7 things Net neutrality won’t do; US court rubber-stamps dragnet metadata surveillance (again); Meet the free encryption app that promises to put your privacy first; The 10 Coolest Things the Samsung Galaxy S6 Can Do; Installing Signal, an Encrypted Messaging App for iPhone; How to transfer any media file to your iOS device; Streaming Music Showdown: Beats vs. Spotify; New Tinder Charges Whatever It Wants; Hands on with Outlook for Android; OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 public beta arrives with Photos; Here’s the New Camera That Could Kill GoPro; This browser extension wants to stop you from tweeting something you’ll regret; D-Link patches router, says more fixes are on the way; IBM rolls out 3 new iOS-based enterprise apps; Tor Users Must Now Provide A Phone Number To Open A New Twitter Account; Netflix to go live in Australia and New Zealand on March 24; WonderFox DVD Ripper Speedy (free).
7 things Net neutrality won’t do – One day after the FCC adopted new Net neutrality rules, consumers are left scratching their heads about what it means for their Web-surfing experience. Has anything really changed?
John Oliver mocks Verizon, celebrates Net neutrality decision – Did calling FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler a dingo steer the Net Neutrality debate to its conclusion? Ever since comedian John Oliver spent 13 minutes on his HBO show in June explaining his views on this difficult topic — causing the public-comment system on the FCC’s website to crash — there have been mutterings that his intervention was decisive. It was inevitable, therefore, that he might spend a couple of minutes of last night’s “Last Week Tonight” in a mood of celebration.
US court rubber-stamps dragnet metadata surveillance (again) – The decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to green-light the NSA’s mass surveillance of US phone call metadata until 1 June comes a year after President Barack Obama promised to end the controversial programme. The programme has been extended five times in the 14 or so months since. White House officials have repeatedly said they want to be in step with Congress in ending the programme, whose intelligence value has long been criticised by privacy activists.
Google reverses its promise to enable encryption by default in Android Lollipop – The search giant will let phone makers decide whether or not to enable encryption-by-default, saying it will be considered for “future” versions of Android.
Meet the free encryption app that promises to put your privacy first – Peerio is an encrypted messaging and file storage app for Windows, Mac, and the Chrome browsers that takes the likes of Gmail and Outlook, HipChat, and Dropbox to task. The app puts its users in the privacy driving seat, clearly marking for the lay user when something is encrypted. What sets this app apart from most other messaging and file storage services is the enabled-by-default end-to-end encryption, which lets users hold onto the keys. The aim is to make the data unreadable and useless to anyone who might succeed in snatching it.
Installing Signal, an Encrypted Messaging App for iPhone – In the age of ubiquitous government surveillance, the only way citizens can protect their privacy online is through encryption. Historically, this has been extremely difficult for mere mortals; just watch the video Edward Snowden made to teach Glenn Greenwald how to encrypt his emails to see how confusing it gets. But all of this is quickly changing as high-quality, user-friendly encryption software becomes available. App maker Open Whisper Systems took an important step in this direction today with the release of a major new version of its Signal encrypted calling app for iPhones and iPads. The new version, Signal 2.0, folds in support for encrypted text messages using a protocol called TextSecure, meaning users can communicate using voice and text while remaining confident nothing can be intercepted in transit over the internet.
Tor Users Must Now Provide A Phone Number To Open A New Twitter Account – It isn’t clear whether Twitter is clamping down on Tor because it sees the browser (and its ability to protect a user’s unique IP address) as fertile grounds for trolls. There’s a chance that it may be testing new process that will eventually roll out to all new sign-ups. The problem with this move is that, despite its reputation with some, Tor is not simply a front for illicit activity. Its security (relative to other browsers) is relied on by many operating in legitimate circles, including those working as human rights and security activists. Forcing all new accounts to provide directly identifiable data — such as a phone number — is a risk to those that need to keep a low profile.
Sure, here’s my number. lol
The 10 Coolest Things the Samsung Galaxy S6 Can Do – The S6 isn’t just the most exciting Android phone, it may be the most exciting of all phones.
You Can Now Embed Twitter Video On Your Website – Twitter has launched an embedding feature for Twitter-hosted videos, letting you put any movies shot using its native video capture and publishing tool on your site, complete with an embed button on Twitter’s on website. Clicking the “Embed Video” option in the “…” expanded options menu from a tweet featuring a native Twitter video will expose a snippet of HTML code, setting it up for a copy and paste into your own site’s HTML or CMS companies window. Here’s how it looks:
How to transfer any media file to your iOS device – Using the Mac app Waltr you can transfer any type of video or music file to your iOS device without the need for a companion iOS app.
