Monthly Archives: December 2014

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 10, 2014

PC Infected? Which Antivirus Does the Best Cleanup?  Dashlane, LastPass Launch Automatic Password Changers;  How to search for old Facebook posts;  Super-Easy Way To Beat Twitter’s 140 Character Limit; Most Popular Videos on YouTube in 2014;  YouTube Revamps Apple TV App;  Best Linux desktop of 2014: Linux Mint 17.1;  Two stealthy Linux malware samples uncovered;  Electronic Arts offers SimCity 2000 Special Edition for free;  Adobe fixes Flash zero day;  These Are the Best Facebook Games of 2014;  A Laymen’s Guide to the Finance Industry’s Cryptic Jargon;  Microsoft tells US: The world’s servers are not yours for the taking;  The 8 biggest lies the CIA told about torture;  USBFlashCopy (free).

PC Infected? Which Antivirus Does the Best Cleanup? – It’s essential that your antivirus utility detects all kinds of malicious software, including very new zero-day threats. Indeed, tons of independent lab tests specifically measure how well antivirus products detect viruses and other malware. However, it’s just as important that your antivirus manages to correctly remove the malware it does detect. A new report from AV-Comparatives focuses specifically on the malware-removal abilities of 17 popular antivirus tools.

Dashlane, LastPass Launch Automatic Password Changers – It seems like there are now daily reports of security breaches, from banks to retailers. And every time one of these hacks are reported, we are urged to change our passwords. But as our digital footprints expand, changing codes on every single site we use can be a labor-intensive process. New, separate services from password managers LastPass and Dashlane aim to simplify the task of changing those passwords.

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Here’s a Super-Easy Way To Beat Twitter’s 140 Character Limit – Twitter’s 140-character limit for tweets is rooted in its origin as a text-based service: SMS messages have a 160-character limit, so tweets were limited to 140 characters, leaving 20 for users’ handles. But it’s been years since most of us used text messages as our primary means of tweeting. Instead, it’s all about desktop or mobile apps. And yet that 140-character limit hangs around, taunting us. Well, here’s a crafty way to break that limit

How to search for old Facebook posts – A new feature is rolling out now, enabling users to search for specific posts, photos or videos on Facebook.

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These Were the Most Popular Videos on YouTube in 2014 – A cute puppy playing with a Clydesdale, an overly flexible iPhone 6 Plus and a deranged robotic baby were among the videos we watched most on YouTube this year. The Google-owned website has released its annual list of the most popular videos of the year, and they cover a wide range of topics. At the top of the charts is the much-feared Mutant Spider Dog, a video in which a Polish prankster dressed his dog up as a giant tarantula and terrified unsuspecting passerby.

Home networking explained, Part 1: Here’s the URL for you – As the guy who reviews networking products, I generally receive a couple of emails a day from readers, and most of them, in one way or another, are asking about the basics of networking (as in computer-to-computer; I am not talking about social media). Instead of saying the same thing over and over in individual messages, I’ll talk about the basics of home-networking, in layman’s terms, in this series.

Hands-on with the Dropbox Mobile app’s new managing, editing, and syncing features – The vastly improved mobile app lets you do almost everything the desktop app can do. Microsoft Office integration is the biggest highlight.

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Dropbox Carousel deletes phone photos once they hit the cloud – The next generation of cloud storage from Dropbox has been revealed – deleting your phone-stored photos after they’ve been uploaded to their webspace. There are two ways to look at this. One is that you’re freeing up space on your smartphone by allowing Dropbox to hold them for you using Dropbox Carousel. The other is that you’re trusting Dropbox to have a perfect copy of your files before deleting them from your phone, also trusting that they’re only deleting said photos after the upload is complete.

Free up space on your hard drive using your cloud storage’s selective sync option – This tip is not for the privacy cautious, but if you need to make space on your hard drive try offloading infrequently used files to the cloud.

If You’re Running Windows 10 You May Have To Reinstall Office – Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul, one of the most prominent members of the Windows 10 team, announced today that a security update to the current build of the operating system will not install if a user has Office already installed. Instead, users of build 9879 of Windows 10, if they want to install the security fix, may have to uninstall Office, and later reinstall it.

YouTube Revamps Apple TV App – With the update, you can now watch every single video on YouTube from your Apple TV, meaning there will no longer be any gaps in the video library. On the downside, however, you’ll also have to deal with ads on the platform for the first time, according to Re/code. There’s also a new predictive search feature, which should make it easier to find specific videos you ant. Besides that, you can also now subscribe to your favorite channels from the app.

VLC’s Android media player app finally exits beta and hits the Play Store – VLC has long been the go-to media player on PCs with its native support for just about any audio or video format, and now it’s finally hitting Android in stable form. If you’re running a newer tablet your hardware should be able to handle the update just fine, enabling you to watch and listen to all your music, movies, and network streams with minimal hassle. VLC for Android also includes a file browser, so you can easily navigate and find anything saved on your device.

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Best Linux desktop of 2014: Linux Mint 17.1 – Summary: The new version of Mint may be the best Linux desktop ever. Heck, it may be the best desktop operating system ever, period.

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Netflix testing button that sends reminder tweets – With all the new content Netflix is adding and has planned for the coming months, keeping track of what’s new and shows you’ve been watching might be difficult. Potentially arriving in the future to help with that is a new feature Netflix is testing that leverages Twitter, something many of us check daily — a “Tweet Me a Reminder” button, which does exactly what it suggests. The reminder button seems to have first surfaced via Twitter user Rich Greenfield, who posted the screenshot below showing the feature.

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The Pirate Bay goes offline after police raid server room – Infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay was taken offline on Tuesday after a raid by Swedish police. Officers investigating the decade-old file-sharing portal’s alleged copyright infringements targeted a server room in Stockholm, seizing “several servers and computers,” according to veteran file-sharing case prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad. The site only reappeared hours later, at a new address hosted in Costa Rica, and with regular 500 internal server error codes. At present, searching or browsing for torrents on the new site is impossible.

Google’s Chromecast coming to India – The launch of the Internet giant’s streaming device is the latest example of Google’s push into the second most populous country in the world.

Security:

Patch Tuesday updates aim for Exchange and Explorer flaws – Overall, Microsoft has issued seven security bulletins for December, including three that are critical, covering security vulnerabilities found in Windows (both the server and desktop editions), Office, Exchange Server, SharePoint Server and Internet Explorer.

Adobe fixes Flash zero day, plus bugs in Acrobat, Reader and ColdFusion – The Acrobat updates are regularly-scheduled but the Flash and ColdFusion updates are a surprise. One Flash vulnerability is being exploited in the wild.

Hackers Reportedly Warn Sony Pictures Not to Release The Interview – An open letter from hackers who claim to have infiltrated Sony Pictures Entertainment warned studio executives not to release The Interview, a comedy that imagines a U.S. assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Two stealthy Linux malware samples uncovered, following in Windows variants’ tracks – Security researchers have uncovered two Linux variants of a complex piece of Windows malware, which is known to have previously targeted embassies, the military, and pharmaceutical companies. The new Linux malware follows the discovery of a family of Windows malware known as Turla, which researchers at Kaspersky and Symantec uncovered earlier this year. The malware is thought to be government-created and originating from Russia.

Company News:

Qualcomm laying off about 600 employees globally – Qualcomm, the world’s largest maker of computer chips for mobile devices, is laying off roughly 600 employees worldwide, as it plans to refocus its business into new areas, a company spokesperson confirmed to CNET on Tuesday. The layoffs come amid a difficult stretch of regulatory investigations into the company’s business practices and Qualcomm’s softer-than-expected fiscal outlook for 2015.

Mom and daughter SUE Comcast for ‘smuggling’ public Wi-Fi hotspot into their home – Comcast-supplied routers broadcast an encrypted, private wireless network for people at home, plus a non-encrypted network called XfinityWiFi that can be used by nearby subscribers. However, Toyer Grear, 39, and daughter Joycelyn Harris – who live together in Alameda County, California – say they never gave Comcast permission to run a public network from their home cable connection. Grear – a paralegal – and her daughter claim the Xfinity hotspot is an unauthorized intrusion into their private home, places a “vast” burden on electricity bills, opens them up to attacks by hackers, and “degrades” their bandwidth.

California cities sue Uber for misleading customers about driver background checks – Los Angeles and San Francisco are suing ride-sharing startup Uber for making misleading statements and breaking California law, the latest in a series of setbacks for the company. In a statement, the two cities’ district attorneys say that Uber misled passengers about the effectiveness of its background checks, misrepresented fees for safety checks and airport tolls, operated in airports without permission, and did not get state approval for the system it used to calculate pricing.

Judge Shuts Down Uber In Spain, Pending Taxi Association Court Action – We might be at the point of losing count of the number of places Uber is being shut down at this point. Now, after a series of protests by taxi associations in Spain, a Madrid judge has ordered ride-sharing app Uber to cease all activities as of today. The judge accepted the ‘cautionary measures’ put forward by the Madrid Taxi Association, pending a future court case the organisation wants to file against Uber.

Supreme Court says Amazon doesn’t have to pay workers to wait in security lines – Amazon warehouse workers have not been happy for years now with their need to stand in line waiting for a security check. The checks are necessary to ensure no products are being stolen, but with the amount of staff and thoroughness of the checks, it is claimed they take up to 25 minutes, all of which is unpaid. So Amazon warehouse staff started a lawsuit, and today they lost. The Supreme Court has ruled that security screenings fall under the same category as a number of other tasks workers carry out without being compensated.

Apple to open new tech center in Japan – Apple will open a technology development center just outside of Tokyo, a move that will bring it closer to parts suppliers. “We’re excited to expand our operations in Japan with a new Technical Development Center in Yokohama which will create dozens of new jobs,” Apple spokesman Takashi Takebayashi said via email. He wouldn’t say why Apple is building the facility but stressed it is not an R&D center.

Games and Entertainment:

Uncharted 4 gameplay shown for first time, looks off the charts – At Sony’s PlayStation Experience in Las Vegas, Naughty Dog showed off nearly 16 minutes of gameplay footage. Unlike the initial teaser where all we really see is Drake’s now-older, beat-up face in a pre-rendered scene, we get to see Nathan in action, and in-engine.

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Electronic Arts offers SimCity 2000 Special Edition for free – Long before Electronic Arts got its hands on the SimCity franchise, there was the inaccurately named SimCity 2000. This iconic title debuted on MacOS in 1994, and continued being quite popular all the way through the actual year 2000 on PC, DOS, and a variety of game consoles. Now you can grab this piece of gaming history on PC for free. EA is graciously giving SimCity 2000: Special Edition away. They say there’s no catch, but there is: you have to use EA’s Origin platform to play it.

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The Brilliant and Depressing Reality of ‘Black Mirror’ – A few days ago, the U.K. import Black Mirror arrived on Netflix. In typical “less is more” fashion, it’s only six episodes over two seasons, and I watched them all. While Black Mirror is technically science fiction, many of the show’s storylines feels dangerously close to becoming reality in the not-too-distant future.

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These Are the Best Facebook Games of 2014 – Facebook is out with its annual roundup of the year’s top Facebook games, with one game taking the ultimate crown.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Trustev Uses Fraud Detection Software To Crack Down On Internet Trolls – While this first anti-trolling release is intended for major news sites (it’s controlled via an analytics-like web app), it’s possible for other platforms and publishers to integrate the system as well. The possibility of wider deployment has put trolls on full alert: in the GamerGate community on 8chan (the site GamerGate moved to after 4chan decided they were too awful and permanently banned the topic), there’s currently a discussion thread discussing how to argue against Trustev’s tool on censorship grounds.

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Watch ISIS Surveillance Drones Film the Battlefields of Aleppo – A video uploaded today to an ISIS-linked YouTube account shows what appears to be footage captured by aerial drone. The four-minute clip features peaceful images of an annihilated Aleppo, as the drone hovers hundreds of feet in the air, far from the chaos, cut with visceral battle footage of fighters running in between the bombed out streets below.

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Everyone should learn to drive in a simulator – Many new drivers are learning the same way they did decades ago, but there’s a better way.

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This is the most hilarious local TV weather report we’ve ever seen – What do you do when you’re a local weather reporter and the computer that animates the forecast for the green screen freezes up? Yes, that’s right: you get help for your friends. Other than some grumbling, the first 80 seconds or so is actually pretty normal. At that point, the audience is introduced to local news hijinks — silly but nothing too out of the ordinary. It isn’t until 2:15 that we reach the zenith of local news surrealism. It’s better than 1,000 holographic Wolf Blitzers.

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CoolChip Technologies Is Redesigning The Humble Computer Fan – If there’s one part of a PC that doesn’t get enough love, it’s the fan. These small plastic spinning pieces cost almost nothing and keep hundreds or thousands of dollars of advanced technology from cooking itself. For many, these fans are becoming increasingly unnecessary. Chips built for phones, tablets and even some laptops are designed to use small enough amounts of power than they can dissipate heat without blowing a bunch of air all over everything. But for users who demand power — gamers, video editors and the like — fans are still a reality that has to be dealt with every day.

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A Laymen’s Guide to the Finance Industry’s Cryptic Jargon – Wall Street can therefore seem like a very private club. But in fact anyone can participate; the barriers to entry are as much linguistic as they are financial. With that in mind, here’s a primer on the A to Z of the financial multiverse.

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Something to think about:

“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”

–        Mark Twain

Today’s Free Downloads:

USBFlashCopy – USBFlashCopy is a small Windows utility to back up your flash drives and storage cards on the fly. It runs in the background and copies files from inserted media to a safe location on your hard drive.

Features:

Nothing to install: Simply download and run. No installation, no registry entries.

Small: USBFlashCopy is a really small utility taking no more than 300KB of space, it doesn’t require additional libraries, frameworks or anything else to download and install.

Portable: Run USBFlashCopy from any folder or drive.

Simple and clever: USBFlashCopy automatically detects when you insert a media and copies its content to a safe location. By default, it creates a sub-folder for each removable media in “My DocumentsRemovable Media Backups”.

Supports Profiles: Create profiles with separate settings for different flash sticks or storage cards. You can change default settings for new or rarely used medias.

Copies newer files only: USBFlashCopy copies only newer or updated files, you can optionally keep old versions of the files.

Move your settings: USBFlashCopy keeps its settings in an INI file, automatically created in the folder it is running from. Copy USBFlashCopy.ini along with executable to keep your settings.

For experienced users USBFlashCopy can run completely invisible. No icons, no progress bars, no prompts, it just does the job. This feature requires purchasing a key.

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JetAudio – JetAudio is integrated multimedia software made up of a single compact rack. Not only does it play various music and video files, it also has features such as CD burning, recording, and conversion to other file formats.

You can create your own Internet broadcast by using JetCast, provided with JetAudio, and you can play all major file formats, including WAV, MP3, MP3Pro, OGG, WMA, MPEG, AVI, WMV, MIDI, RM, and video and audio CD tracks.

Supports All Major File Formats

Audio CD burning

Recording

Tag Editing including multiple file tag editing

Multi-channel sound ouput

Crossfade

Skin

Media Center window with Device Manager

Subtitles

Internet CD Database

Convenient album management & Playlist

Utilities

Conversion

Audio CD Ripping

Internet Broadcasting

Various sound effects

Plus many more features!

Be careful that you choose the right download button!

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Display Driver Uninstaller – Display Driver Uninstaller is a graphics driver removal tool that helps remove all remnants of AMD, NVIDIA and Intel graphics card drivers including old registry keys, files, folders and driver stores.

Intel, AMD and Nivdia drivers can normally be uninstalled with the Windows Uninstall Programs window. However, often the standard uninstall fails or does not completely delete the old video card drivers. This can cause issues installing new / updated drivers.

After running Display Driver Uninstaller the program will make it as if you are about to install a new video driver on a fresh, clean install of Windows.

Display Driver Uninstaller makes many system changes and the author has wisely built in a function to help you remember to create a new system restore point before running the cleaner so you can revert your system if have problems. However, make sure you familiarize yourself with how to use system restore prior.

So if you having issues installing a new driver or uninstalling an old one, Display Driver Uninstaller may do the trick for you.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Microsoft tells US: The world’s servers are not yours for the taking – Microsoft’s fight against the US position that it may search its overseas servers with a valid US warrant is getting nasty.

Microsoft, which is fighting a US warrant that it hand over e-mail to the US from its Ireland servers, wants the Obama administration to ponder a scenario where the “shoe is on the other foot.”

“Imagine this scenario. Officers of the local Stadtpolizei investigating a suspected leak to the press descend on Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany,” Microsoft said. “They serve a warrant to seize a bundle of private letters that a New York Times reporter is storing in a safe deposit box at a Deutsche Bank USA branch in Manhattan. The bank complies by ordering the New York branch manager to open the reporter’s box with a master key, rummage through it, and fax the private letters to the Stadtpolizei.”

In a Monday legal filing with the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, Microsoft added that the US government would be outraged.

“This case presents a digital version of the same scenario, but the shoe is on the other foot,” the Redmond, Washington-based company said in its opening brief in a closely watched appeal.

The appeal is of a July court decision demanding that Microsoft hand over e-mail stored on an overseas server as part of a US drug trafficking investigation. Microsoft, which often stores e-mail on servers closest to the account holder, said the e-mail is protected by “Irish and European privacy laws.”

The 8 biggest lies the CIA told about torture – The newly released Senate report has already drawn attention for its harrowing view of the details of US torture, but it also comes at the end of a long and frightening effort to keep those details secret. As the new report makes clear, CIA officials lied to Congress over and over in defense of the program, whether it was to make torture seem more effective, less brutal, or more legally sanctioned than it really was, making it impossible for the legislature to provide effective oversight.

Here are the eight biggest lies, noted with frustration over and over again throughout the report. It’s an incomplete list, but an important one to keep in mind if there’s ever going to be a meaningful check on the power of US intelligence agencies.

The man who did the most to fight CIA torture is still in prison – Today, John Kiriakou is in a federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, serving two and a half years for disclosing classified information — confirming the name of a CIA agent to a New York Times reporter. Facing 30 years, he took a plea deal for 30 months. He has five children, and it’s been difficult to see them while he’s been inside. He’s scheduled to move to house arrest in February, before his sentence finishes up in May.

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Already, it seems unlikely that anyone of the interrogators revealed today will have to face the same troubles. The same Attorney General that put Kiriakou in jail has already declined to prosecute any of his colleagues. The international courts have called for prosecutions, but it’s unlikely they’ll come to anything. It seems absurd to say that what Kiriakou did was more criminal than what the interrogators did, but politics has never shied away from the absurd.

It’s worth remembering Kiriakou not as a call for retribution or even justice, but just to make sense of what happened. Why were we so committed to useless atrocities? Why did it take six years to give up practices that had been outlawed for decades? Why was it so hard to stop doing the wrong thing? The sad answer is that when someone did the right thing, we gave them hell for it.

DOJ: Companies need to trust gov’t on cybersecurity – The U.S. fight against cybercrime would be more effective if companies put more trust in the country’s law enforcement agencies, a top U.S. Department of Justice official said.

The DOJ and private companies already cooperate on many cybercrime investigations, but more trust is still needed, said Leslie Caldwell[cq], assistant attorney general with the DOJ’s Criminal Division.

“There’s a tendency among the public, including private-sector technology companies, to a little bit conflate what the Criminal Division does with what other government agencies might do,” Caldwell said Tuesday during a forum on cybersecurity in Washington, D.C.

Revelations over the past year and a half of U.S. National Security Agency surveillance have caused “an erosion of trust and a kind of a demonization” of the government, she said. Investigations by the DOJ’s Criminal Division require search warrants and other court supervision, Caldwell added.

“I would like to see a little more feeling of trust” from private companies, she said, when asked how companies can help with cybersecurity investigations.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 9, 2014

40 Reasons Why You DON’T Need An Antivirus;   How and why to set up and use a password manager;  11 Google Tricks That Will Change the Way You Search;  Report: Android Security Apps Improving;  Translate text into a different language as you type;  Why you should take another look at Google Keep;  Google offers $20 Play Store credit with Chromecast;  Beware this online shopping scam: Fake order confirmations;  Fedora 21: Worth the wait;  Hackers tell Sony to halt the release of The Interview;  Your Christmas Gaming Guide [Updated];  How to make the most money from old gadgets;  Corporate Abuse of Our Data;  Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast: Why not both?  Samsung SSD Magician.

How and why to set up and use a password manager – A password manager stores the passwords for your various online accounts and profiles and saves you from having to remember and enter each one each time you visit a password-protected site. Instead, your passwords are encrypted and held by your password manager, which you then protect with a master password. With a password manager, you can create strong passwords for all of your accounts and keep all of those passwords saved behind a stronger master password, leaving you to remember but a single password. Which password manager you choose to use is less important than actually choosing one and then using it.

11 Google Tricks That Will Change the Way You Search – Google Search’s learning curve is an odd one. You use it every day, but still all you know is how to search. But the search engine has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Here’s an overview of some of the most useful Google search tricks, from basic tips to new features just recently released.

Report: Android Security Apps Improving – The latest Android antivirus report from AV-Test comes with good news; almost half of the products earned a perfect score. While there aren’t nearly as many malicious applications aimed at Android devices as there are targeting Windows, that’s no reason to be complacent. If one of those malware apps hits your phone, you’ve got trouble whether it’s common or not. AV-Test Institute rated 31 Android security applications and found that for the most part they’re even more effective than when last tested.

Tablets growing at a faster rate than that of any other connected device, claims NPD –  Tablet ownership among US consumers is on the rise, and growing at a faster rate than that of any other connected device, claims The NPD Group Connected Intelligence, Connected Home Report. The report gives us a general idea of what people are doing with their tablet. For example, 55 percent of tablet users report leveraging a video feature of their device, which means that they used it for video calling or taking, posting, and uploading videos, as well as watching video from a streaming service or app from a TV channel or pay TV provider. Video usage is even more prolific among younger consumers, with 67 percent of tablet users aged 18-34 use these video features compared to 53 percent of 35-54 year olds, and 45 percent of users age 55 and older.

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Microsoft discounts its subscription services bundle to just $149 – Microsoft only announced its special “Work & Play Bundle” of subscription services last month, but the company is already discounting it in time for the holidays. The Work & Play Bundle, which includes Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass, and Skype Unlimited World subscriptions, is now just $149 for the year. Separately, the subscriptions would cost around $450 annually, so It’s more than 65 percent in savings for services that provide access to the full Office suite, unlimited OneDrive storage, Xbox Live gaming, music streaming without ads, and unlimited Skype calls.

Google Translate to decipher words in images, better recognize speech, says report – International travel could get much easier if all you have to do is point your phone at a menu, or speak into it for an instant translation. That’s the magic promised in a leaked build of Google Translate that’s apparently in the works. The new version of Google’s translation app adds features courtesy of Google’s acquisition of Word Lens, which already has much of this functionality in place. You can grab the app now to get an idea of what the new image translation in Google Translate will be like.

Translate text into a different language as you type – There are some amazing language-translation apps, everything from Google Translate to Word Lens. But few of them integrate with iOS proper. Translate Keyboard Pro ($1.99) does. It takes advantage of iOS 8’s support for third-party keyboards, effectively translating text from 30 source languages into as many as 80 other languages as you type. But using it can be a little confusing at first. Here’s how to get started:

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Google offers $20 Play Store credit with Chromecast – Google wants the Chromecast to be your one and only streaming stick this holiday season. The company recently launched yet another limited time offer to sweeten the deal for prospective Chromecast buyers. From now until December 21, anyone who picks up a Chromecast from Google Play or participating retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy will get a $20 credit for Google Play Movies. That’s on top of the two other deals you can get if you buy your Chromecast from Google Play: two free months of free Hulu Plus and three months free of Google Play Music All Access.

Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast: Why not both? – The comparison is certainly inviting. Both streaming media devices fit in the palm of your hand and plug directly into your TV’s HDMI socket. The pricing is nearly the same as well, at $39 for the Fire TV Stick and $35 for Chromecast. But beyond those skin-deep similarities, Chromecast and the Fire TV Stick couldn’t be more different. You could choose one or the other, but owning both isn’t a crazy idea.

Kakao Talk adds encrypted ‘secret chat’ feature amid privacy worries – Chatting on Kakao Talk will become more secure with a new hidden chat feature that has end-to-end encryption for all messages. Secret Chat is a chat room that requires messages to be read with a decryption key stored in a user’s mobile device, Daum Kakao, the South Korea-based operator of the service, said in a release. That means the messages cannot be intercepted by outsiders, even if they’re going through servers, it said.

Why you should take another look at Google Keep, the best free organizational tool on Android – Google has been plugging away at strengthening its capabilities, making it a real contender for your home screen in a crowded field of productivity apps. It’s great not only for taking notes, but also saving articles and images, sharing lists, and setting reminders. It doesn’t have the same litany of features as software like Evernote, but that’s partly the point: There is great power in its simplicity.

Facebook Brings Graph Search To Mobile And Lets You Find Feed Posts By Keyword – Facebook is finally getting serious about search. Today it’s challenging Google for finding answers and Twitter for checking real-time chatter with the launch of keyword search. Two years after debuting semantic “My friends who…” search for people, places, and photos on the web, Graph Search is rolling out on iOS in the US along with a new keyword search option for dredging up old News Feed posts by friends.

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YouTube shows video creators what copyright restrictions their audio will face – With the new feature in Audio Library, video creators can see whether an audio track will affect playability in certain markets (YouTube will prevent videos containing copyright for certain tracks from being played in, say, Europe or Canada). Creators can also discover whether a track can be monetized (that is, whether a copyright holder will let a video creator use the copyrighted audio in exchange for a cut of the profit from pre-roll ads that run before the video).

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Google’s Android Studio now available, ready for your app creations – Android now has an official IDE. Android Studio has come out of beta today, and provides the first true cross-platform IDE for Developers who can’t get enough Javascript. Announced way back at Google I/O 2013, Android Studio is the first official IDE from Google, and could end up serving as a watershed moment in Android development history. It’s also likely to get some add-ons in the near future, which could make it much easier to work with for novices and experienced developers alike. With Android Studio, Google has done the hard work of making sure you can develop for any one of their Android platforms. Android Wear, Android Auto, Android Tv, and Google Glass are all included. Oh, yeah, regular Android, too.

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Windows 10: Microsoft plans to let users upgrade from Preview to RTM builds – The full launch of Windows 10 is still around 6-9 months away, but some users are already looking ahead to what the launch will mean for them. In particular, some have been wondering whether or not those enrolled in the company’s Windows Insider program – which gives them access to pre-release builds of the new OS – will be able to simply upgrade to the full and final version when it’s released. There’s good news on that front – although it does come with one important caveat.

Fedora 21: Worth the wait – After a full year of development, Fedora 21 is due for release on 9 December. I have installed Release Candidate 5 (RC5), which was declared ready for release and so should be the final released version. I actually have two consecutive posts lined up for this release: first, this one which will cover the five different desktops on five different laptops; and then a second one which will focus on Anaconda, the Fedora installer, which has been improved again, and is better than ever with this release.

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Fedora 21 Workstation (Gnome 3)

With Comcast’s Ethernet @Home, your holiday break could be even more like work – Want to work from home? Great. On your corporate network? So that your employer can monitor you 24/7? Comcast can help.

10 things end business users should ask when making tech purchases – More and more business users are taking on the role of IT decision maker — but they may not know what they should ask vendors. If you find yourself in this boat, keep these 10 critical issues in mind..

Seagate offers low-cost 8TB hard drives – Got a lot of data? Finding your PC a little cramped when it comes to free space? Would a Seagate 8TB hard drive help? Sold by Seagate under the “Archive Label” brand and aimed at those looking for a cost-effective storage solution, the drive retails for around $270, which is far more palatable than the $1,000 or so that 8TB drive from HGST are currently going for. That works out at around $0.033 per gigabyte.

Samsung SSD 850 Evo brings 3D V-NAND tech to consumer drives – Long promised, the day when 3D V-NAND would reach consumer SSDs has finally arrived with the launch of Samsung’s SSD 850 Evo family. The new technology promises enhanced endurance and lower costs, the latter of which is borne out by the competitive price of the new drives. While not dirt cheap, the 850 Evo’s starting price of $100 for a 120GB version is certainly not much more than traditional SSDs. Also in the series are 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB flavors for $150, $270, and $500, respectively.

Security:

40 Reasons Why You DON’T Need An Antivirus – There is no way around it: viruses do exist, trojans do infiltrate your PC, and most users will act to guard against them. With software, but also with sensible behavior online. Malware relies partly on users doing the hard work for them. Most of the time you know when you are straying into the murkier waters of the internet. Do you ever think that your good behavior is enough to protect you from attacks, and that antivirus software is not necessary? You may be right. Here are 40 reasons why you don’t need an antivirus.

Beware this online shopping scam: Fake order confirmations – Brian Krebs, a respected authority on security and all-things-cybercrime, wrote a cautionary post earlier this week. “If you receive an email this holiday season asking you to ‘confirm’ an online e-commerce order or package shipment, please resist the urge to click the included link or attachment: Malware purveyors and spammers are blasting these missives by the millions each day in a bid to trick people into giving up control over their computers and identities.” If you do receive a message about a problem with an order or shipment, don’t click any links or open any files. If it appears legitimate, open a new browser window and visit the vendor’s website yourself to check on order status, or just pick up the phone to clarify any potential issues without risking compromising your PC.

Hackers tell Sony to halt the release of The Interview – A new message has been posted on GitHub, purporting to be from the Sony hackers and offering a fresh batch of sensitive corporate data. The message threatens further consequences if the studio continues with its release of “the movie of terrorism,” believed to refer to The Interview, an upcoming comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It’s the most explicit reference to the film that the attackers have made so far, although many had previously linked the attacks to North Korean retaliation for the film’s release.

Company News:

Blackphone launches app store for personal security and privacy – Together with the launch of updated custom Android software PrivatOS, the handset maker has revealed a new store dedicated to security and privacy applications.

BlackBerry, NantHealth put genome browser on Passport – The collaboration, first in what the companies hope will be a series of offerings, highlights how BlackBerry is going after regulated verticals such as healthcare.

Amazon tipped to be testing bike delivery in NYC – Latest among Amazon’s new delivery projects is a bike delivery service being tested in New York City. The program is called Amazon Prime Now, according to sources that spoke to the Wall Street Journal, and it aims to provide customers with their orders within an hour of placing them. This will give the company an edge on competing online retailers, and will give consumers the immediacy that results from shopping at brick-and-mortar shops.

Oracle asks Supreme Court to reject Android copyright case – Oracle is trying to make sure its billion-dollar copyright dispute with Google over the Android OS doesn’t make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. The companies have been battling for years over whether Google infringed Oracle’s copyright when it lifted programming interfaces from Java for use in its Android mobile OS. There’s a lot of money at stake, with Oracle seeking at least $1 billion for the alleged infringement. Some programmers are also watching the case, believing the outcome will affect their freedom to use other software APIs (application programming interfaces).

Alibaba’s Alipay Now Sees Over Half Of Its Transactions In China From Mobile Devices – China is in the midst of a mobile commerce boom, according to a new report from Alipay, the Alibaba-affiliated payments service that handles more than 80 million transactions per day. The company‘s latest report found that 54 percent of the number of transactions on its PayPal-like service during the first ten months of 2014 were from mobile devices. That’s a huge increase on last year, during which mobile accounted for just 22 percent of all payments.

Portland sues Uber over unapproved launch – This past Friday, Uber announced its arrival in Portland, OR, with the ridesharing service sending out drivers to pick up riders without city approval. Portland officials immediately denounced the move, threatening to go after drivers and to “throw the book at” Uber. That didn’t deter the service, however, which encouraged its drivers to start working in the city despite the risks. Merely one weekend later, Portland has filed a lawsuit against Uber.

Games and Entertainment:

Mario Maker lets you change the game on the fly – Almost every game developer, at one point in their early lives, tried recreating the classic Mario game in one form or another. Last June, Nintendo made a surprise move by revealing Mario Maker, a Wii U exclusive that actually let you do exactly that, no programming required. At the Game Awards over the weekend, Nintendo stepped it up a notch and wowed would be game designers and gamers alike with a new trailer that shows the full power of Mario Maker’s interface, letting you change Mario’s world even as you play.

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General George Patton’s rights holders go to war with video game maker – US Army Gen. George S. Patton once said that “the object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” Decades later, the rights holder to the Patton namesake is launching another war, this one against California video game maker Maximum Family Games. The publisher produced a strategy game called History Legends of War: Patton, and it now has until Friday to answer a federal infringement lawsuit from CMG Worldwide, which owns the rights to the former World War II legend. It’s the third lawsuit of its type lodged this year. Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega sued the publisher of Call of Duty: Black Ops II over his likeness being used without permission in that game. And celebrity Lindsay Lohan sued Rockstar, the maker of Grand Theft Auto V, alleging that elements of the game tread too close to her real life.

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A “let’s play” video from Outside Xbox of History Legends of War: Patton.

The Importance of Aimlessness in Gaming – One of the best ways to play Far Cry 4 is blindly. Don’t look at the map—either on the menu screen or the miniature version that sits at the screen’s bottom left. Just open the door, head on out and keep walking. You’ll soon enough find something to occupy your time: a skirmish between forces you’re loyal to and recruits from the royal army; a rampant rhinoceros wrecking a convoy; a glittering lake protecting its sunken secrets with a pair of all-teeth demon fish. Or, y’know what’s just as fun? Simply looking around. Or hanging out with elephants, or clambering over a hill just to see what’s on the other side (it’s usually something that wants to kill you).

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The procedurally generated space exploration game No Man’s Sky looks amazing – UK-based Hello Games released another trailer for its highly-anticipated upcoming PC and PS4 title, No Man’s Sky. The game, slated for a 2015 release, is a procedurally generated space exploration game with stunning visuals. In other words, players will be able to explore planets and solar systems that are randomly generated. The results continue to look promising; here’s a closer look.

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Your Christmas Gaming Guide [Updated] – We have put together a large guide to gaming gifts for Christmas. So if you are wondering what to buy a gamer for Christmas, look no further. We’ve covered the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the PC.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Grumpy Cat has made over $95 million in two years – Bad news, Internet. A smallish cat with a permanent grimace has earned more money in two years than you’re likely to see in your entire lifetime. According to her owner, Grumpy Cat has raked in $95 million in just two years. Nowadays, that money is coming from numerous sources. The original YouTube video posted in September of 2012 is still going strong; it’s now closing in on 17 million views. That’s nowhere near enough to break YouTube’s counter code, but it’s still a heck of a lot of views and a good chunk of advertising income.

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Bondic liquid plastic welds plastic, wood, and fabric together – A new product called Bondic has debuted and this isn’t a glue. The makers of Bondic say that people should think of it more as welding than gluing. Bondic is a liquid plastic that remains a liquid and hardens into a plastic that can be sanded and painted after exposure to UV light. Bondic can be built up layer by layer to achieve the strength needed for repairs. It will work on multiple materials include wood, plastic, and fabric. As far as glue goes, Bondic is rather expensive at $22 per tube. The tube contains the glue and a UV light source on one end for hardening the plastic.

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How to make the most money from old gadgets – Selling old electronics doesn’t need to be a hassle if your end game is making the most cash. The bad news first: if you want the absolute best price possible, shop around and compare deals. Don’t rely on one source, because a better deal may be waiting around the corner. The good news? With a few tips, that sweet cash return can help subsidise your new devices.

Something to think about:

“It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem.”

–     Malcolm Forbes

Today’s Free Downloads:

FileBot Portable – FileBot is the ultimate tool for renaming your movies, tv shows or anime and downloading subtitles. It’s smart, streamlined for simplicity and just works.

Features:

A simple user-interface tuned for drag-n-drop

Rename hundreds of media files in a matter of seconds

Fetch episode lists from TVRage, AniDB or TheTVDB

Download subtitles from OpenSubtitles, Subscene or Sublight

Find exact/linked subtitles from OpenSubtitles and Sublight

Easily create and verify sfv, md5 and sha1 files

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Homedale – With Homedale you can monitor the signal strength of multiple WLAN Access Points.

You can view a summary of all available access points with their:

signal strength

encryption [WEP/WPA/WPA2]

speed

channel

other settings

You can also see the signal strength of selected access points in a graph over the time. With a right mouse click, you can start logging and create a screenshot.

Homedale is freeware. However, if you enjoy using Homedale and would like to help support its development, please consider making a donation.

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Samsung SSD Magician – The Samsung SSD Magician software facilitates easy maintenance and use of Samsung SSD products connected to a desktop or notebook computer.

In addition to providing information about the user’s system and SSD product, Samsung SSD Magician also supports advanced features, like SSD performance management, benchmarking for optimum performance, new firmware updates, etc.

Get Samsung SSD Magician and give it a try to fully assess its capabilities!

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA warrantless bulk phone metadata spying continues unabated – The NSA’s bulk phone metadata spying program was renewed for another 90 days, the fourth time the warrantless snooping has been reauthorized following President Barack Obama promising reform last January, the government said Monday.

That means the nation’s telecoms will continue forwarding a database to the government that includes the phone numbers of all calls, the international mobile subscriber identity number of mobile callers, the calling card numbers used in calls, and the time and duration of those calls to and from the United States.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the program 18 months ago, but the numerous calls for reform since have fallen on deaf ears.

UK court to review legality of fast-tracked surveillance law – A surveillance law that was rushed through by the U.K. government will be reviewed by the country’s High Court to determine if it violates human rights.

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, also known as DRIPA, was adopted in July by the U.K. government, after the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) invalidated EU laws requiring communication providers to retain metadata. The EU court said those laws seriously interfered with fundamental privacy rights. Since the U.K. law that preceded DRIPA was based on the invalidated EU laws, it needed replacement legislation.

However, the new law is worse than the one it replaces, according to civil rights groups which pointed out that, for instance, it not only gives law enforcement officers access to metadata but also allows them access to the content of messages, even if they are held by companies outside the U.K.

Even though DRIPA is quite new and now under review, the U.K. government is already planning to add onto the law to address a so-called “capabilities gap” that authorities face when trying to obtain communications data.

Idaho mom’s suit over NSA database gets a cool reception from appeals court – An Idaho woman named Anna Smith filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSA telephone database. She was represented by her husband, Peter Smith, pictured above at today’s 9th Circuit hearing.

Since the Snowden leaks first made clear the US government’s sweeping database of phone call data, four separate legal challenges to that program have been filed in federal courts. Three of them now await decision from appeals courts.

This morning, a federal lawsuit directly challenging the NSA’s vast phone call database was heard by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. And the three-judge panel that heard Smith v. Obama seemed skeptical of the plaintiff’s claims that the database should be ruled unconstitutional.

Anna Smith is an unusual plaintiff. In an interview last year with The Washington Post, she described herself as a “northern Idaho mom” with no particular legal background. “It’s none of their business what I’m doing—who I call, when I call, how long I talk… I think it’s awesome that I have the right to sue the president,” Smith, then 32, told The Post. “I’m just a small-town girl.”

Her husband Peter Smith, who argued the appeal this morning, is a commercial litigator with no experience handling a constitutional or national security lawsuit. For the appeal, Smith accepted legal help from the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation, both of which have their own lawsuits challenging the NSA database.

Corporate Abuse of Our Data – Last week, we learned about a striking piece of malware called Regin that has been infecting computer networks worldwide since 2008. It’s more sophisticated than any known criminal malware, and everyone believes a government is behind it. No country has taken credit for Regin, but there’s substantial evidence that it was built and operated by the United States.

Right now, antivirus companies are probably sitting on incomplete stories about a dozen more varieties of government-grade malware. But they shouldn’t. We want, and need, our antivirus companies to tell us everything they can about these threats as soon as they know them, and not wait until the release of a political story makes it impossible for them to remain silent.

What Bad, Shameful, Dirty Behavior is U.S. Judge Richard Posner Hiding? Demand to Know – Richard Posner has been a federal appellate judge for 34 years, having been nominated by President Reagan in 1981. At a conference last week in Washington, Posner said the NSA should have the unlimited ability to collect whatever communications and other information it wants: “If the NSA wants to vacuum all the trillions of bits of information that are crawling through the electronic worldwide networks, I think that’s fine.” The NSA should have “carte blanche” to collect what it wants because “privacy interests should really have very little weight when you’re talking about national security.”

His rationale? “I think privacy is actually overvalued,” the distinguished jurist pronounced. Privacy, he explained, is something people crave in order to prevent others from learning about the shameful and filthy things they do:

Much of what passes for the name of privacy is really just trying to conceal the disreputable parts of your conduct. Privacy is mainly about trying to improve your social and business opportunities by concealing the sorts of bad activities that would cause other people not to want to deal with you.

Unlike you and your need to hide your bad and dirty acts, Judge Posner has no need for privacy – or so he claims: “If someone drained my cell phone, they would find a picture of my cat, some phone numbers, some email addresses, some email text,” he said. “What’s the big deal?” He added: “Other people must have really exciting stuff. Do they narrate their adulteries, or something like that?”

I would like to propose a campaign inspired by Judge Posner’s claims (just by the way, one of his duties as a federal judge is to uphold the Fourth Amendment). In doing so, I’ll make the following observations:

Australia: Data-retention costs report kept confidential – Attorney-General George Brandis has cited Cabinet confidentiality as being behind his decision to reject a Senate motion for the government to release a PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the cost of the government’s data-retention legislation.

Legislation currently being reviewed by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security would require Australian telecommunications companies to retain a set of customer information, including IP addresses, call records, and other personal information for a period of two years for warrant-less access by designated law-enforcement agencies.

The legislation has been resisted by a number of telcos on cost grounds, as well as civil rights and privacy advocates, due to the associated privacy implications with a large wealth of data collected over that two-year period.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 8, 2014

Laptop or Tablet? 5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself First;  Don’t throw it out! 5 handy uses for a secondary PC;  5 privacy fixes your Facebook News Feed needs by New Year’s;  December Delights on Netflix;  The best (and worst) PC upgrades;  Use Overlay Blocker to close pop-up overlays in Chrome;  8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills;  Microsoft’s Cortana Learns French, Italian, German, Spanish;  Fake browser warning delivers malicious Trojan;  The Best Apps For People Who Don’t Like Spending Money;  Multiple vulnerabilities found in Google App Engine;  Google pulls piracy apps from Play Store;  The 10 Best Nintendo Wii U Games;  Furious GTA V gamers seek similar ban on violent, misogynistic title: the Holy Bible;  Grueling endurance test blows away SSD durability fears.

Laptop or Tablet? 5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself First – By the way Microsoft is marketing the Surface Pro 3, you’d think tablets and laptops were practically interchangeable: just a matter of personal preference. We’re not convinced. Using a mix of product testing and data crunching, we’ve come up with five key questions to ask yourself before you commit to one device over the other for yourself or for a holiday gift.

5 privacy fixes your Facebook News Feed needs by New Year’s – It seems like Facebook is constantly adding new settings or changing old ones. Sometimes it’s under the guise of simplifying your options, like with the new Privacy Basics walk-through. Other times it’s because new kinds of ads are coming and Facebook wants you to be prepared. So there’s no better time than the present to update your privacy permissions than the present. Let’s face it: You’re not going to remember to check on your Facebook settings once the chaos of holiday parties and New Year’s resolutions takes hold.

Don’t throw it out! 5 handy uses for a secondary PC – With Black Friday and Cyber Monday past us, the holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and many people are pondering a new PC purchase. Whether you’re getting a new tower for gaming or an ultraportable to tote around at meetings, don’t throw out your old PC! Sure, its glory days may lay in the past, but as long as the aging machine you’re about to replace still runs there are plenty of ways to put it to good use.

The best (and worst) PC upgrades – PCs are lasting longer than ever, but interest in upgrading them so that they last even longer, or can handle newer software, is still high. But to get the best bang for the buck from an upgrade you have to spend money wisely. And buying the wrong thing might not only give you nothing in return, but it could mean that you have to spend even more money. What follows are the best and worst PC upgrades you can spend money on, along with an idea of how much the upgrade will set you back.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google to begin contacting customers about in-app refunds – Google will soon begin to contact customers who made in-app purchases on Android devices about potential refunds under a settlement of an unfair billing complaint by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The $19 million settlement is targeted at Google account holders whose children made unauthorized in-app purchases. Google is responsible for the entire cost of those in-app purchases, according to the settlement.

December Delights on Netflix – December is traditionally a time when studios release their specialty films, award contenders, grownup films, holiday favorites, movies for kids on Christmas vacation, etc. Some of the following films were December releases, many of them were critical favorites that received some year-end accolades, and mostly they just make good wintertime movies. All 10 of the movies are new to Netflix and highly recommended for your end-of-2014 viewing.

Use Overlay Blocker to close pop-up overlays in Chrome – This Chrome extension adds a button to your right-click menu, providing a quick and consistent way to close annoying overlays.

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New communications app Wire tones down encryption claims – During its launch this week, Wire promised a Skype built with today’s technologies. But when it comes to use privacy the new service doesn’t appear to be that different than other platforms that came before it.

Cortana for Windows 10 gets demoed in new video – Cortana has been one of the more celebrated features of Windows Phone and it’s no secret that Microsoft is working to bring the uniquely personal digital assistant to the desktop in Windows 10. As we slowly move towards its full release sometime in 2015, it’s becoming clear that Windows 10 is shaping up to be the most feature-complete iteration of the OS in years. And while we were able to give you a sneak peek of Cortana on Windows 10 yesterday, there’s now some video of her in action too.

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Microsoft’s Cortana Learns French, Italian, German, Spanish – Redmond’s answer to Siri is now rolling out in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain as part of an “alpha” launch, Microsoft has announced this week. “Alpha means that Cortana is new to these countries, most of the features in the beta version are available but some are missing or coming soon,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

Call+ app provides free international calls – You can make unlimited calls to a handful of countries and earn credits toward free calls to 85 others.

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Grueling endurance test blows away SSD durability fears – An oft-discussed drawback to solid state drives was that they were ultimately unreliable. Despite the performance gains for your PC, it was only a matter of time before “poof!” your SSD would just up and die with almost no warning. But an ongoing project from Tech Report demonstrates what the experts have been saying for some time: fearing an SSD’s untimely death is more about myth than substance.

Skype and Lync Now Play Nice for Video Chat – Skype video calling is getting more open and interoperable. Microsoft on Friday announced that Skype users can now place video calls to their contacts on Lync, Redmond’s video and Web conferencing platform for businesses, and vice versa.

Comcast Makes It More And More Difficult To Opt-Out Of Internet Sharing – As we learned back in June, Comcast has decided to turn every cable router on its network into a public wi-fi access point. While this may sound like a good idea – free Internet for all Comcast subscribers everywhere is the goal – the reality clashes with the Internet user’s sense of freedom and control. And, unfortunately, Comcast is making it harder and harder to opt out of their service. DSLReports has noted that many users have found that even after disabling the sharing updates to the firmware re-enable it automatically.

8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills – If money was the only thing holding you back from learning more about technology, we’ve got good news for you. There are many places offering free online tech training that while may not be degree/certificate driven can still give you a leg up on the competition. While many of the courses listed here offer either a certificate or credit for a fee, they also all are free for those who just want to learn about technology or add a new skill to their “toolbox.”

New Wakie alarm clock forces you to have a conversation with a stranger – There’s a new app on the market aimed at trying to help you wake up in the morning, but rather than a blaring tone, Wakie forces you to have a minute-long phone conversation.

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VLC for Windows Phone enters beta, for old-school video viewers – VLC is legendary for being able to play pretty much any video. Now that streaming services are common, however, it’s more of a niche app than it used to be.

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Hands-on with the latest challenger to the Raspberry Pi – Raspberry Pi not powerful enough for you? Imagination Technologies MIPS Creator CI20 offers a faster processor, more memory and beefier GPU but is also more expensive.

Want an iPhone 6? Better pick one up soon because shortages are predicted for next year – The iPhone 6 could be harder to find next year as Apple shifts production to favor the larger and more expensive iPhone 6 Plus.

The Best Apps For People Who Don’t Like Spending Money – With these five apps, you’re not cheap, you’re thrifty.

Security:

Fake browser warning your uncle might fall for delivers malicious trojan – Hackers have an almost unlimited number of ways to install malware on the computers of unsuspecting people. One of the more effective ones is, paradoxically itself, preying on the fear of being hacked. In fact, the above warning is generated by attackers pushing ZeuS, a highly malicious computer trojan that steals online banking credentials and makes infected computers part of a botnet that can carry out a variety of other criminal acts. Researchers from PhishLabs who came across the warning still don’t know exactly how people encounter the advisory hoax. They were, however, able to track the malware that gets installed when a user falls for it and clicks the update button. It’s tied to a ZeuS command and control server.

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Bebe Stores says credit card data hacked – Women’s clothing retailer Bebe Stores has become the latest national retailer to be hit by an attack on its credit card payment system. The company said Friday that the cardholder name, account number, expiration date, and verification code could have been stolen by hackers who apparently had access to the company’s payment processing system between Nov. 8 and 26.

Hackers send e-mail to Sony employees threatening their families – The e-mail is just the latest affront to Sony in the last two weeks since it was hacked in late November. Sony Pictures Entertainment suffered a devastating blow to its internal corporate network at the hands of hackers who promptly released passwords, e-mails, identification documents for cast and crew members of Sony’s productions, business documents listing salaries, and media files from employees’ computers. Today’s e-mail was poorly written and cryptically asked that employees “Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below.” “If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger,” the e-mail added. Sony said it was working with law enforcement on the matter.

Multiple vulnerabilities found in Google App Engine – Researchers find many security holes in the Java parts of Google’s Platform as a Service offering, but get kicked off the service before finishing.

Company News:

Apple Betting Big on India With Plans for 500 Stores – Apple is taking the old saying “go big or go home” to heart when it comes to its strategy for India. The tech giant is planning to open 500 iOS-centric retail stores in the country in a major expansion into smaller Indian towns and cities, according to a report from The Times of India. The move will represent Apple’s first major push into the fast-growing Indian phone market.

Uber Faces Legal Action In India Following Arrest Of Rape Suspect – A suspect in the alleged rape of an Uber customer by her driver in New Delhi, India has been arrested. The man is named Shiv Kumar Yadav, and he will go before a New Delhi court on Monday, according to Reuters. Madhur Verma, New Delhi police deputy commissioner, said that Uber may also face legal action for failing to run background checks and failure to have a GPS device in the car

Apple’s iPod ‘deleted music’ trial may be dropped due to lack of plaintiffs – Apple is facing a big lawsuit in relation to its alleged anti-competitive actions taken against rival music services. However that lawsuit might simply go away due to lack of a plaintiff. In a surprise move, Apple’s lawyers have found a major issue with the two plaintiffs named in the case: neither of them actually purchased one of the iPods that the suit covers. In other words the suit may actually be dropped because the two women plaintiffs haven’t actually suffered any damages.

Google pulls piracy apps from Play Store – Following its recent changes to Search, Google has pulled a handful of piracy apps from the Play Store, citing violations of the company’s Content Policy. The pulled apps are said to have offered optimized web experiences for using The Pirate Bay, and include the apps “The Pirate Bay Premium”, “The Pirate Bay Proxy”, “The Pirate Bay Mirror”, and the “PirateApp”. This is the latest Google effort to combat piracy and steer users towards legally obtained content.

Angry Birds developer Rovio lays off 110 staff – Rovio has announced that it will be making 110 staff — of a global workforce of around 800 — redundant in a company “reorganisation”, as well as closing up its game development studio in Tampere, Finland. The cuts, which were initially announced in early October, were fewer than anticipated, Rovio said.

56% of Google’s Online Ads are Never ‘Seen’ – According to some new research from Google, 56.1 percent of ads on its various display advertising platforms remain unviewed. That’s not to say that the ads disappear, or that some code in the page itself makes the ad impossible to see. When it speaks of “viewability,” Google defines an advertisement as having been viewed if 50 percent of the ad’s pixels are in view for at least one second’s worth of time.

Games and Entertainment:

The 10 Best Nintendo Wii U Games – This generation’s most underappreciated home video console has some of the best games on the market. These are the Wii U games that you should own.

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Get The First Look at the New Zelda’s Massive World – Nintendo has been dropping hints all year that the next Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U would have a huge overworld. New footage of the upcoming title shows just how massive that world is.

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This is what the new King’s Quest looks like – Back in August, classic video game company Sierra announced that it was coming back from the dead — and it was bringing the beloved franchise King’s Quest with it. Tonight at The Game Awards in Las Vegas, during a tribute Roberta and Ken Williams, the creators of the original game, we got our first look at the rebooted King’s Quest. The new game looks to maintain the spirit of the original, but with a revamped, sleek new 3D art style.

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Holocaust Video Game Competes Against US Army Drone Sim in Bizarre Face-Off – Each year, the American defense industry sponsors a ‘Serious Games’ video game competition in Florida. This time it was between a US Army simulator that teaches you how to pilot a drone, a tactical Warfare game funded by the Navy, and an educational game that has the player experience the civilian psychotrauma of war. The point-and-click adventure game Czechoslovakia: 38-89 was one of the finalists in the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge, a five day conference held in Orlando for games and simulations that have “clearly defined, measurable learning objectives.”

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This is what the new Uncharted looks like on the PlayStation 4 – Today at Sony’s first-ever PlayStation Experience event, the company showed off the first real-time gameplay footage of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End — originally announced in November 2013 and due out sometime next year. What’s new here is graphic fidelity, and the footage we’re seeing is rich in texture — from the rustle of foliage to the dust-up of stray bullets hitting rock. (It’s worth noting that at one during the live event stream, the game seemed to glitch as Drake fell into unfinished… uncharted territory. That glitch isn’t present in the official gameplay video, above.) The animation, particularly with close quarter combat, looks more detailed and nuanced.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Why do we cling to beliefs when they’re threatened by facts? – People hold beliefs for a complex variety of reasons. Some of these beliefs may be based on facts, but others may be based on ideas that can never be proved or disproven. For example, people who are against the death penalty might base their belief partly on evidence that the death penalty does not reduce violent crime (which could later be shown to be false), and partly on the notion that the death penalty violates a fundamental human right to life. The latter is an unfalsifiable belief, because it can’t be changed purely by facts. According to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, unfalsifiability is an important component of both religious and political beliefs. It allows people to hold their beliefs with more conviction, but it also allows them to become more polarized in those beliefs.

4D hockey broadcasts will hip-check you at home – Watching sports on TV got a whole lot better with the advent of high-definition video. But as good as the action looks, you still can’t feel it. Not yet, anyway, but you’ll be able to soon enough. The Guitammer Company, based in my home state of Ohio, are working on a more immersive home viewing experience for sports fanatics. Guitammer is the force behind ButtKicker low-frequency transducers, piston-powered devices that turn audio input into physical vibrations. They’re used in loads of 4D theaters like the ones at Disney, Universal Studios, and perhaps even your local IMAX.

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Furious GTA V gamers seek similar ban on violent, misogynistic title: the Holy Bible – Last month campaigners started a petition on Change.org to get GTA5 banned by the big-box retail chains, claiming the game “encourages players to murder women for entertainment.” The campaigners also claim the game trains young men to link sex and violence, although academics disagree. After nearly 50,000 people added their signatures to the petition, both store chains caved and withdrew the title. Gamers haven’t taken this lying down, however. They have started a Change.org petition of their own seeking to ban another form of media packed with sex, violence, and misogyny – the Holy Bible.

German Chancellor voices support for fast lane internet, opposing net neutrality – German leader Angela Merkel made comments earlier in the week on the topic of net neutrality, an important issue being discussed by a number of European governments, not to mention the U.S. Unfortunately for those in support of an internet with speeds unregulated by telecommunications companies, Chancellor Merkel doesn’t feel the same, arguing instead for the controversial “two-lane” setup that has many users concerned.

19 Times Australian Politicians Were Complete Morons In 2014 – Girly-men, shirtfronts and Ebola infected suicide bombers. The year kicked off with South Australian Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi writing a book, linking single families to crime and “promiscuity”.

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Video game console pioneer Ralph Baer dies at 92 – It’s a sad day for video gamers, particularly those who remember or know well the industry’s history and roots on this side of the world. Ralph Baer, a luminary in the video game world and creator of the Magnavox Odyssey, passed away December 6 at a ripe and well-lived age of 92. Baer received the National Medal of Technology from then President George W. Bush in 2006 and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010.

Something to think about:

The Mushroom Theory of Management and Politics – “Keep them in the dark, feed them a lot of horse shit and they will come along nicely.”

–      Anonymous

Today’s Free Downloads:

Universal Media Server – Universal Media Server is a DLNA-compliant UPnP Media Server.

It is based on PS3 Media Server by shagrath. It is actually an evolution of the “SubJunk Build” of PMS.

UMS was started by SubJunk, an official developer of PMS, in order to ensure greater stability and file-compatibility.

Because it is written in Java, Universal Media Server supports all major operating systems, with versions for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

The program streams or transcodes many different media formats with little or no configuration.

It is powered by MEncoder, FFmpeg, tsMuxeR, AviSynth, MediaInfo and more, which combine to offer support for a wide range of media formats.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Mass surveillance programs do not violate human rights, UK tribunal rules – The U.K.’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) made the ruling in a case that rights groups brought against the U.K. government over alleged mass surveillance on U.K. citizens via programs run by the British intelligence agency GCHQ and the U.S. National Security Agency. Both programs were brought to light in documents leaked by Edward Snowden last year.

However, those programs are legal under the 14-year-old Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which regulates the U.K. government’s surveillance powers, the Tribunal ruled Friday.

“The ‘Snowden revelations’ in particular have led to the impression voiced in some quarters that the law in some way permits the Intelligence Services carte blanche to do what they will. We are satisfied this is not the case,” the IPT said in its Friday ruling, which was published by complainant Privacy International.

However, the tribunal, which was set up in 2000 to deal with complaints relating to the use of covert techniques, did ask for more comments about whether receiving bulk intercepted material from foreign intelligence agencies such as the NSA would be legal.

Not satisfied with the outcome, Privacy International and its co-claimant, Bytes for All, will lodge an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, challenging the Tribunal’s finding that mass surveillance could comply with Britain’s human rights.

Rand Paul is right about police brutality: our laws are a huge part of the problem – Protests for police reform are sweeping the United States following the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and an untold number of other unarmed or innocent people of color. Amid the anger and sadness one thing is clear: policing in America is a huge and complex problem. It’s also a historical problem. As Ta-Nehisi Coates observed in The Atlantic, the insane incarceration rate of blacks in this country is part of a long tradition; “America’s entire history is marked by the state imposing unfreedom on a large swath of the African American population.”

That tradition is as deep and as old as our revered constitution. The condition of possibility of America’s existence was a racist compromise baked into our founding document. We’re a country founded by people who declared forcefully that “all men are created equal” as a self-evident fact, and then twelve years later declared that black slaves were only worth three-fifths of free white men to avoid giving the south greater representation in Congress. The chokehold on people of color in America is written in ink. And it has always been about property.

So, perhaps ironically, I find myself sympathetic to the words of a southern white man, Senator Rand Paul. Listen to what he said when he was asked this week about Eric Garner’s death on MSNBC.

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Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘A Better Tomorrow’ video is a powerful tribute to nationwide protesters – “A Better Tomorrow,” the title track from Wu-Tang Clan’s new album, is a powerful and contemplative song about social injustice, racial violence, and police brutality, anchored by Teddy Pendergrass’s haunting vocals from 1975’s “Wake Up Everybody.” So it’s especially fitting that the accompanying video, released just last night, incorporates dramatic footage of the peaceful and ongoing nationwide protests for both Brown and Eric Garner — just two of countless unarmed people of color that have died tragically at the hands of the police.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 5, 2014

The First 3 Things You Must Do if Your Identity is Stolen;  Windows 8 and Windows 7 Safe Modes: How to enter and when to use them;  Say “hello” to Firefox Hello;  This New Streaming Service Is Netflix, But Just for Kids;  The 40 Best Windows 8.1 Apps;  Wickr brings its self-destructing messages to Windows, Mac and Linux;  Mail to Self lets you email links to yourself;  Microsoft’s Sway finds the picture for your words;  Pro tip: How to uninstall stubborn Android apps;  Sony Pictures hackers stole 47,000 social security numbers;  December’s Hottest Video Games;  Free game alert: GOG’s giving Age of Wonders;  The Problem With The Internet Of Things;  Operation Auroragold – How the NSA hacks cellphone networks worldwide;  WinScheduler (free).

The First 3 Things You Must Do if Your Identity is Stolen – Shred sensitive documents, power up your passwords, stay alert for frauds—these are all good ideas. But even if you do everything possible to stop attempts at stealing your identity, there’s always a chance you’ll take a hit. Maybe you slipped up, or maybe the breach was totally out of your control. No matter how it happened, the moment you realize you’ve been hit with identity theft, there are three things you need to do immediately.

Apple automatically deleted competitors’ music from users’ iPods – Apple removed competitors’ songs from its users’ iPods between 2007 and 2009 supposedly in the name of security. At least that’s what the company is claiming in a class-action antitrust trial against it, brought on by consumers who claim that Apple used its power and influence over the market to discourage competition in the music downloads and iPod scene.When asked why the company engineered this behavior into its software, Apple’s security director Augustin Farrugia claimed they were doing it to protect their users from files that posed a security threat. However when asked why Apple chose not to disclose this information to its users Farrugia painted a clear picture of how the company views its clients, by saying: “We don’t need to give users too much information […] We don’t want to confuse users.”

Say “hello” to Firefox Hello – It’s been a very long time since Mozilla released something that really caught my attention. All that changed when I found out about Firefox Hello. This is Mozilla’s Web RTC feature that, quite frankly, could be game changing. Effectively, Hello is the means for real-time browser-based chat (video and audio), without having to use a service. All you need is the browser. That’s it. Fire it up, click the Hello button, and share the link with the second party. At least it will be that simple, once it’s out of beta. If you want to use it now, it’s not really that hard — and I’ll walk you through the process.

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Initiating a chat with Hello.

Windows 8 and Windows 7 Safe Modes: How to enter and when to use them – The old F8 trick no longer works with all PCs. Here are some alternate ways to enter Windows’s clean, diagnostic Safe Mode,

The 40 Best Windows 8.1 Apps – Windows 8.1 runs the multitude of existing Windows programs, but loads of excellent, modern apps and games show off its potential as a multi-touch tablet operating system. You can either navigate our list via the 40 Best Windows 8 Apps slideshow above or page through this article to view five at a time. We’ve linked the app names to their Windows Store descriptions and download page.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Wickr brings its self-destructing messages to Windows, Mac and Linux – Just like the mobile version, Wickr’s new desktop apps sends messages that vanish without a trace. But there’s one thing it can’t do on the new platforms that’s pretty important.

Microsoft’s Sway finds the picture for your words by pulling Creative Commons images via Bing – Call it a bibliography for the 21st century: Microsoft’s new Sway app will be able to pull images from the Creative Commons repository via Bing and use them to illustrate stories. Sway already allows you to import images from your own PC, Twitter, Facebook, or a variety of other cloud services. Now Bing has been added as well, and it will return images tagged with a Creative Commons license by default. Sway will even keep track of what you’re writing, and when it comes time to look for an image, it will pre-populate relevant images.

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Six weeks with Google’s Inbox — and why it’s back to Gmail for me – Google’s Inbox brings some useful new tricks to the world of email, but it’s lacking key features that business professionals and power users may need.

Imagination launches powerful $65 Raspberry Pi competitor – This board leaves the Raspberry Pi standing with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB on-board storage, and wireless built-in.

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Google offers DVD Dev Kits for the Internet-constrained – As much as the Internet is a font of knowledge (not exactly wisdom) for many of us, not everyone has the luxury of a good connection to take advantage of what the Internet has to offer. This is an impediment especially for interested Android app developers, as majority, if not all, of Google’s resources, though free, are Internet-bound. At the very least, they require a lot of time and bandwidth to even download. Which is why Google has a new Developer’s Kit offer for those living in “bandwidth challenged” areas.

This New Streaming Service Is Netflix, But Just for Kids – Fuhu, which makes the very successful nabi children’s tablets, is launching a monthly subscription service that will let kids binge on children’s movies, shows, music, e-books and interactive games for $4.99 per month. The service, called nabi Pass, is exclusive to Fuhu’s tablet line, which includes the nabi 2 and the new jumbo-sized Big Tab.

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Nabi pass features videos, games, e-books and educational content

Mail to Self lets you email links to yourself with one tap – This free iPhone app simplifies the process of emailing links to yourself. It adds a button to the sharing panel, saving you from having to enter your email address each time you want to send yourself a link. By the app’s own calculations, it saves you 22 taps each time you use it. Here’s how it works.

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3D print your own ancient artefacts for a home museum – The artefacts in question are actual, real artefacts, from museums in Europe. They have turned into 3D models with the help of Artec, whose Spider and Eva scanners were used to scan artefacts from the Regional History Museum of Varna and the Regional History Museum of Pernik in Bulgaria — a region of great cultural variance and significance in centuries and millennia past. The over 150 artefacts, available through 3D design startup Threeding, include sculptures, gravestones, plaques, reliefs, hosehold items and religious symbols, from prehistoric times through Antiquity, the Middle Ages and into the Early Modern Period.

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Pro tip: How to uninstall stubborn Android apps – Have you ever needed to uninstall an app from your Android device only to find, for some odd reason, that you can’t? What gives? You installed the app from the Google Play Store, so the uninstall process should be a simple matter of going into Settings | Apps, locating the app, and tapping Uninstall. But sometimes, that Uninstall button is grayed out. You can do anything with it. Or can you? Remember, this is Android, so there’s always a way.

Security:

Microsoft slates 7 security updates for next week, resurrects Exchange fix – Microsoft today announced it will release seven security updates on Tuesday, three of them critical, to patch Internet Explorer (IE), Windows, various pieces of the Office suite, and the SharePoint and Exchange server software. The Exchange update was originally intended to ship last month, but Microsoft pulled it at the last minute because of a problem with the installer package for Exchange Server 2013.

Sites certified as secure often more vulnerable to hacking, scientists find – The so-called trust marks are sold by almost a dozen companies, including Symantec, McAfee, Trust-Guard, and Qualys. In exchange for fees ranging from less than $100 to well over $2,000 per year, the services provide periodic security scans of the site. If it passes, it receives the Internet equivalent of a Good Housekeeping Seal of approval that’s prominently displayed on the homepage. Carrying images of padlocks and slogans such as “HackerProof,” the marks are designed to instill trust in users of the site by certifying it’s free of vulnerabilities that hackers prey on to steal credit card numbers and other valuable customer data. Now, computer scientists have presented evidence that not only supports those doubts but also shows how such seals can in many cases make sites more vulnerable to hacks.

Judge rules that banks can sue Target for 2013 credit card hack – The decision could lead to significant changes in the way the cost of fraud is distributed among parties in the credit card ecosystem. Where once banks and merchant acquirers would have to shoulder the burden of fraud (which is how they have long justified increasing Interchange Fees), now, potentially, the order from Magnuson could pave the way for more card-issuing banks to sue merchants for not protecting their POS systems properly.

Sony Pictures hackers stole 47,000 social security numbers, including Sly Stallone’s – The hackers that crippled the company’s computer systems have now released a vast hoard of Sony Pictures’ private documents onto the internet. An analysis of more than 33,000 documents showed that they displayed passwords to internal computers, credit cards, and social media accounts, as well as the Social Security numbers of 47,000 current and former Sony Pictures workers. Among the affected are Hollywood celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone, Rebel Wilson, and Anchorman director Judd Apatow.

Digital Turbine’s Ignite gives carrier bloatware a boost – Bloatware, a not so loved term used to describe unwanted software on your smartphone or tablet, the mobile equivalent of spam. It has been a long bemoaned blight in the mobile world and yet very little seems to be done about it because the powers that be simply would not allow things to change. In fact, things might get even worse, thanks to Digital Turbine’s new Ignite product, which not only gives carriers the ultimate bloatware tool, it also potentially bypasses Android’s security measures. DT Ignite, if compromised, could very well become a vehicle for malware to get into the system. Heck, given how it works, you might even call Ignite a kind of malware itself.

Justice Department eyeing cyber attack prevention with new unit – Following the massive attack against Sony Pictures and a recent warning from the FBI regarding malicious software, the Department of Justice has revealed plans to create a new unit in its criminal division that will, among other things, aid the private sector in preventing these kinds of cyber attacks in the future. The news was announced by a Justice Department official today, and aims to also ease public distrust of government surveillance efforts that has resulted following the Snowden revelations.

Company News:

Microsoft announces record dividend for second quarter in a row – Microsoft’s board approved a dividend rate of $0.31 per share, an amount equal to last quarter’s payout. It’s been a great fiscal year for the company so high dividend were expected by investors.

Uber raises $1.2 billion for expansion, says they’ll be ‘more humble’ – Uber, that car service you’ve heard so many wonderful thing about lately, has announced they’ve raised an additional $1.2 billion. The added funding likely values Uber above $40 billion, but that’s not the big story this time around. In getting the added funds, Uber is preparing to invest more in the international market. Specifically, Uber wants to expand their footprint in the Asia Pacific region, where they face stiff competition from domestic incumbents. The move would also give them targets besides Lyft.

Microsoft, Barnes & Noble bring their weird Nook “partnership” to a formal end – Microsoft and Barnes & Noble announced today that they were terminating their partnership that was in some way connected to the Nook e-reader. The “partnership” never appeared to be anything of the sort. Even development of the Nook app for Windows 8 was planned to be discontinued earlier in the year when the companies changed the terms of their agreement, and nothing more substantial, such as Windows/Nook e-readers, ever materialized.

Games and Entertainment:

December’s Hottest Video Games – Click on the slideshow link to see which of December’s video game releases are worth buying and gifting. As an added enticement, we have video for you to watch for each of the five titles in question. When you’re done, be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below! Happy holidays, and happy New Year!

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BBC iPlayer app is now available on Xbox One – Earlier today, the BBC Sport app finally launched on Windows Phone – and now, the BBC has even more love to share with users of Microsoft’s products. The BBC iPlayer app is now available on the Xbox One – over a year after the corporation first confirmed that it was in development.

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Three weeks—and three patches—later, Halo anthology is finally viable – The most recent Wednesday night patch may not have fixed everything, but we’re happy to report that, on a base level, logging into H:TMCC and diving into public matchmaking options is finally working as expected. But 343’s choice to launch a Halo game without confirmed, working multiplayer capability reveals a developer with its priorities in the wrong place. Fans have certainly relished the chance to relive the entire Master Chief campaign saga, but he became a household name because of Xbox Live combat, not because of pistol-whipping a bunch of easy Grunts.

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Thanks to a much-needed patch, you might actually be able to recreate this moment in multiplayer!

Bean Dreams is basically Super Mario for your iPhone – Platforming games like Super Mario typically don’t work so well on a smartphone — it turns out that touchscreen controls just aren’t precise enough for entertaining running and jumping. It’s why we have so many games like Canabalt, automatic runners where you only need to worry about jumping and not movement. 2012’s Bean’s Quest, meanwhile, went in a different direction, forcing you to focus on movement while controlling a character that’s constantly jumping. It worked surprisingly well, and now there’s a sequel that’s even better.

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Free game alert: GOG’s giving Age of Wonders away to kick off huge Winter Sale – But you’ll have to act fast—only 250,000 copies are being handed out, on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Problem With The Internet Of Things – Lightbulbs, washing machines, thermostats, fridges and locks. If you believe the Internet Of Things salespeople, over the next 10 years, everything in your home is set to become connected. Imagine a world where you could turn on your porch light from the office or unlock your door for a visitor, all from a smartphone app. Well, like a growing number of early smart-home adopters, I have seen this future today — and let me tell you, it’s a mess. Blame the interface. Connected slow cookers and smart plugs may be turning on geeks today but, if user experiences are not improved quickly, the smart home dream is at risk of going belly-up.

See the savannah through GoPro’s Lion Mouth Cam video – Joining a series of GoPro videos that detail animal exploits like the pelican cam, the evil-goat cam and Kama the Surfing Pig is the Lion Mouth Cam, in which a GoPro is left on the ground near two curious lions. Lucky for us, one of them chomps down on it (gently) and begins to trot around with the prize. Equally fortunate is that the lion grabs the thing in the right orientation, so we get a nice level look at the savannah and a bit of frolicking with a pride mate. I kind of wish the video went on longer, but still, it’s a quick, fun look at things from inside a lion’s mouth — a place most of us would never to get to visit otherwise (if we continue to be lucky).

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UK gives driverless car cities green light for 2015 – Google may have had its self-driving cars pounding the streets of Mountain View for years now, but the UK is hoping to overtake the US in real-world autonomous vehicle deployment with a quartet of cities announcing plans for the technology. Greenwich, Milton Keynes, Coventry, and Bristol will each operate a driverless car system, funded both by private companies including insurers and the UK government, with projects covering automatic valet parking and private transportation pods.

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Light Bandit sucks sunlight into your home like a straw – The Light Bandit is like a straw for sunlight. You place a largish box in your window and that funnels the sun into a fiber-optic tube that you can place anywhere in the room that needs an extra dose of free light. “The secret for collecting the sunlight is an array of mirrors that move inside the collector (that’s the device that sits on your window),” inventor Duncan Earl told me. “There are nearly 100 of these small mirrors that very slowly rotate to reflect the sunlight toward a focusing mirror — which ultimately concentrates the sunlight into the optical fiber.”

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Something to think about:

“Strong encryption and sound computer security is the best way to keep Americans’ data safe from hackers and foreign threats.”

–     U.S. Senator Ron Wyden

“Much of what passes for the name of privacy is really just trying to conceal the disreputable parts of your conduct. Privacy is mainly about trying to improve your social and business opportunities by concealing the sorts of bad activities that would cause other people not to want to deal with you.”

–     Judge Richard Posner – U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Today’s Free Downloads:

FrostWire – FrostWire is a peer-to-peer file sharing program for the Gnutella and BitTorrent protocols.

FrostWire is written in Java, and is a fork of LimeWire, another popular Gnutella client. Released under the GNU General Public License, FrostWire is free software.

Features:

Completely Free & Open Source!

Faster Download Speeds

No Spyware. No Adware. Guaranteed.

iTunes™ Compatible!

BTIH Magnet Torrent Downloads

Friendly Online Chat Rooms

Improved BitTorrent Technology

Even More Connections New & Improved Skins

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WinScheduler – Automate repetitive tasks. Use task scheduler to run jobs and macros automatically – at specific time, when a file is changed, when a file is created/deleted, when a computer screen changes, when there is no activity on computer, etc.

WinScheduler allows users to create macros running in all Windows applications and use macro scheduler to run them at defined time or when a specific event occurs. Macro recorder (both keyboard recorder and mouse recorder) and macro editor is included. The WinScheduler macros can consist from keys (keystrokes), mouse clicks and macro commands (file management, FTP, ZIP, encryption, clipboard, etc.). WinScheduler gives users complete Windows automation and error free repetitive tasks processing.

Features:

Easy to use three-pane user interface: Macros are organized to user defined groups (similar to folders in Windows Explorer) for simpler navigation and management. Macro properties are showing in tabbed pane where can be easily modified.

Simple visual macro editing. It is not necessary to know the macro language syntax. Each command and its parameters is visually edited in its own edit window.

Fully featured macro editor with integrated debugger. Easily debug macros and watch variable values.

Smart macro recorder. Macro recorder detect when a window where macro is being recorded is changed and automatically adds code for appropriate window activation. Macro playback reliability is much improved.

Security – macro file is encrypted and thus it is not possible to view its content in other program or file viewer.

Password protection – macros can be password protected so that only authorized persons can view/run/modify them.

haring macros in work group. It is possible to share macros over LAN network so that all employees have access to the same macros.

Anyone can playback macros for free! Generate a file for FreeMacroPlayer. * FreeMacroPlayer is a free utility to playback macros created in Macro Toolworks family macro products.

Application specific macros – the same macro trigger can start different macros in different applications. This allows user to unify computer environment.

VBA-compatible Basic script with script editor, debugger and dialog box editor.

Strong macro language with over 150 commands: Commands covers all aspects of computing.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Operation Auroragold – How the NSA hacks cellphone networks worldwide – In March 2011, two weeks before the Western intervention in Libya, a secret message was delivered to the National Security Agency. An intelligence unit within the U.S. military’s Africa Command needed help to hack into Libya’s cellphone networks and monitor text messages.

For the NSA, the task was easy. The agency had already obtained technical information about the cellphone carriers’ internal systems by spying on documents sent among company employees, and these details would provide the perfect blueprint to help the military break into the networks.

The NSA’s assistance in the Libya operation, however, was not an isolated case. It was part of a much larger surveillance program—global in its scope and ramifications—targeted not just at hostile countries.

According to documents contained in the archive of material provided to The Intercept by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA has spied on hundreds of companies and organizations internationally, including in countries closely allied to the United States, in an effort to find security weaknesses in cellphone technology that it can exploit for surveillance.

The documents also reveal how the NSA plans to secretly introduce new flaws into communication systems so that they can be tapped into—a controversial tactic that security experts say could be exposing the general population to criminal hackers.

Ron Wyden introduces bill to ban FBI ‘backdoors’ in tech products – Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is trying to proactively block FBI head James Comey’s request for new rules that make tapping into devices easier. The Secure Data Act would ban agencies from making manufacturers alter their products to allow easier surveillance or search, something Comey has said is necessary as encryption becomes more common and more sophisticated. “Strong encryption and sound computer security is the best way to keep Americans’ data safe from hackers and foreign threats,” said Wyden in a statement. “It is the best way to protect our constitutional rights at a time when a person’s whole life can often be found on his or her smartphone.”

Give NSA unlimited access to digital data, says federal judge – The U.S. National Security Agency should have an unlimited ability to collect digital information in the name of protecting the country against terrorism and other threats, an influential federal judge said during a debate on privacy.

“I think privacy is actually overvalued,” Judge Richard Posner, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, said during a conference about privacy and cybercrime in Washington on Thursday.

“Much of what passes for the name of privacy is really just trying to conceal the disreputable parts of your conduct,” Posner added. “Privacy is mainly about trying to improve your social and business opportunities by concealing the sorts of bad activities that would cause other people not to want to deal with you.”

Congress should limit the NSA’s use of the data it collects — for example, not giving information about minor crimes to law enforcement agencies — but it shouldn’t limit what information the NSA sweeps up and searches, Posner said. “If the NSA wants to vacuum all the trillions of bits of information that are crawling through the electronic worldwide networks, I think that’s fine,” he said.

In the name of national security, U.S. lawmakers should give the NSA “carte blanche,” Posner added. “Privacy interests should really have very little weight when you’re talking about national security,” he said. “The world is in an extremely turbulent state — very dangerous.”

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 5, 2014

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 4, 2014

Getting Hacked Is in Your Future;  How to make Android Lollipop more secure;  New ‘Device Assist’ app helps you with all things Android;  10 cool tricks for Siri for iOS 8;  12 essential Microsoft business apps for the iPhone;  Squashed bug opened EVERY PayPal account to hijacking;  Five mobile apps for opening a variety of email attachments;  Tiny Arduino Board With A Built-in Touchscreen;  Firefox is headed to iOS;   Google plans kid-friendly products starting in 2015;  Target Australia stops selling GTA V in wake of sex worker petition;  Fewer People Than Ever Are Watching TV;  21 new Android 5.0 features you need to know about.

New ‘Device Assist’ app helps you with all things Android – Do you even know what’s going on with Android? If you’re a new user, probably not. There are a lot of subtle tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Android handset, and Google is finally acknowledging it’s not easy to know what those are. A new app, Device Assist, has landed on the Play Store today, and helps users discover all the neat little ways they can make their device last longer and provide the info they want. Well, so long as you have a Google-y android handset, that is.

12 essential Microsoft business apps for the iPhone – As part of Microsoft’s “mobile first, cloud first” mission, it has built up a large portfolio of consumer and business apps on every platform. In this roundup, I look at a dozen iOS apps that help IT pros and power users stay productive with an iPhone and Microsoft services.

Good Deal: Spotify’s premium service is 99 cents a month for three months – If you’ve managed to avoid using Spotify all this time, your patience has finally been rewarded. As part of a limited time deal, the company is giving new subscribers a rate of 99 cents a month for up to three months of service, something that normally costs $9.99 a month. That gets you no advertising, higher bitrates, and the capability to download music for offline listening.

10 cool tricks for Siri for iOS 8 – Apple’s Siri keeps getting smarter — here’s ten neat things you can do with Siri on your iPad or iPhone.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

21 new Android 5.0 features you need to know about – Google recently released Android 5.0 Lollipop, the largest Android update to date. The updated version of the popular mobile operating system is slowly making its way to older devices. Here are the new features in Android 5.0 Lollipop that you need to know about.

Record the screen of your Android Lollipop device with this free app – Screenshots are a thing of the past. With this free app, you can record the screen of your Lollipop device.

Tommy Hilfiger launches solar power jackets to charge your phone – The clothing label has developed a range of clothing embedded with solar panels so that you always have backup power for your devices.

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Google’s reCAPTCHA (Mostly) Does Away With Those Annoying CAPTCHAs – The end of the CAPTCHA is nigh — and very few tears will be shed for them. As Google today announced, those ubiquitous forms that make you prove you are human by typing in barely legible words and house numbers will soon be replaced with a single click — at least on sites that use Google’s reCAPTCHA service. So why is Google making this switch? It turns out that the old-style CAPTCHAs weren’t all that good at keeping robots out anyway. With today’s technology, bots could solve CAPTCHAs with 99.8 percent accuracy.

Wire communications app for voice, text, and images set to launch – A new communications network is set to launch that is backed by Skype co-founder Janus Friis and over 50 other people from 23 different countries. The communication network is called Wire and it promises to support text messaging, voice calling, sharing images, music, and video on phones, tablets, and computers.

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After School Is The Latest Anonymous App Resulting In Student Cyberbullying And School Threats – Meet After School, an anonymous Whisper-like app that hit the App Store in October 2014. And of course it’s causing issues in countless schools like Yik Yak and Ask.fm did before it. Claims of cyberbullying stemming from the After School app are quickly popping up: Schools across metro Detroit warned parents about it, and a gun threat posted on the app resulted in a heightened level of security and police presence earlier today at another school, MLive reports.

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Chinese handsets account for almost 40 percent of global shipments – Shipments of Chinese handsets for 2014 have totalled over 450 million, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the global total, set to exceed 50 percent by 2016.

SuperDuino Is A Tiny Arduino Board With A Built-in Touchscreen – Another day, another Arduino project. This time it’s something called SuperDuino, a tiny touchscreen powered by a coin cell battery and backed up by a tiny Arduino-Like processor. The kit can be used to build smartwatches and other mini devices and costs about $25 for the entire system. You can add microSD readers, Bluetooth, and wireless connectivity to the SuperDuino, as well.

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Five mobile apps for opening a variety of email attachments – The time to discover you can’t open an email attachment is not when you’re sitting on a plane without the app you need. Brien Posey suggests five tools to keep you productive, even in transit.

Firefox is headed to iOS, browser restrictions be damned – After years of vowing not to bring Firefox to the iPhone and iPad, Mozilla is changing its tune–and is presumably willing to work with Apple’s rules.

Bluetooth 4.2 will get faster, more private – One of the most-used connections between your smart devices is about to get a whole lot faster and more secure. The folks at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) officially adopted a new standard of Bluetooth technology, Bluetooth 4.2. Bluetooth is now in nearly every smartphone and tablet on the market, and with this new specification, the technology can expand before devices are even at the point at which developers have found use-cases. The next generation of Bluetooth devices – coming as soon as this Spring, in some cases, will have more secure connections, faster connections, and a more diverse portfolio of connectivity options.

Security:

Squashed bug opened EVERY PayPal account to hijacking: Yet another tale of incredibly crocked software – PayPal has plugged a huge hole that exposed every account to hijacking. The cross-site request forgery (CSRF) flaw reported by Egyptian researcher Yassar H Ali allowed attackers access to any PayPal account of their choosing if they were capable of convincing a target to click a link.

FTC: Online billing service deceptively collected medical records – The agency reaches a settlement with a billing service that tried to populate online medical records with customer data.

Getting Hacked Is in Your Future – The latest cyber threat is a new piece of programmable malware called Regin. The media has approached the discovery of this code from various perspectives. Most believe it to be some cool multi-purpose code developed by the U.S. or British government. It’s apparently used to spy on large corporations or even target individuals for anti-terrorism reasons or even blackmail. What is completely overlooked in the analysis is that within the next year or two this code will be completely in the wild and reverse engineered. Then, anyone with a computer and a few layers of proxy protection will be able to launch it. We can all become snoops and spies.

Facebook cosies up to ESET for malware detection – Facebook, which earlier this year started partnering with F-Secure and Trend Micro for malware detection, has added Slovak vendor ESET to its suite of security products. The previous tie-ups, detailed here, are worth noting to put the new partnership in context. F-Secure and Trend both pointed Facebook users at their free online scans if devices behaved in a way that suggested infection. ESET is operating under a similar deal, and Facebook similarly says the tie-ups will help it keep malicious links and harmful sites out of News Feeds and Messages.

