Credit Cards Stuck in Last Century

So, the operation of Credit Cards is apparently stuck in the last Century. The major suppliers of credit cards have not kept up with the requirements of the modern age of online transactions.

On-line Credit Card Fraud is a Major Headache

Case in point: My credit card was used Fraudulently. I have a couple of cards, one for physical transactions where I’m always present – well almost always present. And another that I only use On-Line. Of course, the fraud involved the credit card that was used online. I purchased some Game Currency from a game I play a lot for $10, and less than a week later someone tried to purchase $5599 at Best Buy. There was a lot of confusion about whether the transaction occurred On-Line, but the address was given as Minneapolis, Minnesota. Which is far from where I live. So the transaction was declined, and I was alerted. But that’s not the end of the problem. That card number is now stopped. It can no longer be used. And if this were last century, I could just use another of my few cards to eat take-out at restaurants, or buy groceries.

But this is 2020, and that credit card is in the hands of over a dozen on-line merchants whose computers will automatically try to use it on some random schedule to provide services that I use. These include Netflix, my internet service, my satellite tv service and so forth. I’m “waiting four to five business days” for the new card to arrive. And any of these days one of these many services’ computers might try to use that dead card. To say nothing of the fact that it will take an hour or so to go through all the services’ websites and give them a new card number. I need a better way.

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Genshin Impact Over-Hyped?

I think Genshin Impact is being over-hyped. I’ve watched a few of the videos on youtube and my conclusion is that it’s more hype than real content. And it has the problem of Cross-Play with Mobile, which means that it can’t be better than a Mobile experience. There’s a reason that Wow and FFXIV and other complex games aren’t on Mobile. The opportunity for controls is not good enough on mobile to make a game very interesting.

Here are a couple of shots from the web that show the hype. “Astounding”? Seriously? How “Astounding” can a hub based game that will run in the constraints of an iPhone really be? Who has 40GB or more on a phone to dedicate to a game? I’m sure that Genshin Impact is more like 4GB of your phone, or your PC, which is what we’d expect from a mobile game. Echo of Soul , which is an older true MMO, but with very small zones and OK graphics is about 14GB as a download, and is too large for a mobile platform.

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Amazon LOTR Second Age

Here it comes! Amazon is starting a TV series based on the Lord of the Rings. But it’s not a ReDo, but a “Prequel”. Stories based on the “Second Age”. The stories, and movie collection, we are familiar with are based on the Third Age. Apparently novels were never written by JRR [Tolkien not Martin] based on the First or Second Ages, but he left a trove of source material describing these ages and much more besides. The Simarilion, published by his son after his death, is probably the source for much of the material describing these ages.

For a excruciatingly complete coverage of the second age, you might try this 35 minute video. As I watched it, I was not necessarily paying attention to the details as the broad sweep of the history and detail that this world building provides.

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Elric vs Geralt

A while back I reported a video where Elric of Meinbone’ was compared with Geralt of the Witcher Stories. Recently I found a more balanced and careful comparison of the two story collections. Proper Bird is a long time youtuber and Witcher Stories fan. She does an excellent and thorough deep dive into the subject of how these stories compare and shows that it’s less about “plagiarism” and more about influence. The video is long, but if you’re interested in this controversy, then this may clear some things up for you.

Enjoy
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Witcher vs Elric

It would seem that there are too many similarities between “The Witcher” by Andrzej Sapkowski and the “Elric” by Michael Moorcock.

A quick youtube search will show you some references to this topic.

Rageaholic’s hour long rant is an extremely detailed coverage with examples from all the Witcher properties compared with the Moorcock books. Warning for Volume and Language.

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Failing to Serve Customers

To serve customers in these times, most organizations need to make Appointments. Various organizations that I’ve dealt with do this in different ways:

Umpqua bank, for example, has always had a large staff of helpful folks on phone banks, so they make appointments by phone. You call them ONCE and make an appointment at your local bank. However, if you have to change an appointment, then you need to call them back and they need to Skype the local branch to change the appointment. You get email confirmations of all the changes. Ok. Not the best, but Ok. One phone call that you make.

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Adventures in Eorzea

In this midst of this world wide tragedy and horror, I want to share a light spot that my daughter and I are sharing.

I want to share this in a way that is accessible and possibly inspiring for folks that have not played MMO video games before. Not to necessarily encourage you to take them up, but to show you a little of that world.

I have been playing video games for many years in my retirement and have shared these games with my daughter, who lives 500 miles away and who has a busy career. We have been playing various games together for some time – a few hours twice a week. But recently it has become more like 5 or 6 days a week. Our current adventures are in Eorzea playing Final Fantasy XIV. Above, you can see recent mounts we acquired in an event that is going on for the next few weeks.

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More UPS Tracking Nonsense

UPS has done it again. Their shipping will take at least another day.

Tracking of a Small Newegg Package

I ordered a small package from Newegg – Two DRAM Modules. But rather than sending it USPS, Newegg sent it via UPS, which of course uses USPS for the “Last Mile”. Sooooo… UPS, in their infinite logistical wisdom drop the package off 6 hours from my house, by truck, and declares victory and says that the package will arrive today. Sure. Fat chance. You give the USPS 6 hours to get to my house and as the truck drives and don’t allow for any sorting? Have a clue, UPS. No freaking way.

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Ubuntu 20.04 My First Look

Ubuntu Desktop 2020-04-29 22-18-33
Ubuntu 20.04

So, Ubuntu 20.04 just released, and there are a ton of Youtube videos reviewing it. After the debacle of file sharing between Linux Mint 19.3 and Windows, I decided to make a VM [Virtual Machine] with Ubuntu 20.04 to see if it had fixed the problem. The short answer is, alas, no. Guess Ubuntu will get the fix when it’s ready, and I’m sure the fix will be back ported to LM 19 when it releases.
Years ago, I used Ubuntu for a time, before Linux Mint came out. It was pretty clunky, but a lot less clunky than SUSE which is what I started with years ago. Things have come a long way. Of course, Mint is based on Ubuntu, but they are very different experiences. This is a diary of sorts of my experiences while I was testing the file sharing problem and setting up Ubuntu to my liking.

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Quantum Mechanics as Evidence for Simulation

Recently I’ve been listening to more of Sean Carroll‘s lectures on the mysteries of Quantum Mechanics. I won’t summarize those arguments here so this can be a short post. I’ll include a link to a recent lecture of his so you can catch up if you like.

I want to suggest another theory for an interpretation of Quantum Mechanics that I have not heard mentioned before. I may have missed it, but it’s a new idea to me. Here goes.

What if the difficulty in the interpretation of QM called the Observer Problem is actually a simplification that makes it easier to “Program” the simulation that is our Universe. That is, what if our universe is a Simulation in the sense that Nick Bostrum proposed.

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Guild Wars – A Video Game

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