Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Scam - Pensioner to call Centrelink on 02 9099 1773.

Today I received a call which I let go to the answering machine. I've set my telephone so that calls from people we know ring with a happy tune. All other calls are mostly telemarketers, or scammers, so we let them go to the answering machine.

I decided to share this call as it is a scam that is trying to scam pensioners. Some pensioners get tricked by these scammers. By making the call available to others, hopefully this reinforces this is a scam.

I received the call. I'm not a pensioner. The number 02 9099 1773 to call and the same application number 080456 has been reported by quite a few people on the internet.

You can listen to a recording of the call on my Youtube channel. The link to the recording is https://youtu.be/1VMbvGXcaD8.

Hopefully this information assists others.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Update: 17 Jan 2017
I've read of a number of people being scammed. Basically people are being asked to pay for certain costs to get their money back paid. Some people have been asked to pay for this using iTunes gift cards.


Melbourne Car Parks and Drinking Fountains Melbourne maps added to Mapz.

When I find data that I feel may be useful to me, I think it may be useful to others as well. Recently I found The City of Melbourne have made available some of their data for others to use. There's a number of datasets that I feel may help me, so I decided to map the data for easier use.

When riding a bike to the city, or simply walking around the city you can get thirsty. The Drinking Fountains Melbourne map provides an easy way to find the closest drinking fountains. Honestly I'd never noticed them around the city and there's a lot. I may use them more often. Melbourne's water is pretty good and much better than buying a fizzy drink.

The other day I was in the city and needed to find some parking. My knowledge of the city car parks is about 30 years old so I was pretty lost as to which car parks were good, or even where they now were. They can get pretty expensive. Whilst on the first occasion I parked outside the city and took the tram in using my free weekend travel for seniors, I know not everyone has that opportunity. The next was to use the on street parking. At $5.50 an hour it is pretty expensive. The Melbourne Car Parks map will hopefully help me find suitable parking close to where I need to be.

A tip for the Melbourne Car Parks map is to use the link to Google maps and zoom in. There's you may get a link to the actual business which may provide more information.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Petrol prices around Melbourne may be on the increase to 149.9.

I expected the next price increase for petrol would occur towards the end of this week, but some petrol stations have already started to put their unleaded price up to 149.9 today.

Now is a good time to watch the petrol prices and fill up if necessary. If you're using the 7 Eleven fuel app, keep an eye on 7 Eleven prices and fill up to lock in the current price for another week.

With the Petrol Prices Melbourne web app I'm only currently entering the local Woolworths Petrol station. This is sufficient for me to watch the price. I then compare the average gate price and when the prices get close to each other, that's a sure sign prices will increase in the near future. Most days I update the average gate price (similar to the wholesale price) on the Petrol Prices Melbourne web app.

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bike stolen at Docklands. Goodbye old friend.

For those who have been following my Free Bike Share posts you'll know I've been testing leaving a bike in the city for future sharing with family and friends.

Part of this testing was to see if the bike would get damaged or stolen. Somewhere between the 26th of December and the 2nd of January the bike was stolen. If anyone knows or sees the bike please let me know.


The bike does have a Trackr module on it, so it may still turn up. Last time I put in a crowd locate request with the Trackr software it took 21 days. We can only wait and see.

The outcome for this testing has been quite good so even though it cost a bike, it's probably been worth it. I thought I'd share some of my thoughts in case it helps others.

1. The software I wrote (https://www.freebikesharemelbourne.com.au) for sharing bikes does a reasonable job for my needs and potentially the needs of a few small groups.

2. Personally a bike in the city for a couple of people isn't much use.

3. The free trams in the city means there's little need for a bike around the city.

4. If you've taken public transport to get to and from the city, you've probably paid the maximum for the day on Myki, so all other travel would effectively be free. This meaning a bike in the city won't save anything.

5. Having a bike close to the city so you can ride to and from the free tram zone was one unexpected good use of a bike. In this case I shared a car ride to and from near the city and use a bike for last section to the city. There was thus no public transport cost.

6. The tyres did go flat, so maintenance of the bike is required to ensure it is usable.

7. The bike lasted around three months in the city before being stolen.

8. One thought is that perhaps because of the huge crowd in the city around New Year that perhaps this wasn't the best time to have the bike in the city. However, given public transport can be difficult and taxis/Uber expensive at that time, it also makes it the best time to have the lower free bike option available.

Losing the bike is a bit of a disappointment, but it should be remembered this was part of the test. The bike lived at three places around the Docklands for around three months without a problem. The cost to repair the bike, lock, etc. was probably less than $20, so it didn't cost much to have the bike available in the city.

This is perhaps not the end of the Free Bike Sharing Melbourne project trial as I've already potentially been offered another old bike to use. Once this bike is ready for use I'll write another post.

Kelvin Eldridge
Free Bike Share Melbourne

Update: 12 January 2018
One person asked me where the bike was parked. The bike was locked up on the centre hoop. The location was the Docklands on the corner of Harbour Esplanade and Bourke Street, Melbourne. The bike is not in the picture as the picture was taken after the bike was stolen.


Friday, January 05, 2018

Christmas cards from Northern Ireland arrive in the New Year.

Christmas cards arriving after Christmas just don't seem to have the same impact as those that arrive before Christmas. It's still a lovely thought but somehow it just isn't the same.

This year, relatives in Northern Ireland posted Christmas cards on the 6th and 7th of December 2017. Both of the cards arrived on the 2nd of January 2018. Perhaps even more strange, is a family member in Reservoir received their cards around a week earlier than we did in Templestowe.

Last year I sent a Christmas card to my wife on Monday the 12th of December 2016 and it arrived on Friday the 23rd of December 2016. The card had to travel from Doncaster East to Templestowe which is about 4 km. That's incredibly bad postal service from Australia Post.

The main purpose of this post is as a reminder that if we wish to send or receive cards for Christmas from family and friends overseas, it's best to post them before December. Even cards posted locally are best posted two weeks before Christmas. Keeping these cut off dates in mind may make that Christmas greeting a little more special.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

BAC Calculator for males, females and differing weight.

I'd already produced two different blood alcohol calculators to take into account whether people were drinking the one type of drink or multiple types of drinks. A question that frequently came up is can I enter my weight.

By chance recently I found the Widmark formula which is used to estimate the blood alcohol content, also allowed a person to use their weight and sex. I decided to write a web app that used the Widmark formula for people to determine their BAC.

The BAC Calculator can be found at www.BACCalculator.com.au. Please keep in mind the BAC Calculator can only ever provide an estimate and that each person's body handles alcohol differently.

Kelvin Eldridge
BAC Calculator

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hailstorm in Templestowe.

There's a hailstorm that just passed through Templestowe and the hail stones were huge. About two thirds the size of golf balls. A good time to put the car in the garage.


Take care.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Seniors Card Vic discount offers now being added to Mapz.

Now that I have a Seniors Card I thought I'd start creating a map of the places I've received special discounts or offers. Initially I thought it would be easy, but then comes the frustration. Now you could say just be grateful, and I should be, but I do wish things would be simple. Different businesses of the same franchise group make different offers so you never know what offer you'll get until you ask.

The Seniors Card Vic section of Mapz is now being populated with the places I've received discounts or offers.

Whether it's an extra coffee or a discount, if you have a Victorian Seniors Card it doesn't hurt to ask the question, "do you offer a Seniors Card discount?" The worst they can say is no and sometimes you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Don't forget when shopping for Christmas presents at this time of the year, some shops offer a Seniors Card discount.

Kelvin Eldridge
https://www.Mapz.com.au/seniors-card-vic/

Monday, December 11, 2017

Petrol prices in Melbourne on the increase. Unleaded rising to 149.9

Today I noticed a number of petrol stations rising their price for unleaded petrol to 149.9 so it looks like it's petrol price hike time again.

What has been really weird over the past week has been price drops of up to 4 cents per day. I've not seen that happen before so felt something very unusual was happening in the petrol market. Secondly, since I've been following the petrol price over the last year the pattern has been fairly consistent. The petrol price drops to around or below the average gate price (wholesale price) and then returns to the peak which is around 25-30 cents higher than the low price.

Usually the drop from the peak to the low price point happens at around half to one cent per day. Basically that means the price drops over three to four weeks. Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. Quick drops like we've recently seen aren't usual.

Second, the low price point of the average gate price has not been reached or passed. We've still seeing prices around the high 120s. The average gate price is around 124.

