TechMan: Target's moving target

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In the period just after any breaking news story, when confusion reigns, even reliable sources can give out bad information.

It was no different with the recent reporting of the theft of 40 million credit and debit card accounts from Target customers. But in this case, the disinformation came from Target itself.

On Dec. 21, six days after the end of the attack on its systems, Target issued a statement saying neither debit card PINs nor credit card CVV numbers (the three-or-four-digit number often on the back of the card) were compromised.

This was followed rapidly by a revised statement from Target saying that CVV numbers were indeed stolen but insisting PINs were not.

A week later, Target issued a statement saying that PINs were taken but are encrypted so they can't be used by the thieves to drain money from bank accounts.

This leaves us all listening for a new PIN to drop.

I understand that Target is under tremendous pressure to reassure its customers and that facts are changing as the break-in is investigated. But Target did itself no good by making the truth a moving target.


In its Prime: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said recently that the company had "tens of millions" of Amazon Prime members. Amazon has been closemouthed about the number of people who have paid $79 to join and get free two-day shipping on many items, free streaming video and the ability to borrow Kindle books.

Amazon said in a news release, "Prime was so popular this holiday, that Amazon limited new Prime membership signups during peak periods to ensure service to current members was not impacted by the surge in new membership."

The 79 bucks for Prime is some of the best money that TechMan has spent.


Archive has game: Classic video games from the 1970s and 1980s have been put online by the Internet Archive at and can be played within a Web browser free, reports.

Games from five early home consoles, including the Atari 2600 and ColecoVision, are included in the first batch. The games do not have sound, but will soon, the Internet Archive said. Well-recognized titles such as "Pacman," "Space Invaders" and "Frogger" are all in the archive -- with more consoles and games expected soon.


Shopping while intoxicated: PayPal surveyed holiday shoppers about their browsing habits and 11 percent of respondents said they shop online while naked and 33 percent wear pajamas. And 15 percent say they like to drink alcohol when shopping online.


Website of the week: The Scale of the Universe 2 at lets you manipulate a slider to show you vanishingly small objects up to unimaginably huge ones.

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