Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Stephen Smith computers hacked.

The following news article should be a reminder to all of us that even the top people in Australian government can have their email accounts compromised.

“Gillard's parliamentary computer, along with those of several cabinet ministers including Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith were believed to have been compromised, News Ltd newspapers report”.... Read More

For obvious reasons we aren’t provided with the full details of how their computers were hacked and whether or not it was their computers or just their email accounts. But what is important is for all of us to decide the level of risk associated with keeping material online and easily accessible not only to ourselves, but potentially to others as well.

Government ministers will have the best resources available to them which far exceeds the resources available to most small and medium sized businesses. Most businesses unwittingly (and without their knowledge or control) provide others with details of their infrastructure making it easier for hackers and criminals to be quite specific in how they target a business, government department or individual. With knowledge you can reduce your attack profile on the internet. You can’t eliminate your attack profile because as we’ve seen even the biggest companies in the world (such as Google) haven’t been able to prevent others from hacking them, but you can reduce your exposure.

Computing as with life is full of compromises. As we move more towards cloud based services do ask questions and keep in mind the compromises you are forced to make. Many online services do not provide important logging information that would immediately alert you to a possible online attack. Many computer professionals believing they are assisting their clients by providing the latest tools and technologies to give them remote access to their systems and may in fact be potentially exposing their clients. If you can log on remotely, then it is possible that someone else may be able to as well. Make sure you know the increased exposure with each piece of new technology and that you ask the questions you need to ask.

- Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Apple iPad 2 Australian pricing details

Apple have now announced local pricing for the iPad 2. The prices are as follows:

iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
16GB model $579
32GB model $689
64GB model $799

iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G
16GB model $729
32GB model $839
64GB model $949

All prices are recommended retail including GST.

The Apple iPad 2 release date is Friday 25th of April at 5pm. Online sales via the Apple store start at 1am.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Focus on Western Australia

As I travel around Western Australia on a short break I thought I'd share some of the sites with JustLocal readers. I decided to take a panorama of the Bell Tower near the Swan River which is located on the Swan River in Perth.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, March 18, 2011

Alert: We stopped running your Google ads this morning

I received an email with the subject We stopped running your Google ads this morning. I decided to check this email further.

This type of email is a phishing attempt. The first clue was there was no email address in the To field. Checking the headers of the email showed it was a public email address I use on a site and most likely used because of Google ads I display on the site.

There is a link in the body of the email. The address is not to a Google site, but is similar enough that some people may not be careful enough when checking if the link goes to a valid Google site.

As with any link received in an email, a better approach if you are in doubt is not to click on the link, but to open the browser and type in the site you wish to go to. That way you can't be tricked by a phishing attempt you receive via an email.

You should delete this type of email.

Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, March 12, 2011

MyAnswers: Outlook message "The spelling check is complete." but I can see spelling errors

The following MyAnswers solution 2081 is now available:

When I type a new email message in Outlook 2007 the spellcheck never works. When I click on the spellcheck button on the toolbar I get the message "The spelling check is complete." but I know there are errors in my spelling that aren't getting picked up.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, March 11, 2011

Alert: Apple iOS 4.3 update may cause billshock for some iPhone users

For those with an iPhone using 3G data plans to access the internet, make sure you keep an eye on your data usage this month, or your hip pocket may pay the price.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Optus alwayswin, but I didn't feel like a winner with Optus this time

I decided before recharging a family member's Optus prepaid mobile I'd change one of the MyTime numbers. I always feel the Optus split between your account on one site and other functions in MyZoo to be very confusing and unnecessary.

This time I managed to work through everything (after an excessive amount of time) and got to the page with the five current numbers, but no apparent way to change the numbers.

I decided to call their support and dialed 555. This had really gone on far too long and it was time for some human assistance even if I had to wait on that lengthly queue. I found to my surprise one of the options was for changing the MyTime numbers. Great I thought. The web site provided led me to same page on the Optus site with still no way to change the five numbers. I tried the second option of calling the 1300 555 002 number (cost of 27 cents) and followed the prompts. Whilst it was painful having to put in all five numbers and not just replace one with a new number, I did get there in the end.

With the amount of time wasted I was seriously contemplating throwing out the Optus prepaid service for another service. I can't believe others can work through the maze Optus puts in front of us.

I certainly didn't feel like a winner this time, but perhaps when I play the alwayswin game it will feel  like it was worth the effort. I almost smile at that thought because I can pretty well guess the type of prize I'll end up with. It's all a bit of fun.

Kelvin Eldridge

TAGS: zoo optus, optus alwayswins, optus always win, always win optus, optus alwayswin, alwayswin optus, optus alway win, optus win alwayswin, always win optus au, optus always win au, optus zoo webmail

Internet Explorer 9 release date

The information I’m now reading on the internet indicates Microsoft will be announcing the release of Internet Explorer 9 on the 14th of March at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi) in America.

Internet Explorer 9 will only work with Vista and Windows 7 and not with Windows XP. I’d estimate that around 50% of people are still using Windows XP and this will be a thorn in the side for those people including myself. I use Windows XP on a netbook because when I purchased the netbook the other option was Windows Vista and to me the performance would have been substandard. Microsoft’s approach is most likely to encourage users to upgrade to Windows 7 but I think Microsoft is no longer positioned strongly enough for this approach to work. For many people I expect it will alienate them even further towards Microsoft. This doesn’t mean you should rush out and support other browsers as those browsers come with their own limitations and issues. As your computers age you’ll replace them and at that point in time you’ll have access to Internet Explorer 9 if you are a Windows user.


Whilst I won’t be able to start testing Internet Explorer 9 until early April, when I do and when I find issues I’ll post solutions to MyAnswers (

Kelvin Eldridge



Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Alert: Free Movie Voucher Reward Available Now...! : Ref No : 1702324 - Standard Bank

I received this email tonight and since so many people worldwide were tricked by the Apple iTunes free gift certificate, I thought I'd let others know I received the email with the subject Free Movie Voucher Reward Available Now...! : Ref No : 1702324 and don't bank with Standard Bank. It is thus a pretty obvious phishing attempt.

There are also a couple of clues in the body of the email indicating it isn't a bona fide email including poor capitalisation, poor punctuation and poor grammar, which would not be seen in a communication from a professional organisation such as a bank.

It is suggested you delete this email if you receive one.

If unwanted emails are a problem for you, request a FREE evaluation copy OzEfilter (offer expires end of April). Delete unwanted emails at the mail server before they reach you and inflict costly damage to you or your computer. You can read more about OzEfilter at

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Apple iPad, iPad 2 comparison

I decided since I was going to compare the iPad and the iPad 2 I’d write an article and provide it online for others. The following is the first line and a link to the article.

“The iPad 2 has now been announced and is scheduled to start shipping on March 25th in Australia.”... Read More

The articles lists the specifications for the iPad and iPad 2 in two columns making it easier to see where the iPads are the same and where they differ.

- Kelvin Eldridge

TAGS: iPad 1 iPad2, iPad 1 vs iPad 2, iPad1 or iPad 2, iPad compared to iPad 2

Saturday, March 05, 2011

MyAnswers: Amaysim service costs review highlight an area of concern.

The following MyAnswers solution 2080 is now available:

Amaysim quick review of service reveals significant issue with data charging and a potential gotcha for consumers

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge

Apple iPad refund available to recent buyers due to price reduction with iPad 2 release announcement

In blog post in December ( I suggested if you were in the market for a new iPad, even as a Christmas present, with the soon to be released iPad 2 you may wish to wait. There isn’t anything you can do now about those purchases, but if you’ve purchased very recently, you may be able to get a refund of the price difference, as the original iPads have now been drastically reduced in price.

The following is a copy of the relevant section from the Apple site for their terms and conditions.

“9.2 Should Apple reduce its price on any product you have purchased (except promotional / special / discount / refurbished products) within 14 calendar days of receiving your goods, you may contact the Apple Online Store team on 133-622 to request a refund or credit of the difference between the price you were charged and the current selling price. To receive the refund or credit you must contact Apple within 14 calendar days of receiving your goods.” ... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge

iOS 4.3 release date

According to the information on the Apple site iOS 4.3 will be available as a free update on Friday March 11. It will be compatible with iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM model) and third and fourth generation iPod touch.

If I read between the lines it looks like the hotspot facility is available for iPhone 4. I can't find a mention for iPhone 3GS which will be a pity if that is the case. OK, for me at least as I have the 3GS.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Apple iPad 2 Australian release date

Yesterday Apple announce their new iPad 2. We all knew it was coming, but in their usual style Apple keeps the actual details under wraps to generate interest in each launch event.

The updates are pretty much to be expected. Dual core processor, lighter, thinner and front and back cameras. All of these updates make sense and improve an already excellent product.

Whilst the news is available on the Australian site, I like to check the USA site as it has more information. The release date is March 11th in the States, with the Australian release date on the 25th of March.

In terms of pricing I'd hope Apple Australia is aggressive in their pricing. With the Australian dollar above parity, the price difference should intheory be quite small, but I tend to think there will be a price difference. Keep in mind prices in the States are generally stated without sales tax so you need to add tax to the price. It will be interesting to see the premium we end up paying in Australia.

I'm very interested in the Apple iPad 2. I was also very interested in the original iPad and was about the plonk my money down on one when I thought it doesn't do all the things I need to do and for the most part, I'd need to continue to also used my Netbook. It will take some time (if ever) before my main applications can be run on an iPad but you never know what the future will hold.

I'm not a big fan of Flash but without it, some of the sites I need to visit don't work. I can and do take my business with me when I'm on the road using my netbook, which is something I can't do with the original iPad or iPad 2. But still it is a great device and I don't really think the other tablet makers have yet produced a product which would tempt me more than the iPad/iPad2. Microsoft may have a chance to tempt me, but as yet they still haven't produced a tablet product to interest me.

Full credit to Apple for really producing an innovative product which others over a year later, still in my opinion haven't caught up to. The iPad 2 or better, at an equivalent price, is what the other players need to create to get me interested.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

MYOB, Google offer free web sites

I caught the end of an interview on the TV tonight where Google and MYOB are providing free web sites to businesses. I couldn't help feeling the free offer is a good opportunity for businesses, but before businesses leap for the offer they should could consider their options. Don't just think of now, think of your next step as well.
  • How easy is it to redesign a site the way you want to reflect your business image using the free service provided by MYOB and Google?
  • Make sure you remain in control?
  • How much does it cost when it is no longer free?
  • How much does it cost if you need support?
  • Can you move your pages to another provider in future if you want?
  • Can you easily transfer your domain at any time?
  • What features of the site locks you in so you can't move at a later time?
  • What are the limitations of the web site builder software?
  • Is the domain licensed to you so you can take it with you if you leave the service?
Check out a couple of the live sites people are now running. I checked out one of the success stories and when I searched for the type of business in their area, it wasn't found in the first ten pages of Google. I was able to find the site once I knew the business name, but that is often the case if your business name is fairly unique.

In my opinion anything that gets small business onto the internet in a cost effective way is a good thing. You just need to make sure that you aren't locking yourself into a path which isn't very flexible in the future, as that could be very costly when your site evolves and the time and effort you put in now could be wasted in the future. The main thing is you do your homework so you know what you are and aren't getting.

Kelvin Eldridge 

PS. I just found examples of the sites in their gallery and these are very simplistic sites which are little more than you'd find in a directory. Keep in mind if you know the right people a good looking basic site tailor designed for your business image doesn't need to cost very much and helps you stand out in the market.

Alert: Twitter Notification

This is a reminder not to trust notifications from the major online services such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, eBay, Foursquare or MySpace. When these services become so common they are given free access status with many mobile phone plans, it means there are large numbers of people are using the services. Where a service has a large number of users (Facebook reportedly  is used by 25% of the internet population worldwide) it becomes a target for scammers.

On my Apple 3GS iPhone when I received the email with the subject Twitter Notification, there was not way for me to check the links in the email. If on the other hand I collect the email using Outlook I can easily see the link will take me to a Russian domain.

A healthy degree of mistrust will save you a considerable amount of time, money and angst should one of these malicious emails reach you. If you do end up infecting your computer and you're located in Melbourne and need a support call, you are welcome to contact me. My contact details are on my Online Connections web site.

To help prevent unwanted and malicious emails reaching you you are welcome to request a free demo copy of OzEfilter which is the full program expiring at the end of April. OzEfilter is a great way to keep malicious emails out of your computer.

Kelvin Eldridge

Spam filters, spam blockers, stopping spam. Get OzEfilter for free

No matter what you try the spam keeps coming. The problem with filters is good email ends up in a spam folder meaning you don't think you've received an email even though you have. I see businesses get important orders which they don't know about because they've ended up in the spam folders.

I've received over 60,000 spam emails and rather than have them reach my computer I use a program I developed called OzEfilter. OzEfilter checks my mail server and enables me to quickly review the emails from people I don't know. Those emails I don't want I hit the delete button and they're gone, never to reach my computer.

As the current version of OzEfilter is now due to expire at the end of April 2011 I'm making the OzEfilter  available for free so you can take OzEfilter for a spin. Visit the OzEfilter page ( to find out more and send me an email with the subject "Please send me a free copy of OzEfilter" and I'll send you a copy of OzEfilter.

But I have to warn you. Gmail doesn't work as it doesn't like programs you receive as attachments even if they don't contain malware. Other ISPs may have spam filters hiding emails you wish to receive. So if you don't receive your free copy within 48 hours contact me using another email address. It really isn't me, it is you, or should I say your ISP and your email client is making decisions for you that may not be in your best interest. Take control of your email with OzEfilter.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Link exchange request (Diana Kothon, Emma Murphy, Abigail Cox)

This morning I received a number of emails request a link exchange. The email subjects were:

Link exchange request with (Diana Kothon)
A proposal to (Diana Kothon)
Link exchange request between your site and my site (Emma Murphy) Link exchange request between your site and my site (Abigail Cox)

What I thought was interesting is that all the emails were sent from Peru.

I would suggest that you don't respond to unsolicited emails for link exchange requests and simply hit the delete key when you receive them.

If you're interested in being able to see the country of origin of many of your emails please contact me for a free copy  of OzEfilter. OzEfilter is a great way to review and delete unwanted emails safely at the mail server before the emails even reach your computer. The current version is nearing the end of its licence period so you are welcome to use it until it expires. To check out OzEfilter visit To request a free copy send me an email using the contact details on the JustLocal site (

Kelvin Eldridge