The Mangle

November 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — themangle @ 1:33 am

Wow – a “scoop” I had back in 2006, is now a reality. First from VISA last year: and now Mastercard this week:

The Mangle

Below is a sneak peak at Visa's proposed new high-level security credit card. The card, in trial at the moment, contains a built-in token-based authentication system that is linked back to a central server for authentication. The six-digit code cycles through every 2 minutes, with the algorithm used unique to that card and synchronised to the authentication server. The expiry date for the token matches the expiry date on the card.

Visa Card with TokenThere are a few logistical challenges for Visa to overcome. The cards are about double the thickness of normal credit cards, which apparently make them compatible with the majority of card readers, but not all. Also, there is a lot of work to be done with merchants to adapt their systems to incorporate an additional input field – namely a PIN and the 6-digit code.

A source from Visa said, "We are not too worried about this. We are introducing an…

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May 20, 2011

The Origins and Dangers of Planking

Filed under: Scoops — themangle @ 1:43 am

The UK’s Guardian newspaper recent published an article on the origins of the Internet craze ‘Planking’. The autor claims that it “began 14 years ago with a pair of bored kids. Gary Clarkson, then 15, and his friend Christian Langdon, 12, would perform the plank in public places, amusing one another and baffling onlookers. Back then, it was known simply as the Lying Down Game.”

However, this recently-uncovered photo from 2001 suggests that the practice of planking may have already been well-established across the Atlantic. The photo in question graphically highlights the dangers associated with the craze – see below.


October 17, 2010

Discovery of GPS tracker becomes privacy issue

Filed under: Real Stuff — themangle @ 10:44 pm

OK – so there’s some controversy about the FBI secretly attaching GPS trackers to US citizens’ cars (see Hopefully, this doesn’t deter the people at Taser and law enforcement officials with regards to Taser GPS:

September 13, 2010

HTC and Nokia? Hmmm …

Filed under: Scoops — themangle @ 11:39 pm

Nokia logoSo HTC is holding a press event in London at the same time as Nokia World, jetting in journalists from all around the world. According to the Wall Street Journal, there’s Lots To Gossip About At Nokia World. There doesn’t seem to be any gossip yet about a tie-up between these two behemoth mobile phone makers – should there be? I guess we will find out in a couple of days …

September 10, 2010

Taser GPS Trackers Expected to Reduce Car Pursuit Risk

Filed under: Scoops — themangle @ 6:29 am

Taser is rumoured to shortly be releasing a car-mounted device that shoots magnetic GPS tracking units. The device, simply codenamed “Taser GPS”, will be mounted on either the police car’s front grille, as per the picture (left), or on the car’s roof, and operated remotely by the driver.

The advantage of the Taser GPS, according to an unnamed source, is that “it has the potential to do away with potentially dangerous or even fatal vehicle pursuits. By attaching a GPS tracking device to a suspect vehicle, police can then track and apprehend  that vehicle without having to rely on high-speed pursuit tactics.”

The Taser GPS is callibrated to hit the vehicle target at a set distance. The pursing police car only has to ensure that his or her vehicle is at the required distance before the GPS tracker is fired at the vehicle, attaching magnetically once reaching its target. The GPS is activated once it is fired, with the police control centre able to track the movements of the vehicle from a central control room, and for the pursuit vehicles also able to track from in-car GPS screens. Field trials of the Taser GPS are expected to commence shortly in the US.

September 22, 2009

Hello my the surprised friend!

Filed under: Real Stuff — themangle @ 11:15 pm

A great email received from “Tatyana” in Russia yesterday. The English is so contorted, it makes an entertaining read. I’m thinking Tatyana might have run the original Russian through Babelfish …

There’s also an attachment – resume.doc – which I was very tempted to open, because it’s such an entertaining email. The crowning glory is the return address for the email – “werygoodlove” from a German domain.

Here’s the full email:

SUBJECT: If you are serious Also it is interested in me..

Hello my the surprised friend! My name Tatyana and I wish to take away from you at all a lot of time and To penetrate in wash the letter! My trade the doctor the dentist. At me has arisen The brilliant idea to try to find love not in that place where I I live namely not in Russia! In me there were such emotions from the recent Time! I would like to tell to you about it my friend. On my work In Stomotologichesky Polyclinic I had a chance that I will go on an exchange On practice in other city for me it was good and not much not on To itself because to go to other city on practice! At me is not present there Friends or even I am simple girlfriends with which I can to spend time cheerfully And to speak about problems in mine to a new life. But all has exchanged and on To exchange there has gone my colleague which only not for a long time has come to us on Work after the termination of Medical university. But desire to find The acquaintance from other country at me remains on former. I thought much About a step as acquaintance to the person from other country.

Once after Works I have gone on foot because weather was fine and saw as Loving couples follow a hand and exchange gentle kisses. To me not Tenderness and the favourite person in the suffices a life and it became me Very clearly after this walk. I like to walk sometimes one Alone with themselves and to think about the lives. In my city I could not To find the happiness and till now it is lonely. For myself I have resolved To search for the love in other country. Especially I heard much about that That people from other countries are more romantic and are careful apropos Relations with women, so to say they have a spark in eyes! I am ready Completely to this step also has bought yours an e-mail in International Dating Agency. To me have told that you my friend very good lonely person with Kind and open heart. I wish to tell about myself directly that To me 29 years and my growth 168 see I live to Russia, city Cheboksary. I I wish to be happy life in the and I have serious sights at this The world. At me the big age and is a lot of experience behind shoulders. I am confident that We can find with you the general a theme of conversation and learn each other It is more. I hope to see yours the letter my friend about your life. As I To place my foto with the letter and some resume in a file. To me very much It would be desirable to see yours the letter and to have with you acquaintance. I would like To see that we became good friends and not only.

If you are serious Also it is interested in me please reply only to my personal e-mail: <EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED>

My letter to you was sent by manager International Dating Agency Therefore write on my personals an e-mail: <EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED> Yours new friend Tatyana.

August 25, 2009

More Effort Required – D+

Filed under: Real Stuff — themangle @ 11:28 pm

After such an inventive effort yesterday from Tajikistan, today’s scam email I received was pathetic. If you want to convince punters that it’s a legitimate offer, you’ve really got to try a lot harder than this:

We are an Academy award Movie Production Company.In our salvaging Economic Recession crisis program, you are selected as our beneficiary From one of the 5 sales country to benefit $530.000.00,this is not a Lottery promotion.

To offset the cash to you send an email message to: <email address removed>

Do include: Your Full name, Occupation & Telephone number. To authenticate this, e-mail us.

For a start, where’s the florid language, the overly-detailed background as to why this fabulous quantity of money is suddenly available? There wasn’t even a proper subject line to the email, just “Re:”.

Then, there is no attempt to be clever with email addresses. The email alias uses a domain, the real email address is, and the email address they want punters to reply to is

This ain’t going to fool anyone … or … maybe this one is real??? Hmmmm.

Greetings from Tajikistan!

Filed under: Real Stuff — themangle @ 6:20 am

I love the creativity that goes into these email scams. This is the first I’ve received from Tajikistan!

I know very well that you will be surprise reading this kind of message from unknown person from far country that is not close to yours which I’m well convinced that is a divine direction. To start with, I am Boboeva Rafoat, a 49 years old woman from Tajikistan who was formerly the Main – director of children crisis, centre, director of women organization, coordinator – the league of women lawyers on north region. After 1992-97 war between a hard-line secular government and mostly Islamic opposition in Tajikistan left about 100,000 people dead and the nation’s economy in shambles, I was removed from the post by the government of Emomali Rakhmon, who is now in third term as president. Please, I don’t want you to see my message to you as a mistake; I have a great purpose contacting you which I know will be of a great benefit to you and your entire family in time to come. During my leadership as director of children crisis, centre, director of women organization, coordinator – the league of women lawyers on north region, Mahmadruzi Iskandarov who was a field commander in Tajikistan’s civil war of the early 1990s used me in moving the sum of 28.9 million US dollars out side the country for foreign investments. Now Mr.Mahmadruzi Iskandarov was kidnapped in Moscow and secretly brought to Tajikistan when an extradition request failed. Critics say the case against him is politically motivated. He was found guilty of illegal possession of arms, embezzlement of government money, and for organising what the Supreme Court judge called “terrorist acts.” The terrorism charges relate to an attack on a militia post in Mr Iskandarov’s native region of Tajikabad last year which the authorities say he helped to organise. On Tuesday, another former civil war field commander, Eribek Ibragimov, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for taking part in the same attack. Mr Ibragimov had supported the Islamic opposition in the war. In exile, after the civil war, Mr Iskandarov became leader of the opposition Democratic Party. He entered the government following a peace deal in 1998 and was appointed head of the state gas company. But he left that post following accusations of embezzlement and went to Russia two years ago. There he was arrested, but the Russian courts turned down an extradition request from Tajikistan. Some time later, he was kidnapped in a Moscow suburb and subsequently turned up in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, prompting an outcry from human rights groups. Since the government has putting me under house arrest, due to their suspicious over my relationship with Mr.Mahmadruzi Iskandarov, I will like you to do me a favour in standing as my foreign partner who will contact the Finance Institute for the clearance of a deposit, which every documents bears my name as the depositor. Contact me urgently for us to discuss this deal in details. At my position now, oral communication is not permitted from me due to monitors from government but I can use my Laptop, but with faith and trust, I know you will not betray my trust in future. Reply me urgently with more information about yourself for a proper confirmation of your capability of handling this deal/investment of the money since my time of coming out from the government hand is something I can not predict for now. I know that is risk discussing this kind of deal in the internet but due to my position now, I have no option then to take the risk in other to secure this huge amount of funds.

Sincerely yours,

Ms.Boboeva Rafoat

July 23, 2009

Thank Goodness MasterChef is Over!

Filed under: Real Stuff — themangle @ 11:37 pm

Thank goodness MasterChef Australia is over. I don’t know how much more I could have taken. The pressure has been intense.

Julie - the winner

Julie - the winner

Since the show started,  I have been forced to serve up meal after meal of increasing difficulty and complexity. Although it was a massive boost for my confidence recently when Mister Four scored me a “twenty thousand million out of ten” for my amuse-bouche of quail eggwhite omelette and misted gazpacho. Mister Ten was not quite so generous, giving me a five and saying that he felt there was no balance between the sweet and savoury flavours on the plate. Mister Twelve was much more positive scoring me an eight, but felt that the mint and dill garnish should have “looked more like autumn leaves that had fallen”.

The Masterchef season has also been a period of incredible inconvenience. Deconstructed sandwiches are very difficult to pack into school lunchboxes, and the boys’ demand for fresh sourdough keeps us up baking into the early hours.

And it’s been really embarrassing at the hockey field canteen when Mister Four insists on a tomato reduction with his sausage sandwich. Although, it has to be said, the canteen organisers had already bowed to pressure from other children by offering sausage options of duck neck and sage, or pork and fennel. Surely a tomato jus isn’t too much to ask?

We have been under tight scrutiny in the kitchen, questioned on everything from our choice of ingredients and cooking technique to “plating up”. Mister Twelve pulled me up recently for my choux pastry, which I was preparing for our weekly croque-en-bouche. “It’s a little dry,” he said critically, rolling a piece around between thumb and forefinger. “There’s no way your profiteroles are going to hold together. My recommendation is that you start again.”

Our kitchen, not the largest to begin with, is now so crammed full of appliances and specialist cooking utensils that it is becoming difficult to find what we need. The other day, while making mashed potatoes, or pomme puree as the boys insist we call it, I couldn’t locate the moulis and had to serve up a grainy mash that attracted considerable negative comment.

So, from now on, it’s back to our usual fare of chops and three veg, ham and cheese macaroni, and schnitzel and salad. For school lunches, it’s back to sliced white with devon and plastic cheese. Whew!

A word of advice to the MasterChef Australia producers for next season: can you employ those women with their four-ingredient recipes? That would make things so much easier for all of us. And a word of advice to the hockey canteen: keep making the duck neck and sage sausages – they’re delicious!

July 12, 2009

Rant – Australian Taxpayers are Funding you Ben!

Filed under: Real Stuff — themangle @ 7:03 am
Get off your arse Ben!

Get off your arse Ben!

The Mangle is following Ben Southall on Twitter, along with two and a half thousand others. Well done to Cummins Nitro for the “Best Job in the World” campaign – an incredible success, and congratulations on your three Gold Lions at Cannes. That said, we (as in Australian taxpayers) are funding Ben’s little sojourn in paradise to the tune of $150,000 for the next six months – so we would like some decent output for our money.

So here’s my gripe –

  1. 2,500 followers on Twitter is pathetic. Please do something to increase this communications channel
  2. Ben’s tweets are atrocious – here’s the latest sample:
    You have to visit Cassius the 100yr old 18’6″ crocodile at Marineland Melansia…he’s huge. George fed him a tuna head as we stood there!! ( – “Melansia“? WTF is “Melansia“? And, Ben, we have been metric for 30 years – so WTF is 18″6′? Cassius is believed to be 60-80 years old, not 100. How can you get it so wrong in 140 characters? And don’t get me started on you calling it “expresso” coffee the other day, or the shocking grammar and spelling throughout.
  3. Since arriving to start your job on July 1, you have succeeded in sending about 25 tweets. That’s about two a day. Pathetic. You can’t even claim that you’ve been spending all your time updating your blog. Your latest post was July 3 ( You’re not on *&*&T$#%% holidays – you’re supposed to be working!
  4. OK, so you’ve got an official blog happening at, but it’s really not much of an ask.

So, get off your arse Ben and start working. Otherwise, as one of those paying your salary, I’ll be lobbying to have you fired! (And, yes, it is also a large case of sour grapes.)

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