Tag Archives: Amazon

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – September 21, 2015

AVG says it can sell your browsing data;  How to enable Windows 10’s ‘Hey Cortana’ voice commands;  5 reasons to buy Amazon’s $50 tablet — and one not to;  Apple posts fix for iOS 9 ‘Slide to Upgrade’ bug;  Nasty URL bug brings Google Chrome to a screeching halt;  Tech finds 1.5M US medical records exposed on AWS;  Developer Removes Top Ad-Blocker From App Store;  Transform your laptop into a gaming powerhouse with an external graphics card;  Installing Linux on a Chromebook: What you need to know;  Mandatory South Korean parental control app is a security nightmare;  Why Windows 10 is the most secure Windows ever;  The BBC to launch a streaming service in the U.S.; Microsoft sued over alleged gender discrimination;  Products with Microbeads: why you need to stop using them, now;  25 Habits That Will Make You Smarter;  A sport plane for the masses – if you have $189,000 to spare;  SpyShelter Free Anti-Keylogger.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

 AVG says it can sell your browsing data in updated privacy policy – AVG has updated its privacy policy’s language, and in the amended document, the security firm admits that it can “make money from [its] free offerings with non-personal data.” These “non-personal” info include your device’s brand, language and apps in use, among other things. The company is adamant that it doesn’t sell anything with identifying information, and the data that it does collect is anonymized and stored without anything that can link it back to you. According to the updated policy, AVG can collect data you yourself provide — plus, it can use cookies to track your searchers and your activities on websites, apps and other products. It can then use those details to “build anonymous data profiles” or create statistical information, which it can then sell.

5 reasons to buy Amazon’s $50 tablet — and one not to – Yesterday, Amazon took the wraps off a $50 tablet, the simply named Fire. As you might expect, I’m a little excited. Admittedly, I haven’t seen or handled the new Fire, so I can’t address the elephant in the room: the screen. (More on that below.) But here are five reasons I think this is something you’ll want, either for yourself or as a gift.

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Fifty bucks. Remember when all tablets were $500?

How to enable Windows 10’s ‘Hey Cortana’ voice commands – One of the best parts of Windows 10 is its deep integration with Cortana, Microsoft’s helpful digital assistant. To really make Cortana work for you, however, it helps to have the voice activation feature up and running. That way your next file search, weather check, or command to open an app is just a “Hey, Cortana” away.

Apple posts fix for iOS 9 ‘Slide to Upgrade’ bug – If you’ve upgraded your iPhone or iPad to iOS 9 and it is stuck on the ‘Slide to Upgrade’ screen, this is the fix you’re looking for.

How to delete large attachments to save storage space in Gmail – If you’re pushing the 15GB limit for Gmail and Google Drive, you can save space by using FindBigMail’s service, or by running some simple searches – though you still can’t delete attachments without deleting the emails as well.

Nasty URL bug brings Google Chrome to a screeching halt – Visiting—or merely mousing over a link that contains a specific string of characters—is enough to cause the current release of the Chrome browser to crash. According to VentureBeat, merely appending “%%30%30” to the end of a URL will cause Chrome to hang and crash. The cruelest twist? You don’t even have to open a malformed URL to cause the crash–merely mousing over the link is enough to bring down Chrome. (In other words, don’t add the above string to URLs unless you like cussing at your computer. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

Five to Try: Android Pay starts rolling out, and Spotify amps up your runs – We usually try to throw the spotlight on brand new apps with our weekly Five to Try column, but sometimes massive updates steal the show. It’s actually a little of both with Android Pay: the app itself is a totally new experience, although it’s being released as a rebranded update to the old Google Wallet. In any case, if you’re eager to tap and pay with your phone, it’s the app to get this week.

How to transform your laptop into a gaming powerhouse with an external graphics card – With a little bit of research and elbow grease, an external graphics setup can transform your laptop into a gaming powerhouse for a fraction of the price of a whole new gaming PC.

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Installing Linux on a Chromebook: What you need to know – Chromebooks are more powerful than you realize already, but zooming around the web in Google’s browser is just the beginning of what Chromebooks are capable of. Chrome OS is built on top of the Linux kernel, and you can install a full Linux environment alongside Chrome OS on your Chromebook. This gives you access to Steam and over a thousand PC games, Minecraft, Skype, and everything else that runs on desktop Linux.

Microsoft’s Edge browser will soon support Skype calls without a plugin – Skype is a natural fit for ORTC, and sure enough, the Skype team announced Friday that it is working on new versions of Skype for Web and Skype for Outlook.com that take advantage of this new technology. According to the Skype blog, “Skype users will be able to make voice and video calls without needing to install a plug-in on Microsoft Edge” starting sometime later this year. The Skype team says it’s also working on a plugin-free version of Skype for Business for Edge users, though it didn’t say when it expects to have that ready to rock.

Microsoft delivers Windows 10 test Build 10547 to Fast Ring Insiders – Microsoft has rolled out a new Windows 10 test build for PCs, 10547, as well as updates to a number of the built-in Windows 10 apps, for those on the Fast RIng.

Developer Removes Top Ad-Blocker From App Store: It ‘Just Doesn’t Feel Good’ – App developer Marco Arment just pulled his wildly popular ad-blocker, Peace, from the market. Arment said he didn’t feel good about the app, and has pulled it from the Apple’s App Store, announcing the move in a blog post Friday. “I’ve pulled Peace from the App Store. I’m sorry to all of my fans and customers who bought this on my name, expecting it to be supported for longer than two days. It’ll keep working for a long time if you already have it, but with no updates,” he wrote. He’s offering consumers a refund, as well as linking to instructions on how to get one.

Security:

Mandatory South Korean parental control app is a security nightmare – Back in April, South Korea required that wireless carriers install parental control apps on kids’ phones to prevent young ones from seeing naughty content. It sounded wise to officials at the time, but it now looks like that cure is worse than the disease. Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab have discovered 26 security holes in Smart Sheriff, the most popular of these mandatory parental apps. The software has weak authentication, sends a lot of data without encryption and relies on servers using outdated, vulnerable code. It wouldn’t be hard for an intruder to hijack the parent’s account, intercept communications or even scoop up the kids’ personal details. The worst part? Some of these vulnerabilities apply on a large scale, so a particularly sinister attacker could compromise hundreds of thousands of phones at once.

Apple’s Chinese App Store Has Come Under a Malware Attack – According to the Wall Street Journal, hackers planted an outwardly normal version of an Apple software called Xcode, used to develop iOS applications, on a Chinese cloud service called Baidu Pan. Developers began using it because it was faster to download than the Xcode software from Apple’s U.S. servers, the CBC reports, citing Palo Alto Networks director of threat intelligence Ryan Olson. However, the Chinese version was fraudulent and “Trojanized.” Olson told CBC that the breach was “a pretty big deal” as it showed that the App Store could be compromised.

VisitorTracker Malware Affects Thousands of WordPress Sites – Bad news for those using WordPress for their corporate or personal websites. According to security firm Sucuri, a not-so-insignificant number of WordPress installations have been compromised by a new “visitorTracker_isMob” piece of malware over the past two weeks. Visitors who attempt to go to these sites are redirected to a new page that probes their system for all kinds of weaknesses. If one is found, said system is compromised, and it only gets worse from there.

Tech finds 1.5M US medical records exposed on AWS – The private health records and private contact information of as many as 1.5 million Americans have been posted to Amazon’s cloud services. Names, addresses, and phone numbers along with biological health information including existing illnesses and current medications were posted in the clear to Amazon servers by insurers using Systema Software. It is unknown how the information was posted while the number of affected patients remains unconfirmed. Kansas’ State Self Insurance Fund, CSAC Excess Insurance Authority, and the Salt Lake County Database are known to be affected. Texan tech Chris Vickery spotted the files on Amazon servers and reported the breach to Systema Software. The company has since warned its affected customers and has kicked off an investigation.

South Korea hit with over 114,000 cyberattacks in 5 years – South Korea may have the fastest Internet speed in the world, but it looks like the country needs to ramp up its security. On Friday it was revealed that South Korea’s government has been hit by more than 110,000 cyberattacks in the past five years.

Why Windows 10 is the most secure Windows ever – So far the buzz has mainly been about Windows Hello, which supports face and fingerprint recognition. But Device Guard and Credential Guard are the two standout security features of Windows 10—they protect the core kernel from malware and prevent attackers from remotely taking control of the machine. Device Guard and Credential Guard are intended for business systems and are available only in Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education.

Company News:

Microsoft sued over alleged gender discrimination – The lawsuit comes from former worker Katie Moussouris, who served in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group in Redmond for more than half a decade. According to the lawsuit, Microsoft’s female technology professionals are paid less than their male counterparts, among other issues. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that sexual harassment took place against female workers via the man who was directing the Trustworthy Computing Group in 2008. Allegedly when a company investigation found this to be true, Microsoft allowed this individual to retain his “title and influence,” and simply reassigned him to a different part of the group.

T-Mobile Simple Global expands to all Europe, South America – Unsatisfied with trying to conquer the US, T-Mobile wants to spread its Un-carrier words beyond the country’ borders. Today it announces that its Simple Global scheme, which tries to make the world a smaller place through your smartphone, is expanding to 20 more countries, including all of Europe and all of South America. This means that in 145 countries, eligible subscribers can browse the Web or send SMS at no extra cost than what they would pay while at home, while calls do get charged $0.20 per minute.

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AT&T says rogue employees secretly unlocked hundreds of thousands of phones – AT&T said three of its employees secretly installed software on its network so a cellphone unlocking service could surreptitiously funnel hundreds of thousands of requests to its servers to remove software locks on phones. AT&T’s allegations are made in a filing with U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in which it accuses two companies, four people and an unknown software developer or developers, of participating in the audacious scheme. AT&T filed its lawsuit on Sept. 11 but it was first reported by Geekwire on Friday.

Comcast strikes settlement with California over privacy issue – The settlement was announced on Thursday, and is related to claims that Comcast published personal customer data online, including phone numbers, names, and addresses. This is said to have affected “tens of thousands” of Comcast subscribers who had shelled out for an unlisted VOIP service. The settlement amounts to $33 million, with $25 million of that going toward paying legal fees related to the investigation and penalties. The other $8 million will be going to customers who were affected as restitution. All 75,000 or so affected subscribers will get refunds for the payments they made for unlisted service.

Games and Entertainment:

How to use Windows 10’s Game DVR to record videos of your PC gaming– With Windows 10’s Game DVR feature, you can easily record your gaming exploits and share with your Xbox-using friends—all without downloading and installing additional software like Nvidia’s ShadowPlay or OBS. Here’s how to get started.

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GameStop refuses to sell console bundles with digital games – These days, when you purchase a new video game console that comes with bundled with one or more games, what’s inside the box is actually a code for redeeming a downloadable digital copy of the game. As it turns out, GameStop, one of the largest video game retailers in the US, doesn’t like this due to the fact that the vast majority of their profits come from trading in and selling of used games. So, the company has recently announced that it will no longer carry bundles with digital games, and only sell those with a physical copy.

The BBC to launch a streaming service in the U.S. – The BBC will launch a paid, on-demand streaming service in the U.S. next year, its head honcho Tony Hall revealed Thursday. It’s a move designed to boost the corporation’s overseas income amid the prospect of a serious reduction in domestic funding. The UK’s public service broadcaster is by no means a newcomer to the streaming game. It has offered an online TV catch-up service called iPlayer in its homeland since late 2007, and until not that long ago, also operated a subscription-based streaming service in more than a dozen markets around the globe. This upcoming venture, however, will be its first foray into the rapidly expanding U.S. streaming-video market.

Off Topic (Sort of):

25 Habits That Will Make You Smarter – Want to expand your mind? A little bit of effort every day goes a long way. In the Quora thread, “What would you do to be a little smarter every single day?”, readers shared the habits they follow to fuel their brains. Here are some simple actions that could help you become a smarter person.

A sport plane for the masses? Fun, sure — if you have $189,000 to spare – Earlier this week, I had a chance to take a flight in a diminutive airplane called the ICON A5. For someone whose air travel has typically meant an economy-class seat on a commercial airliner, sitting in the pilot’s seat of the A5 stoked a mixture of reactions. It was exhilarating, crazy, a little scary and, above all, a lot of fun. At $189,000 for the plane, it would be an extremely expensive hobby.

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The ICON A5 sport plane can take off from land or water. Sarah Tew/CNET

Watch these drones build a rope bridge – One of the big selling points of drones is that they can get to areas that aren’t exactly safe or accessible by humans. That’s why watching quadrocopters assembling a rope bridge that’s sturdy enough for a person to walk across is so damned awesome — it immediately calls to mind a real-world use scenario that probably all of us can relate to. The video below was filmed at RTH Zurich Flying Machine Arena in Switzerland, and, according to the YouTube description, aside from the scaffolding on either side of the bridge, the structure is “entirely realized by flying machines.” Every knot and braid in the 7.4 meter (just over 24 feet) bridge was tied by the UAVs using Dyneema rope. As Robohub tells it, the material has a low weight-to-strength ratio that makes it pretty great for aerial construction uses.

Products with Microbeads: why you need to stop using them, now – The dangers of using health and beauty products with microbeads have been explored in a paper published this week in at the ACS. With the American Chemical Society, researchers have (once again) confirmed a number of reasons why microbead products contaminate our shared environment, suggesting then that the inclusion of microbeads in all products be banned immediately. While some bans have begun, much of the world continues to allow the manufacture and distribution of microbeads without regulation.

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Volkswagen to recall 500,000 US vehicles because it used software to cheat on emission testing – German automaker Volkswagen has run afoul of US environmental regulators, and it could cost the company big. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a notice to Volkswagen that it broke the law by using software to circumvent emissions testing. The result is a mandatory recall of 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles from model years 2009-2015. Volkswagen was caught building a so-called “defeat device” into its consumer diesel vehicles including the Jetta, Beetle, Passat, and Audi A3. This is essentially a special software mode that is only triggered when the car detects that it is undergoing official emissions testing. The engine will then be on its best behavior, so to speak.

Something to think about:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 

–    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Downloads:

SpyShelter Free Anti-Keylogger – SpyShelter Free Anti-Keylogger offers complex system protection and anti-keylogging modules for free. It does not even require account registration!

Zero-day malware protection – SpyShelter does not rely on an antivirus signature database, because our software understands how malware works. SpyShelter protects you from both known and uknown threats, which were not discovered by antivirus labs yet.

Light, fast and efficient – Fast algorithm processing does not slow down your computer while scanning for dangerous elements. In fact, SpyShelter’s proactive defense is so light, that you will not experience any difference in your PC performance.

Real Time System Protection – SpyShelter guards your registry, physical memory (RAM) and other sensitive computer parts among with processes, so that malicious code cannot be injected to take control of your PC.

Anti key logger – SpyShelter Free Anti-Keylogger ensures that whatever you type into your computer, is protected against dangerous people who want to steal your data! With SpyShelter, your personal data will be safe.

Clipboard Protection – SpyShelter shields sensitive data that can be found in your Windows clipboard as a result of copying, cutting, and pasting. Spyshelter ensures that this information will not be maliciously monitored by other people.

64 bit support – SpyShelter Free Anti-Keylogger is fully compatible with both 32 and 64 bit editions of Windows XP(SP2 and SP3), Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

Keystroke Encryption – SpyShelter Free Anti-Keylogger has an integrated keystroke encryption driver which encrypts your keystrokes while you are browsing the web. This means that even if you allow any malicious application to run on your system, it will only retrieve meaningless random text.

