I'm a poet

http://cxmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/schwalbe-racing-ralph-original.jpgI won the poetry contest at Cyclocross Magazine, and received a nice pair of Racing Ralph tires.   I can't wait to try these out on my tubeless wheels!

I was surprised my poem won anything...it didn't even rhyme ;)

Thanks to CX Magazine and Schwalbe for the cool tires.

Credit Card Adventures, continued

Since my last post, my credit card fraud adventures have matured.

I happen to have a subscription to an identity theft monitoring service.  If anything funky goes on (e.g. credit checks,  precursors to loans, etc) I am notified via email.  If a fraudulent activity is performed, they take care of it on my behalf.  After talking with them, I believe this recent credit card fraud event is pretty minimal in terms of damage and future harm.  I think it's just about over, aside from me having to return a few vitamin samples I get in the mail.

Yesterday, I received numerous phone calls confirming my orders for vitamin supplements, government grant guides, and stuff like that.  I tried to cancel everything I could, and it's been very time consuming.

With each of these phone calls, the customer representative confirmed my address and phone number.  It just so happens the address and phone number combination they used is fairly unique - I've only used it with a few websites.

I suspect somebody's database was compromised.  It's funny that people feel safe when they see the little lock icon (ssl) when making an online purchase.  As a developer, I'll tell you that's the least of your worries.  Since everyone uses SSL to encrypt credit card submissions, it's effectively taken that method of fraud out.  Kind of like why we get immunizations for very rare diseases - if nobody got them, the diseases would be a problem again.  But since we're all covered, they remain at bay.

My main security concern when developing commerce websites is storing customer credit card numbers. It freaks me out. If a merchant doesn't store credit card numbers (which many sites don't), they can't be stolen. If they do, well that makes the security of their back end -- their database of customer information -- really important. That is where a lot of harm can be done, because a single person's credit card info isn't being stolen, but rather the entire list of customers. Yikes.

Having said all this, I still firmly believe ordering something online is safer than doing it at a physical location.  Everything is (usually) automated, and in most cases, the only person who sees your credit card number is you, the customer.   Once a credit card transaction is completed, there is usually no need to see the card information again, ever.  As a result, most online stores don't even store it...which is good!

Credit Card Adventures

A quiet Sunday afternoon, the phone rings.  It's Wells Fargo bank, asking for me.  I was shocked with what I heard.

Over the weekend, someone made about 20 online purchases using my Visa check card.  I logged in to the bank's website as I spoke to the bank representative, and sure enough, I saw a long list of strange purchases, all about $6 or less.  Weird.  Also listed was a fraudulent purchase for cell phone air time in Zimbabwe. 

Now I'm getting lots of calls confirming orders I allegedly made over the weekend.  It's not super fun, but each person I talk to says it happens a lot, and is very helpful in helping me out with canceling said orders.

The card of course has been canceled, and an investigation is underway.  The source of the compromise has me perplexed.  I'm very careful with my credit card info.  I am really hoping to track down the source.

Random Update

Nothing monumental is going on, so I'll just combine lots of small things into one wonderfully compact update.

Sicky McSickenheimer:
I got sick last Sunday and was out of commission for a few days.  I went for a ride on Thursday, but felt absolutely horrible and could barely pedal.  I cut the ride short and crawled home.  I layed low for a few more days, and went out for a ride yesterday (Sunday).  It was better, but still felt sickly.  Today was even better.  Slowly but surely, I'm recovering. 

The Banana Belt early season bike race series started this weekend, but I was in no condition to ride in it.  I don't think I'm going to make it to any of them this year at this rate.

House Plans:
Plans on our home expansion project are moving forward.  More on that later.

Food:
I've made a few recipes out of Farmer John's Cookbook.  Curried butternut squash soup on Friday, and acorn squash stuffed with kale and pears last night.  It's amazingly good stuff.  Farmer John farms on a community supported farm, and this book not only contains seasonal recipes, but interesting stories as well.  I like how the recipes are listed chronologically, so you just flip to the time of year you're at, and you find recipes for all the common CSA produce that's in season. 

Junior Digital Photography:
Mette got a digital camera for her birthday and has been taking gobs of pictures and photos.  When she gets together with her little buddy Violet, they chase the boys around and take pictures of them.  The boys are now accustomed to running away and holding something over their face, claiming they're being chased by the paparazzi. 

Teeth:
Mette has three more loose teeth.  Woo hoo!  The tooth fairy better go to the ATM this week.

Horse Whisperer:
Annelis is still doing horse riding lessons.  She fell off for the first time a month of so ago, but is back in the swing of things.  She was going over very small jumps last week.  I can't wait to see what happens this week!

Ahhhhh Feeling Better!

I was sick, but I'm okay now; it took three days to get over it.

Getting sick is important.  It reminds me my health is a precious gift, and should not be taken for granted.

However, I never enjoy laying in bed, waiting for the yuck to go play somewhere else. 

Not fun, but a fair trade-off for good health most of the time.

I'm happy for what I've got.

V for Vendetta in Kinetic Typography

I like the movie V for Vendetta.  I like typography, too. Tastefully put together, we arrive at the following:

 

Don't Hassel the Hoff

Still going...

A more normal man

I was walking with my 6 year old daughter today, singing silly songs and saying silly things.

She stopped, looked up at me and said:

Why aren't you like a normal man

I laughed loudly and told her that was never going to happen!

German Forklift Training Film

We went to a friends house tonight.  After a few glasses of wine, someone showed me a video he claims he had to watch for work.

It starts slow, but gets progressively more nasty.  By the end, we were rolling on the floor with laughter. Because we are sick, sick people. 

LHC Induced Black Holes

lhc-black-holes Perhaps you've heard about the LHC.  It's an amazing project, basically a huge underground loop that accelerates particles and smashes them into each other at previously unobtainable speeds.

Why?  To answer questions in physics that remain unanswered.  I won't pretend to understand most of them.  I get it, but I can't explain it.

Anyway, one interesting affect of this particle smashing is the creation of tiny black holes.  Yeah!  Black holes!

There's been concern that these experiments will actually destroy the Earth, but all the calculations said this could not happen, because they would decay faster than they would grow.

Well, I guess with the delay of getting LHC up and running, more calculations have been run, and some of them are showing different numbers...numbers that suggest those tiny black holes could exist for seconds, or even minutes.

I don't know how long a tiny black hole would have to exist before it swallows the Earth, but I bet a couple minutes would do it.

So I guess they're going to have to tread lightly at first.  I'm all in favor of the experiments.  And if the world was going to end, this would be a pretty cool way for it to happen!

See you on the other side.

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