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Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – September 9, 2015

The essential guide to powerline Ethernet adapters;  These second-screen apps make NFL games even more fun;  When your Windows image backup fails, try this;  Adblock Plus releases its web browser for iOS;  YouTube forces AdBlock users to watch unskippable video ads;  Turn Chrome’s new tab page into a to-do list powerhouse;  The best scanning apps for Android and iPhone;  Selling your old iPhone: Online vs. in-store trade-ins;  Android porn app takes your mugshot, holds your device ransom;  Windows Media Center lives on with unofficial Windows 10 version;  Kaspersky Lab pushes emergency patch for critical vulnerability;  Opera Mini browser for Android gets new data compression tech;  Amazon expected to release $50 6-inch Fire tablet this year;  Airbnb Hosted Nearly 17 Million Guests This Summer;  The FIFA 16 demo is here – this is how you play;  Netflix’s new excuse for no offline playback is even lamer than the last one;  If you’re buying a TV, know these three letters: HDR;  AirConsole turns browsers into a local multiplayer console;  Apple refused to wiretap an iMessage account for the Justice Department.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

It’s football season! These second-screen apps make NFL games even more fun to watch – According to the NFL, 70 percent of fans use a second screen while watching football. It’s easy to understand why: mobile devices—and the apps that run on them—give us easy access to player stats and analysis, provide interactive features to supplement the big-screen experience, and offer a convenient way to communicate with other fans watching the game. We’ve rounded up seven of the best second-screen apps to enhance your football viewing. Take them for a spin when the season kicks off later this week, and we’re sure you’ll be reaching for them along with your remote every Thursday and Sunday until the end of Super Bowl 50.

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The essential guide to powerline Ethernet adapters (including 12 hands-on reviews) – This roundup of powerline ethernet adapters is continually updated. It was originally published on January 15, 2015, updated in March and again in June 2015 and now again in early September,. Click here if you would like to read that original story as published in January 2015. This latest iteration contains entirely new reviews of the Extollo LANsocket 1500 and TP-Link TL-PA8030P KIT, plus updated reviews of the D-Link DHP-701AV and the Trendnet TPL-420E2K.

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The seven apps you need to tame your email overload – Managing email for most people is an irritating and time-consuming task, but thankfully there’s a host of email apps that make it easier.

When your Windows image backup fails, try this – This has to be one of the worst things that can happen in the digital world. You create a backup and then, when you need it, it doesn’t work. That’s why I recommend making two backups. But let’s see if we can fix the problem at hand.

Adblock Plus releases its web browser for iOS – Makers of the popular ad-blocking software Adblock Plus have launched a stand-alone mobile browser for iOS. The Adblock Browser launched as a beta on Android back in May, but has not been available on Apple’s App Store until now. The company is marketing the software primarily as a way to block ads when browsing webpages online, but says this feature offers a range of other benefits, including protecting users from malware, and saving their battery life and mobile data. Users can block all ads by default or whitelist favorite sites.

Opera Mini browser for Android gets new data compression tech – The latest version for the mobile browser adds a new High compression mode that minimises data expenditure without affecting the page display.

YouTube forces AdBlock users to watch unskippable video ads – Browser extensions that block website advertisements are becoming very common these days and their use is expected to only grow in the next few years. Some websites that survive on advertising have turned to things like tip jars or even politely asking users to turn off their ad-blockers. Google’s YouTube, however, is taking a bit more of a direct approach: users with the AdBlock Plus extension installed are forced to watch video advertisements before the actual content video plays.

Turn Chrome’s new tab page into a to-do list powerhouse – It’s just one program on your PC, but for many of us the browser is the central tool we use for work, play, and communication. That’s why so many people love Google Chrome and its healthy ecosystem of extensions and apps. Today we’re going to look at one way to turn your new tab page into something a little more productive than you’ve got now thanks to Microsoft’s recently acquired to-do list app Wunderlist.

The best scanning apps for Android and iPhone – Never bother with a scanner again. Thanks to high-quality cameras on today’s top smartphones and nifty behind-the-scenes tech, scanning a document or photo with great results is as easy as opening an app and snapping a picture. Here are CNET’s top picks for the best apps to turn your phone into a scanner.

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Evernote Scannable in action. Josh Miller/CNET

Twitter for Windows 10 catches up with group messages and other new features – Twitter for Windows has been a perfect example of Microsoft’s app problems; sure, the app exists, but it has fallen far behind Twitter’s smartphone apps in terms of features and functionality. Today, Twitter for Windows is taking a much-needed step forward and adding group messaging, multi-account support, lists, and other improvements.

Selling your old iPhone: Online vs. in-store trade-ins – The latest iPhones are just around the corner, and that means some Apple fans may be looking to sell their old devices. Dozens of websites offer easy trade-in programs for old smartphones. Some retailers also offer customers the option to sell their used devices. Even wireless carriers are making it easy for customers to trade in their iPhones and upgrade to new ones. Which option is right for you? That’s the question I answer in this edition of Ask Maggie.

Raspberry Pi gets its first official touchscreen display – A year after it was first announced, the Raspberry Pi touch display finally launched on Tuesday. The new component means Raspberry Pi hackers can now experiment with an officially sanctioned 7-inch, 800-by-480, 10-point multi-touch LCD display for their Pi projects. The $60 touchscreen does cost more than the Pi itself, but that comes down to component costs. The screen uses a display serial interface (DSI) and digital parallel interface (DPI) that requires a driver board to interface with the Pi. The display also requires its own power connection, which can be shared with the Pi over USB.

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How to delete the Windows.old folder from Windows 10 – Did you upgrade your PC to Windows 10? If so, ever wonder what happened to the previous version of the OS? It probably disappeared into the mists of Windows past, right? Wrong. Your old OS didn’t get erased; rather, it’s lingering in a system folder called, aptly enough, Windows.old. And depending on the size of that version, it could be hogging a lot of precious space. First things first: If you think you might want to downgrade from Windows 10 back to the previous version, don’t delete that folder.

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Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Windows Media Center lives on with unofficial Windows 10 version – Although Microsoft has officially discontinued its old living room PC software, some users on the My Digital Life forums have apparently patched Windows Media Center to run on Microsoft’s latest operating system. Why this matters: While Microsoft has claimed that hardly anyone uses Windows Media Center anymore, it remains a popular program among hardcore home theater PC users, many of whom are avoiding Windows 10 so they can keep using the living room software. This workaround could let users enjoy the benefits of Windows 10 without giving up Windows Media Center, but we’d still advise against it.

Security:

It’s still 2015, and your Windows PC can still be pwned by a webpage – Microsoft has today released patches for 56 security vulnerabilities in its products. People should apply the updates as soon as possible because miscreants are actively exploiting at least two of the holes – and likely more by the time you read this. The September patch batch includes critical fixes for Internet Explorer and Edge, Office, and Windows. Users and administrators are being advised to test and install the updates on the double. Of the 56 vulnerabilities, 14 in Internet Explorer, four in the supposedly super-whizzbang-secure Edge browser, one in Windows’ handling of OpenType fonts, four in Windows’ Journal file handling, and four in Microsoft Office, allow an attacker to remotely execute evil code on a victim’s system. Microsoft’s September bulletins in full:

Android porn app takes your mugshot, holds your device ransom – Bad news, mobile porn viewers! The FBI knows what you’re up to. They’ve taken your mugshot and they’re going to need you to transfer $500 via PayPal before you can do anything with your phone again. No, it’s not part of some crazy government crackdown on Internet porn. It’s a shakedown attempt some enterprising criminals concocted. The idea is simple enough: trick a user into installing an app that disguises itself as a porn video player, sneak a few extra permissions in thinking that they’re so eager to get at the goods that they won’t read them, and then hijack the startup process and hold the infected device for ransom.

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Severe external drive vulnerability prompts Seagate to issue emergency patch – Watch out Seagate wireless external hard drive owners—your peripheral may have serious flaws in it that will open your files to malicious attackers. The good news is Seagate has already issued a patch for the problem. The vulnerabilities primarily affect owners of Seagate Wireless Plus Mobile Storage, Seagate Wireless Mobile Storage, and LaCie Fuel devices purchased since October 2014.

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Kaspersky Lab pushes emergency patch for critical vulnerability – Kaspersky Lab has released an emergency patch for some of its antivirus products after a security researcher found a critical vulnerability that could allow hackers to compromise computers. The flaw was discovered by vulnerability researcher and Google security engineer Tavis Ormandy, who mentioned it Saturday on Twitter, before sending the bug’s details to Kaspersky.

Researcher demands FireEye pay up for zero-day vulnerabilities or suffer his ‘cold silence’ – A security researcher has demanded that FireEye pay him for several zero-day vulnerabilities he found in the firm’s security products, and he has threatened that he will otherwise remain silent about the bugs’ details.

Company News:

Airbnb Hosted Nearly 17 Million Guests This Summer – Growth is up and to the right for Airbnb. Nearly 17 million people worldwide booked their guest stays with the peer-to-peer lodging platform this summer, according to a new travel report. That’s a whopping 353x’s surge in the last five years – and a far cry from the three guests Airbnb hosted before officially launching in the summer of 2008. Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were just trying to figure out a way to pay rent at the time and made a website that advertised $80 to rent an air mattress on the floor of their apartment for a night plus breakfast in the morning. Three people, two guys and a girl, decided to try it out and Airbnb was born.

Facebook Equips Business Pages With Mobile Storefronts For Shopping And Services – Likes ≠ Dollars. Facebook wants Pages to actually earn money for the 45 million small businesses that use them. So today Facebook is upgrading Pages with a tabbed mobile layout that lets them display storefront “Sections” where users can “Shop” for products or view a list of “Services” the business offers. The company is also making calls to action on business Pages, such as “Call Now,” “Send Message” and “Contact Us,” bigger, more colorful and more prominent beneath the cover image. The “Shop” section will include Buy buttons powered by Facebook’s partnership with Shopify so users can check out without leaving the social network. Facebook is also testing Buy buttons that link out to a business’ traditional website.

Netflix to launch in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan – After becoming available in much of Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Netflix now looks to expand its reach to Asia. Netflix announced plans to enter four new markets in Asia on Wednesday as the Internet video streaming service continues its global expansion. Netflix will officially become available in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan early next year, the company said.

Amazon Prime Now in Seattle expands to offer meal delivery – Last month, Amazon launched its Prime Now delivery service in its home city, Seattle. The service offered one-hour and two-hour delivery of thousands of items, including things like a nice bottle of wine for dinner or one of its own pieces of hardware. Now, nearly two weeks after the initial launch, Amazon has announced an expansion of its Seattle delivery service, including meal delivery from select local restaurants as part of its offering.

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Amazon expected to release $50 6-inch Fire tablet this year – Amazon was one of the first device makers to really put its full weight behind Android as a tablet operating system. The original 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet was released in 2011 at an unheard of $100 price point. However, that proved to be Amazon’s high-point when it comes to Android tablets. Attempts to sell more premium slates have fallen flat, but now the retailer is expected to announce a $50 Android tablet in time for the holidays. This report comes from the Wall Street Journal, which cites the always-reliable “people familiar with the matter.”

Microsoft Confirms Purchase Of Cloud Security Firm Adallom – Microsoft announced this morning that it purchased cloud security firm Adallom. According to sources familiar with the matter, the deal cost the Redmond-based software giant $250 million. That dollar amount is below previously reported figures pegging the value of the purchase north of $300 million.

Games and Entertainment:

Netflix’s new excuse for no offline playback is even lamer than the last one – Apparently you don’t want offline video support after all. And if you had it, you wouldn’t know what to do with it.

The FIFA 16 demo is here – this is how you play – Those anticipating the release of the next big video game based on the world’s most popular sport, soccer (football if you’re outside the US), are in for a treat: the demo for EA Sports’ FIFA 16 should be available later today for the PlayStation 4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. Those in New Zealand can get to downloading now, while those in North America might need to wait until later in the day, with exact times varying based on console and region of the world.

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Minecraft 0.12.1 update brings multiplayer cross-platform action – Minecraft fans listen up, a big update is coming and you will love it. With the new update players on both of these versions will be able to play together on a local network. That means you can invite friends over and play with them on the same servers on your Windows 10 PC while they are playing on mobile devices or tablets. Up to five people can play together over Xbox Live and all players will be able to tweak their gear with special effects from enchanting tables. This is the largest update for Pocket Edition ever published. The update brings new touch controls, controller support, and a controller mapping screen.

Get the ‘Witcher 3’ Expansion Pack on Oct. 13 – The expansion pack features more than 10 hours of new adventures as well as “new characters, powerful monsters, unique romance, and a brand new storyline shaped by gamer choices,” the Polish developer said. Players will “step again into the shoes of Geralt of Rivia, a professional monster slayer, this time hired to defeat a ruthless bandit captain, Olgierd von Everec, a man who possesses the power of immortality,” according to CD Projekt RED. The expansion will also feature a new system of Runewords, which are said to “significantly” affect gameplay. Under the new system, each Runeword impacts a different aspect of in-game mechanics, so you’ll have to experiment with various strategies and tactics.

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AirConsole turns browsers into a local multiplayer console – Meet AirConsole, the virtual web-based gaming console that turns any browser into a local multiplayer gaming experience and your smartphone into controllers. Things couldn’t get any simpler than this. Simply go to the AirConsole website and get the code to connect as many smartphones as possible. The limit is based on how many simultaneous players a game supports. While you can technically use your smartphone’s web browser to connect to the AirConsole running on your computer or tablet, there are also dedicated mobile apps for both iOS and Android.

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Disney’s fantastic cloud movie locker now works with Amazon, Microsoft video apps: Buy once, watch everywhere – Disney Movies Anywhere is what UltraViolet should have been; buy a movie once, and watch it on nearly any device — without needing to download a separate app or video player. It already works across Android and iOS (plus popular digital retailers like Vudu), and today Disney is adding Amazon Video, Microsoft Movies, and TV to the mix. Next week, a Disney Movies Anywhere app will launch for Roku’s set-top boxes and Android TV. So pretty soon it’ll be incredibly simple to watch your Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars films regardless of which device is in your hands or in your living room. Once you’ve linked your Disney account, all of those movies will appear right inside Amazon Video and also Microsoft’s video apps for Windows and Xbox.

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Ubisoft to open Malaysia theme park in 2020 – On Monday, Ubisoft announced plans to open a theme park in Malaysia, one that it describes as being “next-generation”. This will give its fans a chance to experience its games as a real-world adventure, the company says, at least if you’re in or near Malaysia. The theme park won’t be opening until 2020, but when it does it’ll offer 10,000 square meters of attractions, rides, shows, and more, all of them featured indoor for all-weather and year-round enjoyment.

Off Topic (Sort of):

LG develops 111-inch double-sided 4K OLED TV – The hottest tech in displays right now is OLED and 4K. Combine the two and you have a fantastic, high resolution at any size TV, but LG has gone a step further by developing a double-sided 4K OLED TV. If that wasn’t enough to impress you, they also made 111-inches big. The massive, unique display is being shown off at IFA Berlin this week. LG achieved the 111-inch size by combining three 65-inch OLED panels while keeping the display just a handful of millimeters thick. A smaller 55-inch double-sided TV was also present with its thickness listed as just 5.3mm.

If you’re buying a TV, know these three letters: HDR – If you’re looking to buy a new TV, prepare to hear a lot about HDR. After bigger screens, and thinner screens, and 3D screens, and curved screens, and 4K screens, HDR is the new flavor of the season in television technology and it’s one worth paying attention to. High dynamic range is probably most familiar to people through the HDR mode on their digital cameras. It’s designed to deliver a picture that has greater details in the shadows and highlights a wider range of colors. HDR in televisions pursues the same goal. The color palette is wider, blacks are deeper and whites are brighter.

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MESSE BERLIN – An HDR TV displayed by Panasonic at the IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin on Sept. 4, 2015.

Geeky club sparked Apple’s first computer, gave Woz a ‘eureka’ moment – A 1975 meeting in a Silicon Valley garage inspired the young, shy Steve Wozniak to build the Apple I — and ignite a legacy. Woz tells the tale to CNET.

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Here’s How Many People Are Still Rocking the Original iPhone – Apple is expected to announce two new iPhones on Wednesday, an annual update to its most successful product lines. This will mark the ninth year that Apple has introduced a new set of iPhones. The company has sold 10 different variations of the iPhone, from the 2007 original (which launched without the App Store) to last year’s supersized iPhone 6 Plus. In total, Apple has sold more than 700 million iPhones since 2007. But just how many people are using a spiffy new iPhone 6 Plus compared to the older models?

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Source: Fiksu Get the data

Space whisky returns to Earth! Here are the taste test results – In 2011, samples of scotch whisky were sent to mature aboard the International Space Station. Now they’re back and sporting a different flavor than their terrestrially mellowed counterparts.

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Something to think about:

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

–       John Adams

Downloads:

Dashlane: The password manager, perfected – Keeping track of passwords and making them secure is startlingly simple with Dashlane’s free password manager. Automatically import your passwords from Chrome or any other browser into your secure password vault. Save any missing passwords as you browse. Make a new password right within your browser. Get automatic alerts when websites get breached.

And with our auto-login, you will never have to type any password on any of your devices again. It’s that simple.

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DocFetcher – DocFetcher is an Open Source desktop search application: It allows you to search the contents of files on your computer. — You can think of it as Google for your local files. The application runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, and is made available under the Eclipse Public License.

Basic Usage:

The screenshot below shows the main user interface. Queries are entered in the text field at (1). The search results are displayed in the result pane at (2). The preview pane at (3) shows a text-only preview of the file currently selected in the result pane. All matches in the file are highlighted in yellow.

You can filter the results by minimum and/or maximum filesize (4), by file type (5) and by location (6). The buttons at (7) are used for opening the manual, opening the preferences and minimizing the program into the system tray, respectively.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Apple refused to wiretap an iMessage account for the Justice Department – For years, Tim Cook has been telling users that iMessage’s encryption makes it impossible to wiretap — and now, the Justice Department seems to have found out the hard way that he’s right. According to a New York Times report, Apple received a court order from the Justice Department this summer, demanding real-time access to a suspect’s iMessage account. Apple replied that iMessage encryption made the request impossible. The company later handed over iCloud backups of the suspect’s messaging history, but the request for real-time access (akin to a traditional wiretap) remained unfulfilled.

There are still a number of unanswered questions around the report. We don’t know the nature of the court order or the justification for Apple’s refusal, so it’s difficult to assess the legality of either one. Still, federal agencies have been trying and failing to wiretap iMessage accounts for years now, so the central facts of the story are very plausible. In its most recent transparency report, Apple reported more than 250 national security requests, and said 6 percent of law enforcement requests pertained to user account data.

US claim on the world’s servers at a crossroads – The Obama administration on Wednesday will argue to a US appeals court that companies operating in the US must comply with valid warrants for data—even if that data is stored on overseas servers.

Much of the tech sector, from Amazon and Microsoft to Verizon, oppose the US government’s position in the closely watched case. These companies and a slew of others maintain that the enforcement of US law stops at the border. They say the global community is already skittish about trusting US-based tech companies in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks. So a ruling siding with the Obama administration would fuel that mistrust, conflict with foreign data protection laws, and place the tech sector at risk of foreign government sanctions, the companies said.

The two-year-old dispute before the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York concerns e-mail stored on Microsoft’s servers in Dublin, Ireland. As part of a drug investigation, US authorities served Microsoft with a warrant demanding access to e-mail on an overseas Microsoft account. Microsoft balked, writing in a court brief that “The government cannot seek and a court cannot issue a warrant allowing federal agents to break down the doors of Microsoft’s Dublin facility.”

Norwegian Pirate Party provides DNS server to bypass new Pirate Bay blockade – Following a court-ordered block of The Pirate Bay and a number of other file-sharing websites in Norway, the Norwegian Pirate Party (Piratpartiet Norge) has now set up free, uncensored DNS servers that anyone can use to bypass the block. While the DNS servers are based in Norway, anyone can use them: if your ISP is blocking access to certain sites via DNS blackholing/blocking, using the Piratpartiet’s DNS servers should enable access.

A few days ago, TorrentFreak reported that the Oslo District Court had sided with several Hollywood studios and domestic Norwegian rights holders in a case that sought to block a number of sites, including The Pirate Bay, Viooz, and ExtraTorrent. The court ordered that the country’s major ISPs, including Telenor, TeliaSonera, NextGenTel, and Altibox, must block the sites.

The Norwegian Pirate Party, as you can probably imagine, isn’t happy with the court-ordered block. In response, it has set up an unblocked DNS server—dns.piratpartiet.no—and a website that shows you how to change your DNS server settings on Windows, Mac, or Linux.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – September 7, 2015

How to turn off Windows 10’s keylogger (yes, it still has one);  You Asked: Can My Phone Kill My Car Battery?  Addicted to Facebook? You are not alone;  Facebook Messenger is now the second most popular app;  10 Travel Apps That Will Make You Feel Like a Local;  Take advantage of the Microsoft Print to PDF feature in Windows 10;  How to get the most out of your inkjet printer ;  6 new Google Drive features you need to know about;  Best free video editing software;  Files on Seagate wireless disks can be poisoned, purloined;  Microsoft prepares new Windows 10 phones for India;  The trailer of Netflix’s first movie will chill you to the bone;  Injected electronics: The next wave of wearable tech?  Batman: Arkham Knight PC patch finally available;  Feeling sad could change how you see colours;  Comcast’s adding new features for football fans;  Windows Firewall Control (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to turn off Windows 10’s keylogger (yes, it still has one) – Microsoft pretty much admits it has a keylogger in its Windows 10 speech, inking, typing, and privacy FAQ: “When you interact with your Windows device by speaking, writing (handwriting), or typing, Microsoft collects speech, inking, and typing information—including information about your Calendar and People (also known as contacts)…” If that makes you feel creepy, welcome to the human race. The good news is that you can turn off the keylogging.

You Asked: Can My Phone Kill My Car Battery? – When you plug your phone into your car to charge it up — especially when the car’s engine isn’t running — a feeling of dread can sneak into your mind. “Can my phone kill my car battery?” this voice whispers. The short answer is “yes.” The long answer, however, imparts some electronics smarts.

Addicted to Facebook? You are not alone – On the back of Facebook’s rise in second quarterly revenue and the fact 1.49 billion people use Facebook, the survey shows some revealing trends in how we actually use Facebook in our lives. The survey was carried out by Stop Procrastinating — a UK based productivity site. It asked 2000 people who use Facebook regularly and found that a majority are worried that their use of Facebook is compulsive.

Facebook Messenger is now the second most popular app in the United States – Remember when Facebook spun off Messenger and forced you to download it separately? Turns out, even though users initially hated it, the company knew what it was doing. A new report from digital media analytics company comScore shows that Facebook Messenger is currently the second most popular app in America. Messenger is Facebook’s answer to concerns that younger users are gravitating more to messaging apps like Snapchat. Of late, Facebook has embellished the app, adding in video calling, instant video sharing, peer-to-peer payments and even a personal assistant called M. Whatever the reasons for the increased focus on Messenger, the company’s efforts are paying off.

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Spindle Is A Social App That Encourages You To Be Selfish With Your Content – While social media platforms theoretically can be a great place to document life’s special moments, the reality is that social pressure often forces us to curate and filter our content for others, instead of focusing on ourselves. Launched last week, Spindle is a social journaling app that solves this issue by putting the emphasis on letting a user create content for themselves, and share it with friends as an afterthought.

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WhatsApp tops 900 million monthly active users – While other mobile messaging apps continue to grow in popularity, it seems none can push the Facebook-owned WhatsApp from its throne. Founder Jan Koum revealed that the app now has an incredible 900 million monthly active users. The news was shared by Koum in a Facebook post, and means that WhatsApp has gained an additional 100 million new users in just under five months, and achieved a 50% growth rate over the last year.

10 Travel Apps That Will Make You Feel Like a Local – No one wants to feel like a tourist. And these days, people don’t even want to feel like travelers, but want to experience a place like a local. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Multiple apps even. From sleeping in a local’s apartment to getting them to cook you a meal there, these 10 apps will turn you into an insider anywhere you go.

Best free video editing software – Commercial video editors can be very expensive, of course, but you may not have to go that far. Whether you want to trim your clips down to size, add a soundtrack or captions, apply transitions or special effects, there are some great free tools which can help – and these are the very best around.

Photoshop for 40 quid: Affinity Photo pushes pixels further than most – When El Reg tested the leading alternatives to Photoshop we told you to keep an eye out for Affinity Photo, a Mac-only rival from Serif that looked like being the best yet. It’s now out of beta and available for £40, which would buy you a Photoshop subscription for less than five months. Still, you could get an image editing app for even less, and Apple already gives you one free – helpfully called Photos, just to make it impossible to Google any information about it. It’s just about capable of displaying and tagging your collection of pictures and making basic non-destructive tweaks, and it looks pretty, but Photoshop it ain’t. And Affinity Photo? Well, I’ve been tweaking pics and reviewing image editing apps for two decades, and this is the first one I can remember that I might actually want to use.

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This is an app for serious image manipulation and compositing, not just tweaking.

Take advantage of the Microsoft Print to PDF feature in Windows 10 – I’ve always been a fan of tools, such as CutePDF Writer, that allow me to generate a PDF file via a print option. There are just so many instances where this capability can come in extremely handy. Well, fortunately, Microsoft has finally bestowed such a feature in Windows 10. Called Microsoft Print to PDF, this feature is installed as a native printer in Windows 10, right next to the good old Microsoft XPS Document Writer. Let’s take a closer look.

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How to get the most out of your inkjet printer – Printers are probably one of the most hated pieces of consumer electronics. Most of the time we can live without them, but when we need them, we really need them, and more often than not, that’s the time when they decide to play up.

6 new Google Drive features you need to know about – Just in time for the school year, Google’s added new features to Docs, Sheets and Slides, its online productivity tools. But you don’t have to be a student to use these cool new features, since they’re available to anyone with a Google account. Here are our favorite additions.

Snooz “sound conditioner” aims for restful sleep – Some people need total darkness to sleep, others need a little light. In the same way, some people need complete silence, but others need noise. That noise can come from a smartphone app, but the artificial nature of these noises make it ineffective for some. Others just flip the fan on, but that’s not feasible in certain situations, and is a waste of energy. That’s where Snooz comes in — it’s a relatively small saucer-shaped horizontal “sound conditioner” that provides white noise.

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Snap digital camera takes Polaroid back to its instant photo days – The latest camera to bear the Polaroid name (it’s actually the work of a company called C&A Marketing, a brand licensing outfit) is the cheap-and-cheerful Snap. Snap isn’t like other digital point-and-shoots on market. It’s built for fun and shareability, but in an old-school, Polaroidy way. Instead of using built-in WiFi to zip your pictures off to Facebook friends, you can print out a copy and actually hand it to them on the spot. The 10mp shooter also has a cool “photo booth” mode. Switch it on and the Snap captures six pictures in 10 seconds, very much like those machines at the mall do.

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Five to Try: Hopper helps you score cheap flights, and Pokémon hits the Play Store – It’s Labor Day weekend here in the States, so it’s apt that our latest Five to Try picks focus on fun, relaxation, and entertainment. In fact, if the long weekend has you thinking about another breather on the horizon, Hopper can help you secure the best fares by predicting flight pricing trends. Meanwhile, Google’s new standalone Street View app lets you explore stunning photo spheres from around the world, while Scout Launcher refocuses your home screen on videos, music, and news.

Security:

Files on Seagate wireless disks can be poisoned, purloined – thanks to hidden login – CERT.org has reported Seagate wireless hard drives include “undocumented Telnet services” accessible with a hard-coded password. This allows “unrestricted file download capability to anonymous attackers with wireless access to the device.” And another flaw makes it possible to upload anything into the devices’ default file-sharing directory. The three flaws present in the device mean that anyone on your network – or can reach it from the outside – armed with the default password of “root” and enough savvy to try the username “root” can download the entire contents of the Seagate devices, then upload malware into them. Which could mean fun times if bad guys decide to replace your putty.exe, or Office documents, with something containing malware. Seagate’s made new firmware available, version 3.4.1.105 to be precise, and requests owners of its kit to “please check the Download Finder regularly to determine if new firmware is available for your drive.” Lovely sentiments, but of course most consumers have shown they’ve no idea about this stuff by failing to install much-needed new broadband router firmware despite colossal security holes.

Hackers spent at least a year spying on Mozilla to discover Firefox security holes – and exploit them – Hackers have known about unpublicized and unpatched critical security holes in the Firefox web browser for a year or more – all by invading Mozilla’s systems. The Mozilla Foundation admitted on Friday that a privileged account on Firefox’s Bugzilla bug-tracking software has been compromised since at least September 2014. Said account, and thus the miscreants who gained access to it, could view the crucial non-public details of security bugs in Firefox that programmers were working on fixing. Information on these vulnerabilities is withheld so people can’t write code to exploit the bugs to infect Firefox users with malware – if you have access to what the browser’s developers are trying to fix, you know exactly how to attack the software and infiltrate victims’ computers.

LinkedIn-based intelligence gathering campaign targets the security industry – A LinkedIn-based intelligence gathering campaign has been using fake LinkedIn profiles to map out the professional networks of IT security experts.

Spotify updates its privacy policy again, makes it more clear – Spotify updated its privacy policy in the recent past, and while many users went on to accept the updated terms (which are, by all accounts, fairly benign), some users expressed concern about some of the content Spotify may or may not be accessing. That all boiled down to a communication issue, says Spotify, which had quickly pushed out an apology when the uproar started. Now it is back with another updated privacy policy, and this one is more clear. Spotify announced the new (new) privacy policy on Thursday, saying that the confusion resulting from its last policy update was “understandable”.

Company News:

Getting Nokia’s groove back: Microsoft prepares new Windows 10 phones for India – Microsoft is preparing a new set of Windows 10-based, Nokia-branded smartphones to be released in India by the end of 2015, according to a report in the Economic Times. The devices will be some of the first designed from the ground up for Windows 10. The new operating system, which launched on PCs and tablets in late July, is expected to be rolled out for mobile devices in the next few months.

Google may return to China with a censored app store – Back in 2010, Google largely abandoned China over concerns of cyberattacks and surveillance. It was a bold, if commercially risky, move meant to protect users of Google’s services and assert Google’s values. The situation in China likely hasn’t changed in the years since, but it may simply be that Google can no longer ignore the country’s enormous technology market. Apple is already there with phones and an app store, after all, and China is expected to become its dominant market. Google and China didn’t exactly leave things on good terms, however, so it may need help getting back into the country. The Information reports that Google will lean heavily on partners, possibly such as Huawei, to include the Play Store with phones sold throughout China.

BlackBerry acquires Good Technology for $425 million, accelerates software plans – BlackBerry on Friday moved to bolster is enterprise mobility management prospects and consolidate the industry a bit with a deal to acquire Good Technology for $425 million in cash. The company has been working to reinvent itself as one primarily driven by software and the acquisition of Good will go a long way toward that goal. BlackBerry said Good will add $160 million in revenue in the first year. In a statement, BlackBerry said that Good will give it the assets to offer a unified mobility platform that can manage multiple platforms.

Games and Entertainment:

PC gaming flourishes at IFA as PC makers seek higher profits – Asus, Lenovo, and other PC makers are putting PC gaming hardware front and center among their hardware lineups. Why? Money, of course.

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With the Windows 10 Xbox app, the gaming console and PC are colliding.

The trailer of Netflix’s first movie will chill you to the bone – Netflix has just released the trailer of it’s upcoming movie, Beasts of No Nation, and the Idris Elba starrer has us on edge already. True Detective director Cary Fukunaga is behind the child soldier drama, which has recently been doing the film festival rounds where it has already received honors – we suspect Netflix will be pushing hard for an Academy Award nomination. The film stars Idris Elba as a war lord, and follows the story of Agu, portrayed by child actor Abraham, who is forced to become a child soldier during the civil war of an unnamed African country.

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Batman: Arkham Knight PC patch finally available – Batman: Arkham Knight was released a mess and now, finally, is getting a PC patch that will maybe (hopefully) squash all those bugs. The patch was recently up for beta testing, and on Thursday it was announced on Steam that those who’d already grabbed the Arkham Knight for PC game could now get the patch. If you didn’t get the game when it was released (its sales were pulled a short while later), you’ll still need to wait. When the PC game will be going back up for sale is not clear.

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Borderlands Getting Xbox One Backwards Compatibility – Good news, Borderlands fans. The original role-playing shooter will work on Xbox One when Microsoft releases its backwards compatibility update in November. Even better — if you’re a member of the Xbox One Preview program, you can try it out now. This means that if you own Borderlands for Xbox 360, you’ll be able to play it on your Xbox One — and you can carry over your previously saved files, game add-ons, and achievements.

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Comcast’s adding new features for football fans – Comcast is catering to the wants of its subscribers, at least the subscribers who enjoy football season. On Thursday, the service provider announced that it is making its X1 Sports mobile app “the ultimate football companion” for football season — for both the NCAA and NFL seasons. Comcast says it’ll be bringing users more football content than before, including everything from visualizations that make it easy to catch up on what has already gone down to real-time stats on games.

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World premiere of Steve Jobs movie gets rave reviews – Though opinions tend to vary quite drastically on Steve Jobs the man, it seems that everyone’s in agreement about Steve Jobs the movie, which has garnered a rapturous response from critics out of its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival this past weekend. Currently rocking a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, critics are unanimous in their praise for Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of the visionary behind Apple, with David Ehrlich of Time Out calling his performance “miraculous”, while Gregory Ellwood of HitFix states that though Fassbender “doesn’t look or sound very much like Jobs”, his “impressive performance” still prompts “sympathy for an obviously stubborn egomaniac.”

Off Topic (Sort of):

Injected electronics: The next wave of wearable tech? – Forget Google Glass and that Fitbit you used to wear; the ultimate in wearable computing isn’t worn on your body, but embedded within it. With chips physically inserted into your body either attached to nerves or placed into muscles or skin, a new form of synergy between human and computer can occur. The medical uses are potentially huge. “The technology could be used to help recover tissues following a brain injury or help manage diabetes by providing an intelligent solution for controlling insulin levels,” says Collette Johnson, Medical Business Development Manager at Plextek Consulting. “Injectable electronics could also provide similar applications in chemical regulation of the brain for people with imbalances, as well as for individuals with growth hormone-related diseases. They could also be used to help control prosthetics by reacting to muscle motion.”

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Federal bust of long-running escort site Rentboy.com leads to protests – Rentboy.com isn’t the first website to be shut down for allegedly promoting an illegal business. But federal prosecutors may not have expected the backlash stemming from last week’s bust of the 19-year-old gay escorting site. Anger over the bust began with blog posts and Twitter diatribes, and yesterday it spilled onto the streets. A group of several dozen people marched in a small but well-organized protest in front of the US District Court in Brooklyn, home to the prosecutors who took down the site last week.

These Playing Cards Can Take A Bullet – If you ever wondered what you’d do if someone pulled a gun on you as you were playing poker, wonder no more. A group called “Sly Kly” are seeing pickup on its playing cards that are made out of Kevlar or carbon fiber…your choice. These materials, as you probably know, can take a bullet. I’m not the only person who feels like I need this added protection, as they’ve already raised $40,371 as of writing (way past their $25,000 goal). I’ve never shot a deck of regular playing cars, since I don’t really like guns and most certainly don’t have a gun, but I imagine that it’d put a hole right through every card. These Kevlar ones? Not so much. Have a watch as their deflection of bullets is put on display:

Vicious drone attack by sneaky chimp no accident say researchers – A chimp by the name of Tushi took down a drone in a report released this week by the journal Primates. This event took place this April but footage was just released today, complete with drone movement, pre-emptive chimpanzee strike action, and a 1.8-meter long stick. This attack was described as deliberate and planned. This shows more evidence that primates are able to think ahead and be creative in their toolmaking, so said scientists to the surprise of absolutely no-one.

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Israel Could Grow Into A Global Cannabis Startup Superpower – Israel is already a leading global player in clinical testing and Israeli growers have been leveraging those clinical trials to produce new strains for decades. These growers have developed unique grow-how to deliver a medical grade product. “Israeli growers have agreements with companies in USA, Canada, Czech Republic and Australia. Israel has the oldest and largest regulated medical cannabis programs in the world with over 22,000 registered patients. The Hebrew University holds a rich IP bank of cannabis patents. It is easier to conduct cannabis research and clinical studies in Israel than in any other country in the world,” said Saul Kaye, the founder of iCan and CannaTech, a yearly cannabis innovation and investor summit in Israel. Governments and multinationals are currently flocking to Israel where clinical testing faces fewer hurdles.

Feeling sad could change how you see colours – A blue mood may be more than just a figure of speech. Your mood may also affect how you perceive the world around you, according to a new study. A team of researchers has demonstrated that sadness could have an effect on the way we see colour. The team, led by psychology researcher Christopher Thorstenson of the University of Rochester, found that people in whom they had induced a sad mood were less accurate in identifying colours on the blue-yellow axis, compared to people who weren’t feeling sad.

Facebook beats Google as the best place to work in the UK – Glassdoor, the jobs website, has published a list of the top 25 places to work in the UK. Facebook came top and Google bottom, but most of the companies are involved in IT, and not all of them are based in London….

Something to think about:

“It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the union label.”

–     Barack Obama

Downloads:

Windows Firewall Control – Managing Windows Firewall is now easier than ever – Windows Firewall Control is a powerful application which extends the functionality of the Windows Firewall and provides quick access to the most frequent options of Windows Firewall. It runs in the system tray and allows user to control the native firewall easily without having to waste time by navigating to the specific part of the firewall. This is the best tool to manage the native firewall from Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, Server 2008, Server 2012. Windows Firewall Control offers four filtering modes which can be switched with just a mouse click:

High Filtering – All outbound and inbound connections are blocked. This setting blocks all attempts to connect to and from your computer.

Medium Filtering – Outbound connections that do not match a rule are blocked. Only the programs that you allow can initiate outbound connections.

Low Filtering – Outbound connections that do not match a rule are allowed. The user can block the programs he doesn’t want to allow initiating outbound connections.

No Filtering – Windows Firewall is turned off. Avoid using this setting unless you have another firewall running on your computer.

Program Features:

√ Intuitive and easy accessible interface in the system tray, next to the system clock.

√ Full support with standard user accounts. Elevated privileges are required only at installation.

√ Disable the ability of other programs to add Windows Firewall rules.

√ Multiple and easier ways of creating new rules in Windows Firewall.

√ Integrated support of creating, modifying and deleting Window Firewall rules.

√ Lock feature which can disable the access to the settings of the program and Windows Firewall.

√ Shell integration into the right click context menu of the executable files.

√ Display invalid rules with the possibility to delete them very quickly.

√ Merge multiple similar rules or duplicate existing ones.

√ Search for executable files through folders and create new rules in seconds.

√ View recently allowed and blocked connections and create new rules from the Security log.

√ Choose if you want the program to start at user log on.

√ Import, export and restore all firewall rules or just the selected rules.

√ Protection to unauthorized uninstallation.

√ Possibility to restore previous settings at uninstallation.

√ Global hot keys are supported and various shortcut keys are available.

√ And many, many more. Just try it out.

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Process Lasso – Tame CPU hungry processes and take control of your PC!

Process Lasso is NOT yet another task manager. It is real-time process optimization and automation software. Priority optimization, affinity optimization, core optimization, automated rules, automated power profiles; you name it, and Process Lasso does it!

ProBalance – Keep your PC responsive during high CPU loads!

Gaming Mode 2.0 with Bitsum Highest Performance power plan – new

IdleSaver – Run at maximum performance while active; conserve energy when idle

SmartTrim – The first-ever intelligent RAM optimizer – new

Real-time CPU affinity and process priority optimization!

Automate and control process settings and power plans

Light-weight native code with negligible resource use

Efficient stand-alone core engine that can run as a service

Unique system responsiveness metric to quantify your experience!

Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and Windows 10

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Mind-blowing secrets of NSA’s security exploit stockpile revealed at last: Incredible document has to be seen to be believed – The NSA has revealed for the first time in public how it handles and reports critical unpatched security flaws its snoopers discover in software.

It is generally accepted the US taxpayer-funded spy agency has a private stash of exploitable programming blunders that it uses to infect and monitor its intelligence targets’ computers and phones.

Alerting app makers and IT giants to these holes, and getting them patched, could cost Uncle Sam some valuable information. It’s possible the agency tips off companies about the vulnerabilities once they’ve been successfully used against a target. The tech security world has been pressing to get some insight into the US government’s zero-day policy.

On Friday, we found out thanks to a successful Freedom of Information Act request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Human Rights Groups Lambast Twitter For Banning Service That Tracked Politicians’ Deleted Tweets – Seventeen international human rights and transparency groups, including the Sunlight Foundation, EFF, Free Press, Open State Foundation, Human Rights Watch and others, are taking Twitter to task for its decision to ban the Politwoops tool last month, which was used to track politicians’ deleted tweets. Twitter had earlier banned the U.S. version of this tweet-tracking service in May, saying it was in violation of Twitter’s developer agreement. At the time, Twitter also noted that every user on its service should have the same rights to privacy.

But the organizations argue that what politicians say is a matter of public record, and therefore, they shouldn’t have the same expectations of privacy when using social media as ordinary citizens do.

Politwoops, for those unfamiliar, was a tool developed by Dutch organization, the Open State Foundation, over three years ago. The code was used to track politicians’ and diplomats’ remarks on Twitter – and their subsequent removal – in 30 countries around the world. In the U.S., a government transparency group called the Sunlight Foundation used that same code to create a U.S. version of the service.

Twitter shut down the U.S. Politwoops account in May, but dozens of other international accounts continued to operate until this August.

America’s crackdown on open-source Wi-Fi router firmware – THE TRUTH – In a proposed update [PDF] to the regulator’s rules over radiofrequency equipment, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would oblige manufacturers to “specify which parties will be authorized to make software changes.”

In addition, it proposes that “modifications by third parties should not be permitted unless the third party receives its own certification.”

