Here is another interesting little debate about the effects of an EMP, but this one tries to stay objective. The problem with the public perception of the EMP effect is that somehow a myth formed that an EMP is an absolute bane of all thing electric or electronic. This wasn't helped by Hollywood blockbusters such as Matrix, where an EMP is used to "fry" the machines and visible lightning-grade sparks are seen flying all over the place, or even more "down to earth" movies such as "Medusa's Child".
This is because most people do not understand precisely how an EMP works. The main damaging component of an EMP is not some mystical invisible air electric current causing everything to overload and throw sparks, but induced electric current based on the same principle we use to generate our electricity in power plants.
When you pass an electric conductor across a stationary magentic field, you will induce a small electric current in the said conductor. The same applies when you do it the other way around. Our alternating current generators are nothing more than coils of wire spinning very fast through a stationary magnetic field.
Now, when you get a high altitude nuclear detonation, the ultimate effect concerning this debate is the generation of strong electromagnetic fields at ground level. These fields are in motion and as such can and would induce large ammounts of electric current in the large, stationary lengths of conductors, such as power cables. Antennae and other large conductors would also be susceptible to this effect.
However, microchips are simply too small to auto-generate the ammount of electric current sufficient to fry the tranzistors inside. What they are vulnerable to is the overload spike coming from the power outlet! That's where most of the damage to computer systems would come from... your wiring, not your electronics.
So, your battery-powered radio would still work just fine, unless you happened to connect it to a large antenna. Your car would also work, even if it had an onboard computer. Any laptops would perhaps fare even better than desktops, which are always plugged in, and depending on the strength of the power spike, might or might not suffer power spike damage (if turned off, the main power switch actually has to suffer an arcing short for the rest of the circuitry to get fried, and you need a pretty large spike for that).
So relax. There is no doomdsay EMP coming to wipe out the civilization.
Do worry about global warming, about a possible 50 meter rise in sea levels, about massive migrations and possible wars this could spark across the globe, about the fact that very few people actually know that the warming effect might cause a new ice age... and other such trivia. That's real, and its coming. And unless societies come together and prepare for it, because its too late to stop it now, the global society is in for a world of hurt.