assassin’s Creed Unity Will Only Run at 1080p on PCs;  Zuckerberg is world’s best CEO, Twitter the eighth wonder;  Australia Wants To Light Up With Massive #YesToPot Campaign;  Alien: Isolation Review;  iPhone Encryption and the Return of the Crypto Wars;  Zoner Photo Studio Free.

Guard your privacy online – Not every moment needs to be shared on the Internet. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. It’s become increasingly difficult to be both online and maintain your own privacy. Here are some tips to help you take control of what you share online. Eric Franklin will run through what you need to know to fully move off the grid of the Web. Sharon Profis will go over the process of deleting any trace of you from Facebook. And I’ll show you two methods for erasing geolocation data from your photos.

Tips for Stopping Identity Theft – Identity thieves can use your personal information to open and max out multiple credit cards, apply for loans and place deposits on big-ticket items. This activity all goes onto your credit profile, eventually sinking your credit rating. Yet you might never find out about the unauthorized activity until the debt collectors come calling or you find yourself summarily rejected for a loan or mortgage application. So what can you do to thwart identity thieves?

Gmail Tips: Get Organized with Labels and Filters – First order of business: never delete messages. We’re going to archive them instead. This is the equivalent of taking every piece of physical mail that’s ever been sent to your house and putting it in your basement instead of throwing the mail you don’t need or don’t care about away. If you do this in real life, you’re crazy. If you don’t do this online, you’re crazy.

Skype will block local calls in India starting November 10th – Skype is either changing, or being forced to change, its strategy in India. The Microsoft service will no longer offer landline and mobile calls for Indian residents starting November 10th. This change came pretty much out of the blue and was announced by Skype on one of their support channels. According to their announcement, starting November 10th the local Indian subscriptions will no longer be valid. As such they recommend users either cancel or use up their credit by that date to avoid losing money.

Google Voice MMS support on almost 100 carriers rolls out – Google has been busy making a lot of changes with Google Voice and Hangouts, including most notably further integration between the two services into one handy single app. In an effort to expand the service’s usefulness for users, the Internet giant has announced that following busy work with almost 100 carriers across the United States and Canada, it has made available support for MMS messages in Google Voice from a large roster of carriers, among them being such notable entities as T-Mobile, AT&T, and Rogers.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Gmail updates for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus displays – Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference, like apps that take proper advantage of the extra screen real-estate of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, so consider it welcome news that Gmail has updated for iOS 8. The new app – with the tongue-in-cheek version number of 3.1415926 – answers the big, lingering complaint Gmail users had since the new Apple smartphones were launched, namely that the scaling was still intended for a 4-inch panel. Now, though, you get far more on your screen than you did before.

Camera51 for Android Helps You Take Better Photos – Having a good camera on your Android phone is only half the battle. Well, less than half depending on who you ask. You also need to consider the framing and composition of a shot to get the best results. Camera51 claims it can analyze your frame and suggest the ideal positioning based on the same principles used by professional photographers.

Battery Widget Reborn v2.0 Gets Android L Makeover – Just search the Play Store for “battery widget” and you’ll get page upon page of results. Right near the top, however, will be Battery Widget Reborn. This super-popular app is more than just a widget, and it’s getting a huge update with v2.0, which moves it into the Android L era.


Plex on Xbox One makes streaming your movie library easy and elegant – When setting up Plex Media Server on a PC or Mac, you just point it to wherever your media is stored, and it’ll automatically pull in high-res artwork, descriptions, cast information, and ratings. It’s basically effortless; Plex organizes all your stuff and puts a beautiful user interface on top of everything. Once it’s set up, you can watch your content using Plex apps across smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, and now video game consoles. Plex was already compatible with Xbox 360 over DLNA, but this marks the first time the company has brought a native experience to gaming devices.


Windows 10: How to uninstall preview updates – If you have Windows 10 installed and you download an update that causes your machine to crash, Microsoft has included an easy way to remove newly installed updates from your machine.

Bing integrates song lyrics into search results – We’ve all been there. A classic song gets stuck in your head, but all you can remember is, “Boom, Boom, Boom let’s go back to my room, na na na na na na na na na na na na na.” Technology to the rescue! Bing wants to take some of the hassle out of the age-old agony of remembering song lyrics. Microsoft recently announced that solving this problem is now as easy as typing the song name and “lyrics” into Bing. The search engine will then show the complete lyrics for the song in its search results page.

This App Avoided Being Made Useless By Using The iPhone’s Charger (But Not For Charging) – Remember Cycloramic? It was one of our favorite iOS apps last year. It allows you to take hands-free 360-degree selfie panoramics by using the iPhone’s vibrating motor to propel it around your desk. A key component of this trick, though, was that the last few iPhones have had squared edges. Those edges allowed the phone to be placed upright for proper pano-selfie framing. Otherwise, you’re just taking a picture of your ceiling. But wait! The iPhone 6 has round edges. It can’t stand upright on its own. Cycloramic is doomed, right? Nope! As it turns out, people who come up with super clever ideas can also come up with super clever workarounds.


Cirqle Debuts A Photo-Sharing App For Groups That Works Offline – The addition of an offline mode for social media-based collaboration is a timely twist for this nearly year-old app, and one that could finally see it getting picked up by a wider audience. (The app isn’t currently showing up on the App Store charts, according to App Annie.) Offline social networking and communications apps are now picking up, as technology is helping those living under more authoritarian regimes tap into broader networks even without a cellular or Wi-Fi signal.

All about drive letters and drive names – Paras Bansal’s hard drive has three partitions with the same name. I explain how to change drive letters and names, and why Paras’ situation may be confusing, but not serious.

Tzukuri’s smart sunglasses send alerts when you’ve left them behind – The glasses use Apple’s iBeacon technology to pair with a nearby iPhone, letting the two devices communicate over Bluetooth LE. As users move farther away from the glasses, they receive a series of three iPhone notifications in 15-foot increments. Users can open the Tzukuri app to see the glasses’ last known location and can use a proximity tracker to find the glasses when they’re within 25 feet. (The app does let users turn off notifications in certain places to avoid being pestered at home or at work.)



Microsoft scores poorly in latest virus protection test for Windows 7 – AV-TEST Institute’s August 2014 (Windows 7 SP1) test results are now available. The company reports on 33 antivirus applications: 24 consumer-oriented antivirus programs and 9 corporate-endpoint protection packages. This article focuses on the corporate antivirus test results, the consumer antivirus test results are posted here. Here’s more about AV-TEST and how the company works.


Yahoo confirms servers infected – but not by Shellshock – Yahoo says no customer data was placed at risk after servers were infiltrated by malware — and the insidious Shellshock bug was not at fault.

Advertising beacons discovered in hundreds of NYC phone booths – As New York City looks to upgrade its phone booths, the boxes may be getting more technology than many citizens realize. This weekend, a Buzzfeed investigation found approximately 500 advertising beacons in Manhattan phone booths, all installed without a formal approval process or public comment period. In response to the report, the city has announced it will remove the beacons “in the coming days.” Beacon devices work over Bluetooth, typically looking for phones running a Beacon-enabled app (typically from a store or brand) and sending a push notification once that phone is in range.

Angry Birds Transformers Trojan targets Android, warns ‘Obey or be hacked’ – Malware targeting Android devices pretends to be the new Angry Birds Transformers game, but wipes data from the device’s storage, blocks the Facebook app, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and text messages, spamming friends every five seconds with the same warning the owner sees: ‘Obey or Be Hacked.’


Company News:

Samsung’s Q3 2014 profits nosedived – The past couple years have been kind to Samsung, which has seen record profits and all sorts of bragging rights. That reign held steady for quite a while as the Korean company pumped out mobile gadgets that found favor with consumers. Those numbers started stumbling this year, however, and by the looks of things has taken a massive blow in the third quarter of this year. Such information comes from a regulatory filing, which shows the company is expecting its profits to come in at a three-year low.

Facebook now officially owns WhatsApp – Eight months after announcing its intent to acquire messaging giant WhatsApp, the deal has finally gone through. Facebook announced the closing of the deal with the SEC in the United States, and with the European Commission in Europe. Since the deal was announced for $19 billion, its price tag has actually increased to a whopping $21.8 billion. This is in part due to Facebook’s rising stock price over the last several months, Recode points out.

Games and Entertainment:

Alien: Isolation Review – Either you’re going to love this game or you’re going to hate it. There’s a lot riding on elements of fandom, terror, and gameplay here. You really have to ask yourself a few questions before you take the plunge. We really should make a flowchart for you in deciding whether or not to allow yourself to experience this game, starting with the key – have you seen the original ALIEN film?


It’s not a bug: Shadow of Mordor allows for never-ending combos – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has only been out a few days, but the general feedback is that Monolith has done a good job with this action RPG. It’s not the longest of games, but it is one where there’s a constant need for tactics combined with some genuinely fun combat you just keep coming back to. Now it seems the combos performed in the game can be chained together…forever.


Assassin’s Creed Unity Will Only Run at 1080p on PCs – Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity, a sneaking game about two secret societies warring during the French Revolution, will only be capable of 1080p display resolution if you’re rocking a Windows PC. The 1920-by-1080 club’s doors are officially closed to game consoles, says Ubisoft. What’s more, both consoles will top out at 30 frames per second (enthusiasts tend to prefer games that run at 60).

Off Topic (Sort of):

Zuckerberg is world’s best CEO, Twitter the eighth wonder, says Marc Andreessen – The venture capitalist has been tweeting up a storm, sharing his thoughts on everything from startups to activist shareholders. In an exclusive interview, Andreessen offers his take on the Apple Watch, bitcoin and dot-com blunders.

The Navy is building robotic weaponized boats – As a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, loaded with 60 aircraft and more than 6,000 sailors, heads toward port, it’s protected by a group of 10 or more small boats. The boats move around the ship, scanning for suspicious and potentially hostile vessels coming too close. If they spot a potential adversary, they race toward the intruder, working together to swarm around it and block it from getting any closer. If necessary, they can destroy an attacking vessel. What makes this scenario unique is that these small boats are unmanned. No one’s driving them or on the look out. No one’s manning the machine gun.


Floating bike highway proposed for London’s River Thames – A group of architects, engineers, and artists proposed a novel way of creating protected bike lanes in traffic-clogged London: a floating bike highway along the Thames. The path, called the Thames Deckway, would run east-west along the river’s southern bank for about seven miles, from Battersea to Canary Wharf.


Australia Wants To Light Up With Massive #YesToPot Campaign – An innovative online and street campaign run by SBS has revealed, somewhat unsurprisingly, Australians overwhelmingly want to smoke weed legally.


Why do contextual ads fail? – Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon violate our privacy in order to show us relevant ads. So why do their ads miss the mark?

Microsoft’s FlexSense Project Is A Thin Sensor Layer To Make Your Tablet Awesome – The merry band of scientists over at Microsoft Research — who apparently get paid to have fun and speak with fixed tones over videos — have put together something called FlexSense, a flat piece of bendable material loaded with sensors. You torque it, and it accepts the “deformation” input. That means it can tell how you are bending it and translates that information for the application you’re using. Imagine doodling a picture with multiple layers, and lifting up the corner of your FlexSense to reveal the layer below that you’re working on. Or turning pages of a digital book by bending a part of your FlexSense. Any place you can imagine flexing or bending material, FlexSense could fit.


To Kidfinity and beyond? iPad bests all brands among 6- to 12-year-olds – Research company Smarty Pants asked kids and moms about their favorite brands. Disney cracks kids’ top 10, but McDonald’s may need a happy meal: It only ranks 15th.


Something to think about:

“You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late to hate all the people your relatives hate, you’ve got to be carefully taught.”

–    South Pacific – Broadway Show

Today’s Free Downloads:

Auslogics Duplicate File Finder – Auslogics Duplicate File Finder will find and remove duplicate files so you won’t experience lack of free disk space!

Auslogics Duplicate File Finder has the MD5 search engine which allows you to find duplicate files by content, regardless other match criteria. It would be helpful, for example, when two identical mp3 tracks or video files have different names. Give Auslogics Duplicate File Finder a try to see what it’s really capable of!


Improve computer performance by deleting duplicate files

Identical files not only waste your hard disk space, but also may cause system slowdowns. By deleting duplicate files you can reduce time needed to defragment your hard drives and minimize time used by antivirus to scan your computer.

Sort and organize your media collections

Media files collections, such as music, video, images and photos, often become the primary source of identical files. If you have a music collection of several hundreds or even thousands mp3-files, you may want to sort them by deleting identical tracks.

