Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 17, 2015

Online privacy nihilism runs rampant in US, survey says;  Hertz installs cameras and microphones in rental cars;  Here’s what Facebook will (and won’t) allow in your posts;  Skype for Business now available in preview form;  10 iPad apps you should be using;  Fun Fit app pits you against Facebook friends;  How to watch March Madness (even without cable);  The best apps for following March Madness on your Android phone or tablet;  Microsoft announces Office 2016 preview;  Brute force box lets researchers, Cops, pop iDevice locks;  What to do if someone steals your IP address;  Apple plans TV service with around 25 channels;  The Best iPhone Games of the Week;  Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Review;  The 11 funniest hacker attacks;  Fujitsu has a cool liquid answer to hot spots in smartphones;  Snowden tells tech bigwigs: It’s up to you to thwart mass surveillance.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Online privacy nihilism runs rampant in US, survey says – A majority of Americans have not altered their online behavior in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations detailing widespread US government electronic surveillance activities, according to a Pew Research Center survey published Monday. Not everybody is a privacy nihilist, however, as some Internet users are taking limited precautions, the nationwide study said. Thirty-four percent of respondents who said that “they have heard about” the spying programs have taken what the study described as “simple steps” and have done at least one of the following: altered the social media privacy settings, avoided some apps, used social media less, spoke more in person, deleted social media accounts, or “have not used certain terms in search engine queries they thought might trigger scrutiny.”

Pointing up     And because you don’t care – you get the following outrage. Better get use to fishbowl living!  Still, if you have nothing to hide…

Hertz installs cameras and microphones in rental cars – The company has been installing cameras and microphones in its NeverLost navigational systems. They’re not in all their rental cars. They’re only in the NeverLost 6 version, introduced last year. But clearly the presence of them might make one or two drivers wonder about their capabilities. A report in Fusion added to the consternation. Hertz told Fusion that around 1 out of every 8 of its cars had the cameras installed. But no, no, the company wasn’t actually going to use them. Was this because it sensed that this might be seen as a painful intrusion. Not quite. A Hertz spokeswoman told Fusion: “We do not have adequate bandwidth capabilities to the car to support streaming video at this time.” So it’s only the tech that’s holding Hertz back from keep tabs on its renters?

Here’s what Facebook will (and won’t) allow in your posts – You might have heard news that Facebook is changing up their rules a bit, releasing an update to their ‘Community Standards’ guidelines. Those rules are in place to safeguard the Facebook community at-large against content that is widely regarded as offensive or distasteful. But you’re not one of those people, right? We hope not, but some algorithm might not be able to pick up on your humor or purpose. Rather than leave things to chance, let’s clarify what can and can’t be posted to Facebook.

Three contact manager apps better than the one that came with your phone – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: your smartphone’s contacts app isn’t the best contact manager around. A wide variety of third-party apps is available, making it easier than ever to keep track of all those names and numbers. And just like your list of contacts, these apps are constantly being updated—some of them much improved since last time I looked at them.

Microsoft announces Office 2016 preview for IT professionals and developers – Microsoft has announced the launch of a new preview of Office 2016 for IT pros and developers, which you can sign up for right now – although the company points out that it’s not yet feature-complete.

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Skype for Business now available in preview form – Microsoft has just announced that it is releasing the first public preview of Skype for Business. The new program is designed to replace Lync and unify Microsoft’s offerings for the enterprise.

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Intel doesn’t want Curie wearable computer making fashion statements – The Curie, slated to ship in the second half of the year, was first shown at CES in the form of a button-sized computer on Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s suit. The almost invisible Curie had technology that could read heart rates, and transfer the data wirelessly using Bluetooth. Blending technology discreetly into wearables is Intel’s goal with Curie, which will go into a wide range of tiny coin battery devices that can run for days and months without a recharge. The wearable computer is for non-technical customers, such as companies outside of the IT industry, that want to plug and play technology into devices, clothes and accessories.

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10 iPad apps you should be using – Summary:Looking for apps for your iPad that you’ll actually end up using? These 10 apps are a good place to start.

YouTube Debuts A New Resource Site For Music Artists – The website aims to be more of guide to various resources available to music artists promoting their work on YouTube, and includes tips about how to get discovered, how to engage fans, and how to generate revenue, among other things. It also points artists to the newly launched “Cards,” which are interactive overlays that video publishers can use for a variety of purposes, including to help with raising funds via a crowdfunding campaign, selling merchandise, promoting upcoming shows, and more.

How to watch March Madness (even without cable) – Games will be streamed online and through the NCAA March Madness Live app. There’s even a trick to gain access to the games without a cable subscription.

The best apps for following March Madness on your Android phone or tablet – With these free apps you’ll be able to stream the game, follow your bracket, and catch all the scores from your phone or tablet. You’re on your own for bracket advice, though it’s not like you’re going to pick anyone besides undefeated Kentucky to win it all, anyway.

HTC new Fun Fit app pits you against Facebook friends – The latest tool in HTC’s quest to pump you up is Fun Fit, a fitness tracking app that turns you and your Facebook friends into zany animal avatars. It stores all the usual exercise information, like your number of steps, calories burned, and minutes that you work out daily. Fun Fit tries to be a little more, well, fun, by displaying your profile and any friends you drag in as cute animals. It works on most modern phones (not just HTC models), like the Galaxy Note 4, Nexus 6, and Galaxy S5. Fun Fit also compiles your records by day, week, and month for longer-term comparisons.

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Apple Watch apps you’ll want to use – Anyone who understands technology will know that while Apple may have created the Apple Watch, it will be developers who truly make it “smart.” Developers will be the people who create solutions that mean a few seconds’ exposure to the connected intelligence on our wrists may make a positive difference to our lives. There’s a huge amount of activity going on already, so things look interesting. Here are just a few apps you’ll want to use if you buy yourself an Apple Watch.

Here’s How Microsoft Will Fit Windows 10 Inside Inexpensive Devices – Microsoft detailed its efforts today to reduce the footprint of Windows 10, a forthcoming operating system that the software company hopes will run across devices of every screen size. Fitting Windows onto smaller devices, however, is a challenge, given that the operating system isn’t known for having a diminutive footprint. Windows 10 has two chief methods built into it to reduce its size. Already out in the market in Windows 10 build 9879 is the ability to compress its system files, shrinking the disk space needed to hold the operating system by 1.5 gigabytes for 32 bit builds, and 2.6 gigabytes for 64 bit editions.

Security:

Brute force box lets researchers, Cops, pop iDevice locks – Apple fans have more reason to update to iOS 8.2 with the discovery of a device used in the computer repair industry that automates password exploitation. The IP-Box tool exploits CVE-2014-4451 to conduct unlimited password guesses against iOS devices on 8.1 and below for iPhones and iPads. A barrage of PINs are entered by resetting the phone which thanks to the since-patched vulnerability bypasses Cupertino’s rate-limiters and settings to nuke personal data after a set about of failed attempts. Attacks against four-digit PINs take a maximum of 17 hours with each attempt taking about six seconds to complete. The total time could be reduced by prioritising the most likely passwords a target user may pick, or by selecting a pre-defined option to test date of birth combinations.

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Yahoo’s new on-demand password system is no replacement for two-factor authentication – In an effort to simplify authentication for its services, Yahoo has introduced a new mechanism that allows users to log in with temporary passwords that are sent to their mobile phones. If this sounds like a two-factor authentication system where users need to provide one-time codes sent to their mobile phones in addition to their static passwords, it’s not. Yahoo already had that option. Instead, the new log-in mechanism, which is based on what Yahoo calls on-demand passwords, still relies on a single factor, the user’s phone number.

What to do if someone steals your IP address – Neither your ISP nor anyone else can actually tell what you are doing on the Internet. But they can follow the activity of your public IP address—the one your router uses to access the Internet. And if someone else uses that address for unsavory purposes, you could become a prime suspect.

Company News:

eBay launches high-end auctions with Sotheby’s – eBay is taking another step into high-end auctions. Delivering on a partnership announced last summer, eBay is today launching a new area of its website built specifically for the auction house Sotheby’s. The section provides a much cleaner and more informative experience than you’d find elsewhere on the site and allows visitors to register for online access to live auctions. While browsing items up for auction at Sotheby’s, you’ll be able to quickly skip from one item to the next and read information about each piece. There will also be editorial content interspersed, targeted toward new collectors.

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Pinterest valued at $11B after latest round of funding – Pinterest has raised $367 million in its latest round of financing, giving it a valuation of $11 billion and making the social discovery site one of the most valuable venture capital-backed startups. The makers of the visual bookmarking tool confirmed the financing Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is looking to raise as much as another $211 million, a spokeswoman said, for a total of $578 million raised in the Series G round.

Verizon Cloud now live in Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore – Summary:Verizon Cloud has debuted in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong as part of the company’s aim to be an end-to-end cloud solutions provider for large, small, and medium-sized corporations.

