Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Just call me Alex

I'm having an agreeable yuppie fantasy today.

That probably sounds contradictory. What it involves is a little window in the corner of my second monitor that shows me the exchange rate between the UK pound and the NZ dollar, and -- and this is the nifty bit -- updates itself once per minute. This window is provided courtesy xe.com, a lovely little site that epitomises the service industry ideal of doing one thing and doing it well. And, most importantly, for free.

This rate is of interest to me because I still have a noticeable amount of money in the UK, and I've been meaning to bring it over, for house-buying purposes, when the rate looks good. As I type this, 1GBP would buy me NZ$2.68159, up from $2.67496 when I first checked this morning.

Over the day, the pound has been trending slightly upwards. But every time I watch it actually make its update, the pound weakens (which is bad). It's almost touched 2.686, before dropping back again when I got too excited and began watching too closely.

This is, of course, entirely in keeping with the known laws of economics, and will come as no surprise to anyone.

When the rate hits 2.71 -- which, for the record, I don't think is going to happen this week -- I'll call my trader and finally switch over my millions from sterling. That's the agreeable fantasy part, anyway. In the meantime, however, it really is pretty exciting to watch it out of the corner of my eye.

(D'oh! Just lost another $200.)

So here's this information that, when I was entering the job market, would have been available only to braying young wine-bar-haunting gits with bicycle clips on their sleeves, whose employers paid more for the service than for the people to watch it... and today, it's freely available to anyone with a broadband connection. Today, a mere twenty years too late to make my fortune, I get to play at being a yuppie for free, without even having to take time out from my real job.

That's so cool.

Addendum (added Thursday lunchtime): So much for my powers of prediction. Today the pound is over $2.72. I'm not pushing my luck any further.

4 comments:

Deadlyjelly said...

So, are you rich now? Yay, drinks on you!

I'm not going to install that currency app because I just know I could spend HOURS sitting there watching it. I've decided to get a glass kettle, that'll keep me amused for a while

vet said...

I can afford a cup of tea, if that's any help.

It's not an app, so much as a miniature browser window that sits there. Takes up quite a lot of screen space, really, for what it is. But a glass kettle would be way more useful. Nifty, too, until it gets all scaled and icky inside.

Ruby Apolline said...

Oh Em Gee. I love that website. Sometimes, I like to check how the American dollar is doing against the French Polynesian franc, because it seems like the thing to do.

I wish you all the best in your new career as a currency...um...observer.

Eric Lester said...

We can see stock prices anywhere, look at hundreds of bank websites to find a good place to save or borrow money, and research just about anything we might be thinking about investing in.

We can get all the information that used to be only available through Real Estate agents, look at thousands of classified ads for employment, services, or things we want to purchase, and read independently written consumer reviews of products and services without leaving home.

We can communicate instantly in writing with people all the way on the other side of the world for pennies. We can share pictures, videos, and audio recordings.

This has all been true for about ten years. Granted, the 'net was around before that, but prior to 1998 or '99 there wasn't much broadband around, at least in the USA.

What will the next ten years bring?