October 23, 2016

Gov. Cuomo signed New York Airbnb bill - Business Insider

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that could deal a blow to Airbnb's operations in New York State.

The bill is a follow-on to a 2010 law that bans rentals of less than 30 days in a multi-unit building if the tenant is not present, which was aimed at cracking down on illegal hotels.

The 2016 bill bans the advertising of such rentals, meaning that hosts could not list a full apartment for rent on Airbnb for less than 30-day increments. Hosts caught listing their unit would be fined up to $7,500 -- more than most Airbnb hosts in New York make in a year. 

The bill passed in both houses of the New York State Legislature in June and arrived on Cuomo's desk on Tuesday, meaning that the governor had 10 days to make his decision. The governor signed the bill Friday and Airbnb says it will immediately file a lawsuit against the city of New York and the state attorney general -- who are charged with enforcing the new law -- on grounds that the law violates the First Amendment and the Communications Decency Act.

A New Era of Internet Attacks Powered by Everyday Devices - The New York Times

The attack on the infrastructure of the internet, which made it all but impossible at times to check Twitter feeds or headlines, was a remarkable reminder about how billions of ordinary web-connected devices -- many of them highly insecure -- can be turned to vicious purposes. And the threats will continue long after Election Day for a nation that increasingly keeps its data in the cloud and has oftentimes kept its head in the sand.

But hundreds of thousands, and maybe millions, of those security cameras and other devices have been infected with a fairly simple program that guessed at their factory-set passwords -- often "admin" or "12345" or even, yes, "password" -- and, once inside, turned them into an army of simple robots. Each one was commanded, at a coordinated time, to bombard a small company in Manchester, N.H., called Dyn DNS with messages that overloaded its circuits.


October 21, 2016

A dozen iOS 10 feature gems that Apple forgot to mention--David Pogue

Last month, when Apple (AAPL) released iOS 10, the latest system software for the iPhone/iPad, it made a big deal out of the major features, like a redesigned Music app and contextual predictions in Autocorrect.

But Apple's engineer elves worked for a year to overhaul iOS 10, and they've planted lots of hidden gems. In today's video, all in one 12-minute lesson, I'm happy to present a dozen of the best iOS 10 features that Apple forgot to mention.

(In this crash course, I didn't say anything about the new Messages app. That one gets a whole lesson unto itself!)


EDITOR'S NOTE:  One tip on using the "Home" button is worth the read:

Eliminate the click

You can get an extra efficiency when it comes to waking up your phone by eliminating the requirement to click the Home button.

Instead, you can just touch your finger to it. That wakes the phone and unlocks it in a single motion.

To find this feature, open Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Home Button. Turn on "Rest finger to open."


October 20, 2016

Serving Veterans in NY: Courts, Laws & Programs

When: Monday, November 7, 2016
            Registration 9:30am - 10:00am
            Program 10:00am - 1:30pm
Where: New York State Bar Association
1 Elk Street
Albany, NY 12207
Earn 3 MCLE Credits in Areas of Professional Practice for experienced and newly-admitted attorneys.
Serving Veterans in New York:  New York's Courts, Laws, and Programs Uniquely Designed to Serve Veterans is a FREE CLE sponsored by The New York State Bar Association's Committee on Veterans. 
New York has implemented a number of programs and laws geared toward serving its unique and diverse veterans.  From Veteran's Courts to Assistive Technology, this CLE will provide context for the various arenas in which Veteran specific programs and laws have developed to provide a specific or added benefit for Veterans. 
Presenters for this CLE are Art Cody, NY State Defenders Association, Benjamin Pomerance, NY State Division of Veterans' Affairs and Christy Asbee, Disability Rights NY
This CLE is free of charge.  Register at www.nysba.org/VETSFALLCLE
Kristen Wagner Esq.
New York State Bar Association
Albany NY
(518) 487-5640

October 18, 2016

Vermont Wind Project Needs Support, So Company Offers to Pay Voters - The New York Times


Opponents were outraged at the payments, perceiving them as an attempt to buy votes, and complained to state officials.

But Michael O. Duane, senior assistant attorney general, said the payments did not violate state law. The proposal "doesn't say that the funds go only to those people who signed a sworn statement that they had voted for it," he said.

Still, the payment proposal has left a sour taste. As The Rutland Herald put it in an editorial on Sunday, "The naked offer of money to individual citizens may be even more corrosive to the civic life of the town than the potential environmental effects of the wind turbines."


Read entire report...

Welcome to NYC Rules! | NYC Rules

This website allows New Yorkers to review proposed rules and voice their opinions about those rules before they are adopted into law.  Every year, City agencies make over 100 changes or additions to the City rules that are an important part of how government interacts with the public.  Use the links below to comment on proposed rules and read newly adopted ones.

On this website, you can:

October 15, 2016

Dropbox's Big iOS Update -- MacSparky

Dropbox has long been an essential service for iOS power users but you wouldn't know that based on their app. Today that changed with the release of a new version with several substantial new improvements including:

1. PDF Signing

2. Messages Support

3. Widget Support

4. Notifications and Lock Screen

5. Picture in Picture

David Sparks has more for you here...

October 14, 2016

Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Scott Lively | Center for Constitutional Rights

SMUG v. Lively is a federal lawsuit in which CCR represents Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a non-profit LGBTI advocacy organization in Uganda. SMUG is suing Scott Lively, a U.S.-based anti-gay extremist, for his role in the persecution of LGBTI people in Uganda, in particular his active participation in the conspiracy to strip away their fundamental rights. The case is part of CCR's cutting edge international human rights work and groundbreaking efforts to protect and expand rights under the area of law related to the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and continues CCR's historic early work defending LGBTI rights.

Read more here...

Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself

Tax practitioners who missed the recent IRS webinar, "Protect your Clients, Protect Yourself from Data Theft," can now view it anytime on demand. In the broadcast, IRS and private sector experts discuss client data safeguards, legal requirements and best practices involving the handling of taxpayer data and tips for responding to a loss of taxpayer data.

Visit the Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself page on IRS.gov for more information on identity theft scams targeting the tax professional community. The page includes links to publications such as Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, security alerts and educational videos.

OSHA Announces Feral Cats Are Not Vermin - New York Labor And Employment Law Report

OHSA proposed rule change:  "....On the last point, the agency press release noted that "OSHA recognizes that feral cats pose a minor, if any, threat, and tend to avoid human contact, and OSHA proposes to remove the term 'feral cats' from the definition of vermin in the standard....."

Read entire report
Feral Cats

Feral Cats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 10, 2016

Samsung halts production of troubled Galaxy Note 7 phone - Oct. 9, 2016

Samsung is putting the brakes on its beleaguered Galaxy Note 7 smartphone as fears spread that even replacement versions of the device can burst into flames.

"We are temporarily adjusting the Galaxy Note7 production schedule in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters," a company spokesperson said. 

Production of the phone has been temporarily suspended, a person familiar with the matter told CNN on Monday.

Read more here...

October 9, 2016

Centuries of Buddhist Tradition Make Room for Bhutan's First Law School - The New York Times

HAA, Bhutan -- Under the gaze of the Buddhist god of wisdom, embodied in the form of a craggy hillside here, an American academic stood in front of 500 teenagers and posed a simple question: "What does a lawyer do?"

As the vice dean of Bhutan's first law school, the American, Michael Peil, has been doing a lot of explaining lately. Draped in the country's national dress, Mr. Peil and a Bhutanese colleague have spent the better part of six weeks traversing this Buddhist kingdom armed with fliers and a PowerPoint presentation.

For many students here in this western village, it was the first they had heard of plans to open the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, which will admit its inaugural class of about 25 students next spring for instruction at a temporary campus in Thimphu, the capital. A permanent campus is being built in Paro, to the west.

Read more here...

October 7, 2016

Block & Flow


Block & Flow is a free productivity iOS application and Google Chrome extension that uses the pomodoro technique (short work intervals followed by brief, regular breaks) and provides users with self-generated data about how they spend their time. Users create a number of categories to describe work activities (e.g. writing, email, studying, etc), then assign each of these tasks a color. Next, users select from their self-designed categories as they start to work. A timer, in the shape of block, appears on the screen for 25 minutes. Once this time is over, users are prompted to take a 5 minute break. Block and Flow is unique from other pomodoro devices in that users can then view the amount of time - or total blocks - they spend each week on each of their self-created categories. This allows users to regularly assess and adjust their work habits and productivity. [MMB]

Copyright © 2016 Internet Scout Research Group - http://scout.wisc.ed

October 6, 2016

Police in India bust dozens of suspected IRS impersonators | WGN-TV

LONDON - Police in India have arrested 70 people on suspicion of posing as IRS agents to steal cash from U.S. citizens.

Authorities in the western Indian city of Thane said they were investigating another 630 people suspected of being involved in the extortion scam.

