Tag Archives: Attorney General Eric Holder

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 2, 2014

US top cop decries encryption, demands backdoors;  Encryption IS for the children; it’s the gift of electronic privacy rights;  It’s now legal to make backups of movies, music, and e-books in the UK;  How to recover deleted photos from a memory card;  4 Apps That Will Supercharge Your Productivity;  TiVo’s Android app now lets you stream recorded TV shows;  How to Take Free Courses from Top Universities;  Windows 10 beta now available to download;  No Web Design Experience? Try Microsoft Office Sway;  How to extend your camera’s battery life;  PlexiDrone is modular, customizable, and cool;  How to prevent phishing attacks on Android;  FCC pressure stops Verizon’s data throttling plan;  Here’s a look at 30 years of Windows;  ARM builds an OS for the Internet of Things;  Free Video Call Recorder for Skype.

US top cop decries encryption, demands backdoors – Attorney General Eric Holder, the US top law enforcement official, said it is “worrisome” that tech companies are providing default encryption on consumer electronics. Locking the authorities out of being able to physically access the contents of devices puts children at risk, he said.

Encryption IS for the children; it’s the gift of electronic privacy rights – Top U.S. government officials are freaking out over Apple and Android smartphone encryption plans, using “think of the children” arguments, but why can’t the encryption argument be made “for the children” and for the sake of their future privacy rights?

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ComputerCOP: the dubious “Internet Safety Software” given to US families – The way ComputerCOP works is neither safe nor secure. It isn’t particularly effective either, except for generating positive PR for the law enforcement agencies distributing it. As security software goes, we observed a product with a keystroke-capturing function, also called a “keylogger,” that could place a family’s personal information at extreme risk by transmitting those keystoke logs over the Internet to third-party servers without encryption. That means many versions of ComputerCOP leave children (and their parents, guests, friends, and anyone using the affected computer) exposed to the same predators, identity thieves, and bullies that police claim the software protects against.

It’s now legal to make backups of movies, music, and e-books in the UK – Back in June, the United Kingdom outlined new copyright rules that would allow citizens to make backups of their music, movies, and e-books. Previously, making copies of media was illegal. Today, those laws officially go into effect. It is, however, still illegal to share those backups with friends or family, and making copies of rented media, or media that a person pays a subscription for (like Rdio or Netflix) likewise remains illegal.

4 Apps That Will Supercharge Your Productivity – Not enough hours in the day? These tools can help you get it all done.

How to recover deleted photos from a memory card – Just deleted an important batch of images from your memory card? Never fear, here’s how to undelete them for Mac and PC users.

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TiVo’s Android app now lets you stream recorded TV shows – TiVo’s Android app now streams programming saved on your DVR. It also has added capabilities to serve as a hub for all your TiVo services, including controlling the TiVo box as well as showing cast information and other details about the show you’re watching.

How to change settings for emergency alerts on your Android phone – The emergency alerts feature on modern smartphones is legitimately useful: It can warn you about dangerous weather conditions, natural disasters, AMBER alerts, or other important tidbits of information. But perhaps you already keep up on the news. Or maybe you don’t feel the need to be alerted about everything. If any of this sounds like you, you’ll be pleased to know that Android has a healthy array of options for managing emergency alerts.

How to Take Free Courses from Top Universities – You can continue your education with some amazing and free online resources available from top universities. These institutions offer many of their courses in the form of video lectures, audio transcripts and online quizzes. And some universities give you access to the professor and let you interact with other students taking the class. Want to give these free online courses a try? Here are the online education offerings from the top U.S. universities that we think are worth checking out.

No Web Design Experience? Try Microsoft Office Sway – The software giant on Wednesday introduced Sway, a new app in the Office portfolio that lets you pull together, format, and showcase your ideas online without any design experience. Users can search for content from sources like OneDrive, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or a phone or tablet’s camera roll without leaving the app, then drag and drop photos and videos directly into Sway. From there, simply add words, select a layout and style, or just let Sway do the formatting for you. It will display suggested combinations to consider, but allows for design tweaks or layout changes, at any time.

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Facebook Apologizes To LGBT Community And Promises Changes To Real Name Policy – Facebook’s VP of Product Chris Cox made a statement today on Facebook apologizing (on behalf of the company, it seems) for any pain caused, and explaining how this situation came to be. The statement also included promises to improve the current real name policy to include all different types of people without risking the safety of other users.

Windows 8 drops in market share, Windows 7 continues dominance – It’s unexpected, but Microsoft’s latest operating system saw a slump in market share for August; Windows 8 and 8.1 both lost points for the month, while Windows 7 and XP continued to dominate.

Windows 10 beta now available to download—time to test the new Start menu – Microsoft released a technical preview of Windows 10 this morning, and it’s available for download here. System requirements are a 1GHz or faster processor, 1GB of RAM for 32-bit systems or 2GB for 64-bit systems, 16GB of free hard disk space, and a Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with a WDDM driver. In other words, anything that’s capable of running Windows 8.1 can be moved to Windows 10. You can upgrade to the Windows 10 preview from either Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1.

Pointing up   Downloaded a copy this morning for installation on an old Core 2 Duo Processor 2.60 GHz. We’ll see how that goes.

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How to extend your camera’s battery life – Here are some tips to help squeeze out every last bit of juice from your camera’s battery pack.

PlexiDrone is modular, customizable, and cool – Aerial photography is one of those things that makes drones cool. If you were in awe of the drone video from inside a fireworks show, a new drone might let you do the very same thing. What sets this one apart is modularity, and that you can use your own camera to film the action.

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Internet Explorer still the most popular browser, IE8 dominates – Looking at the data, we see Internet Explorer is still the leading browser around the world, by a wide margin. But this is isn’t exactly in Microsoft’s favor as the newest version is still struggling.

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Hacked celebrities ‘dumb’, says proposed EU digital commissioner – Günther Oettinger, the European Union’s proposed Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, gave a disappointing performance at his confirmation hearing, dodging questions and calling the victims of a recent data breach “dumb.” Critics said Oettinger’s remarks about the celebrities whose iCloud accounts were compromised, allowing hackers to release nude photos of them, showed he was unfit for the job of shoring up public confidence in the Internet.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Don’t Need the Internet to Chat With One Another – Smartphones should make it easier to organize protests, but they’re as good as bricks when cell towers get overloaded with traffic or when governments decide to flip the switch. In the face of these hang-ups, Hong Kong’s demonstrators have turned to FireChat, a smartphone app that allows users to communicate even when they can’t get online or send texts. Unlike chat programs that work over the Internet, FireChat connects directly to other nearby users within up to about 250 ft. More people in range can then join the chat, extending the network even further. Pretty soon you can get up to a few thousand people chatting away, all without anybody connected to the Internet. FireChat is based on mesh networking, in which every device on a network works as a node for expanding that network.

Security:

How to prevent phishing attacks on Android – Sometimes, it’s not easy to know if the URL you are about to tap on is trustworthy or not. Considering that there are over 26,000 active phishing sites, that can be rather daunting. Fortunately, there are apps like Phishing Detective available to help you out. Phishing Detective is a simple solution that helps you know if a URL is safe to view. What this app does not do (although it says it can) is automatically check after you’ve tapped it (and prevent its opening should it be a phishing site). Instead, you have to use it as a manual URL checker. Yes, this is a bit of a hassle, but an ounce of prevention…

Jimmy Kimmel tops McAfee’s list of ‘most dangerous celebrities’ – No, I’m not suggesting Kimmel is an embezzler — even of jokes. Rather he’s found himself at the top of McAfee’s most dangerous celebrity list. It seems that those with an eye to planting malware on your digital soul and viruses in your digital pores are choosing most to use Kimmel’s name as bait. McAfee warns: “When you search for videos and downloads of Jimmy Kimmel, you’ve got a 1 in 5 chance to click on a page that tests positive for viruses and other malware.”

You can send this SSD a text message to make it self-destruct – Maybe simply encrypting your hard drive isn’t enough — you want the maximum level of data security possible. If that’s the case and money is no object, the Autothysis128t could be the SSD of your dreams. This 128GB SSD has full hardware encryption support along with unique security and data destruction protocols. You can even shoot a text message to your drive and destroy all the data before your numerous enemies get their hands on it.

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Google Triples Chrome Bug Bounties – Going bug hunting? If so, you might want to turn your attention and expertise to Google’s Chrome browser. The company has now tripled the maximum reward that you could earn for successfully finding an exploit and notifying Google about the issue. And that maximum is a suggestion, not a hard cap. If you find an especially compelling bug, and you could earn even more. Meanwhile, if you submitted and were rewarded for bug reports at any point since July 1, 2013, Google will retroactively pay you the higher reward.

Report: LulzSec leader directed cyberattacks while working for FBI – Hector Xavier Monsegur directed attacks against targets in the UK, Australia, Brazil and other countries, The Daily Dot is reporting.

Company News:

Microsoft: Free Windows licensing brought 50 new phone and tablet partners – Talking about the new licensing model Microsoft has implemented, Terry Myerson explained that it has been a success with 50 new partners signing up to build tablets and Windows Phone devices.

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Germany Warns Google Over User Profiling Privacy Violations – The Hamburg Data Protection Authority warned Google yesterday that its user profiling activities are violating Germany’s Telemedia Act & Federal Data Protection Act, owing to the lack of explicit user consent to how the data is processed. The watchdog said significant changes are necessary to bring Google into legal compliance in Germany — specifying that it must gain user consent for the profiling, and allow users to control what their data is used for.

Google bows to pressure, removes news snippets from German search results – In a move to minimize legal risks, Google has stopped showing news snippets and thumbnails for some well-known German news sites in search results. Google will just show a link to a story along with the headline for news sites such as bild.de, bunte.de or hoerzu.de, said Google Germany’s country manager Philipp Justus Wednesday. The decision is the result of ongoing legal action started by several German news publishers that are members of the collecting society VG Media. After Google refused to compensate the publishers, they sued in June to get a cut of the ad revenue the company makes when it republishes parts of their news articles.

LinkedIn stocks up on education tools to get new users even before college – LinkedIn is stocking up on new tools designed to attract younger internet users to the platform as these students make the steps on their professional journey, starting with college.

