Train Station Closes Public Restrooms – Passengers Pissed Off

At the New Rochelle, New York train station, passengers are having to hold it because the public restrooms have been closed. It seems that the city fathers and daughters have decided that keeping the pee holes open is way to expensive, so that have closed them for public use. This means that passengers, taxi drivers, the homeless and anyone with a full bladder will have to seek relief elsewhere. Needless to say that this has not been a huge hit with the public, some of whom complain that people do have emergencies and now have no place to relieve themselves.

According to one recent report it also stated that:

New Rochelle’s City Manager Charles Strome said vandalism has become a problem and the city simply can’t afford to monitor the bathrooms on a regular basis.

“Our police department has ceded a 10-percent reduction in staff so we don’t have regular patrols there like we used to. So all in all it was costing us a significant amount of money to keep the bathrooms open at the train station,” Strome said.

I like this one the best:

City Manager Strome’s suggestion: skip the station, and use the bathrooms on the train.

Wonder if you are not taking the train? I guess you will have to go elsewhere.

But I recall a day in which public restrooms were pay only. You would deposit a coin to unlock the door, which helped to defray the cost of keeping the restroom clean and tidy. No money in your pocket? You always had the option to slither under the door.

What suggestions do you have to solve this problem?

Comments welcome.

Source – CBS New York

Credit Card Thief Shares His Expertise On How To Protect Yourself

I just finished reading an article in which a credit card thief shares the secrets of his trade and how crooks steal your credit card information. In addition he provided information on how your identity can be compromised and what to do to protect yourself online when making purchases. What is scary is that there are people out there who can steal your information so easy, it is kind of scary.

One scam that I wasn’t aware of is that waiters or waitresses can carry hand-held skimmers and scan your credit card number off of your card. They then sell this information online for $10 to $50 to scammers. The scammer takes the information and encodes it on a new credit card, and then makes purchases with the fraudulent card.

Here is some other information you should be aware of:

What about debit cards?

I always recommend against them. With debit cards, it’s your real money in your bank account you’re playing with. So if someone gets your debit card information and uses it, your cash is gone until you fill out a lot of paperwork and persuade the bank to give it back to you. Credit cards are much better at protecting you against fraud.

Is online shopping safe?

You’ve got to be careful. It is really easy to create a fake online store or to create a store that sells stuff, but its real purpose is to collect credit card information. I’d try to stick to reputable sites or at least to sites that have reviews.

That’s the reason it’s so important to access secure websites if you’re putting in any sensitive data, so look for “https” in the Web address.

So how do you protect yourself from all of the scams and scammers?

What’s your No. 1 tip on how consumers can protect themselves?

You’ve probably heard this before, but the most important thing really is to watch your accounts. And I don’t mean just checking your statement once a month. If you’re only checking your statement once a month, someone can start using your card at the beginning of the billing cycle, and they can do a lot of damage before you catch it. You’re talking thousands of dollars, and it will be a lot harder to catch them and dispute it. I use Mint.com, which is a free aggregation service that allows you to put all your accounts on there and monitor everything at once. I check that every day. It’s also a good idea to check your credit report at least twice a year to make sure no one has stolen your identity.

I don’t know what you do, but I follow the above advice religiously. I check my accounts and credit card statements at least once a week or more. I also do get my credit reports and scan them carefully. It is an eye opener when you see the erroneous information on your credit report. I recall several years ago that one of my reports showed two dates of birth. Go figure.

I only shop at trusted online merchants like Amazon. I rarely stray away and normally avoid unknown online business shops.

I also avoid using ATM machines when possible. I carry some emergency cash on my person just in case I feel uncomfortable using my credit card, especially when I travel.

What do you do to protect yourself?

Comments welcome.

Source – Yahoo Finance

There Are 5 Billion Cell Phones In The World – Do You Still Use A Landline?

The BBC has an article in which it claims  that over one billion new cell phones have now connected during the past 18 months. The article goes on to state that, worldwide, there are now over 5 billion cell phones in use, and not surprising, another 5 billion cells sitting in drawers somewhere or in landfills. In addition, cell phones now outnumber computers by a ratio of 3 to 1.

The article goes on to state that:

In western Europe, mobile phone penetration has reached 130%, which Mr Wood attributed in part to mobile phone operators including in their statistics connections that have been dormant for many months.

“But often people have more than one phone, a home phone and a work phone,” he said.

“The growth of connected devices will also drive this phenomenon, a laptop with a USB dongle, the Apple iPad, and so on.

“In the future, that market is likely to explode.”

Ian Fogg, mobile phone analyst at Forrester Research said: “An increasing number of phone users in emerging markets such as eastern Europe will use more than one SIM card in the same phone, in order to get the best deals.”

“Some mobile companies are now launching mobile phones with more than one SIM slot to take advantage of this phenomenon,” he said.

Mr Wood added: “As the eastern bloc crumbled, mobile phone networks were deployed, and people skipped fixed line telephones altogether, in favour of mobiles.

I haven’t used a traditional landline for well over two years. I had previously been using Vonage taking advantage of the low rates and also the broadband connection I had, to make local and long distant calls. Last month I dumped Vonage and went strictly cell phone only for both my wife and myself, taking advantage of the $30 a month plan from Straight Talk. Thus far neither of us miss not having a wired phone inside of our home.

So my question is this. Do you still have a landline phone? If so, why?

Comments welcome.

Source – BBC

If You Like Pizza, The TSA Wants To Hire You!

