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Comment Re:Not too hard (Score 2) 52

If one guy and a sample size of 40 cards can do this with 100% accuracy ... then I assume a better funded and more malicious entity could do it on a FAR larger scale.

I think the fact that it IS so trivial is kind of the point.

You would hope it wouldn't be even possible to predict the next card and that the numbers come from a big pool and should be unrelated. But apparently that's not true.

Comment Holy crap ... (Score 1) 52

He noticed that the replacement card's number appeared to have a relationship with other Amex cards he'd had in the past. Kamkar worked out a formula for how the number was calculated, which matched up to 40 cards and replacement cards shared with him by his friends for his research.

That sounds pretty damned broken to me.

Are these guys not even trying?

Comment Re:Many a young engineer.... (Score 1) 82

You know, I think we need to settle this once and for all ...

Holes are for cows ... You are all cows. Cows say moo. MOOOO! MOOOO! Moo cows MOOOO! Moo say the cows. YOU, er, hole-flowing current-producing COWS!!

And, no, I have no idea what you're talking about, I just think the cow thing is one of the funniest internet memes in years. ;-)

Comment Re:Slashdot is not your personal blog (Score 1) 148

I don't entirely disagree ... but a lot of people prefer not to see something submitted which boils down to "hey, look what I have over here", especially if that submitter might actually benefit from the self promotion. And most especially if they don't give us the courtesy of adding the disclaimer which says "I'm on the payroll and this is mine".

So, like when Nerval's Lobster gets something accepted which inevitably links back to dice.com, we pretty much know he's a paid shill who gets preferentially published. But we only know it because we've seen it, not because anybody has made any great effort to point it out.

We just want to KNOW when it's self promotion, instead of having that fact be very opaque. And bumping up your hits on Forbes by submitting a link to your article on Slashdot ... well, it's still self promotion. Especially if those extra hits on Forbes impact your compensation or retention by Forbes.

It might be relatively benign, but fess up to it in the summary instead of just pretending you stumbled on something awesome. Otherwise people assume it's not so benign.

Comment Re:Screen peeking (Score 1) 186

So do you want to make it that much easier to give away your position in a first-person shooter to your screen-peeking competitors?

Yeah ... about that ... that's not an actual use-case for me, because I don't play them, or any other form of online game.

I strongly suspect it's also not an issue for most people either.

The needs of geeks and gamers have nothing to do with how the rest of the world uses technology, and are pretty useless in determining what people actually want and need.

Comment Re:"Reset to factory settings" button (Score 2) 139

Define "good speaker".

And there's the rub ... if you ever describe the sound of your speakers as "moist, peaty, and with chocolate overtones" ... well, I have no idea what you consider to be a "good" speaker. I sure as hell can't hear what you claim to be able to.

I currently own four of these, and highly recommend them.

They still use old-fashioned head-phone jacks, can be daisy chained, have hours of battery life and can be charged from USB ... utterly compatible with everything from an original Walkman to an iPhone, because everything still uses that headphone jack. There's no app or custom software, just a little 3.5mm jack. There's also no firmware updates.

Those little suckers have traveled with me for the last 4 years ... they've been in hotels, in tropical resorts, in my backyard, poolside ... all four of them weigh in at less than a pound and take up very little space. Two of them have traveled with me everywhere I have flown since I got them, the other two are much newer but give me a little more flexibility.

Being small little speakers, they have the benefit that in a relatively short distance you can't hear them at all. Which means the wife and I can have music that people 30 feet away can't even hear -- which is a bonus when you're in the back yard or lounging by a pool and don't want to disturb other people.

I have literally hundreds if not thousands of hours on the damned things. I consider them awesome speakers, mostly because of their utility and portability.

I'm with you, for overall utility and convenience, I define "good" as "good enough". But they completely eschew any form of network or wireless technology, because they don't need it.

Comment Re:it depends on your definition (of is is) (Score 1) 186

If you still define a TV as something with both a display and a tuner/channel selector, then yes, it's dead and covered with larvae.

I'm pretty sure my TV hasn't had any role in volume, channel selection, or anything but which input it is displaying in well over a decade.

Unless you need a touch screen, pretty much any display device is just a passive monitor.

