Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Downloading Skype on the iPhone.

I happily suggest to people to download Skype to their iPhone. It works pretty well when used with a wireless network. Lately I've been testing Skype on the Telstra 3G network. In my latest MyAnswers solution I provide an example of how I use Skype on an iPhone and how  to work out the cost of using Skype on a 3G service.

You can find more information in MyAnswers solution 2053.

Kelvin Eldridge
http://www.justlocal.com.au/

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home loan cal (calculations)

I was quite astonished to read on the News Limited site, the number of people now considering moving their loan to have reached 25%. The figures indicate of the estimated 4.4 million home loans over a million are being reconsidered.

If you're looking to refinance your home loan it would be a good idea to seek professional advice from a home loan broker. On the JustLocal postcode page for 6030 (Clarkson, Merriwa, Mindarie, Quinns Rocks, Ridgewood, Tamala Park - Western Australia) you can find Aussie Mortgage Masters and on my network group page you can find John Cosby from Hotline Homeloans who is based in Melbourne.

Perhaps one of your New Year's resolutions might be to review your home loan and consider the options.

Kelvin Eldridge
http://www.justlocal.com.au/

Tags: home loan calculations, home loan calc, home loan comparisons, repayments calculator home loan, refinance home loan

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Warning: Telstra pre-paid mobile wi-fi stopped working after a month

I don't know why Telcos don't wish to make what they are offering clear. Surely the short term financial gain over loss of credibility with customers isn't worth it. I seem to find this with every telco I use, so I'm not singling out Telstra. It is just in this case I'm using them as an example.

I purchased a Telstra pre-paid mobile wi-fi hotspot device in early November. It cost $149 and I thought based on my enquiries it came with 5GB of data which expired in 90 days. I thought once the data had expired I'd then use their 10GB pre-paid plan which lasts for 365 days for $150.

I set up the device using the number provided which was a 125 number. My first surprise was I was charged a timed called costing a couple of dollars via Skype. I used Skype because it was convenient. I see no reason for Telstra to provide a number which could end up being a timed call just to set up their service.

I use the Telstra mobile wi-fi every now and then. A couple of weeks ago it stopped working. My gut feeling was it would relate to something to do with the 90 day offer.

I called support and the first person partly confirmed the offer was in addition to also paying for one of Telstra's pre-paid amounts. So you can't use the included data for 90 days unless you also pay one of the pre-paid amounts. This isn't clearly stated anywhere.

I just don't get why Telstra has to be almost deceiving in their approach. I'm buying their product for $149 and I'm lead to believe from their site I'd get 5GB of data to use for 90 days. I'm then happy to pay the $150 to use their service. Now I'm in two minds. I simply don't trust Telstra when they continuously do things like this.

The previous examples are they would let you know when your data bundle was expiring by sending an SMS message. Without any notification they dropped the facility which meant after your bundle expired you'd eat up your normal credit. Another example is they promoted the ability if you purchased one of their mobile phones to get access to email included for free. After spending over an hour on the telephone I ended up writing off the telephone as a bad experience. Telstra had installed so much crap in the mobile phone it was annoying to use.

I also want to share that to actually get the mobile wi-fi to work I spoke to four people in Telstra support taking about an hour to largely confirm what I expected. I'd already isolated that the wi-fi hotspot was physcially working and connecting to their service. All I need was confirmation that the problem was about how they charged and that in fact the 90 day offer wasn't the first 90 days of usage. If you buy the Telstra pre-paid mobile wi-fi ignore the 5GB data offer as though it doesn't exist. Then buy the data you need. Then consider the 5GB data a bonus if you end up using it. The people in the Telstra shop didn't know what they were doing. I believe I asked the questions and had it confirmed that the data would be available for 3 months and then I could recharge. I can't quite recall but I believe I called Telstra support to confirm so I felt I'd asked the questions I needed to ask. Something like this should be pretty basic and should just work as promoted.

So be careful of the potential for a charged call when you set up your pre-paid mobile wi-fi and also stick with the basics. Asking Telstra staff questions has little point and telephone support takes forever.

In comparison I purchased a 3 USB data stick for $149 with 12 months of data (12GB) and that is exactly what I received. It simply worked. As well they gave a 30 day 1GB bonus to get you started so you didn't have to use your data for the first 30 days. The only issue is obviously 3's coverage is not as good as Telstra's. But if you are in a good coverage area, consider your options. Telstra's wi-fi will end up being $149 plus $150 for 10GB of data, plus a bonus 5GB which lasts for 90 days. Roughly twice the price.

Hopefully this post will help others make a better informed decision when considering the Telstra pre-paid mobile wi-fi. At least you'll know what you are getting.

Kelvin Eldridge
http://www.onlineconnections.com.au/

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Australian dictionary blog now live

Hi,

I've now set up an Australian dictionary blog to further share information relating to the Australian English dictionary products and services I produce. This will provide the following benefits:
  • Dictionary related posts will now largely be contained within the Australian English dictionary blog.
  • This will enable me to phase out the forum which is no longer used.
  • News items for the dictionary pages on the site will now appear in the blog rather than on the individual pages.
  • I aim to extend MyAnswers solutions to cover information I find of interest in the area of the preferred Australian English spelling.
  • The dictionary pages will have their own news feed so if Australian English spelling is of interest to you, you can now subscribe to the blog using the RSS feed.
Until now I've not been able to publish many interesting aspects of our language as it would tend to overwhelm this blog. Now I should be able to share more information.

Kelvin Eldridge
The Preferred Australian English spelling

VistaPrint free premium business card offer.

I receive emails from Vistaprint regularly and this time I decided to follow the link for the free premium business card offer. I landed on the page, uploaded the graphic for my card I had designed for me and followed through the process provided. The end price was going to be $20.73. I'm not saying this isn't a very good price for 250 business cards, but it isn't free.

Before purchasing your "free" business cards from Vistaprint or any other company, you should review your needs. Next time when you need cards the offer won't be "free". Look at the bigger picture. In this case I had my card professionally designed. The same design can then be extended to be used across my business if required.

If you look at the Ideal Business Card offer for $159 your obtain a professionally designed card plus 1,000 business cards with printing on both sides and gloss on the front. If you purchased four lots of 250 cards over time for $37.49 (totalling a thousand cards) the price ends up around the same, but you only get matt cards, no professionally designed artwork and no opportunity to use the design across the rest of your business.

Next time you're thinking about a free offer, take a little time to think about what is in your interests right now, but also in the future. It might not be "free", but it may save you time and money in the long run.

Kelvin Eldridge
http://www.onlineconnections.com.au/

PS. As a Virtual Profit Sharing member I receive a profit share on any business that results from using the link for the Ideal Business Card. The opportunity to profit share is available for free to anyone who wishes to become a Virtual Profit Sharing member and help businesses to prosper by referring business.

UPDATE: Approximately 5 hours after writing this blog entry I received another offer for the free business cards. This time with my graphic displayed and again for free. When I checked it was now free but the graphic resulted in a price of $8.99. Not too bad I thought. Previously the graphic was discounted to under $2. I decided to proceed.

At the point of purchase you are given delivery options with the standard 14 days being $17.03. When working out your pricing watch out for the delivery charge and make sure you add it if you're making a comparison. Remember you will need to reorder at some stage and you'll pay the full price plus any other charges, such as the image upload and delivery fee. I've seen another company offer free cards only to see people unhappy to be charged for delivery and handling. To me free isn't free unless it costs you nothing, period. So I again decided not to proceed.

My thought is to put the money towards the full gloss cards I actually prefer and to purchase a quantity of a thousand. In addition I'd like to add some text on the reverse side. I can use The Ideal Business Card approach and obtain the cards faster and what I want for around the same price without any of the discounting offered by Vistaprint. It really is good to add in ALL costs including postage when making comparisons.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MyAnswers: Acrobat PDF file opening in Notepad instead of Acrobat Reader

The following MyAnswers solution 2035 is now available:

I've been playing with Border's digital eBooks and now when I go to open a PDF file it opens using Notepad. How do I fix this?



Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz

Sunday, December 19, 2010

MyAnswers: Google Web Preview

The following MyAnswers solution 2033 is now available:

How to stop Google search results from showing a snippet and the instant preview. (Agent string: Mozilla/5.0 (en-us) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko; Google Web Preview) Version/3.1 Safari/525.13)



Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How much power does an Apple iPhone 3GS use

I must admit I really like small technology and in particular the savings on electricity which can be had by using the convenience of a handheld device rather than leaving a desktop computer on all day.

I've found as soon as a person gets an Apple iPhone or Touch product their use of their computer goes down considerably because many of the background tasks like checking email, or social networking, can be done on a portable device. That means the main desktop computer often doesn't even need to be turned on.

Often when people turn on their desktop computer they also turn on a number of additional devices such as a connected printer which increases power usage. I found when I had a HP PocketPC I could turn it on and check my emails in around ten seconds so I didn't have to even turn the computer on until I was ready to start working on projects requiring the computer. However the PocketPC didn't keep up with technology and so I decided to get an Apple iPhone 3GS to use as a portable computer. Yes I don't even use it as a phone. I simply use it as a portable computer and with the right SIM and data plan, I get a portable computer which gives me internet access in many places for $149 a year plus the cost of the iPhone.

Every time I turn my iPhone on and use it instead of the desktop computer I know I'm saving electricity, but the question is how much electricity. I decided to measure the electricity and work out how much it costs me to run my computer using the Energy Cost Calculator. I used the power meter which is shown on the Energy Cost Calculator page.

From what I can see when charging the iPhone it consumes about 6 watts of power and slightly more if you are using it at the same time. Once the battery is full it uses about 1 watt if left on the charger. Charging takes about one to two hours and I often top up the iPhone battery each day. The cost to charge up my iPhone if it did take two hours a day is less than a dollar a year.

Click here to determine cost per year for charging assuming one hour per day. (Change hours to suit yourself.)

Click here to determine cost to run assuming 14 hours per day, exluding charging. (Change hours to suite yourself.

My desktop computer with a 17" LCD monitor uses around 110 watts of power. Without a handheld computer I'd probably leave the computer on from first thing in the morning until last thing at night. With the handheld computer it is possible that on weekends I wouldn't even need to turn the computer on. If I ran my computer every day, all day, the cost will be around $112 a year. The more I use a handheld computer instead of the desktop the more money I save.

Kelvin Eldridge
You can save up to 50% of your electricity bill with a few simple changes in behaviour.
www.justlocal.com.au/clients/energy-cost

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Watch out for sites which copy content

If you have a site on the internet keep in mind whatever you write may be copied. If you are reading pages on the internet keep in mind the site you are reading the information on may not be the site which created the information.

Here is an example of a site which took an entire copy of my blog post and put it on their site. This isn't a rare one off situation and it isn't limited to overseas companys. I've seen in done buy an Australian and New Zealand company as well.

www.texascomputerdoctors.com/justlocal-computer-repair-melbourne-templestowe-templestowe-lower-bulleen-doncaster-doncaster-east-eltham-lower-plenty-montmorency/

In this case what the site gets out of it is material which as been created at someone else's cost, which of course it has no right to being a clear violation of copyright. They then wrap Google advertising around the material and make money when people click on the ads. Without Google providing the ads there would be no incentive for this type of site to exist.

If you see this type of site, or suspect a site is copying material, a search on Google will often find the originating site.

My main desire is to provide examples where readers and businesses can easily see how others are using material on the internet which would never be considered appropriate in the offline world. For a person putting in time and resources seeing what happens on the internet can help them better look after their interests and the interests of their readers.

Kelvin Eldridge
http://www.justlocal.com.au/

Google web preview appearing in logs

I noticed recently in my site logs an increasing number of browser agent strings with the term Google Web Preview so I decided to investigate. The reason I decided to investigate is in my logs all I see is my web page being used by another site, but not an actual visitor coming to my site. For anyone with a site that means someone is using their site information as part of their site and that means people stay at the other site instead of visiting your site.

One of the powerful features of the internet is the sharing of information, but what happens with some sites, is they come along and take a whole chunk of your information and display it on their site. That helps the other site as they get your content that has taken you time and resources to create for free and keeps visitors at their site and doesn't send them on to your site. They gain at your expense.

The question becomes what is a fair amount of material that another site should display. In my opinion is should be just sufficient to whet a person's appetite to find out more. Providing too much means they can read all they need on the site which is using another person's material. I find Slashdot is a good example of this. I can read large chunks of a site's material and not have to go to the source site's material. In my humble opinion they are providing far too much material from another site.

Now how does this relate to Google web preview appearing in my logs. From what I can see Google is now enabling people to preview a page from within Google's search results. That keeps the person searching in Google's pages which means Google ends up with people on their site longer, increasing the chances of people clicking on their ads. This isn't yet available in Australia from what I can see, but if you visit http://www.google.co.uk/ and perform a search you'll see a magnifying glass next to each result. Click on the magnifying glass and you'll get a preview of the page. The person no longer needs to go to your site to read about your information and what you have to offer. Bing provides a similar feature, but from what I see it provides a little more text, whereas Google displays your page as you designed it.

In the past if someone found your site via Google you had a chance of getting a visit and the person would take a few seconds to read your material and then click off your site, or stay on your site and read more. Google's new approach effectively embeds your information into their site meaning your site adds to their content.

My feeling is this isn't good. We've seen the major media companies getting really upset because of their content being included by others. With the media company's size they can at least negotiate a deal. For small businesses your only real choice is to accept how Google treats your information. I personally think it is going too far. I don't think many people would like their site to appear in a window on my site.

The good thing is I believe as Google incorporates more material from others' sites it creates an opportunity for a search engine which puts the site owner's interests as a top priority. It won't happen tomorrow, but I believe it will happen because it is our material that has made Google as strong as it is today. Linking is OK, but incorporating too much goes a bit too far.

For those with sites you may wish to check out your site by using the Google UK site and see how your site previews. With some clever thinking you may be able to rework the preview that appears to encourage people to check out your site. Whilst Google's aim is most likely to keep people on their site longer, your aim is to encourage them to visit your site using whatever clever design technique you may be able to come up with.

Kelvin Eldridge
JustLocal - Local advertising with a money back guarantee
http://www.justlocal.com.au/

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Years Resolution ideas

Without doubt losing weight especially after Christmas would be one of those New Years resolutions people make. I certainly will be aiming to lose a few kilograms. I'm always amazed at how many different ways companies market for people to lose weight when it can be done at almost no cost, with a small amount of time and no exercise. How do I know? I did it myself and worked out the maths behind losing weight. To show it could be done I set out to lose my excess weight (yes I was obese with a BMI over 30) and lost over 20kg. But not only that I decided to do it without exercising to show it isn't about exercise like others would have us believe.

I started with the BMI/BMR figures and worked from there. I've written a calculator to help others as well as a couple of interesting calculators which shows how much energy is used for doing different types of exercises and the real eye-opener, a calculator which shows how long you have to exercise should you decide to have a treat. You'll be amazed at how long you need to exercise, but once you realise the maths behind weight loss like I did, you'll know where to focus you energy to lose weight. You can find the calculators on JustLocal (http://www.justlocal.com.au/).

For those with different goals you may wish to consider Superlife, which is a program created by Gary Hipworth. Gary is an experience business coach and has distilled goal setting into a simple to follow program, so no matter what your goal is in life, you'll have a tool which will help you determine and achieve your goals.

Start the New Year on a positive note and this time when you make a New Years resolution, make it a reality. Make it happen. Then you can focus on your next achievement.

Kelvin Eldridge
The creator of The Preferred Australian English Spelling for Microsoft Office
Yes. That was one of my goals which now helps myself and many others.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Australia’s top Google searches 2010

If anyone has a finger on the pulse of what Australians are interested in it would be Google. My logs show Google is used by over 95% of Australians when searching. That puts Google in an unenviable position of being able to see trends as they're happening, which is an enormous advantage for Google.

