* Posts by Herby

2959 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007

Forget Tiger Woods – here's Cyber Woods: Robot golfer hits hole-in-one during tournament

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Good walk interrupted...

This begs the question:

Why do they call it GOLF?


Because all the other four letter words were taken.

Did you know ... Stephen Fry has founded a tech startup?

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I'm in the USA, and the only "Fry" I know is...

Fry's Electronics (which I visited on Monday). It is a sillycon valley thing.

One of these days I'll look up this Stephen guy. Could be entertaining.

UC Berkeley profs blast secret IT monitoring kit on campus

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Nothing to see here, please move along....

Or some such.

Yes, they do grok all the data, but in the words of Scott McNealy:

"You have no privacy, get over it".

US taxmen borked in computer cockup riddle

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April 18th??

It is on this date (not April 15th) due to "emaciation day" observed in Washington DC. Go figure.

I thought it was an error but looked it up. Our government works in strange ways. Now if there was a week long holiday around that time it might even be helpful.

The tax man commeth always.

GCHQ’s Xmas puzzle proves uncrackable

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Re: the answer

I was going to say something like that, but you beat me to it!

BOFH: In-depth IT training needs a single-malt distillery

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It ought to be pretty easy to setup a remote connection to BOFH central, then both of them could go.

Then again, showing off remote capabilities might not be in the best interests, as how else would pub time qualify as being "present"!

Cabling horrors unplugged: Reg readers reveal worst nightmares

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Neat wiring doesn't fail

An old adage told to me in the late 70's by a telco guy. Applies here as well.

Then again I've heard talk about wiring in a telco central office. The main central cross connect was a wire bundle that went across the room and was over 3 feet deep. The procedure "normally" was to yank out the de-commissioned wire before wiring its replacement, but after the build up you couldn't do it any more. Then there were rat infestations where the insulation would be eaten, and they they made up poisoned impregnated wire to prevent it, and every had to wear protection to do wiring. The mass just grew and grew. I was told it wasn't a pretty sight.

Now if I can get the short in the mains line to the bathroom that keeps popping the breaker fixed (it is intermittent)m my wife will be much happier. (*SIGH*)

SpaceX: launch, check. Landing? Needs work

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Quick Fix??

Look, just pound out the dents, and a little bit of bondo, then a new paint job, and you ought to be in business. Do you have collision insurance? Flo says you can save by bundling, and might get 15% reduction by switching.

Look, it works for the dents my wife's car gets (*SIGH*). It is insured by Flo as well.

No escape: Microsoft injects 'Get Windows 10' nagware into biz PCs

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Maybe we should "call as it is"!!

Yes, Windows 10 (or at least the updater) is a VIRUS.

Get CERT or some such to label it as such when it interrupts something vital requesting you do an update.

Then it MIGHT be fixed (or likely not).

Me? I use Linux (actually Fedora 8) an older version that I haven't updated much as it still functions quite nicely, but I suspect it will need it soon (*SIGH*).

Seagate floats out 10TB HDD filled with lifting gas

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The problem with Helium (or Hydrogen for that matter) is that they have small molecules and given their size, they can pass through many containers, including disk drive castings. This is a BIG problem, and isn't likely to be solved easily. It is kinda like "magic smoke" that when leaked out, makes electrical devices fail. Of course, Hydrogen by itself is HIGHLY reactive and can do nasty things to its containers, making them brittle (I have a friend that studied this in Material Science for his PhD).

All in all not an easy thing to do.

Comcast repeatedly crams modem upgrade demands into browsers

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Broken for me?

I just checked my parents connection, and what do you know, it died around 9AM today. While I don't know if this is the problem, I may need to take a trip there (it is about 100 miles away) to diagnose the problem. I use a nice DOCIS 3.0 modem feeding my wonderful router. Recently I signed up for (wait for it) Xfinity + voice service to get a couple of additional cable channels (it was $5.00 more). Now I don't really need the telephone service, but they gave it to me anyway. They sent me a clumsy VOIP/Router/WiFi box (that has provisions for a backup battery, but doesn't include one) and then did "weird things" to the internet service that required me to "re-enable" the existing cable modem. After I did that, things were back to normal. What I really want to do is keep my nice router (which has DYNDNS support) and just ignore the silly functions of their magic box. I suspect that I will need to do some work on this to get it all functional.