While the intent is to make the FCC’s certification of the next generation of wireless equipment faster and more flexible, open source advocates were quick to notice that the rules would effectively force manufacturers to lock down their equipment and so remove the ability to modify software without formal approval from the US government. Such an approach goes directly against the open source ethos.

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French ISPs petition court to overturn secret foreign surveillance decree – Two French ISPs have asked France’s highest court to make public a secret government decree defining how French security services can monitor the Internet.

France’s foreign intelligence service, the Directorate General of Exterior Surveillance (DGSE) operates under rules set in a secret government decree in 2008. The existence of the decree was revealed by the magazine l’Obs in July this year.

The decree’s existence has not been denied by the government. While its content remains secret, it is known that it authorizes the DGSE to tap Internet communications entering or leaving French territory on a massive scale.

On Thursday, ISPs FDN and FFDN, along with online rights group La Quadrature du Net, revealed that they had filed two suits with the Council of State, seeking a summary judgment and suspension of the unpublished decree. The Council of State is, among other functions, France’s highest court for matters involving the administration.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – September 4, 2015

10 Favorite Windows 10 Universal Apps for PCs and Phones;  Build a Windows 10 PC for $495;  3 things you should know before you buy your next laptop;  Skype mobile apps updated with redesign, more features;  The 10 Best Budget Laptops of 2015;  Google now helps you easily look up details for 900 illnesses;  Google Docs Has a New Killer Feature;  Despite reports of hacking, baby monitors remain woefully insecure;  My favorite Windows 10 tweak: GodMode;  Privacy Concerns Raised Over Kids’ Apps And Websites;  Photos: 10 brain buster apps to raise your mental game;  Google patches 29 vulnerabilities in latest Chrome release;  6 Video Games You’ll Want to Buy in September;  30 percent of Australians still pirate online material;  HDClone 6 Free Edition;  Microsoft wants you to Snip your next screenshot;  Microsoft, US face off again over emails stored in Ireland;  DisableWinTracking (free);  Bad tech movies you might want to watch this weekend.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Our 10 Favorite Windows 10 Universal Apps for PCs and Phones – Windows 10 lets you get apps that run on differing device sizes from phones to high-powered desktop PCs. Here are the best of these apps we’ve found.

Google Classroom Launches Chrome Extension So Teachers Can Instantly Share Links With The Entire Class – Google calls Classroom a “mission control for teachers,” allowing them to access all of Google Apps for Education within one central place. Teachers can use the product to chat with students, help students with their work and keep track of the daily goings on in the classroom. Today, the product is introducing something really nifty that will allow a teacher to share a link with students immediately without them having to give out a URL. If all of the students happen to be using a Chrome browser and are logged in, a teacher can jump on over to a webpage, click the extension and pick a class to share it with. An alert will pop up to the entire class, no matter where they’re located, and the page will load.

3 things you should know before you buy your next laptop – A couple months back I reviewed, then bought, an Asus ZenBook UX305 — a thin, lightweight laptop that, at first glance, seemed an ideal replacement for my aging, slowing, increasingly problem-ridden Samsung Series 9. Though it was already a very solid deal at $699, I decided to take the leap when the Microsoft Store put it on sale for $599. Now that I’ve had the chance to live with it and really make it part of my workday, I have a few regrets — and I’m going to distill those into three things you should strongly consider when shopping for your next laptop.

The 10 Best Budget Laptops of 2015 – The saying goes, “dirt-cheap laptops are dirt cheap for a reason.” While this might have been true a couple of years ago, times have changed, and for the better. These days, laptop manufacturers are inventing new ways to outsell each other, including aggressive price cutting. Now we’re seeing full-size and ultraportable notebooks that run powerful-enough processors to take around the house or at work or school, as well as full-featured chromebooks and hybrid systems that give you both laptop and tablet functionality in one device.

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Build a Windows 10 PC for $495 – Quite a few readers have been asking for an outline spec for a PC that can run Windows 10 and get stuff done but which won’t break the bank. Here you go. It’s actually possible to build a pretty decent PC for under $500. Could you buy cheaper from an OEM? Sure you could, but I doubt that you could buy much better for the money. Also, because you know everything that went into the system, you can diagnose problems or carry out upgrades much easier than you could on a big-box OEM PC.

Skype mobile apps updated with redesign, more features – Skype has introduced version 6.0 for both Android and iOS, and both updates are big — the apps have been overhauled, with the starting point of that overhaul being redesigns. Skype says the newest version is both more intuitive and more natural than the last version, and building upon that are new features that expand its usefulness for mobile users. Skype 6.0 for iOS is available now; the Android update is rolling out, so you may have to wait a little longer.

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Google now helps you easily look up details for 900 illnesses – A new Google search feature is making it easier to find details on more than 900 different health conditions. These include everything from common conditions like pink eye to tropical diseases like dengue fever. Along with adding 500 more diseases to this search feature, Google is also making design improvements to the information boxes. Now if you search specifically for a disease’s symptoms, the symptoms will show up in the box first. There’s also an option to print out a PDF of the information so patients can bring it to a doctor.

Google Street View app makes spherical photos useful – Several years ago Google introduced their own take on spherical photo capture in Android. They pushed this functionality to Street View, their own real-world-capture system for Google Maps. Now they’ve made it accessible and user-friendly for all people with mobile devices with a new Street View app from Google Maps. This app allows you to capture, share, and view your own spherical photos in as simple a way as has ever been delivered on a mobile device.

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Google Docs Has a New Killer Feature – Welcome back to the feature war. On Wednesday, Google will unveil a spate of new functions to Google Docs including voice dictation (Google’s calling it voice typing) which should be very nifty if it works as advertised. Not only can you speak what needs to be typed, Google can translate what you say into 40 languages. A caveat: “We’re not sure it can handle the Boston accent yet,” said Ryan Tabone, director of product management for Google Docs. To use the feature, a user needs to click on a microphone button and go. Microsoft Office does not have this yet, although since Microsoft has translation and speech recognition capabilities of its own, it’s probably just a matter of time.

Google for Education preps to go back to school with ‘superpowers’ – Google is bringing what could be arguably its greatest superpower to Docs through a new function called “Research.”

My favorite Windows 10 tweak: GodMode – I like GodMode for two reasons. First, it’s easy to do (there’s no registry editing or messing around with system files, and there’s no chance that the wheels will fall off your system). Secondly, it brings a myriad of different settings and options and puts them all in one place so I no longer have to go searching all over the operating system for them. This feature has existed in previous version of Windows, dating back to Windows XP, but if you’ve recently switched up to Windows 10 you might find it a useful aid in finding things within the new operating system.

Photos: 10 brain buster apps to raise your mental game – If it’s been a long summer of sun-soaking and sloth and you’re ready to get your brain energized again, these mobile apps can get the neurons firing.

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Can You Escape – Break out of rooms by solving puzzles and finding objects that will come in handy in the next room you get trapped in. It’s free and available for iOS and Android.

Microsoft wants you to Snip your next screenshot – Microsoft released a free app for capturing, annotating, and explaining screenshots. While the name is a bit confusing, Snip is not the same thing as the improved Snipping Tool that comes free with Windows 10. The Snipping Tool will capture screenshots, but it does not have any annotation features. Snip, on the other hand, is a free tool developed through a Microsoft Garage project that allows users to capture screenshots and then annotate them (Figure B). With the Snip app, users can draw on their captured screenshots using a software pen, which is available in various colors and sizes.

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Chrome 45 frees up memory faster, reloads most recently used content – Google has taken user feedback about Chrome becoming a sluggish memory-hog seriously: The latest release speeds up browsing and is more aggressive at memory management.

Privacy Concerns Raised Over Kids’ Apps And Websites – Given the sophisticated tracking technologies embedded into so many digital products and services as a matter of course, it should come as no surprise that a global privacy audit of children’s websites and apps has highlighted big concerns about the collection and use of kids’ data.

Security:

Google patches 29 vulnerabilities in latest Chrome release – Google has patched 29 security flaws, many of them deemed critical, in the latest update to the Chrome browser. On Tuesday, Google pushed Chrome 45 for Windows, Mac and Linux to the stable channel and for public release. As part of the Chrome 45.0.2454.85 update, 29 bugs have been fixed, and a number of improvements have been made. The most critical issues fixed in this update were three cross-origin bypass problems, which netted researchers $7500 in each case. In addition, a bug bounty hunter earned $5000 for a use-after-free vulnerability in Skia.

Despite reports of hacking, baby monitors remain woefully insecure – Disturbing reports in recent years of hackers hijacking baby monitors and screaming at children have creeped out parents, but these incidents apparently haven’t spooked makers of these devices. A security analysis of nine baby monitors from different manufacturers revealed serious vulnerabilities and design flaws that could allow hackers to hijack their video feeds or take full control of the devices. The tests were performed by researchers from security firm Rapid7 during the first half of this year and the results were released Tuesday in a white paper. On a scale from A to F that rated their security functionality and implementation, eight of the devices received an F and one a D.

Android ransomware uses XMPP chat to call home, claims it’s from NSA – A new variant of mobile ransomware that encrypts the content of Android smartphones is putting a new spin on both how it communicates with its masters and how it spurs its victims into action. The updated version of Simplocker masquerades on app stores and download pages as a legitimate application, and uses an open instant messaging protocol to connect to command and control servers. The malware requests administrative permissions to sink its hooks deep into Android. Once it’s installed, it announces itself to some victims by telling them it was planted by the NSA—and to get their files back, they’ll have to pay a “fine.”

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Check Point

Shopperz adware takes local DNS hijacking to the next level – Shopperz, also known as Groover, injects ads into users’ Web traffic through methods researchers consider malicious and deceptive. In addition to installing extensions in Internet Explorer and Firefox, the program creates Windows services to make it harder for users to remove those add-ons. One service is configured to run even in Safe Mode, a Windows boot option often used to clean malware. Moreover, Shopperz creates a rogue Layered Service Provider (LSP) in Windows’s network stack that allows it to inject ads into Web traffic regardless of the browser used.

The shadiest characters in the world of top-level domains – A number of top-level domains are used almost entirely to support botnets, spam campaigns and phishing, researchers have revealed. On Wednesday, a team from enterprise security firm Blue Coat unveiled the result of months of research into today’s top-level domains (TLDs). Domains are no longer limited to .com, .org and country of origin; instead, website operators can choose from a wide selection including .link, .edu, .mil, .review and .work, among others. However, the use of many TLDs is far from legitimate; instead, the researchers say over 95 percent of websites in ten different TLD “neighborhoods” are considered suspicious — and in two domains, .zip and .review, every link analyzed related to malicious use.

Even encrypted medical record databases leak information – A new study from Microsoft researchers warns that many types of databases used for electronic medical records are vulnerable to leaking information despite the use of encryption. The paper, due to be presented at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security next month, shows how sensitive medical information on patients could be pilfered using four different attacks. Researchers discovered the sex, race, age and admission information, among other data, using real patient records from 200 U.S. hospitals.

