Friday, December 28, 2012

Can you trust Deal Dash?

Deal Dash, a penny auction website established in 2009, now has more than a million registered users, according to Wikipedia. That fact, in itself, says a lot.

"When that many people beat a path to your door, you must be doing something right — and probably a whole range of things that are right," I said to myself. But just to confirm my conclusion, I checked some of the user reviews.

Sure enough, these are overwhelmingly positive. Remarks like "The customer service . . . is the best I have ever come across," and "The most fun and trustworthy online pay-to-bid auction site!" are common.

I would suggest, however, that the prospective bidder do a little homework. "Don't just jump in and play," one satisfied reviewer writes. It's good advice, as the greatest success always comes to those who keep a cool head and a steady hand.

As a first step, look for Barbara Sellers' review of Deal Dash at Squidoo, where she shares all her "winning strategies" and reveals "the biggest mistake that new bidders make".

You should also visit Deal Dash's Tumblr site, which reveals its impressive scorecard: "High overall ratings on penny auction review sites; a large Facebook following (the third-largest following of all entertainment auction sites); the McAfee Secure Trustmark; VeriSign approval, and a high Better Business Bureau rating."

  • Read my previous post on Deal Dash — "Deal Dash surges in the social media" — here.

  • Doomsday averted . . . or did I miss something?

    "The 2012 phenomenon was a range of [Mayan] eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events would occur around 21 December 2012," says Wikipedia. Well, I can't say that much happened around that time in New Zealand, though Wellington had its hottest Christmas Day since 1934. The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of December 26, 2012. The little Conquistador at the bottom of the picture is saying, "We should go and decimate them".

    Tuesday, December 25, 2012

    Capture POD brings the party to life

    A celebration must be more than memorable. It must be memorable for all the right reasons, and leave a photographic record that constantly rekindles the good times.

    A Capture Pod stands ready
    to be custom wrapped.
    That's where comes in, with its revolutionary digital photo booth (see left). Forget about the awkward, utilitarian structures of the past, which made having your picture taken an intimidating experience. This rental booth, which has a rounded, customizable exterior, will bring your event to life, as it records both lighthearted and serious moments in either color or classic black-and-white prints.

    As Capture POD™ says, "the Pod is always ready to party". But as it also points out, the word "party" encompasses weddings (for which the Pod was originally designed), Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, quinceaneras, birthday parties, holiday parties, family reunions, school reunions, corporate events, media events, celebrity events, product launches, fundraisers, proms, dances, and trade shows. All can be made more enjoyable and lastingly significant by the presence of a Pod.

    Each rental package includes unlimited prints for you and your guests, a photo scrapbook, an onsite attendant, a real-time slideshow on an LCD screen, an online gallery, custom-designed graphics, a choice of background color, a DVD of all the images, and a set-up, breakdown and delivery service. Everything is included in the hourly rate you pay. But depending on your location, there may be a delivery charge.

    Capture POD's corporate clients include Reebok, McDonald's and Disney, which understand the importance of providing a customized "marketing machine" at their events, says Carlos Pacheco, co-creator and co-owner of the business. "We’re also the manufacturers of the Capture POD, so we can create the booths to look like a baseball, a tiki hut, or anything that the client wants."

    Capture POD has a number of rental locations throughout the U.S., and invites prospective clients to view the Pod at the company's headquarters in Miami, FL.

    NOTE: Readers in Australasia should note that there is also a location in Melbourne, which can be contacted at Phone: 0422.205.609 and Email: amy[at]

    Monday, December 24, 2012

    Santa meets the children of the poor

    "I'd like breakfast!" says the little boy on Santa's knee. A modest request, and surely one that could be met even by poor parents. One wonders how much money these parents spend on alcohol, cigarettes, Lotto tickets, and entertainment. One should also remember that, in New Zealand, it is usually possible to grow some food in one's garden, and to keep a few chickens for eggs. The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of December 11, 2012.

    Free flights to Australia

    There was a bit of a ruckus in New Zealand this month, when Social Development Minister Paula Bennett revealed that at least 20 social welfare beneficiaries had received taxpayer money — specifically, a Transition to Work grant — to travel to Australia after finding work there. The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of December 8, 2012.

