Random Access Memories

July 19, 2017

Undisclosed compromise

by @ 10:26 am. Filed under Business, Expectations

So I got an email from BofA who holds the primary credit card I use (I pay it off monthly, it’s just to get airline miles)

In part it said the following:

“Security Alert: We’re Issuing You a New Card To Help Keep Your Information Safe. We’re letting you know your card may have been part of a compromise at an undisclosed merchant.”

Oh, I see, an “undisclosed merchant”. IE. a company was compromised, but they refuse to admit whom. Always nice to NOT know what company has a security issue, right?

July 18, 2017

Internet coverage maps that supposedly do not exist.

by @ 8:26 am. Filed under Business, Technology

So recently I have been searching for a house to buy. And the availability of high speed wired internet has been a top priority.

One would think that listing what kind of internet is available at a house would be part of a home sale listing. But it’s not. And the rare times when it is there is no mention of what the max capabilities of that connection are. (It might be shown that a house is serviced by Comcast and/or Centurylink in my area, but the owner likely has no clue what the maximum speed that site is capable of.

Now, those two companies have a database. You can go to their websites, plug in an address and it spits back what is available at what speed. It’s even mostly accurate. However, there is no map of this database. If you want to check what kind of service is available you must put in exact addresses only and get the results of that exact query only. The companies like to say that a map of this data is somehow “unavailable” or “cannot be done”.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Imagine Google Maps as a database, but not as a map. You know “Joe” lives someplace nearby, you remember going to his house a few weeks ago, but you didn’t get the address. You zoom over to that area, turn on satellite data and look for a house that matches what you remember of Joe’s house. While you’re going to Joe’s house you want to stop for some Chinese food, so you search for Chinese in the area and a few places pop up. You do the same to find a bank and a dry cleaner. Because the database is searchable by general area.

If Google’s map database worked like the cable and phone company database you would need to plug in a known exact address for all of these things and then get a “yes/no” reply to that query. You would have to query, “Is Joe’s house at 1060 West Addison?” and the database would reply “no”. It would not show you the location so you would have no way to know how close or far from your possible mark you were.

So you see the data the phone/cable companies have *IS CAPABLE* of being searched in a map view. That’s what the data is. A list of addresses with the speed data correlated to those addresses.

The real question now becomes *WHY* do those companies not want their data to be searchable in map form?

My guess is because such a map would show just how slow and poorly serviced internet customers are.

Nothing like denying information to keep your iron grip on a market, right?

July 6, 2017

And we see the signs of the next coming storm on the horizon.

by @ 3:46 pm. Filed under Business, News, Politics

For those of you not following the markets (overvalued), unemployment data (Unemployment is down), government policy changes (The odds of more fiscal stimulus is almost nil), or federal monetary policy (The Fed is raising interest rates). These are all indicators point to a coming recession in the next 1-3 years.

If you want more signs they will be things like a collapse in consumer spending, a drop in housing prices, rising unemployment, and an inverted yield curve. (You can learn about that here: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/05/inverted-yield-curve-predicting-coming-recession-commentary.html)

We have not seen these more “certain” signs yet, and I encourage you all to look out for them. (I would love to be proven wrong, lol) I think the odds are good enough to start “digging in”.

What does all this mean for us? Well, since we see some of the signs of a train coming at us down the tunnel we can at least plan a little.

Financially, this is a good time to save. Plan for possible coming unemployment. Plan for a drop in the stock market. (Divest your retirement, especially if you are over 45) Look for a job that doesn’t come and go at the whim of consumer spending. (Jobs people always need are more stable than jobs around things considered luxuries. Like eating out or buying a new car.)

Politically, it means that come 2020 we’re going to be looking at things getting worse, not better. Which means a change in party. (For those of you with aspirations of holding political office, heh.)

This is also a really good time to sell a house if you were at all planning to within the next five years. Better to rent for awhile and buy again than to be underwater later when you want to sell.

Me? I’m going to be saving, then investing those savings in the stock market after it looks like it’s hit a low point. Often stocks get badly undervalued when the bottom drops out.

I also think my home buying plans are on hold until the coming recession bottoms out. It will be a good point to buy, especially since the Spokane area where I am is in the midst of a bubble.

Curious as to what anyone else thinks would be good planning measures.

Thanks

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