Tag Archives: Chrome extension

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 27, 2015

10 web-based tools to maximize productivity;  New Chrome extension throttles down webpage data usage;  When your fast PC suddenly slows down;  Pause YouTube videos with the spacebar in Chrome;  Skype for Web beta opens;  3 Ways to Fight Facebook Fatigue;  Crush Your Fantasy Draft With These 9 Baseball Apps;  Clean Reader: The app that censors rude words from ebooks;  Using Periscope or Meerkat? These accessories will help;  US offers rewards for fugitive Russian cybercriminals;  New 3D NAND flash will triple capacity of SSDs;  Microsoft releases second Xbox One April preview update;  Facebook’s 10 year plan: AI, VR, and the flying web;  Tim Cook plans to donate his wealth to charity;  UN to appoint watchdog to focus on privacy in digital age.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

10 web-based tools to maximize productivity – The face of business productivity has drastically changed over the last five years. Gone are most of the client and client/server apps we once depended upon to do our work. Now, the speed of business is defined by the web. Web — that which drives an overwhelming majority of tasks for businesses. To that end, you need to consider web-based productivity tools. But which tools should you be looking at? Here are 10 solid tools that may fit into your business model.

When your fast PC suddenly slows down – Let’s start with the easiest and most obvious fix: Have you rebooted lately? A lot of people leave their PCs on 24/7, or put them into sleep or hibernation mode rather than shutting them down completely. But a simple, full reboot can clean out a lot of Windows’ temporary cobwebs. Did that do the trick? If not, we’ll have to do some detective work.

New Chrome extension throttles down webpage data usage – Sometimes, you just need to throttle down on your data consumption when browsing. Maybe you’re tethering a computer to your smartphone and don’t want to gobble up plan data, or are on a public WiFi network. Maybe the WiFi in your hotel is slow. Whatever the case, it’s sometimes best to use as little data as possible to get the job done. To that, Google has unveiled a beta Chrome extension that will compress webpage data for you. In addition to the desktop experience, the beta feature is also available for Android and iOS Chrome browsers. Under the settings menu, find ‘Data Saver’, and enable it.

Pause YouTube videos with the spacebar in Chrome – With the Chrome extension YouTube Pause, you can turn your spacebar into a play/pause button for YouTube. Simply install the extension and you’ll be off and running; YouTube Pause does not require a restart of Chrome and does not include any settings. A search for a similar add-on for Firefox came up empty, but YouTube Smart Pause automatically pauses YouTube videos when you switch tabs in Firefox or to another application.

3 Ways to Fight Facebook Fatigue – If you’ve been on Facebook for more than a few years, there comes a point where you feel overwhelmed with all the status updates, photos, and videos. And chances are, a lot of that content is stuff you could probably do without, but you’re not sure how to unclutter your feed, short of unfriending a bunch of people. While unfriending someone is still an option, there are a few ways to streamline your information intake without the bruised egos that come with ditching online friends.

How to embed a Facebook video on your website – It goes without saying there’s value in embedding videos from Facebook and keeping users on a site longer. Not to mention, this also helps boost Facebook’s video stats; increasingly competing with YouTube. Embedding a Facebook is done by copying the embed code Facebook provides you with, and pasting it into the appropriate section of your site. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Skype coming to a browser near you, Skype for Web beta opens – If you are a heavy user of Skype, you will know that as of right now, you need an app to fully use the service. But, that is about to change as Skype has opened up a private ‘Skype for Web’ beta that is now rolling out to some users. As you can see from the screenshots in this post, the web version of Skype has many of the same features as the apps that the company offers on nearly every platform. Basic chat and video chat is currently supported, along with regular voice calls.

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Open source LibreOffice coming soon to a browser near you – If you’re anything of an open source (or free and open source) software advocate, chances are you are well familiar with the attempts to produce a productivity suite to rival and replace Microsoft Office. It has been a long and rather uphill journey, though with relative success in some some quarters. But with Microsoft now spreading its wings to other platforms, particularly mobile and the Web, the battleground has also changed drastically. Already four years in the making, an online version of the LibreOffice suite might soon become reality if this new partnership between companies really bear fruit.

Crush Your Fantasy Draft With These 9 Baseball Apps – It might not look like baseball season yet depending on where you live, but Spring Training is about to wrap up, which means the boys of summer will soon be headed north.That means fans are hunkering down in their basements for their fantasy baseball draft. But rather than lugging a laptop and piles of rotisserie guides to the big event, download some of these apps to your tablet or smartphone instead. Designed from the ground up to help you build a powerhouse fantasy franchise, they’re all you need to dominate your league this year.

Periscope, Twitter’s answer to Meerkat-style live streaming, is now available – Periscope arrives today on iPhone, with streams also viewable on the web. (An Android version is forthcoming.) Like Meerkat, it allows you to broadcast whatever you’re doing — whether it’s breaking news or making breakfast — live, through video, with a couple of taps. Unlike Meerkat, Periscope can save streams so that you can replay them later. It turns out to be Periscope’s killer feature — and the main reason that it’s likely to become my live-streaming platform of choice.

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Using Periscope or Meerkat? These accessories will help – Now that we’ve got Periscope and Meerkat, you’re thinking about trying to become the next viral thing, aren’t you? We know you are, and it’s alright. We accept your desire to cash in your 15 minutes of fame. Heck, we encourage it! We want you to be successful so much, we’re going to let you in on some secrets for getting the most out of your smartphone for live video. With a few accessories, you can make your Meerkatting or Periscoping or Meerscoping or Perikatting much better.

Whipclip Launches So You Can Legally Share Your Favorite TV Moments – There’s a lot of talk about how social media has become the new watercooler for discussing TV’s funny, crazy, or otherwise memorable moments. What’s been more hit-or-miss, however, is finding the actual footage that everyone’s talking about. So a startup called Whipclip is launching an iPhone app of the same name today that makes it easy and legal to find and share some of your favorite TV clips. (There are plans for an Android app, too.)

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UltraTuner for Android launches to keep your guitar in tune – The UltraTuner app for Android users is now available to download. The app is designed to make it easy to keep your guitar tuned using an app that runs on your smartphone rather than having to keep a dedicated tuner with you. This app is already available for iOS users.

Clean Reader: The app that censors rude words from ebooks – An ebook reader app allows sensitive readers to censor the naughty words they find offensive, replacing them with less risque alternatives.

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Digi.me gives away free backup software to keep your social media memories intact – One in three people use social media on a regular basis however only one in four people make a back-up of their social data. As 29 percent of disasters are accidental, what would you do if you lost all your precious photos and their comments, likes, shares or tags?

Security:

Noose around Internet’s TLS system tightens with 2 new decryption attacks – The noose around the neck of the Internet’s most widely used encryption scheme got a little tighter this month with the disclosure of two new attacks that can retrieve passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive data from some transmissions protected by secure sockets layer and transport layer security protocols. Both attacks work against the RC4 stream cipher, which is estimated to encrypt about 30 percent of today’s TLS traffic. Cryptographers have long known that some of the pseudo-random bytes RC4 uses to encode messages were predictable, but it wasn’t until 2013 that researchers devised a practical way to exploit the shortcoming.

18% more security vulnerabilities in 2014, according to Secunia – After culling data from millions of PCs around the world, Secunia has released its 2015 Vulnerability Review. Read about the report’s findings and their significance.

Google boosts Safe Browsing API – Summary:The latest update shores up browser defense against malware, phishing and unwanted software.

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US offers rewards for fugitive Russian cybercriminals – The U.S. government is offering multimillion dollar rewards for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of two alleged Russian hackers. Both were indicted in U.S. courts for their roles in “Carder.ru,” a website and international enterprise that principally operated out of Las Vegas. The site was taken down by law enforcement in March 2012 and 19 people arrested for their role in crimes that are estimated to have cost at least $50 million [m], according to the State Department.

Company News:

As Twitter launches Periscope, Meerkat announces $14 million in funding – This morning saw dueling announcements in the world of live-streaming apps. Twitter finally pushed Periscope to the public, and Meerkat announced it had raised a pile of cash with strong connections to Hollywood. Right now Meerkat has the hype, coming off a strong SXSW and high-profile celebrity users like Jimmy Fallon. At the same time, Meerkat relies heavily on Twitter for its distribution. That puts it in a perilous position, something we saw at work when Twitter cut off Meerkat’s access to its social graph.

New 3D NAND flash will triple capacity of SSDs, Intel and Micron say – Standard consumer SSDs will increase up to an astounding 10TB of storage, thanks to a new type of 3D NAND flash memory that Intel and Micron introduced Thursday morning. The two companies, longtime joint partners in NAND flash development, said the breakthrough isn’t to make larger flash chips, but thicker ones. Much like Manhattan, when you’re out of space, the only way to go is up. The chips are already sampling at both companies, and Intel said it expects to offer products for sale using the 3D chips in the later half of this year. But how long will the chips last before they fail? That information wasn’t disclosed. Intel did say it expects to offer products using the new NAND chips this year.

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Uber announces new global ‘code of conduct’, safety guidelines – No stranger to controversy, Uber is as much PR-spin company than it is ride-sharing entity. Following some serious allegations about passenger safety, the latest being the alleged rape of a passenger in India late last year, Uber said they’d pen some guidelines for best practices on how to react to such events. Now, the company has a code of conduct for drivers, as well as incident response teams and a safety advisory board. Perhaps most assuring is Uber’s commitment to working with law enforcement fully.

PayPal agrees to pay $7.7 million for alleged sanctions violations – On Wednesday afternoon, PayPal reached a settlement with the US Treasury Department, agreeing that it would pay $7.7 million for allegedly processing payments to people in countries under sanction as well as to a man the US has listed as involved in the nuclear weapons black market. The company neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, but it voluntarily handed over its transaction data to the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In its settlement agreement with PayPal, the Treasury accused the company of failing to screen its in-process transactions until 2013.

Google Takes Its Amazon-Style Starred Product Ratings To Europe To Boost Shopping Searches – While Amazon is expanding its logistics and delivery business to complement its e-commerce portal, Google is working on ways to make its search experience online more like Amazon’s to grow the number of people who use Google to look for and buy products. Today Google announced that it is turning on Product Ratings in the UK, France and Germany. Product ratings, first launched in the U.S. last year, are essentially Google’s play at making its search results look less static, and more like Amazon’s, to the average consumer.

