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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 130 declined, 35 accepted (165 total, 21.21% accepted)

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Submission + - Engaging Newbies in Email Encryption and Network Privacy->

reifman writes: All six parts of my series introducing beginners to PGP encryption and network privacy are now freely available. I hope it's useful for Slashdot readers to share with their less-technical acquaintances. There's an introduction to PGP, a guide to email encryption on the desktop, smartphone and in the browser, an introduction to the emerging key sharing and authentication startup,, and an intro to VPNs. There's a lot more work for us to do in the ease of use of communications privacy but this helps people get started more with what's available today.
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Submission + - "Flee the Jungle" Launch Promotes Amazon Shopping Alternatives->

Submission + - Amazon Misled the Associated Press About Seattle's Housing Problems->

reifman writes: Recently, Amazon PR told the Associated Press (AP) that it had 'given the city [of Seattle] tens of millions of dollars for affordable housing' for a story syndicated by more than 300 news sites including The New York Times, The Washington Post and many others around the world. It turns out their claim isn't quite accurate. The fees weren't donated nor were they in "the tens of millions." Furthermore, there have been recent protests outside the company's headquarters for its harms to affordable housing and a friend of mine working in the space told me, 'No one in the affordable housing world sees [Amazon] as anything other than a driver of increased costs.' The company also made claims that it 'paid for a new street car' and donated to 100 charities — statements somewhat overstated for effect. For example, it did buy one of four street cars but only paid for 1/10th of the four car system. It's actually rare that Amazon's PR team responds to reporters at all. The only time I've heard from them was for a Slashdot post on unlaunching their Civic Apps contest, they lied to me. Reporter Paul Constant once wrote he, '...suspect[s] that the Amazon PR phone line is connected to an answering machine in an abandoned warehouse in Belize.'
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Submission + - Amazon's Leading the Economic Boom Wrecking Seattle-> 1

reifman writes: Seattleites are struggling with massive traffic, rising housing costs and declining diversity. Amazon's building and acquiring enough office space to triple its local headcount by 2020. Facebook, Google and many other tech companies are now expanding here as well — it's the San Franciscoization of Seattle. Downtown is filled with 75 cranes — some blocks look like mining towns. Amazon's hired so many white males that King County is now the whitest in the nation and hate crimes against gays have shot up in a formerly LGBTQ neighborhood. Politicians can't agree on reforming impact fees and taxes to address these issues. Recently, a long time Amazonian told its interns to avoid full time employment there. Since most employees burn out within one to two years and leave, the company doesn't care much about the quality of life in the city. It's treating Seattle as an empty vessel for profit.
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Submission + - Amazon Driven Tech Boom Reshaping But Breaking Seattle->

reifman writes: The quality of life in the Emerald City has swiftly been ruined. Since 2010, Amazon has approximately quintupled its local headcount to nearly 25,000. It's building and acquiring enough office space for 71,500 employees here by 2020. The company's torn down nearly every building in South Lake Union just north of the city center to construct new offices. Downtown is currently filled with 75 cranes — some blocks look like mining areas. But many other technology companies are now joining into the San Francisco-ization of Seattle. Traffic's often a nightmare. Housing prices and rental costs are skyrocketing; homelessness is up 21% since last year. Diversity is declining while hate crimes in the formerly gay stronghold of Capitol Hill are rising. The company hires so many men, many white, that our county is now the whitest of the nation's most populous. City and state government and political leaders remain apparently incapable of addressing these issues. This week, a long time Amazonian told its interns to get jobs elsewhere. Most employees burn out within one to two years until Amazon finds replacements. The company doesn't seem to care if the quality of life remains high here, it's using Seattle as an empty vessel for profit.
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Submission + - Microsoft Begins Returning Proceeds from Tax Dodging->

reifman writes: The Washington State Legislature and its budget is a complete mess this year but there's been an unusual bright spot which may quiet the protesters Slashdot reported earlier: Microsoft has volunteered for an exclusive $28 million annual tax — as long as the state funds a number of computer science degree programs. Visions of these faded after the 2008 recession when the legislature cut $4 billion from K-12 and higher education spending in part to cover the coming legalization and amnesty for Microsoft's Nevada tax dodge (students' tuitions only increased 58.6 percent.) With Microsoft's voluntary tax, the company will have fully repaid its $8.75 billion tax dodge by 2327, just 312 years from now.
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Submission + - How to Respond to Internet Rage->

reifman writes: So, you’ve been attacked by trolls? Here’s what to expect: Your phone will vibrate incessantly with Twitter mentions. You’ll receive angry, obscenity filled emails and anonymous comments on your blog. Bloggers will take you out of context (a columnist at The Guardian compared me to a mass murderer—seriously). And maybe, you’ll receive an inappropriate package at your home, as I did. If you choose to respond, here's how to proceed.
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Submission + - Anatomy of Some Slashdottings->

