Boost Windows performance with these five apps; Three apps to make your Android phone’s battery last longer; Snapchat Now Lets You Send Money To Friends; Want to try out Microsoft Sway? Here’s how to get access today; Men think they can fix a computer (but can’t), study says; A list of all the Google Now voice commands; The Top 10 Most Controversial iPhone Apps; Target’s Mobile App Gets Indoor Mapping, Interactive Black Friday Maps; The best Chromebook you can buy; How to decide between a $199 Windows notebook and a Chromebook; Tech Support Scams Pop-Ups on the Rise; Far Cry 4 review: It’s a far cry from Far Cry 3; Photos: The 3D printed moon base of the future; Tech Giants Call For Passage Of Senate NSA Reform Bill; Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit BETA.
Boost Windows performance with these five apps – The Windows operating system has long been criticized because it tends to get bogged down over time. Installing applications, patches, drivers, etc., causes the OS to become cluttered. As a result, performance slowly diminishes. Fortunately, a number of applications can optimize your system and help restore performance.
Three apps to make your Android phone’s battery last longer – Phones and tablets die. It’s a fact of life and one that we must all inevitably plan our daily routines around. But sometimes you can’t. There isn’t always an open plug or an extra battery pack lying around. This is why you need to plan ahead. To avoid how often you’re faced with the untimely death of your pocket computer, we rounded up three of our favorite apps that can help you get a little more time out of that lithium cell.
Snapchat Now Lets You Send Money To Friends Through Snapcash Deal With Square Cash – While Venmo, Google Wallet, and more try to take a business approach to peer-to-peer payments, Snapchat today swooped in from the consumer side. It just added a “Snapcash” payments option to its app through a deal with Square Cash. Now you can add a debit card, type a dollar amount into Snapchat’s text-chat feature, and hit the green pay button to instantly send a friend money. The feature is on Android now and is coming to iOS soon.
Men think they can fix a computer (but can’t), study says – A study suggests that men are especially keen to let it be known they know how to fix a computer, but their actual knowledge may not match their bravado.
Anonymous statement: KKK is a terrorist group, KKK responds poorly – Anonymous has issued a statement regarding its retaliation against the Ku Klux Klan’s Ferguson threats, calling the KKK a terrorist group and vowing to continue the campaign. Meanwhile, the KKK has responded poorly.
Want to try out Microsoft Sway? Here’s how to get access today – If you want to try out Microsoft’s new Sway app, you can now do so without waiting for you invitation if you use the link at the bottom of the post after the jump.
A list of all the Google Now voice commands – You pick up your phone and say “OK Google”… and then what? Your phone is listening. The microphone icon is pulsing. What do you say to your phone? What can you say to it? Google Now’s voice function has become surprisingly robust over the years. Here’s a list of just about everything you can say to Google Now. Try experimenting with different phrasing, you’ll be surprised how much it understands.
New app Super lets you share casual thoughts, pics – The co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, is at it again. This time, his company Jelly Industries is bringing in another Twitter-like app named Super. A pretty simple app, Super lets you take images of your choosing and lay text over them. You can also include video into your post, should you need to. Rather than just start smashing out words, your flashy post first offers up a series of starters for your text, but lets you add anything you like.
The Top 10 Most Controversial iPhone Apps – We found 10 iOS apps that courted controversy for better or for worse. Some allowed for your iPhone to become a gateway to a world of stalking, while others were just in extremely bad taste. We also analyze Apple’s reaction to the apps, most of which were pulled from sale in a matter of days. Check it out in the slideshow.
Target’s Mobile App Gets Indoor Mapping, Interactive Black Friday Maps – Target has teamed up with an indoor mapping technology company called Point Inside to debut in-store maps in its mobile app that show where items are located as a pin on the map – similar to the navigation maps consumers are using today to route their way around town. The feature, which is live now in the Target app, will also help customers during the upcoming Black Friday sales, as specialized maps showing deals and dealbusters will be provided.
