Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 16, 2014

My five favorite free Windows utilities;  You Can Now Watch Vines on Your Xbox;  5 steps to lock down your webmail account;  The 6 best features of Google’s new Nexus 6;  The 9 best features of Google’s new Nexus 9 tablet;  When and where to get Android 5.0 Lollipop;  Get quick translations with Google’s Translate extension;  Facebook Safety Check;  6 apps for tuning your guitar;  Confide app – – messaging for professionals;  Mobile advertisers use malware tricks to get installs;  How to take a screenshot on your Android phone;  Look out, cable TV, Netflix! Here comes HBO to the Internet;  The 21 games that should be installed on every iPhone;  Google introduces the $99 Nexus Player;  Xbox One October update goes live;  UN Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights;  Root Genius (free);  Cop cracks woman’s iPad passcode to rescue her after crash.

My five favorite free Windows utilities: Whenever I set up a new PC, these are the first programs I install – Everyone has their favorite tools, especially when it comes to Windows. Today I thought I’d share my favorites — the programs I absolutely must have. They’re all free, and they’re always free, so no worries today about anything selling out or a sudden price change.

Android 5.0 Lollipop is here along with the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player – Google’s next version of Android is here, and we now know that the “L” from that Android L preview back at Google I/O stood for Lollipop. Android 5.0 brings with it an army of UI and functionality changes, but perhaps more importantly the announcement brings new hardware. Lollipop is launching with a three screen attack plan in the form of a 6-inch smartphone from Motorola, a 9-inch tabletfrom HTC, and another attempt at putting Android on your television.

The 9 best features of Google’s new Nexus 9 tablet – Don’t feel blindsided—Google surprised us all with its new Nexus devices, but its tablet is chock full of powerful, next-gen features.

The 6 best features of Google’s new Nexus 6 – The Nexus 6 is a pretty remarkable step forward for the company. Nexus phones and tablets have typically been middle-of-the-road, aimed at developers more than everyday consumers. Here are the best features of the newly announced phone.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

When and where to get Android 5.0 Lollipop: Find out when your device will be updated to the latest version of Android – The operating system is the most drastic change to Android since the release of Ice Cream Sandwich in late 2011. Lollipop features a redesigned user interface referred to as Material Design, along with improvements to the lock screen and notification menu. The update also delivers improved battery life and performance. The first two devices to run Android 5.0 Lollipop are the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, but what about your existing device?

Get quick translations on websites with Google’s Translate extension – This extension lets you skip the copy and pasting from one tab to another by offering an easy-to-use right-click menu that translates words or phrases.

Facebook Safety Check tells friends you’re okay during natural disasters – Facebook is introducing a new Safety Check feature designed to help friends and family members check on loved ones during natural disasters. The tool works by triggering a push notification on devices that are near an affected area. Facebook determines location from cities listed in profiles, last location from the Nearby Friends feature, or the city you’re connecting and using the internet from. If a Facebook user is safe they simply hit the ‘I’m safe’ button and a notification and News Feed story will be generated automatically.


Google wastes no time refining Classroom, its app platform for education – Making clear that it’s serious about its foray into education software, Google has pushed out a set of enhancements for its Classroom app, barely two months after its release. Classroom, announced in May and released in August after being tested by 100,000 teachers in 45 countries, is available to Google Apps for Education customers and taps suite components like Gmail, Drive and Docs. It’s meant to be a tool that helps teachers with basic tasks, such as creating and organizing assignments, providing feedback and communicating with students. Classroom also provides a section for teachers to post information about their classes.

Meet Ubi, the tiny voice-activated computer that wants to control your smart home – While it’s small enough to be an oversized wall wart, the Ubi is far more interesting for what it can do. Plug this tiny computer into an AC outlet, connect it to your Wi-Fi network, and you gain the ability to control many of your home-control systems—lighting, thermostat, music-streaming services, and so on—using nothing more than voice commands.


How to take a screenshot on your Android phone – Once upon a time, in order to take a screenshot on an Android phone, you had to install the Android developer tools. These days, you can take screenshots on phones running Android 4.0 or later with the press of a couple buttons. On most Android phones, you can take a screenshot by holding down the Sleep/wake button and the volume-down button simultaneously. Hold these buttons down until your screen flashes.

Getting in tune: 6 apps for tuning your guitar – If you play guitar or another string instrument, one of the thankless tasks you do before you play—and in between songs—is getting your instrument in tune. There are several ways you can do this: You can have another instrument—preferably one that doesn’t go out of tune—play a note, and then tune your other strings to that one. You can use a tuning fork for one string, and tune the rest of your strings to that. Or you can buy an electronic tuner that you clip on your guitar. But if you have an iPhone or iPad, why not use an app? There are lots of apps that can help you tune your guitar, or other instruments; here are five of them.


Gibson’s free tuning app shows the precise frequency of the note you’ve played.

