Using NFC For The First Time

NFC.pndNFC, short for Near Field Communication, is a technological set of standards that has been around for several years. Many Android phones have come equipped with NFC chips for several years. Some retailers along with fast food outlets such as McDonald’s support NFC transactions on every credit card reader.

My first NFC-enabled phone was a Galaxy S3, but I never felt compelled to even give it a try. For some reason I made the completely erroneous assumption that if I paid with my phone via NFC it would be charged to my phone bill.

Since Apple is now supporting NFC with the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones, I decided I would give NFC a try on my Note 3 using Google Wallet.

I already had a Google Wallet account because I have bought apps via the Google Playstore. I have also used Google Wallet to purchase hotel rooms via online booking.

To use NFC, I installed the Google Wallet app on my phone. I authorized the app to tie to my existing Google Wallet account. I authorized the Google Wallet app to use my existing debit card by setting up a pin number inside the Google Wallet app. Next I went into the phone settings to turn on the integrated NFC radio chip.

I used NFC for the first time today at a McDonald’s in Shelby, Iowa. When it came time to pay, I simply turned the phone screen on and held the phone against the top of the McDonald’s credit card reader where there’s a sort of sideways WiFi-like symbol. It’s not even necessary to start up the app – that happens completely automatically. It popped up on my phone screen asking me to input my Google Wallet pin number, and the transaction was quickly completed. The McDonald’s order-taker and his manager were astonished!

It automatically debited my bank account. My existing bank debit card remained in my wallet.

As nearly as I can tell, the Apple Pay version of NFC differs from Google Wallet and other NFC payment schemes in that the Apple Pay app only works on NFC-enabled iPhones. The iPhone 6 finger print reader substitute’s for the pin number.

It is possible to pay using Google Wallet in two basic ways – either have it pay via a selected debit or credit card, or set up a Google Wallet cash card that you can transfer money into and out of. With the Google Wallet cash card it is possible to email money to anyone with an email address, which would require them to set up a Google Wallet account in case they don’t already have one set up.

Will I use NFC again? I certainly will. I’m constantly on the road and I find myself eating at McDonald’s and other fast food outlets far more than I’d like. So long as an NFC terminal is set up and I would be paying with my bank debit card, I will try utilizing NFC instead.

Perhaps now that Apple is putting its marketing, educational, and PR muscle behind NFC it will finally have a chance to catch on. If nothing else it’s worth it just to see the amazed reactions of the store clerks!

Twitter Adds Two Step Verification System

Twitter logoWhen Burger King got hacked, we all laughed at the idea McDonalds might have bought it. When the Associated Press got hacked, we noticed. But it took the Onion in getting hacked for Twitter to finally do something…

Twitter rolled out a two-step verification system for users to get extra protection against would-be hackers. The verification method includes a special code that is sent via phone when they try to log in. With this extra step using a cell phone, hackers can become thwarted in trying to access an account.

This is not a new process – Facebook and Google both give this second verification step in your security features. Its better than a password because you don’t need to remember one. Its also better than a “name your pet” verification because in some cases (like Sarah Palin) people know that information.

“Today we’re introducing a new security feature to better protect your Twitter account: login verification,” says Jimio from the Twitter Product Security Team on the Twitter blog. “With login verification enabled, your existing applications will continue to work without disruption. If you need to sign in to your Twitter account on other devices or apps, visit your applications page to generate a temporary password to log in and authorize that application.

If you choose not to opt in you run risk of getting hacked. Of course, you also need to keep your phone numbers up-to-date. If that changes, you might have problems getting into your accounts.

If your Twitter Gets Hacked

First, attempt to change your password. If you still can’t log in, contact Twitter through a Support request. (choosing “Hacked account” from the list of options).

McDonald’s Outsources the Drive-Thru Workers in Hawaii McDonalds!!!

McdToday I had a BigMac attack the first time in a long time and I also wanted to verify a rumour that was going around the office. They guys were telling me that the order taker at the drive-thru was in California, remember I live in Hawaii!

I rolled up to the Golden Arches and got in the drive-thru line. When I got done placing my order I asked the person taking the order if it was true that she was taking orders from California. When she replied yes I said that’s weird, she did not reply. I also asked if she was really in California and not India or someplace else. Again no Reply

The usual window that is open to take money and has the person taking the drive-thru orders was closed, but I could see in the window the ordering monitor was alive with activity. The screen that they usually press to enter orders was updating on it own with no one touching it.

When I got to the checkout window I asked if it the person taking the order was really in California. The guy looked at me and said thats what were supposed to say and gave me a wink? This surprised me and it really pushed one of my get pissed off buttons.

I told him to cancel my order and to inform the manager I would not support a food chain that outsource service level jobs. I was pretty sarcastic when I told him that, I added that at least they could not out source him. That earned me a smile. He actually said thanks when I drove off.

I don’t go to McDonald’s very often, but it makes me really mad that they are outsourcing service level jobs to either a foreign country or another state. Normally those entry level employees would spend their paychecks in this state and add to the tax base.

I am unsure how widespread this is, but I will never step foot in McDonald’s again. They will never ever get a single penny of my families money. I hope this makes you mad enough to vote with your wallet.

Note: I will continue to support the Ronald McDonald houses as that is a wonderful organization and a charity worth supporting!