Nintendo Announces Plans to Expand Into Mobile Gaming – You may soon be able to play iconic video games like Super Mario Bros. on your smartphone, according to an announcement by the game’s parent company, Nintendo, on Tuesday. Nintendo said it would partner with mobile gaming company DeNA Co. to develop “gaming applications” for smartphones and other non-console devices, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Games and Entertainment:

Apple plans TV service with around 25 channels after falling out with Comcast: WSJ – Apple’s long-rumored online TV service could be announced as soon as June, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company is reportedly preparing to offer a service with around 25 channels from broadcasters like ABC, CBS, and Fox and launch it this September across all iOS devices and the Apple TV. The bundle could include the likes of ESPN and FX, and Apple is said to be pushing for a large on-demand library, but it will likely leave out a lot of smaller networks. Recode said last month that Apple was in talks with broadcasters to offer bundles of content.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Review – To suggest that Final Fantasy Type-0’s international release was “long awaited” would be a gross understatement. The original game (pre-HD)’s demo was first released in August of 2011, back before the first whispers of an 8th-generation console release. Originally titled Final Fantasy Agito XIII for its non-HD PSP release, this game was eventually re-named Final Fantasy Type-0, so named for its original approach in battle in the Final Fantasy universe. Here we’ve got Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, a game that’s been in development since mid-2012 for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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Battlefield: Hardline review impressions: Crossing the thin blue line – Battlefield Hardline, a cops vs. robbers spin on the military shoot ’em ups, actually shakes up the series’ tried-and-true formula so much that it barely even feels like Battlefield anymore. Hardline’s singleplayer campaign is an entirely different beast. You play the part of Nick Mendoza, a rookie cop who lands in Miami’s Vice department. Yes, like the TV show. And that’s important, because Hardline is itself taking cues from TV. The entire campaign is set up like an episodic TV show, right down to a Netflix-style “Next Episode” overlay in between missions.

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The Best iPhone Games of the Week – Had enough Candy Crush and looking for some fun new games to play on your iPhone? Here are five favorites TIME rounded up this week.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Flying Cars Could Be a Reality By 2017 – Though it’s not exactly what The Jetsons predicted, AeroMobil’s flying car may hit the road—er, sky—as soon as 2017. During an appearance at this week’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, AeroMobil CEO Juraj Vaculik said the company hopes to release its first model within three years, The Verge reported. Vaculik described three “prisons” of modern commuting, which he apparently likened to a communist regime: the traffic prison, airport prison, and prison of bad infrastructure. AeroMobil is based in Slovakia, formerly a part of the old USSR’s Czechoslovakia client state.

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Stunning Loch Ness fireball illuminates shadowy monster’s home – The most famous photos ever taken on Scotland’s Loch Ness tend to feature fuzzy profiles of mythic creatures, or perhaps fuzzy, creature-shaped shadows, depending on your level of skepticism. But the above photo taken Sunday around 9 p.m. GMT shows another otherworldly feature over the Scottish lake with remarkable clarity. Local tour guide John Alasdair Macdonald, who runs thehebrideanexplorer.com, said he just happened to get lucky when he snapped the picture of a shooting star reaching fireball-level luminosity as the meteor streaked toward the ground.

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The 11 funniest hacker attacks – Black hat cyber-terrorists use their 1337 skills for all kinds of nefarious purposes, but sometimes they just want a good laugh. The prankster mentality has been a part of hacker culture since the beginning, and in this feature we’ll run down the eleven most hilarious times computers were compromised for lulz.

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Many of the best computer hacks reach out into the real world as well, as this illustrates.

Fujitsu has a cool liquid answer to hot spots in smartphones – Fujitsu has developed an approach to cooling smartphones that it claims can achieve five times greater heat transfer than metal or graphite sheets. One of the side effects of packing smartphones with ever more powerful components into smaller spaces is heat, which can be uncomfortable for the user and cause wear and tear on components.

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Would you trust Google to decide what is fact and what is not? – Summary:A Google research project is looking at ways to rank pages based on the accuracy of facts on each page. Could this ignite a firestorm of political and religious disagreement?

Something to think about:

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Today’s Free Downloads:

XnView Extended – XnView is an efficient multimedia viewer, browser and converter.

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XnView is provided as FREEWARE (NO Adware, NO Spyware) for private or educational use (including non-profit organizations).

If you enjoy using XnView, Don’t hesitate to help the developer with a small donation.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

A Steady Erosion Of Confidence In Government – Governments around the world are facing significant political turmoil and enormous economic stress as they struggle with an alarming and unprecedented array of public-policy crises.

