Thursday Threads: Payment Card Security, Crap Detection, VoIP in your Hand

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Welcome to the revival of DLTJ Thursday Threads. With the summer over and the feeling of renewal towards this blog and its topics, I’m happy to be back sharing tidbits of technology that I hope you will find interesting. Today’s set of threads covers the gnarly security issues behind the bright-and-shiny chip-on-payment card systems being rolled out by banks and retailers in the U.S., a list of resources for checking things that you read about online, and a heads-up on changes to how your phone will work in the near future.

The Cost of a Phone Call Drops to Near Zero

The title of this post is true, under certain circumstances. Last week’s e-mail brought word from Michael Robertson of Backdoor Dialing – Free Calling to Millions of U.S. Phones. By using Gizmo, the freely available, no-spyware computer-based telephony application, it is now possible to call about 10% of the mobile and land lines in the country for no per-minute charge. This looks like another chink in the armor of the traditional voice telecom way of doing business, on their way to being disrupted out of existence (as they are known today).