Monthly Archives: November 2008

Cheap Credit Cards, They Don’t Exist

Citibank LogoCitibank have an exclusive TV only offer running currently with an amazingly low 2.9% interest on their credit card. The advertisement starts off with the bloke asking rhetorical questions about how much interest you are paying currently – 19%, 20%, 21% or more and you’re meant to gasp in shock. He then proceeds to tell you that Citibank offer a low interest credit card with only 2.9% interest and you’ll also receive a long list of additional benefits when you sign up.

Offering a cheap credit card is fine, in fact I like it as hopefully an average consumer could save a few dollars. However, the nature of the advertising makes it seem so good that it nearly can’t be true and when you read into the details – it is too good to be true in my opinion and is nothing but greasy advertising.

As I mentioned above, it starts off by comparing your current high interest rate credit card to the excellent 2.9% low interest rate credit card from Citibank. Throughout the commercial, the Citibank guy keeps reinforcing the low interest rate for their cheap credit card but conveniently doesn’t emphasize or reinforce the catches and caveats. I suspect that the average consumer would infer that the Citibank credit card offers 2.9% interest – period. Citibank state that the 2.9% is only for new customers, only on the transferred amount and that it is for 18 months. However, the manner in which the conditions are advertised forms such a small component of the selling that it is misleading in my opinion.

The average person doesn’t read the fine print, which is now taken into account by the fair trading authorities throughout Australia. If you did care to read the fine print on the Citibank TV commercial, it states that cash advances and retail purchases on the credit card are charged at 20.74% per annum. Hang on a cotton picking minute, at the start of the TV commercial he was bagging your existing credit card company because they were charging you a high interest rate over 19% – pot meet kettle.

The deal is so good, you could nearly think they are doing you a favour by allowing you to sign up. You’re intrigued by the pitch so you go to their site and read a little more, only to find out that there are terms on the repayments for it as well – you’re 2.9% transferred debt is cleared first. That might seem fairly inoccuous to start with, however if you continue to use your credit card after moving to Citibank – you’re new purcharses are charged at 20.74% with 55 days interest free. That essentially means that you’re not paying off your new purchases until you’ve cleared the 2.9% interest debt, thus maximisng the opportunity for Citibank to make more money from you.

As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch and the cheap credit card offer from Citibank just proves it. From what I can see with the deal, a consumer’s best option is to take Citibank up on the deal for their existing credit card debt and not making any or very limited additional transactions. If you took that route, you’d receive the benefits of the 2.9% interest on the transferred amount for the first 18 months and none of the pitfalls.

Worst Possible Timing

Sometimes things happen with the worst possible timing possible.

The cloud system which provided the heavy rain, lightning and hail over the weekend is still with us – quietly soaking the Gold Coast. As I arrived at Robina Squash Club tonight, a young woman was stranded in the rain with a flat car battery, flat mobile phone and no wallet. I’m sure she wouldn’t have been quite so frazzled if it’d been a clear night or she’d had charge in her mobile or she had her wallet but that wasn’t the case tonight.

Fortunately for her, I happened to have a set of jumper leads which sorted out the immediate problem – which left her to resolve the ongoing respective flat batteries and no wallet issue.

Bigger, Faster & Better Web Hosting

I last wrote about web hosting back in May 2005 when I changed from HostCentral to McGooHQ on the lead up to our wedding for price reasons. Since then my site has been sailing along without a worry in the world, super fast and with next to no downtime.

I’ve been blogging away since then and not so long ago Andrew & Belinda also started blogging which has been great. I set them up with a sub-domain and we kept on trucking along but it wasn’t too long before I was getting warning emails about disk space usage and the like.

A quick email conversation with the fine folks at AussieHQ about an upgraded web hosting plan and I was en route to a bigger, faster & better everything. Gone are the days of using Cpanel and I’m back in the high gloss world of Plesk – which is what I was using when I was at HostCentral many moons ago.

The migration staff at AussieHQ moved everything for me from server to server and I provided a few bits of vital information via email to smooth things over. Everything has gone smoothly, all data migrated successfully and the server configuration was spot on. All that was left for me to do was a simple change to DNS and away we went.

I hope the next few years of this hosting plans life are as pain free as the last few have been, keep up the excellent work AussieHQ!

Hugo, Sleeping Machine

Australian Bureau of Meteorology radar image showing high intensity rain/storm activity on 16 November 2008This afternoon we had a monster storm which brought with it lots of lightning, thunder and even a moderate amount of hail. I wouldn’t normally mention it, however this was enough to make the Bureau of Meteorology issue are storm warning into South East Queensland.

When I say lots of lightning and thunder, we’re talking about dozens of lightning strikes less than two kilometers from our home, rolling thunder that makes your house shake and high intensity cracks that are loud enough to be uncomfortable.

While all of this was going on outside though, Hugo was inside having his mid-afternoon nap and was completely unaware what was going on. When the house and glass started to shake, I thought that he’d wake up for sure or on the really large cracks – but nothing, not even a stir.

His tolerance to noise while he sleeps has been such a blessing for Claire and I as it lets us get on with things around the house, such as vacuuming or mowing, without worrying that it’ll disturb him. It has also been great for when we’ve had family or friends over and we’re making a small racket – happy to sleep or when we’re out at the shops, still happy to sleep.

With a bit of luck, his knack for sleeping will continue; who knows, maybe he’ll be able to sleep whenever and wherever like I can!

Hugo, 2 Months & Growing

Hugo Lattimore, 2 months old enjoying sitting in a padded vibrating chairAmazing how your life can change in a heart beat, only two months ago Claire and I were not parents and now it nearly feels as though we’re getting towards being ‘experienced’ in this whole parenthood thing; scary concept!

Since the last update when Hugo was 1 month old, a lot has changed – in fact it feels as though things are pretty much changing daily. The most obvious change is how fast he is growing:

Date Weight Length Head Circ
4/9/2008 3.84Kg 52.5cm 35cm
17/9/2008 4.01Kg
24/9/2008 4.14Kg
1/10/2008 4.41Kg
15/10/2008 5.34Kg 61cm 38cm
22/10/2008 5.64Kg
29/10/2008 6.13Kg
4/11/2008 64.5cm
12/11/2008 6.84Kg

When he was born, his length and weight were just a tad over the normal. By the time we made it to the six week check up on the 15 October, his figures put him over the 90th percentile – especially his length. Another couple of weeks have passed, he is still increasing the figures and now doesn’t register on the height/weight charts!

During the last month, Hugo has also started to find his voice which is exciting. He is now ohh and ahh’ing, which is very cute and has also started to laugh – though can only muster a smallish version at the moment. With the good comes the bad, in that he now has more than one type of cry – one of which isn’t all that pleasant on the ears – fortunately he doesn’t feel compelled to bring that one out very often.

Hugo’s strength and coordination have also improved quite a bit in the last fortnight as well. He is starting to help out by holding his bottle, though can’t quite hold it on his own yet. I was surprised to find out last week that he has enough strength in his legs to completely support his weight and can even get himself back into the standing position from a squat!

I can’t wait to see what changes in the next four weeks; one thing I can be quite sure of is that he’ll have outgrown his triple-0 sized clothes and will be into the double-0.