Rumour & Humour: Can card readers send Oil barons to the poor house

Gasoline has become a bit pricey lately, which makes tech-fuelled fuel theft all the more understandable. According to news reports, some motorists in Michigan recently discovered that because of a computer glitch they could swipe their drivers’ licenses instead of credit cards to gas up for free at

pumps in the Meijer chain.

A total of 107 people figured it out, many of them students from nearby colleges in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. In some cases people got as many as 15 fill-ups over a three-week period. Zero cents a litre sounds like a pretty good deal to us.

As it turns out, however, the information from each transaction with a drivers’ license was also stored on a computer, and police are apparently tracking down the culprits.

The moral of this story: you can pump, but you can’t hide.

Web site workers

Moving from free gasoline to free time, a British theme park has been criticized by businesses for launching the promotional Web site.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said recently that it was unhappy that Alton Towers in central England, Britain’s biggest theme park, had used the Web address to promote a mid-week discount offer, claiming it would spark absenteeism. “Do you know a friend in need of a great day out – away from work? Simply e-mail this URL to them and they too can get out of the office and have a great day out at Alton Towers,” the Web site says.

According to news reports, the FSB said the Web site promotion was “”unethical and irresponsible”” and added it would be contacting Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority.

Sounds like a few FSB staffers need a few days off to develop a sense of humour.

How software can reap itself

And finally, a nice IT joke for water cooler redistribution:

A sales manager, a hardware technician and a software technician were carpooling to a meeting. At the top of a steep hill the brakes went out in their car, but they managed to slow down by scraping against the guardrail and came to a full stop.

After confirming they were all okay, the sales manager said: “”We obviously have a problem here. Let’s have a meeting, set some goals, establish priorities, and by a process of continuous improvement we will remedy this situation.””

The hardware technician said: “”That’s never worked for me. I’ll pull out my Swiss Army knife and take apart the braking system, find the fault, repair it, and we will be on our way.””

Then the software technician chimed in: “”Before we do anything, we should push the car back up to the top of the hill and see if it does the same thing again.””

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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