14 privacy tools you should use to stay secure; Five handy tools for dealing with passwords; For privacy and security, change these iOS 9 settings immediately; Master Windows processes for better performance; Gmail Now Lets You Easily Block Annoying Senders; Amazon Prime Memberships Drop To $67 On Friday Only; Four free Live Photos alternatives that work on any smartphone; Use Streak for powerful customer management with Gmail; Transfer files to your Windows 10 PC with a free tool; How to install new memory in your PC; Your Windows 10 troubleshooting and repair toolkit; The Washington Post will publish all of its stories directly on Facebook; Critical Flash Player updates patch 23 flaws; FreedomPop Launches In The UK, Intros Free And $18/Month iPhone-Only Plans In US; The price of your identity in the Dark Web? No more than a dollar; Survey: Users love their desktops more than their cheapo tablets; Star Wars Battlefront Beta Arrives Oct. 17.
14 privacy tools you should use to stay secure – From encrypted instant messengers to secure browsers and operating systems, these privacy-enhancing apps, extensions, and services can protect you both online and offline.
Tor’s network of bouncing your traffic through multiple relays makes it nearly impossible to track a user’s identity or activity. You can access almost every website anonymously, including “.onion” addresses, which are only accessible while connected to Tor.
Five handy tools for dealing with passwords – Passwords have been around for almost as long as computers have been. Even today, however, there are challenges associated with password use. For example, a user might forget a password or require more granular security than a standard login provides. Whatever the challenge, a number of utilities are available for working with passwords.
For privacy and security, change these iOS 9 settings immediately – Before you do anything on your new iPhone or iPad, you should lock it down. Here are the important tweaks you need to protect your privacy.
Gmail Now Lets You Easily Block Annoying Senders – Here is a small but useful new feature in Gmail that’s launching today: you can now block specific email addresses with two clicks. So whenever you’re getting a lot of email from somebody who is being annoying, you can now easily ban them from your inbox (and after they show remorse, you can unblock them again).
Master Windows processes for better performance – Does your Windows computer seem slow, or does it seem to be running a number of mysterious processes like svchost.exe? If you’ve looked at your list of running processes in the Windows Task Manager (press Ctrl-Shift-Esc on your keyboard and click the Processes tab), you’ve probably seen a lot of things that you don’t recognize. These can eat up system RAM, which can affect functionality, like how many applications and browser tabs you can have open at once. It’s a good idea to check the Processes list regularly for suspicious activity, but if you don’t know what you’re looking at, it can create needless anxiety. So let’s explore what the common processes do and how to manage them correctly.
Amazon Prime Memberships Drop To $67 On Friday Only – Amazon is always looking for ways to boost the numbers of Amazon Prime customers, whether that’s by holding a Black Friday-like “Prime Day” sales event or bundling in subscriptions alongside Amazon hardware, as it attempted with the launch of its own Fire Phone devices. This morning, the online retailer has a new gimmick – its dropping the price for Amazon Prime to just $67 in a one-day sale starting on Friday, September 25th at 12:01 AM ET, and ending at 11:59 PM PT. The company says the sale will last for only 24 hours, as it’s a limited time offer. Typically, Amazon Prime memberships, which also include free, 2-day shipping on over 20 million items, access to the Kindle Lending Library, Prime Music, unlimited photo storage, and more, cost $99.
Four free Live Photos alternatives that work on any smartphone – Jealous of the new Live Photos feature on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus? Check out these alternatives that work on older iPhones, Android and Window Phone devices.
Office 2016 arrives on the PC with an emphasis on teamwork and cloud features – Microsoft has officially started the worldwide rollout of its Office 2016 application suite – the first new version of Office for Windows in almost three years. For the 1.2 billion people who use Office, this latest iteration brings a slew of new features including a greater focus on collaboration and cloud services. Office 2016 – which is available as a standalone package or as part of a subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud service – will bring new versions of familiar Windows apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.
Microsoft offers half-price Office to entice users of older versions – Microsoft announced a promotion Tuesday afternoon aimed at getting users of old versions of Office onto its subscription service.
