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Microsoft

Microsoft Releases Pre-2007 Binary File Format Specs 269

Posted by timothy
from the in-exchange-they-can-read-the-odf-spec dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has released the specifications for the binary file formats used by pre-2007 Microsoft Office applications. They're accurate this time! Honest! While the documents are enormous (Word alone requires 533 pages; Excel runs over 1000 plus another 850 pages for the Office 2007 binary format), they hopefully will be useful to developers trying to create or extract information from Microsoft Office files (which despite their flaws, have been the de facto standard in many fields for some time now)."
Earth

North Pole Ice On Track To Melt By September? 978

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the new-swimming-holes dept.
phobos13013 writes "Recently released evidence is showing the North Pole ice is melting at the highest rate ever recorded. As a result, the Pole may be completely ice-free at the surface and composed of nothing but open water by September. As reported in September of last year, the Northwest Passage was ice-free for the first time known to man. The implications of this, as well as the causes, are still being debated. Are global warming experts just short-sighted alarmists? Are we heading for a global ice age? Or is the increase in global mean temperature having an effect on our planet?"
The Internet

Singapore Firm Claims Patent Breach By Virtually All Websites 481

Posted by timothy
from the oh-that-makes-sense dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Singapore firm, VueStar has threatened to sue websites that use pictures or graphics to link to another page, claiming it owns the patent for a technology used by millions around the world. The company is also planning to take on giants like Microsoft and Google. It is a battle that could, at least in theory, upend the Internet. The firm has been sending out invoices to Singapore companies since last week asking them to pay up."
GUI

A Look At the Lightweight Equinox Desktop Environment 197

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the feature-rich-is-still-important dept.
Linux.com (who share Slashdot's corporate overlords) takes a look at the Equinox Desktop Environment and why, even though it is extremely lightweight, it may still lack the ability for widespread appeal. "the Equinox Desktop Environment (EDE) is the fastest desktop environment I know of -- but its lack of standards support and a few missing features may be troubling to some users. [...] EDE feels as light as a window manager but also offers the features mentioned above. The speed advantage of EDE most likely lies in its foundation, a modified version of the Fast Light ToolKit GUI library. EDE started almost instantly on the 500MHz machine I tested it on, whereas the other environments needed at least a few seconds. EDE provides a coherent and simple interface that requires little effort to learn."
Education

How the RIAA Targets Campus Copyright Violators 280

Posted by timothy
from the lures-them-in-with-jim-hawkins-dolls dept.
jyosim writes "The Chronicle of Higher Ed got a briefing at RIAA headquarters on how the group catches pirates. They just use LimeWire and other software that pirates use, except that they've set up scripts to search for songs, grab IP numbers, and send out notices to college officials. They claim they don't target specific colleges, though many feel that they do."
The Courts

RIAA Receives Stern Letter, Folds 382

Posted by kdawson
from the turning-tide dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In SONY BMG v. Merchant, in California, the defendant's lawyer wrote the RIAA a rather stern letter recounting how weak the RIAA's evidence is, referring to the deposition of the RIAA's expert witness (see Slashdot commentary), and threatening a malicious prosecution lawsuit. The very same day the RIAA put its tail between its legs and dropped the case, filing a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal. About an hour earlier NYCL had termed the letter a 'model letter'; maybe he was right."

Adobe Releases Cross-Operating System Runtime 297

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the playing-nice-with-everyone dept.
An anonymous reader writes to mention that Adobe released the first public version of their new cross-operating system runtime today nicknamed 'Apollo'. "The software relies on HTML, JavaScript, Flash, and Adobe Flex. The alpha version, which presently works on Windows and Macintosh, can be downloaded for free at http://www.adobe.com/go/apollo. Once the Apollo apps are created, users can launch them from their desktops, without using their browser or connecting online. An Apollo application can connect automatically to online data or services when an Internet connection is detected, with new components automatically downloaded and integrated. The user needs the Apollo runtime to run the apps, just as a Flash player is needed to run Flash animations."
Security

RFID Passports Cloned Without Opening the Package 168

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the step-one-cut-a-hole-in-a-box dept.
Jeremy writes to tell us that using some simple deduction, a security consultant discovered how to clone a passport as it's being mailed to its recipient, without ever opening the package. "But the key in this first generation of biometric passport is relatively easy to identify/crack. It is not random, but consists of passport number, the passport holder's date of birth and the passport expiry date. The Mail found it relatively easy to identify the holder's date of birth, while the expiry date is 10 years from the issue date, which for a newly-delivered passport would clearly fall within a few days. The passport number consists of a number of predictable elements, including an identifier for the issuing office, so effectively a significant part of the key can be reconstructed from the envelope and its address label."
Education

University Migrating Students to Windows Live Mail? 450

Posted by Cliff
from the does-this-sound-like-a-good-idea dept.
An anonymous reader wonders: "My University has begun a migration of student email services to Windows Live Mail. All students will be forced onto the system by the end of the semester, but it doesn't support POP or IMAP. Because of that limitation, the only freely available mail client it supports is Windows Live Desktop, which is only available on Windows and I'm worried its ads might be vulnerable to malware just like the ones in Live Messenger. I depend on my mail client and I am concerned about this, because we're not allowed to forward our mail but are responsible for information received there from the University and classes, I'm not on a Windows machine, and I don't have the time to regularly check for web-mail, during the day." What are the pros and cons of such a move for a mid-sized or large college? If you were in charge of the communications of a such a university, would you outsource [please note the vendor neutrality, here] your e-mail?
Science

Atom Smasher May Create "Black Saturns" 423

Posted by kdawson
from the distinctive-Hawking-radiation dept.
David Shiga writes "If we ever make black holes on Earth, they might be much stranger objects than the star-swallowing monsters known to exist in space. According to a new theory, any black hole that pops out of the Large Hadron Collider under construction in Switzerland might be surrounded by a black ring — forming a microscopic 'black Saturn'. This could happen if extra dimensions exist, as string theory suggests, and if they are large enough." An evocative excerpt from the article: "...there is an outside chance that in a few years in a tunnel near Geneva, physicists will make a black hole far smaller than a proton and circled by a squashed four-dimensional black doughnut."
Security

"Very Severe Hole" In Vista UAC Design 813

Posted by kdawson
from the she-said-he-said dept.
Cuts and bruises writes "Hacker Joanna Rutkowska has flagged a "very severe hole" in the design of Windows Vista's User Account Controls (UAC) feature. The issue is that Vista automatically assumes that all setup programs (application installers) should be run with administrator privileges — and gives the user no option to let them run without elevated privileges. This means that a freeware Tetris installer would be allowed to load kernel drivers. Microsoft's Mark Russinovich acknowledges the risk factor but says it was a 'design choice' to balance security with ease of use."

Loose bits sink chips.

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