Sunday, August 20, 2017

Get your free Coke no sugar.

On TV tonight there was an ad for Coke no sugar. You can get a free sample by visiting the following page.

https://www.coca-cola.com.au/en/new-coke-no-sugar/

On the site you can request a free sample and they'll send you a link for the voucher. I haven't used the voucher but from what I read in the terms and conditions you have 12 minutes in which to show the voucher to the cashier before the voucher expires.

Enjoy.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How many days to Christmas?

I've updated the Days Between Dates web app to have three shortcut links to three popular dates. The dates are:

Christmas
New Year's Day
Days since the start of the year

By clicking on each of these links you'll get the number of days.

Kelvin Eldridge
Days Between Dates
www.DaysBetweenDates.com.au

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator updated with new stamp duty rates for First Home Buyers

From the 1st of July 2017 First Home Buyers now have new discounted stamp duty rates when buying their first home. I contacted the State Revenue Office and they were kind enough to provide the reference to the new formula for the discounted stamp duty.

The Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator has now been updated with the new formula, correctly providing the stamp duty for First Home Buyers purchasing a property up to $750,000.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.victorianstampdutycalculator.com.au

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Dominos 10,001 free pizzas.

Dominos are currently having a special promotion giving away 10,001 free pizzas. The promotion started at 4 pm on Wednesday the 9th of August.


As expected the promotion is proving very popular with the message "This promotion is currently serving the maximum allowed number of concurrent users. Please check back in a minute."

For desktop users you can find the promotion at https://www.facebook.com/DominosAustralia/app/174961479209942/.

For mobile users you may wish to try the link http://bit.ly/2vNQpVv.

Good luck.

Kelvin Eldridge

PS. You do need a Facebook account. I got through but since I don't have a Facebook account I can't connect to the coupon app. Such is life. If it helps I was using the mobile phone with the link above. I just kept pulling the page down to refresh and got through.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Days Between Dates calculator now available.

I decided to create a Days Between Dates calculator for those times you need to work out the number of days between two dates.

For example:

How long until Christmas?
How long until our holiday?
How long until my birthday?

There's lots of times we'd like to know how many days there are between two dates.

One example is when we wish to lose weight by a certain date. Using the BMI Calculator you can work out roughly how much weight you can lose per day. Then you can work out how many days between dates. Multiply the number of days by the daily weight loss and you can work out how much weight you'll be able to lose by the given date. For convenience I've provided a link to the Days Between Dates from the BMI/BMR Calculator.

Kelvin Eldridge
Days Between Dates calculator

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Applying for a Victorian Seniors Card online

I'm getting close to that point in my life when it's time to apply for a Seniors Card. I've heard a number of people who have turned 60 wonder when they'll get their Seniors Card.

The Seniors Card isn't something that will happen automatically. You have to apply for the Seniors Card. I've read there's forms available at the Post Office, but my preference is to use the online form which is available at https://dhhsseniorsonline.secure.force.com/NewApplication.

You can submit your application three weeks before you turn 60 enabling you to receive your Seniors Card soon after you turn 60.

Now whilst having a Seniors Card isn't a biggie, there are discounts available to Seniors Card holders and it's worth becoming aware of some of the discounts. For example KFC offer 10% discount as do The Good Guys. There's free travel on public transport which isn't that great if your other half isn't also a senior, but it least it's offered.

The savings aren't huge but over the year could add up to a nice little amount.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Update: I received the Seniors card and a free Myki card (which I assume to be a seniors Myki card) today the 18th of August. That's pretty quick and more than a week before I turn 60.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Free Bike Share Melbourne has evolved.

I've now added a bike sharing system to the Free Bike Share Melbourne site. The system will enable my family and friends to find, book, borrow and return bikes, making bike sharing much easier.

The new option is the Bikes option found on the menu at https://www.freebikesharemelbourne.com.au. This section is password protected for registered users only.

My desire is to test the approach and if it is found to assist my family and friends, to then look for ways I can make the same facility available to others.

Kelvin Eldridge
Free Bike Share Melbourne

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Aldi 60"/152cm Ultra HD 4K LCD TV.

Can't justify the cost of a large screen TV, perhaps the 60" TV from Aldi is worth checking out.

OK. I'm not really a big TV fan, or more specifically a big fan of TV, but like most people, do spend time watching it. We've had a smallish 32" TV in the lounge for some time and really it looks too small.

The Aldi range of TVs are very reasonably priced so I thought why not give it a go. I picked up the Aldi 60"/152cm Ultra HD 4K LED LCD TVs on Saturday. If you're thinking about one of these TVs it is big, so make sure you have a car/van that can carry the TV. We have a small people mover and it took up all the back boot and passenger space. The good thing is whilst it's best to have two people to lift it, it is surprisingly light for its size, at about 15kg.

Set up of the TV was pretty easy. Installed the two legs by screwing in three screws in each. I'm always a bit concerned with screws cross threading and one was a bit of a concern, but the rest screwed in fine. Turn the TV on an followed the prompts and it was up and going in a few minutes. The picture quality for my needs is very good. It also fits our large lounge room and doesn't look out of place. I like the thin black frame which means the TV doesn't look like a piece of furniture.

So far really, the only thing I think could be better is the EPG guide. The EPG doesn't show a summary of what's on across all the channels. You have to step through each channel to see what's on the channel. Not a really big issue as I can always check an online TV guide. The EPG does show what's showing currently and later for the channel, so that's good if you want to see what's up next.

Keep in mind this is not a smart TV. I'm not interested in a smart TV as the computing devices, Apple TV and Google Chrome provide all the smarts I need.

In terms of ports, it has all the ports I need. One port that is missing that I've seen on other TVs, is output of video/audio using RCA sockets, but since I've never used them in the past, I don't see that as a problem for the future. There's four HDMI inputs and two USB inputs. One HDMI for the Google Chrome device I have which uses one USB port for power and a second port for a USB device. Again sufficient for my needs.

At $799 the Aldi 60"/152cm Ultra HD 4K LCD TV is a pleasant addition to our entertainment needs. No real problems so far and I'm very happy with the purchase.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Coles receipts are tax invoices, but not a valid tax invoice when Flybuy points are used.

A while ago I created the Australian GST Calculator to make it easier to determine GST, or add GST. Rounding can be an issue with GST.

Today however, I noticed a very unusual situation that I'd never seen, or thought about before. According to the Coles site, Coles receipts, which are clearly marked at tax invoices, also display a disclaimer they are not valid tax invoices, if Flybuy points are used. Coles provides a GST Calculator specifically for calculating the actual GST when you use Flybuy points.

https://www.coles.com.au/customer-service/gst-calculator

Looking at the examples provided, it appears you need to apportion the Flybuy point saving in proportionally to both the tax example and taxed items. In the first example on the link provided the total receipt is for $79.99, the Flybuys discount is $10, the GST on the receipt is $6.40 and the tax free item is $9.55.

The $10 as a proportion of $79.99 is 0.125. Therefore the GST needs to be reduced by 0.125 or $0.80, giving the actual GST as $5.60.

In the case of the second receipt for $154.34, GST $7.74, Flybuy points were used to pay the entire amount. The GST in this case has to be reduced by 100% or 1 * $7.74, meaning no GST has been paid. Put another way, Flybuys is a discount and needs to be applied equally to tax free items and taxed items. Thus the amount of GST paid for the taxed items is reduced.

In this case, the Australian GST Calculator won't assist in this more complex situation. It may be worthwhile when purchasing business related items to either pay entirely using Flybuy points, or not to use Flybuy points at all.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.AustralianGSTCalculator.com.au

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Melbourne petrol prices are now in the price hike phase.

Last night I noticed the Preston Woolworths Petrol station had increased its price to 132.9. This morning I noticed a second in South Preston has increased their price.

Today driving around there were many petrol stations that had restored their prices to 132.9.

It's definitely time to fill up your petrol tanks and soon lock in the 7 Eleven petrol price for the coming week.

The area where you can find the lowest prices appears to be around the Clayton/Springvale/Moorabin area. There's still plenty of areas you can find unleaded petrol under the 110 price, but don't delay, another day or two and the petrol price will have restored to the higher price.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Optus offers extra 50GB on it's $70 a month 50GB SIM only data plan.

I found this interesting. Optus recently offered an extra 50GB on their $70 a month 50GB SIM only data plan, taking the monthly allowance to 100GB. The plan continues at 100GB a month unless you cancel the plan. The offer expired on the 2nd of July 2017.

Today, the 6th of July, I saw this ad appear on the News.com.au site.


 Yes (no pun intended), it is the same offer that had just expired, but now we have a new offer (that's the same) which expires on 6/8/17. The offer like the previous, ends on a Sunday.

Now I do wonder what will happen after the 6th of August. Perhaps another similar offer.

Seeing this type of ad is good as it shows us the technique of using a limited time offer to encourage people to buy now. Once you see such offers only to see the same offer again after the expiry date, it makes you realise you're just being manipulated by the advertising. You're then in a better position to make better decisions, rather than making decisions where they've used psychological tricks to make you buy.

Overall the offer is a good offer. I suspect not too far into the future we'll see 100GB at this price or better, so mobile data hopefully becomes better value over time.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

Making an offer on real estate/property.

I think everyone is annoyed the real estate industry regularly advertises properties for sale with a price range and the sale price is nowhere in the range. The reserve price is far above the advertised price range.

The explanation I was given for this type of price advertising by an agent decades ago, is the pool of buyers is like a pyramid. At the actual price wanted there is only a limited number of buyers. However as you go down in price the pool of potential buyers in the market increases. If you can get the interest of a larger pool of buyers, it may be possible to encourage some of those buyers to pay more.

What this means for most buyers is they waste valuable time and resources looking at property that may never have been in their price range.

Recent changes in the law to discourage under quoting (advertised prices lower than the price actually wanted) means there's now a better way to make an offer on real estate/property.

Always make your offer to the agent in writing (this also means email). If the offer is then rejected by the vendor and you get a response in writing (request a written response), the agent can no longer keep advertising below the price that was rejected. That means the advertised price has to be adjusted resulting in a more realistic advertised price.

If the agent continues to advertise the real estate/property below the price of a written offer/written rejection, then the agent can be reported to ASIC for review.

Keep in mind vendors do not have to consider any offer and may wish only to go to auction. It is also conceivable the agent may try to respond with the rejection verbally so it is not in writing, or not respond at all. There may be many ways for the agent to continue to advertise a price lower than the vendor will accept.

At least now by making a written offer and requiring a written response, there's a slim possibility advertised prices may adjust making it easier for buyers to only consider real estate/property within their budget, saving them considerable time and effort.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

ASIC late payment fees due to ASIC sending reminder late.

To me it is rather disturbing how ASIC is acting. ASIC are issuing late payment notices that are received well after the date the fee has to be paid, resulting in an even higher excessive fee being charged.

ASIC send out very early notices, months before the ASIC fee is required. In this case I fully accept I misplaced the notice and thus should pay the late payment fee. However, the notice I received from ASIC to indicate the yearly fee had not been paid and thus a $76 late payment fee was being charged, did not come out in a timely manner.

ASIC invoice issue date 24 Jan 17
ASIC due by date 24 Mar 17

ASIC invoice issue date 27 Mar 17 with additional $76 late fee
Not stated due date. Pay immediately.
Received and paid on the 1 May 17.

If this amount isn't paid within 28 days an additional late payment fee of $240 applies. Invoice was received and paid on 01 May 17.

Overdue notice dated 25 May 2017 for a further late fee of $240.
Paid on 31/5/2017.

As stated above I have no issue of paying the initial late payment fee as I was in error. However, sending out the reminder to be received after the time required to be paid, means you automatically end up being hit with an additional $240 late payment fee. My incompetence in paying the ASIC fee on time, is only exceeded by ASIC to get late payment notices out in a timely manner.