Now whilst I'd love to be in Google's position of having the front seat when it comes to trends, and I'm sure most other business would too, Google makes available a whole range of historical information. One I find interesting to read is Google's Zeitgeist. I decided to check out Google's information for 2010. You can read Google's blog post at http://google-au.blogspot.com/2010/12/taking-pulse-australias-top-google.html and their summary information at http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/zeitgeist2010/.

I consider myself to be an avid reader of technology and what's happening on the web, but even I hadn't noticed a couple of the services which feature prominently.

The one service which really stood out for me was Tumblr. Tumblr is a modern blogging service and it has an impressive growth curve. I'd not seen Tumblr mentioned in the press, but to see it made the top ten means there are a lot of people interested in Tumblr.

A service I hadn't seen is Omegle. When I checked it out I found it was like Chatroulette. These are services which enable you to talk to random strangers on the internet. Not exactly something that interests me, but obviously it is of interest to lots of others. Also interesting is when you compare the graph for Chatroulette with Omegle. Omegle shows progressive growth whereas Chatroulette had enormous growth earlier in the year and a large drop off rate.

Perhaps you'll find something useful in Google Zeitgeist to give you an idea and help your business.

Kelvin Eldridge
The Preferred Australian English Spelling For Office

MyAnswers: How I recovered data from a dead HP notebook.

The following MyAnswers solution 2031 is now available:

My notebook computer has died and I'd really like to get my important data off the hard disk. Can you do it for me?


Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz

Computer repair Melbourne - Templestowe, Templestowe Lower, Bulleen, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Eltham, Lower Plenty, Montmorency

The other day I caught the bus from Templestowe to the city for two days in a row for a seminar. I worked out that for me to get into the city by public transport and to make sure I would be there on time, I had to allow an hour and a half. Wow I thought. This is what thousands of people have to do each day to make a living.

Think about it. If you spend an hour and a half each way, plus an hour for lunch, there goes four hours of your day to work for eight. Add the cost of public transport and all of sudden your hourly rate doesn't look so healthy. But really for most people that is the only option they know. If you've ever tried to run a business you'll know just how hard it is.

My aim with JustLocal is to make it easier for someone who wants to run a business, to been seen in their local area. Because I offer a money back guarantee with JustLocal, it means there is no way anyone can lose.

My approach to business is to show people what can be done by example. My computer support business  Online Connections, is now on the JustLocal page www.JustLocal.com.au/3106. I want to show others how easy it can be to advise their business. It really can cost very little to have a page on the internet if someone lets you know the options. You can then link your presence into your JustLocal postcode page and you now have a local presence.

One of the advantages of using the services of a local business is you shouldn't have to pay a call out fee. I've decided for those in Templestowe, Templestowe Lower, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Bulleen, Eltham, Lower Plenty and Montmorency (which is my suburb and the adjoining suburbs) can contact me and there will be no call out fee. In addition there is no minimum fee. If the problem takes 6 minutes to solve that is all a person will need to pay as I charge in six minute intervals. My overhead for travel and thus time is minimal and so I see no reason to load up my time with upfront charges. Best of all, I offer a guarantee you'll be satisfied with my service or you don't have to pay. There is literally no risk when dealing with me. I want to encourage other local businesses in the area to also make it easier for locals to use their services.

The more we can use local services the more people that can end up being employed, or self employed in the local area. Once this approach spreads across Australia the need for travelling longer distances or for so much time to earn a living should reduce and that will be good for everyone including the environment.

If you live in Templestowe or the surrounding postcode areas, please feel free to contact me with your computer problem. Not only will I solve your problem, but you'll help me to show others that supporting locals will help everyone.

Kelvin Eldridge
Computer support. No call out. No minimum charge. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Offer applies to Templestowe and adjoining postcode areas.   

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Apple iPad for Christmas, keep an eye on the press with rumours of a new iPad early next year

If you're thinking of getting an Apple iPad for Christmas keep in mind there are rumours circulating that Apple looks like they'll release the next version of the iPad around February. Based on a yearly update cycle you could expect a new updated iPad around April.

The interesting thought here is Apple has to stay ahead of the pack and April is a long time out, plus we also have the added delay of new product reaching Australia after the US. That's a lot of time for Android to chip away at Apple's fantastic lead.

I spent a moment the other checking the responsiveness of the Samsung Galaxy Tab and it was pretty responsive. It was a pity it was locked to the counter as I wanted to try it out in landscape model. The outright price of the Samsung unit in my opinion disadvantages it against the Apple. But the smaller form factor appeals to me because the iPhone is too small when it comes to reading articles on the net. With Samsung and Android units getting great exposure, Apple needs to keep moving fast.

In a sense Apple of others are creating the situation where if we wait there'll be a new model out pretty soon. That has to hurt sales. With computers you'd spend the money and keep them running for 3-4 years or more. With mobile devices what is sold today won't even get a mention in 12 months time and may not run the applications you want to run. That means you have to write off the purchase price in a year and I think people will soon get sick of spending $500-$1,000 a year once the novelty wears off. Yes I wanted an iPad and almost bought one the other day, but in the end it didn't do all the things I wanted it to do, so I continue to use my unfashionable netbook. At least I'm getting a good return on my investment.

Apple to their credit create must have products. You often don't need them, but we convince ourselves we must have them. That to me is amazing marketing and so I take my hat off to Apple. In the end however once you overcome that must have desire and a bit of logic returns, it is good to make decisions which take into account how long it took to make that hard earned money so you get better value for your buck.

As to whether or not a new Apple iPad late February is anyone's guess. I'd probably guess there will be the announcement of the new model in February to keep the interest going until the next model is released. As to actual product being available. Your guess is as good as anyone's.

Kelvin Eldridge
MyAnswers solutions for the Apple iPhone

Thursday, December 09, 2010

MyAnswers blog is now live

The MyAnswers blog (http://myanswersbiz.blogspot.com/) is now live. This now means is I will automatically post the question of a MyAnswers solution to the blog as I write up each solution. In addition the blog has an RSS feed which you can subscribe to at the bottom of the blog or from http://www.myanswers.biz/ or any of the category pages.

MyAnswers is a great way to keep a handle on issues commonly affecting people using computers. Often what happens to one person with computers happens to hundreds of others and in some cases thousands.

Please enjoy.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The MyAnswers site is now live

Until now I've run the MyAnswers service as part of the JustLocal service. To provide a better service for users I've now separated MyAnswers to its own site.

If you don't know about MyAnswers, they are my notes/solutions on nearly 2,000 problems I've solved in my role as a computer consultant. By making the solutions available via the internet I'm able to assist more people at a lower cost, which is one of my business goals.

Feel free to check out MyAnswers (http://www.onlineconnections.com.au/myanswers/). Keep an eye on the updated items where you'll see problems others are experiencing which might help you avoid a similar situation, or at least if the same problem happens to you, you'll know where to look.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Preferred Australian English Spelling For Office

I don't know how many PowerPoint presentations I've seen where there has been American spelling, or the inconsistent use of "ize" and "ise" spelt words. In some documents including job applications, I've even seen both spelling variations used.

We often think people don't notice our spelling, but the truth is, they're just too polite to say anything. One thing for sure, is if you're writing to others, they do notice if you aren't using the preferred Australian English spelling and it does detract from your message. But it needn't!

I've created a file which you can add to Microsoft Office products (2010, 2007). The preferred Australian English spelling is then recognised as correct and secondary spelling variations are highlighted for you to review in Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, or whilst performing a spellcheck in Excel or Access. There is also a file available for Office 2003 when using Word 2003.

If you copy and paste information from a variety of sources such as the internet, chances are you'll introduce inconsistent spelling in your writing. If you merge documents from different authors chances are you'll introduce inconsistent spelling. Often because of our schooling we aren't aware we learnt a secondary spelling variation as our teachers didn't realise they were passing on such spelling variatiions to students. I've even found two teachers in the one school using different spelling for the same word.

The most common way to recognise inconsistent spelling is when people say they hate American spelling. Usually it isn't American spelling at all, but a secondary spelling variation. I've identified over 2,400 secondary spelling variations and American words in Office, so it is easy to unwittingly use a secondary spelling variation or an American spelling.

So if you'd like a tool to provide you with consistent spelling using the preferred Australian English spelling when creating documents using Microsoft Office products, grab a copy of The Preferred Australian English Spelling For Office. You'll be amazed at how quickly those bad spelling habits disappear.

Consistent spelling is now a breeze, with the help of the right tool.

Kelvin Eldridge
http://www.onlineconnections.com.au/

Monday, December 06, 2010

Top ten filling foods

Some time ago I decided to lose weight.  But I was over all that exercise that appeared to make very little difference, or losing a few kilograms to then put it back on again. I decided since I have a science background to work out how to lose weight and to do it without any exercise. I wanted to prove it to myself it could be done.

The result was I lost slightly over 20kg from 110.kg to under 90kg and it was all done without doing any extra exercise to my normal rather average lifestyle. No expensive gym membership, no expensive dieting club membership or special meals. Just a very simple approach to kilojoule counting.

Now some people consider kilojoule counting to by rather boring and would rather spend an hour in the gym. Yet once you know what you need to do kilojoule counting only takes a small amount of extra time. For breakfast it would take me less than a minute. On top of that since we all tend to be creatures of habit, once you know how much your cup of coffee is in terms of kilojoules there is nothing to work out.

The start of my journey was working out how many kilojoules I needed each day. Then by sticking to that amount I lost weight. It really was that easy. OK. Perhaps not easy, but it worked and if you are consistent over a period of time it can work for you. You can find my BMI/BMR calculator at http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/dieting/bmi-bmr.php.

As with any dieting you should first go to your doctor and seek their advice and guidance. It is also a great idea to have a full set of tests done so you can compare before and after.

One article I kept for myself I thought might be of use to others. I didn't use this whilst dieting, but I believe some foods tend to make you feel fuller for longer and that can come in handy. (
 ) This article isn't a scientific article but I believe it relates to the work done by Susanna Holt (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7498104).

The only tools I used was a pad or scrap to record the kilojoules as I progressed through the day, a set of scales which measure to 2g and could be tared (set to zero between adding different food), a couple of calorie and kilojoule counting books and a basic calculator. Most of these items you'll already find in your home.

All you need to do is to decide you want to lose weight and you can. You just have to decide you want it badly enough. For me it was when every time I walked past a window in the shopping centre I'd see my stomach protruding which wasn't a good look.

For those who just want to exercise to lose weight I highly recommend you check out the two calculators I created. One shows who much energy you'll use for a given exercise for a period of time (http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/dieting/exercise.php) and the other shows how much exercise you need to do to burn off a food item such as a biscuit or treat (http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/dieting/workitoff.php). Once you realise just how much exercise you need to do to burn off the food you put into your mouth you'll start to realise exercise alone isn't enough, but once you get your diet in order, exercise should help you to feel better and lose weight faster.

With Christmas just around the corner which is a great time to over indulge, we then get to New Year when we make all sort of New Year resolutions we often don't keep. Keep it this time. Decide once and for all you'll make it happen this year.

Losing weight is easy once you know how and you decide you really want to do it.

Kelvin Eldridge
PS. All calculators can be found on the front page of JustLocal (http://www.justlocal.com.au/)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Victorian Election results for 2010

For those interested in the election results, if you go to the VEC site (Victorian Electoral Commission) you can view the latest results for each region and district. I find the coverage on the television to be all over the place and doesn't give me the information I'm interested in.

By using the VEC site I was able to watch the count tally as it was occurring for my district. There was none of the quite verbose chit chat you get from TV, just the results as they occur.

Kelvin Eldridge
Authorised by Kelvin Eldridge 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Alert: Job offer as a mystery shopper - Leon Kirkland

Today I received an email with the subject Job offer as a mystery shopper so I decided to investigate.

OzEfilter showed me this email was sent from Spain. The domain Leon is using for the return email address was associated for France and the email address uses a Polish domain which was set up many years ago with Polish servers.

The email is targeted at Australians with an offer of AUD2200 per month and a company car on demand. My real concern is the information being request which includes CV/Resume and recent photo would be the type of information people could use for identity theft. There is no additional information provided on the company sending the email.

I would highly recommend deleting this type of email. If you are interested in becoming a mystery shopper I would suggest researching for a local company and checking them out first.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Alert: Download New Skype VoIP Software - More Free Talks

I received a number of emails purporting to be new software from Skype. This software is not from Skype and you should not download the software.

The domain uses name servers which appear to be based in Russia.

I'd recommend deleting the emails.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, November 11, 2010

VOTE 1: Kelvin ELDRIDGE - Bulleen district

Some of you may have noticed the phrase Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106 appearing on posts I've recently written. The reason is I'll be running in the next state election as an independent for the Bulleen electorate.

For those interested in what I stand for and why I'm standing, visit http://www.kelvineldridgebulleen.com/. Over the next couple of weeks I'll also be posting articles on a blog specifically about my election experiences once I'm official a candidate.

In order to ensure there is no conflict of interest, all posts until after the election will carry the above phrase.

Kelvin Eldridge

Authorised by: Kelvin Eldridge, 12 Stradmore Avenue Templestowe 3106

Friday, November 05, 2010

Firefox users paying more for loans

Now this is the first time I’ve heard of a site charging a different interest rate based on the browser a person is using, but it doesn’t surprise me. Whilst this is not in Australia, some overseas trends do end up coming to Australia.

 

Apparently the bank's loan-offering robot doesn't think much of Firefox users.

- Kelvin Eldridge

Garden Designfest 2010

For those interested in a stroll through a number of professionally designed gardens you may wish to check out Garden Designfest 2010 which is an initiative of the Rotary Club of Kew. Full details of the event can be found at http://www.gardendesignfest.com/.

Thank you to Noni Young of Noni Young Garden Design (http://www.noniyoung.com.au/) for providing details of the event.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, November 01, 2010

Aloe vera MLM business opportunity

For a couple years, a colleague and good friend of mine, Renée Barber, has been using a number of aloe vera based products including aloe vera juice drinks as well as topical aloe vera gels and creams. These natural products have been attributed to providing many benefits including improving digestion, assisting with weight loss and improving skin tone and appearance.

The company, Forever Living, that creates these products pioneered the use of pure aloe vera gel in its patented process and provides a MLM business opportunity in 145 countries. It has been in business for over 25 years and has about 9 and a half million distributors.

Renée and Forever Living both believe that prevention is better than cure, and that health is wealth, so to try these natural products yourself, simply order online and they will be delivered to your doorstep.

You can find Renée on the Warrandyte JustLocal page www.JustLocal.com.au/3113.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tra-La Thai Restaurant, Rustico Pizza and Bolton Fish Shop now live on JustLocal

Welcome to Tra-La Thai Restaurant, Rustico Pizza, both from Bulleen and Bolton Fish Shop from Eltham, the newest advertisers on JustLocal.

You can find Tra-La Thai Restaurant and Rustico Pizza on the Bulleen page www.JustLocal.com.au/3105 and you can find Bolton Fish Shop on the Eltham page www.JustLocal.com.au/3095. Each restaurant includes their menu which means now when you have family and friends over, it is so much easier to select takeaway everyone is happy with.

Because of the way Justlocal helps people find businesses in their local area there is no longer any need to search. You simply go to your postcode page and click on the business you wish to use their service. But if you want to search Google go right ahead. Both Tra-La Thai Restaurant and Rustico Pizza have now been live for around a week and because of what we do behind the scenes, you can find both businesses by name on the first page of the Google search results. Whilst we can't guarantee placement in Google we often find those we promote end up in or near the first position in the search results. Bolton Fish Shop has just gone live and we hope they'll also get a high position in Google. The fastest way however to go to the page for each restaurant is to go to the postcode page and then a single click and you'll be at their site. Couldn't be easier.

