Archive for December, 2009

What to do with a large pile of coins

December 30, 2009 10am in Random Ramblings | Comments (6)

If you have a large pile of change (I won’t say a large pile of cash as some people say… last time I checked coins are still cash!), and you’re adverse to being charged to deposit it in the bank… what can you do?

During the year I save up all the small coins from my spare change (usually anything smaller than 50p but any coin if I suddenly end up with a large amount in my wallet) in a money tin and open it at the end of the year. I did this the other night, and ended up with £81.01 (and 60 New Zealand cents). Not a bad haul for the year, although I was secretly hoping for over £100.

A pile of coins I A pile of coins II A pile of coins III

But then, once I’m left with this big pile of money… what do I do with it? Apparently banks or the Post Office don’t take big piles of coins anymore without charging for it… and the Coinstar coin sorting machines at the supermarket take 8% of your money as a fee. I don’t like paying a penny more than I have to so I had to use my imagination.

All my 50p coins went to buying a month’s worth of Lotto tickets in case my numbers come up while i’m in New Zealand in January.

All my 10p and 20p coins went into the London Underground Oyster ticket machines at Tower Hill and Monument. Luckily it was a quiet day and I didn’t hold anyone up standing there feeding 230-odd coins into the machine one at a time.

The thing with the Oyster ticket machines is that you’re only allowed to put in 17 or 18 coins at a time, any more than that and it spits them all back at you in such a way that you feel like you’ve just won the jackpot on a slot machine in Vegas. So I had to do it in 14 separate transactions. I’m surprised none of the staff came up to me and questioned me.

All my 5p coins went into the vending machines at work. The trick with these machines is that if I put in 20 coins to make £1, then press the coin reject button, it gives me back one pound coin rather than the 20 coins I originally put in.

All my 2p coins went into the Tesco self-checkout at Monument. Being a public holiday there was nobody in the queue and so I fed all 150 two-pence pieces into the self-checkout in one go (one at a time). I’m so glad it didn’t spit them all back out. I got some funny looks from the staff but nobody said anything.

I haven’t figured out what to do with 200 pennies. If I’m feeling brave I might go back to the Tesco self-checkout but I think I’ll probably go to the London Eye next week and give them to the street performers. I’m sure they’ll love me.

If the police ever check my travel record, it will look very dodgy… fourteen top-ups in a row and then I didn’t even travel anywhere:

Tube topups

It’s even coooolder…

December 18, 2009 4pm in Random Ramblings | Comments (1)

Last month I posted that it was five degrees…

Well now it’s 0 degrees! It’s cold alright. We were supposed to get heavy snow overnight, a lot of the country got it, but central London didn’t… how very boring.

I haven’t seen a negative value on the sign yet… but I’ve got my camera ready for that exciting occasion. It will be truly thrilling.

Circle Line extension for the tube

December 13, 2009 9pm in Travel | Comments (1)

Today the London Underground extended the Circle Line, now, after starting at Edgware Road, it does a full circle then continues to Hammersmith.

New Circle Line

It meant that today, after going to the huge Westfield in West London, I was able to get a tube from Wood Lane all the way home to Tower Hill without changing trains.

A minor help, although they said that the whole reason for the extension was to give the Circle Line a fixed start and end point to help improve reliability. However there was still the usual wait at Edgware Road, Baker Street and Aldgate, although perhaps the delay was fractionally shorter than usual. But it must suck to be those people who travelled westbound from Baker Street towards Notting Hill – they now have to change. Also it must be confusing for the tourists to have two Paddington stations on the same line.

In case you’re wondering what I bought at Westfield, I bought a milkshake with Reeces Pieces and Turkish Delight which I think had my whole daily calorie allowance in one milkshake (but damn it was good), and then I got a waterproof jacket for running in the winter, down to £13.99 from £42.99 from Sports Direct.

The neighbours are constantly banging on the wall

December 1, 2009 7pm in Random Ramblings | Comments (1)

The neighbours are constantly banging on the wall tonight… it’s so annoying :-(

I finally got a Google adsense payment!

December 1, 2009 4pm in Yes, I'm a geek. | Comments (3)

Google Adsense Bank StatementPrecisely four years after I first put Google Adsense ads on my games website, Google have finally given me some money! You can see it on my bank statement here.

For those of you who don’t know what it is, you can put ads on your webpages (see my website here, and also little ads that appear at the bottom of some posts on this blog), and if people that visit your site click them, you get a few cents. You don’t even have to choose the ads, Google does it for you.

However they won’t pay you until you reach 100 US Dollars. Since my website started off very small and without very much useful content, I figured I would never get there. Indeed, I started off by getting less than $1 per month (see the graph below. Note that the points on this graph are EARNINGS PER MONTH, not total earnings.

Google Adsense Earnings Per Month

Early this year (2009), we had a talk at our workplace from the creator of Java, and it inspired me to getting back into Java development. I wrote a couple of games in Java and put them on the website, and in the process put in a bit more colour to the site and jazzed it up a bit. Since then, my earnings increased a lot! In Nov 09, the month just gone, my website got me $25 US. Sure, not massive amounts of money, but I’m happy about it!

I’m not sure what caused the big spike in November 2008, I think my website got a mention somewhere on a major internet forum, but if you discard that month it seems that my website has got steadily more and more popular this year. If only it made about 10x times as much as it does, then I could work on it full time from home and never have to go into the office again!

It just goes to show, put some effort into your site and you might just make some money from it. You probably won’t get megabucks like you see in those online ads (“I made $5,000 a day from Google Adsense!”) but it’s a nice little hobby.

New Passport Photo

December 1, 2009 3pm in Random Ramblings | Comments (1)

Do you like my new passport photo?

Muhahahahaaaaa. I look evil.

And I’m not even looking directly at the camera!