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FCC pressure stops Verizon’s data throttling plan – Verizon was set to start throttling those users on unlimited data who had heavy data usage, but have reversed course. In response to heavy criticism from the public and FCC, Verizon is changing course, and will let those data hogs consume at their will.

Google shakes up cloud services market with another price cut – Google has fired back at Microsoft with cheaper cloud services, signaling another round of price cutting in an increasingly competitive market. Citing enhanced efficiency in its data centers as well as falling hardware costs, Google on Wednesday said it was cutting prices of its Google Compute Engine by about 10 percent for all instance types in every region.

ARM builds an OS for the Internet of Things – Called mbed OS, the operating system aims to provide a common software layer for securing and connecting the mass of devices expected to be hooked up to networks in the coming years, ranging from streetlights and gas meters to home appliances and pacemakers. Along with the OS, ARM plans to sell a piece of back-end software, called the mbed Device Server, that companies will use to collect data from IoT devices and make the data available for use by other services, such as analytics programs.

Games and Entertainment:

Watch this: The new Interstellar trailer is amazing – The concept of having or even wanting to leave Earth for good has long haunted humanity. Are we really destroying our planet, forcing decay acre by acre, or will the terra rebound and take its revenge? Interstellar is Christopher Nolan’s attempt to answer the former without the latter, and the latest trailer for his film looks spectacular.

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Skylanders Trap Team Review: Good Storytelling And Simple RPG Mechanics Succeed – The ‘Toys to Life’ category has been a much-needed savior for the gaming and toy industry alike, bolstering sluggish sales for both by anticipating a huge demand for real-life action figures that can be ‘brought to life’ for use in digital games. Activision’s Skylanders series pioneered the concept, and the originator is back with Trap Team, a new installment with the unique game mechanic of allowing players to ‘trap’ key villains in special physical play pieces, which makes them playable in-game as characters.

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Borderlands: The Pre-sequel to launch on SteamOS alongside Windows – Despite Valve’s longstanding push to increase the profile of Linux gaming (and the Linux-based SteamOS that is still hanging out in beta), the growing list of Linux games on Steam remains dominated by smaller, independent titles and a few ports of big-name classics. So it’s worth paying attention to the fact that 2K Games has announced that Borderlands: The Pre-sequel will have full Linux/SteamOS support on the same day it launches on Windows machines and consoles, October 14. The announcement comes alongside news that 2K has also released a port of Borderlands 2 for SteamOS, and it’s offering the older game at a 75 percent discount to celebrate.

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Movie theaters plan to block the first Netflix theatrical release – This is far from the first time theaters have responded like this to a simultaneous theatrical and digital release, but it is the first time Netflix has been put in this situation. Initially, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos had hoped this initiative would encourage other studios to break out of the traditional model and explore simultaneous released, but if this block can’t be overcome somehow, you can bet that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Off Topic (Sort of):

So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code – IBM Lotus 123 Millennium Edition, IBM Lotus SmartSuite 9.x, and Organizer have now officially all passed their end of life support date and, according to IBM’s website, “No service extensions will be offered” – not that anyone is seriously using the spreadsheet any more. It’s a sadly muted end for what was, at one time, the world’s premier spreadsheet. Lotus 1-2-3 was one of the first applications that made IBM’s original PC a serious business tool, but it fell by the wayside due to poor coding decisions, failure to adapt, and the crushing tactics of Microsoft.

The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times – On 27 August 1883, the Earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since. It was 10:02 AM local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It was heard 1,300 miles away in the Andaman and Nicobar islands (“extraordinary sounds were heard, as of guns firing”); 2,000 miles away in New Guinea and Western Australia (“a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery in a north-westerly direction”); and even 3,000 miles away in the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, near Mauritius* (“coming from the eastward, like the distant roar of heavy guns.”1) In all, it was heard by people in over 50 different geographical locations, together spanning an area covering a thirteenth of the globe.

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The eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena, 1888; Parker & Coward; via Wikipedia.

What Earth would be if humans were eradicated – We hear stories all the time about the effects humans have on our planet, such as the recent news that half of Earth’s wildlife has dwindled in the past handful of decades. What would happen if all humans disappeared from our planet, however? Earth Unplugged takes a look.

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Why Your Geography Does Not Control Your Destiny – Now more than ever, geography no longer controls your destiny in the tech world. While fashion centers around cities like Paris and New York, oil and gas around Calgary and Houston, and cars in Detroit and Tokyo, good software and hardware companies are sprouting up everywhere. The trend is so rampant that “how I built my startup outside Silicon Valley” is no longer the most relevant story.

TechSpot: History of the Personal Computer, Part 3: IBM PC Model 5150 – This is the third installment in a five part series, where we look at the history of the microprocessor and personal computing, from the transistor to modern day chips on our connected devices.

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Windows 10 arriving — here’s a look at 30 years of Windows – In 1980, IBM approached Microsoft about creating an operating system for its personal computers. Never having written an OS before, Microsoft simply bought an operating system called QDOS — or “Quick and Dirty Operating System” — and changed the name to MS Disk Operating System before licensing it to IBM. MS-DOS required you to type in arcane commands, so Microsoft set to work on making a new OS with a more accessible user interface. Codenamed ‘Interface Manager’, the OS used a mouse and onscreen drop-down menus, scroll bars and icons in boxes to control your computing. These “windows” gave a name to the software. Microsoft Windows was announced in 1983 and version 1.0 launched two years later on 20 November 1985.

