Tag Archives: Mark Zuckerberg

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – August 19, 2015

Cloud security: 10 things you need to know;  Confide, The Self-Destructing Messenger, Goes Live On Desktop;  Five free encryption apps to help secure your Android device;  Cleaning vs. Protection – Why you shouldn’t rely on malware cleaning;  Five more data recovery tools that could save the day;  33 Gmail Tips That Will Help You Conquer Email;  11 cool back-to-school tech tools;  Who’s upgrading to Windows 10?  Activate GodMode in Windows 10;  Google announces OnHub, a $200 router;  Microsoft issues emergency patch for critical IE bug;  Why you need to turn down your TV’s sharpness control;  Anti-privacy unkillable super-cookies spreading around the world;  Stephen Hawking’s speech software is now available for free;  Windows 10 won’t run some older CD-ROM games;  With Microsoft Sway, your next presentation doesn’t have to suck;  The 10 Best Gaming Monitors of 2015;  Your complete guide to the iOS 9 public beta;  Attackers increasingly abuse insecure routers;  The latest on Trump’s enemies list: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg;  UN demands NSA respect its privacy amid AT&T spying report.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Cleaning vs. Protection – Why you shouldn’t rely on malware cleaning – There’s a big difference between a protected PC and a PC that has been “cleaned”. If you rely on the latter, then you’re just waiting for disaster to strike. After all, you wouldn’t avoid wearing your seatbelt because a doctor can put you back together again, would you? Losing important data and shelling out for expensive consultations are real problems, but inconvenience is just the tip of the malware iceberg.

Cloud security: 10 things you need to know – It seems that every time the cloud is brought up in the enterprise, the conversation to follow is focused on how secure, or not secure, it really is. Some would have you believe the cloud is safer than on-premise, while others contend that it is the least safe place you could store your data. When thinking about cloud security, it’s ultimately up to each individual organization and its leadership to determine if a cloud deployment is the right strategy. However, cloud adoption is growing overall, and it is important to consider how it affects the organization. Here are 10 things you need to know about cloud security.

11 cool back-to-school tech tools – Equip yourself for a successful year with these campus tech tools, including an innovative note-taking pen, a laptop-friendly backpack and a clever space-saving power strip.

Survey highlights Mac vs. PC buying in back to school shopping trends – More than 4,000 shoppers surveyed give you their outlooks on Mac, PC, tablets, and more for Fall semester 2015.

Confide, The Self-Destructing Messenger, Goes Live On Desktop – Confide launched 18 months ago as a mobile app on iOS and Android, offering users the chance to send messages to each other that are only readable a few words at a time. When the user tapped on certain words in the message, they would appear and disappear again as the user’s finger moved across the entire message. Once the user chose to reply or exit out, the message disappeared forever. Now, that same functionality is coming over to the Desktop for both Mac and Windows as a native application.

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Five free encryption apps to help secure your Android device – Do your hats tend to fall into the tinfoil range? Are you afraid there is always somebody watching you? If so, rest assured that the Android ecosystem offers plenty of apps to soothe your paranoia. But which apps are the must-haves? Here are five apps you should immediately install and put to work. They’ll bring you peace in the knowledge that your mobile data is far more secure than those around you.

Five more data recovery tools that could save the day – Maybe it was hardware failure or user error or a malicious attack… but you don’t necessarily have to kiss that data goodbye. Here are some apps that just might get it back for you.

33 Gmail Tips That Will Help You Conquer Email – Gmail has come a long way in 11 years. It’s not perfect and occasionally sends ripples of outrage across its user base. But let’s be honest: with Gmail you get plenty for nothing. As a Web app, Gmail is a work in progress, with Google occasionally adding new functions. The amount of under-the-hood power in Gmail is pretty staggering. That’s what we’re here to delve into: all the tools that lay below the surface of the Gmail inbox.

Hack turns Amazon Dash Buttons into do anything switches – As seen previously, Amazon’s new Dash Buttons are physical equivalents of 1-click checkout options, allowing Amazon Prime members to order common household items with a single press of the WiFi-connected device. But one programmer has come with a fairly simple hack that turns the $5 buttons into something that can track just about any type of data point. In a detailed post on Medium, Edward Benson explains how he turned a Dash Button into a system that collects data on his baby.

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Activate GodMode in Windows 10 – If you’re sick of switching between the Settings menu and the Control Panel, searching for your lost settings, there is a way to access all settings and controls in one place: GodMode. GodMode is a dedicated folder that lets you see all control panels in one place — here, you’ll be able to do everything from adding clocks for different time zones to defragmenting your drives. And it’s a snap to set up.

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Screenshot: GodMode on a Windows 10 personal machine.

Who’s upgrading to Windows 10? – Windows 8.1 users have been half again as likely to upgrade to Windows 10 as their compatriots running Windows 7, data from a Web metrics vendor showed today, confirming expectations about who would upgrade first to Microsoft’s new operating system. The ascension of Windows 10’s usage share has largely come at the expense of Windows 8.1, according to measurements by Irish analytics company StatCounter. Of the combined usage share losses posted by Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 since the last full week before Windows 10’s July 29 launch, 57% has been attributed to Windows 8.1 deserters. Windows 7, meanwhile, contributed 37% of the losses by the last three editions, and Windows 8, 6%.

Microsoft Launches New Windows 10 Build, Vows To Keep Its Early Access Program Alive – Microsoft released a new Windows 10 build to its testing community today, noting in the process that the developers and fans in its ‘Insider’ program will continue to receive builds ahead of the general public. The gist is that after the formal launch of Windows 10 to the public — more on that here — Microsoft remains focused on placing new features and the like into its self-selected testing community. That choice fits with the company’s goal of updating Windows 10 on a chronic basis; if you are going to release consistently, you need testers. So, the Windows Insider program lives on.

With Microsoft Sway, your next presentation doesn’t have to suck – I’m not going to go through the mechanics of how to create a Sway story, but I can say the tool is fairly easy to use, even for an old guy like me. Sway combines features from PowerPoint, Movie Maker, and WordPress, among others, so that a person with limited multimedia skill can put together a storyboard in very little time. If you have an Office 365 subscription, then you already have Sway. If you don’t have Office 365, but you have Windows 10, you can get Sway for free from the Windows Store. Microsoft provides tutorials and examples to get you started, so Sway may be worth a try for your next presentation or report.

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Google announces OnHub, a $200 router focused on simplicity – OnHub’s key selling point really seems to be that it’s easy to set up and painless to troubleshoot. It connects to iOS and Android phones through what looks like a clean and stylish app, which tells owners how many devices are connected to OnHub and what kind of speeds they’re getting. Google says that the router’s circular design should allow it to have better penetration throughout a home (there are 13 antennas inside of it); the router will also automatically detect the best channel to broadcast on and includes support for 802.11ac and 5GHz Wi-Fi.

