back to article Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

"Work out loud," my prospective new employer tells me, adding that "we are a team, not a family". Sister Sledge need not apply. I try to keep my best poker face but I can sense my left eyebrow raising by itself. When I first entered the work market in the 1980s, the prevailing language of corporate bullshit rolled its tongue …

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  1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    The correect term is...

    ... cat chip.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

    I can tell you the little buggers are frequently less than cooperative, and our alpha testers find the cats behaving in ways we would *never* have imaged. Including one who gives the device a smack before attempting to use it - a born engineer, that cat.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

      @Neil Barnes

      My cats love to sit next to the door. The locking mechanism going snick, snick, snick, snick at 4 in the freakin AM! I think you owe me a beer or two ;-}

    2. Giovani Tapini

      Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

      Aha, then you can explain to my cat why she should not hold down the lock with one paw, and claw open the door with the other, thus defeating the locking mechanism. If I need the cats to stay in for some reason I have to put something in front of their door, not just lock it!

      My cat is the engineer and has one up on you!

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        @Giovani - you need one of ours - they have a rotary lock which as far as I know no cat has succeeded in defeating. We also supply a modification which prevents cats holding the latch down and prying up the door (it's a rare thing, apparently). I don't work on the cat flaps but on other products in the range.

        1. herman Silver badge

          Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

          Do your cat doors have a sunny and cheerful disposition and sigh contentedly after a job was well done?

          1. chivo243 Silver badge
            Big Brother

            Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

            @herman

            I wish my cat flap had Hal's voice. I'm sorry kitty, I can't do that. What are you doing kitty.

            1. Martin
              Happy

              Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

              I wish my cat flap had Hal's voice. I'm sorry kitty, I can't do that. What are you doing kitty.

              I think you'd have to name your cat Dave.

              1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

                According to the Campaign for Real Cats (doffs hat to the late, great Terry Pratchett), all real cats are Schrödinger's cats, and are quite capable to tunnel through doors using everyday quantum mechanics. The only reason they might give their humans the idea that a door is an impediment is to annoy them, and make them buy (preferably expensive) RFID enabled cat flaps, in part to get back at humans for putting a chip in them in the first place. After installation of said device, cats will then either ignore it, or sabotage it (or both)

        2. Persona

          Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

          @Neil Barnes

          "they have a rotary lock which as far as I know no cat has succeeded in defeating"

          My daughters cat opens the rotary lock on her cat flap so quickly you don't see him doing it. He can pry up the door too.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        "Aha, then you can explain to my cat why she should not hold down the lock with one paw, and claw open the door with the other, thus defeating the locking mechanism. If I need the cats to stay in for some reason I have to put something in front of their door, not just lock it!

        My cat is the engineer and has one up on you!"

        Cats ARE engineers. My 2 youngsters do that:

        - climb up and down the ladder (almost erected vertically)

        - open the flap cat when batteries are out: insert a claw, and open the flap door from inside to outside and get in

        And I've yet to see all of what they are capable of.

        1. cambsukguy

          Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

          Climb a Ladder! That's Nothing!

          When I got two kittens many moons ago, I would occasionally put them outside to get used to it.

          Occasionally I would look out the window to check on them and one or both would often be a considerable distance up the outside wall of the house to my second floor 'office' window using nothing but razor sharp claws on ridged house brick for traction.

          Amazing to watch.

    3. FlossyThePig
      Devil

      Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

      Our cat flap only uses the RFID tag to allow entry. On the rare occasions when kitty has to stay in (e.g. trip to the vet) there is a physical latch to disable free exit.

      I believe you can get a cat flap that is app enabled, so you can control it by your phone, WTF. Are we getting a generation who can only do things via their phone?

      Icon because it's nearest to kitty.

      1. David 18

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        @FlossyThePig

        "WTF. Are we getting a generation who can only do things via their phone?"

        You have to ask? :)

      2. macjules Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        I believe you can get a cat flap that is app enabled

        Does your cat prefer to use an iPhone or an Android?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        Our cat flap only uses the RFID tag to allow entry.

        Not a cat owner - but reading your comment and Dabbs column, I'm struck by the thought that Mr Dabbs has installed his cat flap the wrong way round????

      4. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        "Are we getting a generation who can only do things via their phone?"

        As soon as I can get the app to work I'll up vote you...

      5. jmch Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        "Are we getting a generation who can only do things via their phone?"

        Sent from my iPhone

        1. IceC0ld Bronze badge

          The BLOODY RFID

          Do you use an RFID card to unlock security doors or release gates at your workplace? Do they work every time? Of course they bloody don't. Half the time, you're standing in front of the door flourishing your card impotently across the sensor from different directions again and again, watching the red light flash repeatedly with an accompanying ugly audio bleat, as you duly recite the workplace mantra: "Fucking open the fuck up you fucking fucked fucker".

          ====

          ROFLMAO

          tonight actually, and TBH, there were a LOT more F's in MY mantra

      6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: when kitty has to stay in (e.g. trip to the vet) there is a physical latch

        So that's two things for the vet to look at (1) the neutering (2) the bump on its bonce as it tries to get through the flap.

      7. The Boojum

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        Tried that. Cat still got out.

      8. bazza Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        Icon because it's nearest to kitty.

        Nah, cats can be far more evil than that when they want to be. Naturally, all cats consider themselves to be a (see icon)

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

      one who gives the device a smack before attempting to use it - a born engineer

      Or - if a ginger cat[1] probably believes in the pre-application of force in lieu of thinking..

      [1] We have one. In D&D terms, his prime stats are Str & Cha and his dump stats are Int and Wis. He's the one that's addicted to my earwax.. (which if not offered on the tip of my finger is quite happy to slobber in my ears. This seems to be a male cat thing, none of our female cats will touch it but the older male cat[2] will. And they won't accept earwax from anyone not related to me - they will take earwax from my nephew, but not my wife).

      [2] Who is an-otherwise very intelligent cat (being half Siamese). Prime stats for him are Int, Dex and Cha with no dump stats. Obviously rolled well..

      1. The Oncoming Scorn
        Childcatcher

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        I hope you named him Dumbledore after that revelation.

        “Ah! Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans! I was unfortunate enough in my youth to come across a vomit-flavored one, and since then I’m afraid I’ve rather lost my liking for them — but I think I’ll be safe with a nice toffee, don’t you?”

        He smiled and popped the golden-brown bean into his mouth.

    5. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

      You folks are lucky your cat bothers with the flap at all. Mine just hisses, there's a metallic !SHING! of extending claws, a chainsaw noise as she goes through the door like a termite on speed, & then gets even with me for daring to trying to deny her entry into her own home by barfing in my sock drawer. I have an idea how she's gaining access to the inside of the drawer without opening it, she's climbing up the *back* inside between the back of the drawer & the rear panel of the dresser. It doesn't matter that I've nailed a board to the back to try & stop her, I still find cat barf in my socks & a hole in the front door.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

        You clearly have a Schrodinger's Cat that's learned how to do quantum tunnelling.

  3. Semtex451 Silver badge

    "he found he could silently slip in and out unnoticed by pushing his unsophisticated old ID card through a gap between the Yale lock and the door frame"

    Makes you wonder about the individuals fitting the door and those fitting any subsequent security device to such a door. I just have to wise up and realise that professional pride has gone the way of common sense and a work ethic.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      he found he could silently slip in and out unnoticed by pushing his unsophisticated old ID card through a gap between the Yale lock and the door frame

      I worked in an office where it was generally quicker to open the front door with a credit card rather than the key. The Yale lock was only used at lunchtimes when the front office wasn't always manned (overnight there was a deadbolt) but still not very secure.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      those fitting any subsequent security device to such a door

      And those monitoring the door entry systems - something like that *should* generate a 'door forced open' message which, if security were awake, should lead to them investigating and having a quiet chat with the perp behind the bike sheds..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "he found he could silently slip in and out unnoticed by pushing his unsophisticated old ID card through a gap between the Yale lock and the door frame"

      Makes you wonder about the individuals fitting the door and those fitting any subsequent security device to such a door. I just have to wise up and realise that professional pride has gone the way of common sense and a work ethic.

      Work in a largest hospital with various offices locked with those push button combination locks. I also use card through the slot trick. I was caught by a nursey type who wanted demanded in a loud voice "Did you just do what I thought you did?"

      "Dunno, shall I do it again to make sure?"

      Anyway, if I do come across a door like that, I do show the occupant and suggest that they speak to someone about fixing a piece of wood or something in front of the lock to prevent people like me

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Two carpet tacks in the door, and two in the frame, interleaved stops that.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          So, in summary...

          ...most door entry systems are cack, cat flaps doubly so.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Work has a server room with £millions of hardware and data costing £manymillions in data protection fines should anything go walkies. Server room is secured by a state of the art swipe card system as is most of the building. During one meeting following a minor fire someone noted that all the swipecard secured doors defaulted to open when the fire alarm went off and wondered what happened during the weekly fire alarm tests. after much laughter a yale lock was added to the door after the next test..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Oh dear. Oh dear.

          If your security system planning and auditing hadn't shown that up, you have problems.

          If you think the mitigation you've carried out for that risk is the correct one, you have even bigger problems.

          Which conviction would Sir prefer ? Data Protection violation or Corporate Manslaughter ??

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Sadly we have little control over what happens with the building we work in and the non-IT systems that are installed, all we can do is report issues and request solutions. What actually happens is at the whim of the Building Services department, most of which is outsourced so you rarely get to speak to the same person twice and it's very rare for anyone who specified a system to be involved in maintaining it.

