I started this venture in 2008 as an avenue to talk about a wide variety of topics, but primarily as a SCUBA blog under the name "Musings from the Deep Blue Sea". It's evolved. My renewed interest in health, fitness, and nutrition (at the age of 43) has brought me to where I am today, and this site reflects that. Having said that, my original mission statement hasn't changed...

Our lives are important only because of the impact they have on the lives of others. Making a difference is important. This blog isn't written for you, it's written for me. My way of reviewing my life, and its significance...Of course, given my wide range of interests in life, there will be much variety. Welcome to my life.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Government Specs...

Ya gotta love our government...

You may know that I'm a software engineer by trade. I love my job. Usually.

Recently, I've been working with a technology that is subject to a government specification. That's where it gets fun.

For starters, there are 2 specs...one for a card, one for a reader that reads said card. There are card manufacturers and reader manufacturers, each of whom make products that conform to the spec. The government actually has a list of products that conform to the spec.

It should be simple, right? Nope, this is the same government that brought you the Post Office...and the IRS.

Buy approved reader. Check. Buy approved cards. Check. Read card with reader. LMAO. According to the manufacturers, the specs don't line up. Therefore, readers and cards may not interact properly. I love it...

It doesn't end there. The reader needs to transmit a number from a card. The number stored on the card, for arguments sake, is "123456789". This gets a little geeky, so I'll understand if you fall asleep.

The reader outputs (in hex) 0x313233343536373839....hmmm, doesn't make sense. Until I stare for a while. It's BCD(Binary Coded Decimal)! OK, but it still doesn't....wait a minute...31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39...these are hex representations of 1 - 9.

Are they kidding me? Why the obfuscation? It makes no sense. Oh wait, it's the government....it makes perfect sense.

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