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OpenOffice 2.2 Released 291

xsspd2004 wrote with a link to a Desktop Linux post about the newest version of OpenOffice.org. Bug fixes and the usual changes can be found in the project's release notes. The developers are using the turn of phrase 'a real alternative to Office 2007', hoping to win over some folks not too thrilled with the commercial software's new look. "Overall, version 2.2 should appear better to users thanks to its support for kerning, a technique that improves the appearance of text written in proportional fonts; kerning is now enabled by default. OpenOffice's PDF (Portable Document Format) export function has also been enhanced with the addition of the optional creation of bookmarks feature, and with support for user-definable export of form fields. A quick look at the release notes also reveals that many minor bugs have been repaired in this new version. Most of these appear to relate to the Calc spreadsheet and Base database programs."

Feed New warnings to come from U.N. climate panel (com.com)

Video: New warnings to come from U.N. climate panel. One member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has looked closely at what's happening to animals. Terry Root of Stanford University talks with CNET News.com's Zamir Haider about changes that have already begun, and the threat of more extinctions to come.


Submission + - Parking space psychology

Morten Skogly writes: "AKA: How to tell if your coworkers hate their job by watching how they park their cars.

I've been festering this theory...

Personally, when I finally get to work, after getting the kids to kindergarden and driving 20 km, I simply pull into the first available parking spot I can find, get my stuff and heads to my desk to crank out some bad code.

In "parking lot psychology terms", this means that I like my job, as do most of my coworkers, as you can see on the picture on my site.

But every day there are quite a few people that take their sweet time, and actually backs their cars into place, a process that takes up to 10 times as long.

And this, in parking lot psychology terms: I WANT TO GO HOME!

My theory is that the people who back their cars into a parking space like this, simply can't wait for the day to be over so that they can go back home. They actually spend lots of thought and energy even before coming to work on how they can leave in the fastest way possible.

Good theory? I've been brewing over this one for over a year now... :)"

Submission + - Porn Industry gives users what they want to fight

An anonymous reader writes: In a novel form of piracy prevention the adult entertainment industry is giving user what they want. Live performances, user interaction and higher quality than can be found pirated. All of this available by subscription. From Cnet:"Like other online publishers, Kink.com has had to puzzle out ways to deal with the perennial problem of copyright infringement on peer-to-peer networks and Usenet. Kink.com's solution is live shows."

Feed Tropical maladies likely to head your way (com.com)

Video: Tropical maladies likely to head your way. Fancy a little dengue fever? Just stick around, says Dr. Terry Root of Stanford University. She's a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which is meeting in Brussels starting Monday. The panel will issue a report on effects of ongoing climate change, and one will be the spread of "tropical" diseases.

Feed California's $1.4bn IT boondoggle (theregister.com)

More dollars than sense

California, with its booming computer industry and an economy that ranks among the world's top 10, has wasted almost $1.4bn over the past decade because it can't build a statewide network to administer child support payments.


Submission + - Open Source Enterprise Security Management

Andres Armeda writes: "Applied Watch Technologies( www.appliedwatch.com ) today released a new version of their robust management platform for open source Snort and other popular open source security IDS. The new version is named 4.0 Shaman and boasts a brand new user interface and various new features to aid analysts in securing their networks using a very powerful open source solution and alternative to expensive closed source applications for the enterprise."

Submission + - Professional Rootkits book review

cpm80 writes: "Professional Rootkits (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0470101547/ref=c m_arms_pdp_dp/102-0642403-7880107) fully details rootkit technology in a modular, easy to learn progression from extremely simple to extremely functional. The book offers both chapter-by-chapter binaries and compile-and-run options, to cater to every level of development. Whether you want to read along and use the precompiled binaries, or modify the code and recompile new binaries, you can start simple and build your knowledge quickly.

The Wrox format really helps with this topic. The author begins with a very simple rootkit that's easy to understand, and slowly adds functionality throughout the book. There are no snippets that require extensive rework to integrate, no vague references to technology beyond the scope of the book, no indecipherable compile errors or blue screens; just good code wrapped in a book that fully details rootkits.

I was amazed by how easy it was to learn Windows kernel internals and use that knowledge to write fully functional rootkits. I took the time to download all the free software required to compile and run the code provided, so I was able to use the modularity of the code to create specific rootkits. I now have a key logger, an Outlook email filter, a network filter and a USB key filter. But aside from these new "utilities" I now have a thorough understanding of rootkits and how they can be used.

On the flip side, there is a certain amount of irresponsibility involved in providing the world with an easy to understand tutorial explaining the development and use of rootkits. Now, anyone who suspects their spouse is cheating can make a key logger. Anyone who thinks their boss is trying to replace them can make an email filter. The book even provides a common technique for installing rootkits from a visited web site! As a software engineer, I find the subject "interesting", but as a security officer, I suspect this book will be more "critical".

There are 14 chapters; of these, 9 chapters detail rootkit technology. The topics are:

A Basic Rootkit (a very simple introduction to rootkits)
Kernel Hooks ( this chapter adds a single kernel hook)
User Hooks (this chapter uses the kernel hook to do "Process Injection")
I/O Processing (this chapter explains Device I/O Control )
Communications (this is very stealthy TDI communications)
Filter Drivers (file filters and network filters!)
Key Logging (the first unloadable key logger I've ever seen)
Concealment (this caters to "old style" rootkit hiding techniques)
E-mail Filtering (Outlook and Lotus Notes "corporate" email filtering)

Knowing how these tricks are performed can be invaluable to both rootkit developers and security specialists. In addition, the book provides chapters on Rootkit Detection and Rootkit Prevention. Even if you're not worried about rootkits, knowing these basic security concepts can make a big difference if you use the Internet.

In summary, it's a great book (unless you're Microsoft) and I can't wait for the Linux version!"

Mexico City Starts 'Games for Guns' Campaign 54

eldavojohn writes "Strange as it may sound, Mexico City is giving it their all in their efforts to crack down on gun related violence. The chief of police has 'announced that anyone prepared to surrender a high-calibre weapon, such as a machine gun, will receive a free computer in exchange. And, perhaps in the interests of scale and fair play, anyone turning in a smaller calibre handgun will be presented with either cash remuneration or an Xbox videogame console.'"

Submission + - Sellaband - Next generation record company?

sokk writes: I've been watching the site Sellaband.com closely for the last four months. "The music industry is all about fences. Those who are on the inside, and those who are on the outside. SellaBand wants to break down all the fences. Everybody with a passion for music can be on the inside. It's your music. It's your choice.". An article about the site SellaBand — Is it Worth The Hype? written in November 2006 describes the concept. Since then, the users on the site ("believers") have put forth enough money for four artists to record albums. It's an interesting concept, and might just be the next generation record company.

Submission + - Mandriva Linux pre-installed on Intel's Classmate

boklm writes: "Mandriva announced it will have a version of its Mandriva Linux 2007 pre-installed on Intel's new low-end laptop for students in developing countries, the Classmate PC. This laptop comes with 256MB of RAM, 1 or 2GB of flash memory, 802.11b/g WiFi, 10/100Mbps ethernet, 2 USB ports, a 7-inch LCD display and 4 hours battery. Produced in Brazil, shipping is expected to begin in the second quarter of this year, and will be available to Mexico, India, and developing countries."

Feed ICANN Once Again Shoots Down .xxx TLD (techdirt.com)

The proposal to create a .xxx top-level domain for porn and adult content has been rejected by ICANN several times, as the group recognizes that it really isn't a very good idea. ICANN has again rejected the proposal, saying the company behind it hadn't adequately addressed previous concerns about how content in the TLD would be policed. What's odd is that ICANN board members said the group shouldn't be in the business of overseeing internet content, because it's inconsistent with its technical role. While that's correct, the position would appear to be at odds with ICANN's approval of the .mobi TLD for mobile content, in which it's given the .mobi registrar the ability to dictate what sort of content appears on sites in the domain (though, it looks as if they won't enforce their rules if you give them enough money). And money, of course, is why all of these useless TLDs keep being proposed and approved. Don't think that the guy behind the repeated .xxx TLD proposal has any sort of altruistic purposes at all -- in his own words, he's doing it "to make a pile of money.". ICANN doesn't need to give him (or anybody else proposing another pointless TLD) that opportunity.

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