Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 21, 2014

Six browser plug-ins that protect your privacy;  12 surprising ways personal technology betrays your privacy;  Meet Flic, the iOS photo manager for lazy people;  Office 16: Public beta could start soon;  8 ways Google is tying Chrome OS and Android together;  $179 10-inch Windows 8.1 tablet coming to Walmart;  How to Set Up Apple Pay on Your iPhone or iPad;  Six been-around-the-block tips for working more efficiently in Excel;  Gmail Android App to Support Yahoo, Outlook Accounts;  What’s in the hidden Windows AppData Folder;  Staples probes potential theft of customer credit card data;  Apple could sell record 62 million iPhones this quarter;  GTAV Beta scam: don’t get fooled;  Talk like a modern technology marketer (humor);  What can we learn from netbooks?  Candy Crush Soda Saga Arrives on Facebook;  System Explorer (free);  Australian government warrantless data requests pass 500,000;  Tech industry on the offensive against government.

12 surprising ways personal technology betrays your privacy – Our great privacy fears tend to be centered around others invading our privacy, whether it’s Google reading email, the boss monitoring your computer use, or the NSA eavesdropping on phone calls. The problem is, we don’t think about the very technologies we voluntarily embrace and what kind of snooping they do, and they do a lot of tracking. Some of it can and is used for benign or helpful reasons, but that can be turned against you very fast. Here are 12 ways your personal technology is betraying your privacy.

Six browser plug-ins that protect your privacy – Some plug-ins go beyond mere filtering, promising full-on privacy protection against cookies, trackers, third-party scripts and widgets, and other unwanted invasions. In this roundup I chose six products: AdBlock, Adblock Plus, Disconnect, DoNotTrackMe, Ghostery and Privacy Badger. There are dozens of other, similar, tools, but these represent a good cross-section of what’s available. They’re also among the most popular picks in the Chrome and Firefox extensions libraries.

Office 16: Public beta could start soon, with Android and touch versions to follow – The next version of Microsoft Office is reportedly on track for a spring 2015 launch, but Microsoft may offer a public beta much sooner. According to the well-connected Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft may launch a public test version of its desktop productivity software “any time now.” The company may also launch an Android tablet version of Office within a couple of months, and launch a touch-optimized Windows Store version in the spring.

Facebook sues lawyers of man who claimed to own the social network – Facebook says when Paul Ceglia claimed to own at least half of the world’s largest social network, at least one of his lawyers figured out he was lying. That’s the crux of a lawsuit filed by the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company against DLA Piper, one of the world’s largest law firms, and several other lawyers connected to Ceglia and his claim that he owned 84 percent of Facebook.

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8 ways Google is tying Chrome OS and Android together – Chrome OS and Android are two separate and distinct operating systems, but the lines are beginning to blur, to the benefit of people who’ve gone all-in on Google.

$179 10-inch Windows 8.1 tablet coming to Walmart – The E Fun Nextbook will feature a quad-core Intel Atom processor and include a detachable keyboard when it becomes available in time for the holiday shopping season.

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Spotify’s Family plan offers separate accounts for everyone in your house – Tired of sharing your Spotify account with everyone at home, but don’t want to bother creating a second account? Pretty soon you won’t have to thanks to Spotify Family.

Meet Flic, the iOS photo manager for lazy people – People have been calling Flic the Tinder of photo apps, and that’s the perfect description: Use gestures to quickly clear out your Camera Roll and keep only the photos that matter.

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Six been-around-the-block tips for working more efficiently in Excel – Just because a tip has been used for a long time doesn’t mean it isn’t new to you. Learn a few of Susan Harkins’ old but reliable tips for working more efficiently in Excel.

Build polished business dashboards with these five web-based apps – Dashboards provide an effective way to present a focused look at selected data. Here are five tools that let you tap different data sources and quickly put together a custom dashboard.

Apple Pay: Your full list of stores, apps, and banks supporting it – Now that iOS 8.1 is here, so is Apple Pay! The update, which launched about 90 minutes ago (at the time we publish this article), brings in Apple Pay. For those with an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, you’ll get the ability to make purchases at several point-of-sale terminals via a myriad of banks (likely yours). For those without an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, Apple Pay is still usable. To help, we’ve put together a list of apps and stores where you can use Apple Pay.

