on the edge

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Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at speed


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Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Tue, 28 Dec 2004

Banks excel again

It wouldn’t be xmas if the banks didn’t manage to demonstrate incompetence in some fashion. Last Thursday, while visiting the local shops to collect the various food goodies that we’d ordered before going away, we attempted to pay for our purchases by credit card—as we normally do.

In three shops, the sales staff looked at us askance and mumbled stuff about difficulties with their EFTPOS machines. And, in each case, after several failed attempts, they resorted to manual transactions. However, although the manual fallback option was widespread in the past, it seems to have gone the way of the dodo—not one of those shops had a manual machine nor any stationery for manual processing. All they could do was scribble down details from the card, with prompting from us to cover the significant data that they tended to overlook in the stress of trying to do this while lots of other customers were waiting, and promise to do the right thing whenever the lines were “working” again.

Of course, the shop assistants had no knowledge of the actual problem and I would only be guessing—but it seems unlikely that this many shops would have the same problem if it was not related to some lack of capacity on the part of one or more parts of the chain involved in the provision of EFTPOS services. In the absence of any evidence at all, I’m going to blame the banks—at least until somebody sets me straight.