Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday – July 6, 2016

How to Try Out Windows 10 for Free for 90 Days;  Five free alternatives to Evernote;  Microsoft releases a free version of Skype for small businesses;  Essential Chrome extensions for cleaning up browser clutter;  Chrome now comes with casting functionality baked in;  A newcomer’s guide to the Raspberry Pi – and much more news you need to know.

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How to Try Out Windows 10 for Free for 90 Days – Not sure whether you want to upgrade to Windows 10? Well, if you do upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1, you can always roll back to the previous version if you decide Windows 10 isn’t for you. But there’s another way to try out Windows 10, and you don’t have to wipe out your current version of Windows to do so. Microsoft offers a free Windows 10 Enterprise evaluation edition that you can run for 90 days. No strings attached.

Tab tamers: Essential Chrome extensions for cleaning up browser clutter – Working with too many tabs can slow down you and your PC. Manage your multitasking with these add-ons.

Best home security camera: Our favorite tools for keeping an eye on the home front – A boom in wireless security cameras is inspiring a movement in DIY home surveillance. Follow our buying guide and read our reviews to find the best option for you.

Google Chrome now comes with casting functionality baked in –  The latest build of Google Chrome, version 51, now includes a built-in Cast option, meaning users will no longer be required to download a browser extension if they want to beam media from their devices to their TV. While you’ll still need to physically plug a Chromecast device into your telly’s receiver, it’s now simply a matter of right-clicking a tab and selecting the “Cast” option to send it over. What’s more, Google has streamlined the delivery, allowing Chrome to control the parameters automatically, so users are no longer asked to tweak settings for the resolution, bitrate, or quality of the cast.

Microsoft releases a free version of Skype for small businesses – Today, Microsoft announced a free browser version of Skype aimed at small businesses. The service is called Skype Meetings, and it’s the company’s first web-based product after the beta release of Skype for Web last year. Skype Meetings will let you video chat with up to 10 people at a time for the first 60 days of use, and then meeting capacity is limited to three people. It also includes some of the more powerful collaboration tools included with Skype for Business, such as screen sharing and PowerPoint integration.

You can now send files with Skype when the recipient is offline – Microsoft stepped up its battle with the armada of mobile messaging apps on Tuesday, announcing that Skype users can now send files to each other without the recipient needing to be online.

Five free alternatives to Evernote – Evernote’s latest rejigging of pricing and features has got a lot of users down. But fear not, because there are a number of alternatives out there – and for the most part they are totally free.

7 things I learned once I built my first PC – There I was, a first-time PC builder sitting in my office with all the components I’d ordered: a CPU here, a PSU there, plus my trusty anti-static wristband and a screwdriver. I had everything I needed to build my first PC. But I was afraid to open that first box. Why was I paralyzed? Lots of reasons. With no single manual to cover all my PC parts, where was I supposed to begin? What if I couldn’t cram all those cables into my PC case? Had I already blown it by not getting an optical drive? Worst of all, what if I put everything together and my PC refuses to turn on?

Quick intro: A newcomer’s guide to the Raspberry Pi – The potential of this fully functional, ridiculously inexpensive little computer is limited only by your imagination. It’s not too late to join the Raspberry Pi bandwagon.

11 iOS 10 tips you’ll use – Apple’s latest mobile OS, iOS 10, is packed with new additions and new ways to get things done, but what follows are eleven tips you’ll almost certainly use once the public beta ships later this summer or when the final OS reaches out in Fall.

Ten cool searches to try with Google’s Now on Tap – If you’re a Now on Tap newbie and would like to know more about what can be discovered, here’s a breakdown of some of the most interesting discoveries. As with most Google searches, the more you experiment and and try it out in new settings, the better your experience will be.

These Maps Show What the Dark Web Looks Like – What does the dark web actually look like? Well, new research maps out the relationships between a load of Tor hidden services, and shows that many dark web sites, rather than being isolated entities, are perhaps more intimately intertwined than commonly thought.

Rejoice! iPhone 7 tipped to have at least 32GB of storage – Apple is set to double the storage of its entry-level iPhone, with the iPhone 7 expected to kick off at 32GB rather than the much-criticized 16GB of the current model. The increase will address increasingly vocal complaints that 16GB is simply too small in an age of 4K video recording: after all, you can only fit around half an hour of 4K resolution footage on a 16GB iPhone 6s before the device is full, and that’s assuming you don’t download any other apps, games, or media.

Microsoft confirms App-V will be bundled with with Windows 10 Anniversary Update – Microsoft plans to bundle App-V and UE-V, two of its virtualization tools, with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update for Enterprise and Education users only.


The Worst Guide to Digital Security on the Internet Today – It’s no wonder that today more than ever, people are starting to pay attention and getting a bit paranoid when it comes to using computers and the internet. In response to the endless hacks and security scares, some websites have tried—with mixed results—to provide confused consumers with tips and advice on how not to get hacked. The Observer, The Guardian’s sister Sunday newspaper, is the latest to try to help with a guide titled “Extreme online security measures to protect your digital privacy,” which was published last weekend. Unfortunately, despite its best intentions and some good advice, the article contains some pretty awful, confusing, and misguided tips as well. Twitter’s favorite security expert, Swift On Security, went as far as to ask The Observer to delete the article. Here’s what’s wrong with it.

Hackers are coming for your healthcare records — here’s why – Because patient information can be so lucrative, healthcare organizations and insurance companies are being targeted by hackers and should expect to eventually suffer a security breach.

Nasty Lenovo UEFI exploit also affects products from other vendors – A critical vulnerability that was recently found in the low-level firmware of Lenovo ThinkPad systems also reportedly exists in products from other vendors including HP and Gigabyte Technology.

This Android malware has infected 85 million devices and makes its creators $300,000 a month – Gang behind malware make money from fraudulent apps — but if they choose to use their reach for theft, corporations could be put at risk.

HummingBad malware puts 10 million Android devices at risk – There are some malware that are just plain horrifying, like the past Stagefright exploit. Some, like weak ransomware, are a nuisance at best. HummingBad, reported by security outfit Check Point, sits precariously in the middle. Right now, all it does is to compromise an Android device in order to trick people into clicking on ads in order to generate revenue for its creators and its partners. It has, however, the potential to do even more destructive, and profitable, things should the people behind it decide to go beyond mere money-making into a full-on war against security.

How to tell if your Android phone has spyware – Some apps keep tabs on you for legitimate reasons, but some don’t.

Company News:

Blackberry drops Blackberry Classic from its lineup – BlackBerry has tried a lot of things to stay relevant as mobile technology evolves faster than ever before. BlackBerry has dabbled in tablets, it tried running Android apps on BlackBerry OS, and it even dropped the name RIM for the more recognizable “BlackBerry.” When the company decided to move forward with Android as its main mobile platform, fans of the old BlackBerry at least had the BlackBerry Classic handset to keep them happy. That’s no longer the case today. BlackBerry has announced this device will no longer be manufactured, and there isn’t a replacement planned.

Yahoo sales process to reach final steps this month – The final selection process is expected by July 18, as Verizon, Quicken Loans’ founder and private equity firm TPG are currently making bids, according to a report.

The FTC is investigating Ashley Madison – Nearly one year after a security breach resulted in the leak of a massive amount of customer data, Ashley Madison is now being investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission. The company’s new top executives — replacing those who exited after the tumultuous hack — confirmed the inquiry in an interview with Reuters. CEO Rob Segal isn’t exactly sure what the FTC is focusing its probe on, but the leading theory is that it’s tied to the website’s use of “fembots” to artificially balance the male/female ratio. “That’s a part of the ongoing process that we’re going through,” he told Reuters. “It’s with the FTC right now.”

Apple sued in China for streaming 1994 propaganda film – Is the honeymoon between Apple and China really over? After what seemed like the start of a beautiful, not to mention profitable, relationship, Apple has been hit with setback after setback in the notoriously impenetrable Chinese market. For this latest round, it is being sued by Movie Satellite Channel Program Production Center, a subsidiary of the country’s media regulator, for allegedly streaming a “propaganda” film hailing from 1994. The odd part is that Apple isn’t the one streaming the said film but simply one of the apps available from its iTunes App Store.

Google asks court to sanction Oracle for revealing details of Apple deal – The court motion claims both Google and Apple were harmed when Oracle’s attorney revealed their business dealings.

Netflix and Comcast announce new partnership after years of fighting – If you’ve been following the tense relationship between Netflix and Comcast over the past few years, then this may come as something of a shock to you: the two companies have just announced a new partnership that will bring Netflix to Comcast’s X1 set-top box. We never thought we’d see the day, but it would appear that Comcast has decided to stop fighting Netflix and instead work alongside it, finally seeing the benefits that could potentially come from working together.

