Being Cellfish

Stuff I wished I've found in some blog (and sometimes did)

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  • Blog Post: My daughter have no parents or why would the data be normalized

    A Swedish friend who just had twins here in the US asked me about the passport troubles we had with my daughter (who is also born in the US) so that they could avoid it. It's quite a fun story so here it is. First a little background; in Sweden everybody gets a "personal number" (kind of like social...
  • Blog Post: Green card medical exam

    In order to get a green card (permanent residency in the US) you need to undergo a medical exam. And only a few certified physicians can do this. Part of the exam they must verify your gender which apparently can be quite uncomfortable if you're a woman and your physician has a bad day. So here's a tip;...
  • Blog Post: Make sure you have a backup plan when relocating

    Some banks are really paranoid. Which is good since it means they want to protect my money. The problem is that the time difference and distance to Sweden makes it a little bit cumbersome at times... I wish somebody told me to give my parents power of attorney before I moved. That would have saved me...
  • Blog Post: What morale events look like

    The thing about ship parties made me think about a more common event at Microsoft; Morale events . What I've seen is that depending on who's the hosting manager (i.e. the manager that is everybody else's boss directly or indirectly) your morale event will be different. On one end of the spectrum we have...
  • Blog Post: Having a ship party at Microsoft

    The best thing about relocating to Redmond is the opportunity to attend ship parties. Assuming that you work on a shipping product... I would like to add a few things to this list : Do not light a cigarette next to somebody covered in silly-string. Do not work on a team that saves budget unless...
  • Blog Post: Can your code handle a räksmörgås?

    Räksmörgås is Swedish for prawn sandwich and is often used when testing computer systems since it contains all three of the "extra" Swedish characters (ÅÄÖ). While that may be an interesting test I stumbled over this old thing called a Turkey test today and I think it is brilliant. Especially since I...
  • Blog Post: Improving meetings with ROTI

    There are two things people seam to love at Microsoft; Meetings and email. The latter needs a quick mentioning; there is definitely a culture at Microsoft where a lot of people tend to send email rather than walk a few meters to somebody else's office and actually talk to them. Enough about that. Meetings...
  • Blog Post: Spelling in English

    Sorry for this, but I've noticed lately that one thing I learned in the army has been very useful when moving to the US. And that is using the NATO Spelling Alphabet . The last years before the move the Swedish army started to use NATO standards for call signs, moving toward using English in all regular...
  • Blog Post: PAL to NTCS converter

    Finding a good PAL to NTCS converter turned out to be harder than expected. I needed something for my Wii, DVD player and digital video camera. And also something that would work with the TV I got. Turned out I had to dig a little bit more into my pocket than expected but so far I'm satisfied with my...
  • Blog Post: Cash register feature

    A funny thing I've experienced here in the US is how the cash register systems at Fred Meyer and QFC (two large food store chains which apparently have the same owner). Most stores have offers where you get a discount when you buy more than one item ( 2 for $5 or $3 each ). The funny thing about Fred...
  • Blog Post: The amazing auto woman

    For the first time in my life I've bought a car without the feeling of getting ripped off by the car dealer. I'm not particulary interested in cars and especially not in how they work and what makes a car better than another. I select car purly on feeling. I also hate negotiating. So when I found out...
  • Blog Post: Getting a drivers license in the US

    Getting a drivers license in the US is not the same thing as in Sweden. First of all the booklet you can read to study is much shorter. At least in state Washington. The written test is 25 multiple choice questions and you need 20 correct answers. Since the test is computerized you actually only have...
  • Blog Post: Mobile phone costs in the US

    So today I finally got my mobile phone service set up. And how mobile services are billed in the US is quite different than how it works in Sweden. The basic rule in Sweden is that if you do not make the call, you don't pay. That is, you pay nothing to receive calls and you pay nothing to receive text...
  • Blog Post: Relocation trip

    The relocation trip was interesting. Half an hour before we were scheduled to land in Amsterdam we got redirected to Brussels due to this . A quarter of an hour later we started to descend fast in order to land at Amsterdam after all. So we made our connection flight as scheduled. Regarding traveling...
  • Blog Post: Open Space Party

    Yesterday a number of my friends had organized a " reunion farewell party ". Reunion since many of the guys had not seen each other for several years. Preparing for the party we had a lot of discussions on what would happen because we expected it to get pretty wild. That was when it struck me that a...
  • Blog Post: Taks boards in real life

    Relocating half the way around the world takes some planning. As usual when we have a lot of stuff that needs to be done, me and my wife use Post-Its (in this case super sticky sortable cards) and write down every task that needs to be done. Generally we also sort the tasks having the most important...
  • Blog Post: Expensive fraud prevention fee

    When you apply for a US Visa you have to pay a fee of $131 per applicant. Depending on type of visa you might also have to pay a $500 fraud prevention fee. I paid all this in advance and went happy to the US embassy this morning. It was pretty cold so standing in line outside for an hour with a one year...
  • Blog Post: Yet Another Tale from an Interview

    There seems to be a lot of myths around the interview procedure at Microsoft. I had my interview a little more than a year ago and coming from Sweden it was a big difference to have the interview in the US. The interview is (as described in the myths) basically two parts. First half is number of people...
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