Tag Archives: Google Maps

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 27, 2015

Enable or Disable what Google tracks;  Send notes, directions, more to Android phones from a Google search;  Sick of Netflix’s available shows? Use a VPN;  Camio turns your spare phone or tablet into Dropcam;  9 Apple Watch Tips You’ll Need to Know;  Twitter launches ‘Highlights,’ to help users cut through the chaff;  Turn your iPhone or Android smartphone into a satellite phone;  Hackers Hit Tesla Twitter Account, Website;  How gaming can improve our cognitive abilities;  Debian 8.0 ‘Jessie’ is out and even Microsoft is celebrating;  Americans Get Their Revenge on Comcast;  Former CIA head’s no-jail sentence for leaking called gross hypocrisy;  Internet Privacy Is The Wrong Conversation;  Twitter launches Highlights;  LinuxLive USB Creator (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Person Finder and Facebook Safety Check provide relief in Nepal Quake – Tragedy struck Nepal as a 7.8-magnitude earthquake caused damage throughout the capital, Kathmandu. The earthquake also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, endangering climbers. Sadly, Google executive Dan Fredinburg lost his life in the avalanche. To help with the recovery and relief efforts, Google and Facebook are stepping up to the plate, reminding the public of their respective Person Finder and Safety Check features which can be used to check on friends and family from half way around the globe.

Enable or Disable what Google tracks about your online presence – Browser preferences for privacy are all well and good, but Google takes it a step further by saving your online presence online, to enable or disable certain tracking options requires a few steps.

Send notes, directions, more to Android phones from a Google search – Last week, we showed you how to find your Android phone with a simple Google search. Now Google is introducing new features that allow you to push data to your phone through your desktop browser. You can send directions from the web to your phone; just type “send directions” into Google and a drop-down menu should pop up allowing you to “send directions to [your] phone.” Then, Google Maps will automatically open on your phone, and you’ll be ready to navigate away from your desktop.

Sick of Netflix’s available shows? Use a VPN to change your country and see more – There may be some risk, but if you’re interested you can check out the Netflix movie selection in countries around the world.

Camio turns your spare phone or tablet into Dropcam – What if you could get your webcam or a spare iOS or Android device to work like Dropcam? You can do just that with Camio, a cloud-based service that transforms smartphones, tablets and PCs into smart monitoring devices, complete with live streaming, motion detection, alerts, and more. Where it truly shines, however, is in the cloud recording department and the various ways in which it allows you to access your recordings.

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9 Apple Watch Tips You’ll Need to Know – After unboxing the new smartwatch, we linked it up to an iPhone 6, and started exploring. Apple products are usually quite intuitive, and the Apple Watch is no exception, but there is a bit of a learning curve since everything has to be displayed on a tiny screen. Our slideshow features several videos that walk you through the basics of your Apple Watch—from changing the watch face to customizing notifications and setting an alarm. Check them out, and let us know in the comments if there are any other features you’d like to see in action.

Microsoft adds Apple Watch support to Skype for iPhone – The Apple Watch seems to be the next big thing, and a whole slew of apps are falling in line to provide support for the device – this time, another one from Microsoft: Skype for iPhone.

Twitter launches ‘Highlights,’ to help users cut through the chaff – Twitter seems to be taking a cue from Facebook. The company announced on Thursday a feature called Highlights that — like Facebook’s News Feed — is designed to draw on a user’s information to deliver relevant content and keep people from becoming overwhelmed.

Debian 8.0 ‘Jessie’ is out and even Microsoft is celebrating – The wait is over. Debian 8.0—“Jessie”—will be released on April 25, after a nearly two-year development cycle for the next release of this long-standing Linux distribution. Microsoft is even throwing Debian a birthday party, complete with cake. Sure, it’s basically just an advertisement for Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform, but it’s still amusing.

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New version of Google Glass coming soon, says Luxottica CEO – The search giant is going forward with its connected-eyewear project, and it has partnered with the maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley for the next version.

GeniCan smart garbage can builds your next shopping list – A new smart home appliance has just cropped up, and it aims to make throwing out your kitchen waste a convenience. It’s called GeniCan, and it is a smart device that attaches to the top of your existing kitchen trash can. When an item is thrown away, the GeniCan scans the product and adds it to a growing shopping list for the next time you go shopping. It eliminates the need to write things down on a shopping list, and is joined by a few convenient features like finding coupons for the product (if available), and more.

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Five ways to bump up your Google mobile search ranking – This week Google altered the way it orders search results on phones to give preference to what it terms mobile-friendly websites. The change to Google’s algorithm means sites that haven’t been optimised to be easy to use and view on mobile devices could find themselves bumped down the mobile search rankings. Google offers a tool to allow sites to see if they pass its mobile-friendly test. Sites that fail appear to be falling foul of common gotchas – many of which are fairly simple to rectify. Here’s the approach you should take if you want to pass the test.

Turn your iPhone or Android smartphone into a satellite phone – The modern smartphone is a wonder of modern technology, and in combination with the carrier network can allow you to make calls from the densest urban jungle to Mount Everest. But despite the amazing global coverage of the carrier networks, sometimes it just isn’t enough. This is when you need to rely on satellite coverage. And believe it or not, you can add satellite capability to your existing iPhone or Android smartphone. Yes, that’s right, you no longer need a dedicated satellite phone. What you need is a Thuraya SatSleeve. Just slide on the sleeve, and BINGO! You have a satellite phone. Yes, calls and data are going to cost you an arm and a leg (don’t be surprised if it adds up to several dollars a minute depending on where you want to use your handset).

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Google officially discontinues Nexus 7 tablet – If you’re in the market for an affordable, highly-rated, not-too-big-not-too-small tablet, your chances to buy the Nexus 7 are quickly running out. If you were planning to purchase one from Google directly, then your ship has already sailed. That’s because the company officially discontinued the 7-inch tablet on Friday, and is no longer selling it on the Google Store’s website. You can still find one from other places, but you better act fast.

Security:

Critical HTTPS bug may open 25,000 iOS apps to eavesdropping attacks – At least 25,000 iOS apps available in Apple’s App Store contain a critical vulnerability that may completely cripple HTTPS protections designed to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks that steal or modify sensitive data, security researchers warned. As was the case with a separate HTTPS vulnerability reported earlier this week that affected 1,500 iOS apps, the bug resides in AFNetworking, an open-source code library that allows developers to drop networking capabilities into their iOS and OS X apps. Any app that uses a version of AFNetworking prior to the just-released 2.5.3 may expose data that’s trivial for hackers to monitor or modify, even when it’s protected by the secure sockets layer (SSL) protocol.

Google says Chinese Great Cannon shows need to encrypt web – The large DDoS attack on GitHub and Greatfire that occurred over March and April would not have been possible with encrypted web traffic, Google has said.

With ransomware on the rise, cryptographers take it personally – Some of the world’s leading cryptographers are concerned about the increasing number of malicious programs that hold computers and mobile phones to ransom, in many cases by abusing the encryption algorithms they designedd. The security industry is not doing enough and it’s going to get worse, they said

Hackers Hit Tesla Twitter Account, Website – According to numerous reports yesterday, an unknown individual (or individuals) managed to get into the Tesla Twitter account, as well as the Twitter account belonging to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The hijackers claiming responsibility indicated they were known as “ripprgang” and, yes, they even posted a link to their own Twitter account—which isn’t filled with anything interesting, unfortunately, seeing as it has already been suspended as of this article’s writing.

Company News:

Hello?! Nokia Releases Official Statement Denying Reports It Will Return To Mobile – In a (short and somewhat terse) official statement today, Nokia noted “recent news reports claiming the company communicated an intention to manufacture consumer handsets out of a R&D facility in China.” It went on: “These reports are false, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive. Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.”

Americans Get Their Revenge on Comcast – First AT&T/T-Mobile, then Sprint/T-Mobile, and now Comcast/Time Warner have collapsed. This might also put AT&T/DirecTV in jeopardy. What all of these have in common is that they involved a service that’s essential for participating in the modern economy, and they totally failed to make the case that their mergers would make consumers’ lives better.

BitTorrent confirms layoffs: 40 workers rumored gone – BitTorrent has been putting a lot of work into growing, and it has seemingly been progressing well with its BitTorrent Originals entertainment effort and BitTorrent Sync, among other things. Sources have cropped up to reveal that things may not be going so well behind closed doors, however, and they claim that yesterday the company laid off “dozens” of employees. The move was said to be in an effort to focus on a smaller bunch of products, and to “streamline business operations”.

Microsoft CEO says Office has been downloaded 100 million times on iOS and Android – Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, revealed that Office has been downloaded more than 100 million times on iOS and Android, and reiterated plans to ensure that its products reach “every mobile device.”

Infosys buying digital commerce provider Kallidus in $120 million deal – Also doing business under the moniker Skada, Kallidus comes with a cloud-based digital commerce platform designed to link all of the e-commerce endpoints from the couch to the counter.

Games and Entertainment:

Solitaire Is Coming Back on Windows – The much-loved card game will once again be just a few clicks away when Microsoft’s next OS launches this summer. This means you’ll no longer have to go through the trouble of separately downloading it like you need to do on Windows 8. Microsoft previously admitted that Solitaire, along with Minesweeper and Hearts, have a “devoted following,” but decided not to pre-install them on Windows 8.

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Dungeons 2 review: Almost the Dungeon Keeper 3 you’ve been waiting for – Suffice it to say, Dungeons 2 is better than that pseudo-Dungeon Keeper racket. But that bar couldn’t be lower if the person holding the bar got stabbed in the gut by EA, fell down a conveniently placed flight of stairs into a basement, and then carried the bar six feet further down into a freshly-dug grave. Is Dungeons 2 any good not just in comparison, but on its own? Ah, now that’s the real question.

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Valve’s Launch Of Paid Mods Faces Backlash From Community – PC gaming giant Valve is facing vocal backlash from its community a day after giving developers of game modifications the ability to charge for their work on the Steam platform. Whereas digital stores typically take a fraction of the sales they process — say, Apple’s 30% on app sales an in-app puchases — Valve has decided to take 75% from each sale of paid mods. That amount is then split between Valve and the publisher or developer behind the original game. That split is one of the sticking points emerging as an issue in Reddit threads and posts on the Steam Community, but it’s certainly not the only one, as many understand it’s a prerequisite to get studios interested in letting others profit from the games they make.

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How gaming can improve our cognitive abilities – Adam Gazzaley is building a repertoire of games that could one day help us reduce or even reverse the impact on our cognitive faculties of disorders such as Alzheimer’s, or deficits caused by brain trauma. Gazzaley emphasised that although he is not against using medication for these types of deficits, 50 years of drug research later “and not one case has resulted in a high-level success story.” On top of this, high drug doses needed to target the underlying neural network inevitably have side effects, and treatment is not personalized—doses are often based on anecdotal evidence provided by the patient. It’s clear we need to look elsewhere for answers, at least until drug research finds a better solution or a complementary one.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Internet Privacy Is The Wrong Conversation – The truth is, people will never achieve true privacy and anonymity online. Tracking is not only here to stay, it’s getting more pervasive and sophisticated. The technology now exists to track your movement across the web without even needing cookies. “Canvas fingerprinting” for example, is one of a number of cookie-less browser techniques that allow sites to uniquely identify and track visitors. In addition, Facebook and Google are becoming more savvy about correlating individuals’ activities on multiple devices, getting a single view of a person’s online behavior across their smartphone, laptop and any other devices. Furthermore, as emotional a topic as tracking can be, few people change their online behavior because of it or even bother to read the legalistic-to-the-point-of-unfathomable privacy policies that sites post

The hottest gadgets of 1985 – Summary: It seems like only yesterday for the Gen-X crowd, but it was 30 years ago that some of the most influential innovations in consumer technology were introduced.

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We are cruel. We always have been. The Internet did not make us so – Not that it asked me and not that it needs me and not that I expect it to do anything but mock me for my efforts, but I’m going to defend the Internet. Lately, humanity has been flattering itself that it was better and kinder before the Internet – as though we never slipped anonymous notes through locker doors in high-school hallways that were echo chambers in themselves, as if we never wrote on actual walls. To hear us now, you’d think no one ever ever crank-called late at night, dialled up even before dial-up to offer abuse, stared into other people’s windows through our own twitching curtains.

14 Animals Who Wore Cameras for Your Amusement (and Science) – If you’ve ever wanted to know what it was like for a sea turtle swimming gracefully through the blue expanses, an eagle soaring through the mountains, or where your cat travels at night, technology makes it possible. Take a look through our slideshow to learn what it’s like to be a Hawaiin monk seal, a giant squid, and a menagerie of other critters. It will get you in touch with your wild side! Or something.

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Android mascot urinates on Apple in Google Maps Easter Egg – It’s a well-documented fact that Google loves Easter Eggs. However, this one hiding out in Google Maps is a spiteful little jab at Apple. It’s not exactly stealthily hidden for an Easter Egg. While a specific set of coordinates will take you right to the graffiti, you can also just punch up the New Islamabad Airport and head due East. You’ll stumble across it in no time.

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Mom allegedly attacks school official after daughter not allowed cell phone – In April, a Philadelphia school principal stumbled into a filmed contretemps with a parent who demanded that the school give him his daughter’s cell phone back. The school had confiscated it and said it would keep it for some weeks. Now footage from India has emerged, in which a mom is allegedly so upset that her daughter wasn’t allowed to have her cell phone at school that she attacks school director Jyoti Nagrani.

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Feds: 6 died as a result of overdosing from Silk Road-purchased drugs – The head attorney for Silk Road founder and convicted felon Ross Ulbricht has asked the judge that his upcoming sentencing hearing be postponed, according to a Friday court filing. Why does this lawyer, Joshua Dratel, want the date to be pushed back? Because, he argues, the defense needs adequate time to review the government’s latest revelation that six people died as a result of overdosing on drugs they purchased on Silk Road.

Pointing up   FYI – Acetaminophen Deaths: Data compiled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has linked as many as 980 deaths in a year to drugs containing acetaminophen. In addition, FDA reports of death associated with acetaminophen have been increasing faster than those for aspirin, ibuprofen and many other common over-the-counter pain medicines. Data obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than 300 people die annually as a result of acetaminophen poisoning.

Something to think about:

“For all of life’s discontents, according to the pharmaceutical industry, there is a drug and you should take it. Then for the side effects of that drug, then there’s another drug, and so on. So we’re all taking more drugs, and more expensive drugs.”

–      Marcia Angell

Today’s Free Downloads:

LinuxLive USB Creator – LiLi USB Creator is a handy, easy to use application designed to enable you to create a bootable Live USB key with a Linux on it.

This software also offers an exclusive option of automatic virtualization to directly run Linux in Windows without any configuration nor installation.

Features:

Free and Open-source

LiLi is a completely free and open-source software for Windows only. It has been built with simplicity in mind and it can be used by anybody. All you have to do is to pick up a Linux in the list and give it a try.

No reboot needed

Are you sick of having to reboot your PC to try Linux ? No need with LiLi. It has a built-in virtualization feature that lets you run your Linux in Windows just out of the box !

Supports many Linux distributions

Wow ! Did you see that never-ending list ? They are almost all there : Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, OpenSUSE, Mint, Slax, CentOS, ArchLinux, Gentoo, PCLinuxOS, Sabayon, BackTrack, Puppy Linux …

Persistence

Having a Live USB is better than just using a Live CD because you can even save your datas and install softwares. This feature is called persistence (available only on selected Linux).

SmartClean & SmartDownload

SmartClean uninstalls properly any previous Live USB installs and SmartDownload lets you download any supported Linux in 2 clicks automatically selecting the best mirror to download it.SmartClean also lets you clean your USB key in one click.

And a lot more!

Intelligent processing : LiLi works with many Linux, even if they are not officially supported

Hidden install : LiLi hides the Linux install, your key stays clean

File integrity : tells you if your ISO is corrupted

Keeps your data on your USB device (format only if needed)

Intelligent format : can format disks bigger than 32 GB

Auto-Update : automatic updates when new Linux distributions are available

Also works with .IMG files (experimental)

Alternative Flash Player Auto-Updater – Alternative Flash Player Auto-Updater is a a software updater for Adobe’s Flash Player. Flash is one of the key technologies of Web 2.0 – you can find it nearly everywhere. Commonly used technologies are always a main target for malware authors – Flash Player is not different. Adobe frequently releases security updates to fix the latest security vulnerabilities.

However, Flash Player’s out-of-box updater uses long time intervals between update checks. Most endusers do not bother to configure the internal updater – they run outdated Flash Player versions. That is an extremely underestimated security risk!

