Monday, December 21, 2015

Two additional bulk billing doctors added.

I've now added two more bulk billing doctors to the Bulk Billing Doctors Melbourne site. The doctors/practices were passed on and confirmed through a contact.

When using the Bulk Billing Doctors Melbourne site keep in mind there are two pages. The main page of the site is suitable for desktop users, and the mobile site, which can be used by mobile users, but is also very handy for desktop users. The mobile site shows the distance to the nearest doctors or practices.

The maps to help find local bulk billing doctors in Melbourne are at www.bulk-billing-doctors-melbourne.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Mapz.com.au
Making it easier to find local.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

TPG mobile dropouts have increased since TPG moved from Optus to Vodafone.

A few of times I've been talking to a person and my mobile has gone silent. No warning. Nothing. The call has just dropped out. The first time I noticed this was a TPG (Vodafone) to TPG (Optus) call.

More recently I was talking to another person and at the 15 minute point the mobile dropped out. Then after another 15 minutes the call dropped out again. The log on the mobile confirmed the call had dropped out twice after 15 minutes. This was a TPG (Vodafone) to Telstra call. For the call to drop out at 15 minutes and not some random interval makes it feel like it is possibly an action on the part of TPG, the service provider.

Perhaps just a coincidence, but I heard two people who's call had just dropped out discussing the issue. Whilst these people had experienced calls dropping out, there was usually some breaking up in the signal first, however in this case the call just went silent.

There is certainly something strange happening with the TPG service at the moment. I don't think it is  just the change to Vodafone as TPG's carrier, since not all the calls used the Vodafone service. At this point all I can share is the number of dropouts occurring (where the call simply cuts out) with the TPG service, appears to have significantly increased since the announcement of the move from Optus to Vodafone as the carrier. Certainly something to watch.

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bulk billing doctors Melbourne now added to the Mapz site.

One of the advantages of being a developer, is when I find things that interest me I can often write some code and produce a site. The ideas come to me as a result of products or services I find handy. I then create a web app for example that helps me and by making it available on the internet, hopefully others find it useful as well. The most recent idea is for bulk billing doctors in Melbourne.

I recently dropped into the local doctors and noticed their consultation fee had increased to $75. Isn't it amazing how different the standard fee is now from the Medicare rebate? The doctors are OK, but often there's times when a lower cost option is just as good. One example is when people simply need a medical certificate for work. Sometimes getting a second opinion comes in handy. That's when knowing where the closest bulk billing doctor can come in handy.

Doing a search for bulk billing doctors on the internet will provide many doctors and practices, but the problem is they often don't bulk bill everyone. I also saw the situation of a local practice that started up a few years ago and bulk billed, but then switched to only bulk billing certain clients. That practice is still listed as a bulk billing practice on the internet. There's bulk billing practices who bulk bill everyone. That's their business model. Knowing where they are can often come in handy.

I decided I'd put together the bulk billing doctors/practices that I come across and using the Mapz site/approach. That is I create maps showing where the bulk billing doctors/practices can be found and the mobile map shows the nearest five doctors/practices.

Unfortunately at this time I only know one practice that bulk bills everyone and so the maps will only have one entry. As I find other doctors/practices I also add them to the map. If anyone knows of such a doctor/practice please feel free to let me know.

The site is www.Bulk-Billing-Doctors-Melbourne.com.au. You can also find a link to the site on the Mapz site at www.Mapz.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
Help people to find local businesses.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Microsoft Access 2016 runtime security notice "A potential security concern has been identified".

Installing the new version of the Microsoft Access 2016 runtime on a new Windows 10 64 bit computer up popped the familiar potential security concern message. I'm not quite sure why Microsoft hasn't provided an option to enable users to add the location in the runtime, but until they do, this means having to manually make the required changes..


I've now updated my notes (www.OnlineConnections.com.au/myanswers) where I share the information with clients. The solution is MyAnswers 2504.

The aim of this post is to enable clients to know the solution is now available if required. Usually I apply the fix for clients, but for those clients who wish to fix the issue themselves, I'm happy to provide the solution.

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

Friday, December 04, 2015

TPG 321 voicemail no longer works since moving to Vodafone network.

TPG are currently moving mobile customers to the Vodafone network from the Optus network. This is one of those times when whilst I'd prefer to stick with TPG and the Optus network, there really is no choice if you wish to stick with TPG. The Optus plan in time will be phased out. Time to go with the flow.

Nothing major appears to have happened since transferring to Vodafone, but it is course early days. I still have a 3G handset so I'm not able to test to see if the 4G network is better.

The first minor issue is I started receiving notifications for roughly a week the new SIM had been sent. Nothing arrived. Then I received a new set of notifications the SIM was being sent. This time the SIM did arrive after about a week. The important communication to note was not to activate the new service until the SIM card arrived.

The SIM card arrived on the Thursday which I then activated. Activation wasn't to occur until the Saturday and I was advised in the communication to keep using the old SIM card. Mid Saturday afternoon the old service stopped working. I was prepared as I was carrying around the new SIM card. For around an hour I had a feeling the service wasn't stable, but then things settled down.

One thing that didn't occur to me for a few days, was voicemail had also changed. That makes sense. Voicemail is now on Vodafone and not Optus. However this was never really flagged as something to keep in mind. The first I noticed was when I went to check voicemail by dialling 321 and it didn't work. That's strange I thought. Ah. Voicemail needs to be set up again including the announcement. Any old voicemails that I may have kept would be gone. I didn't know what number to call to get voicemails.

A quick check of the TPG site and I found the new number for accessing voicemail is 121. When first used you need to set up the voicemail.

What I have noticed is I no longer receive messages letting me know I've received voicemail. I thought that was handy on the old service and with the new service it may be easier to miss that someone has left a voicemail. On the other hand, the voicemail icon at the bottom of the iPhone screen now indicates there's voicemail. That icon didn't previously do anything. Whilst it does means I have to go into the telephone app, at least there's a way to see if there's voicemail.

As I said, this isn't a really big deal. It would have been nice to be given a heads up on the voicemail change and the new number to access voicemail, but some things often slip through the cracks with such a large migration.

Hopefully others who are being migrated from Optus to Vodafone by TPG who find this post may find this information useful.

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

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

When visiting shopping centres this article is a reminder that you're being tracked.

Our local Westfield Shopping Centre in Doncaster has free W-Fi and ticketless parking. Both technologies provide a lot of data to companies which can be analysed to find ways to increase your spending.

The following article provides some hints as to why shopping centres (and other areas) are increasing the amount of tracking.

http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/business-it/is-it-really-free-wifi-20151129-glb4p9.html

Batistich was candid about the company's reasons for the rollout.

"We did it, to be blunt, because we wanted a location analytics platform. We wanted to understand what people did in our malls so we could start to acquire a profile so we could send them content that's relevant based on their previous physical behaviour," he said.

Interestingly the article states using Wi-Fi Westfield could generate more than 470 interactions for a single shopper, whatever that may mean.

One question that does come to mind for me is, are they linking your registration to your Wi-Fi?

If this type of tracking concerns you, keep in mind you can park outside the shopping centre, and whilst in the shopping centres, turn off your Wi-Fi. I'd also suggest turning off Bluetooth as that can also be tracked, but so far there's no indication that I've read, that Bluetooth is being tracked. It's seems to be much easier to track Wi-Fi.

For some, possibly most people, tracking won't be an issue. As long people know and can make informed decisions that's really all that matters.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mac OS X birthday notifications appearing by the dozens.

This morning I noticed something strange on my MacBook Air. A birthday notification for one of my contacts for tomorrow. Their birthday isn't tomorrow. Also since I don't store birthday information in my contacts it didn't make sense. I then received another, and then another.