Latest security flaw to destroy all business? ‘Sanity check’ your cybercrime statistics – The difficulty telling fact from fiction in cybercrime news has been getting worse over the past few years. For decision makers, this means a “sanity check” on reported stats should be in your everyday toolkit.

Company News:

Apple, Google, Other Silicon Valley Tech Giants Ordered To Pay $415M In No-Poaching Suit – United States District Judge Lucy Koh today approved a $415 million settlement in the Silicon Valley no-poaching case. The dollar figure comes after a previous $324 million settlement was rejected as being too low. More than 64,000 workers are part of the case. The suit stems from a secret agreement among large tech firms like Google, Apple and Intel to not poach employees from one another. The effect of that sort of arrangement depresses employee mobility, and, therefore, wages. Perhaps the victory that results here on behalf of the working portion of Silicon Valley is moral, but it still feels light. The dollar figure, before taxes and the like, is just under $6,500 apiece. The amount is based on the individual base salaries between 2005 and 2009 of the workers listed in the suit.

Amazon snaps up Elemental to boost video on  AWS – Amazon will acquire Elemental Technologies in a bid to enrich the video capabilities of its AWS cloud service, the company announced Thursday. Elemental makes software to help media and entertainment companies take live and on-demand video intended for traditional purposes such as cable, satellite or over-the-air broadcast and reformat it for digital distribution to PCs, smartphones, tablets and TVs. The Oregon company was founded in 2006. Amazon Web Services plans to use the technology in new integrations and infrastructure offerings, it said. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year; terms were not disclosed.

Google sued over Waze’s alleged theft of map information – Google has more litigation on its hands. Waze, the GPS navigation app Google acquired in 2013, is being accused of stealing proprietary mapping information from a Washington, DC-based rival called PhantomAlert prior to its acquisition. The search giant’s purchase of Israeli-based Waze for $1.3 billion was a blockbuster mapping scoop that let Google tap into troves of important Waze data, which crowdsources mapping errors and traffic accidents to improve its product. Now, this lawsuit calls into question the underlying motivations with which Google bought Waze in the first place.

Double the performance, triple the battery: Intel looks to Skylake to revitalize PC business – According to Intel, there are hundreds of millions of computers out there that were state-of-the-art in 2010, and are now due for an upgrade. With the introduction of its new Skylake processor family on Tuesday – along with a slew of allied technologies – the company hopes laptop and desktop owners, both consumer and corporate, will be persuaded to open their wallets for a new system.

Games and Entertainment:

30 percent of Australians still pirate online material: Choice – 30 percent of Australians still download, stream, or watch pirated TV shows or movies online, despite government action, according to the Australian consumer advocacy group, Choice. Choice conducted a survey of 1,010 people from July 2 to 15, via iView — the free internet TV service from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) — as a follow up to the same survey it conducted in 2014. “The most frequent pirates are also the biggest consumers of paid and unpaid legal content and many exhaust the legal options before infringing online,” Choice said. “This doesn’t make piracy excusable, but it sure suggests that the best way to battle online piracy is to start making content more available and less expensive.”

Popcorn Time users sued again, this time for streaming 2015’s Survivor – The same law firm that sued 11 Popcorn Time users for watching Adam Sandler’s The Cobbler has fired another salvo, this time at users who viewed the 2015 film Survivor. The latest lawsuit targets 16 Comcast subscribers in the state of Oregon, Ars Technica reports. Both lawsuits were filed by the same attorney, Oregon-based Carl Crowell, who told Ars that he’s only seeking the statutory minimum of $750 from each anonymous defendant.

6 Video Games You’ll Want to Buy in September – September is here, and it arrives with several major video game releases in tow. It’s easy to get blindsided, as this month features some of the biggest game releases of 2015. Fortunately for you, we’re here to help narrow the scope of September’s releases to a few choice gems, for the sake of both your wallet and your sanity.

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TV fans drop the remote, pick up their smartphones instead  – Consumers are embracing video-on-demand TV and video services like never before and together these are now responsible for every third viewing hour of the day. If that seems a lot, it’s worth point out that figure is for viewing as a whole worldwide – the figures for teenage viewing suggest that nearly two thirds of teens total TV and video viewing is now done on a mobile device. That statistic is from the latest Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report for 2015 which also highlighted the huge growth in the number of consumers watching video on a mobile device with 61 percent saying that they watch on their smartphones today. This is an increase of 71 percent over the previous survey in 2012.

Bad tech movies you might want to watch this weekend – Odds are if you’re watching this, you know something about tech, and if you know something about tech, watching movies about tech can be a big problem. Why? Hollywood doesn’t always do its research. Nevertheless, a bad movie can also be a fun movie. Here’s our count down of our top four worst tech movies.

Off Topic (Sort of):

eBay seller who sued over negative feedback dinged $19k in legal fees – When Med Express sued Amy Nicholls for giving negative feedback on eBay, she didn’t back down and remove the feedback. Instead, she lawyered up, acquiring pro bono counsel with help from Paul Levy at Public Citizen, who’s been called “the Web Bully’s worst enemy.” Med Express founder Richard Radey quickly backed down and apologized, but it didn’t sit well. “Problem is, I don’t believe a word of what he says,” Levy told Ars in 2013. Radey had a history of such lawsuits. Levy sought sanctions and attorneys’ fees. That battle has, at long last, been won. A Medina County, Ohio, judge ruled (PDF) this week that Med Express and Radey must pay $19,250 to Tom Haren and Jeffrey Nye, the two Ohio lawyers who represented Nicholls and one other defendant. Levy worked on the case pro bono and sought no fees.

14-year-old added to police database for using Snapchat to send naked selfie – A 14-year-old boy has been added to a UK police intelligence database for using Snapchat to send a naked picture of himself to a female classmate he was flirting with from his bedroom. She saved the image and shared it with others, which is how the case came to light. Although the boy was not arrested or charged, the incident was nonetheless recorded as a crime of “making and distributing an indecent image of a child,” even though it was of himself. As The Guardian reports, “the [database] file remains active for a minimum of 10 years, meaning the incident may be flagged to potential employers conducting an advanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, such as for those who work with children.”

Starfish-killing robots headed to Great Barrier Reef – Roboticists at QUT develop a robot aimed at destroying invasive starfish, thereby saving the life of the Great Barrier Reef. First trials of this robot in the sea have been completed in Queensland’s Moreton Bay. More trials are set to take place later this month. While just a few robots will be deployed at first, this device’s creator sees great potential for a whole horde of them, all with the same goal. “The COTSbot becomes a real force multiplier for the eradication process the more of them you deploy,” said Dr Matthew Dunbabin from QUT’s Institute for Future Environments.

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Phones with ultra high-res 4K screens are serious overkill. Seriously – A 4K smartphone seems like an inevitable evolution in the industry, as engineers continue to improve the performance of shrunken internal components like camera sensors and computing processors. Phone-makers that implement the newest advancements snare bragging rights and lure buyers with claims of their products’ superiority. But before you take a stance one way or another, let’s consider what we already know about 4K resolution on TVs and current state-of-the-art resolution (2,560×1,440 pixels) on smartphones — and the niche segment where 4K might actually make a real difference.

Something to think about:

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

–       William Arthur Ward

Downloads:

DisableWinTracking – Uses some known methods that attempt to disable tracking in Windows 10.

GIF of GUI

HDClone 6 Free Edition – The Free Edition is real freeware without any obligation to buy. It is intended for temporary and free use cases. For more frequent or professional use, we recommend you to use one of the higher Editions, as they offer higher speed, broader hardware support and further options for regular and professional usage.

HDClone cre­ates phys­i­cal or log­i­cal cop­ies (clones) and file im­ages of hard disks and oth­er mass stor­age me­dia. HDClone is a per­fect tool for back­ups and cre­ating cop­ies of en­tire soft­ware or operating system in­stal­la­tions. A spe­cial Safe­Rescue mode makes HDClone an in­valu­able tool for res­cu­ing de­fec­tive hard disks and oth­er me­dia. HDClone works in­de­pen­dent of par­ti­tion­ing scheme, file system, and operating system. It also works with pro­pri­e­tary for­mats which would oth­er­wise be in­ac­ces­si­ble.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Feds say they’ll now get warrants before using cell-tower simulators – The fight against cell tower simulators, commonly known as Stingrays, just scored a major victory. Today the Justice Department issued a new policy for the simulators, which requires a search warrant before any such device can be deployed, effective immediately. The legal status of the cell-site simulators is still uncertain, and the new policy won’t have the force of law, but it’s still expected to radically change the way federal law enforcement deploys the devices.

There are still some exception to the warrant requirement, but they’re expected to be tracked and monitored significantly more rigorously than in the past. The relevant section of the new policy reads:

The use of cell-site simulators is permitted only as authorized by law and policy. While the Department has, in the past, appropriately obtained authorization to use a cell-site simulator by seeking an order pursuant to the Pen Register Statute, as a matter of policy, law enforcement agencies must now obtain a search warrant supported by probable cause and issued pursuant to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (or the applicable state equivalent), except as provided below.

Specific exceptions follow for exigent circumstances as named in the Fourth Amendment, as well as circumstances where the pen register statute is more relevant than the traditional warrant requirement. Any applications granted under these exceptions are to be tracked and reported by the department components.

Journalists arrested on terrorism charges in Turkey for using crypto software – Three journalists working with Vice News have been charged with “engaging in terrorist activity” on behalf of ISIL (ISIS), because one of them used encryption software. A Turkish official told Al Jazeera: “The main issue seems to be that the [journalists’] fixer uses a complex encryption system on his personal computer that a lot of ISIL militants also utilise for strategic communications.” There are no details as to what that “complex encryption system” might be, but it seems likely that it is nothing more than the PGP email encryption software, or perhaps the The Onion Router (TOR) system, both of which are very widely used, and not just by ISIL.

The correspondent and cameraman for Vice News, who are both British, and their fixer, who is Iraqi but Turkey-based, were arrested last Thursday in Diyarbakir, located in south-eastern Turkey, and an important centre for the country’s Kurdish population. According to The Guardian, the Vice News journalists were covering “recent clashes between Turkish security forces and the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement, the youth wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).”

The new legislation could be blunted by re-designing messaging systems.

Exposing those tensions would not have endeared them to the Turkish authorities, and the real reason for their arrest may be to stop them reporting on this sensitive issue. What is particularly troubling, however, is that it seems the mere use of encryption software is enough for three journalists to be arrested on terrorism charges.

Microsoft, US face off again over emails stored in Ireland – A dispute between Microsoft and the U.S. government over turning over emails stored in a data center in Ireland comes up for oral arguments in an appeals court in New York on Wednesday.

Microsoft holds that an outcome against it could affect the trust of its cloud customers abroad as well as affect relationships between the U.S. and other governments which have their own data protection and privacy laws.

Customers outside the U.S. would be concerned about extra-territorial access to their user information, the company has said. A decision against Microsoft could also establish a norm that could allow foreign governments to reach into computers in the U.S. of companies over which they assert jurisdiction, to seize the private correspondence of U.S. citizens.

How Microsoft’s data case could unravel the US tech industry – Saying “no” to the government is never a good idea. But Microsoft had little option.

In a little under a week, Microsoft will again head to a Manhattan court in an effort to try to quash a search warrant, sought by the US Justice Department, in an international drugs-related case.

The warrant itself isn’t out of the ordinary, but it does contain a crucial facet: It is demanding data on an email account stored by Microsoft in a datacenter in Ireland.

Microsoft argued the search warrant goes way beyond the means of a traditional search warrant because it forces the company to hand over data it stores in another country, which in itself is subject to different laws and regulations.

This one case will determine — effectively — how far the US can use its own legal system to compel companies doing business within its borders to hand over data it stores overseas.

As one report put it, the case will determine whether data has a “nationality.”

4 Comments

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – September 2, 2015

Microsoft slips user-tracking tools into Windows 7, 8;  $15 PC makes the Raspberry Pi look expensive;  The Best Free Antivirus for 2015;  Instagram updates private photo messaging to be more like Snapchat;  How to liquid-cool your graphics card in 20 minutes;  LinkedIn rolls out revamped messaging service;  Wikipedia bans 381 user accounts for dishonest editing;  Intel Skylake: All the speeds, feeds, and prices, and which one is right for you;  Create a recovery drive for your Chromebook;  Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 to have built-in anti-malware feature;  Intel’s new Compute Stick packs 6th Gen Core M into dongle;  Pandora To Celebrate 10th Anniversary With Day Of Ad-Free Listening;  5 Sneaky Tips for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain;  New protein creates slow melting luxury ice cream;  Star Wars Battlefront beta coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC in October;  CBS will stream two regular season NFL games for free this year;  NSA bulk call records collection extended for last time;  54-propeller superdrone lifts off with a person inside;  Avast Browser Cleanup (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft slips user-tracking tools into Windows 7, 8 amidst Windows 10 privacy storm – Windows 10 is a deliciously good operating system, all things considered, but its abundant user-tracking has prompted many privacy-minded individuals to stay pat with older versions of Windows. Now, Microsoft’s providing those concerned individuals a reason to upgrade. No, the company’s not walking back its privacy-encroaching features. Instead, Microsoft’s quietly rolling out updates that bake new tracking tools into Windows 7 and Windows 8. Yes, really.

The Best Free Antivirus for 2015 – Free antivirus utilities do everything their commercial cousins do, and the best free ones do it better than many for-pay competitors. We’ve rounded up a collection of totally free antivirus products that should serve you well.

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Oncam aims to revolutionise group video calling with new app – The Los Angeles, CA based Oncam app claims to be the first-of-its-kind, Wi-Fi free, group video calling app with broadcast built in. You can group video chat with up to six people while unlimited persons watch — a virtual “Meet the team” event. Oncam enables three types of live mobile communication: Private group video calls, live public group video calls, and drop-Ins. Private calls are limited to an invited guest list, while public calls are open to an unlimited amount of viewers that can participate via text. A video call can be scheduled in advance through push notifications to a caller’s Oncam followers. It is designed so that you can take advantage of free Wi-Fi or use your cell data plan to make calls to your network. You can host live public group video calls, which are viewable to all Oncam users – just like Google Hangouts on air.

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Oncam

Instagram updates private photo messaging to be more like Snapchat – On Tuesday, Instagram updated its in-app messaging feature, Instagram Direct, so that you could reply to a private photo message using a selfie or video taken on the spot. Direct messages are now also threaded so you can continue conversations and view the messaging history between you and your friends. In addition, Instagram Direct now lets you share a public Instagram photo directly with a friend.

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Create a recovery drive for your Chromebook – As reliable as Chromebooks are, life happens. When things go awry, you’ll want to be able to get back up and running quickly. Naturally, your data is already safe and secure on your Google Drive (that’s part of the beauty of working with a Chromebook). But if your device starts misbehaving, and a powerwash isn’t doing the trick, or you decide to try installing Linux on that hardware and opt to go back, you’ll need a recovery drive to return it to a usable state. Fortunately, the Chrome OS developers have made this process incredibly simple. Let me walk you through the process.

Intel Skylake: All the speeds, feeds, and prices, and which one is right for you – We can’t test everything at PCWorld, but what we can do is provide a handy scorecard of the Skylake chips Intel is launching Tuesday at the IFA show in Berlin. We’ve already told you why Skylake is a “sixth-generation CPU”, what you need to know about Skylake, and even an early review of the i7-6700K, one of the high-end desktop Skylake chips Intel will ship this fall.

$15 PC makes the Raspberry Pi look expensive – The Raspberry Pi is an amazing little dev board, and it’s one of the best tech bargains around. But there’s a new alternative: one that costs less than half as much but still packs a ton of computing power.

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Kinsa’s New Smart Ear Thermometer Will Tell You What To Do When You’re Sick – Kinsa, the maker of a smart thermometer that tracks the spread of illness, has today announced their second product in the form of the Kinsa in-ear thermometer. Unlike the first thermometer, which was a standard (though smart) stick thermometer, the new in-ear thermometer is completely wireless, and connects to the smartphone app via Bluetooth. The Kinsa portfolio of thermometers work like this:

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Trusted Lets Parents Book Vetted Babysitters At The Last Minute – Trusted is launching a new service for parents in search of high-quality babysitters — particularly parents who need to find someone ASAP. CEO Anand Iyer compared the startup’s approach to the recently launched senior care service Honor. When you’re looking for a babysitters, Trusted lets you browse the available providers and book them from within the mobile app — you can schedule a session for the next week, the next day or even the same day. The company performs background checks on all of its babysitters and makes sure they’re CPR certified. In contrast to many of on-demand services, Trusted makes its child care providers actual employees, rather than contractors.

LinkedIn rolls out revamped messaging service with GIFs, emojis – LinkedIn’s social network has become a mainstay recruiting tool and the de facto platform for professionals, but the company’s messaging service never really caught on with users. So in hopes of turning things around, LinkedIn has completely overhauled its messaging service, giving it a cleaner, chat-like design and compatibility with ever-popular emojis, stickers and GIFs. The messaging service was also retooled to provide push and email notifications.

Intel’s new Compute Stick packs 6th Gen Core M into dongle – Intel’s Compute Stick was the surprise PC of CES 2015, a full computer packed into a TV dongle, and now it’s getting a new 6th-gen Core upgrade. Announced today, the new Intel Core M Compute Stick keeps the basic premise of its predecessor – essentially a headless laptop intended to plug straight into an HDTV or monitor – but gives it a Skylake performance boost for serious work and entertainment. The 4.5W 6th-generation Core M processor Intel is using is the same as will be powering some of the new breed of ultrabooks. That means support for things like 4K video playback, which should make the Compute Stick a better multimedia hub, not to mention a fair platform for some low-intensity gaming. The new chips have native H.265 transcoding, which will allow small-form-factor PCs to send 4K video in more bandwidth-sensitive ways to mobile devices.

How to liquid-cool your graphics card in 20 minutes – Closed-loop liquid cooling can be yours for cheap, but read this first to make sure you and your GPU are up for it.

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Water cooling can tame even the Radeon R9 290 card.

Ex-Android and HTC employees launch Robin, a “cloud-first” smartphone – It’s not often a new Android OEM comes along, but today a company called “Nextbit” is taking the wraps off of its first ever phone: the Robin. The Robin is a high-end phone launching on Kickstarter for $349 (with discounts for early birds), but the real draw of the Nextbit Robin—according to the company—is the phone’s “cloud-first” software.

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A studio is suing Popcorn Time users for illegally downloading a Pierce Brosnan movie – Popcorn Time, the Netflix-like streaming service that delivers pirated movies to users, has battled legal difficulties since it launched, and the pile of complaints leveled against it just got a little bit bigger. Indie studio Millennium Films and its affiliate Nu Image filed a lawsuit against Popcorn Time users in Oregon today, claiming they were responsible for more than 10,000 illegal downloads of the 2015 assassin movie Survivor, which starred Pierce Brosnan and Milla Jovovich. The studio argues Popcorn Time is no different than walking into a store and stealing a DVD.

Mozilla Relaunches Its Thimble Online Code Editor For Teaching HTML, CSS And JavaScript – Back in 2012, Mozilla launched Thimble, an online code editor for teaching the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Over time, though, things got pretty quiet around the project as other browser-based code editors like Brackets and full online IDEs like Nitrous took center stage. Today, however, Mozilla relaunched Thimble with a major redesign and a slew of new features.

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Wikipedia bans 381 user accounts for dishonest editing – Editors of the English version of Wikipedia have blocked 381 user accounts for editing articles on the online encyclopedia despite being secretly paid to do so by various interests. The editors also deleted 210 articles created by the accounts. Most of these were generally promotional in nature and were related to businesses, people in business or artists. The articles had biased information, unattributed material and potential copyright violations, the Wikimedia Foundation that runs Wikipedia said in a blog post Monday. The foundation said it believed the edits were made by one coordinated group because of their similarity.

Security:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 to have built-in anti-malware feature – If the events of the recent months are any indication, malware on mobile devices, especially Android, is on the rise. As more users store important, sometimes private, data on their mobile devices, the temptation for hackers grow stronger, and so does the need for stronger security measures. Leveraging the unique position of being one the lowest level of the platform stack, Qualcomm is advertising the new Smart Protect feature on its upcoming Snapdragon 820 chip which provides real-time detection of malware that OEMs and security software makers can use to enhance their products.

After a quarter million iPhones hacked, a reminder ‘jailbreaking’ devices still not safe – For years, iPhone owners stripped their devices of Apple’s security settings, allowing the handsets to work overseas or run apps the company didn’t approve. Many users thought the practice, known as “jailbreaking,” was harmless. But it frustrated Apple, which said it left the devices vulnerable to hackers. Now, it turns out more than 225,000 of those phones have been hacked, according to cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks this week. Each was a jailbroken device, the firm added, supporting Apple’s years-long warnings.

