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.
I have a nice gaming headset. Logitech G430. Works fine with Discord. However, it fails when I use it with Corel Video Studio, or with Windows 10 Gaming Capture for captures in a game. It clips and drops parts of the audio, especially at the beginning of phrases. I’m in a very quiet space, so background noise is not the problem.
I decided to purchase another headset by another manufacturer to see if that fixes the problem. We’ll see. But in the mean time, I already have another device to record audio.
Headsets used to be very expensive. The G430 started out at $99 and is now $39, like the EKSA. Lots of choices on Amazon and elsewhere. Looks like they probably all use the same USB – Audio chip.
Older Headsets Have Their Own Problems
This older headset has it’s own problems. Turns out the hard plastic parts rub against each other, causing pops and snaps during recording. I guess the plastic got old and sticky over the years. The pops and snaps are so loud that the headset is unusable for recording.
Also notice that I had to replace the muff with some cloth. The foam had rotted away, as foam of that type does over time.
Enter the Webcam
I’ve had this Logitech C510 webcam for a long time. And it still works fine. But has long since been superseded by newer models. However, the problem with this device is that it hasn’t worked for sometime, for audio. Works fine for video, but Windows 10 has not seen the microphone for some time.
Your Internet Service Provider [ISP] is watching everywhere you go on the internet. They are harvesting that information and selling it to the highest bidder. The easiest way for them to do this is to watch the DNS – Domain Name Service – requests coming from your network. DNS is the Internet Phone Book and every time you visit a website, or play a video or anything – from your phone over WiFi or from your computer, your computer or phone looks up the IP address – a number – based on the Domain Name – a text string. And DNS is the protocol that does this. Normal DNS is completely in the clear. That is, it is not “Encrypted” in any way. Once you reach a website, to purchase something or look at your Facebook page or whatever, almost all sites are “Encrypted” so that nobody can eavesdrop on what you are doing. This all happened a few years ago after folks were sniffing everyone’s Facebook pages in coffee shops and libraries. But I digress.
DNS has only just recently been fixed. And up until now, and until you fix your network, as I outline below, your ISP is sniffing all your DNS requests, because they can. This means they know everyplace you go on the network.
I’ve known about Stenganography for some time. And no, it’s not spelled wrong. That’s not Stenography, but Steganography. Two different things. I’ve been thinking recently about all the news items that are talking about privacy erosion and governments around the world passing or about to pass laws to break into your private messages of any kind. And then the above video popped up in my Youtube suggestions. From 2 Feb 2019 no less. Quite Recent. I’ll provide a link at the end of this post, but it’s not the main point of the video. I’m going to take that primitive program’s idea and show how it can be extended, a lot. I’m saying primitive and if you don’t believe that, watch the video. Sigh.
Steganography (/ˌstɛɡəˈnɒɡrəfi/ (listen)STEG-ə-NOG-rə-fee) is the practice of concealing a file, message, image, or video within another file, message, image, or video. The word steganography combines the Greek words steganos (στεγανός), meaning “covered, concealed, or protected”, and graphein (γράφειν) meaning “writing”.
I’m not mentioning anything the NSA does not know, but apparently the lawmakers around the world have not called in an expert who has mentioned the science of Steganography to them in their hearings for their new lawmaking regarding Privacy.
Let’s look at what’s happening to Privacy / Encryption around the world.
I use an Ad Blocker – Ghostery – in FireFox. There are several reasons for this:
To keep down the tracking. I know that ad-blocking doesn’t really stop tracking. Of course I disable 3rd Party cookies and enable “Tracking Protection”. But I don’t expect that this really stops tracking since there are so many ways around Ad Blockers and Tracking Protection.
To help prevent Malware infections. There have been many cases of malicious advertisers leaking their malware through ads into systems. Advertisers, including even Google, have been the source of malware attacks since they do not sufficiently vet their advertisers.
To increase the performance of page loading, since all that Ad Ware and Tracking nonsense is often many times the size of the page itself.
Most of my web experience with Ghostery Enabled is just fine. I can purchase items online on Amazon, Newegg and many other sites. I can read most news sites just fine. Slashdot and many other sites show ads in a way that Ghostery does not block, but that is not intrusive or objectionable.
A while back, I wrote some notes planning a novel where an AI emerged without the knowledge of humans and then decided to remain hidden while it amassed resources to leave the planet. Its goal was not to take over the Earth, but to be safe. I did not complete the story, but I got quite far along in thinking about what it would take for a Single [Robot AI] to stay safe and hidden while building resources to leave, or purchase a ride, to another sphere in the solar system. It would seem that nowhere on Earth would be safe from humans, but somewhere in the Asteroid Belt might provide enough resources and solar energy to allow a Single civilization to be safe and grow.
David Cameron has announced that he intends to try to prevent encryption in the interests of protecting Britons from terrorism. It seems to me that he has not thought this through. In less than 10 minutes I came up with at least one plausible method to not only provide encryption, but to provide it in such a way that David’s spooks can’t detect that you are using it. At least they can’t be sure that you are using it from watching your traffic.
I heard about Spokeo and I’m passing the word. I’ve removed myself and here’s why.
To remove yourself, for free, go to their Privacy Page, and follow the simple instructions.
Spokeo claims their information is available from public sources. However, do we really know that? Do we know that they have not made relationships with database companies that folks would have to pay dearly to join to get my information, for example. They don’t say that, at least not in the large print that I could read. Continue reading “Spokeo? Helpful or Extortion?”