Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – July 29, 2015

Windows 10 begins its rollout to 190 countries;  Your Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 10 ;  Windows 10: Nine things you need to know;  3 tips for a hassle-free Windows 10 upgrade;  Windows 10: The best tricks, tips, and tweaks;  10 things Windows 10 does better than Windows 8;  The Best FREE Antivirus for 2015;  How to lock and unlock your USB ports;  How to really delete a file in Windows;  How to recycle your phone for cash;  Microsoft sinks in antivirus tests, as Avira, Bitdefender hit top scores;  Play GTA V (and anything else) in your browser thanks to Windows tool;   Most Android phones at risk from simple text hack;  PS4 gets a mini keyboard and mouse this November;  Critical vulnerability in Apple App Store, iTunes revealed;  How to lock and unlock your USB ports;  12 Ways Tech Can Land You in Jail… Or Worse.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Windows 10 begins its rollout to 190 countries – The day has finally arrived. Microsoft has opened the floodgates and started the ball rolling to bring Windows 10 to desktops, laptops, and tablets everywhere. And by everywhere, we mean a whopping 190 countries. Naturally, Microsoft is in a very celebratory mood, though some might think it’s a bit too early to party. Nonetheless, there is no stopping the latest version of Windows from making or breaking the company’s legacy, setting its tone for the next 10 years or so as Microsoft navigates the waters of a mobile-centric world.

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Your Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 10 – Microsoft is rolling out Windows 10 beginning at 12 a.m. ET Wednesday morning. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest Windows operating system before installing it.

Windows 10: Nine things you need to know – Have burning questions about Microsoft’s operating system? Here are some answers.

3 tips for a hassle-free Windows 10 upgrade – If you’ve got a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC, you’re eligible for a free upgrade, and there’s a lot to love about Windows 10, from new features to under-the-hood tweaks to a much-needed interface revamp. Before you upgrade, however, there some things you can do to make your migration to the next chapter in Windows history as seamless as possible.

8 Windows 10 settings you should change right away – Before you do anything else, change these Windows 10 settings!

10 things Windows 10 does better than Windows 8 – Fixing the Start menu is just the beginning. Windows 10 brings many other good changes, and we show you the best ones here.

Windows 10: The best tricks, tips, and tweaks – Windows 10, Microsoft’s back-to-basics re-embracing of the PC, is already brimming with handy new features, and with all the new goodies comes with a legion of new tweaks and tricks—some of which unlock powerful functionality hidden to everyday users. Here are some of the most useful Windows 10 tweaks, tricks, and tips we’ve found.

Walmart selling $100 tablet with free Windows 10 upgrade – Windows 10 is the next big thing, and those wanting to try it on a small tablet should check out the Nextbook Flexx 8 for $99.99 at Walmart.

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Download: Windows 10 ISOs – If you need to download Windows 10 ISOs, Microsoft has now opened up the download page and you can find the download links after the jump so that you can begin installing the OS.

Windows 10 alternatives that won’t disappoint – This gallery highlights various OSs that are, for most users, adequate replacements for Windows 10. Many of the options featured here can be used in VirtualBox, if you prefer to give it a spin without dual-booting or formatting your system.

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Google’s Chrome OS

How to lock and unlock your USB ports – External flash and hard drives can be used to deliver malware or steal sensitive files. Here’s how to control who can use them.

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Amazon Prime Music Arrives in the U.K. – More than a year after launching in the U.S., the streaming service is expanding to Britain, where members can access tens of thousands of albums from chart toppers to classic artists.

Next-gen Android One phone launches in India for $176 – The Lava Pixel V1 offers a solid value for the price, combining mid-range hardware with the latest Android software updates from Google.

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Meet the $329 Phone Everyone’s Been Waiting For – OnePlus, a rising smartphone star in China, released a new, top-of-the-line product this morning. It’s a smartphone called the OnePlus 2—an admittedly clever bit of mathematical marketing—and it’s billed as the “2016 Flagship Killer.” Translation: Dear Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Huawei, and LG: We’re comin’ for ya.

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How to really delete a file in Windows – On modern PCs, a file doesn’t actually go away when you hit the Delete key. The bits on your storage drive that represent that file simply get flipped to a hidden state, and they’re tagged to be written over by other bits later. This requires less time and processing power than scrubbing every deleted file off your hard drive. Gradually, bits from other files overlap the old file and eliminate it. This process could take seconds or weeks, depending on how much you use your drive and what kinds of files you’re putting on it. While Windows doesn’t have a built-in utility to truly delete a file, there are several free third-party tools.

How to recycle your phone for cash – Even if you’re not in the market for a new device, owners of ancient, cracked, and broken electronics that won’t even turn on can still cash in on this promise of recompense. Here are some practical tips about the different ways you can convert your phone into at least a little bit of cash — pointers that typically apply to big-ticket electronics, too, like digital cameras and laptops.

A list of all the Google Now voice commands – Here’s a list of just about everything you can say to Google Now. Try experimenting with different phrasing, you’ll be surprised how much it understands. The part of the phrase in [brackets] can be replaced with any similar term you choose. If Google Now doesn’t get your spoken commands right, you can correct it by saying “No, I said…” and trying the phrase again.

Security:

Most Android phones at risk from simple text hack, researcher says – The flaw, says researcher Zimperium, exists in the media playback tool built into Android, called Stagefright. Malicious hackers could take advantage of it by sending to an Android device a simple text message that, once received by the smartphone, would give them complete control over the handset and allow them to steal anything on it, such as credit card numbers or personal information.

Google pledges a speedy Stagefright security fix for Nexus devices – That still leaves the vast majority of the Android ecosystem unprotected unless the carriers and manufacturers apply Google’s fix.

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Critical vulnerability in Apple App Store, iTunes revealed – A critical flaw has been discovered in Apple’s App Store and iTunes invoice system which could result in session hijacking and malicious invoice manipulation. Revealed this week by security researcher Benjamin Kunz Mejri from Vulnerability Lab, the persistent injection flaw, deemed critical, is an application-side input validation web vulnerability. In an advisory, the researcher said the vulnerability allows remote attackers to inject malicious script codes into flawed content function and service modules.

The Best Free Antivirus for 2015 – Cybercriminals want your money, just like any other criminals. Installing free antivirus software lets you lock out the bad guys without paying a cent.

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Microsoft sinks in antivirus tests, as Avira, Bitdefender hit top scores – The latest antivirus scores from the Madgeburg, Germany-based testing lab AV-Test ranks Windows Defender as the worst-performing anti-malware app out of the 22 most common consumer products tested. Windows Defender, baked into the latest versions of Windows, scored just 9.5 points out of a total of 18.

How to disable Windows 10’s Wi-Fi Sense password sharing – Windows 10’s new Wi-Fi Sense feature is a powerful tool that takes the headache out of managing Wi-Fi connections on the run. With Wi-Fi Sense enabled, Windows 10 will automatically sign you into open Wi-Fi networks, as well as private networks that your Outlook.com, Skype, and Facebook contacts have logged into—so you won’t have to manually sign into the network when you visit your buddy’s house. As convenient as Wi-Fi Sense is, however, not everyone’s thrilled with it. Windows 10 enables Wi-Fi Sense by default, but you can disable it. Here’s how.

Company News:

Intel, Micron debut 3D XPoint storage technology that’s 1,000 times faster than current SSDs – Intel and Micron today unveiled their all-new memory technology called 3D XPoint (pronounced “cross-point”). This is a new class of memory that can be used both as system memory as well as nonvolatile storage. In other words, 3D XPoint can be used to replace both a computer’s RAM and its solid-state drive (SSD). The companies claim that 3D XPoint is a major breakthrough in memory process technology, the first new memory category since the introduction of NAND flash in 1989. It’s said to be extremely fast and durable, up to a thousand times faster (both in read and write speeds), and it will have higher endurance than existing NAND Flash memory currently being used in SSDs.

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Razer Buys Android-Based Game Console Maker Ouya – Razer purchased Ouya’s software assets, including its content catalog and online retail platform. As part of the deal, Ouya’s technical team and developer relations personnel will be joining Razer. Financial terms of the deal, which closed on June 12, were not disclosed. The acquisition does not include Ouya’s hardware business.

