Don't let your PC banking software talk to your bank

Jun 9, 2010 | | 0 comments |

That was traumatic. For years I've manually entered banking transactions into Quicken, and manually reconciled statements. Thinking I might catch up with the times, I set up Quicken to connect directly to my bank tonight and boy was that a mistake. It royally fucked up my accounts in Quicken. It took off downloading stuff from March last year - stuff which has long since been reconciled - and started entering over a year's worth of transactions as "new". It couldn't match any of the stuff I'd entered by hand and at the end of it, I was several tens of thousands in overdraft according to Quicken.
Fortunately, I had the foresight to create a backup before I started so I'm back to normal now, but if that's the face of PC banking instead of web banking, I think they can keep it.
Not least of which, when the bank cocks up (which they do), if I blindly accepted everything it told me to into Quicken, I'd never find the mistake. As it is, doing it by hand, then checking it once a month against the statement helps find big errors (like the $1900 lunch last year which should have been $19).

Waterproof : do not expose to water.

Jun 7, 2010 | | 0 comments |

I'm looking at a wind-up radio / flashlight at the moment because - you know - it's a geeky emergency tool. Reading the spec of the one I'm interested in, I saw this:
IPX-4 splash proof from all angles: Protected against spraying water from all angles at 10 liters/minute at a pressure of 80-100kN/m2 for 5 minutes.
Nice spec, I thought. Given that this is a tool for emergency preparedness, seems like the ideal thing to have in the event of a hurricane (unlikely in a land-locked state) or capsizing at sea (again, unlikely in a land-locked state).
It was even more interesting then to read the various warnings, where they tell you not once, but four times to never get the device wet:
# Do not expose this appliance to rain or moisture.
# Do not submerge or expose to water for extended period.
# Protect from high humidity and rain.
# Unplug immediately if liquid has been spilled or any object has fallen into the apparatus.

So I did a little sleuthing. Thanks to - (or wikipedia as you might know it), I found out that IPX-4 is NEMA's equivalent to a protection rating of IP65. Apparently the '6' means dust tight and the '5' means "Water projected by a nozzle against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects." The '5' also means dripping water, vertically dripping water, water falling as a stream or spray and splashing. ie. rain.

So they go to great lengths to specifically tell you about the IPX-4 rating, then tell you to never get it wet.

In case you're curious, this is the radio: Eton Scorpion radio