If you're in this situation, I'd suggest it is simply a waste of time applying for a fee waiver. In my case it was rejected.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Are airlines really using tricks in their advertising to get you to pay more?

I was reading the following article about supermarkets using surge pricing as Uber uses. I'm definitely not a fan of the idea, but I suspect in time it will come. In the end if it boils down to making more money, that tends to be the way of business.

http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/could-australian-supermarkets-introduce-epricing/news-story/c67c44fddd5264b9414fc1cbf792a02c

One section of the article which mentioned techniques used by airlines caught my attention. To quote a section of the article:

Hotels and airlines had been using an e-pricing system on the internet for years, Dr Coker said.
“They use little tricks, they know when you’ve been looking and gone away and when you come back. Some of them can adjust the pricing based on how often you’ve been looking,” he said.
“You’ll find when you go back the pricing is higher because it wants you to hurry up and buy it.”

Some time ago I was looking for a airline ticket for my daughter. She was about the book the ticket. I said wait a minute whilst I check another site. The other site wasn't as good. When she then went to book the price had increased quite a bit.

More recently I was looking for some accommodation on a major booking site. I did quite a bit of research and found rooms and prices. When I returned to book the price for the room had increased significantly and the free breakfast had also gone. If this hotel is using the techniques mentioned it may be worth them noting I would have booked there, but instead booked a different hotel.

I don't know if either of these were just coincidences where seat on the airlines had been taken, rooms in the hotel had been taken, or examples of how we are being manipulated by online sites. But it does mean we need to be watchful of such activity and even take into account how we search the internet.

We are now being tracked individually on the internet, but not all systems are as thorough. There may be techniques you can use to check you're not being hit with these techniques, or to minimise being affected by the techniques. For example:

  • Use one computer and internet service provider to do your research. When you're ready to book use a completely different computer and internet service provide. E.g. use your mobile data and fixed broadband which are most likely different internet service providers.
  • Clear the cache and history on your computer, particularly for the browser.
  • Use the incognito feature of your browser.
  • Perhaps use the Opera browser which can use a VPN or a VPN service.
  • Use different browsers.
  • Make sure you have logged off all services such as email and social media. Being logged into services makes it easy to track your activities.
  • Perhaps even do your research at the local library or computer store. The local Apple store has plenty of computers.

If you see any unusual behaviour of pricing techniques let others know they're occurring. By sharing the information we get some insight into how we may being tricked into parting with more money than we need to.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support

Myki card expired with a balance on it. Get your money back.

OK. I figure this will happen to others. You get on a bus and your Myki card has expired. There's money on it but you can't use it. Not happy Jan. The only option at that point is to purchase another Myki card from the driver at a cost of $6 ($3 for concession) plus some credit. I'd say around $10 in total.

This will also be a problem for those catching trams. It's a nuisance at a train station but easily solved, as long as it's a larger station where they sell Myki cards.

Once the Myki card expires, which it does after four years, that's it for the card. If there's money on the Myki card don't throw it out. You can get the balance transferred to a new card and the new Myki card doesn't cost anything. Take your old card to the nearest large train station and they should be able to do it for you.

I just did this with four cards and recovered nearly $30. Not bad for the effort involved.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Free Bike Share Melbourne site now live.

Old bikes sitting around the home doing nothing? Why not share them with family and friends?

A while ago I decided rather than have bikes sitting in the shed, which I'd most likely eventually throw out, perhaps I could put the bikes to better use by sharing them.

I've decided to share the information I gained as I fixed up my bikes for family and friends. Perhaps others may benefit from what I've learnt. I've also added a web app so those sharing a person's bike, can let them know the location where they've left the bike.

If there's interest in my approach I'm happy to hear suggestions. Some of those suggestions may end up being added to the site to help everyone.

