Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – June 19, 2015

How to find the secret Start Menu built into Windows 8.1;  Porn mode in your browser isn’t very private;  DuckDuckGrow: Privacy search soars 600%;  YouTube Launches YouTube Newswire;  Facebook testing ‘See First’ feature for News Feed;  Microsoft’s new Edge browser has a password manager;  10 ways to get the most bang for your buck with an Android device; A Chrome Extension That Hijacks Amazon To Let You Buy From Your Local Bookstore;  Skype Translator now supports French and German;  WhatsApp Fails the Transparency Test;  How to change your LastPass password in wake of site hack;  Serious OS X and iOS flaws let hackers steal keychain, 1Password contents;  Samsung to issue security fix for 600 million Galaxy phones;  Sprint stops data throttling, AT&T faces FCC fine;  Fitbit Spikes More Than 50% In IPO Debut;  Snail Games’ W3D gaming smartphone now up for pre-order;  $49 Apple Watch sport band only costs $2.05 to make;  Macrium Reflect FREE Edition.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

10 ways to get the most bang for your buck with an Android device – Maybe you just purchased your first Android device–or perhaps you’ve had it for a while but you suspect you aren’t getting the most out of it. Either way, you’re in luck: There is so much available in the way of tweaks, apps, options, and configurations that can make your device more powerful and useful. Here are 10 of my favorite tips to help you get the maximum benefit from the Android platform.

YouTube Launches YouTube Newswire, A Channel Featuring Verified Eyewitness Videos – YouTube announced today a trio of initiatives designed to expand the video-sharing site’s role in new media journalism, including eyewitness news. Most notably, the company is launching a service called YouTube Newswire in partnership with social news agency Storyful, which will introduce a curated and verified feed of the day’s most newsworthy events being published to YouTube.


Omelette du fromage: Skype Translator now supports French and German – The Skype Translator app has just become more useful as it now supports near real-time spoken translations in French and German, bringing the total number of supported spoken languages up to six.

10 tips for more efficient printing – It’s 40 years since an article in Business Week predicted that there would, one day, be a PC on every desk, and that this technological revolution would lead to the “paperless office”. Well, they got the PC bit right, but the paperless office is still something of a pipe dream. Reducing printing costs remains a challenge for businesses of all sizes, but there are a number of simple guidelines that can help you to make more efficient use of your office printer.

DuckDuckGrow: Privacy search soars 600% after Snowden dumps – Privacy-first search aggregator DuckDuckDuckGo has grown a whopping 600 percent since NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden began revealing the extent of the US spying apparatus. The search engine uses sites including Wikipedia, Yandex, Yahoo!, Bing and Yummly and offers users bare-bones search results without the personalisation and tracking wizardry which powers Google. Chief executive officer Gabriel Weinberg told CNBC it crunches some three billion searches a year. “We’ve grown 600 percent since the surveillance revelations two years ago,” Weinberg says. “It’s really a myth that you need to track people to make money in search. “People want transparency and they want control, and unfortunately they are usually getting neither today.”

How to find the secret Start Menu built into Windows 8.1 – Yes, it’s true. You can add a Start menu–of sorts–to the Windows 8.1 taskbar without installing a third-party program. All of the code is built into Windows itself. You just have to know the trick that makes it appear.


8 Celeb and Character Voices You Can Get on Your GPS – Using celebrity/character voices in navigation systems goes back almost a decade, and features some of the biggest names in the world. Check out the slideshow for our collection of the greatest and geekiest. Most are still available for purchase (or free), particularly if you have a compatible Garmin or TomTom navigation system (check compatibility before you buy). How this hasn’t become a thing for Google and Apple Maps on phones yet, I don’t know. Maybe Drake can record one for Apple soon.

Bookindy Is A Chrome Extension That Hijacks Amazon To Let You Buy From Your Local Bookstore – Amazon quickly established itself as an online bookstore behemoth, before expanding into almost every facet of our e-commerce lives. But, for all that convenience, we pay a heavy price, not least with the erosion of the high street. Enter Bookindy, a clever new web app that aims to help your local independent bookstore fight back.


Facebook testing ‘See First’ feature for News Feed – Facebook, it seems, is testing more than one feature this week. Following screenshots showing a “Suggested Topics” feature that is apparently in testing to help users come up with things to talk about, another feature has surfaced: it is called ‘See First’, and it lends some control over how a user sees his or her news feed. In this case, See First is exactly what it sounds like — a way to mark what you want to see first, such as statuses posted by people you care about rather than that person you met briefly at a convention a few years back.

