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Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 449

by Cimexus (#49089539) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

Sigh. Why does the US always lag everywhere else when introducing new systems, and when they do finally do it, implement something that's different from the rest of the world. Seriously, it's the same way they do everything - slowly and half-assed.

I'm Australian but currently live in the US and banking here drives me up the wall. There's no universal bill payment system. There's no way I can instantly send money to another person's bank account (unless they're with the same bank) - I can set up a link between two accounts but that takes time, I can send a wire transfer but that has fees and is slow, or I could write a check/cheque, which is something no-one has had to do in Australia since ~1990! Argh. And yeah - no chip and PIN and virtually no penetration of contactless card readers (which I use for ~everything~ back home and love it). Oh and their paper money is, well, paper (linen actually, but its insecure and easily destroyed compared to our polymer bills).

Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 449

by Cimexus (#49089441) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

It's usually generically referred to as Paypass down here in Canberra too. Either way people know what you're talking about though. From my personal experience, I had contactless on my Mastercard (BankWest, Paypass) a long time before I had it on my Visa (CBA, Paywave), so maybe that's why.

Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 449

by Cimexus (#49089397) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

I don't see an issue with offering the contactless. You can disable it if you want by contacting your bank. But frankly I couldn't live without it now. Took a trip to the US recently and it was like going back to the dark ages.

Contactless makes a substantial improvement to the time it takes to do transactions and I've actually seen the reduction in lines at checkouts as a result. So as long as it's not mandatory I don't really have a problem with it. Convenience has a price sometimes.

Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 449

by Cimexus (#49089361) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

Neat trick, though since it relies on the way the landline phone system works, it has a pretty limited target audience. Many (most?) people only use mobiles these days. Also most banks impose daily ATM withdrawal limits which aren't that high, so it seems like a lot of effort for relatively little gain. I don't think most people would fall for it if they thought about it for a second:

- Wouldn't it be your bank initially calling you about your card needing replacement, not the police? How would the police even know who had an affected card?

- Most people would know that a bank would never ask you for your PIN over the phone. And even if they didn't know that, needing it to "program your new card" makes no sense, since every replacement card I've ever received always has a new PIN with it anyway (which you can keep, or go and change it back to something you want)

Still goes to show you how inventive some of these guys are!

Comment: Re:Just the kind of places (Score 1) 99

by Cimexus (#49074583) Attached to: New Map Shows USA's Quietest Places

As an Australian who currently lives in the US, I can tell you that North American forests are way, way quieter than Australian ones. Birds particularly are very quiet here by comparison. I really miss magpies warbling and whipbirds and yes even the occasional cockatoo screech :)

Not only that but in Australia forests are noisy year-round. Here we are in deepest winter half the year (down to -30 C or lower) and there's not much animal activity happening in those months.

Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 495

by Cimexus (#48935825) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

Yes as a comparison, I recently moved from Australia to the US. Similar sized city in both countries (~400k people).

In Australia I had a choice of ~30 ADSL2+ providers at up to 24/2 Mbps (down/up), plus around 4 or 5 VDSL2 providers offering a guaranteed 60/15 Mbps down/up. In each case the physical line the service was provided through was the same line, owned by the main telco, but many different providers could offer service over it.

In the US I have a choice of precisely one DSL provider at 6 Mbps/768 kbps down/up (ick), and precisely one cable provider who offers 60/4 Mbps DOCSIS3. Obviously I choice the cable provider. Thankfully they seem quite decent and I'm getting the advertised speeds. But if I had an issue with them ... I'd be screwed, since there's no other choice.

Cost was approximately the same in both countries. The US ISP has a nominal 300 GB cap but I don't think they enforce it. The many Australian ISPs I could choose from offered various plans with a range of caps: effectively pay more if you need more, pay less if you don't need much. For the same price as the US ISP I could get a 300-500 GB cap in Australia so it's basically comparable.