Then again, the problem may be a power failure, and the power hasn't come on yet (I doubt this though). Life goes on.

Boozing is unsafe at ‘any level’, thunders chief UK.gov quack

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Then there is Prohibition...

And as all can see we tried that here in the good 'ol USA, and notice how it worked out (not very).

As my mom says:

There are "Lies", "Danm lies" and "statistics".

All cam be manipulated, just ask a politician (any politician!).

On the other hand, I am surprised to see that the percentage of beer icons is not very high.

Happy new year, VW: Uncle Sam sues over engine cheatware

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Teaching to the Test...

If this was a school in the USA the teachers would be given a "gold star" for lower test scores.

If you design something that need to be tested, you always make sure that the test will pass. It is done in software all the time.

I'm sure that Microsoft "tests" their software and it always passes. They know what the tests do and make sure it all goes well.

It happens all the time. If the EPA/CARB wants to make sure that tests work, they should audit the results with a drive test. The EPA/CARB is a little lax in the area.

(for the California challenged: CARB=California Air Resources Board)

Security bod watches heart data flow from her pacemaker to doctor via ... er, SMS? 3G? Email?

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These are really interestng devices...

I worked on a Pacemaker project about 17 years ago, and they used a CMOS version of a 6502 chip inside. I believe that the communication was through induction coils (which are VERY close range). The code used all sorts of tricks to get its job done, some of which I feel are dubious at best. My job as as a tester to make sure that one could make every line of code executed somehow. It did all sorts of marvelous things, and was not the easiest piece of software to get your arms around. The testing facility was a bunch of WinNT boxen (4) to control various aspects of the test. They really wanted to make it through.

Of course there is "Dick Cheney" mode that TURNS OFF all RF communication. He didn't want to be dispatched electronically (like the movie).

Oh, they also included a laptop with each pacemaker that had the control software. It was relatively cheap inclusion compared to the total cost (around $20k if I remember correctly).

Periodic table enjoys elemental engorgement

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From the 80's

Blinkyium, Inkyium, Pinkyium and Clydeium.

CIOs, what does your nightmare before Christmas look like?

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Further tales of woe...

See: http://www.thedailywtf.com

It is the anti-pattern of a BOFH. Some people never learn!

Sanders presidential campaign accuses Democrats of dirty data tricks

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Who is in charge of the henhouse??

Turns out that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a known Hillary (could have fooled me knocked me over with a feather) supporter. This is just an excuse to lock out "poor" Bernie Sanders.

Now if someone external got in, that would be "interesting". I suspect that the information on the DNC's servers are a bit more secure than Hillary's email servers.

Newspaper kills 'what was fake' column as pointless in internet age

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They should have a "What was real" column. It might be shorter!

I could easily classify this as a joke, but it is likely true. Of course, this does not count El Reg's great content which is quite good (and very real).

Unsourced, unreliable, and in your face forever: Wikidata, the future of online nonsense

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Easy solution...

Just assume that everything with "wiki" in it is false. Maybe make it everything on the internet is false. Until proven otherwise.

Now where do I send my money to get that big reward from Nigeria??

Is ATM security threatened by Windows XP support cutoff? Well, yes, but …

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It isn't only ATM's!!

Many medical instruments are attached to some form of Windoze. I worked for a company that made pacemakers, and while the pacemaker itself was a low power 8 bit micro, they usually had an interface to a more powerful (read windows) computer. Some medical instruments also use Windows as a nice "shiny-shiny" interface to those who can only deal with a mouse.

I've heard stories of medical equipment that was "certified" by the FDA and "locked down" in hospital environment. Then used as an email machine by the operator only to be nicely infected. But since it was "certified" and now allowed updates, they couldn't even put an anti-virus on it.

And we thought computers made things better. Guess again if you are using vulnerable software.

Work on world's largest star-gazing 'scope stopped after religious protests

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Re: Motives

"How much money do they want to pacify the spirits?"

Probably enough to meet the "green people's" budget needs for a year or so (or until they come up with another excuse to bribe a perfectly good project).

BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

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Annoying self driving cars...