The best Chromebook you can buy – There’s really only one follow-up question to whether or not you should buy a Chromebook: do you live in a web browser? If you spend all your time in Chrome anyway — you use Gmail or Outlook, Spotify or Pandora, Tumblr or Facebook, Evernote or Pinterest, Flickr or 500px — you might be surprised how quickly you can obviate the few desktop apps you use now. Unless you work with video or photos, or you’re an avid gamer, a Chromebook has you covered.
Chromebooks Get Blanket Approval For NYC Schools – Google is already leading the pack in terms of tablets and notebooks sold to K-12 education providers, according to recent numbers from research firm IDC, and now it has gained another powerful new ally: The New York City Department of Education. The NYC CIO has signed on with Chromebooks, and Google Apps for Education, as par of their approved and supported (from an IT standpoint) tools for this school year, and they’ve also built a guide to help teachers in their district get started.
Microsoft starts promoting the $199 HP Stream 11 Windows 8.1 notebook – Microsoft is hoping that HP’s new $199 Windows 8.1 laptop will be a sales hit this festive season and is now promoting the device – which includes a one-year Office 365 subscription – with new TV ads.
How to decide between a $199 Windows notebook and a Chromebook – Summary: This is not an easy decision to make. There are some critical nuances you have to consider before you go one way or the other. In this article, we take a look at those factors.
iOS 8.1.1 is available now: How to download, and what’s new – A little less than one month ago, iPhone users were graced with iOS 8.1, bringing major additions to Apple’s operating system. While last update brought features like Apple Pay, reintroduced the Camera Roll, and fixed bugs with third-party extensions, iOS 8.1.1 is a more or less a usability update. If you’re into bug and stability fixes, this is the incremental update for you.
Sharetribe Lets You Create Your Own Peer-To-Peer Marketplace – Aiming to provide the ‘picks and shovels’ behind the online marketplace gold rush, Sharetribe — which appears to pivoted at least once — makes it easy for anyone to create and manage their own peer-to-peer marketplace, and take a cut of any transactions along the way.
Intel’s MICA Smart Bracelet Will Be In Stores Before Christmas For $495 – Intel today debuted the Intel MICA bracelet (short for “My Intelligent Communications Accessory), which was developed in collaboration with Opening Ceremony, the CFDA and sold exclusively at Barneys. The company also announced that it will go on sale in time for Christmas, and will retail for $495. That price includes at AT&T Sim card, complete with data and SMS messages, for two years.
SourceLair Lets You Code Right In Your Browser – Editing code isn’t that hard. A terminal, a little Vim, a little PHP, some beer, and maybe a few Google searches and you’re off and running. But what if you want to work on a project without compromising your personal server or don’t really have an environment for coding? SourceLair is one answer. The freemium service lets you build projects right in your browser.
New ransomware CoinVault allows users to decrypt one file for free – Cybercriminals behind a new ransomware program called CoinVault are trying out a new psychological tactic to convince users to pay up—freebies. The new threat was discovered by security researchers from Webroot and is similar in functionality to more prevalent ransomware programs like CryptoWall. It uses strong 256-bit AES encryption with keys stored on a remote server, it kills the Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service so that users can’t use it to recover their files and only supports Bitcoin as a payment method. Users are asked to pay 0.5 bitcoins—around $200 at the current exchange rate—in order to receive the key that decrypts their files, but the cost increases every 24 hours.
Tech Support Scams Pop-Ups on the Rise – The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued a public service announcement warning about a “new twist to the telephone tech support scam“. In its message, it advises users to be particularly cautious about fake pop-ups telling them that their computers are infected and urging to call a toll free number for assistance:
Many Tor-anonymized domains seized by police belonged to imposter sites – A large number of the Tor-anonymized domains recently seized in a crackdown on illegal darknet services were clones or imposter sites, according to an analysis published Monday. Of the 276 domains Cubrilovic identified, 153 pointed to clones, phishing, or scam sites impersonating one of the hidden services targeted by law enforcement, he said. If corroborated by others, the findings may be viewed as good news for privacy advocates who look to Tor to help preserve their anonymity.
List of hacked government agencies grows: State Department, White House, NOAA & USPS – If whispers can be believed, then Chinese hackers are kicking U.S. government cyber butt and taking names as the growing list of government data breaches now includes the State Department, the White House, NOAA — which includes the National Weather Service and satellite data — and USPS.
TRUSTe pays $200,000 to settle charges that it deceived consumers – The firm that issues the TRUSTe privacy seal displayed on thousands of websites has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle charges that it deceived consumers about the sites it vouched for and perpetuated misrepresentations about TRUSTe’s status as a nonprofit. San Francisco-based TRUSTe told consumers that the websites certified under its programs receive a recertification review every year, according to a release published Monday by the Federal Trade Commission. But in fact, the consumer watchdog agency said, TRUSTe failed to conduct annual reviews in at least 1,000 cases from 2006 to 2013.
Court agrees that Google’s search results qualify as free speech – The regulation of Google’s search results has come up from time to time over the past decade, and although the idea has gained some traction in Europe (most recently with “right to be forgotten” laws), courts and regulatory bodies in the US have generally agreed that Google’s search results are considered free speech. That consensus was upheld last Thursday, when a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Google’s right to order its search results as it sees fit.
Intel merging mobile and PC groups as line between phone and computer blurs – Chip-making giant Intel is set to merge its mobile and tablet division together with the part of the company that makes processors for personal computers. The company’s chief executive, Brian Krzanich, announced the plan — which will combine the loss-making mobile group with the profitable PC chip-making group early next year — in an email to employees. Intel spokesperson Chuck Mulloy said the move comes as the “lines are blurring between PCs, tablets, phablets and phones,” and explained that the company’s aim is to “accelerate the implementation and create some efficiency so that we can move even faster.”
After Divorcing Microsoft, Nokia Reveals An Android Tablet, The N1, Hitting China First – Today at the Slush conference in Helsinki, home-town hero Nokia — the part of the business that did not get sold off to Microsoft, that is – has revealed its first device: the N1, a iPad-like small tablet with an aluminum shell, a 7.9-inch screen and an Android Lollipop OS. Selling for $249, it will be sold first in China by way of a manufacturing and distribution partnership with Foxconn and initially at least will be WiFi-only.
Ex-Nokians Launch Employee Wellness App Wellmo – Born from the ashes of Nokia’s ‘Wellness’ initiative — part of Nokia Research Center, which, by some estimates, helped make the once mobile giant the third largest R&D spender in Europe as recently as 2011 — is Wellmo, another Finnish startup operating in the health and fitness space.
Games and Entertainment:
Far Cry 4 review: It’s a far cry from Far Cry 3 – Game Theory Games are rarely known for providing a roster of characters worthy of a best supporting cast nomination, but Far Cry 4’s medley of misfits and tragic freedom fighters breaks the mould. Top of the bill is Pagan Min. Min’s the sort of merciless despot you’ll usually find in a Bond film. In the time it takes to say “psychopath”, he’s stabbed a guy to death, tortured someone else and made idle chit-chat with you across a table decorated with dead monkeys. Of course, Far Cry 4 isn’t the first in the series to put a villain on centre stage. Far Cry 3 employed Vaas Montenegro with similar success – the first of many concurrences between this and its predecessor.
Goat Simulator update to MMO for free this Thursday – For those of you that’ve played Goat Simulator, you understand the madness. It’s a tiny game, one in which you’re a goat that does insane and inane things for the greater good of simulating the real life experiences of a goat. For those of you that’ve not experienced Goat Simulator – may god have mercy on your souls. This game is about to get a major update this Thursday. An update that’s also an expansion. An update that’s also entirely free for people that already own the game.
Hands-On With Super Smash Bros. For Wii U – Later this week, Nintendo launches Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the fifth game in the wildly popular fighting game franchise that brings together all the company’s biggest characters. We’ve had a chance to play through some of the game this weekend and wanted to share some quick thoughts before our full review.
Xbox One chopped to $330 at GameStop for Black Friday – In a leaked paper insert for GameStop’s Black Friday it’s been revealed that the Assassin’s Creed Unity / Assassin’s Creed Black Flag combo box will be even less expensive than the already-cut prices from Microsoft. On the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, you’ll be able to pick up the Xbox One “Holiday Value Bundle” for $329.99 USD. That’s $70 less than the standard price, or $20 cheaper than the cheapest price the Xbox One has ever been – without the games, mind you.
Buyer beware: 3 out of 4 Steam Early Access games haven’t been finished – Steam’s Early Access model is a great way to support small game developers and fresh ideas, as long as you don’t expect to ever play the finished product.
Meet the Tesla K80: Nvidia’s most powerful graphics card yet has an insane 24GB of RAM – The company on Monday announced an updated Tesla K80 graphics card, which is its fastest graphics product to date. Tesla is used in some of the world’s fastest supercomputers to solve pressing scientific questions. The K80 is based on technology similar to that used in GeForce PC graphics cards, but with some memory and throughput tweaks. The graphics card can be used by engineering companies to simulate visual models, or by oil and gas companies for geological research to find the best drilling sites. Tesla has also been used in servers to deliver virtual desktops to remote clients.
Sweden mulls over gender equality labels for video games – The Swedish agency Vinnova has given a gaming industry trade organization a grant to pursue a new project looking into whether video games in the nation should be labelled according to gender equality themes. The news comes from The Local, which reports that the project is inspired by the Bechdel Test, and that under it the association — Dataspelsbranchen — will work alongside multiple game developers to evaluate the issue. The project specifically aims to evaluate how women are portrayed in games and other gender-related issues.
Off Topic (Sort of):
NYC Launches Free Gigabit Speed Wi-Fi Network – The LinkNYC network will be more than 100 times faster than average municipal Wi-fi and 20 times faster than the average home internet service in NYC. People will be capable of downloading a two-hour high-def movie in as little as 30 seconds, boasts the City’s press materials announcing the network. Construction on the network of LinkNYC kiosks will begin in 2015 and the first structures will be running by the end of that year, according to the city. New York is planning to install up to 10,000 Links across the five boroughs.
Fitbit data is being used as evidence in court – In Forbes, Parmy Olsen has uncovered what appears to be the first use of data from a personal fitness tracker in court, thanks to a personal injury suit currently under way in Canada. The plaintiff, a Calgary woman, plans to use data from her Fitbit to show how her activity levels have declined since the accident. Crucially, the data is being routed through a third-party analytics firm called Vivametrica, which will analyze the data and report its findings to the court, rather than submitting raw data directly into evidence.
The Flying Nimbus is a self-balancing, one-wheeled, motorized skateboard – You really need a sense of balance to ride a skateboard, unless bodily injury is your idea of a fun afternoon. A project from one apparently quite talented fellow by the name Dane Kouttron could even give you the ability to shred with the best of them. Just looking at the Flying Nimbus, you wouldn’t think it was stable. After all, it only has one wheel. There’s just a lot of cool hardware behind the scenes that keeps you upright.
FCC chairman on schools: Basic connectivity is now inadequate – Chairman Tom Wheeler makes his case for higher-speed Internet access in schools, proposing a plan to increase the monthly fee in phone bills by 16 cents to cover new investment.
Freedom Chair makes it easier for the handicapped get around outdoors – Being confined to a wheel chair makes it much more difficult for people that are paralyzed or can’t walk for other reasons to get around. A new wheelchair product has debuted called the Freedom Chair that looks a lot like a normal wheelchair, but has a novel way for users to propel themselves. A typical wheelchair requires the user to spin the wheels using their hands and rings attached to the wheels. The Freedom Chair has the same style as a traditional wheel chair, but it has two levers that come up on each side of the chair user. By gripping, those levers and pushing them forwards and pulling them back, sort of like pedaling a bike, to get around.
Google’s Teller says Glass and other wearables need to be cheaper – Astro Teller, head of the Internet giant’s skunk works research lab, talks about Glass, future pricing and how the smart eyewear has become a “poster child” for privacy concerns.
Photos: The 3D printed moon base of the future – The European Space Agency is making plans to 3D print a lunar base. Here are 11 photos they released to give you a better idea of what a 3D printed moon base could actually look like.
Something to think about:
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”
– Dale Carnegie
Today’s Free Downloads:
Sandboxie – Run programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.
Sandboxie requires neither the disabling nor blocking of functions available to Web sites through the browser. Instead, Sandboxie isolates and quarantines the outcome of whatever the Web site may do to your computer, including the installation of unsolicited software. There is no trade-off of functionality for security: the Web site can use the full range of active content tools, and if it uses these tools maliciously to install software or otherwise make changes in your computer, then these changes can be easily undone.
Sandboxie has originally been designed to increase the security of browsing with Internet Explorer, however it is just as effective with any other browser, and in fact, any other program. Sandboxie wraps a protection layer around the programs it supervises. It is this layer that intercepts and isolates any changes the programs make to the computer. And this layer is impartial to the specific program it wraps.
Sandboxie is a software that allows you isolates and quarantines website.
When you browse the web, changes occur to your computer system. Most of the time these changes are harmless, like recording the addresses of web sites you have visited (and when), so the browser can help you complete a web address that you type in. Whether these changes are harmless or harmful, they do in fact happen to your computer system.
When you use Sandboxie to protect your browsing session, it catches all these changes just as the browser is about to apply them into your computer system. Sandboxie does record these changes on behalf of the browser, but it records them in a special isolated folder, called the sandbox.
The benefit of having a sandbox is that it ensures your ability to get rid of all changes done by the browser, simply by deleting the sandbox folder.
Another useful feature of Sandboxie is the ability to terminate all sandboxed programs at once. As some web sites tend to pop up three new browser windows for each one you close, you can have Sandboxie close all of them with a click of a button.
You may use Sandboxie free of charge for any length of time that you desire. However, if you use Sandboxie for more than 30 days, the software will occasionally remind you to consider paying the registration fee. By doing that, you would show your support for further development and improvement of Sandboxie.
By paying the registration fee of $20 US-dollars you get a life-time registration key to this and and all upcoming versions of the Sandboxie product.
Lansweeper – Lansweeper is an automated network discovery and asset management tool which scans all your computers and devices and displays them in an easy accessible web interface. There is no need to install any agents on the computers, all scanning is done by standard build-in functionality.
With Lansweeper it’s easy to track and audit all your installed software, you can create powerful software inventory reports to find out which application is installed on which computer. Google unknown software and publishers right from the web interface and find out who is running software that’s not up to date.
Lansweeper cannot only detect all hardware devices in your computers but with it’s change tracking it can find out when a device was changed or removed. Not only does Lansweeper scans windows devices, it also gathers details about all other IP enabled devices on your network from the network discovery scan. (Linux, Printers, Routers, …)
If you want to keep all software and operating systems licenses up to date it can be a time consuming work. With Lansweeper computer inventory it doesn’t need to be…
The webinterface will tell you how many software versions are installed and how much licenses you are missing.
Every company needs policies to get a smooth running network. Compliance reporting and the dashboard can help you to make all kinds of asset management reports. Who doesn’t have the latest version of our virus scanner, Who is missing the latest patch for our ERP solution. The only limit is your imagination…
Active directory integration
Lansweeper gathers all active directory user and computer details for your scanned machines. Create reports based on OU, integrate user pictures, Clean up your Active directory…
Every windows computer logs errors into the Eventlog. Thanks to Lansweeper you can now consolidate all these errors and get an alert e-mail as soon as an important error occurs.
Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit BETA drills down and removes even deeply embedded rootkits – This is beta software, for consumer and approved partner use only, use at your own risk, and by proceeding you are agreeing to our terms of license agreement enclosed as “License.rtf”.
All Beta versions are non-final products. Malwarebytes does not guarantee the absence of errors which might lead to interruption in the normal computer operations or data loss. Precautions should be taken. The types of infections targeted by Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit can be very difficult to remove. Please be sure you have any valued data backed up before proceeding, just as a precaution.
In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:
Tech Giants Call For Passage Of Senate NSA Reform Bill – A collective of large tech companies has urged the Senate to pass the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill that it could vote on this week.
Reform Government Surveillance, which counts Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter as members, released a letter to the Senate, calling the week’s vote an “opportunity” to pass the “bipartisan” law. The Act will, according to the companies, prevent “bulk collection of Internet metadata,” and increase “transparency about government demands for user information from technology companies.”
The bill does not go far enough, the group notes, saying that “preventing government access to data without proper legal process” and “transparent frameworks that govern lawful requests for data across jurisdictions” remains areas where work is needed. Still, the bill would provide “meaningful change to [the nation’s] surveillance programs,” the letter reads.
The Senate version of the USA FREEDOM Act has been mostly well received by privacy advocates, even though there is general admission that the bill’s failure to address surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is a critical weakness.
As the tech companies point out, there is more to do.
White House Says It “Strongly Supports” The Senate’s NSA Reform Bill – The White House issued a statement this afternoon saying that it “strongly supports” the Senate’s USA FREEDOM Act, which could see a vote this week. The bill would curtail some practices of the United States’ surveillance apparatus.
Congress, in this lame duck session, only has so many hours and days to conduct its final business. Before the session, it seemed like the FREEDOM Act was dead in the water. Senator Patrick Leahy refused to buckle, and managed, surprising many, to get the damn thing moving. A 60 vote threshold for cloture is expected to be tested tomorrow. It isn’t clear if there are enough yes votes.
The White House coming out in favor of the bill puts it on the same side as its constant critic Senator Ted Cruz, who recently made a stir by calling net neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet.” On that issue, the President and the good Senator are diametric opposites.
The White House was against passing the bill in lame duck before it was for it. Put another way, it was against it until it was politically safe to be in favor of it.
Keeping Secrets – Four decades ago, university researchers figured out the key to computer privacy, sparking a battle with the National Security Agency that continues today.
What if your research could help solve a looming national problem, but government officials thought publishing it would be tantamount to treason? A Stanford professor and his graduate students found themselves in that situation 37 years ago, when their visionary work on computer privacy issues ran afoul of the National Security Agency.
At the time, knowledge of how to encrypt and decrypt information was the domain of government; the NSA feared that making the secrets of cryptography public would severely hamper intelligence operations. But as the researchers saw it, society’s growing dependence on computers meant that the private sector would also need effective measures to safeguard information. Both sides’ concerns proved prescient; their conflict foreshadowed what would become a universal tug-of-war between privacy-conscious technologists and security-conscious government officials.
Internet Society slams online ‘UN Security Council’ plan, snubs permanent seat offer – The Internet Society has blasted efforts from some quarters to create a “UN Security Council” for the internet – which would rule over the online world.
The society (ISoc) is a non-profit organization that, among other things, runs the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which develops and publishes crucial internet’s standards.
“Based on the information that we have to date, the Internet Society cannot agree to participate in or endorse the Coordination Council for the NETmundial Initiative,” the organization’s Board said in a statement on Monday, adding: We are concerned that the way in which the NETmundial Initiative is being formed does not appear to be consistent with the Internet Society’s longstanding principles.
Senator demands answers about DOJ mobile phone surveillance planes – A reported mobile phone surveillance program at the U.S. Department of Justice raises serious privacy questions, a U.S. senator said Monday.
The DOJ program, which reportedly uses cell-tower mimicking equipment on airplanes to target the mobile phone locations of criminals, raises questions about how many “innocent” people’s mobile phone data is also swept up in the operation, said Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat. The DOJ has not confirmed the existence of the surveillance program, reported in a Wall Street Journal article on Thursday.
“Americans are rightfully disturbed by just how pervasive collection of mobile phone information is, even of innocent individuals,” Markey said in a statement. “While this data can be an important tool for law enforcement to identify and capture criminals and terrorists, we must ensure the privacy rights of Americans are protected.”
Markey on Monday disclosed a letter he sent to Attorney General Eric Holder asking for details about the program.
“We need to know what information is being collected, what authority is being used to collect it, and if and how this information is retained and stored,” said Markey, a long-time advocate of personal privacy.
A DOJ spokesman didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on Markey’s letter and the surveillance program.