How to Set Up Apple Pay on Your iPhone or iPad – Apple Pay, the newest “next big thing” out of Cupertino, hits shopping carts across the U.S. Monday both online and in stores. Paying with a swipe of your smartphone? That sounds like the stuff of the future. Or the stuff of Android phones since 2011. Or the stuff of Japan as far back as 2004. Regardless, it’s still a welcome leap for the 42.4% of American smartphone users who own an iPhone. Here’s how to set up Apple Pay, the company’s new cashless, cardless way to pay.

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Skype for Windows Phone Gets Snapchat-Like Drawing Feature – The Microsoft-owned chat service on Monday unveiled a new version of its Windows Phone app, complete with a brand new Snapchat-like drawing feature to help you harness your inner Picasso. With the latest version of the app, you can now draw on a blank canvas or add some silly additions to a photo, then share your masterpieces with friends.

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Google rolling out new anti-piracy search algorithm – Google will begin rolling out a change to its search algorithm that the media giant says will “visibly affect” rankings of piracy sites globally. The Mountain View, California company promised to do this in 2012. But at the time, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and others said the changes to its search algorithm had “no demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy.” Google said the latest global algorithm changes, to roll out this week, will work.

Office Mix now lets PowerPoint users create on the fly – Microsoft wants to deliver a new wave of apps that are intuitive, intelligent, and mobile- and cloud-friendly—and its latest move is with Office Mix, a PowerPoint add-on aimed at teachers, for recording presentations and making them more interactive. Office Mix, launched in May, now lets presenters create “mixes” while they are giving their presentations live, by adding a new control panel that contains only the most essential features for building “mixes” without sacrificing the screen real estate for the slides the audience is seeing.

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Apple making 64-bit support mandatory soon – Your shiny new iPhone is about to get apps that work with it properly. Via the Apple Developer page, we find that starting early next year, all apps must have 64-bit support. Those apps must also be built with the latest Apple developer environment, and utilize the latest iOS SDK. It’s a push toward the future, but not one that should come as a surprise. Apple did the same thing with iOS 7, which was more a push for visual upgrades.

What’s in the hidden Windows AppData Folder, and how to find it if you need it – You know about Documents and other libraries. But some important data files are stored in the difficult-to-access AppData folder. Here’s what you need to know.

Report: Gmail Android App to Support Yahoo, Outlook Accounts – Support for Yahoo, Outlook, and other email providers within the Gmail app means you’ll soon be able to get all your mail without switching apps. Just like you can switch between different Gmail accounts within the email app, you’ll be able to move from Gmail to Yahoo to Outlook without leaving the Gmail app.

Security:

Staples probes potential theft of customer credit card data – Staples said late Monday that it is investigating a “potential issue” involving its customers’ credit card data in what could be the latest US retailer to fall victim to a payment card system security breach. The office supply chain announced it was working with law enforcement officials after security reporter Brian Krebs reported that “multiple banks” had identified patterns of payment card fraud that suggested data had been stolen from several locations in the Northeastern US.

FYI: OS X Yosemite’s Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you’re searching for – There’s growing disquiet over Apple’s desktop search app Spotlight, which sends queries for things back to the company’s servers to process. Spotlight phones home in OS X Yosemite, version 10.10, and it is enabled by default: it can be switched off, but with Apple insisting that it now takes people’s privacy seriously, the software has raised some eyebrows. It appears Spotlight sends queries, along with your location, back to Apple over the internet so the company can suggest related things from the web using Microsoft’s Bing engine. Apple says it needs to see your queries so it can improve Spotlight’s algorithms for suggesting things.

Apple clarifies Spotlight Suggestions data collection practices – Responding to concerns that Apple was automatically collecting user location and search query data through its latest Mac operating system, the company issued a statement Monday clarifying its customer data collection policies.

Chinese Big Brother launches nationwide attack on iCloud – The Great Firewall of China is the man-in-the-middle attack point targeting Chinese iCloud users by redirecting them to a fake iCloud site to hoover up usernames and passwords.

