the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Oct-07 today archive

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

Adobe Is Deactivating All Venezuelan Accounts To Comply With US Sanctions

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Adobe is shutting down service for users in Venezuela in order to comply with a U.S. executive order issued in August that prohibits trade with the country. The company sent out an email to customers in Venezuela today to let them know their accounts would be deactivated, and posted a support document further explaining the decision. In the document, Adobe explains: "The U.S. Government issued Executive Order 13884, the practical effect of which is to prohibit almost all transactions and services between U.S. companies, entities, and individuals in Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela."

Users will have until October 28th to download any content stored in their accounts, and will lose access the next day. To make matters worse, customers won't be able to receive refunds for any purchases or outstanding subscriptions, as Adobe says that the executive order calls for "the cessation of all activity with the entities including no sales, service, support, refunds, credits, etc."


By Joce640k • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'm sure China will be happy to step up and fill the holes left by the fall of the USA.

Re:Political, not Technical.

By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They are correct about it being 10 minutes since the last Trump story. We get stories about him every day that have nothing to do with technology. The news is already saturated with him. It would be nice to spend some time on a site where he isn't brought up.


By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

1) GIMP is an image manipulation program that frequently masquerades as a basic drawing program.

It also masquerades as having a decent interface, but then you try to use it and most operations take more clicks than in Photoshop.


By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Actually, I'd recommend a few other commercial non-Adobe products that really are ready for Prime Time:

Instead of Lightroom, use On1 RAW.

Instead of Photoshop, use Affinity Photo

Instead of Adobe Illustrator, use Affinity Designer

Instead of Adobe Designer, use Affinity Publisher

And instead of Adobe Premier and After Effects, use Blackmagic Design's: Davinci Resolve and Fusion

All of these are very reasonable buy to own licenses and with Resolve, you can get the free version that does about 99% of everything anyone needs unless you are a big movie house with many users at once on a shared system.....


By ahodgson • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The only country invading anyone else is the US.

Instagram's Following Activity Tab Is Going Away

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Instagram is removing the "Following" tab -- a feed that shows the likes, comments, follows of your friends. "Beginning this week, the heart tab will display only your own activity," reports BuzzFeed News. From the report: Instagram launched its "Following" tab as an early feature back in 2011, long before its Explore tab debuted. At the time, Following was the best way to discover new content, since it would show you things your friends were liking. But that's no longer true now that Explore has established itself as the primary means of discovering new stuff on Instagram.

Now that Following has disappeared, it's likely few people will notice it's gone. Vishal Shah, Instagram's head of product, told BuzzFeed News it wasn't a feature that people used frequently and that the company suspected many users didn't know it existed. And for those that did, it was often a source of unwelcome surprises. "People didn't always know that their activity is surfacing," Shah said. "So you have a case where it's not serving the use case you built it for, but it's also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up." "Simplicity was the driving factor," Shah said of Instagram's decision to remove the Following tab.

Facebook too please

By pezezin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Ok, now add (or remove) the same to Facebook. I don't care what my friends liked or disliked, or if they commented on someone's post, and I don't want them to know my activity either.

Problem finally solved

By HumanEmulator • Score: 3 • Thread
I'm glad they are finally solving the problem that my friends might not like or comment on the things that Instagram is getting paid to promote.

The real driving factor...

By richardtallent • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The real driving factor is that this continues to push Instagram to be the arbiter of what you see in your feed.

As someone who has been permanently "de-recommended" on IG due to my artwork (which is rather tame and follows the rules), this is just one more nail in the coffin guaranteeing that I won't find any new followers on IG organically. And one more reason I'm slowing extricating myself from all things Facebook.

Supreme Court Allows Blind People To Sue Retailers If Their Websites Are Not Accessible

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way Monday for blind people to sue retailers if their websites are not accessible to these people. "In a potentially far-reaching move, the justices turned down an appeal from Domino's and let stand a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling holding that the Americans With Disabilities Act protects access not just to restaurants and stores, but also to the websites and apps of those businesses," reports Los Angeles Times. From the report: Guillermo Robles, who is blind, filed suit in Los Angeles three years ago and complained he had been unable to order a pizza online because the Domino's website lacked the software that would allow him to communicate. He cited the ADA, which guarantees to persons with a disability "full and equal enjoyment the goods and services ... of any place of public accommodations." Lawyers for Domino's agreed this provision applied to its pizza stores, but not its website.

Last year, however, the 9th Circuit ruled for Robles and said the law applied to its online services as well as the store. "The ADA mandates that places of public accommodation, like Domino's, provide auxiliary aids and services to make visual materials available to individuals who are blind," the appeals court said in January. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business groups who said they represented 500,000 restaurants and 300,000 businesses joined in an appeal urging the high court to review the 9th Circuit's decision. They said they feared a "tsunami of litigation," and worried that judges nationwide would see the appeals court's decision as "imposing a nationwide website-accessibility mandate." But without comment or dissent on Monday, the high court said it would not hear the case of Domino's Pizza vs. Robles.

Re:Analogy to Civil Engineers

By mmarlett • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If you can't make your website WCAG 2.0 compliant, then you're terrible at your job. If you — as a business — make something for the public, you have to understand that people with disabilities are part of the public. About 20% of the public, actually. Disabilities are basically a matter of time for everyone.

The Supreme Court just basically said that this is so obvious that they aren't even going to hear the case. You aren't going to find a lawyer to back you up on this. Not a good one, anyway.

Re:What a disaster....

By Crashmarik • Score: 4 • Thread

citation needed]

What a complete shit way to argue a point. You were sitting in front of an internet connected computer and you couldn't type the terms into a search engine ?

Took me less than 10 seconds

There's 5 amicus curiae briefs right there explaining the problems


By Tablizer • Score: 3 • Thread

The problem is that there are no clear-cut standards. Existing recommendations are based off of weird contradictory armchair theories that have lots of holes if you stop to think about them in practice.

Sure, you could make a really basic website that will pass ADA muster, but Dilbertian PHB's always want to decorate it with fancy shit to pump their egos and ask IT to find a way for their eye-candy to "fit ADA guidelines". Thus, you have to stretch the limits, and the limits are fuzzy.

They ask why "the rules" are fuzzy, but don't have the attention span to listen to or read the long explanation; or think you are bullshitting them. "Git outta my pointy hair and just do it!"

Re:Makes sense

By Aighearach • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This legal result is not the sort of "oh golly, we didn't know which way it would go" that the news makes it out to be.

There was no good argument, given the text of the ADA, that websites don't have to comply. People have known for many years that this was a requirement, and many sites became compliant long ago.

And it was a great thing, not only for disabled but for the few anti-remote-scripting nerds who understood the issue. Basically, it goes like this: you have to make the site work normally without javascript when the CSS is turned off, but then you add back all the JS bullshit with the CSS.

So for example, if you surf without JS and you visit a news site, you probably only see a blank window. Instead of turning JS on, just turn the stylesheet off instead! POW! Your news article now loads, 90s style. You're welcome. So few people bother that they barely notice.

On the dev side, frameworks have no trouble making things work well this way. It doesn't really even change the cost, unless you have keyword billing, because the same ability to work without the bullshit is used by the testing frameworks for other reasons. ;)

Re:Makes sense

By Aighearach • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I tried converting one of my open source projects to use accessibility standards and failed.

The problem is that ...

The problem is that you didn't take personal responsibility for the difficulties you were having, and so you failed instead of learning how to do it. And in place of success, you had a weak excuse.

You don't have to buy special hardware. Or at least, I don't have to buy special hardware. I just RTFM, and then keep thinking about my code until I know how to make it do what is required.

Slashdot Asks: What Did You Like/Dislike About iTunes?

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
iTunes is officially dead with the release of macOS Catalina today. Apple decided to break apart the app into separate Apple Music, Podcasts and TV apps. "Each is better at its individuals task than it was as a section within iTunes, which was teetering on collapse like the Jenga tower of various functions it supports," writes Dieter Bohn via The Verge.

"In the early days, iTunes was simply a way to get music onto Apple's marquee product, the iPod music player," reports Snopes. "Users connected the iPod to a computer, and songs automatically synced -- simplicity unheard of at the time." It was the first service to make songs available for 99 cents apiece, and $9.99 for most albums -- convincing many people to buy music legally than seek out sketchy sites for pirated downloads. "But over time, iTunes software expanded to include podcasts, e-books, audiobooks, movies and TV shows," recalls Snopes. "In the iPhone era, iTunes also made backups and synced voice memos. As the software got bloated to support additional functions, iTunes lost the ease and simplicity that gave it its charm. And with online cloud storage and wireless syncing, it no longer became necessary to connect iPhones to a computer -- and iTunes -- with a cable."

What did you like or dislike about iTunes? When you look back at the media player, what are you reminded of?

does not matter

By e**(i pi)-1 • Score: 3 • Thread
one seldom switches from music to podcast or TV anyway. Breaking it apart does not change anything. more important is to make itunes better, for example, it should be easy directly to swap the order of songs or to get rid of songs for good, really for good. Also, it should be easy to make a global backup of all songs in a itunes agnostic form which can be accessed by other programs or other operating systems.

Re:I've still got iTunes

By registrations_suck • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not much I like about iTunes. I might change my "tune" when I upgrade to Catalina here in, in an hour or so.

Like Microsoft Word, it peaked a long time ago and it just got worse and worse with every passing version as they bloated it down with more and more shit that no one ever asked for, until the point where it became virtually unusable - while simultaneously not adding functionality that would have been really, uh, just mount my device's file system to the desktop like a fucking hard drive? You know, like that?

Anyway....there you go.


By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Thanks. Can you hack Presidential Elections? Asking for a friend...

Looney iTunes

By PopeRatzo • Score: 3 • Thread

iTunes is possibly the #1 reason why I finally gave up on the entire Apple ecosystem. It's such shit.

#2 is probably the fact that if you have an old iDevice and want to put a new account and install apps on it, very often you will not be able to do so, even though the App Store has a perfectly good app that will work on that device. I'm not joking about this. You will get a message saying, "This app will only work on iOS 11x" or whatever. No way around it. UNLESS, you know someone who has an equally old iDevice with that app installed. Then, if you simply sign out of the store under your name and sign back in with your friend's account, you will be able to install the app and it will work even after you have signed back in as yourself.

The only possible reason for this is that they want you to buy a new iDevice and fuck you for trying to use a 4 year-old device on their pristine motherfucking ecosystem. The last time I brought this up, I had Apple stans jump all over me and tell me I was wrong and I had to burn up a lot of time proving it to them. So fuck the entire Apple line, and every member of the Apple board of directors, and the entire C-level suite at Apple. They'll never get another nickel from me.

The first commercial service that didn't suck.

By Qbertino • Score: 3 • Thread

Let's give credit where credit is due:
Steve Jobs stood up on stage and told everyone like he had told investors and the music industry that competition wasn't in the stores but on trading networks and napster. He was the first industry giant not to have his head up his ass about the truth concerning digital media.

Apple iTunes Fairplay was DRM but it was the first and only DRM that I actually found acceptable. Especially since you could rip it to mp3 with cheap and easy tools. A Euro per track was fair enough imho. I actually bought a few songs and a few albums on iTunes. Now, of course, I get them from Torrent or from Amazon as DRM-free mp3. Which is progress if you ask me.

As for players, I always liked XMMS more than iTunes, but I did use iTunes exclusively in my mac days and it wasn't all that bad.

Automatic License Plate Readers Are Making Getaway Cars Extinct

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: On Tuesday, Sept. 10, the Total Choice Credit Union in Laplace, Louisiana was robbed. At approximately 3:06 pm, a man in his early thirties walked in wearing jeans, a white shirt, sunglasses, and a brown dreadlock wig, according to a now-unsealed complaint filed last month in US federal court. He passed a handwritten note to one of the tellers which read: "ROBBERY. I DON'T WANT TO (HURT) OR (KILL) YOU OR ANYONE IN HERE SO I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU (FIVE SECONDS) TO (EMPTY) YOUR (REGISTER)." The teller handed over more than $7,000 to the thief, who fled on foot. Investigators canvassed the area for nearby surveillance cameras that might have picked up any clues. They found one with footage of an "older model white single-cab pickup truck stopped in the area directly behind the bank," a minute or two before the robbery went down. That's when cops turned to a tool that has rendered the concept of a getaway car all but obsolete -- the national network of automated license plate readers. These are fixed cameras with sensors that can be found in on utility poles, streetlights, overpasses, in police cars, even within traffic cones and digital speed display signs that show drivers how fast they're going.

The technology, known as ALPR, can clock roughly 2,000 plates a minute, on vehicles traveling up to 120 mph. Each license plate is photographed and the date, time, and location are recorded. Law enforcement can access a target's movements in real time, or mine the data later to track a suspect's daily patterns. ALPR systems cast an incredibly wide net that has made it far easier for cops to catch criminals. The method has also drawn harsh criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and privacy advocates as "a technology deployed with too few rules," and "a form of mass surveillance." There are few accurate estimates of the exact number of ALPRs across the US, which is a hodgepodge of local, state, and federal and tribal license plate readers.

Re:Making getaway cars extinct?

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yeah, the systems do report the make/model/color against the tag number. Stolen cars don't typically go around with the stolen plates.

Re:Making getaway cars extinct?

By skids • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Re:Making getaway cars extinct?

By Pascoea • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

My apologies, I shouldn't have been crass about it. That'll probably cost me some karma.

That being said, the info I could find doesn't indicate that these systems are automating make/model/color identification. That means that the cop would have to manually compare the results of the system to what they are seeing, and I can't imagine the workload of trying to do that while driving in traffic. Bored cop, minimal traffic, can certainly see it.

Re: Making getaway cars extinct?

By astrofurter • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"guy came towards my window, 9mm out"

And cops wonder why decent upstanding citizens no longer respect the police. Because they act like gangster thugs, that's why.

I've seen the movies

By Martin S. • Score: 3 • Thread

Bank Robbers drive the getaway car a short distance to a quite area and switch to a clean car or change the false plates.

Seriously is this sort of Bank Robbery still a thing in the US? Armed bank robbery has largely disappeared in the UK. There are easier ways that get lower sentences like using stolen teleporters or diggers to snatch ATM machines from remote locations.

Getting a New Mobile Number in China Will Soon Involve a Facial-Recognition Test

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
China is taking every measure it can to verify the identities of its over 850 million mobile internet users. From a report: From Dec. 1, people applying for new mobile and data services will have to have their faces scanned by telecom providers, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a Sept. 27 statement. MIIT said the step was part of its efforts to "safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of citizens in the cyberspace" and to control phone and internet fraud. In addition to the facial-recognition test, phone users are also banned from passing their mobile phone numbers to others, and encouraged to check if numbers are registered under their name without their consent.

It already does

By esperto • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
This is already in effect, I'm in china and last week bought a SIM card from China Mobile and had to get a scan of my face, including a blink test (to guarantee it was not a photo).

I didn't like it, but will be here for a short time and being without a mobile connection here is like being without a leg or something.

But this definitely shows how the government is in a ever tightening grip mode here.

don't forget...

By AndyKron • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Let's not forget all the US companies that play along with this fucked up regime.

Linus Torvalds Isn't Worried About Microsoft Taking Over Linux

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: At the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference, I talked to Linus Torvalds and several other of the Linux kernel's top programmers. They universally agreed Microsoft wants to control Linux, but they're not worried about it. That's because Linux, by its very nature and its GPL2 open-source licensing, can't be controlled by any single third-party. Torvalds said: "The whole anti-Microsoft thing was sometimes funny as a joke, but not really. Today, they're actually much friendlier. I talk to Microsoft engineers at various conferences, and I feel like, yes, they have changed, and the engineers are happy. And they're like really happy working on Linux. So I completely dismissed all the anti-Microsoft stuff."

But that doesn't mean the Microsoft leopard can't change its spots. Sure, he hears, "This is the old Microsoft, and they're just biding their time." But, Torvalds said, "I don't think that's true. I mean, there will be tension. But that's true with any company that comes into Linux; they have their own objectives. And they want to do things their way because they have a reason for it." So, with Linux, "Microsoft tends to be mainly about Azure and doing all the stuff to make Linux work well for them," he explained. Torvalds emphasized this is normal: "I mean, that's just being part of the community."
James Bottomley, an IBM Research Distinguished Engineer and top Linux kernel developer, sees Microsoft as going through the same process as all other corporate Linux supporters: "This is a thread that runs through Linux. You can't work on the kernel to your own proprietary advantage. A lot of companies, as they came in with the proprietary business model, assumed they could. They have to be persuaded that, if you want something in Linux, that will assist your business -- absolutely fine. But it has to go through an open development process. And if someone else finds it useful, you end up cooperating or collaborating with them to produce this feature." That means, to get things done, even Microsoft is "eventually forced to collaborate with others."

Bottomley concluded: "So it doesn't matter if Microsoft has a competing agenda to Red Hat or IBM or anybody else. Developers are still expected to work together in the Linux kernel with a transparent agenda."

MS merely moved their cannon aim

By Tablizer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Today, [MS is] actually much friendlier

How long will that last? Roughly a decade ago MS decided that their future was in services, networking infrastructure, and cloud (SNIC). While OS and desktop are still cash cows, MS forecasts these revenue streams will gradually dwindle.

So far their SNIC plan is paying off. That means they have little incentive to get into an OS war. However, in the future if SNIC fails to deliver for whatever reason, they may turn back to their old battles, including Windows vs. Linux.

Therefore, I don't necessarily believe that MS is inherently "friendlier", it's just that Linux is not directly in the way of their current plans. In a practical sense, yes, currently they are friendlier to Linux than in the past. But I'm not convinced they simply shed some evil.

If the dragon is currently busy spewing flames on other knights, enjoy the respite while it lasts.


