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United States

US Military Explored Hiring Bloggers As Propagandists 355

Zeinfeld writes "Wired reports that one time Clipper Chip supporter Dorothy Denning wrote a report on using blogs for information warfare in 2006 (a report available from cryptome). Amongst the proposals were hiring bloggers directly as propaganda agents and using military media resources to 'make' a blogger posting favorable material. Notably, and most unfortunately absent from the report, is the very real question of whether the military should be manipulating domestic media." Is meme warfare just another battleground, or is this dirty pool?
Programming

Microsoft Releases Office Binary Formats 259

Microsoft has released documentation on their Office binary formats. Before jumping up and down gleefully, those working on related open source efforts, such as OpenOffice, might want to take a very close look at Microsoft's Open Specification Promise to see if it seems to cover those working on GPL software; some believe it doesn't. stm2 points us to some good advice from Joel Spolsky to programmers tempted to dig into the spec and create an Excel competitor over a weekend that reads and writes these formats: find an easier way. Joel provides some workarounds that render it possible to make use of these binary files. "[A] normal programmer would conclude that Office's binary file formats: are deliberately obfuscated; are the product of a demented Borg mind; were created by insanely bad programmers; and are impossible to read or create correctly. You'd be wrong on all four counts."

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