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Comment: Re:I would like to point out (Score 1) 280

by cmdrxizor (#47467439) Attached to: Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say
Cue the endless prompts I have seen from various web sites telling me to "Please enter a new password". Here are some examples:

Your password must be between eight and sixteen characters.
Your password must contain at least one lower case letter, one upper case letter, one number, and one special character (#, @, or $).
Your password cannot start or end with a number.
Your password contains an invalid character.
You cannot reuse any of your last 24 passwords.

This becomes an even more entertaining game when the web site only tells you the first rule that you have broken.

It very quickly becomes non-trivially difficult to create an easy to remember hard password.

Comment: Thorium - a classic acadmic reactor (Score 2) 204

by cmdrxizor (#46985689) Attached to: Thorium: The Wonder Fuel That Wasn't
The Economist had an article about thorium reactors recently too. It was a bit rosier than this one. Anyway, all this press I've seen recent about thorium reactors reminds me of an article Admiral Rickover wrote in 1953 about the difference between academic and practical reactors. It's a good read, and there are definitely parallels here.

Comment: Re:Umm.. just as Europe moves beyond chip and pin. (Score 1) 731

by cmdrxizor (#46218939) Attached to: Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

The thing is the signature on the back of the card isn't for verification by a merchant. The stated purpose of the signature block is that you agree to the terms that come with the credit card. By the rules of Visa and MasterCard a merchant should not accept a card that is blank or has something like see ID.

Of course almost no merchant follows this part of their agreement.

It's amazing to me how many people don't realize this, and think it is somehow safer to leave the card unsigned.

Back when I worked as a cashier (at Target, of all places), I actually had people get offended when I would ask to see their ID because their credit card was unsigned. But I know many/most of my co-workers didn't check...

Also in the category of things the store should check but rarely does -- The merchant is supposed to call the credit card's issuing bank before letting someone else use the card -- this also angered people when I would tell them I had to call the bank to let them use their spouse's card.

Comment: Re:Customer information sharing (Score 1) 526

by cmdrxizor (#26390525) Attached to: Blu-ray Update Sent To User Via Credit Card Records

But per the merchant's agreement, they cannot require a picture ID to complete a credit card purchase.

Not entirely true (former Target employee speaking here). The store has an obligation to ensure that the person using the credit card is the person whose name appears on the card. Normally, that is supposed to be done by comparing the signature on the card to the signed receipt. But if the credit card isn't signed, the store has to see a picture ID. Now, I will certainly agree that a lot of stores don't do this (or don't check signatures), but this is what the stores are technically required to do. What I was told as an employee was that this prevented a customer from protesting the charge on the basis that someone else used their card. It's the same reason that cashiers are supposed to call the telephone number on the back of a CC card if the card has a spouse's name printed on it -- have to make sure the customer didn't just steal a card and claim to be the spouse.

Comment: Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 1266

by cmdrxizor (#13079396) Attached to: Longhorn to Require Monitor-Based DRM
Bad analogy. Let me modify it: DRM is more like a padlock on a homeowner's breaker box or water heater, requiring the average, unskilled person to pay an employee of the manufacturer of the device to enable him to change his house voltage from 110VAC to 40VAC, or get hot water from his own property at 99 degrees Celsius. In other words, stuff that "the average Joe" isn't really likely to do, and quite possibly not even stuff the majority of /. readers are likely to do. I really think DRM is intended to, and mostly does, deter the casual thief, just like the lock on your house. Sometimes you lock yourself out, and yes that's a pain, but no one screams "I only live in houses which aren't kept locked so as to really allow me to enter and leave freely and in the manner I choose." That would be foolish.

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.