Mortgage Awareness

Sunday 2012-04-01

This weekend I tinkered around with Apple Keynote. I thought I’d make something useful. In this video I’m trying to show you how much money the bank makes on your mortgage. Banks like you to pay a low monthly fee on your mortgage because it keeps the loan higher for a longer period of time. This way the bank can cash in on the interest rate, and then cash in again at the end of the mortgage contract, when you are still hopelessly in debt.

“Financial advisors” working for the bank will throw sand in your eyes, saying that keeping your debt high gives you all kinds of tax breaks. But in the end, it’s them who get better of that construction, not you. Don’t fall into this trap. Understand your mortgage contract, learn how the model works, and check your model against the bank’s model (without that financial advisor or the lady at the helpdesk talking to you). You have more room than you think. Use it.


Join, don’t judge

Sunday 2012-03-04

Like many people, I like to dine in a good restaurant, where the mood is mellow, the waiter is a fine host, and the cook is passionate about good food and nice presentation. The courses are perfectly timed with your appetite, and each shiny polished plate of food contains the best looking, smelling and tasting food with the nicest textures. After desert, you get the best fresh mineral water coffee, and just sit there, satisfied, happy, in good company. The waiter discretely places the check on the table, and you happily pay whatever that check tells you to pay, and add a big tip for good measure, to show you had a great evening.

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Linked-In not really Opt-in?

Wednesday 2011-09-07

Linked-In, or Opt-out?Recently there was some kerfuffle about LinkedIn silently changing privacy settings. In fact, they didn’t do that “silently”, nor was it “recent”. Remember that large chunk of text nobody reads with the “Agree” button you clicked on? Those were the new terms, and deeply buried in them was this privacy settings stuff. LinkedIn’s Eric Heath blogged about that, bringing it as “more control over your LinkedIn information”. Sadly, the default setting for this new “control” is “rather open”. But you can change that.

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Why phone companies will fail

Tuesday 2010-11-23

cell phone under waterI recently had a very unpleasant experience with my mobile phone. Actually, it wasn’t so much my mobile phone itself, as it was the sharing of my private mobile phone number between colleagues. Seemingly harmless, but with great consequences.

One of my colleagues, in his innocence and with nothing but good intentions, shared my phone number with another colleague. As I was sitting in the hospital, the second colleague called me with questions about estimates I made for a project, which at that time intensely frustrated me.

Although I had the whole weekend to cool down, I was still pretty pissed the following monday. Some unpleasant conversations followed. I think everything is solved now but I can only hope somebody actually deletes my number when he says he does. Which got me to think about the old fashioned and spectacularly broken addressing model phone companies are still using.

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A Brighter Prius Dashboard

Saturday 2010-08-07

When you drive a Prius (like me), and you always have your lights on (like me), you probably have been irritated by the dimmed speedometer and unreadable display in bright sunlight (like me). If you didn’t read the owners manual (like me), you also probably didn’t know about this trick to get the brightness back (like me). Here’s how:

Lights on, dark dashboard

Hold for two seconds

Voila, full brightness.

You need to do this every time you start the car or turn on/off the lights. Return to a dimmed dashboard while driving by pressing the brightness selector briefly.

Why Growth is a bad thing. Bad.

Monday 2010-05-17

Quite often I am amazed at people’s ability to miss what looks obvious to me. Not only the small things like cleaning up when you spill coffee over the floor, or washing your hands when you get off the toilet, but also bigger things. Like the silly “solutions” to the world’s pollution problem for example.

Looking to solve our pollution problem by changing people’s behavior is one of the things which to me is obvious to fail. Although some behavior may speed up pollution, in the end we all pollute, wether we like it or not.

At the risk of writing a very unpopular blogpost, I’d like to share some thoughts on the ongoing and ever increasing pollution problem. In my eyes, there are 2 real causes of pollution, and ultimately these causes are even self-repairing although you may not like how that works out for you.

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Installing Wubi 9.10

Friday 2010-04-23

Why I HATE LinuxOk, fist of all: DO NOT DOWNLOAD WUBI 9.10 as it contains a serious GRUB2 problem which will give you some headaches if you’re new to Linux. Why I’m saying this? I just ran into this GRUB2 problem while installing the new Wubi 9.10. Here’s what I did:

  1. Downloaded Wubi 9.10 windows installer and ran it.
  2. Installer downloads stuff, and boots into Ubuntu installer
  3. After reboot, GRUB screen comes up with a loud beep and a prompt. Great.

Some googling finds a lot of Linux voodoo talking l33tspe4king nerds, but it did contain some info with which I managed to get things working:

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