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Google Launches Standalone Hangouts Site – Need to chat with someone on Hangouts but don’t feel like keeping your Gmail open? Now there’s another way. Google this week launched a standalone Hangouts site where you can chat to your heart’s content right from your browser, without opening Gmail or Google+.

Why you need to turn down your TV’s sharpness control – The problem is that the sharpness control itself doesn’t really do anything to increase detail, and can often obscure that detail behind a mask of artificial-looking enhancement. You should almost always turn it all the way down, especially with high-quality sources like Blu-ray discs, HDTV broadcasts, video games, some HD streaming services, and so on. Here’s why.

Your complete guide to the iOS 9 public beta – The iOS 9 public beta is out, giving iPhone and iDevice users their first taste of Apple’s new operating system and a chance to locate and report bugs before it’s officially released later this year. After initiating a similar program in 2014 with Mac OS X Yosemite, this is the first year that Apple has made iOS betas available to people outside its paid Developer Program. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility and if you’re thinking of jumping in early, here’s what you need to know.

Yelp Wants You to Review the Government – Under a new agreement with Yelp, federal agencies can now claim their existing Yelp pages or launch new ones to respond officially to reviews, according to Luther Lowe, vice president of public policy at Yelp. “It’s exciting because it allows government agencies to take real-time feedback from citizens and act upon it in a way that helps our democracy operate better,” Lowe says.

Security:

Microsoft issues emergency patch for critical IE bug under active exploit – Microsoft has issued an emergency update for its Internet Explorer browser to patch a critical vulnerability attackers are actively exploiting to install malware on targeted computers. CVE-2015-2502, as the remote code-execution flaw is indexed, can be exploited when vulnerable computers visit booby-trapped websites or possibly when they open malicious HTML-based e-mails. The bug involves the way IE stores objects in memory and results in an error that corrupts memory contents. The vulnerability, which is present in all supported versions of IE, carries Microsoft’s top severity of critical for all desktop versions of Windows. The rating is one step lower for server OSes because IE on those versions runs in a restricted mode known as enhanced security configuration.

Another serious vulnerability found in Android’s media processing service – The latest vulnerability in Android’s mediaserver component was discovered by security researchers from antivirus firm Trend Micro and stems from a feature called AudioEffect. The implementation of this feature does not properly check some buffer sizes that are supplied by clients, like media player applications. Therefore it is possible to craft a rogue application without any special permissions that could exploit the flaw to trigger a heap overflow, the Trend Micro researchers said Monday in a blog post.

Anti-privacy unkillable super-cookies spreading around the world – study – At least nine telcos around the world are using so-called super-cookies to secretly monitor citizens’ online behavior, according to a new study. This super-cookie allows ad networks and media publishers to follow people across the internet even if they clear their cookies. It allows the networks to build up profiles on users’ habits, and pitch them targeted advertising, while the telcos take a cut. Access set up a website called Amibeingtracked.com, and monitored visits from 180,000 netizens on their phones. The group found that 15.3 per cent of visitors had the tracking headers installed from cellphone owners in Canada, China, India, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Peru, Spain, the US, and Venezuela.

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Attackers increasingly abuse insecure routers and other home devices for DDoS attacks – Attackers are taking advantage of home routers and other devices that respond to UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) requests over the Internet in order to amplify distributed denial-of-service attacks. A report released Tuesday by cloud services provider Akamai Technologies shows that the number of DDoS attacks is on the rise. During the second quarter of 2015 it increased by 7 percent compared to the previous three months and by 132 percent compared to the same period last year, the company’s data revealed. Overall, attackers launched less powerful attacks, but their duration was longer. Even so, the company saw 12 attacks that exceeded 100Gbps during the second quarter and five that peaked at more than 50 million packets per second.

Ashley Madison hackers appear to have followed through on threat to expose users – The information was first posted on the dark web, before the group behind the attacks — calling itself the Impact Team — announced its release on Reddit earlier this week. A searchable database has been constructed using the information, allowing interested parties to search for people by name or email address, and returning details including their sexual preference, contact details, body type, and fetishes. User passwords are encrypted with the bcrypt algorithm, suggesting that Ashley Madison at least took steps to secure that information while on file, but Robert Graham, CEO of Erratasec, told Wired that “hackers are still likely to be able to ‘crack’ many of these hashes in order to discover the account holder’s original password.”

IRS: Tax breach much worse than originally thought – The cyberattack on U.S. taxpayer data reported by the Internal Revenue Service earlier this year now appears to be much worse than originally thought, the agency announced Monday, with as many as 300,000 citizens now believed to be potential victims.

Company News:

Target pens settlement agreement with Visa over 2013 security breach – The $67 million Target will pay as part of the agreement will help cover the costs that banks were hit with as a result of the security breach. According to the Wall Street Journal, trade groups on behalf of credit unions and some community banks spent in excessive of $350 million having to reissues cards and patch up other troubles that surfaced as a result of the breach, and the Home Depot breach that followed.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Defends His Company After a Scathing New York Times Article – According to CNBC, Bezos said in the memo that the NYT article “doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day.” The article, published over the weekend by NYT, depicts an exceedingly harsh environment for employees at Amazon, which recently surpassed Walmart to become the world’s most valuable retailer. The story describes Amazon as a “bruising workplace” where employees are routinely mistreated and pitted against one another, all while working long hours.

Google Pushes Android One To Africa – Google is ramping up its Android One affordable smartphone program with a push into Africa. The first Android One smartphone for the region is being made by OEM Infinix, and is launching in Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Morocco today.

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Company pays FCC $750,000 for blocking Wi-Fi hotspots at conventions – A Wi-Fi service provider has agreed to pay the Federal Communications Commission $750,000 for blocking personal mobile hotspots used by convention visitors and exhibitors so they could avoid paying the company’s $80-per-day fee. Smart City Holdings automatically blocked users from using their personal cell phone data plans to establish mobile Wi-Fi networks, according to a statement published Tuesday by FCC officials. After the FCC took action against Smart City Holdings, the company pledged to stop the practice and pay the $750,000 fee to settle the matter. Marriott remains defiant: “We believe that the Opryland’s actions were lawful.” It’s the second enforcement action by the FCC taking aim at the blocking of FCC-approved Wi-Fi connections.

Alibaba setting up cloud datacentre, international HQ in Singapore – Alibaba’s cloud business, Aliyun, has announced plans to set up its international headquarters in Singapore as part of efforts to drive its global expansion. It also confirmed a new datacentre will be established in the city-state slated to launch next month, the company said. With its opening, the site will be the seventh such facility worldwide and second outside of China, after it launched its Silicon Valley site in March. The Singapore facility will provide a range of cloud offerings including relational database, open storage, and security services.

BuzzFeed Confirms $200M Investment From NBCUniversal – If the news sounds a little familiar, that’s because Vox Media announced a similar deal with NBCUniversal last week. At the time, Re/code (now owned by Vox) reported that BuzzFeed had received an investment of the same size, at a valuation of $1.5 billion. As with the Vox deal, BuzzFeed and NBCUniversal say they’ll be looking at possibilities for strategic partnerships.

Stephen Hawking’s speech software is now available for free – Stephen Hawking’s speech system has been released by Intel as open-source code. The company is hoping that developers will tinker with it and expand its application to a wider range of disabilities. The Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT) gives differently abled users the opportunity to use computers with very little movement, and was developed to help Hawking, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) communicate by translating his facial movements into text.

Games and Entertainment:

Windows 10 won’t run some older CD-ROM games, thanks to DRM – At the turn of the century, it was hard to find gamers—or gaming journalists, for that matter—who didn’t despise SecuRom and SafeDisc digital rights management copy protection on some of the top titles of that age. The DRM was accused of causing harware problems and were incredibly invasive on a user’s system. Those DRM mechanisms are gone now, but people still love to pop in their old Grand Theft Auto IV or Spore DRM-laden discs and play a little of these classics. In Windows 10, however, that’s no longer possible: Windows 10 does not allow the SecuRom and SafeDisc DRM schemes to run, which means the games will fail to start.

Microsoft remakes famous Gears of War trailer for upcoming Ultimate Edition – Gears of War was one of the first big exclusive hits for the Xbox 360 when it came out way back in 2006. The game has spawned several sequels, but now Microsoft is going back to pretty up the original. Gears of War Ultimate Edition is headed to the Xbox One later this month, and Microsoft has refreshed that famous 2006 Gears trailer to get people hyped for the remake.

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Wonky Pigeon lets gamers ‘destroy city with poo’ – Getting tired of playing games as a goat, but don’t find ordinary human characters interesting enough? Late last week a new game launched on Steam called Wonky Pigeon, and in it you play as a pigeon who, apparently, is able to channel his dark side (as if pigeons possess anything more). The gamer is tasked with flying above a city and, it appears, a farm of some sort and identifying targets — that is, people who are going about their own business until, out of nowhere, the pigeon unleashes its most foul weapon.

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How Ubuntu’s making it easier for Linux gamers to get the latest graphics drivers – Gaming’s not all about rocking the biggest, beefiest graphics card. Serious PC gamers know it’s important to have the latest graphics drivers from Nvidia or AMD , which can dramatically improve performance with newer games. That holds true on Linux, too—but it hasn’t been as easy to install the latest graphics drivers on Linux as it is on Windows-based systems. Ubuntu is fixing the problem.

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Borderlands 2 running on Ubuntu Linux.

This week’s new Xbox One and Xbox 360 Deals With Gold revealed – Microsoft has announced this week’s lineup of Deals With Gold offers for Xbox One and Xbox 360, with games like Batman: Arkham Knight, Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption, and more on sale. Take a look at the full lineup below. All deals are good through August 24. Those marked with an asterisk do not require an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Grand Ages: Medieval preview: Economics, warfare, and economic warfare – Buy. Sell. Buy. Sell. Buy. Sell. Upgrade your town. Repeat. Grand Ages: Medieval is hardly going to win our entirely-fictional “Most Visceral Game” award. More than Europa Universalis, more than Total War, more than Civilization, Grand Ages: Medieval is like peering into the guts of an empire instead of sitting above it. Why is an emperor concerned with trade routes? I don’t know. But in this game, that’s life. Grand Ages: Medieval is about slowly building a massive machine out of piecemeal parts, and then tuning those pieces towards perpetual motion—towards self-correction and permanence.

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The 10 Best Gaming Monitors of 2015 – Whether you’re a serious PC gamer or a casual after-hours warrior, your hardware can mean the difference between victory and defeat. To get the most out of the latest first-person shooter (FPS), sports, racing, and other fast-action games, you’ll not only need a gaming PC with a powerful graphics solution, you’ll need a monitor that can display the action without subjecting you to blurred images, flicker, tearing, and other motion artifacts. In this guide we’ll help you choose a display that will give you an edge over your opponents while delivering a smooth, immersive gaming experience. We highlight the factor to consider when choosing a gaming monitor, and give our current favorites.

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Ubisoft: Rainbow Six Siege delayed until December – Ubisoft has announced that, due to gamer feedback, it has delayed the release of Rainbow Six: Siege until December 1 of this year, about a month and a half later than the originally planned release date of October 13. Ubisoft announced the news today in a statement, saying the delayed launch covers all planned regions, and that while it “wasn’t an easy decision”, it is one that is necessary based on the feedback Ubisoft has gotten thus far from gamers.

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High-quality 1080p Xbox One-to-PC streaming now live for all – The hack that unlocked high-quality streaming from the Xbox One to a Windows 10 PC is a hack no longer—Microsoft has pushed it to the world at large as part of its August update. You can now stream games from your Xbox One to Windows 10 devices in HD quality at 1080p and 60 frames per second, Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb said in a blog post on Tuesday. All you’ll need to do is go into the Xbox app in Windows 10, go to Settings > Game Streaming and set the video encoding level to Very High. Enabling this, however, requires both an update to the Xbox One console itself as well as the Windows 10 PC’s Xbox app.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Snowden Graphic Novel is a Dark, Funny Portrait of a Whistleblower – Laura Poitras’s Academy Award-winning documentary Citizenfour showed history being made as Snowden walked reporter Glenn Greenwald through the data. Later this year, Joseph Gordon-Levitt will star in Oliver Stone’s Snowden, a dramatization of the whistleblower’s life. And in a few weeks, you’ll be able to read Snowden, an upcoming illustrated biography by author and editorial cartoonist Ted Rall. Here’s what I thought of this darkly funny look at our ongoing surveillance nightmare.

The latest on Trump’s enemies list: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – If you’re not for Donald Trump, you’re against him. You’re also likely either a slob, a moron, an idiot or a loser. Please, these are not my epithets. You know where they come from. The Donald, as the Republican presidential hopeful is currently known, has a new enemy to go along with the likes of journalist Megyn Kelly, Sen. John McCain and, oh, all the others. This time it’s Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Behold! The Laptop Butler That Holds Your Drink To Your Laptop – As we approach the New Age, a thousand portents churn on the horizon. Dogs and cats begin living together. A man has found something he mislaid months before in a place he has already looked. And, as was written in days of old, the Laptop Butler would rise to hold our drinks to our laptops. But what is the Laptop Butler? It is a drink holder that attaches to your laptop. Why? So you can put your drink near your laptop and not use up your table space. The creators, Jeffrey A. Taylor and William H. Merritt, envision a world in which the Laptop Butler saves you from unwanted spills.

10 of the weirdest wheeled ways to get around (pictures) – Wheeled personal transportation options, from transforming roller-skate shoes to half-bikes, have never been wackier or more diverse than they are now.

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Post Modern Skateboard has no board.

New earbuds give you super-hearing – Instead of earbuds, which typically deliver music and voice sounds through a wire, and hearing aids, which boost certain frequencies (lost to the elderly who listened to loud music through earbuds in their misspent youths), the new hearables — wearable devices that live in your ears — enable the customization of environmental sound. You can cherry-pick which noises you want to hear better, and which you want silenced. Here’s what you’ll hear.

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Drinkable book has pages that filter water and kill bacteria – We in the developed world take for granted the infrastructure that delivers clean, safe water directly to our homes, something that was an unthinkable luxury until quite recently in human history. In many areas of the world, sources of water are much less regulated, and can contain dangerous levels of bacteria. A researcher from Carnegie Mellon University is working on book to help people make drinking water safer. The book doesn’t just deliver information, though. It also filters water. This project is the brainchild of Dr. Teri Dankovich, currently at Carnegie Mellon, but much of the work for this technology was done at McGill University and the University of Virginia.

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Will Solar Panels Save You Money? Ask Google’s Project Sunroof – Dubbed “Project Sunroof,” Elkin’s program uses high-resolution aerial mapping to help calculate the solar energy potential of local residents’ roofs. Currently being tested in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, and Boston, Project Sunroof utilizes the same technology in use by Google Earth. Folks living in the initial test areas can visit the Project Sunroof website: Enter your address, and the service will estimate how much you might save by adding solar panels to your house.

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Something to think about:

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

–     Aldous Huxley

Downloads:

Tor – Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.

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Why Anonymity Matters – Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

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PaperScan Scanner Software – PaperScan Scanner Software is a powerful TWAIN & WIA scanning application centered on one idea: making document acquisition an unparalleled easy task for anyone.

But it also provides advanced features like OCR, annotations or color detection.

Universal Scanning Application

Automatic Color Detection

Import Images and PDF documents

Annotations

Image Adjustments and Enhancements

Various File Formats Saving

Batch Scanning With Separator Sheets Support

Quick-Scan Mode

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

UN demands NSA respect its privacy amid AT&T spying report – The United Nations has asked member states to “respect” its privacy amid reports it had been extensively spied on by the US government.

Almost exactly two years after it emerged that the National Security Agency was conducting surveillance on the United Nations, a report published in tandem by The New York Times and ProPublica added new details.

Documents provided by Edward Snowden showed the US government was getting help from AT&T, which supplied the United Nations’ headquarters in New York with internet and phone services.

The report said AT&T’s alleged relationship with the NSA under the “Fairview” program helped the intelligence agency tap into phones, emails, and infiltrate the video-conferencing systems. Earlier reports said UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s talking points to President Barack Obama were were also seen through the Blarney email-grabbing program.

The United Nations, the global governing body for the world’s governments, is examining “how best to respond,” UN spokeswoman Vannina Maestracci told reporters on Monday.

White House Recruits Tech Troops to Serve Government ‘Tour of Duty’ – The American government finally has its own tech army—and it’s looking to recruit.

President Obama signed an executive order on Monday to officialize the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIFs) program, a growing national service initiative that recruits technologically-minded Americans as troops to work alongside federal employees to create products and services for a dozen government agencies.

The executive order, which formally establishes the three-year-old fellowship within the General Services Administration, is the culmination of Obama’s efforts to improve upon the federal government’s outdated IT and web services. So far, the roughly 100 fellows who’ve participated in the competitive service program have tackled issues like the Healthcare.gov meltdown, the Veterans Affairs scandal and police reform.

“Almost every job or career comes to the government, except technology. And when they do come, they’re buried in the IT team,” says U.S. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Megan Smith, who left her job as a Google exec last fall to spearhead the nation’s technology policy.

Smith, the third person and first woman to hold the post, said the idea of tech service “hadn’t occurred to [her]” until she began emailing with former U.S. CTO Todd Park, the fellowship’s founder. “The tech folks haven’t always had a welcome seat at the table,” says Smith, who, like Park, maintains that the federal government can be as good an incubator for innovation as Silicon Valley—with the right people. The program does its own recruiting, but also has an application available on its website.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 23, 2015

Senate leader introduces bill to extend Patriot Act surveillance;  Pin web apps to your taskbar;  How to Turn Your Phone Into a Wi-Fi Hotspot;  These Are the Best Flight Search Tools;  10 apps to turn your Mac into a productivity champ;  Five process monitors that go beyond Task Manager;  Unboxing the Intel Compute Stick;  Now you can stream videos from your OneDrive account on Android;  Where is Your Antivirus Made?  10 apps to help you keep your garden alive;  The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week;  Comcast’s Time Warner Cable merger in danger;  11 most overrated games of all time;  Compromised govt data could affect millions in China;  The Password Reset Dilemma;  Microsoft is building in tech support directly into Windows 10;  Fedora 22 goes beta;  Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC;  The 10 Most-Pirated Movies Last Week.

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Senate leader introduces bill to extend Patriot Act surveillance – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill that would extend the surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act until 2020, instead of expiring on June 1. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is reportedly pushing for the bill to be fast-tracked straight to the Senate floor, without any hearings or votes in Senate committees. The bill, if passed, would kill efforts in Congress to rein in the NSA’s telephone records collection program. In addition to phone records, Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the NSA or FBI to collect business records and “any tangible things” when the agencies have “reasonable grounds” to believe those records are relevant to an antiterrorism investigation.

How to Turn Your Phone Into a Wi-Fi Hotspot – Almost any modern smartphone can also work as a Wi-Fi hotspot, sharing its 4G LTE connection to anywhere from five to 10 devices, whether they be laptops, tablets, or other phones. You just have to have the right service plan and tap a few buttons. The most complex part of using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, nowadays, is making sure you’re on the right service plan. Not all plans allow “tethering,” which is what the carriers call hotspot use. If you try to set up a hotspot and get bounced out, you may need to upgrade your service plan.

Pin web apps to your taskbar to make them behave like desktop software – If you’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can make web apps feel more desktop-like by pinning them to your taskbar. You may not necessarily get features like offline functionality or local file system access—that’s up to your browser—but when it’s on the taskbar, your web app is always one click away. Pinned web apps also open in their own window, just like traditional desktop software. Right now, you can use either Internet Explorer or Google’s Chrome to pin websites to your taskbar. Both browsers aren’t created equally, however, and there are some differences in functionality depending on which browser you choose.

These Are the Best Flight Search Tools – Last year, 40 percent of Americans booked flights, hotels, cruises and other holidays on their phones and tablets, a statistic based on 300 million bookings worth $150 billion, while the Economist reckons that online bookings account for 43% of total travel sales. We picked six of the top-rated flight aggregator services and compared prices for 10 flights over a week in June, from domestic flights including New York to Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas and Austin, and international flights from New York to Toronto, Sydney, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong.

10 apps to turn your Mac into a productivity champ – As more companies are using Macs in the workplace, it’s important for you to have the proper toolset. The “App Store” for Macs gives users easy access to a variety of tools and services. Here are 10 applications to will help turn your Mac into the business machine you need it to be.

Chrome users roast Google on spit of hate over revamped bookmarks manager – Google’s redesign of the Chrome bookmarks manager has begun rolling out to the browser’s users running the most polished version. And those users are very, very unhappy. They’re more than that, actually. They hate the change, tossing off words like “disastrous,” “hideous” and “horror” to describe their impressions. “I don’t care how smart or sleek or cool you think the new interface is, you just made it much HARDER to use,” groused Bill Wiltsch on a long Chrome support discussion forum thread. “If this does not get easier quickly, I will be switching browsers.”

Unboxing the Intel Compute Stick – The Intel Compute Stick is a complete desktop PC in a USB memory stick. What you get in the box is just as simple. The Compute Stick’s street price of $150 is a direct response to the oh-so-cheap Chrome OS desktops. You won’t get a display, keyboard, or mouse, but the Compute Stick will let you carry a Windows PC in your shirt pocket, ready to plug in at home or in the office.

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Switching operating systems is almost never the answer to problems – Summary: One of the worst pieces of advice given to people looking for help and advice with computer problems is that they should switch to a different operating system. Here’s why, along with some tips for anyone who still wants to change operating systems.

Fedora 22 goes beta – As it has since Fedora 21 came out last December, Fedora isn’t coming out in a single edition. Instead, it’s following the Fedora.next initiative of delivering three distinct Fedora editions: Fedora 22 Cloud, Fedora 22 Server, and Fedora 22 Workstation. Each version is meant to meet a specific use case. However, they all share a common base set of packages, which includes the brand new Linux 4.0 kernel, RPM, systemd, and the Anaconda installer. According to Red Hat, “This small, stable set of components allows for a solid foundation upon which to base Fedora.”

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Five process monitors that go beyond Task Manager – When a Windows system becomes unresponsive, the Task Manager is often the go-to tool for figuring out the problem. But as helpful as the Task Manager can be for tracking down the offending process, a number of other tools are available that can provide even more insight into what’s going on. This article lists five tools for monitoring your system processes.

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Example: Process Hacker includes all the functionality you would expect, plus some nice extras. For example, it can verify file signatures and send a message to a user who is running a particular process.

Microsoft is building in tech support directly into Windows 10 – If you have ever had an issue with your PC, odds are you likely went to your favorite search engine and started looking for a solution or you called up that tech savvy friend of yours. Microsoft is looking to change this behavior in Windows 10 and we can start to see their new solution coming together. Earlier today, Microsoft released a new build of Windows 10 and with it comes an app called ‘Contact Support’. As the name implies, this is a new channel for searching how to fix your PC or to resolve billing issues. There are three options to choose from after you open the app: My device, Microsoft account and billing, and Microsoft online services.

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Facebook Messenger Makes 10% Of Global VOIP Calls – Facebook Messenger wants to replace the telephone, not just SMS, and it’s on its way. Messenger now makes up 10% of global Voice Over IP calls, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during today’s Q1 2015 earnings call. And Zuckerberg said that because VOIP can actually provide higher audio quality for calls than traditional phone calls, he expects that growth “is going to continue very quickly.” Considering Facebook only fully rolled out free VOIP calling to Messenger last April, it’s impressive that it’s already becoming a legitimate competitor to apps like Skype. And just yesterday it began rolling out free VOIP calls to WhatsApp on iOS after bringing the feature to Android last month.

Now you can stream videos from your OneDrive account on Android – The latest OneDrive for Android update has enabled in-app video playback capabilities, allowing users to stream the videos directly from their account. The latest update being rolled out on the Google Play Store for OneDrive lets the users stream videos stored on their account without leaving the app. In addition to this, the app now supports improved photo organization with albums. File sharing is also enabled with the latest version of OneDrive for Android, making it easier to send links to stored files from within the app.

Periscope, Meerkat get NHL banhammer – The NHL isn’t happy about people live-streaming its events, and so it has given both Meerkat and Periscope the banhammer, at least to the extent it is able to. This includes any live-streaming that starts 30 minutes before the beginning of an event or less, the event itself, and the end of the event. It’s not surprising that the NHL has its own Periscope account, and that it doesn’t like attendees eating into its revenue by doing their own illicit streaming.

Making software to block annoying ads is legal, German court rules – AdBlock Plus users in Germany can breathe easily: A court there has ruled that the browser extension for filtering annoying ads is legal to make and distribute. The Hamburg court dismissed the complaint on Tuesday, although as is usual for German courts it will be another couple of weeks before publication of the written verdict containing the reasoning behind the ruling.

10 apps to help you keep your garden alive – Tech is as pervasive as an unchecked case of English Ivy. Since it’s spring, why not bring your smartphone into the garden too?

How Google’s Project Fi pricing stacks up to the competition – Google just announced Project Fi, its new MVNO wireless service for the Nexus 6. Google hopes to shake up the industry with its control of the hardware, software, and network. It’s sort of the Google Fiber approach: move into a market with a new pricing scheme and new technology and hope the pressure of competition makes the internet better for everyone.

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The 3 big drawbacks to using Google Project Fi – Google’s wireless carrier is out in the open, and along with a number of fairly solid positive points, there are – as with any industry-moving plan – some drawbacks. This Google wireless carrier business has been a long time coming, after all, and it’s no perfect first swipe. Today we’re having a peek at what you need to know about Google Project Fi if you plan on subscribing in the near future in both the positive and the negative. The article you’re about to dive into right here and now is aimed at showing you what you might consider drawbacks.

Google Chrome Live: What you need to know – On Wednesday, April 22, Google hosted its first ever Chrome Live event, focused on Chrome for Work. Here’s what you need to know.

How to download your entire Google search history – Want a copy of your personal Google search history for your very own? Now you can export and download it, though it’s in a funky file format.

The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week – Google Calendar, VOX Player and more are our favorite iPhone apps of the week.

Security:

You’re More Likely to be Struck by Lightning Than Infected With Mobile Malware – The scope of Damballa’s study is enormous, focusing on some 151 million devices per day, up from 25 million when the company carried out the study in 2012. The company said that this amounted to 50 percent of mobile data traffic in the U.S. But of of these, the company only saw some 9,688 devices reaching out to URLs associated with mobile malware. That works out to .0064 percent of the traffic being malicious. In the company’s press release, Damballa said that the National Weather Services’ official odds on being struck by lightning were significantly higher at 1.3 percent.

Pointing up   The likelihood of a terrorist attack affecting any individual western citizen is substantially less – yet, I don’t see any “Lightening Avoidance Classes” – shocking though that may be – or, a color coded weather alert system (technically achievable), warning of imminent lightening strikes in a given area. But then, I don’t suppose that either one of the foregoing makes good “security theatre”  or, offers an opportunity to exercise unrestrained government control.    (facetious /font)

Where is Your Antivirus Made? – Recently, I ran across a new free antivirus program that scored well on Virus Bulletin’s detection tests. I was about to download it for a thorough review when I discovered it’s made in China. That got me thinking: does it really matter where antivirus software is made? Are the good guys who defend us against bad guys all completely good? Can we trust them implicitly just because they make antivirus software and get it tested by independent labs? Well, it seems we do. But should we? Read on… (recommended by FormalDaHyde)

Microsoft unveils Device Guard, another security feature in Windows 10 – One of the new security features coming to Windows 10 is called Device Guard. Alongside Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport it aims to offer enterprise customers top-notch security on their devices.

Wi-Fi software security bug could leave Android, Windows, Linux open to attack – In an e-mail today to the Open Source Software Security (oss-security) mailing list, the maintainer of wireless network client code used by Android, the Linux and BSD Unix operating systems, and Windows Wi-Fi device drivers sent an urgent fix to a flaw that could allow attackers to crash devices or even potentially inject malicious software into their memory. The flaw could allow these sorts of attacks via a malicious wireless peer-to-peer network name. The vulnerability was discovered by the security team at Alibaba and reported to wpa_supplicant maintainer Jouni Malinen by the Google security team.

Compromised govt data could affect millions in China – More than 52 million pieces of personal information such as ID numbers, social security details, financial status, and property ownership have reportedly been compromised in various government-run systems across China, local media said on April 22. According to data provided by loudong.360.cn, a security watchdog, high-risk loopholes have been found in systems such as social security, household administration, disease control, and hospitals in more than 30 cities across China — and these are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Password Reset Dilemma – On a number of services out there, in this case Dropbox, there are password reset or recovery mechanisms that are not just annoying, they simply do not work. I know I cannot be the only one with this problem. I don’t want to single out Dropbox, because this happens with a lot of systems. But it has happened to me with Dropbox every time I use the product. Unless I can guess one of the dozens of passwords I have used there, I have to create yet another new account. I sometimes wonder if this mechanism is to make you create additional accounts to inflate the number supposedly supported by the system.

2 more wireless baby monitors hacked: Hackers remotely spied on babies and parents – Two more wireless baby monitors were hacked. One family heard voices as the camera followed them about the room; the second mom was freaked out and scared as a hacker remotely controlled the camera to follow her movements.

These Guys Will Hack Your Phone to Reveal Who It’s Secretly Sending Information To – Most of us don’t think twice when we connect to a WiFi network or download a new app. I didn’t. I trusted, to some extent, that the relationship between me and my phone was exclusive. Turns out my phone was lying to me. My data, my network, my searches—they weren’t just between the phone and me but instead between me and several thousand companies I’ve never heard of in countries I’ve never been to. To help people understand what’s really going on with their smartphones, tech journalist Geoff White and ethical hacker Glenn Wilkinson have teamed up to create The Secret Life of Your Mobile Phone —a one-hour performance on interception technologies. I met up with Geoff and Glenn to find out what my phone has been playing at.

Crypto gurus: The government’s key escrow plan won’t work – Cryptography experts at the RSA security conference on Tuesday picked holes in U.S. plans to require that law enforcers be given a way to break encryption to exercise lawful intercept rights. U.S. government officials have been increasingly hostile over the past year to the widespread use of encryption on mobile phones and online communications, arguing that a way needs to be found to provide law enforcement and intelligence agencies with lawful interception capabilities.

Company News:

BlackBerry expands its security smarts to the Internet of Things – BlackBerry’s smartphone business is limping along but the company knows mobile device security. It plans to apply that expertise to billions of potential connected things.

Comcast’s Time Warner Cable merger in danger as FCC staff calls for hearing – In another setback for Comcast’s planned $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, staff from the Federal Communications Commission have recommended that the agency arrange a hearing, a move that move The Wall Street Journal says is a strong sign the regulatory body believes the deal is not in the public interest. FCC staff considering the deal concluded that the agency should issue a “hearing designation order,” a ruling that would put the merger in the hands of an administrative law judge, force Comcast to justify its plans, and delay proceedings.

AT&T adds 684,000 connected cars in Q1 – AT&T said it added 684,000 connected cars to its network in the first quarter as the company races to find its future growth in the Internet of things. The telecom giant reported first quarter earnings of $3.2 billion, or 61 cents a share, on revenue of $32.6 billion, roughly flat with a year ago. While the focus on smartphone additions and churn are the norm for wireless telecom players it’s worth pondering some of the other figures that are almost throwaways. Why? That’s where the growth will be. Sure, AT&T added 1.2 million smartphones to its base in the first quarter with a churn of 1.02 percent. But 1.2 million total wireless net additions, including 684,000 connected cars is worth noting.

More than 70 percent of Facebook’s $3.54 billion revenue is now mobile – The company, which reported its first quarter earnings today, now has 1.44 billion monthly active users, and 1.25 billion on mobile, an increase of 13 and 24 percent, respectively. A whopping 936 million people use it every single day. Facebook continued to cruise, posting revenue of $3.45 billion, up 42 percent over the same period last year. The shift to mobile continues, with 73 percent of its revenue coming from mobile ads as compared to 59 percent for this period last year. On the earnings call, Zuckerberg dropped one interesting detail. Facebook now sees over one billion searches on mobile every day.

Uber gives in to Germany’s demands to end ban – Another day, another place where Uber is having trouble operating the way it wants to. Last month it ran into another issue in Germany, where it was banned for the second time for failing to play by the rules. The company was hit last month with the threat of fines by the Frankfurt regional court should it violate the transportation laws in the area. That ruling has now become enforceable, and Uber issued a statement about it yesterday, saying it’s “a defeat for all those who want more choice for their personal mobility.”

Games and Entertainment:

Netflix’s library to get shakeup on May 1 – Netflix regularly purges content from its library and replaces it with new content — this is generally a bittersweet moment, in that there’s a good chance something you enjoyed will disappear, but that something you’d like to watch will be incoming. It is that time again, with May 1 marking the start of more content being added, as well as the start of a bunch of content being removed. Amongst those that are outbound is Skyfall and RoboCop, and inbound are a load of new things including Zombeavers.

11 most overrated games of all time – Excuse me for a minute while I slip into this asbestos suit and close the door on my insulated concrete bunker in an undisclosed location. I fully expect this article to ruffle a few feathers, and as we all know gamers don’t do very well with that. The canon of computer gaming is massive, with new classics added every year. And while some of the “greatest of all time” earned that title honestly, others look pretty lousy in hindsight. In this feature, I’m going to lay down the law on eleven games that are seriously overrated. Feel free to leave your picks in the comments, as well as any thoughts you have on my mother and her sexual purity.

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Bioshock Infinite

DC Comics and Mattel team up for superhero action figures for girls – Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Harley Quinn and more will soon be available as a new line of action figures and comics targeted at girls.

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The 10 Most-Pirated Movies Last Week – Let’s not pretend that the most-pirated movie of the week is anything but Vin Diesel’s Furious 7. The movie, which delivers a series of over-the-top stunts and a heartfelt goodbye for the late Paul Walker, has already grossed over $1 billion worldwide. Furious 7 is super popular, which means that it’s a prime candidate for bootlegging. Before I discuss the week’s most-pirated movies, however, allow me to state that PCMag doesn’t condone piracy in any way, shape, or form. Our mission is a simple and pure one—to inform you about what’s happening in the online digital media world.

CyberPower’s insane three-pointed Trinity PC ditches ‘prototype’ for preorders – When we saw CyberPower’s Trinity gaming PC prototype at CES 2015 we thought it was one of the wildest computer designs we’d ever seen. Just look at the thing! Products so radical tend to wind up being vaporware, however. But CyberPower said the PC would go on sale within three months after its CES debut, and true to its word, Trinity is now available for pre-order with base prices between $955 and $1795 depending on the configuration. CyberPower says pre-orders will ship after Tuesday, April 28. Current estimated ship dates we saw on Wednesday morning were targeting early May.

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Xbox One May update brings Miracast support – That time of the month is here and the Xbox One is receiving some serious updates this time around which are designed to streamline the experience between the Windows 10 Xbox app and the console. Not only that, but the update also brings new features like Miracast support. Here’s a list of all the features coming to the console soon:

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Surprising Trait That Gets Better With Age – A new study from researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Buffalo shows that people aren’t getting older and crankier—they’re getting older and more trusting. And this increased sense of trust is linked with higher well being, says study co-author ClaudiaHaase, who also serves as director of Northwestern’s Life-Span Development Lab. While the elderly tend to have a reputation for being cranky and crotchety, this new research shows that they are actually “more likely to look at the bright side of things,” Haase said in a statement.

Here’s a Fascinating Breakdown of Emoji Use by Country – In a new report published on Tuesday, British app developer SwiftKey drew some conclusions after analyzing over 1 billion pieces of emoji data taken from communications made in 16 different languages. According to their findings, Canadians scored highest in categories associated with violence and money, loving the gun and cash emoji more than other nationalities. Down under, Australians surprised few by embracing icons suggestive of alcohol and drugs, using those symbols are least twice as frequently as the global average. France was the only country the smiley-faced icon was not the most used emoji. However, French speakers did use the heart emoji with greater frequency than anybody else. No clear traits emerged for the U.S., but the report said Americans “lead for a random assortment of emoji … including skulls, birthday cake, fire, tech, LGBT, meat and female-oriented emoji.” Check out the full report here.

Woman filming law enforcement has phone smashed by federal agent – The woman, identified by the LA Times as 34-year-old Beatriz Paez, was fortunate that someone on the other side of the road was filming her as she tried to film the officers of the law. The footage, now released to the outside world, shows the clearly aggressive approach of someone now identified as a US deputy marshal. The woman appears to be standing clear of any officers and is not behaving in an obstructive manner. US courts have ruled that filming the police is perfectly legal, as long as those filming aren’t getting in the way of the police doing their job.

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Pointing up   Just another black uniformed criminal, committing just another criminal offense. Move along – nothing to see here.

Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC – A Colorado Springs man who decided he’d had just about enough of his cantankerous Dell PC took it into an alleyway and pumped eight 9mm rounds into its sorry case, according to the local Gazette. Lucas Hinch, 37, simply “got tired of fighting with his computer for the last several months”, as the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Lt. Jeff Strossner put it. “He was having technology problems, so he took it out in the back alley and shot it.”

C’mon now – who hasn’t considered this at least once – maybe even more than once?    Smile

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Ben Affleck and PBS Failed at Helping Viewers Deal With the Past – As a descendant of President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, I know what it’s like to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly of our pasts. However, we have to stop censoring history and start accepting it and learning from it. Affleck and PBS missed out on an important opportunity to face the ugly truth head on. This is a chance to educate and enlighten America about its painful past and current struggle. Instead of hiding the information about the Gone Girl star’s past, maybe PBS could have, and still can, help him and others cope with the devastating news that his ancestor owned people.

Something to think about:

“There are two sorts of people, those who favour ideology and those who favour humans. “

–       Jon Ronson

Today’s Free Downloads:

WinPatrol – WinPatrol takes snapshot of your critical system resources and alerts you to any changes that may occur without your knowledge. WinPatrol was the pioneer in using a heuristic behavioral approach to detecting attacks and violations of your computing environment. Now, using our “Cloud” technology you can benefit from the experience of other WinPatrol users. WinPatrol continues to be the most powerful system monitor for its small memory footprint.

WinPatrol’s easy tabbed interface allows you to explore deep inside your computer without having to be a computer expert. A one-time investment in WinPatrol PLUS provides a unique experience you won’t find in any other software.

WinPatrol PLUS is a great investment!

One Time fee includes for ALL future WinPatrol versions.

No Hidden or Reoccurring Subscription Fees.

Single License valid on all your personal desktops and laptops!

No Toolbars or other unwanted software

WinPatrol PLUS is quicker and faster.

Upgrade Now with No Additional Download

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POP Peeper – POP Peeper is an email notifier that runs in your Windows task bar and alerts you when you have new email on your POP3, IMAP (with IDLE support), Hotmail\MSN\LiveMail, Yahoo, GMail, MyWay, Excite, iWon, Lycos.com, RediffMail, Juno and NetZero accounts. IMAP supports allows you to access AOL, AIM, Netscape and other services. Send mail directly from POP Peeper and use the address book to email your frequently used contacts. POP Peeper allows you to view messages using HTML or you can choose to safely view all messages in rich or plain text. Several options are available that will decrease or eliminate the risks of reading your email (viruses, javascript, webbugs, etc). POP Peeper can be run from a portable device and can be password protected. Many notification options are availble to indicate when new mail has arrived, such as sound alerts (configurable for each account), flashing scroll lock, skinnable popup notifier, customized screensaver and more.

Primary Features:

Easy Setup – accounts are imported from your existing email client(s)

Supports POP3, IMAP (including GMail, AOL, AIM, Netscape, FastMail, mail.com, etc), SMTP, GMail, Hotmail\MSN\LiveMail, Yahoo, MyWay, Excite, iWon, Lycos.com, RediffMail, Juno, NetZero

IDLE is supported for IMAP accounts which allows instant notification when new mail arrives in your inbox

Support for RSS feeds is available with purchase of the Premium Add-on Pack

Read, delete, print and reply to Email without opening your email client

Send email directly from POP Peeper

SSL support for POP3, IMAP and SMTP

HTML email support

Password protection

Address book

Options to protect you from messages that contain viruses and web bugs

Send, save and open file attachments

Run POP Peeper off your portable storage device

No account limit — notifies you of an unlimited number of accounts

Many ways to receive new mail notification: skinnable desktop alerts, audio, flashing scroll lock LED and more

Specify how often all accounts are checked for new mail or set individual intervals for each account

Extensive help with useful tips and information

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Easy Service Optimizer – All Windows versions loads many services at startup, most of them (Not all) are essential for the core system features . By disabling unnecessary services, the performance can be improved significantly, especially on computers with low system resources , here’s some of the windows services which are generally enabled by default that you can disable safely:

Print Spooler (if you don’t use a printer or print-to-PDF)

Bluetooth Support (if you don’t use Bluetooth)

Remote Registry (it’s not usually running by default, but you can disable it for safety)

Remote Desktop (There are 3 services. If you don’t use Remote desktop, disable them) but disabling a service was not for the novice (now it is)

Easy service optimizer (Eso) is a portable freeware to optimize almost all Windows services (except windows 98 and below) and It does not require any technical knowledge. It is very safe to use because it changes only the startup type of the services and you can restore them easily , you can create your own list or customize selected one.

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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.

European Rights Body Again Rejects Mass Surveillance – Europe’s top rights body, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has crystalized its censure of mass surveillance as a threat to fundamental human rights and to democracy itself by adopting a draft resolution in which it reiterates deep concerns over the practice of intelligence agencies systematically harvesting untargeted communications data, without adequate legal regulation or technical protection.

“Mass surveillance does not appear to have contributed to the prevention of terrorist attacks, contrary to earlier assertions made by senior intelligence officials. Instead, resources that might prevent attacks are diverted to mass surveillance, leaving potentially dangerous persons free to act,” PACE warned yesterday.

“These powerful structures risk escaping democratic control and accountability and they threaten the free and open character of our societies,” it added.

The Council took evidence from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden last year as part of its investigation into mass surveillance — going on to publish a lengthy report back in January.

That report also included concerns about intelligence agencies seeking to systematically perforate Internet security — a topical concern, given the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security was only yesterday speaking out against the ‘dangers’ of pervasive encryption. PACE’s draft resolution includes the same “deep” worries about threats to Internet security from “certain intelligence agencies”.

Australia: The censorship end game of the piracy site-blocking Bill – Summary: A call for the government to implement a widespread internet filter in addition to allowing rights holders to get piracy sites blocked shows that the legislation will be an open door for full internet censorship in Australia.

The House has passed a controversial new cyber info-sharing bill – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting Cyber Networks Act in a bipartisan 307-116 vote, taking an important step forward in Congress’ ongoing efforts to promote cyber threat-sharing. The bill is meant to help network operators share information about possible threats more quickly and easily, making it easier to defend against any subsequent attacks. “Our bill will ensure that we have the tools to address these attacks by enabling voluntary information sharing of cyber threats between and among the private and public sectors,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said in a statement.

It’s a crucial issue, particularly in the wake of ongoing criminal and state hacks like Home Depot, Target, and Sony Pictures, but many have criticized the new crop of info-sharing bills as opening the door to private sector surveillance. Ron Wyden criticized CISA, an earlier info-sharing bill, as “a surveillance bill by another name.” Others have raised questions about how government agencies will use the threat information after it’s been reported. “Any company has to think at least twice about sharing how they are vulnerable with a government that hoards security vulnerabilities and exploits them to conduct massive surveillance,” Stanford Law Professor Jennifer Granick wrote in a recent editorial.

Even NSA Chief Acknowledges Need for Broad Discussion About Cyberwarfare – A whole new and very dangerous field of warfare has been developed by the Obama administration, in secret, using untested legal justifications, and without even the faintest whiff of oversight.

So kudos to Patrick Tucker, technology editor for Defense One, who took advantage of a recent moment with National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers to ask him: Is there a way to discuss publicly what the future of cyberwar operations will look like?

Rogers said, dismissively, that the public should trust that the U.S. will follow the international laws of conflict and that its use of cyberwarfare would “be proportional” and “in line with the broader set of norms that we’ve created over time.”

But he also acknowledged the need, at some point, for the public to have some sort of a say.

Rogers likened cyberattacks to the development of mass firepower in the 1800s. “Cyber represents change, a different technical application to attempt to achieve some of the exact same effects, just do it in a different way,” he said.

“Like those other effects, I think, over time, we’ll have a broad discussion in terms of our sense of awareness, both in terms of capabilities as well as limitations.”

Over time?

That discussion is long overdue.

Google’s Encryption Efforts Are Paying Off In Wake Of Snowden Leaks – Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the company has evidence that its efforts to improve encryption in the wake of Edward Snowden leaks have worked. His remarks at BoxDev, Box’s yearly developer conference, come as law enforcement officials are criticizing encryption efforts for slowing down investigations.

In response to a question about encryption from Box CEO Aaron Levie, Schmidt said that after the Snowden leaks, his company was “very, very upset.” He joked that Google wasn’t given a heads up about the activities of the American NSA, which he noted that in slang is often called “never say anything.”

At the time of Snowden’s revelations, Schmidt was one of the first executives to suggest encryption was the only way to prevent government surveillance. He said that the company has embarked on work to bolster its encryption efforts, including at-rest encryption, and in-transit encryption. He said people previously poking into the company’s networks are “complaining” and called the rising whining “proof” that its work was effective.

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