reifman writes: I've shared traffic data from some of my posts that have been published at Slashdot over the past decade which has varied from as little as 1,500 page views to upwards of 40,000. Definitely the most surprising response was to Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds — who knew Slashdot readers were so health conscious?
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Submission + - Stellar: An Open Source, Nonprofit Infrastructure for Financial Transactions->

reifman writes: Stellar is not just a BitCoin alternative, it's a nonprofit, foundation-supported, public infrastructure for money. It's one of the most interesting platforms I've profiled and may provide the ingredients to break the 3% drain on the economy of credit card networks. Stellar's designed to securely, fluidly and affordably support online transactions between different people with different currencies, and to provide an open source platform for developers to build payment solutions into applications of all kinds. Stellar's Advisors include MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito and WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg. Its diverse team notably includes nearly 50% women, unusual in most technology startups.
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Submission + - The Challenge of Web Hosting Once You're Dead->

reifman writes: Hosting a website (even WordPress) after your death has a variety of unexpected complexities, from renewing your domain name, to hosting, security, monitoring, troubleshooting and more. It's a gaping hole that we as technologists should start thinking more about — especially because all of us are going to die, some of us unexpectedly sooner than we'd like or planned for. The only real solution I found was to share credentials and designate funds to descendants — you've done this, right?
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Submission + - A Woman Demystifies the "Dickonomics" of Tinder->

reifman writes: If I want to feel badly about myself, Tinder is the go-to app. In fact, it's hard for me to imagine a greater contrast to the experience of disempowerment I shared in 'Peepless in Seattle' than smart, funny, sex-positive writer Alana Massey's 'The Dickonomics of Tinder' who says she's 'grown increasingly skilled at selecting for only the most exceptional sex with every swipe.' Certainly, the rise of smartphones and dating apps have enabled a marketplace where her mantra 'dick is abundant and low value' is true. Massey says considerate, sexually responsible men that use proper punctuation are more likely to get the girl. My experience is that it's a lot more complicated than that but I do wish that we lived in a culture that encouraged sex positivity for all genders and a lot less misogyny. For the record, being a semi-vegan cat lover never seemed to work for me with anyone.
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Submission + - A Visual Walk Through Amazon's Impact on One Seattle Neighborhood->

reifman writes: If you live in Seattle, it's easy to see's impact on downtown construction and growth but not everyone sees what's happening in neighborhoods like formerly sleepy Ballard. One by one, traditional Seattle homes are being razed and replaced by 3 1/2 story behemoths without regard for aesthetics of any kind. The new townhomes offer 12 foot wide living spaces for Amazon's brogrammer class. Take a walk with me down my friend's street to see what it's like to live amongst the returns of e-commerce success. Ballard is also home of the late octogenarian Edith Macefield who refused to sell her house to developers as construction went up around her.
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Submission + - Preparing for Your Digital Afterlife-> 1

reifman writes: By 2065, there will be more dead people on Facebook than living ones. What happens to your digital assets when you die or are incapacitated? While good tools for this remain scarce, Preparing Digital Assets for Your Eventual Death reviews what you can do to provide family members with necessary credentials should the need arise. Part one of this series reviewed the difficulty of hosting your website after your death. These topics were just interesting to me when I first wrote about them but became more real after learning of my own brain tumor diagnosis. It's a good idea to organize your digital life before you need to.
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Submission + - Two Programmers Expose Dysfunction and Abuse in the Seattle Police Department->

reifman writes: Programmers Eric Rachner and Phil Mocek are now the closest thing Seattle has to a civilian police-oversight board. Through shrewd use of Washington's Public Records Act, the two have acquired hundreds of reports, videos, and 911 calls related to the Seattle Police Department's internal investigations of officer misconduct. Among some of Rachner and Mocek's findings: a total of 1,028 SPD employees (including civilian employees) were investigated between 2010 and 2013. (The current number of total SPD staff is 1,820.) Of the 11 most-investigated employees—one was investigated 18 times during the three-year period—every single one of them is still on the force, according to SPD. In 569 allegations of excessive or inappropriate use of force (arising from 363 incidents), only seven were sustained—meaning 99 percent of cases were dismissed. Exoneration rates were only slightly smaller when looking at all the cases — of the total 2,232 allegations, 284 were sustained. This is partly why the Seattle PD is under a federal consent decree for retraining and oversight. You can check out some of the typically excellent Twitter coverage by Mocek from his #MayDaySea coverage.
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Submission + - Locating Witnesses and Muckraking with Social Media APIs->

reifman writes: In February, Congressman Aaron Schock was revealed to have used taxpayer and campaign funds for elaborate travel. He was exposed by his Instagram account — here he is in Patagonia. His account is now private. In Using Social Media to Locate Eyewitnesses, I explore using the Instagram API to go back in time to find attendees to Macklemore's public video shoot in Seattle. Instagram allows you to look back as far as you wish. The current Twitter API only seven days.
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When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard