Free online personal financial software.

Jul 4, 2009 | | 0 comments |

I hate Microsoft, but when they bought out the company that wrote the home finance software I used, I really had no choice other than to start using MS Money. I've become used to it over the years and now in their infinite wisdom they've decided that no, I can't use Money any more - they've killed the product.
That leaves me with Quicken, or any number of online services like mint.com or Quicken's online service.

I'm staggered that anyone uses these though. I've been through their FAQs and they go to great lengths to explain that they need your online banking information to ALL your accounts so you can see them all in one place. Then they go on to tell you that if someone breaks their encryption, your online accounts are still safe.
How exactly does that work?

If someone hacks mint.com, they've now got the logins and usernames of millions of bank accounts all over the world. Mint.com goes to huge lengths to exhaustively explain that their system is read-only, that no accounts can be tampered with as a result of their system. Sure - OK - that's fine. But once someone has hacked your mint.com account, they now have usernames and passwords that IT uses for all YOUR accounts. ie. the hacker can now wander off to all the other websites individually and drain your accounts.

Apart from that, both these products synchronise with your bank accounts, rather than letting you do it manually, which means it's all but impossible to find banking mistakes.
For example, when I enter all my receipts manually, I then have to manually reconcile the transactions when a statement comes out. Yes, yes I know it's old fashioned, but it means I can find mistakes. For example when I have a receipt for $12.80 but the store actually charged me $128, the difference is immediately obvious when going through what I recorded vs. what the bank thinks happened. Using these self-synchronising online services, you'd simply see the $128 charge, and because you don't have to reconcile the transactions, you'd never notice it was even there.

So thanks Microsoft for fucking up yet another facet of my computing lifestyle. You've just earned Quicken another $39. For their offline product, naturally, because only a total moron would willingly give an online site ALL their banking login details.

We can't keep playing if you don't let go of the pickle.

Jul 1, 2009 | | 0 comments |

SNL have resurrected Celebrity Jeopardy. Tom Hanks is brilliant and they brought back Sean Connery too. Bloody brilliant ...

Thank you Richard Branson

Jun 29, 2009 | | 2 comments |

The Virgin Atlantic 25th Anniversary TV commercial is genius, not only because it features one of the best 80's tracks ever, but because of the stunning girls and the repertoir of 1980's memorabilia. Count them:

The miner's strike.
The Austin Princess and Ford Cortina cars, and the old single-decker green London bus.
The brick for a cellphone.
The polka-dot tie and suspenders.
The guy talking about a telex, not a fax.
Our Price record shop, Flock Of Seagulls hair do and Big Country vinyl album.
Asteroids and PacMan standup video games.
Beat bobbies with their original ultra-tall police hats.
Wimpy's hamburgers.
Pencil thin ties.
Rubic's Cube and very briefly a handheld Vectrex video game.
Flipover-type airport departure board.
Madonna-style and Blues Brothers Rayban sunglasses.
The model with white high heels, short leggings and giant hair.
And last but not least, Relax, by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who are reported to be considering a one-off comeback tour and CD on the back of the massive popularity of this advert alone.

In all it's glory, complete with carefully synchcronised jiggling of all the girls boobies: