Monday, January 16, 2017

The Convert inches to cm calculator links to the BMI/BMR calculator.

As part of the older generation I find people in our generation still referring to inches as well as centimetres and metres. The reason is we grew up measuring in feet and inches, so quite a few of the measures we know by heart, such as our height or the length of a ruler, we still think of in those old imperial units rather than metric. We then need to convert those measurements to centimetres or metres.

The Convert inches to cm calculator was written to aid those wishing to convert from inches to cm (cms, centimetres, centimeters (USA spelling)), or feet and inches to cm or metres.

Secondly, since one of the first figures we need when dieting to work out our BMI/BMR is our height, I've provided a link which takes the converted result and plugs it straight into the BMI/BMR calculators I've written.

You can find the Convert inches to cm calculator at www.inchestocm.com.au. I hope you find the calculator useful.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.inchestocm.com.au


Friday, January 13, 2017

Mapz has now been converted to use SSL encryption making it easier to use on mobile devices.

A general trend in the IT industry is a move to make the internet more secure by encrypting the connection between websites and the user's browser. This doesn't mean the sites are more secure, just that communication to and from the site is encrypted.

As this change is occurring sites which once worked OK may stop working. An example are sites such as www.mapz.com.au which passes your location to the server to provide the map with information around you back to you. In the past this communication was not encrypted. Browsers such as Google Chrome and more recently Safari on macOS now require the communication to be encrypted for the site to work property.

The Mapz site provides maps for things I find useful. The nearest cinema, petrol stations and takeaway food outlets. I use the maps regularly. I wrote them for myself and make them available for others to use.

I hope you find them useful.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Woolworths petrol stations drop prices to 115.9 at some petrol stations whilst others go up to 144.9.

I was quite surprised to see Woolworths petrol drop the price for unleaded in some of their petrol stations to 115.9. Not all petrol stations as other Woolworths petrol stations are higher and some even 144.9.

The Petrol Prices Melbourne web app shows the 144.9 petrol station as dark red and the 115.9 dark green.

Right now petrol prices are going up so to see this last minute move by Woolworths to drop prices significantly was quite a surprise. Add a discount voucher and you're down to 111.9 for unleaded petrol which isn't too bad at all.

I doubt if these prices will last, or who knows how the market will respond, but whilst the prices are there, it may be worth filling or topping up.

Kelvin
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A frustrating couple of weeks with sites using SSL.

My apologies to those who haven't been able to use the sites https://www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au, https://www.NearestPetrolStation.com.au, https://www.SpeedCameraLocations.com.au and https://www.ClosestPetrolStation.com.au.

Whilst there was a problem lurking in the hosting company's service since mid December, on Saturday the proverbial hit the fan and my sites started to not work. "Not happy Jan!"

All has been fixed and the sites are now working as expect.

Apologies again but this is the type of thing we are all faced with in IT. Certainly feels good to have the problem fixed.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Some VentraIP sites using Let's Encrypt currently have problems.

If you're trying to access the Petrol Prices Melbourne, Nearest Petrol Station, or the Speed Camera Locations sites, there is currently an issue with the hosting service VentraIP.

For a few weeks now VentraIP's implementation of Let's Encrypt has been giving problems. This started a few weeks ago with not being able to enable SSL for one site and yesterday, the problem became worse with three sites mentioned above that have SSL enabled, are now showing has having certificate problems.

You can still access the sites if you use Safari on the Mac, or Internet Explorer/Edge on Windows and select continue when given the certificate warning. However this will be disconcerting to people who don't know what's happening. Mobile users however will probably be out of luck.

My apologies for any inconvenience. VentraIP are working on the problem and hopefully it will be resolved in a timely manner.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Update: 11 January 2017
Certainly a frustrating time. Thanks to the team at VentraIP for sorting this out.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Next petrol price hike is going to surprise people

For the last few weeks I've not quite understood why the retail price of petrol has come down so slowly. Since the last price hike for Melbourne, which occurred on the 9th of November, 58 days ago, prices have come down 8 cents or 0.13 cents per day. In the past I've prices have typically dropped between 0.5 to 1 cent per day and the petrol price cycle being around 3-4 weeks.

Initially I thought this was because the petrol companies kept prices high for the Christmas holiday period. Since people are used to the high price there would be no outcry with the petrol companies profiteering at holiday times and thus the bad press. However this doesn't appear to be the case.

What has also been happening is in the background the wholesale price has been going up. On the 9th of November the average wholesale price was 108.3, and today (6 January 2017), the average wholesale price is 118.9.

So perhaps there's two situations that have occurred. Keeping prices high to avoid bad press, but also increasing wholesale prices.

In the near future we are probably going to see the highest petrol prices we've seen for some time. When the petrol price discounting cycle finishes and the restoration to the higher price occurs, we often see a 20-30 cent increase. I suspect the next price increase will take us up to 139.9 (but could be 144.9)  and that will probably occur within the next one to two weeks.

When the price restoration (or what I call the petrol price hike) occurs, I will as usual alert everyone using this blog, Google+, Twitter and my Facebook account. You can also keep an eye on www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au where I publish prices for petrol stations in my area.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au


Thursday, January 05, 2017

Electricity price increases occur around this time of the year.

In January the new prices for electricity generally start to apply. In my case the new prices kicked in on the 7th of December.

For those interested in checking how much the new rates will affect their electricity bill I created a video (https://youtu.be/BrVHzTA4PYA) showing how to use the Cheapest Electricity Provider web app to see how much your bill will increase by and by what percentage.

If you're thinking about changing electricity providers, the Cheapest Electricity Provider web app may be able to assist you in comparing rates.

Our rate is going up 12.5%, or about $80 a year. Whilst this is a considerable increase I've done a quick check around and since other providers are also increasing their rates, I haven't yet found a better rate worth the time to change to. Hopefully you have better luck.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.CheapestElectricityProvider.com.au

Monday, January 02, 2017

Police checking cars for speeding on Reynolds Road Templestowe at bottom of hill.

Yesterday I went for a bike ride and noticed a policeman standing behind a police car with a speed gun. They were parked at the bus stop on Reynolds Road near Blackburn Road Templestowe.

The problem I see with this approach is the police were checking speeding drivers on a very hilly road at the bottom of a long hill. A spot that would be incredibly easy for people to exceed the speed limit by a small amount for a short period of time.

I can't help feeling this form of policing our roads won't be well accepted by the general public.



I recall a time when it was suggested people weren't booked in such places (going down hills) but it appears those times have passed.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Qantas cash change pin at RediATM.

OK. I decided to use the Qantas cash card to test the coming cashless society. In my mind it is only a matter of time until the government decides to make it harder to use cash. The first step will be to remove higher valued notes as we're seeing happen in other countries. The banks will love it because of the increased fees they'll get. The consumer will lose by having to pay increasing fees.

Since I think it's going to happen, I decided it was time to see how easy it was to go cashless (with a smaller note for emergencies). However I don't want to rack up fees. I simply want a card that will give me access to a store of money, I can easily check the balance, and if possible, have no fees. It turned out I already had such a card in my drawer. It was a Qantas cash card. Qantas sent out their new Frequent Flyer cards some time ago and the new card is also a cash card. The Qantas cash card is designed for travellers, but there's nothing stopping you using it locally. If used appropriately you should be able to use it and pay not fees.

I activated the card. No problem there.

The next step is to load some money. I used BPay as there's no fees to load money onto the card using BPay. There's a delay of up to three days, but the money was there the next day, so that was good.

The first gotcha I've encountered is I wanted to change the pin to something I could more easily remember. The online help states I could change the pin number at selected ATMs. Of course I don't know what they mean by "selected". I tried two ATMs and both didn't have an option to change the pin number. Both were operated by NAB. I later read on another banking site (CUA) that RediATMs run by NAB and BOQ don't offer the change pin number option. On my next outing I'll try a RediATM that isn't run by NAB or BOQ. I'm not game to try another brand of ATM as I'm concerned about the potential for being hit with fees. I don't intend to use ATMs in the future, but of course if I need cash, then I may be forced to.

Now I have cash loaded on the card I can start the next stage of my testing. Spending money!

Once I find an ATM that will allow me to change the pin I'll let others know whether I've managed to change the pin or not.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Update: 30/12/2016
Changed the pin number at the CUA branch at Doncaster Shoppingtown. They have a RediATM in the wall.

Went to make my first purchase which was Sushi at the Doncaster food court. I should have known, but had simply not thought about it, but they wanted to charge a fee. That's a gotcha for many people. I remember many people complaining about cafe's not accepting cards. Small purchases can be a problem with some businesses. With the large businesses this is not a problem. Maccas had no problem or fees. Coles sold milk for $2 without a problem or fees. If you want to go cashless, sticking to the big names is probably going to be easier. That's not going to be good for smaller businesses. Although charging a small fee for a $10 purchase of sushi which is probably half profit and then losing the sale as a result doesn't make good business sense either.

Not only do you have to keep in mind the fees banks will charge, but it's just as important to keep in mind fees traders will also charge. Hard to go cashless when we have such a system.

Update: 1/1/2017
Whilst some retailers only take cash, or won't take cards for small purchases, Aldi charge 0.5% irrespective of the amount. As such small amount purchases don't cost too much extra.

Update: 4/1/2017
Recently ordered pizza from Dominos. Opted to pay cash so I could use my Qantas cash card when I got there. Sign stated $9 minimum EFT so paid cash. Next time I'll try the credit card option when I order online and see if that works.

Update: 14/1/2017
Balance was running low due to purchase so put in $100 on the 11/1/2017 (Wednesday) using BPay. The amount has not yet reached the card. A good reminder to allow three banking days to clear.

Received an email today from Qantas Cash Recoveries. The card had been put on hold due to a suspect transaction. OK. In a way I strayed from using the card as a cash replacement. The supplier is in the USA and I used the card for their site. To verify the card they charged 1 USD. Since there were no other USD transactions this flagged as potential fraud. This took around 20 minutes (mostly waiting) to resolve. This is a reminder your card could be locked as a fraud security prevention measure. That doesn't happen with cash, but of course I couldn't have done this transaction with cash.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Aldi frozen treat maker

I noticed Aldi will soon be selling a frozen treat maker. I purchased a similar unit about two years ago. The idea of freezing fruit and making a tasty treat sounded very appealing.

In hindsight the product was very disappointing and ended up being another gadget that simply sits in the cupboard never to be used again.

The problem is fruit frozen in this way doesn't taste that good. The unit is noisy and it takes quite a bit of cleaning up for the small quantity food produced. It really takes quite a long time to produce a small portion of food.

If your looking at one of the frozen treat makers hopefully my experience may help.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Hungry Jack's vouchers.

I''m not quite sure why Hungry Jack's simply don't have their latest vouchers promoted on their website.

In the past family have passed on their sheet of vouchers they've received in their mail box and won't be using. We don't get junk mail so don't see the vouchers. The cost of printing and delivery surely must be quite significant, and with over a third of people having no junk mail signs on their mail boxes, it isn't necessarily the best way to get to as many people as possible.

A quick check of the internet and you can download and print off their one page of vouchers. The following is a link to a PDF which has the specials until 30 January 2017.

http://www.frugalfeeds.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Hungry-Jack’s-Vouchers-expires-30-Jan-2017.pdf

I've found Hungry Jack's in the past have honoured the vouchers without a problem. In fact even just mentioning the special offer without a voucher has often been enough to get the special offer. It really doesn't make sense why they wouldn't simply make the vouchers available on their website when it is fairly easy to go to another site and get the vouchers and that's traffic to their site they're missing out on. Ultimately however it is Hungry Jack's choice.

Hungry Jack's can be a bit hard to find in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne so if you're looking for a Hungry Jack's perhaps give my site www.Mapz.com.au a go.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Closest Petrol Station web app for Sydney and NSW now available.

Following on from my earlier Nearest Petrol Station web app which shows the nearest petrol stations to you in Melbourne and the surrounding 100 km approximately, I've now created the Closest Petrol Station web app for those in Sydney and NSW.

The Closest Petrol Station web app for Sydney and NSW covers all of NSW enabling you to find the 1 closest petrol stations, or if you prefer a particular brand of petrol, the closest ten petrol stations for your favourite petrol retailer.

In the past a number of people have let me know they've found the various petrol station web apps to be handy and hopefully the Closest Petrol Station will be handy for those in, or travelling to NSW and Sydney. You can find the Closest Petrol Station web app at https://www.closestpetrolstation.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
Closest Petrol Station for Sydney/NSW
Nearest Petrol Station for Melbourne and the surrounding area



Friday, December 02, 2016

Kurt Russell died hoax

Every now and then I open Facebook and today I noticed at the right the article titled, "Kurt Russell Leave Us At 62".

For those that haven't seen one of these adverts before, this is a hoax advert. It's not true. A quick check on the internet and you'll find there's plenty of posts letting people know this is a hoax. Of course the picture of Russell Crowe is probably a bit of a give away as well.

Facebook is accepting these fake ads which appears to be a real problem for them in terms of news credibility. If you see an news item in Facebook, perhaps don't click on the article, but instead perform a search to find out more information. You really don't know where that link will take you.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Google Webmaster Content Keywords option missing

Today I noticed one of my favourite Google webmaster options, Content Keywords, was missing. A double check and yes it has gone.

A quick search of the internet revealed Google on the 29th of November in their blog they were retiring the option.

If like me you're looking for the webmaster Content Keywords option, yes it has gone.

Sad to see it go as it was a handy tool.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Blogger stats can be woefully inaccurate.

There are times that I live in my stats pages but when it comes to Blogger I really do feel like I'm fooling myself.

This blog according to the stats page gets a lot pages views and thus traffic. At one time this pleased me seeing the numbers increase, but now the numbers simply have very little meaning. The page views shown by Blogger stats for this blog are about 30 times the actual number of real page views by real visitors. Yes that's a staggering 30 times the page views by real people.

I have three other ways to measure the traffic to this blog and the other methods largely correspond.

Why the huge difference?

From what I've read the difference is the way in which Blogger records what is a page view. Blogger records not just real people viewing pages, but also records the automated processes (bots) as views. As the blog becomes more popular the more it appears to get scanned by bots and thus the more the stats have little to no meaning.

Are all Blogger blogs' statistics as bad?

Some aren't as quite as bad as 30 times, but another one we have is about 8 and another around 2. What is interesting is the one with page views being around twice that shown by Google Analytics, is quite specific to Australia. There may be some correlation between geographically specific content versus content not tied to a location. In all cases however the Blogger stats can be quite misleading.

How do you fix this problem?

If you want meaningful stats from a Blogger blog, the easiest way is to add Google Analytics to your blog's template.

Now you might not be as happy with the page views you're actually getting, but isn't better in the end to base your decisions on real information.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Monday, November 28, 2016

Video providing an overview of the Speed Camera Locations web app.

I regularly use the Speed Camera Locations web app to alert me of speed cameras whilst I'm driving along. Knowing where the speed camera locations are is certainly good to know.

I've just uploaded a short video giving an overview of the Speed Camera Locations web app and the Alert function. (https://youtu.be/lEQF2iABuqg)

Hopefully it the web app will help others adjust their driving to avoid a speed /red camera fine.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.SpeedCameraLocations.com.au

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dodo electricity and gas price increases.

I received an email yesterday advising of Dodo increasing their electricity and gas prices. As prices increases our bills go up which isn't a good thing, but it also opens up the possibility that other energy sources may be worth investigating.

The first thing I do is to update the default electricity rate on Energy Cost Calculator which helps me determine the cost of appliances and the payback of using a lower cost appliance. As an example I worked out once the energy saving for replacing and old TV and set-top box with a new more energy efficient TV was equivalent to getting a 30% discount on the TV over a couple of years. Who doesn't want that type of discount. The Energy Cost Calculator shows how much it costs to run an appliance, but also shows the payback period should you wish to replace an old appliance with a newer more energy efficient appliance. If the payback period doesn't interest you I created a simpler version of the calculator which is available at Electricity Cost Calculator.

The second thing is it's good to know how much the increase is in terms of a percentage. Here's how the figures pan out. The below figures do not take into account Dodo's pay on time 30% and 20% usage discounts.

Electricity (All prices includes GST)

Daily supply charge cents per day
Old - 91.190
New - 105.435
% increase - 15.6%

Anytime usage cents per kWh
Old - 26.169
New - 28.545
% increase - 9%

We can see from the above the daily supply charge has the biggest increase. Unfortunately you can't reduce this by changing your electricity usage. The only way to change this is to see if you can find a lowest cost supplier.

Overall the increases are quite steep and far exceed inflation.

Gas (All prices include GST)

Daily Supply Charge cents per day
Old - 60.489
New - 67.749
% increase - 12%

Old Peak Usage Rates
Usage - First 98.63 MJ per day - 2.167
Usage - Next 49.32 MJ per day - 1.639
Usage - Balance MJ per day - 1.309

New Peak Usage Rates
Usage - First 98.63 MJ per day - 2.431
Usage - Next 49.32 MJ per day - 1.837
Usage - Balance MJ per day - 1.463
% increase - 12.18%, 12.08%, 11.76% respectively

Old Off Peak Usage Rates
Usage - First 98.63 MJ per day - 2.057
Usage - Next 49.32 MJ per day - 1.562
Usage - Balance MJ per day - 1.309

New Off Peak Usage Rates
Usage - First 98.63 MJ per day - 2.299
Usage - Next 49.32 MJ per day - 1.749
Usage - Balance MJ per day - 1.463
% increase - 11.76%, 11.97%, 11.76% respectively

When these prices take effect on the 7th of December gas prices will increase by around 12% for both supply and usage. Again this far exceeds inflation.

Generally we are quite conservative users of energy, but these increases will still add around $200 a year to our energy costs. As usual I'll review the energy offers of other companies and look at ways of further reducing our energy use. Saving money is one benefit as is the feeling we lower our impact on the environment.

Kelvin Eldridge
Energy Cost Calculator
Electricity Cost Calculator






Tuesday, November 22, 2016

New Inches to cm web app now available. Includes links to BMI formula and BMI/BRM calculator.

Both the BMI formula and BMI/BMR Calculator use metres and centimetres respectively for the calculation. Often us in the older generation still use the height we grew to which is in feet and inches.

I decided to write a simple Inches to cm calculator so that people can enter their height in feet and inches and then click on a link which takes them to the BMI formula or BMI/BMR Calculator web apps. That way the conversion is done for them.

I hope others find this new calculator useful.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Inchestocm.com.au

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sally Field's death Facebook hoax.

I was just asked if Sally Field had passed away, as a person had the news item come up at the right hand side of their Facebook session.

A quick check reveals that Sally Field is alive and well. There appears to currently be a number of celebrity death hoaxes circulating in Facebook. It should be noted that this is the section Facebook controls and was not being spread by a Facebook user. It appeared in the sponsored section at the right hand side.

Fake news on Facebook is certainly a concern. If you see news on Facebook, perhaps it's best first to check by performing a few searches using your favourite search engine before spreading hoaxes.

Kelvin Eldridge