Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Using A Virtual Credit Card WIth PayPal - Not Possible Anymore

When I bought my domain, almost two years ago, I didn't want to use my credit card (I'm paranoid that way :) ). I looked about a bit and I found out that PayPal would allow you to use 'virtual' cards that some banks offer. These are one-time usage cards that have some user-imposed limit. By using these cards, which will expire after use (or if unused within certain time-frame), you're safer when participating in online transactions since you don't expose your physical card details.

Anyway, I had an HDFC account and I'd signed up for the NetSafe cards facility. So I also signed up for PayPal and registered a virtual card. Now PayPal had (has?) this thing where your account needed to be verified. A certain amount of money ($1.95 at last check) is deducted from your card and the transaction details have a 4 digit pin (which appears immediately in the transaction details for the virtual card) which you then need to enter in a form in PayPal to prove that you indeed own the card and are not running some sort of scam. After this account verification, you were free to use your card for further transactions. Except that I registered a virtual card which was now invalid after the verification transaction. So I generated another card and added that to my PayPal account and I was good to go.

Yesterday, I was trying to buy a new domain name. I tried doing the same thing I'd done earlier but my transaction kept getting declined. On closer inspection, I saw that PayPal was now asking me to verify my card! This meant that every card you now add to your PayPal account needs to go through the verification process. Which spells doom for virtual card users since the card would be invalid after the verification transaction!

I'm not quite sure when or why this happened, I'm not a frequent user of PayPal; I only registered because GoDaddy, my registrar, had the option for payments via PayPal and PayPal could be used with virtual cards. Well, not anymore! Finally, I ended up registering my actual credit card (luckily for me, I'm also subscribed to alerts via SMS so I received my transaction code almost immediately, instead of having to wait for a couple of days for it to show up in my online transaction list) and using that to make my purchase.

Disclaimer: This information isn't an official announcement from any of the parties mentioned. It's what I figured out after trying out a few things with my account; make sure you've read up on whatever it is that you want to do with your virtual card and/or PayPal account.

 If you're a HDFC bank account holder and are having troubles with NetSafe, check out this well-written post with screenshots.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


If you've ever wanted to monitor a folder for changes but have realized that it's too tedious to remember to check the contents or to even figure out which files or folders are new then you could give Folder2Feed a try.

It's a Java application that can be configured to monitor a folder and generate a feed (RSS or Atom) of the newest files in that location. It's still work in progress but the basic command line interface version is out. I plan to add a GUI to it soon, work permitting, of course. There are also some other features that I think should be there and I'll be working on them. If you have any suggestions for features, consider leaving me a comment here or on the bug tracker (choose feature request under Type and if possible, leave your email id so I can get back to you if needed).

If you find any bugs, do report them, I'd like to make Folder2Feed better.

For any feedback, mail me at folder2feed[AT]nogoodatcoding[DOT]com (replace [AT] and [DOT] with the appropriate symbols).

 UPDATE [21 Feb 2009]: I've activated Trac for bug tracking, so the link has been changed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Unhandled Win32 Exception Crashes Firefox After Installing Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (Just In Time Debugger)

The other day I installed Visual Studio 2005 Pro on my machine at office. A little later, I started Firefox and got this error from the Visual Studio Just In Time Debugger:

An unhandled win32 exception occurred in firefox.exe

I Google'd it and I came across this page on the Firefox support forum. None of the suggestions really worked for me but here's what did:

  1. I started Firefox in safe mode
  2. In the dialog that came up, I chose to disable all add-ons (you could also Continue in Safe Mode to first check if Firefox does start up and then disable add-ons from there)
  3. I started Firefox in 'normal mode' and it worked.
  4. I then re-enabled each plugin, one by one, to determine exactly which one was causing the problem.
  5. In my case it turned out to be the QuickTest Professional 9.5 Plugin. These other plugins didn't seem to bother VS 2005:
    • DOM Inspector
    • Firebug
    • Free Download Mananger plugin
    • Google Toolbar for Firefox
    • IE Tab
    • Java Quick Starter
    • Live HTTP Headers
    • Modify Headers

The other suggestions in the forum said to disable the JIT debugger (doesn't really help, all it does is bring up a dialog saying that no debugger was found!), make a new profile/ reinstall ( I suspect that if this works, it's probably because all the plugins are removed ) and for a couple of people, the problem was with AVG Safe Search/ Search Shield.

So YMMV but this is what worked for me.