Wednesday, December 26, 2012

NuTrendMedia appears to be blog spamming for Computer Repairs In Melbourne site.

Blog spamming is a technique businesses should avoid using to promote their business. Today I had the following comment left on my blog by Nutrendmedia.

"If your computer is malfunctioning, you need to take care in having it repaired.

computer repairs melbourne"

The line "computer repairs melbourne" was a link to a site set up by NuTrendMedia. Checking the logs showed NuTrendMedia are using a service in the Philippines to write blog spam into others' blogs to promote their site.

The problem with this approach is if you are a legitimate business using suspect promotional techniques, it reflects on you and your ethics.

Every week I see a number of Australian companies paying good money and damaging their business reputation by using web  companies who are using suspect promotional techniques. In business it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to build up trust. A single poor decision such as using a blog spammer to promote your business could undo years of hard work. Don't take the chance.

When using a web designer or SEO company make sure you understand exactly how they are going to promote your business and make sure they don't resort to blog spamming or other undesirable techniques a reasonable business person would consider unethical. In the end it is your business reputation you stand to lose.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Red Energy increases prices January 2013

It is that time of the year again when the electricity industry hikes up their prices. Each time I update the Energy Cost Calculator. I noticed when I first wrote the calculator the default price I used was 17.4 cents per kilowatt hour. We're now up to 25.74 cents per kilowatt hour.

The other interesting observation is the charge to the property continues to go up as well. The latest price is 102.30 cents per day. We can't control the price to the property which is where the retailers get us. Eventually however the retailers and distributors will price themselves out of the market and like Telstra did. Raising the monthly price of service which is a cost you can't avoid means real alternatives may start becoming viable. At 102.30 cents per day that is $377.34 a year. Over ten years that's a staggering $3,773.40. It starts to make some form of capital device look attractive.

For the moment however all we can do is reduce our usage and look for ways to reduce costs. Look at and measure your energy usage for existing equipment you have around the home. A power meter as shown on the Energy Cost Calculator page can be purchased for under $30 and will pay for itself many times over. We use a small freezer to hold food for Christmas but once Christmas is over it is turned off. It costs around $95 a year to run. Alternately if you can freeze food and it saves money, then factor in the power usage into the costs.

The Energy Cost Calculator has been provided to help others to determine the cost of running their appliances, plus, it also provides the ability to determine the time a new appliance with a lower energy rating will pay for itself in terms of electricity usage alone. If someone said you could have a new TV for half price you'd probably jump at the opportunity. If you pick the right size low energy TV the purchase can save you money on your electricity bill. However choose a large screen TVto replace your ageing 26" TV and chances are you'll increase your electricity bill. Click here for the Energy Cost Calculator.

I've also noticed some low energy LEDs at last becoming cost effective. I hope to check those out early in the near year.

Have a Merry Christmas.

Regards,

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Red Dog played by Koko has passed away.

Charlie Brincat of Herding Dog Training (www.herdingdogtraining.com) has passed on that Koko, the dog which played Red Dog in the movie of the same name has passed away. Thank you Charlie.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Alert: Receipt for Your Payment to AU-AdCommerce-EOM@ebay.com.au - PayPal.

I received a fake email pretending to be a receipt from PayPal for an eBay purchase. You should delete these emails. The email contains a link a site other than PayPal and is most likely a malicious site.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.  

Alert: Vodafone - Thanks - Your payment has been received.

I received a number of emails pretending to be from Vodafone. These emails have an attachment with a filename along the lines of “Payment Details 17717323.zip”. The attachment contains malware.

You should delete these emails. Most antivirus software packages do not pick up the latest malware. The only thing stopping you from infecting your computer is you.

Treat all unsolicited emails with caution. The MyAnswers solution 2293 documents the approach I use to check email attachments.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Debt Collector Melbourne - Don't wait until an unpaid amount becomes a bad debt. Get assistance sooner and you may end up avoiding the debt collector stage.

As a business owner have you found yourself in the position where a person for no reason decides to delay payment? The problem is you did the work for them, they dealt with you and they haven't paid you so it is a waiting game.

Sooner or later you'll probably go away and they end up not paying.

Surprisingly, a way to reduce the unpaid amounts is to get a person to act as your accounts receivable person. A call from a different person often has the effect of recovering unpaid amounts. People are more inclined to believe you are serious when they receive a call from someone who is more skilled in getting payment for you. You won't get paid every time, but you should get paid more often and you won't have the stress of dealing with people you'd rather not call.

If you run your own business and would appreciate assistance in chasing up money owed to you, give Kim Raddock a call at Credit Matters on 03 9802 0608. You can also find Credit Matters on the Glen Waverley postcode page www.JustLocal.com.au/3150.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Saturday, December 15, 2012

MyAnswers: Determine how much electricity a television, refridgerator, freezer costs to run

The following MyAnswers solution 2295 is now available:
How to determine how electricity a television, refridgerator, freezer or other applicance uses based on the Energy Rating sticker on the applicance and thus how much it costs to run.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
MyAnswers
(An Online Connections service.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Me and My Dog Photo - an idea perhaps for an unusual Christmas gift

Charlie Brincat’s site Me and My Dog Photo is now live and provides a slideshow of Charlie’s photographic work taking photos of dogs and their owners. If you’re thinking of a present for someone who owns a dog but can’t think of anything, then why not give them a gift of a photo session with Charlie so they’ll have a photo to treasure of themselves and their best friend.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Block All Stars are Dani and Dan, Mark and Duncan, Josh and Jenna, Amity and Phil

The Block All Stars cast has been announced and include: Dani and Dan, Mark and Duncan, Josh and Jenna, Amity and Phil.

If you’re not the renovating type but looking to renovate your bathroom or kitchen you may wish to check out Master Renovators.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Alert: Ticketek Purchase

Just received a faked email pretending to be from Ticketek with the subject “Ticketek Purchase”. There is an attached file “Ticketek-Purchase-2453030830.zip” which contains malware. You should delete these emails.

Note: Windows 8 built-in antivirus does not detect many new malware programs but then again neither do most of the other programs people would generally use. Your only defence is caution.

A quirk in Outlook means if you do save this file (and many similar files I’ve reviewed) you aren’t able to open the file which inadvertently protects you. If you use web mail and download the attached file you can open the file. This is not a recommendation for Outlook, just an observation.

You should delete any suspicious emails immediately and treat all attachments with care. In MyAnswers solution 2293 I share the approach and site I use to check attachments for malware.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Assisting residents and businesses in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

 

Alert: iPhone 5 dream pack only 29.95 !

I’ve received multiple emails to different email accounts with the subject “iPhone 5 dream pack only 29.95 !” supposedly from Ready Steady Shop.

These emails are unsolicited spam sent to email addresses obtained from the internet. They may also be a scam.

Australian businesses know spamming is illegal and I would highly recommend if you receive spam from an Australian business that no matter how good the offer you should delete the emails.

If you receive spam you can forward the spam to report@submit.spam.acma.gov.au. Don’t change the subject or add anything else to the email.

It would be very easy to eliminate spam in Australia if the will was there. Once spam was verified to be of significant volume the domain could be redirected to ensure just as a car is impounded if people are breaking the law. Luckily in Australia most people respect the law. It is better to support ethical businesses because they are more likely to support you.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Supporting residents and businesses in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Alert: Free shipping for Christmas from Hartmann Appliances

I’ve received a number of emails to different email addresses (scraped from the internet) with the subject “Free shipping for Christmas from Hartmann Appliances”. It is hard to tell if this is a scam or simply a massive spam marketing exercise. The site has no contact details other than an email address.

