Sunday, June 17, 2018

Melbourne petrol prices increasing to 159.9 in time for school holidays.

A number of petrol stations increased their unleaded petrol price to 159.9 last night. A few more today.

Whilst it has been said the increase of petrol prices just before school holidays is a coincidence, interestingly, we now see prices going up the week before school holidays in Victoria. Yet here we are with signs of prices increasing.

Time to watch petrol prices closely and fill up if necessary. For those using the 7/11 Fuel App you can find some prices around Melbourne down to 134.9 if you're lucky to be going through one of the areas south east of Melbourne.

Kelvin Eldridge
https://www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dodo Power and Gas increased my electricity and gas discounts.

I noticed a while ago that Dodo Power and Gas were offering higher discounts than when I signed up. When I signed up the discount was 30% for electricity and 20% for gas. The recent discount is 40% for electricity and 25% for gas.

I'm looking to change providers to save a little more money, but I thought until I get around to checking the providers again why not just take advantage of the increased discount. A short telephone call and the discount will be applied from the next bill. Too easy.

In addition they sent me a survey to complete. They support person was good so I gave them a good review. What was interesting is Dodo also provided a referral code to provide others. A refer a friend code. That code is SVY#JPB0H. By entering this code both a friend and myself will supposedly receive a $25 credit (* referral not applicable for post-paid dial up and prepaid products). Please feel free to use this code to save yourself some money if you decide to sign up to Dodo Power and Gas. Feel free to let me know so I can test if the code worked.

In any case the main point of this post today was to let those on Dodo Power and Gas, if you signed up some time ago, check the current discounts and if they're higher, a quick call will get your a better discount.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Friday, May 18, 2018

First signs Melbourne unleaded petrol price rising to 161.9.

Noticed tonight petrol prices in Melbourne look like they're about to hike. Some petrol stations have unleaded for 161.9. This is a new high for unleaded petrol in Melbourne.

This isn't unexpected as the average gate price (think wholesale price) today was 136.2. When prices go up the increase is usually between 25-30 cents, so the increase could have been worse.

Time to think about filling up. Watch the prices and if you're using the 7 Eleven fuel app pick a good time to lock in a good lower price for the next week. There's a few 7 Eleven stores with prices in the low 130 range.

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne
https://www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Monday, May 14, 2018

Headline: ACCC says Coles Express petrol most expensive - quite misleading

Today's headlines stating "ACCC says Coles Express petrol most expensive" for a lot of people may be very misleading.

For a long time I've considered and found the local Coles Express to be one of the more expensive fuel outlets. It would be rare for us to buy petrol there anymore. Previously we mostly bought our petrol either at the local Coles Express, another in Doncaster East, or the Woolworths Petrol in Eltham. However, since creating Petrol Prices Melbourne which meant reviewing petrol prices in the area over an extended period of time, we found there were better places to purchase petrol.

At first glance this would appear to support the ACCC finding. However, we shop at Coles and one thing we do get like millions of other Australians is a discount voucher. By using the discount voucher the Coles Express outlets usually match or better the local 7 Eleven on United Petroleum outlets. Both 7 Eleven and United Petrol are usually prices around 3 cents a litre less. I suspect this pricing aims to largely negate the benefit of a discount voucher, but in the end it really means prices aren't significantly different.

If you read the ACCC report for Victoria you'll find Coles Express average price is 2.4 cents above the market average whereas the cheapest petrol is around 1 cent per litre below the market average. Put simply this means the difference is 3.4 cents and if you have a Coles petrol discount voucher at worst, on average, you'll be paying slightly less than the fuel outlets that do not provide a discount voucher.

So the attention grabbing headlines should probably read, "ACCC says Coles Express petrol most expensive, but with a discount voucher, one of the cheapest".

We use a number of strategies for buying petrol. Rather than buying near where we live, we often identify petrol stations selling cheaper petrol that we'll be driving past. Buying at the bottom of the petrol price cycle, locking in the price of petrol from 7 Eleven for an additional week, using discount vouchers at Woolworths Petrol and Coles Express. This approach saves us hundreds of dollars a year. Buying from the nearest local petrol station is generally the surest way to pay the most for petrol.

The ACCC is right in saying Coles Express petrol is the most expensive, but only for those not using discount vouchers. Those buying petrol from Coles Express and not using discount vouchers may be paying hundreds of dollars more a year for their petrol.

For more information on saving money when buying petrol visit www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Age pension calculator.

Trying to plan for retirement and getting the information you need can be time consuming. However Centrelink's site provides an online service which can provide many of the answers you may be looking for.

https://www.centrelink.gov.au/custsite_pfe/pymtfinderest/paymentFinderEstimatorPage.jsf?wec-appid=pymtfinderest&wec-locale=en_US#stay

For example if you want to work out how much you'll get when you retire (based on what's happening today) just enter your information as though you're going to retire today. Things will change in the future, but at least you can get a rough of idea based on what's happening today.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Fox Sports app consumes 75 GB of mobile data in a very short period of time.

Recently a person found their mobile phone had chewed up around 241 GB of data on their Telstra plan. They woke up to find 141 messages from Telstra indicating they'd exceeded their 60GB of data. Each message was to indicate they were getting another 1 GB for $10. Nearly $2,000 of excess data.

This happened on April 1st and no, it wasn't an April fools joke.

Whilst it wasn't possible to identify all the apps which used the data, since many of the unused apps were deleted to clean up their system, the one app that stood out was Fox Sports. The Fox Sports app had reported it had used 75 GB of data. Of the 75 GB, 74 GB was used in the background.

There's a couple of issue here.

1. Make sure you check how much data your apps are using. If you're using an Android based mobile you can usually check the data usage per app.

2. You would think Telstra would have some limit on the amount of addition 1GB purchases that automatically apply before a person has to manually intervene. It appears this isn't the case. Bill shock is potentially a huge problem.

3. The data usage on a 4G network which can run at up to 150 Mbps can consume theoretically 15 MB per second. In one minute that's 900 MB or nearly a GB. Just one minute to consume nearly a GB. In an hour that's 48 GB.

4. How could the Fox Sports app possibly consume 75 GB of data in a matter of hours? This data usage was overnight and noticed in the morning. Something appears to be seriously wrong.

The person has now removed all unwanted apps just in case any of the apps were causing a problem. It is always be possible a malicious app had hijacked the mobile phone and given others access to Fox Sports and other apps. Without further information and in the short time available to check the mobile phone what actually happened was hard to ascertain.

What is important is to be aware that with Telstra you can end up with bill shook with excess data being automatically charged up to tens if not hundreds of gigabytes.

With the Fox Sports app turn the ability to run the app in the background off. If you don't know something is running it could be very costly.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au

Aerial map of development of Melbourne since 1985.

I found the map on the news.com.au site very interesting. The map shows an aerial view of Melbourne over time since 1985. If you slide the slider quickly you can see the changes more easily.

For example I didn't recall that Albert Park Lake was drained in 1993, but the map clearly shows the emptied Albert Park Lake, most likely because it become a large area of dry land.

Whilst the expansion of housing can be seen, what is far easier to see are the large white areas which are a large roofs of commercial buildings. For example the area near Tullamarine Airport.

The growth along Sydney Road and High whilst less obvious, shows the development of apartments along the major roads.

Here's a link to the article. Scroll down to the map and click on the button or slide the slider.

http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/melbourne-population-to-soar-past-sydney-within-decade/news-story/e88a537f61de7b74c2897d102a40cc10

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Petrol prices in Melbourne have started to rise to 154.9.

I noticed this morning a number of petrol stations have raised their prices to 154.9. With the gate price of petrol now around the 128 region, it was expected this latest increase would push the peak price of unleaded petrol up to around the 154.9 price.

It's probably time to soon fill up.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

UPDATE: 2:36 pm Thursday 19, April 2018
A number of Woolworths Petrol stations which already had 154.9 as the price for unleaded have further increased their prices to 156.9. This is unusual. Usually if the peak price varies it may drop a little rather than go higher.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Coles online versus Woolworths online grocery shopping. Major difference.

There's a major difference between shopping online between Coles and Woolworths.

Do you know what it is?

The difference can make a very considerable difference to how much you pay for your groceries.

The major difference is Coles online charges more for groceries that you purchase online that don't fall into a special category such as a weekly special or an "every day price". This could be the majority of the grocery items you purchase.

On the other hand, Woolworths charges the same online as it does in-store.

You still need to compare prices between Coles and Woolworths to work out which is better value for your money, but if you're buying online, chances are Woolworths may be cheaper for most products as it doesn't increase the prices online compared to buying in-store. For example, I recently did a quick price check on a few items. These grocery items didn't have any special promotions.

McCain Chicken Parmagiana

Coles
online $7.47
in-store $7.00

Woolworths
online $7.00
in-store $7.00

Peters Original Vanilla Ice Cream 4l

Coles
online  $10.45
in-store $9.50

Woolworths
online $9.50
in-store $9.50

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut 670g

Coles
online $8.25
in-store $7.50

Woolworths
online  $7.49
in-store $7.49

Milo 750g

Coles
online $10.73
in-store $9.75

Woolworths
online $9.75
in-store $9.75

As you can see from the above prices, for items that don't fall into a special sales type category, Coles priced the items above online at up to 10% more, whereas for Woolworths there was no price difference. That can make a noticeable difference to the total price.

Keep in mind both Coles and Woolworths charge for delivery. However with Woolworths you can place and order and pick up the order at the nominated store later. I hope to test this service in the future.

One handy outcome that came out of this review is if you want to review prices, you can be in Coles and look up the price on the Woolworths site and know you're comparing in-store prices. You can't be in Woolworths to do this since Coles prices online are the same as their in-store prices.

An unusual observation I made was that some products in Coles and Woolworths do not having matching sizes such as vegemite, so it may not be possible to crosscheck the price of some items. In the past I've found this to be a retail strategy in parts of the computer industry that makes it harder for people to price match. It makes me wonder if this same strategy is being used in the grocery sector.

When comparing products another thing that does make it harder is even though there is considerable overlap between the range Coles and Woolworths have, even on the small price check I performed, a number of items were not in both stores.

I hope others find this information useful.

Kelvin Eldridge
www,JustLocal.com.au




Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Petrol prices in Melbourne appear to have started to rise to 149.9.

A small number of petrol stations around Melbourne have now increased their prices to 149.9. This may be a couple of petrol stations jumping the gun, or it could be the start of prices rising to 149.9.

There's some very good prices for unleaded around Melbourne at the moment, possibly down to 116.9 so there's savings to be made by shopping around, without of course driving out of your way.

Keep an eye on petrol prices around Melbourne and for those using the 7 Eleven fuel app, hang tight and lock in a good price for another 7 days.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Hungry Jack's soft serve ice cream cones much bigger than McDonald's soft serve ice cream cones.

If we have a choice of getting a Hungry Jack's or McDonald's software soft serve ice cream cone, we'll always go with Hungry Jack's. In the past I've had to send a a couple of McDonald's soft serve ice cream cones back as there was barely any ice cream on top of the cone.

With Hungry Jack's so far, they've always been very generous. Even Hungry Jack's smallest soft serve ice cream cones usually exceed the biggest we've ever received from McDonald's.

If you think I'm exaggerating here is the most recent soft serve ice cream cone we received from Hungry Jack's and this is the smaller of the two. OK. These really are the biggest soft serve ice cream cones we've received from Hungry Jack's, but half this size isn't unusual for Hungry Jack's and that is still much bigger than those provided by McDonald's.



In a similar vein to the Crocodile Dundee knife dialogue - That's not an ice cream. Now that's an ice cream.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Monday, February 26, 2018

Aldi 12L toaster oven

I saw the Aldi 12L toaster oven that was coming up on the Aldi special buys day and two things crossed my mind. I'm a bit over specials where they're gone before you get to the store and, I wondered perhaps if other stores had just as good an offer.

The Aldi 12L toaster oven is priced at $34.95. Not a big outlay and I do miss grilled cheese on toast, as our grill is in our oven. A check on the internet from various retailers shows the Aldi 12L toaster oven is a good price. But there was one which interested me more and took the urgency of the Aldi special away. It was an 18L toaster oven at Kmart for $39. For $4.05 more I'd get 50% more capacity and that would potentially give me more flexibility in what I could cook.

I decided the no pressure buying at Kmart and the 50% greater capacity oven for me, was the way to go.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, February 16, 2018

Petrol prices around Melbourne appear to have started going up to 151.9 for unleaded.

The first signs of petrol prices around Melbourne going have appeared. The new high price is 151.9 for unleaded petrol. Only a few petrol stations appear to have lifted their prices.

Now is good time to watch prices. You can get petrol for around 120 at some places. If you're not in one of the lower priced areas, using a Woolworths Petrol discount can bring the price down close to the lowest prices.

For the 7 Eleven fuel app watch the prices. If you're going past and area with lower prices (south west of Melbourne, Fairfield East, etc.) you can lock in lower prices for another 7 days.

There's no way to know whether prices will rise quickly or slowly, so all you can do is watch the prices and pick up petrol for the best price you can when convenient. Sometimes we have seen a false start to the price hike, so again, watching petrol prices is a good idea.

Remember a trip driving just to pick up petrol often consumes a few dollars. However buying a full tank soon could save $10-$15 for most people.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au

Update: Prices of the initial petrol stations went to 151.9 however, by Monday the prices stabilised at 149.9. During the past week the average gate price (think of the gate price as wholesale price) dropped 3-4 cents meaning the 149.9 is what would have been expected.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Saved the $125 Westpac annual credit card fee just by asking.

Banks don't want to lose your business, so it doesn't hurt to ask the question, "can they wipe the annual credit card fee?" In my case that's a saving of $125 this year simply for making a telephone call.

I call the bank around 4-8 weeks before the annual fee is about to be charged. I am fully prepared for them to say no and I'm happy to close the credit card. The reason is, I have a number of other cards now that can do the same or similar things. For example I have debit cards issued by other banks so could forgo the credit card if I wanted to. Those cards don't cost me anything so it really doesn't make sense to keep paying an annual fee. However, I do like the card as it keeps the transactions I use it for separate.

Be sincere and friendly during the call. They want your business and they're there to help. If it's not worth it to them, that's OK, that's their choice.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, February 09, 2018

Melbourne beaches and Yarra water quality EPA reports.

As a general rule I don't swim in Melbourne beaches until there's been a couple of really hot days. I'm not a fan of the colder water, but after a run of hot days (mid thirties) the water can be beautiful. We also have some of the best beaches around the Bay.

This approach also means generally the water is good for swimming. Best to avoid swimming in beaches after heavy rains and this approach coincidently corresponds. However, a better way to check the health of the beaches and the Yarra is to check the daily reports in the summer swimming season by the EPA. The following are links to the EPA reports for the Bay beaches and the Yarra.

Beach report - http://yarraandbay.vic.gov.au/beach-report

Yarra report - http://yarraandbay.vic.gov.au/yarra-watch

Kelvin Eldridge

NOTE: I'm not quite sure how often the testing is done, but if I'm right, the testing is done once a week and the reports are forecasts. Not great as this isn't the actual quality of the water but a forecast. The factors in the forecast are historical sampling, rain previous 24 hours (less is better), rain predicted for forecast period (less is better), cloud cover (less is better). In essence best to swim in areas with historically low microbiological sample, no rain prior or during the forecast period, and clear skies.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Melbourne 2018 lunar eclipse, blue moon, blood moon tonight 10:48 pm.

For the stargazers amongst us, the sky looks clear. Unusual for Melbourne. Tonight's the night for the lunar eclipse, blue moon, blood moon. It all starts at 10:48 pm.

The following is the times according to the abc.net.au site.

Melbourne
Partial Eclipse starts at 10:48 PM
Total Eclipse starts at 11:52 PM
Maximum eclipse 12:30 AM (February 1)
Total Eclipse ends 1:08 AM (February 1)
Partial Eclipse ends at 2:11 AM (February 1)

Let me know if you get any good pictures. I never do as I don't seem to have the right equipment.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Strava heat map shows fitness activities highlighting areas of interest.

The accumulated data from fitness devices released by Strava hit the press as it showed the location of secret army bases in remote locations. Fit people tracking their activities.

However I thought it might be interesting to checkout some of the locations in around me. Perhaps you may find it interesting as well.

Wilsons Promontory National Park
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#12.00/146.32009/-39.06405/hot/all

Criterium Cycling Track - Cranbourne
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#15.00/145.30618/-38.12607/hot/all

Westolds Park - Templestowe
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#15.00/145.12099/-37.74517/hot/all

1,000 Steps - Tremont
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#15.00/145.31152/-37.88263/hot/run

Waverley Park
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#16.00/145.18689/-37.92516/hot/run


If these heat maps don't quite make sense to you, visit the Strava blog which shows some examples of heat maps and activities (https://blog.strava.com/galleries/heatmap/).

Why I thought this information may be interesting is the heat maps may show activity areas near you which might give you something interesting to check out. Perhaps you'll find a hidden gem.

If you find interesting locations and wish to share them, you're welcome to let me know using my contact details which can be found on my www.OnlineConnections.com.au site.

Kelvin Eldridge

TIP: If you'd like to see the location on a Google Map you can copy and paste the latitude and longitude values from the Strava address in the address bar into Google Maps. For example for the Wilson's Prom website address above use the numbers and enter them as -39.06405,146.32009. Notice the two numbers are reversed and a comma is inserted in between.

If time permits, I may write a quick web app to take the Strava website address, extract the GPS coordinates and open Google Maps at the location. I'll post the link here.

Update: 30 Jan 2017
Copy and paste the Strava website address for a location on the Strava map into www.justlocal.com.au/clients/stravatogooglemaps/ and click Submit to go to the location in Google Maps.

As I or others find popular activity locations I'll post the links here.

Albert Park Lake
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#14.50/144.96064/-37.84732/hot/run

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#14.50/144.97646/-37.82892/hot/run

Edwards Park Lake Reservoir
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#17.00/144.99098/-37.71420/hot/run

Ruffey Lake Park - Templestowe
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#16.00/145.13950/-37.77489/hot/run

Barrak Bushlands & Wingrove Park - Eltham
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#16.00/145.14512/-37.72768/hot/run



Friday, January 26, 2018

Testing a TrackR device. Will the crowd find the TrackR device attached to a set of car keys?

OK. Decided to test another TrackR device. This time with some help we attached a TrackR to a person's car keys. The aim, to see if the crowd provides the location and the TrackR device.

As the car keys go about their normal activity, the test is to see if the TrackR is located. This includes activities such as travelling on public transport, attending sporting events and travelling in and out of the city which in theory should pass by thousands of people. Perhaps one or more will have the TrackR software running.

The first test tonight, is Olympic park and travelling by train to and from the soccer.

Let's see how it goes. Will TrackR locate the car keys using the crowd?

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
IT support.

Update: 29 Jan 2018
TrackR not detected at Olympic Park or over the weekend. Not detected train from Eastern suburbs to city and around the Docklands.

21 May 2018
Feb 11 - Crowd locate - Eastland food court
Mar 6 - Crowd locate - Brunton Avenue, Near Melbourne Cricket Ground, possibly on train line.
Mar 13 - Crowd locate - Corner Williams and Collins Street.

Overall, in roughly four months the TrackR was located four times. In all cases the TrackR was located in an area where there is likely to be a large number of people. Four times in four months and never in a suburban area would indicate if an item a TrackR is attached to ends up in someone's place in the suburbs there's almost no chance the item would be found.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cheers - Three Blood Alcohol Content calculators I've created.

If you've been drinking and want to check your blood alcohol content, the most accurate way is to use a device which measures blood alcohol content. Short of having a device, you can use a BAC calculator to estimate your blood alcohol content (BAC).

I've now created three blood alcohol calculators.

1. Standard Drink Calculator - when drinking the one type of drink.
2. Blood Alcohol Calculator - when drinking different types of drinks.
3. BAC Calculator - by entering the standard drinks, weight and sex.

When I created the Standard Drink Calculator I was only considering the situation where people drank a single type of drink to help determine the number of standard drinks and their BAC.

When I created the Blood Alcohol Calculator it was obvious there's times such as functions when people change their drink and the second calculator allows for different types of drinks.

From the feedback I received I'd been asked if it was possible to enter a person's weight. As it turns out there's a formula I could use that would enable people to enter their weight, sex, and number of standard drinks. which I used to create the BAC Calculator. You can use either the Standard Drinks Calculator or the Blood Alcohol Calculator to determine the number of standard drinks you've consumed.

I'm not a person that drinks that much, so it really is great to be able to estimate my BAC. The calculators certainly provides peace of mind.

Kelvin Eldridge