Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Flinders Street and William Street Melbourne red light/speed camera.

The video of the intersection of Flinders Street and William Street Melbourne has now been uploaded.

For those wishing to review this intersection hopefully the video will assist.

Flinders Street and William Street Melbourne red light/speed camera

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to spot the petrol price hike is occurring using Petrol Prices Melbourne.

It's that time when petrol prices spike in Melbourne. Yesterday we saw the first petrol stations jump from around 99.9 cents to 129.9. I thought I'd share what you see on the Petrol Prices Melbourne ( map.

During the price discounting cycle you'll see the average price being a yellow marker and prices above being orange to light red, and prices below, being olive to light green. However when the petrol price spikes you went up with prices being at either end of the range. The old much lower price and the new much higher price. That is you'll see lots of dark reds (those that have increased their prices) and lots of dark greens (those that haven't yet increased their prices).

It takes around 3-4 days for the new higher price to become the norm (this is called the restoration phase of the discounting cycle) and then for the discounting to start again.

When you see lots of dark reds and lots of dark greens it is time to fill up.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, August 29, 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Alert - Speed Camera Locations - Audible alert when approaching speed camera location (red light camera).

Alert - Speed Camera Locations - Audible alert when approaching speed camera location (red light camera).

Just finished first release of the alert for speed camera locations. A good way to become aware of speed camera locations on your trips around town. You get an audible and visual warning of an approaching speed camera location. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Costco Epping petrol may change petrol prices in the northern suburbs.

Since starting the Petrol Prices Melbourne web app I've noticed a number of interesting trends. One particularly interesting trend is where the price of petrol in Melbourne is consistently the cheapest. It turns out the best petrol prices tend to be around Costco in Moorabbin.

The following is a snapshot of the petrol prices around Melbourne as shown on the Motormouth site. The dark green markers show the cheapest petrol location.

Anyone in the Moorabbin area can take advantage of the reduced petrol prices and not just at Costco. Without purchasing a Costco membership those shopping at Woolworths can use their discount voucher to often match the Costco petrol price. Other petrol stations get very close negating the need for a Costco membership.

Should a Costco open as has been suggested in the media in Epping, it is very likely Costco petrol prices may have a similar effect on petrol pricing in the northern suburbs of Melbourne around Epping. Good for consumers but perhaps not so good for some of the petrol stations.

The reports in the media also indicate Costco were granted a permit in 2013 for 20 Jovic Road, Epping. With another article in the media stating "The Costco proposal will include the extension of a road from Cooper St, between The Northern Hospital and Epping Plaza, to Deveny Rd."

The aim of the Petrol Prices Melbourne web app is to help people save money on petrol. Knowing where the cheapest petrol is around Melbourne can save some money. Moorabbin may not always be close to you, but if you're passing through the area, keep in mind the petrol prices are often very competitive. If you're running low, a top up may be a good idea.

Kelvin Eldridge

Update: 21 August 2016
For those wanting to buy petrol at Costco Epping you'll be in for a long wait. A few days ago I decided to check to see what progress had been made at the site. The site is still a vacant area. No construction work or anything has been started.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Speed Camera Locations new web app in development.

I write web apps for myself, family and friends. When I see something that interests me and I can solve a problem using a web app, I'll create a web app. The latest web app I'm creating is Speed Camera Locations. Recently I saw a couple of red light/speed cameras mentioned in the press and thought, I wonder why they catch so many people.

Now I should say I don't think it is a good idea to speed or go through red lights. But sometimes you can't help wondering how much is revenue generation versus public safety. Two cameras that caught my attention were the cameras in Flinders Street and Williams Street in the city and Warrigul Road and Batesford Road Chadstone.

The speed/red light camera on the corner of Flinders Street and Williams Street Melbourne generated the second highest number of fines at 66,429 with a potential revenue of  $15,327,627 in 2014/2015. That's a staggering $15 million dollars. As I stood watching cars go by I felt many cars were simply lucky that the light changes red. If you're stopped you can't get fined. A couple or cars who had a clear run with no traffic were pinged in a matter of minutes. They weren't going overly fast. The speed limit is 40 kph in the city. I for one didn't know that and others I've asked also didn't know. The signs are relatively small signs and given how busy the city is with signage, easy to miss. The big jump from 2013/2014 from 27,138 I can't help wondering why such a big jump. I also couldn't help think if 40 was painted on the road the additional information may assist drivers to keep to the speed limit. I think it would be an excellent research project to see the before an after effect of painting 40 to provide drivers with more information.

Whilst looking at the data I noticed an intersection I was booked at a while ago. The intersection of Warrigal Road and Batesford Road Chadstone.  I was driving relatively slowly (quite a bit under 50 kph) and if I recall, did a U-turn or turn to go into the Maccas on the corner. It was around 1:30 pm in the afternoon on a Saturday. The catch here is there is a 40 kph sign, which sort of makes sense due to the high number of students, but what doesn't make sense is the time restrictions. The speed restriction currently is 8 am to 12 am Monday to Saturday. Whilst I may be wrong, when I was booked I seem to recall the time restriction ended at 3 pm on the Saturday afternoon. Perhaps the signs have changed or my memory fails me. I've never seen a sign with this time period before. Why not Sunday as well? Why Saturday if not Sunday? I did ask for the fine to be reconsidered and luckily it was withdrawn.

When you look at the number of fines it makes sense you could get caught at this intersection.There's huge number of road signs in the area. Reading the smaller time periods as you drive and concentrating on the road and cars around you, plus the times cover an unexpected period, increases the chances of making a mistake. This intersection has the highest number of fines at 93.371 with a potential revenue of $21,349.786. This is an increase from 13,680 and a value of $3,048,927 from 2013/2014. That's a huge increase.

In both of the above cases I highly doubt if the huge increases was because of worsening driver behaviour changes. If I were to guess it was either due to operating part of a year, or the reduction of the signed speed limits.

In this case I can't help feeling when the time periods change, flashing 40 kph signs should be used instead.

One day you're driving along and there's not a problem. The next you're driving along and you've broken the law. Certainly doesn't seem fair and it doesn't seem like the government is doing enough to make it easy for drivers to comply.

The Speed Camera Locations web app is designed to help people better know where the speed cameras are located and by increasing their knowledge they'll be better able to comply with the law. I certainly didn't know I'd broken any law and had no desire to break any law, but yet I did. Not knowing is not an excuse, but it certainly doesn't make the fine any more palatable.

Speed Camera Locations is currently in development. As I update the location information the web app will be updated. Once all the camera location information has been added, if there's sufficient interest, I'll develop further tools to assist drivers.

The first step in assisting drivers is to provide a map where the speed camera locations are colour coded. The coloured markers hopefully will show people where the biggest issues are as experienced by other drivers.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hostgator cancellation form didn't work.

Often I look after the admin tasks for clients as computer related issues can be beyond clients and it is easier for me to handle them. I cancelled a client's hosting with Hostgator on the 20th of July using Hostgator's online form. The client just received an email for the next month's bill and payment had been taken out of their credit card, which obviously means the account was not closed as expected.

When systems don't work as they should it takes time to fix things and this can cost money. In this case it took half an hour and this time will be written off, but could often be charged. It does also mean the client has to keep an eye out for the credit on their credit card and if it doesn't come, another support call.

One good lesson out of this is don't trust Hostgator's form to close an account. Use the online chat available under the support option. That way you get a support ticket ID, someone who you can then make sure they understand and will do what is required. You even have available a printout of the conversation you can use if you have further issues.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support

Tuesday, August 09, 2016 not working

I had my first call tonight from a person not knowing what to do to go to the census site. No problem I thought. Then it became obvious that many people are going to have the same problem.

The letter states "Just follow the simple instructions below". The first instruction: "Go to".

The person opens their browser on the search page as many people do. Typed in and saw a list of sites. None were

Not so simple after all.

The instructions should have been more specific. Something along the lines, "In the address area of your browser type in". Now of course some people don't even know they are using a browser and some people wouldn't know where the address area of the browser is.

The government has made assumptions there's a far greater understanding by the general population than a large segment of the population actually has. It is lucky those who don't know will be assisted by someone who does know. In effect the government has dumped the support role for their systems onto the IT literate amongst us.

Now the additional problem is the site is overloaded. It is not working. This will be causing a huge amount of grief for people. People who will be worried they'll be fined for not completing the census.

It really is a pity the government doesn't get things like this right. We saw the click-frenzy failures of the past for commercial organisations, but for the government to do this is almost beyond belief. It simply shouldn't happen.

Kelvin Eldridge

11:48 pm, 9 August 2016
Decided to try site using mobile. Click on button to complete census just goes to blank about: page. On the notebook you get the census page, then clicking on the button gives a message to try in 15 minutes.

Update: 10:19 am, 10 August 2016

I read this in today's online News site. "However the ABS took the “precaution of closing down the system to ensure the integrity of the data” just after 7.30pm."

What is bothering about this, is had the ABS put this or a similar notice on their site at 7:30 pm that the site was not available until further notice, the time wasted by millions of Australians could have been reduced or avoided. The lack of transparency and being upfront with clear information is a considerable concern.

Update: 14 August 2016

It should be a concern the census system capacity was 260 forms per second. That is 936,000 forms per hour. We were all told to fill in the form on census night. For most people that would mean between 7 pm and 11 pm on Tuesday. There would be a large peak sometime during this period, the submission would not be evenly spread. It would be expected there would be somewhere around 10 million people submitting the census, although not all online. It is conceivable the system capacity could be exceeded by two to three times the design. Capacity did reach 150 forms per second at 7:30 pm when the system was shut down. Around 2 million people had submitted their census by this time with quite a few submitting during the day and the previous day (not census night as we'd been told).  At 936,000 forms per hour that would only allow for around 4 million forms during the 7 pm to 11 pm period. Far less than the 7 million plus expected for the census to break even. There is little wonder the census failed.

Why do some households get a census form, some get no form, and others get the census letter with code?

I found it very interesting that we received a letter to the resident for the census. The letter has a code and we're expected to complete the census online, or request a paper form.

What I found quite surprising were two other people I know. One received the census form to complete. Another person didn't receive a form to their property at all.

Why do some households get the paper form, others the letter and others nothing at all? Questions I certainly can't answer, but thought was an interesting observation worth sharing.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Does half filling your petrol tank save money?

I've read a number of articles on the internet about whether or not half filling your petrol tank saves money or not. Obviously visiting the service station twice as often costs time, but let's just focus on the cost of petrol. In every article I read I noticed there was something missing. The petrol price cycle which has a restore point followed by discounting. That is the price hikes significantly over a couple of days and then in the coming weeks drops in price. The graph of the typical Melbourne petrol price cycle can be seen at Since the price cycle has not been considered I thought I'd write a little on this.

Savings due to weight of petrol

First in terms of saving money. The reason people feels it saves money to half fill your tank is petrol has  weight and if you increase the weight of your car it uses more petrol. But the question is by how much. I'll use my purchasing behaviour to illustrate.

I purchased a tank roughly each fortnight. I let the car usually go to empty and then fill up. Filling up takes roughly 50 litres. By the way I'm not really on empty. My car, a Toyota Avensis has a 60 litre tank, so I still have 10 litres left in the tank when I fill up.

If at the start of the period I put in 50 litres and end up using that so have zero of the 50 litres left at the end, then the average number of litres I have throughout the period is 25 litres.

If I only fill up half the amount, or 25 litres then I have to do this twice. The average volume is 12.5 litres.

Thus the difference is 12.5 litres. Petrol weights around 0.74 kg/l (0.71 to 0.77 kg/l) and thus the amount of extra weight averages out to be 9.25 kg.

We need to simplify the maths so we'll assume (as we only need an estimate) the relationship between weight and petrol usage is linear. That is double the weight and twice as much petrol will be used. In my case my car weighs 1,490kg. Yes there will be one or two passengers and some extra things we carry around, but lets just use the weight of the car. We then get 9.25/1490 which is 0.6% A small car is around 1,000kg. The tank is usually smaller, but if we use the same 9.25 we got 0.9%.

The saving will thus be somewhere around 0.5-1%. A tank of petrol costs me around $60, so the saving by filling up twice as often would expect to be around 30 to 60 cents a fortnight or about $7.80-$15.60 per year. That's not really a particularly good saving.

Savings due to petrol price cycle

A second saving can occur if you use the petrol price cycle. This however means filling up completely when the price cycle is at the lowest, and then half filling your tank as the price is dropping. Since the price is dropping by half to one cent per day, every time I half fill (which would be every week after the first two weeks) I would save 25 (litres) by 3.5-7 cents, or if I waited until I was on empty and then half filled (25 litres after two weeks) the price would save 87.5-175 cents. With typical petrol price cycles being roughly monthly, we'd get about 24 (12 x 2) half tank fills and 12 full tank fills a year. The savings value of the half tank fills would thus be $21-$42 per year.

Overall savings

The overall savings from half filling up are not great, but they do exist. Savings from less weight and the petrol price cycle means a possible saving of $28.80 to $57.60 per year.

If you add these savings to buying at the lowest point in the petrol price cycle and shopping around for the lowest price (without going out of your way) and using discount vouchers when appropriate, the savings can add up to many hundreds of dollars a year. That money is better in your pocket than someone else's. However do keep in mind all of this takes time. If time is more important to you than the money, then that's your choice.

If you need help keeping an eye on the petrol price cycle and thus the best time to buy petrol, or even where if you're in the Manningham area, visit

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, August 01, 2016

Share My Location updated to make it easier to reconnect to session.

Share My Location is a web app which enables you or others to share their location as they travel around. As a web app rather than a native Share My Location has advantages such as being able to run on most devices, mobile, tablets, notebooks, or desktops.

Unfortunately however, running through a browser on a mobile device means when not the open application, the application pauses. Depending on how you restart means Share My Location you may lose the current connection. Previously this closed the session. Now you can restart Share My Location and the session still exists. There's no need to share the link as the people watching already have the link. However links are provided to share again in case they are needed.

Share My Location can now keep a session available for up to 24 hours, but realistically most sessions will most likely be for much shorter periods.

Now if you somehow exit Share My Location without pressing Share Off, when you reopen Share My Location, press Share On, the session is reconnected. Anyone watching will see your location update.

A second change has been to make Share My Location looks more like a native app when it is now opened. Share My Location now looks more like a native application than a web page application.

I hope these changes makes the experience using Share My Location better for everyone.

Kelvin Eldridge