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Comment NY and CA relevant how? (Score 1) 528

Given how the population of the US is ~319 million, 45 million is almost 15% of the total US population. Therefore, I'm not sure what the summary (or the article itself, which doesn't provide any further detail) is trying to achieve by stating that almost 15% of people "in states like NY and California" use ad blockers -- saying they are statistically average compared to the other 48 states seems to add no value. To me, it would be more interested to know how much variation there is between states.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 4, Insightful) 361

in case you missed the last twenty years, they're specifically talking about the Monsanto crops which are a: terminal (they do not produce viable seed), b: specifically resistant to insect and disease strains that have already adapted to the resistant strain crops such as triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye), and most importantly c: as synthetic strains, are patented, hence with marker genes can be traced into the wild and used to shut down farmers who refuse to buy Monsanto strains by litigating them to death when those marked strains are found sprouting in their hedgerows.

Aren't a and c mutually exclusive? I am not a farmer, so if I have a gross conceptual error here please correct me, but if the crops are terminal, how are the farmers "illegally" getting seeds to plant without paying royalties? Someone has to buy the seeds from Monsanto if they are not viable on their own, right?

Comment Re:Aren't these already compromised cards? (Score 1) 269

You are wrong about merchant liability and signatures The merchant is under no obligation to check the signature, not now and not in the future with a chipped card. The signature is simply used as an acknowledgment. In fact, as a merchant I am not allowed to check the signature or ask for identification, even if the back of the card has wording in the signature area asking to check the identification. Doing so is a violation of the merchant agreement with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and Amex. As long as the transaction is approved and the customer acknowledges it, the transaction is considered valid.

This is not true. Since it has been a while since I've looked up these rules, I double checked my memory againstthe MasterCard Transaction Processing Rules (I did not check the other three major issuers). There is a procedure to follow if the credit card is not signed -- see page 66. In short, the merchant is required to get authorization from the bank that issued the card, AND require the customer to sign the credit card. "The Merchant must not complete the Transaction if the Cardholder refuses to sign the Card." Of course, I have rarely seen this rule enforced to the letter...

Comment Can't upgrade unless upgrade is available! (Score 1) 437

My KitKat Nexus 4 was advertising an update for a few weeks. I ignored it, since I'd heard there were some issues with Lollipop.

Now, my Nexus 4 isn't even advertising the update, and it says my system is up-to-date. So I'm not sure why, but apparently the Lollipop update is no longer available to me for some reason. Yes, I'm sure I could go manually download the update and push it to my phone, but frankly I'm not that motivated.

If they want people to upgrade, not only do they need to push the upgrade through carriers to users, but keep it available to those who waited for all the bugs to be worked out!

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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