Tag Archives: Windows 10

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – August 24, 2015

Phone and laptop encryption guide: Protect your stuff and yourself;  Windows 10 churning through data, blowing up usage caps;  5 tips to make your Android phone run faster, longer;  Microsoft won’t provide full release notes for most Windows 10 updates;  Bloatware: What it is and how to get rid of it;  Review: 4 powerline kits step in when Wi-Fi fails;  Google Brings Tweets To Desktop Search Results;  This App Snaps A Pic Of Your Friends If They Try To Swipe Through Your Phone’s Photos Uninvited;  Spotify climbs down on new terms and conditions;  This Is How You Remove Candy Crush From Windows 10;  Plenty of fish, and exploits too, on dating website;  Android Smart lock: Should you be using it?  How to use two-factor authentication without a phone;  Classic Steve Jobs disses you can put on your next resignation letter;  Target agrees to pay Visa card issuers up to $67 million;  Samsung tipped to be developing 18.4-inch Android tablet;  Testing suggests that not even identical twins can dupe Windows Hello;  Destroy Windows 10 Spying 1.5 Build 300 (free);  Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4 for Windows 10 (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Phone and laptop encryption guide: Protect your stuff and yourself – The worst thing about having a phone or laptop stolen isn’t necessarily the loss of the physical object itself, though there’s no question that that part sucks. It’s the amount of damage control you have to do afterward. Calling your phone company to get SIMs deactivated, changing all of your account passwords, and maybe even canceling credit cards are all good ideas, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Full-disk or full-device encryption (that is, encrypting everything on your drive, rather than a specific folder or user profile) isn’t yet a default feature across the board, but most of the major desktop and mobile OSes support it in some fashion. In case you’ve never considered it before, here’s what you need to know.

Bloatware: What it is and how to get rid of it – How much does bloatware slow down your PC? It’s hard to say, but there are some indications that it can have a considerable effect. Microsoft sells a line of what it calls Signature PCs, computers that are free of third-party software. According to the product page, on average, the Signature PCs start up 104% faster, shut down 35% faster and have 28 minutes more battery life than the same laptops with bloatware. In this article I’ll discuss the most common types of bloatware you’ll encounter, how to uninstall it and how to buy bloatware-free PCs. (Note that this article covers only Windows computers, and not Macs or other systems.)

5 tips to make your Android phone run faster, longer – There’s a lot of power contained within that little glass rectangle you carry around all day. We’ve got eight-core CPUs, multiple gigabytes of RAM, and batteries with thousands of milliampere-hours of capacity, but sometimes the experience doesn’t live up to the hardware’s potential. Things go wrong, settings get screwed up, and apps get greedy for resources. This can render a phone sluggish and kill the battery. That’s certainly a problem, but don’t worry, we can fix it in a few simple steps.

Windows 10 churning through data, blowing up usage caps – For some Windows 10 users, the problems keep coming. Though Windows 10 was free to download, updating the operating system is costing some dearly, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Some have blamed the way the new operating system downloads and installs updates. Prior to Windows 10, users could choose whether or not to install updates, depending on where they were in their billing cycle. But for many who breezed through the setup process, updates install in the background, often without user interaction. Other reports that have trickled in also blame Windows 10’s forced updates.

Microsoft won’t provide full release notes for most Windows 10 updates – What’s in that update? For most Windows 10 patches, Microsoft isn’t telling. As highlighted by ExtremeTech, Microsoft has not provided patch notes for any of the Windows 10 patches it has released so far in an apparent shift in the company’s thinking. Instead of providing specific details about each patch as it has in the past, ExtremeTech notes that the release notes for Windows 10’s cumulative updates released so far merely state, “This update includes improvements to enhance the functionality of Windows 10.” Not very helpful, is it?

Review: 4 powerline kits step in when Wi-Fi fails – Are there places in your home or office where your Wi-Fi signal doesn’t reach? You’re not alone. Because of Wi-Fi’s limited range — and old-school building construction techniques like thick plaster, brick or masonry walls — even the best Wi-Fi networks have dead zones. If you have that problem, you have several options. You can start drilling holes in your walls so you can run network cabling. You can try a Wi-Fi range extender (which might help, depending on the strength of your Wi-Fi and the efficiency of the extender). Or you can use a powerline kit, which routes data over your electric cables by piggybacking the data on top of the electrical current’s 60-hertz wave and then extracting the data at the other end.

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Samsung goes after iPhone users with Galaxy test drive promo – Samsung Electronics is offering U.S. iPhone owners the chance to test its latest Galaxy smartphones for 30 days for $1, as it hopes to make a dent in Apple’s dominance of the high end of the market. The promotion lets iPhone owners choose between the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge or the Galaxy S6 edge+ without any obligations with their existing carrier. After the month is up, they can simply return it. Or, if the phone feels right, go ahead and upgrade, Samsung said.

Eight advanced tips for Word headers and footers – Even a novice Word user can display page numbers in a document’s header of footer. The process is fundamental. Advancing beyond the basics is easier than you might think, and you might be surprised how many things you can do with a header or footer! In this article, I’ll highlight eight tips that will move you from basic user to advanced, at least with headers and footers.

This App Snaps A Pic Of Your Friends If They Try To Swipe Through Your Phone’s Photos Uninvited – We’ve pretty much all been there: you hand your phone to a friend to show them a picture. They look at the photo, they chuckle… and then they casually swipe to the next photo in your camera roll like it ain’t no thing. This app slaps their wrist in a mostly harmless way: by snapping a surprise selfie of your friend’s nosy-ass face when they try to swipe to your other pics.

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This Is How You Remove Candy Crush From Windows 10 – Find it just too tempting? Here’s what to do. If right clicking on the app icon in the Start Menu and selecting uninstall doesn’t work, then the website Tech News Today has a handy step-by-step guide to making your computer Candy Crush-free.

Samsung tipped to be developing 18.4-inch Android tablet – While the rumored “iPad Pro” may be getting all the attention recently when it comes to extra-large tablets, Samsung seems to be working on something of their own. A new report says the company is working on a tablet known as codename “Tahoe” with the model number SM-T670, and featuring a huge 18.4-inch screen. SamMobile says its sourced have indicated the Android-powered device will be targeted for use in office, school, and living room environments, instead of as a standard personal tablet.

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Amazon Echo gets SmartThings support – Amazon’s Echo appears ready to learn a new trick: Working with connected smarthome devices through a SmartThings hub. Official SmartThings support hasn’t yet been announced but the SmartThings blog spilled the beans with a post that went live on Thursday and was later removed. ZatzNotFunny spotted the post — which received four comments before being pulled — showing that Amazon Echo integration with the SmartThings products is likely on the way soon. Google’s web cache still has the original post.

Google Brings Tweets To Desktop Search Results – Back in May, Google and Twitter partnered to bring tweets into mobile search results. It was, and is, a pretty big deal for both companies. The relationship is apparently going well, as Google announced in a short update on its original blog post that it’d be including tweets within search results on desktop as well.

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Firefox moves toward cross-browser extensions with Chrome and Opera – Mozilla takes a giant step towards Firefox’s total compatibility with browser extensions from the Chrome and Opera extension ecosystems. The plan is to switch out the extension API used for Firefox with one by the name of WebExtensions. With this API, developers will be able to create extensions that work with multiple browsers at once, bringing Firefox back into the mix where once they were excluded. This is all part of Mozilla’s move toward a more user-friendly browser on all platforms.

Security:

Spotify climbs down on new terms and conditions: Founder says the whole thing was just a BIIIIIIIIIIG misunderstanding. Right – Spotify will clarify its position on its wide-reaching terms and conditions. In a post entitled “SORRY”, company founder Daniel Ek said: “We have heard your concerns loud and clear. We are also going to update the new Privacy Policy in the coming weeks.” In the post, Ek paints it as a misunderstanding of what Spotify was trying to do by hoovering up your photos, contacts, voice commands and location, and then sharing that information with advertisers and businesses.

Plenty of fish, and exploits too, on dating website – Recent visitors to Plenty of Fish (pof.com), an online dating website with over 3 million daily active users, had their browsers redirected to exploits that installed malware. The attack was launched through a malicious advertisement that was distributed through a third-party ad network, researchers from security firm Malwarebytes said in a blog post Thursday. The malicious ad pointed to the Nuclear exploit kit, a Web-based attack tool that exploits known vulnerabilities in browsers and popular browser plug-ins like Flash Player, Java, Adobe Reader and Silverlight. If the attack is successful, the tool installs malware programs on users’ computers.

How to use two-factor authentication without a phone – The first time I got locked out of my email account — because I’d ingeniously decided to turn on two-factor authentication — was when I was in Barcelona. Naturally, I was panicking — this was a work trip, and I couldn’t access my work email. But after a few minutes of freaking out, I calmed down, figured out how to circumvent the whole “needs to have a phone” issue, and promptly disabled two-factor authentication on all of my accounts (not that you should do this — you should not, two-factor authentication is an important step in making your accounts secure). Here’s how to use phone-based two-factor authentication when you don’t have a phone.

Android Smart lock: Should you be using it? – Android Smart lock is a handy way to make gaining access to your device easier. But is this at the cost of security? Find out what Jack Wallen thinks about this issue.

Farewell To Flash: What It Means For Digital Video Publishers – It’s been more than five years since Steve Jobs wrote his infamous “Thoughts on Flash” letter citing the high level of energy consumption, lack of performance on mobile and poor security as the reasons his company’s products would not support Adobe Flash technology. Finally, it appears we’re getting closer to the curtain closing on Flash.

China group attacks India with Word exploit, then uses Microsoft’s WMI – A hacking group suspected of operating from China has had success stealing information from mostly Indian targets, often pertaining to border disputes and trade issues, according to FireEye. The gang specializes in sending targeted phishing emails to victims in the hope of gaining wider access to their networks, a practice known as spear phishing, said Bryce Boland, CTO for Asia-Pacific at the security firm. FireEye hasn’t give a name to the group, but has watched it since 2011, Boland said.

Company News:

Target agrees to pay Visa card issuers up to $67 million for 2013 data breach – On Tuesday, Target and Visa confirmed that they had reached a settlement in which Target would pay up to $67 million to Visa card issuers for a security breach in 2013 that left 40 million customer credit card numbers compromised. Visa brokered the deal and will pass the award on to the card issuers that work within its network. The settlement deal is considerably larger than the $19 million settlement that Target reached with MasterCard earlier in the proceedings. That settlement was not approved because MasterCard issuers rejected it for being too low.

Intuit puts venerable Quicken up on the block – The 32-year-old desktop software days are numbered, predict some customers, as Intuit pledges to find ‘reputable buyer’ for personal finance program.

After three-day shutdown, HP now effectively two companies – Hewlett-Packard doesn’t officially become two companies until Nov. 1, but the company has already separated its internal systems and is effectively operating as two businesses. “On August 1, we successfully split the operations and IT systems for the company. This was an incredibly complex process and the team executed very well,” CEO Meg Whitman said on HP’s quarterly earnings call Thursday. HP worked directly with 3,500 of its biggest customers and partners to prepare for the cutover, which involved separating 750 systems that handle 95 percent of its business.

Uber Plans To Go Public In 18-24 Months, According To Leaked Presentation – Uber could become a public company as soon as next year or 2016, according to a leaked document published in a report from Reuters. The news agency gained access to a presentation that Uber is showing to potential investors in China as part of a new funding round for its international business. (UberChina, the entity Uber created in the country, is separately reportedly seeking to raise a billion dollars to battle China-based rival Didi Kuaidi, which recently closed a $2 billion financing round itself.) The document broke out information for Uber China and Uber Inc., and forecasted that the latter — which is present in over 150 countries worldwide — will go public within 18-24 months.

Apple stands by Dre after apology for hurting women – After the rapper became an Apple employee following its $3.3 billion takeover of Beats, attention to his past violence has become the latest barb against the tech industry’s treatment of women.

Apple launches replacement program for faulty iPhone 6 Plus cameras – Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus has the best camera of any iPhone (at least until we get new ones next month), but it’s not completely problem-free. Apple has announced an iSight Camera Replacement Program for iPhone 6 Plus models sold between the phone’s launch in September of 2014 and January of 2015. “A small percentage” of phones sold included a faulty part that could make pictures taken with the rear camera look blurry. The problem doesn’t affect the standard iPhone 6, so the 6 Plus’ optical image stabilization component could be at fault. The front-facing FaceTime camera is also unaffected.

YouTube Opens Studio In Bollywood – YouTube is planning to open a studio for film creators in Mumbai, India, the company said on Wednesday. Launching in partnership with renowned Indian film school Whistling Woods International, the new space will be at the center of Mumbai’s film and television production hub, Filmcity.

Games and Entertainment:

Overwatch and Battleborn: meet the new breed of cooperative first-person shooter games – This year’s Gamescom has been a special treat for fans of multiplayer games. Ubisoft has brought Rainbow Six Siege and the all-new For Honor for gamers to try out in Cologne, while DICE used the show to debut a massive 20-player dogfight mode in Star Wars: Battlefront. Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm has been everywhere too, but it’s another title from the same company that I want to talk about today: Overwatch. It, along with Gearbox Software’s Battleborn, is establishing a new category of team-based shooter games, one where violence and gore are de-emphasized in favor of accessibility and cooperative fun.

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Real life first-person zombie shooter pops up on Chatroulette – Turns out, if you still use Chatroulette, the website that matches you and your webcam up with a random stranger, you may not always be shown someone doing something obscene. You might just get thrown into a real life first person shooter (FPS), with you in control of someone trying fight off zombies. That’s exactly what happened when random users were paired with the British film production crew Realm Pictures, who managed to create a live-action FPS that plays out in real-time right before viewers.