Alternative Flash Player Auto-Updater was developed to offer an easy to use application for inexperienced endusers who do not want to bother with updates. It can install updates with no user interaction required and thus keep your system secure without bothering you.

Alternative Flash Player Auto-Updater offers many features for single- and corporate users like automatical update checks with a custom time interval. Also, it allows corporate users to use a remote configuration and thereby avoid configuring every single client.

Features:

Even works if no Flash Player is installed on the system (offers download)

Works on Windows x86 and x64 (32-bit, 64-bit)

German, English and Spanish (automatically detects the system language)

Can work completely hidden (except notifications when updates are available)

Users can choose to let it start with Windows

Works behind a proxy server and with different administrator credentials (these are encrypted in the configuration file)

an use a global configuration file for network environments

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Former CIA head’s no-jail sentence for leaking called “gross hypocrisy” – Yesterday, former CIA Director David Petraeus was handed two years of probation and a $100,000 fine after agreeing to a plea deal that ends in no jail time for leaking classified information to Paula Broadwell, his biographer and lover.

“I now look forward to moving on with the next phase of my life and continuing to serve our great nation as a private citizen,” Petraeus said outside the federal courthouse in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday.

Lower-level government leakers have not, however, been as likely to walk out of a courthouse applauding the US as Petraeus did. Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, called the Petraeus plea deal a “gross hypocrisy.”

“At the same time as Petraeus got off virtually scot-free, the Justice Department has been bringing the hammer down upon other leakers who talk to journalists—sometimes for disclosing information much less sensitive than Petraeus did,” he said.

The Petraeus sentencing came days after the Justice Department demanded (PDF) up to a 24-year-term for Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent who leaked information to a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer about a botched mission to sell nuclear plans to Iran in order to hinder its nuclear-weapons progress.

NSA spied on EU politicians and companies with help from German intelligence – Germany’s intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been helping the NSA spy on European politicians and companies for years, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The NSA has been sending lists of “selectors”—identifying telephone numbers, e-mail and IP addresses—to the BND, which then provides related information that it holds in its surveillance databases. According to the German newspaper Die Zeit, the NSA sent selector lists several times a day, and altogether 800,000 selectors have been requested.

The BND realized as early as 2008 that some of the selectors were not permitted according to its internal rules, or covered by a 2002 US-Germany anti-terrorism “Memorandum of Agreement” on intelligence cooperation. And yet it did nothing to check the NSA’s requests systematically. It was only in the summer of 2013, after Edward Snowden’s revelations of massive NSA and GCHQ surveillance, that the BND finally started an inquiry into all the selectors that had been processed.

According to Der Spiegel, investigators found that the BND had provided information on around 2,000 selectors that were clearly against European and German interests. Not only were European businesses such as the giant aerospace and defense company EADS, best-known as the manufacturer of the Airbus planes, targeted, so were European politicians—including German ones.

The NSA made a coloring book for kids – Last week we met Dunk, the NSA’s captivatingly weird Earth Day mascot, and now it looks like he’s not the only anthropomorphic creature in the NSA family. Dan Raile at Pando Daily went to the RSA security conference last week, and returned with a prize: an NSA-themed coloring book.

The book, America’s CryptoKids: Future Codemakers and Cokebreakers, tells the story of a team of talking animals, who, when they’re not spying on you, spend their time shredding on the guitar and playing friendly games of lacrosse. While also spying on you, of course.

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Austraalia: ACCC warns site-blocking Bill may be used to ‘intimidate’ VPN users – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has warned against rights holders ‘inappropriately’ threatening to block services that grant Australians access to geoblocked services like Hulu and HBO Now.

CIA couldn’t fully use NSA spy program as most analysts didn’t know about it – A newly-released document from the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) own internal watchdog found that the government’s controversial warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program was so secretive that the agency was unable to make “full use” of its capabilities even several years after the September 11 attacks. Initially, only top-level CIA officials were cleared on its use, rather than rank-and-file “CIA analysts and targeting officers.”

The document, a June 2009 report from the CIA Inspector General (IG) was released as part of a trove of 747 pages entitled the “Report on the President’s Surveillance Program” and was published on Friday by The New York Times as the result of victory in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice.

The CIA IG report, like the others, is redacted in many places, but provides some new material as to the specific history, play-by-play and internal evaluations of the program. In 2009, the government had previously published a far shorter unclassified version.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 21, 2015

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Security:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Company News:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Games and Entertainment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Off Topic (Sort of):

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

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

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Image courtesy Lima Pix via Flick

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

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

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

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

Something to think about:

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

–        Desmond Morris

Today’s Free Downloads:

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

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

Features:

Detailed information about Tasks, Processes, Modules,

Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services,

Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.

Easy check of suspicious files via VirusTotal, Jotti

service or our File Database.

Easy monitoring of processes activities and System changes.

Usage graphs of important System resources.

Tray Hint with detailed System and Battery status

WMI Browser and System Additional Info

Multilanguage Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 12, 2015

Want to unlock your phone? Here’s what you need to know;  Willow, The Dating App Where Love Isn’t Based On Lust;  Can burglars jam your wireless security system?  Improve the power of Google Now with Commandr;  These Are the 10 Best Apps for People Who Commute;  Sometimes it’s ethical for the doctor to Google you;  Five free apps for customizing your lock screen;  Here’s How To Find Cheap and Free eBooks;  10 Google Maps Tricks You Need to Know;  10 quirky little OS X add-ons that increase productivity;  iPhone Kill Switch praised as phone thefts tumble;  Stop wasting your time on junk productivity hacks;  Best mobile games of December and January (pictures).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Want to unlock your phone? Here’s what you need to know – Good news, smartphone users: today, unlocking your device via your carrier just got a whole lot easier. A new set of rules set forth by the CTIA (the governing body for carriers) sets today as the deadline for carriers to unlock phones at the behest of their customers. For most, that means you can walk into your carrier store and ask that your device be unlocked for service elsewhere. Still, your path for doing so might be a touch windy, so we’ll clarify things for you!

Of 10 IoT-connected home security systems tested, 100% are full of security FAIL – If you jump into the Internet of Things and purchase a home security system to provide security, you may actually be less secure and more vulnerable than before you bought a security system. HP Fortify researchers tested 10 of the newest home security systems and discovered IoT-connected home security systems are full of security fail. “The biggest takeaway is the fact that we were able to brute force against all 10 systems, meaning they had the trifecta of fail (enumerable usernames, weak password policy, and no account lockout), meaning we could gather and watch home video remotely,” wrote HP’s Daniel Miessler.

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Can burglars jam your wireless security system? – Any product that promises to protect your home deserves a heightened level of scrutiny. To that end, it isn’t surprising that you’ll find plenty of strong opinions about the potential vulnerabilities of popular home-security systems. After all, home security is a bit of a chess game — you want your system to be as many moves ahead of the bad guys as possible. With the right device tuned to the right frequency, what’s to stop a thief from jamming your setup and blocking that alert signal from ever reaching the base station? As said, the odds are low of such an attack being attempted against you — successfully or otherwise — but let’s look at the facts.

These Are the 10 Best Apps for People Who Commute -Putting in an honest day’s work can be challenging enough, so commuting shouldn’t make it any harder. But between freak snow storms, soul-crushing traffic, and off-schedule public transit, the daily migration to and from the office can be enough to make a person “work from home.” Whether you drive, ride, walk, or do a mixture of all three, these ten smartphone apps will help you get to the office (and more importantly, back home) on time and in good spirits.

Greatly improve the power of Google Now with Commandr – If you’re a Google Now user, but you wish you had more power at your command, a 16-year-old developer named Ryan Senanayake has created a free app called Commandr that you must try. Commandr works out of the box (once it’s enabled), so there’s zero extra tweaking involved. And, with the help of Tasker, you can even add your own custom commands to the app. Once the app is installed, it will add the following commands to the Google Now system:

Meet Willow, The Dating App Where Love Isn’t Based On Lust – Willow, a new app launching to the App Store, asks users to make a connection based around who you are, not how you look. Instead of showing a feed full of selfies, Willow’s feed is full of questions. Users can ask anything that will be thrown into the feed, and users can respond to questions they find interesting or alluring. Once a question has been answered, pictures are revealed.

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Five free apps for customizing your lock screen – Mobile device lock screens are easy to take for granted. They help secure your device — but depending on what type of device you have, they might not do much else. However, there are apps on nearly every mobile platform that let you customize your lock screen. Some apps add a bit of flair, while others add much more.

Sometimes it’s ethical for the doctor to Google you – The medical community needs ethical guidelines for doctors who Google their patients for information because such a move can erode confidence and trust. That’s the recommendation of a recently published research paper by professors at the Penn State College of Medicine. The study highlights how physicians have been left to navigate search engine waters on their own — and it points out the moral ambiguities involved in the practice.

10 quirky little OS X add-ons that increase productivity – Summary: If you use a Mac, you’re going to want to take a look at these quirky little add-ons. Each one can save you time, increase productivity, and reduce frustration.

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Here’s How To Find Cheap and Free eBooks – When it’s cold or rainy outside, there’s nothing like curling up with a good ebook. But at prices averaging $7.00 a pop, a steady supply of ebooks can get real expensive real quick. The good news: There are plenty of places to find great ebooks for free or at a significant discount. Here are our favorite places to go for reading on the cheap.

10 Google Maps Tricks You Need to Know – Navigation apps are one of the most useful features of smartphones, and Google Maps is widely considered the cream of the crop — at least among free options. But chances are there are some features tucked away in Google Maps that you don’t know about. They could make mapping out your next vacation easier, or even improve your daily commute. Here are ten tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Google Maps on iPhone and Android:

Security:

Cloud security: Reports slam data protection, national Internets, access myths – Summary:Cloud security risks, and rewards: Leviathan Security today released three reports on whether it’s more or less secure than local storage, if data can be kept available and confidential, and whether companies can adequately hire to secure their data.

Anthem accused of failure to inform customers hit by hack – The health insurer has not yet communicated the necessary information to those whose personal data was compromised by the recent hack, say several US states.

Facebook ThreatExchange Lets Firms Securely Chat About Threats – If a cyber attack or malware scheme targets a major tech firm, it’s a good bet that the hackers are also trying to worm their way into that company’s top competitors, too. Why target one when two is twice the fun, right? Facebook is now tackling this problem via a new platform, dubbed ThreatExchange. Any company that signs up will be able to share information in a secure manner in the hopes of stopping an attack or bug in its tracks. ThreatExchange will operate like a secure and exclusive version of Facebook. So far, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo, Bitly, and Dropbox have signed on.

Many PayPal lookalike phishing websites taken offline – PayPal has worked to shut down a handful of phishing websites that sought to steal people’s login credentials by appearing to be the company’s real website, according to a security company. Many of the sites, which are offline or have been redirected, were nearly identical copies of PayPal’s website, which could have fooled some victims into divulging their details, according to OpenDNS, a security company that in part monitors for suspicious domain name registrations.

iPhone Kill Switch praised as phone thefts tumble – New smartphones aren’t only coveted by regular users but by thieves, too, though the iPhone’s “kill switch” Activation Lock is being credited with cutting thefts significantly across three major cities. The feature, added in iOS 7 back in 2013, remotely locks down a lost or stolen iPhone so that it cannot be activated in future without the original credentials, something intended to make such thefts less appealing to those committing street crime. That’s paying off in three cities – New York, San Francisco, and London – where having a phone snatched has traditionally been a significant peril, new research from each confirms.

Microsoft, Google join forces to tackle antivirus false flags – The program, dubbed “trusted source,” has seen more than 6,000 false positives fixed so far, just one week after the program started.

Security Manager’s Journal: Breaches are everywhere – A look back at the top 20 data breaches of 2014 — over 450 million records compromised — points to the new normal.

Company News:

Apple shakes up labor practices with ‘bonded servitude’ ban – Apple has taken another step to address criticism about working conditions among its suppliers, banning ‘bonded servitude’. This means that henceforth workers will not be forced to work for free until they have paid off the costs associated with hiring them, something that at times amount to more than a full month’s salary. Apple has previously said that more than a month’s salary in fees was excessive, and now it is banning saddling the workers with the hiring debt altogether.

Cisco posts revenue gains, vows to beat VMware’s network software – Cisco Systems posted quarterly revenue and profit gains that included growth for its software-defined networking products, and Chairman and CEO John Chambers used the occasion to lay down the gauntlet to SDN rival VMware. The company’s revenue hit $11.9 billion in the fiscal quarter ended Jan. 24, up 7 percent from a year earlier. SDN, a new market that might imperil Cisco’s traditional network hardware business, was a strong point: Sales of the company’s recently introduced Nexus 3000 and 9000 data-center switches, key to its SDN architecture, grew 350 percent.

Microsoft Confirms Sunrise Acquisition, Adds Depth To Its Mobile Productivity Offerings – Microsoft is buying the mobile productivity reputation it seemed disinclined to build for itself for so many years, and the latest addition to the roster is Sunrise, the calendar app that managed to raise $8.2 million in venture funding and achieved rave reviews on the many platforms where it appeared, including the iPhone, iPad, Android hardware, the Mac and the web. TechCrunch first reported that Sunrise was being acquired for $100 million or more last week, and now Microsoft has confirmed that the deal went down in a video posted to YouTube (now made private).

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Twitter buys startup Niche to pair Vine creators with brands – Connecting creators to their audience is a new trend among social websites. Tumblr recently made moves to expose creators to a wider audience, and YouTube is fighting hard to keep homegrown media stars on their service. Facebook is also encouraging stars to go their way ahead of any other mediums, and upstarts like Vessel are trying to steal the show. In an attempt to make themselves relevant to creators 140-characters at a time, Twitter has purchased Niche, which helps pair stars with brands.

Nvidia beats expectations in fourth quarter on strong sales of graphics chips – Nvidia posted another quarter of better-than-expected results on Wednesday, as gamers hungry for sharper visuals drove up demand for its computer graphics chips. Shares jumped 5 percent after in after-hours trading Wednesday, to $21.76, thanks in part to current-quarter guidance coming in slightly ahead of Wall Street expectations.

BitTorrent starts producing original TV shows in a quest to reform its image – BitTorrent Inc. is taking on Amazon and Netflix in 2015 with its own original television content platform, dubbed BitTorrent Originals. The first programming to roll out under BitTorrent’s banner will be Children of the Machine (COTM), a Sci-Fi television series first announced in July. COTM will be available in the fall as an ad-supported download or you can purchase a premium version for $9.95. All content for BitTorrent Originals will be produced under an exclusive partnership between BitTorrent and Rapid Eye Studios.

Windows with Bing reportedly getting restricted to screens under 14 inches – A report claims that Microsoft’s Windows with Bing program, designed to give OEMs zero-cost Windows licenses, may soon be limited to devices with screens under fourteen inches.

Games and Entertainment:

Best mobile games of December and January (pictures) – Looking for a new game to play on your mobile device? Here’s our pick of the best released in December 2014 and January 2015.

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Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Grab a New Mystery Title During Steam’s Midweek Sale – Heads up, gamers. Steam is about to give you an early Valentine’s Day present. Valve’s online game retailer just launched a surprise midweek sale, offering discounts on more than 40 mystery-themed games. The sale ends on Friday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. PST, so head over to the Steam digital storefront for up to 75 percent off before it’s too late.

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Toasting the Failed Experiments Behind Modern Video Gaming’s Greatest Hits – Games don’t just come into being—they’re made. And as they’re made, the process has to involve people. And people being people, they often take inspiration, intentionally or otherwise, from elsewhere. But it’s not always from the games that made the biggest splash. See, just because you introduce a feature, or perfect an existing one, or toy with a mechanic that could well revolutionize a genre, it doesn’t mean you’re making something that will be successful. The list below shows you just five times—out of plenty more—where the features, the tech, and the ideas were there, but the glory was grabbed later on, by another game. Or games. Or entire genres.

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PGA Tour to launch an online golf network aimed at millenials – Golf’s elitist vibe and ponderous pace isn’t for everyone, but the game is not without its share of young, ardent followers. Fully 25 percent of all active golfers in the United States fall in the 18-to-34 age bracket, according to the National Golf Foundation. In order to better connect with these 6.2 million golf enthusiasts, the PGA Tour is launching Skratch TV, an all-new digital video platform, in partnership with Bedrocket. Bedrocket already operates two sports-focused video properties: the multi-sport Network A and the soccer-focused KickTV.

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Evolve launches with $136 in paid DLC available, ignoring gamers’ DLC concerns – Evolve has come under a lot of fire in recent weeks for its DLC plans, and it poured fuel on the flames during its Tuesday launch. If you’ve missed most of the controversy and our review-in-progress of the 4v1 multiplayer game from Turtle Rock Studios, here are the details: Maps are free to all so as to avoid segregating or divvying up players. However, new characters will be sold—monsters for $15 a pop, hunters for $7.50. The DLC and preorder packages were so convoluted and numerous that people created spreadsheet guides to try and help you wrap your head around all the premium add-ons. It’s been a pretty ugly scene surrounding these announcements. Players are (rightly) upset for two reasons:

Off Topic (Sort of):

Exploding meteor caught on dash cam in New Zealand – Thanks to the increasing number of dashcams on cars across the globe, we’ve seen fireballs of various sorts caught on camera in places that mostly lie within Russia. Yet another has been caught on camera, this time in New Zealand where a meteor can be seen zipping into view between the clouds, then exploding with a bright light followed by zooming out of view. Unlike some of the massive fireballs we’ve seen in other videos, this one was relatively fast and simple, and punctuated with a quick woo! from the driver.

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Voltera, The Electronics Printer, Launches To Much Fanfare – One of our absolute favorites from the Hardware Battlefield just launched on Kickstarter and they are, if you’ll excuse the cliché, crushing it. The company appeared on our stage at CES 2015 and showed of an early working prototype. Now, however, they’re ready to take orders and start shipping. The printer is essentially a PCB maker. You put in a board, upload a circuit diagram, and the system draws it in conductive ink. You can then solder in the proper components.

Stop wasting your time on junk productivity hacks – Find yourself an article promising surefire ways to boost productivity. Does it tell you to do one of the following: limit time spent emailing, make to-do lists or take the occasional break? Odds are good. Beyond the repetitive solutions, there are also ones that are simply wrong. Many self-appointed gurus counsel an early wake-up as a way to boost your output. They’ll point to a lengthy list of successful people—Richard Branson, Jeffrey Immelt, Jack Dorsey—who rise before dawn. Researchers working together from two Michigan universities, however, debunked this notion, suggesting an early alarm only helps a morning person. (If you’re a night owl, better to work late). The demand for this “work smarter, not harder” advice is symptomatic of a collective delusion.

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Watch a kidney grow in real-time 3D – Though it might seem that their visualization techniques in this case are designed mostly to entice people like me to write about them (pretty pictures!) the colorized aesthetic actually serves a purpose. By getting these growing kidneys to express fluorescent proteins of different colors, the researchers can get a three-dimensional look at its overall structure.

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Don’t read the comments—they can make you mistrust real experts – In the wake of the recent measles outbreak in California and with the threat of more to come, it’s clear that existing efforts to encourage vaccination and promote public health aren’t enough. We need to understand why the message isn’t sinking in where it’s most needed—why people believe what they believe and how they discover information they trust. A recent paper in the Journal of Advertising suggests that online commenting may sway people as much as public service announcements (PSAs) from health authorities. Depending on who’s doing the commenting, comments may sometimes be even more influential than PSAs.

Something to think about:

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”

–       Bruce Lee

Today’s Free Downloads:

Kindle for PC – Kindle for PC allows you to read more than 360,000 Kindle books on your PC. No Kindle required. Already have a Kindle? With Whispersync, you can access your library of Kindle books, notes, and more.

Read Kindle Books on Your Computer

Get the best reading experience available on your PC.

No Kindle required

Access your Kindle books even if you don’t have your Kindle with you

Automatically synchronizes your last page read and annotations between devices with Whispersync

Create new highlights, notes, and bookmarks and manage those created on your Kindle

Full screen reading view, color modes, and brightness controls offer an immersive reading experience

Shop for Books in the Kindle Store

Search and browse more than 540,000 books, including 96 of 112 New York Times Best Sellers. If you are a non-U.S. customer, book availability may vary

Find New York Times Best Sellers and new releases from $9.99

Get free book samples – read the first chapter for free before you decide to buy

Books you purchase can also be read on a Kindle

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

More online censorship coming to closed countries, says report – Authoritarian governments are doubling down on press censorship and becoming more adept at blocking Internet access to uncensored news sources, according to the annual World Press Freedom Index that will be published on Thursday.

The report, from Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, saw many countries lose points this year as threats against reporters and press freedom increased. They included governments using national security as an excuse to track reporters and their sources; threats from para-military, organized crime and terrorist groups; government interference in the media, and reporters being targeted for covering demonstrations.

The five countries ranked highest for press freedom were all in Northern Europe, while the U.S. ranked 49th, down 3 places from last year, in part because of a crackdown on government whistle blowers under President Barack Obama.

Most of the bottom 20 countries saw their ratings fall after greater efforts to control free access to information.

“With complete control of the traditional media assured, reining in the Internet is the next big task,” said the report.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 15, 2015

5 Apps You Just Can’t Miss This Week;  Friends? Family? Nah, Facebook Knows You Best;  The 7 Biggest Lies You’ve Been Told About Hacking;  Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, or Roku’s Streaming Stick?  Pro tip: Respond to calls with text messages in iOS;  Google Classroom app now available for Android, iOS;  How to stop autoplay videos;  Facebook Unveils Facebook At Work;  Google Drive update brings new look, features;  How to find your Wi-Fi password in Windows 8.1;  SnoopSnitch – Surveillance Detection for Android Phones;  Google Translate can now interpret signs and conversations in real time;  How to Save Your Voicemails Forever;  3 Ways Facebook Might Just Save Your Life Someday;  McAfee Raptor – real-time behavior detection technology (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

New report: DHS is a mess of cybersecurity incompetence – A large, embarrassing, and alarming Federal oversight report has found major problems and grave shortcomings with DHS cybersecurity programs and practices across the board.

75% of writers in free countries self-censor due to fears of mass surveillance – There’s a worldwide war on free speech. Despite 1.5 million who marched under the banner of free expression in France, 54 people have been arrested for online comments. The UK wants encryption outlawed and backdoors in apps to be mandatory. CISPA is back in the US. 75% of journalists in democratic countries already self-censor due to fears of mass surveillance.

5 Apps You Just Can’t Miss This Week – It seems like hundreds of new iPhone apps pop up every week, but which ones should you bother trying? We explored the App Store and found five apps actually worth downloading.

Tested: One Streaming Stick to Rule Them All – What should you buy: Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, or Roku’s Streaming Stick? Here’s how they stack up.

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Pro tip: Respond to calls with text messages in iOS – Have you ever been in the middle of a call, only to be interrupted by another call coming in? It can be annoying, especially as the other caller hears the “buzz” of the iPhone silent ringer. Sure, you could enable Do Not Disturb mode before making your first call, but why not do something a little more reactive instead? Let’s take a look at how to set this up so that you can easily send a message with one tap to a caller to let them know if you’re busy or on another call.

Google Classroom app now available for Android, iOS – For a long time, teachers tried to manage smartphone usage in class, trying their best to make sure kids weren’t screwing around instead of learning. Now, educators have a reason to let kids stare at screens, as the Google Classroom app is now available on the Play Store. The app will let students and teachers stay on track, digitally. Homework assignments, future work deadlines, and assignment collection are all part of the app’s feature list. The app is free for anyone with a Google Apps for Education account.

How to stop autoplay videos – You open a webpage and start reading. But after a few seconds, you hear someone talking. A video has started automatically without your permission. Here’s how to keep this annoyance from happening.

AllCast for iOS streams all your media to your TV – Previously an Android-only app, AllCast can connect to a wide variety of devices and stream from local and cloud-based storage alike.

Google Drive update for Mac, PC brings new look, features – Google Drive might be the best cloud storage solution there is. It’s available anywhere, securely tucks your files away, and is free to use. For mobile, it’s amazing. For the desktop, Drive is fairly utilitarian, but that’s about to change. Today, Google is announcing a few changes to Drive for PC and Mac, which will give users more control and a new menu. The new-look drop-down menu provides updates on uploads, and even gives you access to recently synced items.

Facebook Unveils Facebook At Work, Lets Businesses Create Their Own Social Networks – About six months ago, we reported that Facebook was working on a new product aimed squarely at the enterprise market under the working title, “FB@Work.” Now that product is officially coming to light: today the company is launching new iOS and Android apps called “Facebook At Work,” along with a version of Facebook at Work accessible via its main website, which will let businesses create their own social networks amongst their employees that are built to look and act like Facebook itself.

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Google Maps for Android and iOS updated – Google Maps has been updated for both Android and iOS, bringing users both new features and improvements. This takes iOS users up to version 4.2.0 (the version varies for Android users), and while there are a couple similarities between the two updates, both give users different new features on their respective platforms. The most notable new feature for iOS users is the ability to see weather for cities around the globe; Android users, meanwhile, can see their contacts when they’re searching for addresses in Maps.

How to find your Wi-Fi password in Windows 8.1 – A forgotten Wi-Fi password isn’t a problem for me and my omniscient laptop, but it is a problem for, say, my brother, who needs the password if he wants to jump on the network with his Japanese iPhone. My mom is hunting for the Post-it, but prospects are lookin’ bleak. Luckily, there’s an easy way to reverse-lookup your Wi-Fi password on a computer that already technically knows it. Here’s how to find saved network passwords in Windows 8.1:

Google Translate can now interpret signs and conversations in real time – The new feature lets you point your phone’s camera at a sign or any other text and have it translated into another language, which will appear live on the screen in a sort of augmented reality. The update isn’t live yet — so we can’t say how effective Word Lens is inside of Translate — but Google’s GIF of the new feature makes it look seriously impressive and like a tool you’ll want to have when traveling.

Microsoft Squeezes Windows Phone To $81 With Entry Level Lumia 435, $93 With Lumia 532 – Microsoft has announced two new Lumia smartphones running its Windows Phone 8.1 mobile OS, both focused on beefing up the portfolio at the lower end and expanding the platform’s appeal in emerging markets to try to compete with budget Androids. Specs for the 3G Lumia 435 include a 4 inch 800 x 480 LCD display, a 1.2GHz dual-core chip, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and a 2MP rear camera. So it’s certainly going to be a budget experience. The Lumia 532 has the same display and form factor but its innards are beefed up to a quad-core 1.2 GHz chip. And its rear camera is 5MP. Microsoft touts built in Skype integration, noting its a front-facing camera supports video calls.

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Samsung Z1 smartphone: powered by Tizen, destined for India – Samsung has taken the wraps off its new Tizen-powered smartphone, the Z1. This relatively modest smartphone is the first running Tizen that will be offered to users in India, and it will be bringing with it things like regional entertainment apps and a simplified UI. The handset is tailored to certain needs found in emerging markets, including elements that help keep data use to a minimum. The handset is available as of today for INR 5,700 (about $92 USD).

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Google Brings The Account Switcher To The Stable Version Of Chrome – Many people are satisfied with just one Google account, but not all – especially in a world where many work and enterprise accounts are handled via Google, people often find the need to switch among two or more. Back in August, Chrome’s Beta releases started to incorporate an Account Switcher that allows users to easily change which account they use to manage their browser’s bookmarks, tabs, history and more. It’s also great for shared computers, and for letting guests browse without risking potential embarrassment on either side, and now it’s rolling out to the stable version of Chrome on the desktop.

TextBlade fits a QWERTY keyboard in 8 smart multitouch keys – TextBlade is composed of four pieces, all of which snap together into a small block for storage and transport. There’s a stand, a spacebar, and two keyboard halves with the buttons. The spacebar and the two parts of the keyboard connect magnetically and tether to your phone or tablet over Bluetooth 4.0. Each of the eight keys has several letters, symbols, and modifiers on it. Each time you press a letter, the entire key depresses, but TextBlade uses multitouch technology to keep track of which letter your finger was on when the button activated. So it knows the difference between W and X, even though they both trigger the same physical switch when pressed.

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Why you might still want an optical drive – Optical drives, that can read and write CDs, DVDs, and sometimes Blu-ray discs, have been an important part of the PC universe for a long time. But there’s less and less need for them. PC manufacturers have good reasons not to include the drives. Unlike CPUs and SSDs, optical drives can’t shrink much. They therefore add bulk to laptops, and nobody wants a bulky laptop. But in my opinion, they shouldn’t disappear entirely.

Why 2015 is the year of Linux on the everything-but-desktop – For a moment, I felt like Linux wasn’t very present. Then it hit me: everything was running Linux! Panasonic smart TVs will run Mozilla’s Firefox OS, and that’s based on Linux. All those Android game consoles, like Razer’s Forge TV that can stream games from your PC, use a Linux kernel. Samsung’s shift to Tizen for their smart TVs means those TVs were running Linux. LG’s smartwatch running Open webOS is based on Linux. TVs with Opera TV, Android TV, and practically every other platform were Linux-based. Every little Android device runs on top of Linux.

How to Save Your Voicemails Forever – Most phones don’t make that as easy as it ought to be. Apple’s iPhone will back up voicemails to your computer along with everything else, but they’re stored in a funky file format that’s not easily played by most software. Most Android phones, meanwhile, store your voicemails on off-site servers. So what should you do if you’ve got a voicemail that’s really worth saving? The solution involves some free software and an affordable purchase, but it’s doable. Here’s how:

Security:

The 7 Biggest Lies You’ve Been Told About Hacking – As a citizen of the 21st century, it’s increasingly important to arm yourself with some basic facts about hacking, cybersecurity, and the real threats they pose, as well as those they don’t. With that in mind, here are seven common misconceptions you might have about hacking.

Surveillance Detection for Android Phones – SnoopSnitch is an app for Android devices that analyses your mobile radio traffic to tell if someone is listening in on your phone conversations or tracking your location. Unlike standard antivirus apps, which are designed to combat software intrusions or steal personal info, SnoopSnitch picks up on things like fake mobile base stations or SS7 exploits. As such, it’s probably ideally suited to evading surveillance from local government agencies. The app was written by German outfit Security Research Labs, and is available for free on the Play Store. Unfortunately, you’ll need a rooted Android device running a Qualcomm chipset to take advantage.

Adobe patches remote code execution and keylogging flaws in Flash Player – Adobe Systems fixed nine vulnerabilities in Flash Player that could allow attackers to record users’ keystrokes or take complete control of their computers. The updates, Flash Player 16.0.0.257 for Windows and Mac and Flash Player 11.2.202.429 for Linux, address seven remote code execution vulnerabilities, an information disclosure flaw that can be exploited to capture keystrokes and a lower-risk file validation issue.

Ham-fisted phishing attack seeks LinkedIn logins – The emails warn potential victims of “irregular activities” on their account and say a compulsory security update is required. The emails include an HTML attachment that purports to be a form for performing the update. The HTML file is actually a copy of LinkedIn’s website and login page, wrote Satnam Narang, senior security response manager with Symantec, in a blog post. But the website code in the file has been modified, so if a user logs in, their account credentials are sent to the attackers.

U.S. government lurked on Silk Road for over a year – In a New York federal court, the prosecution begins its case against the alledged mastermind of the Silk Road underground marketplace.

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Company News:

Snapchat charging top dollar for ad space – Snapchat has already given way to advertising, with the service letting loose their vanishing ads to unwitting users late last year. The ads show up under the ‘recents’ tab for both iOS and Android, with the obvious goal being clicks from users and returned revenue for Snapchat. Ads don’t just show up, though; they’re carefully seeded, with proprietary content often cajoled from an advertising partner. A new report suggests Snapchat is taking a hard-line stance on ad space, demanding — not asking — for $750,000 per run.

GoPro Taps Vislink To Offer Live HD Broadcasting – The companies have been working together to build a small live transmitter that can be attached to GoPro Hero4 cameras, taking the professional use of the GoPro camera line to a whole new level. Thus far, professional athletes and television networks alike use GoPro to cover a wide swath of sporting events. But to capture in HD, GoPro has always limited users to onboard recording, meaning that the footage could only be used in post-production. With this partnership, GoPro is putting its cameras in the ring with highly expensive professional equipment.

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Scroogled no more: Microsoft’s anti-Google campaign slinks away for good – Microsoft’s sleazy ad campaign against Google is no more, as the “Scroogled” website has quietly vanished. As Winbeta points out, Scroogled.com now redirects to a new site called Why Microsoft. Instead of just bashing Google, the site tries to point out advantages of Microsoft enterprise services over competitors, including Google, Amazon and Cisco.

Games and Entertainment:

This huge, beautiful sci-fi RPG is coming to the Wii U – The sci-fi role playing game is the follow-up to Xenoblade Chronicles, a cult classic for the Wii (which itself is getting a remake for the New Nintendo 3DS XL). It takes place in a massive open-world unlike anything on Nintendo’s home console; it’s filled with startling landscapes and epic-sized monsters. You can also ride around in crazy mechs. Unfortunately, it’s unclear just when you’ll be able to venture into that world and explore — Xenoblade Chronicles X has no specific release date, but is expected to launch in 2015.

