Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 2, 2015

How to Hide Anything on Your iPhone;  Three Ways to Repurpose Your Old Smartphone;  Twitter Launches Vine Kids for G-Rated Videos;  10 common misconceptions about mobile device batteries;  Google Earth Pro now free;  Windows 10: The best tips, tricks, and tweaks;  The Pirate Bay Is Back;  Magic Actions – supercharge your YouTube experience;  iOS 8.1 tips and tricks;  Select users get voice calling on WhatsApp;  WhatsApp Web has privacy holes;  Intuit backpedals from TurboTax changes;  New Facebook tagging scam;  Amazon Prime to drop Doctor Who, other BBC shows;  The Diary Of A Cord Cutter In 2015;  Police stations becoming safe locations for Craigslisters;  My Drone Landed in Someone’s Yard—Is it Theirs Now?  Google Now Gets New Cards from 40 More Apps;  PartitionGuru (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to Hide Anything on Your iPhone – The eyes may be the window to your soul, but your iPhone is the peephole into your daily life. Who you contact, which apps you use, which selfies you snap — it’s all right there. So if you care about your privacy, it’s worth taking some simple steps to protect it. Here are seven ways to keep digital snoops at bay.

Three Ways to Repurpose Your Old Smartphone – Most of us have old smartphones lying around, and while they might not be the latest and greatest anymore, the odds are also high that they’re functional and decently powerful. If you’ve been planning to ship them off to a used phone service but have never gotten around to it, there’s a better option: turning those old handsets into functional tools that complement your everyday life. There’s no shortage of apps to do this, and if you’re drawing a blank on what you can use them for, we’ve three suggestions.

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Example – Set it up as a HUD in your car

Delve into DIY security with these 23 connected cameras – Whether you’re serious about security or simply want to spy on a mischievous pet, these clever cameras are vying for a spot in your home.

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Google Earth Pro drops $399 subscription, now available for free – Google has recently revealed that it is dropping the paid subscription from Google Earth Pro, a more robust version of its Google Earth software. The Pro service will now be available for free, previously costing $399 per year. While the standard version of Google Earth has often been more than enough for casual map and globe users, the Pro version has seen use among professionals from scientists to businesses, who have been able to take advantage of advanced features previously not available for free. For those interested in getting started with Google Earth Pro, the software must be downloaded first, then users must request a key to register, which is no longer subscription based. Existing users will have no changes to their accounts, as their currents keys should continue without expiration.

10 common misconceptions about mobile device batteries – Users go to some strange measures to keep their batteries going and going and going. Yet much of what we hear about mobile batteries is simply not true. Let’s examine some of these misconceptions about the batteries that power the devices we depend upon day in and day out.

Use Magic Actions to supercharge your YouTube experience – The YouTube site has gone through many redesigns over the last few years. Each time, features are added and taken away, which may not suit your preferences. If you want to view videos with fewer distractions, or stop the new autoplay feature, Magic Actions for YouTube has you covered. Magic Actions is available for Chrome, Firefox (through the developer’s website) and Opera. After a quick install, check out these three notable features you don’t want to miss:

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Magic Actions Cinema mode – Bloom by Pogo on YouTube

Google Now Gets New Cards from 40 More Apps – Android users will now be able to learn that their eBay auctions are almost ending via a handy little Google Now card, to name one of the 40 new supported apps.

7 of the funniest Internet services you’ve probably never heard of – The Internet is a dark and scary place, but it’s a hilarious place too. With its nearly infinite possibilities, there’s no interest too niche for an underground community to rally behind. In the past, finding even the most basic services might have been a struggle depending on where you lived. But today, the Internet can provide almost anything, no matter how silly. In that spirit, here are seven of the funniest Internet services you may have never come across before.

Twitter Launches Vine Kids for G-Rated Videos – Twitter’s Vine app is home to some seriously entertaining videos — just don’t expect them all to be kid-friendly. Fortunately, now there’s an easy way to keep those inappropriate videos away from your kids’ eyeballs — without banning them from using the service. Enter Vine Kids. Launched on Friday, the new app offers up tons of adorable animated videos that are appropriate for young audiences. Your child can simply swipe left or right to watch a new Vine, and tap the screen to hear fun sounds.

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The Pirate Bay Is Back After Nearly Two Months Of Downtime – One of the Internet’s most targeted, and yet also most hard-to-kill sites is back again following a raid on its servers over seven weeks ago: The Pirate Bay resides once again at its familiar “.se” URL, offering a database that appears to be fairly intact, with torrents mostly in place up to its closure on December 9. The website, a famed destination for those seeking pirated material (but which also seeks simply to provide a portal for sharing of information via bit torrent technology, and ascribes content choice to users), went down after its servers were raided at a data center in Nacka station near Stockholm, Sweden.

Windows 10: The best tips, tricks, and tweaks – Despite still being very much an early preview, Windows 10 is already brimming with dozens of handy tweaks and tricks—and, because the operating is still in preview, a handful of those tricks unlock powerful functionality hidden to everyday users. Here are some of the most useful Windows 10 tweaks, tricks, and tips we’ve found. Be warned: Some of these may break as the operating system evolves, though we plan to update this article over time.

iOS 8.1 tips and tricks – iOS is a powerful operating system, and iOS 8.1 has some amazing new features, but unless you make a habit of examining all the nooks and crannies, you’re bound to miss something. And when there’s no manual or tutorial, it’s easy for good stuff to remain hidden from view, which means you’re not getting the most from your investment. Whether you’re a novice or a complete power user, there’s bound to be something here that you’ve not come across before.

Betaworks Launches Idiot-Proof Livestream Broadcast App Upclose – Sick of hassling with Google Hangouts? Now you can start broadcasting video live to the world with just one-touch through Upclose, the newest app from Betaworks. Upclose lets you follow people to get notified when they’re on the air, discover who’s livestreaming now, and then comment on their broadcasts in a chat room with other viewers on the web or mobile. That’s it.

Select users get voice calling on WhatsApp – WhatsApp’s rumoured voice calling service might just be around the corner as a few users have started getting the functionality in the app already, as part of a testing program.

Raspberry Pi 2 Arrives: 6x Faster, An “Entry-Level PC” For $35 – Grab your screwdrivers, makers! There’s a new, more powerful Raspberry Pi in town… The just announced Pi 2, which goes on sale today, adds a quad-core chip and double the memory to support more intensive processing tasks. The Pi Foundation also reckons this sequel takes the Pi microprocessor “firmly into the PC space”, as they put it — in terms of power punch packed. “With the Pi 1, there were people using it as a PC but you had to make allowances for the fact it was a $35 PC,” says Pi creator, Eben Upton, in an interview with TechCrunch. “The big difference with the Pi 2 is it’s a PC. It’s not a PC which is pretty good considering it cost you $35. It’s a PC that’s pretty good.”

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How to take dreamy long exposure photos – Fast shutter speeds are great at freezing action in place, but slow the speed right down and watch as movement in a scene turns to smooth, abstract forms. Long exposure photography is a great technique to play with and lends itself particularly to clouds moving across landscapes, waves crashing onto rocky shores, or busy night-time city streets. It doesn’t even require expensive kit or hours of training to get started. Read through this guide to find out how you can create your own slow shutter masterpieces.

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‘Good enough’ speakers and headphones might be good enough after all – The Audiophiliac pondered this age-old question, and he now thinks good enough sound quality may be a good thing after all!

Security:

New Facebook tagging scam is in the wild, containing malware that can infect every device – Bogdan Botezatu of HotforSecurity reports that cyber criminals have created a malicious tagging scam, that starts with an alleged “video,” in which 20 friends are tagged in. Looking at the “video” in the Facebook post, it displays a goo.gl host, which is a URL shortening service, and not a video hosting website, which makes the post very suspicious. The webpage where users are redirected to reportedly does a thorough scan of the victim’s system. The page is apparently device-agnostic, and can serve malware to various devices like Android phones, PC’s, PlayStation consoles, TV sets, smart cars, and media players. Even so-called “dumb phones” are part of the action, as the criminals behind the scam will then redirect the user to an SMS fraud service that will try to lure the user into subscribing to a useless premium service.