China again blames US for disrupted cybersecurity talks – China claimed on Sunday the U.S. has derailed cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries and that it doesn’t tolerate hacking. The statement came a day after Yang Jiechi, a state councilor who deals with foreign affairs, held discussions on Saturday in Boston with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on topics that included cybersecurity.

One of the most convincing phishing attacks yet tricks you with Dropbox sharing – Dropbox’s file storage service was used for a tricky phishing attack, although the service was quick to shut it down, according to Symantec. The security vendor said it detected a batch of phishing emails advising recipients that they’ve been sent a large file and included a link to Dropbox-hosted page. “The email claims the document can be viewed by clicking on the link included in the message,” wrote Nick Johnston of Symantec in a blog post. “However, the link opens a fake Dropbox login page, hosted on Dropbox itself.”

Cloud security: Think you’re blocking staff access to certain sites? Think again – Stopping staff using certain web services may be in decline outside regulatory environments, but even where it is being attempted it may be falling well short of its aims.

Company News:

Dish loses 7 channels in contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting – Dish Network customers lost access to CNN, Turner Classic Movies, and a handful of other channels late Monday as the result of a contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting. Turner Broadcasting, which licenses the channels for distribution to subscription services, pulled the channels from Dish’s lineup upon the expiration of its current deal with the satellite service after the two companies were unable to negotiate renewed distribution terms. Other channels removed from Dish include Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN en Espanol, Headline News, and truTV.

App Store Downloads Top 85 Billion, Revenue Up 36 Percent Year-Over-Year – Apple CEO Tim Cook announced today during the company’s FY Q4 2014 earnings call that Apple’s cumulative App Store downloads have now topped 85 billion up from 60 billion around a year ago. The number was announced alongside news of Apple’s massive quarter, and its record-breaking sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices.

Apple could sell record 62 million iPhones this quarter, analyst says – In an investors note released Monday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster forecast iPhone sales for the October-through-December quarter of anywhere from 56.7 million to 62.7 million. That range compares with overall Wall Street estimates of 60 million and some investor expectations as high as 63 million. The last quarter of the year is Apple’s first fiscal quarter, so these numbers actually mean Apple would start fiscal 2015 on a high note.

Lenovo tipped to make a bid for BlackBerry this week – Either Lenovo is very serious about stepping up its mobile phone business or it is getting very desperate. Aside from setting up a third mobile business to target China specifically, rumors are resurfacing that Lenovo is eying to buy BlackBerry out of its woes. Or perhaps the two moves are one and the same, which doesn’t make sense either. Whatever Lenovo has planned, we might very well know this week as sources close to the matter tip that Lenovo will be making an offer to buy BlackBerry sometime this week.

Qualcomm pushes 4K video streaming with prototype TV dongle – Qualcomm has a plan to liberate 4K video from high-end smartphones, and it involves a Chromecast-like prototype TV dongle. Qualcomm primarily sees the device as a way for users to beam homemade 4K video to their televisions, but it could eventually be used to stream 4K content from online sources such as Netflix. The dongle could also double as a wireless dock for phones and tablets, mirroring the display onto the big screen.

Yahoo’s Mayer set to outline her plan as criticism mounts – Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will defend herself and her strategy at a third-quarter investor conference call Tuesday, according to a new report. After Yahoo announces its third-quarter results that day, Mayer will take to the company’s earnings call to outline her plan for growth and announce that Yahoo is planning to make a major acquisition or two, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the chief executive’s plans.

Apple eyes $5 per month for Beats Music, report says – That’d be a substantial cut. Right now, Beats Music streaming costs $10 per month, in line with most other streaming services.

Games and Entertainment:

GTAV Beta scam: don’t get fooled – Over the past several weeks there’ve been an increased number of scams and phishing schemes showing up related to Grand Theft Auto 5. So very many of them have appeared, in fact, that RockStar Games are getting involved with massive warnings. What better way to continue fueling your own hype machine than by piggybacking on the mini-hype machines others are attempting to use to piggyback on you?

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343 Industries apologizes for Halo’s 20GB day-one content update – On November 11 Microsoft and 343 Industries will launch the Halo: Master Chief Collection for Xbox One. It brings together the first four Halo games, multiplayer modes, and additional content, as well as unlocking access to the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta. However, there’s a feature of the release that not all gamers are going to appreciate, and it takes the form of a day-one 20GB content download. 20GB is a lot of data, but an amount most gamers will be able to cope with hopefully without incurring a charge. But let’s not forget those who have chosen to purchase a digital copy of the game. Come release day they’ll be waiting for 65GB of data to download.

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Xbox One to get custom backgrounds and many more features with November update – Microsoft has published a list of updates that are coming to the Xbox One as part of the November update and they include personalization, TV enhancements, IE updates and more.

‘Candy Crush Soda Saga’ Arrives on Facebook – Game maker King today launched a new reason to ignore your family and friends: Candy Crush Soda Saga. The sister title to everyone’s favorite time waster, Candy Crush Soda Saga is set in the familiar Candy Kingdom, but boasts new graphics, games modes, candy combinations, and gameplay mechanisms. Designed to be played alongside the original game, this installation promises fresh challenges for even those players who’ve managed to fight their way to the end of the original Candy Crush Saga.

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Pokémon teams up with manga horror legend Junji Ito to ruin your childhood – One of the world’s finest creators of comic book horror has teamed up with The Pokémon Company for a special “scary” collaboration.

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Lionsgate streaming service to join HBO and CBS in 2015 – The studio behind The Hunger Games is set to join CBS and HBO in their efforts to add a streaming service to the masses. This is Lionsgate Films, and they’re being joined in their efforts by Tribeca Enterprises. This service will be launched in the first half of next year, and it’ll be called – oddly enough – “Tribeca Short List.” This service will include John Wick, Crash, Monster’s Ball, The Hurt Locker, Juno, Ender’s Game, and Snitch. And don’t forget The Expendables – and a whole lot more.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Talk like a modern technology marketer (humor) – Made-up words were in abundance during this fall’s software conference season. Your dauntless reporter traveled the world to bring back the latest in tech marketing speak. If you want to sound like you’re current with today’s dubious jargon, here’s a quick primer to get you all caught up.

DDoS Attacks: Legitimate Form of Protest or Criminal Act? – A basic premise of a democratic society gives its citizens rights to participate in debate and effect change by taking to the streets to demonstrate. In the U.S., this is enshrined in the Bill of Rights under the First Amendment. But what happens when we all effectively live, work, shop, date, bank and get into political debates online? Because online, as Molly Sauter points out in her book The Coming Swarm, there are no streets on which to march. “Because of the densely intertwined nature of property and speech in the online space, unwelcome acts of collective protest become also acts of trespass.” Sauter argues that distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are a legitimate form of protest. Or at least one that needs to be examined in a larger context of lawful activism, rather than hastily and disastrously criminalized under the Patriot Act.

Man falls into sea on live TV while possibly taking selfie – A man lifts his cell phone in front of his face to take the perfect shot. And then, a YouTube-worthy calamity.

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Professor Wozniak takes on new role at Australian university – Sydney’s University of Technology has a new teacher, with Steve Wozniak taking on his first ever adjunct professorship and being dubbed “the coolest person in the universe” in the process.

John Oliver’s all-dog Supreme Court on ‘Last Week Tonight’ is hilarious and free for anyone to remix – Comedian newscaster John Oliver has aired some hilarious and incisive sketches so far throughout the first season of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. But there’s a new top dog among them: last night’s bit featuring an all-animal Supreme Court. Inspired by Keyboard Cat, the sketch — which features dogs as the nine justices, a duck as an assistant, and a pitch-perfect pecking chicken as a stenographer — is meant to mock the absurdity of the US Supreme Court’s refusal to allow its proceedings to be televised, despite permitting audio recordings.

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What can we learn from netbooks? – From 2007 to 2009, we saw the rise of the low-powered, dirt-cheap netbook. Today these clunky computers are frequently mocked — but they did teach us a lesson.

Monica Lewinsky joins Twitter – Describing herself as a social activist, public speaker and contributor to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky decides now is the time to enter the fray of immediacy.

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Something to think about:

“Only sick music makes money today.”

