What Everyone Should Know about Personal and Business Banking

Banking is a necessary evil.  Who likes their banker?  Do you even have a personal banker any more?  I see a different person every time I walk into my bank.  Admittedly I don’t walk into the bank very often any more.  I do most of my banking through:

  • The bank’s Website
  • The bank’s mobile app
  • Various bank-owned ATM machines

And I also do some banking through other services, such as when I set up a direct debit on my bank account.  I strongly advise against doing that, by the way.  Direct Debits are a horrific evil practice.  They have been wrongly billed as great conveniences but when you add up all the overdraft fees that banks have charged because of direct debits that were processed when your balance was too low, you’ll see that you can add $30-40 per charge to any direct debit.  You should assume your direct debits will incur overdraft fees and budget accordingly. Continue reading

2017 Is the Year of Transition for US Retail

It seems like every week another retail giant announces that it is closing stores and laying off people.  I read somewhere that this happens every year and the retail industry is not truly collapsing.  But I think the writing is on the wall.  Shoppers are spending more time online and companies that don’t integrate their brick-and-mortar stores with Internet tools will find themselves being shut out.  There are three things shoppers want: great prices, local availability, and information about how products will help them.  I think most retailers, especially in the clothing industry, have failed to understand that.

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Where the 2016 Presidential Candidates Stand on the Issues

The 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign has focused more on personalities than any campaign in my life time. I think it’s better to focus on where the candidates stand on the issues, though. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my understanding of where each candidate stands on several issues. Some of these might be more important to you than others.

Both major candidates are pro death penalty. This is a bummer for someone like me. I’m firmly opposed to the death penalty. In fact, it doesn’t even seem like a complicated issue. While there’s a possible error, the death penalty is a mistake. On top of that. It’s cheaper to imprison someone for life than it is to execute them. Continue reading

The Debate over Encryption is Nothing New

While security experts around the world continue to advise all Websites to move to the very fallible HTTPS system, the argument over the effectiveness of encryption is nothing new.  Critics of the HTTPS-only Web rightly point out that forcing political dissidents in repressive countries to use HTTPS Websites exposes their personal information through registries to potentially abusive government agents.  Add to that the difficulty that most Website owners have with properly implementing HTTPS and you have a system that is not only full of holes but which is dangerous and puts some people at risk of losing their freedom, maybe even their lives. Continue reading