I can only guess that as we approach Christmas and the holiday period the petrol companies wanted to drop the price rapidly so the price could be raised back to the peak to get a better return from people going on holidays. Otherwise at the normal rate of the price dropping, those travelling would have had excellent petrol prices. Now that's not going to happen.

There's been one false price hike I've seen where prices for some petrol stations went up early and this still could be the case. However, there's far more this time so it really does look like the price hike is happening.

Time to shop around and fill up those tanks. For those using the 7 Eleven fuel app, watch the prices and lock in the low price in the near future.

Kelvin Eldridge
https://www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Australian Spelling Test - The Sequel, now available.

For those keen spellers out there, my latest spelling test, The Australian Spelling Test - The Sequel, is now available.

There's 20 words to test your spelling skills. Each word is shown with spelling variations people typed into Word Check to check the spelling, or the meaning of the word. What makes the test tricky is when you see all variations together, it is amazing how you sometimes struggle to remember the correct word even though you've spelt it correctly for years.

You can find the spelling test at http://www.australian-dictionary.com.au/spelling-test-sequel/.

Have fun.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au
The preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

Google Adsense This month total is currently wrong for Estimated earnings.

Yesterday I noticed the Google Adsense This month total in Estimated earnings, which appears near the top of the Home screen, was wrong. We've now moved on to the next day and the This month total is still wrong.

If I choose the product report for this month I get a different figure than the This month total. Another indicator that it is wrong is the This month total is up over the same period last year by exactly the same amount. For this to be true it would mean I didn't earn anything during this period last year and that's not correct.

I thought I'd share in case others are having the same problem. I expect Google will fix this is due course.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

Update: 7 December 2017 @ 11:55 am
This issue fixed itself.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Watch the latest release movies online for free.

Now if watching the latest movies online for free interests you, then this post is for you.

A little while ago a message popped in my browser from Microsoft saying I could join their rewards program. All I have to do is be logged on to my Microsoft account, search using Bing and I'd start to accumulate points. In addition Microsoft has some challenges and rewards which are a bit of fun earning more points.

How it works is I get 3 points for each desktop search up to 90 points a day and 3 points for each mobile search up to 60 points a day. There's also the option to get another 150 points a month by using Microsoft Edge whereby for each hour you've been using Edge you get 5 points. I do most of my searching on my MacBook using Safari and my Android based mobile so I'm unlikely to get the points for using Edge. Really all I have to do is log into my Microsoft account and use Bing for searches. How hard could that be!

The rewards. If you earn over 500 points a month you earn more points, so it's good to get to that level each month. If you do then by building up 2,220 points you can redeem that for a $3 Microsoft Store gift card. Two of these and you can hire any of the latest movies.

There we have it. Free movies.

To make things a bit more fun Microsoft Rewards offers 10 points for an activity which does a search on a particular topic. Who knew what bottle tossing was? You don't have to do these activities, but they're a bit of fun and generate points. What else are you doing whilst travelling to work or passing time? A second activity is a questionnaire where there's three questions and you earn 30 points. It's multiple choice so get it wrong and just click on another option. Too easy.

Finally if you go to the Bing page you'll see there's about a dozen trending news items. This isn't a bad way to keep up with news items that others will be talking about. Click on the item and you get a search result. Often the headline is enough to let you know what's happening and if you want to know more, then you can read on. Each day there's easily 20-30 points for news items.

If all you do is change your default browser from Google to Bing you'll earn points. In time enough points to earn gift vouchers which in time will be enough to watch a movie.

Now to make my life easier I have my own search engine. I've put keywords into the search engine so a single word takes me the sites that interest me, and there's around 300 keywords that are the top keywords Australians use, such as banks, airlines, etc. I've set the page https://www.AdvancedSearch.com.au/SearchBing/ as my default home page and default search in Safari. On the Android I've added to the Home screen an icon for https://www.AdvancedSearch.com.au/SearchBing/mobile/. Whenever I want to search if what I type in isn't one of the keywords, Bing is used. That makes earning points just part of how I normally work. For others, you can simply change your default search engine in your browser to be Bing and that will work just as well.

How is this going for me? It takes me about a month to build up enough points for a movie. I've been doing this for around two months and am just about to earn enough points that will allow me to watch two latest release movies.

