Sunday, February 28, 2016

7flix audio but no video. 7flix channel not detected.

Today the 7flix movie channel has been launched so time to check if the channel is available.  The first TV had the new channel, but when the 7flix channel was selected only the audio worked. There was no video. This TV was about 2-3 years old and purchased from Dick Smith.

On checking the channels, the channels showing H264 only had audio working. Those with MPEG had both video and audio.

A second and much older LCD TV could not find the new channels.

The third TV, a Samsung worked with the new channel.

I suspect many people will be in the same situation suggesting that many people will not be able to correctly receive the new 7flix channel. The other channels which didn't work, although I'd doubt that I'd watch, are RACING.COM and TV4ME.

The problem here is the new channel is using H264 MPEG-4 that may not be present in many devices.

If when you check your TV you don't have 7flix (channel 76) run the auto tuning facility, and if the channel doesn't appear, chances are you'll be out of luck.

Kelvin Eldridge

Update: 14 August 2016.
This issue now appears to have been fixed.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Shopping for a CR1616 battery.

Recently I had to purchase two CR1616 button cell batteries for the car remote controls. I'd not replaced the batteries for a couple of years and thought it was about time I got some new batteries.

I did a quick search of the internet and found the following prices.

Jaycar - $2.95
Masters - $4.90
Chemist Warehouse - $3.49
Officeworks - $4.97
Dick Smith - $7.98
Maxwell - $2.09
Amcal - $2.75

Whilst Maxwell was the cheapest at $2.09, the problem is there's only one store located in Bridge Road Richmond, which is a bit far from Templestowe. Delivery would be $10.51.

I decided to go to the local Amcal and Chemist Warehouse as the prices weren't bad. After travelling  for about half and hour and 14 km I returned home empty handed. Neither had stock. I was going to wait until I was going past one of the other stores.

It was weird. I'd not had batteries in the remote controls for a couple of years and now all of a sudden it had to be done NOW. I decided it really wasn't that important and could wait.

I then decided to check the internet again and found suppliers on eBay. Prices weren't bad and found one selling 5 batteries for $4.99. I really only wanted two and felt the other three would probably go to waste. Delivery was free. In the end I decided since I could not be sure of any of the businesses I'd listed having stock and thus my trips could be a waste of time and fuel, I'd go for the easier option and place an order. A few days later and the batteries arrived.

Whilst some may consider this against the concept of JustLocal, one of my beliefs with JustLocal is that people should not be disadvantaged shopping locally. Had the local businesses had stock I would have bought locally and at a higher price. They didn't and so their service let them down. Some of the businesses had ridiculous prices such as Dick Smith. You'll find the local supermarkets and hardware stores can charge higher prices and that doesn't make sense. They're simply importing the same product you would.

This was actually my first purchase using eBay and I found the result to be more than acceptable. I just wished the local stores held the stock of the items they list on their sites and that would have helped keep the purchase local.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New simplified Electricity Cost Calculator is now available.

Some time ago I created the Energy Cost Calculator which is a web app I used to help me review my electricity costs. As part of reviewing our electricity usage we reduced our usage by making simple changes (e.g. filling the kettle up less) resulting in a significant saving. We reduced our electricity cost by more than 50 per cent.

However in the web app I provided a feature which enabled people to work out the payback period of replacing one appliance with a lower cost appliance. This was great when low energy lights came in, but now this features isn't as important. I decided to write a new and simpler web app called the Electricity Cost Calculator. You can find the calculator at www.ElectricityCostCalculator.info.

If you're interested in saving money on your electricity bills, reviewing the electricity used by your appliances can help you hone in on where you can make savings. A few simple changes can make a very big difference.

Kelvin Eldridge


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New voltage drop calculator web app.

We all have hobbies so I thought I'd share one of my hobbies which is investigating the use of 12V systems to replace 240V around the home. The more you learn about the topic the more you realise there's more you don't know.

One problem I've encountered recently is working out the size of cable I need. The problem is I want the cable to run from the shed to the house which is about 20m. Whilst I'd not consider this a long distance, when it comes to 12V systems, the distance makes a significant difference because of what is called the voltage drop. Performing repeated what if's for voltage drop on various sizes of cable and current means it is better to create a spreadsheet, or in my case, what I do is create a web app. I create web apps for myself, but if others find them useful that's good too. I call the web app the Voltage Drop Calculator.

Since using the Voltage Drop Calculator I am now more realistic about the size of what I feel is a cost effective cable and thus what this means in terms of the power of devices I can realistically run. The problem is the higher the current, the greater the voltage drop and in some cases too great a voltage drop means the appliance may not work. One way to overcome the voltage drop is to increase the size of the cable. Unfortunately that means the cable increases in cost, which means I need to consider whether or not the investment in cable will be returned in electricity savings.

The good thing about having to think about cable size and voltage drop is you then think about how best to use your money. Spending money on a cable that may only be required once a month, as compared to a lighter cable used daily, makes you think about the cost versus the return. The cable to the house will offer convenience, but for those times requiring more current, I can always do that in the shed.

If 12V systems interest you and you think the voltage drop calculator might assist, check out the Voltage Drop Calculator at www.VoltageDropCalculator.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, February 01, 2016

TPG internet in Templestowe very unreliable past few days and currently not working.

When I have issues with TPG's ADSL service I often check their status page. Even though I'm having issues, I've never seen the status page state anything other than everything is working.

On Saturday night I streamed a movie. The movie ran for 1.5 hours, but the movie took close to 3 hours to watch. The TPG service was continually cutting out. On Sunday the service was also very flaky. This morning I've only been able to connect for very short periods. The modem status is continually flipping between being up and down.

TPG's service has an excellent price. It's at times like this you have to question whether you should change service providers, but in the end the major service providers I've found have outages. Optus once was out for over a week. In addition to change providers there's often a hefty set up fee, or lengthy contract period.

To get around problem times like this I have a Wi-Fi hotspot that connects to the mobile network. I consider the $50 I pay for 5GB for 12 months to be good insurance. In addition the Wi-Fi hotspot comes in handy when travelling.

Do you have a fallback strategy in place if your internet provider's service stops working?

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

PS. I've submitted the issue via TPG's online service and will update this post should I find anything that may interest others.