With Auslogics Duplicate File Finder you can organize your media files and increase free disk space needed to enlarge your collection.

Find duplicate files by content!

Auslogics Duplicate File Finder has the MD5 search engine which allows the program to search for duplicate files by content, regardless of other match criteria. It would be helpful, for example, when two identical mp3 tracks or video files have different names.


Zoner Photo Studio Free – Manage, edit, and share your photos faster and more easily than ever before! This free software is the new way to work on your pictures with less hassle and more fun than you’ve ever seen. It’s made for everyone, and will make you feel like a pro.


Download pictures easily

Get organized with Sort Pictures

Quickly find any picture

Describe and tag your pictures

Geotag to show where you took your shots

EditFrom simple touchups and one-click fixes to fancy

creative work, it’s all here.

Quick Fix – fix it all in one click

Remove red eye, wrinkles, and more

Add cool effects

Fix exposure problems fast

Sharpen blurred pictures

Turn your pictures into panoramas…

Share them with Facebook friends

Publish them on Flickr

Quick, impressive calendars


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

iPhone Encryption and the Return of the Crypto Wars – Last week, Apple announced that it is closing a serious security vulnerability in the iPhone. It used to be that the phone’s encryption only protected a small amount of the data, and Apple had the ability to bypass security on the rest of it.

From now on, all the phone’s data is protected. It can no longer be accessed by criminals, governments, or rogue employees. Access to it can no longer be demanded by totalitarian governments. A user’s iPhone data is now more secure.

To hear US law enforcement respond, you’d think Apple’s move heralded an unstoppable crime wave. See, the FBI had been using that vulnerability to get into people’s iPhones. In the words of cyberlaw professor Orin Kerr, “How is the public interest served by a policy that only thwarts lawful search warrants?”

Ah, but that’s the thing: You can’t build a backdoor that only the good guys can walk through. Encryption protects against cybercriminals, industrial competitors, the Chinese secret police and the FBI. You’re either vulnerable to eavesdropping by any of them, or you’re secure from eavesdropping from all of them.

Backdoor access built for the good guys is routinely used by the bad guys. In 2005, some unknown group surreptitiously used the lawful-intercept capabilities built into the Greek cell phone system. The same thing happened in Italy in 2006.

In 2010, Chinese hackers subverted an intercept system Google had put into Gmail to comply with US government surveillance requests. Back doors in our cell phone system are currently being exploited by the FBI and unknown others.

This doesn’t stop the FBI and Justice Department from pumping up the fear. Attorney General Eric Holder threatened us with kidnappers and sexual predators.

The former head of the FBI’s criminal investigative division went even further, conjuring up kidnappers who are also sexual predators. And, of course, terrorists.

Surveillance drives South Koreans to encrypted messaging apps – Two weeks ago, Kakao Talk users in South Korea users got an unpleasant surprise. After months of enduring public criticism, President Park Geun-Hye announced a crackdown on any messages deemed as insulting to her or generally rumor-mongering — including private messages sent through Kakao Talk, a Korean messaging app akin to WhatsApp or iMessage. Prosecutors began actively monitoring the service for violations, promising punishment for anyone spreading inappropriate content.

In response to the crackdown, South Koreans have voted with their feet, heading en masse to encrypted chat programs hosted outside the country, particularly an app called Telegram known for its encryption features. Based in Germany, Telegram reports roughly 1.5 million new South Korean users have signed up in the past seven days, giving the app more than 50 million users worldwide. Telegram’s Markus Ra says it’s not the only country where government controls have made Telegram an attractive option. “People frequently come to Telegram looking for extra security — some of them from countries with censorship issues,” Ra says. “What really makes us happy is that the users stay when the privacy scandals have died away.”

Telegram offers an option for “secret chats” that use end-to-end encryption, which means that the company facilitates key exchange but doesn’t hold the keys itself and can’t decrypt any of the messages. Created by Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov, the app’s offshore location makes legal compulsion much more difficult for South Korean prosecutors. Telegram’s South Korean user base is still just a fraction of Kakao’s 35 million users — the vast majority of cell-phone owners in South Korea — but the rapid growth shows how much privacy features can pay off in the face of high-profile censorship.


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