Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 3, 2014

The Best Antivirus for 2014;  How to recycle your electronics and gadgets;  20 Awesome Tech Gifts for $20 or Less;  How to recycle your electronics and gadgets;  Seven outstanding gifts for the Android fan;  11 Yahoo Mail Tips for Easier Emailing;  How to download audio from any streaming video;  Firefox for Android adds Chromecast support;  Which e-retailers have good user security?  Eight social networks worth a closer look;  Google Chromecast overtakes Apple TV;  That privacy notice you’re posting to Facebook? It won’t work;  Sprint halves rate plans for AT&T and Verizon defectors;  How to limit your PC’s data usage while tethering;  Tweaking.com – Simple System Tweaker (free).

The Best Antivirus for 2014 – Which of this year’s premium antivirus tools is the best to protect your PC? We test them all to help you pick the right one.

20 Awesome Tech Gifts for $20 or Less – Whether you’re a bit short on cash, or you don’t want to make it look like you care too much (one-month relationships, this means you), there are plenty of low-cost gift options. Tiny treasures for $20 and under can totally save someone’s day, and will make most welcome gifts this holiday season.

Seven outstanding gifts for the Android fan in all of us – The holidays are upon up and time to give gifts. For those that are tech-inclined, you could always dole out for a new server (if you’ve got the money), or a sweet gaming laptop (again, if you’ve got the money). Of, if that someone you love, respect, or just want to suck up to is an Android fan or user, you could get them a mobile-centric gift they can add to their Android arsenal. Fear not, intrepid reader, I have collected a handy gift guide for you. Scroll through this list of possible items to see if there isn’t something your Android lover can use.

How to limit your PC’s data usage while tethering – When you absolutely have to have an Internet connection, tethering your laptop to your phone is sometimes your only option. It happened to me the other day after a big thunderstorm knocked out my broadband for a few hours. But even with my multi-gigabyte carrier plan, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having my PC suck down too much of my monthly mobile data allotment. If you find yourself in a similar situation here are a few tips to reduce your data usage while tethering.

How to recycle your electronics and gadgets – From TVs to computers, it’s important to recycle electronics rather than tossing them in the trash. Here’s a handy list of where and how you can get rid of unwanted gadgets.

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11 Yahoo Mail Tips for Easier Emailing – Reportedly over 100 million people use Yahoo Mail every single day—that’s second only to Google’s Gmail. That means it’s time to take a closer look at Yahoo Mail and see what tweaks and tricks are under the surface, waiting to be used. Hit the slideshow for our quick collection of the 11 best Yahoo Mail tips.

How to download audio from any streaming video – Streaming video is great, but sometimes it’s more than you need—or more than you can run, if you’re away from an Internet connection. In this article, we’ll show you how easy it is to download just the audio file from any streaming video and save it to your hard drive for offline listening.

Twitter Releases New Suite Of Anti-Harassment Tools, Promises Faster Response Times For Dealing With Abuse – Twitter this morning has released a new set of anti-harassment tools that make it easier for users to flag abuse on the network, as well as describe more specifically why they’re blocking or reporting a Twitter account. Twitter had made it fairly simple to report spam, but the new tools allow users to report a variety of troubles, including impersonations, harassment, and even self-harm or suicide. In addition, users can report the harassment on behalf of other users, even if they’re not the target themselves, which is a big change.

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That privacy notice you’re posting to Facebook? It won’t work – A new wave of Facebook users is posting a new privacy notice to their Facebook walls, hoping to protect their posts and photos from being used without their permission. Chalk up another hoax notice that doesn’t actually do anything. Users have been posting the hoax privacy post, in one form or another, since 2012 according to the Snopes.com website, which debunks urban myths.

Vimeo re-works mobile site hoping you’ll start using it – Vimeo may not be the video service you go to, but changes introduced today may change that. The streaming media service today is rolling out changes to their mobile website, aimed at getting people watching and sharing more than they ever did via Vimeo. According to Vimeo, the mobile site now does a few things well, but no longer attempts to recreate the desktop experience on your phone or tablet. They’ve even rolled in the ability to save videos for viewing later, should you not have an account or forget to sign in.

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Status Automatically Tells Your Friends What You’re Up To And If Your Phone Is Dead – Your phone is dead. Or you’re driving. Or you’re in a meeting. Your girlfriend/boyfriend/lover-person is trying to call you. You didn’t pick up, so now they’re assuming you’re either a) ignoring them or b) dead. Meet Status, an iOS/Android app built to end that.

Pizza Hut ‘Subconscious Menu’ Reads Your Mind – Can’t decide which toppings to get on your pizza? No worries. Pizza Hut wants to make it easy. The pizza chain has partnered with eye-tracking firm Tobii Technology to develop what it calls the “world’s first subconscious menu,” designed to recognize what you want, even when you don’t know yourself. In development for six months, the menu is completely controlled by your retina. In other words, you can now order pizza with your eyes.

Firefox for Android adds Chromecast support, newly polished theme – Firefox for Android can now mirror your browser to the TV thanks to new support for Google’s Chromecast. This is one of several goodies tucked away inside version 34, which is rolling out in the Google Play Store.

Eight social networks worth a closer look – If you are fed up with Facebook and tired of Twitter you might want a change of social scene. Try these up and coming social networks that are well worth a look for users and brands.

Security:

Which e-retailers have good user security? – Password management company LastPass has compared ten web retail companies based on several user security rules. LastPass comes up with a list of “naughty” and “nice” based on total scores in the comparison (see their infographic below for the cute version of the summary) but the detailed results clarify some of the distinctions. Here are the detailed results. The full LastPass table includes explanations for the individual scores, each of which is out of a possible ten.

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Critical networks in US, 15 other nations, completely owned, possibly by Iran – For more than two years, pro-Iranian hackers have penetrated some of the world’s most sensitive computer networks, including those operated by a US-based airline, auto maker, natural gas producer, defense contractor, and military installation, security researchers said. Compromised systems in the ongoing attacks include Active Directory domain controllers that store employee login credentials, servers running Microsoft Windows and Linux, routers, switches, and virtual private networks. With more than 50 victims that include airports, hospitals, telecommunications providers, chemical companies, and governments, the Iranian-backed hackers are reported to have extraordinary control over much of the world’s critical infrastructure.

Pointing up   So, where is the vaunted NSA (and the rest of the alphabet soup of lying, thieving government agencies), in all of this? Too bloody busy formulating invasive techniques designed to intimidate and control you, it seems. Government security theatre shown once more to be the BIG LIE that it is.

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Geographic distribution of victims, as determined by the global headquarters of the parent company or organization breached.

Making a hash of passwords – After so many high-profile data breaches, it’s time developers learned that storing passwords is a really bad idea. And there is a perfectly workable alternative.

Australians visiting more malicious sites: Trend Micro – Trend Micro’s third-quarter security report for 2014 has found that Australia now ranks fifth in the world for countries with the highest number of visits to malicious sites.

California will send a man to jail for posting nude pictures of his ex online – California just sent its first serious message to people who post “revenge porn” online. The state convicted a man today after he posted topless pictures of his ex-partner on her employer’s Facebook page. He will spend a year in jail and three years in probation. He will also have to stay away from his ex. \California enacted its “revenge porn” law in 2013. The law makes it illegal for anyone to post sexually explicit videos or nude pictures online without first obtaining the consent of the person included in the pictures. Originally the law only covered pictures and videos taken by someone other than the person portrayed in them, but California’s law was expanded in August to include selfies as well.

Company News:

Despite losses, Amazon CEO plans more risk-taking – Jeff Bezos says his company will continue to experiment and tells people to “stay tuned” for more about Amazon’s unpopular Fire Phone.

Google Chromecast overtakes Apple TV to become the second most-used US streaming device – Google’s Chromecast has overtaken the Apple TV to become the second most used streaming device in US households. The search giant’s streaming device now holds 20% of the market, while the Apple TV holds 17%. Despite this, the Apple TV remains in front of Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV stick, which both took up 10% of the market, combined.

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Sonos Scores $130M To Put Smart Speakers In Every Home – Suddenly, music is a business again. After years of wallowing in the post-Napster/iTunes era, streaming is beginning to take hold and everyone’s phone is now an iPod. So while Sonos has been in the smart home audio business since 2002, now’s the time to push for mainstream adoption. That’s why it makes sense that Sonos just raised $130 million, according to an SEC filing.

Google donates 1 million dollars to New York libraries for free WiFi hotspot rentals – The sizable donation will result in approximately 10,000 portable Sprint WiFi hotspots being made available for rental at Queens Library, the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. The donation Google has made will be in addition to the 500,000 dollars already raised from “other” nonprofitable causes. It is hoped that people all over the American city will benefit as a result of the rollout.

Sprint halves rate plans for AT&T and Verizon defectors – The carrier gets aggressive with an offer to slash monthly data prices for new customers switching from Sprint’s biggest rivals.

Games and Entertainment:

The Best iPhone Games You Can Play One-Handed – Far too many iPhone games take two hands to play, rendering them useless if you’re strap-hanging on a subway or bus. For those rush-hour commuters out there, here are the best iPhone games you can download and play with only a single free paw.

Steam takes on Twitch with new broadcasting feature – Valve is moving into video game streaming with a new broadcasting feature for Steam. Launching in beta today, the feature will let Steam users watch other people play games without leaving the service. It sounds like it’s primarily designed so you can watch your friends — Valve advertises it as a way to “watch friends play, with the click of a button” — but there’s also a public option that lets anyone view a game stream, which puts the service in direct competition with Twitch. You can also use it not only from the Steam client, but also from either Chrome or Safari.

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Kickstarter: Play Game Boy classic games directly on your TV in full HD – An exciting Kickstarter project is currently seeking $65,000 as its funding goal. What does it do? It will allow you to play original Game Boy Classic games directly on your TV in full HD.

Assassin’s Creed: Victory – 2015’s AC heads to London – Victorian Era London has been leaked as the next big location for Ubisoft’s yearly Assassin’s Creed release. This game will be sent out to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and is currently code-named – or perhaps named in the end – Assassin’s Creed Victory. Assassin’s Creed Unity was originally code-named Unity, so we could very well see the same sort of situation take hold here. Screenshots of this game have leaked alongside the name and location, showing how far along this game is in development – or at least in presentation.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Windows 10 could prompt upgrades of 600M aging PCs – Millions of PCs are aging, and those who have resisted Windows 8 will likely upgrade to computers with Windows 10. The initial reception to a test version of Windows 10 has been positive, as it resolves many usability issues affecting Windows 8. There are about 600 million PCs that are four years or older, and those systems are ripe for upgrades, said Renee James, president at Intel, at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference on Tuesday.

Data caps, limited competition a recipe for trouble in home Internet service – The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns in a new report that Internet service providers could use data caps to impose higher prices on consumers, especially in markets where ISPs face little competition. But the GAO’s recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission are already meeting resistance. ISPs have argued that consumers could benefit from caps or “usage-based pricing,” because consumers who use small amounts of data would pay less than customers who use a lot more, similar to how the cellular market works. But there isn’t enough competition in all cities or towns to prevent ISPs from abusing data caps, the GAO wrote.

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Modern family.

MULTI elevator travels up, down, and sideways with no cables – All around the world elevators are a very common way of moving people up and down in taller buildings. Elevators are a convenience for many of us and a requirement for the handicapped to move around buildings. A German firm called ThyssenKrupp has an idea for a new elevator that can not only travel up and down, but horizontally as well.

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The Long History of Severed Heads – As far as objects go, nothing beats the decapitated human head. It has amazing nooks and crannies where sensory information is collected. The insides are full of mysterious functions we’re still not quite sure what to make of. Frances Larson’s fascinating new book, Severed, tries to reconcile these conflicting attributes by detailing the long history of the decapitated head as object. Larson takes us through the famed shrunken heads of the Amazon, the ghastly trophies of World War II, all things guillotine, the phrenology craze, and even Ted Williams’s frozen noggin. To find out more, I gave her a call and we talked about all sorts of heady things.

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Something to think about:

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”

–      Eddie Cantor (1892 – 1964)

Today’s Free Downloads:

Tweaking.com – Simple System Tweaker – Tweaking.com – Simple System Tweaker is designed to bring only the safest tweaks to your system to increase speed and stability.

Windows is setup in a default configuration. By fine tuning your Windows configuration you can increase the speed and snappiness of the operating system. These tweaks are the ones that are safe and shown to cause no side effects with any programs. Each tweak only gives a small performance boost. But they all add up, so the more tweaks you do the more performance you get.

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Detekt 1.8 – Detekt is a free tool that scans your Windows computer for traces of FinFisher and Hacking Team RCS, commercial surveillance spyware that has been identified to be also used to target and monitor human rights defenders and journalists around the world.

It isn’t just for professionals – if you suspect you are a target of unlawful surveillance, Detekt will provide a simple means to easily test your computers for known spyware.

When the execution is completed, the tool will present the outcome of the scan and will clearly indicate whether an infection was found.

The tool also generates a log file with additional details that can be useful for technical experts to further investigate.

Limitations: It is important to underline that if Detekt does not find trace of spyware on a computer, it does not necessarily mean that none is present. Some spyware will likely be updated in response to the release of Detekt in order to avoid detection.

Windows 8.1 64-bit is not supported.

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2 Comments

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

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 3, 2014

  1. The Best Antivirus isn’t on the list. They all cost money and I can get protection that’s equal or better than the paid products listed by simply using the Free version of Avast 2015. Avast free has now protected my systems and those at the Senior Center I frequent for the past 11 years.
    Stay safe, be free and enjoy the holidays.