Okay, so I took a three-month vacation from posting - is that so wrong?

Anyway, here's some cool new technology in smartcard land - e-gate. These cards have a USB interface actually built into the chip, rather than relying on a conventional USB smartcard reader device to do the job. In terms of coolness factor, the highlight here is that the resulting I/O speed between the PC and the card is way fast. With standard ISO smartcards and readers, we typically see a negotiated communications rate of about 56 Kbps max. In practice, I think the e-gate cards may see more than 10 times that (when operated in "USB mode")!