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Credit Card Replacement Game

by @ 6:12 pm
Filed under: financial — Tags:

Credit CardEvery so often my bank cancels my existing credit card and issues a new one. This is such a big hassle. First of all I have no idea when I'm supposed to receive the new card and when I'm supposed to stop using the current one. Every time I go to make a payment there's the
fear that the current card could be rejected.

Then I have to remember to change the card number with all the vendors who have it on file. If I miss one, I could risk losing a service. Finally the number change completely messes up my memory. Just as I begin to remember a card number, I have to drop it from memory
in favor of another one. And the cycle keeps repeating itself.

This card replacement merry-go-round is done to ostensibly protect me against the bad guys who may have somehow gained access to my account. At least that's what I thought. The truth however is that this practice is nothing but a marketing ploy and with the Credit Card Act going into effect soon, limiting potential gains for the card companies, we may see more of this happening.

The banks have done their homework and obviously this ploy produces great returns which is why they keep re-issuing cards. More than likely no account information has been leaked and there are no risks, but issuing a new card forces the customer to call and activate the account. What better way to peddle their junk services on a mandatory inbound call.

There are high pressure pitches on balance transfers, payment protection plans, and credit monitoring programs among many others and the customer is forced to listen to them all before the rep on the phone declares the account activated. All these services are useless waste of money designed to make the card companies richer and us poorer.

So the next time you call to activate your account, tell the rep that you're not interested in any of their junk services. If they must put us through the credit card recycling game, they should just activate the damn cards and let us be. We'll call them if we have money to throw away, promise.

Amazon Spoils The Party

by @ 12:28 am
Filed under: financial,internet — Tags: ,

Amazon.comI don't know, maybe it's poetic justice or just karma that Amazon should report disappointing results tonight with earnings well below estimates. Why? After I was labeled a cheater and was terminated from the Amazon Associates program, I had hoped for a little payback. I certainly did my part by vowing never to buy anything from Amazon and as much as I dislike Apple, rooting for iPad to crush Kindle.

Okay, enough vendetta venom. The fact is that Amazon does not have it as easy as it once did. Its marketplace is still solid, but poor economy and competition from the likes of eBay have been eroding its dominant position. Amazon's valuation is currently twice that of eBay.

Then, by Amazon's own admission, more people are buying digital editions rather than actual books. How can this be good news for Amazon? Such a shift to digital format lowers the barrier to entry for other competitors who would no longer need warehouses and shipping centers. Apple can start selling books for iPad right on the iTunes platform.

Finally, cloud computing hasn't turned out to be the golden goose it was once thought to be. Amazon certainly was a pioneer in cloud computing, but the early momentum has somewhat moderated now and competition from Microsoft and Google (which offers a free version) have probably had a dampening effect on Amazon platform's adoption rate.

Amazon shares are currently down some 10% in after-hours trading and it appears that its disappointing financial results will have a nauseating effect on the market on Friday. Even Microsoft's better-than-expected results may not be able to change that sour mood.

Apple iPhone 4 Free Cases

by @ 1:43 pm
Filed under: business — Tags: ,

Apple had finally enough and it addressed the antenna Death Grip issue (Antennagate) last Friday.

In response to Apple's press conference promising free cases for all iPhone 4 users, I put together a tiny survey below to poll people's sentiments on that. Non iPhone 4 owners are welcome too.

Ok, I'm also testing Google Forms here. I'll probably get no responses at all 🙂

Google Down, Apple Up, BP Plugs

by @ 11:31 pm
Filed under: financial,google — Tags: , ,

After missing the expected earnings and profits numbers, Google's shares are down 4% in after-hours trading. Apple's shares however are up by 1% in reverse sympathy.

Google Android is beginning to look like a real contender for Apple's ubiquitous iPhone, so the companies are now regarded as serious rivals. Bad news for one parlays into good news for the other.

With the options expiration tomorrow combined with the Google's earnings release, Apple's iPhone 4 antenna press conference, and BP's capping of the oil leak, the market should expect a busy and volatile day.

Related Article

Filling Out Web Forms With Junk Data

by @ 9:58 pm
Filed under: google,web — Tags:

JunkFill Chrome extensionEver needed to go to a web page only to be road-blocked by an insipid form with a million questions? Ever needed to test your own web forms and wanted a tool to quickly fill out a bunch of fields and pick a bunch of options for you?

If you use Chrome, you're in luck. I developed the JunkFill Chrome extension for just that purpose, something to get me quickly through testing web forms. There are other extensions that have similar or better functionality. For most, you need to configure them and save the data so they can to fill out the forms properly for you.

JunkFill isn't about being proper, it's about being quick. It works right out of the box, so to speak, no configuration necessary. You can download it from the Chrome Extension Gallery. Give it a click and see how it works out for you.

Star Trek on YouTube

by @ 9:24 pm
Filed under: star trek,web — Tags: ,

The fact that YouTube has a number of the original Star Trek series is pretty cool for geeks like me who grew up on the series.

This one below shows an upload date of over 43 years ago. You think Roddenberry was time-travelling and uploading them to YouTube then? 🙂 ARPANET deployment was still a couple of years away when this episode was made.

Star Trek on YouTube

Rocking Warren Buffett

by @ 10:03 pm
Filed under: money — Tags:

This one is a couple of months old but I just stumbled on it and it left me pretty speechless.

Now I already admire Warren Buffett, not for being loaded, but for having such a high modesty to wealth ratio and for his ultra-generous spirit. This clip made me admire him even more. He must be the coolest grandpa ever. Ok, after Mick Jagger 🙂

More on Apple Stock Crash Prediction

by @ 10:25 pm
Filed under: financial — Tags: ,

Apple LogoWhen I posted this blog entry about Apple crashing to $45 a share, I didn't expect the company that made that prediction, BAM Investor, to contact me about it.

But that's just what the company did and I managed to have a phone chat with the company boss, JG Savoldi about his astonishing forecast.

You can read about it in my Reality Check column on Financial Tech Spotlight.

Disclaimer: Financial Tech Spotlight is one of the sister sites of TMCnet.com, a network of sites owned by my employer, TMC.

Yahoo Earnings Check

by @ 8:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: ,

It seems like at some point I had signed up for Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) which was a program similar to Google's Adsense. Yahoo terminated the program recently and apparently they sent final checks (or is it cheques? Whatever) to all affiliates, active or not.

I just happened to find my Yahoo check in a pile of mail today and it was for a whopping $0.00. I wonder what my bank's reaction would be if I try to deposit it.

Since it has become customary for site owners to post pictures of their affiliate checks to prove their earnings, here's a picture of my Yahoo check. See, now you believe me? 🙂

yahoo publisher network check

Sunrise and Sunset per Google

by @ 12:24 am
Filed under: google — Tags: , ,

Google has added a new feature to their search page allowing users to get the next Sunrise and Sunset times for any location. This is great for people who schedule their activities based on daylight or night hours, for example running schedules, prayer times, or planning to watch the Sun rise or set on a beach resort.

Here's a sample link for the next Sunrise time in New York City, and here is a link for the next Sunset time in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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