McGruber (1417641) writes "Return-free filing might allow tens of millions of Americans to file their taxes for free and in minutes. Or that, under proposals authored by several federal lawmakers, it would be voluntary, using information the government already receives from banks and employers and that taxpayers could adjust. Or that the concept has been endorsed by Presidents Obama and Reagan and is already a reality in some parts of Europe.
Sounds great, except to Intuit, maker of Turbotax: last year, Intuit spent more than $2.6 million on lobbying, some of it to lobby on four bills related to the issue, federal lobbying records show." Link to Original Source top
Irish car bomber blows himself up because he forgot about DST clock change
McGruber (1417641) writes "Former United States President Jimmy Carter defended the disclosures by fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden on Monday, saying revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies were collecting meta-data of Americans' phone calls and e-mails have been "probably constructive in the long run."
"I think it's wrong," President Carter said of the NSA program. "I think it's an intrusion on one of the basic human rights of Americans, is to have some degree of privacy if we don't want other people to read what we communicate."" Link to Original Source top
Austin has highest Salaries for Tech Workers, after factoring in cost-of-living
McGruber (1417641) writes "Austin ranks Number 1 in the nation when it comes to offering the largest tech salaries that have been adjusted for cost of living expenses, such as housing, groceries, utilities and other necessities. This is according to a study by TriNet, a company I had never heard off, that provides (buzzword alert!) cloud-based human resources services.
The seven major tech hubs, ranked by cost of living adjusted average salaries: 1. Austin: $105,000
Luigi Maraldi, 37, reportedly called his parents to say he was in Thailand and not on board the flight. Mr Maraldi told the/Corriere della Sera/ newspaper that his passport had been stolen last August. "One of the hypotheses about how he came to be on the passenger list is that someone boarded using his stolen passport," the newspaper reported. A spokesman for Malaysia Airlines said they had received any information on Mr Maraldi.
McGruber (1417641) writes "Following up on the Bil Nye and Ken Ham debate on Creationism ((http://science.slashdot.org/story/14/02/04/1731233/watch-bill-nye-and-ken-ham-clash-over-creationism-live): Creation Museum founder Ken Ham announced Thursday that a municipal bond offering has raised enough money to begin construction on the Ark Encounter project, estimated to cost about $73 million. Groundbreaking is planned for May and the ark is expected to be finished by the summer of 2016.
Ham said a high-profile evolution debate he had with "Science Guy" Bill Nye on Feb. 4 helped boost support for the project.
Nye said he was "heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky" after learning that the project would move forward. He said the ark would eventually draw more attention to the beliefs of Ham's ministry, which preaches that the Bible's creation story is a true account, and as a result, "voters and taxpayers in Kentucky will eventually see that this is not in their best interest."" Link to Original Source top
Camlanta: Police instaling 12,000 Camera's in Georgia's Capital City
McGruber (1417641) writes "The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports (http://www.ajc.com/news/news/12k-cameras-to-give-atlanta-police-broader-window-/nd2Sh/) that Atlanta Police plan to have as many as 12,000 cameras installed in the city.
“Atlanta is really on the leading edge of work in this area,” said William Flynn, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deputy assistant secretary of infrastructure protection. “We spend a lot of our attention on preparedness, protection, prevention. This kind of technology is the best use of those efforts and the best use of our resources.
“We’ve even been able to capture a murder on film,” said Atlanta Police Lt. LeAnne Browning, a supervisor at the video integration center where footage from more than 2,700 cameras is monitored.
McGruber (1417641) writes "Many educators and commentators believe that standardized testing is a soul-sapping exercise in rote learning that devalues critical thinking and favors students of higher-income parents who can afford test-prep classes or private tutors.
Not so, according to James Samuelson. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Mr. Samuelson explains that testing is actually good for the intellectual health of students. (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304104504579374651890320212) Testing is also an excellent way for teachers to better understand the particular academic challenges their students face.
Students acquire test-taking skills through discipline, through routine. They also learn how to reason by following a progression of ideas in connected, logical order. But the need for discipline, for routine, would require teachers to cut down on the practice of flitting about from one unconnected topic to another.
McGruber (1417641) writes "In a post on the Flyertalk website (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22387891-post72.html), WhatsApp Founder Jan Koum provides another interesting detail about how he steered Whatsapp into a $16 Billion Deal with Facebook (http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/14/02/20/1344218/how-jan-koum-steered-whatsapp-into-16b-facebook-deal):
we announced the deal with Facebook on wednesday after the market closed. during the process, we realized there was a chance we might not be able to get the deal wrapped up and signed on wednesday and it could delay.
when the risk of the delay became real, i said: "if we don't get it done on wednesday, it probably wont get done. i have tickets on thursday to fly out to Barcelona which i bought with miles and they are not easily refundable or even possible to change. this has to be done by wednesday or else!!!"...and so one of the biggest deals in tech history had to be scheduled around my M&M award ticket
McGruber (1417641) writes "Nearly 15 months after HP booked a massive accounting charge related to its $11.5 billion purchase of Autonomy, a new audit finally provides significant evidence (http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20140203-706362.html) to backup CEO Meg Whitman's claim that Autonomy's executives engaged in a "willful effort" to mislead HP's shareholders and management (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/11/20/1651233/meg-whitman-says-hp-was-defrauded-by-autonomy-hp-stock-plunges).
The new audit by Ernst & Young LLP determined that Autonomy had significantly inflated revenue in 2010: Autonomy had booked deals that were unlikely to be paid for, booked deals prematurely before they were closed, and even claimed transactions where there were no end customers. HP also found errors in the accounting of certain expenses such as employee commissions and bonuses.
HP has refiled Autonomy's financial statements for 2010. HP's restatement lowers Autonomy's revenue for 2010 by 54% and also shows a decrease in operating profit by about 81%.
The Slashdot community has previously discussed the fallout from HP's October 2011 purchase of Automony in several stories, including:
It's too bad that CEO Whitman squandered $11.5 billion on Autonomy instead of following Edward F. Molten's September 23, 2011 advice that she make a deep and long commitment to open-source technology: "Could Open Source Investment Save HP?" http://news.slashdot.org/story..." Link to Original Source top
McGruber (1417641) writes "Like the Mac (http://apple.slashdot.org/story/14/01/26/1851236/watch-steve-jobs-demo-the-mac-in-1984), the IBM PC Junior (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PCjr) first went on sale in late January 1984. That is where the similarities — the PC Junior became the biggest PC dud of all time (http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/286031/the-12-biggest-pc-duds-ever/12).
Back on May 17, 1984, the NY Times reported (http://www.nytimes.com/1984/05/17/business/ibm-s-problems-with-junior.html?pagewanted=all) that the PC Junior "is too expensive for casual home users, but, at the same time, is not nearly powerful enough for serious computer users who can afford a more capable machine." The article also quoted Peter Norton, then still a human programmer that had not yet morphed into a Brand, who said that the PC Junior "'may well be targeted at a gray area in the market that just does not exist.'' IBM cancelled the machine in March 1985, after only selling 270,000 of them.
While it was a commercial plop, the machine is still liked by some. Michael Brutman's PCJr page (http://www.brutman.com/PCjr/) attempts to preserve the history and technical information of the IBM PCjr and Youtube has a video of a PC Junior running a demo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jky2gZLuGxY)." Link to Original Source top
McGruber (1417641) writes ""The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity, a network not of wires but of people," said Catholic Pope Francis, adding: "The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God."" Link to Original Source top
Homeland Security Director used handgun targeting laser as presentation pointer
McGruber (1417641) writes "The Albany, NY Times Union newspaper reports (http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Ready-aim-point-talk-5116592.php) that Jerome M. Hauer, the New York State Director of Homeland Security, took out his handgun and used its laser sighting device attached to the barrel as a pointer during a presentation given in the "highly secure" state emergency operations center below NY State Police headquarters.
Three Swedish emergency managers in the audience were rattled when the gun's laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York at which he wanted to point. Hauer was disabled by a stroke a few years ago and can be unsteady.
Although Hauer is not a law enforcement official, he carries his loaded 9-millimeter Glock in a holster into state buildings, which is an apparent violation of NY State's Public Facilities Law prohibiting employees from entering state buildings with weapons." Link to Original Source top
TMobil's CEO and CFO thrown out of AT&T's Developer Party
McGruber (1417641) writes "T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Chief Financial Officer Braxton Carter crashed AT&T's Developer Party, the cap off to AT&T's developer conference held in conjunction to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). They probably would have gotten away with it if it weren't for that meddling kid at CNET, Roger Cheng, who tweeted a snapshot of himself with Legere at the AT&T party.
So, what was the entertainment at your last Developer Party? Have you ever been invited to a Developer Party?" Link to Original Source top
McGruber (1417641) writes "Flute virtuoso Boujemaa Razgui performed on a variety of flutes of varying ethnicity, each made by himself over years for specific types of ancient and modern performance. Razgui has performed with many US ensembles and is a regular guest with the diverse and enterprising Boston Camerata (http://www.bostoncamerata.com/index.html).
Last week, Razgui flew from Morocco to Boston, with stops in Madrid and New York. In New York, he says, a US Customs official opened his luggage and found the 13 flutelike instruments — 11 nays and two kawalas. Razgui says he had made all of the instruments using hard-to-find reeds. “They said this is an agriculture item,” said Razgui, who was not present when his bag was opened. “I fly with them in and out all the time and this is the first time there has been a problem. This is my life.” When his baggage arrived in Boston, the instruments were gone. He was instead given a number to call. “They told me they were destroyed,” he says. “Nobody talked to me. They said I have to write a letter to the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. This is horrible. I don’t know what to do. I’ve never written letters to people.” (http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/names/2014/01/01/customs-officials-destroys-flute-virtuoso-instruments/HRnFgh1FwIqY5n2FdoKlMN/story.html)
Novelist Norman Lebrecht was the first to report the story. One ensemble director told him that 'I can’t think of an uglier, stupider thing for the U.S. government to do than to deprive this man of the tools of his art and a big piece of his livelihood.’ (http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2013/12/outrage-at-jfk-as-customs-men-smash-flutes.html)" Link to Original Source top
Cracking Atlanta Subway's poorly-encrypted RFID Smart Cards is a Breeze
McGruber (1417641) writes "Seven metro Atlanta residents are facing theft, fraud, and racketeering charges for allegedly selling counterfeit MARTA Breeze cards (http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2013/12/27/marta-breeze-card-hackers-arrested-and-charged-with-racketeering). Breeze cards (http://www.breezecard.com/) are stored value smart cards that passengers use as part of an automated fare collection system which the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA, http://www.itsmarta.com/) introduced to the general public in October 2006.
Breeze cards are supplied by Cubic Transportation Systems (http://cts.cubic.com/), an American company that provides automated fare collection equipment and services to the mass transit industry.
At the time of this slashdot submission, the Wikipedia page for the Breeze Card (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeze_Card, last modified on 2 August 2013 at 14:52) says:
The Breeze Card uses the MIFARE smart-card system from Dutch company NXP Semiconductors, a spin-off from Philips. The disposable, single-use, cards are using on the MIFARE Ultralight while the multiple-use plastic cards are the MIFARE Classic cards.
There have been many concerns about the security of the system, mainly caused by the poor encryption method used for the cards. See Security of MIFARE Classic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIFARE#Security_of_MIFARE_Classic) for details.
McGruber (1417641) writes "Myer, Australia's largest department store chain, has closed its website (meyer.com.au) "until further notice" at the height of the post-Christmas (and Australian summer) sales season.
The website crashed on Christmas Day and has been down ever since. This means Myer will see no benefit for those days from booming domestic online sales, which were tipped to hit $344 million across the retail sector on Boxing Day alone.
McGruber (1417641) writes "The Washington Post has published an article written about their 14-hours of interviews with Edward Joseph Snowden. The piece contains many details I had not heard before,
Snowden says that he is "not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA. I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”
Snowden also claims that, beginning in October 2012, he brought his misgivings to two superiors in the NSA’s Technology Directorate and two more in the NSA Threat Operations Center’s regional base in Hawaii. For each of them, and 15 other co-workers, Snowden said he opened a data query tool called BOUNDLESSINFORMANT, which used color-coded “heat maps” to depict the volume of data ingested by NSA taps. His colleagues were often “astonished to learn we are collecting more in the United States on Americans than we are on Russians in Russia,” he said. Many of them were troubled, he said, and several said they did not want to know any more.
“I asked these people, ‘What do you think the public would do if this was on the front page?’” he said. He noted that critics have accused him of bypassing internal channels of dissent. “How is that not reporting it? How is that not raising it?” he said.
Snowden also claims that he "actually recommended they move to two-man control for administrative access back in 2009,” he said, first to his supervisor in Japan and then to the directorate’s chief of operations in the Pacific. “Sure, a whistleblower could use these things, but so could a spy.” That precaution, which requires a second set of credentials to perform risky operations such as copying files onto a removable drive, has been among the principal security responses to the Snowden affair.
“The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy,” Snowden said. “That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not.”
By his own terms, Snowden succeeded beyond plausible ambition. The NSA, accustomed to watching without being watched, faces scrutiny it has not endured since the 1970s, or perhaps ever.
Snowden said, “What the government wants is something they never had before,” adding: “They want total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?” Snowden likened the NSA’s powers to those used by British authorities in Colonial America, when “general warrants” allowed for anyone to be searched. The FISA court, Snowden said, “is authorizing general warrants for the entire country’s metadata.” “The last time that happened, we fought a war over it,” he said." Link to Original Source top
The FBI's Secret Interrogation Manual: Available for checkout at the Library
McGruber (1417641) writes "The FBI Supervisory Special Agent who authored the FBI's interrogation manual submitted the document for copyright protection — in the process, making it available to anyone with a card for the Library of Congress to read.
The story is particularly mind-boggling for two reasons. First, the American Civil Liberties Union fought a legal battle with the FBI over access to the document. When the FBI relented and released a copy to the ACLU, it was heavily redacted — unlike the 70-plus page version of the manual available from the Library of Congress.
Second, the manual cannot even qualify for a copyright because it is a government work. Anything "prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties" is not subject to copyright in the United States." Link to Original Source