Tag Archives: Google Apps

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 25, 2015

14 Hidden Firefox Functions for Browsing Like a Boss;  RadioShack selling millions of email/home addresses;  Try these 5 undiscovered Google Drive tricks;  How smartphone reviews really work;  You don’t want a TV box, you want a Laptop;  Facebook launches ‘On This Day’ feature;  Hands-On: Linux UEFI multi-boot;  The National Power Grid Is Under Continuous Attack;  The 10 Best Wireless Routers;  Flash-based vulnerability on many websites three years later;  Half of Android devices open to silent hijack;  With Net Neutrality Lawsuit, Broadband Mafia Still Doesn’t Get It;  Xbox One and 360 Xbox Live Gold Deals of the Week;  Facebook Testing ‘Phone’ App for Android;  SUPERAntiSpyware (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

RadioShack is selling tens of millions of email and home addresses – Among the locations, trademarks, overpriced cables, and other assets that RadioShack is selling off as part of its bankruptcy filing are tens of millions of email addresses, home addresses, and customer names, all of which could end up in the hands of another company. As Bloomberg points out, RadioShack’s sale includes over 13 million email addresses and over 65 million custom names and physical addresses. That’s a lot of personal data! Standard General, RadioShack’s largest shareholder, is reported to have won the bid. But the purchase still has to be approved by a bankruptcy court, and Bloomberg reports that legal challenges may prevent Standard General from taking over the personal data.

Pointing up  RadioShack’s Privacy Policy (from the site) includes: We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time.

Try these 5 undiscovered Google Drive tricks – Google Drive and its attendant apps offer a wealth of tools to help you be more productive. Try these five for the biggest boost.

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How smartphone reviews really work – The inside scoop on what happens behind the scenes of a smartphone review, from someone who’s written more than a few of ’em. Since we’re on the brink of a busy few weeks for smartphone reviews, I thought now would be a prime time to pull back the curtains and offer a frank walk-through of how the phone-reviewing process actually works.

Microsoft: Office will be free for devices under 10 inches – Microsoft believes that screens smaller than 10 inches aren’t used by ‘professionals,’ so don’t expect it to charge for editing and viewing Office documents. Oh, and the Surface Pro mini — probably dead.

You don’t want a TV box, you want a Laptop – Now that Apple is rumored to be releasing a new Apple TV box later this year, citizens of the mobile smart device universe have their respective TV-loving ears perked up once again. Do I need a new Apple TV? Maybe an Amazon Fire TV Stick instead? Perhaps I need to get something like a Roku, or maybe a Chromecast! Or – better yet – I could just use the old laptop that’s sitting in, on, or under my desk. The one I replaced years ago, but still works just fine. Before you buy anything, mentally access the contents of your home. Do you have a laptop computer hiding anywhere? An old laptop – a notebook computer you no longer use on a regular basis.

Zendo Is My New Favorite Secure Messaging App – Now you might well ask who needs (yet) another way to ping, poke, prod or otherwise pester their friends? The answer is simple: anyone who cares about privacy. So how does a new secure messaging app stand out in such a crowded space? By making something that’s super easy to use, given that security can still be synonymous with tedious complexity. And also by using a type of encryption that technically cannot be cracked. Something that’s impervious to man-in-the-middle attacks. Yet which has been overlooked by cryptographers for decades.

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Bezel-less Oppo R7 leaks on Chinese social media – Chinese smartphone maker Oppo appears to be doing some magic with the design of its upcoming Oppo R7 phone, if this leaked video appears to be true. The Android-powered handset alleged comes with almost non-existent bezels, with the large screen taking up the entire sides of the device, as you can see from the screen capture. The magic apparently lies in some visual trickery (which Oppo has filed a patent for) where the sides of the screen diffract the light to make it seem that the display extends all the way to the edge.

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14 Hidden Firefox Functions for Browsing Like a Boss – While all browsers share certain functionality and indeed learn from one another, there are certain quirks and functions that are unique to each. And Firefox is no different. You may be familiar with the many third-party extensions and add-ons that can amplify Firefox’s functionality, however there are a lot of little tricks already baked in to the software that you may not be using. Click through our slideshow to see 14 hidden Firefox functions.

Hands-On: Linux UEFI multi-boot, my way – Let’s start by clearly stating what this post is, and what it isn’t. It is a description of how I set up multi-boot for Linux systems, sometimes including Windows, using the GRUB bootloader. It is not intended to be a complete guide to Linux on UEFI firmware. There are certainly other ways to configure UEFI multi-boot – this is simply the way that I have found most useful and reliable to do it. OK? Good, here we go…

Facebook plans to let users read popular news sites without leaving Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg has often described Facebook as a newspaper for its users. A place where the stories that are interesting to them — the births, the birthdays, the parties, the gossip — are laid out every morning. Now, however, this comparison is becoming less metaphorical, with Facebook reportedly in talks with several publications — including Buzzfeed, National Geographic, and The New York Times — to post their content directly within the site. This means that stories wouldn’t just appear as links in the News Feed, but as content that can be share or liked without ever leaving Facebook.

Facebook officially launches nostalgia-inducing ‘On This Day’ feature – Starting today, when users visit Facebook on the web or on their phones, they’ll get an option to view the On This Day page (or you can go to the page directly, but it hasn’t rolled out to everyone just yet). From there, you’ll see the feed of content you posted in years past and have the option to share specific posts with your friends — but by default, only an individual user can see their On This Day feed. You can also then sign up for notifications so you remember to check it every day — that’s exactly what Timehop does to keep users coming back.

VIDEO: Facebook Testing ‘Phone’ App for Android – An accidental Facebook update revealed that the social network is testing a new Android app called Phone. Android Police was kind enough to take a screenshot of the update. It suggests that Facebook Phone could act as a native dialer that shows information about who is calling you, and prevent commonly blocked numbers from getting through.

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The 10 Best Wireless Routers – Fast throughput speeds, good range, easy set up and manageability, a solid feature set, and, of course, fair pricing are what make a top router. The 10 models that follow strike the best balance among all our criteria.

GifGrabber is a dedicated app for creating GIFs on your Mac – Creating an animated image of content on your Mac’s screen is something we should all know how to do. And now we do.

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Save your newly captured GIF, or edit it all within the app. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

UglyEmail reveals when senders secretly track your email activity, personal info – If you’re curious about which messages are monitoring you and which one’s aren’t, a new extension for Chrome called UglyEmail can help. This extension—by developer Sonny Tulyaganov—monitors your inbox to find messages using pixel tracking. This is a common marketing technique where companies insert a transparent (and therefore invisible to you) one-pixel image into a message. As soon as you open a message with a pixel tracker in it, the image pings the marketer’s servers and the information flow begins. Pixel tracking shows up in all kinds of messages, including newsletters you subscribe to. Thanks to UglyEmail you can find out when a message has a tracker and decide not to open that email.

Security:

The National Power Grid Is Under Almost Continuous Attack, Report Says – The U.S. national power grid faces physical or online attacks approximately “once every four days,” according to a new investigation by USA Today, threatening to plunge parts of the country into darkness. For its report, USA Today scrutinized public records, national energy data and records from 50 electric utilities. It found that from 2011 to 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy received 362 reports from electric utilities of physical or cyber attacks that interrupted power services. In 2013, a Department of Homeland Security branch recorded 161 cyber attacks on the energy sector, compared to just 31 in 2011.

Flash-based vulnerability lingers on many websites three years later – A large number of developers have failed to patch their Flash applications against a vulnerability that can be exploited to target Web users.

Half of Android devices open to silent hijack – Hacker Zhi Xu has found that seemingly legitimate apps can unleash a hidden dark side to compromise almost half of all Android devices. The Palo Alto Networks senior engineer says legitimate Google Play apps can establish a kind of beachhead on devices that can be invaded by a second app installed from legitimate third party stores like Amazon. The second app provides the first with the required access to compromise devices and steal all manner of data. Xu says the attack dubbed Android Installer Hijacking allows crims to replace apps without a user’s knowledge.

Researchers figured out how to hack computers using heat – Researchers at Ben-Gurion University have created a new piece of malware called BitWhisper. It’s not the kind of thing that organized cybercriminals would ever use to attack your home computer. BitWhisper is the kind of crazy hacking tool that you read about in a sci-fi novel — only it’s very real. Infected machines can transmit data using heat they produce. Commands, for example, can be passed from one system to another by modulating its temperature. The target machine’s thermal sensors pick up on the fluctuations and execute a predefined action. Small bits of captured data (like passwords) can also be transmitted this way. It’s not the most efficient way to siphon data off a machine, but it’s not meant to be. BitWhisper targets air-gapped systems, computers that are completely isolated from wireless and wired networks in order to keep them as secure as possible.

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Dell support tool put PCs at risk of malware infection – Attackers could have remotely installed malware on systems running a flawed Dell support tool used to detect customers’ products. A security researcher discovered the flaw in November and reported it to the PC manufacturer, which patched it in January. However, it’s not clear if the fix closed all avenues for abuse. Even with the flaw now patched, the fact that it existed in the first place may make some users anxious. Suspicions of hardware and software companies helping governments spy on users have intensified over the past two years, partially fueled by revelations of widespread surveillance disclosed by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Company News:

Microsoft Malaysia is offering a free return flight on Air Asia when you buy a Lumia 535 – Microsoft has teamed up with Air Asia to give 5,000 airline loyalty points to anyone who buys the Lumia 535 in Malaysia – enough to get a return flight to Phuket, Krabi or Singapore.

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Cyanogen’s next step: A BLU phone without Google apps – After amassing $80 million in funding, even without Microsoft’s help, and being valued at close to $1 billion, the tech world is keeping a close eye on Cyanogen, Inc. That, of course, is no reason for outspoken and, dare we say, almost belligerent CEO Kirt McMaster to start treading lightly and mincing words. In fact, he has fighting words: “We’re putting a bullet through Google’s head”, which is no small undertaking. And it’s all going to start with a smartphone that won’t have any of Google’s popular apps installed.

Google reportedly working on Gmail bill payment system – Google is continuing their email experiments, it seems. The latest isn’t a new way to get through your mail, as ‘Inbox’ is, but a method for making you stay put in your email app. A new report suggests Google is readying an in-email bill paying service named ‘Pony Express’ (hopefully just a code name), wherein Gmail users would be able to pay a bill electronically without ever leaving Gmail itself. If Google gives it the green-light, we’ll reportedly see Pony Express in the last quarter of this year.

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HP wants to make your devices sound better; partners with Bang & Olufsen – HP is teaming up with Bang & Olufsen in an effort to make their devices, even mobile ones, sound better. The partnership will see a few new features, including hardware changes, show up on laptops.

Games and Entertainment:

Amazon Fire TV gets a major update with support for hotel Wi-Fi, USB storage, and more – Users will be able to take their media streamer on the road, hook up external storage, and listen to more music through Prime Playlists.

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Xbox One and 360 Xbox Live Gold members “Deals of the Week” – As usual, it looks like Xbox One owners will be getting some great deals on some of the consoles latest titles that include: Forza Horizon 2, Evolve, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and WWE 2K15. Xbox 360 owners aren’t forgotten and although the game selection might not offer the latest titles, this week’s deals will see a up to 75% on titles like: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM: Enemy Within, Spec Ops: The Line, Duke Nukem Forever, Borderlands, Hitman Blood Money, Deus Ex Human Revolution, and Lara Croft & The Guardian of Light. Xbox 360 owners will also be able to get 50% off on WWE 2K15 and 35% off on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

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Bloodborne review: The joy of relearning what you already know – Make no mistake; Bloodborne is a Souls game in everything but name, sharing a development lineage in From Software and Director Hidetaka Miyazaki. From the controls to the way progress is lost upon death, the sound effects to the goofy ragdoll physics, anyone with a passing familiarity with the series will recognize Bloodborne as part of the same family. But Bloodborne marks a departure from the Souls name, even while keeping the series’ characteristic punishing repeat deaths, massive bosses, and environmental storytelling.

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Playing Bloodborne on a PS4 using an SSD could save hours of loading – This week the PS4 sees the release of a system seller game in the form of From Software’s Bloodborne. It looks gorgeous, the review scores we’ve seen are very high, and for fans of the Dark Souls games this release couldn’t come soon enough. However, you may want to consider upgrading your PS4 to use an SSD before installing the game, as it could knock hours off your play time. Bloodborne is a graphically intensive game, and that’s by no means a negative. It looks great, and for the most part manages to stick to a 30fps average frame rate. But that high level of detail comes at a price: load times

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X-Files 2015 guide: catching up with Mulder and Scully – This week it’s been confirmed by Fox and the original creator of the X-Files that a new series is about to be made. This new X-Files has tapped the original Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) to return for a 6-episode mini-season. For those of you ashamed at having never watched the original series or similarly ashamed that you’ve forgotten the details, the following miniature guide with gifs is made just for the likes of you.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

With Net Neutrality Lawsuit, Broadband Mafia Still Doesn’t Get It – We knew these lawsuits were coming. USTelecom, the trade group for broadband providers, has filed a rather peculiar pre-emptive lawsuit against the FCC’s new Open Internet rules, arguing that while USTelecom supports net neutrality, it doesn’t support the rules the FCC laid down to protect it. The specific argument is against Title II, utility-style regulation, but the FCC was forced into that when a court struck down its earlier, lighter set of rules in 2014. The real issue here is that the broadband industry, like everyone, would prefer to be self-policing. I’d also prefer to be self-policing. Wouldn’t you? Then you could decide what’s a crime for yourself, and decide whether you’d ever be punished.

How Bodies Were Buried During History’s Worst Epidemics – There’s a common belief that dead bodies pose a major risk of disease, which leads to a lot of hysteria during major epidemics. This is mostly a myth, studies have found. Even so, mass deaths during plagues have changed burial customs as people scrambled to prevent contamination or just find a place to put all the corpses. How do these pandemics alter the funeral practices in the affected areas during the outbreaks? I’ve been thinking a lot about these epidemics lately, and the way they alter the way people perceive death, so I examined three large and well-documented epidemics. One—the West Africa Ebola outbreak—is ongoing; the other two are historical.

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Spanish Flu, United States, 1918-1919

Australia found to have the world’s oldest asteroid impact zone – When we think of mass extinction, we tend to think of the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. That impact and its following mass extinction might not have been singular events. Australian scientist Dr. Andrew Glikson discovered twin asteroid impacts in Australia that may be ten times older than the dinosaur extinction. He has a theory that asteroid impacts throughout the history of the earth actually changed the way our planet and its species evolved, as each impact would have created an extinction and divergent species.

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This is what happens when a judge in New York orders an e-hit on a Chinese software biz – Fengtao is accused of breaking US laws by shipping software that circumvents the AACS encryption that’s supposed to prevent people from copying HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs. The Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator – a consortium that includes Disney, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, Warner Brothers, IBM, Toshiba and Sony, and looks after the AACS specification – is suing Fengtao to halt the distribution of DVDFab. The end result of this month’s injunction provides an intriguing insight into how internet companies, even those based outside America, respond to orders from US judges.

Something to think about:

“I have never been hurt by anything I didn’t say.”

–       Calvin Coolidge

Today’s Free Downloads:

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Blender – Blender is a free and open source 3D animation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. Advanced users employ Blender’s API for Python scripting to customize the application and write specialized tools; often these are included in Blender’s future releases. Blender is well suited to individuals and small studios who benefit from its unified pipeline and responsive development process. Examples from many Blender-based projects are available in the showcase.

Blender is cross-platform and runs equally well on Linux, Windows and Macintosh computers. Its interface uses OpenGL to provide a consistent experience. To confirm specific compatibility, the list of supported platforms indicates those regularly tested by the development team.

As a community-driven project under the GNU General Public License (GPL), the public is empowered to make small and large changes to the code base, which leads to new features, responsive bug fixes, and better usability. Blender has no price tag, but you can invest, participate, and help to advance a powerful collaborative tool: Blender is your own 3D software.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Dutch service providers must delete retained telecom data – Dutch telecom providers have to delete data that had been retained under the now-scrapped data retention law, unless it is needed for business purposes.

The Dutch data retention law that required ISPs and telecommunications operators to store customer metadata for police investigations was scrapped by the District Court of the Hague earlier this month for violating fundamental privacy rights.

While most providers were quick to stop collecting the data, uncertainty remained about what should happen with the data that was already collected and stored when the law was in force.

However, all data retained because of the now defunct law should be deleted, Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur wrote in a letter to Parliament. That includes data that was retained before the law was annulled, a ministry spokesman said.

We know where you’ve been: Ars acquires 4.6M license plate scans from the cops – If you have driven in Oakland any time in the last few years, chances are good that the cops know where you’ve been, thanks to their 33 automated license plate readers (LPRs). Now Ars knows too. In response to a public records request, we obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely one of the largest ever publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.

Police Advocacy Group Leaves Few Fingerprints – The Law Enforcement Alliance of America once had offices in a nearby office park, but it abandoned them more than a year ago. It hasn’t filed required IRS reports in two years, and its leaders, once visible on television and in congressional hearings, have all but vanished.

But the nonprofit that calls itself “the nation’s largest coalition of law enforcement professionals, crime victims and concerned citizens” still has teeth. It has succeeded in helping knock out 12 state-level candidates in 14 years, including an Arkansas judicial candidate last year. In doing so, the group helped launch the current governors of Texas and Nevada to their stepping-stone positions as state attorneys general.

The LEAA uses brute tactics — parachuting into otherwise small-dollar races close to the end and buying up TV ads that accuse candidates of siding with “baby killers” and sexual predators.

“They can put out some sort of horrible attack ad on any judges that they want and really influence an election with a fairly small amount of money,” former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz said. “They’re buying seats on supreme courts in states all around the country.”