Streaming Music Showdown: Beats vs. Spotify – It’s been almost nine months since Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats catapulted the Dr. Dre-backed streaming music service into the limelight for casual music listeners. And while Apple is reportedly working on an overhaul of the service, I spent the last nine months as a paid Beats Music subscriber, after having used Spotify exclusively for more than a year. Beyond the music, the differences between the two services are stark. Here is what you need to know in comparing the two most prominent (with apologies to all the other players) streaming music services on the market:
Hands on with Outlook for Android – Microsoft has released an Outlook client for Android. Take a look at how it works.
This browser extension wants to stop you from tweeting something you’ll regret – Twitter can be an innocuous journal of mundane thoughts, a breeding ground for unrestrained hate, or a place where people say really dumb things they will soon regret. A new browser extension wants to help you prevent that feeling of regret by making sure you never tweet the dumb thing in the first place. The extension, created by Carnegie Mellon professor Paolo Pedercini, changes Twitter’s text field prompt from “What’s happening?” to “Remember: you are always one tweet away from being fired.”
New Tinder Charges Whatever It Wants – Tinder’s “Rewind” functionality just went live, finally giving users the ability to go back in time and swipe right instead of left. The “Rewind” feature is included in the premium tier of the service, Tinder Plus, which was unveiled today and costs anywhere between $9.99 and $19.99 in the United States, depending on the age of the user. That’s right. Tinder Plus costs $19.99 for users older than 30, while it costs just $9.99 for folks who are younger than 30.
OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 public beta arrives with Photos – Those who are signed up to be part of Apple’s OS X Beta Program have scored the first public beta for OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 today, perhaps most notable for its inclusion of the new Photos app with which we have previously gone hands-on. That alone is enough to drum up excitement, but the pre-release comes with some other goodies, as well, including those new more diverse emojis and new support for Google’s two-factor authentication account security feature.
Here’s the New Camera That Could Kill GoPro – Xiaomi unveiled its first action camera on Monday, and it beats the entry-level GoPro Hero on both price and specs. The Yi Camera, which will be available in only China, is on sale for 399RMB ($64), about half the price of the $130 GoPro Hero, The Verge reports. The Yi Camera has a 16-megapixel camera that can record 60 frames per second. That trumps the GoPro Hero’s five-megapixel camera, which can record only 30 frames per second.
How to enable Chrome’s clutter-free experimental reading mode – Other browsers have had it for years, but Chrome is finally adding a “Reader mode” that strips down an online article to its most essential parts—images and text—to make it easier to read. The new feature, dubbed Distill, is currently a work in progress but is still worth trying out for full-time Chrome users. Here’s how I enabled the Distill feature in Windows 8.1.
D-Link patches router, says more fixes are on the way – D-Link issued fixes on Monday for flaws that could allow remote access to one of its routers, and will patch several other models in the coming week. The vulnerabilities were found by Peter Adkins, a systems engineer in Canada who said he alerted the company to the issues in early January and decided to publicize them last week after falling out of contact with D-Link. D-Link acknowledges Adkins’ findings in its advisory, which included three new firmware versions for its DIR-820L router. The company expects to release firmware updates in the next week for the DIR-626L, DIR-636L, DIR-808L, DIR-810L, DIR-826L, DIR-830L and DIR-836L.
Mozilla scrubs Superfish certificate from Firefox – Mozilla has released an update to Firefox that erases the self-signed digital certificate implanted by Superfish, the vulnerable adware that blew up in Lenovo’s face a week and a half ago. The update was issued Friday, Feb. 27.
Antivirus Maker Avast Is Latest Overseas Tech Firm Blocked In China – Popular security software company Avast is the latest overseas technology company to get caught in China’s censorship net after users began reporting that its service and website were blocked inside the country. Data from GreatFire.org shows that Avast.com has been unavailable in China since Sunday. Users of Avast — which claims over 220 million global users of its antivirus and security products for Windows, Mac and Android — posted screenshots on Weibo, Avast’s forum and other sites showing issues.
Google confirms that it will launch its own wireless service – No matter your opinion of Google, most will agree that Google Fiber is a good thing for not only consumers, but the industry as a whole; as it puts pressure on ISPs and gives consumers another option for broadband. Because of this, hearing that Google is about to launch a wireless service too sounds fantastic, but the end result will likely have less impact than Google Fiber.
