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Disassembled last won the day on February 10 2017

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  1. Disassembled

    How tech ate the media and our minds

    How tech ate the media and our minds Let's face it: most of us are more distracted and more frazzled than ever. We are prisoners to our phones: tweeting our every thought, or snapping our every emotion, or Facebooking our every fantasy, feeling or family moment. We scroll, click and swipe our days away, better connected than at any point in humanity — but not necessarily better informed. We've been hit with more technological innovations than we are capable of responsibly handling. Ten short years ago: The iPhone was born, Facebook was a small social network used mostly by college students, and there was no Snapchat, Instagram or Pinterest. Most people still relied on three network evening newscasts and a local newspaper, hand delivered, to be informed about current events. If you wanted to share a photo, you probably mailed it; if you wanted to share your opinion, you screamed it at the TV in your basement or wrote a letter to the editor, maybe by hand. But then technology blew up — and blew (and took over) our minds. Now, every day there are: 1.2 billion web pageviews, per Chartbeat Billions of Google searches, per Google 13.8 billion hours + of video shared on YouTube, per Google 13M audio/video calls made on Facebook Messenger, per Facebook 50 billion messages sent on WhatsApp, per Facebook 500 million Tweets sent, per Twitter Our brains have been literally swamped and reprogrammed. On average, we check our phones 50 times each day — with some studies suggesting it could three times that amount. We spend around 6 hours per day consuming digital media. As a result, the human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to eight seconds since 2000, while the goldfish attention span is nine seconds. And we just mindlessly pass along information without reading or checking it. Columbia University found that nearly 60 percent of all social media posts are shared without being clicked on. For better or worse, Google and Facebook are mostly to blame. Nearly 60% of our media-consumption time happens in mobile apps, and a majority that traffic is owned by those two companies. This paradigm has destroyed the business model for news publishers, creating perverse incentives for publishers to generate as many clicks as possible, creating a "crap trap" — the deal media companies made with the devil to dumb things down (and lose credibility) by seeking the broadest reach. But, the house always wins: Facebook and Google now eat up almost two thirds of all ads and gobbled up 90 percent of all growth in media spend — while publishers perish. And, at least for now, the more we know, or can see, the less we trust. Roughly 62% of U.S. adults get news on social media and 68% of people don't trust the news they see or read. Think about that: most people don't trust REAL news. The proliferation of fake news is almost certain to get worse, as we see left-leaning groups racing to adapt manipulative techniques that helped conservatives in 2016. Case in point: A 2016 BuzzFeed News analysis found that top fake election news stories generated more total engagement on Facebook than top election stories from 19 major news outlets combined. This has created a conundrum: There is more good information than at any point in humanity, but it's harder than ever to find and trust. Almost every trend cited here is getting worse, not better. And so much of the power to change it rests in the hands of the few, mainly Facebook but also Google, Twitter and Snapchat. Some publishers are putting the emphasis on quality content, which can help. And others are moving fast to adapt serious news and information to better fit in these exploding off-platform ecosystems. But ultimately, the burden will fall on individual consumers to exploit what should be the golden age of information by adjusting their own habits. https://www.axios.com/searching-for-information-nirvana-2248588151.html
  2. Microsoft Allowed to Sue U.S. Government Over E-mail Surveillance Microsoft Corp. persuaded a judge not to let the U.S. government out of a lawsuit alleging the company’s free-speech rights are violated by a law that blocks it from alerting users to the clandestine interception of their e-mails. The judge said Microsoft has at least made a plausible argument that federal law muzzles its right to speak about government investigations, while not ruling on the merits of the case. "The public debate has intensified as people increasingly store their information in the cloud and on devices with significant storage capacity,” U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle said in Thursday’s ruling. “Government surveillance aided by service providers creates unique considerations because of the vast amount of data service providers have about their customers." Robart rejected the tech giant’s argument that the so-called sneak-and-peek searches amount to an unlawful search and seizure of property. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had argued that federal law allows the Justice Department to obtain electronic communications without disclosure of a specific warrant if it would endanger an individual or an investigation. Robart, a 2004 appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, has already riled President Donald Trump this month by halting a temporary ban on visitors, immigrants and refugees from seven mostly Muslim countries. Trump labeled Robart a “so-called judge” and called his ruling in that case “ridiculous.” Microsoft sued the government in April, escalating a feud with the U.S. over customer privacy and the company’s ability to disclose what it’s asked to turn over to investigators. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft drew support in the case from tech leaders including Apple Inc., Google and Amazon.com Inc., which argued the very future of mobile and cloud computing is at stake if customers can’t trust that their data will remain private. They said the federal law allowing the searches goes “far beyond any necessary limits” and infringes users’ fundamental rights. “We’re pleased this ruling enables our case to move forward toward a reasonable solution that works for law enforcement and ensures secrecy is used only when necessary,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer, said in a statement. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the ruling while the department reviews it. The Justice Department and Lynch defended the searches, saying they need digital tools to help fight increasingly sophisticated criminals and terrorists who are savvy at using technology to communicate and hide their tracks. In the portion of Thursday’s ruling that sided with the government, the judge said he could not reconcile the company’s attempt to assert the Fourth Amendment protection against invasive searches on behalf of its customers with earlier court decisions. Other courts have found that such rights can only be asserted by individuals, and not vicariously by third parties, he said. Still, Robart recognized that the law used by the government to block Microsoft from informing users about searches “means customers whose accounts have been accessed by the government may never know of the search.” Secrecy orders on government warrants for access to private e-mail accounts generally prohibit Microsoft from telling customers about the requests for lengthy or even unlimited periods, the company said when it sued. At the time, federal courts had issued almost 2,600 secrecy orders to Microsoft alone, and more than two-thirds had no fixed end date. In those cases, the company can never tell customers about government searches, even after an investigation is completed. The industry’s push against government intrusion into their customers’ private information began in the wake of Edward Snowden’s 2013 disclosures about covert-data collection that put internet companies on the defensive. Microsoft concedes that there may be times when the government is justified in seeking a gag order to prevent customers under investigation from tampering with evidence or harming another person. Still, the company contends the statute authorizing the gag orders is too broad and sets too low of a standard for secrecy. The case is Microsoft Corp. v. U.S. Department of Justice, 16-cv-00538, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle). https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-09/microsoft-can-pursue-suit-over-u-s-sneak-and-peek-searches
  3. State-sponsored hackers targeting prominent journalists, Google warns Google has warned a number of prominent journalists that state-sponsored hackers are attempting to steal their passwords and break into their inboxes. Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine said he received several messages from Google warning him about an attack from a government-backed hacker starting shortly after the election. He said the most recent warning came two to three weeks ago. Julia Ioffe, who recently started at The Atlantic and has covered Russia for years, said she got warnings as recently as two weeks ago. Some journalists getting the warnings say they suspect the hackers could be Russians looking to find incriminating emails they could leak to embarrass journalists, either by revealing alleged liberal bias or to expose the sausage-making of D.C. journalism. "The fact that all this started right after the election suggests to me that journalists are the next wave to be targeted by state-sponsored hackers in the way that Democrats were during it," said one journalist who got the warning. "I worry that the outcome is going to be the same: Someone, somewhere, is going to get hacked, and then the contents of their gmail will be weaponized against them — and by extension all media." Chris Cuomo: CNN being called fake news is 'the equivalent of the N-Word' The Russian embassy did not respond to a request for comment. Google cautioned that the warnings did not mean the accounts had been compromised already and were sent due to "an abundance of caution." “Since 2012, we’ve notified users when we believe their Google accounts are being targeted by government-backed attackers,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement. “We