Monday, 30 April 2007

New Social Media site for Blogs

Social Media sites like digg and de.licious have changed As the Web 2.0 world grows, there's an increasing number of these types of sites, targetting specific niches.

One of these is The new site (still in beta) is aimed specifically at bloggers and blog readers. The web community encourages users to find and promote the most interesting blog posts and authors.

Members - called "HighFiverz" - control the site (no news agencies here), and share posts and blogs they think other people will enjoy. Fellow community members can either agree with their choice, by giving the post a 'HighFive'... or 'Pound It' if they strongly disagree.

Like similar Web 2.0 social communities, the most popular posts and blogs get promoted to the top of their lists, offering them the chance of more exposure and more incoming traffic. makes it easy for blog authors to find other bloggers with similar interests, by checking out what's popular in each of the topic categories.

The site is now trying to grow its social community, with a new Forums section to let HighFiverz discuss the site itself, the Blogosphere at large, and to help each other with the likes of Marketing and Promotion of blogs.

I just made a post about a site I found that lets you custom design your own Wordpress theme. The forum's a bit quiet at the moment, but once the community starts to grow it should be a great place to meet and network with other bloggers and readers.

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PM's doodle back up for auction

NZ PM Hillin Cluck is refusing to comment on fresh speculation over whether a doodle with her signature on it is actually her own work.

The A4-sized black and white drawing of the Beehive was auctioned back in 2001 by an Auckland school, amidst doubts over whether the PM had actually penned the drawing herself. Auctioneers Dunbar Sloane predict the drawing could sell for up to $2,000.

The 2001 Doodlegate controversy followed the high profile Paintergate political scandal.
In that situation, police found a prima facie case that Ms Cluck had signed her name to the back of an artwork painted by someone else. Cluck later admitted she'd signed at least seven similar works for charity auctions.

* Hat tip - Whale Oil: Fake, Fake, fake
* Stuff: Doubt puts premium on 'Clark doodle'
* NZ Herald: Well, did she doodle it?

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Keep your money... You've earned it

Good news for workers in New Zealand. From today, everything you earn is now your own money.

Monday April 30th is New Zealand's Tax Freedom Day this year, described as the day when the average person stops working for the government and starts working for themselves.

That means the average kiwi has spent nearly a third of the year working to fund the pet projects of Hillin and Michal. Figures show kiwis are paying more tax than they should, with New Zealand's Tax Freedom Day falling three days later than last year.

Back in 2001, NZ Tax Freedom Day was celebrated on April 11th, but has moved steadily forward as government spending has increased.

However, chartered accountants Staples Rodway say New Zealand's real Tax Freedom Day could actually be in mid-June when all factors are included, and given that government spending last year was 4% higher than forecast.

The United States as a whole is also celebrating Tax Freedom Day today, while Australia celebrated it on Tuesday April 24th, and India paid off their tax burden back in mid-March.

* Scoop: Tax Freedom Day is 30 April

* Scoop: New Zealanders work longer to pay their taxes

[ Right now I'm listening to:
^ Sunblock feat. Sandy - Baby Baby

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Sunday, 29 April 2007

Don't use Super Glue and Drive!

Fun and Games with Superglue...

Alex Leon learns just how quickly real superglue takes to work ;-)
Who needs enemies when you've got friends like these??!

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Chinese Fake Factories need Spell Check

They really need a few spell checkers in those Chinese factories manufacturing fake sports shoes, clothing, and other products ;-)

It doesn't take much to work out the popular brands these Chinese fakes are trying to copy...

* For the full range... Humor Safari - Chinese Fake Brands

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James Blunt takes an Office job ;-)

This is what James Blunt's life could have been, if he'd taken an office job instead of becoming a musician ;-)

Here's a funny parody of his hit single "You're Beautiful".

My Cubicle... (Credits: Song performed by JymBritton, Lyrics by Morning Sidekick, Musical Arrangement by Scott Bennett, Footage from the Fox movie Office Space, re-edited by LittleSteveZodiac)

* Related... The Cubicle Wars 2006 (starring Barats & Bereta)...

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Saturday, 28 April 2007

International Media report huge cost of moving snails

Moving a population of giant land snails around the Stockton mine on the South Island's west coast, has cost state-owned coal miner Solid Energy around $35 million this financial year.

News of the huge cost to New Zealand's main coal exporter has travelled around the world, with newspapers and websites in the United States, China, South Africa and Australia all publishing articles on the snail situation.

Around 5,300 of what conservationists describe as the "rare" giant Powelliphanta Augustus snails have been found in the area, and are being moved to a new habitat before mining can go ahead. The company expects their search to be completed by June.

Mining in the area has been delayed for 19 months, costing Solid Energy a third of its profit this year. The delays mean the company will lose five export shipments (300,000 tonnes of coal), to China, India, Japan and South Africa.

'Save Happy Valley'
, the unemployed greenie coalition group spearheading the "Save the snails" campaign, claim Solid Energy could have saved money by mining somewhere else.
The anti-mining group has been camping out in the Stockton area for the last year and a half. Their decision to camp near the Stockton ridgeline has compounded delays, with Solid Energy forced to half blasting in the area.

* Taipei Times: Giant snails lose millions for New Zealand coal mine
* Stuff: Row over snails drives down profits
* Whale Oil: The $35 Million Snails

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Friday, 27 April 2007

Win auctions with the lowest bids

Everybody knows auction sites like Ebay (and in New Zealand, Trademe). Now I've come across a cool new site that spins auction bidding on its head. lets you bid on a range of awesome products, including Apple iPhones, big screen Plasma TVs, and even cars.

You make bids for the prizes you'd like to win with your mobile phone (or online), but you don't need to be bidding in the hundreds or thousands or dollars to win, unlike regular auction websites.

The unique twist with bid4prizes is that it's not the highest bid that wins the prize... but the lowest unique bid.

The auction "game" has real prizes that you can actually win, by using the game tips to try and make the lowest unique bid. (eg. If you're the only one to bid say $1.50 for a phone, and every other value below that has multiple bidders, then you win!)

The site has an awesome looking Samsung 50" Plasma TV up for "auction" right now, that I'd really love to win! I'm sure I could find room in my bedroom for a telly that big... who needs desks and drawers anyway ;-)

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Thursday, 26 April 2007

Hey Alanis... Now this is what you call Ironic!

Alanis Morissette never really understood the meaning of the word "Ironic" in her famous song... "It's like rain on your wedding day..." No, that's not Ironic, it's just plain bad luck.

But this is Ironic... Labour MP David Benson-Pope (aka PSB) is one of the biggest supporters of "Green" MP Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill.

This is the front window of David Benson-Pope's Dunedin South electorate office (which incidentally is actually owned by Labour, then rented back to Parliamentary Services, ie. the taxpayer)...

* Hat tips... and WhaleOil

* Related... Kiwiblog: Conversation with a journalist

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Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Those Chicken Hormones are Dangerous!

From the UK's X Factor TV music talent show (with judges Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, and Louis Walsh).

Robert works in a chicken factory. So not giving up the day job then?
(Altho to be fair, his vocal impressions aren't that bad ;-) ...

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Black Caps out of World Cup; Fleming Quits

The Black Caps have been bundled out of the Cricket World Cup, after crashing to an 81-run loss against Sri Lanka. It was their second defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka at the tournament, after losing to them by six wickets in the second round.

Sri Lanka elected to bat first in the first semi-final in Jamaica. Captain Mahela Jayawardene led from the front, scoring an unbeaten 115 (his 9th one day hundred) as his team smashed 100 runs in their final 10 overs to make 289.

That target proved too tough for the Black Caps, who failed to bat out their overs, collapsing all out for just 208 in the 42nd over. Captain Stephen Fleming, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, and Daniel Vettori all failed to make it into double figures.

The lads have had a great run at this tournament, but unfortunately Sri Lanka's spin attack (led by Muttiah Muralitharan) ended New Zealand's dream of booking their first ever Cricket World Cup finals berth.