Bon appetit.

Kelvin Eldridge 

Monday, October 18, 2010

NBN (National Broadband Network) concerns me. Are we creating Telstra 2?

I can't help but be concerned with the National Broadband Network. On the one hand I'd like the option that a fast optical fibre network will bring, but on the other hand because it is being built by the government and the government can legislate against all other players, it destroys competition.

The government sold off Telstra to mum and dad investors and then progressively eroded the value of the investment knowing it wanted to build its own fibre network. Of course it wasn't just the government but the worldwide trends towards reduced telecommunications costs working against Telstra, but I can't help feeling Telstra shares would be worth more if the government wasn't building its own network (Disclosure: I am one of the mum and dad Telstra shareholders but that isn't what concerns me.)

What concerns me is because the government is making the rules and playing the game, it is very hard for others to play the game. If you've ever played Monopoly as a kid you'll recall the person who was the banker somehow ended up doing pretty well.

Based on the experience in Tasmania the cost per connection (not retail) is $3,500. ($700 million over 200,000 connections)

So every Australian household is now to contribute $3,500 in some way.

I've read one ACT broadband supplier sold out early on. As I read other articles I get the feeling if broadband infrastructure suppliers aren't made an offer, they could go the way of the dinosaur.

Optus may close network for NBN: Conroy

Buy or beware - competitors gear up to do battle with NBN

Now I read since the copper network will be closed down if people want a fixed line and aren't connected to the NBN they'll have to pay $300.

Connect to NBN now or pay up to $300 for phone line

I keep reading articles about costs which people won't expect. When you get the NBN to you home what then? What wiring will you need done to take full advantage of the fast service?

The real concern is what happens in 30 years when the government wants to privatise the NBN. This feels to me like Telstra 2 in the making.

What about the billions of dollars invested in Optus and Telstra cable networks? What a potential waste if those networks are closed down before their time. Perhaps it is more efficient to close them down. I don't really know.

But my concern is it appears we won't have any choice and when that happens there is no competition and thus we can be charged whatever the government wants to charge. This reminds me of what is happening to electricity prices and once the government sells off NBN as it will in the future, I can't help feeling we'll all be having a feeling of deja vu.

What is wrong with the government making the rules by which multiple commercial players then operate? What is wrong with the government getting involved for areas where it is not economical for commercial players such as rural areas to make it commercially viable so all Australians get a fair go?

NBN isn't just about the internet and telephones. From what I see it is about the future of all forms of electronic media consumption households consume and soon I feel that could include the future equivalent of today's TV. Going one step further I suspect the NBN could become the backbone of all forms communication including mobiles and other forms of wireless communication giving the government and potentially a future privatised NBN owner single point control over a vital part of our countries infrastructure.

Right now bringing in an internet filter requires all ISPs to participate. With control at this level the government in theory could introduce whatever controls it wants without the involvement of any other party.

To me the government should be making the rules, not playing the game. Do we really want to end up with another government run monopoly? If government run monopolies were run at zero profit to world's best practices, I'd be in favour of them, but government run monopolies are run for profit at our expense.

The NBN concerns me. We can have a national broadband network without the government owning it. No one can compete against a government because it also makes the rules.

Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gary Hipworth, a modern day Socrates

I once read Socrates would answer a question with a question. He was a person who made people question that status quo. When I read about Socrates it reminded me of Gary Hipworth, a friend I've known for many years, who has focused his life on helping others to focus on their goals to achieve a better life and is always looking for ways to build a better world.

If you've reached the stage in your life where you are now starting to say, "there has to be more to life", Gary has produced a tool called Superlife to help you focus your thoughts and to take action.

Do you feel there's things in our society that need to be reviewed, then check out Gary's site http://www.garyhipworth.com/ and join in. Help make our society a better society for future generations.

Gary you have my support because I know you'll be there to support others.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thai Restaurant Bulleen

The aim of JustLocal is to encourage local businesses to promote themselves online so locals can more easily find and use their services. It is my belief every restaurant, tradesperson and in fact any small local business can help their potential customers by having a basic web presence.

When we have friends over and we’re thinking about grabbing some local takeaway, often the only menu we can find online is one of the big well known companies. There’s nothing wrong with that but I also like to also help the smaller businesses when I can.

I’ve recently sponsored and completed a menu for a new Thai restaurant in Bulleen, Tra-La Thai Restaurant, so now you can check out their menu online and enjoy some delicious Thai food. I’ve eaten there a number of times. Recently my daughter and a friend went there and we’ve all had a lovely experience.

Please feel free to check out the Tra-La Thai Restaurant’s menu at http://www.tra-lathairestaurant.com/. You can also find Tra-La Thai Restaurant on the JustLocal 3105 page (www.JustLocal.com.au/3105).

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Windows Phone 7 launch announcement

Last night Microsoft launched their new Windows Phone 7 product which certainly looks very interesting. We now have Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, Windows Phone 7 and I suspect early next year we'll see HP enter the market with the WebOS, which is the Palm operating system they acquired. I should also mention Blackberry, but I find in Australia the presence of Blackberry tends to be very low, even though in the States it has massive market share. Nokia may still be the leader in mobile phones by volume, but from what I see it hasn't captured the mindset of people in the Smartphone era.

I recently read that more than 50% of people are now using Smartphones. That is a massive uptake of what really is quite an expensive device that for most people will have a useful life of around two years.

The Apple iPhone based on my logs is showing considerable penetration in the market place (now being the third most popular operating system after Windows and Mac) with the other players hardly appearing as a blip in my logs. It will be interesting to watch how Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 performs in the market and whether it gains traction.

This is certainly going to be an interesting time in the Smartphone market. The pressure on all players to keep ahead is going to be immense. Microsoft will certainly gain a presence simply by the number of businesses bringing out product. There is LG, Samsung, HTC and Dell. Now consumers will be presented with a very large range of options and a lot of the options will be running Windows Phone 7. Apple has the market advantage due to its considerable time lead in the market. Android hasn't really taken off in Australia (based on my logs) but with Android tablets about to appear the broader range of devices may help Google's presence. Until of course Apple bring out their new models and perhaps Microsoft finally get a decent tablet product to market.

For the consumer the choice just became a little harder, but perhaps a little more exciting.

Check out Microsoft's Steve Balmer's announcement Windows Phone Newsroom: Press Event Video to keep updated on the state of play with the new entrant. Interesting to think of Microsoft as being the new entrant.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, October 08, 2010

A person shared this link with me so I thought I'd share it with others.

Smiffy's Place I Killed My FaceBook Account. Or So I Thought.

I have nothing against Facebook. I simply believe they should make all data private by default and people should take action to make it available. Facebook in my opinion should provide a series of open articles explaining to people potential risks and exposures associated with participating in an open way on the internet. People don’t know what they don’t know.

- Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Alert: Your address has been changed. - PayPal

Today I received a phishing attempt I thought was a bit different and may catch people out, so I decided to warn others. The email had the subject Your address has been changed. and is designed to make people feel their PayPal account address has been changed.

I've found over the years most threats on the internet require people to take action when they shouldn't. The psychological tricks these dubious people use are quite interesting. Imagine you're not quite thinking and you get an email which tricks you into believing your bank account address details have been changed and you think you are being notified by the bank. A small lapse in concentration and the phishing attempt has worked.

In this case the attack is targeted at Australians with an Australian address provided. As attacks become more sophisticated and more directed, the greater the chance of someone being tricked. As you can see by the text tip provided by Outlook when you move the mouse over the link, the site you'd  go to is obviously not PayPal.

We can all be tricked. The recent iTunes gift voucher phishing attack saw the number of Mac users reaching my site go from 6-8% of the traffic to 25-30% of the traffic. It was truly amazing to not only saw the enormous number of people who were tricked, but also the significant increase in the proportion of Mac users hitting this blog.

To show how easy is it to be tricked I'll share this story.

I heard a person was waiting for a parking spot at a shopping centre and another driver rudely pulled in quickly, in front of them. As expected the person was irate. A short while later they saw the driver of the car in the shopping centre so they tapped them on the shoulder and said "excuse me. Do you own (the type of car) such and such a car". The answer was "yes, why". The person then said "someone has smashed into your car", to which the person rushed off in panic to check their car. The person was satisfied they'd inconvenienced the other driver as they'd been inconvenienced. All that is needed is a little information we can related to and we can all be tricked very easily.

Do take care on the internet. Whilst I do make money fixing people's computers and removing virus infections, it really is work I'd prefer wasn't required.

Kelvin Eldridge

PS. OzEfilter is the product I wrote and use which helps me avoid being tricked by phishing and malware attacks. For free anti-virus software read earlier blog posts where I ran parallel tests against various packages over a week.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Alert: Online Transaction Error! - ANZ

I've received a couple of emails this morning with the subject Online Transaction Error! and thought I'd warn others and provide a couple of tips.

First this email is a fake email and more than likely, is designed to trick people into revealing their access details to their bank account. So delete the email.

The following are suggestions which may assist you in protecting yourself against phishing attempts.

  • I use a product I wrote called OzEfilter. OzEfilter enables me to view what is on my mail server before I collect the emails. These email would have been deleted at the mail server and never reached my computer, but in this case I accepted the emails so I could review them and share the information with others.
  • I don't provide an email address to my bank, so I will never receive a legitimate email from my bank. All banking emails can thus simply be deleted. I'd recommend you ask your bank to delete your email address. If they need to contact you they can always send a letter.
  • I use Outlook as my main email client. If I were to receive a suspicious email, I can move my mouse over the link and see the underlying web site address. Most free web mail products such as Gmail don't show you this very important information. If you need a copy of Outlook visit the Microsoft store using the link on the front page of JustLocal (http://www.justlocal.com.au/). The following is what I see when I move my mouse over the link in Outlook. Outlook Express is also quite good in that it shows the link in the status area.



Please don't go to the web site shown in the  above image. It is only included here as an example and is in all probability a malicious site.

I hope this information helps you to avoid future malicious emails.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, October 04, 2010

Site to cancel Sensis Yellow Pages and White Pages directory delivery

Times are a changing. At one stage when you wanted to advertise your business you'd think about the Yellow Pages. For some it may still be the case. For me however every time I receive the Yellow or White pages I simply toss it in the recycle bin. I really don't want to receive either the Yellow or White pages and notice many people feel the same way.

The good thing is Sensis now provide a site so you ask them not to deliver the directories to your home or business. I guess they figure the savings on printing is worth it. For businesses advertising they won't notice any difference because people like me don't keep a copy anyway, so those businesses advertising know Sensis directories are more likely to be in the hands of consumers who want them.

If you're no longer interested in receiving the Sensis directories you receive, visit the following site.

https://www.directoryselect.com.au/ds/

Cancellation is for a period of three years and I believe you'll receive a reminder. I just hope Sensis don't use this as a way of  building a mailing list and pestering us using email instead of the printed directory that never gets used. Tossing a directory once a year can be easier than trying to get people to stop sending your emails. You never know who Sensis is going to provide your details to. It is up to you to decide whether tossing the unwanted directory is better or worse than the potential risk of unwanted emails. I'll risk it in the hope it saves a few trees.

To be fair, Sensis is a large organisation and they state the email won't be used for other purposes except for confirmation and notification. I believe we can take them at their word.

TIP: For the cancellation service I used Gmail. The activation email ended up in the spam folder and was not seen for a while. Normally I use OzEfilter which is for me a better way to get rid of spam without having emails go astray into a spam folder when you don't think they should.

Kelvin Eldridge

Gmail removes one of the most important reasons I don't recommend Gmail to many

I recently read the threaded view in Gmail was to become optional. I had to investigate and it's true.

First what is threaded view. Threaded view is where emails with the same subject are group together. Let's say for example you email someone, they reply back, you reply back them etc. Google groups all these emails as a thread and you see the latest email and a number in brackets in your inbox.

The problem I've found is most people I've met don't have a clue what is going on. They see the latest email but don't realise there are other emails there as well. For example they may be waiting for a response from one of the people they sent out invitations to, but not realise it has already been received.

Threaded emails appear to be a feature which came across from newsgroups where many people participate and so grouping the conversation together made sense. In emails often it doesn't make sense.

For example I often send out an email and during a course of time there are a number of emails going back and forth. I want to keep some of the emails, but some I don't, so I just delete them. The problem is I didn't realise but when I deleted one of the emails I deleted all of the emails in the thread. So the emails I thought I was saving were deleted. I found this by accident. I didn't understand why the email I remembered keeping wasn't to be found. Luckily it was still in my trash so I could recover it.

Google Gmail has now made the threaded view optional. Yes you can turn threaded view off and to me this improves the usability of Gmail for my user base significantly. To me it is a major step forward. There are still limitations in Gmail that exist which stops me from recommending it for everyone, but this is a major step forward.

In MyAnswers solution 2024 I provide the steps to turn threaded view off. This solution will be available soon.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Alert: Internet domain name & keyword

My clients have received emails purporting to originate from China advising a company is registering domains in the .cn, .asia using their domain name. Today I received one as well. This was good as I was able to check where the email came from.

The email had the subject: Internet domain name & keyword

The body starts with the following:

This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally in China and Asia.
On September.29th,2010, We received HAITONG company's application that they are registering the name " onlineconnections " as their Internet Keyword and " onlineconnections .cn "、" onlineconnections .com.cn " 、" onlineconnections .asia "domain names etc..,It is China and ASIA domain names.But after auditing we found the brand name been used by your company. As the domain name registrar in China, it is our duty to notice you, so I am sending you this Email to check.


I checked this email and it does appear to come from China. It is not possible for me to tell whether it is legitimate, spam or fraudulent. My suggestion to clients is to decided whether or not those domains are of important to them and then use a registrar they know and trust to register the domains.

I personally would not respond to these emails and thus delete them. There is no way for me to easily tell if this email is legitimate but it isn't worth the risk of responding.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

AFP pressuring govt on data retention

The following article indicates the increasing information police wish to record. I believe people should be aware of the level of information others are recording on their online activities.

AFP assistant commissioner and national manager of high tech crime operations, Neil Gaughan, said that the police is pushing for data retention through the Attorney-General's office and Commonwealth Government agencies.

Other statements in the article reinforces that Google is recording information on search histories. What you search for is known and recorded and identifiable directly to you. Given that my logs show over 90% of searches in Australia are performed using Google, most Australians are having their online activities recorded in some form already. I once read Google retains around three per cent of information pertaining to searches.

I'm not concerned what the police wish to record, but it does mean the same data is potentially available to many others.

I also read that Yahoo has retained the details of all people who have signed up to use their services since the late 90's. Whilst we may feel if the police want our information they'd need some type of warrant, from what I've read in America, once you pass your details on to a third party such as the search companies, no warrant may be required.

I find this information interesting and thought it may be of interest to others.

Kelvin Eldridge

Alert: Blog spam. What it is and how to avoid it. Don't be a victim.

As part of what I do with JustLocal, I often informally share my IT skills and knowledge with JustLocal advertisers to further assist them. I'd like to share the following comment which was posted to on my blog yesterday in case it helps others with their blogs.

Thank you for sharing this detailed walkthroughs. Its a big help for me. Keep posting. By IT Companies Melbourne

This is what I call blog spam. Companies are looking for ways to get links to their sites using your blog or site. There is no link in the actual blog. The link is in who the comment was written by and is a link to the company posting it. In this case it was a company in Melbourne.

I check all comments and have noticed a number of businesses using this practice. These business should stop their actions. They have no obvious interest in the blog and they are just using other people's resources in a way that isn't appropriate.

I don't mind companies contributing to my blog and am happy to give some link love back, but don't just use other people's resources as your latest marketing approach. Whomever is advising you is damaging your business reputation. This company is an IT support company and if they resort to such practices, then it raises questions as to their ethics. Remember the end does not justify the means (Gandhi)

You can avoid blog spam on your blog by checking each comment. Unfortunately some blogging packages don't show you the links in obvious locations. If in doubt after you post the comment, check the comment as others would see it. If you can't remove the comment then be very selective about the comments you accept. Treat the information as though you had written it, as it represents your business. Your blog is your business and comments, even written by others on the blog, reflect you.

In this case it was a thinly veiled marketing attempt, but it could be worse. You could end up sending your readers to a malicious site and end up damaging their computer.

If you value your readers then take a moment to review the information others may be posting via your site. Your readers may not thank you, but at least you'll know you are looking after them.

Kelvin Eldridge
http://www.justlocal.com.au/

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ultrafeedback - Research Analyst (Eltham)

I thought I'd share some of my activities today so that others will know what I'm about and what I am doing with JustLocal.

Today I went through the local news items that come across radar via the internet. To me the news I want to know about is the news that affects me locally. On a daily basis you don't hear much on local news. I thought if the local news interests me, and I'm already obtaining a feed of the news, why not share the links so that others can benefit. It takes a bit of effort and time and perhaps I should be doing other things, but really if it helps others find out what's going on locally, why not.

Today I noticed a local position in Eltham for a research analyst. A quick email to the company to see the position was current. I received confirmation back within minutes. I then blogged about the position and within minutes those following my blog in Eltham and the surrounding area know about the position.

In addition I then added Ultrafeedback which is located in Eltham to the Eltham search engine so now those looking for products and services in Eltham can use the JustLocal search engine for a total of 217 businesses.

My focus with JustLocal is to provide a way for people in a postcode area to more easily find products and services in their local area. With each JustLocal postcode page I provide advertising with a money back guarantee to help local businesses promote themselves. When I find out something I feel may interest those in a local area I send out emails to either people in the postcode area, or at other times to those within a certain distance from the postcode area. I've had to create some neat tools to make all of this happen as it can be quite time consuming.

Finding the position today was a treat for me as one of my goals by helping to strengthen local business, we get more local employment. Whilst currently people travel all over Melbourne to get to their jobs, I really see no reason why more people can't work locally. Local work for local people means the dependence on cars and our heavily subsidised public transport system is reduced. I look forward to the day where our main use of our cars is for pleasure and not work.

Right now, for most of us, we have to go where the work is. We simply don't know about or see the opportunities which are around us because it is far too costly using current media. With JustLocal my aim is to find cost effective ways using my knowledge of technology to help build a stronger local community by making local information more accessible.

You can find the Research Assistant position on the JustLocal blog for Eltham which can be accessed via www.JustLocal.com.au/3095.

All blogs have RSS feeds which means as I post information you can automatically receive the posts. I received the posts and read them whilst out and about using the Gmail RSS Reader in conjunction with my iPhone. I've written MyAnswers solution 2018 on how to add Google's products such as their RSS Reader to the Apple iPhone Home Screen for those who are interested.

The final task I now have is to send of an email to people in the local area (most likely based on distance) about the research position.

I hope that by sharing what I do my aspirations with JustLocal become a little clearer to others.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, September 27, 2010

Possible alert: Download Skype VoIP Addons - More Free Talks

I received an email tonight which looked like it may be from Skype, written in a way that I am lead to believe it is from Skype, but I am very suspicious of it.

The subject in the email is: Download Skype VoIP Addons - More Free Talks

The body of the email contains:

Dear Skype Users,


This is to notify that new updates have been released for Skype. Following are major new features:

The links in the email aren't to the Skype site.
 
The email is signed by :
 
Anthony Norman

Skype Support

The word copyright is written as Copy rights and an error like this is unlikely to come from Skype.

The email address receiving this communication was not the email I use with Skype, but a public email address.

The email originated out of Northern America, but Skype headquarters is based in Luxembourg.

I would certainly be very suspicious of this email and not go to the links. My educated guess is this is a marketing attempt designed to make people feel they email is from Skype and thus get them to purchase a product. It may or may not be malicious.

If it was me I'd delete this email immediately.

Kelvin Eldridge

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Apple iPhone

2017
I've typed an incorrect email into Outlook 2007 and now it keeps coming up when I go to send an email and I keep using the wrong email address. How do I get rid of the wrong email address so it doesn't appear anymore?
Microsoft Outlook

2016
In Excel I have rows which end in an email address enclosed in brackets. That is: first name space last name space (email@domain). How do I get just the email address?
Microsoft Excel

2015
In Excel I have rows which end in an email address. Before the email address is the word "from" followed by a space. How do I get just the email address?
Microsoft Excel

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why I don't use Facebook

When I let people know why I don't use Facebook they start to see things differently.

My initial reasons were simple. I wanted to create Facebook groups and share my information with customers. For example I've created the Australian English spellcheck dictionary now used by Google, Firefox and most other major open source projects. For those few that actually contributed back (most including the projects take and give nothing back) I wanted to use Facebook to keep these people informed.

I then found with Facebook it appeared that everything I wrote becomes the property of Facebook. Now I do the hard work and Facebook gets the rights to my work, I didn't think that's a good business decision so I closed down my use of Facebook in that way.

Over time more things happened. I began to see the Americans seem to have different ethics to us in Australia. Very young people were building massive worldwide companies and didn't in my mind have the years of experience that helps us to determine higher standards of ethics. If I were to set up a service, your information, your privacy is yours until you decide to share it. These new breed take the approach of "it's fair game".

For example my daughter said "dad do you mind not being my Facebook friend". I trust her and I respect her privacy.

However when she turned 18 Facebook flipped her information from private to totally public. She had no knowledge and I could see all her information as could the world. I then suggested she check her settings. I could still see some of her information but not most. Until I checked my other daughter's Facebook information and there was her information again, as my daughters were both Facebook friends. I again suggested she check her privacy settings.

Now with that fixed I then used Google and searched for my daughter's name. There she was and photos of eight of her friends. Press reload on the browser and I could get her next eight friends. In effect I could quickly obtain a list of quite a lot of her friends in a matter of minutes.

Now if my daughter wants to put her photo onto the internet that's her choice. But I don't think it is right that Facebook makes her friends photos available on the internet via her. Have her friends given her permission to display their photos. No. It is just assumed to be OK because of the underlying ethics built into Facebook.

Most people don't think making your information public on the internet matters. The usual argument is I'm not doing anything wrong so I have no concern from the authorities. However they seem to forget whilst big brother is watching, so too are the less reputable elements in our society.

After September 11 I read that 3% of people trying to board a plane would not be allowed to get onto an aeroplane due to security reasons and up to a total of 10% would be stopped. I also heard once that when the banks released bankcard in Australia and sent cards to everyone, there was a 3% risk which was acceptable. I went to a seminar with St George about businesses using credit cards and it was stated that business should budget for 3% loss through fraud.

So 3% is a good figure to use as a starting point. That means in any situation we can expect 3% of a group of people to be less reputable. Years ago I read there were 10,000 police in Victoria. That means 3% is 300. Whether we like it or not the less reputable live with us daily side-by-side.

An easy example of this is pirated DVDs. I was over in Thailand listening to conversations about DVDs (they are about $3 each for recent movies, but the quality I found was terrible) is it appeared almost everyone knew someone who could get them pirated DVDs from their work. That means you probably know someone who works in your company, or government organisation that is less reputable. How safe then is your information. So internally in every organisation there is a risk.

With Facebook I read of one person scraping (using programs to collect information) and building a massive database from the Facebook contacts. When they went to sell this information they were promptly stopped. Just think about it. Five hundred million people and who they are all connected to is an enormous resource. However the less reputable amongst us won't go public, they'll just trade the information and use it to their advantage.

The problem is we are now in a world where our information is being concentrated into the hands of a few. There is high internal risk when that happens and remember many of the largest companies outsource parts of their business to countries where the average person earns less than a few dollars a day, so a few thousand becomes very attractive. We all remember what happened to Google in China recently and if the biggest can't protect their systems then there is little hope for governments and businesses with less technical skill. Then we have the external risk where people can easily collect the information you make avaiable.

In the good old days there was less risk, although it was still there. With email from a local telephone company my sign up information with personal details is largely kept in their systems. Only the information I send has increased risk because of the nature of the internet. That means our private information was dispersed amongst many organisations. There are so many islands of information it wouldn't be worth the time for people to try to harvest this information. But with Facebook there are 500 million users. The meaning of six degrees of separation where all of us are supposedly connected to everyone else in this world (it was actually 12 degrees but Hollywood created the 6 degrees myth) is now much less.

I wanted to provide a real example which Australians can related to show what I mean.

Julia Gillard won't be running how own Facebook site so she will have a team of advisors guiding and protecting her. We don't have that luxury.

On the other hand her step daughter (Staci Child) just got into the press. A search of "Staci Child" and "Facebook" returns her Facebook page and eight of her friends. In theory if you wanted to get to know the Prime Minister of Australia you now have information on people who are only a few degrees of separation away. Whilst I use the example of our Prime Minister, the same applies to all the leaders of the world.

I have no doubt the government is collecting information on us, with the Federal Police reportedly pushing to have everyone's movements on the internet tracked, and whilst I don't think that is right, it won't be stopped. However that is a lower risk than the less reputable who could have access to the same information. That to me is a concern.

So next time you walk out the front door with your iPhone turned on just keep in mind it may be possible for someone, somewhere, to know, the date and time you leave your home, the direction you face, the door your took and then where you went during the day.

Take the time to learn about the technology you are using and realise there is a potential for increased exposure. There is no need to be paranoid because the 3% has always existed and always will. A small amount of care and caution will reduce grief, but in the end there will always be some. That is part of life.

I hope this article helps people to perhaps gain a little more understanding of what is happening. Just keep in mind if in the modern technological world when you get something for free, others have to make their money somehow, and the only thing they have is your information and what you do. And of course, it is entirely our own fault if something happens. It is our choice to use the services that are now available.

Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Windows Phone 7 won't support tethering

I just read the Windows phone 7 won't support tethering which is a feature on the Apple iPhone I use all the time. I accept tethering is more for the techos like myself and not the general market.

 
The features so far identified as missing from the new Windows Phone 7 now are:
  • Multi-tasking (limited multi-tasking)
  • Copy and Paste
  • Tethering
  • Development appears to be limited to Silverlight, but still need to confirm.
Of course this is pre-release information found on the media so it may be inaccurate but if these features are important in your decision they are worth knowing about and reviewing. It should also be noted the information I've read is generally very positive irrespective of these features.

Should I end up purchasing and Windows Phone 7 I'll share information as usual via MyAnswers.

Kelvin Eldridge
 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why many people shouldn't buy Microsoft Office 2010 PKC with their computer

Most of my clients purchase Microsoft Office 2010 with their computer but for many people, buying the licence with the computer may not be the best option.

In MyAnswers solution 2020 I give examples of when some users will be better off by not buying the software with their computer.

I'm not saying don't buy Microsoft Office 2010, just to review the options and consider which is best for you

Kelvin Eldridge

Microsoft Store Links:

Download the new Office Home and Student 2010 now!


Download the new Office Home and Business 2010 now!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is it laptop or notebook?

A friend of mine and I were discussing the terms laptop and notebook. As a person working in IT I felt laptop was an old term and notebook is the current term.

However I decided to check further. I checked a few computer hardware sites and noticed something very interesting.

On the toshiba.com.au site the menus shows notebooks, but on the toshiba.com site it shows laptops.

The HP site for America uses laptop and uses notebook for Australia. It is also interesting to note the UK also uses laptop.


This appears to be an example of where two different words are used to describe the same product.

The Macquarie dictionary describes both words as a portable computer. The Oxford describes laptop as a portable computer but for notebook, the definition is "a portable computer smaller than a laptop".

At this stage both words are in the Kelvin dictionary. They are different words, not spelling variations of the same word. If indeed notebook is the preferred Australian English word for a small portable computer, it may mean that laptop is redundant and could be removed.

When editing the Kelvin dictionary I don't use my own understanding of words as I've found I like others, have preconceived ideas. I prefer to use the authoritative references to provide the information to include or exclude words.

For the time being both words will remain in the Kelvin dictionary and thus Word Check, since I have no conclusive reason to rule one word out of the dictionary.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why I no longer support or promote open source software projects like OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Thunderbird and Google Chrome.

I share this information in case it helps the next generation of IT students and those starting in the IT industry.

In 2003 I was interested in OpenOffice.org and put the software on around 60 machines. Myself and my family also used the software. I didn't like that there wasn't an Australian English dictionary so I developed one. What I didn't realise is the approach I took was to bite me in the end.

The project lead said to grab an existing dictionary and start from there. I took the UK dictionary and spent most of the next two weeks solid, editing the dictionary. I needed to remove over 30,000 words and then start adding words. You'll note that at no time did I or anyone consider the person who previously developed the British dictionary.

I released my work as LGPL so other IT people could benefit and I had a belief that when I help others, others would help me. Apart from a couple of people who helped a bit at the start with words, over the next few years a handful contributed a word or two. All the rest of the work was done by me consuming hundreds of hours.

I decided to try to make money from my work by charging a small fee which is OK with open source software. I was often abused as many open source users consider it their right to get everything for nothing.

Then a contributor of the Firefox project took my work and called it their own. Changed my licence by finding a loophole in the LGPL licence. Rather than contribute to my work they simply forked it. Firefox, an $80 million dollar business benefited from my work and gave nothing back.

Next I asked Google Chrome to add Australian English to their browser so I could provide my work. To their credit I found a developer who provided the software required for me to produce the dictionary in the correct format. Then the Google Chrome developers came and grabbed a copy of my work and included it in their project and gave nothing back. Now a $21 billion dollar business was benefiting from my work.

Finally Opera came along and told me they were using my work. I asked why all the projects simply leeched my work and gave nothing back. The response was it is open source after all.

An OpenOffice.org user then decided to take the Firefox files and even though I'd put hundreds of hours of work into the files, minimised the credit to me as a minor contributor.

The total income I received by various methods of trying to raise income including voluntary donations was around $150 over six years.

I estimated there was probably around a million users of my work and my daughter once said, imagine if you had $1 for each user dad. Even less would have enabled me to continue developing my Australian English dictionary work and reduced my consulting work.

I'm now building a completely original Australian English spellcheck dictionary which contains the preferred Australian English spelling.

So in around seven years of contributing to the open source community and with most of the major projects using my work, the income from open source has amounted to around $150.

I now focus my work on commercial work and commercial programs. Most of my clients use commercial software.

Once I realised I had fallen into the trap early on of taking from others with the original UK dictionary and not giving back to those who gave, I tried to make amends by apologising and also offering assistance if wanted.

I hope that by sharing this story others can benefit from my experience. Of course it is only my experience and others may have had a different experience. I am in a different situation as I am self employed and the time I put in to open source is a cost against my income. Others who may be supported by an employer's salary will have a different experience and need.

Regards,

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to add Google Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Tasks and Google Reader to your Apple iPhone Home Screen.

One my clients had a need for an application to record their tasks and they were using a Google Android mobile phone. They had a Google Gmail account and I remembered there was a Tasks application in Gmail. I added Tasks to his mobile phone, which they thought was great and thought it may be useful for Apple iPhone users (and perhaps iPod Touch) as the iPhone doesn't come with a built-in tasks app.

I've now written instructions on how to add the Google applications to your Apple iPhone Home Screen and as you can see, they look pretty neat. The solution is in MyAnswers 2018.

Kelvin Eldridge



Link: Apple Store Australia