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The 10 Best Gaming Keyboards – If you’re a gamer, you take your choice of keyboard seriously. We’ve rounded up the 10 best keyboards you can buy, along with a brief guide to help you find the keyboard that’s right for you. When your keyboard doubles as your game controller, it’s more than just a tool for typing. It is to the gamer what the katana is to a samurai (or cyborg ninja). It becomes more than a typing tool—the keyboard becomes a weapon, an extension of yourself, your interface with the digital world. For anyone that cares about PC gaming, it pays to know what makes a keyboard great, what differentiates one from another, and what’s on the market today.

The Interview is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on February 17th – It was only a matter of weeks ago when Sony Pictures Entertainment sheepishly admitted it had no plans to release The Interview after suffering a massive data breach — reportedly at the hands of North Korea. It’s pretty incredible how much has changed since then. We’ve seen the Seth Rogen / James Franco comedy make its way through a limited theatrical run, pushed out to every video-on-demand service known to man, and now we’ll be getting a physical media release to close it all out. Today, Sony Pictures announced that The Interview will come to Blu-ray and DVD on February 17th.

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Nintendo does the unthinkable, makes Pokemon Shuffle free-to-play – Nintendo has announced Pokemon Shuffle, which is basically a match-3 puzzle game using the ever-popular Pokemon name and characters. You won’t be paying anything to play this game even though Nintendo could get away with selling it on a cart. Instead, it’s a free download from the 3DS eShop. Check out the trailer:

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VH1 Classic to run the ‘longest-ever’ TV marathon with 19 days of Saturday Night Live – FXX set the record for longest TV marathon ever last year with a week and a half straight of The Simpsons, but VH1 Classic is about to top it. The network is preparing to run episodes of Saturday Night Live for 19 days straight, starting with the most recent seasons and running back toward its first episodes. That means the network won’t make it through SNL’s complete history — for better or for worse — and is instead going to be selectively showing its best moments. Even so, VH1 says that this will still make for the longest-ever TV marathon dedicated to a single series.

Off Topic (Sort of):

MemoryMirror: trying on clothes using a smart mirror – Our future will involve “trying on” clothing at stores without removing a single garment, something achieved through the use of smart mirrors. MemoMi’s MemoryMirror has given us a glimpse (pun intended) of this future, allowing customers to stand in front of it and see their digital visage in the reflection adorned with outfits other than the one they’re wearing. It’s simple, fast, and is (soon) coming to a store near you, assuming you live near a certain Neiman Marcus department store in California.

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Retailers use new tech to track you in stores — and in dressing rooms – Smart shelves know what products you touch, shopping carts come loaded with tablets, and dressing room mirrors track what you try on and ask for your phone number. The National Retail Federation’s annual trade show reveals how tech changes the way we shop.

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What’s the biggest factor determining the sound of your music: Recording, mixing or mastering? – The Audiophiliac interviews mastering engineer Dave McNair about who should get most of the credit for great sounding recordings, and his answer may surprise you.

Obama Calls On The FCC To Clear The Way For Community Broadband – Municipal broadband is a rapidly heating battleground among the president, his administration, and Congressional and FCC Republicans. Should all cities and communities be free to build municipal broadband networks to serve their citizens? The issue is perhaps surprisingly contentious. In a speech this morning, President Obama called for a full-court press against rules that bar communities from constructing their own Internet networks:

Rapere: The drone that hunts other drones – A team of commercial drone developers are creating a drone whose sole purpose is to seek, intercept and destroy other drones. When activated, the drone will seek out other drones using an array of 12 low-res 90 fps cameras, hover above them and drop a piece of rope, which will tangle in the target drone’s rotors, felling it from the sky. It is able to tell the difference between a bird and a drone, the team said.

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Friends? Family? Nah, Facebook Knows You Best – Be careful what you “like” on Facebook: Innocuous clicks on Minecraft, the Bible, and Harley Davidson could say more about your personality than you think. Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University found that computers can more accurately assess someone’s personality than family or lifelong friends.

3 Ways Facebook Might Just Save Your Life Someday – Facebook is still in its early days of experimenting with ways to leverage its scale to serve as a safety platform. But if the motivation behind putting Amber Alerts on Facebook is that information spread via the site has helped bring missing children back home before, then we should expect Facebook to launch even more ways to help the public — some of which might just save your life someday. Here are some possibilities:

Something to think about:

“If you weren’t “Je suis Charlie” before the events of last week in Paris, it doesn’t count now.”

–   Rex MurphyCanadian commentator and author

Today’s Free Downloads:

McAfee Raptor – McAfee Raptor is a real-time behavior detection technology that monitors suspicious activity on an endpoint. Raptor leverages machine learning and automated, behavioral-based classification in the cloud to detect zero-day malware in real time.

The Raptor icon is displayed in your system tray. wps5518.tmp

Once installed, Raptor monitors and detects files exhibiting malicious behaviors on the endpoint.

Click Clean to remove malicious executables and its traces from your system.

Note: If you wish to remove the malicious files a later point of time, click Dismiss.

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FoxyProxy Standard – FoxyProxy is a Firefox extension which automatically switches an internet connection across one or more proxy servers based on URL patterns. Put simply, FoxyProxy automates the manual process of editing Firefox’s Connection Settings dialog. Proxy server switching occurs based on the loading URL and the switching rules you define.

Animated icons show you when a proxy is in use. Advanced logging shows you which proxies were used and when. QuickAdd makes it a snap to create new URL patterns on-the-fly. FoxyProxy is fully compatible with Portable Firefox, has better support for PAC files than Firefox itself, and is translated into more than 34 languages.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

David Cameron: I’m off to the US to get my bro Barack to ban crypto – report – UK Prime Minister David Cameron is hoping to gain the support of US President Barack Obama in his campaign-year crusade to outlaw encrypted communications his spies can’t break, sources claim.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Conservative Cameron would like to see left-leaning Obama publicly criticize major US internet companies like Facebook and Google, many of which have made strong encryption the default on their online services.

The President hasn’t taken a public position on the issue so far, but several prominent federal law enforcement officials have given internet firms lashings over their use of encryption tech, which they claim undermines national security interests.

Last September, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey went as far as to describe encrypted communications as “something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”

According to the WSJ’s sources, Cameron plans to try to nudge Obama “in the direction of what the FBI has said about this.”

Don’t use Charlie Hebdo to justify Big Brother data-slurp – Data protection MEP – The European Parliament’s data protection supremo says calls from national leaders to monitor all airline passengers are “playing into terrorists’ hands”.

German MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, who heads the Parliament’s overhaul of EU data protection laws, described the plans for mass storage of PNR (passenger name record) data as Orwellian.

“EU home affairs ministers are demanding Big Brother measures entailing blanket data retention without justification,” he said. “This approach is a distraction from the actual measures needed to deal with security and terrorist threats and provides a false sense of security for citizens, at the expense of their civil liberties.”

According to Albrecht, the scheme is actually illegal, as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled last April that the mass storage of private data, without specific grounds or time limit, is contrary to the EU charter of fundamental rights.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 7, 2014

Microsoft’s next surprise is free Office for iPad, iPhone, and Android;  British Spies Are Free to Target Lawyers and Journalists;  Wiper app now lets you make free encrypted calls;  10 Great Tech Gifts Under $50;  50 resources for using an iPad, Android tablet in class;  This Easy iPhone Trick Will Save You Tons of Photo Space;  A Gentleman’s Guide to Not Being a Total Slob;  Home Depot Hackers Also Snagged 53 Million Customer Email Addresses;  These 3 Smartphone Apps Tell You When to Have Sex;  Microsoft warns of super-sized Patch Tuesday next week;  Australians at risk of IS cyber attacks;  Windows 10 will have four patches released on Tuesday;  Apple blocks WireLurker iPhone malware apps;  Showtime to join HBO, will stream content in 2015;  Where Did Soul-Sucking Office-Speak Come From? 11 deliciously old-school PC games that ooze retro appeal;  USB Image Tool (free).

Google and Mozilla told to limit browser’s ability to watch users – Researchers warn that web sites and apps communicating via WebRTC may have broader access to computer microphones and cameras than users realise.

Microsoft’s next surprise is free Office for iPad, iPhone, and Android – Microsoft’s Office suite for iPad, iPhone, and Android is now free. In a surprise move, the software giant is shaking up its mobile Office strategy to keep consumers hooked to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Starting today, you’ll no longer need an Office 365 subscription to edit documents or store them in the cloud. The move comes just days after Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Dropbox to integrate the cloud storage service into Office across desktop, mobile, and the web. You can now download Office for iPad and store all your documents on Dropbox without paying Microsoft anything at all. Microsoft is also releasing a brand new iPhone app today, alongside a preview of Office for Android tablets, all with Dropbox integration.

Wiper app now lets you make free encrypted calls – Secure messaging is a big deal to many, with ephemeral services like Snapchat a popular choice. Still, that service has been violated many times, leading some to search for a new path forward. The last time we talked about Wiper, the service was new, and pretty amazing. For a messaging platform, the encrypted app-to-app pipeline and ability to clear the chat on both ends is special. The company has recently released version 2.0 of their app, bringing the encrypted platform full circle.

Battery-Draining Bug Delays Android Lollipop Rollout – Battery-draining bugs have reportedly delayed the full rollout of Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop. The next-gen operating system launched on Monday with the Nexus 9 tablet, and was expected to hit the Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 and Google Play Edition devices shortly thereafter. But thus far, Nexus owners are still waiting. Some reports are pointing the finger at a problem with the beta version of Lollipop on Nexus 5 that caused a severe battery-drain issue.

Odysee Automatically Saves Your Mobile Photos And Videos To Your Home PC – A new application launching today called Odysee offers a different way for consumers to back up photos and videos from their smartphones. Instead of backing up to the cloud, which can be both pricey and sometimes even insecure, with Odysee, content is backed up to your home computer. For free! Well, it’s free until next year when the $5/year pricing plan kicks in.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

50 resources for using an iPad, Android tablet in class – Summary: Seeking tips for using mobile devices in class? Check out these articles, how-to guides and tutorials.

10 Great Tech Gifts Under $50 – You’re not a fancy pants! And that’s okay! So, when it comes to buying gifts for your non-fancy-panted social circle, there’s no reason to go super nuts. When it comes to tech gifts, there’s a number of very cool (but also very affordable) items that will keep your peoples connected and modern.

Getting started with the new Google Maps – In July of this year, Google added voice commands and elevation information to the Maps app, but the design remained the same. This time, the update to version 9.0 — rolling out over the next few days — brings you a Material interface (for Android Lollipop), and a couple of new features. These new Maps features include the ability to make restaurant reservations, and also how to find the quickest and cheapest commute with the help of Uber. Here’s how to use each:

This Easy iPhone Trick Will Save You Tons of Photo Space – We’ve all been there: Running low on iPhone storage space, scrambling to delete photos we can live without to record new memories. Well, Apple’s newest iOS update gave us a handy new way to get more storage out of our iPhones without upgrading the hardware.

Xamarin offers free app-building tools to students – Xamarin has launched a new program designed to get its popular mobile app building platform into the hands of America’s students, because children are our future or something like that. Xamarin’s platform theoretically makes it fly-simple to write an app once in C# and quickly and easily adapt it for Macs, PCs, iPhones and Android devices, with 90% of the work already done for you. That last 10% of custom work is what makes it feel like a native app, which is a huge differentiator when building for mobile.

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Mobile app development platform Xamarin now includes a free offering for students.

Not everyone needs to learn to code – Many are suggesting that everyone learn computer programming, and that coding be a core component of our educational system. Here’s a more measured approach.

Pointing up     What a terrific idea – teaching computer programing to students who can barely read and write! The need to focus on core education continually gets lost in utopian nonsense, such as this, pushed out as reality.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Not Being a Total Slob – Style: not everyone has it. But just because your fashion sense leaves something to be desired doesn’t mean all hope is lost. You don’t have to max out your credit card at Barney’s or hire a personal shopper. With the help of a few choice apps you can get the basics of selecting outfits, grooming, and how to handle a few life emergencies smoothly.

These 3 Smartphone Apps Tell You When to Have Sex – A small fluorescent object in your pocket tells you when to have sex in order to create children. It may sound like a dystopian future a la Aldous Huxley, but it’s actually a helpful way of figuring out when to have sex in order to conceive.

Security:

Home Depot Hackers Also Snagged 53 Million Customer Email Addresses – Remember that Home Depot hack? The one where 56 million credit cards were stolen? Of course you do. Hell — if you’re anything like me, you’re probably still in the middle of updating your various accounts to point to the replacement credit card. Alas, things are a bit worse than previously believed.

Australians at risk of IS cyber attacks – Australia has flown 144 sorties on Islamic State extremists, but it’s believed IS had already struck first, launching a cyber-missile on Australian computer systems. It’s thought the Middle Eastern extremist group is now holding computers, and not just people, hostage. Detected by international cyber-crime company checkpoint ThreatCloud, the Cryptolocker attack was created by the Syrian electronic army – with the beneficiary IS. But it’s not clear how IS got the hack program from their sworn enemies.

Microsoft warns of super-sized Patch Tuesday next week – It’s getting close to security update time in Redmond yet again, and Microsoft has given notice that Windows and Office users can expect another nice, big pile of fixes on November’s Patch Tuesday. The software giant gave advance notice of no less than 16 security bulletins to be addressed on November 11, five of which have been flagged as “critical.” Nine more are marked as “important” and the remaining two are considered “moderate” risks.

Windows 10 will have four patches released on Tuesday – On Tuesday of next week, Microsoft will push out four patches that will apply to the Windows 10 technical preview and it is advised that you install these items to keep your machine secure.

Hackers use DRAFT emails as dead-drops for running malware – Sneaky hackers are using Gmail and Yahoo! drafts to control compromised devices, with the tactic designed to make detection of malware-related communications more difficult to pick up in enterprise environments. Attacks occur in two phases. Hackers first infect a targeted machine via simple malware that installs Python onto the device, enabling simple attack scripts to run. Using Gmail (or Yahoo! Mail), hackers then use draft emails to run command and control prompts on these compromised systems, allowing them to siphon data from infected devices.

Apple blocks WireLurker iPhone malware apps – Apple has blocked the suspect apps behind the WireLurker malware discovered targeting iPhone users in China, effectively minimizing the likelihood of casual infections. The exploit made headlines yesterday for its supposed virulence, watching out for iOS devices being connected to compromised Macs and then grabbing data from them. According to Apple, however, the issue has already been addressed for the most part, while a little common-sense could prevent anyone still at risk from succumbing.

Cisco patches serious vulnerabilities in small business RV Series routers – Cisco Systems released patches for its small business RV Series routers and firewalls to address vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to execute arbitrary commands and overwrite files on the vulnerable devices. The affected products are Cisco RV120W Wireless-N VPN Firewall, Cisco RV180 VPN Router, Cisco RV180W Wireless-N Multifunction VPN Router, and Cisco RV220W Wireless Network Security Firewall. However, firmware updates have been released only for the first three models, while the fixes for Cisco RV220W are expected later this month.

Google digs deep in the world of manual hijacking – In Google’s study, the firm gets up close and personal with hijackers that target not businesses, not governments, but you.

Company News:

Twitter Will Open Hong Kong Office To Target Advertisers – In Asia, Twitter is up against rivals like Sina Weibo and the ubiquity of messaging apps like Line, WhatsApp, and WeChat. But the region is still an important one for the microblogging platform, a point it underscored today by announcing plans to establish an office in Hong Kong. Twitter’s vice president for Asia Pacific, the Americas, and emerging markets, Shailesh Rao, told WSJ that the office, which will open in early 2015, will focus on selling advertising to companies based in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Lenovo’s 2014 Q2 saw upswing in profits, new record – Lenovo’s second quarter financial report is in, and in it we see profits on the upswing, with the company hitting a 7-percent revenue increase over the same quarter last year. With its numbers, Lenovo managed to take top slot in the PC+Tablet category and saw a record number of shipments across its tablets, PCs, and smartphone at 35.6 million units. Said Lenovo’s CEO and Chairman Yuanqing Yang on the company’s new #1 slot, “In May, we set this as a two year goal, but achieved it in two quarters.”

AOL Q3 Beats The Street On Sales Of $626.8M, Falls Short On Income Of $121.8M – AOL this morning reported its earnings for Q3, a mixed result that saw it beating estimates on sales but only matching on earnings, and missing on operating income (OIBDA) as the company continues with its turnaround strategy based around more savvy ad technology in the face of Google domination of market share, and display sales, and works through sales declines as a result of shuttered brands like Patch. AOL Platforms, where its ad tech business resides, was actually the only division that saw a rise in revenues over a year ago, up 44 percent. The company reported revenues of $626.8 million, EPS of $0.52 and adjusted operating income of $121.8 million. Analysts were expecting sales of $623 million, EPS of $0.52 and OIBDA of $125 million.

Games and Entertainment:

Halo’s 20GB day-one patch reduced to a still huge 15GB download – Last month developer 343 Industries issued an apology relating to Halo: Master Chief Collection, which is due for release on November 11 for the Xbox One. The apology was warranted because anyone choosing to purchase the game was also committing to a 20GB day one content update. The good news is that 343 has managed to shave 5GB off the size of the download. That still means it’s big at 15GB, but the reduction could shave an hour or two off the download time depending on your connection speed.

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Showtime to join HBO, will stream content in 2015 – The promise of HBO without a cable subscription has many excited for what’s on the horizon for non-cable TV service. Not to be outdone, CBS is now saying Showtime will join the streaming fracas in 2015. In the company’s third quarter earning’s call, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves was more than on the fence about Showtime’s streaming-sans-cable aspirations in 2015, saying it’s “fairly definitive”. In the hopes we won’t take it lightly, Moonves also called what’s coming “over the top”.

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How the Hell Did NFL Blitz Ever Get Made? – NFL Blitz’s gameplay started with the words “Deadly long-range passes. Linebackers without conscience. A wretched assault on the senses of fair play. No refs, no rules, no mercy.” This is the story of the most violent football game ever made.

Call of Duty didn’t kill Titanfall: it was already dead – It’s an absolute tragedy, the number of players that are playing Titanfall right this minute. It should be a good indicator that the game is in dire need of players that the game has been reduced to $19.99 for both PC and Xbox One – a good deal, by any measure. Unless you consider the possibility that you might not have enough players online to play the game. Is this Call of Duty’s fault? Not by a long shot. Attempting to find a game that wasn’t Attrition for the past several months (on PC, anyway) has been a mess.

Pixar is making ‘Toy Story 4’ – Toy Story is coming back for another installment, and original film director John Lasseter is on board to direct. The film will be released on June 16th, 2017. This is likely to be exciting, if trepidatious news for fans of Pixar and the series: Pixar has increasingly relied on sequels for big hits, while creating great new properties has been put on the back burner. It’s likely that Pixar’s move toward sequels is in part a result of being owned by Disney, which would rather see Pixar continue to mine its most successful properties — of which Toy Story is perhaps the biggest.

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11 deliciously old-school PC games that ooze retro appeal – What makes PC gaming glorious? Sure, the performance that’s possible only with a high-end graphics card in a roomy desktop is a big draw—“Can it run Crysis?” is a meme for a reason. But there’s also PC gaming’s willingness to embrace the classic gameplay of the consoles of yesteryear.

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Microsoft expands Upload to the web and Xbox 360 – The Upload feature found on the Xbox One is now available on the web and there’s even a new Xbox 360 app, which users can download to access all the uploaded gaming clips on Microsoft’s platform.

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt will get 16 pieces of free DLC – The Witcher 3 will receive a hefty amount of downloadable content. Sixteen different pieces, to be exact. What is surprising is that 16 pieces of planned DLC for The Witcher 3 will be completely free. For everyone. Forever. It doesn’t matter which version of the game you purchase, or whether you pre-order, you’ll still get the same sixteen pieces of DLC. These aren’t all huge story-pieces of course, though I’d expect a few of those to be announced before this is over. Right now we’ve heard of four DLC bits: three costumes and a quest. In a joke at DLC’s expense, one of those costumes even includes the legendary horse armor of yore.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

The Memory Hole Collects the 90s Home Movies That Were Too Weird for TV – The Memory Hole is a place of horror and wonder. When you’re inside the Hole it’s easy for minutes to turn into hours, hours into days, days into weeks, weeks into years. It’s a place where you can find a man blasting baloney with a homemade flamethrower, satan vacuuming the rug with his tongue, and a guy shooting a stack of pumpkins with a cannon. Also, toast.

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Screengrabs from the Memory Hole collection via their YouTube channel.

Facebook’s Ebola stand: Zuckerberg donates, wants you to also – The world’s biggest Social Network is getting pumped up about fighting Ebola. To do this, Mark Zuckerberg has released a video outlining how Facebook is teaming up with UNICEF to help provide people in affected and nearby countries by sharing information on Facebook. They’ll be helping people prevent, detect, and treat Ebola by providing internet connectivity in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Zuckerberg himself also donated $25 of his own dollars to fight Ebola while Facebook’s internet service will cost millions more.

Where Did Soul-Sucking Office-Speak Come From? – How did we get to the point where people are constantly spouting nonsense about “deliverables,” “drill-down,” “catch-up,” “moving forward,” and “quick wins”?

Scientists find young star with small planets orbiting – How did we come to encircle the sun? Why do we orbit as we do, and why are other planets circling the big orange globe with us? Those are questions we may understand to some degree, but a new finding may shed light on how it all really began. A young star has been discovered with some very small planets beginning to form around it, with their orbit already being decided. It may not be the birth of our universe, but it’s very similar.

Something to think about:

“And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make”

–      Paul McCartney

Today’s Free Downloads:

WinUtilities Free – WinUtilities is a multi-functional system performance and optimization suite for Microsoft Windows. This collection of tools lets you supercharge your PC’s performance, enhance its security, tweak and optimize its settings, and customize and personalize your screens.

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BeeDoctor – MajorGeek says: There are a lot of choices in all-in-one suites and here is the latest called BeeDoctor. It includes a cleaner, speedup tools, an uninstaller and optionally can download and install Avira Antivirus. At the time we reviewed this, the program is completely free, very simple to use and seems a bit more geared towards the casual user who has no interest in more advanced features like registry tinkering, monitoring, process and service management, startup and so on. As a new program, we expect to see more of these sort of tools added in later.

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USB Image Tool – USB Image Tool can create images of USB flash drives and MP3 players, that are mounted as USB drives. It allows you switch between images with different music styles on your MP3 Player or to make an exact backup image of your USB Stick.

Features:

create image files of USB flash drives

restore images of USB flash drives

compressed image file format

show USB device information

manage favorite USB images

command line utility

USB Image Tool works with any device, that implements the USB Mass Storage protocol. This includes flash drives, card readers and a lot of other devices, like digicams, cell phones and mobile music players.

USB Image Tool supports the globull secure mobile work environment.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

The Justice Department Wants Wider Hacking Authorities for the FBI – Privacy and technology groups are sounding the alarm on an obscure government rule with major implications for law enforcement hacking.

Hiding behind the nondescript title “Proposed Amendment to Rule 41″ of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure is a dangerous increase in authority for federal investigators to use invasive hacking techniques to spy on computers and access data, according to testimony submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and others to a regulatory panel in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

The rule change would allow law enforcement agents to get warrants to search and seize electronic materials from any jurisdiction, “if the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means” or in the case where a network of infected computers spreads across multiple districts.

“The likely effect would be for far more remote searches of far more machines,” said Joe Hall of the Center for Democracy and Technology. The ACLU described it as “a game changer in degrading online security [that] could green light systemic constitutional violations.”

British Spies Are Free to Target Lawyers and Journalists – British spies have been granted the authority to secretly eavesdrop on legally privileged attorney-client communications, according to newly released documents.

On Thursday, a series of previously classified policies confirmed for the first time that the U.K.’s top surveillance agency Government Communications Headquarters (pictured above) has advised its employees: “You may in principle target the communications of lawyers.”

The U.K.’s other major security and intelligence agencies—MI5 and MI6—have adopted similar policies, the documents show. The guidelines also appear to permit surveillance of journalists and others deemed to work in “sensitive professions” handling confidential information.

The documents were made public as a result of a legal case brought against the British government by Libyan families who allege that they were subjected to extraordinary rendition and torture in a joint British-American operation that took place in 2004. After revelations about mass surveillance from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden last year, the families launched another case alleging that their communications with lawyers at human rights group Reprieve may have been spied on by the government, hindering their ability to receive a fair trial.

In a statement on Thursday, Reprieve’s legal director Cori Crider said that the new disclosures raised “troubling implications for the whole British justice system” and questioned how frequently the government had used its spy powers for unfair advantage in court.

Why the Constitution Can Protect Passwords But Not Fingerprint Scans – Cellphone fingerprint passcodes weren’t on James Madison’s mind when he authored the Fifth Amendment, a constitutional protection with roots in preventing torture by barring self-incriminating testimonials in court cases.

Yet those tiny skin ridges we all share were at the heart of a Virginia court case last week in which a judge ruled that police, who suspected there was incriminating evidence on a suspect’s smartphone, could legally force the man to unlock his device with its fingerprint scanner. While the Fifth Amendment protects defendants from revealing their numeric passcodes, which would be considered a self-incriminating testimonial, biometrics like fingerprint scans fall outside the law’s scope.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 28, 2014

Use Google Maps and GPS offline on your Android device;  Dashboard tech the worst part of car ownership says Consumer Reports;  Keep your tiny goblins safe on Halloween with these apps;  4 Products That Will Save You Hundreds On Your Utility Bills;  How to recover deleted photos from a memory card;  Stay connected without a connection?  How to score the $3 Camera+ iPhone app for free;  Amazon takes on Chromecast with new $39 Fire TV Stick;  10 steps to erase your digital footprint;  Unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365;  Here is how to get an Xbox One for $332.50;  Solid Concepts Announces Another 3D-Printed Metal Gun;  The Rise of Mobile Ransomware;  Credit card fraud can be stopped. Here’s how;  Glary Utilities (free);  Here’s what happens to your body when you die;  IceCream Slideshow Maker (free);  Panty raid: MLB, Homeland Security, and the great undercover underwear sting;  US Senate calls Whisper in for serious questioning.

Dashboard tech the worst part of car ownership says Consumer Reports – Complex, confusing, and frustrating car dashboards are now the most disappointing part of car ownership, a new survey suggests, with wonky infotainment coming in for renewed criticism from owners. Navigation, multimedia, and social networking features are spreading across many new vehicles, but lackluster user experiences – especially in brand new systems – are not only driving owners crazy but having a meaningful impact on their overall ratings.

Use Google Maps and GPS offline on your Android device – Maybe your carrier has tight data caps. Or perhaps you’ll be driving (or hiking) in an area with no coverage. Either way, you’ll want maps and GPS that aren’t dependent upon immediate Internet access.

4 Products That Will Save You Hundreds On Your Utility Bills – If you’re looking to save money every month, your family’s home electric bill is a good place to start. Smart, green tech updates will save a lot of electricity — and money — over the course of a year. Even small changes add up quickly. From home heating to lighting, I’ve compiled a list of four simple tech upgrades for your home that will save you a combined $225 per year on your utility bills. Most can be installed yourself with a little bit of handyman knowhow. And, once they’re installed, these devices are smart enough to take care of racking up the savings.

Keep your tiny goblins safe on Halloween with these apps – Create a digital Halloween safety kit that will keep you in the loop of where everyone is and add some light to your haunted path through the neighborhood.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Stay connected without a connection? – Meet the tools that let you transfer files and send messages on your smartphone without the Internet.

How to score the $3 Camera+ iPhone app for free – iPhone users looking for a more versatile and powerful camera app than Apple’s default one can now grab a good one for free. Camera+ normally sells for $3 in Apple’s App Store. For a limited time, though, Apple is offering the app for free through its Apple Store app, as spotted by the folks at RazorianFly on Monday. Camera+ provides a variety of controls beyond the basic ones outfitted into the built-in Camera app.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 12: new features and extensions – SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 is available today. And with it SLES 12 brings several significant new features and extensions to the desktop and to the datacenter.

Amazon takes on Chromecast with new $39 Fire TV Stick – Amazon is finally taking on the Chromecast. This morning it’s introducing the Fire TV Stick, a streaming device that exists entirely in a small dongle that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port. It can play games and is able to stream from the major services that you’d expect: Watch ESPN, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and, of course, Prime Instant Video. The Stick goes on sale for $39 beginning November 19th and is currently available for preorder. Prime subscribers can get it for $19 for the next two days.

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Microsoft targets Dropbox and Google with unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 – Microsoft is removing its OneDrive storage limits for Office 365 subscribers. If you’re an Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscriber then OneDrive storage will be unlimited in the coming months as Microsoft rolls out its changes to every account. OneDrive for Business customers will also get unlimited storage as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 roadmap. While Microsoft’s unlimited OneDrive storage is rolling out to all Office 365 accounts in the coming months, you can opt-in to be upgraded early over at Microsoft’s OneDrive preview site.

Microsoft offering unlimited cloud storage — and a free copy of Office — for $7 a month – Technically, they’re offering unlimited free OneDrive space to Office 365 users. That’s where the $7 per month comes in — it’s the base rate for a 365 Personal subscription when you pay annually. So not only is their no ceiling on how many gigs of data you can store in the cloud, you also get access to the entire Office suite — Word, Excel, OneNote, Powerpoint, Publisher, and even Access and Outlook — on both your main computer and your tablet.

License+ from Automatic could actually make teens better drivers – If you’re a parent of a teen, driving can be a scary proposition. Not only is your child operating a massive machine capable of high velocity, but they’re inexperienced. You can teach them all you like, but sometimes it’s helpful to have some actual data to back up your passenger seat cringing. with an update to Automatic called License+, you can get that info. You also get a little peace of mind that your teen is driving safely even when you’re not there.

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Smiley faces take on whole new meanings as Bing adds emoji search – Bing now supports searches with emoji, meaning you can insert or paste a range of emoji icons like hearts, smiley faces, food graphics, or any combination thereof, for some interesting, though not always useful, results. It’s a novelty feature, yes, but still fun. And one that could help Bing draw at least some attention away from Google. Google at the moment does not give results for emoji searches, though its auto-complete technology does recognize them. Yahoo, meanwhile, does support emoji searches.

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Free and cheap ways to learn about network administration – Though you might have the Network+ or CCNA cert, for instance, have you actually configured or played around with a network? Even if you already have held a network technician or administrator position, you might not have experience with all aspects of networking yet. Fortunately there are ways to get hands-on network administration experience, even at home — and most don’t cost anything.

One week later, Google algorithm change hits streaming, torrent sites hard – Video streaming and torrent sites have dropped precipitously in Google rankings after the company altered its algorithm last Monday, according to reports from Searchmetrics. One of Project Free TV’s main operating domains, free-tv-video-online.me, fell 96 percent in Searchmetric’s rankings, one of the biggest drops alongside torrentz.eu and thepiratebay.se.

The end of an era: Windows 7 consumer PCs halt production this Friday – It’s the end of an era, as OEMs will soon end production of PCs with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate pre-installed.

Security:

10 steps to erase your digital footprint – Summary: How do you vanish online? Follow these 10 steps to get started.

Zero-day in Samsung ‘Find My Mobile’ service allows attacker to remotely lock phone – NIST warned that if an attacker exploits the zero-day vulnerability in Samsung’s ‘Find My Mobile’ service, then the hacker can remotely lock, unlock and ring the phone.

The Rise of Mobile Ransomware – If Man on Fire or Taken has taught us anything, it’s that one of the greatest fear for parents is learning that a criminal kidnapped their child. These days, however, children aren’t the only ones who can be held for ransom as more malware is encrypting user data for payment. The newly released F-Secure’s Threat Report H1 2014 stated that the number of ransomware threats, which remotely locks computers or mobile devices, is increasing on Android phones.

Facebook and Yahoo team up to block account hijackings via recycled accounts – Facebook and Yahoo have figured out how to undo the mess Yahoo made when it decided to recycle old email addresses.

Credit card fraud can be stopped. Here’s how – After $4,000 of fraudulent charges from Brazil on my AMEX, I’m chasing down all my auto-payment accounts and frequently used commerce sites. Again.

US Senate calls Whisper in for serious questioning on user tracking – Following serious allegations brought up by the Guardian, the US Senate has a few privacy-related questions it would like to ask the people in charge over at Whisper, the self-proclaimed “safest place on the internet”.

Company News:

Tim Cook says that Apple Pay is already the leader in contactless payments – It’s only been a week since Apple Pay made its debut, but apparently the launch has been successful thus far. Speaking at the WSJD Live event, hosted by The Wall Street Journal, Cook said that Apple is already the leader in “contactless” payments, “more than the total of all the other guys.” Within 72 hours, Apple apparently activated one million cards, and we presume it’s only gone up significantly since then. Customer response, has been positive, as well.

