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+ - .NET SERVER CLOUD STACK HAS BEEN OPEN SOURCED->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft Company is dealing with reasoning and cellular growth and moving out a multi-dimensional software growth technique that includes open-sourcing, cross-platform support, and resources developments."
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+ - Verizon wants to take over your device->

Submitted by hkok
hkok (3379167) writes "Verizon announced a new firmware to track users usage and they blatantly put in an agreement to force you to to accept or you don't upgrade your firmware. This applies to all existing phones out there but newer phone will probably get this preinstalled whether you like it or not.

1. Purpose of collection and use of personal information

We collect the following personal information in order to provide service tailored to your mobile phone software and demographic group, and record the frequency of access to compile statistical data to improve service quality.

2. Personal information that will be collected

[Required Information]

Unique device identifier number (IMEI or MEID, Wi-Fi Mac address, SN), model name, account code, access log, and current device software version.

[Optional Information]

PC specifications (OS information and hardware specifications) and IP information.

3. Retention and usage period of personal information

The information collected will be retained and used for two years or until you withdraw your agreement for us to withhold your information; upon which, any information will be promptly and securely deleted.

4. Your right to withhold disclosure of personal information, and details of any associated disadvantages

You may choose to withhold your agreement to provide the personal information described above. If you choose to withhold your agreement to provide the [Required Information], you will not be able to receive the service; if you choose to withhold your agreement to provide the [Optional Information], you will be able to receive the service, but you will not be able to receive services related to the PC or IP address."

Link to Original Source

+ - SPAM: Internet sales tax revived by Michigan lawmakers

Submitted by Fisherson
Fisherson (3944511) writes "The House on Tuesday is expected to prepare the legislation for a possible vote later this week. Similar bills are pending in the Senate after a committee approved them last week.

Retailers with stores in Michigan must collect the 6 percent sales tax when selling items online. But Internet-only stores like Amazon don't have to assess the sales tax unless they have a physical presence in the state."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:H1-B debate? (Score 1) 398

by Atrox Canis (#48548219) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

Yep. The obvious "fix" that nobody seems to be taking very seriously yet is making it much more difficult to get permission to hire an H1-B worker.

Corporations are ALWAYS going to push for a plentiful supply of these as a cost savings measure, but it's ultimately the government who issues them. It's about time they start putting pressure on companies to PROVE they're unable to hire from the talent pool of American citizens before qualifying to go the H1-B route.

You are correct in that the reason nobody is seriously talking about making it more difficult is that most of the lobbying taking place is focused on making it easier. The major contract placement companies overseas will in many cases, hold the applicants passport and the company they end up working for will hold the visa. The worker is compelled to do the job and keep their mouth shut at all cost. If the worker is fired or they quit of their own volition, the company reports to the contracting agency and the agency recalls the worker. This could be a devastating blow for the worker so they will do whatever it takes to keep the job. Doing whatever it takes usually translates to "work for peanuts".

In addition, many of these workers are often housed by the contracting company or in some cases directly by the employer. This makes the worker even more dependent. Sometimes the living conditions are cramped to an obscene degree. I personally have witnessed this. 18 "IT" workers were all housed in a 4 bedroom home, just off campus of a large banking corporation in the upper mid-west. I had to go pick these guys up every day for a couple weeks while I was getting my visa processed to go do a migration at our branches in England.

The end result for these workers is that they become indentured after a fashion. Much like the coal and other miners back in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Miners lived in what were essentially settlements owned by the company. Want to buy flour to make bread? Only place to get it was the company store. The store only traded in credit "chits". At the end of the pay period, the miner got his chits and there was usually just not enough pay to cover all the debt. If you still owed the company credit, you could not leave the area and so, back to the mine you went. This created a never ending cycle of indentured servitude (slavery, if you will).

What we are seeing now with our over-zealous attempt to hasten the processing of illegal immigrants and H1B visa applications is a modern day version of the same old game. One mistake that seems to be ignored in this process is the long term, unintended consequences of making 5m quasi citizens. The stick has been removed from the equation for these people/workers. They will rightfully demand higher wages (minimum wage) and the employer can no longer hold deportation over their head as an incentive. The theory is that the company leadership/owners will just knuckle under and start paying higher wages. I submit that they will not. Instead, I suspect they will begin replacing these newly emancipated former wage slaves with newly minted illegal immigrants and the process will simply continue unabated. The last couple of paragraphs have not been strictly on topic but because immigration reform and H1B visa issues have somehow become combined in the public eye, it seemed appropriate to bring it into the conversation.

My thoughts on how to reform immigration and in some degree lessen the impact on the plight of the American worker would not provide for an all inclusive solution. But, perhaps someone else would be willing to take up a challenge to participate in the discussion as well. First, we MUST reduce the red tape required for legal processing of normal immigration requests and requests for citizenship. Note that I am not saying reduce the requirements. From personal experience (my wife is a naturalized citizen) the process is rife with what appears to be a woeful lack of competence on the part of the vast number of government employees that by default are included in the day to day workings of the application process. Second, the requests that are already legitimately in the pipeline should have a higher priority than all other actions to establish a "path to citizenship". Third, real significant enforcement actions should be taken against companies that are currently and in the future engaged in the illegal use of non-citizens. Finally, every effort should be made to screen applicants for violent criminal history and reject those applications and follow through with appropriate deportation actions.

I know there is more that could be done but as I'm merely a layman in this regard, no doubt I would get it wrong.

+ - Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting-> 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A grand jury in Missouri has decided there is no probable cause to charge police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. "A grand jury of nine whites and three blacks had been meeting weekly since Aug. 20 to consider evidence. At least nine votes would have been required to indict Wilson. The Justice Department is conducting an investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges." Government officials and Brown's family are urging calm in Ferguson after the contentious protests that followed Brown's death."
Link to Original Source

Comment: My thoughts go out to all those directly affected (Score 1) 3

by Atrox Canis (#48454353) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

To the family of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson, my wish is that regardless of the situation, in the coming months and years, you are all able to reach some state of peace. My hope is that the members of the community, regardless of your position, can maintain enough discipline to restrain yourselves from introducing more violence and hate. My condolences.

Comment: Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (Score 1) 186

Thing is, while he might have done that before (I don't know and I'm not taking sides as I'm not an Elmer) why would he behave like that now? (Bouncing from one advisor to another, I mean.) The extent of his power can't be longer than 2 years because of the 2 terms rule and it's incredibly unlikely to be any less than 2 years, even if he sat on his ass and did absolutely nothing.

That's a good and reasoned question. I speculate that he knows no other way. He has for so long been in ballistic mode that it has now become natural and provides the path of least resistance. I watched his speech last night and I couldn't help but reach the conclusion that he was out of his depth. Although he fails at speaking extemporaneously, he is normally fairly good at delivering his messages when properly prepared. Last night was as controlled a situation as he is likely to find and his delivery, pacing, tonal quality and lack of any deference spoke to me about a man at the end of his limits.

I've always believed him to be a pretty darn good grifter but he let himself literally get carried away by the overwhelming and indomitable forces of Hollywood and Beltway exuberance.

Comment: Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (Score 1) 186

I think he ran for president for the same reason anyone interested in power and influence would, because he craves power and influence. What he does not seem willing to acknowledge is the responsibility part. He rebounds from adviser to adviser telling him what to think and say and because of his lack of experience and talent he just does what he's told because he believes it keeps him in power and grants him influence.

I would venture that the vast majority of his "policies" and ideas are simple gleanings from overheard conversations at Hollywood cocktail parties. He has the depth of character one would expect from excessive education paired with inadequate intelligence. When people say he is a stuffed suit, that's in part because of what they observe and in part what they hear him say. It doesn't have anything to do with the color of his skin but entirely with the content of his character; a character that is woefully lacking and ill suited to the task.

To dismiss reservations about him with a simple "various nutballs like yourself" is to reduce the weight of your own argument in opposition. When you disregard the opinion of others in such a way, you lower the threshold for your argument and make your job easier. So, make an effort.

+ - Senate Republicans are getting ready to declare war on patent trolls-> 2

Submitted by XxtraLarGe
XxtraLarGe (551297) writes "Regardless of party affiliation, I think this is probably one thing most of us on Slashdot can applaud:

Republicans are about to take control of the US Senate. And when they do, one of the big items on their agenda will be the fight against patent trolls.

In a Wednesday speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) outlined a proposal to stop abusive patent lawsuits. "Patent trolls – which are often shell companies that do not make or sell anything – are crippling innovation and growth across all sectors of our economy," Hatch said.

"

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+ - Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans 2

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "The halting problem is to determine whether an arbitrary computer program, once started, will ever finish running or whether it will continue forever. In 1936, Alan Turing famously showed that there is no general algorithm that can solve this problem. Now a group of computer scientists and ethicists have used the halting problem to tackle the question of how a weaponised robot could decide to kill a human. Their trick is to reformulate the problem in algorithmic terms by considering an evil computer programmer who writes a piece of software on which human lives depend. The question is whether the software is entirely benign or whether it can ever operate in a way that ends up killing people. In general, a robot could never decide the answer to this question. As a result, autonomous robots should never be designed to kill or harm humans, say the authors, even though various lethal autonomous robots are already available. One curious corollary is that if the human brain is a Turing machine, then humans can never decide this issue either, a point that the authors deliberately steer well clear of."

+ - Botting in games about to become easier/creepier->

Submitted by Atrox Canis
Atrox Canis (1266568) writes "Researchers have been working on Brain to Brain Interface (BBI) technologies for some time now. But a team out of UofW recently conducted an experiment on an extension of this tech. From the abstract...

"An upgraded brain-to-brain interface has allowed researchers to transmit signals from one person's brain over the internet and use those signals to control the hand motions of another person. Remarkably, the system allowed the participants to collaborate on a computer game."

I foresee this becoming a tool for remote management of gaming bots. Imagine a bot farmer in WoW spending his/her days remote controlling dozens of bots (read humans) for farming and selling in-game gold. Don't laugh! I've been convinced for years that bot farmers will try anything. /s"

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+ - Virginia Court: LEOs can force you to provide fingerprint to unlock your phone->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "A Circuit Court judge in Virginia has ruled that fingerprints are not protected by the Fifth Amendment, a decision that has clear privacy implications for fingerprint-protected devices like newer iPhones and iPads.

According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, while a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint.

The Fifth Amendment states that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which protects memorized information like passwords and passcodes, but it does not extend to fingerprints in the eyes of the law, as speculated by Wired last year.

Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci's written opinion.

"

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Comment: Re:H1B applicants are people too (Score 1) 190

by Atrox Canis (#48268243) Attached to: Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

I agree. However, the same thing could be accomplished with a simple SQL script to null the fields containing personally identifying information in each record.

Not a conspiracy nut here but I do suspect there are additional motives for purging the data outside of a purely altruistic one.

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. -- Pablo Picasso

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