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Nvidia’s GeForce Experience app brings gameplay sharing to PC – When the PlayStation 4 debuted, one of the coolest features about the new hardware was the “Share” feature, which let players stream their gameplay live to another PS4 owner, and even let them take over the controls. Well, Nvidia is bringing that same functionality to PC games with an update to its GeForce Experience app. The software is being updated next month with beta access to the new GameStream Co-op feature, along with a few other tools for recording and broadcasting gameplay footage.

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Fallout 4 could be more successful than Skyrim, says Bethesda – Bethesda has said it believes Fallout 4 could be its most successful game release ever. Fallout 4 launches in November for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Bethesda has also revealed the Fallout Anthology for PC which bundles the first five Fallout games — 1, 2, Tactics, 3, and New Vegas — in a mini-nuke.

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Bethesda Softworks

Metroid spectacularly re-imagined in Unreal Engine 4 – Developer CryZENx brings a fully re-imagined Metroid Prime gameplay environment into existence with Unreal Engine 4. And boy does it look fantastic. What you’re going to see is a project – not an official game made for release. Here you’ll see some of the capabilities of the graphics environment Unreal Engine 4, complete with realistic lighting, shadows, atmosphere, and everything in-between. Just keep reminding yourself that while this isn’t a real game – it could indicate where Metroid could go, someday, maybe.

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‘Millennial Swipe Sim 2015’ Web Game Pokes Fun at Tinder – Is the Tinder obsession a bit too real for some of your friends? Send them a link to this brand-new Web game, and they might feel a little better.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The future of the tablet is the PC – Apple CEO Tim Cook once compared a tablet-laptop combo to mashing up a refrigerator with a toaster. The resulting Frankenstein device would do an equally lousy job of chilling your food and warming it up. That was three years ago. Today, these tablet-laptop hybrids — which blend the mobility and touchscreen friendliness of a tablet with the capabilities of a PC — are on track to becoming the fastest-growing computing category. Shipments of so-called 2-in-1 devices like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 and the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, for example, are expected to grow almost fivefold this year. That’s thanks in part to attachable or foldable keyboards and more-powerful hardware, such as Intel’s Core M microprocessors, that let slimmer, tabletlike devices hit speeds on par with midrange laptops.

DIY overhead control panel would make NASA proud – At one point in every geek’s life, he or she may have dreamed up of a super sophisticated computer setup that would rival or at least match those of, say, NASA’s mission control rooms or other sci-fi props. For some, wishing might be the extent of that dream. Others, however, try to make that dream a reality, even if they have to do it themselves. That is exactly what smashcuts proudly shared on Reddit and imgur. And the best part? He’s actually sharing how he did it.

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Classic Steve Jobs disses you can put on your next resignation letter – Apple and Pixar honcho Steve Jobs was known not just for his genius products (Hello, Mac, iPod, iPad, iPhone!), but also for his raging put-downs of subordinates and rivals. Why not put some of his molten-lava tongue lashings to good effect during your next job transition?

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“You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog sh!t for frosting.”

Cell phone video shows cop allegedly trying to force driver to buy fund-raising tickets (or else) – The police officer stopped the driver and brandished tickets to a show. “Either you buy these, or I take your car, because it’s unregistered,” the officer said. This, in some movies, would be called an offer you can’t refuse. In this movie, posted to Facebook by someone whose real name (per Facebook’s strict rules) is Rob Stay Faded, the officer continues: “Ten bucks each. Support your police department.” On Friday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the officer in the video, nine-year-veteran Matthew Zagursky, was taken off street patrol and dispossessed of his gun. Zagursky will continue working, pending the results of an Internal Affairs probe, which Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey ordered Friday.

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Need to take down a drone? A munitions company offers firepower – Having grown up in a culture where very few people feel the need for guns (that Europe place), it’s hard to explain to my fellow Americans that it’s, well, possible. Instead, America has always enjoyed a deep fascination for and commitment to weaponry. This therefore fuels the imaginations of those manufacturing the weaponry to ever greater heights. Admire then, please, the wares of Snake River Shooting Products. This company has just released gun shells that it says are perfect for shooting down drones. In a press release, the company describes its wares like this: “The rounds are a 12 gauge 3″ shot shell solution aimed at defending against drone-based privacy concerns and terror!”

Testing suggests that not even identical twins can dupe Windows Hello – Windows Hello, the feature in Windows 10 that lets you use your face as your login password, so to speak, may seem like a mere novelty at first glance, and something that could potentially be readily fooled. Journalist Chris Griffin with The Australian wanted to find out for himself, so he brought in six pairs of identical twins to put Windows Hello to the test. The result? In each of the six cases, Windows Hello kept each twin from logging in as their identical siblings.

Something to think about:

“There are 3 kinds of people in the world . Those that make things happen, those that have things happen to them and the vast majority – those who stand around and wonder WTF happened.”

–     Anonymous

Downloads:

Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4 for Windows 10 – Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4 for Windows 10 has been released. This tweaking software adds several new tweaks for the new operating system. Those of you who have upgraded to Windows 10, would definitely want to use it to judiciously tweak your Windows 10 and personalize your computing experience. With judicious tweaking, it can make your system faster, more stable, personal and more secure with just a few mouse clicks.

While you may be able to access all these via the Windows 10 Settings app, the Registry Editor or the Group Policy Editor, Ultimate Windows Tweaker makes things easier for you by offering all useful tweaks from its single UI.

This tweaker is just 495 KB in size and includes over 200 tweaks. Like its predecessors, UWT 4.0 sports a clean minimalistic UI, offering links in the left panel, and tabs on the top, in some categories. Hover over any tweak and helpful tool tips will tell you what the tweak does.

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Destroy Windows 10 Spying 1.5 Build 300 – MajorGeek says: Destroy Windows 10 Spying is a portable app that can block anonymous data being sent, remove apps that can’t be removed the standard way and more. I liked that it can remove some of the Windows default programs that can be removed under Apps & Features, an annoyance I immediately discovered since I prefer to “slim” down windows.

Some of the domains we know send anonymous information back to Microsoft include:

vortex.data.microsoft.com vortex-win.data.microsoft.com telecommand.telemetry.microsoft.com telecommand.telemetry.microsoft.com.nsatc.net oca.telemetry.microsoft.com oca.telemetry.microsoft.com.nsatc.net sqm.telemetry.microsoft.com sqm.telemetry.microsoft.com.nsatc.net watson.telemetry.microsoft.com watson.telemetry.microsoft.com.nsatc.net redir.metaservices.microsoft.com choice.microsoft.com choice.microsoft.com.nsatc.net df.telemetry.microsoft.com reports.wes.df.telemetry.microsoft.com wes.df.telemetry.microsoft.com services.wes.df.telemetry.microsoft.com sqm.df.telemetry.microsoft.com telemetry.microsoft.com watson.ppe.telemetry.microsoft.com telemetry.appex.bing.net telemetry.urs.microsoft.com telemetry.appex.bing.net:443 settings-sandbox.data.microsoft.com vortex-sandbox.data.microsoft.com survey.watson.microsoft.com watson.live.com watson.microsoft.com statsfe2.ws.microsoft.com corpext.msitadfs.glbdns2.microsoft.com compatexchange.cloudapp.net cs1.wpc.v0cdn.net a-0001.a-msedge.net statsfe2.update.microsoft.com.akadns.net sls.update.microsoft.com.akadns.net fe2.update.microsoft.com.akadns.net diagnostics.support.microsoft.com corp.sts.microsoft.com statsfe1.ws.microsoft.com pre.footprintpredict.com i1.services.social.microsoft.com i1.services.social.microsoft.com.nsatc.net feedback.windows.com feedback.microsoft-hohm.com feedback.search.microsoft.com rad.msn.com preview.msn.com ad.doubleclick.net ads.msn.com ads1.msads.net ads1.msn.com a.ads1.msn.com a.ads2.msn.com adnexus.net adnxs.com az361816.vo.msecnd.net az512334.vo.msecnd.net

You can block these yourself manually in your hosts file with 127.0.0.1 if you want. The program allows you to clear or view the hosts file in Notepad.

The program does the same thing but just in case you wanted to see where your information heads to or you wanted to update your hosts file manually. A log file will be left in the folder you run it from.

I took a huge chance and ran this on my clean Windows 10 installation. It did modify the hosts file exactly as promised and did remove the Apps it promised. IObit Uninstaller also spotted Destroy Windows 10 Spying running and removed leftover entries from the uninstall.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA preps quantum-resistant algorithms to head off crypto-apocalypse – The National Security Agency is advising US agencies and businesses to prepare for a time in the not-too-distant future when the cryptography protecting virtually all e-mail, medical and financial records, and online transactions is rendered obsolete by quantum computing.

Quantum computers have capabilities that can lay to ruin all of the public-key cryptographic systems currently in use. These capabilities, which aren’t known to be present in the classical computers of today, include the ability to almost instantly find the prime factors of extremely large numbers, using a method called Shor’s algorithm. Quantum computing is also believed to be capable of tackling other mathematical problems classical computers can’t solve quickly, including computing discrete logarithm mod primes and discrete logs over elliptic curves.

The difficulty of factoring and computing discrete log primes and elliptic curve discrete logs play an essential role in cryptographers’ confidence in RSA, elliptic curve cryptography, and other public-key crypto systems. When implemented correctly, most scientists and cryptographers believe that the crypto can’t be defeated with today’s computers before the end of the universe.

Canadians taking to spying on their spies – As Canadians settle in for the longest general election campaign since 1867, some uncomfortable incidents that had been ignored by commercial media outlets are gaining new exposure.

Allegations that Canadian spooks are spying on protesters have become a hot topic online. The result is that Canada’s online civil liberties movements are starting to gain traction offline, and are threatening to go mainstream.

To understand the events, some background is required. A number of pipeline projects are proposed or undergoing construction to increase the amount of oil that can be sent from Alberta west to the coast of British Columbia via pipeline. Current pipelines are at capacity and shipping the oil to the coast by train is a fantastically dumb idea because the trains keep derailing, causing all manner of havoc.

A veritable who’s who of Canadian protest and civil liberties groups became active in protesting against the pipelines, both online and off. It dragged on for years, and protests are still ongoing.

Information emerged that said one of Canada’s spy agencies – Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) – allegedly spied on the protesters and then allegedly illegally shared information about the protesters with the National Energy Board (NEB). NEB is the government entity tasked with overseeing environmentally sensitive projects such as oil pipelines.

The NEB succumbed to industry capture years ago and now blatantly operates as nothing more than an extension of the energy companies themselves.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – August 12, 2015

How to secure Windows 10: The paranoid’s guide;  Microsoft Windows 10: Five free apps you should download;  New rules for buying back-to-school laptops;  Google restructures, naming parent company Alphabet;  Four apps better than your phone’s built-in address book;  Add Star Wars emojis to your text messages;  LastPass makes its password management apps free on smartphones;  7 top Linux desktop environments compared;  Thirty five Flash Player holes plugged;  Facebook security hole remains open months after report;  Microsoft rolls out second cumulative update for Windows 10;   Facebook Says This Is How We Laugh on the Internet;  Dual-booting Linux with Windows: What you need to know;  Snapchat Just Fixed the Worst Thing About its App;  Pushbullet adds end-to-end encryption for SMS;  Researchers wirelessly hack a Corvette’s brakes using an insurance dongle;  Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 beta has 3 maps and 7 modes;  PlayStation Plus subscription prices to increase in UK;  Driving Your Car Will Soon Be Illegal;  Xbox One DVR to launch in US, UK, and Canada;  The NSA Playset: Espionage tools for the rest of us.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to secure Windows 10: The paranoid’s guide – I think some people’s fears about Microsoft looking over your shoulder are over-the-top. And, I speak as someone who looks at Microsoft with a great deal of suspicion. What you need to realize is that Microsoft has made Windows 10 both a desktop and a cloud operating system. Adding cloud functionality means that when you run Windows 10 you’ll be sharing far more information with Microsoft and its partner customers than ever before. For example, while Windows 10 doesn’t have a keylogger it does collect your keystrokes and voice to improve spell-checking and voice recognition. Before having a fit about this, keep in mind that every cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) program does this to one degree or another.

Microsoft Windows 10: Five free apps you should download – With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft decided to cut and mangle some beloved, long-standing features available in previous versions of its operating system. Windows Media Center is gone and Solitaire now shows you full-screen ads, which you have to pay to get rid of. That’s not to mention the outcry over Microsoft releasing software to play DVDs that costs $14.99 through the Windows Store. Fortunately, you can ignore these shenanigans – as there is plenty of free software out there to fill the gaps in Microsoft’s new OS.

Microsoft: glitch preventing Windows 10 store downloads will be fixed soon – While Microsoft’s much-anticipated (or dreaded, depending on your situation) rollout of Windows 10 has been fairly smooth for most users, this weekend a bug surfaced that prevented some from being able to download app updates from the Windows Store. Users that are affected say they haven’t been able to sign into the store, preventing them from either downloading new apps or getting updates for apps they already have installed.

New rules for buying back-to-school laptops – With that new school year may come the need for a new laptop, and time- and cash-strapped parents are often left confused and scrambling. How much do you really need to spend on a school-minded PC? And how can you make sure you’re getting a system that will go the distance? (Hopefully just four years, if you’re packing a kid off to college.) Fear not: Even with hundreds of options, picking the right laptop (or perhaps…tablet?) is easy if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Pushbullet adds end-to-end encryption for SMS, copy and paste, and notification mirroring – The company is ramping up its security by adding optional end-to-end encryption. This means your data is encrypted before it leaves your phone, and decrypted when it gets to your other devices. It’s a good layer of security to include, as all those SMS messages and notifications contain a lot of personal data. The encryption also applies to Pushbullet’s ability to copy and paste between devices. To set it up, you need to go to Settings on every device where you’re using Pushbullet select Enable encryption, then enter a password.