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Conservatives say that net neutrality equates to government takeover of the Internet – More than 2.4 million people have signed letters calling on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to stop its proposed “takeover” of the Internet in an effort by conservative activist group American Commitment to reframe the debate about the agency’s proposed net neutrality rules. The group said that it delivered the 2.4 million letters, urging Congress to stop the FCC’s net neutrality proceeding, to lawmakers this week.

Something to think about:

“The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy – I mean that if you are happy you will be good.”

–      Bertrand Russell

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Video Call Recorder for Skype – Free Video Call Recorder for Skype is an absolutely free application for recording Skype calls without any limitations. It has a very simple interface.

You don’t need to download or install any extra libraries to be able to use the program.

You just need to specify the mode you like, choose the output folder and press “Start”. If you don’t want to record some moments during the conversation, just click on “Pause”. In order to finish the record select “Stop”.

With its help one may record calls in the following modes:

Picture-in-picture (the program records audio and video of all sides of the conversation)

Only video of other sides

Only audio (all sides)

All video records are saved in mp4 format that is easy to playback on a player.

For audio calls the program creates an mp3 file that is supported by most modern players.

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Risen3D – Risen3D is an advanced Doom port by Graham Jackson based on Jaakko Keranen’s Doomsday port.

Features:

Advanced algorithms provide more accurate rendering in OpenGL.

Full Boom and MBF compatibility.

Super fast rendering of OpenGL graphics.

Slopes and 3D floors.

Md2 models, particle effects and high resolution texture options.

Skybox support.

Translucent water and underwater effects.

Outside fog support for maps that require it.

Model activation capability using the R3D scripting method.

Mobj spawning using the R3D scripting method

Detailed texture support.

Dedicated smart Launcher for easy launching and pwad management.

Uncapped frame rate for smoother game play.

Definition and dehacked editing capabilities.

Basic Doom mode option

Water splashes, ambient sounds, scrolling skies and stealth monsters.

In game texture alignment using the R3D Edit mode.

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Yawcam – Yawcam is a shortening for Yet Another WebCAM software, and that’s exactly what it is 😉 More precise Yawcam is a webcam software for windows written in java. The main ideas for Yawcam are to keep it simple and easy to use but to include all the usual features.

Features:

Video streaming

Image snapshots

Built-in webserver

Motion detection

Ftp-upload

Text and image overlays

Password protection

Online announcements for communities

Scheduler for online time

Time lapse movies

Run as a Windows service

Multi languages

Yawcam is freeware. However, if you enjoy using Yawcam and would like to help support its development, please consider making a donation.

Limitations: Requires Sun Java Runtime Environment installed.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US top cop decries encryption, demands backdoors – Attorney General Eric Holder, the US top law enforcement official, said it is “worrisome” that tech companies are providing default encryption on consumer electronics. Locking the authorities out of being able to physically access the contents of devices puts children at risk, he said.

“It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said during a Tuesday speech before the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online conference. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so.”

Holder’s remarks, while he did not mention any particular company by name, come two weeks after Apple announced its new iPhone 6 models would be equipped with data encryption that prevents authorities from accessing the contents of the phone. At the same time, Google said its upcoming Android operating system will also have default encryption.

The encryption decision by two of the world’s biggest names in tech is a bid to gain the trust of customers in the wake of the Edward Snowden surveillance revelations.

Holder said he wants a backdoor to defeat encryption. He urged the tech sector “to work with us to ensure that law enforcement retains the ability, with court-authorization, to lawfully obtain information in the course of an investigation, such as catching kidnappers and sexual predators.”

California bill limits the surveillance of student social media posts – Social media is an established part of life at this point, but how society deals with it is still be worked out. For a long while, it wasn’t uncommon for employers to demand access to accounts, and many have been fired over what they choose to share. Schools often monitor students’ social media accounts, and a new California bill has specifically targeted that.

Majority Say Brennan Violated Checks and Balances, and Must Go – According to a new poll, a sizeable majority of American voters believe CIA officials violated the constitutional system of checks and balances when they hacked into computers being used by Senate staffers investigating torture.

And by a two-to-one margin (54 percent to 25 percent, with 22 percent not sure) they believe that CIA Director John Brennan should resign on account of the misleading statements he made about the incident.

The Public Policy robo-poll of 898 registered voters was commissioned by the Constitution Project, a highly-respected non-partisan group that has been active in calling attention to the lack of accountability for the torture of detainees during the last administration.

The poll found overwhelming public support for release of a long-completed report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The report is said to disclose abuse that was more brutal, systematic and widespread than generally recognized, and to expose a pattern of deceit in the Bush administration’s descriptions of the program to Congress and the public.

But despite having been completed in December 2012, the report remains inaccessible to the public. Most recently, the White House and the CIA have proposed redactions that Senate intelligence committee chair Dianne Feinstein said effectively undermine its key findings.

Fully 69 percent of those polled said they support releasing a declassified version of the report “to establish the historical record and to find out more about what happened”; compared to 22 percent who chose the option of not making the report public “because the findings might be damaging or embarrassing”.

Perhaps most strikingly, those numbers were nearly identical across party lines — Democratic, Republican and independent.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 1, 2014

3 essential security tasks – have you done them yet?  Bookstores, publishers sue to stop law against “revenge porn”;  Microsoft Announces Windows 10;  Windows 10 in pictures;  Need help? Microsoft Stores offer free tech support, PC tune-ups, malware removal;  Should you be afraid of Facebook’s massive new ad network?  Spotify launches across Canada (finally);  Students Can Get Unlimited Google Drive Storage for Free;  Nightmare iOS 8 bug deletes your entire iCloud;  How to create digital floor plans;  Good2Go App Assesses Sexual Willingness;  Free app makes it easy to score hugs;  Meet Matchstick, Mozilla’s $25 Chromecast competitor;  Microsoft will offer locally hosted cloud services in India;  No-cost Panda Software tops AV-Test’s rankings of antivirus software;  Trust in cloud security at all-time low;  Popcorn Time Finally Comes To iOS.

3 essential security tasks – have you done them yet? – Tomorrow marks a year since we published our ‘3 essential security tasks’, so we thought we’d revisit it to ask if you’ve done them all. If you haven’t, there’s still time!

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Microsoft Announces Windows 10 – This morning at an event in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the next version of its Windows operating system: Windows 10. The company went on to detail that its new operating system will have a tailored user experience between different screen sizes — that’s to say that if you are on a smaller device, you will see a different sort of user interface. The code will run across all device categories: “One product family. One platform. One store.”

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Windows 10 in pictures: A new Start menu puts focus back on the desktop – Multiple desktops and new application views make Windows 10 more PC-friendly.

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How to get Windows 10’s best new features today – A Start Menu, the ability to run Metro apps in desktop windows, and more are coming to Windows 10, but you can get the best features today thanks to some helpful software.

Need help? Microsoft Stores offer free tech support, PC tune-ups, malware removal – If you don’t have a geeky friend handy, PC problems often mean dragging your computer down to the Geek Squad or local PC shop, where you’ll be charged a crazy amount of money to have malware removed or speed up a slowing PC. No more! If you live near a Microsoft Store some of the peskiest PC problems can now be fixed in-person for free. Microsoft’s retail locations recently started offering their Windows-focused answer to Apple’s Genius Bar: the Answer Desk.

Should you be afraid of Facebook’s massive new ad network? – Facebook just launched a potentially massive new ad network called Atlas. According to a headline in The New York Times, Atlas “opens the gates” to Facebook’s “vault of user data.” It sounds like a PR disaster waiting to happen — the kind of thing that’s going to startle local news. It also sounds like Google, the market leader in digital ads, should be very afraid — but should you?

Students Can Get Unlimited Google Drive Storage for Free – Google on Tuesday announced a new version of Drive that is free for students. Described as an “infinitely large, ultra-secure and entirely free bookbag for the 21st century,” the new Drive for Education offering will be available to all Google Apps for Education customers at no charge. It includes unlimited storage (with a 5TB per-file size limit) plus access to the Google Apps Vault for your message archiving needs.

How to create digital floor plans – Looking for an easy way to see how your furniture will look in a different arrangement? How about what to do with an oddly shaped room? Check out the HomeStyler website to make a digital floor plan.

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The 3D view of a floor plan created with HomeStyler.

Spotify launches across Canada (finally) – We’ve seen hints of it before, and now it has finally happened: Spotify has officially launched in Canada, just time for those long winter months spent indoors. The announcement came from the company itself this morning, and includes service across your mobile devices in addition to the Web.

Popcorn Time Finally Comes To iOS – Popcorn Time, the so-called Netflix for pirates, is now on iOS. It’s never been easier to watch pirated movies and TV shows on the iPhone or Android device. Is it illegal? Not really. Shady and not exactly ethical? Sure. Not surprisingly, Apple didn’t give the official nod to this app so Popcorn Time cannot be found in the App Store. That said, it’s still easy to obtain and install the needed software as long as you’re willing to jailbreak your iOS device.

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32 iOS 8 Tips Every Apple Fan Should Know – iOS has a ton of new features and tricks under the hood, things the average user may never notice or care about. But power users of the iPhone—those of us who exploit that pocket computer as a lifeline to the office and home—will benefit highly by mastering them. Apple opened up iOS more to the makers of wearables (via HealthKit) and even to third-party app makers who now have some unprecedented (for Apple) access to the hardware. It all adds up to the best iPhones yet.

Nightmare iOS 8 bug deletes your entire iCloud – The feature causing all the fuss is “Reset All Settings,” which is supposed to change all the system preferences back to system defaults. This shouldn’t have any affect on files, but users are reporting that the device is actually deleting all local iWork documents, a change that is then synced up to the iCloud backup, thus deleting everything across all iOS devices. Oops.

Good2Go App Assesses Sexual Willingness – Available for iOS and Android, the service aims to ensure that both partners explicitly approve of sexual activity before jumping into bed. But the app takes precaution a few steps further, gauging your date’s sobriety level and requiring him or her to verify their identification with a phone number and G2G password (new users can register via the app). There are any number of scenarios that can play out via the Good2Go app, starting with a flat-out “No, thanks,” which immediately shuts down the possibility of hanky panky. The second, “Yes, but we need to talk,” means both parties can discuss boundaries (or lack thereof) ahead of the action. Or, just get on with it by pressing “I’m Good2Go.”

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Path takes laziness to a new level with business messaging – Now a messaging app will call businesses for you and then message you their answers. We’ve reached peak messaging.

Meet Matchstick, Mozilla’s $25 Chromecast competitor – We’ve been hearing whispers for a little while about a Chromecast competitor from Mozilla that was geared towards supporting a fully open source environment, and it looks like the company plan to head to Kickstarter in order to fund this little streaming stick. It’s going to be called Matchstick, and there can be no doubt that the purpose of this stick is to try and sway users away from Google’s Chromecast.

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Silicon Valley’s Newest Dating App Is ‘Tinder Without the Poor People’ – All ‘date a rich person’ services are appalling enough, but today, I present to you a new low: LUXY, the app that is literally being pitched as “Tinder without the poor people.” A press release for LUXY, written by Darren Shuster of Pop Culture Public Relations, is circulating today, and it is both a shining new milestone in the burgeoning pantheon of offensive apps and a fascinating testament to the increasing obliviousness of Silicon Valley. First, I give you the release, in all of its repulsive, bafflingly tone-deaf glory:

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Pushbullet ‘Channels’ Add Custom Notifications on Android, iOS – Channels are essentially a way to plug RSS feeds into Pushbullet so you can get notified of almost any event with rich notifications on iOS or Android. There are several pre-existing channels to subscribe to, or you can make your own. On the server side, a Pushbullet Channel will send out an alert to all subscribed users when a feed updates. For example, if there’s a new Oatmeal cartoon or a new Humble Bundle is posted. The alert shows up in the Android notification shade or iOS Notification Center, depending on your platform of choice. On Android there are action buttons with options to copy or share the link in addition to opening it.

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Cuddle curious? Free app makes it easy to score hugs – Working much like other social GPS-based apps, Cuddlr finds people who want a hug within walking distance and shows their name, picture and cuddle reviews. Make contact with your cuddling partner, then see real-time walking directions to get to each other. If the cuddle is up to your standards, give a thumbs-up. If it’s a bit too intense or sexual, you can report the user. The app even allows for cuddle selfies.

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Keep any application ‘always on top’ in Windows – Want to keep one window as your focus, but the application doesn’t have an option for always on top? Check out this tip on how to use the always on top functionality with any software.

Edit your rooted Android hosts file to block ad servers – If you’re looking for the best way to block ads from reaching your rooted Android device, Jack Wallen shows you how to manually edit your hosts file.

Security:

Free is good: No-cost Panda Software tops AV-Test’s rankings of antivirus software – Antivirus suites are only as good as their latest tests. And in AV-test.org’s latest roundup for July and August, the usual suspects—BitDefender, Kaspersky, McAfee, and Symantec—came out on top. The same holds true for the free options. If you’re a cheapskate, you can download Panda Security’s free cloud antivirus and have a good chance that it will catch everything that the shadowy corners of the Web can throw at it—as it did in AV-test’s own proving ground.

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Cisco, Oracle find dozens of their products affected by Shellshock – Cisco has identified 71 products so far that are exposed to the vulnerability. These products serve various purposes, including network application, service and acceleration; network content and security; network management and provisioning; routing and switching; unified computing; voice and unified communications; video, streaming, TelePresence and transcoding. The number of Cisco products vulnerable to Shellshock and related bugs far exceeds the 38 confirmed not to be vulnerable. The company is reviewing an additional 168 products and hosted services, so the list of vulnerable products is likely to increase.

Trust in cloud security at all-time low: Execs still betting on the cloud – A new report on IT decision makers shows enterprise trust in cloud security at its lowest — yet they’re flocking to use it. OpenStack’s Matt Joyce thinks it’s fair to ask if everyone’s gone nuts.

Malware program targets Hong Kong protesters who use Apple devices – A malware program that targets Hong Kong activists using Apple devices has trademarks of being developed by a nation-state, possibly China, according to a security company. Lacoon Mobile Security of San Francisco wrote on its blog on Tuesday that the malware, called Xsser mRAT, is the “first and most advanced, fully operational Chinese iOS trojan found to date.”

For better privacy, change these iOS 8 settings – Before you sync your iCloud or reinstall your apps, you need to lock down your iPhone or iPad. Here are seven important tweaks (and more) you can set to bolster your privacy.

Trend Micro to share threat information with Interpol – Security software provider Trend Micro will share its threat information analysis with global police agency Interpol for the next three years, in a bid to bridge the gap in information sharing between the public and private sectors.

Company News:

Facebook Is Just an ‘Ad Platform,’ Says CEO of Ad-Free Social Network ‘Ello’ – Ello, an ad-free, invitation-only social network, has been dubbed the “anti-Facebook” after its August launch, but even that characterization might be giving Facebook too much credit, according to Ello’s feisty CEO. “We don’t consider Facebook to be a competitor,” said Paul Budnitz in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. “We consider them to be an advertising platform more than a social network.”

Germany orders Google to stop illegal user data processing – As part of an EU-wide crackdown on Google’s data collection practices, Germany has ordered the company to change its user data processing, which is in violation of the country’s laws. Google violates the German Federal Telemedia Act and the Federal Data Protection Act when it collects and combines user data, the Hamburg Commissioner of Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) said Tuesday.Google was ordered to take the necessary technical and organizational measures to guarantee its users can decide on their own if, and to what extent, their data is used for profiling.

Reddit gets $50 million in funding and will share 10 percent of that with its users – The front page of the internet has a lot more money in the bank, with Reddit confirming $50 million in new funding. More interesting than the amount raised, however, was that investors promised 10 percent of their new equity in the company will be shared with community members, a highly unusual move. While the exact mechanics of how these shares will be distributed to users is not yet clear, lead investor Sam Altman told The Verge that it will most likely use a block chain method similar to the systems used to create and distribute Bitcoin.

eBay And PayPal To Split Into Two Separate Companies – eBay and PayPal are going their separate ways, with the payments company moving out from under the eBay umbrella to form its own, publicly-traded company. The move follows a strategic review conducted by eBay, Inc. and its Board of Directors, and is intended to help both businesses grow faster in their respective markets. The spin-out of PayPal is expected to be complete by the second half of 2015, provided all regulators sign-off on the agreement.

Microsoft will offer locally hosted cloud services in India – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wooed India’s government and banks on Tuesday with an offer to host cloud services including Azure and Office 365 in the country. The Indian government has been pushing organizations to hold data locally, and Nadella’s move could help drive business for the company from federal and state government customers, as well as banks. Microsoft will deliver the cloud services from data centers in three Indian cities by the end of 2015.

Games and Entertainment:

I’m not crazy (but I did buy a $450 HOTAS Warthog joystick) – Review: It’s everything you want in a joystick and throttle—but is it worth the cash?

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2048 and 6 Other Games to Help You Survive the Commute – There are so many games in the App Store and Google Play that it might be difficult to find the perfect match of an addictive, yet quick gameplay. But there are several games that are bound to make time fly by on your daily commute. Just remember to get off at your stop.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor: A shadow of its own ambition – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’s style, and its very existence, owe a lot to Warner Bros. and its other big licensed gaming series of the past few years: the Batman: Arkham games. Rather than push a license through excessive crunch time to coincide with a new movie, the Arkham model let Warner Bros. put the time into developing a game with an original story that would stand the test of time. The game draws both the evergreen franchise fanatics and those not automatically drawn to the license’s source material.

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Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments review: The definitive Sherlock adventure – The world’s most famous detective is back with a great set of mysteries as Frogwares’ Sherlock Holmes series just keeps getting better.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Survey finds fear, anxiety accompany forced Internet unplugging – It’s fairly common knowledge that Americans have a serious dependency on the Internet. But according to a new report released today by Tata Communications, that dependency is accompanied by some intense psychological and physical repercussions. In its “Connected World II” global survey, Tata Communications found that one in four Americans admit they wouldn’t survive more than five hours without using the Internet in their daily life, and more than half (54 percent) admitted feelings of fear, anger and anxiety when forced to unplug.

Bookstores, publishers sue to stop law against “revenge porn” – “Revenge porn” is a term that’s developed over the last few years to refer to the posting of nude images without the consent of those pictures. After a spate of publicity surrounding some of the bad actors in this business, several states have passed laws outlawing “revenge porn” and applying penalties. Now, a coalition of businesses and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit (PDF) challenging the anti-revenge-porn laws. They’ve picked Arizona as their battleground. One of the lead lawyers on the case, Michael Bamberger, told the National Law Journal that Arizona’s law is “probably the most egregious,” because it has no requirement that the images even be malicious, and it could include images taken in a “commercial or public setting.” “This is a supposed revenge-porn statute that does not require revenge,” said Bamberger.

Cops suspect that alleged thieves monitored them with a drone – Pennsylvania authorities suspect that two men accused of stealing mobile phones were monitoring law enforcement. Local media reported Tuesday that when they were arrested last month, one of the two suspects was carrying a camera-equipped drone that police saw flying over the Upper Saucon Township’s police headquarters the day before the arrests.

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76 of 79 deceased NFL players’ brains had evidence of degenerative disease – New data from the United States’ largest repository of human brain samples has shown that an overwhelming majority of NFL players who submitted their brains for analysis after their death suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The Department of Veterans Affairs’ brain repository, based in Massachusetts, found that 76 of 79 former pro players had evidence of the condition, which can be caused by repeated head trauma.

Fascinating gif visualises the patterns of flight – A beautiful gif deconstructs the wing motions of a bat, a goose, a moth, a dragonfly and a hummingbird to reveal the looping patterns therein.

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Latest UK Study Reveals How Children Think Online and the Brands They Trust – The Office of Communications, commonly known as OfCom, the UK communication industry’s regulator and competition authority, recently released a report with Sherbert Research on children’s online behaviour, particularly how they think about and manage online risks and what sources online they trust. The purpose of the study is also to further understand how children display critical thinking online. In doing so, they aim to answer these two questions:

Something to think about:

“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”

–     William James

Today’s Free Downloads:

WSUS Offline Update 9.4.1 – WSUS Offline Update provides you with a secure way to update your operating system and Microsoft Office applications, creating a locally stored package that contains the latest patches and the most recent security updates. Thereby, you can use the downloaded files in order to perform system updates on any Windows machine in the absence of an Internet connection.