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Google Now now SLURPS data from third party apps so YOU don’t have to – Google has inked deals with 40 third party app makers, allowing the ad giant to rifle through data from the likes of Lyft and Airbnb to serve up “relevant information” to its Android users. The firm said in a blog post on Friday that it would begin slurping the data from inside a number of apps for its Google Now service – a creepy, predictive search tech that Mountain View first unveiled in 2012. Google has become increasingly aware of the rich info locked away in other apps that – up until now – the data-scraping firm has been unable to deeply mine for its multi-billion dollar search and ad biz. Terms of the financial deals struck with the likes of Airbnb, Lyft, Pandora, Duolingo and the Guardian newspaper were kept secret.

Verizon to allow customers to disable “supercookies” – In a U-turn statement, Verizon Wireless says that it will soon allow users to completely opt-out of its mobile ad-targeting program, allowing them to delete previously unremovable customer codes, which have been unlovingly dubbed “supercookies”. This move was in response to the growing criticism of the service provider’s shady advertising practices, in particular the storage and tracking of uniquely identifiable user IDs or customer codes. Some privacy advocates, however, fear that this new policy still might not be enough to completely protect consumers.

US Army open sources security code to fight cyber attacks – The US Army recently posted a security code to GitHub with a goal of open-sourcing it to better understand when they come under cyber attack. Called Dshell, the code has been used for the past five years to analyze attacks on Department of Defense networks. The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) believes that the kind of cyber attacks launched on the government can be similar to those on the general public. Thus, they hope to get feedback from non-government users to better understand and prevent future attacks.

WhatsApp Web has privacy holes that could expose user photos – WhatsApp has just rolled out a new service called WhatsApp Web that allows users to sync the messaging app between their mobile devices and desktop, but the new web client has a couple of privacy pitfalls that indicate it’s not really ready for its close-up.

Atlassian resets some HipChat passwords after breach – Affected users of Atlassian’s HipChat service have had their passwords reset after a breach of the service resulted in a number of users’ personal information being accessed.

Company News:

AT&T, Verizon Win Big in FCC Wireless Spectrum Auction – Verizon Communications said it bought 181 licenses for $10.4 billion, which are in markets covering about 61 percent of the U.S. AT&T shelled out $18.2 billion for “a near nationwide contiguous 10×10 MHz block of high-quality AWS-3 spectrum.” T-Mobile, meanwhile, spent about $1.8 billion, but Dish was the third highest bidder at just under $13 billion (it will only pay about $10 billion thanks to a small business deal with the FCC), according to Fierce Wireless. US Cellular also spent about $338 million.

Intuit backpedals from TurboTax changes after upgrade uproar – Intuit backtracked yesterday, not only again apologizing for stiffing TurboTax customers by not telling them of changes in its business model but saying that it would offer partial refunds and free upgrades to its more capable editions. The fiasco over TurboTax — what tax forms it supported in its Q&A-like interview process — harked back to early January, when Consumerworld.org revealed that the desktop edition of TurboTax Deluxe omitted sections for forms required by the self-employed, investors and rental property owners.

Uber Sued In California For Fraud, Negligence Following New Delhi Rape – Nearly two months ago, a young woman was allegedly raped by her Uber driver in New Delhi, India. The incident led to the banning of the service in India and a full-scale investigation there, but the victim has brought her case over to the U.S. now filing a complaint with the Northern District Court of California. The charges raised in the complaint include negligence and fraud, and the victim (who is going by Jane Doe to protect her identity) says that it’s Uber’s hollow marketing tactics and disregard for customer safety that led to the events that unfolded on that December 5 night. One of the focal points of the complaint is Uber’s background check policies with regards to its riders.

Games and Entertainment:

First of 8 limited edition Street Fighter dioramas costs $90 – Hardcore Street Fighter fans, you have a lot of saving to do and some quick pre-orders to place this year. That’s because BigBoysToys HK has been given a green light by Capcom to create some very high-quality and limited edition dioramas for the series. The first depicts Ryu, will be released in March, and can be pre-ordered now through Play-Asia for an eye-watering $89.99. These are no ordinary dioramas, though.

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Amazon Prime to drop Doctor Who, other BBC shows on Feb 15 – If you’re a subscriber to Amazon Prime’s Instant Video service and a big Doctor Who fan, we’ve got some bad news for you. With an announcement to customers expected sometime this weekend, Amazon Prime will no longer have Doctor Who, nor most of its BBC shows, available for streaming beginning Sunday, February 15th. Sources say the reason is due to Amazon not getting exclusivity of the shows when it comes to streaming, meaning if rival services like Netflix can show it at the same time, Amazon doesn’t want it.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Diary Of A Cord Cutter In 2015 – I know I’m late to the party by some accounts. Early adopters cut the cord years ago and haven’t looked back. For me, turning off cable TV was an idea I flirted with, yet I just kept renewing my package deal for some reason. But there has been no better time to finally sever ties with big cable, and their pricey television packages that have you paying for hundreds of channels when you only watch a handful of shows – many of which you’re probably already streaming on Netflix or Amazon.

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Richard Dawkins reads his (very NFSW) hate mail – Richard Dawkins is a famed evolutionary biologist and former Oxford professor who also founded the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. He’s a tenacious advocate for science and an outspoken atheist. A dogged proponent of atheism and an evolutionary biologist? It should come as no surprise he’s a divisive figure, and the aforementioned foundation like to poke fun at just how divisive he is by having Dawkins read his hate mail. It’s weirdly amusing, and very NSFW.

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Police stations becoming safe locations for Craigslisters – Despite the number of crimes surrounding online classified ads like Craigslist and its ilk, there is no stopping people from resorting to these services and transactions to make a quick buck or buy some rare oddity. And despite all that has happened, some still agree to meet in very shady locations or circumstances. So in the absence of some common sense, what are law enforces to do? Why offer to become the witnesses and the drop point of said transactions, of course!

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Insomniacs, now you can spray sleep right onto your skin – Mist melatonin on yourself until you slowly drift off to dream of a world filled with spray-on love, money and power, too.

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How to know where not to fly your drone – It’s easier than ever to get your hands on a ready-to-fly quadcopter to send buzzing around the skies. But there are definitely some guidelines you’ll want to follow before taking off.

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My Drone Landed in Someone’s Yard—Is it Theirs Now? – We’ve all been there before. It’s late at night, you’ve had a couple cocktails, and you want to pull out the ol’ drone for a spin. You know, night piloting. Then, before you know it, a tree jumps right into your quadcopter’s path, and it has crashed onto a nearby lawn in the dark. So, is your drone a goner? Well, that’s a complicated answer.

Eerie drone video flies over Auschwitz 70 years later – Even if you were not aware of its deeply grim and tragic history, a pall would still hang over the location. Recently, the BBC showed just how haunting Auschwitz-Birkenau remains, 70 years after that January day in 1945 by flying a camera-equipped drone over the empty buildings and grounds. Nowadays, the facility stands as a museum, a reminder of the horrors humanity is capable of inflicting on itself.

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iPhone sales take a big bite out of Android shipments – The holidays weren’t so jolly for Android smartphones, after all. Shipments of Android-running smartphones fell in the last three months of 2014 as consumers bought Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in record-shattering numbers. This marks the first decline in Android smartphones during the all-important holiday quarter compared to the previous three months, according to industry tracker ABI Research.

Something to think about:

“What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.”

–     Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Today’s Free Downloads:

PartitionGuru – PartitionGuru is a very useful, easy to use application specially designed to offer users a partition management and data recovery software.

In addition to partition management functions such as creating, deleting, formatting partitions, it also provides more powerful functions like recovering lost files, recovering lost partitions, clone partition to image file, partition clone, disk clone, quick partition etc.

LastActivityView – LastActivityView is a tool for Windows operating system that collects information from various sources on a running system, and displays a log of actions made by the user and events occurred on this computer.

The activity displayed by LastActivityView includes: Running .exe file, Opening open/save dialog-box, Opening file/folder from Explorer or other software, software installation, system shutdown/start, application or system crash, network connection/disconnection and more…

You can easily export this information into csv/tab-delimited/xml/html file or copy it to the clipboard and then paste into Excel or other software.

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Predator – PREDATOR locks your PC when you are away, even if your Windows session is still opened.

It uses a regular USB flash drive as an access control device, and works as follows:

you insert the USB drive

you run PREDATOR (autostart with Windows is possible)

you do your work…

when you’re away from your PC, you simply remove the USB drive:

– once it is removed, the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens

when you return back to your PC, you put the USB flash drive in place:

– keyboard and mouse are immediately released, and the display is restored.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Canada’s New Anti-Terror Bill Is Everything You Hoped It Wasn’t – Under the broad anti-terror legislation tabled Friday, Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), will be given broad new powers to investigate and “disrupt” terrorist plots. Canada’s police services will be able to go after online terrorist propaganda.

When the bill was tabled on Friday afternoon, the Prime Minister vowed to prevent attacks like the ones that hit Ottawa and Quebec in October.

The powers included in Bill C-51 come with little new oversight or transparency. The core of the provisions will allow CSIS to disrupt attacks the organization believes may occur in Canada or abroad.

The government calls them “disruption warrants,” and they will let Canada’s spies do just about anything. According to the legislation those warrants authorize the spies to “enter any place or open or obtain access to any thing,” to copy or obtain any document, “to install, maintain or remove any thing,” and, most importantly, “to do any other thing that is reasonably necessary to take those measures.”

Pointing up   The legal consensus seems to be, once again, the Harper Government ™ has proposed legislation that on it’s face, overrides constitutionally protected guarantees. Should this legislative passed as written, there is broad agreement that it would fail a Supreme Court challenge.

As an indication of just how fascist the Harper Government ™ truly is – it, they, HE, has gone down to defeat in 5 of 6 Supreme Court challenges on constitutional issues in the past 18 months. 

This is a government which supplies each of it’s members with an enemies list. That in itself, is “facism” by definition.

This new legislation contains a proviso which would confer the power of arrest and detention on Canada’s spy agency – effectively creation a Stasi like secret police.

Even the U.S. government – a perpetrator of mass privacy rights violations, would tremble, I suspect, at an anticipated public backlash should such a scheme be seriously proposed as a solution.

In the meantime, Canadians, as is their practice, just sit back on their asses and politely watch a megalomaniac vomit on the heritage bought and paid for by the sacrifices of previous generations.

Individually, we continue to pay a price for the ruling classes political and economic “mistakes”  – which, in some cases, extend back generations.

Gmail, Facebook, Skype excluded from Australian data retention – Australian law-enforcement agencies will not have legal, direct, warrantless access to customer information for international companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other communications platforms under the mandatory data-retention legislation.

The legislation currently before the parliament will force Australian telecommunications companies to retain an as-yet-undefined set of customer data for a minimum of two years. It is expected that this will include call records, assigned IP addresses, email source and destination, and other such information.

Left out of the scheme will be third-party providers, such as internet cafes, universities, and other organisations that offer internet access to the public. The legislation has also been designed to exclude over-the-top players, including international companies such as Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

If, however, the telcos themselves provide over-the-top services such as email or voice over IP, then those services would be caught by the mandatory data-retention scheme, according to Attorney-General’s Department assistant secretary Anna Harmer.

The British army is allegedly training a group of ‘Facebook Warriors’ – Long ago, wars were fought on the basis of physical weapons and strength, however that’s not the case today. The Financial Times reports that the British army is expanding its digital armory of weapons by creating a group of soldiers referred to as the ‘Facebook Warriors’. This unit will be named the “77th Battalion” and will be tasked with fighting their adversaries on social media in a non-lethal way.

This will be accomplished via ‘Reflexive control’; an incredibly difficult technique initially used by the Soviets to spread news and information in a specifically designed manner to get your enemy to respond the way you want them to. The British army intends to do just that.

The 77th Battalion will roughly number 1500 warriors, including journalists and people with skill and experience regarding social media interaction. These ‘warriors’ will use Facebook and Twitter as their primary weapons to gather intelligence, spread falsified news and propaganda.

CIA Interrogations Took Place on British Territory of Diego Garcia, Senior Bush Administration Official Says – Interrogations of US prisoners took place at a CIA black site on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia, a senior Bush administration official has told VICE News.

The island was used as a “transit location” for the US government’s “nefarious activities” post-9/11 when other places were too full, dangerous, insecure, or unavailable, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff.

There was no permanent detention facility such as the CIA facility in Poland, he told VICE News in a wide-ranging interview. His intelligence sources indicated to him that the island was however home to “a transit site where people were temporarily housed, let us say, and interrogated from time to time.”

Wilkerson was Powell’s chief of staff at the State Department from 2002 to 2005, but he did not learn of the CIA’s activities on Diego Garcia until after leaving office. His information comes from four well-placed CIA and intelligence sources, including a veteran who participated in the renditions program, and a member of the Intelligence and Research Bureau at the State Department who was “very much plugged in to what was going on at the CIA.”

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