Tag Archives: Apple TV

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – September 14, 2015

The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New;  Sony: Don’t Use Those ‘Waterproof’ Xperias Underwater;  Apple TV vs. Roku vs. Android TV: Media Streamer Shoot-Out;  Headphone buyers: Here’s what you need to know about low- vs. high-impedance models;  How Long Will the Red Light Last? There’s an App for That;  When your computer reboots itself over and over again;  How to restore ringtones to iPhone;  Office 2016 adopts branches, update-or-else strategy of Windows 10;  PIN-changing Android ransomware spreading in the US;  Tumblr now has its own fashion line;  The difference between antivirus and anti-malware;  Meet the worst 100 passwords from the Ashley Madison hack;  This week in games;  How the NFL—not the NSA—is impacting data gathering well beyond the gridiron;  Facebook make big gains in Africa on mobile use;  GoPro on a balloon found after 2 years with stunning Earth shots;  6 Things You Should Always Include on Your Resume;  10AppsManager: Tool to uninstall, reinstall Windows 10 preinstalled Store apps (free);  FBI, intel chiefs decry “deep cynicism” over cyber spying programs.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New – Forget overpriced schools, long days in a crowded classroom, and pitifully poor results. These websites and apps cover myriads of science, art, and technology topics. They will teach you practically anything, from making hummus to building apps in node.js, most of them for free. There is absolutely no excuse for you not to master a new skill, expand your knowledge, or eventually boost your career. You can learn interactively at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. It’s hard to imagine how much easier it can possibly be. Honestly, what are you waiting for?

Apple TV vs. Roku vs. Android TV: Media Streamer Shoot-Out – The newest Apple TV adds some long-awaited features to a device that hasn’t been updated since 2012, a lifetime in the world of streaming media. While Google’s first connected media platform, Google TV, didn’t catch on, Android has still become a powerhouse for media hubs thanks to the Amazon Fire TV and Android TV devices. Roku was one of the first dedicated media hub brands, and it’s gained in popularity thanks to an easy-to-use interface and hundreds of content channels. There’s also a slew of sticks you can just plug into the back of your HDTV, as well as smart HDTVs with built-in apps. A lot has changed in three years.

How to quickly jump to often-used Windows app subsections in Windows 10’s Start menu – I don’t dive into Windows 10’s Settings app that often, but when I do it’s usually to check two or three things, such as Windows Update or my Wi-Fi settings. An easy way to jump to a particular section of the Settings app is to search for it with Cortana in the taskbar. But if repeatedly typing “Wi-Fi” or “Windows Update” sound tedious, there’s a far easier way to jump to oft-used parts of the Settings app. Instead of searching or navigating the Settings app manually, you can pin sections to the Start menu. This tip isn’t just for the Settings app, however—you can also use it in a limited number of other Windows apps such as Mail and OneNote. For our example here, however, we’ll stick with the Settings app.

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Headphone buyers: Here’s what you need to know about low- vs. high-impedance models – The impedance specification is ignored by most headphone buyers, but it might be one of the most important. Not that anything catastrophic will occur with an impedance mismatch, but you might not get the best sound quality from a headphone with impedance that’s too high or too low for your music player or home amplifier.

5 tips for getting started with Slack – Started as side project for a video game company, Slack quickly moved front and center and took off as word of mouth spread among the tech companies that were using it. One of the company’s mottos is “Be less busy,” and many have heralded Slack as the product that could end reliance on email. If you’re planning on deploying Slack within your organization, here are some pointers to help get you going.

Sony: Don’t Use Those ‘Waterproof’ Xperias Underwater – Turns out, Sony’s “waterproof” Xperia devices might not be so waterproof after all. After talking up the waterproof capabilities of its Xperia devices for years — even running marketing campaigns showing people happily using its devices underwater — Sony now says that they should not be submerged. As XperiaBlog first reported, Sony recently revised its support page on water and dust protection to warn people against taking a swim with their gadgets. “Remember not to use the device underwater,” the site says.

Supporting causes on Facebook is about to get a lot easier – You’re perhaps familiar with the idea of changing your Facebook profile picture to support a specific cause or event: gay marriage, cancer research, your mate’s stag do, and so on. Facebook has noticed the trend and wants to help – the social media behemoth is testing out a new feature that lets you set a temporary profile picture that expires after a set number of hours, days or weeks. The idea is that the picture automatically reverts back to the original profile image without you having to remember to change it – your rainbow-coloured portrait will only appear for as long as it’s relevant, in other words.

When your computer reboots itself over and over again – Something is rotten in the state of your Windows PC. Here’s how to deal with a computer that keeps rebooting.

Office 2016 adopts branches, update-or-else strategy of Windows 10 – Microsoft will launch Office 2016 for Windows on Sept. 22, and has now detailed how it will deliver updates and upgrades with a cadence and rules similar to Windows 10.

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How Long Will the Red Light Last? There’s an App for That – It’s called EnLighten and it uses a phone’s GPS location and real-time traffic-signal information provided by the municipality to determine when a driver is stopped at a red light. It can then show on the phone’s screen a countdown in seconds of when the light will change and will also sound a chime when the light turns green to remind the driver that it’s time to get going. The iOS and Android apps work in a dozen or so U.S. cities and also have a dual timer for traffic lights with separate left-turn signals. But the EnLighten iPhone app can sync with the dashboard of BMWs with ConnectedDrive and the BMW Apps feature, provided you’re driving in Portland or Eugene, Oregon or Salt Lake City, Utah). It offers extra features, such as timing traffic lights so that you potentially don’t have to stop or even prevent an accident.

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How to restore ringtones to iPhone – Got an Apple, Mac, or iOS tech question? We have the answer. This time we have a reader whose custom-made iPhone ringtone library has seemingly disappeared. But that doesn’t mean those tones are gone for good! Here are the steps you can take to track them down on your Mac, then restore them to your iPhone.

Security:

The difference between antivirus and anti-malware – It seems like a simple question, right? What’s the difference between antivirus and anti-malware? But ask a security professional, and he answers as if it’s the riddle of the Sphinx. You just want a simple answer to a simple question. Is that too much to ask? The truth is, the answer to this question is a little complicated. But we’ve broken it down like a lumberjack chopping redwood into mulch. We’ll tell you what viruses and malware are, which types of threats antivirus and anti-malware companies fight, and how they do it. So look no further. The answer…is in the link.

PIN-changing Android ransomware spreading in the US – Before you get all riled up, this isn’t yet another Android vulnerability like Stagefright. This is your run of the mill malware installed through social engineering or carelessness, but one that has far graver ramifications than other ransomware. Discovered by researchers from security company ESET, the Android/Lockerpin.A ransomware goes the extra mile to actually change your device’s PIN code in such a way that trying to reset the PIN will lock the user, and ironically the attacker too, from the device completely, with no recourse other than a factory reset.

Meet the worst 100 passwords from the Ashley Madison hack – Security research group CynoSure Prime were able to find out the most common passwords that were used on Ashley Madison, a site which helps married people cheat on their partners, which suffered a massive data breach earlier this year when it was targeted by hackers. The list of the 100 most commonly-used passwords was first posted on Ars Technica.

Website hackers hijack Google webmaster tools to prolong infections – Hackers who compromise websites are also increasingly verifying themselves as the owners of those properties in Google’s Search Console. Under certain circumstances this could allow them to remain undetected longer than they otherwise would be, researchers warn.

Company News:

Security company litigates to bar disclosure related to its own flaws – FireEye is a publicly traded security firm that regularly finds and reports vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. But when security researcher Felix Wilhelm found five critical flaws in FireEye’s Malware Protection System, the company went to court to obtain an injunction barring the disclosure of some of the technical details. The move is generating howls of protest among security professionals, who argue that FireEye of all companies should know better than to stifle the free flow of vulnerability information.

Facebook make big gains in Africa on mobile use – Facebook is riding the wave of mobile adoption in Africa to help meet its goal of connecting businesses with people in emerging markets. Sixty percent of all Internet users in Africa are now active on Facebook and 80 percent of them access the site on mobile devices, according to statistics shared by the social network this week. According to the African Union’s first session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Communication and ICT last week, 84 percent of the continent’s population is covered by mobile networks.

Microsoft buys popular Android lock-screen app maker – Microsoft has added to its stable of Android apps with the acquisition of Double Labs, the makers of the Echo Notification Lockscreen, a popular app on Google’s mobile platform that helps users control the notifications they see.

Tumblr now has its own fashion line – Tumblr now has its own line of clothing featuring an eclectic array of apparel adorned with artwork from ten of the social network’s artists/users. The line isn’t limited to just clothing — there’s a backpack, for example (as well as a kimono); it’s unisex and designed to look the same as the Tumblr collective, at least in spirit. Half a dozen Tumblr users have also been selected to show off the new product line. The new Tumblr wear is said to be in celebration of Tumblr’s 10th New York Fashion Week participation.

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Google hires ex-Hyundai America CEO to lead self-driving car project – Google has hired a new CEO for its self-driving car project. John Krafcik, who worked at Ford and was President and CEO of Hyundai’s American operations before joining automotive price-comparison site TrueCar, will take the position in late September. In a statement, the veteran of the automobile industry said that Google’s technology “can save thousands of lives, give millions of people greater mobility, and free us from a lot of the things we find frustrating about driving today.” Krafcik has a background in automobile manufacturing, having worked on two “lean production” manifestos during his time at MIT, but a Google spokesperson told Automotive News that his hiring did not indicate the company would start producing cars itself.

Brad Smith will decide privacy policy, IP issues and more as Microsoft’s new president – If you’re interested in Microsoft’s stance on privacy or public policy, Brad Smith is the one to watch. The former general counsel at Microsoft, Smith will also become the company’s chief legal officer.

Etsy to test same-day deliveries as Amazon threat grows – Google offers product deliveries, and is working on expanding them. Amazon does and is doing the same. And then there’s Etsy, the website where all manner of crafts and creativity are offered. The service soon will face steep competition from Amazon, which is reportedly looking to start its own similar crafts marketplace, and in light of that it isn’t surprising Etsy will start testing its own same-day deliveries. The testing will take place in certain regions of New York City, the same place that Amazon and other services are and have been testing same-day and one-hour delivery services. This test is done in partnership with Postmates, and will also include next-day deliveries. Most appropriately, this delivery service will be called “Etsy ASAP”.

Etsy will now help designers find manufacturers – Six months after Etsy completed an IPO that valued it at $3.5 billion, the craft marketplace is expanding. The company is introducing Etsy Manufacturing, a new service that will link Etsy sellers — who often make items by hand — with small manufacturing companies. The operation is designed to help both sellers who’ve found success but have little time to fulfil larger orders, and smaller manufacturers, some of whom have lost business to huge manufacturers in countries where labor is cheaper.

Games and Entertainment:

How the NFL—not the NSA—is impacting data gathering well beyond the gridiron – We’re not talking about facial recognition devices, police body cams, or other security measures likely zeroing in on fans. Instead, employees from San Jose-based Zebra Technologies had recently finished scanning the NFL uniforms of the 49ers and of their opponents—the Dallas Cowboys. All of a sudden, an on-the-field de facto surveillance society was instantly created when Zebra techies activated nickel-sized Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) chips that were fastened inside players’ shoulder pads. Every movement of every player now could be monitored within an accuracy level of all but a few inches.

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Blizzard’s Final Starcraft II Expansion Lands November 10 – In case you were not tuned into the finals of WCS Europe earlier today, Blizzard, a popular gaming company, announced that the final chapter of its Starcraft II will touch down on November 10. The third iteration, called Legacy of the Void, will at once be a computer game, and Blizzard’s statement regarding the long-term viability of Starcraft proper as an esport. Starcraft II’s predecessor, Starcraft, proved a long-lived esports product popular the world around. Its successor has done even better.Regardless, here’s the new film. It’s worth a view.

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New Apple TV gets touch remote, Siri voice control, games and an app store, starts at $149, coming in October – The new box, still simply called “Apple TV,” was unveiled at the company’s September 9 event in San Francisco, sharing the stage with a new big-screen iPad and new iPhones. It’s a complete overhaul of the current device, which has been around since 2012. “We believe the future of television is apps,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook when introducing the device. The new Apple TV will be available in two versions: $149 for the 32GB model, and $199 for the 64GB model, and both start shipping to the US and dozens of other countries in October. The current Apple TV box remains on sale at $69. UK and Australian prices for the new model have not yet been announced, but $149 and $199 convert to £95 and £130, or AU$210 and AU$285.

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This week in games: Fallout 4 teaches the value of Strength, Ubisoft builds a theme park – It’s a short week, which I guess means nothing at all really happe—Wait, Ubisoft is opening a theme park? And there was a new Fallout 4 video and the first Tribes update in two years? I present your gaming wrap-up for the week of September 7-11.

Off Topic (Sort of):

6 Things You Should Always Include on Your Resume – To ensure your resume stands out (for the right reasons), there are a few things you’ll want to avoid and some you’ll definitely want to include, says Tina Nicolai, executive career coach and founder of Resume Writers’ Ink. “Basically employers want to see where candidates have earned, learned, and contributed.” Whether to include things like an objective statement, list of skills, and education will depend on your level of experience and industry — but here are six simple things you should always include on your resume, no matter what:

What porn site statistics can tell us about the worldwide console wars – First, the obvious disclaimer; YouPorn viewing statistics are not a perfect analogue for console popularity. It’s possible (and maybe even likely) that the userbase for one system or another is more or less likely to use their console to surf for porn. And it says nothing about whether they’re more likely to use the console for, you know, actual games. Still, YouPorn statistics seem to bear some resemblance to overall console popularity worldwide. Overall, YouPorn’s stats show 51% of visits coming from PlayStation, 39% from Xbox, and 10% from Wii systems. That’s decently close to the 50%/29%/20% split for PS4/XB1/Wii U sales in our latest analysis.

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GoPro on a balloon found after 2 years with stunning Earth shots – The GoPro line of action cameras, especially when paired with drones, have yielded a massive library of photos and videos that would have been otherwise impossible to take using commercial equipment. But when paired with a weather balloon, things get even more dramatic. In 2013, a group of five students from Arizona did just that and launched the GoPro into the atmosphere. Sadly, they lost track of the camera during after its reentry. Good thing they recovered it two years later in good condition because the footage it had stored is truly a sight to behold.

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Australian police get McLaren and Aston Martin supercars – You wouldn’t want to get into a high-speed car chase with one of these bad boys: the NSW Police Harbourside Local Area Command has just added a McLaren 650S and an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante to its official fleet. However, the two supercars aren’t for regular policing, nor will they be a permanent fixture on Sydney’s streets. They have been loaned to the force for just a few weeks by a local dealership, which will cover all the costs of the vehicles except for fuel. Both cars have been given a NSW Police makeover, with blue-and-white decals declaring their law enforcement affiliation. Underneath, the AU$450,000 McLaren 650S is a brilliant, eye-catching yellow, while the $500,000-plus Aston Martin Vanquish Volante is a suave silver. The cars made their police debut on September 12 at the annual Wall to Wall Ride for Remembrance, a day that pays tribute to the sacrifices of officers killed on duty.

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The McLaren 650S on loan to the NSW Police. NSW Police Harbourside LAC

The LAPD has a Tesla now – At a press conference today, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced the lease of 160 battery electric vehicles and 128 plug-in hybrids for the city’s vehicle fleet. “Today, we take another step toward becoming the most sustainable city in America,” the mayor told reporters. “This year, Los Angeles will become home to the largest city-owned fleet of pure battery electric vehicles anywhere in the country, and we will save taxpayer dollars along the way.” The city’s fleet already includes 23 electric scooters and three fully electric motorcycles, but this is the first major move into electric cars. The mayor has set ambitious environmental goals for the fleet, requiring that electric vehicles constitute half of the light duty fleet by 2017, and 80 percent of the city’s fleet purchases by 2025.

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10 automakers vow to make automatic emergency braking standard – The NHTSA, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have announced that ten auto makers plan to offer automatic emergency braking as a standard feature. This is the latest step major car manufacturers are taking to bring more advanced safety technologies to a larger customer base, something that will eventually lead to such technologies being common on the road and, hopefully, a subsequent decrease in the number of crashes and deaths that happen. The auto makers are comprised of well-known car companies, including Audi, BMW, GM, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Mazda, Toyota, Tesla, Volvo, and Volkswagen. Furthermore, the IIHS and US Department of Transportation says that other makers of lightweight vehicles and truck manufacturers should also consider making automatic emergency braking (AEB) standard in their vehicles.

Something to think about:

“Fine, go to those Bangalore Infosys centers, but just for the hell of it go three miles aside and go look at the guy living with no toilet, no running water … The world is not flat and PCs are not, in the hierarchy of human needs, in the first five rungs.”

–    Bill GatesThe Financial Times, Nov. 1, 2013

Downloads:

10AppsManager: Tool to uninstall, reinstall Windows 10 preinstalled Store apps – 10AppsManager is a freeware that will allow you to easily uninstall and reinstall the default, built-in, preinstalled Windows Store apps in Windows 10. While you can always manually uninstall or reinstall the Store apps, the process is not so easy for the preinstalled apps. It is easy to uninstall or reinstall 3rd-party apps, but not the default preinstalled apps. What this tool from our TWC stables does, is automate the process and let you carry out the operations in a click.

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WebBrowserPassView – WebBrowserPassView is a password recovery tool that reveals the passwords stored by the following Web browsers: Internet Explorer (Version 4.0 – 11.0), Mozilla Firefox (All Versions), Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera. This tool can be used to recover your lost/forgotten password of any Website, including popular Web sites, like Facebook, Yahoo, Google, and GMail, as long as the password is stored by your Web Browser.

After retrieving your lost passwords, you can save them into text/html/csv/xml file, by using the ‘Save Selected Items’ option (Ctrl+S).

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

FBI, intel chiefs decry “deep cynicism” over cyber spying programs – On a stage in a ballroom in the Walter Washington Convention Center on September 10, the heads of the United States’ intelligence community gathered to talk about the work their agencies perform and the challenges they face—or at least as much as they could in an unclassified environment. But the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency also had one particular mission in mind as they took the stage at the Intelligence & National Security Summit, an industry event largely attended by government officials and contractors: stopping the poisoning of the public debate around their missions, and especially around the issue of encryption, by unreasonable haters.

CIA Director John Brennan suggested that negative public opinion and “misunderstanding” about the US intelligence community is in part “because of people who are trying to undermine” the mission of the NSA, CIA, FBI and other agencies. These people “may be fueled by our adversaries,” he said.

FBI Director James Comey referred to the backlash against his lobbying for backdoors into encrypted communications provided by the technology industry as “venom and deep cynicism” that are making a rational discussion about what could and should be done nearly impossible.

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The directors of the FBI, CIA, NSA, NGO, DIA, and NRO stand for a group picture. Sean Gallagher.

Apple, in refusing backdoor access to data, may face fines – This week, The New York Times reported that the Justice Dept. served Apple with a court order in a case “involving guns and drugs,” demanding it provide real-time access to iMessage, Apple’s proprietary service for sending messages between iPhones.

Apple refused — not because it necessarily wanted to, but because it couldn’t comply. The iPhone and iPad maker reportedly told the feds that the service is encrypted, making it impossible for the company let alone the feds to access the data they demanded, unlike phone companies which, under US wiretap laws, are required to comply.

The criminal case is under seal in an unidentified U.S. federal court.

Apple’s defiance comes at a time when the FBI is pushing for access to user data in the wake of the claims that the U.S. government had access to Silicon Valley systems through its PRISM surveillance program. In response to allegations it was complicit in spying on Americans, Apple quelled fears by revealing its iMessage texting and FaceTime calling services were encrypted and unable to be wiretapped, and said even it “cannot decrypt that data.” Around the same time, the company proceeded to offer device encryption, forcing feds to go directly to the suspect in question to get access to some user data.

Plan to shift internet’s control panel away from US government gets tentative thumbs-up – The plan to shift control of the top level of the internet away from the US government to domain name overseer ICANN has been given a tentative thumbs-up by the internet community.

A public comment period on the proposal for the IANA functions contract closed earlier this week with 159 submissions received. Just under half the comments came from individuals, but governments, the technical community, business groups, and civil society all sent in comments.

The vast majority of the comments were supportive of the plan overall, which will hand control over to a new affiliate of the current contract owner, ICANN, and two new groups set up to ensure that the contract is run effectively. In addition, a process to pull the IANA functions was identified as a last resort.

The proposal was pulled together from three different proposals covering the three main technical jobs that are being considered. Despite most commentators agreeing with the proposal, there were significant concerns over key aspects of the plan.

The same five issues were identified repeatedly from stakeholders as diverse as Google, the Internet Society, US Council for International Business (USCIB), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and others:

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 21, 2015

5 online privacy and security tips for travelers;  Google now allows you view your search history, save it locally;  The best free, open-source software for everyday PC users;  Windows 10 to launch at the end of July;  1,500 iOS apps have HTTPS-crippling bug. Is one of them on your device?  Twitter Now Lets You Opt In To Receive Direct Messages From Anyone;  Deactivating Twitter’s “Direct Messages from anyone” as fast as possible;  YouTube ends support for older apps on iOS, Apple TV, Google TV;  This App Will Flag Your Offensive Tweets Before Your Future Employer Sees Them;   Get Windows 10: Hidden roadmap for biggest upgrade ever;   8 great Google Maps tips for Android and iOS;  TeslaCrypt: Video game Safety 101;  How to Spot and Avoid Credit Card Skimmers;  Drones behaving badly: Dark skies ahead;  System Explorer (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

5 online privacy and security tips for travelers – Wherever you’re going – whether you’re traveling for a business conference, or going to a vacation spot far away from work – you’ll still want to be secure when you go online, use mobile devices and buy stuff with credit cards. You don’t have to “go dark” when you travel, but you do have to take extra precautions. So here are five simple security tips.

This App Will Flag Your Offensive Tweets Before Your Future Employer Sees Them – It was created by a man who lost his dream job with the Jeb Bush campaign. He lasted 36 hours, done in by a history of offensive tweets and blog posts that was uncovered by reporters and opposition researchers after TIME broke the news of his hire. The app, releasing publicly Monday, scours a user’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram histories for potentially inflammatory or damaging posts, and makes their removal a breeze. It’s designed for the next generation in the workforce, who grew up sharing vast amounts of information online, some of which may become a liability in their future careers.

Your Guide to Safe(r) Sexting – Let’s be perfectly clear: Sexting will never be 100 percent safe. You’ll always be taking some risk when you send or receive naughty messages, photos, or videos. Electronic media is always, by its nature, reproducible, and copies of whatever you send or receive could get into someone else’s hands. If you do not want to take any risks, you should not sext. Period.

Twitter Now Lets You Opt In To Receive Direct Messages From Anyone – Twitter has for years tested a feature that would allow anyone to opt in to receive direct messages from other users on its platform, even if the accounts weren’t following each other as per earlier requirements. This setting was rolled out more broadly to a portion of Twitter’s user base in 2013, but never became an option for the general public. That changes today, says Twitter, which announced this morning that anyone on its network can now opt to accept direct messages from any other Twitter user.

Deactivating Twitter’s “Direct Messages from anyone” as fast as possible – Worried Twitter’s newest feature “direct message from anyone” will put a kink in your private life? You’re not the only one. Earlier today Twitter’s update and blast on their newest feature update made more than one social network explode in a fury of misdirected madness. The key to this puzzle wasn’t that this new feature was coming, however, but that it wasn’t turned on by default. This feature, as it turns out, is something you need to turn on for it to work.

The best free, open-source software for everyday PC users – Finding new software is a breeze for Linux users. But which of those programs are right for you? We have answers. The applications highlighted here are the pick of the litter for the average Linux user looking to stock up on software. Heck, these particular applications are so good that almost all of them are available on other platforms and are popular even among Windows users.

Microsoft preps PCs for Windows 10 with more auto updates – Microsoft last week continued to deliver automatic updates to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs to prep them for the summer upgrade to Windows 10. A pair of updates pushed to customers — one for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), another for Windows 8.1 Update — were billed as allowing users “to upgrade your computer … to a later version of Windows.”

Windows 10 to launch at the end of July, according to AMD – According to AMD’s CEO Microsoft is looking to launch Windows 10 at the end of July. The AMD exec was speaking on a recent financial conference call when she let slip the fact that Microsoft was looking to get the OS out in time for the “back to school” promotions.

Get Windows 10: Hidden roadmap for biggest upgrade ever – Beginning this summer, Microsoft will offer free Windows 10 upgrades to hundreds of millions of PCs. A recent Windows Update contains details about how the Get Windows 10 (GWX) program will work.

Google now allows you view your search history, save it locally – Google will now allow you to download your search history. The search giant is now offering a method for you to archive your previous search history and download it in its entirety.

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8 great Google Maps tips for Android and iOS – It’s time to learn your way around the new Google Maps app. The old, somewhat clunky Google Maps interface has been replaced with a flatter, more modern look. Your favorite features are probably still there, but some now hide inside swipeable drawers or behind all-new menu buttons. Never fear, though. The new Google Maps app for Android and iOS makes perfect sense once you get the hang of it, and the latest version makes it even easier to get where you’re going or see every detail in your virtual surroundings. Read on for 8 essential tips for the new Google Maps, starting with…

YouTube ends support for older apps on iOS, Apple TV, Google TV – Have older tech? YouTube wants you to upgrade. In a blog post today, the YouTube team is announcing they’ll no longer support “certain older” apps. It likely won’t affect most users, and the mobile website will continue to work — but you should be aware, especially if you’re using some dated hardware (some of which is just plain obsolete). YouTube isn’t being picky, either. Everything from Apple TV to gaming consoles are affected. Even Google TV (which is apparently still a thing) is going to need an update!

One of the Best, Cheapest Phones Is Now Available to Everyone – OnePlus, a Shenzhen-based smartphone maker, has released its “flagship-killer” smartphone to the general public at a lethally competitive price of $300 without a contract. The OnePlus One smartphone garnered rave reviews since it was released by invitation only to a select number of users last year. Critics marveled that a smartphone could match its highest-end rivals spec-for-spec, from the 1080p display to the clean design, yet retail at less than half their price. OnePlus announced on its blog that the phone would go on sale to anyone, no invitation necessary, starting Thursday.

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Google’s Android Wear software will let you leave your phone at home (if there’s Wi-Fi) – The search giant announces a handful of new features, including new capabilities that make a watch run independent of a phone, all ahead of the Apple Watch’s launch on Friday.

Encryption: More and more companies use it, despite nasty tech headaches – One in three firms now scramble data to protect it from prying eyes – but encryption remains a complicated technology to manage for most.

Security:

1,500 iOS apps have HTTPS-crippling bug. Is one of them on your device? – About 1,500 iPhone and iPad apps contain an HTTPS-crippling vulnerability that makes it easy for attackers to intercept encrypted passwords, bank-account numbers, and other highly sensitive information, according to research released Monday. An estimated two million people have installed the vulnerable apps, which include the Citrix OpenVoice Audio Conferencing, the Alibaba.com mobile app, Movies by Flixster with Rotten Tomatoes, KYBankAgent 3.0, and Revo Restaurant Point of Sale, according to analytics service SourceDNA.

Cook County subpoenas Romanian security firm, a Tor exit node operator, for ‘real’ IP – Was Cook County (Chicago) hacked again or are the wheels of justice just now moving a year after the last alleged hack of its computer systems? A Romanian security firm which runs Tor exit nodes received a subpoena from Cook County asking for the “real” IP address that used an exit node IP address to access a Cook County IP.

How to Spot and Avoid Credit Card Skimmers – With all the recent headlines about point-of-sale malware infecting retailers and restaurants around the country, it’s easy to forget the more common way cyber-criminals steal credit and debit card numbers: card skimmers. If you ever swipe your card at a gas station pump, withdraw cash from an ATM, or buy tickets from a vending machine, then you are at risk.

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The above picture is a real-life skimmer in use on an ATM. You can see how the arrows are very close to the reader; that is a sign a skimmer was installed over the existing one.

Google’s push to encrypt ads will improve security, but won’t kill malicious advertising – Google plans to serve most of its ads over encrypted HTTPS connections by the end of June, a move that will protect against some ad hijacking attacks and will encourage website owners to enable encryption on their Web properties. However, malicious advertising attacks that direct users to Web-based exploits will still be possible and, because of the new encryption, it will actually be harder for security researchers to pinpoint their source.

BT to start hacking connected cars, as cyberattack risks increase – More cars now than ever come with 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi connectivity for navigation, radio, and other on-board features. But BT says those connections can be used against the driver — even others on the road. That includes gaining access to essential features of the car, to grabbing information on drivers’ habits for commercial purposes, and even remotely hijacking a vehicle, the company warned. BT’s team of ethical hackers and security experts wants to mitigate attacks before they happen — even before cars rolls off the production line.

Company News:

US arms dealer Raytheon buys internet security firm Websense for a reported $1.9 billion – In an attempt to create what they are calling a “first-of-its-kind commercial cybersecurity company specifically designed to meet the needs of the evolving cybersecurity environment”, US arms manufacturer Raytheon Co and Websense Inc are combining to form a unit reporting through Raytheon to provide military-grade web security to their customers. The deal will involve Vista Equity Partners LLC in a complicated reorganization that will leave the new security company reporting directly to Raytheon management.

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European Union slams Google with search antitrust charges, launches Android investigation – The European Commission has charged Google with abusing its dominant position in Internet search services in Europe by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping product, Google Shopping. At the same time, the Commission also opened a separate antitrust investigation into Google’s mobile operating system Android. It suspects Google of abusing its dominant position by, among other things, requiring device manufacturers to bundle Google’s own services and applications with the open-source operating system.

Under Fire In India, Facebook’s Internet.org Launches In Indonesia – Facebook’s ‘free web’ Internet.org program has expanded into Indonesia, a country with a 250 million population, marking its second largest launch in Asia to date. For those who are not aware of it, and the debate around it, Internet.org is a free portal of hand-picked internet services that can be accessed for free by users on mobile devices. Facebook’s argument is that this is a natural stepping stone for those who can’t connect to the internet for financial or other reasons. The contrary take to that is that Facebook is creating a separate internet and, by hand selecting Internet.org partners, it is discriminating against companies that are not on its list.

Microsoft’s first store outside of North America to open in Australia – Microsoft is planning to open its first flagship retail store outside of North America later this year. The software giant is opening a new store in Sydney, Australia with a similar layout to its existing stores in the US and Canada. Microsoft has been gradually expanding its footprint of brick and mortar stores across the US and Canada, with 110 in total. The new Australian store will be located at Westfield Sydney on Pitt Street Mall, and will include access to Windows phones, PCs, Surface tablets, Xbox consoles, and all of Microsoft’s software products. While the company isn’t revealing exactly when the store will open, it’s planned for later this year.

IBM Reports Higher-Than-Expected Q1 Profit, But Revenue Of $19.6B Disappoints – Following the cessation of regular trading this afternoon, IBM reported its first-quarter financial performance. The company reported higher-than-expected adjusted profit on a per-share basis of $2.91, but the company’s $19.59 billion in period-revenue was under street expectations of $19.64 billion. The company now has a run of 12 straight quarters of declining revenue.

Apple: ‘We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it.’ – Apple is continuing to take a strong stance against climate change, writing in its newly released 2015 Environmental Responsibility Report, “We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it.” This is framed as a major piece in Apple’s reasoning for turning to more environmentally sustainable practices when it comes to use of power and materials. “We’ve made real progress in reducing the impact of the things we control directly — our offices, retail stores, and products,” Apple write. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done to reduce the carbon footprint of our supply chain. And it’s our responsibility to lead that effort.”

Nokia’s rumored return to phones and virtual reality – It’s been suggested today by two unnamed informants that Nokia will be returning to the smartphone arena in 2016. How they’ll do this, exactly, remains a mystery – especially given their current lack of manufacturing power as a result of their sale to Microsoft back in early 2014. But they’ve made a tablet since then – right, so what’s to stop them from making a collection of smartphones? Nothing, really – they’ve just got to team up with a manufacturing partner and begin to smash the nail with the hammer, so to speak.

Games and Entertainment:

TeslaCrypt: Video game Safety 101 – TeslaCrypt is branching out into uncharted waters for Ransomware by going after video games and music files. We take a look at whether you should be worried by this new development, and what you can do about it. Recently, it’s been showing up in malware scams involving Nuclear EK (exploit kit). In the linked example, a Flash exploit targeted an out of date Flash install and bam – that’s all she wrote.

Play this free online game to plant real trees where they’re needed most – There are plenty of so-called rewards for playing digital games — “achievements,” “badges,” “trophies.” But when you play the online trivia game known as JohnnyAppl, your reward is a lot more tangible. You get to say that you helped plant a tree somewhere where it was most needed. The game just launched in its full version a few days ago, along with an Indiegogo campaign to help it really get off the ground. Advertisers pay to put up banner ads. Ad revenue is then donated to JohnnyAppl’s partner, The Eden Projects, which hires locals to plant trees in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Haiti — areas particularly hit hard by deforestation. The planet benefits from more trees, and the local residents benefit through gainful employment.

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Here’s how you plant an tree with your iPad.

Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm will be available on June 2nd – Blizzard’s newest game now has a release date: Heroes of the Storm will be available on June 2nd, and an open beta will begin on May 19th. It’s the company’s first MOBA (short for multiplayer online battle arena), and it will take aim at the popularity of similar titles like DOTA 2 and League of Legends.

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New trailer shows that Jurassic World will be a dinosaur bonanza – It’s a dinosaur bonanza in the latest Jurassic World trailer. Colin Trevorrow’s updated trip to the theme park unleashes a genetically modified beast called Indominus Rex created to bring in more attendees, but as you can see in the latest trailer, those folks might wind up in ridiculous amounts of danger.

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Steam accounts are now feature limited until $5 is spent – Steam, much like any other online platform, is fighting a constant battle against spam and malicious activity. Reducing such activity benefits both the platform and the genuine users of it, and Valve has come up with an idea: limit accounts until $5 has been spent. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up and grab yourself a Steam account, but Valve has noticed that there is a correlation between free accounts and accounts that spam the service or carry out generally malicious activity. That correlation is the fact those malicious users don’t spend any money on Steam. With that in mind, Steam has introduced Limited User Accounts. Such accounts limit access to a number of popular Steam account features, including:

Off Topic (Sort of):

These new shoes grow with your feet, help impoverished children – The shoe — or sandal, depending on the deep-seated feelings you have regarding foot coverage — is primarily designed for impoverished children that either can’t afford a single pair of shoes, or can’t afford to purchase larger ones when they’ve outgrown previous pairs. The shoes are easy enough to purchase, as they only come in two sizes, small or large. Small lasts from kindergarten to fourth grade, then large picks up where small left off until around ninth grade.

Drones behaving badly: Dark skies ahead – As UAV technology advances and expands, public policy issues around safety, privacy, and regulation are increasingly becoming a concern. Earlier this year, both the FAA and the White House issued new domestic directives on commercial and government drone use. Yes, the technology holds great promise, but there’s a clear and present downside to having endless remote-piloted and robotic aircraft swarming overhead, as the following incidents involving drones behaving badly clearly show.

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Image courtesy Lima Pix via Flick

Google-funded troll algorithm targets antisocial behavior – Google has funded a study by Cornell and Stanford researchers who have created an algorithm for identifying trolls before they become too much a problem, and though it isn’t perfectly accurate, it does a good job of weeding out users who are likely to end up getting the banhammer. All the while, the algorithm isolates a number of online behaviors typical of trolls, things referred to as antisocial behaviors, including making far more posts during a block of time that regular non-troll users.

Watch: John Oliver Goes After Patent Trolls – Patents are to inventors as air is to humans: Without the legally binding document, innovators have no proof of their work, and no way to protect against theft. But the proliferation of patent trolls has threatened creators and their ideas. And John Oliver isn’t standing for it. The comedian and host of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver used his Sunday show to rail against patent trolls, or faceless enterprises that acquires patents and uses them to sue anyone who appears to infringe.

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This Is How Tech Will Totally Change Our Lives by 2025 – The ever-increasing hunger for data will fundamentally change the way we live our lives over the next decade. That’s according to a new report by the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit think tank that has released a set of five predictions for the ways tech will change the future.

Live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope pose legal risks – Live video is messy. It’s raw, unedited, and with new mobile apps, it’s now capable of capturing many more people who aren’t aware they’re being recorded. And in some cases, that can add up to legal problems.

Something to think about:

“We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species.”

–        Desmond Morris

Today’s Free Downloads:

System Explorer – Detailed informations about Tasks, Processes, Modules, Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services, Drivers, Connections and Opened Files. Portable version also available.

System Explorer is free, awards winning software for exploration and management of System Internals. This small software includes many useful tools which help you Keep Your System Under Control. With System Explorer You get also fast access to File Database which help you to determine unwanted processes or threats. System Explorer is translated into 21 languages and is available for download in installer and portable version.

Features:

Detailed information about Tasks, Processes, Modules,

Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services,

Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.

Easy check of suspicious files via VirusTotal, Jotti

service or our File Database.

Easy monitoring of processes activities and System changes.

Usage graphs of important System resources.

Tray Hint with detailed System and Battery status

WMI Browser and System Additional Info

Multilanguage Support

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TestDisk & PhotoRec – TestDisk is a powerful free data recovery software. It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting your Partition Table). Partition table recovery using TestDisk is really easy.

TestDisk has features for both novices and experts. For those who know little or nothing about data recovery techniques, TestDisk can be used to collect detailed information about a non-booting drive which can then be sent to a tech for further analysis. Those more familiar with such procedures should find TestDisk a handy tool in performing onsite recovery.

PhotoRec is file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from Hard Disks and CDRom and lost pictures (thus, its ‘Photo Recovery’ name) from digital camera memory. PhotoRec ignores the filesystem and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media’s filesystem has been severely damaged or re-formatted.

There are other versions available at the authors site which support DOS, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, SunOS and MacOS.

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Alcohol 52% – Alcohol brings a new meaning to the word multimedia! It is without a doubt a leader in it’s class, bringing the ability to emulate and record CDs and DVDs together into one amazingly easy to use software program.

This CD & DVD emulation software can create up to 31 virtual CD/DVD-ROM drives, allowing the user to play CDs & DVDs without the need for the original disc.

The reading speed of a virtual CD-ROM is 200X. This means you can play a CD from the virtual CD-ROM with 200X reading speed.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

The system is like a ship – once it leaves port there is no stopping it. Unless it sinks.

Anonymous unleashes online petition against US info-sharing bills – Activist and hacktivist collective Anonymous has launched an online awareness-raising operation opposing pending controversial US information-sharing bills.

Critics from across the political spectrum, including libertarian-minded technologist Robert Graham, argue that the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act sacrifices privacy without improving security.

Anonymous goes further still in arguing that the measures threaten Fourth Amendment protections against unwarranted searches and seizures, hence their decision to launch #OperationCISPA.

This CISA bill is an alternative of the CISPA [Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act] that failed to be passed in 2013.

“The CISA and CISPA bills directly attack the Fourth Amendment by letting the NSA monitor your private information without a warrant,” a member of the group told El Reg.

“This is a direct impact to our security and assault on our privacy. Our objective is to stop the CISA Bill, and all other future cyber security bills, that aim to diminish our rights on the internet.”

Canada: Public service union asks court to block new ‘unduly invasive’ security checks – The union representing professionals in Canada’s public service is going to court to stop the rollout of a new and “unduly invasive” security clearance process that includes fingerprinting, credit and criminal checks, and a sweeping search of Internet use as the minimum screening for all employees and new hires.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is seeking an injunction from the Federal Court of Canada to immediately halt the new security screening system.

The union recently filed a legal challenge alleging the ramped up screening is unconstitutional and violates the Privacy Act and principles of administrative law.  But it argues an injunction is needed to stop public servants from the “irreparable harm” of turning over all kinds of personal and sensitive information before that court decision is rendered.

The government gave departments until October 2017 to implement the changes.  The new standard coincidentally began days before the killing of a Canadian soldier in Quebec and shooting of sentry Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial, which threw the government into a heightened security crisis.

Baltimore police have used secret cellphone interceptors more than 25,000 times – The Baltimore Police Department is starting to come clean about its use of cell-phone signal interceptors — commonly known as Stingrays — and the numbers are alarming. According to recent court testimony reported by The Baltimore Sun, the city’s police have used Stingray devices with a court order more than 25,000 times. It’s a massive number, representing an average of nearly nine uses a day for eight years (the BPD acquired the technology in 2007), and it doesn’t include any emergency uses of the device, which would have proceeded without a court order. The agency had previously said they used the device only 4,300 times over that period.

Prosecutors drop robbery case to preserve stingray secrecy in St. Louis – Prosecutors in St. Louis, Missouri, have seemingly allowed four robbery suspects to go free instead of explaining law enforcement’s use of a stingray in court proceedings.

The St. Louis case provides yet another real-world example where prosecutors have preferred to drop charges instead of fully disclose how the devices, also known as cell-site simulators, work in the real world. Last year, prosecutors in Baltimore did the same thing during a robbery trial.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the dismissal this month came just one day before a St. Louis police officer was set to be deposed in the robbery case where three men and a woman were accused of stealing from seven people in September 2013.

Neither the office of Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce nor the office of Megan Beesley, a public defender involved in the case, immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment over the weekend. The St. Louis Police Department also did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.

This machine catches stingrays: Pwnie Express demos cellular threat detector – At the RSA Conference in San Francisco today, the network penetration testing and monitoring tool company Pwnie Express will demonstrate its newest creation: a sensor that detects rogue cellular network transceivers, including “Stingray” devices and other hardware used by law enforcement to surreptitiously monitor and track cell phones and users.

In an exclusive demonstration for Ars, Pwnie Express CTO Dave Porcello and Director of Research and Development Rick Farina showed off the company’s new cell network threat detection capabilities, which integrate into Pwnie’s Pulse security auditing service. The capability will give companies the ability to monitor cellular networks around them and detect anomalies caused by rogue cellular base stations, IMSI catchers, and devices used to extend cellular coverage into areas where it may not be authorized.

Of all the potential security threats to companies and individuals that have emerged over the past few years, perhaps the hardest to crack is rogue cellular base stations. Whether they’re used to attack the privacy of a cell phone user’s communications or as a backdoor out of places where cell phone usage is restricted, configuring unauthorized cell “towers” has become increasingly simple. It doesn’t necessarily even require law enforcement-grade hardware. Anyone with a HackRF card or other software-defined radio kit and open-source software can turn a laptop computer into a cellular network transceiver—or even a cellular jammer.

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For more than two decades, FBI forensic scientists gave flawed testimonies – The FBI has admitted that 26 out of 28 examiners in the agency’s elite microscopic hair comparison unit overstated forensic matches during criminal trials for more than two decades, reports The Washington Post. Prior to 2000, examiners gave flawed testimony that may have helped prosecutors in more than 95 percent of 268 trials, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project, both of which have been helping the government conduct the largest review of post-conviction forensic evidence in the US to date.

“The FBI’s three-decade use of microscopic hair analysis to incriminate defendants was a complete disaster,” Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, told The Washington Post. “We need an exhaustive investigation that looks at how the FBI, state governments that relied on examiners trained by the FBI, and the courts allowed this to happen and why it wasn’t stopped much sooner.”

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 20, 2015

FTC report: Google caused ‘real harm to consumers’;  Web Pegged as Bad for Morals by Surfers in Emerging Countries;  Signature antivirus’ dirty little secret;  Snowden: IT workers are now target of spies;  Amazon gives you 34 paid Android apps and games, all free;  Save form data as you type it in Chrome, Firefox with Lazarus;  Windows 10 on pirated versions won’t get you a valid license;  Apple TV revisited: 4 reasons to buy it, 4 reasons to skip it;  Fix Netflix’s User Interface With God Mode;  FAA Grants Amazon Permission To Test Drone Deliveries;  PlayStation Vue: here’s what you need to know;  The iPhone’s best new puzzle game is about NSA surveillance;  Will robots take our jobs and overpower us?  The CIA Just Declassified the Document That Supposedly Justified the Iraq Invasion;  Restore Point Creator  (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

FTC report: Google caused ‘real harm to consumers’ – A 160 page FTC report from a couple years ago has made the light of day through an open-records request, and in it we see Google held in a harsh, often damning light. The report reveals that it was recommended that the FTC sue Google over three of the Internet giant’s practices, something that would have — had it gone through — ended up being one of the biggest antitrust cases since the similar suit against Microsoft in the 90s. Among other things, the report says Google both has and will harm consumers and innovation with some of its actions.

Web Pegged as Bad for Morals by Surfers in Emerging Countries – As the Internet lays down roots across the globe, people in emerging countries are welcoming the Web’s positive impacts, but are just as wary of what they perceive as its negative influence on morals. According to a new Pew Research Center study, a majority of folks across 32 developing nations count the Web as beneficial for education, personal relationships, and the economy. When it comes to politics and morality, however, the online maelstrom is viewed by many as a negative influence.

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Amazon gives you 34 paid Android apps and games, all free, in birthday blowout – Amazon is at it again, this time gifting you $105 worth of free Android apps and games. The fire sale is to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Amazon Appstore, it’s rival to Google Play. While the apps work on Amazon’s Fire tablets, they can also be used on most Android devices, as long as you install the Amazon Appstore on your phone or tablet. The sale is good through March 21. Downloading any of these offerings also enters you into a contest to win a $25,000 shopping spree from Amazon. Here’s the full list of all the apps and games available, including their original price.

Upgrading to Windows 10 on pirated versions won’t get you a valid license -Yesterday Microsoft announced plans to allow pirated versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 once the new operating system launches. Now the company has clarified some of its statements and the picture is a bit less rosy. Unfortunately, the company had scaled back a bit on its plans saying that the free upgrade, though available, won’t actually change the license state of a user’s OS. In plain speak this means that if you were running a pirated copy of Windows, you’ll still be running a pirated copy even after upgrading to Windows 10. This move seems counterproductive though, or rather self-sabotaging.

Save form data as you type it in Chrome, Firefox with Lazarus – If you’re filling out your car insurance quote form, writing a comment on a blog or filling in payment details for food delivery, it’s annoying to lose what you’ve already entered because of a server error or accidental mouse click. For situations like these, there’s an extension for Chrome called Lazarus. This extension will save the data you type into those pesky textboxes, and will allow you to re-add it with just a couple of clicks. It’s not new, but you may wonder how you’ve had the patience to continue filling out online forms without it. Here’s how to get started:

Find out where to flee zombies with awesome online simulator – Choose a spot on the map where the first zombie hits America, adjust your parameters and watch the infection grow.

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Almost 223 hours into a zombie outbreak that started in the Southeast. Time to head to Alaska! Screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

After hitting Raspberry Pi 2, Windows 10 will head to Qualcomm’s board – Raspberry Pi 2 has been the only announced option for enthusiasts looking to make electronics using Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10, but Qualcomm is now offering its DragonBoard 410c as an alternative. The credit card-size DragonBoard 410c is a board computer that Qualcomm has priced at around US$75, which is double that of the $35 Raspberry Pi 2. But with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 64-bit ARM CPUs, the Qualcomm board has a blend of horsepower, graphics and location-tracking capabilities not found on other board computers.

Here’s the hardware that will power Windows-based robots and connected homes – Microsoft has big plans for spreading Windows beyond phones, tablets, and PCs, and it’s just started talking about the hardware options. In a blog post, Microsoft revealed a few different chipsets that will support Windows 10 IoT, an initiative to bring Windows to new product categories such as connected homes, wearables, robots, and DIY computing kits. As Microsoft has already promised , the “Internet of Things” version of Windows will be free for “Makers” and device builders.

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Fix Netflix’s User Interface With God Mode – Ever spend more time looking for something to watch on Netflix than actually watching something on Netflix? That’s because of the site’s addiction to brevity. Titles are hidden by sliding bars that requires clicking to reveal more titles. This bookmarklet fixes the issue. It’s called God Mode and I love it. Just pop the bookmarklet into your bookmark bar and load Netflix. Once logged in, click the bookmark button to expand all the sliding bars into grids of movies. It’s not as pretty, but damn is easier to use.

Apple is ignoring a major problem with MacBook screen stains – You may remember back in late 2012, MacBook owners were reporting ghosting problems on their Retina Displays. However, Apple didn’t class that type of ghosting as worthy of repair much to the frustration of users who’d spent thousands purchasing the laptops. Well it’s happening again, but this time instead of ghosting, the display on some MacBooks can develop severe staining. And guess what? Apple is claiming this counts as cosmetic damage and therefore not covered under warranty. The problem for Apple is the fact this isn’t a problem only a handful of MacBook owners are experiencing. As of today, 443 people have complained, and a website has been created called Staingate to highlight the issue.

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Don’t Follow The Leader: These Phones and Carriers Could Make You Happier – If you’re on a great, big wireless carrier, with the same phone that millions of other people have, you need to look at switching. Tiny companies you’ve never heard of may be able to satisfy you in a way the big guys just can’t. That’s the message of our Reader’s Choice survey this year, and it’s empowering. It’s empowering because the little guys are competition, and when they compete, they drag everyone forward. They improve options and lower prices for everyone. Check them out. Even if you don’t switch, call up your carrier and threaten; it should be on notice.

Flickr Tab for Chrome brings beautiful pictures to your new tab – If you don’t already use Yahoo’s Weather app, I’d humbly suggest you start right now. In addition to being accurate, it feeds you info in a really neat format. The app also uses Flickr images as its background, which are just phenomenal and contextual pieces of art that will have you opening the app over and over. If you’re using google’s Chrome browser, Yahoo just unleashed an extension that lets you display brilliant Flickr images in new tabs as a background image.

Pixelmator for iPad sees massive update; new tools, tons of fixes – When Apple launched the iPad Air 2, they ushered the team at Pixelmator onto the stage to showcase their new iPad-only photo editing app. If you’ve not yet used Pixelmator on the iPad — it’s about as good as it gets for mobile photo editing (and image creation!). Forgoing the list of filters many others want to feed you, Pixelmator is a bit more ‘pro’ than most other iPad photo editing tools. Today, an update brings in much more functionality, and some new tools for users to check out.

Windows Live Mail stores your messages, but where? Here’s how to find them – Dig into Live Mail’s settings to manage email storage and other handy features.

Slack for Windows exits beta – Popular business-communication tool Slack has finally got on board with Windows. The well-funded start-up just released a desktop app for Windows 7 and up (including the Windows 10 technical preview). Slack is part of a new generation of business-focused communication tools that function as all-in-one messaging platforms. Instead of spreading your team across instant messaging apps and email, Slack wants to replace both with capabilities for quick or long-form messaging, and the ability to easily attach files for others to access.

Apple TV revisited: 4 reasons to buy it, 4 reasons to skip it – Apple TV sometimes feels like the black sheep of Cupertino, but it got some love last week when Apple dropped the price to $69. That’s $30 cheaper than the original price, making Apple TV just a little more competitive with media streamers from Roku, Amazon, and Google. If you need a streaming set-top box and have Apple TV back on your radar, allow me to help break it down.

Security:

Signature antivirus’ dirty little secret – If you rely only on traditional, signature-based antivirus, you are going to get infected—and probably a lot! Antivirus was, and still is, a valuable addition to your layered security strategy, but only if you understand its limitations, which have become more and more prominent over time.

Poorly managed password security poured fuel on hacker fire in 2014 – While enterprises are overlooking these building blocks, hackers surely are not, according to the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Quarterly released this week. The report said users with predictable or weak passwords, and passwords reused across the Internet and the enterprise continue to be fertile ground for launching data breaches. It’s the weakest link in the chain; end-users (and often IT admins) opting for ease-of-use over security. It’s a reality that continues to lengthen the poor track record of the password, and on the bright side could help hasten new authentication methods. The report says the millions of email address and plain-text passwords collected by hackers over the years are the starting points for compromising new sites, making password reuse a fatal flaw of end-users who are putting themselves at risk for brute-force attacks against their accounts.

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You need to apply the OpenSSL patches today, not tomorrow – At first glance, you might not think that the latest set of OpenSSL security patches are that important. Sure, there’s a dozen of them and two are serious, but are they really that bad? Yes, actually they’re not just bad, they’re awful. True, some operating systems, such as Red Hat Linux Enterprise (RHEL), aren’t greatly impacted by these latest problems. But if you’re using any operating system that uses OpenSSL 1.0.2 or OpenSSL versions: 1.0.1, 1.0.0 and 0.9.8, it’s another story.

Amazon doesn’t want you to know how many data demands it gets – Google, Microsoft and Apple have reported on data demands received from the US government. So why has Amazon kept quiet all this time?

Company News:

T-Mobile violated US labor laws, agency judge rules – T-Mobile, known for bashing its competitors in the wireless business, is in hot water for the treatment of its own employees. One of the nation’s largest wireless carriers violated federal labor laws by illegally restricting employees from discussing basic workplace issues like wages and suppressing their attempts to organize, according to Christine Dibble, an administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency created to enforce labor laws.

HBO, Showtime, and Sony want an Internet fast lane for TV streaming – In the wake of the FCC’s Net Neutrality vote, all web content is created equal. However, nothing is every black and white, and there is a new gray area when it comes to managed services. HBO, Showtime, and Sony Corp. are pushing for their streaming content to be treated separately and have talked to Comcast Corp. about being included in their separate data lane for “managed services.”

Opera Buys SurfEasy To Add Secure VPN Services To Its Browser Software – Opera, makers of a suite of software for browsing the web on mobile and desktop devices used by some 350 million consumers, has made another acquisition to build out the services it offers to users. It has acquired SurfEasy, makers of a virtual private network (VPN) app that lets users browse the web more securely. This is Opera’s first security-focused acquisition, and it is made in the context of a growing demand among consumers not just for easy and cheap ways to browse the internet — a market that Opera has squarely played into up to now — but also more private ways of doing so.

Google reportedly blackmailed websites into giving it content for free – In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission investigated Google to determine whether the company’s monopoly on the search market violated anti-trust laws. The Commission ultimately accepted a settlement with the search giant, but a confidential FTC report obtained by The Wall Street Journal reveals how deeply divided the Commission was over whether to sue. As part of the settlement, Google agreed to make minor changes to its business practices and argued that the report did not show wrongdoing. But key FTC officials, after collecting nine million documents in the course of the investigation, wanted to take direct legal action against the company. The report reveals why.

FAA Grants Amazon Permission To Test Drone Deliveries – The FAA just released a statement indicating that Amazon now has limited permission to test and develop drones in the United States. It’s not a blank check, though. The FAA gave Amazon strict rules and regulations. Amazon announced its drone ambitions in October 2013 and has since been grounded by the FAA. The federal agency was not as enthusiastic about Amazon’s plans, forcing the company to test its projects overseas. Since then, Amazon has been building and developing its drone project at Cambridge. Today’s news could bring the operation back to the states.

Games and Entertainment:

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s DLC ‘Ascendance’ hits Xbox on March 31 – The second Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC — titled “Ascendance” — will be arriving on March 31 for the Xbox One and the Xbox 360, it has been announced. PlayStation gamers will be forced to wait an extra month before it drops, but it looks to be worth the wait. Activision and Sledgehammer Games have detailed what the latest expansion will bring with it, and that includes the second chapter for the Exo Zombies mode and new weapons, among other things.

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Dead Trigger 2 is coming soon to Windows devices – Dead Trigger 2, the sequel to Dead Trigger, is an extremely popular game that has been available on Facebook, Android and iOS for quite some time. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s a mission based zombie-themed first person shooter with cutting edge graphics and superb controls. Although it’s not an open-world game, it does allow players to move and aim their guns at the walking dead. The great news is that after spending nearly two years on other platforms, the game is coming very soon to Windows devices as well.

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Watch This EVE: Valkyrie Trailer To Get A Taste Of What Space Combat Is Like In VR – It is very hard to convey how cool virtual reality experiences are if you haven’t had a chance to try it out for yourself using devices like the Oculus Rift, but this new EVE: Valkyrie trailer does a pretty good job. For added immersive effect, take your phone, put it at the bottom of a sock, and stretch the sock over your face while watching the above in full-screen mode. Or, you can take us at our word that experiencing this type of action in VR would, in fact, be mind-blowing.

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The iPhone’s best new puzzle game is about NSA surveillance – The most popular mobile games don’t demand much from you. You can zone out to Candy Crush Saga, and games like Threes only require your attention for short bursts. Out of sight, out of mind is a fine summation of my mobile gaming habit. TouchTone goes in a different direction. At its core it’s a series of logic puzzles, much like every other game on your smartphone; the difference is how they’re framed. In the game, you’re not solving puzzles in search of a high score to best your friends, but instead hacking into the personal emails and texts of ordinary citizens. The surveillance theme makes it feel completely different than anything else on the App Store.

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Watch Magic Leap’s Video Of Seamless Augmented Reality Office Game Play – The brief video shows examples of interacting with YouTube and Gmail apps, along with browsing a menu system for OS-level interaction. The person in the video from whose perspective it’s apparently shot then selects a shooter game, tests out a weapon after choosing from a variety of options, does some tower-defence style stuff by placing a current and fights some visually impressive but fairly generic baddies.

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PlayStation Vue: here’s what you need to know – Sony’s newest TV-based venture is PlayStation Vue, a system that works specifically on their PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 gaming devices. Now that we’re well and away from the launch of the PS4, a device that Sony assured the public was a “gamer-centric” system back in 2013, it’s time to get serious about bringing on television services. For the time being, PlayStation Vue – a TV channel service – will be available to Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia only, though more cities are on the way in the near future.

Off Topic (Sort of):

What is TV contrast ratio? – Contrast ratio is one of the most important aspects of picture quality, yet it’s poorly understood and often not even mentioned on TV specification sheets anymore. Here’s what you need to know.

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Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

There may be more Earth-like planets than grains of sand on all our beaches – The fascinating question of whether we are alone in the universe basically comes down to some intricate mathematical calculations. A new study combines exoplanet data from the Kepler Space Telescope with a new version of a 250-year-old method for determining orbital periods and positions of planets. The research calculates that in our galaxy alone, there could be billions of planets hosting liquid water, habitable conditions and perhaps even life.

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The CIA Just Declassified the Document That Supposedly Justified the Iraq Invasion – The National Intelligence Assessment was the classified document used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Newly declassified, it tells a much different story than the Bush administration told 12 years ago.

Arizona shooting victim stops to snap selfies of his wounds – After being shot in the shoulder in Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday, a student decides it would be a good idea to stop and snap a few selfies.

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Will robots take our jobs and overpower us? Bill Gates has some concerns – When anyone speaks of a twin threat, I tend to hear portentous music just behind my head. When that person is Bill Gates, a thumping begins inside my head. The Microsoft co-founder is another, you see, who worries about Robotworld. He is concerned that too many things might go wrong. For humanity, that is. Speaking to Re/Code after a TED talk Wednesday, Gates offered two threat scenarios, both of which are deeply uncomfortable.

The Surprising New Tech in March Madness Refs’ Whistles – This March Madness, a ref’s whistle blast will instantly stop the game clock, thanks to a a new technology that detects the shrill cry above the din of the crowd. The technology relies on a breakthrough in whistle design, the New York Times reports.

Something to think about:

“One of the risks inherent in the steady flow of leaks from Mr. Snowden and others is that the new reality they portray eventually becomes accepted, if not outright banal. Of course we are being surveilled all the time; of course our location is being tracked thanks to the GPS chips in our phones; of course the NSA is installing “back door” software on our Internet devices before we even buy them. At this point, it’s hard to imagine a surveillance revelation that would actually surprise anyone, no matter how Orwellian.”

–     Mathew IngramThe Globe and Mail

Today’s Free Downloads:

Restore Point Creator – Create and manage System Restore Points quickly and easily, all from a free simple program. No more drilling through multiple menus in Windows just to create a System Restore Point, now all you have to do is run this program and that’s it. Follow the simple program layout and you have your System Restore Point created in no time at all.

Plus, for users of Windows 7 and Windows 8, creating System Restore Points is even quicker and easier with this program. Just pin this program to the Taskbar and you have the ability to quickly create System Restore Points using one of the two pinned Tasks (“Create System Checkpoint” and “Create Custom Named”) that the program creates. It’s that simple.

Create System Checkpoint – Creates a System Restore Point with the name of “System Checkpoint made by System Restore Point Creator”

Create Custom Named – Asks you what you want your System Restore Point to be named and then creates one based upon what you inputted.

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ImDisk Toolkit – This all-in-one package includes the ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver, the DiscUtils library and an easier to use graphical user interface (GUI).

This tool will let you mount image files of hard drive, cd-rom or floppy, and create one or several RamDisks with various parameters.

The full package supports the following image file formats (non exhaustive list):

vhd, vdi and vmdk (static, dynamic and vmdk multipart)

iso, nrg, bin (read-only)

raw formats (img, ima, raw, vfd…)

dmg

sdi (some versions only)

Some other formats may work but require tests, and the non Windows file systems may need additional drivers.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Snowden: IT workers are now target of spies – Spies are increasingly targeting IT staff to gain access to key elements of internet infrastructure and sensitive databases, NSA contractor-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned.

“It’s not that they are looking for terrorists, it’s not that they are looking for bad guys, it’s that they are looking for people with access to infrastructure. They are looking for service providers, they are looking for systems administrators, they’re looking for engineers,” he said, speaking at the CeBIT technology show in Germany via a video link from Russia.

He added: “They are looking for the people who are in this room right now: you will be the target. Not because you are a terrorist, not because you are suspected of any criminal wrongdoing, but because you have access to systems, you have access to infrastructure, you have access to the private records, people’s private lives. These are the things that they want. It is important for us to come together and prevent that from happening.”

Snowden isn’t the only one to warn that IT staff are being targeted by spies, although mostly the finger is being pointed at foreign intelligence agencies.

Political Pressure To Pass CISA Quickly Could Pose ‘Big Problem’ For Civil Liberties – For years lawmakers and civil liberties advocates have sparred over cybersecurity legislation that would allow companies to share information with government agencies and each other.

Now the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, better known as CISA, is back. Despite recent amendments intended to bolster protection of consumers’ personal information, privacy advocates worry that political pressure arising from a recent string of high-profile cyberattacks on companies such as Sony could result in Congress pushing through a bill, as ACLU legislative counsel/policy advisor Gabe Rottman said, “recklessly.”

“This is a surveillance bill by another name,” said Rottman, who said the bill would create exceptions to privacy law and too broadly defines what the government can do with information it collects under CISA.

Last year CISA failed to reach the floor after civil liberties advocates denounced the bill, and the White House promised to veto it. But after a closed mark-up session this week, the bill sailed through the Intelligence Committee with a 14-1 vote of support.

Intelligence Committee chairman Senator Richard Burr yesterday praised the adjusted bill, which could see a vote as early as April.

US Threatened Germany Over Snowden, Vice Chancellor Says – German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said this week in Homburg that the U.S. government threatened to cease sharing intelligence with Germany if Berlin offered asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or otherwise arranged for him to travel to that country. “They told us they would stop notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters,” Gabriel said.

The vice chancellor delivered a speech in which he praised the journalists who worked on the Snowden archive, and then lamented the fact that Snowden was forced to seek refuge in “Vladimir Putin’s autocratic Russia” because no other nation was willing and able to protect him from threats of imprisonment by the U.S. government (I was present at the event to receive an award). That prompted an audience member to interrupt his speech and yell out: “Why don’t you bring him to Germany, then?”

There has been a sustained debate in Germany over whether to grant asylum to Snowden, and a major controversy arose last year when a Parliamentary Committee investigating NSA spying divided as to whether to bring Snowden to testify in person, and then narrowly refused at the behest of the Merkel government. In response to the audience interruption, Gabriel claimed that Germany would be legally obligated to extradite Snowden to the U.S. if he were on German soil.

Team Australia, your surveillance is ready – The vote that assured the citizens of Australia will live under the impost of a two-year mandatory data-retention regime is recorded in Hansard with the following line:

“The House divided and only Mr Bandt, Ms McGowan, and Mr Wilkie voting ‘No’.”

And so it was that Australia’s intelligence and law-enforcement services became one Senate vote away from being successful in their lobbying to create a sliding two-year window that could track the communications metadata of all Australians, and the movements of any person in the nation who carries a mobile phone.

Ever since the Coalition government decided that Australia needed to have its communications tracked and noted, ministers have bandied about the misinformation that what was contained in the data-retention legislation was nothing above and beyond the information telcos collect when going about their normal business.

Filming cops from within a 25-foot radius could be illegal in Texas – A bill outlawing the filming of police within a 25-foot radius landed in a Texas legislative committee late Wednesday, a measure that carries a maximum 180-day jail term and $2,000 fine.

The proposed buffer would increase to 100 feet for individuals carrying firearms, according to the legislation proposed by Rep. Jason Villalba, a Dallas Republican whose measure was referred to the House Committee on Emerging Issues In Texas Law Enforcement. Maximum penalties for violating the gun restriction are a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

“They have the ability to say, ‘Step back, please don’t interfere,’ but a lot of times these situations are in the heat of a law enforcement officer doing their jobs,” Villalba said. “We’re just trying to create enough separation, enough space so that officer feels comfortable.”

Villalba also told the Dallas Observer that he’s “not trying to limit the ability to film.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas blasted the proposal, saying the public has a First Amendment right to record officers. “HB 2918 would deprive us of an important check against abuse of power by the police,” the group said.

China’s biggest anti-censorship service is under attack – Someone is trying to wipe China’s biggest anti-censorship service off the internet. For the past two days, the mirror websites run by GreatFire.org have been under an unprecedented denial-of-service attack, receiving more than 2 billion requests per hour. “We are not equipped to handle a DDoS attack of this magnitude and we need help,” the site said in a statement this morning. “This kind of attack is aggressive and is an exhibition of censorship by brute force.”

GreatFire’s mirroring service serves as a kind of secondary home for sites like Google or The Tibet Post that would otherwise be blocked by China’s web censorship systems. That makes it harder to block through conventional means, but it’s still vulnerable to brute force attacks at the hosting level. Denial-of-service attacks are notoriously easy to launch, allowing relatively unsophisticated attackers to bring down comparatively large targets.

The attack seems to have come in response to a Wall Street Journal article published on Monday, which described FreeWeibo’s mirroring system in extensive detail, and may have inadvertently tipped off Chinese censors to potential attack points in FreeWeibo’s system. The attacks began Tuesday, the day after the article went live, and have continued for more than 48 hours as of press time. The attack affects all of FreeWeibo’s mirror sites, and while there’s no evidence of who is responsible, it coincides with stronger enforcement efforts from China’s Cyberspace Administration, which has publicly decried FreeWeibo’s efforts. FreeWeibo says there have also been efforts to intercept internal emails through impersonation.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 10, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About The Apple Watch;  iOS 8.2 rolls out bringing improvements and compulsory Apple Watch app;  The Apple Watch Compared To The Competition;  Minecraft update reduces security risks on PCs;  Google Rolls Out Android 5.1 Lollipop;  Samsung opens Milk Music to everyone via the Web;  What happens when a hard drive crashes;  Xiaomi solves Mi 4 malware dustup: device was counterfeit;  Roku vs. Apple TV vs. Chromecast vs. Amazon Fire TV;  New Xbox One bundle includes ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ at no extra cost;  Apple TV price cut to $69, £59 or AU$109;  Apple locks HBO Now for ‘Game of Thrones’;  Apple ResearchKit Turns iPhones Into Medical Diagnostic Devices;  The Best iPhone Games of the Week;  Heavy smartphone use linked to lazy thinkers, low intelligence.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Everything You Need To Know About The Apple Watch – Apple has finally revealed all regarding the Apple Watch, the wrist-based wearable it first introduced last September. Many of the Apple Watch’s particulars were already known, but here, for the first time, is a comprehensive look at what will no doubt become the world’s most popular smartwatch. Pre-orders will begin on April 10th. The device will start shipping on April 24th, and cost anywhere from $349 to $10,000 depending on style.

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9 facts you didn’t know you wanted to know about Apple Watch – According to Apple, it’s “everything a watch should be,” including very expensive and owned by models!

The Apple Watch Compared To The Competition – After nearly half a year of suspense, we finally have all the details about the Apple Watch, including when it’ll launch, how much it’ll cost, and what the user experience will be like. That means we can take a step back and look at how it compares to the rest of the smartwatch market. To make this a fair fight, we’ve taken the Apple Watch and put it up against premium smartwatches — other devices made from expensive-feeling metal and glass, with apps that communicate with those on your phone to keep you from spending all of your time staring at your iOS- or Android-powered pocket slate.

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Use This Ingenious Trick to Choose the Right Apple Watch Size – It basically costs a dollar to tell which one’s right for you.

iOS 8.2 rolls out bringing improvements and compulsory Apple Watch app – The iOS update, which is detailed below, also brought with it the Apple Watch app to iPhone which cannot be deleted, the app joins an array of compulsory Apple apps that can’t be deleted including Passbook, Tips, Stocks, Weather, Calendar, Clock, FaceTime, Contacts, iBooks, Compass, Maps, Health, Newsstand, Photos, Camera, Notes, Messages, Voice Memos, the iTunes Store, and the App Store.

Google Rolls Out Android 5.1 Lollipop – Google on Monday rolled out some “tasty additions” to its Android Lollipop mobile operating system, adding some new capabilities like multiple-SIM card support. Android 5.1 “improves stability and performance” in phones and tablets running Lollipop, Google Android Platform executive Dave Burke wrote in a blog post. In addition to supporting multiple SIM slots in phones, the 5.1 update adds Device Protection to phones and slates running Lollipop, meaning that “your lost or stolen device will remain locked until you sign in with your Google account—even if someone resets your device to factory settings,” Burke said.

Let Authy handle your Android two-step authentication – For those sites and services that support two-step authentication, having a single tool to handle that would be a boon for many users. That’s exactly what Authy is. With this easy-to-use app, you can enable two-step verification on any service that takes advantage of Google authentication (such as Gmail, Dropbox, Lastpass, and Amazon Web Services). So, if you’re hoping for an easier means for two-step authentication, let’s install Authy and see if it meets that need.

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Rocketbook digitizes notes, then erases them in the microwave – Try as we might, some of us cannot substitute writing on paper with writing on a display, no matter how sensitive the device and precise the stylus. Still, digital copies are the best way to store notes, and notebooks that digitize what one writes have been the long-running compromise, giving the best of both worlds. Rocketbook is one example of this, but with a twist: when writing with a specific pen, one can microwave the notebook for 30 seconds to erase the papers, making the same paper notebook reusable.

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What happens when a hard drive crashes – We’re all terrified of the day when our hard drive just stops working. Here’s what goes on inside the drive when disaster strikes.

Apple ResearchKit Turns iPhones Into Medical Diagnostic Devices – ResearchKit lets people take tests like saying “ahhh” to detect vocal variations, walking in a line, or tapping in rhythm to test for Parkinson’s Disease. Users will decide how to share their data and Apple won’t see it. And to advance its evolution, ResearchKit will be open source. ResearchKit will be available next month, and the first five tests built with it will become available today. They help people participate in tests for Parkinson’s, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and breast cancer.

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Samsung opens Milk Music to everyone via the Web – Samsung is bringing its free Milk Music streaming radio service to more users via the Web as promised in January. Until now, Milk Music has been available as an app only for Samsung’s smartphones, tablets, TVs and smartwatches, but starting Monday it will be available to anyone with a browser. Users will need to create an account on Samsung’s Web site to access the service .

Roku vs. Apple TV vs. Chromecast vs. Amazon Fire TV: Which streamer should you buy? – Which has the most apps? Which has the coolest features? Which one is the best? The most popular media streamers all have their merits, so we’ll help you decide which box is right for you.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Facebook to close FriendFeed in April – A flash from the past is being shut down, Facebook has announced. It’s the now-dated social network FriendFeed, and the number of people still using it are dropping quickly, leaving little incentive for Facebook — which bought it more than a handful of years ago — to keep it around. Those still using the service will have a few more weeks to get any of their data off of it and say their final farewell, with the closure being scheduled to take place on April 9.

Visual Studio 2013 Update 5 CTP 3 Released – Microsoft has released a new Community Technical Preview of Visual Studio 2013 Update 5 and if you want to download the bits, you can find the link after the jump.

Security:

Xiaomi solves Mi 4 malware dustup: device was counterfeit – Yesterday, news surfaced that the Xiaomi Mi 4 came preloaded with malware. While we can handle a little bloatware, malware is just — no. Even more subversive than straight-up malware, some of the apps installed were disguised as Google apps. Security company Bluebox, who released the report, even suggested Xiaomi handed their handset off to a third party to get the malware installed, which is about as low as you can get. Now, Xiaomi has their say, and comfortably quashed any thought of malware on their devices.

Minecraft update reduces security risks on PCs – Minecraft is a very popular video game that lets players build just about anything they can dream up using blocks of all sorts of materials. What players can build in the game is only limited by their imagination and patience placing blocks. One of the drawbacks of Minecraft in the past was a potential to leave PCs with security vulnerabilities. These security issues were due to the Java run-anywhere code base that the game required. That particular Java code left PCs vulnerable to security exploits and adware. Those security vulnerabilities have now been reduced thanks to an update that landed over the last few weeks.

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A few small steps for man, a giant leap for online security – The online world is vast. Just follow these straightforward tips, which will make it harder for hackers, and keep you secure.

Cyberespionage arsenal could be tied to French intelligence – A collection of computer Trojans that have been used since 2009 to steal data from government agencies, military contractors, media organizations and other companies is tied to cyberespionage malware possibly created by French intelligence agencies. Researchers from several antivirus companies have found links between the malware programs, which they call Babar, Bunny, Casper, Dino, NBot and Tafacalou.

Company News:

Microsoft asks U.S. court to ban Kyocera’s Android phones – Microsoft has asked a court in Seattle to ban Kyocera’s DuraForce, Hydro and Brigadier lines of cellular phones in the U.S., alleging that they infringed seven Microsoft patents. The software giant has in its complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington charged that some Kyocera phone features that come from its use of the Android operating system infringe its patents.

Google hires Twitter’s data guy – Google just hired one of the most important people at Twitter to join their team as Trends Data Editor. Not that Simon Rogers is going to make or break a company like Twitter, but the ability to do what he did for Twitter – and what he’ll be doing for Google – is really, really is an important role. Especially for the public, seeing how events explode in a virtual way, seeing that sort of thing clearly, and easily – that’s what Rogers does.

Intel Unveils First 14nm, Xeon D SoCs – Intel on Monday introduced its 14-nanometer Xeon D family of microserver processors, bringing System-on-a-Chip (SoC) capabilities to the company’s Xeon line of datacenter products for the first time. The first Xeon D products are the quad-core Xeon Processor D-1520, priced at $199, and the eight-core Xeon Processor D-1540, priced at $581. Both new SoCs are available today. Intel said Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, NEC, Quanta Cloud Technology, Sugon, and Supermicro are among the companies designing microservers based on Xeon D.

Tesla’s China troubles lead to job cuts – Tesla has lofty goals, and it has grown its workforce steadily over the last year or so. Still, the Chinese market has proven problematic for the auto maker, and now those troubles are leading to job cuts. That doesn’t mean Tesla is giving up on the market — to the contrary, this “restructuring” is taking place so that the company can continue to operate there, at least according to the auto maker. It isn’t clear how many jobs are on the chopping block at this point.

Uber, Lyft, Sidecar asked by US lawmakers to use fingerprint checks of drivers – Eight members of the U.S. Congress have asked Uber Technologies, Lyft and Sidecar Technologies to adopt fingerprint-based background checks of their drivers, describing the procedure as “more comprehensive and harder to fake.” The ride-hailing companies have come under increasing pressure to better vet their drivers, particularly in the wake of reports of sexual and other assaults by drivers in some cities.

Games and Entertainment:

Apple TV price cut to $69, £59 or AU$109 – At the Apple Watch event today Tim Cook announced a price cut on the Apple TV box, bringing it down to $69 in the US and £59 in the UK. In Australia it stays the same at AU$109, due to a downturn in the Australian dollar. Since its debut in March 2012 the streaming box has sold for $99 in the US.

Apple locks HBO Now for ‘Game of Thrones’ – Attention cord-cutting “Game of Thrones” fans: If you want to watch the new season of the hit fantasy while it’s new, you better be an Apple fan too. Apple’s exclusive launch of HBO Now will last through the entirety of the new fifth season of “Game of Thrones.” That exclusive lasts three months, HBO said, and because HBO Now’s launch in early April precedes the season premiere April 12, a standard 10-episode season will run its course before owners of Roku, Google’s Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire TV will get a shot at subscribing.

New Xbox One bundle includes ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ at no extra cost – Halo fans who have yet to buy an Xbox One now have a compelling reason to do so: Microsoft is now offering “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” for free as part of a $350 bundle with its newest gaming console. According to a post on the company’s official Xbox Wire website, “The Master Chief Collection” will be available for free with the Xbox One bundle in the U.S. and “most regions where Xbox One is available.” The game will come as a digital download to consumers purchasing the bundle, though no additional details were provided.

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GTA Online Heists update details leaked online – GTA Online Heists is a new mode which will officially launch tomorrow as a free update. However, some users have already posted screenshots with several details indicating that they prematurely received the update overnight. These users claim that the download size is a hefty 4.8 GB on the Xbox One but is relatively smaller on the Xbox 360 weighing in at 1.2 GB. The long-awaited add-on includes five new heist missions along with an assortment of weapons, armored cars, costumes and masks. Nine achievements worth 250 gamerscore have also been added, amounting to a total of 1250 gamerscore. The missions include beating a heist without taking damage and spending in-game money on the new cars.

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ScreenStick is a stick-on joystick for tablets – Mobile gaming has become a sophisticated hobby over the years, and anyone who enjoys it quickly grows tired of on-screen digital controls. The solution is a mobile gamepad, of which there is no shortage, but they all come with the same design: a clip in which a smartphone or tablet is slid, positioning it above a standard gaming controller. ScreenStick is different, putting physical joysticks on your device’s display using suction cups for a more natural feel when holding the device.

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Xbox Live for Windows 10 will be free for online multiplayer gaming – Microsoft is finally bringing Xbox Live to Windows PCs and phones in a meaningful way with Windows 10, and with it comes the possibility of online multiplayer gaming using Microsoft’s gaming service. While Microsoft currently charges Xbox One owners to use online multiplayer gaming, the software maker has no plans to extend that to Windows 10 PCs or phones. Microsoft’s Larry Hryb, otherwise known as Major Nelson, confirmed the plans on Twitter last week in response to concerns over Xbox Live on Windows 10. “Not charging,” says Hryb, “Xbox Live Gold will not be required for online multiplayer gaming using our service on Windows 10 PCs and Phones.”

The Best iPhone Games of the Week – Had enough Candy Crush and looking for some fun new games to play on your iPhone? Here are five favorites TIME rounded up this week.

Off Topic (Sort of):

This is the first Apple Watch TV commercial – Apple is starting to air its first TV commercial for the Apple Watch. It features the usual array of floating products set to white backgrounds and mesmerizing music. There’s no voiceover here, you just see “the watch is coming” and the April 24th launch date alongside various features like fitness, mapping, timing, flight tracking, weather, Passbook, and even messaging or calls. The focus is very much on the changing bands throughout the 60-second ad, with a lot of different styles displayed. It’s bold, typically Apple, and you’ll likely see it a lot of times on your TV over the next few weeks.

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The Apple Watch Isn’t A Watch, It’s An iPhone Sales Engine – The Apple Watch is not a watch in the same way that the iPhone was not a phone — or at least not what we knew to be a phone at the time. “Watch” is not the device’s primary functionality, just as “phone” was not the iPhone’s primary functionality. iPhone was an honest-to-god computer in your pocket — and Apple Watch is an honest-to-god iPhone on your wrist. But there’s a big caveat: It’s an iPhone on your wrist that requires yet another iPhone in your pocket.

Samsung made a $30,000 high-tech dog house – Apple’s engineers are hard at work on an ultramodern car. Samsung’s? They just finished making a dog house. A really, really fancy dog house. Samsung is sponsoring the world’s biggest dog show, Crufts, this year. They look a bit odd next to a bunch of pet food and pet insurance companies, what with them not really being in a pet-related business. It’s one of the few things they’re not active in, really. To fit in with the likes of Purina and Orijen, Samsung engineers and designers whipped up this insanely modern dog house. It’s packed with technology to pamper the savvy pooch in your life. All that gadgetry comes at a price, of course: roughly $30,000.

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We have no self-control: America’s most powerful men explain why they’re scared of email – As two of Congress’ most senior representatives, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain sit on many of the most important committees overseeing the business of the United States government. Which has left observers all the more confused and disturbed that they seem to be doing so without use of arguably the most pervasive and influential written communication application in the world. The solution to vast intrusions into privacy, in the senior lawmakers’ eyes, is seemingly not to protect citizens from those carrying out surveillance but to simply opt out of using technology altogether. And that is far more disturbing that the use of personal email by a former secretary of state.

Solar airplane soars to start first-ever round-the-world trip – The Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Abu Dhabi on the first leg of an attempted 20,000-mile circumnavigation of the globe — an unprecedented journey for a sun-powered craft.

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Heavy smartphone use linked to lazy thinkers, low intelligence – The University of Waterloo has carried out a study of 660 people focusing on the cognitive style of participants combined with their smartphone habits. More specifically, they looked at the type of thinkers they are, ranging from very intuitive right through to very analytical. They also looked at verbal and numerical skills. The University stops short of claiming smartphones decrease intelligence, stating further research would be required for that. However, if you consider how many children carry a smartphone around today, it’s not hard to imagine how their ability to learn may be inhibited by the always available alternative brain in their pocket.

Pointing up    Lazy and stupid smartphone users – I don’t know much about. Ignorant, rude and crass smartphone users – I know lots about.

After taking phone giants’ money, these Republicans want to kill net neutrality – More than 30 members of Congress are rallying behind a bill that threatens the new rules introduced by the FCC.

Something to think about:

“Human rights do not stand in the way of security that is universal, durable and inclusive. Human rights are in fact the very key.”

–     Toronto Star

Today’s Free Downloads:

Auslogics Disk Defrag – Get the best performance out of your expensive hardware investments, improve your PC’s performance and stability.

Disk fragmentation leads to system slowdowns, PC crashes, slow startup and shutdown and sometimes to system failures.

Auslogics Disk Defrag is designed for fast optimization of today’s modern hard disks. Get the maximum performance out of your expensive hardware investments. And it’s absolutely FREE.

Hard disks are by far the slowest component in your computer. CPU and memory work much faster than hard disks because they do not have moving parts. Therefore fragmented disks often become a bottleneck of the system performance.

Besides causing slowdowns, fragmentation makes the hard drive disk heads move frequently when reading files which leads to freeze-ups and system crashes. It is important to keep your disks defragmented and optimized as much as possible.

Features:

Improve computer performance and stability

Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open

Defragment disks in only a few minutes

Useful disk fragmentation map and detailed fragmentation report

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Anti-terror bill a setback for human rights in Canada – Want to feel more secure? Bill C-51, now being examined by a parliamentary committee in three weeks of truncated hearings, aims to establish criminal offences that infringe free expression, unprecedented intrusive intelligence powers, breathtakingly vast definitions of security, unbridled sharing of information and stunning levels of secrecy; all while doing nothing to enhance review, oversight and accountability of Canada’s national security agencies.

The message is that human rights have to give way to keep terrorism at bay. The relationship between the two is seen as a zero-sum game. More safety means fewer rights. Stronger regard for rights leads to greater insecurity.

It is time to turn that around. Human rights do not stand in the way of security that is universal, durable and inclusive. Human rights are in fact the very key.

Schneier on Security: Attack Attribution and Cyber Conflict – The vigorous debate after the Sony Pictures breach pitted the Obama administration against many of us in the cybersecurity community who didn’t buy Washington’s claim that North Korea was the culprit.

What’s both amazing — and perhaps a bit frightening — about that dispute over who hacked Sony is that it happened in the first place.

But what it highlights is the fact that we’re living in a world where we can’t easily tell the difference between a couple of guys in a basement apartment and the North Korean government with an estimated $10 billion military budget. And that ambiguity has profound implications for how countries will conduct foreign policy in the Internet age.

Immediately After Launching Effort to Scuttle Iran Deal, Senator Tom Cotton to Meet with Defense Contractors – In an open letter organized by freshman Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., 47 Senate Republicans today warned the leaders of Iran that any nuclear deal reached with President Barack Obama could expire as soon as he leaves office.

Tomorrow, 24 hours later, Cotton will appear at an “Off the Record and strictly Non-Attribution” event with the National Defense Industrial Association, a lobbying and professional group for defense contractors.

The NDIA is composed of executives from major military businesses such as Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications, ManTech International, Boeing, Oshkosh Defense and Booz Allen Hamilton, among other firms.

Cotton strongly advocates higher defense spending and a more aggressive foreign policy. As The New Republic’s David Ramsey noted, “Pick a topic — Syria, Iran, Russia, ISIS, drones, NSA snooping — and Cotton can be found at the hawkish outer edge of the debate…During his senate campaign, he told a tele-townhall that ISIS and Mexican drug cartels joining forces to attack Arkansas was an ‘urgent problem.’”

“Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., 47 Senate Republicans today warned the leaders of Iran that any nuclear deal reached with President Barack Obama could expire as soon as he leaves office.”

Pointing up   Each of the signatories to this letter should be arrested and charged with Treason. 

According to the U.S. legal code, the definition of treason is fairly specific: 

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 3, 2014

The Best Antivirus for 2014;  How to recycle your electronics and gadgets;  20 Awesome Tech Gifts for $20 or Less;  How to recycle your electronics and gadgets;  Seven outstanding gifts for the Android fan;  11 Yahoo Mail Tips for Easier Emailing;  How to download audio from any streaming video;  Firefox for Android adds Chromecast support;  Which e-retailers have good user security?  Eight social networks worth a closer look;  Google Chromecast overtakes Apple TV;  That privacy notice you’re posting to Facebook? It won’t work;  Sprint halves rate plans for AT&T and Verizon defectors;  How to limit your PC’s data usage while tethering;  Tweaking.com – Simple System Tweaker (free).

The Best Antivirus for 2014 – Which of this year’s premium antivirus tools is the best to protect your PC? We test them all to help you pick the right one.

20 Awesome Tech Gifts for $20 or Less – Whether you’re a bit short on cash, or you don’t want to make it look like you care too much (one-month relationships, this means you), there are plenty of low-cost gift options. Tiny treasures for $20 and under can totally save someone’s day, and will make most welcome gifts this holiday season.

Seven outstanding gifts for the Android fan in all of us – The holidays are upon up and time to give gifts. For those that are tech-inclined, you could always dole out for a new server (if you’ve got the money), or a sweet gaming laptop (again, if you’ve got the money). Of, if that someone you love, respect, or just want to suck up to is an Android fan or user, you could get them a mobile-centric gift they can add to their Android arsenal. Fear not, intrepid reader, I have collected a handy gift guide for you. Scroll through this list of possible items to see if there isn’t something your Android lover can use.

How to limit your PC’s data usage while tethering – When you absolutely have to have an Internet connection, tethering your laptop to your phone is sometimes your only option. It happened to me the other day after a big thunderstorm knocked out my broadband for a few hours. But even with my multi-gigabyte carrier plan, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having my PC suck down too much of my monthly mobile data allotment. If you find yourself in a similar situation here are a few tips to reduce your data usage while tethering.

How to recycle your electronics and gadgets – From TVs to computers, it’s important to recycle electronics rather than tossing them in the trash. Here’s a handy list of where and how you can get rid of unwanted gadgets.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

11 Yahoo Mail Tips for Easier Emailing – Reportedly over 100 million people use Yahoo Mail every single day—that’s second only to Google’s Gmail. That means it’s time to take a closer look at Yahoo Mail and see what tweaks and tricks are under the surface, waiting to be used. Hit the slideshow for our quick collection of the 11 best Yahoo Mail tips.

How to download audio from any streaming video – Streaming video is great, but sometimes it’s more than you need—or more than you can run, if you’re away from an Internet connection. In this article, we’ll show you how easy it is to download just the audio file from any streaming video and save it to your hard drive for offline listening.

Twitter Releases New Suite Of Anti-Harassment Tools, Promises Faster Response Times For Dealing With Abuse – Twitter this morning has released a new set of anti-harassment tools that make it easier for users to flag abuse on the network, as well as describe more specifically why they’re blocking or reporting a Twitter account. Twitter had made it fairly simple to report spam, but the new tools allow users to report a variety of troubles, including impersonations, harassment, and even self-harm or suicide. In addition, users can report the harassment on behalf of other users, even if they’re not the target themselves, which is a big change.

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That privacy notice you’re posting to Facebook? It won’t work – A new wave of Facebook users is posting a new privacy notice to their Facebook walls, hoping to protect their posts and photos from being used without their permission. Chalk up another hoax notice that doesn’t actually do anything. Users have been posting the hoax privacy post, in one form or another, since 2012 according to the Snopes.com website, which debunks urban myths.

Vimeo re-works mobile site hoping you’ll start using it – Vimeo may not be the video service you go to, but changes introduced today may change that. The streaming media service today is rolling out changes to their mobile website, aimed at getting people watching and sharing more than they ever did via Vimeo. According to Vimeo, the mobile site now does a few things well, but no longer attempts to recreate the desktop experience on your phone or tablet. They’ve even rolled in the ability to save videos for viewing later, should you not have an account or forget to sign in.

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Status Automatically Tells Your Friends What You’re Up To And If Your Phone Is Dead – Your phone is dead. Or you’re driving. Or you’re in a meeting. Your girlfriend/boyfriend/lover-person is trying to call you. You didn’t pick up, so now they’re assuming you’re either a) ignoring them or b) dead. Meet Status, an iOS/Android app built to end that.

Pizza Hut ‘Subconscious Menu’ Reads Your Mind – Can’t decide which toppings to get on your pizza? No worries. Pizza Hut wants to make it easy. The pizza chain has partnered with eye-tracking firm Tobii Technology to develop what it calls the “world’s first subconscious menu,” designed to recognize what you want, even when you don’t know yourself. In development for six months, the menu is completely controlled by your retina. In other words, you can now order pizza with your eyes.

Firefox for Android adds Chromecast support, newly polished theme – Firefox for Android can now mirror your browser to the TV thanks to new support for Google’s Chromecast. This is one of several goodies tucked away inside version 34, which is rolling out in the Google Play Store.

Eight social networks worth a closer look – If you are fed up with Facebook and tired of Twitter you might want a change of social scene. Try these up and coming social networks that are well worth a look for users and brands.

Security:

Which e-retailers have good user security? – Password management company LastPass has compared ten web retail companies based on several user security rules. LastPass comes up with a list of “naughty” and “nice” based on total scores in the comparison (see their infographic below for the cute version of the summary) but the detailed results clarify some of the distinctions. Here are the detailed results. The full LastPass table includes explanations for the individual scores, each of which is out of a possible ten.

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Critical networks in US, 15 other nations, completely owned, possibly by Iran – For more than two years, pro-Iranian hackers have penetrated some of the world’s most sensitive computer networks, including those operated by a US-based airline, auto maker, natural gas producer, defense contractor, and military installation, security researchers said. Compromised systems in the ongoing attacks include Active Directory domain controllers that store employee login credentials, servers running Microsoft Windows and Linux, routers, switches, and virtual private networks. With more than 50 victims that include airports, hospitals, telecommunications providers, chemical companies, and governments, the Iranian-backed hackers are reported to have extraordinary control over much of the world’s critical infrastructure.

Pointing up   So, where is the vaunted NSA (and the rest of the alphabet soup of lying, thieving government agencies), in all of this? Too bloody busy formulating invasive techniques designed to intimidate and control you, it seems. Government security theatre shown once more to be the BIG LIE that it is.

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Geographic distribution of victims, as determined by the global headquarters of the parent company or organization breached.

Making a hash of passwords – After so many high-profile data breaches, it’s time developers learned that storing passwords is a really bad idea. And there is a perfectly workable alternative.

Australians visiting more malicious sites: Trend Micro – Trend Micro’s third-quarter security report for 2014 has found that Australia now ranks fifth in the world for countries with the highest number of visits to malicious sites.

California will send a man to jail for posting nude pictures of his ex online – California just sent its first serious message to people who post “revenge porn” online. The state convicted a man today after he posted topless pictures of his ex-partner on her employer’s Facebook page. He will spend a year in jail and three years in probation. He will also have to stay away from his ex. \California enacted its “revenge porn” law in 2013. The law makes it illegal for anyone to post sexually explicit videos or nude pictures online without first obtaining the consent of the person included in the pictures. Originally the law only covered pictures and videos taken by someone other than the person portrayed in them, but California’s law was expanded in August to include selfies as well.

Company News:

Despite losses, Amazon CEO plans more risk-taking – Jeff Bezos says his company will continue to experiment and tells people to “stay tuned” for more about Amazon’s unpopular Fire Phone.

Google Chromecast overtakes Apple TV to become the second most-used US streaming device – Google’s Chromecast has overtaken the Apple TV to become the second most used streaming device in US households. The search giant’s streaming device now holds 20% of the market, while the Apple TV holds 17%. Despite this, the Apple TV remains in front of Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV stick, which both took up 10% of the market, combined.

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Sonos Scores $130M To Put Smart Speakers In Every Home – Suddenly, music is a business again. After years of wallowing in the post-Napster/iTunes era, streaming is beginning to take hold and everyone’s phone is now an iPod. So while Sonos has been in the smart home audio business since 2002, now’s the time to push for mainstream adoption. That’s why it makes sense that Sonos just raised $130 million, according to an SEC filing.

Google donates 1 million dollars to New York libraries for free WiFi hotspot rentals – The sizable donation will result in approximately 10,000 portable Sprint WiFi hotspots being made available for rental at Queens Library, the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. The donation Google has made will be in addition to the 500,000 dollars already raised from “other” nonprofitable causes. It is hoped that people all over the American city will benefit as a result of the rollout.

Sprint halves rate plans for AT&T and Verizon defectors – The carrier gets aggressive with an offer to slash monthly data prices for new customers switching from Sprint’s biggest rivals.

Games and Entertainment:

The Best iPhone Games You Can Play One-Handed – Far too many iPhone games take two hands to play, rendering them useless if you’re strap-hanging on a subway or bus. For those rush-hour commuters out there, here are the best iPhone games you can download and play with only a single free paw.

Steam takes on Twitch with new broadcasting feature – Valve is moving into video game streaming with a new broadcasting feature for Steam. Launching in beta today, the feature will let Steam users watch other people play games without leaving the service. It sounds like it’s primarily designed so you can watch your friends — Valve advertises it as a way to “watch friends play, with the click of a button” — but there’s also a public option that lets anyone view a game stream, which puts the service in direct competition with Twitch. You can also use it not only from the Steam client, but also from either Chrome or Safari.

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Kickstarter: Play Game Boy classic games directly on your TV in full HD – An exciting Kickstarter project is currently seeking $65,000 as its funding goal. What does it do? It will allow you to play original Game Boy Classic games directly on your TV in full HD.

Assassin’s Creed: Victory – 2015’s AC heads to London – Victorian Era London has been leaked as the next big location for Ubisoft’s yearly Assassin’s Creed release. This game will be sent out to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and is currently code-named – or perhaps named in the end – Assassin’s Creed Victory. Assassin’s Creed Unity was originally code-named Unity, so we could very well see the same sort of situation take hold here. Screenshots of this game have leaked alongside the name and location, showing how far along this game is in development – or at least in presentation.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Windows 10 could prompt upgrades of 600M aging PCs – Millions of PCs are aging, and those who have resisted Windows 8 will likely upgrade to computers with Windows 10. The initial reception to a test version of Windows 10 has been positive, as it resolves many usability issues affecting Windows 8. There are about 600 million PCs that are four years or older, and those systems are ripe for upgrades, said Renee James, president at Intel, at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference on Tuesday.

Data caps, limited competition a recipe for trouble in home Internet service – The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns in a new report that Internet service providers could use data caps to impose higher prices on consumers, especially in markets where ISPs face little competition. But the GAO’s recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission are already meeting resistance. ISPs have argued that consumers could benefit from caps or “usage-based pricing,” because consumers who use small amounts of data would pay less than customers who use a lot more, similar to how the cellular market works. But there isn’t enough competition in all cities or towns to prevent ISPs from abusing data caps, the GAO wrote.

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Modern family.

MULTI elevator travels up, down, and sideways with no cables – All around the world elevators are a very common way of moving people up and down in taller buildings. Elevators are a convenience for many of us and a requirement for the handicapped to move around buildings. A German firm called ThyssenKrupp has an idea for a new elevator that can not only travel up and down, but horizontally as well.

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The Long History of Severed Heads – As far as objects go, nothing beats the decapitated human head. It has amazing nooks and crannies where sensory information is collected. The insides are full of mysterious functions we’re still not quite sure what to make of. Frances Larson’s fascinating new book, Severed, tries to reconcile these conflicting attributes by detailing the long history of the decapitated head as object. Larson takes us through the famed shrunken heads of the Amazon, the ghastly trophies of World War II, all things guillotine, the phrenology craze, and even Ted Williams’s frozen noggin. To find out more, I gave her a call and we talked about all sorts of heady things.

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Something to think about:

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”

–      Eddie Cantor (1892 – 1964)

Today’s Free Downloads:

Tweaking.com – Simple System Tweaker – Tweaking.com – Simple System Tweaker is designed to bring only the safest tweaks to your system to increase speed and stability.

Windows is setup in a default configuration. By fine tuning your Windows configuration you can increase the speed and snappiness of the operating system. These tweaks are the ones that are safe and shown to cause no side effects with any programs. Each tweak only gives a small performance boost. But they all add up, so the more tweaks you do the more performance you get.

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Detekt 1.8 – Detekt is a free tool that scans your Windows computer for traces of FinFisher and Hacking Team RCS, commercial surveillance spyware that has been identified to be also used to target and monitor human rights defenders and journalists around the world.

It isn’t just for professionals – if you suspect you are a target of unlawful surveillance, Detekt will provide a simple means to easily test your computers for known spyware.

When the execution is completed, the tool will present the outcome of the scan and will clearly indicate whether an infection was found.

The tool also generates a log file with additional details that can be useful for technical experts to further investigate.

Limitations: It is important to underline that if Detekt does not find trace of spyware on a computer, it does not necessarily mean that none is present. Some spyware will likely be updated in response to the release of Detekt in order to avoid detection.

Windows 8.1 64-bit is not supported.

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Software Giveaway – iPhone Video Converter, available for FREE from 13th July, 2010 to 26th July, 2010

iSkysoft Studio let me know the other day, that their iPhone Video Converter is being offered for free, from 13th July, 2010, to 26th July , 2010.

I have not tested this application, and the following information has been provided by iSkysoft Studio.

iSkysoft iPhone Video Converter converts all popular video and audio formats such as AVI, MPEG, MOV, OGG, WAV to iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 supported formats including MP4, MP3, etc.

It provides a series of practical settings such as video crop, file trim, video brightness, contrast and saturation, and merging multiple files into one output file.

There are Mac and Windows version, both free.

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Key features for iSkysoft iPhone Video Converter:

Convert video such as M2TS/MTS, MOD, TOD, AVI, MKV, WMV and audio for playback on iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, etc.

It supports new iPhone 4.

Extract audio to iPhone audio like MP3, AAC, WAV for playback on your iPhone and other portable players.

Crop away black borders of the movie and watch it in full screen.

Trim the length of any title or chapter to get video or audio clips you need and convert the specific segment you like.

You can get your favorite lines or episodes and save them in MP3 format for your iPhone as ringtones.

Merge several video clips to one output file so that you can enjoy a long video without interruption.

Note: You can’t get free upgrade and technical support.

You can checkout this free offer at the developer’s site here (Mac), or here (Windows).

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Filed under Apple, Cell Phone Apps, downloads, Free Full Versions, Freeware, iPod touch, Mac, Multimedia Tools, Photo Tools, Software, Software Giveaways, Video Tools, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP