UPDATE: While it was easy enough on my end (sender), it was a pain in the ass for one of the people I attempted to send money to. His bank was not one of the Zelle banks so he had to download an app and blah, blah, blah. Too much trouble. Use Apple Pay.

I’ve never used Venmo but I did send a few bucks with Apple Pay Cash a couple of weeks ago. But that only works if they recipient is using Apple Pay. I had never heard of Zelle until I read this article.

Zelle is currently offered by over 30 banks, including Chase, Bank of America, and Capital One. It can also be downloaded as a standalone app, like Venmo. To use Zelle, you will need to have a US bank account. […] Transferring money with Zelle goes straight from your bank to the recipients’ bank, unlike sending money with Venmo, which is processed through the third-party app.

I opened the Ally app on my phone and, sure enough, Ally supports Zelle. Took about 10 seconds to send $20 to Barb’s account. Zelle already reaches over 85 million users, thanks to its integration with major banks.

Communication Budget

Let’s say I am only willing to give up one hour (daily) of my life to digital communication (iMessage, email, social media). And I have a tool (app?) that connects to each of my comm apps, tracking time spent on that app. Perhaps a little countdown clock showing remaining time.

I might set aside 20 minutes of the 60 for my wife or kids (if I had kids). But for everybody else, the clock is running. When I hit 60 minutes, I’m done. (This doesn’t apply to phone calls. Those are unlimited.) If I don’t get to all my communications within the allotted 60 minutes, they get pushed to the next day.

How might such a tool change my habits? An email from a casual acquaintance might get a quick scan of the headline and nothing more. My replies would be short and quick. (“This is important. Call me”)

I’m yanking my weenie, of course. Nobody really wants to limit this kind of communication any more than cigarette smokers want to quit. So scratch the above…

Let’s aim lower. An app that shows how many minutes/hours you’ve spent online — doing anything — since midnight. With weekly/monthly/annual reports.

GoPro test

I’ve been watching videos shot with GoPro cameras for years but always thought of these rugged little cameras as being for skydivers and snowboarders. Then I noticed a lot of the “let’s go for a ride in my Land Rover” videos were shot with GoPro cameras so I bought one. It’s the entry-level camera (Hero Session). A small black cube about 1.5 inches on each side. I’ll post some more on this once I know what I’m doing but right out of the box (as they say) I’m impressed with the video and quality.

iPhone X Photos

Barb’s only had her iPhone X for a few days and is still getting the hang of new features. Today she played with some of the new photos options. Don’t know how they’ll look here but on my laptop (and her phone) they looked damned good. Not sure which setting were used for each photo but I can tell you I’ve never seen a photo taken with a phone that was this crisp and sharp. The new iPhones are just larger than I like so I’m hoping these new camera features come to some future SE model.

Ally Card Controls app

I’ve mentioned my fondness for Ally, the online bank. Been using it for a few years and do virtually all my banking with them. As one might expect, their mobile apps are damned good. This week they sent me an email about their Card Controls app. (Not sure if this is new or I’m just becoming aware of it) And for all I know, other credit cards have had these features for a while. Pretty sure my Chase VISA card does not.

Short version: the app “lets you take control of your Ally Bank debit card, so you can define when, where and how your card is used. You can: View transactions, establish spending limits, manage notifications and more.”

You can turn the card off and on. If I misplace my wallet I can disable the card until I find it and then turn it back on.

Use to be a pain in the ass to cancel a lost card only to find it 10 minutes later.

Establish spending limits and merchant categories. Transactions can also be controlled and monitored for specific merchant categories like gas stations, department stores, restaurants, entertainment, travel and supermarkets.

Not really clear on when one would want to do this. The jury is still out on titty bars.

Location-based controls. Using your phone’s GPS, the My Location feature can limit transactions to merchants located within a certain range of your phone’s location. You can also restrict purchases made in a specific region and deny international transactions.

I disabled international transactions. Like I said, this might be old stuff and I just noticed but I really like have this kind of control.