7 Tips for a Killer Social CRM Strategy – Social media should be a core component of your business’s customer relationship management plan, but a successful Social CRM strategy is about more than racking up likes and followers to drive site traffic. Once you’ve gotten the audience, these seven tips will help your business make the most of the tools it’s using and the data it’s gathering, while turning the immediacy of social media into an asset rather than a liability.
Pro tip: Use Streak for powerful customer management with Gmail – There are some Chrome extensions that go a long way to make working with Gmail a far richer and powerful experience. One such extension is Streak. This particular addition to the Chrome browser (and Gmail) turns your Google email client into a powerful CRM tool, ready to help you:
Group emails from customers
Keep track of status, notes, and details of customers
Share with a team
See every email between customers and your team
Streak helps you manage business processes such as sales, hiring, support, and product development … all from within your Gmail inbox.
How to install new memory in your PC – If your PC’s feeling pokey when you have a lot going on, consider upgrading your RAM. A mere 4GB could work if you’re sticking to light tasks and not using Chrome, but 8GB is really the minimum we would recommend for a modern desktop PC. To future-proof your system, 16GB is the best option—the downside being increased cost, of course. Here’s how to do it.
Transfer files to your Windows 10 PC with a free tool – If you get a new Windows 10 PC, how do you move files from your old computer that’s running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7? Microsoft has one answer, a software utility called PC Mover Express, which Microsoft (in partnership with LapLink) is offering for free until August 31, 2016. Ordinarily PC Mover Express costs $30. The utility uses your local network, wired or wireless, to migrate your data over to a new PC, and you don’t have to figure it out on your own if you get stuck. The installer gives you a 1-800 number that you can call 24/7 to get instructions on how to use PC Mover Express, also at no cost. You can tell the app to send you an email or a text message when it has completed the transfer.
FreedomPop Launches In The UK, Intros Free And $18/Month iPhone-Only Plans In US – FreedomPop, the startup that is stirring up the world of mobile carriers with free phone services, is announcing two new advances that will help the company spread its brand to new demographics and new geographies. The company is kicking off the commercial launch of its service outside of the U.S. — in the UK, where CEO and co-founder Stephen Stokols says that 250,000 people have already signed up on a waiting list. And to coincide with Apple’s launch of its new iPhone models, it is unveiling new free and low-cost iPhone plans in the U.S.
Ava Is A Bracelet That Aims To Predict The Most Likely Days For Women To Get Pregnant – Ava, a health tracking bracelet for women collects hormonal and other data in an effort to predict a woman’s period and the days of the month she is most likely to get pregnant. The bracelet works by monitoring slight hormonal changes in a woman’s body that are normally unable for women to see or feel. Ava said it collects over 3 million data points relating to these changes every night and then determines where a woman is in her cycle to predict her most fertile days. It collects this data from 10 different sensors – although it is not clear what those sensors are. The startup would like to reveal that information at a later time.
The White House Joins Periscope And Broadcasts Pope’s Visit – The White House created a Periscope account on Tuesday, just in time for Pope Francis’ trip to the United States. The White House live broadcast Pope Francis stepping off his plane and greeting the Obama family. More than 11,000 viewers tuned into the White House’s inaugural stream. Twitter, which owns Periscope, is hoping to capitalize on coverage of his visit. The company announced three different emoji that can be used to track the pope’s movements in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.
No need to worry if you missed a Periscope, now you have 24 hours to watch – If you don’t like the “live” nature of live-streaming, Periscope has an update for you that adds Web profiles for all accounts. Instead of checking Twitter to see when someone will be streaming, you can go straight to an individual Periscope user’s link to see if they are currently live-streaming, or if there are any broadcasts you missed that will be available for a 24-hour period. Web profiles are another welcome addition to increase the usability of the app, and Periscope agrees. In the introduction blog post, Periscope wrote, “We think it’s really important for broadcasters to have a home on the web, and today’s launch is just the beginning.”
Your Windows 10 troubleshooting and repair toolkit – If you’re experiencing problems with Windows 10, these are the built-in tools you can use for troubleshooting and repair.
The price of your identity in the Dark Web? No more than a dollar – If you or your company is a victim of cyberattack, where does this stolen data go, and to what purpose?
XcodeGhost apps haunting iOS App Store more numerous than first reported – Security researchers have both good and bad news about the recently reported outbreak of XcodeGhost apps infecting Apple’s App Store. The bad: The infection was bigger than previously reported and dates back to April. The good: Affected apps are more akin to adware than security-invading malware. On a more positive note, the Appthority researchers found no evidence XcodeGhost-infected apps had the ability to trick users into divulging their credentials for the iCloud or other services. Analyses of infected apps showed they had the following capabilities:
Security firm is buying iOS 9 exploits for $1 million – Zerodium, a startup that bills themselves as the “premium zero-day vulnerability and exploit acquisition program”, are currently running a massive bug bounty program that is offering $1 million to developers who discover critical, exploitable flaws in iOS 9.
HP bulks up security features on enterprise LaserJet printers – HP has rolled out a new suite of secure, enterprise-class LaserJet printers and MFPs that the company said are designed to better protect against malicious attacks. The security lineup is part of HP’s effort to secure printers on enterprise networks with the same technology strongholds used across PCs. The company describes the enterprise IT network as one of the most vulnerable entry points in an organization. Citing a Ponemon Institute, HP claims that 64 percent of IT managers believe their networked printers are likely infected with malware, while 56 percent of enterprise companies ignore printers in their endpoint security strategy. To that end, HP’s range of printers and MFPs incorporate three new proprietary features, with two being rolled out to HP’s older printers via firmware updates.
The Washington Post will publish all of its stories directly on Facebook – Facebook’s attempt to absorb the publishing world with Instant Articles started small and slow, but it looks like that’s about to change. Originally reported by Recode, The Washington Post made the surprising announcement today that it will publish “100% of its stories” to Facebook as Instant Articles. Facebook hasn’t opened Instant Articles to all of its users yet, but that’s still a big win for the platform since some publishers have approached it in trepidation; as of June, The New York Times, for example, was only ready to publish about 30 stories a day on Facebook.
Groupon Is Laying Off 1,100 At A Cost Of $35M, Shutters Operations In 7 Countries – Some significant downsizing is underway at Groupon, the daily deals and local-commerce site. The company is today announcing that it will be cutting 1,100 jobs — mostly in its sales (aka “deal factory”) and customer service operations — taking a pre-tax charge of $35 million in the process. As part of the restructure, Groupon is also ceasing operations in several markets internationally: Morocco, Panama, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Thailand and Uruguay will all be closing. The closures come on top of recent exits in Turkey and Greece and a sell-off of a controlling stake in Groupon India to Sequoia (news we first broke in March of this year).
France rejects Google’s appeal against implementing ‘right to be forgotten’ globally – France’s data protection watchdog, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), has rejected Google’s appeal against the global enforcement of the ‘right to be forgotten’ rule. In May this year, the CNIL ordered Google to apply the right to be forgotten rule – which lets people ask search engines to not display certain unflattering links resulting from a search on their name – to its google.com global domain and not just European domains such as google.fr or google.co.uk.
Instagram is now used by 400 million people each month – Instagram has hit a new milestone: 400 million monthly active users. The stat was announced in a blog post this afternoon, just about 10 months after Instagram first hit 300 million monthly active users. Instagram’s growth from 200 million to 300 million happened in around the same timespan, which means that the service is growing fast, although its growth is not necessarily accelerating. Still, it’s grown to an impressive size. Twitter is currently at 316 million monthly active users, and Pinterest just hit 100 million.
Red Hat tops Q2 expectations, ups annual outlook – The open source purveyor reported a net income of $51 million, or 28 cents per share (statement). Non-GAAP earnings were 47 cents per share on a revenue of $504 million, up 13 percent year-over-year. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 44 cents per share with $494.65 million in revenue. CEO and president Jim Whitehurst touted in prepared remarks that Red Hat became the first open source company to achieve a $2 billion annual run rate in revenue this quarter.