ARM Intros New Trio of Mali GPUs – ARM on Monday introduced three new Mali graphics processors for mobile devices and a pair of additional GPU instruction sets designed for video processing and displays. The Mali-T820, Mali-T830, and Mali-T860 succeed Mali T700-class GPUs licensed by ARM to makers System-on-a-Chip (SoC) products for mobile devices such as Samsung, MediaTek, Broadcom, Realtek, and LG.

Twitter doesn’t have explosive growth, and investors aren’t happy – Twitter reported its third quarter earnings today, and despite robust performance, the company’s stock continues to struggle. Twitter’s booked $361 million in revenue over the last three months, more than double what it did for the same period in 2013. It also hit its marks on profit — $7 million, which is exactly what investors were expecting. But the stock is down more than 10 percent in after-hours trading, as investors flee a stock that hasn’t shown the upside they were looking for in a young, high-flying social network.

Amazon snaps up Rooftop Media to boost online entertainment services – The online retail giant is purchasing Rooftop Media in order to promote the firm’s plans to step outside of e-commerce and tap into other revenue streams. Amazon has already dabbled in the mobile sphere — bringing out the disappointing Fire Phone, as well as e-readers, and is well-known for Amazon Web Services (AWS). However, the Seattle, Wash.-based company also wishes to provide media and entertainment content, and has already begun doing so through Amazon instant video and the Amazon App store.

Games and Entertainment:

Microsoft starts the holiday sales early with $50 off Xbox One – The Kinect-less Xbox One is getting even cheaper from this Sunday as Microsoft starts up its Season of Xbox discounts for the holidays. A new $349 price ($50 less than the current $399) will kick in from the 2nd of November through to the end of the year for several console bundles, including the Special Edition Sunset Overdrive white console. This will be across most major US retailers and there’ll be similar deals for the rest of the world, though Microsoft hasn’t yet detailed them in full.

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Here is how to get an Xbox One for $332.50 from the Microsoft store – Earlier today, Microsoft announced that they would be cutting the price of the Xbox One to $350 but if you want to get it even cheaper, here is how you can save a further 5% at the Microsoft Store.

PlayStation 4 upcoming Share Play feature explained – Excited for the big two-point-oh update for your PlayStation 4? Looking forward to changing your console’s home screen themes? The awaited major update for the console will be landing on eager users’ hands, or rather on their devices, starting October 28 but the update isn’t just about themes, of course. Lest you forget, there are also other interesting additions that await you, like the totally new Share Play feature. And to make sure that you don’t forget indeed, Sony has published a video and a blog post detailing what Share Play really is.

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Alienware’s new graphics amplifier and laptop make portable high-end gaming possible – The dream for many PC gamers has always been to have a portable machine that can also handle the latest graphics-intensive releases, and Alienware has come up with a solution that moves that dream closer to reality with the Alienware Graphics Amplifier. Released alongside the Alienware 13 — the company’s newest gaming laptop — the near-8-pound, $299 box is meant to live on your desk, ready to be plugged into any time you feel the need for that extra GPU boost that a laptop just can’t provide.

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27 Streaming Horror Movies for a Truly Creepy Halloween – Click through our slideshow for 27 insanely frighteningly films that are only a few taps and clicks away. We’ve provided a trailer preview as well as links to where the entire film can be found online (legitimately). We’ve noted where the films that can be streamed for free via monthly subscription services, but in most cases they can be digitally “rented” for under $4.

AMD’s flagship Radeon R9 290X graphics card prices cut to an insanely compelling $300 – Prices for AMD’s Radeon R9 290X graphics card plummet even further in the wake of the Nvidia GTX 980’s release–and yes, the dirt-cheap cards are eligible for AMD’s offer of three free games of your choice.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Drone nearly hits plane, may have been on purpose – Over the weekend, it was revealed that a drone had a near collision with an passenger aircraft in the UK. A 74-seat ATR 72 was flying over county Essex in route to London Southend Airport when it had the near collision with a quad-copter drone, which was flying at roughly 1,500 feet and came uncomfortably close to the right wing of the craft. According to the report, this was no accident, either.Whoever flew the drone seems to have been aiming for the plane.

Peeping teen in shower: I was checking if phone was waterproof – A UK teen found guilty of filming a woman in a shower insisted that he was merely a fascinated cell phone tester.

Flight cancelled when “Al-Quida” Wi-Fi network became available – A Los Angeles International Airport flight bound for London was cancelled Sunday when a passenger’s phone picked up the Wi-Fi signal “al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork” (sic) that was emanating from a fellow flier’s hotspot minutes before the United Airlines flight was set to liftoff. After a concerned passenger notified a flight attendant of the network at about 9:30pm, the plane taxied to a remote section of the Los Angeles airport and was held there for three hours. The plane was searched as passengers of Flight 136 were ordered to power off electronic devices, local media said.

Solid Concepts Announces Another 3D-Printed Metal Gun – Solid Concepts, a company that specializes in 3D printing in metal and now owned by Stratasys, as announced their second 3D-printed metal gun, the Reason. Their first gun, the 1911, as well as this one were made by sintering – melting – metal powder with a laser. However, from the detail on the barrel and handle it’s clear the company has improved the technology immensely over the year.

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We didn’t expect Kim Kardashian to love BlackBerry so much – Of all the people who could be the savior of BlackBerry, Kim Kardashian probably wouldn’t have been our first guess, but it turns out the reality TV star turned mobile app kingpin could end up single-handedly propping up the second hand market. The controversial star was expected to discuss social saturation and the surprise hit game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood at the Code/Mobile 2014 conference, but she took an interesting detour via ailing BlackBerry and her ongoing collection of devices.

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Here’s what happens to your body when you die – The good folks who produce the American Chemical Society’s “Reactions” series have created short YouTube videos about a variety of important topics like why bacon smells so good, how pot gets us high and how fireworks work. This week — being that it’s the week in which we celebrate ghouls, zombies, vampires and other deadish things — they’ve turned their science eyes toward a really big question: What happens when you die?

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Panty raid: MLB, Homeland Security, and the great undercover underwear sting – On Tuesday, undercover agents from the Department of Homeland Security entered a tiny boutique lingerie store in Kansas City called Birdies. The shop was selling cotton panties that bore the phrase “Take the Crown” and an artistic rendering of the Royals logo designed by one of its co-owners, Peregrine Honig.

Something to think about:

“The arts must be considered an essential element of education… They are tools for living life reflectively, joyfully and with the ability to shape the future.”

–      Shirley Trusty Corey

Today’s Free Downloads:

Glary Utilities – Glary Utilities is a smart and reliable application that offers numerous powerful and easy-to-use system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC.

It allows you to clean common system junk files, as well as invalid registry entries and Internet traces. You can manage and delete browser add-ons, analyze disk space usage and find duplicate files.

You can also view and manage installed shell extensions, encrypt your files from unauthorized access and use, split large files into smaller manageable files and then rejoin them.

Furthermore, Glary Utilities includes the options to optimize memory, find, fix, or remove broken Windows shortcuts, manage the programs that start at Windows startup and uninstall software. Other features include secure file deletion, an Empty Folder finder and more.

All Glary Utilities tools can be accessed through an eye-pleasing and totally simplistic interface.

Features:

Disk Cleaner – Removes junk data from your disks and recovers disk space

Registry Cleaner – Scans and cleans up your registry to improve your system’s performance.

Shortcuts Fixer – Corrects the errors in your startmenu & desktop shortcuts

Uninstall Manager – Uninstalls programs completely that you don’t need any more

Startup Manager – Manages programs which run automatically on startup

Memory Optimizer – Monitors and optimizes free memory in the background

Context Menu Manager – Manages the context-menu entries for files, folders…

Tracks Eraser – Erases all the traces,evidences,cookies,internet history and more

File Shredder – Erases files permanently so that no one can recover them

Internet Explorer Assistant – Manages Internet Explorer Add-ons and restores hijacked settings

File Encrypter and Decrypter – Protects your files from unauthorized access and use.

Disk Analysis – Shows you the disk space usage of your files and folders

Duplicate Files Finder – Searches for space-wasting and error producing duplicate files

Empty Folders Finder – Finds and removes empty folders in your windows

File Splitter and Joiner – Splits large files into smaller manageable files, and then rejoin them.

Process Manager – Monitors programs that run on your PC and stop spyware and Trojans.

Windows Standard Tools – Provides direct access to the useful windows default functions.

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IceCream Slideshow Maker – Meet IceCream Slideshow Maker, a free software that you can use to create beautiful slideshows from your favorite photos. Breathe life into them by adding fancy transition effects and background audio. You don’t need to be tech savvy to create a multimedia slideshow with music in a few minutes: just add photos, configure slides transitions and durations, add a suitable mp3 file, preview the project and simply press the “Create” button to enjoy the end result!

Surprise your family and friends with a high quality video slideshow about your vacation or any special event.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Canada, At War For 13 Years, Shocked That A Terrorist Attacked Its Soldiers – In Quebec on Monday, two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a 25-year-old Canadian who, as The Globe and Mail reported, “converted to Islam recently and called himself Ahmad Rouleau.” One of the soldiers died, as did Couture-Rouleau when he was shot by police upon apprehension after allegedly brandishing a large knife. Police speculated that the incident was deliberate, alleging the driver waited for two hours before hitting the soldiers, one of whom was wearing a uniform. The incident took place in the parking lot of a shopping mall 30 miles southeast of Montreal, “a few kilometres from the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, the military academy operated by the Department of National Defence.”

The right-wing Canadian government wasted no time in seizing on the incident to promote its fear-mongering agenda over terrorism, which includes pending legislation to vest its intelligence agency, CSIS, with more spying and secrecy powers in the name of fighting ISIS. A government spokesperson asserted “clear indications” that the driver “had become radicalized.”

In a “clearly prearranged exchange,” a conservative MP, during parliamentary question time, asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pictured above) whether this was considered a “terrorist attack”; in reply, the prime minister gravely opined that the incident was “obviously extremely troubling.” Canada’s Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney pronounced the incident “clearly linked to terrorist ideology,” while newspapers predictably followed suit, calling it a “suspected terrorist attack” and “homegrown terrorism.” CSIS spokesperson Tahera Mufti said “the event was the violent expression of an extremist ideology promoted by terrorist groups with global followings” and added: “That something like this would happen in a peaceable Canadian community like Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu shows the long reach of these ideologies.”

The FBI thinks it has found Glenn Greenwald’s second leaker – As Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept continues to publish secret government documents, some of which go beyond the initial NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, speculation has grown concerning a second leaker smuggling classified documents to the publication. After a recent law enforcement raid, that speculation seems to be confirmed. Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff reports that the FBI has identified a contractor who may be responsible for leaking documents about abuses in the government’s terrorist tracking system, as detailed in this Intercept report. According to Isikoff, the suspect’s home has been searched and federal prosecutors in northern Virginia have opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

The initial leaks revealed that more than half of the people identified in the FBI’s terrorist tracking database had no clear affiliation with a terrorist group, suggesting real problems for the database as a law enforcement tool. As a result, many have viewed the source as whistleblower acting in the public interest.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 9, 2014

DEA agent steals woman’s identity and photos to lure in suspects on Facebook;  A list of all the Google Now voice commands;  Watch TV for free with these 10 Android apps;  Google Now tells you bills are due; does it go too far?  Windows 10: You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers;  Google releases News & Weather app for iOS;  NHL app hits the ice with a new look for 2014-2015 season;  Microsoft Research releases Xim, a photo sharing app with a twist;  Keep tabs on your time with Jiffy;  Google pays $75K in bug bounties to fix 159 Chrome flaws;  Free game alert: EA’s giving away Dragon Age: Origins;  OnLive opens wide its 250-game PlayPack vault today, for free;  Ballmer, Gates no longer pals;  10 YouTube Videos That Will Change How You Think;  NSA spying will shatter the internet, Silicon Valley bosses warn.

DEA agent steals woman’s identity and photos to lure in suspects on Facebook – The woman gave up her rights when she handed over her phone in an arrest, the Feds are claiming in a court case, so that makes it OK for a DEA agent to put up a bogus account in her name, post her private photos, friend a fugitive, and accept friend requests. Privacy experts call it an alarming expansion of the notion of “consent.”

5 ways to take charge of your smartphone’s home screen – If the only change you’ve made to your iPhone or Android phone’s home screen is to swap out the wallpaper and rearrange a few icons, you’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. Indeed, you can make your phone’s home screen your very own in ways from subtle to massive, from adding shortcuts for your favorite contacts to tucking little-used apps into folders. And if you’re the proud owner of an Android phone, you can actually revamp your entire home screen, from top to bottom.

A list of all the Google Now voice commands – You pick up your phone and say “OK Google”… and then what? Your phone is listening. The microphone icon is pulsing. What do you say to your phone? What can you say to it? Google Now’s voice function has become surprisingly robust over the years. Here’s a list of just about everything you can say to Google Now. Try experimenting with different phrasing, you’ll be surprised how much it understands. The part of the phrase in [brackets] can be replaced with any similar term you choose. If Google Now doesn’t get your spoken commands right, you can correct it by saying “No, I said…” and trying the phrase again.

Watch TV for free with these 10 Android apps – Most of the big broadcast and cable TV networks are offering free streaming apps for Android, complete with full episodes of their most popular shows—everything from About a Boy and America’s Next Top Model to Duck Dynasty and Scandal. We’ve rounded up 10 free TV apps that offer at least some of their full episodes without verifying a cable or satellite subscription, or requiring any other sort of payment beyond sitting through a few advertisements. Indeed, some of the best apps on our list serve up all their episodes for free, no pay-TV login required.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Now tells you bills are due; does it go too far? – If you get emailed reminders about bills sent to your Gmail inbox, you may end up with a Google Now card reminding you to pay your bill. The feature is meant to be handy, but it seems a few users aren’t too pleased with Google scanning their emails to find bills. Here’s how it works: Google scans your Gmail for bill reminders — that happens without you even knowing or asking it to. In Google Now (or the Google Search app), tap on the mic icon in the search bar. Tell Google “show me my bills”, or “my bills due this week”, and cards based on your emailed bills pop up.

Windows 10: You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers – There’s more to Windows 10 than just the revamped Start menu. I’ve been fielding questions from readers about the new release. Why is it called Windows 10? Does it really contain a keylogger? And what happened to Internet Explorer?

Windows 10: Keyboard gets predictive text – Windows 10 is full of unannounced features and, while using the OS, we’re regularly coming across new ones – and this time around, the keyboard is getting predictive text input like Windows Phone.

HTC Zoe Photo App Gets a Boost – The Android version is out of beta and available on all devices with the necessary specs to run it. There is also an iOS version that will be rolling out soon. That raises the question, what is Zoe? On HTC phones, Zoe is a feature within the camera app that lets you take multiple photos as part of a short video. There are all sorts of effects and tools for manipulating that, but the app for other devices is just about the remixing part of the HTC experience. Zoe allows you to take the photos and videos you’ve created and cut them together into a quick montage with music and video effects.

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Microsoft Research releases Xim, a photo sharing app with a twist – Microsoft Research is always working on unique projects that span many different applications. From disappearing messages to streaming online games, there is no limit to what they cover. And their latest project, Xim, seems like any other photo sharing app, until you look a little deeper. Xim is Microsoft Research’s latest application and it allows you to easily share photos with any of your contacts. While there are dozens of apps that can already do this, Xim lets you have control over the experience.

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Microsoft clears the air on Windows 10 “keylogger” – Is it scary that Microsoft can theoretically see everything you type in the Windows 10 Technical Preview? To some, sure. But we’re not meant to be using the preview for daily computing or any tasks that might involve sensitive data. The software is exactly what Microsoft said it is: an unfinished OS that they need help testing. If you’re willing to test it, you’re willing to have your usage analyzed. If you’ve actually read through an EULA before — particularly one for a piece of software that’s still a work in progress — you know this is something companies do. Microsoft didn’t hide the fact that they were going to with the Windows 10 Technical Preview, either. It’s all right there in the EULA in plain English.

Google Chromecast Is The Top “Connected Device” App – Google’s Chromecast is the most popular “connected device” – or so infers a new report from app analytics firm App Annie, which analyzed the top apps associated with connected devices across both iTunes and Google Play in the U.S. Gartner says that there will be 26 billion connected devices globally by 2020 – an astounding figure – but one that makes more sense when you start to think about the connected devices you already use in your own home – DVRs, game consoles, smartwatches, wireless printers, and more.

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Google releases News & Weather app for iOS – Formerly available just for Android devices, the app lets you personalize topics you want to see and check on the weather in your own city or anywhere else in the world.

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NHL app hits the ice with a new look for 2014-2015 season – NHL fans will have a new way to experience all the league has to offer with a brand new mobile app on Android and iOS platforms.

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Manage your business card collection with these five free apps – Without a reliable way to capture business card info, you can lose track of valuable contacts. Tom Merritt looks at five apps that simplify the task.

Keep tabs on your time with Jiffy – Jack Wallen shows you how to keep track of task time with Jiffy and how to use it across multiple Android devices.

Google Street View Now Rides Camel-Back Into the Arabian Desert – For adventurous types who are short on sunscreen, Google Maps has just extended its street view deep into the Arabian Desert. The trek cuts a narrow path through the Liwa desert, 150 kilometers southwest of Abu Dhabi, winding through an endless stretch of sand dunes measuring upwards of 40 meters in height. But the coolest feature is possibly the view straight down to the ground, where a silhouette of Google’s streetview camera can be seen mounted atop a camel’s back.

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30-Second Tech Trick: Download All Your Tweets at Once – Seamlessly relive precious, precious memories.

Security:

Google pays $75K in bug bounties to fix 159 Chrome flaws – Google yesterday released Chrome 38, paying out more than $75,000 in bounties for some of the 159 vulnerabilities patched in the massive security update. Also, contrary to what Google said in August but in line with its change-of-mind last month, Chrome 38 remained a 32-bit application on OS X, the operating system for Apple’s Mac line. Of the 159 bugs quashed in Chrome 38, 113 — or 71% — were “relatively minor fixes,” according to Google. Those vulnerabilities had been found using MemorySanitizer, a Google-made tool for sniffing out memory initialization flaws.

IBM says most security breaches are due to human error – A recently released report from computing giant IBM attributes some 95% of IT security breaches to human error and that over 75% of attacks are targeted at just five industries, proving when it comes to security, people are the real problem.

45% of Android devices still have a vulnerable browser installed – Around 45 percent of Android devices have a browser that is vulnerable to two serious security issues, but some countries have a considerably larger percentage of affected users than others, according to data from mobile security firm Lookout. The two security issues were discovered over the past month by a security researcher named Rafay Baloch and were described as a privacy disaster by other researchers. They allow an attacker to bypass a core security boundary, called the same-origin policy (SOP), that exists in all browsers.

Company News:

AT&T to pay $105 million for ‘cramming’ extra charges into customer bills – The US government is slapping down AT&T for allowing extra charges on customers’ phone bills with what it calls the “largest cramming settlement in history.” The news was announced on Wednesday in a joint press conference held by the FCC, the FTC, and all state attorneys general, who worked together on the resolution. That resolution concerns what’s known as “mobile cramming,” in which third parties can pass charges along to phone companies for spam SMS messages or things like daily horoscopes and “fun facts.” Federal investigators found that for years, AT&T made hundreds of millions of dollars by taking 35 percent of these unwanted charges, dodging complaints from customers and reassuring the companies themselves.

Google asks Supreme Court to decide Oracle’s Android copyright case – Google has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a copyright infringement case that some developers think could have a big impact on their ability to innovate in software. The case was brought by Oracle four years ago and accuses Google of infringing patents and copyrights related to Java in its Android mobile OS. Google emerged largely victorious from a lower court trial but an appeals court overturned that ruling in May. Google now wants the highest court in the U.S. to hear its case.

Symantec may split into separate security and storage businesses – Taking a cue from Hewlett-Packard and eBay, Symantec is said to be in talks to carve out the company into two entities. One of the entities will focus on storage while the other will address the security business, reported Bloomberg, citing people who asked not to be identified because the conversations are private. An announcement of the split, which is supported by CEO Michael Brown, could be made in a few weeks, according to the report. Symantec’s spokeswoman Kristen Batch said via email that the company does not comment on rumors.

AMD’s CEO steps down, COO takes over – AMD named Lisa Su, its chief operating officer, as its new CEO, effective immediately, replacing Rory Read as the struggling maker of PC chips continues its attempt at a turnaround. Su, 44 years old, joined AMD in 2012, and most recently has been responsible for integrating AMD’s business units, sales, global operations and infrastructure enablement teams. Before coming to the chipmaker, she worked at chipmaker Freescale and at IBM.

Games and Entertainment:

Free game alert: EA’s giving away Dragon Age: Origins ahead of sequel’s launch – The freebie only applies to the standard edition of Dragon Age: Origins, so you’ll unfortunately miss out on the lengthy Awakening expansion and a few smaller pieces of DLC unless you decide to buy the (mostly excellent) extra content. Regardless, it’s a fantastic fantasy RPG—the closest BioWare’s ever come to the morally ambiguous storytelling of The Witcher—and definitely worth picking up if you haven’t played it before. Or, for that matter, if you played it on last-gen consoles and don’t ever want to hook those things back up again.

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OnLive opens wide its 250-game PlayPack vault tomorrow, for free – Cloud gaming service OnLive said that the company will throw open its PlayPack vault in support of the Extra Life charity for 24 hours beginning Thursday, allowing gamers to play more than 250 games on the service for free. Although the effort clearly promotes OnLive’s own services, the company is also raising money for Extra Life, a gaming marathon that helps raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network of 170 hospitals across America. The PlayPack is free, but those that raise money for Extra Life will also receive prizes that scale up according to the amount of money donated or raised.

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Alien: Isolation is just the first of the age of Terror Games – When I played Alien: Isolation for the first time, I got sick to my stomach. It was a physical necessity that I stop playing – and I hadn’t even seen the Alien itself yet. Now is the next age of the horror game. Not just horror for the gamer – not just a place where you can get out an tune out. Instead you’re trapped in a space station with the perfect organism, one that cannot be killed, one that’s never been so real to you as it is here and now, discovering you having a nervous breakdown in a staff locker.

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The Best Android Digital Comic Book Apps – The eight Android readers in this roundup represent the best digital comic book apps that we’ve reviewed. The summaries for each app below only scratch the surface of what these readers can do; check out the full reviews for a big picture view of each digital comic book app’s functionality.

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Want to Visit a Slice of Destiny DLC Bungie Hasn’t Unlocked Yet? – This is what happens when boredom ensues in Destiny: you spy a tantalizing column of light, notice the architectural lattice surrounding it, nose around the framework until you discover a way to leap into that column of light, and presto: Scotty’s beaming you up.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Ballmer, Gates no longer pals; blame Nokia, Vista – It seems the Nokia deal former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pulled off right before leaving the company had a strong ripple effect. Not only is Microsoft feeling the squeeze to produce great handsets and carry on Nokia’s legacy, but a friendship was ruined in the process. Ballmer and Bill Gates are apparently on the outs, and are no longer on speaking terms with one another. The reason for the former besties not talking to one another is that Nokia buy, and Ballmer’s actions shortly after.

A Brief History Of Tesla – When Tesla went public in 2010, it became the first American car company to do so since Ford Motor Company in 1956. Since then, Tesla’s stock has soared as the company keeps rolling out new features and models while simultaneously capturing the imagination of a curious public. What follows is a brief history of Tesla starting at its founding not by Elon Musk, but Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in July 2003.

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Kid tapes cop smashing car window, dragging man away after tasering him – A 14-year-old boy’s videotape of an Indiana cop smashing an ax though a vehicle window, shooting the passenger with a stun gun, and ripping him from the vehicle has become the subject of an excessive force lawsuit. Monday’s lawsuit [PDF] is among the most recent in a wave of police encounters gone awry that have been captured on video and resulted in legal action. The incident was filmed two weeks ago in Hammond, Indiana, and it started with a motorist being stopped and pulled over for allegedly not wearing a seatbelt.

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Watch: VR drones race like Speeder Bikes in the French Alps – Racing tiny flying devices through the forest would have been awesome enough, but no, these folks went the extra mile. They’ve added virtual reality headsets to the mix. With cameras (like GoPro) mounted on their drones, they connect to headsets and travel along with their drones in real time.

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DARPA video puts you in cockpit of superhero-style combat vehicle – If there’s any real-world equivalent to Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. organization in the US, it’s got to be DARPA — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The agency clearly has the most futuristic tech toys and concepts around, as we recently saw with its jetpack that boosts human running speeds. Plus there was all that self-destructing spy tech DARPA talked about earlier this year. Now comes a concept for a new combat vehicle, shown in the video below, that looks like it could easily take on the Batmobile.

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Why we live in an anti-tech age – Though it seems as if we’re surrounded by innovative products, services and technologies, there’s a growing counter argument that we’re living in a dismal era. Science is hated. Real technological progress has stalled. And what we call innovation today really isn’t very innovative. Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, billionaire investor and author, is among those challenging the notion of innovation and progress. Thiel, who earned undergraduate and law degrees at Stanford University, spoke at the Gartner Symposium/IT this week about why the march of progress seems to have stalled.

10 YouTube Videos That Will Change How You Think – While you may think of YouTube as a place to check out the latest in funny animal videos, there’s a lot of content that caters to the brain rather than the funny bone. We’ve found the best and brightest videos for you to enjoy when you need to stretch your mental muscles. These cover a variety of topics, but they’re all guaranteed to make you look at the world around you at least a little bit differently.

Something to think about:

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”

–      Robert Heinlein

Today’s Free Downloads:

ImageCacheViewer – ImageCacheViewer is a simple tool that scans the cache of your Web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome), and lists the images displayed in the Web sites that you recently visited.

For every cached image file, the following information is displayed: URL of the image, Web browser that was used to visit the page, image type, date/time of the image, browsing time, and file size.

When selecting a cache item in the upper pane of ImageCacheViewer, the image is displayed in the lower pane, and you can copy the image to the clipboard by pressing Ctrl+M.

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Clipboard Help+Spell – Clipboard Help+Spell is a clipboard history utility with the following features:

Database stores history of all past text and image clipboard entries for easy viewing, modification, and search

Use it for keeping hierarchical notes – search, sort, filter by text, modification date, last view date

Super easy and super fast search function – or use complex filters if you need them – you’ll never have a problem finding a note again!

Organize your notes and clips any way you want – show them all or view by group or category; view your clips any way you like

High-quality spellcheck – underlined mistakes; learning spellchecker

Configurable hotkeys for common functions

Powerful text formatting options – make your own presets for common functions

Simple functions for copying and pasting into and out of other applications

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA spying will shatter the internet, Silicon Valley bosses warn – Top Silicon Valley execs have warned that the NSA’s continued surveillance of innocent people will rupture the internet – which is bad news for business.

Oh, and bad news for hundreds of thousands of workers, and America’s moral authority, too.

The suits were speaking at a roundtable organized by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in Palo Alto, California, on Wednesday. Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt and John Lilly, a partner at venerable VC firm Greylock Partners, were on the panel, along with Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith and his counterpart at Facebook, Colin Stretch, and Dropbox, Ramsey Homsany.

“It is time to end the digital dragnet, which harms American liberty and the American economy without making the country safer. The US government should stop requiring American companies to participate in the suspicionless collection of their customers’ data, and begin the process of rebuilding trust both at home and abroad,” said Senator Wyden.

“The United States – here in Silicon Valley, up in the Silicon Forest of the State of Oregon that I am so proud to represent, and in tech campuses and garage start-ups across the country – has the best technologies and the best ideas to drive high-tech innovation. It is policy malpractice to squander that capital for no clear security gain.”

Gov’t seeks to hold on to security letter “gag orders,” banned by 2013 ruling – A San Francisco federal appeals court heard arguments today in an activist lawsuit seeking to ban National Security Letters, or NSLs, as unconstitutional. NSLs are one of the more controversial tools used by the FBI to conduct investigations, as they include a gag order preventing the recipient from talking about the fact that they got an NSL.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit challenging the NSLs as unconstitutional in 2011, well before the Snowden disclosures about widespread surveillance. Their two clients are unnamed, but one is a telecom company and one is an Internet company. The two “service providers” want to speak out about the fact that they received letters, but can’t. In April of last year, they won a stunning victory, when US District Judge Susan Ilston agreed with EFF that the letters are unconstitutional. The gag order stopping EFF’s clients from discussing “controversial government powers” violates the First Amendment, Ilston ruled.

The government has appealed the proceeding. Today, almost 19 months after Ilston’s order came out, a three-judge appeals panel heard arguments from both sides.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 17, 2014

U.S. government to Yahoo: Comply with PRISM, or we’ll make sure you go bankrupt;  Android Browser flaw a “privacy disaster” for half of Android users;  Insurance for your smartphone: Is it worth it? Is This Free Wi-Fi Safe? Search the Map of Dangerous Networks;  Facebook Has Built An App For Super-Private Sharing;  Three warning signs that email is malicious;  Toshiba’s 7-inch Windows 8.1 tablet – $119;  New Batch of Chromecast Apps for iOS and Android;  How to use Google Voice with the new Hangouts app;  Report Gives Facebook, Twitter, YouTube an ‘F’ in Handling Harassment;  My Maps: customize your Google Maps experience;  Swype keyboard launching on iOS 8 today for 99 cents;  New ‘Facebook for Rich People’ Costs Just $9,000 to Join;  SwiftKey’s Predictive Keyboard App Is A Free Download On iOS;  ‘Tiny banker’ malware targets US financial institutions.

Is This Free Wi-Fi Safe? Search the Map of Dangerous Networks – Search a location on maps.skycure.com and you can see how many naughty networks are in your area. You might be surprised, or just plain horrified.

Three warning signs that email is malicious – There was a time when nearly every scam email would land in your inbox. Thankfully that’s not the case anymore—especially if you’re a Gmail user. But no system is perfect. Here are three basic tip-offs you can look for to figure out whether you’re looking at an email with dishonest intentions. They’re hardly an exhaustive list, but more often than not one of these tips will save you from getting suckered.

Codenamed “Moments”, Facebook Has Built An App For Super-Private Sharing – Facebook has failed repeatedly to get us to use complicated lists and privacy settings to share intimate moments with just our closest friends and family. It’s clumsy and confusing doing that with the same composer for blasting News Feed updates to everyone. But now Facebook is polishing off a new app codenamed “Moments” designed to make this micro-sharing much simpler.

Insurance for your smartphone: Is it worth it? – Smartphone carriers offer insurance for your devices, but it may not be a good fit for all users. Find out whether you’re a match for a protection plan.

Hands on: Office Lens scanning app for Windows Phone now makes editable Word files – Most scanning apps generate a JPEG or PDF file, but Office Lens skips right to the good stuff: Word or PowerPoint files. Though some scrawls will still confound it, this is nevertheless a Windows Phone app worth bragging about—and downloading ASAP.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Windows 9 preview download in 2 – 3 weeks – Prepare to download the Windows 9 preview build. Microsoft confirmed it’ll unveil the next version of Windows—codenamed Threshold—in two short weeks. The event in San Francisco is expected to herald availability of the not-quite-beta build, assuming Satya’s gang follow the usual playbook.

New Batch of Chromecast Apps for iOS and Android Includes Twitch, WATCH Disney, and More – Google’s Chromecast streaming dongle didn’t see a hardware revision this year, but that’s fine. The $35 device does everything it needs to do–it’s essentially a receptacle for content beamed in from other apps. Today there are a few more apps streaming to the Chromecast, including Twitch on Android and iOS.

Toshiba’s 7-inch Windows 8.1 tablet goes on sale for $119 – Toshiba’s new 7-inch Windows 8.1 tablet, the Encore Mini, is now on sale for just $119, which includes a 1.33GHz quad-core Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB storage and up to 7 hours of battery life.

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How to use Google Voice with the new Hangouts app – The newest update to Google’s messaging app includes Voice calling and texting, a further step towards fully combining the two services. Pulling this together on your phone takes a little bit of work, however. The new app requires some nuanced settings and requires one other download from the Play Store. If you are a Google Voice power user, or are just getting familiar with the service for the first time, follow our tutorial for understanding and getting the most out of what Google has put together.

iOS 8: how to download, when to expect – What to expect when you’re expecting iOS 8 for your device in the next 24 hours is the alternate title for this article. What you’re going to need to know is very little. Most of your iOS 8 upgrade will be automated. You just need to sit back, relax, and think about what you’ve done.

Six reasons why you should not immediately upgrade to iOS 8 – If you’re sticking with an older iPhone or iPad, or working in a business setting, upgrading to iOS 8 may be premature. Here are six good reasons not to upgrade just yet.

GoDaddy makes very funny ad (no, really) – To celebrate small businesses, GoDaddy presents a woman who’s proved everyone wrong and wants to tell them where to shove their views.

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Report Gives Facebook, Twitter, YouTube an ‘F’ in Handling Harassment – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have come under fire for not taking online violence against women seriously according to a new report. The Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Program mapped each social media platform’s policy for reporting and resolving instances of harassment or violence against women, including online sexual harassment and direct violent threats. The APC also tracked the networks’ public responses to international abuses cases. The organization rated all three social networks with an “F” grade in their “public commitment to human rights standards.”

Microsoft has a new keyboard for your phablet, works with iOS and Android – Do you have a large smartphone or a small tablet? If you do, Microsoft has released a new keyboard that could be your new best friend if you like to get work done on your device.

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Microsoft OneNote, now on your smart watch – Microsoft has announced today that it’s OneNote application is now available for your smart watch and integrates with Google Now too for even easier use on these ultra-portable devices. You can use OneNote on your smart watch by saying ” Ok Google, take a note” and the app will allow you to dictate a note. While obviously not the most comprehensive solution, it is on a watch after-all, it does allow you to take quick notes on the go.

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My Maps: customize your Google Maps experience – A little-known system called My Maps has just been updated by Google for Google Maps. What you’re able to do – and what I’ll be showing you here – is take what Google has made with Google Maps and add your own special markers, trails, and directions. You can take what you’ve made, then, and share with friends, coworkers, and associates.

Swype keyboard launching on iOS 8 today for 99 cents – Apple will release iOS 8 for download later today, and you won’t be waiting long for the first third-party keyboards to hit the App Store. In fact, there won’t be any waiting at all. Swype will be available for 99 cents starting Wednesday, kicking off a competition between developers and Apple’s own, new QuickType keyboard to decide who’s come up with the best method for inputting text on your iPhone or iPad. Of course, with Swype and competitor SwiftKey — also launching alongside iOS 8 today for an even lower free — you no longer have to tap individual letters.

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SwiftKey’s Predictive Keyboard App Is A Free Download On iOS – Rejoice, long-time iOS users, for you can finally throw off the shackles of the native Apple keyboard — cursing its erratic autocorrect habits for (hopefully) the last time — as you download a third party keyboard adventure of your choice, including Android veteran SwiftKey, which is releasing its first system-wide keyboard software app on iOS as a free download.

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New ‘Facebook for Rich People’ Costs Just $9,000 to Join – Netropolitan is a new social network that bills itself as “the online country club for people with more money than time.” It launched today and organizers insist that it’s not a joke. The $9,000 fee includes a $6,000 initiation fee, plus a $3,000 annual fee. You must be 21 to join. You’ll supposedly be able to chat with like-minded individuals, though Netropolitan declined to provide details about its user base.

Docurama streams free, on-demand documentaries to iOS – Cinedigm’s Docurama is a free app that streams hundreds of documentaries. Having started out as Roku and Xbox channels, it’s now available for iPhone and iPad. And if you own an Apple TV as well, you can beam the movies to your big screen. The app provides easy on-demand access to over 600 films, a number expected to increase to over 1,000 by the end of 2014. According to Cinedigm, more than two-thirds of the selections currently available can’t be found anywhere else, including Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix.

Security:

Android Browser flaw a “privacy disaster” for half of Android users – A bug quietly reported on September 1 appears to have grave implications for Android users. Android Browser, the open source, WebKit-based browser that used to be part of the Android Open Source Platform (AOSP), has a flaw that enables malicious sites to inject JavaScript into other sites. Those malicious JavaScripts can in turn read cookies and password fields, submit forms, grab keyboard input, or do practically anything else.

Attorney General questions the security of health data on the Apple Watch – Attorney General George C. Jepsen has raised his own concerns around the security of health data used by the Apple Watch, suggesting a meeting in which he and Apple can discuss those concerns.

‘Tiny banker’ malware targets US financial institutions – A banking Trojan, known for its small size but powerful capabilities, has expanded the number of financial institutions from which it can collect data, according to security vendor Avast. A version analyzed by Avast showed Tiny Banker has been customized to target many new financial institutions, many of which are based in the U.S., such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase, wrote Jaromir Horejsi, an Avast malware analyst.

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A screenshot bearing Wells Fargo’s logo showed how Tiny Banker asks for more information when a person logs into their account. It shows a bogus warning about a system update, asking users to provider more information to verify their identity.

Fear not: Kindle flaw that opened your Amazon account to attackers appears fixed – A concerning XSS flaw discovered by a German security researcher appears to be fixed. Here’s what happened.

Apple toughens iCloud backup security – Two weeks after breach of celebrity iCloud accounts, Apple makes good on CEO Tim Cook’s promises to strengthen security.

Company News:

Microsoft Shakes Up Its Board, Boosts Its Dividend 11% – Microsoft has announced two coming board departures, two board additions, and a boost to its dividend. Leaving the board are Dave Marquardt and Dina Dublon. Marquardt is best known for his work in venture capital, and Dublon for her work at JPMorgan Chase. Taking their places are the appointed Teri List-Stoll from Kraft and Charles Scharf of Visa.

IBM’s New Watson Analytics Wants To Bring Big Data To The Masses – IBM today announced a new product called Watson Analytics, one they claim will bring sophisticated big data analysis to the average business user. The product goes into Beta this month and they are shooting for general release by the end of the year. As a cloud service, it will run on a variety of platforms including tablets, smartphones and PC/laptops, but there are no dedicated apps yet. They are offering a free version that’s free forever in the IBM Cloud Marketplace.

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Court upends $368M ruling against Apple for VirnetX patent infringement – A top appeals court has thrown out a jury ruling that ordered Apple to pay $368 million to VirnetX, a patent-holding company that many consider a “patent troll” because it exists exclusively to enforce patents. On Tuesday, the United States Federal Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the decision back to the lower federal court in East Texas.

Micro Focus buying Novell, Suse Linux owner for $1.2 billion – Micro Focus to pick up Attachmate for a little over half of what Attachmate paid for Novell three years ago.

Intel teams with Indian firm to launch ‘Eddy’ tablet for children – Intel has teamed with Indian education startup Metis Learning on an Android tablet that aims to keep children away from violent TV content and games on their parents’ smartphones. Targeted at children aged 2-10 years, Eddy is priced at Indian rupees 9999 ($163), and comes with over 160 apps selected by educators and experts to accelerate a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development, Intel said.

Games and Entertainment:

‘Destiny’ is a beautiful mess – And I can’t stop playing – I’ve spent close to two dozen hours playing Destiny. I completed a galaxy-spanning quest that took me to Venus and Mars, teamed up with complete strangers to take down massive space monsters in thrilling boss encounters, and jumped into a free-for-all multiplayer combat arena where I died many, many times. I spent an embarrassingly long time agonizing over which weapons to equip and what armor provides the best compromise between function and style. Hell, I even downloaded a mobile app so I could check on my character when I wasn’t near a console. It’s a game I love, and a game I hate, and it’s one that I can’t seem to stop playing.

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Nearly a year in, is anyone winning the current generation console war? – Those consoles, as they existed on their respective launch days, don’t really exist anymore. In the intervening months, the system software changed through downloadable updates, and the game library grew with dozens of new releases. With that in mind, it’s time to revisit the state of the console wars as it stands today and potentially amend our launch day thoughts with the benefit of a few hundred days of extra experience.

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The wired Xbox One controller for Windows is finally here – Microsoft has announced a wired Xbox One controller, coming this December, compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8 for gaming on the PC without using a mouse or keyboard.

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Twitch Chromecast release live today – Televisions around the world will now be able to access Twitch in a new way. While Twitch has been available on gaming systems, Android and iOS devices connected to TVs with HDMI or Miracast, and a variety of other oddities, today things get extra Google-y. Today Twitch hits Chromecast.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

You can now attach your iPad directly to your face to experience virtual reality – AirVR is a Kickstarter project from Toronto design firm Metatecture that seeks $20,000 in funding from backers to create an inexpensive headset for converting your iPad Mini (Retina) or soon-to-be-delivered iPhone 6 Plus into a portable virtual reality viewer.

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Time Spent In Apps Up 21% Over Last Year – While there may be an upper limit as to how many apps people interact with over the course of a month, new data from mobile marketing platform Localytics out this morning shows that the time spent actually using apps is increasing. The new study was based on data from Localytics’ customer base, which includes 28,000 applications installed across 1.5 billion devices. For these findings, which cover August 2013 to August 2014, the company says it multiplied the average sessions per user in app by the average session length across all apps, and then broke it down by category.

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Man Attempting To Visit Every Country In The World Captures Terrifying Armed Robbery On Video – A man on a mission to visit every country in the world was recently on a bike tour of Argentina when he captured the terrifying moment an armed thief attempted to rob him in broad daylight.

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A Silk Database of US death penalty executions since 1976 – This site contains close to 60 datapoints for more than 1300 executions, including state, county and annual totals and averages. On this homepage we present some of the relevant findings but this is just a fraction of what’s to be found! Explore the complete database, customize and share your visualizations: start with the Explore-button of any graph or use the search bar.

The little-known Soviet mission to rescue a dead space station – The following story happened in 1985 but subsequently vanished into obscurity. Over the years, many details have been twisted, others created. Even the original storytellers got some things just plain wrong. After extensive research, writer Nickolai Belakovski is able to present, for the first time to an English-speaking audience, the complete story of Soyuz T-13’s mission to save Salyut 7, a fascinating piece of in-space repair history.

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The view of Salyut 7 from Soyuz T-13 after undocking and beginning the journey home.

California Starts Issuing Self-Driving Car Permits – Self-driving cars can now officially hit the road in California, though they will still require some help from their human passengers for awhile. The California Department of Motor Vehicles today started issuing permits that allow for testing of autonomous vehicles on public California roads. Those who pay a $150 application fee get permits for 10 vehicles and 20 drivers. Adding another 10 drivers costs $50 more.

Something to think about:

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Today’s Free Downloads:

BB FlashBack Express – BB FlashBack Express is a free screen recorder with the best-of-breed recording features of BB FlashBack.

Advanced Technology – Our ‘capture driver’ technology gives us a head start on other free screen recorders. It creates high frame rate, high quality movies without affecting PC performance, even on lower powered PCs.

WebCam Recording – Give your movies the personal touch. Make an appearance with a picture-in-picture webcam recording. One click, and BB FlashBack Express records from the webcam while it records the screen.

Sound – Record a commentary at the same time as the screen. It’s easy to record the microphone, PC speakers or other sources.

Easy To Use and Always Ready – BB FlashBack Express lives in your taskbar, system tray or floating above the desktop, so its always available. Click the record button and let the wizard guide you to great recordings, first time.

Publish on the Web – Its never been easier for everyone to see your screen recordings. Upload to YouTube, Blip.tv, Viddler or Revver. Get the URL and share it around.

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WinToBootic – WinToBootic is a free application that can help you to create bootable Windows hard disk or USB flash drive. You can use a CD/DVD, Folder or ISO image to create your bootable disk. This is a portable application that you can start using as soon as you extract it from the ZIP archive.

Using WinToBootic is as easy as selecting your USB drive and then formatting it to make it bootable. Of course, you need to add the CD/DVD, Folder, or ISO with bootable Windows files using either file browser or “drag and drop” feature.

You may also use WinToBootic to create a “Windows To Go” disk if you are using Windows 8. You can create the disk with a Non-Enterprise Windows Install ISO on a Non-Certified USB disk.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

U.S. government to Yahoo: Comply with PRISM, or we’ll make sure you go bankrupt – After a lengthy battle, documents on Friday showed the Bush administration threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 per day for failing to comply with the U.S. government’s PRISM program.

That fine alone would have been troubling for the company. But according to a new first-hand testimony by Yahoo’s lawyers, that was just the beginning.

Attorneys Marc Zwillinger and Jacob Sommer, who represented Yahoo during the case, said in a blog post on Monday that the fines could have been significantly worse. The Bush administration is said to have pushed for contempt, forcing Yahoo to comply, and threatening prosecution if it didn’t comply with government data demands.

If Yahoo didn’t comply, those fines could have doubled each week until Yahoo complied.

“Simple math indicates that Yahoo was facing fines of over $25 million dollars for the first month of noncompliance, and fines of over $400 million in the second month if the court went along with the government’s proposal,” the lawyers wrote.

Yahoo’s average revenue for 2008 amounted to $7.2 billion. That year, the government’s surveillance court, the FISA Court, was pushing for Yahoo to join PRISM.

Had Yahoo held out for just a few weeks, fines could have easily surpassed the company’s net worth, let alone its annual revenue or profit. By the fifth month, Yahoo was facing fines that amounted to the entire U.S. debt, accounting for about $9.5 trillion. And it wouldn’t stop.

Yahoo would have lost everything — any profits gained, assets, cash reserves, and equivalents.

US law would safeguard free-speech rights to criticize business online – A member of the House of Representatives is offering legislation that would make it illegal for businesses to take action against consumers who write “honest” negative reviews online about products and services.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told the National Journal that the forthcoming measure would make it illegal for companies to have non-disparagement clauses in their consumer contracts.

“It’s un-American that any consumer would be penalized for writing an honest review,” Swalwell said. “I’m introducing this legislation to put a stop to this egregious behavior so people can share honest reviews without fear of litigation.”

The Problem With Transparency Reports? They’re Not Very Transparent – In the continued push for transparency post-Snowden, many communications companies and service providers are publishing reports with more details on what sort of data, and how much, they’re being asked to hand over to law enforcement.

But even with this shift, chunks of the reports rather obscure, rather than clear up, exactly what data is requested.

According to their latest transparency filing, cloud storage service Dropbox received 120 search warrants and 109 subpoenas for user information. Responding to the former, they handed over 103 pieces of “content and non-content”—files within the customer’s account, and other pieces of their data such as IP address, respectively. When it came to subpoenas, Dropbox provided law enforcement with 80 pieces of “non-content.”

“While that number is small compared to our 300 million users,” Bart Volkmer, Dropbox’s legal counsel, told the Guardian, “we treat all the requests we receive seriously and scrutinize them to make sure they satisfy legal requirements before complying. We also push back in cases where agencies are seeking too much information or haven’t followed the proper procedures.”

The report reads, “Protecting our users’ privacy is a top priority at Dropbox, so we continue to apply our Government Data Request Principles to every request we receive.” This means that they will fight blanket requests, or ones they deem too broad.

Dropbox may have also received over 200 requests for customers’ data from the US government for reasons of national security. However, this is where the transparency becomes less clear.

California lawmakers want to limit police drones, but activists want them banned – The police hate a bill just passed by California lawmakers, saying it unjustly limits their ability to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to fight crime. The Los Angeles District Attorney hates it too, complaining that requiring police to obtain a warrant before deploying a drone to conduct surveillance goes “beyond what is required by Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” which the seasoned political observer knows police and politicians are supposed to gut, not exceed.

But there’s another, somewhat unexpected source of opposition to AB 1327, passed last month by the California State Senate: anti-drone activists.

“We are gathered here today to we reject the use of drones by law enforcement under any circumstances,” said Hamid Khan, an organizer with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, at a September 15 press conference in front of City Hall in downtown LA. Activists here are particularly anxious about drones since the Los Angeles Police Department obtained two small surveillance UAVs from police in Seattle, who had to give them away in the face of overwhelming public opposition to their use. The drones have not yet been deployed, with Mayor Eric Garcetti promising to seek public input before ever letting them fly.

While the American Civil Liberties Union of California has endorsed the legislation, which would be the state’s first attempt to restrict the use of UAVs—if Democratic Governor Jerry Brown actually signs it into law—Khan argued that “when you look at the actual bill, it has enough waivers and exceptions and loopholes you can actually drive a drone through it.”

NSA reform bill stalled with Congress headed toward fall recess – The U.S. Congress is unlikely to pass legislation to end the National Security Agency’s widespread collection of U.S. telephone records before leaving Washington, D.C., on a two-month break.

Congress is scheduled to leave town for its fall recess by the end of this week, with the USA Freedom Act still awaiting action in the Senate. Members of Congress will head back to their home districts to campaign for November’s elections, with all members of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate on the ballot.

The USA Freedom Act, with significant support in the House and the Senate, still has some lawmakers questioning whether reining in the NSA’s phone records collection program would hurt the U.S. government’s war on terrorism.

Absent congressional action, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced late Friday that they have asked for, and received, court authorization to continue the telephone records collection program. The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reauthorized the program to continue until Dec. 5, with some limits proposed by President Barack Obama earlier this year.

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