The Free Bike Share Melbourne site can be found at https://www.FreeBikeShareMelbourne.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.FreeBikeShareMelbourne.com.au

Victorian Stamp Duty calculator reflects July 2017 change.

At this stage I can't find the actual formulas used from the 1st of July for Victorian stamp duty on the transfer of property, which makes it hard for people to estimate how much stamp duty they may be up for after the 1st of July.

I decided to use the indicative table provided by the Victorian government, The assumption I've made is within each dollar range the saving is linear.

I've now updated the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator to provide an estimate of the stamp duty and fees on the purchase of a property. In addition I've added a handy summary to provide an estimate of deposit + stamp duty + transfer fees.

You can find the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator at www.VictorianStampDutyCalculator.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, June 09, 2017

Google Adsense Error 500. That's an error.


When trying to access Google Adsense Google returns error 500. That's an error. There was an error. Please try again later. That's all we know.
The 500 error has been occurring since yesterday. It doesn't matter it I use Safari or Chrome on a MacBook Air, or Chrome on Windows 10, the error still appears.

To get around this issue you can use the Google Adsense app on your mobile phone. You can still see you Adsense stats and there's no error.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT Support

Update: 12 June 2017
Checked the Google Adsense forum shows other people are experiencing the same problem. The following link can be used to check your balance from a desktop or notebook computer.
http://www.google.com/adsense/m/?unsupported=true

Update: 14 June 2017
A number of people were experiencing the same issue and had posted this on the Google Adsense Help forum. I added my issue as well in case knowing others were experiencing the same issue may help confirm the issue. Don't know if it helped. Google were aware of the issue. The issue was resolved within a couple of hours of my posting, however I think this was just a coincidence and nothing to do with my post.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Your AdSense Publisher Policy Violation Report

I received an email with the subject "Your AdSense Publisher Policy Violation Report" which at first was a bit concerning. The report stated:

In the last 24 hours

New violations were detected. As a result, ad serving has been restricted or disabled on pages where these violations of the AdSense Program Policies were found.

For anyone using Adsense to generate income this type of report is a concern. I visited my adsense account to find someone had visit one of my sites using a proxy server at my-addr.org.

I checked my site and it was still serving ads. Things didn't make sense.

I checked the raw site logs and it appears someone with an IP address based in France visited my site. Based on the time involved (around three minutes) and their queries (information entered into the form) it looks like it may have been a real person. They were using Firefox as their browser.

Google Adsense reported six violations, which equates to one violation per each page the person visited. Google Adsense also reported it was a malware violation.

My best guess is the person's computer is infected with malware and when they visit a page, in the background the malware is effectively clicking on ads.

All of this is outside of my control and it would be a concern if Google Adsense suspended sites based on this. However, in this case Google Adsense appears to have suspended the pages using the proxy site address and not the actual site. That makes sense. At least they've not suspended my actual site.

In the back of my mind I always have this very unsettling feeling that Google will terminate my Adsense account for something that happens outside of my control. The lack of being able to contact Google directly in the past when their systems incorrectly disabled my blogs due to a technical issue, showed me how exposed I can be.

At least for the moment Google adsense continues to work and I don't have a problem. Even though I'd received the email for a violation and my Adsense account contains violation alerts. Google Adsense has apparently suspended pages, but they're not actually my pages and thus have no affect on me.

I share this story in the hope it helps to explain what happened to me and that might help someone else.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
IT support.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Where Did I Park My Car now has sharing using SMS for Android and iPhone.

Where Did I Park My Car was originally written to help people to make a map link to where they've parked their car. However, Where Did I Park My Car can be used any time you want to create a link with your location either for yourself, or to share with family and friends.

I have to admit I'm an email person and I share things using email. However, the next generation tends to use SMS more than email. For that reason I've added the email to share the map link for your location using SMS. Simply use the link for Android, or the link for iPhones. Text messaging will open with the message already formatted. Make any changes to the message and then send to one or more people.

Kelvin Eldridge
https://www.WhereDidIParkMyCar.com.au
Where Did I Park My Car