Roy Firestein

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Archive for May, 2010

Stephen Wolfram: Computing a theory of everything – Stephen Wolfram (2010)

May 22nd, 2010. Published under My Recent Reads. No Comments.

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Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica, talks about his quest to make all knowledge computational — able to be searched, processed and manipulated. His new search engine, Wolfram Alpha, has no lesser goal than to model and explain the physics underlying the universe.

TEDTalks : Stephen Wolfram: Computing a theory of everything – Stephen Wolfram (2010)

May 9th, 2010. Published under My Recent Reads. No Comments.

pulled from Google Reader (click on title for original post)
Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica, talks about his quest to make all knowledge computational — able to be searched, processed and manipulated. His new search engine, Wolfram Alpha, has no lesser goal than to model and explain the physics underlying the universe.

PINs and the burden on customers

May 6th, 2010. Published under My Recent Reads. No Comments.

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A survey by the Consumers’ Association shows that 10% of cardholders write down or share their PIN. This high proportion surely raises serious doubt about whether it’s fair for banks to claim that such people are “grossly negligent” even if the PIN is well disguised (for example, as part of a phone number in an address book with hundreds of other numbers). And if banks don’t want disabled people to share PINs with carers, they ought to come up with an alternative, or be held to account under disability discrimination laws.

Interestingly, Mark Bowerman (PR for the banks) says in this article that customers should not use the same PIN for multiple cards. We heard him on radio saying exactly the opposite a few years ago. Now he tells people to change PINs to something easy to remember (and easier for criminals to guess).

By giving customers contradictory and impractical advice, the banks are placing an unmeetable burden on them.

The banks also frequently give advice that is simply wrong. Look, for example, at this video by Barclays showing how to enter your PIN at a merchant terminal!