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How to Get Easter Egg Dye off Your Hands

Why are there so many top ranked answers for how to get the dye out of your or your kids' hands that just don't help? Dishsoap? Baking soda or toothpaste plus lots of scrubbing? Feh. Well, consider that baking soda does provide great cleaning power and abasion, but vinegar is what they use to disolve the dye packs in the first place. I figured, why not use both?

I put a small pile of baking soda into my daughter's hand then sprayed some vinegar on it (I had some in a spray bottle, but you can just pour it). It started bubbling as they do when combined and I helped her rub it semi-vigerously over her hand for a few seconds. A good rinse and pop; there you go!

Left hand clean, right hand still green.
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Wikileaks Prepares; Bank of America Panics

I'm fairly ambivalent about the whole Wikileaks issue. I've long been a supporter of whistleblowing in general as companies and the governement should be held accountable for abuses and wrong-doing and often it's only fully public scandals that allow that to happen (though sometimes not even then).

Anyway, as to whether Wikileaks has done anything wrong, one must first ask if there was anything posted that caused significantly more harm than good (which so far has been a "no" it seems).

But to the point, Wikileaks is expected to release a lot of data about Bank of America very soon. There's a lot of speculation, but more interestingly, there are reports that Bank of America is preparing focused teams to respond to whatever drops when it drops.

I look forward to seeing how slime covered that rock is when it's lifted.

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Got Credit Fraud?

So last night I get a phone call saying they're my bank and asking to verify information. As you should always do under such circumstances, I refused and asked for a number where I could call her back. When she provided it, I looked it up online, but found nothing. So I called the bank at a known number and they were able to confirm it. Phase one complete.

Next I was transferred to the Credit Card Fraud department where they explained that I had unauthorized charges. My wife and I have always used our credit card as a shield for places that we didn't fully trust or online stores. Now that was coming in handy.

The sad fact is that there's nothing you can really do to protect a credit card number other than not use credit cards, but thanks to strong federal regulation instead of bogus "self-regulation", it was a very smooth process.

She read me the last 10 or so transactions and I claimed the ones that were mine and told her that the $300, $400, and $80 charges weren't. Despite that being a lot of money, by law I'm not responsible for any of it.

The charges will be reversed and new cards will be issued though not as fast as I'd like. I'd like to be angry, but at who? There's no telling how they got the number or how long they've had it. At the best, you should try to protect your card as much as possible, but don't take it personally when and if this happens to you.

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Great Money Advice

Today I found some great and solid advice from "TheSimpleDollar.com" about managing money the right way. I agree with most of this though I wonder about the advice of investing before paying off bills. If your interest rates of debts are always higher than those of investments, it seems you're spending more than you're gaining.

Shouldn't you pay off debts then invest?

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Smart Money Advice – How To Afford Anything

This is some great stuff:

If big business has its way, which it usually does since those with the gold make the rules, business will suck every penny you have out of you until you can't earn any more and are left dead or dying. This is the way a competitive economy works: there are winners and there are losers.

The great thing about America is that anyone who wants to can achieve anything, limited only by their imaginations, but the bad thing is that those who just want to slide along in life usually slide off a cliff to the benefit of those who are paying attention.

Here he explains how to buy whatever you want, but to do it intelligently and cheaply. He drives better cars than his friends, but paid far less. He saves tons of money so he can afford to buy the toys he wants. He avoids credit and worthless expenditures.

Sounds good to me 🙂

About the only thing I disagree with is his stance on TV and video games. I happen to learn quite a lot from those. A whole lot. Really! It's totally not a waste of my time…

Ok, maybe it is, but he spends all his time working on cars. Everyone has to have their hobbies.

Anyway, read it. It's fun and interesting like this section here:

I got lucky with my wife. She's even cheaper than I am, but she's rare. Want to know how cheap she is? She hates flowers because she can't bear knowing that they die in a week and then the money is gone. She'd rather just have the money. I sometimes leave a $20 on the counter. When she asks "what's this?" I respond "flowers." She then gets all smiley. Marriage is weird.

Oh, and extra points to the author for doing advertising right! Way to go!