The TSA is looking for employees to fill vacancies within the agency at the Washington-Dulles International and Reagan National Airports. In an effort to advertise the job openings in the nation’s capital, the TSA is advertising the jobs on pizza boxes. In what appears to be a novel approach, the ad also includes the statement “career where x-ray vision and federal benefits come standard” as part of the job specifications.

One would think in these economic hard times that the agency would have no problem filling federal jobs.

So what do you think? Is this a novel way to offer federal jobs, or is TSA just desperate?

Comments welcome.

Source – Federal News Radio site

Broadband Is Now A Legal Right In Finland

Finland has become the first nation in the world to give its citizens the legal right to broadband. This means that everyone citizen will be entitled to at least 1Mbps broadband speed, which will be increased to 100Mbps by the year 2015. In addition a recent article also stated that:

The Finnish deal means that from 1 July all telecommunications companies will be obliged to provide all residents with broadband lines that can run at a minimum 1Mbps speed.

But this is where it gets kind of funny:

It is believed up to 96% of the population are already online and that only about 4,000 homes still need connecting to comply with the law.

4,000 homes? Gee, we have 4,000 homes in some large neighborhoods here in the U.S. LOL

I’m not trying to make lite of what the Finnish people have accomplished. I know for a fact we will most likely never see such a law here in the U.S. The greed factor would prevent the government from even thinking about such a law.

Comments welcome.

Source

Bye, Bye Blockbuster – It’s Been Nice Knowing You

This should come as no surprise, but it does appear that Blockbuster is on its way to bankruptcy. With over $900 million in debt, the once rental giant is now trying to secure a life line of some $150 million to stay afloat. But the company has already put 400 of its Canadian stores in hock already, so the end may be near.

The company tried securing a deal in which it would release movies from Sony and Fox 28 days before other companies such as Netflix and Redbox. But it appears that strategy has not worked as well as the company expected.

Analysts are expecting that Blockbuster will file for bankruptcy sometime around its next stockholders’ meeting on June 24, 2010.

I certainly hope that the government does not bail out this company. We have spent enough trying to keep too many companies afloat.

Comments welcome.

Source – Consumerist

New Jersey Says No More Mail In Rebates!

The folks in New Jersey have a bill that would eliminate those nasty mail in rebates. You know the drill. You buy an item, take it home, cut out the UPC, fill out a form and mail it in. Maybe, just maybe in 6, 8, 12, weeks or so you get the money. But now New Jersey wants to change the game. If a retailer advertisers the product price after rebate, you get the rebate at the check out counter.

In a recent article it stated that:

“Customers should not be deceptively lured into stores by low prices that only exist after they take the product home, cut apart the packaging, fill out aggravating paperwork and then wait weeks or months for a check,” said Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Paulsboro.

Under the legislation (A-1692), retailers that advertise a product’s “net price” — the cost after a manufacturer’s rebate is applied — would be required to charge that price at the time of sale.

It then would be a retailer’s responsibility to complete the rebate redemption process.

If the measure becomes law, New Jersey would become the third state to enforce such a consumer protection, joining Rhode Island and Connecticut.

You gotta love this idea. Those rebates are nothing but a pain. Plus it is estimated that 40% of people never send in the rebates saving companies billion of dollars every year.

What do you think of this idea?

Comments welcome.

Source

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CarMD, A Handheld Diagnostic System For Your Car – Is It Worth The Price?

The modern automobile is a marvel of technology, which for the most part, is controlled by computers to make the vehicle perform well. But when one of those idiot lights come on like ‘Check Engine’ warning lamp, your first thought most likely will be ‘how much is this going to cost’? The days of the back yard mechanic are gone, since without a way to connect to the on board computer, diagnosis a problem is almost impossible.

But with CarMD, you may be able to diagnosis your cars problem and also be provided with an approximate repair cost. On their web site the folks at CarMD state the following:

The purpose of CarMD is to offer easy-to-use tools, professional knowledge, and valuable resources to help you monitor and maintain the health of your vehicle.  The CarMD® Vehicle Health System (handheld tool + website) is the only true and proven solution to accurately give real world vehicle diagnostic information on any 1996 and newer car, light truck, SUV and minivan – foreign & domestic. CarMD is there to provide you peace of mind and empowerment when you need to:

  • Save hundreds of dollars on mechanic bills
  • Catch hidden engine problems early with a regular maintenance program
  • Solve “Check Engine” light problems
  • Give your vehicle a clean bill of health before a road trip
  • Conduct a pre-“smog” emissions test to see if you’re ready to pass or fail
  • Avoid buying a used car “lemon”
  • And more!

After connecting the diagnostic tester to your vehicle, the user is presented with a series of colored lights. Green means that everything is currently OK, yellow indicates a possible problem and red means there is a problem with the vehicle. You are also presented with a diagnostic code that once you connect to the CarMD site, will inform you what the problem is and an estimate of cost to repair your vehicle.

The cost of the device is about $100 to purchase and includes the ability to diagnosis 2 diagnostic reports per month, per vehicle. A premium plan is available that allows unlimited reports for $20 a year or $2 per report.There is also a limit to the number of vehicles that can be tested using the device. The limit is 3 cars per device and if more cars need to be tested, you need to buy additional testers.

I believe that this device would help for those who are looking to buy a used car and to not be saddled with a mechanical unsound vehicle. The device will work even if the check engine warning light has been cut by a dealer or a vehicles owner.

What do you think?

Source

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