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Michael Gracie

$298 Wal-Mart PC features OpenOffice.org, no crapware

This will happen more and more. Imagine if OO could extract just a penny from each sale

Acrobat bug biggest of 2007!

Now that is saying something, since it is presently January 6th. No, I’m not the one saying it – some security researchers are, and those researchers are implying it could be the biggest bug of the whole year (but I think that is only because they know Acrobat Reader has a huge install base, and most people are too dumb to bother implementing a patch when it does arrive).

Adobe has been on a decent streak as of late, so no better time to try and kick them down. The bright side of this is that it is free software we’re dealing with, so at least you didn’t pay to have your computer screwed up.

Note: Spamroll wins, however – a new category has been started – Software Bugs! Report quirks at your leisure.

UPDATE: Speaking of free software in need of patching…OpenOffice. I need to do it too, OpenOffice being a great tool for parsing small database tables when readying for import – Excel for Mac does a crappy job at it.

UPDATE 2: Since I’m on a free software binge this morning (while the dog pesters me for a walk), Dr. Dobbs notes that the free TrueCrypt encryption software is a hell of a way to thwart phishers. Check it out.

File interoperability, please

If you email someone a document, created in some fancy proprietary file format, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t get read.

In this day and age, there is no reason why a file cannot be an Adobe PDF, a Word doc wrapped in a zip file, or a non-macroed spreadsheet. Acrobat Reader is free, and everyone has a copy of Word and Excel (if you don’t, get OpenOffice..its free too, and it reads everything created using Microsoft Office).

But if you create that valuable piece of information in some program you wrote yourself, compiled in Cobol on a VAX, and used a “.nobodywillknowwhatthehelltodowiththisfile” extension, don’t expect it to be of much use.

I certainly won’t read it.