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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Odds and Ends

1. A Microsoft honcho fell for a security meme, but it happened because so many real security holes are at least equally ridiculous.

A large e-commerce site hands out personal information at the cost of entering an email address. Another site securely stores passwords, but sends them out over email in plain text. Some of the responses he got when he pointed them out topped the flaws.

But my "favorite" passage came from a Hacker News comment thread on the post and illustrates the free pass too many people give to "the government:"
I remember admissions [forms containing] Aadhar (UID of India) listed in a server with directory listing enabled. Response was - the site is hosted in a secure government datacenter. No chance of leaking data.
"The government" is staffed by fallible human beings and it is often engaged in things it is ill-suited for and shouldn't be doing. The people there often work under perverse incentives.

Given the above, people should be even more suspicious of government "security" measures than they are, and eager to get its paws off our personal information.

2. It's not just me: "Most People -- 92% -- Never Finish Online Job Applications."
"On the positive side, applications on average took only 5 minutes to complete," Wierzbicki said. "But there are an exorbitant number of steps and clicks involved. After clicking 'Apply,' candidates must make nine more clicks on average before even getting into the application. Along the way, they are asked to create user accounts and passwords, they are being asked to answer the same question more than once, or they are being asked to enter data that is already contained in the resume that is also being uploaded."
It's a GUI-dominant world, so I half-expect to flirt with a stress injury to my wrist any time I fill out one of these; It's the last sentence that describes what drives me crazy: Aren't computers supposed to make things easier by remembering things so we don't have to serve as unpaid data entry clerks?

It's like someone who has never used a computer before has designed some of these forms.

3. Some people get REALLY confused when people actually use their own middle names. The latest example is a piece in the British press about a footballer whose "real name [is] throwing off" fans.

That sounded odd, so I clicked the headline only to discover that Harry Maguire does what I do with my real name and my pen name: He uses his middle name most of the time, in the same way most people use their first.

Mini rant: Harry is indeed (part of) his "real" name -- just like his first name is.

Yes, this is somewhat unusual, but it isn't as if it's unheard of: J. Edgar Hoover and F. Scott Fitzgerald immediately come to mind, and the most cursory search turns up tons of pop celebrities who do this, such as Mindy Kaling, Ashton Kutcher, and Garth Brooks. So does the eminent historian C. Bradley Thompson.

And yet, I've had people flip my legal name around and say things like, "Oh, so your real name is..." too many times to count.

I guess one man's headline is another man's head-scratcher.

I also share a name with a rock musician, but not this one. Fun fact: The term assclown was coined on the set of this movie.

4. 1.5 million people use this guy's hobby project as an alternative to Photoshop. It's called Photopea. It's web-based and I am very impressed after playing around with it the other day.

The developer recently hosted an Ask Me Anything on Reddit, where he received a feature request and implemented it during the AMA.

-- CAV

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