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Comments

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A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

John3 Re:Exploited procedural loophole (419 comments)

Occasionally the merchant services provider will ask to speak with the customer, and they also will contact the issuing bank. However, the entire call is handled over the initial call that was made to the merchant services provider. Once the merchant services provider speaks with the customer the retail clerk gets the phone back and it is at that point that the merchant services provider gives the clerk an approval code to use.

Note that for American Express and Discover the retail store calls their processing center directly. That's because they handle their approval system and they will frequently speak with the customer to verify security details. But the Amex number for merchants is an entirely different number than the one on the cards themselves, and the retail clerk initiates the call and speaks with the representative.

about three weeks ago
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A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

John3 Re:Exploited procedural loophole (419 comments)

A simple work around is to alter the phone number on the card to a number you control.

Then the retailer could call the number receive the code from your accomplice and provide a valid false code.

The retailer doesn't call the number on the card, the retailer call's the merchant service center. For example, customer has a Chase Mastercard and when Apple tries to post a transaction the card receives a decline. Apple would never call Chase, but instead calls their provider (which at my store is First Data Merchant Services). Apple's provider in turn electronically contacts Chase and then provides an approval code back to the clerk. The customer (or scammer) never has an opportunity to change the phone number unless they physically get behind the checkout counter and overwrite the numbers that are posted for the retail clerks to use. So it doesn't matter what phone number is on the card, that number is for the customer's use and not for the merchant's use.

about three weeks ago
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A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

John3 Exploited procedural loophole (419 comments)

Based on TFA this scam has been done before to other retailers. When a merchant receives a "decline" they can optionally call the bankcard processor to obtain a verbal authorization code. The merchant can then "force" the sale to go through using the authorization code they received over the phone. The two huge procedural holes that Apple (and the other retailers) left open are:

1: The clerk is the one that should be calling for an approval code, and the call is made not to the cardholder's bank but rather to the bank that processes the cards for the retail store. It doesn't matter what the customer's bank says (or in this case the fake bank) since the approval/authorization code must come from the retailer's bankcard processor.

2: At my store a manager override is required to "force" a bankcard approval. So even if the clerk makes the call and gets a voice approval code a manager/owner must also provide a password to allow the approval to go through. Apparently Apple has no such security check in place and clerks tan type a manual code into the POS system to force the sale to go through.

Amazingly simple scam, but also amazingly simple to prevent if the stores involved had even rudimentary procedures in place.

about three weeks ago
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Polio Causes Global Health Emergency

John3 LOL...pages not found (126 comments)

Yeah, a page with a total of two links, both broken, is far more credible than a blog post with over 50 links to medical and scientific articles, journals, studies, and stories.

And what's not to trust about naturalnews.com, a site that links over and over again to articles and sources on naturalnews.com?

about 3 months ago
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China's Jade Rabbit Fights To Come Back From the Dead

John3 Not quite dead yet (76 comments)

Mission Control: "Brave, brave Jade Rabbit! You shall not have died in vain!"
Jade Rabbit: "Uh, I'm-I'm not quite dead, sir."
Mission Control: "Well, you shall not have been mortally wounded in vain!"
Jade Rabbit: "Uh, I-I think uh, I could pull through, sir."
Mission Control: "Oh, I see."

about 6 months ago
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Verizon Discontinues Home Automation Service After 2 Years

John3 Not in their wheelhouse (85 comments)

They pushed the service on every call I made to FIOS tech support or Verizon billing, so they certainly communicated the availability of the service. However, they never really had a shot at making this service fly due to a number of challenges.

- There just aren't a lot of devices linked yet within a home, especially since Verizon was targeting a novice and not someone who's played with X10 or can configure their own router.

- Verizon support is terrible for most products, and this would likely have been even worse.

- Who really needs to control their lighting and thermostats more than they already do. By now anyone with a computer or Verizon Internet service likely has a programmable thermostat, motion sensor outdoor lights, and timers on lamps for when they go on vacation. Is it worth paying a bloated company like Verizon $120 a year to help you manage what you're already handling fine for free?