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 9, 2015

Why You Should Never Sign a Cell Phone Contract Again;  How to keep your connected home safe;  The top security apps of the year;  The Best Smartphones and Tablets of MWC;  Is Chrome OS right for you? A 3-question quiz to find out;  3 cool things about Gmail 4.0 for iOS;  How to run more than web apps from a Chromebook;  8 On-Demand Weed Delivery Apps;  Vivaldi Is Quickly Becoming The Alternative Browser To Beat;  5 apps for managing your wine cellar;  Six factors for finding a new web hosting provider;  UK Readies 25% ‘Google Tax’ On Tech Giants’ Diverted Profits;  U.K. Police Arrest 57 in Cybercrime Crackdown;  Blizzard Launches ‘Heroes of the Dorm’ Tourney;  21 Crazy GoPro Stunt Videos You Must Watch;  Can We Guess Your Age By How You Use The Internet?  1600 Windows Icons – Metro Style (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Inside the panopticon economy: The next internet revolution, privacy and you – Summary:The next evolution of the internet will embed sensors into nearly everything around us. Dealing with the privacy and security implications of that will be one of the biggest challenges of the next century.

Pointing up   I’ve been feeling sort of sliced, diced, sold and digested, this last while. Now I know why.    Sad smile

Why You Should Never Sign a Cell Phone Contract Again – Like rocket science and high school relationships, cell phone plans are complicated for a reason. Two-year contract or early-upgrade plan? Month-to-month or pay-as-you-go? Individual or shared data? Big carriers like AT&T and Verizon love it this way — they know most consumers won’t know a good plan from a bad one. When every choice is filled with exceptions, limitations and fine print, how can you even begin to compare your options? You’d be a fool to even try. Well, call us fools, because we sat down and did just that. In order to keep things straightforward, we made a few assumptions up front:

How to keep your connected home safe: 7 steps you can take to boost home security – The proliferation of smart devices, however, also opens the door to new dangers and threats. Even with something as simple as a smart light socket that you can control remotely with your phone, what makes that possible is the little computer in the switch that can talk to the Internet—which means that Internet users can talk back. What’s a homeowner to do? While it’s practically impossible to stop a determined professional hacker, there are steps you can take to at least make their task more difficult, and to discourage the simpler attacks. Think of these seven steps as the connected home equivalent of putting locks on your windows or stopping your newspaper delivery while you’re on vacation.

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Independent labs have announced their awards for the top security apps of the year – What’s the best antivirus software, and how can you tell? When we review security software at Download.com, we do hands-on testing, looking at everything from user-friendliness to virus eradication, but we also look at test results from independent institutes like AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. These labs do not produce their own antivirus software and perform rigorous, objective tests on security suites from all major manufacturers. Here are the consumer security apps that recently won the labs’ seal of approval:

The Best Smartphones and Tablets of MWC – Barcelona is the mobile tech capital of the world, and Mobile World Congress has far surpassed CES as the preeminent venue for all the greatest mobile device releases. If there’s a new smartphone or tablet out there, it’s here on the show floor. We’ve been scouring the halls of the Fira Gran Via convention center, sifting through endless booths filled with studs and duds of the mobile world to bring you the cream of the crop.

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Driver was on Facebook before crash that killed three, say cops – A Wisconsin woman’s phone is recovered months after a crash in which her daughter and two nieces, whom she was driving, were killed. She is being charged with homicide.

3 cool things about Gmail 4.0 for iOS – For any Gmail user who owns an iPhone or iPad, there’s a decision to be made: Use Apple’s stock Mail app, or switch to Google’s Gmail app? If you’ve been on the fence, this may swing the pendulum toward the latter: Gmail 4.0 for iOS brings three welcome new features to iPhones and iPads, most of them designed to help you work faster.

Is Chrome OS right for you? A 3-question quiz to find out – Google’s Chrome OS is one of the world’s most misunderstood computing platforms. Chromebooks are foundationally different from traditional PCs, after all — and consequently, there are a lot of misconceptions about how they work and what they can and cannot do. Whether it’s you or someone you know who’s curious, the following three questions should help shed some light on what the platform’s all about and for whom it makes sense.

How to run more than web apps from a Chromebook – If you use a Chromebook, you may still want to use software built for another operating system, such as Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. Good news: you can, but you may need additional hardware — or a subscription to a service — to do so. Here are a few options.

Apple Watch apps designed to be used for a few seconds at a time, report says – App-makers are hard at work building apps for the Apple Watch in top-secret conditions that would make Maxwell Smart jealous, according to a new report. Behind those closed doors, Apple is offering guidelines on how Watch apps should work and suggesting that wearers will use the app for less than ten seconds at a time. According to sources speaking to Bloomberg, sample Watches are made available to developers in locked rooms with no Internet access at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. Code created by the developers isn’t allowed to leave Apple.

Pinterest Releases First Year-Long Transparency Report – As you might expect, the U.S. government doesn’t care all that much about your pinned content. Or, to frame it another way, there just doesn’t seem to be all that much on Pinterest that necessitates investigation by U.S. law enforcement agencies. Pinterest has officially released its first-ever (full-year) transparency report, and the service just didn’t receive that that many legal requests throughout 2014. In total, it receive 39 requests from agencies within the United States, and a whopping two requests from international agencies (one Canadian and one Australian).

GNOME 2 is back: Ubuntu MATE is now an official flavor – Ubuntu MATE is now an official flavor of Ubuntu. Yes, that means Ubuntu is giving a stamp of endorsement to GNOME 2 once again. You don’t need to switch to Linux Mint—just install the Ubuntu MATE disc and get a desktop that works like it did before Ubuntu’s Unity and the GNOME Shell came along.

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Pandora reveals ad-free day pass coming soon – When it comes to online music streaming service Pandora, there are two ways to listen: the typical ad-supported option which is free, and a paid subscription plan called Pandora One, which costs users $4.99 per month. But what about those times when you want to play some music for an extended period without the annoying ads, yet paying for a full month is just too much? At a recent investor day, the company revealed a new day pass option, said to be coming later this year, that aims to serve just such a user scenario.

The Evolution Of The Browser – The browser wars have always been cyclical, moving from periods of monoculture dominated by one or two browsers to periods of comparative competition characterized by multiple, strong, second-tier browsers and a growing list of niche browsers.  While Spartan and Vivaldi are the most widely written about new browsers, many additional, niche browsers have recently launched or are under development, including Torch (BitTorrent) Epic (privacy), Nitro (speed) and Slim (fast startup) and Lightspeed (minimalist, search-oriented). Then, there are the many browsers with large followings in China — 360 Safe for PC, Baidu, Sougou, UC Web and Cheetah.

Vivaldi Is Quickly Becoming The Alternative Browser To Beat – Opera’s former CEO Jón von Tetzchner launched the first preview of its new Chromium-based Vivaldi browser in January. Now in its second technical preview, which adds a boatload of new features, the browser is quickly shaping up to be a worthwhile alternative to Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE — and especially for former Opera users.

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An incredibly shrinking Firefox faces endangered species status – Just two weeks after Mozilla’s top Firefox executive said that rumors of its demise were “dead wrong,” the iconic browser dropped another three-tenths of a percentage point in analytics firm Net Applications’ tracking, ending February with 11.6%. That was Firefox’s lowest share since July 2006, when the browser had been in the market for less than two years.

Pocket vino: We review 5 apps for managing your wine cellar – Numerous wine cellar management apps are now available, but this is a market that’s still emerging and in flux. Growing pains abound, and many of these apps are still finding their feet. In fact, some of the veterans in this space have yet to build a reliable, worthwhile app for what ought to be a pretty simple task. Which app should you trust with managing some of your most prized possessions? We put five of the most noteworthy wine cellar management apps to the test to separate the gems from the plonk.

8 On-Demand Weed Delivery Apps – The fast-growing pot industry not only raked in $2.7 billion in sales this last year, it’s also produced quite a few ganja-based startups. It’s legal to light up a bowl for recreation or medical reasons in 23 of these 50 United States now and soon as there’s a growing industry, there are technological innovations to support it. We’ve counted at least 8 on-demand delivery apps out there that will bring medicinal grade weed varietals right to your door.

Photos: 10 must-have accessories for your 3D printer – If you have a desktop 3D printer, you need some accessories to keep it updated and working properly. Here are 10 things to keep in your toolkit.

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Six factors for finding a new web hosting provider – Small business owners are often completely in the dark when it comes to choosing a hosting provider. This is a major decision for your business, so make sure to consider every option before making the call. Start by taking a hard look at these six key areas:

Security:

Xiaomi Mi 4 malware accusation prompts security controversy – Earlier this week, Bluebox, a data security company, released a findings report on their tests of the Xiaomi Mi 4 smartphone. Unfortunately for Xiaomi, their results were far from stellar. Not only did the security firm find malicious malware installed on the device, but some of it was even disguised to appear as Google apps. Even worse, they believe an unknown third party tampered with the Android-powered smartphone. Read on for more details about what they found, as well as Xiaomi’s official response to the report. Xiaomi has contacted SlashGear with an official statement, confirming an investigation is underway and suggesting that Bluebox was sold a counterfeit phone. In addition to publishing Xiaomi’s comment in full, below, we have updated our title to reflect the ongoing development of this story.

