Antivenom

At dinner the other night at Ruth’s Chris, Xyon brought up the topic if we knew how snake antivenin was made. None of use knew, so he tells us how they milk the snakes venom out of their fangs and inject a small amount of it into a horse. Apparently the horse’s immune system is a lot better than humans and given their large body mass, it was easier for them to produce antivenom for snake poison. Apparently from that point on, they just extract the antivenom from these horses. Rather neat!

Random Crap:

Iguana’s stubborn erection to get the chopMozart, an iguana with an erection that has lasted for over a week, will have his penis amputated in the next couple of days. Veterinarians at Antwerp’s Aquatopia had sought to treat the animal’s problem, but decided removal was the only solution because of the risk of infection. The good news for Mozart and his mates is that male iguanas have two penises. *shivers* I guess having a backup penis is always a good thing.

I have no idea why anyone would still use RapidShare given that 1 download/hr and the 2 minute wait before your download would start. There was a thread on Digg that introduced me to MediaFire and this new service really neat! The one I’ve been using for awhile now is Files.to. It’s a nice way to share 1 file to a bunch of friends without wasting your own bandwidth. The only advantage I see MediaFire having over Files.to is the fact there is no file size limit. Tera and HJO3 both mentioned to me that there was a 100MB file size limit which I missed initially. However, as I responded to them, with a tool like WinRAR where I can break any file into chunks and with their simultaneous download feature, it’s become a non-problem. I’ll admit it’s a bit more hassle, but come on, it’s free. I forget if there was a wait for Files.to, but even if there was, it was rather short and I could have multiple downloads at fast speeds. MediaFire has the best of all worlds. They don’t have a file size limit, simultaneous downloads, and no wait time!

Microwave zaps germs on sponges, study findsTwo minutes in a microwave oven can sterilize most household sponges, U.S. researchers reported on Monday. A team of engineering researchers at the University of Florida found that two minutes of microwaving on full power killed or inactivated more than 99 percent of bacteria, viruses or parasites, as well as spores, on a kitchen sponge. 2 days later: Microwave experiments cause sponge disastersThey described how they soaked the sponges in wastewater and then zapped them. (Microwave zaps germs on sponges.) But several experimenters evidently left out the crucial step of wetting the sponge. “Just wanted you to know that your article on microwaving sponges and scrubbers aroused my interest. However, when I put my sponge/scrubber into the microwave, it caught fire, smoked up the house, ruined my microwave, and pissed me off,” one correspondent wrote in an e-mail to Reuters. Hahahaha. Unfortunately, I think Reuters/CNN is to be blamed here. If you read this article: Microwave ‘sterilisers’ warning (from The Consumerist), it clearly advises users to do the following (twice): The researchers said people should only try to microwave damp sponges. … He recommended microwaving damp not dry sponges to minimise the risk of fire and to only microwave non-metal scrubbing pads. However, in the condensed version posted on Reuters/CNN, there is no such advice posted anywhere.

Humvee Driving In Iraqi Traffic (from Derek) – This is a really cool video of a Humvee driving through Iraqi traffic. In order to avoid insurgent attacks they cant stop or slow down, even if that requires some improvised driving. As Derek says, this is the reason to own a Humvee.

Try a Free Sample of Gillette Fusion (from SD) – A new Walmart promotion allowing you to get free Gillette Fusion razor (with 5 blades). It also brought me back to StartSampling, a site I used to get a bunch of freebies from:

Samples Ordered

  • Games for Windows Magazine 01/24/07 04:49 AM
  • Swiffer Duster® Sample & Coupon 01/24/07 04:48 AM
  • Herbal Essences Intensive Blends 03/13/03 03:36 AM
  • $1 Off Lysol Products 11/15/02 06:56 PM
  • Razor Defense™ by Neutrogena MEN 10/03/02 03:35 AM
  • Musician Dana Mase: Free Album* 04/26/02 05:20 AM
  • BIC® PLUS™ Shaver – Men’s 03/05/02 06:48 PM
  • Nescafé Coffee 01/14/02 09:15 PM
  • Fit Fruit and Vegetable Wash 04/18/01 12:19 PM
  • Twizzlers Twists 10/06/00 04:34 PM
  • 3D Movie Madness 09/22/00 05:29 PM
  • Cranberry Horseradish Coupon 09/18/00 04:27 PM
  • Sight Savers Lens Cleaners 09/03/00 11:14 PM
  • Airheads Candy 08/17/00 12:33 AM
  • Shout Wipes Stain Treater 07/17/00 05:27 PM
  • LifeSavers Wint O Green 07/15/00 05:11 PM
  • Slim Jim Snacks 06/21/00 07:02 PM

Boy’s screaming kills chickens, for crying out loudHundreds of chickens have been found dead in east China — and a court has ruled that the cause of death was the screaming of a four-year-old boy who in turn had been scared by a barking dog, state media reported on Wednesday. … A court ruled the boy’s screaming was “the only unexpected abnormal sound” and that 443 chickens trampled each other to death in fear.

I was watching the latest episode of 24 and was like OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! Apparently Jack has more family! They first mentioned Jack’s father and I was like ooooh. Then they said he had a brother, and I was like OOOOOH. Then when they showed us who his brother was, I was like OH MY GOD! If you haven’t seen this episode yet, you MUST see it. Then they showed the brother’s wife and I was like is that who I think it is… no… is it really her? Apparently the actress playing the wife is the same actress that plays Nathan Petrelli’s wife from Heroes. Her name is Rena Sofer.

Japanese marine park captures rare shark on filmA species of shark rarely seen alive because its natural habitat is 600 meters (2,000 ft) or more under the sea was captured on film by staff at a Japanese marine park this week. … Frilled sharks, which feed on other sharks and sea creatures, are sometimes caught in the nets of trawlers but are rarely seen alive. Check out the the video. The shark is freaky!

Frozen Tidal Wave / Melting Glacier (from Digg) – really neat photos!

durex - happy father's day
Durex Condom Ad (from Squiffy’s House of Fun) – Happy Father’s Day.

Fast File Extension Change

I submitted a question to a MS newsgroup asking if there was a way to disable the prompt you get when you want to change a file extension for a file:

If you change a file name extension, the file may become unstable.

Are you sure you want to change it?

