Tag Archives: news

Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – July 24, 2015

Top 5 security practices in staying safe online: From the experts;  Google patches 43 security flaws in latest Chrome update;  9 fantastic Facebook tips for Android and iOS users;  Media streamer buyers guide: Amazon Fire TV,  Apple’s App Store has 100 apps and games on sale;  Apple TV, Chromecast, Nvidia Shield Android TV & Roku compared;  Windows 10: your questions answered;   PC sticks: Have Windows, will travel;  Make Chrome and Firefox faster with just one click;   Get more from YouTube with the help of these five apps;  Dmail Makes Your Gmail Messages Self-Destruct;  How to create blur-free video on the iPhone;  Google patches 43 security flaws in latest Chrome update;  Advanced spyware for Android now available to script kiddies;  10 free resources to help you learn to code;  CoD Black Ops multiplayer beta coming to Xbox One, PC 26 Aug;  Ashley Madison’s data breach is everyone’s problem;  Watch 112 years of movie aliens in just over three minutes;  Your music taste might reveal how your brain works.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Top 5 security practices in staying safe online: From the experts – Cyberattacks are on the rise and they range from phishing and scams on social media to high-profile assaults against companies. For the average consumer, knowing where to turn and how to keep your digital identity safe can be a minefield of solutions. But what do you truly need to know? In a recent Google research paper, security professionals were asked what the top five ways to stay safe online are, and these are the tips they offered.

Make Chrome and Firefox faster with just one click – If you’re anything like me, you keep a lot of browser tabs open. And unless your PC is a serious powerhouse, that can choke performance across the whole system. The obvious solution? Close some tabs. But that’s no good for me, because I often keep pages open that I need to refer to later in the day. Bookmark them instead? That’s a hassle, and ultimately unnecessary because I don’t need those pages after I’m done with them. The better solution: OneTab. Available for Chrome and Firefox, this extension performs one simple — but essential — task: It shoehorns all your open tabs into a single tab, thereby vastly reducing the amount of memory consumed by the browser.

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Don’t run Chrome or Firefox without OneTab. Seriously. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Media streamer buyers guide: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Nvidia Shield Android TV & Roku compared – Shopping for media-streaming hardware? You’ve come to the right place. This is the definitive guide to choosing precisely the right model for your unique needs.

Apple’s App Store has 100 apps and games on sale – If you’re anything like us, you already have way too many apps on your phone, but that isn’t stopping you from trying new ones. That can get very expensive very quickly, unless it just so happens that the App Store has a “100 Apps and Games” promotion, in which every single app and game on offer is $0.99. But really, when does that ever happen? In case you didn’t get that, the answer is: Right Now. You can get top-rated games like Badland, The Room Two, all the various versions of Angry Birds and Goat Simulator(!), as well as good photo apps like Pixelmator and Faded, all for under $1. We’re not sure how long this promotion is on for, so you might want to act fast.

9 fantastic Facebook tips for Android and iOS users – The Facebook app for Android and iOS has some nifty—and powerful—features up its sleeves. Pick and choose which friends appear in your news feed, save links to interesting articles, post updates without an Internet connection, and more.

PC sticks: Have Windows, will travel – PC sticks are popping up all over. These are tiny devices that are full PCs that can be plugged into any TV or monitor and used securely. We’ve rounded up a few of the top ones for consideration.

Dmail Makes Your Gmail Messages Self-Destruct – Have you ever regretted sending an email, and wished you could take it back? Or maybe you’ve worried about sending confidential information over email – especially after seeing the damage a large-scale email hack can cause, like the one that hit Sony Pictures last year? A new “self-destructing” email service called Dmail aims to eliminate these concerns with the introduction of tool that allows you to better control the messages that are sent over Gmail. With Dmail, you can revoke access to any email at any time, and, in a release arriving soon, you’ll be able to stop recipients from forwarding your message to others, too.

Screenshots: Get more from YouTube with the help of these five apps – As great as YouTube is on its own, however, there are plenty of apps out there that make it even better. Most of the YouTube-oriented apps that are available today are simple downloaders, but there are some other types of apps that provide more unique functionality. This article discusses five such apps.

Apple Just Made Another iOS 9 Beta Available To Anyone – The company has just released iOS 9 Public Beta 2. So what’s new in v2? Bug fixes, mostly. Speed enhancements, too. The most significant “new” thing, though, is the return of Home Sharing — a feature that lets you stream music from your desktop Mac to your iPod/iPhone/iPod over your local network. This feature was quietly dropped in iOS 8.4, but is back in this build. If you’re already in the Public Beta program, just pop into your settings and hit the update button. It should grab the latest build over the air.

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Hello post-PC world: iOS devices sales now match those of Windows computers – As demand for Windows PCs has stagnated, sales of iOS devices have risen; matching sales figures for computers running Microsoft software.

Tips to Get the Most Out of Windows 10’s New Photo App – When Windows 8 launched, it included a Photos app that opened your images by default. The only problem: It could hardly do anything with them. Windows 10 rights a lot of Windows 8’s wrongs, and the Photos app is one noteworthy example. The new Photos app includes image correction and enhancement, as well as organization capabilities. It’s much closer to something like Mac OS X’s Photos app than to Paint. Let’s take a closer look at this capable new part of Windows 10’s toolkit.

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The only remaining barrier to entry for Linux – The Linux that we see now is not the Linux we knew years ago. Linux is just as user friendly as any platform on the market. The biggest difference is that it’s simply not in the eyes of consumers. The ability to purchase a computer preinstalled with an operating system, in and of itself, makes that operating system accessible and useable to the consumer. That’s the only remaining barrier to entry for Linux, and there are plenty of companies set to tear down the walls, preventing the average user from enjoying the reliability, security, and power that is Linux.

How to install Linux on a PC with Secure Boot enabled – Installing Linux isn’t as easy as it used to be, thanks to the Secure Boot requirements enforced by recent versions of Windows.

Pro tip: How to create blur-free video on the iPhone – The iPhone is great at capturing still images and video without lots of moving objects. However, the iPhone’s autofocus will attempt to correctly focus on moving subjects, and it will sometimes focus on the wrong object, causing the video to be out of focus. Sure, you can tap to refocus on the object you want, but once the object moves again, the video or photo will be out of focus again. Let’s take a look at how to use AE/AF Lock feature of the Camera app to lock the focus to a particular subject in your photos and videos, which will keep the exposure and focus correctly set during the entire capturing process.

Meerkat can now livestream video from a GoPro – Today, Meerkat announced that users will be able to livestream videos from their GoPro’s to the apps livestreaming service. Although Meerkat has traditionally been restricted to mobile devices running Android or iOS, Meerkat made the announcement today that the the app will now be able to stream directly from some GoPro cameras. Not all GoPro’s will be supported and the service will initially only be available on the ‘GoPro 3′. In a later update, ‘GoPro 4′ owners will be able to livestream videos to Meerkat.

Windows 10: your questions answered – Find out what’s happening with Media Center, compatibility, dual-booting, XP Mode, and more

Microsoft releases another update for Windows 10 build 10240 – Microsoft has rolled out another update for Windows 10 build 10240, its fourth since that build – which is effectively the ‘RTM’ release of the OS – made its way to Insiders last week.

10 open source storage solutions that might be perfect for your company – The right storage solution is critical for business, but the price tag can put many options out of reach. Luckily, there’s a host of powerful, scalable open source candidates to choose from.

Security:

Advanced spyware for Android now available to script kiddies everywhere – The Android surveillance suite works like a “cluster bomb” that combines multiple attack tools, including the two exploits described above, low-level coding that greatly expands the type of data attackers can gather from infected phones, a higher-level APK installer package, and a command-and-control server infrastructure infected devices can connect to. Once a phone is infected, it may need its firmware to be reflashed to have the backdoor removed.

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Fully patched Internet Explorer for smartphones menaced by whopping 4 code-execution bugs – Researchers at an HP security division have publicly detailed four code-execution vulnerabilities that can be used to hijack end-user smartphones running the latest versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. The disclosures earlier this week came more than six months after researchers from HP-owned TippingPoint first privately reported the bugs to Microsoft security engineers. According to the advisories published here, here, here, and here, Microsoft officials acknowledged the bugs and in each case asked for an extension beyond the four months TippingPoint officials normally wait before publicly disclosing vulnerabilities. All four of the extensions expired Sunday, leading to the public disclosure of the bugs. It remains unclear why Microsoft hasn’t issued fixes.

Google patches 43 security flaws in latest Chrome update – Google has patched 43 security problems, many of them deemed critical, in the latest update to the Chrome browser. On Wednesday, Google pushed Chrome 44 for Windows, Mac and Linux to the stable channel and for public release. As part of the Chrome 44.0.2403.89 update, 43 bugs have been fixed, with many of the bugs submitted by external researchers.

Previous release of Google Chrome had a whooping mix of 43 security flaws.

There, fixed the headline for you.

Bug in latest version of OS X gives attackers unfettered root privileges – The privilege-escalation bug, which was reported in a blog post published Tuesday by security researcher Stefan Esser, is the type of security hole attackers regularly exploit to bypass security protections built into modern operating systems and applications. Hacking Team, the Italian malware-as-a-service provider that catered to governments around the world, recently exploited similar elevation-of-privileges bugs in Microsoft Windows. When combined with a zero-day exploit targeting Adobe’s Flash media player, Hacking Team was able to pierce security protections built into Google Chrome, widely regarded as the Internet’s most secure browser by default.

All WordPress users urged to update after critical flaw found – The latest version of the software, a security update, is WordPress 4.2.3.

Ashley Madison’s data breach is everyone’s problem – Collecting and retaining user data is the norm in modern web businesses, and while it’s usually invisible, the result for Ashley Madison has been catastrophic. In hindsight, we can point to data that should have been anonymized or connections that should have been less accessible, but the biggest problem is deeper and more universal. If services want to offer genuine privacy, they have to break away from those practices, interrogating every element of their service as a potential security problem. Ashley Madison didn’t do that. The service was engineered and arranged like dozens of other modern web sites — and by following those rules, the company made a breach like this inevitable.

Microsoft Targets Revenge Porn With Link Removal Form – Falling in step with various recent industry moves, Microsoft has set up a formal process for removing links to so-called ‘revenge porn’ from its Bing search engine, allowing victims to notify it via a dedicated web form to have access to the content cut off.

Court rules that ‘pocket-dialed’ calls aren’t private – A federal appeals court in Ohio has ruled that a person who accidentally “pocket dials” someone shouldn’t expect any overheard conversation to be considered private.

Company News:

Amazon Spikes 14% After It Reports Surprise Q2 Profit Of $92M, Better-Than-Expected Revenue Of $23.18B – Following the cessation of regular trading today, Amazon announced that it earned $0.19 per share in its second quarter, on revenue of $23.18 billion. The street had expected Amazon to lose $0.14 per share on revenue of $22.39 billion. Following its earnings smash, Amazon is up more than 14 percent after-hours. The company shed more than one percent of its value in regular trading, amid a negative market day. Amazon had estimated that it would have revenue of $20.6 billion to $22.8 billion during the three-month cycle. Quite obviously, Amazon rocked the quarter.

Amazon launches Prime members credit card with 5% cash back – The card itself has no annual fee, but you must remain a Prime member to use it. So there’s sort of an associated fee, but you get a lot more for your $99. Plenty of people pay for Prime even without this store card. The purchase APR is also quite high (25.99%), as is the case with most store cards. Amazon will probably target younger consumers who don’t have the credit history to get favorable traditional credit cards.

Blackberry delves deeper into security with AtHoc purchase – BlackBerry continues to shift its focus from selling mobile phones to securing them—as well as other portable devices, and increasingly connected items that are part of the Internet of things. BlackBerry still sells handsets, but, to judge from the day’s presentations, it clearly sees a brighter future now in enterprise mobile security, where it can best leverage its remaining strengths in the market.

Sony to launch Aerosense drone company with ZMP – With some of their core businesses not doing well, you’d think Sony would want to hunker down and focus its resources on getting those in tip-top shape first. Instead, the Japanese tech giant is spreading its wings, almost literally. Now it is getting into the unmanned aerial vehicles or UAV, more popularly known as drones. In fact, it is partnering with old friend ZMP to start a new company named “Aerosense, Inc.”, to be incorporated in August, to develop and launch the ultimate spy drones.

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Uber facing class action lawsuit in Toronto – Uber is facing a class action lawsuit in Toronto where taxi drivers are seeking both an injunction against the ridesharing service in Ontario and in excess of $400 million CAD in damages. As in other regions, the drivers are pointing toward local regulations and claim Uber is providing illegal transportation on a mass scale. Uber, as expected, has already denounced the claims, but at this point it is still a waiting game to see if a judge will agree to hear the case.

Uber and NYC shake hands and make peace, for now – After a fierce public battle between Uber and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the two sides announced Wednesday that they’ve come to a mutual agreement. De Blasio agreed to temporarily table a bill he proposed, which would limit Uber’s growth. And Uber agreed to provide the city with previously undisclosed data for a comprehensive traffic study. Both sides appear to be content with the deal.

Xiaomi partners with Uber for hand-delivered phones – Uber has partnered with the smart device company Xiaomi to deliver their newest smartphone to new users. Ordering this new device, the Xiaomi Mi Note, will have the same process as ordering an Uber vehicle for pickup. Inside the Uber app, users will tap the “Xiaomi” button and proceed with ordering the new smartphone. Once they’ve ordered the phone successfully, the phone will be delivered to the user “within a few minutes.” This partnership will be paired with an early launch of the phone for Uber customers exclusively.

Sling gets sued over Slingbox desktop ads – The maker of Slingbox and SlingPlayer is facing a lawsuit after inserting advertisements into its desktop software. The lawsuit accuses Sling Media of a “bait and switch,” as customers Mark Heskiaoff and Marc Langenohl purchased their Slingboxes under the impression that the software was ad-free. They’re currently seeking class action status for the lawsuit, filed last week according to Zatz Not Funny.

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Google is giving free patents to startups to fight patent trolls – Google is becoming the Professor Oak of the startup world. It’s planning to give some small companies a pair of starter patents to help them out when it comes to getting off the ground and defending their intellectual property. Google doesn’t appear to be making money off of the program, but it does have an end goal: as a condition of the program, companies receiving Google’s patents will have to join a patent licensing network that’s meant to help Silicon Valley defend against patent trolls — companies that sue over patent infringement without actually making any products. Google says that encouraging smaller companies to get on board with the program “is just something that we think makes great sense.”

Games and Entertainment:

CoD Black Ops multiplayer beta coming to Xbox One, PC 26 Aug – If you’ve been dying to try out the upcoming Call of Duty’s new multiplayer mode but don’t have a PlayStation 4 console, you may not breathe a sigh of relief. As long as you have an Xbox One or at least a PC, that is. Activision has just revealed the schedule of the open beta of Black Ops’ multiplayer mode across all supported platforms. While PS4 gamers will indeed get to taste it earlier, other gamers won’t be far behind, following just seven days later.

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Google Play sale gets you Monument Valley, Hitman Go, and more for cheap – Some of the best games on Android are now really cheap. Google has just launched a summer sale in the Play store, and the deals include some classic mobile titles, including games like Monument Valley, Republique, and Hitman Go. You can even get older titles like Age of Zombies for as little as $0.10, alongside a host of old-school SNK arcade games. Unfortunately, there’s no hub page where you can quickly scan all of the available games, but we’ve listed some of the better deals below; you can also search the store for “play games summer sale” for even more.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is coming to the PS4 and PC – Rise of the Tomb Raider was snapped up as an Xbox offering, but as it turns out, it will be making its way to other devices as well: namely, the PlayStation 4 and PC. Square Enix announced that it will be available on Steam early next year, and that those on Sony’s gaming console will also get access, but will need to wait more than a year, as it won’t be arriving until 2016’s holiday season. Whether those with a PlayStation 3 will get access wasn’t mentioned, and therefore it isn’t looking likely.

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Xbox One mouse support on the way – Both the Xbox One and PS4 are much closer to standard PC architecture than any previous console generation. While both have support for keyboards, it sounds like the Xbox One will be the first to add computer mice to the equation. At least, that’s what Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer has hinted at. Spencer commented that mouse support wasn’t “far away” on Twitter in response to a question about the possibility of Windows games being streamed to a Xbox One console.

Fallout Anthology packs the entire game series into a collectible nuclear bomb – Fallout 4 is almost upon us, but if you want to catch up on the post-apocalypse, Bethesda has just announced a new collection that bundles together the entire series in one package. Called Fallout Anthology, the collection includes five games: Fallout 1-3, along with spin-offs Fallout Tactics and New Vegas. Both Fallout 3 and New Vegas will include the plentiful expansions and add-ons that have come out since their initial launch. These games are all readily available separately on places like Steam, but for collectors the new set will also include a miniature nuclear bomb for storing the games, and it features space so you can add Fallout 4 when it comes out. The anthology will be available September 29th for $49.99 only on PC, while Fallout 4 launches November 10th for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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‘Gears of War’ remake for Xbox One goes gold, now available for ‘pre-download’ – Microsoft’s “Gears of War: Ultimate Edition” for Xbox One has gone gold, and those who pre-order the game can now download it in advance of its Aug. 25 release to play immediately on launch day

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The official trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is finally here – The first full trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 has arrived, and here it’s all-out war between the Districts and the Capitol. Katniss and the soldiers of District 13 are finally ready to take the fight to President Snow, and there will be blood before the battle ends. Mockingjay Part 2 hits theaters on November 20th.

