Thursday, July 28, 2011

You may experience problems with the Amazon currency converter

It first seemed like a convenient way to save a few cents, but turned out to be a bad idea: using the Amazon currency converter when ordering with Amazon.UK.

Amazon.UK offers to pay in EUR - the "Amazon Currency Converter". Seems nice:

  • you see instantly what you are paying - in EUR
  • you save the bank fee for not paying in EUR
  • you have to type less in the expense report (you think)

But speaking of the expense report - that's where you need a correct invoice, and that's something you won't get. What you get on the printed invoice is:

  • the total in GBP instead of EUR and
  • a conversion rate that doesn't match what you were actually charged in EUR.

So first there is no way to match the amounts on the invoice to what you were charged and secondly you still have the typing effort to explain the relationship between foreign currency, conversion rate, and native currency in your expense report.

I already got the Amazon hotline to tell me that they

  • have a different conversion rate for my transaction in their system than is printed on the invoice
  • they charged me according to the conversion rate in their system not the one on the invoice

But up to now no corrected invoice - they still think I want money back, when all I want is a corrected invoice. Aaaaaargh!

Update 2011-07-31: The third e-mail was comprehended - they promised to send a corrected invoice. Jippie! Nevertheless I don't think I'll use the Amazon currency converter again.

Update 2011-08-18: Got no corrected invoice yet. Sent another email. Got the corrected invoice by fax after being called by Amazon UK and a short conversation on the phone. The real surprise here: there seems to be more manual work involved than I could imagine. I thought Amazon's system was not working correctly when it was just a everyday human error as it seems. Softened the title a little.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Buchempfehlung: Schlafen statt Schreien

Baby sanft in den Schlaf helfen ohne Schreien lassen: Schlafen statt Schreien: Das liebevolle Einschlafbuch: Das 10-Schritte-Progamm für ruhige Nächte von Elizabeth Pantley. Eine liebevolle Gegenposition zu den Ratgebern, die einem erklären, wie man den "Machtkampf" gegen die Bedürfnisse des Babys nach Liebe, Aufmerksamkeit und Nähe gewinnt.

Siehe auch diesen klasse Forumsbeitrag zu dem Thema.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Windows error ERROR_ARENA_TRASHED - 7 - 0x07 - The storage control blocks were destroyed

This error code may simply mean, that the host name could not be resolved. Unfortunately nothing you could find on the Internet up to now pointed into that direction. :-( Got this error when using Ruby and CouchRest under Windows to upload data from my Hudons/Jenkins to a CouchDB. But obviously nothing of the above including the IPv6 incompatibility of Ruby that I read about had to do with the real problem: host name without a domain could not be resolved by a host in another domain...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sharing a file system between Linux and Windows

I tried sharing an ext3 between Linux and Windows now for some months. For Windows I used the Ext2 Installable File System For Windows (IFS). The use case: my wife wanted her Firefox profile both under Windows and Linux.

I never had any problems with IFS, so I didn't expect any now. However I ended up with lots of errors in the ext3 file system twice. I suspect the little difference in the usage scenario (copying files back and forth between Linux and Windows vs. having an application constantly accessing it's configuration files) as the culprit. Perhaps Firefox had a few files still open or was manipulating them when Windows was shutdown respectively switched off the hard way.

This was especially cumbersome because Ubuntu doesn't seem to expect that fsck might ever ask for user input: the boot screen just gets stuck when this happens and no chance to get to the fsck prompt. Hence I had to boot from a LiveCD and invoke fsck then manually.

So now I try it the other way around: using a Windows file system (NTFS) from Windows and Linux. Let's see how this works out...