Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – June 29, 2015

Need to lock down your phone? These security apps are some of the best;  12 high tech devices to monitor your kids’ health;  10+ Apple Music tips you’ll use;  Netflix Bigger Than Major Broadcast Networks (Sort of);  6 things to consider when choosing a streaming-music subscription;  41 percent of Americans say people and dinosaurs co-existed;  Passwords 101;  Chevy Will Text You if Your Car Is Stolen;  What to look for in a password manager;  Facebook’s Snapchatty New Photo Uploader Lets You Overlay Text And More;  NFC security: 3 ways to avoid being hacked;  The Tech Industry Is In Denial, But The Bubble Is About To Burst;  Man shoots down neighbor’s hexacopter;  Get the whole history of the Internet at a glance;  WinPatrol (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Need to lock down your phone? These security apps are some of the best – From encrypted instant messengers to secure browsers, these security and privacy apps are some of the very best for protecting your devices.

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Passwords 101 – Passwords guard your most private and sensitive information. Here’s how to make sure they’re strong enough for the job.

What to look for in a password manager – Why use a password manager? Because it’s one of the best apps you can invest in, saving you time and protecting all the accounts you need a password for. A good password manager generates and stores passwords and makes it easy to change them. Many managers offer other features, like filling in your information in online forms. However, not every password manager is worth its weight in code. To be truly useful, a password manager must provide good password generation, industry-standard AES-256 encryption (and ideally two-factor authentication), autofill options, and cross-platform compatibility.

6 things to consider when choosing a streaming-music subscription – By our count, there are at least 11 subscription music services available around the world: Spotify, Rdio, Apple Music, Rhapsody, Google Play Music, Tidal, Xbox Music, Deezer, Napster, Mog and Rara. But despite all the options, they’re all pretty similar — you typically pay around $10 per month for unlimited streaming on the Web, mobile and at home. With a still-growing array of streaming services, it can be tough to decide which one to pick.  Here are the key questions you should ponder before you decide.

What is FLAC? The high-def MP3 explained – CNET explains what FLAC is, as well as where to buy music in the FLAC format, and how to play it on your iPhone, computer, or MP3 player.

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FLAC is a music format that offers true CD quality and is playable on everything from Sonos to iOS. Sarah Tew/CNET

12 high tech devices to monitor your kids’ health – Digital health has been especially disruptive in pediatrics by giving parents and doctors more transparency about their children’s health and habits. Here are 10 examples.

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Find duplicate photos: Two utilities that can help – Duplicate Cleaner and Free Duplicate Photo Finder can both sift through your digital images for identical or similar ones, but there are limitations to the free versions.

10+ Apple Music tips you’ll use – Apple Music is an ecosystem of complementary products and services, spanning a la carte music downloads, music streaming, social and artist to fan contact, radio stations including Beats 1 and both algorithmic and human-curated music recommendations. Some tips:

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Apple Music’s interface seems pretty simple.

iOS 9 Low Power Mode Cuts Performance by 40 Percent – That sounds like a lot on paper, but it might not matter to those who are just using their devices to read email or casually browse the Web. If you’re a mobile gamer, you might be a little less thrilled. We have yet to see the Low Power Mode tested on real-world apps, so it’s unclear just what that kind of a hit would translate to for today’s top titles.

Dutch court wants expert to hunt Facebook’s systems for lost revenge porn data – A Dutch court won’t take Facebook’s word it has deleted data that could identify the person behind a now-deleted pseudonymous account from which a sex tape was posted, and wants the company to allow an independent expert to scour its systems for the missing information.

Facebook’s Snapchatty New Photo Uploader Lets You Overlay Text And More – If putting text, swipeable filters, and re-sizable emoji on photos sounds familiar, it might be because that’s exactly what Snapchat does. Since Facebook’s failed acquisition bid, it’s watched Snapchat grow and grow. Its attempts to clone Snapchat as a whole, Poke and Slingshot, have failed. Meanwhile, Japanese messaging app Line has gotten big on the back of stickers. So Facebook’s simply trying to bake the best of everything else into its own.