Twitter’s user growth skids to a stop – Twitter has been a slow-growth company for a while. The company on Tuesday warned investors that it’s essentially a no-growth company. “We do not expect to see sustained meaningful growth in [monthly active users] until we start to reach the mass market,” Twitter CFO Anthony Noto told analysts during the company’s second quarter conference call. “We expect that will take a considerable period of time.” Shares plunged more than 11 percent in after-hours trading.

Nokia jumps into virtual reality market with 360-degree Ozo camera – Nokia Technologies plans to return to the consumer market, focusing on virtual reality rather than the cell phones that made it famous. The Finnish company — what was left of the former cell phone giant after Microsoft bought its handset division last year — on Tuesday night unveiled Ozo, a next-generation camera for capturing 360-degree video and audio. Unveiled at an entertainment industry event in Los Angeles, the orb-shaped camera is designed for professional content creators rather than consumers.

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GoDaddy launches in Australia to target small businesses – After using Australia as a pilot market, GoDaddy has formally launched locally and has appointed Tara Commerford as the Australia and New Zealand country manager.

LinkedIn brings back simple, instant contact exports following user outrage – After dabbling with something new and far slower, LinkedIn is once again making it easy to grab a list of your contacts from the social network. This weekend, the company said it is reverting to its previous contact download process, which delivers all the data in CSV format. LinkedIn says it decided to go back to its old ways following user outrage over a new system that took 24 to 72 hours to prepare a download.

Games and Entertainment:

Play GTA V (and anything else) in your browser thanks to Windows tool – If your laptop doesn’t have the muscle to run a game like GTA V at anything approaching acceptable levels of quality, you might not need any beefy hardware in the first place. The developer of an app called Instant Webcam has adapted the underlying tools to make it possible to stream a game to any web browser, and it works “way better than it should.” The program is called jsmpeg-vnc, and it’s available for free and it’s open source.

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Final ‘CoD: Advanced Warfare’ DLC Arrives Aug. 4 – The fourth and final add-on pack for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Reckoning, arrives Aug. 4 on Xbox, with other platforms to follow. The DLC features new maps with the Exo Grapple mechanic for fast-paced multiplayer combat. The intense charts lead players from New Baghdad to South Korea in four very different scenarios:

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King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember review: An old classic gets a terrific new start – It’s a little friendlier and a lot more talkative than the King’s Quest games of yore, but this is an excellent sequel to/re-imagining of a long-dormant classic.

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The Witcher 3’s final free DLC is a New Game Plus mode – Already put 100+ hours into The Witcher 3? Tracked down every question mark on the map, looted every barrel, completed every Witcher Contract? What’s a monster-slayer to do when everything’s already been done? Wipe the map clean and start it all over again, obviously. CD Projekt Red confirmed today that The Witcher 3’s final piece of free DLC will be a New Game Plus (NG+) mode.

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PS4 gets a mini keyboard and mouse this November – Which input method is superior for gaming? If you’re talking about first-person shooters, then the answer is an obvious one: keyboard and mouse wins. I’m sure some gamers out there will argue against that, but the accuracy offered by this combination can’t be matched by thumbsticks on a typical console controller. Now PS4 (and PS3) owners will have the opportunity to experience such control because they are getting the option of a keyboard and mouse setup from Hori. It’s called the Tactical Assault Commander, and consists of a mini keyboard and mouse configuration.

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40 Movies and TV Shows Leaving Netflix in August – If you have doubts about the constant rotation of titles, check out the blog What’s On Netflix Now? which is doing a great job of tracking not only the movies and shows Netflix says are going, but the ones that disappear without warning. (Yes, that means more than 40 are probably leaving the service in August. C’mon, Netflix. Not cool.) This coming month, say good-bye to several Bruce Willis classics.

Off Topic (Sort of):

12 Ways Tech Can Land You in Jail… Or Worse – When we unbox a new gadget or download an app, we often hastily discard or dismiss the accompanying pages of dry documentation and fine print. But those pages may come back to haunt us as a lawsuit if they’re not properly heeded. Here are a few examples of how tweeting, jailbreaking, and even getting spam can put people on a precarious legal ledge that in some cases may cost them their lives.

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Facebook shares its diversity training course with all – Facebook on Tuesday launched a new page called “Managing Unconscious Bias,” which features a training course and several informational videos aimed at improving diversity in the workplace. The training course, which was developed by Facebook, educates would-be employers and job-seekers on the realities of bias in the hiring process. The training was previously provided to Facebook employees.

Nike’s developing an ice hat to keep your head cool – Feel too hot after your summer runs but don’t like pouring water on your head? Nike’s developing an alternative, a yet-unnamed ice hat of sorts that will chill your head more effectively, and without the mess. It’s more of a shrouded helmet than a hat, featuring a large hood-like component with a neck piece and face mesh. It is being developed in conjunction with Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton, and its design goal is to reduce an athlete’s overall body temperature by rapidly cooling down one’s head.

The Distiller App: A Portal to the World of Whiskey – Summertime is here, which means a slower pace of life, less stress and more time for the things we enjoy. Since I enjoy fine whiskey and technology, I came across an appropriate blend (pun intended) of the two in the form of a free mobile app called “Distiller.”

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Image: Distiller

A Visual History of Microsoft Windows – Whether you fiddled with MS DOS in the early days or only just snagged a Windows 8 laptop for the school year, most modern PC users have experienced Windows in one way or another. Before you grab your free Windows 10 update on Wednesday, take a trip down memory lane, and remember what your Windows desktop used to look like.

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E-ink traffic signs debut in Australia – The same technology used on the display of your Amazon Kindle is now appearing in traffic signs in Sydney, Australia. While e-ink may not have the same visual punch as the OLED display on a smartphone, the technology is great for its low power consumption and easy visibility in various lighting conditions. That’s probably the exact reason the Australian Road and Maritime Services (RMS) has gone with e-ink in traffic signs used for special events, which need to be updated frequently and easily seen by drivers.

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Musk, Woz: Let’s Hold Off on the Killer Robots – Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and professor Stephen Hawking are among the 1,000-plus artificial intelligence and robotics researchers who endorsed an open letter warning against the technology. While autonomous weapons make the front line safer for soldiers, they may also lower the threshold for going to battle, and likely result in more human casualties, according to the FLI. “The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting,” the letter said.

Something to think about:

“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.”

–     H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Today’s Free Downloads:

PortExpert: CyberSecurity at your finger tips – PortExpert gives you a detailed vision of your personnal computer cybersecurity. It automatically monitors all applications connected to the Internet and give you all the information you might need to identify potential threats to your system.

Features:

Monitor of application using TCP/UDP communications

User-friendly interface

Identifies remote servers (WhoIs service)

Allows to open containing folder of any applications

Allow to easily search for more info online

Automatic identification of related service : FTP, HTTP, HTTPS,…

Capability to show/hide system level processes

Capability to show/hide loopbacks

Time freeze function

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Avast. The world’s #1 antivirus – With more than 230 million users, Avast is the most trusted security & antivirus in the world. You are now just a few clicks away from protecting your PC for free.

Only Avast has Home Network Security – For the first time ever, you can protect your home network devices, such as routers and wireless devices, from hacker attacks.

More exciting features:

Avast Browser Cleanup – Remove annoying browser toolbars or extensions, and restore your hijacked search browser.

Avast Software Updater – Easily update your important software to increase the overall security and condition of your PC.

Avast Remote Assistance – Remote Assistance lets you help or be helped over the Internet.

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair – Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is a tool designed help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including; registry errors, file permissions, issues with Internet Explorer, Windows Updates, Windows Firewall and more. Malware and poorly installed programs can modify your default settings resulting in your machine working badly – or worse. With Tweaking.com Windows Repair you can restore Windows original settings fixing many of these problems outright.

Tweaking.com – Windows Repairs section as always been completely free for both personal and business use. We offer a Pro version. adds features like automatic updates, an enhanced drive cleaner, memory cleaner, speed tweaks and more. This allows you to support future development and get something in return!

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including:

Unhide Non System Files

Repair problems with .lnk (Shortcuts)

File Association

WMI

Windows Firewall

Internet Explorer

Windows Installer (MSI)

Hosts File

Policies Set By Infections

Icons

Winsock & DNS Cache

Proxy Settings

Windows Updates

CD/DVD Missing/Not Working

Reset Registry and File Permissions

Register System Files

Remove Temp Files

and more…

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Activists Flood Congress With Faxes to Protest Cybersecurity Bill – Internet activists opposed to a controversial cybersecurity bill are trying to get Congress’ attention the old-fashioned way: by flooding its fax machines.

The nonprofit group Fight For the Future has set up eight phone lines to convert emails and tweets protesting the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) into faxes that will be sent to all 100 U.S. senators. Supporters can fax their own messages via FaxBigBrother.com or with the hashtag #faxbigbrother.

NSA will lose access to ‘historical’ phone surveillence data Nov. 29 – The U.S. National Security Agency will lose access to the bulk telephone records data it has collected at the end of November, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced Monday.

Congress voted in June to rein in the NSAs mass collection of U.S. phone metadata, which includes information such as the timing and location of calls. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court then gave the NSA 180 days to wind the program down.

The Director of National Intelligence had been evaluating whether the NSA should maintain access to the historical data it collected after that 180 days is up. It’s now determined that access to that data will cease on Nov. 29.

After that date, the NSA must receive approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA Court, to request the data from phone companies on a case-by-case basis.

Even former heads of NSA, DHS think crypto backdoors are stupid – Michael Chertoff, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security and a former federal prosecutor, made some surprising remarks last week, coming out strongly against cryptographic backdoors that could be provided to the government upon request.

“I think that it’s a mistake to require companies that are making hardware and software to build a duplicate key or a back door even if you hedge it with the notion that there’s going to be a court order,” he said to the crowd at the Aspen Security Forum.

Obama won’t pardon Snowden, despite petition – U.S. President Barack Obama won’t pardon National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, despite strong public support for it, the White House said Tuesday.

A petition on WhiteHouse.gov calling for Obama to pardon Snowden has nearly 168,000 signatures, but that’s not enough to sway the president, said Lisa Monaco, Obama’s advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism.

Obama has pushed for surveillance reforms “since taking office,” Monaco wrote on the WhiteHouse.gov petition site. “Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it,” she added.

Monaco’s response to the petition doesn’t mention that nearly all of the surveillance reforms endorsed by the Obama administration were proposed after Snowden began leaking information about NSA surveillance programs in mid-2013.

Groups urge Obama to oppose cyberthreat sharing bills – U.S. President Barack Obama should oppose legislation intended to let businesses share cyberthreat information with each other and with government agencies because the bill would allow the sharing of too much personal information, a coalition of digital rights groups and security experts said.

The coalition of 39 digital rights and privacy groups and 29 security experts urged Obama to threaten to veto the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a bill that may come to the Senate floor for a vote by early August. CISA would protect from customer lawsuits those businesses that share cyberthreat information.

“CISA fails to protect users’ personal information,” the coalition said in a letter to Obama, sent Monday. “It allows vast amounts of personal data to be shared with the government, even that which is not necessary to identify or respond to a cybersecurity threat.”

The groups compared CISA to the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a cyberthreat sharing bill that the House of Representatives approved in 2013. CISPA failed to become law after Obama threatened to veto it.

Backers of CISA and similar bills say the sharing of cyberthreat information is necessary for businesses and government agencies to respond to ongoing attacks.

WordPress on national security demands: “We wish we could tell you more” – The company behind popular web blogging software WordPress said it has not received a single national security order in two years, according to its latest transparency report.

That’s a decline from the demands it received in the second half of 2013, which Automattic confirmed it received between zero and 249 demands.

The software maker was critical of the government’s rules it was obliged to follow when reporting its figures. Following the Edward Snowden leaks, the Justice Dept. allowed companies to disclose how many national security requests — including gag orders and warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — as a show of good faith. But companies are still obliged to report in numerical ranges, which the software maker — and other firms — have criticized.

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