Sidebar: Spraying for Data

When testing card keys, electronic lock makers often use a product called Magview to visibly identify the encoding pattern or see an embedded bar-code pattern. The process is simple: You spray the card with a mist of suspended metal particles, which drop onto the magnetic surface. "The metal particles stand up on the encoding sequence. It will show you the encoding pattern and its positioning on the card," says Mark Goldberg, executive vice president and chief operating officer at card maker Plasticard-Locktech International.

Whereas the ability to see data patterns appear on a credit card would amount to little more than an amusing parlor trick for most Computerworld readers, it's all business for Goldberg. He uses Magview spray to calibrate electronic key-coding equipment with his cards. But you won't find Magview next to the Pledge at your local grocery store, and it's not cheap. It's available only from Geneva Group of Companies Inc. in Minneapolis. The product, which is also used to align the magnetic heads of other electronic devices, sells for $52.49 for a 2 oz. bottle.

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