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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 38 declined, 3 accepted (41 total, 7.32% accepted)

+ - Intuit reverses course. Turbo tax 2014 Deluxe support schedule D

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: Intuit quietly removed support for schedule D and C from Turbo Tax 2014, forcing people to upgrade to Premier version. It created a huge backlash from the customers. Slashdot covered it on Jan 12. There were a lot of media coverage too. Some VP was posting in the amazon reviews trying to spin the news. Suggesting things like it is still possible to file Schedule D in the "forms" mode. [ Forms mode just saves a trip to the post office or to to download the forms. That is all, it is print it out, fill it up and mail it in option. ]

Eventually Intuit has reversed course and is posting in reviews, that it is going to refund the money to people who were forced to upgrade, and add the feature back to Deluxe version and promises never to do it again.

TurboTax Desktop Customers:

We recently communicated to you about the changes we made to TurboTax desktop software products. The message back to me was clear — you want your TurboTax desktop product to do what it always has done — handle the same tax situations as it did in years past. We've heard you and here's what we going to do.

1. Beginning February 7, returning Deluxe desktop customers who need to upgrade can do so within the product for free, making it simple and seamless.

2. For returning customers who have already upgraded to Premier or Home & Business, we are continuing to offer $25 cash back through April 20. Just go to where we've streamlined the process.

3. Next year, we're changing back to the TurboTax desktop software you know and love by restoring the forms that you've counted on for years (and for some of you, decades).

We will be communicating this to customers in the coming days.

I realize this hasn't been easy on you, and I'm sorry for that. I also recognize that it took us too long to make this right. We are committed to earning your trust again.

Bob Meighan, VP, TurboTax

+ - Charlie Hebdo publishes a picture of Mohammad->

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: Charlie Hebdo ups the ante. From the pictures released to the media I am not able to see where the figure depicted is marked as the Prophet Mohammad. But, if it is true, as claimed by almost all the media outlets, that it was indeed a depiction of the Prophet Mohammad, it is really a big deal. This escalates the confrontation, and forces Muslims, at least those who live in the Western democracies to accept that "non muslims can draw pictures of Mohammad, and they do not have the right to retaliate against it".

Charlie Hebdo is more anti-clerical than anti-islam. Even the earlier depiction of Mohammad that provoked the assault actually shows Mohammad being beheaded by the terrorists for being an infidel. Very provocative, but still it is anti-clerical than anti-islam.

I am not sure the media description make that distinction.

Link to Original Source

+ - Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains his Christmas Tweet.-> 1

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: Neil DeGrasse Tyson tweeted on christmas day what appeared to begin as a tribute to Infant Jesus, but ended up celebrating Isaac Newton who shares his birthday with Jesus, (with sufficient allowances for the estimate of Jesus' and the confusion between Gregorian and Julian calenders for Newton). Apparently this was retweeted some 77000 times, far above his average of 3.5K retweets. He doubled down on it by tweeting about people being offended by objective truths. Then wrote a fuller explanation.
Link to Original Source

+ - Revenge of Darwin. Suicide bomb instructor blows up his class!->

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: According to NYTimes, an Iraqi suicide bomb instructor blew up his class of 22 wannabe suicide bombers. Looks like the instructor, who was a prolific recruiter was among the dead. Not really sure the families of the victims will sue to get a refund of their tuition fees.
Link to Original Source

+ - Slashdot Beta. How to filter ? How to get to my comment? 3

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: 1. In the slashdot beta I don't see the knob that lets you see more stories or less. Did I miss something, and it is under some obscure icon? Or is it gone?

2. When I post a comment, I often go my profile, find my latest comments, expand the threads there to see if there are any follow ups. In beta I am not able to get to my comment. It gives me the whole story. Will there be a link to a specific comment and the local view of that thread alone?

+ - Facebook + Instagram asking for photo IDs->

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: Apparently Facebook and Instagram are asking their account holders to verify their identity using government issued photo ids that include their full name and date of birth. Your account has been secured and requires account validation. Please login to from your desktop computer to validate your identify. is the message they are getting, according to CNET. CNET is speculating that it is an attempt by these companies to crack down on underage users because they are worried about the liability.

And here in slashdot we are obsessing with privacy and google getting to collect so much of info etc etc. Out there there are people who seem to be willing to upload their IDs to these sites, and think it is a fair price to pay for these services. Is there a site that will give a fake photoshopped government issued ID to upload to such services?

Link to Original Source

+ - Indian engineering students develop solar powered moped->

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: The Tamil language newspaper news item reads, "Two engineering students [name, college] have developed a moped that runs on electricity charged by solar panels. It takes 8 hours to be fully charged. It has a range of 35 Km (19 miles). The moped is built entirely using parts salvaged from scrap yards. Commuters can charge it while working and return home. With more than 8 hours of power cut in the grid, ability to charge using solar panels is indispensable. It costs 60,000 Indian Rupees (1250$) and we hope to reduce the price down to 25,000 Rs (500$) in mass production".

If it takes 1250$ using scrap yard salvaged parts, I am not sure how it is going to be 500$ in mass production. But still it is a good attempt and a nice project for engineering college students.

Link to Original Source

+ - IE slips to third place in>

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: Well, w3schools visitor profile is not the generic run of the mill net surfer. It is a little skewed towards web developer community. That also makes it a leading indicator of shifts in the web user profiles. In April 2011, IE has slipped to third place after Firefox and Chrome.
Link to Original Source

+ - Digg overrunn with spammers!

