Scam alert – web designers targeted – hearing impaired wants agroamerica site

I moved this post about agroamerica scam to my main blog:

Also read the Forum post here:

  • Ultimately, he wanted to send me the amount of the project plus an additional $2700 which I was then to pay his content manager.
  • Post any online classified ad and you’ll get a bunch of quick replies from people “interested in your item” they all use this we’ll send you extra money ploy. The check is always counterfeit.

In my full post I list  the 2 exchanges I had recently…. luckily that second one tipped me off that the first one was a scam. I didn’t waste time sending them a proposal.

A comment: That scam is almost as old as the rich africans trying to get their money out of the country. …. The check is always counterfeit.


How to use hashtags on

While you can create and view hashtags on the instagram app you can’t view hashtags on the website.

There are a bunch of limitations on how you can interact with your account via the website – it doesn’t offer all the features of the app. It’s very confusing since many other online services (like Facebook) offer full functionality on both website and app.

You can see lots of notes about how to use the API that show you  ways to display hashtag-sorted images yet itself doesn’t offer any way to view by hashtag. “Hashtag instagram” is a very popular question online but the answer is confusing if you are not on the app.

Dollar to Yen exchange – cash vs travelers cheques vs USPS money order vs ATM


I had a hard time getting straight answers from my bank – they didn’t know what rate they would give at foreign ATMs for example. So here’s my current research.

This page for the airport exchange rates shows a full 3% better rate for exchanges done with TC vs cash:
The airport in Japan has a reliably good rate compared to other money exchange options.

Today (8/8/2014) buying Yen via cash at the airport is at 98.75
and T/C is at 100.75 (travelers cheques)
Interbank rate is 101.86 (not what it’s really called I guess)

So it seems travelers checques (T/C) are best — but if you have to pay for them you will quickly cut into whatever savings you might see. Many banks no longer offer them at all. If you have an American Express card you may be able to get them free.

I heard that USPS (Post Office) International postal money orders were a good deal but the max amount is $700 and there is a $5 fee. So that’s a .7% fee. You can buy as many as you want but each one maxes out at $700. One big advantage is that you get a receipt and can get them back if you lose them – it’s not a simple process but it is possible. You need to make them out to yourself – or whomever is to receive the money – as soon as you get them.

I just went to a Japanese post office (JapanPost) to exchange the USPS postal money order that I bought at USPS and got a rate of 100.60. Note that you need to have something with your address on it so you might want your passport plus a drivers license since passports usually don’t have addresses in them.

So now we know that the exchange rate at a Japanese post office is similar to T/C rate (I could not find that info online anywhere). Since the T/C rate is about 3% I saved about 2.3%. On $1000 that would be $23.


Here’s a sample transaction:
$245.60 for ¥25,000 yen = a rate of 101.79
(101.91 was the interbank rate that day – That’s what I call it but someone out there can give me a better term?)

So that’s a great rate (I paid no fees) but…. there are usually extra fees – and lots of them. Some banks waive fees under certain circumstances.

typical fees:

  • @1% percentage fees “conversion fee”

plus fixed fees:

  • $5 (charged by Wells Fargo)
  • $2 or $3 local bank fee

Wells Fargo gives discounts on some PMA accounts – 2 withdrawals per month for free (2 per account per statement month) – but that only waives the $5 fee. Other PMA accounts get both fees waived for unlimited withdrawals.

So one trick is to raise your  withdrawal limit so you can get more money at one time. Any bank will do that – limits usually start at $300 and I’m not sure what the upper limit might be. But if you have to pay $5 or more per transaction then having a high limit will make that a low relative %.


  • percentage fees
  • 3% fee for debit charges – or free for some accounts

1 USD = 101.7605 JPY


  • As of 11:30, Jun 11, 2013 T/C 97.80 CASH 95.80
  • As of 11:30, Jun 17, 2013 T/C 93.67 CASH 91.67

and now, one year later, it’s up about 10%: 100.75 (cash at 98.75)

Google offers a nice graph of the exchange rate of Yen to Dollar

Links about banks and ATMs

Extract address book from iPhone backup, convert AddressBook.sqlitedb to CSV for import to contacts free

This solution is for extracting from a backup on your mac. there are other option out there if you are trying to extract from a “live” iPhone or using a PC but i wanted to share a process that worked for me. No need to pay $30 or $99 for an app you only need to use for a few minutes.

1. start by using this free tool to extract AddressBook.sqlitedb from the backups stored on your mac: iPhone Backup Extractor from supercrazyawesome.

you will want to extract the last item on the list called “iOS Files” – it might take a while to download all those item.  open the iOS Files folder and  you will find a folder called “AddressBook” (it might be in the Library folder). that is the folder that contains AddressBook.sqlitedb

2. Open AddressBook database:

There are many paid options out there but here’s a free one: Open Firefox and install the SQLite Manager add-on for Firefox, restart firefox. Goto Web Developer->SQLite Manager. On SQLite Manager window click the open icon and selected AddressBook.sqlitedb.

3a. Open the Execute SQL tab and execute the following query

select ABPerson.prefix, ABPerson.first,ABPerson.last, ABMultiValue.value from ABPerson,ABMultiValue where ABMultiValue.record_id=ABPerson.ROWID

3b. if you want to get more details (notes, birthday +) use the following query

select ABPerson.prefix,ABPerson.suffix, ABPerson.first,ABPerson.middle,ABPerson.last, ABMultiValue.value, ABPerson.note, ABPerson.nickname, ABPerson.organization, ABPerson.department, ABPerson.jobtitle, ABPerson.birthday from ABPerson,ABMultiValue where ABMultiValue.record_id=ABPerson.ROWID

4. Hit the Actions button and choose Save Result(CSV) to file

now you can import that CSV into the contacts app using the ‘import’ function. it even has a ‘look for duplicates’ option that can help if anything went wrong in this process.