After the match, Stephen Fleming announced he was stepping down as captain of New Zealand's one-day side... although he's keen to continue playing, and to captain the test side. Daniel Vettori is the most likely replacement as one-day captain.

The crushing result may make it more difficult for Coach John Bracewell to keep his job. It's believed he's keen to continue the job he's had for the last four years, but there may be pressure now to inject some fresh blood into the coaching regime.

Meanwhile the World Cup goes on, with Australia and South Africa playing off for the other semi-final spot tomorrow. Go the yarpies ;-)

* Stuff: Black Caps bashed in World Cup semi
* Stuff: NZ's semifinal curse continues in Caribbean
* NZ Herald: Fleming stands down as skipper

* UPDATE: Cactus Kate blames Aliens for loss ;-) "Aliens gave Craig McMillan, the fattest Black Cap a strained stomach muscle. He doesn't have any muscles in his stomach". Ouch, too harsh on Dave's favourite player!

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Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Secure your files with Next Generation Zipper

Anyone who's been using a computer for a while will have come across .zip and .rar files. They're a popular way of compressing multiple files and folders into a single file for easy emailing or archiving.

Now a new way of protecting your files is here with SecureZIP - The next generation of ZIP. With the increase in hacking, viruses, keyloggers, etc it is becoming more important to protect the confidential personal information stored on your PCs.

Just think about the about of sensitive information on your computer... bank statements, medical records, passwords, and other personal information. With SecureZIP you can exchange sensitive files with people you trust, safe in the knowledge they're encrypted and digitally signed, with the compression you're used to with regular zip files.

For a limited time, you can download the program for free (full individual license) from The program integrates with Microsoft Outlook to make it easy to zip email messages and attachments.

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Monday, 23 April 2007

"Free Ride" begins for NZ Digital TV Viewers

The "free ride" marketing campaign for New Zealand's Freeview service began today, with the launch date for the free-to-air digital satellite service just weeks away.

The switch will be flicked on Freeview NZ on May 2nd. The transition from analogue to digital is being described as "the most significant event in New Zealand broadcasting since the launch of colour television in 1974".

Freeview will offer high quality digital television and radio to viewers all over the country, without the monthly fees and contracts of pay broadcasters like Sky TV. The consortium behind Freeview includes TVNZ, CanWest TVWorks, the Maori Television Service, and Radio NZ.

Because of sporting rights issues (Freeview's satellite footprint isn't confined to New Zealand), Sky-owned broadcaster Prime won't launch on the digital satellite service. However, it's likely to be part of the Digital Terrestrial version of Freeview, launching early next year.

The satellite Freeview service is being targetted at viewers who currently have poor tv reception. The digital satellite service covers 100% of the country, while the Digital Terrestrial version (which requires a UHF aerial) will only cover about 75% of the country (the main metropolitan areas).
Other than an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and crisper pictures, Freeview will offer little new for viewers at launch (although TV3 and C4 broadcasts will be in widescreen, and TVNZ are likely to switch their channels to widescreen in August).

State TV are also planning to add a news & current affairs channel (possibly) later this year, and a family/children/arts/drama channel, TVNZ Home, sometime early next year.

CanWest also have some spare spots on the service, but are still deciding what to do with them. Time-shift versions of TVOne/TV2/TV3 (the same schedule, + an hour) are a possibility for the future, following the lead of mainstream broadcasters like the BBC and ITV in the UK.

Regional and niche broadcasters like Alt TV, Triangle TV, Christchurch's CTV, and Invercargill's Cue TV are all believed to be considering a move to one or other of the Freeview networks down the track, once penetration increases. A couple of new niche broadcasters are also understood to be in discussions about launching on the digital platforms.

To receive the digital Freeview service, viewers need a set top dish (or digital TV fitted with a Freeview tuner), and a satellite dish on their roof. Freeview themselves have certified just two brands of Freeview decoders, which will be sold through authorised retailers.

However, some local online retailers and auction websites like Trademe are offering non-certified decoders and dishes for a much cheaper price. Despite what you'll hear through the official channels, most of these do exactly the same job as their more expensive "official" models, with some offering advanced features like programme recording.

