Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 9, 2014

DEA agent steals woman’s identity and photos to lure in suspects on Facebook;  A list of all the Google Now voice commands;  Watch TV for free with these 10 Android apps;  Google Now tells you bills are due; does it go too far?  Windows 10: You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers;  Google releases News & Weather app for iOS;  NHL app hits the ice with a new look for 2014-2015 season;  Microsoft Research releases Xim, a photo sharing app with a twist;  Keep tabs on your time with Jiffy;  Google pays $75K in bug bounties to fix 159 Chrome flaws;  Free game alert: EA’s giving away Dragon Age: Origins;  OnLive opens wide its 250-game PlayPack vault today, for free;  Ballmer, Gates no longer pals;  10 YouTube Videos That Will Change How You Think;  NSA spying will shatter the internet, Silicon Valley bosses warn.

DEA agent steals woman’s identity and photos to lure in suspects on Facebook – The woman gave up her rights when she handed over her phone in an arrest, the Feds are claiming in a court case, so that makes it OK for a DEA agent to put up a bogus account in her name, post her private photos, friend a fugitive, and accept friend requests. Privacy experts call it an alarming expansion of the notion of “consent.”

5 ways to take charge of your smartphone’s home screen – If the only change you’ve made to your iPhone or Android phone’s home screen is to swap out the wallpaper and rearrange a few icons, you’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. Indeed, you can make your phone’s home screen your very own in ways from subtle to massive, from adding shortcuts for your favorite contacts to tucking little-used apps into folders. And if you’re the proud owner of an Android phone, you can actually revamp your entire home screen, from top to bottom.

A list of all the Google Now voice commands – You pick up your phone and say “OK Google”… and then what? Your phone is listening. The microphone icon is pulsing. What do you say to your phone? What can you say to it? Google Now’s voice function has become surprisingly robust over the years. Here’s a list of just about everything you can say to Google Now. Try experimenting with different phrasing, you’ll be surprised how much it understands. The part of the phrase in [brackets] can be replaced with any similar term you choose. If Google Now doesn’t get your spoken commands right, you can correct it by saying “No, I said…” and trying the phrase again.

Watch TV for free with these 10 Android apps – Most of the big broadcast and cable TV networks are offering free streaming apps for Android, complete with full episodes of their most popular shows—everything from About a Boy and America’s Next Top Model to Duck Dynasty and Scandal. We’ve rounded up 10 free TV apps that offer at least some of their full episodes without verifying a cable or satellite subscription, or requiring any other sort of payment beyond sitting through a few advertisements. Indeed, some of the best apps on our list serve up all their episodes for free, no pay-TV login required.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Now tells you bills are due; does it go too far? – If you get emailed reminders about bills sent to your Gmail inbox, you may end up with a Google Now card reminding you to pay your bill. The feature is meant to be handy, but it seems a few users aren’t too pleased with Google scanning their emails to find bills. Here’s how it works: Google scans your Gmail for bill reminders — that happens without you even knowing or asking it to. In Google Now (or the Google Search app), tap on the mic icon in the search bar. Tell Google “show me my bills”, or “my bills due this week”, and cards based on your emailed bills pop up.

Windows 10: You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers – There’s more to Windows 10 than just the revamped Start menu. I’ve been fielding questions from readers about the new release. Why is it called Windows 10? Does it really contain a keylogger? And what happened to Internet Explorer?

Windows 10: Keyboard gets predictive text – Windows 10 is full of unannounced features and, while using the OS, we’re regularly coming across new ones – and this time around, the keyboard is getting predictive text input like Windows Phone.

HTC Zoe Photo App Gets a Boost – The Android version is out of beta and available on all devices with the necessary specs to run it. There is also an iOS version that will be rolling out soon. That raises the question, what is Zoe? On HTC phones, Zoe is a feature within the camera app that lets you take multiple photos as part of a short video. There are all sorts of effects and tools for manipulating that, but the app for other devices is just about the remixing part of the HTC experience. Zoe allows you to take the photos and videos you’ve created and cut them together into a quick montage with music and video effects.


Microsoft Research releases Xim, a photo sharing app with a twist – Microsoft Research is always working on unique projects that span many different applications. From disappearing messages to streaming online games, there is no limit to what they cover. And their latest project, Xim, seems like any other photo sharing app, until you look a little deeper. Xim is Microsoft Research’s latest application and it allows you to easily share photos with any of your contacts. While there are dozens of apps that can already do this, Xim lets you have control over the experience.


Microsoft clears the air on Windows 10 “keylogger” – Is it scary that Microsoft can theoretically see everything you type in the Windows 10 Technical Preview? To some, sure. But we’re not meant to be using the preview for daily computing or any tasks that might involve sensitive data. The software is exactly what Microsoft said it is: an unfinished OS that they need help testing. If you’re willing to test it, you’re willing to have your usage analyzed. If you’ve actually read through an EULA before — particularly one for a piece of software that’s still a work in progress — you know this is something companies do. Microsoft didn’t hide the fact that they were going to with the Windows 10 Technical Preview, either. It’s all right there in the EULA in plain English.

Google Chromecast Is The Top “Connected Device” App – Google’s Chromecast is the most popular “connected device” – or so infers a new report from app analytics firm App Annie, which analyzed the top apps associated with connected devices across both iTunes and Google Play in the U.S. Gartner says that there will be 26 billion connected devices globally by 2020 – an astounding figure – but one that makes more sense when you start to think about the connected devices you already use in your own home – DVRs, game consoles, smartwatches, wireless printers, and more.


Google releases News & Weather app for iOS – Formerly available just for Android devices, the app lets you personalize topics you want to see and check on the weather in your own city or anywhere else in the world.


NHL app hits the ice with a new look for 2014-2015 season – NHL fans will have a new way to experience all the league has to offer with a brand new mobile app on Android and iOS platforms.


Manage your business card collection with these five free apps – Without a reliable way to capture business card info, you can lose track of valuable contacts. Tom Merritt looks at five apps that simplify the task.

Keep tabs on your time with Jiffy – Jack Wallen shows you how to keep track of task time with Jiffy and how to use it across multiple Android devices.

Google Street View Now Rides Camel-Back Into the Arabian Desert – For adventurous types who are short on sunscreen, Google Maps has just extended its street view deep into the Arabian Desert. The trek cuts a narrow path through the Liwa desert, 150 kilometers southwest of Abu Dhabi, winding through an endless stretch of sand dunes measuring upwards of 40 meters in height. But the coolest feature is possibly the view straight down to the ground, where a silhouette of Google’s streetview camera can be seen mounted atop a camel’s back.


30-Second Tech Trick: Download All Your Tweets at Once – Seamlessly relive precious, precious memories.


Google pays $75K in bug bounties to fix 159 Chrome flaws – Google yesterday released Chrome 38, paying out more than $75,000 in bounties for some of the 159 vulnerabilities patched in the massive security update. Also, contrary to what Google said in August but in line with its change-of-mind last month, Chrome 38 remained a 32-bit application on OS X, the operating system for Apple’s Mac line. Of the 159 bugs quashed in Chrome 38, 113 — or 71% — were “relatively minor fixes,” according to Google. Those vulnerabilities had been found using MemorySanitizer, a Google-made tool for sniffing out memory initialization flaws.

IBM says most security breaches are due to human error – A recently released report from computing giant IBM attributes some 95% of IT security breaches to human error and that over 75% of attacks are targeted at just five industries, proving when it comes to security, people are the real problem.

45% of Android devices still have a vulnerable browser installed – Around 45 percent of Android devices have a browser that is vulnerable to two serious security issues, but some countries have a considerably larger percentage of affected users than others, according to data from mobile security firm Lookout. The two security issues were discovered over the past month by a security researcher named Rafay Baloch and were described as a privacy disaster by other researchers. They allow an attacker to bypass a core security boundary, called the same-origin policy (SOP), that exists in all browsers.

Company News:

AT&T to pay $105 million for ‘cramming’ extra charges into customer bills – The US government is slapping down AT&T for allowing extra charges on customers’ phone bills with what it calls the “largest cramming settlement in history.” The news was announced on Wednesday in a joint press conference held by the FCC, the FTC, and all state attorneys general, who worked together on the resolution. That resolution concerns what’s known as “mobile cramming,” in which third parties can pass charges along to phone companies for spam SMS messages or things like daily horoscopes and “fun facts.” Federal investigators found that for years, AT&T made hundreds of millions of dollars by taking 35 percent of these unwanted charges, dodging complaints from customers and reassuring the companies themselves.

Google asks Supreme Court to decide Oracle’s Android copyright case – Google has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a copyright infringement case that some developers think could have a big impact on their ability to innovate in software. The case was brought by Oracle four years ago and accuses Google of infringing patents and copyrights related to Java in its Android mobile OS. Google emerged largely victorious from a lower court trial but an appeals court overturned that ruling in May. Google now wants the highest court in the U.S. to hear its case.

Symantec may split into separate security and storage businesses – Taking a cue from Hewlett-Packard and eBay, Symantec is said to be in talks to carve out the company into two entities. One of the entities will focus on storage while the other will address the security business, reported Bloomberg, citing people who asked not to be identified because the conversations are private. An announcement of the split, which is supported by CEO Michael Brown, could be made in a few weeks, according to the report. Symantec’s spokeswoman Kristen Batch said via email that the company does not comment on rumors.

AMD’s CEO steps down, COO takes over – AMD named Lisa Su, its chief operating officer, as its new CEO, effective immediately, replacing Rory Read as the struggling maker of PC chips continues its attempt at a turnaround. Su, 44 years old, joined AMD in 2012, and most recently has been responsible for integrating AMD’s business units, sales, global operations and infrastructure enablement teams. Before coming to the chipmaker, she worked at chipmaker Freescale and at IBM.

Games and Entertainment:

Free game alert: EA’s giving away Dragon Age: Origins ahead of sequel’s launch – The freebie only applies to the standard edition of Dragon Age: Origins, so you’ll unfortunately miss out on the lengthy Awakening expansion and a few smaller pieces of DLC unless you decide to buy the (mostly excellent) extra content. Regardless, it’s a fantastic fantasy RPG—the closest BioWare’s ever come to the morally ambiguous storytelling of The Witcher—and definitely worth picking up if you haven’t played it before. Or, for that matter, if you played it on last-gen consoles and don’t ever want to hook those things back up again.


OnLive opens wide its 250-game PlayPack vault tomorrow, for free – Cloud gaming service OnLive said that the company will throw open its PlayPack vault in support of the Extra Life charity for 24 hours beginning Thursday, allowing gamers to play more than 250 games on the service for free. Although the effort clearly promotes OnLive’s own services, the company is also raising money for Extra Life, a gaming marathon that helps raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network of 170 hospitals across America. The PlayPack is free, but those that raise money for Extra Life will also receive prizes that scale up according to the amount of money donated or raised.


Alien: Isolation is just the first of the age of Terror Games – When I played Alien: Isolation for the first time, I got sick to my stomach. It was a physical necessity that I stop playing – and I hadn’t even seen the Alien itself yet. Now is the next age of the horror game. Not just horror for the gamer – not just a place where you can get out an tune out. Instead you’re trapped in a space station with the perfect organism, one that cannot be killed, one that’s never been so real to you as it is here and now, discovering you having a nervous breakdown in a staff locker.


The Best Android Digital Comic Book Apps – The eight Android readers in this roundup represent the best digital comic book apps that we’ve reviewed. The summaries for each app below only scratch the surface of what these readers can do; check out the full reviews for a big picture view of each digital comic book app’s functionality.


Want to Visit a Slice of Destiny DLC Bungie Hasn’t Unlocked Yet? – This is what happens when boredom ensues in Destiny: you spy a tantalizing column of light, notice the architectural lattice surrounding it, nose around the framework until you discover a way to leap into that column of light, and presto: Scotty’s beaming you up.


Off Topic (Sort of):

Ballmer, Gates no longer pals; blame Nokia, Vista – It seems the Nokia deal former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pulled off right before leaving the company had a strong ripple effect. Not only is Microsoft feeling the squeeze to produce great handsets and carry on Nokia’s legacy, but a friendship was ruined in the process. Ballmer and Bill Gates are apparently on the outs, and are no longer on speaking terms with one another. The reason for the former besties not talking to one another is that Nokia buy, and Ballmer’s actions shortly after.

A Brief History Of Tesla – When Tesla went public in 2010, it became the first American car company to do so since Ford Motor Company in 1956. Since then, Tesla’s stock has soared as the company keeps rolling out new features and models while simultaneously capturing the imagination of a curious public. What follows is a brief history of Tesla starting at its founding not by Elon Musk, but Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in July 2003.


Kid tapes cop smashing car window, dragging man away after tasering him – A 14-year-old boy’s videotape of an Indiana cop smashing an ax though a vehicle window, shooting the passenger with a stun gun, and ripping him from the vehicle has become the subject of an excessive force lawsuit. Monday’s lawsuit [PDF] is among the most recent in a wave of police encounters gone awry that have been captured on video and resulted in legal action. The incident was filmed two weeks ago in Hammond, Indiana, and it started with a motorist being stopped and pulled over for allegedly not wearing a seatbelt.


Watch: VR drones race like Speeder Bikes in the French Alps – Racing tiny flying devices through the forest would have been awesome enough, but no, these folks went the extra mile. They’ve added virtual reality headsets to the mix. With cameras (like GoPro) mounted on their drones, they connect to headsets and travel along with their drones in real time.


DARPA video puts you in cockpit of superhero-style combat vehicle – If there’s any real-world equivalent to Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. organization in the US, it’s got to be DARPA — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The agency clearly has the most futuristic tech toys and concepts around, as we recently saw with its jetpack that boosts human running speeds. Plus there was all that self-destructing spy tech DARPA talked about earlier this year. Now comes a concept for a new combat vehicle, shown in the video below, that looks like it could easily take on the Batmobile.


Why we live in an anti-tech age – Though it seems as if we’re surrounded by innovative products, services and technologies, there’s a growing counter argument that we’re living in a dismal era. Science is hated. Real technological progress has stalled. And what we call innovation today really isn’t very innovative. Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, billionaire investor and author, is among those challenging the notion of innovation and progress. Thiel, who earned undergraduate and law degrees at Stanford University, spoke at the Gartner Symposium/IT this week about why the march of progress seems to have stalled.

10 YouTube Videos That Will Change How You Think – While you may think of YouTube as a place to check out the latest in funny animal videos, there’s a lot of content that caters to the brain rather than the funny bone. We’ve found the best and brightest videos for you to enjoy when you need to stretch your mental muscles. These cover a variety of topics, but they’re all guaranteed to make you look at the world around you at least a little bit differently.

Something to think about:

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”

–      Robert Heinlein

Today’s Free Downloads:

ImageCacheViewer – ImageCacheViewer is a simple tool that scans the cache of your Web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome), and lists the images displayed in the Web sites that you recently visited.

For every cached image file, the following information is displayed: URL of the image, Web browser that was used to visit the page, image type, date/time of the image, browsing time, and file size.

When selecting a cache item in the upper pane of ImageCacheViewer, the image is displayed in the lower pane, and you can copy the image to the clipboard by pressing Ctrl+M.


Clipboard Help+Spell – Clipboard Help+Spell is a clipboard history utility with the following features:

Database stores history of all past text and image clipboard entries for easy viewing, modification, and search

Use it for keeping hierarchical notes – search, sort, filter by text, modification date, last view date

Super easy and super fast search function – or use complex filters if you need them – you’ll never have a problem finding a note again!

Organize your notes and clips any way you want – show them all or view by group or category; view your clips any way you like

High-quality spellcheck – underlined mistakes; learning spellchecker

Configurable hotkeys for common functions

Powerful text formatting options – make your own presets for common functions

Simple functions for copying and pasting into and out of other applications


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA spying will shatter the internet, Silicon Valley bosses warn – Top Silicon Valley execs have warned that the NSA’s continued surveillance of innocent people will rupture the internet – which is bad news for business.

Oh, and bad news for hundreds of thousands of workers, and America’s moral authority, too.

The suits were speaking at a roundtable organized by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in Palo Alto, California, on Wednesday. Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt and John Lilly, a partner at venerable VC firm Greylock Partners, were on the panel, along with Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith and his counterpart at Facebook, Colin Stretch, and Dropbox, Ramsey Homsany.

“It is time to end the digital dragnet, which harms American liberty and the American economy without making the country safer. The US government should stop requiring American companies to participate in the suspicionless collection of their customers’ data, and begin the process of rebuilding trust both at home and abroad,” said Senator Wyden.

“The United States – here in Silicon Valley, up in the Silicon Forest of the State of Oregon that I am so proud to represent, and in tech campuses and garage start-ups across the country – has the best technologies and the best ideas to drive high-tech innovation. It is policy malpractice to squander that capital for no clear security gain.”

Gov’t seeks to hold on to security letter “gag orders,” banned by 2013 ruling – A San Francisco federal appeals court heard arguments today in an activist lawsuit seeking to ban National Security Letters, or NSLs, as unconstitutional. NSLs are one of the more controversial tools used by the FBI to conduct investigations, as they include a gag order preventing the recipient from talking about the fact that they got an NSL.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit challenging the NSLs as unconstitutional in 2011, well before the Snowden disclosures about widespread surveillance. Their two clients are unnamed, but one is a telecom company and one is an Internet company. The two “service providers” want to speak out about the fact that they received letters, but can’t. In April of last year, they won a stunning victory, when US District Judge Susan Ilston agreed with EFF that the letters are unconstitutional. The gag order stopping EFF’s clients from discussing “controversial government powers” violates the First Amendment, Ilston ruled.

The government has appealed the proceeding. Today, almost 19 months after Ilston’s order came out, a three-judge appeals panel heard arguments from both sides.



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

5 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 9, 2014

  1. The Recycle Bin in Windows 10 – Something New:

  2. jheckman1986

    Reblogged this on Jacob Heckman, IT Administrator and commented:
    I hope the woman is able to sue!

  3. Pingback: Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 9, 2014 | jdhconsultant86