No Hassle Cash – My foot

I’ve got one of those CapitalOne No Hassle cards, instead of getting worthless points, I get cash back based on how much I spend. I can use that “cash” on the same sort of useless purchases as I could with worthless points, or I can request a credit in my CapitalOne card account, or, yes, a check. I elected to just get the credit, $67.18 as an account credit.

Seemed like a good thing, I clicked, confirmed etc. and then got the message

Order Number: 19330721
Order Date: April 4, 2012
Estimated Posting Date: 5-7 business days

I guess they send themselves a check, after all an electronic transfer couldn’t take 5-7 business days, could it?

Less than a buck, WTF

I continue to be amazed, saddened and I some ways angry about the inefficiencies in the US Banking system and the inability for big financial institutions to see how much this is costing the economy.

I’m sat in line for a drive up teller, coz the bank closed at 4:30 or 5pm, whatever, that’s not the point. The point is I have two checks to deposit, one for $0.07 from an IBM Share account I thought I closed 2-years ago, and the other, as attached my US GOVERNMENT TAX refund.

You’d think the government would save its money and the banks by just carrying this amount as a credit into the next year, or at least do a electronic credit. I could just rip the check up and let the government have the money but it doesn’t work like that in account the money just gets held in a suspense account for nearly ever.

Lets not even get started on how crappy the admin is behind the IBM share system that has been issuing ever decreasing amounts for the last 16-months…

The problem is the paper check. Its like many other things, when you don’t think the the system is broken, you can’t see how things could be. If nothing else, the processing banks, ie where I’m depositing the checks should be able to levy a processing charge from the issuing account, but not from mine. If issuing a check for $0.07 is the best they can do, and processing it costs $4.50, then they should be charged $4.57

Ps. If anyone from Amplify Credit Union is watching, that’s me sat out in the parking lot, your ATM workflow sucks if you are depositing more than one check. Oh yeah tell Sheryl I’m still waiting for a reply…

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Sun Goddess revisited

It’s just over a month now until Ramsey Lewis does his Sun Goddess revisited set, up at the One World Theatre in Austin…. just how good is this, re-edited by the Late Night Tuff Guy.

Here, Ramsey Lewis himself describes “Whats going on” and the playlist has the original version. It’s the summer of 1973 all over again…

Texas A&M Slides – Technical and Professional Careers

Here are the Technical and Professional career slides I used for yesterdays CSCE 481 Seminar at Texas A&M University. Thanks to Prof. Robin R. Murphy, PhD, IEEE Fellow; Raytheon Professor of Computer Science & Engineering; Director, Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue – for inviting me to speak, and to the students for all the great questions afterwards.

If I can be of any help in your future, please get in touch.

Fore music

The great thing about music is it brings people together in so many great ways, the great thing about sharing love of similar music with my kids, is I get recommendations on some great stuff, I’m totally hooked on this Jamie Lidell track after a 3 a.m. skype session with Oli.


Then last night Kathleen organized line dancing lessons at the Broken Spoke, all I can tell you is there was a lot of trepidation in this house before Ronnie and I left. I got to learn the Texas 2-step with Leslie Tom and she was a great partner.

Mentally, exhausted; outlook never more excited

When I posted the “A Man who does nothing” entry, I’d just got one of those corporate emails telling why they couldn’t help me. It went something like that.

Today, I ran 7-miles at my long race pace, approx. 10-minute miles; delt with a load of corporate BS including the man who says “no, I’m too busy”; given a disposition and a trial rehearsal up at the capital building; negotiated mineral rights on a property I’m buying next Tuesday; had a conference call with the first professional athlete for my Sports Management company; had the first board meeting for the new multisports 501.c3 I created; cooked 3x pretty perfect fillet steaks and am now cleaning up after a good dinner with 2x good friends. I’m not a superstar, I’m no different from you, I say yes, and see thing s the way they should be, you say no and can’t see beyond the way things are.

Is it so off to ask you just to do your day job Mr Corporate person? Sh*t happens to you, if you don’t make things happen.

Sven gets vocal again

I just ran the stats on my little Sandisc Sansa MP3 player, I’ve had it for 3-years now, it was a great buy and yep, cheap, and no it doesn’t work with iTunes. I’ve done a few file reloads and am starting to think about music selection for the marathon I have to run at the end of the Challenge Roth ironman-distance triathlon in July. Yep, MP3 players are allowed on the run.

Overwhelmingly, the number one MP3 played on my sandisc is my Houston dance-music friend, Sven Neers’ “sven gets vocal again” mix from February 2010. It’s a perfect, uplifting, uptempo, happy/vocal house mix. It used to be available via Svens soundcloud page, at http://soundcloud.com/neer-music/sven-gets-vocal-again but it’s been taken down. There is a track listing here on his old blog and you can find it online here.

Careers and Professions in IT

Next week I’m speaking up at Texas A&M University on professional development, career management et al. I’ve finished the revision of my slides and if you’d like to preview them, or even better give me some feedback, you can find them it here: Technical and Professional career (3/27 Update: Final version.)

A couple of related things came through my email today, they both have some interesting material some of which I cover, and that I don’t.

10 Mistakes that Could Doom Your Career as an IT Pro.

How to get paid more (on theregister.com)

Banking in America

I don’t get it, I just don’t. For almost a year I worked to get away from the evil empire, Bank of America. I was proud that I’d moved all my business to a credit union, for UK friends and family, thats pretty much a building society. I bank with Amplify Federal Credit Union. I was pleased when just after the new year I shutdown my BoA account, cancelled my BoA credit cards etc.(1)

As much as Amplify have been really helpful, their inability to do electronic payments to accounts outside the bank has got me to the point where I think it’s time to move again. I just never realized how inefficient their processes were, how they were totally dependent of printed checks and that’s all just too slow for me.  Back in the UK at FirstDirect I can logon, enter an account number, routing code(for the bank), amount and date and in many cases the transfer is done electronically, often simultaneously and always within 2-hours.

At Amplify, I have to use the pay-a-bill system. Essentially this with a few details, allows me to tell them to print and mail a check.

So for example, today I logged on, had to enter a name, a full postal address, and only the account number of a payee; then I entered the amount of the payment, and could select the day I want to send the payment, I chose today. Low and behold the system informed me the payment would be received on March 27th. Note in this instance when they mean received, what they mean is a check would be received on 3/27, they couldn’t mean anything else since they didn’t ask for a routing number for the receiver.

My alternatives were Overnight check – $18.95. Yep some how they were charging me about $12 for them printing and handing my check to USPS for next day delivery, or some other courier company. The only other option is to do a domestic wire transfer, cost $15.

So I’m looking for other responsible banking options., None of the big international banks, ideas anyone?

This seems to be another area, like cellphone plans and cellphones in general where America is gradually has little more than a 2nd rate service. Which really is a shame. Anyone got any insights into why?