Four apps better than your phone’s built-in address book – The address book is at the core of your phone. Since most of us don’t memorize phone numbers anymore, it’s a crucial tool for keeping touch with friends and family through phone calls, texts and emails. Unfortunately, the built-in contacts app that comes with the iPhone or Android phones hasn’t changed in years. It can be frustrating to edit, fraught with duplicates and lacking the most up-to-date information. Luckily, there are several address book apps out there that offer a better alternative with innovative features and modern designs.

LastPass makes its password management apps free on smartphones – LastPass, one of the more popular password management solutions next to 1Password, is making its smartphone apps free to use. “Now, if you get started with LastPass on your Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone, you’ll have completely free access from your smartphone, and can even sync across smartphones for free,” the company wrote in a blog post today. “The same is true for tablets, if that’s where you get started.”

Get Started on LastPass for Free – If you’ve been meaning to try the password manager LastPass, now is the perfect opportunity, because the service is currently free to start. Under the new pricing model, you can get started with LastPass for free on any device, including smartphones, tablets, or desktops. Sync data between similar devices, like two smartphones or two tablets. But if you want to sync between two different devices—between phone and desktop, for example—you’ll need to upgrade to premium.

Microsoft introduces Floatie for OneNote on Android – Microsoft has added a new feature to the OneNote application for Android that allows users to access their notes from any where across the phone with the help of floating icons.

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Microsoft rolls out second cumulative update for Windows 10 – Microsoft has rolled out another cumulative update for Windows 10 and you can download it now by checking Windows Update – but what’s new in this release is not yet known.

Snapchat Just Fixed the Worst Thing About its App – Ephemeral messaging app Snapchat knows its demographic well. Teens are still at the mercy of their parents’ financial decisions, and that can sometimes mean they don’t have a whole bunch of mobile data to use up every month. Luckily for data-strapped teens (and everyone else), the company rolled out a new data-conserving feature Monday. “Travel Mode,” which “disables auto-loading of content like Stories when you’re using mobile data,” as it’s described in the app.

Add Star Wars emojis to your text messages – The official Star Wars app now features over 50 adorable characters, ships and more. Animated GIFs, too! Here’s how to text them.

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Freedom of choice: 7 top Linux desktop environments compared – Linux distros usually have a default desktop environment, but there are a slew of desktop environments available to use. Heck, Ubuntu alone offers nine official alternate “flavors” with different desktop configurations. None of these desktop environments is better than another. They have different aesthetics, functionality, and features. They may perform better or worse on different hardware. Only you can decide which you prefer. Curious? Here’s a run-down of some of the most popular Linux desktop environments.

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Dual-booting Linux with Windows: What you need to know – Windows 10 isn’t the only (kind of) free operating system you can install on your computer. Linux can run from just a USB drive without modifying your existing system, but you’ll want to install it on your PC if you plan on using it regularly. Installing a Linux distribution alongside Windows as a “dual boot” system will give you a choice of either operating system each time you start your PC. It’s the ideal way for most people to install Linux, as you can always get back to a full Windows system with a reboot.

Windows 10 on the Raspberry Pi: What you need to know – Microsoft has released a version of Windows 10 for the credit card-sized machine. But just what can you do with it?

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Windows 10 IoT Core on the Raspberry Pi / Image: Microsoft

Facebook Says This Is How We Laugh on the Internet – Well now you can tell exactly how your e-laughing compares with the average joe’s, after Facebook published an analysis on it’s research blog. Inspired by a New Yorker blog post about the various ways we indicate laughter online, researchers, “analyzed de-identified posts and comments posted on Facebook in the last week of May with at least one string of characters matching laughter,” the post reads. “We did the matching with regular expressions which automatically identified laughter in the text, including variants of haha, hehe, emoji, and lol.” Here’s what they found:

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Facebook

Google Launches First Beta Of Its Zync Visual Effects Renderer On Google Cloud Platform – Google, the largest subsidiary corporation of Alphabet, wants movie studios to use its cloud to render their special effects. Last August, Google acquired Zync, a visual effects rendering service that allows studios and independent artists to render their works in the cloud. Today, the company announced that it will open up the first beta of Zync on its Cloud Platform next week on August 20.

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Study: Ad-blocking software use is rising at breakneck speed – AdBlock and apps like it are the bane of ad-supported websites, and an occasional bit of browser extension-based guilt for users. On one hand, no one wants to deal with ads, at least not the poorly utilized ads found on many websites. At the same time, many users recognize that their favorite websites probably depend on those advertisement dollars, and so they may disable AdBlock for certain websites. Many ad-blocking users don’t bother doing the latter, however, and that makes a new report from Adobe and PageFair particularly worrisome for companies.

Security:

Thirty five Flash Player holes plugged (and there’s one quick fix) – Adobe has patched 35 security vulnerabilities in its Flash Player, all of one of which could lead to unexpected code execution. The fixes relate to vulnerabilities including 15 use-after-free, eight memory corruption, and five type confusion bugs. Most flaws have been slapped with the panic severity rating of one, meaning someone is or probably will soon hack the holes. Linux and Chrome OS users can afford to ignore the patch issuance for a while with the respective holes being rated a boring severity score of three. Microsoft’s Edge and its older browser sisters Internet Explorer 11 and 10 get the same Player version update as Google Chrome, and the Desktop runtime. Linux and AIR offerings are also fixed.

Windows 10 gets its first set of security patches – For August, Microsoft’s monthly round of security patches contains five bulletins that cover Windows 10, as well as a bulletin that covers the new Edge browser that runs on Windows 10. Overall, Microsoft released 14 security bulletins for this month’s Patch Tuesday—which occurs on the second Tuesday of each month. Three of the bulletins were marked as critical, meaning that they should be patched as quickly as possible.

Researchers wirelessly hack a Corvette’s brakes using an insurance dongle – Researchers at the University of California at San Diego have found a way to wirelessly hack thousands of vehicles by exploiting the on-board diagnostics (or OBD) devices that insurance companies use to monitor speed and location. In a video posted to YouTube (seen above), they were able to activate the windshield wipers and engage or disengage the brakes of a 2013 model Corvette by sending an SMS message to the OBD dongle’s cellular radio. More details about the vulnerability will be revealed at the Usenix security conference today, according to Wired.

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Facebook security hole remains open months after report – Android users can relax. This isn’t about you this time. This time, it’s Facebook’s turn to take the hot seat. Not that it has completely left the chair anyway. According to Reza Moaiandinm, Technical Director of marketing company SALT.agency, Facebook has a gaping security hole that leaves it wide open to attack and its users vulnerable to phishing attempts. While news of such security lapses aren’t exactly new, especially with Facebook involved, Moaiandinm’s beef stems from the fact that Facebook has seemingly done nothing months after he reported the exploit.

Intel left a fascinating security flaw in its chips for 16 years – here’s how to exploit it – A design flaw in Intel’s processors can be exploited to install malware beneath operating systems and antivirus – making it tough to detect and remove. The blunder was introduced in 1995, in the Pentium Pro. It is hardwired into the silicon, and has been staring kernel-level programmers in the face for years. The good news is that Intel spotted the howler in its processor blueprints, and corrected the issue: chips built from January 2011 and onwards (Sandy Bridge Core CPUs and later) are not affected.  A trusty Linux box from the previous decade that’s still plodding away, an office of old PCs, or a relative’s aging laptop, are the sorts of computers at risk of attack via this vulnerability. Your fancy new gaming rig, your virtual machine in the cloud or on your workstation, and that office PC bought two years ago in the last refresh, are immune.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter band together to battle child pornography – Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Twitter are working with the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to implement a new system that will help detect and block images of child pornography online. IWF, a charitable foundation, has introduced a new technology that enables it to tag images of sexual abuse with distinct hashes — essentially codes that act like a digital fingerprint. The hash is generated by an algorithm; once assigned to an image, it’s unique to it, making it easy to identify a specific image against a list of offending hashes. The IWF keeps a record of all the hashes, which it has only shared with the five tech companies so far, but plans to roll out to other IWF members soon.

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Wearsafe Is A Connected Panic Button For The App Generation – At the Disrupt NY hackathon this year the winning hack was a live-streaming app called Witness whose team’s pitch was a desire to be the panic button for the mobile age. But what about sticky situations where you don’t have time to fire up an app? That’s where Connecticut-based startup Wearsafe Labs is hoping to step in, with a hardware panic button also updated for the app era.

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IBM discovers Android serialization vulnerability allows arbitrary code execution – In the latest security issue to plague Android, IBM has discovered a vulnerability in Android and some third-party SDKs that allows malicious code to elevate its privileges to the system user.

Company News:

Google restructures, naming parent company Alphabet – Google will become a subsidiary of a new parent company called Alphabet, under a massive restructuring arrangement designed to let the company’s businesses operate more efficiently. Alphabet will include a group of companies, the largest of which will be Google. Other efforts will be run separately but apart from Google, including health efforts such as Life Sciences, which works on glucose-sensing contact lenses, and Calico, focused on longevity. Alphabet will also include Google’s advanced X labs, which handles projects like Google’s self-driving cars and Wi-Fi balloons. Under the changes, the main Google business will be slimmed down to include search search, ads, maps, apps, YouTube and Android. Other businesses, like Calico as well as Nest, Fiber and Google’s investing arms, will be managed separately. All will be under Alphabet.

Google’s Larry Page explains the new Alphabet – Here’s the full text of the letter from Google CEO Larry Page announcing his company’s restructuring.

Apple Shares Tumble 5% Amid China Concerns – Apple suffered a 5 percent drop in its share price Tuesday as Wall Street reacted strongly to news from China that the government is further devaluing the yuan. The currency devaluation is likely to increase import costs of devices for Apple. The announcement from China’s central bank that official guidance for the yuan would be reduced 2 percent to 6.2298 yuan per dollar, its lowest point in three years, sent the $700 billion tech giant’s shares tumbling. A drop worth tens of billions in market cap value.

Facebook Brings Auto-Play Video Ads To Apps In Its Mobile Ad Network – These new ad formats include auto-play video, as well as its multi-image Carousel Ads that can give deeper looks at a product or tell stories, Dynamic Product Ads that retarget users with items they’ve considered buying elsewhere on the web, and more traditional interstitial Click-To-Play Video Ads. Some users might find these flashy ads annoying, but at least they’re well-targeted and run properly.

Facebook is making an app that will send breaking news alerts to your phone – The stand-alone app is still in the early stages, but it will reportedly ask users to choose which publications they want to receive notifications from, and specific topics or “stations” they want to receive news about. Then, when news in those preselected topics breaks, the publications can send a push notification of up to 100 characters to users. All notifications sent through Facebook’s app will link out to that publication’s website. Only a select number of publications will be available on the app, according to Business Insider.

Symantec Sells Veritas Division To Private Equity Group For $8B – Symantec announced today that it had sold its Veritas division to The Carlyle Group, a Washington, DC-based private equity firm for $8 billion in cash. The move comes after Symantec, mostly known as a computer security company, announced it was splitting into two separate publicly traded companies last fall. The first was going to be Symantec, which as you might expect focused on security and the second was Veritas, which concentrated on information management. It was named for a storage vendor that merged with Symantec back in 2005.

Judge orders Cablevision to stop calling Verizon a liar – A federal judge has ordered Cablevision to stop running advertisements that accuse Verizon of lying about offering its Fios broadband customers the fastest in-home Wi-Fi service. On Friday, Judge Gary Brown threw out Cablevision’s lawsuit against Verizon, which was filed in January, accusing Verizon of misrepresenting its service. Then on Monday, he ruled in favor of Verizon’s request for a temporary restraining order to put a stop to ads Cablevision has been running in the New York City metro area accusing Verizon of lying about its broadband Internet speeds, the quality of its DVR, service appointments and other aspects of its service.

Firefox sticks it to Microsoft, redirects Cortana searches in Windows 10 – After blasting Microsoft’s attempts to set Edge as the default browser in Windows 10, Mozilla is enjoying some sweet revenge by steering Firefox users away from Bing. With the newly-released Firefox 40, users no longer have to use Bing for web searches from Cortana on the Windows 10 taskbar. Instead, Firefox will show results from whatever search engine the user has chosen as the default. Using Firefox isn’t the only way to replace Cortana’s Bing searches with Google or another search engine. But Firefox is currently the only browser that does so without the need for third-party extensions. (It wouldn’t be surprising, however, if Google follows suit.)

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Chinese vendors triple smartphone share in India – Chinese vendors tripled shipments year-on-year in the second quarter in the Indian market, indicating that low-cost vendors are posing a challenge to global players like Apple in a very price-sensitive market. The Chinese vendors have been successful by a combination of strategies, including online flash sales and by pushing low-cost 4G phones, priced at between US$100-150, a market that was unattended by Indian and global vendors, according to research firm IDC.

Foxconn to invest $5B to set up first of up to 12 factories in India – As part of its plan to set up to 12 manufacturing facilities in India by 2020, contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group is investing US$5 billion in a factory and other facilities in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The Indian government has been coaxing foreign companies, including smartphone makers, to set up manufacturing units in India under its “Make in India” program. A number of smartphone makers are planning to make the devices in the country, with Chinese maker Xiaomi expected to announce its first phone manufactured in India on Monday.

Games and Entertainment:

Why Everybody Should Play Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture – I can tell you the world wrought here looks as beautiful as a this-gen console game should, a sometimes linear, sometimes open swathe of blissful countryside you stroll freely through, espying mist-capped valleys punctuated by bus stops, phone booths, smoking ashtray-filled pubs, vast barns, spooky-looking domed towers, unpeopled flats, golden pastures choked with gently swaying strands of wheat and towering windmills. The weird stuff tends to happen as you amble along and trip (or interact with) trigger points.

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The Chinese Room / Sony

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 beta has 3 maps and 7 modes – Activision today released a new trailer for the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer beta, which provides the first details about what fans can expect from it. As you can see in the video, the beta will have at least three maps and seven modes. The video specifically says three-plus maps and seven-plus modes are included, suggesting more of each may be added later. Players will also get to check out Black Ops III’s new movement system using eight different “Specialist” characters. You’ll also be able to test out Black Ops III’s weapon customization tools, including the paintshop.

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Hulu says it won’t release its new original shows in binge-watch form – Hulu has no plans to start catering to binge-watchers with its original programming, preferring instead to release new episodes one week at a time. Hulu’s strategy runs counter to that of Netflix and Amazon, which release entire new seasons of their original shows all at once. While this allows viewers to easily get hooked by watching several episodes in one sitting, the trade-off is that any social media buzz around a show can die off quickly after the premiere. For Netflix and Amazon, the answer to that problem is to simply release more original content.

Xbox One DVR to launch in US, UK, and Canada – Microsoft announced last week that the Xbox One DVR would initially land in three countries at launch. Those three countries are the US, Canada, and the UK. The announcement was made at the Gamescom conference in Cologne. The launch is set for an unspecified time next year with more details coming closer to launch.

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PlayStation Plus subscription prices to increase in UK – Bad news for PlayStation gamers in the UK today: the subscription prices for two of the PlayStation Plus plans are increasing next month. The one-month option is rising from £5.49 to £5.99, and the three-month plan is going from £11.99 to £14.99. The silver lining in all of this? The price for the one-year subscription is staying the same, at £39.99. This last option was already the best value, now it will be even more so.

Off Topic (Sort of):

It’s time for PC companies to copy one of Apple’s best features – I like PC hardware. OK, that’s sort of a lie; PC hardware infuriates me no end, because I can never find a motherboard with precisely the set of features I want, but it’s the kind of infuriation that comes of having high expectations. My main PC is a self-built desktop system, and Apple simply doesn’t have a desktop system offering the kind of longevity and flexibility that I want. PC hardware does, and this is great. But Apple from time to time does some things which are really neat, and sometimes I find myself looking at those things and yearning for them. Operating system installation and disaster recovery is one of those things.

Defusing The Internet Of Things Time Bomb – “Smart” devices are all the buzz, whether in the connected home (thermostats, lightbulbs, garage door openers, locks and various appliances) or new wearable devices. They promise convenience along with improved control and efficiency in our lives. But, as highlighted by the recent hacking of automobiles, connectivity can come at a significant cost. Consumers cringe as the barrage of data breaches continues — from major retailers to health insurers to government agencies, hundreds of millions of records are now exposed and there seems to be no end in sight. Will we face a similar future with some of our most personal and sensitive information (where we are, the status of our home, our latest health vitals), or even with our physical security?

Does too much technology make a car artificial? – Two trends are interacting in the car world right now, and I’m fascinated by the questions being raised as a result. Computers are in control of everything, modulating our control inputs and interpreting our intent. For example, between your foot and the pedals of a hybrid are complex software routines that decide how to juggle internal combustion engines and conventional brakes with electric motor-generator units when it comes to stopping and going. Cheap, rugged, and powerful electronics can let an engineer solve a suspension or engine problem with some code instead of mechanical fix. Is that a good thing, or is the solution an artificial one?

Driving Your Car Will Soon Be Illegal – Driving a car will be illegal by 2030. Our economy will be severely impacted as millions of truck drivers, cabbies and delivery people are put out of work. In this era of endless innovation, man’s century-long relationship with the automobile is about to be permanently disrupted.

Climate change deniers, like fanboys, don’t care about your science – Climate change is a hot topic in politics. That climate change is happening and that humanity has something to do with it isn’t up for debate anymore. How to deal with it is. Still, climate change has its deniers. You’d think that these people could be convinced with a bit of education. If they knew what the scientists knew then surely they’d change their minds. That’s what I thought, anyway — it’s not true. In fact, it’s the opposite. Or so says the research from Dan Kahan, professor of law and psychology at Yale, and member of the Cultural Cognition Project which tries to explain how we come to hold our beliefs.

Something to think about:

“You can’t outwit fate by trying to stand on the sidelines and place little side bets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything to play the game, or you don’t play at all. And if you don’t play, you can’t win.”

–     Judith McNaught

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

The NSA Playset: Espionage tools for the rest of us – When Der Spiegel and Jacob Appelbaum published leaked pages of the National Security Agency’s ANT Catalog—the collection of tools and software created for NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division—it triggered shock, awe, and a range of other emotions around the world. Among some hardware hackers and security researchers, it triggered something else, too—a desire to replicate the capabilities of TAO’s toolbox to conduct research on how the same approaches might be used by other adversaries.

In less than 18 months since the catalog’s leak, the NSA Playset project has done just that. The collection boasts over a dozen devices that put the power of the NSA’s TAO into the hands of researchers. Project creator Michael Ossmann—a security researcher, radio frequency hardware engineer, and founder of Great Scott Gadgets—detailed the tools at a presentation during the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas last week, and he talked with Ars more about it this past weekend at DEF CON 23.

Many of the software components of the 50-page ANT catalog were things that had already been developed by security researchers. Some of the discovered capabilities appeared to stem from off-the-shelf hardware (or its equivalent) and software similar to existing tools; they were simply combined in a package suitable for spy work. But other pieces of hardware in the NSA’s catalog appeared to have no openly available equivalent—such as wireless bugs planted in computer cables or connectors. Some of those bugs were radio “retro-reflectors,” wiretaps that only broadcast data when hit by a directed radio signal. (It’s similar in concept to “The Thing”—the infamous bug Soviet spies planted inside the US Embassy in Moscow.)

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How Japan’s Privacy Visor fools face-recognition cameras – If you’re worried about Big Brother monitoring you from security cameras, Japan has developed eyewear that can keep you anonymous.

The Privacy Visor consists of a lightweight, wraparound, semitransparent plastic sheet fitted over eyewear frames. It’s bulky and not exactly stylish, but it could have customized designs.

It’s meant to thwart face-recognition camera systems through a very simple trick. It reflects overhead light into the camera lens, causing the area around the eyes to appear much brighter than it normally does.

That’s enough to trick standard face-recognition systems, such as the Viola-Jones object detection framework, according to the National Institute of Informatics (NII), which has been developing the visor for years.

At a demo on Tuesday, NII staffers showed how a face-recognition program can easily identify someone by comparing video input to a database of head shots. The system also works when the subject is wearing sunglasses.

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Russia threatening nation-wide Reddit ban over drug posts – The Russian government has said it’s considering a nation-wide block on the social website Reddit over concerns about easily accessible information on growing and acquiring drugs. One government agency has said it’s tried contacting Reddit about removing such posts, but they haven’t gotten a response. Oddly enough, the government says it was prompted to take action because of complaints from users. Because surely people go right to the government when they see things on the internet, as this couldn’t be a case of Russia wanting to censor information.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – August 12, 2015

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – August 10, 2015

Want to be totally secure on the Internet? Good luck;  Windows 10’s privacy policy is the new normal;  You Can Shut Off Win 10’s Data Collection, But Should You?  Ten Tips and Tricks for Windows 10;  Back to school 2015: Student tech deals and discounts;  Two backups are better than one–if you do them right;  Here’s Why Email Puts You in a Nasty Mood;  How to install Windows 10 on your PC;  How to uninstall Windows 10 and go back to Windows 7 or 8;  Scan PCs for Security Problems? Nope, Scan the Users;  UK-Based Carphone Warehouse Hack Could Affect Up To 2.4M Customers;  Here are some of the best games for Android right now (pictures);  Are connected cars worth the risk?  Free Course: Hack yourself first (before the bad guys do);  Rand Paul And Chris Christie Spar Over NSA Surveillance;  These Companies Have the Best (And Worst) Privacy Policies.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Want to be totally secure on the Internet? Good luck – When it comes to being safe from hackers, we could all take steps to do better, myself included. Less than a month into my new job covering cybersecurity, my personal site was hacked because I had failed to update some forgotten software for two years. It was a glaring hole with an easy fix, but it got me thinking: What does it take to be completely secure? What would I need to do that I wouldn’t have to in order to never worry about hackers again? Is being completely secure even possible?

Windows 10’s privacy policy is the new normal – Windows 10, in normal usage and typical configurations, will send quite a lot of information to Microsoft. Windows 8, in normal usage and typical configurations, will also send quite a lot of information to Microsoft. On the other side of the fence, OS X, in normal usage and typical configurations, will send some information to Apple. It’s hard to imagine a modern day operating system that doesn’t do this, at least to some extent.

You Can Shut Off Win 10’s Data Collection, But Should You? – You can opt out of many of the parts of Windows 10 that give Microsoft a way to collect data, but doing so disables some of the operating system’s best new features. You could run a PC without a Microsoft account (something you can’t do on an Apple Mac or Google Chrome OS computer), for example, but then you wouldn’t get syncing with OneDrive or access to the Windows Store of apps. To use a Windows 10 PC without a Microsoft ID, you can use what the OS calls a “local account.” You can make that change in the Settings app’s Accounts page.

EFF launches Privacy Badger 1.0 browser extension – The EFF has launched a new browser extension that is designed to stop data collection via cookies and other hidden trackers when you surf the web. The new browser extension is called Privacy Badger 1.0 and it aims to keep you from being spied on as you surf the web. Privacy Badger has been available in alpha and beta forms for a while. Privacy Badger 1.0 will detect cookies and other techniques used to track you that results in you seeing ads while you surf the web that reflect web searches you made in the past. It works along with the Do Not Track policy announced by the EFF recently.

These Companies Have the Best (And Worst) Privacy Policies – In an effort to assess, exalt and shame some of the world’s leading tech companies for how they’ve presented privacy information to millions of users, TIME reached out to the Center for Plain Language. We asked the Center’s experts to judge and rank the privacy policies of seven tech companies that most consumers know. They did this on several levels, assessing everything from design and tone to how many words writers tried to pack into each sentence. They also examined the more subjective “spirit” of their policies. Does the policy, for instance, make it easy for people to limit the ways in which the company collects their personal information? Or are instructions about opting out obscured in the policy’s hinterlands with no hyperlinks?

Ten Tips and Tricks for Windows 10 – So Windows 10 has been out for more than a week and, if you were in any way immersed in Microsoft or Windows news, you probably are already aware of how it fared. Maybe you even read our hands-on after spending a week with the latest version of the most popular, or even unpopular operating system in the world. But if you’re just receiving the update now and are about to embark on the journey for yourself, what are the tools you need to bring? Where are the pit stops you need to make? Here are our top ten favorites.

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12 obscure new Windows 10 features that eliminate everyday hassles – The amount of new goodies in Windows 10 is almost mind-boggling. Even if you’ve read PCWorld’s insanely detailed Windows 10 review, our look at Windows 10’s best new features, and our mammoth guides to the operating system’s best tips and tricks and hidden features, you still haven’t seen everything Microsoft has to throw at you. Case in point: These 10 awesome new Windows 10 features that fly under the radar. Between these and virtual desktop support, Windows 10 renders a decent chunk of our list of free PC programs that ease headaches obsolete. Let’s dig in.

Windows 10 cumulative update causes ‘reboot loop’ havoc for some users – Microsoft’s first cumulative update for Windows 10 – KB3081424 – is causing havoc for some users. How do I know this? Because I spent a good part of my Sunday morning dealing with it, that’s how.

Back to school 2015: Student tech deals and discounts – Going to college doesn’t have to be expensive thanks to the range of deals offered by companies including Microsoft, Apple and Amazon.

5 handy Google Maps tips to make your commute or business trip easier – Google Maps could easily become one of your most faithful mobile tools… if you make use of a few lesser-known features. Jack Wallen shows you how.

Two backups are better than one–if you do them right – Backing up twice provides more protection than backing up once–but only if you don’t make the same mistakes twice.

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Five to Try: Microsoft Translator hits phones and watches, and Accomplish gets to-do tasks done – Games aside, this week’s top new Android apps are handy tools designed to help in very different ways. Microsoft Translator is a useful option for translating phrases between languages, and it one-ups Google’s option with Android Wear support. Meanwhile, Accomplish is designed to make sure your everyday to-do list tasks are actually worked into your schedule, while Genius saves you the hassle of searching through wonky song lyrics online. Scratch that off the to-do list, then!

BitTorrent Bleep update improves offline message security – In addition to its Sync 2.0 service, BitTorrent also has an offline messaging app called Bleep that allows users to, says the company, “chat privately. srsly.” Unlike other messaging apps, Bleep works straight from user-to-user, no in-between cloud storage to be seen. The benefit of this is security — as BitTorrent says, you don’t have to worry about the online data related to your account being hacked as there is no cloud. The security isn’t perfect, however, and so BitTorrent has pushed out an update.

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High barrier to entry? Busting this and 6 more myths about Linux – Jack Wallen finishes up his “barrier to entry” series for the Linux operating system by busting a few remaining myths surrounding the platform.

Ubuntu phone goes global, but you’ll get slow speeds in the US – After a long wait, Ubuntu phones became a reality this year. But now Linux fans outside of Europe and China will be able to try out the newcomer OS for the very first time. Spanish smartphone maker BQ has announced that it is now shipping its Aquarius E5 Ubuntu smartphone across the world. The E5 Ubuntu Edition has a fairly barebones set of specifications that matches its affordable €199.90 price tag. It has a 5-inch, 720 x 1280 display that’d be more at home on a top-tier smartphone from a few years ago. There’s also 1GB of RAM, 16GB of memory (thankfully upgradable thanks to its microSD card slot), and a 1.7GHz, quad-core Mediatek chip.

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How to install Windows 10 on your PC – You’ve read the review, pored through the tips and how-tos, and have waited breathlessly for the day that you can download Windows 10. So how do you do it, exactly? We’ve got you covered.

How to uninstall Windows 10 and go back to Windows 7 or 8 – To make life easier on Windows 7 and 8.1 converts, Microsoft will allow you to rollback your Windows 10 installation to the previous operating system for 30 days post-upgrade. Don’t worry—if you want to come back later, you can still take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade for the next year. Keep in mind that downgrading to your older OS requires that you still have your Windows.old folder at C:\Windows.old. If you typically delete that after upgrading, or you’ve done a post-upgrade clean install of Windows 10, you’re out of luck.

Skylake Review: Intel’s 6th-gen CPU arrives with nice presents for gamers and enthusiasts – If you came into this review expecting Skylake to be “40 percent faster” than its predecessor in all things, like the rumors said, you’re already set up for disappointment. Well, don’t be. Skylake is indeed faster than Haswell, but despite the “tock” label, it’s still just an evolutionary step forward. Skylake isn’t just about the CPU, though—it’s an entire platform, and that’s where this 6th-gen part moves us forward.

FREE COURSE: Hack yourself first (before the bad guys do) – If you can’t think like a hacker, it’s difficult to defend against them. Such is the premise of this free, nine-part online course, presented by Computerworld and training company Pluralsight, about how to go on the cyber-offensive by using some of the same techniques and tools the bad guys do. (registration required)

Security:

Scan PCs for Security Problems? Nope, Scan the Users – To build a car, you need thousands of nuts, bolts, screws, and other components. Which of these is the most dangerous? According to an old joke, it’s the nut behind the wheel. The very best security system in the world will fail if a fast-talking stranger convinces you to turn it off. Penetration testers and security analysts scan for system vulnerabilities, and very effectively, too. Laura Bell, founder and lead consultant at SafeStack, explained to Black Hat attendees that we need to test the human side of security as well.

UK-Based Carphone Warehouse Hack Could Affect Up To 2.4M Customers – Today, UK-based mobile retailer Carphone Warehouse shared with its customers that it had been the subject of a “sophisticated” cyber attack, potentially laying bare the personal details of 2.4M of its customers. If that wasn’t bad enough, credit card information for upwards of 90,000 of those customers might be running out and about, too. The company found out about the attack last week, which affected its arm that runs the sites: OneStopPhoneShop.com, e2save.com and Mobiles.co.uk. The names, addresses and worst of all, bank details, “may” have been accessed. Which means it was, especially since the “attack” “may” have lasted for nearly two weeks.

Here’s How Hackers Steal Fingerprints From Your Phone – Fingerprint scans, retina prints, and even heart signatures are touted as security silver bullets. Hackers can guess your password, but they can’t guess your fingerprints, right? Not exactly. FireEye’s senior staff research scientist, Tao Wei, and fellow researcher Yulong Zhang took the stage at Black Hat in Las Vegtas to show all the ways they found to defeat fingerprint scanners on mobile phones.

Hacking For Cause: Today’s Growing Cyber Security Trend – What do the following data-breach headlines from the past year have in common? The Sony Pictures hack: Everything we know so far; Anonymous hackers release emails ordering bear cubs be killed; Hackers threaten to release names from adultery website … Connecting the dots yet?

Company News:

Apple’s App Store Saw $1.7B in Billings And Broke Customer Records In July – Perhaps to counter concerns over iPhone sales and China, Apple this week released numbers related to the App Store’s growth that demonstrate the very real impact China is having on its app ecosystem and developer community. The company said that, in July, it had its largest number of transacting customers with over $1.7 billion in billings. In addition, the same month broke records for China, too, which also saw the largest number of transacting customers, Apple said. To date, the company has paid out $33 billion to App Store developers, it said – $8 billion of which was in 2015 alone. For comparison’s sake, just over a year ago, Apple said it had paid $20 billion to developers.

Microsoft will let shareholders nominate board members – Microsoft added a provision to its bylaws Friday that allowed shareholders with a significant stake in the company to directly nominate up to two candidates to its board of directors. With the change, Microsoft will allow consortiums of up to 20 shareholders, who have owned a combined 3 percent stake in Microsoft for the past three years, to put forward nominations for up to 2 candidates or 20 percent of the board, whichever is larger. Functionally, that means a very small number of people and institutional investors have the power to nominate board members through the process.

Nuance beats Q3 expectations on strong healthcare revenue – Nuance released its third quarter earnings report Thursday after the bell. The voice recognition software giant posted a net loss of $39.4 million, or 13 cents per share (statement). Wall Street was expecting earnings of 28 cents per share on revenue of $480.36 million. While Nuance’s results are in line with expectations, the company still blamed currency fluctuations — a common scapegoat in earnings misses this year — for stifling revenue growth. Nuance said that if Q3 2014 currency rates were applied to the same quarter this year, revenue would have been approximately $17 million higher.

Games and Entertainment:

Here are some of the best games for Android right now (pictures) – Have some time to kill and an Android phone or tablet? Check out a few of our favorite Android games.

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Dungeon Hunter 5

X-wings, pirates and a generic Lara: Gamescom 2015 – Missed all the news, announcements and hype that’s been pouring out of Gamescom over the last few days? Worry not, as we carve a path through the hype to bring you all the stories that matter from the Germany-based games show.

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Battleborn is the best game of Gamescom 2015 – Battleborn is a team-based first-person shooter developed by the deranged minds behind the Borderlands series. It plays very much like Borderlands, which makes it an immediate pick-up-and-frag experience, but it has a great deal of extra depth and variety. The cast of 25 heroes starts with a conventional rifle-wielding soldier — his name’s Oscar Mike and he was the one I played my way through the Gamescom level with — but quickly expands to include characters you wouldn’t expect to find in an FPS, such as the katana-wielding Rath and the “unhinged chaos witch” Orendi.

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Microsoft’s NFL partnership enters next generation with new apps – With the start of the U.S. professional football season around the corner, Microsoft unveiled the new tech it’s going to be providing coaches and fans this season as part of its ongoing partnership with the National Football League. Fans get an updated NFL app for the Xbox One and Windows 10 that provides them with video content, stats, replays and fantasy football information about their favorite teams, while coaches and players will be using new Surface Pro 3 tablets that help them strategize on the sidelines.

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Dark Souls 3: The return of the king – In Bloodborne, the faster speed replaced Dark Souls’ shield: why block when you can dodge? While Dark Souls 3 won’t be doing away with shields, the raised tempo does encourage you to use it less and instead wield a second weapon in your off hand or equip a single, larger weapon that requires the use of both hands. It also reduces the quantity of excuses you can use for when you die. And yeah, you’ll still die. A lot. This is the hardest Dark Souls yet. Extra speed doesn’t equate to reduced challenge. Weapons and certain attacks have been modified to fit that increased sense of alacrity too. While I only handled a few of the game’s tools at Gamescom—and there’s no guarantee that they won’t be altered before launch—there’s definitely more focus on being ballsier during combat.

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Alienware Alpha consolized gaming PC for $400 – So, what are the specs like for this mini gaming rig? It sports a dual-core 2.9GHz Intel Core i3-4130T CPU, a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M+ graphics card with 2GB of GDDR5, 4GB of DDR3L RAM (1600MHz), a 500GB hard drive, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi support. It also comes with a wireless Xbox 360 controller and a USB receiver. Combine those with Alienware’s custom 10-foot interface, and this is just like a real console experience — the only major difference here is the Alpha can do way more. At its core, this is still just a PC running Windows.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Are connected cars worth the risk? – The standard response from security pros is simple: get better at maintaining your software. Cars are connected to the wild and woolly internet now, so manufacturers need to get better at finding and patching bugs. Automatic updates mean cars have to be even more connected, so that a car company’s security team can remotely patch security holes as quickly as attackers find them. Once you’re plugged in, the logic goes, you have to plug in all the way. But why connect cars to the internet at all? Why not give up your Wi-Fi hotspot in exchange for not having to worry about getting totaled by a software vulnerability? Maybe the risks of the connected car now outweigh the benefits. Why are we so committed to the connected car?

NASA Tools Let You Take a Virtual Trek Across Mars – Experts say that NASA will be ready to send human explorers to Mars by the 2030s, but let’s face it—the chances of you visiting the martian planet in your lifetime are pretty slim. Fortunately, you don’t need a space shuttle or special training to explore Mars—you can now do it from the comfort of home. NASA this week released two new online tools that “open the mysterious terrain of the Red Planet to a new generation of explorers, inviting the public to help with its journey to Mars.”

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Cops filmed behaving badly say pot shop’s camera illegally recorded raid – Did you hear the one about the cops not wanting to use a store’s surveillance tape to help solve a crime? Who could blame these Santa Ana cops? Video shows them smashing surveillance cameras, badmouthing a woman in a wheelchair, and perhaps even munching on marijuana-infused products after they stormed a medical marijuana shop in Southern California, which was being investigated for allegedly operating unlawfully in the city.

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Thermos Smart Lid bottle tracks your drinking habit – The bottle also has a capacity-sensing tube that keep tabs on the water’s temperature — never again do you have to taste the water to see if it is warm. The bottle has a 24oz capacity, uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone, and has a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. The bottle will cost $59.99 USD when it launches.

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Here’s Why Email Puts You in a Nasty Mood – Your alarm goes off, you roll over, grab your phone, and flicker your eyes open. You squint in the glow of the blue and it begins: You’re scrolling through notifications, emails, texts. It’s already been shown that emailing after business hours can be psychologically damaging, but new research published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology confirms what you probably know in your gut to be true: workers who are expected to be available even when they aren’t at work experience an elevated stress response.

10 embarrassingly lazy things you do with your phone – Face it: Your smartphone is an enabler. Thanks to your handy little always-connected pocket device, you now no longer have to do anything that requires any effort , whether that’s interacting with other human beings or getting out of bed to turn off the lights. In fact, you’ve almost reached the heady heights of those fat future blob humans in WALL-E (goals, right?). Here are 10 super lazy—er, super-efficient—things you do with your phone (even if you won’t admit it).

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Text your roommate

Predator or prey? The eyes tell all, say scientists – Staring into the eyes of a wild animal might seem like an invitation to make you a meal, but new research suggests pupil shape is enough to reassure you or not. A team at UC Berkeley discovered that the ecological niche within which an animal sits – whether it hunts or is hunted, and when and how that hunt takes place – is a strong predictor of the pupil shape of that animal. The study saw vision scientist Martin Banks, who is a professor of optometry at UC Berkeley, collaborate with Durham University in the UK, investigating whether earlier theories around slitted eyes and circular pupils were indeed connected with feeding habits. In contrast, species with vertical slit pupils are more likely to ambush prey rather than chase it, and be active both day and night.

Something to think about:

Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.”

–     Jack Canfield

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Major psychological association bans cooperation with CIA following torture scandal – The American Psychological Association made a nearly unanimous decision today to bar psychologists from participating in national security interrogations, The New York Times reports. The decision was a response to an independent report that came out last month, detailing how top APA officials and psychiatrists participated in the CIA’s torture program during the Bush administration.

The APA’s council of representatives voted on the measure at the organization’s convention in Toronto. The one dissenting vote came from Col. Larry James, who used to be the top Army intelligence psychologist at Guantánamo Bay, according to Democracy Now. The convention was the APA’s first since the release of the “Hoffman Report,” an independent review conducted by Chicago lawyer David Hoffman looking at the organization’s role in the US enhanced interrogation program. The report showed how the APA secretly worked with the Department of Defense, the CIA, and the White House to come up with ethical guidelines that would allow the torture program to continue without legal fallout.

Rand Paul And Chris Christie Spar Over NSA Surveillance – The exchange really highlighted what advocates for reigning in NSA spying are up against, and if the applause from the crowd was anything to go off of, it’s a depressingly uphill battle.

Fortunately, at least, last night’s exchange should keep the conversation going.

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Apple, Google should give FBI every last drop of user information, says ex-HP CEO and wannabe US prez Carly Fiorina – Former HP CEO and current presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina says Apple and Google should just hand user information over to government investigators.

Speaking Thursday at the Republican party’s presidential debates, Fiorina said companies should be more willing to cooperate with requests from federal investigators to produce customer information.

“I do not believe that we need to wholesale destroy every American citizen’s privacy in order to go after those that we know are suspect or are – are already a problem,” Fiorina told the debate moderator.

“But yes, there is more collaboration required between private sector companies and the public sector.”

Later in the debate, when asked specifically if Apple and Google should give the FBI unfettered access to their systems, Fiorina responded, “I absolutely would call on them to collaborate and cooperate, yes.”

Both Apple and Google have drawn the ire of government investigators by resisting efforts to decrypt and hand over personal information.

Australia: Telco national security law passage planned for spring – The Australian government has announced its intention to both introduce and pass the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment Bill during the spring sitting of parliament, a law that would require telecommunications companies to increase network protection and allow government agencies to intervene for the purpose of protecting national security.

The government announced at the end of June its intention to amend the Telecommunications Act with additional national security-related measures. Under the proposed changes (PDF), released by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis on June 26, telcos “must do their best” to protect their networks against unauthorised access, or risk facing fines.

The Bill provides the secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, in consultation with the head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the secretary of the Department of Communications, with the power to force carriers to provide information and refrain from undertaking certain activities on their networks, with the threat of fines to ensure compliance.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – August 10, 2015

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – July 31, 2015

Facebook pushes out Security Checkup tool worldwide;  Can your old PC run Windows 10?  14 Apps to Jumpstart Your College Social Life;  What Businesses Need to Know About Windows 10 Security;  New exploit renders Android phones mute and useless;  KFC’s new mobile gimmick is a photo-printing bucket;  Google Translate app adds 20 more languages;   6 ways to watch televised news without paying for cable or satellite TV;  How to do a clean install of Windows 10;  Windows 10 laptops and tablets: Your upgrade guide;  Top Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts;  Uber wants to recruit your grandma as a driver;  Hacker shows he can locate, unlock and remote start GM vehicles;  Sony has sold 25 million PS4, sales double that of Xbox One and Xbox 360;  Man shoots down drone hovering over house;  Titanfall to get free-to-play version in Asia;  Top Gear’s Old Crew Signs With Amazon For New Show.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook pushes out Security Checkup tool worldwide – Security Checkup was designed to walk users through all the security tools available to them, one by one, while asking them which ones they would like on or off. Initial steps include logging out from devices that haven’t been used for Facebook access in awhile as well as email alerts for attempted logins from unfamiliar devices or apps. This is not to be confused with Privacy Checkup, a step-by-step guide published to the platform last September.

