Saturday, April 25, 2015

Today's kiwi dollar exchange rates

April 24, 2015:  NZ dollar = 0.7555 USD, 0.5025 GBP, 0.9725 AUD
(Above rates at 3.00pm New Zealand time.)

  Scroll down for pages
  on modern Japanese
  history and culture.
  • To post a free ad on my Pukeko Press AdBoard, click here

  • Friday, April 24, 2015

    Harmoney review (1)

    Anyone logging into their Harmoney investor account today will see the following notice:

    "Update Investor Dashboard Issue (23/4/15): Our team has been working hard to fix the investor dashboard issue. And while progress has been made, we haven’t met our 21 April deadline. We appreciate that this is frustrating and want to assure investors that we are doing all we can as quickly as we can. We will provide more information in an email tonight."

    The "investor dashboard issue" does, indeed, appear to be the main problem at the moment. Yesterday, I sent the following message to Harmoney: "I have just looked at my Account Summary. It shows Total Deposits of $500, yet Investments of $525. Then, on the My Performance page, I see Cash Available of $-24.73 and Outstanding Principal of $524.82. The latter page also shows Gross Interest Received of $0.11.and Total Payments of $0.29. While I can see that this $0.29 is a product of Gross Interest Received of $0.11 and Paid Off Amount of $0.18, and that $524.82 is $500 minus Paid Off Amount of $0.18, I am unsure about how you arrived at the other figures. How have I ended up with Investments of $525 when I deposited only $500 [on March 25, 2015], and what, exactly, does the Cash Available of $-24.73 represent? The difference between $24.73 and $25 is $0.27. What is this $0.27?"

    Later in the day, I received the following reply from Senior Account Executive Mark Bardi:

    "We've been having dashboard errors for the past couple months, where the figures do not always update in real time. As a result, you over-invested by about $25, so that is why you've got a negative balance and your total investments is $525. This was our mistake, so this costs you nothing and it does not require any action on your part. You'll simply have to wait for principal and interest to accumulate to bring the balance back to positive. Think of it was (sic) a $25 interest free credit."

    Today, when I looked at my account, I saw that my Investments have now gone up to $550 and that I now have Cash Available of $-49.73. Maybe this is "free credit", as Mr Bardi says. I will, however, be relieved when my account figures finally make sense.

    On a more positive note, I give Harmoney full marks for its responsiveness.

    Sunday, September 22, 2013

    Marvelous Malta: Crossroads of cultures

    A Christian country with traces of an Islamic past.

    Like many of the countries of southern Europe, Malta has layers of civilization. The Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Vandals, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Spanish, the Knights of St John, the French and the British have all been here, and left something of their cultures in this Mediterranean melting pot.

    The Maltese language, called Malti, is descended from Sicilian Arabic, which developed in Sicily and Malta after the Arab conquests of the 9th century. Although the language died out in Sicily, where it was superseded by Sicilian Italian, it survived in Malta and can still be understood by people in North Africa.

    In the country's old capital, Mdina (from the Arabic madinah), people still walk along Triq Miskita — a street that owes its name to the Arabic tariq (way) and the Spanish mesquita (mosque). Today, the mosque has long gone, and seven churches and a monastery testify to the eventual triumph of Catholic Christianity.
    Mdina's labyrinthine streets reflect the Arab influence.

    Another town that is popular with tourists is Mellieha, whose parish church is shown in the top picture from — Malta's online community center. But these are only two of the historic places and cultural attractions that draw 1.2 million visitors to the islands south of Sicily every year.

    For more information, you are invited to chat with maltese at, and to read some of the website's many articles written by enthusiastic local residents. In addition to recommendations on places to visit, these offer advice on local products, services and events. And in every case, they come with a collection of photographs that convey the feel of the locale or social occasion.

    Wikipedia is another invaluable source of information. Interestingly, it reveals that, according to a 2010 Charities Aid Foundation study, the Maltese are the most generous people in the world, with 83% contributing to charity. It's yet another good reason to make Malta your next holiday destination.

    Friday, June 28, 2013

    DealDash: Join today . . . and start winning

    A computerized telescope worth $700 for only $2.99? Yes, if you'd like to see stars — in more ways than one — take a tour of DealDash, via one of its introductory videos at YouTube. These explain how almost everything you ever wanted, from a Nikon digital camera to an Apple iPad, can be picked up for as little as a dollar, and shipped to you free of charge.

    The videos will talk you through the penny auction bidding process, and show you how you can't lose. Even if you don't win an auction, you can buy the item for its regular price — and have all your bids, which cost 60 cents each, returned to you. You can then use the bids again, and try to win another auction.

    In no time at all, you will find that shopping has never been such fun.

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    RCO's Cars for Cash will put a smile on your dial

    It will be thumbs-up for you, too, if you sell your car to RCO's Cars for Cash in the New York Metropolitan Area.

    Since 2005, when it established itself as New York's #1 cash for cars service, RCO has been paying top dollar for cars, trucks, and SUVs within minutes — and without the hassle you invariably encounter elsewhere.

    To get a cash quote, all you have to do is fill out the online questionnaire.

    Sunday, May 12, 2013

    Review: The 10k Challenge Income Builder

    May 12, 2013: Today I signed up for this program, which promises personal assistance as you progress towards a monthly income of $10,000. Check back to see how it goes.

    May 13, 2013: What can I say? Anyone who can persevere with a program like this is a better person than I am. After only one day, and after joining only about six safelists, the whole thing was rapidly becoming a nightmare, as I struggled to cope with the flood of emails into the two Gmail accounts I had set up to receive them. I shuddered to think of the number I would receive after signing up with the 20 to 30 safelists I was required to join. Yet another problem arose when one of the safelist's verification emails failed to arrive, and I had to open a support ticket (which wasn't answered). In the end, I closed the two Gmail accounts and blocked the email address of my mentor. Frankly, I'd almost be prepared to pay $10,000 a month not to have something like this dominating my life.

    May 15, 2013: I've picked up a few comments by Adam Waller, who knows a lot more about the 10k Challenge than I do: "35 Minutes a Day? Really? . . . after one month in I was spending 3 to 4 hours every day on it. The majority of that time was clicking for credits in safelists . . . You basically pound away at the safelists and text ad exchanges blindly hoping for a sign-up . . . It just didn’t work for me. I really believed in it initially. I even went so far as to purchase a domain name specifically for it . . . I was getting poor results and they [my team] were getting poor to no results. I would get emails from them and they would ask what they needed to do to get sign-ups. Honestly, I didn’t have the answer . . ."

    Need I say more? I'm glad I'm not spending hour after hour pounding away at those safelists.

    Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    The dollar is mightier than the sword

    A reference to the Chinese interest in buying New Zealand farm land. The cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of April 26, 2013.