By hairyfeet • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You mean from 20 years ago when a 400Mhz Pentium II was cutting edge and mobile phones were bricks? If you think a technology company is gonna think the same way now it did in the 90s and still be in business? I have a bridge you might be interested in.

Look its REALLY simple...the old MSFT wanted to be Apple, the new MSFT wants to be Google...tada! The old MSFT was about selling the brand, just like Cupertino, the new MSFT wants to sell your data just like Google is doing as we speak. And I hate to break the news to ya Sparky but the OS? Don't mean shit anymore, its all about how much data they can suck down about you and sell to anybody with a buck. If its not the browser its the OS, if its not the website you visit its your ISP, but any way you slice it someone is gonna sell your data.

This is why MSFT doesn't care about going after Linux anymore, because the big bucks ain't in software these days daddy-o, its all about the data.

Has Microsoft stopped being abusive?

By Futurepower(R) • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
30 Ways Your Windows 10 Computer Phones Home to Microsoft

Microsoft's new small print -- how your personal data is (ab)used

Quoting: "Summing up these 45 pages, one can say that Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties. The company appears to be granting itself the right to share your data either with your consent 'or as necessary' ".

Windows 10 is possibly the worst spyware ever made. "Buried in the service agreement is permission to poke through everything on your PC."


By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you think a technology company is gonna think the same way now it did in the 90s and still be in business?

That's an irrelevant argument. Nobody is claiming that Microsoft is doing precisely the same things they are doing before. They are claiming that they are precisely as unscrupulous as they always used to be. And there is no counter-evidence to that.

Look its REALLY simple...the old MSFT wanted to be Apple, the new MSFT wants to be Google...tada! The old MSFT was about selling the brand, just like Cupertino,

Totally false. They were about vendor lock-in, just like Cupertino would have been if they weren't an also-ran which never had more than 11% of the PC market at their peak.

the new MSFT wants to sell your data just like Google is doing as we speak.

[citation needed]

And I hate to break the news to ya Sparky but the OS? Don't mean shit anymore, its all about how much data they can suck down about you and sell to anybody with a buck.

The OS is spyware by definition, and it's part of their spying infrastructure.

This is why MSFT doesn't care about going after Linux anymore, because the big bucks ain't in software these days daddy-o, its all about the data.

The software is how they get the data, genius.


By Bert64 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Or more recently, their pushing of their proprietary documents to try and force out opendocument, their stacking and corruption of the iso process and their bad faith implementation of the opendocument format itself...
Or how about the "get the facts" marketing campaigns designed to slate linux?

They are opening some things up out of necessity, because despite their best efforts linux has become very strong in some markets.

The Privacy Trade-Offs of Cheap Android Smartphones

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Fast Company highlights some of the " privacy nightmares" surrounding low-cost Android smartphones, which can be very attractive for those on a tight budget. One example is the MYA2 MyPhone: According to an analysis by the advocacy group Privacy International, a $17 Android smartphone called MYA2 MyPhone, which was launched in December 2017, has a host of privacy problems that make its owner vulnerable to hackers and to data-hungry tech companies. First, it comes with an outdated version of Android with known security vulnerabilities that can't be updated or patched. The MYA2 also has apps that can't be updated or deleted, and those apps contain multiple security and privacy flaws. One of those pre-installed apps that can't be removed, Facebook Lite, gets default permission to track everywhere you go, upload all your contacts, and read your phone's calendar. The fact that Facebook Lite can't be removed is especially worrying because the app suffered a major privacy snafu earlier this year when hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users had their passwords exposed.

Philippines-based MyPhone said the specs of the MYA2 limited it to shipping the phone with Android 6.0, and since then it says it has "lost access and support to update the apps we have pre-installed" with the device. Given that the MYA2 phone, like many low-cost Android smartphones, runs outdated versions of the Android OS and can't be updated due to their hardware limitations, users of such phones are limited to relatively light privacy protections compared to what modern OSes, like Android 10, offer today. The MYA2 is just one example of how cheap smartphones leak personal information, provide few if any privacy protections, and are incredibly easy to hack compared to their more expensive counterparts.

don't buy unlockable devices

By drinkypoo • Score: 3 • Thread

Regardless of the price point, don't buy devices you can't unlock officially. They leave you at the mercy of the manufacturer. Yes, that means don't buy any iDevices.

Falsely implying expensive ones 'd be any better.

By BAReFO0t • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I don't see any relation between price and privacy.

They all use Android, and hence whore you out to Google. That is already the end of the discussion.

But of course, I can add that there is no relation between price and how long you're getting updates, how much bundled crap is in the 'ROM', or if you ever get firmware patches. Big brands like Samsung aren't any better. In fact, small and cheap manufacturers are more likely to use vanilla Android.
And the cheap Mediatek SOCs are nicely rootable and even unbrickable. So you actually have access to fix flaws and remove bundled crap yourself. (Done that.)

Sure, the firmware can contain spyware too. But again, why would big brands be any different?
And no, Murican (US-American) spyware is in no way different/better than Zhongguo (Chinese) spyware. ;) Same type of people that made it.

I think this is only fearmongering from big brands that are afraid because they have lost their oligopoly. Boo hoo. ... You lose! You get nothing! Good day!

Hulu Finally Adds Downloads For Offline Mobile Viewing

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Hulu is finally allowing users to download TV shows and movies to their mobile devices to watch without an internet connection. Variety reports: The download feature, which has been several years in the works, gives Hulu subscribers on the $11.99 no-commercials plan the ability to download tens of thousands of TV episodes and movies. It's not available to customers who have the entry-level $5.99-per-month package with ads. For now, it's available only on Hulu's iOS app for Apple devices. The company says the feature will be coming to the Android app "soon."

The majority of Hulu's catalog, which includes some 85,000 total TV episodes, is available for offline viewing. That includes most Hulu originals, including full seasons of "The Handmaid's Tale," "Veronica Mars," "Shrill" and "The Act" as well as licensed content including "Family Guy," "Desperate Housewives," "This Is Us," "How I Met Your Mother" and "ER." A Hulu rep would not specify how much content is available to download for offline viewing, or spell out which TV shows or movies aren't included. The reason some content is excluded is that some of Hulu's past deals did not contemplate download rights. According to Hulu, customers can download a maximum of 25 titles across five different devices. Downloads are available for up to 30 days; they will expire two days after a user starts playback. After downloaded content expires, viewers can renew an expired download when they're connected online (assuming the content is still available on Hulu).
The move comes nearly three years after Netflix added the feature , and four years after Amazon Prime Video added that ability for both iOS and Android apps. Disney Plus, which is launching on November 12, will also include content downloads.

Hospitals That Are Turning Away Patients Reportedly Pay Ransomware Attackers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Three Alabama hospitals have paid a ransomware demand to the criminals who waged a crippling malware attack that's forcing the hospitals to turn away all but the most critical patients, the Tuscaloosa News reported. As reported last Tuesday, ransomware shut down the hospitals' computer systems and prevented staff from following many normal procedures. Officials have been diverting non-critical patients to nearby hospitals and have warned that emergency patients may also be relocated once they are stabilized. An updated posted on Saturday said the diversion procedure remained in place. All three hospitals are part of the DCH health system in Alabama. Over the weekend, the Tuscaloosa News said DCH officials made a payment to the people responsible for the ransomware attack. The report didn't say how much officials paid. Saturday's statement from DCH officials said they have obtained a decryption key but didn't say how they obtained it. The statement read in part: "In collaboration with law enforcement and independent IT security experts, we have begun a methodical process of system restoration. We have been using our own DCH backup files to rebuild certain system components, and we have obtained a decryption key from the attacker to restore access to locked systems.

We have successfully completed a test decryption of multiple servers, and we are now executing a sequential plan to decrypt, test, and bring systems online one-by-one. This will be a deliberate progression that will prioritize primary operating systems and essential functions for emergency care. DCH has thousands of computer devices in its network, so this process will take time.

We cannot provide a specific timetable at this time, but our teams continue to work around the clock to restore normal hospital operations, as we incrementally bring system components back online across our medical centers. This will require a time-intensive process to complete, as we will continue testing and confirming secure operations as we go."

So it a simple matter of no backups?

By Hrrrg • Score: 3 • Thread

So it simply that these hospital are negligent and don't have up-to-date backups of their data? Or are these networks so complicated/extensive that having a backup system is prohibitively expensive?

Ransom vs budgeting

By grasshoppa • Score: 3 • Thread

I wonder how much the ransom + lost revenue compares to a properly staffed and funded IT dept.

Re:So it a simple matter of no backups?

By garyisabusyguy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actually, I am _very_ familiar with hospital administration

They actively work to avoid costs, then BLAME the bad outcomes on everybody else

Just pray that their cost cutting (only to increase profits) doesn't kill one of your kids, because they will try and blame you for it and even call the cops on you

Re:Worst of the worse

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Most humans actually do. And just like with other humans, there are criminals who are psychopaths.

I mean, what's a psychopath to do when all the CEO positions are filled?

Mandatory checks of hospital SW, data protection

By myid • Score: 3 • Thread

Public buildings have to have periodic fire safety checks. Similarly, what about mandatory yearly inspections of the software of vital organizations, such as hospitals? Every year, check whether the hospital's software and data are protected against intrusion. Also make sure that the hospital can restore from backups within a day.

Monetary Value Estimates of the Air Pollution and Human Health Impacts of Cryptocurrency Mining

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Andrew L.Goodkind, Benjamin A. Jones, and Robert P. Berrens, writing in a paper: Cryptocurrency mining uses significant amounts of energy as part of the proof-of-work time-stamping scheme to add new blocks to the chain. Expanding upon previously calculated energy use patterns for mining four prominent cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero), we estimate the per coin economic damages of air pollution emissions and associated human mortality and climate impacts of mining these cryptocurrencies in the US and China. Results indicate that in 2018, each $1 of Bitcoin value created was responsible for $0.49 in health and climate damages in the US and $0.37 in China. The similar value in China relative to the US occurs despite the extremely large disparity between the value of a statistical life estimate for the US relative to that of China. Further, with each cryptocurrency, the rising electricity requirements to produce a single coin can lead to an almost inevitable cliff of negative net social benefits, absent perpetual price increases. For example, in December 2018, our results illustrate a case (for Bitcoin) where the health and climate change "cryptodamages" roughly match each $1 of coin value created. We close with discussion of policy implications.

Re: I wonder...

By Rockoon • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Crypto is the ultimate reduction of friction

Rate limits are friction

Need to move 10k to your uncle in Algeria? done in half a second

The rate limits preclude your "half a second" nonsense. Its almost like you are lying instead of just being wholly ignorant of crypto. The reason its almost like you are lying is because you came here acting liker the expert making absolute claims that are trivially false.

So here is my advice... stop being a dishonest fuck. Either you are knowingly dishonestly pretending to be knowledgeable, or you are knowingly saying untrue things with the intent to mislead. Stop being a dishonest fuck.

What a load of BS

By Artem S. Tashkinov • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

From the paper:

Mortality per million mined coins

Bitcoin 2018: USA: ~115

Now, in 2018 around 657 thousand of bitcoins were mined which ostensibly could cause 115*0,657 ~ 75 freaking deaths for the entire population of the US. Now, traffic accidents alone took the lives of almost 37 thousand people for the same year. A year earlier 40 thousand people died just from gun-shots.

I do understand that banks/payment systems do everything they can to discredit crypto-currencies but this "research" is kinda over the top.

There dozens of other dubious activities people are engaged in which consume dozens of times more energy than for all crypto-currencies mining combined. It would be great if /. could post less news-stories like this one.

Re: I wonder...

By GameboyRMH • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It's hard to imagine anything more wasteful than a Bitcoin-style blockchain that requires mass hash reversal to add the next block, other than perhaps the same thing with longer/more expensive hashes. Remember that whole power plants have been brought online to power this bullshit. One cryptocurrency mining operation probably uses more power than one of the major credit cards' entire IT infrastructure.

Re: I wonder...

By Khyber • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

10 minutes for a new type of transaction system versus nearly instantaneous with transaction systems that date back to the 70s.

That's pretty fucking shitty if you ask me. All this modernity, and yet the old system has a transaction time THREE ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE lower than the new system.

If I need to wait ten fucking minutes for my transaction to clear before they begin making my cheeseburger, I'm just going to cancel the transaction, get real cash, and pay that way - instantly.

Oh, and just Shitcoin alone negated all progress made by all solar ever installed on the planet over the past 40 years, and did that in less than five.

Craptocurrency is literal shit. Bad for economies, bad for the environment, bad for consumers. It is plain and simple BAD.

Re:What are cryptocurrencies used for?

By GameboyRMH • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Direct use in criminal finance (payments for ransomware, child porn and other illegal goods), not quite the same thing as money laundering since they might not be possible at all without cryptocurrency. Also currency control evasion (Venezuela, Argentina) and tax evasion.

Also some tiny amount of positive uses: Smuggling money to activists in repressive countries and to women caught in abusive relationships.

Apple Hides Taiwan Flag in Hong Kong

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
iPhone users in Hong Kong have noticed a change in the latest version of iOS: the Flag for Taiwan emoji is missing. From a report: Previously restricted on Chinese iOS devices, all other regions of the world have continued to enjoy access to all flags in the iOS emoji font, until now. The change, first discovered by iOS Developer Hiraku Wang, means that users with an iOS device region set to Hong Kong will see one less flag on the emoji keyboard than if the region is set to anywhere else in the world (other than China mainland, which also hides this flag). Notably, the emoji Flag: Taiwan is still supported by iOS in Hong Kong. As of iOS 13.1.2, released last week, this is now hidden from the emoji keyboard but remains available by other means. Apple's Hong Kong approach differs from the complete ban on the emoji in China. Any iPhone purchased in China, or purchased elsewhere with the region set to China mainland, replaces the flag of Taiwan with a missing character tofu so it cannot be used or displayed in any app, even via copy and paste.

When will Cascadia get it's flag?

By WillAffleckUW • Score: 3 • Thread

I mean, just replace the Hong Kong flag with the Cascadian flag when you're in China, and the Taiwan flag with the Space Force flag.

Capitalism in action

By GameboyRMH • Score: 3 • Thread

Capitalism means companies are most loyal to the governments containing the biggest markets.

Re:If they had balls...

By PolygamousRanchKid • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

If they had balls, they'd replace all the Chinese flags with Taiwanese flags for a day for a laugh.

A perfect gag for Slashdot on April Fool's Day . . . any story tagged "China" would show a Taiwanese flag.

. . . and pink ponies.

Re:I guess the Chinese market is more important

By gtall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Those artificial islands will be gone with the first really good typhoon that comes barreling through. They are mostly sand built on reefs, killing reefs is a Chinese specialty. Jinping is particularly apposed to the critters that build the reefs.


By AHuxley • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
is real China.
But a US computer brand wants to show its support for more Communism.

Can Vegetarianism Stop Climate Change?

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Eating meat doesn't have as big of an impact on the environment as you've been told. From a report: Eating meat is bad for the climate -- or at least that was one of the main conclusions highlighted in a flood of news reports based on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's August report, Climate Change and Land. Before you give up your animal protein of choice in an effort to save the planet, let's crunch some numbers to see just how much livestock raising and meat consumption contribute to U.S. emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, agriculture is responsible for about 10 percent of America's total annual greenhouse gas emissions of 6.5 billion carbon dioxide equivalent metric tons. That breaks down to 302 million tons from nitrogen dioxide, largely in the form of fertilizer; 170 million tons from the methane expelled in ruminant livestock flatulence; 65 million tons from managing livestock manure; 60 million tons of direct emissions from farming; and 40 million tons from agriculture-related electricity use. Calculations focusing on agriculture ignore 90 percent of emissions that Americans contribute to the atmosphere.

Assuming every American adopts a vegan diet and all livestock raising ceases, that change would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by just 3.6 percent. In their 2017 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, agronomists Robin White and Mary Beth Hall reached a similar conclusion, calculating that the total elimination of animal husbandry would reduce U.S. emissions by 2.6 percent. How would going meat-free affect an individual American's emissions? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, meat consumption in 2019 added up to 220 pounds per capita. Multiplying by emissions per kilogram figures from the Environmental Working Group, a D.C.-based advocacy group generally opposed to crop biotechnology and conventional agriculture, that's the equivalent of 1.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person.

Re:overpopulation is root cause

By Dixie_Flatline • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Western countries have been close to or at negative population growth for a while now, propped up only by immigration.

But that negative trajectory has largely been driven by educating women (college educated women have far fewer kids), and giving women/children better healthcare. In places where there's no social safety net and kids take care of their parents in their old age, making sure kids survive to adulthood has the counterintuitive effect of slowing population growth, because families have fewer children when they're confident those children will survive. If the child mortality rate is high, families have tonnes of kids as a way to hedge their bets, and on average, they far outstrip the replacement rate.

So the solution to population growth is educating women and girls, and giving them healthcare and access to contraception. Pretty simple stuff.

Re:One small problem with this line of logic.

By AlanObject • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sure I'll bite. Why? Please include some links so we know it's not just your crackpot theory.

It isn't just his crackpot theory it holds up to with any objective examination of known facts and just plain common sense.

I ate a hamberger an hour ago. It came from a cow that was raised on a pasture. On that pasture it ate grass and water and once it grew to its full size it excreted pretty much as much as it ate. Those excretions fertilized the pasture. Other creatures lived there such as birds on its back, small mammals and lizards worked the soil beneath its feet. The cows move on and the topsoil has been incrementally improved. If you were there the pasture would smell sweet with new growth (and the occasional cow pie.)

Now the fast-food hamberder you just ate is quite different. That cow lived in a CAFO. It has to be inoculated against diseases because they are packed so closely together those diseases are effectively cultivated. They are fed grains because grains are cheap. But grains are not natural to a cow. They do not digest and in the end their gut turns septic, requiring more medical treatments. Their manure doesn't fertilize anything it is collected in cesspools that become toxic and a hazard to local waterways. And if you ever been to a stockyard the stench if you are not used to it can cause you to pass out. It is beyond me how something healthy to eat comes from there.

Moving on we have the newly vaunted high-tech "beyond" that are made from vegetable mass. These come basically from vast monocrop factory operations where the land has been brutally cleared of all organisms except the one that the "farmer" wants to grow. It is very profitable and efficient. But it exhausts the the topsoil and there are no grazers allowed because that would eat the crops. So instead they use artificial fertilizers where the nitrogen in it has been fixed by what is called the Haber-Bosch process. Originally invented to produce munitions.

This process is fantastically energy intensive. However currently the way we farm 2/5s of the world's population would not be able to live without it. Where does that energy come from? From burning fossil fuels. Factory agriculture cannot survive without it. There is not enough nitrogen left in the soil we have left to grow the calories we grow. So at the end "farming" (note the scare quotes again) has morphed from an agriculture industry to basically an extractive industry.

Before white people settled in our region there were vast wild herds of cattle-like animals that the first settlers were amazed to see. (so of course they shot them all for the fun of it) They stretched to the horizon. This wasn't an ecological disaster. The land was fertile to support them like it did for the hundreds or thousands of generations it took for that balance of nature to evolved.

Next time one of your vegan friends takes you to one of their special "cruelty free" restaurants try to keep in mind how many animals died to make that fancy vegan dish you are served. They weren't slaughtered. They were trapped, poisoned, crushed, hunted, or whatever else it took to protect the cash crops. It is probably more productive for you than supposing your preconceptions are challenged only by "crackpot theories."

Re:One small problem with this line of logic.

By lawaetf1 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I agree with much of what you wrote. But one important historical clarification - the Haber-Bosch process was absolutely first invented to provide nitrate fertilizer. Only later was it adapted for munitions.

Re:Greta Thunberg wants you to:

By OrangeTide • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

3. Live in a box

To be fair she only said that in private and about you specifically.

Re:One small problem with this line of logic.

By farble1670 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It isn't just his crackpot theory it holds up to with any objective examination of known facts and just plain common sense.

Then link some studies. It amazes me that people think they can reason about complex scientific processes with two semesters of biology. It's called the scientific method. It works. It's fine to have a theory. Now go qualify it.

Next time one of your vegan friends takes you to one of their special "cruelty free" restaurants try to keep in mind how many animals died to make that fancy vegan dish you are served

Really, really great jab, but I'm not vegan, sorry. Just a believer in facts and critical thinking.

macOS Catalina is Available To Download Today

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
It's happening a little later in the season than usual, but Apple's latest version of macOS is available to download today. From a report: Catalina arrives on the heels of iOS 13, which saw several back-to-back updates after an initially rough launch. For what it's worth, I've been using successive versions of the Catalina beta as my daily driver for months now and can assure you that the latest build is stable enough to safely install. [...] Speaking of games, today also marks the first time that Catalina beta users will have been able to play Apple Arcade games. If you're wondering how the heck you'll play those titles from your Mac, it's worth a reminder that many Arcade games support Xbox and PlayStation controllers.

Also new in this release: As you browse episodes in the podcast app, you'll see avatars for guests and hosts. Apple also says it's made some small usability tweaks to Sidecar, the feature that allows you to use an iPad as a secondary Mac display. You'll also notice more promotional Apple TV+ material in the new TV app, which makes sense -- the streaming service launches November 1st. It'll cost $4.99 a month, but Apple is offering a free year with the purchase of a new Mac, iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.
Further reading: Apple's MacOS Catalina Opens Up To iPad Apps; Apple Will Permanently Remove Dashboard In macOS Catalina; Apple Replaces Bash With Zsh as the Default Shell in macOS Catalina; and Apple Finally Kills iTunes.

it's ready

By hawk • Score: 3 • Thread

I'll finish installing after my morning reading as I go to the other machine.

The betas have been on this machine for month now without a problem.


Re: The catch?

By KixWooder • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
End of all 32-bit apps.

Already received notices to not use it

By Hasaf • Score: 3 • Thread
I have already received notices to not install it.

Aparantly it will not work with the Lego EV-3 Programming Environment (this is the programming environment for the Lego robot; as a total aside, it is running Linux).

FBI Warns About Attacks That Bypass Multi-Factor Authentication

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last month sent a security advisory to private industry partners about the rising threat of attacks against organizations and their employees that can bypass multi-factor authentication (MFA) solutions. From a report: "The FBI has observed cyber actors circumventing multi-factor authentication through common social engineering and technical attacks," the FBI wrote in a Private Industry Notification (PIN) sent out on September 17. While nowadays there are multiple ways of bypassing MFA protections, the FBI alert specifically warned about SIM swapping, vulnerabilities in online pages handling MFA operations, and the use of transparent proxies like Muraen and NecroBrowser.

Old news

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Why is the FBI just now issuing this alert? Even they acknowledge that this isn't new.

*checks date on FBI alert - September 17th*

Why is ZDNet just now getting around to mentioning this?

*checks date on FBI post again*

Why is Slashdot just now mentioning ... oh wait, this is the new slow Slashdot, nevermind.

Limited to just SMS authentication?

By ctilsie242 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Unless I misread something, it looks like this attack vector is due to two factor authentication methods which use SMS for the second part. Banks and other institutions which use their own app, or Bog-standard TOTP are completely unaffected by this attack.

Of course, there are other attacks which can attack 2FA, mainly at the browser session level, but if one is using an authenticator, they should be OK, with the exception of places that offer recovery methods via SMS.

In any case, 2FA definitely raises the bar an attacker has to do, from passive sniffing/logging to active mischief.

If your second factor is a phone, it's not 2FA

By dgatwood • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If your second factor is a telephone, you don't actually have 2FA. After all, the second factor cannot be the same device that you're using to sign in, because that's the same physical device as the one with access to the first factor (the password).

Re:If your second factor is a phone, it's not 2FA

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

My bank account is completely disconnected from my cellular phone. My bank kept asking me for my mobile number, and I kept refusing to give it to them.

Same here, and like you I always refuse. I don't want that shot on my phone- it's just a door through which Bad Things(tm) will come.

Bank of America tried to tell us that for my wife to have a Business account, she *had* to load the BOA mobile banking app on her phone. We (me, really) flat-out refused and shit got a little heated. Some BOA account reps actually think that it's a requirement and will try to force it on you.

I asked what would they do if all we had were dumb flip-phones, but they wouldn't back down because they didn't want to admit they were wrong.

Them: "You HAVE to have the banking app on your phone, or you can't do mobile banking!"
Me: "What if we just come in here and don't do any mobile banking?"

We did finally get the bank account without having to install their malware, err I mean 'mobile banking app' but it took the threat of going across the street to Chase Bank or whatever.

US Supreme Court Rejects Amazon Warehouse Worker Wage Appeal

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Amazon's bid to avoid a lawsuit seeking to ensure that warehouse workers for the e-commerce giant get paid for the time it takes them to go through extensive post-shift security screenings. From a report: The justices, on the first day of their new term, turned away an appeal by Amazon and a contractor of a lower court ruling reviving the workers' claims under Nevada state law. The decision comes five years after the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case that barred similar claims under federal law. A group of Amazon warehouse workers who package and ship merchandise filed a proposed class action lawsuit in 2010 against the contractor, Integrity Staffing Solutions, which provides some of the hourly employees for Amazon. The workers sought compensation for submitting to what they called mandatory "post-9/11 type of airport security" screenings that are aimed at preventing employee theft. The workers have said the screening takes around 25 minutes to complete. Amazon called the plaintiffs' description of the protocol "grossly inaccurate" in court papers.

Simple test

By sjames • Score: 3 • Thread

There's a very simple test for this. Can you get in your car and leave the worksite RIGHT NOW without penalty? If no, you're on the clock.

That's the rule that was upheld (not commute time)

By raymorris • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018 held that under the applicable state law, âoeworkâ includes any activity âoecontrolled or required by the employer and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer and his business.â Therefore, this includes time spent waiting in line and undergoing mandatory security screenings, because such screenings are required by the employer and are for the employerâ(TM)s benefit.

The Supreme Court chose to leave that ruling in effect.

Where I go before and after work, when I leave the the employer's premises, is none of their business. They don't pay me to drive to the crack house or wherever I go after work.

Re: Makes sense in one way...

By Chelloveck • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Agreed. You have a choice of where you live and a choice of where you work. Ideally you choose both such that they're convenient to each other. I have no problem with an employer starting the clock when you arrive and stopping it when you leave. But, in this case it sounds like the complaint is that the employees aren't allowed to leave without a time-consuming security check. The security check is a requirement of the job. If that's indeed the case, then IMHO it should count as time on the clock and the employee should get compensated for it.

Pay workers well and there won't be theft

By ErichTheRed • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

If workers are paid well and treated with respect, they won't steal from their employers and these security searches won't be necessary. Even barring that, other industries pay their workers for time-on-site even if it takes a while to get to their actual work location.

