To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes
It is simple and not simple at the same time for a Flat Tax:
Anything bought anywhere outside of the United States and then imported is taxed based on the value of the object. Now value is subjective in some cases, but if you buy a $1,000,000 yacht (small, I know ;-)) in Mexico then it is still valued at $1,000,000 when it enters the United States and you impose the Flat Tax on it then. Otherwise, you can go visit your yacht in Mexico but if it ever enters United States territorial waters it will be seized until you pay the taxes you owe on it. Same for cars, paintings, jewelry, electronics, and so on.
Yes, some things will slip through the cracks or a black market will spring up or a loophole will be found -- but even if you save money on the tax using tricks, you STILL wind up paying out money to do it. It might not be as much as the Flat Tax rate, but money is still moving in the markets AND will eventually get taxed. Everyone has to eat, buy fuel, insurance (yes, must protect that $1,000,000 yacht from ... bad things), and so on -- all taxed or can lead to items being taxed.
How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers
Which is still the truth, in general. Photography on a cell phone does not equate to photography with a digital camera -- knowing what f-stop is, or shutter speed, or focal length, or a LOT of the other of the fine-grain minutiae that comes from a lot of time spent with film and digital cameras taking hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs.
Point and click it ain't.
New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?
I've been in the computer and IT industry in some form for over 20 years. I've seen a lot of changes come and go -- some I've embraced, some I've just dealt with, some I've beat my skull on a wall wondering WTF?!?!
Windows 8 was, in all ways, a very What The Fuck?!?! product. Microsoft did it so that they could increase their revenue stream and lock-in potential - not so they could increase the user experience. There is no situation in this world which you shove a phone/tablet interface onto a desktop or laptop computer with touchscreen penetration rates in those markets of, what?, 2 or 3%? It was bad idea from the beginning and it is still a bad idea now. When most users resort to third party software to give them back the interface that WORKS on desktop/laptop environments and/or adoption of the new operating system is only because users are being given no other choice, then the system was badly designed.
Fortune 1000/500/100 companies are NOT adopting Windows 8.x. Why in the hell would they want the lost productivity from a user being forced to learn a new interface that is not user friendly or conducive to a work environment? They don't. Which is one major reason Dell and HP both started offering Windows 7 Pro installed on Windows 8.x Pro downgraded systems for business.
Stardock is making money, even at $4.99 a pop, for Start8 as a replacement for Windows 8.x sorta-not-really-a-start menu. That says a lot about the state of Windows 8.x adoption and usability.
Even smaller companies that I deal with or have consulted for avoid Windows 8.x and use Windows 7. I've dealt with some hard-headed people who ask why it is cheaper to buy Windows 8 than 7 or "Why aren't we using the latest version?" and so on -- until I sit a laptop in front of them with a standard, out-of-the-box Windows 8.x configuration on it and tell them "Please turn the laptop off without using the power switch." Then I ask them if they could turn their Windows 7 laptops off right out of the box. You guessed it, they said YES, they could turn it off with no problems and I point out the lost productivity from their users needing to be trained on how the access everything and learning how to use the new interface(s). They always purchase Windows 7 systems. By the way, this puts LESS money in my pocket as a consultant because my company would be the ones training them to use Windows 8.x.
Windows 9, if Microsoft has ANY sense left in their Corporate brain, will go back to Windows 7 start menu functionality and leave the Metro interface for phones and tablets. Give desktop and laptop users the interface that works and that doesn't require retraining everyone. Individual user and most small-to-medium businesses I deal with are tired of vendor lock-in. Learn from your mistakes Microsoft.
Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service
THANKS for letting me know there are nude photos of you on the internet -- and where to find them! YOU are a font of information and those of us who never even knew this site existed are thankful you are too stupid to realize you just made yourself even more of a search topic. And your lawsuit will fail.
Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
While specialization for humans is becoming more and more of the "norm," I think Heinlein said it best:
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
-- Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love
So, in that context, yes -- every normal human should, in some fashion, be able to program a computer or a web app or what have you. I believe you should always seek to bring the knowledge and abilities of those around you UP to your level and if they exceed you, great, hopefully they will return the favor. Idealist, aren't I?
Ask Slashdot: Can Star Wars Episode VII Be Saved?
George himself broke so much canon, or "retold" it, that it is not even funny. I've gone back and watched the original trilogy many times (I own them on laserdisc), to keep it fresh in memory so when I get into discussions about original vs prequels I'm not looking back with nostalgia.
Here is one great example:
Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.
Qui-Gon Jinn: Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life form that resides within all living cells.
Qui-Gon Jinn: Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you'll hear them speaking to you.
Complete and total turn around. The Force is now administered through a third party to let the Jedi/Sith know what to do - the will of the Force? *gags* *pukes* That is exactly opposite of what Yoda tells Luke - in that LIFE creates the Force. Quo-Gon says without midi-chlorians life could not exist and that you must "hear" the midi-chlorians speak to you. If that was the case, why didn't Yoda explain that to Luke? Because it was some retconning bullshit Lucas came up with to give life to his god-complex character.
There are many, many other examples of complete "WTF?" moments between original and prequel.
A Look at Smart Gun Technology
It's about your kid son finding the gun you thought you had hidden so well he'd never find it...
Which is why I was taught gun safety at a young age - as well as a healthy respect for ALL life. Birds, deer, rabbits, squirrel, fish, and so on. Most of all, human life. Never point a gun at another human unless you mean to kill them. There is no such thing as "playing" when it comes to a gun. I had that respect drilled into me.
So will my child. And their child. And on until the sun we revolve around burns out. From the moment I believe they can tell the difference between life and death, they will be taught. Before that, they'll be taught to never touch any weapon in the house. Reinforced with a belt on their ass if that is what it takes when/if they don't believe dear old dad.
Which is part of the problem with a lot of society today (not just Americans) -- people aren't disciplining their children from a young age and we get what we have now: the whiny entitled society of spoiled fucks. That is a completely separate conversation, though.
A Look at Smart Gun Technology
That's the only "safe" thing I need on a gun. I know the risks of my gun being taken away from me during a break-in/robbery/assault or anything else that a criminal can perpetrate against me and mine.
The ONLY thing I want to have to deal with or worry about is "Did I flip the safety off?" Most guns are purely mechanical in nature and I see no reason to introduce electronics into making them "safe," do you? Let's add in additional points of failure into what should be a mechanical object that needs to JUST WORK.
This falls under the "Just because we can do a thing, should we do a thing?" category. For fuck's sake, leave guns alone. If you don't like them, feel you don't need them, or just don't understand them then please sit quietly in the corner while those of us that do defend your life, liberty, and pursuit of whatever the hell you want to do.
And remember one thing: Criminals are criminals BECAUSE THEY DON'T FOLLOW THE LAWS ALREADY. One more isn't going to make them change their mind. Removing guns from the hands of (mentally stable) citizen's is absolutely not the answer. It is a path to disarmament, oppression of the people, and a new class of slavery. Read your history.
Internet Transit Provider Claims ISPs Deliberately Allow Port Congestion
First, let me be clear -- I'm not a big fan of this idea, but after looking at the problem from multiple angles this idea keeps coming up as the best way to spur competition and end the debate on network neutrality.
A few steps to stop this greed from happening, hopefully:
a) A clear, concise Bill of Internet Rights.
-- This must be done in order to alleviate a lot of the crap going on now. There should be terms that explicitly disallow government agencies from piping internet traffic through their data centers for "analysis" of anything WITHOUT A NON-SECRET COURT ORDER. If it can't stand up the light of day, it doesn't fit with principles this country was founded upon and which hundreds of thousands of men and women have died to uphold. Stop being assholes and running roughshod over the Constitution.
-- This must be done to guarantee privacy. As much as can be, anyway.
-- This must be done to guarantee that all data is treated equally with the obvious need for quality assurance. No more congesting nodes, no more content owner also owns the delivery network so it can shutout competition, no more "you pay us, again, for the bandwidth that our customer who requested your info has already paid for."
b) Nationalize the Distribution Lines
-- All copper, fiber, interconnects, and so on are nationalized.
-- A plan is put into place to guarantee (almost) everyone in the United States good data speeds (10mb/s up and down - minimum) by adding more and more fiber. I say (almost) because there are some VERY remote places where people live and it will take time (plus more money) to reach them. If 90% of the population can be served, including rural areas, then that would be great.
-- Everyone who wishes to be an ISP pays THE SAME per connection. Yes, that would mean someone in Small Town, Iowa costs the same as someone in New York to connect to the internet. The overhead of the ISP will determine what $XX.xx is added to the government mandated $YY.yy and here's the rub - customer service comes back to the forefront and actually means something because the Public will know what the $YY.yy is. Competition to gain and keep customers based on price alone should vanish as value-added services and real customer service return to the industry.
-- We have a glut of workers needing work. Teach them to lay fiber optic cable and copper if needed. Put them to work moving the United States back to the top of the chart in broadband/internet access. In this day and age it is a necessity, not a luxury. Easily as ubiquitous today as the telephone and mail were in their days.
I'm probably missing a massive hole in my theory (greed being at the top of that list), but if this was done it would foster intense competition and new ideas as one would not be held back by thinking "I will get blocked out by Company A because they have a grip on distribution of a similar idea." Freedom from the so-called content creators of today locking down sections of the internet or using their power to double and triple-dip the pockets of consumers and competitors.
How 'Fast Lanes' Will Change the Internet
I'm pretty sure I said jack and shit about Netflix, instant upgrades, or any of the rest of your rant. Don't take my word for it, please actually read what I wrote and then get back to me when your reading comprehension is greater than your ability to punctuate and capitalize sentences correctly. Argumentum ad hominem notwithstanding.
Also, this is not because some "whiny cord cutters are now ranting mad." This is because some very wealthy corporations have bought some nice shiny congressmen and other government officials and are now trying to triple dip into the internet money stream. I proposed a way to stop that practice and, at the same time, provide greater competition which should also provide better prices for the consumers. You know, save money for those of us who don't own mega-wealthy multi-national corporations.
How 'Fast Lanes' Will Change the Internet
I realize that this is not a popular subject and, to be honest, not one I'm 100% in love with either but it would solve a lot of problems -- and keep network neutrality as a top priority while providing for competition.
Simply (or not so simply) nationalize all of the copper, fiber, other wires that make up the internet today including all interconnects - everything needed for the internet to be the internet. Write in a complete HANDS-OFF policy (no piping the internet into the NSA's back room and then piping it back out) and figure out what each connection should be worth to a) expand and upgrade the system so that everyone, even those in rural areas, could have good speed (10mb/s in both directions minimum) and b) maintain what's already in the ground/on the poles.
Once you have the above number, allow anyone with the technical ability and resources to start an ISP in a region and then they can compete on price, quality, and service. Everyone would already know that each connection will cost $XX.xx because that's what the government collects; it is the +$YY.yy for the final price that would be where things get interesting. Some regions would still have higher speeds initially, but with enough people working on upgrading the system (the new New Deal perhaps?) then speed and availability will come.
Level 3 Wants To Make Peering a Net Neutrality Issue
If you can't control the spam like the original and former Slashdot could, then do the right thing and drop this crap (that NOBODY who visits this site wants).
Seriously, give us what we ASK for and not what you THINK we need. Don't think. We'll do that for you.
If you can't get it right, I for one will go somewhere else for my news and .. unfortunately not discussions, because no really good discussion site exists.
Speedier Screening May Be Coming To an Airport Near You
...simply remove all of the screening apparatus in the airports. It is vastly just "security theatre" and does nothing but costs taxpayers time, money, and aggravation. To say nothing of the of the decline in tourism and business dollars due to the obtrusiveness.
Oh, yeah, and the total violation of basic human rights and decency with that large, gaping wound it leaves in the 4th Amendment (among others).
DOJ Announces New Methods For Reporting National Security Requests
This is simply obfuscation through aggregation. All this is for is to make it SEEM like the DOJ is listening to the companies and the public outcry.
Don't believe the hype. Don't believe the lies.
Down this pathway, freedom dies.
Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview
No. I wasn't wearing my kilt that day and sheep understand the sound of a zipper being lowered.
Myst Creators Announce Obduction
Cyan has met almost 30% of their goal in under 48 HOURS. Not in the first 30 days. Their entire funding timeline is 30 days. I think the ol' girl has plenty of life left in her. One mention by, say, Penny Arcade plus the mention here on Slashdot and well.. :)
Myst Creators Announce Obduction
As the commenter above me pointed out, the word is real. It goes along with another word (or words):
Obfuscation -- https://www.google.com/#q=define%20obfuscation
Also obfuscate and obfuscatory.
Google Fiber Partially Reverses Server Ban
Porn. Massive amounts of all-I-can-possibly-see (until I go blind from it) porn downloaded or streamed at glorious speeds. ;-)
Police Demand Summary Domain Takedown, Traffic Redirection
Yes. Why should I change my decision making process based on whether the City of London police are doing the wrong thing or if the United State's Department of Homeland Security is doing the wrong thing.
THEY BOTH DID THE WRONG THING. We, as citizens of these countries (or residents of cities, and so forth), should stand up for what we know to be wrong - even if the consequences be harsh. Until WE do, THEY will continue to do almost as they please.
Police Demand Summary Domain Takedown, Traffic Redirection
They have no actual authority. Let them "send it to ICANN" and see if that international body doesn't basically shrug and say "Who gives a fuck. This is outside your jurisdiction." Even if ICANN doesn't, at least you will have your day in "court" so to speak.