Protect Your Computer Against Autorun Infections with USB Immunizer

USB flash drives are, undoubtedly, amazing tools that improve our portability and allow us to easily transfer files from one computer to another. With an ever-growing popularity, they are used by everyone and are becoming a preferred target for hackers and other cyber criminals to plant viruses and other harmful code.

But how exactly do these infections work, anyway? They take advantage of a feature implemented by Windows developers over time: Autorun. Even though this feature is somewhat handy, since it runs the media we insert in our computer automatically, these infections are placed alongside the autorun instructions so that whenever the device is autorun, those instructions will also be run, infecting the whole machine. Given that flash drives are meant to be portable and used in a lot of different computers, it is quite easy to understand how big of a problem these infections can be.

The key action: Prevention

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Internet Regulation: Is it Going to Happen Soon? What Can You Do About It?

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Is Open Source Software Comparable to Commercial Software? [POLL]

Obviously the main advantage of open source software is in the cost savings. A report from 2008stated that open source had saved consumers $60 billion per year. That’s great. But is it comparable to commercial software?

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5 of the Best Code Editor Apps for Your Mac

Is programming your profession or passion? No matter what category of programmers you belong to, you will need a tool to write down your programming code. If you take a look at the apps available to do coding, you will find that there are many, and choosing the one that will fulfill your needs seems to be quite a difficult task. Here, we have come to the rescue of those of you who are looking for some of the best code editor apps for Macs. Go ahead and get started with coding using the tools listed below.

1. Sublime Text

One of the best and simplest coding tools ever available to Mac users. Sublime Text is a notepad-like application that lets you write your code, highlight certain parts using its various syntax detecting algorithms and so on. The app has a number of features including Goto Anything, Multiple Selections, Command Palette, etc. If you think the other apps or things are distracting you while doing your coding work, then you can enable the distraction free writing mode. It disables everything except for the area where you write your code.

The app is available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

2. BBEdit 10

This is yet another nice tool for coding programs. BBEdit 10 says it does not suck, and that probably means something good for the coders. The app has a nice interface identical to Sublime Text.  The app seems to be inclined towards those who do a lot of HTML coding, and maybe that is why there are a number of options to manipulate webpages in the app. It contains FTP and SFTP support, so there is no issue with uploading your files to your server as soon as you are done writing them. Sounds cool, huh!

3. TextMate

Do you have a load of coding work that needs to be done in a short span of time? Well, TextMate is there to help you out. The app makes coding much easier on your Mac than ever with a number of features it comes preloaded with. Syntax highlighting, Multiple Tabs, and Search and Replace are some of the salient features of the app. If you missed closing a bracket, that happens most of the time you are coding; it completes it automatically for you. So the next time you write a program, there is much less of a chance that it will have errors.

4. Brackets

What is it that you use most often while writing a code? Yes, you are right. It is brackets. Brackets by Adobe brings a powerful tool for you to code the next big thing. The app is actually built for HTML coders who build hundreds of webpages a day, or maybe even more. It highlights the syntax making it easier for you to find your code blocks and errors and comes with a Live HTML Development that shows the output of your code without having you save or refresh the page. That is really something cool about this app, isn’t it?

5. Textastic

Textastic for Mac is a simple yet faster coding tool that delivers what it promises. With features like Auto Completion, it auto-completes some of your code that you would otherwise have to do yourself, saving you some time that you could use to do something else. While most of the other features remain the same as the apps above, it includes a new feature called iCloud syncing. What it does is let you sync your code across your various Mac machines, so that you can pick up where you left off easily.

Coding has become a part of many people’s lives these days, and the apps above should help them get it done more quickly and more efficiently.
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Hacked: 11 Signs Your Online Security Is Being Compromised

There could be any number of explanations as to why a certain program is running painfully slow or why your computer has started acting differently. While it could be your processor’s fault, or maybe your system doesn’t have an adequate amount of RAM inside, you can’t rule out the possibility that your online security has been compromised and you are being hacked, which is obviously more alarming. Below you will find about eleven symptoms, which if you ever come across, should make you consider the possibility of having been hacked.

1. Getting phone calls from Microsoft and Apple

We have heard of cases where victims receive a call from a person who pretends to be a Microsoft (or a Security Vendor) representative and claims to have found some weird activities on your computer or online accounts. Once their trust is gained, they are asked to download and install a particular software, and this is how your computer gets hacked.

2. Your password has been changed

Well, this is very obvious. If your account password has been changed, and you haven’t done that, then it is likely that the security of your account is compromised. You should receive a notification email in your recovery email account and should address it as soon as possible. Also enable the two-step authentication.

3. Changes to your web-browser

You fire up your browser and notice some new toolbars or maybe your homepage is different. It could be a new app that you recently installed which made all the changes, but again, over the past few months, many malicious codes have been found to be doing such things.

4. Changes to your desktop

Any alteration you spot on your desktop could be a hint as well. For instance, if you see any new program running on the system tray icon, or some strange program flashing on the screen for a second and then disappearing when you start your system, it is time you start investigating these things.

It’s always a good idea to keep a tab on the programs that are enabled to run at the startup time. To check this, go to “Start Menu” (or search from the Start Screen in Windows 8 or higher) and search (or RUN) msconfig. Click on the “Startup” tab, and untick all the unnecessary programs there. Don’t worry, in case you disabled an important program, your computer will still function normally.

5. Getting redirected to weird websites

This issue made it to the spotlight two years ago when a virus called “DNS Changer” was redirecting users to its advertised websites. We also saw some cases where the search results were tailored so that a user will by default land on illegitimate websites. If you have been landing on strange websites too then consider that an alarm call.

6. Mouse and Keyboard acting strangely

There have been cases where even computer peripherals such as mouse and keyboard have started acting weird. Although it might just be because your mouse is old, perhaps it’s time you bid it farewell. Yet there have been instances where especially the mouse starts clicking things on its own and making changes to cause your computer to be prone to malware attacks.

7. Illegitimate Anti-Virus; computer performance optimizer

This is the one which is most pronounced these days. Many websites (chances increase if it is a shady one), run ads which claim that a particular software will speed-up your computer, let you download a file, or mention they have already found some viruses in your system. You download those applications and soon you have stepped into a polluted world which will take control of your system.

8. All of a sudden, you are following a bunch of new and unknown people

If you are on Twitter, you may have at least heard people complain about seeing new followers, if not faced it yourself. It is very likely that your account was hijacked and it made you follow some spambot accounts. Similar things can happen on Facebook as well, you may find some new friends and updates from pages you didn’t like and have no connections with.

9. Your account is posting spam updates and tweets

Much like the previous case, this one is also a result of some sort of account hacking. Your account automatically starts posting spam content and at times, it even starts messaging your friends and tagging them in spam and posts. If this has been happening to you, the best course of action is to delete such posts and go to the app settings to revoke access to all the newly connected third-party services and apps.

10. Registry editor, task manager, security settings disabled

If for some reason you can no longer open the registry editor, task manager or any other admin-privileged tools, this, too, can be interpreted as a security compromise. Also, you might find Windows Updates and Firewall disabled.

11. Your account was accessed from a different location

This one is quite obvious, but if you have been recently notified about any suspicious login (or trial), do not ignore such messages. Given the number of mobile devices we carry these days, and the abundance of apps we use to access our account, we usually ignore such login warnings thinking that it must be just another app that was trying to gain access, but if the location is different too, then it is likely that someone else is trying to get into your account.

The Solution

While most of the symptoms that we learned above are pretty much tangential to one another, there are a few measures you can take that will have all the things covered.

  •     Remove all the applications that you don’t use from your computer.
  •     Get a new trustworthy Anti-Virus; the one you presently have obviously isn’t doing the job very well. Remove it.
  •     Change your DNS settings using OpenDNS! I can’t stress enough how useful it is.
  •     Revoke the access of all the services that you don’t use from your social accounts.
  •     You can try to remove the toolbars and harmful extensions from your web-browser, but if you want to save all the hassle, just uninstall the browser, download a new updated copy, and re-install it.
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10 Technology Podcasts to Follow

Whether you’re looking for something to kill your time with or want to catch up with everything that’s happening in the world of technology in a rather short amount of time, technology podcasts can fulfill that task easily. If you are yet to listen to tech podcasts, below is a list of some of the best ones out there.

1. The Vergecast

The Vergecast is a technology podcast where Joshua Topolsky, Nilay Patel, and other editors from the site sit down to talk about technology. Much like the website The Verge, the podcast covers everything including technology, pop culture, science and art and even what their lives are up to. When they are not busy talking about their own lives and the games they have been busy playing the entire week, the podcast can easily qualify for one of the best sources of information. All in all, you are in for a nice time, that is for sure. Incidentally, last week the show went into hibernation mode, but will be back very soon.