We have them here in sillycon valley. I've often wondered if I could flummox them in some way. Backing up at a stoplight, or some such "creative" ways to blind the rotating beacon that just looks annoying (a laser pointer??).

This asks the question, when they are low on fuel (gas/petrol) do they unconditionally go to the nearest filling station and sit there waiting for the passenger to "fill-up"?

Vote for me, Hotspot Hillary – I'm your $250bn broadband builder-in-chief

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Suspicious of any government!

When the government gets involved all sorts of things happen. Usually money is wasted in the process. It is like skimming money that really does no good.

Remember be vary wary of someone who says "I'm form the government and I'm here to help you". Run, run away, run away fast.

For the most part our internet here in "the land of the free" has been done privately, and it works quite well. Sure there are exceptions, but I hate to see if it was entirely done by a government. They would want to make it all programmed in Cobol.

BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

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Time Accounting, a parable...

The story goes:

St. Peter: Welcome Mr. Brant. You look a little young to be here?

Mr. Brant: I'm only 35, and yes, I agree I'm a bit young.

St. Peter: Aren't you lawyer?

Mr. Brant: Why yes, who do you ask?

St. Peter: That explains it. We were going by billable hours, and by that metric, you are in your 80's.

Life goes on.

So. Farewell then Betamax. We always liked you better than VHS anyway

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Re: Can we finally settle this?

Was it better than VHS?

Is wasn't in ONE important feature: Time per tape.

VHS could record 2 hours on a single tape (at SP speed) when it first came out. BetaMax could only do a little over an hour at first. This was an important thing as movies were closer to two hours than one. Everyone wanted to have a SINGLE tape for a movie, not two. Given that feature, it was better, even though Beta was arguably better in other respects. The only VHS movie that I remember being on more than one tape was "The Right Stuff" (I suspect there are others).

Whitman's split: The end of Fiorina's HP grand expansion era

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I understand that lots of energy is being made...

From the coil positioned over Bill or Dave's grave site. The rotating body seems to have lots of unharnessed energy that is induced in the coil above.

I hope that Bill doesn't take this personally. My dad knew him for a long time.

Hewlett Packard is long gone. It is just "HP" now (in whatever for it is in).

Voting machine memory stick drama in Georgia sparks scandal, probe

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To err is human...

To really foul things up requires a computer.

Of course, the memory stick (or whatever it was) might have been one bought at the local computer store. Unless they were sealed into the voting machine (a wire seal comes to mind) and removed by a multitude of inspectors, I don't see how it might be "secure". Perhaps an open source solution which could be peer reviewed would be in order. Given that there are vested interests in this, I highly doubt anything repeatable and secure will come of it.

Paper ballots seem to have a good feel about them. Sure a machine can count them, but a human can check without any added "hardware".

AMD sued: Number of Bulldozer cores in its chips is a lie, allegedly

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Who says that a core needs to compute independently?

One could argue that there is lots of silicon and how it executes is another story. The fact that they do is a secondary feature. Sure it is important, and most of the time they do execute independently. But consider that there is only one path to external memory (yes, there are caches). If you always fail at cache hits, you will hardly execute instructions "simultaneously". Granted this won't always be the case, but it could happen.

This reminds me of the time when marketing droids touted the number of transistors in a radio (as if more was better), even though they were only being used as diodes, and then of dubious value. In previous incarnations the droids mentioned "tubes" where some were only dropping resistors to work on the AC line voltage (but they did light up!).

Drones are dropping drugs into prisons and the US govt just doesn't know what to do

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Bounty idea sounds good to me.

If it is enough, there will be takers. I like the idea of a trap/skeet range next door. It isn't like the next door to a prison is "prime real estate" anyway.

Most of these things use some unlicensed control anyway. Setup detectors and sound alarms if they become active. Target practice might help as well.

Linus Torvalds fires off angry 'compiler-masturbation' rant

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Re: 80 characters per line / FORTRAN / punchcards

Actually there is another reason for 80 character lines:

If you use nice American letter paper (8.5 inches wide) and print out at 10 characters per inch (common for nice line printers, like an IBM 1403), you use 8 inches of space for the output lines.

So, if you DO document things and print them out (a good idea in my book), 80 character lines and MONO spaced type are nice to have. Sure there are smaller fonts, but as you advance in age (like me), you tend to prefer the nice 10 character/inch type on nice letter paper.