Totally free latest movies you watch online just for changing from Google to Bing. Not bad at all.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

ASIC renewal email is a scam. That is it's fake.

If you receive an email like the following that appears to be from ASIC please be aware that it is a scam. It's a good fake email.


All but one link is legitimate. The link to the "Renewal letter" is the link that will take you to a malicious site.

I've received a number of these emails and it is hard to see immediately if they're fake. Since ASIC send out reminders via email, and you don't want to miss renewing your business name, there's an added pressure that may trick people. My experience with ASIC is they give no latitude for mistakes which again adds extra pressure.

Don't click on the link. Instead go to the ASIC site and log in directly to your account. Check there if there's anything outstanding. If you're still concerned give them a call.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

How much is an iPhone addiction costing people!

I just read the following posted by a person on the internet.


They've been purchasing the iPhone since 2009. A total of 8 iPhones in 8 years. That's probably well over $6,000-$7,000 in mobile phone purchases and that doesn't even include plan charges.

The media often mentions the avocado generation, but it's the large companies making a killing with their must have marketing tactics. Add ongoing fees and this subtle but continuous drain on people's finances may reduce their long term ability to grow their asset base.

I'm sure this person is very proud of their iPhone collection, but do people really need to buy a new expensive iPhone or equivalent every year. Perhaps not. But of course, if that's what brings joy to your life then ultimately that's your choice.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Bureau of Meteorology short term forecast for Templestowe last night way out.

Last night I decided to go for a walk around 7:30 pm. I'd checked the weather forecast for Templestowe and there was a 70% chance of rain. A look outside and whilst there were some dark clouds in the distance, they weren't close enough to affect my walk.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast for between 8 pm and 11 pm last night was predicting 90% rain. Again it didn't happen. At 6:30 am this morning the rain did start.

From what I could tell the weather radar was a better indicator of rain. In fact I couldn't help feel all that is really needed is live monitoring stations run by individuals and we could probably have a more accurate picture of what is happening around us. For all the huge sums spent on weather forecasting, the pun I regularly use, "your guess is as good as the weather bureau's", still seems to apply.

Last month I was going to cancel a trip to Sydney because the weather forecast predicted terrible weather. As it turned out it did rain, but only at night. The days were beautiful and it was a great holiday. So glad I went irrespective of what the weather report said.

To be fair the Bureau of Meteorology to provide a range of tools that can be very useful. The weather radar is one of my favourites as it shows the weather approaching. That really does help to see if it's going to rain in the next few hours.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fake news on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

It really isn't good enough when the Bureau of Meteorology is promoting fake news on their website. It really makes no sense for the Bureau of Meteorology to put itself in this position to damage its reputation.



If the Bureau of Meteorology wants to put ads on their site why don't they just advertise government related news and cut out the middleman. That would saving millions of dollars and keep the money in the government's hands. Then there's no chance of fake news, OK, that probably depends on what you consider to be fake news, but to me it's ads like the one in the image above saying "MYER CLOSING NATIONWIDE".

This is a reminder that even sites we consider to be highly reputable now need to be treated with caution like every other website that takes advertising from sources they have no control over.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Gallon to Liter calculator now live.

My international Gallon to Liter calculator is now available online at www.GallonToLiterCalculator.com.

For those of you who have been following my Australian Dictionary work, you will probably shake your head with my spelling of the word litre. Yes, for the Gallon to Liter calculator I've used the American spelling Liter.

One of the questions writers often ask is which version of English should they use for their material. This time I needed to ask myself the same question. In this case I wrote the Gallon To Liter calculator  for the international market, but primarily the US market. The domain name .com was selected so the site isn't associated with Australia. The variety of English I used for the site was also American.

So whilst the spelling of litre isn't correct for Australia, it is correct for the market the Gallon to Liter calculator is targeted to.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.GallonToLiterCalculator.com

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Can you pick the different coloured green square?

I read an interesting article when I was researching the word 'colour'.

Can you pick the different coloured green square?


Whilst there are small colour variations with most of the squares, one square is a different colour of green.

For those interested in the answer and the article you can find it at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/what-is-blue-and-how-do-we-see-color-2015-2

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au

Friday, November 17, 2017

Petrol prices in Melbourne starting to rise today to 149.9.

Today I noticed a number of Woolworths Petrol stations have raised their prices to 149.9. This is perhaps the highest price for a long time for unleaded petrol. That means it's time again to watch the prices and start filling up. For those using the 7 Eleven fuel app wait and watch the prices and then lock in the lowest price you can find for the next week.

For those wondering how come the price is so high, it is because the average gate price of petrol has increased above the 120 mark. When prices are restored to the peak the peak price is usually 25-30 cents above the average gate price. There also appears to be a pattern of prices a tenth of a cent below a multiple of five cents eg. 139.9, 144.9, 149.9, etc. With the average gate price at 123.1 today, it makes sense the price would go up to 149.9.

The lowest prices around Melbourne today appear to be in the Springvale/Broadmeadows area if you're lucky enough to be passing through those areas.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Alert - Please verify your business identity to have your account limitation lifted email

I received an email today possibly from PayPal, possibly from a scammer with the subject "Kelvin Eldridge, important information regarding your PayPal account".

Notice how the email subject contains my name, but in addition this email was sent to the correct address which I have set up for PayPal and not used elsewhere. That's unusual for scammers to do. They often don't include the name as they don't know it.

The main message in the body of the email is "Please verify your business identity to have your account limitation lifted email".

Now I think this is a very good scam that could trick people. The reason isn't so much because of the email itself, but because of my recent experience with PayPal.

Back in August I received an email from PayPal asking for information to verify my business identity. This was a legitimate request. As the following paragraph shows this was required by the Australian government.

As part of PayPal's Compliance Program, we request that organisations provide certain information. The verification process is a requirement of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) laws in Australia, in accordance with which every financial institution in Australia, including PayPal Pty Limited, has to comply. Please review the following link for more information regarding the AML laws for Business Accounts: https://www.paypal.com/au/webapps/mpp/confirm-your-business.

From August to October I had nothing but trouble trying to complete their request and PayPal's system kept requesting information even though they had everything. I'd received an email on 12 September 2017 stating my account had been returned to normal but continued to received pop-ups on the PayPal site stating it hadn't. A call to PayPal on 17 October 2017 confirmed they had what they needed and the account was back to normal. However I still got notices pop up when using the PayPal system.

Now when you get months of issues with PayPal this leaves the door right open for scammers. They know people have these issues and it will be easy to trick people to click on a link in a scam email. You have after all probably tried everything else.

There's only a single link in the email which gives a hint the email may be a scam. It uses the address epl.paypal-communication.com which doesn't look right. It may be a PayPal subcontractor but there's no way to know. The domain has been registered since 2011. If this were a scammer surely PayPal would have closed them down by now. So there really isn't anything to warn people this may be a scam.

Really frustrating experience with PayPal over months and emails that are potentially very good scams. That's a recipe that could easily trick people. Certainly I thought these were simply PayPal's systems still screwing up and I know what to look for.

I decided to forward the email to PayPal. Again not easy to find out where to send it making things easy for scammers as people tend to be lazy. I received a reply quite quickly but it didn't answer my question as to whether or not the domain name was PayPal's or someone they used. It was one of those typical canned responses where they include a lot of previously prepared information, but nothing to answer your question. Pretty slack and not good service. But they did provide the address phishing@paypal.com.au to forward the suspect email.

A quick canned response came back regarding the phishing submission. It's not clear whether or not they'll respond with useful information. Again this really feels like a waste of time with PayPal. If you submit information regarding a phishing attempt I believe you should at least get a response back letting you know the outcome.

You would think if people who use the PayPal service make the effort to report a potential scam, PayPal would have a mechanism to enable you to know whether or not it was a scam. In addition the domain epl.paypal-communication.com has been used on the 17 Oct 2017 and now on the 14 Nov 2017. Surely you'd think PayPal would take action on domains using their business name it they are not their domain.

Given the first email was received on the 17th of October 2017, around the time I was having trouble of the exact same nature with PayPal, this is an excellent timely scan that could easily trick people.

If you receive emails which appear to be from PayPal NEVER click on a link. Go to your account and see if you have any notifications. PayPal do include links in their legitimate emails, but so do scammers.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

UPDATE: 22 November 2017
There has been no further update from from PayPal to answer my question. Unfortunately this is what I expected would happen. With these extremely large companies I think most of us will feel we're largely on our own.