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Google Translate app adds 20 more languages – Designed for both iOS and Android, the Google Translate app is adding 20 new languages. You’ll be able to translate to and from English with Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. For Hindi and Thai, you’ll be able to do one-way translations from English.

6 ways to watch televised news without paying for cable or satellite TV – Being able to watch the news is one of the biggest reasons people stay tethered to an expensive pay-TV subscription. In a recent Comscore survey, 58 percent of subscribers said the news was important to their viewing habits—more than any other TV category. But nowadays, you don’t need a cable TV package to stay informed. If anything, streaming video is a better way to keep up with the news, offering more choices and broader perspectives compared to the big cable-news networks. And in many cases, you don’t have to pay a dime. Read on for the best ways to watch the round-the-clock news without a big channel bundle.

Cloud storage alternatives: Three ways to sync your own data securely and privately – Cloud storage is convenient, but you can remove any concerns about security or other issues if you do what they do yourself.

Yahoo unveils Livetext, allowing people to text using silent videos – Yahoo on Wednesday unveiled a new video texting app, called Livetext, which the company hopes can revive its relevance for smartphone users. The twist for this service is that the videos don’t have sound. The app will be available for free Thursday on phones running Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems in the US, Canada, UK, France and Germany, as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan, where it’s available now.

Can your old PC run Windows 10? – For a modern operating system with an vast range of capabilities, Windows 10 is an incredibly lean and mean operating system. To find out just how lean though, I decided to install Windows 10 on a few ancient PCs to see how well it runs. The actual experience might surprise you.

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The “Vista Capable” machine

Windows 10 guide to downloading and loading from a USB stick – Today upgrades to Windows 10 begin to be unleashed by Microsoft for all the most modern computers, including yours. Microsoft is releasing this operating system upgrade for free for most users – assuming they’ve got a Windows operating system from the past couple of generations — if you’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8, you should be safe. Today we’re having a peek at how simple it is to load Windows 10 to your computer using a disk image (ISO file) downloaded from Microsoft to a USB stick.

How to do a clean install of Windows 10 – If you have a Windows 7 or 8 computer, you can install Microsoft’s new Windows 10 OS completely for free. If you choose to follow this method Windows 10 will bring along all of your data, apps and most of your system settings from your older OS. Which can adversely affect performance. This post will show you how to change that and get a clean install of Windows 10 onto your computer. This is possible to do both after you’ve already upgraded to Windows 10 and before, when your computer still runs Windows 7 or 8.

Top Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts – Windows 10 is available and as with any OS if you want to get the most out of it you need to know a few keyboard shortcuts. Here are the Windows 10 shortcuts that will make your life easier, both the new entries and old favourites from earlier iterations of the OS.

Windows 10 laptops and tablets: Your upgrade guide – Are you seeking a new laptop, hybrid or tablet on which to run Windows 10? We asked the leading PC vendors to identify suitable products in a number of categories.

How to play DVDs in Windows 10 for free – Windows 10 brings a lot of good stuff to the table, but it also takes away some key functionality that Windows 7 users might miss. In Windows 10, you have to say goodbye to Windows Media Center and with it, the ability to play DVDs natively. Microsoft said in May it would have a native solution for DVD playback to make up for those who lost it. Originally this app was supposed to show up later in the year, but Microsoft’s solution is already available. In my tests, however, the app doesn’t work perfectly. Luckily, there are other options.

The big three record labels threaten to boycott YouTube, according to reports – According to the New York Post, Universal, Sony and Warner are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with YouTube’s monetization efforts. The labels reportedly feel the site isn’t serious when it comes to monetizing their content. Another gripe stems from how the Google-owned site retains complete control over everything from ad policy to the sales channel. The report says the big three could even go “nuclear,” meaning they could resort to pulling their music catalogs from the site.

Windows 10 ‘Service Release 1’ expected to roll out next month – SR1 will be a maintenance update, focusing on adding polish and stability to the OS, so don’t expect any new features. As more people continue to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft will gather more telemetry from the OS in action, and will no doubt use that data to help inform development of future maintenance releases. Of course, bug fixes are always welcome, but they’re not terribly exciting. However, as we’ve previously reported, Microsoft is planning a further, larger update to be released this October. This update will focus heavily on improving stability too, but it will also mark the arrival of several key features that the company has already announced.

14 Apps to Jumpstart Your College Social Life – College is filled with all sorts of confused, eager folks like you. It can be difficult to find your footing, socially. You’ll have the dorm, the quad, and the cafeteria. But surely there is more! Well, lucky for you, there is, college face. Thanks to technology, the entire world is just a few taps away.

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College is nothing without friends. Here’s 14 ways to find your social footing on and off campus.

Mozilla blasts Microsoft for making it harder to switch to Firefox in Windows 10 – Microsoft has altered Windows 10 so that users have to explicitly set a default app for applications like mail, calendar, or web browsers. The change means the setup installers for Chrome and Firefox can no longer set themselves as the default browser during the install process. Mozilla isn’t happy with this change, and the company is calling on Microsoft to reverse what it calls an “aggressive move to override user choice on Windows 10.”

Microsoft to offer a free 90 day trial of Windows 10 Enterprise – Windows 10 is Microsoft’s most secure OS to date and offers improved security and device management options for large corporations.. In order to entice more corporate customers, Microsoft is now offering up a 90-day trial for Windows 10. Those running Windows 10 Enterprise as an Insider should also be aware that the preview will end on October 1, with notifications of the impending closure starting in September. After that, customers must either register for the 90-day evaluation or purchase the full product to continue using it.

Security:

There’s (Almost) Nothing You Can Do About Stagefright – Move over Heartbleed, there’s a new ominously named digital threat that has the potential to engulf hundreds of millions of people. It’s called Stagefright, and the information security community fears that 950 million Android phones are at risk of succumbing to the exploit. While most Android hacks at least require victims to make some kind of mistake, like getting tricked into downloading malware, the Stagefright vulnerability could already be on nearly a billion Android phones regardless of what users do.

Hacker shows he can locate, unlock and remote start GM vehicles – A security researcher has posted a video on YouTube demonstrating how a device he made can intercept wireless communications to locate, unlock and remotely start GM vehicles that use the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app. Samy Kamkar, who refers to himself as a hacker and whistleblower, posted the video today showing him using a device he calls OwnStar. The device, he said, intercepts communications between GM’s OnStar RemoteLink mobile app and the OnStar cloud service.

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Samy Kamkar stands next to a Chevy Volt that he used to demonstrate how he could hack into the GM’s OnStar mobile app in order to unlock and start the car. Credit: Samy Kamkar

New exploit renders Android phones mute and useless – Another day, another critical Android vulnerability. This time, it might be slightly less serious than Stagefright but still enough to be worrisome. Popular security Trend Mirco came upon this vulnerability in Android’s mediaserver component that, when given a malformed MKV media file, could render the device unresponsive and completely silent, practically locking out the user from his or her device. The one slight good news is that this exploit requires installing a malicious app or visiting a suspicious website, which, sadly, isn’t that hard to get users to do.

Researchers develop astonishing Web-based attack on a computer’s DRAM – Millions of Web users could be vulnerable to an attack on their computer’s DRAM via the Web, a surprising development that expands on a bug that has increasingly worried computer security experts. It has been known for several years that densely packed memory cells on computers are vulnerable to intentional interference. But a new research paper details how an attack could be conducted over the Web, dramatically increasing the danger to users.

How the way you type can shatter anonymity—even on Tor – Security researchers have refined a long-theoretical profiling technique into a highly practical attack that poses a threat to Tor users and anyone else who wants to shield their identity online. The technique collects user keystrokes as an individual enters usernames, passwords, and other data into a website. After a training session that typically takes less than 10 minutes, the website—or any other site connected to the website—can then determine with a high degree of certainty when the same individual is conducting subsequent online sessions. The profiling works by measuring the minute differences in the way each person presses keys on computer keyboards. Since the pauses between keystrokes and the precise length of time each key is pressed are unique for each person, the profiles act as a sort of digital fingerprint that can betray its owner’s identity.

What Businesses Need to Know About Windows 10 Security – Windows 10 has a lot of security features built-in for businesses, but they aren’t all ready out of the box yet.

Company News:

Uber wants to recruit your grandma as a driver – Uber, at least until autonomous cars dot the landscape, needs drivers. It has already hawked its driving perks at teachers, stay-at-home moms, poor college students, and anyone else who wants extra money and has a decent car. Now the ridesharing company has partnered with Life Reimagined, an AARP non-profit subsidiary, to dangle its driving “partnerships” at the organization’s members. Uber will be making appearances at some Life Reimagined events, among other things, targeting “Americans over 40”.

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Groupon Launches Its Own Food Delivery Business, Groupon To Go – Following its acquisition of food delivery service OrderUp earlier this month, Groupon is today announcing its own nationwide delivery and takeout service, Groupon To Go. The program is initially available in Chicago, where it has been in pilot testing with 500 restaurants since March, but the company says it will expand to other metro regions throughout the year, including Boston and Austin this fall. While there are now a number of on-demand food delivery businesses on the market, a big differentiator for Groupon’s service is that it claims it will save its customers up to 10 percent on every order.

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MasterCard and Samsung extend partnership in Europe for Samsung Pay – Samsung and MasterCard have been working together on Samsung Pay for about a year now. Last year MasterCard announced that it would provide tokenization services for Samsung Pay. These tokenization services allow for secure transactions and a fast connection to banks in the US. Samsung and MasterCard have now announced that they have extended their partnership in Europe.

Huawei is now the third largest vendor of phones, leaving Microsoft behind – Huawei is now the third largest vendor of smartphones if a report from Strategy Analytics is to be believed. The spot, previously held by Microsoft after its acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, was taken by Huawei after strong sales of over 30 million devices in 2015, garnering it 7% of the total market. The company was, however, preceded by Samsung and Apple, as the largest and second largest, with 20.5% and 10.9% of the global marketshare, respectively.

AT&T refuses to pay $100 million FCC fine, suggests $16,000 max – AT&T was hit with a massive $100 million fine by the FCC several weeks ago in response to its throttling of unlimited data customers, but now the carrier is asking that decision to be reversed. Even if it cannot get the commission’s verdict set aside, it’s asking that the fine be capped at a much lower amount. What does AT&T think is reasonable? $16,000 max. So, that’s 0.016% of the original fine.

LinkedIn Beats Analyst Estimates With $712M In Q2 Revenue – LinkedIn’s earnings today beat analyst expectations in dramatic fashion, sending the stock up as much as 14 percent in extended trading after it released its second-quarter results. The company reported earnings of 55 cents per share and revenue of $712 million. Analysts estimated that the company would bring in 30 cents per share on $680.3 million in revenue.

Sony Posts $780M Profit On Strong PlayStation And Sensor Businesses – The Japanese firm posted quarterly revenue of $14.5 billion, down a mere 0.1 percent year-on-year. Back in February, the firm announced a major restructure with a focus on entertainment and its financial results reflected that. Sony said that increased business for its music division — which saw income jump 173 year-on-year to $256 million — devices business which sells camera sensors for smartphones — up 164 percent to $244 million — and games division — up 350 percent to $157 million — were the stellar performers.

Games and Entertainment:

Exploding Kittens, the most-funded game in Kickstarter history, is now shipping – Exploding Kittens holds the record for the most backers in Kickstarter history (219,382 — a record is still reportedly holds, at least according to whatkickstarterprojecthasthemostbackers.com). It’s also the #1 most funded game and #4 most funded project of all time with $8.78 million (just above Ouya and just below the original Pebble). The game was scheduled for release in July, and with just one day to go, Exploding Kittens is now shipping.

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Dying Light: The Following expansion pack brings dune buggies – Techland has taken the wraps off its upcoming expansion pack for Dying Light, and it is said to be a big one. Dying Light: The Following will bring with it dune buggies (image after the jump), as well as what are referred to as other “bold game-changers” by the developer. To get an idea of the size of the upcoming expansion, its producer Tymon Smektala said that the new map is as big as all of the game’s previous maps in one, meaning gamers are in for something huge.

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Blizzard teases new World of Warcraft expansion reveal on August 6 – The reveal is set to happen at Gamescom 2015, which runs between August 5-9. Blizzard has given us an exact date and time of August 6 at 9am PDT (noon EST). It forms part of a World of Warcraft special event that is being streamed live from the show in Germany. After that, a World of Warcraft developer chat is set to happen on August 9 at 8am PDT (11am EST) where there will be further discussion about the new expansion.

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Angry Birds 2 Review: riddled with potential and purchases – Today we’re having a peek at the next big release from Rovio, the game called Angry Birds 2. The name is a strange one, coming from a company that’s actually releasing its THIRTEENTH Angry Birds game this week, but it is a return to the basics… in a sense… anyway. No seasons here, no special characters or cross-brand relationships. Just Angry Birds and their popping of Pigs. And a whole lot of extras. Lots of extras. So many extra features that you’re going to get confused at what you’re looking at.

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Sony has sold 25 million PS4, sales double that of Xbox One and Xbox 360 – Sony has now sold 25.3 million PS4 since launch and is predicting 16.5 million will sell this financial year. That means by the end of March 2016 there will be 38.8 million of them in homes around the world. As you’d expect, Sony is seeing healthy income from its gaming products, with console, software, and peripheral purchases all contributing to the Game & Network Services division’s $2.365 billion sales total for the quarter. This will be helped further by that new model PS4 that’s cheaper to manufacture.