In the older days, you used the same output, but used blue (green) bar paper which was 14 inches wide and 11 inches long, and it had lots of room for the scribblings you made while doing the developing. (been there, done that!).

So, 80 character input lines are a nice thing to have.

The only GOOD DRONE is a DEAD DRONE. Y'hear me, scumbags?!

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Love the picture...

Enough said.

Add in the line (referenced above) of "Go ahead, make my day".

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Re: 40mm Glock

"A Bofors 40mm could be very effective against the larger drones..."

Of course, a GAU-8 would work as well. Unfortunately its platform is a bit bulky.

Pick your poison. All pretty lethal to drones in the least.

Post-pub nosh neckfiller special: The WHO bacon sarnie of death

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Outlaw SPAM??

That would be nice, and it wouldn't clog up my inbox on the computer.

Oh, you mean the processed lunchmeat?

In the words of Emily Litella "Nevermind".

Time Lords set for three-week battle over leap seconds

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And we have...

Daylight "saving" time as well. Of course this changes at the whim of various governments, most recently as "energy saving", and before that at the behest of barbeque makers (and other outdoor activity people).

If they do away with leap seconds, it is just denial that the earth is slowing down. Then "high noon" won't be.

UK.gov plans to legislate on smut filters after EU net neutrality ruling

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The internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it.

John Gilmore (Time Magazine 6 December 1993).

Flickering screens turn Microsoft Surface Books into Microsoft Surface paperweights

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Maybe the flicker is...

Microsoft's candle waning and getting close to extinguishing itself.

We can only hope. Microsoft isn't that good with hardware anyway.

Northrop wins $55bn contract for next-gen bomber – as America says bye-bye to B-52

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Just remember...

The current fleet of B52's are typically older than the flight crews that actually fly them. Many of the original airframes date from the 50's or 60's. Something needs to be done, and it will cost $$$. Of course, they could modify a 767 airliner and add bomb bay doors, and it might just work. That would be too simple.

It's official: Tor's .onion domains must be kept off the public internet

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Then there are other bad things.

The company I used to work for used "private.lan.com" as an internal example. The problem is that 'lan.com' is for the Chile National Airline.

Yes, I tried to tell them that, but to no avail.

American robocallers to be shamed in public lists

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Could be solved quite easily.

We here in the USA (NANP) have special calling codes. An instance of this is "*69" which calls back the call you just got (I haven't needed to use it). What is needed is a nice simple code *xx that you dial after you hang up from a robo-call. When enough of these are accumulated and there isn't a "good reason" for the calls (which should be easy to determine), the offender gets hauled off to court and those who did the '*xx" get some $$$ for their trouble.

It wouldn't take long for the robo-calls to come to a screeching halt. Yes, there might be some false positives, but you would need a whole bunch of them to start an action, and since the robo-callers do a whole bunch of them (that is how they work), so it should be pretty obvious!

Then you squash them like a bug!

Volkswagen enlarges emissions scandal probe: 'Millions' more cars may have cheated

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Yes, here in the litigious USA, the lawyers have the "call me" adverts on TV about this (I've seen a few). "You may be entitled to...". These ambulance chasers are all over the place, and I suspect that those who latch up with the legal profession will probably not get much, but (of course) the shysters lawyers will get the lions their fair share.

Life goes on. Where is my share. I had a VW in my childhood.

White House to Feds: Stop buying new PCs, laptops right now

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Re: Basic Computing Ability?

Let's look further...

OS... Linux... Check.

Office... LibreOffice... Check.

Email... Evolution... Check.

Access to mainframe via browser... Firefox... Check.

And for the WIN... What can I say? Solitaire is everywhere!

And just to make sure: ALL non Microsoft, and "free" of License fees!

What a deal! Can I be the contractor?

Apple 1 goes on sale, expected to fetch £300,000 to £500,000

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Re: That much $$$: fool, money...

Making a poor board is actually pretty easy. The problem is making poor artwork. That is a task using 4x layout and making all the curves by hand. A light table helps in this regard. To make it poor, a couple of shots of an "adult beverage" will aid in that regard.

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That much $$$: fool, money...

...soon parted.

Of course, if you raid all the surplus stores to get the necessary parts, and make up an exact duplicate PC board, minting money isn't a bad hobby.

Oh, it's not "art" either!!

Job alert: Is this the toughest sysadmin role on Earth? And are you badass enough to do it?

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Yes, it is an interesting place to work!

Been there, done that (I was at the South Pole for about a month many moons ago). Unfortunately the living is a bit strange. You would wander into where the computers were (a pair of HP 2100's, no disk!). and piddle around trying to make then easier to do their job (weather monitoring). In addition I worked on a weather station that sent out broadcasts once a minute to a satellite that might be overhead (you need a polar orbit to see the South Pole). It had two power supplies one being a propane thermoelectric generator. In an attempt to start the flame I used a propane torch to heat another propane torch to light the flame. At the temperatures there, propane was liquid at atmospheric pressure.

It was lots of fun, and over half a life ago an adventure not to be missed. As for today, I don't think my wife would let me go (*SIGH*).

Self-driving vehicles might be autonomous but insurance pay-outs probably won't be

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Traffic? Traffic!!

Having passed TWO Google self driving cars in the past 24 hours (they were going in opposite directions), I wonder as well. We here in the golden state do drive a bunch, and with family in the opposite ends of the state (300+ miles away) I wonder if they can actually handle it. The mix of city highway and Parcheesi playing on I5 (with trucks lorries), it becomes exciting. Oh, and how does one re-fuel the vehicle.

As for traffic, we have that as well. I280 southbound at 5pm is a nice moving parking lot.

Life goes on, and how does one cross a BOFH with a self driving car. THAT would be exciting.

Walmart to open-source its cloud-hopping code

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It seems that Walmart isn't to excited to be surpassed as the #1 retailer in the World. It is simple Walmart is simply getting even revenge.

'We jokingly call Apple the Tesla graveyard. Cook gets our sloppy rejects. LOL'

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Maybe they are leaving on their own accord.

Given the recent "downgrades" of Tesla stock, those engineers are maybe the first leaving the sinking ship. The Tesla is a boutique vehicle that is in effect a fashion statement. It is much like a Gucci handbag that hangs on a female's arm.

Spending $100k on a vehicle that won't get me to the ski slopes and back (a couple tanks of gas) is a bit silly. Sure you can go to nice overnight charging stations and get a fill-up, but it takes time.

As for software, the console is using Linux to do all of its work, which does translate to other platforms, so Apple is getting people with experience, good for them (and my AAPL stock by the way!).

A thousand mile Atom merci mission: Driving from Monaco to London in an open-topped motor

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Road trips...

My big road trip was in my nice Porsche 356, when I drove from sillycon valley to about 50 miles from the Canadian border. It only took me around 11 hours one time (I have done it several times). This was before the stupid 55 MPH speed limit they imposed on us in 1974 (and thankfully repealed!). Oh, and that included a rest period of at least 1/2 hour.

On a couple of times my carbs would ice up and the engine would sputter. A little wait and everything was good again.

Oh, to be young again (*SIGH*).

PHONE me if you feel DIRTY: Yanks and 'Nadians wave bye-bye to magstripe

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Embossed digits

Yes, these are the original method of entering the card number (dates back to at least the 50's). For gas cards of the time, they used 51 column IBM cards and the raised digits of the card were inked into the merchant (card like part), and the "tissue" top part that was given to the customer. When processed, they got holes punched into them and nice big IBM iron calculated your nice bill. You even got the merchant part back with the bill. A cross country jaunt (like the one I took with my dad and some of my siblings) produced a quite bulky bill from the oil company. It was the 50's and I was young.

Fast forward to when I got my first card. It had no stripe on its back, and for the first bill they enclosed the chits that had my signature. These were 80 column IBM card size. I don't know if the amount was punched in or not.

Fast forward even further and the latest card my wife got DOESN'T HAVE the embossed digits any more. I guess that part is obsolete. They still have the mag stripe though. Life goes on with the chip as well.

Mow with the chips being mandatory, I guess they will need "portables" so you can enter your pin at the table of the restaurant. Not very convenient!

Cops must get a warrant before raiding phones, email, etc (in California)

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El Reg's mapping...

Sorry, the flag for Sillycon Valley is in the middle of the bay. Please place it about 10 miles to the southwest.

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