Confide app adapts ephemeral messaging for professionals – The way Confide works is this: Users can sign up with either a phone number or a work email address. When messages are sent, they’re encrypted end to end. A user receiving a message will see a screen with blocks over the words. Using a process the founders dubbed “wanding,” the user runs his or her finger just below the blocks revealing a few words of the message at a time. Part of the thinking behind these blocks is that they prevent screenshots of more than a couple words. If someone does try and take a screenshot, he or she is kicked off the message.


Best business phones? Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry – There are some outstanding smartphones available for the business user and in this article Matthew Miller identifies the best ones running iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.


You Can Now Watch Vines on Your Xbox – The Xbox marketplace launched a new app Wednesday that brings Vine’s hypnotically looping 6-second videos to a bigger screen: the living room TV. The Vine app, now available for download, displays the most popular clips in channels such as Art, Music & Dance and Comedy. Users can swipe through clips by making air gestures at Kinect’s motion sensor or giving voice commands from the couch.


5 steps to lock down your webmail account – For most people Gmail, or Yahoo! Mail is their main personal account. Here are some of the most important steps to keep unwanted people out of your web-based email account.

Mobile advertisers use malware tricks to get installs – We’ve written about advertisers misleading users with scary “you are infected” ad pop-ups in order to get installs of a certain security app and we also know malware uses these tactics. Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more of this, but this time advertisers are using these banner and pop-up ads to get installs of more trustworthy apps like Dolphin browser. The messages are less scary than the virus related ones, but they are still meant to get your attention. It seems a bit backwards but it’s all about making money, ad developers are just as greedy as malware authors–just not as malicious. Using a tool like Adblock Plus which will filter URL traffic can help prevent most of these ads. Adblock Plus is a third-party app, will require a bit of configuration and only blocks WiFi traffic.

Attacker takes over Facebook page set up for ‘Bucket List Baby’ Shane, posts porn – A Facebook page set up to chronicle the extremely short life of a baby with the rare, terminal condition of anencephaly was hijacked within days of the infant’s death and set to display lewd images. The parents, who had lost their child mere days before, fell for one of the most vile phishing attacks ever.

SQL injection flaw opens Drupal sites to attack – The Drupal 7 core is vulnerable to a “Highly Critical” SQL injection bug that could allow an attacker to compromise the site.

Company News:

Reddit Acquires Alien Blue, The Most Popular Unofficial Reddit App – If you’re even kind of active on reddit, you probably know of Alien Blue. As far as perusing reddit on iOS goes, it’s pretty much the undisputed champ. It seems reddit would agree. The company has just taken Alien Blue under its wing, acquiring the project assets and hiring its sole developer.

eBay misses slightly on revenue, but PayPal stays strong – The company’s marketplace business continues to grow, despite a security breach in the spring, but it doesn’t meet Wall Street’s expectations for overall revenue.

Netflix stock tanks after hours in response to low subscriber numbers – Netflix stock is down nearly 20 percent after hours, following lower-than-expected subscriber figures during Q3 2014 and rising threats from many of Netflix’s competitors.

Look out, cable TV, Netflix! Here comes HBO to the Internet – HBO has long offered some Internet video streaming to its existing cable customers. Starting in 2015, HBO will fully embrace the cord-cutter revolution by delivering a standalone Internet service.


HBO GO style Internet TV streaming will be available to anyone who wants to pay for it in 2015.

Intel to hit 40 million mobile chip units with aid of subsidies – Intel is buying its way into the mobile market with subsidies to vendors, but that investment — on track to lose $4 billion in 2014 — is needed if it’s going to threaten the ARM ecosystem.

Games and Entertainment:

Google introduces the $99 Nexus Player, a set-top box for entertainment and gaming – A third device was unexpectedly announced by Google today: the Nexus Player – a set-top box built by ASUS, which runs Android TV and includes a voice-activated remote, with a gamepad sold separately. Nexus Player will be available for pre-order on October 17, with wider in-store availability beginning on November 3. The device will cost just $99, which includes a remote controller that incorporates a microphone for voice interactions with the box itself.

wpsD85E.tmp dangles free copies of Alien Versus Predator game for Galaxy client testers – PC gaming service wants your help in trying out the multiplayer chops of Galaxy, its upcoming Steam-like gaming client, and it’s enticing sign-ups by offering free copies of Alien Versus Predator Classic to testers.


The 21 games that should be installed on every iPhone – Too many of the best games for iPhone are victims of an out of sight, out of mind economy. After a game’s launch, it sinks into the quicksand of mobile gaming junk until it’s buried deep beneath thousands of free-to-play cash-ins. Curation has in large part been left to those who remain passionate about the phone as a gaming platform, despite Apple. What follows is a list of the 21 games that should be installed on every iPhone. As exceptional games continue to be released on the iPhone, we will expand this list. And we will create a similar list dedicated the the iPad and games that make the best use of its larger screen.

Xbox One October update goes live with UI changes and MKV support – The October update for the Xbox One is now rolling out to all users. With it comes a brand new Friends tab on the dashboard, MKV support and numerous improvements to Snap Center.


Every episode of ‘Friends’ is coming to Netflix in USA and Canada – Every episode of Friends is coming to Netflix, according to a tweet from Netflix and an announcement at today’s Time Warner investor event. The show, which ran from 1994 to 2004, follows the hijinks of a group of friends living in a version of New York City that looks absolutely nothing like New York City. It is one of the most popular television shows of all time, making it a big get for the streaming company. The show will arrive on Netflix on January 1, 2015.


Off Topic (Sort of):

Cop cracks woman’s iPad passcode to rescue her after crash – After a driver’s OnStar alert system reportedly gives police inaccurate locations for a crash, the local department’s tech geek thinks fast, breaks into the driver’s iPad at her home and finds her via an Apple app.

Gamergate backlash hits front page of the New York Times – The New York Times today published a front-page article on the increasingly hostile threats that female video game critics are facing, underscoring the growing backlash against the so-called Gamergate movement. The report, published Thursday, comes one day after the leading video game trade group spoke out against the controversy, whose supporters claim they are rallying against perceived corruption in gaming journalism but who have become inextricably linked with misogyny and harassment.

Sexism, alive and well in the tech world – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has backed off from his remarks, but the bottom line is that Microsoft, along with much of the tech industry, still sees women as second-class citizens.

Parents face defamation trial over fake Facebook page their kid made – Two parents whose teenager set up a fake Facebook page to ridicule a classmate will face a defamation trial, a Georgia appeals court ruled yesterday. Even though they didn’t create the page, the parents could be liable because they allowed it to remain up for more than a year, the court said.

TechSpot: History of the Microprocessor and the Personal Computer, Part 5 – This is the fifth and final installment in a series exploring the history of the microprocessor and personal computing, from the first transistor to modern day chips powering our connected devices.

Too much Google Glass lands one man treatment for Internet addiction – A man who used Google Glass for 18 hours a day was admitted to a substance abuse and recovery program for Internet addiction disorder, according to a report from The Guardian Tuesday and a scientific paper published about the patient. The 31-year-old man was serving the US Navy at the time he was admitted to the program, where he was using Google Glass in his job making inventories of convoy vehicles, according to Newsweek. He had a history of substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. He only removed the device to sleep and take showers.

Something to think about:

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

–      Bob Dylan

Today’s Free Downloads:

Tor Browser Bundle 4.0 – Protect your privacy. Defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.

The Tor Browser Bundle lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained.




Root Genius – Root Genius is the best tool for root any Android smartphone or tablet PC supporting more than 10000 Android devices. Root Genius windows version doesn’t require any installation on your PC. Simply download rootgenius and run while your device connected to the PC. You can root Android Kitkat 4.4.2 within one click, for example. Root Genius is developed by Chinese developer team “Shuame”. Please go through our Root genius tutorial, Troubleshoot section and Kitkat rooting video before you start root your device.


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

A Good Reason to Encrypt Your iPhone: To Prevent DEA from Creating a Fake Facebook Account – At Salon yesterday, I pushed back against the Apple hysteria again. In it, I look at the numbers that suggest far more Apple handsets are searched under the border exception than using warrants.

Encrypting iPhones might have the biggest impact on law enforcement searches that don’t involve warrants, contrary to law enforcement claims this is about warranted searches. As early as 2010, Customs and Border Patrol was searching around 4,600 devices a year and seizing up to 300 using what is called a “border exception.” That is when CBP takes and searches devices from people it is questioning at the border. Just searching such devices does not even require probable cause (though seizing them requires some rationale). These searches increasingly involve smart phones like the iPhone.

These numbers suggest border searches of iPhones may be as common as warranted searches of the devices. Apple provided account content to U.S. law enforcement 155 times last year. It responded to 3,431 device requests, but the “vast majority” of those device requests involved customers seeking help with a lost or stolen phone, not law enforcement trying to get contents off a cell phone (Consumer Reports estimates that 3.1 million Americans will have their smart phones stolen this year). Given that Apple has by far the largest share of the smart phone market in the U.S., a significant number of border device searches involving a smart phone will be an iPhone. Apple’s default encryption will make it far harder for the government to do such searches without obtaining a warrant, which they often don’t have evidence to get.

Almost 20% of Americans this year will have an iPhone, and that number will be far higher among those who fly internationally. If only 20% of 5,000 border searches involve iPhones, then there are clearly more border iPhone searches than warranted ones.

Meanwhile, we have an appalling new look at what law enforcement does once it gets inside your smart phone. A woman in Albany is suing DEA because — after she permitted DEA to conduct a consensual search of her phone — DEA then took photos obtained during the search, including one of her wearing only underwear, and made a fake Facebook page for her with them. They even sent a friend request to a fugitive and accepted other friend requests. They also posted pictures of her son and niece, on a site intended to lure those involved in the drug trade.

And they consider this a legitimate law enforcement activity!

UN Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights – The United Nations’ top official for counter-terrorism and human rights (known as the “Special Rapporteur”) issued a formal report to the U.N. General Assembly today that condemns mass electronic surveillance as a clear violation of core privacy rights guaranteed by multiple treaties and conventions. “The hard truth is that the use of mass surveillance technology effectively does away with the right to privacy of communications on the Internet altogether,” the report concluded.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 16, 2014

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

Comments are closed.