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Submission + - Quicken Bill Pay is No Longer Safe to Use ( 1

Bruce Perens writes: I don't usually make security calls, but when a company makes egregious and really clueless security mistakes, it's often the case that the only way to attract their attention and get the issue fixed is to publicize it. This one is with Quicken Bill Pay, a product of Metavante (not Intuit). It's from personal observation rather than an expert witness case, and the company has been unresponsive through their customer support channel.

Comment Re:Use A Big Pipe (Score 1) 144

The disadvantage of many small pipes is that if they are too small, they may not be useful for some purposes, and if you make them too large, you could end up with lots of wasted space when some cables don't need that much room, and you will generally run out of available conduits to put new cables into sooner than if all of the cables had just been in a single much larger pipe. If you make them different sizes, then you create the risk running out of a pipe size if one size is used too often.

If the ratio of the cross sectional area of the available room in the common pipe to the cross sectional area of the cable you intend to run through it is high enough, damage to the cabling you want to run through or any adjacent wires is actually very unlikely to be a concern. Companies could easily add a more protective layering on their cables that would add to its size no more than a customized conduit would to further protect them... which is still going to be cheaper than digging a hole just to run some new conduit.

Comment Re:Don't remove, fill out remaining options (Score 1) 232

Actually, some of those could actually be pretty useful. An option to close tabs unvisited in the past x minutes would be particularly nice to have (where x is a user-configured value).

I suspect, however, that this kind of functionality can be added via plugin extensions to the browser, and may not need to be in the browser code.

Comment Nonsense question (Score 1) 385

Until there is scientific evidence, it's a philosophic question and not a scientific one. From many philosophic standpoints, it's a bit of a nonsense question.

The basic problem that you're likely to run into philosophically is that, regardless of whether the universe is a simulation, it is our universe. There's no reason to think that it being a simulation would have any consequence for us, or that it would be detectable. Even if you were to find some artifact of the simulation, it would be indistinguishable from a weird quirk in physics. You could argue, for example, that the reason quantum mechanics is indeterminate is that the simulation doesn't actually calculate the location at particles at the smallest level until that level of accuracy is needed. It's a neat idea, but indistinguishable from "That's just the way physics works."

If this were a simulation, we have no access out to the larger "real" world outside of it, including the "computer" running the simulation, and therefore would have no grounds to make assertions about what that world would look like or how the simulation should work. We have no reason to think this supposed "real world" contains people, or creatures anything like what we've imagined. This supposed world might have entirely different rules of physics. The simulation might run on a "computer" that is not a computer, and is unlike anything we understand. Not only do we not know about these things, but we have no reason to believe the tiniest scrap of information about the supposed world is discoverable.

If we were to assume that our universe is a simulation of a sort that we know about, we should guess that the only way we would discover this deeper truth would be a revelation made by its creator. For example, there's no possibility of a character in Grand Theft Auto to learn that he's in a video game unless the developer programs the character to know it. Without the intervention of the developer to make this information available, the GTA character would have no way of figuring out whether the game is running on an AMD processor or Intel.

So given that, even if we assume for the sake of argument that we are in a simulation, we have every reason to believe that we can never discover evidence of it, and our existence in the simulation is indistinguishable from what our existence would be if we existed in reality. It's a distinction without a difference. Our simulated universe is still as real to us as the real universe would be to us if we were real. The whole thing turns into a broader philosophic question of, "What if the nature of the universe is actually unlike anything we understand, or are capable of understanding, and everything we think we understand is illusory?" It's a somewhat interesting question to ponder for a few moments, but it makes no sense to try to answer it. If it's the case that we're incapable of understanding reality, then there's no further use for inquiry.

Comment If the universe is a simulation.... (Score 1) 385

.... then the evidence for it is in the laws of physics themselves, since the simulation would follow a fixed set of rules, what we happen to call the "laws of physics" would just be our perceived way of modelling the behaviour in the universe that we observe. The reason we wouldn't find anomalies in a properly done simulation is because the simulation runs on a set of rules that do not contain any way to perceive such an anomaly, even if it were to happen, and we, as part of that simulation are still constrained to operate within the parameters that are defined by the simulation. Even if what we call free will itself were somehow modelled within that simulation, we could no more "free-will" ourselves to think beyond the simulation that we could "free-will" ourselves to be in an alternative place and time than that which we appear to be living in. the hypothesis that the universe is a simulation is just as unfalsifiable as the notion that there is a god. You can't disprove the existence of something whose scope exceeds the boundaries of what is humanly possible to define. It therefore cannot be studied in any useful scientific way any more than a theistic assertion may be.

Comment Re:Who is liable when your tv catches fire (Score 1) 177

The people inside a fully autonomous cars are passengers, not drivers.

Actually I put it into quotes in that instance because I was referring to the AI as the "driver". But an AI can't be fined or arrested, so someone else will need to be held responsible.

I don't think manufacturers will sell fully autonomous cars.

I agree that fewer people will buy cars, and that it may eventually become relatively rare for an individual to buy a car for their own personal use. Still, presumably someone will own the cars, and it may not be the manufacturer. You may have services like Uber buying cars from a company like Tesla. There may be companies that purchase vehicles for specific use, e.g. a shipping company may buy a fleet of autonomous trucks, or... I don't know... a hotel may want to buy a vehicle for their shuttle service. Though maybe you're right, and those will still be leased. I'm not sure how the economic and legal issues will play out.

Comment Re:Sunk cost fallacy (Score 1) 198

So, you're saying that censorship works?

Depends on what you mean by "censorship". If I don't post your views on my blog, am I censoring you? I suppose you could argue that I'm inhibiting your speech, but it's kind of a stretch.

But me refusing to endorse your views does "work", at least a little tiny bit, in terms of preventing your views from spreading. If enough people, or more specifically enough people who are influential enough, refuse to endorse views, and in fact oppose those views, then yes, it does "work" in terms of preventing those views from being enforced.

Twitter is not the only means of communication.

That's... kind of entirely my point. Twitter is a private company running what is essentially a blogging platform. They aren't responsible for stopping all violence, but they may be responsible (morally, if not legally) for the behavior their site enables. They are totally within their rights to say, "We don't want this kind of thing on our site," and it's not really censorship. It won't stop violence, but if they do a good job at it, it might stop Twitter from being a tool used to incite violence. If you don't like Twitter's terms of service, then use a different means of communication. As you note, it's not the only one.

Comment Re:I've noticed that, but something else interesti (Score 3, Interesting) 155

My favorite GPS screwup was one where we were driving south on an overpass, and the gps system told us to turn left to get onto the E/W route that the overpass was taking us on top of. Of course, since we were in the middle of a bridge, this was impossible. What we actually had to do was travel to the other side of the overpass, and then navigate back onto east-running lower route. There were no left turns involved. The driver was thoroughly pissed off with the system, ranting almost for the entire rest of the trip at the rest of us about how he was going to file a complaint with the company that supplied him with it, but I just found the whole thing hilarious. In retrospect now, though, I have just considered that the fact that I was laughing about it at the time may have just been making him angrier, which led to the 15 minute or so tirade.

Comment Abandoning Time-Worn Processes Leads to Atrophy (Score 5, Insightful) 155

Scientists determined that those people who made use of machine washing rather than hand washing had diminished hand strength and neurological motor communication necessary for fine motor control. Seamstresses who bought thread rather than using the spinning jenny were similarly impaired. But worst off were teamsters who used the internal combustion trucks rather than teams of horses and used forklifts and other mechanical devices rather than loading their vehicles by hand. Their overall body strength was much reduced.

Comment Re:Exactly the same one who is liable.... (Score 1) 177

My point is that pets are property, robots and AI's are property.... their actions are the responsibility of the owners, even if the owner had no actual control over what they did. In the case of robots and AI's that fail to perform as advertised, the owner may in turn have a legitimate claim against the manufacturer (and in some cases, the lawsuit may transfer directly to the manufacturer leaving the owner out of the loop entirely), but if the manufacturer has already disclaimed any such responsibility where they were permitted to do so by law, then the owner is still and should be entirely accountable.

Comment Re:Why I wait before buying.. (Score 1) 111

Nice analogy.... except it doesn't apply here. The amount of time that I go before upgrading my CPU, which in my experience tends to amount to buying virtually an entirely new computer system (CPU, Mobo, memory, and often a video card, and sometimes even a new case and power supply), is about 2 to 3 years. While you might conjecture that I could upgrade slightly less frequently if I were to buy Intel, I doubt somehow doubt I'd be slowing down my upgrading to every 6 to 10 years, which is about how long I'd have to go without upgrading before the cost difference between AMD and Intel would typically pay for itself.

Comment Re:Exactly the same one who is liable.... (Score 2) 177

In the UK, the difference in how they are treated is only in that cats have an implicit "right to roam" unless there are specific extenuating circumstances that will overrule it, while dogs must always be kept confined or on a leash unless there are extenuating circumstances that can overrule that. Cat owners in the UK are still expected to take reasonable steps to prevent their cat causing harm to others or damage to others' property, and they can be held responsible for their pet's actions, even while it was outside of their immediate control and care. So yes, there is a difference in how they are managed: cat owners can generally legally allow their cats to roam anywhere at any time of day or night, and dog owners cannot, but cat owners are not actually any less responsible for their pet's actions than dog owners in the UK. An owner's responsibility with an AI or robot would probably be quite similar to that of a cat.... either way, however, the owner is responsible for the actions of their property.

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