Saturday, 22 September 2012

Still planning

Lately I have still been doing Ukraine holiday planning.

One of the things I noticed in my planning using google maps was this building that looks like a paint explosion:

View Larger Map

Above is a live map, or below is a screenshot to preserve the memory for prosterity in case Google update the satellite imagery.

I am pretty sure that this is caused by the building having a very reflective roof, which reflects bright sunlight directly into the satellite's camera. The very bright area causes the sensor pixels in that area to overflow into the surrounding pixels, causing the strange effect you see here. (I can't remember the technical term for this at the moment - sensor or pixel overflow comes to mind, but I'm pretty sure that's not correct).

I also had some strange effects occasionally in Google Earth when dragging a placemark to a folder. The placemark in the Places pane would go all black and weird while dragging it.

I looked at getting some foreign currency today as well. The Post Office website says that it offers Great rates and 0% commission. But their exchange rate for GBP to UAH is 1 GBP = 12.0925 UAH. gives the rate as 1 GBP = 13.2108 UAH. So the Post Office is actually taking around 10% commission. I looked around for other foreign exchange providers, but most don't offer UAH, or have a very similar exchange rate to the Post Office.

I thought that if you used your bank (debit) card to withdraw money abroad, you were given a similarly skewed exchange rate, plus had to pay extra conversion fees. However, after looking into this, I was wrong. Apparently exchange rates on card transactions are set by the card provider (i.e. Visa or Mastercard), not the bank that issued the card. And both Visa and Mastercard offer very competitive rates, just a little bit worse than that quoted by The Mastercard foreign exchange conversion rates page is here: MasterCard Currency Conversion Tool, and the Visa one is at: Visa Exchange Rates.

In the afternoon today I made a cake.

In the evening today I went out to take some photos, and also watched Dai Rangers with Billy and Mauser.

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