Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekly News (2011-02-19)

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This week, IBM's "Watson" supercomputer won at "Jeopardy" against two human opponents. It was close at one point. But this is not a defeat for humanity, as the technology can open possibilities in many areas, especially the medical field. Doctors and engineers working together to improve patient care. That is true progress and a fabulous use of technology. ~Victor


NEW PORTABLE HEATERS CAN SAVE CAMPERS' LIVES: As the weather turns colder and outdoor enthusiasts plan to go deer hunting, ice fishing, or camping, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reminding consumers that there is a new generation of portable heaters with a safety device that can prevent the tragic loss of life due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. The new heaters are equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) and are safer to use when camping. If oxygen levels start to fall, this sensing technology automatically shuts down the heater before it can produce dangerous levels of CO.
CRIBS FREQUENT CAUSE OF INJURY FOR BABIES, TODDLERS: Nearly 10,000 children are taken to the emergency room each year -– an average of one every hour -- after falling or becoming wedged or caught in cribs, playpens and bassinets, a new study shows.


'NIGHT DRAGON' ATTACKS FROM CHINA STRIKE ENERGY COMPANIES: Chinese hackers working regular business hours shifts stole sensitive intellectual property from energy companies for as long as four years using relatively...
SOCIAL ENGINEERING: 3 EXAMPLES OF HUMAN HACKING: Chris Hadnagy gets paid to fool people, and he's gotten pretty good at it over the years. A co-founder of and author of Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking, Hadnagy has been using manipulation tactics for more than a decade to show clients how criminals get inside information.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING FOR NEW TAX MALWARE SCAM: Tax season malware attacks are a dime a dozen, but brilliant timing makes one new threat particularly dangerous.
SAFE BROWSING: FLAGFOX SHOWS THE LOCATION OF THE SITE YOU'RE VISITING: This clever Firefox plug-in shows you what country is hosting the page you're viewing--useful for ferreting out phishing sites. It's loaded with other handy tools as well.
CLOUD PRINTERS RAIN ON SECURITY PARADE: The advent of web-connected printers offers hackers new opportunities to steal your data, but a few simple precautions will keep you safe amidst the cloud.
CARBERP BANKING MALWARE UPGRADES ITSELF: A piece of banking malware that researchers have been keeping an eye on is adding more sophisticated capabilities to stay hidden on victims' PCs.
MOZILLA SITE EXPOSED ENCRYPTED PASSWORDS: A Mozilla database was exposed to the Internet, the Mozilla Foundation disclosed.
ANDROID TROJAN IS BUNDLED IN REPACKAGED APPS: A new Trojan is making the rounds in various alternative app markets in China, and it's being distributed through repackaged versions of other apps.
BULK OF BROWSERS FOUND TO BE AT RISK OF ATTACK: About eight out of every 10 Web browsers run by consumers are vulnerable to attack by exploits of already-patched bugs, says a security expert.


SYMBALOO: A unique way to bookmark pages and carry those bookmarks wherever you go.


2ND STORY SOFTWARE TAXACT DELUXE: AFFORDABLE, BASIC TAX HELP: Catering to price-sensitive customers, TaxAct Deluxe provides all the forms and does all the math. If you need serious advice and guidance, however, TurboTax and H&R Block at Home are both worth the extra money--especially for small-business owners.


MICROSOFT SETS FEB. 22 AS WINDOWS 7 SP1 PUBLIC LAUNCH: Microsoft Wednesday said it will release Windows 7 SP1 to the general public on Feb. 22 via the Windows Update Service.
PREPARE YOUR PC FOR FUTURE DATA DISASTERS: You've reinstalled Windows and restored your data. Now learn how to make the restore process smarter, safer, and easier next time.
SPEED UP WINDOWS BY STRIPPING IT DOWN: Windows has plenty of features that you can turn off to speed things up. Here's how to find the features you don't need.
CAPTURE SCREENSHOTS IN A FLASH WITH WINDOWS' SNIPPING TOOL: Forgotten by many, overlooked by others, the Snipping Tool is one of Windows 7's best assets. Here's how to find it and use it.
FORCE A WINDOW TO STAY ON TOP OF OTHER WINDOWS: Ever wish individual programs had an "always on top" option? A few do; for all others, grab the free Always On Top utility.
NEW WINDOWS ZERO-DAY SURFACES AS RESEARCHER RELEASES ATTACK CODE: A security researcher yesterday disclosed a new unpatched bug in Windows that some experts believe could be used to remotely hijack a PC.
MALWARE TARGETS WORD: Microsoft is warning that hackers are exploiting a Word flaw to attack systems.
ENGINEERING SECURITY UPDATES FOR MORE THAN A BILLION SYSTEMS WORLDWIDE: Have you ever wondered what goes on when Microsoft is investigating reports of a security vulnerability in one of its products? It turns out that investigating a potential vulnerability and updating over a billion systems around the world requires some very sophisticated engineering practices.


OPERA SHOWS MINI MOBILE WEB BROWSER FOR IPAD: Opera is demonstrating an Apple iPad version of its Opera Mini web browser at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
REVAMPED MACBOOK PRO EXPECTED IN MARCH: The MacBook Pro product line is due to be refreshed at the beginning of next month, according to reports.
APPLE INTRODUCES PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR IOS APPS: The big story out of News Corp’s press event Wednesday morning was, of course, its new publication for the iPad, The Daily. But a less discussed feature...
ADOBE FLASH PLAYER 10.2 OFFERS IMPROVED HARDWARE ACCELERATION FOR MAC: Adobe has publicly launched Flash Player 10.2 for Mac, Windows and Linux, an update to the Web plugin that introduces full hardware acceleration support for video which, when supported, is said to be up to 34 times more efficient.
ARCHIVING E-MAIL MESSAGES AS TEXT FILES: There are a few options for doing this. This article explains three methods, including the use of Automator.
MY MAC BACKUP PLAN: If you don't back up, assume that you will someday lose data that is important to you. Here's how one editor tackles backup.
IPAD PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS: 3 MUST-HAVES: For a serious productivity punch with your iPad, check out Quickoffice for file viewing, Dropbox for storage and an Apple Wireless Keyboard.


A SHORT GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING BLENDER: Two weeks ago we took a peek at the 3D studio Blender's revamped user interface and found a lot to like. Still, that doesn't make it the kind of application you can fire up and run away with your first time through. It is clear that talented artists can get amazing results out of Blender — just look at the Sintel animated featurette for the latest example — but what are we mere mortals to do? Let's take a look at the best places to dive in, and at what resources you'll need to shorten the learning curve.
THE PERFECT DESKTOP - DEBIAN SQUEEZE: This tutorial shows how you can set up a Debian Squeeze desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear:...
WEEKEND PROJECT: SCRUB FILES AND OLD HARD DRIVES SECURELY ON LINUX: Whether you are upgrading components for a system refresh, selling an old laptop on Craigslist, or recycling your desktop PC, there comes a time when you have to wipe a storage device in preparation for giving it to someone else. Chances are, you don't want whoever gets physical access to your old hard disk to have unfettered access to its contents: files, email, passwords, the embarrassingly-high frequency of Justin Beiber sites in your browsing history. You'll find several open source utilities for wiping away personal data — so this weekend, why not take stock of your options and put together a deep-clean routine?
HP TO PUT LINUX IN PRINTERS AND PC’S: IT’S THE END OF AN ERA FOR WINDOWS: I attended HP’s press conference this morning and Linux again took center stage as a major technology leader revealed the details of its mobile device strategy. HP announced two new WebOS phones and more importantly an impressive new tablet that is a clear contender against the iPad. While I don’t for one second underestimate Apple, that was not the most interesting part of the event for me. The most interesting part of the event came near the end when HP announced that it is going to ship WebOS not only in phones, tablets and printers, but in PC’s as well. In doing so, the worlds largest PC supplier is indicating that they are going to ship PC’s without Windows. For Microsoft - who was nowhere at this event - that has got to hurt. Perhaps this really IS the year of the Linux...
NINE TRAITS OF THE VETERAN UNIX ADMIN: Follow this field guide if you want to understand the rare and elusive hard-core Unix geek.
SAVE YOUR PC: BOOTABLE LINUX RESCUE TOOLS: The H Open: "Linux is now a respected, mature operating system that's free and open source, so it shouldn't be surprising that it has a generic role as a platform for tools for the repair and rescue of both Linux and Windows operating systems"
OPENSHOT 1.3.0 RELEASED - GETS BUCKETLOADS OF NEW FEATURES: "A new version for OpenShot, one of the most popular video editors for Linux has been released. The new version brings plenty of new features, better integration with Gnome, new themes, YouTube upload feature and many, many more updates."
CREATE A MULTI-BOOT USB STICK WITH MULTISYSTEM: "Enter MultiSystem, a nifty tool that can squeeze several distros on to a single USB stick. Not only that, MultiSystem lets you add a persistent storage for each distro, and the tool automatically generates a boot menu with a few handy options."
MOVIE MAKING WITH LINUX: There is a lot of good Linux/FOSS video software: movie capture, movie editing, and playback. Here is a sampling.
EMBRACE EYE CANDY WITH COMPIZ ON THE LINUX DESKTOP: Tired of a looking at a flat, bland desktop? It's time for some eye candy, Compiz-style. Using Compiz you can enable all sorts of fantastic desktop effects and attractive themes. Want to spruce up your machine with 3D eye candy? Read on to enable Compiz, manage your workspaces with a 3D cube, and help yourself to the Emerald collection of Compiz themes.


15 MODERN CONVENIENCES THAT ARE BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH: The last one hundred years have brought dramatic changes to our ways of life. Public health measures, like water treatment and sewage disposal, have caused dramatic changes in life expectancy and the prevention of infectious disease. Many changes, from screened in porches and indoor plumbing to cell phones and the Internet, have brought much pleasure to our lives. There seems to be a trade off for many of our modern conveniences. Several of the products we use to today to make life more efficient and more convenient do not actually consider the ramifications to our health and environment. Below is a list of a few of the many topics that had some potential to be a useful tool or idea in some fashion, but actually will have negative consequences to our bodies or the environment in which we live.
10 TAX REFUND MYTHS: Who doesn't enjoy getting a tax refund from Uncle Sam? It feels like winning a small lottery, but that might be the wrong way to look at it. It's your money, after all. What are 10 of the biggest misconceptions surrounding your tax refund?


POWER POSTING: In online forums power-posting is the term used to describe a user who posts a large number of empty or useless messages in order to increase their number of posts. On some forums special privileges may be given to users who contribute a specific number of posts. When power posting users will post meaningless replies such as "LOL" or "I agree/disagree." These posts may increase the users post count but they do not contribute anything meaningful to the forum discussion itself.


CREATE AN EASY TWO-WAY LOOKUP IN EXCEL: Use this easy-to-remember and easy-to-implement solution for intersecting rows and columns.
WORKING WITH FRAMES AND OBJECTS IN SCRIBUS: A Scribus document consists of a series of objects that are added to a page, and contained within a frame. In addition to the usual cut, copy, and paste functions available in most applications, frames in Scribus share a general set of editing attributes and, so far as possible, the same set of properties. more>>
COLLABORATE USING LIBREOFFICE WRITER CHANGES AND COMMENTS: Being a writer, I often have to collaborate with other writers or editors on an assignment or book. Because of this, there is a need for collaboration tools within my word processor. LibreOffice offers such tools for the writer, editor, student, or teacher. These tools are Changes and Comments and they make the process of collaboration within a LibreOffice Writer document so much easier.
POWERPOINT ALTERNATIVES: PRESENTATION-TOOL SHOWDOWN: Microsoft’s ubiquitous software isn’t the only show in town. We scrutinize five compelling online alternatives.


CREATING MONEY BEYOND BELIEF - THE SPIRITUAL WAY: I grew up in an environment of lack. At the tender age of 5, I remembered watching my mother looking all over the house and under the sofa set in our small living room for a five cent coin to pay the vegetable vendor - vegetables that she had wanted to buy to cook our dinner. She didn’t find the five cent but the kind vegetable vendor gave her the vegetables anyway.


CHOLESTEROL LOWERING STATIN DRUGS, NUTRITION & WELLNESS, AUSTIN NATURAL MEDICINE: Very valuable information about high-cholesterol treatments.
BECOMING A COMPUTER EXPERT: You don't need years of experience, a degree, or any tools. Just follow these directions and you will get there.


