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Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1) 345

Local banks commonly have card machines in their offices. Chase operates theirs from a central location, but I've never had a replacement card take longer than two days to arrive and it's usually the next day. In the meantime, existing authorized autopayments (Verizon, virtual server, a few other things) usually go through for at least a couple of months.

Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1) 345

When I traveled to Europe a couple of years ago, the Chase card was the only one that had enough room on it to cover everything I expected to spend on during the trip. I called and asked what would happen if my card were lost or stolen, and they promised next-day delivery of a new card to any of the places I was staying (Zurich, Florence, and Venice). They also offered a temporary bump in the credit limit since I had a pending payment of several thousand dollars over a weekend that might not clear until I was actually in Europe.

There's plenty of general Chase business practices to generate complaints, but I've never had a problem with them and they've always gone out of their way to make my life easier.

Comment Re:Advice: Just cut up the card (Score 2) 345

Closing accounts can negatively affect your credit score by reducing available credit and time of oldest account (and possibly average age of accounts). If you try to maintain the same number of accounts, you also add to the number of applications, which is another negative against credit scores.

Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 3, Insightful) 345

Both of my frequent flier-linked cards have expressly said that there is no need to call and notify them. It doesn't really change much aside from them adding a note to the account which may or may not be read by the fraud investigator--if there is one. Every time my cards have been blocked, it's completely automated, and the programs aren't likely to examine notes left in the account.

Comment Re: None of my cards have a chip! (Score 1) 317

I realize the limited value of anecdotal evidence, especially from cashiers. Some just shrug and say they don't know when they'll work. But when I do get answers, they're remarkably consistent about reported problems.

Aside from Home Depot, none of the stores I've been to in the last couple of months have working chip readers. That includes Sprouts, Tom Thumb, Kroger, 7-Eleven, CVS, or any of the myriad small stores. My wife works in a small retail shop and has asked, and was told that even with the newly-deployed chip readers, they're not likely to be active for several weeks or months yet.

It's not happening as fast as it was supposed to, and that's going to be a problem come tomorrow.

Comment Re: None of my cards have a chip! (Score 1) 317

I've asked dozens of stores in the last couple of months if I can use the chip reader, and they all say that they haven't enabled them (and some have said they don't have plans to enable them) because of problems with the activation of the chip readers. Two 7-Elevens told me that they had problems with double-charges, a big-box store (I don't remember which) said the cards didn't read properly all the time in tests, and several others have said as recently as last week that the required software hadn't been loaded yet because corporate was still testing upgrades. Many restaurants and stores don't even have chip readers yet.

If these are even partially accurate, then despite the long lead time, I suspect this is going to be a massive fiasco. Home Depot is the one place that I've been able to use the chip reader (and that was in July, IIRC) and it went flawlessly for the one or two transactions, but that's not to say that all of the tens of millions of other upgrades are going to work as well. I'm hoping the confusion dies down quickly, but I'm not counting on it.

Comment Re: Its all in the taxes and incentives. (Score 2) 211

Probably almost no heating, but still probably a lot of cooling. In mid-September, overnight temps in Texas are still above where most people set their thermostats, plus the house is still radiating heat collected during the day, some of which goes inward. Even with the thermostat set at 78 in a relatively young house (11 years) built with good insulation, here in Dallas the AC still comes on regularly throughout the night.

Comment Re:Phone as a pager (Score 1) 246

At their peak, there were 61 million pagers in use in the US. However, many of them were regional, so the broadcast didn't have to go over the entire country, which helped them scale. Now, there are but a small fraction of that number still in use. Trying to bring it up to the cell phone count in just the US (where the number of cell phones actually exceeds the population count) would be astronomically difficult, especially if everyone expected universal coverage as they do now. An average of one page per phone per day, assuming 100 bytes sent per page, would require a constant 3Mbps download stream to monitor. Delivering with any kind of timeliness would require much higher rates, and it would all have to be processed by every device. That's a lot of energy use just to watch the traffic coming across. It gets worse if the messages are encrypted and decryption checks have to be made on every one.

Comment Re:hmmmm (Score 1) 502

Engaging from a set distance isn't a rigged test. It's very realistic. It's the same as CAS aircraft loitering in the vicinity of fighting, not knowing where they'll be called to, then vectoring, approaching, engaging, and disengaging. The F-35 has an advantage in approach speed, and when you're under fire from the enemy, fast engagement becomes extremely important not only for your safety but for the safety of the CAS aircraft in that the enemy will have less time to bring in reinforcements.

I'm a huge fan of the A-10 and expect it will do better in a number of tests in a fair competition, including the raw number of targets that can be engaged primarily due to the gun's ammo capacity. I'm not a terribly big fan of the F-35, believing that it's trying to combine too many functions into one airplane. But for a CAS demonstration, I expect that the F-35 will be fitted with external stores (appropriate in an area where air supremacy and some level of major SAM suppression have been achieved). External stores capacity for the two planes is similar weight-wise (16,000 pounds on 11 hardpoints for the A-10 vs. 15,000 pounds on 6 hardpoints for the F-35), but a maximum load for either plane is unrealistic as it adds drag, reduces range and loiter time, impacts agility, and increases stress on the aircraft. A-10s in Afghanistan would rarely go out with more than a single weapon or pod per pylon, and often with four or more stations empty. The F-35, of course, also has the internal stores that can handle up to four Small Diameter Bombs each.

Low-altitude survival time probably goes to the A-10, but accuracy could be a toss up between the slower and more stable A-10 and the faster but perhaps quicker to lock and launch F-35. This may be a closer competition than many believe.

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau