Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – August 31, 2015

Supercookies are back, and they’re as unappealing as ever;  Windows 10 Home patch lets you turn off automatic app updates;  10 Do’s and don’ts for every Android user;  Pro tip: Mirror your Android device on your PC with ease;  How to track your favorite sports teams with Cortana in Windows 10;  Vine’s Snap to Beat adds looping music to looping vids;  20 must-know keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10;  Livestream Your Phone’s Screen With Mirrativ App;  The 20 best Android apps for kids;  11 signs that your cellular data limit is too low;  App Shows Drone Pilots Where it’s Safe to Fly;  81% of healthcare organizations have been compromised;  Hulu is picking up the big movies Netflix is losing this month; Lara Croft GO: imagine Tomb Raider as a board game;  Giffiti Jazzes Up Photos With GIFs;  Uber Hires Security Researchers Behind That Crazy Jeep Hack;  Baby, We Won’t Drive Our Cars: The Future Of Automotive Transportation.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Supercookies are back, and they’re as unappealing as ever – Supercookies are back in force. But if supercookies are so great for consumers, why aren’t mobile carriers bragging about using them? Figure A explains how tracking headers work using a fictional character named Kavita.


Windows 10 Home patch lets you turn off automatic app updates – Cumulative Update 5 for Windows 10 Home corrects an issue that made it impossible to disable automatic app updates through the Windows Store.

How to track your favorite sports teams with Cortana in Windows 10 – The National Football League’s pre-season is in full swing, the World Series is just around the corner, and in a few months hockey and basketball will start up as well. If you’re a new Windows 10 use,r now is the perfect time to get ready for the sporting bonanza this fall by asking Cortana to track your favorite teams for you. With Cortana, you can keep up-to-date on the latest scores for your favorite teams, as well as team-specific news, all from your desktop. Here’s how to do it.


Tracking your teams starts in Cortana’s notebook.

20 must-know keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10 – Windows 10 has a bunch of new features that bring new keyboard shortcuts along with them. Here’s a list of the best keyboard shortcuts to know to make your time with Windows 10 more efficient.

10 Do’s and don’ts for every Android user – There are a lot of choices when it comes to making your Android phone all it can be, and a lot of nuance about which are the “best” choices to make. Everyone has an opinion about the best apps, home screen layouts, launchers, and so on. However, there are some enduring certainties that cannot be avoided. Here are ten “do’s” and “don’ts” for every Android user.


Example: Configure data usage limits

Pro tip: Mirror your Android device on your PC with ease – There are a number of reasons why you might want to be able to control your phone from your desktop. For some, it’s simply easier throughout the day to move the mouse to a window and control your Android device. Considering how often we interact with our smartphones on a daily basis, that could save some serious time. Regardless of why, you need to know how. Thanks to the creator of AllCast, and with the help of Vysor, mirroring your device has become incredibly simple.

Chrome will auto-pause select Flash content starting September 1 – The battle against Adobe Flash content on the web continues to move forward. Google has just revealed that starting September 1st, its Chrome browser will automatically pause Flash content on web pages. This option has actually been available for some time now for beta users, but Google says it will soon become the standard default setting for all users. The setting works by detecting and pausing Flash content that isn’t “central to the webpage,” or, in other words, advertisements.

Google begins advertising home services in search results – Google is starting to make it easier to find plumbers, locksmiths, cleaners, and other home service workers. It’s rolling out a new type of search ad today that’ll place listings for these services at the top of relevant search result pages, although only around the San Francisco Bay Area for now. The listings include a phone number for the business, customer ratings, basic details on their services, and a photo of someone who represents the company. The idea is that you can now just search for “lock repair” and immediately get a locksmith’s number, rather than having to look through search results — or, you know, turn to another competitor like Amazon.


Giffiti Jazzes Up Photos With GIFs – In the ever-escalating social media arms race, GIFs are the best way to get attention. Static photos are so 2013. But a new app called Giffiti (like graffiti with GIFs) lets you enhance your pics by overlaying animations. Announced by Nalin Mittal this month with a simple post on Reddit, Giffiti rocketed to the front page and hit #14 amongst U.S. Entertainment apps on iOS. Giffiti lets you upload a photo from your camera roll, then select from an array of simple GIF cutouts to overlay on top. You can move and resize them to your liking, and then save the finished product as a GIF or movie file so you can share it via text, social networks, or however you want. It’s reminiscent of another GIF app called PingTank.

Vine’s Snap to Beat adds looping music to looping vids – Anyone and everyone seems to be adding music capabilities to their services, whether they make sense or, as in some cases, not (hello, LINE). The latest to join the fray is Vine, but don’t be afraid, this isn’t a new music streaming service. Considering Vine’s nature of looping videos (do I hear GIFs?), “Music on Vine” takes on a different meaning, which is to say, looping sound clips. While that has always been possible to do manually, the new Snap to Beat tool makes its, well, a snap.

Livestream Your Phone’s Screen With Mirrativ App – According to The Wall Street Journal, the company’s live-streaming app, Mirrativ, lets mobile users broadcast what’s happening on their cell phone screen. Fire up the app, and you’ll be able to stream the contents of your phone’s screen to the world, whether that’s a mobile game, your photo editing or GIF-making skills, or a demo for your parents on how to set up their email. Before you get too excited, a few caveats: First, Mirrativ is still in beta, so the app—which only works on Android—is a bit limited. To prevent a system overload, DeNA will only allow live-streaming at certain times during the day. We recommend following them on Twitter to find out when you can start a stream.


Learn by doing and exploring with the 20 best Android apps for kids – Whether it’s after school hours or during those long holidays, handing your child a phone or tablet doesn’t have to mean they’re frying their brain through dreaded “screen time.” Instead these educational apps and games show that they can investigate new concepts, practice math, and play games that will sharpen their skills. So check out our roundup of the 20 best selections for kids to get your child hooked on apps that will help them get excited about learning and develop those imperative problem-solving skills.


YouTube Kids – This is Google’s first app directly targeted at the younger set. It presents a version of YouTube that’s free of all the violence, inappropriate language, and other weirdness that makes most school districts block it from their networks.

This New App Shows Drone Pilots Where it’s Safe to Fly – Called “B4UFLY,” the iOS version is out in beta Friday. The app lets drone flyers quickly check the status of local airspace, taking into account any special restrictions, nearby airports and other aviation rules. It’s similar to, though much simpler than, the process pilots of full-size aircraft undergo when planning a flight. The FAA’s B4UFLY beta is open to drone flyers who previously registered to be a part of the test. The agency expects the iOS app as well as an Android version to be available to the general public in “several months.”


11 signs that your cellular data limit is too low – Figuring out exactly how much data you need isn’t an exact science. Some months you need more (like when you’re road-tripping across the western United States), and other months you need none (like when you work from home for two weeks straight, and by “work from home” I mean “never leave your home except to walk the dog”). But if you frequently find yourself refusing to turn on your phone’s cellular data for fear of overage charges, you may want to consider upping your data limit. After all, man cannot live on 1GB of data alone.


Researchers find many more modules of Regin spying tool – Security researchers from Symantec have identified 49 more modules of the sophisticated Regin cyberespionage platform that many believe is used by the U.S. National Security Agency and its close allies. This brings the total number of modules known so far to 75, each of them responsible for implementing specific functionality and giving attackers a lot of flexibility in how they exploit individual targets. Regin came to light in November last year, but it has been in use since at least 2008 and antivirus companies have known about it since 2013. It is one of the most sophisticated malware threats discovered to date and has been used to target Internet service providers, telecommunications backbone operators, energy firms, airlines, government entities, research institutes and private individuals.

Fake EFF site serving espionage malware was likely active for 3+ weeks – A spear-phishing campaign some researchers say is linked to the Russian government masqueraded as the Electronic Frontier Foundation in an attempt to infect targets with malware that collects passwords and other sensitive data. Last October, researchers at security firm Trend Micro brought the campaign to light and said it was targeting US military, embassy, and defense contractor personnel, dissidents of the Russian government, and international media organizations. Last month, Trend Micro said the espionage malware campaign entered a new phase by exploiting what then was a zero-day vulnerability in Oracle’s widely used Java browser plugin. Separate security firm FireEye has said the group behind the attacks has ties to Russia’s government and has been active since at least 2007.

Business Email Scams: A Growing Threat – Targeting the head of a company has never been so profitable, according to a warning issued by the FBI in January which has now been revisited due to a 270 percent increase in victims detected / exposed losses. However, it’s not what you think – the criminals aren’t sending mails trying to fool the boss into signing up to a 419 “You’ve won millions, honest” fakeout. They’re pretending to be the boss, and asking other employees to wire money in a hurry. The emails are hard to detect and likely won’t be flagged by spam filters as they’re highly targeted. They’re also being sent from the supposed CEO to another employee, instead of the other way around.

81% of healthcare organizations have been compromised – Eighty-one percent of health care executives say that their organizations have been compromised by at least one malware, botnet, or other cyber-attack during the past two years, and only half feel that they are adequately prepared in preventing attacks, according to KPMG. According to the KPMG survey, the areas with the greatest vulnerabilities within an organization include external attackers (65 percent), sharing data with third parties (48 percent), employee breaches (35 percent), wireless computing (35 percent) and inadequate firewalls (27 percent).

Company News:

Twitter: We’re Upping Our Female Employees to 35 Percent in 2016 (Along With Other Changes) – According to a newly published post by the company, Twitter is committed to making its U.S. workforce more diverse by the end of 2016. First, it’s tackling its male-to-female ratio imbalance, saying it plans to increase the number of its female employees to 35 percent (up from 30 percent last year); increase women in tech roles to 16 percent (up from 10 percent); and ensure the percentage of women in leadership roles hits 25 percent (up from 21 percent). No, that’s not 50-50, but remember, we’re talking about the span of a couple of years here. Twitter is also promising to increase the number of underrepresented minorities that it employs, with the goal of bumping their numbers to 11 percent overall (up from 7 percent last year), to 9 percent in tech roles (up from 3 percent) and to 6 percent in leadership roles (up from 4 percent).

ITC clears Microsoft in 8 year old patent case, Lumias safe – It would have been a devastating blow if Microsoft was blocked from importing its next batch of Lumia smartphones even before its Windows 10 Mobile OS got out the door. That crisis, however, has been just averted when the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of Redmond in a patent case that InterDigital brought against Nokia way back in 2007. According to the ITC, Microsoft did not infringe on InterDigital’s patents, which saves it from a potential import ban that could affect its Lumia smartphones.

Uber Hires Security Researchers Behind That Crazy Jeep Hack – Uber has hired the duo behind a spectacular hack earlier this year that involved taking remote control of a Jeep Cherokee. Wired writer Andy Greenberg experienced this firsthand. He wrote that he was driving on a St. Louis highway when Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek used a laptop 10 miles away to make the radio, air conditioning and windshield wipers go haywire. Then they cut the transmission entirely. (To be clear, this wasn’t just a terrible prank — it was a demonstration that had been arranged beforehand.) At the time, Miller and Valasek worked as security researchers at Twitter and IOActive, respectively. But Reuters reported today that the two of them have joined Uber, and the news was confirmed in tweets by Miller and Uber’s Raffi Krikorian.

NYC’s taxis now have their own Uber-like app – For all of its yelling and battling, the taxi industry has not been able to squash Uber, and consumers are better off for it. In NYC, the taxi industry now has its own Uber-like mobile app called Arro, and as with Uber, consumers can use it to see where nearby cabs are located, hail one using the app, see the driver’s details, and pay their fare using saved banking information. The makers of the app hail their offering as being superior to Uber’s own app, though, and the taxi industry — not surprisingly — is saying it is better in every way: cheaper, faster, and more. The app will be available to the public in the next couple of weeks.

‘Google is in denial’: Rivals throw down oral hearing challenge over antitrust case – A Microsoft-backed lobby group wants Google to defend itself at on oral hearing, saying its response this week to the European Commission’s antitrust charges shows the search company is in denial. More than five months after the EC filed antitrust charges against Google, saying it harmed competition by using its dominance in search to favour its own vertical search products such as shopping, the company yesterday responded in a blog post and a separate report to the commission.

Games and Entertainment:

Lara Croft GO: imagine Tomb Raider as a board game – Square Enix seems to have found a new distraction: turning existing popular game franchises into turn-based strategy games played over what feels like a diorama board set. It has happened before with Hitman and has now happened again with Tomb Raider. Or rather, “Lara Croft”, as she is marketed now. Lara Croft GO, which launches on mobile as well as Windows 10, is meant to bring players back to the classic roots of the Tomb Raider games. Somewhat interestingly, it makes more sense than with Hitman GO.


Rocket League sells 1 million copies on Steam – Rocket League, a new sports-action game that is essentially soccer with cars, has undoubtedly been one of the hottest games of summer. Now, Valve and developer Psyonix have announced that the beloved game has sold more than 1 million copies for PC on Steam alone since its release in July. As of the end of July, Rocket League passed 5 million downloads across PC and PlayStation 4. Sales on PS4 are a little tougher to quantify, as the game was free in July for PlayStation Plus owners. But whatever the case, the game is a success, and it will grow further with more DLC and a release for additional systems.


AMD explains the technology behind its smaller, faster GPUs – The Radeon R9 Nano, which chipmaker AMD announced this week, delivers high-end gaming in a card that fits in smaller, less power-hungry systems. At a chip conference earlier this week, AMD talked about the development of the new memory technology behind it.

Hulu is picking up the big movies Netflix is losing this month – Netflix ended its deal with entertainment network Epix today, a change that will soon take a raft of big-name movies — including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and World War Z — off the streaming service. But those movies won’t be homeless for long. A few hours after Epix parted ways with Netflix, the network announced a new deal with Hulu, an extensive multi-year agreement that will bring new movies from Lionsgate, MGM, and Paramount to the Netflix rival. Epix movies will begin to appear on Hulu from October 1st. At launch, Hulu says it will feature a set of eye-catching blockbusters, including Star Trek: Into Darkness, Wolf of Wall Street, and Anchorman 2, with more movies appearing through each year of the deal. The move also makes Hulu the home of the James Bond, Star Trek, and Rocky movies.

G-Sync vs. FreeSync FAQ: How variable refresh rate displays make PC games super-smooth – Imagine games without stuttering or tearing. Games without ghosting. Two rival technologies both promise that—learn more about them here.

Off Topic (Sort of):

8 sci-fi ideas that might become science fact pretty soon (pictures) – We’re still not holding our breath for ubiquitous hoverboards or flying cars, but we could soon see a breathing woolly mammoth. Plus, seven other crazy things that sound impossible today.


RFID chips are shown here in a slide near a thick black line. That line is a human hair under magnification. These chips are technology from 2006. By 2026, “smart dust” chips like this could float around in the wind, constantly measuring the weather and other atmospheric conditions. We might even breathe them in and use them as biometric sensors some day.

From AMD Nano to Skylake, 11 reasons why August was awesome for hardware – The July 29 release of Windows 10 has resulted in an orgy of computing excess, as hardware manufacturers rush to release a glut of new graphics cards, computer processors, SSDs, routers, and more to coincide with the operating system’s launch. The riches started raining down in June, continued throughout July, and didn’t slow down one bit in August. From Intel’s cutting-edge new chips to fresh GPUs and Google’s entry into home networking, here’s a rundown of all the awesome PC goodies that made their debut in August.

Baby, We Won’t Drive Our Cars: The Future Of Automotive Transportation – Earlier this summer, Trinity had the pleasure of hosting a Transportation Tech dinner with some of the brightest minds in the space, including Uber’s lead data scientist, Lyft’s leader of operations strategy, RelayRides’ head of marketing, and the CEOs of ZIRX, MileIQ, Chariot, and Automatic. While the conversation led to many interesting conclusions, the discussion can be summed up in large part by one unifying insight:

“Transportation tech is not only changing how we get from A to B, it’s fundamentally altering the underlying infrastructure of our cities.”

This observation led to several bold predictions on what the future of transportation holds in store. Here’s a list of the Top 5:


The only way to avoid hangover is to drink less, study says – Whether you’ve ever been drunk or not, you may be familiar with the concept of the hangover. Those who have them look awful, behave like a sloth with a wart and drink gallons of water in an attempt to return to their more pleasant selves. There have been many tales told of how to prevent hangover. Scientists have often weighed in — the latest idea is that the best preventative measure is to drink pear juice. Beforehand, that is. Now a new study will relieve you of all your antidotes and hairs of the dog. For it concluded that the only way to prevent a hangover is to not drink so much.

Something to think about:

“There is no unique picture of reality.”

–     Stephen Hawking


EasyUEFI: The easy way to manage EFI/UEFI boot options – EasyUEFI is a handy and useful Windows software to manage the EFI/UEFI boot options. You can use it to create, delete, edit, clean up, backup and restore EFI/UEFI boot options, specifies a one-time boot entry for the next restart, or change the EFI/UEFI boot order without entering BIOS setup.

With EasyUEFI you can also build a bootable Windows PE image. After building the image file, you can use it to create a bootable USB flash drives or use 3rd-party burner software to burn it to CD/DVD. If you suspect your system is failing to boot because of a missing or corrupt EFI/UEFI boot option, then you can use this bootable media to fix this EFI/UEFI boot issue.

EasyUEFI is 100% clean, No ads, adware, spyware, trojans or any other malware bundled!



WinToFlash – There may come a day that optical drives are as hard to find as 5.25 floppy drives are today.

WinToFlash starts a wizard that will help to make USB bootable and pull over the contents of a windows installation CD or DVD and prep the USB drive to become a replacement for the optical drive. It can also do this with your LiveCD or DOS.

You don’t have to worry about scratches on the disc or misplacing your original media discs once you transfer their contents to the flash drive. The optical drive is quickly becoming a thing of the past, especially in office environments, as media is shifted to the cloud.

Read about all supported features on the Overview page.

Best video tutorial from user mullinsJ08


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Baltimore defense lawyers to review nearly 2,000 cases involving stingrays – This week, USA Today’s investigative team shined a light on the Baltimore police department and their use of stingrays. The paper found cops deployed the cell phone trackers in crimes as minor as harassing phone calls, and the authorities would often conceal the results of that surveillance from suspects and lawyers despite the fact that Maryland law “generally requires that electronic surveillance be disclosed in court,” according to the paper.

Evidently, the story found the right eyeballs. USA Today now reports that defense lawyers in Baltimore have pledged to examine nearly 2,000 cases involving police using stingrays. The lawyers plan to use their findings to approach judges and for “a large number” of criminal convictions to be overturned, the paper writes.

“This is a crisis, and to me it needs to be addressed very quickly,” Baltimore’s deputy public defender, Natalie Finegar, told USA Today. “No stone is going to be left unturned at this point.”

Rand Paul poses in front of NSA data center that he pledges to shut down – On Saturday, presidential hopeful and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) made an unusual campaign stop. Wearing his usual shades and messy curls, Paul posed with arms crossed in front of a controversial Utah data center belonging to the NSA. Alongside the photo, posted on Facebook, Paul made a bold campaign pledge: to essentially tear that data center down.

“I’m on my way to the airport, but we decided to stop by the NSA facility in Utah,” the caption on Paul’s Facebook page says. “When I become president, we’ll convert it into a Constitutional Center to study the Fourth Amendment! Bulk data collection must end!”


‘Harperman’ singer investigated for alleged conflict of interest – An Environment Canada scientist is under investigation for allegedly breaching the public service code of ethics by writing and performing a political song that criticizes the Harper government.

Tony Turner, a physical scientist who most recently was working on a study of migratory birds, has been put on administrative leave with pay over allegations that his participation in his song Harperman puts him in a conflict of interest, the union representing him said.

A recording of the song, uploaded to YouTube in June, accuses Conservative Leader Stephen Harper of muzzling scientists and suppressing freedom of the press, among other criticisms. It repeatedly tells Mr. Harper: “It’s time for you to go.”

Mr. Turner has worked for Environment Canada for almost 20 years and was just months away from retirement when he was put on leave.

Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said the opinions expressed in the song should not constitute a conflict because they don’t interfere with Mr. Turner’s ability to do research in his field.

“Public servants have the same democratic rights as every other Canadian. To imply that [Mr. Turner] doesn’t have the right to express himself through a folk song as a private citizen is really what’s at issue here,” she said. “It’s our belief that Mr. Turner hasn’t infracted any laws or policies – and certainly is not in a conflict.”


Pointing up    The criminal gang that refers to itself as “The Harper Government” steeps itself in bog water once again. Prior to the “normal” overreaction of the Harper Government to this type of freedom of speech, no one had heard of this video. That has now changed. Another fail for the “Harper Brats” who help to keep this seriously mentally ill man in power.

Appeals court overturns judge who would have stopped NSA data collection – The first major judicial ruling slamming the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has been overturned. In 2013, US District Judge Richard Leon ruled the program was likely unconstitutional, but held off on shutting it down until an appeals court could weigh in.

That’s finally happened, and the appeals ruling (PDF) shows the three-judge panel didn’t see things the same way as Leon.

The case is still relevant despite the fact that the new USA Freedom Act passed in June. The law prevents the NSA from running its own database, instead forcing the agency to get phone records from the telcos. But because the government’s database was allowed a 180 day period for an “orderly transition,” telephone records are still being collected, for now.

More importantly, today’s ruling in Klayman v. Obama will set a guidepost for future policy around surveillance. The three judges go to varying lengths to dismantle the plaintiffs’ claims, defend government secrecy, and support the spying program. They express skepticism that the activists even have standing, since they’re subscribers of Verizon Wireless, not of Verizon Business Network Services, the business entity that’s referred to in the document Snowden leaked.


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

5 responses to “Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – August 31, 2015

  1. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Re: 10 Do’s and don’ts for every Android user

    I’m sorry I ever bought an Android. I just wanted a phone that would ring, I speak, the other person speaks, and then we hang up. I don’t message on it, I have wireless and internet turned off on it, yet as we know, that’s still not enough to keep crooks and governments from listening in. Unfortunately, I am locked in for another year to the contract but after that, I am going back to a normal, basic, unobtrusive phone. Because at least I know my computer is secure, I can’t understand all this smartphone crap.


    • Hey Mal,

      Never had a smartphone – never will. I haven’t spent all these years in security to simple disregard facts.

      Fact: smartphones are the key to all we own and security (now there’s an oxymoron – smartphone security) has little chance of showing improvement in the short term. Frankly, I’m convinced that smartphones cannot be locked down securely – ever.

      I use my Tablet’s Wi-fi only when needed – mostly, it’s hardwired to a TV.

      Oh, did I mention that I agree with you. 🙂



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