I’d highly recommend if you receive emails from spammers that you simply delete the emails. If businesses spam people which every business in Australia knows is against the law it cast doubt as to how ethical the business is. It is better to deal with a more ethical business.

These email are very suspicious.
 
You can report spam by forwarding spam emails to report@submit.spam.acma.gov.au. Don’t change the subject line or add anything to the email.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Assisting residents and businesses in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Free 2013 The Weekly Times Dogs Calendar with pictures by Zoe Phillips

For those who love their four-legged friend, Charlie Brincat (www.HerdingDogTraining.com) has passed on tomorrow’s edition of The Weekly Times will include their free 2013 Dogs Calendar with pictures by Zoe Phillips.

Thanks Charlie.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Monday, December 10, 2012

6 - 12 Tasman Street, Bondi 2026 NSW - Location for The Block 2013 series

With The Block All Stars being promoted on TV I thought I’d check out where the next series of The Block will be. From what I can tell there will be two series in 2013. The All Stars and the regular series. It appears the regular series will be located at 6 - 12 Tasman St, Bondi in NSW.

A search of the internet shows Ray White was leasing 6 Tasman Street, Tamarama which has the same postcode as Bondi. You can see some pictures of what the property looked like here.
 
If you’re not the renovating type but looking to renovate your bathroom or kitchen you may wish to check out Master Renovators.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Low cost advertising for small and home based businesses.
You found this page so think about how JustLocal can assist your business.
Money back guarantee so you can’t lose.

Alert: Seat Selection Fee Receipt - Qantas Customer Services

I’ve received a number of malware emails today. Notably targeted at Jetstar (which I’ve documented previously) and also Qantas. The subject of the email is “Seat Selection Fee Receipt”.

Attached to the email is a zip file which contains malware. The malware file is designed to appear as a PDF but is actually an executable file. The attached zip file is named Qantas Personal Information ref 127434.zip where the number would most likely be randomly generated.

This malware is not currently detected by the majority of antivirus software.

If you receive this type of email you should delete it.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you required computer support.
Assisting businesses and residents in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Alert: Mildura located in National Park according to Apple iOS6 mapping application.

I've noticed apple maps has tried to send me via a road which if I did, would be an illegal turn and another time, through a section of road which has been blocked off for decades to my knowledge, but Mildura in the middle of a National Park has warranted a warning by police.



Red pin is the location where Apple maps will lead drivers, where's the purple pin in the top right is where Mildura actually is, which is approximately 70km away.

Victorian police are concerned people using iOS6 map app could end up in a remote location on dirt roads and without water. As a result police has advised not to use Apple's mapping application.

My own experience was the Google map app on earlier versions of iOS had flaws so I would not rely solely on Apple's mapping applications.

Make sure you prepare appropriately and have appropriate travel aids as required. Sometimes low tech options such as printed maps make a good option.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Alert: Your credit card information has been changed! (PayPal)

I received a couple of emails today with the subject “Your credit card information has been changed!”. These are fake emails aimed at tricking users into thinking a charge has been made against their PayPal account. There is a link to enable to user to cancel the transaction but this link will send the user off into what I suspect is a malicious site.

You should delete these emails.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.
No call-out fee or fixed minimum charge.

 

Alerts: Mastercard PayPass or Visa payWave cards make credit card fraud easier.

POLICE have warned "tap and go" contactless payment technology has given credit card thieves a new opportunity to steal other people's money.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Alert: 21 of December 2012- is the end of the Darkness!

I just received multiple emails to different email addresses with the subject "21 of December 2012- is the end of the Darkness!"

I'd suggest deleting this type of unsolicited email.

Be very careful with Christmas approaching. This time of the year is reportedly a time of increased scams and malicious emails.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Find Santa game - locations now available

The internet now makes it much easier to play games like Woolworths Find Sandta (yes Sandta not Santa) game. It is fun to play but if you just want to enter the competition you can find the location of Sandta each day at http://onlineconnectionsnews.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/find-sandta-to-win-prize-everyday.html.

Happy searching.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Alert: Deals Extra (Enjoyment Fresh Pty Ltd) blog spamming to promote their site

Blog spamming is where others visit your site and add comments for the only purpose of adding a link to promote their own site. Today I had blog spam by Deals Extra to two of my blogs which contained the following comment.

“Your blogs and information attracts me to come back again n again.

cudo”

The link to their site removed.

If you have a blog you can often identify the blog spam because it is a generic comment and not specific to the post. Often it is a poorly worded compliment.

I recommend that business should not blog spam to promote their business on the internet. I’d also suggest that people do not use or support such businesses who use such practices and support businesses that use more acceptable businesses practices to promote their business.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au  

Alert: We Need Crusaders. How Fatima Started Islam. Amazon

I’ve received multiple emails promoting the book “How Fatima Started Islam”.  This is spam. Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t appear to care about spam. If an author is spamming to get sales then Amazon should take action. It is always possible it could be faked spam but more likely it is author initiated using an email marketing service. Often the author may not know the business they are using to market their book is using spammers to promote their book. I’ve seen this happen to Australian businesses where their web site developer uses low cost overseas countries to outsource promotional services.

Amazon should have a mechanism where spam can be reported. If they do have such a service I certainly couldn’t find it. There was information on spoofed email but nothing with product spam. Perhaps someone else knows how to report Amazon promotional spam.

This type of spam hurts all authors promoting their books on Amazon. Amazon may ignore the existence of such spam as a purchase is a purchase at the end of the day. But legitimate authors may suffer if spammers put people off using Amazon services. It certainly puts me off when they could so easily take action but don’t appear to be interested.

I’d highly encourage people to delete all spam emails promoting products and services from Amazon. If everyone deletes the emails the spam will stop. Given the volume of spam it only takes a few sales to make it worthwhile for spammers to continue.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require computer support.

Assisting businesses and residents in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and surrounding suburbs.

Alert: Woolworths Customer Satisfaction Survey, win $50

I just received a fake email with the subject “Customer Satisfaction Survey” pretending to be from Woolworths

The body of the text was the following which also included a link which appears to go to the Woolworths site but actually goes to a site registered in :

“You have been selected by Woolworths -- Supermarkets to access the Customer Satisfaction Survey and win $50.00 credit to your card. Please follow the link below and complete the form in order to receive your reward”

My concern is with the “Find Sandta” competition now running it is easy for people to think the competition and the $50 credit are related. I’ve found people being tricked in the past. For example one person just sent a parcel by UPS, when they returned to the office they had received an email from UPS. It was a coincidence and the fake email tricked him into infecting his computer. The person was an ex IT person so they were very aware and skilled in IT.

Treat all emails with suspicion and care. Your best defence against malware infection isn’t antivirus software (although that is recommended), it is you. Only you can stop the latest infections.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Assisting residents and businesses in Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Internet Explorer 10 - The preferred Australian English spelling now available

I’m pretty excited to announce I’m now making available the preferred Australian English spelling file for Internet Explorer 10 running on Windows 8.

Internet Explorer 10 has Australian English spellchecking built in, but like Microsoft’s Office products, the spellchecker accepts thousands of secondary spelling variations such as words with “ize”, American spelt words such as “mom” and some errors. The preferred Australian English spelling file corrects these issues.

If written communication matters to you the preferred Australian English spelling file is a must have. If you’re a student, applying for jobs, or write reports or sales material, the preferred Australian English spelling file is a must have.

You can find the preferred Australian English spelling file for Internet Explorer 10 at www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
The creator of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Get $100* credit and expert help choosing keywords when you come back to AdWords

I received this email from Google offering a $100 credit to come back to AdWords. I decided to investigate. It was legitimate offer but there’s a catch. I have to spend $25 to redeem the $100. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it.

My past experience with spending a small amount of money, plus Google’s introductory offer of $75, is that I achieved no sales result. Google ended up with my money and because it is their own service, it ended up costing them nothing (I don’t advertise on third party sites so they don’t pay any third party commission). A win to Google and a loss for me.

If you’ve never tried advertising on Google and have the hours you need to invest in learning how Google Adwords works, then trying Google Adwords isn’t a bad thing. For me however I prefer to put my advertising dollar where I know I’ll get a return.

The JustLocal advertising service I run offers a money back guarantee. That beats Google’s offer.

I’d have no problems advertising on Google if it gave me a return, but so far there’s been no return and that experience has put me off.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Helping local businesses with low cost local advertising.
Guaranteed to work or your money back.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Click Frenzy servers appear to not be handling the load.

Not really interested in purchasing but I was interested in seeing how the technology held up.




Not a good start. In Internet Explorer 10 you receive the message "This page can't be displayed".

Hopefully things will start working. Good on them for getting the retailers going and putting some spark back into the market.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

UPDATE: Just after 8:30pm and I managed to display the following. At least in the virtual crush people aren't getting hurt, frustrated, but not hurt.

 

UPDATE: 10:30pm. Click Frenzy site still unstable but here is a technique which may help others. Some of the individual companies advertising have the same specials available on their site. Check the image of Click Frenzy for a logo or name and then search for the business. For example www.oo.com.au lists their Click Frenzy specials. Doing this you can bypass the Click Frenzy site and go direct to the participating site if they're advertising the same special. Be careful however as some sites aren't promoting the Click Frenzy specials.

Here is a list of sites which I'll keep checking and adding sites in case it helps others.

www.oo.com.au
www.supercycle.com.au
www.justfitness.com.au
www.biasboating.com.au (Hard to identify specials.)
www.completehealth.com.au (Scrolling message for code "FRENZY" for 15% off.)
http://dicksmith.com.au/clickfrenzy/t/
www.addictedtoaudio.com.au/Click-Frenzy
www.annexproducts.com/pages/clickfrenzy
www.wireless1.com.au

UPDATE: 11:30pm. The Click Frenzy site now appears to have stabilised. The normal nightly peak for internet use is around 11pm and since we are now after that time we should be able to expect the Click Frenzy servers (or cloud services) should handle the load. Although tomorrow as they say, is another day.

Government spends many millions advertising on Google and then complains when Google only pays $74,176 in tax.

I read articles over time where Australian politicians complain that large multinational companies use tax minimisation strategies to reduce their tax liability in Australia.

 

For example it is estimated that Google earns around $2 billion in revenue a year from Australian advertisers and yet only paid a little over $74,000 in tax.

Google Australia declared a loss of $3.9 million last year, and paid just $74,176 in Australian tax... Read More

The politicians have a very simple solution. Redirect the millions of dollars (and if that figure of $2 billion a year is correct we could be talking about hundreds of millions spent by government and government agencies) to local businesses.

When Google wants to promote itself you can see their advertisements around everywhere and they’re not generally using the Google service. Letter drops I receive regularly in the post. Signs at Southern Cross station. A $300 million dollar deal (reportedly) with Mozilla (Firefox) to send 15-25% of internet search traffic Google’s way. If Google are using other advertising media to get their message across isn’t that perhaps what the government should also be using.

The best thing with not using Google is the government avoids click fraud which is estimated to a be a multi-billion dollar problem for Google. Click fraud is when people or organisations have a site and generate income from either their own activity of the activity of others such as clicking on ads on their site and not clicks by potential customers. I’ve been told of ordinary people doing this type of activity so you can only imagine how much activity is occurring due to organised crime.

If the government isn’t happy the solution is easy. Don’t advertise on Google. Google will quickly come around and pay a fair and reasonable amount of tax if that happens, and if they don’t, the government is putting their advertising dollar in to assist the local economy by supporting local advertising services. To me that’s a win either way.

My own tests of paid Google advertising is it didn’t yield any result. Those I’ve spoken to, with the exception one person, have had a similar experience. That person when I last heard, had suspended their Google advertising.

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Monday, November 19, 2012

New site for The Preferred Australian English spellcheck dictionary

Recently Google changed their algorithm which significantly impacted the position of the Australian English spellcheck dictionary in the Google search results. From number one position to nowhere to be found. In essence traffic to the site dropped 80% overnight. This should be a warning for anyone who puts a lot of time and money into obtaining a position in Google. All your time, energy and money could be wasted overnight by decisions Google makes in terms of generating traffic to your site.

The preferred Australian English spellcheck dictionary is the only free service available to Australians to assist them with using the preferred Australian English spelling. Over a thousand people a week used the site and Google simply changed their algorithm making the page almost impossible to find. The original page will remain (www.justlocal.com.au/clients/oooau), but in addition, you can now find the main page at www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au.

 

The site www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au will become the main site for my dictionary work.

 

You can still find the main page if searching (“Australian Dictionary”) using Bing, where the site is positioned in first position and in Yahoo where the site is positioned second. My apologies for any inconvenience. What Google does is outside of my control.

I hope you find my work to be of assistance.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au   

MyAnswers: Free eBooks for Android, PC and Apple iOS users.

The following MyAnswers solution 2282 is now available:
Free eBooks for Android, PC and Apple users. Recently I helped a couple of customers who had purchased low cost Android tablets from Aldi. The surprise was that in order to get free eBooks from the Android Playstore, they needed to supply a credit card and they weren't happy to do that. This solution shows you how to obtain tens of thousands of free eBooks for Android tablets (and other devices) without providing your credit card details.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
MyAnswers
(An Online Connections service.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Skype free unlimited worldwide telephone calls for a month.

Just read on the internet about Skype’s offer of free unlimited calls for a month. This offer can only be redeemed on the 15th of November 2012. It is now after 9am on the 16th in Melbourne Australia so if this offer is valid and applies to Australia, then you need to act quickly.

Free worldwide calls for a month... Read More

You need to subscribe to the service for one month. I’ve found these offers often encourage people to sign up and then they forget so they keep getting charged. Make sure you record the date for the end of the trial or set a reminder in your calendar a day or two before the trial is up if you wish to cancel.

In my case I have $13.02 credit. Don’t know what will happen to this credit. Hopefully I won’t lose it, but since I want to test if this offer is legitimate and works in Australia I’ll take a hit for the team. The amount normally charged for the plan for a month is $13.49.

Enjoy,

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

UPDATE: Confirmation of free trial by Skype. This appears to be working. Now for a test call. Local call went through with no charge. Successful test. Note. The call quality was good but there was a delay at the start such that the person didn’t hear my introduction when I called them. I heard their response.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Alert: Telstra - You have received a new message





I received three emails this morning to different email addresses all pretending to be from Telstra with the message:

"You have received a picture message from mobile number +61
To save this picture, please save attached file."

There is an attached zip file most likely some form of malware.

You should delete these emails.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Alert: Richard Person Doggonit Obedience blog spamming

Another blog spammer today. Doggonit Obedience blog spammed my blog with a comment today. I expect overseas countries to blog spam but it is disappointing when Australian businesses resort to posting links in other sites just to promote their own.

 

Richard Person please check who you are using for internet marketing and drop them. They are blog spamming others and that is damaging your reputation. I wouldn’t use a business that has no respect for others and I suggest others not to use such businesses.

 

There are more ethical ways to market your business. Please use them.

 

Kelvin Eldridge

www.JustLocal.com.au


Dog Training Melbourne - Herding Dog Training with dog trainer Charlie Brincat

With the beautiful weather over the weekend I couldn’t help feeling an unusual and fun activity many dogs and their owners may have missed on the weekend, was the opportunity to participate in herding dog training. Herding dog trainer Charlie Brincat runs classes on weekends subject to weather and you couldn’t have had nicer weather than this weekend.

Check out Herding Dog Training videos produced by Charlie on his site www.herdingdogtraining.com.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro upgrade is not a straight forward upgrade for all Windows 7 editions.

I decided to buy the Windows 8 Pro upgrade from the Microsoft Online Store this morning. I have an older development machine I’d like to install Windows 8 Pro on. The machine is currently running the trial version of Windows 8 Enterprise Edition which expires after three months. I opened my notebook and went to download. From the first screens presented on the Microsoft Online Store I couldn’t just buy and download Windows 8 Pro and then burn it to a disk. The screens take me through the steps of checking my machine and at this point I decided I’d rather go to Officeworks and buy Windows 8 Pro on special for around $9 more. I’m hoping the special also includes the DVD so I don’t have to spend the time downloading and burning a DVD.

The problem I find with downloading programs is things can and do go wrong. When I support people I take into account people have a range of skills. If things go wrong for me, then they’ll go wrong for others and really, I want people to have the best experience they can, given what technology often puts us through. On a number of occasions when I’ve assisted people who have downloaded their software, they don’t have a copy of their software to reinstall when there is a major problem. This means to fix the problem they have had to buy the software again. In other situations people have lost their product key, or the product key is in their emails on their computer which is no longer working. People should have a copy of their software and their product key stored separately to minimise the chance of having to incur additional costs and delays.

One big surprise for me was the following statement on the Microsoft Online Store.

“If your PC is running Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium, your files, programs and settings will easily transfer to Windows 8. If your PC is running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, Windows XP or Windows Vista, you will need to reinstall your programs. Some features such as touch may require a new PC. To check compatibility, visit your PC manufacturer’s website and check out www.windows.com/upgrade to run the Upgrade Assistant to check for compatibility and get more details on system requirements.”

To me an upgrade is you insert the disk, run the program, the upgrade occurs and you continue working. This is generally relatively easy for anyone who is comfortable working with technology. Having to reinstall all your programs is much more time consuming. You never know if you’ve got all the disks, the licence numbers and even if some of the programs such as drivers will even work. Reinstalling your software can often wipe existing data for some applications and that is pretty scary if you don’t know what you’re doing. I’ve often reinstalled Windows and then spent hours downloading and updating drivers for sound cards, video cards and other devices in the computer. An upgrade to a new version of Windows can mean some of your peripheral devices don’t work and may never be able to be used again with your upgraded computer.

What surprised me and I didn’t know, even though I’ve spent numerous hours researching, installed Windows 8 Release Preview, installed Windows 8 Enterprise Edition, and attended a Microsoft day-long seminar, that the upgrade will only work easily with Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium. I mostly now support micro and small business clients (as well as home users) and for business I’d always recommend the Pro version of Windows. People buying Home editions would often bring a computer into a large business or government environment wanting to use their computer for work, but couldn’t because it couldn’t connect to their network at work. There were also other features missing in the Home edition. Thus it was safer to purchase the Pro edition of Windows.

Now every one of those computer running the pro edition of Windows 7, will now effectively have to do what is nearly a complete reinstall of their computer. That is a very costly exercise if you are using an IT consultant to upgrade your computers. I wouldn’t upgrade a machine without first doing a review of the machine, determining what programs and data the user has on their machine, performing a backup of their hard disk, and then installing the new operating system, reinstalling all their applications, bringing across their data and then fixing any issues that have been created, such as drivers for hardware or peripherals not working. This could easily be a $300-$500 (or more) cost per machine. I personally find it hard to justify putting that amount of money into an older machine.

Windows 8 is not a simple upgrade anymore and it is now an upgrade you need to think seriously about. If you have to pay $300-$500 to upgrade an older machine, that sum of money could easily go a long way towards the cost of purchasing a new machine. With a new machine at least you know the machine has been designed to run the new operating system. You don’t have to try to fix things that didn’t work in the upgrade. Because your data is still on your old machine you can take your time to migrate your data and applications. I often leave the old decommissioned machine with the client for two weeks just in case something they hadn’t realised the was something on their old machine they needed to be migrated and now doesn’t work on their new machine. Then after that period the old machine can be cleaned and reused in another part of the business.

As an extra tip I don’t generally buy the Office software licence with the machine as that software can only be used with that machine. I purchase the more expensive stand-alone version of the Office. That enables me to use the software on two machines (a desktop and a notebook) and to transfer the software to a new machine. (I’ll need to recheck the licence to see if this still applies.) I’ve had clients who have had their computers stolen. The insurance companies won’t pay for the software and the software is only licensed for the machine that was stolen. The client can’t use the software on the new replacement machine and are thus out of pocket hundreds of dollars. I’ve also confirmed this with Microsoft.

Until today I didn’t realise that only the Home editions of Windows 7 will be a relatively straight forward upgrade exercise. That means for me, the majority of machines could potentially be equivalent to a reinstall and that is a much more time consuming and thus expensive exercise. Many of those who purchased a machine recently running Windows 7 with a $14.99 upgrade to Windows 8, will probably now be regretting they didn’t just wait and buy a new computer and save themselves the time and energy required to upgrade. I’ve recommended that my clients defer purchasing machines until after Windows 8 ships. Retailers who just wanted the sale would have been pushing out machines and not advising clients of the time and effort to upgrade. Consultants who have advised clients to purchase a Windows 7 machine and then to later update may get some agro from their clients. Some consultants would have done this knowingly to obtain additional support work and others would not have known the upgrade wouldn’t be a simple upgrade.

I’m posting this article to all my blogs including my Online Connections blog (www.blog.onlineconnections.com.au) and also each of the JustLocal postcode blogs I maintain, to ensure people I support now know if they are thinking of upgrading to Windows 8, there is more work involved than previously anticipated.

If you’d like to be kept informed with technology related news, most news is posted to my Online Connections blog (www.blog.onlineconnections.com.au). For clients I also provide the MyAnswers solution database where I post problems and solutions I find when working with clients. This enables me to share solutions between clients reducing the costs overall for all clients. You can keep updated on new solutions on MyAnswers by looking at the Recent solutions posted. I expect to post quite a number of issues and solutions relating to Windows 8.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham, Templestowe Lower, Lower Plenty, Doncaster East, Montmorency, Bulleen, Warrandyte and Research with no travel or call-out fee. For suburbs outside this area travel time is chargeable.
 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Windows 8 release date in Australia is today. Windows 8 Pro upgrade available now.

Windows 8 Pro upgrade is now available for download from Microsoft’s Online Store for $39.99. There are a number of things you should keep in mind.

1. Whilst at $39.99 the Windows 8 Pro upgrade is a bargain compared to previous upgrades, if you have an ageing computer think about whether it is best to save the money and put it towards a new computer, or to install Windows 8 Pro to keep your existing computer going and use the latest version of Windows.

2. Keep in mind Windows 8 is very different from what you are used to. At first this will be frustrating for most, but as with all past changes, once you get used to it, it won’t really matter.

3. Around 10% of older computers I’d estimate won’t be able to be upgraded. I estimate there will be over 100 million computers currently being used worldwide which won’t handle the upgrade. Check Microsoft’s refund policy, or the policy of the store where you purchase the software. The system requirements stated on the Microsoft web site do not take into account many computers which exceed the minimum requirement cannot install the Windows 8 upgrade. This is based on testing the Windows 8 Preview Release and I don’t believe this has changed.

The Microsoft Online Store provides a link to the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant which you can use to test if your computer can install Windows 8. I’d recommend running the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant before purchasing the Window 8 Pro upgrade. On the netbook computer I use (it is around three years old) 11 issues were found and one was quite serious.

4. Keep in mind only upgrading from Windows 7 is what we’d normally consider a real upgrade. Windows Vista and Windows 8 will require reinstallation of your applications and isn’t an upgrade to me. My concern here is people running the upgrade on a Vistra or Windows XP machine will end up with a machine where there programs won’t run if they don’t understand how the upgrade works. I’d suggest Windows XP and Windows Vista users consider the upgrade to be like a fresh install. If you had to do a new install of your computer what do you need to save first.

5. You should perform a backup of your data (including programs you may have download and any settings your programs may store) before you perform any upgrade to your computer.  

I’m suggesting to my clients they should purchase the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro even if they don’t install the upgrade right now. Until January 31st 2013 you’ll be able to buy Windows 8 Pro via download for $39.99. After that date the price will most likely revert to the very expensive upgrade prices of past, which means it may no longer be worth upgrading an older machine. This of course may change and Microsoft may decide to keep the upgrade prices at a reasonable level, but I wouldn’t count on it. Based on what I’ve read the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro on DVD could cost as much as $290. To me it doesn’t make sense to pay that much money to upgrade an older machine when that money could go to a new and faster machine.

You can buy Windows 8 Pro upgrade from a retailer, or save some money and download the upgrade from the Microsoft Online Store. The upgrade from a retailer will cost around $20-$30 more. I’m not sure at the moment, but I suspect the retail version may include a DVD. You should check if the DVD is included in the purchase from a retailer.

As I find issues with Windows 8 I’ll add the issues and solutions to MyAnswers for clients. I’ve already identified and documented a shortcoming of Windows 8 Mail which largely stops me from using Windows 8 Mail and may stop others.

Most importantly, do run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant first to make sure upgrading your computer won’t cause you any grief. Well, no more grief than normal.

If you forget where you can download the Windows 8 upgrade, the Microsoft Online Store is available on the main page of JustLocal (www.JustLocal.com.au). JustLocal is an advertising service I’ve created to help local businesses advertise cost effectively.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

NOTE: The link to the Microsoft store above is an affiliate link. Purchasing using this link means I receive a commission but does not affect the price you pay.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Eastern freeway at at crawl from Chandler Highway to Hoddle Street

Getting a lift into the city this morning via the Eastern freeway. The T2 lane is travelling well but all the other lanes are a crawl and often stopping.

I'm told this isn't unusual. How people put up with the daily grind of this trip is beyond me.

By focusing on working locally I'm now lucky enough to avoid such a frustrating trip. With the occasional job or seminar in the city I can usually avoid the congestion.

Think local for work, but if you can't, perhaps find company and use the T2.

If you need help building up your local business consider JustLocal and help yourself and help build a stronger local community.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

PS. On the freeway two cars were in the emergency lane with the bus attempting to move into the traffic. On Hoddle Street near the freeway exit, police, fire brigade and ambulance were at the scene of an accident. A motor bike was pinned under a four wheel drive. Hoddle is light after the accident.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Compulsory voting for council elections but...

When I attended the session for independents at the last state election, one statement that quite surprised me was that voting was compulsory for those over seventy, but the person said they wouldn't enforce it.

Now I see the following for the council election.



To me this just seems absurd. Surely they should just make voting optional for over 70's.

I assisted one elderly person who was hysterical thinking they'd have the wrath of the government on them if they didn't vote and had no clue what the information in the postal vote meant. If you've tried to read and understand what the government sends out for the state election, you'll find it quite verbose and difficult to understand.

At a time when we should make it easier for the elderly, or in fact all people, the government makes it harder in their own interests.

First Julia Gillard redefines the meaning of misogyny and now compulsory doesn't mean compulsory.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Big Switch Projects run by Gavin Gilchrist blog spamming.

Tonight I received a comment on my blog on the article “One Big Switch on The Project” (http://justlocal.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/one-big-switch-on-project.html). The following is the comment. I’ve changed the link at the end so it now fails.

“I recall correctly on The Project they said there was a three year contract. I for one wouldn’t want to be locked into such a long term contract. beec

What I thought was interesting is the person who created the comment had taken a section of the blog I’d written and made it very relevant to the blog. I check each comment because 95% plus of comments are blog spam and it is usually easy to tell from what has been written, or there is a link to promote another site in the comment. In this case because it reflected what had been said in the blog post it could have easily tricked me to release the comment. The link however made it look suspect. This is one of the techniques businesses are using other people’s blogs to promote themselves.

When I checked my logs this comment was entered by someone in Pakistan. The link however is for an Australian site so the spam has been outsourced. Here is a copy of part of the log.

Host: 59.103.212.199

  •  

/images/XXXX (removed)

Http Code: 200

Date: Oct 20 04:48:18

Http Version: HTTP/1.1

Size in Bytes: 28944

Referer: http://justlocal.blogspot.com/2012/05/one-big-switch-on-project.html

Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:15.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/15.0.1

NOTE: The time is based on the hosting provider which is in the Houston Texas. The comment was received at 8:52pm Melbourne local time which is four minutes after the site was visited confirming this is the relevant log entry.

My guess is Gavin Gilchrist at Big Switch Projects has probably had his web developer to do some Search Engine Optimisation. I recently had a mobile vet in Melbourne do the same thing. When I contacted the vet they didn’t have a clue their web developer was using blog spamming to promote the vets  business.

Be careful of the companies you use to promote your business. If they aren’t behaving ethically this will reflect on your business. Blog spamming is still spam. Using other people’s sites and resources and thus creating work for them to remove the spam is not appropriate. If you read this Gavin please stop blog spamming.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Friday, October 19, 2012

Google search Australia and Google advertising has now been removed from JustLocal.

Recently Google updated their search algorithm which resulted in my dictionary page going from the number one position in Google when people search for “Australian dictionary” to nowhere to be seen. That means around a thousand people each week using my free Australian English dictionary service will no longer find a free Australian English dictionary service. If Google can do that to me so easily, they can do it to any business.

I’ve also noticed that between 25% and up to possibly 40% of searches coming to my site have no search term, which means people are logged onto a Google service and whatever they search for is being tracked to them individually.

These actions concern me. I don’t want to encourage people to put time and effort into creating a presence in Google search results when any time, effort, or money they outlay, could easily end up being wiped away so easily. I’m also very concerned about the privacy of Australians. Over 90% of Australians use Google for searching with 25-40% of those having their search activity tracked to them individually. I’ve read this information can be handed to law enforcement agencies without a court order. How this information is being used by others is not known to us and for me that is a concern.

Whilst I can’t stop using all Google services, I’ve decided at this point to remove Google advertising from my site and the Google custom search engine.

JustLocal has been designed to provide single click access to businesses in an area. Something which is very difficult and time consuming with a search engine. For example, a very popular fish and chip shop called Shark Tank Seafood opened a few months ago in Templestowe. My blog entries appear in Google’s search results, but the page with the menu at http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/shark-tank-seafood-templestowe/ cannot be found. If you visit www.JustLocal.com.au/3106 (the page for Templestowe), you can access the Shark Tank Seafood menu with a single click.

JustLocal offers single click access to local businesses. Google offers endless searches with no guarantee of finding what you want.

By continuing to include Google’s custom search in JustLocal, people will continue to unproductively search for local businesses often being presented with large overseas businesses, or business not in the area with deep pockets to advertise. Once people realise there is a better way to find a local business using JustLocal, JustLocal will grow to service locals better. Shark Tank Seafood receives over a hundred views of their menu a month as a result of JustLocal’s efforts to promote them. That’s a lot of potential business.

 

Thank you for your continued support and I trust JustLocal assists local businesses and residents.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Help to build a stronger local community through stronger local businesses.

Alert: CatchOfTheDay.com.au - Ipad 3 Limited Offer

Just received the message with the subject "CatchOfTheDay.com.au - Ipad 3 Limited Offer".

This is a fake and should be deleted immediately. Don't click on the link.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Australian dictionary for Microsoft Office.

The Australian dictionary available in Microsoft Office is often criticised for including American spelling, but what isn’t generally known, is the real problem is the dictionary includes multiple ways to spell the same word, such as organise and organize.

For years I had no clue as to which was the correct spelling and I find most people are in exactly the same situation. It turns out it isn’t so much which is correct, but which is preferred in Australia. If the preferred spelling isn’t used, many people think the American spelling is being used and that the writer can’t spell correctly. For students this can mean a reduction in their marks and for businesses the perceived lower quality of their writing, could lead them to miss out of valuable sales. Often it is the small differences which makes one presentation better than another. Don’t let your spelling be the reason you lose marks, that next sale, or even your dream job.

The solution is very easy and cost effective. I’ve produced an Exclude file you can load into your computer which will mark the secondary spelling of thousands of words as spelling errors, which means you end up using the preferred Australian English spelling without a second thought.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

 

Reports from people they can't find the free Australian dictionary using Google

Until recently over a thousand people a week were able to search for and find the only Australian dictionary which provided the  preferred Australian English spelling for free. It appears Google may have updated their search algorithm which has caused the site to disappear from their search results.

Unfortunately there is nothing I can do. If even a small percentage of people who used the dictionary provided a link to the page this would let Google know they feel the page is important. My logs unfortunately suggest almost no one bothers to provide a link, but people use the dictionary and disappear. That’s normally OK but unfortunately without giving something back such as a link Google is not able to tell how important the dictionary is to others.

I’ve found Google as a search engine is getting worse and worse. They provide distorted results pushing their own agenda to the top and (maps, local listings, etc.) and more recently people find their own pages and pages they’ve visited closer to the top which makes them think they are doing better in Google results than they are.

I find it quite amazing how Google operates. Over 50,000-100,000 people a year have been using the dictionary I provide and now people can’t find it.

 

If you want to find the dictionary you may wish to use Bing. The page is the second in the results. A better approach is to use JustLocal (www.JustLocal.com.au) where you’ll find the Australian Dictionary plus many of my other tools.

Sorry to everyone for the inconvenience. Unfortunately I can’t control what Google does and you never know when they are going to change things. Best to bookmark the page if you’re using a desktop computer or if you’re using a mobile phone, add an icon to your home screen.

It is always possible the page may return to Google search results. I’ve seen pages disappear and return in Google in the past. With Google you never know what to expect.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Creator and maintainer of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

Microsoft Windows RT tablet Australian release date. Now availabe for pre-order on Microsoft online store.

Microsoft Windows RT tablet will shortly be made available to Australians and has now been added to the Microsoft online store (see note below) for pre-orders. A link is also provided from the main page of JustLocal (www.JustLocal.com.au) to the Microsoft store.

I would advice my clients to think carefully about purchasing a Microsoft Windows RT tablet and have produced MyAnswers solution 2262. MyAnswers solutions are available for clients on a pay-what-you-wish basis. If the solution gives you value, you decide how much you wish to pay.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

NOTE: The link above to the Microsoft online store is an affiliate link which means a commission is received for purchases. This does not affect your purchase price. As a consultant I believe I have an obligation to advise clients on any indirect revenue generated so clients can make the best decision for themselves.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

American English spellcheck dictionary

I’ve now released an American English spellcheck dictionary (www.american-dictionary.com) which is similar in operation to the Preferred Australian English dictionary. Often when you find a word you feel may not be spelt correctly, such as jewelry, being able to easily check the reason is because it is an American spelling can be quite handy.

Renée  Purdie of Rising Star Designs and Communication (www.risingstardesigns.com.au), has offered to edit the dictionary as new words and found and require investigation and validation. Also to remove existing words people may not feel are correct.

If you find words which you feel should be added or removed from the American dictionary please let me know.

Please enjoy.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Friday, October 12, 2012

Netbank logon problem. Blank page displays instead of username/password screen

Netbank logon problem. Yesterday I was called out to assist a client with a couple of problems. One caused by the Telstra 4G dongle (but that’s another story) and another was they couldn’t log on to the Commonwealth’s netbank system.

The symptom was that shortly after clicking on the logon button, the logon screen would appear either as blank, or go blank shortly after. This was a difficult and time consuming problem to solve. Given that the Commonwealth Bank would be having hundreds of people having this problem, I am often surprised and disappointed the Commonwealth Bank doesn’t publish a solution for customers.

The solution to this problem is now documented in MyAnswers solution 2260.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Thursday, October 11, 2012

JustLocal welcomes International WISE COUNSEL

I’d like to welcome David Bird, the Founder and Managing Director of International WISE COUNSEL.

David is Australia's longest standing "Pitch Doctor". Established 1980 (formerly Communication Dynamics Pty. Ltd.). Consults with clients to win bids through proposals, tenders and presentations. Documented 85% plus success rate over last 15 years. Coaches the skill sets for winning business such as proposal writing, business presentations; business development skills etc. Also coaches for specific business opportunities e.g. keynote speakers, conferences "road shows" & AGMs. In demand as business speaker and MC for conferences. Testimonials abound & client list is the Who's Who!

Testimonial

David is an outstanding Master of Ceremonies. I have seen him at numerous conferences and seminars, in which he has displayed a highly engaging style that resonates with audiences of all backgrounds. David integrates his own professional expertise and fine-tuned communication skills with just the right amount of humour to create great flow and continuity throughout a conference agenda, and refresh and focus the audience. David is sharp, witty and adds value to the agenda - I recommend David most highly. June 17, 2011
1st Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, General Manager Integrated Talent Management

You can find David Bird on the Melbourne 3000 JustLocal page or visit David’s web site at www.wise-counsel.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Will the government automatically refund red-light camera fines and demerit points they weren't entitled to?

Eight red-light cameras have now been shown to have an incorrect timing for the amber light causing thousands of motorists to be fined and lose demerit points.

The cynic in me wonders whether the government will show integrity and refund the money and points they weren’t entitled to. If the government requires people to lodge some form of request they know full well there will be a large number of people who won’t be bothered and many who simply won’t even realise. A way to gain revenue I do not consider to be ethical or appropriate.

For those who were fined at the red-light camera on the intersection of Doncaster Road, Manningham Road and Tram Road I’ve posted videos of the traffic lights as they were when people were fined when the amber timing was set to 3 seconds, and after they’ve been corrected which shows the amber light at 4.5 seconds.

Manningham Road, Doncaster Road, Tram Road Red-Light Camera. Amber Traffic Light set at 3 seconds

Manningham Road, Doncaster Road, Tram Road Red-Light Camera. Amber Traffic Light set at 4.5 seconds

The first picture is taken 0.5 seconds after the light turns red which would indicate anyone with a fine of up to 2 seconds may be entitled to a refund.

The details of the red-light cameras which were not set to AustRoads guidelines are the following:

Terminal Drive & Centre Road, Melbourne Airport
AustRoads guidelines: 3.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 16 Nov 10 - 24 Jan 12

Doncaster Road and Williamsons Road/Tram Road, Doncaster
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 5 Oct 11 - 7 Aug 12

Fyans Street & Moorabool Street, South Geelong
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.5 secs
Incorrect amber period: 11 May 10 - 24 Aug 12

High Street & Mahoneys Road/Keon Parade, Thomastown
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 20 Oct 11 - 26 Sep 12

Warrigal Road & Centre Road, Bentleigh East
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 1 Aug 10 - 16 Aug 12

Heatherton Road & Gladstone Road, Dandenong North
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 29 Dec 04 - 16 Aug 12

Foster Street and McCrae Street, Dandenong
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 18 Oct 10 - 16 Aug 12

Stud Road & High Street, Wantirna
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 28 Dec 06 - 23 Aug 12

Whilst I haven’t confirmed (as I was not able to get through on the Fines Victoria telephone line) you should review your fine with regards to the time difference and keep in mind the first picture is taken at 0.5 seconds after the light turns red. Thus I suspect you should be able to add the 0.5 seconds to the time difference between the AustRoads guidelines and the Actual time.

In an ideal world the money and points should be automatically refunded. Being far from an ideal world it would be prudent to lodge a submission for a refund of the money and points.

There is still no guarantee the government will be refunding anything, just that the situation will be reviewed.

My own experience at the Manningham Road/Doncaster Road intersection is that during the time whilst the amber light timing was incorrectly set it created a very dangerous situation for drivers. Whilst approaching the lights at normal speed, well below the 70kph speed limit, the amber light changed so quickly you have to brake much harder than normal which could easily cause a car behind to crash into the rear of a vehicle. I believe the intersection should also be reviewed for crashes which may have occurred as a result of the amber light timing being incorrectly set.

Please let others know about the situation at the intersections mentioned above. The number of people who have been incorrectly fined could easily be in the tens of thousands and may be someone you know. They may not have even mentioned being fined as many people are embarrassed by being fined. In this case they could have easily been fined for something which was not their fault, but the fault of VicRoads, if VicRoads is in charge of setting the timing for the amber light.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Quotes for car insurance aren't enough to cover the cost of a replacement car.

Quotes for car insurance where you receive an agreed value or a market value may not be enough to purchase even the lowest priced replacement car from a dealer if you car is written off, based on information from the car valuation sites.

I generally cover my car with comprehensive insurance. I expect that I'll be out of pocket for the excess should I be in an accident.

However what I didn't expect is that if a car is written off that the insurance wouldn't cover the car so you would be able to purchase a similar aged second hand car from a dealer.

I'd highly recommend that you check your insurance policy and see what you'd be paid should your car be written off. Now check the car valuation sites to see how much it would cost you to buy the same age, make and model car.

In many cases people will be out of pocket thousands of dollars. Without realising it the standard amount agreed to in insurance policies is often well below what you'd have to pay to get a replacement car from a dealer, whether you have an agreed value or market value policy.

Don't wait until you're in an accident. Make sure your policy covers you for what you expect. Whilst I haven't been in an accident, when I found out that the insurance I've been paying generally won't cover me as much as I expected. It really means you have to check if the insurance premium you are paying is worth the money.

To put this into context, if you take what you'd be paid by the insurance company less the excess, you may only have about half the money you need to put you back into a similar car. Most people take out insurance to cover themselves so if they are in an accident they are not worse off. Make sure your insurance covers you and don't fall into this trap.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Stud Road & High Street, Wantirna red light camera

The Government has asked Victoria's Road Safety Camera Commissioner, His Honour Judge Gordon Lewis, to broaden his investigation into the issue of amber light timing at red-light camera intersections after a VicRoads review identified seven additional sites that were found to be inconsistent with the Austroads guidelines. – State Government Victoria Fines site.

Stud Rd & High St, Wantirna
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect Amber period: 28 Dec 06 - 23 Aug 12

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Free ebook for Android - Assegai magazine

Recently I assisted a couple of people with their Android tablets they purchased from Aldi. They wanted to download eBooks to read on their tablet. The surprise is they couldn’t download a free eBook unless they provided their credit card details, which they didn’t want to do.

I asked Renée Purdie, the creator of the Assegai magazine, if she could produce a copy of her magazine for use on tablets which Renée kindly did.

If you’re looking for a magazine to read on your tablet check out the Assegai magazine at http://www.risingstardesigns.com.au/images/folio/assegai-issue1-page-view.pdf.

Thanks for your time and assistance Renée.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer assistance.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Alert: Deals Direct Australia - DealsDirect.com.au - Free voucher

I've received a number a faked emails targeting Deals Direct customers.

The email is offering a 100 $AU gift to trick people to click on the link in the email.


You should delete these emails.

Please let others know about this fake offer.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A Medical Dictionary - A Medical Dictionary is a spellchecker for medical words using Australian English

A Medical Dictionary is an Australian English spellchecker consisting of medical words. Medical words are often difficult to spell correctly and this often makes the words difficult to look up. By providing a spellchecker of medical words, if the word is spelt incorrectly, a number of words will be suggested.

 

A Medical Dictionary is a new service for users of the Australian English spellcheck dictionary and can be found at the following address www.amedicaldictionary.com.au.

Please enjoy.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Apple iPad Mini release date rumours.

For those who would like an Apple iPad, but feel it is too big, Apple is rumoured they are about to announce the new Apple iPad Mini.

The rumours are the iPad Mini will be announced on the 17th of October with shipping starting in early November.

I find Apple launches to be interesting. The 17th of October is a Wednesday. The iPhone 5 was released on a Wednesday. If by chance the same launch strategy and timetable occurred for the Apple iPad Mini, it would mean the launch would be announced on the 17th of October with pre-orders starting on Friday the 19th of October. Shipping would start on Friday the 26th of October. However I’ve read rumours of early November for shipping to start so it is hard to tell.

The problem I’ve seen in the past is people are not aware of products which may be just around the corner. I recall Carrie Bickmore from The Project purchased an iPad 2 shortly before the iPad 3 was to be launched. Retailers often won’t let you know of a pending launch because that reduces the chance of a sale. A shop assistant at Freedom Furniture recently told me her sister just bought a new iPhone 4S on a two year contract from Telstra two weeks before the new iPhone 5 was launched and wasn’t happy. Those lucky enough to know about my blogs would have known about the forthcoming release of the iPhone 5 for some months. Perhaps this post may help people know about the possible forthcoming launch of an iPad Mini.

Of course this is just speculation at this stage as Apple does not comment on future products.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require assistance with your computer.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Bus stop relocation for routes 305, 318, 905, 906, 907 and 908.

On the Smartbus 905 I noticed a bulletin which read the following:

"Bus stop relocation for routes 305, 318, 905, 906, 907 and 908. Effective Tuesday 25th September 2012 until further notice.

Due to construction works, the city terminus for bus routes 305, 318, 905, 906, 907 and 908 will be relocated east of Lonsdale Street, near the corner of King Street."

Allow extra time for the walk to the station and a brolly for Melbourne's often unpredictable weather.



Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Smartbus 905 Williams Street/Lonsdale Street didn't even attempt to stop.

I was waiting on the bus seat and saw the 905 Smartbus as it was approaching the intersection (some 50 metres away) so got up and walked towards the stop. The bus didn't even make an attempt to pull in or slow down. There is a bus lane which it didn't even move into.

So now I stand at the stop and every bus stops.

I would have thought if you're sitting on the bus stop seat and then get up as the bus approaches you'd think it would stop at the bus stop. Not so.

Little wonder public transport users think the system isn't good enough.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

MyAnswers: Does Apple maps in iOS 6 have street view?

The following MyAnswers solution 2254 is now available:

Does Apple maps in iOS 6 have street view in Australia?


Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Red light camera fine, but picture shows you already in the intersection. How come the fine?

I’ve just been analysing the pictures of a red light camera fine and what surprised me is the red light camera pictures don’t show you actually breaking the law. They show you after you’ve broken the law and it can only be deduced that you broke the law.

For a lot of people this won’t make sense. How can they possibly fine you when you were already in the intersection?

Two pictures are taken and based on the position of your car, you can easily determine the average speed you were travelling and using some basic maths,  estimate your position before the picture was taken, when you actually broke the law.

I’ve read people complaining the amber light has been reduced in terms of shortening the time it is on and if you check the roads, the sensors are now in front of the stop line, in where people would consider they’d be in the intersection. Both make it easier for people to get booked and the cynics amongst us will say, raising revenue for the government. None of us like being booked so the best thing is don’t go through a red light.

Some common sense tips are: reduce the speed as you approach a light. If you are caught with the front of your car over the stop line just stop. Don’t proceed through the intersection or you’ll get snapped. Be prepared to stop as you approach lights. Sadly, and I say sadly because I think this creates a dangerous situation, If you have to brake hard (I’ve found lights now change very quickly) and a person runs up the back of you, it will probably cost you more in time and money getting your car fixed than the fine, but for some losing their licence due to having too many points will cost far more.

Personally I think reducing the amber time is a mistake. For those who like to obey the law the longer amber period will provide plenty of time for people to stop and leads to far more relaxed driving. There is enough stress on the road without having to put people under greater pressure by reducing the timing of lights. Unfortunately there are those with a heavy foot which means they’ll feel they have more time to race through. It is understandable watching people’s behaviour why the government continues to tighten things done, but unfortunately it does mean a lot more average people end up paying fines and some losing their licence. Again I do think people feel the government is doing this to raise revenue and that creates an us and them attitude where the government is thought of as ripping us off. One local business owner even said to me they’d prefer the government raise taxes through fines as they’re leaving them alone. The government should consider rewarding people for good behaviour. If you continue to use a stick and not a carrot to control people, you end up with very angry people in our society and that’s not good for any of us.

Next time you approach a red light just drive appropriately and chances are you’ll save yourself some money and arrive safely.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

UPDATE: The amber timing for 8 red-light camera locations around Melbourne have been set incorrectly. The question is will the government automatically refurnd the fines and demerit points. For more information including videos of the before and after timing of the traffic light visit http://justlocal.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/will-government-automatically-refund.html.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Patricia Bernard interview in the Assegai magazine by Renée Purdie

I just read the Patricia Bernard interview in the Assegai magazine by Renée Purdie and thought it was thoroughly enjoyable and candid. I enjoy reading interviews where people share their experience openly and we can all learn from their experience.

Patricia Bernard is a famous Australian author. If you’re considering a writing career the interview is a good read.

Thank you Patricia and Renée for sharing this interview.

You can read  Renée’s Assegai magazine at http://www.risingstardesigns.com.au/assegai-magazine/issue1-pdf.

 

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Enjoying helping people to share their passion.

Alert: eBay - I will open a dispute and give you negative feedback JQDSRXSQPX

Today I received an email from Leesa which had the subject “I will open a dispute and give you negative feedback”. The body of the message is they’d purchased an item and hadn’t received it.

The reason I thought I’d comment on this email is it is what is called a phishing email which uses social engineering techniques to trick people into clicking on the link. If you click on the link which looks like a link to eBay, you’ll end up on a page which is designed to look like an eBay login page. The page is actually a form created using Adobe Flash.

The social engineering technique is to worry people and trick them into making a mistake. People don’t want to get negative feedback on eBay. I recall one person who was devastated when they received their first negative feedback, so people do take feedback very seriously. The more serious the more easily they could be tricked.

Also this is an example of a site which has been compromised to deliver a scam. The domain was registered in 2002 by a family and their main page has a page for each of the family members. I suspect a person has hacked into their site and planted the malicious code on their site. I’ve written to the owner of the site to let them know.

If you receive an email like this you should delete the email. Don’t click on the link. It is designed to collect your eBay login details. If you have been tricked immediately change your password on your eBay account and anything else which a scammer may use to access your account. For example many sites use hints to help you recover a password. Not sure how eBay security works but you should review any information you’ve provided on your site and perhaps any contact you’ve had with others. I don’t know how the creators of this phishing attempt intend to use an eBay site. You should seek assistance from eBay as to what you should do.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for assistance with your computer.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Monday, September 24, 2012

MyAnswers: Electricity Smart Meter data may be a privacy and security exposure.

Over time as I read information about technology as part of my consulting activities, I read quite a bit of information about privacy and security issues. Apart from making great dinner time conversation, I find many people are simply unaware of just how much information is being collected on them and how they may be being monitored.

Quite often I too am quite surprised at the level of monitoring. In the age of Facebook, Twitter and Google, many people are so used to publishing so much information about themselves online it is hard to think anyone really cares about privacy anymore. However if you want to find out the private information of all the people who want us to share our private information, you’ll generally find they rarely share anywhere near the same amount of information as others do. We are encouraged to share information because it makes others money. Our privacy is their collateral.

I decided that as I find interesting information regarding privacy and security information I’d share the articles and also add comments and examples so people can appreciate how the information will relate to them. Hopefully with a more knowledge people will be in a better position to handle their privacy as they wish, or at least be better informed.

The first article is the MyAnswers solution 2251 and is now available:

Smart meter data collected from electricity meters may be a privacy and security exposure.


Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.MyAnswers.biz
(An Online Connections service.)