Workers at nine call centers allegedly impersonated IRS agents during calls to the U.S., according to local police commissioner Param Bir Singh. The victims were told they owed back taxes and would risk arrest if they hung up.

Singh told CNN the call center workers had been trained to speak with an American accent.

The call centers were making $150,000 a day for up to a year before being discovered. Money would be transferred by victims of the scheme to U.S. bank accounts before being sent to India.


Read more here...

October 5, 2016

Better Understand the Proposal Criteria and Selection Process for EPA's Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Brownfields team would like to invite you to participate in its upcoming Brownfields Proposal Guidelines Workshops (Helping Applicants Understand Grant Requirements).

The workshops will assist local government and nonprofit organizations to better understand the proposal criteria and selection process for EPA's Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup grants. The following topics will be addressed during the workshops:

  • The different EPA Brownfield grant types and candidates eligible to apply
  • The grant application process
  • Proposal tips and strategies

Workshops will be held at locations in New York on October 25, November 3, and November 9, 2016.

Please use the following link for registration information:


The informational flyer is in PDF format. You can save, open, and read the flyer by using Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can go to the following web page on the NYSDEC web site to download the program for free: http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/590.html .

October 4, 2016

ScanSnap Conflicts with Sierra Easily Avoided

by Adam C. Engst

In "ScanSnap Users Should Delay Sierra Upgrades" (20 September 2016), we warned users of Fujitsu's ScanSnap scanners to avoid upgrading to macOS 10.12 Sierra, based on the company's dire predictions of potential data loss. Happily, it turns out that Fujitsu was just playing it safe until its engineers were able to pin down the exact conflicts, and they turn out to be far more minor than previously predicted.

In its updated notice, Fujitsu (a TidBITS sponsor) now outlines three activities that ScanSnap users should avoid when running in Sierra:

Read entire article here, with activities listed...

September 30, 2016

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore suspended for defiance over same-sex marriage - The Washington Post



Alabama's top judge was suspended from the bench without pay for the remainder of his term, the state's Court of the Judiciary said Friday.

This is the second time Roy S. Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has been effectively pulled from office, following his ouster in 2003 over his refusal to obey judicial rulings ordering him to remove a Ten Commandments statue from the Alabama Judicial Building.

A complaint was filed by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission charging Moore with violating judicial ethics in issuing an order in January stating that probate judges in the state "have a ministerial duty not to issue" marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In a 50-page judgment Friday, two days after Moore appeared for a hearing in the case, Alabama's Court of the Judiciary found him guilty of failing to comply with the law, uphold the integrity of the court and "perform the duties of his office impartially."


U.S. Just Made It a Lot Less Difficult to Sue Nursing Homes - The New York Times

The federal agency that controls more than $1 trillion in Medicare and Medicaid funding has moved to prevent nursing homes from forcing claims of elder abuse, sexual harassment and even wrongful death into the private system of justice known as arbitration.

An agency within the Health and Human Services Department on Wednesday issued a rule that bars any nursing home that receives federal funding from requiring that its residents resolve any disputes in arbitration, instead of court.

The rule, which would affect nursing homes with 1.5 million residents, promises to deliver major new protections.

Read entire NYTIMES Report...

 Follow this link to view the full text of the new rule.

Register for the STAR credit

STAR Program 2016 Legislative Changes

The New York State Tax Department recently contacted the NYSBA to highlight changes to the longstanding School Tax Relief (STAR) program. As a result of 2016 legislative changes, new homeowners will now receive a STAR Credit check instead of receiving a property tax exemption. The amount of the benefit will remain the same. Click here for a link to the new legislation.

New homeowners no longer apply to their assessor for the benefit. Instead, they register directly on the Tax Department's website (tax.ny.gov/star). New homeowners who do not have access to the Internet can instead call the New York State Tax Department at: 518-457-2036.

Many of you who are involved with home closings have traditionally provided new homeowners with STAR applications, which they in turn provided to their assessors. Now that the process to establish eligibility for STAR has changed, the New York State Tax Department is making a printable fact sheet for new homeowners available online. Since most new homeowners will no longer use a paper form, you may wish to provide them with a copy of the fact sheet.

The New York State Tax Department extends their thanks to our members for assistance in helping to ensure that new homeowners receive the school tax relief they are entitled to.

Questions concerning these changes may be directed to the New York State Tax Department by calling: 518-457-2036. 

September 28, 2016

On Phone Numbers and Identity - Stories From Coinbase - Medium

Would you recognize someone trying to take over your phone and your identity? Would you know what to do?  How can you protect against it?