Former Googler fights adblockers with adblocker blocker – All of us adblocking people are nibbling away at the revenues of ad-driven companies, and it’s adding up to a huge bite. PageFair, a company that works with publishers to measure the cost of adblocking and to help them come up with non-annoying, less intrusive ads that can be whitelisted by the adblockers, estimates that Google would have made $6.6 billion more than it did last year if it weren’t for adblockers. Somebody formerly at Google – a somebody who was close to the enormous sucking sound of lost revenues – has decided to fight back. Ben Barokas, the former general manager of marketplace development at Google, is the adblock blocker guy.

Discover the Weird Things We Search for on Revamped Google Trends – Explore minute-by-minute data related to the more than 100 billion searches that take place on Google every month. When you visit the new site, you’ll see a ranked, real-time listing of trending stories that are poplar across Google at the moment. To determine this, Google looks at what people are searching, as well as trends from YouTube and Google News.


Your smartphone could have serious security flaws – This is turning out to be the week you learned your smartphone apps can be exploited by hackers. Three separate research groups revealed app security flaws that could turn Apple and Samsung devices into cyberintruders’ playthings — allowing them to take control of your phones’ cameras, microphones and GPS while stealing all your personal information and listening to your phone calls. The only good news is that the attacks would have to be aimed at specific phones, and attackers are unlikely to target everyday people. The really, really bad news? German researchers last month found flaws that could affect every phone. That’s right: there’s a vulnerability for everyone.

WhatsApp Fails the Transparency Test – By now, many of us are resigned to the idea that true privacy online is an illusion. But that doesn’t mean you should be unaware of who has your information and what they’re doing with it. To help keep you apprised, the Electronic Frontier Foundation today released its latest Who Has Your Back report, which looks at how much information top tech companies are handing over to the feds, and how they keep users informed about their activity.

Serious OS X and iOS flaws let hackers steal keychain, 1Password contents – Researchers have uncovered huge holes in the application sandboxes protecting Apple’s OS X and iOS operating systems, a discovery that allows them to create apps that pilfer iCloud, Gmail, and banking passwords and can also siphon data from 1Password, Evernote, and other apps. The malicious proof-of-concept apps were approved by the Apple Store, which requires all qualifying submissions to treat every other app as untrusted. Despite the supposed vetting by Apple engineers, the researchers’ apps were able to bypass sandboxing protections that are supposed to prevent one app from accessing the credentials, contacts, and other resources belonging to another app. Like Linux, Android, Windows, and most other mainstream OSes, OS X and iOS strictly limit app access for the purpose of protecting them against malware. The success of the researchers’ cross-app resource access—or XARA—attacks, raises troubling doubts about those assurances on the widely used Apple platforms.


How to change your LastPass password in wake of site hack – To protect and access all your passwords, LastPass requires you to set up a single master password. But what if someone obtains that master password? Though the master passwords themselves are secured with a high level of encryption and were untouched in the data breach, the hackers gained access to the clues, or reminders, used to remember those passwords. As such, the right clue could help a hacker potentially guess your master password, especially if you’ve used one that’s particularly easy to guess.

Samsung to issue security fix for 600 million Galaxy phones – Samsung will “in the coming days” fix a security flaw that could allow hackers to remotely attack and access data on Galaxy smartphones. It comes just two days after security researchers revealed that the SwiftKey keyboard, which comes pre-installed on as many as 600 million Samsung Galaxy smartphones, was vulnerable to attack. The flaw, discovered by NowSecure, could allow hackers to access the device, eavesdrop on phone calls, and install malicious apps.

Canada government websites, email systems hit by ‘ongoing’ cyberattack – Canada, widely seen as one of the nicest countries on earth, was hit by an “ongoing” cyberattack on Wednesday, according to government officials. The news of Wednesday’s cyberattack comes just days after members of the country’s House of Commons were told to be on guard amid warnings that its staff had been “targeted” for cyberattacks. Hacktivist collective Anonymous reportedly took credit for the cyberattack in a video published online shortly after the news broke, citing the country’s recent passing of new anti-terror legislation. There’s no immediate way to verify the video, however.

Microsoft’s new Edge browser has a password manager, here’s how it works – Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, has a password manager. While we could not access it during the last public release of Windows 10, it is now working in build 10147 and has several features too.

