Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday – August 5, 2016

7 Dead Simple Ways to Make Your Computer Run Like New;  Avast users, if your Windows 10 Anniversary Update is failing, here’s why;  The best second-screen apps for watching the 2016 Olympics;  Looking to build or upgrade a PC? Here are the best hardware component;  Hey Dummy, Drop That USB Drive;  Dropbox Paper, now in open beta;  BBC will broadcast Rio Olympics in 360-degree video;  GOG Releases Classic 16-Bit Disney Games – and much more news you need to know.

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7 Dead Simple Ways to Make Your Computer Run Like New – The way everything runs through our computers, smartphones, and tablets these days, unchecked electronic overgrowth can grind your life to a halt without a moment’s notice. “Digital clutter is insidious,” says Valeri Hall Little, owner of Intandem, a Toronto-based productivity consulting firm. “We can’t see it, and if we can’t see it, we don’t feel it, and we don’t know it’s there.” Instead of turning a blind eye to your digital disarray, give your devices an annual checkup with these expert tips.

Avast users, if your Windows 10 Anniversary Update is failing, here’s why – Avast users report that the antivirus program is conflicting with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update’s installation, causing BSODs. A fix is on the way.

Must-have Firefox extensions for productivity and added security – Here are some goodies for all you loyal Firefox users.

Chrome for Android 52 promises speedier video load times and less battery drain – Google says the latest version can save you as much as 50 percent data usage by flipping on data saver mode.

The best second-screen apps for watching the 2016 Olympics – Thanks to that second-screen surge, Rio 2016 is poised to be the first multi-platform Olympics. To make sure you don’t miss a second of complimentary content, we’ve compiled the most essential free apps to download. Whether you just want to stay on top of stats and scores, get an insider view of events, or follow your favorite athletes, you won’t miss a moment of Olympic action once competition begins on August 5.

How to block annoying Facebook political posts – Are you sick of reading status updates from people who think Hillary Clinton is the Antichrist? Do you want to throw up when your pals sing Donald Trump’s praises? Fortunately, there are ways to silence our friends when their Facebook political mudslinging gets to be too much.

How to get started with DIY home surveillance systems – While closed-system security cameras burdened with monthly fees get most of the attention, it’s now easier than ever to set up your own professional grade video monitoring system and avoid recurring costs.

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Looking to build or upgrade a PC? Here are the best hardware components – If you’re looking to build or upgrade a PC with some new components, here is a selection of the best components unveiled over the past few months. This quarter there’s a heavy emphasis on storage and GPUs, but we also have a new powerhouse CPU from Intel, and with an excellent curved display from Phillips.

1Password launches monthly subscription plan for personal use – You hear all the time that you should keep separate passwords for each of your online logins, but that’s definitely easier said than done. With the need for increased online security, we’ve seen the rise of password managers, and while some of those are free, many of the better ones require some form of payment. One of those is 1Password, which demands an up-front price of $64.99 on the iOS App Store, though family and team subscriptions are available for a monthly fee.

Google Adding Critic Reviews, Best-of Lists to Search Results – The Web giant on Thursday announced a new feature that can help ensure you never miss out on highly recommended spots. Now, when you search via the Google app for the best spots to eat and drink, the Web giant will offer up reviews from top critics and best-of lists from reputable publishers right on the results page, so you don’t have to go tapping around to find this information.

Report: Facebook Drops Snapchat-Like ‘Quick Updates’ Feature – Don’t worry, you’ll only have to split your time between Snapchat and Instagram if you’re big into making temporary images and videos of your daily life.

Dropbox Paper, now in open beta, lets teams collaborate in the cloud – Ten months after Dropbox first unveiled Paper, the collaborative writing tool entered open beta on Wednesday and is getting mobile versions for iOS and Android.

Gboard for iOS gets support for French, Spanish and more – Google’s Gboard for iOS has been updated with support for additional languages, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. To coincide with the additional language support is a global launch of the keyboard app, which makes it easier to send someone a GIF or other things directly from the iPhone’s keyboard. Google has also packed some new features into the app including smart GIF suggestions.

The Best Drones of 2016 – Drones. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here to stay. If you’re one of the many people who wants a quadcopter, these are the best we’ve tested, along with what you need to know to pick the right one.

Raspberry Pi 3, others get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update for the Internet of Things – After Microsoft released an anniversary update of Windows 10 for PCs, a version is now available for the popular Raspberry Pi 3 developer board.

