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Wrapping Text in PowerPoint

A friend asked me today how to wrap text around an image in PowerPoint and it occurred to me that I had never done or even tried to do that. So I looked up the answer and found this from Microsoft's webpage:

We want to wrap this
There! That's better!

The trick is to use a built in Microsoft function called the tab key. That right… there is no function. First you put your graphic behind the text (and make sure the textbox doesn't have a background color). Then, Microsoft's own tutorial says you have to use tabs or the spacebar to create empty space over the image.

"Sure", you say, "but that's an irregular object. If I want to wrap around something square on the left or right, that should be much easier right?" Rest assured, it is.

In that case, all you have to do is create three different text boxes. One above the image, one to the side, and one below. Use the same font and size and be sure to place the boxes so they look like the text in the top flows to the one on the side then bottom when they're actually just three different boxes.

Seriously! Those are the instructions for wrapping text. What kills me is that sounds exactly like what I'd tell someone as a hack to make it work when no other way exists which must mean that it's an unsupported feature in PowerPoint. I can only assume that there's so little demand for this feature that they still haven't bothered to add it even to their 2007 version of office. Tags: , , , ,

Simple Attack Against Home Routers

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

Schneier writes about a recent attack against home routers that takes advantage of the fact that most people never change the default passwords on their equipment.

One of his commenters said it best:

It has long been standard security practice that when logging in to a new system with a default password, the first required step is to have the user create a new password. If routers did this and refused to function until a customized password was set, none of these problems would occur.

Or more simply put, it's a problem that would never exist and would disappear tomorrow if router manufacturers would bother to make a simple and practically free programming change before shipping them out.

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Hacking an Airplane Entertainment System

Goofy software error drops in-flight entertainment system
(Image is in the Public Domain)

Here's another case of fielding a new product without fully evaluating it first. A computer programmer played with a "in-flight game system" finding out that due to common programming mistakes, he was able to crash the system. Every seat has a small screen that can be used to play games or watch movies and every screen went blank when he did this.

Most interestingly, he says that he's glad the crash didn't affect the flight system to which a commentor posted:

as an airplane avionics technician, i can tell you that any and all navigation and control electronics are totally isolated into themselves. anything that can work on it's own, does, and anything that needs to share info does it through solid hard-wiring. There are common data busses to reduce weight from too much wiring, but again, totally isolated. Airlines know better than to link everything together in a network.

Microsoft Finally Adds Stupidly Obvious Security Feature

(Image used under: Fair Use doctrine)

The Washington Post reports that IE 7 will not have the long known flaw that allows a website to steal the data that may be hanging out in your clipboard.

For those who don't know, the clipboard is where anything you cut and paste hangs out. The trick is, it stays there until you cut or copy something else. So, if the last thing you copied was your tax record from one document to another and then you visit a nosy website, they could have all that data.

If it seems as stupid to you as it does to me that IE allowed this in the first place, then you'll understand why the security community knocks Microsoft products.

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