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Comment Re:Turkey... (Score 2) 69

That not how I would characterise the difference between Australian TFNs and US SSNs (I have both).

In Australia, the TFN is a very sensitive piece of information and the only people who would ever ask for it are those you would expect to ask for a tax number: the tax department, your employer, and your bank/financial institutions. There are strict guidelines governing its use and it is explicitly defined as identifying information:

On the other hand, the US SSN is used for freaking everything. I had to prove my SSN to sign up for cable TV! I'd say the Australian TFN is far more 'secret' than the US SSN...

Comment Re:Heh, if only it worked (Score 4, Informative) 225

I would suggest getting a chip card from a local bank wherever you are. The technology works great in most places I've been (Canada, Europe and yes even the US), but then, my home bank is in Australia where chip + PIN has been established standard for well over 10 years. The US cards are kinda 'frankenstein' because they have the chip but generally no PIN (i.e. the US went with the weird hybrid approach of having a chip but still requiring signature).

Comment Re:WTF is EMV? (Score 5, Informative) 225

Well unfortunately the US took the half-assed approach of moving to chip, but still requiring signature. Everywhere else it's chip + PIN. By the time you've typed the 4-6 digits of your PIN, the chip reading part of it is generally done and the whole transaction is generally quicker than the whole 'cashier hands you annoying piece of paper and a pen and you sign' rigmarole.

Even better, most places outside the US these days have contactless payments available at most merchants. For smaller amounts ($100, $50, varies by country), tap your card on the reader and you're done. Takes literally 1 second.

Comment Re:That's nice (Score 1) 225

Hm? I've been regularly using contactless (PayPass/PayWave) for close to decade here (Australia). I haven't had it fail, or been told 'sorry, you can't do that because the equipment has failed' once. It's super convenient and fast and virtually every retailer has it now (noting that contactless is limited to transactions $100 or less ... anything higher requires the usual chip + PIN arrangement).

PayPass and PayWave are the main two standards (Mastercard and Visa respectively). Since the vast majority of cards in the (Western) world are one of those two companies, I don't think it's accurate to say the standards are really 'in flux'.

Comment Re:11.6 MBps over 3G ??? (Score 1) 164

Nope - single phone tethered to his laptop apparently. He was using Telstra's 4GX network which can easily give in the range of 200-300 Mbps downstream if you're close-ish to a tower. So averaging 11.6 MB/s is perfectly doable.

Here's another article with some more info on this guy and some speedtests etc:

Comment Re:Maths? (Score 1) 164

Yep, that sounds about right. Telstra's 4GX network (which this guy used) regularly gives in the range of 200-300 Mbps downstream if you're close-ish to a tower. 10 MB/s average is quite doable on this network.

Australia's wired broadband isn't particularly great by global standards, but it does have some of the best/fastest wireless out there.

Comment Tie it to inflation (Score 2) 940

Why on earth isn't minimum wage tied to CPI (inflation) like it is in most other countries? Set it to some agreed amount, then index it each year based on official inflation figures. The way it is now, the minimum wage even AFTER being increased to $15 still won't be as high as it was in the 1960s, in terms of actual buying power.

This whole "setting it to a fixed, static amount" is a weird, high-maintenance way to legislate. It just means you have to go through the same process another decade down the track.

Comment Re:Fingerprints = no deal (Score 1) 382

As an Australian living in the US I totally agree with you. The only entity on earth that has my fingerprints is the US government. Not even my home country's government has them. And that sucks. Like in Canada, you'd never be asked to give fingerprints in Australia - that is a treatment reserved for criminals alone.

Having said that, I do have a mortgage and a bank account in the US and was NOT asked for fingerprints for those purposes. Just regular ID (driver's licence etc.) USCIS (immigration) is the only body that asks for them as far as I have personally experienced here.

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