            We refer to that server room as the death room, it's installed with a inert gas drench fire suppression system and as installed there was no alarm warning system or hold back system and can be remotely fired from the main fire panel without activating the main fire alarm. getting an alarm fitted took five years, any kind of localised hold off was nixed because they've "done the simple calculations to work out the right volume of gas for the size of the room". Our confidence in this statement isn't high given that their techs keep turning up with schematics for a version of the building before the PHBs grabbed 30% of our server room and the neighboring water storage tank for a bike store.

            The door itself is swipe in with originally a push release and yes adding a yale makes it more dangerous in the event of a fire with little additional security. Our suggestion was not to deactivate the swipe reader in the event of a fire but that was apparently "too difficult" to do.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I was going to muse about fire suppression as well.....

              All I can say is that I hope someone has documented all this and fully reported the implications so that should the unthinkable happen, the inquest jury will have no choice but to return "unlawful killing" rather than the "accidental death" that they (presumably) felt they had no choice over in the recent scrap yard inquest.

              It's a classic case of no clear lines of responsibility for H&S, though. Disaster waiting.

        2. silks

          I worked in a data centre providing Critical National Infrastructure services. First door to the data centre had a palm reader, then an airlock, the final door had retina scanner. Turns out that thousands of pounds-worth of technology could be overcome by yanking the door handle hard enough that it overcame the power of a simple electromagnetic catch. Doing that did set off an alarm to Operations but still, not exactly secure!

  4. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Poor Reliability.. better idea

    If ($deity forbid) employee implants ever becom a thing, wouldn't an individual ID forehead tattoo be far more reliable? Doors could just scan us as we walk up.

    Sorry for the early Godwin's infraction, but we were warned about this some 2,000 year ago.

    1. A.P. Veening

      Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

      I've got a revelation for you, beware of the one who's number is six and six and six.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

        I still find it amusing that the barcode identifiers you get on goods are the numbers 666 (most barcodes will show the first, last, and middle characters with elongated lines. These lines match the number 6 and are used by the scanner to work out the orientation of the barcode allowing it to be read upside down as well as right way up).

        1. Mark #255
          Boffin

          Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

          [...] These lines match the number 6 [...]

          Yeah, erm, no: because the encoding for each digit is actually 7 stripes wide, so "6" isn't "two narrow black lines", it's:

          • "black-white-black-white-white-white-white", or
          • "white-white-white-white-black-white-black", or
          • "white-black-white-black-black-black-black"

          There's three encodings for the other digits, too, then a way of encoding the first digit (in EAN-13) by swapping between encodings for the first 6 digits.

          Barcode scanners work out which way round the barcode is by attempting to decode it: there's only one correct way.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

            https://virtualsalt.com/barcode.htm

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

        beware of the one who's number is six and six and six

        Which, if you knew anything about Biblical numerology, would equate to humans (6 is the number of man and something repeated three times gives emphasis).

        It's only those who believe in a lteral devil[1] that think it's anything supernatural.

        [1] If God is omnipotent then why does the devil still (allegedly) exist?

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

          [1] If God is omnipotent then why does the devil still (allegedly) exist?

          Because they're the best of friends. Haven't you read Job?

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

            If the prophets Pratchett and Gaiman are to be believed, its coz of "ineffability" and even the devil doesn't know why. It's the most logical explanation I've heard on the subject.

          2. The Oncoming Scorn
            Thumb Up

            Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

            Job: Heinlein I presume.

        2. Wapiya
          Angel

          Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

          [1] If God is omnipotent then why does the devil still (allegedly) exist?

          Part of the design specification. Was buried in the annex: Free will

          If you read the patch history, the developer tried to mitigate this design bug through several patches. Flushing out the worst developments, creating a commanded framework and monitoring the running system more closely even doing in situ patches.

          According to The Lightbringer (Mr. Morningstar, verified by his brother Amenadiel), the universe was created when God and Goddess first met and fell for each other. Big Bang is so a fine description of what happened...

        3. bpfh

          Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

          <vincentprice> Woe to you, oh Earth and Sea...</vincentprice>

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

          "[1] If God is omnipotent then why does the devil still (allegedly) exist?"

          It's called re-writting history by the victors. God *and his brothers* get a mention in the original text. Christianity started as a sect of Judaism, stole the stories and re-wrote them to suit their new and heretical beliefs. They've been doing it ever since by misappropriating so-called pagan stories and festivals and weaving then into their own narrative. It's all fake news to fool masses!

        5. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: [1] If God is omnipotent then why does the devil still (allegedly) exist?

          The devil is a fallen angel.

          The difference between men and angels is that angels have no free will

          Therefore the devil has no free will and is carrying out the work of God.

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