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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 No shit (Score 1) 319

And I dunno about schools these days, or everywhere for that matter, but way back when I was in high school the books usually used something that was quasi-cylindrical like a Robinson or some such. Tended to give you a good picture of whatever they centered it on (which would usually be whatever was being talked about) and squished things near the edges.

I don't recall ever seeing a Mercator projection. Maybe the local maps were, like when it was showing a single country, but of course it doesn't matter a lot at that point as the distortion in a small area isn't that large whatever kind of projection you use.

Comment That's how these things always go (Score 4, Insightful) 125

Whenever there's a "language popularity" thing online they always do their research by looking at what people are doing online. Either what they are talking about, what they are sharing, etc. Somehow none of them ever consider how horribly skewed this is.

The simplest counterexample to something like this is embedded software. It is unarguable that there's a lot of development of that going on. Everything today gets controlled with a micro-controller or small CPU. Actual custom designed ASICs/circuits are reserved for only a few applications, most things get a more general purpose device and do it in code. Your car, your cable modem, your microwave, your TV, etc all of them run code.

Well guess what? That embedded code isn't done in Javascript or Ruby or any of these other trendy languages. Often as not it is done in C/C++ (and sometimes partially or all assembly). It just isn't the sort of things that gets posted about online. First the code is almost always proprietary, so the project itself isn't going to get posted as it is property of the company that paid to have it written and second it is professionals working in teams doing it, not people who are getting started out or playing around. They are likely to get help internally, not talk about it on the Internet.

So if you want to look at Github to see what is popular on Github, that's cool, but when people try to generalize that to development overall, it is false. To get a feeling for what is really popular in software development you'd have to poll programmers working at a variety of big companies since that's where a lot of the code is being generated.

Comment If the goal is reducing federal spending (Score 1) 648

Then restoration is not the way to go. You can't on the one hand say "We have to cut spending!" and then on the other say "We have to give the military back what we cut!" If you want budget cuts to try and balance the budget ok, but then the military has to be part of it. It is bigger than any other agency, by a large margin. You could eliminate (not cut, completely eliminate) education, transportation, agriculture, HHS, and the DoE and not even come close to the whole military budget.

Another way of looking at the military cuts is restoring it to 1990s levels, percentage wise. In the mid 90s defense spending was about $270 billion which was about 16% of the budget. In 2015 defense spending was about $640 billion (estimates are harder here since congress doesn't include Iraq and Afghanistan costs directly in the budget) which is about 16% of the budget.

Comment That's fine but you can't cheer this budget on (Score 3, Informative) 648

Because it not only doesn't cut the military, ti increases it by $54 billion. That offsets any other cuts. Combined with them wanting big tax cuts for the wealthy (who have the most to tax) that means a higher deficit. If you thing is cutting the debt, these guys are not interested in it. This proposal does nothing in that regard.

Also cutting spending isn't the only way to balance the budget. Increasing income works too, either via raising taxes or increasing the overall economy. Well guess what? Many of the programs being cut are the kind of things that help economic growth. Science is that way. The US is rich and prosperous in no small part because of science and development. When you are on the forefront of new things, you make a lot of money. Cut that, and it cuts future growth.

Comment Well ok there Trumpet (Score 3, Informative) 648

You are either a complete Trump fanboy, or just hopelessly naive because this budget IN NO WAY reduces the debt. Never mind you silly argument of "living off a credit card" (if you don't know how public debt different from revolving debt, go spend some time reading or take ECON 200) let's just focus on the budget:

It includes a massive increase of $54 Billion to the military. This is the military that is already funded 3x the next highest military (in fact if you add #2-8 in spending together you don't equal it), that has spending more than transportation, education, housing, international affairs, science, labour, and agriculture COMBINED. We really need this? We need that much more money for the military?

On top of that they are also set to propose sweeping tax cuts, particularly for the rich.

This is NOT something that'll reduce the debt, not even reduce the rate of increase.

If you want to compare it to a family (which as I said, it doesn't really work like personal finances) this is a parent saying "No I'm sorry kids, we can't afford to get a new water heater even though ours isn't working well, and I can't get you new clothes, we have too much debt. In other news I'm buying myself another new car and cutting my hours to 35 per week!"

You show me a budget that cuts the military like everything else, that at the very least keeps taxes where they are if not increases them, I'll give the "we have to cut the debt" argument credit. However so long as it is "less taxes, more defense spending" you can GTFO with that crap.

Comment Frankly this is what they should have launched 1st (Score 0) 173

The current Ryzens are kinda underwhelming. Not because they are bad chips, but I find myself in a position where they wouldn't be what I'd recommend to most people.

For your average user, they are way overkill. Hell even a quad core is overkill for normal desktop/media consumption/etc usage. They are too expensive, a cheaper Intel i5 or i3 is the way to go.

For gamers, they don't perform as well as Intel's high end in general. Games are multi-threaded these days, but generally have one main thread that is the big limit and the others are much smaller. It is rare to see them max a quad core, much less more than that. For best performance they need high clocks and IPC, and the 7700k does a better job at that for about the same money as the 1700. Only 4 cores, but as I said just doesn't matter to games. Likewise the 7600 or 7600k are in general better and even cheaper.

For audio production Ryzen seems to have higher latency. Maybe this gets resolved later, but right now you need to set your ASIO buffers higher to avoid dropouts with the same project. Also since CPU load isn't generally the limiting factor (CPUs are very fast compared to the needs of audio processing) the extra cores aren't useful unless you do REALLY heavy mixes. So better to go for an Intel CPU and get lower latency for cheaper, or maybe an Intel HEDT CPU for the same price as the 1800X.

Video encoding is the one area they seem to really win at. There the more core equal more performance and you can get 8 for the price Intel sells you 6. So if that's what you are after, then it is a good deal. Not really the most common use.

These though, for the price they should be killer. The 4 cores are likely to at least compete with the 7600 and cost you a good bit less. Could make them a very good contender for gamers, or just general desktop users that want a solid system.

I'll be real interested to see the benchmarks when they come out.

Comment No kidding (Score 2) 143

Google and Apple don't care about you as an individual. To the extent they care about your data, it is as an aggregate, for statistics and optimization and advertising. They aren't interested in trying to get your bank account number and steal your money, for example, the amount of money you have is fuck-all on their scale. They would not be interested in committing a crime with very real consequences for a totally inconsequential amount of money.

However a random thief that steals your smartphone? Ya they are absolutely interested in something like that. They are interested in getting as much money from you in any way they know how. That is how they operate.

While we certainly do need to consider information security and privacy with regards to big companies, the risks and reasons are very different with relation to individuals and it doesn't mean that we just ignore the problems of individuals. They are the bigger issue.

Like at work, we get people who manage to get their accounts compromised all the time. It has never, near as we or the FBI can tell, been a big company doing it. Google has never Phished someone's password and used it to spam, Apple has never used someone's information to get in the employee system and change their direct deposit target. That has always been an individual, or small group of hackers: A criminal (or criminals) dedicated to criminal activity. That is the real risk that our users really face, and the one we need to be far more concerned about than analytics Google gathers on them.

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.

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