Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Amended Returns (Score 1) 211

...and was then asked to supply supporting documentation, as the original chain of supplied documents was found to be insufficient. The interdepartmental transfer of documents did not happen smoothly, and some of my documents ended up on one clerk's desk while the rest were in another official's catalog. In this instance, poor document control procedures were clearly at fault. However, at each step of the process, I was told to wait 8 - 12 weeks to allow for an official reply. In the end, I submitted a 5-page letter that sounded more like a court briefing than a business letter outlining the chronology, duration, and content of every phone call and letter. This finally drew an IRS investigators attention and it was resolved within 3 weeks. Inefficiency and unreliability are already.

The flow of information into and out of federal beurocracies is already torturous enough without the government supplying faulty information that we turn around and feed-back. My concern is for the taxpayers who made an effort to be responsible with their withholding and punctual in their filing. I suspect the government will be even less likely to address this queue of corrections since the only reason I can fathom people wish to file early is to get a refund sooner rather than later.

Comment Amended Returns (Score 2) 211

I fear this will not end well for those who happened to already file. I have previously dealt directly with the IRS for three filings, two of which were multi-month-long processes. In the worst case, I spent the better part of 13 months corresponding via phone and U.S. Mail regarding an amended return -- they owed me money.

I'm not sure what percentage of filers end up owing taxes versus owed refunds. I imagine the number is fewer, so perhaps less than 400,000 people were even motivated to file early. But for those that were, I could see the amendment process dragging on until 2016.

Submission + - U.S. Military Drones Migrating to Linux (linuxgizmos.com)

DeviceGuru writes: Raytheon is switching its UAV control system from Solaris to Linux for U.S. military drones, starting with a Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter. Earlier this month Raytheon entered into a $15.8 million contract with the U.S. Navy to upgrade Raytheon’s control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to a May 2 Avionics Intelligence report. The overhaul is designed to implement more modern controls to help ground-based personnel control UAVs. Raytheon’s tuxified version of its Vertical Takeoff and Landing Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAV) Tactical Control System (TCS) will also implement universal UAV control qualities. As a result the TCS can be used in in all U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps UAVs that weigh at least 20 pounds. By providing an open standard, the common Linux-based platform is expected to reduce costs by limiting the types of UAV control systems that need to be built and maintained for each craft.

Submission + - EFF International Day Against DRM Hangout On Air (youtube.com)

dunnomattic writes: EFF's Intellectual Property Director, Mitch Stoltz, Staff IP Attorney, Danny O'Brien, and Global Policy Analyst, Maira Sutton, will be featured on this live discussion.

"We're taking this day to educate people about the threats of digital rights management (DRM) and the current policy challenges we face around DRM. Join us for a live video discussion at 10:00 AM PDT / 1:00 PM EDT to learn more about these fights and join us in a conversation about what we can do to take back our rights to control the digital media and devices that we own."

Submission + - Evolve Community Manager Fired Over Tweets (computerandvideogames.com)

dunnomattic writes: Josh Olin, community manager for the upcoming multi-platform release, Evolve, was fired from his job by Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games in response to messages he tweeted on Wednesday. The termination, according to Turtle Rock Studios, was due to Mr. Olin's defense of Clippers' owner, Donald Sterling having the right to a bigoted opinion. Turtle Rock Studios tweeted, "The comments made by our former community manager stand in stark contrast to our values as a game development studio. We sincerely apologize for his remarks and in no way endorse or support those views."

On the heels of Brandon Eich's resignation from Mozilla, employees like Josh Olin are obviously emperiling their employment when discussing controversial topics. The two tweets in question read as "Here's an unpopular opinion: Donald Sterling has the right as an American to be an old bigot in the security of his own home. He's a victim." and "When you were raised in an era where segregation was perceived as "right", that will stick with some people. Doesn't make him a monster."

Should employees in America be fired for merely touching a lightning rod?

Comment Response speed here is very telling (Score 1) 1

Within 24 hours, it appears that most repositories had a fix in place. While that's certainly encouraging, it also speaks to how severe the vulnerability is. For anyone running Ubuntu, make sure you update to the following:

Ubuntu 13.10: libssl1.0.0 1.0.1e-3ubuntu1.2
Ubuntu 12.10: libssl1.0.0 1.0.1c-3ubuntu2.7
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS: libssl1.0.0 1.0.1-4ubuntu5.12

Submission + - HeartBleed Exploit Found with OpenSSL (heartbleed.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

Submission + - Synthetic Chromosomes Sucessfully Integrated in Brewer's Yeast (eurekalert.org)

dunnomattic writes: Researchers at New York University School of Medicine have achieved a milestone in synthetic biology. A fully synthetic yeast chromosome, dubbed 'synIII', has successfully replaced chromosome 3 of multiple living yeast cells. The researchers pieced together over 250,000 nucleotide bases to accomplish this feat. Dr. Jef Boeke, the lead author of the study, says "not only can we make designer changes on a computer, but we can make hundreds of changes through a chromosome and we can put that chromosome into yeast and have a yeast that looks, smells and behaves like a regular yeast, but this yeast is endowed with special properties that normal yeasts don't have."

Work is underway to synthesize the remaining 15 chromosomes.

Comment I hate these things (Score 1) 274

I first noticed these last summer outside my house about 30 miles west of Washington, DC in the northern VA suburbs. For about a month, I would see one every couple of days hurling itself into the porch light at night. I initally thought it was a locust because of its size and impact sound. Only when it gave up and buzzed away did hear the menacing sound of its wings, which was nothing like the familar clatter of a locust/cicada. Then one night while working on my car in the garage, four of them came in -- fortunately not at the same time! Each time, one of them would come tearing in through the open garage door and attack each of the 6 overhead lights like mad. It would pause for about 10 seconds after each 3-minute light-bulb battle.

These fuckers are relentless. On the first one, I wasn't sure what I was dealing with, so I assumed I could easily dispatch it and be about my car repair. I grabbed my hornet spray and cautiously waited for it to land. As soon as I got within 10 feet of where it paused, the damned thing came after me dive-bomber style. Thanks to a violent fit of crouching, ducking, and infant-fall-reflex, I didn't get nailed. This happened at least 6 more times before I finally hit it with the spray...BUT THEN IT WAS JUST MAD. It went absolutely berzerk and did its pelting attack routine against everything in my garage. Again, I hit it after 3 minutes when it landed. It finally ended up on the ground, but was still trying to fly, so I emptied a quarter of the spray can, which finally got it.

After enjoying a brief sense of accomplishment from a 20-minute battle with mother nature, I got back to work....for 5 minutes...before another one came in. I HATE these things. I spent 90 minutes that night duking it out with them. I killed another one a week ago but I have no clue where the nest might be. And I don't want to know. I've warned my kids about them, but I know it's only a matter of time. I just hope it doesn't go badly.

Comment Re:Did they try this? (Score 5, Informative) 142

I grew up in New Orleans where "French Bread" is a staple. I recall many years ago asking my mother why they call the meal French toast. She relayed what her grandmother told her years before -- that the French dish "lost bread" uses dipped, stale bread to salvage what would otherwise be wasted food. A fresh loaf of common bread will fall apart when you pull it out of the milk and eggs. However, New Orleans "French Bread" as a firm crust yet porous, sponge-like interior to both soak up the mix while hold together.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 634

Is it possible that this announcement is merely a ploy to see who starts reaching for cookie jars in the organization? What better way to identify potentially disgruntled or idealogically-opposed employees than this exact type of provocation? Once a handful of individuals get caught behaving suspiciously, RIF them and say "just kidding about the 90%". It doesn't seem implausible to me.

Comment I called my congressman, and he said, quote... (Score 2) 276

"Who did you hear about this from? We've been getting a lot of calls about this."
--from a staffer in Frank Wolf's DC office, 10th district of Virginia around 5PM this evening

I asked the staffer if he was aware of the Rep. Wolf's position on the matter. He wasn't; I mentioned my concern and encouraged Wolf's support for the amendment that limits funding to the NSA's effort to broadly sweep up call data for domestic surveillance. When he asked who was driving this effort, I didn't say slashdot, but said the topic had been in the news with a big lawsuit being brought against the NSA by the EFF.

Apparently, all the IT folks up here in northern VA got the memo and called.

Real computer scientists like having a computer on their desk, else how could they read their mail?