Employee theft is a sign that employees need to steal to make ends meet, or they don't respect their employers enough to feel bad about doing it. If those warehouse workers were getting $25 or $30 an hour instead of minimum wage, this would be a very different conversation.

Better title:

By Futurepower(R) • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The title should be something like this:

US Supreme Court rejects Amazon management appeal against court case brought by warehouse workers concerning their wages.

The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a column: Almost a decade ago, Warren Buffett made a claim that would become famous. He said that he paid a lower tax rate than his secretary, thanks to the many loopholes and deductions that benefit the wealthy. His claim sparked a debate about the fairness of the tax system. In the end, the expert consensus was that, whatever Buffett's specific situation, most wealthy Americans did not actually pay a lower tax rate than the middle class. "Is it the norm?" the fact-checking outfit Politifact asked. "No." Time for an update: It's the norm now. For the first time on record, the 400 wealthiest Americans last year paid a lower total tax rate -- spanning federal, state and local taxes -- than any other income group, according to newly released data. That's a sharp change from the 1950s and 1960s, when the wealthy paid vastly higher tax rates than the middle class or poor. Since then, taxes that hit the wealthiest the hardest -- like the estate tax and corporate tax -- have plummeted, while tax avoidance has become more common.


By mysidia • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

does that mean you cheated the people who paid the $10 admittance fee to enter?

Maybe.... Did the canned food cost $10 ? If the canned food was worth less than $10, then it sounds like a cheat to me.

Also, the analogy might be a little flawwed. Deductions are meant to incentivize certain behaviors, yes, that is true;
However, not all the behaviors incentivized benefit the public in a way equivalent to the donation of 1 canned food product ----
    It may be that obtaining the deduction is envisioned to a reasonable degree for most people, but scaling up the amount being spent on something deductible in ways to eliminate almost all tax liability is not so well-envisioned.

For example: The mortgage interest deduction can be beneficial to middle class working people, BUT to people with a large surplus of disposable income it can be presenting an actually perverse incentive.

To those Scaling deductions to massive levels deducted --- My question: Does the supposed benefit of whatever the rich folk are doing with those deductible moneys merit the tax advantages currently being provided to them to that scale

Yes, because...

By argStyopa • Score: 3 • Thread

...most of the taxes are INCOME taxes. If you're staggeringly rich, you can pay someone to structure your wealth in a way that the money you use comes as dividends, inheritance, or some other form of wealth that avoids the letter of the law.

We don't have a wealth tax in the US. Neither do most western countries. Not because we don't want to tax them, but because establishing (and proving) what 'wealth' really IS, is hard.

Shall we make a tax on everything that someone spends? Rich people will have other people buy them things.
Shall we make a tax on all the income from every source that someone gets? Rich people will have a non profit trust hold all their wealth, and that trust will buy them dinner, pay for them an apartment to live in, etc.


By Darinbob • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

They only believe it's unjust because they think it applies to lots of people and that they may fall into that category someday. They don't hear the words "tax on everything over $5,000,000", they just hear a sob story about having to pay taxes when grandma passes away. The tax doesn't even affect the 1%, it's affecting the 0.2%. And when an estate is that large, there are plenty of assets within the estate to help pay those taxes. Plus all the loopholes you can apply as a part of the incredibly wealthy as well - most of that estate can be a part of a corporation or trust.

They need to rephrase things better, such as "the tax on people like Hillary Clinton" and then all the tax haters would be cheering it on.


By mysidia • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

True... Interest expenses on a home loan are heavily restricted from being deducted.

On the other hand, when it comes to small businesses -- the deductability of business expenses from revenues is not capped, therefore its really just a limitation to non-wealthy individuals who lack the extra money and means to turn their primary residence into a business venture which includes the costs of attorneys and incorporating, etc.

So the middle class person is likely to buy their home outright and be subject to limitations on the mortgage deduction which will become more and more onerous over time due to inflation, While a wealthy person might incorporate a trust and have this trust build the mansion and take out the loans. The trust corporation the wealthy person created can then rent out the property to themself personally to live in and deduct depreciation and loan costs from the received rents with no dollar figure limits -- there goes the cap on mortgage interest, poof.

They'll probably have the rents they pay to their own trust become deductible as well through the use of more incorporated entities.

The middle-class man would be arrested for tax evasion, but the wealthy man can hire the smartest teams of lawyers and accountants in the land to make sure they do it legally and that their tax avoidance strategy is carefully vetted by multiple experts.

From a tax attorney: it is absolutely true

By doubledown00 • Score: 3 • Thread
First, IAAL. I have represented people in audits and at various IRS hearings. And this story is absolutely true. The rich pay less because they can arrange their lives in ways most others can't.

There are three big advantages that come to mind: 1) Holding companies, 2) fluid residency, and 3) Dividends

With the first, they can pay less taxes because they don't have to have their income and assets directly in their hands. Taxes are transaction based and generally only apply when money or something of value changes hands. But using various entities (trusts, holding companies, non-profit foundations, etc) they can park resources in more tax advantageous vehicles yet still get access to the funds. Even wonder why so many politicians, athletes, etc have non-profit foundations? It's because they can dump a bunch of money in there and then direct the foundation to do things that help them. They're on the board, so they get a paid for car to drive. The entity buys a house and then leases it to them cheap. They deduct huge amounts of personal expenses that they normally wouldn't be able to deduct because they are "doing business for the entity". Business expenses for partnerships and the like are universally deductible.

Ever wonder why every two bit politician writes a book? Ever wonder who buys it? The foundation does! And then gives the book out for free (and a tax deduction) at speaking events. Yay!

Fluid Residency. The rich typically have multiple homes. At least one of those homes will be in a state with no income tax. Tennessee is a popular choice. So is Nevada. For Federal taxes, it's a simple matter of proving where their "intent to return" was and claiming that state as their residence. The other states (particularly California) have gotten wise to this and are now more closely scrutinizing where they spend their time. Still, this "one simple trick" can save huge amounts of money on state and local taxes.

Lastly there is choice of income. The truly rich do not earn wages. They earn passive income and dividends. Wages are subject to income taxes, social security tax, medicare tax, local income taxes, etc. Passive income and dividends aren't. They also aren't taxed at the income tax rate but instead are usually taxed at the dividend rate of 15 - 20 percent. This is easy for them to do because, as I mentioned, they don't need the money now.

You know what they call money received today? Wages. Know what they call it one year and one day from now? Qualified dividends. The former gets taxed at the progressive tax rate. The latter gets a low fixed rate. You could this too......if you didn't need money today to live on.

All of the above is 100 percent legal and goes on every day.

US Supreme Court Snubs University of Wisconsin Appeal in Patent Fight With Apple

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a bid by the University of Wisconsin's patent licensing arm to reinstate its legal victory against Apple in a fight over computer processor technology that the school claimed the company used without permission in certain iPhones and iPads. From a report: The justices, on the first day of their new term, declined to review a lower court's 2018 decision to throw out the $506 million in damages that Apple was ordered to pay after a jury in 2015 decided the company infringed the university's patent. The licensing body, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), filed suit in 2014, alleging infringement of a 1998 patent on a "predictor circuit" to help speed the way processors carry out computer program instructions. The patent was developed by computer science professor Gurindar Sohi and three of his students at the university, located in Madison, Wisconsin. WARF, which helps patent and commercialize the university's inventions, claimed that Apple incorporated the technology in its A7, A8 and A8X processors, found in the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, as well as several versions of the iPad tablet. Apple disputed the claims, saying its processor worked differently based on the specific language spelled out in WARF's patent.

Patents suck

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is just another example of how patents suck. Often they are easy to work around anyway, but you can still use them as a stick to beat people with. Companies with fewer resources than Apple might have simply caved in and paid up rather than face expensive litigation.

It sucks for the patent holder because if they did genuinely invent something anyone else can probably use it for free anyway and the only enforcement option is expensive and risky litigation, and it sucks for everyone else who might get hit with baseless lawsuits.

SC avoids tech fights

By Gravis Zero • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The US Supreme Court widely avoid getting into battles over technology largely because they have admitted that they don't really understand it and making a decision could be devastating. The basic issue is that should they incorrectly decide an issue, the ramifications are widespread (requiring and additional SC ruling or constitutional amendment to change it) and they have a very finite time.

With an issue that could prove fundamental and is exceptionally technical, they are going to avoid it like the plague.

Intel Announces Price Cut for 9th Generation F and KF Processors

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: One of the interesting developments of Intel's 9th Generation Core processors for desktops, known as the S-series, was that the company decided to release versions of the hardware with the graphics disabled in order to use every chip from the wafer. At the time Intel was criticised on its pricing: it was offering the same processor minus graphics for the same bulk unit cost, with no discount. Today Intel is adjusting its strategy, and pricing these F and KF processors lower than before. Nearly every 9th Generation Core processor for the desktop has a corresponding graphics-free option: the Core i9-9900K has its Core i9-9900KF, the Core i5-9500 has a Core i5-9500F. The difference between these two parts is just a matter of disabled graphics, which means the user can't take advantage of Intel's QuickSync or a display, however most of these processors end up in systems with discrete graphics cards anyway. At the time of launch, Intel priced them identically to the parts that did have graphics, but ultimately retail outlets were selling the K and KF processors at a small discount. Intel's announcement today makes that price difference official.

Re:QC bin separation and sorting as usual

By geoskd • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

will take the CPU only any day all day for a deep deep discount.

Except its not a deep discount. Intel has only dropped the prices by about 5%-10%. The only significant drop was in the very low end processor which went from $122 to $97.

Intel still thinks they are minting solid gold nuggets. The only people who are still buying these are the people who have no choice, or are very bad math, and can't read reviews either.

Saves the added step ...

By Retired ICS • Score: 3 • Thread

This saves the added step of disabling the Intel Video in the computer BIOS.

China and Taiwan Clash Over Wikipedia Edits

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ask Google or Siri: "What is Taiwan?" "A state", they will answer, "in East Asia". But earlier in September, it would have been a "province in the People's Republic of China." From a report: For questions of fact, many search engines, digital assistants and phones all point to one place: Wikipedia. And Wikipedia had suddenly changed. The edit was reversed, but soon made again. And again. It became an editorial tug of war that - as far as the encyclopedia was concerned -- caused the state of Taiwan to constantly blink in and out of existence over the course of a single day. "This year is a very crazy year," sighed Jamie Lin, a board member of Wikimedia Taiwan. "A lot of Taiwanese Wikipedians have been attacked." Wikipedia is a movement as much as a website. Anyone can write or edit entries on Wikipedia, and in almost every country on Earth, communities of "Wikipedians" exist to protect and contribute to it. The largest collection of human knowledge ever amassed, available to everyone online for free, it is arguably the greatest achievement of the digital age. But in the eyes of Lin and her colleagues, it is now under attack.

The edit war over Taiwan was only one of a number that had broken out across Wikipedia's vast, multi-lingual expanse of entries. The Hong Kong protests page had seen 65 changes in the space of a day -- largely over questions of language. Were they protesters? Or rioters? The English entry for the Senkaku islands said they were "islands in East Asia," but earlier this year the Mandarin equivalent had been changed to add "China's inherent territory." The 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were changed in Mandarin to describe them as "the June 4th incident" to "quell the counter-revolutionary riots". On the English version, the Dalai Lama is a Tibetan refugee. In Mandarin, he is a Chinese exile. Angry differences of opinion happen all the time on Wikipedia. But to Ms Lin, this was different. "It's control by the [Chinese] Government" she continued. "That's very terrible." BBC Click's investigation has found almost 1,600 tendentious edits across 22 politically sensitive articles. We cannot verify who made each of these edits, why, or whether they reflect a more widespread practice. However, there are indications that they are not all necessarily organic, nor random. Both an official and academics from within China have begun to call for both their government and citizens to systematically correct what they argue are serious anti-Chinese biases endemic across Wikipedia.

The Bleeding Obvious

By tinkerton • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Both an official and academics from within China have begun to call for both their government and citizens to systematically correct what they argue are serious anti-Chinese biases endemic across Wikipedia.

Of course. We in the west are the world experts in propaganda, by a mile, and we have a lot of experience in twisting wikipedia content in a very multilayered manner. The concept of reliable sources is important. Once you can control who is considered reliable then the whole system follows you.
  It is interesting to look at the Philip Cross case ( https://wikipedia.fivefilters.... ), where a senior Wikipedia editor over a decade systematically tweaked the pages of antiwar voices and leftist voices to minimize their reliability ,and the other way round for the pro war voices. I say systematically though the changes were embedded in large amounts of 'neutral edits'.
He's back at it btw, after a temporary ban.

That is how Wikipedia gets our kind of bias while maintaining an aura of neutrality: our mainstream media are reliable and get space at wikipedia, theirs are not and they do not get space.
So while the propaganda war on Hong Kong is generally very one sided, what is new is that China attempts to respond. They will soon bump into the many layers of defense.

Re:There is no such thing as "facts". That's the p

By TuringTest • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

That is why Wikipedia's fallacy of absolutism is its downfall. It is defective by design. And deliberately so

If you read Wikipedia's policy on Neutral point of view, you'll see it's the opposite of absolute facts. When there's a disagreement like this one, the editorial policy is to present to readers all relevant positions in a language as aseptic as possible.

Something else is how well the policy is implemented for a particular article. That's open to debate, and anyone with a complaint can debate it at the article's collaborative Talk page.

Re:"anti-Chinese biases"

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Welcome to the club. Europe has had the same thing from the United States. TV shows censored to meet US standards, and their running time cut short to 45 minutes so American networks can show 15 minutes of adverts.

It used to be a lot worse but now that cable TV in the US seems to be able to show pretty much anything it's less of an issue, at least on the censorship front. Run time is still affected, except if it's a partnership with Netflix.

Re:Just stick with the facts

By Oswald McWeany • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Taiwan IS and considered by the large majority of states in the world to be considered part of China.

The only reason it isn't officially recognized as independent (even though it is treated as such) by the majority of states is to be on good terms with China. Just because they haven't officially recognized Taiwan as not being subject to China does not mean that most peoples around the world don't recognize Taiwan's sovereignty unofficially.

Take the US for example, the US doesn't officially recognize Taiwan as sovereign, but at the same time the US has a treaty guaranteeing defense of Taiwan should China try and force Taiwan to submit with force. (Not that a treaty signed by the US really means anything anymore)

Re:"anti-Chinese biases"

By Tablizer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

same thing from the United States. TV shows censored to meet US standards

It's not the same thing. Europe co's edited or altered TV content because they wanted to sell their shows to private US TV broadcasters, not because of pressure from the US gov't to control political messaging. (The US gov't may impose rules such as "no boobs", but that's to cater to US voter tastes, and had nothing to do with influencing Europe.)

It's been that way for melania: If you wanted to sell in Rome, you had to market to Romans, not your local market. It's similar to why products are often designed for right-handers: there's often not enough market for left-handers to justify a custom factory run.

But what's at issue is the Chinese gov't itself pressuring content producers to not bad-mouth the Chinese gov't. That's different than the market-size issue.

Analyst: Strike at GM 'Is Really About the Switch to Electric Cars'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
MarketWatch just published an interesting analysis by the head of automotive industry consulting at one of America's top business advisory firms. It argues that a strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union at General Motors is really about the future of the electric car: UAW members' anxieties and uncertainties are actually shared by General Motors (GM) and most other automakers, which know that it's no longer a question of when internal combustion engine cars will be replaced by electric vehicles, but how quickly the changeover will take place. The shift to electric means a fundamental transformation of what workers will do and how many are needed to do it.

Electric cars have far fewer parts, which means far fewer people are needed to put them together. When one analyst took apart a Chevrolet Bolt and Volkswagen Golf, he found that the Golf had 125 more moving parts than its electric counterpart. What's more, the electric vehicles' parts are often easier to put in place using automated machines. The UAW's own estimates that the move to electrification may cause 35,000 members to lose their jobs may not be the most scientific study ever done, but it's also probably not far off.

GM has attempted to appease the UAW with specific promises, including the construction of an electric battery plant in one of the Ohio cities hit hardest by recent factory closings. But even this tactic has only confirmed the UAW's worst fears: The battery plant won't need as many workers, and GM would prefer to pay them less than what other workers make at plants that require more complicated assembly.

The article concludes that "None of this is anyone's fault. GM is trying to respond to a global trend that it needs to follow in order to stay relevant. The UAW is trying to protect its members."

But he argues that the U.S. is already at risk of falling behind foreign auto-makers, and "it would just make a lot more sense if the people that we need to compete globally were working together as a team, rather than fighting each other."

Status quo

By jwhyche • Score: 3 • Thread

The UAW is trying to protect its members.

Instead of trying to protect its members by trying to force manufactures to keep making buggy whips, how about training your members on new technologies?. ICE days as a major part of transportation days are numbered. The writing is on the wall in clear New Time fort size 3,000. The UAW would do its members a better service in the long run by training them in whats coming, instead of trying to force what was.

Re:Happening for years

By SvnLyrBrto • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Neither vertical integration nor downsizing are really necessary in your scenario though. GM still needs those batteries, even if they're not making them themselves. Those batteries need to be designed, even if not by GM. And there will be a factory, even if GM is not running it. These UAW engineers can just put on their big-boy pants and do what the rest of us have been doing for ages now: Change companies and jobs when the old one becomes unviable or just no longer suits us. Instead of working for GM, they'll just move to Acme Battery Co. And, as is the norm, they'll almost certianly land a better salary when they make the move anyway.

Re:Happening for years

By Immerman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The big problem I see is a major conflict: your eyes can only look at one thing at a time - and if you're driving, that one thing should be the road.

Operating a touch screen requires looking at it - sure, maybe you can eventually memorize where things are on the screen, but good luck positioning your finger over that point without looking. Heck, try to push a button on a normal dash on the first try, without touching the dash before hand. Good luck - you find the button by feel, and then push it. You can't do that with current touch screens (though there may be potential for those shape-changing touch-screens some universities are working on.)

One alternative could be some sort of gesture-based interface (pie menus?) that depend on relative motion rather than absolute positioning of the initial touch - but I haven't heard of any automakers exploring that route.

Re: Happening for years

By reanjr • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Well, most people don't want to move their families to China or Mexico or wherever the new industrial outsourcing hotness is going on.

Fake news beginning with the first sentence

By Drunkulus • Score: 3 • Thread
Electric cars are mostly a PR stunt to mollify charges that cars cause climate change. The truth is that manufacturing 80 million new cars every year is never going to be environmentally friendly. From a lifecycle carbon footprint standpoint, it does not make a big enough difference how they are fueled due to the current state of lithium mining and disposal. The strike is not about electric cars, it is about robots. Low cost manufacturing countries such as China and Mexico are among the biggest buyers of automotive industrial robots, as modern cars are increasingly not designed to be assembled by humans.

The 'Ocean Cleanup' Device Is Finally Catching Plastic

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes Fast Company's report on the Ocean Cleanup's project's trouble-plagued multimillion-dollar floating boom: After redesigning the system, it's finally working: the nonprofit announced today that it's successfully catching plastic. The newest prototype, which sailed to the middle of the Pacific Ocean in June, is now capturing large pieces of plastic trash -- and huge "ghost nets" littered by fishing boats, a major hazard for marine life -- along with microplastics as small as 1 millimeter, the team says.

"After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage, which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights," Boyan Slat, the company's founder, said in a release. The device still needs more tweaking, the team says, to be able to retain plastic for long periods of time. Another redesign will follow. But the team is now one step closer to the ultimate goal of harvesting plastic from the ocean to bring it back to land, where it can be recycled into new products.

Their press release notes that their system "is using the natural forces of the ocean to passively catch and concentrate plastic, thereby confirming the most important principle behind the cleanup concept."

Re:unforgivable environment

By Hallux-F-Sinister • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

in the unforgivable environment of the high seas

What did the high seas do that was so bad?

Failing to work hard enough at school to make better than middling grades.

High... Cs? Get it? Get it... because seas and Cs...

I’m sorry. I’ll ... SEA?... myself out.


Re:Well done

By Oswald McWeany • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Don't really want to introduce microplastic eating algae into that ecosystem.

It may take a few hundred thousand years, but it will happen eventually. There is energy in those bonds, life will find a way to digest plastics naturally in the ocean and the environment.

There was a time when the world was covered with the wood of deceased trees because no fungus or biological entity could break it down (a lot of coal comes from this time period), once life learnt to break down wood it quickly spread around the planet. Once life learns to break down plastic, it too will spread around the planet.

I expect plastivores will be released into nature by humans, by accident long before evolution finds a way though- then we'll all be worrying about how we keep our plastics from "rotting".

Re:Well done

By gbjbaanb • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"Once life learns to break down plastic, it too will spread around the planet."

awww, shiiit. :-)

Then the same extremists (who used to parade around with their "coal not dole" banners) will no doubt be complaining about the bacterial crisis and demanding the world's government do something about the plastic eating bugs that will destroy our way of life.

false positives

By bugs2squash • Score: 3 • Thread
I applaud the effort and the positive results, but I don't see much info about what it unintentionally removes. For all I know for every pound of plastic it removes 100 sea turtles.

Re:Well done

By oh_my_080980980 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
LMOL. Think again. They're finding micro plastic in the Pyrenees mountains! So if you can't filter out micro-plastics, game over. "A new study in Nature Geoscience found that microplastics were present in a remote, high-altitude lake in the Pyrenees mountains (southern France), far from congested city centers that are thought to be the source for plastics pollution. The authors sampled atmospheric deposits of microplastics for five months, during both wet and dry weather. Precipitation played an important role in how much microplastic was deposited, with rain and snow dramatically increasing the amount of plastic found. Particles as small as Saharan dust (0.25 micrometers) and fibers as long as 30mm were collected. Perhaps most notably, the rate of deposition was comparable to microplastic accumulation around other major cities.

This isn't the first time microplastics have been found in otherwise "pristine" natural environments; they've also been found in remote lakes in Italy and Mongolia, in floodplain soils in a Swiss nature reserve, and in melting Arctic sea ice. The conclusion is clear: Microplastics are being transported through the air, making them a global problem, not a regional pollutant."

Wells Fargo Prediction: American Banks Will Automate Away 200,000 Jobs By 2030

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes Gizmodo: Over the next decade, U.S. banks, which are investing $150 billion in technology annually, will use automation to eliminate 200,000 jobs, thus facilitating "the greatest transfer from labor to capital" in the industry's history. The call is coming from inside the house this time, too -- both the projection and the quote come from a recent Wells Fargo report, whose lead author, Mike Mayo, told the Financial Times that he expects the industry to shed 10 percent of all of its jobs. This, Mayo said, will lay the groundwork for, and I quote, "a golden age of banking efficiency." The job cuts are slated to hit front offices, call centers, and branches the hardest, where 20-30 percent of those roles will be on the chopping block. They will be replaced by better ATMs, automated chatbots, and software instruments that take advantage of big data and cloud computing to make investment decisions...

It is not rare that a report forecasts the imminent erosion of an industry's jobs picture, but it is a little rare that a prominent industry analyst for one of said industry's largest companies is so brazen -- even giddy -- about trumpeting the imminent loss of those jobs.... It is the confidence and enthusiasm for this schema that is key, as that is what will transform the report into a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the banks buy what Mayo and Wells Fargo are selling, then the report will contribute to an automated arms race between companies to cut staff and purchase enterprise financial software products that is already underway. This is how a lot of corporate automation unfolds.

As a result, we can expect to interact with even more customer service chatbots and automated call menus (whether they work well or not), to see more financial decisions turned over to algorithms, and a continued flood of software products to enter the banking industry. And Wells Fargo certainly won't be the only bank automating here: As the FT notes, Citigroup is planning to eliminate tens of thousands of call center workers, and Deutsche Bank expects to slash half its ~100,000-strong workforce.

Gizmodo argues the report's analysis is "filled with buzzwords and promises of harnessing big data and predictive algorithms that may or may not pan out to be as effective as currently thought."

Nonetheless, they write that the report's author " has been making the cable TV rounds, touting this incoming golden age of high-tech ultra-streamlined, automated banking, an age in which fleshy humanoid obstructions are finally smoothed out of the picture, making way for a purer, faster flow of capital from customer to banking executive."

Production or scarcity?

By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

Do we want more production? Or do we want more scarcity?

Re:Cheques in the 21st century

By geekmux • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We already have. I haven't seen a check in a couple years now.

Never had a problem making online payments with dozens of vendors for years now. Suddenly my local water utility started charging a $3 fee for processing any online transaction.

I send them a check every month out of spite now.

Likely a win for the customer

By virtig01 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Brokerages have been slashing commissions for years now. Trades used to be placed over the phone, to a human stock broker. The commission was $100+ and you were required to trade whole lots. After years of automation, commissions are now sub-$5 at all major brokers, and the experience is better to boot.

Hopefully continued automation in banking will bring similar benefit. I've been online banking for over a decade now. Last year I opened an account at a traditional bank. What an awful experience. So much human interaction was required for something as simple as setting up direct deposit. It took days to complete. Maybe the biggest benefit to customers will be that poorly-run banks will be put out of their misery by the banks who automate well.

Re:Cheques in the 21st century

By Aristos Mazer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Plus a legitimate business that doesn't have a bank account sounds rather suspicious to me.

About 7% of US households don't have bank accounts in 2017 (US News & World Report), an all-time low. I couldn't find stats for businesses. But I'm aware of several problems:

  1. it's hard to trust a system of banking that screws you over regularly and treats you as a second class citizen, so there are plenty of minority-owned businesses to do all they can to avoid interactions with feds or banks.
  2. Then you have things like the marijuana businesses, legit within state lines but not legal crossing state lines, so most banks (who have to interact with the federal government) won't touch them.
  3. You also have the illegal immigrant workers -- the businesses are legit (i.e., you can trust them to do the job they're hired to do as much as any other business), but the owners and/or employees are not legally recognized.
  4. Last, you have the people who just flat want to keep government out of their business as much as possible, even when doing completely legal activities... it's a mindset somewhat common in parts of this country.

In short, USA has lots of reasons for legitimate businesses to operate outside the banking system.

Re:Forget workers...

By geek • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

How does Wells Fargo still have CUSTOMERS at this point?!?

I said the same thing about BofA. My wife had an account with them. I convinced her to close it. A few months later she noticed it had been reopened. She called to find out why and they told her there was interest they needed to deposit into her account so it was reopened. She took the 15 cents or whatever it was and closed it again. Few months later, she discovered it was again reopened. This time with 5 cents. She went in to close it in person and was told they couldn't close it and gave her an hour long diatribe. So she has this BofA account sitting there for the last 8 years with 5 cents in it that they wont let her close.

She is technically a customer of BofA