Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

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.
Link to Original Source

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:Does this case fit the precedent? (Score 1) 516

This is sloppy legal analysis. If the court was even remotely consistent then the vast number of times that I have had to deal with that answer (and, the followup objection by defense counsel: asked and answered) to subjects that the witness does not want to discuss in deposition would disappear in a puff of legal logic.

On occasion I've let the weasel slide and during the body of the deposition I've inserted questions along the line of:
Are your parents still living? When did your father pass? When did your mother pass?
What was the address that you lived at when you left for college?
Please state all of your past employers that paid you enough to require that you file a tax return?
What is your wedding anniversary?
What is the day and month of your spouse's birthday? (each of the kids follow)
Who was your favorite college prof? What class or classes did you take? Do you remember your grade(s)?

When did you receive the notice of this deposition?

What did you have for breakfast?

What color tie is your attorney wearing?

I toss those in over 2-3 hours and then ask the question that the deponent could not remember (so conveniently).

I draw two objections - asked and answered and argumentative.

I always ask that we call the judge to get a ruling.

I explain that I've just asked the deponent questions covering many decades about minutia that most people would not recall and the deponent has answered each question without objection from defense counsel. I wish to explore the "memory hole" and how only the fact critical to the case is the ONLY matter that the deponent cannot remember.

Usually the judge gives me a little leeway - but, the record is clear - the deponent's memory is just fine until the fact that will hurt is brought up.

Of course a 5th Amendment objection ends the inquiry (I'm a civil litigator).

The willingness to tolerate the mendacity of poor memory on a daily basis in civil actions puts the lie to this "convenient" ruling.

Comment Can VirtualBox spoof this? (Score 1) 419

I only run Windows two ways:

* For gaming on my dedicated gaming computer,

* In a VirtualBox under Linux (for those few apps that are Windows-only).

For gaming, maybe I should just switch to SteamOS.

For the rest, I wonder if VirtualBox can spoof the Windows processor detection (lie and claim to be an older chip). I think in principle it absolutely can, but maybe the project doesn't want to invite trouble.

Comment Too many! (Score 1) 160

Seriously, it has become annoying... In the old days, before mobile phones, there was ICQ. Once most people had mobile phones, I only used SMS. At some point Google/Gmail Chat was used quite a lot alongside SMS as it was easily accessible as part of Gmail. When Smartphones started becoming popular, Google Chat/Hangouts was still used quite a lot (as well as SMS), but once the masses started using Smartphones, almost everyone moved to WhatsApp. However, there are some friends that don't like Facebook so they don't to use WhatsApp, and use Signal or Wire instead. So for personal instant messaging I now use mostly WhatsApp, some Wire, some Signal, some SMS, and a little bit of Hangouts. At work, we use Lync. As I forgot SMS when responding to the question, I answered with "5", but it should really be "6".

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 Re:Looks good to me (Score 1) 235

If that is the case, that WebAssembly calls the JavaScript engine to execute calls, it can't be much if any faster than well-written "native" JavaScript

If what you want to do is make JS API function calls, like popping up an alert(), then no it won't be any faster than just using JS for the purpose. But WebAssembly runs the Unreal engine quite a lot faster and smoother than JS would. The fine article included a link to the "Zen Garden" demo which runs in a web browser:


WebAssembly will open up new use cases, like smooth 3D games running in the browser. Things like Google Apps will run much more smoothly. We'll see if that turns out to be a big deal or not; I think maybe it will be.

Comment Re:Looks good to me (Score 1) 235

Maybe I should look at compiling Forth to WebAssembly.

Should be possible. But I looked at some examples and it looks like they went for a LISP-like syntax rather than FORTH-like:


Also somewhere in the fine article or one of the videos, somebody said that the stack-oriented bytecodes would likely be translated into register-based native code for efficiency. But it seems like they should make a simple virtual machine that can directly execute the bytecodes, for debugging or whatever, and a FORTH-based language would be the perfect front end for that. For all the few, proud FORTH fans out there, including you and me.

I also saw one web page which claims that WebAssembly isn't really a virtual machine code, it's an abstract syntax tree of an assembly language. I don't know enough to really evaluate that statement but I suspect it makes little practical difference one way or another.

Slashdot Top Deals

Anyone who imagines that all fruits ripen at the same time as the strawberries, knows nothing about grapes. -- Philippus Paracelsus