Ask.com Crapware Added to Mac OS X Java Installations – Spoiler: Don’t just blindly click through prompts when installing Java. While the integration of Ask.com software into the Java installation program might not rise to the level of, say, a Lenovo Superfish incident, it’s still unfortunate to see Oracle doubling down on adware. For more, see How to Remove the Ask.com Toolbar From Your Browser.

Silent Circle: We haven’t been served a single demand for data – The maker of encrypted phone and messaging products was caught in a mini-storm Saturday when reports suggested its warrant canary, a tool designed to alert the receipt of a warrant that comes with a gag order, was missing an explicit declaration that it had not been compromised by a government data demand.

Three foreigners charged with massive email breach in US – There is that saying about the long arm of the law and the places that it reaches. Considering how this latest cyber crime case practically covers three countries both near and far from the US, that might very well be applicable here. Several agencies of the US government made a joint announcement revealing some of the details that concerns two Vietnamese nationals and one Canadian who have been involved in one of the most massive case of email hacking and spam in the history of the US.

U.K. Police Arrest 57 in Cybercrime Crackdown – The U.K’s National Crime Agency on Friday announced it has arrested 57 suspected hackers as part of a cybercrime crackdown dubbed “strike week.” Working with partners in law enforcement, industry, and government, the agency carried out 25 separate operations across England, Scotland, and Wales. The suspects are charged with crimes such as breaking into the networks of multinational corporations and government agencies to steal data, launching distributed denial of service attacks, and developing and distributing computer viruses and other malicious software.

Company News:

UK Readies 25% ‘Google Tax’ On Tech Giants’ Diverted Profits – In the lead up to the UK’s national election in May, big tech companies are finding themselves in the crossfire. An article in the Sunday Times (paywalled) lays out more details around UK Chancellor George Osborne’s proposal for a “Google Tax” — a 25% tax on big tech companies’ profits from UK operations that, through creative accounting, have been diverted offshore, saving these businesses millions in tax bills. The tax will be included in the UK Budget, due to be published later this month. The “Google Tax” of 25% will be higher than the usual 20% corporate tax levied in the UK, and it is expected to be applied only to companies whose annual revenues are more than £250 million ($376 million).

Samsung has received more than 20 million pre-orders for its latest flagship devices – A top executive at a leading mobile carrier in Europe says that Samsung has received 20 million pre-orders for its Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge which is far better than the previous Galaxy models.

VMware alleged to have violated Linux’s open source license for years – Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig filed the suit in the district court of Hamburg, Germany with funding from the nonprofit Software Freedom Conservancy, which works to “promote, improve, develop, and defend” free and open source software. The case centers on “a combined work that VMware allegedly created by combining their own code (‘vmkernel’) with portions of Linux’s code, which was licensed only under GPLv2,” the group said in an FAQ describing the lawsuit.

Google is developing a virtual reality version of Android, report says – A team of engineers at Google is building a version of Android for virtual reality applications, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing two people familiar with the project. “Tens of engineers” and other staff are said to be working on the project. The OS would be freely distributed, the report said, mirroring the strategy that made Android the most popular OS for smartphones. The report didn’t provide any launch plans, and Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Photobucket Raises $3.6 Million, Plans To Acquire A Mobile Photo-Sharing App – Denver-based Photobucket, one of the web’s older brands which offers a photo and video-sharing service online and on mobile, has closed on $3.6 million in new funding, an SEC filing reveals and the company confirms. The additional capital is part of a larger, still-in-progress round, which sees the photo sharing service seeking around $8.1 million in new funding.

Games and Entertainment:

Blizzard Launches ‘Heroes of the Dorm’ Tourney – Want to win free college tuition? Get out your game controller. Blizzard on Friday announced a new Heroes of the Storm tournament for college students with more than $450,000 in tuition and prizes up for grabs. The so-called “Heroes of the Dorm” tourney is open to active college students in the U.S. and Canada and will have three rounds of competition. Open qualifiers begin March 28, followed by a single-elimination bracket featuring 64 teams that starts on April 11. The event concludes with a final “Heroic Four” live event in late April. The final rounds of the tourney will be televised live on ESPN.

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5 Interesting Indie Games at PAX East – Titles like Banner Saga, Gone Home, and Rogue Legacy represent relatively small games that provide big entertainment for a fraction of the price of mainstream, juggernaut titles—you can purchase an acclaimed indie for roughly $15. That’s a wonderful thing in this era of the troubled AAA game, a time when $60 titles ship to stores littered with bugs that require massive Day 1 patches. Indie games, free from large publishers’ vice-like grip, often dare to be different. While AAA titles typically feature shooting, shooting, and more shooting, indie games come in a variety of flavors. And PAX East is full of them.

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An example: Gathering Sky (Android, iOS, PC) – Gathering Sky has the potential to be 2015’s Journey. You guide a single bird through the sky as you explore the game world and find other birds to join you. The goal? Fly through beautiful environments and create an expressive story without words. You can expect to see Gathering Sky in digital marketplaces in mid-April.

PS4 software version 2.50 to include button remapping, rest mode enhancements – It’s a been a while since Sony has released an update to the PlayStation 4’s software that really added any new features to the console. But it appears that will change soon, as version 2.50 seems to be in the works, with members of the PlayStation MVP program getting invites to beta test the software update. Invites are said to come via message from the PlayStation Network through March 9th, while the following info about new features comes from those who’ve already downloaded the beta.

Feelreal Brings Real Scents, Heat, and Water to Virtual Reality – The Feelreal headset isn’t its own virtual reality device. Rather, it straps on to an existing headset like the Oculus Rift, the Samsung Gear VR, or Sony’s Morpheus headset (to name a few). The sensation is unique, to put it mildly. To its credit, Feelreal’s headset does a decent job of recreating sensations using a variety of techniques: Odors blasted toward your nose, hot air sent across your face, and a gentle water misting dripped onto your cheeks. Nevertheless, the experience didn’t quite thrill Robertson, who summed up his trip through a virtual reality rainforest, waterfall, and fire as “pure, unfettered fear.”

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Mantle is a Vulkan: AMD’s dead graphics API rises from the ashes in OpenGL’s successor – Obi Wan said it best: ‘If you strike me down, I’ll become far more powerful than you’ll ever imagine.’ That’s happened with AMD’s API Mantle which died at 1.0 but has risen as the new Vulkan API.

Off Topic (Sort of):

21 Crazy GoPro Stunt Videos You Must Watch – Illegal shenanigans aside, it turns out that there’s a bountiful library of GoPro-enabled videos that will allow those of us with a healthy amount of respect for our physical well-beings to live vicariously through those who don’t. We don’t recommend that you try any of these activities yourself, but we do recommend that you watch as others narrowly avoid catastrophe!

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Can We Guess Your Age By How You Use The Internet?

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Pointing up    The test tells me that I’m 29 years old – off by 30 years. Looks like tech is keeping me young (younger, youngish?)   Smile

The Ambassador who worked from Nairobi bathroom to avoid State Dept. IT – The current scandal roiling over the use of a private e-mail server by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is just the latest in a series of scandals surrounding government e-mails. And it’s not the first public airing of problems with the State Department’s IT operations—and executives’ efforts to bypass or work around them. At least she didn’t set up an office in a restroom just to bypass State Department network restrictions and do everything over Gmail. However, another Obama administration appointee—the former ambassador to Kenya—did do that, essentially refusing to use any of the Nairobi embassy’s internal IT. He worked out of a bathroom because it was the only place in the embassy where he could use an unsecured network and his personal computer, using Gmail to conduct official business. And he did all this during a time when Chinese hackers were penetrating the personal Gmail inboxes of a number of US diplomats.

Goodyear’s new concept tires can help power your electric car – The tire is called the BH03, and it looks like the craziest tire you’ve ever seen. Goodyear plans to collect heat into the tire in a number of ways. The first is perhaps the simplest: black patches on the tire’s surface will absorb heat from the Sun — especially when you leave your car in a hot parking lot. The tire will also heat up from the effects of friction as you drive down the road. The heat generated from the tire as it flexes will also be collected..

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‘Climate change’ and ‘global warming’ reportedly banned under Florida governor – Officials working in Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection were banned from using the words “climate change,” “global warming,” and “sea-level rise” under Republican state governor Rick Scott, according to a new report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. Kristina Trotta, a former DEP employee, said that her regional administrator told her and her colleagues that they were no longer allowed to use the terms in 2011. Officials were reportedly told that sea-level rise was to be euphemistically referred to as “nuisance flooding.” Spokespeople for the DEP and the governor’s office said that there was no policy on the use of the terms, but four former officials told the FCIR that the unwritten order was well known and distributed verbally statewide.

Superhydrophobic paint resists scratches from sandpaper, knives – Superhydrophobic surfaces are common and very hard-wearing in nature, but man-made versions, while available, don’t last very long and easily break down when exposed to oils. That is, until now. A team of scientists at the University College London and Dalian University of Technology (China) have collaborated to create a very tough new superhydrophobic paint, capable of withstanding scratching with sandpaper or a knife blade. As this coating is able to withstand the elements, scuffs, and scrapes, it has applications in a very wide range of industries. Imagine having a car that no longer gets wet, or windows that never need to be cleaned and remain perfectly clear after a downpour. There’s even a use for it on the smartphones and tablets we all rub our fingers over every day. The research team also has high hopes for making antimicrobial surfaces for use in hospitals.

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You have the right to bear arms, not “electrical” arms, court declares – Massachusetts’ ban on the private possession of stun guns—an “electrical weapon” under the statute—does not violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms, the state’s top court has ruled. The decision says (PDF) that the US Constitution’s framers never envisioned the modern stun-gun device, first patented in 1972. The top court said stun guns are not suitable for military use, and that it did not matter whether state lawmakers have approved the possession of handguns outside the home.

Pointing up    The boundless enthusiasm for high-hurdling logic in this decision is (now, I’m carefully choosing my words here) – CRAZY!

Drinking Poison Control Medicine Is the Newest Bougie Health Fad – Juice companies and wellness blogs are suddenly lauding activated charcoal as a cure-all “detoxifier,” but you may want to think twice before forking over $10 for “activated lemonade.”

Something to think about:

“A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.”

–       Salman Rushdie

Today’s Free Downloads:

1600 Windows Icons (Metro Style) – 1600 Windows Icons (Metro Style) is a free collection of icons in Windows 8’s Metro style that you can use to update older versions of Windows or add variety to Windows 8. The icons are in PNG format and must be unzipped and converted to ICO files for Windows.

Pros

Metro style: Windows 8’s cool Metro design language takes its name and stylistic cues from the iconic typography of Swiss public signs that many people appreciate.

Lots and lots: Any way you count them, 1,600 is a lot of icons, especially for free.

Wide variety: While system icons predominate, we saw a lot of unique and much-needed themes, such as Christmas, Halloween, and Phones — even “Star Trek” and “Dr. Who.”

Cons

Conversion required: You must convert 1600 Windows Icons’ PNG files to icon (ICO) files for most Windows uses. Freeware and online converters are easy to use, but you might find the extra step more taxing than a few icons are worth.

One by one: It’s not difficult to change Windows icons, but it might take you a while to change them one by one, especially with so many to choose from in 1600 Windows Icons’ collection.

Bottom Line

The clean, well-rendered Metro style is particularly suitable for computer interfaces. Despite the steps involved, we think 1600 Windows Icons’ stylish replacements are worth the time and effort it takes to unpack and install them.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

UK Supreme Court waves through indiscriminate police surveillance – A Supreme Court decision handed down on Wednesday has given carte blanche to police forces to retain personal data they have collected for virtually any purpose and hold it as long as they like – even when the people targeted are not violent and have committed no crime.

New Zealand PM refuses to rule out mass surveillance – New Zealand’s prime minister has refused to rule out the possibility that the country’s electronic spy agency conducts mass surveillance, while suggesting that New Zealanders are not legally entitled to be told when their communications data is collected.

Who’s who in Australia’s mandatory data-retention debate – Summary: There are a lot of players in the mandatory data-retention debate. We look at who is for the legislation, and who is opposing it.

Schneier on Security: Data and Goliath’s Big Idea – Data and Goliath is a book about surveillance, both government and corporate. It’s an exploration in three parts: what’s happening, why it matters, and what to do about it. This is a big and important issue, and one that I’ve been working on for decades now. We’ve been on a headlong path of more and more surveillance, fueled by fear­–of terrorism mostly­–on the government side, and convenience on the corporate side. My goal was to step back and say “wait a minute; does any of this make sense?” I’m proud of the book, and hope it will contribute to the debate. But there’s a big idea here too, and that’s the balance between group interest and self-interest.

The CIA will reorganize to increase its focus on cybersecurity – The CIA is planning one of the largest reorganizations in the agency’s history, The Washington Post reports. CIA director John Brennan unveiled the plans in a press briefing today, saying the agency will focus more on cybersecurity issues and digital espionage. In addition to undergoing a massive structural overhaul, the CIA will create a new “Directorate of Digital Innovation” to track advances and threats in cyberspace.

Australia to prosecute Heartbleed pentest in desperation to pin charges on Anonymous radio host – Arrested 10 months ago by Australian Federal Police, Anonymous radio host LoraxLive (Adam Bennett) faces a prosecution struggling to pin charges on him.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24, 2014

The Best Browser Privacy Tools (That Don’t Make Life More Difficult);  The teacher’s guide: 50 resources for using tech in the modern classroom;  10 Apps to Get Right Now For Your New iPad;  Ello makes its ad-free promise a legal one, too; Getting started with Inbox by Gmail;  John McAfee has released D-VASIVE, a new app for your smartphone’s security;  View, create, and share PDF files with Google tools;  See the Windows 10 Start menu in action;  Facebook Launches Pseudonymous App “Rooms”;  Attackers change home routers’ DNS settings via malicious code injected in ads;  Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked;  The 5 Best PlayStation 4 Games Right Now;  Ubuntu 14.10 has landed — and it’s not just for desktops;  Get a ‘Lord of the Rings’ game bundle for $9.99;  Photos: The tech behind electric vehicles;  SpyShelter Personal Free;  5 Reasons People Aren’t Buying Tablets Anymore.

The Best Browser Privacy Tools (That Don’t Make Life More Difficult) – In a year when social media giants and governments alike have made headlines for tracking users online without their consent, battening down the virtual hatches has become a vital part of Internet hygiene. Blocking tracking technologies, however, also disables those handy auto-fill log-ins and web personalization features, preventing you from easily shopping online and making your web experience feel as if you’re back in 1999. So we went in search of privacy tools that don’t impact your browsing experience.

Ello makes its ad-free promise a legal one, too – It’s one thing to say your social network will never be like Facebook, it’s another to enshrine that promise in legal documents. Ello, a social site whose claim to fame is an anti-ad manifesto, is doing just that by filing to become a public benefit corporation. A benefit corporation is a company that chooses to be socially conscious of how its decisions affect not just shareholders or investors, but also its customers, employees, and the environment. Ello won’t get any tax benefits for being a do-good social network, but the charter the company filed prevents current and future investors and owners from ever profiting from ads or user data. “In other words, Ello exists for your benefit, and will never show ads or sell user data,” Ello founder Paul Budnitz wrote in a Thursday Ello post.

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The teacher’s guide: 50 resources for using tech in the modern classroom – In the classroom, teachers are more and more often expected to show innovative and progressive thinking by integrating technological solutions into their lessons — but starting out isn’t easy. From learning how to scour YouTube for clips to working out which photos and files can be used under fair copyright terms, while trying to keep up with standard workloads, invigorating lessons with technology can fall by the wayside. To help teachers out, and given the popularity of ZDNet’s last iPad in the classroom roundup, here is an updated, fresh list of tutorials, apps and software to transform your work-life balance and the student experience in today’s modern classroom.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Effective security techniques we don’t follow enough – It’s not all our fault, security is hard. The IT folks at Target weren’t stupid or lazy. They had actually done a lot of security work, but it wasn’t enough. Modern enterprises are so large and complex that applying best security practices at all times and locations is just too much to ask. But we all can do better. As a starting point, consider these six programming techniques, products and services which tend to minimize the most common of security problems. We know that most attackers are lazy and looking for low-hanging fruit. The harder a target you make yourself, the less likely it is that you will be compromised.

10 Apps to Get Right Now For Your New iPad – Slimmer, lighter, and not as reflective, the new iPad Air 2 is more than just a looker — under the glass there’s a beefed up processor, more powerful camera and Touch ID, to name a few upgrades. Get the most out of your new Apple tablet with these 10 great apps.

Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet: hands-on experiences at McDonald’s – Apple launched its new virtual wallet service with the iOS 8.1 update yesterday while Google has had its system running for a couple of years. ZDNet’s Matt Miller took two devices to McDonald’s and was able to pay without a real wallet.

Getting started with Inbox by Gmail – Google just released a new way to keep your email organized so you can spend more time being productive. Read on to learn how to use all the new features of Inbox by Gmail.

Supercharge your Android Gmail searches – Jack Wallen shows you a quick way to make searching through that massive Gmail inbox on your Android device a snap.

John McAfee has released D-VASIVE, a new app for your smartphone’s security – D-VASIVE by John McAfee is an app that sits in the background of your phone and alerts you whenever another app tries to access your mic or camera, as well as tells you which apps are tracking you.

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Torrent sites hurting after Google’s latest anti-piracy change – Last Friday Google revealed its newest anti-piracy efforts, which largely amounted to a mixture of demoted rankings for torrent websites and a new box dangling legal download alternatives to those looking for content. It hasn’t been quite a full week since the announcement, but the changes are in place and torrent websites are already hurting, with some of the biggest ones reporting massive decreases in traffic in the past handful of days — though, it seems, some of the small sites are benefiting from the change.

