Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

OpenOffice 3.0 Beta Now Available, Adds Native OS X Support

Windows/Mac/Linux (all platforms):, the free office application suite, has released a beta of its 3.0 version to the public with a few key features rolled in. The biggest update is native support for Mac OS X platforms, meaning no need to install X11 packages on older Macs or switch to NeoOffice for a smoother experience (although NeoOffice plans to release a 3.0 of its own, so stay tuned). OpenOffice also adds built-in conversion filters for Office 2007/Mac Office 2008 files, a new “solver” function for spreadsheets, enhanced notes and viewing options in Writer, and other enticements for those willing to risk a few bugs. 3.0 beta is a free download for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems.


Firefox Infects Vietnamese Users With Trojan Code


Mozilla, the maker of the open source Firefox browser, is redoubling its efforts to check user created add-ons for viruses and Trojans after it discovered that a language pack on its official add-on page had been infected for months with rogue code, the organization reported Wednesday.

Starting in mid-Feburary, Vietnamese users of Mozilla’s open source Firefox browser were at risk of infection from malicious Trojan Horse code seemingly accidentally embedded in a language pack available on its Add-ons site.

The virus’s signature was unknown at the time, and thus passed Mozilla’s testing of add-ons.

The glitch isn’t the first time that seemingly trusted software included rogue code, but such occurences are surprisingly rare given the amount of open-source and shareware programs that net users install based on blind trust. That’s not even mentioning the huge selection of pirated software available on file sharing networks that could easily be infected with malware.

In response to the later discovery of the latent Trojan code by anti-virus software, Mozilla pulled the language pack and announced it would begin scanning all add-ons whenever they update their virus signatures, not just when add-ons are originally posted, according to a entry on the Mozilla security blog.

Mozilla had no exact statistics on the number of users who had installed the infected Vietnamese language add-on since it was uploaded on February 18, but said that 16,667 people had downloaded the add-on since November 2007.

On Tuesday, a user named Hai-Nam Nguyen reported that anti-virus programs detected the Xorer Trojan inside the add-on. Firefox admins quickly confirmed the presence of the Trojan’s code and removed the file the same day.

Mozilla ran an anti-virus check on the most recent version in February when it was added to the official Firefox add-ons site, but the Trojan’s virus signature was not known until April.

The add-on’s author is not suspected of intentionally booby-trapping the file, but instead had his own system infected. That Trojan inserted a banner-ad displaying script into any html file on his system, which included the help files for the language pack.

That meant that anyone installing the language pack would have malicious ad displaying code inside their browser — which could be used for other exploits.

The Vietnamese language pack has been pulled until a clean replacement is uploaded. Existing users should uninstall the add-on in the meantime.

Stream Your iTunes Playlists on Facebook


Melodeo has added a new feature to its nuTsie iTunes streaming application that lets you embed up to five iTunes playlists in your Facebook profile.

According to Melodeo VP of business development (and former Presidents of the United States of America guitarist) Dave Dederer, every other Facebook music application out there pretty much sucks.

“NuTsie is about the music. There are over 1,200 music apps on Facebook and not one of them delivers,” Dederer said in a press release Wednesday. “In fact, this just in — findings from a study released last week noted that most Facebook apps are silly and pointless. Blow off the goofy apps that will just drive you crazy and go nuTsie for music with us.”

Those are fighting words, Dave. I downloaded nuTsie to see if it lives up to Dederer’s claims. As the application analyzed my music, I was able add nuTsie playlists to my Facebook profile without a problem. Once nuTsie knew what was in my iTunes library, I was able to stream much of it from my account.

And sure enough, all of my iTunes playlists were available within the nuTsie app for embedding in my Facebook profile page (see image, right). In other words, it works.

The music Melodeo puts on your Facebook page doesn’t stream from your computer. Instead, nuTsie identifies the songs in your iTunes collection and then streams them from its own servers (the same feature that got in so much trouble back in the day). The advantages of this system are that you don’t need to leave your computer on or consume upstream bandwidth in order to play music for people. The downside is that rare or weirdly titled songs tend not to be playable, because nuTsie doesn’t recognize them.

To use the service, you don’t even need to install nuTsie on your computer. Using the site’s web interface, you can upload your iTunes library to the site by first exporting it from iTunes as an XML file (File > Export Library).

If you add a new playlist, there’s no need to export and upload your entire iTunes collection again. Go to File > Export in iTunes, choose Export as XML and then click Upload Playlist on the nuTsie website. By doing this regularly, you can let your Facebook friends hear what you’ve been digging.

Install the Melodeo nuTsie Facebook app