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Marcin Sochacki (Wanted) Blog, Internet, Technology

» Oh, fsck! A new exploit for Linux

There's a new Linux local root exploit, working in kernels 2.6.17 – 2.6.24.1. It's a long time since such a big hole was found in so many kernel versions at once. The exploit was confirmed to work in Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and possibly many more. So it looks like we'll need a run of quick updates, goddamnit! The hole was found in vmsplice() function, which by the way can be easily disabled at kernel compilation stage.

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2008/02/11 01:59 | computers/linux/

» Rule no 3: Spammers are stupid

The post title comes from the well known in anti-spam community list of spammer rules. A few days ago I received a spam e-mail on one of my servers, which wouldn't be of any interest except for the unusual addressee.

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2008/01/31 02:47 | computers/spam/

» Bye bye, SCO!

Recently NASDAQ stock exchange said goodbye to SCO, when their stock price dropped to practically zero, and the company filed for bankruptcy. I'm quite disappointed though, that it lasted for so long and they still had enough cash for day to day operations even though courts confirmed they used FUD practices. As it turned out, SCO doesn't have any intellectual property rights for Linux source code, as they claimed with all the bells and whistles in 2003.

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2008/01/02 02:10 | computers/other/

» Google says “B” in paid links case

Several months ago Google publicly said “A” by including paid links among forbidden methods of SEO. Users were encouraged to report pages using such links and the spam fighting team, which has Matt Cutts in the ranks, worked on an algorithm to detect such pages.

Regardless of clear signs that paid links, as one of the techniques used to cheat search engines are not allowed, during those months Google AdWords and AdSense still allowed the companies working in paid links business to run ads. The problem was widely commented on many sites as a sign of duplicity from Google, on one hand fighiting with illegal SEO in organic results and on the other allowing the same companies to run ads via AdWords/AdSense and indirectly making money on the business.

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2007/12/13 07:00 | computers/google/

» One-click trashed?

It seems that one brave blogger from New Zealand, Peter Calveley hit the first nail in the coffin of 10 years old Amazon's patent called “1-Click Shopping”. It is today one of the classic examples of how broken and extremely prohibitive for small companies the United States patent system is.

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2007/10/17 20:15 | computers/www/

» Conan O'Brien vs Intel

Conan O'Brien recorded quite a funny movie from Intel headquarters. It remarkable that the company agreed to show that… Lots of fun but also serious criticism of giant firms. Admittedly, one of the big companies I know doesn't look that bad though, as you can see in the pictures below:

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2007/09/06 23:19 | computers/other/

» OOXML denied by ISO!

It seems that the countries voting on OOXML in ISO were against the fast-track approval of this standard (official ISO announcement). It means, that Microsoft will have to take care of hundreds of problems found in the specification and the final decision is postponed at least until February 2008.

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2007/09/04 18:41 | computers/microsoft/

» Another rootkit from Sony

It might seem that after the previous scandal with rootkit software on CDs, Sony will be more cautious. Well… it seems that one lesson of PR is not enough. F-Secure labs found rootkit-like software on USB pendrive integrated with fingerprint reader, made by the very same company.

2007/09/02 20:24 | computers/other/

» A short movie about Gmail

Google started a new funny project – a group video advertising Gmail. The idea is that users create short flicks (up to 10 seconds) where the red envelope (Gmail logo) moves from left to right edge of the screen. After joining the videos one will get something symbolising the long way an e-mail must travel.

Together with Iza I have just created our proposal, we'll see if it gets chosen to the final movie…

» read more…

2007/09/02 20:08 | computers/google/

» Polish Wikipedia released on DVD!

After a more than a year long wait, the Polish edition of Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia was released on DVD disc by Helion. As one of the supporting editors I recently got a free copy of the DVD and a mug, so this is a good occasion to review our job.

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2007/09/02 18:12 | computers/wikipedia/

» Poland votes yes on OOXML

The inevitable happened. The Polish Committee for Standardization (PKN) will most likely agree to OOXML fast-track approval within ISO, as the Technical Committee 182 voted so on August 30th. The votes were: 17 approval with comments, 3 abstain.

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2007/09/01 13:22 | computers/microsoft/

» Microsoft bought Swedish votes for OOXML case

Another day, another shocking news related to the heated debate about OOXML format. It seems that Microsoft bought votes in the Swedish standards organisation (SIS) thus winning the support of Sweden in ISO. During earlier meetings it seemed that most of the OOXML working group where against the proposed standard. However, on the day of the voting, August 27th, about twenty representatives of various companies – Microsoft partners – showed up in the room and paid the membership fee (2500 dollars). People opposing OOXML were given an option to leave without paying the fee if they wanted. In protest against buying the votes they have left, including IBM representatives who called the event a farce.

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2007/08/28 22:17 | computers/microsoft/

» Lost in translation

A strange slip-up in the Polish version of Google is still visible online for at least two weeks and nobody seems to care to fix it. When you go to the advanced search page, you'll see the “Usage Rights” option with a select box, with the first line reading (my translation): “The purpose of the auction is to collect money to fund the holidays for children from orphanage in Mosty and to realize the statute goals of the Foundation”. The text comes from animatica.org website and seems to be a result of accidental copy-paste operation in the translation database. A screenshot is posted below.

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2007/08/27 19:33 | computers/google/

» OOXML protest brings a result

Yesterday the Polish Committee for Standardization announced, that the Technical Committee 182 charged with decision on OOXML standardisation will be supplemented with two representatives of the Free and Open Source Software Foundation (FWiOO). The decision must have been influenced by a large number of important mistakes in the format specification and also the open consultation made by PKN, which I also participated in with my humble letter.

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2007/08/26 00:34 | computers/microsoft/

» Embedded Google Maps

Until now, when you wanted to embed Google Maps in your website you had to apply for an API key and put some JavaScript code. Starting today, the maps can be embedded in a similar fashion to YouTube videos – all you need to do is to click the “Link to this page” link from Google Maps interface and you'll get the HTML code to copy and paste. Embedding is done using HTML mechanism called IFRAME (inline frame). I think it's a great help for users and it will get popular quickly.

» read more…

2007/08/21 23:28 | computers/google/

» My opinion on OOXML standardisation

As some of you might know, Microsoft is trying hard to push its Office Open XML (OOXML) format. It was created as a competitor to the existing, ISO-standardised ODF format (used, among others, in OpenOffice.org). The company is also lobbying for ISO approval of OOXML, which is a decision by all ISO member organisations in many countries. The Polish Committee for Standardization (PKN) passed the OOXML application to the Technical Committee 182. It was almost approved automatically, but thanks to a pretty big outcry on the Polish web, they accepted to postpone the decision and allow public comments submission. In spite of numerous technical mistakes and – contrary to the name – partially closed specification, OOXML seems to have a great support in the standardisation bodies, most likely thanks to the Microsoft's campaign. I strongly advise you to read more about the issue and contact your local standardisation organisation if you feel the proposed standard is not ready for approval yet. For Polish speakers, there's more in the Polish version of this post.

Related posts:

2007/08/21 20:20 | computers/microsoft/

» Gmail grows to 9 GB - NOT!

Some people have seen that Google decided to expand Gmail mailboxes to 9 GB. Not that I would ever plan to fill my current mailbox, but it's still a nice feature. As a matter of fact, when I was at Google I used to get so much mail, that the standard Gmail's 2 GB could be filled quite quickly (but employee's mailboxes had 15 GB at that time anyway). Anyway, the reality is that Google is now offering a shared storage service for both Gmail and Picasa Web Albums. If you have bought 6 GB extra storage for Picasa already, then your Gmail account will show 9 GB total storage now. Additionally, the price of the extra space has dropped a bit – for 6 GB you'll pay $20/year (earlier $25/year). It's a great offer for those who store a lot of pictures/e-mail and a prelude to the anticipated GDrive file storage service.

Gmail has 9 GB, the screenshot comes from Blogoscoped

Gmail has 9 GB, the screenshot comes from Blogoscoped

2007/08/10 00:57 | computers/google/

» Lech Wałęsa on Wikipedia

There is a page on Polish Wikipedia called Report an error in article, which helps people not acquainted with the technical aspects of editing wiki pages to let us know about some mistakes. The reports are usually justified and the articles are fixed accordingly. Nevertheless, from time to time, one can find some groundless requests or spam. For that reason, when I saw the report today signed by a person calling himself “Lech Wałęsa” (former Solidarity movement leader and a president of Poland) I thought it was yet another joke. A small investigation shows however, that it might in fact be a genuine request.

Here's my rough translation of the “error” report (I tried to replicate original spelling and grammar mistakes in Polish, emphasis mine):

Lech Wałęsa Information about me here is untrue these are all insolent lies and slanders .All positives omitted .The court should take care of that .The history will corect you, insolent liars .L Wałęsa

Sender: Lech Wałęsa, 23:48, 11 Jul 2007 (CEST)

» read more…

2007/08/06 22:05 | computers/wikipedia/

» Drag and drop in Google Maps

Wah-Wah-Wee-Wah! – that would be Borat's reaction to the new feature of Google Maps – click & drag interface. Thanks to the new function, when searching for directions we're no longer limited to only one route selected by Google's algorithm. Although in most cases it was quite robust, but sometimes it is nice to make manual corrections, e.g. when you want to visit a certain place in the middle of the route or you want to avoid toll highways (not a big deal in Poland at the moment though :-)).

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2007/06/30 00:44 | computers/google/

» IBM gadgets

Recently I have visited the office of IBM Poland in business and because of that I got some new gadgets for my collection. As an old gadgetology maniac, let me show you what does IBM have in stock.

» read more…

2007/06/27 17:59 | computers/other/

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