Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 26, 2015

Three ways to approach online storage;  Here’s What to Do When Your Computer Runs Out of Space;  Twitter rolls out tweet translation feature;  How to find songs by sound with Google Now’s sound search;  12 Ways Tech Could Land You in Jail (Or Worse);  I Took the Internet Addiction Quiz and I Won;  Walmart goes after Chromecast with $25 Vudu Spark;  Pinterest revamps search to attract more male users;  Sling TV Review: Taking TV back;  Microsoft’s HoloLens explained: How it works and why it’s different;  How To Boost Your Wi-Fi With a Range Extender;  Five antivirus scanners for Mac;  Exploit Kits: A Fast Growing Threat;  A Form of Permanent Wage Theft: When the Soaring Price of College Isn’t Worth It;  Apple Paid its New Retail Chief More Than $70 Million Last Year.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Which cloud personality are you? Three ways to approach online storage – Cloud storage is incredibly convenient, but it can also be confusing. Sometimes you’re just not sure what files to put up there or if you should store anything online at all. One way to approach the issue is to ask yourself what you want to get out of storing files online. Is your overarching concern convenience, security, or a mix of the two? Here’s a look at what you might call three different “cloud personalities” that can help you decide what you want to get out of a service like Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox. I’ve also included some suggestions about services or strategies that might work best for each type.

Here’s What to Do When Your Computer Runs Out of Space – You’re cruising along the Internet, mouse in one hand, coffee in the other, and then — wham — like Wile E. Coyote hitting a brick wall, your computer has stopped you in your tracks. “Low Disk Space” reads the flag on your PC’s system tray. Or, if you’re on a Mac, you get the alarming alert window that says, “Your startup disk is almost full.”

I Took the Internet Addiction Quiz and I Won – Internet addiction is not an official condition yet recognized in the DSM-V. But a recent search for “internet addiction help” revealed various rehab centers for internet addiction, therapists who specialize in the condition, as well as Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous. Lately I feel like the internet is cobbling me together. I feel like there is no longer any barrier where I end and the internet begins. I’m kind of scared. But is my obsession with the internet actually an addiction? I’ve decided to answer that question by taking a quiz from Psych Central called Are You Addicted to the Internet? While the quiz is multiple choice, my relationship with the internet is complex, and so I have chosen to write my responses in essay form. I’ve also decided to take this quiz publicly—not so much as to be held accountable, but because what better place to confront one’s internet demons than on the internet with all of you addicts (especially you dicks in the comments section).


Illustrations by Joel Benjamin

Parents in Taiwan are now legally obliged to limit their kids’ computer time – A law has been expanded in Taiwan that obliges parents to regulate their children’s time on the usage of electronic devices. The law now also equates excessive gadget use with smoking and drinking.

Pinterest revamps search to attract more male users – Data from comScore says that out of Pinterest’s 72.5 million US visitors, 71% are women. However, Pinterest wants to tip the scales in the direction of an increased male demographic, and as part of their efforts, the social network has just announced new changes to its search filters that better customize results for users. Now searches will take into account the gender selected by users when they created an account. For example, Pinterest says if a male user searches for watches, results will skew towards what has been pinned by other men.


Twitter rolls out tweet translation feature – Twitter has tapped Microsoft’s language translation tool to make reading tweets in languages you don’t speak a bit easier. The company announced the new translation feature in a tweet yesterday, saying that the service is being provided using Bing Translator. Those who do not want to see the translations have nothing to fear, with Twitter also tossing in the ability to disable translations if desired. We have got all the details on enabling the feature and more after the jump.

12 Ways Tech Could Land You in Jail (Or Worse) – The government and technology companies often tangle in court, but tech users have also faced off with in civil and criminal trials. On their side, if not always at the defense table with them, are digital rights organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which defends, informs, and advocates on their behalf in matters that range from consumer rights to free speech. There are even times when a situation is so dire it gets human rights advocates from Amnesty International involved. Here are a few examples of how tweeting, jailbreaking, and even getting spam can put people on a precarious legal ledge that in some cases may cost them their lives.

Walmart goes after Chromecast with $25 Vudu Spark – But you do get what you pay for. Unlike the $35 Chromecast or its other, more expensive competitors, there’s no Netflix or Hulu. There’s no HBO Go. In fact, there are no apps whatsoever. All the Vudu Spark can do is play streaming videos from Vudu, the Walmart-owned site that rents TV shows and movies. It also comes with a traditional remote. Nevertheless, with Walmart’s considerable muscle behind it, the Vudu Spark could end up finding its way into a number of homes across the country. And since the device only serves as a portal for customers to spend money renting videos from Vudu, Walmart likely doesn’t care if it loses money selling the sticks.


Sling TV Review: Taking TV back – As I write this review, SportsCenter is on in the background. I’ve not watched ESPN in years — actual years — so this review is like revisiting a memory. I’m a bit of a cord cutter (I still get Internet via the cable company), and there are several reasons for that. Sling TV brings cable back into my life, but in the best way possible. I don’t have to re-up some cable contract, and it works with streaming devices I have on every TV. It’s must-have TV. Here’s why.

The best Internet TV Services – TV over the Internet isn’t perfect yet for even the most hardcore cordcutter. Sports, for example, except for Major League Baseball with MLB.TV and the National Basketball Association (NBA) with League Pass, are still often not available or only can be watched if you master a variety of different techniques. Now, that is changing. The Dish Network will be bringing ESPN and ESPN2 to the net with its Sling TV service. In the meantime, however, we have more than enough entertainment riches to keep ourselves happy couch potatoes. Here are my particular favorites that offer either free or subscription access to many movies and TV shows.

How to find songs by sound with Google Now’s sound search – It’s a cool but lesser-known feature of Android: Google search can identify songs just like Songza or Soundhound. Simply tap the search field or say “OK Google” (if you’re using the Google Now Launcher), just as you would to give a Google Now voice command. If music is playing around you, a music icon will pop up. Touch that and after a few moments Google will deliver up the song, album, and artist information, along with a link to the Play Store.


Google will find the song, artist, album, and link you to its page in the Play Store.

New Windows 10 Build With Cortana And Xbox App Now Available For Insiders – The newest pre-launch build of Windows 10 is now available for Windows Insider program members to download and install, and this edition brings a lot of features Microsoft showed off at its special Windows 10 preview event earlier this week. The most notable addition may be Cortana coming to the desktop, giving Windows PCs some of the virtual assistant smarts that Microsoft originally debuted on its smartphone OS.

Windows 10 has a hidden new calendar and clock, here is how to enable it – In the latest version of Windows 10, there is a new clock and calendar that has an updated user interface and if you want to enable this feature, we have the instructions after the jump.

Microsoft’s HoloLens explained: How it works and why it’s different – Has Microsoft suddenly pushed us into the age of “Star Trek” and “Minority Report”? For those confused about what’s actually going on with the company’s new head-mounted gadget, here’s the rundown.


Microsoft’s HoloLens prototype has all the innards of a computer built directly into the headset. That means no cords or even a smartphone required.

Microsoft touts $7-per-user monthly pricing for Windows subscription packages – Ask any IT administrator about Microsoft’s licensing setup and they’ll hurl up a string of four-letter words that would incur an FCC fine if delivered on television. In a world where everyone wants to use everything — especially Microsoft Office — on tablets, phones, and oh yeah, computers, Microsoft’s customary one-license-per-device model means death by a thousand cuts for most enterprises. That’s why it was a big deal in December when Microsoft rolled out the Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS), an optional add-on to the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement that gives access to Microsoft Office 365; the Enterprise Mobility Suite for mobile management; and, for the first time ever, a per-user (not per-device) licensing model for Windows.

Remind music app helps Alzheimer’s patients bring back memories – Emily Keller is a designer who created Remind, which allows families to curate playlists that help people with Alzheimer’s remember parts of their lives through music.

How To Boost Your Wi-Fi With a Range Extender – The Wi-Fi gear is installed towards the back of my place. The further I go towards the front of the house, the worse the signal. If I try to do much more than check email in my front room, it takes forever. Streaming YouTube or Netflix is out of the question. Fortunately, this is why they make wireless Wi-Fi range extenders. These are small boxes that can extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal by boosting it and retransmitting it.


Adobe gets second Flash zero-day patch ready 2 days early! – Good news from Adobe about CVE-2015-0311, the unpatched zero-day in Flash. The patch is now ready via auto-update – 2 days early!

Exploit Kits: A Fast Growing Threat – These clusters of criminal code are secretly dotted around the Internet, hiding on invisible landing pages. When you encounter one, your computer is automatically catalogued. The Exploit Kit builds up a picture of what everyday software you have running, such as browsers, PDF readers, Flash Player, Java, and most importantly whether any of these have flaws, called vulnerabilities. It is basically looking at your computer for known holes to exploit. After figuring out which of these weaknesses are present, it uses pre-built ‘exploit’ code to force this hole wide open. This essentially leaves your computer at the mercy of the attacker, allowing them to install whatever malicious software they want, bypassing many security software programs.

Five antivirus scanners for Mac – Think you don’t need an antivirus scanner for your Mac? Get your head out of the sand and get protected! While malware is much rarer on OS X than it is on Windows, the increased popularity of the platform means that hackers have turned their attention to this new ecosystem. And protecting your Mac won’t cost the earth either, with four out of the five antivirus scanners listed here being totally free.

Google leaves most Android users exposed to hackers – An executive confirms Google has no plans to fix a security hole in the default browser for older versions of Android, which are relied on by around 60 percent of all Android users.

China is cracking down on VPN services with ‘upgrade’ – China has been cracking down on Internet freedoms lately, having blocked Gmail last month and been pegged for a man-in-the-middle attack against Microsoft’s Outlook recently. A new report shows that isn’t the end, however, with word surfacing that the Chinese government has now set its sights on VPN services. Some VPN users inside the nation have reported being unable to use their VPN service, and the reason is said to be due to a Great Firewall “upgrade”.

Malaysia Airlines website attacked, big data dump threatened – The airline said in a statement on its Facebook page that its domain name system (DNS) was compromised and as a result users trying to access the URL were being redirected to a hacker website. At this stage, Malaysia Airlines’ Web servers are intact, it added. The airlines assured customers that it had not been hacked and “this temporary glitch does not affect their bookings and that user data remains secured.” The Lizard Squad countered the claim of the airlines and released what appeared to be a travel itinerary receipt as proof that it had hacked into user data.

Company News:

Apple Paid its New Retail Chief More Than $70 Million Last Year – How much does Apple care about its retail stores? Enough to pay more than $70 million to the woman heading them up, making her the highest-paid exec at the company. Apple revealed in an SEC filing Thursday that new hire Angela Ahrendts earned $73.4 million in 2014, almost all of it in stock awards. Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry, joined Apple in May as the senior vice president for retail and online stores.

Pointing up   When the shit hits the fan over income inequality – and, don’t doubt that it’s coming  – an enema on an unprecedented scale – people like this will have good reason to duck. It’s been said – if you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain. Maybe so, but I’ll tell you this – in present circumstances – if you’re not once again a liberal at 50, then you have no soul.

Box Skyrockets 50% To More Than $21 Per Share In First Minutes As A Public Company – Today Box opened at around $20.50, far above its $14 IPO price, giving the company a valuation of around $2.5 billion. The company was valued at just under $1.7 billion at $14 per share. Box picked up $175 million in the transaction. Box’s IPO has been hotly anticipated, due in part to the fact that some view the company as a bellwether for other quickly growing, but still unprofitable firms. Had Box stumbled out of the gate, despite its modest pricing, valuations across the board for private companies in similar financial shape would have taken a nasty implicit knock.

Dish Network liable for millions of telemarketing violations, rules court – In a recent court ruling, Dish Network was found to be liable for millions of telemarketing violations, including failure to honor Do Not Call requests. The ruling was made by the Central District of Illinois’ district court, which says that Dish has “tens of millions” of calls under its belt that weren’t made in line with the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. This is a partial summary judgement victory for the FTC, which had a case filed on its behalf by the Justice Department back in early 2009.

Sony delays earnings report in wake of hack attack – Sony has requested approval to delay its third-quarter earnings report, citing damage to network systems in its Sony Pictures Entertainment division caused by the cyberattack it sustained late last year. Sony Pictures shut down its entire network in response to the attack. While restoration work is under way, its financial and accounting applications won’t be fully functional until early February 2015, it said. As a result, it requested an extension of its regular Feb. 16 deadline for filing the report until March 31.

Expedia Buys Travelocity for $280 Million – The companies have already been working together for some time, so this acquisition will just be an extension of their existing relationship, and shouldn’t cause any major changes for users. Since 2013, Expedia has been powering the technology platforms for Travelocity’s U.S. and Canadian websites and providing Travelocity access to its hotel supply and customer service program.

Microsoft Acquires Revolution Analytics To Bolster Its Analytics Services – Microsoft today announced that it has acquired Revolution Analytics, an open-source analytics company with a strong focus on the highly popular R programming language for statistical computing. Microsoft says that it made this acquisition “to help more companies use the power of R and data science to unlock big data insights with advanced analytics.” The two companies did not disclose the financial details of the transaction.

Uber suspended a dozen drivers for getting proper registration – Uber has again pulled a business move that has garnered controversy, this time by suspending drivers who elected to follow state law rather than company demands. In California, individuals who drive for hire are required to register their cars as commercial vehicles rather than personal ones. Some drivers complied with that requirement, but were give the boot by Uber, which told the drivers they must switch over to personal registration to get their driving privileges back. At least 12 drivers were suspended.

Games and Entertainment:

Millennials’ Favorite Trivia Game Dominates App Store Charts – Trivia Crack, a game show style quiz app that launched in Argentina, is swiftly taking over schools and college campuses around the world. For months Trivia Crack has been one of the most popular apps in the American app store, currently topping both the free and paid app charts. Now boasting 85 million users and 800,000 daily downloads, the app yesterday expanded with a UK version.


Blitzkrieg 3 hands-on preview: An asynchronous war of your own making – Old franchises never die. They just sort of wait around in the shadows until someone says, “Hey, maybe we should make another of those.” Case in point: Nival is making Blitzkrieg 3, a follow-up to the studio’s 2005 real-time strategy game Blitzkrieg 2.


Gearbox Launching Homeworld Remastered Collection Feb. 25 – Homeworld, one of the more beloved space-strategy franchises of the late 1990s/early 2000s, is flying back into relevancy. Just announced today at the PAX South convention, a brand-new HD remake of both Homeworld and Homeworld 2 will arrive this year—February 25, to be specific, which is more than a decade since either game was first released.


DayZ has sold 3 million copies even though it’s still in development – Open-world zombie survival game DayZ has sold over three million copies since launch in December 2013, according to developer Bohemia Interactive. It sold one million copies during its first month on sale, and passed the two million mark during its first four months. Those are impressive numbers for any game, let alone one that spawned from a user-generated mod and is still in the alpha stage of development.


10 of the meanest video games ever – Not every game is some escapist power fantasy designed to make players feel big and tough. Some are just downright cruel and enjoy screwing players over with brutal difficulty or even nasty tricks. While still plenty of fun, those are the games you have to watch out for. So, in no particular order, here are ten of the meanest video games to ever be unleashed…

Off Topic (Sort of):

A Form of Permanent Wage Theft: When the Soaring Price of College Isn’t Worth It – Supporters claim for-profit schools provide access to higher education for a demographic neglected by traditional colleges, but their graduates are among the most indebted in the country.

37 Stunning Photos That First Appeared In Sports Illustrated – Over the years, photographers for the magazine have captured the greatest moments in sports.


Derek Jeter in 1996.   Chuck Solomon/Sports Illustrated / Getty Images

Do Smarter People Drink More? – It’s the booziest time of the year, and also the most hung over: According to one study, 96 percent of Americans have been hung over at work after a holiday party, or know someone who has. Creative hangover cures like dried sour plums and poached duck embryos may ease (or exacerbate) physical symptoms, but here’s something that might help the self-reproach: You can blame your hangover on your high IQ, because studies show there might be a positive correlation between intelligence and alcohol consumption.

33 Ways You Know You’re Australian – What Aussies think makes them Aussies. As tweeted via Twitter’s globally trending #youknowyoureaustralianwhen hashtag.


2. You call McDonald’s Maccas.

Mars rover reaches highest point in 7 years, snaps this panorama – The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reaches another height as it celebrates its 11-year anniversary with a video and patriotic panoramic photo just released by NASA.


AT&T ushers in the cross-country call, 100 years ago – On January 25, 1915, AT&T completed the first transcontinental telephone call in the US, after completing the challenging stretch from Denver to San Francisco.


The four original phones used for the first transcontinental telephone call were unveiled this week and will be on display at the California Historical Society.

James Martin/CNET

FAA tells airlines to remind flyers that checking e-cigs is a bad idea – Pointing to recent incidents — one plane had to be evacuated last summer when a checked e-cigarette overheated and caused a fire — the FAA notes that it’s much easier to spot potential hazards if e-cigs are in the cabin and visible to flight crew and passengers alike. And if you’re one for modding the components inside, you might be raising the odds of a problem in the skies. “The danger may be increased when users modify and rebuild their reusable e-cigarette devices and interchange original and aftermarket batteries, heating elements, and vaporizing components,” the FAA said.

Something to think about:

“We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.”

–        Walt Kelly (1913 – 1973), “Pogo” (comic strip)

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Editor –  MajorGeek says: How about a tool that can open, view and edit just about any file on your computer? I bumped into this utility while tinkering in VMWare. It promised to open all sorts of files and they weren’t kidding around about that. It can be a real pain in the backside to have all the tools you need to open many types of files and this comes in handy if you occasionally need to look at a Microsoft Excel file, but don’t have nor want Microsoft Office. It does go beyond viewing and features an image editor, spell checker, file converter and more depending on what you are opening.

The number of file types it can open borders on massive. Some of the more known types include pdf, xls, eml, reg, pdf, xml, jpg, gif, png, java and more. I would guess it can open about 100 different types of files. The one minor drawback is your file association settings (File, File Associations) and select the files you want it to detect and open. It’s not perfect in this area; the perfect settings would be to select all, then remove the ones you know you have a program to open with. If you don’t have a program installed to open a certain file, Free Editor does not come up as a list of programs. If you don’t need it a lot that means you will need to save the file on your computer, open Free Editor then and go to “File, Open”. Still, this one stays on my computer for when I need it.


Windows 10 Build 9926 Technical Preview – Here is the latest Windows 10 Technical Preview for those who want to essentially beta test the next Windows. If not, we did take a look at the previous build at 7 Plus 8 Equals 10 – Hands On With The Windows 10 Technical Preview.

Remember, trying out an early build like this can be risky. That’s why we recommend that you don’t install the preview on your primary home or business PC. Unexpected PC crashes could damage or even delete your files, so you should back up everything.

If you want to stop using Windows 10 Technical Preview and return to your previous version of Windows, you’ll need to reinstall your previous version from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC—typically a DVD. If you don’t have recovery media, you might be able to create recovery media from a recovery partition on your PC using software provided by your PC manufacturer. You’ll need to do this before you upgrade. Check the support section of your PC manufacturer’s website for more info.

After you install Windows 10 Technical Preview, you won’t be able to use the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Wikileaks staffers are SHOCKED that FBI read their Gmail – Wikileaks really needs your donation — to purchase an email server. Three Wikileaks staffers, working for an organization hated by the US government, led by a man highly critical of both the US and Google, decided to use Google’s Gmail — because its so good.

So, the FBI — armed with secret warrants — forced Google to hand over contents of the staffers’ Gmail accounts. Wikileakers are now shocked, nay outraged, it took Google three years to reveal the disclosure. Surprise.

US spy program has financial, security impacts, says Snowden – The U.S. National Security Agency needs to consider the repercussions of its spying on electronic communications and data, especially how that impacts U.S. economic interests, former NSA analyst Edward Snowden said today.

“There’s a big question on if the potential intelligence we gain is worth the effort. They’re reducing the trust of the security in American products. This is critical in American industry. It has a real cost, not just moral but financially,” said Snowden, speaking Friday via video at a Harvard University conference on privacy in a networked society. He also said the NSA must understand that the methods it employs to secretly collect data can also be used against the U.S.

Snowden made international headlines in 2013 after releasing classified U.S. government documents that detailed the NSA’s extensive spying programs. Some of those documents, which are still being released, showed that the NSA placed or attempted to insert back doors in hardware, software and Web services from U.S. tech companies. This discourages potential customers and has cost the U.S. at least US$35 billion, said Snowden, citing studies.

Snowden now resides in Russia after the country granted him a three-year residency permit in 2014, as he expects to be prosecuted for his disclosures by the U.S.

Facebook’s European Privacy Class Action Hearing Set For April 9 – The class action covers a number of areas ranging from data use policy under EU law to PRISM surveillance support and the unlawful introduction of “Graph Search.” (The full list is below.) According to Europe vs. Facebook, the social network refutes the claims, arguing that the lawsuit is inadmissable because it cannot be sued by its users.

The purpose of the April 9 hearing is for the court to decide whether Facebook has valid objections about the admissibility of the lawsuit. Contacted for a response, Facebook says it has nothing more to add right now.

So far, the class action has been limited to 25,000 who can claim up to €500 each in damages, resulting in a case that could cost Facebook $14 million. The claimants are also demanding a “suspension of data usage” by the social network. Perhaps most importantly, if won — or even if simply prolonged in the public arena — the case could do a lot in PR damage. And if Facebook actually loses the case, it could result in orders for Facebook to change its practices in the region.

Turkey orders Facebook to block pages that insult the Prophet Mohammed – Turkey has moved to block several Facebook pages considered insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. A Turkish court ordered Facebook to close the offending pages in a ruling handed down Sunday, Reuters reports, threatening to block access to the social network if it doesn’t comply.

The ruling comes amid heightened tensions in the Middle East over this month’s attacks on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which appears to have been motivated, in part, by the publication’s depictions of the Prophet Mohammed. One week after the attacks, Charlie Hebdo once again featured the prophet on its cover, sparking protests across the Muslim world. In response, a Turkish court ordered all news sites publishing the cover to be blocked, while authorities launched an inquiry into a newspaper that published four pages of the issue as a show of solidarity.

Turkey has taken a hard stance on social media and freedom of speech under right-leaning Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Last year, the government blocked access to Twitter after users posted tweets linking the prime minister to a corruption scandal, and implemented a two-month ban against YouTube on similar grounds. In December, police arrested more than two dozen journalists and media executives in a move that the European Union condemned as an attack on the free press.


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

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 26, 2015

  1. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    33 Ways You Know You’re Australian

    Too funny and too true. One happy past time we have down here is telling tourists to the country “If you are walking around in the bush, watch our for the dropbears in the trees”, the will fall on your head”. Some believe it too lol.

    I remember eating those Fag lollies as a kid. Too politically incorrect these days though.


    • Hey Mal,

      Glad you liked that. It sure filled in some of my knowledge blanks.

      “Fag lollies” – political correctness has robbed us of another one. 🙂