Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Reverse Robocall Turns Tables On Politicians ( 2

jfruhlinger writes: "One of the great banes of election season is that any politician can shell out a few pennies per voter and phone-spam thousands of people who'd rather not hear a recorded pitch. But turnabout's fair play, and now a service called reverse robocall will deliver your recorded message to elected officials as often as you'd like for a nominal fee. If you got someone who you'd like to call repeatedly, check them out."

Submission + - US officially becomes a police state ( 1

quadrox writes: The national defense authorization act recently passed by the senate contains a provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial. An attempt to restrict this provision to non US citizens failed.

Submission + - Sony's many security missteps: A timeline (

An anonymous reader writes: We all know Sony's handling of the security breach has been bad, but how bad exactly? Robert Westervelt broke down each and every mistake that lead to the company's $171 million meltdown, and what you can do to avoid the same fate.

Submission + - Does /. suck? ( 2

bipedalhominid writes: I have seen lots of postings on /. lately about how sucky /. has become. Let's open a dialog about this. Anyone know of any better places to spend your precious time instead of /.?

Submission + - Feature Bloat - A New Paradigm? (

StormDriver writes: "Shortly before Facebook decided it wants to be a little bit like Groupon, Google decided it wants to be a little bit like Facebook, and launched its own spin on the “like” button. And before that, Facebook decided it wants to be a little bit like Foursquare – and reveled the Facebook Places service. Twitter Places also emerged, not to mention that Twitter is looking enviously at Google’s promoted results and context ads. In the meantime, Google is working on a new social network (and so does Apple). There’s a great cartoon that pokes at this “quest for originality” in today’s IT world. It’s hard not to agree.

In a game between uniqueness and feature bloat, the bloat wins 3:0."


Submission + - Apple Patents iPhone Location Tracking

adeelarshad82 writes: If you own an iPhone running the latest version of iOS, your every move is being tracked — and if that wasn't bad enough, Apple has patented its plans to use the data for a variety of chilling, privacy-destroying applications.The patent outlines various ways in which your current location can be tied to just about any activity on your iPhone. The patent also details a "remote reference database," and the ability to share your location data with online services, or other wireless devices.

Submission + - Fukushima: What happened and what needs to be done (

IndigoDarkwolf writes: The sometimes confused media coverage around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant left me wont for a good summary. Apparently the BBC felt the same way, and delivers with an overview starting from the earthquake and concluding with the current state of the troubled reactors.

Submission + - What risks does Fukushima Plats Propose (

An anonymous reader writes: Having studied Nuclear Engineering I took a break from our normal computing topics to talk to some of my old professors on what exactly happened in the nuclear plants in Japan. The results are people need not worry and it is a lot less worse than you think. The recording goes into a lot of geeky details of what went wrong and what risks to health there are.

Submission + - Cheap cloud diffusion chamber with air duster (

EmperorOfCanada writes: "A 15 year old girl has invented a very cheap and easy way to build your own cloud diffusion chamber; which is a neat way to see various radiation particles leave trails. Radiation such as cosmic rays, background radiation, and any handy radiation sources such as a disassembled smoke detector.


IRS Nails CPA For Copying Steve Jobs, Google Execs 509

theodp writes "It seems $1 salaries are only for super-wealthy tech execs. The WSJ reports that CPA David Watson incurred the wrath of the IRS by only paying himself $24,000 a year and declaring the rest of his take profit. It's a common tax-cutting maneuver that most computer consultants working through an S Corporation have probably considered. Unlike profit distributions, all salary is subject to a 2.9% Medicare tax and the first $106,800 is subject to a 12.4% Social Security tax (FICA). By reducing his salary, Watson didn't save any income taxes on the $379k in profit distributions he received in 2002 and 2003, but he did save nearly $20,000 in payroll taxes for the two years, the IRS argued, pegging Watson's true pay at $91,044 for each year. Judge Robert W. Pratt agreed that Watson's salary was too low, ruling that the CPA owed the extra tax plus interest and penalties. So why, you ask, don't members of the much-ballyhooed $1 Executive club like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt get in hot water for their low-ball salaries? After all, how inequitable would it be if billionaires working full-time didn't have to kick in more than 15 cents into the Medicare and Social Security kitty? Sorry kids, the rich are different, and the New Global Elite have much better tax advisors than you!"

Submission + - Is It Time To Put The Brakes On Java? (

snydeq writes: "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister suggests Java may be better off slowing down its progress in light of the effect commercial pressures may be having on what should be a community effort. Java SE 7 and 8 have received the green light, yet many JCP EC members have concurred with the Apache Software Foundation's ongoing complaint regarding Oracle's licensing terms, causing some to question the impetus behind the push to evolve Java, with one independent committee member resigning in part over the 'intense "commercial" pressure to evolve the language, rather than a genuine response to the needs of the Java community," McAllister writes. 'The more rapidly a language specification changes, the more developers must forever play catch-up, like it or not. For most of Java's history, a single company has been the predominant force driving the changes — and that still seems uncomfortably true today.'"

Submission + - Google hijacks search results?

SomPost writes: I have just noticed that Google appears to hijack their own search result links. If you search for, say, "slashdot" and hover over the top result, the status bar will show "". But if you right-click on the link (e.g. to "Copy Link Location") the status bar link expands to "" which is a Google redirect. Unfortunately, clicking on the link will generate an extra history entry in IE8, effectively turning every target page into one of those obnoxious pages that you cannot back off from.


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