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Salesforce abandons all future Indiana plans following passage of SB 101 – On Thursday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced plans to avoid the state of Indiana for any future company events following the passage of that state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination,” Benioff wrote on his personal Twitter account. He then emphasized his “employees’ and customers’ outrage” over the bill and said that he would “dramatically reduce” the company’s investment in Indiana as a result.

Games and Entertainment:

Google’s Nexus Player is now on sale in the UK for £79.99 – Google unveiled its Nexus Player back in October, alongside its new Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet. The Player is the company’s showcase device for its nascent Android TV platform, offering access to movies, TV shows, music, apps and other content, with a UI designed for the big screen in your living room. Right on cue, Google has now announced that the device is launching in the UK today, promising availability at Argos, Currys PC World, Amazon, John Lewis and eBuyer, as well as its new Google Store, which launched a couple of weeks ago.

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Xbox Live Gold members being appreciated in April with double “Games with Gold” offer – While we shared the ‘Deals of the Week’ with you a couple of days ago, it look like Microsoft is ready to bless its loyal Xbox Live Gold members for the month of April. In appreciation of its customers, the company is doubling its ‘Games with Gold’ offering. That means that Xbox One owners will be able to download two free games and Xbox 360 owners will receive four free games.

Grand Theft Auto V update will fix graphics quality issue – If you’re an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 owner and you’ve recently updated Grand Theft Auto V with Title Update 1.08, you’ve likely noticed a problem that has managed to catch Rockstar Games’ attention: the graphics quality took a nose dive, and the enjoyability of gameplay went with it. Gamers have been complaining about this issue, and today Rockstar announced that it has set its sights on the problem. There’s no fix yet, but one is being looked into, and as you’d expect, gamers will be given an update about when it is available.

How to test your PC’s DirectX 12 performance today – The final release of DirectX 12 and Windows 10 is months away but if you’re itching to test your system’s DX12 theoretical performance today, here’s how you can do it. First, you’ll need to have the 64-bit version of the Windows 10 Technical Preview installed. The 32-bit version is not supported. Earlier preview builds had DirectX 12 components aboard but it will take the latest one (build 10041) to enable the DX12 functionality. If haven’t installed Windows 10 yet, here’s everything you need to get it up and running.

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3DMark’s new API Overheat Feature Test measures the performance difference between DirectX11 and the new Windows 10-only DirectX 12.

Microsoft releases second Xbox One April preview update, brings voice messages and more – Following the update that was released for the Xbox One in the preview last week, featuring game hub links and more detailed achievement notifications, Microsoft has now released the second preview update for the month of April. The new update focuses mainly on enhancing the social features of the console, making it easier to keep in touch with friends on Xbox One or Xbox 360, and include the following:

Off Topic (Sort of):

Renault Twizy 45 is legal to drive in France at 14 years old – One thing teens have in common the world over is that most of them look forward to getting a license to drive on their own. In France, teens can now get a license to drive early for a little EV called the Renault Twizy 45. The little car can be driven on the roads by drivers as young as 14 years old. The Twizy 45 is considered by Renault a safer and more comfortable alternative to a scooter. It comes with an airbag, double seatbelts, disc brakes, and a protective cell. The car is very small measuring 2.34-meters long x 1.24-metres wide and driver and passenger sit in a tandem arrangement. The Twizy 45 has 5hp and a top speed of 28mph. The battery pack needs 3.5 hours to charge fully via a standard 3-pin plug. With a full charge, the vehicle can drive about 60 miles per charge.

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Two students turn a subwoofer into a fire extinguisher, fight fire with sound – In the future, the range hood in your kitchen may be able to automatically put out fires. It won’t do it with a dry chemical or a foam, either. It’ll use sound. Two engineering students at George Mason University, Seth Robertson and Viet Tran, have been working on a portable device that can do just that, and they now have a working prototype. Their contraption makes use of an ATX power supply and a Pyle subwoofer to produce fire-fighting low-frequency sound waves. You can see how it all goes down in the duo’s amazing demo video: it takes just seconds for their invention to extinguish a simulated kitchen fire:

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Facebook’s Aquila Drone Will Beam Down Internet Access With Lasers – Codenamed Aquila, the drone has a wingspan comparable to a Boeing 767 yet uses lightweight materials that allow it to weigh less than a car. Aquila has to be incredibly light, because it’s going to be kept aloft for as long as three months at a time using solar power. Just staying in the air for that long is a challenge, but Facebook’s also going to be pushing Internet access down to people 60,000-90,000 feet below using lasers, as well as maintaining communications between drones to maintain coverage across wider regions.

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Facebook’s 10 year plan: AI, VR, and the flying web – Facebook may be best known for providing a route for former schoolfriends to annoy you with their baby photos, but the social site is also looking to bring the next generation of internet users online and give developers the tools to lure them. A combination of virtual reality, vast data centers, newly open-sourced coding tools, and innovative and less expensive web-delivery systems like drones were all on the agenda for Facebook’s second day F8 2015 keynote, along with how to teach an artificial intelligence about Lord of the Rings.

Beer wear: Dress made from bacterial-fermented brew – You see the dress. It’s fun, flouncy and bouncy with a fitted top and an exuberant puff of fabric at the bottom. It looks like it came from some young, hip fashion designer. But this dress has a secret. The fabric didn’t come from some high-end store catering to Parisian clothing makers. It came from beer.

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This dress started with a cold one. Nanollose

Apple’s Tim Cook plans to donate his wealth to charity – Cook is part of a group of millionaire and billionaire tech executives who believe in sharing their wealth. Gates is the most well-known philanthropist in the group; with his wife, Melinda, he’s donated $30.2 billion, or 37 percent of his net worth, according to Forbes. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has given away $1.5 billion, or 4 percent of his net worth over his lifetime. Other company chiefs, like Google co-founder Sergey Brin, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, are known for giving to charity.

Something to think about:

“When you appeal to force, there’s one thing you must never do – lose.”

–    Dwight D. Eisenhower

Today’s Free Downloads:

Product Key Decryptor – Product Key Decryptor is the FREE Tool to Recover License CD Keys of over 200 popular software including Windows, Adobe, Winamp etc.

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SSD-Z 15.03.15 Beta – SSD-Z is an information tool for Solid State Drives and other disk devices.

Using a database, it will show information about your SSD, such as the controller, processing tech, NAND type etc.

Other useful information related to disk devices are also shown, such as S.M.A.R.T. status and partition layout.

Features:

Details of the controller and processing tech of NAND chips (for known devices).

Verify that TRIM is enabled for your system and SSDs.

S.M.A.R.T. status and full list of all the device’s available attributes.

List of all partitions. Including hidden, unmapped and boot partitions.

Benchmark IOPS, transfer speed and random access time (work in progress)

View the raw device identify data words.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Is it legal for US military to scan the public’s computers for kid porn? – A federal appeals court is having second thoughts about its decision frowning on the US Navy for scanning every computer in the state of Washington accessing Gnutella, a large peer-to-peer network.

The September decision (PDF) thwarted a child pornography prosecution that began when a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent in Georgia discovered the illicit images on a civilian’s computer in Washington state. The agent was using a law-enforcement computer program called RoundUp to search for hashed images of child pornography.

Following the court’s 3-0 decision, the Department of Justice petitioned for a rehearing. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Wednesday to revisit the dispute with a larger, 11-judge panel.

In September, a three-judge panel ruled that the military unlawfully intruded into civilian affairs. Allowing the prosecution to go forward, the court ruled, would render “meaningless” the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA). The PCA largely prohibits the military from enforcing civilian law, the court ruled. The PCA was first passed in 1878.

Why Canada’s democracy rates a sad ‘C’ grade – Canadians have so little trust in our elected MPs and are so turned off by politics that the legitimacy of our entire democratic system is at risk.

Indeed, politics is now so despised that it repels more people than it attracts, especially among young Canadians.

Those jarring statements aren’t the rants of an out-of-touch political scientist, but the feelings of the vast majority of Canadians who took part in a massive national survey on the state of our democracy.

The survey, released Wednesday by Samara Canada, a respected non-profit think tank devoted to promoting democracy, found that most Canadians don’t trust MPs, don’t believe politics affects our daily lives and don’t participate at all in political activities.

At the same time, it revealed that most of us think politicians don’t care at all what we say or what we want, rather they’re just after our votes.

The situation is so bad that Samara gave our democracy a sad “C” grade in its first-ever report, Democracy 360, on the state of our democratic system.

Why is it that bad? More important, why should we care?

UN to appoint watchdog to focus on privacy in digital age – The Human Rights Council of the United Nations has voted in favor of a resolution backed by Germany and Brazil to appoint an independent watchdog or ‘special rapporteur’ to monitor privacy rights in the digital age.

The council said Thursday that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, including the right to privacy.

The proposed appointment of the rapporteur is likely to be mainly symbolic as the official’s functions will be mainly advisory. But it reflects continuing concerns around the world about privacy in the wake of disclosures of U.S. surveillance by former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.

The resolution refers to the deep concern of the Human Rights Council at the negative impact on the exercise of human rights of surveillance or interception of communications both within countries and abroad, and of the collection of personal data, in particular when carried out on a mass scale.

Inquiry Launched into New Zealand Mass Surveillance – New Zealand’s spy agency watchdog is launching an investigation into the scope of the country’s secret surveillance operations following a series of reports from The Intercept and its partners.

On Thursday, Cheryl Gwyn, New Zealand’s inspector-general of intelligence and security, announced that she would be opening an inquiry after receiving complaints about spying being conducted in the South Pacific by eavesdropping agency Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB.

In a press release, Gwyn’s office said: “The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data.”

This month, The Intercept has shined a light on the GCSB’s surveillance with investigative reports produced in partnership with the New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, and Sunday-Star-Times.

The reports, based on information from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and other sources, have revealed how the GCSB has been intercepting communications in bulk across a variety of neighboring South Pacific islands, raising concerns that New Zealand citizens’ emails and phone calls are being swept up in the dragnet.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 30, 2015

New Chrome extension spots unencrypted tracking;  This Is the Future of Humanity in One Disturbing Photo;  Imgur just made GIF creation much easier with free online tool;  Apps let you prove your soul mate is real, even if it’s a lie;  How Can I Save My Phone’s Battery When it’s Cold Out?  LibreOffice 4.4 brings better looks and OpenGL;  Stop LinkedIn from sharing which profiles you view;  Nickelodeon to introduce its own video subscription service;  FREE: Outlook for iOS and Android;  February PlayStation Plus Free Game Lineup Revealed;  Comcast’s “asshole” problem;  Your shopping habits are one in a million, literally;  Windows User Manager (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

New Chrome extension spots unencrypted tracking – The Chrome extension, called TrackerSSL, alerts users when a website is using insecure trackers and gives them an option of tweeting a message to the website letting it know of the issue. TrackerSSL was created by Open Effect, a digital privacy watchdog, and Citizen Lab, a technology-focused think tank at the University of Toronto.

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TrackerSSL, a Chrome extension, identifies third-party trackers on websites that are insecurely sending data across the Internet.

How to watch the Super Bowl for free: Cut the cable cord! – Just like other networks that have offered a free live stream of the Super Bowl in previous years, NBC will make the 2015 game available through its NBC Sports website and mobile app. Still, getting the spectacle onto the device of your choosing could be tricky, so read on for the best ways to watch the Super Bowl without a pay-TV subscription.

FREE: Outlook for iOS and Android, plus more mobe Office goodies – Microsoft is proud to unleash more ‘free’ mobile apps for iOS and Android. Along with the new Outlook app — based on Acompli — the Android tablet versions of the other Office apps are now fully supported, being no longer in preview.

Enter Windows 8 Safe Mode when you can’t boot Windows 8 – You can’t directly boot into Windows 8’s Safe Mode; you can only reboot into it. Here’s how to get around that using a key drive.

This Is the Future of Humanity in One Disturbing Photo – I have a dream: That one day, all women, men and children will live in a virtual world devoid of social connection and existential meaning, suckled by a constant stream of saccharine liquids and delectable quasi-nutrients, and preoccupied by an unending wave of sensory distractions and entertainments. Actually, that’s more of a nightmare, and we may be about to live it. Thanks to the increasing ubiquity of virtual reality headsets and the general physical ease of daily life, it’s going to be more and more common to see people living like the guy in this photo posted on Reddit.

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Imgur just made GIF creation much easier with free online tool – Creating a GIF might seem like witchcraft to the uninitiated, but it’s really not that difficult. Apps like GIFBrewery for OS X make quick work of taking your videos from full-length to looping clips in seconds. Thanks to Imgur, you can do the same with any video, now. Via their GIF creation tool, which is now live, videos from a hosting site like YouTube or Vimeo can become GIFs. Keep in mind that whatever GIF you create becomes public domain.

Logitech Unifying app brings Chrome OS peripherals support – Chromebooks might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the inexpensive devices have found a solid footing among consumers and so it isn’t surprising there’s a demand for accessories that are compatible with them. Logitech has just made it easier to use its own peripherals with the new “Logitech Unifying” app specifically made for Chromebooks. Using this, Chrome OS users can plug a USB receiver into their Chromebooks and then connect things like a mouse and keyboard to the unit.

Apps let you prove your soul mate is real, even if it’s a lie – With Invisible Girlfriend and Invisible Boyfriend, you can show off a make-believe mate to get family and friends off your back. Crave’s Bonnie Burton explains why that’s so tempting.

Control music on your Mac from your iPhone’s Notification Center – With the TodayRemote app, you can control iTunes on your Mac with the added benefit of not needing to open an app on your iPhone to do so. TodayRemote lets you add a widget to Notification Center, giving you access to playback and volume controls just by swiping down from the top edge of your iPhone. The app is free, but a $1.99 in-app purchase lets you use TodayRemote with Spotify, Rdio, VLC and Vox, while also adding global volume control and the ability to control multiple Macs from a single iPhone.

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Android shipments in 2014 exceed 1 billion for first time – That gave Google’s mobile operating system 81 percent of the worldwide market in 2014, compared with 15 percent for Apple’s iOS.

Video game simulates the frustration of building IKEA furniture – A new video game called Höme Improvisåtion does just that, placing an endless supply of flat boxes in front of you with the goal of putting together pieces of furniture for your virtual home. The game, free on both Mac and Windows PCs, was developed by a team of four people in 48 hours — Aj Kolenc, Jessica Jackson, Colton Spross, and Josh Faubel — as part of the 2015 Global Game Jam in Atlanta earlier this month. You can download the game from the team’s website, The Stork Burnt Down. I played the Höme Improvisåtion game for just a few minutes and got so frustrated that I closed it and vowed never to build virtual IKEA furniture ever again. Yep, just like in real life.

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LibreOffice 4.4 brings better looks and OpenGL to your presentations – Free and open source office suite LibreOffice was updated today, with its developers calling it “the most beautiful LibreOffice ever.” The highlight of the new release is a far-reaching visual refresh, with menus, toolbars, status bars, and more being updated to look and work better. While LibreOffice retains the traditional menus-and-toolbars approach that Microsoft abandoned in Office 2007, the new version is meant to make those menus and toolbars easier to navigate. The new appearance is most significant on OS X, where a new theme has been made the default.

You Asked: How Can I Save My Phone’s Battery When it’s Cold Out? – If you’ve ever had a hunch your phone’s charge doesn’t last as long in the wintertime, you’re not crazy: Cold temperatures have a nasty effect on batteries. Just like wintertime makes it harder to get your car to start, your phone won’t last as long in cold weather. However, all is not lost — there are some ways to keep your phone as warm and happy as a skier sipping hot cocoa after a day on the slopes.

Security:

Malvertising hits xHamster thanks to recent Adobe 0-day – A massive malvertising campaign leveraging the recent Adobe Flash zero day vulnerability has surfaced on popular* adult site xHamster, analysts say. The attack served the Bedep Trojan to the site’s 500 million viewers a month through a surreptitious exploit on the landing page. It did not take advantage of the Angler exploit kit, where one of the latest Flash zero day flaws was found last week. MalwareBytes researchers said the attack was simple yet effective. “Contrary to the majority of drive-by download attacks which use an exploit kit, this one is very simple and yet effective by embedding landing page and exploit within a rogue ad network,” they wrote in a post. “While malvertising on xHamster is nothing new, this particular campaign is extremely active. “Given that this adult site generates a lot of traffic, the number of infections is going to be huge.”

Pointing up    If you’re going to porn surf, you should only do so using a sandbox environment such as that offered by Sandboxie. You can download the free application here.

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Stop LinkedIn from sharing which profiles you view – There are a number of reasons that you may be perusing the profiles of others on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is also good at sharing your profile browsing habits. Each time you visit a profile, the owner may receive an email or an alert on the website about your visit, depending on the type of LinkedIn account they have. If you want to stop this from happening, you’ll have to make an adjustment to your account settings. Here’s how:

Email scammers stole $215M from businesses in 14 months – The Business E-mail Compromise scam is alive and well, and expected to rise both when it comes to the number of victims and the total money loss sustained by them. According to a public service announcement released by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), in the period between October 1, 2013, and December 1, 2014 – 14 months in all – there have been nearly 1200 US and a little over 900 non-US victims of BEC scams, and the total money loss reached nearly $215 million.

Police ransomware scam drives UK teen to suicide – For most people, a ransomware infection is not a huge tragedy: they pay the bogus fine (or not), and ultimately get their computer back either because the criminals unlock it or because they clean up the machine themselves. But for 17-year-old UK schoolboy Joseph Edwards it was the end of the world. The autistic youngster had his computer blocked by the malware downloaded from an email containing a bogus Cheshire Police notice, which said that he visited illegal websites and downloaded images and that he has to pay a £100 fine or risk being prosecuted. The Telegraph reports that his developmental disorder apparently made him believe this poor attempt at blackmail and panic, and in his distressed state he chose to end his life by hanging himself in the family home.

Company News:

Google pulls in $4.76 billion in net income in the last quarter of 2014 – Google just announced its earnings for Q4 of last year, and it’s looking like one of the stronger financial quarters the company has had in some time. Overall revenue for the quarter was $18.1 billion, up from $16.86 billion one year ago, and net income of $4.76 billion was up 40 percent over a year ago, when the company pulled in $3.38 billion in profits. Despite the fact that both those revenue and profit numbers were up a healthy margin over a year ago, it wasn’t quite enough to be Wall Street expectations. Analysts had predicted $18.46 in revenue and earnings per share (EPS) of $7.11, and Google missed on both those fronts —  the actual EPS for the quarter ended up at $6.88.

Amazon’s Mixed Q4 2014 With $29.33B Revenue, And $0.45 EPS – Amazon just released its fiscal Q4 2014 earnings, reporting $29.33 billion in revenue, $214 million in net profit representing $0.45 per share. According to CNBC/Thomson Reuters, analysts expected the company to report earnings of $0.17 per share on $29.67 billion in revenue. While the company largely beat the expectations on earnings, it fell a bit short on revenue. For the past two quarters, Amazon unexpectedly posted losses. Three months ago, the stock market was very harsh with the company, pushing the stock down 10 percent.

Microsoft to invest in Android software maker Cyanogen Inc. – A report in the Wall Street Journal claims Microsoft is planning to plow some money into Cyanogen Inc. as part of a $70 million investment round. While it might seem odd for Microsoft to get in bed with a company that makes Android software, but it’s actually a perfect match. The stated goal of Cyanogen Inc, according to its CEO, is to take Android away from Google. That’s something Microsoft would like to see happen.

Report: Alibaba pumps $10 million into Ouya microconsole to launch in China – On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Ouya microconsole, the underpowered gaming system that has had a notable lack of major launches and announcements in recent months, might have some life in it yet—and that’s all thanks to Alibaba. The Chinese online merchant, fresh off its record-breaking American IPO in September, reportedly threw a relative pittance of $10 million at the Android-powered game console company “last month.” The report claimed that the cash offer was made in exchange for using Ouya’s marketplace and software library as a primary feature in Alibaba’s eventual set-top box for Chinese living rooms.

Games and Entertainment:

Everyday life can make an awesome video game – I’ve spent a lot of time saving the world from monsters and engaging in intergalactic warfare, but there are few games that let me experience the drama and excitement of everyday life. Life is Strange does just that. It stars a high school girl in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, and many of the key moments of the first episode deal with typical teenage dilemmas: drugs, relationships, figuring out who you are as a person. It’s incredibly refreshing to play a game that’s so fixated on everyday, modern life. And it’s even more amazing considering it’s also a game about time travel.

Life is Strange

Life is Strange

Nickelodeon to introduce its own video subscription service – As consumers continue to drop traditional cable in favor of various video streaming services, some companies and networks are (finally) accepting reality and getting on board with their own offerings. HBO announced its own video subscription service plans in the recent past, and consumers recently scored another option with the introduction of Sling TV. Viacom, which has notoriously been picky about where and when its shows are available online, is about to do its own dabbling in the world of video subscription services, and it’ll be doing so through Nickelodeon.

