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Submission + - Quicken Bill Pay is No Longer Safe to Use (perens.com)

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 Dig? (Score 1) 85

There are large areas of the country served by overhead power and telephone lines. Bringing fiber to these areas would be cheap compared to those with underground utilities. The poles are there. It's just a matter of hanging the fiber from them and paying a (regulated) per pole rental fee. And yet we don't see fiber going up in these areas any faster than in neighborhoods served by underground utilities.

Overhead fiber can be so cheap that a few power companies have gone ahead and put it up whenever they have a maintenance and/or upgrade project in the neighborhood. But often, due to non-compete agreements with telcos/cable companies, or restrictions on municipal broadband systems, this fiber is relegated to the power companies internal use for SCADA and metering systems.

When the government can get to the root of the economics that broadband providers use not to compete with each other, perhaps the installation of fiber will start to take off in this country. But that will also see some execs off to prison for antitrust violations, so don't hold your breath.

Comment Of course ... (Score 1) 52

... this means they'll need your phone number.

Phone numbers are the new SSN. Particularly since telcos have been given immunity for handing your metadata over to every TLA and creditor that asks for it. Just try doing business with anyone and, when they ask for your phone number, just tell them you don't have one. Watch them shit themselves.

Comment Re:If it ain't broke... (Score 1) 204

Assuming that those options aren't problems from the code maintenance or security points of view

All options are problems from a code maintenance and testing point of view. Every feature has an ongoing cost. If the cost exceeds the benefit, which is almost certainly the case if the feature is very little-used and there are other more often-used and roughly equally-convenient/effective ways to accomplish the same thing, then the feature should be removed.

That said, I use close-to-right all the time and hope it doesn't get axed. OTOH, another poster pointed out that it's also possible to multi-select then use Ctrl-W to close the selected tabs, which is almost as convenient when close-to-right is what I want, and also handles other cases where I want to batch close but close-to-right isn't what I want, so I won't be too annoyed if close-to-right is removed.

Comment Re:Huh? I use these all the time. (Score 1) 204

I'm sure the real reasoning behind this is to pad their usage stats. Chrome users spend 25% more time on your website and spend $fake_dollars more!

Padding usage stats in this way would be a bad idea for Google, because it would appear to sites that Chrome users spend more time on their sites... but spend less per unit of time (because no one buys from an idle background tab), making the Chrome user base appear to be less desirable than the user base of other browsers.

Comment Re:Huh? I use these all the time. (Score 1) 204

It's fucking stupid. It's rarely needed function that is rarely used. IT'S STILL NEEDED.

I use "close tabs to right" all the time[1], myself, so I hope this doesn't go away. That said, I disagree with your idea that if something is rarely used it should be kept. Your other example (clearing cookies) is a bad one because there is no other way to do that, but in this case tabs can be -- and generally are -- closed one at a time, and in fact Chrome is careful to move the tabs around so that the close button for the next tab is under your cursor when you close one. This means that "close to the right" can also be done by moving your mouse to the "x" on the first tab to remove, then tapping the mouse button rapidly until all of them are gone. Unless you have more than the 20-30 tabs that I typically have open, that's really not so terrible. Plus, as others in this thread have pointed out, you can multi-select tabs then batch close them that way. There are other reasonably-good ways to achieve the goal, so if this is one is rarely used, there's no way to argue that it's actually necessary.

As for why to remove it... features cost. Every feature you keep in a product is a feature that has to be maintained and tested. Development and testing resources are not infinite -- not even at Google -- and the accumulated burden of lots of old and rarely-used features gradually slows progress on new features, security fixes, etc. It makes a great deal of sense to remove features that aren't used much and which have more often-used alternatives.

[1] My normal browsing style is to open every link in a new tab, and to use Ctrl-W to go "back". So my tab bar ends up being a breadcrumb trail of my path through a web site, and when I'm done with something I close the "site" with "close tabs to right". I also keep a couple of pinned tabs (email and calendar, in that order), so when I want to close "everything" I've been doing, I "close tabs to right" on the calendar tab.

Comment Re:The objection ignores Bostrom's basic argument (Score 1) 359

The objection in question ignores Bostrom's basic argument.

Irrelevant. The objection is orthogonal to Bostrom's argument, but could absolutely refute it, if valid (which I don't believe, more below).

Bostrom argues that if simulation is possible, it must eventually be done which means there probably are a large number of simulated universes and only one non-simulated one (I'm simplifying here, but that's the core of it). If a counterargument demonstrates that there is some reason our observed physics is incompatible with any possible simulated physics then Bostrom's argument becomes irrelevant, because we have proof that our universe is not simulated, regardless of whether simulation is possible or whether it has been done. Or, if the weaker counterargument that our observed physics is incompatible with any reasonable simulated physics, then Bostrom's argument becomes weaker, though it's not refuted because one could postulate that the creator of the simulation chose to create an unreasonable simulated physics in order to fool any intelligences that arose within the simulation and looked (note that this latter argument also works against any proofs of the non-existence of any form of god who has some reason to demand faith -- you can always say "Yeah, but god made it that way so that we'd have to take his existence on faith.")

However, I think Hossenfelder's argument is flawed because she's making a crucial and unjustifiable assumption: that any simulation must necessarily simulate every detail of the simulated universe, i.e that the simulation in question must be a finite element model. Not only is there no reason to make this assumption, there's every reason to assume its opposite, because it's clearly more efficient to simulate at a higher level of abstraction. In that view, the weirdness of Quantum Mechanics actually supports the simulation theory, because we can surmise that the simulation does not in fact model elementary particles but only their aggregate behavior and what we're actually seeing when we try to look very closely is a predictable result of this incompletely-detailed simulation.

Note that I'm not saying I think we live in a simulated universe. I think it's probably impossible to know, but to the extent that we think we might be able to search for artifacts of the simulation, QM's very weirdness is probably the best artifact we have to support the notion, not a refutation.

Comment Abandoning Time-Worn Processes Leads to Atrophy (Score 5, Insightful) 154

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:Completely pointless (Score 1) 244

If the security in the named countries is so bad, what's to stop people from just sneaking their laptop in their carry on luggage? What's the US going to do at arrivals? Confiscate what turned out to be a harmless laptop? I mean if it made it all the way here from Jordan without blowing up, what's the point?

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