Focusing on functionality rather than looks, the application features a simplistic interface that only comprises a few options dedicated to customizing the downloading operation.

It supports various editions of the Windows operating system, namely Server 2003, XP, Visa, Server 2008, 2008 R2, Server 2012, 7, 8 and 8.1. As for the Office suite, it can download the latest updates for the 2007, 2010 or 2013 editions, in various languages.

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Ann Free Video Converter – Free easy to use and powerful video conversion tool from a leader in modern video compression. Almost all video formats can be converted. Ann Free Video Converter can freely convert all video formats to AVI, IPOD, PSP, MPEG, MOV, WMV, RMVB video files, and extract audio to MP3 files.

Features:

Super fast conversion speed and Video enhancement filters

User-friendly interface that is easy to use

Freely convert all formats to MPEG1/2 DVD,vcd,svcd

Freely convert all formats to PSP, IPOD

Freely convert all formats to mov

Freely convert all video formats to AVI/WMV/RMVB/Divx/Xvid

Convert video formats to popular MP3 audio files

Convert between all popular video formats including AVI, MPEG, WMV, MPEG1/2/4, MP4, DVD, VCD, SVCD, MOV, RM

Option to preview the video in real-time

High speed: Ann Video Converter includes Super Encode and Decode Engine, which is much faster than other encoding engines. It brings you an advanced and high speed converting experience. You do not need to wait hours and hours; it runs 300% – 500% real time speed.

High quality video and audio: All encoders/decoders are built in and video enhancement filters are included

Supports almost all popular format conversions

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US Attorney General latest to roast Apple, Google mobe encryption – Yet another US official has played the “think of the children” card, taking Apple and Google to task for implementing stronger encryption policies in their mobile platforms.

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder said that child predators could use the encryption settings in mobile platforms to evade authorities and hide illegal images and content on their devices from law enforcement.

Holder, who didn’t list any companies by name, said that the new encryption policies were “worrisome” for law enforcement. Speaking to a meeting of the Global Alliance Conference Against Child Sexual Abuse Online, Holder stressed the idea of shutting down safe havens for child predators.

“We would hope that technology companies would be willing to work with us to ensure that law enforcement retains the ability, with court-authorization, to lawfully obtain information in the course of an investigation, such as catching kidnappers and sexual predators,” Holder said.

#HeyASIO: Twitter hits back at new terror laws in Australia – A move to grant Australia’s security agency broad new powers has not scared the internet, with Twitter users mocking the changes mercilessly.

Last night, the Senate passed new laws to grant the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) power to, essentially, monitor the entire country’s internet usage with only one warrant.

Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman and barrister Greg Barns has slammed the laws, saying the spy agency could do “an enormous amount under one warrant”.

Australia has no specific laws that protect privacy, so innocent people who may be monitored have “very little by way of redress in legal terms”.

Mr Barns told news.com.au the law had been drafted in “such a shoddy way” as to allow the agency to spy on as many as five million Australians with one warrant.

“Effectively it’s zero for the internet user and 10 for ASIO. We think it’s of enormous concern,” he said. The internet has hit back in its own way, with the hashtag #HeyASIO trending in Australia. (recommended by Mal C.)

Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression? – According to most of the broadsheets, if there is a Conservative government after the next General Election, the European Court of Human Rights will no longer be able to overrule British courts.

Under plans unveiled today at the Conservative Conference, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is expected to state that a future Conservative government will introduce laws ensuring that human rights cases are determined by Britain’s Supreme Court and not judges sitting in Strasbourg.

This is the Conservative response to an agonised cry: “Who will rid me of that troublesome law?” (and replace it with… well, we don’t know yet).

The dangers of this approach can be considered by reference to the DNA database and the case of Marper v UK, which provides a timely example of Mr. Grayling’s policy at work. This case was considered by the House of Lords, which judged that there was no human rights breach if the police indefinitely retained personal data that represented the DNA profile of a data subject – even when the data subject had not been found guilty of an offence.

The House of Lords judgment was overturned unanimously by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in S and Marper v UK; it was a 17-0 victory for Marper. This has resulted in the changes in UK law identified in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and now the DNA database focuses on the guilty.

However, if Mr. Grayling’s proposed policy of preventing appeals to the ECHR were in place, then DNA on the innocent would still be stored on police databases. It is as simple as that.

Hong Kong protesters side step censors with mesh networks – Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’re likely aware of the massive protests taking place in Hong Kong. What you might be less aware of is the effort being put in to keeping afloat despite censorship efforts: the protestors have started using mesh networks to get around attempts to shut them down.

FireChat has been used in some protests in the past, but has seen its first massive-scale use during the Hong Kong protests, with users taking advantage of the service to get around blocked and overloaded networks. It works in much the same way a protest does — every device becomes a little piece of the overall network, and the more devices near each other using it, the stronger the network grows.

The Central region of Hong Kong has remained full despite police attempts to prod the protesters away, including violent measures like tear gas. Umbrellas have had an iconic presence in the protest, earning it the term the Umbrella Revolution. In light of its failed efforts, the Chinese government has taken to censoring media outlets.

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