Xero’s Paypal feed is crap

I’ve been setting up a new paypal account and I thought it would be nice to get the feed of transactions directly into Xero. Unfortunately Xero’s PayPal feed doesn’t understand how PayPal initially puts your transactions on hold until your account is fully verified. This leads to having your transactions incorrectly imported twice (with incorrect values) into Xero.

I showed the error to Xero and after quite a bit of nagging them to follow it up, giving them futher evidence of the error whey they tried to deny it they eventually came back with a solution of “just manually delete the extra transactions”. This defeates the entire purpose of the feed. Well done Xero! *slow clap*

Here is their support response for your viewing pleasure:

Hi Jason

It appears that PayPal are putting a hold on these transactions when they occur and releasing the funds to your account at a later date.

What this means is that the feed is correctly importing the Gross amount and Fee amount at the correct date and when the net amount has been released to your account later in the month by PayPal, the feed is picking this up as a new transaction.

We’d suggest deleting the incorrect Net amounts that have imported. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Xero Help Centre: Delete a Bank Statement Line

Kind regards

One of the major selling points of Xero is their feed integration, but if they can’t even get PayPal right, what’s the point?

Uniquify your Buffer Names in emacs with use-package

Recently I have been working on projects that often have multiple files of the same name. By default emacs doesn’t give much information to help you switch between the buffers of open files of the same name. At the same moment that I was thinking I need to find a solution to this Pragmatic Emacs posted a nice little solution using uniquify.

This is how do the same using use-package:

(use-package uniquify
  (setq uniquify-buffer-name-style 'forward)
  (setq uniquify-separator "/")
  (setq uniquify-after-kill-buffer-p t)    ; rename after killing uniquified
  (setq uniquify-ignore-buffers-re "^\\*") ; don't muck with special buffers


FreeTDS is a bag of razorblades use, Microsoft ODBC Driver for Linux instead

According to @mst FreeTDS is a bag of razorblades.

That’s right folks, don’t use it. The new way to go is Microsoft ODBC Driver for SQL Server on Linux.

Unfortunately its a nightmare to install on debian. Luckily some very smart people wrote a lovely little howto: Install and Configure the MS ODBC Driver on Debian.

BPay View feedback

Dear CommBank,

While I think NetBank is great, the BPayView part seriously lets it down. I tweeted my feelings about this and you asked for feedback, so here it is:

1. It silently lets the biller prevent you from viewing older bills. eg. I cannot view Sydney Water bills older than 6 months. but you don’t know this until you try to view the bill, you seen the “This bill is unable to be opened at this time.” and then you call tech support and they inform you that Sydney Water prevents bills older than 6 months from being viewed.
2. It auto archives bills after 18 months. This should be at least 2 years if not 7 in my opinion
3. if you open a bill and try to save the PDF, the PDF is not named something sensible so you can quickly save it and move on to the next bill, making saving bills a tiresome slow process.
4. There should be an option to email the bills to you as a PDF as and when they become available.
5. The archived bills view is useless a it does not show the date of the bill or anything useful about the bill except the amount. This is maddeningly annoying.
6. You cannot open archived bills. well this wouldn’t be such a problem if points 2,4 and 5 were taken care of.

Letter to the minister for small business about slow Internet in Australia

Today I wrote to the minister for small business complaining about the crap Internet in this country. I urge you to write to your MPs also if you think the lack of NBN is a problem.

Dear Mr Billson,

I’d just like to express my concern over the woeful state of Internet in Australia.

As a small business owner, I’m finding it prohibitively expensive to get a decent Internet connection for my business and since the government scuttled the NBN its looking increasingly like fast Internet is basically only for big businesses or people with a lot of money.

Please can you do something to get cheap fast Internet for small business?

I did write to Mr Turnbull about this and the best he could come up with was to blame Labor. I’m sick of hearing excuses. I need action in order for my business to remain viable and continue providing employment to Australian Tax Payers. Fast and cheap Internet is part of what I need to do that.

Thanks for listening

Clock Part 3

I finally finished the outer case of my clock. Only 19 layers of 3mm acrylic stacked on top of each other.

Laser cutting the rear panel and finger slot
red perspex box with clock electronics showing, rear lid off
Rear panel with finger slot and barrel jack holder
rear panel of clock with wire going into the finger slot
Barrel Jack inside the finger slot

I built a finger slot into the back of the clock so it’s easier to carry, but also to house the barrel jack for mounting the clock flush to the wall, allowong me to hide the power cord in the wall (oneday)

pile of acrylic sheets neetly lined up
This is the pile of acrylic I had to cut out of the inside of the clock.

That pile on the left was cut out to make the cavity in the case.


Launch emacs from cygwin

I have written about about using emacs in cygwin and how to launch emacs from cygwin, but I had some problems with the batch file approach in that emacs’ path differ from bash’s. Then ack fails to work from within emacs which makes me sad.

After googling around a bit, I saw a few suggestion that trie to fix the path in emacs, but I think a better approach is to launch emacs from within bash so it inherits the bash environment.

Here is my attempt using vbscript:

Dim WinScriptHost
Set WinScriptHost = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

strCmd = "C:\cygwin\bin\bash --login -c '/usr/local/bin/emacsclient -c -a /usr/local/bin/emacs.exe"

    If WScript.Arguments.Count = 1 Then
        'strCmd = strCmd & " " &"""" & WScript.Arguments(0) & """'" 
		wScript.Echo strCmd
		strCmd = strCmd & "'" 'close single quote
    End If

WinScriptHost.Run strCmd,0 
Set WinScriptHost = Nothing

Save that script somewhere and then make a Windows Shortcut to it but incle the wscript.exe in the target:

C:\Windows\System32\wscript.exe C:\Users\jason\launchemacs1.vbs

You can then launch it from the Start Menu in Windows 7.

I wrote to Turnbull to complain about the lack of NBN. Here is his reply

After traveling to New Zealand for #lca2015 and experiencing fibre to the home at my friends house, I decided to write to Malcolm Turnbull to express my concern about the slow rollout of the NBN in Australia.

He actually personally replied directly to my email only 4 hours later. In the interest of openness I am putting the whole email below. I have rearranged it to fix the topposting.

The tl;dr is “It’s all Labor’s fault”

My email to Mal. (I think we can say we are on first name terms now)

From: Jason Lewis
Sent: Tuesday, 20 January 2015 1:52 PM
To: Turnbull, Malcolm (MP)
Subject: NBN Roll-out

Dear Mr Turnbull,

I’m writing to express my concern with the woefully slow roll-out of the

I’ve recently been travelling in other countries where fibre to the home
is already commonplace and it makes the Australian broadband offering
feel terribly inadequate.

I feel this will lead to a further reduction in Australia’s
international competitiveness.

Please devote more resources to speeding up the roll-out.



And his response:

Dear Jason,

Thanks for your candid comments.

Unfortunately Labor significantly underestimated the cost and complexity of this project and, as a result, released rollout schedules that were unrealistic and inaccurate.

For instance, Labor originally forecast that 2.7 million houses would be passed by fibre by 30 June 2014. In NBN Co’s last Corporate Plan released in August 2012, it was revised to 1.3 million houses passed by fibre. The comprehensive Strategic Review completed in December 2013 however, found that the NBN would only pass 467,000 houses with fibre by 30 June 2014. The actual number reached by 1 July 2014 was 492,000 premises – less than one-fifth of the original target.

I highlighted the problems which Labor created with their false rollout expectations in a recent blog available here: www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/media/trying-to-make-sense-of-the-confused-and-confusing-mr-clare1

In addition, the Government recently undertook a Broadband Availability and Quality Report, which found that there are more than 1.6 million premises across Australia with very poor or no fixed broadband access at all. However, Labor made no effort to prioritise these areas in their rollout.

The Government has instructed NBN Co to revise its current rollout schedule to meet three key objectives:

  1. To ensure that the underserved areas in Australia are prioritised in the NBN Co rollout. On average, areas with very poor broadband will receive upgrades two years sooner.
  2. To ensure that the NBN upgrades are delivered sooner and more affordably, by using a mix of technologies. The Strategic Review found that under the model adopted by the Coalition, the project will be finished four years sooner than would have otherwise been the case.
  3. To ensure that information provided in the public domain is accurate and can be relied upon by businesses and households waiting for broadband upgrades.

The fact is that the NBN, up to the election, had reached only three per cent of Australian premises after four years and $6.4 billion of funding.

NBN Co is now determining which technologies are most cost effective and should be utilised on an area-by-area basis so as to minimise peak funding, optimise economic returns and deliver broadband upgrades sooner. This is highly demanding and complex work which involves renegotiating deals with Telstra and Optus to take over portions of their fixed line networks. Naturally this is taking time to complete.

In the meantime, NBN Co has continued to expand its fibre network in areas where construction contracts had been signed at the time of the election. Across the country, more than 500,000 premises have been passed by NBN fibre and work is underway to extend the network to reach a further 600,000 premises.

Sites that are not currently represented on the NBN Co maps are being reviewed in line with rollout priorities. Importantly, the network will continue to be built on a state-of-the-art platform, but will use existing infrastructure where it makes sense to do so. In areas where work has not commenced, NBN Co will be making decisions about construction on the basis of review findings. NBN Co is significantly advanced in planning the multi-technology mix and rollout plans will be publicly released once they are completed. More information about the NBN rollout will be published by NBN Co on its website www.nbnco.com.au when it is available.

You may also be interested to know that the Government has secured the progressive transfer of the necessary parts of Telstra’s copper and HFC (pay TV) cable networks to NBN Co at no additional expense. Telstra’s 1.4 million shareholders have been ‘kept whole’ in keeping with the Government’s pre-election commitment.
These agreements are a key milestone in shifting the NBN to the Multi Technology Mix the company has determined is its optimal strategy. The December 2013 Strategic Review found the shift to a multi-technology NBN will reduce its cost by $30 billion, and save at least four years in construction time.
Importantly, under these agreements, NBN Co will make use of Telstra’s copper and HFC networks (i.e. the network used to deliver pay television) rather than decommissioning and wasting these assets, as Labor had planned.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Turnbull