LG OPTIMUS PAD: FIRST LOOK: LG has hit a sweet spot with support for 3D recording and the right-sized 8.9-inches with its comfortable Optimus Tab.
SAMSUNG ADDS 10.1-INCH ANDROID HONEYCOMB TABLET: Samsung has added the Honeycomb-based Galaxy Tab 10.1 to its line-up of tablets.
HP TOUCHPAD: 5 FEATURES THE IPAD LACKS: The TouchPad boasts a better notification system, phone pairing and a re-sizable keyboard.
CLOUD COMPUTING IN 2011: 3 TRENDS CHANGING BUSINESS ADOPTION: The various cloud markets and services will start making more sense to business buyers in 2011, according to a new Forrester report, with the midmarket embracing public clouds and enterprises sticking with virtualization as a prelude to private clouds. Here are three significant ways cloud adoption will shift this year.
YOUR WORST-CASE-SCENARIO PC SURVIVAL KIT: Whether you’re in a safe house, on the lam, or weathering the End of the World as We Know It, you’ll want to check out this collection of worst-case-scenario tips, apps, and downloads for your PC and smartphone.
PC SPRING CLEANING: AUTOMATICALLY ORGANIZE YOUR FILES: Here's how to find and eliminate PC clutter--and automate file organization so that it never crops up again.
POWER SUPPLIES: One hundred forty-seven dollars and thirty-nine cents—that is the cost for replacing a power supply for an old MiniITX computer system I found in my office. Mind you, the entire unit cost about $199, and that was five years ago, but still, the cost for a replacement power supply is absurd. more>>
THE FUTURE OF THE PC LOOKS CLOUDY: In the year 2020, cloud computing is king. We will abandon our bulky desktops in favor of remote storage, lashing together our favorite music, movies and games with a web of internet-connected devices to build a digital raft of data that will buoy us through the ebb and flow of our daily lives.
REPLACE SLOW, BLOATED ADOBE READER WITH TINY, SPEEDY SUMATRA PDF: Looking for a fast, free, system-friendly PDF viewer? Try Sumatra PDF, one of the fastest. There's even a portable version that can run from your flash drive.
STOP FACEBOOK FROM CLUTTERING YOUR INBOX: If you're sick of e-mail notifications every time someone comments on a wall post after you do, here's a simple way to turn them off.
CUSTOMIZE WHO CAN SEE YOUR FACEBOOK STATUS UPDATES: Ever wish that only certain friends could see your status? Or that you could hide an update from a select few people? Facebook makes it possible, if you know where to look.
TAXSLAYER.COM PREMIUM EDITION (TAX YEAR 2010): TaxSlayer is everywhere you look this year?but does that mean it's the right service to trust with your taxes?
YAHOO! MAIL BETA (2011): Yahoo Mail's redesigned interface is a pleasure, it's faster, and packs a ton of features, but can it match Hotmail and Gmail?
HOW TO DO AN ONLINE BACKGROUND CHECK FOR FREE: Find out what you need to know about someone--or find out the information that's out there about you--without spending any money.
HOW TO SWITCH TO GOOGLE CALENDAR: A Mac user wants to sync his calendar across all computers and iOS devices, and share it with his wife, for free. Here's how.
BOOKMARKS AVAILABLE ANYWHERE: There are a number of online services that you can upload your bookmarks to, and then access them from any Internet-connected computer.
LEARNING TO WRITE JAVASCRIPT: "So now that I work at Mozilla, I figured it was time to develop a “web app” just to make sure I understood it all. And since my team is working on educational resources for web developers, I wanted to see what it was like to learn how to use some of them using resources online."
TOP 5 TABLET PCS: COMPARE AND CONTRAST: Enterprise Mobile Today: "Which begs the question: which ones should you consider? If you are thinking of buying a tablet this year, here, in no particular order, are the top 5 devices to check out:"
10 TECH ACCESSORIES YOU'RE PAYING TOO MUCH FOR: Don't blow your budget on overpriced gadget accessories. Here's how to get the best deals on cases, cables, software, and more.
AVOID SMARTPHONE AND WI-FI 'GOTCHAS' WITH SKYPE HOTSPOTS: Skype is offering pay-as-you-go Wi-Fi services at hotspots around the world--and it looks like the price will be right.
REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS RIP NET NEUTRALITY RULES: Republican lawmakers call on the FCC to abandon net neutrality rules.
SENATORS EXPLORE NEW WEBSITE SEIZURE OPTIONS: U.S senators will introduce legislation this year targeting websites that traffic in digital piracy or counterfeited goods, said the primary sponsor of a...
RECOVER LOST DATA FROM A CRASHED LAPTOP HARD DRIVE: After you replace a bad drive, how can you temporarily restore access to that drive to run data-recovery utilities? Here's a high-level, low-cost solution.
TEN E-MAIL ABBREVIATIONS YOU NEED TO LEARN: WTF? No, not that one. Here's your 60-second guide to common abbreviations you're likely to see in e-mail, text messages, and instant messages.
FACEBOOK MAKES A SILENT CHANGE TO NEWSFEEDS: If you haven't commented, liked, or looked at a person's profile regularly, they have now seemingly disappeared.
IS IT SAFE TO FORMAT FLASH?: Regular defragging can wear out a flash drive or memory card (such as an SD card), just as it can wear out a solid state drive (SSD). They all use flash memory and the same issues apply.

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