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Author: Chris

How to exchange USD (and other foreign currency) to GBP within UK without paying rip off exchange rates

How to exchange USD (and other foreign currency) to GBP within UK without paying rip off exchange rates

Converting foreign currency to Great Britain Pounds (GBP) within the UK is often accompanied by steep buyback rates that may cost you upwards of 20% of the amount you wish to convert. A client of mine recently had this experience; while she was living in UK, she initially only carried United States Dollars (USD) in cash; she faced a dilemma – being ripped off at an airport travel exchange when converting, or being slightly less ripped off at the Post Office, John Lewis, or M&S where their GBP buyback rates are also high. Thankfully, we found another solution for her which I will share here.

The solution is quite simple, but requires you to register for an HSBC account in UK and opening a free Current Account. You can do this online and it only takes a few moments to fill out the form and then a few days of waiting for the card to arrive in the mail, but the wait is worth it if you are converting a non-insignificant amount of cash. I can confirm this works if you follow these steps, provided you qualify for an account. Here are the steps:

  1. Register for an HSBC UK Current Account online. You can do this completely online without having to go to a branch. It may be instant, or worst case, you have to wait for the card in the mail.
  2. Once your account is open, install the HSBC UK mobile app and set up online banking through the app.
  3. Once logged on, open HSBC Global Money Account in the application. This is instant.
  4. Now, open an HSBC Currency Account in USD. This is also instant. To do this, log onto the HSBC website and register.
  5. That’s it. You can now go to the branch and deposit USD into your currency account. After, you can use HSBC currency converter or transfer it out to Wise or another online exchange of your choice, or use the HSBC rate which is much better than the aforementioned routes earlier.

Final thoughts; Although HSBC wouldn’t be my primary choice for a bank, I’d recommend HSBC over Barclay’s. I originally tried to do this with Barclay’s but their customer service were terrible and unhelpful. They claim to offer online services, but then registration is followed with an in-person visit to a branch where their staff, based on my client, are rude and borderline racist. Talking to three different Barclay’s staff, each one iterated over a list of excuses about why they didn’t want to take on a large account which would have profited their institution. It was very bizarre, I have never seen so many employees in customer service not want to do the bare minimum to open a basic account.

Stop Unity from compiling every time you save a script in Visual Studio

Stop Unity from compiling every time you save a script in Visual Studio

It can quickly become a frustrating experience when one small change and save to a script causes your entire project to recompile in Unity when tabbing back and forth from Unity and Visual Studio (VS). This is especially frustrating if you tab back and forth frequently, only to be prompted with the script recompiling loading bar.

Googling this and looking for a solution on StackExchange, Unity discussion forum, among other places, the responses do not directly address the question. Some people have recommend disabling Unity Editor Auto Refresh in the General options in Unity 2021 or earlier, or Asset Pipeline in Unity 2022 or later. Unfortunately, this doesn’t respond to this specific issue. Another recommendation is to add Burst in Unity’s Package Manager – and while this improves and optimizes compilation, it does not stop every small save in VS from compiling. In fact, the solution is not found in Unity Editor, but rather, in VS which is refreshing Unity’s AssetDatabase through Tools for Unity every time a file is saved.

There’s a really simple solution in Visual Studio:

In Visual Studio 2019 or 2022, click Tools -> Options -> Tools for Unity -> Refresh Unity’s AssetDatabase on save -> Set to False.

Then close and reopen Unity and Visual Studio for the changes to take place. That’s it. And when you do want to compile, simply press Ctrl + R within the Unity Editor.

A thread safe way of updating the main thread from another thread in Unity

A thread safe way of updating the main thread from another thread in Unity

As you develop your game or project, you may require updating the main thread from within another thread. If you’re stuck and need a solution, here’s a quick way to get things moving.

The code defines a class named MainThreadDispatcher. This class is designed to enable the execution of actions on the main Unity thread from other threads in a thread-safe manner. It accomplishes this by using a ConcurrentQueue to store and process actions, and ConcurrentQueue handles all synchronization internally.

The Update method is automatically called once per frame by Unity, and it dequeues and executes actions from the concurrentActionQueue while ensuring that the operation is thread-safe. Additionally, a static method EnqueueAction is provided to allow other parts of the code to enqueue actions for execution on the main thread.

This mechanism is useful for handling tasks that require interaction with Unity’s main thread from background or worker threads, such as updating UI elements, handling game events, or modifying Unity objects in a thread-safe way.

To use this, create a GameObject in your scene and attach a script with the following:

using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using UnityEngine;
using System.Collections.Concurrent;
using System;

public class MainThreadDispatcher : MonoBehaviour
    private static ConcurrentQueue<Action> concurrentActionQueue = new ConcurrentQueue<Action>();

    // Update is called once per frame
    void Update()
        while (concurrentActionQueue.TryDequeue(out var actionItem))
    public static void EnqueueAction(Action action)

ThreadWorker example to test the MainThreadDispatcher:

MainThreadDispatcher.EnqueueAction method queues an actions for execution on the Unity main thread. A lambda expression is used to encapsulate a set of actions. By enqueuing this lambda expression, it ensures that these actions are performed on the main thread, thereby safely allowing changes to Unity objects and user interface elements without risking threading issues.

using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using UnityEngine;
using System.Threading;

public class ThreadedWork : MonoBehaviour
    private bool isUpdating = false;
    void Start()
        // Start a background thread to perform work
        Thread backgroundThread = new Thread(PerformBackgroundWork);
    private void PerformBackgroundWork()
            // Simulate some work on a different thread
            // To update the main thread, enqueue an action
            MainThreadDispatcher.EnqueueAction(() =>
                isUpdating = true;
                // Perform any updates or modifications to Unity objects here

                isUpdating = false;
Simple ChatGPT Telegram Multi Chat Bot Windows Console Application

Simple ChatGPT Telegram Multi Chat Bot Windows Console Application

This simple console application interfaces Telegram with ChatGPT, allowing Telegram bots to act as agents relaying messages to and from OpenAI’s ChatGPT, based on a personality assigned to the bot. From Telegram, you can query the bot, which relays the message to the ChatGPT API, queries OpenAI, and receives a response based on the personality of your Telegram bot, as customized within the configuration file. This was a quick one-day project, and I thought I’d share it online. I’ll add more features over time, so check back.


Download Telegram ChatGPT Bots Windows Console App – 2023-10-17 v0.1a zip

create | Creates a chat bot.
edit | Edit a chat bot.
delete | Delete a chat bot.
list | List all chat bots.
start | start chatgpt bots.
stop | stop chatgpt bots.
botchat | Two bots talk to each other. Requires two or more bots in same telegram channel and connected to chatgpt.
exit | Exit application.

Getting Started:

To use this application you will need to modify the configuration files to interface the application with your Telegram bots and also your ChatGPT account. Below are the instructions on how to do this.

Telegram Bots:

How to create a bot:

  1. Start a chat with BotFather.
  2. Click Menu and select NewBot or type /newbot.
  3. Enter the bot name.
  4. Enter the username for the bot, it must end with ‘bot’ and must be unique.
  5. Congratz, you’ve just created a telegram bot. Copy the HTTP API token into bots.json file. In addition, add your botName (the bot’s telegram username) and full name, the ordinary name of the bot.
  6. Enter a description of the personality you would like the bot to have. This will guide the bot’s personality when it uses ChatGPT to generate and respond.

Connecting to ChatGPT:

  1. Visit OpenAI API key page.
  2. Click “Create new secret key” and copy it to clipboard, then paste it into completionParameters.json apiKey : “your chatgpt api key here” and replace the text in the quotes. IMPORTANT: Never share your API key with anyone as this key can be used to access OpenAI services through your account.
  3. Configure the settings of completionParameters.json to cater to your needs.

Important: I strongly advise implementing a usage limit for your OpenAI API account. Additionally, it’s advisable to restrict the usage of the API to a private Telegram channel. Querying ChatGPT typically incurs real-world computational costs. You can adjust the “max_tokens” per query using “completionParameters.json,” but please be aware that if your channel is open to the public, other users may also make queries with your bot, potentially leading to additional costs.

Brief explanation of each configuration parameter:

  • “apiUrl”: The URL for making requests to the OpenAI ChatGPT API.
  • “apiModelsUrl”: The URL for accessing information about available models.
  • “apiKey”: Your authentication key to access the ChatGPT API.
  • “model”: The specific ChatGPT model to be used, in this case, “text-davinci-003.”
  • “prompt”: The initial text or context provided to the model to generate responses.
  • “suffix”: An optional additional text to add to the end of generated responses.
  • “max_tokens”: The maximum number of tokens in the response, with a range between 1 and 4096.
  • “temperature”: A parameter controlling the randomness of the output, with a range between 0.2 and 1.0.
  • “top_p”: A value to control the diversity of the output, with a range between 0.0 and 1.0.
  • “n”: The number of alternative responses to generate, with a range between 1 and 20.
  • “stream”: A boolean indicating whether to stream the response or get it as a whole.
  • “logprobs”: Optional setting for obtaining log probabilities for each token in the response.
  • “echo”: A boolean indicating whether to include the input prompt in the output.
  • “stop”: An optional string that, if encountered in the response, will stop the generation.
  • “presence_penalty”: A penalty value to discourage the model from repeating a specific response, with a range between -1.0 and 1.0.
  • “frequency_penalty”: A penalty value to discourage the model from using frequent words, with a range between -1.0 and 1.0.
  • “best_of”: The number of “n” alternatives to consider and return the best one from, with a range between 1 and 20.
  • “logit_bias”: An optional dictionary to influence the output distribution.
  • “user”: An optional field for specifying a user identifier.
  • “role”: An optional field for specifying a role identifier.

Config files are found in the same folder as TelegramChatBot. These files must remain in folder or the application will not run.

Now that you’ve configured the application, open TelegramChatBot.exe and type “start”. That’s it, it should work from here provided you didn’t make any mistakes.

1) bots.json
2) completionParameters.json

Tutorial: Creating Telegram ChatGPT Chat Bots in C#.

Tutorial: Creating Telegram ChatGPT Chat Bots in C#.

This tutorial will walk you through the process of creating a Telegram ChatBot using a .NET 6.0 Windows Console application. The application you will develop through this tutorial will connect with both the Telegram API and the ChatGPT API to enable basic features that merge these two services. The end goal is to host a responsive telegram bot that calls on ChatGPT to provide an answer to a query on Telegram, and also, to create an AI-generated chat conversation with multiple character personalities.

In summary, this project teaches the following:

  • Learn how to connect and interact with the Telegram API through C# using Telegram.Bot.
  • Learn how to connect and interact with to ChatGPT API through C# using HttpClient and JSON.
  • Understand the basics of HttpClient and JSON serialization and deserialization.
  • Learn how to merge Telegram and ChatGPT services for the purpose of creating a dynamic and responsive GPT chat bot.
  • Learn how to create a fun bot chat where two GPT bots speak with one another through Telegram.

Step One – Connecting to the Telegram API:

Firstly, create a new .NET 6.0 or higher console application in Visual Studio. Title it as you wish, I titled mine TelegramChatBot.

Once the project is created, we need to import the Telegram dependency from NuGet. There are many libraries that exist to help your application interact with Telegram. In this tutorial, I will utilize Telegram.Bot v19.0.0, which you can find and download from NuGet through Visual Studio. Simply open NuGet, search for Telegram.Bot developed by RoundRobin, Poulad, and Tuscen, and proceed with the download Project GitHub here:

We’ll also need to create our bots through Telegram. Follow these instructions here, scroll to “How Do I Create a Bot”:

Now, create two classes as per the gist code below, ChatBot.cs and TelegramGPTBots.cs. The ChatBot has properties for a TelegramBotClient, bot name, full name, and personality. The class is initialized with an API token and default values for the bot’s name, full name, and personality, and it starts a Telegram bot client. It includes methods for handling updates from Telegram, managing errors, and a placeholder for the ChatGPT reply functionality which will develop in the proceeding steps..

Within TelegramGPTBots, I’ve initialized two Telegram bots and they are given API tokens, bot names, and other relevant parameters for the creation of a GPT chat bot. A bot client will run independently, and handle updates and communication with the Telegram API while connected. Replace the quoted text, “key”, “botname”, etc, with your Telegram bot info.

Step 2: Interfacing with ChatGPT API:

Within this step we’ll create the functionality to connect to ChatGPT. This will require that you have a ChatGPT account and an API key. You can generate and access your ChatGPT API keys here.

Within your project, create a new class file titled ChatGPT. We will use HttpClient to connect to ChatGPT API and JSON for serializing and deserializing data sent and received.

What is HttpClient?

  • HttpClient is a class in .NET used to send HTTP requests and receive HTTP responses from a web service or API.
  • In this class, an instance of HttpClient named client is created. It is used to make an HTTP POST request to the ChatGPT API endpoint.
  • The client instance is configured with the API key and other request parameters before making the request.


  • This line of code sets the authorization header for the HttpClient instance. It adds an “Authorization” header with a “Bearer” token, followed by the API key. This header is used to authenticate the request with the ChatGPT API.
  • By setting the Authorization header, the API key is sent with each request, allowing the API to verify the identity of the sender and grant or deny access accordingly.

What is JSON?

  • JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a lightweight data interchange format created and used for the purpose of structuring data in an easily transmissible way between client and server.
  • For this project, we use JSON to create a request object with relevant data, like our query and GPT variables, required for interacting with the ChatGPT API. We then serialize that data with JsonConvert.SerializeObject and sent it to ChatGPT.
  • ChatGPT then returns its response with a serialized JSON object, which we deserialize and read.

Basic ChatGPT Class:

Now that we have created the ChatGPT functionality, let us come back to ChatBot.cs HandleUpdateAsync function. In this code segment, an instance of ChatGPT is used to create a chat bot response (variable named gptResponse) when a message contains the bot’s name or when it’s a reply to a message from the bot itself. The message text is extracted and passed as a query to ChatGPT, generating a response based on the defined personality. The response is then sent back to the Telegram chat, effectively enabling the chatbot to engage in interactive conversations.

And finally, we need an entry point. Open Program.cs and we’ll write a few lines to start our Telegram bots and handle command prompt entries.

That’s it, it should work. If you have any issues, the full project can be downloaded on github here:

Remember, this is just a very basic demo tutorial to get you started. You can build from here and have fun with it!