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Submission + - Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion for Rigging Card Swipe Fees

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Reuters reports that Wal-Mart Stores Inc has sued Visa Inc for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card swipe fees and is seeking damages from price fixing and other antitrust violations that it claims took place between January 1, 2004 and November 27, 2012. In its lawsuit, Wal-Mart contends that Visa, in concert with banks, sought to prevent retailers from protecting themselves against those swipe fees, eventually hurting sales. "The anticompetitive conduct of Visa and the banks forced Wal-Mart to raise retail prices paid by its customers and/or reduce retail services provided to its customers as a means of offsetting some of the artificially inflated interchange fees," says Wal-Mart in court documents. "As a result, Wal-Mart's retail sales were below what they would have been otherwise." Interchange fees, the industry term for card-swipe fees, have been a major point of contention between retailers and banks. The fees are set by Visa and other card networks and collected by card-issuing banks like J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Retailers have argued that the fees had been set too high due to a lack of competition with the two payment industry giants.

Wal-Mart also took a shot against Visa over payment card security. Data breaches last year at Target Corp., Neiman Marcus and others have drawn attention to the country's slow adoption of card technology that uses computer chips and PIN numbers and is seen as less susceptible to fraud than the current system of magnetic stripes. "Wal-Mart was further harmed by anti-innovation conduct on the part of Visa and the banks," says the lawsuit, "such as perpetuating the use of fraud-prone magnetic stripe system in the U.S. and the continued use of signature authentication despite knowledge that PIN authentication is more secure, a fact Visa has acknowledged repeatedly."

Submission + - Nine officers removed, one resigns in Air Force cheating probe (reuters.com)

mdsolar writes: The head of the nuclear missile wing at a base in Montana resigned on Thursday and nine officers were removed from their jobs over a test-cheating scandal that involved 91 missile launch officers, the Air Force said.

Lieutenant General Stephen Wilson, head of the Air Force's Global Strike Command, said Colonel Robert Stanley, commander of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, had resigned on Thursday and would retire from the service.

The nine other officers, mainly colonels and lieutenant colonels, were removed from their positions of command at the Montana base that is home to a third of the nation's nearly 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles. They will be reassigned to staff jobs and face discipline ranging from reprimands to courts martial for failures of leadership.

Idle

North Korea: Male University Students Required To Get Kim Jong-un Haircuts 110

An anonymous reader writes in with one more reason not to accept that full-ride scholarship to a North Korea University. "Male university students in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported. The state-sanctioned guideline was introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, Radio Free Asia reports. It is now being rolled out across the country - although some people have expressed reservations about getting the look. 'Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will,' one source tells Radio Free Asia. 'It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes.' Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. 'Until the mid-2000s, we called it the "Chinese smuggler haircut",' the Korea Times reports."

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 824

Depends on if you care. Most likely these employees are talented programmers, and the hiring environment is good right now. For those who have a bit of money set aside losing their job is an inconvenience at worst, a nice vacation at best. Especially if they were smart enough to start shipping resumes as they took their stand.

Transportation

More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use 367

schwit1 (797399) writes "Texting and driving is dangerous but a new survey finds talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel may be even worse. The National Safety Council's annual report found 26 percent of all crashes are tied to phone use, but noted just 5 percent involved texting. Safety advocates are lobbying now for a total ban on driver phone use, pointing to studies that headsets do not reduce driver distraction."
Businesses

Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down 824

_xeno_ (155264) writes "Mozilla recently named a new CEO, Brendan Eich, and as commentators in that article noted, there could be some backlash over his private contributions to political campaigns. Well, it turns out that they were correct, and despite a statement from Brendan Eich pledging to continue Mozilla's inclusiveness, some Mozilla employees are calling for him to step down. Should private beliefs be enough to prevent someone from heading a project they helped found?"

Submission + - High Fidelity Audio Enters The Digital Age (gramophone.co.uk) 1

An anonymous reader writes: In the last month Sony has announced the 35th anniversary Walkman line, consisting of a handheld player (DAP), a mobile boombox, and a component-sized head unit all capable of playing high-resolution digital files up to 24bit depth/192k sampling rate. Ponomusic also launched and took in over $5 million in two weeks on Kickstarter, promising the highest-quality digital masters available and a well-spec'ed mobile player of their own.

13 years after the first iPod made CD's expendable we might finally be entering the end of the compressed mp3 era. And luckily, instead of going back to the CD standard developed in the late 1970's called "Red-book" (16bit depth/44k sampling rate), Neil Young and his pono startup are pushing 24/96 and 24/192 as the new digital audio standards.

Arguments have ignited all over the internet — listeners, iPod owners, audiophiles, programmers — all sounding off on whether they can hear a difference or not. If you can't hear HD don't buy HD! But you might surprise yourself — your ears are very adaptive. They will listen to garbage and still decode it for familiarity. But give them full fidelity and your emotional response goes through the roof.

Comment Re:"Installing the latest security patches" (Score 1) 423

Leave it be. Amazingly enough, Microsoft's patching system is insanely inefficient and having it require 100% of the CPU for an hour or more to determine which patches to install is normal. It's apparently a flaw in the way the patches work that makes it take an amount of time equivalent to the exponent of the number of patches installed. Since there are a lot of patches now, that can be a very long time. Microsoft has a fix for this, but you'll have to wait through at least one incredibly slow patch cycle for it to get installed.

reference

Comment Embedded XP is going to be here for a long time (Score 1) 423

We were scouring the lab here and noticed that our traffic generator had an embedded OS and it was of course XP. It took a LOT of back and forth with the vendor (whom we pay a big fat support contract to each year) to get a Win 7 disc. Apparently they don't have a plan for XP migration because they don't want to buy a ton of new license keys. This is a problem for people who can not have unpatched systems on the network. Technically the embedded edition is not going EOL yet, but we have concern about Microsoft keeping the patches flowing when the majority of the installs are no longer supported. The last thing we want is someone using one of our own network appliances as an attack vector. The printers are bad enough (they had to be vlaned--no way to properly secure them), but some of the other stuff requires real network access.

Submission + - Microsoft won't allow Xbox One and PC Cross-platform play (gizmorati.com)

An anonymous reader writes: War Thunder Developer Gaijin Entertainment revealed today in an interview that Microsoft will not permit cross-platform play.

In a rather typical move by Microsoft it looks like we’ll never see the cross-platform play that pretty much every gamer would like to see. Microsoft will not allow this cross-platform play because of their process of verifying servers to make sure users have a good experience.

Submission + - Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

_xeno_ writes: Mozilla recently named a new CEO, Brendan Eich, and as commentators in that article noted, there could be some backlash over his private contributions to political campaigns. Well, it turns out that they were correct, and despite a statement from Brendan Eich pledging to continue Mozilla's inclusiveness, some Mozilla employees are calling for him to step down. Should private beliefs be enough to prevent someone from heading a project they helped found?
Windows

Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL? 423

An anonymous reader writes "As most of us working in IT may know, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP on April 8th, 2014. Although this fact has been known for quite some time, XP is still relatively popular in companies and also enjoys noticeable marketshare for home users. Even ATMs are running XP and will continue to do so for some time. A lot of companies/users don't want to change because they see no additional benefit to do a costly upgrade, no reason to change a running system, and they may in some cases be right with their assumptions. So what is the best way to secure this remaining Windows XP systems? Installing the latest security patches, checking firewall status and user permissions etc. should be fairly obvious, as Microsoft Security Essentials may also not receive updates anymore, changing antivirus programs seems a sensible thing to do."

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