Amazon Security Policies Lax?

This may be nothing, but I thought it was worth blogging in case anyone thought otherwise.

I read a lot of books. A few months ago some stuff changed at work where I thought it would be easier to listen to audio books. So I re-enabled my old Audible account. Audible was recently purchased by Amazon, so after I logged in they wanted to merge my Audible account with my Amazon account. The process was pretty painless and I was on my way listening to some audio books.

A few months pass and I realize I'm just not listening to enough books to justify the account type I purchased (I now had way too many credits built up). So I logged into their site and learned that I could put my account on hiatus for a few months (meaning, I won't get billed, nor will I receive any new credits. But I'll be able to use my account and existing credits to purchase audio books). There was no option to do it in the settings screen though. After starting up a chat session with a representative I learned that only a representative could do it for me. Okay, works for me.

All they need to do is verify some security settings. What were those? My Amazon login (email address), my name, and my billing address. Yes, sir. That was it. That's all the info you need to start modifying someone's Amazon account info.

At this point I was very upset with the representative (sorry, Jessica. I know it's not your fault. I should have been nicer) and let her know how upsetting this was. I then asked her if she could update my credit card info, billing, or password. After a short pause she assured me that she could only update my Audible membership plan. Was she just telling me what I wanted to hear, or covering up a very large issue... I don't know (yet). I'm tempted to try again tomorrow with another representative and see if they can update any of those other fields of data.

But here's my question to anyone who cares: Even if they can only update my Audible membership data, is that not a valid reason to complain? I mean, this is Amazon. I get that they purchased this company and that it takes time to change policies, code, and [unfortunately] staff when you do a takeover, but hasn't it been long enough that Amazon would have taken care of any account security concerns before merging Audible's accounts with Amazon's accounts?

Perhaps I'm just getting upset over nothing and this is all just a moot learning experience.

I'm Really Liking

Sometime last year I discovered the website Shelfari. At first the site ran slow and didn't have too many features (the site was still fairly new). Then by the end of last year the site made some serious upgrades (to the UI and overall speed). Since then they've consistently added new functionality and the user experience is amazing to say the least.

About a week or two ago I started telling some close friends about the site and I've seen a few of them blog good experiences about it. So I just wanted to give my two thumbs up as well :).

If you read at all and want to look at a really good social networking site based on reading books (as well as somewhere to record all the books you've read), make sure to check it out.

Also feel free to take a look at my bookshelf. I don't have all of my books on there (I can't remember every book I've read), but I've gotten quite a few of the ones I can remember (plus I also read about 1 book a week, so I'm always adding more :) ).

Tim Buntel on Scorpio (webDU 2007)

This was a comedy bit by Nectarine. To my knowledge Nectarine hasn't posted their video on the web yet, so I put the copy I made up on YouTube for people to checkout.

Note: I apologize in advance that the video is pretty shaky. I used my handheld camera and I was trying to hold it above everyone's heads.

What a Trip: 34+ Hours to Sydney

I thought I had a great deal when I found a packaged flight to Sydney Australia. Because I left from Hartford, CT (United States) I have to find a connecting flight to Los Angelas.

United Airlines came through with a packaged deal that was not only US$300 less than everyone else, but was supposed to be a few hours less flight time as well (who'd pass up on a deal like that).

So I booked my 24 hour flight and left from home Sunday afternoon.

All the flights were on time and everything was going great until we were descending to land in Sydney. About 5 minutes from landing, the engines of our plane revved-up and we were climbing again. Another 5 minutes passed and the pilot informed us that Sydney Airport was shut down due to heavy fog. We were being redirected to Melbourne (1hr), would refuel (1hr), and then fly back to Sydney (1hr). Or so we thought.

Things got worse from there. We sat in our plane parked at the terminal for 15 minutes until they could decide what to do with us (it was 8am local time). Then they told us to get off the plane, take a break (drink voucher), and we'd be re-boarding in an hour (well, that sounds nice of them). However, after we got off the plane we were soon informed we weren't leaving for a few more hours. And so the delays began... one after the other.

It gets better. Around 12:00 noon they realized they let all of us off the plane (to go wherever we pleased) without ever putting us through Customs (oops!). So there answer to that was to setup a quarantine area at our gate where they'd re-check our passports, carry-on bags, and a frisk-down (not sure I see the logic in this... what about the bad people who decided to just leave the Melbourne airport?).

But wait, there's more! After 5 or so hours of sitting in the Melbourne airport we finally re-boarded our plane. We taxied to a spot (somewhere) and sat there for a prolonged time. We were then told that we had to go "back" to the terminal because engine 4 would not start (great).

So there we were, parked and waiting. Then I looked out my window (at engine 4) and I see what looks like the local handy-man on a step ladder poking and prodding with a long thin metal rod into an open access panel. He continued to do this for 15 minutes until he somehow jump-started the engine. We were told at this point it was safe to take off (oh boy, we felt so safe at that point).

Either way I finally made it to the conference hotel in one piece and took a long hot shower :).

Watch Out for Those Pesky Underscores

Earlier this summer I had service done on my house (new home, lots of warranty things all spring and summer). I don't remember which company it was (could have been the sprinkler company), but when I got the bill from them I placed it on the kitchen counter and forgot about it the rest of the day.

When my partner got home and saw it she couldn't stop laughing. I looked at the client info (me) and saw what she was laughing about.

Apparently when I gave the woman over the phone my personal info, I had given her one of my generic email addresses that has an underscore in it.

Yup, you guessed it. She actually wrote out the word underscore in my email address.

Are there awards for people like this? :)

My New Home in 2005

Okay, so last fall I promised I'd put up pictures of my new home after I moved in. Well, I may be a little late, but here they are. Enjoy :)

It's my 30th Birthday Today

It feels weird to say that ("I'm 30 years old"). It's a good feeling though... a milestone if you will.

So I'm looking back at my accomplishments and failures over the last 30 years and I have to ask myself, "Self, where to now?"

Well, so far I'm very pleased with where I am at the moment and the direction I'm currently headed in. My career decisions aside my family is what's most important to me.

So what do I plan to cook up for the next 30 years? I have some really cool things planned for the next coming months, but beyond that things seem blurry. I guess as long as I keep my head high, and mind open to new possibilities and new horizons it should be another fun 30 years.

So, work day or not, I'll have a beer, sit back for a few and toast myself to the next 30 years :).

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