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Kamcord Update Brings Live Game Streaming To Mobile Devices – Kamcord, the YC-backed company that enables game recording on mobile, is the latest company to jump on the mobile live-streaming bandwagon after it added the feature to its Android and iOS apps.

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eSports league will start policing drug use among gamers – Drug testing athletes is nothing new, and the same sort of policy will soon apply to gamers. Earlier this month, pro Counter-Strike player Kory ‘Semphis’ Friesen admitted to using Adderall, along with others on his then-team Cloud9, during a big tournament. Some consider this cheating, as Adderall, much like Ritalin, can be abused to help improve concentration and focus for anything ranging from studying to playing video games. Adderall use among pro gamers isn’t uncommon, and that’s a problem.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Watch 112 years of movie aliens in just over three minutes – A new YouTube video from content-curation giant Digg rounds up the aliens that have appeared on-screen from 1902’s Selenites right through to the talking raccoon, living tree, green-skinned Gamora and hulking Drax the Destroyer in 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” There are 98 clips in all, fittingly set to Radiohead’s “Subterranean Homesick Alien.”

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10 free resources to help you learn to code – If you’ve recently gotten the bright idea to learn to code, you’re not alone. The facts are that there exist more jobs than talent to fill them in the tech sector, and if you’re willing to dig in and build your skillset and portfolio, you could have a career before long. But where to start? There are many options out there. Some choose to go back to school, some sign up for for-profit bootcamps, others for workshops and seminars. If you’re not ready to commit a ton of time and money just yet, one of these 10 free resources might be just what you need to get started learning to code.

Sen. Al Franken Urges Federal Probe Of Apple Music – Apple’s hefty fees on in-app subscription services are being called into serious question. In a letter addressed to both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, Sen. Al Franken called on federal regulators to look into possible Apple Music antitrust violations in the music streaming market. Franken pointed to a number of non-competitive guidelines that he believes suppress app developers and stifle innovations that benefit the consumer.

TSA agent gets mad at 16-year-old filming dad’s pat down – Technically Incorrect: At New Orleans airport, a cell phone video of a simple pat down causes a Transportation Security Administration officer to call for the police. The YouTube video has already enjoyed more than 410,000 views.

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Man flies through two-meter gap in rock formation with wingsuit – The video was captured with the GoPro HERO2, which was made from 2011 through 2012 when the HERO3 debuted. As you can see in the following video posted on the official GoPro You Tube channel, the feat took more than one try. You can see the miss and Emanuele explaining that he then decided to attempt the fly-through from the other side of the mountain, which resulted in an amazing success.

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Australian online shoppers may soon find everything more expensive – Until now, savvy Australian shoppers that were making their purchases online could skirt the government’s 10% goods and services tax, the equivalent of VAT. That tax was absent for online transactions under A$1000. But now, according to Mashable, the PM alongside regional leaders have reportedly agreed to lower that threshold down to A$20. If this becomes the new law, then users will find themselves instantly paying 10% more for most of their online purchases. But the trouble doesn’t stop there because, as one consumer advocacy group notes, the extra revenue from the tax would be less than the money needed to actually collect the new tax.

Associated Press to publish massive historical video library – Recent history has been memorialized on video, and the Associated Press wants to make sure you and everyone else can watch those videos. As such it is working with British Movietone to upload 550,000 or so videos to YouTube — collectively amounting to more than a million minutes of digitized footage — across two channels. This represents the biggest upload of historical video footage to the video website, and will aid in reliving big moments, studying history, verifying facts, and more.

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Your music taste might reveal how your brain works – Do you like the sweet sounds of Billie Holiday or the hard edge of Metallica? A new study from the University of Cambridge says your choice shows whether you’re an empathetic or systematic thinker.

Untrustworthy faces are more likely to get the death sentence – People who have faces that are judged as less trustworthy are given the death penalty more often than people viewed as trustworthy, according to recent research in the journal Psychological Science. The results “paint a somewhat alarming picture of how systems of legal punishment are vulnerable to the same biases in person perception that afflict everyday individuals,” write John Paul Wilson and Nicholas Rule, the authors of the paper. This study builds on previous research suggesting that people judge the trustworthiness of faces with a high degree of consensus—we more or less agree on which faces count as trustworthy and which don’t.

Something to think about:

“Resolve to edge in a little reading every day, if it is but a single sentence. If you gain fifteen minutes a day, it will make itself felt at the end of the year.”

–       Horace Mann (1796 – 1859)

Today’s Free Downloads:

Shotcut – Shotcut is a free, open source, cross-platform video editor.

Features:

supports oodles of audio and video formats and codecs thanks to FFmpeg (or libav as-built)

supports many image formats such as BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, SVG, TGA, TIFF as well as image sequences

no import required – native editing

frame-accurate seeking for many formats

multi-format timeline: mix and match resolutions and frame rates within a project

screen capture (Linux only) including background capture to capture a Shotcut session

webcam capture (Linux only)

audio capture (Linux only; PulseAudio, JACK, or ALSA)

network stream playback (HTTP, HLS, RTMP, RTSP, MMS, UDP)

frei0r video generator plugins (e.g. color bars and plasma)

Blackmagic Design SDI and HDMI for input and preview monitoring

JACK transport sync

deinterlacing

detailed media properties panel

recent files panel

drag-n-drop files from file manager

save and load trimmed clip as MLT XML file

load and play complex MLT XML file as a clip

audio signal level meter

volume control

scrubbing and transport control

flexible UI through dock-able panels

encode/transcode to a variety of formats and codecs thanks to FFmpeg (or libav as-built)

capture (record) SDI, HDMI, webcam (V4L2), JACK, PulseAudio, IP streams, X11 screen

stream (encode to IP) files and any capture source

batch encoding with job control

create, play, edit, save, load, encode, and stream MLT XML playlists

unlimited undo and redo for playlist edits including a history view

connect to Melted servers over MVCP TCP protocol

control the transport playback of Melted units

edit Melted playlists including suport for undo/redo

OpenGL GPU-based image processing

multi-core parallel image processing when not using GPU (and frame-dropping is disabled)

video filters: Blur, Color Grading, Crop, Glow, Mirror, Saturation, Sharpen

3-way (shadows, mids, highlights) color wheels for color correction and grading

eye dropper tool to pick neutral color for white balancing

translated to Spanish, French, Czech, and German

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CDBurnerXP – CDBurnerXP is a free application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. This is the installer version, CDBurnerXP Portable can be downloaded here.

It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilanguage interface. Everyone, even companies, can use it for free. It does not include adware or similar malicious components.

Features:

burn all kinds of discs

audio-CDs with or without gaps between tracks

burn and create ISO files

data verification after burning process

create bootable discs

multi-language interface

bin/nrg → ISO converter, simple cover printing and much more!

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Facebook blocked from challenging search warrants targeting its users – Facebook does not have legal standing to challenge search warrants on behalf of its users, a New York appeals court has ruled in what was the biggest batch of warrants the social-media site said it ever received at one time.

Facebook was served with 381 warrants in 2013 from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. The warrants sought photos, private messages, and other information as part of a wide-ranging disability fraud investigation. As many as 134 people have been accused of disability fraud as part of the ongoing probe.

Facebook objected to handing over the data and challenged it. The site was even threatened with contempt of court over the fight, so it reluctantly coughed up the data. Facebook was allowed to continue the challenge on appeal in a failed bid to set legal precedent for its users.

The company said in a statement it was exploring its legal options:

Canada: Bill C-51 not in keeping with Canada’s international obligations: UN – The United Nations Human Rights Committee is raising concerns about Canada’s new anti-terror legislation, saying it could run afoul of the international covenant on civil and political rights.

The committee says it’s concerned sweeping powers in the law, known as C-51, do not contain enough legal safeguards to protect people’s rights.

The committee says while it appreciates Canada must take steps to protect against terrorism, the government should consider rewriting the law to ensure it complies with the international civil rights agreement.

Problems with C-51 are only part of a list of issues the committee is raising today in releasing a report on how well Canada is meetings its obligations under the civil and political human rights covenant.

Canada: Court strikes down Ottawa’s ‘safe country’ list for refugees – In a major blow to the Harper government, the Federal Court has struck down its so-called safe country list for refugees as unconstitutional.

In a ruling Thursday, the court said Ottawa’s designation by country of origin or DCO discriminates against asylum seekers who come from countries on this list by denying them access to appeals.

It is yet another devastating hit to the Conservative government which recently also lost two cases on constitutional grounds over the ban of the niqab at citizenship ceremonies and on health cuts for refugees.

“This is another Charter loss for the (Stephen) Harper government,” noted Lorne Waldman, president of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, a party to the legal challenge against the DCO regime.

The government said it will appeal the decision and ask the court to set it aside while it is under appeal.

Boffins sting spooks with ‘HORNET’ onion router – Five academics have developed a Tor alternative network that can handle up to 93 Gb/s of traffic while maintaining privacy.

The HORNET system is more resistant to passive attacks than existing anonymity networks like Tor and delivers faster node speeds for a “practically unlimited” number of sources.

It is the brainchild of leader researcher Chen Chen of Carnegie Mellon University, together with Daniele Enrico Asoni, David Barrera, and Adrian Perrig of the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, and George Danezis of University College London.

“Unlike other onion routing implementations, HORNET routers do not keep per-flow state or perform computationally expensive operations for data forwarding, allowing the system to scale as new clients are added,” the team wrote in the paper HORNET: High-speed Onion Routing at the Network Layer (PDF).

“HORNET offers payload protection by default, and can defend against some global observation attacks.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – July 22, 2015

Twitter’s new Safety Center explains how to deal with online abuse;  9 reasons not to upgrade to Windows 10 – yet;  Find open hotspots with WifiMapper;  How to Create a Burner Account on Ashley Madison (And Other Sketchy Sites);  The 5 best alternatives to FaceTime for Android;  Google Knows What You Did Last Summer, Now Shows It To You In Google Maps;  Security suites: Choosing the best one for you;  The best free alternatives to Windows 10’s default apps;  15 Things You Didn’t Know Your Chromecast Could Do;  Google Launches Drive Plug-In For Microsoft Office;  New free tool detects Hacking Team exploits;  Microsoft Issues Emergency Fix for Hacking Team Bug;  New vulnerability lets attackers hijack Chrysler vehicles over the web;  NFL Teases A New Subscription Service For On-Demand Games;  The mobile web sucks;  Robot surgeons kill 144 patients, hurt 1,391, malfunction 8,061 times;  Facebook History Spy (free);  How to ​pass on your phone and data when you power off for good;  Canada: Two rights groups launch Charter challenge of Bill C-51.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Twitter’s new Safety Center explains how to deal with online abuse – Twitter has unveiled a new Safety Center page as the company strives to cut down on abusive behavior on the site. Launched on Monday, the Safety Center page is described as the company’s commitment to “building a safer Twitter.” Organized by different topics, the page points you to tools that you can use to control what others can see about you and report accounts that may violate Twitter’s rules. For example, you can report spam, abuse and other types of violations from a specific tweet or profile.

Find open hotspots with WifiMapper – Using a mobile hotspot means that you’ll have Internet access on your tablet or laptop when you leave home or work. But what if you don’t have signal, or you forget your hotspot on your desk? That’s when you may be looking for an open hotspot out in the wild, and WifiMapper — newly available on Android — is just the app to get the job done. While there are several precautions you’ll want to take before using a public Wi-Fi connection, if you absolutely need to, this app can save you from having to drive around looking for a good connection. The added benefit of comments from Foursquare and other users of the app help you find the right hotspot. Here’s how to get started:

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9 reasons not to upgrade to Windows 10 — yet – Windows 10 is just about here — and many users (especially those who have been wrestling with Windows 8) are probably eager to upgrade. But even if you can get it now — the upgrade will be sent first to those who signed up for the Windows Insider beta program and then in “slow waves” to everyone else — you may want to hold off. Here are nine reasons you might want to put off a Windows 10 upgrade.

The 5 best alternatives to FaceTime for Android – FaceTime, iOS’s native video app, is a solid program that has been polished to a shine, and it’s quickly becoming a generic verb like Xerox. You don’t video chat someone, you FaceTime them. With an Android phone, though, you can’t. That’s what’s great about the open marketplace of ideas that is the Google Play store, though. If you need an Android alternative to FaceTime, you have not one, but several, to choose from. We took the leading candidates for a test drive to compare them with each other, taking into account price, reliability, restrictions, and features. Here’s our list of the five best alternatives to FaceTime for Android.

How to Create a Burner Account on Ashley Madison (And Other Sketchy Sites) – The takeaway is this: Don’t do anything on the Internet (like advertise your desire for extramarital hook-ups) that you wouldn’t do IRL. However, for those out there are absolutely compelled to get their sketch on—and, let us reiterate: there is no such thing as 100 percent online security—there are a few steps you can take to mitigate your exposure:

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Google Knows What You Did Last Summer, Now Shows It To You In Google Maps – Social apps like Foursquare / Swarm are more about places you’re at or where you’re going. Today, the Google Maps team launched a feature called “Your Timeline” that is about where you’ve already been. It’s not a social feature, as you’re the only one who sees the information. But… t’s a reminder of how much freaking data Google has on us if we leave all of our defaults on. It’s only available for Android and desktop right now. If you use Google Photos, your pics will appear along with the places you stopped along the way. Here’s a look at the feature:

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Google+ Photos is shutting down on August 1 – After announcing changes to its Google+ platform earlier this year, the search giant has now revealed that its Google+ Photos app will shut down next month, beginning with the Android version.

Google Launches Drive Plug-In For Microsoft Office – Google today launched a new plug-in for Microsoft Office that gives you access to all of your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents in Google Drive right from Microsoft’s desktop apps. The plug-in also lets you save files directly to Google Drive, so you can then edit them in Google’s online apps, too. The idea here, a Google spokesperson told us, is to continue to make Drive into more of an integrated storage tool for its users.

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Security suites: Choosing the best one for you – These days, security suites do more than protect you from malware — they handle phishing, lost mobile devices and a multitude of other tasks. You need to take into account the types of threats you might encounter based on the way you compute, as well as the specific devices you use, so you can match a suite’s coverage to your specific needs. In order to help you decide which security suite is best for your individual needs, we will be regularly reviewing current suites as they are released.

Twitter removes backgrounds from timeline, moves to tweets – Did your Twitter timeline’s custom wallpaper just disappear on you? No need to panic, there’s nothing really wrong There is no widespread Twitter bug. Actually, yes do panic because since it’s not a bug, it means there’s nothing to be fixed. In a still unexplained move, Twitter removed custom background images and design from your profile and home timeline page. Fear not, it hasn’t completely disappeared into nothingness. You can still see them, but only if you’re viewing individual tweets and nowhere else in the Twitterverse.

Microsoft has added a nifty little feature to Windows 10: screen recording – The function has been tested and works with any app, but only within apps; you can’t record your desktop and need an application open for the screen capture to work. All you have to do is press ‘Windows + G’, which brings up a toolbar that allows you to both take a screenshot or capture video, saving you a bit of money on professional screen capture software like Camtasia. Granted, the Windows 10 implementation is much more barebones than the professional suite but for those who want a simple solution, the free function doesn’t hurt.

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The best free alternatives to Windows 10’s default apps – Windows comes with a number of default apps, which are handy if you need a quick way to open a file but vexing if you’d rather use your preferred apps. Windows 10 has mostly corrected the experience of opening a document or media file, but there are still a number of options that are better than Windows’ preinstalled apps. Here are nine tasks you might want to outsource to other apps, plus a final tip on making them the new defaults.

15 Things You Didn’t Know Your Chromecast Could Do – Using Google means an easier online life—from email and online storage to news and digital maps. But the search giant can also take over your TV with the Google Chromecast $29.99 at Amazon, a streaming dongle that is behind only Amazon’s own Fire TV Stick on the company’s list of best-selling electronic devices. While the ultraportable device is pretty much plug and play, there are a few tips and tricks that can make casting more magical. Check them out in the slideshow.

Microsoft has cut $150 off some of its Surface Pro 3 models – Microsoft has settled into a pattern of offering big discounts on its Surface Pro 3 tablets every few weeks, and it’s that time again – several models are now available with $150 off the normal price.

Security:

New free tool detects Hacking Team exploits – Dubbed Milano, the free tool looks for files associated with the recent Hacking Team breach through either a quick or deep system scan. In the tool’s first form, a total of 93 Windows binaries have been analyzed, and 40 files have been highlighted as likely to be used for malicious use. Additional files will be added as the 400GB cache scrutiny continues.

Microsoft Issues Emergency Fix for Hacking Team Bug – The security flaw could allow an attacker to take full control of your system if you open a specially crafted document or visit a booby-trapped webpage that contains embedded OpenType fonts, Redmond said in its advisory. The vulnerability is rated Critical—Microsoft’s highest vulnerability severity rating, reserved for flaws that could allow code execution without user interaction—for all supported versions of Windows.

New vulnerability lets attackers hijack Chrysler vehicles over the web – A new vulnerability in the Uconnect system gives attackers frightening remote powers over Chrysler vehicles, revealed in a Wired exclusive report. In a live demo, attackers used the vulnerability to cut out a Jeep Cherokee’s transmission and brakes and, when the car is in reverse, commandeer the steering wheel — all without physical access to the vehicle. “This might be the kind of software bug most likely to kill someone,” said Charlie Miller, one of the researchers behind the exploit. The full vulnerability will be presented next month at Defcon, although the researchers plan to withhold crucial details so that the bug cannot be exploited at scale.

MalwareBytes blocks some torrent sites, citing malware and fraud concerns – It’s no secret that torrent sites can be sketchy, but now MalwareBytes is trying to do something about it by adding several sites to its block list. According to TorrentFreak, MalwareBytes Anti-Malware has tagged Isohunt.to and LimeTorrents.cc as malicious, along with several other smaller sites. Users of the website protection tool in MalwareBytes’ premium service won’t be able to visit these sites without unblocking them first.

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Senate bill proposes cyber security standard for cars – Cars will have to be much better protected against hacking and new privacy standards will govern data collected from vehicles under proposed legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. The Security and Privacy in Your Car Act of 2015 seeks to get a step ahead of what is seen by some as one of the next fronts in hacking: connected vehicles, which are always on the Internet and rely on sophisticated computer control systems.

CVS Photo temporally shut down following credit card hack – It looks like CVS is the latest retailer to be affected by a data breach, as its CVSPhoto.com domain now only shows up with a message advising customers that the independent vendor it uses has been compromised. As a result of the hack, CVS has temporarily taken down its CVS Photo website, and says that during this time it is conducting an investigation into the matter. Customers who used the service with their credit card should be on alert.

FTC accuses ID protection service LifeLock of scamming customers—again – LifeLock, the company that heavily advertises itself on TV and online as an identity theft protection service, came under the crosshairs of the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday for allegedly failing customers—again. The agency, in a federal suit filed in LifeLock’s home state of Arizona, accuses the company of failing to notify its customers immediately after their identities were comprised and alleges the company did not implement the same type of identity protection safeguards used by banks. The FTC said LifeLock promised those services to its customers, but did not live up to it.

Company News:

Apple posts another record quarter, with over $1 billion in Apple Watch sales – Apple reported its third quarter earnings today, putting another period of eye-popping profits on the books. Investors were eager to glean any details about how well the new Apple Watch sold, but the bulk of the company’s revenue is still coming from its trifecta of iPhone, iPad, and Mac sales, with digital goods and services a close fourth. Apple generated $49.6 billion in revenue, slightly above analysts’ expectation of $49 billion. It earned a profit of $10.7 billion, trailing its record of $18 billion that it set during the first quarter of this year.

Apple and IBM release 10 new apps, incorporating analytics and iBeacons – The apps use technology like predictive analytics and are for business travelers and mortgage officers, among other professionals.

Microsoft reports big losses in the fourth quarter – Microsoft today reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of its 2015 fiscal year and unsurprisingly, the massive $7.6 billion write down for its Nokia purchase last year tanked any chances of it turning a profit. The write down pushed Microsoft’s losses to $2.1 billion for the quarter. Excluding the write down and related charges, Microsoft’s other businesses earned a profit of $6.4 billion on $22.2 billion in revenue.

Yahoo’s Q2 Manages A Slim Revenue Beat, But Its Per-Share Profit Of $0.16 Disappoints – Today, Yahoo reported its second-quarter financial performance, including $1.04 billion in revenue after discounting for traffic costs (ex-TAC), and earnings per share of $0.16. Revenue sported 15 percent year-over-year growth. The street had expected Yahoo to earn $0.18 per share on revenue of $1.03 billion.

Toshiba’s CEO resigns, amid $1.2 billion financial scandal – Toshiba’s CEO, Hisao Tanaka, alongside other top-level executives, have resigned their positions after it came to light that Toshiba had declared $1.2 billion in false profits over the last six years.

Facebook, others take Samsung’s side in Apple patent case – Apple and Samsung have been fighting a legal battle for a long time now that focuses on Apple alleging that Samsung has violated several of its patents. Samsung now has some industry heavyweights on its side that all have a stake in having Apple lose the court case. Previously the courts ordered Samsung to turn over profits from a few products that the court found infringe on Apple patents.

Games and Entertainment:

NFL Teases A New Subscription Service For On-Demand Games, Will Support Apple TV – The NFL is preparing to launch a new version of its Games Pass service, which will now include the ability to watch games on a wider selection of devices, including the Apple TV. According to information posted on the NFL website, the new Game Pass service will also replace Game Rewind, a paid service that previously offered all 256 NFL regular season games on-demand, after they air on television. Game Rewind will be discontinued on July 31, 2015, the NFL site said, and users will be able to move to the updated Game Pass service instead. The new Game Pass will offer apps for a number of devices, including mobile platforms as well as select connected TV devices like Xbox One, Xbox 360, Apple TV and more.

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Here’s Why Everybody Loves This Bizarre New Soccer Game – It’s like soccer with race cars. That’s the elevator pitch for San Diego studio Psyonix’s Rocket League, a zany ball-punching demolition derby for PC and PlayStation 4. The game arrived without ceremony two weeks ago, but it’s already clinched over 5,000 “overwhelmingly positive” reviews on Steam. It’s now pretty much what everyone’s talking about.

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JustWatch Brings Its Search Engine For Cord Cutters To iOS And Android – JustWatch, a startup that launched earlier this year offering a search engine that helps cord cutters figure out where to watch their favorite programs and movies, is now expanding to mobile. The company has released both iOS and Android applications that help you find where to watch movies and shows, as well as discover new and popular content across a variety of services, including Netflix, Amazon, HBO NOW, Showtime, Hulu, iTunes and many others.

Rising Thunder is a PC-exclusive robot brawler built by Street Fighter talent – Rising Thunder is built for PC and for keyboard inputs. It’s aimed specifically at online multiplayer. It’s free-to-play (supported by cosmetic items). It’s got huge robots fighting other robots. But most importantly, it sounds like Killian and crew are focused on making fighting games more accessible by simplifying inputs. Instead of lengthy, complicated lists of maneuvers—a mainstay of fighting games—you’ll be able to pull off devastating moves with a single button press. That makes the game more about when to use certain moves than inputting the correct commands. In other words, it’s more about the psychological metagame than your finger dexterity.

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PlayStation 4 officially licensed remote launching soon – PDP will soon be launching its own officially licensed media remote for the Sony PlayStation 4. The maker has not officially announced its new remote, but a preorder has gone live on Amazon and some other retailers’ websites, with an availability date starting in October. While officially licensed for the PlayStation 4, the remote can also be used with certain other devices found in an entertainment setup, such as a set top box or the TV itself, depending on its connectivity options.

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Watch the cute full-length trailer for Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ – The first full-length preview of the upcoming flick gives viewers their first look at an unlikely human-dinosaur friendship in action.

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Dinosaurs, in space! Trailer tours the vast universe of No Man’s Sky – Hello Games releases a gorgeous new trailer for No Man’s Sky, an expansive upcoming video game that lets gamers explore a beautiful, seemingly endless universe.

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Microsoft fails to halt class action lawsuit alleging Xbox 360 design flaw – A US appeals court has again rebuffed Microsoft’s attempts to stop a class action lawsuit against it, which claims that the company sold the Xbox 360 with a known design flaw that ruined users’ discs.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How to ​pass on your phone and data when you power off for good – If you don’t plan ahead for someone to access your smartphone and account data, it could be a serious headache for those close to you. Fortunately there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure the right person gets access to your phone and the right data without compromising your day-to-day security. Here’s how to set up a nearly foolproof system that protects your accounts but lets the right person in should something unfortunate happen.

2015 isn’t over yet, but it’s already breaking heat records – Last year was, at the start of 2015, the hottest year on record. We’re only half way through this year, however, and it is already breaking heat records. If it keeps this up, 2015 will overtake 2014 as the hottest year on record, a song we’re likely to hear more often as climate change continues to worsen. The information comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and the Japan Meteorological Agency, among others. All of them have pointed toward June having been record-smashing hot.

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Self-proclaimed experts talk more BS, study finds – Forget everything you think you know—it may cause you to have an exaggerated sense of knowledge, according to a recent study that looks into the origins of misinformation. Researchers call this psychological phenomenon “overclaiming.” In their study, published in Psychological Science, they found that the more someone thinks they know about a general topic, the more likely they are to claim expertise in the subject. The results of their study have raised questions about how we judge our own sense of knowledge and how this bloated sense of self could be detrimental to a society, where one person can start the spread of misinformation. In order to figure out the reasons behind people’s self-proclaimed expertise, researchers ran a series of tests.

Robot surgeons kill 144 patients, hurt 1,391, malfunction 8,061 times – Surgery on humans using robots has been touted by some as a safer way to get your innards repaired – and now the figures are in for you to judge. A team of university eggheads have counted up the number of medical cockups in America reported to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2000 to 2013, and found there were 144 deaths during robot-assisted surgery, 1,391 injuries, and 8,061 counts of device malfunctions. If that sounds terrible, consider that 1.7 million robo-operations were carried out between 2007 and 2013. Whether you’re impressed or appalled, the number of errors has the experts mildly concerned, and they want better safety mechanisms.

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See the first EPIC image of our planet from a million miles away – The image was taken on July 6th, with DSCOVR’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, a four-megapixel CCD camera and telescope that bears the acronym EPIC. The camera is centered on Central America, with much of North and South America blanketed in cloud, and the shallow seas around the Caribbean showing up as turquoise streaks in a deeper blue.

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The mobile web sucks – I hate browsing the web on my phone.  Web browsers on phones are terrible. They are an abomination of bad user experience, poor performance, and overall disdain for the open web that kicked off the modern tech revolution. Mobile Safari on my iPhone 6 Plus is a slow, buggy, crashy affair, starved for the phone’s paltry 1GB of memory and unable to rotate from portrait to landscape without suffering an emotional crisis. Chrome on my various Android devices feels entirely outclassed at times, a country mouse lost in the big city, waiting to be mugged by the first remnant ad with a redirect loop and something to prove.

Watch the first Windows 10 ad use adorable babies to push Hello, Cortana, and Edge – It’s a soft approach to a product that Microsoft seems to expect will change the world, if not transform the company. Windows is shown for about seven seconds, with a quick montage of Hello, the Start menu, the Edge browser, and Cortana. Instead of showing how any of the Windows 10 technologies work, however, Microsoft chose to explain how a new generation will grow up with what Windows 10 embodies: touchscreens, the disappearance of passwords (Windows Hello), a digital assistant who talks to you (Cortana), and more.

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Rhinos outfitted with horn cameras, GPS to fight poaching – British nonprofit animal conservation group Protect has come up with a new way to fight poachers, and it involves outfitting rhinos with their own versions of tech wearables. The system relies on three pieces of technology to track and monitor the animals: heart rate monitors under the skin, a GPS transmitter around the neck, and a camera embedded in the horn after a hole is (painlessly) drilled. The technology is called Real-time Anti-Poaching Intelligence Device (RAPID), and is already being tested on threatened rhino populations in South Africa.

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India Will Have 500 Million Internet Users By 2017, Says New Report – Inexpensive smartphones and 2G subscriptions are expected to help boost Internet usage rates in India over the next two years, according to a new study by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KPMG. While city dwellers are quickly upgrading to 3G and 4G, slower but more affordable data plans will enable more people to get online.

Something to think about:

“Be entirely tolerant or not at all; follow the good path or the evil one. To stand at the crossroads requires more strength than you possess.”

–     Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856)

Today’s Free Downloads:

Facebook History Spy – History Spy is the all-in-one software to instantly recover or view Facebook web history from popular web browsers. It helps in recovering or viewing Facebook history from following browsers.

Mozilla Firefox

Internet Explorer

Google

Chrome Google Chrome Canary/SXS

CoolNovo (Chrome variant)

PaleMoon Browser (Firefox variant)

SeaMonkey Browser (Firefox variant)

It automatically detects the right history database file based on the browser and current user configuration. You can also manually specify the different history file or quickly ‘Drag & Drop’ a history file. This is useful when you have to recover the Facebook history for another user or from different system.

You can also export the recovered Facebook history list to HTML/XML/CSV file for offline analysis.

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Avira Rescue System  – The Avira AntiVir Rescue System a linux-based application that allows accessing computers that cannot be booted anymore. Thus it is possible to repair a damaged system, to rescue data or to scan the system for virus infections.

Just double-click on the rescue system package to burn it to a CD/DVD. You can then use this CD/DVD to boot your computer. The Avira AntiVir Rescue System is updated several times a day so that the most recent security updates are always available.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Former Hacking Team supplier stops selling zero-day exploits on ethical grounds – Italian surveillance software maker Hacking Team recently claimed that it hasn’t lost any customers after the massive leak of its internal data two weeks ago. But it has lost at least one business partner: U.S.-based penetration testing specialist and zero-day exploit broker Netragard.

Over the weekend, Netragard announced that it is terminating its long-time running Exploit Acquisition Program (EAP), citing revelations about Hacking Team’s customers as one of the reasons.

Internal email communications recently leaked from Hacking Team revealed that the Milan-based company had a business relationship with Netragard and bought at least one zero-day exploit through its program.

Google slams proposed export controls on security tools – A proposed set of software export controls, including controls on selling hacking software outside the U.S., are “dangerously broad and vague,” Google said Monday.

Google, commenting on rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), said the proposed export controls would hurt the security research community.

A DOC Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) proposal, published in May would require companies planning to export intrusion software, Internet surveillance systems and related technologies to obtain a license before doing so. Exports to Canada would be exempt from the licensing requirement.

The proposed rules “would also hamper our ability to defend ourselves, our users, and make the web safer,” Google’s Neil Martin, an export compliance lawyer, and Tim Willis with the Chrome Security Team, wrote in a blog post. “It would be a disastrous outcome if an export regulation intended to make people more secure resulted in billions[b] of users across the globe becoming persistently less secure.”

Canada: Two rights groups launch Charter challenge of Bill C-51 – Canada’s new terrorism law is being challenged in court by a journalists’ group and a civil rights organization that call it an attack on constitutional freedoms and an “extraordinary inversion” of the role of judges.

The Anti-Terrorism Act, which took effect last month, makes it a crime to promote or advocate terrorism. It also gives Canada’s civilian spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, new powers to disrupt attacks. Until now, CSIS could only collect and analyze information. It will now be able to ask a judge in a secret hearing for a warrant to violate constitutional rights.

The public safety minister came under opposition criticism after a video emerged of a former Ottawa man calling for attacks on Canadians. Steven Blaney says new tools are needed to help stop terrorists.

The Conservative government passed the law, known as Bill C-51, after two deadly attacks in Canada last October, including one in which a gunman was killed in a shootout with guards on Parliament Hill.

The law is expected to be a factor in the upcoming election campaign, with the Conservatives expected to argue that they alone can be trusted to protect Canadians. The New Democrats opposed the law and the Liberals supported it but promised to change it if they become the government.

The terrorism-promotion provisions, and the new powers for CSIS, are among several parts of the law called unconstitutional in a wide-ranging challenge by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

New York judge rules against Facebook in search warrant case – A New York judge ruled Tuesday that Facebook has no legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of search warrants served on its users, highlighting the limits to online companies’ abilities to protect user privacy.

Last year, Facebook appealed a court decision requiring it to hand over data, including photos and private messages, relating to 381 user accounts. The data was sought as part of an investigation by the New York County District Attorney’s office into a disability fraud case.

Other companies including Google and Microsoft filed briefs supporting Facebook’s move, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union.

In her decision on Tuesday, Judge Dianne Renwick of the New York State Supreme Court said Facebook has no constitutional or statutory right to challenge a warrant before it’s issued.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – July 20, 2015

Ripping CDs and movies for personal use is once again illegal in UK;  UK government releases plan to jail online pirates for up to 10 years;   Stop pesky HTML5 videos from auto-playing;  These 4 Gadgets Will Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly;  Photos: 9 apps that can help people with disabilities;  Virtual reality for beginners: Everything you need to know to wrap your head around VR;  Pocket for iOS updated with text-to-speech feature;  Save the world using your PC or phone;  Microsoft will support Windows 10 till 2025;  Hacking Attacks on Ashley Madison Could Mean Trouble for Millions of Would-Be Cheaters;  Windows 10 to be sold on USB sticks;  Microsoft to spoofed Skype users: Change your account passwords NOW;  Google might soon help you find anyone from a plumber to a painter;  Amazon Looks to Turn India into Firm’s Biggest Market Outside the U.S.  10 Games Every Xbox One Player Needs;  Xbox One game streaming to Windows 10 PCs is now available for everyone;  GoPro captures road rage as alleged victim fights back (and wins);  The Pocket Guide to Fighting with Idiots on the Internet;  Are the Ten Commandments really the basis for our laws?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Ripping CDs and movies for personal use is once again illegal in UK – Today’s ruling quashes the 2014 regulation that made it legal to make personal copies of performances for private use as long as the person doing so has lawfully acquired the content and doesn’t distribute it to anyone else. That regulation allowed people to make backups or play songs or movies in different formats but didn’t allow selling copies or sharing them with family and friends. But the High Court ruled last month that the regulation hadn’t been enacted properly. The personal use exception wasn’t immediately thrown out because other remedies could have been considered, but today’s ruling takes it off the books.

These 4 Gadgets Will Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly – Long promised to be the next big thing, smart home gear hasn’t just arrived, some of it has already departed for the clearance racks and the deal-a-day websites. The problem with a lot of these products? They’re technology for the sake of gadgetry — meaning they do something kind of cool, but that’s about it. For smart home devices to be truly innovative, they must solve a problem facing consumers. One of those problems ripe for solving: Utility bills. Here are four ways smart home devices can give you a better handle on how your home uses energy and water, saving not only money, but also precious resources.

