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Julian's Fx Game - play monopoly for real and learn how global money really works
iPad News
Image by Julian Partridge
* love your banker [I do :))]


My bank worker this Monday, when I hogged the counter for a good ten minutes (again) ... deliberately doing all sorts of transactions that you just can't do using Barclays robot bank workers [more coming to your bank very soon], when I asked him if he would get into trouble for spending so much time with me on my little banking-for-fun weekly routine, said to me: You are unique!

I enjoyed hearing that that was my reputation.


You see, I have been going in to collect my benefits in cash every Monday, like clockwork. [It's on my DWAS turbine list.]

But I am a social creature - I like to chat-up the workers there. I like to have fun!

Standing outside in the freezing rain pressing socially retarded buttons on the bank's socially retarded cash dispensing robot worker's face, just has no joy or beauty to it for me. Why would I want to do that!?

So I decided I'd queue and speak to a real human each week, and then use this as an opportunity to have a bit more of a life.... And, it dawned on me: to create [protect] jobs.

For spending face time with a real human face at a real human physical speaking distance from them, is - economically speaking - value added and fully activating the labour pool. But the morality in this has become a bit messed up.

We complain about waiting too long in service queues, and our service workers may be getting stressed that the customers are getting frustrated. So Julian asking for his £70 dole-out in 2013 mint coinage and notage of every variety might appear somewhat insensitive!?

Or the bank [a global financial entity - competing globally --- with itself!] might well have a [local] target to achieve so many minutes per customer transaction [I'm sure they do!] and so then put pressure on their local branch managers to achieve this [via a bonus reduction for failure perhaps] who'd then in turn put [unfair] pressure on their workers to achieve this for them [workers may even be on piece work to motivate them - common at callcentres for instance].

In this case, Julian would be "using their own time" [my doctor used this phrase to me recently about an appointment he'd made for me - even tho he's paid for every minute he books for servicing me] and so Julian would be... what?.... taking more than his fare share, perhaps!? Robbing the other customers in the queue, maybe!? Certainly, my service worker would not be enjoying the joint experience as much as I. So I wouldn't want to mess him about if that were so - and I asked my bank guy to make sure on this. [he was perfectly happy, but did point out that the customers waiting behind me would not be so happy -- I said I didn't care about them]

But those "moral" niceties are only happening because we have been duped into brain death when it comes to knowing what enjoyable work and service and value for money is!

I see it this way: if Julian makes a meal of his weekly banking transaction **and we all do this - globally** then there will be less robots and a lot more real jobs. [ridiculous!? I know!!]


One of the games I invented to fill my weekly banking routine is this one. Fx trading as a game - just for the fun of it [note: you WILL lose money].

I started buying foreign currency - I like to look at the pictures. I LOVE to imagine travelling again. [And I am intrigued as to just how many foreign notes have our beautiful Queen on them!?]

And in my bank, when you buy foreign currency, the operator has a drop-down box on his computer terminal listing some 55 currencies that he can sell you [I asked how many there were early on, and the bank guy happily counted them for me].

So I made this little pocket game card which I keep with my bank card, as a 7X8 grid, and I throw a dice or use some other random number generator [like asking the worker what her star sign month is] to ask for a new unused grid number - "47" say - and the operator counts down 47 lines in his drop-down box and selects that currency item. And then he/she tells me what it is ("CHF" in this case) and I order the smallest amount on offer - typically it's around £5's worth. I mark this code on my little pocket game card (it's a bit like doing a lottery card) and then bid the nice worker [we are quite friendly now after weeks of this stuff] a Very Good Day.

And I walk out with a smile, every week!! [and the bonus-obsessed bank manager grits his/her teeth again, behind my back, no doubt!]

The next week, the same routine happens, and it is now that I ask to collect my foreign currency order - it comes in a nice wallet with all the trade details.

At home I open up this and I enjoy discovering what it is.

Where is it? Who is portrayed on it's design? What is the exchange rate? would I want to go there for a visit?

It's just a little collection hobby thing. But it's got nice elements; like the goal of filling the whole grid (will take 55 weeks) and like when as a kid we'd open up windows on an advent calendar excitedly on the countdown to Christmas (only just once per week in this case)...

Simple pleasures... Nice!


What about making money!?


The fine the bank takes from you on the turn is HUGE! 10-20% easily - the "zero commission" offers they all make are misleading -- I think this is a learning point worth exploring, right there!

And since you will be buying a roughly equal portion of ALL main global currencies over time, you will probably find that on aggregate your holding is nominally constant -- after all, all currencies can't go down at the same time, can they!? Another learning point worth exploring!

But it's fun just to explore.

You can record the price you paid when you got into a currency item. And you can track it's current spot price. And maybe, just maybe, one currency might change in your favour so you ~could~ find one day that the bank's buyback offer price is favourable, and that you'd then get back a little more GBP than you originally spent.

So I extended my game to track the prices and if the spot price goes favourable, to colour it yellow, and if it should actually go past the bank's hefty turn percentage, colour it purple and then sell it back (if you want). That's when I made this google spreadsheet, to automatically track the market prices for each of the currencies in my game card. [the spreadsheet lets you enter your buy codes, rates and dates, and it then automatically looks up market prices for you via google finance, and colours the grid for you. And the spreadsheet also gives you a link to go straight to the google finance chart for that currency, so you can explore change history and trends and news etc etc. Neat, huh!? :)]

I then extended the spreadsheet so it gives you a link to go "visit" the country as well (via google maps) - this would be the best fun for me: to actually do a short trip to the source of each currency that I now owned, and maybe go buy something of that precise value in the local markets there to bring home and show off to my friends... -- now that might well be a good way to "make money" by this!! - to actually buy a good and import it for your own enjoyment [and that will certainly create a few more jobs, globally, too!]...

...Lots of learning activities possible here, both virtually and in classroom, as well as for real.

[and maybe one or two new jobs created into the bargain!!]


So then:

How many squares on my game care will change colour!? How many will go purple!?

How many new countries will I enjoy!!??

And how many new friends shall I meet?


See also:

See my own live game board here

Follow my fx adventures via the #fxgame tag

Get a copy of the spreadsheet and set-up your own game via #openREDtools



If you want to license my game design to build an iPad app, say, do give me a buzz! [I need to make a living somehow!]





Of course, if my bank started charging me per minute of my new found friendly human banker's face time, well then I'd go immediately outside into the freezing rain and go use one of their soulless robots - no question.

AND acknowledgements to the 'Ally McBeal' Barclays Fx minx who had fun developing this game with me [a most un-fuddy-duddy banker!!] - thx :))


Subway Time
iPad News
Image by MTAPhotos
MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota in Grand Central Terminal on Fri., December 28, 2012 where they announced the launch of the Subway Time app. The program allows customers to determine the location of the nearest subway from their iPhones, iPads, and computers. Currently available on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 lines and the 42nd Street Shuttle, Subway Time is expected to be expanded as infrastructure allows.

Photo: MTA New York City Transit/Marc Hermann.

Hussein Moustafa showing photos on iPad at Egypt democracy solidarity #Jan25 rally at United Nation Plaza in San Francisco 21
iPad News
Image by Steve Rhodes
Video of Hussein Moustafa showing Egypt democracy photos on iPad at #Jan25 San Francisco march (shows cycle of words and photos)

The next protest is 1 pm Saturday Feb 5th at UN Plaza

People are also meeting at 2 pm on Tues Feb 1 to speak at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in support of an Egypt resolution

FB event for this (jan 29) protest

Photos from Wednesday protest in SF