Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 3, 2014

5 iPhone Apps Your Teen Doesn’t Want You to Download;  How to disable autotagging on Facebook;  Online Daters Are Really Into Tinder;  Microsoft Band vs. Apple Watch vs. Jawbone Up vs. Fitbit Surge;  100+ IT policies at your fingertips, ready for download;  HomeMonitor, Simplicam, and Netcam HD: Can any of them beat Dropcam?  Manage your money with these apps;  Swedish hacker finds ‘serious’ vulnerability in OS X Yosemite;  Microsoft’s Xbox One is $50 off starting today;  10 gorgeous, graphics-intensive games that will utterly punish your PC;  Evernote Adds Work Chat, Context Features to Apps;  Google fined $2,250 for showing woman’s boobs on Street View;  British Museum now lets you 3D print artifact replicas;  ScreenToGif  (free);  Secret manuals show the spyware sold to despots and cops worldwide.

No Security, No Business – Frustrated with the rising amount of data breaches, customers are determined to take their business elsewhere if companies don’t start picking up their security game. Target, Neiman Marcus, Goodwill, when will the list end? It feels like every day a large company reports a security breach, and this obviously doesn’t make its customers very happy. Cloud control company HyTrust ran a snap poll of 2,000 consumers, and found that if companies don’t crack down on their cybersecurity efforts they’re going to lose business.

How to disable autotagging on Facebook – Facebook’s privacy controls are present but may not be set to your liking. Take control of who can tag you in posts and media.

5 iPhone Apps Your Teen Doesn’t Want You to Download – Better hide these in a “Utilities” folder, because your kid will kill you for having them.

Cop charged with stealing nude photos from suspect’s iPhone – A California police officer accused of sending nude photos from DUI suspect’s phone to his own and sharing them with other officers has been charged with two felonies.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

You Can Be Fired in 29 States For Doing What Tim Cook Did Today – On Thursday, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook confirmed what had long been believed: he is a gay man. In coming out in Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook wrote, “Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.” According to the American Civil Liberties Union, in 29 states workers can still be fired for saying exactly what Cook wrote Thursday. They include:

Microsoft Band vs. Apple Watch vs. Jawbone Up vs. Fitbit Surge – Microsoft on Thursday announced its entry into the already-crowded fitness tracker space with Microsoft Band, a full-color touchscreen bracelet driven by cloud-powered data smarts. With so many options on the market, it’s difficult to tell which wearable has the upper hand — or upper wrist. Here’s how the four biggest names in fitness tracking stack up.

Manage your money with these apps – These days, you don’t really need a financial planner to help you keep a handle on your money. For most people, a few mobile apps can help you make sure your bills get paid, that you’re spending smart, and you’re saving for the future. I’ve rounded up several apps that pay attention to your money for you, offering advice, helping stick to a budget or even protecting you from fraud.

Evernote Adds Work Chat, Context Features to Apps – You can now chat with your colleagues over shared Evernote documents without ever having to leave the app.

Make Chrome’s New Tab page beautiful and more productive with these extensions – Tired of looking at the default new tab page in Chrome? Try these three extensions to spruce up their look.

HomeMonitor, Simplicam, and Netcam HD: Can any of them beat Dropcam? – Wi-Fi network cams aren’t all created equal. We pit three newcomers against the crowd favorite, Dropcam.

The golden age of cord-cutting is upon us. Don’t let scare tactics tell you otherwise – What you’re witnessing is the first few cracks in the mighty cable paywall—a handful of bricks knocked loose by Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and other disruptive forces. The wall isn’t crashing down anytime soon, but each fragmented piece makes it just a little easier to watch TV on your own terms. Naysayers would have you believe otherwise.

UK government to launch free Wi-Fi hotspots at over 1000 public buildings – Over 1000 public buildings across the UK – including libraries, museums, sports centres and transport hubs – are being upgraded to offer free Wi-Fi hotspots, as part of a nationwide £150m initiative.

Hungary’s Internet tax nixed following massive protests – Hungary’s government isn’t doing so well financially, and so it decided the best way to address the issue was to tax the Internet. As you’d expect, both citizen and ISP alike were unhappy with the decision, with service providers in particular warning that the planned fees would be a massive — potentially crippling — burden. The government dismissed the concerns, and massive protests in the streets soon followed. In response, the government has announced that it has shelved the taxation plan…temporarily. It may, however, return again in the future.

Online Daters Are Really Into Tinder – Looking for love isn’t always easy. Or quick. Turns out, swiping through profiles and chatting with all your matches on Tinder can eat up a lot of time. According to a new report from The New York Times, Tinder users check the app an average of 11 times a day. Women spend as much as 8.5 minutes swiping through matches during a single session, while men spend 7.2 minutes.

Linx 7 Windows 8.1 tablet goes on sale in the UK for just £80 – The Linx 7 is one of the most affordable Windows tablets ever to launch in the UK, and offers an Intel Bay Trail-T processor, 32GB storage, front and rear cameras, and a year of Office 365 Personal.


YouTube introduces 60fps playback for motion-intense videos – For now, 60fps playback is limited to videos running at 720p or 1080p, and only then when viewed using the Chrome web browser. Apparently the option can make a big difference to your viewing experience given the right video, with games footage being the most obvious beneficiary. Videos are already appearing specifically to test the 60fps, and I’ve included a few below:

How many Microsoft products can you buy for less than half the price of an iPhone? – A Microsoft infographic shows how many of its products – including a Lumia 635, wireless speaker, two headsets, portable charger and more – you can get for less than half the cost of an iPhone.


60 complex questions asked of Siri, Google Now and Cortana; who wins? – Voice assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Google Now and Apple’s Siri help some of us quite a lot in our daily life but how useful are they when asked incredibly complex questions?

Tronsmart releases world’s first eight-core Android TV box – For the spec lovers, this is a TV box to check out. 32 GB storage, 4 GB RAM, 802.11ac WiFI and a mammoth eight cores are packed into this Android TV box. Oh, and it scores 55,000 on Antutu!


Canonical officially unveils its OpenStack distro – Today, you know Canonical best for its Ubuntu Linux distribution. Tomorrow you may know it best for its OpenStack cloud distribution.


100+ IT policies at your fingertips, ready for download – From BYOD and social media to ergonomics and encryption, Tech Pro Research has dozens of ready-made, downloadable IT policy templates.


Facebook just created a new Tor link for users who wish to remain anonymous – Facebook just took the surprising step of adding a way for users of the free anonymizing software Tor to access the social network directly. People who download the free Tor software can visit websites while keeping the actual location of their computer and its make and model secret. While Tor users could previously access Facebook before today, it often loaded irregularly with incorrectly displayed fonts and sometimes didn’t load at all, because Facebook’s security features treated Tor as a botnet — a collection of computers designed to attack it. Now anyone with a Tor-enabled internet browser can visit https://facebookcorewwwi.onion/ to get a secure connection to Facebook’s servers that provides end-to-end encryption.

Twitter’s MoPub ad exchange grabs Verizon tracking cookies, and more may follow – The privacy and security critics were right: Third-parties can and are using Verizon’s UIDH strings for their own purposes.

Pointing up    Consider using Tor to avoid all this nonsense.

Swedish hacker finds ‘serious’ vulnerability in OS X Yosemite – A white-hat hacker from Sweden says he’s found a serious security hole in Apple’s Yosemite OS X that could allow an attacker to take control of your computer. It’s a so-called privilege escalation vulnerability, which means that even without a password an attacker could gain the highest level of access on a machine, known as root access. From there, the attacker has full control of the system. It affects the newest OS X release, version 10.10, known as Yosemite. Apple hasn’t fixed the flaw yet, he says, so Truesec won’t provide details yet of how it works.

Dating site fined for posting fake profiles – The Federal Trade Commission fines JDI Dating for posting fake profiles that encouraged the vulnerable to pay a subscription fee to contact beautiful women who weren’t, in fact, real.

Apple Pay competitor CurrentC hacked before service launch – The hack of Apple Pay competitor CurrentC, combined with its primary objective of using insecure ACH transfers to sidestep the credit cards, is a setup for disaster, says James Sanders.

