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Software

OpenOffice.org 3.0 Is Officially Here 284

SNate writes "After a grinding three-year development cycle, the OpenOffice.org team has finally squeezed out a new release. New features include support for the controversial Microsoft OOXML file format, multi-page views in Writer, and PDF import via an extension. Linux Format has an overview of the new release, asking the question: is it really worth the 3.0 label?"
Space

Submission + - Mysterious Sound Waves Can Destroy Rockets

Ponca City, We love you writes: "Scientists believe that powerful and unstable sound waves, created by energy supplied by the combustion process, were the cause of rocket failures in several US and Russian rockets and have also observed these mysterious oscillations in other propulsion and power-generating systems such as missiles and gas turbines. Now, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a liquid rocket engine simulator and imaging techniques to help demystify the cause of these explosive sound waves and bring scientists a little closer to being able to understand and prevent them. The team was able to clearly demonstrate that the phenomenon manifests itself in the form of spinning acoustic waves that gain destructive power as they rotate around the rocket's combustion chamber at a rate of 5,000 revolutions per second. Researchers developed a low-pressure combustor to simulate larger rocket engines then used a very-high-speed camera with fiber optic probes to observe the formation and behavior of excited spinning sound waves within the engine. "This is a very troublesome phenomenon in rockets," said Professor Ben Zinn. "These spinning acoustic oscillations destroy engines without anyone fully understanding how these waves are formed. Visualizing this phenomenon brings us a step closer to understanding it.""
Security

Submission + - Whistleblower: Feds Have a High-Speed Backdoor Int

An anonymous reader writes: An unnamed U.S. wireless carrier maintains an unfiltered, unmonitored DS-3 line from its internal network to a facility in Quantico, Virginia, according to Babak Pasdar, a computer security consultant who did work for the company in 2003. Customer voice calls, billing records, location information and data traffic are all allegedly exposed. A similar claim was leveled against Verizon Wireless in a 2006 lawsuit.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft's Openess is a Patent Trap

CR0WTR0B0T writes: Gartner is warning that the recent move by Microsoft to pledge more support for interoperability is really a patent trap. "IT research firm Gartner is warning open source software makers that Microsoft's pledge to open up its documentation library to third parties carries legal risks for developers who aren't careful about how they access the technical trove. 'Do not use Microsoft's documentation unless you have rigorous processes to keep track of applicable patents,' said Gartner, in a new research report." In addition, non-commercial open source could be exposed if it is used by another commercial product, and we all know how rigorous developers are following processes, right?
Government

Submission + - Border wall is bypassing the well connected (texasobserver.org)

MazzThePianoman writes: "Remember those stories not so long ago about people being sued by the government for use of their land on the border to build the border wall? It turns out that some are not getting sued and there is a reason why. The Texas Observer investigated and found that Homeland Security won't say why the border wall is bypassing the wealthy and politically connected. "Holes in the Wall" http://www.texasobserver.org/article.php?aid=2688"
XBox (Games)

Submission + - MS announces self-published games for Xbox Live (xbox.com)

Khuffie writes: "At the Game Developer's Conference currently going on, Microsoft has announced Community games in which anyone can publish, review, download and play games on Xbox Live. Members of the XNA Creators Club, which costs $99 for 12 months, will be able to self-publish games after they have been reviewed and vetted by a 'community of peers' for 'appropriateness'. A special preview of 7 games will be available for download until the 24th of February. Videos and more details here."
The Internet

Submission + - Andrew Keen: Internet Anonymity Breeds Criminals

An anonymous reader writes: Renowned for his radical, anti-Internet views, Silicon Valley author, broadcaster, and entrepreneur Andrew Keen argues that Internet anonymity breeds faceless criminals. He insists that posting anonymously on social forums is fast becoming the norm and is the reason for inhumane consequences such as Megan Meier's death. Falling short of suggesting implementing tyrannical legislation against anonymous Internet users, Keen insists that those who do not want to reveal their true selves online have no business using the Internet.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft releases Office file formats

Philip Bailey writes: Microsoft has released the binary formats of its major Office file types. Specifications for .doc, .xls, .ppt files, and others, have been made available. Joel Spolsky, in an article today, describes the formats as "almost completely insane" in their complexity.

Will anybody bother to fully reimplement these formats in other software? What's in this for Microsoft?
Novell

Submission + - SCO goes private, gets $100M to keep going (linux-watch.com)

Trigun writes: "SCO, which had been reduced to be trading OTC (over the counter) in the Pink Sheets after having been kicked off the Nasdaq in December 2007, found an angel investor in SNCP and its Middle Eastern partners. In return for the $100 million to reorganize, SNCP will take over the company and take it private. Prior to this refinancing news out of the blue, SCO's stock had been trading for 6 cents per share."
Quickies

Submission + - Church of Myconology parody of scientology.org (churchofmyconology.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Myconology is the worship and consumption of huge mounds of manure while living in a stale, lifeless environment and giving yourself entirely to some relentless moron. The Mycon system of belief firmly embraces all of the following: Mushrooms have it good. They are kept completely in the dark and eat whatever is laying around, with no need for conscious thought. Mushrooms can be harvested for the sole benefit of the reaper without the need for compensation. Why can't humans be more like that? The truth is... they can.
Patents

Submission + - Lawmakers Debate Patent Immunity for Banks (washingtonpost.com)

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Now that a small Texas company has a patent on scanning and archiving checks — something every bank does — lawmakers feel they have to do something about it. Rather than reform patent law, they seem to think it wiser to protect the banks from having to pay billions in royalties by using eminent domain to buy the patent for $1 billion in taxpayer money, immunizing the banks. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)."
The Courts

Submission + - SCO and more financing to continue the fight?! (groklaw.net)

bobmorning writes: PJ over at Groklaw reports: " SCO announces reorganization plan — $100 M from SNCP & "partners from the Middle East", to go private Thursday, February 14 2008 @ 01:04 PM EST Here's the press release, titled "The SCO Group Announces Reorganization Plan to Include $100 Million Financing by Stephen Norris Capital Partners". It seems Stephen Norris Capital Partners "and its partners from the Middle East" have fallen in love with SCO's "vast range of products and services"
Operating Systems

Submission + - Microsoft Battles Vista "Perception" Issue (apcmag.com)

dan tynan writes: "APC mag has a funny blog by James Bannan, who takes an online survey offered by Microsoft about famous Vista "myths" that is in fact an Orwellian exercise in mind control. James is just a bit sarcastic about the whole thing, as any non-MSFT drone would be. Worth checking out."

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