Twitter, Women’s Group Team for New Abuse Reporting Tool; Windows autoloading programs: You don’t want too many, but you may want these; Apple fixes iMessage’s biggest snafu; Massive raid shuts down more than 400 dark net websites; The Top Tablets for Your Kids; Microsoft Offering Prorated Refunds for Office 365 Subscriptions; 10 Excellent Holiday Tech Gifts for Men; Hands on with Microsoft Sway; Be a better Web MD with Medical Translator for Chrome; Halo: The Master Chief Collection review; Xbox One November Update; Oracle gives HR tool to track your fitness; FCC may delay release of Net neutrality rules until 2015; System Mechanic Free; 5 Tips to Stay Healthy If You Sit at a Computer All Day.
Twitter, Women’s Group Team for New Abuse Reporting Tool – If you’re a woman and you’re being harassed on social media, there’s a new resource that can help. The tool lets you report the specific Twitter handles of people harassing you and provide a detailed account about the abuse, including when it started, whether you fear for your safety, and how many times it’s occurred. Forms of online harassment can include: impersonation (creating a fake account pretending to be someone else), threats of violence, releasing someone else’s private information, hate speech (sexist, racist, or homophobic), encouraging people to harass someone offline, and revenge porn.
Microsoft Offering Prorated Refunds for Office 365 Subscriptions – Free is great, right? There’s no reason to not celebrate Microsoft’s recent announcement that it would be allowing iOS Office users to create and edit documents for absolutely free—no Office 365 subscription required, as was previously the case. If you’re a bit bummed that Microsoft just gave iOS users access to features that previously required an Office 365 subscription, you’re in luck. However, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops.
10 Excellent Holiday Tech Gifts for Men – What your brother/husband/boyfriend/son/dad/uncle wants and needs in his life is the latest technology. And it’s not just about status or frivolity—he needs to be empowered in our increasingly connected world. And he needs you to buy it for him. In these uncertain economic times, it’s not like he’s going to buy himself a smart basketball that provides real-time feedback via his smartphone. He doesn’t need that. It’s not like he’s going to be entering the NBA draft anytime soon. But he wants to improve his game using quantified biofeedback. And shouldn’t he be able to do that?
Windows autoloading programs: You don’t want too many, but you may want these – Your PC probably autoloads too many programs at startup. You’d be wise to disable most of them. But here are some you should keep.
Facebook gives you more News Feed control with faster unfollowing – That guy you haven’t talked to since you graduated college appears in your News Feed a lot. Too much. You don’t even interact with his posts, but you don’t want to unfriend him altogether. Now Facebook has a setting you can experiment with to prune your feed without unfriending everyone en masse. The new controls give you a way to see fewer posts from certain people without cutting them out of your life completely.
Get to know Apple Pay, the successor to your wallet – Apple Pay is coming to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Here’s everything you need to know about its security and how it works.
Two quick graphic tricks that return big results in a Word document – Are your Word documents in a rut? Learn how to change your document’s mood using two easy-to-implement graphic techniques.
The Top Tablets for Your Kids – Though kids these days might not have any clue how to work an Apple II or a typewriter, they know tablets. Remember that baby who tried to swipe through a physical magazine and was confused when it didn’t perform like her iPad? But the iPad is not the only tablet on the market that will appeal to your tech-savvy toddler, tween, or teen. There are a number of Android-based slates that won’t break the bank, Amazon has a new kid-focused Kindle Fire, and toy manufacturers are turning their attention toward rugged tablets that can withstand a few drops, crashes, or throws. If the child in your life has been begging for a tablet this holiday season, or keeps stealing yours, check out our list of the top tablets you should consider.
Be a better Web MD with Medical Translator for Chrome – Just install the extension, and when you land on a page with more than its fair share of medical jargon, a gray bar appears at the top telling you the extension is doing its thing, which is highlighting medical terms in yellow. This leaves you simply to mouse over a highlighted term to see a short definition of it in plain terms.
Hands on with Microsoft Sway, the web-savvy, shareable content creator of the future – Sway debuted at the beginning of October in preview mode, as the latest free Office app. Think of it as a simple, yet attractive, content creator for documents that can be shared online. As Web and magazine layouts collide, smoosh, and blur together, there’s a new emphasis on imagery and multimedia, both to anchor and supplement text. Sway recognizes this, and makes it easy to start building layouts that look professional. I was invited to try out Sway before it launches, and you can sign up for an invitation at Sway.com as well.
Sway’s “Storyline” view.
How to: Create Windows 8.1 install media if you lost your install disk – If you have an installation of Windows 8.1 and you need to re-install the OS but can’t find your install media, Microsoft has made it very easy to create the contents you will need.
A creepy website is streaming from 73,000 cameras; some in the bedroom – Just a click on the place you want to stream, and you’ll easily have access to it, these places do not only include parking lots and stores but also living rooms and bedrooms which means that any person, anywhere in the world, can spy on you just because you forgot (or didn’t know) that you had to change your IP camera’s default password.
Office apps jump to top of iOS App Store lists following free announcement – Last week, Microsoft announced that its Office suite of apps on all mobile platforms would now be free, which has caused the apps to explode in popularity.
Praise be! Apple fixes iMessage’s biggest snafu – Apple is addressing the iMessage bug that has caused confusion and annoyance – not to mention prompted a lawsuit – for ex-iPhone users, launching a simple tool to deregister a number from the messaging service. The new support page, quietly added to Apple’s site, answers one of the biggest complaints those switching away from an iPhone often have about the process: that their cellphone number remains associated with the Cupertino firm’s SMS-bypassing system and so future texts don’t make it to their new handset, Android or otherwise.
Hands-on with the Seek Thermal imaging camera – Thermal imaging is just plain cool. Forget all the practical stuff, though there’s plenty of that. When you see what amounts to a live heat-map of everything around you, it’s nothing short of awesome. That’s what you get from the Seek Thermal. Unveiled in September, this small heat-sensing camera plugs into your smartphone or tablet. And once you get past how ridiculously cool it is, then you can start getting your money’s worth.
Ahh! Devil dog! Nope, just a thermal photo snapped with the Seek Thermal.
Encountering the Wild PUP – The Internet is full of dangers; threats like malware, phishing attacks, hackers and drive-by exploits are some of the most commonly mentioned. But did you know that there is a far more common threat to users that no one in the media seems to talk about, a threat that almost everyone who has ever owned a computer has experienced. These threats are known as Potentially Unwanted Programs and they are the day-walking vampires of the internet.
Massive raid shuts down more than 400 dark net websites, worldwide arrests – Dark net sites hide a user’s identity by routing their traffic through a series of computers. They have been associated with illegal activity so many of them are being shut down in a global raid.
Tech Support website infects your computer before you even dial in – If you ever need help with your computer you may be interested in remote tech support. As we have written many times on this blog before, the road to finding a legitimate company is very treacherous. This time around, our focus is on a company that seems to want a big piece of the U.S. market and boasts their infrastructure as being “ahead of time technology equipment” while “your computer issues are fixed securely“. This couldn’t be further from the truth. For some reason, looking at the site gives an impression of déjà-vu. Perhaps it is the template and stock photos typically used by many overseas tech support companies?
Sites Offering Free Netflix Accounts: Good Luck With That – We’ve seen a number of Netflix themed websites which claim to offer up accounts / logins for fans of TV and movie streaming to get their fix without having to register or pay up to use the service. Shall we take a look at what’s on offer? This one is rather cookie-cutter and claims to have lots of accounts up for grab, linking to numerous “Netflix premium account” URLs further down the page.
