Wednesday, July 31, 2013

iPhone 5 Electic shock feels like sensationalism for self promotion.

There is no doubt that people have to be careful around electricity, but the headline associating the iPhone 5 with electric shock is simply playing to misreported information that has recently been appearing in the press.

iPhone5 Electric Shock: Australia’s Electrical and Communications Association Spearheads Campaign to Raise Safety Awareness... Read More

To my knowledge there has been no incidence of an iPhone 5 causing electric shock in Australia. Recently there was a report in the press of a New South Wales women being hospitalised due to an electric shock associated with an iPhone, later follow up reveal it had nothing to do with a mobile phone.

Be careful with the articles you read because you’ll end up believing what is basically false information being spread in the press. Yes you can buy low cost chargers on eBay and other overseas sites and they may be dangerous. Make sure if you’re saving money there isn’t a cost associated with that saving.

What would really help is if the list of devices where people have received electric shock was itemised and grouped so we could see where the largest risks are.

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

Alert: ANZ - ONLINE - LOCKED OUT (03) 8400 4610

Similar to the scam email I received last week with a New South Wales number, today the email had a Victorian number. The following is the text of the message.

Your online account will be limited. Please call our office immediately at: (03) 8400 4610 to restore your access! Thank you.

The country of origin of the email was Spain. The email had a faked Australian email address.

It does make me wonder how scammers get the telephone numbers and what the telcos are doing about it. I know when I reported scammers calling on my Optus telephone line Optus wasn't interested. These scams can only occur with the services provided by the telcos and if the telcos aren't prepared to do anything about it they should be held accountable.

You should delete these emails.


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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Myki readers on Smart buses often not working

With all the talk about fare evaders you'd think the government would want their Myki readers working reliably. On Saturday I was on one bus on Doncaster Road and the Myki readers on the bus weren't working. Then later that day I was on another bus from Box Hill and again the Myki readers weren't working.

Not only is the government losing money by people not paying to use the bus, but the time wasted as people stand there trying to get their card to read and then trying each machine without luck wastes everyone's time. I saw another women in Nunawading recently trying to get her Myki card to register and the driver got frantic and told her to just get off. The bus driver was running about 8 minutes late an considering the buses are scheduled every 15 minutes that's running considerably behind schedule.

The government is putting a lot of money into dedicated bus lanes inconveniencing drivers, yet how much time is wasted with people having to touch on and off, as well as revenue lost when a considerable number of machines are not working when they should.

Here's another Myki reader which had crashed and was showing the program screen. (Sorry about the low quality image.)

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

Alert: Western Union Critical Update

If you receive an email with the subject 'Western Union Critical Update' which includes an attached file "Translink Critical Update.zip", you should delete the email. The attachment is malware.

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

Googe Nexus 7 2 technical specifications

Whilst the marketers like to market the experience devices bring, the bottom line for me when comparing devices is often the technical specifications. I found it hard to find the technical specifications for the Google Nexus 7 2, but found this page (http://www.google.com/nexus/7/) provided what I wanted. I hope others find the site useful.

For me Google devices don't allow me to get rid of my Windows applications so I consider it an additional device. I felt the older Google Nexus 7 looked a bit clunky because of the wide bezel. This model appears to have reduced the bezel so it will be interesting to check out when it arrives in-store.

I already have an Acer 10" Android tablet which sits idle most of the time, so if a tablet does tempt me it has to help me replace at least some of the functionality I require from a Windows based notebook.

What I did like about the Google device compared with Apple iPad Mini and Microsoft surface tablets, is it includes GPS and compass facilities.  To get GPS on an iPad Mini means moving up to much more expensive devices. What I feel is missing is the ability to plug the tablet into the TV via HDMI. The real problem for me with Google Android devices is they simply aren't up to scratch in terms of software. Many sites which work with Google Chrome on the desktop/notebook, simply don't work on an Android tablet, including Google's own sites.

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

Monday, July 29, 2013

Australian women hospitalised by electric shock from her Apple iPhone - Reports are this didn't happen.

I read the following article which started me thinking about how something like this could possibly happen. I’m not qualified in electronics, but have an interest in electronics so my knowledge is limited.

Fresh safety fears after warning issued in Australia when woman is 'hospitalised by electric shock from her phone'... Read More

Firstly the incident has been confirmed that the electric shock was not due to an Apple iPhone or mobile phone, but there is no mention as to what appliance was involved.

Giz spoke to a Ambulance NSW representative this morning who confirmed that the woman was transported to hospital for reasons that were not a result of burns or shocks related to mobile phones.... Read More

To my mind when charging an iPhone the cable carries 5V which isn’t sufficient to cause an issue. The charger however converts 240V to 5V and if somehow the 240V reached the 5V circuitry, it may be possible. I then found two sites which provided interesting information with regards to the safety of low cost chargers. Some of the low cost non-branded chargers separate the 240V from the 5V circuit with under 1mm of space (whereas 3-4mm appears to be recommended) which means they probably wouldn’t be considered safe.

The following article discusses the Apple iPhone charger and you can see there are safety features built into the design including a resistor which fuses in case of catastrophic failure, keeping the voltages separate.

Apple's diminutive inch-cube iPhone charger ... Read More

Other good charges will likely have good safety features as well, but those without branding or certification should be probably be avoided.

I particularly liked the following site because it shows a couple of chargers where the voltages are separated by less than 1 mm showing one potential problem with some low cost chargers.

USB Power Supply/charger Test... Read More

The problem I’ve found with the media is often in haste the information we receive can be quite disconcerting. If I didn’t read additional articles with regards to the Australian woman being hospitalised due to their mobile phone, I would have been concerned as to what the safety issue was and I’m sure this may have scared many people. In fact I’m probably sure there are scammers right now putting together fake hoax emails ready to send out to people suggesting they forward them to their friends due to the safety issue.

Recently, sadly, a Chinese person reportedly did get electrocuted whilst using their mobile phone, but we can only guess as to what the cause was.

Always be mindful that any device with a rechargeable battery poses a risk as does the 240V power supply. Watch out if devices get hot and certainly there is a problem if the device delivers a shock.

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

Search Australia mobile version now available for iPhone

Search Australia is now available on the iPhone so you can have the great single keyword access to the most popular sites Australian's visit, or add your own keywords to go direct to the sites you want. Search Australia uses the Google search engine to provide search results but limits the default results to be pages from domains using .au. You can still quickly search Google, Yahoo or Bind using the single first letter followed by a space and then what you're searching for.

To add Search Australia to your home page on your mobile do the following:
Go to http://www.justlocal.com.au/search/samobile/
Select the forward option in the icons at the bottom of the screen
Select Add to Home Screen
Change the text to Search
Press Add
 
Search Australia is now available from your Home Screen.

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

Aldi Lumina hot water urn power usage.

On the weekend we borrowed a Lumina hot water urn for a group that was having a Christmas in July get together. For me this was also an opportunity to check out the Lumina hot water urn in terms of energy usage. Those who had read my posts will know we've reduced our electricity to under half our previous usage, a massive saving, simply by investigating our usage around the home. A few gadgets and changes in our habits is all it took. The main tool I used was the Energy Cost Calculator which I used to help determine the cost of using appliances and whether or not it was better to replace certain devices. For example is it better to replace low energy lights with LED lights or not? Is it better to replace the old TV with a new low energy TV? The Energy Cost Calculator gave me the information I needed to make better decisions.

One area that can consume far more energy than people realise is the humble kettle. Yes boiling that kettle multiple times per day can end up costing as much as running the refrigerator. So for me this was an opportunity to review the energy usage of the Lumina hot water urn which had been purchased from Aldi.

The Lumina hot water urn has a stated capacity of 8.8 litres and is rated at 2,000 watts. There is a on/off switch, two lights indicating heating (red) and keep warm (amber). There is also a dial where you can set the temperature from 30 degrees up to 110 degrees. (Water boils at 100 degrees.)

My first test was to fill the urn with around 4 litres of water and set the temperature to 30 degrees. This would show me how it worked. The red light came on and the energy being used was 2,050 watts, after around three and a half minutes the water had reached the temperature and the amber light came on indicating the urn was now in "keep warm" mode. In "keep warm" mode the urn uses approximately 170 watts.

The second test was to set the urn to 110 degrees, boil the water, check to see the water would keep boiling and then reduce the temperature setting to 95 degrees, at which point the urn went into "keep warm" mode". Once the water cools to below 95 degrees I suspect the heading mode will turn back on.

From this we can see the urn really has two modes. It is either on heating mode with is fully on at around 2,050 watts, with the aim to heat and boil the water, or on "keep warm" which is around 170 watts and is designed to heat the water sufficiently so that it simply doesn't cool down too quickly. With heat escaping to the surrounding environment the urn will at some point need to switch back into heating mode.

Many people leave hot water urns on all day which means they are using energy continuously whether or not people need to use the water. Heating a full urn for a single cup of coffee is obviously a considerable waste of energy. For a single cup of coffee boiling just the amount of water you need, when you need it, is faster and certainly cheaper than using an urn. Urns however are handy appliances to have around when you need to make hot drinks for a large number of people at the one time.

Out of interest, if you had the urn running for 10 hours a day in "keep warm" mode (this isn't logical as the water will need to be brought back to the boil on a regular basis) then we can see the minimum cost over a year would be around $160. The real cost over a year would be significantly more. For most people if you only boil the water you need and turn a kettle on before you go to get your cup and ingredients, chances are the water will have boiled before you're organised.

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

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The winnner of The Block 2013 wins by $4,000.

SPOILER ALERT - This post contains information on the results of The Block auction. Don't read until after The Block ends tonight if you don't wish to know anything about the results.

I find it fascinating how well The Block and associated companies kept last night's auction results for The Block close to their chest. The auction as previously mentioned was held on the 27th of July.

So far a couple of clues have been released on the internet.

The winner wins by a slim margin of $4,000. Those who are astute will realise whilst this doesn't tell you who the winner is, as the show goes along you may be able to work it out, unless the last apartment auctioned is the winner.

The apartments would have been in the top five apartment sales this week. If you look at the current top five apartment sales they are $1,325,000, $935,000, $925,000, $850,000 and $810,000. These don't include The Block apartments so if all sold and were in the top five, that would mean they went for over $1,325,000.

So full credit to the media control for the producers of The Block. How much of this information is correct will be interesting to see once the results of The Block are known.

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

UPDATE: As the auctions complete this page will be updated.

Alisa + Lysandra, Reserve $1,140,000, Bid $1,435,000, Profit $295,000 - SOLD
Trixie+Johnno, Reserve $1,400,000, Bid $1,605,000, Profit $205,000 - SOLD
Madi+Jarrod, Reserve $1,310,000, $1,601,000, Profit  $291,000 - SOLD

At this stage we can tell the winners are Alisa+Lysandra if the $4,000 difference is correct.

Bec+George, Reserve $1,265,000, Bid $1,507,000, Profit $242,000 - SOLD
Kim+Matt, Reserve $1,205,000, Bid $1,455,000, Profit $250,000 - SOLD

The total proceeds from all apartment sales is $7.603 million. The reported purchase price for the property including two additional properties was $6.71 million. There is still the ground floor apartment to be sold.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New breath analyzer knows if you're burning fat

I noticed an article on a new breath analyser which can help determine if you’re burning fat. I couldn’t help feel the researchers were missing an important aspect in their testing of the device which leads to one of two conclusions. Either the device is not sensitive enough and thus not as useful as it could be, or that researchers did not test an important fourth group of test subjects.

New breath analyzer knows if you're burning fat... Read More

The groups that were tested were: no change to diet and exercise, light exercise for 30-60 minutes a day, light exercise for 30-60 minutes a day and restrict calorific intake (dieting). The missing group is those who dieted and didn’t exercise.

A while ago I worked out the maths behind weight loss and as a result lost 22kg without any additional exercise. If the breath analyser cannot pick up the burning of fat through dieting alone it would indicate it isn’t sufficiently sensitive. The fourth group should have been an obvious group to include in the test.

The good outcome however is people can see that if they do nothing then obviously they won’t lose weight. With light exercise alone they may not lose weight either. From what I’ve seen when overweight people look at joining a gym, they are usually sold on losing weight and that won’t necessarily happen.

Once you understand the maths behind weight loss it becomes clear what is needed to lose weight and where to put your efforts.  

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

Alert: Environmental corporation searching for representatives worldwide.

Over the last few weeks I've been receiving quite a few spam emails with the subject "Environmental corporation searching for representatives worldwide" or similar. When I see new scams which are a bit different I normally blog about it just in case it might help someone not get stung by the scammers. The body of the email is often similar to the following:

"Environmental enterprise searching for representation internationally
5% commission on 200K cash flow originated from promotion and sales of proprietary research articles"


It occurred to me I hadn't blogged about this group of emails and I receive three today.