Games and Entertainment:

PlayStation Plus free games of July 2016 for PS4, PS3, PS Vita available today – The games — there are six up for grabs across PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita — will be available to download when the PlayStation Store updates in the coming hours. As announced previously, July 2016’s lineup includes Furi and Saints Row: Gat out of Hell on PS4, while Fat Princess and Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood will be free on PS3. PlayStation Vita owners, meanwhile, can pick up Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines and Prince of Persia: Revelation free during the month. As an extra bonus, the Paragon Starter Pack is going to be free all month long.

Xbox’s Ultimate Game Sale goes live across Xbox One, 360 – Not content to let PC gamers have all the fun this summer, Microsoft has rolled out its Ultimate Game Sale for both Xbox One and Xbox 360. This is one of the largest sales of the year for the Xbox brand, with more than 250 titles getting discounts across both platforms. Xbox’s Ultimate Game Sale comes on the heels of Steam’s annual Summer Sale, which wrapped yesterday after offering up thousands of discounts on games across its store.

The 10 Most Pirated Movies – Films starring Emilia Clarke, Jeff Goldblum, and Kevin Hart appear in this week’s list of the most pirated movies on the Internet.

Pokémon Go is now rolling out for iOS and Android – Pokémon Go, the augmented reality mobile game from Nintendo and developer Niantic Labs, is out now for both iOS and Android in select countries. The app’s Play Store listing is available here and the App Store link here. However, it appears to be unavailable for some US users at this time, while Australia and New Zealand users are reporting the app is indeed available for both Android and iOS. According to The Wall Street Journal, The Pokémon Company is recommending US and Japan users “please wait for a while” for the app’s official launch in those markets. For those who haven’t been following the title’s development, the game uses your smartphone’s camera and sensors, as well as location-based algorithms, to place pokémon in the real world.

Blizzard brings lawsuit against Overwatch cheat maker – Rather unsurprisingly, Overwatch has become one of the biggest games of 2016 in just a few short weeks. Unfortunately, the game’s popularity comes with a number of drawbacks. Chief among this list of drawbacks is the problem of cheaters, who have been flocking to the new game to assert their dominance through hacks and cheating programs. Blizzard has determined that enough is enough and, not content with just banning the offenders from the game, has gone after the creator of Overwatch cheating software in a new lawsuit.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Android is imploding, and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it – There are more OEMs scrambling over one another for attention than there are customers to go around.

Survey: Wearable inaccuracy is top complaint, and here’s what else users want to track – According to a new Valencell survey, users want better accuracy and more usable insights from their wearable devices. Also, less than half want to wear them all day and night.

The worth of your professional profile, network and personal data – Tim Berners-Lee created the web in 1989. Twenty-seven years later, he’s asking for a reinvention. The web has made life easier, but it has also introduced challenges and ethical questions pertaining to personal data, access to information and privacy. Berners-Lee laments that the web has morphed into a surveillance network filled with corporate hackers and government spooks with the tools to troll your every keystroke and mine your personal data.

Life after death? It may depend on how much you tweet, blog, post, or email – If you find it creepy when a deceased person’s Facebook page continues to morph and expand even after they have passed away, life is about to get a whole lot creepier. Enter augmented eternity – a movement that has as its goal using artificial intelligence to convert a person’s digital footprint into a chatbot-like personality capable of answering questions, engaging in discourse, and otherwise impersonating the conversational style of an individual. Dr. Hossein Rahnama, of MIT Media Lab, is on a crusade to make this vision of the future a reality.

The FBI recommends not to indict Hillary Clinton for email misconduct – The Federal Bureau of Investigation has completed its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server and is recommending that the Department of Justice not indict Clinton, FBI Director James Comey said in a press conference today. The recommendation is not binding, and the ultimate decision will be made by the Department of Justice. Still, the recommendation will likely clear longstanding questions that have dogged Clinton’s presidential campaign for over a year.

Reminder: Public Officials Using Private Email Servers Is Indefensible – Tuesday morning, FBI Director James Comey announced that the agency would recommend the United States not pursue criminal charges against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. The people who have spent the last year harping on Hillary’s emails have been cast as being conspiracy theorists, Donald Trump shills, bogged down in minutia, and out of touch with reality; even Bernie Sanders famously said people are “sick and tired of hearing about [her] damn emails.” But the truth is that Clinton’s decision to use private email as Secretary of State was colossally negligent at best and is utterly indefensible.