View, create, and share PDF files with Google tools – PDF files are easy to share, easy to view, but not so easy to edit. Send someone a PDF, and they’ll likely see your document as you intended. With Google tools, you can view and create PDF files. If you view PDF files in Chrome, you can open the file, then use the down (and up) arrow keys to scroll through the document’s pages. You can also create a PDF from any Google Apps document (i.e., a file in Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Drawings) by downloading the document as a PDF file. Here’s how:

See the Windows 10 Start menu in action – Take a look at the new and improved Windows 10 Start menu, care of the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

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How Apache Spark is bringing analytics to the average Joe – With a new analytics cloud service unveiled earlier this month, CEO Sharmila Mulligan explains how ClearStory’s engine is shifting data insights to ordinary users.

Ubuntu 14.10 has landed — and it’s not just for desktops – Canonical’s latest Linux, Ubuntu 14.10, saves the biggest improvements for its cloud and server versions.

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Police Alerts NOT new on Google Now – So you’d like to keep an eye on your local police department’s doings, yes? Lucky you, there’s a new Police Alerts segment being added to Google Now as we speak. This isn’t brand new, on the other hand – it’s all part of Google’s team-up with Nixle earlier this year. If you don’t see anything on your Google Now app now, you might also just be lucky – this isn’t just a way to see what your local cops are up to, but a way for your local cops to inform you of emergencies.

Facebook Launches Pseudonymous App “Rooms” That Lets You Create Forums About Any Topic – It’s not quite anonymous, but forums standalone app Rooms is Facebook’s first product that allows you to ditch your real name. Rooms lets you set up a mobile-only in-app discussion space about any topic, customize the look and moderation settings, set a screen name for the room, and choose who to invite to share text, photos, videos, and comments with others in the Room.

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Hands-on with Homeboy: This could be the best home-security camera yet – If you’re looking for an IP camera for home security, you’ll want to know about Homeboy. It remedies almost every drawback I’ve seen in security cameras. It doesn’t cost a fortune. And you’ll be able to buy one soon—without having to participate in a crowd-funding campaign. If Homeboy looks familiar, it’s because it built on the intellectual property developed for the Hive camera that garnered a lot of attention about two years ago, but that was ultimately never brought to market.

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Do the research before you upgrade your RAM – Adding more RAM can speed up your PC and allow it to run more powerful programs. But you need to know how much RAM your system can take, and what kind to buy.

4 tips for writing better hashtags – Here are 4 tips to keep in mind when creating hashtags for events or campaigns.

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Plan to tax internet traffic in Hungary sees protesters take to the streets – Thousands of Hungarians are planning a demonstration against the country’s internet tax plan, with businesses and ISPs also criticising the legislation.

Security:

Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL: Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your ‘privacy is important’ – Adobe has tweaked its Digital Editions 4 desktop ebook reader to now encrypt the data it secretly sends back to headquarters – data that details a user’s reading habits. Previously, information on every single tome accessed by Digital Editions 4 was phoned home unencrypted, allowing anyone eavesdropping on a network to intercept it. Now that information is transmitted via HTTPS, and only if the book includes copy-protection measures.

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Pointing up    Are companies such as Adobe, Apple, Microsoft… in their attempts to vacuum personal and private data, imitating the NSA and the U.S. government – or, is it the other way around? In other words – who taught who to be unscrupulous, underhanded, and completely oblivious to ensuring such activities are above board? And, oh yeah  – LEGAL!

Microsoft survey shows four in ten in the U.S. face online attacks regularly – As more of our personal details become connected digitally via our mobile phones and computers, we put ourselves at an increased risk for potential privacy breaches and malicious attacks. According to a new survey by Microsoft, four in ten people in the United States experience some type of attempt to access their personal information on a daily or weekly basis by someone other than themselves.

Encountering the Wild PUP – The Internet is full of dangers; threats like malware, phishing attacks, hackers and drive-by exploits are some of the most commonly mentioned. But did you know that there is a far more common threat to users that no one in the media seems to talk about, a threat that almost everyone who has ever owned a computer has experienced. These threats are known as Potentially Unwanted Programs and they are the day-walking vampires of the internet.

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Do we really need strong passwords? – The idea that computer users should use long, complex passwords is one of computer security’s sacred cows. But is is really necessary? Mark Stockley investigates.

Attackers change home routers’ DNS settings via malicious code injected in ads – Sucuri Security researchers have unearthed a malvertising campaign aimed at changing the DNS settings of home routers in order to lead users questionable and potentially malicious websites. The attackers have embedded the malicious code in question directly into an ad hosted on the googlesyndication.com network, the researchers claim, and the ad has been served to a variety of websites that use that particular ad service.

Company News:

Amazon’s losses balloon to $544 million in its third quarter earnings – Amazon posted its third quarter earnings results today and they were not pretty: the company said it had a operating loss of $544 million, more than twenty times what was lost for the same period in 2013. Its revenues grew to $20.84 billion, an increase of 20 percent over the same period last year, but less than what investors were expecting. In its projections for next quarter, Amazon said it expects the red ink to keep spreading, with losses growing to $570 million.

Amazon Fire Phone Flops – Given that Amazon was tanking the price of the Fire Phone down to 99 cents two months after launch (leading to many a “Fire sale!” joke), this probably won’t come as much of a surprise: the Fire Phone isn’t a success. Who would’ve guessed a phone that existed pretty much solely to sell you stuff from Amazon while relying heavily on a silly gimmick wouldn’t sell well? The final count on Fire Phone inventory left at the end of Q3: $83 million. Eighty. Three. Million. Dollars.

Pointing up    If you were one of the many who laughed your ass off when Amazon announced this walking/talking billboard – you have been vindicated.   Smile

Huawei touts growth as smartphone shipments rise 26 percent – The company says it was able to double the amount of shipments on the premium side of the market and that it shipped nearly 17 million units worldwide in the third quarter.

Microsoft Up 3% After Reporting Better Than Expected FQ1 Revenue Of $23.20B, EPS Of $0.54 – After gaining more than 1 percent in regular trading, Microsoft reported its fiscal first quarter 2015 earnings: Revenue totaled $23.20 billion in the period, leading to profits of $0.54 per share. The revenue figure represents a 25 percent year-over-year increase, a large piece of which is due to the Nokia hardware acquisition.

Surface likely to be the next billion dollar business for Microsoft – Microsoft is in transition to become a devices and services company, and things aren’t looking too bad as Surface could soon be a billion dollar business for the company in the near future.

Aereo denied license request, but hope remains – Aereo, swept up in a legal battle earlier this year that it ultimately did not win, has been denied a license that would let it operate as a cable company. Aereo had requested this license during the late summer, and was told in August that it needed a court ruling on whether it could continue operations under this special designation. An injunction was put in place against the service today, but as the legal battle winds down towards a close, there is still a ray of hope for the service.

Apple and sapphire supplier strike deal to end partnership – GT Advanced Technologies and Apple have agreed to a deal that will let GT close the Mesa, Ariz. and Salem, Mass. factories where it was producing scratch-resistant sapphire, and void the contracts it had signed with its one-time partner. GT, which filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 protection on Oct. 6, will exit the sapphire-making business and re-focus on manufacturing the furnaces used to grow the material. The Merrimack, N.H. company will cut most, but not all, ties with Apple, and the two will go their separate ways.

Games and Entertainment:

Get a ‘Lord of the Rings’ game bundle for $9.99 – You! Shall not! Pass (up this great deal)! Yeah, I’m a “Lord of the Rings” nerd. So it goes without saying that I’m all over today’s deal, which will delight not only my inner 12-year-old, but also my resident 12-year-old. For a limited time, Bundle Stars has The Lord of the Rings Bundle for $9.99. That nets you four complete games and two downloadable content (DLC) packs with a combined value of over $100.

Nvidia brings one of the the GTX 980’s best new features to older graphics cards – Nvidia is bringing “Dynamic Super Resolution” to older graphics cards, letting users enjoy 4K-like visual smoothness on 1080p displays. Dynamic Super Resolution, or DSR, is one of the main features of Nvidia’s latest GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 processors, based on the company’s Maxwell architecture. A new driver update brings the same feature to Fermi- and Kepler-based GeForce GTX 500, 600, and 700 series cards.

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Halloween-themed Humble Bundle offers cheap, spooky games – The Walking Dead: Assault, Dead Effect, and Oscura: Second Shadow can be yours for a pittance of their normal cost.

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PlayStation 4 Update Coming On 10/28 Lets You Play Games With Friends Who Don’t Own A Copy – While Share Play sounds incredible, there’s a footnote or two that Sony seems to be downplaying a bit that might make it a bit less incredible. For example, the company has previously confirmed that Share Play sessions are limited to 60 minute chunks — so don’t expect to be able to blast through an entire game on a buddy’s remote console without shelling out for your own copy eventually. On the upside, the feature should work with all PS4 games right out of the gate, so it’s not something that’ll only work on a title-by-title basis.

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The 5 Best PlayStation 4 Games Right Now – So you just picked up a PlayStation 4, and you’re wondering what to buy. Or maybe you haven’t bought one yet, but you’re leaning in Sony’s general direction. Either way, we think these are hands-down the best games on platform at the moment.

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Check out the latest Halo Nightfall trailer – We had been treated to a teaser trailer in months past for Nightfall, but today Microsoft released the full official trailer from Scott Free Productions (owned by Ridley and Tony Scott). Spoiler alert: this trailer is pretty awesome considering the absence of a Hollywood-like budget.