I checked the past four of these emails to see where they had been sent from, using the hidden headers in the email and not the senders email address which is often faked. The countries they had been sent from were: Tehran, United States, Tanzania and Thailand. It is pretty obvious when the same email is being sent from multiple countries it is a scam of some type.

I don't know what the scammers are after. It may be your contact details or it could simply be if you get tricked into replying they then lead you on an elaborate scam and in my consulting work I've seen quite smart people who have been tricked scammers.

If you receive unsolicited emails they are spam and chances are most are from scammers. You should delete unsolicited emails. Your curiosity could cost your a lot more than you think.

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

Friday, July 26, 2013

Alert: Australian and New Zealand - You have 1 new message. MSG ID: (8SJJA8DAHSKDA71)

I received the following message a short while ago and couldn't help feeling it was unusual and thus might trick people.

"Your online account will be limited. Please call our office
immediately at: (02) 8417 2641 to restore your access! Thank you."

Most people associate Australian and New Zealand with the ANZ bank. The unusual aspect is the NSW based telephone number. I have seen overseas businesses use Australian number so don't assume you'd be talking to someone in Australia.

The email was sent from the Netherlands in Europe and is almost certainly a scam.

You should not call the number. This is a good reminder to all of us that even if something looks like it could be an Australia number we can't assume it isn't a scam.

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

Thursday, July 25, 2013

An interesting new product from Google called the Google Chromecast (not currently available in Australia)

This morning I read about a new gadget from Google called the Chromecast which I thought was interesting.

Google Chromecast makes all TVs smart... Read More

The Chromecast plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and provides streaming direct to your TV from the internet or from your Google Chrome browser on your computer. I have to say some of the information is a bit ambiguous as to how the device operates, but in time I’m sure the fact from the fiction will become clear. At $35USD it could be a good device which adds value to your TV experience. It will be very interesting to find out what it does or doesn’t do.

The Chromecast is not currently available in Australia according to the online Play Store. I suspect the easiest way to find out if it becomes available in Australia is to watch the Play Store.

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

Commonwealth Banks new site confuses users accessing NetBank.

The Commonwealth Bank recently launched their new site design and one user requested assistance because they couldn't find how to get onto NetBank. Previously NetBank was easy to find and was right there on the home page at the top right. The new design looks more like an online ad for the Commonwealth Bank rather than a site to quickly access the bank's services.

To find NetBank you need to select Products in the menu and then Online Banking when the menu pops down. There is no mention of NetBank in the main menus. If you click quickly you'll go to the product page and if you look towards the bottom you'll find Online Banking. There is also a direct link to NetBank at the very bottom of the page.

I thought this was a pretty strange redesign of the Commonwealth Bank's site. Over 20% of customer reach the Commonwealth Bank as a result of searching for NetBank and based on my own use of banking sites, the main feature I'd use would be the online banking service. In fact most of the time it is the only feature I use. To not have such an important service with a link prominent on the main screen for user convenience is unusual. It almost feels like the old supermarket trick where milk is at the back of the store, and since everyone needs milk they need to go through the store and in doing so may purchase other products.

My clients now have access to Search Australia as their default search engine and some have Search Australia set as their home page. To get to NetBank all they need to do is enter netbank into Search Australia and they'll go direct to the online banking page.  If your bank doesn't have direct access to their online banking page, with Search Australia you can set up your own keyword for your online banking page and go direct to the page. Select My Keywords on the Search Australia page and add your own list of favourite sites.

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

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gmail tabs and how to turn them off

I always find it interesting how a company like Google could simply introduce a feature like tabs and simply not inform anyone there is a change coming. I suspect many people will be confused with the change.


If you don't want the tabs to appear, at the right of the tabs is a plus (+) sign. Click on the plus and you'll see the settings for the tabs. Deselect the tabs except for the Primary tab (which you can't deselect) and click Save and the tabs will be gone. You can also turn the tabs off or on in Settings via the Inbox section.

I wonder what others think of Google's new tabs?

Personally I like to have one location where I can check all the emails rather than jumping all over the place. I've noticed quite a few businesses not seeing important emails because they end up in a spam/junk folder and as a result turn the option off. I should say I don't use Gmail on a regular basis but I do see the confusion that happens with clients when unexpected changes happen.

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

PS. Just received the email from Google about the change.

Coles flybuys - Is 500 BONUS POINTS worth royally celebrating? Turn it into dollars and then you'll know.

It occurred to me last night when a family member thought one of the flybuys offers was great, that most people probably don't have to a clue as to what the points are worth. It really is simple to put a figure on the value of flybuy offers.
 
Coles will offer a $10 credit for 2,000 points. Thus 2,000 points is worth $10 which means each point is worth half a cent.

Interestingly this reminded me of a travel technique I once used to convert the money to our currency and it works really well for flybuys. The technique is cover the last two digits (in effect divide by one hundred) and then halve the number.
 
So 500 points, cover the last two digits to give us five, and then halve the number which gives us 2.5. Thus 500 points is worth $2.50.
 
So next time you're at the counter and don't quite reach the $100 and throw in a couple of chocolate bars you didn't previously want just to get the points, you've probably just blown the points on the chocolate bars.

So remember. Cover the last two digits and then halve the number. That's the value of the points in dollars.

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

MyAnswers: Google's Blogger statistics produce huge numbers compared to other methods to collect stats. Why the difference?

The following MyAnswers solution 2369 is now available:
Google's Blogger statistics differ significantly from statistics collected from other methods by up to a factor of 20 times. Great if you want to feel good but not so great if you want meaningful statistics. I share the other techniques I use to provide more meaningful blog stats.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
MyAnswers
(An Online Connections service.)

Government initiative - A Plan For Australian Jobs

Perhaps the last initiative that will have Julia Gillard's name on is the government initiative "A Plan For Australian Jobs". To find out more you can search the internet and you'll see advertisements for "A Plan For Australian Jobs".

I decided to read the information which shows the plan at a glance and to me there doesn't look like a plan, simply the bundling of existing projects such as education, transport infrastructure and the NBN as summarised in the following quote from the government's website.

"That's why we are investing heavily in education and skills and in critical infrastructure like the transport system and the high speed National Broadband Network."

