Computer magazines in the 80’s

Who remembers what was the main feature of some of the computer magazines in the 80’s? Pages of long program listings that had to be typed and checked. And we also had the opportunity (and challenge) to transfer a nice program from one platform to another (we had dozens at that time).

For those that lived the era of “home computers”: First encounter: COMPUTE! magazine and its glorious, tedious type-in code | Ars Technica.


Fonts break after Windows security patch KB2753842

UPDATE: The security update is now fixed and everything works fine.

We have seen many problems during the last years with updates and patches but this one is really strange. After the security update KB2753842 was applied on 12/12/12, programs that use the vector “side” of fonts cannot show characters of specific fonts that used to work perfectly. You can see the font in the font list, you can select it but the font doesn’t work. This happens with programs like CorelDraw, Adobe Flash, Expression Design etc. Word, InDesign and programs that use the font as bitmap work fine.

Microsoft identified an exploit with the GetGlyphOutline() API call, made a change and everything collapsed. The 12/12/12 date would leave an entry in computer history… So, we are waiting for a fix on this. If you just remove the security update and reboot, things are back to normal (but we are still open to a possible hack). The problem appears on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Server 2003, 2008, R2, 2012 (even Windows 8 RT) and some OpenType or TrueType fonts (not all of them).

Instructions to remove the update:

  1. Click on the “Start” button, click on “Control Panel” and then double-click on the “Add/Remove Programs” icon.
  2. Click the “Show Updates” check box at the top of the window and wait for the list of installed updates to appear.
  3. Click on the update you wish to remove, click the “Remove” button and then restart your computer. The update is now successfully removed from your computer.

Don’t forget to change the automatic updates to manual otherwise it will be reinstalled. As soon as there is a fix for this issue, you can change updating to auto.

Free textbooks for everybody: piracy or disruption?

Is copying Wikipedia articles and assembling a textbook legal? If you sell it, there are issues. But what happens, if you just give it away? Boundless has created a system (with real people behind it) that creates textbooks for specific subjects with content collected from Wikipedia and other free online sources. It then provides you with an almost perfect textbook with the best price in the world: $0.00!

Educational publishers like Pearson and Cengage have already started the fight but venture capitalists are funding Boundless because they see a disruptive trend. A huge discruption actually when you consider that some of these books cost a couple of hundred dollars. A $6 billion industry in the United States alone…

Publishers today operate using what Mark Perry, a professor at the University of Michigan, calls a “cartel-style” model: students are required to buy specific texts at high prices. Perry has calculated that prices for textbooks have been rising at three times the rate of inflation since the 1980s.

Read the full article at MIT Technology Review: Free Textbooks Spell Disruption for College Publishers