Russian-speaking hackers breach 97 websites, many of them dating ones – Russian-speaking hackers have breached 97 websites, mostly dating-related, and stolen login credentials, putting hundreds of thousands of users at risk. Many of the websites are niche dating ones similar to Ashley Madison, according to a list compiled by Hold Security, a Wisconsin-based company that specializes in analyzing data breaches. A few are job-related sites. Batches of stolen information were found on a server by the company’s analysts, said Alex Holden, Hold Security’s founder and CTO. The server, for some reason, was not password protected, allowing analysis of its contents, he said.

Your brand new phone could still have malware – Security company G Data has identified more than 20 mobile phones that have malware installed despite being marketed as new, according to a research report. And it doesn’t appear the infection is occurring during manufacturing. “Somebody is unlocking the phone and putting the malware on there and relocking the phone,” said Andy Hayter, security evangelist for G Data. Many of the suspect phones are sold in Asia and Europe through third parties or middleman and aren’t coming directly from the manufacturers, Hayter said.

Company News:

Judge Lets Drivers’ Class Action Lawsuit Against Uber Go Forward – The lawsuit could set a precedent that reshapes some of the world’s most promising young companies.

Google, Netflix, Amazon team for one video format to rule them all – This week the Alliance for Open Media was launched in hopes of bringing a single open format to video streaming services worldwide. This single format would be adoptable by all, and given the members of the alliance that’ve announced their allegiance so far, this Alliance is going to be adopted by the biggest of the big. Founding members of the Alliance include Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix. If there were a group of technology leaders able to make this format happen, it’s this one.

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Pandora To Celebrate 10th Anniversary With Day Of Ad-Free Listening – Our beloved Pandora is 10 years old this month. The music company has endured ups and downs but is set to celebrate that milestone anniversary on the 9th. It’s quite impressive. What started as the human genome project has become something much bigger, connecting artists to listeners 24/7. To give back, Pandora has announced “Listener Love Day,” a day of ad-free streaming for all US users. It starts at midnight ET on Wednesday September 9th and runs for 24 hours. Additionally the company has created a “mixtape” of the favorite songs over the years based on the thumbs up they’ve received on the service.

Apple and Cisco hook up for new enterprise partnership – A new partnership between Apple and Cisco should improve the experience for iOS users on crowded Cisco networks and deliver increased integration between Apple users and Cisco’s popular communication platforms. A little more than a year ago, Apple and IBM announced a new, wide-ranging global partnership that has resulted in the development of dozens of new, vertical-specific apps and enterprise integration services. Though neither IBM nor Apple have been particularly forthcoming with specifics about its partnership, the two companies have been fairly productive in developing new platforms and apps for its customers.

Microsoft and VMware cozy up, forgoing past rivalry – Microsoft’s new, more collaborative approach to the computing industry was on display at VMware’s annual conference in San Francisco Tuesday, when executives from both companies shared the stage to talk about new device management features in Windows 10.

Games and Entertainment:

Star Wars Battlefront beta coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC in October – Star Wars Battlefront, the much-anticipated shooter from Battlefield studio DICE, is getting a beta. EA announced on Tuesday that the beta will be held in “early October” for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. As part of the beta, you’ll get to try out Battlefront’s massive-scale 40-player mode, Walker Assault, on the Hoth map. The special Hero characters Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker will also be available to unlock. Check out the image below for a snapshot of what to expect. In addition, the beta will let you try out a Survival Mission on Tatooine where you’ll play as Rebels and must push back advancing Imperial forces.

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Best mobile games of August 2015 (pictures) – Looking for a new game to play on your mobile device? Here’s our pick of the best released in August 2015.

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Stylish stealth puzzler and noir adventure Calvino Noir puts you in the role of several actors in a play about revolution in 1930s Europe, inspired by Blade Runner.

CBS will stream two regular season NFL games for free this year – CBS has announced that it will livestream two upcoming regular season NFL games for the first time in 2015, for free and without the need for authentication, a subscription, or a cable provider. The move expands CBS’ online coverage of the sport, as the network will also stream four playoff games and the Super Bowl itself, live on its website, and on devices including Xbox One, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku players. The games in question will take place between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins on October 4th, and between the Carolina Panthers and the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. CBS isn’t the only source offering a regular season game for free — Yahoo has also agreed a deal with the NFL to stream an October 25th game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars online

Black Ops III pre-orders include Nuk3town multiplayer map – The next game in the Call of Duty franchise is Black Ops III set to launch on November 6. This game will certainly sell in droves with CoD being one of the most popular multiplayer shooters in the world. Black Ops III is set in the future with combat taking place in 2065 and features refreshed gameplay and a new momentum-based chained movement system to make for more exciting close quarters combat than fans have had in past generations.

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Deadpool game arrives for Xbox One, PS4 in November – Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gamers will be getting the Deadpool game that was released back in June 2013, and it’ll be available starting November 17. This will be an adaption of that aforementioned game, and will be priced at $49.99 USD for both next-gen gaming consoles. GameStop made the official announcement on its Twitter page earlier today, and already has both games up for pre-order on its website.

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5 Sneaky Tips for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Whereas past Metal Gear games had players sneaking through tightly designed levels in industrial warehouses or foreign jungles, The Phantom Pain gives Snake two huge regions to explore: Afghanistan and Angola. Metal Gear has never featured gameplay quite like this before, so here are some tips to help you stay out of sight and in control.

No connection? No Amazon device? Prime Video says no problem – Being member of Amazon Prime now means your movie won’t stop just because your mobile connection does. Prime members in the US, UK, Germany and Austria can now download movies and TV shows to mobile devices even if they’re using Apple iPhones and iPads or phones running on Google’s Android software, Amazon said Tuesday. The online retail giant previously allowed people who have a Fire tablet — part of the company’s own line of devices — to watch offline.

LG updates older smart TVs with webOS 2.0 features for free – After being stung by the stillborn Google TV promise a few years back, LG decided to go with its own platform instead. Acquiring webOS from HP, which the latter acquired from Palm, LG has put webOS on most if not all of its smart TVs and at least one smartwatch. Continuing its show of support and dedication to its exclusive platform, LG is rolling out a free upgrade to its older webOS 1.0 smart TVs, bringing in some of the features of webOS 2.0 to the screen.

Off Topic (Sort of):

54-propeller superdrone lifts off with a person inside – I’ve looked at little quadcopter drones and thought, “Gosh, if I could just shrink down to mouse size, that would be a lot of fun to ride around on.” YouTube user gasturbine101 apparently looked at a drone and thought, “I could harness the power of a million drones and use them as my personal flying chariot.” And he did, except it took just 54 propellers to get the job done. The Swarm is a manned superdrone, so named because it looks like a herd of little drones all strapped together to make one big flying machine. There’s a seat at the center for the operator to sit and control the device.

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Video captures Texas cops shooting man with raised hands – A Texas broadcaster has published video captured from a viewer’s mobile phone that shows San Antonio police shoot and kill a man with his hands up. The video, published Monday, shows deputies shoot 41-year-old Gilbert Flores outside a house where police were responding to a domestic disturbance call. “He put his hands in the air and then he had his hands up for a few seconds and the cops shot him twice,” Michael Thomas, the man who filmed the video, told CNN.

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Ride This One-Wheeled Gyro Skate They Call A “Hoverboard” – The mad scientist who started Hoverboard Technologies calls his vehicle an “earned experience.” That means it’s hard to ride. Despite the name, this hoverboard* doesn’t levitate. Instead, it uses gyroscopes like a Segway to help you balance with your feet on either side of one giant rollerblade-style wheel in the center.

Hover Gif

The music of bronze-age Celts revealed through 3D printing – Primitive music may not have been so primitive after all, as discovered by an archaeologist and Ph.D. candidate at the Australian National University College of Asia-Pacific. Billy Ó Foghlú, who believed that the bronze- and iron-age musical horns found in Ireland must have had mouthpieces, has 3D printed an object that vastly improves the sound of the instruments. His research has been published in the ancient Celtic culture journal Emania.

New protein creates slow melting luxury ice cream – Summer’s dialing down in some places, but the hot days aren’t behind us (in fact, they’re becoming something of a problem), and that means there’ll probably be another rapidly melting ice cream cone in your immediately future. Melted ice cream is a disappointment, as you likely know — you can pretend it’s a milkshake all you want, but deep down inside you know it’s a poor excuse. Future generation may not be able to sympathize with this issue, though, as researchers have recently discovered a protein that slows down how quickly ice cream melts.

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Something to think about:

“Taint’t worthwhile to wear a day all out before it comes.”

–     Sarah Orne Jewett (1849 – 1909), The Country of the Pointed Firs, 1896

Downloads:

Avast Browser Cleanup – Get your browser back in shape! The brand-new Avast Browser Cleanup removes dangerous extensions and toolbars or fix hijacked searches. And it’s free! More than 200 million browsers cleaned so far.

Don’t let them fool you – Intrusive extensions often install themselves alongside otherwise legitimate programs. The chances are high that you don’t even notice.

Get rid of bad add-ons – Based on the huge amounts of data we process, we can easily determine if your browser is in danger.

Restore safe search settings – Some intrusive apps manipulate your search providers and even search results – and you may have no clue about it.

HTTPS Everywhere – HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure. Encrypt the web: Install HTTPS Everywhere today.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA bulk call records collection extended for last time – The U.S. National Security Agency’s controversial program for the bulk collection of domestic phone call records has been granted extension for the last time, according to documents released.

Under an order  by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the NSA is now allowed to continue collecting the data for a three-month period until Nov. 28. The permission was extended in June to Aug. 28.

The collection of phone records metadata, which did not include collection of information on the content of conversations, is one of many large-scale surveillance schemes of the NSA that were disclosed by former agency contractor, Edward Snowden. The disclosures led to demands for the reform of government surveillance to protect people’s privacy.

U.S. President Barack Obama approved as law in June the USA Freedom Act, legislation that reins in the program by leaving the phone records database in the hands of the telecommunications operators, while allowing only a targeted search of the data by the NSA for investigations.

While some provisions of the Act took effect immediately upon enactment, the ban on bulk collection of call records allowed for a 180-day transition of the program.

China intensifies Internet censorship ahead of military parade – As China prepares to celebrate a new national holiday, the country has been tightening its grip over the Internet by squelching online rumors, and cracking down on tools that can circumvent its censorship.

On Sunday, China’s Ministry of Public Security said it punished 197 people for allegedly spreading misinformation over local social media and messaging services.

The rumors covered controversial topics including the financial woes of the Shanghai stock market and the recent explosion in the Chinese city of Tianjin. One rumor, for instance, claimed that more than 1,300 people had died in the blast at Tianjin, when the official toll puts the figure at over 140.

The suspects involved deliberately attempted to mislead the public and create panic, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

The crackdown comes as the country is about to celebrate a new holiday on Sept. 3, which will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II. In Beijing, the government will be holding a large military parade.

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