Unfortunately I didn't see anything which would indicate a new initiative that would make any real difference. Perhaps others will see it differently.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nokia Lumia 625 (with 4.7" display) now on Nokia Australia website

I noticed an overseas press release for the Nokia Lumia 625 and wondered if the device was on the Australian Nokia site and it was. That’s usually a good sign that things are moving. As with all mobile phones you should review the specifications against your individual needs.

Nokia Lumia 625... 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.

Business Works in Camberwell using blog spamming to promote their business.

Whatever you do don't use low cost overseas organisation to blog spam to promote your business. Today I received a comment on my blog from Business Works which was obviously not written by a native English speaking person so I decided to investigate.

Business Works is located in Camberwell so whilst it is possible with our multicultural society that someone in their business is making a legitimate post on another companies blog, it isn't likely. I'm all for legitimate posts but when the sole aim is to add links back to a site to promote themselves I do not call this ethical and honourable behaviour which Business Works claim on their site is important to them.

So how can you tell if it is blog spam. The IP address for the person who wrote the post. In this case the IP address was 182.185.196.221, which is based in Pakistan. It is fairly obvious that Business Works has outsourced their blog spamming to a business located in Pakistan.

Don't make this mistake for your business. All those SEO emails you get every day are spam. If you fall into the trap of using a spammer then chances are you'll pay once for them to spam on your behalf and a second time when it damages your business reputation.

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

Alert: Re: Attn: Domain Notification - Expiration Notice

Every now and again I receive domain notices via email where the company issuing them isn’t a company I’m dealing with and in fact, if you read the notice carefully it is even difficult to tell who the notice is from. However the notice has one intent. To scare the domain holder into thinking their domain is about to expire.

As a matter of practice I recommend to clients to forward all notices to me to review because in the past clients have been concerned. This approach stops them making the mistake I’ve seen of others. Transferring their domains to a company they’ve never dealt with who charge them extra. In effect they’ve been hoodwinked.

If you receive any domain notification don’t act on the notification. Visit the site of your domain registrar and check the details for yourself. In this case I was being advised of a domain that had just expired when in actual fact them domain isn’t up for renewal until March 2014.

It amazes me that every day we are literally being attacked via the internet and no one seems to want to do anything about it. In this case the domain registrar who hosts the domain where the link would go to is in America. This is a scam and it would take seconds for the domain registrar to block the domain to ensure people aren’t scammed. Somehow they seem to take no responsibility even though their services make these scams possible. I believe technology already exists that could assist many people avoid scams but it will only happen when the will is there.

If you receive a domain renewal notification don’t trust it. Open your browser and go to the site where you registered your domain and check the details for your domain. Then if it needs to be renewed use the site to renew the domain.

Kelvin Eldridge

Online Connections

www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.

 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Boat people - The government ad campaign

I noticed the government has started an ad campaign along the lines of "By Boat, No Visa" to stop people smuggling. There is now doubt that most people I talk to consider people arriving by boat to be a concern and a problem, and when people think about what they'd do if they were in the same situation, they'd probably do the same. This isn't an easy problem for the government but what we should always keep in mind is these are real people and no matter how the press or government portrays them, we need to remain compassionate.

You can easily find more information about refugees arriving by boat by using Search Australia and search for "boat people" or "people arriving by boat".

Try also to keep a balanced view of the numbers. The press and government make these big issues because it suits their agenda, but the reality is around 500,000 people arrive in Australia each year and about 250,000 leave. The number arriving by boat is still a relatively small figure. You can see if you review the statistics on arrivals that government policy makes a significant impact on the numbers arriving. Let's hope our government of the day responds appropriately and compassionately.

Kelvin Eldridge

Catch-up TV added to Search Australia

As I've been assisting clients and friends with their computers I've often found they've never heard of Catch-up TV and that they can watch many recent TV programs using their computer. When there is nothing on TV we often watch an episode of something we've missed during the week. In fact we have an older notebook connected to the TV so we can watch catch-up TV on the bigger screen with better sound.

To make it easier to go directly to the catch-up TV sites for channels 7, 9, 10 and SBS, I've now added keywords for each of the channels in Search Australia. Keywords are single letters, words or phrases I've previously set up on Search Australia to take you direct to the most popular sites in Australia. Enter any of the following keywords to go direct to the channel's respective catch-up TV site.

TV 7
TV 9
TV 10
TV SBS

You can find Search Australia on any JustLocal page (www.JustLocal.com.au) or go direct to the Search Australia page at http://www.justlocal.com.au/search/australia/. You can even add Search Australia as your preferred search engine to Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox and then simply enter the keyword in the search field in your browser. Couldn't be more convenient.

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

Should parents who let their children rack up charges on the Apple store be responsible?

There is no doubt that many people are racking up avoidable amounts on their mobile phones and Apple’s app store. Some of this is due to the way the systems work and lack of knowledge, but often taking simple precautions can completely remove the chance of such an incident happening.

Apple refunds dad $6,000 iPad bill racked up by 8-year-old... Read More

There is a very simple answer to stop inadvertent charging on Apple’s app store. Remove your credit card details. Then even if a child uses a parent’s iPhone or iPad there can’t be any charges if credit card details aren’t stored with the account.

The owners of app stores want you to have your credit card details registered to make impulse buying easy and make money. Remove your credit card details and only enter the details when you want to purchase something and the problem is solved.

In MyAnswers solution 2287 I share how I removed my credit card details off the Apple app store.

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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Alert: Oprah Health Newsletter - How to Lose Weight Fast

Recently there’s been an ongoing email spam/scam using the good name of Dr Oz with green coffee beans. These emails have had links back .pl (Polish) domains which indicates they are malicious. Today a similar technique in an email using Oprah’s name was received. The emails generally link to fake sites which combine information to look like legitimate sites.

If you receive any of these or similar unsolicited weight loss emails you should delete them and not click on any links in the emails.

 

 

Kelvin Eldridge

Online Connections

www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.

 

Can you make money using Google Adsense by adding Google ads to your site?

On Google Blogger today I noticed a post from Google titled "Celebrating 10 years of shared success". In essence each year two million publishers (businesses which display Google advertising on their site) earn a staggering seven billion dollars. Or put another way, these publishers help Google earn three to seven billion dollars a year as Google receives 30-50% of the advertising revenue. But let's not worry about what Google gets because the question really is, if you add Google ads to your site using Adsense can you make money.

Unfortunately due to Google's non-disclosure clauses in their agreement it is hard to get real figures from real people. Also even if you did get figures people have a tendency to exaggerate as they don't really want others to know what they are earning.

So how can you make an informed decision.

First you need traffic, lots of traffic to make good revenue. So if your site gets a few hundred visitors a month forget it. You need to be in the thousands to get a dribble and to replace your income you'd probably need to be in the million visitors a month range. If you just want to generate additional income or top up your income and have the traffic, then Google advertising may be worth considering If you read information on the internet and read between the lines you can ascertain this type of information.

However Google's celebrating 10 years of success article gives us some really useful information. That is, $7 billion dollars earned by 2 million publishers. We can look at this four ways which are: an even split, using the 80/20 rule, using the 95/5 rule and the 99/1 rule.

The even splits is where everyone has the same amount of traffic and that would mean everyone earns on average $3,500. Yes not much really is it. But the reality is chances are your site isn't a major daily newspaper site so some sites do generate a lot of traffic and most generate a little.

The second is using that age old 80/20 rule where 80% of the business is generated by 20% of the customers. In in other words 20% of the publishers would get 80% of the revenue and 80% of the publishers get to split the remaining 20% revenue. This works out for the top 20% of publishers as $14,000 a year and for the remaining 80% of publishers $875 a year. The old 80/20 rule seemed to be a good guide for standard business models of past but the internet tends to concentrate far more people into far fewer sites as evidenced by sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter.

The third approach uses the 95/5 split. What I've found recently on the internet is the old 80/20 rule no longer applies and a smaller group now earns most of the money. For example recently I read that top 20 apps earn 50% of the money and the top 250 apps earn 80% of the money. When you're looking at app stores having 100,000 to 1,000,000 apps and only 250 of those apps make most of the money, that doesn't leave much for everyone else. Thus the 95/5 split is where 5% of the publishers make 95% of the money and 95% of the publishers share just 5% of the money. This works put that 5% of the publishers make $66,500 and 95% make $184.21.

If you wanted to go with the 99/1 split which could very well apply in the internet world, you'd end up with around 20,000 publishers making $364,500  a year and 1.98 million publishers making around $35.35 a year.

Based on this information I would suspect that most people will be making something in the range of $35 to $184 a year. Whilst that doesn't sound like much keep in mind a parcel of 600 Telstra shares, which you have to have bought with hard earned money only returns around $360 a year. If you collected aluminium cans with a recycle value of about 1.25 cents a can, you'd have to collect nearly 3,000 cans to make $35.

If you're running a site where you share information and get a reasonable amount of traffic but not generating income, then adding Google advertising to your site may be worthwhile. Be careful though, if you can't do it yourself paying someone else to add and maintain the advertising for you could easily cost far more than you earn.

Clients are welcome to contact me to discuss if adding Google advertising to their sites may be worthwhile or not for them.

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

TV Guide Melbourne, TV Guide Sydney, TV Guide Brisbane plus others added to Search Australia

As a result of feedback from working with a client I've added the following keywords to Search Australia. In the past you could enter TV or TV Guide and the Freeview guide would display. This update enables each capital city TV guide to quickly display.

TV Melbourne
TV Sydney
TV Perth
TV Adelaide
TV Canberra
TV Hobart
TV Darwin

For those who haven't used Search Australia, Search Australia provides a search engine which only displays results for .au domains to make it easier for Australians to find Australian businesses and sites. Search Australia provides keyword access direct to the top sites searched for by Australians, so instead of being presented with a page of Google search results, the searcher is taken direct to the site, potentially saving time for hundreds of millions of searches as year. Search Australia provides single letter access to Google, Yahoo and Bing simply by entering the first letter, a space and then the phrase you're searching for.

Search Australia can easily be added to Internet Explorer by clicking on the link Add to Internet Explorer on the Search Australia page http://www.justlocal.com.au/search/australia/. You can find Search Australia in the menus on JustLocal (www.JustLocal.com.au).

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Coles flybuys - Save 40c per litre on fuel - Coles

Every time I receive a Coles flybuys activation offer I shudder.

The problem is it is only a matter of time until a scammer duplicates the Woolworths Everyday Rewards and Coles flybuys offers in a scam email. Because all you need to do is single click to activate the offer, all a scammer needs to do is to craft a flybuys offer with a click which goes to an malicious site and the computer could get infected.

Last week I repaired an infected computer where the business went to a fellow Australian recruitment site which was infected. The computer had remain infected for around a week so anyone visiting may have had their computer infected. Millions of sites right now are infected and used by scammers to infect people's computers. All that is required is that you visit the site. In this case the client went to the site after searching for the business using Google.

If like hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of Australians you receive activation offers pause for a moment. Check the link you are about to click on (most browsers can display the actual site address of the link – don't trust what you read on the screen as it can be faked) and make sure the link will take you to the site you expect to go.

To me it is only a matter of time until we have a massive malware outbreak because Coles and Woolworths are regularly sending out offers where people don't need to read much and only need a single click.

Make sure you check the link before clicking.

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

The Block 142 Park Street South Melbourne auction date

I drove past The Block at 142 Park Street South Melbourne the other night and noticed the auction date which I thought some people may be interested in. The auction date is Saturday the 27th of July 2013.

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to set up Gmail with a business domain to work with Outlook 2010.

Today I set up a client so they could access their Gmail (which uses a business domain) to work with Outlook 2010. The client had previously been advised to use an approach which synchronises folders but this is not necessary as once you know the correct settings. Outlook handled Gmail as required by the client.

In MyAnswers solution 2349 I share both approaches and some tips I determined along the way.

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

Is Windows Defender built into Windows 8 good enough?

I regularly test new malware and in the past I found Microsoft's Security Essentials to be very good compared with other antivirus programs. In fact I found it significantly better than other products and would recommend Security Essentials to clients.

More recently I've become a little concerned with Microsoft's Windows Defender antivirus solution built into Windows 8. Now the antivirus software is built into Windows 8, Microsoft has to make sure it is leading edge. Unfortunately from what I can see is it not leading edge.

Today around six and half hours ago I received an email with the subject "Australian Taxation Office - Refund Notification" which had malware attached. Microsoft at this time does not detect the malware even though quite a few other programs do.

In addition Windows Defender was updated nearly 10 hours ago and I had to manually apply the latest update, something which most users will not know how to do.

Overall if Microsoft are serious about protecting users, they need to improve their performance in this very important area.

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

Alert: Your new Telstra bill for account 4755201644938 is attached

I've received a number of emails with the subject "Your new Telstra bill for account 4755201644938 is attached" or similar. Attached is a zip file of the form "TRPB_1_9562502156.zip".

If you receive similar emails they are malicious and the zip file contains malware designed to appear to be a .doc file, which could trick people into thinking it is a Microsoft Word document. It isn't a Word document but a malicious executable file.

You should delete these emails.

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

Petrol Cost Calculator default price increased to $1.50

The default petrol price for the Petrol Cost Calculator is provided to make it easier to make a quick estimate for the price of using petrol for a given distance. Today I decided to increase the default price to $1.50 as the price of petrol is currently floating in the $1.50-$1.60 range.

The problem for most of us is we don't factor in the cost of using our cars when we take even a short trip. I doubt if most of us even think about the cost when we fill up the car, except to think it is getting quite expensive. Next time you're filling up your tank of petrol think about the cost and how it relates to the hours you spend working each week. Hours of your life you'll never see again.

For example let's say you earn around $20 an hour and it costs around $60 to fill up your car. Because you pay tax and the Medicare levy, you need to earn around $90 to pay for $60 of petrol. That's around the first half day of your working life simply to top up the car.

The motor car is still one of the most convenient forms of transport we have today, but it does come at a cost. Working out how much your trips are costing you and making it real, may help you work out better ways to use your time and money. Because public transport is so heavily subsidised sometimes public transport may be more cost effective even if it isn't as time effective as the motor car. The only way to know is to do the sums and then work out which mode of transport is best for you.

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

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Has your browser been hijacked?

I regularly clean up people's computers and in most cases they don't realise their browser has been hijacked. It doesn't matter if they're using Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Firefox, the result is the same. When they open their browser they see a page which is similar to the Google search page but it isn't Google's site. When they go to search they get search results which again look similar to Google search results but aren't quite the same.

The reason is they've visited a site, clicked on a link and had their browser hijacked. Many free programs people install such as free antivirus programs (and even paid programs) also hijack the browsers search engine.

For me the fastest and easiest browser to repair is Internet Explorer. Change the home page and change the default search engine, delete the offending search engine and the problem is fixed (as long as they computer isn't infected with malware). This is all done using options provided in Internet Explorer from the tools menu.

Because it is so easy using Internet Explorer and support is money to clients, most clients are more than happy to have Internet Explorer cleaned and stop using Chrome and Firefox.

One technique I used in the past was to create a Search Engine add-in which simply went straight to Google. Then when I visited clients I could look at the search engine and know that if it was still the same search engine I'd installed, their browser had not been hijacked. I used the same technique last night with a family friend and realised just how easy it made things for them. I set the home page to my Search Australia page and their search engine to use Search Australia. Visually they can now instantly see their browser hasn't been hijacked. They don't have to use my search engine but having it there gives them peace of mind. If it is changed they know they've somehow had their search engine/home page hijacked and that means they've either installed a new program, which they didn't realise would hijack their home page and search engine, or they've got and infection and need to call me. Either way they can see immediately.

To install Search Australia as your default home page in Internet Explorer open Internet Explorer, go to www.JustLocal.com.au/search/australia, then select Tools (press the ALT key to see the menus if they aren't visible), select Internet Options and click on Use current. To set Search Australia as the default search engine click on the link "Add to Internet Explorer" on the Search Australia page, select "Make this my default search provider" and click Add. This now means the home page is set to a known page and the search engine is set to a known default. Any change means something unexpected has happened to the computer and the computer should be checked.

It should be noted that I created Search Australia to provide more localised searching based on Australian domains and nominated keywords. Google ads do appear and in the spirit of full disclosure I do receive revenue from Google. For me however Search Australia provides a search engine that gives me the results I want and enables me to quickly fix family and friends computers which is often done in return for a simple thank you.

If you think your browser may have been hijacked a quick way to find out is to enter the word "test" and check the resulting search results page. Often there will be other business names on the page and the website address in the address bar won't be a Google address. Open your browser and go to www.google.com.au and again enter the word "test". If the results differ there's a good chance your browser has been hijacked. (This assumes you're searching from Australia. If you're reading this article from another country use the Google domain for your country.) Sometimes you won't be able to get to Google's search page at all which means your browser has been hijacked.

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mazda 3 Fuel Economy.

I decided to make it easier for people who purchased one of the top 20 selling cars in 2012 to determine how much it costs to travel a certain distance using the Fuel Cost Calculator.

The top selling car for 2012 was the Mazda 3. What surprised me was even for the same model car, variations in the car leads to quite some difference in the fuel economy. The following are links for the Mazda 3 in various configurations to the Petrol Cost Calculator.

Mazda 3 SP20 2.0L 4cyl, Auto 6 speed Sedan – Urban, Extra Urban
Mazda 3 SP20 2.0L 4cyl, Auto 6 speed Hatch – Urban, Extra Urban
Mazda 3 2.0L 4cyl, Man 6 speed Hatch – Urban, Extra Urban
Mazda 3 2.0L 4cyl, Man 6 speed Sedan – Urban, Extra Urban
Mazda 3 2.0L 4cyl, Auto 5 speed Hatch – Urban, Extra Urban
Mazda 3 2.0L 4cyl, Auto 5 speed Sedan – Urban, Extra Urban

What I find interesting when looking at the fuel economy of different variations is according to the governments Green Vehicle Guide site (where the figures for Urban and Extra Urban come from) there is no difference between a hatch and a sedan. This does make me wonder if this is correct. In the past I've found government ratings to be flawed.

For example there was a 7.0 litre and 7.5 litre washing machine and the energy rating for the 7.5 was better yet both were built identical. The only difference was the label on the machine and this was done for sales and marketing purposes. So the figures provided by the government's energy rating system used the published 7.0 litres specification and not the actual specification.
If the Urban and Extra Urban fuel economy ratings are measured using equipment whilst the vehicle is stationery then there is no factoring into account for the different body designs. It would be interesting to see what difference if any there would be between a hatch and a sedan.

Also interesting is the fuel economy for a 6 speed manual is about 5% better than for a 5 speed automatic for urban travel but expectedly little difference for extra urban.

The real surprise is the SP20 which turns the engine off when at lights resulting in approximately 29% better fuel economy. Interestingly according to the government's Green Vehicle Guide there is a difference between the hatch and the sedan with the hatch being 0.1 L/100km less fuel efficient. That's unusual and makes me curious as to what the result would be in a real world test. Based on an automatic being heavier than a manual, in a static test we would expect a manual to be more fuel efficient. In a similar vein a hatch is heavier than a sedan so again we'd expect the static test to show a sedan as being more fuel efficient than hatch. I do wonder if this would be the same outcome in real world testing where factors such as wind drag and driver gear changing may impact fuel economy.

