ATM Fraud

The other day I was coming back from Wilmington and heard the Clark Howard show on the radio. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this guy, but it was an interesting show. Apparently the latest scam is to purchase one of those private-label ATM machines that you see in the bars and convenience stores. Then you actually have people feeding you their card numbers and PINs. All you have to do is use ’em. One person allegedly came away with $3 million. Not a bad deal if you can get away with it. And do away with the stealing part.

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My Hotel Ethics

Generally speaking, I probably use most of the consumables found in the hotel room – the soap and the shampoo being the two most notable examples of this. There are certainly times where I’ll stay for more than just a day, so I’ll end up with an extra shampoo or even some bars of soap. As I travel a decent amount, I will typically take some of these with me, in case I run into a place that doesn’t supply such things.

If the lodging is more personal, such as a Bed & Breakfast, then often the toiletries will be supplied in a standard consumer-grade bottle, which is naturally much larger, and probably not supplied just so you can take it home and not have to buy your own. On the other hand are other facilities which don’t supply anything – in this case those extra “trial size” toiletries come in handy.

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Charleston Links

Have you seen the Outhouse Springs billboards? I’ve been seeing them in the Charlotte area for a while now. I also saw them in Charleston (SC) when we were there in July for the 4th. But I never could remember to look up the company. Surely these things weren’t real. Slogans like “We’re #1, not #2” and “People Love Us, but They Won’t Shake our Hands” – no way would someone even try to pull that off.

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Internet Ethics

I was having a conversation with Tony Sumrall about the ethics of publishing a feed of comic strips. Since the syndicates themselves have decided against sending comics by email (at least decided against doing it for free), do we have the right to grab the image URL from their pages and create a feed of those URLs? Let’s look and see.

From the terms of use: For purposes of this Agreement, the use of any UM Materials on any other web site or networked computer environment is prohibited.

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Licensing Purgatory

Obviously there is a need for certain licenses. These are easy enough to spot. They typically make sense. Not just to you or me, but to darn near everyone. Things like a driver’s license fit into this category. It’s reasonably nice to think that the person headed down the freeway with you has at least some chance of being able to adequately operate their vehicle. Of course, that’s not always the case – but generally it seems a pretty safe assumption. A similar licensing/qualification scheme for something like an airline pilot is useful. I think most will agree with this sort of thing.

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Lawyers, Guns and Money

In Florida, members of a class action suit against Microsoft stand to gain vouchers (towards the purchase of Microsoft products, no less) valued at a whopping $5-12 per product. Gee, that was worth it. $12? If you can sign up online or elsewhere that doesn’t require much effort and not do anything else, then a $12 check would be nice. But if you have to take more than 5 minutes, it’s a waste. Especially since you have to go out and buy more Microsoft products – products which typically cost a great deal more than $5-12.

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Name Recognition

Arnold Schwarzenegger will run for governor of California.

Jerry Springer thought of a return to politics (he was already the mayor of Cincinnati in the 1970s). He has currently decided against it.

Ronald Reagan was not only the governor of California, he was the 40th president of the United States. Sonny Bono became a US Congressman. Fred Grandy (that’s Gopher from the Love Boat, folks) was a Representative for the State of Iowa. Heck, even Ben Jones (that’s Cooter from the Dukes of Hazzard) served two terms in Congress for the state of Georgia. Crazy Cooter – a Congressman!

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