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way to disable that prompt in XP (though some people said it you might be able to disable it in Vista). I mean, I understand the reasoning for this prompt, but for advance use, this seems rather pointless, and when I want to change a bunch of file extensions, it gets annoying to have to close that prompt every time.

I got a few responses back and someone showed me the power of “rename” in the command prompt. I didn’t know that rename took in wildcards. Apparently you can type:
rename *.jpeg *.jpg and it’ll rename all your .jpeg files to .jpg without altering the base file name.

I decided to check how smart it really was and tried this earlier:
rename *.jpg orange_playdough_*.jpg, but apparently it wasn’t able to do what I wanted it to do. I just wanted to append the phrase orange_playdough_ in front of all the jpg files in this directory.

Someone suggested Lupas Rename and I decided to give it a try. So far, it’s pretty neat and does basically what I want it to do. You can insert phrases wherever you want, change file extensions, etc. It’s a pretty neat tool.

Someone also suggested a new Vista Renaming Powertoy, but I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet.


Random Crap:

Orange Playdough (from ChewyDenise) – I’ve seen this awhile back but it’s just too cool not to share it:
orange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdoughorange playdough

China arrests men for murdering “ghost” bridesChinese police have arrested three men for killing two young women to sell their corpses as “ghost brides” for dead single men, a Chinese newspaper reported, warning the dark custom might have claimed many other victims.

Money rains down in German townA lorry driver who won a contest “What would you do with 100,000 euros?” with the most original idea threw 75,000 euros ($96,810) in five-euro notes from an elevated crane to groups of people below, RPR1 radio spokesman Thomas Reiche said. Marco Hilgert, 49, kept the remaining 25,000 euros he won in the radio contest for the best idea — throw money out of a city hall window. But the first city hall in Mainz rejected the suggestion and the event was moved to Kaiserslautern. Really? That was the best/most original idea they could think of? I mean even The Simpsons and tons of movies have done similar things…

large fishlarge fish
A fish vendor inspects a fish of 2.4 metres long and 340 kilograms at a seafood market in Wenzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province January 23, 2007. The large fish was caught by a fisherman in the East China Sea. (from China Daily)

Desi woman catches husband cheating (from Digg) – Why some Indians need the Seminar urgently! Listen to this Indian man getting caught cheating on his wife, live on American radio. It’s hilarious, but there’s also a lesson to be learnt about being a better lover. It’s so funny!

Casino: $102,000 Jackpot A Mistake (from Digg) – An on-screen message told Wilkinson, by name, that he had won $102,000 in a power play jackpot. The woman next to him screamed with excitement. But Wilkinson’s six-figure payday was short-lived. Casino officials soon informed the retired carpenter that the message was sent in error. Ouch! I’d be pissed if I was Wilkinson too. I mean, to have a machine say you won $100k and have someone else tell you it’s a mistake…

Creative photos by Chema Madoz (from Digg) – Some really interesting photography. Has a very nice touch with the color and tones.

Disjoint Twins (from Digg) – All seemed so easy, until the customer service rep realized what Philip was trying to do: “I’m sorry sir, but we need a different birth date for each of your kids.” “Uhh, er,” Philip stuttered, rather puzzled, “they’re twins? They were both born on the seventh of May, so they actually do have the same birth date.” “Oh yes, I understand,” she said, “but our system cannot handle two people with the same last name born in the same month of the same year on the same plan.” Haha!!! He ended up picking birth dates which were a month apart, as if that was more possible than having twins ;p

Dilbert – The Knack (from MS newsgroup) – an animated short clip of young Dilbert and what is wrong with him. A really funny clip of how he has the case of “the knack”.

Coming out ahead when your ticket price drops (from The Consumerist) – Seattle times gives a good detail list of what you should do if the price of ticket drops. Many airlines offer vouchers for that amount minus a service fee which you can use to apply on a new ticket. So if the price of the ticket has fallen beyond the service fee charge, it will be worth it to exchange your current ticket for the lower priced one. I’ve always liked Southwest for this because they do not charge a service fee for this. I’ve happened to had to cancel certain flights (due to unexpected changes in which I had to delay my trip) and I can just refund my ticket and I would automatically get a credit of my entire fare which I can apply to any travel through them for a year. You can even do this after the fact, meaning if you didn’t take a flight, your flight confirmation number automatically becomes your credit confirmation number.

2006 Car Statistics

After each time I fill up my tank of gas on my 2001 Honda Civic, I’ve been recording 3 4 bits of information: total cost, miles traveled, gallons pumped, and the date. I’ve also recorded which brand of gasoline I used, but that’s not important in this case. I’ve been meaning to post statistics of it and finally got around to it.

I’ve made some pretty charts:

Cost Per Gallon:
cost per gallon
Min: $2.03 (1/4/06)
Max: $3.32 (6/30/06)
Average: $2.70

Miles Per Gallon:
miles per gallon
Min: 38.7MPG (6/30/06)
Max: 21.2MPG (2/19/06)
Average: 27.6MPG

Miles Per Dollar:
miles per dollar
Min: 7.4mi (5/30/06)
Max: 14.0mi (1/7/06)
Average: 10.2mi

The following I made 2 charts of each because there was some data that really skewed it (my trip down to Mt. Shasta)

Cost Per Day:
cost per daycost per day
Min: $0.80 (1/4/06)
Max: $137.24 (6/30/06)
Average: $2.00

Miles Per Day:
miles per daymiles per day
Min: 8.2mi (5/30/06)
Max: 606.4mi (6/30/06)
Average: 20.5mi

Totals of 2006:
Miles Traveled: 7598.8mi
Cost of Gasoline: $743.42
Gallons of Gasoline: 275.065 gallons

I did move farther away from my work (3mi to 10mi) in late July after I purchased my new home. That probably has contributed to the number of miles I drive a day and increased my gasoline mileage a bit as now my car can reach the optimal temperature and condition before arriving at work.


There was also this interesting message in one of the MS newsgroups:

So I used to work for a fuels additive company (Read: makes the stuff that goes in your gas to make them run better) and I asked an expert on fuel economy there. Here is his reply:

Several things could be going on. First the altitude should not make much difference in fuel economy. Cars are now equipped with oxygen sensors in the exhaust that determine if the air fuel mixture is correct. If anything the car may seem to be underpowered a little bit at higher elevations.

Other things that can effect fuel consumption. More stop and go driving like you have in Redmond consumes a lot more gasoline. That is the difference between city and highway mileage the EPA requires to be provided for all cars. Another thing is the Seattle area uses reformulated gasoline (RFG) which is made with ethanol and has a lower energy content. That will cost you about 3% fuel economy compared to gasoline purchased in Texas. California has been using “special” low emissions gasoline for years which would have a little bit lower mileage than Texas, but not as bad as Seattle’s RFG. Another thing that impacts fuel economy is colder weather. It takes cars longer to reach operating temperature so the engine feeds in extra gasoline to make it heat up quicker. EPA requires this to get the catalytic converters up to operating temperature earlier. Also gasoline is refined differently by different refiners and the refineries in Northern Washington might be making gasoline with a lower BTU(energy) content. Letting the vehicle idle consumes a lot of fuel. It is best just to get into the car, start the engine and drive off.

Lastly, the type of engine oil can make a difference. In warmer areas cars use higher viscosity oils so that the do not get to thin when they get hot. That same oil in colder climates stays too thick and can cause the engine to have to work harder to run.

Add it all up and you might see 30% difference in fuel consumption, but most of it would have to come from changes in driving habits.

Bait and Switch

I submitted the following story to The Consumerist:


In the beginning of November 2006, CompUSA had a deal on Kasperksy Anti-Virus 6.0. It was on sale for $60 with 2 rebates. A $60 rebate and a $40 upgrade rebate. I’ve attached the product page (kaspersky csua product page.pdf), so you can see that it was clearly advertised as so. I’ve also attached both rebate forms (kaspersky cusa 60 rebate form.pdf and kaspersky cusa 40 rebate form.pdf). They even show you the calculation of how final price of the product will be -$40.00.

I’ve ordered it for in-store pickup and that transaction went through smoothly. Both rebates were also printed out at the register, to confirm that this was not a mistake and that there were indeed 2 rebates for this product. Many other people got on this deal too.

After picking up my order, I immediately filed for the 2 rebates. You can either mail the rebates in, or file the rebates online:
https://erebates.compusa.com/

I did mines online because it was easier to keep track of and the fact was they can verify my order without having me send in any documentation since I can just punch in my order #. Both rebates were validated within a day or 2 and said it would be mailed in 10-12 weeks.

A couple weeks earlier, this thread on multiple deal forums started to have a lot of commotion:
http://www.bargainshare.com/index.php?showtopic=91762
http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?sduid=35343&t=385639
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/…php?catid=74&threadid=668741
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/…php?catid=74&threadid=679164

Apparently, CompUSA had just removed the $40 rebate without warning, no email, no phone call, no letter, just POOF! The $60 rebate was still there and still valid. I actually already received the $60 rebate a week or 2 ago.

Many of us began to call and email CompUSA asking what happened to the $40 rebate and here was their response:

After reviewing your account we found that Offer #7000151 had a clause in it where it was not valid with any other offer. Our system incorrectly qualified you for Offer #7000158. We have fixed the error, and unfortunately, you do not qualify for the $40.00 rebate. You do, however, qualify for the $60.00 rebate, and should receive that within the next 30 days. We apologize for the confusion.

I emailed back:

The item I purchased was advertised with both rebates: $60 and $40. I’ve attached a printout of the product page from CompUSA.com that features both rebates.

Current Rebate:
Regular Retail Price: $59.99
You Pay: $59.99 Price after instant rebates, if any -$40.00 Mfr. Upgd. Mail-In Rebate (Valid: 11/1/2006 – 12/31/2006) -$60.00 Mfr. Mail-in Rebate (Valid: 11/5/2006 – 11/11/2006) CompUSA Price: ($40.01) Price after instant & mail-in rebates

If the $40 rebate is not honored, this is essentially false advertising. I hope you seriously reconsider the rejection of this rebate. Thank you.

Their response:

CompUSA correctly advertised Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0 software as Free, after rebate; however, a mistake was made when a secondary rebate by the manufacturer was added to the offer amount. Customers who purchased the software paid $59.99 and qualified for a $60 rebate; because Kaspersky was also offering a $40 upgrade rebate, both amounts were combined and advertised in error. Despite listing the offer as $100, customers were only entitled to receive the amount they actually paid and would not qualify for an additional $40 payment. Although both rebates were submitted, the $60 rebate form clearly stated it could not be combined with any other offer, which resulted in the correct rejection of the $40 rebate.

We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may have caused; however, due to the fact that typographical errors in web based, email or other advertisements are subject to correction, as specified in our promotional disclaimers, terms and conditions, the request for additional payment cannot be honored.

My final response:

You’ve ALSO advertised that there were $100 in rebates and that after rebate it will be ($40.00) after instant and mail in rebates. I’ve attached a screenshot of the product page with the areas of interest circled in red. I also have a print out of the actual receipt that still shows that there are 2 rebates for this item that I purchased, totaling $100 in rebates. Given that there’s a discrepancy between the price you listed on the same page, the law states that the store must honor the lower of the 2 prices, which would be to honor both rebates in this case.

I implore you to reconsider the rejection of this rebate as it would ultimately constitute as fraud. I’ll be filing a case with the state attorney general and BBB if I do not hear a satisfactory response.

The fact is if it was a typographic error, CompUSA’s only option would have been to cancel our orders and call us to see if we still want to purchase it with one less rebate. However, our credit cards were charged and we got our product, and 2 months later, they claim they can no longer honor the original sale terms because it was a typographic error. This is considered bait and switch, where CompUSA offered something (product with 2 rebates) and switched it with something else (product with only 1 rebate). They’ve been found guilty in court of this type of practice in the past and are up to it again. I quote from someone on the thread:

Courts have ruled time and again that fine print listed in terms and conditions doesn’t nullify what is listed in Advertised LARGE PRINT.

I’ve just found this whole experience to be a big mess and can’t believe CompUSA would try to pull something like this again.

Ruckus

Ruckus (from Krrkb) – Krrkb introduced me to this site, which allows you to download music “legally” for free if you’re a college student. You can read more about it on their blog entry: Ruckus is Now Free for All College StudentsAs of today, January 22nd, Ruckus Music is now totally free for every student on America’s college and university campuses (Sorry Canada, maybe next year). All you need to do is have an *.edu email address and “claim” you’re a student (not alumni or staff).

ruckus player

Their player really sucks. It seems to try to mimic iTunes, but fails horribly. They also include IE inside their player, which I’m guessing is so that you can access the website to download music. Horrible design in my opinion. The player is also littered with advertisement, but I guess that’s how it can afford to be free to all college students. What I’ll give the player is that it’s A LOT more responsive than iTunes. It takes up less memory and doesn’t lag at all. However, my collection is only at a mere 400MB right now, so I’m not sure how it’ll fare when I have many gigs worth.

I’ve been using Firefox to search for songs through their website. To download songs through the browser, you download these files with the extension: *.ruckusdownload which launches the player and the download begins. The music selection is pretty big. However, I did find songs it wouldn’t allow me to download. These songs were rather new, and I’m guessing they’ll be available as they get older. The download speeds are really good. I get a constant 1MB/s.

The songs are DRMed so you’re not able to transfer to a music device or burn to a CD without upgrading. They have a 1 day limit before expiring and you’ll need to reget the license again, which means you’ll need an active internet connection. I misread the expiration date of the license. It really expires in 1 month, so you’ll have to reget the license then. The music is encoded in wma at 192kbps.

Since I mention how awesome Pan’s Labyrinth’s soundtrack was, you can download it from Ruckus: Javier Navarrete: Pan’s Labyrinth.

Honestly, if I was a student, I’d actually be pretty satisfy with Ruckus if I didn’t care about transferring music to my iPod or any other music device. It’s like Napster, but without the need to share/upload, and every song at my fingertip.

At first I confused this with Grooveshark (from Digg). Grooveshark is a web-based application for sharing music within a community of music lovers. We distribute DRM-free MP3s across a mostly p2p network. The basic actions a user can take are outlined below. Krrkb mentioned the music was “free (DRMed)”, but for some reason that registered in my mine as DRM-free. Anyway, this is an interesting new program to check out. It’s not available to the public yet, but it rewards (compensates) users for sharing which I thought was a neat system. It didn’t mention how the rewards/compensation system worked, but I’d like to know where more is announced.


Random Crap:

Miracle fruit (from Tekman) – A Miracle Fruit Plant, sometimes known as Miraculous Berry, (Sideroxylon dulcificum/Synsepalum dulcificum Daniell) is a plant native to Tropical West Africa. It produces 2 crops per year, after the end of the rainy season. The plant grows in bushes up to 20 feet high in its native habitat, but does not usually grow higher than 5 feet in cultivation. It is an evergreen plant that produces red berries. Although the berry itself is not sweet, they contain a protein called Miraculin, which masks the tongue’s sour taste buds, causing foods such as lemons and limes to taste sweet. This effect lasts for up to 30 minutes but sometimes longer, maybe two hours. It will not however, make sweet foods taste sweeter. The Miracle fruit has been used to sweeten bitter medicines. Tekman was telling the story of how the guy giving the tour would ask people to try out the berries. People said it didn’t really taste all that great. The tour guide agreed that the berries weren’t really that great, but then she the really cool plant is his sweet lime tree coming up next. Haha. I don’t really think they make sour things taste sweet. They just inhibit the sour taste it appears. I’m personally a big fan of limes and lemons and can eat them whole without wincing. They just taste good. Maybe it’s because my sour taste buds are weak or I’ve killed them throughout the years by eating too many sour things, but limes and lemons are naturally sweet with just a strong sour taste. If you block your sour taste buds, then all you taste is the sweetness of the lime or lemon.

The Cute Project (from Digg) – a worthy rival of Cute Overload!. Tons of cute animal pictures.

May I take your order? (from Digg) – a hilarious Chinese restaurant menu where the translations of the dishes seemed to be pulled directly from the likes of Babelfish. My favorite has got to be Good to eat mountain (花雕). I never really seen a dish called 花雕, but it can be a type of beer or a way to cook food (especially crabs or chicken). As the poster mentions, “what’s with all the verbs?” You can see more funny pictures at rahoi.com.

Japanese TV apologises for false “natto” diet tipShortly after the show was broadcast nationwide on January 7, thousands of Japanese, keen to lose weight, rushed to stores and bought up all the natto on the shelves. Article wasn’t that interesting, but if I had known, I’d invest in so natto stocks. ;p

Sensitive Light : Coloured Smoke (from Digg) – a gallery of pretty neat smoke effects.

The Case of Mistaken Gamedenity (from Digg/Tera) – A hilarious recount of how a mom demands the new Mario game for the Xbox 360.

Phone thief repents after 21 text messages (from Cari) – A Chinese thief has returned a mobile phone and thousands of yuan he stole from a woman after she sent him 21 touching text messages, Xinhua news agency said on Monday. … “I’m Pan Aiying, a teacher from Wutou Middle School. You must be going through a difficult time. If so, I will not blame you,” wrote Pan in her first text message which did not get a response. … But on her way out on Sunday morning, she stumbled over a package that had been left in her courtyard only to discover it was her stolen bag. Nothing had been taken. “Dear Pan: I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Please forgive me,” a letter inside said. “You are so tolerant even though I stole from you. I’ll correct my ways and be an upright person.” A touching story of how a thief has repented his ways and have asked for forgiveness.

Precision driving with Russ Swift (from Derek) – Jeremy Clarkson and Russ Swift do some precision driving Cool parking skills and driving a car on just 2 wheels. Apparently that’s just like riding a bicycle.

Top 10 Magic Trick Tutorial Videos (from Digg) – Today I went to the liberty of scouring the internet to track down the top 10 video magic tutorials that I could find. Many of these are simply amazing, others are simple yet stunning. I hope you enjoy.

High rollers’ Las Vegas hangouts can be yours for a [high] price (from Digg) – These Las Vegas suites are amazing! Too bad the price is so high. But one can dream, right?

McDonald’s And Food Network: Subliminal Advertising?Reader Janeka sends in this video from You Tube. Someone was watching Iron Chef America when they noticed their screen flash red, and when they went back to see what it was, they found a McDonald’s ad on just one frame! Oooh, scary! It looks to us as if someone just screwed up, or was screwing around. Then again, maybe it’s an insidious attempt to brainwash food nerds into eating more quarter-pounders. Either way, it’s on You Tube now, so we guess the McTerrorists win. Did the Food Network switch from fine dining to fast food? Maybe they should do an Iron Chef where the main ingredient is Big Macs.

Car Dealership Breaks Into Customer’s Home, Steals $70,000In July, 60 year old mentally ill Richard Grey wheelchaired into the Huling Brothers dealership in Seattle, his pants encrusted with feces and urine, and bought a truck with $30,000 in cash in a plastic bag. The salesmen learned he had more at home and three of them broke in and stole $70,000 more. I mean how evil can people be?!?! Interestingly enough when I was driving home today, the car in front of me for most of the route as a Chrysler PT Cruiser with a license plate holder showing Huling Brothers on the bottom.

Sinfest – In The KnowQ: What does a microwave do? A: It does this: vvvmmmmmmmm PING! Haha! Awesome answer! I love the dog.

Dunking parakeet becomes Web video starTeaching a parakeet to putt is no tap-in. Ask David Cota, who spent months training his Indian ringneck parakeet A.J. to use a tiny putter to sink putts on a miniature green, making the 5-inch tall bird an Internet video star. I remember seeing this video a long time ago, but for those who haven’t seen it, enjoy!

Testers Wanted – Nintendo Virtual Reality (from Digg) – This is a live-action performance from the annual Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center’s (http://www.etc.cmu.edu) Building Virtual Worlds Show. The performance is from December 6th, 2006, and students have TWO weeks to brainstorm, develop, and implement a virtual world, which in this case, was required of us to make an entertaining experience for a large audience. The performance is given in McConomy Auditorium in Carnegie Mellon, via the technology of the Playmotion. The playmotion is a motion sensor technology that receives data on the user’s head and two hands.

El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Saw this over the weekend with CMDCC. Really awesome movie. The story was wonderfully told and the cinematography was just amazing. The soundtrack they used was also heavenly. Definitely a movie you MUST see! I hardly ever give movies a rating of 9. You can listen to the soundtrack at the official site below. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to skip or go backwards, but I’ve been playing the music for the past 30mins.

Official Site
IMDb: 8.5/10 (11,378 votes)
Yahoo! Movies: The Critics: A- / Yahoo! Users: B+
Rotten Tomatoes: Rating: 96% / Average Rating: 8.5/10
Apple Trailer
Amazon.com Soundtrack
Amazon.com Showtimes
MY RATING: 9/10

pan's labyrinth posterpan's labyrinth posterpan's labyrinth posterpan's labyrinth poster

Spoilers: (Show)

More and more junk

Sigh… My blog entries are queuing up faster than I can blog:

Your Drafts: Unknown, Open Season, The Queen, Blood Diamond, An Evening With Kevin Smith 2 – Evening Harder, The Corporation, Kanon, Poseidon, Hacking Democracy, Accepted, Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, 黑社會 (Election), DragonZakura, Superman Returns, L.A. Confidential, Cars, The Science of Sleep, The Departed, ゼロの使い魔, Sneakers, The Notebook, Little Miss Sunshine, The Triplets Of Belleville, Love Actually, Transamerica, Two for the Money, Thumbsucker, When Do We Eat, The Sentinel, Who Killed the Electric Car?, The Benchwarmers, Basic Instinct 2, Sympathy for Lady Venegance, Saving Electricity, Food Scarcity, xxxHOLiC, Blood+, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Episodes, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Episodes 1 – 8, Temperature Scales, Black Cat, REC, Fate/stay night, Bleach Episode 71 – 83, Hellsing Ultimate OVA, Detective Academy Q Episodes 31 – 39, Dial Tone, Monster Episodes 66 – 74, Initial D Fourth Stage Episodes 21 – 24, 24 – Season Four, Full Metal Panic – The Second Raid Episodes 9-13, Naruto Episode 150 .

Every time I think of something or watch a movie, I just create a new draft post and enter the title and any little details I don’t want to forget. Then it just starts piling up. I’ve pretty much given up on posting a blog for each anime episode. If I feel like it, I’d have entries on certain episodes that really stood out, or I’d blog about once I complete the series.

Random Crap:

Mysterious samurai saves Police in UK (from Digg) – A samurai sword wielding vigilante has come to the rescue of two Police officers when they were attacked by an armed gang in South Shields, England. Could it be a Hiro wannabe? I’m curious what the guy dressed like, or if they just labeled him as “a samurai” because he was wielding a curved sword. Who knows if the sword was even curved…

h&r block refund Freudian slip
H&R Block’s Freudian Slip (from The Consumerist)

It’s estimated Americans overpaid their taxes by nearly a billion dollars.* Don’t be one of them. H&R Block will get you the maximum refund you’re entitled to, or your tax preparation is FREE. So every dollar you’ve earned is where it belongs. In our pocket.

It’s funny how much a difference a ‘y’ would make in this case.

Netflix offers streaming movies to subscribers

The new service will be rolled out gradually but should be available to all Netflix subscribers by July. The amount of video that can be watched on the PC varies depending on the subscription plan. Users with the $5.99 plan will get six hours of online viewing each month, while those with the more common $17.99 plans get 18 hours. The decision to offer this in terms of “hours” rather than “movies” could potentially frustrate customers who don’t want to wait until next month to see the second half of Casino Royale, but it does allow for stopping, starting, and switching films without developing some convoluted definition of what it means to “watch a film.”

The initial selection is fairly thin, with only 1,000 titles available (out of more than 70,000 available on DVD), but this was the same number of DVDs that Netflix launched with back in 1999. It’s probably just as well; Netflix has made clear that they want to roll out the new technology slowly to make sure that everything works correctly. As CEO Reed Hastings notes, this isn’t a market that is going to pay big dividends for a few years yet.

A rather interesting service. From the feedback I’ve read, the quality’s really good, almost as good as DVD quality, though I’d believe it when I see it. Then again, DVD quality is only 480p and I’ve been spoiled with 720p and 1080p content recently. I’d like to see how far this goes and how big it can become. Maybe I’ll cave and get a Netflix subscription.

Male panda said too fat to have sexChuang Chuang the Panda is just too heavy to have sex. Thai authorities have put him on a strict diet as part of a long-running campaign to get him to mate with female partner Lin Hui at the Chiang Mai Zoo in northern Thailand. Haha.

Are You Gonna Do It? (from Digg) – “I’ll just walk into Steve’s office, pull down my pants, and urinate on his desk. What could he say to that? It’s guaranteed to work.” We laughed, thinking that not even Burrell would have the guts to do that. … “Are you gonna do it? Are you really gonna do it?”, asked Steve. Somehow, word about the urination threat had gotten back to Steve, and he was genuinely curious if Burrell would go through with it or not. I was disappointed he didn’t do it.

My Kids Are Perverted (NSFW) (from Tera) – Hilarious story of what the kids keep asking this teacher. Since it’s not safe for work, you’ll have to click the show button. (Show)

Jeep® Waterfall (from Digg) – From Detroit to Beijing, the Jeep Waterfall has mesmerized auto showgoers from across the globe. Tune in to discover how this H20 wonder works. Amazing piece of engineering. Apparently you can drive this waterfall/rainfall as if it was an inkjet printer. Rather interesting.

Boy, 9, sneaks on to plane (from The Consumerist) – Police in Lakewood, Washington, say the boy (Semaj Booker) has a history of stealing cars and running away from home. He was apparently trying to get to Dallas, where his grandfather lives, and where the boy himself used to live. But he came up short, only getting as far as San Antonio after hopping two separate flights. Police say he apparently found a Southwest Airlines boarding card and made it through airport security. I really wonder if airport security really exists, or is it just their to inconvenience people like us.

Porsche – Double Take (from Derek) – An interesting ad, but it does show where a car’s *cough* is.

Life Lessons (from SD) – A bunch of figurines being sold by TLC with rather funny sayings. Like #20 If you want to get rid of a guy,tell him you love him. Or #58 – Never introduce her as “my future ex.”

Punchy! (from RayAlome) – It’s all fun and games until someone gets punched in the face. And then it’s even more fun! Funny skit where some guy can’t control punching people in the face.

The Towel Trick fixes 360’s? (from MS newsgroup) – Everyone’s dreaded the red circle that appears on your Xbox 360 to notify you it’s broken. Recently, there’s been a spread of the “towel trick” and apparently many people who’ve gotten the red circle of death are claiming it fixes their Xbox 360. What you do is wrap your Xbox 360 completely in a towel (basically enclosing the whole thing) and turn it on and wait 10-15 minutes. At this time, your Xbox 360 will get really hot, and I mean REALLY HOT. Turn it off and turn it back on and your machine might magically work. No one really knows why this is fixing their Xbox 360s, but CDMCC suggests that it might have to do with the soldering problem.

College Saga – Episode 1 (from Cari) – Once upon a time, when Earth was still a beautiful place, an evil force came to turn all living things into Vegetarians. Three students from suburban Massachusetts would step up against this catastrophe… to end Vegetarian Supremacy. Mark, Jesús, Maria and their foes would make amazing personal discoveries as the two forces clash. And so began the ultimate saga about friendship, heritage, sex and explosions. A hilarious skit done by a group of college students, where they go through college as if it was a RPG game.

Kanon – Sayuri’s Story

This clip was taken from Kanon (2006) episode 14. Baby Sayuri is so cute and she has a very cute little brother too! Yet the story becomes so sad… *sniff*

Large version:
Kanon - Sayuri's Story (large)

Small version:
Kanon's - Sayuri's Story (small)


Random Crap:

Sessions with R. Tam (from Digg) – an excerpt from the Firefly series. Appears to be sessions held with River Tam during their experimentation. Comments claim that the interviewer is Josh Whedon.

Terry Tate Compilation (from FuzzyWuzzy) – just a bunch of painful scenes. this is what happens when you don’t have office etiquette.

Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman (from Digg) – Remember those series back when you were kids. I remember having tons of post-its to remember how to trace back so I don’t have to start all over again when I get a bad ending. They’re giving away this one for free and apparently works on your iPod and even has colored pictures. I haven’t given it a try yet, but seems interesting.

China: Teahouse is threat to morality– A Shanghai tea house whose name translates roughly as “Frog Keeps a Mistress” has been deemed a threat to public morality and told to get a new moniker, local media said Friday. The “Qingwa Bao Ernai” shop was violating China’s advertising law, the Shanghai Daily and other newspapers said, citing a local commercial bureau official, Xu Jun. Article wasn’t that interesting. It took me awhile to figure out how Qingwa Bao Ernai = Frog Keeps a Mistress. Turns out to be 青蛙保二奶.

Real-time quotes for free (from Digg) – Apparently you’ll soon be able to get real time stock quotes from Google Finance.

Starcraft in 3D! (from Digg) – I first heard about Project Revolution a couple years ago. At the time, I remember thinking there was no way it would ever get off the ground once Blizzard got wind of a Warcraft III total conversion to recreate Starcraft in 3D. Well, here we are a few years later and it appears the folks over at Snowflake Entertainment have made some real progress. Check out the video.

Simple Workaround for Ctrl Print Screen (from Helldesk) – hilarious video of a guy apparently trying to print a screenshot, but the printer messes with him. He takes his frustrations out on his computer and on the copy machine and attempts to photocopy his monitor screen, even though the monitor is probably no longer connected to his computer.

Optical illusion in 3D:
optical illusion in 3d

Whenever I see these things, I try to imagine how it would appear if I look at it from the side, but my mind just won’t work that way. You can see similar objects at Impossible figures in the real world and Impossible Objects in Real Life no.2.

Why do we open our mouths to yawn properly? (from Digg) – The involuntary act of yawning usually includes opening the mouth very wide while slowly taking in a deep breath. This contortion of the mouth puts pressure on the salivary glands causing the eyes to sometimes tear-up, causes the throat to better open, and tightens the muscles around the mouth making sure the yawn is better accomplished. Couple other interesting questions answered include: Why do some people have three nipples?, Is it true that a woman’s breasts can grow enormously overnight?, and Why is it absolutely impossible to sneeze with your eyes open?.

Ex-Playmate Reveals Playboy Mansion Secrets (NOT SAFE FOR WORK) (from Digg) – Now, for the first time ever, one of those blonde beauties has done the unspeakable. She has broken the mansion’s revered code of silence. Jill Ann Spaulding, a stunning professional poker player with all the obvious attributes that one might find inside Hef’s stable of potential Playmates, has written a tell-all book entitled, “Jill Ann: Upstairs.” Ever wonder what the life of Hugh Hefner is like? or even one of the bunnies that live in the Playboy mansion? Well, this little interview gives some insight, though it’s hard to tell how much of what she says is the truth.

Bash Quote #207373 (from Tera) –

<anamexis> oh man
<anamexis> I was opening a coke, right
–> Beefpile (~mbeefpile@cloaked.wi.rr.com) has joined #themacmind
<anamexis> and it exploded
<anamexis> ALMOST all over my keyboard
<anamexis> but I got it away just in time
<– Beefpile has quit (sick fuckers)
<anamexis> :<

Stationary biker rests after record bidGeorge Hood didn’t go to Disney World after riding a stationary bike for an apparent record of 85 hours. He checked into a hospital. After two days of recovery and lots of fluids and sleep, the 49-year-old Aurora man pronounced himself almost back to normal Monday as he described his bid, still awaiting certification, for a place in the Guinness World Records book.

Victoria Harbour – Hong Kong at different hours of day and night (from Digg) – the images are rather pretty.

A PC that you can install in your WALL! (from Derek) – It’s called Jack PC, and it can fit into a network wall port. Just plug your keyboard, mouse and monitor into the wall. The Jack PC runs Windows CE and it’s equipped with an equivalent of a 800MHz to 1.2GHz x86 desktop processor. pretty neat!

Breast boosting beer sells like hot cakesThe millet-based ale called Boza allegedly makes women’s breasts bigger, but was previously expensive. Now thousands of tourists are travelling to the Bulgarian border town of Ruse to buy Boza for their wives and partners. Haha!

The Greatest Martial Arts Moments – The Crippled Masters (from Digg) – I was going through this kung fu moments. Some were decent, some were eh, but then I saw this one. One guy has no legs and the other guy has no arms. It’s curtains for any all-limbed sucka in the room when they join forces to create an unstoppable two-armed and two-legged punching and kicking machine. Keep this scene in mind the next time you’re going to pick a fight with the handi-capable guy at the bar. It was rather disturbing…

Street Fighter: The Later Years – Part 3 (from RayAlome/DeadLock) – not sure why I forgot to post this when RayAlome showed it to me the 1st time. Must’ve not entered the queue of links to be posted. Anyway, the 3rd part is available for viewing now. Introduces Vega, E. Honda, and Blanka!

Happy Birthday to ME!

Sigh… One year older…

Speaking of which, due to the crazy weather, snow storms, and freezing temperature we’ve been having, check out this slideshow of crazy traffic and abandoned cars.

Derek also showed me this video: Bumper cars in Portland, Oregon. Crazy! Cars skidding and bumping everywhere, but instead of regular bumper cars, we’re talking 20-50K cars… That’s why on snow days, I work from home. Just need to make sure I stock up on food.


Random Crap:

Today’s Japanese phrase is 兎 (usagi) which means rabbit.

How to avoid crying when chopping onions (from SueOn) – apparently the part of the onion that makes you cry resides on the bottom cone.

How We Shower (from Digg) – Heres a funny comparison on showering practices between guys and girls. Funny and true! HOW MEN AND WOMEN SHOWER DIFFERENTLY… Rather funny read.

2006 Ice Storm – Follow Up Visit (from Digg) – Amazing when 2″ of ice forms on a wire from a power utility pole.

spacecoyote did some artwork on what would The Simpsons and Futurama characters would look like if they were drawn in anime style (from Digg). Titled The Simpsonzu and Futurama: Super Happy Fun Show (click images to enlarge), she landed herself a contract with Bongo Comics:

THANK YOU INTERNET

Long story short: Bongo Comics, Matt Groening’s comic book company, is hiring me to do the pencils for a short manga-style Simpsons comic. Also, I’ve been contacted by 20th Century Fox. They want me to do work for them somehow. I might get a job for the upcoming new Futurama series!

Why all this sudden success? Why are my childhood dreams coming true? This is madness, I tells ya! MADNESS!

EDIT: I don’t think all credit should go to just one website! My recognition is thanks to deviantART, Digg, Drawn, ABC News Australia, among many other websites and blogs. Not to mention word of mouth. Hence why I am thanking the Internet as a whole. 🙂

“Nurse” bleeds lonely hearts with flirty SMSA Chinese company has duped about 400,000 people by creating the character of a young female nurse to solicit text messages and collect revenue from lonely men, a Chinese newspaper reported on Tuesday. … Yang said “Wang Jing” would ask mobile phone users flirty questions before luring them unwittingly into subscribing to the nurse’s chat for 10-30 yuan (65 pence-2 pounds) a month, the paper reported. Yang, who would receive up to 2,000 text messages from people all over China in a single shift, said the nurse scam had reaped hundreds of thousands of yuan a month, the paper reported.

Japan school to test applicants’ chopstick skillsAs if reading, writing and arithmetic weren’t enough, one Japanese high school now also plans to include chopstick skills on its entrance exams. The Hisatagakuen Sasebo Girls’ High School in western Japan will require a 10 minute test using chopsticks to transfer beads, marbles, dice and beans from one plate to another. Haha. Sounds like a skill my dad would love to show off.

Ford, Microsoft team up on new dashboard OS – I didn’t find this article too interesting, but it reminded me of the joke back in the day:

IF CARS WERE BUILT LIKE PC’S

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, “If G.M. had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got one-thousand miles to the gallon.” In response to Bill’s comments, General Motors issued a press release stating,

If G.M. had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

  • For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
  • Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.
  • Occasionally, your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart, and drive on.
  • Occasionally, executing a manner such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
  • Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought “Car95” or “CarNT”, but then you would have to buy more seats.
  • Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on five percent of the roads.
  • The oil, water, temperature, and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single “general car default” warning light.
  • New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.
  • The airbag system would say “Are you sure?” before going off.
  • Occasionally for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
  • It would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps (now a G.M. subsidiary), even though they neither need them nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car’s performance to diminish by fifty percent or more. Moreover, every time G.M. introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
  • You would press the “start” button to shut off the engine.

Have you seen Nepal? Not really, Peru saysRoyal Nepal Airlines has apologised to Peru after mistakenly using a photo of the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu to promote tourism in Nepal.

Moms, kids arrested in R.I. school brawlTwo mothers and their 13-year-old daughters were arrested after police say one woman drove her already suspended daughter to school to fight a teenage rival. Haha.