    Saturday, December 22, 2012

    Deal Dash surges in the social media

    Is there anything more satisfying than a "Sold" sign?

    The deal has been done, and both parties are happy. The seller has got rid of some superfluous stuff that was occupying valuable shelf space, and the buyer has acquired a real bargain.

    Nowhere is this more true than at Deal Dash — "the fair and honest alternative to penny auctions", which we introduced to our readers on November 17. (See the earlier post here.)

    Since then, Deal Dash has been making its mark in the social media, including Pinterest, where members can tell everyone about their "favorite wins". And after you have snapped up a few bargains, you will want to tell the whole world about your success, too.

    Gardeners 'switched on' the wrong way

    This cartoon, which appeared in the Manawatu Standard on December 7, 2012, refers to the case in which the owner of the nationwide chain of Switched On Gardener stores was found guilty of supplying equipment for cultivating cannabis but acquitted of being part of an organised crime ring. The newspaper headline — "Switched On Gardeners guilty" — causes great mirth in the plush premises of the Big Booze & Baccy Club. The little man in the bottom right-hand corner comments, "They must have been smoking something".

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Red Carpet takes eyes off serious issues

    As the red carpet is rolled out for the premiere of The Hobbit in Wellington, all other issues, such as child abuse, the environment and globalization, are eclipsed. The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of November 29, 2012.

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Simply the best online poker

    InterCasino online poker

    On the internet, longevity says a lot. And InterCasino, which has been in business since 1996, has a respectability that can only be envied by its competitors.

    For this reason, it is able to rely on quality of service, rather than the high-pressure sales techniques that are often associated with online gambling. This hasn't gone unnoticed by Gambling Online magazine, which voted InterCasino the "Best Online Casino" for five years in succession from 2003 to 2007.

    Are you a cautious gambler, or making your first foray into the exciting world of Roulette, Slots, Blackjack and Video Poker? No problem. Here, you can also play for free/fun in the casino's practice mode.

    InterCasino promises that getting started will be "as easy as 1,2,3", and this certainly proved to be the case. On the relevant page, you are immediately presented with a simple, straightforward choice: (1) "Click and download our casino for 300+ games", or (2) "Play right now on our Instant Play online casino for up to 120 games".

    If you opt for No 1, you will be talked through the download process, so that even a computer novice will encounter no problems. You won't have to worry about any of your existing programmes being affected, as all your personal data will be fully protected. As a backup, there is also 24/7 customer service support to deal with any questions that arise.

    But that's not all. "As a new player at InterCasino, you can instantly claim our fantastic welcome bonus," the casino says. "We will match your first deposit 100% up to a maximum of $250."

    InterCasino has attractive graphics, a clean interface, easy navigability, excellent payout percentages, and a number of solid payment options. It uses the reliable Cryptologic software for a great overall experience.

    Finally, you don't have to be an English speaker to enjoy the best online casino. Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish are also available.

  • At the request of InterCasino, the links to its site have been removed. Anyone clicking on these links will be redirected to another of my websites. (August 12, 2014.)

  • The trials and tribulations of finding a job

    I guess I'm lucky: As a journalist, I reported on other people's employment problems, but never experienced such problems myself. But shortly before I finally retired — in 2011 at the age of 70 — I calculated that, after allowing for inflation, I was making less money than I had made as a 19-year-old tram conductor in Melbourne in 1960.

    The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of November 13, 2012.

    The vicious circle of commerce

    From time to time, I have been struck by how old some shopkeepers are. I suspect that, in some sectors of retailing, only people aged 65+, who receive the state pension, are able to survive in the job. If they were completely dependent on their work income, they wouldn't be able to make ends meet.

    The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of November 10, 2012.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Borrow on your car . . . and keep driving it

    "I would like to sum Rapid Auto Loans up in one word, GREAT! They were phenomenal to me and my family during the most difficult time in our lives."

    The above comment, from "Princess Green" at Yahoo! Reviews, is typical of the many reviews posted on the site. In fact, the reviews are so good, and the reviewers so unstinting in their praise for Rapid Auto Loans' service, that I stopped reading them after about No 50.