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Add overlaid text to Facebook photos with the new uploader

Why you should try the Microsoft Sway presentation app right now – Here’s how it all works. Let’s say you want to communicate about a new business product in a way that has some graphic flare. Of course, you can hire a designer who knows how to build a website in HTML or shoot a video and post it on YouTube. Sway combines these activities into one tool that is so easy to use, it’s almost like making a greeting card using one of those free tools from HP. You add in a few elements — a chart, a video, a headline — and publish.

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Credit: Microsoft

Survey finds 40% of businesses want to adopt Windows 10 in the first year – According to data from a recent survey, a large number of businesses are interested and looking to adopt Windows 10. If this is true, Microsoft could be in for a very big win with the new OS. But the good news doesn’t stop there, as 40% of businesses reportedly want to upgrade to Windows 10 in the first year after launch, with another 33% wanting to jump onboard in the following 12 months.

Add a Rainbow to Your Facebook Profile Photo With One Click – The social network has launched a new tool which lets you add a rainbow filter to your profile photo with a single click. Just head over to Facebook’s new Celebrate Pride page, and you’ll see a preview of your profile photo with the transparent rainbow overlay. If you like how it looks, click the button “use as profile picture” and voila — Facebook will automatically update your profile photo.

Microsoft: Windows 10 phones in the “flagship, high-end segment” are coming to India – Microsoft’s recent focus on lower-end devices has worked well for it in some markets, including India, but the company says it will launch new high-end Windows 10 Mobile handsets there this year.

Security:

NFC security: 3 ways to avoid being hacked – More than a billion phones will be equipped with near-field communications technology in 2015, potentially opening up new vectors for attack.

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Samsung caves and patches its software to re-enable Windows Update – After users discovered what Samsung was up to, the company finally caved and decided to do the right thing and keep its users safe – by re-enabling Windows Update on its devices.

Chevy Will Text You if Your Car Is Stolen – The car maker this week announced a new OnStar feature, dubbed Theft Alarm Notification, which will alert drivers in real-time via text, email, or phone call if their car has been stolen. The service will be available to all eligible OnStar subscribers later this summer, Chevy said. Theft Alarm Notification builds on Chevy’s existing OnStar security features like remote ignition block, which can prevent a stolen car from starting. Chevy said that if a “properly equipped” vehicle is stolen, its OnStar advisors will work with local authorities to pinpoint its location via GPS. In certain models, advisors can even send a signal to slow down a stolen vehicle to help police officers retrieve it, and potentially prevent a high-speed chase.

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Facebook, Kaspersky tag team in social network malware crackdown – The companies are working together to keep users safe from phishing campaigns, data theft and malware infection.

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If malware has been detected on your PC, you will be offered a free download of Kaspersky’s cleaner tool.

Software developers aren’t implementing encryption correctly – Despite a big push over the past few years to use encryption to combat security breaches, lack of expertise among developers and overly complex libraries have led to widespread implementation failures in business applications. The scale of the problem is significant. Cryptographic issues are the second most common type of flaws affecting applications across all industries, according to a report this week by application security firm Veracode.

Company News:

Police start seizing Uber cars in France – The clash between Uber drivers and taxi drivers in France became very serious this week, including everything from blocking transportation routes to the alleged dropped of bricks onto Uber cars from overpasses. Today the nation’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called Uber “arrogant” following his order yesterday for police officers in Paris to seize any UberPOP vehicles that are operating despite the ban. Legal action has also been filed against UberPOP mangers in France.

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Security Firm Sophos Raises $125M In UK IPO, Valuing It At $1.6B – As malicious hacks, data breaches and other forms of cyber crime continue to persist in our networked, Internet-connected world, Sophos, a maker of antivirus software, firewall hardware and other security products for networks, individual users and servers, is going public on the London Stock Exchange. Trading now as Sophos Group plc and using the “SOPH” ticker, the company sold 34.8% of its shares at 225 pence each (or 156,521,740 shares), raising $125 million on a valuation of £1.013 billion ($1.6 billion) — making it the latest tech “unicorn” to come out of the UK.

With the transition to Windows as a service, Microsoft changes up revenue recognition – When Microsoft releases Windows 10 this summer, it will represent a shift in how the company has traditionally sold its OS. From a revenue recognition perspective, Windows will transition from a single point of sale model to a deferred revenue model because Windows 10 will be delivering software updates and features over time. Microsoft released a new PowerPoint deck, which you can find at the link below, which details how the company will adjust its revenue reporting because of this change. The biggest change is that deferred revenue will show up under the Corporate and Other line of the quarterly earnings statement.

Apple starts production of Force Touch enabled iPhones – It seems that Apple has decided to start the production of its expected new smartphones early. Insider sources have revealed that the company has just gotten the ball rolling in making the next iPhones and have also revealed the one major feature that will set it apart from its predecessors. Confirming earlier rumors, these iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, as they are believed to be called, will feature Apple’s fancy new Force Touch feature, bringing pressure sensitivity to a larger screen and to a larger scale of devices.

Games and Entertainment:

Apple says oops, starts returning games with confederate flag – Apple upset many when it began pulling games from the App Store that included depictions of confederate flags, a move that appeared to be an overreaction to the current movement by businesses and state governments to nix the flag. Apps were removed that included the flag for educational or historical reasons, such as historical games that included confederate flags as a necessary part of being accurate. Fortunately this nonsense was short lived, and Apple has reversed some of its bans.

TechSpot: Batman: Arkham Knight Benchmarked, Performance Review – Countless PC gamers, whether Nvidia or AMD users, have expressed anger about Arkham Knight’s performance with reports of constant stuttering ruining gameplay. Here’s our take.

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One more quest: How mobile gaming reshaped online RPGs – Smartphone and tablets have changed the landscape for gaming. For one, it has made a gamer out of those who would have never even imagined playing a PC or console game, much less consider themselves a gamer. But even for those who have already been whiling away hours in front of the TV or the monitor, the culture of mobile has also changed a few things. Take for example the corner of the gaming world known as online RPGs and how the ubiquity of smartphones have somewhat redefined that genre, for better or for worse.

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Zenonia S

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ review: See how this card unleashes Maxwell’s true power – Move over, Titan X. Sit down, Fury X. EVGA’s customized version of the beastly GTX 980 Ti is the most potent single-GPU graphics card that’s ever graced PCWorld’s test bench.

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Details about the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+’s ACX 2.0+ cooling solution.

Netflix Bigger Than Major Broadcast Networks (Sort of) – How much content do people stream online? A lot. How much of that is Netflix? An enormous amount. And how much do people watch Netflix compared to standard TV channels? The answer might surprise you. According to Variety, Netflix gets enough daily eyeballs that, if it were a traditional broadcast network, it would be bigger than Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Tech Industry Is In Denial, But The Bubble Is About To Burst – Euphoric reaction to superstar tech businesses is rampant — so much so that the tech industry is in denial about looming threats. The tech industry is in a bubble, and there are sufficient indicators for those willing to open their eyes. Rearing unicorns, however, is a distracting fascination.

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2016 Audi TT/TTS and Q7 Virtual Cockpit First-Drive – I’m not going to lie, I feel pretty damn lucky to be one of a handful of American press with the privilege of experiencing Audi’s Virtual Cockpit in the new TT/TTS and Q7. The opportunity to drive the TTS around Ascari racetrack was nothing short of exhilarating – especially with Virtual Cockpit getting me ready me for turns far in advance. Then, after experiencing Audi’s technology on the track, Audi invited me over to Verbier, Switzerland to test the all-new 2016 Q7, also equipped with Virtual Cockpit, in the way that most drivers will experience it.

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Two self-driving cars’ near collision ‘taken out of context’ – Recently Reuters said that two self-driving cars from rival companies, Google and Delphi, were involved in a near collision when one of Google’s self-driving cars cut off one of Delphi’s autonomous vehicles. The story went viral quickly, not surprising given some of the fear mongering surrounding cars that can drive themselves. The whole thing was taken out of context, though, says a Delphi spokeswoman. Rather than being as sensational as it sounded, it was simply an example of autonomous vehicles doing exactly what we want them to do.

Flintstone facts? 41 percent of Americans say people and dinosaurs co-existed – “Jurassic World” may have been a documentary as far as millions of Americans are concerned. A recent survey by YouGov — a for-profit research firm that conducts all sorts of online polls — found that 41 percent of those queried think dinosaurs and humans “probably” or “definitely” once co-existed on Earth at the same time. The online poll (PDF) of 1,000 adults was conducted between June 15 and 17 and has a 4.4 percent plus-or-minus margin of error.