Dish will offer a Reverse AutoHop for the Super Bowl, showing only the commercials – For many viewers, the commercials run during the Super Bowl are more fun to watch than the game. So the day after this Sunday’s game, Dish Network customers using the company’s Hopper DVRs will be able to activate a special Reverse AutoHop feature. You guessed right: It will skip through the entire game to play just the commercials. “This day is about two things: football and commercials,” said Dish senior VP Vivek Khemka in a press release, “and for good reason—both are entertaining and our customers love them.”

February PlayStation Plus Free Game Lineup Revealed – Heads up, PlayStation gamers. Sony on Thursday announced the February PlayStation Plus lineup of free games, which will be available on Tuesday. On PlayStation 4$399.99 at Dell, you’ll receive “one of the coolest games from last year” — the sci-fi-themed strategy/action RPG Transistor, Sony said. PS4 owners will also get the Greek mythology action platformer Apotheon the day it hits the PlayStation Store. PS3 gamers, meanwhile, will get Yakuza 4, an open world adventure game set in the Tokyo underground, as well as the action game Thief, which promises “the most challenging heists, the most inaccessible loot, [and] the best kept secrets.”

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Steam users have earned more than $50 million selling in-game hats and maps – Since Valve launched its community content marketplace Steam Workshop in 2011, creators have earned more than $57 million. According to the company, that money was made by more than 1,500 creators spread out across 75 countries. Steam Workshop is essentially a market where you can buy user-made items for games like Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2. These items can include things like maps or new character skins, which help extend the life of popular games. “When we launched the Workshop late in 2011, we expected that it would grow, but not that it would grow this much, this quickly,” Valve says.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Comcast’s “asshole” problem – After Ricardo Brown called Comcast to cancel his TV service, a Comcast employee updated Brown’s account so that his next bill was addressed to “Asshole Brown.” The story has, predictably, spread quickly across the internet. People are, predictably, outraged. Comcast is, predictably, very very sorry. On the one hand, it would be unfair to read too much into this single incident. Comcast is a big company with many employees. Sometimes an employee does something dumb. That doesn’t mean that management approved of — or even knew about — the employee’s actions. On the other hand, I think the incident does say something about the culture Comcast management has fostered. Comcast prices its products in a way that puts its representatives in an adversarial relationship with customers. That makes this kind of bitterness more likely.

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Your shopping habits are one in a million, literally – If what we watch is a touchy subject, what we buy is even more intimate and revealing. Programs like Facebook Beacon, designed to advertise users’ recent purchases to their friends, have been widely reviled. But the study, published today in Science, isn’t about personal sharing. It’s based on testing what the researchers call unicity: the odds that if you know fragments of a person’s shopping history, you can match them against a much larger amount of data, uncovering everything else they’ve bought. As it turns out, those odds are very high.

Data caps can’t be used to snuff out competition, Canada ruling says – Two wireless carriers in Canada have been ordered to stop exempting their mobile TV services from data caps in a ruling that targets discrimination against competing online video services. In the US, AT&T has been charging online content providers for the right to exempt their services from data caps. (AT&T also argued in 2012 that it could limit the use of Apple’s FaceTime to certain types of data plans.) T-Mobile exempts music services it offers with partners from data caps, but it also exempts music services from competitors. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has fought wireless carriers over their throttling of unlimited data plans, but the status of net neutrality rules for wireless is unsettled.

FCC chairman mocks industry claims that customers don’t need faster Internet – The Federal Communications Commission today voted 3-2 along party lines to change the definition of broadband to at least 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps upstream. The vote was no surprise given Chairman Tom Wheeler’s Democratic majority. But Wheeler put on a show just before the vote by contrasting Internet service providers’ marketing claims with their statements to the government. “Let’s parse out what they say in their lobbying with us and what they say when they’re talking to consumers,” said Wheeler, a former cable and wireless industry lobbyist himself. While Verizon told the FCC that consumers are satisfied with 4Mbps/1Mbps and that “a higher benchmark would serve no purpose,” they push customers to buy much faster speeds, which cost more, Wheeler pointed out

Intel helps fund 13-year-old’s Lego braille printer – Last year we told you about Bragio, an inexpensive braille printer that a 12-year-old entered in a science fair. Now Shubham Banerjee’s creation is getting ready to go into production, thanks in part to Intel. The chip maker — more specifically its venture capital arm — has decided to help Shubham turn his incredible Lego Mindstorms creation into a sellable product. Intel is providing additional help beyond an injection of funds. They’ve also hooked Shubham up with their low-power Edison board to develop a new model based on his original Lego design.

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Something to think about:

“The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it’s unfamiliar territory.”

–      Paul Fix

Today’s Free Downloads:

Windows User Manager – Windows User Manager is the free desktop tool to easily and quickly manage all the User accounts on your Windows system.

On starting, it lists all user accounts along with following details for each user:

User Name

Account Type (Administrator/Normal User/Guest)

Account Status (Active/Disabled)

Password Status (Pwd Set/Not Set/Expired)

Last Logon Time

You can select a user from the list then Enable/Disable or Delete that account with just a click of button. This will be useful in recent systems (Win7, Win8 etc.) where built-in Administrator account is disabled by default and using this tool you can quickly enable it.

