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Submission + - Yet another government software failure, nominated for award

belmolis writes: The Victoria Times-Colonist reports that British Columbia spent C$182 million on a new case management system for social services, whose system was so bad that in 2012 Judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Special Representative for Children and Youth, issued a public safety warning. According to a report by the Auditor General, the system only performs 1/3 of the functions of the systems it is intended to replace and fails to protect private information or monitor inappropriate usage. The defective system was nominated by its managers for the Premier's Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Civil Service.

Submission + - Basics of Wolfram Language, and why open-source can beat it (

An anonymous reader writes: The race is on for a language that lets you type or say a word and get the world. Open-source efforts will have the chance to use second-mover advantage to be the future of declarative programming.

Submission + - DHS Now Censoring Imported Videos ( 6

Jah-Wren Ryel writes: J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Thor, He-Man) reports that US Customs now requires a Video Declaration Form be completed for any imported DVDs. The form requires that you "declare the the films/videos contain no obscene or immoral matter, nor any matter advocating or urging treason or insurrection against the United States, nor any threat to take the life of or inflict bodily harm upon any person in the United States."

Submission + - Legal backlash against bad review "fine"

An anonymous reader writes: An update on a Slashdot story about "fining" a couple for a bad review 4 years earlier on RipoffReport: Not only did KlearGear report this as a bad debt to credit reporting agencies, but KlearGear is hiding behind a DomainsByProxy domain name to making finding their real identities harder. Now Public Citizen is representing the couple and is going after KlearGear for $75,000. The TV station that broke this story, KUTV, now reports: It looks like RipoffReport will be on the couple's side also, the BBB and TRUSTe say their logos were used by without permission, and credit reporting agency Experian is also investigating. (Submitting anonymously for obvious reasons.)

Submission + - Canada to Adopt On-Line Voting? ( 1

belmolis writes: "Here in Canada we have an old-fashioned paper ballot voting system that by all accounts works very well. We get results quickly and without fraud. Nonetheless, Elections Canada wants to test on-line voting. Is it worth trying to fix a system that isn't broken?"

Submission + - Is Algeria Deleting Facebook Accounts? (

belmolis writes: Algeria is reported to be shutting down ISPs and deleting Facebook accounts in an effort to prevent anti-government protests from escalating as they did in Egypt. Is it likely that they are deleting FB accounts? Unless Facebook is cooperating, this would either require hacking FB to obtain administrator privileges or cracking the password of each account they wish to delete.

Submission + - FreeDNS domain siezed by DHS/ICE ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: FreeDNS provides free DNS hosting. Friday night the service provider's most popular domain has been hijacked by ICE — Department of Homeland Security. The popular domain was home to over 80,000 subdomains. No reason for the hostile take over was provided by the DHS. FreeDNS news pages states that the outage may take up to 3 days to fix.

Author speculates that the most likely reason for hijacking is one of the subdomains ( was used to host a Wikileaks mirror.

Submission + - What to Do When a Manufacturer Stops Support (

An anonymous reader writes: The Topfield PVR was ahead of its time. A dual digital terrestrial tuner Personal Video Recorder with the ability to shift recorded programs onto a PC, not only that it also had a freely available API allowing users to develop and enhance functionality! Problem was the manufacturer lost interest, thankfully this is a story with a happy ending, where the consumer picked up the slack and developed their own enhancements and bug fixes.

Submission + - 400 Wolves Besiege Remote Russian Village 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: The Daily Mail reports that a 'super pack' of 400 wolves has been terrifying the remote town of Verkhoyansk (population 1,300) in Northern Russia leaving more than 30 horses dead in just four days as twenty four teams of hunters have been put together with a bounty of $335 for every wolf skin brought to officials. "To protect the town we are creating 24 teams of armed hunters, who will patrol the neighbourhood on snowmobiles and set wolf traps" says district official Stepan Rozhin. "'But we need more people. Once the daylight increases, the hunters will start shooting predators from helicopters." Dr Valerius Geist, a wildlife behaviour expert, says the harsh Siberian winter — where temperatures plummet to minus 49C — is the problem with the cold killing off the animal's usual prey. "Wolves are very careful to choose the most nutritious food source easiest obtained without danger — which in this case happens to be horses," opines Geist. "They will start tackling dangerous prey when they run out of non-dangerous prey."
United States

Submission + - Should Judge be Recused from Student Visa Case? 1

theodp writes: "Arguing that tech workers seeking to block a back door DHS visa increase have no more skin in the H-1B game than the general public, Judge Faith Hochberg denied a preliminary injunction sought by the Programmers Guild and others to halt the Bush administration's 'emergency' extension of student visas from one year to 29 months. 'Should a group of U.S. STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) workers and organizations representing STEM workers have standing to challenge a rule intended to increase the supply of STEM workers in the U.S.?' asked the PG after the baffling ruling. But Judge Hochberg's aversion to causing 'extreme hardship' for some H-1B seeking students may not be all that surprising. After all, Ms. Hochberg — who's been described in the past as 'pushy' and 'arrogant' by her critics — has been married for years to Dr. Mark Hochberg, a long-time academic who's currently a Professor of Surgery (Administration) at NYU's School of Medicine, which has depended on H-1B labor to fill hundreds of positions(as has NYU). It's bad enough that the DHS deal doesn't smell right — should it be judged by someone whose household income appears to be tied to H-1B visas?"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - ICANN's Top-Level Domains Plan May Flop

An anonymous reader writes: There are storm clouds ahead for ICANN CEO Paul Twomey's plans to auction off the Top-Level Domains to the highest bidders. John Levine points out ICANN's latest cash making venture is likely to flop as their previous track record of floating new TLDs has been unspectacular. If old TLDs have been poor performers, why should it be different this time? ICANN's current business model is heavily reliant on speculators, but Phil Muncaster notes that the days of businesses pre-emptively registering domains to head off speculators are coming to an end: There are just too many TLDs. Instead companies are now sending lawyers after typosquatters and speculators.

Meanwhile Twomey has been pleading for the US Government to relinquish its oversight role so ICANN can privatize. The US Government has recently said a big "No" to that, but isn't exercising its oversight anyway. Despite warnings raised at the TLD meeting ICANN is pushing ahead with the great TLD auction. Given we are all paying an ICANN tax but getting little for our money, isn't it time the US Government reigned ICANN in? Will the TLD Sell-off quietly fizzle as Levine predicts, or will it turn the net into Phishers' Paradise?

Comment Free Competition in Currency Act of 2007 (Score 5, Informative) 469

Last year Ron Paul introduced the Free Competition in Currency Act of 2007 which would make alternate currencies legal, though not change other aspects of what you can do with currencies (e.g. money laundering would still be illegal).

Few young people realize that until the 1964-1968 time period it was possible to bring your dollars to the government and get precious metal on demand. This gave the dollar real worth. Since that time, the government has found that it can simply make more money out of thin air and spend it on government programs to generate votes. As with any supply and demand equation, when they start running the printing presses to make more dollars, the dollars you have in you bank account become worth less. You're losing money value and the government is gaining money value, but your 'taxes' are low. One can see this in inflation charts which start to skyrocket in the 1970's, relative to decades previous. Interesting note: if we measured inflation today the way we used to back then, our inflation rate would be 11%.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a graph showing the value of the dollar vs. gold vs. oil. If we look at the start of the decade until now, if we were holding euros instead of dollars, gas would only be about $2.70 at the pump - that extra $1.30 can be viewed as lost power of the dollar. But, the euro is no panacea either - if you compare the price of gas to the price of gold, it's nearly flat. How about $1.20 gas? I actually saw $5 diesel in CT last weekend.

Not surprisingly, the government decided to stop keeping track of 'M3', or the money supply of the dollar recently. Private economists have continued the calculations and it's easy to see why the government doesn't want to talk about it.

So, back to the beginning, the government has taken irresponsible action with the way it manages the value of its currency, and they have laws preventing people from opting out of their mismanagement. Afraid of a little competition, are they? Experience shows that the most likely effect of competing currencies, even ones that mimic the way the government operated in your parents' generation, would be to pressure the government to exercise some restraint. Of course, if this competition is illegal, they'll continue with their outrageous devaluation.

Folks who think a little competition helps to keep markets fair, and monopolies hurt them, would do well to contact their representatives in government about the aforementioned bill.


Submission + - Best way to get back a stolen computer? 1

davidphogan74 writes: "I have some stolen computers checking in with a server we have (software pre-loaded), and I have full access to the systems. What's the best way to deal with this situation? The local police (to the theft) have been contacted (several times) and seem to be clueless. I personally have no financial interest in them, I just don't like atom-thieves. I'm not a total NARC, just don't steal shit and make someone's job worse. What's the best way to handle knowing the IP's, email addresses, MySpace sites, the Google login, etc when working with law enforcement? (Don't tell the thieves, but thanks Kaseya.) The officer I spoke with (who genuinely seemed to care) didn't know an IP address from a mailing address, so I called others. Nobody cared. Anyone have any ideas?"

Submission + - How does one find people to form startups?

An anonymous reader writes: I have a question for Slashdot — how does one go about finding people to partner with to form startups? I have an idea that I would like to commercialize. Where do I find other serious hackers and business people like myself who may be interested in partnering with me? Are there online sites for such things? Are there local meetings, groups one can attend? In my case I live in Southern California, and can't seem to find many ways of connecting with others for such meetings.

All power corrupts, but we need electricity.