5530 stories
·
33 followers

Vampire: The Masquerade-Swangsong Coming In 2021

1 Share

Big Bad Wolf Studios, the developers behind the narrative RPG The Council, has partnered with White Wolf and Paradox to create a new game set in The World Of Darkness tabletop universe. This new game, Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong will release in 2021 and will be based on Vampire’s fifth edition tabletop rules…

Read more...

Read the whole story
InShaneee
2 days ago
reply
Chicago, IL
Share this story
Delete

Inside TurboTax's 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

1 Share
This year, nearly 40% of U.S. taxpayers filed online and some 40 million of them did so with TurboTax, far more than with any other product. But the success of TurboTax rests on a shaky foundation, one that could collapse overnight if the U.S. government did what most wealthy countries did long ago and made tax filing simple and free for most citizens. From a report: For more than 20 years, Intuit -- the developer of TurboTax, has waged a sophisticated, sometimes covert war to prevent the government from doing just that, according to internal company and IRS documents and interviews with insiders. The company unleashed a battalion of lobbyists and hired top officials from the agency that regulates it. From the beginning, Intuit recognized that its success depended on two parallel missions: stoking innovation in Silicon Valley while stifling it in Washington. Indeed, employees ruefully joke that the company's motto should actually be "compromise without integrity." Internal presentations lay out company tactics for fighting "encroachment," Intuit's catchall term for any government initiative to make filing taxes easier -- such as creating a free government filing system or pre-filling people's returns with payroll or other data the IRS already has. "For a decade proposals have sought to create IRS tax software or a ReturnFree Tax System; All were stopped," reads a confidential 2007 PowerPoint presentation from an Intuit board of directors meeting. The company's 2014-15 plan included manufacturing "3rd-party grass roots" support. "Buy ads for op-eds/editorials/stories in African American and Latino media," one internal PowerPoint slide states. The centerpiece of Intuit's anti-encroachment strategy has been the Free File program, hatched 17 years ago in a moment of crisis for the company. Under the terms of an agreement with the federal government, Intuit and other commercial tax prep companies promised to provide free online filing to tens of millions of lower-income taxpayers. In exchange, the IRS pledged not to create a government-run system. Since Free File's launch, Intuit has done everything it could to limit the program's reach while making sure the government stuck to its end of the deal. As ProPublica has reported, Intuit added code to the Free File landing page of TurboTax that hid it from search engines like Google, making it harder for would-be users to find.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Read the whole story
InShaneee
4 days ago
reply
Chicago, IL
Share this story
Delete

The first book collecting the new Nancy comic is incredibly, fantastically, impossibly great

1 Share

Here's the thing: Bushmiller's successors were pretty good at creating strips that felt like Bushmiller might have created them, but Jaimes's Nancy makes me feel like Bushmiller made his readers feel during his 50 year run.

Jaimes's Nancy is obsessed with her phone and social media, she lives in our modern, contemporary world, she goes to after-school robotics club, all things that are a million miles from Bushmiller's strips -- but if Bushmiller was creating Nancy in 2018, this is the Nancy he would have created. This is the non-anachronistic, modern Nancy that is totally, utterly true to Bushmiller's sensibilities, and that blend of modernity and Bushmillerian faithfulness makes today's Nancy perfectly suited for being shared between kids and their grownups.

I've been reading the new book around the house for the past day or so, and everyone else who has transited the house in that time has repeatedly stopped me to say, "Why are you laughing so hard at that book?" Honestly, I just want to give everyone a copy of this.

The book's got some terrific forematter and appendices, too, including a revealing interview wiht Vulture, an illuminating and insightful essay on the structural problems that made the funnies so white and male by Hillary "Rhymes With Orange" Price, and some charming fan-art portraits of Nancy.

Jaimes herself is shrouded in mystery: she did a single notorious live appearance at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus where she wore a hilarious disguise and then ran into a closet (!). But her personality comes through very strongly in her strips. She is clearly a precious gift from the universe to an undeserving human race, and I am so glad she's doing what she's doing.

Nancy [Olivia Jaimes/Andrews McMeel]

Read the whole story
InShaneee
4 days ago
reply
Chicago, IL
Share this story
Delete

GitLab Won't Exclude Customers On Moral Grounds, Says That Employees Should Not Discuss Politics At Work

1 Comment and 2 Shares
GitLab, a San-Francisco provider of hosted git software, recently changed its company handbook to declare that it won't ban potential customers on "moral/value grounds," and that employees should not discuss politics at work. The Register reports: The policy addition, created by co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij and implemented as a git pull request, was merged (with no approval required) about two weeks ago. It was proposed to clarify that GitLab is committed to doing business with "customers with values that are incompatible with our own values." Such a declaration could run afoul of legal boundaries in some circumstances. While workers have no constitutional speech protection in the context of their employment, federal labor law requires that employees be allowed to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment and possible unlawful conduct like harassment, discrimination, and safety violations. But it's perhaps understandable given how, over the past few years, workers in the tech industry have become more vocal in objecting to business deals with entities deemed to be immoral or work that conflicts with declared or presumed values. Sijbrandij amended his company's handbook to state: "We do not discuss politics in the workplace and decisions about what customer to serve might get political." And what reason does Sijbrandij's pull request provide to support this position? It says, "Efficiency is one of our values and vetting customers is time consuming and potentially distracting."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Read the whole story
InShaneee
4 days ago
reply
Chicago, IL
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
fxer
4 days ago
reply
Easy to put in a handbook, easy to backtrack at 1000mph when an actual PR firestorm happens.
Bend, Oregon

Workers of the World, Unplug: The Fight for the ‘Right to Disconnect’

1 Share

When I’m off the clock, I make a concerted effort to be as unreachable as possible. I’m not logged into my work email on my phone, I don’t bring my laptop home, and I forget how to read on a nightly basis, just in case one of my editors tries to Slack me about something after I leave the office. But not everyone is lucky enough to work somewhere that tolerates an off-the-clock technology blackout, which is why the movement pushing for “right to disconnect” exists—although it hasn’t managed to score a victory in the U.S. yet.

Proponents of the right to disconnect argue that the pressure to answer electronic communications from work—like emails, text messages, or phone calls—after hours amounts to unpaid labor, at the very least, and a human rights violation at worst. A guide for employees looking to fight for their right to disconnect released Wednesday by the UNI Global Union outlines the problem as follows: “Technological developments and mobile devices have allowed employees to perform their work anywhere and at any time. While there are also benefits with this flexible approach to work, it risks eroding the barriers between working and leisure time… This constant connection and ensuing lack of rest carries important psychosocial risks for employees, including anxiety, depression, and burnout.” Research backs these mental health claims, and one study found the mere expectation of work communication during leisure time triggered anxiety in workers, even if no communication actually took place.

The right to disconnect has been legislated into existence in a few countries, first by France in 2016, and subsequently Spain and Italy on a national level. According to the UNI Global Union, Belgium, Canada, India, the Philippines, and Portugal have also codified pro-disconnect measures at some level, be it state or national, and a judge in Luxembourg recently recognized an employee’s right to disconnect on paid leave in an October ruling.

The only place in the U.S. where someone mounted a serious effort to legislate some kind of right to disconnect is New York City, where Councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a bill that would “make it unlawful for private employees in the city of New York to require employee [sic] to check and respond to email and other electronic communications during non-work hours.” Espinal told VICE in 2018 that he saw the bill as “a way to draw clear boundaries between workers’ personal and work lives.” Unfortunately, efforts seem to have stalled: The bill hasn’t been discussed since January 2019, according to the New York City Council’s official website.

So, why hasn’t the right to disconnect taken off in the U.S. yet? My personal theory is that we are (and this is the technical term) too horny for work to set up healthy boundaries around our personal lives. After all, Americans get shorted on vacation days (and then short ourselves out of using them); we take the literally impossible ideal of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” seriously; and we work more hours annually per person than Italy, Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, Germany, or even Japan—you know, the same Japan where the work culture is so pervasive and demanding that “businessmen passing out in the streets” is a trope! It’s tough to say no to a demanding boss or resist the temptation to do a little extra work at home in the hopes of making things easier tomorrow. But trust me: It’s worth letting your personal time stay personal, especially if you aren’t getting paid to “hustle” harder.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Katie Way on Twitter .



Read the whole story
InShaneee
4 days ago
reply
Chicago, IL
Share this story
Delete

Yahoo Groups Is Winding Down and All Content Will Be Permanently Removed

2 Shares

Yahoo announced on Wednesday that it is winding down its long-running Yahoo Groups site. As of October 21, users will no longer be able to post new content to the site, and on December 14 Yahoo will permanently delete all previously posted content.

"You'll have until that date to save anything you've uploaded," an announcement post reads.

Yahoo Groups, launched in 2001, is basically a cross between a platform for mailing lists and internet forums. Groups can be interacted with on the Yahoo Groups site itself, or via email. In the 18 years that it existed, numerous niche communities made a home on the platform. Now, with the site's planned obsolescence, users are looking for ways to save their Groups history.

Yahoo notes that users can download their own data from the site's privacy tab, and posters on the /r/DataHoarders subreddit are sharing links to automated scraping tools.

"What's a good way to download specific Yahoo groups?" one Reddit user wrote. "I'm a member of a private one run by Cold War vets, and a lot of the information and discussion there isn't replaceable."

Yahoo's announcement says that the site will continue to exist, but all public groups will be made private and require administrator approval to join. Further, administrators will have access to some limited group settings, although most features—files, links, photos, attachments, message history, and more—will be turned off. According to Yahoo, users will still be able to interact with their Groups via email.

This isn't the first time that Yahoo has turned the switch off on an important, if niche, platform and left users in the lurch. In 2009, Yahoo shut down GeoCities, taking roughly 7 million personal websites with it. At the time, digital archivists raced to save what content they could.

"These guys found the way to destroy the most massive amount of history in the shortest amount of time with absolutely no recourse," archivist Jason Scott told Time soon after it was shut down.



Read the whole story
InShaneee
4 days ago
reply
Chicago, IL
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories