New Mac malware disguised with right-to-left encoding trick

F-Secure is reporting that some new malware attempts in OS X are using a spoofing technique to disguise malicious installations as standard files. The technique involves using a special Unicode character in file names that will make an application appear to be a standard document file.

While applications can be renamed with ".doc" or ".pdf" extensions in the OS X Finder, the system will append the ".app" extension to show only the name has been altered and the file is still recognized as a program. This will happen even if you have the Finder … Read more

How to use the OS X character viewer

The keyboard offers a number of common characters for the language layout you have chosen, especially when you use modifier keys such as Shift, Command, and Option to invoke alternative character sets; however, while those that are mapped to various keys are common, they are only a minor subset of the characters that are available for you to use when composing documents.

OS X's support for unicode fonts makes a vast array of characters available for you to use in applications that are coded with Apple's Cocoa frameworks, and while some programs have their own input methods for … Read more

Jot it down

When it comes to programs that can handle text documents, it's a balancing act: sometimes you need more functionality than bare-bones text editors like Notepad can offer, but full-featured word processors can be too big and bloated, especially for portable use. Qjot is the best of both worlds, with the slimness of a text editor but many of the basic features of a word processor. It's a great choice if you need a way to work with documents on the go.

The program's interface is plain and intuitive, with menus and a couple of toolbars across the … Read more

What's that language?

Likasoft calls Polyglot 3000 an automatic language recognizer, which is an apt description of this specialized tool. It's similar to automatic translators in that it analyzes the language of text entries, but instead of translating the text, it identifies and displays the language, including confidence in the match expressed as a percentage. It handles more than 470 languages.

Polyglot 3000 has a very simple interface and an equally simple operation. It has a text entry field for typing or pasting text to identify, or you can load Unicode or ANSI text files directly into the program. It has but … Read more

Quick and easy unicode

If you've ever had to insert multiple Unicode characters while typing, you know what a pain it is to have to go back and forth inserting characters into your text. Character Map (Java) is a simple--but helpful--program that lets you select the Unicode characters you want to insert and copy them to your clipboard for quick pasting.

We have to admit, we were a bit stumped by the program at first glance. Character Map (Java) runs as an executable file, so no installation is needed; however, it comes in a ZIP file filled with more than 20 different files. … Read more

Use the tools that make the job easier

Google recently published data showing that the character encoding used on the Web is dramatically shifting towards the Unicode standard. It also discussed its strategy of up-leveling data it finds in dozens of competing character encodings into the Unicode standard, then processing everything in Unicode. This is a great example of the philosophy:

Use tools that make the job easy.

When you narrow the field to data formats and structures, you can make the rule a bit more specific:

Use data formats that are easy to process.Convert to and from those formats, if and as necessary.

And for good … Read more

Easy encryption tool

PrivyPad provides a method to encrypt messages. However, the program's complicated method of reading messages practically ruins an otherwise successful tool.

The program's interface looked instantly familiar, since it mimicks Notepad. While familiar, we still needed to find definitions for our encryption options in the Help file. We created a message just like a normal Notepad document, but were also able to quickly encrypt by simply adding a password with the toolbar icon. At this point we were confused because our message looked the same. It wasn't until we saved the program to our hard drive as … Read more

Advanced file search

This free program offers search capabilities that surpass Windows built-in search functions. It took a visit to the Help menu to learn how to properly search for specific files, but it was worth the extra time.

Super Finder's user interface isn't extraordinary, but it's easy enough to understand. Tabs let you navigate between date and time configurations and general setup options. You can search by file or folder name, and choose the file extensions that you want to exclude in the search. To narrow down or expand the search, you can select the drives that you want … Read more


EmEditor Professional has the kind of hybridization we find irresistible and oh-so-advantageous in a text-editing program. This versatile editor combines a macro creator worthy of programming pundits with full-fledged, feature-rich text-editing capabilities clothed in a clean, color-coded interface.

Developers and power users will love the wealth of languages and syntaxes, including C#, C , Java, PERL, PHP, Python, SQL, and XML. The macro creator has been boosted in in previous versions to record PerlScript, PHPScript, Python, and Ruby keystrokes, and now it also supports users who need to record mouse movements.

We appreciate the stackable tabs, the multithreading windows, and the … Read more

Google: Unicode conquers ASCII on the Web

I picture it happening this way. The Roman alphabet is on the run, pursued by a much larger army of Arabic characters with long scimitar-like ligatures, Chinese characters that look like throwing stars, and European peasant letters bristling with umlauts, cedillas, and tildes.

Unicode has overtaken ASCII as the most popular character encoding scheme on the World Wide Web, Mark Davis, Google's senior international software architect, said in a blog post. Also vanquished at almost exactly the same time was the Western European encoding.

Unicode is a character encoding standard that gracefully accommodates dozens of languages as well as … Read more