Found on the web 2013/10

Some items which you may find interesting or useful

Some HOWTO’s and other hints mostly from PC World, some security and privacy alerts, software, some general news, Microsoft news, insight into censorship in China, explanation of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Encryption.

Finally some light relief (this year’s IgNoble Prizes).

Roderick Aldridge

Help, hints, HOWTOs

Get a disposable email address from MailDrop | PCWorld

If you’re registering online for some freebie, promotion, or Web site that you just know is going to deluge you with ads and other spam, it makes sense to supply a disposable address—something you can access as needed for confirmation messages or the like, but that won’t otherwise interfere with your primary inbox.

MailDrop gives you a free throwaway email address. Use it in place of your own address, then head to the site to retrieve any messages you might need.

Get more out of Google Earth with these tips for power users | PCWorld

Google Earth users can do more than just fly around a virtual globe. The free mapping application can display real-time weather, help compose photographs and measure distances much more easily than its Maps cousin.

How non-Dropbox users can send files to your Dropbox account | PCWorld

What if someone wants to send a file to you via Dropbox? Unless they have Dropbox accounts of their own, they can’t.

Now they can. Browser-based Dbinbox enables Dropbox sharing in the other direction: It generates a custom link that others can use to send files to your Dropbox.

How to clean and secure your browser like a pro | PCWorld

Take a minute to deep-clean the PC, eliminating unwanted browser toolbars, add-ons, extensions, and homepage- and search-hijacking malware.

How to delete or move a lot of Gmail messages | PCWorld

GMail lacks an obvious, simple tool for bulk operations. There’s no button to click or menu option to select for deleting or altering all of the messages or conversations that share a specific attribute. But you can still do it.

How to delete unwanted website accounts |

WILL OREMUS Last updated 05:00 29/08/2013

It was after marvelling at some fed-up users’ tweets about how incredibly difficult it is to delete a Skype account that a British developer named Robb Lewis decided to lend a hand.

So he built a website that takes the adventure out of account-deletion.

It’s called Just Delete Me, and it’s as simple as Skype’s account-deletion procedure is convoluted.

1. Go to and find the service from which you want to delete your account.

2. Click on the service’s name and follow the instructions on the screen to delete your account.

How to find a lost message in Gmail | PCWorld

Chances are that you simply misplaced the messages, moving them to another label by mistake. If that’s the case, finding them shouldn’t be too difficult.

 Install any version of Windows using any Windows disc you can find | PCWorld

You need to reinstall Windows and you never had recovery discs to begin with. Few manufacturers provide them anymore, and many new PCs don’t have optical drives even if they did.

Thankfully, there’s a way around this. All you need is a Windows ISO file (basically the entire Windows operating system in a single container) and the free Ei.cfg Removal Utility. The latter deletes a key file inside the former, thus allowing you to install any version of Windows.

How to download streaming media and watch it anywhere, anytime | PCWorld

Watching a movie or burning through episodes of your favorite TV show is the best way to get through a long plane trip, a car ride, or a vacation in the middle of nowhere.

Luckily, you can use third-party software and a few tricks to download streaming video from Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Now you can watch your entertainment on your terms, even in places where your cherished Amazon Prime account is inaccessible.

 Firefox: How to change the default page format (to A4)

Martin Wildam said…

Here is how to change it (to A4 in my case):

  • In the location bar enter: “about:config”
  • Read carefully and confirm that you are going to be careful
  • Be careful with the following steps!
  • In the search bar enter “paper”
  • Look for properties ending with paper_size and paper_name.
  • For me it was sufficient to change “print.postscript.paper_size” and “print.print_paper_name” to “A4”.

There might be some additional properties ending with paper_size and paper_name for each of your available printers. I didn’t touch them and it worked anyway – YMMV.

print.postscript.paper_size needs to be changed to A4 now too in Thunderbird.

In my version it seems to be changed to iso_A4 not A4 – Roderick


 How Apple’s Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor Works To Protect Your Identity – ReadWrite

Adriana Lee September 11, 2013

Say goodbye to pin codes or swiping to unlock. Apple’s new Touch ID will use human fingerprints to unlock iPhone 5S handsets with a single touch. According to the company, it comprises the most advanced hardware and software it has put in any device.


iPhone 5S finger-sniffer COMPROMISED • The Register

By Richard Chirgwin, 22nd September 2013

Anyone can touch your phone and make it give up its all the Chaos Computer Club has already broken Apple’s TouchID fingerprint lock, and warns owners against using biometric ID to protect their data.

 Cyber criminals phishing for passwords with Google Docs bait – IT News from

A new phishing message loaded with a malicious Google Doc is targeting Gmail users, according to security firm Sophos.

Senior security advisor at Sophos Chester Wisniewski reported the scam in a blog post, confirming that the message attempts to dupe users into clicking a suspect link by pretending to be a “Secure Document” from their bank.


N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web –


Published: September 5, 2013

The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents.

 Free Apps for Nearly Every Health Problem, but What About Privacy? –

By ANN CARRNS Published: September 11, 2013

Need to lose weight, quit smoking, improve your sex life or get a better night’s sleep? There’s an app for that — all of it — and more. Thousands of mobile apps are available to improve your health and fitness.

MapMyFitness offers a group of exercise sites and apps including the popular MapMyRun. The company has developed a detailed privacy policy explaining how user information is used.

But beware.

Health apps can provide information and motivation to help you manage your well-being, and they’re easy to use and often free. But they may not have protecting your privacy as a priority.

 F.T.C. Says Webcam’s Flaw Put Users’ Lives on Display –

By EDWARD WYATT Published: September 4, 2013

WASHINGTON — The so-called Internet of Things — digitally connected devices like appliances, cars and medical equipment — promises to make life easier for consumers. But regulators are worried that some products may be magnets for hackers.


 5 Websites For Every Portable Application On The Web

Portable applications are incredibly useful. If you’re someone who is constantly carrying around a flash drive, you should always have a few of your favorite portable applications (or even a portable application suite) on it.

In this post, let me show you where you can go to find these types of portable programs.

Google gives away QuickOffice – and 10GB of Google Drive | PC Pro

By Barry Collins Posted on 20 Sep 2013

Google is upping the ante in the mobile office market by giving away its QuickOffice suite to Android and iOS users.

Google’s sudden bout of generosity follows quick on the heels of Apple’s decision to give a free copy of its iWorks apps – including Pages, Numbers and Keynote – to buyers of the the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.

Makeuseof’s list of favourite software


Google partners with EdX to create massive online course database – TechSpot

By David Tom On September 12, 2013, 8:30 AM

According to The Wall Street Journal EdX has joined forces with Google to create a brand new learning portal. Formally dubbed, this name is an acronym for Massive Open Online Courses. As the name suggests, its mission is to provide everyone with the opportunity to create their own digital course, whether they’re an established educator, a business professional or a member of the general public.

 Motion tracking cameras coming to Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo laptops in 2014 – TechSpot

By Tim Schiesser On September 12, 2013

3D tracking technology, similar to what is packed into Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, will soon be available in a range of laptops, Intel has announced at their Developer Forum in San Francisco. Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo have all put their support behind Intel’s motion tracking technology, meaning we will be seeing the camera arrays integrated into laptops in the first half of 2014.

Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray discs with up to 100GB of data are already in production – TechSpot

By Justin Kahn On September 12, 2013

New reports claim that leaked data from a disc manufacturing company points at upcoming 4K Blu-ray discs. Although there has been no official announcement from the Blu-ray Disc Association at this point, Singulus claims to be providing machine technology to support the new high storage capacity, three layer Blu-ray discs.

With up to 100GB of storage on the new discs, Singulus’ BLULINE III is able to print a 4K movie onto to a single triple layer Blu-ray disc. 4K content will be available digitally through services like Netflix and Sony Video Unlimited, but considering the size of these files, discs will likely still be a viable format.


Microsoft is pushing ahead with a unified Windows strategy

Juan Carlos Perez (IDG News Service) 20 September, 2013

Microsoft is pursuing the ideal of OS platforms: a unified code base that runs from smartphones to servers, giving users a consistent experience across devices at home and at work, and developers a common tool set for building applications.

“We really should have one silicon interface for all of our devices. We should have one set of developer APIs on all of our devices,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Operating Systems Engineering Group, during the company’s meeting with financial analysts on Thursday.

“And all of the apps we bring to end users should be available on all of our devices,” he added.

Microsoft prices Windows 8.1 starting at $119.99 | ZDNet

Those running Windows 8 now will be able to get Windows 8.1 for free. But 8.1 will cost everyone else between $119.99 and $199.99 (for Pro).

 Google gives away QuickOffice – and 10GB of Google Drive | Enterprise | News | PC Pro

By Barry Collins Posted on 20 Sep 2013

Google is upping the ante in the mobile office market by giving away its QuickOffice suite to Android and iOS users.

Google’s sudden bout of generosity follows quick on the heels of Apple’s decision to give a free copy of its iWorks apps – including Pages, Numbers and Keynote – to buyers of the the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.

Freedom of information

EU net neutrality seen in peril from draft law – PC World Magazine New Zealand

Jennifer Baker (IDG News Service) 03 September, 2013

A digital advocacy group has accused Europe’s Digital Agenda Commissioner of caving in to pressure from telcos and abandoning her promise to protect net neutrality.

Fake Chinese Social Site Offers Glimpse Behind the Great Firewall | MIT Technology Review

By Tom Simonite on September 12, 2013

New research shows China’s online censorship relies on a competitive market where companies vie to offer the best speech-suppressing technology and services.

Food for thought

You own nothing: does it matter? | Analysis | Features | PC Pro

Posted on 20 Sep 2013

Thanks to the adoption of cloud-based subscriptions and content, we no longer own any of the software that’s key to our work, or have our own copies of the music we listen to or the books we read.

Technology explained

 What APIs Are And Why They’re Important – ReadWrite

What are APIs, and why do we care so much about them?

In the simplest terms, APIs are sets of requirements that govern how one application can talk to another. APIs aren’t at all new; whenever you use a desktop or laptop, APIs are what make it possible to move information between programs—for instance, by cutting and pasting a snippet of a LibreOffice document into an Excel spreadsheet. System-level APIs makes it possible for applications like LibreOffice to run on top of an OS like Windows in the first place.

On the Web, APIs make it possible for big services like Google Maps or Facebook to let other apps “piggyback” on their offerings. Think about the way Yelp, for instance, displays nearby restaurants on a Google Map in its app, or the way some video games now let players chat, post high scores and invite friends to play via Facebook, right there in the middle of a game.

 Understanding Encryption: Here’s The Key – ReadWrite

Here’s why encryption matters, how it’s facing more threats than ever, and what we can do about it.

Unsafe At Any Computing Speed

The most recent set of documents, now being released piecemeal by Snowden’s media contacts across the world, seem to indicate that the U.S.’s NSA has somehow managed to render encryption, a tool used to obfuscate data and text, completely worthless.

But it turns out that while the NSA may have compromised some specific technical standards for encryption, the larger notion of encryption, properly implemented, remains valid.


The Ig-noble Prize Awards

This years award for “Research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK”
have just been announced., including:

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Laurent Bègue [FRANCE], Brad Bushman [USA, UK, the NETHERLANDS, POLAND], Oulmann Zerhouni [FRANCE], Baptiste Subra [FRANCE], and Medhi Ourabah [FRANCE], for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.

REFERENCE: “‘Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder’: People Who Think They Are Drunk Also Think They Are Attractive,” Laurent Bègue, Brad J. Bushman, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra, Medhi Ourabah, British Journal of Psychology, epub May 15, 2012.


Effect of James Bond on Macaque Brains

September 25th, 2013

This study tests previously untested extremes of the power of James Bond movies:



Skip to content