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Comment: Re:Chip & Pin (Score 1) 106

by rfunches (#46073017) Attached to: Michaels Stores Investigating Possible Data Breach

Chip and Pin has already been comprimised in the wild:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...

Nothing in the article states that the fraudulent charges were run as Chip+[Sig/PIN] transactions, though. They were processed in a way that bypass the chip:

  1. 1) Card not present transactions (mail/phone/internet)
  2. 2) Cloned magstripe-only card on a non-chip terminal (I had a chipped Visa fraudulently used in the US with this method)
  3. 3) Same as #2 but with a PIN at a merchant terminal for cash back or at an ATM for cash withdrawal or advance

I've yet to hear of a case where a fraudulent chip transaction came from a cloned card.

Forcing everything in the card present transaction chain -- cards, POS devices and ATMs, card processor networks, banks -- to require the chip, eliminating the use of the magstripe, should (at least in theory) eliminate methods 2 and 3. But there's still the issue of card not present transactions. Until you find a viable solution for that, the scammers will always have an avenue for fraud.

Comment: Re:What the Hell??? (Score 1) 376

by rfunches (#40316853) Attached to: Verizon Wireless Goes Ahead With 'Bucket' Data Plans

USA Today is making that up. There's an unlimited calling, unlimited texting, 300 MB data plan but

  • 1) it's only for basic phones (not smartphones)
  • 2) it costs $70 per month (not $80)

VZW's PDF (http://solutions.vzwshop.com/shareeverything/pdf/verizon_share_everything_plan_details.pdf) excludes smartphones from the "Share Everything Plans for Basic Phones" and "Data-Only Plans," therefore the minimum charge per month is $90 -- $40 for the device, $50 for 1 GB data. I'd argue the minimum is $100, since (if you keep reading) it's worded like a family plan with a two-device minimum, and the cheapest 2nd device is a tablet @ $10.

What isn't clear is if there will be single-line pricing, though the wording ("Select one smartphone and up to nine more devices", emphasis mine) implies that it'll exist. Most of the multi-line scenarios I can think of, however, are running $10-$30/mo higher with SE, with the biggest hit to basic phone non-texting customers. In my case, it's $110 now (2 basic phones, 1 smartphone w/unlimited data, no texting) vs. $150+ on SE (1 smartphone, 2 basic phones, 1 GB data, which I would definitely use in a month) so that's a ~33% increase.

Comment: Re:Enforceability? (Score 1) 388

by rfunches (#36315462) Attached to: Apple Nixes iPad Giveaways

Silly Fonts aren't even copyrightable let alone trademarkable

The U.S. Copyright Office catalog would beg to differ. Run a quick search in there for Myriad Pro -- one example is document TX0005308118 registered on 2000-10-30 to Adobe Systems, Inc. You can also see registrations for ClearViewHwy, the new font for highway signs, plus if you search USPTO you'll find a trademark application filed in 2003 for the name of the font.

Comment: Re:Once apon a time (Score 1) 387

by rfunches (#36293108) Attached to: PBS Web Sites and Databases Hacked

and additionally have advertising: their shows are all standard "44 minute hours" with the remaining time taken up letting us all know about how this show was made possible by a grant from the buystufffromus corporation

Now that is just false. The New York Times just ran an article today about PBS's programming model:

And, [John F. Wilson, the chief programming executive for PBS] noted, PBS shows would still be “the longest hour in television in terms of content,” with as much as 54 minutes of programming, compared with about 40 minutes for commercial networks.

Not to mention, the current programming format means that unless you're watching something over an hour long (e.g. Masterpiece, Great Performances) you don't have to sit through any sponsorships or use a DVR to skip them during the actual program -- the exception being membership drive broadcasts. From what I recall, the best the broadcast networks have done was the "limited commercial interruption" model -- last one I remember was "24" and they still had one or two cheesy Ford commercials during the actual show, probably 2-3 minutes each in length. Plus there's all of the in-show advertising/branding Ford got, in addition to their commercials.

(The article linked above explains that PBS will test programming breaks within the one-hour window, possibly once every ~15 minutes. Even if that becomes the norm, what you call "advertising" on PBS is a far cry from the advertising on broadcast/cable networks. It's a step removed from premium cable -- e.g .HBO, Cinemax -- but just barely.)

Comment: Re:Get a sunday subscription, it's cheaper. (Score 3, Informative) 127

by rfunches (#35646036) Attached to: New York Times Paywall Goes Live, Loopholes Abound

for $3.75/week you can get a sunday NY paper delivered in the US, and that gives you a free on-line subscription. By itself the on-line subscription is 3.50/week. SO for less than the postage you get the delightful dead tree version too.