Microsoft says it has two big Windows 10 updates planned for 2017 – Microsoft only started rolling out Windows 10’s Anniversary Update this week, but it’s already discussing future updates for the operating system. A new blog post detailing update changes for IT professionals sheds some light on Microsoft’s plans for Windows 10. “This will be our last feature update for 2016, with two additional feature updates expected in 2017,” says Microsoft’s Nathan Mercer. Understandably, Microsoft isn’t detailing exactly what features are coming just yet, but the next big feature update to Windows 10 is rumored to release some time early next year before spring. Codenamed “Redstone 2,” the Windows 10 update may coincide with hardware updates to Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Surface Book devices. Microsoft is already working on Redstone 2, with internal builds out for testing.

Why users may want a new PC to go with Windows 10 Anniversary Update – Combined with the end of free upgrades to Windows 10, buyers could upgrade PCs to take advantage of features in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Security:

PC-nuking malware sneakily replaces popular free software on FossHub – Everything is fine now, but a few unfortunate FossHub users installed a fake Classic Shell installer that may have temporarily messed up their computers.

Hack in a box: Two thieves steal more than 30 cars using a laptop – The pair was finally caught after surveillance footage gave police enough information to work with.

Hey Dummy, Drop That USB Drive – A Black Hat presentation demonstrated that people are still plugging in unknown USB drives. Stop it, already!

Hackers unleash smart Twitter phishing tool that snags two in three users: Just. Don’t. Click. On. Dodgy. ShortURLs. People – Black Hat Twitter scammers have a new weapon with the release of an effective spear phishing tool that lands a victim almost two thirds of the time, dwarfing the usual five-to-fifteen-per-cent-open-rate for spam tweets. The SNAP_R machine learning spear phishing Twitter bot is a data-driven menace unleashed at the Black Hat security conference that is capable of consuming information from victim tweets to target users. Creators John Seymour and Philip Tully of Baltimore security firm ZeroFox say the neural network is the world’s first end-to-end Twitter pwn cannon useful to scammers, penetration testers, and staff recruiters.

Four misleading myths about the Dark Web – Combat Dark Web threats by understanding their reality. The Dark Web can threaten your data security. Don’t compound the risk by believing these misconceptions.

Tinder swipes too much personal information, says EU lawmaker – Marc Tarabella wants to swipe left on Tinder’s privacy policy. The company’s terms of use breach European Union privacy laws, according to Tarabella, a member of the European Parliament. Tarabella particularly dislikes the way the company gives itself the right to swipe the personal information and photos of its users, and to continue using it even if they deactivate their accounts. It’s not just Tinder: Tarabella is also unhappy about how much personal information Runkeeper keeps about runners’ movements, even when the app is inactive. He has the same concerns about Happn, a sort of missed-connections dating service. The lawmaker wants the European Commission to root out abusive clauses in the terms of use of a number of mobile apps, and to penalize their developers.

Report claims more than half of UK firms have been hit by ransomware – Large UK companies are amongst the hardest hit by ransomware in western countries according to a new report commissioned by Malwarebytes. The report found that more than half of large firms had been affected—and that nine percent had been left “entirely unable to operate.” Ransomware is clearly a growth industry in Britain: 58 percent of IT directors in this country have paid ransoms in the past, and the UK experiences more attacks than the Canada, Germany, and the US. American bosses are 21 times less likely to give in to hackers’ demands than their UK counterparts.

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$6 device can break into hotel rooms and infect PoS systems – At DEF CON, a researcher will unveil a small $6 device which can be used to duplicate every keycard in a hotel, so an attacker could break into every room, as well as to infect point-of-sale systems.

Facebook strengthens efforts against News Feed clickbait – If you’re anything like me, your Facebook News Feed is probably a mess of posts featuring Donald Trump, babies, and articles with clickbait titles. It isn’t exactly a secret that Facebook has a clickbait problem, and a big one at that. Despite previous efforts to trim down the amount of clickbait that appears in any given user’s News Feed, the problem persists, and it’s led Facebook to implement a new – and hopefully improved – News Feed algorithm.

Iranian hacker group knows who is on Telegram – Hackers obtained the mobile phone numbers of 15 million Iranian users of the Telegram encrypted messaging app, and hacked the accounts of more than a dozen of them, security researchers say.

Company News:

LinkedIn posts a huge second quarter that really doesn’t matter – Microsoft beat out several bidders in the process, including Salesforce, and that price largely reset the damages from the company’s Q4 earnings report that sent the stock into a tailspin. But this report itself might signal why Microsoft was so interested in the company. LinkedIn reported revenue of $932.7 million and earnings of $1.13 per share.  Analysts were expecting earnings of 78 cents per share on $898 million in revenue. LinkedIn’s report today caps off a half decade-ish run as an independent company valued somewhere between a social network and an enterprise recruiting solution.