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CitizenFour, film review: The Snowden revelations, as they happened – This absorbing documentary follows film-maker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald as they make contact with the whistleblower and unleash a media storm.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Photos: The tech behind electric vehicles – There’s a lot of IT that goes into EVs. Here are 10 examples of the tech that makes these cars and the systems behind them work.

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The future health of the internet comes down to ONE simple question… Can ICANN be forced to agree to oversight of its decisions? – When was the last time you gave any thought to how the internet actually works? Despite the extraordinary and never-ending growth in people and devices that connect to the internet every second of every day, we have never seen the equivalent of Twitter’s Fail Whale. The internet, as a whole, just doesn’t go down. There are two main reasons why. One, a very clever decentralised and lightweight design, and two, an engineer culture focused on the network first and everything else second. There is one potential flaw, however. In the middle of this vast, global, decentralised network exists a central core around which the internet binds, and without which the network would start to erode and break apart.

Google teams with Oxford on artificial intelligence – Google, the search company that’s investing heavily in robotics, is teaming with Oxford University researchers to work on artificial intelligence. In January, Google bought the London-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind. Now the Google DeepMind group will work with two of Oxford’s artificial intelligence (AI) research teams. The teams will work on image recognition and natural language understanding, according to Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind and vice president of engineering at Google, in a blog post.

Ford gives pedestrian-spotting bumpers access to the brakes – Ford is rolling out a new set of smart driving aids that the car company claims could potentially eliminate frontal collisions involving pedestrians, using a combination of radar and lasers to spot people walking out into the road unexpectedly. Contrary to what Ford’s graphic might suggest, the system doesn’t involve the new 2015 Mondeo (aka the Ford Fusion) firing laser beams from its grille and cutting pedestrians into sufficiently small pieces so that they fit under the car rather than colliding with its hood. Instead, the invisible beams can call in favors from the braking system.

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Australian ISP stands up to filmmakers hunting pirates – The producer of Oscar-winning film “Dallas Buyers Club” has taken its hunt for pirates of the film to Australia, after filing a barrage of antipiracy lawsuits in the U.S. But at least one Australian Internet service provider is pushing back out of concern that the movie producer aims to intimidate its customers into paying excessive damages. “In plain terms, Dallas Buyers Club wants the names and contact details of our customers they believe may have illegally shared their film,” said iiNet, one of the affected ISPs on Wednesday.

Man accidentally texts probation officer to ask for weed – This could happen to any of us. Well, if any of us was serving probation. This was the case with Alvin Cross Jr. of Albany, Ga. Cross Jr seems to have got his wires crossed — or, more accurately, his fingers — when he reportedly texted who he thought was his drug dealer. The accitext? “You have some weed?” The recipient? His parole officer. As WALB-TV reports, Cross’s parole officer may or may not have been cross, but the authorities were informed. His home was raided. Cocaine was found.

5 Reasons People Aren’t Buying Tablets Anymore – First, some perspective: the tablet industry is still huge. Gartner predicts that over 250 million tablets will ship worldwide by the end of 2014, an impressive figure for any consumer electronics device not named “smartphone.” But there’s reason for tablet makers to be worried. Sales are “crashing” at Best Buy and iPad sales are down year-over-year, a disappointing reversal after three years of explosive growth. Whether it’s a sign of doom or just a “speed bump,” something, on some level, is wrong. Let’s break down five possible explanations:

Something to think about:

“Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.”

–      William James (1842 – 1910)

Today’s Free Downloads:

SpyShelter Personal Free – The Internet is now a vital part of our personal and business lives. With increasing use of online systems, cybercrime also has grown exponentially. Information-stealing software are produced regularly and are used by thieves to steal personal and business information.

One of the most effective ways of stealing information is through a program that can easily be made to capture keystrokes. SpyShelter captures everything that a user is doing- keystrokes, mouseclicks, files opened and closed, sites visited. More sophisticated programs can capture everything a user sees on his screen when performing a screen capture: just the mere opening of a file can allow an information thief to steal your data.

These sophisticated and dangerous programs are called Keylogging programs (e.g. keyloggers, key recorder, keytrappers, key capture programs, etc.) and they are developed continuously all over the world. SpyShelter anti keylogger can protect you against attacks that happen even when you do ordinary computer tasks like: typing into your computer, getting screenshots, opening files, and visiting sites.

The SpyShelter monitors vulnerable and weak spots in your computer system to ensure that even the most advanced keyloggers are shut down even before these can launch a single dangerous attack against your computer.

SpyShelter antikeylogger system is fast, efficient, and easy-to-use.

Features:

Webcam Logger protection: SpyShelter defends you against hackers who would like to seize control of your webcam, even when it is switched off!

Key Logger protection (kernel mode also): SpyShelter Stop-logger ensures that whatever your type into your computer is protected against dangerous people who steal your data! Whatever you enter into your computer will not leak to malicious parties.

System Defense: SpyShelter guards your registry, your physical memory (RAM), and other sensitive computer parts and processes so that malicious code cannot be injected to seize control of your PC.

Internet security: SpyShelter AntiNetworkSpy protactive module prevents dangerous trojans from stealing your private information while important SSL internet transactions. It also blocks HTTP/HTTPS trojans on user level as well as POP,SMTP,FTP, loggers.

Clipboard Logger protection:

SpyShelter shields sensitive data that can be found on you Windows clipboard as a result of copying, cutting, and pasting. This software ensures that these information will not be under malicious monitoring by other people.

Screen Logger protection: When you take screen-captures, SpyShelter spots suspicious activity that might reveal sensitive data you enter into your computer such as bank account and credit card information.

Anti Sound logger: SpyShelter unique security module that protects your system against VOIP sound trojan loggers. Can be useful when you use instant messangers for voice calls. This module also protect you against voice logger from your webcam or built-in microphone.

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Wise Care 365 – Wise Care 365 is a bundle of important tools including a registry cleaner, disk cleaner, program uninstaller, memory optimizer and more.

Easy to use and effective, Wise Care 365 is the good solution to improve your PC’s performance. Get Wise Care 365 and your computer will never run slow again!

Features:

Clean up, defragment and optimize the Windows Registry

Defragment and free up space on your hard disk

Protect your privacy by erasing personal tracking data

Recover lost files

Hide important files or folders

Prevent unauthorized use of personal applications

Auto shut down your PC

Free up Memory to boost game and enterprise software performance

Simple “One Click Tune-up” option will optimize your PC

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Shakeup At NSA After BuzzFeed News Reports On Potential Conflict Of Interest – One of the nation’s top spies is leaving her position at the National Security Agency, according to two sources, amid growing disclosures of possible conflicts of interest at the secretive agency.

The shakeup comes just a month after BuzzFeed News began reporting on the financial interests of the official, Teresa Shea, and her husband.

Shea was the director of Signals Intelligence, or SIGINT, which involves intercepting and decoding electronic communications via phones, email, chat, Skype, and radio. That’s widely considered the most important mission of the NSA, and it includes some of the most controversial programs disclosed by former contractor Edward Snowden, including the mass domestic surveillance program.

It couldn’t be determined why Shea is leaving her position or what new job she might take. Neither the Sheas nor the NSA responded immediately to requests for comment.

In September, BuzzFeed News reported that a SIGINT “contracting and consulting” company was registered at Shea’s house, even while she was the SIGINT director at NSA. The resident agent of the company, Telic Networks, is listed as James Shea, her husband.

Mr. Shea is also the vice president of a major SIGINT contractor that appears to do business with the NSA. The company, DRS Signals Solutions, is a subsidiary of DRS Technologies, which itself is a subsidiary of Italian owned Finmeccanica SPA.

Last week Buzzfeed News also reported Shea herself had incorporated an “office and electronics” business at her house, and that the company owned a six-seat airplane and a condominium in the resort town of Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Lone lawyer sues Obama, alleging illegality of surveillance programs – Justice Department lawyers have asked a federal court in Pittsburgh to dismiss a sweeping lawsuit brought earlier this year by a local lawyer against President Barack Obama and other top intelligence officials.

In a new motion to dismiss filed on Monday, the government told the court that the Pittsburgh lawyer, Elliott Schuchardt, lacked standing to make a claim that his rights under the Fourth Amendment have been violated as a result of multiple ongoing surveillance programs.

Specifically, Schuchardt argued in his June 2014 complaint that both metadata and content of his Gmail, Facebook, and Dropbox accounts were compromised under the PRISM program as revealed in the documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Pointing up    In the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, ONE MAN STANDS UP!

The surveillance state and you – George Orwell’s 1984 opens with Winston Smith carving out a pocket of privacy by crouching in a corner of his apartment where the telescreen—and thus Big Brother—can’t see and writing a diary entry. These days, that Stalin-inspired nightmare seems quaint. We carry our personal telescreens around with us, and take it for granted that if someone wants to watch us, they can.

6 Comments

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

Google Pack Software Revisited – The Good, the Bad and the Useless

Google Pack 2 The applications offered in Google Pack are an interesting compilation of  freebies – some of them are quite useful and  worthwhile adding to your system. On the other hand, some of them are not only useless, but are potentially hazardous to your system security.

