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Submission + - Everyone's missing the point with the encryption debate

bmerr71 writes: Seems like the only thing anyone's talking about is that encryption backdoors aren't the answer. Fair point, but there's a much bigger issue that the Government hasn't addressed. Encryption is already "out". The government can't take it back. They can't hide the vast volumes of resources on how to do it. So, banning end-to-end encryption just means that the public loses their ability to communicate privately while terrorists will just go off and build their own end-to-end encryption tools. Backdoors and bans are pointless and will solve nothing.

Submission + - Houston GT Program Biased Against Blacks and Latinos (npr.org)

tiberus writes: Fernando Aguilar named his only son after his hero, Isaac Newton. When Isaac was tested for the GT program, he didn't qualify. Houston's enrollment statistics indicate that Hispanic and Black students would more likely be identified as GT if they were White or Asian, which is a trend across the country.

Aguilar is stretched thin between his job building servers for a software company and finishing his college degree in statistics. So, getting to spend time alone with Isaac is really special, but finding time to get involved with his son's school is difficult. Aguilar knows the gifted and talented program exists at Herrera Elementary, though he wasn't aware the school was testing Isaac.

Houston school leaders asked Donna Ford, of Vanderbilt University, to examine enrollment in the program, and she gave it a failing grade. "Racial bias has to be operating, inequities are rampant. Discrimination does exist whether intentional or unintentional," she told the school board in May of this year. When it comes to Houston's program she says, "I think it's a clear case of segregation, gifted education being segregated by race and income."

Submission + - Intuit gets greedy, nearly doubles price of TurboTax (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: In the 2014 Deluxe edition ($59.99), which was always sufficient to do self-employment taxes, Intuit has removed Schedule C, D, and E, which self-employed people use. The full Schedule C is now only available in the Home & Business version, which runs $99.99, while Schedule E and the complete Schedule D, which has importation brokerage data, are now only available in their Premier edition or higher ($89.99). If you have Deluxe, like me, you will get prompted to make a purchase of an additional $30 to $40.

Needless to say, Intuit is getting skinned alive on Amazon. As of this writing, Turbo Tax 2014 has 852 one-star ratings on Amazon and just 81 five-star ratings, and TurboTax has been far and away the most popular home tax prep software on the market for years.

H&R Block, which has always run a distant second to TurboTax, smells blood in the water and is offering a free copy of its tax prep software, federal and state, to the many furious TurboTax users. There isn't a site for this, you have to email H&R Block at SwitchToBlock@hrblock.com and include your name, address, and phone number, operating system and a photo, scan, or email showing proof of TurboTax Basic or Deluxe purchase. Once approved, H&R Block will then send a link for one free download of H&R Block Deluxe + State tax software. You can even import last year’s tax return from TurboTax into the H&R Block tax software.

Submission + - FBI says search warrants not needed to use "stingrays" in public places (arstechnica.com)

schwit1 writes: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking the position that court warrants are not required when deploying cell-site simulators in public places. Nicknamed "stingrays," the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.

The FBI made its position known during private briefings with staff members of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In response, the two lawmakers wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, maintaining they were "concerned about whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have adequately considered the privacy interests" of Americans.

According to the letter, which was released last week:

For example, we understand that the FBI’s new policy requires FBI agents to obtain a search warrant whenever a cell-site simulator is used as part of a FBI investigation or operation, unless one of several exceptions apply, including (among others): (1) cases that pose an imminent danger to public safety, (2) cases that involve a fugitive, or (3) cases in which the technology is used in public places or other locations at which the FBI deems there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.


Power

Submission + - Aurora Borealis Substation Style (examiner.com)

tiberus writes: It's wasn't even 12/21/2012 yet:

So much for the bubble that has often protected our state capital from storms much of this year. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it did scare quite a few people the eve of the Winter Solstice in Annapolis, MD and central Anne Arundel County. A strong storm is moving through with heavy rain and high winds. This is the warmer part of the same system the brought blizzard conditions to the Mid West and even into western Maryland. Even BGE made the public aware they might expect power failures in this event.