The nail in the coffin was probably Google purchasing Nest. And no, I did not RTFA.

about 6 months ago
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It's Not Just the NSA: Police Are Tracking Your Car

John3 Re:Quite a bit different than NSA tracking (201 comments)

I would expect there to be restrictions on the use of the gathered data but not necessarily the collection of the data. Taking it a step at a time:

1: I expect that police would monitor public spaces, for example Times Square in NYC

2: I expect that the video is recorded, both for short term review as well as later investigation if a crime takes place

The question is how do we limit the use of the recordings? If a hit-and-run occurs two blocks from Times Square then police would likely canvas the area for witnesses. Isn't the most reliable witness the actual surveillance video from the neighborhood? I'd rather the police rely on that video than on the recollections of random tourists gawking at the skyscrapers.

My original post was stating that NSA surveillance is quite different from video recording of license plates on public highways, so the conversation has branched out.

about 8 months ago
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It's Not Just the NSA: Police Are Tracking Your Car

John3 Re:Quite a bit different than NSA tracking (201 comments)

Oh stop with the "no expectation of privacy" crap. Your argument is basically saying it's OK to stalk someone. Yes that's what you are saying, if someone leaves their house it's OK to record their every movement, who they are with, where they go, for how long. You are saying that if there was enough money it would be OK to have a police cruiser at every residence so that when you leave you home you can be followed and watched.

I never said it was OK. I do not support this recording, but I did say you should not privacy when driving a government registered vehicle on government maintained roads and bridges while in possession of your government issued license. I guess you also expect to fly in a plane anonymously, and cash your paycheck anonymously as well. LOL at you posting as anonymous and calling me a coward. Have fun in your fantasy world of anonymous driving.

about 8 months ago
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It's Not Just the NSA: Police Are Tracking Your Car

John3 Re:Quite a bit different than NSA tracking (201 comments)

And a GPS tracker planted on your car isn't tracking YOUR movements, its tracking the movements of the govt owned GPS tracker. LOL at your distinction.

Also, tell me where in the Constitution this is stated as something the govt is to do. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the constitution knows its duties are enumerated, not infinite.

A GPS is attached to a specific car. Recording every vehicle passing through a toll booth is not targeting your vehicle or any other vehicle. There is a difference.

The government does lots of things that are not in the Constitution. Check the 10th amendment. Not supporting the recording of all this vehicle data, but I still stand by my assertion that it's quite different from NSA recording and logging of private calls.

about 8 months ago
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It's Not Just the NSA: Police Are Tracking Your Car

John3 Re:Quite a bit different than NSA tracking (201 comments)

HUGE difference between observing a vehicle's location and searching the vehicle. BTW, police do not need a warrant to search your car if they observe an illegal item on the dashboard or passenger seat. If the item is in plain site they can stop you and then search the rest of your vehicle without any warrant.

about 8 months ago
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It's Not Just the NSA: Police Are Tracking Your Car

John3 Re:Quite a bit different than NSA tracking (201 comments)

I fully expect that governments not record my movements with cameras in public places.

They aren't recording YOUR movements, they are recording the movements of a licensed piece of equipment on roadways built and maintained using public funds. BTW, I don't condone this data warehousing, I am pointing out the huge different between NSA tracking of electronic communication and government observation of physical movement through open public spaces. They are VERY different situations and the headline implies they are alike. Debating the recording of vehicle movement should be done independently of debating the NSA surveillance program as linking them muddies the discussion.

about 8 months ago
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It's Not Just the NSA: Police Are Tracking Your Car

John3 Quite a bit different than NSA tracking (201 comments)

Tracking the movements of vehicles is quite a bit different than tracking cell phone conversations. There is no expectation of privacy when driving a vehicle on public roads. Operating a vehicle (at least in the US) is heavily regulated, requiring registration of the vehicle, insurance, and licensed operators. In my area, in addition to the traffic cameras there are license plate scanners on most police vehicles. They scan and record the plates of vehicles as the police drive around town, popping up an alert if they get a "hit" on a vehicle with issues (suspended registration, insurance, or involvement in a crime). You're also tracked via tolls (EZ Pass in my area) and gasoline purchases (credit card data), but the police don't have easy access to that data without a subpoena.

about 8 months ago
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For First Three Years, Consumer Hard Drives As Reliable As Enterprise Drives

John3 Re:You're buying an extended warranty (270 comments)

That depends on the manufacturer. We used to sell water heaters in our hardware store and a manufacturer rep was the one who told us the units had little or no difference other than the warranty and label.

about 9 months ago
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For First Three Years, Consumer Hard Drives As Reliable As Enterprise Drives

John3 Re:You're buying an extended warranty (270 comments)

Yes, I should have pointed out that he/she was comparing apples to oranges. A water heater is not cast iron like the furnace, and is much thinner and lighter in construction. It also isn't always maintained by the homeowner who should be draining the bottom of the heater once a year to remove rust and sediment.

about 9 months ago
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For First Three Years, Consumer Hard Drives As Reliable As Enterprise Drives

John3 Re:You're buying an extended warranty (270 comments)

So why do water heaters leak at all. I have a 100 year old furnace in my house (Hot water, originally coal fired converted to natural gas). It doesn't leak so why should a 8 year old water heater?

Because it was made 100 years ago. Those furnaces were built like tanks. Gas and electric water heaters leak all the time, ask anyone (including me) who has come home to a flooded basement.

about 9 months ago
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For First Three Years, Consumer Hard Drives As Reliable As Enterprise Drives

John3 You're buying an extended warranty (270 comments)

"Enterprise" drives may have longer warranty coverage, so you are essentially just buying an extended warranty that is built into the selling price. This is how water heaters are priced...a 5 year warranty water heater is often identical to a 10 year warranty unit, but the manufacturer has crunched the failure rate numbers and will just wind up replacing a percentage of 10 year models when they start to leak in 8 years.

about 9 months ago

Submissions

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Major Leage Baseball Facebook pages hacked

John3 John3 writes  |  about 2 years ago

John3 writes "Someone apparently hacked the Facebook pages for Major League Baseball teams. Individual team pages had bogus updates posted, including an update from the Yankees that Derek Jeter was planning to have a sex change operation. The various team pages are managed by MLB and not the individual team, and it appears that the bogus postings have been removed. Deadspin has screen captures of the various postings, some quite amusing."
Link to Original Source
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Best solution to run an email discussion forum

John3 John3 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

John3 writes "For the past 15+ years I've maintained The Hardlines Digest (URL omitted to reduce the /. effect), an email discussion list for members of the retail hardware and lumber business. Since the beginning I've run the list on a Windows box running Lyris Listmanager, and it's worked admirably over the years. However, the list now has over 2,600 members and Listmanager doesn't have a nice web interface for users that like to read via their browser. Listmanager also doesn't handle attachments and HTML formatting well for the daily "digest" version of the discussions. Finally, I'd really like to move hosting off-site so I don't need to maintain the server. The list members are hardware store owners and many are technically challenged, so I need to keep change to a minimum and make it easy for them to migrate. I've considered Google Groups and that seems to have most of the features I need. Are there any other low cost solutions for hosting a large discussion list?"
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Art work contemplates future traffic flow

John3 John3 writes  |  about 3 years ago

John3 writes "American artist Chris Burden is finishing up his latest work titled Metropolis II for display this fall in Los Angeles. There's a fascinating five minute documentary on YouTube about his miniature city and the traffic that flows through it. He comments "The idea that a car runs free, those days are about to close". Whether you agree or disagree, he certainly has built one of the coolest Hot Wheels layouts I've ever seen."
Link to Original Source
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Is Google messing with Beck's gathering?

John3 John3 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

John3 writes "Searching Google Maps for the Lincoln Memorial is returning the location of the FDR Memorial instead. Conservative bloggers smell a conspiracy since Glen Beck is holding his Restoring Honor gathering at the Lincoln Memorial tomorrow (August 28). Notes for the map listing on Google state "This place has unverified edits", so did someone claim the listing and edit the location?"
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New cell phone service for lost shoppers

John3 John3 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

John3 writes "Everyone's experienced this...you're standing in the supermarket and can't figure out which aisle has the maraschino cherries. Luckily, a Missouri company has rolled out a service called Aisle411 that can direct you to the correct location in a retail store. After dialing the Aisle411 number the shopper can speak the store location, store name, and product name, and the service will provide the location of the product in the store. In addition to supermarkets, Aisle411 is also testing in Ace Hardware stores. I can see this possibly working in a supermarket, but in a hardware store the customer often doesn't know the name of the item they need for their project. With self-service checkouts and cell-based sales "assistants", are we someday going to see the end of retail sales staff?"
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MIT announces financial aid changes

John3 John3 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

John3 writes "MIT today announced that they will eliminate tuition costs for families earning less than $75k per year. Harvard, Yale and Stanford had previously announced sweeping changes to their financial aid program, possibly to head off Congressional probes into college endowments. MIT's announcement might put pressure on schools like Columbia and Princeton to make changes as well. With record numbers of students applying to colleges already this year, what impact will all these changes have on the number of applicants in the next few years?"
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Fox News warns of killer terrorist robots

John3 John3 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

John3 writes "Fox News quotes a British researcher who claims that terrorist groups may soon deploy killer robots against unsuspecting civilians. To back up their story, Fox News includes a photo of a Dalek, the fictional mutants from the Doctor Who televison series. And to really prove the story has legs, Fox points out that iRobot, makers of the Roomba robotic vacuum, encourages reprogramming of the Roomba by "hackers". Will the next terrorist attack come from your vacuum, or from Robby the Robot?"
Link to Original Source
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Can Google Bombing impact US Presidential Race?

John3 John3 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

John3 writes "A post last week on the Open Left political website encouraged readers to "bomb, bomb, bomb" John McCain's Google search results. They listed several potential links to use to mess with the search results, including a YouTube video that was ranked 12 at the time of the posting. As of today the video has moved up to the #6 result. Google bombs have been used in the past to poke fun at President Bush, but what will happen if political campaigns start actively working to skew the Google search results of their opponents?"
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Up to 40 million Mastercards compromised by theft

John3 John3 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

John3 writes "Mastercard announced that at least 68,000 and possibly as many as 40 million Mastercard accounts were compromised by a security breach at Cardsystems Solutions. Cardsystems Solutions has been in trouble before due to security breaches, so one would have hoped that they would have beefed up security. I received a replacement Mastercard yesterday in the mail (with a totally new account number) due to this security breach, and a number of customers shopping at my hardware store today commented that they also received new Mastercards. Anyone else receive a replacement Mastercard in the past few days and how much is this breach costing the banks (and ultimately the cardholders)?"
Link to Original Source
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John3 John3 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

John3 writes "The Graffiti Research Lab has posted video of laser graffiti they created on a Rotterdam building. The effect is very cool, and a complete guide on how they did it is posted on Theodore Watson's website. All you need is a laptop, LCD projector, and laser and you too can graffiti buildings without any permanent damage (unless you fry the retinas of a curious late night janitor). The GRL site states they are "dedicated to outfitting graffiti artists with open source technologies for urban communication" and there are several other examples of previous high-tech graffiti experiments, including drive-in GIF theater."
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John3 John3 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

John3 writes "I own a hardware store and every Christmas season we get several customers who've managed to string their Christmas lights in the wrong direction and wound up with female power connector near the outlet. They're looking to purchase a double-male plug, and just for the sake of illustration we have a mock up which we show them and ask "Like this?". We explain the danger of using such a device and that unfortunately no such adapter exists. To my surprise I just discovered that a patent was granted for the Double male two-prong electrical connector apparatus in April of this year. I guess nobody at the patent office is required to check the safety or real world potential use and abuse of an idea before issuing a patent. Based on some Google searches it appears that no electrical device manufacturer has convinced their legal department to approve the marketing of this apparatus. IMHO, the people most likely to need such a device are exactly the people who would have no clue about the dangers it poses when used incorrectly. Anyone have any favorite patents that are more hazardous than useful?"

Journals

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John3 John3 writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Just something to put in as a placeholder. Maybe I'll start writing stuff for the journal at some future date.

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