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New Products

James Gray

Issue #266, June 2016

Bruce Byfield's Designing with LibreOffice

Tech author and Linux Journal writer Bruce Byfield's new book Designing with LibreOffice is not the usual death march through the menu and standard tasks. Rather, Byfield's book takes two fresh approaches to the world's most popular free office suite. First, Byfield outlines the importance of using styles and templates in order to utilize LibreOffice with the most convenience and least effort. This approach lets users concentrate on self-expression, rather than formatting. Second, Byfield explains the basics of modern design and how to apply them in LibreOffice, illuminating the open secret that LibreOffice is as much a desktop publishing tool as an office suite. Byfield explains and illustrates the range of design choices as well as the pros, cons and considerations behind each choice. Designing with LibreOffice was released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license and can be downloaded electronically from the book's Web site or ordered on paper at www.lulu.com.


Contrast Security's Contrast Enterprise

With more and more businesses running on the Node.js server-side JavaScript runtime environment, application vulnerabilities are a growing threat to entire organizations. The antidote to this problem, says Contrast Security, is the new Contrast Enterprise, which is marketed as the only application security product that enables the discovery and remediation of Node.js security vulnerabilities in real time. Contrast Enterprise achieves this without disrupting software development processes or involving application security experts. Product features include high levels of accuracy so that developers don't burn cycles chasing false alarms; continuous operation throughout the Agile development process—that is, no security scans or waiting for results; and deep security instrumentation for identifying vulnerabilities across Node.js deployments, such as APIs, microservices, containers and libraries.


Dynamsoft's Barcode Reader SDK

What's slick about Dynamsoft's Barcode Reader SDK is that just a few lines of code from scratch are required instead of potentially hundreds of them, which could save months of development time. The updated Barcode Reader SDK 4.2, which adds Linux PHP support, allows application developers to embed functionality for decoding linear and 2D barcodes into Web or desktop applications almost instantly, significantly reducing development costs and costs of long-term application support. Barcode recognition is enabled from image files, scanned images and from images captured on Webcams or smartphones. The new PHP barcode reader toolkit for Linux supports PHP x64 versions 5.3–5.6. Both Thread Safe and Non Thread Safe options are provided. The Dynamsoft toolkit works with Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS. Support for Web applications in ASP.NET, in C# or VB.NET, and PHP on Windows also is included, just in case.


Apricorn's Aegis Secure Key 3.0 USB Drives

Packing a mighty punch in a tiny package is the Apricorn's Aegis Secure Key 3.0 line of software-free, hardware-encrypted USB drives, which recently added a 480GB version. Apricorn claims that the new Flash key is “roughly four times the competition's max size of 120GB” and “the ideal tool for corporate data security deployment”. Apricorn boasts that Aegis Secure Keys are completely software-free, cross-platform-compatible with any OS and have embedded authentication, meaning that no security parameters ever are shared with the host. They further carry the highest portable device security validation that the NIST grants: FIPS 140-2 level 3, and feature separate admin and user modes, two read-only modes, forced enrollment, programmable brute-force defense, a lock-override mode and the ability to adhere to most security policies. Apricorn's Aegis Secure Key 3.0 is available in 8GB, 16GB, 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities.


Microstar Laboratories, Inc.'s Accel64 for Linux

Microstar Laboratories, Inc., develops Data Acquisition Processor (DAP) systems for PC-based high-performance multichannel measurement applications. Microstar observes that GNU/Linux distributions generally presume that if you have 64-bit hardware and a 64-bit operating system, the applications will use compatible 64-bit development tools and drivers, leaving support for 32-bit applications incomplete. This can present problems for vetted 32-bit applications, particularly those dependent on kernel extensions. To deal with the problem, Microstar's latest innovation in the DAP space is Accel64 for Linux software, version 1.00. Accel64 allows advanced DAP applications to be supported as 32-bit applications on 32-bit or 64-bit hardware platforms, or as 64-bit applications on 64-bit hardware platforms. Delegation of complex real-time details to the DAP/DAPL systems means that data acquisition applications can use generic kernels and graphical desktop environments, even on lightweight platforms without 64-bit support. This new software is available for free download.


Susan Lauber's Linux Command Line Complete Video Course (Prentice Hall)

Users, developers and administrators can all find much to love in Linux's powerful command line. Those seeking to go deeper into the Linux command-line interface—from new users of the Linux command line to system administrators with limited command-line experience or developers more comfortable with an IDE—will find just what they need in technical instructor and trainer Susan Lauber's new Prentice Hall LiveLessons Linux Command Line Complete Video Course. The 6+ hours of video training introduce common utilities used at the Linux command line. While learning commands for specific tasks, users will obtain greater confidence navigating the Linux filesystem, understand how to locate and edit files, use Bash shell features for efficiency and automation and access built-in help for further exploration.


Mark Geddes' Arduino Project Handbook (No Starch Press)

Lifelong tinkerer and gadget enthusiast Mark Geddes was so frustrated with the lack of practical, visual Arduino guides for teaching his ten-year-old that he wrote his own book on the topic. Titled Arduino Project Handbook: 25 Practical Projects to Get You Started, Geddes' book is a beginner-friendly collection of 25 fun and interactive projects to build with the low-cost Arduino microcontroller. Projects range from disco strobe lights and joystick lasers to rocket launchers and laser tripwires. This is a step-by-step project book, suitable for total beginners just starting out as well as for more experienced makers looking for inspiration. Readers will get set up with introductions on the hardware and software along with advice on tools, components and workspaces. Then it's time to choose a project to build from scratch, using straight-forward instructions, color illustrations, simple circuit diagrams and the complete code to program the build. The Arduino Project Handbook is a fast and fun way to get started.


SoftMaker FreeOffice

The bottom line on SoftMaker FreeOffice 2016—the updated, free, full-featured Office alternative to the expensive Microsoft Office suite—is this: no other free office suite offers as high a level of file compatibility with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This maxim applies to both Windows and Linux operating systems, says the suite's maker, SoftMaker Software GmbH. SoftMaker asserts that the myriad competing free alternatives often harbor problems opening the Excel, Word and PowerPoint file formats loss-free. Sometimes the layout and formatting get lost, and on other occasions, files cannot even be opened. SoftMaker sees itself as the positive exception to this rule, especially with the newly overhauled FreeOffice 2016. Benefiting greatly from SoftMaker's commercial offering, SoftMaker Office 2016, FreeOffice 2016 adds features such as improved graphics rendering, compatibility with all current Linux distributions and Windows flavors (XP to Windows 10), new EPUB export and improved PDF export and many other MS-Office interoperability enhancements.


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