Security

Submission + - IRS helps bust 105 people in ID theft crackdown (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: "The Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice teamed up for a coast-to-coast crackdown on identity thieves this week. The coast-to-coast law enforcement onslaught arrested 105 people in 23 states and included indictments, arrests and the execution of search warrants involving the potential theft of thousands of identities and taxpayer refunds, the IRS stated. In all, 939 criminal charges are included in the 69 indictments and information related to identity theft."
Programming

Submission + - FBI Sentinel Is In Trouble (chc-3.com)

cconnell writes: "The FBI has been trying for twelve years to modernize its case file computer system. The current system was antiquated when it was introduced in 1995 and has been widely criticized as one of the reasons the FBI was not able to "connect the dots" in its terrorism investigations in 2000 and 2001.

The first modernization effort, Virtual Case File, ran from 2000 to 2005, cost $170 million and failed completely.

In March 2006, the FBI started the Sentinel project to try again. The original target completion date was December 2009. The target slipped to June 2010, then September 2010, then September 2011 and then January 2012. Recently, the completion target slipped again to May 2012. The cost has also risen, from $425 million to $451 million, dwarfing VCF.

Sentinel will not succeed, given its current definition, budget and schedule. Even allowing for some missing features, an additional 10% budget increase, and another four-month slip to September 2012, Sentinel will fail. I strongly suspect that in May 2013 it still will not be fully operational with high quality."

Firefox

Submission + - Mozilla battles Google, MS with cute firefox panda (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "Mozilla, obviously sweltering from the onslaught of Google and Microsoft advertising their browsers across the web, has decided to fight fire with firefoxes — three live, cute, red panda firefoxes to be exact. When you load up the site, though, be prepared to sit through the most brazen advertising push that we’ve ever seen from Mozilla. If you’re not using Firefox, a pop-up box tells you that there’s an alternative browser available that “prioritizes your interests over profits” and that for the web to remain open and safe, you should download Firefox right now. Then, once you click through that, you’re treated to a video pre-roll that further hammers home the fact that Firefox is the interwebs’ only hope. Still, the three panda cubs are incredibly cute."
Android

Submission + - Why Android Upgrades Take So Long

adeelarshad82 writes: Google released the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" code base to the general public and the manufacturers. Though it maybe a while before it's actually rolled out to the phones. In an attempt to explain why it takes so long, Motorola and Sony Ericsson shed some light on the process involved. Motorola described the long testing process involved where as Sony explained the issue with the time consuming certification process.
Hardware

Submission + - Open Hardware Journal (openhardware.org)

Bruce Perens writes: "Open Hardware Journal is a new technical journal on designs for physical or electronic objects that are shared as if they were Open Source software. It's an open journal under a Creative Commons license. This issue contains articles on Producing Lenses With 3D Printers, Teaching with Open Hardware Submarines, An Open Hardware Platform for USB Firmware Updates and General USB Development, and more."
Medicine

Submission + - Human Blood Protein (HSA) from GMO Rice (google.com)

eldavojohn writes: Wuhan University researchers working with the National Research Council of Canada and the Center for Functional Genomics at the University at Albany have announced that they have genetically modified rice to produce a medically useful protein chemically identical to human serum albumin. This protein is used to treat burns, traumatic shock and liver disease at a global demand rate of 500 tons each year. Normally this would be extracted from blood donations but now you can just grow rice and extract it at a rate of 2.75 grams of protein per kilogram of rice. After testing on rats with liver cirrhosis, the same response was shown as the protein from blood. This is important for China after a spike in demand and lack of supply lead to fake albumin medicine flowing through Chinese hospitals. Worried about these GMO crops cross pollinating regular crops? The researchers referred to a study indicating "a very low frequency (0.04-0.80%) of pollen-mediated gene flow between genetically modified (GM) rice and adjacent non-GM plants." Nature has a slightly more detailed article with a reference to the peer review publication.

Comment Re:This is The Big Dance (Score 1) 218

First of all the Napster of now and the Napster of old have nothing to do with each other other than the name

Are you trying to say that using the Napster name didn't have a hand in the new service's success? If you are, I disagree.

, why should Google be rewarded with exclusive rights to books, which the authors has to opt-out of Google getting, after blatantly ignoring other people's copyrights?

They shouldn't.

This isn't even getting into the fact that not even all the authors that Google will be making money off of will get anything out of this.

This is where my original point came in. What google did was messed up, I agree with that. However, by doing this, publishers and authors are shutting out an additional avenue for potential revenue and sales. Why would they deliberately do that? How is it a good idea to shut down more ways to earn money instead of coming to an agreement where everyone benefits?

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