Paul Ryan tells Trump: Clean up your tweeting act – Technically Incorrect: Saying there’s no place for anti-Semitic images, the Speaker of the House says the Republican Party’s presumptive candidate needs to change his Twitter habits.

Fearing surveillance, man allegedly shot at Google and set self-driving car ablaze – A man who told police he feared being watched by Google has been arrested and charged with arson after one of the company’s self-driving cars was destroyed in an attack in June.

Something to think about:

“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.”

–    Rabbinical Saying

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Tech industry gangs up on European Commission, calls for cookie law to be scrapped – A massive coalition of tech and telco companies have called for the EU’s so-called cookie law to be repealed.

Ars reported yesterday that the European Commission was working to overhaul the current ePrivacy Directive, and had held a public consultation soliciting feedback. But a group of 12 trade bodies has now called for it to be scrapped altogether. The coalition includes the European Telecommunications and Network Operators association (ETNO), the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA), the GSMA representing mobile operators, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), IAB, the interactive advertising bureau, and DigitalEurope.

“We believe that simplifying and streamlining regulation will benefit consumers by ensuring they are provided with a simple, consistent, and meaningful set of rules designed to protect their personal data,” said the group. “At the same time, it will encourage innovation across the digital value chain and drive new growth and social opportunities. This is critical at a time when digital companies are striving to launch new innovative services and working to build a 5G Europe.”

The coalition brings together telco operators (including BT, Telefonica, Orange, T-Mobile, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and Three), online service providers (such as Netflix, Fastnet, eBay, Facebook, Foursquare, Google, Linkedin, Dropbox, Amazon, and Paypal), hardware manufacturers (amongst them, Microsoft, Apple, Blackberry, and Huawei), and online publishers.

Europol’s online censorship unit is haphazard and unaccountable says NGO – Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (IRU) celebrated its first birthday at the weekend, but civil liberties organisations are worried that it goes too far in its efforts to keep the Web free from extremist propaganda.

The IRU has been up and running since July 2015 as part of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) in the Hague. The unit is charged with monitoring the Internet for extremist propaganda and referring “relevant online content towards concerned Internet service providers” in particular social media. Much was made of how the IRU could “contact social network service provider Facebook directly to ask it to delete a Web page run by ISIS or request details of other pages that might be run by the same user.”

Rules give legal certainty to unit tackling online terrorist propaganda, extremism.

Although companies are not required to take down the content, European Commission figures from April 2016 show that the IRU had an effective removal rate of 91 percent. At that time it had assessed more than 4,700 posts across 45 platforms and sent over 3,200 referrals for Internet companies to remove content. The totals now are closer to 8,000 and 7,000, and Europol told Ars it will publish full details in the coming days.

US appeals court: Anti-hacking law applies to password sharing case – A US appeals court on Tuesday ruled that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a broad anti-hacking law passed in 2005, applies to a case in which a former executive gained access to his former employer’s confidential client data through a password that was voluntarily shared with him.

In a two-to-one ruling, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of David Nosal, who used the information from his former employer — Korn/Ferry International — to start a new firm. He gained access to the data after his former secretary shared her password with him.

The ruling expands the already-sweeping scope of the CFAA, which imposes criminal penalties on anyone who “knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and bymeans of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value.”

UK Police Accessed Civilian Data for Fun and Profit, New Report Says – More than 800 UK police staff inappropriately accessed personal information between June 2011 and December 2015, according to a report from activist group Big Brother Watch.

The report says some police staff used their access to a growing trove of police data, which includes personal information on civilians, for entertainment and personal and financial gain.

The report, which is based on Freedom of Information requests sent to all UK police forces, raises questions about the police’s ability to protect civilian data. Specifically, privacy advocates are concerned about access to Internet Connection Records, which is the new type of data that would be collected under the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill.

In several notable incidents, one Metropolitan Police officer found the name of a victim so funny that he attempted to take a photo of the driving license and send it to his friend over Snapchat. A Greater Manchester Police officer tipped someone off that they would be arrested, and one from North Yorkshire Police conducted a check on a vehicle on his phone whilst off-duty.



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4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday – July 6, 2016

  1. Hello Bill,
    Thanks for another great addition. OneTab really isn’t new, I recommended it to my friends about 1 year ago:

    Already looking forward to the next addition..

  2. Bill,

    Checking in on you to see how you are doing… Keep the good “NEWS” coming.