Dracula’s castle is for sale for $78MThe Habsburg family said Wednesday that it wanted to sell a Transylvanian castle famous for its connections to the 15th century medieval ruler who inspired “Dracula” for 60 million euros, or $78 million, to the local authorities, an attorney said.

Disneyland – Club 33 (from Digg) – Apparently there’s a secret club at Disneyland and even Snopes.com claims its true: Club 33, open only to members and their guests, has been a part of New Orleans Square since 1967. Originally intended as a private facility where Walt Disney could entertain park sponsors and lessees, Club 33 did not open until several months after Disney’s death. The club’s facilities were made available to the public through limited memberships, and Club 33 has operated unobtrusively in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square ever since. However, it seems rather expensive to join…

CES 2007: HD DVD versus Blu-ray – The porn industry says HD DVD – Looks like we have our winner for the next gen video format war.

You’ve probably seen this picture around the net:
kevin carter - vulture

But do you know the story behind it? I was probably reading Digg and they mentioned this image and the photographer Kevin Carter. According to wikipedia:

The sound of soft, high-pitched whimpering near the village of Ayod attracted Carter to a young emaciated Sudanese toddler. The girl had stopped to rest while struggling to a feeding center, wherein a seemingly well-fed vulture had landed nearby. He said that he waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the vulture would spread its wings. It didn’t. Carter snapped the haunting photograph and chased the vulture away. However, he also came under heavy criticism for just photographing — and not helping — the girl:

“The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.”

He later confided to friends that he wished he had intervened and helped the child. Journalists at the time were warned never to touch famine victims for fear of disease. … Portions of Carter’s suicide note read:

“I am depressed … without phone … money for rent … money for child support … money for debts … money!!! … I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings & corpses & anger & pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners…I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky.”

Flash Element TD (from Digg) – another fun flash game where you build towers to blow up enemies. However, unlike others where you need to defend your castle, this one deducts a life for each the enemy passes the checkpoint. Somewhat hard to play given the fact you can’t get extra lives (if you could, I didn’t figure out how).

Bee Movie teaser – was going through the new movie trailers and saw this hilarious teaser with Jerry Seinfeld with others playing insects on a car windshield.

The Mac (NOT SAFE FOR WORK) (from Digg) – a music video by Setty Smooth. Welcome to the world of Setty Smooth – where his quest to find love leads him on the most extraordinary of journeys . In this episode, Setty Smooth guides five fine ladies through an intimate video chat session, a little something he likes to call “cyber love”. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as Setty drops his first single and video, “The Mac” from his unreleased debut love ballads album.

Sand sculptures in Lommel (from Digg) – tons of rather neat sand sculptures.

LEGO church (from Digg) – Lego creations continue to amaze us. TN4046 has sent this gallery of a … church, created entirely with LEGO bricks.

Electric Orange

As you may have known, I’m not a big fan of ING Direct after what they pulled last time. However they’ve introduced a new account called Orange Electric, which is probably the best I’ve seen in the current market. It’s basically a checking account with high interest rates, although not as high as the savings accounts.

From their press release:

The expansion, which Kuhlmann termed “audacious,” comes as the bank plans to offer high-yield online checking accounts amid intensifying competition. ING DIRECT will make the checking accounts, dubbed “Electric Orange,” available nationally Feb. 1. It plans a limited introduction next month, making checking available to 400,000 of its most active customers – ones who make frequent deposits and withdrawals in their online savings accounts. Kuhlmann said he hopes that in Electric Orange’s first year, half a million customers will sign up.

You won’t find information regarding Electric Orange on their open an account page just yet. It’ll be available in Feb. 1, 2007. You have to be “special” to be able to sign up right now. Until now, I didn’t even know I was “special”. Anyway, I applaud ING Direct for finally doing something right.

I’ve always wondered why checking accounts have little to no interest, when savings accounts can have such high interest rates. The only difference I can see is that there’s limited number of withdrawals and transfers for savings accounts and checking accounts are allowed to be linked with external sources. I don’t think ING Direct provides checks for these checking accounts, but you get a routing number and you can use it to pay bills. You can also have them write checks out for you.

The current interest rates for ING Direct checking is:

If your balance is:
$0-$49,999.99 – 2.96% APR / 3.00% APY
$50,000.00-$99,999.99 – 4.94% APR / 5.05% APY
$100,000.00 or more – 5.18% APR / 5.30% APY

Do note, it’s the same interest rate for your entire balance. Not tiered off like what many banks do. I quote: For example, if your balance is $55,000, you earn a great 5.05% APY on the entire balance.

Personally, I don’t see myself having over $50k inside a checking or even savings account. If I have that much, I’d rather invest it, but even at 3%, it’s much better than my 0% at Bank of America. In fact, it’s infinitely many times better. ;p Since I keep about 2x my monthly mortgage payments in there, that’s an extra $150 every year. Not bad.

However, the coolest part is that transfers between your ING savings account and ING checking account are instantaneous, which I’ve confirmed with an ING customer service rep. That means you can keep all your money in the higher 4.5% APY interest rate account and only transfer the amount you need into your checking at 3% APY. I was planning to do this with HSBC, where I have all my money in the 5.05% APY savings account, and when I needed it, transfer it instantaneously into my HSBC checking account. However, I didn’t ever really get enough motivation to open a new checking account with HSBC, since there was no other benefit that I could see. So I’ve been sticking with the 3 day transfers from HSBC to Bank of America for awhile, and never really had much problems with it. I actually think transfers between HSBC and Bank of America has shortened to between 1 and 2 days, though I’m not certain. The last few times I initiated a transfer occurred rather quickly.

They do have ATM support. I should be receiving my debit card sometime soon, though I hardly ever think I’d need to withdraw money from those accounts. I’ll still keep aside some cash inside my Bank of America account just for cash withdrawal purposes.

Anyway, I hope to start seeing more high interest rate checking accounts now that ING Direct has started to lead the way. I’ve already reconfigured all my credit cards and mortgage payments to withdraw from this new account, so everything’s pretty much set. If you want to open a ING Direct account and want a referral to start with a $25 bonus, feel free to email me your first and last name and your email address to ingreferral@krunk4ever.com leave a comment and I’ll get back to you asap. I’ve already blocked the email address as it was starting to get spammed.