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Archive for August 2006

They’re going to need a really big shoe…

August 31, 2006 @ 00:15 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net

People in Germany may find themselves in need of a really big shoe. Check out this image from Google Maps. (Thanks to Paul Tomblin for mentioning this in his blog.)

First mobile DX QSO

August 26, 2006 @ 17:02 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

While driving home from some errands this afternoon, I was able to work LZ1900K on 20m. This is a little milestone of sorts because it is the first mobile HF DX QSO that I’ve had (the other QSOs have been when I was parked somewhere). And, it seems that LZ1900K is a special event station commemorating the 1900th anniversary (!) of the proclamation of the ancient city of Pautalia (modern Kyustendil) by Roman imperor Mark Ulpiy Trayan for municipia (province center), including right of the city to issue coins, which makes it even more special. He reported that I was a “59” (no noise on my signal and very strong), while I reported him as being a “56” (no noise, not as strong as an S9). Very cool!

Update on the bank card fraud

August 26, 2006 @ 16:55 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

As you probably read a few days ago, my bank card was skimmed. My bank made the necessary arrangements so that I could access my money while they completed their investigation, which was very much appreciated. I had a call on Friday from the security officer at the bank that she’d submitted her recommendation to her management that they absorb the fraud, so now my balances reflect reality. She also said that she was working on this very late Thursday evening and something made her go dig through her database of frauds and lo and behold she found another one from a while back that was a very similar pattern of transactions. One of the odd things about my incident is that it wasn’t part of a larger bunch of fraudulent transactions, so that made it harder to figure out what happened.

Hopefully, now that she has two seemingly similar incidents, she’ll be able to find a common link somewhere and the police will be able to arrest them and extract vengence.

QSL cards

August 24, 2006 @ 19:38 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

A few entries ago, I talked about QSL cards. These are the cards that amateur radio operators exchange to confirm they’ve communicated. There are many reasons to do this, some related to amateur radio contests to simply because they’re a neat thing to have. I sent my first batch out a couple of weeks ago and so far I’ve received two in return. I’m going to scan the cards as I receive them and add them online to my QSL gallery.

Back in RAC

August 18, 2006 @ 12:08 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

Now that I’m an active ham again, I’ve rejoined the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC). The represent amateur radio operators’ interests at various levels and are the Canadian equivalent of the ARRL. Among other benefits, I’ll be able to use the outbound QSL Bureau service, so it shouldn’t cost as much to send QSL cards.

Bastard bank card scammers

August 17, 2006 @ 21:59 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

I couldn’t find my cheque book this morning, so at lunch I popped into the bank branch in the lobby of my building at work to have them code a temporary cheque for me so I could pay for my dentist appointment later in the afternoon. I gave the teller my account number, which she punched into her computer. Reading some popup on the screen, she said “hm” and then “if you’ll take a seat over here, someone will be out to talk to you momentarily”.

“Uh oh,” thought I, “this doesn’t sound good at all.” I sat down.

Shortly, someone else came out and asked me to step into her office.

In her office, she told me that there were several recent transactions on my chequing account that were “suspicious” and would I mind answering some questions. After reviewing the transactions in question, it became clear that my bank card had been cloned and someone had basically drained as much money out of my account.

I highlighted all of the fraudulent transactions and started filling out the necessary paperwork.

At the end of an hour or so, I had a shiny new bank card, an empty bank account, copies of the paperwork and a new loathing for the scumbags who cloned my bank card.

From the bank, I headed to the dentist to have a small chip filled, which fortunately was uneventful and didn’t even require freezing. Once home, I called the police to report the bank card fraud.

So, where did it happen? Well, I have two suspicions: one being a convenience store and the other being a computer store. It doesn’t take long to swipe a card through a second reader, particularly if the debit card machine is below the counter top. I’ve even heard that some debit card cloners have little readers hooked on their belts that they can quickly and discretely pass a bank card through. Getting the PIN number was likely accomplished by either a hidden video camera or a shoulder surfer. Creating a fake bank card is fairly simple once you have that information.

Oh well. At least I should get the money back after the bank’s finished their initial investigation.

Debit card fraud was a huge problem in the UK, so large that they were forced to implement new technology. Gone are magnetic stripes. In their place is a system called “chip-and-pin”. Basically, when you go to make a purchase, you insert a smart card in a reader and enter your pin. The chip in the card can’t be copied. The result is that within a couple of months debit card fraud dropped by 90%.

Hopefully, we’ll get something like this in Canada in the near future.

And, hopefully the bastards will get what’s coming to them. Soon.

Typos

August 16, 2006 @ 00:02 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net

I’ve been playing with Google Analytics lately and while checking a report that shows me the keywords that people have used to find my blog I noticed that one fairly popular term was “dargonboat” and that I apparently had an entry with that in the title. It seems that I made a small typo in the entry I wrote last summer about the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival results. I’ve since corrected the typo, but it’s amusing to see how common this typo is. I even found a blog entry by someone who appears to have found it on a medal they won. It’s mentioned about halfway down that page after some of the pictures.