McGruber writes "The Atlanta newspaper reports that in a lawsuit suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, Microsoft claims Ebix has been selling pirated Microsoft software.
In its lawsuit, Microsoft said Ebix enrolled in a licensing program that allowed it to license its software at a volume discount on a pay-as-you-go basis. The “Select Plus” program provides master copies of Microsoft products and clients can make as many copies of the software they wish provided they order and pay for it promptly, the suit says.
Microsoft said Ebix refused to submit license orders monthly, refused to keep records of products it used and would not agree to be audited, all terms of its agreement, the suit says. Ebix provides software products and e-commerce services to more than 100 companies in 50 countries. The companies include life, annuity, health and property & casualty insurance providers.
On May 1, Ebix agreed to be acquired by Goldman Sachs for $20 Per Share in Cash, a transaction valued at approximately $820 million, including the assumption of any outstanding debt. (http://www.ebix.com/pressrelease_text.aspx?artid=263)"Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "The Wall Street Journal recently published an article (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323611604578398431649165410.html) about Civil Engineer Murray Johnson, who has designed, repaired, inspected or demolished more than 150 bridges... but is best known for sliding them. When a deteriorating truss bridge—made of linear elements connected in triangles—must be replaced, Mr. Johnson figures out how to move it out of the way or slide a new one into its footprint. He engineers the plan that will send thousands of tons of steel gliding sideways over a river with the poise of a tightrope walker.
This summer, Mr. Johnson will launch the new 2,427-foot-long steel (weighing 15,260-tons!) Milton-Madison Bridge over the Ohio River into a spot currently occupied by a 1929 bridge. Mr. Johnson's innovation will allow traffic to keep flowing for all but 10 days of the three-year project, thereby shaving $28 million from the estimated cost of the project."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "The Washington Post reports (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/study-there-may-not-be-a-shortage-of-american-stem-graduates-after-all/2013/04/24/66099962-acea-11e2-a8b9-2a63d75b5459_story.html) that a new study (http://www.epi.org/publication/bp359-guestworkers-high-skill-labor-market-analysis/) from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reinforces what a number of researchers have come to believe: that the STEM worker shortage is a myth.
Basic dynamics of supply and demand would dictate that if there were a domestic labor shortage, wages should have risen. Instead, researchers found, they’ve been flat, with many Americans holding STEM degrees unable to enter the field and a sharply higher share of foreign workers taking jobs in the information technology industry. (IT jobs make up 59 percent of the STEM workforce, according to the study.)"Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "NBC News is reporting that Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein is leaving the company to spend time with his extended family, as Microsoft "struggles with sharply declining personal computer sales and a lukewarm reception for its new Windows 8 operating system."
Klein is the latest in a line of top-level executives to leave the company, following Windows head Steven Sinofsky last November."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "The Akron-Beacon newspaper has an update from Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake hangar, where the first of three new semi-rigid airships is being built by German and American workers. These new airships will be 246 feet long, 50 feet longer than today's Goodyear blimps.
Goodyear's new airships will be faster, quieter and carry more people than the current blimps. The first one, codenamed Goodyear NT (seriously!), will begin flying in 2014."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper has the story (http://www.ajc.com/news/news/crime-law/police-id-thief-filed-hundreds-of-bogus-tax-return/nWsbm/) of accused identify thief Erkes Antwon Green, whom the Atlanta Police Department believes is part of an identity theft ring. Police arrested Green on Feb. 28 on bank fraud charges, saying Green allegedly opened a SunTrust bank account online using a stolen ID, deposited a stolen check for $46,000 and was able to get about $14,000 from the ATM before the bank realized that the check was no good.
Green profited by filing false tax returns, a type of scam that slashdot reported on back in August (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/08/03/214231/identity-theft-may-cost-irs-21-billion-over-next-5-years). According to Detective Ken Stapler with the Atlanta Police Department’s major fraud unit, Green either filed or attempted to file bogus income tax returns in the name of some 150 or more victims, mostly from Georgia and Florida. When he was arrested, Green was driving a $60,000 Mercedes E-550 that he had purchased with a stolen identity. Police believe Green used keystroke grabbers to obtain personal identity information. According to Detective Stapler, “You plug this thing into the back of a computer where the USB cable would go. He can leave it there for as long as he wants, and nobody’s going know unless they look on the back of their computer.”
Detective Stapler also says “A lot of times, what these people do is get hired on with a temp agency. A temp agency may work in an office building cleaning up after hours. Once (one of the would-be ID thieves) gets in the door, he’s got access to those computers. Anytime nobody is looking, he could put the keystroke grabber on.”"Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "The Syracuse, NY Post-Standard newspaper is reporting (www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/03/cicero_man_charged_with_rape_m.html) that David J. Renz, accused of raping a 10-year old girl and killing a woman in Clay, NY on Thursday, March 14, 2013, was already facing federal child pornography charges.
Renz was arrested Jan. 9 by the FBI on a warrant issued by the federal court. According to the criminal complaint (http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/03/read_the_child_pornography_cha.html), Renz "admitted to using the internet to obtain child pornography for approximately the last 6 years, the last 6 months by using the TOR network. RENZ also admitted to storing child pornography on PC1 within a partioned encrypted hard drive so that his roommate could not find it. RENZ estimated that he had approximately 100 gigabytes of child pornography on the partitioned encrypted hard drive." A subsequent search of the partitioned encrypted hard drive found over 500 video files and over 3000 image files.
In January, a Magistrate ordered Renz released from custody after the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) withdrew its objection to his release. As earlier reported on Slashdot (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/02/27/0313227/doj-admits-aaron-swartzs-prosecution-was-political), the USDOJ is the agency that prosecuted Aaron Swartz for political reasons.
Renz graduated from SUNY Oswego State in December 2011 with a bachelor's degree in computer science."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "The Chronicle of Higher Education has the news (http://chronicle.com/article/Librarians-Rally-Behind/137329/) that Herbert Richardson, founder of Edwin Mellen Press (http://mellenpress.com/) is suing McMaster University (http://www.mcmaster.ca/) and University Librarian Dale Askey (http://library.mcmaster.ca/contact/askey-dale) for $3 Million over Mr. Askey's posts on a personal blog.
In 2010 Mr. Askey wrote a blog post about Edwin Mellen Press on his personal Web site, Bibliobrary (http://bibliobrary.net/). Mr. Askey referred to the publisher as "dubious" and said its books were often works of "second-class scholarship." For a few months afterward, several people chimed in in the blog's comments section, some agreeing with Mr. Askey, others arguing in support of the publisher.
In a February 11 statement, the McMaster University Faculty Association (MUFA) (http://www.mcmaster.ca/mufa/AskeyStatementFeb11-13.pdf) stated that The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) "and the MUFA Executive agree that this case represents a serious threat to the freedom of academic librarians to voice their professional judgement and to academic freedom more generally."
Academics around the world are tweeting about the case using the hashtag #FreeDaleAskey. Martha J. Reineke, a professor of religion at the University of Northern Iowa, created an online petition (https://www.change.org/petitions/edwin-mellen-press-end-libel-suit-against-dale-askey-and-mcmaster-university) seeking an end to the lawsuit. It has drawn nearly 1,900 signatures since Friday from Britain, Canada, and the United States."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "The Federal Times (http://www.federaltimes.com), a weekly print newspaper published by Ganette Government Media Corp, is reporting (http://www.federaltimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013302080003) that the Rapiscan Systems “backscatter” passenger screening machines used by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will likely be redeployed to federal buildings.
Rapiscan System's backscatter machines have exposed passengers to radiation since they were first installed. As previously reported on slashdot (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/01/18/0338202/tsa-terminates-its-contract-with-maker-of-full-body-scanner), TSAdecided last month to stop using the machines because the manufacturer was unable to make changes to the machines that were mandated by Congress. Now TSA is attempting to sucker another federal agency into taking the nude-o-scopes. As TSA spokesman David Castelveter explained, "“Hopefully we will be able to deploy them within other government agencies."
Although the media has reported the machines have already been removed from airports, the majority are still in use at US airports — while 76 machines have been removed, another 174 still remain in use at airports. The machines cost about $40 million, based upon a $160,000 per-unit cost."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "The lights went out at the Superbowl (http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/47) tonight. According to ESPN (http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2012/story/_/id/8911864/2013-super-bowl-power-outage-stops-game-super-bowl-xlvii), "too much electricity was being pumped into the Superdome."
So was it caused by hackers, or is yet another sign of American's decrepit infrastructure... or both?"Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "FoxNews has the news (really!) that the Microsoft has announced that its Intel-powered Surface Windows 8 Pro will go on sale on February 9, 2013 in the U.S. and Canada.
FoxNews helpfully points out that you could get the best iPad money can buy for $829, the one 64GB of storage space and LTE connectivity.... or you could spend $70 more and get Microsoft’s Surface Pro — which, by the way, doesn’t even include the company’s slick new keyboard cover (that costs another $129.99)."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "While AT&T Spokesperson Lance Skelly is claiming that a "limited number of AT&T customers in some markets are experiencing issues with U-verse service" (http://blogs.ajc.com/business-beat/2013/01/22/customers-complain-of-att-u-verse-outages/), those customers are flooding social media with reports of outages in Atlanta (http://www.11alive.com/news/article/273509/40/U-verse-outage-knocks-ATT-customers-offline), Miami (http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/22/3194710/some-att-customers-experienced.html) and points in-between (http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/state/att-u-verse-down-u-verse-outage-affecting-limited-number-of-florida-customers-att-says).
There was no word of an outage on AT&T’s main Twitter account or on the company’s other social media sites, such as @ATTCustomerCare on Twitter, Youtube.com/ATT or Facebook.com/ATT, as of 10:30 a.m."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "A very big boom recently startled the populace of Chautauqua County, New York State. Residents wildly speculated on its cause; dozens called police. Theories included a gas well explosion to a sonic boom caused by an unidentified flying object over Lake Erie. "My whole trailer just shook," said resident Janel Warner. "My husband turned to me and said, 'What was that?'"
A police investigation determined that a 20-year-old man had mixed three six-pound boxes of the product Tannerite (http://www.tannerite.com/) and then shot the product with a rifle. According to its website, Tannerite is not considered an explosive until the two ingredients are mixed and thus is not illegal to purchase.
However, some states disagree. For example, in Maine, the minute the ingredients are prepared for use they become illegal under state explosives laws (http://fenceviewer.com/site/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=79080:exploding-targets-legal-to-own-illegal-to-use&Itemid=938).
Tannerite is sold in half-pound packages. As Lakewood-Busti Police Department Sergeant Investigator Paul Gustofson helpfully explains “It was never intended to be used at 18 pounds at a time." (http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130114/CITYANDREGION/130119563/1010)
No one was hurt, no damage was reported and so no charges have yet been filed. However, Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace is now considering a countywide ban of the explosive material."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has ended a contract with Rapiscan, a unit of OSI Systems Inc., manufacturer of half of all of those ineffective and controversial full-body scanner used on air passengers.
TSA officials claim that Rapiscan failed to deliver software that would protect the privacy of passengers, but the contract termination happened immediately after the TSA finally got around to studying the health effects of the scanners (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/12/18/1629258/tsa-finally-studying-health-effects-of-body-scanners) and Congress had a hearing on TSA's "Scanner Shuffle" (http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/11/15/2311230/house-subcommittee-holds-hearing-on-tsas-scanner-shuffle). I'm sure the timing is pure coincidence."Link to Original Source
McGruber writes "Hewlett Packard had an awful year. It filed a complaint against display manufacturers Chunghwa Picture Tubes and Tatung Company of America, to recover damages it claims it suffered as a result of their involvement in a price fixing scheme (http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/12/05/0613236/hp-sues-over-lcd-price-fixing). It reduced its workforce last year by 17,800 employees, but was still pissed off when key IT workers left unexpectedly and took jobs with HP customer General Motors (http://slashdot.org/story/13/01/03/0137211/hp-cuts-workforce-by-5-looks-to-probe-gm-hires). It claimed $8.8 billion in losses it attributed to having been defrauded
by Autonomy (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/11/20/1651233/meg-whitman-says-hp-was-defrauded-by-autonomy-hp-stock-plunges), accusations that former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch claimed that HP 'is watering down the accusations it had levelled against him over the accounts filed by his old software company.' (http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/12/30/171214/autonomy-chief-says-whitman-is-watering-down-hp-fraud-claims). HP even caused 37,000 Food Stamp recipients to lose their EBT (a credit card paid for by the government) benefits when HP botched the upgrade of the California welfare computer system (CalWIN).
Despite all that, HP CEO Meg Whitman was paid extremely well, according to HP's preliminary proxy form:
"The filing shows that CEO Meg Whitman earned more than $15.3 million during 2012, even though her base salary was only $1. The majority of her pay came in the form share and options grants worth more than $13 million, almost none of which are yet vested. She also earned a $1.7 million bonus under HP’s PfR or “Pay for Results” bonus plan. (http://allthingsd.com/20130111/hp-ceo-whitman-earned-15-million-in-2012-filing-shows/)"Link to Original Source