Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tech Notes

WaPo reported Some Fraud-Wary Credit Card Customers Opt for Single-Use Numbers - John Roos used to be afraid to shop online. "I hate to give out my real credit card number," said the retired manager of a computer center.

But Roos, of New Rochelle, N.Y., recently bought a $500 TV online after he discovered a little-known credit card service that allows him to give Internet retailers a substitute credit card number for his account.

This sounds very interesting for people that are leary about purchasing on the internet.
Offered to holders of Citi, Discover and MBNA cards, these "virtual credit cards," or single-use card numbers, are designed to give some peace of mind to consumers concerned about credit card fraud. Although the system slightly differs on each card, the principle is the same: For no extra charge, consumers sign up at the credit card's Web site, often downloading software on their computers. Then, when they're ready to shop, they receive a randomly generated substitute 16-digit number that they can use at the online store. The number can be used once or, in some cases, repeatedly at the same store. "The only people who know the real number are you and us," said Jim Donahue, spokesman for MBNA. Although initially designed for Internet shopping, the card number can also be used to buy goods and services over the phone and through the mail, but it cannot be used for in-store purchases that require a traditional plastic card. (Nor can it be used for purchases that require a credit card to be produced at the time of pickup, such as movie tickets.)

IndyStar reported Campers want electronic creature comforts

While other campers are riding bikes from the beach or barbecuing their dinners, John Liberski might spend hours trying to position his satellite dish so he can watch a NASCAR race in the comfort of his 30-foot-long recreational vehicle. Given the leafy tree canopy of Anastasia State Park, that is no easy task.
This is "roughing it"?????
On a recent weekend, Liberski, 63, of Fort Pierce, Fla., finally hits pay dirt when he finds a small clearing on the edge of the campground road, where the dish is clearly visible to passers-by and campers. The neighbors don't seem to mind. After all, they came with their own electronic gadgets. Ted and Melinda Fryman of Lake City, Fla., have an entire entertainment center packed inside their recreational vehicle -- DVD player, computer, CD player and AM-FM radio, plus an antenna that lets them receive signals from five TV stations while they're camping near St. Augustine, Fla. If you haven't been camping lately, you might be in for a shock. The wilderness isn't what it used to be. Today's campers come equipped not just with bug spray and burgers, but cell phones, computers, televisions and video games. As electronic gadgets have become more portable, Americans have begun toting them everywhere -- even into the great outdoors. So private campgrounds and state parks are busily adding electronic amenities to keep campers happy.

BusinessWeek reported Yahoo preparing announcement on blog search

Look for Yahoo! to unveil a response to Google's blog search early next week.
This sounds interesting. Google's blog search is certainly useful.
This from Bradley Horowitz>, director of tech development in the company's search group. He wouldn't provide details in advance. And it could be that Yahoo's announcement will cover only one aspect of blog or RSS search, and not the comprehensive release the search industry's waiting for. (Blogsurfers got a glimpse last summer of what Yahoo's cooking up when a test version of the company's RSS search leaked briefly
ZDNet reported Yesterday, I blogged about the official release of Skype for Windows 1.4, an upgrade that lets callers forward incoming Skype calls to another Skype account for free and forward calls to as many as three landline or mobile numbers for as little as 2 cents a minute. The new 1.4 also makes it easier for Skype users to import contacts from Microsoft Outlook directly into their Skype buddy lists and to make one-click calls to numbers and names from Internet Explorer and Outlook.
Why not Outlook Express?
As I also noted, Skype’s new Personalise Skype offers users the capability of using original pictures, sounds and ringtones for as little as 1 euro ($1.20). Skype is positioning this feature as "a new and exciting market for content providers looking to deliver great applications to Skype’s global callers." Personalise Skype's initial content partners are American Greetings (think e-cards) Qpass (think micropayment authorization tech for ringtones) and WeeWorld (avatars).

SFGate reported Google Inc. has offered to blanket San Francisco with free wireless Internet access at no cost to the city, placing a marquee name behind Mayor Gavin Newsom's effort to get all residents online whether they are at home, in a park or in a cafe.
Why just San Francisco. Why not other cities, like Tulsa for example.
The offer by the popular Mountain View search engine was one of more than a dozen competing bids received by the city before its deadline Friday. Officials will review the submissions and decide which, if any, of the candidates gets the green light to build the so called Wi-Fi service, which would be free or inexpensive for users.

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