    Of course, there are one or two exceptions. You can't please everyone — even if you make the efforts that RAL clearly makes to ensure its clients get the best deal possible.

    And what is this deal? Well, it goes like this: Using your car or other vehicle as collateral, you can get cash today to meet an emergency, regardless of your credit record (or lack of one). The sums mentioned on the RAL website range from $500 to $5000, and come with interest rates as low as 1.5% a month.

    "We will lend you money when no one else will," the prospective borrower is assured. And just in case the client imagines having to struggle around town on foot, the assurance comes with a promise that he or she will still be able to drive the vehicle.

    Another point to keep in mind in that the term "vehicle" also includes motorbikes and even Jet Skis. Flexibility is the keynote at Rapid Auto Loans, which takes pride in its honesty and integrity. Here, the client can be sure that all aspects of his or her transaction will be transparent, and that all data will be accessible, via the website, 24 hours per day.

    Finally, customer service personnel are available from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, for live assistance with accounts.

    To get started, all you have to do is fill out the form on the website,, or call the number for instant phone approval.

    Overload at Work and Income

    The newspaper headline reads "Unemployment hits 13-year high". I have heard, however, that there are certain areas — farming and manufacturing, for example — where there are jobs available, but where New Zealanders prefer not to work. I guess people want to stay where the bright lights are.

    The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of November 9, 2012.

    NOTE: The comment by the little man in the bottom, right-hand corner is "Funny that!"

    'Housing package' a Titanic enterprise?

    Prime Minister John Key's optimism takes a biff from Labour Party leader David Shearer. But here, in Palmerston North, you can still get a nice little house for $230,000 to $250,000. If you're short of money, you might settle for a rather run-down place costing about $180,000.

    The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of October 31, 2012.

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    DealDash: Start saving money today

    When you read that someone has won a $739 computer for only .14 cents, you sit up and take notice.

    Yes, that's the sort of deal you can get at DealDash — a risk-free penny auction site that attracts more enthusiastic participants every day.

    As its website explains, there is no reserve price.

    "Every auction starts at $0.00, and each bid raises the price by only $0.01.

    "Every bid restarts the countdown clock. If no new bids are placed before the clock runs out, the highest bidder wins the auction."

    But that's not all. As well as receiving the item for as much as 99% off the retail price, you get free shipping.

    For more information, view one or more of the Deal Dash videos. You will soon find that DealDash is the most exciting way to shop online.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    Pots of gold all over New Zealand

    A sanguine perspective from Finance Minister Bill English. The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of October 30. 2012.

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    AIG logo on the All Blacks' jersey

    A poll shows that 64% of New Zealanders oppose the placing of the AIG logo on the All Blacks' jersey.

    The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of October 20, 2012.

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    'Poverty is no excuse for child abuse'

    The speaker is Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. Her full statement (on October 11) was: "Poverty does not cause child abuse and it certainly doesn't excuse it."

    Two comments on this issue, taken from the site:

    CHRISTINE: I agree totally with Paula Bennett on this one. Poverty is no excuse for child abuse, especially babies and pre-schoolers. No excuses.
    TIN MAN: @Christine: Neither is being affluent, prominent, high-profile and being able to cover your tracks.

    The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of October 12, 2012.

    At the end of the chain of spending cuts . . .

    And it's likely to be mince on toast, for many people, for a long time to come. In fact, mince on toast will someday be a luxury for many — after the fossil fuels run out and our civilization crashes.

    The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of October 11, 2012.

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Car repairers in clover

    Since January 1, Japanese imports have had to conform to the Japan 05 emissions test, which is tougher than the Japan 02 standard. This means that most cars manufactured before 2005 are non-compliant. Richard Bateman, of Richard Bateman Motors, says it is too costly for many to upgrade their older cars to newer, emissions-compliant vehicles in one go. He says most of his customers buy cars from the early 2000s and in the $10,000 price range, but that none of these are compliant under the new standards.

    The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of October 4, 2012.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    When does a fridge look like a pagoda?

    The answer to the above question, in the facetious view of cartoonist Al Nisbet, is when it is made in China. The cartoon, which appeared in the Manawatu Standard yesterday, was inspired by the report that Fisher & Paykel Appliance's Chinese shareholder, Haier, was considering a full takeover of the New Zealand manufacturer. I can't help thinking, though, that such cartoons belong in the late 19th century — when China was a newcomer to world of industry. Some would argue that they are slightly racist.

    Obama: Rhetoric and reality

    Manawatu Standard, September 11, 2012.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Putin puts Key on the spot

    Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of September 10, 2012.

    Kiwi dollar heading for record high

    New Zealand currency trader Nick McDonald yesterday predicted the kiwi dollar will reach US90c in the next 12 to 18 months, and could reach parity with the US dollar in the next four to five years.

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Free trade deal not the most pressing issue

    Al Nisbet's cartoons in the Sunday Star Times are a little too crude and amateurish for my liking. But this one, about Prime Minister John Key's meeting with Vladimir Putin at the Apec summit in Vladivostok, is mildly interesting, in view of the controversy over Maori water rights, which has delayed the partial sale of Mighty River Power.

    A "hui" is a meeting or conference. Strictly speaking, it should not be pluralized.

    Still happy in New Zealand?

    The letter below is from today's Sunday Star Times.

    The impression I get, living in the Palmerston North suburb of Highbury/Takaro, is that many New Zealanders have simply given up — that, as economic conditions have worsened, they have become increasingly demoralized.

    When we arrived, in 1972, the middle-income area was neat and tidy. Most of the houses were occupied by their owners, who seemed to spend much of the weekend tending their gardens. On Saturday mornings, weather permitting, lawn mowers started up en masse, and a woman across the road would put on a record of martial music as she got stuck into the housework.

    How the times have changed! Today, many of the houses are rental properties, gardens are overgrown with weeds and rank grass, and graffiti defaces almost all public structures, including lamp posts.

    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    Maori rights issue delays state asset sale

    The partial sale of Mighty River Power, under the Government's asset sales program, has been delayed until next year while Maori rights over water are clarified. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of September 7, 2012.

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    Shortage of foot soldiers for industry?

    "Bosses concerned at falling birth rate." A somewhat sexist cartoon, in which the solicitous woman is probably past childbearing age, from the Manawatu Standard of July 27, 2012.

    Lean pickings for the postie

    Yes, few things are more pleasing than going to the letterbox and finding a genuine letter there — a few pages in which someone has expressed himself/herself properly, instead of in internet shorthand. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of July 9, 2012.

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Telecom boss gets $1.75m farewell gift

    And on top of that, Telecom agreed to help the poor man with the costs of his relocation to the UK. The cartoon is from The Dominion Post of July 3, 2012.

    'Beneficiaries are unemployable'

    Overheard in the PM's office. . . The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of July 3, 2012.

    Saturday, July 14, 2012

    Geek Toys and Online Shopping Deals

    Batman is back, along with Poison Ivy, Mr Freeze and all their mates, but in the form of LEGO Minifigures for 2013 — now on display at Comic-Con 2012 in downtown San Diego.

    If that seems a long way to go for most readers of, don't worry. All the information you need about these and other fabulous toys can be found at Geek Toys, a site that ensures there will NEVER AGAIN be an excuse for boredom. If you or your kids are into Lego, for instance, you will also find all the info on the LEGO audio comic, the LEGO wall calendar, and LEGO Lord of the Rings Minifigures — to name just a few of the latest exciting LEGO products.

    While at the GeekAlerts site, I did a search for "toys" and was presented with a catalog that included Limited Edition Kinect Star Wars Xbox 360 Bundle, V For Vendetta Graphic Novel and V Mask, Domo Nerd Plush, and KISS Mr. Potato Head Collector’s Set. Yes, this site is definitely the place to go if you're a toy retailer who wants to keep up with what's trendy, and to stay one step ahead of the competition.

    As a regular writer for GeekAlerts, which updates its news on cool gadgets, quirky gizmos, and geeky stuff every day, I already knew that it also offers discount coupons and promo codes for some of the best online stores and services. So I also did a search for Apple promo code, which turned up a wide range of excellent savings on printer ink, printer cartridges, and other printer supplies and computer accessories.

    Finally, I did a search for Target coupon, which showed that money can also be saved on purchases of WebWatcher software, millions of Walmart products, and American Eagle jeans, shirts, hoodies, shorts, shoes, and more for both men and women. But again, I should emphasize that there is much more on offer — far more than can be listed in a short press release or blog post.

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    Uncle Sam scolds 'reckless' Europeans

    The world's leading hypocrite shows that he is still in fine form. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 23, 2012.

    State assets caught in a vise

    The public ownership of state assets is squeezed between the actions of the Government, which wants to sell the assets, and private capital, which wants to buy them. The nation's citizens look on helplessly, while the little man in the corner comments, "They haven't hooned!" (This is presumably a reference to the hoons who have their assets, i.e. cars, confiscated by the police.)

    The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 22, 2012.

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    SciTechDaily keeps you on your toes

    Fancy footwear made from stingray skin.
    Followers of — the site that keeps you up to date on the development of gizmos and gadgets — are sure to be excited by SciTechDaily, where all the latest science and technology news 2012 is at your fingertips.

    SciTechDaily, which has been operating since 1998, presents its material in the form of a blog, so that you don't have to hunt for the most recent discoveries. The information, which introduces the revolutionary findings of university researchers, is also neatly categorized under the headings Biology, Science, Space and Technology. In addition, there are tabs that enable you to click through to the Latest and Popular entries, as well as to read comments on them.

    That is not all, however. SciTechDaily has started offering online coupons and discount promo codes, including Expedia coupon codes, which will help its readers to save money in these tight economic times while shopping at some of the best online stores and/or purchasing first-class services.

    As a person with a taste for the bizarre, I immediately clicked through to an article headlined Growing Genetically Engineered Stingrays for Footwear Raises Ethical Concerns — one of the articles featured in the day's slideshow. "A company called Rayfish Footwear claims to bring consumers shoes made out of genetically engineered stingrays," the article begins. "The resulting shoes look very distinctive, but there has been some backlash against the ethics behind such products as well as the claims the company has made."

    Two other topics in the day's slideshow were USA Trails Latin American and Asian Cities in Climate Change Preparation and X-Ray Echoes Demonstrate the Reality of Relativistic Reverberation, which gives you an indication of the breadth of the information covered.

    So if you're in any way involved in science, or simply have an interest in things scientific, SciTechDaily is the place to go. And while you're there, don't forget to subscribe to the latest news via email or social media.

    Monday, May 28, 2012

    'Moral issues' seize spotlight

    A good illustration of the way in which politicians use "moral issues" to divert public attention from the crises of the day. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of May 26, 2012.

    Saturday, May 19, 2012

    Get a free forex trading account . . .

    "No experience needed — your account is managed for you. No investment required — your account starts at $100."

    That's the sales pitch from prelaunchx. Sounds too good to be true. But for the time being, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. As far as I can see at this stage, one has nothing to lose by signing up. I'll report on any interesting developments.

    The torch of financial orthodoxy

    But will it really follow the Olympic flame to London? The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of May 19, 2012.

    World breastfeeds bloated capitalist

    Remember how the free market was going to bring unprecedented prosperity to everyone? Remember how they told us — and are still telling us, in some circles — that there was/is no alternative to unfettered capitalism? Are we mad enough to continue on our present course? Yes, probably.

    The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of May 18, 2012.

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    Jeepers, it's an exploding chicken!

    From the Manawatu Standard of May 8, 2012.

    Greener pastures continue to lure Kiwis

    Pime Minister John Key (center) and cabinet ministers ponder the latest migration statistics. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of May 2012.

    Tough question for a failed financier

    Although I feel sorry for those who lost their savings in the financial crisis, I think that, to some extent, they are the authors of their own misfortune. They didn't have to put all their money into high-risk investments. They could, and should, have been little less trusting, a little more suspicious of the promises made in prospectuses. As I approached retirement, I put all my money into (a) a retirement scheme that is backed by a government guarantee, and (b) long-term bank deposits. The returns are lower, but the peace of mind is much, much greater. And the latter is what you really want in old age.

    The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of April 27, 2012.