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Landline NOT Required for DSL

Did you know that you could get DSL service WITHOUT having to have a phone land line with the same company? Probably not since the phone company won’t tell you. Check out this article for tips on how to teach the “Customer Service Reps” what and how to do it. Tags: ,

How To Avoid Four of the New Airline Fees

CNN has a story covering four of the new annoying fees you might see at the airport and how you might be able to avoid them. But then there's this…
By the way, there's plenty of evidence that the airlines are just getting started with their new fees. Once passengers are used to paying for beverages, checked luggage and "free" award tickets, it's on to bigger and better things for the chronically mismanaged airline industry. What's next? No one knows.
And that's a very good reason to follow this advice:
Of course, the best way around all of these fees is to fly on an airline that doesn't have them. Southwest Airlines still allows you to check two bags at no extra charge. JetBlue still serves free drinks and snacks and charges $25 less than the big airlines for unaccompanied minors. Supporting these less fee-prone companies will hasten the inevitable demise of the airlines that erroneously believe they can surcharge their way back to a profit.
It's important to note here that Southwest is the only profitable airline and they've never had to stoop to this. Go figure. (H/T to The Consumerist for the link) Tags: ,

Challenge a Forclosure to Stay in Your Home

At least one person was able to challenge a foreclosure because the bank that tried to foreclose didn't actually have the legal right to do so. (H/T to The Consumerist for the link) Tags: , , ,

New Bankruptcy Laws Bite Lenders

Warning! Warning! You have found a RANT. Articles in this section are sounding boards for my frustrations. They usually (more like always) lack impartiality and may include arguments and "facts" that may not be supported.

With time I may calm down and make this a real article, but for now, you have been warned...

Originally, the bankruptcy laws were a catch-all for handling aggressive and dishonest lending allowing people to completely remove their debts once every 7 years. That way, even if someone made mistakes or was suckered in by bad credit deals, they could escape them under some circumstances and start over. Lenders weren't happy with this and wanted it to be much harder for people to get out of the credit programs they carefully lured you into. They scored victory in 2005 by managing to secure a new law that made it much tougher for people to file bankruptcy, but didn't do anything to help curb the massive lending abuses by credit grantors. Now it seems the one-sided bill may have hurt lendors as much as it's helped them.
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Top 10 Things You Should Know About Your Credit Cards

I’ve seen businesses do 4 and 5 so I guess next time, I’ll call them on it. 1) Unsigned Cards Are Not Valid And Merchants Can And Will Refuse Them 2) The Maximum Liability For Unauthorized Use Of A Credit Card (not debit even if it’s got a credit card logo) Is $50 According To Federal Law 3) Merchants Cannot Require You To Present ID, Unless Your Card Is Unsigned 4) Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount 5) Merchants Cannot Charge A Surcharge For Using A Credit Card, However, They Can Offer A “Cash Discount” 6) Many Credit Cards Have Programs That Will Automatically Double The Manufacturer’s Warranty And Other Excellent Benefits 7) Merchants Are Not Allowed To Make You Give Up Your Right To A Chargeback 8) Merchants Are Not Allowed To Place A Hold For The Estimated Tip 9) If Merchants Suspect You Of Fraud They Are Supposed To Call With A “Code 10” 10) If Merchants Break These Rules, You Can Report Them To The Credit Card Company Read the details for each of these at The Consumerist. Tags: , ,
IDENTITY THEFT
How to Steal Identities - Why It's So Easy
Credit Freeze
Out and About Defense
credit-monitoring
id-theft-insurance
The Identity Theft Victim's Mini-Guide to Recovery
PRIVACY
The Geek Privacy Principle
Nothing to Hide
Data Abuse
RFID - Radio Frequency IDentification
Privacy Alias/Persona
Out and About Defense
INTERNET SAFETY
Online Addiction
The Consequences of Posting Online
Photo Safety
Tricks and Scams
Account Hijacking
Trusting Companies
PASSWORDS
Bad Passwords
Password Tips and Tricks
Password Protection
Password Mugging
Computer Security
E-mail Safety
Kids and Computers
Shopping Online
Retailers
All About Warranties