Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – May 18, 2015

6 awesome Android apps you should check out is a great little article. It talks about BLEEP, a must have for people who like anonymity.

Bill Mullins' Weblog - Tech Thoughts

The simple Smart Home: Where to start;  Don’t panic! How to fix 5 common PC emergencies;  6 Apps for People Who Hate Apps;  Tails 1.4 polishes up the privacy-obsessed Linux OS;  3 simple tips to get the most out of your webcam;  7 Android apps that track your expenses;  Plane hacker admitted in-flight engine takeover says FBI;  Make the Chrome New Tab page more useful, beautiful;  No free Windows 10 lunch for PC pirates;  10 utterly wonderful technologies you shouldn’t buy yet;  RAM for the rich: 128GB DDR4 memory kits;  These clothes manager apps help you dress better;  The 50 Geekiest Movies Streaming on Netflix;  The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is like an open-world, playable Game of Thrones;  The Internet Backbone is reaching its physical limits;  Microsoft Punishes Gears of War Leakers;  SlimCleaner (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2The simple Smart Home: Where to start –…

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Miscellaneous Business Musings…Banks Give Apple a Break on Mobile Transaction Fees, Warren Buffet and ART OF WAR

Banks Give Apple a Break on Mobile Transaction Fees

When Apple officially unveiled Apple Pay at its launch of the iPhone 6 smartphone,the mobile payment system, it revealed at that time iPhone 6 users would be able to make payments by holding their phone within range of the Near Field Communication sensor at the point of sale. This news was informative on several fronts. NFC is being used in everyday news articles making it more relevant to the business owner instead of some tech talk that doesn’t translate to the bottom line. It also is showed you how Apple Pay, Google wallet. etc.. ,are making serious efforts to join you in your business.

Ok small business owner, so what? Right? I know most of you aren’t very excited about Apple getting breaks on anything really, right? No, you would be incorrect this time. Ok, tell us how it benefits us.

#1. Your transactions involving Apple pay will be automatically processed as a card present transaction. This get’s you the lowest level of rates instead of the higher rates that involve a card not being present and either keyed, or done with NFC technology.

#2. You will be getting a strong advertising effort from Apple to make sure their customers know about Apple Pay and all the positive uses for the customers that Apple Pay provides.

#3. You might even get better deals on your discount rates involving NFC transactions because of Apple negotiating lower rates from the Merchant Banks. That’s just a guess, but it’s possible.

So, you are in effect getting lower rates through card present transactions, free piggy back marketing with Apple customers with Apple pushing Apple pay and possibly getting a better deal on rates involving NFC payments. Not Bad all in all.

I mentioned Warren Buffet in my title to this article: He has a few bucks, and I’m guessing he likes this article because it promotes small business.

Image result for art of war quotes

My Sun Tzu reference is encouragement to take advantage of some of these services that I am blogging about. The more services you offer your customers the easier their lives become making your business the one they frequent the most: Customer loyalty equals you winning the battles and ultimately the war with your competition.

Let me show you how I can set you up for success by taking advantage of these offerings for your business. Contact me at, or craiglvann@gmail. You can also take a look at my web sight at

PCI COMPLIANCE: What does PCI COMPLIANCE have to do with my business?

Today I want to address the issue of PCI. It’s an important piece of the processing puzzle that any merchant who processes, stores and has access to merchant data must have to protect the data against security breach and against the financial responsibility that is incurred if it happens.

What is PCI?

PCI generally refers to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or the PCI DSS. This standard was developed by the PCI Security Standards Council, which is a consortium of the major credit card brands (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover). It represents the combination of two previous separate programs: the Visa Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP) and MasterCard’s Site Data Protection program (SDP). The goal of the PCI DSS is to specify a common standard for protecting cardholder data from compromise.

What happens if my business is not PCI compliant?

If your business is not PCI compliant there are various measures that the card brands can take, ranging from warnings and monetary fines to revoking your ability to process transactions entirely. More importantly, the PCI DSS allows you to assure your customers that you’re protecting their credit card data appropriately.

If my business is PCI compliant, does it reduce my insurance liability?

In most cases, no. If you’re not compliant and experience a breach, however, you can be open to legal action from the affected customers.

What benefits does Capital Bankcard offer in being PCI compliant through them?

In Capital Bankcards PCI compliance package, we cover the PCI, cover the first two chargebacks by refunding the fees( other companies DO NOT offer this), cover up to 10,000$ in case of a breach( Capital bankcard has never had ONE breach incidentally) and we will publish you a certificate of your compliance. There is a fee of 79$ for the compliance package, but its reasonable when compared to the range of fees other companies charge for a PCI package( upwards of 200$ for some companies, or they charge even more not disclosing the fee by lumping them together with other undisclosed fees).

In conclusion, we defined PCI and why you need to have protection. I explained the benefits of doing business with Capital Bankcard and what those benefits are. One of the main, if not THE main, reasons I I decided to sell for Capital Bankcard is the fact that we are transparent with the fees we charge and we DO NOT lump them, together in a convoluted fashion to confuse you and hope you don’t notice. I will always be happy to talk about what we charge and why we charge it. Thank you and I hope this helped you understand some things about your business that you may have been a bit confused about

Contact me, Craig Vann, anytime at 334-315-1427, and feel free to check out my web sight for more information at

Meet the Women Taking the Battle to ISIS

This is very powerful.


A colorful scarf is all that is left of Cicek Derek, who was 17 when she died a few months ago in the besieged city of Kobani, Syria, where her compatriots were unable to retrieve her body.

Cicek was one of hundreds of young Kurdish female soldiers who have taken up the fight against ISIS. They’re part of the YPJ, or Women’s Protection Unit, an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish nationalist movement that has long fought a war of independence against Turkey.


Now the PKK and other Kurdish groups are at the forefront of the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, a militant group that would severely curtail the rights of women. It’s fitting that ISIS will be facing off against female fighters like 18-year-old Zilan Orkesh, who left her small village on the Turkish-Syrian border to join YPJ in 2011…

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Processing 101: What is NFC? What can it do for my business?

What is NFC?

What does NFC stand for? The acronym stands for NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION.

Have you ever wondered what makes tap-and-go services like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Amiibo work? It seems like magic, but it’s not.

How does NFC work?

The tech involved is deceptively simple. Evolved from radio frequency identification (RFID) tech, an NFC chip operates as one part of a wireless link. Once it’s activated by another chip, small amounts of data between the two devices can be transferred when held a few centimeters from each other

So what is it exactly? Simply put, it’s a method of wireless data transfer that detects and then enables technology in close proximity to communicate without the need for an internet connection. It’s easy, fast and works automatically. At its core, NFC works to identify us by our enabled cards and devices.

How can I use NFC?

Frankly, the answer is you use it with your smart phone. NFC makes your smart phone into a digital wallet that makes paying for goods and services a fast. efficient way to do business. Google wallet, Apple Pay are the more popular ways that consumers are familiar with, but soon there will be an endless amount of options that will include you and your ability to pay no matter who you bank with.Whichever device you have, it’s likely that a local supermarket, train station, taxi or coffee shop supports contactless payments via your phone’s NFC chip. Go try it out! Simply hold it close to a contactless payment terminal and instantly, like swiping a credit card, the payment will complete.

Do I have NFC?

Interested in giving NFC a shot? First, you need to find out if your device is compatible with contactless payment terminals and passive NFC tags detailed above.

The good news? The list of compatible devices is staggering and growing with time. It’s safe to say, if you’ve purchased a smartphone in the last year or two, you should be ready to go. A few examples of recent NFC-equipped smartphones: Nexus 6, Sony Xperia Z3,iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, LG G3, HTC One M9.

You’ll probably also be in good shape if you’ve bought a tablet recently. TheGoogle Nexus 9, iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2 each have the capability out of the box.

Looking forward, NFC chips will also be in more smartwatches and fitness trackers. Apple is including NFC support in its Apple Watch so that users can pay for goodies using Apple Pay with a tap of the wrist. Here are a few videos showing NFC.

NFC technology is something every business will have to have. Why wait for your competition to get ahead of you? Let me show you how I can set you up for success by taking advantage of this for your business. Contact me at, or craiglvann@gmail.

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EMV, what is it? Why do businesses have to have it? When? What are the penalties for not having EMV capability?

EMV stands for Europay Mastercard Visa.

What is EMV? 

EMV is the standard,globally, for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards(chip card, or IC) and IC card capable point of sale (POS) terminals and ATMs, for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.

EMV is a joint effort initially conceived by Europay, MasterCard and Visa to ensure the security and global interoperability of chip-based payment cards. Europay International SA was absorbed into MasterCard in 2002. The standard is now defined and managed by the public corporation EMVCo LLC. JCB (formerly Japan Credit Bureau) joined the organization in December 2004, and American Express joined in February 2009. China UnionPay was announced as member in May 2013,[1] and Discover joined the corporation in September 2013.[2] The EMVCo members MasterCard, Visa, JCB, American Express, China UnionPay, and Discover have an equal 1/6 interest in the standards body.[3] IC card systems based on the EMV specification are being phased in across the world, under names such as “IC Credit” and “Chip and PIN“.

Ok, so now we know what the technical terms of EMV are, and who and where it came from, TELL ME IN LAYMANS TERMS WHAT THE HELL THIS IS!! Ok, stop yelling please.

EMV is the way that all credit cards are going. The current infrastructure of cards and card processors are magnet stripe based and EMV is the new standard that is paving the way for the future, and the not too distant future at that. These cards have a micro processor that will only interface with specific EMV capable terminals, the old ones wont take them. Why is this important? In October, 2015 it will be mandated by all major Credit Card companies that a merchant have EMV capability.

What if you don’t? 100% liability of ALL fraudulent card activity will fall upon the merchant. 

That’s very significant when you consider how much damage can be done. Can your business survive a 10,000$, 20,000$ loss at one time where you have to cover the loss? For small business, probably not.

How about a big business loss?

If it can happen to giant retailer like Target it can happen to any business at any time. EMV technology will keep your business protected and also keep the liability on the Merchant banks instead of on you. This is a very important matter to consider for your business and I would love to discuss solutions that would custom fit yours. You can contact me at to ask questions, set an appointment or schedule a conversation.