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: Conservative activists have been caught banding together to digg or bury news stories of the progressives. Blogger oleoleolson writes in alternet: A group of influential conservative members of the behemoth social media site have just been caught red-handed in a widespread campaign of censorship, having multiple accounts, upvote padding, and deliberately trying to ban progressives. An undercover investigation has exposed this effort, which has been in action for more than one year. The article details the modus operandi of the net-mob.

+ - Why Chrome browser chokes on text files?

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: I am trying to use Chrome to display some text files with non standard extensions (or no extensions like Imakefile). All the browsers handle this nicely. But Chrome keeps throwing up the file save dialog instead of just rendering the damn file with some fixed with font. Others are also reporting the same issue. Wondering why Chrome made it so difficult? I tried to make Chrome the default file handler for text files, (instead of notepad) that did not help. How does Firefox detect the file:/// resource is text file and displays it without fuss? Where is the file extension and mime type association defined for Chrome?

+ - "Blaming IE is simplistic" says PCMag.->

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: PC Magazine is defending Internet Explorer with this piece contending the browser is merely a messenger and there could be more holes, and blaming IE is simplistic and provides a false sense of security.

It is worth noting that Kurtz used the phrase "one of the malware samples", implying that there are others and that additional attack vectors may be involved. There is a fair chance that Internet Explorer is not alone in enabling the attacks.

It concludes:

The main thing to keep in mind is that these attacks go beyond Internet Explorer and that simply switching browsers is not an adequate defense. Kurtz sums it up on his blog "The world has changed. Everyone's threat model now needs to be adapted to the new reality of these advanced persistent threats. In addition to worrying about Eastern European cybercriminals trying to siphon off credit card databases, you have to focus on protecting all of your core intellectual property, private non-financial customer information and anything else of intangible value."

Link to Original Source

+ - HP ships Linux on its netbooks quietly

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: HP is including Linux in its 110 series of netbooks that are shipping now. It goes by various names QuickWeb or Instant Web. When you power on these netbooks, they boot into a splashtop linux instance. The OS is locked down and only the predefined applications could be run. They are browser, photo viewer, music player, skype and some file browser to view files on USB drives. WiFi works. Then if the you want Windows7 or WinXP, you press a button and the machine boots to a full Windows machine.

The Linux part can not see the hard disk of the machine. I just got the machine yesterday and have not poked around much to know how much it can be hacked. The browser is Firefox, I have not even checked to see if I can install noscript on it.

For most users of netbook, this is a very good deal. When you are in a public wifi in a coffee shop or an airport, you are guaranteed not to pick up a virus. I am not saying Linux is more secure or FireFox is more secure. Simply if you stay within QuickWeb or InstantWeb, there is no way any file can be written to the Windows disk at all!

This is such a big brand differentiation and it can be touted to high degree. But HP for some strange reason is very quiet about this feature in its ads and press releases. From business stand point, every company would strive for brand differentiation so that they dont compete on price alone. Quite strange HP is so silent about it. People are spending on purchase and subscriptions to antivirus software. All that revenue could be targeted by selling a device that is guaranteed not to be infected. Once many users realize that they rarely boot to full windows, they and their circle of friends and family would become more receptive to cheaper plain net access devices in various form factors.

I am very sure Microsoft is giving HP hell for this move behind the scenes. Is it the first sign of PC vendors growing a back bone? Or the lackluster promotion of this feature bodes ill for such an experiment? I wonder.
Internet Explorer

+ - The Levy has broken or is it a storm in a tea cup?

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: Wall St Journal is reporting that Sony has decided to install Chrome browser as the default in its line of PCs. Though I have never been impressed by the Vaio line or its reliability, this is the first time a major PC vendor has decided to install something other than Infernal Exploder. I have always wondered what was keeping all the major vendors in line with Microsoft. Given the fierce competition between the vendors, at least one would have embarked on a strategy to position their line as the more secure one, with Firefox as the default browser. At least one should have decided not to compete on price alone and used something to differentiate their product line from the rest in the market. But none did. Till now. Is it the first levy to break? Or is it a company in trouble, i.e. Sony, trying to wring some money from some one with some cash lying around i.e. Google?

+ - Port 4567 on Verizon FiOS routers

Submitted by 140Mandak262Jamuna
140Mandak262Jamuna writes: I got my home connection upgraded to Verizon FiOS. I am getting a blazing fast connection 20Mbps clocked by three different sites. But one important thing about it is that, the router/modem that must be used for this is supplied by Verizon and it leaves port 4567 open on the WAN site. Quick googling shows that it is a port used by Actiontec, OEM vendor to Verizon, to upgrade the firmware automatically. The router is, in fact, running a server and presents a user name password dialog to the whole world. I used to verify that the port is really open to the entire world, not just to the Verizon servers alone.

Though Actiontec claims this port could not exploited I have quite a few concerns about it. If that password is cracked, hackers can upload a cracked version of the firmware and disable all protections at the router. I tried putting another router behind the verizon router but then my speed drops to 10Mbps. Thinking of getting a switch with firewall or configure the second router as a switch to protect my computers in case the Verizon router gets hacked.

I really would like to know the protections against password cracking on the router. How many failed logins are allowed per minute, per hour, per day, per week? Verizon knows which of its banks of servers are authorized to upgrade the firmware on the routers. Should it simply filter out all traffic to these ports originating from any other IP address? And why is the firmware upgrade initiated by an inbound call? Why cant the routers initiate a peridic check and look up their home servers and get a firmware upgrade? I don't like the way Verizon is implementing the automatic firmware upgrade. I fear someday soon somebody is going to crack that password and the hackers are going to get a million bots all with 20 Mbps connection to the world. Even if you are not a Verizon FiOS customer, you will be affected then.

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