A lot of the technology that empowers people does so while simultaneously creating a large power disparity between the user of the technology and the provider of the technology. In aggregate, this can result in an unhealthy power dynamic between the technology provider and society as a whole. is a news feed focusing on technology that empowers people while minimizing those sorts of power disparities.

Message Boxes in OpenERP

Edit: This technique does not appear to work in Odoo/OpenERP 8

Being able to show a user a message is a pretty basic, important piece of functionality. It took me a while to figure out how to trigger a user-visible message from the server in OpenERP, but I eventually managed it. Given the answers on Stack Overflow, I figured I should share this valuable finding with the rest of the world.

De-obfuscating a botnet infection

Last night I was working on a PHP website for a client when I stumbled upon this line of code whitespaced way off the screen on the first line of a few of our files:

That looked pretty suspicious to me, so I googled “$GLOBALS[‘QQOO’]” and the only result that came up was this Pastebin:

Definitely didn’t like the look of that, so I grepped the rest of our files and found the same code embedded in the same way on four more files. I removed it from all of them, re-uploaded the cleaned files, and got to work figuring out what this code was doing.