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Showing posts from May 24, 2009

Not being able to pay

It's interesting how the same financial companies can come up with three incompatible and different methods of paying using credit / debit cards. In America we still have magnetic swipe cards which are awful when it comes to security. Visa have introduced (slowly) Paywave which is a contactless RFID-based system. Mastercard have a similar system. In Europe they have Chip+Pin which uses a surface-mount contact-read smart chip, and now V-Pay - also from Visa.
All of the above systems are incompatible with each other, which in short, means that if you travel to Europe with an American bank card, good luck trying to pay for anything. Whilst places in the UK will still read magnetic swipe cards if you insist, for the most part everything is done with contact smartcards now. On mainland Europe, to combat card skimming, they're phasing out magnetic stripe completely. This means that by the end of this year, not only will you not be able to pay for anything unless you have a smart chi…

Robbing the delivery drivers

Eesh. Dominos have increased their delivery charge from $1 to $1.50. As far as I'm concerned they've just taken another 50¢ away from their delivery driver's tips. It's a bloody pizza delivery company - it would be better if they just added to the price of the food instead of taking on a delivery charge. Sadly of course, they've done that too. They all have. Apparently the pizza people haven't realised we're in a recession :-(

The whirlwind tour or Europe. Well - sort of.

We're back from a two week spin around England and Holland. We'd planned a spring break to go over and see friends and relatives, and rather than the usual day and a half in Holland, we spent 5 days there this time. It was great - we got to see a lot of friends and spent some decent time with them instead of it all being rushed. We also managed to get in a lot of touristy type things. We visited the Keukenhof, went up the Euromast in Rotterdam and did one of the Spido boat harbour tours. We got to spend some good time on the beachfront at Scheveningen and we managed to meet up with a friend I've not seen since an accidental meeting at Schiphol airport a few years ago. In England we managed the same thing - lots of friends and relatives as well as some touristy items - the Bluebell railway and Arundel Castle. The Bluebell railway came as a complete surprise. Due to their hideous advertising, I'd thought it was going to be a couple of miles of restored line, a single ste…