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<   No. 139   2003-06-13   >

Comic #139

1 Spanners: I've had enough. I'm pressing this button here.
1 Iki Piki: Stand back!
2 GM: It works! Holographic displays give you access to the accumulated wisdom of a million years of alien culture!
3 Spanners: It works perfectly after aeons buried in the irradiated soil of a dead planet.
3 Iki Piki: Alien tech is like that.
4 Iki Piki: it either works perfectly or blows up. No middle ground. You never hear of an enigmatic alien device eating someone's ATM card.

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2012-04-09 Rerun commentary: Well, unless it's an enigmatic alien ATM, and they either (a) don't accept your card, or (b) have weird alien script on the keys so you can't figure out how to enter your PIN correctly.

Actually, the latter (or something like it) almost happened to me in Ecuador. I needed some cash and stuck my Visa card into an ATM. Went to type my PIN, which I remembered solely through the use of the standard keypad number-to-letter mapping as a word. Since all the ATMs I ever use at home show the letters on the numeric keypad, this is fine. However, this enigmatic Ecuadorian ATM only had numerals! And I couldn't remember exactly how the mapping went! After two goes of getting it wrong, I feared the machine would eat my card.

It was then my wife noticed an ATM in the building next door had the letters on the keys, and I ran over to use that pad to map my PIN-word back into numbers so I could successfully use my card. Phew!

Thank goodness I didn't poke the ATM with a stick.

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