Archive for December, 2006
I ran across the Online Etymology Dictionary the other day and was blown away by the well-designed and incredibly useful service they offer. Of course, it’s much nicer to have access to that functionality at a click, so of course I created a Firefox/Mozilla bookmarklet. But I wanted to have the same thing available on my Google homepage, right next to the Dictionary search box and the Wikipedia search box, so I created a “Google Gadget” for it as well.
To use the bookmarklet, drag the link below into your Firefox/Mozilla bookmarks bar.
To use the “Google Gadget” go to your Google homepage, click on the “Add Stuff” link, click on “Add by URL” and enter http://www.evardsson.com/files/gg_etymonline.xml
Yesterday eWeek reported another 0-day exploit for Microsoft Word. While Microsoft has not publicly acknowledged the threat, CERT has issued a bulletin warning of it and a proof-of-concept has been released publicly.
From the CERT bulletin:
Data used by Microsoft Word to construct a destination address for a memory copy routine is embedded within a Word document itself. If an attacker constructs a Word document with a specially crafted value used to build this destination address, then that attacker may be able to overwrite arbitrary memory.
According to the eWeek article, currently only BitDefender recognizes the threat. Testing on a fully patched and up-to-date WinXP SP2 I can at least vouch that AVG doesn’t recognize it as a threat yet. Opening the POC in Microsoft Word results in successful execution of the exploit (which in the POC merely crashes Word.) Attempting to open the POC in OpenOffice results in OO reporting an error.
My recommendation: use OpenOffice.
Rather than try to explain the entire case, which the article at CNN does so well already, I’ll summarize:
In 2002, Joseph Frederick, a Juneau, AK senior was suspended for displaying a banner reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” on a public sidewalk outside the school. School officials suspended him because, in their argument, it was a school function, since the students had been let out of class to watch the Olympic torch go by, and were accompanied by teachers.
Frederick’s family brought a suit against the school board for violation of his First Amendment rights and the 9th US Circuit Court agreed.
Now the school board, represented (pro bono) by Ken Starr is preparing to appeal.
My take on it is this: the school does not have the right to impinge on the free speech of students when they are off-campus, not in class, and it does not have an effect on the educational mission of the school. Even when that speech is offensive, counter to the school’s standards, or as in this case, lacking any reasonable common sense.