The good:

Google Chrome Web Browser:

image

Google has developed an impressive browser with a focus on speed strong integrated search features. I’ll stick with Firefox though since I find Chrome just a little too simply for the type of work that I do. Some consider Chrome the safest browser available, but this conclusion is definitely subjective.

Google Apps:

image

Cloud computing is where it’s at, or soon will be, according to the futurists. Personally, I think the jury is still out.

Google though, has tied its wagon to the concept of cloud computing, and  Google Apps reflects this direction. Using this collection of online (cloud based) applications you can plan (Calendar), stay in touch (Gmail), and collaborate (Docs). Since these are cloud based apps you can reach them from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

I should point out that Google Apps are available for business and education. Both are enhanced versions of the free personal version.

Note: Google recently released Google Wave, an additional online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. For more information on Wave, checkout Scoroncocolo TechPages.

Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus:

image

The version of the highly regarded Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus included in Google Pack, does include full scan and remove capabilities, scheduled scans, database updates, but only limited real-time protection from both spyware and viruses.

I’ve reviewed this application a number of times, and consider it an outstanding secondary scanner. However, I do not recommend that you use this restricted version as a primary defense against malware, because of its limited real-time protection .

Picasa:

image

Some might say that Picasa is the best free piece of photo managing and editing software you can find. Up to a point, I agree. As a basic photo manager and viewer, it’s pretty terrific.

Bonus features include a full complement of editing tools, supplemented with the ability to create photo CDs, photo collages, screensavers, and posters. Not bad for a free application!

Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar:

image

If you’re looking for  a Browser that you can customize to your hearts content, then download Firefox. There are literally thousands of totally free ways to customize Firefox to meet all of your personal needs. The big advantage to Firefox, in my view, is the ability you have to customize this Browser with security add-ons that raise the security bar substantially.

P.S. Forget about the Google Toolbar.

Skype:

image

Skype has become my preferred method of contact. I use the free Skype video calling feature, dozens of times a day to speak with contacts worldwide.

In its basic form, Skype is a free communication package, using proprietary code, which allows users to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, across the globe. As well, there are a bundle of additional features, that can be purchased at a low cost, which will expand the application’s functionality.

Google Talk:

image

Google Talk is a cool application that includes Instant messaging, PC-to-PC voice chat , the ability to send, receive and leave voicemails,  along with unlimited file transfers (no file size or bandwidth restrictions).

Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I prefer single purpose applications, and I would choose Skype over Google Talk.

Google Earth 5:

image

I couldn’t say it better than Google so, “Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others”.

This is truly an amazing piece of technology – I just never get tired of it!

The bad:

Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer:

image

I have seen machines with more than 20+ installed toolbars, and this type of nonsensical download is one of the reasons why. Another toolbar? Lord help us!

Google Desktop:

image

According to Google with desktop installed you can – “Find all your email, files, web history, and more. Get all your personalized info in one place with Sidebar”. So what could be wrong with that?

Well, if privacy and security is a concern – plenty. eSecurity Planet has a great article that exposes the major downside of installing this “spyware” on your computer. If you’re considering installing this program, I encourage you to checkout “Google Desktop: Next Big Thing or Dangerous Tool?”, first.

The Useless:

Adobe Reader:

image

Without a doubt, one of the most hacked pieces of  software – ever! That’s bad enough, but Adobe, for all intents and purposes, seems not to care. On top of that, this application is the very definition of “bloatware”.

Don’t even consider this program. Instead, choose one of a number of much faster, more streamlined free application such as Foxit Reader, for Firefox, or Sumatra PDF Viewer for Windows.

RealPlayer:

image

If you need a clunky, slow, ugly player, and you are the type of person who likes to be nagged constantly, then this application will give you what you want. If you think I’m being tough on this piece of crap, then read PC Mag’s “The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time”.

VLC Media Player, on the other hand, an open source cross platform application, is a long recognized superior performer that gives you frame-by-frame advancement, granular speed controls allowing for on-the-fly slower or faster playback, and live recording of streaming video.VLC offers support for a wide range of video and audio formats, including OGG, MP2, MP3, MP4, DivX, HD codecs like AES3, Raw Dirac, and even support for playing back zipped files.

Google Apps System requirements: Windows XP, Vista Win 7

Google Pack

Download at: Google

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

13 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browsers, downloads, Firefox, Freeware, Google, Google Chrome, Image Editors, Skype, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Google Pack Software – The Good, the Bad and the Useless

Google Pack 2 The applications offered in Google Pack are an interesting compilation of  freebies – some of them are quite useful and  worthwhile adding to your system. On the other hand, some of them are not only useless, but are potentially hazardous to your system security.

The good:

Google Chrome Web Browser:

image

Google has developed an impressive browser with a focus on speed strong integrated search features. I’ll stick with Firefox though since I find Chrome just a little too simply for the type of work that I do. Some consider Chrome the safest browser available, but this conclusion is definitely subjective.

Google Apps:

image

Cloud computing is where it’s at, or soon will be, according to the futurists. Personally, I think the jury is still out.

Google though, has tied its wagon to the concept of cloud computing, and  Google Apps reflects this direction. Using this collection of online (cloud based) applications you can plan (Calendar), stay in touch (Gmail), and collaborate (Docs). Since these are cloud based apps you can reach them from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

I should point out that Google Apps are available for business and education. Both are enhanced versions of the free personal version.

Note: Google will soon be releasing Google Wave, an additional online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. For more information on Wave, checkout Scoroncocolo TechPages.

Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus:

image

The version of the highly regarded Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus included in Google Pack, does include full scan and remove capabilities, scheduled scans, database updates, but only limited real-time protection from both spyware and viruses.

I’ve reviewed this application a number of times, and consider it an outstanding secondary scanner. However, I do not recommend that you use this restricted version as a primary defense against malware, because of its limited real-time protection .

Picasa:

image

Some might say that Picasa is the best free piece of photo managing and editing software you can find. Up to a point I agree. As a basic photo manager and viewer, it’s pretty terrific.

Bonus features include a full complement of editing tools, supplemented with the ability to create photo CDs, photo collages, screensavers, and posters. Not bad for a free application!

Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar:

image

If you’re looking for  a Browser that you can customize to your hearts content, then download Firefox. There are literally thousands of totally free ways to customize Firefox to meet all of your personal needs. The big advantage to Firefox, in my view, is the ability you have to customize this Browser with security add-ons that raise the security bar substantially.

P.S. Forget about the Google Toolbar.

Skype:

image

Skype has become my preferred method of contact. I use the free Skype video calling feature, dozens of times a day to speak with contacts worldwide.

In its basic form, Skype is a free communication package, using proprietary code, which allows users to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, across the globe. As well, there are a bundle of additional features, that can be purchased at a low cost, which will expand the application’s functionality.

Google Talk:

image

Google Talk is a cool application that includes Instant messaging, PC-to-PC voice chat , the ability to send, receive and leave voicemails,  along with unlimited file transfers (no file size or bandwidth restrictions).

Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I prefer single purpose applications, and I would choose Skype over Google Talk.

Google Earth 5:

image

I couldn’t say it better than Google so, “Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others”.

This is truly an amazing piece of technology – I just never get tired of it!

The bad:

Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer:

image

I have seen machines with more than 20+ installed toolbars, and this type of nonsensical download is one of the reasons why. Another toolbar? Lord help us!

Google Desktop:

image

According to Google with desktop installed you can – “Find all your email, files, web history, and more. Get all your personalized info in one place with Sidebar”. So what could be wrong with that?

Well, if privacy and security is a concern – plenty. eSecurity Planet has a great article that exposes the major downside of installing this “spyware” on your computer. If you’re considering installing this program, I encourage you to checkout “Google Desktop: Next Big Thing or Dangerous Tool?”, first.

The ugly:

Adobe Reader:

image

Without a doubt, one of the most hacked pieces of  software – ever! That’s bad enough, but Adobe, for all intents and purposes, seems not to care. On top of that, this application is the very definition of “bloatware”.

Don’t even consider this program. Instead, choose one of a number of much faster, more streamlined free application such as Foxit Reader, for Firefox, or Sumatra PDF Viewer for Windows.

RealPlayer:

image

If you need a clunky, slow, ugly player, and you are the type of person who likes to be nagged constantly, then this application will give you what you want. If you think I’m being tough on this piece of crap, then read PC Mag’s “The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time”.

VLC Media Player, on the other hand, an open source cross platform application, is a long recognized superior performer that gives you frame-by-frame advancement, granular speed controls allowing for on-the-fly slower or faster playback, and live recording of streaming video.VLC offers support for a wide range of video and audio formats, including OGG, MP2, MP3, MP4, DivX, HD codecs like AES3, Raw Dirac, and even support for playing back zipped files.

Google Apps System requirements: Windows XP, Vista Win 7

Google Pack

Download at: Google

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

7 Comments

Filed under Cloud Computing Applications, Freeware, Google Chrome, Google Pack, Google Software, Image Editors, Multimedia Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, Windows Tips and Tools