"half-dollar"/"50 cent piece" Was: Recovering the ROM of an IBM 5100 using OCR

William Donzelli wdonzelli at gmail.com
Mon Jul 1 07:01:36 CDT 2019

> In every other country I've visited or lived in -- about 30 or 40 of
> them -- banknotes are all different sizes, so that totally blind
> people can sort by size if they have a few of them. I daresay the very
> skilled can do it by absolute, not relative, size. Sighted people can
> and do do it by touch without really thinking about it.

US currency is the most most seriously counterfeited in the world, due
to being useful almost anywhere. This is why the bills are not very
distinctive - you are supposed to look at them. Most counterfeits are
good, but not good enough, and can (and will) stick out in a batch of
bills - the might just look "funny" or "odd". Have millions of eyes
looking for the counterfeits ever day of the year is actually quite
effective. I once worked at a bank, and the number of bogus bills that
the tellers would get every month was very significant - and most
actually stuck out like a sore thumb!.

So if you get a stack of US currency, and need to count it, you really
need to look at each one, even if just a partial quick glance. With a
stack of Euros, you can do a quick sort by color or size, and bogus
bills can slip right by.

It is a trade off.

Mind you, I think US currency is very ugly, compared to many other
currencies, but I see the point of the design.

On the other hand, US coins really are not faked very much anymore (it
is mostly limited to older collectibles), so the US Mint have been
playing around a lot with new coin designs, maybe more than ever
before. They are even starting to purposely introduce limited editions
into circulation (the "W Quarter"), just for fun. The are, of course,
still constrained by the physical aspects of the coins, due to
mechanical changers and such.

> To be honest, even in the UK, my blind friends mostly dislike dealing
> in both paper and metal currency and if they can, these days they pay
> with a card.

Yes, that is the case all around, for the entire population.

>  Paper cheques disappeared in Britain a decade ago
> and are very rare now.

That is mostly the case here as well. Most under-40 people do not have
a checkbook anymore. In my business, I get maybe two payments per year
with checks - well under 1/10 of a percent of total payments.

> My American friends and colleagues over here talk about US cheque
> processing and sending _images_ of cheques to one another, and the
> Czechs are incredulous. This is like hearing about carrying letters by
> horse-drawn carriage in these parts; this is a technology that never
> really happened here and that pretty much no living person has ever
> seen.

There are still a few institutions and older folks that still use
checks (like the annoying people that hold up the line in a grocery
store, writing out a check), so the image deposit system is just an
effort to cut down the foot traffic to banks. More convenience for
customers, and less labor costs for banks. It is handy to have, but
really, not many people use it much, simply because getting a paper
check is just a rare occurrence these days.


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