I was fairly lucky in Australia having the access to VDSL. A lot of people are stuck in areas where ADSL2+ is the top option. But even then at least you usually had dozens of ISPs to choose from. In America there's usually just 1 option per technology (i.e. one DSL, one cable, etc.)

Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 2) 495

by Cimexus (#48935739) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

No the way it works is that government builds and maintains the infrastructure - the physical cables and such - but then leases access to this infrastructure out to private companies so that those companies can offer retail services to the consumer on it. In countries/regions that have done this, the government itself isn't in the business of actually being your ISP, and it's not interested in doing so.

Comment: Re:great. now lets remove the ban on (Score 1) 276

by Cimexus (#47321285) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

Uh, most (non-LCC) carriers outside of North America?

Hell, on Qantas in Australia (to take an example I know of, I'm sure there are others), you get fed in all classes, even on short 40 minute flights. Free drinks too, including wine or beer if it's a weekday flight after 5pm.

Comment: Re:Good! (Score 1) 619

by Cimexus (#47278833) Attached to: 2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

What you probably think is a good quality road, isn't, by international standards. There are decent roads around (interstates are usually OK - they are Federally funded of course) but a lot of state/county/local roads, in my area at least, are just shockingly bad. Cracks and uneven joints and poorly patched potholes everywhere. They had to lower the speed limit from 40 to 25 on one road near my place last winter because the cold temperatures had caused it to warp so badly.

Road markings are the other thing that are really bad in the US - often very faded, worn, and impossible to see at night or in the rain, even on major highways. In other countries these are bright, reflective white and with much more common/denser usage of cats eyes or raised reflective bumps.

Yes these are "first world problems" in some ways, but the ~average~ condition of US road infrastructure genuinely is worse than all other (developed) countries I've ,lived in - Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, France, the UK, Germany, Hong Kong. Raising gas tax may not be the solution - but infrastructure does need a big injection of funds from somewhere.

I also think some of the problem boils down to the inefficiency of having road maintenance managed at so many different levels of government - city/local, county, state, Federal. I know of a few roads in my area that don't get repaired because a town is fighting with the county about who has responsibility etc.

Comment: Re:Good! (Score 4, Insightful) 619

by Cimexus (#47277017) Attached to: 2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

As someone that moved to the US a couple of years ago but have previously lived in Europe, Japan and Australia - you guys do have very cheap fuel compared to virtually any other developed country you care to name.

Those other countries/regions are in decreasing order of cost ... while fuel in Australia is only maybe 1.5x the cost in the US, Europe is close to 2.5-3.0x.

The difference is of course down to the levels of taxation (the actual cost of oil/fuel itself is relatively similar everywhere on earth). But frankly, US roads are in terrible condition compared to the average road in those other regions I mentioned. I'd be glad to pay more for fuel if we could get some decent roads out of it. Most of them here in the Midwest are horribly bumpy and uneven ... patches upon patches upon patches on roads that really should have been completely ripped up and relayed years ago. I kind of understand now why cars don't seem to last as long in the US as in other countries - it's partly weather (particularly winter salt), but partly that they get slowly rattled to pieces death just by driving around!

Comment: Re:Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra (Score 1) 465

In Australia at least, the football they play in America is referred to as gridiron, or simply 'American Football'.

Yes I am aware that in America, 'gridiron' refers to the field it's played on, not the game itself. However this is not the case elsewhere, for some unknown reason.

Rugby, in either of its incarnations (Rugby Union and Rugby League, which have quite different rules from each other), doesn't have downs. In League there's an enforced turnover of the ball if it hasn't been kicked downfield (which means it generally gets caught by the other team effecting a change in possession) within 6 plays ... but there's no 'minimum distance gained'-type requirement like downs.

Comment: Re:Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra (Score 5, Insightful) 465

Even if it's not used in American English (which honestly, is surprising to me), it's not exactly obtuse or difficult to work it out. Putting ones tools down (and stopping work). What else could it mean? The only possible other interpretation is 'downing', as in 'consuming' ones tools, which obviously doesn't make any sense in this context.

There's no future in time travel.