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  • ThomasPowell 4:34 pm on June 27, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: constraints, , names   

    Example of a Sincere Attempt at Security Questions That Still Goes Badly 

    Synchrony Bank has the following security questions when setting up an account. They look well thought out, at least. The only problem? All of the answers are required to be 6 characters or longer. There are plenty of proper names or other valid answers that don’t meet that requirement.

    2 of the answers I can readily recall from this list don’t meet the requirement. Half of them I don’t have an answer for, and at least one of the answers is public information.

    This one is bad… seven of my answers here are 3-5 characters, two don’t have an answer for me.

    Again, 4 out of 10 are 4-5 characters, 1 doesn’t have an answer, and 1 of them I wouldn’t spell the same way twice. Also: Ford? Dodge? Kia? Honda? Lexus? GMC? AMC?

    Beyond all this, programmers need to read Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names. …and anyone answering security questions just needs to store the answers to the security passwords as yet another generated password using something like https://1password.com/ (although I had to limit the symbols that my own password manager would use to generate because slashes weren’t allowed.)

    Addition nuisance:

    I *just* registered in this same exact tab 20 minutes ago.

  • ThomasPowell 12:27 am on June 15, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: news   

    The “Satirical News” Sites Need to Stop 

    The Onion has always been entertaining because it either operated at a very generic level or a very absurd level. While The Onion could be mistaken for real news, it was often involving a person that didn’t exist, a generic group of people, or things so absurd that no reasonable person could believe them to be real. Besides, The Onion was THE ONION.

    However, now there’s a proliferation of “satirical news sites”.

    The latest in the absurdity is Newslo, which is:

    JUST ENOUGH NEWS… Newslo is the first hybrid News/Satire platform on the web. Readers come to us for a unique brand of entertainment and information that is enhanced by features like our fact-button, which allows readers to find what is fact and what is satire.

    I’m trying out “SatiricAlert” to help me filter out this crap that has proliferated way too much to be entertaining anymore.

  • ThomasPowell 4:09 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

    Principle of Least Surprise (Astonishment), foreign keys, and Rails 

    In yesterday’s post, I sorted through the foreigner gem to figure out how to change the reference column (primary key) that a foreign_key maps to.

    The problem here is that, unless your Rails project(s) has grown up referencing “natural” primary keys instead of the autoincremented id implicit in an ActiveRecord::Migration, avoiding creating surprise by not referring to an artificial primary key actually adds surprise: The instinct of someone reading your code will be to assume that the foreign key maps to the auto-id of the foreign model.

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