send these warnings out of an abundance of caution — they do not indicate that a user’s account has already been compromised or that a more widespread attack is occurring when they receive the notice.” Ezra Klein, the founder of Vox, said he had received the warning as recently as a few days back. CNN senior media reporter Brian Stelter said he has been getting the alerts for the past few months. Other journalists who confirmed they’ve recently gotten the warnings include New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger, Times columnist Paul Krugman and Yahoo Washington bureau chief Garance Franke-Ruta. GQ special contributor Keith Olbermann said the warnings started a few weeks after the election, and he received the most recent alert earlier this week, a “big bright red bar” across the top of his Gmail. Some of the reporters say they are tightening up their email security to try to prevent the hackers from getting in. Chait also said he was “contacted over email by a stranger who offered to help me by giving me an encryption key to protect me from hackers. He would not give me his name, meet me or talk on the phone, despite repeated requests.” The stranger also emailed The Atlantic’s David Frum, James Fallows and Adam Serwer, Andrew Sullivan and Ars Technica’s Dan Goodin. Stanford professor Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said he also received hacking warnings from Google. He added: “Given my background, one would have to guess that it’s the Russians.” http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/google-hackers-russia-journalists-234859
  4. Disassembled

    Marriage Quotes

    The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his checkbook open. ~ Groucho Marx Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution. ~ Mae West A good wife comes from God and a good husband comes from the bank. ~ Unknown “Getting married for sex is like buying a 747 for the free peanuts” ~ Jeff Foxworthy “I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her own way. And second, let her have it.” ~ Lyndon B. Johnson “Getting married is a lot like getting into a tub of hot water. After you get used to it, it ain't so hot.” ~ Minnie Pearl "Behind every great man there is a surprised woman." ~ Maryon Pearson (¯`·._.··¸.-~*´¨¯¨`*~-.,-,.-~*´¨¯¨`*~-.¸··._.·´¯)
  5. Disassembled

    Botnets Could Meet Their Match in Mayhem

    The continual arms race marches on. A solution is found to fix or patch one item and three more are found in a global effort by hackers to penetrate systems. One of the largest contributors to this is the Windows monoculture. At over 80% of all computers world wide running Windows, the hacker goes for the biggest splash for the effort. Thank you for the post uk666. It's largely through efforts such as yours to inform those that don't read such articles that a wider public is educated to the perils of computer vulnerabilities.
  6. Why are all Windows drivers dated June 21, 2006? Don’t you ever update drivers? Why are all Windows drivers dated June 21, 2006? Don't you ever update drivers? Are you just a bunch of slackers? What's more, the date of June 21, 2006 applies even to drivers like Storage Spaces, which didn't even exist in 2006! Has the Research division been using their time machine again? The dates on all Windows drivers are set to June 21, 2006. The version number increases over time, but the timestamp stays put. My colleague Zac explains: When the system looks for a driver to use for a particular piece of hardware, it ranks them according to various criteria. If a driver provides a perfect match to the hardware ID, then it becomes a top candidate. And if more than one driver provides a perfect match, then the one with the most recent timestamp is chosen. If there is still a tie, then the one with the highest file version number is chosen. Suppose that the timestamp on the driver matched the build release date. And suppose you had a custom driver provided by the manufacturer. When you installed a new build, the driver provided by Windows will have a newer timestamp than the one provided by the manufacturer. Result: When you install a new build, all your manufacturer-provided drivers get replaced by the Windows drivers. Oops. Intentionally backdating the drivers avoids this problem. It means that if you have a custom manufacturer-provided driver, it will retain priority over the Windows-provided driver. On the other hand, if your existing driver was the Windows-provided driver from an earlier build, then the third-level selection rule will choose the one with the higher version number, which is the one from the more recent build. It all works out in the end, but it does look a bit funny. Zac told me, "It's an awesome example of something that seems stupid and insignificant turning out to have a profound purpose." https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20170208-00/?p=95395
  7. NSA contractor indicted over mammoth theft of classified data An aerial view of the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Ft. Meade, Maryland, U.S. A former National Security Agency contractor was indicted on Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges he willfully retained national defense information, in what U.S. officials have said may have been the largest heist of classified government information in history. The indictment alleges that Harold Thomas Martin, 52, spent up to 20 years stealing highly sensitive government material from the U.S. intelligence community related to national defense, collecting a trove of secrets he hoarded at his home in Glen Burnie, Maryland. The government has not said what, if anything, Martin did with the stolen data. Martin faces 20 criminal counts, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison, the Justice Department said. "For as long as two decades, Harold Martin flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government," said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein. Martin's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. Martin worked for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp when he was taken into custody last August. Booz Allen also had employed Edward Snowden, who leaked a trove of secret files to news organizations in 2013 that exposed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the NSA. The indictment provided a lengthy list of documents Martin is alleged to have stolen from multiple intelligence agencies starting in August 1996, including 2014 NSA reports detailing intelligence information "regarding foreign cyber issues" that contained targeting information and "foreign cyber intrusion techniques." The list of pilfered documents includes an NSA user's guide for an intelligence-gathering tool and a 2007 file with details about specific daily operations. The indictment also alleges that Martin stole documents from U.S. Cyber Command, the CIA and the National Reconnaissance Office. Martin was employed as a private contractor by at least seven different companies, working for several government agencies beginning in 1993 after serving in the U.S. Navy for four years, according to the indictment. His positions, which involved work on highly classified projects involving government computer systems, gave him various security clearances that routinely provided him access to top-secret information, it said. Unnamed U.S. officials told the Washington Post this week that Martin allegedly took more than 75 percent of the hacking tools belonging to the NSA's tailored access operations, the agency's elite hacking unit. Booz Allen, which earns billions of dollars a year contracting with U.S. intelligence agencies, came under renewed scrutiny after Martin's arrest was revealed last October. The firm announced it had hired former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead an audit of its security, personnel and management practices. A Booz Allen spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment on Martin's indictment. Martin's initial appearance in the U.S. District Court of Baltimore was scheduled for next Tuesday, the Justice Department said. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cybersecurity-nsa-contractor-idUSKBN15N2N4
  8. Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin announces her retirement Aretha Franklin, Barack Obama once said, would be one of the musicians whose records would accompany him to a desert island, “for she’ll remind me of my humanity, what’s essential in all of us. And she just sounds so damn good”. No other musician, the then-president said, “embodies the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll – the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope … American history wells up when Aretha sings”. But could the Queen of Soul finally be stepping back from her grand piano? After a career of more than 50 years, the woman widely held to be the greatest soul vocalist of the postwar era announced this week that she was planning to stop touring. “I must tell you, I’m retiring this year,” the 74-year-old told the Detroit TV station WDIV Local 4, saying she wanted to spend more time with her grandchildren before they left to go to college. First, though, she will record an album part-produced by Stevie Wonder to be released in September, about which Franklin said she felt “exuberant”. Stepping back from performances was bittersweet, she said. “This is what I’ve done all of my life.” But she added: “I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now.” And well she might. In more than five decades as a soul and R&B superstar, Franklin has won 18 Grammy awards, sold more than 75m records, sung at three presidential inaugurations (for Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter), and influenced generations of musicians across soul, R&B, gospel, pop and rock. In 2010, Rolling Stone named her the greatest singer of all time (“a force from heaven... a gift from God”); Bob Dylan wrote a poem praising her; Otis Redding, hearing her 1967 version of Respect (which he had written), conceded ruefully: “She done took my song.” She remains the female soloist with the most Hot 100 entries in history, above Madonna, Dionne Warwick, Beyoncé and Diana Ross. The youngest of four children of a well-known preacher, CL Franklin, she was born in Memphis in 1942 but grew up in Detroit. There she was exposed to soul and jazz royalty: Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald visited the family; Dinah Washington gave Aretha and her sisters singing lessons. Her father was a close friend of Martin Luther King. But it was not an easy life. Franklin gave birth to two children while still a young teenager and went on to have two more; she would marry twice, both ending in unhappy divorces. Franklin begun performing by opening for her father’s preaching engagements and was signed by Columbia records in 1960, though it was not until she moved to Atlantic in 1967 that she became hugely successful, releasing a cascade of hits that included Respect, Chain of Fools, I Say a Little Prayer and the self-penned Think and Rock Steady. Though her popularity faded in the era of disco, an appearance in the Blues Brothers movie in 1980 and pop collaborations, including 1987’s I Knew You Were Waiting with George Michael, brought a renewed wave of fans. Having developed a fear of flying, she toured only where she could travel by bus, but continued to release albums, including a collection of “diva” cover versions in 2014. Franklin’s performance of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep on the David Letterman show was watched millions of times within a few days of release. “There is hardly any artist alive who has not been influenced by Aretha – I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t been moved by her struggle, her work, her music,” said Kanya King, founder and CEO of the Mobo awards. “To us, Aretha will never retire because anyone who loves black music will always cherish the raw emotion and history of the music she has brought us within our souls. That said, I can’t wait for her final album to come out; how amazing will that be?!” The music writer Richard Williams said Franklin was rightly called the Queen of Soul. “There’s a kind of natural majesty to her in everything - in her voice, in her bearing,” he said. “Nobody has ever been more successful in making a direct connection from black American gospel music, the things that make that so emotionally powerful, to a general popular audience. When you hear Aretha sing you feel that full strength, and that’s what shivers you. Even when she’s singing a song that makes you dance, somewhere inside you are still getting that astonishing power. “Her voice is still absolutely there and it’s hard to imagine that she won’t want to stand up in front of an audience or a congregation – because that’s what she turns an audience into – at some time in the future.” And indeed, despite her vow of retirement, all may not yet be lost for those keen to see Franklin perform live. After the album release, she told the TV station, she would probably still do “some select things, maybe one a month”. “I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.” https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/feb/09/aretha-franklin-stevie-wonder-announces-her-retirement
  9. Disassembled

    If you owned a PC with a DVD drive you might be able to claim $10

    Yeap, that was my issue. Had a friggin' lot of computers, nearly all with dvd drives but nope, not in a state where it's being supported.
  10. A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf has scientists concerned that it is getting close to a full break. The rift has accelerated this year in an area already vulnerable to warming temperatures. Since December, the crack has grown by the length of about five football fields each day. The crack in Larsen C now reaches over 100 miles in length, and some parts of it are as wide as two miles. The tip of the rift is currently only about 20 miles from reaching the other end of the ice shelf. Once the crack reaches all the way across the ice shelf, the break will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according to Project Midas, a research team that has been monitoring the rift since 2014. Because of the amount of stress the crack is placing on the remaining 20 miles of the shelf, the team expects the break soon. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/07/science/earth/antarctic-crack.html
  11. Problem is, this software controlling all this, not hardware; like a physical switch to turn it off. In paranoia land, it could be turned back on remotely without your knowledge even though the software still says it's off. Of course according to the FBI, CIA, and NSA, that type of thing could never happen where a camera records without the light being on. Funny how there's been a lot of tape sold lately. At this point, I want nothing that has IoT connected to it. All these makers of products were good about putting in spy apps but not so good about being concerned with security. In a proof of concept, some hackers used a drone to fly within a 100 foot of an IoTs controlled light set up in a home and were able to turn them into bot nets. There's no set up to turn it off, to upgrade the BIOS, nor to change the programming. It will remain part of a botnet til replaced. Even worse than all this, is now ransomeware is able to infect your smart tv. I can't for the life of me figure out why I would want a smart tv, given all this.
  12. Inauguration Protesters Targeted for Facebook Searches Law enforcement is seeking social media info from least two D.C. protest arrestees. On Wednesday, one of the individuals who was arrested at protests over the inauguration of Donald Trump received an email from Facebook’s “Law Enforcement Response Team.” (CityLab obtained the email from the individual’s attorney on the condition of anonymity for both the client and their representative.) More than 230 protesters had been arrested that day, and many—including the individual who’d received this email—were charged with rioting and had their phones seized by Washington, D.C., police. The police have been holding Inauguration protesters’ phones since the arrests. Did D.C. police ask Facebook to reveal information about this arrestee? In an emailed response to CityLab’s request for more information, Rachel Reid, a spokesperson for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, responded that “MPD does not comment on investigative tactics.” The District of Columbia United States Attorney's Office—the agency leading the prosecution of Inauguration protesters—has not yet responded to CityLab’s inquiry. CityLab also asked Facebook about the email. “We don’t comment on individual requests,” company spokesperson Jay Nancarrow said. He referred CityLab to the site’s law enforcement guidelines page and to its Government Requests Report database, where the public can see how many legal processes it receives from countries worldwide. According to this database, U.S. law enforcement requested information on the accounts of 38,951 users over January to June of 2016, and they received some type of data in 80 percent of cases. Which “legal process” authorities sent to Facebook for information on the protester matters considerably in terms of how much data they can seize for investigation. According to Facebook’s legal guidelines, a search warrant, for example, could allow Facebook to give away content data including “messages, photos, videos, timeline posts, and location information.” A subpoena or a court order would give authorities less information, but would still include the individual’s “name, length of service, credit card information, email address(es), and a recent login/logout IP address(es).” Freddy Martinez, director of the Chicago-based police accountability group Lucy Parsons Labs, says that information acquired through a lower-level legal process could still be revealing. ”Asking for IP data could point toward a physical location—i.e. an apartment—that people stayed in and could widen the net for further prosecution of other protesters," he says. D.C. police have been heavily criticized by civil liberties groups for the inauguration arrests, particularly those of lawyers and journalists. The broad nature of the arrests prompted an immediate class action lawsuit. Concerns have also been raised about the police’s decision to hold the phones of all those arrested. As CityLab reported last week, one arrestee’s Gmail account showed account activity from their mobile device, which was in police possession. This prompted questions about whether the police had the phones out, instead of properly securing them away in evidence bags, causing concerns that police were mining them for content pre-trial. UPDATE: At least one other inauguration arrestee has also been targeted for social media investigation. A subpoena issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia on January 27, 2017 and signed off on by a D.C. Metropolitan Police Detective asks Facebook for subscriber information. According to the source who provided the subpoena to CityLab on Monday morning, the redacted blocks on the second page shield columns of phone numbers, which are connected to other arrestees for whom the District Attorney and police are seeking information. http://www.citylab.com/crime/2017/02/inauguration-protesters-targeted-for-facebook-searches/515517/ The same old, same old. If you have a cell phone, you have your own individual and personal spy you carry with you all the time. I've no issue with what they might find on a cell phone if I carried one. I've no dastardly deeds planned, no ill will wishes that require someone injured, no need to call some drug pusher for some sort of delivery, nothing that I can think of that would raise the interest of law enforcement in any manner. Not because I'm hiding anything but rather because I live a routine and probably boring life to most. Still the idea that this sort of thing is a consistutional issue from the word go right on up to this business with the contents of a phone is upsetting in the sense of how personal privacy is being violated. Not to mention how insidious it is with modern everyday life. Use a browser on line, you give your geo-location up as part of the process unless you have either altered or gotten a browser that has been changed not to do so. Drive a car now a days that is computer controlled, with internet connections, the GPS will tell anyone with access to the data where you are, what your daily routine is, where you work, and who your friends are. Same with a cell phone and it's GPS. Maybe the Amish have something with the shunning of modern tecnology.
  13. Facebook shareholders urge company to replace Mark Zuckerberg with ‘independent’ board chair Facebook is being pressured by a group of shareholders seeking the removal of company chief executive Mark Zuckerberg from the board of the directors. A proposal has been put forward claiming that an independent chairperson would be better able to “oversee the executives of the company, improve corporate governance, and set a more accountable, pro-shareholder agenda.” The idea for Zuckerberg’s board ousting comes from Facebook shareholders who are members of the consumer watchdog group SumOfUs. The organization bills itself as an online community that campaigns to hold corporations accountable on a variety of global issues such as climate change, workers’ rights, discrimination, human rights, corruption, and corporate power grab. Facebook declined to comment on the proposal, but it’s likely to issue a statement when it files a proxy filing in April, as is per standard practice with shareholder proposals. Lisa Lindsley, the capital markets advisor for SumOfUs, told VentureBeat that 333,000 people signed the petition requesting Facebook improve its corporate citizenship, but 1,500 were actual shareholders in the company. “The shares held by four individual SumOfUs members enabled us to file this proposal,” she said. The proposal cites the new capital structure approved by Facebook last year as an example of where there was an imbalance of power. During the company’s shareholder meeting in June, participants were asked to vote on a proposal to issue Class C shares in a bid to keep Zuckerberg in control. Although approved, Facebook is dealing with litigation brought on by at least one shareholder who claimed it was an unfair deal. Issuing the Class C shares was intended to help Zuckerberg continue his long-term vision and “encourage” him to remain involved with the company over the long term. The plan came after the Facebook CEO announced in 2015 that he and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, would be giving away 99 percent of his family’s shares to various groups in a bid to promote child equality. The proposal states that shareholder value will be enhanced with an independent board chair “who can provide a balance of power between the CEO and the board and support strong board leadership.” It goes on to assert that this individual would be “particularly constructive” at a time when Facebook “faces increasing criticism regarding its perceived role in the promotion of misleading news; censorship, hate speech and alleged inconsistencies in the application of Facebook’s community standards guidelines and content policies; targeting of ad views based on race; collaboration with law enforcement and other government agencies; and calls for public accountability regarding the human rights impacts of Facebook’s practices.” Having someone be both the CEO and chairperson isn’t a unique situation for companies, as Tesla, Bank of America, the Walt Disney Company, IBM, Amazon, Netflix, and Salesforce all have one person sitting in both roles. It’s doubtful that Facebook will acquiesce to the group’s demand, especially since Zuckerberg is one of the largest shareholders and could strike the proposal down easily, along with other allied investors. There are those who think having the founder in charge is a good thing for the company, especially as it pursues the goal of being first in virtual reality and video. Additionally, it’s not as if Facebook is in a precarious financial situation: Its stock continues to go up — its last earnings results surpassed what Wall Street analysts had expected, and the company appears in fine shape to compete against Snap after finally finding its groove in the ephemeral messaging space. But what SumOfUs is probably worried about is the likelihood of Zuckerberg taking Facebook down a path he believes is right, but putting too much of the company behind it, which may result in damaging impact on shareholder value. Having an independent chairperson could stem that, according to the proposal. Should Facebook implement this proposal, it would be an additional independent director joining Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Reed Hastings, Erskine Bowles, Marc Andreessen, and Peter Thiel on the board. Lindsley acknowledges the uphill battle in getting the SumOfUs proposal approved when the company convenes its annual investor meeting: “This shareholder resolution, like most shareholder resolutions, is advisory in nature,” she said. “There could be a 99 percent vote in favor of it and the board would not be under legal obligation to implement it. However, most competent board members realize that it is unwise to ignore the voice of the shareholders whose interests they are charged with representing.” http://venturebeat.com/2017/02/06/facebook-shareholders-urge-company-to-replace-mark-zuckerberg-with-independent-board-chair/
  14. If you owned a PC with a DVD drive you might be able to claim $10 If you owned a PC with a DVD drive more than 10 years ago, you’re probably owed $10. A class-action lawsuit is now accepting claims https://www.opticaldiskdriveantitrust.com/#two after Sony, NEC, Panasonic, and Hitachi-LG were accused of inflating the prices of optical drives sold to PC makers like Dell and HP. If you bought a PC with a DVD drive between April 1st 2003 and December 31st 2008, you’ll be able to claim $10 for each drive as part of the class-action lawsuit. CNET reports that you don’t appear to need any proof of purchase, and that the settlement administrators are simply collecting names, email addresses, and the number of drives owned at the moment. You’ll need to submit a claim before July 1st, and the money won’t be released until other defendants in the litigation have settled. Sony, NEC, Panasonic, and Hitachi-LG have submitted $124.5 million to the overall settlement, leaving enough cash to compensate around 9.3 million DVD drive sales according to CNET. You’ll need to have purchased a DVD drive as a resident of the following states to claim: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wisconsin. http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/7/14531334/dvd-drive-optical-disk-class-action-settlement
  15. Disassembled

    The Age Barometer

    Well considering I had a gig as a sort term waiter at the last supper, guess I'm older than dirt. *smiles*