Company News:

Intel paying up after allegedly ‘manipulating’ benchmarks 15 years ago – Once upon a time, Intel’s processors didn’t dominate AMD. In fact, AMD’s Athlon processors were mighty competitive, enough so that Intel allegedly “manipulated” its Pentium 4 benchmark scores in the early 2000s to mask the performance gap. Intel denies those claims, but nevertheless, you’re probably feeling pretty taken advantage of right now. A new class action lawsuit is now accepting claims from consumers like you who purchased a Pentium 4 PC in the US between November 20th, 2000 and June 30th, 2002. And don’t worry about digging up a receipt — it’s not needed to file a claim. In addition to individual payouts, Intel will also donate $4,000,000 to education non-profits.

Microsoft reportedly cuts its entire Xbox One R&D division in China in latest round of layoffs – Microsoft is said to have closed its Xbox One R&D base in China – but its 80 staff have reportedly refused the severance package, since they’re entitled to far greater compensation under Chinese law.

What you should know about Lenovo’s Motorola acquisition – China’s Lenovo finally has the global smartphone presence it has craved, finalizing the purchase of Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.91 billion. Motorola’s offerings in mature markets will complement Lenovo’s growing smartphone presence in developing countries. Lenovo hopes to unseat rivals Apple and Samsung, and has an ambitious goal of shipping 100 million devices, including PCs, tablets and smartphones, by the end of March next year.

Amazon says it’s sticking with smartphones despite the Fire phone’s fizzle – The company admits mistakes as it sits on a massive surplus of unsold phones, but it’s not giving up just yet.

Samsung cites “collusion” as reason they didn’t pay Microsoft – Earlier this month, news broke that Microsoft had sued Samsung for unpaid royalties. The South Korean electronics giant is being sued for $6.9 million in unpaid interest on a $1 billion patent royalty charge. Rather than pay the relatively small amount, Samsung is fighting this one in court. Samsung is now saying Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia violated the terms of their deal with Microsoft, making them a direct hardware competitor. In the filing, Samsung said “The agreements, now between competitors, invite charges of collusion.”

The Google shakeup continues: Andy Rubin is out – The corporate shakeup at Google continues and now it’s Andy Rubin, the former head of the company’s Android business and the current head of its robotics arm, who’s out. A Google spokesperson confirmed to Computerworld Thursday night that Rubin is leaving the company, but declined to say how his departure might affect Google’s robotics efforts.

Games and Entertainment:

Microsoft’s Xbox One is $50 off starting today – Microsoft’s previously announced $50 discount for all Xbox One consoles has gone into effect today, which means you can pick up a brand new Xbox One online or at any major retailer on the cheap.

Games Review Round-Up – November 2014 – This week we cover the Dark Soul’s clone Lords of the Fallen on the PlayStation 4, while we also have our Neowin gaming news roundup which covers the week in gaming from the Neowin writers.


Top indie game picks at Pax Australia – PAX is a mammoth gaming convention, spanning across five cities and two countries, which provides a platform for upcoming indie developers to showcase their projects. Here are our top picks.

Xbox Music OneDrive integration seems ready for launch – One awaited feature for Xbox Music users might already be ready for prime time. Although it was already hinted a few months ago, the convergence of Microsoft’s two distinct products, Xbox and OneDrive might seems to be close at hand. Like breadcrumbs, clues are laid out for sleuths to follow, revealing that almost everything is in place for Xbox Music users to upload and keep their tunes on OneDrive’s spacious cloud storage. All it might actually need is for Microsoft to give the signal and flip the switch.


10 gorgeous, graphics-intensive games that will utterly punish your PC – So you built yourself a brand new gaming rig, you’ve slotted your sweet new graphics card into the PCIe slot, you’ve sealed up the case, and you’ve heard it all POST—congrats! Now it’s time to throw games at your brand new build until it breaks, then cry when you realize if you’d spent just two hundred dollars more you could’ve run the game in 4K instead of mere 1080p!


Australia: Game of Thrones pirates not in the sights of ASIO or the AFP, according to Malcolm Turnbull – THE NATION’s top spy agency and Federal Police aren’t interested in whether you’re illegally downloading Game of Thrones, according to Malcolm Turnbull. The Communications Minister was trying to clarify claims the government’s new legislation forcing telcos to store your metadata for two years, could be used to target illegal downloaders. AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin yesterday suggested the information might be used against pirates. (recommended by Mal C.)

Off Topic (Sort of):

Owner of a smart TV says he is “afraid” of using it after reading the 46-page privacy policy – As technology progresses, not only phones have become “smart” but TVs as well, which is not necessarily a good thing as it can mean that you have to give up your privacy.

Google fined $2,250 for showing woman’s boobs on Street View – Back in 2009, Maria Pia Grillo looked up her Montreal house on Google Street View and found an image of herself sitting on her porch, hunched over in such a way that a hefty bit of her cleavage was forever recorded by one of Google’s cameras. The original image obscured her face, but the rest of the image — like her house on display — revealed enough information to easily discern whose boobs belong to the blurred face.


How We See Google Glass Around The World – Google Glass is as common as a Tesla motoring down the 101 here in Silicon Valley, but it’s a novelty only read about through media outlets in most of the rest of the world. Sophia Dominiguez knew that novelty was wearing off fast in our city by the Bay, so the 22 year old recent NYU grad says she decided to take Glass where most people had never had a chance to see it up close – the rest of the world.

British Museum now lets you 3D print artifact replicas – 3D printing is slowly but surely becoming more available to the average consumer, and the possibilities for it are vast. While the technology is being used to tackle projects as expansive as home construction and food in space, it is also being utilized at the simpler level for creating things like replacement knobs and personalized action figures. Among those simpler uses is the ability to print your own replica of historical items.


9 Stunning Photos of Microscopic Creatures – Rogelio Moreno won Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography contest, but his photo was just one of many dazzling shots.


Apple CEO Tim Cook: “I’m proud to be gay” – Apple’s chief executive has long been assumed to be gay, but today Tim Cook publicly came out, saying that he is “proud to be gay”, and that he hopes his decision to speak up will help others.

Something to think about:

“Against logic there is no armor like ignorance.”

–     Laurence J. Peter

Today’s Free Downloads:

ScreenToGif – This tool allows you to record a selected area of your screen and save as a Gif.


Record your screen and save directly to a gif looped animation.

Pause and continue to record.

Move the window around to record what you want.

You can add Text, Subtitles and Title Frames.

Edit the frames, add filters, revert, make yoyo style, change frame delay, add border.

Export frames.

Crop and Resize.

You can work even while the program is recording.

Remove frames that you don’t want.

Select a folder to save the file automatically or select one before enconding.

Add the system cursor to your recording.

Very small sized, portable and multilanguage executable.

Start/Pause and stop your recording using your F keys.

Multi language: Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, Greek, French, Simplified Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese and Tamil.

GreenScreen unchanged pixels to save kilobytes.

You can apply actions/filters to selected frames.

Fullscreen Recording.

Snapshot Mode.

Drag and Drop to add frames in the editor.


Rufus – Rufus is a small utility that helps format and create bootable USB flash drives, such as USB keys/pendrives, memory sticks, etc.

It can be especially useful for cases where:

you need to create USB installation media from bootable ISOs (Windows, Linux, UEFI, etc.)

you need to work on a system that doesn’t have an OS installed

you need to flash a BIOS or other firmware from DOS

you want to run a low-level utility

Despite its small size, Rufus provides everything you need!

Once downloaded, the application is ready to use — no installation or other files are necessary.


Shotcut – Shotcut is a free, open source, cross-platform video editor.


supports oodles of audio and video formats and codecs thanks to FFmpeg (or libav as-built)

supports many image formats such as BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, SVG, TGA, TIFF as well as image sequences

no import required – native editing

frame-accurate seeking for many formats

multi-format timeline: mix and match resolutions and frame rates within a project

screen capture (Linux only) including background capture to capture a Shotcut session

webcam capture (Linux only)

audio capture (Linux only; PulseAudio, JACK, or ALSA)

network stream playback (HTTP, HLS, RTMP, RTSP, MMS, UDP)

frei0r video generator plugins (e.g. color bars and plasma)

Blackmagic Design SDI and HDMI for input and preview monitoring

JACK transport sync


detailed media properties panel

recent files panel

drag-n-drop files from file manager

save and load trimmed clip as MLT XML file

load and play complex MLT XML file as a clip

audio signal level meter

volume control

scrubbing and transport control

flexible UI through dock-able panels

encode/transcode to a variety of formats and codecs thanks to FFmpeg (or libav as-built)

capture (record) SDI, HDMI, webcam (V4L2), JACK, PulseAudio, IP streams, X11 screen

stream (encode to IP) files and any capture source

batch encoding with job control

create, play, edit, save, load, encode, and stream MLT XML playlists

unlimited undo and redo for playlist edits including a history view

connect to Melted servers over MVCP TCP protocol

control the transport playback of Melted units

edit Melted playlists including suport for undo/redo

OpenGL GPU-based image processing

multi-core parallel image processing when not using GPU (and frame-dropping is disabled)

video filters: Blur, Color Grading, Crop, Glow, Mirror, Saturation, Sharpen

3-way (shadows, mids, highlights) color wheels for color correction and grading

eye dropper tool to pick neutral color for white balancing

translated to Spanish, French, Czech, and German


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Judge Says Government Can’t Use State Secrets to Toss No Fly List Challenge – Under both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, the government has on occasion invoked the so-called state secrets privilege in order to toss out lawsuits. Merely allowing certain cases into the courtroom, the argument goes, would necessarily reveal secret information and endanger national security.

Yesterday, that argument failed, when a federal judge rejected the government’s attempts to dismiss a case brought by a man who is challenging his inclusion on the no-fly list. Gulet Mohamed was nineteen in 2011 when he was barred from coming home to his family in Virginia from Kuwait. A naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, Mohamed was allegedly detained at the behest of the U.S. and beaten by Kuwaiti officials before finally being allowed back into the country (a picture taken just after his arrival is shown above).

In allowing Mohamed’s case to proceed, Judge Anthony Trenga, in the Eastern District of Virginia, said that the state secrets privilege was “not a doctrine of sovereign immunity.”

Court rules cops can demand fingerprints, not passcodes, to unlock smartphones – If police suspect that you’ve committed a crime, the odds are pretty good that they’ll want to search your smartphone for evidence. Whether they can actually search your phone depends on the security method you’ve picked—if any—to protect the device. Use Touch ID? Turn over those fingerprints. Have a passcode? You’re home-free.

A Virginia Circuit Court decided this week that cops can’t make you cough up your smartphone passcode because it violates the 5th Amendment, which bars the state from forcing you to incriminate yourself. Fingerprints are a different story, The Virginian-Pilot reported. They’re similar to DNA and handwriting, Judge Steven Frucci ruled.

The decision was handed down in the case of a Virginia man accused of attempting to kill his girlfriend after a fight. Police suspected the man recorded the argument on his phone and wanted to use the video as evidence during trial. According to The Virginian-Pilot report, it’s unclear whether the phone in question requires a passcode or fingerprint to unlock it. If the phone uses both security measures, the ruling against forced passcode disclosures still applies.

Secret manuals show the spyware sold to despots and cops worldwide – When Apple and Google unveiled new encryption schemes last month, law enforcement officials complained that they wouldn’t be able to unlock evidence on criminals’ digital devices. What they didn’t say is that there are already methods to bypass encryption, thanks to off-the-shelf digital implants readily available to the smallest national agencies and the largest city police forces — easy-to-use software that takes over and monitors digital devices in real time, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

We’re publishing in full, for the first time, manuals explaining the prominent commercial implant software “Remote Control System,” manufactured by the Italian company Hacking Team. Despite FBI director James Comey’s dire warnings about the impact of widespread data scrambling — “criminals and terrorists would like nothing more,” he declared — Hacking Team explicitly promises on its website that its software can “defeat encryption.”

The manuals describe Hacking Team’s software for government technicians and analysts, showing how it can activate cameras, exfiltrate emails, record Skype calls, log typing, and collect passwords on targeted devices. They also catalog a range of pre-bottled techniques for infecting those devices using wifi networks, USB sticks, streaming video, and email attachments to deliver viral installers. With a few clicks of a mouse, even a lightly trained technician can build a software agent that can infect and monitor a device, then upload captured data at unobtrusive times using a stealthy network of proxy servers, all without leaving a trace. That, at least, is what Hacking Team’s manuals claim as the company tries to distinguish its offerings in the global marketplace for government hacking software.


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