–      Friedrich Nietzsche  (1844 – 1900)

Today’s Free Downloads:

AdwCleaner – AdwCleaner is a program that searches for and deletes Adware, Toolbars, Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP), and browser Hijackers from your computer.

By using AdwCleaner you can easily remove many of these types of programs that intefere with your computers normal operations and get a better user experience particularly while browsing the web.

AdwCleaner specializes in removing:

– Adware: Programs which have been installed that are running unwanted advertisements on your system.

– PUP’s or Potentially Unwanted Program

– Toolbars

– Hijacker Home page, browser and advertisment hijackers.

For help using AdwCleaner check out our Malware removal guides or ask for help in our Majorgeeks Support Forums.

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WinMend Folder Hidden – WinMend Folder Hidden is a file / folder hiding tool. While ensuring the absolute system safety, this application can quickly hide files and folders on local partitions and/or on removable devices. The hidden files / folders will be safely hidden whether the drive is accessed in another operating system on the same computer or reinstalled on another computer.

You can set a password for this application. Hidden data can be displayed and unhidden only when the user enters the valid password. The data is completely invisible to other programs or on other operating systems.

Features:

Safety First:

The hiding technology will never damage any file data. It is safe and reliable.

High-Speed Hiding and Unhiding:

Whether it’s a file of dozens of GB, or a folder containing a lot of files, the file or the folder can be hidden and unhidden instantly.

Removable Drives Are Supported:

Files and folders on removable drives such as USB drives hidden by WinMend Folder Hidden are invisible not only in the computer where the hiding was completed, but in any computer.

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System Explorer – Detailed informations about Tasks, Processes, Modules, Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services, Drivers, Connections and Opened Files. Portable version also available.

System Explorer is free, awards winning software for exploration and management of System Internals. This small software includes many useful tools which help you Keep Your System Under Control. With System Explorer You get also fast access to File Database which help you to determine unwanted processes or threats. System Explorer is translated into 21 languages and is available for download in installer and portable version.

Features:

Detailed information about Tasks, Processes, Modules,

Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services,

Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.

Easy check of suspicious files via VirusTotal, Jotti

service or our File Database.

Easy monitoring of processes activities and System changes.

Usage graphs of important System resources.

Tray Hint with detailed System and Battery status

WMI Browser and System Additional Info

Multilanguage Support

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Australian government warrantless data requests pass 500,000 – Requests from government agencies for Australian telecommunications customers’ phone, internet, and address data surpassed 500,000 in the last financial year, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The figure was revealed in the ACMA’s annual report (PDF) released this month. It says that there were 563,012 authorisations granted to government agencies for access to telecommunications “metadata” in the 2013-14 financial year.

Under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, government agencies can force telecommunications companies to hand over details about their customers, including address, phone number, IP address, call data, SMS data, and other held information without a warrant for the purpose of enforcing the law.

The ACMA recorded that total disclosures amounted to 748,079 for the financial year including to law enforcement for a range of reasons, such as to avert a threat to life, assist the ACMA, or enforce the criminal law of a foreign country.

The number of requests by far exceeds the more than 300,000 requests made in the 2012-13 financial year reported by the Attorney-General’s Department in its Telecommunications (Interception and Access) report last year. The report for this year has yet to be tabled in parliament.

Tech industry on the offensive against government – In 2008 the U.S. government threatened Yahoo with daily $250,000 fines if it refused to comply with its demands for user data. What was Yahoo to do? Without any relief from the (secret) courts it had either to comply or commit corporate suicide. And we didn’t find out about it until just a few weeks ago.

Things have changed a lot. The biggest companies in the business are taking on the national security state. It began with court maneuvers by Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Facebook to protect their reputations with customers by allowing them to disclose aggregate information about the extent of their compliance with government information requests.

The FISA court has permitted some, though not enough disclosure. The numbers these companies actually released don’t prove a lot, because the court would not allow them to disclose all important categories of government requests. The important part is that it shows the companies are taking their customers’ interests seriously and are working to protect them to the greatest extent possible. Assume this is the norm, such as in this recent letter from Facebook to the US DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) telling them that they are obligated to follow Facebook’s terms of service the same as everyone else, and they are not permitted to use fake profiles in investigations.

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