GoDaddy names new CFO as Q2 sales up 15.6 percent – The company, which provides hosting and domain registration services to small businesses, delivered a net loss of $11.1 million, or 11 cents a share, on revenue of $456.2 million, up 15.6 percent from a year ago. Of that sum, domains revenue was up 10.2 percent to $229.8 million, hosting was $167.5 million and business applications was $58.9 million. Wall Street was expecting second quarter sales of $450.5 million and a net loss of 7 cents a share. GoDaddy ended the quarter with 14.3 million customers and an average revenue per user of $125.

Amazon gets its own branded air cargo plane with 39 more to follow – Holding out the promise of quicker deliveries to its customers, Amazon.com on Thursday unveiled Amazon One, the company’s first air cargo plane.

Zynga plummets 9% in after-hours trading – Social game developer Zynga tumbled 9 percent in after-hours trading following the second quarter 2016 earnings announcement after the bell today. The company reported a net loss of $4.4 million, while still beating analysts’ expectations in terms of revenue. For the second quarter ended June 30, the San Francisco-based maker of FarmVille and Words with Friends posted revenue of $181.7 million and non-GAAP net earnings came in at $0.00. Wall Street expected EPS of $0.00 on revenue of $169.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters. The stock hit 9 percent down in late afternoon, after having closed less than 1 percent up at $2.97.

Comcast supports higher prices for customers who want Web privacy – As the Federal Communications Commission debates new privacy rules for Internet service providers, Comcast has urged the commission to let ISPs offer different prices based on whether customers opt into systems that share their data and deliver personalized ads. Comcast executives met with FCC officials last week, and “urged that the Commission allow business models offering discounts or other value to consumers in exchange for allowing ISPs to use their data,” Comcast wrote in an ex parte filing that describes the meeting. (MediaPost covered the filing yesterday.)

Games and Entertainment:

BBC will broadcast Rio Olympics in 360-degree video – Olympics fans looking forward to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio take note: the BBC has announced it’s launching a service that will allow viewers to watch a large portion of the event in 360-degree video. And you don’t need an expensive VR headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive either; any unit compatible with an iPhone or Android device will suffice, giving you the opportunity to watch as many as 100 hours of sports coverage as if you were there.

How to set up, use the new Apple TV Remote app – The day has come, Apple made good on its promise and released an improved Apple TV Remote app. It’s an entirely different app from the rather old Remote app Apple that has been available for several years now. Effectively, your iPhone is now capable of replacing the Siri Remote that comes with the newest Apple TV.

GOG Releases Classic 16-Bit Disney Games, Digging Up Bitter ‘Aladdin’ Feud – The digital PC game distribution platform GOG made a lot of millennials very happy today when it announced the exclusive release of three 16-bit Disney platformers from the mid 90s. GOG (formerly Good Old Games) is much like the digital distribution platform Steam, but with a focus on making old games available on modern PCs (and DRM-free!), which is why these three Disney games—The Lion King, The Jungle Book, and Aladdin—are a great get.

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Mobius Final Fantasy game finally lands on mobile – With most of its offline, pre-PS3 Final Fantasy titles ported to mobile devices (save for VIII), Square Enix now seems to be turning its focus on completely new titles built from the ground up with smartphones in mind. From Final Fantasy Record Keeper to Brave Exvius, the game publisher is now bringing perhaps one of its more ambitious attempts at an original mobile title with the launch of Mobius Final Fantasy on iOS and Android, promising console level graphics paired with easy to use gameplay.

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Every AMD Radeon RX 470 you can buy: A cheat sheet – AMD’s Radeon RX 470 launched today with a full array of customized partner cards. Here’s a guide to every graphics card you can buy today.

Next-generation gaming PCs put to the test – These new desktops all feature powerful new Nvidia GeForce 1080 graphics cards for unmatched gaming and VR performance.

NFL Network, RedZone come to Sling TV’s streaming service for cord cutters – Sling TV has long been a viable option for sports fans who want to cut the cord with traditional pay television, thanks to its streams of popular channels providing sports coverage, like ESPN, Fox Sports, TNT, TBS and more. Now, you can add NFL Network and NFL RedZone to that mix, thanks to a newly announced deal between Sling TV parent company Dish Network and the NFL

Watch the first trailer for Christopher Nolan’s World War II movie Dunkirk – Christopher Nolan’s first World War II story, Dunkirk, just got its first teaser trailer. The film, which stars Tom Hardy, newcomer Fionn Whitehead, and Bridge of Spies’ Mark Rylance, also features One Direction’s Harry Styles in his first film role. It will tell the story of Operation Dynamo — a last-ditch effort to evacuate 300,000 Allied troops who were surrounded by Nazi troops in the French seaport of Dunkirk. The trailer is super short and super tense. It opens on a crowded boat of Allied soldiers who take note one by one of some sort of enemy aircraft descending on them. There are loud noises!

Pokemon GO launches in Central and South America – Pokemon GO players are still as fervent as ever, and now more gamers can join their ranks — the company behind the game has announced an expansion into Central and South America, marking the latest regions where the game is (officially) available to download. The expansion comes just in time for the Rio Olympics, and is joined by a handful of other changes, namely fixes for two big bugs players have been vocal about.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How Hackers Could Get Inside Your Head With ‘Brain Malware’ – It’s a futuristic scenario, but not that futuristic. The idea of securing our thoughts is a real concern with the introduction of brain-computer interfaces—devices that are controlled by brain signals such as EEG (electroencephalography), and which are already used in medical scenarios and, increasingly, in non-medical applications such as gaming. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle say that we need to act fast to implement a privacy and security framework to prevent our brain signals from being used against us before the technology really takes off.

Average US internet speeds make significant rise in first half of 2016 – With the rise of fiber internet and the amount of recognition companies like Google Fiber are getting, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little disappointed in your broadband connection. However, a new report from Ookla is showing us that the wider availability of fiber options may just be a good thing for those with fixed broadband connections, as average broadband speeds have taken a rather large jump year-over-year in the first half of 2016.

Internet of things: Early adopters share 4 key takeaways – Getting ready to launch an IoT initiative? Read these insights and advice from early adopters in aviation, transportation, manufacturing and more.

Take a tour of the 114-year old Japanese battleship Mikasa – The only pre-dreadnought battleship left in the world, the Mikasa is a step back into history. It’s now a museum ship near Tokyo. Here’s a full tour.

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While the US Gets More Strict on Vaping, New Zealand Moves to Relax Its Laws – Though the New Zealand government took a hard stance against vaping early on, it also supported efforts to better understand the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes. A government-funded study in 2013 was one of the first to demonstrate the smoking-cessation possibilities of vaping, showing people who used e-cigarettes were just as likely to quit as those who use the nicotine patch. More studies have shown that, overall, e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking, which is partly why New Zealand is reconsidering its stance.

Architects Are Designing Buildings for the Age of Mass Shootings – Our culture of fear has changed the role of architecture in the United States. In just 2016 alone, the country has seen 221 mass shootings, and we struggle to keep up with the stream of international terrorism attacks by groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. If you listen to the news for too long, every building we enter seems compromised, from malls and movie theaters to schools. So while legislators falter over gun control laws, architects and building designers are working to rethink the concept of a safe space.

Something to think about:

“There is some magic in wealth, which can thus make persons pay their court to it, when it does not even benefit themselves. How strange it is, that a fool or knave, with riches, should be treated with more respect by the world, than a good man, or a wise man in poverty!”

–      Ann Radcliffe (1764 – 1823)

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

How to access Tor, even when your country says you can’t – Censorship is nothing new, but as many governments and law enforcement agencies tighten the noose, anti-surveillance solutions need to get creative.

The Tor Project, which runs the anti-surveillance Tor network, is one such being.

The non-profit runs a network designed to disguise the original locations of users through traffic and relay points, and is often used by journalists, activists, and those attempting to circumvent censorship.

Nima Fatemi, an independent security research and member of the Tor Project, highlighted in a recent blog post how users in countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran can still try to access the network.

This Engineer Started a Tor-Based Internet Provider to Fight Surveillance – UK lawmakers are currently closing in on their biggest expansion of government surveillance powers since the Snowden revelations—but one network engineer is determined to not let privacy go down without fight.

The Investigatory Powers bill—championed by former Home Secretary and current UK prime minister Theresa May and sometimes called the “Snooper’s Charter”—would create an expansive new legal regime for government mass surveillance in the UK, effectively legitimizing many of the programs exposed by Snowden. Among other things, it controversially proposes requiring that all internet service providers in the UK keep tabs on their customers’ internet activity, forcing them to retain so-called Internet Connection Records, or ICRs, for 12 months, and hand that data over to the authorities upon request.

But as the UK’s upper house prepares to vote on final amendments to the bill, engineer Gareth Llewelyn is readying his own technical countermeasures. Earlier this year, Llewelyn started building his own non-profit internet service provider that runs on the Tor anonymity network. His goal: Design a system that will frustrate the new mass-surveillance regime by making it technically impossible to censor content or comply with government requests for subscribers’ internet records.

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2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday – August 5, 2016

  1. Avast and the Windows 10 Anniversary Update
    Avast has already addressed and fixed the problem: https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=189403.msg1330207#msg1330207