Tag Archives: Twitter

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 – 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.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – July 15, 2015

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – June 22, 2015

How to disable video autoplay on Twitter;  Chromebooks get integrated Chromecast support;  Customize Android voice commands with MyVoice;  Apple will replace faulty 3TB hard drives;  Facebook’s new photo app won’t launch in Europe;  Samsung makes big trucks transparent in the name of road safety;  Microsoft flip-flops on Windows 10 for Insiders promise;  Get serious about Android anti-theft with Cerberus;  Hackers had access to security clearance data for a year;  The best PC games of E3 2015;  Uber says no guns in cars, changing policy;  Your Bank Should Be More Like Your Waiter And Less Like Your Landlord;  Get any Xbox One game free when you buy an Xbox One;  Louisiana governor vetoes license plate reader bill, citing privacy concerns;  MyPermissions Cleaner for Chrome (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to disable video autoplay on Twitter – Twitter yesterday introduced what it calls “a more streamlined consumption experience” where videos, GIFs and Vines will autoplay as you encounter them on your timeline and across Twitter. This new autoplay feature is enabled by default. And in my case, the Twitter app for iOS was set to autoplay videos whether I was on Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. Thankfully, you can disable autoplay on the desktop and disable it or restrict it to only when you are on a Wi-Fi network on the iOS app.

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Twitter’s Overhaul Will Let You Follow Events Rather Than People – With its CEO on the way out, Twitter is planning big changes this fall to make the social network more accessible to newcomers. In a BuzzFeed profile, company executives detail an upcoming initiative called Project Lightning that will lead to an increased focus on surfacing interesting content around live events.

Customize Android voice commands with MyVoice – The most appealing things about MyVoice is that it only adds to the built-in voice control system, instead of installing a third-party system. This means that the service will be more reliable. And the fact that it can customize commands makes it pretty remarkable. How do you use this fantastic app? It’s simple. Let’s take a look.

Chromebooks get integrated Chromecast support, no browser needed – You’ll still need the Google Cast Extension installed but Google has added Chromecast controls directly into the platform’s system tray for streaming windows or your desktop.

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Apple will replace faulty 3TB hard drives in affected older iMacs – Apple has identified a problem in the hard drives of specific older iMacs. 3TB hard drives for 27-inch Macs that were sold between December 2012 and September 2013 could “fail under certain conditions”. Mac users affected by the problem are eligible for a special replacement program where the faulty hard drive will be switched out for free. This isn’t the first time iMacs have had this kind of problem. In 2011 Apple replaced faulty HDD’s from the manufacturer, Seagate.

Twitter Product Pages Zero in on Shopping – Twitter is getting into the shopping game by tweaking its service to organize content around products. It’s also opening up collections for a few key partners, which will allow those browsing Twitter to check out a number of product recommendations focused on a particular topic.

Facebook’s new photo app won’t launch in Europe because of facial recognition – Earlier this week, Facebook launched Moments, a new photo-sharing app that uses facial recognition technology to dig up forgotten snaps of friends from your camera roll. It’s a neat trick, but not one that Facebook’s European users will be able to try out: the social network has said that Moments won’t launch on the continent due to worries that European regulators will object to its use of facial recognition.

Microsoft flip-flops on Windows 10 for Insiders promise – Microsoft promising a free upgrade to Windows 10 for Windows 7 and 8.1 users is definitely a great thing, but it seems that Redmond still can’t its strategy pinned down. It once sent confusing messages regarding Windows 10 updates for those running on non-genuine (read: pirated) copies of the operating system. Now it’s muddling the waters again for their own testers, at first saying the Windows Insiders who have been testing Windows 10 will get the update for free, backtracking on that position, and then ambiguously confirming it again.

Surplus food for the homeless is just an app away – On-demand smartphone apps are known for addressing the whims and desires of the comfortable. It turns out they can also serve the greater good.

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Feeding Forward CEO Komal Ahmad shows off surplus food collected from the Bite Silicon Valley food-tech conference in early June. Leftovers gathered at this event fed more than 4,279 people at eight different shelters and food banks.

Get serious about Android anti-theft with Cerberus – One of the most frequent questions I receive is what to do when a phone is lost or stolen. The short (and simple) answer to that query is to prepare for the eventuality. That means either setting up your device via the Google Device Manager or another, similar type of service. If you don’t take this one (mostly) easy step, you might well find yourself out of luck. With that in mind, I want to introduce you to another anti-theft service, Cerberus. This app/service isn’t free (there’s a one week trial… after that, it’ll cost you 4.99 EUR). Once you take a look at this service, you’ll quickly realize that it’s worth every penny.

Heinz in hot sauce after ketchup bottle’s QR code links to porn site – Technically Incorrect: Heinz allows a domain for a promotion to lapse and who should slip into it instead? Oh, no.

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The offending bottle.

Heinz Tomato Ketchup/Facebook screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Why big open-source projects are fleeing SourceForge’s free software hub – SourceForge is in trouble. The download-hosting site retreated after public outcry, removing the junkware it inserted into downloads of the popular GIMP image editing tool without the developers’ permission. But SourceForge has still lost the trust of the open-source community after the junkware-wrapping scandal—and now more open-source projects are leaving SourceForge for greener pastures like GitHub and FossHub.

Security:

Game-over HTTPS defects in dozens of Android apps expose user passwords – Researchers have unearthed dozens of Android apps in the official Google Play store that expose user passwords because the apps fail to properly implement HTTPS encryption during logins or don’t use it at all. The roster of faulty apps have more than 200 million collective downloads from Google Play and have remained vulnerable even after developers were alerted to the defects. The apps include the official titles from the National Basketball Association, the Match.com dating service, the Safeway supermarket chain, and the PizzaHut restaurant chain. They were uncovered by AppBugs, a developer of a free Android app that spots dangerous apps installed on users’ handsets.

Matchlight finds breaches faster by scouring the dark web for stolen data – Matchlight detects data breaches faster, more accurately, and in a way you might not expect. TechRepublic spoke with Terbium Labs about how Matchlight works.

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Hackers had access to security clearance data for a year – Hackers who breached a database containing highly personal information on government employees with security clearances had access to the system for about a year before being discovered, The Washington Post reported on Friday. The database in question contains applications for security clearances, which ask for information on all aspects of a person’s life including social security numbers, passport numbers, names of former neighbors, and information on family members. It also asks about, over the past seven years, any contact with foreign nationals and problems with drug or alcohol abuse, debts or bankruptcy, imprisonment and run-ins with law enforcement

Company News:

Uber says no guns in cars, changing policy – Uber, the ride-hailing company based in San Francisco, has reworked its legal policies to include a ban on firearm possession by its drivers and passengers. “We seek to ensure that everyone using the Uber digital platform…feels safe and comfortable,” the new policy reads. “Uber and its affiliates therefore prohibit possessing firearms of any kind in a vehicle.” Those found violating the rule may lose access to Uber’s services.

The FCC is slapping AT&T with a $100 million fine for misleading unlimited data customers – The FCC is fining AT&T after an investigation concluded they misled millions of unlimited data customers by throttling their data and failing to adequately notify users of their plan’s limitations.

Apple Says “We Hear You Taylor Swift”, Will Pay Musicians During Free Trial – Apple’s Eddy Cue has just announced that Apple Music will change its plan and pay royalties to artists even during its three-month free trial for users, following Taylor Swift’s public complaint about the policy. She had planned to withhold her hit album ‘1989’ from the service in protest. We’ve learned that Apple made this decision to change its policy today. Apple had planned to offer users a three-month free trial of its upcoming streaming Apple Music service that launches June 30th. However, it had negotiated deals with the major labels to not pay rights holders royalties during these trials and instead pay a tiny bit more in royalty rates afterwards.

Report: Nokia CEO Talks Mobile Comeback – Nokia isn’t done with mobile phones just yet. After selling its handset business to Microsoft last year, the Finnish company is officially looking to make a comeback in the mobile space. But it’s not planning to go at it alone. Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri reportedly told the German website Manager Magazin that his company is looking to find “suitable partners” to help with the effort. Suri’s comments aren’t all that surprising, given that rumors about Nokia’s mobile ambitions have been swirling for months.

Verizon ordered to finish fiber build that it promised but didn’t deliver – New York City officials today ordered Verizon to complete fiber builds that the company was supposed to finish a year ago. If Verizon doesn’t comply, the city can seek financial damages. In a 2008 agreement with New York City, Verizon committed to extend its FiOS network to every household across the five boroughs by June 30, 2014,” said the announcement of an audit released today by the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). Verizon’s FiOS fiber network delivers Internet, TV, and phone service to areas traditionally served by Verizon’s copper landlines and DSL Internet.

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Apple Store Stops Selling The Original iPad Mini – Apple’s original iPad mini, the only non-Retina iPad still on sale, was quietly removed from Apple’s online store last night, as noted by 9to5Mac. Comparing the iPad section of the store between this morning and yesterday reveals that the first-gen iPad mini has been dropped from the comparison chart, too, leaving the iPad mini 2 and 3, as well as the iPad Air and iPad Air 2 as the current tablet options available to purchase new.

Games and Entertainment:

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is beautiful, brutal, and seriously ambitious – Yes, great video games should be more than just graphical eye candy, but in the case of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it’s hard to ignore its aesthetic charms. The Dawn engine demo shown at the first annual PC Gaming Show—which included a list of flashy effects like depth of field, global illumination, volumetric lighting, air density, and exquisitely rendered cucumbers—was but a tease for what the actual game looks like in motion. Mankind Divided was easily the best-looking thing I saw at this year’s E3—and in a show filled with graphical heavyweights like Dice’s Star Wars: Battlefront, Sony’s Uncharted 4, and Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, that’s high praise indeed.

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Dark Souls III is faster, weirder, and far more beautiful – I myself am not one really of those converted, barring flirtations with Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne. But after watching Miyazaki play through about 20 minutes of Dark Souls III, I think this might be the point where I jump in. The stage I saw was called Wall of Lodeleth, and its gothic medieval setting is instantly evocative, with ash-covered dragon corpses and jagged spires silhouetted against a hazy sun. The Souls games have never been the most technically accomplished, but stylistically they achieve a lot with a little; combined with Dark Souls III’s smoother performance on Xbox One, it’s the most striking entry in the series to date.

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New trailers: Peanuts, The Leftovers, Kung Fu Panda 3, and more – This was a big week for comedy and animation. It’s a nice change. There are so many serious, dark, and gritty trailers that fill up every other week that it’s good to have a little time away from them. Don’t worry — there’s still some of the dark stuff down below, but for the most part, you’re in for a fun week.

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Get any Xbox One game free when you buy an Xbox One – From June 21 to June 27, anyone buying an Xbox One from participating US retailers will get any game of their choosing for free. The only proviso is that the game must cost $59.99 or less and must be on optical media. This offer even covers the brand new $399 1 terabyte Xbox One that includes a 3.5 mm headset jack on its controller and already comes bundled with Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Sony says it has “no plans” for Xbox One-style backward compatibility on PS4 – Microsoft is enabling Xbox One owners to play their older Xbox 360 games on its latest console, but Sony says it does not intend to offer similar backward compatibility on its PS4.

The best PC games of E3 2015 – Forget Xbox. PlayStation? Pfah. PC gaming is the real cutting-edge of gaming, and here at PCWorld we covered more than fifty titles prepared to grace computer screens. Even crazier, that wasn’t even all of them. Heck, AMD even announced its new flagship Radeon Fury X graphics card at E3 this year. In such a swelling sea of games, it’s good to highlight a chosen few that stood out from the rest. These are the PC games that got us personally excited at E3 2015, in no particular order.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Watch John Oliver Take on Internet Trolls on Last Week Tonight – John Oliver took on Internet trolls on this week’s Last Week Tonight with the help of some “vintage AOL ads.” The Internet was supposed to change the world, but it has become a place where you can see “glamour shots of cats” and “angora show bunnies” or rickroll your entire audience with a clip of Rick Astley singing “Never Gonna Give You Up” (twice). It’s also become a place to say horrifying things to complete strangers and dabble in revenge porn, according to Oliver.

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Our Favorite Quotes About Technology – We polled the PCMag staff for some of their favorite tech quotes, and these are their top picks.

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Devs Use Minor Updates To Resurrect iOS Apps On The Slide, Study Finds – App updates are a strategic tool used by developers to revive waining interest in their software and spark downloads. That’s one of the conclusions from a study by a group of Italian academics looking at how app developers use updates to attract attention, and how effective this strategy is on Android vs iOS.

California high school installs security system to pinpoint gunfire – A high school in Newark, California, has become the first in the country to install a high-tech system designed to pinpoint the location of gunfire. It’s called ShotSpotter, and it’s already in use across several cities across the US, including New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Oakland, Minneapolis, and more. And that’s what it’s designed for — even wealthy cities like New York have only deployed the system in high-crime precincts that see frequent episodes of gunfire.

In Sweden, blood donors get a text whenever they save a life – Blood donation rates have risen 25 percent among high-income countries, but centers have seen a steep decline in new volunteers. Centers across the world are trying to figure out how to raise awareness about the importance of giving. So, Sweden looked to social media to solve its issue, crafting a system that texts donors, telling them when their blood has been used to help another. The notification system has already been quite effective in spreading a positive message about giving blood. Donors have tweeted images of the SMS messages they’ve received. It starts with a simple “thank you” after donation and then gets pretty personal when a follow-up notification says your blood has been used to help another.

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OneGo Will Offer Unlimited West Coast Flights For $1,500 A Month – Here’s an unusual pricing plan for air travel — instead of paying for each trip, hand over a $1,500 monthly fee and fly as much as you want. So what do you actually get for that $1,500? Unlimited direct flights (economy class) on major airlines like America, Delta, United and Virgin America, plus perks like Gogo WiFi membership and enrollment in TSA Pre for faster security screenings. There are some constraints — the flights have to be booked seven days in advance, and you can’t have more than four open reservations at a time. You can also pay extra for things like last-minute booking, unlimited flight changes and more open reservations.

Samsung makes big trucks transparent in the name of road safety – Back in 2009, Russian design house Art Lebedev introduced the dramatically titled Transparentius concept for improving road safety. It was remarkably simple: put a camera on the front of large, slow-moving trucks and connect it to video displays on the back, thereby informing trailing drivers whether it’s safe to overtake the big rig. That’s the exact same idea that Samsung is now pursuing with a new prototype truck. Making use of its abundance of outdoor displays, the Korean company has stitched together a video wall of four displays at the rear of the truck, which transmits video captured by a wireless camera at the front.

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Your Bank Should Be More Like Your Waiter And Less Like Your Landlord – The financial services industry in America is locked into a business model of exploitation. For far too long, this has gone largely unchecked and unquestioned, even when advances in technology mean it doesn’t have to be so.

Something to think about:

“You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.”

–       H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Humour:

Q: How cold is it in Canada?

A: In Celsius:

+25: visiting Aussies put on sweaters (if they actually own one)

+20: visiting Floridians ask if somebody could please turn on the heat

+10: you start to see your own breath. Vancouverites begin shivering uncontrollably

0: water freezes; construction begins on backyard hockey rinks

-10: Vancouverites weep with cold; Maritimers put on T-shirts

-15: Manitobans host the last backyard cookout with ice cream for dessert; Maritimers go camping

-25: Manitobans do up the top button

-35: Ottawans think about digging out their mitts

-50: Prairie kids start saying “Cold, eh?” and elect to stay inside for recess

-60: Vancouverites disappear; Montrealers put on overcoats; Yukoners close the bathroom window

-70: Hell freezes over and the Leafs win the Stanley Cup (joking, joking!)

Source: Favourite Canadian Jokes | WhyGo Canada Travel Guide

Today’s Free Downloads:

MyPermissions Cleaner for Chrome – MyPermissions is a free, powerful way to scan, track and control how applications access your personal information online. Know what apps you’ve connected to on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram and more are accessing what data – and approve, remove or report them.

MyPermissions is a watchdog for your cloud accounts. We protect users from unknowingly sharing photos, documents, locations, contacts, emails, or any other sensitive information, and we give them their control back by making it easy for them to approve or revoke what apps access their data, and how.

MyPermissions covers several platforms including:

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

LinkedIn

FourSquare

Instagram

Dropbox

and more!

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Louisiana governor vetoes license plate reader bill, citing privacy concerns – In a rare move against the advance of license plate readers, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) has vetoed a plan to acquire the scanners in the Bayou State. It had previously passed both houses of the Louisiana legislature overwhelmingly.

Many law enforcement agencies nationwide use these specialized cameras to scan cars and compare them at incredible speeds to a “hot list” of stolen or wanted vehicles. In some cases, that data is kept for weeks, months, or even years.

In a signing statement Friday, Jindal wrote:

Senate Bill No. 250 would authorize the use of automatic license plate reader camera surveillance programs in various parishes throughout the state. The personal information captured by these cameras, which includes a person’s vehicle location, would be retained in a central database and accessible to not only participating law enforcement agencies but other specified private entities for a period of time regardless of whether or not the system detects that a person is in violation of vehicle insurance requirements. Camera programs such as these that make private information readily available beyond the scope of law enforcement, pose a fundamental risk to personal privacy and create large pools of information belonging to law abiding citizens that unfortunately can be extremely vulnerable to theft or misuse.

For these reasons, I have vetoed Senate Bill No. 250 and hereby return it to the Senate.

Australia: Dallas Buyers Club pirates to be asked about income, disabilities – The letter to be sent to alleged pirates of the film Dallas Buyers Club has been leaked, revealing questions around the pirates’ income and what other titles they have downloaded.

The letter, obtained by Mashable Australia, follows a Federal Court victory by Dallas Buyers Club LLC – the rights holders to the film of the same name – which won a case in April against several ISPs, including iiNet, to obtain the details of 4,726 alleged film pirates.

The win came with a catch however, with Justice Nye Perram ordering that he needed to approve both the draft letter to alleged pirates and telephone script before any action is taken.

If a person denies they are a pirate, that person may be compelled to “deliver up your computer for analysis”, the letter says.

“If you admit that you engaged in piracy and no settlement can be reached, then DBC and Voltage may commence proceedings against you for Copyright Infringement,” the letter reads.

ISP iiNet, the main defendant in the case, has offered free legal advice to people who receive the letter.  (recommended by Mal C.)

2 Comments

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – June 15, 2015

Net neutrality rules go into effect: what happens now;  Create dynamic 3D animated avatars with your smartphone;  How to get started with Linux: A beginner’s guide;  Windows 10: The only major OS still trying to squeeze a buck from consumers;  Google’s Free App of the Week Promo Focuses on Kids;  Consumer group says Apple’s iPads are slower than a Surface Pro 3 or a $150 Android tablet;  Five unusual Android launchers to spruce up your phone;  How to take better photos in low light;  The latest joy: Selfies with police officers giving you a ticket;  How MajorGeeks Protects You and Why We Do What We Do;  Even with a VPN, open Wi-Fi exposes users;  Staying safe on public Wi-Fi;  This Tech Stock Is Up 4200% in Less Than 2 Months;  Playing games on the PC is making a comeback;  7 Steam Summer Sale Tips Every Gamer Should Know;  Online-Only Shows You Need to Watch Now;  Twitter tells us in which state people hate their jobs the most.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Net neutrality rules go into effect: what happens now – The rules prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Internet traffic and from charging website owners and providers of Web-based services for prioritized traffic. The rules also reclassify broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more heavily regulated telecom-style service, although the FCC voted to exempt broadband providers from many of those common-carrier rules. Here are four things to watch for as the rules go into effect and the lawsuits go forward:

Texas teacher fired for ‘black segregation’ Facebook post about McKinney video – An elementary-school teacher goes on Facebook to declare “blacks are the problem.” She is the second educator this week to be removed from her job for a Facebook posting.

Consumer group says Apple’s iPads are slower than a Surface Pro 3 or a $150 Android tablet – A consumer group conducted a tablet performance test in which Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 was 20% faster than the iPad Air 2, and the iPad mini 3 was beaten by a supermarket’s low-cost Android tablet.

Chrome Should Soon Be Easier On Your Mac’s Battery – Chrome already got a new feature that can disable crappy Flash ads and win you back some battery cycles, but there’s more in the pipeline. Per senior Chrome engineer Peter Kasting outlining future steps on Google+, we’re going to see changes to the way Chrome handles rendering of background tabs (i.e., the ones you aren’t immediately looking at), and eking out some minor but important gains in the CPU efficiency of searching with Google. There’s a lot more going on, most of which is designed to help Chrome match or approach CPU efficiency found in Safari.

Hidden Chrome on Android features will improve your mobile browsing – Chrome has a lot of hidden features, some of which take a bit more digging to find. Jack Wallen highlights four such features that will help improve your Chrome on Android experience.

Create dynamic 3D animated avatars with your smartphone – The researchers report that this technology “facilitates a range of new applications in computer animation and consumer-level online communication based on personalized avatars.” Indeed, imagine going into one of BioWare’s or Bethesda’s character creators and having the ability to upload your 3D face. No longer would gamers spend hours fine-tuning their avatar. The researchers were even able to show how an actor could manipulate multiple 3D facial renders in real-time.

The latest joy: Selfies with police officers giving you a ticket – In Sri Lanka, there’s a curious new selfie trend, one the world shouldn’t miss. And police say they like it.

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The selfie that apparently started it all. Dhada Selfie/Facebook screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Windows 10: The only major OS still trying to squeeze a buck from consumers – Putting a monetary obstacle in the way of people who want to jump to Windows 10 hampers Microsoft’s vision for a service-centric, cloud-connected future for Windows. Consumers also love getting stuff for free.

How to get started with Linux: A beginner’s guide – The world of Linux is ready to welcome you, with a shower of free open-source software you can use on any PC: hundreds of active Linux distributions, and dozens of different desktop environments you could run on them. It’s a far cry from the one-size-fits-all, this-is-just-what-comes-with-your-PC vision of Windows. Everything from software installation to hardware drivers works differently on Linux, though, which can be daunting. Take heart—you don’t even need to install Linux on your PC to get started. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Linux Mint’s system settings.

Google’s Free App of the Week Promo Focuses on Kids – According to reports, Google’s new free app giveaway is limited to a weekly timeframe—or “free app of the week,” if you prefer the traditional phrasing. And it’s not just any ol’ Android app that’s getting the special, cheaper treatment. The free app of the week promotion only seems to apply to apps within Google’s recently launched Family section of the Google Play store—at least, right now. It’s unclear whether Google will be branching the promotion out to additional categories, or whether this free app release promotion is just timed to take advantage of the new Family section’s launch.

Five unusual Android launchers to spruce up your phone – One of the benefits of Android’s openness is that many of its parts can be replaced by third party apps and services. One of those parts is the homescree and app launcher, the very first piece of software the user meets when using their smartphone. After the lock screen, of course. You might have heard of launchers like Nova, Apex, Go, or even Google’s own Google Now, but here are five more that you won’t usually read about in the news unless they have a major update or release.

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The seven “Prime Directives” of repairing and upgrading tech – Over the years I’ve built up a set of rules that I keep in mind when fixing things. I call them the “Prime Directives,” not because I’m a huge Star Trek fan, but because they’re important, and bad things tend to happen when I violate them.

Twitter Serving Up Ads Based on the Apps You Install – The tool “enables app advertisers to reach users based on the categories of apps they have installed on their device, or in which we think they have interest,” Twitter product manager Deepak Rao wrote in a blog post. “One of the biggest priorities for mobile app marketers is to reach the people who are most likely to use and love their apps. Today’s launch is the next step in our journey to help these advertisers connect with the right customers on Twitter – while providing users with the most relevant and useful ad content.” As Re/code noted, Twitter first announced plans for this in November, and is rolling it out now.

How to take better photos in low light – Low-light photography doesn’t always mean taking photos at night. There are plenty of situations where your eyes may be able to adjust to lower light easily, such as in a restaurant, but your camera has trouble seeing as well as you do. Wherever you may be, taking images in low light doesn’t have to be tricky. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making photos in challenging lighting conditions.

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The original image on the left lost a lot of detail in the shadows. By shooting raw, you can recover much of this lost detail with a simple slider and end up with the photo on the right. Lexy Savvides/CNET

Facebook’s SSD findings: Failure, fatigue and the data center – ​SSDs revolutionized data storage, even though we know little about how well they work. Now researchers at Facebook and Carnegie-Mellon share millions of hours of SSD experience

Security:

How MajorGeeks Protects You and Why We Do What We Do – There have been some articles written lately about download sites and we’d like to take a minute to respond to some of what we have been reading. Sites like HowToGeek wrote an article here that was actually very kind to MajorGeeks considering what and who we are up against. So, let us fill you in on how things work differently at MajorGeeks.

Pointing up    MajorGeeks has been my recommended download site for many years precisely because of the issues raised in this article.

US officials reveal second massive hack: security clearance forms grabbed – The recent hack of government data, at least according to those who know of the matter, is far worse than previously revealed. At least 4 million people were comprised, it was originally reported, but a recent letter to the OPM indicated that every single federal employee might have had some data stolen, including former federal workers. Now a second hack has been disclosed by sources, and it is said to have involved the theft of data related to intelligence employees and military personnel.

Even with a VPN, open Wi-Fi exposes users – By now, any sentient IT person knows the perils of open Wi-Fi. Those free connections in cafes and hotels don’t encrypt network traffic, so others on the network can read your traffic and possibly hijack your sessions. But one of the main solutions to this problem has a hole in it that isn’t widely appreciated. This gap in coverage may only be a matter of seconds, but that’s enough to expose valuable information like logon credentials. Try running a network monitoring tool like Microsoft’s TCPView for Windows or Little Snitch for Mac before you establish your Internet connection and see what happens in those first few seconds. The information may be protected by encryption, but it can carry details about your system configuration that could be used to identify it—or provide clues for an attacker.

Staying safe on public Wi-Fi – Stuck without a data connection on the road? Free public Wi-Fi is one of those little luxuries that can make travelling easier, but you do need to exercise caution in how you use it. Here are some tips on what to look out for when using public Wi-Fi, whether you use a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

US Navy is looking to buy zero-day and other exploits online – It’s no secret that security researchers and cyber criminals often buy and sell exploits online. Researchers usually sell their findings back to companies in bug-bounty programs, while criminals usually sell their knowledge to other criminals who can then exploit the unpatched vulnerability. But there’s also a third kind of exploit buyer out there, and that’s governments, who use these exploits for their own cyber-attacks. That’s seemingly the case here, where the US Navy actually posted an ad saying they were buying exploits found in popular software.

Company News:

This Tech Stock Is Up 4200% in Less Than 2 Months – The stock of a Chinese technology company has risen just over 4,200% since it went public just 56 days ago. The amazing run, Bloomberg notes, is equivalent to the past 11 years of gains in Apple’s shares. It also gives the company, Beijing Baofeng Technology Co., an almost unbelievable valuation of 715 times earnings. That’s 46 times Apple’s P/E of 15. Janus Capital’s Bill Gross, a legendary bond investor, recently said that the technology-heavy Shenzhen market, where Beijing Baofeng is listed, would be a great trade for short-sellers, who bet that shares will go down.

Rough sailing ahead for Twitter after CEO’s departure – Can Twitter finally give Wall Street what it wants now that its embattled CEO Dick Costolo is stepping aside after months of disappointing investors? While tech’s other heavy hitters, including Facebook — with nearly a billion more users than Twitter — and Google, constantly tinker to improve their products, Twitter ‘s momentum has stalled, some analysts believe.

After years of silence, Amazon releases first transparency report – Despite it being known best for its online retail business, its cloud services power millions of apps, sites, and services around the world. But the news couldn’t come soon enough. Amazon is the last major technology company in the Fortune 500 to disclose how many times governments have come knocking on its door, demanding customer and user data. Amazon, known by insiders for being notoriously secretive, was at no point under a legal obligation to report its numbers, but had faced mounting pressure in the face of transparency reports becoming an industry norm. Schmidt said the report, which covers the six months starting January 1 and ending May 31, will be released biannually.

By the numbers:

Amazon received 813 subpoenas, of which it fully complied with 66 percent;

Amazon received 35 search warrants, of which it fully complied with just over half;

Out of the other 13 other court orders it received, Amazon fully complied with just four;

Amazon received 132 foreign requests, of which it fully complied with 82 percent;

Amazon complied with the one removal orders (like user data) it received

Amazon disclosed that it had received between zero and 249 national security requests, such as a court order issued by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Alibaba to launch Netflix-like streaming service in China – Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba has announced its plans to create its own media streaming platform. Alibaba will be calling the new platform TBO, Tmall Box Office. TBO will run licensed domestic content from China was well as foreign content. The service even has plans to create its own in-house programs, as Netflix did with House of Cards. Competition is heating up as Chinese companies are in a bit of a spending war with each other, trying to gain market share in the emerging market of media streaming technology.

This Country Is Logging Almost 1M Uber Trips Per Day – Uber has expanded rapidly in recent years, but like many tech companies, its main focus in the years to come will be China, according to a leaked letter from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to investors. Uber is available in 11 Chinese cities, which cover about 14 million people who are taking almost 1 million trips per day.

Uber to invest over $1B in China, expand to 50 more cities – In a letter to investors, CEO Travis Kalanick calls the ride-hailing service’s growth in the country “remarkable and unprecedented.”

With payroll in arrears, online antivirus seller shuts doors – The sudden shutdown of a computer tech support call center has left some of its employees wondering if they will be paid. EZ Tech Support, based in Portland, Oregon, took calls from people who had advertising software installed on their computers that warned of possible security and performance problems. The programs implored people to call the company’s number, which was displayed amid warnings.

Amazon to have select Prime items shipped from merchants – If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you may find many more items eligible for the service’s free two-day shipping option in the near future. That’s because the internet retailing giant is testing a program that has Prime items shipped directly from the independent merchants selling who sell them. Normally, only items sold directly by Amazon, or merchants’ items that are stored in Amazon’s warehouses, are eligible for the Prime two-day shipping option. This change benefit both customers and sellers.

Games and Entertainment:

Playing games on the PC is making a comeback – Video game consoles have long dominated the video game industry, offering a seemingly cheaper and more consistent experience. But not for long.

7 Steam Summer Sale Tips Every Gamer Should Know – It’s that time of year again. The Steam Summer Sale is back, and that means more than a week of constantly reloading the Steam store to see what games you can pick up for a few bucks each. It’s easy to go nuts during the sale, so here are some tips on how to get the most during the event.

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Look out, Twitch! YouTube Gaming is coming this summer – Launching this summer in the US and UK, gaming.youtube.com will be a portal just for games—bascially the “Twitch” portion of YouTube. There will be game pages for “over 25,000” titles showing info about the games and a list of streamers playing them. There will also be channel pages for streaming personalities and companies. Searches from gaming.youtube.com will be sectioned off from the rest of the site, too—YouTube’s blog post (which we received an advance copy of) says that “typing ‘call’ will show you Call of Duty and not Call Me Maybe.” And of course, there’s also chat.

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Fallout 4, Dishonored 2, Doom—Bethesda opens up with both barrels – We knew in advance that we’d be hearing more about Fallout 4 and Doom from Bethesda at their “E3 showcase” Sunday evening, but the best laid plans of mice and mutants gang aft agley—a brief technical mix-up the day before also told us that we’d be getting a look at Dishonored 2 as well. But there didn’t need to be any surprises—those three AAA games themselves were enough to warm any gamer’s heart. Especially if you like Fallout.

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Watch all the new footage of Doom from E3 – E3 2015 got off to a chainsaw-intensive start Sunday when Bethesda showed tons of footage from Doom, its forthcoming sequel to the genre-defining franchise. We took a long look of the single-player campaign that showed off many of the game’s best-loved weapons, including the shotgun, the rocket launcher, and (of course) the chainsaw. We also saw a glimpse of the multi-player campaign, which players will be able to mod heavily using a new tool called Snapmap. Check it out:

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The new Fallout mobile game, Fallout Shelter, is available right now – The creators of Fallout 4 have released a new mobile game associated with the Fallout franchise. In Fallout Shelter, you make your own nuclear shelter, or vault. As the overseer of said vault, you will then need to maintain the underground base, keeping your residents happy. The game has a 2D-animation look playing off the Pip-Boy characters of the Fallout series. The game looks like a cross between SimTower and the base management system in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The game is free on iOS tonight. It won’t have paywall timers and won’t require an internet connection to play.

Online-Only Shows You Need to Watch Now – Netflix isn’t alone in creating great TV that doesn’t require rabbit ears, cable (beyond the modem), or hell, even an actual TV. Streaming video has quickly become a natural setting for scripted drama and comedy. With Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Yahoo Screen, and more, you can watch at your own pace, or binge watch all at once.  The bottom line? You don’t need a TV to watch quality scripted television.

Off Topic (Sort of):

In the Future, Employees Won’t Exist – Contract work is becoming the new normal. Consider Uber: The ride-sharing startup has 160,000 contractors, but just 2,000 employees. That’s an astonishing ratio of 80 to 1. And when it comes to a focus on contract labor, Uber isn’t alone. Handy, Eaze and Luxe are just a few of the latest entrants into the “1099 Economy.” Though they get the most attention, it’s not just on-demand companies that employ significant contract workforces. Microsoft has nearly two-thirds as many contractors as full-time employees. Four trends are converging to make contracting more attractive for both employers and workers, and reshaping how businesses and employees look at the traditional full-time model.

Twitter tells us in which state people hate their jobs the most – Technically Incorrect: An analysis of an entire year’s tweets shows that there’s a geographical split between those who say they like their work and those who say they don’t.

Parrot unveils 13 new minidrones, including a drone-powered boat – Drones aren’t always huge and hugely expensive. Parrot has been selling a line of minidrones for the last few years, and today it has revealed 13 new ones. That’s not 13 individual types of drone, but 13 “versions” of three different types. There are new flying and rolling drones, as well as one that takes to the waves for the first time.

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1980s Amiga has been running the AC and heat in 19 schools for 30 years – The Grand Rapids Public School district took a big step into the future back in the 1980s when it used money from an energy bond to purchase a Commodore Amiga computer. The Amiga, which replaced a computer the size of a refrigerator, was set up to control heat and air conditioning at the district’s 19 schools. It has been doing that job tirelessly for the last 30 years. How long do you think you could keep a modern laptop working? Four or five years? Maybe? The Amiga uses an unusual 1200-bit modem and a wireless radio signal to communicate with the 19 buildings.

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Talk techie to me: RealDoll wants to make sex dolls that move, chat – RealDoll is reportedly working with robotics experts to make a more lifelike and unintentionally creepier love doll. Hopefully it won’t dump you for the Roomba.

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Something to think about:

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”

–      Mark Twain

Today’s Free Downloads:

RogueKiller 

MajorGeek says: We don’t really need a review here. If you’re a tech, you know what this tool does and it’s already in your toolbox. For the rest of you, Roguekiller is a popular, effective tool to remove some stubborn malware but be warned; you better know what you’re doing. While a lot of more well-known tools will simply scan and delete for you, this tool will show you everything it finds that is a possible problem. You need to know what to remove and what not to remove. In the second screenshot below you will see where it found 7 potential PUP’s on a clean install of Windows 7. If someone told you to download this and you’re not a knowledgeable computer tech, run. Run as fast as you can and get a new ‘friend’. A program like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware would serve you better. I’m not knocking RogueKiller, it’s excellent; in the right hands. If you don’t believe me, simply read the comments below.

RogueKiller is an anti-malware program written in C++ and able to detect and remove generic malwares and some advanced threats such as rootkits, rogues, worms…

Based on generic ways to find malwares by their behaviour (heuristics), on classic anti-malware analysis (signature finding) and on undocumented hacks, RogueKiller can find/remove most of the basic malwares (rogues, trojans, …) and some advanced threats like ZeroAccess or TDSS that behave more like rootkits.

Here’s a little summary of what RogueKiller is able to do:

Kill malicious processes

Stop malicious services

Unload malicious DLLs from processes

Find/Kill malicious hidden processes

Find and remove malicious autostart entries, including :

1: Registry keys (RUN/RUNONCE, …)

2: Tasks Scheduler (1.0/2.0)

3: Startup folders

Find and remove registry hijacks, including :

1: Shell / Load entries

2: Extension association hijacks

3: DLL hijacks

4: Many, many others …

Read / Fix DNS Hijacks (DNS Fix button)

Read / Fix Proxy Hijacks (Proxy Fix button)

Read / Fix Hosts Hijacks (Hosts Fix button)

Restore shortcuts / files hidden by rogues of type “Fake HDD“

Read / Fix malicious Master Boot Record (MBR), even hidden behind rootkit

List / Fix SSDT – Shadow SSDT – IRP Hooks (Even with inline hooks)

Find and restore system files patched / faked by a rootkit

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Audio Switcher – Easily switch between ANY sound device on your Windows PC with this incredibly small and lightweight application. Using this application allows you to switch output OR input sound devices at the click of a button, or the press of a key.

Features:

Change Windows Default Audio devices without opening Control Panel

Full Global Hot Key support which allows you to change the default audio device with the press of a key

Favorite Devices – Only your “favorite” devices will show up in the Tray Icon Menu.

Quick switch: Click on the notification icon once and it will cycle through your favorited devices! Great if you have two devices you switch between often.

Settings support for closing to tray, starting minimized to tray and running at start up (using a registry key)

Optional: Periodically check for updates

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Russia and China cracked Snowden’s files, identified U.S., UK spies – Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies have reportedly decrypted files of former U.S. National Security Agency contractor and leaker Edward Snowden, and have identified British and U.S. secret agents.

MI6, the U.K.’s secret intelligence service, has withdrawn agents from overseas operations in hostile countries, according to a report in the Sunday Times of London, citing U.K. government officials and Western intelligence agencies.

The report contains some apparently contradictory information. Although The Sunday Times quoted a U.K. Home Office official saying that Snowden has “blood on his hands,” it also quoted a government source saying that there was no sign that agents have been hurt.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s aides, however, confirmed that Snowden’s files are in the hands of Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies, according to the report.

Pointing up    It’s barely conceivable – just enough to shore up the convictions of the poorly informed. Just remember; liars lie. And, both the U. S. and the U. K. have proven to be A+++ liars in this matter.  Who would publicly admit that their very own ultra/ultra – secret/secret – futuristic/futuristic – encrypted/encrypted – impossible to break/impossible to break – encryption system is worthless?

More right wing extremist nonsense parroted by a mainstream media which continues to fail massively in it’s primary function – as it has for years.

Right to be forgotten applies to all Google domains, rules French privacy authority – Google must respect the European Union’s ‘right to be forgotten’ court ruling on all its sites, not just those it says target EU countries, the French data protection authority has ruled, giving the company 15 days to comply.

The French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) ordered Google to remove the affected search results on all its domains, including google.com, or face a fine of up to €300,000 (about $337,000). So far, Google has only removed such results from those of its sites it says target EU users, including google.fr or google.de. French residents need only click the “Use Google.com” link on the google.fr homepage to have access to unfiltered search results.

The dispute began over a year ago, when the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) gave people the right to request removal of search results for queries including their names, if the results are inadequate or irrelevant.

This means that E.U. residents who want to remove a search result displayed on a search of their name can ask a search engine to delist it. The search engine must review the request and grant it if the proper conditions are met. If the search engine does not comply, they can lodge a complaint with their local data protection authority.

Germany drops investigation into claims the NSA tapped Angela Merkel’s phone – The German government has dropped a formal investigation into allegations that the NSA had been tapping chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone for several years. German federal prosecutor Harald Range said in a statement on Friday there was insufficient evidence to continue the investigation, The New York Times reports.

Back in 2013, German newspaper Der Spiegel ran a report claiming the US had been monitoring Merkel’s phone since 2002, based on internal NSA documents it had obtained. The White House responded by assuring Merkel she was no longer being monitored, but the report suggested the surveillance had gone on for more than a decade.

Range noted that while the NSA documents did contain a phone number that could be traced back to Merkel, there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest there had been an “authentic” order from the NSA to tap the phone. He also said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Merkel’s phone had actually been tapped.

What The U.K. Surveillance Powers Review Says On Encryption And Hacking – An independent review of U.K. surveillance powers conducted by QC David Anderson published its findings this week. Among its recommendations the report calls for judges to sign off interception warrants, and for a new law to govern surveillance powers — replacing the problematic patchwork of outdated and amended legislation that currently exists with stricter and more coherent oversight.

The report also supports continued use of “bulk data collection” (aka mass surveillance) by U.K. intelligence agencies — so long as “strict additional safeguards” oversee its usage and minimize privacy impacts.

Anderson writes:

…if the acceptable use of vast state powers is to be guaranteed, it cannot simply be by reference to the probity of its servants, the ingenuity of its enemies or current technical limitations on what it can do. Firm limits must also be written into law: not merely safeguards, but red lines that may not be crossed.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – June 15, 2015

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – June 12, 2015

25 Android Apps Put to the Security Test;  Fake mobile phone towers discovered in London;  Which Android phone to get? Google has a tool for that;  This is how much time you’re spending on smartphone apps;  ‘Your PC may be infected!’ Inside the shady world of antivirus telemarketing;  U.K. Review Backs Mass Surveillance But Wants Judges To Sign Warrants;  Apple Says These Are the Best Apps of the Year;   Android TV hidden gems: The 10 best hard-to-find apps;  Surfing the Web On Your iPhone Is About to Get Way Better;  Twitter’s mobile app now supports landscape video recording;  Twitter adds sharing block lists to help limit harassment;  Vintage Ask toolbar is malware – and we’ll kill Jeeves, says Microsoft;  These are the first Oculus Rift games;  German parliament may need to replace all software and hardware after hack;  Court refuses to block the FCC’s net neutrality rules;  Teen discovers new planet 1,000 light years away;  Microsoft Hyperlapse Pro Preview (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The dangers of Android malware may be exaggerated, but you should still play it safe – Not everyone agrees that Android malware seriously threatens security. But taking precautions is still a good idea.

25 Android Apps Put to the Security Test – Sure there are plenty of great apps, but there plenty of dangerous ones, too. That’s why most antivirus software providers, having already faced the massive challenge of dealing with PC malware, also provide security software designed specifically for the protecting the little green robot that lives in your phone or tablet. Every few months independent testing labs AV-Test releases a report on the state of Android security software. While the institute’s latest findings aren’t quite as optimistic as they’ve been in the past, they still contain plenty of good news.

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Which Android phone to get? Google has a tool for that – Diversity is both a boon and a bane in Android. On the one hand, it means that buyers can choose from their manufacturer of choice, features of preference, or unique style. On the other hand, it also exhibits the so-called “irony of choice”, almost paralyzing some from choosing among dozens of options. Although Google has probably been long aware of the situation, now it is taking a more active approach. It has just launched a new “Which Phone” web tool that can help narrow down the choices based on your use cases.

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This is how much time you’re spending on smartphone apps – You’re devoting a whole lot of time to smartphone apps, and it’s likely more for play than work. At least that’s what recent statistics suggest. The amount of time people spend each month on smartphone apps was nearly 37 1/2 hours in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to market research firm Nielsen. That represented a 63 percent jump over the same period two years ago. It’s the latest illustration of just how much time people are spending on their smartphones.

Apple Says These Are the Best Apps of the Year – Apple announced the winners of this year’s Apple Design Awards this week at its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). 12 apps for iOS and Mac ranging from the old-school hopper game Crossy Road to the slick stock trading app Robinhood were recognized for design, creativity, function and personality, according to a statement from Apple. Two of the honorees were student winners: jump-O, a minimalist puzzle game for iPhone and iPad, and Elementary Minute, a quiz game for iPhone and Apple Watch.

Twitter Gets Serious About Messaging, Will Remove DM Character Limit – Beginning in July, DMs will no longer carry the 140 character limit Twitter enforces for its public posts. Direct Message character limit removal probably makes a lot of sense to anyone who uses the feature regularly. Brevity is key in the public-facing stream of Twitter itself, since that’s the whole point of the “micro-blogging” platform. But in private, it just means you often have to break up longer thoughts over multiple messages, and doing so can actually be really annoying.

Twitter’s mobile app now supports landscape video recording – Praise the heavens, mobile video shooters, Twitter has finally gotten with the times and lets you record videos in landscape orientation from within their iOS and Android apps. When Twitter first made in-app video recording available earlier this year, it used square formatting, made popular by social apps Vine and Instagram. Twitter makes it easy to shoot video in the new orientation, just hold your phone like normal, rotate it 90 degrees to the right or left, and start recording!

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Twitter adds sharing block lists to help limit harassment – Microblogging service hopes the ability to block multiple accounts at once will help curb abuse and harassment on the platform.

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Skype’s modern Windows app is dead, long live Skype for Windows desktop – Microsoft-owned Skype has announced today that it will be merging its two Windows apps into a single offering by retiring the touch-based, Modern UI version, and instead moving forward with the traditional desktop app. The touch-friendly Skype app was made for Windows 8 devices, while Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs have always continued to use the desktop app. In anticipation of the debut of Windows 10, the modern Skype app will no longer work beginning July 7th, and users will need to switch to the desktop version.

Reddit Bans Five Harassing Subreddits, Its Trolls Respond Exactly As You’d Expect – Reddit, the hugely popular online community know as the ‘front page of the internet’, has dropped the hammer on five groups on its site judged to be in violation of its policy against harassing users.

The final version of Oculus Rift is coming soon (pictures) – After years of prototypes and updates, Oculus Rift is ready to debut a final version that anyone can buy in 2016.

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10 do’s and don’ts for successful podcasting – Whether you’re in the process of planning a new podcast or you’re already producing episodes, there are (as you might expect) a number of do’s and don’ts to consider. Although these are not hard and fast rules, they will make the entire process (from creation to publication) easier, more productive, and more enjoyable.

Surfing the Web On Your iPhone Is About to Get Way Better – The next version of Apple’s iPhone software will allow adblocking on the device’s Safari browser, according to Apple’s iOS developer library. It’s the first time Apple’s mobile browser will allow adblocking extensions, which over 100 million people already use on their desktops, Nieman Lab reports.

Security:

Hackers stole Social Security numbers, personal data from every single federal employee – Last week, Chinese hackers were pinned for a large-scale attack which compromised the personal information of millions of current and former government employees. The breach targeted the Office of Personnel Management, and incited outrage from security firms and public officials over the lack of security surrounding the incident. Now, the country’s largest federal employee union, the AFGE, has claimed in an internal letter that the Social Security numbers and personal information of every single federal employee – 2.1 million people – have been compromised. Additionally, the AFGE claims Social Security numbers and personal information of 2 million federal retirees have been similarly compromised.

Report: Hack of government employee records discovered by product demo – An OPM statement on the attack said that the agency discovered the breach as it had “undertaken an aggressive effort to update its cybersecurity posture.” And a DHS spokesperson told Ars that “interagency partners” were helping the OPM improve its network monitoring “through which OPM detected new malicious activity affecting its information technology systems and data in April 2015.” Those statements may not be entirely accurate. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the breach was indeed discovered in April. But according to sources who spoke to the WSJ’s Damian Paletta and Siobhan Hughes, it was in fact discovered during a sales demonstration of a network forensics software package called CyFIR by its developer, CyTech Services. “CyTech, trying to show OPM how its cybersecurity product worked, ran a diagnostics study on OPM’s network and discovered malware was embedded on the network,” Paletta and Hughes reported.

Vintage Ask toolbar is malware – and we’ll kill Jeeves, says Microsoft – Older versions of the Ask toolbar, the bane of many a computer user over the years, has been declared persona non grata by Microsoft, and Redmond says its security software will now kill it on sight. In a June 11 update to its Malware Protection Center site, Microsoft states that older versions of the toolbar, which set itself up as a browser’s homepage and redirected all searches through Ask’s engine, now contravene Redmond’s policies. The latest build is fine, but older Ask toolbars will be hunted down and deleted.

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‘Your PC may be infected!’ Inside the shady world of antivirus telemarketing – Consumer antivirus software has become a highly competitive business, in part because data breaches are in the news almost every week, and people feel a need to protect themselves. It’s also a huge market, with an estimated $4.9 billion in annual sales, according to Gartner. That’s drawn all types of players, some of whom specialize more in affiliate marketing than in security.

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Agents at EZ Tech Support had a job to do: upsell hapless consumers who thought they had a computer virus.

Security Firm Kaspersky Hacked – In an ironic twist of fate, security firm Kaspersky on Wednesday announced that it was hacked. “The bad news is that we discovered an advanced attack on our own internal networks,” the company’s chairman and CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, wrote in a blog post. “It was complex, stealthy, it exploited several zero-day vulnerabilities, and we’re quite confident that there’s a nation state behind it. We’ve called it Duqu 2.0.”

German parliament may need to replace all software and hardware after hack – Some parliamentarians are refusing help from German intelligence services, a report said.

Company News:

Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo Chooses To Step Down, Jack Dorsey Named Interim CEO, Shares Up 3% – After years of user growth struggles, Twitter just announced that its CEO Dick Costolo will be stepping down July 1st, though he’ll remain on the board. Twitter co-founder and Square CEO Jack Dorsey will be the interim CEO. A conference call with investors has been set for 2:15pm PST today to discuss the situation.

eBay, PayPal asked to explain robocall policies – The soon-to-be-split eBay and PayPal need to answer for changes they’re making to their user agreements, according to the New York state attorney general’s office. Those modifications would allow eBay and PayPal to use “autodialed or prerecorded calls or text messages” to contact their users. The communication could be used to collect debts, seek opinions or answers to surveys, or offer promotions. eBay’s new policy will take effect on Monday; PayPal will implement its changes on July 1.

BlackBerry might adopt Android for its next handset – According to new reports, BlackBerry might be looking to adopt Android for one of its next handsets. This could prove a good move and help showcase the company’s focus on enterprise device management.

BMW and Chinese tech giant Baidu are launching a self-driving car this year – As Google edges closer to the dream of self-driving cars, Chinese search giant Baidu is trying to beat it to the finish line. The Chinese company — which has been working on self-driving vehicles for the past few years — first announced it had entered a partnership with BMW in 2014. It seems that collaboration has already paid off: this week, Baidu senior vice president Wang Jin said that his company would launch of a new self-driving car with the German car manufacturer before the end of the year.

