Zarmark: Taobao shipping with guarantee

Recently, I found out about a site called ‘Zarmark’. They ship product from a Chinese alternative to eBay, called Taobao, which (normally) doesn’t operate internationally. Zarmark solves this problem by using their own address in China.

At first, I couldn’t find many reviews. I just took the chances and ordered on Zarmark.

First, I went to Taobao combined with Google Translate. I needed some new sunglasses, so I typed sunglasses in Google Translate to Chinese and searching the website with the translated word. After a while I found a cheap set of good sunglasses. All prices are in Chinese Yuan.

I copied the URL as the site instructed. The price was automatically calculated, and I didn’t need to convert the currencies via XE or Google. Then, I added money to my account, ordering the product, and just wait.

The sunglasses order
The sunglasses order

It took 3 days to arrive at their office. Then, a second payment needed to be made, for international shipping. This was around $3 in my case. Then, it took 3 weeks before it was in the Netherlands. The tracking number was included.

The package came wrapped in normal packaging, and there was an additional box in it, including the domestic shipping stickers. The quality was pretty good, and was taped pretty well.

Sunglasses - 2 Sunglasses

 

Review: PrizeRebel

PrizeRebel is a website that gives you ‘free’ items, such as eBay promotion codes and STEAM games.

This website has reviews, good ones, bad ones… it doesn’t seem to end the long line of Google results. The ‘free’ items are earned by completing surveys, companies that want your opinion. For each completed survey, you can get points, varying from 15 to 200 for each free survey.  These free* surveys take an average of 5 minutes to fill in.

  • There are also mobile subscriptions, which aren’t free nor cheap. Don’t even try them.
  • Watch out when giving your real address in some surveys. You might get invoices for so-called ‘free’ stamps or other products.

You might prepare yourself for the spam, so it’s the real deal to make a spambox of your own. All surveys require e-mail validation, so you might want to access the mailbox (some tips: GMail, remote.nu, Outlook).

I tested this site for a week, and its promises are real. After I had done 9 surveys, I already had a $5 eBay coupon. But hey, wait a minute… it’s pending? The site does all orders manually, and are processed within 2- 3 business days.

The next day, I finally received my code.
PrizeRebel Notification E-Mail

I got the code, and it’s working:

eBay code

The code worked, but you are still required to use PayPal (the checkout shows $0.00) for the ‘Buying protection’ and it only works on ‘Buy Now’ orders.

eBay order

 

And now I’m on the way for the next item.
Great site, and a great payout rate.
Stay tuned for more reviews to come!

Peerbet 2. A website listening to its users.

This is a follow up article about the old Peerbet review, the owner of Peerbet contacted me according to the review.

I have had my own experiences with Peerbet. A good site, and it differs from other well known Bitcoin sites. I had some criticism about Peerbet, mainly because it had no option to ‘try’ or register without E-mail (which is something for privacy-parrots and real Bitcoin veterans). They offer instant withdrawals now, so take a bite of coins.

Their simple response to my review was: “We’ve added it now. Check your facts”. And now I did. I wrote this article as a huge appreciation and a apology. I underestimated Peerbet.

Well, a thank you to the Peerbet staff for reporting it and actually implementing the feature. Even if its criticism from a small blog like this, it’s a great improvement.

Until next time~

Peerbet: gambling with issues

Last time, on the ‘old’ version of my blog, I covered Bitcoin and SatoshiDICE. I’ve had a small review about it, combined in the About Bitcoin article. I visit Daily Bitcoins on a regular basis, and there was an ad about a service called PeerBet, and the ‘peer’ part in the name draw my attention.

This site claims to have ‘no-house edge’, so the betting usage itself doesn’t cost anything for the user. Gambling isn’t my thing as written earlier, but I was curious since I got a coupon code and saw a hole to review it. The coupon I got was of a low value: 0.001 BTC.

Here is how it works:

  • You can either create a raffle, or join a raffle.
  • This is why it’s called ‘peer’ bet, from user to user.
  • You can create a raffle with a maximum of 16 million tickets: a minimum of 2. (since you obviously win with only one).
  • You can make raffles private with a password.

It’s basically the same as SatoshiDICE, but again, without cost and you have a raffle.

The site itself looks dark and straight boxed, a clean interface. The user created raffles are usually a 50/50 raffle: two tickets. You can’t really sort the raffles though, and even when you do, you don’t have too many options. Also, a huge disadvantage is that you must register: something most Bitcoin users do not like (SatoshiDICE just uses your Bitcoin address).

Summary:

+

  1. User to user without fee
  2. You can buy unlimited tickets

  1. Payments take long and are not instant: payments are done manually it seems.
  2. You must register (including e-mail)
  3. The site needs tweaking
  4. Hack-Sensitive: you must withdraw payments on your own (not automatically), and thus there are Bitcoins on the site itself.

I do not really recommend this site, nor gambling at all. At the moment it is just too rough and quick build. This isn’t a huge difference from SealsWithClubs.

So, if you have a few pennies left, go ahead.

Ubuntu One Music Store: Better be using a real CD retailer.

Last time, I covered a review on Ubuntu One. Ubuntu One is great for cloud storage and backups, but their newly introduced music store is not just good, it’s actually bad. The prices vary per track from 0.50$-2$, and the bitrate is the highest you can get. Tracks will be send to ‘.ubuntuone\Purchased from Ubuntu One’ in your personal folder.

The music store doesn’t have much tracks available, even great artists like U2 or Duran Duran aren’t widely available in their store. The advantages are, though, their music does not contain DRM or any other security and can be easily send to your MP3 player.25GB

At the time of writing, they have a special offer that made me try this new service and it was very hard to find music I liked. They accept major credit cards as the only payment option, so people in the EU are probably already stuck. I do have a Visa credit card, so this wasn’t a problem for me.
I bought a track for €0.79, and the +20GB storage and 6 months free unlimited music streaming for iDevices and Android were instantly activated. This concept is absolutely great, but not yet the solution for piracy: it simply doesn’t have a wide choice to choose from if you’re a real music geek.

I’m not saying this is the definitive solution for anything, because it’s simply too new. Who knows, it will be popular some day. But there are many things that require some tweaking.

 

Toyota Prius: something you don’t want above 50 KM/h

The Prius is a green, environment friendly, small car. Because you can use electricity under 50 KM/h, you can save a lot of money. But what if you must travel 500 KM to your best friend needing help?

You could drive that easily, according to Toyota with gasoline. And that’s where the trouble begins, because you aren’t going to use electricity on the freeway (usually 100 KM/h+).  And you may think you are ‘driving green’, but the gasoline consumption is very high, and so is the Co2 emission.  The manufacturer only lists the gasoline consumption on their website without the electricity installation, which makes no sense at all.

Toyota, and several other manufactures of electric-hybrid cars (take the Opel Insignia for example), are not so green if they aren’t driving in a city. This is known for a longer time, and why are several governments still giving bonuses on the cars (Netherlands, Germany)? The answer is simple: the government trusts the fake information given by the manufacturers. But why are they still believing it after all the criticism?

That isn’t known, and it may be true that oil companies bribe car manufacturers to make cars non-efficient.

 

Ubuntu1 – Useful for multiboot – Less for Windows

Ubuntu One, a cloud service by Canonical which servers you 5GB free ‘cloud’ storage. This isn’t very new, but Ubuntu One can be used on almost any OS, such as Mac OS, Linux/Ubuntu, Windows, Android and i-Devices (iPod, iPhone etc.). Very straightforward, and the server speeds are pretty high, and it’s a useful way to (automatically) sync your files.

Even though the advertising is great, the website works great, but the sync-daemon for Windows is pretty unstable. Sometimes it uploads files, sometimes it doesn’t (at the time of writing).  This was the first thing I noticed on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 Pro.

Ubuntu One works like a charm, and supports any operating system. 5GB doesn’t look much, but they have a pretty nice referral program for extra storage. Of course, the version for Android and Ubuntu work great. I didn’t tested the Mac OS X version, but I hope it doesn’t fail like the Windows version. It’s pretty nice when you realize this was once upon a time some small scale project (Ubuntu) and grew just like Apple or Microsoft. Combine it with some Wine and you will have a pretty OS with many, many options.

Ubuntu One in Windows
Ubuntu One in Windows

 

Most people think that 5GB is worthless and too low. Well that’s true if you synchronize your Documents folder. But even when you want it free, use the referral program. Or pay just $3/month. It’s worth it — let’s hope they’ll develop the Windows version to something more stable.

Well, it’s plain and simple and anyone should be able to use it. Because that’s their goal eventually: ease of use and free to anyone.

Also check out the new Thunderbird integration for Ubuntu One included in the lastest versions. It automatically uploads attachments that are above the file limit for your mail server.

Ubuntu One – Just another cloud?

Ubuntu One, or just Ubuntu1, is a cloud storage with 5GB of storage. Sounds familiar? Yes, that was my first thought too. And 5GB isn’t very much nowadays. It seems that you get 20GB extra for 3$/month, which isn’t expensive. A small quote from the homepage:

Sync & 5GB storage free

Keep your content safe, access it anywhere, and share it with friends, family and colleagues. You can also earn up to 20GB extra free cloud storage by inviting family and friends with the Ubuntu One referrals program.

After some few clicks, the supported OSs are Linux/Ubuntu, Windows, Android and iPad/iPhone. It comes with an application that has the support to automatically synchronize files, and has low memory usage. But what does it make unique across cloud services like SkyDrive and Google Drive?

This is something  that got me in this week, so stay tuned for a review!

 

 

Review: Moonbase Alpha, a million dollar trolling nest?

Well, this game by NASA draw my attention yesterday, finding this video which demonstrates the  TTS(Text-to-Speech) feature in this sort of educational game. It seems there is many “aeiou” and “john madden” involved, but the goal remains unknown after you see that video.

After this video, I downloaded this “Moonbase Alpha”  and it was only available via Steam, which is a gaming marketplace, like Games for Windows Live. So, I installed Steam, the game, and launched the game. I selected a server, and quickly after I joined, I was immediately called “ghey nigar”. Funny, the TTS engine says it the ‘correct’ way, while typing “nigger” results in “******”. It was a huge mess in the chat box and decided to turn my sound off. It seems that the goal is to maintain the moon base, and keep enough oxygen running. But the teamplay in most rooms is like 0%, and most people download it for the TTS. Well, it’s fine, but this game was expensive, and it doesn’t seem to have support anymore. A million dollar trolling place.

But oh well, the security against hacks is zero, and with hacks for example, you can fly all around. I laughed when I saw the earth was flat in the game and never rotating.

The only thing well made about this game are the footsteps and the equipment, but the gameplay itself is terrible with all the trolls. But it’s fun if you just join the troll crew and say ‘99999999999999’ and ‘uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu’ all the time.