LRL 2007

For those who don’t know, I’m in the UK, catching up on some sun and geeky events. The sun hasn’t got going yet (I still have my South African cold), but I’m in Wolverhampton for LugRadio Live 2007.

Getting to Wolverhampton was a pain in the arse:

  • My credit card got replaced last week, but the new one has a PIN number that I don’t know :-)
  • I missed my train because of the above, and had to wait until after rush hour.
  • Then ended up catching a train to Manchester by mistake (I’m a geek, I only read signs once, and expect to be going the right way)
  • So an extra hour’s detour later, I was in Wolverhampton, but my taxi got stoned by teenagers hanging outside the Kebab joint.

Anyway, now I’m sitting outside the cafe at LRL, and occasionaly posting photographs

The poor cafe’s internet connection is screwed - the DNS totally broken, OpenDNS is the answer: Mr Butler from Ubuntu UK plied me with Biltong and free “Powered By Ubuntu” stickers. Wohoo!

Chip and Pin Woes

I have the pleasure of having a UK money in a bank account and credit card. This is great, because UK cards are the only ones that don’t charge exorbitant currency-conversion charges when you use them overseas. I live in Cape Town, so I’m almost always using it overseas.

Chip and Pin, never used to be supported on South African credit card equipment, but these days, it’s mandatory in UK, and supported on almost all credit card machines. Back when it wasn’t supported people just used to swipe the card. Now, they actually try and read the chip. The procedure is something like this:

  • Ready”
  • Insert card”
  • Swipe card”
  • Insert card”
  • etc.

At some point, they give up, and ask for another card. The good ones can go between swiping and poking in a fraction of a second, in the belief that the faster they do it, the more likely it is to work. The only real solution seems to be to get the supervisor card out, and override Chip mode….

I thought that was all, until yesterday, when I got an even more interesting error message: “The PAN length does not comply with the min/max length in the BIN file”. Does anyone know WTF that means??? :-)

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