Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – September 9, 2015

The essential guide to powerline Ethernet adapters;  These second-screen apps make NFL games even more fun;  When your Windows image backup fails, try this;  Adblock Plus releases its web browser for iOS;  YouTube forces AdBlock users to watch unskippable video ads;  Turn Chrome’s new tab page into a to-do list powerhouse;  The best scanning apps for Android and iPhone;  Selling your old iPhone: Online vs. in-store trade-ins;  Android porn app takes your mugshot, holds your device ransom;  Windows Media Center lives on with unofficial Windows 10 version;  Kaspersky Lab pushes emergency patch for critical vulnerability;  Opera Mini browser for Android gets new data compression tech;  Amazon expected to release $50 6-inch Fire tablet this year;  Airbnb Hosted Nearly 17 Million Guests This Summer;  The FIFA 16 demo is here – this is how you play;  Netflix’s new excuse for no offline playback is even lamer than the last one;  If you’re buying a TV, know these three letters: HDR;  AirConsole turns browsers into a local multiplayer console;  Apple refused to wiretap an iMessage account for the Justice Department.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

It’s football season! These second-screen apps make NFL games even more fun to watch – According to the NFL, 70 percent of fans use a second screen while watching football. It’s easy to understand why: mobile devices—and the apps that run on them—give us easy access to player stats and analysis, provide interactive features to supplement the big-screen experience, and offer a convenient way to communicate with other fans watching the game. We’ve rounded up seven of the best second-screen apps to enhance your football viewing. Take them for a spin when the season kicks off later this week, and we’re sure you’ll be reaching for them along with your remote every Thursday and Sunday until the end of Super Bowl 50.

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The essential guide to powerline Ethernet adapters (including 12 hands-on reviews) – This roundup of powerline ethernet adapters is continually updated. It was originally published on January 15, 2015, updated in March and again in June 2015 and now again in early September,. Click here if you would like to read that original story as published in January 2015. This latest iteration contains entirely new reviews of the Extollo LANsocket 1500 and TP-Link TL-PA8030P KIT, plus updated reviews of the D-Link DHP-701AV and the Trendnet TPL-420E2K.

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The seven apps you need to tame your email overload – Managing email for most people is an irritating and time-consuming task, but thankfully there’s a host of email apps that make it easier.

When your Windows image backup fails, try this – This has to be one of the worst things that can happen in the digital world. You create a backup and then, when you need it, it doesn’t work. That’s why I recommend making two backups. But let’s see if we can fix the problem at hand.

Adblock Plus releases its web browser for iOS – Makers of the popular ad-blocking software Adblock Plus have launched a stand-alone mobile browser for iOS. The Adblock Browser launched as a beta on Android back in May, but has not been available on Apple’s App Store until now. The company is marketing the software primarily as a way to block ads when browsing webpages online, but says this feature offers a range of other benefits, including protecting users from malware, and saving their battery life and mobile data. Users can block all ads by default or whitelist favorite sites.

Opera Mini browser for Android gets new data compression tech – The latest version for the mobile browser adds a new High compression mode that minimises data expenditure without affecting the page display.

YouTube forces AdBlock users to watch unskippable video ads – Browser extensions that block website advertisements are becoming very common these days and their use is expected to only grow in the next few years. Some websites that survive on advertising have turned to things like tip jars or even politely asking users to turn off their ad-blockers. Google’s YouTube, however, is taking a bit more of a direct approach: users with the AdBlock Plus extension installed are forced to watch video advertisements before the actual content video plays.

Turn Chrome’s new tab page into a to-do list powerhouse – It’s just one program on your PC, but for many of us the browser is the central tool we use for work, play, and communication. That’s why so many people love Google Chrome and its healthy ecosystem of extensions and apps. Today we’re going to look at one way to turn your new tab page into something a little more productive than you’ve got now thanks to Microsoft’s recently acquired to-do list app Wunderlist.

The best scanning apps for Android and iPhone – Never bother with a scanner again. Thanks to high-quality cameras on today’s top smartphones and nifty behind-the-scenes tech, scanning a document or photo with great results is as easy as opening an app and snapping a picture. Here are CNET’s top picks for the best apps to turn your phone into a scanner.

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Evernote Scannable in action. Josh Miller/CNET

Twitter for Windows 10 catches up with group messages and other new features – Twitter for Windows has been a perfect example of Microsoft’s app problems; sure, the app exists, but it has fallen far behind Twitter’s smartphone apps in terms of features and functionality. Today, Twitter for Windows is taking a much-needed step forward and adding group messaging, multi-account support, lists, and other improvements.

Selling your old iPhone: Online vs. in-store trade-ins – The latest iPhones are just around the corner, and that means some Apple fans may be looking to sell their old devices. Dozens of websites offer easy trade-in programs for old smartphones. Some retailers also offer customers the option to sell their used devices. Even wireless carriers are making it easy for customers to trade in their iPhones and upgrade to new ones. Which option is right for you? That’s the question I answer in this edition of Ask Maggie.

Raspberry Pi gets its first official touchscreen display – A year after it was first announced, the Raspberry Pi touch display finally launched on Tuesday. The new component means Raspberry Pi hackers can now experiment with an officially sanctioned 7-inch, 800-by-480, 10-point multi-touch LCD display for their Pi projects. The $60 touchscreen does cost more than the Pi itself, but that comes down to component costs. The screen uses a display serial interface (DSI) and digital parallel interface (DPI) that requires a driver board to interface with the Pi. The display also requires its own power connection, which can be shared with the Pi over USB.

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How to delete the Windows.old folder from Windows 10 – Did you upgrade your PC to Windows 10? If so, ever wonder what happened to the previous version of the OS? It probably disappeared into the mists of Windows past, right? Wrong. Your old OS didn’t get erased; rather, it’s lingering in a system folder called, aptly enough, Windows.old. And depending on the size of that version, it could be hogging a lot of precious space. First things first: If you think you might want to downgrade from Windows 10 back to the previous version, don’t delete that folder.

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Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Windows Media Center lives on with unofficial Windows 10 version – Although Microsoft has officially discontinued its old living room PC software, some users on the My Digital Life forums have apparently patched Windows Media Center to run on Microsoft’s latest operating system. Why this matters: While Microsoft has claimed that hardly anyone uses Windows Media Center anymore, it remains a popular program among hardcore home theater PC users, many of whom are avoiding Windows 10 so they can keep using the living room software. This workaround could let users enjoy the benefits of Windows 10 without giving up Windows Media Center, but we’d still advise against it.

Security:

It’s still 2015, and your Windows PC can still be pwned by a webpage – Microsoft has today released patches for 56 security vulnerabilities in its products. People should apply the updates as soon as possible because miscreants are actively exploiting at least two of the holes – and likely more by the time you read this. The September patch batch includes critical fixes for Internet Explorer and Edge, Office, and Windows. Users and administrators are being advised to test and install the updates on the double. Of the 56 vulnerabilities, 14 in Internet Explorer, four in the supposedly super-whizzbang-secure Edge browser, one in Windows’ handling of OpenType fonts, four in Windows’ Journal file handling, and four in Microsoft Office, allow an attacker to remotely execute evil code on a victim’s system. Microsoft’s September bulletins in full:

Android porn app takes your mugshot, holds your device ransom – Bad news, mobile porn viewers! The FBI knows what you’re up to. They’ve taken your mugshot and they’re going to need you to transfer $500 via PayPal before you can do anything with your phone again. No, it’s not part of some crazy government crackdown on Internet porn. It’s a shakedown attempt some enterprising criminals concocted. The idea is simple enough: trick a user into installing an app that disguises itself as a porn video player, sneak a few extra permissions in thinking that they’re so eager to get at the goods that they won’t read them, and then hijack the startup process and hold the infected device for ransom.

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Severe external drive vulnerability prompts Seagate to issue emergency patch – Watch out Seagate wireless external hard drive owners—your peripheral may have serious flaws in it that will open your files to malicious attackers. The good news is Seagate has already issued a patch for the problem. The vulnerabilities primarily affect owners of Seagate Wireless Plus Mobile Storage, Seagate Wireless Mobile Storage, and LaCie Fuel devices purchased since October 2014.

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Kaspersky Lab pushes emergency patch for critical vulnerability – Kaspersky Lab has released an emergency patch for some of its antivirus products after a security researcher found a critical vulnerability that could allow hackers to compromise computers. The flaw was discovered by vulnerability researcher and Google security engineer Tavis Ormandy, who mentioned it Saturday on Twitter, before sending the bug’s details to Kaspersky.

Researcher demands FireEye pay up for zero-day vulnerabilities or suffer his ‘cold silence’ – A security researcher has demanded that FireEye pay him for several zero-day vulnerabilities he found in the firm’s security products, and he has threatened that he will otherwise remain silent about the bugs’ details.

Company News:

Airbnb Hosted Nearly 17 Million Guests This Summer – Growth is up and to the right for Airbnb. Nearly 17 million people worldwide booked their guest stays with the peer-to-peer lodging platform this summer, according to a new travel report. That’s a whopping 353x’s surge in the last five years – and a far cry from the three guests Airbnb hosted before officially launching in the summer of 2008. Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were just trying to figure out a way to pay rent at the time and made a website that advertised $80 to rent an air mattress on the floor of their apartment for a night plus breakfast in the morning. Three people, two guys and a girl, decided to try it out and Airbnb was born.

Facebook Equips Business Pages With Mobile Storefronts For Shopping And Services – Likes ≠ Dollars. Facebook wants Pages to actually earn money for the 45 million small businesses that use them. So today Facebook is upgrading Pages with a tabbed mobile layout that lets them display storefront “Sections” where users can “Shop” for products or view a list of “Services” the business offers. The company is also making calls to action on business Pages, such as “Call Now,” “Send Message” and “Contact Us,” bigger, more colorful and more prominent beneath the cover image. The “Shop” section will include Buy buttons powered by Facebook’s partnership with Shopify so users can check out without leaving the social network. Facebook is also testing Buy buttons that link out to a business’ traditional website.

Netflix to launch in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan – After becoming available in much of Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Netflix now looks to expand its reach to Asia. Netflix announced plans to enter four new markets in Asia on Wednesday as the Internet video streaming service continues its global expansion. Netflix will officially become available in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan early next year, the company said.

Amazon Prime Now in Seattle expands to offer meal delivery – Last month, Amazon launched its Prime Now delivery service in its home city, Seattle. The service offered one-hour and two-hour delivery of thousands of items, including things like a nice bottle of wine for dinner or one of its own pieces of hardware. Now, nearly two weeks after the initial launch, Amazon has announced an expansion of its Seattle delivery service, including meal delivery from select local restaurants as part of its offering.

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Amazon expected to release $50 6-inch Fire tablet this year – Amazon was one of the first device makers to really put its full weight behind Android as a tablet operating system. The original 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet was released in 2011 at an unheard of $100 price point. However, that proved to be Amazon’s high-point when it comes to Android tablets. Attempts to sell more premium slates have fallen flat, but now the retailer is expected to announce a $50 Android tablet in time for the holidays. This report comes from the Wall Street Journal, which cites the always-reliable “people familiar with the matter.”

Microsoft Confirms Purchase Of Cloud Security Firm Adallom – Microsoft announced this morning that it purchased cloud security firm Adallom. According to sources familiar with the matter, the deal cost the Redmond-based software giant $250 million. That dollar amount is below previously reported figures pegging the value of the purchase north of $300 million.

Games and Entertainment:

Netflix’s new excuse for no offline playback is even lamer than the last one – Apparently you don’t want offline video support after all. And if you had it, you wouldn’t know what to do with it.

The FIFA 16 demo is here – this is how you play – Those anticipating the release of the next big video game based on the world’s most popular sport, soccer (football if you’re outside the US), are in for a treat: the demo for EA Sports’ FIFA 16 should be available later today for the PlayStation 4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. Those in New Zealand can get to downloading now, while those in North America might need to wait until later in the day, with exact times varying based on console and region of the world.

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Minecraft 0.12.1 update brings multiplayer cross-platform action – Minecraft fans listen up, a big update is coming and you will love it. With the new update players on both of these versions will be able to play together on a local network. That means you can invite friends over and play with them on the same servers on your Windows 10 PC while they are playing on mobile devices or tablets. Up to five people can play together over Xbox Live and all players will be able to tweak their gear with special effects from enchanting tables. This is the largest update for Pocket Edition ever published. The update brings new touch controls, controller support, and a controller mapping screen.

Get the ‘Witcher 3’ Expansion Pack on Oct. 13 – The expansion pack features more than 10 hours of new adventures as well as “new characters, powerful monsters, unique romance, and a brand new storyline shaped by gamer choices,” the Polish developer said. Players will “step again into the shoes of Geralt of Rivia, a professional monster slayer, this time hired to defeat a ruthless bandit captain, Olgierd von Everec, a man who possesses the power of immortality,” according to CD Projekt RED. The expansion will also feature a new system of Runewords, which are said to “significantly” affect gameplay. Under the new system, each Runeword impacts a different aspect of in-game mechanics, so you’ll have to experiment with various strategies and tactics.

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AirConsole turns browsers into a local multiplayer console – Meet AirConsole, the virtual web-based gaming console that turns any browser into a local multiplayer gaming experience and your smartphone into controllers. Things couldn’t get any simpler than this. Simply go to the AirConsole website and get the code to connect as many smartphones as possible. The limit is based on how many simultaneous players a game supports. While you can technically use your smartphone’s web browser to connect to the AirConsole running on your computer or tablet, there are also dedicated mobile apps for both iOS and Android.

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Disney’s fantastic cloud movie locker now works with Amazon, Microsoft video apps: Buy once, watch everywhere – Disney Movies Anywhere is what UltraViolet should have been; buy a movie once, and watch it on nearly any device — without needing to download a separate app or video player. It already works across Android and iOS (plus popular digital retailers like Vudu), and today Disney is adding Amazon Video, Microsoft Movies, and TV to the mix. Next week, a Disney Movies Anywhere app will launch for Roku’s set-top boxes and Android TV. So pretty soon it’ll be incredibly simple to watch your Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars films regardless of which device is in your hands or in your living room. Once you’ve linked your Disney account, all of those movies will appear right inside Amazon Video and also Microsoft’s video apps for Windows and Xbox.

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Ubisoft to open Malaysia theme park in 2020 – On Monday, Ubisoft announced plans to open a theme park in Malaysia, one that it describes as being “next-generation”. This will give its fans a chance to experience its games as a real-world adventure, the company says, at least if you’re in or near Malaysia. The theme park won’t be opening until 2020, but when it does it’ll offer 10,000 square meters of attractions, rides, shows, and more, all of them featured indoor for all-weather and year-round enjoyment.

Off Topic (Sort of):

LG develops 111-inch double-sided 4K OLED TV – The hottest tech in displays right now is OLED and 4K. Combine the two and you have a fantastic, high resolution at any size TV, but LG has gone a step further by developing a double-sided 4K OLED TV. If that wasn’t enough to impress you, they also made 111-inches big. The massive, unique display is being shown off at IFA Berlin this week. LG achieved the 111-inch size by combining three 65-inch OLED panels while keeping the display just a handful of millimeters thick. A smaller 55-inch double-sided TV was also present with its thickness listed as just 5.3mm.

If you’re buying a TV, know these three letters: HDR – If you’re looking to buy a new TV, prepare to hear a lot about HDR. After bigger screens, and thinner screens, and 3D screens, and curved screens, and 4K screens, HDR is the new flavor of the season in television technology and it’s one worth paying attention to. High dynamic range is probably most familiar to people through the HDR mode on their digital cameras. It’s designed to deliver a picture that has greater details in the shadows and highlights a wider range of colors. HDR in televisions pursues the same goal. The color palette is wider, blacks are deeper and whites are brighter.

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MESSE BERLIN – An HDR TV displayed by Panasonic at the IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin on Sept. 4, 2015.

Geeky club sparked Apple’s first computer, gave Woz a ‘eureka’ moment – A 1975 meeting in a Silicon Valley garage inspired the young, shy Steve Wozniak to build the Apple I — and ignite a legacy. Woz tells the tale to CNET.

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Here’s How Many People Are Still Rocking the Original iPhone – Apple is expected to announce two new iPhones on Wednesday, an annual update to its most successful product lines. This will mark the ninth year that Apple has introduced a new set of iPhones. The company has sold 10 different variations of the iPhone, from the 2007 original (which launched without the App Store) to last year’s supersized iPhone 6 Plus. In total, Apple has sold more than 700 million iPhones since 2007. But just how many people are using a spiffy new iPhone 6 Plus compared to the older models?

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Source: Fiksu Get the data

Space whisky returns to Earth! Here are the taste test results – In 2011, samples of scotch whisky were sent to mature aboard the International Space Station. Now they’re back and sporting a different flavor than their terrestrially mellowed counterparts.

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Something to think about:

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

–       John Adams

Downloads:

Dashlane: The password manager, perfected – Keeping track of passwords and making them secure is startlingly simple with Dashlane’s free password manager. Automatically import your passwords from Chrome or any other browser into your secure password vault. Save any missing passwords as you browse. Make a new password right within your browser. Get automatic alerts when websites get breached.

And with our auto-login, you will never have to type any password on any of your devices again. It’s that simple.

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DocFetcher – DocFetcher is an Open Source desktop search application: It allows you to search the contents of files on your computer. — You can think of it as Google for your local files. The application runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, and is made available under the Eclipse Public License.

Basic Usage:

The screenshot below shows the main user interface. Queries are entered in the text field at (1). The search results are displayed in the result pane at (2). The preview pane at (3) shows a text-only preview of the file currently selected in the result pane. All matches in the file are highlighted in yellow.

You can filter the results by minimum and/or maximum filesize (4), by file type (5) and by location (6). The buttons at (7) are used for opening the manual, opening the preferences and minimizing the program into the system tray, respectively.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Apple refused to wiretap an iMessage account for the Justice Department – For years, Tim Cook has been telling users that iMessage’s encryption makes it impossible to wiretap — and now, the Justice Department seems to have found out the hard way that he’s right. According to a New York Times report, Apple received a court order from the Justice Department this summer, demanding real-time access to a suspect’s iMessage account. Apple replied that iMessage encryption made the request impossible. The company later handed over iCloud backups of the suspect’s messaging history, but the request for real-time access (akin to a traditional wiretap) remained unfulfilled.

There are still a number of unanswered questions around the report. We don’t know the nature of the court order or the justification for Apple’s refusal, so it’s difficult to assess the legality of either one. Still, federal agencies have been trying and failing to wiretap iMessage accounts for years now, so the central facts of the story are very plausible. In its most recent transparency report, Apple reported more than 250 national security requests, and said 6 percent of law enforcement requests pertained to user account data.

US claim on the world’s servers at a crossroads – The Obama administration on Wednesday will argue to a US appeals court that companies operating in the US must comply with valid warrants for data—even if that data is stored on overseas servers.

Much of the tech sector, from Amazon and Microsoft to Verizon, oppose the US government’s position in the closely watched case. These companies and a slew of others maintain that the enforcement of US law stops at the border. They say the global community is already skittish about trusting US-based tech companies in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks. So a ruling siding with the Obama administration would fuel that mistrust, conflict with foreign data protection laws, and place the tech sector at risk of foreign government sanctions, the companies said.

The two-year-old dispute before the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York concerns e-mail stored on Microsoft’s servers in Dublin, Ireland. As part of a drug investigation, US authorities served Microsoft with a warrant demanding access to e-mail on an overseas Microsoft account. Microsoft balked, writing in a court brief that “The government cannot seek and a court cannot issue a warrant allowing federal agents to break down the doors of Microsoft’s Dublin facility.”

Norwegian Pirate Party provides DNS server to bypass new Pirate Bay blockade – Following a court-ordered block of The Pirate Bay and a number of other file-sharing websites in Norway, the Norwegian Pirate Party (Piratpartiet Norge) has now set up free, uncensored DNS servers that anyone can use to bypass the block. While the DNS servers are based in Norway, anyone can use them: if your ISP is blocking access to certain sites via DNS blackholing/blocking, using the Piratpartiet’s DNS servers should enable access.

A few days ago, TorrentFreak reported that the Oslo District Court had sided with several Hollywood studios and domestic Norwegian rights holders in a case that sought to block a number of sites, including The Pirate Bay, Viooz, and ExtraTorrent. The court ordered that the country’s major ISPs, including Telenor, TeliaSonera, NextGenTel, and Altibox, must block the sites.

The Norwegian Pirate Party, as you can probably imagine, isn’t happy with the court-ordered block. In response, it has set up an unblocked DNS server—dns.piratpartiet.no—and a website that shows you how to change your DNS server settings on Windows, Mac, or Linux.

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4 Comments

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

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – September 9, 2015

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