Microsoft’s site dedicated to fighting US surveillance just got hacked – Microsoft’s website dedicated to fighting the US government on matters of policy and surveillance has been hacked. The site, which was launched in mid-2013 months after the Edward Snowden revelations were first published, soon became a platform for Microsoft’s corporate views on government surveillance and a new case dedicated to fighting an international search warrant. But the site appears to have been modified around 9:15pm ET on Wednesday, and remains affected at the time of publication. It’s not clear who is behind the attack.

Most SAP HANA installs poppable with default keys, hacker says – ERPScan technology boss Alexander Polyakov says default security settings are exposing passwords and root keys in SAP HANA to external attackers. Attackers can use universal default keys to decrypt encrypted passwords used by the in-memory, column-oriented, relational database management system. Polyakov says administrators are not bothering to change the keys which protects the hdbuserstore secure user storage facility that contains account passwords and keys for savepoints. “People think that SAP HANA, as an in-memory database, doesn’t store any sensitive data on hard drive [but] some data is actually stored on the disk,” Polyakov says. “Once you get access to this file (hdbuserstore) and decrypt it with the static master key, which is the same on every installation, you have system user passwords and disk encryption keys. After that, you can get access to all data.

Porn mode in your browser isn’t very private – Browser privacy? You’re doing it wrong, says DuckDuckGo CEO Gabe Weinberg. According to him, the private browsing mode in your browser doesn’t work how you think it does. Private browsing mode (or “porn mode”) isn’t really all that private, he says — and he’s right. Generally speaking, flipping the private switch in your browser (whether it’s Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer) just makes sure that tracks aren’t left behind on the computer you’re using. Your roommate, spouse, or kids can’t just sit down and see what you’ve been up to, but loads of other people can – your ISP, for example. Also: the sites you visit and the ad networks serving you ads. So, what really goes on when you open a private browsing session in your browser?

After 10 years, reddit will finally be HTTPS-only – After working 9 months to update their code and webpages in preparation, reddit has finally made the leap to become HTTPS-only, and will begin encrypting all traffic on June 29th.

US Government Begins Outreach To Office Of Personnel Management Hack Victims – The US Office of Personnel Management is beginning to reach out to victims of last week’s extensive and unprecedented hack of its records. According to documents seen by TechCrunch, the OPM is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security’s US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) to identify the extent of the damage done by the hackers.

Company News:

Sprint stops data throttling, AT&T faces FCC fine – Could times be changing for throttling? Following the FCC’s new Net neutrality rules, Sprint halts the practice, and AT&T faces a $100 million fine for being unclear on how it throttled some customers.

Fitbit Spikes More Than 50% In IPO Debut – Fitbit went public this morning, soaring more than 50 percent at one moment. The wearables firm priced its equity at $20 per share. Early trading saw the shares crest the $30 mark. At the time of writing, Fitibit is currently trading for $29.60, a 48 percent gain. Regardless, the company is having the sort of debut that most startups dream of. It’s worth keeping in mind that Fitbit originally proposed a $14 to $16 share price for its flotation. As such, it’s even further ahead than some perhaps expected.

It’s official: Nokia-branded smartphones are coming in 2016 – Despite Nokia’s recent claim that it has “no plans” to return to the phone business, its CEO now says that new Nokia handsets are coming in 2016, when an existing agreement with Microsoft expires.

Intel Capital launches $125 million Diversity Fund for women and minorities – As part of its Diversity in Technology Initiative, Intel Capital has launched a $125 million fund to invest in startups founded by female and minority entrepreneurs. Here’s why it matters.

US Judge dismisses Sony’s attempt to halt legal action brought by ex-employees – A US Judge has ruled against Sony’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former employees, who are arguing that Sony failed to prevent their personal details falling into the hands of hackers.

Samsung wants court to review damages in patent fight with Apple – Samsung Electronics has asked that a full bench of an appeals court should review a damages award in a long-standing patent infringement dispute with arch-rival Apple. Apple sued Samsung in 2011 alleging that Samsung phones infringed on several iPhone patents. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California awarded Apple damages of $930 million after a jury found that Samsung infringed Apple’s design and utility patents and diluted its trade dresses, which relate to the overall look and packaging of a product.

Alibaba and Foxconn join SoftBank to invest millions in robotic industry – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced on June 18 its 145 yen ($118 million) investment in SoftBank Robotics Holdings (SBRH), a company that was previously owned by SoftBank and recently launched “Pepper”, the world’s first robot of emotional capability, as reported by China Daily on Thursday. After the investment, Alibaba will hold 20 percent of SBRH’s shares, while Taiwanese technology company Foxconn owns another 20 percent, and SoftBank owns the remaining 60 percent.

Google, Microsoft, Mozilla team up for WebAssembly binary format for the web – In a bid to lower parsing time for web applications, a W3C community group has created a new compilation target for web browsers.

Games and Entertainment:

Fallout Shelter overtakes Candy Crush Saga as the third most popular iOS game – Bethesda unveiled Fallout Shelter for iOS devices at E3, and data shows that within three days, it has become the third most downloaded game, ahead of Candy Crush Saga.


Best games of E3 2015 (pictures) – Check out our favorite games from E3 2015, presented here in alphabetical order.

Watch Snake sneak his way through 40 minutes of Metal Gear Solid V – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is shaping up to be an absolutely huge game, so it’s only right that E3 has produced a similarly huge video demonstration of the game in action. The 40-minute clip walks us through the game’s menus, showing music, gear, companion, and base customization options, before deploying player character Snake (AKA Big Boss) on the ground in northern Afghanistan.


Snail Games’ W3D gaming smartphone now up for pre-order – Archos may have, at least for now, given up on its mobile device gaming handheld mashup, but someone is taking up the cause. At CES early this year, Snail Games, a popular name in the mobile gaming world (Age of Wushu, Taichi Panda, Heroes of Gaia) showed off its own take on this niche device form factor. Called the W3D, the device is practically a tablet enclosed in a handheld frame, with a bit of 3DS gimmick on top. And now the W3D is available for pre-order, exclusively on Amazon.


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is beautiful, brutal, and seriously ambitious – Yes, great video games should be more than just graphical eye candy, but in the case of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it’s hard to ignore its aesthetic charms. The Dawn engine demo shown at the first annual PC Gaming Show—which included a list of flashy effects like depth of field, global illumination, volumetric lighting, air density, and exquisitely rendered cucumbers—was but a tease for what the actual game looks like in motion. Mankind Divided was easily the best-looking thing I saw at this year’s E3—and in a show filled with graphical heavyweights like Dice’s Star Wars: Battlefront, Sony’s Uncharted 4, and Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, that’s high praise indeed.


Off Topic (Sort of):

FCC votes to subsidize broadband for low-income households and limit spammy phone calls – The Federal Communications Commission approved two important proposals this morning. The first is an overhaul to its Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone service for low-income Americans and should soon also be able to subsidize high-speed internet, furthering the commission’s goal of seeing access spread across the country. The second is an update to the commission’s robocall rules that will allow service providers to use robocall blocking software to stop spammy calls from reaching their customers. The robocall rules go into effect immediately; the Lifeline overhaul will now be opened up for a comment period before being revised and likely entered into law.

Watch Boeing’s vertical Dreamliner take-off from the captain’s chair – At the Paris Air Show, Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliner performed the spectacular feat of a vertical take-off. It turns out that Boeing wasn’t just filming the flight from the runway. The cockpit was decked out with cameras and Boeing has assembled the footage to take you on a wild ride. Thanks to an innovative “choose your view” feature that YouTube started testing earlier this year, Boeing has released a “multi-view flying display” that lets you toggle between angles of the same scene without missing a beat.


$49 Apple Watch sport band only costs $2.05 to make – You might think this is a nondescript, cheap replacement watch band, but you’d be wrong. It’s an official Apple Watch band, and there’s one major difference: its gigantic profit margin. According to IHS, each basic Apple Watch band like this one costs about $2.05 to produce. That certainly seems believable given that it’s a small slab of silicone with an even smaller amount of metal in it. Apple’s retail price on this thing: $49. That’s a gross profit margin of nearly 96%.


Secret Service agent who stole $820K from Silk Road pleads guilty – The Silk Road saga had a stunning coda in April, when two of the federal agents who investigated the site were charged with stealing from it as well. One of those two agents has now reached a plea deal with prosecutors. Shaun Bridges, a computer expert for the US Secret Service, is accused of stealing $820,000 in bitcoins from various drug dealers on the site. “Mr. Bridges has regretted his actions from the very beginning,” Bridges’ lawyer told Bloomberg News. “His decision to plead guilty reflects his complete acceptance of responsibility and is another step towards rehabilitation.”

Zuckerberg donates $5M to scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants – Facebook CEO calls the donation an “investment” in 400 undocumented students in the San Francisco Bay Area.

News site held liable for hateful comments, prompting free-speech concerns – The ruling involving an Estonian news site has prompted concern that it undermines EU rules protecting online intermediaries.

US Treasury says a woman will appear on $10 bills in 2020 – For the first time in more than 120 years, a woman is set to appear on US paper currency. The Treasury announced late last night that a portrait of a woman would appear on $10 bills to be introduced in 2020, on the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the vote. The actual person to appear on the bill has yet to be decided, with the Treasury inviting the public to use #TheNew10 hashtag to discuss the redesign and suggest prominent women for inclusion. Whoever is chosen will reportedly share space with current $10 bill incumbent Alexander Hamilton.

Something to think about:


Today’s Free Downloads:

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition – With Macrium Reflect Free Edition you’ll be able to easily make an accurate and reliable image of your HDD or individual partitions. Using this image you can restore the entire disk, partition or individual files and folders in the event of a partial or complete system loss.

Backup & Restore Features

File Backup

Create a single backup file of one or more folders on your hard disk

Incremental and Differential backups.

Include and exclude filter ensures that you only backup relevant files.

Browse the backup file as a virtual FAT32 hard drive in Windows Explorer.

Files in use by Windows (such as Outlook .pst files) are backed up even when locked!

Multiple compression levels.

Backup files can be saved to local or network drives or optical storage (CD, DVD)

Optionally exclude system and hidden files.

Supports Incremental and Differential backups.

Password protect backups to prevent unauthorized access.

Restore specific files or the entire backup.

Restore to any location.

Disk Imaging

Create a single backup file of a complete hard disk

Create a single backup file of one or many partitions

Incremental and differential images

Restore a partition to a different type. e.g. a logical partition can be restored as a bootable primary partition

Resize the restored partition. A hard disk upgrade can easily be performed by increasing the partition to fill the new disk.

Track 0 (The Master Boot Record) is saved with all backups.

Backup files can be saved to local or network drives or optical storage (CD, DVD).

Disk image can be created whilst Windows is in use. A special driver ensures that the disk image represents an exact point in time and will not be affected by disk access that may occur during the backup process.

Verify images. Images (Backup files) can be separately verified or automatically verified before restore.

System files such as ‘pagefile.sys’ and ‘hiberfil.sys’ are not included in the image. This reduces the final backup file size.

Three compression levels can be selected to optimize between file size and speed.

Password protect images to prevent unauthorized access.

AES 256 bit encryption for ultimate security.

Set image filenames automatically.

Linux based rescue CD

Bart PE rescue CD plug-in

Windows PE 2.1 rescue CD with Windows boot menu.

Save your backup definitions as XML files and execute them with a single click from your desktop.

Includes VBScript integration and a VBScript generator for unparalleled control of the backup process.

Scheduling Features

Schedule daily, weekly or monthly.

Unattended completion.

Automatic incremental / differential images.

Automatic disk space management for local / remote hard drives.

Full logging of all backup operations. HTML log reports are generated and can be viewed using Reflect’s built in browser.

Limitations: See change info or Author’s link for limitations. This is an installer. Full download will be over 200 MB.


Spotify – Spotify is a new way to listen to music. Any track you like, any time you like. Just search for it in Spotify, then play it. Any artist, any album, any genre – all available instantly. With Spotify, there are no limits to the amount of music you could listen to. Just help yourself to whatever you want, whenever you want it.

All the music, all the time

Think of Spotify as your new music collection. Your library. Only this time your collection is vast: over 13 million tracks and counting. You can create as many playlists as you like from this collection – just drag and drop the tracks you want.

And because the music plays live, there’s no need to wait for downloads and no big dent in your hard drive. You can listen at any time, no matter where you are. Through your computer or your mobile phone.

Music to share

Thanks to Spotify, it’s now easier than ever to share music. You’re free to share everything you listen to on Spotify with your friends – tracks, playlists, the lot.

Just send them a link to a track or playlist and they can listen instantly. If you like, you can also collaborate on shared playlists. Social music made simple.

Thank you for the music

Having instant access to all this music is a wonderful thing, but what about the artists and musicians who make it?

We’re big believers in rewarding their creativity. That’s why we came up with a way to fairly compensate them for the music featured on Spotify. If they stop, the music stops. To us, its a no-brainer.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Even former NSA chief thinks USA Freedom Act was a pointless change – The former director of the National Security Agency isn’t particularly concerned about the loss of the government’s bulk metadata collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

As Gen. Michael Hayden pointed out in an interview at a Wall Street Journal conference on Monday, the only change that has happened is that data has moved to being held by phone companies, and the government can get it under a court order.

