There's safety in numbers, according to the TV and print advertisements designed to encourage us all to embrace Chip-and-PIN charging systems. But Sneak has discovered that there is also considerable confusion in the system as well. Picture the scene: it's time to pay after a large and now rather drunk party has enjoyed a lengthy meal. As often happens, ten cards are proffered, for the bill to be split. The waiter pokes the first card into a handheld chip-reading machine and keys in the amount to be paid. It then demands the customer's PIN. Only then does the waiter realise that, because the metal chip-contacts are positioned at the same, right-hand end of the card as the customer's name and the bank's logo - all of which are now inside the slot of the machine - he has no idea whose PIN is needed. "Err, whose is the blue MasterCard?" he asks. "Mine," answer three people, not very helpfully. The waiter is forced to cancel the transaction, whip the card out, note the name, and start again. Fine, of course, except that he is a slow learner and repeats the mistake on the next three cards as well. Hilarious at the time, but in hindsight an interesting object lesson in the dangers of blindly adding functions to existing systems, without considering the new user-interaction requirements. Perhaps the banks might consider moving the cardholder name to the opposite end of the card?
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago