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Internet Archive Digital Residencies

Each week, the Internet Archive's tumblr account is completely transformed by a digital resident along a theme of their choosing. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 18, 2014 - 3 comments

Cortex considers this list worthless without Rogue

Professor Matthew Kirschenbaum, as part of his larger interest in the problem of software preservation, asks the provocative question What are the 10 most influential software programs of all time?
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jul 30, 2013 - 93 comments

"From where I sit it's a great adventure and an unending mystery."

"I am a master at sullying my own name and, all things considered, being associated with the worst software on the planet ranks way down the pole." John McAfee (previously) answers questions about his latest shenanigans
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 8, 2013 - 26 comments

Computers replace grad students

A new software program grades essay answers automatically. While not the first to do so, the program released by EdX is expected to gain more traction as it will be used to give instant feedback for the non-profit's free online courses offered by top universities. Critics have already found ways to game the system.
posted by DoubleLune on Apr 4, 2013 - 69 comments

Fixing Windows 8

Classic Shell is an open-source program that fixes two of the biggest problems users perceive with the newly-released Windows 8: it brings back the Start Menu, and it allows users to log-in directly to the Desktop instead of the Start Screen. (8.4 MB WINDOWS DOWNLOAD)
posted by JHarris on Oct 29, 2012 - 154 comments

How Microsoft blew it

Microsoft’s low-octane swan song was nothing if not symbolic of more than a decade littered with errors, missed opportunities, and the devolution of one of the industry’s innovators into a “me too” purveyor of other companies’ consumer products. ... How did this jaw-dropping role reversal happen? How could a company that stands among the most cash-rich in the world, the onetime icon of cool that broke IBM’s iron grip on the computer industry, have stumbled so badly in a race it was winning? [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Jul 26, 2012 - 124 comments

Gizmo's Freeware

Gizmo's Freeware is a non-commercial community website staffed entirely by volunteers. Our primary function is to help you select the best freeware product for your particular needs.
posted by Trurl on Jan 21, 2012 - 8 comments

Leisure Suit Larry

Leisure Suit Larry is a series of adventure games written by Al Lowe and published by Sierra from 1987 to 2009. The main character, whose full name is Larry Laffer, is a balding, dorky, double entendre-speaking, leisure suit-wearing (but still somewhat lovable) "loser" in his 40s. The games follow him as he spends much of his life trying (usually unsuccessfully) to seduce attractive women. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 7, 2011 - 68 comments

Microsoft Mathematics CAS

Microsoft Mathematics is a free Computer Algebra System (CAS) available from Microsoft. A CAS is a program that can solve purely symbolic mathematical equations. For example, the program can tell you that the derivative of 6x^2 + 12x is 12x + 12. The program has functions for calculus, statistics, linear algebra, and graphing. One interesting feature of the program is that in some cases it can show and describe the intermediate steps involved in solving an equation. Here’s a 16 page tutorial (in MS Word docx format) showing how to use the program. The program can be downloaded from the Microsoft download page. Thirty-two and sixty-four bit versions are available. The program only works on XP/Vista/Windows 7.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on May 23, 2011 - 56 comments

XyWrite

A famously fast, robust, command-driven text processor/file manager that publishers... relied on throughout the '80s and some do even now, [XyWrite] is an unrivaled writer's tool.
posted by Trurl on May 21, 2011 - 65 comments

Duke Nukem Forever ship date announced

2K Games and Gearbox Software have announced that Duke Nukem Forever will ship simultaneously for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PCs on May 3. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Jan 21, 2011 - 50 comments

Computer defeats women's shogi champion

Four different shogi-playing software programs combined forces to "aggressively pursue" and defeat female champion Ichiyo Shimizu in 86 moves. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 12, 2010 - 25 comments

OpenOffice ousts Oracle

The OpenOffice.org Project has unveiled a major restructuring that separates itself from Oracle and that takes responsibility for OpenOffice away from a single company. ... Driving home the changes, OpenOffice.org project is now The Document Foundation while the OpenOffice.org suite has been given the temporary name of LibreOffice.
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 28, 2010 - 45 comments

Ubuntu Light: The web in 7 seconds

In the wake of the release of Lucid Lynx, the latest version of Ubuntu ("Perfect", "Mactastic"), Canonical have unveiled Unity and Ubuntu Light, a new desktop environment and implementgation of Ubuntu aimed at the netbook and tablet market as well as offering an "instant web" experience that can either be stand-alone or on a dual booting device. Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth discusses the design process behind Unity. Ars Technica Hands on. (last two links via)
posted by Artw on May 10, 2010 - 267 comments

You have choices.

AlternativeTo finds substitutes to expensive and/or crappy desktop and mobile software. "Tell us what application you want to replace and we give you great alternatives, based on user recommendations."
posted by gman on May 4, 2010 - 15 comments

The Setup

You ever wonder what sorts of computers and software people use to get their job done? Yeah, me too.
posted by chunking express on Dec 4, 2009 - 196 comments

NRD of 19

Using OmniFocus to manage a 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons character sheet. Nerds. Dungeons and Dragons. Obsessive overuse of Mac software.
posted by Artw on Jun 25, 2008 - 87 comments

640K ought to be enough for anybody

The History of Computing Project is a collaborative effort to record and publish the history of the computer and its roots. The site includes a chronological timeline, biographies of computing pioneers, a look at computing hardware through the years, as well as software and games. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 9, 2008 - 11 comments

Wubi: Ubuntu the easy way

Ubuntu has quickly become the number one Linux distro for the desktop. Not only is it free, but it has also made Linux easier to use than ever. Now, Wubi enables Windows users to install Ubuntu just like any other application, so you no longer have to mess around with partitions, burning CDs, etc. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jan 21, 2008 - 82 comments

Buy now, pay later.

FlexGo™. Microsoft targets emerging markets with pay as you go and subscription models.
posted by davehat on Jun 29, 2006 - 13 comments

Public computers get security help

Securing public computers isn't easy, but a Microsoft kit to do that may also help families share home computers. If you share a Windows XP Home or Professional computer with other users, particularly, children, or family members, you may find the Shared Computer Toolkit beta an interesting idea. But caveat emptor: this is free "beta" software, has a spooky "validation" process to confirm your copy of Windows is "genuine," and installation is not for the faint of heart. Then again, neither is re-installing Windows after a friend/relative/SO inadvertently trashes your computer.
posted by paulsc on Jul 7, 2005 - 18 comments

zaptastic

A widget of mass destruction (warning: clicking this link will install a widget) may be the answer to all those who have been fervently wishing or imagining that Mac users will soon experience the joys of viruses and worms... if, that is, you have taken the leap of faith to upgrade to OS X Tiger and can't get enough of Dashboard (last 2 are Quicktime video links). Konfabulator was the precursor -- there is a Windows version available (shareware).
posted by indices on May 8, 2005 - 49 comments

Here we go again

Adobe announces new round of design applications. Inspring groans from designers everywhere who just got used to the CS apps, Adobe announced today CS2, 18 months after the last version. Included in the updates are Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, Golive and a new component called Bridge. The only hitch in the planned obsolescence model is that all the applications will now require product activation, thereby inspiring crackers everywhere to get busy.
posted by jeremias on Apr 4, 2005 - 57 comments

Nothing runs like a Beagle!

The Beagle Bros Software Online Museum - "a tribute to the coolest software company of the 80's." These guys made my Apple II childhood just a little more magical. The museum includes their ever-informative diskette care warning labels and a less-than-useful but inside joke-filled FAQ. The Beagle Bros Wikipedia entry also has a lot of fun tidbits.

They also had very funny and clever ads (found on this great Apple II history page). The ads always contained these amazing little 2-liners, Applesoft BASIC programs that made my 11 year-old head spin trying to figure out the PEEKs and POKEs that turned Applesoft BASIC from a toy into a pretty powerful tool.

This bout of nostalgia started when I discovered, via this boingboing post, that you could play I/O Silver online (ActiveX)! (only the greatest puzzle game I've ever owned. And hard as heck, too.)
posted by Space Coyote on Dec 30, 2004 - 18 comments

Gates talks with an editor at Scientific American

Gates talks about our future. Bill gates shows a side that is rarely seen by computer users. Love him or hate him, I just want to know why he doesn't want me to have one of these some time in the next 15 years too.
posted by sourbrew on Jul 13, 2004 - 25 comments

Google to Search Your PC For You

The John Markoff of the New York Times [registration required] reports that Google plans to roll-out a text and file search tool code-named Puffin for finding information stored on PCs. The move is seen as a defensive one; Microsoft plans to include PC searching in its new operating system, scheduled to be released in 2006 (at the earliest).
posted by tranquileye on May 19, 2004 - 7 comments

Whizzkid develops Linux application for Windows

Whizzkid develops Linux application for Windows [...]The significance of the development is that Linux and Windows are able to work in parallel on the same computer or server. To[sic] now, the computer world is divided into systems that operate either with Windows or with Linux. [...]
posted by Postroad on Apr 12, 2004 - 33 comments

Watch Small Creatures Breed and Die

A few years ago a life simulation game called Creatures was released. I recently discovered that there was also a free version called Docking Station which is still available in PC and Linux versions and includes an optional on-line component which allows you to chat, send messages and share creatures with other players. And if the goodies and breeds of creatures that come with the free version aren't enough for you, there are oodles of web sites still offering free downloads to expand on the game. Or if you gain some joy from hexidecimal programming, you can even play around with their genetic coding or learn to create your own goodies.
posted by Orb on Mar 30, 2004 - 3 comments

MouseCount!

MouseCount counts the number of times you click your mouse--information useful to computer usage studies, ergonomics, repetitive stress measurement, and more. This program saves you the trouble of counting all those clicks yourself! Screw that, I'm just a curious dork. (fyi: link goes to description page only, but the download is a .zip file)
posted by Ufez Jones on Feb 25, 2004 - 6 comments

Start your own Net radio with peerCast

Good weekend project: start your own Internet radio station with peerCast. Mentioned here, very cool.
posted by tranquileye on Feb 6, 2004 - 4 comments

It reformatted our preciousss

We hates software.
posted by arto on Jan 5, 2004 - 18 comments

Nasty new IE hole

A new MS Internet Explorer vulnerability is discovered. Most digerati already know about the spammer and lamer trick to publish URLs that look like legitimate hostnames to fool people in to trusting a malicious site. This trick is frequently used by spammers to steal people's PayPal accounts, by tricking them in to "resetting" their password at a site owned by the spammer but disguised as PayPal.com. Today's new IE vulnerability is significantly worse. By including an 0x01 character after the @ symbol in the fake URL, IE can be tricked in to not displaying the rest of the URL at all. Don't expect a patch right way, the guy who found the hole released it to BugTraq on the same day he notified Microsoft. (via Simon Willison)
posted by dejah420 on Dec 9, 2003 - 29 comments

Windows Vulnerabilities XPlained

Windows Vulnerabilities XPlained I've always used Gibson Research's website to test my Windows system for vulnerabilities. With the latest BLAST aimed at MS, I thought to share his site with the class. While Mr. Gibson obviously has some axes to grind and bones to pick with Microsoft and with various software firewall makers, his explanations of how Windows can be XPloited in terms that are fairly easy to understand is most appreciated. Be sure to check out the numerous free utiltites (small downloads! I mean, really small!) that will help you plug nearly every hole in your Windows.
Didn't know MS had shut down www.windowsupdate.com til just now, either
posted by WolfDaddy on Aug 18, 2003 - 42 comments

'Dukes of Hazzard' explain SCO vs. Linux

This page uses a 'Dukes of Hazzard' metaphor to explain that big ol' SCO vs. Linux kerfuffle.
posted by GriffX on Jun 2, 2003 - 3 comments

Homeland Security Threat Monitor

Homeland Security Threat Monitor is a small Windows application that runs in your system tray, showing the current terrorism threat level. Features blinking notification of increased threat level! [via Small Values of Cool]
posted by kirkaracha on Feb 25, 2003 - 17 comments

It's all GUI! Ewwww.

Wine, Chicago, and Bob. Sounds like a dangerous combination, but fortunately the GUI Gallery keeps 'em separated for your safety. Via my good friend wysinger.com
posted by WolfDaddy on Feb 7, 2003 - 3 comments

Cloudmark SpamNet

Distributed spam filtering. Sure, your spam filter may be hot stuff, but Spamnet takes filtering to the communal level. With its easy install, point and click simplicity, and Outlook support could Spamnet be the SpamCop for the masses?
posted by skallas on Dec 19, 2002 - 36 comments

The Self-Healing Minefield

The Self-Healing Minefield From the current Village Voice: "Utilizing commercial off-the-shelf computer chips and 'healing' software, the networked minefield detects rude attempts to clear it, deduces which parts of itself have been removed, and signals its remaining munitions to close the hole using best-fit mathematics."

Bonus ubertasteless Flash animation courtesy of DARPA here. Color me fascinated and repulsed in equal measure.
posted by Armitage Shanks on Nov 27, 2002 - 40 comments

Your screensaver is boring.
Electric Sheep(Linux, OSX) produces animated flame fractals rendered via distributed computation. n 0 time(Win) draws its data from things such as a custom word list, cached web site text, your favorites, or your cookies. The Bank of Time(Win2k-, OS9-) grows plants based on your idle time connected to the net. Dirty Fingerprints(Win) leaves fingerprints all over your screen, generated by user clicks on contributing sites. Or, if you really want, you can join in the effort to crack various encryption methods(most systems) at Distributed.net. Deskswap(prev. link) has unfortunately been offline for months, due to bandwidth issues.
posted by Su on Sep 22, 2002 - 18 comments

Help yourself to an exploit.

Help yourself to an exploit. No biting social commentary here, just spreading the word on an ooky Win XP exploit in the form of a malicious Help Center request. The patch has been silently rolled into SP1, and is otherwise unavailable. Of course, if you want to install SP1, you'll have to agree to that nasty Trojan EULA.
posted by badstone on Sep 11, 2002 - 17 comments

The Read_Me Festival 1.2 shortlist has been posted, and includes such projects as Carnivore(not the government one, though that was part of the concept), and the DeskSwap screensaver. While this is a "software art" exhibition, it's of particular note that patches or even just instructions for making existing software do things not originally intended are allowable entries. I haven't been through all of them to see if any patches were entered, but it'd be interesting what the publishers might think of these, since it would basically constitute hacking and/or reverse engineering.
posted by Su on Mar 30, 2002 - 2 comments

CBT Cafe, for those who learn visually.

CBT Cafe, for those who learn visually. I was scouting around looking for Flash tutorials and stumbled on this site. The gimmick: they don't just teach you the code/effect/design, they actually walk you through it with a narrated Quicktime movie.

Currently serving Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Photoshop, Cleaner, Quicktime, EBay, and the MacOS.
posted by jragon on Mar 17, 2002 - 2 comments

Trillian Users blocked from AIM service?

Trillian Users blocked from AIM service? The bit about this that scares me is the solution to the problem involves disabling the Secure IM functions. Is this a technical glitch or a conspiracy by AOL to reserve the ability to spy on our IM chats? Or build intentional security loopholes?
posted by Jeffy on Jan 29, 2002 - 29 comments

Convert your pictures to HTML.

Convert your pictures to HTML. So cool I nearly wet myself.
Seriously.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger on Jan 23, 2002 - 26 comments

Microsoft considering anti-virus support

Microsoft considering anti-virus support and why we should care.
posted by GriffX on Dec 11, 2001 - 13 comments

AirSnort.

AirSnort. The dangerous app with the unlikely name allows users to snatch data being passed over wireless networks, eventually capturing passwords to the network.
posted by o2b on Nov 29, 2001 - 7 comments

Rob Rosenberger, editor of Vmyths.com, writes that three uniformed federal police visited him in the middle of the night and asked that he not to publish an upcoming column that would embarrass anti-virus vendor for "national security reasons." From late-October, but intriguing.
posted by tranquileye on Nov 8, 2001 - 10 comments

Java is alive and kicking,

Java is alive and kicking, and this guy knows what to do with it. Check out his sexy alife experiments (art? science?) and this goofy game. (Warning: his stuff crashed my browser a couple of times, but was worth it. Most applets are available for download.)
posted by grumblebee on Nov 5, 2001 - 14 comments

Staroffice 6.0b

Staroffice 6.0b is a great, free alternative to microsoft office for people who can't afford the suite or for those that would rather not use microsoft products. Staroffice has completely integrated XML support and full featured word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing applications.
posted by mcsweetie on Oct 8, 2001 - 25 comments

Striking back at hackers

Striking back at hackers
"LaBrea" is a free, open-source tool that deters worms and other hack attacks by transforming unused network resources into decoy-computers that appear and act just like normal machines on a network. But when malicious hackers or mindless worms such as Nimda or Code Red attempt to connect with a LaBrea-equipped system, they get sucked into a virtual tarpit that grabs their computer's connection -- and doesn't release it.
Is this an ethical use of network resources, or just vigilante justice? What other methods have you used to strike back at hostile software?
posted by TheChump on Sep 20, 2001 - 9 comments

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