Inbox by Gmail adds some extra smarts to the snooze button – Google’s email app now looks at message content to predict just the right time to pop messages back into your inbox

snooze inbox

Stop pesky HTML5 videos from auto-playing with this helpful Firefox add-on – This nifty add-on helps you silence pesky auto-playing audio and video that you come across on the web–as long it’s not Flash-based.

Intel’s Skylake chips: What you need to know about the next big CPU change – Move over, Broadwell: the sixth generation of Intel Core i-series CPUs are almost here. Here’s how it will — and won’t — affect your PC and Mac buying choices.

Sideclick is back to make streamer remote controls more useful – The $21 attachment adds volume and other television controls to Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Google Nexus Player remotes.

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Meet Voat, the website that wants to be the anti-Reddit – With all the drama surrounding Reddit, from debates over free speech to its messy game of musical chairs among executives, it’s understandable some users might want to leave. Now they’ve found a place to go. It’s called Voat (rhymes with goat), and it says it’s fixed all those things people don’t like about Reddit.

Photos: 9 apps that can help people with disabilities – It’s easy to how powerful a simple technology can be. Here are nine apps to help make day-to-day tasks much easier for people with disabilities.

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HearYouNow is a personal sound amplifier for people trying to listen in specific types of environments, like in a loud restaurant or during a meeting. You can choose to focus on conversations happening near you, or those further away, and it’s easy to replay the last 20 seconds of a conversation. Available for free for iOS.

Pocket for iOS updated with text-to-speech feature – Pocket, the wonderful app that lets users save articles and other content for reading later on, has updated its iOS app with a text to speed feature. With this feature, busy users can have their saved articles read to them while they do other things the same as an audio book. It’s a handy feature, one that makes it easier to work through one’s saved articles while driving to or from work or while doing other things that require your attention to be (mostly) elsewhere.

Virtual reality for beginners: Everything you need to know to wrap your head around VR – Virtual reality has the potential to change the world, but you’ll need to understand the radical new technology before you embrace it.

Save the world using your PC or phone – Volunteer computing is a way for people to get their computers or phones to link up to solve complicated modeling and calculations to aid in research projects. What’s being volunteered is your machine’s spare processing power. When multiple computers are a part of the same project, these separate machines act in concert to serve as a supercomputer.

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SETI@home in action on a Mac. Ariel Nunez/CNET

Microsoft starts the countdown to Windows 10 release with ’10 reasons to upgrade’ – Microsoft has released a new video series to promote Windows 10 that highlights 10 features of the OS and why you should upgrade when it arrives later this month.

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Windows 10 to be sold on … wait for it … USB sticks – Microsoft has confirmed scuttlebutt that had been flying around for a number of weeks now: Windows 10 will be sold on USB Flash drives. Over on Amazon.com, pre-order pages show that the operating system will be available on media other than DVDs. A release date has now been tagged for 30 August with the drive retailing in the US at $119.99 for the Windows 10 Home version and $199.99 for Windows 10 Pro.

Windows 10 — download full version, before release date (RTM build 10240) – Yes, you can get the Windows 10 “RTM” build, right now, for download, even before the release date. Build 10240 is the final, full version. It’s available for update, but you can also get hold of the ISOs (even though Microsoft doesn’t want you to). As before, this is an Insider Program thing only. You did sign up for the program, like I told you, right?

Microsoft will support Windows 10 till 2025 – With the move to Windows a a Service, Microsoft had left some questions unanswered about the support and lifecycle of the OS. The company has now updated its product page to indicate 10 years.

Save your money and download Microsoft’s free eBooks on Windows 10 – Not only is Microsoft giving away it new Windows 10 operating system for Free, the company is also giving away 100’s of Free eBooks covering a wide range of Microsoft technologies-including Windows 10.Let’s take a closer look.

Microsoft Will Release Cortana For Android In “Next Few Weeks” – Following an apparent leak of Cortana for the Android platform, Microsoft released comment indicating that it is in fact testing its digital assistant for the Google platform, and will cut it live in short order. So all that cross-platform talk wasn’t a charade. Expect Cortana to land on Android and, later, iOS.

Security:

0-day attacks exploiting Flash just got harder thanks to new defenses – A string of weaponized attacks targeting Adobe’s Flash media player—including three in the past 10 days—has kept software engineers scrambling to fix the underlying vulnerabilities that make the exploits so dangerous. Fortunately, they have also been busy making structural changes to the way the program interacts with computer operating systems to significantly reduce the damage that can result not only from those specific attacks but entire classes of similar ones. At the moment, the defenses are fully implemented only in the Flash version included in Google Chrome, having made their debut earlier this week. One of the two mitigations is available in other versions of Flash, and the remaining one is expected to be added to other browsers in August.

UCLA’s Health System Was Hacked and Now 4.5 Million People May Have Had Their Personal Data Stolen – The University of California, Los Angeles, announced today that their health system had been hacked sometime in the past ten months, potentially compromising the personal data of 4.5 million people. UCLA Health first noticed the security breach in September 2014, when the system detected “suspicious activity” and the FBI was called in to investigate. At that time, it didn’t appear that hackers posed a threat. Then, in May 2015, the healthcare provider realized hackers had accessed their internal system, which contained privileged information like names, addresses, social security numbers, and medical records that may have been stolen.

Microsoft to spoofed Skype users: Change your account passwords NOW – An unknown number of frustrated Skype customers have been pestered by spoof messages on the Microsoft service for weeks, but the company is yet to close what appears to be a gaping hole in its software. Instead, Redmond has advised Skype users to change their account passwords. But complaints are building up about the lack of communication coming out of the Microsoft camp regarding what seems to be a Skype security flaw. The problem first appeared late last month. One Skype user, posting in a thread that now runs to 22 pages long, said:

Hacking Attacks on Ashley Madison Could Mean Trouble for Millions of Would-Be Cheaters – KrebsOnSecurity — the Internet security blog run by former Washington Post cybercrime reporter Brian Krebs — says the hackers, calling themselves the Impact Team, are demanding that Avid Life Media (ALM), a Canadian company that owns Ashley Madison as well as Established Men (which promises to set successful men up with “young, beautiful women”) to take the two sites down permanently. If ALM doesn’t comply, the hackers say they will continue releasing “all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails,” Krebs reports.

Email Spam Rates Dip Below 50 Percent – Despite what your email inbox might be telling you, overall spam rates have dropped below 50 percent for the first time in 12 years. In June, the rate of unwanted emails reached 49.7 percent—1.8 percent less than the month before, which fell 0.6 percent from the month before that. According to the latest Symantec Intelligence Report, the last time the security firm recorded a similarly low spam rate was in September 2003.

Company News:

Amazon Looks to Turn India into Firm’s Biggest Market Outside the U.S. – Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is planning to invest as much as $5 billion to turn India into its biggest market outside the U.S., the Economic Times newspaper reports. Last year, the online behemoth, which entered India in 2013 with a website that offers a platform for local retailers to sell their goods online, committed itself to investing $2 billion in its Indian operations as it sought to capitalise on the country’s expanding middle class, a significant section of which is going online at a rapid rate.

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Google might soon help you find anyone from a plumber to a painter – It appears Google is about to enter the growing home services market. The search giant has snatched up roughly 20 employees from Homejoy, a startup that focused on pairing house cleaners with apartment-dwellers and homeowners. Google confirmed the hires to our sister site, Recode, just hours after Homejoy announced yesterday that it was closing shop for good at the end of the month. Google has yet to announce any foray into home services, but Buzzfeed reported earlier this year that the company was working on a service that would connect local plumbers, cleaners, painters, and other workers with homeowners.

Apple files patent for targeted ad system that checks what you can afford to buy – I am seeing a lot of praise on social networks recently for the introduction of Apple Pay across Apple’s mobile devices because it’s so convenient not having to take your wallet out to pay, especially if you own the Apple Watch. But Apple having access to your bank account and spending habits has opened up a new way to advertise to individual users: targeted adverts based on what you can afford. Apple has filed a patent that would allow it to enable such a system. Rather than having adverts appear based on your browsing and buying habits, Apple can now track how much cash you have in your bank account, on your credit card, or in pre-paid credit. It can then better select the ad to show you based on whether you can afford what the ad is attempting to sell.

Yahoo Files To Spin Off Its Alibaba Stake As “Aabaco Holdings” – Yahoo is moving forward with plans to spin off its Alibaba assets, as outlined in a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Basically, Yahoo is tossing its Alibaba stock and a minor part of its operations into a new corporate entity. The spinoff will be a public company called Aabaco Holdings, and it will own 384 million shares of Alibaba, which is about 15 percent of the total.

Microsoft is reportedly signing up Foxconn to build Lumia phones in India – After huge cuts to its phone division last week, it seems Microsoft may be planning to outsource at least part of its handset manufacturing, and is said to be close to a deal with Foxconn in India.

T-Mobile reaches settlement with FCC over 911 outages – Back in mid-March, Verizon settled with the FCC over 911 service outages that happened in April of last year. Verizon wasn’t the only wireless carrier that was swept up into some 911 outages, however, and now T-Mobile has followed in the carrier’s footsteps with its own FCC settlement. The big difference, though, is how much it will pay to settle the matter. While Verizon settled for $3.4 million, T-Mobile will be paying $17.5 million to settle the legal matter.

Huawei sales rise 30 percent in H1 2015 – Chinese technology giant Huawei has revealed a 30 percent rise in sales for the half year, with smartphones in the mid- and high-end markets contributing to its continuing high rate of growth.

Games and Entertainment:

10 Games Every Xbox One Player Needs – If you’re ready to discover what the PCMag staff considers the best Xbox One games, click through the slideshow. You can watch video clips of the games in action, and read our pithy words regarding what makes each title one that’s worth owning.

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Sunset Overdrive puts you in the role of a downtrodden garbage collector who works for Fizzco, a corporation that launches an energy drink that ultimately turns its customers into mutants.

Xbox One game streaming to Windows 10 PCs is now available for everyone – The impending arrival of Windows 10 is bringing a bunch of welcome new features for Xbox One players. Xbox’s Larry Hryb said in a blog post today that an update rolling out over the next few days will bring players the ability to play Xbox One games on their Windows 10 PCs and tablets by streaming them over their home networks. The feature, which was announced in January, lets players bring games to other rooms of their house without having to move their console. It was previously made available to about 5 million testers of Windows 10.

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Stardock releases Sorcerer King, its new strategy fantasy game – Stardock today announced that Sorcerer King is available now and ready to challenge strategy gamers across the globe. In Sorcerer King players must build a kingdom and raise a force powerful enough to challenge the Sorcerer King who’s all but destroyed their world. Gamers are able to purchase Sorcerer King for $39.99 at http://www.sorcererking.com.

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Judge Approves $60M Settlement in Student-Athlete Video Game Lawsuit – It’s not going to make any student-athletes (or former student-athletes) rich, but a federal judge’s approval of a $60 million settlement as part of a class-action lawsuit filed against the NCAA and Electronic Arts is still fairly monumental. As part of the settlement, any student-athlete on the roster of a Division 1 men’s football or men’s basketball team—whose team was included on any Electronic Arts video game released between May 4, 2003 and September 3, 2014—may file for a claim as part of the settlement. More than 20,000 student-athletes filed for a claim based on the original July 2 deadline. That deadline has since been extended to July 31 for interested parties. The maximum amount that any individual player will be able to earn is $7,200, and they might receive it as early as September (depending how appeals to the settlement go).

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This week in games: Duke Nukem lives, Doom runs inside Doom, and more – Plus: Just Cause 3 turns into a Choose Your Own Adventure and someone’s making a new Warhammer 40,000 action-RPG.

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Android TV, like Google TV, still too ahead of its time – Name five devices that run on Google’s Android TV operating system. If you managed to do that without hurriedly running to a Google search, you are a rare breed. Ask the average user, even someone who is a longtime Android user, and you will probably get a blank stare.

Off Topic (Sort of):

CNN, Fox, other news networks still think we’re all technology idiots – While the endless filler and sometimes mind-numbing commentary that comes with 24-hour news networks provide plenty of subject matter worthy of eye-rolling criticism, it’s hard to find any subject that is approached with a deeper level of maddening condescension and downright idiocy than when a breaking technology-related story unfolds. Watching CNN and others last Wednesday was just the latest example in this continuously absurd area of mainstream journalism.

After Washington Post rolls out HTTPS, its editorial board bemoans encryption debate – Opinion: The national daily displays staggering naivety and hypocrisy in just 530 words.

The Pocket Guide to Fighting with Idiots on the Internet – The rules of the flame war are always changing. The spats of today aren’t at all similar to those our forefathers fought before modems; a changed arena requires a different tact. You can’t approach a fight on Twitter like you would one on the street, though ultimately it pays to be a total prick in both situations. But that shouldn’t be too hard should it, prick face? Let’s begin:

Which of the 11 American nations do you live in? – Colin Woodard, a reporter at the Portland Press Herald and author of several books, says North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government. Woodard lays out his map in the new book “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.” Here’s how he breaks down the continent:

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Cyber-security’s dirty little secret: It’s not as bad as you think – New research from the Global Commission on Internet Governance has reached a surprising conclusion: cyberspace is actually getting safer. The report [PDF] starts from a simple enough premise: while we are constantly told that incidents of cyberattacks and online security threats are increasing, are they growing relative to the expanding size of the internet? In other words, while 10 homicides in a small town of 1,000 is terrifying, 100 in a city of 10 million would be considered low. The second is still 10 times the first. Having pulled data on the number of domain names from dot-com operator Verisign, volume of online activity from Cisco, and search activity from Google, author Eric Jardine, then mapped a wide variety of cybersecurity issues onto the expanding internet and found that things are actually getting better.

Spotify’s new map shows musical tastes of a thousand cities – Have you ever wondered what other people in your city are listening to? If so, Spotify’s newly created Musical Map will be of particular interest. The map uses Spotify’s glut of data to create playlists based on the listening habits of users across 1,000 cities around the globe. The map presently includes cities in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. Clicking on a city will pull up a link to a playlist on Spotify that was created to show what kind of music is popular in the region.

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GoPro captures road rage as alleged victim fights back (and wins) – Technically Incorrect: A video of a motorist getting angry at a motorcyclist depicts an instance of a man getting more than he bargained for. Almost 9 million YouTube viewers have checked it out.

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Are the Ten Commandments really the basis for our laws? – I was thinking about this recently. People seem to accept that our laws are based on the morals of the Old Testament laid out in the Commandments, but as a proper skeptic, I decided to take a look myself. Why not go over the Commandments, said I to myself, and compare them to our actual laws, as well as the Constitution, the legal document framed by the Founding Fathers, and upon which our laws are actually based? So I did.

Something to think about:

“It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.”

–      Julius Caesar

Today’s Free Downloads:

Yawcam – Yawcam is a shortening for Yet Another WebCAM software, and that’s exactly what it is ;-) More precise Yawcam is a webcam software for windows written in java. The main ideas for Yawcam are to keep it simple and easy to use but to include all the usual features.

Features:

Video streaming

Image snapshots

Built-in webserver

Motion detection

Ftp-upload

Text and image overlays

Password protection

Online announcements for communities

Scheduler for online time

Time lapse movies

Run as a Windows service

Multi languages

Yawcam is freeware. However, if you enjoy using Yawcam and would like to help support its development, please consider making a donation.

Limitations: Requires Sun Java Runtime Environment installed.

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WhoCrashed Free Home Edition – WhoCrashed reveals the drivers responsible for crashing your computer.

Whenever a computer running Windows suddenly reboots without displaying any notice or blue screen of death, the first thing that is often thought about is a hardware failure. In reality, most crashes are caused by malfunctioning device drivers and kernel modules. In case of a kernel error, most computers running Windows do not show a blue screen unless they are configured to do so. Instead these systems suddenly reboot without any notice.

WhoCrashed shows the drivers which have been crashing your computer with a single click. In most cases it can pinpoint the offending drivers which have been causing misery on your computer system in the past. It does post-mortem crashdump analysis and presents all gathered information in a comprehensible way.

Normally, debugging skills and a set of debugging tools are required to do post-mortem crash dump analysis. By using this utility you do not need any debugging skills to be able to find out what drivers are causing trouble to your computer.

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Lastpass  – The Last Password You’ll Have To Remember.

Lastpass is a freeware password manager that will surely make your browsing a lot easier and much more secure.

Generate strong passwords, knowing you’ll only have to remember one.

Log into your favorite websites with just one click

Access and manage your important data from multiple workstations seamlessly

Share logins with your friends and let others share logins with you

The Universal Windows installer installs browser extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. It also allows you to easily create a LastPass account and import your existing passwords. It’s the best way to install LastPass on Windows. The 64 bit installer includes 32 bit IE installer.

Supports Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox 2.0+, Chrome 18+, Safari 5+, Opera 11+.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Hacking Team apparently violated EU rules in sale of spyware to Russian agency – Newly released e-mails from Hacking Team, the now-embattled Italian spyware firm that sold what it claims is lawful intercept software to companies and governments, definitively show that it sold its Remote Control System surveillance software to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), the successor agency to the KGB.

Officially, Hacking Team sold its wares to a company called “Advanced Monitoring,” whose corporate parent has a license to work with the FSB, as recently as August 28, 2014. That would put the Italian firm in violation of the July 31, 2014 European Union regulation that forbids selling such technology, whether directly or indirectly, to the Russian military.

It also seems odd that Hacking Team would sell on one side of the Atlantic to Western agencies like the US Army while also selling to the FSB. In its most recent human rights report, the United States Department of State refers to Russia as a “highly centralized, increasingly authoritarian political system.”

The report also notes, “There were allegations government officials and others engaged in electronic surveillance without appropriate authorization and entered residences and other premises without warrants.”

Hacking Team still refuses to say exactly when or why its relationship with its Russian customers stopped.

UK.gov will appeal against DRIPA-busting verdict, says minister – The government has announced it will appeal a High Court judgment which has ruled its DRIPA surveillance legislation unlawful.

The High Court judgment, which was delivered this morning, ruled that the “emergency” DRIPA surveillance legislation rushed through Parliament last year is unlawful.

Responding to the High Court verdict, security minister John Hayes declared: “We disagree absolutely with this judgment and will seek an appeal.”

This may be only the second time in history that the High Court has disapplied primary legislation, a fact which Financial Times legal blogger David Allen Green considers of “huge historical significance.”

Hayes stated that metadata, also known as communications data, “is not just crucial in the investigation of serious crime. It is also a fundamental part of investigating other crimes which still have a severe impact, such as stalking and harassment, as well as locating missing people.”

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Home Secretary Theresa May: Every free citizen’s nightmare

UK government releases plan to jail online pirates for up to 10 years – The UK government has launched a consultation paper on plans to increase the maximum sentence for online pirates from two to 10 years of imprisonment.

The proposed changes to the penalty have been outlined in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Intellectual Property Office’s ‘Changes to penalties for online copyright infringement’ paper (PDF). Under the proposal, this could could mean the penalty for infringing on the rights of copyright holders online will be equivalent to offences relating to the copyright infringement of physical goods.

Currently under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, online pirates only can receive a maximum of two years imprisonment whereas the maximum sentence for the infringement of physical goods of 10 years.

The consultation follows recommendations made in the independent review released in March, the ‘Penalty Fair?’ report (PDF), which saw calls from the creative industries to harmonise online and offline copyright infringement offences, as they suggested online offences should be not seen as less serious than its physical counterparts.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – July 17, 2015

The Best Antivirus for 2015;  25 browser add-ons for an easier, hassle-free web experience;  How to disable the Adobe Flash browser plug-in;  6 gotta-know sound settings for Android and iOS;  Facebook tests buy button on Pages;  Microsoft releases new license terms for Windows 10;  Twitter Unveils New Dashboard;  Get Your Prescription Meds Delivered On-Demand;  New iPod Touch offers a cheap entry-level iOS device;  Stop others from copying, printing shared Google Drive files;  Oracle fixes zero-day Java flaw and over 190 other vulnerabilities;  LogDog Is A Mobile App That Helps Protect Your Online Accounts From Being Hacked;  Netflix Hits Record High — Again;  Intel profit falls as PC slump continues;  Angry Birds 2 is coming on July 30th;  Alternative is the question, Linux is the answer;  10 Mobile Games to Keep Your Mind Sharp;  Buy a PS4 or Xbox One, Get $100 Gift Card;  A gamer’s guide to online security.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The Best Antivirus for 2015 – When your computer seems sluggish, do you blame your antivirus? That was famously the case in the past, but these days installing antivirus protection can effectively speed up your computer. That’s because the best antivirus products do their job more efficiently than the antivirus built into Windows. Which one is best for you? We’ll help you decide.

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How to disable the Adobe Flash browser plug-in – If you really want to keep using Flash, update it immediately. But it might be a better idea to go into your desktop browser settings and shut down this media streaming tool, at least for now. Devices using Google’s Android operating system do not have Flash pre-installed, and of course Apple has long banned Flash from iOS devices, so you only need to tweak your Windows and Mac browsers. Not sure if Flash is installed? Go to Adobe’s Flash Player page and click the Check Now button.

25 browser add-ons for an easier, hassle-free web experience – Using your PC for desktop software like Microsoft Office and Photoshop is nice, but the cold, hard fact is that most of the time our PCs are just glorified browser launchers. So much of what goes on in our lives these days lives on the web, whether it’s our social networks, email, financial dealings, or simply catching up on the day’s news. That’s why it pays to trick out your browser with extensions that make it easier to live online. Here’s a look at 25 browser add-ons and extensions that will make your browsing experience smoother, easier, and far less problematic.

6 gotta-know sound settings for Android and iOS – Clicking the volume rocker isn’t the only way to control the sound on your Android phone or iPhone. You can make key taps “click,” assign different ringtones to your favorite contacts, tweak your equalizer levels, and more.

Microsoft releases new license terms for Windows 10: Biggest surprise? No gotchas – Microsoft has consistently said that its new “Windows as a service” model doesn’t change the basic licensing terms for Windows. Based on these documents, that’s still true. In fact, the new license agreement is simpler and written more clearly than any similar document I’ve reviewed in 20 years of examining Windows license agreements. There are a few noteworthy changes, which I’ll outline in this post, but every one of those changes has previously been disclosed. Like I said: No surprises.

New iPod Touch offers a cheap entry-level iOS device for the enterprise – While many might consider Apple’s iPod Touch to be a kid’s toy, the inexpensive, Wi-Fi-only device with no cellular data capabilities could be the perfect product for businesses looking to roll out custom iPhone apps to their employees. With the cheapest iPhones costing around $500, the ability to pick up an iPod Touch (starting at $200 for a 16 GB model) makes for some interesting possibilities. Here are the details on the new model.

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Image: Apple

Twitter Unveils New Dashboard To Help Users Monitor Their Data – Twitter just released a new dashboard to help users keep an eye out on how their data is being accessed by third-party apps and other services. The dashboard, available in settings, allows users to review their log-in history and see devices that they are currently connected on. Users are also able to see the activity of apps that they have allowed access to their account.

Facebook tests buy button on Pages to help small businesses sell you stuff – If it seems like every social network wants you to buy more stuff, well, you’re not completely off-base. Now those efforts are moving beyond ads into actual buy buttons, with Pinterest and Twitter piloting efforts to let you buy items straight from your main feed. Facebook is putting its own spin on the shoppable social network by turning Facebook Pages into their own storefronts.

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Facebook is already using buy buttons in your News Feed, but its new initiative is a little different.

Stop others from copying, printing shared Google Drive files – Google Drive allows you to easily share documents, spreadsheets or media files with friends or coworkers. However, the list of options for how you share something has always been a bit too brief, only including the abilities to view or edit. Now there’s two new options for locking down your files, and here’s how to use them:

10 new keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10 – A couple of Windows 10’s new features, such as Snap Assist (OK, not really new, but improved) and virtual desktops are useful — and even more useful when you use them with keyboard shortcuts. Here are 10 keyboard shortcuts you’ll need to learn if you want to be able to navigate Windows 10 with ease:

Seven must-read Windows 10 deployment tips for net admins – System requirements, driver compatibility, and update branches are just some of the factors to consider prior to a Windows 10 deploy.

Get Your Prescription Meds Delivered On-Demand With Zipdrug – Just launched in NYC, Zipdrug is a on-demand prescription drug delivery service that will bring you your meds with the tap of a button. The first time users boot up the app they are prompted to enter the pharmacy where their prescription has been sent by their doctor, as well as payment and insurance information. The company then dispatches messengers to pick up your medicine, all of which have been through a background check, drug screening, and a HIPAA awareness course. All pharmacy payments are handled by Zipdrugs, so your card is just charged the cost of the medications after insurance deductions, plus a $10 delivery fee.

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Alternative is the question, Linux is the answer – Jack Wallen has seen a huge rise in the amount of a single question coming into his inbox. Those asking the question will surprise you… the answer will not.

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Workplace social and email disruption costs US companies $300 billion – Sapience has created a “Big Brother” like technology to monitor, help and show employees how to use their time more effectively in the workplace.

Reddit’s new content policy: bullies and more prohibited – Reddit promised that changes were coming, and now those changes are here. In a post today, the site’s back-again CEO Steve Huffman detailed some additional content restrictions the company is considering, and though they aren’t too restrictive they will spell the end to a variety of subreddits — some obscure, others well-known. Talking about illegal activities, for example, is still okay but posting illegal things is not. Bullying subreddits, too, are on the chopping block.

Security:

Windows 10 updates to be automatic and mandatory for Home users – Windows Update can’t be readily disabled in Windows 10 Home, and the license terms that all users must agree to allow Microsoft to install updates automatically. The Insider Preview releases of Windows 10 didn’t include any way to prevent Windows Update from downloading and installing updates, but it wasn’t clear if this was just some quirk of the previews, or the long-term plan; Microsoft’s previews often have special rules for things like providing automated feedback and hooking up online services, and so this could have been part of that. While inevitably someone will figure out how to disable Windows Update and block the updates, for the most part this change means that home users of Windows 10 are always going to be running both the most secure version, and the version with the most features.

Dozens of phone apps with 300M downloads vulnerable to password cracking – Smartphone apps from Walmart, CNN, ESPN, and dozens of other organizations put user accounts at risk of compromise because they allow attackers to make an unlimited number of login attempts, according to recently published research. Until last September, Apple’s iCloud service failed to limit the number of login attempts to that service, a shortcoming that may have contributed to last year’s mass celebrity hack and nude photo thefts.

Chrome Will Soon Show More “Safe Browsing” Malware Warnings Than Ever Before – Depending on your surfing habits, chances are you’ve come across a warning in Chrome that tells you that it’s probably safer not to proceed to whatever site you wanted to look at. That’s Google’s Safe Browsing technology at work, and over the next few weeks, the company plans to roll out a number of improvements to this service. This means you’ll see more Safe Browsing warnings than ever before, simply because Google has become better at finding sites that harbor malware, unwanted software and phishing attacks.

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LogDog Is A Mobile App That Helps Protect Your Online Accounts From Being Hacked – By some estimates as many as 1 in 4 people claim to have had one of their online accounts hacked, something that Israeli startup LogDog is on a mission to help stop. It offers a mobile app (currently Android, with iOS to follow soon) that promises to monitor an array of online accounts for suspicious login or attempted login activity. It does this, in part, by building a profile of your usual log in parameters, such as sign-in locations, times, and device types, and then alerts you of any suspicious activity. It’s then up to you whether or not to change the password for that particular account, ignore the attempt or, in the case of a false-positive, tell LogDog that it was in fact you.

Oracle fixes zero-day Java flaw and over 190 other vulnerabilities – Go ahead and update Java — or disable it if you don’t remember the last time you actually used it on the Web. Oracle’s latest patch, released Tuesday, fixes 25 vulnerabilities in the aging platform, including one that’s already being exploited in attacks. In addition to Java, Oracle also updated a wide range of other products, fixing a total of 193 vulnerabilities, 44 stemming from third-party components.

Verizon launches managed security service – Verizon’s enterprise unit said it has launched a managed security service aimed at businesses of all sizes. Today, the service is delivered via an appliance with a cloud offering on deck.

Company News:

YouTube and mobile ads drove strong revenue growth for Google last quarter – Google just released its financials for Q2 2015, the first such release the company is making under the guidance of new CFO Ruth Porat. The company made revenues of $17.7 billion, an 11 percent year-over-year increase. While Google’s still growing, things have slowed a bit since last year, though — in Q2 2014, the company increased revenue 22 percent over the previous year. As usual, advertising is what is making Google money; total advertising revenue of $16 billion was also up 11 percent over the prior year, but Google’s small “other revenues” category grew 17 percent over Q2 2014.

Netflix Hits Record High — Again – After reporting strong subscription growth and better-than-expected second-quarter profit, Netflix went on a tear today, spiking around 18 percent in regular trading. The company is also up after hours. It’s been a very busy week for Netflix, which managed an earlier record high ahead of its stock split and earnings. Off the back of that, Netflix cut its shares into sevenths, lowering its price to the roughly $100 mark. Then it rocked the earnings report and took flight. Netflix ended the day worth $49.51 billion, or roughly as much as Uber.

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Intel profit falls as PC slump continues – Intel’s revenue and profit both dropped last quarter as people held off on buying new PCs ahead of the Windows 10 launch later this year. Revenue from Intel’s Client Computing Group, which sells processors for desktops, laptops and smartphones, fell 14 percent from this time last year to $7.5 billion, the chip maker said Wednesday. Its Data Center Group, which makes the Xeon server processors, performed better, but not well enough to offset the ongoing slump in the PC industry. Intel’s total revenue for the quarter ended June 27 was $13.2 billion, down 5 percent from a year earlier. Net income was $2.7 billion, down 3 percent.

Huawei granted approval to make handsets in India: Report – Huawei Technologies has recently been granted a key approval from the Indian government that paves way for the Chinese telecom giant to make handsets in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for phones.

Huawei injects AU$30m into Sydney training centre – Huawei will be opening a training and development centre in Sydney to educate staff, customers, and students on its latest technologies.

Toshiba overstated profits, CEO and board members might have to resign – A Reuters report claims that Toshiba overstated profits for the past six years to the tune of 170 billion yen – or $1.37 billion. A third party probe into the accounts of the multinational have revealed these and more write-downs over the past six years and will result in as much as $2.4-3.2 billion in fines. The government is also investigating whether top officials were involved and is expected to publicize its findings in the next week. If proven guilty, as many as half the members of the board, including Vice President Norio Sasaki, may be sacked. Regardless of the decision, CEO Hisao Tanaka will likely be forced to step down in the wake of the scandal.

Jolla signs up India’s Intex as first Sailfish OS licensee – Jolla, the Finnish developer of an Android alternative, has signed Indian smartphone vendor Intex Technologies as the first licensee for its Sailfish OS. The company also announced Thursday at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai that its new Sailfish OS 2.0 is now available for licensing with a scalable 4G LTE reference platform. Jolla is talking to a number of potential partners but the first licensee so far is Intex, which will aim to make an affordable phone at a price around rupees 10,000 (US$158), company spokesman Juhani Lassila said Thursday.

BitTorrent teams with Onehub for ‘hybrid’ enterprise file-sharing service – BitTorrent has long billed its Sync file-sharing service as a peer-to-peer alternative to cloud storage, but on Wednesday the company announced it’s working with Onehub on a new, combined offering for large businesses. Onehub Sync integrates BitTorrent Sync into Onehub’s online file-storage service through what the two companies call a hybrid, peer-to-peer+one approach. The result combines the benefits of syncing directly between peers with using Onehub as a “persistent peer” that’s always available in the cloud.

European Commission opens antitrust investigations against Qualcomm—again – The European Commission has opened two formal antitrust investigations against the US company Qualcomm concerning possible “abusive behaviour” in the field of baseband chipsets used in consumer electronic devices. The first investigation will examine whether the company abused its dominant market position by offering financial incentives to customers on the condition that they buy baseband chipsets exclusively, or almost exclusively, from Qualcomm. The second will explore whether it used “predatory pricing”—that is, charged prices below costs in order to drive competitors from the market.

Games and Entertainment:

A gamer’s guide to online security – Trend Micro has a handy security checklist for gamers, including tips that are useful for any online account, like not sharing your passwords and not giving account info to phishers. But here are four especially important security tips for gamers: protecting your primary email address, signing up for two-factor authentication, guarding your credit card info, and avoiding links to fake websites.

10 Mobile Games to Keep Your Mind Sharp – If you’re going to be staring at your screen, why not do something that could maybe make you smarter? You don’t learn anything from Flappy Bird except new ways to combine profanity. Numerous researchers have been exploring the possibility of using “gamification” to make learning and training easier, and the fruits of their labors are all over the App Store. Check out the slideshow for 10 games that will get that old gray matter pumping and amp up your mental abilities.

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Eidetic – Eidetic is a fascinating app that uses some interesting mental principles to help you remember anything. Using “spaced repetition,” the app asks you to select a piece of information that you want to store, then interrupts you at irregular intervals to quiz you on it.

Angry Birds 2 is coming on July 30th – Finnish game developer Rovio has just announced that there’s an Angry Birds 2 in the works, and that it’s coming very soon: the game is set to launch on July 30th for unspecified mobile devices. Aside from the date, though, we don’t have very much information on the game. Rovio says that it will be “the mother of all sequels,” but there are no gameplay details, screenshots, or teaser trailers to get excited about. The one piece of promotional art shows a familiar cast of birds.

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‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ for PC Borked Until September – If you were expecting a two-day patch, or even a two-week patch, then you’re going to be disappointed. Unlike some other botched PC game releases—here’s looking at you, Mortal Kombat X—fixing up the disastrous launch of Arkham Knight looks like it might be a multi-month affair. The game debuted on June 23 and, according to some leaked documents obtained by Kotaku, it’s possible that the game won’t be fixed on the PC until September at the earliest.

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HBO Now moves beyond Apple, arrives on Android and Amazon devices – Three months ago, HBO made its programming available to consumers without a cable subscription, selling a streaming service called HBO Now on Apple devices. Today the exclusivity with Apple expired, rolling out to anyone with an Android phone or tablet or an Amazon Fire tablet. The price remains the same, at $14.99 a month, and HBO says users should expect it to soon be available across all the devices you can use for HBO Go, including Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV.

Goat Simulator arrives on PlayStation next month – Coffee Stain Studios has announced that its Goat Simulator, the fun game where people play as goats, will be arriving on Sony’s gaming consoles soon. Mark South of developer Double Eleven made the announcement today, saying that after collaborating with the studio the game will be launching for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 on August 11. The PlayStation versions of Goat Similar are going to be special, however, including a bit of extra fun that other versions haven’t had.

Showtime streaming explained: What you get, and how you can get it – Following the footsteps of rival HBO, Showtime now offers a standalone service with no pay-TV subscription required. Here’s what you need to know.

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Buy a PS4 or Xbox One, Get $100 Gift Card – For just $399.99, you can grab a PS4 with a copy of The Last of Us Remastered. And once you receive your $100 gift card, you can use it to get Batman: Arkham Knight and inFamous: Second Son at no additional cost. Prefer Microsoft’s platform? Right now, you can get an Xbox One with a copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection for $349.99. With your included gift card, you can also nab The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Sunset Overdrive to boot.

Gears of War 3 now free on Xbox Live – Now that it’s July 16, new Xbox One and Xbox 360 games are available for free on Xbox Live as part of Microsoft’s Games With Gold promotion. Xbox One owners can pick up the puzzle-platformer So Many Me (normally $15), while Xbox 360 users can download a free copy of Epic Games’ 2011 sci-fi shooter Gears of War 3 (normally $20). An Xbox Live Gold subscription is required to get the free games.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Cop stops woman for allegedly using cell phone, ends up saving her life – Technically Incorrect: A cop believes a driver is talking on her phone. When he pulls her over, she’s clutching her throat because she’s choking on food.

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State of the art: $20,000, 1 megapixel. This is what digital cameras were like in 1995 – Flash back to 20 years ago, when photography was just entering the digital realm. This episode of CNET Central from the summer of 1995 features the “B-2 Stealth Bomber” of digital cameras, a Fuji X/Nikon hybrid. Roughly the size of a volleyball, this camera packed 1.3 megapixels and a removable 131 MB card capable of storing 70 images, all for $20,000 or (equivalent to $31,000 in 2015).

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Ancestry.com Welcomes AncestryHealth To The Family – Ancestry.com launched in the early 80’s and went public in 2009. It is now the largest genealogical database in the world, holding more than 16 billion family history records from all over the world and more than 70 million user created family trees. The company saw an opportunity in consumer genetic testing similar to 23andMe three years ago and launched AncestryDNA as a subsidiary of Ancestry.com. Ancestry’s patented algorithm began matching users to relatives as well as DNA matches to ancestors as far back as the 1700’s. The company is now taking those family connections a step further with the introduction of generational health information.

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Lack of sleep makes it harder to read people’s faces – Did you ever have one of those days at work when you thought everyone was out to get you? It may have had nothing to do with the weak coffee from the break room or your delusional mind. Your brain just probably needed a nap. A new study out of the University of California at Berkeley suggests that sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to recognize facial cues that indicate another person’s emotions and reactions, researchers said in a statement this week. A paper about their study was published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Having trouble reading these faces? Then get some sleep!

Gert Germeraad/Wikimedia

Something to think about:

If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable. - Louis D. Brandeis

Today’s Free Downloads:

BCUninstaller – BCUninstaller (or “Bulk Crap Uninstaller”) is a free program uninstaller. It is focused on removing large amounts of applications at once, in a small amount of time.

Uninstall any number of programs at once

Quiet (unattended) uninstall of many programs

Intelligent ordering of uninstallers in large tasks

Detection and clean up of leftovers after uninstalling applications

Uninstall lists (automatically select uninstallers from the list, can be edited in a text editor)

Advanced grouping and sorting

Filtering and searching

Editing tools and visibility of protected and invalid entries

Fully portable, requires Net 3.5 which is installed on all Windows 7 machines

Automatic error reporting and updating

And many more time-saving features…

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Ginger – Ginger Proofreader, the first product to be released based on the NLP platform, is a free spelling and grammar checker, intended for both speakers of English as their mother tongue, and English as a second language (ESL). Ginger Proofreader checks and corrects spelling mistakes, misused words, and corrects grammar mistakes, based on the context of the full sentence. Even when a word is spelled correctly, Ginger Proofreader checks grammar to see whether it makes sense in the sentence, and offers alternatives to the word.

Ginger Proofreader can also be used seamlessly by users writing documents, presentations, and emails, in MS-Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, IE, Firefox, and Chrome, enabling them to correct words in the sentence with a single click.

Features:

Ginger Proofreader is integrated with MS Office ® and with all major browsers

Contextual grammar and spell checking

Ginger Proofreader identifies and marks both spelling and grammar mistakes while considering their context

Corrects as you type or scans entire documents

Audacity – Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder. The interface is translated into many languages.

You can use Audacity to:

Record live audio.

Record computer playback on any Windows Vista or later machine.

Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.

Edit WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis sound files.

Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.

Change the speed or pitch of a recording.

And more!

multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Why government-mandated encryption backdoors are bad for US businesses – A group of 11 computer scientists and encryption experts breathed a little easier in January 2015 when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) proposed the retirement of six Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS), including FIPS-185. The 11 experts were instrumental in this standard’s demise.

More commonly known as the Clipper Chip, FIPS-185 is an encryption implementation created by the NSA that included a backdoor to allow electronic surveillance by law-enforcement agencies. Soon after FIPS-185 was announced in 1997, the 11 experts coauthored a report detailing the issues and lack of transparency with FIPS-185 (PDF). “The deployment of key-recovery-based encryption infrastructures to meet law enforcement’s stated specifications will result in substantial sacrifices in security and greatly increased costs to the end user.”

Abbott appoints new spy overseer – Former Federal Court Justice Margaret Stone will soon be responsible for overseeing Australia’s peak security intelligence agencies, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Thursday.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) oversees the work conducted by six spy agencies in Australia: The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO), Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO), and Office of National Assessments (ONA).

While much of the work of these organisations — such as the metadata accessed by ASIO — remains a secret, IGIS is responsible for ensuring that these agencies are acting legally within government guidelines and with respect for human rights.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – July 15, 2015

10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 It’s free!  Feds can read every email you opened last year without a warrant;  The Best Free Software for 2015;  Facebook and Twitter are growing as news sources, says Pew;  When Wi-Fi doesn’t work, try these things first;  Witness Launches A Live-Streaming App That’s A Panic Button For The Mobile Age;  The ultimate guide to Gmail backup;  Google Photos continues to upload your images even after you delete the app;  Screenshots: Five rising Linux desktop stars;  3 free tools that transform YouTube into a streaming music service;  Microsoft issues 14 security fixes in July’s Patch Tuesday;  Once again, Adobe releases emergency Flash patch for Hacking Team 0-days;  6 Shady Regimes That Worked With Hacking Team;  SanDisk’s new wireless thumb drive streams HD video to three devices;  Skype for Android updated to v5.5;  Two tools that help you stop over-using words in your documents;  ACLU to appellate court: Please halt NSA’s resumed bulk data collection.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Feds can read every email you opened last year without a warrant – It’s no longer a surprise that the government is reading your emails. What you might not know is that it can readily read most of your email without a warrant. Any email or social networking message you’ve opened that’s more than six months old can also be accessed by every law enforcement official in government — without needing to get a warrant. That’s because a key provision in a law almost three decades’ old allows this kind of access with a mere subpoena, which doesn’t require a judge. That includes every email or message you opened last year, and earlier. (Anything under that six-month period still requires a warrant, however.)

10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 – Everybody can finally exhale a sigh of relief: Windows 8 is going away, and it’s once again safe to upgrade your PC’s version of Windows. Windows 10 is nearly here, and a major thrust of its design is to be more familiar to users of pre-8 versions of Windows. It’s a chance for everyone who missed out on all the performance and feature advances in Windows 8 and 8.1—and believe it or not there are plenty, many of which are included in this list—to get caught up. Not only that: It’s free!

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10. Xbox App

Facebook and Twitter are growing as news sources, says Pew – The Pew Research Center announced today that it had made a discovery: Facebook and Twitter are growing in influence, with more and more users using them as a source of news. This increase isn’t due to a growing user base for the sites, says the study, but rather that existing users are increasingly discovering news stories there. Pew found that 63 percent of users on both Facebook and Twitter said they used the sites to find out about news and current events. These findings are probably particularly heartening for both sites, both of which have been pushing for a greater focus on news lately. Twitter’s “Project Lightning” will focus on providing live coverage and breaking news to everyone, whether they have Twitter accounts or not, while Facebook launched Instant Articles this past May, allowing news organizations to publish directly on the site.

The Best Free Software for 2015 – Software can be expensive if you’re not smart about it. Free programs have been a mainstay of the desktop experience for decades, and the offerings only get more powerful and fascinating each year. As PCs compete with smartphones, it gets even better. Software developers can adopt an ad-based model, donation-ware to keep things afloat, or a shareware/freemium model that charges for extra features. This is our first big look at free desktop software you can download and install (as opposed to just free Web-based apps) since 2012. While a lot has stayed the same, there’s an odious new threat: crapware installers.

Witness Launches A Live-Streaming App That’s A Panic Button For The Mobile Age – You can think of Witness as something like a private version of Twitter’s Periscope, for example, combined with a user safety application designed to quickly alert friends or family if you’re in trouble or are in an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation where you may need help. But the app also resonated with the Hackathon audience and judges because of its potential to document and record police brutality or other cases where civil disobedience was met with undue force – especially as the app had emerged at time when a number of high-profile incidents of clashes with police had brought attention to these issues.

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Google Photos continues to upload your images even after you delete the app – Users of the service discovered that the app continues to upload your images to Google Photos even after it’s been disabled or deleted. Shocked customers found that their photos had shown up online on Google+ and the search giant’s other services, even though they had deleted the app from their phone. Luckily the fix for the problem is simple: go to the phone’s settings and turn off photo backup from there. That’s because Google Photos apparently uses the system’s toggles and options instead of its own app’s. After that photos should stop uploading to the service though you’ll still need to delete the ones that are already in the cloud.

When Wi-Fi doesn’t work, try these things first – Wi-Fi problems could be caused by your computer or your router, or some interaction that’s gone awry. Here’s how to identify and fix the problem.

Skype for Android updated to v5.5: easier sign-ins and more – Today Microsoft pushed an update for its Skype for Android app to the Google Play Store, bringing it up to version 5.5 and adding in some features that will be handy for mobile users. The biggest among the changes is arguably an improvement to signing in from mobile, making it easier for those who insist on logging out to sign back in from their Android smartphone or tablet. The chatting feature will soon be updated, too, and will likewise be a little more convenient once it is.

Screenshots: Five rising Linux desktop stars – Linux is everywhere. It’s on your servers and in your phones, cars, watches, toasters, refrigerators… and desktops. Although fewer users see Linux on their desktops than in their thermostats, even that is on the rise, partly due to the number of high-quality distributions. This new wave of Linux desktop distributions is bringing a confluence of user-friendliness, modern design, and stability to the open source platform. The only problem you might have is figuring out which of the more recent distributions are the true darlings of the moment. Never fear, intrepid readers: I have you covered with the five Linux desktop distributions I feel are the hottest commodities coming out of the open source world.

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Elementary OS Freya

Google Drive update adds disable feature to sharing – Google Drive has been updated with additional features that give users optional control over how shared content is used by the recipient. In particular, the update introduces an option that disables one’s ability to print, download, and copy content that has been shared with them by another Google Drive user. While many users likely won’t care either way, those with more sensitive content like businesses will be able to use Drive for sharing content while limiting the other person’s control over it.

3 free tools that transform YouTube into a streaming music service – The popular Chrome extension Streamus disappeared from the Chrome Web Store on Tuesday, July 14. Current users of the extension shouldn’t lose functionality, the extension’s developer Sean Anderson told me, as he intends to keep the Streamus database running. Even if Streamus does stop working, have no fear—there are a number of alternatives for getting your streaming fix on.

10 outstanding open source server tools – If you work with open source servers (such as the world’s most popular web server, Apache), you know a massive number of tools are available to you. They range from security to functionality to monitoring… to just about anything you can imagine. But if you were to compile a single list of tools to include on your open source server farm, what would that list look like? My own list tends to fluctuate on any given day. But almost always, certain tools stay on it. Here are the tools I rely on the most.

The ultimate guide to Gmail backup – Want to make sure you have a local or backup copy of all that mission-critical business and personal history in your Gmail archives? David Gewirtz takes you through an array of options.

You will be able to buy a Windows 10 PC on July 29 – With almost two weeks to go until Windows 10 launches, Microsoft has rectified its statement; which now states that customers will be able to buy pre-installed Windows 10 PCs on launch day after all.

Two tools that help you stop over-using words in your documents – Are you over-using a few words in everything you write? Here are two tools to help check yourself.

Apple Pay opens its doors in the UK – Apple has finally opened the gates to its nascent mobile payment system in the UK, turning on the Apple Pay switch for more than 250,000 shops across the country as well as several transportation networks. But while the UK comes only in second after Apple’s US launch way back in October last year, this could prove to be a much bigger contactless market than the US. This is thanks to the UK having a substantial head start in preparing for contactless payments and setting up compatible terminals almost everywhere.

Security:

Microsoft issues 14 security fixes in July’s Patch Tuesday – In Microsoft’s round of updates for July, the company has issued 14 bulletins fixing dozens of vulnerabilities in many Microsoft products, including Windows and Office. Three of the bulletins — specifically MS15-065 for Internet Explorer, MS15-070 for Microsoft Office, and MS15-077 for Windows — are being actively exploited by hackers, said HP’s Dustin Childs in a tweet. Here’s the rundown of the most critical flaws:

MS kills critical IE 11 bug after exploit was shopped to Hacking Team – Microsoft has killed at least two security bugs linked to the compromised malware developer Hacking Team, including a critical remote-code execution hole that worked against people using the latest version of Internet Explorer on Windows 7 and 8 machines. The IE vulnerability was discovered in an e-mail a security researcher sent to Hacking Team executives, according to a blog post published Tuesday by researchers from security firm Vectra Networks.

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Firefox blacklists Flash player due to unpatched 0-day vulnerabilities – There’s some drama going down in the Flash camp. Yesterday, because of two unpatched Hacking Team zero-day vulnerabilities, Mozilla blacklisted Adobe Flash Player 18.0.0.203, meaning Flash was disabled by default in Firefox. This morning, just a few moments ago, Adobe rushed out version 18.0.0.209, plugging the two vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, over at Facebook, the company’s new chief security officer called for Adobe to “announce an end-of-life date for Flash,” so that we can finally “disentangle the dependencies and upgrade the whole ecosystem.” And if two Web giants weren’t enough, Google recently announced that the next stable version of Chrome would “intelligently” block auto-playing Flash elements.

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Once again, Adobe releases emergency Flash patch for Hacking Team 0-days – Adobe Systems has issued an emergency update for its Flash media player to patch two critical zero-day vulnerabilities that allow attackers to surreptitiously install malware on end-user computers. The two Flash vulnerabilities unearthed this past weekend are in addition to a third one found earlier in the Hacking Team dump, which Adobe patched last week, a few days after it was discovered. All three critical vulnerabilities were present in Flash versions for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. At least one of them was potent enough to pierce the vaunted Google Chrome security sandbox, most likely because it was combined with a separate privilege-escalation exploit for Windows.

How to disable the Adobe Flash browser plug-in – If you really want to keep using Flash, update it immediately. But it might be a better idea to go into your desktop browser settings and shut down this media streaming tool, at least for now. Devices using Google’s Android operating system do not have Flash pre-installed, and of course Apple has long banned Flash from iOS devices, so you only need to tweak your Windows and Mac browsers. Not sure if Flash is installed? Go to Adobe’s Flash Player page and click the Check Now button.

It’s time to kill Flash, says Facebook’s new security chief – In tweets posted over the weekend, Alex Stamos, who joined the social networking giant from Yahoo last week, said the popular web plugin used for videos and games had to go. “It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day,” he said in one tweet. He followed up in another tweet, adding: “Even if 18 months from now, one set date is the only way to disentangle the dependencies and upgrade the whole ecosystem at once.” Stamos isn’t the first person to call for the plugin’s end-of-life, nor will he be the last.

Hacking Team spyware rootkit: Even a new HARD DRIVE wouldn’t get rid of it – Hacking Team RCS spyware came pre-loaded with an UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS rootkit to hide itself on infected systems, it has emerged following the recent hacking of the controversial surveillance firm. The stealth infection tactic, which has been revealed through leaked emails arising from last week’s hack, meant that the Remote Control System (RCS) agent stayed on compromised machines even if users formatted their drives – or even swapped disks. Although designed primarily for the Insyde BIOS (a popular laptop BIOS) it might also work on AMI BIOS as well, according to security firm Trend Micro.

Company News:

Fake Bloomberg news story causes Twitter shares to spike – Twitter’s stock spiked in midday trading Tuesday after a fake Bloomberg news report said the company had received an offer to be acquired for US$31 billion. The story appeared convincing, with a Bloomberg Business logo, but Bloomberg quickly tweeted that it was fake. There were some telltale signs it wasn’t authentic: the URL was businessweek.market rather than businessweek.com, and CEO Dick Costolo’s name was misspelled. That didn’t stop Twitter investors from reacting. The company’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange spiked briefly just before noon Eastern Time, surging about 10 percent from Monday’s close to more than $38 before settling back down as news spread that the report was fake.

Facebook wants to create its own virtual assistant called Moneypenny – It looks like Cortana, Google Now, Siri and Echo might soon have company, as Facebook is reportedly testing out its own virtual assistant, internally called Moneypenny. According to a report from The Information, which cites unnamed sources, Facebook is positioning Moneypenny as a helping tool that lives inside of its popular Messenger platform. From there, users would be able to use the feature to do research and shopping. It will also, apparently, allow you to ask real people for help with those tasks. Unfortunately, that’s the extent of what’s currently known about the service.

Google Eddystone open-source Bluetooth beacons revealed – Google has launched Eddystone, a new open-source Bluetooth LE beacon platform which plays nicely with iOS, Android, and other OSes. Aiming to power a new age of location-based services, as well as give those responsible for managing a flock of Bluetooth beacons the tools to make sure they’re working properly, Eddystone arrives with two main features: telling mobile devices exactly where they are and what’s nearby, and linking a physical location with online data.

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Verizon Signs Up VICE To Deliver Original Content For Its Upcoming Mobile Video Service – Verizon announced this morning that it will be adding Vice Media to the list of partners that provide content for the telco’s forthcoming over-the-top video service due out later this year. As a part of the multi-year agreement between the two companies, Vice will produce original domestic and international programming that’s exclusive to Verizon.

reddit loses another prominent female employee as chief engineer quits – On Monday night, reddit’s chief engineer, Bethanye Blount, resigned from her position after less than two months on the job. Blount said she decided to quit because she had lost confidence in the direction of the company.

BlackBerry names former Cisco exec head of sales – BlackBerry said Monday that it has hired Carl Wiese, a former Cisco executive, as its sales lead. Wiese will be in charge of BlackBerry’s sales strategy and bolstering growth. At Cisco, Wiese most recently led the company’s collaboration unit. BlackBerry’s move comes as it tries to transition to a business model that revolves around software. While hardware accounts for the bulk of the company’s revenue, BlackBerry plan is to grow its enterprise mobility business.

Games and Entertainment:

Electronic Arts, Comcast team up to bring game streaming to TVs – How much bigger can the video game industry get? That’s a question at the heart of a new partnership between game maker Electronic Arts and cable giant Comcast. The pair announced on Tuesday a “beta” test period for a new project that enables cable customers to play games through their set-top boxes using smartphones or tablets as controllers. Customers who have an Xfinity X1 set-top box from Comcast can begin playing games by selecting an app called Xfinity Games. Once there, they surf to a website on their mobile device, enter a code, and then select and control video games by swiping and tapping on their device screen while images are displayed on the television set.

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SanDisk’s new wireless thumb drive streams HD video to three devices – SanDisk today announced the newest addition to its wireless storage line – the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick. The Connect Wireless Stick ranges in capacity from 16GB to 128GB and in price from $30 to $100. The Connect Wireless Stick is compatible with iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Android devices, Windows PCs and Apple computers. It works with iOS version 8.0 or higher, Android 4.2 or higher, Windows Vista/7/8, Mac OS 10.6 or higher, and via web browser for other Wi-Fi enabled devices, according to SanDisk.

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SanDisk – The SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

TiVo Devices Now Support AirPlay For Streaming Recordings To Apple TV – The new feature is a nice addition for TiVo customers, some of whom complained in the past about the lack of AirPlay functionality – especially given the fact that TiVo has for a long time supported streaming directly to iOS devices via its Roamio DVRs. While obviously, TiVo users could already easily watch their recorded shows and movies on the TV connected to their TiVo DVR, support for AirPlay to Apple TV means users now have the option to streaming their content to other TVs around the home which aren’t hooked up to the DVR.

Apple looking into video and TV streaming, with several deals already underway – It seems that Apple is not satisfied with just streaming music and reports are coming in that deals with several TV networks are already underway, with a launch expected around fall.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

6 Shady Regimes That Worked With Hacking Team – “We’re here to help” was the basic message of Hacking Team. The Italian security company markets its software to law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide, but has long maintained that it did not sell it to repressive regimes that could use the information to persecute their citizens. Not everyone believed them, including Human Rights Watch and WikiLeaks. After a recent hack, the latter released thousands of emails and other documents that revealed Hacking Team’s dealings with unsavory governments. The documents are rather revealing, but data about these five countries were particularly enlightening. Click through the slideshow for more.

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Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Information Network Security Agency (INSA) monitors and filters websites in the country. “Internet filtering practices in Ethiopia do not appear to be regulated by law, nor subject to any kind of safeguard against improper or disproportionate censorship,” according to Human Rights Watch.

Land Rover software bug causes doors to open on their own  – You’re driving along and all is well until you turn and your door swings open — a door you’re sure was firmly shut when you got in the car. Such is a potential problem some Range Rover owners are facing due to a software bug that may cause the doors unlatch on their own. A door opening without warning could distract the driver and cause a wreck, could result in property damage, or could on the extreme end of things cause a passenger who isn’t wearing a seat belt to fall out of the vehicle.

Stop Trying To Make Sense Out Of The Reddit Saga – Why does reddit exist? How does reddit exist? Who are all of these people who participate? Who knows? They’re anonymous. How does something like reddit attract $50 million in funding? I have no idea, and a lot of the people I’ve been speaking to in tech circles over the past week don’t know, either.

Wi-Fi Aware Aims To Connect All Your Devices Instantly – The new technology, called Wi-Fi Aware, is being released by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit trade organization that includes Apple, Microsoft, Intel and hundreds of other tech powerhouses as members. Aware allows Wi-Fi-enabled products to discover and communicate directly with nearby devices, applications or information, without relying on cellular data or an Internet connection. Think of it as a sort of the same thing iBeacons were supposed to do but have yet to provide. Essentially, once you’ve installed an application that leverages Aware, your device will continuously broadcast and receive broadcasts from devices in your vicinity. Users can opt in to let applications both publish availability and subscribe to receive information and connection requests.

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UK pilots warn putting devices with lithium batteries in hold baggage is ‘aircraft fire risk’ – The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), the professional association and trade union of UK pilots, has called on airlines to require air travellers to carry devices that run on lithium-based batteries with them in the passenger cabin. The union is issuing this call in order to address what it considers a significant potential safety risk. Lithium batteries used in devices such as phones, tablets, laptops and cameras are highly flammable. When they’re damaged, they can become especially volatile – as BALPA explains, “when they short circuit, [they] have a tendency to burst into high intensity fires, which are difficult to extinguish.”

ProxyHam anonymity project bizarrely destroyed sans explanation – Staying private on the Internet has become a big concern for many and a problem for certain government agencies. The Edward Snowden leaks revealed a trove of data on government spying, and since then companies have moved to further encrypt data and many devices have cropped up promising high security. ProxyHam is one of those devices. The maker described the device as a hardware proxy that could be planted somewhere like your local cafe; it would use radio connections to transmit the signal up to 2.5 miles away, leaving the Internet user safely hidden. Now the project has been cancelled under bizarre circumstances.

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A new look at the people erasing themselves from Google Search – With the “right to be forgotten” now firmly established in European law, hundreds of millions of people can now ask to be delisted by Google, effectively erasing themselves from Google Search. A new report from The Guardian digs into who has been using the new feature, using information accidentally revealed in the source code of Google’s recent transparency report. The new data covers the 218,320 requests that were made between May 2014 and March 2015, roughly three-quarters of the total requests, slightly less than half of which (101,461) resulted in a successful delisting. The data has also been published on GitHub, and is open for deeper analysis.

Something to think about:

“Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck”.

–       Thomas Jefferson

Today’s Free Downloads:

NirLauncher – NirLauncher is a package of more than 100 portable freeware utilities for Windows, all of them developed for NirSoft Web site during the last few years.

Features:

NirLauncher can be used from USB flash drive without need of any installation.

NirLauncher and all the utilities in the package are completely freeware, without any Spyware/Adware/Malware.

NirLauncher package includes variety of tools that you may need for your daily computer use, including utilities to recover lost passwords, to monitor your network, to view and extract cookies, cache, and other information stored by your Web browser, to search files in your system, and more…

For every utility in the package, you can easily run it, view the help file, or jump to the Web page of the utility.

When using it from USB flash drive, the configuration of every utility is saved into .cfg file on the flash drive.

On x64 systems, NirLauncher automatically run the x64 version of the utility, when there is a separated x64 version.

NirLauncher also allows to add more software packages in additional to the main NirSoft package.

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ISO Burner – ISO Burner 2 is a simple ISO creator with bootable image support that is quick and easy to use.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

ACLU to appellate court: Please halt NSA’s resumed bulk data collection  – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has asked one of the nation’s top appellate courts to order the National Security Agency to stop its bulk records collection, which resumed in limited form last month as part of the USA Freedom Act.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled in ACLU v. Clapper in May 2015 that the dragnet data collection went beyond the scope of what was authorized by Congress.

“This dragnet surveillance program should never have been launched, and it should certainly be terminated now,” Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, said in a Tuesday statement. “Not even the government contends anymore that the program has been effective, and the Second Circuit has already concluded that the program is illegal. It’s a needless and unlawful intrusion into the privacy rights of millions of innocent Americans.”

Why was Oscar-winning Snowden documentarian detained 50+ times in US airports? – Laura Poitras gained notoriety as the documentary filmmaker behind the 2014 Oscar-winning movie Citizenfour, a film about the time she and Glenn Greenwald spent with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

What’s less known about Poitras is that from 2006 until 2012, she was stopped at the US border every single time she entered the country. In all, she was stopped on more than 50 occasions. Poitras, who is a US citizen, never got a satisfactory explanation as to why the detentions took place.

Frustrated after years of stonewalling, today Poitras said she’s working with lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation to get answers. The group is filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice and two other agencies.

Poitras said she’s filing the suit to support less high-profile people who were subject to the same years of “Kafkaesque harassment” that she was.

“This simply should not be tolerated in a democracy,” she said. “We have a right to know how this system works and why we are targeted.”

Another U.K. Surveillance Review Calls For Judicial Sign-Off For Intercepts – Another independent report into U.K. government surveillance has concluded interception warrants should require judicial sign-off, rather than being sanctioned by ministers as is the case now.

This follows the publication of the Anderson surveillance review last month which also urged the government to adopt judicial sign-off. The U.K. is alone among the so-called Five Eyes intelligence alliance powers in not having a judicial process for signing off interception warrants.

Late last month Home Secretary Theresa May said the government was considering the Anderson recommendations, and had not yet made a decision on the judicial sign-off point, although in earlier comments (reported in The Guardian) the government appeared to pour cold water on the idea of handing off warrant authorization to judges.

The government has said it is committed to introducing new surveillance legislation, the forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill, in the current parliament, with a timetable to introduce a draft bill this autumn — with a view to gaining Royal Assent next year before emergency surveillance legislation (DRIPA) expires at the end of 2016.

Authors Guild demands ISPs monitor, filter Internet of pirated goods – The Authors Guild, one of the nation’s top writer’s groups, wants the US Congress to overhaul copyright law and require ISPs to monitor and filter the Internet of pirated materials, including e-books.

The guild, in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee as it mulls changes to copyright law, says the notice-and-takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act favor large corporations like Google over individual writers. The group said that ISPs purge the Internet of infringing content on their own. As the law now stands, ISPs are not legally liable for pirated content, and they get “safe harbor” immunity from infringement allegations as long as they remove infringing content at the owners’ request.

US to begin talks on drone privacy standards – A U.S. government agency will start its third attempt to develop voluntary privacy standards for an emerging area of technology, this time with a series of meetings on drone privacy scheduled to begin Aug. 3.

The U.S. National Telecommunication and Information Administration has already hosted similar discussions on mobile app privacy and facial recognition privacy but with mixed results. Privacy groups pulled out of the facial recognition discussions in June, saying the process wouldn’t lead to enough protections for consumers.

It’s unclear how many privacy and consumer groups will take part in the discussions about drones.

Still, they present several privacy challenges that the NTIA discussions can address, said Angela Simpson, the agency’s deputy assistant secretary for communications and information. President Barack Obama asked the agency earlier this year to host the discussions on privacy, she noted in a blog post.

“From enhancing news gathering, improving agribusiness, providing new delivery models, to providing Internet in remote areas, the possibilities for UAS are staggering,” Simpson wrote, referring to unmanned aircraft systems. “Consumer trust and responsible operation are keys to fully tapping the transformative potential of unmanned aircraft.”

In April, NTIA received more than 50 comments about drone privacy issues from individuals and companies.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – July 13, 2015

This Woman Changed Her Name Just So She Could Log In to Facebook;  Ethiopian LGBT Activist Banned by Facebook Under Real Name Policy;  20 Google Tips for Search Gurus;  Playing violent video games makes women feel sexy, study finds;  How to manage your voice and audio activity on Google;  Top 5 reasons to get a dedicated reader app for Android or iOS;  Pluto.TV is the best cord-cutting app you’re not using;  Amazon tool aims to help you ‘fling’ shows onto Fire TV;  Baldur’s Gate is getting a full-sized expansion;  Nine of the best movies of all time, now streaming on Netflix;  Virtual Reality Porn And The Future Of Loneliness;  New Twitch for Android lets you watch all the streams from all the places;  11 Hilarious Old-School Instructional Videos;  Instant messaging apps could be monitored in the UK under new ‘Snoop’ law;  How to delete your Amazon browsing history.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

This Woman Changed Her Name Just So She Could Log In to Facebook – You might change your name as a spy. Or adopt a new moniker to elude the law. But would you change your name for Facebook? Jemma Rogers did. The holistic therapist from Lewisham, southeast London, changed her name to match her Facebook pseudonym, Jemmaroid Von Laalaa, after she was locked out of her account, according to the Telegraph.

Ethiopian LGBT Activist Banned by Facebook Under Real Name Policy – Facebook does not allow the use of fake names, even when pseudonyms are necessary to shield their owners from violence. The activist, who goes by the pseudonym HappyAddis, used the social network to create and administrate some of the most popular groups for gay Ethiopians, including Zega Matters, which has more than 1,000 members. The East African country considers homosexuality a crime and those convicted of same-sex relations can face 15 years in prison. For that reason, many LGBT citizens use an alias to interact with others online in order to avoid punishment from the authorities and anti-gay violence.

20 Google Tips for Search Gurus – While Google has grown to include numerous other pursuits, search remains the company’s core product (and its most profitable, as well). With a decade-and-a-half of refinement behind it, Google search has evolved into a complex and beautifully versatile technology. (And one that always works. Have you seen Google.com go down? That’s no easy accomplishment for the world’s most popular website.) While you probably use it just about every day, there may still be a lot you still don’t know about the old dependable Google search. Click through our slideshow and see how much more you can get from a simple search.

How to manage your voice and audio activity on Google – When you ask Google Now a question, or use text-to-speech to respond to someone, these recordings are being saved to your Google account. The recordings are only accessible by you, but may include some information you don’t feel comfortable having in the cloud — like a private conversation. On the other hand, you may just want to reference your recordings for a piece of information that you used your voice to look up or send to someone else. Whatever your preference, PhoneArena recently shared how you can play and delete your recordings, and how to disable them from being saved in the future:

Pluto.TV is the best cord-cutting app you’re not using – No disrespect to streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, but sometimes finding the perfect video feels like too much effort. That’s why as a cord cutter I’ve been enjoying Pluto.TV, a free service that tries to mimic the cable box experience, only with Internet channels instead of traditional ones. Pluto’s website and apps offer dozens of channels, ranging from mainstream news to stand-up comedy to extreme sports, all strung together from web sources such as YouTube and Vimeo. There’s even an entire channel dedicated to cat videos (and another one for dogs). It has a desktop website and dedicated apps for Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, Android, and PC, and it also supports Chromecast.

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How to delete your Amazon browsing history – Whether you’re just price-checking on gifts for friends and family, or searching for items that you might be embarrassed to look at in public, you can do it all from your computer. Unfortunately, looking up these items will add them to your browsing history, and they can also appear on your related purchase suggestions. These could reveal a bit too much information if you share a computer or check Amazon on a lunch break from your desk at work. Here’s how to delete select items, or all of them, from your browsing history on Amazon:

Amazon tool aims to help you ‘fling’ shows onto Fire TV – Taking on competitors like Chromecast and Apple TV, Amazon releases “Fling,” a toolkit that lets developers build into their apps the ability to share media content with Amazon’s set-top box.

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Amazon’s Fling icon tosses content up to a Fire TV.

How to add virtual desktops to your PC without upgrading to Windows 10 – For years, both Mac and Linux users have taken advantage of virtual desktops that let you create multiple desktop work spaces on your PC. Finally, Microsoft is getting into the game by adding this feature into Windows 10. But the truth is, Windows has supported this capability for some time—Microsoft just never enabled it by default. So how do you get multiple desktops? All it takes is a small download from a Microsoft site.

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New Twitch for Android lets you watch all the streams from all the places – It’s an all-too-common dilemma in today’s modern world: What do you do when you’re watching a livestream on your phone but need to switch to a different app? Twitch thinks it has a solution by borrowing an idea from TV—picture-in-picture. The latest update to Twitch for Android features a new “Pop-Out Player” that lets you keep tabs on your livestreams while browsing the web, checking email, texting your friends, or otherwise go about your business on your phone. As you work, your Twitch livestream will continue to play in a small window in the corner of your phone’s screen.

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The Pop-Out Player in Twitch for Android.

No, Microsoft won’t cut off support for Windows 10 in four years – There’s a story currently going around that claims Windows 10 will ‘expire’ after four, or even two years and that users might have to pay for updates after that. That story is bogus and here’s why.

Lenovo releases a user guide for Windows 10 – With Windows 10 just around the corner, excitement is running high among fans. To help new users, Chinese multi-national computer technology company Lenovo has released a Windows 10 user guide named “Starting to use Windows 10″ which discusses various topics relating to Microsoft’s new OS. This may sound trivial to Windows Insiders but are essential for beginners. You can download or view the Windows 10 starter guide by hitting up the source link below.

Microsoft’s Power BI visualization service will be generally available July 24 – The launch will bring a smorgasbord of new features, including new chart types, a refreshed desktop application and support for collaborating in groups on shared sets of data. Power BI was first released to the public as a beta earlier this year, and is designed to provide ordinary business users with powerful tools to visualize information from diverse data sets in live-updating dashboards. Power BI is built around three core components: datasets, which contain all of the raw information a user brings into Power BI; reports, which organize that data into a set of charts and graphs and dashboards, which are single live-updating pages that provide an at-a-glance look at specific visualizations based on those reports.

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Top 5 reasons to get a dedicated reader app for Android or iOS – As good as they are at loading web pages quickly and precisely on smaller screens, both Safari for iOS and Chrome for Android are terrible when it comes to loading a massive page-turner of an article—you know, that one you want to curl up with on a lazy Sunday. The solution: a dedicated reader app, and here’s five reasons why iPhone- and Android-toting bookworms shouldn’t be without one.

Rare breed: Linux Mint 17.2 offers desktop familiarity and responds to user wants – These days, the desktop OSes grabbing headlines have, for the most part, left the traditional desktop behind in favor of what’s often referred to as a “shell.” Typically, such an arrangement offers a search-based interface. In the Linux world, the GNOME project and Ubuntu’s Unity desktop interfaces both take this approach. Whether it’s driven by, in Ubuntu’s case, a vision of “convergence” between desktop and mobile or perhaps just the need for something new (which seems to be the case for GNOME 3.x), developers would have you believe that these mobile-friendly, search-based desktops are the future of, well, everything.

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The default Cinnamon desktop in Linux Mint 17.2.

Trying the iOS 9 public beta is easier than you think – Apple isn’t releasing iOS 9 until this fall, but if you can’t wait for a taste of the new iPhone and iPad software, the public beta holds an easy sneak-preview. Announced back at WWDC 2015, and launched this past week, the iOS 9 public beta software may not be quite final but it’s certainly ready for a broader audience to try out, not to mention an opportunity for iPhone users to flag up any final bugs to Apple. Trying the public beta needn’t be a headache, though, as long as you take a few precautions.

Wix Launches WixEd, A Free Online School For Website Design – DIY website creator Wix wants to make starting a career in web design as easy as it’s made building your own site. Today, the company is launching WixEd, a free online education program that teaches Wix users everything they need to know to launch their own website design business.

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Pro tip: Use Rufus to create a bootable USB drive to install (almost) any OS – After last week’s article, “Pro tip: How to create a bootable USB drive to install Windows on OS X,” I received feedback asking why anyone would install Windows on a Mac? This week’s entry deals with creating UFDs that allow you to install many other operating systems with the help of a utility called Rufus. But before diving into that, I have a question of my own. Why would you install any OS—besides OS X—on an Apple computer?

Ear Trumpet: A Windows 10 audio utility worth checking out – The utility breaks out the volume control for each app that is open, and does it all from a clean pop-up from the system tray. In my short time using it, I have had no major issues. One minor item that did occur on the first run was that it did not include apps that were opened before I installed Ear Trumpet, but after a quick restart of Spotify and Skype, they did show up in the list. Also, make sure you right click on the app and select ‘Show desktop apps’.

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Microsoft killing Photosynth and MSN apps, including Health & Fitness, Food & Drink – If Microsoft is killing MSN Health & Fitness, it’s not quite clear what this means for fitness tracking on Windows Phones.

Security:

Hacking Team’s Flash 0-day: Potent enough to infect actual Chrome user – The Adobe Flash zero-day exploit that spyware developer Hacking Team made available to customers worked successfully against even the advanced defenses found in Google’s Chrome browser, researchers said Friday. They also noted that it was used to infect computer users multiple times before it was leaked. The leak of the previously unknown exploit resulting from the devastating hack of Hacking Team last weekend and exploit kits available on the black market quickly added attack code to use the flaw. It allows attackers to surreptitiously install malware on targets’ computers, and there’s evidence that before last weekend’s breach, Hacking Team customers used the Flash zero-day against live targets.

After security disaster, OPM director resigns in disgrace – After it was revealed last month that more than four million federal personnel records had been stolen, members of Congress quickly demanded that the agency’s director Katherine Archuleta should be fired. In an e-mail, Archuleta wrote: “Today I informed the OPM workforce that I am stepping down as the leader of this remarkable agency and the remarkable people who work for it. This morning, I offered, and the President accepted, my resignation as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management.”

How Google tries to keep ‘sneaky’ spam from your inbox – Determining which messages are spam and which are not is a neverending battle, especially since a message considered spam to one person could be legitimate to another. Messages from banks, airlines and other companies fall into this category. How does Google tell if a certain email is a sales promotion or an important notice informing you of information on your bank account or an upcoming flight? Spammers have also gotten smarter, using more tricks to better disguise junk mail so that automated spam filters have a tougher time figuring out how to tag it. So what new tools and techniques is Google using in the fight against spam?

Security researchers warn over 1 million users downloaded malicious Android games – Researchers at ESET have discovered that the Cowboy Adventure title, which until recently was up on the Google Play store, was stealing Facebook credentials and used them to spread itself to other users. The app did this by popping up a fake Facebook login screen in the middle of the game. If users were fooled, their credentials were sent via an HTTPS connection to a remote server. Another title, Jump Chess, was similarly infected by malicious code and used to gather social media credential from unsuspecting users.

Company News:

BlackBerry nabs two Android domain names – Following leaks and rumors, BlackBerry made its Android ambitions public yesterday, saying it has teamed up with Google to bring a more secure version of Android to the market. We’ve seen at least one device leak already reportedly showing a BlackBerry handset running Android. Whether that is legit is yet to be seen, but two more pieces of BlackBerry’s Android puzzle have surfaced. The company has nabbed two domain names, both of which revolve around the Android operating system.

Cisco will invest $1 billion to spur digital economic growth in UK – The investment will include a combination of job creation and education programs, startup and venture capital investments, and accelerated investing in cybersecurity solutions.

FTC exploring whether Apple’s 30% cut from music streaming apps is legal – Reuters reported on Friday that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking into whether it’s legal for Apple to continue taking a 30 percent cut from sales within rival music streaming apps now that the company has its own music streaming service. No formal investigation has been launched, but one anonymous source speaking to Reuters said that the FTC “has had meetings with multiple concerned parties” to discuss the issue. Two other anonymous sources said that the FTC is exploring antitrust concerns related to restrictions that Apple places on its rivals, including “a prohibition on advertising in the app that the company is on other platforms, a ban on marketing in the app that consumers can also buy directly from the company’s website, and a ban on linking to a company’s website from within the app.”

Reddit Co-Founder Steve Huffman In For Reddit CEO Job, Pao Out – We’d been hearing that Steve Huffman, a co-founder of Reddit who also co-founded flight and hotel search startup Hipmunk, was being considered for the CEO job at Reddit. Now that move is confirmed. Huffman’s appointment follows turmoil at Reddit following the firing of Victoria Taylor, a community manager that the Reddit community relied on, last week. Y Combinator’s Sam Altman also confirmed the move on Reddit.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata dies at 55 – Iwata passed away Saturday at age 55 after working 13 years as president, a period that saw the gaming industry transition from dedicated consoles and PCs to mobile devices, a move that Nintendo was slow to embrace. Nintendo said board members Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto will continue to act as representative directors, a position required by Japanese corporate regulations. A new president has not been appointed.

Apple claims that 99 percent of iPhone users love their iPhone – Technically Incorrect: In one of two new ads, Apple celebrates the notion that almost every iPhone user loves that gadget. Is there actual evidence for this?

Games and Entertainment:

Nine of the best movies of all time, now streaming on Netflix and other services – In this, the last of our Now Streaming columns, our resident film critic names his all-time favorite movies.

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Stand by Me (Netflix)

Playing violent video games makes women feel sexy, study finds – The researchers found there was a correlation between violent video game play and a desire for sex, and this interest was across the board for male and female gamers. But here’s were the genders diverge. You see, there was no boost in “mate value” among men who played violent video games, but there was among the female participants. The results showed that women who play violent video games consider themselves a better catch, reporting that they enjoyed playing these kinds of games, because it made them feel more attractive, more sexy. So there you have it folks, violent video games give women a self-esteem boost. Now excuse me while I go play some Call of Duty.

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Baldur’s Gate is getting a full-sized expansion, 15 years later – Following a tease earlier this year, developer Beamdog has finally revealed the first details and footage of its upcoming Baldur’s Gate expansion-slash-sequel titled Siege of Dragonspear. Yes, an expansion for a game that originally released in 1998. PC gaming is a wonderful thing. From the announcement page: “Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear adds a new chapter to the Bhaalspawn saga. The events occurring between Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II are at last revealed in this 25-hour expansion pack for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition.”

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Everything You Need to Know About the Revamped Destiny 2.0 – Destiny‘s next expansion, dubbed The Taken King, is launching on September 15. The popular shooter’s developer Bungie announced July 10 that the game will also be updated to version 2.0, bringing with it significant changes to many of the title’s core mechanics. In a blog post, Bungie creative director Luke Smith revealed that those changes will affect the game’s balance, progression, enemies, guns, quests and destinations.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

The big deal about IBM’s tiny chips – IBM is making a big deal of celebrating a tiny achievement, successfully producing a 7nm chip that could mean huge efficiency improvements in phones, laptops and more. Squeezing more than 20 billion transistors into a chip the size of a fingernail took figuring out new manufacturing processes and chewed through part of a $3bn investment IBM earmarked back in 2014, but it’s shaping up to be worth every cent. Big Blue predicts a power/performance increase of more than 50-percent from the smaller processors.

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Virtual Reality Porn And The Future Of Loneliness – Welcome to the very-near future of porn. A few weeks back, a sex toy company called Lovense and a virtual reality porn company called VirtualRealPorn announced their collaboration. Soon, VirtualRealPorn’s growing library of VR porn videos will coordinate with Lovense’s digitally-endowed vibrator and Fleshlight-esque Max toy to stimulate your sensitive bits in sync with virtual sex.

This woman’s epic meltdown shows how attached we are to our phones – There is nothing funny about this video. You might be tempted to think it’s hilarious. We’re all tempted to think we’re holier than other people at times. But here is a woman who cannot cope with the fact that her phone has died. She cannot cope to a degree that she screams in frustration. A lot. It was uploaded to Facebook by Akira Chan, who shared it publicly on Tuesday. It has already been viewed on Facebook more than 1 million times. And I defy anyone whose phone has suddenly died to claim that they haven’t felt like this woman, if not expressed themselves exactly as she did.

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The vanishing: What happened to Google Street View’s missing streets – As Google expands Street View into ever more exotic places, it appears to have a problem in many of the towns and cities where the service has been available for years. Look closely at any major city, especially the residential areas, and Street View is littered with hundreds, even thousands, of little gaps. And although it’s hard to be sure, the problem may be getting worse.

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This moving video claims gadgets are separating kids from nature – Technically Incorrect: An ad from General Mills examines the different things that kids do now, compared to what their parents and grandparents did. It just might make you weep. Or perhaps not.

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11 Hilarious Old-School Instructional Videos – Video is a much more efficient way to demonstrate the use of a modern interface. So it’s only natural that companies like Microsoft, Apple, and others would turn to the medium in order to get their point across. And, like many other things from the 80s and 90s, they look hilariously bad today. In this feature, we’ll fire up the old VCR and give you our picks for the goofiest old-school instructional videos.

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Hillary Clinton Plans To Campaign Against Uber’s Contractor Economy – Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will blast contractor-fueled companies for repressing middle-class wage growth in a speech tomorrow laying out her economic policies, according to an outline of the talk attained by Politico’s Michael Grunwald. Clinton plans to make raising middle class incomes a focus of her campaign, and will lay out her strategy at The New School in Manhattan on Monday. Along with globalization and automation, Clinton will peg the sharing economy as “conspiring against sustainable wage growth”, according to Politico. The report says “she will argue that policy choices have contributed to the problem, and that she can fix it.”

Something to think about:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

–       Steve Jobs

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wappalyzer for Chrome – Wappalyzer is a browser extension that uncovers the technologies used on websites. It detects content management systems, eCommerce platforms, web servers, JavaScript frameworks, analytic tools and many more.

Available for Firefox.

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Dashlane – Log in instantly, fill out any form, manage your passwords, and check out anywhere online without ever touching the keyboard, no matter where you are.

Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity in other words, letting you get to the good stuff faster.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Instant messaging apps could be monitored in the UK under new ‘Snoop’ law – The UK government is in the process of finalizing the Snooper’s Charter that will bring all online communication of its citizens under the government’s scanner, and apps that do not adhere to it will likely face bans.

It was reported recently that the UK government has granted contracts to five companies to monitor the social media activity of its citizens, but things might become even worse in the near future if the proposed Communications Data Bill is passed as law.

In order to track terrorist activity and prevent threats, the UK government has proposed the Communications Data Bill – aka the Snooper’s Charter – that will make it mandatory for internet service providers to monitor the online activity of their users and keep logs of such data for 12 months. The law also recommends the monitoring of communication apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Snapchat among many others.

US government’s reported number of wiretaps don’t add up – The government published its latest Wiretap Report on July 1. The headline finding was that encryption wasn’t foiling federal and state law enforcement officials, despite a growing chorus of people suggesting that we’re all gonna die unless the tech sector builds backdoor access into their products to enable government access.

In all, the federal agency that oversees the courts reported to Congress that there were 3,554 wiretaps in 2014, about 1 percent less than the year prior. Of the total, only four were thwarted via encryption.

But the reported number of wiretaps by the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO) simply doesn’t add up. That’s according to Albert Gidari, one of the nation’s top privacy lawyers. He says “there is a bigger story” that calls into question the AO’s accounting:

Since the Snowden revelations, more and more companies have started publishing “transparency reports” about the number and nature of government demands to access their users’ data. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint published data for 2014 earlier this year and T-Mobile published its first transparency report on the same day the AO released the Wiretap Report. In aggregate, the four companies state that they implemented 10,712 wiretaps, a threefold difference over the total number reported by the AO. Note that the 10,712 number is only for the four companies listed above and does not reflect wiretap orders received by other telephone carriers or online providers, so the discrepancy actually is larger.

How can that be? Even taking into account some accounting complexities, Gidari says, “the numbers are still off by more than twofold” in one scenario.

Here are EFF’s most influential cases from its first 25 years – On Friday, July 10, the Electronic Frontier Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary. The San Francisco-based group has been a stalwart of tech and legal advocacy since its founding and has played a key role in a number of seminal cases.

To celebrate, Ars interviewed Executive Director Cindy Cohn, who mentioned that, within the list of cases that the organization has worked on, she had a number of favorites.

Here’s a quick summary of those cases, in chronological order.

Case name: Bernstein v. Department of Justice

Filed: February 21, 1995

Highest court reached: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Decided: May 6, 1999

Result: Court ruled that computer code is speech, and is protected by the Constitution.

This was EFF’s first significant case, and it won big.

Back in 1995, Daniel Bernstein, then a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to be able to publish “Snuffle.” This program converted a one-way hash into a private-key encryption system. He wanted to publish not only the algorithm involved, but a mathematical paper explaining it, and the relevant source code. However, federal arms regulations forbade him from doing so. He and the EFF challenged this interpretation of the law on First Amendment grounds.

Does Abbott have the cyber-patience Australia needs? – Prime Minister Tony Abbott met with “business leaders” to discuss the cyber threat on Wednesday last week. “We’re working to protect Australians online, to provide confidence, as well as peace of mind, for households and business,” he reportedly said.

The meeting was hosted by the Business Council of Australia, and from the outside it had a usual-suspects feel about it — representatives of banks, the Australian Securities Exchange, Telstra, and Foxtel, those sorts of business leader. As the government develops its new cyber-security strategy, expected to be completed later this year, this is a routine consultation.

The Australian government already sees the internet as a threat — full of terrorists and criminals whose communications data must be retained, copyright infringers who must be stopped, and so on. The last thing we need is for the cybers to be turned up to 11 and made part of the inflated national security rhetoric.

China makes internet shut-downs official with new security law – China is able to shut off internet access during major ‘social security incidents’ and has granted its Cyberspace Administration agency wider decision making powers under a draft law published this month.

The draft also appears to require critical infrastructure organisations including foreign entities to store “important” data on Chinese soil without specific permission to host offshore.

The Cyberspace Administration, headed by director Lu Wei, has a leading role in planning and coordinating information security policy efforts, analysts say .

The details of the new security approach are revealed in an English translation of the draft posted online.

Arizona makes deal with ACLU, won’t enforce bad law on “revenge porn” – A lawsuit filed in September by the American Civil Liberties Union, along with a group of booksellers and publishers, has put a stop to Arizona’s “revenge porn” law.

The lawsuit argued that the Arizona “revenge porn” law went too far, and violated the First Amendment. The statute widely banned the posting of nude images without consent, but had no requirement that the person distributing the images be intending to harm the person portrayed. The ACLU and the Media Coalition, argued that could have led to criminal charges against artistic photographers, or newsworthy or historic photographs.

In their complaint, ACLU lawyers said the law could get newspapers or academics in trouble for showing images with political and historical significance, like images of Abu Ghraib prisoners, or a photo like the iconic 1972 “Napalm Girl” photo.

The Arizona Attorney General (AG) agreed to a temporary stay of the case in November. In January, the 2015 legislative session began, and lawmakers considered a possible fix to the law’s language. However, the legislature adjourned in April without passing the change.

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