Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Flinders Street and William Street Melbourne red light/speed camera.

The video of the intersection of Flinders Street and William Street Melbourne has now been uploaded.

For those wishing to review this intersection hopefully the video will assist.

Flinders Street and William Street Melbourne red light/speed camera

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to spot the petrol price hike is occurring using Petrol Prices Melbourne.

It's that time when petrol prices spike in Melbourne. Yesterday we saw the first petrol stations jump from around 99.9 cents to 129.9. I thought I'd share what you see on the Petrol Prices Melbourne ( map.

During the price discounting cycle you'll see the average price being a yellow marker and prices above being orange to light red, and prices below, being olive to light green. However when the petrol price spikes you went up with prices being at either end of the range. The old much lower price and the new much higher price. That is you'll see lots of dark reds (those that have increased their prices) and lots of dark greens (those that haven't yet increased their prices).

It takes around 3-4 days for the new higher price to become the norm (this is called the restoration phase of the discounting cycle) and then for the discounting to start again.

When you see lots of dark reds and lots of dark greens it is time to fill up.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, August 29, 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Alert - Speed Camera Locations - Audible alert when approaching speed camera location (red light camera).

Alert - Speed Camera Locations - Audible alert when approaching speed camera location (red light camera).

Just finished first release of the alert for speed camera locations. A good way to become aware of speed camera locations on your trips around town. You get an audible and visual warning of an approaching speed camera location. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Costco Epping petrol may change petrol prices in the northern suburbs.

Since starting the Petrol Prices Melbourne web app I've noticed a number of interesting trends. One particularly interesting trend is where the price of petrol in Melbourne is consistently the cheapest. It turns out the best petrol prices tend to be around Costco in Moorabbin.

The following is a snapshot of the petrol prices around Melbourne as shown on the Motormouth site. The dark green markers show the cheapest petrol location.

Anyone in the Moorabbin area can take advantage of the reduced petrol prices and not just at Costco. Without purchasing a Costco membership those shopping at Woolworths can use their discount voucher to often match the Costco petrol price. Other petrol stations get very close negating the need for a Costco membership.

Should a Costco open as has been suggested in the media in Epping, it is very likely Costco petrol prices may have a similar effect on petrol pricing in the northern suburbs of Melbourne around Epping. Good for consumers but perhaps not so good for some of the petrol stations.

The reports in the media also indicate Costco were granted a permit in 2013 for 20 Jovic Road, Epping. With another article in the media stating "The Costco proposal will include the extension of a road from Cooper St, between The Northern Hospital and Epping Plaza, to Deveny Rd."

The aim of the Petrol Prices Melbourne web app is to help people save money on petrol. Knowing where the cheapest petrol is around Melbourne can save some money. Moorabbin may not always be close to you, but if you're passing through the area, keep in mind the petrol prices are often very competitive. If you're running low, a top up may be a good idea.

Kelvin Eldridge

Update: 21 August 2016
For those wanting to buy petrol at Costco Epping you'll be in for a long wait. A few days ago I decided to check to see what progress had been made at the site. The site is still a vacant area. No construction work or anything has been started.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Speed Camera Locations new web app in development.

I write web apps for myself, family and friends. When I see something that interests me and I can solve a problem using a web app, I'll create a web app. The latest web app I'm creating is Speed Camera Locations. Recently I saw a couple of red light/speed cameras mentioned in the press and thought, I wonder why they catch so many people.

Now I should say I don't think it is a good idea to speed or go through red lights. But sometimes you can't help wondering how much is revenue generation versus public safety. Two cameras that caught my attention were the cameras in Flinders Street and Williams Street in the city and Warrigul Road and Batesford Road Chadstone.

The speed/red light camera on the corner of Flinders Street and Williams Street Melbourne generated the second highest number of fines at 66,429 with a potential revenue of  $15,327,627 in 2014/2015. That's a staggering $15 million dollars. As I stood watching cars go by I felt many cars were simply lucky that the light changes red. If you're stopped you can't get fined. A couple or cars who had a clear run with no traffic were pinged in a matter of minutes. They weren't going overly fast. The speed limit is 40 kph in the city. I for one didn't know that and others I've asked also didn't know. The signs are relatively small signs and given how busy the city is with signage, easy to miss. The big jump from 2013/2014 from 27,138 I can't help wondering why such a big jump. I also couldn't help think if 40 was painted on the road the additional information may assist drivers to keep to the speed limit. I think it would be an excellent research project to see the before an after effect of painting 40 to provide drivers with more information.

Whilst looking at the data I noticed an intersection I was booked at a while ago. The intersection of Warrigal Road and Batesford Road Chadstone.  I was driving relatively slowly (quite a bit under 50 kph) and if I recall, did a U-turn or turn to go into the Maccas on the corner. It was around 1:30 pm in the afternoon on a Saturday. The catch here is there is a 40 kph sign, which sort of makes sense due to the high number of students, but what doesn't make sense is the time restrictions. The speed restriction currently is 8 am to 12 am Monday to Saturday. Whilst I may be wrong, when I was booked I seem to recall the time restriction ended at 3 pm on the Saturday afternoon. Perhaps the signs have changed or my memory fails me. I've never seen a sign with this time period before. Why not Sunday as well? Why Saturday if not Sunday? I did ask for the fine to be reconsidered and luckily it was withdrawn.

When you look at the number of fines it makes sense you could get caught at this intersection.There's huge number of road signs in the area. Reading the smaller time periods as you drive and concentrating on the road and cars around you, plus the times cover an unexpected period, increases the chances of making a mistake. This intersection has the highest number of fines at 93.371 with a potential revenue of $21,349.786. This is an increase from 13,680 and a value of $3,048,927 from 2013/2014. That's a huge increase.

In both of the above cases I highly doubt if the huge increases was because of worsening driver behaviour changes. If I were to guess it was either due to operating part of a year, or the reduction of the signed speed limits.

In this case I can't help feeling when the time periods change, flashing 40 kph signs should be used instead.

One day you're driving along and there's not a problem. The next you're driving along and you've broken the law. Certainly doesn't seem fair and it doesn't seem like the government is doing enough to make it easy for drivers to comply.

The Speed Camera Locations web app is designed to help people better know where the speed cameras are located and by increasing their knowledge they'll be better able to comply with the law. I certainly didn't know I'd broken any law and had no desire to break any law, but yet I did. Not knowing is not an excuse, but it certainly doesn't make the fine any more palatable.

Speed Camera Locations is currently in development. As I update the location information the web app will be updated. Once all the camera location information has been added, if there's sufficient interest, I'll develop further tools to assist drivers.

The first step in assisting drivers is to provide a map where the speed camera locations are colour coded. The coloured markers hopefully will show people where the biggest issues are as experienced by other drivers.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hostgator cancellation form didn't work.

Often I look after the admin tasks for clients as computer related issues can be beyond clients and it is easier for me to handle them. I cancelled a client's hosting with Hostgator on the 20th of July using Hostgator's online form. The client just received an email for the next month's bill and payment had been taken out of their credit card, which obviously means the account was not closed as expected.

When systems don't work as they should it takes time to fix things and this can cost money. In this case it took half an hour and this time will be written off, but could often be charged. It does also mean the client has to keep an eye out for the credit on their credit card and if it doesn't come, another support call.

One good lesson out of this is don't trust Hostgator's form to close an account. Use the online chat available under the support option. That way you get a support ticket ID, someone who you can then make sure they understand and will do what is required. You even have available a printout of the conversation you can use if you have further issues.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support

Tuesday, August 09, 2016 not working

I had my first call tonight from a person not knowing what to do to go to the census site. No problem I thought. Then it became obvious that many people are going to have the same problem.

The letter states "Just follow the simple instructions below". The first instruction: "Go to".

The person opens their browser on the search page as many people do. Typed in and saw a list of sites. None were

Not so simple after all.

The instructions should have been more specific. Something along the lines, "In the address area of your browser type in". Now of course some people don't even know they are using a browser and some people wouldn't know where the address area of the browser is.

