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further adventures

"An adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered."
- G.K. Chesterton

Since I was already kicking up clods of dirt today, I figured, Why not? jcobleigh recommends switching from Netscape 7.2 (old, not cutting-edge development in web browsing or email clients) to the Mozilla twins, Thunderbird (email client) and Firefox (browser). I'll just download them both, replace my outmoded software, and Life Will Be Good. This I did, and all of it worked (mostly) smoothly, except for LiveJournal. For some reason, LJ's update page causes Firefox to hang indefinitely. Due to a myriad of user permission deficiences, missing admin tech people, and an unwillingness to go sorting through all the necessaries, I can't install an LJ client on my Linux box. Thus, in order to post new entries to my blog, I have to bring up the good old Netscape 7.2 to vent to you all. :)

I got a little bit of good research thought down today. Yay! I also managed to call several different credit card companies, banking institutions, etc., and change my name. That was easy. Then, because the bank gave me an account upgrade recently, I decided to try the (now-free) online bill pay functionality.

It was a little disturbing. First, when I called them to request that they turn on my online bill pay service, they somehow managed to zonk my account so that I couldn't log in. I had to call them back, get them to reset my password, and after rotating around that phone call for a while, finally managed to log in again. I sat down with a sigh of relief and initiated my first two online bill payments.

What disturbed me was the appearance of such a tenuous connection between my bank and the payee companies. They wanted the physical address of the companies, and their phone numbers, even though they already seemed to have these major credit cards in their list of possible payees. Why do I need to replicate the info? I put in my account numbers and now the two payments are pending. The problem is, I can't tell if they're actually going to do an EFT, or if they're just going to print out the addresses, cut physical checks somewhere, and send them off. If the latter, then I'm in a little bit of trouble, since the only addresses I had handy were the Customer Service addresses from the online Contact Us pages, not the send-payments-here addresses...

Do you guys have any experience with electronic payments?


Regarding the LJ client problem... (a) I don't understand why you can't install an LJ client on your Linux box, but if you can, I'd reccommend logjam. (b) you can also get an LJ plugin for Firefox, called Deepest Sender. Look under Tools->Options->Extensions, and there should be a link there saying "Get New Extensions" (otherwise just Google for it). There are some really cool extensions one can get for Firefox; I think my favourite is LinkIt and Link Toolbar, which give you quick links for Top, Up, Previous and Next for a site.

As for electronic payments, I must admit I tend to use the credit card by phone, though of course that's only available for companies who offer it. However since my credit card is a debit card, I find it's fairly hassle-free. They tend to be automated computer things at the other end of the phone nowadays.

I don't have various other necessary packages installed and I don't have permissions on my machine to install the logjam or kluje RPMs (and even installing that wasn't sufficient when the admin tried it--we would have had to go hunting for the other packages and I didn't want to keep wasting his time for something as non-work-related as my blog). Thanks for the plug-in tip, though. I'll try that...
If the option is available, I would contact your credit card company and see if they offer their own bill pay services, as opposed to using your bank's bill pay services. If you use the company's service, you know it is being debited out of your checking account as an EFT and not a check being drawn x amount of days later.

Yeah, I was considering that. The only drawback is if the companies have a minimum EFT amount and your balance is under that. Oh well... :)
LiveJournal/Firefox/Linux workaround: remove all stored passwords from problematic sites. Apparently there's some sort of bug in the auto-passwording feature in this particular configuration.

Good thing Deepest Sender automatically logs me in and lets me play around in LJ without having to go directly through the web interface. I get everything I want without the breakage! :) Whee...