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LibreOffice Productivity Suite – LibreOffice was developed to be a productivity suite that is compatible with other major office suites, and available on a variety of platforms. It is free software and therefore free to download, use and distribute.

LibreOffice Writer – LibreOffice Writer lets you design and produce text documents that can include graphics, tables, or charts. You can then save the documents in a variety of formats, including the standardized OpenDocument format (ODF), Microsoft Word .doc format, or HTML. And you can easily export your document to the Portable Document Format (PDF).

Writing – LibreOffice Writer lets you create both basic documents, such as memos, faxes, letters , resumes and merge documents, as well as long and complex or multi-part documents, complete with bibliographies, reference tables and indexes.

LibreOffice Writer also includes such useful features as a spellchecker, a thesaurus, AutoCorrect, and hyphenation as well as a variety of templates for almost every purpose. You can also create your own templates using the wizards.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

What do China, FBI and UK have in common? All three want backdoors in Western technology – The Chinese government wants backdoors added to all technology imported into the Middle Kingdom as well as all its source code handed over.

Suppliers of hardware and software must also submit to invasive audits, the New York Times reports.

The new requirements, detailed in a 22-page document approved late last year, are ostensibly intended to strengthen the cybersecurity of critical Chinese industries. Ironically, backdoors are slammed by computer security experts because the access points are ideal for hackers to exploit as well as g-men.

Foreign companies are concerned that the fresh regulations will effectively push them out of one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets. Western businesses criticized the policies as protectionist, and see it as the latest salvo in an ongoing standoff between China and the US over the control of technology. The US Chamber of Commerce has called for talks on the matter.

China wanting backdoors in US-built hardware and software will appall privacy and security activists – but it’s in line with the backdoors requested by senior FBI figures and UK Prime Minister David Cameron: the Feds and Brit spies would love to be able to pull information out of phones and other devices as they please.

“The FBI seems to have the same plan as the Chinese except they don’t even pretend to audit the software,” noted Tor developer and privacy activist Jacob Appelbaum.

The infosec expert known as The Grugq added: “China and FBI unite to demand reduced security for iPhones. Who knew they had so much common ground?”

A Year After Reform Push, NSA Still Collects Bulk Domestic Data, Still Lacks Way to Assess Value – The presidential advisory board on privacy that recommended a slew of domestic surveillance reforms in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations reported today that many of its suggestions have been agreed to “in principle” by the Obama administration, but in practice, very little has changed.

Most notably, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board called attention to the obvious fact that one full year after it concluded that the government’s bulk collection of metadata on domestic telephone calls is illegal and unproductive, the program continues apace.

“The Administration accepted our recommendation in principle. However, it has not ended the bulk telephone records program on its own, opting instead to seek legislation to create an alternative to the existing program,” the report notes.

And while Congress has variously debated, proposed, neutered, and failed to agree on any action, the report’s authors point the finger of blame squarely at President Obama. “It should be noted that the Administration can end the bulk telephone records program at any time, without congressional involvement,” the report says.

Obama said a year ago that he favored an end to the government collection of those records if an alternative — such as keeping the records at the telephone companies, or with a third party — still allowed them to be searchable by the government. The White House was recently said to be “still considering” the matter.

DOJ inspector general: reporter’s hacking claims can’t be substantiated – According to a US Department of Justice Inspector General report released today, an investigation “was not able to substantiate the allegations that [Sharyl] Attkisson’s computers were subject to remote intrusion by the FBI, other government personnel, or otherwise.” The report was introduced into the Senate record at the confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch.

Attkisson, who has written a book about her experiences trying to cover the Obama White House which includes the allegation of hacking, has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, and the Postmaster General for the alleged hacking of her home and work computers. Today, Attkisson testified at Lynch’s confirmation hearing.

The report from the DoJ’s Office of the Inspector General casts a different light on Attkisson’s allegations:

The OIG found after inspecting Attkisson’s personal computer that the episode she recorded video of—in which the contents of a Word document were being deleted off her screen—was caused by a stuck backspace key. And examination of Attkisson’s iMac found that file metadata for the computer’s logs had been altered by whoever inspected it. “The OIG’s forensic examination further found what appeared to be searches and queries performed by an examiner with knowledge of computer logs,” the report noted.

“However, it appeared that the searches and queries were conducted while the computer was in operation and without write protecting the drive, which altered file information. This method of forensic examination is not forensically sound nor is it in accordance with best practices.” And when the OIG asked for a copy of the report from the technician who did the examination, Attkisson said, “My attorney says our material isn’t yet in a form that’s ready to share.”

Google, others could be ‘accomplices’ to hate speech under French law – France is preparing to draft a new law, and under it Google, Twitter, and other tech companies like them would be considered accomplices to hate speech if extremist messages are hosted on their services. The announcement was made on Tuesday by France’s President Francois Hollande, and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will be traveling to the United States soon in an effort to build favor among tech companies. This follows the nation’s tragic terror attack earlier in January, and the subsequent efforts to squash extremist communications.

Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, France has turned its attention towards the Internet and the hate speech it harbors — as well as the recruitment methods terrorists use online to draw others into their dark web. President Hollande wants to see companies push back against such hate speech online.

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