PayPal Buys Paydiant, The Mobile Wallet Behind CurrentC, To Raise Its Game v. Google + Apple – PayPal, the payments service with 162 million users preparing to separate from e-commerce giant eBay later this year, is announcing an acquisition today to help build out its mobile business targeting physical merchants, and sharpen its focus in competition with other tech payment hopefuls like Apple and Google. It is buying Paydiant, a startup out of Boston that makes mobile wallet technology. That technology, in turn, powers payment apps for large business like Subway, Harris Teeter supermarkets, Capital One bank, and — perhaps most notably — MCX, a merchant-owned network that is developing a payment app called CurrentC.
IBM rolls out 3 new iOS-based enterprise apps – IBM has unveiled a fresh crop of enterprise apps resulting from the partnership it forged with Apple last year. Announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the three new mobile apps for iOS target the banking, retail and airline industries and join the 10 industry-specific IBM MobileFirst apps that arrived in December.
Judge appears poised to approve Apple, Google anti-poaching settlement – Judge Lucy Koh in August rejected the companies’ initial $324.5 million offer to settle the case accusing four Silicon Valley giants of conspiring to stay away from each other’s employees.
Games and Entertainment:
Celebrate YouTube Music Award Winners With Exclusive Content – Google on Monday announced the winners of its 2015 YouTube Music Awards, which honors the artists that made the biggest splash on the video-streaming site over the last six months. The list of winners includes big names like Beyoncé, Brad Paisley, Ed Sheeran, Hozier, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Manaj, One Direction, Pharrell, Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, and Taylor Swift. Head over to the 2015 YouTube Music Awards channel to see the full list of winners, who collectively pulled in more than 47 billion views over the past six months
Netflix to go live in Australia and New Zealand on March 24 – Summary:Netflix has set a launch date for its service in Australia and New Zealand, and to complement its arrival, it has signed agreements with iiNet, Vodafone New Zealand, and Microsoft Xbox.
Score a $10 Xbox gift card when you pre order games from the Microsoft Store – Earlier today the Microsoft Store tweeted that users could score a $10 Xbox digital gift card when a pre-order of a game is purchased via the Store. The gift does not apply to all games listed here, but you could preorder Halo 5: Guardians, Battlefield Hardline, Rise of the Tombraider or Dead Island 2 among others to qualify for the gift. Most games that include the free gift card range between $39.99 and $59.99, but we found one costing $29.99 called ScreamRide for Xbox 360 that sweetens the deal.
Video Game Guns Get Everything Wrong – There’s no weight, gravity, or consequence to shooting in games, no effort on the behalf of game-makers to appropriate what it takes, both physically and mentally, to fire a gun at a person. All you get are three lousy buttons. After that, you can inflict violence—or at least, fire your weapon—with no fuss or cognition. If we’re talking morality, or even good writing, gaming’s simplified version of shooting does nothing to represent the complexity or horror of real-world violence. If we’re talking what’s fun to play, doing the same thing over and over, without having to think about it, soon grow old. I think games would improve, both in terms of narrative and raw enjoyment, if they obeyed how guns work in reality.
The player’s perspective in 2013’s ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’
Epic is letting anyone build games with Unreal Engine 4, for free – A year ago, Epic Games decided to cut the amount of revenue it collected from developers who used its Unreal Engine platform and game development tools in an effort to attract smaller developers. But at GDC 2015, Epic is taking things a step further and making Unreal Engine 4 (as well as any future updates) completely free up front to build games with, though it’ll still take a cut of game revenue.
Google API puts games on TV as phone/tablet become controller – Android users might have another reason to want an Android TV soon. Adjunct to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Google is hosting a Developer’s day event, and has announced a new API. Called ‘Nearby Connections’, the API has a few handy tweaks for Developers, and when used properly, you as well. With Nearby Connections, users will be able to use Android devices as game controllers for Android TV-ready games. It’s only available on one game so far, but expect more to follow suit quickly.
New demo shows Firewatch might be a perfect exploration game – Gone Home, a first-person exploration game that hit PCs back in 2013, was a breath of fresh air for gaming in that it demonstrated how to make an affecting game without ever needing a gun. Firewatch looks like its natural successor, as watching 17 minutes of gameplay, courtesy of IGN, is a fascinating and singularly engrossing introduction into the life of a fire lookout. Firewatch is being developed by San Francisco-based out Campo Santo, which is comprised of folks who helped develop The Walking Dead Season 1 at TellTale Games, as well as minimalist artist Olly Moss, whose work you might recognize from a few certain Star Wars posters.
Play the Best New iPhone Puzzle Games – Looking for a new iPhone game a little more mentally stimulating than Angry Birds? Try one of these five puzzle games, sure to confound and delight you.
