Ugh, whenever I find something that I need, I hope that I can get it in Europe. Sometimes I can’t and that means dealing with shipping from the US. Its always painful and its only made worse when you try to go with a cheap shipper. The US Postal Service is one of the worst for any international shipping. I have never received anything shipped by them anywhere close to on time. Usually take the estimate, multiply times three, and hope for the best.
To make things worse, if you ship with USPS, the receiver WILL have to pay duties for the package coming in. Usually (not always) when shipping with FedEx, UPS, and other similar companies, the shipping is quick, and the duties aren’t required.
My most recent example was shipped on August 1. I finally received it today. The cost of the item was 79 USD (54 Euros). The customs duties I had to pay for that was 33 USD (23 Euros). Its always painful. Ugh.
FYI, here are the apps I use most often these days:
Every time I have to pay someone I have to deal with this interface. And every time I have to re-read the instructions because I find them confusing. Is it just me, or are these confusing to you?
In the Netherlands, when you pay someone from a bank website, you say what you want to do, then a calculator-like device is used with your ATM card, and pin code, to verify that it really is you who wants to pull money from your account. You then enter the number the device gives you in the text box below the instruction list. Thats great, and I love it but these instructions are just odd. I feel that everything could be fixed if they moved the button press instructions to the end of the previous sentence. When I press OK the first time, I have to reread the instructions to make sure I am in the right place.
The three finger double click gesture in Lion is pure magic. It took a while for it to sink in, but when MacSparky mentioned it, the neurons in my brain finally processed it. And today it came in really handy. One of my pet peeves is seeing a word show up in a sentence multiple times when a synonym would be much more interesting. I especially hate it when it’s my writing. But sometimes I just have to stare blankly at the wall for a few minutes to think of a good word to use. Either that or get my lazy ass off the chair and walk over to the thesaurus on my bookshelf. Like the three finger double click, the existence of a thesaurus in the Mac had never quite sunk in either.
So today I was writing up a script for a video I am about to record on sending a fax with Outlook Web Access. I bet I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking that that video will be FREAKING AWESOME. You are right my brother, you are right. Well, I wrote a sentence that had me staring at the wall for a few minutes and just as I started to glance over to the Roget’s on the shelf, I remembered the secret gesture.
Up popped the mini dialog you see in the picture to the right. In the words of Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle….MMMMMAGIC!!! Unfortunately, the results it gave me weren’t that helpful, but clicking on the Thesaurus in the dialog opened the full Dictionary app and I found the word I needed. MAGIC SQUARED!
I think this is the pivotal point in my life where I will finally remember that gesture…..whats next??? Triple shot macchiatto double click….mmmmmm….uh oh, Macchiatto isn’t in the dictionary?!?!?
Today I was playing around with a new cool app called Wikibot. Its basically a cheap app that makes Wikipedia a bit more fun to use. Its not worth 5 bucks, but the 79 cents I had to pay on the App Store (Europe pricing) is a good price. So I searched for hurricane and after reading about Tropical Cyclones, I moved on to the Hawker Hurricane. According to the Wikipedia, this is a single-seat fighter aircraft from the 1930s. Thats interesting and all, but what I found especially interesting was one of the references on the page.
FlightGlobal has a section on their website with PDFs of old issues of Flight Magazine from the last 100 years. There was an article about the introduction of the Hawker Hurricane saying what made it interesting back then. Its fascinating. Flipping through the pages of an aviation magazine from nearly 100 years ago is really pretty cool…