SparkFun will be closing today at 12pm MT for a company outing. All orders placed before 2pm MT will still ship out same-day. Thanks!
We've posted a gift guide! And BlueSMiRF makes an appearance with the Canadian authorities.
Now for the scary looking picture of the day - grrr! That is an officer of the law holding up a device that was found within a 'PIN pad' in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I didn't know what a PIN pad is, so here's a wikipedia article and google images. From the article (November 5th, 2009), it looks like someone has found a couple serial pins on the hand-held credit card reader commonly used within Canadian retail stores. They've wired those pins to a BlueSMiRF. This allows a person sitting ~100 feet away to see all the serial traffic including all the credit card information and pin #s. Not hard - all it takes is a bit of time, and malicious intent. This raises a couple issues...
1) This is going to completely freak my grandparents out. Because they are afraid of getting their money and identity stolen by the hidden thieves of the internet, they refuse to use their credit card on the internet. They are much more comfortable using their credit card at the gas station or grocery store. I've been using my credit card constantly online since 1998 and oddly enough I still possess my identity (it's not worth much). Now my grandparents may never touch a credit card again.
2) All things can be used for good or evil, including our products. You can build amazing things that encourage children to learn (checkout Gever Tulley's amazing presentation at TED), or you can build things that steal. We believe that sharing knowledge and selling products that encourage innovation outweigh the inherent dangers. We believe that stifling innovation or suppressing knowledge lead to much more dangerous outcomes.
And as Christopher says:
I just thought that whether you view this as good or bad publicity, that you should be aware of it. In the meantime I will continue to use my super Arduino powers for the good of mankind.Thanks Christopher for sending us the article! We depend on people like you to continue to make this space great. Please keep the super powers flowing.