TechMan: Canceling card is best protection

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TechMan has always freely admitted that he is not an IT professional but a journalist who tries to approach technology as a consumer.

Luckily there are technology professionals out there kind enough to set TechMan straight when he strays.

Two computer professionals emailed me to correct misconceptions about whether CVV (card verification value) codes were stolen in the big breach of Target accounts. I took Target to task for first saying CVV codes were not stolen and then saying they were.

Tech Talk: Target security breach, security tips

This week on "Tech Talk," Ced Kurtz and Laura Schneiderman talk about the security breach at Target stores and what you can do to protect yourself. (Video by Melissa Tkach: 1/6/2014)

As my correspondents point out, Target was actually right both times, because there are two CVV numbers on a credit card. The first is contained in the magnetic strip that is read when the card is swiped at checkout. This one was part of the hackers' haul. The second one is embossed on the card and was not stolen.

There are some online merchants that will allow a transaction without the embossed code, but not many.

As one of my correspondents points out, "The simplest way to protect yourself as a consumer is to cancel any cards used at Target during or around the breach time."

Thanks to Josh Doll and Steven Doerfler for keeping TechMan honest. It's getting to the point that you have to be a computer pro to know you've been ripped off.

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Robots with humans inside: Using a sophisticated mind-controlled exoskeleton, a paralyzed teen will kick the first ball at the upcoming World Cup 2014 soccer tournament in Brazil in mid-June, reports. The teen has not yet been chosen.

Also, Panasonic has revealed that its "powered suit," which mechanically increases strength to allow humans to lift heavy objects, will be mass-produced and go on sale in 2015 at a price of $4,788 each, according to

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Robots in your driveway: By 2035, nearly 54 million autonomous vehicles will be on the road and annual sales of the vehicles will reach almost 12 million, according to a study by IHS Automotive reported in the Los Angeles Times. After 2050, the study predicts that nearly all of the vehicles in use will be self-driving, causing accident rates to plunge to near zero.

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Believe it: Although TechMan has reported it here before, it bears repeating. Microsoft says, "After April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC.

"If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses."

April 8 is fast approaching. More details at

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Smart soda: Coca-Cola now owns 16 million unique Internet identifiers usually reserved for Wi-Fi cards and other networking equipment, according to New Coke machines (TechMan has used one in a Giant Eagle) allow you to mix your own drink. They're connected to the Internet, and Coca-Cola tracks the types of drinks people consume. Obviously the company is planning to connect a lot more machines to the Internet.

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Website of the week: has everything you wanted to know about the telescope and collections of stunning images from the space scope.

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