AT&T expands beyond the US with $2.5 billion purchase of Mexican carrier Iusacell – AT&T just expanded its reach in a pretty significant way today — the company has agreed to purchase Mexican wireless carrier Iusacell for $2.5 billion. According to AT&T, this will create the first-ever “North American mobile service,” covering 400 million people in the US and Mexico. AT&T will absorb Iusacell’s 8.6 million subscribers and the carrier’s technology, which currently covers about 70 percent of Mexico’s 120 million citizens. AT&T expects the deal to close in early 2015, following approval from Mexico’s telecom regulator IFT (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones) and the National Foreign Investments Commission.
Nvidia posts record high revenues in latest quarterly report – In the company’s latest quarterly report, Nvidia reported a revenue total of $1.23 billion for its third quarter of its current fiscal year. This result means that latest quarter for Nvidia became the best in the company’s history. The $1.23 billion is an increase of 16% on the same three months from last year and an 11% increase from the company’s previous quarter. The leading generator of income appears to stem from Nvidia’s own datacenters, mobile products and PC hardware. Nvidia emphasized partnerships with companies like Tesla, to which Nvidia provided services for “big data analytics”.
Sapphire supplier accuses Apple of bait-and-switch as details go public – Apple’s former sapphire supplier, GT Advanced Technologies, accused its ex-partner of bait-and-switch tactics during 2013’s negotiations, claiming that Apple pressured it into signing contracts by telling it to “Put on your big boy pants,” court documents released Friday said. The Oct. 8 filing with a federal bankruptcy court had been under seal until Friday. Both Apple and GT had previously demanded that the declaration by GT chief operating officer Daniel Squiller remain secret, but U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Henry Boroff disagreed, and last week ordered that virtually all information be made public on Friday.
A tablet world away: Where Samsung and Apple lose out to brands you’ve never heard of – Small companies focused on offering low-priced devices are managing to turn the tables on the giants of the tech world. Here’s how they do it.
Games and Entertainment:
Overwatch hands-on: Blizzard’s shooter is a weirder, more accessible Team Fortress 2 – If you missed the news this morning, Blizzard is leaving its real-time strategy wheelhouse to develop—I swear—a first-person shooter titled Overwatch. “Wait, the Blizzard? Of Diablo and StarCraft and WarCraft fame?” Yeah, that Blizzard is making a shooter. Prior to this morning’s keynote, I even tweeted about the possibility as a joke. That’s how remote the idea seemed. And then it happened. Moreover, the game is surprisingly good.
Xbox One November Update Brings Custom Backgrounds And Twitter Integration – Another month, another pack of shiny new features heading for the Xbox One. It’s not the most exciting update the One has received to date, and it sounds like this one will be the last big update for the year… both of those facts likely because Microsoft doesn’t want to risk introducing any big bugs right before the oh-so-important Christmas season.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection review: Chief concern – The full list of contents packed into The Master Chief Collection reads like an infomercial spiel, so feel free to personally add “but wait, there’s more!” between bullet points as you see fit. We’ll start with the package’s four single-player campaigns: the original Halo: Combat Evolved as it was remastered on Xbox 360 in 2011; Halo 2, newly remastered this year for Xbox One; and Halos 3 & 4 as they originally appeared on Xbox 360, only this time upscaled to 1080p. (The others reach that resolution, as well.)
$199 will get you an Xbox One from Best Buy – In order to qualify for the $199 price point, shoppers must be willing to trade in a working Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 console in order to get the marked-down price. Best Buy is giving you $150 credit for your previous-generation console, which is an outstanding deal when you consider that the Xbox 360 can be purchased for $179 new right now.
Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack Review – The Skylanders universe is massive. Inside you’ll find a younger audience-oriented gaming world where you’re able to play on a console or on your tablet – more so now than ever. With the Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack, users are encouraged to tap in with the tablet they already own – an iPad or, in our case, an NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. Here we get the full version of the Skylanders Trap Team game – the same as you’d play on your console – ready to rock on a portable tablet.
PAX Aus indie showcase: Smokin’ hot titles from down under – The indie pavilion was the place to be at PAX Australia. Here are some of the most exciting and interesting titles we saw on the show floor.
Off Topic (Sort of):
5 Tips to Stay Healthy If You Sit at a Computer All Day – It might be due to the darkness that accompanies shorter days, or the invasion of warmer, comfier clothes into the winter workplace, but now is the time when long hours, slouching, slumping, and straining dominate the office. Clean up your act around the computer, before bad habits lead to poor health. Here are five ways to make sure your computer desk doesn’t become the death of you.
FCC may delay release of Net neutrality rules until 2015 – FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who had promised to deliver proposed new rules for managing Internet traffic, may be finding the task more complicated than anticipated, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Twitter Parody Accounts Bring In How Much Money? – Just how much can these parody-makers make? According to one, a sponsored ad can make him anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for just that single tweet. And who knows how much more established brands might be willing to pay for an account that can hit 13 million impressions on Twitter—what the site defines as the “number of times users saw the tweet.” That is, of course, helped out by the arrangement that some of the parody account creators have with one another.
Video captures pilot landing plane sideways in fierce winds – Footage of a plane landing in high winds at Chicago’s O’Hare airport shows a landing that, to the average passenger, must have seemed unusual, if not scary.
NYPD officers charged after video catches teen getting pistol whipped – “The video speaks for itself, doesn’t it?” Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said Wednesday about a brief video recording that led to two New York Police Department cops being charged in connection to the pistol-whipping assault of a 16-year-old Brooklyn boy. The boy, who was arrested for marijuana possession, ended up with broken teeth and bruises. The officers charged in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Wednesday are David Afanador, 33, and Tyrane Isaac, 36, both nine-year veterans.
Oracle gives HR tool to track your fitness – Oracle has announced a new tool for HR departments called “Employee Wellness” and seems to be suggesting that you might be willing to let your boss track how much you exercise. The tool’s a new module for the company’s “Human Capital Management” software and promises the chance to let you track your physical activity, set goals, and tell you when you improve or hit milestones. Nothing to worry about there: myriad gadgets and services will do that for you. But things get interesting when you consider that Oracle says “The application provides recommendations to employees on behaviors that can increase their well-being as well as links between their well-being and their work life.” In other words, HR can tell you to lay off the pies and three-beer lunches.
Work is just a game for Oracle. A game in which HR tracks your every move.
Porn industry upset at lack of Google support – Indeed, the adult industry points out that not only does Google make it hard to find legal sources to purchase their content, but they’re also not even allowed to purchase advertising on the search giant. The industry is facing the same issues that music and film studios faced (and in many cases, still face) years ago. The difference is highlighted by the fact that the topic is taboo: Companies like Google won’t want to promote it anytime soon, and politicians won’t stick their necks out because, even though the Internet is for porn, the public prefers to pretend that only perverts seek it out.
This $60 3D printer is built from old computer parts – 3D printers have gotten a whole lot cheaper in the past year or so, but those of you willing to go the DIY route can build one for about the price of a hot new release for your console. With $60 in your wallet and an old junk PC, you can build your own 3D printer. You may also want a set of instructions to make the process go a little smoother, and thankfully they’re readily available. Behold, the $60 e-waste 3D printer by Instructables user Mikellc. He figures around 80% of the required parts can be easily reclaimed, and I’m guessing a lot of you probably have most of them laying around your home office, basement, attic, or closet.
10 battery life crisis moments all Android users will understand – We’ve all had that moment—usually when we’ve been out all night, taking tons of Instagram-worthy party photos—when we realize, “Oh yeah, I should’ve charged my phone before heading out. What was I thinking, that 78 percent would be fine for the whole night? Or that moment when our battery life starts rapidly deteriorating after it hits 50 percent, because, oh yeah, this phone is three years old. Here are 10 battery life crisis moments I guarantee you’ve had.
Something to think about:
“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Today’s Free Downloads:
System Mechanic Free – System Mechanic Free is a complete suite of powerful system repair and maintenance tools. The 7 core tools included in System Mechanic Free are designed to boost speed, fix problems, and instantly improve PC performance.
Using the same award-winning technology and user-friendly design that makes the full version of System Mechanic the expert’s choice and the #1-bestselling software in its class, System Mechanic Free empowers people of all skill levels to keep their computer running at peak performance.
The 7 core tools in System Mechanic Free are:
Registry Tuner: The most effective tool of its kind, Registry Tuner uses regularly updated research to safely repair registry errors and stabilize Windows computers
Startup Optimizer: Eliminates the top 25 most common startup bottlenecks in order to noticeably speed up Windows start time
Memory Mechanic: Reclaims more RAM memory for an instant performance boost
PC Cleanup: Cleans up system-clogging junk files and clutter
Drive Accelerator: Defragments hard drives to improve drive speed and performance
Shortcut Repair: Reconnects broken icons and shortcuts
Internet Connection Repair: Heals broken internet connections to get PCs back online
iolo technologies believes no one should unnecessarily experience the stress, lost time, and financial burden that can be caused by a poorly-performing PC—and System Mechanic Free provides the basic tools necessary to ensure Windows computers remain stable and optimized for the entire lifespan of the investment. Now, you can use the same research-driven tune-up tools and features that are trusted and recommended by millions of computer users worldwide to fix and speed up your home PC.
License Crawler – If you want to setup your computer system again you need to have the licenses and serial numbers at hand for all the software programs that you have purchased and registered. This does include the Windows product key but also other serial numbers for applications like Nero, Office, VMWare and pretty much every other application.
Instead of searching for the keys in your e-mails, manuals and recipes you could use another approach. LicenseCrawler is a sweet little application that scans the Windows Registry for Windows product keys and other serial numbers and licenses.
The LicenseCrawler can discover application product keys and other serial numbers or licenses very quickly and supports all versions of Windows operating system from Windows 95 over Windows 7 to Windows Server 2008 R2 (64Bit).
The portable-version can be run from any location and would be a perfect fit for a USB stick. The software is ideal to backup your system, help IT-Service members and for forensic services.
Asking clients to find serial and license keys is often very frustrating. Instead, tech support can simply run License Crawler without having to interact with the client at all.
Limitations: Program is free for home use but does have quite a few annoying nag screens.
Money Manager Ex – Money Manager Ex is a free, open-source, cross-platform, easy-to-use personal finance software. It primarily helps organize one’s finances and keeps track of where, when and how the money goes. It is also a great tool to get a bird’s eye view of your financial worth.
Money Manager includes all the basic features that 90% of users would want to see in a personal finance application. The design goals are to concentrate on simplicity and user-friendliness – something one can use everyday.
Manage Multiple Accounts
Create and maintain an electronic checkbook – Checking, Savings, Credit Card or Loans, Stock Investment Accounts, Assets
Checking, Savings, Credit Card or Loan Accounts
Manage income and expense transactions within these accounts
Create your own categories and organize these transactions to track where your money comes or goes.
Manage money transfers between accounts
Mark transactions as reconciled, unreconciled or void to track them against your bank statements
Stock/Bonds/Mutual Fund Accounts
Track your shares, bonds and related investments
Track the gain/loss for each investment
Update current share price
General Account Features
Ability to handle multiple currency across accounts
Internationalization of currency formatting
Unicode support for all data storage
Track closed Accounts
Setup accounts as favorite accounts
Track your Bills and Deposits- Create bills & deposits to be reminded of your upcoming bills and deposits so you never miss a payment or deposit
Account Summary Views and Navigation- An easy to use tree view navigator to navigate across accounts and summarized views of your accounts, upcoming bills & deposits and income vs. expenses
Budgeting- Setup budgets for a calendar year and see how you are doing over time.
Importing, Exporting and Printing- Ability to import, export and print your account information
Import information from Excel in CSV format
Import information from QIF format (Microsoft Money & Quicken)
Export information from any account to Excel (Comma Separated Value -.CSV) format
Printing of reports/accounts with inbuilt print preview.
View your spending/expenses in a wide variety of ways.
View spending by category over a date range for specific or all accounts
View spending on a single category over time
View income vs expenses
View spending by payee
View expenses and how you are doing on a budget.
In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:
‘Tech giants who encrypt comms are unwittingly aiding terrorists’, claims ex-Home Sec Blunkett: Labour MP is never far away from Fear Agenda script – Former, draconian Home Secretary David Blunkett – who held the post at the time of the 9/11 attacks in the US – has claimed that technology companies that encrypt communications on their networks are helping terrorists to spread fear.
The Labour MP, writing in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, lambasted Martha Lane-Fox for telling the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier this week that the new GCHQ spymaster, Robert Hannigan, had been “reactionary and slightly inflammatory.”
Lane-Fox, who co-founded Lastminute.com, had responded to comments made by Hannigan, after he claimed that US tech firms, who had improved the security of their products for netizens, had “become the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals”.
NSA Reform Drifts Sideways In The Senate – According to Senate sources speaking to The Hill, the White House would prefer not to pass NSA reform in the coming lame duck Congressional session.
Current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy, is trying to press forward with a vote on the bill that he authored — the USA FREEDOM Act — this year. The legislation has attracted approbation from technology companies and civil groups. A bill with the same name passed the House previously, but was scorned by privacy advocates as having been neutered in its final days before its vote.
The Senate’s USA FREEDOM Act would end the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. However, some have noted that it doesn’t go far enough in reforming Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, at the time, said that the bill “falls short” by not addressing Section 702.
That said, there is general consensus among technology companies that the Senate bill is worth supporting — several have encouraged support for the law.
The White House’s apparent reluctance is said to be joined by that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has other priorities for the legislative session. It isn’t clear if Senator Leahy can fight the combined obstinance of the two.
Disrupting Democracy – You have to grudgingly admire the black-hat political hackers who have pwned the American electoral system. First, entrench a two-party dichotomy; second, gerrymander districts into tortuous shapes; third, cultivate an electorate so polarized that no matter how much voters dislike their incumbent, they hate the alternative worse; fourth, profit! It’s elegant, horrifying brilliance.
The whole point of democracy is to make it easy to throw bad governments out. (Putting good governments in would be a nice bonus, but tends to be a crap shoot.) I think it’s safe to say that American democracy has gotten stunningly bad at that. On Tuesday, despite an appalling 14% approval rating, across 435 Congressional districts, only twelve saw incumbents lose. Twelve. Because “gerrymandering to protect incumbents has left only about 50 of 435 House seats in play in any election.”
(To those of you in the rest of the world; I sympathize. I’m not even American myself. Bear with me.)
Technology may be to blame for this, to some extent. The age of social media has probably made political polarization worse by aggravating filter-bubble confirmation bias. And as I’ve been arguing for years, tech-driven social changes has made polling a whole lot less reliable, which doesn’t affect the results, but can make them much more shocking.
EFF fights to keep jailbreaking legal, petitions US Copyright Office – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is continuing to make its best efforts at ensuring the act of jailbreaking devices like smartphones and tablets remains a legal act. The organization said this week that it has filed a petition with the U.S. Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office, arguing that jailbreaking is not a crime, and that it should not be seen as a violation of the U.S.’s Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Jailbreaking is a practice that takes place on iOS, Android, and other platforms, and basically involves a user bypassing the rules and structure of a device’s operating system in order to customize it and most often install unauthorized apps. This is usually looked down upon by device manufacturers and carriers, as it violates End User License Agreements (EULA) and bypasses restrictions.