For those driving Mazda 3s however, I hope you find the Petrol Cost Calculator useful.

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

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Are internships and volunteers taking jobs away from themselves?

I can’t help but be concerned with the number of volunteer and internships positions being held by hopeful students (and even possibly retired people).

Internships: The Australian experience... Read More

The problem is volunteering does not guarantee anything and based on this article plus my own observations, people are working for many months and don’t even get considered for a position. If people didn’t volunteer and didn’t do internships companies would be forced to employ people and that would create jobs.

As an example I read once read there were something like 57 volunteers working at Melbourne Zoo where there are 7 zookeeper positions. If each person puts in 4 hours a week that’s equivalent to around 6 full-time jobs or many more part-time jobs which would otherwise be required. I can’t help wondering how many zookeepers leave each year. If one leaves each year that’s 56 people who miss out.

Some businesses will use work experience as the labour for their business. When people volunteer for months performing the same task often they’re doing the job a paid employee would otherwise do.

Whilst I think it is great that retirees perform volunteer work for their own benefit and interests, my concern is they could be doing someone out of a job. I’m sure if retirees thought about it, if it was their grandchild that they put out of a job they’d never consider it.

Some limits need to be put into place to ensure our young people aren’t being used. Free labour may help the bottom line for large businesses and government organisations, but is it the best we can do for the next generation.  

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

Alert: Your Trip Details Lancaster Gate Hotel, London - expedia.com

I've received five emails with the subject "Your Trip Details Lancaster Gate Hotel, London" which have been designed to be malware but somehow they don't seem to have been created properly. The attachment should appear as "trip details 659076658.PDF.exe" but instead appears as an untitled text file in some email clients or as text attached to the body of the email in other email clients. The file  "trip details 659076658.PDF.exe" is the general form of malware pretending to be a PDF file.

Due to the email being malformed there is unlikely to be much impact but you should delete these emails in any case.

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

Super, Your Money, Your Future, government superannuation promotion.

The government is heavily promoting its push to increase the super rate contributed by employers. For me there are a couple of issues which I think people should know.

Earlier in my career we were paid a salary plus super. Super was a bonus you didn't think about. The employer paid it. However a few years ago I noticed a surprising change in how the salary of young people was stated. Your salary was $X including super. Yes that's right. We'd gone from the salary being salary plus super to salary including super which in real terms is a drop in salary. My concern is, does this mean that as the government increases compulsory super the only real losers. For salary earners the super is coming out of their salary and thus the amount of money they have available to pay off their own bills including their home loans is reduced.

The second issue is the government loves to tell people how much that great bonus will be. Their latest online site states the changes will mean, if you're 30, earning around $70,000 a year, you'll get an extra $105,000 if you retire at 65.

First let's see. Isn't the retiring age increasing to 67!

More importantly that whopping great bonus of $105,000 is in today's dollars, but in 35 years time how much will that be worth. The problem is inflation. Each year as prices go up the buying power of our dollar goes down. For example in 1998 Julia Gillard bought her home in Altona for $140,000 and today 15 years later you'd pay around $600,000 to purchase a similar house which shows how $140,000 today could buy about a quarter of what it did in 1998.

The question then is how much would $105,000 in 35 years buy in today's terms. To find out you need to use a Present Value Calculator which I've written an made available on my apps page www.JustLocal.com.au/clients/apps, or directly at http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/present-value-calculator/. The only question really is what the interest rate or rate of inflation you'd like to use. I'd suggest around 4-5%. The government aims for 2-3 but since 1970 the average has been 5.8% so 4-5% is a good indicator.

So how much will you be able to buy in 35 years? Something in today's terms worth around $19-$26,000, or roughly the price of a small car. Yep. That's it. A car.

To me the main thing is to understand that large sums today sound impressive but time reduces large numbers to rather insignificant numbers. If you don't understand this when you retire chances are you'll be very disappointed.

Have some fun with the calculator. See how things you buy today compare with things your parents may have bought decades ago. For example, in the mid 70s, (around 1975) a new Ford Falcon cost around $3,000 and I think teachers were paid a starting salary of around $5,000. A basic Ford I think costs around $30,000 and teachers earn around $50,000, so relatively speaking, they've kept up with general inflation (but not property which has increased faster). So does the calculator work as a reverse time machine. Enter the teachers salary today, for 38 years, 5.8% (the average inflation rate) and you end up with $5,868 which is pretty close. The car is $3,521, which again is pretty close.


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

Tullamarine freeway exit to M80 Ring Road closed

Around midnight, going from the airport along the Tullamarine freeway, the M80 Ring Road exit (which goes to Greensborough) was closed.

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

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Julia Gillard's home address in Altona.

I regularly blog about privacy issues and the internet in the desire to inform people as to what is possible now because of the internet and the data collected on all of us, either via information we publish ourselves (e.g. social networking, visiting websites), or that others publish about us (e.g. the media, family tree information). At least if people know what information is being published about them the knowledge may assist in them looking after their own interests.

As an example I recently saw the news headline about Julia Gillard returning home to Altona. Based on information relating to Julia Gillard published on the internet it was possible to fairly quickly locate her home, see her home using Google maps and even see a more recent picture of her home with the front fence.

Before the internet the general public would not have had access to any of this information and now it is readily available for everyone with some basic internet search skills.

Whilst it may feel a bit freaky to some people, if you haven't done it before, perhaps now is a good time to check what information is readily available on you. A quick way to check just Australian sites using Google, then Google, then Yahoo and Bing, is to use the Search Australia page I created. To see just pages in Australia (which use Australian domains) just enter the phrase you'd like to search for. To use Google, Yahoo, or Bing, enter the letter g, y, or b, followed by a space and then your search phrase.

If there is one lesson I've learnt from the information on the internet it is, never use your mother's maiden name as a security question with any of the services (e.g. bank accounts) you use. Genealogy information is readily available on the internet for all to see and that includes those people who may wish to hack into your accounts. To use Search Australia click here. Also don't forget you can make Search Australia your default engine  by clicking on the Add to Internet Explorer link and selecting the option.

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

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Alert: Dr. OZ Newsletter - 5 Easy Ways for Weight Loss

By now you'll probably have received numerous spam emails about "green coffee beans" and their benefits using the good name of Dr OZ.

You should delete these emails.

The two I received today were sent via two difference ISPs in Peru and contain links to Polish domains. This should be enough of a warning these emails are some form of scam.

If you are interested in researching green coffee beans or anything else, don't click on a link from an unsolicited email. You are simply asking for trouble. Always open your browser and then start searching. You may still end up at a scam site, but the risk is significantly reduced.

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

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Alert: Kindly Review The Attached Document !!!

Today I reviewed an email the person had received from a friend. The email appeared to have also been sent to a large number of their friend's contacts as well.

The subject contained "Kindly Review The Attached Document !!!" and the body was as follows:
 
"Please view the document I uploaded for you using Google docs. Click here to view <URL REMOVED> , I have to attach it in the message body due to the content....All email account work with Google Docs."

Clicking on the link would have taken a person to a fake log on screen designed to trick people into thinking they were logging on to a Google service. The intent most likely being to trick people into providing their Gmail username and password.

If you receive such an email you should delete it.

If you've found that your contacts let you know that you've sent them such an email it is likely your Gmail account has been hacked either currently or in the past. The contacts reviewed in this case indicate it would have been the sender's contact list. Change your Gmail password and if you use the same password elsewhere, change the password everywhere you use it. It is good practice not to use the same password across different services. Also send a follow up email to your contacts advising them that if they did receive such an email from you it was a fake. If they did provide their username and password details they should also take the action mentioned above.

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

Choice should not be encouraging consumers to bypass restrictions companies put into place.

I’ve read twice that Choice is encouraging Australian consumers to find ways around overseas companies that geo-block. That is companies block access to services based on the location of the consumer.

Consumer lobby group Choice has encouraged Australian consumers to find ways around the Netflix geo-block so that they can use the service in Australia, but the legality of the bypass remains questionable.... Read More

Whilst we may not be happy with geo-blocking encouraging consumers to work around systems that companies put into place I don’t believe is the way to go. We don’t know the full picture and this paints Netflix rightly or wrongly as a bad company. Worse though is it paints Choice as an unprofessional organisation and that is not the impression Choice has built up over the years.

The bottom line is if a company doesn’t provide you with access for some reason or another don’t further encourage them by paying them. Vote with your money. There are other suppliers in the market so spend your dollars with companies who are looking after your interests.

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

How much does it cost you to borrow a book from a public library?

I was reading a report on the economic value libraries bring to the community and one section of justification which I thought was weird is the logic behind the hidden cost of travelling to and from the library both in time and cost. This is valued as a benefit to the community. The logic being that if people are prepared to incur the cost they must be getting a greater benefit and this that is part of the value of a public library.

Travel costs – this method estimates the value of time, cost and effort that library customers incur in getting to and in using public library services. in essence, this method assumes the value derived by customers must outweigh the costs incurred, otherwise customers wouldn't make the visit.

Personally I see this is convoluted logic. The problem that I see is people don't realise their time cost and the cost of using their vehicle or public transport to travel to and from the public library. If they did they may decided there is a better way to get the resource they want rather than use a public library.

For example our closest public library is about 3 km away which is a return trip of 6 km. Fuel usage alone (using Fuel Cost Calculator) is 93 cents. It I visit the Doncaster library this would be nearly $2. This is just the cost of petrol. If you use the ATO figure for car usage at around 70 cents a kilometre conceivably the real cost of using a car to travel too and from the library could be as much as $4-$5. Now if we add the time and put a value on the time free isn't looking quite so free. Would you go to the public library and pay $5 each time you borrowed a book. I think the answer would be no for most people.

The problem is the cost is hidden for most people. We've made the time and cost of travel so indirect we often don't see we're incurring the cost. There is almost no connection between borrowing a book and having the money taken from your bank account or even the time you spend at work earning the money.

For reports justifying this cost as a benefit to me greatly inflates the value public libraries bring to the community.

Personally I think we're all emotionally tied to the concept of local libraries because we've grown up with them. Every household in the community pays for the public library whether they use it or not through their rates and taxes. The reality is I've borrowed one book in well over a decade. The book was a government produced book and overseas the same material is made available online for free. I suspect I'm probably paying around $50 a year in taxes to have a library available when I want to use it, so I've probably contributed $500-$1,000 which makes this a very expensive book indeed.

Next time you're using a free service perhaps factor in your travel costs and your time. You'll be surprised at how much free services are actually costing you.

For those who are looking for alternatives keep in mind there are hundreds of thousands of free books available on the internet. Even paying 99 cents for an eBook is probably going to cost you less than borrowing a free book from a public library. I've seen a number of people swap books between them which I think is a great way for people to help each other and create community spirit. In the near future I hope to put my collection of books online to make it easier for family and friends to access and borrow books they don't even know I have.

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

Example of how the old Victorian Fire Services Levy was applied by AAMI

I’ve never really thought much about the Fire Services Levy simply because we have no choice but to pay it. If you take out home insurance it is part of your premium. In my earlier post the Fire Services Levy came to my attention because I received a partial refund as AAMI had calculated the premium incorrectly, although the refund raises the bigger issue of, how long have I been over paying. However as part of checking the Fire Services Levy AAMI to their credit provides the following page.

Removal of the Victorian Fire Services Levy (FSL) From Your Insurance Premiums... Read More

In AAMI’s example you can see the Fire Services Levy set at 30% and then GST is added at 10% (a tax on a tax) and then Stamp Duty is applied (a tax on a tax on a tax). In the example the amount of taxes collected is a staggering 36.5% of the home insurance premium.

For those interested I’ve written a Fire Services Levy calculator which is available at http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/fire-services-levy-victoria/ and is also available on my apps page www.JustLocal.com.au/apps.

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

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Fire Services Levy Victoria calculator now available.

I decided to write a Fire Services Levy calculator to assist those who wanted to know what their Fire Services Levy will be, which will also enable them to compare the new levy to their current insurance policy. You can access the Fire Services Levy calculator using the following link http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/fire-services-levy-victoria/. The calculator is also available on my apps page www.JustLocal.com.au/apps.

Fire Services Levy - Victoria... 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.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Woolworths Weekly Specials - OMG Desserts

Be careful of Woolworths specials. We picked up two OMG Desserts and I noticed afterwards the special hadn't been applied. The special is for OMG Desserts, but according to the shop assistant it isn't all OMG desserts.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au