Between DVD players and cable boxes, TVs have been excluded from that functionality for a VERY long time.

Comment Not that intriguing ... (Score 2) 186

It raises an intriguing question: where is the television headed? What uses and functions does one giant screen serve that can't be cleverly redistributed to smaller screens?

What the hell do you think people do with TVs?

That's right, we watch them ... TV, movies, maybe video games.

I don't want my big TV replaced with anything which is "cleverly redistributed to smaller screens".

I have never used my TV as anything but a dumb screen for content from other sources. Most other people probably won't either.

People keep telling me what my TV will be in the future, and like so many people telling us what "the future" will hold for us, they're not actually listening to what anybody wants.

So, the next time I'm sitting and watching a movie in my living room in my comfy sofa ... I sure as hell won't be asking the not-so-very-intriguing question of What uses and functions does one giant screen serve that can't be cleverly redistributed to smaller screens?.

A TV is a display device, for one or more other devices, all of which are infinitely more suited to retrieving and rendering content than my TV.

Oddly enough, the monitors on my computer are also just dumb displays.

Comment Re:So it was the US that triggered it (Score 4, Insightful) 142

They must think that the risk is worth it to check NK defences, but it doesn't help diplomatic efforts.

Honestly, sometimes I think it's fairly common that countries periodically have to do things which say "we know you're there, we're not afraid of you, and we can fuck you up".

So, think of China building artificial islands in the South China Sea and then claiming that is territorial waters. Sailing past and waving the flag is part and parcel of reminding them that, no, this is international waters and has been for some time. Would you have them cede the waters to China and just let them annex it?

Sometimes, you need to remind the other guy that you're still there, and reality isn't defined in terms of what they claim. And you usually do that by telling me "oh, by the way, we'll be doing this right here for the next little while".

For some countries, diplomacy requires a little show of force to demonstrate you're not as intimidated as they think you should be of their supreme leader's tiny penis and huge ego.

Comment Re:smart tvs are not smart (Score 2) 139

First off, if your $1000 smart TV is suddenly rendered useless, that's not exactly a minor inconvenience ... if I stole your TV it would have about the same effect as rendering it inoperable.

Second, why the hell would you assume malware would give a crap about what it's infecting? Do you really think think the writers of ransomware are sitting around thinking "Oh, we better put in checks to make sure we don't fuck up some poor guy's TV"?

I think the real lesson here is these 'smart' devices have such inherently bad security that they can be rendered useless fairly easily, and that fixing them can be damned near impossible.

Comment Re:"Reset to factory settings" button (Score 1) 139

It's a trade off you'll have to decide for yourself.

For me, if there was a $400 JBL speaker which had wireless and internet and could be controlled by an app, and a $400 JBL speaker which simply took inputs over wires from an amplifier ... I'm going to assume the one which needs the wire and the amplifier is, all things considered, a significantly better speaker.

Because it doesn't have all that extra stuff in it.

When the poster says it's a $400 speaker ... it's not really. It's a much cheaper speaker with electronics and other features slapped around it which cause problems down the road, and jack up the price of a cheap speaker that people think is a $400 speaker.

Comment Re:Wait what? (Score 2) 139

If I had to guess, I'd say the latter ... with the caveat that, like all consumer products, product management, marketing, and the accountants make all the decisions.

So you start off with a vanilla Android.

And then you put in all your proprietary stuff, figure out how to skin and brand it, add in the stuff so you can monetize the user experience, a little telemetry to call home .. next thing you know, you've got yet another horribly insecure piece of consumer electronics which has had a bunch of security holes installed.

Time and time again, we basically see that these kinds of products end up with these problems because of lazy/bad choices made by product managers and the marketing department.

Nobody is designing a TV and thinking they need to design a sure, robust architecture. They're trying to figure out how to keep making money off you after you buy it.

This same stuff happens on pretty much EVERY device which wants to connect to the intertubes these days. Because companies are more concerned about putting in a damned "like" button than they are anything to do with security.

I've reached the point where I assume any consumer electronics which wants to connect to the internet is inherently insecure and not worth owning.

"Help Mr. Wizard!" -- Tennessee Tuxedo