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Comment Re: Won't allow forwarding? (Score 4, Informative) 195 195

The trick to "out-witting" the US Mint's genius bill-recognition scheme is to move some of the circles around –the yellow ones. They are 5-circle constellations, which is how Photoshop recognizes them as US currency. This has been known since the 'new' $20's came out about 15 years ago.

The US didn't invent everything ;-)

It's been known about since 2002, when it was found in European banknotes dating back to 1996. It's thought to be a Japanese invention.

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Comment Re:Your card will likely not be welcome... (Score 1) 294 294

However, the card will likely have limited geographical scope (eg the London Oyster Card), so if you're travelling widely you'll need a bunch of them or pay higher fares.

London introduced the Oyster card before contactless credit/debit cards existed, and even before the standards for transport cards were completed.

Since some time last year, contactless credit/debit/phone payments have been accepted on the London Underground, trains, buses and trams. There were suggestions in the media that Transport for London wanted to reduce Oyster card use, since it costs them more. I can believe that, with the huge number of adverts encouraging people to use contactless cards.

Comment Re:Don't worry (Score 1) 294 294

The retailer is on the hook for physical verification of the card in the way you are suggesting ("hey, they are accepting physical cards without checking the limit. SPREEEE!!!!!")

Sure, but they still need a valid PIN, and the retailer can balance the risk against a lost sale.

EasyJet selling a pack of crisps in the air for £8.50 obviously take that risk, a supermarket might choose not to sell a TV. This could be complicated to explain to staff though.

Comment Re:US (Score 1) 294 294

If you have a US "Chip & Signature" card, and plan to use unattended payment in Europe, make sure your bank understands what you expect to do, and has issued a card that agrees to Chip only transactions when told a signature is impossible. Or better, get one that has Chip & PIN. Because if your card stubbornly requires a signature, and it's talking to a vending machine in a cheap hotel it will get told to fuck off.

Much more importantly than a vending machine in a cheap hotel, a machine selling metro or train tickets.

My experience in the UK (where I live) is such machines require a PIN even for small amounts (£2), but in Germany it's only required for large amounts.

At a large station and/or in commuting hours there might be a ticket office open, but you can't rely on that.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 2) 549 549

Do you have an example of how they prepare you more for driving than other countries, including the US?

My experience is that in my driver's education class, we spent ZERO time in high speed driving, ZERO time in congested traffic. We got NO practical experience of ANY sort in ANY kind of defensive driving or even how to drive on anything other than a flat straight road in broad daylight.

I failed my UK driving test on Tuesday.

I reached around 50mph (the speed limit), in heavy traffic on a dual carriageway in London. Had I not reached at least some "reasonable" speed (40mph?) on that road, I would have failed for that reason. I turned left on a roundabout to get onto that road, and turned right at a big (multi-lane) roundabout to get off it (so I had to move over to the "fast" lane for that).

The examiner asked me to do a three-point-turn in the road, he could alternatively have asked me to reverse round a corner or parallel park.

There was a lot of driving round smaller roads, dealing with junctions, mini-roundabouts, cars parked on either side of the road, oncoming buses that need the whole road width, pedestrian crossings, etc.

I was expected to be aware of traffic around me (including behind and beside) at all times.

I failed through repeated "undue hesitation", i.e. yielding for too long when I had a chance to go. (This is partly bad luck, but it's something I'm not that great at. I'm overly cautious.)

However, the test is known to be easier in rural areas (e.g. parts of Scotland), since there's a lot less traffic and complicated junctions.

Before the practical test there's a theory test. You can try a mock one online: http://toptests.co.uk/mock-the... (most UK signs follow international convention, although the US doesn't — remember we drive on the left).

There's also a hazard perception test: http://www.driving-test-succes... — the actual test is 15 driving clips, you are expected to identify "developing hazards" in reasonable time. Apparently many people fail this first time, but I passed easily -- probably because I've been cycling in London for 7+ years.

Comment Re:No, because it sucks. (Score 1) 654 654

I take public transportation occasionally to and from work in San Francisco. But in general, there's a huge amount of crazy homeless people at all hours of the day who take public transportation.

This seems to be a uniquely American problem. Why do homeless people ride buses all day, and why do people put up with it? (Have the homeless people paid the fare?)

Comment Re:The addresses are there... but still... (Score 4, Insightful) 307 307

It's correct to use assigned addresses for internal hosts. The point is they're unique — you can set up a tunnel between any two organisations, or merge two networks, and not have to renumber things because both were using 10/8.

The cost to renumber and use their assignment more efficiently would be huge, similar to the cost to move to IPv6 but with little gain.

Comment Re:It's obvious how Uber does it (Score 1) 230 230

At least with Uber I know I'll be in a clean vehicle with a driver whose name and face are shown to me before I get in.

I used Uber for the first time on Satur^W Sunday morning in London, and although the registration number of the car was correct, the driver wasn't the one pictured. I assumed they were sharing a single car / account.

Is this uncommon?

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.

Working...