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Four short links: 19 July 2011

Async Javascript, PDF Malware, 2D Games, and Reinventing Textbooks

  1. Tame.js — async programming library for use with node.js and other V8 projects. (via Hacker News)
  2. The Rise of PDF Malware (Symantec) — detailed whitepaper showing the incident rate, techniques, and evasion techniques of PDF malware. Despite the fact that the number of PDF CVEs [Common Vulnerability/Exposure] are close to Microsoft Office’s numbers, the amount of nonunique PDF attacks Symantec has seen have increased dramatically, which shows that the PDF file format is being targeted more often within the last two years.
  3. cocos-2d — iPhone 2d game framework. (via Chuck Toporek)
  4. Nature’s Biology Textbooks — Nature changing the textbook publishing model, trialling in California. 50+ authors write the ebook, filtered through a (hard-working, I’m guessing) editor. This beats Kindle textbook rentals hands down. Another article says of the Nature trial: each school will be testing a different licensing and access model, which I hope for some includes printing out because Princeton’s Kindle trial showed (PDF) that ebooks don’t measure up to print books for annotation and some other key uses. (via The Daily News)
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  • Joe Shelby

    Uh, should I click a link about malware PDF files that is itself a PDF file?

    On the more serious side, the threat I think is not necessarily PDF (though the fact that PDF actually can define anything at all that can hit the network or your local filesystem was a gross hijacking of the intention of the specification in the first place), but more the flaws in the implementation by Adobe Reader. The annoying side-effect of it is that I went from being prompted to upgrade every 6 months to being prompted to upgrade every 2 weeks, which shows they were utterly unprepared for the implications of the connectivity support they added.

    For now, I use Foxit reader which has none of those local filesystem and networking features, and just shows PDF files for me to read and print, as PDF always should have been.