Virus Total uploader – Afraid of viruses? SpyShelter allows you to perform a quick online scan of any suspicious files using over 40 different antiviruses, with just one mouse click!

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

You can now find out if GCHQ spied on you – Anyone who has ever wondered how much information GCHQ knows about them can now ask the British intelligence agency directly. GCHQ has to reveal information illegally obtained and shared with the NSA before the end 2014 about citizens of any country. And after revealing what it collected, the information must be permanently deleted.

Privacy International’s “Did GCHQ spy on you?” tool attempts to make it easier for people to get in touch with the spy agency. It was originally launched in February but this earlier version of the tool saw Privacy International make requests on the public’s behalf. As GCHQ was not legally compelled to respond the tool was effectively useless.

“We think that millions of people’s fundamental rights have been violated and that they have a right to know that,” Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International tells WIRED.

The updated tool requires that people make their own request, with GCHQ required to reply to all properly filed requests. All requests will be handled by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, an independent body that deals with complaints made against the UK’s surveillance agencies.

Kim Dotcom finally faces extradition hearing – It’s been three-and-a-half tumultuous years since New Zealand Police raided Kim Dotcom’s mansion in Coatesville, Auckland.

Accused by the FBI of copyright violation, racketeering and money laundering, Dotcom fought a ferocious legal and extralegal campaign to avoid extradition to the United States.

Along the way, he embarrassed the Police, New Zealand spy agency the GCSB, the Prime Minister, disastrously entered the political fray via the Internet Party, released an album of music and appeared in TV ads.

Today, in an Auckland court, he finally faces the hearing he tried so hard to avoid.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – July 13, 2015

This Woman Changed Her Name Just So She Could Log In to Facebook;  Ethiopian LGBT Activist Banned by Facebook Under Real Name Policy;  20 Google Tips for Search Gurus;  Playing violent video games makes women feel sexy, study finds;  How to manage your voice and audio activity on Google;  Top 5 reasons to get a dedicated reader app for Android or iOS;  Pluto.TV is the best cord-cutting app you’re not using;  Amazon tool aims to help you ‘fling’ shows onto Fire TV;  Baldur’s Gate is getting a full-sized expansion;  Nine of the best movies of all time, now streaming on Netflix;  Virtual Reality Porn And The Future Of Loneliness;  New Twitch for Android lets you watch all the streams from all the places;  11 Hilarious Old-School Instructional Videos;  Instant messaging apps could be monitored in the UK under new ‘Snoop’ law;  How to delete your Amazon browsing history.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

This Woman Changed Her Name Just So She Could Log In to Facebook – You might change your name as a spy. Or adopt a new moniker to elude the law. But would you change your name for Facebook? Jemma Rogers did. The holistic therapist from Lewisham, southeast London, changed her name to match her Facebook pseudonym, Jemmaroid Von Laalaa, after she was locked out of her account, according to the Telegraph.

Ethiopian LGBT Activist Banned by Facebook Under Real Name Policy – Facebook does not allow the use of fake names, even when pseudonyms are necessary to shield their owners from violence. The activist, who goes by the pseudonym HappyAddis, used the social network to create and administrate some of the most popular groups for gay Ethiopians, including Zega Matters, which has more than 1,000 members. The East African country considers homosexuality a crime and those convicted of same-sex relations can face 15 years in prison. For that reason, many LGBT citizens use an alias to interact with others online in order to avoid punishment from the authorities and anti-gay violence.

20 Google Tips for Search Gurus – While Google has grown to include numerous other pursuits, search remains the company’s core product (and its most profitable, as well). With a decade-and-a-half of refinement behind it, Google search has evolved into a complex and beautifully versatile technology. (And one that always works. Have you seen Google.com go down? That’s no easy accomplishment for the world’s most popular website.) While you probably use it just about every day, there may still be a lot you still don’t know about the old dependable Google search. Click through our slideshow and see how much more you can get from a simple search.

How to manage your voice and audio activity on Google – When you ask Google Now a question, or use text-to-speech to respond to someone, these recordings are being saved to your Google account. The recordings are only accessible by you, but may include some information you don’t feel comfortable having in the cloud — like a private conversation. On the other hand, you may just want to reference your recordings for a piece of information that you used your voice to look up or send to someone else. Whatever your preference, PhoneArena recently shared how you can play and delete your recordings, and how to disable them from being saved in the future:

Pluto.TV is the best cord-cutting app you’re not using – No disrespect to streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, but sometimes finding the perfect video feels like too much effort. That’s why as a cord cutter I’ve been enjoying Pluto.TV, a free service that tries to mimic the cable box experience, only with Internet channels instead of traditional ones. Pluto’s website and apps offer dozens of channels, ranging from mainstream news to stand-up comedy to extreme sports, all strung together from web sources such as YouTube and Vimeo. There’s even an entire channel dedicated to cat videos (and another one for dogs). It has a desktop website and dedicated apps for Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, Android, and PC, and it also supports Chromecast.

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How to delete your Amazon browsing history – Whether you’re just price-checking on gifts for friends and family, or searching for items that you might be embarrassed to look at in public, you can do it all from your computer. Unfortunately, looking up these items will add them to your browsing history, and they can also appear on your related purchase suggestions. These could reveal a bit too much information if you share a computer or check Amazon on a lunch break from your desk at work. Here’s how to delete select items, or all of them, from your browsing history on Amazon:

Amazon tool aims to help you ‘fling’ shows onto Fire TV – Taking on competitors like Chromecast and Apple TV, Amazon releases “Fling,” a toolkit that lets developers build into their apps the ability to share media content with Amazon’s set-top box.

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Amazon’s Fling icon tosses content up to a Fire TV.

How to add virtual desktops to your PC without upgrading to Windows 10 – For years, both Mac and Linux users have taken advantage of virtual desktops that let you create multiple desktop work spaces on your PC. Finally, Microsoft is getting into the game by adding this feature into Windows 10. But the truth is, Windows has supported this capability for some time—Microsoft just never enabled it by default. So how do you get multiple desktops? All it takes is a small download from a Microsoft site.

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New Twitch for Android lets you watch all the streams from all the places – It’s an all-too-common dilemma in today’s modern world: What do you do when you’re watching a livestream on your phone but need to switch to a different app? Twitch thinks it has a solution by borrowing an idea from TV—picture-in-picture. The latest update to Twitch for Android features a new “Pop-Out Player” that lets you keep tabs on your livestreams while browsing the web, checking email, texting your friends, or otherwise go about your business on your phone. As you work, your Twitch livestream will continue to play in a small window in the corner of your phone’s screen.

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The Pop-Out Player in Twitch for Android.

No, Microsoft won’t cut off support for Windows 10 in four years – There’s a story currently going around that claims Windows 10 will ‘expire’ after four, or even two years and that users might have to pay for updates after that. That story is bogus and here’s why.

Lenovo releases a user guide for Windows 10 – With Windows 10 just around the corner, excitement is running high among fans. To help new users, Chinese multi-national computer technology company Lenovo has released a Windows 10 user guide named “Starting to use Windows 10” which discusses various topics relating to Microsoft’s new OS. This may sound trivial to Windows Insiders but are essential for beginners. You can download or view the Windows 10 starter guide by hitting up the source link below.

Microsoft’s Power BI visualization service will be generally available July 24 – The launch will bring a smorgasbord of new features, including new chart types, a refreshed desktop application and support for collaborating in groups on shared sets of data. Power BI was first released to the public as a beta earlier this year, and is designed to provide ordinary business users with powerful tools to visualize information from diverse data sets in live-updating dashboards. Power BI is built around three core components: datasets, which contain all of the raw information a user brings into Power BI; reports, which organize that data into a set of charts and graphs and dashboards, which are single live-updating pages that provide an at-a-glance look at specific visualizations based on those reports.

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Top 5 reasons to get a dedicated reader app for Android or iOS – As good as they are at loading web pages quickly and precisely on smaller screens, both Safari for iOS and Chrome for Android are terrible when it comes to loading a massive page-turner of an article—you know, that one you want to curl up with on a lazy Sunday. The solution: a dedicated reader app, and here’s five reasons why iPhone- and Android-toting bookworms shouldn’t be without one.

Rare breed: Linux Mint 17.2 offers desktop familiarity and responds to user wants – These days, the desktop OSes grabbing headlines have, for the most part, left the traditional desktop behind in favor of what’s often referred to as a “shell.” Typically, such an arrangement offers a search-based interface. In the Linux world, the GNOME project and Ubuntu’s Unity desktop interfaces both take this approach. Whether it’s driven by, in Ubuntu’s case, a vision of “convergence” between desktop and mobile or perhaps just the need for something new (which seems to be the case for GNOME 3.x), developers would have you believe that these mobile-friendly, search-based desktops are the future of, well, everything.

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The default Cinnamon desktop in Linux Mint 17.2.

Trying the iOS 9 public beta is easier than you think – Apple isn’t releasing iOS 9 until this fall, but if you can’t wait for a taste of the new iPhone and iPad software, the public beta holds an easy sneak-preview. Announced back at WWDC 2015, and launched this past week, the iOS 9 public beta software may not be quite final but it’s certainly ready for a broader audience to try out, not to mention an opportunity for iPhone users to flag up any final bugs to Apple. Trying the public beta needn’t be a headache, though, as long as you take a few precautions.

Wix Launches WixEd, A Free Online School For Website Design – DIY website creator Wix wants to make starting a career in web design as easy as it’s made building your own site. Today, the company is launching WixEd, a free online education program that teaches Wix users everything they need to know to launch their own website design business.

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Pro tip: Use Rufus to create a bootable USB drive to install (almost) any OS – After last week’s article, “Pro tip: How to create a bootable USB drive to install Windows on OS X,” I received feedback asking why anyone would install Windows on a Mac? This week’s entry deals with creating UFDs that allow you to install many other operating systems with the help of a utility called Rufus. But before diving into that, I have a question of my own. Why would you install any OS—besides OS X—on an Apple computer?

Ear Trumpet: A Windows 10 audio utility worth checking out – The utility breaks out the volume control for each app that is open, and does it all from a clean pop-up from the system tray. In my short time using it, I have had no major issues. One minor item that did occur on the first run was that it did not include apps that were opened before I installed Ear Trumpet, but after a quick restart of Spotify and Skype, they did show up in the list. Also, make sure you right click on the app and select ‘Show desktop apps’.

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Microsoft killing Photosynth and MSN apps, including Health & Fitness, Food & Drink – If Microsoft is killing MSN Health & Fitness, it’s not quite clear what this means for fitness tracking on Windows Phones.

Security:

Hacking Team’s Flash 0-day: Potent enough to infect actual Chrome user – The Adobe Flash zero-day exploit that spyware developer Hacking Team made available to customers worked successfully against even the advanced defenses found in Google’s Chrome browser, researchers said Friday. They also noted that it was used to infect computer users multiple times before it was leaked. The leak of the previously unknown exploit resulting from the devastating hack of Hacking Team last weekend and exploit kits available on the black market quickly added attack code to use the flaw. It allows attackers to surreptitiously install malware on targets’ computers, and there’s evidence that before last weekend’s breach, Hacking Team customers used the Flash zero-day against live targets.

After security disaster, OPM director resigns in disgrace – After it was revealed last month that more than four million federal personnel records had been stolen, members of Congress quickly demanded that the agency’s director Katherine Archuleta should be fired. In an e-mail, Archuleta wrote: “Today I informed the OPM workforce that I am stepping down as the leader of this remarkable agency and the remarkable people who work for it. This morning, I offered, and the President accepted, my resignation as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management.”

How Google tries to keep ‘sneaky’ spam from your inbox – Determining which messages are spam and which are not is a neverending battle, especially since a message considered spam to one person could be legitimate to another. Messages from banks, airlines and other companies fall into this category. How does Google tell if a certain email is a sales promotion or an important notice informing you of information on your bank account or an upcoming flight? Spammers have also gotten smarter, using more tricks to better disguise junk mail so that automated spam filters have a tougher time figuring out how to tag it. So what new tools and techniques is Google using in the fight against spam?

Security researchers warn over 1 million users downloaded malicious Android games – Researchers at ESET have discovered that the Cowboy Adventure title, which until recently was up on the Google Play store, was stealing Facebook credentials and used them to spread itself to other users. The app did this by popping up a fake Facebook login screen in the middle of the game. If users were fooled, their credentials were sent via an HTTPS connection to a remote server. Another title, Jump Chess, was similarly infected by malicious code and used to gather social media credential from unsuspecting users.

Company News:

BlackBerry nabs two Android domain names – Following leaks and rumors, BlackBerry made its Android ambitions public yesterday, saying it has teamed up with Google to bring a more secure version of Android to the market. We’ve seen at least one device leak already reportedly showing a BlackBerry handset running Android. Whether that is legit is yet to be seen, but two more pieces of BlackBerry’s Android puzzle have surfaced. The company has nabbed two domain names, both of which revolve around the Android operating system.

Cisco will invest $1 billion to spur digital economic growth in UK – The investment will include a combination of job creation and education programs, startup and venture capital investments, and accelerated investing in cybersecurity solutions.

FTC exploring whether Apple’s 30% cut from music streaming apps is legal – Reuters reported on Friday that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking into whether it’s legal for Apple to continue taking a 30 percent cut from sales within rival music streaming apps now that the company has its own music streaming service. No formal investigation has been launched, but one anonymous source speaking to Reuters said that the FTC “has had meetings with multiple concerned parties” to discuss the issue. Two other anonymous sources said that the FTC is exploring antitrust concerns related to restrictions that Apple places on its rivals, including “a prohibition on advertising in the app that the company is on other platforms, a ban on marketing in the app that consumers can also buy directly from the company’s website, and a ban on linking to a company’s website from within the app.”

Reddit Co-Founder Steve Huffman In For Reddit CEO Job, Pao Out – We’d been hearing that Steve Huffman, a co-founder of Reddit who also co-founded flight and hotel search startup Hipmunk, was being considered for the CEO job at Reddit. Now that move is confirmed. Huffman’s appointment follows turmoil at Reddit following the firing of Victoria Taylor, a community manager that the Reddit community relied on, last week. Y Combinator’s Sam Altman also confirmed the move on Reddit.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata dies at 55 – Iwata passed away Saturday at age 55 after working 13 years as president, a period that saw the gaming industry transition from dedicated consoles and PCs to mobile devices, a move that Nintendo was slow to embrace. Nintendo said board members Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto will continue to act as representative directors, a position required by Japanese corporate regulations. A new president has not been appointed.

Apple claims that 99 percent of iPhone users love their iPhone – Technically Incorrect: In one of two new ads, Apple celebrates the notion that almost every iPhone user loves that gadget. Is there actual evidence for this?

Games and Entertainment:

Nine of the best movies of all time, now streaming on Netflix and other services – In this, the last of our Now Streaming columns, our resident film critic names his all-time favorite movies.

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Stand by Me (Netflix)

Playing violent video games makes women feel sexy, study finds – The researchers found there was a correlation between violent video game play and a desire for sex, and this interest was across the board for male and female gamers. But here’s were the genders diverge. You see, there was no boost in “mate value” among men who played violent video games, but there was among the female participants. The results showed that women who play violent video games consider themselves a better catch, reporting that they enjoyed playing these kinds of games, because it made them feel more attractive, more sexy. So there you have it folks, violent video games give women a self-esteem boost. Now excuse me while I go play some Call of Duty.

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Baldur’s Gate is getting a full-sized expansion, 15 years later – Following a tease earlier this year, developer Beamdog has finally revealed the first details and footage of its upcoming Baldur’s Gate expansion-slash-sequel titled Siege of Dragonspear. Yes, an expansion for a game that originally released in 1998. PC gaming is a wonderful thing. From the announcement page: “Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear adds a new chapter to the Bhaalspawn saga. The events occurring between Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II are at last revealed in this 25-hour expansion pack for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition.”

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Everything You Need to Know About the Revamped Destiny 2.0 – Destiny‘s next expansion, dubbed The Taken King, is launching on September 15. The popular shooter’s developer Bungie announced July 10 that the game will also be updated to version 2.0, bringing with it significant changes to many of the title’s core mechanics. In a blog post, Bungie creative director Luke Smith revealed that those changes will affect the game’s balance, progression, enemies, guns, quests and destinations.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

The big deal about IBM’s tiny chips – IBM is making a big deal of celebrating a tiny achievement, successfully producing a 7nm chip that could mean huge efficiency improvements in phones, laptops and more. Squeezing more than 20 billion transistors into a chip the size of a fingernail took figuring out new manufacturing processes and chewed through part of a $3bn investment IBM earmarked back in 2014, but it’s shaping up to be worth every cent. Big Blue predicts a power/performance increase of more than 50-percent from the smaller processors.

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Virtual Reality Porn And The Future Of Loneliness – Welcome to the very-near future of porn. A few weeks back, a sex toy company called Lovense and a virtual reality porn company called VirtualRealPorn announced their collaboration. Soon, VirtualRealPorn’s growing library of VR porn videos will coordinate with Lovense’s digitally-endowed vibrator and Fleshlight-esque Max toy to stimulate your sensitive bits in sync with virtual sex.

This woman’s epic meltdown shows how attached we are to our phones – There is nothing funny about this video. You might be tempted to think it’s hilarious. We’re all tempted to think we’re holier than other people at times. But here is a woman who cannot cope with the fact that her phone has died. She cannot cope to a degree that she screams in frustration. A lot. It was uploaded to Facebook by Akira Chan, who shared it publicly on Tuesday. It has already been viewed on Facebook more than 1 million times. And I defy anyone whose phone has suddenly died to claim that they haven’t felt like this woman, if not expressed themselves exactly as she did.

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The vanishing: What happened to Google Street View’s missing streets – As Google expands Street View into ever more exotic places, it appears to have a problem in many of the towns and cities where the service has been available for years. Look closely at any major city, especially the residential areas, and Street View is littered with hundreds, even thousands, of little gaps. And although it’s hard to be sure, the problem may be getting worse.

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This moving video claims gadgets are separating kids from nature – Technically Incorrect: An ad from General Mills examines the different things that kids do now, compared to what their parents and grandparents did. It just might make you weep. Or perhaps not.

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11 Hilarious Old-School Instructional Videos – Video is a much more efficient way to demonstrate the use of a modern interface. So it’s only natural that companies like Microsoft, Apple, and others would turn to the medium in order to get their point across. And, like many other things from the 80s and 90s, they look hilariously bad today. In this feature, we’ll fire up the old VCR and give you our picks for the goofiest old-school instructional videos.

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Hillary Clinton Plans To Campaign Against Uber’s Contractor Economy – Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will blast contractor-fueled companies for repressing middle-class wage growth in a speech tomorrow laying out her economic policies, according to an outline of the talk attained by Politico’s Michael Grunwald. Clinton plans to make raising middle class incomes a focus of her campaign, and will lay out her strategy at The New School in Manhattan on Monday. Along with globalization and automation, Clinton will peg the sharing economy as “conspiring against sustainable wage growth”, according to Politico. The report says “she will argue that policy choices have contributed to the problem, and that she can fix it.”

Something to think about:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

–       Steve Jobs

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wappalyzer for Chrome – Wappalyzer is a browser extension that uncovers the technologies used on websites. It detects content management systems, eCommerce platforms, web servers, JavaScript frameworks, analytic tools and many more.

Available for Firefox.

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Dashlane – Log in instantly, fill out any form, manage your passwords, and check out anywhere online without ever touching the keyboard, no matter where you are.

Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity in other words, letting you get to the good stuff faster.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Instant messaging apps could be monitored in the UK under new ‘Snoop’ law – The UK government is in the process of finalizing the Snooper’s Charter that will bring all online communication of its citizens under the government’s scanner, and apps that do not adhere to it will likely face bans.

It was reported recently that the UK government has granted contracts to five companies to monitor the social media activity of its citizens, but things might become even worse in the near future if the proposed Communications Data Bill is passed as law.

In order to track terrorist activity and prevent threats, the UK government has proposed the Communications Data Bill – aka the Snooper’s Charter – that will make it mandatory for internet service providers to monitor the online activity of their users and keep logs of such data for 12 months. The law also recommends the monitoring of communication apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Snapchat among many others.

US government’s reported number of wiretaps don’t add up – The government published its latest Wiretap Report on July 1. The headline finding was that encryption wasn’t foiling federal and state law enforcement officials, despite a growing chorus of people suggesting that we’re all gonna die unless the tech sector builds backdoor access into their products to enable government access.

In all, the federal agency that oversees the courts reported to Congress that there were 3,554 wiretaps in 2014, about 1 percent less than the year prior. Of the total, only four were thwarted via encryption.

But the reported number of wiretaps by the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO) simply doesn’t add up. That’s according to Albert Gidari, one of the nation’s top privacy lawyers. He says “there is a bigger story” that calls into question the AO’s accounting:

Since the Snowden revelations, more and more companies have started publishing “transparency reports” about the number and nature of government demands to access their users’ data. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint published data for 2014 earlier this year and T-Mobile published its first transparency report on the same day the AO released the Wiretap Report. In aggregate, the four companies state that they implemented 10,712 wiretaps, a threefold difference over the total number reported by the AO. Note that the 10,712 number is only for the four companies listed above and does not reflect wiretap orders received by other telephone carriers or online providers, so the discrepancy actually is larger.

How can that be? Even taking into account some accounting complexities, Gidari says, “the numbers are still off by more than twofold” in one scenario.

Here are EFF’s most influential cases from its first 25 years – On Friday, July 10, the Electronic Frontier Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary. The San Francisco-based group has been a stalwart of tech and legal advocacy since its founding and has played a key role in a number of seminal cases.

To celebrate, Ars interviewed Executive Director Cindy Cohn, who mentioned that, within the list of cases that the organization has worked on, she had a number of favorites.

Here’s a quick summary of those cases, in chronological order.

Case name: Bernstein v. Department of Justice

Filed: February 21, 1995

Highest court reached: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Decided: May 6, 1999

Result: Court ruled that computer code is speech, and is protected by the Constitution.

This was EFF’s first significant case, and it won big.

Back in 1995, Daniel Bernstein, then a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to be able to publish “Snuffle.” This program converted a one-way hash into a private-key encryption system. He wanted to publish not only the algorithm involved, but a mathematical paper explaining it, and the relevant source code. However, federal arms regulations forbade him from doing so. He and the EFF challenged this interpretation of the law on First Amendment grounds.

Does Abbott have the cyber-patience Australia needs? – Prime Minister Tony Abbott met with “business leaders” to discuss the cyber threat on Wednesday last week. “We’re working to protect Australians online, to provide confidence, as well as peace of mind, for households and business,” he reportedly said.

The meeting was hosted by the Business Council of Australia, and from the outside it had a usual-suspects feel about it — representatives of banks, the Australian Securities Exchange, Telstra, and Foxtel, those sorts of business leader. As the government develops its new cyber-security strategy, expected to be completed later this year, this is a routine consultation.

The Australian government already sees the internet as a threat — full of terrorists and criminals whose communications data must be retained, copyright infringers who must be stopped, and so on. The last thing we need is for the cybers to be turned up to 11 and made part of the inflated national security rhetoric.

China makes internet shut-downs official with new security law – China is able to shut off internet access during major ‘social security incidents’ and has granted its Cyberspace Administration agency wider decision making powers under a draft law published this month.

The draft also appears to require critical infrastructure organisations including foreign entities to store “important” data on Chinese soil without specific permission to host offshore.

The Cyberspace Administration, headed by director Lu Wei, has a leading role in planning and coordinating information security policy efforts, analysts say .

The details of the new security approach are revealed in an English translation of the draft posted online.

Arizona makes deal with ACLU, won’t enforce bad law on “revenge porn” – A lawsuit filed in September by the American Civil Liberties Union, along with a group of booksellers and publishers, has put a stop to Arizona’s “revenge porn” law.

The lawsuit argued that the Arizona “revenge porn” law went too far, and violated the First Amendment. The statute widely banned the posting of nude images without consent, but had no requirement that the person distributing the images be intending to harm the person portrayed. The ACLU and the Media Coalition, argued that could have led to criminal charges against artistic photographers, or newsworthy or historic photographs.

In their complaint, ACLU lawyers said the law could get newspapers or academics in trouble for showing images with political and historical significance, like images of Abu Ghraib prisoners, or a photo like the iconic 1972 “Napalm Girl” photo.

The Arizona Attorney General (AG) agreed to a temporary stay of the case in November. In January, the 2015 legislative session began, and lawmakers considered a possible fix to the law’s language. However, the legislature adjourned in April without passing the change.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – June 15, 2015

Net neutrality rules go into effect: what happens now;  Create dynamic 3D animated avatars with your smartphone;  How to get started with Linux: A beginner’s guide;  Windows 10: The only major OS still trying to squeeze a buck from consumers;  Google’s Free App of the Week Promo Focuses on Kids;  Consumer group says Apple’s iPads are slower than a Surface Pro 3 or a $150 Android tablet;  Five unusual Android launchers to spruce up your phone;  How to take better photos in low light;  The latest joy: Selfies with police officers giving you a ticket;  How MajorGeeks Protects You and Why We Do What We Do;  Even with a VPN, open Wi-Fi exposes users;  Staying safe on public Wi-Fi;  This Tech Stock Is Up 4200% in Less Than 2 Months;  Playing games on the PC is making a comeback;  7 Steam Summer Sale Tips Every Gamer Should Know;  Online-Only Shows You Need to Watch Now;  Twitter tells us in which state people hate their jobs the most.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Net neutrality rules go into effect: what happens now – The rules prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Internet traffic and from charging website owners and providers of Web-based services for prioritized traffic. The rules also reclassify broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more heavily regulated telecom-style service, although the FCC voted to exempt broadband providers from many of those common-carrier rules. Here are four things to watch for as the rules go into effect and the lawsuits go forward:

Texas teacher fired for ‘black segregation’ Facebook post about McKinney video – An elementary-school teacher goes on Facebook to declare “blacks are the problem.” She is the second educator this week to be removed from her job for a Facebook posting.

Consumer group says Apple’s iPads are slower than a Surface Pro 3 or a $150 Android tablet – A consumer group conducted a tablet performance test in which Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 was 20% faster than the iPad Air 2, and the iPad mini 3 was beaten by a supermarket’s low-cost Android tablet.

Chrome Should Soon Be Easier On Your Mac’s Battery – Chrome already got a new feature that can disable crappy Flash ads and win you back some battery cycles, but there’s more in the pipeline. Per senior Chrome engineer Peter Kasting outlining future steps on Google+, we’re going to see changes to the way Chrome handles rendering of background tabs (i.e., the ones you aren’t immediately looking at), and eking out some minor but important gains in the CPU efficiency of searching with Google. There’s a lot more going on, most of which is designed to help Chrome match or approach CPU efficiency found in Safari.

Hidden Chrome on Android features will improve your mobile browsing – Chrome has a lot of hidden features, some of which take a bit more digging to find. Jack Wallen highlights four such features that will help improve your Chrome on Android experience.

Create dynamic 3D animated avatars with your smartphone – The researchers report that this technology “facilitates a range of new applications in computer animation and consumer-level online communication based on personalized avatars.” Indeed, imagine going into one of BioWare’s or Bethesda’s character creators and having the ability to upload your 3D face. No longer would gamers spend hours fine-tuning their avatar. The researchers were even able to show how an actor could manipulate multiple 3D facial renders in real-time.

The latest joy: Selfies with police officers giving you a ticket – In Sri Lanka, there’s a curious new selfie trend, one the world shouldn’t miss. And police say they like it.

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The selfie that apparently started it all. Dhada Selfie/Facebook screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Windows 10: The only major OS still trying to squeeze a buck from consumers – Putting a monetary obstacle in the way of people who want to jump to Windows 10 hampers Microsoft’s vision for a service-centric, cloud-connected future for Windows. Consumers also love getting stuff for free.

How to get started with Linux: A beginner’s guide – The world of Linux is ready to welcome you, with a shower of free open-source software you can use on any PC: hundreds of active Linux distributions, and dozens of different desktop environments you could run on them. It’s a far cry from the one-size-fits-all, this-is-just-what-comes-with-your-PC vision of Windows. Everything from software installation to hardware drivers works differently on Linux, though, which can be daunting. Take heart—you don’t even need to install Linux on your PC to get started. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Linux Mint’s system settings.

Google’s Free App of the Week Promo Focuses on Kids – According to reports, Google’s new free app giveaway is limited to a weekly timeframe—or “free app of the week,” if you prefer the traditional phrasing. And it’s not just any ol’ Android app that’s getting the special, cheaper treatment. The free app of the week promotion only seems to apply to apps within Google’s recently launched Family section of the Google Play store—at least, right now. It’s unclear whether Google will be branching the promotion out to additional categories, or whether this free app release promotion is just timed to take advantage of the new Family section’s launch.

Five unusual Android launchers to spruce up your phone – One of the benefits of Android’s openness is that many of its parts can be replaced by third party apps and services. One of those parts is the homescree and app launcher, the very first piece of software the user meets when using their smartphone. After the lock screen, of course. You might have heard of launchers like Nova, Apex, Go, or even Google’s own Google Now, but here are five more that you won’t usually read about in the news unless they have a major update or release.

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The seven “Prime Directives” of repairing and upgrading tech – Over the years I’ve built up a set of rules that I keep in mind when fixing things. I call them the “Prime Directives,” not because I’m a huge Star Trek fan, but because they’re important, and bad things tend to happen when I violate them.

Twitter Serving Up Ads Based on the Apps You Install – The tool “enables app advertisers to reach users based on the categories of apps they have installed on their device, or in which we think they have interest,” Twitter product manager Deepak Rao wrote in a blog post. “One of the biggest priorities for mobile app marketers is to reach the people who are most likely to use and love their apps. Today’s launch is the next step in our journey to help these advertisers connect with the right customers on Twitter – while providing users with the most relevant and useful ad content.” As Re/code noted, Twitter first announced plans for this in November, and is rolling it out now.

How to take better photos in low light – Low-light photography doesn’t always mean taking photos at night. There are plenty of situations where your eyes may be able to adjust to lower light easily, such as in a restaurant, but your camera has trouble seeing as well as you do. Wherever you may be, taking images in low light doesn’t have to be tricky. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making photos in challenging lighting conditions.

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The original image on the left lost a lot of detail in the shadows. By shooting raw, you can recover much of this lost detail with a simple slider and end up with the photo on the right. Lexy Savvides/CNET

Facebook’s SSD findings: Failure, fatigue and the data center – ​SSDs revolutionized data storage, even though we know little about how well they work. Now researchers at Facebook and Carnegie-Mellon share millions of hours of SSD experience

Security:

How MajorGeeks Protects You and Why We Do What We Do – There have been some articles written lately about download sites and we’d like to take a minute to respond to some of what we have been reading. Sites like HowToGeek wrote an article here that was actually very kind to MajorGeeks considering what and who we are up against. So, let us fill you in on how things work differently at MajorGeeks.

Pointing up    MajorGeeks has been my recommended download site for many years precisely because of the issues raised in this article.

US officials reveal second massive hack: security clearance forms grabbed – The recent hack of government data, at least according to those who know of the matter, is far worse than previously revealed. At least 4 million people were comprised, it was originally reported, but a recent letter to the OPM indicated that every single federal employee might have had some data stolen, including former federal workers. Now a second hack has been disclosed by sources, and it is said to have involved the theft of data related to intelligence employees and military personnel.

Even with a VPN, open Wi-Fi exposes users – By now, any sentient IT person knows the perils of open Wi-Fi. Those free connections in cafes and hotels don’t encrypt network traffic, so others on the network can read your traffic and possibly hijack your sessions. But one of the main solutions to this problem has a hole in it that isn’t widely appreciated. This gap in coverage may only be a matter of seconds, but that’s enough to expose valuable information like logon credentials. Try running a network monitoring tool like Microsoft’s TCPView for Windows or Little Snitch for Mac before you establish your Internet connection and see what happens in those first few seconds. The information may be protected by encryption, but it can carry details about your system configuration that could be used to identify it—or provide clues for an attacker.

Staying safe on public Wi-Fi – Stuck without a data connection on the road? Free public Wi-Fi is one of those little luxuries that can make travelling easier, but you do need to exercise caution in how you use it. Here are some tips on what to look out for when using public Wi-Fi, whether you use a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

US Navy is looking to buy zero-day and other exploits online – It’s no secret that security researchers and cyber criminals often buy and sell exploits online. Researchers usually sell their findings back to companies in bug-bounty programs, while criminals usually sell their knowledge to other criminals who can then exploit the unpatched vulnerability. But there’s also a third kind of exploit buyer out there, and that’s governments, who use these exploits for their own cyber-attacks. That’s seemingly the case here, where the US Navy actually posted an ad saying they were buying exploits found in popular software.

Company News:

This Tech Stock Is Up 4200% in Less Than 2 Months – The stock of a Chinese technology company has risen just over 4,200% since it went public just 56 days ago. The amazing run, Bloomberg notes, is equivalent to the past 11 years of gains in Apple’s shares. It also gives the company, Beijing Baofeng Technology Co., an almost unbelievable valuation of 715 times earnings. That’s 46 times Apple’s P/E of 15. Janus Capital’s Bill Gross, a legendary bond investor, recently said that the technology-heavy Shenzhen market, where Beijing Baofeng is listed, would be a great trade for short-sellers, who bet that shares will go down.

Rough sailing ahead for Twitter after CEO’s departure – Can Twitter finally give Wall Street what it wants now that its embattled CEO Dick Costolo is stepping aside after months of disappointing investors? While tech’s other heavy hitters, including Facebook — with nearly a billion more users than Twitter — and Google, constantly tinker to improve their products, Twitter ‘s momentum has stalled, some analysts believe.

After years of silence, Amazon releases first transparency report – Despite it being known best for its online retail business, its cloud services power millions of apps, sites, and services around the world. But the news couldn’t come soon enough. Amazon is the last major technology company in the Fortune 500 to disclose how many times governments have come knocking on its door, demanding customer and user data. Amazon, known by insiders for being notoriously secretive, was at no point under a legal obligation to report its numbers, but had faced mounting pressure in the face of transparency reports becoming an industry norm. Schmidt said the report, which covers the six months starting January 1 and ending May 31, will be released biannually.

By the numbers:

Amazon received 813 subpoenas, of which it fully complied with 66 percent;

Amazon received 35 search warrants, of which it fully complied with just over half;

Out of the other 13 other court orders it received, Amazon fully complied with just four;

Amazon received 132 foreign requests, of which it fully complied with 82 percent;

Amazon complied with the one removal orders (like user data) it received

Amazon disclosed that it had received between zero and 249 national security requests, such as a court order issued by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Alibaba to launch Netflix-like streaming service in China – Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba has announced its plans to create its own media streaming platform. Alibaba will be calling the new platform TBO, Tmall Box Office. TBO will run licensed domestic content from China was well as foreign content. The service even has plans to create its own in-house programs, as Netflix did with House of Cards. Competition is heating up as Chinese companies are in a bit of a spending war with each other, trying to gain market share in the emerging market of media streaming technology.

This Country Is Logging Almost 1M Uber Trips Per Day – Uber has expanded rapidly in recent years, but like many tech companies, its main focus in the years to come will be China, according to a leaked letter from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to investors. Uber is available in 11 Chinese cities, which cover about 14 million people who are taking almost 1 million trips per day.

Uber to invest over $1B in China, expand to 50 more cities – In a letter to investors, CEO Travis Kalanick calls the ride-hailing service’s growth in the country “remarkable and unprecedented.”

With payroll in arrears, online antivirus seller shuts doors – The sudden shutdown of a computer tech support call center has left some of its employees wondering if they will be paid. EZ Tech Support, based in Portland, Oregon, took calls from people who had advertising software installed on their computers that warned of possible security and performance problems. The programs implored people to call the company’s number, which was displayed amid warnings.

Amazon to have select Prime items shipped from merchants – If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you may find many more items eligible for the service’s free two-day shipping option in the near future. That’s because the internet retailing giant is testing a program that has Prime items shipped directly from the independent merchants selling who sell them. Normally, only items sold directly by Amazon, or merchants’ items that are stored in Amazon’s warehouses, are eligible for the Prime two-day shipping option. This change benefit both customers and sellers.

Games and Entertainment:

Playing games on the PC is making a comeback – Video game consoles have long dominated the video game industry, offering a seemingly cheaper and more consistent experience. But not for long.

7 Steam Summer Sale Tips Every Gamer Should Know – It’s that time of year again. The Steam Summer Sale is back, and that means more than a week of constantly reloading the Steam store to see what games you can pick up for a few bucks each. It’s easy to go nuts during the sale, so here are some tips on how to get the most during the event.

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Look out, Twitch! YouTube Gaming is coming this summer – Launching this summer in the US and UK, gaming.youtube.com will be a portal just for games—bascially the “Twitch” portion of YouTube. There will be game pages for “over 25,000” titles showing info about the games and a list of streamers playing them. There will also be channel pages for streaming personalities and companies. Searches from gaming.youtube.com will be sectioned off from the rest of the site, too—YouTube’s blog post (which we received an advance copy of) says that “typing ‘call’ will show you Call of Duty and not Call Me Maybe.” And of course, there’s also chat.

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Fallout 4, Dishonored 2, Doom—Bethesda opens up with both barrels – We knew in advance that we’d be hearing more about Fallout 4 and Doom from Bethesda at their “E3 showcase” Sunday evening, but the best laid plans of mice and mutants gang aft agley—a brief technical mix-up the day before also told us that we’d be getting a look at Dishonored 2 as well. But there didn’t need to be any surprises—those three AAA games themselves were enough to warm any gamer’s heart. Especially if you like Fallout.

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Watch all the new footage of Doom from E3 – E3 2015 got off to a chainsaw-intensive start Sunday when Bethesda showed tons of footage from Doom, its forthcoming sequel to the genre-defining franchise. We took a long look of the single-player campaign that showed off many of the game’s best-loved weapons, including the shotgun, the rocket launcher, and (of course) the chainsaw. We also saw a glimpse of the multi-player campaign, which players will be able to mod heavily using a new tool called Snapmap. Check it out:

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The new Fallout mobile game, Fallout Shelter, is available right now – The creators of Fallout 4 have released a new mobile game associated with the Fallout franchise. In Fallout Shelter, you make your own nuclear shelter, or vault. As the overseer of said vault, you will then need to maintain the underground base, keeping your residents happy. The game has a 2D-animation look playing off the Pip-Boy characters of the Fallout series. The game looks like a cross between SimTower and the base management system in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The game is free on iOS tonight. It won’t have paywall timers and won’t require an internet connection to play.

Online-Only Shows You Need to Watch Now – Netflix isn’t alone in creating great TV that doesn’t require rabbit ears, cable (beyond the modem), or hell, even an actual TV. Streaming video has quickly become a natural setting for scripted drama and comedy. With Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Yahoo Screen, and more, you can watch at your own pace, or binge watch all at once.  The bottom line? You don’t need a TV to watch quality scripted television.

Off Topic (Sort of):

In the Future, Employees Won’t Exist – Contract work is becoming the new normal. Consider Uber: The ride-sharing startup has 160,000 contractors, but just 2,000 employees. That’s an astonishing ratio of 80 to 1. And when it comes to a focus on contract labor, Uber isn’t alone. Handy, Eaze and Luxe are just a few of the latest entrants into the “1099 Economy.” Though they get the most attention, it’s not just on-demand companies that employ significant contract workforces. Microsoft has nearly two-thirds as many contractors as full-time employees. Four trends are converging to make contracting more attractive for both employers and workers, and reshaping how businesses and employees look at the traditional full-time model.

Twitter tells us in which state people hate their jobs the most – Technically Incorrect: An analysis of an entire year’s tweets shows that there’s a geographical split between those who say they like their work and those who say they don’t.

Parrot unveils 13 new minidrones, including a drone-powered boat – Drones aren’t always huge and hugely expensive. Parrot has been selling a line of minidrones for the last few years, and today it has revealed 13 new ones. That’s not 13 individual types of drone, but 13 “versions” of three different types. There are new flying and rolling drones, as well as one that takes to the waves for the first time.

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1980s Amiga has been running the AC and heat in 19 schools for 30 years – The Grand Rapids Public School district took a big step into the future back in the 1980s when it used money from an energy bond to purchase a Commodore Amiga computer. The Amiga, which replaced a computer the size of a refrigerator, was set up to control heat and air conditioning at the district’s 19 schools. It has been doing that job tirelessly for the last 30 years. How long do you think you could keep a modern laptop working? Four or five years? Maybe? The Amiga uses an unusual 1200-bit modem and a wireless radio signal to communicate with the 19 buildings.

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Talk techie to me: RealDoll wants to make sex dolls that move, chat – RealDoll is reportedly working with robotics experts to make a more lifelike and unintentionally creepier love doll. Hopefully it won’t dump you for the Roomba.

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Something to think about:

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”

–      Mark Twain

Today’s Free Downloads:

RogueKiller 

MajorGeek says: We don’t really need a review here. If you’re a tech, you know what this tool does and it’s already in your toolbox. For the rest of you, Roguekiller is a popular, effective tool to remove some stubborn malware but be warned; you better know what you’re doing. While a lot of more well-known tools will simply scan and delete for you, this tool will show you everything it finds that is a possible problem. You need to know what to remove and what not to remove. In the second screenshot below you will see where it found 7 potential PUP’s on a clean install of Windows 7. If someone told you to download this and you’re not a knowledgeable computer tech, run. Run as fast as you can and get a new ‘friend’. A program like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware would serve you better. I’m not knocking RogueKiller, it’s excellent; in the right hands. If you don’t believe me, simply read the comments below.

RogueKiller is an anti-malware program written in C++ and able to detect and remove generic malwares and some advanced threats such as rootkits, rogues, worms…

Based on generic ways to find malwares by their behaviour (heuristics), on classic anti-malware analysis (signature finding) and on undocumented hacks, RogueKiller can find/remove most of the basic malwares (rogues, trojans, …) and some advanced threats like ZeroAccess or TDSS that behave more like rootkits.

Here’s a little summary of what RogueKiller is able to do:

Kill malicious processes

Stop malicious services

Unload malicious DLLs from processes

Find/Kill malicious hidden processes

Find and remove malicious autostart entries, including :

1: Registry keys (RUN/RUNONCE, …)

2: Tasks Scheduler (1.0/2.0)

3: Startup folders

Find and remove registry hijacks, including :

1: Shell / Load entries

2: Extension association hijacks

3: DLL hijacks

4: Many, many others …

Read / Fix DNS Hijacks (DNS Fix button)

Read / Fix Proxy Hijacks (Proxy Fix button)

Read / Fix Hosts Hijacks (Hosts Fix button)

Restore shortcuts / files hidden by rogues of type “Fake HDD“

Read / Fix malicious Master Boot Record (MBR), even hidden behind rootkit

List / Fix SSDT – Shadow SSDT – IRP Hooks (Even with inline hooks)

Find and restore system files patched / faked by a rootkit

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Audio Switcher – Easily switch between ANY sound device on your Windows PC with this incredibly small and lightweight application. Using this application allows you to switch output OR input sound devices at the click of a button, or the press of a key.

Features:

Change Windows Default Audio devices without opening Control Panel

Full Global Hot Key support which allows you to change the default audio device with the press of a key

Favorite Devices – Only your “favorite” devices will show up in the Tray Icon Menu.

Quick switch: Click on the notification icon once and it will cycle through your favorited devices! Great if you have two devices you switch between often.

Settings support for closing to tray, starting minimized to tray and running at start up (using a registry key)

Optional: Periodically check for updates

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Russia and China cracked Snowden’s files, identified U.S., UK spies – Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies have reportedly decrypted files of former U.S. National Security Agency contractor and leaker Edward Snowden, and have identified British and U.S. secret agents.

MI6, the U.K.’s secret intelligence service, has withdrawn agents from overseas operations in hostile countries, according to a report in the Sunday Times of London, citing U.K. government officials and Western intelligence agencies.

The report contains some apparently contradictory information. Although The Sunday Times quoted a U.K. Home Office official saying that Snowden has “blood on his hands,” it also quoted a government source saying that there was no sign that agents have been hurt.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s aides, however, confirmed that Snowden’s files are in the hands of Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies, according to the report.

Pointing up    It’s barely conceivable – just enough to shore up the convictions of the poorly informed. Just remember; liars lie. And, both the U. S. and the U. K. have proven to be A+++ liars in this matter.  Who would publicly admit that their very own ultra/ultra – secret/secret – futuristic/futuristic – encrypted/encrypted – impossible to break/impossible to break – encryption system is worthless?

More right wing extremist nonsense parroted by a mainstream media which continues to fail massively in it’s primary function – as it has for years.

Right to be forgotten applies to all Google domains, rules French privacy authority – Google must respect the European Union’s ‘right to be forgotten’ court ruling on all its sites, not just those it says target EU countries, the French data protection authority has ruled, giving the company 15 days to comply.

The French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) ordered Google to remove the affected search results on all its domains, including google.com, or face a fine of up to €300,000 (about $337,000). So far, Google has only removed such results from those of its sites it says target EU users, including google.fr or google.de. French residents need only click the “Use Google.com” link on the google.fr homepage to have access to unfiltered search results.

The dispute began over a year ago, when the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) gave people the right to request removal of search results for queries including their names, if the results are inadequate or irrelevant.

This means that E.U. residents who want to remove a search result displayed on a search of their name can ask a search engine to delist it. The search engine must review the request and grant it if the proper conditions are met. If the search engine does not comply, they can lodge a complaint with their local data protection authority.

Germany drops investigation into claims the NSA tapped Angela Merkel’s phone – The German government has dropped a formal investigation into allegations that the NSA had been tapping chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone for several years. German federal prosecutor Harald Range said in a statement on Friday there was insufficient evidence to continue the investigation, The New York Times reports.

Back in 2013, German newspaper Der Spiegel ran a report claiming the US had been monitoring Merkel’s phone since 2002, based on internal NSA documents it had obtained. The White House responded by assuring Merkel she was no longer being monitored, but the report suggested the surveillance had gone on for more than a decade.

Range noted that while the NSA documents did contain a phone number that could be traced back to Merkel, there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest there had been an “authentic” order from the NSA to tap the phone. He also said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Merkel’s phone had actually been tapped.

What The U.K. Surveillance Powers Review Says On Encryption And Hacking – An independent review of U.K. surveillance powers conducted by QC David Anderson published its findings this week. Among its recommendations the report calls for judges to sign off interception warrants, and for a new law to govern surveillance powers — replacing the problematic patchwork of outdated and amended legislation that currently exists with stricter and more coherent oversight.

The report also supports continued use of “bulk data collection” (aka mass surveillance) by U.K. intelligence agencies — so long as “strict additional safeguards” oversee its usage and minimize privacy impacts.

Anderson writes:

…if the acceptable use of vast state powers is to be guaranteed, it cannot simply be by reference to the probity of its servants, the ingenuity of its enemies or current technical limitations on what it can do. Firm limits must also be written into law: not merely safeguards, but red lines that may not be crossed.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – June 15, 2015

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 11, 2015

How Secure is Your Android? Mobile Antivirus Apps Tested;  Take Google’s Security Checkup, Get 2GB Of Free Google Drive Space;  3G vs. 4G: What’s the Difference?  Facebook’s Free Mobile Internet App Now Available in India;  3 power tools to supercharge your browser bookmarks;  Facebook takes on Craigslist with ‘For Sale Groups’ ;  DARPA: Nothing on the Internet is secure, including cars;  Amazon’s Newest Tool Lets Anyone Host Giveaways Online;  Samsung smart TVs inserting ads into third-party apps;  Target pulls the plug on its digital video service;  Atari reboots Asteroids;  It’s Time To Rethink Our Smart Things;  Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How Secure is Your Android? Mobile Antivirus Apps Tested – Most of us will never see our Android antivirus apps spit out a warning because most of us will never encounter malware on our phones. So how can you tell if your Android antivirus is actually protecting your phone against the malware that sometimes sneaks onto Google Play or is installed by an overbearing spouse? Independent testing lab AV-Test is here with the answers.

Wickr uses purr-fect cat GIFs to teach us about online security – Staying safe online is getting more difficult. Wickr’s guide to online security teaches us how to be safe, using something we can all understand: cat GIFs.

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Facebook’s Free Mobile Internet App Now Available in India – Facebook is making good on its goal to deliver Internet access to “the next 5 billion people” around the world who currently don’t have it. The Internet giant this week launched its Internet.org app in India, offering free basic Web services to millions of people in the second-most populous country on the planet. The app is now available in six different Indian states —Tamil Nadu, Mahararashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, and Telangana —offering residents access to more than three dozen Web services.

Take Google’s Security Checkup, Get 2GB Of Free Google Drive Space – To give you a bit of extra motivation to check on your security settings in Google, the company is giving away 2GB of permanent Drive space to anybody who goes through its Security Checkup within the next week. I just went through the process and it’s pretty straightforward (or as a Google spokesperson told me, “my mom could understand this – and that’s often not true with online security!”). While working your way through the wizard, you’ll check your recovery information, recent activity, account permissions and passwords, as well as your two-factor authentication settings.

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New app to be launched later this year in the UK that tracks children’s phone use – An app that can see almost everything that children are doing on their smartphones, along with their location will be launched in the UK later this year for parents. Does this present a privacy issue?

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Dropbox has made a Chrome plugin that lets you directly add Dropbox content to Gmail – In an effort to rival Google’s own Google Drive cloud hosting platform, Dropbox has developed a Chrome plugin which seamlessly merges with Gmail and allows a user to add Dropbox content directly to emails. The plugin is fairly straight forward. After installing it from the Chrome Web Store, it adds a circle button with a dropbox icon next to the ‘send’ button. Pressing that will open up an interface somewhat similar to Dropbox’s web file browser and allow you to select the files you’d like to add to the email.

3G vs. 4G: What’s the Difference? – For average consumers, ‘3G’ and ‘4G’ are two of the most mysterious terms in the mobile technology dictionary, but they’re used relentlessly to sell phones and tablets. If you’re shopping for a new phone, the answer isn’t clear-cut, and you shouldn’t always go for the higher number. Our primer will help explain which technology to pick.

Google Injects Health Facts Into Knowledge Graph – Google notes today that one in 20 searches performed using Google products is health-related. In a blog announcing Knowledge Graph’s medical injection, Google product manager Prem Ramaswami says U.S. users will shortly start to see “relevant medical facts” alongside their search results when they ask about “common health conditions”. Detailing “common health conditions” appears to be just the start. Google’s longer term mission sounds more akin to becoming a de facto global medical encyclopedia. So Google adopting a health-focused mantle also inevitably tramples on the turf of existing online health info portals like WebMD.

3 power tools to supercharge your browser bookmarks – The web has changed in fundamental ways over the years—like when sites started turning into full-blown apps—but one thing that hasn’t changed is our reliance on bookmarks. If you just need a list with stuff organized into folders then the standard bookmarks manager in your browser of choice will do just fine. But if you want to take your bookmarks to the next level with a sleeker visual look, annotations, or notes, then check out these three bookmark power tools.

Facebook takes on Craigslist with ‘For Sale Groups’ – Maybe because they’re trying to get in on the Etsy racket, or maybe just because they can; either way, Facebook is now making it much easier to sell things via Groups. Today, the social giant is announcing a new feature for Groups, which will allow users to sell items in a more streamlined way, with posts that are more easily manageable and professional looking. The feature was spotted previously, with Facebook saying they were trialing it for some groups who were noticed to have been actively selling anyway.

Streamus transforms YouTube into a simple, ad-free music streaming service – No, I haven’t found a way to get YouTube Music Key for free. What I’m talking about is a Chrome extension called Streamus that hooks into YouTube and offers as much music streaming as you can handle. Streamus doesn’t play videos and doesn’t require you to have a tab open. Instead, the extension just grabs the audio from the videos to let you listen to as much music as you want. If you ever do want to see the video, however, you can right-click any song to view it on Google’s video site.

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Amazon’s Newest Tool Lets Anyone Host Giveaways Online – Amazon announced a new self-service tool this morning that allows customers to host giveaways on its website. Anyone is eligible to run these sorts of promotions on the platform, though in Amazon’s case, the feature will likely attract authors, marketers, brands, bloggers, sellers and others looking to raise awareness about themselves, their products, or those who want to engage their audience using promotions.

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iPin turns your smartphone into a smart laser pointer – The newest smart accessory to surface for smartphones is the iPin, a tiny dongle of sorts that plugs into your smartphone and functions as a laser pointer, allowing you to point at things from across the room or drive your pets crazy. In addition to the laser pointer functionality comes presentation control, which makes giving presentations easier by combining the pointer and remote into one device — your smartphone. Users can swipe through presentation slides using their handset’s display, while their laser pointer appears on secondary screens for the audience.

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File storage service Rapidshare to shutter in wake of legal woes – In a message posted to its website Tuesday, Rapidshare said it will stop active service on March 31. “We strongly recommend all customers to secure their data. After March 31st, 2015 all accounts will no longer be accessible and will be deleted automatically,” the message said. It did not say why it is shutting down. However, legal troubles related to copyright infringement have plagued the company for years.

Flipboard aims for more users with jump to the Web – Popular mobile news app Flipboard has finally made the jump to the Web with a website you can access from any browser. Starting today at flipboard.com, you can pick topics and read stories in a format optimized for the desktop, but with that magazine feel that’s made the apps so successful on smartphones and tablets. With the addition of the website, it’s now possible to track stories all day as Flipboard syncs across all your devices. Flipboard already had 40 million users per month on mobile (iOS|Android), but that number is likely to grow now that there’s a more convenient way to try it out.

Security:

Microsoft fixes Internet Explorer’s dangerous memory problems – The Internet Explorer patches are part of the company’s routine monthly release of security and bug fixes for its software products, called “Patch Tuesday.” Microsoft Office and both the desktop and server editions of Windows are also getting fixes in this batch. Overall, Microsoft issued patches to cover 56 different vulnerabilities, which are bundled into nine separate security bulletins.

DARPA: Nothing on the Internet is secure, including cars – We are probably mostly aware of how the Internet has certain holes when it comes to security and privacy. But when the man in charge of hardening the US Department of Defense’s computer networks and the Internet in general says that there is no real security on the Internet, people better take heed. Everything that we connect to the world-wide network can be open to attack, and these days, that almost literally means everything, from smartphones, to thermostats, to doorbells, and yes, even cars. To prove the point, Kaufman subjected reporter Lesley Stahl’s “smart car” to the test. It was a piece of cake to hack the car and gain control of its functions, even going so far as taking over braking mechanisms. In a real-world scenario, this is can be very frightening.

Snapchat Partners With Three Non-Profits To Launch A ‘Safety Center’ – The Safety Center — which can be found at snapchat.com/safety — is primarily targeted at parents and teachers who know little about the service, but there is also information for users, such as its community guidelines. Snapchat said it has partnered with three non-profits — ConnectSafely, iKeepSafe, and UK Safer Internet Center — for this project.

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Tinder-like apps are a security risk to businesses, says IBM – Lovestruck and horny employees are putting their employers and co-workers at risk by using dating apps that are severely vulnerable to hackers, according to a new report by IBM.

Samsung smart TVs inserting ads into third-party apps – People with smart TVs from Samsung have been complaining that the electronics maker is inserting Pepsi ads during the playback of their own, locally-stored movies. “Every movie I play, 20-30 minutes in it plays the Pepsi ad, no audio but crisp clear ad. It has happened on 6 movies today,” one reddit user wrote. The user was posting on a subreddit for Plex, a third-party app on Samsung smart TVs that lets you play movies on your TV that are stored on your computer or on a Network Attached Storage device. Several other redditors reported the same experience.

Company News:

Apple is investing $850 million to build a giant solar farm that will power its new headquarters – Apple CEO Tim Cook told an audience at the Goldman Sach’s Technology and Internet conference that the company is very focused on making environmentally responsible decisions. As proof, he offered up a piece of news. Cook says Apple is investing $850 million to build a brand new 1,300-acre solar farm in Monterey, California. The energy produced there will be used, at least in part, to power Apple’s new headquarters. “We know at Apple that climate change is real,” said Cook. “The time for talk has passed and the time for action is now.”

Target pulls the plug on its digital video service less than 18 months after launch – One of the rules of business is to stick to what you know, and it turns out Target didn’t know the digital video space as well as it hoped. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say Target didn’t know the space as well as established heavyweights like Apple iTunes, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Google Play, or even rival Walmart (which acquired Vudu five years ago). Either way, the number-two retail chain in the U.S. has decided to end all services offered on Target Ticket effective March 7, 2015, the company announced on its website.

Yelp gobbles up Eat24, jumps into food delivery business – Yelp, the go-to site for crowdsourced reviews on nearly every sort of consumer-focused business, is jumping into food delivery. The company said Tuesday that it paid $134 million for food ordering and delivery app Eat24. Eat24, which has relationships with 20,000 restaurants in 1,500 US cities, is already integrated into Yelp’s network. That integration lets Yelp users see menus and order takeout directly from the site.

Games and Entertainment:

Netflix’s ‘Bloodline’ gets its first trailer – As we’ve previously mentioned, Netflix will be releasing another original series called ‘Bloodline’ on March 20, and ahead of that debut is the series’ first trailer. Netflix released the trailer on its YouTube account on Monday, and during its two or so minutes, we’re given a decent enough look at show, with the focus being mostly on the family and its drama. The trailer is wrapped up neatly with the series’ hook: “We’re not bad people, we just did a bad thing.”

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Anki announces the next generation of its A.I. racing game, and it’s awesome – Anki Drive — a racing game with Hot Wheels-style robot cars powered by your smartphone — was the No. 2-selling toy on Amazon this holiday season; the company sold out of its inventory 10 days before Christmas. It’s a novel concept: you steer a car using your own smartphone, racing against the A.I. or friends who are racing using smartphones and cars of their own. But since the day the game launched in 2013, players have asked for a modular version that let them build their own tracks. It was easier said than done: designing a track that can be easily reassembled took the company more than two years.

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Atari reboots Asteroids as a base-building survival game for PCs. Yes, seriously – Yes, Atari is indeed working on a reboot of a 30-plus year old arcade game where you play as a triangle. Or, actually, Atari is publishing said reboot. Today, we got the first official details on Asteroids: Outpost, “where players mine, build and defend their base and grow their fortune as they go ‘from rocks to riches.'”

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Holy supercut! Awesome video shows Batman’s onscreen evolution – The video not only offers up a great visual representation of Batman through the years, but gives a glimpse at how the Caped Crusader evolved as a character over time. The somber, brooding character in “The Dark Knight Rises” is certainly a long way off from Adam West’s Batman in the 1966 movie who says with a heavy dose of comic relief, “Somedays, you just can’t get rid of a bomb.” It’s a great supercut tribute to a superhero who’s been with us for more than 75 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

3D Robotics Opens Its Flight Control App For Drones To Developers – 3DR pilots can use the app to program flights, circle around waypoints and use the company’s Follow Me mode and “dronie” feature to take photos and videos of themselves. The software also features a building mapper for creating 3D scans of large structures. This new version makes planning missions a bit easier — especially when it comes to inserting new waypoints into existing plans, which was quite a hassle in the old version. Next week, 3D Robotics will also integrate support for Droneshare, its site for tracking and sharing flights and pilot rankings (until now, this was only available in the DroidPlanner beta versions).

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400-year old pollution found in Andean ice cap – A group of scientists have announced that they’ve found some extremely old pollution this week, picked up in an ice cap in the Peruvian Andes. Traces of air pollution, they suggest, date back to over 400 year-old mining operations that happened hundreds of miles away. Researchers suggest that this is the first clear evidence of human-made air pollution in South America from any time before the Industrial Revolution. Pollution here likely originated in what’s now Bolivia – in the Potosí mountaintop silver mines.

Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content – Rather than acting as a source of accurate information, online media frequently promote misinformation in an attempt to drive traffic and social engagement. The result is a situation where lies spread much farther than the truth, and news organizations play a powerful role in making this happen.

Watch Jon Stewart’s very first Daily Show episode – The news broke earlier this evening, with little warning: Jon Stewart will be stepping down from The Daily Show later this year. He’s been such an integral part of the media landscape, it’s almost hard to remember there was a time when the comedian wasn’t on our TVs every night, but it’s true. And while his hair may be a different color and the set design changed, one thing’s for certain: Stewart knew what to do with The Daily Show from the very beginning.

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It’s Time To Rethink Our Smart Things – The television can talk to the fridge which in turn can tell the washer to turn on. You can connect your watch to your coffee machine and send music from your electric lawnmower to a speaker in your pool. It took years for these systems to come to fruition but with the advent of always-on low-energy processors and new wireless standards, your things can now be constantly in touch with each other. What does that mean? It means your TV can see you naked, your Xbox can hear your conversations, and your Dropcam can spy on your neighbors. We live in an era of endless monitoring. We are watched from birth to death and, while most of us in the U.S. will never bump up against it, there is an apparatus in place that could feasibly create a detailed dossier on us in seconds.

Australian police seize 3D-printed gun parts and knuckle dusters in raid – Police have arrested an Australian man for alleged possession of a number of 3D-printed weapons and enough parts to make four separate handguns, in addition to other charges.

Something to think about:

“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.”

–       John Locke (1632 – 1704)

Today’s Free Downloads:

BlackBeltPrivacy Tor+WASTE+VoIP – Tor enables anonymous browsing, aiding proxy and censorship avoidance. WASTE enables chat, file transfer and support.

We have bundled…

MicroSip: enables *FREE* PC to PC calling with no account sign-up and no middleman server.

WASTE: enables chat, file transfer and support.

Tor: enables anonymous browsing, aiding proxy and censorship avoidance.

As with all versions of Tor – do not rely on this for strong anonymity.

A usability enhanced Privacy Pack.

An installer for: Windows XP 32/64, Vista 32/64, Win7 32/64, Win8 32/64.

Features:

*** NOW WITH “”” Serverless, Accountless Pc 2 Pc calling via MicroSip VoIP

Simple to use. Choose your Tor mode from the installer and go…

Streamlined Installation Package.

Integrates seamlessly into an existing Firefox as a new profile. All traces removed on uninstall

Your Tor only Firefox Profile is automatically set up for you, including its plugins.

5 Modes, Standard / Censored Client, Bridge, Relay and Exit – chosen by you.

As a result, you benefit from ALL firefox fixes provided you run the latest version.

NoScript is provided. JavaScript is switched off for you by default, giving you a choice of what content you view.

ABE Application Boundary Enforcement is also switched on by default.

Friendly support provided, via WASTE darkNet().

No additional configuration necessary for server, client, darkNet() or Firefox

Optional Relaying, bandwidth restricted. 0->200Mb or 0->500Mb per day – its your choice.

Regularly updated – we ensure you get the best out of Tor.

*** NOW UPDATED : includes Tor: 0.2.5.10.

*** NOW UPDATED : WASTE updated to 1.8 beta ( build 25 )

NOTE: Screen shots may differ due to our continuous development cycle.

NOTE : PAD Files Available.

WARNING : The NULLNET that WASTE initially connects to is semi-dark..

WARNING : Please complete darkLock() and then enable encryted chats for maximumsecurity.

THANK YOU to our users and reviewers. We hope we can keep you happy.

*** Works Great with other Products in the BlackBelt series

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Box hands cloud encryption keys over to its customers – Box has been talking for more than year about letting its customers manage their own encryption keys, allowing them to store data in the cloud while maintaining control over who gets to access it.

This isn’t a straightforward problem to solve, because Box’s whole business is built on making it easier to share data and collaborate. The strictest security controls could eliminate the reason 44,000 companies are paying Box.

Today, Box says it has a new product that gets the job done. Called “Enterprise Key Management (EKM),” the service puts encryption keys inside a customer’s own data center and in a special security module stored in an Amazon data center. The Box service still must access customer’s data in order to enable sharing and collaboration, but EKM makes sure that only happens when the customer wants it to, Box says.

When asked if the service would prevent Box from handing data over to the government, a company spokesperson said, “Unless the customer provides authorization to Box to provide the content that’s asked for, Box is prevented from sharing the content. When customers use Box EKM we are not able to provide decrypted content because we don’t have the encryption keys protecting the customer’s content.”

NSA wins key ruling in years-old phone and Internet spying lawsuit – The Electronic Frontier Foundation sustained a notable blow in one of its oldest ongoing surveillance-related lawsuits—its motion for partial summary judgment was denied on Tuesday, while a counter motion filed by the National Security Agency was granted.

The case, known as Jewel v. NSA, was originally brought by the EFF on behalf of Carolyn Jewel, a romance novelist who lives in Petaluma, California, north of San Francisco. For years, the case stalled in the court system, but it gained new life after the Edward Snowden disclosures in 2013.

Despite the NSA’s victory in its partial summary judgment, there are a number of issues left to be adjudicated in Jewel.

After months of silence from feds on flying phone surveillance, EFF sues – The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit Monday in order to learn more about the United States Marshals Service’s use of airborne cell-site simulators.

The San Francisco-based advocacy group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the USMS’ parent agency, shortly after the revelations came to light in November 2014. However, the DOJ has not produced any responsive documents and has long exceeded the 30-day deadline as defined under the FOIA law.

In the suit, which was filed in federal court in Washington, DC, the EFF asks the court to compel the DOJ to immediately produce the documents. The DOJ did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

Last fall, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US Marshals Service (USMS) was using small, fixed-wing Cessnas equipped with so-called DRTboxes—“dirtboxes.” The devices are receivers that spoof a cell tower to gather data from citizens’ phones below. The purpose of such collection is to target and spy on criminal suspects, but the data from any nearby citizen’s phone is also collected by such devices.

FBI really doesn’t want anyone to know about “stingray” use by local cops – If you’ve ever filed a public records request with your local police department to learn more about how cell-site simulators are used in your community—chances are good that the FBI knows about it. And the FBI will attempt to “prevent disclosure” of such information.

Not only can these devices, commonly known as “stingrays,” be used to determine a phone’s location, but they can also intercept calls and text messages. During the act of locating a phone, stingrays also sweep up information about nearby phones. Last fall, Ars reported on how a handful of cities across America are currently upgrading to new hardware that can target 4G LTE phones.

The newest revelation about the FBI comes from a June 2012 letter written by the law enforcement agency to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. It was first acquired and published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in December 2014—similar language likely exists between the FBI and other local authorities that use stingrays.

As the letter states:

In the event that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension receives a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (5 USC 552) or an equivalent state or local law, the civil or criminal discovery process, or other judicial, legislative, or administrative process, to disclose information concerning the Harris Corporation [REDACTED] the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will immediately notify the FBI of any such request telephonically and in writing in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to seek to prevent disclosure through appropriate channels.

French law allows websites to be blocked sans court order – France is cracking down against extremists and child abusers, and as part of it the nation has unveiled a new law that gives its law enforcement’s cybercrime general directorate the power to order an ISP to block a website sans a court order. The ISPs will have 24 hours to obey the request, and will be reimbursed for whatever costs this could result in. Likewise, the ISPs will also be able to appeal the decision if they feel it was an inappropriate order, something that may or may not be honored depending on the specific circumstances.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 11, 2015

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 18, 2014

The Best Free Antivirus for 2015;  Why You Need Antivirus Software;  How to get the most free online storage;  Five mobile apps to help you run down key info;  Five tips for managing your money with Mint.com;  Hands-on with the free Mailbox and Carousel apps;  Facebook Groups testing ‘Sell Something’ button;  Snopes debunks Elf on the Shelf as NSA spy;  Professor: Elf teaches kids spying is OK;  Up close with the BlackBerry Classic;  How to sell your unwanted gift cards;  Smartphone comparison chart could help you find your next phone;  Amazon employees strike in Germany;  Fixing Assassin’s Creed: Unity requires a 6.7GB patch;  Bing predicts the trends for 2015.

Why You Need Antivirus Software – These days, “antivirus” is just a word for a tool that protects your data and your PC against viruses, Trojans, botnets, rootkits, rogue security software, ransomware, and all types of malicious software. Actual viruses are the least of your worries, since they lay low to avoid detection. “But I only use my PC to surf the Web,” you may say. “I don’t keep any personal information on it. Who cares if a virus or some bad program goes along for the ride?” Well, it’s not as simple as that.

The Best Free Antivirus for 2015 – Going without antivirus protection isn’t an option. Even if you don’t care about your own computer, leaving it unprotected could let cyber-crooks turn it into a zombie minion and force it to participate in DDoS attacks. If you have any computers without antivirus software, you need to install protection. Right now. Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.

How to get the most free online storage – With the market for cloud storage services starting to get crowded, we take a look at how to get as much storage from the different providers as possible.

Five mobile apps to help you run down key info – One thing that’s boosted the popularity of smartphones and tablets is the way they put information at your fingertips right when you need it. Yes, you can find almost anything you’re looking for by using a Web browser and a little patience. But a number of reference apps can make it easier to track down all sorts types of information. Here are five apps I’ve found to be particularly useful.

Google Drive gets Gmail attachment capabilities, Open Doc Format support, and more – For two years you’ve been able to share links to Drive documents with just one-click. Now, you can send actual attachments. Drive for Android, meanwhile, is getting Google Now integration, which lets you use an “Ok Google” voice command to search for Drive documents. And users of iPhone and iPads are getting the ability to upload content from other apps on their device.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Dropbox users, try these: Hands-on with the free Mailbox and Carousel apps – Dropbox does more than stash stuff now. The email and photo-sharing apps are bonus features well worth exploring.

Five tips for managing your money with Mint.com – It’s around this time of year — after more-than-intended gift spends and holiday travels — that bank statements get a brow-raise. Mint.com, a free personal finance site, is one of the most popular choices for budgeting and record-keeping, thanks to its clean interface and long-standing reputation. Whether you’re new to the service out want to get more out of it, here are some best practices.

TeachPitch Helps Educators Around The World Share Learning Resources – Creating lesson plans, learning about teaching methods, and finding new educational material are all part of a normal workday for teachers, but it can be difficult because most educators have extremely tight schedules. TeachPitch.com wants to help by bringing teachers around the world closer together so they can find and share the best resources on the web. The site, which launched officially in October, now has around 2,000 teachers from 55 countries on its platform, most from the U.S. and Asia.

Facebook Groups testing ‘Sell Something’ button – Facebook Groups is a strange (but cool) little app. You can exist within your own group, or join a new one blindly based on a common interest.. A new feature might hint at why Facebook created Groups, though, or at least something they had in mind when launching it. A “Sell Something” button has popped up next to the “Write Post” button for some users, which brings up a very Craigslist-like posting window. Users can add a picture of the item they’re trying to unload, along with pickup or delivery options.

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Microsoft’s Xim app now shares photos to Apple TV, Chromecast, and Xbox One – Xim is Microsoft’s take on photo sharing and slideshows. A group Xim allows up to 50 photos to be shared between friends via their mobile number or email address, and Microsoft creates non-permanent cloud-based groups that are viewable in a browser and are synchronized across all users that are invited to a particular Xim. While there are a number of photo sharing services available, Microsoft’s Xim is shaping up to be a simple and unique cross-platform app that the company is clearly invested in. It joins a number of other apps that Microsoft has developed for iOS and Android recently.

Windows 10 Tech Preview: 1300 bugs fixed, 1.5 million registered Insiders – In a blog posting made today by a Microsoft employee, Gabe Aul reveals improvements to Windows 10, along with usage statistics that show a lot of promise for the platform.

Snopes debunks Elf on the Shelf as NSA spy; Professor: Elf teaches kids spying is OK – Even as Snopes debunked the claim that Elf on the Shelf is spying for the NSA, a digital technology professor claimed the elf is changing children’s expectation of privacy; it’s teaching kids that it is “cool for the NSA to watch them, to report back to the government.”

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This smartphone comparison chart could help you find your next phone – So you need a new phone, but there are probably a zillion options out there with different screen sizes, memory configurations, and prices. It can be kind of overwhelming, right? There’s a neat tool you can use to help narrow down the search. The Gnod smartphone comparison chart lets you filter phones by size, price, resolution, and more. Then it slaps all the matching phones on a handy scatter plot.

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Up close with the BlackBerry Classic – BlackBerry is returning to its roots. Today the company announced the release of the BlackBerry Classic, its latest smartphone with a full QWERTY physical keyboard and an optical trackpad, bringing back the best thing about the company that once dominated the smartphone market. The Classic isn’t for everyone, and with a $449 price tag, it won’t be cheap to pick up either. But for those who miss tapping on the physical keyboard made famous by BlackBerry in the mid 2000s, it doesn’t get much better than this.

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MPAA wants DNS filtering even if it breaks the Internet – In a Sony leaked document, MPAA lawyers discussed using the Domain Name System (DNS) to block traffic to websites which hosts illicit or pirated content. MPAA wants to be able to delete records from the DNS which would make a website completely unreachable via its domain. The tactic was first proposed as part of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in 2011, however, the law failed to pass Congress due to a worldwide backlash.

How to sell your unwanted gift cards – Did you know you can sell or trade your unwanted gift cards? Most people don’t even know such an option is possible, when in fact it is, and can come in really handy around the holiday season when almost everyone gets at least one gift card. Below you will find a rundown of a few Web sites that facilitate the buying and selling of unwanted gift cards as well as an ingenious way of dealing with those Visa/Amex gift cards.

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How to use your dSLR as a PC webcam – Maybe your webcam is broken. Or maybe, you just want to try something fun with your dSLR. Here’s how to turn your dSLR into a webcam for PC. First, you will need to check that your camera is compatible with the software for this tutorial. It’s called SparkoCam, and works with most Canon and Nikon dSLRs. Check the list at the bottom of this page for your particular model.

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Priest jams cell phones in church – Fed up with his services being disrupted by technology, an Italian priest installs a jamming device. As the Daily Mail reports, phones even went off during funerals. So, instead of merely praying for a pestilence to descend upon these disrespectful phone-obsessives, Father Madonna found a technological solution. He bought a jammer, which reportedly cost him around $60. Peace and love now reign in his pews.

Security:

Everything We Know About Sony, The Interview and North Korea – Sony Pictures Entertainment said late Wednesday that it’s pulling The Interview, a comedy about two journalists tasked with killing North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un. Sony’s move came a day after a cryptic message appeared online threatening attacks against theaters that played the film, and several weeks after hackers first breached Sony’s system and posted troves of private emails and other data online. Shortly after Sony decided to scrub The Interview, a U.S. official confirmed to TIME that American intelligence officials have determined North Korea was behind the Sony hack, though no evidence has been disclosed. Here’s everything we know for sure about the Sony hack, up until now.

Google Hangouts: Too smart for privacy? – “Google’s Hangouts is gaining a handy, but slightly creepy new feature today. The popular chat app will now act as a digital spy-slash-valet by eavesdropping on your conversations to offer ‘smart suggestions.’ For instance, if a pal asks ‘where are you?’ it’ll immediately prompt you to share your location, then open a map so you can pin it precisely.” It’s sad that this sort of thing still gets meekly labeled as “creepy”. The privacy implications are serious and pretty easy to see in objective terms.

Business interrupted: Telstra reveals Australia’s security breach impact – Nearly a quarter of Australian organisations have suffered an interruption to their business due to an IT security attack or breach over the past 12 months, according to new research by Telstra.

TorrentLocker ransom rampage encrypts 285 million files and counting – Slovakian security wizards ESET have delved deep into the guts of the TorrentLocker ransom malware and pulled out some interesting details of its destructive life story starting with the number of files it has encrypted—a misery-inducing 285 million to date. Although TorrentLocker is nowhere near the scale of the infamous CryptoLocker, and will likely never acquire the latter’s notoriety, that sort of file scrambling still adds up to 39,670 infected PCs by ESET’s calculation.

Forensic software gets around Apple’s iCloud security features – A Russian software company has updated its forensic software to work-around the security features Apple recently added to iCloud and increased what information can be extracted from the cloud storage service. The catch to using the software, which pulls files including photos, calendar information and call logs from iCloud, is that some information about the account is required to access the storage service, according to information on the company’s website. Either an Apple ID, password and the second form of authentication or a binary authentication token are needed to use Phone Breaker.

Company News:

FCC expected to fine Sprint $105 million for overcharging customers – The Federal Communications Commission is reportedly on the verge of fining Sprint $105 million for cramming charges that brought complaints from tens of thousands of customers. The $105 million fine would match one levied on AT&T, which was accused of the same illegal practice. The US government has also sued T-Mobile over cramming charges.

Netflix shuts the door on offline playback: ‘It’s never going to happen’ – The position makes perfect business sense. Consumers have plenty of other options for downloading movies and TV shows to watch when they’re away from an internet connection. There’s iTunes. There’s Google Play. There’s Vudu / UltraViolet. And Amazon lets Kindle Fire tablet owners download some Prime Instant Video content for offline viewing as well. Adding offline support could further muddy Netflix’s already-complex licensing deals and introduce potential new headaches for subscribers.

Uber says they’ll invest in better background checks – Fun fact: Uber drivers don’t pass a rigorous background check before picking you up and (hopefully) dropping you off at your desired location. Seems a bit off that Uber doesn’t thoroughly vet their drivers, right? The company is pretty fastidious about what car you have and your driving record, but as for what crimes you might have been convicted of in the past — they’re not so worried. In China, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said his company would start checking the background of those working for his service in an attempt to better protect passengers.

Amazon employees strike in Germany – Amazon employees at German warehouses have gone on strike over better pay and conditions until at least December 20, but the company has promised it will deliver Christmas orders on time. In the long-running dispute which started in May 2013, the union has demanded that Amazon pay the same wages as employees in the mail order and retail industries. Amazon rejected the demands, saying it regards warehouse employees as logistics workers who receive above-average pay.

Oracle posts stronger-than-expected Q2 earnings, revenue results – Oracle’s last quarterly earnings announcement dropped with news of the biggest leadership shuffle in the company’s history. This quarter, things aren’t quite as dramatic down in Redwood City, Calif., but the pressure was still on given Oracle has missed revenue targets five out of the last six quarters. Not so this time.

Games and Entertainment:

Fixing Assassin’s Creed: Unity requires a 6.7GB patch – As for what the patch does, it’s a bit of everything to try and get Unity to the state it should have originally shipped in. The reason for the large size is because Ubisoft has had to replace large sections of Paris to resolve performance issues. Once applied, players can expect many of the navigation, world collision, HUD, framerate, save games, NPC behavior, and lock picking issues to be fixed. There should be a noticeable improvement in overall game performance, and a much improved online multiplayer experience. The full patch notes have all the details.

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Dish becomes first big US TV provider to offer Netflix through your set-top box – Dish Network customers who are tired of switching inputs on their TV to move between satellite TV and online streaming will be happy to hear they can now sign into their Netflix accounts right from their Hopper set-top box. This makes Dish the first pay-TV provider in the U.S. to provide Netflix streaming through its DVR. Netflix service won’t come for free, of course; Dish subscribers will still need a Netflix subscription.

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Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals soldiers on with a 4GB Xbox 360 and free game for $149.99 – While today’s deal is different to that which was leaked last week for this day, it’s still quite a steal, offering both a discount on the Xbox 360 as well as a free game, while stocks last.

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Cities: Skylines is more like SimCity than SimCity – It’s an ambitious title, for sure. I’d go so far as to say it’s the SimCity I thought I was getting from EA. It’s not as pretty, but I’ll trade a tilt-shift effect for a deeper simulation any day. And as a bonus: The game will have Steam Workshop support, and Colossal Order really means it. You’ll be able to model your own buildings and all sorts of other wild things, so if you really want to make that one-to-one scale replica of Manhattan? Well, you could. That’s the opposite tack from EA’s DLC-heavy approach to SimCity.

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Controversial shooter Hatred reinstated on Steam Greenlight – Just over a day after it was taken down from Steam Greenlight, Hatred reappeared on the fan-voting section of Steam late Tuesday night. Valve has yet to publicly comment on the reversal, but Destructive Creations’ Facebook page includes a screenshot of an e-mail purportedly from Valve cofounder Gabe Newell, ostensibly apologizing for the mistaken removal. Hatred, from unknown Polish developer Destructive Creations, was first announced back in October. Its trailer seemed to revel in the massacre of civilians with a kind of gruesome glee. The video drew comparisons to ultra-violent game franchises like Postal and Manhunt for its apparently amoral focus on gunning down innocent bystanders in violent detail.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Bing predicts the trends for 2015 – The Bing team has done a wonderful job in 2014 predicting FIFA World cup match results and the US midterm elections with an almost unblemished record, correctly predicting that Scotland will remain a part of the United Kingdom and is also currently being used to speculate the outcomes of NFL games. Now the team is pushing its luck a bit more by envisioning the trends of 2015:

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Judge keeps Steve Jobs video testimony from public release – A California judge has denied a request from a trio of media outlets to make video deposition of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs available to the public. The request was filed by the Associated Press, Bloomberg, and CNN during this month’s trial over security measures Apple added to iTunes and iPods nearly a decade ago, where 27-minutes of the deposition was shown in court. In a ruling today, US district court judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said that the video should be treated just like any other testimony in that particular federal circuit, and thus unable to be made public as a recording.

You Can Now Buy Tony Abbott Condoms – Stuck finding that special someone a Christmas present? Look no further! The long wait is over Australia! You can now buy Tony Abbott condoms, or Budgie Smuggler Condoms.

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Watching a music video can tell doctors if you have a brain injury – Researchers at New York University’s Langone Medical Center have just published the results of a study that showed that a subject’s eye movements could be used to determine not only whether or not a brain injury was present, but also to pin down the exact location of the injury. All it takes is having a patient watch a short (around a 3.5 minute) video clip. Eye movements get tracked as the patient views the clip, and the ratio of horizontal movements to vertical movements is calculated.

Hummers sold in government auction for first time ever – It’s time for the US government to finally, at long last, put their hummers up for sale. This will be the first time in the history of the Humvee that the US government military has allowed their custom vehicles to go on sale after they’ve been used in the field. Previous rounds of HMMWVs have gone to scrap. You won’t be able to drive these beasts on the road, and there are no guns attached to any of them – but you can bet they’ll sell like hotcakes.

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Texas plumber’s truck somehow ends up in Syrian civil war – If you’re in Syria and a Mark-1 Plumbing truck rolls by, don’t bother calling the number. Mark-1 absolutely, definitely does not service your area. As bizarre as it is, it’s no laughing matter: as the picture has spread on social media, KHOU reports that Mark-1 has received angry phone calls from individuals wondering why they’re supporting a bloody war worlds away. The company traded in the truck last year, which ended up going to auction; fast forward a few months, and the vehicle — Mark-1’s contact information and all — somehow shows up in Syria, modified to create problems rather than solve them. Always remove your phone number from your truck before you sell it.

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Oto HOME otoscope iPhone case makes ear exams mobile – Mobile devices are becoming increasingly useful in the medical field, something demonstrated by devices like the Peek Retina, which makes eye exams mobile. Oto HOME is similar to Peek Retina, but rather than imaging eyes it is used as an otoscope to get a look at ears. Parents can use the Oto HOME to take videos of their child’s inner ear, for example, and then send it off to a physician who will remotely decide whether there is an ear infection.

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Something to think about:

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Today’s Free Downloads:

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The Christmas gift pack contains the installers, license keys and register information for Video Converter Factory Pro & WonderFox Video Watermark and a freeware WonderFox DVD Ripper Speedy. Please activate the programs before Jan. 1st, 2015.

Video Converter Factory Pro – Do you always like to record the wonderful moments in holiday with the digital video camera? Here’s our gift for your digital life, to help you deal with the DV/MTS/M2TS video files.

License key: VC-VCFB-D0E2D00780-0066A88E9B-759641FFA4

Version: 8.5

WonderFox Video Watermark Pro – Do you always like to share the videos you made in holiday on the social network sites? Here’s our gift for your social life, to help you protect your copyright from unauthorized using.

Registration code: VC-VWPB-D0E2D00780-53287AFECE-1F79D0F8C5

Version: 3.3

WonderFox DVD Ripper Speedy –  Do you always like to watch movies to enjoy the happy time in holiday with your beloved family? Here’s our gift for your entertainment life,to help you rip any DVDs for family sharing.

Free license, just install.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

UK cops caught using 12 MILLION Brits’ mugshots on pic database – The legality of uploading of millions of photographs to the Police National Database for automated facial recognition tech searches has been called into question by the UK’s Biometrics Commissioner.

In his first annual report Alastair MacGregor QC said some 12 million custody photographs had been uploaded to the PND by the beginning of April 2014, with an automated searching mechanism having also gone live around the same time.

He said: “I have real doubts as to whether it can be wise at this stage – and without wider consultation and specific legal advice – to continue with the proposed operational use of the new system.”

In the report MacGregor said concerns arose around the inclusion and processing on that database of images of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, an offence.

2 Comments

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 21, 2014

How to protect yourself from PC tech support scams;  Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked;  12-year-old’s online life brings an abductor to her doorstep;  Amnesty, EFF, Privacy International Put Out Free Anti-Surveillance Tool;  How to recycle your phone for cash;  SwiftKey for Android update;  Amazon’s Black Friday blowout starts tomorrow;  G’MIC: An incredibly powerful filtering system for GIMP;  Remove your personal info from data brokers;  Starbucks wireless charging begins;  Far Cry 4 Benchmarked: Graphics & CPU Performance;  Call of Duty Exceeds $10 Billion in Sales;  PayPal takes 18 months to patch critical remote code execution hole;  Got a webcam? pick a stronger password right now;  HBO GO Streaming Now on Xbox One;  The Secret Life of Passwords;  Supercharge your PC’s storage with a RAID setup.

How to protect yourself from PC tech support scams – For at least four years now, scam artists have been trying to pull one over on gullible computer users with phony tech support calls. The FTC said its latest operation was the third such case since 2011. More are sure to come since putting together a scam like this is relatively cheap compared to the potential million dollar windfall. PC users need to be wary of scams like these or risk falling prey to them. We’ve included a few tips that should help you stay scam free.

Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked – Downloading mobile apps from non-official sources has become a lot more dangerous over the last year, with apps now needing more built-in protection, according to a new report. The number of Top 100 iOS apps that have been hacked1 over the past year increased from 56 per cent in 2013 to 87 per cent in 2014. The majority (97 per cent) of top paid Android apps have been hacked, according to Arxan Technologies. As a specialist in application protection, Arxan has an obvious vested interest in talking up the threat from poorly protected mobile apps. However, that’s not to say it isn’t onto something. The recent discovery of the WireLurker iOS malware provides evidence that the issue of tampered apps is a real and present danger.

Amnesty, EFF, Privacy International Put Out Free Anti-Surveillance Tool – Resistance is digital. Human rights charity Amnesty International is one of several organizations behind the release of a free, open source anti-surveillance tool called Detekt. Other partners include Privacy International and digital privacy rights organizations the EFF and Germany’s Digitale Gesellschaft. The tool itself was developed by Berlin-based security researcher Claudio Guarnieri. Detekt has been designed for Windows PC users to scan their machines for “known surveillance spyware” that its makers warn is used to “target and monitor human rights defenders and journalists around the world”.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

HBO GO Streaming Now on Xbox One – Xbox One owners have something to be thankful for before the turkey arrives: HBO GO is now available on Microsoft’s next-gen console. Starting today, those who subscribe to HBO can sign in on their console to watch the channel’s original programming, movies, and more. The app also supports Kinect voice and gesture control, so you can simply yell at your console to turn on Game of Thrones as the Thanksgiving food coma sets in.

How to recycle your phone for cash – Even if you’re not in the market for a new device this fall, owners of ancient, cracked, and broken devices that won’t even turn on can still cash in on this promise of recompense. Here are some practical tips about the different ways you can convert your phone into at least a little bit of cash, pointers that typically apply to big-ticket electronics, too, like digital cameras and laptops. I wouldn’t count on financing a Hawaiian vacation for your efforts, but depending on how much you hoard or how savvy you sell, the dollars could really add up.

How to buy the perfect PC gaming laptop – Sure, traditional desktop PCs offer more expansion options and easier upgrade paths, and can be significantly cheaper for the performance you get. But there’s no denying the appeal of a single, self-contained gaming machine that you can move from the living room to the dining room to even the back porch. You just need to pick your gaming laptop wisely. Your decisions will key into a series of component choices, so let’s dig into them, one by one.

SwiftKey for Android update speeds up performance, adds 12 languages – SwiftKey’s newest update, launching November 20, promises to ramp up the app’s performance. The developers targeted making the keyboard more responsive when typing, to the tune of a claimed 10 to 18 percent performance increase; it also pops up and disappears from the screen faster than before, and refreshes quicker when switching between different forms.

Amazon Fire TV vs Amazon Fire Stick — What’s the difference? – Amazon has decided that Google’s Chromecast is in need of some proper competition, and so the Fire Stick was announced to fill the void. This is good news for everybody, but it raises a few questions for those who either already own an Amazon Fire TV or now have to choose between a Fire TV and a Fire Stick for their streaming media needs.

Supercharge your PC’s storage with a RAID setup: Everything you need to know – First off, storage performance tends to be one of the main bottlenecks in a typical PC, although the situation has vastly improved with the advent of solid state drives. (Yes, it’s probably your hard drive holding back your high-end PC from even greater glory.) Second, drive failure can lead to the loss of valuable data, and no one wants that. Thankfully, there’s a way to help mitigate both of these problems using a feature that’s supported on virtually every modern computer system: RAID.

G’MIC: An incredibly powerful filtering system for GIMP – What is G’MIC, you ask? It stands for Grey’s Magic for Image Computing, and it’s an easy-to-use GIMP plugin that offers a ton of pre-defined image filters and effects. The plugin is also highly customizable, with the ability to set favorites and even add your own filters. With G’MIC, you’ll find hundreds of possible filters to choose from, each of which can be tweaked to meet your needs. But before you can use G’MIC, you have to install it, because it’s not there by default.

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Google Contributor will let you pay a monthly fee to see select websites without ads – Chances are good that most of your favorite websites are almost entirely supported by advertising. In exchange for free content, the thinking goes, you have to view some ads — but Google is trying to shake up that model a bit with a new system it’s calling Contributor. Instead of dealing with ads, those who use Contributor will donate between $1 and $3 a month to see Contributor partner sites without any advertising. That money goes to the participating sites, though it’s not clear if Google is taking a cut — or if you’ll need to donate that much per site you visit.

No More Broken iPhones? Corning Reveals Gorilla Glass 4 – Good news for accident-prone iPhone users. Your smartphone screen could get a lot more durable in the future. Apple supplier Corning on Thursday introduced its next-generation Gorilla Glass, which it said is two times tougher than any competitive cover glass now in the market. Gorilla Glass 4 was specifically designed to address smartphone users’ No. 1 problem — screen breakage due to everyday drops, Corning said.

Amazon’s Black Friday blowout starts tomorrow, runs for eight days straight – The sales will run for eight days straight, with new deals coming as often as every ten minutes. Amazon says it will run three of its Deals of the Day on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. In addtion to the Black Friday blowout, Amazon will be running a full week of Cyber Monday deals starting on December 1st. As expected, many of the deals include blowout prices on TVs (including a 4K Samsung for $899), laptops, smartphones, fitness trackers, and more.

Staples selling ASUS EeeBook X205 with Windows 8.1 for $99 on Black Friday – On Black Friday, stores across the US try to entice you to venture out at ungodly hours of the morning and if you are in the market for a low-priced notebook, staples has one on-sale for $99.

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Groupon Black Friday Deals Also Starting Early – Groupon, the king of discounts, enters the fray this year to offer deals on an eclectic collection of electronics and devices.

Comcast says it’ll stop wasting your time, offers technician tracking tool – In Thursday blog post titled “Your time is valuable; we don’t want to waste it,” Comcast customer service chief Charlie Herrin detailed a new service that will give customers alerts 30 minutes before a technician. Comcast reduced its four-hour technician arrival windows to two hours a few years ago, and it promises $20 credits or a free premium channel for three months if they arrive late.

Technics Revived As High-Res Music Download Service – Famed turntable brand Technics plans to launch a high-resolution music download service. For what it’s worth, the service, unlike Neil Young’s high-res service Pono, will not hit the states. Starting in January, the platform will spin (get it?) 24-bit tracks to users in UK and Germany. Called Technics Tracks, it’s said to be launching with tens of thousands of tracks encoded in 24-bit FLAC. This isn’t your grandfather’s iTunes.

Starbucks wireless charging begins nationwide expansion – Customers in 200 Starbucks branches throughout the Bay Area will now be enjoying the hassle-free and tangle-free benefits of wireless charging for their mobile device. The coffee chain giant has just taken off the covers from its initiative to bring Duracell’s Powermat technology to its stores, potentially turning them even more into hubs for mobile users and workers.

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NightOwl Launches So You Can Get Drunker Better Faster Stronger – There’s nothing better than finding that special bar. The one that has your favorite scotch, or makes a mean margarita, or plays the perfect music. Finding that special bar, on the other hand, can be a real pain in the ass. That’s why NightOwl is launching in NYC. The app works almost exactly like Foursquare, but with an exclusive focus on nightlife, including bars and clubs and non-food nightly gatherings.

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App claims to know what wine or beer you’ll like before you taste it – The Next Glass app claims to have isolated the tastes of alcoholic beverages and will tell you how much you’ll like them — or not.

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You can now add Photospheres, Street View to your website – Fancy adding a bit of scenery to your website? Or maybe you want to give viewers even more detailed directions to your place of business than what a map can provide. Whatever your purpose, Google’s got you covered. In addition to the Google Maps Embed API that they expanded last March, the Google Maps team has now added Photospheres and Street Views to their list, allowing developers and website owners to generate HTML snippets that they can then embed in their webpages for all to behold.

Walmart closes price-match loophole after scammers snag $90 PlayStation 4s – Walmart tightened up its online-price matching policy after a few customers took the big box retailer for a ride.

How to delete your Uber account – Have you sworn off Uber for good? If so, here’s how you can delete your account. As The Next Web covered, deleting your account isn’t an automated process.

Security:

NSA chief admits China could cripple U.S. power grid, financial networks – China and “probably one or two” other countries could shut down critical computer networks that could force U.S. power and water grids, aviation systems, and financial services offline. National Security Agency director Adm. Mike Rogers said on Thursday in testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee that hackers have performed “reconnaissance” missions in order to work out how networks function. Those missions can be used to determine weak spots, Rogers hinted.

Pointing up   Let me rewrite the headline here – since, it seems to me, the objective is to portray China as a rogue singularity. Yet again, the U.S. (controlled by a suspect class of politicians), is portrayed as a potential victim.

China is one of a number of countries, including the U.S., that possesses the capabilities to cripple power grids and financial networks.

12-year-old’s online life brings an abductor to her doorstep: Untangling a Baltimore girl’s abduction and rape – On November 10, a 12-year-old girl left her home in the Baltimore suburb of Nottingham at 7:30am, heading to her middle school. She never returned home. When her mother called the school later, she discovered that her daughter had not even arrived. Suddenly, Baltimore County Police were calling in the FBI to assist in their search for a missing person. Luckily, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies had Doe’s real name and several aspects of her digital identity to work with, including her Xbox Live gamer tag, her Apple iCloud account, and her social media chat accounts. All of these digital identities played a role in the forensics work used to track down Jane Doe’s abductor. But they also played a major role in her abduction.

PayPal takes 18 months to patch critical remote code execution hole – Paypal has closed a remote code execution vulnerability in its service some 18 months after it was reported. The flaws reported earlier this month rated critical by Vulnerability Lab affected a core Paypal profile application.

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Remove your personal info from data brokers – Don’t want your home address or other personal info published to the world? This weekend, take an hour or two to make yourself a less visible target.

DerpTrolling leaks PSN, 2K, Windows Live customer logins – Hacker group DerpTrolling has released a “very small portion” of usernames and logins for three gaming networks in its possession as a “warning to companies”.

Got a webcam? You might want to pick a stronger password right about now – Privacy watchdog warns on default passwords as website streams video from unsecured webcams.

Tor’s feral fans are its own worst enemy – Summary: The brand image of the world’s must-have anonymity tool is starting to look a bit tattered. The fans don’t like it, but their response isn’t helping their cause.

Company News:

ISS says Microsoft’s Nadella is paid too much – A prominent advisor to big-time investors has urged clients to vote against Microsoft’s pay package for its new CEO, Satya Nadella, saying that his compensation this year was out of whack when compared to competing companies and the firm’s track record. Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which advises institutional shareholders, recommended that they cast a “No” vote at Microsoft’s shareholder meeting two weeks from today.

Microsoft’s lawsuit against Samsung upheld by court – Microsoft’s recent lawsuit against Samsung for defaulting on Android royalties has been upheld by a US court despite Samsung’s plea to put the suit on hold while it files for arbitration.

Following Pressure From U.S. Senate, Uber Hires Data Privacy Expert And Legal Aid To Review Company’s Policies – In light of growing concerns around Uber’s ethics and the way it manages customers’ personal data, the company announced this morning that it has brought on data privacy expert Harriet Pearson and her team at Hogan Lovells to help it conduct an in-depth review of the company’s existing policies, and make recommendations

Google emerging-markets phone gets hung up in India as retailers cry foul – Some of India’s biggest brick-and-mortar retail chains are refusing to sell Android One devices, due to Google’s handling of online sales, as well as low profit margins, says a report.

Google signs ten-year wind deal to power Dutch datacentre – The search giant’s €600m datacentre in the Netherlands will take up one wind farm’s output for the next ten years.

Games and Entertainment:

Block N Load hands-on preview: Minecraft plus guns – I got a chance to play some Block N Load earlier this week and had a damn good time not playing a shooter. Like Team Fortress 2 and Blizzard’s upcoming Overwatch, Block N Load is a role-based shooter heavy on teamwork. The key difference, of course, is that Block N Load’s roles balance between both Minecraft and typical FPS archetypes.

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Far Cry 4 Benchmarked: Graphics & CPU Performance – Graphics have always been a selling point of the series as few games offer the same open world environments that can be experienced in Far Cry. The latest iteration is no exception, as it is based on the same Dunia Engine 2 game engine has Far Cry 3. Being an Nvidia “The Way It’s Meant to be Played” title, FC4 has loads of optimizations for GeForce cards, including HBAO+, PCSS, TXAA, Godrays, and HairWorks. We used the latest AMD and Nvidia drivers on 25 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from both companies covering all price ranges. Our test rig was outfitted with the Intel Core i7-4770K to remove CPU bottlenecks that could influence high-end GPU scores.

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Call of Duty Exceeds $10 Billion in Sales – More than the Transformers, The Hunger Games, Iron Man and The Avengers movie franchises combined. Battle-themed video game Call of Duty has crossed $10 billion in lifetime sales, significantly bolstered by demand for its latest installment Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare earlier this month. Parent company Activison Publishing confirmed that the latest installment had the biggest launch of any entertainment product this year.

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Boxes advertising the newest installment to blockbuster video game Call of Duty is displayed in a Gamestop store in New York City on Nov. 3, 2014

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Secret Life of Passwords – We despise them – yet we imbue them with our hopes and dreams, our dearest memories, our deepest meanings. They unlock much more than our accounts.

Pointing up   Read this, and you’ll never think of passwords the same way again. It may prompt you to change some, if not all, of your passwords.

Google Says It Can Now Launch Up To 20 Project Loon Balloons Per Day – Google’s Project Loon, the company’s effort to deliver Internet access from balloons that travel around the world in the stratosphere, continues to make strides toward a commercial launch. Its balloons, for example, can now stay in the air up to 10 times longer than when the project started last year. Many now last over 100 days — and some even up to 130 days. In total, the balloons have now flown over three million kilometers (though this one, which apparently crashed in Africa a few days ago, probably didn’t make it quite as far).

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New Crisis Line Aims to Help Transgender People at Risk of Suicide – On Nov. 20, people are gathering at events around the nation to read names of transgender people who have died in the past year in violent crimes. On this somber day, an organization based in the Bay Area is trying to get the word out that there’s a new resource available to fight what may be an even deadlier problem among transgender people: suicide. According to the most definitive report on transgender issues in recent years, 41% of transgender people attempt to commit suicide, a statistic that doesn’t necessarily factor in successful attempts. That’s a number that the people behind Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860), a crisis hotline staffed entirely by transgender people, want to see decreased.

Deep brain stimulation easily beats caffeine for boosting mental agility – These lightweight, helmet-like rigs decrease some neurons’ resistance to firing, making brain activity energetically easier. The tech has long been under investigation by the military for its ability to improve hand-eye coordination, but new research is increasingly focusing on its potential to improve overall brain functioning.

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Watch This TV Reporter Get Hit in the Head by a Flying Skateboard – Mike Amor, the U.S. bureau chief for Australia’s Seven Network, was reporting from a skate park in Los Angeles when a rogue skateboard walloped him in the head. From the looks of the people around it was pretty painful, but displaying true antipodean pluck, Amor walked away with just a bump.

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The CIA’s Review Of Glenn Greenwald’s Snowden Book Is Hilarious – Earlier this year, journalist Glenn Greenwald released a book titled No Place to Hide, chronicling the Snowden leaks, and breaking new ground on the NSA itself. The book garnered a grip of positive reviews upon publication, and has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon. Not bad, all told. But the most recent review of the book is by far the best. Hayden Peake, listed by the CIA’s website as the “curator of the CIA Historical Intelligence Collection,” reviewed three books on Snowden for the agency. His take on Greenwald’s tome — read the full review here for complete fun — is accidentally hilarious.

Something to think about:

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it.”

–      H.L. Mencken

Today’s Free Downloads:

Detekt – Detekt is a free tool that scans your Windows computer for traces of known surveillance spyware used to target and monitor human rights defenders and journalists around the world.

In recent years we have witnessed a huge growth in the adoption and trade in communication surveillance technologies. Such spyware provides the ability to read personal emails, listen-in skype conversations or even remotely turn on a computers camera and microphone without its owner knowing about it.

Some of this software is widely available on the Internet, while some more sophisticated alternatives are made and sold by private companies based in industrialized countries to state law enforcement and intelligence agencies in countries across the world.

There is little to no regulation currently in place to safeguard against these technologies being sold or used by repressive governments or others who are likely to use them for serious human rights violations and abuses.

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Pointing up   Started a quick run on a personal machine just to get a shot of the GUI – pretty simple.

Please be aware that Detekt is a best effort tool. While it may have been effective in previous investigations, it does not provide a conclusive guarantee that your computer is not compromised by the spyware it aims to detect. The tool is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees of any kind.

Bacon Root Toolkit – Unlocking, rooting, relocking and unrooting simplified! (and much more!) From the author of the popular Nexus Root Toolkit.

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BlueStacks Beta – BlueStacks runs Android OS and apps on Windows PCs with instant switch between Android and Windows – no reboot is required. End consumers can now enjoy their favorite Android apps on Windows PCs. Android apps can appear either as icons on the Windows desktop, or within a full-blown Android environment.

BlueStacks helps PC manufacturers to ride the Android momentum by enabling Android apps on x86-based tablets, netbooks, notebooks, convertibles and AiO Windows PCs. With the new hybrid convertible form factors, BlueStacks completely eliminates the need to carry two devices. The end consumer benefits from getting both Android and Windows at the price of a single PC.

BlueStacks integrates seamlessly with Citrix and Microsoft software delivery infrastructure and with Citrix’s Enterprise App Store. With BlueStacks, enterprise IT can deliver Android apps securely and effortlessly to any end point running Windows.

The seamless user experience, simultaneous use of Android and Windows apps, and multi-touch enablement are built on ground breaking virtualization technology which requires zero configuration and is transparent to the end consumer.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA director: No changes in telephone record collection coming – The NSA will continue to collect U.S. telephone records in bulk, while operating under some restrictions that President Obama put on the program in January, Admiral Michael Rogers, the NSA’s director, said during a House of Representatives hearing on cybersecurity Thursday. The NSA would rather wait to see what specific changes to the program Congress will require before making major changes, he told the House Intelligence Committee.

Data exchange talks lag, jeopardizing US firms’ ability to operate in Europe – Thanks to revelations about government spying, a revamped version of a 15-year-old agreement governing the exchange of personal data between EU and the U.S. still seems a long way off, threatening the ability of American companies to do business in Europe.

The E.U. Safe Harbor framework is a set of standards for protecting the privacy of EU residents when their data is transmitted to the U.S. It contains policy directives that must be taken into account in order for companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and thousands of small companies in all sorts of businesses to process data in the U.S. from EU citizens.

However, the revelations by Edward Snowden about U.S. National Security Agency spying have shaken European confidence about data exchanges between the EU and the U.S. In November last year, about five months after Snowden’s leaks appeared in the press, the European Commission sent a list of 13 demands to the U.S., basically saying: This is what we need you to do to keep the Safe Harbor agreement in place.

U.S. Firms Accused of Enabling Surveillance in Despotic Central Asian Regimes – U.S. and Israeli companies have been selling surveillance systems to Central Asian countries with records of political repression and human rights abuse, according to a new report by Privacy International. The U.K.-based watchdog charges that the American firms Verint and Netronome enable surveillance in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Verint’s Israeli arm provides those countries with monitoring centers “capable of mass interception of telephone, mobile, and IP networks,” the report says, as does the Israeli company NICE systems. Verint also enlisted California-based Netronome to give Uzbek agents the ability to intercept encrypted communications, Privacy International says, though it’s not clear whether the program was carried out successfully.

The report provides a broad picture of surveillance in a region that is marked by repression. Kazakhstan has been condemned for laws restricting free speech and assembly, flawed trials, and torture. As for Uzbekistan, Human Rights Watch bluntly characterizes the country’s human rights record as “atrocious.” Privacy International includes testimony from lawyers, journalists, and bloggers in Uzbekistan who had transcripts of private Skype calls used against them in trial, or had interactions with intelligence officers that made it clear the authorities had access to their private communications.

Utah lawmaker wants to shut off NSA’s water supply for good – A bill is moving forward in the Utah State Legislature that aims to eventually shut down water to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) new massive data storage facility at Bluffdale, just south of Salt Lake City.

Since July 2013, NSA’s water usage at Bluffdale site has fallen by 55 percent.

On Wednesday, the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee discussed the bill that “prohibits cooperation between a federal agency that collects electronic data and any political subdivisions of the state.”

Rep. Marc Roberts, the bill’s author, did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment. As currently drafted, the bill would let the Bluffdale contract with the NSA continue until it runs out.

In this desert state, water has been a key issue at the Bluffdale site—particularly since a Salt Lake Tribune reporter, Nate Carlisle, has been actively trying to figure out how much water the NSA uses in the Beehive State.

Julian Assange’s arrest warrant still stands, Swedish appeals court rules – On Thursday, the Svea Court of Appeal upheld a city court’s decision, saying in an online statement that “Julian Assange is suspected on probable cause of crimes including rape (less serious crime) and that there is a great risk that he will evade legal proceedings or punishment.”

The Australian remains wanted in Sweden for questioning relating to alleged sex offenses dating back to 2010—however, Assange has not yet been formally charged with a crime. According to Assange’s own September 2013 affidavit, he stated that the women he slept with specifically said they were not accusing him of rape and that police “made up the charges.”

As a result of the case, Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was granted asylum in 2012. The embassy, in turn, is constantly surrounded by London police—the city government is spending around $16,000 each day to keep an eye on Assange. He refuses to go to Sweden over fears that he will be extradited to the United States to face further potential charges relating to WikiLeaks’ publication of classified material.

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