2. Windows Weekly

Arguably the best podcast for everything Microsoft, Windows Weekly is what you listen to if you want to catch up with Microsoft news. Whether it is Microsoft’s latest operating system, the development in the Windows Phone division, Xbox, or even Azure, Microsoft watchers Paul Thurrott, Mary Jo Foley and Leo Laparde will have you covered. In addition to their insightful comments and opinions, they also share some useful tips and leaks in the podcast.

3. Anandtech Podcast

There are tech news websites, and then there is AnandTech. You can tune into The Verge, Engadget, or Recode for technology news and gadget reviews and read everything there, and still won’t find the kind of content AnandTech provides on its website. In a nutshell, every other website will tell you that a phone will run fast because it has a great processor, but if you want to know why that processor is able to do so, Anandtech Podcast is what you should listen to. Coming from an industry expert, Anand Lal Shimpi and Optical engineer Brian Klug, their opinions matter. Period.

4. CMD + Space

CMD + Space is a bit different from the ones we’ve mentioned above. Unlike most podcasts where experts sit down to talk about technology news and provide their insightful opinions, at CMD + Space, the discussion is about the people who are entrenched in this field. Hosted by Myke Hurley, the show has had many incredible people on the board including CNET’s Editor-at-Large, Tim Stevens and coder, Marco Arment. Tune into the show every Thursday for new episodes.

5. Keen On

Very much like CMD + Space, Keen On is a great tech segment to follow as well. Hosted by industry expert, Andrew Keen, the show invites technological minds from all across the globe. Whether it’s a new book about technology, some laws in question, or just future trends, the show has it all covered.

6. Triangulation

Along the lines of CMD + Space, there is another great show in which the coolest people come to talk about the issues surrounding technology. Hosted by Leo Laporte and his guests, Triangulation is one of those shows you just can’t afford to ignore. Recently, the show had invited NYTimes author, Nick Bilton, to talk about his bestselling book “Hatching Twitter.”  New episodes air every Monday.

7. The News

In a hurry? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could listen to all the major news stories within 5 minutes? That’s what 5by5’s The News does. Hosted by Myke Hurley, you get all the latest scoop about Google, Apple, gaming and Internet culture in three to four minutes.

8. What The Tech

Another weekly podcast that you don’t want to miss out on is What The Tech. Hosted by Andrew Zarian and Paul Thurrott, What The Tech covers all major events in the technology field from the past week. In addition, the two experts also unbox devices and review them.

9. The Prompt

If you find yourself inclined towards the Apple ecosystem, we have something especially for you. The Prompt is easily one of the most exciting podcasts you can listen to. Not only is the show informative, but the hosts – Federico Viticci, Myke Hurley, and Stephen Hackett – make it damn funny as well.

10. Linux Action Show

If you find yourself gripped by Linux operating systems, Linux Action Show is easily the best show for you. The show is currently on its thirty-first season. Yes, that’s how long it has been around for. Hosted by two renowned names in the industry, Chris Fisher and Matt Hartley, the show also talks about open source technologies.

Honorable mentions

There are many more podcasts that you may find interesting.

The Verge Mobile Show: Hosted by The Verge writers and editors, these people will keep you updated with everything related to mobile devices. Also, the folks are genuinely funny.

Engadget Podcast: There was a time when Tim Stevens used to host this podcast, but after his departure, the show has lost its charm, though it is still worth listening to.

TechSNAP: Another show from Jupiter Broadcasting, TechSNAP is for people who are interested in systems, networking and administration. Hosted by professor Allan Jude and resident expert, Chris Fisher, the show gives more emphasis on issues circling around security.

Mac Power Users: Yet another show for Apple fanboys, the show invites great people to talk about Apple.

PC Perspective: Hosted by Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano, the show talks about processors, motherboards and the insides of your system.
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How Image Compression Works: The Basics

For some reason, you can actually fit 2 million pixels into an image without using 1.97 megabytes of space. I found a sweet 1080p wallpaper (which has roughly 2 million pixels) and downloaded it. Checking the properties, I noticed something strange: It only took up 230 KB of space on my hard drive. Why is that? For someone who doesn’t quite understand image compression, it seems like magic. But once you get to know the subject, you’ll understand how some images are larger than others despite the amount of pixels they occupy on your screen. Time is short, so let’s take a quick dive into the basic principles behind image compression.

Methods, Approaches, Algorithms Galore.

It’s naive to think that there’s just one way to compress an image. There are different methods, each with a unique approach to a common problem, and each approach being used in different algorithms to reach a similar conclusion. Each algorithm is represented by a file format (PNG, JPG, GIF, etc.). For now, we’re going to talk about the methods that are generally used to compress images, which will explain why some of them take up so much less space.

Lossless Compression

When you think of the word “lossless” in the context of image compression, you probably think about a method that tries its hardest to preserve quality while still maintaining a relatively small image size. That’s very close to the truth. As a method, lossless compression minimizes distortion as much as possible, preserving image clarity. It does this by building an index of all the pixels and grouping same-colored pixels together. It’s kind of like how file compression works, except we’re dealing with smaller units of data.

DEFLATE is among the most common algorithms for this kind of job. It’s based on two other algorithms (Huffman and LZ77, if you’re a bookworm) and it has a very tried-and-true way of grouping data found within images. Instead of just running through the length of the data and storing multiple instances of a pixel with the same color into a single data unit (known as run-length encoding), it grabs duplicate strings found within the entire code and sets a “pointer” for each duplicate found. Wherever a particular string of data (pixels) is used frequently, it replaces all of those pixels with a weighted symbol that further compresses everything.

Notice how with run-length encoding and DEFLATE, none of the pixels are actually eaten up or forced to change color. Using this method purely results in an image that is identical to the raw original. The only difference between the two lies in how much space is actually taken up on your hard drive!

Lossy Compression

As the name implies, lossy compression makes an image lose some of its content. When taken too far, it can actually make the image unrecognizable. But lossy doesn’t imply that you’re eliminating pixels. There are actually two algorithms commonly used to compress images this way: transform encoding and chroma subsampling. The former is more common in images and the latter in video.

With transform encoding, an image’s colors are averaged out using a special mathematical formula called discrete cosine transform. The image suffers color loss and may introduce artifacts (weird pixellation at random points of the image) when used excessively. This particular algorithm makes up for its clumsiness with a strong advantage: You can dictate just how much quality you want to remain with the image. With lossless compression, the closest you can come to manipulating quality holistically is by setting the number of colors each image should have.

Chroma subsampling takes another approach. Instead of averaging small blocks of color, which also may affect the brightness of an image, it carefully attempts to keep brightness the same on all areas. This tricks your eyes into not readily noticing any dip in quality. It’s actually great for the compression of animations, which is why it is used more in video streams. That’s not to say that images don’t also use this algorithm.

But wait, there’s more! Google also took a shot at a new lossy algorithm, known as WebP. Instead of averaging color information, it predicts the color of a pixel by looking at the fragments surrounding it. The data that’s actually written into the resulting compressed image is the difference between the predicted color and the actual color. In the end, many of the predictions will be accurate, resulting in a zero. And instead of printing a whole bunch of zeroes, it just compresses all of them into one symbol that represents them. Image accuracy is improved and the compression reduces image size by an average of 25 percent compared to other lossy algorithms, according to Google.
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Microsoft and Nokia now expect buyout to close in April

Nokia and Microsoft have announced that their $7.2 billion buyout deal won't be closing this month after all. The Finnish smartphone manufacturer now expects to complete the sale of its devices and services divisions to Microsoft by the end of April, rather than the end of March insisted upon as recently as last month.

Nokia says it's still waiting on regulatory approval from antitrust authorities in Asia; the deal has already received the green light from the US Justice Department and the European Commission. Once the buyout goes through, Microsoft will use its new acquisition to design its own smartphones, rather than relying on Nokia to produce its flagship Windows Phone handsets as a third party.
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Zorin OS ,Is it Good Alternative to Windows XP?

Microsoft has announced that on April 8, 2014, it will stop supporting Windows XP. This means that the 12-year-old OS will no longer receive security updates to fix vulnerabilities which have been reported to Microsoft. The result is that hackers could increase their attacks on Windows XP users, especially in the case of any zero-day vulnerabilities that Microsoft subsequently fixes in other versions of Windows but which remain in XP. If you do stick with XP, you should read our XP end of support guide.

Microsoft’s own website tells users to not let their PCs “go unprotected.” And, of course, they want you to upgrade to another version of Windows which costs money. If you are looking for a free alternative to Windows XP, Zorin OS could be the one for you.

Zorin OS is a Linux distribution which tries to bridge the gap to Windows. It has been designed specifically for Windows users who want to move away from XP. It is based on Ubuntu and can be installed alongside XP. It also provides a way to run Microsoft Windows programs with the help of WINE and PlayOnLinux. Programs like Adobe Photoshop CS3 (10.0) or Yahoo! Messenger are reported to work without any problems. Also games like Final Fantasy XI Online and StarCraft should run out-of-the-box.

Installing Zorin OS is quite simple, especially if you want to replace XP with Linux. Since Zorin OS is based on Ubuntu, creating a dual-boot setup is simple enough. You can find details in our guide to dual-booting Windows and Ubuntu. The first step to installing Zorin OS is to boot the Live CD and then run the  ”Install Zorin OS” program. Follow the steps, but make sure that you don’t delete your existing Windows installation by mistake. When the installation has finished reboot your PC.

Zorin OS has been designed to be familiar to XP users, however it doesn’t try to blatantly copy the Windows look and feel. In the bottom left is the Z icon which serves as the “Start” button and gives you access to the installed programs. Along the bottom is the task bar, and at the bottom right is the clock and other tray icons.

Double-click on the Home icon to open the file explorer (the equivalent of Windows Explorer). The file explorer in Zorin OS uses a Windows-like theme which should make it familiar to Windows users. Down the left hand side is Places (including Home, Desktop, Downloads, Pictures etc) followed by the Devices list (the hard drives etc) and a way to browse the network. The right hand pane shows the files and folders. There is an option to display the icons as a list or in a grid along with options to change the sort order.

To install Windows software that you have downloaded from the Internet, open the Downloads folder in the file explorer but do not double-click on the “.exe” file. Instead right-click on it and select “Open With.” Click on “Wine Windows Program Loader.” This will launch the Windows program under WINE and enable you to install it on Zorin OS. The process is very similar for Windows applications that you have on CD or DVD, but rather than opening the Downloads folder, you would browse to the optical drive.

To run an installed Windows program, click on the Z icon and then click “Other” to see a list of programs installed via WINE.

Overall Zorin OS manages to make the transition from Windows to Linux a little bit easier. The UI is designed to be familiar to Windows users, and the inclusion of WINE helps with software that is only available for Windows. However, Zorin OS is still Linux and it can’t be considered as a slot in replacement for XP. The differences between the two operating systems, although in no way insurmountable, mean that only those with a reasonable level of technical competence will find Zorin OS a viable alternative. However, if you can’t upgrade to a newer version of Windows and you are stuck with XP, then there is no harm in giving Zorin OS a try! Being able to dual boot also helps as you can always return to Windows XP if you don’t like Zorin OS.
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How to Build a Simple Arcade Style Controller

There is nothing quite like playing an arcade game on your PC with an actual arcade stick – a simple keyboard just doesn’t cut it always. In this post, we put together a simple guide for building your own basic arcade stick.

Choose a Button Layout, Purchase Your Parts, and Begin Assembly has a pretty great collection of sample layouts that you can use, or you can modify one of them to create a unique layout that’s all your own. Below is the design I like to use.

After you have figured out how many buttons and joysticks you need, you can start to purchase each individual piece. I recommend buying joysticks and pushbuttons from Ultimarc – they have a great return policy and an amazing selection of parts.
To assemble your arcade stick, you can use literally anything. I actually used a shoebox when I built mine! This is the easiest option because it doesn’t require any power tools.

Other people may prefer a sturdier box. There are some nice wooden boxes available on Amazon that are perfect for making an arcade stick.

How to Wire Your Control Stick
The easiest way to build your own arcade controller is to purchase a dedicated encoder. This is the easiest way and the safest option. This is the one I would recommend to everyone not too familiar with modding electronics and soldering. These can often be connected to spinners and trackballs too. The I-PAC is the most popular one on the market.
Here is a sample of an encoder, the I-PAC from Ultimarc:

You can connect the wires two ways: Solder them to the push buttons or using crimps like on the picture to the right. Just use what you are comfortable with. Using crimps makes it very easy to change defective parts in the future, and it is much easier than using a soldering iron.
Connect each joystick switch and button to the corresponding terminal: The encoder has a lot of terminals for connecting your wires. There are four terminals for a joystick – one for each direction, up, down, left and right. The rest of the terminals are for the push buttons or other players (some encoders can handle up to 8 players). Sometimes there is separate buttons for Start and Coin, but it doesn’t really matter how you hook them up because you can configure what each button does in the emulators.

Connect each button to the ground wire. There is also a terminal called GND or ground. The GND/ground is very important and must be connected to every push button and joystick switch. You can connect them all by making a “daisy-chain,”  which is a wire going from one push button to the next like a chain.

Remember: When connecting a micro switch to an encoder, always use the ground/GND and the normal open (NO). The two terminals are marked with green on the illustration above.
The normal closed (NC) is only used when you need the micro switch to brake a connection rather than make a connection.

That’s it – it may look confusing, but it really is very simple. The I-PAC doesn’t require any drivers, so all you need to do is map the buttons in your favorite emulator when you hook it up to your PC. Have fun and remember to take some breaks from all that hardcore gaming!
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Internet Censorship: How Countries Block Their Citizens from Entering Websites

Iran, Yemen, China, North Korea, Turkey, and many other countries on the globe have at one point or another started employing the practice of censoring the Internet domestically. This either partially or greatly restricted the international freedom of speech of its citizens. While a large portion of the world enjoys the ability to log into Twitter and say anything they want about their government and country, this isn’t the case in countries like Turkey, which enacted an active block of Twitter on March 20th, 2014. How do countries carry out Internet censorship? What methods have the most effect on a population?

Why Governments Censor

There are a few reasons why a government would want its population to be unable to communicate through the Internet freely:
  1. It is afraid of its population organizing a revolt. The Internet is an effective medium for organizing events, flash mobs, and even riots. Governments will block a social network, for example, with the intention of preventing people from messaging each other and publicly announcing their organized protests.
  2. Perhaps the government is afraid of ruining its outward image and wants to hide the ugly reality of its internal struggles. Countries like North Korea are very concerned about the image they display to other nations around the world. It may be a little too late to protect its reputation, but it’s been actively forbidding external Internet access for this exact reason.
  3. Incumbent politicians like to stay in power, no matter the country. Some take this to heart to such an extent that they block access to the Internet to rig elections safely without allowing minority groups to organize counter movements at a national level.
This may cover everything, but if you think I missed something, please feel free to discuss that in the comments section.
So, there are enough compelling reasons to censor the Internet to tempt a leader who has enjoyed the seat of power for many years. How does this happen, though?

ISP Filters
One of the less controversial ways of blocking Internet access to users within a country is to ask Internet service providers (ISPs) nicely to do this themselves. Many developed countries around the world have attempted to use this method only to succumb to the will of the populace. However, more oppressive regimes can strong-arm their ISPs into the same process. This is even easier when the entire Internet infrastructure is state-owned.
The problem (fortunately) with this method is that it’s easy to circumvent. Any citizen can just use onion routing or a proxy to access the sites he wants. The government counts on citizens not being aware of these choices. However, it’s inevitable that one day ISP filters will be completely ineffective as people become more educated about how to get around them.

ASN Blocking
When proxies cause problems, autonomous system number (ASN) blocking provides a very controversial way to block access to particular websites. To make this easier to understand, each ISP has an ASN allocated for particular IP ranges it controls. If a government wants to block a website, it can “trick” its own infrastructure by allocating a smaller ASN (creating a path of least resistance) with an IP range containing the IP of the website it wants to block. This will direct routers to go to its own version of a particular website rather than the website itself. It wouldn’t matter whether you type the IP address or the URL for YouTube. You won’t be able to access it either way because the government has fooled your router into thinking that the IP address is hosted in that particular country.
TLD Name Server Seizing
If you’re in possession of a top-level domain (TLD) server, you have a lot of flexibility. A top-level domain is what you see at the end of a domain name (“.net,” for example). As the country in control of a TLD, you can deny any domain name requests to it. This method is also easy to circumvent. If you know the IP address that the domain is pointed to, you can just type it up in your address bar and enter the site. This, and the fact that the TLD server needs to be in your country, makes TLD blocks very unfeasible and inefficient.
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Should Windows XP Be Put Out of Its Misery? [Poll]

Microsoft recently released its plan to stop supporting Windows XP. Considering one-third of all the computers in the world are still running this version of the OS, it will obviously affect some people. Is Microsoft stopping the support too soon or should Windows XP be put out of its misery?
With two solid OS releases after the XP in Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft is apparently feeling confident in them, enough to stop supporting the twelve-year-old XP. After April 8, 2014, there will not be any more automatic updates to XP, meaning it won’t help protect your personal information. Anti-virus won’t help here. Additionally, new software and devices won’t work on the XP. Those still running that older OS will be forced into either upgrading the software or buying a new computer. Perhaps this is the plan: to get that one-third of computers to finally upgrade and spend more money.
Does a twelve-year-old OS have to be retired or can there still be a use for it? Is Microsoft just trying to sell some computers and software? Is it time for Microsoft to be put out of its misery?

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How to Zip and Extract Archives on Mac

How many files that you downloaded from the Internet ended up being zip archives? I know – many of them. ZIP archives allow users to put a number of files into one single file that when extracted, gives all the compressed files back to the user. Mac comes with a built-in feature to create and extract ZIP archives, thus eliminating the need of downloading a third-party compressing tool. If you are curious to know how you can create and extract archives on your Mac, this guide should help you do that.

Creating a ZIP Archive

Creating a new ZIP archive is as simple as pie. Just follow a couple of steps mentioned below and you should be all set.

1. Open Finder and go to the folder where the files are that you want to create an archive of.

2. Select all the files you want to add into the archive. Right-click on any file to activate the context menu. Select “Compress X Items,” with X being the number of files that you have selected for compression.

3. As soon as you hit the option mentioned above, it will create a ZIP in the same folder where your files are present. The archive name will be “” by default. You can change it later, though.

There you go. You have successfully created a ZIP archive containing all the files you selected before and it is all ready to be sent to whomever you want to send it to.
Creating a ZIP using Terminal

If you are a geeky person and would rather create an archive right off Terminal, we have you covered. It is actually much simpler to create an archive using Terminal than you think. Here is how you can go about doing that.

1. Fire up Terminal on your Mac from Launchpad.

2. Use cd command to get to the folder where your files are available. If you are confused, fire-up the ls command and it should list out all the directories for you to choose.

3. Once the folder where your files are located has become your current directory in the Terminal, type the following command:

zip FileName.ext

Where “” is the name of the archive that will be created, “FileName.ext” is the name of the file that will be added to the archive.

4. It will let you know when the archive has been created and it should become available in the folder where you created it.
Extracting a ZIP Archive

Now that you have created an archive, you might want to learn how to extract one. This one is much easier than the creation process above, here is how you can do that.

1. Open the folder where your archive is saved.

2. Double-click on the archive you want to extract and all of its files will be extracted to the same folder where you are.

You are all done. Your archive has been extracted and the original files that were put in are now available for you to use.

Having the knowledge of creating and extracting archives will definitely help you when you are surrounded with so many files that need to be sent at the same time.
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Google Announces Android Wear ,a clean Android for Wearables

 Looks like Google has been noticing the recent influx of Smart watches and will be extending its love to devices more than just Google Glass. Google has announced Android Wear, a new way for the company to bring Android to wearable technology. Many call it the Nexus of smart watches, its more a clean Android interface the way google wanted it.

The Android Wear project will bring an ever aware, smart watch which is always listening. So just say “okay Google!” and open your garage door.
Android Wear promises to be more than just voice commands and just a user interaction based response system. The Android Wear project promises to bring contextual updates and notifications based on your likes, location and available choices keeping in mind weather conditions and local ambiances.

The new project promises to bring better interaction with your smartphone, alongside better health features and tracking.

If you’re a developer, there’s a new section on focused on wearables. Starting today, you can download a Developer Preview so you can tailor your existing app notifications for watches powered by Android Wear.

Google has gone ahead to announce that Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung are working on Android Wear devices; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm are helping with the hardware; and fashion brands like the Fossil will bring it to the global consumer.
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How to Set Up and Use Mozilla’s Firefox Accounts

When it comes to the web browsers, like other software, there is a plethora of choice. While most Windows users stick with Internet Explorer – perhaps largely because it comes bundled with the operating system, and they don’t really know about others – Chrome and Firefox have also become popular selections. Even Opera and Safari are available, to name only a couple of alternatives to the big three.

One of several draws in Chrome is the ability to sync the browser. Install it on a new PC or open it on a second system and you are just a Google account log-in away from having your history, passwords, tabs and more. It’s a brilliant and easy solution, and one that should be part of every web browser.
Now Mozilla is testing the waters in Firefox with an improved version of its own – you won’t see it quite yet, unless you happen to reside on the bleeding edge of technology. In that case, you will discover Mozilla Firefox Accounts, which is aiming to be competitive with the Google feature.


I would be remiss if I didn’t spend a moment explaining things here. Firefox comes in four different versions – stable, beta, aurora and nightly. Those names represent the descending path of stability. When beta becomes stable and gets released, then aurora moves to beta – it’s a steady test bed of ideas and features.

Firefox Aurora and Accounts

If you wish to experiment with this new addition to the browser, then you’ll need to be running aurora – a step down in stability from beta, but it isn’t going to simply fail and crash all the time – don’t worry. For the most part, it remains solid, though the occasional glitch is not unheard of.

Sync isn’t entirely new to the platform as Mozilla points out. The company has simply gone to greater lengths to improve the service.

Firefox Sync enables you to take your browsing data like passwords, bookmarks, history, and open tabs across devices, just as it always has. But now we’ve made it even easier to set up the service and add multiple devices, while still delivering the same browser-based encryption

To get started, head to the “Tools” menu – it’s the three bars at the top right on the screen – and click on Options. This pops up a window with tabs spread across the top. The obvious one here is “Sync,” and this is what you want to click.

If you have an account, then go ahead and sign in. If not you will need to create one. This requires the usual email and password, but for some strange reason also a year of birth. Depending on your age, this is not precise, as it only goes back to 1991 and then offers a “1990 or prior” option.

Fill in the necessary information, and you may also want to check the box for choosing what you wish to sync. You will get an email that you will need to take care of in order to finish the setup – just click the big blue “verify” button.
With that out of the way, you can choose what you wish to sync. Options include tabs, bookmarks, passwords and more. By default, all are checked, but that is easy enough to change if you wish.

As I previously stated, this is not entirely new, but has been greatly improved in the new aurora build of the browser. If you already have a Firefox account for sync, then this won’t affect you, but will make it a bit easier to set up on a new system or alter an existing one. It is simple to set up and use, and I encountered no issues in the process.

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7 YouTube Channels Where You Can Find Computer Help

Thanks to the Internet, a beginner doesn’t really need to seek anyone’s help anymore. This holds true for several things, and technology-related queries are certainly one of them. Some weird noise is coming out of your laptop? Getting slower network speed? Don’t like Windows 8′s start screen? Well, there are a gamut of communities waiting to help you out.

While there are several communities like StackOverflow where you can post your questions and have them appropriately addressed, if you find video content more gripping, the Internet has that covered well. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most reliable and well-known YouTube channels that you should look up when in need of some help with your computer woes.

1. Eli The Computer Guy

Arguably one of the best resources of learning all things digital, Eli The Computer Guy has come a long way. Having watched his tutorials myself, I can vouch for the quality and accuracy in the matters he talks about.

In the last few months, the YouTube channel has covered buying advice, gadget reviews, and explanations of various technology motives, but that isn’t what made this channel popular. Want to learn about Linux, Ubuntu, or understand various network concepts such as DNS and routing? Eli The Computer Guy is the place you should head to. He has also explained various programming languages – HTML and Perl to name a couple. The way the channel approaches a concept and simplifies all the tech jargon is what makes it worth your time.

2. Life Hacker

Though the channel is not just about technology, as they indulge in other categories as well, Whitson Gordon and company are certainly no slouch at computer skills either.

Not only will you find their YouTube channel filled with a bevy of great technology tips, writers of the website also do a podcast where you can have your questions answered. Periodically they also do a dedicated podcast to help others which they run by the name of “Ask LifeHacker.” You can visit their website or email them to get your questions answered. You can find information about the podcast on its website or the YouTube channel.


Run by Marques Brownlee, a very popular YouTube personality, in his channel MKBHD, he explains personal technology.

Want to know all the buzz about 4K videos? What does Motorola’s acquisition mean to Lenovo? Tune into MKBHD, and he will explain things in a very succinct way. Much like Lifehacker, you can tweet to @mkbhd or comment on his videos with your queries, and he will try to help you out.

4. Digital Inspiration

Quite aptly named, Amit Agarwal, a very popular name in the tech industry, finds new hacks and tips to share with readers and viewers. He has been doing it for years and has coded several hundreds of scripts that make other people’s lives easier.

Whether you want to book your tickets or learn how to setup your website on Google Drive, Digital Inspiration, better known as Labnol, has you covered.

5. Tech of Tomorrow

This popular YouTube channel helps you with purchase decisions for computer peripherals. Having a tough time choosing between Intel and AMD processors? Want to clarify your doubts about the latest model of the Intel processor? Tech of Tomorrow is a nice place to start.

6. Maximum PC Mag

If you’re looking for information on graphics cards, motherboard, processor, and other hardware components, Maximum PC’s YouTube channel is one of the best resources available on the web.

Unlike many other channels, folks over at Maximum PC don’t hold back from screaming at a device and giving it bad reviews if things are not on par.

A nice alternative would be Hardware Canucks.

7. Linus Tech Tips

Linus Tech Tips is yet another great channel for learning about computers among several other gadgets. From setting up a water cooling system to guiding you on the right graphics card, Linus has you covered on all the tech fronts.

While our list of our favorite YouTube channels ends here, there are many others which are simply too good. Newegg TV, Tek Syndicate are two of them.

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