On closer examination I noticed a considerable number of contacts have the birth date 30 November 1999 and I certainly didn't enter this date into the contacts.

What I suspect has happened is I've entered contacts into my iPhone, at one point synchronised the contacts with iCloud and then the contacts have been picked up from iCloud by the MacBook Air. I've not directly entered the contacts. into the MacBook Air. I use other software for recording my contacts, but I do enter contacts into my iPhone.

It looks like instead of Apple not entering values into unpopulated fields, they've made an incorrect decision to populate the date fields with a default value.

As you can see from the above record which is for my own business in the contact list. From recollection I would have only included the entry o make the email address easily available. Certainly birthday and anniversary dates do not apply.

To fix the issue the only way I've found so far, is to visit each contact and remove the birthday and anniversary fields.

As a person who has done software development in the past, it always interests me to see these quirks where someone hasn't perhaps thought things through as well as they could have. These entires were entered back on an old iPhone 3GS, so perhaps this issue only affects people who have contacts entered many years ago.

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

Friday, November 27, 2015

Telstra mobile Wi-Fi - Sorry, Pre-Paid activation is currently unavailable

Over the years Telstra activations have often not gone as expected. Sometimes it may have been my fault, sometimes it may have been Telstra's. OK, mostly Telstra but no harm sharing the blame.

Since many people purchase Telstra mobile Wi-Fi devices, I thought I'd share this experience in case it helps others. The device in question was the Telstra Elite Mobile W-Fi. Unpacked, set up, and ready to go, I went to activate. At the end of completing the form and hitting submit, I received the following message.


At this point you get that sinking feeling. It's around an hour's drive to the nearest Telstra shop and since it's in the mid evening, the support line was closed. It was Friday and I wanted to use the device over the weekend whilst away. Ah well. These things happen.

Then I thought, there was a question about additional services for the plan. There was only one option and since there were no additional services with the plan, I thought not selecting the option was logical. I decided to redo the activation and the second time selected the option. This time the activation worked. It really didn't make sense to provide a single option, when if required, could have just as easily been set as preselected.

The lesson here is, if the activation doesn't work, then don't hesitate to start the process again.

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Block auction results 2015 - South Yarra

For a little fun, the following are The Block auction results for 2015 as the auctions take place. Press Reload on your browser if you're watching this page to get the latest information.

1. Caro and Kingi
Level: 2
Reserve: $1,330,000
Result: $1,735,000
Profit: $405,000

2. Suzi and Vonni
Apartment: 3
Reserve: $1,480,000
Result: $1,829,000
Profit: $349,000

3. Dean and Shay
Level: Penthouse
Reserve: $1,645,000
Result: $2,300,000
Profit: $655,000

4. Whitney and Andrew
Reserve: $1,400,000
Result: $1,790,000
Profit: $390,000

5. Luke and Ebony
Reserve: $1,560,000
Result: $2,200,000
Profit $640,000

The winners of this year's The Block (the Blocktagon) are Dean and Shay.

I hope everyone reading this post has enjoyed watching the auction unfold. It was good to see Luke and Ebony do well. Congratulations to Dean and Shay, the winners and all contestants. Great results all round.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Free TV online - Keyword added to JustLocal search facility

Some years ago I signed up to Optus cable and found watching free-to-air TV via the cable service worked well. Watching free-to-air TV over a paid service doesn't really make sense, but sometimes having the ability to simply watch free-to-air streamed over the internet does make sense.

At last the ability to watch free-to-air TV over the internet is becoming a reality. Channel 7 has now gone live with three channels. with Channel 9 expected to go live in 2016. Hopefully Channel 10 will follow.

Those using the Search Australia facility available on JustLocal may already know you can access catch-TV using the keywords TV 7, TV 9, TV 10 and SBS TV. As the new live streaming services come online I'll add keywords for those services.

The first is LIVE 7, which provides access to the three channels from Channel 7. That is 7, 7 Two and 7 Mate.

LIVE 9 has been set up to access the new site for channel 9, but this isn't expected to go live until 2016.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
www.AdvancedSearch.com.au/SearchAustralia

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

ALDI Medion 4.5" Smartphone P4502 (MD 98942) can't see TP-LINK access point, but can see other access points.

As I was testing the Aldi Medion 4.5" Smartphone P4502, I noticed the smartphone could not see all the available access points. I decided to investigate.

The result of what I found is available in the MyAnswers solution 2501 (www.onlineconnections.com.au/myanswers/). For some people it may be wise to give the Aldi Medion 4.5" Smartphone P4502 a miss as it may be a problem for them.

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Convert kilojoules to Calories calculator

When dieting we have the strange situation where the energy stated on packets is in kilojoules, but often talk is about Calorie counting. Google when you search often presents calculators, but in this case I find their calculator confusing.

To make it easy for others I wrote a simple calculator which converts from kilojoules to Calories. You can find the calculator at www.convertkilojoulestocalories.com.au.

I hope you find it useful.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Monday, September 21, 2015

Message - Unfortunately, this PC is unable to run Windows 10. VirtualBox Graphics Adaptor

I was running Windows 7 on the MacBook Air using VirtualBox. There's some restrictions, but a technical oriented person I work around those issues. I decided to update to Windows 10 and received this message.


After a some trial and effort I now have Windows 10 installed on the MacBook Air. I'll provide the approach in a MyAnswers solutions shortly (www.OnlineConnections.com.au/myanswers) which will be available to clients.

I'd suggest at this stage to stick with Windows 7 until VirtualBox produces a stable version 5 as I've noticed a number of issues where the screen freezes or isn't handled properly.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Update: 15 Oct 2015
I'd suggest giving the update a miss at this stage. Virtualbox freezes very frequently (even as often as every few minutes sometimes) resulting in the need to quit and restart Windows. I consider this quite poor on Oracle's part. I'll update this post once I believe Virtualbox running Windows 10 on a Mac is again reasonably stable.

Update:11 February 2016
It's been a number of months now and running Windows 10 using VirtualBox on the MacBook Air is still not stable. Fortunately my Windows use on the Mac can be limited, and for the short periods quitting VirtualBox and restarting Windows 10 provides sufficient time between freezes for me to get what needs to be done.

Update: 11 March 2016
Applied the latest update 5.0.16r105871. Windows 10 automatic updates also applied. Windows 10 still freezes. Perhaps since I'm using a Mac to run VirtualBox this doesn't have the same number of users and thus not as high a priority. It really does seem strange VirtualBox is performing so badly.

Update: 1 May 2016
Applied the latest update 5.0.20 and still freezes. I decided time to investigate as I didn't feel a problem like this would last this long. Through trial and error I found the issue appears to be related to the settings. Once the settings were changed Windows 10 on VirtualBox so far hasn't frozen.

Friday, September 18, 2015

iTunes error message - Unable to connect to iTunes purchases.

I've noticed all day today error messages on the MacBook Air relating to communication errors with iTunes. I wasn't initially able to check the account, but then it worked.


Given Apple have just released iOS 9 I suspect there's quite a load on their servers and the intermittent message may be caused by that load.

In this case it's a good idea to simply wait a few days and when the initial rush for iOS 9 is over, things should go back to normal.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Energy Cost Calculator has now moved back to the JustLocal site.

For a while the Energy Cost Calculator which is a web app I wrote, has lived under its own domain. I've decided to cull domains that aren't paying for themselves and as a result the Energy Cost Calculator now lives on the JustLocal site.

You can find the Energy Cost Calculator at www.JustLocal.com.au/clients/energy-cost/.

The Energy Cost Calculator is a great too to help you save money on electricity. You can enter the wattage of an appliance, the number of hours a day you use the appliance, and using your current electricity supplier's rate, you can determine how much an appliance is costing you. This calculator has helped me reduce my energy usage to around half, which is quite a saving each year.

The second part of the calculator enables you to determine the payback period of replacing an older less energy efficient device with a new more efficient device. It isn't always obvious whether or not you'll save money by simply throwing out an older appliance and replacing it with a new appliance. Remember you have to buy the new appliance and sometimes that will cost much more than the energy used. In those cases it's best to wait until the appliance reaches its end-of-life and then replace it. A good example of how you can save money is an old TV and set-top box I was using. I worked out by buying a new LCD TV the TV would pay for itself over six years. It makes sense to then dispose of the old TV/set-top box and purchase the more efficient, and I have to say better spec'd TV.

An example of when it isn't worthwhile to replace an old appliance with a new one is when it is rarely used. For example we have a couple of lights which are rarely used, and then only for a few minutes at a time. For example in an storage area. The old light doesn't use much energy since it is rarely used. The new low energy light would never pay for itself in that situation.

The Energy Cost Calculator has enabled me to put a cost against each appliance and in doing so has enabled me to be better informed. Being better informed allows me to make better financial decisions with the use and purchase of appliances. I hope others find the calculator as useful as I have.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Alert: Bunnings Giftcard/OralB Testpanel - You have received a giftcard/Wanted: Oral B Tests

This morning I received a number of Bunnings GiftCard and OralB Testpanel emails. The emails were sent to email addresses harvested from the internet, some of which aren't visible but embedded in code.



The emails are certainly scams and you should delete them.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Alert: Google Adwords: Ads soon stopping - Money almost depleted.

I received this message this morning and thought is this a scam, or is it a legitimate message.

Here's the situation. I haven't used Google Adwords for advertising since 2013. All the campaigns were paused. The only advertising I did was as part of my testing and I didn't find Google Adwords worked for me. I spent more than the work I received. All campaigns were paused.


This morning I received this message and when I went into Google Adwords, there was a campaign that was running. I paused the campaign and again made sure all campaigns were paused.

I then checked my statement and I can see there's been no activity since the period 1/8/2013-31/8/2013 and there was closing balance of $0.00 Yet today there's activity.

This really doesn't make sense and is a concern. I'm always concerned there's a possibility of an error on Google's part and charges could be incurred. I've now deleted all campaigns and removed the expired credit card details. I still prefer to have access to the tools in Google Adwords as I find them useful, but if I find an issue, it will probably be best to delete the account. The real concern is I've seen others rack up quite substantial bills unexpectedly in other online services. That makes me wary of any online service where you provide a mechanism for them to receive payment.

If you get messages from Google Adwords you should check your account and make sure everything is as you expect it to be.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Monday, July 13, 2015

As a small business, can you handle the comments you'll receive from the public on online forums?

The internet provides many open online forums and over time, the forums I've participated in and the sites where comments are enabled, I've noticed one thing. The comments can become quite vitriolic much more frequently than I see in our normal interactions in society. Just visit any media site and start reading the comments. The comments will generally start out fine but before long they will often become quite vitriolic.

In 2003-2006 in the open source forums I participated in, I noticed it was only a matter of time before people would leave as they end up being attacked by another. It just seems to be the way of open forums online.

The problem is as businesses we're now encouraged to be very public on social media and that creates an exposure that most of us may find hard to handle. Recently I decided to disable comments across all my public sites. Most comments are spam, the next group tend to be negative people having a go at you, and rarely, there's valuable feedback that can help others.

I found the following on the The Registrar site and thought it was worth sharing. In particular the final comment, "That's why you never read the comments, Ellen. Take it from us.".


As a business it is important to know whether or not you can handle the vitriol you'll receive from the general public on public online forums. Most people are decent, but there are a few who seem far more active on open forums that are quite vitriolic and can impact you or your business quite a bit. You need to think carefully whether or not such activity will benefit or harm your business.

I know one group I participate in, since there's such a large number of vocal vitriolic people, it actually makes me feel like the whole group consists of such people and I'd be hesitant to use any of the services from the group. One section of the group tarnishes the whole group. So even if you're a decent person, being part of such groups can affect your reputation and ability to gain business.

When participating in public online forums make sure you know the benefits and the costs to your business from your participation.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Alert: Referral spam sites 4webmasters.org, webmonitizer.net, dailyrank.net, sitevaluation.org, success-seo.com

On the 22nd of June I wrote a post about the referral spam sites I was seeing in the stats. Referral spam is when you look at your stats and notice traffic coming from sites but there's really not actual visitor traffic coming from the sites. The sites have specifically targeted your site so you see their site and visit them. Being curious many people will check out the site they're seeing in their stats. They're using the stats to advertise their sites.

The sites in my stats today showing some traffic are: 4webmasters.org, webmonitizer.net, dailyrank.net, sitevaluation.org, success-seo.com.

If you see sites in your stats you're not sure of, keep in mind they may simply be spamming you. If sites are spamming you then I always suggest not using their services. Do you really want to give business to businesses using less honourable techniques to promote their businesses?

Sometimes curiosity will get to you. Not much you can do about that. Just be aware of why they are appearing in your stats.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Alasdair Wilkins lost 45 kg in weight by walking.

The headline to a story I read was "How Alasdair Wilkins lost 45kg just by walking".

www.news.com.au/lifestyle/fitness/how-alasdair-wilkins-lost-45kg-just-by-walking/story-fnlsuulf-1227434091460

The problem with this type of article is it is very misleading to people and then people wonder why they can't lose weight.

Here's the problem. This article emphasises walking only and quotes "Basically, I just went to the gym and I walked. On a treadmill, uphill, at a brisk pace, for about an hour every day — and I do mean every day". It is only down further in the article there's a one line sentence "Alasdair wrote that he didn’t adjust his diet — just ate smaller portions." He didn't adjust his diet. Yes he did. He dieted as well. That is what eating smaller portions is.

Let's look at the maths behind what Alasdair Wilkins did. Alasdair initially weighed 285 pounds (129.5 kg). He walked for one hour per day for a year. That's 365 hours or 21,900 minutes. The Energy Exercise Calculator (www.justlocal.com.au/clients/dieting/exercise.php) enables us to calculate how much energy we use for particular exercises given a weight and the time taken. However since Alasdair's weight changes over time so does the energy used. To help us estimate we'll use his average weight for the period which is 129.5 kg less half of 45 kg giving us 107 kg. We now enter 107 kg, a time of 21,900 minutes, select fast walking (7 km/h) and that gives us energy usage of  768.895 kJ. If we divide this by 33,000 (the energy equivalent of 1 kg of fat) we get an expected weight loss of around 23 kg.

That's roughly half the weight that Alasdair lost. How was the remaining weight lost? It was those smaller portions. Half of the weight loss was from exercise and half from dieting, even though Alasdair didn't think he was dieting.

If Alasdair had simply continued to eat at his usual level, which was more than his body needed, there's a good chance he may not have lost any weight at all. Only when his energy intake comes below what his body requires would we expect to see a reduction in weight. At roughly 2,000 kJs per day for fast walking, it is very easy to counter the exercise with food or drinks.

Alasdair's story is a great story and I think it is inspiring. It shows if you increase your exercise and reduce your energy intake you can achieve a massive result. Keep in mind Alasdair did this seven days a week. You can't expect the same result doing it just 2 or 3 days a week.

I've tested losing weight by dieting alone (this worked very well), exercise alone (this didn't work), so my next test will be to diet and exercise using an approach similar to Alasdair's by doing one hour of walking per day, along with a 2,000 kJ reduction in energy intake. I'll share the results on my site www.WeightLossMaths.com.au. I provide links to all my weight-loss calculators on that page as well as on JustLocal.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Alert: Incoming Fax. Incoming Fax Report and Internal Only

This morning I've received four emails with various email accounts with the subject "Incoming Fax". All have a zipped attachment, but the service I use to scan the attachments (which tests using up to 55 of the commonly used anti-virus programs),  shows none of the anti-virus programs most people use will detect any malware.

The body of the email contains something like the following.

*********************************************************
INCOMING FAX REPORT
*********************************************************

Date/Time: Mon, 6 Jul 2015 14:01:59 -0800
Speed: 4945bps
Connection time: 06:07
Pages: 4
Resolution: Normal
Remote ID: 868-776-6359
Line number: 7
DTMF/DID:
Description: Internal only

To download / view please download attached file

*********************************************************


These emails and their attachments are very suspicious and if they do contain malware, at this point people are generally not protected. You should delete them immediately.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Update: This post has a published on time of 8:53 am. It's now 11:36 am and I've rechecked. Seven out of 55 anti-virus programs now identify the attachment as malware. The only popular anti-virus program to identify the malware now is McAfee. This isn't an endorsement of McAfee as the next malware may have a different order of the anti-virus software being updated. What is important to realise is we're now well into the normal morning for a typical office and the majority of users will not be protected. Their only defence is common sense. Do take care with emails. 

Monday, July 06, 2015

Catch Up Coffee has again moved out under its own domain (and now back to Mapz)

A while ago I created the Catch Up Coffee site to make it easier for myself and others to meet to catch up for a coffee, network and discuss business.

Over the years I'd found attending informal networking meetings like those run in conjunction with councils had no result. I even decided to join BNI as I thought a professional group may produce better results. Whilst I gave a lot of business to others, and received a lesser amount in return, after 8 months I'd made just $300 above costs and put in at least 5 hours a week. I've tried others networking groups in between, but really the cost at around $20-$25 each time adds up and gives very little return.

Now all us smaller businesses are in the same boat and we don't want to be wasting thousands of dollars a year networking. In addition going to networking groups that are all over Melbourne often means the likelihood of staying connect is quite remote.

Catch Up Coffee on the other hand is an approach where anyone can organise a group of local business people and the only cost need be a coffee. I like this approach and I find others like the approach as well. Now as to whether it generates any more business or not, the jury is still out on that one, but at least it's reduced the cost of connecting with others. I do know others who have attended the Catch Up Coffees I've organised have made connections and I've even referred a few people to those who attended.

A little while ago I decided to move Catch Up Coffee under the Mapz site. Google appears to give no value to domains that are redirected, so having the .com.au domain redirected is really a waste. I decided rather than let the domain go to waste that it would be better to use the domain and move the content out from under Mapz. In the end if really made no difference so I've decided to let the domain go and return to having the site under Mapz at www.mapz.com.au/catchupcoffee/.

As I attend cafes, if I find there's some reason the venue isn't suitable  for a network meeting, then I remove the cafe from the map. For example one I removed because it was far too noisy, another because it was too cramped, very difficult to find, and the parking might have been an issue. As I check out additional cafes in the list, or find other suitable cafes, I'll adjust the list.

I suggest to others don't wait for me to organise a Catch Up Coffee in your area. Just grab a contact you'd like to catch up with and then invite others. At worst you still get to catch up with one person, but equally, you may find others who would also like to connect.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.mapz.com.au/catchupcoffee/
Helping local businesses to connect.

Prices can vary quite a lot for a simply petrol siphon.

I purchased the following siphon the other day to drain some liquid from a fish tank. The irony is I wanted to buy it from Supercheap Auto previous Friday, but arrived one minute to 8pm after being at the shopping centre. Never thought they'd have different hours so decided to wait another day.



The price at Supercheap Auto was $6.99

I decided to check the internet over the weekend and found the same item at BCF for $4.99. When I was on the road I was near a BCF so dropped in. Next door was an Autobarn so decided to check the price there and found the price was $9.96. This isn't a plug for BCF as one of the items I'd noticed in Autobarn for $3.99 was $7.99 in BCF. But it does show quite a price variance from $4.99 to $9.96.

This really is also a reminder that just because a business has cheap in their name, doesn't make it so. You really do need to shop around. Although at the same time do keep in mind driving around costs money too and researching on the internet takes time. I was once at the local Bunnings store and they'd run out of the length of curtain wire I wanted and only had the more expensive longer length. I was about to go to the another Bunnings store but first decided to do a quick check of the fuel cost using my web app the Petrol Cost Calculator (www.petrolcostcalculator.com.au). I quickly realised the cost of petrol alone (let alone the wear and tear on the car) would have exceeded the extra cost of buying the longer length curtain wire, so I went back into the store and made the purchase. I found this was a very useful and enlightening lesson.

You really do have to shop around to make sure you're getting a good price, but you also need to keep in mind travel and time costs if you make a specific trip. I built JustLocal to make it easier for people to shop locally, but also with the belief that people shouldn't have to pay more to support local. Sometimes however it's important to not just look at the straight out price, but also consider any other costs you may incur from shopping around.

As a side note I found this particular siphon wasn't very good. The secondary tube is not much longer than the main tube and I believe this resulted in the siphon not working as it should. Quite frustrating really.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Alert: Spam from Gerry Pencer, Priya and

We all receive spam every day.

This one from Gerry Pencer.

Hi onlineconnections.com.au Team,

 Hope you are doing well.

We went through your website onlineconnections.com.au and got to know few key points, which needs your attention on priority to transform your SEO efforts.

From Pencer Priya.

Hi,

Hope this email finds you well.

I am Priya Ray, SEO-Consultant.

I went through your website “www.onlineconnections.com.au”checked it for a few keywords on Google. Unfortunately, it was not ranking on any of those. It was not ranking on any of the search engines as per the keywords pertaining to your domain.

From .

Good morning,

I’m , a professional writer and best-selling author.

I am a regular Huffington Post contributor with one of my blogs generating 8.2k Facebook Likes and over 5k re-tweets on Twitter. I’ve also been published in The Age, The Business Woman Media, Rare Birds, Women in Focus, Blog Society and so on.

What I found particularly interesting pattern is how each of these used Hotmail or Gmail accounts to send their spam. You would think if they're promoting a business they'd use a business email address.

The best thing you can do with spam is hit the delete key. If a business is using spam to promote themselves that's not a business I'd want to to deal with. If you want to go the extra step report the spam to the email service provider. You'll find information on reporting spam on their sites.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Google to reduce the amount of accidental clicks on ads.

When using the mobile phone I've clicked on a lot of ads over time. The problem is I've never once wanted to click on the ads on my mobile device. Perhaps you've done it too.

The problem for me it's an annoyance in terms of user experience, but the bigger problem I think is for the advertiser. Clicking on ads can cost them real money and if sites are placing ads where they're more easily accidentally clicked for the site to generate income, the ads probably aren't going to convert for the advertiser. If this article is correct, then up to 50% of ads are being clicked on accidentally and that's a huge cost to businesses for no return.

http://betanews.com/2015/06/27/google-will-eliminate-accidental-mobile-ad-clicks/

I do place ads on my pages for revenue generation, but only text ads which means the links need to be clicked meaning it is more difficult to accidentally click on an ad. Image based ads however mean you can click anywhere in the ad and that makes it much easier to click on an ad accidentally.

When visiting sites such as news sites I often see those ads that that pop up on the mobile taking up the full screen. Quite often I click on the small X in the corner to find I'm now thrown across to a page advertising something I never wanted to visit, which of course means quickly closing the page.

For businesses this is one more thing to think about when buying online ad space. So far I've not found paying for clicks to be worthwhile, but the mileage for others may be vary. I do place ads on my pages for revenue generation, but only text ads, which means the links need to be clicked making it more difficult to accidentally click on an ad. Image based ads however mean you can click anywhere in the ad making to accidentally click.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Single click access to local businesses.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Aldi car socket adaptor at an excellent price, but you can't tell what the mA rating is for the USB ports.

Over the years I've purchased a number of 12V USB adaptors thinking they were a great bargain. I soon came to realise some of those bargain USB adaptors may be a waste of money. The problem is for devices such as an iPhone, some of the adaptors can't deliver enough power and won't work.

When looking at the adaptors make sure you check the mA rating. There's 1,000 milliamps to an amp, so if you see the rating as 500mA that's 0.5 amps or half an amp.

The 12V USB adaptor I use has two ports one with 1A and the other with 2A and it works great.

The problem isn't that the good ones aren't inexpensive, the problem is often you're not aware of what is important so the companies sell you equipment which really isn't suitable to your needs.

If only Aldi provided a clear picture showing the rating it would be much easier to make a decision. At $4.99 if the rating is 1A I'd be very happy to buy one, or perhaps two of the units. I'm using 12V power now for more of my energy needs so these adaptors can come in handy.


With the 12V sockets, do be careful not to try to use too much power. I'm often reluctant to use some 12V devices in the car because one device (a scrolling LED sign) ended up damaging the electronics in the car and to get that fixed, wasn't a bill I was looking forward to. Luckily or unluckily, the car was in an accident and didn't need to be repaired. Make sure you understand the power limitations of your devices and your car's wiring.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.EnergyCostCalculator.com.au

UPDATE: 1 July 2015
The USB ports on this device are 1A and 2.1A. This is the power level of another adaptor I have which works well, so I was happy to purchase two of these from Aldi.

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Melburnians got to work on census day in 2011.

I find facts and figures to be very interesting and thought the figures on the mode of transport on how Melburnians got to work could be interesting for others.

http://profile.id.com.au/australia/travel-to-work?WebID=260

The first thing I thought was strange about the figures was the headline. Unless they're trying to market the idea that walking and riding a bike are somehow connected, it really doesn't make a great deal of sense to group them together. It is a good way to grab attention and make it appear that one of the groups is much larger than people think. I suspect many people read headlines and don't bother to check the underlying figures.

Now if it is about what's good for the environment, there's an even more interesting figure. The number of people working from home exceeded those who cycled or those who walked.

I shudder when I see all the roadworks and the huge cost focused on bike riders. Where there was once two lanes many of those have been reduced to one. So many roads now being strangled for car users. So many roads with two lanes have been reduced to one.

An interesting change that caught my eye is the percentage reduction in the number car passengers from 2006 to 2011. That's not a particularly good trend.

JustLocal is about making it easier to find people who work from home and really, there's no more efficient form of transport than not having to use transport at all. Whilst the number has increased, it is again not a good trend that percentage wise the change is less.

I hope others find the figures as interesting as I do.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Qantas Movies discount vouchers

Just received an email from Qantas promoting their new Qantas Movies movie voucher offer. I get more advertising from Qantas now for products other than flights, so whilst I didn't see movie vouchers coming, it isn't unexpected. I decided to check out the offer.

From my quick review you need to purchase four tickets at a time. The cost is $12 per ticket. As far as discount tickets go this isn't a bad price, but with the requirement to purchase 4, you may be spending more money than you want. I'm not a fan of tying money up in this way as often discount movies tickets for us can sit in the draw for months. Sometimes we need to actually plan a movie night just so we use the tickets and that's not the best value. Effectively we've spent money we wouldn't have used in our normal activities and when that happens, it's not a bargain at all.

How does this compare with other offers? We currently get two discount tickets for $24.95 and Telstra seem to offer movies tickets for Village for $11. Sometimes we don't use the tickets because there's better offers on the day. For example on Sundays if I recall correctly, at Greensborough the price of a ticket is $9.95.

Overall much better than paying full price but keep in mind there's many places now you can buy discount tickets. Make sure you check the terms and conditions and in particular restrictions.

As a side not I found when I was buying discount tickets I'd buy based on my past buying habits and the brand I preferred. I put together a map of the cinemas and using the mobile version which shows the closest cinemas to me, I was quite surprised that four out of the five closest cinemas to me were Hoyts and not Village. I had more choice by buying a Hoyts. You can find the mobile map at www.mapz.com.au/nearestcinema/mobile/.

The other issue I've found if you do buy tickets to a particular cinema chain, or worse a specific cinema, that movies showing and the times for the movies you want to see may not suit you. Often we've had to decide on a movie based on when it was showing, even if that meant paying full price. A reason discount tickets can end up sitting in the draw longer than expected.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Coles weekly specials can save you 50% with their half price specials.

Occasionally I decide to save a bit of money by checking out the Coles' weekly specials. The specials I'm interested in are the half price specials and more specifically, those that I could buy a small quantity that I could then store for future use. That way I'm not just saving money on one packet, but saving the money times the quantity. That type of saving can make it worthwhile when I'm close to a Coles store.

A couple of things I keep in mind. Don't buy what you won't normally use. What I'm doing is replacing our normal purchases with discounted purchases saving us money. Don't get tricked by specials as often items on special, even at half price, may still cost more than the regular item you purchase. A special can easily trick you. Don't buy too much. No point tying your money up for long periods of time as there's often another special down the track. Really be careful with those items that can tempt you like confectionary. Yes they're on special but would you normally buy them?

The good thing about specials is you can quickly check them online. The price of specials online is the same as they are in-store. I notice some stores allow you to order online and collect in-store, which may save some shopping time. If you can get free delivery (I don't know if that's available) then that may be an option, but do remember delivery fees can often make a large impact on your savings. I simply drop in if I have time when I'm near a Coles. A special trip in terms of time and travel cost can eat into any savings quite quickly.

Let's see how this works. Using the following link we can quickly get to the current Coles' catalogue.

www.coles.com.au/catalogues-and-specials/view-all-available-catalogues

All the half price items are well marked so they can be checked quickly. Sometimes there's nothing that catches my attention. Let's say however the 5 kg rice from this week's catalogue suits. The price is $6.80, a saving of $6.80. In our case two packets would be enough as that's a lot of rice for us. The saving would be $13.60. There's a couple of other items in the catalogue that we'd also be interested in so we could easily make a saving of $20-$30 for a small detour in our daily activities. Over a year that type of saving can really add up.

It really is a good feeling when you save $20-$30 for a few minutes of effort and see that saving on the receipt. The main things to keep in mind is to minimise the time involved and only buy what you need and what you'd normally use. The majors are excellent markets and you can easily get seduced into buying more expensive products, products you don't need, or products just to spoil yourself, and that could mean at worst case, your spend more than you normally would. Bargain hunters are known to spend more money than other consumers so yes whilst things may be cheap, you don't want to end up spending more.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au


Friday, June 26, 2015

Alert: Receiving spam about the TrackR and TrackR Bravo device.

I received a couple of spam emails today promoting the TrackR device. The emails strangely enough were sent from France, yet the address on the emails was Santa Barbara California in America.

My approach is if businesses spam to get attention then it's best to disregard the company's products. If they're not prepared to use ethical marketing practices then what else will they be prepared to do or not do. Certainly not worth the risk.

The best thing to do with spam emails is to hit the delete key.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The sharing economy, Uber, AirBnB, now looks to be joined by Ford.

When I read about the sharing economy I tend to shudder. Whilst I think there are some great opportunities, the real problem is there's a lot of media coverage, but in most pro type articles it's all about spreading the word. The general public starts thinking of this sharing stuff is OK. It must be because the media tells me so.

The reality is far from it. If you're thinking about participating or using any of these services, you really need to check out your rights and obligations. When you get into a UberX vehicle in Australia the driver is often not obeying the law and that means you probably don't know where you stand if there's a problem. That AirBnB property you're about to stay in. Are they breaking the law? What's the insurance cover? Is there any? I honestly don't know and I suspect most people won't as well. Even my own home insurance policy has a clause it doesn't cover workmanship and who doesn't do some work around the home.

Ford have just announced trials of car sharing and you'd expect Ford will have covered all the issues, won't they?

http://www.cnet.com/news/ford-rents-out-your-ride-in-new-peer-to-peer-car-rental-scheme/

Legal and insurance issues really are major issues. As an example Telsla appears to be handling the issue of autonomous cars by making them semi-autonomous.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-electric-cars-soon-to-sport-autopilot-functions-such-as-passing-other-vehicles-1431532720

So when you're thinking about the sharing economy make sure you look after your own interests. Whether you're a provider or a user of the services the only person who will look after you, is you. The large companies need to look after themselves first and foremost and their interests may not always be the same as yours.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Are you paying more buying on the internet instead of buying from a local store? Here's an example for Marc Newson unbreakable drinkware.

I found this rather interesting. I popped into Facebook this morning (not a regular user of Facebook) because I wanted to check an old message from last year. At the right I noticed this ad.

I'd been searching for an unbreakable tumbler and I'd previously found the local David Jones in Doncaster stocked this item for $8.95. Wow I thought, $39.80 that's quite a difference, but let's see what it's for. It turned out the $39.80 was for four tumblers, which is $9.95 per tumbler. Delivery is free. Shipping is 3-7 days but the site has no contact details should there be an issue.

The requirement was for one tumbler, or perhaps two if they were difficult to get. Buying online via this ad would have ended up costing more and getting more tumblers than required.

Interestingly all the leg work had been done and the product found at David Jones. The Facebook ad piggy backed on my previous search effort using a technique known as remarketing. That's when ads follow you on the internet and you keep seeing the ads. In this case the ad was for a competitor to David Jones. If you're not aware of the advertising techniques used on the internet, you may end up being "remarketed" to and end up paying more than you need. Make sure if you click on the ads you then do further research.

For those interested, the online search time to find a suitable tumbler was quite a while. Yes I didn't have to leave the comfort of my chair, but it did get frustrating as finding a suitable product online wasn't as easy as expected. A trip to the local shopping centre provided three options quite quickly with prices of $2, $6 and the $8.95 product mentioned.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au



Monday, June 22, 2015

SEO Company Melbourne test by reverting to a previous version of the main page.

I thought I'd share this test without first knowing the outcome. With the SEO Company Melbourne site I continue to make changes and test the outcome. Recently I changed the main page of the www.SEO-Company-Melbourne.com.au site, but unfortunately for a search for "SEO Company Melbourne", the page went from position 8-10 to position 18. I suggest to others that if they make a change and the change has a negative impact in Google ranking, they should consider reverting to the previous version.

Now of course the problem may not be the page at all. Google may have decided to change the importance of external factors, so really it is just a matter of test and see. The SEO Company Melbourne site is a test site so changes have no real business impact. As always you should consider the overall effect on your business of any changes.

Tests like this usually take around one to two weeks. Once the result is known I'm happy to share the result with clients.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Alert: Referral spam sites best-seo-offer.com, 100dollars-seo.com, buttons-for-your-website.com, semaltmedia.com.

You're checking your logs and you notice some traffic hitting your site which pleases you. It's great to see someone referring to your site. You decide to check out the source of the referrals out of curiosity. Yep. You've just fallen for referral spam.

Sites such as best-seo-offer.com, 100dollars-seo.com, buttons-for-your-website.com and semaltmedia.com now appear in the analytics for a number of my sites and they don't excite me at all. They're simply referral spam designed to promote the sites. Whilst I'm not exactly sure of the mechanism used, I suspect it's simply a robot reaching my sites. No real value at all and designed to trick me and other webmasters. Hopefully the likes of Google and other search engines are onto them (I'm sure they are) and don't credit the sites with activity from this less than desirable activity.

If you see any of these sites just ignore them. You can filter them in your analytics but that doesn't mean the sites are gone, just not seen. I've read you can use the .htaccess file on your site to block or redirect the requests, but it's hard to say if it's worth the effort.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Friday, June 19, 2015

PayPal Here reader experience.

I decided last night to go out and buy a PayPal Here reader from Officeworks. The price has dropped to $99, and whilst not generally required due to how I run my business, the reader does provide a resource that I would have liked in the past. I also noticed the current price on PayPal's site is $99. The previous price was $139, so I suspect Officeworks is matching the price, and unless PayPal puts their price up, it may be the price for the reader going forward.



Generally I invoice clients and I find the majority of clients are very good. One client I'd known for a while was going to transfer the money over the weekend. They never did. It's really my fault as this client had become a friend, but in the past had been a bad payer. So lesson learnt. In similar situations the PayPal Here reader can avoid this type of issue. Payment on delivery is a great way to ensure you get paid and really minimises the risk.

Another trend I've noticed is people are carrying less cash and prefer to pay via credit card. Having a mobile credit card facility means payment can be done on the spot. This can be done via a web page, but the PayPal Here reader provides a quicker and thus more professional presentation. In addition the fees are slightly lower.

For anyone going down the PayPal Here path I'd highly recommend they set up the app before they purchase any equipment. I was part of the original PayPal Here device release and it took weeks to get approved and my PayPal account was locked for weeks. I submitted a considerable amount of information and actually gave up. Sometime later my account was unlocked and the facility working. Not a pleasant experience at all, but at least I had everything working again. To me there is some risk using PayPal, but that's for another time. For me, in the way I wish to use PayPal, and taking the precautions I do, PayPal will suffice.

Setting up the new PayPal Here reader wasn't too difficult, but it wasn't just plug in and go either. The mobile phone didn't pick up the device so I had to work out how to force the two to see each other. After this I had the device connected. Next I needed to update the device as instructed. Again whilst not ideal, not a big issue either.

OK. The first test. I paid $2 from my credit card and the payment went through. I went to enter the customer details for myself but PayPal didn't like my email being the same as the merchant account. Go figure. So I decided to not test the invoice feature. I did receive the receipt. PayPal already knew the email address which I thought was weird. The next test was to reverse the payment via my notebook's browser. This worked well however one major concern was no email was received for the reversal. That's going to leave the customer wondering whether or not you've made the reversal. Not good really.

Next I decided to test American Express. It appears American Express is not accepted. I did want to test the magnetic card reader so I then tried the Mastercard. This failed and I was told to insert the the card. That makes sense, but it does mean I still haven't done a successful test using the strip reader.

I liked the original reader which plugged into the earphone socket as there was no power required. The original reader however was very flimsy and also couldn't handle inserting cards, so from that point of view the new reader is better. The new reader also feels more like a device the customer can enter their pin number into, which should provide greater confidence in terms of keeping their pin number secure.

For those interested in the fees, the cost is 1.95% if you use a credit card, but if you manually enter the details that increases to 2.90% + 30 cents. I've read previously that PayPal keeps the 30 cents on reversals, but in this case using the reader, the full amount appears to be been reversed so I'm not out of pocket. I get the odd payment by cheque from home users and whilst PayPal costs more, the time and cost of going to the bank to deposit a cheque is a hidden cost and often exceeds the PayPal charge.

Having to keep the device charged when I use it infrequently is a concern, but something I'll simply have to get used to. I'm looking forward to using it with my first live customer. I'll update this post to let people know how I go.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.
Now with convenient credit card facilities;-)

Update
I processed my first client purchase recently using the new PayPal Here reader. One thing I did notice is the quite long delay turning the unit on and being ready to process their credit card. I later performed this test and found the time to be around one and half minutes. When the customer is waiting with their card in hand, that length of time feels very long. You may need to work out an approach to minimise this delay.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Cheaper petrol at Liberty on Albert Street and Liberty/United on Bell Street/Chifley Drive (near Northland) in Preston

Isn't it amazing. You know the petrol prices have gone up and you're about to drive into your regular brand of petrol because your tank is almost empty. However the petrol station has now changed to another brand so you drive on.

You're about to turn left to go down the street where you know another of the brand's service stations are but again you think, really can't be bothered. Just as you reach the street then on the corner is a Liberty service station with petrol still at the old price. Yahoo you think to yourself and fill up saving around $10 for a tank of petrol.


Then you drive off and notice a number of petrol stations (Liberty and United) on Bell Street also have the low price.

As we drive into on the prices are all at the new high. How lucky is that! Sometimes waiting just a little can give you a better deal.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Alert: Make sure you set your default photos in Facebook.

I went to an insurance broker's Facebook page this morning to check some contact details. I clicked on the About link to check their contact details. I was then looking for their address so I clicked on their business link which took me to a page where I was asked to suggest a photo. There were two photos. One was their business logo and the other was the following photo.


Now I know insurance brokers believe your business can go bust if you don't have the appropriate insurance, but I don't quite think they mean it that way.

I've never seen this before so it really is a reminder to check everything that can be set in Facebook. I'm sure the broker would be shocked should an inappropriate photo become their Facebook image. I honestly don't know how Facebook will use these photos. As a test I decided to say yes to the less desirable photo (from the business point of view) and no for the business logo. Nothing happened so really not sure what Facebook is going to do. In any case having the general public suggest photos for your business is simply something that I don't think Facebook should do. Even seeing this photo for an insurance broker is not appropriate and can harm their reputation or put off potential customers.

According to the text on the page Facebook lets me know, "This Page is automatically generated based on what Facebook users are interested in, and is not affiliated with or endorsed by anyone associated with the topic." That doesn't inspire me with confidence.

Make sure you review the default photos for your Facebook presence and set what you can. Facebook will still do what it does but at least you've done what you can.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Free for community use advertising section at the bottom of each page has been removed for the moment

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do what is necessary in business. When I designed JustLocal I incorporated my desire to give as I go as part of the design of JustLocal to help the community. I don't like the businesses that grow and take over the world and then as the owners reach retirement they decide to give back. The accumulation of wealth from so many to give back at the end simply doesn't feel right to me. It does work, but still it doesn't feel right.

So I decided to work out how much time and space I could give for free community use and felt 5% would help and at the same time not hurt too much. Unfortunately my idealism has meant far more time than I could afford has been put into helping promote others. Nothing is expected in return. Only once has a charity done something to surprise me and provided a link back to the site.

To succeed with JustLocal I need to focus on where I believe I can make the most difference and that is assisting small businesses. It's a tough life in small business and we all appreciate a hand.

So as much as it really makes me cringe, I believe it is best for my long term of helping the community to remove the free advertising and focus on my niche which is to assist small business. Often businesses working from home that can't be found by locals. Businesses that don't have the funds to be seen.

When the time is right the free for community use will return. It's simply not the right time, right now.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.cocal.com.au
Helping locals find and use the services of local businesses.

Pilates Melbourne test and information site live.

Pilates Melbourne is a site I've set up for testing, but when I set up a site that's visible on the internet, I always like to include some useful information for those reaching the site. Initially I put a call out to those offering pilates to create a mini-directory, but not unexpectedly there was no response. I find it amazing how people expect to get business when they do nothing, but hey, that's their choice. You and I will work hard and assist clients who find us through our efforts. I'd much rather deal with a proactive supplier that values my business than one who simply sits back and expects the business to land in their lap.

Unexpectedly I found that since I then had to go down another path, I actually found that path very interesting and potentially useful for small business. Now the site is called Pilates Melbourne, but really what I've written applies to any location based business. This was a great opportunity for me to delve deeper into Google search and in particular Google maps. What I found was really interesting and I feel valuable.

Feel free to check out the Pilates Melbourne site which you can find at www.Pilates-Melbourne.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Connecting locals with local businesses.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Get Windows 10 prompt appears in Windows 8.1

I was alerted to a prompt that people are now receiving in Windows 8.1. Microsoft have an update (KB3035583) which when installed, places a Windows icon in the system tray area. When you click on the icon a Get Windows 10 screen appears.


This isn't malware, but we do wonder if malware writers will produce malware that displays the same screen. That would be a concern. This screen isn't expected and the approach hasn't been done by Microsoft before to my knowledge.

The Get Windows 10 screen enables people to put in their email address so they'll get notified of Windows 10 when it arrives and it will be downloaded ready for installing. It will be a large download of over 3GB so make sure you have appropriate data allowance. This may not be suitable for this using mobile data.

I'm not exactly sure why anyone would want to register for the Windows 10 upgrade. Windows 10 upgrade will be free for Window 7 SP1 and 8.1 users (legitimate licences) for 12 months when Windows 10 is released. I'm sure we'll all see the advertising when that happens.

The only reason I can see that Microsoft would install such software is to create awareness, so in a way Microsoft is installing adware on users' machines. Some people won't be happy, but others will appreciate the functionality.

When Windows 10 arrives I'd suggest people wait until their IT support people have installed and tested Windows 10. This will enable IT support people to better support issues that may become immediately obvious, as often occurs with new software.

There will be a huge push by Microsoft to get people to upgrade to Windows 10 and hence the reason the release will be free for 12 months. Whilst people may feel inclined to resist, it does remind me of the Borg in Star Trek. Resistance is often futile;-) If Microsoft succeeds they'll most likely reduce the user base of earlier versions of Windows so they can move forward and support the version of Windows they wish to support.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Good Food and Wine Show offer - $10 off ticket

I received an alert for the Good Food & Wine Show for $10 off a ticket from Westfield Doncaster. I must admit I was really quite lost. My first though where would Westfield Doncaster hold such as show. It took a couple of clicks on links to realise Westfield Doncaster wasn't actually holding a show. Westfield Doncaster were most likely simply involved in some way and making an offer.

For those interested in the Good Food & Wine Show I thought I'd pass on the offer in case it is of interest.

www.westfield.com.au/doncaster/events/ticket-offer-good-food-wine-show/16645

For JustLocal members if you're looking for a quality wine then check out the award winning wines from Wupy do.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Friday, May 29, 2015

TPG Home Phone - Calls to the destination you have dialled are currently congested OCA0142

Now we all know that technology breaks down and that also applies to the home phone. Tonight we received a call to our mobile letting us know that our TPG home phone was not working. I decided to call our home phone number and received the following message.

"Calls to the destination you have dialled are currently congested OCA0142"

I keep an old telephone headset so I can remove any other telephone device and simply go back to square one with a simple device, a single handset plugged directly into the line. Picking up the handset and all I received was a set of beeps. The same beeps I'd heard on each of our wireless handsets, so not an equipment problem.

Next I decided to check the internet. Amazingly the internet is still working. The TPG sites lists there's "no issue reported". They certainly have that wrong. It makes me wonder why they bother having a Service Status page if the page never seems to be correct.

Next I decide to call the technical support line. In this case I get a message along the line, "we are currently receiving a larger the expected number of calls..." and then I get hung up on.

Ah well. With all the technology we have at our disposal TPG can still not keep us informed. I accept we'll always have issues with technology and things break down. That's life. However not being able to get through to report a problem are not seeing a problem has been reported on their Service Status page, well...that's just poor service. The real pity is I've found most telcos are the same.

The good thing is we do have back up technology with mobile phones. Always good to have redundancy built into your life so these things are more annoyances rather than major issues.

I suppose I should be thankful. At least I won't get calls tonight from telemarketers;-)

Kelvin Eldridge

Myaa newsletter spam.

I've received a Myaa Newsletter a couple of times now via email. I really don't know why companies spam. I only deal with legitimate companies and to me, any company that spams for business isn't a business I'd deal with. I highly recommend that you delete these emails and contact a local company or ask for a referral.


If you're thinking about spamming to get your message across and promote your business, then do think again. It really isn't worth it.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Helping local business

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Are you sick of ads slowing down your internet experience?

I was reading an article today and the article mentioned many sites ran very slowly because of the additional sites they need to link to. One site had 45 additional sites that needed to be linked to. In many cases the sites are advertising sites.

It occurred to me that often the advertising sites use Javascript to provide their ads. I have ads on my site and the code uses Javascript. I decided to test my site by turning off Javascript in the browser. The result was the ads didn't display and the page loaded fast.

Perhaps a good way to approach this is to have one browser with Javascript enabled and another browser with Javascript disabled. If when using the browser with Javascript disabled you find something isn't working as desired, then open the other browser for that site.

Happy faster browsing.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

iiNet provide small businesses with the ability to provide Wi-Fi internet access at no additional cost.

I saw the following ad and thought it may be of use to some business owners, such as those who may own a cafe or similar business.

I've not checked or used the offer personally, but it does look like iiNet will provide the equipment and installation that will enable a business to provide internet access to their customers. If the cost is around the same as just having their own internet facilities, this may be something worth investigating.

http://www.iinet.net.au/business/small/internet/

Please check this out thoroughly yourself. I'm simply passing on and advertisement I saw which I felt may interest others. In the past I have used iiNet for one client and they were a good provider. iiNet it appears is being taken over by TPG. I don't find TPG's domestic service to be as good as it could be, but for the price, it's often good enough.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

ATO to require UberX drivers to register for and remit GST.

Now I didn't see that one coming. Over time in business we all learn the rules that apply to us but if it isn't in our area, often there's rules we don't even think about. I found the following article particularly interesting because it affects those providing "ride-sourcing" such as UberX drivers.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/05/19/australian_taxation_office_to_uber_drivers_cough_up_consumption_tax/

What is particularly interesting is those providing taxi services need to register for GST and the $75,000 threshold does not apply. If I read the rules correctly, that means "ride-sourcers" will also need to register for an ABN.

From the article "ride-sourcers" have until the 1st of August to register for GST.

This article isn't meant to endorse UberX drivers but simply to raise awareness.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Energy usage monitor and other devices available from Aldi on Saturday the 23rd of May 2015.

Some time ago I created the Energy Cost Calculator web app to assist in determining my energy usage and reduce our electricity costs. The result has been significant with an estimated saving of around $700-$900 a year. All that was required was some knowledge and then some changes in our electricity habits.

On Saturday Aldi is selling a few devices I've used to assist in reducing our energy usage. My favourite is the foot switch for $9.99.  The energy usage monitor is very useful in determining how much electricity your devices are using and that knowledge helps you plan and make adjustments. For $14.99 the energy monitor is a worthwhile investment. The four individual remote controlled switches can be purchased for around the same price at Bunnings, but they're also very handy for conveniently turning off appliances when desired.

Kelvin Eldridge
Energy Cost Calculator
www.EnergyCostCalculator.com.au

Computer Repair Melbourne site hopefully enables more people to find and use the services of Online Connections.

The Computer Repair Melbourne site has been set up to hopefully enable locals to more easily find Online Connections and use their computer support services. The internet is really quite a hard gig and it takes a lot of time, effort and even money to make sure your business is found on the internet.

The problem with the internet is often you're competing with businesses outside of your area with deeper pockets for advertising and that often means you lose when it comes to locals finding your business.

JustLocal was designed to help local businesses grow by making sure bigger businesses outside an area can simply use large advertising budgets to out compete local businesses. Only businesses in an area can advertise on a postcode page on JustLocal and as you can see with the design, all advertising spaces are the same size. Yes one business can purchase multiple advertising spaces, but even then the number is limited. The JustLocal design makes for a more even and fairer level playing field for local businesses.

The Computer Repair Melbourne site provides another site by which locals can find Online Connections. We wish this weren't needed, but until more businesses use JustLocal to promote their business, the size of advertising budgets will continue to matter.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Telstra significantly drops the price of prepaid mobile broadband data plans now called data passes.

Over the years I've watched Telstra as they've increased the cost of their prepaid mobile broadband data plans. Whilst there are a number of plans, the on I've felt is often the most useful for clients is the plan which provides and allowance of gigabytes which last for a year. That way if the person uses well under one month the data isn't lost.

When I fist purchased the 365 day prepaid data package the first time it was 10GB for $150. If it was purchased with an Apple iPad 2 (yes some time ago) you received 12GB. However let's stick with the 10GB. Telstra then increased the plan to 12GB for $180 and then increased this to 12GB for $200. Things were not looking good.

I was at the Apple store today and the Apple employee said Telstra had changed their plans so they were worth reviewing. I have to admit I'm very pleasantly surprised with the new plans which can be seen at https://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/mobile-broadband/prepaid. The new plans are called prepaid mobile broadband data passes.

Telstra now have an even better offer of $50 for 5GB which lasts for 365 days. That's significantly less than the $150 for 10GB paid years ago. It's also a relatively low entry price. Yes there's a two year plan, but that's $140 and only marginally cheaper per gigabyte. Of course the plan you pick should always be based on your needs. I however don't like to tie up too much money for too long.

I have a number of old Telstra Wi-Fi hotspot devices sitting in drawers so they may end up coming in handy. The cost of a SIM card to get going is just $2.

Overall a very pleasant surprise from Telstra.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Alert: Hacked WordPress site - PayPal, Your account has been limited.

I regularly receive phishing emails, as I'm sure most people do. This time however I thought I'd point out that often I find the link in a phishing email has an address to a WordPress site.

Now my usual advice of course is you should treat all emails like this as suspicious and not click on a link. Opening your browser and going to the site is much safer. I also regularly recommend that you should simply delete these emails.

However this time I wanted to share something else which is very common. If you check the address I've shown, you'll see it is a WordPress site. I read a while ago there's over 30 million hacked WordPress sites and this is an example of one of those hacked sites and how the scammers are using the site.

Make sure you keep your WordPress site, add-ins and the theme all updated, to reduce the chances of being hacked. Of course there's other ways a site can get hacked but at least you know you've done the best you can. Also make sure you regularly backup your site and test that you can recover using the backup. Many hosting services leave the responsibility of performing backups on the site owner so don't just assumed everything will be right.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Alert: Can't connect to some websites. Telstra users.

A number of people have reported that they can connect to some websites but not others websites. The feedback is this appears to be a Telstra DNS issue.

One person said Telstra tried to upsell them to the technical support package. Watch out for the upsell.

To see if the problem is a DNS server issue you can set your DNS server to use Google's public DNS service. First make a note of the current settings before applying the Google settings. If that fixes the issue then it is easier to contact Telstra and let them know what the problem is and then have them walk you through the required changes to use their service.

A good way to see that the problem isn't with your computer, is to connect your computer to your mobile phone and use the mobile phone to access the internet. Make sure the mobile phone isn't using your broadband connection via Wi-Fi. So if your mobile phone and your desktop/notebook can access the sites via the mobile, then it's an indication the problem isn't with your computer.

There's a range of reason why a computer may not connect, but where possible I suggest that people try their free support options first. They are after all paying for them through their bill. However if you're not getting satisfaction, more than happy to assist. After all it is how I make a living.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.