Swiss Banks Reject American Clients

May 11, 2009 By: erik Category: Complaining, Politics, USA 1,160 views

Switzerland Unlocked!When I moved from England to Spain exactly four years ago, I began investigating how to manage my multi-currency financial situation. All of my assets were in British Pounds, my salary was in US Dollars, and I would be living in Spain paying all my bills in euros. My investigations led me to one of the most respected institutions in all of banking: Swiss Banks. At the time, there were not many banks that had support for multiple currencies, and the ideal of having my £, €, and $ all in the same bank, the tax free interest, and the allure of having a Swiss bank account were too much to bear. I signed up.
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Turtle Milk Splashing

May 10, 2009 By: erik Category: Experiments, Photography, Photos 565 views

Turtle Milk SplashingThat title might seem a bit odd, but, as you soon shall see, it is really quite apt. I have made another attempt at high speed flash photography. Rather than use a coin this time, I have chosen to use a little turtle that I got in a Kings cake. I’ve also changed the liquid from water to milk. The result is a set of photos with a very playful-looking turtle splashing about in a puddle of milk.
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Bug in java.util.EnumMap.clone()

May 08, 2009 By: erik Category: Complaining, Geeky, Programming 1,139 views

At work today we found ourselves totally confused by the behavior of one of our EnumMap instances. No matter what we did to it (setting new values, clearing, etc.), when we iterated through the entry set, the values were the same. After investigating the source code for java.util.EnumMap, it became clear that the problem was based on the fact that the EnumMap instance we were working with had been generated by calling EnumMap.clone() rather than using the constructor. I’ve written a test program to demonstrate this bug. It should NOT behave like this!
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Diaper Change

May 07, 2009 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Videos 490 views

thumbWhen I began uploading this video, there was nothing new to report on the baby-rearing front. Pooping, sleeping, farting, bathing, crying, feeding, etc. But while it was uploading, we had a major breakthrough in breastfeeding! Nora actually suckled bare nipple! Previously, on The Nora Files This is the first time she has ever extracted anything directly from her mother’s breast without the use of some adapter made of space-age plastic. Her mother and I are ecstatic that our child has learned to do what every other mammal on the planet is born knowing how to do. Congrats to Nora and Marga!
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Marching Melodies

May 01, 2009 By: erik Category: Music, Offspring 394 views

thumbYesterday morning, as I was changing and dressing Nora, I was whistling to her to calm her down, as I sometimes do. I was startled when Marga called from the next room, “Be careful with that song! We’re going to the Basque Country this weekend!” “What was I whistling?”, I asked. “That’s the Spanish national anthem,” she replied. Oops. I hadn’t realized at all what I was whistling.
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Expressions of a Five Week Old

April 30, 2009 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos 135 views

Some photos I took of Nora two days ago.
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Striking Matches

April 29, 2009 By: erik Category: Experiments, Photography, Photos 247 views

Striking MatchesMy friend, Alan, sent me a link the other day to this awesome post about photography tips, which had a link to a page on smoke art photography, which I have got to try. The problem is that I don’t own, nor have I ever owned, any incense, which is rather critical to the smoke photography concept, at least for beginners. But that got me thinking as to whether or not I could capture the striking of a match. Last night I made a few attempts to capture a match strike, trying various methods. I’m not all that happy with the results, but some of the shots are pretty nice.
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Lamest XBOX Ever!

April 28, 2009 By: erik Category: Geeky, Marketing, Photos, Weird 329 views

Lamest XBOX Ever! - Disco ManiaMy wife went to the grocery store today and was given, as a promotional gift from Kellogg’s, two XBOX video game systems. These video games might have held my attention as a 6-year-old in 1984, although they are worse than a simple space invaders game I had on my watch at the time. The instructions seem to be in German, French, Italian, and perhaps Dutch, so, with my understanding of English and Spanish, I can more or less get the gist of what the games are about. The Spaceship Blaster game is a horrible, horrible, horrible attempt at the Asteroids genre, with a simple spin wheel and a trigger. The Disco Mania game is a lame, lame, lame implementation of the Dance Dance Revolution genre, in which you must match your virtual dancer’s moves to that of another on the screen. The graphics are that old type where they aren’t even pixels drawn on the screen, but they are various immovable sprites that are lit up in sequence to simulate a moving object.

I am completely awestruck that anyone would be putting a good battery into such a piece of shit in 2009. There is absolutely no way that any child born since 1980 would find these things the least bit amusing. And the XBOX branding?? WTF?? Read the rest of this entry →

A Walk Around Colindres

April 28, 2009 By: erik Category: Colindres, Spain, Timelapse, Videos 280 views

thumbEver since I knew I would be a father, and even before we bought a stroller, I’ve wanted to make a video like this one. I’m really quite enamored with my adopted town here in Spain. It’s a wonderful size, it’s got all the amenities you could need (stores, bars, restaurants, etc.) and has some picturesque vistas. After living here for four years, we have walked down every street, and several dozen of the 8000ish residents greet us as we walk around town. There’s no doubt that, should we ever move, I will miss this place. So I’ve really made this video for me to remember Colindres by in the future, but it also serves to show my curious readers the kind of atmosphere we have here.
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Conversation With My Bank

April 27, 2009 By: erik Category: Complaining, Funny 1,416 views

This is the transcript of an actual conversation that I had today with a representative at the international wire transfer call center of my bank. Behold the idiocy:

Agent: Would you like to initiate an international wire transfer today?

Me: Yes.

Agent: Can I have your account number and the destination account number?

Me: Yes. It’s [REDACTED].

Agent: Okay, how much would you like to transfer?

Me: What’s the maximum I can send?

Agent: I’m sorry, sir, I cannot tell you that. Only your local branch manager can discuss that with you.

Me: Okay, so I would like to transfer $X.

Agent: I’m sorry, sir, that is above your maximum.

Me: So you won’t tell me my maximum, but you will tell me if any quantity I tell you is above or below my maximum?

Agent: You tell me how much you want to transfer, and I will enter it in the system and see if it lets you.

Me: You’ve got to be kidding me. Okay, how about $X-Y?

Agent: One moment… Yes, you can transfer that amount.

Me: Okay, so it would be safe to say that my maximum transfer limit is between X-Y and X, correct?

Agent: I’m sorry, sir, I can’t tell you that.

Me: Whatever. I don’t have time to slowly increment the amount until we find the maximum. Just send $X-Y.

Agent: Okay, your confirmation number is [REDACTED]. Is there anything else I can do for you today?

Me: No. Bye.