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

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.


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

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

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.


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

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?


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.


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

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

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
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
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
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.
Now with convenient credit card facilities;-)

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

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
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
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
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
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.