The Edge Effect

Monday, August 14, 2006

New Computer and Credit Card Strangeness

Excitement first. I ordered components for a new Home Theater PC today. We've been using an ancient HP as our media system for a while now and this last move was just a bit too much for it.

I'm pretty excited about the new one. Partially because it'll be good to have a new HTPC, but also because it'll be the first time I've tried to build one ground-up. Should be pretty sweet.

So here's the case.

It's a nice little cube that should be way less obtrusive than our current tower. There were a couple of others that looked slicker, but for the price, this one came with the best power supply and organization.

We'll set it up with a cheap-o Celeron processor and various parts of our old computer and should have a nice HTPC for a very reasonable price. Hopefully I can post a report on the building process at the end of the week. But given the way some of the house remodeling projects have gone,it may not be web-worthy.

On a related topic... I ordered all these components on line from a website that I've used in the past with a credit card that I've used in the past. When I tried to confirm my order though, I kept getting a 'declined' message. Having recently moved I thought maybe my address hadn't caught up yet. So I tried to change it back to the old one. No luck.

As I was changing it back I got a call. It was the credit card company checking in because they had seen an unusual charge attempt on my card. It was the transaction that I was in the middle of right then. Kind of freaky. She 'reset' my account and I was able to check out before hanging up the phone.

It's nice to know they're looking out for fraud. On the other hand it strikes me as a little odd that you have to sit on hold for three hours to discuss a billing error, but there is a live human watching my credit card activities in real time who can get through to my cell phone quickly enough to help me complete the transaction.

And for such an on-the-ball outfit, it strikes me as odd that I didn't have to verify my identity to the credit card company. She just called, said "we see something strange," I said "Yep, I'm doing that," and all was well. If someone had stolen my wallet and phone, they could easily have gotten by.

Anyway, I guess if someone steals my wallet and phone, I'm screwed.

And that, kids, is today's lesson.