November 10th, 2006

Pensive Kevin

Banking Oddities

As I get paid every Friday, I usually log in to my online banking to make sure the direct deposit is pending. I am overall very pleased with Bank of America's online banking system. It's much better than Washington Mutual's -- I have accounts with both banks and can therefore compare them directly. I especially like how BofA's online bill payment system works, with you being able to schedule bill payments based on the day they will clear, which eliminates any question of "float;" moreover, I've never had an e-payment go astray, unlike some paper ones.

However, today when I went to look at my checking account details, I was distressed to see that the three most recent transactions appeared to be electronic debits that I'd never authorized and that I did not recognize at all. It's sometimes difficult to tell from the detail gobbledygook, but they all looked like they were payments to -- maybe -- San Diego Parking of some sort, or maybe San Francisco. So I clicked through the first of them to find out more, and up popped the image of a check I'd written a few days ago, for the amount shown in the e-transaction. Odd. I backed up and tried another. Same thing -- a recent paper check for that amount. The last appeared to be the monthly service charge on the account, but again with the string of weirdness attached to it.

This needs faster action than sending an e-mail to customer service. I got on the phone and called. Somewhat to my surprise, I got a human being with almost no wait. I started to explain the situation to her when I heard a choked laugh. She explained that I wasn't the first person to report this and that they were having some sort of computer problems -- she didn't know the details -- and were working on.

"That's okay," I said, "As long as I'm not the only one affected. I just wanted to make sure my account hadn't been hacked."

She reassured me that it had not, and that they were trying to fix it.

Hey, I'm sympathetic. Trying to make changes to a system as large and complex as what BofA's must be has got to be very difficult. As long as they fix it, the disruption is minor to me.
  • Current Mood
    bored bored
Manga Kevin

SF Conventions on Public Radio

American Public Media's Marketplace program ran a story today about science fiction conventions, focusing on what a big business they are and giving the impression that all conventions have to do with television, movies, and comics. Ben Yalow got a couple of quotes in it, including a good one about "These are all my friends; there are 5,000 of them." I was surprised to see us grouped in as "consumer trade shows" like boat shows and the like, because the kinds of conventions I attend and organize are what I think of as SMERFs -- Social, Military, Educational, Religious, and Fraternal organizations. Still, I can see how the major exhibits, art show, and dealers room are the "trade show" aspects of the event, and why a business-oriented program like Marketplace would emphasize it.
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful

Now I Suppose Someone Will Accuse Me of Trying to Hide It

SFSFC meets three times a year, and the next meeting is tomorrow at the Fremont-Centerville train station meeting room. Details on the SFSFC site. While driving home tonight from grocery shopping, I realized that while I'd sent out both the required mail notices and plenty of e-mail notices to the directors, I forgot to send a message to the e-mail list of people who have in the past said they wanted to be informed of SFSFC meetings.

Rats! Now it's pretty much too late to send out such a notice, since the meeting is at 11 AM tomorrow.

Well, it wasn't that I was intentionally trying to keep the meeting a secret; it was just a mistake caused by my focusing too intently on making sure the actual directors were kept informed.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed