A World That Stands as One
Berlin, Germany – July 24th, 2008
BE WARNED BEFORE USING PAYPAY.COM !!!
Within 24 hours of “verifying” a new PayPay account with my bank debit card, I had the following attempted purchases:
BUYPAYMENTS.COM 866840 -$1.00
I am an international traveler, never let my card out of my sight and am very protective of my banking information when shopping. It would appear that there is either a weak link in the PayPay data storage system or PayPay is itself a completely fraudulent service. I would like to think that this was a singular incident of data loss or a security breach, but since PayPay has not responded to my email, I can only assume that they are not interested in helping me further understand this situation.
Luckily, I have a great bank in Washington Mutual and these “charges” don’t present me with any real problems, but I encourage anyone considering using PayPay as a way to avoid the customer-unfriendly rip-off that is PayPal to stay away… far far far away.
UPDATE: There is also a charge for MC-SAMS INTERNET 888-746-7726 (Sam’s Club) -$40.00
FURTHER UPDATE: BuyPayments.com appears to be the credit card processor for PayPay. Or not. Noone seems to want to respond with information. Here’s the scam. Whoever got my debit card info from wherever they got it purchased a Sam’s Club Online Membership for $40 and a computer for $1035. They also tried to purchase something from Sephora. Both Sam’s and Sephora contacted me to verify the purchases before they were processed for shipment. All charges were cancelled and this thief didn’t get his merchandise. I would imagine enough slips through the system, though, for people like this to make a lot of money.
Anyone else had a problem with Paypay? Any details you want to share?
On June 21st, the final Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows, will go on sale and millions of copies will go flying off of store shelves. Unfortunately, the smaller local and regional bookstores will not be seeing much of this initial rush. Why? Wal-Mart will be selling the books at a loss at 50% off the suggested retail price. Wal-Mart will actually be losing money on each sale simply as a loss leader to pull traffic into its stores. This is a sad chapter in what has otherwise been a celebration of reading and books in an increasingly multimedia-driven world.
Wal-Mart Watch has created a parody site specifically against this particular promotion. Below is the parody video trailer from waldemartwatch.com :
This past Monday, the world lost la voix d’un ange, the voice of an angel. At two weeks shy of his 24th birthday, Grégory lost his lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis while awaiting an organ transplant. He was a kind, gentle and generous soul and we were blessed to share in even just a few years of his talent. I imagine the choir in heaven sounds just a bit more beautiful now. You lived an inspirational life and fought the good fight; may you rest in peace, le petit prince.
In a recent article on Reuters, the author points out the limitations companies like Apple place on your online music downloads. Issues like limitation to Apple iPods, multiple computer use rights and CD burning.
Before people erroneously get the impression this issue is limited to Apple, there are a few points to consider:
You don’t own the songs on CD or the movies on DVD that you purchase from anywhere. You are purchasing the physical plastic disc and the Limited Right to listen to or watch but NOT reproduce what is recorded on it. In some cases, you are granted the right to make a single, personal, non-commercial backup/archival copy.
You’ve never been able to freely copy your vinyl, 8 tracks, cassettes or CDs for any purpose. The issue is that with digital products, publishers have more technical ability to make you obey the law.
This is also true of any books, photographs or paintings you buy. You are purchasing the paper they are printed on or the canvas and paint, but you are not purchasing the rights to reproduce them in any form beyond limited non-commercial Fair Use.
Microsoft WMA is another popular audio format. However, WMA files do not play on all (most) devices either and you have limited ability and rights on duplicating or burning copies of these songs.
Real Networks (the Real Audio people) also made a big public stink about their songs not playing on iPods. Interestingly enough, though, is that if a manufacturer doesn’t pay Real Networks a licensing fee, your songs from Real won’t play on that device. Creative’s music players, for instance, cannot play Real’s songs. Real has similar, but slightly more restrictive, backup/burning limitations than Apple.
Napster offers a flat monthly fee service for all the music you want to download. Miss a payment or cancel your account and all of your music will stop working. Want to put those songs on your portable player? Most don’t support them, but you’d have to pay Napster $5 per month for the privilege. If you want to burn a song to a CD, you’ll have to pay Napster 99 cents more.
I think a lot of the DRM (Digital Rights Management) issues are counter-productive. They have been statistically shown to not influence the behaviour of people who will copy music and not pay for it. Research has also shown that people who download or copy music are much more likely to purchase that music legally than any other music user. Simply put, downloaders buy more legal music than you do (generally, a lot more). None of this changes the fact that companies like Apple are legally following the rules our lawmakers created. If you want to complain about Apple’s DRM (or any music label or movie studio), the real target should be our country’s outdated and outmoded Intellectual Property laws of copyright, trademark and patent.
Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.
Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet’s First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. Amazon.com doesn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer. This is the equivalent of a protection racket of money paid so that organized crime leaves your business alone.
Politicians don’t think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T’s CEO, who openly says, “The internet can’t be free.”
How will you be affected?
- Nonprofits–A charity’s website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can’t pay dominant Internet providers for access to “the fast lane” of Internet service.
- Google users–Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
- Innovators with the “next big idea”–Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the “slow lane” with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
- Ipod listeners–A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
- Online purchasers–Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices–distorting your choice as a consumer.
- Small businesses and tele-commuters–When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won’t be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
- Parents and retirees–Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
- Bloggers–Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips–silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.
- Advocacy groups like MoveOn–Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay “protection money” for their websites and online features to work correctly.
The free and open Internet is under seige–can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Act Now to Save The Internet
A senior at [tag]Georgia Tech[/tag] is suing the University for the right to be intolerant. I’m always amazed at how much effort certain [tag]Christians[/tag] can expend condemning others and defining new ways to form divisions between people. The excuse most often cited is ‘Holiness’ and the Greater Morality™. My concern is that I rarely meet someone of the “I’m standing up for what’s right” crowd that embodies much Grace.
Most believers I’ve met who came to faith through great loss and even greater brokenness are usually so consumed by [tag]Grace[/tag] that there is not much room left inside for Condemnation. If we are truly focusing on God’s calls to “Love our neighbor as ourself” and “Love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength” I believe there would be scant time left for moral posturing. I wonder what would happen if the world saw the Church actively loving the broken, the weak and the different instead of aggressively distancing itself. This kind of [tag]separatism[/tag] isn’t about [tag]morality[/tag] or holiness, it is about [tag]fear[/tag] and insecurity and [tag]doubt[/tag]. After all, if you’re looking for the true spirit of God and [tag]Christianity[/tag] do you look to Mother Teresa or to Jerry Falwell?
So Ruth, after you finish suing Georgia Tech and push the Church even farther out of reach of those in need, I hope that your happy little club is proud of you. I’m fairly sure God won’t be. The God of Scripture and history and my life wlll undoubtedly be just one more bit heartbroken.
After reflecting on the [tag]genocide[/tag] in [tag]Rwanda[/tag], the late Senator Paul Simon said: “If every member of the House and Senate had received 100 letters from people back home saying we have to do something about Rwanda, when the crisis was first developing, then I think the response would have been different.”
During his first year in the White House, [tag]President Bush[/tag] wrote in the margins of a report on the Rwandan genocide, “Not on my watch.”
Since the beginning of the conflict in [tag]Darfur[/tag], an estimated 400,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million people have been displaced. Send President Bush a [tag]Save Darfur[/tag] postcard and remind him of his earlier sentiments to act now to stop the [tag]genocide in Darfur[/tag].
In case you haven’t seen it, Basecamp is a website for project management, but more to the point, it is quite possibly the best collaborative organizational tool ever. Create a project, add the people involved and then share to-do lists, milestones/goals, post messages with files and write on virtual whiteboards, all while assigning everything to specific individuals and keeping everyone current by email notifications and RSS news feeds.
and almost everything is completely free…
The key is in the perfection of its user interface and deceptively constrained feature list. It doesn’t have 4076 buttons, options and gantt charts that you’ll never use. It just has exactly what you need to collaborate beautifully.
Check out MoveOn.org’s slogan contest to combat the cover-up operation being mounted to protect Karl Rove. Between the facts surrounding this scandal and the Downing Street memo, is there any reasonable excuse why there is no mass call for employment termination, criminal investigation and/or impeachment of certain corrupt political figures?
For more background, please read Larry Johnson’s key facts article.
CNN Money is reporting that Hewlett-Packard is discontuing its relationship with Apple in selling dual-branded HP | Apple iPods. According to Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton, “[HP] decided that reselling iPods doesn’t fit with their company’s current digital media strategy.”
The partnership was announced at a January 2004 CES show. Hewlett-Packard will immediately phase-out all sales of iPods according to The Wall Street Journal‘s online edition.