Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cloned Credit Cards

Twice in as many years, I have had my credit card cloned and sold on the black market. Fortunately, the issuer of the card has reacted quickly by immediately canceling the card, deleting all fraudulent charges and sending me a new card via overnight delivery.

The first time it happened was at a major grocery chain in Arizona where their corporate computer was hacked and thousands of card numbers were stolen. I found out about it by hearing the news from someone in the RV park and then checking my account online. By then there had been a number charges, most of which were declined because they were out of the country.

The second time it appears a card reader was used on a fuel pump at a large chain of convenience stores here in Vegas. The big difference this time is I now receive emails confirming all charges within minutes of them being made. This enabled me to call the card company in such a timely manner that the thieves were only able to use the card once. This is a service that I believe all credit card companies should offer and if your provider does not, I would encourage you to contact them and request it. After all, it is probably not a question of if your card will be stolen but simply when.

Update (10/04/2014): In doing a little research on credit card cloning, I discovered that new "smart" cards which have an embedded microchip in place of a magnetic strip are on their way and that MasterCard and Visa have set October, 2015 as the deadline for their implementation. Click here to read a Wall Street Journal article on the subject.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bureaucratic Blue Ink

I got my Pennington County South Dakota absentee ballot in the mail today and under Instructions To The Voter, it states "use only a BLUE PEN" (yes, the word "only" was underlined and "blue pen" was in bold, capital letters and of course, it was written in black ink). Why they would purchase a machine that can read only one color of ink is beyond me. However, not wanting to take a chance on my vote not being counted, I went out and bought a blue ink pen. As I once told my Mom, it's the government, it does not have to make sense.

Update: Upon re-reading the instructions, I wonder if they meant the color of the pen should be blue, not the ink. I am now having visions of an IRS swat team breaking down my door in the middle of the night looking for my pen.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Neon Museum

The "Boneyard" is where old neon signs go to die in Las Vegas. Although the exhibit was not as impressive as I had imagined, it was interesting to hear about the history of the signs. Due to the nature of the collection, the museum is only available to the public through an hour long guided tour. I would recommend reserving a space online as it can sometimes take a week or more to get a ticket.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mr. Olympia

The Mr. Olympia body building contest was held in Las Vegas this week-end. I was going to enter but the fellow in charge of applications almost peed on himself from laughing so hard. Apparently, the belly is not the area of the body you are supposed to bulk-up. In looking at this year's winner, I believe I have some more work to do...

Any chance steroids were involved

Pix-Star Digital Frame

I recently purchased a Pix-Star wireless digital frame that displays photos emailed to me from friends and family. The more I use it, the more I like it.

The first thing you will appreciate is how easy it is to setup and use; simply log-on to their website and follow the instructions. It should be noted that if you are in a RV park that uses a service provider like TengoInternet where you sign-in via a browser, the frame will be unable to connect to the Internet as it does not have a browser. In this case, I use the hotspot on my smartphone whenever I wish to download photos.

The frame has a bunch of neat features. Here are some of my favorites:
  • You can view photos from the frame's internal memory, a SD card, a USB flash drive, &/or online web albums such as Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, etc.
  • You can email photos directly from the frame to others. This is a great way to share photos without having to transfer them to another device.
  • Unlimited and free storage for your pictures and web albums along with free software updates.
  • Free customer support via email. I have used this service once and was impressed with the response time and helpful advice.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Post-retirement Avocations

When the temperature is 105-110 degrees, you do not spend a lot of time outdoors so I have been going through some travel photos taken over the past three years and reminiscing about second career choices after retiring.

Initially, I thought I would like to be a professional motorcycle rider but that just led to a bunch of "bad hair" days...

Then I decided to work at Yellowstone for a summer but I kept getting into hot water...

Next I was going to be a professional guide but I kept getting lost...

The idea of being a forest ranger at Yosemite seemed exciting but after what the National Park Service did during the sequestration, I could not work for them...

I was going to try something simple like changing tires for a living but changed my mind after thinking it through...

I thought for sure being a professional gigolo would be the ideal job but that turned out to be way too much work...

I really liked landscaping but hurt my back while straightening out this rock...

As much as I enjoy off-road riding, I decided doing it professionally might be hazardous to my health...

And once I realized that as a commercial fisherman, I was probably going to go hungry that fell by the wayside also...

Finally, after many trials and tribulations, I found something I was really good at...

If you have any ideas as to what I should try next, please post them in the "Comment" section below.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

My First ATV

While going through some old video, I am came across a short clip of a young, thin, dark haired guy and his ATV...