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Update July 11, 2011 - I just found out that this post is heavily quote in an article on theinquirer.net about this issue. Luckily (I don’t know whether I made a difference or not, certainly CitiBank never contacted me back), citicards.com now works with Firefox on Linux. I have no idea if it was a change made by Citi, or a change with Firefox or Flash Player.

I know this blog has been less-than-active lately. Life has been pretty busy, between a massive network upgrade at the ambulance corps that I volunteer with, the impending doom of a new semester at work, scheduling courses, and a few personal projects. I do, however, have a long list of things to post, including some notes on my upgrade to Nagios 3, my recent experience with the PC Engines ALIX board, some changes to tuxOstat, and my plans to upgrade to Optimum Business cable with 5 static IPs - finally a real home for JasonAntman.com.

CitiCards Problems - I had a somewhat unnerving experience this morning. Having just gotten a Citibank credit card, and made my first few purchases on it, I browsed to CitiCards.com to check my account summary. I happened to be using a just-purchased IBM T41 laptop, running OpenSuSE 11.0 and FireFox3, so when I saw the page display and then go completely blank, I suspected a problem with my Flash plugin. Little did I know, but I tried the same page on 3 other Linux/Firefox machines, with the same result. I put in a call to the tech support line, and was gruffly informed by the representative that Firefox was not supported, they were unable to support it, and, to paraphrase, I should get another browser or f*** off. She was very well-aware of the issue, and stated that Citi would not fix it. At this point, I stated that I thought I would cancel my card, and she told me to have a nice day and hung up.

I decided to go to step 2 of the Generic Problem Solving Method, and found hundreds of references to a problem with CitiCards.com on Linux. I read through a lot of conspiracy theory, but decided to test one of the theories (and fixes). Sure enough, when I right-clicked on the blank white screen, I got a Flash context menu. Clicking “Play” showed the ad, and I was able to click the little “X” in the top right and bypass it, gaining access to the normal main page. Never to be one to ignore a conspiracy (or anti-Linux) theory, I pulled up the same page on a Mac. Sure enough, that particular ad (set not to play and with an opaque full-screen background) didn’t show up. Hmm… maybe there’s something to the theory put forth by the guy who said CitiBank is blocking Linux users.

I decided to call back, and this time spoke with Susan at CitiCards tech support. She was very understanding, and apologized for both the inconvenience and the previous representative’s attitude. She said that she was aware of some issues with Firefox and Linux, but stated that they are only unsupported so far as Tech Support won’t walk a customer using Linux or FireFox through any issue resolution, but that both the browser and architecture should, theoretically, work. She didn’t know anything about a policy against Linux, or intentional blocking/sabotage. She did say, however, that they are “working on it”. I did inform her that the problem could probably be resolved by simply editing the Flash ad to be properly transparent, or suppressing it for Linux architectures, though I doubt that the information will make its’ way up the food chain. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a contact email for anything site-related on CitiCards.com.

If this is really a case of intentional blocking, it would be quite infuriating - I filled out the application for the card on FireFox3/Linux… but then they block account access?

Hopefully more of an update tonight…


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