Hayden said:

If somebody would come up to me and say, “Look, Hayden, here’s the thing: This Snowden thing is going to be a nightmare for you guys for about two years. And when we get all done with it, what you’re going to be required to do is that little 215 program about American telephony metadata—and by the way, you can still have access to it, but you got to go to the court and get access to it from the companies, rather than keep it to yourself”—I go: “And this is it after two years? Cool!”

The NSA and the intelligence community as a whole still have many other technical and legal tools at their disposal, including the little-understood Executive Order 12333, among others.

Australian agencies accessing metadata more than ever before – A long-awaited report into Australian government agencies accessing telecommunications data has revealed a 1.2 percent jump in authorisations for data in the last financial year.

A total of 77 Australian state and federal agencies accessed the telecommunications data of citizens 334,658 times in the 2013-14 financial year, the government has revealed.

The details came in the annual report of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (PDF) that lists the interceptions and access to stored telecommunications data made by government agencies each financial year.

Of the 334,658 authorisations, the government stated that 324,260 of these were made to enforce criminal law. It has painted this figure as an improvement on the total 330,798 authorisations made in the previous financial year, as it was only a growth of 1.2 percent, compared to the 9.8 percent growth between 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Journalist appeals lawsuit to force cops to give up info on stingray use – After losing in court six months ago, Arizona-based reporter Beau Hodai filed an appeal earlier this week in an effort to force the City of Tucson and the Tucson Police Department to disclose records pertaining to their use of cell-site simulators.

Commonly referred to as “stingrays,” cell site simulators can be used to determine a person’s location by spoofing a cell tower; they can also be used to intercept calls and text messages. Once deployed, the devices intercept data from a target phone along with information from other phones within range of the stingray.

For years, federal and local law enforcement have tried to keep the existence of stingrays a secret while simultaneously upgrading their capabilities. Over the last year, as stingrays and stingray use have come under scrutiny, new information about the secretive devices has been revealed.

FBI aerial surveillance revelations prompt backlash from US lawmakers – Revelations that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was operating a secret fleet of small aircraft spying on the public below has prompted a backlash of sorts.

Lawmakers in the US Senate introduced legislation Wednesday that would require federal authorities to get a probable-cause warrant from a judge to surveil the public from above with manned aircraft or drones.

Proposals to expand Americans’ cloud privacy rights have gone nowhere.

“Americans’ privacy rights don’t stop at the treetops,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said of his proposal.

The Protecting Individuals from Mass Aerial Surveillance Act (PDF), also sponsored by Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), comes two weeks after the Associated Press “traced at least 50 aircraft back to the FBI, and identified more than 100 flights in 11 states over a 30-day period since late April, orbiting both major cities and rural areas.” What’s more, the FBI obscured the planes’ ownership through fake companies.


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

7 responses to “Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – June 19, 2015

  1. Wow, A Secret Start Menu,
    Did Mr. Spector ever hear of classic shell ??? Since the release of Windows 10 is right around the corner, this should be filed under too little, to late and totally obsolete.

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Re: Australian agencies accessing metadata more than ever before

    Funny how local councils, the RSPCA, Racing Australia, and the Dept of Commerce can access my metadata, but if I wanted to, I am not allowed.

    They can go hard I say. Encryption is always on with this computer.


  3. Re the Apple watch – isn’t that more like 2500% profit?

  4. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    As you know I am a big fan of Spotify. However I do not like their claim that you can access music from any artist; Just two examples are the Beatles and Taylor Swift. I suspect that, with the ever-increasing competition in music streaming, the latest of which being Apple Music, artists will align themselves with one platform to the exclusion of others. I also resent the fact that a subscription costs $9.99 in the USA and £9.99 in the UK, equivalent to $15.73 at current rates.

    Kind regards,


    • Hi John,

      Like you, I resent the same/same (9.99/9.99) nonsense. We recently got rid of the penny, so all prices are rounded off to the nearest. In other words, $1.99 is now $2.00. Simple, huh? But no – prices are STILL advertised with the deceptive .99. Enterprise seems totally oblivious to the fact that we “get it.” Just like we get – “$9.99 in the USA and £9.99 in the UK, equivalent to $15.73 at current rates.” The kids in the “short pants” who make these pricing decisions must think, that while we may not be stupid, we are pretty dumb. 🙂

      On the music front – it looks like we have a ways to go yet before all the deadwood is washed away (I’m looking at you Kanye).