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Submission + - SPAM: 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.
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Comment Abandoning Time-Worn Processes Leads to Atrophy (Score 5, Insightful) 156

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:Cut the power (Score 1) 69

Or they could just as easily cut the power to the house. Who here actually remembers to put their home alarms on a UPS?

Higher end home alarms (systems which are installed by a technician, and monitored by a central station) include a hefty lead-acid backup battery good for at least half a day, and often with immediate reporting to both the panel and monitoring station when the alarm switches to battery power, and also when battery charge runs low.

Comment Re:Nothing like fudging the number (Score 1) 97

If I round up, it makes the game look better than it is. If I round down, I am being giving an inaccurate portray of how I really feel.

You are but one drop of rain in a monsoon. Ratings *should* appropriately dither over the aggregate, so the few who are in the middle will likely half vote up, while half vote down.

While up/down may not be entirely fair, there's really more options for manipulation in a star rating system. By removing zero-star ratings as an option, they can artificially inflate scores. By changing the textual labels (what if 4-stars was described as "Just Okay"?) they can manipulate people into rating higher. And in general, companies are biased to WANT higher ratings, so you'll be more likely to stay around longer, spending more money, so whatever system they design is going to err or the high side.

Comment Re:Restructure gone wrong (Score 1) 299

Oh shit, that gives me PTSD hives. I worked at a startup with a sociopathic CEO who decided to pivot the week after Christmas. We all shuffled into the "living room" part of the office for a mandatory meeting, and he announced the big plan. Then he went around the room, calling out names and giving us our new roles. He didn't call all the names. "And for the rest of you: thank you for your contribution and hard work, but we've had to make some hard decisions and you won't be staying on."

Then - THEN! - the sumbitch called on each freshly-fired person in turn and asked them to talk about what their time with the company had meant to them. There were a few half-choked "I thank you for the opportunity to learn so much..." as the CEO smiled benevolently, pleased at himself for bringing such light into their sad lives.

Gah. I'd still cheerfully throw that guy under a bus. I mean, a literal bus.

Comment Re:"Human Colleague"... Nope, You Just Don't Get I (Score 1) 407

Clarke did very little writing on robot brains.

Um, I'll have to assume that you weren't around for April, 1968, when the leading AI in popular culture for a long, long, time was introduced in a Kubrick and Clarke screenplay and what probably should have been attributed as a Clarke and Kubrick novel. And a key element of that screenplay was a priority conflict in the AI.

Comment Re:"Human Colleague"... Nope, You Just Don't Get I (Score 1) 407

Well, you've just given up the argument, and have basically agreed that strong AI is impossible

Not at all. Strong AI is not necessary to the argument. It is perfectly possible for an unconscious machine not considered "strong AI" to act upon Asimov's Laws. They're just rules for a program to act upon.

In addition, it is not necessary for Artificial General Intelligence to be conscious.

Mind is a phenomenon of healthy living brain and is seen no where else.

We have a lot to learn of consciousness yet. But what we have learned so far seems to indicate that consciousness is a story that the brain tells itself, and is not particularly related to how the brain actually works. Descartes self-referential attempt aside, it would be difficult for any of us to actually prove that we are conscious.

Comment Re:"Human Colleague"... Nope, You Just Don't Get I (Score 1) 407

You're approaching it from an anthropomorphic perspective. It's not necessary for a robot to "understand" abstractions any more than they are required to understand mathematics in order to add two numbers. They just apply rules as programmed.

Today, computers can classify people in moving video and apply rules to their actions such as not to approach them. Tomorrow, those rules will be more complex. That is all.

Comment Re:"Human Colleague"... Nope, You Just Don't Get I (Score 4, Insightful) 407

Agreed that a Robot is no more a colleague than a screwdriver.

I think you're wrong about Asimov, though. It's obvious that to write about theoretical concerns of future technology, the author must proceed without knowing how to actually implement the technology, but may be able to say that it's theoretically possible. There is no shortage of good, predictive science fiction written when we had no idea how to achieve the technology portrayed. For example, Clarke's orbital satellites were steam-powered. Steam is indeed an efficient way to harness solar power if you have a good way to radiate the waste heat, but we ended up using photovoltaic. But Clarke was on solid ground regarding the theoretical possibility of such things.

Comment Better than having secret rules (Score 2) 498

I'd rather have them publish a list of requirements and acceptable characters than find out when I hit 'submit' that certain characters are not acceptable as part of a password, or have a form that accepts 16+ characters then tells me my password is too long.

Worse than that are the systems which silently truncate at a set length, or at the first unacceptable special character. Or which truncate at password creation, and handle logins with a different parser...

Comment Re:Close.. (Score 5, Interesting) 391

Too much Fa(r)cebook.
Seriously, the number of people who spend all their relaxation time buried in that pile of steaming shite and ignoring their partner is just astounding, no wonder no intimacy happens.... Especially, I have to say it sorry, women.

Its a little more than that, but that is certainly a part of it. I blame the smart phone. I thought I had a great marriage right up until my wife got an Iphone. Now admittedly I do spend a little too much time with computers and music gear. So I wasn't that worried about it when my wife first got her Iphone, but 6 months later I was genuinely lonely, felt ignored, felt like I could not a have a decent conversation with her, and its been a battle since. I try to have a conversation with her, she has to check this thing and wont give the courtesy of putting it away for all of it. I try to go places and do things with it -- we could be at an incredibly fancy restaurant sans kids and still has to whip this one (and yes, it might be limited to a brief snap of this to post about it, but its often not), I have sex with her and 30 seconds later that blue light is on. I can't even watch a movie with her without her checking it.

I even took the step of introducing a high voltage static discharge into her prior one. She simply bought another within hours. She is not a morning person, so to see her sprint up even before I did to rush out to the Apple store was disheartening. Coming up upon a decade and I decided to file for divorce now rather than risk my retirement to it.

Some people may have a less intense reaction to it than I do. It depends upon what speaks to you about being loved and feeling loved. For me its no different than choosing crack cocaine over your partner. 16 years together, the last 10 of them married.

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