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The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates

McGruber Twain (509 comments)

"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

about three weeks ago

Creating "Homo Minutus" — a Benchtop Human To Test Drugs

McGruber Re:What about a joke ? (49 comments)

What with April 1st and so on...

Everyday is April Fool's Day with Slashdot Beta....

about three weeks ago

Ex-Microsoft Employee Arrested For Leaking Windows 8

McGruber H-1B? (197 comments)

From the article:

Alex Kibkalo, a former Microsoft employee has been arrested yesterday for stealing and leaking company secrets..... Kibkalo is a Russian national and has worked for Microsoft for seven years; he has joined 5nine Software in August 2013 as Director of Product Management for Security and Management products after quiting his job at Microsoft.

I wonder how he worked for MS for 7 years as H1-B Visas are supposed to be limited to 6 years.

about a month ago

Ex-Microsoft Employee Arrested For Leaking Windows 8

McGruber Re:That makes sense (197 comments)

Maybe he was trying to be the Paul Revere of Software?

about a month ago

Exploding Oil Tank Cars: Why Trains Go Boom

McGruber Re:why carry crude to in tanks on moving vehicles? (144 comments)

The Wall Street Journal just ran an article about why shipping oil by rail is more profitable than shipping by pipeline:

In Dakota Oil Patch, Trains Trump Pipelines - Flexibility of Shifting Crude to Higher Priced Markets Strands Proposed Projects (March 3, 2014)

Basically, shipping the oil by rail costs more, but using a train gives the oil producer the flexibility to ship to the refinery that will pay them them most for the oil. Shipping by pipeline only allows the producer to ship the oil to the refinery at the end of that pipeline.... and the oil producer has to commit to use the pipeline for a very long time.

Apparently, Warren Buffet figured this out years ago because he bought the BNSF Railway back in 2009. A BNSF train is shown in the picture attached to the Bloomberg article.

They've been trying to build one for years (Keystone XL) but have been stonewalled at every turn by Obama.

The WSJ points out that the proposed Keystone pipeline runs north-south, while the oil producers want to ship their oil east-west because the demand for oil is greater on the coasts than in Texas.

about a month and a half ago

All In All, Kids Just Another Brick In the Data Wall

McGruber Data Walls are a way to identify Crappy Teachers (110 comments)

My partner is an elementary school principal. Her school has a small "data room", only accessed by teachers, in which she has posted "data walls". Her data walls are actually printouts of very large spreadsheets -- each row is a child, and the hundred of columns represent individual concepts that children have to master. For example, one column might represent "being able to add fractions", another might represent "being able to subtract fractions", another might be "being able to correctly conjugate verbs", etc.

The really cool thing is that these spreadsheets are generated (by software) after the children take computerized tests. Instead of just giving a numeric score, the software will show exactly *which* concepts the child does and does not know.

You would think teachers would love this technology because it would allow them to focus their instruction time on concepts their students have not mastered. Sadly, that's not the case -- instead, many long-time teachers who had always gotten "good" and "excellent" evaluations are suddenly being shown that they are not actually very good teachers. For example, the software can easily show that *none* of the students in a particular classroom have mastered a particular concept, such as adding fractions. If no student in that particular elementary classroom is able to add fractions, then it is pretty obvious that the teacher in that classroom does not know how to effectively teach adding fractions. Hearing that is pretty threatening to a teacher who has taught the same way for two or three decades.

Anyway, I posted because what the article calls a "data wall" is not really a data wall.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?

McGruber Dice.com is currently building a bus (478 comments)

Dice.com is currently outfitting a bus for their upcoming "Tech Trek" tour: Dice is hittin' the road!

Maybe Paul server guy works for them? Presumably they would not want anyone taking pictures of the people responsible for Beta.

about 2 months ago

AOL Reverses Course On 401K Match; CEO Apologizes

McGruber AOL's David Shing, Professional Nothing (123 comments)

On Gawker, Sam Biddle points out that while AOL claimed it couldn't afford its old retirement plan, it is able to afford "Shingy," who Biddle describe as a "professional nothing". Shingy's job title is "Digital Prophet," which means "he's gloating about the fact that he has a make believe job at AOL, unlike most tech charlatans, who try to conceal it":

This Man Is Representing AOL on Live Television

about 2 months ago

CmdrTaco: Anti-Beta Movement a "Vocal Minority"

McGruber wjwlsn's comment (30 comments)

The comment that wjwlsn posted to the WaPo blog at 1:05 AM EST sums it up well:

Look, you have to understand something: Slashdot discussions generate interesting content by allowing tons of garbage to be posted, mixed around, and evolved. Part of the evolution comes from the interactive nature of community discussion, and part of it comes from the moderation process. For this evolution process to work properly, you have to be able to see a lot of posts at once, all in one shot. You need to be able to see some contextual information about the people posting comments. When you post your own comments, you need to be able to quote or link to other posts easily. When you want to moderate, you need to be able to do it in place, at the comment you intend to moderate.

Beta breaks all of these vital features; without them, the nature of Slashdot discussion changes completely. People will read fewer comments because the new layout hinders rapid seeking, scanning, and comprehension of potentially valuable posts... all while making it much more difficult to skim past the stuff that doesn't interest you. When people read fewer comments, they post fewer comments. When the total number of comments starts to drop, the exploration of the discussion space becomes much less thorough. Potentially valuable or interesting discussion paths will be missed. Those rare, but highly sought after gems of insight and wisdom borne from the cesspool of chaos will become much more scarce.

You want to know why people hate the beta so much? It's because it kills the evolutionary discussion dynamic that makes the community what it is. There's nothing else like it, and many of us do not want to lose it.

(Adapted from my original post on Slashdot:http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4761849&cid=46192975)

about 3 months ago

How Adobe Got Rid of Traditional Stack-Ranking Performance Reviews

McGruber Re:I'll keep saying (175 comments)

Stack Ranking only works on a short term basis where you want to trim the fat.

Regarding the next performance ranking time at Dice, when someone will need to be scapegoated for the Beta Clusterfuck:

Who will Alice Hill "stack-rank" into unemployment: samzenpus, Soulskill, timothy, or Unknown Lamer?

Or all four of them?

about 3 months ago

Utah Bill Would Prevent Regional Fiber Networks From Growing

McGruber Slashdot Beta (111 comments)

February 2014 will be forever known as Snuff February, when Dice Killed Slashdot.

about 3 months ago

Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

McGruber Re:Risk management (723 comments)

That wasn't the worst of it. The worst was that some kids were trapped on school buses overnight. The National Guard had to go out Wednesday to rescue multiple busloads of kid who had spent the night stuck on the highways...

It was even worse than that. The bus drivers were not allowed to let kids off their buses for safety reasons, so they ended up having to use the back row of seats as toilets.

about 3 months ago

Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

McGruber Re:Perspective from a City of Atlanta resident (723 comments)

Two updates:

(1) The storm did not seem to effect the US Postal Service. My mail was delivered yesterday and today, at its normal time.

(2) The local TV Meteorologists are all defending the National Weather Service. The on-air TV personalities have created fabulous graphics showing what the NWS announced prior to the storm and how accurate it was. They are going out of their way to defend the NWS. A meteorologist on the local FOX affiliate even said he is dependent on the NWS -- the NWS does the forecasting that the broadcasters use. He then said that what he does as a broadcaster is to explain to the public how weather conditions are changing; he does not do forecasts himself. (In his first press conference, Georgia Governor Deal claimed that local meteorologists he had talked to had done a better job forecasting the storm than the National Weather Service.)

I think it is AWESOME that the popular on-air TV personalities are all standing up and defending the NWS geeks. (I presume the term 'geek' is appropriate given how much data collection and computer modeling the NWS does.)

about 3 months ago

Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

McGruber Perspective from a City of Atlanta resident (723 comments)

There are actually two Atlantas: (1) The City of Atlanta and (2) The Atlanta Metropolitan Area.

The City of Atlanta has a population of 432,000 and its mayor is Kasim Reed. Reed is an up-and-coming politician in the Democratic Party; he has been on "Meet the Press" and other Sunday morning talk shows a lot. Reed looked very bad during the 2011 Snowstorm, so since then the City has purchased approximately 70 snowplows & salt trucks. It has also trained its crews to operate that equipment. City crews were out and about on Tuesday and City-owned arterial streets were pretty passable.

The City of Atlanta also owns the Atlanta airport, so the City actually has weather forecasters on its payroll.

The Atlanta metropolitian region that surrounds the City of Atlanta has a population of 4.5 million spread over 20 suburban counties and a couple dozen small cities. The majority of these suburbs are very Republican and are the base of voters that elected Governor Deal. For example, Cobb County, where the Atlanta Braves professional baseball team are planning to move to, is the home of former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The Suburban counties and cities have not invested in snowplows and instead rely of the statewide Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). GDOT does a really good job given what they have to work with -- they only have something like 120 snowplows for the *entire* state of Georgia. It never snows all over Georgia at once, so GDOT just moves its plows to where they are needed.

The other complicating factor is that about 1.2 million of the 4.5 million suburbanites commute into the City of Atlanta every day.

What happened Tuesday was the perfect clusterf---. About noon, all of the 1.2 million commuters all attempted to leave Atlanta at about the same time.... this was actually documented by the Georgia Navigator traffic system (http://www.511ga.org). These commuters managed to leave the City of Atlanta because the City had treated its roads, but then they hit the Interstate highways and expressways that are plowed and sanded by the GDOT. .... GDOT simply could not keep up because GDOT's statewide crews were also being used elsewhere around the state. The roads clogged and then what GDOT snowplows and sanders that were out got stuck in that traffic.

about 3 months ago

IBM's PC Junior Turns 30, Too

McGruber Re:...end? (178 comments)

That is where the similarities —

Also the sentence. :-)

That was my fault; the word was missing in my Submission

about 3 months ago

IBM's PC Junior Turns 30, Too

McGruber Re:Fond memories (178 comments)

A 12 year old that didn't know better sure enjoyed his PCJr

My parents bought a PC/AT when I was 14 or 15. It had a 1.2 meg floppy and a 20 meg harddrive. I learned a lot on that machine and was very happy with it because I just didn't know better. I lost my innocence in 1988 or 1989, when I saw the (discontinued by then) Amiga 1000 in person for the first time.

It is still hard for me to believe that the first Amiga came out only 18 months after the PC Jr.

about 3 months ago

Facebook Mocks 'Infection' Study, Predicts Princeton's Demise

McGruber Re:Atleast.. (193 comments)

In the long run we are all dead. - John Maynard Keynes

about 2 months ago

A Rebuttal To Charles Stross About Bitcoin

McGruber Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (396 comments)

All the government needs to do to make it worthless is to ask the NSA to mine with their resources for a while. That would quickly make the government the richest in terms of Bitcoin, and therefore gain even more power!

What makes you sure that Satoshi Nakamoto was *not* actually the NSA?

about 3 months ago

Firewall Company Palo Alto Buys Stealthy Startup Formed By Ex-NSAers

McGruber Re:i can smell Rajs bullshit from here (102 comments)

An Air force pilot? really ? no history ? nothing anywhere on the web including the seclists /waves hand....charlatans everywhere

AC's allegation about Raj Shah being a charlatan really intrigued me, so I just wasted two hours doing a little digging... and I now suspect Raj Shah is lying about having been a USAF F-16 pilot. Here are a few different versions of Raj Shah's CV:

Khabar: Georgian Raj Shah Wins Soros Fellowship for New Americans (April 2007)

Raj Shah is among 31 finalists in the 10th annual competition for the Paul & Diasy Soros Fellowships for New Americans (immigrants and children of immigrants). They were selected from over 800 applicants representing 141 nationalities and 360 colleges and universities. Shah is currently the Special Assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for International Technology Security in the US Department of Defense. He plans to attend Wharton in the fall to study business. Shah holds an AB from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. Upon graduating from Princeton, he took a job at McKinsey and Company but left 4 months after 9/11 to join the United States Air Force. Shah flew eighteen combat missions in Iraq as a captain and F-16 pilot. After four years of active duty, he transitioned to the reserves and rejoined McKinsey & Co.; from there he embarked on his present work.

Times of India: Business honcho bombed Iraq for US Air Force

He flew US Air force F-16 over Iraqi air space in 2006 and as recently as in March to May in 2010 for nearly 200 hours in 38 combat missions at a speed of Mac 2 (twice the speed of sound). Thirty-three-year-old Gujarati American Raj Shah, then a combat pilot, said, "The biggest fear in a pilot's mind is the fear of making a mistake. If we err, innocent people die." This Wharton School MBA, now vice-president of a defence focused investment firm, is a battle hardened soldier turned business executive.

"From 500 feet above the sea level to 50,000 feet, I flew as per the requirement. The altitude depended on the targets and in Iraq we flew very low for precision target hitting," said Raj, who joined the US Air Force in 2000 and took his first flight school in December, 2001.

He flew every third day on missions in Iraq and volunteered himself at Airport Theatre Hospital at Bagdad to help out the medical teams.

"In January 2006, it was 3 am in Bagdad when the US Air Force base sirens went off. I was sleeping in my flight suit. I ran to the jet and and in five minutes was flying 500 feet over Bagdad where a number of people were trying to block the path of US-Iraqi troops, who were on rescue mission," he said.

Those quotes about his missions are really strange.... and the the timeline in the 1st article (joined USAF 4 months after 9/1) contradicts the timeline in the 2nd (joined USAF in 2000). Also, in the first article (from 2007), he is described as having flow 18 combat missions, but in the next piece, posted four years later, he claims he flew 38 combat missions:

NetIP: Vote for Raj Shah (August 2011)

A reserve F-16 Pilot in the US Air Force, Raj is also is the Vice President of Federal Systems, a defense-focused investment firm. Now in its 6th year, Nanubhai impacts 8,000 students in rural India and has sent over 25 American teachers to India. In the USAF, Raj served two tours of duty in Iraq flying 38 combat missions. Raj has also worked as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Previously Raj worked at McKinsey & Co. serving both private and public sector clients. Raj has had a life-long passion for adventure – he has led a 4,000-mile flying safari through Africa, completed a marathon, and motorcycled through the Himalaya. Raj holds an AB from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Soros Fellow.

The Soros Fellow part is confirmed by the Soros website:

The Paul and Daisy Soroso Fellowships for New Americans - Spring 2007 Fellowships

RAJ SHAH is the Co-Founder and CEP of Morta Security, a stealth mode start-up developing a new paradigm to counter advanced network threats.

Raj is the son of naturalized US citizens of Indian origin. They currently reside in Bonaire, Georgia.

Raj received an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in May. He holds an AB from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Previously, Raj served as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for International Technology Security in the US Department of Defense. Upon graduating from Princeton University, he took a job at McKinsey and Company but left 4 months after 9/11 to join the United States Air Force. A distinguished graduate of both United States Air Force pilot training and Officer Training School, Raj flew eighteen combat missions in Iraq as a captain and F-16 pilot. After four years of active duty, he transitioned to the reserves and rejoined McKinsey and Co., followed by his stint in government.

Raj also has started a nonprofit foundation dedicated to improving education in his father's village in India; as a result of his fundraising efforts, the village now has a 30-unit computer lab, scholarship programs, and English tutoring programs - and the graduation rate of the village high school has tripled.

Raj's career goal is to create a global technology company focused on aerospace and to eventually serve in a leadership capacity in the government

Nanubhai Educational Foundation - Our Team, EXECUTIVE TEAM

Raj Shah, Founder & Chairman

Raj is the Founder of the Nanubhai Education Foundation. Previously, he was a Special Assistant in the US Department of Defense. Raj serves as a reserve F-16 pilot in the United States Air Force where he completed a tour in Iraq. He has also worked as consultant at McKinsey & Co., assisting clients in both the public and private sectors. Raj holds degrees from from Princeton University and The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Soros Fellow. On a lighter note, Raj loves traveling through India – on his last visit he survived a motorcycle trip from Delhi to Leh on an Enfield Bullet.

Another contradiction - on his foundation's website, he says he completed a single tour of Iraq, but in the NetIP biography above, he claimed to have had two Iraq tours. That is a big red flag in my eyes -- I've worked with several real combat veterans and on the rare opportunities that they open up and talk about their service, they do not contradict themselves about when and where they served.

He also shows up in this piece on the Time Magazine website, writen by an Army platoon leader: Time Magazine: What To Thank a Vet For: Compassion - Veterans Day can be awkward when civilians don't really know what they're thanking soldiers for/ (Veteran's Day, November 11, 2011)

My good friend, Maj. Raj Shah is an F-16 fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force who, in his free time during his first Iraq tour, donned scrubs to help in the trauma station at Balad Air Base. One night he was assisting in the operating room when the tell-tale thumps of a landing Blackhawk helicopter signaled the arrival of an emergency casualty. Two injured men were quickly wheeled into the tent-covered operating room. One was an American Marine, the other an Iraqi. Raj was asked to assist with the Iraqi, who was being treated for gunshot wound. As he handed scalpels and bags of saline to the surgeons, Raj watched as the doctors across the room frantically worked to save the Marine’s life. Much of the Marine’s leg had been decimated by a roadside bomb. Several hours into the effort, one of the surgeons called out to Raj, “Take a look at this bullet.” He handed Raj an M-16 round he had extracted from the Iraqi and then dropped a bombshell — the Iraqi they were working on was the trigger-man for the bomb that had blown off the Marine’s leg! While the Marine was eventually sent to Walter Reed for recuperation and the Iraqi to the penal system, during their time in the hospital, both equally received the finest medical care our nation could muster. No other fighting force in history has provided such a level of care for its enemies. I shudder to think of the outcome had the roles of fighter and captor been reversed.

This also strikes me as really strange -- a USAF combat pilot in a warzone had time to volunteer in a ER? Really? Plus the parable he tells about his ER volunteering is too good to be true.

Also notice how the author, his "good friend", in August 2011, used the current tense when describing him as a USAF pilot, when multiple other sources indicated he was out of the reserves by then.

It would be great if other slashdotters could check with the USAF or VA to see if he really served or not. If you could show he was fraud you would easily have a front-page slashdot story.

about 4 months ago



Intuit, maker of Turbotax, lobbies against simplied tax filings

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about a week ago

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

Former US President says Snowden disclosures are "good for Americans to know"

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about a month ago

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

Austin has highest Salaries for Tech Workers, after factoring in cost-of-living

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about a month and a half ago

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

2. Atlanta: $103,000

3. Denver-Boulder: $98,000

4. Boston: $79,000

5. Silicon Valley: $78,000

6. Los Angeles: $70,000

7. New York: $56,000"

Link to Original Source

Stolen Passport Was Used to Board Crashed Malayasian Airlines 777

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about a month and a half ago

McGruber (1417641) writes "An Air Malaysia 777 bound to Beijing has apparently crashed into the South China Sea: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/07/... That CNN article reports that there was one Italian passenger onboard... however the Italian who was supposedly onboard says his passport was stolen 6 months ago: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...

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.


Link to Original Source

Ken Ham building Noah's Ark in Kentucky, thanks to Bill Nye

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 2 months ago

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

Camlanta: Police instaling 12,000 Camera's in Georgia's Capital City

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 2 months ago

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.

I'm sure that was of great comfort to the murder victim and his/her loved ones."

Link to Original Source

NYC Teacher: Standardized tests are a critical thinker's dream

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 2 months ago

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.

Mr. Samuelson teaches at Queens Vocational & Technical High School in Sunnyside, Queens, N.Y."

Link to Original Source

WhatsApp Founder used Nonchangable Airline Ticket to Pressure Facebook

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 2 months ago

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


Link to Original Source

HP finally provides actual evidence of Autonomy Executives' Fraud

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 3 months ago

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:

HP Chairman Raymond Lane Steps Down

HP Not Giving Up On Autonomy

Why Bad Directors Aren't Thrown Out

UK Serious Fraud Office Probes Autonomy With ... Autonomy!

Is HP Right? Autonomy Salesperson Shares Internal Emails

Autonomy Chief Says Whitman Is Watering Down HP Fraud Claims

Meg Whitman Says HP Was Defrauded By Autonomy; HP Stock Plunges

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

IBM's PC Junior turns 30.

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 3 months ago

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

Pope Francis says Internet is a 'gift from God'

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 3 months ago

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.""
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Homeland Security Director used handgun targeting laser as presentation pointer

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 4 months ago

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."

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TMobil's CEO and CFO thrown out of AT&T's Developer Party

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 4 months ago

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?"

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US Customs destroys Virtuoso's Flutes because they were "agricultural items"

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 4 months ago

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)"

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Cracking Atlanta Subway's poorly-encrypted RFID Smart Cards is a Breeze

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 4 months ago

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.


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Department Store Chain's Website Crashes and Can't Get Back Up

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 4 months ago

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.

Teams from IBM and Myer's information technology division were "working furiously" to fix the problem."

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Snowden: In 2009, I recommended to NSA they move to 2-admin access control

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 4 months ago

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."

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The FBI's Secret Interrogation Manual: Available for checkout at the Library

McGruber McGruber writes  |  about 4 months ago

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."

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