Uber launches iPhone game to attract new drivers – ‘UberDrive’ teaches players to navigate the streets of San Francisco and recruits them to drive for the company

Games and Entertainment:

Retail video game industry suffered abysmal sales slump in May – May marked another dark spot for the US retail video game industry. Sales of game software on discs resumed a downward spiral, falling 25 percent year over year to $212.3 million and dampening the few brief moments in the last six months when software sales were up year over year thanks to a popular new game release, according to industry watcher the NPD Group. Hardware sales, after months and months of keeping the retail industry afloat, fell 18 percent to $153.6 million due to a continued steep drop-off in sales of older gaming consoles, like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

These are the first Oculus Rift games – The Oculus Rift is coming, and now we finally know some of the very first virtual reality games we’ll be able to play on it. At a press conference today, Oculus unveiled the final consumer version of its VR headset, as well as some of the initial games that will be playable when it finally launches. Some we already knew about, some are new, but all look potentially very exciting. The list includes games like sci-fi flight sim Eve Valkyrie, atmospheric RPG Chronos, and Edge of Nowhere, an arctic survival game from Insomniac Games, the studio behind Ratchet & Clank and Resistance.

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Android TV hidden gems: The 10 best hard-to-find apps – Last week, Android TV went from a platform bereft of apps to a platform lousy with them. With devices like the Nexus Player and the Nvidia Shield Android TV, you can now venture beyond Google’s curated selection and browse the entire catalog of more than 600 apps. This newfound openness for Android TV, however, is a mixed blessing. While the full catalog has some great apps throughout, finding them involves sifting through a lot of junk. To spare you the trouble, I’ve dug deep into the Android TV app store to find these 10 hidden gems:

Everything We Love (and Hate) About The Witcher 3 After 160 Hours –  This is a lightly edited dialogue between TIME’s games critic Matt Peckham and assistant managing editor Matt Vella about playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The conversation took place over email over the period of several days.

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Steam’s holding a ‘monster’ summer sale until June 21st – Steam’s annual summer sale is a time-honored tradition at this point, and this year’s iteration is particularly monstrous. Users can take advantage of daily rotating deals and flash sales that switch up every 12 hours until June 21st, meaning there’ll be plenty of opportunities to find steals even if nothing seems especially purchase-worthy on your first click-through. The sale’s kicking off with deals on games like the Tales from the Borderlands series, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and Grand Theft Auto V. There’s also a gamified component to the sale: by playing the accompanying Monster Summer Game, users across the Steam community can work together to unlock even more deals.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Teen discovers new planet 1,000 light years away – Technically Incorrect: A 15 years old, a British school-kid finds something out there that no one had noticed before. How? By studying data.

Report: Airbus transport crash caused by “wipe” of critical engine control data – Reuters reported additional details today provided by individuals familiar with the investigation into the crash, stating that a critical part of the configuration data in three of the aircraft’s four ECUs—a file storing torque calibration parameters for each engine—was somehow “accidentally wiped” when the software was being installed. As a result, three of the aircraft’s engines automatically shut down in flight. Citing a safety document shown to Reuters, Tim Hepher reported that the pilot of the A400M would not have gotten an alert about the missing data until the aircraft was already at an altitude of 400 feet.

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A protoype of the Airbus A400M at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow. MilborneOne

Samsung unveils a transparent OLED TV, hides another one in a mirror – Soon, you’ll be able to mount a Samsung TV in your home without sacrificing valuable wall space that you could be using for shelves to show off your Amiibo collection (since you could hang it right over a picture window if you wanted to). Samsung claims their see-through OLED display is four times more transparent than competitors’ LCD-baesd designs. It’s also got a broader color gamut, higher contrast ratio, faster refresh rate (just 1ms), and uses much less power.

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See a diver high-five (high-fin?) a massive great white shark – A diver in the waters off the coast of Guadalupe Island gets out of the cage and exchanges a friendly slap with a massive shark that could easily eat your face.

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Court refuses to block the FCC’s net neutrality rules – In April, soon after the FCC passed strong net neutrality rules, the broadband industry sued to stop them. But, at least for now, the rules are safe: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has denied a request for a stay that would have temporarily halted the rules. Industry groups had hoped — quixotically — that a judge would prevent the rules from being implemented until the lawsuits were finished, but the rules will now officially come into effect tomorrow. Still, even as the lawsuits unfold, Republicans in Congress have been pushing legislation to stop the FCC. Most recently, the GOP has attempted to add a provision to a funding bill that would stop the commission from enforcing the rules. (This still requires the approval of both the House and Senate, as well as President Obama, who has supported the FCC’s rules.)

Something to think about:

Beyond Facebook:


Presently, I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles.

Everyday I go down the street and tell every passerby what I have eaten, how I feel, what I did the night before, and what I will do after.

I give them pictures of my friends, my family, my dog, and me gardening and spending time in my pool. 

I also listen to their conversations and tell them that I love them.

It works.

I already have 3 people following me – 2 police officers and a psychiatrist.


Thanks Joan   Smile

Today’s Free Downloads:

Windows 10 UX Pack 4.0 – Experience Windows 10 without modifying system files. Also you can read about the upcoming Windows 10 in our preview: 7 Plus 8 Equals 10.

Windows 10 UX Pack will give you Windows 10 UI improvements such as theme and some Windows 10 features without touching system files at all so it won’t have such risk to harm your system at all. In this package, you’ll have Windows 10 inspired themes and applications to make your system resembles Windows 10 as much as possible without modifying system files.

Features:

Instantly dress up Windows 7/8/8.1 to upcoming Windows 10 in one minute

Seamless installation and uninstallation giving user’s confidence and security in system

Easily configurable in single click with intelligence Metro UI design

UxStyle memory patching

Windows 10 Modern, Glass or Metro theme

Instant cursors, wallpaper/logon screen customization

Start Orb rebuilt from original resources with authentic orb from Windows 10 resources

Virtual Desktop from Microsoft

Revived start menu with Metro support

Metro UI desktop emulation with pre-configured gadgets

Aero’s auto-colorization feature

And much more

Limitations: Requires Microsoft .NET Framework

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Unreal Engine 4.8 – Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone for free, and all future updates will be free! You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed.

Unreal Engine technology powers hundreds of games as well as real-time 3D films, training simulations, visualizations and more. Over the past 15 years, thousands of individuals and teams and have built careers and companies around skills developed using the engine.

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Microsoft Hyperlapse Pro Preview – Microsoft Hyperlapse is a new technology that creates smooth and stabilized time lapses from first-person videos. Want to show your friends what you saw on that 12-mile hike you took last weekend or let them experience how it felt to fly down the mountain on your recent ski trip? With Microsoft Hyperlapse, you can time lapse those experiences, distilling them into easily consumable, enjoyable experiences.

Features:

Hyperlapse Pro Preview can take video from any camera and create a time lapse with a smoothly moving camera.

It works especially well with wide field of view action camera videos, such as GoPro.

Supports different speed up factors from 2x to 25x.

Hyperlapses can be output at different resolutions and framerates.

Takes advantage of multi-core CPUs and high-end GPUs for better processing speeds.

A step-by-step user interface makes it easier than ever to create hyperlpases.

Limitations: 64-Bit Only

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

U.K. Review Backs Mass Surveillance But Wants Judges To Sign Warrants – A long-awaited independent review of U.K. government surveillance capabilities, conducted by QC David Anderson and published today, has recommended that interception warrants should be signed off by the judiciary, rather than government ministers.

And while the review generally supports U.K. intelligence agencies having bulk interception and data retention (aka mass surveillance) capabilities — which stands in contrast to the U.S. Senate’s recent rowing back on this front in the USA Freedom Act — Anderson stresses these powers should be “subject to strict additional safeguards”, such as having judges sign off interception warrants.

The review recommends a new body, called the Independent Surveillance and Intelligence Commission (ISIC), be set up to judicially authorize all interception warrants.

Other safeguards recommended in the report are tighter definitions of the purposes for which data is sought — with Anderson specifying it should be “defined by operations or mission purposes” (as opposed to fishing expeditions); and the introduction of a new form of “bulk warrant” to limit the acquisition of data captured via mass surveillance to comms metadata.

Fake mobile phone towers discovered in London: Stingrays come to the UK – It has been suspected for some time that stingrays are being used in the UK: back in 2011, The Guardian ran a story to this effect, but the Metropolitan Police refused to comment. A 2014 article in The Times gave details about what is believed to be the legal framework that regulates their use.

As a post from Privacy International explained, following The Times’ report, “when someone is targeted by an IMSI Catcher, it is considered a ‘property interference’ under the Police Act 1997 Part III … a ‘property interference’ is designed to regulate the placing of bugs and breaking into someone’s home, not mobile phone interception.” This approach allows the use of IMSI catcher devices to be bundled up with other kinds of bugging in official reports, which means it is impossible to know exactly how many times they have been deployed.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests about IMSI catchers, submitted by Privacy International and Sky News, were all refused. Asked by Sky News about the IMSI catchers discovered in London, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, would only say: “We’re not going to talk about it, because the only people who benefit are the other side, and I see no reason in giving away that sort of thing.” That’s the standard reply for all kinds of surveillance, but is as unsatisfactory here as it is elsewhere.

Belgian data retention law axed by constitutional court – A Belgian law requiring telecommunications operators and ISPs to store customer metadata for police investigations was axed by the Constitutional Court of Belgium on Thursday because it violates fundamental privacy rights.

Under the law, customer metadata such as call logs as well as location and Internet data had to be stored for one year for law enforcement to use when investigating serious crimes and terrorism.

The law went into effect in 2013 and was based on the now defunct EU Data Retention Directive that was invalidated by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) last year, also because it violated fundamental privacy rights.

The Belgian law was challenged by the League for Human Rights and the Order of French-speaking and German-speaking Lawyers shortly after it was introduced. They wanted the law annulled, arguing it was unconstitutional and violated European human rights.

If hackers can spy on you all then so should we – US Senator logic – CISA info-sharing bill tacked onto military funding paperwork – Following the cyber-attack during which dossiers on four million US government employees were stolen from Uncle Sam’s servers, staggering out of the smoldering blast crater is Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). And he’s not happy.

In his soot-covered hand is a copy of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), and this week, he angrily stapled it to another proposed law. Because that’s how people get things done in Washington.

The CISA legislation was written to allow technology companies to share information about their customers with the Feds for the purposes of national security and online threats, in exchange for partial legal immunity from citizens upset about this data handover. Critics say it’s a license to spy, whereas supporters say it will thwart the cyber-boogeymen.

CISA was due to be debated in the Senate later this year, but Burr has now added it as an amendment to the larger National Defense Authorization Act, which is primarily focused on military funding.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – June 5, 2015

FBI: Apple and Google are helping ISIS by offering strong crypto;  US lawmaker: Next, we stop the NSA from weakening encryption;  Which edition of Windows 10 will you get for free?  Periscope’s new map view helps you find broadcasters by location;  10 Chrome and Firefox add-ons that streamline data sharing, storage, and security;  How to run Android apps on your Windows PC with AMIDuOS;  The Best Free Password Managers for 2015;  Don’t panic! How to fix 5 common PC emergencies;  Pro tip: Capture video at a higher frame rate with iPhone 6;  This Is Microsoft’s Big Secret Windows 10 Feature;  YouTube Users Say This Is The ‘Ad of the Decade’;   Five Android net scanning tools for mobile troubleshooting;  Multitask like a pro with these Mac tips;  How to add USB-C support to a Windows PC;  Netflix has four new kids shows inbound;  Yahoo pays NFL to stream regular-season game across globe for free;  Android TV Gets Over 600 New Apps.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Which edition of Windows 10 will you get for free? – Windows 10 will be available in Home and Professional editions, as well as an Enterprise version for big businesses. So which edition of Windows 10 will you get as part of your free upgrade? A reader asked me this question the other day, so I thought it’d be worth a look.

This Is Microsoft’s Big Secret Windows 10 Feature – The new system will be a bold entry into a massive new market. Microsoft announced last November Windows 10 would pack a technology called AllJoyn. An open source framework that encourages devices to be interoperable, AllJoyn was developed by the AllSeen Alliance, a group of more than 150 companies including the likes of Electrolux, Honeywell, LG, and Qualcomm that have banded together to make an open standard for Internet of Things (IoT) devices to speak to each other. This might seem like a load of hokum, but if it works out, AllJoyn integration could be huge not just for Windows users, but for the millions of people who can’t wrap their heads around setting up smart home products.

Yes, you’ll be able to do clean installs of the free Windows 10 upgrade – Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to most Windows 7 and 8 users for one year after its July 29 launch. This has led, inevitably, to a number of questions about what happens to those who want or need to reinstall their operating system. Microsoft’s Gabe Aul has provided some much-needed clarification on this issue. On Twitter he confirmed that once upgraded, Windows 10 users will be able to perform clean installs of the operating system at any time, even after the one-year free period has ended. Users won’t be required to install Windows 7 or 8 and then re-upgrade, and they won’t need the Windows 7 or 8 product key, with Aul confirming that clean installs from an ISO will be possible.

10 Chrome and Firefox add-ons that streamline data sharing, storage, and security – Share data between devices, test a website’s infrastructure, encrypt data, and more with these cloud-based add-ons for Chrome and Firefox.

How to run Android apps on your Windows PC with AMIDuOS – Want to run your favorite Android apps on your Windows desktop, laptop, tablet or 2-in-1 system? American Megatrends – yes, that same company you’ve been seeing on PC BIOS screens since the 1980s – has a utility for you.

Periscope’s new map view helps you find broadcasters by location – The iOS version of Periscope, Twitter’s livestreaming app, received an update yesterday that brought with it a new map view. The new view lets users browse streams from specific locations around the world, selecting live broadcasts from different areas by zooming in on countries, cities, and towns. Streamers will see their broadcasts appear automatically on the map view if they enable location data sharing in the app. The addition goes some way to fixing Periscope’s biggest problem — namely, that it’s been tricky so far to find streams actually worth watching in the Twitter-owned app.

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Pro tip: Capture video at a higher frame rate with iPhone 6 – With the iPhone 6, Apple decided to let users choose how they wanted their videos to be recorded: either 30 FPS or 60 FPS. Cory Bohon shows you how to change this option and what it all means.

SoundHound’s new voice assistant app might be smarter than Siri – You’re probably familiar with SoundHound as a way to identify songs, but the company’s new app goes far beyond music ID. Hound is a voice search and control app that’s available first on Android. It stresses natural language and conversational interactions. The demo videos of the app in action are, admittedly, very impressive. Maybe it’ll give Google and Siri a run for their money. The app is being launched as an invite-only beta, but if you request access it shouldn’t take long to get in.

Chrome Now Automatically Pauses Flash Content That Isn’t ‘Central’ To A Web Page – Auto-playing Flash content can drain your laptop’s batteries (and, if it’s an auto-playing ad with audio, get on your nerves). Thankfully, Google has now partnered with Adobe to keep Flash on Chrome in check. Starting with today’s release of the latest Chrome desktop Beta, the browser will now automatically pause Flash animations that — in Google’s words — “aren’t central to the webpage.” Ideally, Google will pause the Flash content it thinks isn’t important right now and still let you keep watching that video you actually wanted to see. In case it gets it wrong, you can always click on the wrongly paused content to resume playback.

Facebook Lite Is A Stripped Down Android App For The Developing World – Today, Facebook is launching a bare-bones, low-resolution version of its Android app that works well on crummy networks or outdated phones, and burns much less data than its normal smartphone apps. Facebook Lite is designed specifically for the developing world to help the social network on-board its next billion users. Facebook Lite doesn’t offer data-intensive features like videos or Nearby Friends. But if users are willing to accept that and lower-resolution image thumbnails, they can access Facebook quick, smooth, and cheap from the most remote corners of the planet. You can watch a quick video demo of Facebook Lite below:

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Five Android net scanning tools for mobile troubleshooting – Out of nowhere your network can go five shades of wonky and you are at the other end of your campus–and the only tool you have on hand is your Android device. A network scan is a must and, fortunately, Android can comply. The Android ecosystem offers plenty of tools for network administrators. But which ones you should be using? I’ve dug into the realm of network scanners to find five that could easily wind up as your go-to mobile scanners. Read on and see if any of these particular apps meet your needs.

How to Build Your Own PC – Let’s face it, no one really builds their own desktop PC anymore, right? Wrong, actually. DIY may not be all it used to be, but it’s still a thriving sector of the PC industry, and one that any serious computer user—we mean the type of person who cares more about what a computer can do than how small an envelope it can slide into—should be aware of. Because, if you want the strongest, most adaptable, most upgradeable, and most personal computer you can possibly get, there’s no way around it: You need to build it yourself.

Don’t panic! How to fix 5 common PC emergencies – Your PC may not be as essential to you as your smartphone, but chances are it’s still pretty damn important. So it’s completely understandable if your first reaction is to freeze and freak out when you run into a PC emergency, such as a broken screen, accidentally-deleted important file, or a virus. But panicking is counter-productive, because time is often of the essence. Don’t worry. While you can’t call 9-1-1, here’s what you can do to fix five common PC emergencies.

Microsoft talks about ever smaller Windows 10 PCs, including one inside a power adapter – At its Computex 2015 keynote address Microsoft talked about Windows 10 in many form factors, and showed off two new ultra-small PCs designed for connecting to TVs without being noticable.

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Multitask like a pro with these Mac tips – Knowing your way around your Mac desktop and windows can help you get more work done. Here’s some tips to help you increase your productivity.

How to add USB-C support to a Windows PC – Feel like you are missing out on all the USB-C fun that owners of the new MacBook are having? Here’s how you can add support for the new standard.

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With over 1 million users of Office 2016 preview, Microsoft turns on a few more features – Microsoft has announced that there are over 1 million users of Office 2016 and that they are adding new features to the apps, including improved file sharing and updates to Version History.

iPhone laser dongle makes measuring a snap – The low-power laser works with a camera app to measure distance as well as objects such as wall hangings.

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Apple recalls Beats Pill XL due to fire risk – Apple is voluntarily recalling 222,000 Beats Pill XL speakers following eight reports of batteries overheating and one user who was burned.

Security:

Microsoft provides privacy dashboard ahead of Windows 10 launch – The newly-minted privacy dashboard (included in the Security and Privacy section of Microsoft’s account administration page) gives users links to control data stored for personalizing their experience on Bing, what apps and services use their information, whether Microsoft personalizes ads for them and whether the company can market to them via email. It’s part of a move by the company to unify and simplify most of its service agreements and privacy policies for various products under one document.

The Best Free Password Managers for 2015 – Think remembering dozens of strong, unique passwords is too much trouble? Consider how much trouble you’d have if you lost access to your email account because the password was “password.” With a free password manager, cranking up your security is no trouble at all.

Researcher warns popular gaming plug-in puts millions of web users at risk from data thieves – A researcher is warning that a gaming plug-in installed on over 200 million PCs contains a flaw that could let attackers steal users’ data from websites they’re logged into, such as their Web mail and social networking accounts. The technology in question, from Unity Technologies, is used by hundreds of thousands of developers to create online games and other interactive 3D content. The flaw, which the researcher says hasn’t been patched yet, is located in the Unity Web Player, a plug-in that needs to be installed inside browsers in order to display Unity-based Web apps.

List open ports and listening services – One of the biggest headaches for network administrators is open ports on devices. Unless you manually installed the operating system on every device on your network, ensuring to close down all unessential ports, you run the risk of attack. The ports you should disable will vary by system and may even be dictated by the needs of specialized software (for instance, QuickBooks requires specific ports — determined by release — in order to function). You need to come up with a list of ports that either can or must remain open. Once you have that list, you can set about closing up shop on those machines.

Chinese hackers breach US government, compromise data of millions – Chinese hackers have been blamed for an attack at the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management which may have compromised the data of up to 4 million people in every federal agency.

China Calls Accusations of Links to Hacking ‘Irresponsible’ – China said Friday that any allegations that it was involved in breaking into U.S. government computers are irresponsible. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing that Beijing hopes the U.S. would be “less suspicious and stop making any unverified allegations, but show more trust and participate more in cooperation.”

Air gaps still a cheap and effective defence for critical networks: Kaspersky – Physically-separate networks aren’t always the rule for industrial networks these days, said Eugene Kaspersky, but they should be.

Company News:

Microsoft opens Transparency Center in Brussels; shows governments its source code – Microsoft is looking to show the EU that its products are secure and that user data is being treated with privacy in mind. To that end the company is opening a Transparency Center in Brussels.

eBay Valet Launches A Clothing Resale Service Focused On High-End Brands – eBay today is expanding its professional selling service known as eBay Valet, where select, pre-approved Bay sellers will handle listing, selling and shipping items on consumers’ behalf in exchange for a split of the sales. The service will now accept high-end clothing, the company says, marking eBay’s desire to compete with a growing number of e-commerce sites and online marketplaces that help consumers sell their high-quality, secondhand fashion items, including apparel and accessories. Today, there are dozens of these services, including sites like The RealReal, ThredUp, Poshmark, Twice, Threadflip, Tradesy, and more.

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Alibaba to invest $194 million in Chinese financial media firm – The alliance aims to help Alibaba expand into financial-information services by taking advantage of the Chinese e-commerce giant’s rich resources in customer data and cloud computing technology.

Designbook, in trademark tussle with Facebook, gets support from governor – Earlier this week, Vermont startup Designbook revealed that it had been approached by lawyers from social-networking giant Facebook, which is pushing it to change its name. Facebook has filed an opposition to the trademark “Designbook” at the US Patent and Trademark Office. Yesterday, Designbook got an unexpected powerful ally: the governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin. Having read about the trademark tiff in news reports, Shumlin wrote a letter (PDF) to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging him to leave Designbook alone. “I was very concerned to read about Facebook’s unnecessary bullying of a Vermont startup called Designbook,” wrote Shumlin. The letter continues:

F-Secure snaps up security consultation firm nSense – F-Secure has acquired nSense, a Danish company which specializes in security consultation and vulnerability assessment. Announced on Wednesday, the acquisition of nSense is designed to bolster F-Secure’s position in European markets as a “prominent security vendor.” nSense’s expertise lies in security consultation, vulnerability assessment, pen testing and PCI DSS services to financial institutions, service providers and large enterprise firms.

Games and Entertainment:

Android TV Gets Over 600 New Apps To Choose From In The Play Store – Google’s second foray into television, Android TV, has been a bit slow off the starting blocks in some respects – app support was one area where it definitely felt a little threadbare. Now, however, Google is expanding its software catalogue considerably, adding over 600 new apps via a Play Store update today for Android TV devices, including the Nexus Player. The new 600+ apps are also categorized into 20 new collections that help it easy to find specific types of apps like movies, sports, news, multiplayer games and more. The update should be showing up on compatible devices now, and you’ll see the new content in the store navigation area of your device.

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Netflix has four new kids shows inbound – On Wednesday, Netflix announced four new animated series for kids, one of which will be arriving this coming September and the rest later on in 2016. There is Puffin Rock, which is an animated series for preschoolers that will be launching later this year. Joining it in 2016 will be a Netflix Original Series dubbedTarzan and Jane, Luna Petunia, another preschooler series that is inspired by Cirque du Soleils, and, finally, Kulipari: An Army of Frogs.

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Planetside 2 online shooter launches June 23 – Sony had a decent online shooter back in the day called Planetside. This game first landed back when there weren’t many massive online shooters for PC gamers to choose from. If you were a fan of that game Sony has announced that Planetside 2 will be coming to the PS4 on June 23 in Europe and North America. The original Planetside game was for the PC.

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First Gaming Hall of Fame class includes Pong, Tetris, and Mario – The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, has named the first six games to its new World Video Game Hall of Fame. Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, Doom, and World of Warcraft were chosen for inclusion by an advisory committee of about two dozen journalists, scholars, and game historians. The goal was to choose games “that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general,” according to a statement from the museum, which also houses the International Center for the History of Electronic Games.

PS4’s Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection confirmed for October release – Only a few hours after gamers caught wind of the announcement via a PlayStation Store slip-up, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection has been confirmed and is scheduled for release on October 9th. The PlayStation 4 game will be a remastered collection of the first three titles in the series that were released on the PS3, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The announcement also included a trailer for the action-adventure trilogy, which you can check out below.

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Yahoo pays NFL to stream regular-season game across globe for free – The game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, which will take place on October 25 in London, will also air “exclusively” on Yahoo’s Web and app platforms across the globe, with the exception of the teams’ local TV affiliates—meaning that no cable or satellite network, including paid services like DirecTV Sunday Ticket, will air the game. Yahoo will rely on a CBS crew to produce the broadcast, but no further details about the match’s presentation were announced. Also unannounced is whether Yahoo’s streams to other countries will have other languages dubbed over the action.

Off Topic (Sort of):

YouTube Users Say This Is The ‘Ad of the Decade’ – YouTube’s users recently voted for the best advertisements of the past 10 years as part of the online video site’s 10th anniversary celebrations — and there was some fierce (and adorable) competition. While Volkswagen’s “The Force” stole hearts the world over when it debuted during the 2011 Super Bowl, Turkish Airline’s “Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout” captured the top title for Ad of the Decade.

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Mad John McAfee: ‘Can you live in a society that is more paranoid than I’m supposed to be?’ – Infosec 2015 John McAfee delivered a surprisingly non-controversial keynote speech to the London Infosec Conference on Wednesday afternoon, lauding the value of privacy. McAfee’s talk was essentially a rant against governments’ security-compromising activities, summed up by his statement: “We cannot allow a fearful government to create weaknesses in the very software we are trying to protect. By putting backdoors in the software, we have given hackers the access we are trying to prevent.”

Teacher suspended after using cellular jammer in class – Anyone who has worked in education since mobile phones and smartphones have become so common knows that it is very hard to keep students off the devices during class. Students have become very adept at using devices without teacher knowledge. A teacher at a high school in Pasco County Florida has found himself in hot water with the district and parents after taking matters into his own hands to stop smartphone use in class.

Google Brings New Street View Imagery To 40 Remote Islands And Underwater Locations – Google launched a new batch of regular and underwater Street View imagery today that lets you swim with humpback whales off the Cook Islands, dive with parrot fish off the coast of Bali, or walk on a beach in American Samoa. In total, the company added more than 40 new Street View locations with this update — one of the biggest releases of new underwater imagery since the company first launched this project in 2012.

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Seven toxic mini-frog species discovered in mountain cloud forests – Seven new species of extra-tiny frog have been discovered in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest and shown in research published this week. The extent of what we know about the miniaturized frog genus Brachycephalus has expanded greatly, suddenly, as this paper shows 5 years of exploration revealing seven new species of the creature. Each of these frogs is very brightly colored, and each has a highly potent neurotoxin in their skin. In other words, though they may look tasty, you should not eat them.

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ATM Industry Association announces Windows 10 migration plan, will skip Windows 8 – The ATM Industry Association has announced that the ATMs running on older Windows versions will be upgraded to Windows 10 when it becomes available as part of its 2020 migration plan.

NASA drone tracking trials tap Verizon towers – NASA and Verizon are working together on air traffic control for drones, aiming to use existing cellphone towers to track and even ground unmanned aircraft. The deal will see the space agency kick off trials at its Ames Research Center in California this summer, focusing on small, low-altitude drones which currently don’t make it onto the radar of traditional air traffic management. The goal is an automated system which would open the skies to drone delivery, something which already has Amazon and Google throwing their money at NASA.

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Gawker Staff Votes To Unionize – Gawker Media’s editorial staff will be joining the Writers Guild of America, East. The efforts to bring the company into the WGAE (a union best known for representing film and television writers) have drawn broader attention because Gawker is now the first online-only media organization to unionize.

Something to think about:

“Take control of your lives. Say ‘I am going to be responsible for myself, at least to some extent. Governments cannot protect you.”

–      John McAfee

Today’s Free Downloads:

Zenmap  – Zenmap is the official Nmap Security Scanner GUI. It is a multi-platform (Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, BSD, etc.) free and open source application which aims to make Nmap easy for beginners to use while providing advanced features for experienced Nmap users. Frequently used scans can be saved as profiles to make them easy to run repeatedly. A command creator allows interactive creation of Nmap command lines. Scan results can be saved and viewed later. Saved scan results can be compared with one another to see how they differ. The results of recent scans are stored in a searchable database.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

FBI: Apple and Google are helping ISIS by offering strong crypto – Apple and Google are helping terrorism by offering users encrypted communications, a senior FBI official has told the House Homeland Security Committee in Congress, and US law enforcement needs to stop them from doing it.

Michael Steinbach, assistant director in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, told Congress that ISIS and other terrorist groups are using commercially available encryption technology to mask their activities, leading law enforcement surveillance to “go dark.”

As far as the FBI is concerned, private companies must “build technological solutions to prevent encryption above all else,” the Washington Post reports Steinbach as saying.

That’s a pretty sharp reverse ferret from the FBI, which four years ago was recommending encryption as a basic security measure. But Steinbach said evildoers are hiding behind US-made technology to mask their actions.

US lawmaker: Next, we stop the NSA from weakening encryption – Hot on the heels of President Barack Obama signing the Freedom Act into law Wednesday, a bipartisan congressional effort is now focusing their efforts on preventing the government from weakening encryption.

An amendment put forward by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY, 4th) to a recent appropriations bill passed by overwhelming majority of 383-43 late in the day Wednesday.

Massie, a strong advocate for privacy and civil liberties, explained on the phone Thursday that his eight-line amendment will prevent the NSA, which remains an encryption expert, from working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to weaken or compromise encryption.

Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA, 19th) and Ted Poe (R-TX, 2nd) also threw their weight behind the amendment.

The NSA is still conducting mass surveillance of the US internet to find cyberattacks – The NSA is scanning US web traffic for specific malware signatures, according to new Snowden documents published by The New York Times and ProPublica. Previous documents have shown the NSA and GCHQ collecting data from undersea data cables, but this is the most comprehensive look at how the NSA uses that data to zero in on specific activities or actors on the web.

According to the new documents, the scanning is enabled by broad legal powers, granted by the Department of Justice and FISA court in 2012. An initial Justice Department order (interpreting Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act) authorized the NSA to target data based on specific IP addresses or threat signatures that were linked to foreign nations. In addition to its surveillance operations, the NSA is tasked with defending official US networks from digital intrusions, a task that’s grown increasingly difficult as states like China have grown more sophisticated.

But according to the documents, limiting the scans to foreign states was too restrictive for the NSA. Over the course of 2012, NSA director Keith Alexander lobbied the Justice Department to extend the signature-based scans to malware that hadn’t been linked to state actors, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Still, the agency  Specific malware programs are often reused, even between criminals and governments, so it’s notoriously difficult for researchers to connect a tactic to a specific actor.

Political deleted-tweet archive shuttered by Twitter over “privacy expectation” – The Politwoops website, which launched in 2012 to keep tabs on tweets deleted by known politicians, saw its feed dry up in the middle of May with no announcement. After Gawker reporter J.K. Trotter began investigating the story this week, he got the answer that Politwoops’ founders, the “government transparency” non-profit Sunlight Foundation, hadn’t: Twitter itself revoked the site’s access to Twitter’s API.

“We strongly support Sunlight’s mission of increasing transparency in politics and using civic tech and open data to hold government accountable to constituents,” a Twitter representative told Gawker on Wednesday, “but preserving deleted Tweets violates our developer agreement. Honoring the expectation of user privacy for all accounts is a priority for us, whether the user is anonymous or a member of Congress.”

The last major update to Twitter’s developer agreement came on May 18, three days after Politwoops’ access had been revoked. Twitter had announced changes to the agreement in April, and that announcement revolved largely around the company moving its non-American account data to Irish data centers.

U.K. State Surveillance Powers Challenged Under Human Rights Law – The U.K. government is facing a legal challenge to surveillance legislation that was rushed through parliament last year. At the time the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (now DRIPA) was criticized for granting the government overly broad and draconian powers to retain digital comms data — and for the lack of parliamentary time afforded for proper scrutiny. The bill was given cross-party support, becoming law within just three days after minimal public debate.

A case is being heard in the U.K. High Court today and tomorrow, brought by civil rights campaign group Liberty and two MPs: the Labour Party’s Tom Watson and the Conservative’s David Davis. They are challenging DRIPA on Human Rights grounds — referencing the rights to respect for private and family life, and of protection of personal data.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – May 27, 2015

Twitter’s Periscope is now available for Android;  Opera Max now monitors Wi-Fi usage, blocks data-hungry apps;  4 tips for buying a used iPhone;  Smart credit cards are coming – Here’s what you need to know;  Turn your smartphone into a remote control for YouTube on your PC;  Secure your web browsing with TunnelBear’s free Chrome extension;  Cortana is coming to Android and iOS;  Fedora 22: Cloud, desktop and server innovation;  Why SSDs don’t perform;  9 Pocket Tips to Help You Read it Later;  Android ransomware poses as FBI smut warning;  IRS hacked; data stolen from over 100,000 taxpayers;  UPDATED: The 30 Best iPhone Games;  Mad Max Savage Road game trailer;  The 10 Most-Pirated Movies;  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates battle in new National Geographic series;  The best time to drink coffee for maximum jolt? Video has answers;  Glary Disk Cleaner (free);  Steve Wozniak: Edward Snowden is ‘a Hero to Me’.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Smart credit cards are coming. Here’s what you need to know – Smart cards want to replace your wallet full of debit and credit cards with one dynamic smart card. Here’s what you need to know.

4 tips for buying a used iPhone – There are three main ways to buy a used iPhone, assuming you don’t have a friend or family member who wants to sell you one on the cheap. You can purchase a certified preowned iPhone from a reputable seller, such as Gazelle; you can bid on a preowned iPhone on an auction site such as eBay; or you can pay cash for a used iPhone from a local seller on a site like Craigslist. No matter which method you choose, follow these four tips to make sure your used iPhone is as awesome and problem-free as a new iPhone.

How to turn your smartphone into a remote control for YouTube on your PC – Whether you’re watching on a PC at the office or at home, you can make it even better by turning your smartphone into a remote control. No, you don’t need a Chromecast or a TV. Just your PC and a smartphone will do. Here’s how it works using an Android smartphone, but it works pretty much the same way on iPhones, too.

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Click the Pair Device tile to get started at YouTube.com/tv.

How to easily secure your web browsing with TunnelBear’s free Chrome extension – Only need VPN-like protection for your browser and not your whole desktop? Check out TunnelBear for Chrome and Chrome OS.

Twitter’s Periscope is now available for Android – Twitter has officially released the live streaming app Periscope for Android users. The app allows users to broadcast video to users and receive feedback in the form of chat messages.

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Cortana is coming to Android and iOS – Microsoft just announced that a Cortana application is landing on Android and iOS devices to work as a companion to the digital assistant found on Windows 10. Details incoming

Facebook adds restaurant reviews from actual food critics – Following a partnership with news outlets for Instant Articles, Facebook is now integrating restaurant reviews from reputable food publications.

9 Pocket Tips to Help You Read it Later – At launch, Pocket was actually known as Read It Later, before the App Store even existed. But after a 2012 name change, it has evolved into a seriously handy app. It archives whatever you’ve saved so that you can read it offline, which is particularly helpful when you’re on a subway or train with limited service. While Pocket is a simple cross-platform app, there are a few things that can make it that much more enjoyable.

Opera Max now monitors Wi-Fi usage, block data-hungry apps – Opera is a name you might more readily associate with mobile browsers, but in late 2013 it tried to diverge a bit from that core business. Focusing on one of its key strengths, which is compressing Internet data before it arrives on your device, it launched the Opera Max service that brings that feature to cover not just web pages, but more kinds of data. In the latest iteration of its Android app, it brings two new features to the fold: watching Wi-Fi data usage and shutting down obstinate apps.

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Three helpful Word formatting tips for working smarter – These three formatting skills will improve your productivity and make you more efficient when working with Word documents.

Lenovo looks to low-cost laptops with three new models – Just ahead of its Tech World event in Beijing, Lenovo reveals three new low-cost consumer laptops, including the entry-level 14-inch ideapad 100 starting at just $249.

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Fedora 22: Cloud, desktop and server innovation – Summary:Red Hat’s new Fedora Linux comes with a better desktop, but the real improvements are in the cloud and server updates.

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Google’s Internet-connected toys patent sparks privacy concerns, visions of IoT Chucky – Google’s recently published patent for Internet-connected toys, which have microphones, cameras, speakers and motors, have sparked privacy concerns; the ‘creepy’ anthropomorphic devices might look like a doll or teddy bear, but some people believe it belongs ‘in a horror film’ and have visions of an IoT-version of Chucky.

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Credit: Mike Mozart

Why SSDs don’t perform – From their earliest days, people have reported that SSDs were not providing the performance they expected. As SSDs age, for instance, they get slower. Here’s why.

Security:

Android ransomware poses as FBI smut warning – Cybercrooks have launched a new wave of Android ransomware that poses as a pretty convincing FBI-imposed porn-surfing warning. Over 15,000 spam emails, including zipped files, have hit the inboxes of Android users in recent days, according to Romanian security software firm Bitdefender. If activated, the ransomware demands $500 to restore access. Users that try to independently unlock their devices will see the amount increase to $1,500, with payment demanded via Money Pak and PayPal My Cash transfers. The malware poses as an Adobe Flash Player update, a common malware slinging ruse.

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Android ransomware demands $500 to restore access.

IRS hacked; data stolen from over 100,000 taxpayers – Hackers successfully accessed—stole—personal information, including tax return data, from over 100,000 U.S. taxpayers. In a series of attacks that took place from February to mid-May, the hackers utilized the IRS’s “Get Transcript” system to access all of the personal information that would be on a tax return, from birthdays and social security numbers to addresses. The motivation behind the attack is, apparently, an extensive plot to claim fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities. According to the IRS, over $5.8 billion USD in fraudulent refunds were sent out in the year 2013, alone.