How to make Android Lollipop more secure – Besides installing third-party software, there are several ways you can enhance your device’s security through built-in controls in Android Lollipop.

Company News:

Netflix Accused of Trying to Secure Internet ‘Fast Lanes’ – Netflix has been a vocal supporter of net neutrality, but the way it caches content and serves up streams appears to violate net neutrality, according to an FCC commissioner. In a Tuesday letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai pointed to Netflix’s decision not to join the Streaming Video Alliance, as well as its Open Connect content delivery system as examples of how Netflix is “working to effectively secure ‘fast lanes’ for its content on ISPs’ networks at the expense of its competitors.”

Google plans kid-friendly products starting in 2015 – Google sees a lot of traffic pop through their servers, but how much of it is from kids? The search company has no real idea, but they’d like to have a better grasp on that knowledge. Whether it’s YouTube, Search, or other properties, kids are using Google stuff now more than ever. To that, Google promises to release kid-friendly versions of their various properties next year. The aforementioned YouTube and Search are likely going to make the cut, as could Chrome.

UK announces a ‘Google tax’ to stop companies diverting profits overseas – The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, responsible for setting the UK’s budget, today announced plans for a new 25 percent tax intended to close loopholes that presently see multinational companies extracting their profits to lower-tax regimes like Ireland. It has already been described as a “Google tax,” though it affects a practice that is widespread across the tech industry and others beyond it: Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, and others have all been subject to scrutiny about the ways in which they account for their profits.

Comcast and Time Warner now running adverts to convince you the acquisition is a good idea – Comcast is in the process of trying to acquire Time Warner in the US and to help convince consumers that the acquisition is a good idea, they are running web adverts to support their agenda.

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Australian court dismisses Apple ‘App Store’ trademark appeal – Apple lost an appeal in Australia’s Federal Court on Wednesday over its bid for the “App Store” trademark. The company applied for the trademark in July 2008, but the application was rejected by the country’s Registrar of Trade Marks. It was also opposed by Microsoft. In his ruling, Federal Judge David Yates wrote that when Apple launched its store and applied for the trademark, it did not mean the company had “coined a new word” or gave the word “app” a changed meaning.

Games and Entertainment:

Target Australia stops selling GTA V in wake of sex worker petition – Major brick-and-mortar retailer Target Australia will stop selling Grand Theft Auto V in its 300 or so stores after an online petition condemning the game’s depiction of violence against sex workers drew more than 40,000 signatures (the chain is not directly related to the US retailer of the same name). In a statement posted online, Target Australia General Manager of Corporate Affairs Jim Cooper cited “feedback from customers about the game’s depictions of violence against women” and “extensive community and customer concern about the game” in making the decision.

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An image from GTA V used to highlight the game’s sexual violence in a Change.org petition.

Sony celebrates PlayStation’s 20th anniversary with discounts on popular titles – Sony is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the original PlayStation console by offering popular game titles for cheap and some additional discounts for PS Plus members, starting today.

Independence Day 2 tipped to arrive in 2016 – We’ve been hearing about a follow-up to Independence Day for quite some time, and finally (finally) there’s good news: 20th Century Fox has given the green light to proceed with the film, which will enter production in May 2015. Such information comes from Deadline, which is reporting that Will Smith won’t be taking up his former role — something that doesn’t come as a surprise to those who have been keeping an eye on the rumors. We’ve got all the details after the jump.

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This Megacut Video Of 45 Disney Characters Singing “Jingle Bells” Will Totally Get You In The Holiday Spirit – Disney Movies Anywhere has cut together 45 Disney characters singing the words in order to bring you an extra special version of “Jingle Bells.”

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Need an electronic circuit? Just load paper and hit print – Researchers have created highly conductive and durable silver nanowire ink that can be used to print durable electronic circuits on paper. The technology is being touted by the researchers at the University of Tennessee as a breakthrough in making inexpensive, flexible, disposable electronic sensors that can be used for a wide range of medical purposes, as well as an “electronic skin” that can act as touchpad sensors on robotics. Robots with electronic skin could, for example, go to a patient’s bedside and through touch, determine vital signs and other diagnostic data, or a patient could use the skin as a touch pad to alert medical staff or find information.

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World’s fastest 2D camera can capture 100 billion frames per second – A new 2D camera developed by a team of biomedical engineers is the fastest ever made, able to image light phenomena in more detail than ever before.

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Illustration of how the camera works.

Ultrasound creates a haptic shape that can be seen and felt – A team at the University of Bristol has used ultrasound to create three-dimensional shapes in mid-air that can be touched and seen.

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Fewer People Than Ever Are Watching TV – The long-prognosticated death of TV may be happening before our eyes—but at a glacial pace. A new in-depth report from tracking firm Nielsen shows that TV is still by far America’s favorite entertainment past-time, but individuals are spending more hours surfing web and viewing streaming services. A growing number of households are choosing to dump TV altogether.

Something to think about:

“There ain’t no free lunches in this country. And don’t go spending your whole life commiserating that you got raw deals. You’ve got to say, ‘I think that if I keep working at this and want it bad enough I can have it.’”

–        Lee Iacocca

Today’s Free Downloads:

CurrPorts – CurrPorts displays the list of all currently opened TCP/IP and UDP ports on your local computer. For each port in the list, information about the process that opened the port is also displayed, including the process name, full path of the process, version information of the process (product name, file description, and so on), the time that the process was created, and the user that created it.

In addition, CurrPorts allows you to close unwanted TCP connections, kill the process that opened the ports, and save the TCP/UDP ports information to HTML file , XML file, or to tab-delimited text file.

CurrPorts also automatically mark with pink color suspicious TCP/UDP ports owned by unidentified applications.

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Pixopedia 2014 – MajorGeek Says: Pixopedia is another free graphics program to add to your collection. It comes portable so it’s is easy to run and move around and has a lot of the features you find in the competition and maybe more. One of the coolest features I found was the ability to use buttons or tool panels. Once you become familiar with the buttons or icons that surround the program, it becomes easy to simply click on an icon rather than go to the standard panels. It will take a bit of getting used to with a new program, but it’s neat. There are a ton of shapes, brushes and other filters available. Give this one a whirl, I think you will be impressed.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Tonight the NYPD chose Lady Gaga and a Christmas tree over democracy – Welcome to America. Now show us your ticket or get lost. That’s what officers of the New York Police Department told hundreds of people tonight as they cordoned off a massive area in Midtown Manhattan, trapping protesters, tourists, workers, residents, and others between barricades that stretched out of sight along 6th Avenue and across two long blocks to Madison Avenue. It was a confluence of two discordant events: NBC’s lavish celebration of Christmas spirit, and the mourning of yet another unarmed black man viciously killed by police.

I was in the crowd created by the NYPD and found myself stuck in close quarters with no escape for at least half an hour near Radio City Music Hall, as tourists and protesters jostled to find out what was going on and where they could go.

The message was clear: the right of citizens to peacefully assemble in public spaces is less important than making sure NBC’s Christmas television special in Rockefeller Center — you know, the one where they light the big tree and have Mariah Carey sing — is packed with happy faces.

Iran moves forward with death penalty over Facebook posts – A 30-year-old blogger and photographer has been sentenced to death in Iran for “insulting the prophet of Islam” on Facebook, drawing renewed attention to the country’s notorious human rights record. The man, Soheil Arabi, was convicted in a Tehran criminal court in August after admitting to posting the defamatory content. His lawyers argued that he had done so while “in poor psychological condition,” according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, and that he was merely sharing views held by others.

Video of police brutality can only do so much: NYPD chokehold cop not indicted – On Wednesday, a Staten Island grand jury cleared a New York Police Department officer of all criminal wrongdoing in an incident that took place over the summer, when officer Daniel Pantaleo put Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man who was a father of six, in a chokehold that killed him.

Garner, an asthmatic, repeatedly told the officer that he couldn’t breathe as he was being choked. Garner’s case shows that, clear rules about taking and handling footage aside, a video that clearly implicates a white police officer in a black man’s death cannot overcome what looks incredibly like—if not out-and-out racism—a dogged determination to uphold the impunity of police officers on the part of the justice system.

Ultimately, it seems, video footage objectively showing how an incident occurred can be ignored. A chokehold, forbidden by the NYPD, can be justified.

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Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 4, 2014

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

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.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 2, 2014

Google Says These Are 2014’s Best Android Apps;  I Asked a Privacy Lawyer What Facebook’s New Terms and Conditions Will Mean for You;  When to image a hard drive, and when to clone it;  The best Internet TV gadgets of 2014;  There’s an App for the Next Time Your Car Breaks Down;  Autodesk Software Now Free For Schools And Students Everywhere;  Setting up Linux Mint 17.1 for the first time;  How to turn a Chromebox into a video-streaming workhorse;  5 Must-Have Tech Gadgets for New Parents;  Apple faces trial in decade-old iTunes DRM lawsuit;  Xbox Live Down, Hackers Take Credit;  Get ‘Titanfall’ on Xbox One and all its DLC for $12;  FBI warns of ‘destructive’ malware following Sony hack;  New Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit 1.05 (free).

Google Says These Are 2014’s Best Android Apps – With more than 1 million apps available, parsing through the Google Play Store can be a challenge. Google has provided some help by offering a list of the best Android apps of 2014. Whether you’re looking to stream a movie, learn a new language or manage your business calendar, chances are there’s an app that will fit the bill. Here’s a look at what Google has highlighted as the best of the best.

I Asked a Privacy Lawyer What Facebook’s New Terms and Conditions Will Mean for You – Over the years, Facebook has slowly expanded its terms and conditions, and last month the company announced that come January 1, 2015 all users will have to agree to new Terms of Service (TOS) or be locked out of the site. Since the social network has roughly 1.32 billion users, that is a BIG deal. But just what is in these new TOS? And should you be worried about them? I spoke with Maninder Gill, a partner at London’s Simons Muirhead & Burton and an expert in intellectual property and privacy law to find out just how far Facebook’s new terms go and how it will affect your online life.

SSLPersonas, making the padlock obvious – This blog post will showcase a Firefox Add-on that illustrates the SSL status of a web page in a more visually striking manner than the traditional method.

When to image a hard drive, and when to clone it – Imaging and cloning will both copy the contents of your drive, but the best way depends on whether you’re upgrading or backing up. Here’s when you should use each one.

Combat holiday stress with Buddhify 2 for Android, iOS – Holiday stress got you down? How about job stress? Travel stress? Facing-another-dreary-day stress? Whatever’s ailing your brain, mindfulness meditation can help. A lot. And a great place to start is with Buddhify 2, an app for Android and iOS that costs $2.99, £1.99 or AU$3.79.

Pro tip: Troubleshooting 10 known OS X Yosemite issues – Jesus Vigo reviews 10 documented issues affecting OS X Yosemite and offers troubleshooting tips to work through them.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Voice control comes to the forefront of the smart home – Forget about your phone or tablet — these voice-control products let you control your home via verbal command.

Six Clicks: The best Internet TV gadgets of 2014 – Today, “cord cutting” — switching off from cable or satellite TV to over-the-air (OTA) and the Internet for your television — still isn’t common. But it’s getting there. There is no single best device, but here’s the best of the best.

How to customize your Gmail signature on Android – Customizing your Gmail signature on Android will allow you to let people know you’re mobile, or help pretend you’re at work.

Compulab’s Utilite2 PC is so small it will fit in a Christmas stocking – The Utilite2 is the next generation in the Utilite range, and comes in at 30% smaller than the previous model. It’s a similar size to a typical desktop mouse, with the aluminum case measuring just 85 x 85 x 27mm. Inside you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor running at 1.7GHz combined with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB DDR3-1066 RAM. Storage comes in the form of 4GB on-board flash memory, but also an mSATA slot for up to a 512GB SSD and a microSD port for up to 128GB cards. Ports wise there’s 1x HDMI 1.4a and 4x USB 2.0 slots. WiFi (802.11/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 are also built in as standard.

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There’s an App for the Next Time Your Car Breaks Down – New companies are taking aim at an industry long-dominated by AAA

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Autodesk Software Now Free For Schools And Students Everywhere – The move means that Autodesk software, including AutoCAD, Sketchbook, 3D Max, Maya and more, will be available to around 680 million students and teachers across 800,000 secondary and post-secondary schools, according to the company, without any paid license required. The catch is that some cloud services and support require additional paid subscriptions, but that’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to enterprise software sales model these days.

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SnapBox expands its high-quality, low-cost photo-printing options – From peel-and-stick posters for less than a dollar to framed canvas prints, the service lets you quickly turn your smartphone pictures (or camera shots, of course) into artwork and the results are fantastic.

Firefox 34 Launches With Yahoo As Its Default Search Engine – Mozilla today rolled out Firefox 34. While most browser updates these days aren’t all that exciting, this one includes a couple of interesting new features. What most users in North America will notice right off the bat, however, is that this is the first version of Firefox with Yahoo as its default search experience. It’s easy enough to change the default search engine in Firefox, and I would guess that most current users will quickly switch back to Google.

How to prevent Firefox from automatically switching you to Yahoo search – Dreading the notion of Yahoo becoming your default search engine in Firefox later this month? Here’s how to stop that from happening.

Setting up Linux Mint 17.1 for the first time – Linux Mint 17.1 with the Cinnamon 2.4 interface may well be the best Linux desktop to date — and I speak as someone who has been using Linux on PCs for over 20 years now. Mint will run on almost any PC from the last decade. It requires only any x86 processor and 512MB of RAM, although 1GB is recommended. You’ll also need 9GB of disk space, though 20GB is recommended, any graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution, an Internet connection, and a DVD drive or USB port. That’s it. To try it for yourself, just do the following steps.

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How to turn a Chromebox into a video-streaming workhorse – Chromeboxes practically beg to have their HDMI ports connected to televisions, so I asked Asus to loan me one for testing. (The company sent a much pricier Intel Core i3 model, but the cheaper Celeron-based Chromeboxes should suffice for basic media streaming.) The Chromebox quickly became a powerful tool in my media-streaming arsenal, going places that other set-top boxes can’t. But it took some work to whip it into TV-friendly shape. Here’s what I did.

5 Must-Have Tech Gadgets for New Parents – Any American who has ever procreated knows what a racket the baby industry is. So, instead of buying a high-tech bottle-warmer (you know a bowl of hot water does the trick too, right?) get mom and dad something they’ll be able to use for years, not months. (Unless you buy them diapers; you can’t go wrong with diapers.) For fresh ideas, try these five unexpected, must-have gadgets for new parents.

Microsoft and NORAD launch 2014 Santa Tracker – Following closely after Google, NORAD’s 2014 Santa Tracker website is up and running in partnership with Microsoft. As with past years, kids can keep track of Santa’s progress as Christmas nears, and while waiting they can play new games, watch some videos, and more. Microsoft says the latest NORAD Santa Tracker features improved performance over last year, as well as some other particulars we have detailed for you after the jump.

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You’ll be able to buy your next box of Girl Scout cookies online – Buying Girl Scout cookies is about to become much easier. For the first time ever, the Girl Scouts of the USA will accept online orders of Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Savannah Smiles, and other cookies during the upcoming selling season. After nearly 100 years of requiring purchases to be made in person, the Scouts are now giving girls the option of setting up a website where friends and family can order boxes from anywhere in the US.

Google Chromebooks trump Apple iPads in schools, says IDC – While some might contend Google’s dominance in certain markets, like smartphones and tablets, there is one sector where Apple’s products usually reign supreme: education. Initially a source of controversy because of price, iPads have become the gadget of choice for schools upgrading to current technology. But apparently, not anymore. According to IDC’s latest figures, Google’s Chromebooks have surpassed the iPad in shipping numbers as far as schools are concerned, revealing a shifting preference and mindset in the education sector and probably a new source of worry for Apple.

Security:

New ATM Skimmers Connect To The Card Reader Via A Nearly Invisible Hole – A new advance in credit card theft technology has hit the streets and it’s pretty clever. The ATM hackers are now drilling a small hole near the card reader and inserting a bit of electronics that connects to the ATM’s innards. The hole is then covered by a decal and the skimmer fished out once the thieves are ready to take in their haul. Discovered by the European ATM Security Team, the new skimmers are not physically attached to the outside of the machine and instead are hidden inside, out of sight. Thieves still have to use hidden cameras to steal user PIN codes, a fact that is key in preventing credit card theft. Hiding the PIN pad with your free hand is imperative no matter where you are.

New evidence points to North Korean involvement in Sony Pictures hack – As Sony Pictures employees still struggle to get back online, new evidence is emerging that suggests North Korea may be behind the hack. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that researchers investigating the hack have found the malicious code to be almost exactly the same as the code used in a March 2013 attack on a series of South Korean banks and broadcasters, an attack widely believed to have been conducted by North Korea. Re/code had previously reported that Sony was investigating a North Korean connection, but this new analysis is the most definitive evidence unearthed so far.

FBI warns of ‘destructive’ malware following Sony hack – The US agency has warned US businesses to stay alert due to the discovery of some particularly nasty malware in the wild — while North Korea refuses to deny involvement.

Uber reportedly gave a job applicant full access to customer travel records – Citing an anonymous source, The Washington Post reports that an Uber job applicant was given unfettered access to the company’s customer ride database after interviewing at its Washington DC offices last year, allowing him to see the travel records of anyone — including family members of politicians. The experience was time-limited, though The Post says that it lasted for “several hours” after the interview concluded.

Phishing scam that penetrated Wall Street just might work against you, too – Researchers have uncovered a group of Wall Street-savvy hackers that has penetrated the e-mail accounts of more than 100 companies, a feat that has allowed them to obtain highly valuable plans concerning corporate acquisitions and other insider information. FIN4, as the group is known, relies on a set of extremely simple tactics that in many cases has allowed them to remain undetected since at least the middle of 2013, according to a report published Monday from security firm FireEye

Officials seize 292 domain names to protect consumers during holiday season – The holiday season is rife with online rip-offs. In a move to protect consumers, law enforcement officials have seized 292 domain names for sites that allegedly were selling counterfeit goods. The sites were being used to illegally sell counterfeit merchandise including luxury goods, sportswear, electronics, pharmaceuticals and pirated goods like movies and music, Europol said Monday.

Company News:

Apple faces trial in decade-old iTunes DRM lawsuit – The past is coming back to haunt Apple, as a nearly 10-year-old class-action antitrust lawsuit accusing the company of trying to monopolize online music distribution is headed to trial. The Apple iPod iTunes antitrust litigation accuses Apple of violating U.S. and California antitrust law by restricting music purchased on iTunes from being played on devices other than iPods and by not allowing iPods to play music purchased on other digital music services. Plaintiffs are seeking about US$350 million in the case.

Microsoft acquires email app Acompli – After accidentally announcing it a little early, Microsoft is officially confirming it has acquired email startup Acompli. The surprise acquisition means Microsoft is picking up a powerful email client for iPhone and Android in another move that further cements CEO Satya Nadella’s focus on cross-platform technologies.

PayPal Reports Record-Breaking Number Of Black Friday Shoppers And Sales On Mobile – The move to offer online shoppers earlier access to Black Friday deals – beginning as early as Thanksgiving Day this year – resulted in record-breaking numbers of consumers shopping on mobile, reports PayPal. Based on its online commerce data, the company reports having seen a 47% increase in PayPal global mobile payment volume on Thanksgiving compared with Thanksgiving 2013, and a 62% increase for Black Friday 2014 over last year. Meanwhile, the company also saw a 43% increase in the number of customers shopping through PayPal mobile this Thanksgiving, and a 51% increase across the same metric on Black Friday.

Zenefits Faces Shutdown In Utah For Giving Its Cloud-Based HR Software Away For Free – Zenefits has become the latest startup to face regulatory scrutiny in a market it serves, as it is now faces opposition from the Insurance Commission of Utah. The Commission is taking the company to task essentially for giving its cloud-based HR software away for free, which the regulator says violates local laws and is unfair to traditional insurance brokers.

Games and Entertainment:

Xbox Live Down, Hackers Take Credit – Hackers belonging to the “Lizard Squad” claimed to have taken down Xbox Live on Monday evening, apparently by means of a DDOS attack. The hacking group, which Attack of the Fanboy noted has been targeting gaming servers for several months, tweeted a short message at 8:37 p.m. Eastern celebrating their latest exploit: “Xbox Live #offline.”

Dragon Age: Inquisition Review – I seldom spend 100 hours on anything these days, let alone a video game, but I spent at least that much time with Dragon Age: Inquisition, the latest sprawling epic RPG from BioWare, studio that brought us Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the Mass Effect series. Dragon Age: Inquisition is the third game in its high fantasy franchise, and it’s easily the most ambitious. It’s also one of the most engrossing games I’ve ever played, and for a fan of this kind of conversation clicker, that’s saying something.

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Great deal: Get ‘Titanfall’ on Xbox One and all its DLC for $12 – “Titanfall,” one of the best-reviewed original multiplayer shooter in years, can now be purchased with all its downloadable content for $12 with an Xbox Live Gold account.

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Kicking it old-school: How EverQuest, RuneScape, and Quake stood the test of time – These PC games have been around far longer than most. Developers behind Quake, EverQuest, and RuneScape explain how they keep gamers coming back after all these years.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Europe has good reasons to fear Google – What the European Parliament is proposing sounds like Ayn Rand’s worst nightmare. Let’s take Google, one of the best and most cohesive set of web services we have, and fragment it into smaller businesses. Let’s introduce friction and bureaucracy between the various parts so that lesser companies with worse products can have a chance to compete. It feels like a classic case of over-regulation — penalizing a successful company for the crime of being better than everyone else — however its fundamental premise is not wrong: Google is too powerful.

The first true color image of Comet 67P looks like Mars – Though the Philae lander did (most of) its job and has gone into hibernation, Comet 67P is no further from the collective consciousness of armchair astronomers across the world. A few images of the comet have been around the block since Rosetta first reached space rock, but they’ve all been in a drab greyscale. Rosetta’s not yet done with 67P, though, and has taken the first true color image of the rock, replacing the grainy, grey image that has been burned into our brains with something more vibrant.

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Coming soon: Murder by Internet – Security experts now believe that the Internet of Things will — eventually — be used for murderous purposes. You can dismiss these concerns as hype or exaggeration, but many security community predictions about earlier Internet-related risks have become true. As businesses raced to develop Web platforms, security experts imagined massive breaches and thefts of personal and financial data in every way possible. There’s no question they were right.

Net neutrality: Five myths, and the real facts – Regardless of where you stand on the net neutrality debate, one thing doesn’t help: misleading or confusing statements. Unfortunately there are plenty of them. We’ve teased out the facts behind five net neutrality myths. It won’t resolve the debate, but it’ll help you understand what’s really going on.

Nature bends to scientists by making archives free – Research studies published in respected scientific journal Nature are now free to read online, publisher Macmillan announced today. The studies are free to read using a software platform Nature describes as “similar to Apple’s iTunes,” but only accessible if you have a direct link provided by a subscriber, and kept in a format that prohibits copying, printing, or downloading. Nature says the shift comes as those who offer scientific funding are demanding that research is made free to read.

Obama Proposes $263M Fund for Police Body Cameras – President Obama on Monday proposed spending $263 million to help equip the nation’s law enforcement officials with body cameras. The move comes amidst unrest in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. There have been conflicting reports about what actually happened that day in August, and many have suggested (including our own Sascha Segan) that requiring police to wear body cameras would reduce the likelihood of police misconduct or provide officers with proof of their actions if there is a dispute.

Two-phone standoff after cop stops man for ‘walking with hands in pockets’ – In Michigan, a police officer stops a man who apparently was doing nothing wrong. They both pull out their mobile phones and film each other. Uploaded originally to the Facebook page of Brandon McKean on Thanksgiving Day, it’s yet another bracing reminder of what sometimes goes on between authority figures and those they deem suspicious. African-American men, for example.

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Lumia 1030 leaks: bigger body, 50-megapixel camera – There’s nothing like a Lumia to get your brain excited about massive smartphone-based camera technology. This morning we’re getting a look at the successor to the Lumia 1020. Nokia’s first Windows Phone with a massive camera at its back, the Nokia Lumia 1020 was originally released with a 41-megapixel sensor. This new Lumia 1030 is said to run with a 50-megapixel sensor, taking the biggest photos any smartphone will have taken yet. By a large margin. And only really beating Nokia’s previous release – now made by the same crew, but owned by Microsoft instead.

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Something to think about:

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

–      Mark Twain

Today’s Free Downloads:

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit – While we’re still riding high on Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit winning the V3 Security Innovation of the year award, we are also happy to announce the general availability of the new Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit 1.05.1.1014.

While with 0.10 beta we did a complete re-write of the underlying service architecture, this build is a complete re-write or refactor of the protection DLL. This refactoring greatly improves the overall stability and reduces most known conflicts with third-party applications as detailed in the Known Issues list.

In addition we’ve added a whole new protection layer. The new Layer0 called “Application Hardening” now includes protections such as DEP Enforcement, Anti-HeapSpraying and BottomUp ASLR Enforcement. The other protection layers have also been improved by including ROP protection and StackPivoting 64bit mitigations in Layer1, 64bit caller mitigations for Layer2 and new application behavior mitigations for Layer3. As an example of Layer3, we’ve added a mitigation for the much talked-about recent PowerPoint zero-day vulnerabilities CVE-2014-4114 and CVE-2014-6352. After some testing we saw that the mitigation suggested by Microsoft for EMET could cause system instabilities and conflicts with third-party applications. We have therefore designed a much more stable mitigation for these type of vulnerabilities.

This 1.05 version also introduces a 14-day trial mode. There are some other UI improvements that can be seen immediately, such as a re-designed shielded applications counter which counts unique instances of applications rather than total number of processes, traybar balloon messages when protection is stopped, or different UI designs depending on the build (Free vs Premium vs Corporate), among others.

TeamViewer – Desktop sharing has never been easier: With TeamViewer you will be able to connect to the desktop of a partner anywhere on the Internet. This is the complete TeamViewer with install and uninstall support.

TeamViewer also works in the other direction: Show your own desktop to a partner over the Internet and illustrate your own developed software, presentations or solutions.

Remote Control without Installation – With TeamViewer you can remotely control any PC anywhere on the Internet. No installation is required, just run the application on both sides and connect – even through tight firewalls.

Remote Presentation of Products, Solutions and Services – The second TeamViewer mode allows you to present your desktop to a partner. Show your demos, products and presentations over the Internet within seconds – live from your screen.

NOTE: Free for non-commercial use only.

Features:

Remote Control without Installation:

With TeamViewer you can remotely control any PC anywhere on the Internet. No installation is required, just run the application on both sides and connect – even through tight firewalls.

Remote Presentation of Products, Solutions and Services:

The second TeamViewer mode allows you to present your desktop to a partner. Show your demos, products and presentations over the Internet within seconds – live from your screen.

File Transfer:

TeamViewer comes with integrated file transfer that allows you to copy files and folders from and to a remote partner – which also works behind firewalls

Works behind Firewalls:

The major difficulties in using remote control software are firewalls and blocked ports, as well as NAT routing for local IP addresses.

If you use TeamViewer you don’t have to worry about firewalls: TeamViewer will find a route to your partner.

Highest Security Standard:

TeamViewer is a very secure solution. The commercial TeamViewer versions feature completely secure data channels with key exchange and RC4 session encoding, the same security standard used by https/SSL.

No Installation Required:

To install TeamViewer no admin rights are required. Just run the software and off you go…

High Performance:

Optimized for connections over LANs AND the Internet, TeamViewer features automatic bandwidth-based quality selection for optimized use on any connection.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs – The FBI has made it no secret that it hates Apple and Google’s efforts to encrypt files in your smartphones and tablets.

Now court documents have emerged showing just how far the Feds are willing to go to decrypt citizens’ data.

The paperwork has shown two cases where federal prosecutors have cited the All Writs Act – which was enacted in 1789 as part of the Judiciary Act – to force companies to decrypt information on gadgets.

The Act, which was signed into law by none other than George Washington and later revised in the 20th century, gives the courts the right to…

“issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.”

That’s a pretty broad remit, but the Feds think it’s just the thing to force Apple and others to break down privacy protections.

Device fingerprinting tech: It’s not a cookie, but ‘cookie’ rules apply – Website operators that turn to new “device fingerprinting” technologies to track internet users’ behaviour in place of “cookies” have to obtain users’ consent in accordance with the same EU legal standards that apply to the use of cookies, an EU privacy watchdog has said.

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