Titanfall to get free-to-play version in Asia – Titanfall, the hit mech-based first-person shooter originally released for Xbox and PC last year, is probably the last title you’d expect to go free-to-play, but that’s what’s happening. But don’t expect it to be showing up on your smartphone or tablet, where free-to-play games are a dime-a-dozen. Instead, Titanfall will be getting a special PC release just for the Asian market, where the free-to-play genre is huge, thanks to a partnership between the game’s makers and Japan’s Nexon.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Meet Aquila, Facebook’s unmanned Internet drone – At 140 feet, it has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but carries no passengers—and it’s much lighter too, weighing in at no more than 1,000 pounds. And within the next couple months, Facebook hopes to get its drone off the ground on an inaugural test flight. Named Aquila, the aircraft is the product of more than a year’s work at the social networking giant. Its function is not to drop retail items from the clouds like Amazon’s drones, but to provide Internet access to the hundreds of millions of people who don’t have it in under-served parts of the world. Facebook aims to partner with carriers and other companies to provide connectivity, potentially at a lower cost than typical infrastructure like cell phone towers.

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Smart Sniper Rifle Vulnerable to Hacks – Almost anything with an integrated computer can be hacked—including a smart sniper rifle. Married security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger spent a year hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles. During next week’s Black Hat convention in Las Vegas, the couple will show off techniques that allow an attacker to take control of the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection.

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Dashcam catches off-duty cop threatening to put ‘hole in head’ of driver – Technically Incorrect: A Massachusetts driver makes a wrong turn. What happens next, all filmed on his dashcam, has led to an investigation. And yes, it’s now on YouTube.

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Man shoots down drone hovering over house – A Kentucky man thinks it unacceptable when a drone floats over his property. So he shoots it down. Then the drone’s owners come calling.

KFC’s new mobile gimmick is a photo-printing bucket – These days, fastfood chains are thinking up of unusual and sometimes bizarre marketing stunts to appeal to today’s mobile generation? Remember the Pizza Hut projector box in Hong Kong? Or how about KFC’s Bluetooth keyboard food tray? It seems that the latter is at it again. Its Canadian branch will soon be celebrating its 60th anniversary and to honor that memory, it is going to help their devoted customers make their own memories. How? By turning their boring chicken buckets into instant photo printing machine.

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Ask Cortana anything: Snarky answers to 59 burning questions – Cortana spits out funny responses on topics ranging from Siri to Surface to Steve Ballmer. She makes jokes and explains her Halo-inspired lineage. Here are 59 of the funniest answers we’ve found while goofing around. (Screenshots were taken from Windows Phone 8.1, rather than Windows 10, hence the stark interface.) And remember: Cortana may be one of the standout features of Windows 10, but before long she’ll spread her wings beyond Microsoft’s garden, landing in iOS and Android later this year.

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Top Gear’s Old Crew Signs With Amazon For New Show – The original trio behind popular U.K. TV show Top Gear will be back sooner rather than later as they signed a deal with Amazon. Amazon Prime members in the U.K. will be able to stream the new car show starting in 2016. Prime members in the U.S., Japan, Austria and Germany should get the new show, too, as the company talks about a “global TV deal.”

Something to think about:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

–      Apple Inc.

Today’s Free Downloads:

RoboCrypt – RoboCrypt is an encrypted data backup application for Windows, combining the functionality of freely available utilities to backup data.

The application uses TrueCrypt, freely available to create and utilize encrypted backup files and/or volumes. The application also uses the available utilities from Microsoft (Robocopy, VShadow, and PowerShell) to allow you to backup data and optionally use Microsoft Volume Shadow Services for snapshot backups and PowerShell to send notification emails upon backup completion.

This program has been designed to work with Windows XP/Server 2003/Vista/7/8.x/Server 2008. A help file in PDF format is included to give more details on how the program works.

Below are some key features with RoboCrypt :

Uses TrueCrypt to create an encrypted file or volume backup destination

Uses Microsoft Robocopy with user control over the major data copy functions to backup data

Uses Microsoft VShadow to create Volume Shadow Services snapshots of data to allow for backup of open files (ie. servers)

Uses Microsoft PowerShell to create summary emails that can be sent to notify a system administrator of a completed backup

RoboCrypt can check current data size vs projected data backup size to warn users of data overflow to the encrypted destination

Right-clicking on a folder in Windows Explorer can allow a user to use the RoboCrypt One-Time Backup feature to backup data to a currently defined data set.  This is for a quick backup of critical data if there is not enough time for a full backup

Encryption of saved TrueCrypt passwords and email account username/passwords

File date/time modification functionality will allow the user to define files that should have the dates and times modified to the current date/time to force the file to be backed up with Robocopy

Ability to run a pre-process or post-process around the data backup

Ability to verify backed up data using CRC32, MD5, or SHA-1 methods

Windows Task Scheduler can be used to schedule an automated backup of a system daily, weekly, etc.

Command-line options allow custom icons to be created for automated backups with RoboCrypt.  Command-line options are explained in the included help file.

Multiple language support included by copying and modifying the included English.rlf file (standard text file)

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Germany orders Facebook to let users choose fake names – Facebook’s policy of forcing users to use their real names on the social network has been under fire for some time now from privacy advocates and those in the LGBT community who feel discriminated against. But now a privacy watchdog in Germany has said that is unacceptable in the country, and ordered Facebook to begin allowing users under pseudonyms. The Hamburg data protection authority ruled that the network’s real name policy is in violation of Germany’s privacy laws.

GAO To Congress: Revisit Privacy Concerns Over Facial Recognition Technology – Today, Senator Al Franken announced a new report by the GAO on the use of facial recognition technology. Franken has been on the side of looking into the privacy implications on that type of tech and says today that the report shows that there needs to be a set of federal standards in place before widely adopted.

Franken said in a release:

Over the past several years, we’ve seen tremendous growth in the use of facial recognition technologies, and it has profound implications for consumer privacy. Facial recognition tracks you in the real world—from cameras stationed on street corners and in shopping centers, and through photographs taken by friends and strangers alike. Last year, I asked the government’s independent investigative agency to examine the privacy implications of the commercial use of facial recognition technology.

The newly released report raises serious concerns about how companies are collecting, using, and storing our most sensitive personal information. I believe that all Americans have a fundamental right to privacy, which is why it’s important that, at the very least, the tech industry adopts strong, industry-wide standards for facial recognition technology. But what we really need are federal standards that address facial recognition privacy by enhancing our consumer privacy framework.

Companies like Facebook and Google use face-recognition technology to tag you in photos, for example, but as you could imagine, this technology could be used for nefarious things if it’s in the wrong hands (like The Terminator, with the wrong intentions). This unofficial Glass app was an example of something that got Franken and others riled up.

After publishing secret spy docs, German news site investigated for treason – A well-known German political and tech news website has received (English translation here) a nearly unprecedented letter from the German Federal Public Prosecutor, saying that two of the site’s top editors are being investigated for treason after having published secret government documents earlier this year.

Netzpolitik.org’s two earlier articles (one in February and another in April) detailed the proposed surveillance expansion of social networks by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, an intelligence agency.

“We don’t know if we should cry or not,” Markus Beckedahl, the site’s editor-in-chief, told Ars from Berlin. He was specifically named as one of the targets of the investigation, along with Andre Meister, another top editor. A third target, named “Unknown,” was also mentioned in the letter.

Opponents focus on defeating CISA cyberthreat info-sharing bill – Opponents of a U.S. Senate bill intended to encourage businesses to share information about cyberthreats may have stalled a vote on the legislation. Recent news reports had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushing for a vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) before a four-week summer recess starting Aug. 10, but a spokesman for the Kentucky Republican said Thursday there were no immediate plans for a vote. CISA would give businesses immunity from customer lawsuits when they share information about cyberthreats with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but opponents of the legislation say it would allow businesses to share personal information about customers. DHS could then pass that personal information on to the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies, critics say.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – July 29, 2015

Windows 10 begins its rollout to 190 countries;  Your Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 10 ;  Windows 10: Nine things you need to know;  3 tips for a hassle-free Windows 10 upgrade;  Windows 10: The best tricks, tips, and tweaks;  10 things Windows 10 does better than Windows 8;  The Best FREE Antivirus for 2015;  How to lock and unlock your USB ports;  How to really delete a file in Windows;  How to recycle your phone for cash;  Microsoft sinks in antivirus tests, as Avira, Bitdefender hit top scores;  Play GTA V (and anything else) in your browser thanks to Windows tool;   Most Android phones at risk from simple text hack;  PS4 gets a mini keyboard and mouse this November;  Critical vulnerability in Apple App Store, iTunes revealed;  How to lock and unlock your USB ports;  12 Ways Tech Can Land You in Jail… Or Worse.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Windows 10 begins its rollout to 190 countries – The day has finally arrived. Microsoft has opened the floodgates and started the ball rolling to bring Windows 10 to desktops, laptops, and tablets everywhere. And by everywhere, we mean a whopping 190 countries. Naturally, Microsoft is in a very celebratory mood, though some might think it’s a bit too early to party. Nonetheless, there is no stopping the latest version of Windows from making or breaking the company’s legacy, setting its tone for the next 10 years or so as Microsoft navigates the waters of a mobile-centric world.

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Your Complete Guide to Microsoft Windows 10 – Microsoft is rolling out Windows 10 beginning at 12 a.m. ET Wednesday morning. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest Windows operating system before installing it.

Windows 10: Nine things you need to know – Have burning questions about Microsoft’s operating system? Here are some answers.

3 tips for a hassle-free Windows 10 upgrade – If you’ve got a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC, you’re eligible for a free upgrade, and there’s a lot to love about Windows 10, from new features to under-the-hood tweaks to a much-needed interface revamp. Before you upgrade, however, there some things you can do to make your migration to the next chapter in Windows history as seamless as possible.

8 Windows 10 settings you should change right away – Before you do anything else, change these Windows 10 settings!

10 things Windows 10 does better than Windows 8 – Fixing the Start menu is just the beginning. Windows 10 brings many other good changes, and we show you the best ones here.

Windows 10: The best tricks, tips, and tweaks – Windows 10, Microsoft’s back-to-basics re-embracing of the PC, is already brimming with handy new features, and with all the new goodies comes with a legion of new tweaks and tricks—some of which unlock powerful functionality hidden to everyday users. Here are some of the most useful Windows 10 tweaks, tricks, and tips we’ve found.

Walmart selling $100 tablet with free Windows 10 upgrade – Windows 10 is the next big thing, and those wanting to try it on a small tablet should check out the Nextbook Flexx 8 for $99.99 at Walmart.

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Download: Windows 10 ISOs – If you need to download Windows 10 ISOs, Microsoft has now opened up the download page and you can find the download links after the jump so that you can begin installing the OS.

Windows 10 alternatives that won’t disappoint – This gallery highlights various OSs that are, for most users, adequate replacements for Windows 10. Many of the options featured here can be used in VirtualBox, if you prefer to give it a spin without dual-booting or formatting your system.

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Google’s Chrome OS

How to lock and unlock your USB ports – External flash and hard drives can be used to deliver malware or steal sensitive files. Here’s how to control who can use them.

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Amazon Prime Music Arrives in the U.K. – More than a year after launching in the U.S., the streaming service is expanding to Britain, where members can access tens of thousands of albums from chart toppers to classic artists.

Next-gen Android One phone launches in India for $176 – The Lava Pixel V1 offers a solid value for the price, combining mid-range hardware with the latest Android software updates from Google.

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Meet the $329 Phone Everyone’s Been Waiting For – OnePlus, a rising smartphone star in China, released a new, top-of-the-line product this morning. It’s a smartphone called the OnePlus 2—an admittedly clever bit of mathematical marketing—and it’s billed as the “2016 Flagship Killer.” Translation: Dear Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Huawei, and LG: We’re comin’ for ya.

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How to really delete a file in Windows – On modern PCs, a file doesn’t actually go away when you hit the Delete key. The bits on your storage drive that represent that file simply get flipped to a hidden state, and they’re tagged to be written over by other bits later. This requires less time and processing power than scrubbing every deleted file off your hard drive. Gradually, bits from other files overlap the old file and eliminate it. This process could take seconds or weeks, depending on how much you use your drive and what kinds of files you’re putting on it. While Windows doesn’t have a built-in utility to truly delete a file, there are several free third-party tools.

How to recycle your phone for cash – Even if you’re not in the market for a new device, owners of ancient, cracked, and broken electronics that won’t even turn on can still cash in on this promise of recompense. Here are some practical tips about the different ways you can convert your phone into at least a little bit of cash — pointers that typically apply to big-ticket electronics, too, like digital cameras and laptops.

A list of all the Google Now voice commands – Here’s a list of just about everything you can say to Google Now. Try experimenting with different phrasing, you’ll be surprised how much it understands. The part of the phrase in [brackets] can be replaced with any similar term you choose. If Google Now doesn’t get your spoken commands right, you can correct it by saying “No, I said…” and trying the phrase again.

Security:

Most Android phones at risk from simple text hack, researcher says – The flaw, says researcher Zimperium, exists in the media playback tool built into Android, called Stagefright. Malicious hackers could take advantage of it by sending to an Android device a simple text message that, once received by the smartphone, would give them complete control over the handset and allow them to steal anything on it, such as credit card numbers or personal information.

Google pledges a speedy Stagefright security fix for Nexus devices – That still leaves the vast majority of the Android ecosystem unprotected unless the carriers and manufacturers apply Google’s fix.

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Critical vulnerability in Apple App Store, iTunes revealed – A critical flaw has been discovered in Apple’s App Store and iTunes invoice system which could result in session hijacking and malicious invoice manipulation. Revealed this week by security researcher Benjamin Kunz Mejri from Vulnerability Lab, the persistent injection flaw, deemed critical, is an application-side input validation web vulnerability. In an advisory, the researcher said the vulnerability allows remote attackers to inject malicious script codes into flawed content function and service modules.

The Best Free Antivirus for 2015 – Cybercriminals want your money, just like any other criminals. Installing free antivirus software lets you lock out the bad guys without paying a cent.

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Microsoft sinks in antivirus tests, as Avira, Bitdefender hit top scores – The latest antivirus scores from the Madgeburg, Germany-based testing lab AV-Test ranks Windows Defender as the worst-performing anti-malware app out of the 22 most common consumer products tested. Windows Defender, baked into the latest versions of Windows, scored just 9.5 points out of a total of 18.

How to disable Windows 10’s Wi-Fi Sense password sharing – Windows 10’s new Wi-Fi Sense feature is a powerful tool that takes the headache out of managing Wi-Fi connections on the run. With Wi-Fi Sense enabled, Windows 10 will automatically sign you into open Wi-Fi networks, as well as private networks that your Outlook.com, Skype, and Facebook contacts have logged into—so you won’t have to manually sign into the network when you visit your buddy’s house. As convenient as Wi-Fi Sense is, however, not everyone’s thrilled with it. Windows 10 enables Wi-Fi Sense by default, but you can disable it. Here’s how.

Company News:

Intel, Micron debut 3D XPoint storage technology that’s 1,000 times faster than current SSDs – Intel and Micron today unveiled their all-new memory technology called 3D XPoint (pronounced “cross-point”). This is a new class of memory that can be used both as system memory as well as nonvolatile storage. In other words, 3D XPoint can be used to replace both a computer’s RAM and its solid-state drive (SSD). The companies claim that 3D XPoint is a major breakthrough in memory process technology, the first new memory category since the introduction of NAND flash in 1989. It’s said to be extremely fast and durable, up to a thousand times faster (both in read and write speeds), and it will have higher endurance than existing NAND Flash memory currently being used in SSDs.

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Razer Buys Android-Based Game Console Maker Ouya – Razer purchased Ouya’s software assets, including its content catalog and online retail platform. As part of the deal, Ouya’s technical team and developer relations personnel will be joining Razer. Financial terms of the deal, which closed on June 12, were not disclosed. The acquisition does not include Ouya’s hardware business.

Twitter’s user growth skids to a stop – Twitter has been a slow-growth company for a while. The company on Tuesday warned investors that it’s essentially a no-growth company. “We do not expect to see sustained meaningful growth in [monthly active users] until we start to reach the mass market,” Twitter CFO Anthony Noto told analysts during the company’s second quarter conference call. “We expect that will take a considerable period of time.” Shares plunged more than 11 percent in after-hours trading.

Nokia jumps into virtual reality market with 360-degree Ozo camera – Nokia Technologies plans to return to the consumer market, focusing on virtual reality rather than the cell phones that made it famous. The Finnish company — what was left of the former cell phone giant after Microsoft bought its handset division last year — on Tuesday night unveiled Ozo, a next-generation camera for capturing 360-degree video and audio. Unveiled at an entertainment industry event in Los Angeles, the orb-shaped camera is designed for professional content creators rather than consumers.

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GoDaddy launches in Australia to target small businesses – After using Australia as a pilot market, GoDaddy has formally launched locally and has appointed Tara Commerford as the Australia and New Zealand country manager.

LinkedIn brings back simple, instant contact exports following user outrage – After dabbling with something new and far slower, LinkedIn is once again making it easy to grab a list of your contacts from the social network. This weekend, the company said it is reverting to its previous contact download process, which delivers all the data in CSV format. LinkedIn says it decided to go back to its old ways following user outrage over a new system that took 24 to 72 hours to prepare a download.

Games and Entertainment:

Play GTA V (and anything else) in your browser thanks to Windows tool – If your laptop doesn’t have the muscle to run a game like GTA V at anything approaching acceptable levels of quality, you might not need any beefy hardware in the first place. The developer of an app called Instant Webcam has adapted the underlying tools to make it possible to stream a game to any web browser, and it works “way better than it should.” The program is called jsmpeg-vnc, and it’s available for free and it’s open source.

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Final ‘CoD: Advanced Warfare’ DLC Arrives Aug. 4 – The fourth and final add-on pack for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Reckoning, arrives Aug. 4 on Xbox, with other platforms to follow. The DLC features new maps with the Exo Grapple mechanic for fast-paced multiplayer combat. The intense charts lead players from New Baghdad to South Korea in four very different scenarios:

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King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember review: An old classic gets a terrific new start – It’s a little friendlier and a lot more talkative than the King’s Quest games of yore, but this is an excellent sequel to/re-imagining of a long-dormant classic.

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The Witcher 3’s final free DLC is a New Game Plus mode – Already put 100+ hours into The Witcher 3? Tracked down every question mark on the map, looted every barrel, completed every Witcher Contract? What’s a monster-slayer to do when everything’s already been done? Wipe the map clean and start it all over again, obviously. CD Projekt Red confirmed today that The Witcher 3’s final piece of free DLC will be a New Game Plus (NG+) mode.

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PS4 gets a mini keyboard and mouse this November – Which input method is superior for gaming? If you’re talking about first-person shooters, then the answer is an obvious one: keyboard and mouse wins. I’m sure some gamers out there will argue against that, but the accuracy offered by this combination can’t be matched by thumbsticks on a typical console controller. Now PS4 (and PS3) owners will have the opportunity to experience such control because they are getting the option of a keyboard and mouse setup from Hori. It’s called the Tactical Assault Commander, and consists of a mini keyboard and mouse configuration.

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40 Movies and TV Shows Leaving Netflix in August – If you have doubts about the constant rotation of titles, check out the blog What’s On Netflix Now? which is doing a great job of tracking not only the movies and shows Netflix says are going, but the ones that disappear without warning. (Yes, that means more than 40 are probably leaving the service in August. C’mon, Netflix. Not cool.) This coming month, say good-bye to several Bruce Willis classics.

Off Topic (Sort of):

12 Ways Tech Can Land You in Jail… Or Worse – When we unbox a new gadget or download an app, we often hastily discard or dismiss the accompanying pages of dry documentation and fine print. But those pages may come back to haunt us as a lawsuit if they’re not properly heeded. Here are a few examples of how tweeting, jailbreaking, and even getting spam can put people on a precarious legal ledge that in some cases may cost them their lives.

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Facebook shares its diversity training course with all – Facebook on Tuesday launched a new page called “Managing Unconscious Bias,” which features a training course and several informational videos aimed at improving diversity in the workplace. The training course, which was developed by Facebook, educates would-be employers and job-seekers on the realities of bias in the hiring process. The training was previously provided to Facebook employees.

Nike’s developing an ice hat to keep your head cool – Feel too hot after your summer runs but don’t like pouring water on your head? Nike’s developing an alternative, a yet-unnamed ice hat of sorts that will chill your head more effectively, and without the mess. It’s more of a shrouded helmet than a hat, featuring a large hood-like component with a neck piece and face mesh. It is being developed in conjunction with Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton, and its design goal is to reduce an athlete’s overall body temperature by rapidly cooling down one’s head.

The Distiller App: A Portal to the World of Whiskey – Summertime is here, which means a slower pace of life, less stress and more time for the things we enjoy. Since I enjoy fine whiskey and technology, I came across an appropriate blend (pun intended) of the two in the form of a free mobile app called “Distiller.”

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Image: Distiller

A Visual History of Microsoft Windows – Whether you fiddled with MS DOS in the early days or only just snagged a Windows 8 laptop for the school year, most modern PC users have experienced Windows in one way or another. Before you grab your free Windows 10 update on Wednesday, take a trip down memory lane, and remember what your Windows desktop used to look like.

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E-ink traffic signs debut in Australia – The same technology used on the display of your Amazon Kindle is now appearing in traffic signs in Sydney, Australia. While e-ink may not have the same visual punch as the OLED display on a smartphone, the technology is great for its low power consumption and easy visibility in various lighting conditions. That’s probably the exact reason the Australian Road and Maritime Services (RMS) has gone with e-ink in traffic signs used for special events, which need to be updated frequently and easily seen by drivers.

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Musk, Woz: Let’s Hold Off on the Killer Robots – Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and professor Stephen Hawking are among the 1,000-plus artificial intelligence and robotics researchers who endorsed an open letter warning against the technology. While autonomous weapons make the front line safer for soldiers, they may also lower the threshold for going to battle, and likely result in more human casualties, according to the FLI. “The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting,” the letter said.

Something to think about:

“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.”

–     H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Today’s Free Downloads:

PortExpert: CyberSecurity at your finger tips – PortExpert gives you a detailed vision of your personnal computer cybersecurity. It automatically monitors all applications connected to the Internet and give you all the information you might need to identify potential threats to your system.

Features:

Monitor of application using TCP/UDP communications

User-friendly interface

Identifies remote servers (WhoIs service)

Allows to open containing folder of any applications

Allow to easily search for more info online

Automatic identification of related service : FTP, HTTP, HTTPS,…

Capability to show/hide system level processes

Capability to show/hide loopbacks

Time freeze function

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Avast. The world’s #1 antivirus – With more than 230 million users, Avast is the most trusted security & antivirus in the world. You are now just a few clicks away from protecting your PC for free.

Only Avast has Home Network Security – For the first time ever, you can protect your home network devices, such as routers and wireless devices, from hacker attacks.

More exciting features:

Avast Browser Cleanup – Remove annoying browser toolbars or extensions, and restore your hijacked search browser.

Avast Software Updater – Easily update your important software to increase the overall security and condition of your PC.

Avast Remote Assistance – Remote Assistance lets you help or be helped over the Internet.

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair – Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is a tool designed help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including; registry errors, file permissions, issues with Internet Explorer, Windows Updates, Windows Firewall and more. Malware and poorly installed programs can modify your default settings resulting in your machine working badly – or worse. With Tweaking.com Windows Repair you can restore Windows original settings fixing many of these problems outright.

Tweaking.com – Windows Repairs section as always been completely free for both personal and business use. We offer a Pro version. adds features like automatic updates, an enhanced drive cleaner, memory cleaner, speed tweaks and more. This allows you to support future development and get something in return!

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including:

Unhide Non System Files

Repair problems with .lnk (Shortcuts)

File Association

WMI

Windows Firewall

Internet Explorer

Windows Installer (MSI)

Hosts File

Policies Set By Infections

Icons

Winsock & DNS Cache

Proxy Settings

Windows Updates

CD/DVD Missing/Not Working

Reset Registry and File Permissions

Register System Files

Remove Temp Files

and more…

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Activists Flood Congress With Faxes to Protest Cybersecurity Bill – Internet activists opposed to a controversial cybersecurity bill are trying to get Congress’ attention the old-fashioned way: by flooding its fax machines.

The nonprofit group Fight For the Future has set up eight phone lines to convert emails and tweets protesting the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) into faxes that will be sent to all 100 U.S. senators. Supporters can fax their own messages via FaxBigBrother.com or with the hashtag #faxbigbrother.

NSA will lose access to ‘historical’ phone surveillence data Nov. 29 – The U.S. National Security Agency will lose access to the bulk telephone records data it has collected at the end of November, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced Monday.

Congress voted in June to rein in the NSAs mass collection of U.S. phone metadata, which includes information such as the timing and location of calls. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court then gave the NSA 180 days to wind the program down.

The Director of National Intelligence had been evaluating whether the NSA should maintain access to the historical data it collected after that 180 days is up. It’s now determined that access to that data will cease on Nov. 29.

After that date, the NSA must receive approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA Court, to request the data from phone companies on a case-by-case basis.

Even former heads of NSA, DHS think crypto backdoors are stupid – Michael Chertoff, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security and a former federal prosecutor, made some surprising remarks last week, coming out strongly against cryptographic backdoors that could be provided to the government upon request.

“I think that it’s a mistake to require companies that are making hardware and software to build a duplicate key or a back door even if you hedge it with the notion that there’s going to be a court order,” he said to the crowd at the Aspen Security Forum.

Obama won’t pardon Snowden, despite petition – U.S. President Barack Obama won’t pardon National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, despite strong public support for it, the White House said Tuesday.

A petition on WhiteHouse.gov calling for Obama to pardon Snowden has nearly 168,000 signatures, but that’s not enough to sway the president, said Lisa Monaco, Obama’s advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism.

Obama has pushed for surveillance reforms “since taking office,” Monaco wrote on the WhiteHouse.gov petition site. “Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it,” she added.

Monaco’s response to the petition doesn’t mention that nearly all of the surveillance reforms endorsed by the Obama administration were proposed after Snowden began leaking information about NSA surveillance programs in mid-2013.

Groups urge Obama to oppose cyberthreat sharing bills – U.S. President Barack Obama should oppose legislation intended to let businesses share cyberthreat information with each other and with government agencies because the bill would allow the sharing of too much personal information, a coalition of digital rights groups and security experts said.

The coalition of 39 digital rights and privacy groups and 29 security experts urged Obama to threaten to veto the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a bill that may come to the Senate floor for a vote by early August. CISA would protect from customer lawsuits those businesses that share cyberthreat information.

“CISA fails to protect users’ personal information,” the coalition said in a letter to Obama, sent Monday. “It allows vast amounts of personal data to be shared with the government, even that which is not necessary to identify or respond to a cybersecurity threat.”

The groups compared CISA to the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a cyberthreat sharing bill that the House of Representatives approved in 2013. CISPA failed to become law after Obama threatened to veto it.

Backers of CISA and similar bills say the sharing of cyberthreat information is necessary for businesses and government agencies to respond to ongoing attacks.

WordPress on national security demands: “We wish we could tell you more” – The company behind popular web blogging software WordPress said it has not received a single national security order in two years, according to its latest transparency report.

That’s a decline from the demands it received in the second half of 2013, which Automattic confirmed it received between zero and 249 demands.

The software maker was critical of the government’s rules it was obliged to follow when reporting its figures. Following the Edward Snowden leaks, the Justice Dept. allowed companies to disclose how many national security requests — including gag orders and warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — as a show of good faith. But companies are still obliged to report in numerical ranges, which the software maker — and other firms — have criticized.

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