Games and Entertainment:
Star Wars Battlefront Beta Arrives Oct. 17 – Star Wars fans who have been clamoring for a beta version of the upcoming Battlefront game are about to get their wish. Electronic Arts on Monday announced plans to launch Star Wars Battlefront Beta in “early October” on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Origin for PC leading up to game’s official release on Nov. 17. EA called the beta a “technical test,” which will feature several game modes, including Walker Assault on Hoth, a multiplayer battle between Rebels and the Empire supporting up to 40 players (20 versus 20). Walker Assault will also give you the opportunity to play as two of the most iconic Star Wars characters: Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III Limited Edition 1TB PS4 launches in November – Sony has introduced a new PlayStation 4 bundle for Call of Duty fans, but with a design that, we suspect, won’t bring the game franchise to the minds of most gamers. It is called the Call of Duty: Black Ops III Limited Edition PlayStation 4 bundle, and it’ll be shipping on November 6. Ahead of that, though, you can pre-order the bundle through Amazon to ensure you’re not left out. Sony introduced the new bundle on Tuesday. This follows the company’s Call of Duty announcement at E3 earlier this summer — that gamers on its platform would get the Black Ops III Beta early access and DLC. If you’re really keen on that, Sony is hoping you’ll nab one of its newly designed consoles as well.
Nvidia’s new laptop GPU is actually a desktop GPU – One of NVIDIA’s best desktop graphics cards is coming to laptops. The GTX 980 — not to be confused with the similarly named mobile GPU, the GTX 980M — will be crammed into an upcoming crop of high-end gaming laptops. NVIDIA promises its new mobile chip and its desktop variant are one and the same in regards to power, providing a 30 percent performance bump above the company’s previous best mobile GPU. That means the latest AAA video games, including Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and Batman Arkham Knight, should run at max settings on the go. And for future games that will push the system, the GTX 980 laptops will allow for overlocking, memory speed adjustment, and fan control — though only within some restrictions determined by NVIDIA and its OEMs, companies like MSI and ASUS that manufacture the GPUs and the laptops powered by them.
System Shock, the classic 1994 shooter, has been re-released on GOG.com – The game that influenced Deus Ex, BioShock, and Half-Life gets a special 21st birthday present: System Shock Enhanced Edition, with updated controls and widescreen.
Next Hitman Game Delayed Until March – The next installment of the Hitman franchise won’t be launching this year as expected. Fans were expecting the game to land on Dec. 8 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. But it will now arrive in March 2016, developer IO Interactive announced. “We’re striving to create a series of living, breathing worlds in those locations and we get pretty obsessed about every detail that you’ll experience,” IO Interactive said. “We want to make absolutely sure you all get the best possible experience when you join, so we’ve made the difficult decision to move the initial release date to March 2016.”
Xbox.com site gets a refresh, Window 10 beta app now live – Things are rolling for the Xbox One and they are rolling fast, all heading for the grand November update party. Just last Monday, Major Nelson revealed some of the latest and greatest features in the New Xbox One Experience that is rolling out to a select few testers. Now its time for other parts of the Xbox ecosystem to get a revamp. At the top of the list is the Xbox.com website, which now features two new capabilities. On Windows 10 as well, the Xbox app, still in beta, lands on the Microsoft Store. The Xbox website isn’t getting an overhaul in terms of design but it is getting two significant features. For one, now you can access your voice messages directly from the website. This means no more having to wait until you get home to your console just to hear that hopefully important audio snippet from your Xbox Live friends.
Shatner to host ‘Star Trek’ 50th anniversary at first Silicon Valley Comic Con – No comic book or pop culture convention is complete without an appearance from legendary “Star Trek” actor William Shatner. The geek icon will host a special 50th anniversary celebration for “Star Trek” alongside other stars from the acclaimed TV and film series at Silicon Valley Comic Con at the San Jose Convention Center in California between March 18, 2016 and March 20, 2016.
Off Topic (Sort of):
Survey: Users love their desktops more than their cheapo tablets – That bright shining future where they predicted consumers would forsake their fuddy duddy desktops for tablets? Try again. The latest survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index showed consumer satisfaction with tablets plummeted this year by six percent, while desktops held strong. “Weaker customer satisfaction and slowing sales growth suggest that early enthusiasm for tablets has worn off,” said Claes Fornell, ACSI Chairman and founder. “As large-screen smartphones become more popular, they’ve made tablets somewhat redundant —caught in between the mobility of a smartphone and the power and functionality of a desktop.”
These Are the First Photos Shot With the iPhone 6s – The iPhone 6s has yet to hit the stores, but TIME asked photographer Benjamin Lowy to take it for a spin around New York ahead of the device’s Sept. 25 release. The results are unexpected, says Lowy, who brought the new phone to Coney Island and on board of one of Fly NYON‘s helicopters above Manhattan. The new iPhones feature improved camera systems. The main rear-facing camera now has a redesigned imaging sensor with 12 megapixels, a 50% boost from the iPhone 6’s eight megapixels. To compensate for the smaller-sized photosites, Apple is using what it calls “deep trench isolation” technology, which introduces lightproof dividers between pixels to prevent light leaks, which usually produce noise and inaccurate colors.
You really do have an aura (but it’s stinky not spiritual) – Humans are indeed surrounded by a mysterious aura, but it’s not the etherial glow that spiritualists claim. Instead, researchers have discovered exactly what surrounds us – and how it can identify us – in our own personal microbial cloud, an unexpected bacterial fingerprint. The study, carried out by a University of Oregon team led by James Meadow, found that while everybody is surrounded by invisible clouds of Streptococcus – usually found in the mouth – along with skin-borne Propionibacterium and Corynebacterium, the exact proportions of each were more personal.
Here’s how to watch Sunday’s Supermoon Eclipse – Some celestial phenomena happen regularly, but infrequently, and you may only get a few chances to see them during your lifetime. A supermoon lunar eclipse is one such event, a time when the moon is both at its closest to the Earth and when it passes into our planet’s shadow, causing a lunar eclipse. The last time this event happened was back in 1982, and if you happened to have missed it (or weren’t born yet), September 27 will be your next shot at witnessing the supermoon event.
The Volkswagen Scandal Shows Why We Need an Apple Car – Apple building a car should put the auto industry on notice; it is time to get serious about electric vehicles.
Tested by AAA: People park worse than self-parking cars – Humans lose out to the machines this time. In tests conducted by the American Automobile Association, self-parking cars did the deed faster and more precisely than human drivers.
Feeling unmotivated or depressed? Here’s how to move forward – It can get lonely being a leader, despite a flurry of activity and dozens of people seeking your advice and assistance. Conflicting and vague objectives, opportunities that never seem to pan out, and significant time invested in activities that don’t generate tangible results can contribute to a feeling of being stuck. In some cases, a simple walk or break from the task at hand may clear your head and provide much-needed focus, while other cases can border on depression, panic, or a general malaise that lasts for months. Here’s how to identify when you’re stuck, and how to begin the process to recovery.
Leaf Is A “Plug N’ Plant” Box To Automatically Grow Pot In Your Home – Marijuana is a sticky subject. Twenty-three states (and D.C) have legalized some form of medical use, but possession, growth and distribution are still illegal in the majority of the United States. However, as is the case with most new industries, slow regulation hasn’t stopped innovation. Leaf, a TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015 Battlefield company, is leading the revolution with its automated “Plug N’ Plant” home growing system. Leaf’s device is a 4′ x 2′ box that will fit two plants, which will yield between 4-5 ounces of weed. However, Leaf is much more than just a mini grow house. The system will monitor everything that your plants need to grow, including light, ventilation, nutrient levels and pH of the soil.
Streaming music earns a third of US industry revenue, topping physical sales – The popularity of streaming music has been on the rise for some time now, but today there’s actual numbers backing up its increasing dominance. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released their mid-year sales report for 2015, and it reveals that for the first time in the US, streaming music has earned more revenue that physical sales.
Broadband is a “core utility” like electricity, White House report says – Broadband Internet service “has steadily shifted from an optional amenity to a core utility” and is now “taking its place alongside water, sewer, and electricity as essential infrastructure for communities,” says a report released by the White House yesterday. The report was written by the Broadband Opportunity Council, which was created by President Obama and is chaired by the heads of the Commerce and Agriculture departments. In an accompanying blog post, the White House touted Obama’s “leadership” in expanding broadband access but said that nearly 51 million Americans still cannot purchase wired broadband with download speeds of at least 25Mbps.
6 Ways to Tell If a Viral Story Is a Hoax – Easy ways to educate yourself amid ever-growing sea of digital media
Something to think about:
“Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man. It was not reasoned into him, and cannot be reasoned out.”
– Sydney Smith (1771 – 1845)
Speccy – Fast, lightweight, advanced system information tool for your PC.
See what’s inside your PC – Speccy is the place to start if you need to know what’s inside your PC. See a quick summary, or dive deeper into every aspect of your PCs hardware so you can make informed upgrade and purchasing decisions.
Detailed Reporting – Speccy gives you detailed information on every piece of hardware in your computer. Save time trawling through your computer for stats like CPU, motherboard, RAM, graphics cards and more. See everything laid out for you in one clean interface.
Proactive problem solving – See real-time temperatures of critical components so you can easily spot problems before they occur.
Save Snapshots – Speccy allows you to save your scan results directly as a snapshot, XML or text file for easy sharing. Handy for making sure your new computer has the right specs, or if tech support need to diagnose an issue with your computer.
Screenshot from a machine I’m working on this morning.
In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:
Senate scraps plan demanding Internet companies report terrorist activity – A secretly approved Senate plan requiring e-mail providers, social media sites, and other Internet companies to report online terrorist activity has been scrapped.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) had invoked a procedural hold on the Intelligence Authorization Act until the removal of the provision requiring companies like Twitter and Facebook to report suspicious online activities. The language was secretly and unanimously adopted by the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 24, and now it has been removed, Wyden said.
“Going after terrorist recruitment and activity online is a serious mission that demands a serious response from our law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” Wyden said. “Social media companies aren’t qualified to judge which posts amount to ‘terrorist activity,’ and they shouldn’t be forced against their will to create a Facebook Bureau of Investigations to police their users’ speech.”
Wyden’s move frees up a Senate vote on 2016 funding for the CIA, FBI, and NSA. The House passed funding legislation in June without the terrorist reporting requirement. Ars first reported on the once-secret reporting requirement in July.
ISIS supporters preferred tweeting with Android over iPhone and Blackberry.
Several companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, complained that the reporting provision was vaguely written and would amount to “an impossible compliance problem.”
Outcry forces India to amend legislation that would ban deletion of emails, IMs – A wave of outrage over clauses in a draft of its new National Encryption Policy, which seeks to improve India’s cybersecurity, has led the government to amend the proposed legislation.
The policy draft, written by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, stipulated that mobile users in the country would be legally required to store any encrypted communications on their devices for up to 90 days — and could be punished if they failed to comply.
Almost every Internet-based method of communication uses some level of encryption. This means that deleting messages that are less than three months old from widely used instant messengers, like WhatsApp, Viber and Hike, as well as from e-mail clients such as Gmail, would be illegal.
“All information shall be stored by the concerned [organisations/citizens] entity for 90 days from the date of transaction and made available to Law Enforcement Agencies as and when demanded in line with the provisions of the laws of the country,” the draft read.
However, following public and social media outcry, an amendment was made excluding “mass encryption products” like the above mentioned services from the policy.
US Congress members urged to embrace encrypted apps – Congress members and staff are being urged by a civil rights group to use encrypted smartphone apps such as WhatsApp and Signal rather than traditional cellular networks.
Unlike cellular networks which use weak and outdated encryption, some of the newer apps use strong and modern encryption to protect their customers’ communications, the American Civil Liberties Union has written in a letter Tuesday to officials in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The move is not going to cost a lot. Many members of Congress already have smartphones and the apps like Signal and WhatsApp are free and can be easily downloaded from app stores. Besides, Apple’s FaceTime and iMessage apps are already built into Apple’s iOS mobile operating system and thus are available to every member or staffer with an iPhone, according to ACLU’s letter to Frank J. Larkin, Senate Sergeant at Arms and Paul D. Irving, House Sergeant at Arms.