The government has made assumptions there's a far greater understanding by the general population than a large segment of the population actually has. It is lucky those who don't know will be assisted by someone who does know. In effect the government has dumped the support role for their systems onto the IT literate amongst us.

Now the additional problem is the site is overloaded. It is not working. This will be causing a huge amount of grief for people. People who will be worried they'll be fined for not completing the census.

It really is a pity the government doesn't get things like this right. We saw the click-frenzy failures of the past for commercial organisations, but for the government to do this is almost beyond belief. It simply shouldn't happen.

Kelvin Eldridge

11:48 pm, 9 August 2016
Decided to try site using mobile. Click on button to complete census just goes to blank about: page. On the notebook you get the census page, then clicking on the button gives a message to try in 15 minutes.

Update: 10:19 am, 10 August 2016

I read this in today's online News site. "However the ABS took the “precaution of closing down the system to ensure the integrity of the data” just after 7.30pm."

What is bothering about this, is had the ABS put this or a similar notice on their site at 7:30 pm that the site was not available until further notice, the time wasted by millions of Australians could have been reduced or avoided. The lack of transparency and being upfront with clear information is a considerable concern.

Update: 14 August 2016

It should be a concern the census system capacity was 260 forms per second. That is 936,000 forms per hour. We were all told to fill in the form on census night. For most people that would mean between 7 pm and 11 pm on Tuesday. There would be a large peak sometime during this period, the submission would not be evenly spread. It would be expected there would be somewhere around 10 million people submitting the census, although not all online. It is conceivable the system capacity could be exceeded by two to three times the design. Capacity did reach 150 forms per second at 7:30 pm when the system was shut down. Around 2 million people had submitted their census by this time with quite a few submitting during the day and the previous day (not census night as we'd been told).  At 936,000 forms per hour that would only allow for around 4 million forms during the 7 pm to 11 pm period. Far less than the 7 million plus expected for the census to break even. There is little wonder the census failed.

Why do some households get a census form, some get no form, and others get the census letter with code?

I found it very interesting that we received a letter to the resident for the census. The letter has a code and we're expected to complete the census online, or request a paper form.

What I found quite surprising were two other people I know. One received the census form to complete. Another person didn't receive a form to their property at all.

Why do some households get the paper form, others the letter and others nothing at all? Questions I certainly can't answer, but thought was an interesting observation worth sharing.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Does half filling your petrol tank save money?

I've read a number of articles on the internet about whether or not half filling your petrol tank saves money or not. Obviously visiting the service station twice as often costs time, but let's just focus on the cost of petrol. In every article I read I noticed there was something missing. The petrol price cycle which has a restore point followed by discounting. That is the price hikes significantly over a couple of days and then in the coming weeks drops in price. The graph of the typical Melbourne petrol price cycle can be seen at Since the price cycle has not been considered I thought I'd write a little on this.

Savings due to weight of petrol

First in terms of saving money. The reason people feels it saves money to half fill your tank is petrol has  weight and if you increase the weight of your car it uses more petrol. But the question is by how much. I'll use my purchasing behaviour to illustrate.

I purchased a tank roughly each fortnight. I let the car usually go to empty and then fill up. Filling up takes roughly 50 litres. By the way I'm not really on empty. My car, a Toyota Avensis has a 60 litre tank, so I still have 10 litres left in the tank when I fill up.

If at the start of the period I put in 50 litres and end up using that so have zero of the 50 litres left at the end, then the average number of litres I have throughout the period is 25 litres.

If I only fill up half the amount, or 25 litres then I have to do this twice. The average volume is 12.5 litres.

Thus the difference is 12.5 litres. Petrol weights around 0.74 kg/l (0.71 to 0.77 kg/l) and thus the amount of extra weight averages out to be 9.25 kg.

We need to simplify the maths so we'll assume (as we only need an estimate) the relationship between weight and petrol usage is linear. That is double the weight and twice as much petrol will be used. In my case my car weighs 1,490kg. Yes there will be one or two passengers and some extra things we carry around, but lets just use the weight of the car. We then get 9.25/1490 which is 0.6% A small car is around 1,000kg. The tank is usually smaller, but if we use the same 9.25 we got 0.9%.

The saving will thus be somewhere around 0.5-1%. A tank of petrol costs me around $60, so the saving by filling up twice as often would expect to be around 30 to 60 cents a fortnight or about $7.80-$15.60 per year. That's not really a particularly good saving.

Savings due to petrol price cycle

A second saving can occur if you use the petrol price cycle. This however means filling up completely when the price cycle is at the lowest, and then half filling your tank as the price is dropping. Since the price is dropping by half to one cent per day, every time I half fill (which would be every week after the first two weeks) I would save 25 (litres) by 3.5-7 cents, or if I waited until I was on empty and then half filled (25 litres after two weeks) the price would save 87.5-175 cents. With typical petrol price cycles being roughly monthly, we'd get about 24 (12 x 2) half tank fills and 12 full tank fills a year. The savings value of the half tank fills would thus be $21-$42 per year.

Overall savings

The overall savings from half filling up are not great, but they do exist. Savings from less weight and the petrol price cycle means a possible saving of $28.80 to $57.60 per year.

If you add these savings to buying at the lowest point in the petrol price cycle and shopping around for the lowest price (without going out of your way) and using discount vouchers when appropriate, the savings can add up to many hundreds of dollars a year. That money is better in your pocket than someone else's. However do keep in mind all of this takes time. If time is more important to you than the money, then that's your choice.

If you need help keeping an eye on the petrol price cycle and thus the best time to buy petrol, or even where if you're in the Manningham area, visit

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, August 01, 2016

Share My Location updated to make it easier to reconnect to session.

Share My Location is a web app which enables you or others to share their location as they travel around. As a web app rather than a native Share My Location has advantages such as being able to run on most devices, mobile, tablets, notebooks, or desktops.

Unfortunately however, running through a browser on a mobile device means when not the open application, the application pauses. Depending on how you restart means Share My Location you may lose the current connection. Previously this closed the session. Now you can restart Share My Location and the session still exists. There's no need to share the link as the people watching already have the link. However links are provided to share again in case they are needed.

Share My Location can now keep a session available for up to 24 hours, but realistically most sessions will most likely be for much shorter periods.

Now if you somehow exit Share My Location without pressing Share Off, when you reopen Share My Location, press Share On, the session is reconnected. Anyone watching will see your location update.

A second change has been to make Share My Location looks more like a native app when it is now opened. Share My Location now looks more like a native application than a web page application.

I hope these changes makes the experience using Share My Location better for everyone.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Article on savings by the first Australian to install Tesla Powerwall could easily mislead.

When I read some articles in the news media I really can't believe them. The following article is one example.

If you read this article the implication is the savings were made all because of the Tesla Powerwall. A massive 90% saving. However dig a little deeper and if I'm reading the information provided by the person through their own site and other news sites, a different story starts to appear.

Yes the person has made savings. Whilst I don't know how many kWh per day the $660 bill was for, the bill was for 91 days and a rough estimate would indicate around 24-25kWh per day. The person has now reduced their usage through knowledge to 13.7209kWh per day. That's roughly a 43% reduction.

Reducing electricity usage isn't a saving that can be attributed to the Tesla Powerwall. The same or better can be achieved using a $25 power meter device and reading the energy ratings on devices. Power companies now provide sites providing information down to the hour on your usage. Knowledge that doesn't need any outlay.

This is all very rough, but I think you get the picture. If we reduce the electricity usage by 43% (first removing the daily service charge) the equivalent bill for the same usage would be roughly $326 compared to the post Powerwall bill of $50.39. Yes an excellent saving, but not quite as much. That's a saving of roughly $92 per month, and if we assume usage is the same every month, a yearly saving of  roughly $1,100.

The set-up cost for the person for their system was $15,990. The payback period is thus around 14.5 years.

The person also mentioned they could have put the money into their mortgage for an interest saving of $750, which people often forget is also tax free. Put the same money into the mortgage over 14.5 years and the benefit would be around $31,000 tax free.

The problem here is not unusual. People only think about reducing usage after they've made a large investment. I nearly did the same. Instead I worked on reducing my usage first. My normal electricity usage was around 13-14kWh per day. It's now 5-6kWh per day. No solar. No large outlay. With discounts, once you're using the level of electricity grid connected solar no longer makes financial sense.

If you have mortgage or other debt, it really may be worth considering paying down the debt before making purchases like this that have payback periods that are near or longer than the life expectancy of the equipment. With electricity usage, first reduce your usage as best you can and only then look at the payback on investing.

The article in the newspaper really made me interested again in the Tesla Powerwall, but once I go through the numbers and research further, what's being said simply doesn't add up. Good unbiased knowledge can only help you make better and more informed decisions.

Kelvin Eldridge
Electricity Cost Calculator

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Share My Location web app is now live.

Hot off the press the Share My Location web app is now live. Those of you who know me, know I write web apps for myself and make them available for others. I figure if they help me then perhaps they'll help others as well.

Share My Location enables you to share your location with someone else. Not just your current location, but your location as you're moving. You may in a car, on public transport, or just walking, but now you can share your location with someone else.

Yes there are apps that do this, but most only work for one device. Share My Location doesn't need to be installed and works across multiple platforms. Now obviously if you're sharing your location it's best if you have a GPS enabled device, but the person you're sharing with can be on any computer or mobile device.

No identifying information is requested. No sign up. You just visit the site,, click the Share On button, click on the link to send an email and you and the other person (or people) can see your location and follow your journey. Great for letting people know where you are. Great for meeting up with people. Great for helping people.

I write the web apps because over time it's what I wanted on a number of occasions. Now I have what I want and I'd be fairly sure others have probably been in the same situation.


Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, July 22, 2016

Petrol prices in Melbourne spiking at the moment.

It's been interesting watching the latest petrol price hike in Melbourne. There's usually up to 4 days before the new higher price moves across the market. Normally I see the price hike on the second of the four days and alert everyone using the Petrol Price Melbourne site  This time I noticed the price hike very early since I'm now recording prices in the area.

Two things became apparent. The trend on the site can go in any direction on the first day. Whilst some prices are spiking, others are still going down. It is really weird to watch part of the market going down whilst another part is having a massive price hike of around thirty cents per litre.

The second was I felt the colour coding for the markers on the maps which help people locate lower priced petrol wasn't particularly good. My initial approach was 21 coloured markers at set price intervals, but unfortunately this approach didn't make it easy to distinguish the cheaper prices as the prices move down. This is because the market has a small spread of prices (4-6 cents) so the markers all look very similar.

I decided to change the markers to indicate one cent differences. This is very good when prices are going down. When prices are going down the range of prices is usually between 6-10 cents, so the coloured markers can be easily distinguished. When the price spikes the average moves towards the middle so is everything lumped into red (expensive) and green (cheap). When this occurs you may need to check individual markers or use the cheapest page to find the cheapest petrol. When the price peaks the new peak becomes the average which will show as yellow. As prices drop the range increases and the range of coloured markers again increases.

I hope this new colour coding scheme makes it easier for people to find cheaper petrol and save money on their petrol purchases.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Petrol Prices Melbourne - Now showing average, maximum, minimum and trend.

The main page of Petrol Prices Melbourne now shows the average, maximum, minimum unleaded submitted petrol prices, along with the trend from yesterday. This is a good way to know roughly the price petrol will cost. Petrol Prices Melbourne 

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, June 30, 2016

TPG home phone and telephone not working. "Number you have dialled is not valid. Please check the number and call again."

A couple of days ago our home phone with TPG wasn't working for a few days. A Telstra technician was required and fixed the problem. Now just a couple of days later the home phone and internet are not working again.

I called TPG support and they informed me the problem was Telstra was having problems and the problem should be solved by 7:30 pm. On the TPG site they only refer to a third party and the outage for the home phone being from 1:42 pm to 7:30 pm and internet being 1:42 pm to 11:30 pm.

From the TPG site, the "exchanges Belgrave, Melton, Scoresby, Sunbury and Templestowe may experience Internet and home phone connection difficulties".

Hopefully this may assist others who are in a similar situation.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, June 27, 2016

Petrol Price Melbourne has been rewritten based on feedback.

One of the best things about developing software is watching others use the software. The responses and feedback are invaluable to help improve the software.

I initially wrote Petrol Prices Melbourne as a simple single page alert. An alert so people could share when they spotted petrol prices hiking. Given that's only around every 3-4 weeks, for much of the time the web app didn't have much use.

Now whilst buying petrol before the price hike can save a considerable amount of money each year, knowing where to buy better priced petrol at other times can also save a considerable amount of money. I decided to make Petrol Prices Melbourne even more useful.

Petrol Prices Melbourne now shows maps of prices submitted by the public. You can see the prices for all petrol stations or just those around you. There's even a handy comparison helping people to work out the cost of buying at a cheaper place that is further away.

Based on feedback, I changed my initial approach for the maps to show only today's submitted prices, to also show petrol stations from the previous day. The date and time the price was submitted is provided. Prices from the previous day are obvious as the marker is faded. Seeing the information for a petrol station is even easier with the information provided by pressing or clicking on a marker.

Submitting petrol prices is now even easier allowing people to press or click on a marker in the submit section. All Shell, Coles Express and BP service stations within approximately 100 km of Melbourne are present, as are all the petrol stations around Templestowe. More petrol stations will be set up in future. If there's a petrol station you'd like to submit prices for, drop me an email and I'll set it up.

A new feature I added today shows the cheapest petrol stations around Melbourne from the prices submitted.

Thank you to everyone for your support and feedback. Whilst I save money using Petrol Prices Melbourne, it is even more pleasing when I hear others are saving money as well.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Facebook forcing messenger app on users.

Today a person said they could no longer use messages on Facebook using the website on their mobile phone. The person was only given the option to install the Facebook Messenger app which they did not want to do.

From what I've read and seen, there's people who do not wish to use the Facebook Messenger app. I decided to see if an earlier trick I used with Facebook might work and it did.

The technique is to use the link

Whilst not ideal as it gives you the desktop version of messages, it does allow you to get around Facebook trying to force you to install Facebook Messenger app. The person was quite happy with the technique even though they needed to zoom in.

If you're not a fan of installing the Facebook Messenger app, then perhaps give the above link a go.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Useful maps added to Petrol Prices Melbourne

New features added to the Petrol Prices Melbourne web app.

Since the web app was designed to log submitted prices, the prices are now shown on two maps. A map showing nearby petrol stations and a map showing all submitted petrol stations.

The reason the maps have been made available is if you know a petrol station has a better price, and it is conveniently located to you, then you can save money on your petrol purchases.

Markers for petrol stations on the maps are coloured coded to make it easy to find the best prices. The map showing nearby petrol stations shows details for up to 10 petrol stations. Included is a handy calculation showing the cost for 50 litres of petrol plus the estimated cost of petrol for a return trip. Obviously it's even better if the cheaper petrol station is already on your way.

Petrol prices are entered by the crowd which means you and me. If we enter prices the maps become useful resources and that will help show the maps useful.

Often we buy petrol from the same petrol stations. I was quite surprised recently to find Shell/Coles Express prices, even with the discount voucher was more expensive than other nearby service stations offering better prices with no discount.

The Petrol Prices Melbourne web app is located at The maps are available via the menu, but can be found at for the nearby petrol stations and, for the map of all petrol stations submitted.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Cheapest petrol prices in Melbourne.

Today I topped up my tank. Prices for petrol are currently around the 130 mark, but I saved $6.36 by purchasing petrol at 107.9.

I've decided to create a MyAnswers solution which shares the techniques I now use which could potentially save $300-$500 a year or more for us on petrol. The solution is available at

I've received good feedback that my posts to social media using the web app on petrol price hikes have helped others, which is very pleasing. Sometimes you wonder whether or not what you do makes a difference, but then when you hear it does, it really makes it worthwhile.

Kelvin Eldridge