The UK's Freeview DTT service (launched five years ago, and offering 30 TV channels and 20 radio channels) is now more popular than Sky over there. Over 8.2 million homes have Freeview on their main tv set, while Sky has just under 8 million subscribers, with another 3 million people subscribing to Cable through Virgin Media (formerly NTL).

The UK's digital success means the analogue switch-off is looming over there. Analogue terrestrial TV signals will begin to be switched off altogether in the Whitehaven region by mid-November.

Sky NZ boss John Fellett is trying to be optimistic, and claims he doesn't expect Sky subscriptions to fall as free-to-air digital services increase.

New Zealand's landscape has always been a challenge for terrestrial tv, which is why Sky digital satellite is a big drawcard in rural areas and other spots with bad reception. With the likes of the Super 14 now proving less of an attraction, viewers might start thinking twice about paying Sky $50-$80 a month for the privilege of their services.

* NZ Herald: Freeview primed for battle with Sky

* Official Freeview NZ website

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Sunday, 22 April 2007

Survey says... Me Want Cookie!

I just took The Sesame Street Personality Quiz at Blogthings.

According to their very scientific survey...

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking.

How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

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Speculation over Paid blog company acquisition

The web's fastest growing paid content company has told members it's made a "strategic acquisition" to add to its stable... but for now, isn't revealing what that company is, or what it does.

Posties/bloggers on the PPP forum are speculating about the possible purchase... with suggestions it may be an online ad company, which would complement their paid-blog side of the business, while also providing another revenue stream for their regular bloggers.

A recent post on the company's own blog revealed how paid blogging can be a cost effective method of online advertising. Posts can drive traffic long after they're made. People can read blog posts months later, either by visiting a site's archives, or by stumbling across them through a search engine.

A website stats company is another distinct possibility... Ted's company recently announced a deal to acquire analytics company Performancing late last year. The deal attracted some criticism and was eventually called off, with the site instead adopting Alexa and Technorati for site ranking.

Another possible growth area would be a social networking site... something like BlogCatalog or MyBlogLog, where bloggers can promote themselves and discover other sites.

Meanwhile, the company says it plans to announce some "radically new additions" to the sponsored opportunity service at September's TechCrunch20 conference. Again, there's not much hint as to what that'll be, other than the nickname "codename Birdo".

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Saturday, 21 April 2007

Speeding ticket auction turns Bob into a Celeb

Christchurch-based TV3 news cameraman Bob Grieve has become something of a minor internet celebrity, after he sold one of his hard earned speeding tickets in an online auction.

Grieve listed his $130 ticket (received while driving from Geraldine to Christchurch) on auction site Trademe for "a bit of fun", but wasn't prepared for the level of interest in his unique auction.

Bob's ticket auction had attracted almost 30,000 visitors when it closed last Thursday, with a winning bid of $51.

Auction viewers posted over a hundred questions, including those confused as to why on earth someone would want to pay for someone else's speeding ticket... "Are you a celeb that I have never heard of or what??? "... "Well i did appear on telethon with leeza gibbons in 1988... does that make me a celebrity??"

Grieve (modestly known on Trademe as "Bobthegreat") also received a number of messages from female admirers (some pointing out his similarity to Donny Osmond)...

"Have you ever considered hiring yourself out as a Donny Osmond lookalike? You'd be a hit at hen parties all over the country"... "Does the holder come with the ticket????"... and the ever promising "Are you for sale? my grandma thinks you look like a 'goer'".
Grieve seemed impressed by his prospects, responding to one bidder... "Imagine finding true love during a Trade Me speeding ticket bidding war ... sounds like a movie!".

Unfortunately, our sources understand young Bob has not yet confirmed a date as a result of his internet escapades, and details of a possible party to celebrate his online success are yet to be released. We'll keep you posted.

* Sydney Morning Herald: Speeding ticket sold in online auction

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Friday, 20 April 2007

Get Free Anti-Virus Software for your PC

The internet is great, but one of the biggest problems with surfing hundreds of sites around the world is the potential exposure to viruses. Computer viruses have been around almost as long as computers, and continue to evolve as their authors dream up new ways to get their viruses onto your PC.

Some cause just minor problems, like loading and running spyware or adware, but others can actually cause damage to your files, or in the worst cases destroy them altogether.

Good antivirus software is an absolute must, and is something all PC owners need to have. The problem is, most of the well known software packages are fairly expensive.

But good antivirus protection is now available for free. Yep, a genuine fully-functional version of the well respected Norton Antivirus is now available as a free Antivirus download.

The free software will automatically remove Viruses, Worms, and Trojans from your computer... and updates its Virus definition updates automatically (again, unlimited updates for free!), to ensure your computer is up to date and protected from the latest online nasties.

It's very simple to run and use, and comes recommended by some of the top tech websites and magazines - Check out the reviews here...

The software is compatible with Windows XP and the new Vista, and comes as part of the Google pack (which also offers an optional Anti-Spyware program... another must have to keep your PC happy and healthy).

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Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Breathtaking in their arrogance

David Farrar has a very interesting post over at Kiwiblog, revealing just how honourable Labour's intentions are for wanting to make wholesale changes to Election funding laws.

Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking was interviewing National's Katherine Rich and Labour's Shane Jones about the proposed restrictions on third parties... First Jones tries to defend Labour's largest "anonymous" donor as a New Zealander (their $500,000 big spender Owen Glenn lives in Aussie).

Then comes the kicker... Hoskings asks Jones, "Why would you exempt Unions?"... "Pardon?" Jones asks. "... They're valuable and long term supporters of ours [Labour's]..." ?!?! He goes on to say, unions know that "a Government that doesn't comprise our sort of ideals will see their jobs and their interests down the drain".

At least he's honest in his arrogance, but proves this crowd have absolutely no scruples when it comes to clinging to the baubles of power.

(He also goes on to try and defend the proposal to charge a royalty on people reselling artworks... claiming that

Labour are prepared to do anything to clamp down on funding for anyone who dares oppose them, but will legislate to ensure Union bosses keep their cosy jobs and a thriving "whinge" industry, so long as they keep the workers' money flowing back to Labour.

Shane Jones isn't widely known by the wider public, but is one of the more dodgy characters likely to feature heavily in Labour's future. It is imperative this crowd are removed from office as soon as possible, before New Zealanders end up having the same levels of freedom and democracy enjoyed by those in Mainland China.

* DPF's Kiwiblog: David's post and link to Newstalk ZB audio file

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Used Car Hunting Online

I've had a few cars over the years, mostly at what you'd describe as "the low end" of the market ;-) I started with an old Hillman Avenger when I was still at school. It ran okay, but unfortunately I managed to write it off after crashing into a lamppost when a tyre blew out!

A few other cheapie used cars followed... all had their own "issues" but were fine for my purposes of mostly running around town.

I bought my current car, a sports model Nissan Pulsar (a trainee "boy racer car") through an online auction. I'd looked at a bunch of used cars advertised in the newspaper (both car yards and private sales), but wasn't that impressed with any.

Going online though I found a good range of Cars For Sale in Dunedin. Now there's a site for car hunters in the USA and Canada, that looks very similar to the one I bought my car from. lets you search cars by make/model, and also by location... for example if you're looking for Used Cars New york. (That could be a popular one for summer camp counsellors keen to pick up a bargain for the post-camp coast-to-coast road trips!).

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Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Titanic Pub Crawl planned for Speights Bar

Dunedin-based Brewery Speights is planning a very ambitious 70+ day pub crawl... by sea. The company's building a replica Cardrona Hotel-style Ale House inside 2 massive 12 metre-long shipping containers, which they'll send by sea to London.

The ten week voyage will check in on Samoa, the Panama Canal, Barbados, and New York, before finally arriving up the Thames in London sometime in late September.

Speights ran a competition last year to find ex-pats living in the UK who were missing their southern drop. Tim Ellingham won that promotion with a suitably humourous email, and got a few dozen beers for his efforts.

But the brewery decided they could go one better... and persuaded his best mate James Livingston to help them deliver a genuine Southern Man pub to Tim and all the other kiwis living in London!

This is no 'film set' construction. It's a fully-functional pub, being made by the team behind the rest of the Speight Ale Houses, with a genuine kauri wood bar with copper bowsers, stools, a dishwasher, glass washer, and air-conditioning.

Speights have launched a competition, The Great Beer Delivery, to find three more crew members to join James on the 70+ day voyage.

They'll have cooking and cleaning duties like the rest of the crew., but with the pub taking up about a third of the deck space, the bar will be opened for two hours a night for the entire trip (or at least until the beer runs out ;-)

The ship + Ale House + crazy crew (including videographer) depart Dunedin in late July.

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US trip planning continues

I posted recently about starting to plan for my annual trip to the UK and USA. It looks like there's just a small group of us going this year, but we'll definitely be checking in on New York City while in the States.

One place I still haven't got to though is Las Vegas. Last year, half of the group I was travelling with stopped over in Las Vegas, while the rest of us went down to LA to do the theme parks.

We're thinking of visiting Las Vegas this year, after how much the other guys raved about it. The former desert city turned gaming capital's now apparently enjoyed by almost 39 million visitors a year, staying in some of the most spectacular and unique hotels in the world.

But it seems its a hot place for real estate as well, with buyers looking for Highrise condos as the Casino strip goes vertical. There's some great luxury Hotel-Condos located directly on the Las Vegas strip... if you've got cash to burn! ;-)

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Look at what a million dollars gets ya...

New Zealand's State broadcaster, TVNZ, has been under fire recently for spending $300,000 to change its logo from blue to orange, while at the same time planning to make around 160 staff redundant.

But less attention has been paid to TV One's glossy new tv campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi, rumoured to have cost well in excess of $1 million (including flashlights... or "torches" for you kiwis ;-)

The meaning of the promo spots is a little unclear.. One suggestion is that the lighting budget for live crosses at State TV has also have been cut, so TV One stars and "regular New Zealanders" are asked to help out by shining their car headlights, flashlights, and anything else shiny into the sky .

Here's Dan News' version of the promo... with a twist at the end ;-)

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Sunday, 15 April 2007

Golden Macca bowls 'em over

A corker of a 3-wicket bag by Craig MacMillan helped the Black Caps book a place in the Cricket World Cup semi finals, with a comfortable five wicket win over South Africa.

MacMillan's stint with the ball was the result of a "captain's hunch" by Stephen Fleming, enticing the dangerman Herschelle Gibbs into a false shot, and finishing with 3-23 from his medium pacers... before going on to score 38 not out with bat.

Macca's "golden arm" was put to regular use for the Black Caps a few years ago, where he was often brought on as a partnership-breaker. But since MacMillans' much deserved recall, he's been focusing more on his boundary smashing abilities than his part-time bowling.

New Zealand is now secure in the final four of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, even if the Black Caps don't manage to beat Australia in their final pool match on Saturday in Grenada.

* Stuff: Macca shines in Black Caps win

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Saturday, 14 April 2007

Asians are Funny!

This one made me laugh out loud... Clips from an Asian-style Trigger Happy TV 'hidden camera' show.

Watch how different people react to being chased down the street by a noisy mob... ;-)

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Labour's bid for Free Money could fail

The Labour Party looks set to fail in its bid to extract millions of dollars of free funding out of taxpayers each year, to fund its propaganda campaigns.

Labour needs the support of the minor parties to get its undemocratic proposals through, but NZ First leader Winston Peters is refusing to budge over his opposition to the state funding of political parties.

The taxpayer funding of parties is just part of a raft of anti-free speech campaign reforms Labour is trying to hammer through to help them cling to power. The party wants to limit anonymous donations to less than $5000 and slash third-party spending.

Labour is writing and negotiating its plans behind closed doors, to ensure the changes are swung firmly in its favour. While the party's looking at a ban on foreign donations, that wouldn't apply to expats living overseas... ensuring Labour's overseas financiers like Owen Glenn can continue to make million dollar donations.

Labour is also getting back to its communist roots, with plans to limit the ability of the Opposition and third parties to criticise the Government for the entire election year, not just during the 3 months before an election.

However, the Government would still be free to embark on multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded PR campaigns under the guise of education (Working for Families, Kiwisaver, etc).

Labour wants to force third parties to obtain "a free speech permit" (What The!?!) in election year if they plan to campaign against the Government.

Funnily enough, Crown Law has advised Labour that those proposals would actually breach freedom of expression protections in the Bill of Rights ;-) Labour also wants a spending cap of $60,000 per group, allowing funds to still roll in from hundreds of Union branches from Kaitaia to Bluff.

Lucyna has posted Chris Trotter's latest column from the Dom Post, where the trendy socialist tried to argue that Labour needs state funding because of the "political fines" of $800,000 it owes the New Zealand taxpayer for spending their hard-earned money on a bunch of glossy "pledge cards" advertisements.

* Stuff: Bid for state funding set to collapse

* NZ Herald: Fran O'Sullivan: Labour's grubby spending ploy
* DPF's Kiwiblog: Labour's plan to stifle criticism breach the Bill of Rights
* Clint Heine: Can you pick the party?...

[ Right now I'm listening to:
^ Linkin Park - What I've Done
^ Serebro - Song #1 (Russian Eurovison entry) ]

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Thursday, 5 April 2007

Smarmy Maharey, Minister of Swearing

Labour MP Steve "Smarmy" Maharey is the NZ Government's Minister of Education and Minister of Broadcasting, but not according to his official list of titles 'Minister of Swearing'.

Apparently though, he is the first MP to be caught using the "F" word on microphone in Parliament. What a thoroughly charming man. Good to see Labour picks the best people to be in charge of our nation's children, and our nations airwaves...

* NZ Herald: A couple of quick words from the Minister ... whoops
* Stuff: Minister tells Nat MP to 'bleep' off

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Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Planning the annual trip to the UK and NYC

Ever since I did my "big OE" in the UK, and then 5 seasons of Summer Camp in the USA, I've had to get out of New Zealand and back into the "big smoke cities" at least once a year ;-)

I usually catch up with friends and relations in London and Luton (just slightly north of London), before heading over to the USA.

Last September, group from back home met up in New York City, for a week or two of being tourists, shopping, and seeing heaps of Broadway shows. I love New York, especially Manhattan, and do most of my annual clothes shopping there!

Being the summer, we try to avoid the subway as much as possible, and it's often quicker to walk anyway. This does leave you with some tired legs at the end of the day, not to mention a sore back, neck, and sometimes a headache. Maybe next time we go, we'll have to check out a medical massage therapist in NYC.

I've never actually been to a Chiropractor, although I often get a sore neck. I do that head-twisting neck-cracking thing that's probably really bad for you ;-) and have a good stock of Ibuprofens!

We're currently in planning for this year's trip to the United States. It looks like there might be just a small bunch this year unfortunately, but we'll still have fun... there's some great new shows coming out, we'll stay at the "10 star" Hotel Cartier (!) and it's good to get a good summer break when it's still pretty cold in New Zealand.

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Sunday, 1 April 2007

English Starship ready for New Captain

Check out this guy... He converted his English studio flat into a replica of the Star Trek Voyager. Tony Alleyne is now looking to sell his apartment on ebay.

He started the project after his wife left him a the late-90s - originally going for the Starship Enterprise look - before refitting it two years ago in the style of the Starship Voyager.

His flat is missing one vital part... a bedroom. Alleyne decided a bed takes up too much room, and put in a transporter room instead. (He says he suffers from sciatica, and his doctor told him he'd be better off sleeping on the floor).

It still sounds pretty cool though... if you're a hard-core trekkie. Along with the transporter pad, there's faithful recreations of the bridge consoles, phaser firing controls, and a voice-activated interface to control the lighting.

* CityNews: Star Trek Apartment Up For Sale On eBay

* Gizmodo: Trekkie Recreates Awesome Set of Star Trek: Voyager in a Studio Apartment

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