Blackhat hack trick wallops popular routers – A cybercrime vigilante known as Kafeine says criminals are hitting thousands of victims with a hacking tool that targets more than 40 router models. The well-known hacker says the novel attacks use cross-site request forgery and exploits against new and old bugs to change router DNS settings. This bypasses the need to target only routers with vulnerable remote services. Kafeine says the most popular routers can be targeted including Netgear, D-Link, and Asus to name a few. The hacker says the attackers’ have set up a dodgy DNS service that doesn’t direct traffic faithfully. Instead, Kafeine says victims are pointed to phishing sites whenever, for example, they attempt to log into internet banking portals. One such dodgy DNS server received up to a million unique hits on 9 May, he says.

Attackers use email spam to infect point-of-sale terminals with new malware – They’re likely counting on some employees misusing such terminals to browse the Web or check their personal email at work.

$19 million Target, MasterCard breach settlement crumbles – A proposed $19 million settlement reached last month between Target Corp. and MasterCard over a 2013 security breach fell apart after not enough banks who had sued the retailer agreed to be part of the deal they said fell short of actual damages, according to MasterCard. The settlement, announced last month, needed agreement by May 20 from 90% of MasterCard issuing banks and credit unions. Those numbers were not met, MasterCard reported. The $19 million was for reimbursement for fraudulent charges and the cost that card issuers suffered in re-issuing cards that had been compromised.

Company News:

Charter buys Time Warner Cable to create America’s second biggest cable provider – Charter Communications is buying Time Warner Cable (TWC) in a deal that values the latter, larger company at $78.7 billion. The two firms will merge together under the newly created parent company New Charter, which will become the second biggest cable provider in the US after Comcast. A separate acquisition by Charter of the smaller cable company Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion means that the new company will soon have 23.9 million customers in 41 states.

Microsoft moves deeper into Android territory, 20 new partners to ship tablets with Office apps – Microsoft has announced today that they have signed up 20 more hardware partners to ship their Android tablets with Office apps pre-installed; this includes LG, Sony, Haier, Positivo and Wortman.

Hyundai becomes first to use Android Auto in production cars – Hyundai today announced it will begin using Android Auto in vehicles this year, making it the first carmaker to enable vehicles to mirror a connected Android smartphone to the car’s dashboard infotainment system. Android Auto is premiering on the 2015 Sonata with navigation capabilities at dealerships nationwide, and will later become available on other Hyundai models, the company said.

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Android Auto enables Google maps navigation.

Oculus acquires 3D mapping company Surreal Vision to turn reality into a video game – Virtual reality company Oculus has acquired Surreal Vision, a UK company whose software can map and recreate the real world in a virtual one. Surreal Vision grew out of its three co-founders’ Ph.D. research at Imperial College London; the team will now move to Oculus’ lab in Redmond, Washington. This is the latest of several acquisitions by Oculus, which was itself purchased by Facebook in March of 2014. After the Facebook buyout, it brought on the design team that helped create the Xbox 360 controller and Kinect, followed by motion-tracking company Nimble VR.

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Apple’s Jony Ive promoted to chief design officer – Jony Ive, the design guru responsible for the minimalist characteristics of several Apple products over the years, has been promoted by the iPhone maker. Ive, who has served as the company’s senior vice president of design for several years, has been named to the newly created position of chief design officer, according to a memo sent to company employees by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Online Publisher Vox Acquires Tech News Site Recode – Online news publisher Vox Media said on Tuesday that it’s acquiring Recode, an influential tech news site, adding to a growing wave of consolidation in the tech media world.

Games and Entertainment:

UPDATED: The 30 Best iPhone Games – From casual match-three games to trivia to intense first-person shooters, our 30 best games for Apple’s iPhone span a range of genres.

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Infinity Blade II

Mad Max Savage Road game trailer: it’s no Fury Road – Cars and monster trucks that tumble and go boom. People beating the hell out of other people. Malformed, and mostly bald, inhabitants of a post-apocalyptic world. A mysterious leading lady slash love interest. And more cars that go boom. That is the gist of the new trailer for the game tie-in to the blockbuster hit Mad Max Fury Road. And the title, Mad Max Savage Road, might be totally appropriate, as this adaptation involves much more gore and violence than the film was willing to show.

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The latest Humble Bundle is for Nintendo fans – The base, pay-what-you-want bundle includes Guacamelee for the Wii U and Woah Dave and Mighty Switch Force on 3DS. Pay more than the average amount, and you can grab games like Steamworld Dig and OlliOlli as well. As with most Humble Bundles, more games will be added partway through the sale, which runs for the next two weeks. And while nothing has been announced just yet, the bundle could also mean more sales for more consoles in the future. “I hope this is the start of something,” Humble Bundle co-founder John Graham tells Polygon. You can grab the games right here.

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Riot rolls out automated, instant bans for League of Legends trolls – League of Legends developer Riot Games is taking new steps to handle problem players more quickly and automatically, introducing a system to identify and ban players engaging in “verbal harassment” as quickly as 15 minutes after the end of a match. Riot explains how the new system works in a post on its Player Behavior blog. After teammates or opponents report a League player for “homophobia, racism, sexism, death threats, and other forms of excessive abuse,” Riot’s automated system will validate those reports, determine whether they’re worthy of punishment, and send a “reform card” that pairs chat log evidence of the behavior with an explanation of the punishment.

The 10 Most-Pirated Movies – There are two new flicks that made it onto the most-pirated movies list this week: Home, starring Rihanna, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, starring Antonio Banderas. If you want to learn more about these movies, as well as the eight other films that were popular among pirates, check out the slideshow linked both above and below for more information.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates battle in new National Geographic series – The TV channel is launching a show called “American Genius” that’s about bitter rivalries, including the Wright Brothers vs. Curtiss, Colt vs. Wesson and Oppenheimer vs. Heisenberg.

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In May 2007, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates got together for a rare–and amicable–joint appearance at the D5 technology conference.

Over 4 billion people still have no Internet connection – The number of people using the Internet is growing at a steady rate, but 4.2 billion out of 7.4 billion will still be offline by the end of the year. Overall, 35.3 percent of people in developing countries will use the Internet, compared to 82.2 percent in developed countries, according to data from the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). People who live in the so-called least developed countries will the worst off by far: In those nations only 9.5 percent will be connected by the end of December.

Largest photo ever is a 46TB image of the Alps – The world’s largest photo keeps getting bigger, and at this point it’s far too big to store on your laptop’s hard drive. The latest image to earn the title is a massive shot of the Alps that took more than two weeks to fully photograph and that takes up an astounding 46TB of space. With an image this big, you can zoom in, and in, and in, up to an incredible level of detail. Zoom all the way out, though, and you’re graced with an unprecedented photograph of the mountains. This latest record-setting image was very much a dedicated effort, requiring a total of 70,000 photographs to assemble.

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You Can Now Buy a Lock of Mozart’s Hair If You Are Rich and Insane – If you love Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and have $20,000 to blow, you can head to Sotheby’s auction house in London this week and bid on a genuine lock of the composer’s hair. The Guardian reports that the ancient gray strands have been passed down through generations of musicians and come inside a gold locket with a note claiming they sprouted from the scalp of one of music’s greatest composers, who died in 1791. If you’re a less-rich-but-equally-insane classical music fan, you can bid on a smaller lock of genuine Beethoven hair that is expected to sell for around $5,000. Also up for auction this week is an invitation to Beethoven’s funeral.

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The best time to drink coffee for maximum jolt? Video has answers – Let the folks at AsapScience open your eyes to a new strategy for consuming your coffee at precisely the right time to boost the buzz.

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Creationist: The Flintstones was an accurate portrayal of Dino-human coexistence – Ken Ham, an Australian young-Earth creationist, says he is on the verge of proving that dinosaurs and humans coexisted only a couple of thousand years ago. According to a report on news.com.au, Ham – along with a Dr David Menton – declared that he will soon publish “world-changing” evidence disproving that dinosaurs were present on the earth over 65 million years ago. “It is understood Mr Ham will claim that a bunch of donated Edmontosaurus bones are only a few thousand years old, based on the fact that they still contain remnants of bone marrow,” the Australian news site said.

Dealing with an infection lowers your IQ for up to 15 years – A new study conducted in Denmark makes the bold claim that infections can lead to a decrease in your cognitive ability severe enough to show up on diagnostic exams like an IQ test. The study consisted of more than 180,000 participants thanks to Denmark’s universal health care system. A little more than a third of the people in the study were diagnosed with a general infection at a Danish hospital between 1977 and 2012. Those who presented with infections showed a slight decline in cognitive ability compared to the average, with the IQ measurements made in 2006-2012. The effect was small — a single infection dropped the IQ of participants by 1.76 points, but those with five infections saw an average reduction in IQ of 9.44 points.

Something to think about:

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

–      Vince Lombardi

Today’s Free Downloads:

Glary Disk Cleaner – Protect your privacy, optimize system performance, and release considerable disk space.

Features:

Intuitive and easy to use interface

Support Ignore List, exclude files which don’t want to be deleted

Professional rapid scanning kernel

Support custom cleaning up temporary files

Clean up history at a glance

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SSuite Office – Gif Animator – An easy to use gif animator and slide show creator. Just load your images into the list, and press create.

All animated files created with Gif Animator are completely compatible with all current web browsers for viewing.

Supports jpg, jpeg, and bmp images.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Steve Wozniak: Edward Snowden is ‘a Hero to Me’ – Steve Wozniak reaffirmed his staunch support for digital privacy in an interview over the weekend in which the Apple co-founder called National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden “a hero.”

Wozniak, who helped build Apple [fortune-stock symbol=”AAPL”] with Steve Jobs before leaving the tech giant in the mid-1980’s, has expressed an affinity for Snowden in the past. Over the weekend, Wozniak reiterated his admiration for Snowden in an interview with ArabianBusiness.com in which the inventor said Snowden “gave up his own life . . . to help the rest of us.”

Wozniak went on to tell the publication more on his feelings about Snowden:

“‘Total hero to me; total hero,’ he gushes. ‘Not necessarily [for] what he exposed, but the fact that he internally came from his own heart, his own belief in the United States Constitution, what democracy and freedom was about. And now a federal judge has said that NSA data collection was unconstitutional.’”

Skype hauled into court after refusing to hand call records to cops – Skype has been called to appear before a court in Belgium after refusing to hand over customer data following a request for assistance in a criminal investigation.

A court in Mechelen near Brussels wanted “data from messages and calls exchanged on Microsoft-owned Skype”, a regulatory requirement that a Belgian telecoms operator would be required to comply with.

The Microsoft-owned firm declined, Reuters reports.

The case turns on the legal question of whether or not a VoIP service such as Skype should be treated as a telecoms operator in Belgium and therefore be subject to the same laws. It’s unclear how serious the alleged crimes under investigation are, much less the identity of the suspect or suspects.

In response to a request for comment, Microsoft outlined its reasons for contesting the case without going into detail on the specifics or the legal arguments it intends to field.

UK porn laws might mean ID checks with the post office – The UK’s plans to introduce mandatory age checks for viewing pornography online could involve verifying users’ identities via third parties such as banks, mobile operators, credit agencies, or even the post office. The country’s Conservative party pledged to introduce such age checks earlier this year, and following their recent re-election, discussions have reportedly begun between the technology industry and the government over ways to implement the checks.

The Digital Policy Alliance (DPA), a nonpartisan body that offers advice on technology policy in the UK, has suggested using “information already on file” to carry out the checks. “Nobody in the UK wants a centralized identity database,” Dr Rachel O’Connell, an expert on online child safety advising the DPA, told The Guardian. “The way around that is that Royal Mail knows who you are, your mobile operator knows who you are.”

O’Connell suggests that users visiting porn sites could choose which organization would verify their ID, with their request and the organization’s reply transmitted through an “anonymizing hub” to protect their identity. A regulator could then block sites that don’t offer age checks, with the Authority for Television on Demand — the body that regulates online video streaming — expected to be given this role.

EU to David Cameron: Leave porn alone! – The UK and its leading Conservative government have been looking for a long time now at ways toblock online pornography, in the name of children’s safety. But it looks like the EU is not at all happy with the country’s approach, which it deems to be against the people’s interests.

A leaked EU document showed that David Cameron’s approach to online pornography – have it banned by default and make people opt in – has not been viewed in positive terms in Brussels. The issue of net neutrality comes up, with the EU reportedly considering making the PM’s plan illegal. Instead, the European officials would opt for a system that allows pornography by default with users, then being able to opt into a deal where the ISP blocks such content. The user would also be able to back out of the agreement with the ISP at any time.

John Carr, a government adviser on online safety and security for children and an executive member on the board of the UK council on Child Internet Safety, was quick to mention that such a proposal from the EU would destroy “a major plank of the UK’s approach to online child protection”.

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