I thought about that too, until I found out that for the D.C. metro area, that's the intro price and only good for 8-12 weeks. After that, it doubles to $7.50/wk. Last time I checked -- granted, it was several years ago -- the newsstand price for the Sunday NYT was only $5.00. (In my case, since I own a smartphone but no tablet, I would be better off taking the Sunday NYT for 12 weeks, then switching to digital.) I'd be curious to know what the NY/NJ/"home area" rate is compared to D.C., or if other parts of the country have cheaper "standard" rates.

Comment: Re:Probably not. Sorry. (Score 0) 215

by rfunches (#33918054) Attached to: Square Enix Attempting <em>Final Fantasy XIV</em> Damage Control

- Various other major bugfixes, particularly a fix to the "can't alt-tab out of full-screen mode" bug, which was present in FFXI as well.

Would people stop propagating this myth that Alt+Tab is a bug? It's not a bug and Square-Enix said so. The PC version of FFXI was intended to be full-screen only without the ability to Alt+Tab, and the linked notice clearly implies it was implemented to prevent the use of cheating tools. (The effectiveness of that is beside the point.)

Comment: Re:I Talked to a Couple of Beta Testers (Score 1) 401

by rfunches (#33879036) Attached to: Final Fantasy XIV Launches To Scathing Reviews

Pretty good job? It was hard enough just pulling down patches and logging in during the limited alpha/beta windows, usually only 5-6 hours at night a few days a week, with the game blacked out the rest of the time. I tried to file bug reports and the form gave me an error, with no secondary way to contact them. Then they only wanted to solicit certain types of feedback per testing period, and if you didn't post within a few days you were SOL -- they locked the discussion thread. It was like going down a checklist: we've asked about item x for two weeks, now we'll move on to item y, we don't want to hear about item x again.

I played FFXI for several years after the North America launch. The game wasn't perfect, but eventually I got the hang of the controls and could navigate the UI without looking. Even with the lack of English-language sites documenting the quests, missions, jobs, weapons, etc. at the NA launch, most of the game mechanics made sense. With FFXIV, it's like they tried to come up with a more in-depth, customizable version of FFXI and ended up with a horribly complex and convoluted system. The XP system was unclear, they were offering job classes which were unplayable during the early stages of beta (and not warning people or removing the class option), and then there were the laggy menus with laggy submenus containing laggy submenus leading to laggy submenus ending in more laggy submenus, etc. In FFXI, attacking a monster with the keys was simple: tab to it (target name in bottom-left corner, monster highlighted with an arrow above it) and then Enter x2 (confirm target & issue attack command) to attack. I could keep my left hand over WASD and my right over the arrows and still comfortably play thief -- a class which required a lot of positioning and timed macros to play effectively. The controls in FFXIV just never made sense -- this coming from a PC gamer who has never felt the need for a gamepad.

I was appalled by the beta. It looked and played like some piece of concept code. At least in its day, FFXI was a notable contender in the MMO space, with its international reach (auto-translate was vital for playing outside of your region's peak hours) and broad player base (console & PC). FFXIV just looks like something S-E threw together to meet a deadline.

Comment: Re:Why do traders have such worst-case rules? (Score 1) 460

by rfunches (#32274712) Attached to: New "Circuit Breaker" Imposed To Stop Market Crash

You can easily lose more than what you set because of situations like this. If it moves faster than you can sell for that amount, you will sell at below your stop loss number. You can set it at 40% and lose 99%

And this is why you only use a stop-limit order. You can place your stop at a price reflecting a 40% loss with a limit reflecting a 45% loss. Using May 6 as an example, a stock trading at $50.00 that printed at $0.01 would trigger the 40% stop, but your order wouldn't fill below $22.50, limiting your loss to 45%. (And your trade would not have been busted by the Clearly Erroneous Ruling Policy, since the criteria was price deviation greater/less than 60% from the last print at or before 2:40 PM ET.)

Some brokerage firms offer both stop and stop-limit order types. In a world of millisecond trading, using a stop-loss is playing with fire.

Apple

Psystar Activation Servers Down? 245

Posted by Soulskill
from the bad-news-bears dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I purchased Rebel EFI in support of Psystar's crusade back in October. Just 3 short months later, I have no support. I found this out when I upgraded my hard drive and installed Snow Leopard using Rebel EFI. The program can no longer 'phone home' to activate or download/install drivers. This is a direct contradiction to Psystar's promise posted on their website: 'Psystar will continue to support all of its existing customers of hardware and software through this transitional period. Warranties on hardware will continue to be honored as long the customer has a valid warranty. Rebel EFI support for existing customers, as always, will remain exclusively available through email and the built-in ticket interface.' Has anyone else run into this issue? It has been 9 days with no response from Psystar by e-mail or phone."
PC Games (Games)

EA Shutting Down Video Game Servers Prematurely 341

Posted by Soulskill
from the sixty-dollar-yearly-fee dept.
Spacezilla writes "EA is dropping the bomb on a number of their video game servers, shutting down the online fun for many of their Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 games. Not only is the inclusion of PS3 and Xbox 360 titles odd, the date the games were released is even more surprising. Yes, Madden 07 and 08 are included in the shutdown... but Madden 09 on all consoles as well?"

Comment: Re:Fairness? (Score 3, Informative) 319

by rfunches (#30501044) Attached to: Verizon Defends Doubling of Early Termination Fee

Why are people complaining? Take a basic individual plan and a basic (Moto W755) phone on Verizon:

  • 2-year contract
    • Monthly plan: $39.99/mo
    • Phone: $0
    • Cancel after 1 year: $654.88 ($479.88 + $175 termination)
    • 2-year cost: $959.76
  • Month-to-month contract
    • Monthly plan: $39.99/mo
    • Phone: $249.99
    • 1-year cost: $729.87
    • 2-year base cost: $1209.75

It's still cheaper after one year to pay the full $175 ETF on-contract than go month-to-month because they inflate the "real" cost of the phone. The month-to-month plan is nothing more than a veiled warm-and-fuzzy to the people who want to "stick it to the phone company."

Comment: Re:Except for Domain Controllers.. (Score 2, Informative) 201

by rfunches (#29972742) Attached to: The Machine SID Duplication Myth

Agreed...when I was reading up for one of the Server 2008 AD MCTS exams, I cloned a base VM image of Server 2008 to simulate two DCs, a file server, an IIS/application server, etc. I had to download and run NewSID because every server I joined to the domain (i.e. the "primary" DC) had problems getting joined correctly. I don't recall the specifics but Server 2008 did throw a hissy fit and I had to run NewSID on each VM prior to joining before I could do anything else.

Data Storage

The Sidekick Failure and Cloud Culpability 246

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lowered-expectations dept.
miller60 writes "There's a vigorous debate among cloud pundits about whether the apparent loss of all Sidekick users' data is a reflection on the trustworthiness of cloud computing or simply another cautionary tale about poor backup practices. InformationWeek calls the incident 'a code red cloud disaster.' But some cloud technologists insist data center failures are not cloud failures. Is this distinction meaningful? Or does the cloud movement bear the burden of fuzzy definitions in assessing its shortcomings as well as its promise?"
Bug

Server Failure Destroys Sidekick Users' Backup Data 304

Posted by timothy
from the oh-well-enough-said dept.
Expanding on the T-Mobile data loss mentioned in an update to an earlier story, reader stigmato writes "T-Mobile's popular Sidekick brand of devices and their users are facing a data loss crisis. According to the T-Mobile community forums, Microsoft/Danger has suffered a catastrophic server failure that has resulted in the loss of all personal data not stored on the phones. They are advising users not to turn off their phones, reset them or let the batteries die in them for fear of losing what data remains on the devices. Microsoft/Danger has stated that they cannot recover the data but are still trying. Already people are clamoring for a lawsuit. Should we continue to trust cloud computing content providers with our personal information? Perhaps they should have used ZFS or btrfs for their servers."

Comment: Re:G-Mail? (Score 2, Informative) 594

by rfunches (#29554335) Attached to: Bank Goofs, and Judge Orders Gmail Account Nuked

The balance sheet will break out assets and liabilities on a specific basis and you can clearly see where the banks got burned - mortgages, mortgage-backed, and asset-backed securities, on both the assets and liabilities -- basically, assets which the banks clearly didn't know how to count. (See Merrill Lynch's 10-K as an example.) For ML, there were massive losses in securities financing transactions, mortgage/asset-backed securities, and considerable losses on derivatives in 2008. The summarized balance sheet clearly shows what happened -- high leverage levels means that it only takes a 3% drop to wipe out shareholder equity (for ML, it was barely 3% - $667.5b in assets against $20b in equity) and ML saw a 34.56% decline in assets FY08 ($1t in FY07 to $667.5b in FY08). They got the leverage to 13.18 in Q1 2009 (down to 13.18 on $569.8b assets, $529.6b liabilities, $40.2b equity) which gave them a 7% cushion, but with a 14.6% decline in assets during the quarter. Profits and share issuance can help raise the equity and counter a drop in assets, but you're pretty much screwed trying to make up a 34% decline.

The ratio for ML reached its peak at the end of 2008, as the subprime mortgage market cratered:

  • 2004 - 20.02
  • 2005 - 19.13
  • 2006 - 20.57
  • 2007 - 30.94
  • 2008 - 32.37
  • Q1 2009 - 13.18

There's always been a race between big financial firms to beat each other to the very last penny (the concept of "flash" trading, for instance, has a hint of desperation in it) so one by one they decided to out-leverage each other to bring in bigger profits faster. It's a risk management problem -- ML bet their future in FY06 on continued success in prime brokerage and securities financing, as well as commercial and residential mortgage loans and long-term debt, while ignoring a 18% drop in equity due to a net loss in continuing ops, stock repurchases, and dividend payments of $1.40/share.

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