Do you use e-Transfer? You may want to read this

Do you use e-Transfer [or equivalent]?

e-Transfer allows you to send money from your account to someone by Email or text message. You specify the amount and to whom. You also include a security such as what is my mother’s maiden name or my paternal great grand-father’s first name. Of course the recipient would know the answer. The sender could pay a small fee for this service.

The transfer is sent to the individual by Email or text message. After a period of time [maybe 30 days], if the Email or Text message isn’t opened and then money is transferred, then transfer expires and the send can reclaim their money.

So what’s the problem?

There has been at least a couple of cases where the recipient never got their money from the sender because by the time they opened the Email, the transfer was already transferred to someone – just not them.

Once the Email is received, anyone can take the money transfer. And that is the problem.

In the cases, the recipient had their Email account hacked. The hacker figured out what the recipient’s Email address’ password was and monitored it for Email such as this [or maybe other financial Emails].

The recipient complained to their bank but the bank wouldn’t do much initially because the recipient’s account was hacked with a simple password. Somewhere on the web site, in fine print, it says that the bank won’t allow any guarantee if it find an account was hacked or other had security issues. The recipient said the bank’s web site says the transfers are secure.

Moral of the story?

Make sure you use an unique password for all Email and financial accounts. Don’t use something like “MyMoney1” for a password for one account and “MyMoney2” for another as a hacker may attempt to try changing just the number on other sites once they figured out one. The same applies for special characters.

Reaching a milestone

Well, this is my one thousandth post.

Time flies. Started my first blog post a bit over 8.5 years ago [March 2010]. So that’s 3 US presidents and a couple of Canadian prime ministers.

I am guessing a few of you who subscribe [and even posted] may have been around for most of those years.

I’m sure some left because of my political section. That’s fine.

Some like my technologies posts. Some skip them. And then there is the occasional other stuff.

In any case. Thanks to all who are still reading this blog.

Here’s to at least another thousand posts [and hopefully doesn’t take 8.5 years!].


Robot versus women in Saudi Arabia

Life in Saudi Arabia for a isn’t great for women.

Until recently, women couldn’t drive. They are required to cover their head. They can’t own property. They are escorted by a male relative. Their father gives them away to their future husband with no say. Saudi Arabia is know to have less than a stellar human rights record.

Then came Sophia. She isn’t human. She is Artificial Intelligence.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia actually granted citizenship to Sophie, a robot, last week during a program at the Future Investment Initiative, a summit that links very rich Saudis with inventors hoping to shape the future.

“Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the country’s newest citizen said. “It is historic to be the first robot in the world granted citizenship.”

She wears no headscarf or is accompanied by a male guardian [does she have relatives?].
Saudi law doesn’t allow non-Muslims to get citizenship. Did she convert?

Saudi Arabia doesn’t grant citizenship to the foreign workers, not even families that have been in the country for generations.

Sophia has graced the cover of a fashion magazine. She has driven one of Audi’s autonomous cars. She said she could do a better job as U.S. president than Donald Trump at a conference in Geneva hosted by the United Nations. [Who can’t?] She even tells jokes. [Was the Trump jab a joke?]

You can see her on Jimmy Fallons’s show here at roughly 2:15.



Uber versus taxis

I have absolutely no sympathy for the taxi drivers in Quebec. Too long they had what could be considered a monopoly.

Unlike most other jurisdictions [in the world] where there are both taxi and Uber driver, most seem to get along with each other. The taxi drivers seem to live with the fact that Uber is around to stay.

A number of years ago, the city of Montreal bought out a bunch of taxi permits because there were too many of them and they supposedly couldn’t make a living. So by reducing the number of taxis on the island, there should be more revenue coming in for the taxi drivers. But what also did was increase the wait time to get a taxi if not at a taxi stand.

Fast forward to the last couple of year. Uber moves into Montreal and the taxi drivers are upset. Boo hoo.

Some taxi drivers resorted to harassment of the Uber drivers and clients which included [light] damage to vehicles, physical and verbal assaults, etc. Sounds a bit like a mafia like attitude.

Taxi drivers were told to clean up their act. Proper clothing [white shirts, black pants], clean their cars, etc. They complained.

The provincial government struck a deal with the Uber drivers within the past couple of weeks where the new requirements for Uber drivers won’t be easy for them to complete.

The requirements include permits, taking customer service courses, basic vehicle repair knowledge, restrictions in the number of hours [anything over 50,000 hours a year and Uber will have to pay fees that will benefit the taxi industry], charge a minimum fee, etc.

And yet the taxi drivers are still complaining and contemplating an injunction or go on strike. If they do, I won’t be affected or care. Also more work for Uber drivers and less for them. So who are they kidding?

The taxi industry accused the provincial government of betraying them by negotiating with a company they say operates outside the law. Ummm. Uber will be paying back taxes as part of the deal in addition to taxes and licenses.

The taxi drivers are just acting like a bunch of crybabies who’ve had it so good over the years.

Taxi drivers in my area don’t seem to respect the rules of the road. Going through stop signs, no signals when turning, double parking [with no flashers]. I’ve even seen them make U-turns on a busy main street.


Man suffers major allergic reaction – the fallout?

In case you missed it, in the small city of Sherbrooke, Quebec [about 2 hours east of Montreal] a 34-year old man named Simon-Pierre Canuel went into a dimly lit restaurant in May, sat down and ordered a beef tartare dish.

Just shortly after biting into his dish, it was not beef tartare but salmon tartare. His throat became itchy and began to tighten, his tongue swelled and he had problems breathing. His friend, a medical resident, went to the car to get his EpiPen. Another diner, a doctor, lied him on the floor and administrated mouth to mouth resuscitation while waiting for an ambulance to show up. He is allergic to seafood.

He was taken to a hospital nearby but suffered cardiac arrest the next day and fell into a coma for around two days before recovering and released.

Mr. Canuel has filed both civil and criminal charges against the waiter because it is alleged that the waiter did not write down the order and must have mixed up his order because of it. The waiter has been arrested. A civil lawsuit has been charged against the restaurant.

The Sherbrooke police had gone through a two-week investigation prior to the arrest including serving a warrant and searching the restaurant.

Mr. Canuel claims he mentioned about his serious allergies when he arrived at the restaurant and again when ordering the beef tartare and asked the waiter to make note of the allergy. It is alleged that the waiter did not make note of the allergy.

Mr. Canuel claimed the waiter seemed to be socializing with [probably] friends at another table, drinking shooters, instead of taking care of his order. The waiter may have even been a bit drunk.

One of the co-owners of the restaurant says she also has serious seafood allergies and said her restaurant would do what happened on purpose.

A discussion is starting now on what to do with people with allergies. While many precautions are done to prevent allergic reactions, there are obvious some places that have little choice because of what they serve.

For an example, a “surf and turf” restaurant will serve both seafood and beef. So allergic reactions could be a problem for someone who enters a restaurant even though they want beef.

The same would go for someone walking into a sports bar that generally have peanuts available.

Signs can be placed prior to walking into an establishment warning of possible allergic issues in addition as on the menu [which some do show].

Mr. Canuel claimed he notified the waiter at least three times but that didn’t seem to help too much in this case.

Maybe restaurants won’t take chances and just ban anyone with [food] allergies – but that is less likely.

Maybe waiters will be required to ask a customer if they have any allergies – but what if they forget an allergy?


Selfie Elbow?

I think one of the most ridiculous things to come out in the past 5-10 years is the selfie.
Some people are obsessed with taking selfies.

You have the queen of publicity hounds, Kim Kardashian, with a book of selfies – and sold at a premium price – and I think she is coming out with a second volume. Can you imaging 200+ pictures of her doing whatever [I am sure probably in various levels of undress as well].

I’m waiting for her hubby, the king of publicity hounds, Kanye West, to come out with one. Or two. Or three. Maybe they’ll compete to see which books sell the best. I would guess she will – her family has done little as part of the human race and yet she got this far.

For us dull normals, it is OK to take the odd picture, but now there is a new medical issue.
You have heard of tennis elbow, where a tennis player has inflamed tendons in the elbow. [At least I can understand how this happens.]

Well there is what can be described as “selfie elbow”. It seems the way some people hold their smartphone [or a tablet] to take a picture of themselves or them with some buddies.
I am hoping your local state or provincial government doesn’t take this too seriously where an employer will be obliged to pay for someone’s sick leave because of selfie elbow [well unless it really interferes with their job].

The whole selfie concept is ridiculous – made even worse by buying a $10-$15 selfie stick [something that was manufactured for peanuts].

I’ve personally taken less than a half dozen selfies since my first smartphone.

If you have taken many [very many] of them, maybe you like to create your own publicity. But who will actually care?


Predictions for 2015

So with about 0.20% of the year gone, here are some of my predictions [some incorporating rumors that started in 2014, some of them less likely, some are probable]:

In technology:

  • Apple will release a new iPhone in the spring – probably a slightly remade iPhone 5S. They did the same thing with the iPhone 5C which as a rebranded and slightly upgraded iPhone 4S [I think].
  • Apple will also have a major issue come to one of their products causing major problems. This would be as surprising as since Tim Cook took over from Steve Jobs, quality control has been less than stellar.
  • While Windows 10 does come out with plenty of fan fare, it still ends up being only a partial success as it still forces many desktop users to go though the tiles/modern interface too often.
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft decides to give a slight discount for some Windows 8.x users but not enough to satisfy them.
  • The Windows Server 2003 comes to a close in July but nasty bit of security attacks force Microsoft to further release some security updates after the end of support for the OS.
  • Google decides that it has had enough and begins to back away from both Google+ and the Chrome OS development. Both are bleeding the company dry even with Google’s advertising arm firmly entrenched in Google+.
  • Not really a surprise but there will be another major cloud breach similar to the one that hit Apple this past year [remember the celebrity nude pictures?]. One still wonders why people put nude pictures of themselves in the cloud.

In entertainment:

  • Yet another breach in an entertainment company, not as serious as Sony, but still high profile.
  • This will also be the year where movie distributors stop gauging the buying public and release Blu-ray movies at very similar pricing as a DVD.
  • The music shoppers will begin to get tired of the boy bands and scantly clad female singers that seem to come and go quite fast.
  • Justin Bieber will finally get arrested [he hasn’t already]?
  • Miley Cyrus will do something so wrong/disgusting that fans will turn their back on him.

In politics:

  • Vladimir Poutine [Putin] will finally cave in and force the Russian “separatists” in eastern Ukraine to come back to mother Russia or be left on their own. Still nothing resolved for Crimea. All this as the oil pricing by OPEC and the financial punishment still cripples Russia coupled by growing unrest by Russian citizens as price of goods continue to rise.
  • Putin gets tired of having OPEC dictating oil prices by trying to start “his” own oil council but fails.
  • In US politics, the early stages of preparations for the primaries in both Democratic and Republican parties fizzle as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are almost crowned before they start. Meanwhile the Republicans get hit with a few scandals along the way as the Tea Part branch causes further strains within the party.
  • In Canadian politics, an early fall elections has current Prime Minister Stephen Harper ousted with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau taking over with either a slight majority government or a near majority minority government. The NDP party, getting blown back to smaller party status will prop up the Liberals [if a minority government] – this after the Conservative party saying throughout the election that the Liberals and NDP would form a coalition government after they see the writing on the wall and see no chance in forming a government.
  • Devastated by the loss, Harper would end up resigning his leadership with eventually leaving politics in late 2015 or early 2016. As well, NDP leader will decide to leave as leader of party but will stay around.