Under the Sun
Google Launches New Analytics, Monetization Tools For Android Game Developers – Google today announced a couple of new tools for game developers on its Android platform. These include new analytics to help developers better understand in-game player behavior, as well as a number of new monetization features through its AdMob platform. Google also launched a new game-centric Nearby Connections API for Android TV, its nascent smart TV platform.
Off Topic (Sort of):
What I Learned Writing About Bad Cops for a Year and a Half – The problems facing law enforcement and its relationship with the public are enormous, and they’re divided into poisonous, spiny slices. It’s not just local police, and it’s not just federal authorities. It’s local cops, and it’s federal money. It’s dangerous and unnecessary laws against vices like drugs, prostitution, and gambling—and it’s the conduct of individual bad cops. It is mission creep. It is excess war gear going to police departments, and it is the feeling that police are at war with the people whom they ostensibly serve. It is police who don’t understand mental illness, or physical disabilities such as deafness—or rather, it is police who pull the trigger too quickly on even suspects who don’t understand what’s happening.
Future-proof your IT career: 8 tech areas that will still be hot in 2020 – Sure, organizations will still need programmers and developers, but they’ll want (and pay better salaries to) programmers who know how to work with robots and developers who know how to apply their craft to wearable devices. So, yes, while labor market experts expect that IT as a whole will continue to add good jobs through 2020 and beyond, savvy tech pros are taking pains to ensure their personal road map is steering them towards concentrations with maximum longevity. What follows are some specialties worth pursuing to future-proof your tech career.
Image courtesy Thinkstock
Google Street View Now Lets You Explore The Amazon Jungle Via Zip-Line – That’s right. Google took its cameras and literally suspended them in the rainforest thanks to assistance from the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS). The BBC reports that the cameras traveled as fast as 100 km/hour, that’s around 62 miles/hour. The resulting 360-degree images are a spectacular reminder of the unique experiences that the internet makes possible.
Alligator blood may be our next source of new antibiotics – The key to an alligator’s immune system is the enzymes contained in their blood combined with cationic antimicrobial peptides, or CAMPs for short. The enzymes alone are capable of dealing with 23 different types of bacteria as well as performing well against the HIV virus. However, if you add in the CAMPs found so far, alligators can fend off E.coli, sepsis, food poisoning, and skin infection bacteria. In total 45 peptides have been identified so far from one type of alligator.
This Incredible Photo Of A Baby Weasel Riding A Woodpecker Is Straight Out Of A Children’s Fantasy Book – East London resident Martin Le-May captured this incredible photo of a baby weasel on the back of a green woodpecker in Esssex, England, on Monday. As much as we’d all like to believe this is a wondrous tale of friendship wherein two mates go on an epic adventure featuring a baby weasel and his magnificent flying steed, sadly it’s NOT. It’s a photo of a weasel trying to kill a woodpecker.
Hillary Clinton Only Used Personal Email While Secretary Of State – Clinton used a personal email account to conduct official business despite federal law requiring correspondence be retained by the government, the New York Times reported.
Something to think about:
“Love is not blind – it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.”
– Rabbi Julius Gordon
Today’s Free Downloads:
WonderFox DVD Ripper Speedy – WonderFox DVD Ripper Speedy is a professional and powerful free DVD ripper software which can rip the content of DVDs.
Convert your DVD to digital video to enjoy your DVD! Just got simpler now! You can watch anytime, anywhere. Alter, enhance, convert – whatever you do – the final result will be in the perfect quality (even in high-definition)! No missing key frames, quality-loss, redraw issues, or crashes.
WonderFox DVD Ripper Speedy let you backup a DVD to MPG video within 5 minutes. This is real No. 1 Speed. All of conversions as base on 0-Quality-Loss.
It offers flexible choices to fine-tune and adjust parameters to tailor the output videos, in terms of video audio encoding, bitrate, frame rate, aspect ratio, resolution, audio codec, audio channel number, sample rate, etc. You can customize and apply your own settings to all, you can also save all of settings as a single profile.
iSpy – iSpy uses your webcams and microphones to detect and record movement or sound and provides security, surveillance, monitoring and alerting services. Any media that is captured is compressed to flash video and made available, securely over the web. iSpy can be setup to run on multiple computers simultaneously. iSpy is free, open-source software, so if you want it to do anything else, please download the source code and customise it to your requirements.
With iSpy you can:
Connect and monitor as many cameras and microphones as you like. Import and export object lists to share with colleagues.
Connect multiple computers in a group and manage over the web
Install iSpy Server and publish your webcam to other instances of iSpy, over your network and to the web
Detect, highlight, track and record movement
Customise movement detection areas on your cameras
Detect and record sound
Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is detected
Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is not detected (monitor machinery or staff activity)
Receive email movement alerts with attached frame grab images from your webcams
Periodically receive image grabs via email from your webcams
Connect to any device, even webcams attached to other computers with JPEG, MJPEG, IP Cam, webcam and AVI file support
Watch live and recorded media over the web (through this website) and also via mobile devices
Access and control iSpy remotely
Password protect iSpy and hide it in the System Tray
Schedule sound and video capturing to start and stop automatically
Time-lapse record from any camera
Motion track and count moving objects
Connect multiple instances of iSpy and iSpy server running on different computers to this website and view all aggregated media online
Create groups, invite friends and share access to your webcams and microphones
Receive email alerts if your connection goes offline
Download the source code and customise it to your own requirements!
Screen shot from a review I wrote in January 2011.
In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:
Bruce Schneier: The Democratization of Cyberattack – The thing about infrastructure is that everyone uses it. If it’s secure, it’s secure for everyone. And if it’s insecure, it’s insecure for everyone. This forces some hard policy choices.
When I was working with the Guardian on the Snowden documents, the one top-secret program the NSA desperately did not want us to expose was QUANTUM. This is the NSA’s program for what is called packet injection–basically, a technology that allows the agency to hack into computers.
Turns out, though, that the NSA was not alone in its use of this technology. The Chinese government uses packet injection to attack computers. The cyberweapons manufacturer Hacking Team sells packet injection technology to any government willing to pay for it. Criminals use it. And there are hacker tools that give the capability to individuals as well.
All of these existed before I wrote about QUANTUM. By using its knowledge to attack others rather than to build up the internet’s defenses, the NSA has worked to ensure that anyone can use packet injection to hack into computers.
This isn’t the only example of once-top-secret US government attack capabilities being used against US government interests. StingRay is a particular brand of IMSI catcher, and is used to intercept cell phone calls and metadata. This technology was once the FBI’s secret, but not anymore. There are dozens of these devices scattered around Washington, DC, as well as the rest of the country, run by who-knows-what government or organization. By accepting the vulnerabilities in these devices so the FBI can use them to solve crimes, we necessarily allow foreign governments and criminals to use them against us.
Australian lawmakers can’t use phones, will vote on data retention – Summary:If MPs can’t even be bothered to learn about the work tools they use every day, what hope is there for intelligent debate on mandatory data retention?
Just one more example of the stupid and the blind leading the uninterested. Uninterested, that is, until it’s too bloody late!
Google gets an early win in fight against Mississippi Attorney General’s subpoena – Google just chalked up an early win against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, an MPAA-friendly prosecutor who was implicated in a number of Goliath documents. A federal court in Jackson, Mississippi, has granted a preliminary injunction against Hood’s efforts to fight content piracy on Google’s network, restricting any subpoena or further investigative action from Hood while the case is still in progress. It’s still early in the case, but the injunction represents a significant win for Google and a real setback for both Hood and his supporters at the MPAA.
In 2013, Hood sent Google a massive, 79-page subpoena for data related to content piracy in Search, but Google contested the subpoena, claiming it overstepped the attorney general’s authority and violated a number of US privacy laws. Hood had called a “time out” to the legal actions in the aftermath of the Goliath disclosures, but the court case has continued in the months since. Ultimately, Hood was seeking a similar legal authority over Google’s network as SOPA looked to establish, although Hood was pursuing it through judicial rather than legislative channels.
Forget 1,000 lashes for Facebook posts, Saudis now want to behead blogger Raif Badawi – Saudi blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for announcing he is an atheist on Facebook – may now be beheaded by his government.
“We have received information from reliable sources that there are attempts within the Penal Court to retry Raif Badawi on apostasy charges again,” his wife said in a Facebook posting.
“Apostasy charge is punishable under Saudi law with the death penalty by beheading. We also received confirmed information that the Supreme Court has referred Raif case to the same judge, who sentenced Raif with flogging and 10 years imprisonment.”
The family accuses the judge presiding over the case of bias, saying in an earlier legal judgment that “he has proof and is confident that Raif is an apostate,” and that he had wanted to bring apostasy charges earlier but wasn’t able to under existing Saudi law.
Badawi was arrested in 2012 for running the Liberal Saudi Network message board and making statements on Facebook that broke religious and state laws; specifically expressing support for women’s rights, democratic reform, and stating that he is an atheist.
How, in good conscience, can the West support this medieval torture chamber who’s ultimate goal is the destruction of Western culture – including Christianity. Not that I’m a fan of Christianity – but…