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Man shoots down neighbor’s hexacopter in rural drone shotgun battle – While we’ve heard of consumer drones getting in the way of commercial airliners and obstructing firefighting operations, we haven’t heard of many drones being shot out of the sky by a neighbor. But according to one drone pilot, that’s exactly what occurred in Modesto, California on November 28, 2014. That day, Eric Joe skipped Black Friday lines and instead went home to visit his parents. During the afternoon, Joe flew what he described to Ars as a homemade hexacopter drone. His aerial device hovered low and moved slow, logging just three and a half minutes of flight time in total. Then, bang. A loud boom rang out over the neighboring walnut trees.

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This is the drone in question. Eric Joe

Lexus has created a hoverboard – Get ready to turn on your self-lacing Mags because you’re about to go on a ride over 15 years in the making. Lexus has seemingly done the impossible and made actual working hoverboard! Simply called “Slide,” the futuristic levitating device might seem magical to some, but it’s hardcore science that powers the board and keeps it off the ground. According to Lexus’ website, a combination of liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and magnets are used to keep it afloat.

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Get the whole history of the Internet at a glance – From a Russian satellite to the death of Internet Explorer, a new infographic takes you through a succinct timeline of the journey the Web has taken over the last 58 years.

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Tech throws its weight behind same-sex marriage ruling … with rainbows and emojis – Companies are voicing support for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling across social media. Facebook has even released a filter for overlaying a rainbow on profile pictures.

Stephen Colbert mocks Justices (the four who dissented in gay-marriage ruling) – Technically Incorrect: He couldn’t resist. He has a new show to sell. Colbert posts his reaction to the Supreme Court decision within hours of its announcement.

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US geek takes on the wacky world of British technology – A trip to the UK takes CNET writer Amanda Kooser through a world of British tech quirks, full of baffling toilet buttons and an alphabet soup of cellular networks.

Something to think about:

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

–      Ernest Hemingway

Today’s Free Downloads:

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Classic Shell 4.2.2 Beta / 4.2.1 – Classic Shell is free software that improves your productivity, enhances the usability of Windows and empowers you to use the computer the way you like it.

The main features are:

Highly customizable start menu with multiple styles and skins

Quick access to recent, frequently-used, or pinned programs

Find programs, settings, files and documents

Start button for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

Toolbar and status bar for Windows Explorer

Caption and status bar for Internet Explorer

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US tech companies still not doing enough to help police and spies, claims UK – US tech companies are not doing enough to help UK police and intelligence agencies by handing over their customers’ data and communications, according to a government expert.

A report by Nigel Sheinwald, the Prime Minister’s ‘special envoy on intelligence and law enforcement data sharing’ said that UK law enforcement still struggles to get access to information it requires.

He said that since September last year, UK law enforcement has worked with the companies on the most urgent requests, particularly in the areas of counter-terrorism and other threat-to-life and child-protection cases and noted: “The companies’ assistance in these cases has improved, showing the value of active engagement with them.”

But he added: “Cooperation remains incomplete, and the companies and governments concerned agree that we need to work on longer term solutions.”

Last year Shienwald was given the job of trying to persuade foreign governments, and US communications companies in particular, to give UK police and intelligence agencies more access to their data, in order to tackle threats to national security or for the “prevention or detection of serious crime.”

Australian telcos face more national security regulation – While the Australian telecommunications industry struggles to meet tight deadlines to comply with the mandatory data-retention scheme, the government has announced another round of national security legislation targeting telecommunications carriers in Australia, this time giving the Attorney-General’s Department greater control, access, and oversight of telecommunications networks.

The draft (PDF) of another amendment to the Telecommunications Act released by Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday afternoon outlined plans to introduce the legislation later this year.

The secretary of the department will also be able to issue telcos with a direction to refrain from undertaking certain activity on their networks, after consultation with the head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Department of Communications secretary.

The secretary can also write to telcos and force them to hand over information in the format of the secretary’s choosing, or face fines. This information can then be shared with anybody by the secretary, provided it relates to assessing the risk of unauthorised interference with or access to telecommunications networks, or is for “the purposes of security.”

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