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Comment: Re:H&R Block and Turbo Tax (Score 1) 382

by ChrisSlicks (#46758089) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?
I used them for a couple of years out of convenience and due to having a somewhat complex return (rental property, additional home business etc). They were fine, but the cost kept rising each year, and I didn't feel it was worth it for the rate at which they rushed through everything. I said enough after they charged me $444 for a return.

I use TurboTax now which works ok. I like that you can review all the forms in detail, but the step by step can be a little annoying when you don't want it or just quickly want to get back to a specific question (instead you have to re-navigate through all the questions in the series). It also bugs me that they sell the version with 5 free federal e-filings, but 0 state e-filings - that is an extra $25. So, out of spite, I print my state return and mail it in.

+ - Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Back in Februrary, after a lengthy dispute, Netflix agreed to pay Comcast for network access after being dogged by complaints of slow speeds from Comcast subscribers. Two months later, it appears that Comcast has delivered on its promises, jumping up six places in Netflix's ISP speed rankings. The question of whether this is good news for anyone but Comcast is still open."
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+ - Four In Five Americans Want Data-Sharing Restricted By Law->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Some surveys from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project have found, not suprisingly, that Americans are concerned about the privacy and safety of their personal data, worrying about everything from securtiy breaches to corporate misues of it. Perhaps the most striking data point from the survey: 79% of respondents want tighter government regulations that would restrict how their personal data is shared."
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+ - Ask Slashdot: What do with Intellectual Property when team members disband?->

Submitted by cleanUp
cleanUp (3617339) writes "I attended startup weekend at a nearby city to where I live, and after two grueling days, I managed to have my idea finish within the top 3. During those two days of constantly working, I began to realize that the idea of working with some of my teammates may not be in the best interest of my idea. While they are great people, I don't think they are neither as fully invested, nor as passionate.

The lead programmer and I (founder) want to continue the project. There are 4 other teammates. 2 of those teammates did not contribute to the source code, but rather did the business side. The other 2 contributed to the code, but were beginners in the programming language.

For the other team members that will be soon be removed from the company, what ownership do they have over the company, if the company becomes profitable? We do not plan to take anything over from startup weekend, but rather start from scratch."

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+ - IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay A Relative's Debt

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Just in time for the April 15 IRS filing deadline comes news from the Washington Post that hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds are instead getting letters informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check — sometimes on debts 20 or 30 years old. For example, when Mary Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them. Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. “It was a shock,” says Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, says Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam. The Federal Trade Commission, on its Web site, advises Americans that “family members typically are not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own assets.” But Social Security officials say that if children indirectly received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children’s money can be taken, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred. Many of the taxpayers whose refunds have been taken say they’ve been unable to contest the confiscations because of the cost, because Social Security cannot provide records detailing the original overpayment, and because the citizens, following advice from the IRS to keep financial documents for just three years, had long since trashed their own records. More than 1,200 appeals have been filed on the old cases but only about 10 percent of taxpayers have won those appeals. "The government took the money first and then they sent us the letter," says Brenda Samonds.." We could never get one sentence from them explaining why the money was taken.”"

+ - Google Buys Drone Maker Titan Aerospace-> 1

Submitted by garymortimer
garymortimer (1882326) writes "Google has acquired drone maker Titan Aerospace, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Titan is a New Mexico-based company that makes high-flying solar powered drones.

There’s no word on the price Google paid, but Facebook had been in talks to acquire the company earlier this year for a reported $60 million. Presumably, Google paid more than that to keep it away from Facebook."

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Comment: Re:Vice and Frodo 64 (Score 1) 165

by ChrisSlicks (#46750007) Attached to: Reviving a Commodore 64 Computer Using a Raspberry Pi
Vice is Linux compatible and written in straight C, so technically all this should take is a re-compile for ARM and you're up and running - barring any issues.

These guys seem determined to do it the hard way, and rather than have it run as an emulator under a host OS, they are running the emulator as the OS. Primary advantage is load time (much smaller kernel), performance improvement would be negligible.

+ - New bill on illegal downloads in Canada let companies exchange personal info->

Submitted by grumpyman
grumpyman (849537) writes "New bill to crack down on illegal downloads in Canada allow private companies to exchange personal information with other companies if they believe there has been a breach of agreement, or a case of fraud. I copyright this message and therefore if you are reading it, you have broken the law. I demand that your ISP to provide me your name and address so I can launch a suit."
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+ - Microsoft invites to dig E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial video game burial site->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft announced that the excavation of the long-rumored “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” video game burial site will occur on April 26, 2014 and will be open to the public. Spectators are invited to watch the team uncover the infamous Atari game cartridge grave.
The Atari Corporation – faced with overwhelmingly negative response to the “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” video game – allegedly disposed of millions of unsold game cartridges by burying them in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1983."

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+ - Heartbleed coder: bug in OpenSSL was an honest mistake -> 1

Submitted by nk497
nk497 (1345219) writes "The Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL wasn't placed there deliberately, according to the coder responsible for the mistake — despite suspicions from many that security services may have been behind it. OpenSSL logs show that German developer Robin Seggelmann introduced the bug into OpenSSL when working on the open-source project two and a half years ago, according to an Australian newspaper. The change was logged on New Year's Eve 2011.

"I was working on improving OpenSSL and submitted numerous bug fixes and added new features," Seggelmann told the Sydney Morning Herald. "In one of the new features, unfortunately, I missed validating a variable containing a length." His work was reviewed, but the reviewer also missed the error, and it was included in the released version of OpenSSL."

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+ - Ask Slashdot: Linux in the workplace

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Recently my boss has asked me about the advantages of Linux as a desktop operating system and if it would be a good idea to install it instead of upgrading to Windows 7 or 8. About ten boxes here are still running Windows XP and would be too old to upgrade to any newer version of Windows. He knows that i am using Linux at work on quite outdated hardware (would have gotten a new PC but never requested new hardware — Linux Mint x64 runs quite well on it) and i always managed to get my stuff done with it. I explained to him that there are no licensing issues with Linux, there is no anti-virus software to deal with and that Linux is generally a bit more efficient on old hardware than operating systems from Microsoft. The boss seems interested. Since i am the only guy with Linux experience I would have to support the Linux installations. Now the problem is what works perfectly fine for me may be a horrible experience for some of my coworkers, and even if they would only be using Firefox, Thunderbird and LibreOffice I don't know if I could seriously recommend using Linux as a desktop OS in a business. Instead I want to set up one test machine for users to try it and ask THEM if they like it. The test machine should be as easy and painless to use as possible and not look too different compared to Windows. Which distro and what configuration should I choose for this demo box?"

+ - The Smoke Detector for Meth Labs->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Your smoke detector seems like it's on your side, right? And your carbon monoxide detector is looking out for you. But in New Zealand, that extra box on your ceiling is looking out for your landlord. I guess the others were too—since fires and dead bodies are probably bad for property values—but I can't really find the upside for residents who live with a MethMinder in their homes that is waiting to call the authorities on them should they tamper with the box or, you know, break bad and cook some meth.

Ken Hetherington, a software engineer from Pakuranga, Auckland, designed the device after a friend was forced to spend $28,500 (AUS) to repair a vacation home that had been converted into a lab. The MethMinder runs on a long battery life and is fitted with a Vodafone SIM card that sends out a warning to both the police and the landlord if it smells something meth-y in the aira."

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+ - Amoeba Eat Human Intestines, Cell by Cell->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Entamoeba histolytica is a tiny pathogen that takes a terrible toll. The single-celled parasite—an amoeba about a tenth the size of a dust mite—infects 50 million people worldwide and kills as many as 100,000 each year. Now, a new report reveals how the microbe does its deadly damage: by eating cells alive, piece by piece. The finding offers a potential target for new drugs to treat E. histolytica infections, and it transforms researchers’ understanding of how the parasite works."
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+ - Study: People That Think Social Media Helps Their Work Are Probably Wrong->

Submitted by RichDiesal
RichDiesal (655968) writes "In an upcoming special issue of Social Science Computer Review, researchers set out to understand how people actually use social media while at work and how it affects their job performance. By polling workers across 17 industries, they identified 8 broad ways that people use social media that they believe help their work, and 9 broad ways that people use social media that they believe harm their work. Although the harmful social media behaviors were related to decreased job performance, the beneficial social media behaviors were unrelated to job performance. In short, wasting time on social media hurts you, but trying to use social media to improve your work probably doesn't actually help."
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+ - Facebook Is Ripping Chat Out Of Its Mobile App->

Submitted by Advocatus Diaboli
Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes "Facebook is taking its standalone app strategy to a new extreme today. It’s starting to notify users they’ll no longer have the option to send and receive messages in Facebook for iOS and Android, and will instead have to download Facebook Messenger to chat on mobile. Facebook’s main apps have always included a full-featured messaging tab. Then a few months ago, users who also had Facebook’s standalone Messenger app installed had the chat tab of their main apps replaced with a hotlink button that would open Messenger. But this was optional. If you wanted to message inside Facebook for iOS or Android, you just didn’t download Messenger. That’s not going to be an option anymore."
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The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius