Tag Archives: Tor Browser Bundle

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 24, 2015

The undercover war on your internet secrets;  7 things to consider before canceling cable;  15 Amazing Apps That Will Ruin Your Life;   Avoid message trackers in Gmail;  Your Smartphone Could be Tracking You Every 3 Minutes;  Windows Store apps to cost more starting April;  How to run Windows software in Linux;  Instagram Launches Layout, Its Own Photo Collage App;  The 10 Best External Hard Drives;  Netflix Goes Live In Australia And New Zealand;  All four major browsers take a stomping at Pwn2Own;  Who Cares If Antivirus Works, As Long As It’s Low-Key;  Colorado 12-Year-Old Tries to Kill Mom for Taking iPhone;  Google Chairman says Glass ‘fundamental’ for Google;  First lawsuits against FCC’s net neutrality are filed;  Tech-savvy NYPD cop allegedly hacked NYPD computer and FBI database to run a con;  Tor Browser Bundle (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The undercover war on your internet secrets: How online surveillance cracked our trust in the web – How the battle over privacy technologies could define the future of the web. This TechRepublic cover story explains the strange history and the serious consequences of the fight over encryption.

15 Amazing Apps That Will Ruin Your Life – There are some “productivity” apps that will suck you in and never let you go. Day after day, you’ll return to them, enjoy them, and then wonder “Where the hell did the time go?” They’re the empty calories of the app world. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth downloading; just beware that these apps (like these Websites to Avoid) don’t suck … but they will suck time.

Your Smartphone Could be Tracking You Every 3 Minutes, Study Says – Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University conducted a study where they asked 23 people to use their Android smartphones normally, and tracked location data requests from each device with specially designed software, the Wall Street Journal reports. The researchers found that many popular Android apps tracked their users an average 6,200 times per participant over a two-week period, or about every three minutes. Some of the apps came pre-installed on the phone, and were not as easily deleted, the WSJ reports.

7 things to consider before canceling cable – One of the biggest problems with traditional cable subscriptions is bundling — you have no choice but to pay for dozens of channels you never watch just to get the few you want. The ideal alternative would allow you to pick and choose just the channels you want. The reality is that cutting cable does not eliminate bundling. Whether you switch to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling TV or any other option, you’ll still pay for shows that go unwatched.

YouTube Autoplay rolls out, here’s how to turn it off – Websites get more traffic and, in some cases, more money, the longer you stay on their site and the more you get hooked on their content. On YouTube, that equates to watching more and more videos without having to stray away from the page. And what better way to do that than by enticing you video after video after video. That’s right, YouTube’s once experimental Autoplay feature is now rolling out to all users to keep you from getting bored, or escaping. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn it off.

Chrome: Avoid message trackers in Gmail –  As Ghacks.net points out, Gmail does try to help you avoid trackers, but it doesn’t catch them all. Instead, a tracker-blocking extension, and a few adjustments to the way you read Gmail messages, are the most convenient methods to dodge many of the available tracker services. Here’s how to get started:

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PixelBlock running in Gmail. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

The 10 Best External Hard Drives – For under $100, you can add a terabyte or more of data storage to your laptop desktop, or tablet. But which to choose? There’s a lot consider—desktop- or laptop-class, traditional spinning or SSD are only a couple of factors—so finding the perfect hard drive for your use can seem overwhelming. That’s where we come in. We narrow down your choices to the 10 best external hard drives on the market.

10 obscure, highly specialized browsers that will make you forget about Chrome, Firefox, and IE – There’s a wide world of alternative browsers out there, all fighting for your attention with unique features and specializations in gaming, privacy, media consumption, and more. There’s even something to appeal to old-school Internet users. If you’re looking to shake up your web surfing experience, here’s a look at 10 great browsers not named Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer.

Windows Store apps to cost more starting April – Due to the strengthening of the US dollar, Microsoft has updated its pricing tiers for Windows Store apps and in-app purchases. Unfortunately this means prices in other currencies will be hiked.

Windows 10 might not peacefully coexist with other OS – It seems that Microsoft is developing a pattern lately. After a flood of good news comes the fine print and some sad, if not worrying, follow ups. First it was the speculation that the lure of a free Windows 10 upgrade for pirated copies of Windows might not be so sweet after all. Now it seems that Microsoft will potentially ostracize another group of computer users: those who dual boot operating systems. Slides from its presentation in China seem to hint that Microsoft won’t block OEM’s from prohibiting users from disabling secure boot.

Windows System Restore: You can adjust this utility to save your PC image more often – Just about any new problem that makes Windows behave badly can be fixed by opening Windows’ System Restore and returning to an earlier time. But this only works if you have a restore point that was created before the unfortunate changes. So you need to take control of how often Windows creates these points.

How to run Windows software in Linux: Everything you need to know – Linux is more capable than ever. With over 1000 Linux games available on Steam and a general shift towards more web-based desktop software, there’s less need for Windows than ever. After all, you can now watch Netflix on Linux without any hacks, and you can even use Microsoft Office on Linux—a web-based version of it, at least. But, as most dedicated Linux desktop users will eventually discover, there comes a time when you just need to run a particular piece of Windows software on your Linux PC. There are quite a few ways to do so. Here’s what you need to know.

Instagram Launches Layout, Its Own Photo Collage App – Instagram today announced the debut of a new application called Layout, the company’s next standalone creation tool outside of its flagship photo-sharing application. With Layout, Instagram users will be able to quickly build collages using their mobile photos, which they can then choose to share to Instagram, Facebook, or elsewhere.

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Netflix Goes Live In Australia And New Zealand, Its First Launches In Asia Pacific – Netflix spoke of aggressive international expansion ambitions in January, and a major step towards its two-year globalization plan was taken today when its video-on-demand service went live in Australia and New Zealand. Customers in Oceania can pay A$8.99 (US$7) per month for standard access to its catalog. HD and 4K quality streams are charged at A$11.99 (US$9.40) and A$14.99 ($11.77) respectively. Those in Australia will suffer from a somewhat streamlined selection of content, initially at least.

Twitter quietly introduces abusive language filter – Twitter has been busy trying to stem the flood of abusive users and trolls, the latter of which it has been given a lot of grief over in recent times. Among its different efforts is a new one the social network has rolled out without much fanfare: a filtering tool that allows verified users in particular to filter out tweets containing abusive language. Verified users have been reporting seeing it roll out, and it appears that it is only available for the iOS mobile app at this time, though it’ll likely be appearing elsewhere in the future.

Adobe builds new features straight into Microsoft’s browser – A partnership advances Adobe’s technology ideas while making Microsoft’s Project Spartan more competitive. For the rest of us, expect a more graphically rich Web.

Security:

All four major browsers take a stomping at Pwn2Own hacking competition – The annual Pwn2Own hacking competition wrapped up its 2015 event in Vancouver with another banner year, paying $442,000 for 21 critical bugs in all four major browsers, as well as Windows, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Reader. Despite huge leaps in secure code, nothing is immune when hackers are motivated. In all, this year’s Pwn2Own unearthed five bugs in Windows, four bugs in IE 11, three bugs in Mozilla Firefox, three bugs in Reader, three bugs in Flash, two bugs in Safari, and one bug in Chrome. To qualify, winning bugs must be previously unknown and have the ability to break through anti-exploit defenses.

Google warns of unauthorized TLS certificates trusted by almost all OSes – In the latest security lapse involving the Internet’s widely used encryption system, Google said unauthorized digital certificates have been issued for several of its domains and warned misissued credentials may be impersonating other unnamed sites as well. The bogus transport layer security certificates are trusted by all major operating systems and browsers, although a fall-back mechanism known as public key pinning prevented the Chrome and Firefox browsers from accepting those that vouched for the authenticity of Google properties, Google security engineer Adam Langley wrote in a blog post published Monday.

Twitch Resets All User Passwords After Suffering Data Breach – Twitch, the immensely popular livestreaming service for gamers that was acquired last year by Amazon in a nearly $1 billion deal, confirmed today that it has suffered a security breach that may have resulted in unauthorized access to a number of user accounts. The company is now forcing all of its users to change their passwords.

Hacking bios chips isn’t just the nsa’s domain anymore – THE ABILITY TO hack the BIOS chip at the heart of every computer is no longer reserved for the NSA and other three-letter agencies. Millions of machines contain basic BIOS vulnerabilities that let anyone with moderately sophisticated hacking skills compromise and control a system surreptitiously, according to two researchers. The revelation comes two years after a catalogue of NSA spy tools leaked to journalists in Germany surprised everyone with its talk about the NSA’s efforts to infect BIOS firmware with malicious implants.

New malware program PoSeidon targets point-of-sale systems – The new malware program has been dubbed PoSeidon by researchers from Cisco’s Security Solutions (CSS) team and, like most point-of-sale Trojans, it scans the RAM of infected terminals for unencrypted strings that match credit card information — a technique known as memory scraping. This sensitive information is available in plain text in the memory of a PoS system while it’s being processed by the specialized merchant software running on the terminal.

Wind turbine blown away by control system vulnerability – It had to happen, we suppose: since even a utility-grade wind turbine might ship with a handy Webby control interface, someone was bound to do it badly. That’s what’s emerged in a new ICS-CERT advisory: CVE-2015-0985 details how turbines from US manufacturer XZERES allow the user name and password can be retrieved from the company’s 442 SR turbine. As the advisory notes, “This exploit can cause a loss of power for all attached systems”.

Tech-savvy NYPD cop allegedly hacked NYPD computer and FBI database to run a con – An NYPD auxiliary cop was busted for allegedly installing a hidden camera in a cable TV box, so he could check if the coast was clear, before remotely accessing a police computer and using off-duty cops’ usernames and passwords to log into databases. He supposedly ran 6,400 queries, acting as an ambulance-chasing attorney when contacting accident victims. Yehuda Katz, the alleged con man taking kickbacks, was arrested last week for using “his position as an auxiliary officer to hack into restricted computers and networks in order to obtain the personal information of thousands of citizens in a scheme to enrich himself through fraud.”

Who Cares If Antivirus Works, As Long As It’s Low-Key – Rather than blindly run the same tests year after year, the researchers at AV-Comparatives regularly survey consumers to make sure their tests hit the criteria that matter. Interestingly, low performance impact was more important to users than thorough malware cleanup.

Cisco small business phones open to remote eavesdropping, calling – An authentication flaw allows attackers to listed to audio streams and make calls from Cisco SPA 300 and 500 IP phones

Company News:

US judge orders seizure of foreign domains owned by Chinese company – A federal judge in New York has ordered dozens of global domains owned by the Chinese company Fengtao Software to be seized, for its social media accounts to be blocked, and for payment processors to cut off their services to the company. It’s not clear how he hopes to enforce that ruling: even if domain registrars in Japan and Germany are willing to implement the order, it’s hard to see one in China helping a US judge shut down a Chinese company.

Microsoft Signs 11 Agreements With OEMs To Bring Office To More Android Handsets And Tablets – Microsoft has broadened a previously announced agreement with Samsung to preinstall its software on the latter firm’s hardware it announced today, and landed nearly a dozen separate, similar arrangements with other OEMs including Dell. As a company, Microsoft is pursuing an increasingly cross-platform software strategy, one in which it is content to ensure that its applications are suited for rival platforms, such as Android.

Google Chairman says Glass ‘fundamental’ for Google – Is Google Glass dead, or do we just wish it were? When Google demolished the ‘Explorer program’ for Google Glass, they quickly seated Glass under the watchful eye of Tony Fadell, who heads up Google’s de facto hardware arm, Nest. Over time, various talking heads have said Glass wasn’t gone, just regrouping. The latest to chime in is former Google CEO and current Chairman Eric Schmidt, who calls Glass “fundamental” for Google, and says Fadell and his team are going to “make it ready for users”.

Games and Entertainment:

iOS Game Mr Jump Leaps To 5M Downloads After Four Days On The App Store – The game from France’s 1Button has already racked up 5 million downloads in just four days, and its simple in-app purchase and ad-based revenue model is earning its developers five-figure revenues on a daily basis, without having to resort to “pay-to-win” mechanics. The game keeps play simple – it’s a one-button platform title, meaning all a user has to do is tap the screen and the appropriate point. A tap results in a jump, with the length and height of the jump variable based on how long you tap. The player character, Mr Jump, moves of his own accord from left to right across a scrolling, simply colored blocky environment, and your goal is to avoid the various spikes, pitfalls and other dangers that impede his progress.

Battlefield Hardline review: an odd, cops-and-robbers facade – Like its predecessors, Hardline is larger, slower, and much more open than most of the multiplayer shooters that follow in the footsteps of Modern Warfare’s success. If you haven’t played Battlefield in a while (or outright skipped Battlefield 4 thanks to the horror stories about glitches and server issues), it might be an adjustment. It’s the kind of game where running around like an idiot without checking your environment will get you killed incredibly quickly. Snipers line every fire escape and rooftop, ready to pick you off unseen from 100 meters out if you’re not careful. Helicopters are shot down seconds after takeoff. If you’re not paying attention to your minimap, sweeping the horizon for targets, and ducking from cover to cover, it’s a safe bet you’ll be gunned down almost immediately. In short: It’s Battlefield.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

FTC opens new office to protect you from the Internet of Things – The FTC says it’ll be broadening its scope with the launch of a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation, described by the agency as “the next generation in consumer protection.” In 2015, we’re faced with the growing Internet of Things, cars that get faster with software updates, and the expanding smart home. The FTC thinks now’s the time to widen its net so that it may protect consumer interest across every facet of technology. Specifically, the OTRI will keep an eye on “privacy, data security, connected cars, smart homes, algorithmic transparency, emerging payment methods, big data, and the Internet of Things,” according to the agency.

First lawsuits against FCC’s net neutrality are filed – The FCC just announced its ruling on net neutrality last month, and lawsuits are hitting the agency right off the bat. The FCC declared that the Internet is a utility, which allows the government to regulate it. As such, the FCC created net neutrality rules which treat all web traffic equally. Well, no one likes being told what to do, especially by the government. The telecom industry is up in arms over the FCC’s net neutrality ruling, and now the lawsuits are beginning to trickle in. These lawsuits are part of an industry-wide effort to overturn what private companies believe are the FCC’s unlawful regulations.

Boeing scores patent for blast-inhibiting force fields – Our the-stuff-of-fiction future is becoming ever brighter, and newest to flesh it out is a new patent scored by Boeing, which has apparently set its sights on force fields. The patent details a technology that would create force fields somewhat similar to what we’ve seen in movies like Star Wars, though they won’t work quite the same. Rather than taking the impacts from objects, they’ll absorb or otherwise inhibit the shockwaves that result from a blast, helping keep the blast contained while protecting nearby people and structures from the damage that could result.

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Mercedes to release 10 new plug-in hybrids by 2017 – Luxury auto maker Mercedes-Benz has just announced that it will be greatly expanding its lineup of plug-in hybrid models by launching 10 new vehicles between now and 2017. As of now only two models are confirmed for sale in the U.S., but with an aggressive worldwide release of 10 hybrids, it means Mercedes will average a new model every four months. To solidify the company’s investment in hybrids, Mercedes is simplifying their branding, dropping the “Plug-in Hybrid” suffix to just add “e” to end of model names.

Colorado 12-Year-Old Tries to Kill Mom for Taking iPhone – According to reports, a 12-year-old from Boulder, Colorado was arrested on Friday following accusations that she attempted to poison her mother for taking away the girl’s iPhone. These kinds of things tend to go beyond warranting a trip to time out, or a further reduction in privileges. As you might expect, the mother contacted police, told them the deal, and investigators ultimately took the girl into custody. Charges haven’t been filed just yet, though the 12-year-old is currently being held in a juvenile detention facility.

Kaspersky, Bloomberg Spar Over KGB Allegations – Eugene Kaspersky, head of Russia-based security software supplier Kaspersky Lab, is fighting allegations that his company has “close ties” to Russian spies. Last week, Bloomberg Business published an article accusing Kaspersky Lab of excluding Russia from reports examining electronic espionage by the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

Something to think about:

“I am the only one who can make America truly great again”

–    Donald Trump

Today’s Free Downloads:

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!

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Tor Browser Bundle – Protect your privacy. Defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.

The Tor Browser Bundle lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained.

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Screen shots from a personal system

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Documents Reveal Canada’s Secret Hacking Tactics – Canada’s electronic surveillance agency has secretly developed an arsenal of cyberweapons capable of stealing data and destroying adversaries’ infrastructure, according to newly revealed classified documents.

Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, has also covertly hacked into computers across the world to gather intelligence, breaking into networks in Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa, the documents show.

The revelations, reported Monday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, shine a light for the first time on how Canada has adopted aggressive tactics to attack, sabotage and infiltrate targeted computer systems.

The latest disclosures come as the Canadian government debates whether to hand over more powers to its spies to disrupt threats as part of the controversial anti-terrorism law, Bill C-51.

New Zealand Spied on WTO Director Candidates – New Zealand launched a covert surveillance operation targeting candidates vying to be director general of the World Trade Organization, a top-secret document reveals.

In the period leading up to the May 2013 appointment, the country’s electronic eavesdropping agency programmed an Internet spying system to intercept emails about a list of high-profile candidates from Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico and South Korea.

New Zealand’s trade minister, Tim Groser, was one of nine candidates in contention for the position at the WTO, a powerful international organization based in Geneva, Switzerland that negotiates trade agreements between nations. The surveillance operation, carried out by Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB, appears to have been part of a secret effort to help Groser win the job.

Groser ultimately failed to get the position.

A top-secret document obtained by The Intercept and the New Zealand Herald reveals how GCSB used the XKEYSCORE Internet surveillance system to collect communications about the WTO director general candidates.

India’s Supreme Court Strikes Down Controversial Internet Censorship Law – Today is a good day for freedom of speech in India. The country’s Supreme Court struck down an ambiguous law that could be used to imprison citizens for content that they post online.

NDTV reports that Section 66A of the Information Technology Act was declared unconstitutional at a session held this morning. The court added that the controversial law, which first came into existence in 2000, is “vague in its entirety” and in violation of existing free speech laws.

Snowden should be allowed a public interest defense, say European lawmakers – A group of European lawmakers has called on the US government (PDF) to allow the whistleblower Edward Snowden to return to the US from Russia “without fear of criminal prosecution under conditions that would not allow him to raise the public interest defense.” A post on the Open Society Foundations blog explains that Snowden faces up to 30 years of imprisonment under the US Espionage Act of 1917, which does not allow a public interest defense to avoid or mitigate any penalties.

The call comes in a resolution by the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly is made up of 318 representatives from the national parliaments of the Council of Europe’s members. This is significant, Open Society Foundations says, since it “marks the first time that any inter-governmental body has called on the United States not to prosecute Snowden unless he is afforded the opportunity to raise a public interest defense.”

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 14, 2015

Facebook brings Amber Alerts to news feeds;  Actually, Windows 7 is still supported for another 5 years;  How to Make Your Android Battery Last Longer;  Tor Browser Bundle (free);  UK PM makes Apple CEO Tim Cook a global privacy champ;  HP Stream 11 Review;  Five free Android apps for tracking your time;  Verizon Vehicle turns your old ride into a connected car;  Patch Tuesday included one “critical” and seven “important” patches;  New “Skeleton Key” malware allows bypassing of passwords;  Adobe patches critical Flash security vulnerabilities;  A $10 USB charger with built-in wireless keylogger means more security headaches;  Google enters domain hosting business;  Cord-cutting trends and predictions for 2015;  Cops charged after police body cams capture them killing homeless man;  Obama revives call for immunity to companies sharing threat data;  Advanced SystemCare 8 Free.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Cory Doctorow – What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry – David Cameron says there should be no “means of communication” which “we cannot read” — and no doubt many in his party will agree with him, politically. But if they understood the technology, they would be shocked to their boots.

UK PM makes Apple CEO Tim Cook a global privacy champ – Cameron’s fighting talk puts Apple’s Tim Cook in the firing line, transforming the human rights-supporting CEO into a poster child for privacy in a frightened age. Experts are already warning Britain’s unpopular PM that his proposals are unworkable, saying he is “living in cloud cuckoo land.” Independent computer security expert Graham Cluley told The Guardian: “It’s crazy. Cameron is living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks that this is a sensible idea, and no it wouldn’t be possible to implement properly.” Experts condemn the plans as “idiocy,” “ill thought out” and “scary” and warn they undermine consumer security, the tech industry and British business.

Pointing up   Cameron, is a “walking/talking poster child” for the notion that intelligent people (I assume that he’s bright), are equally at a loss for common sense as the rest of us. Truth is – this man (just like his compatriots who are tasked with high level technology decision making), is a techno-moron. That in itself should scare the hell out of you – no matter the country you live in.

Under the hood of I2P, the Tor alternative that reloaded Silk Road – On the surface, I2P (which originally was an acronym for “Invisible Internet Project”) is similar in many ways to the Tor Project’s anonymizing service. Like Tor, I2P encapsulates and anonymizes communications over the Internet, passing Web requests and other communications through a series of proxies to conceal the location and identity of the user. Like Tor, I2P also allows for the configuration of websites within the network that are concealed from the Internet at large. Called “eepsites,” these equivalents to Tor’s hidden services can only be reached by using the anonymizing network or a portal site that connects to the I2P proxy network. But there are some significant differences between Tor and I2P beneath the surface, from the technologies they are based on to how the networks are implemented.

Tor Browser Bundle – Protect your privacy. Defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.

The Tor Browser Bundle lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained.

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Facebook brings Amber Alerts to news feeds to boost child safety – Through the new arrangement, NCMEC will be able to post Amber Alerts in the news feeds of Facebook users who are within range of a search area. The alerts will include key information on the missing children, including photographs and physical descriptions, as well as descriptions of the alleged abductors.

How to Make Your Android Battery Last Longer – Along with the usual battery-drainers — Wi-Fi, GPS and video streaming — Android phones come with some unique energy gluttons, such as live-updating home screen widgets. However, Android phones let you fine tune how your battery is used to a level not possible with iPhones. Here the key ways you can extend your Android phone’s battery life without having to change the way you use the phone (too much).

Actually, Windows 7 is still supported for another 5 years – Contrary to headlines you may have read today, Microsoft isn’t dropping support for Windows 7 today. The operating system is still supported and will continue to receive security updates for at least another five years. Today is the last day of Windows 7’s “mainstream support” period, with the operating system now entering “extended support.” But the implications of this for most of us are negligible.

Microsoft BUILD 2015 registration opens January 22 – Microsoft has announced that registration for BUILD 2015 will open on January 22nd which is one day after their Windows 10 event that takes place in Redmond, Washington.

Five free Android apps for tracking your time – If you’re an independent contractor or a small shop in need of an easy method of keeping tabs of work-related time, your tablet or smartphone and a free app might be all you need to ensure you’re billable time is up to date and ready for invoicing. Of course, not all time-tracking apps are created equal, but there are plenty of apps in the Google Play Store that offer all the features you need — and in some cases, more than you need. But which apps are best suited for the job? I tested a lot of them to find five I consider to be at the top of the list. Let’s dig in and see if any of my picks will suit your purposes.

Firefox Hello eases video chat by emphasizing permalinks over logins – In Firefox 35, users can assign a name to each conversation, and then return to it at any time from the Hello menu. So if you’re chatting with grandma, she can always reach you through that same link instead of having to create a separate link every time. In case someone’s taking a while to jump in on the video chat, starting a conversation now opens a separate window that shows you in the camera view. You can now navigate away from that window, and Firefox will alert you when the other person gets online. And while you don’t have to log in to use the service, signing in with a Firefox account lets you create a contacts list of other Firefox users. The latest update gives the option to import contacts straight from Google.

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HP Stream 11 Review: When entry-level computing isn’t so bad – With Chromebooks slowly gaining popularity for their ease of use and low price, Microsoft and HP both need entry-level Windows machines to take Google head-on, and to make sure that their premium products and services are not overrun by free options from Google. The HP Stream is one of the most interesting such devices to be launched recently – but is it any good? And how does Windows run on these low-end specs?

Verizon Vehicle turns your old ride into a connected car – Verizon Vehicle includes a variety of features: roadside assistance, automatic notification if your car is suspected to be in an accident, a vehicle locator (so you can’t get lost in a parking lot), stolen vehicle tracking, an SOS button for emergencies, and car diagnostics, among other things. Many (if not most) of these features are available from a modern car’s built-in systems, but Verizon’s targeting a potentially huge market: older cars with tech-savvy drivers. Sales kick off around April 10th, with availability in brick-and-mortar retailers expected toward the end of the year. The service will run $14.99 a month (hardware included) for the first vehicle and $12.99 for each additional one.

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Visual Studio Community 2013 is now available as part of Github Student Developer Pack – Student or not, you may be one of those who want to learn programming but cannot afford the high cost of the tools required. GitHub Developer Pack has you covered, and now includes Visual Studio 2013.

President Obama presses for high-speed Internet for rural Americans – President Barack Obama wants more Americans to have access to affordable broadband, no matter where they live. The president will deliver that message Wednesday from Cedar Falls, Iowa, according to Jeff Zients, director of the National Economic Council and an assistant to the president on economic policy. Zients on Tuesday discussed the president’s initiatives, including incentives to build out the needed infrastructure, coalitions of universities and municipalities to promote broadband, and an effort to eliminate laws that stifle competition.

Security:

Patch Tuesday included one “critical” and seven “important” patches, IE dodges the bullet – It’s that “time of the month” for Windows where patches get applied to plug vulnerabilities found in the OS. This time around eight were delivered and none affecting Internet Explorer.

Adobe patches critical Flash security vulnerabilities – Adobe patches nine vulnerabilities — four of which are considered “critical” — in order to protect against hackers who could exploit the bug to take control of an affected system.

New “Skeleton Key” malware allows bypassing of passwords – Dell SecureWorks has discovered a new piece of malware dubbed “Skeleton Key” which allows would-be attackers to completely bypass Active Directory passwords and login to any account within a domain. Interestingly, Skeleton Key does not actually install itself on the filesystem. Instead, it’s an in-memory patch of Active Directory which makes detection even more difficult. Even worse, this access is not logged and is completely silent and, as a result, extremely undetectable. Identifying the malware using traditional network monitoring also does not work due to the fact that Skeleton Key does not generate any network traffic. It’s not all doom and gloom though. The good news is that, in its current form, the malware does not survive a system reboot.

AMD plugs firmware holes that allowed command injection – Chip maker AMD has patched holes across its firmware lines that could allow hackers to inject malware. Czech programmer Rudolf Marek reported the holes in the Trinity, Richland, Kaveri, and Kabini silicon series ahead of a disclosure at the Chaos Communications Congress. AMD’s System Management Unit (SMU) firmware code within x86 processors did not run adequate checks prior to execution, allowing Marek to inject his own commands. Marek told attendees to ask their mainboard vendors to push the fixed AGESA to BIOSes. “Tell your vendors for a fixed AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture),” Marek said during the talk aimed at encouraging more of the low-level security analysis. “This is the only way to push vendors to update BIOSes for older platforms.”

A $10 USB charger with built-in wireless keylogger means more security headaches – Think that keeping hackers out of your digital fortress is already hard work, or that that BYOD is a security timebomb waiting to blow up in your face? Well, here’s something new for you to worry about – a $10 USB charger that features a built-in wireless keylogger.

Corel software vulnerabilities let attackers execute malicious code on your PC – The vulnerable products are CorelDRAW X7, Corel Photo-Paint X7, Corel PaintShop Pro X7, CorelCAD 2014, Corel Painter 2015, Corel PDF Fusion, Corel VideoStudio PRO X7 and Corel FastFlick, the Core Security researchers said in an advisory published Monday. Other versions might be affected too, but they haven’t been checked, they said.

Company News:

Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe agree to settlement in employee-poaching lawsuit – Four of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, including Google and Apple, have agreed to a new settlement deal in an antitrust lawsuit over alleged agreements the firms had not to poach each others’ employees. Adobe, Intel, Google, and Apple reached an agreement on Tuesday four years after the lawsuit, which accused the companies of limiting job mobility, was brought against them by workers in the tech sector. The full cost of the new settlement has not yet been revealed, but in court documents seen last year, judge Koh said that a new settlement would have to total at least $380 million. The companies involved in the case have yet to comment on the agreement, but Reuters says a court filing to be published “imminently” will offer a detailed explanation of the new settlement.

Apple camera patent takes aim at GoPro’s market – The Apple Watch is coming in a few short months, but a new patent granted to Apple details it may work with more than an iPhone. The patent awarded to Apple is for a sports camera that can be mounted, much like a GoPro. The patent also tells us the camera will work underwater, and can be controlled remotely via a smartwatch. The camera patent includes another patent Apple has, which they purchased from Kodak in 2013. News of the patent sent GoPro investors scurrying.

Google enters domain hosting business with Google Domains – Currently only available to users in the US, Google is offering to host domain names from $12 a year, which will vary based on the top-level domain that users choose. According to Google, Domains will help users find, buy, transfer, and manage domains and directly connect with website builders including Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix. As part of signing up, features that will be made available to users include email forwarding, the ability to customise sub-domains, and access to management tools. Users will also be provided with private registration at no additional cost, Google said.

Tinder taps ephemeral messaging market with Tappy acquisition – It’s likely that Tappy’s expertise will be used to expand Tinder Moments, an update to the dating app released last June that lets users broadcast photos to matches. Using Moments, users can draw on their photos and add captions and filters — all in the hope that an extra flash of social media peacocking will attract the right date. Tappy’s engineers could expand this functionality (perhaps adding direct photo messaging) and maybe even help Tinder take its relationship with its users up a level — from dating app to social media messenger.

Apple and Ericsson in court over LTE wireless patent royalties – It’s been a while since we have seen a major lawsuit between major technology firms, but we have a new one today. Apple has filed suit against Ericsson over LTE patents that Apple claims aren’t essential to industry cellular standards. Apple alleges that Ericsson is demanding excessive royalties for the patents in question.

Sony reportedly open to sale of mobile, TV divisions – Among all the turmoil you’ve read regarding Sony recently, a larger narrative is taking place. The company’s ability to turn a solid profit has come under scrutiny the past few years, which prompted them to sell their VAIO brand. According to a new report, Sony is also entertaining a similar move for TV and mobile. They’re entertaining the sale of just about every segment they do business in, according to sources. That could spell trouble for Sony’s various arms, or signal a rebirth.

Games and Entertainment:

Rockstar Delays GTA V for PC Launch Until March – Lame news, PC gamers. Rockstar on Tuesday announced it needs a few extra weeks to finish up the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V. The PC version was originally scheduled to come out on Jan. 27 — more than a year and a half after the game’s original release. Now, Rockstar has pushed the launch back another two months — until March 24.

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Dying Light preview: Zombies are even more stomach-churning in virtual reality – I just spent the last twenty minutes or so playing Dying Light in virtual reality—alternately creeping through darkened streets attempting to avoid the walking dead and then sprinting terrified across rooftops trying to escape the throng behind me. I’m a little sweaty. I’m a little nauseous. And I’m a lot excited.

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Cord-cutting trends and predictions for 2015 – In 2014, pay-TV subscriptions recorded their first full year of decline, and studies show that more people are abandoning cable or never getting it in the first place. The shift to streaming has put pressure on TV networks such as HBO and Showtime, who are finally seeing the light and making plans to offer standalone online video services. Sony even announced a streaming-only TV service, and while it may not be cheaper than cable, it will do away with cable’s most unsavory practices. So what can we expect in 2015? Here are my predictions.

World of Warcraft may be going free-to-play – For over a decade, Blizzard’s epic fantasy adventure World of Warcraft has utterly dominated the MMORPG landscape. With over 12 million subscribers at its peak in 2010, it’s not even a competition. But while the cash it’s raked in from monthly subscriptions is enough to rival the economies of small countries, long-term growth can also be as important as short-term profits, and it looks like the next step for World of Warcraft might be growing into the world of free-to-play. The rumor first appeared after dataminers combed through the upcoming Patch 6.1 and found files referring to a new “Veteran Edition.”

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The 10 Most-Pirated Movies – Let us know what you think about the movies on our most-bootlegged film list. If you’ve seen those flicks and think they’re worth watching by any means possible, share your opinions in the comment section below. We’d love to hear them! If you have strong thoughts about piracy, on either side of the equation, let us know that, too. And remember, watching bootleg streams and Torrents is illegal, folks.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Bloke in Belgium tries to trademark Je Suis Charlie slogan – An, er, enterprising individual has attempted to register the phrase “Je Suis Charlie” as a trademark in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The Benelux Trademarks Office told El Reg on Tuesday that it had received an application in Dutch to register the slogan just one day after the staff of Charlie Hebdo were murdered in an extremist attack last Wednesday. Many have been quick to condemn the attempt to cash in on the atrocity, although this is not the first such attempt, as T-shirts bearing the slogan were for sale in Paris just days afterwards.

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Local Motors 3D prints a car at the Detroit Motor Show – Local Motors is pioneering a 3D-printing technology in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory that squeezes carbon-reinforced ABS plastic through an ink-jet like nozzle so, bit-by-bit, an entire car chassis can be created. The carbon fiber gives the plastic a lot more strength. The company’s Strati concept took about 44 hours to be printed and consists of about 1,100 pounds of plastic, which costs about $5 per pound. The car’s battery has a range of between 40 miles and 60 miles depending on the driving conditions. Before the cars hit the street, they will have to pass safety crash tests.

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4 Reasons You’re Not Sleeping (and What You Can Do About Them) – Unfortunately, getting good sleep is a struggle many of us face, and it’s not entirely a modern dilemma. Yes, blinking cell phones, bright alarm clocks, and dinging computers are relatively new in human history and may make the bedroom less relaxing and more taxing, but other factors can interfere with your sleep pattern, too. This month, get serious about getting more shut-eye. Here are some real solutions to the most common sleep obstacles.

Watch This Crazy Swedish Cartoon Meant To Teach Kids About Their Bodies – This video from a Swedish kids’ show is meant to teach children about their body parts. You won’t be able to get the tune out of your brain, and you won’t be able to un-see it, but it’s totally worth it.

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Everyone’s Angry About a Swedish Music Video Featuring Penises and Vaginas – Some people are obviously concerned about little kids being exposed to genitals, but others complained that the video promoted restrictive gender norms and transphobia.

Cops charged after police body cams capture them killing homeless man – Two Albuquerque, New Mexico police officers were charged Monday with suspicion of murder after cop body cams filmed them killing a knife-wielding homeless man who was camping in nearby city hills. James Boyd, a 38-year-old homeless man, died in March after he was shot by a shotgun, bombarded with shots of nonlethal bean bags and was the target of flash-bang grenades following an hours-long standoff with police. The police said they were dealing with Boyd because he was breaking the law by camping in the Sandia Mountains above the city.

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This is just one of 40 shootings, 27 of them fatal, by police officers in Albuquerque since 2010.

Pointing up    Unbelievable – a Brazilian death squad in America! Let’s see some old fashioned Western frontier justice that Americans seem to rave about. Hang each and every one of these bastards from the nearest tree!

Je Suis James Boyd!

A website called PuppySwap has an idea for you: Just trade your grown dog in for another puppy! – There are swap services for everything from housing to Lego sets, why not pets? Sounds great, right? No, I didn’t think so either. And it’s likely that most people who visit PuppySwap.ca won’t be too fond of the idea either — and that’s exactly the point. PuppySwap.ca is an ironic website launched by the Toronto Humane Society to bring to light the fact that each year thousands of dogs are turned over to shelters by people who simply weren’t in for the long haul.

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Something to think about:

“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

–        George Orwell

Pointing up  This observation is especially applicable to the Cops charged after police body cams capture them killing homeless man report. A clear cut case of murder which will be defended by those who support brutality at every level.

Today’s Free Downloads:

Prey – Prey lets you keep track of your phone or laptop at all times, and will help you find it if it ever gets lost or stolen. It’s lightweight, open source software, and free for anyone to use. And it just works.

How it works:

Basically you install a tiny agent in your PC or phone, which silently waits for a remote signal to wake up and work its magic.

This signal is sent either from the Internet or through an SMS message, and allows you to gather information regarding the device’s location, hardware and network status, and optionally trigger specific actions on it. Next

Features:

100% geolocation aware – Prey uses either the device’s GPS or the nearest WiFi hotspots to triangulate and grab a fix on its location. It’s shockingly accurate.

Wifi autoconnect – If enabled, Prey will attempt to hook onto to the nearest open WiFi hotspot when no Internet connection is found.

Light as a feather – Prey has very few dependencies and doesn’t even leave a memory footprint until activated. We care as much as you do.

Know your enemy – Take a picture of the thief with your laptop’s webcam so you know what he looks like and where he’s hiding. Powerful evidence.

Watch their movements – Grab a screenshot of the active session — if you’re lucky you may catch the guy logged into his email or Facebook account!

Keep your data safe – Hide your Outlook or Thunderbird data and optionally remove your stored passwords, so no one will be able to look into your stuff.

No unauthorized access – Fully lock down your PC, making it unusable unless a specific password is entered. The guy won’t be able to do a thing!

Scan your hardware – Get a complete list of your PC’s CPU, motherboard, RAM, and BIOS information. Works great when used with Active Mode.

Full auto updater – Prey can check its current version and automagically fetch and update itself, so you don’t need to manually reinstall each time.

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Advanced SystemCare 8 Free – Advanced SystemCare 8 Free takes a one-click approach to protect, repair, clean, and optimize your PC. With over 150 MILLION downloads worldwide, this fantastic, award-winning, free PC repair software is a “must-have” tool for your computer. It’s easy to use and 100% safe with no adware, spyware, or viruses.

Why waste money on expensive “registry cleaners” to fix your PC when Advanced SystemCare Free can repair, tune up, and maintain it for you – for FREE!

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Dianne Feinstein, Strong Advocate of Leak Prosecutions, Demands Immunity For David Petraeus – This generous mentality of mercy, forgiveness and understanding – like Obama’s decree that we Look Forward, Not Backward to justify immunity for American torturers – is reserved only for political officials, Generals, telecoms, banks and oligarchs who reside above and beyond the rule of law.

David Petraeus, the person who Feinstein said has “suffered enough,” was hired last year by the $73 billion investment fund KKR to be Chairman of its newly created KKR Global Institute, on top of the $220,000/year pension he receives from the U.S. Army and the teaching position he holds at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Let us all pause for a moment to lament the deep suffering of this man, and the grave injustice of inflicting any further deprivation upon him.

Obama revives call for immunity to companies sharing threat data – Dusting off a 2011 to-do list, U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to propose legislation to protect companies sharing computer threat data with the government from prosecution, according to reports.

In 2011, Obama had recommended legislation that would provide for companies to voluntarily share cybersecurity information with the federal government and had proposed offering them immunity when sharing cybersecurity information with the Department of Homeland Security.

“At the same time, the proposal mandates robust privacy oversight to ensure that the voluntarily shared information does not impinge on individual privacy and civil liberties,” according to a brief circulated by the White House at the time. But Congress did not pass this and some other cybersecurity proposals outlined in 2011.

The hack in November of Sony Pictures and earlier breaches of the point-of-sale systems of retail giants like Home Depot and Target have however brought in a new sense of urgency to the measures.

DOJ report sheds light on FBI’s role in overseeing NSA’s PRISM surveillance – A declassified Justice Department report shows that the FBI conducts oversight on the NSA’s PRISM email surveillance program. Since 2009, the FBI has been ‘retaining copies of unprocessed communication gathered without a warrant to analyze for its own purposes.’ Regarding surveillance, Attorney General Holder spoke about monitoring homegrown terrorists and prosecuting former CIA Director Petraeus for pillow talk.

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