And whether it’s water scarcity in Brazil, the rural electricity shortfall in India, the financial meltdown in Russia, or income inequality in the U.S., public-sector leaders often seem overmatched and overwhelmed at a time when solutions and answers are needed.

To make matters worse, government officials are being challenged by citizen, business, media and employee stakeholders to address critical issues in operations, governance and elections. The repercussions from these issues – which include transparency, accountability, budgeting, spending, regulation and bureaucratic performance – have steadily eroded confidence in public institutions and public officials.

Snowden tells tech bigwigs: It’s up to you to thwart mass surveillance – SXSW 2015 In a quietly arranged Q&A session at South by Southwest (SXSW) on Sunday morning, Edward Snowden told about thirty influential people from the tech world that the onus for thwarting mass surveillance was falling to them.

Snowden had previously spoken at SXSW with the American Civil Liberties Union, explaining to attendees the “massive scale” on which he believed the US Constitution was being violated by the spooks’ mass-surveillance operations.

His talk on Sunday morning, however, was more private and directed specifically at technology companies, with few other parties invited by the SXSW organisers.

The Verge spoke to Sunday Yokubaitis, president at Golden Frog, a global online services provider, who attended the gathering and described Snowden’s question-and-answer session as a “call to arms”.

Yokubaitis said that Snowden was encouraging a greater adoption of end-to-end encryption.

“The low-hanging fruit is always [the] transit layer,” the NSA whistleblower reportedly said. “It raises the cost. Every time we raise the cost, we force budgetary constraints.”

Tech companies’ responsibility for managing their users’ privacy has been a standard concern for users since before the revelations regarding global surveillance began to be published.

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EU Parliamentarians visit U.S. to talk data protection, mass surveillance – A delegation of 11 MEPs, all members of the Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE), are in Washington to discuss major issues. One of them is the renewal of the so-called Safe Harbor deal that regulates the transfer of personal data of EU citizens to the U.S.

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations about U.S. government spying, the European Commission—the E.U.’s executive branch—gave the U.S. 13 demands that it wanted met in order for the Safe Harbor deal to continue. So far, however, no agreement has been reached. A summer 2014 deadline was postponed and the Commission now hopes to conclude talks on the deal by the end of May.

If that does not happen though, the deal could be suspended, which would have huge implications for U.S. tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, who use the agreement to process EU citizen data in the U.S.

Government Requests For Facebook Data Decrease In U.S. And UK, But Rise In India – The total number of requests from governments received by the world’s largest social network rose from 34,946 in the first half of the year, to 35,051 between July and December 2014.

Facebook is the de facto social media in most of the world, so it’s no surprise that the site is one of the first places that authorities turn to when they seek information about individuals. Facebook disclosed that it saw 14,274 requests from the U.S. government for information about users, 79 percent of those requests saw Facebook provide data. That figure represents a slight reduction on 15,433 requests in the first half of 2014.

India was the second highest government on Facebook’s list, with 5,473 requests made during the final six months of last year. That’s perhaps unsurprising — the country’s approach to censorship was highlighted when ISPs were told to block 30 websites, including GitHub in December.

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2 Comments

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

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 17, 2015

  1. Fred

    Hi Bill!

    “And because you don’t care – you get the following outrage. Better get use to fishbowl living! Still, if you have nothing to hide…”

    That is what the head of Google, I think it was Schmidt, if I have the name right, said some years ago, if you don’t have anything to hide then why do you worry about others reading your emails and posts. Well I know that one or both of the Google founders were from the Soviet Union so maybe they are not upset with Big Brother.

    In even more good news, Bill, we have this:
    http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/fbi-s-plan-to-expand-hacking-power-advances-despite-privacy-fears-20150316

    With best wishes always,
    Fred

    • Hi Fred,

      The “if you have nothing to hide” argument is a potent destabilizer of rational discussion – one is forced to debate a bullshit agenda. An agenda based on self-serving smugness.

      Attempting to inject rational comment into such a discussion is pointless. One is dealing here with a twisted belief of moral superiority – the same mistaken sense of moral superiority that led to the coining of “You’re either with us or you’re with the child pornographers. Coined by the way, by Canada’s ex Justice Minister (62 years old), who knocked up his 17 year old babysitter (now his 20+ common – law wife), and he himself is now a Superior Court judge.

      Not the end of the story – as of this week – the wife is front and center in a financial scandal.

      Just one story of the conniving leprous bastards who are intend on destroying the world in defense of their failed policies.

      Best,

      Bill