Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Optus IMAP email settings.

One of the tasks a client needed recently was a netbook set up so he could use Thunderbird as the email client. They were using Optus as their ISP.

Since they were using multiple devices, the obvious solution was to use IMAP if possible. Using IMAP means all devices see the same emails. With POP3 each device downloads emails and it can get a bit messy deleting emails as the same email needs to be deleted on each device. I prefer to set up email using SSL with the password being encrypted. This provides better security when using third party access points such as when travelling.

A quick check on the Optus site and the email settings didn't mention SSL, so I decided to check the internet. As usual there's a lot of misinformation with sites providing values for SSL for use with Optus. I tested the SSL port settings found on the internet crowd support sites and they did not work with Optus.

The Optus help does state that port 110 is used for IMAP/POP3 for incoming emails and port 25 for SMTP for sending emails. The server's address is mail.optusnet.com.au. This works, but there is no security, as in encryption of passwords.

If you're connecting directly to the Optus service using their fixed or mobile broadband this shouldn't be a problem. However, if you're travelling and using a third party access point to connect to your email, this is a real concern. Whilst travelling and using third party access points, it is perhaps best to use webmail, which will give you better security. Alternately think about using a service such as Gmail which provides better security for email clients.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Blood Alcohol Calculator now available for when consumed multiple types of alcoholic drinks.

Recently I released the Standard Drink Calculator which enables people to calculate how many grams of alcohol they've consumed. The one limitation is the Standard Drink Calculator is only for a single type of drink.

Now I've released the Blood Alcohol Calculator which enables people to enter in up to six different types of drinks and the number of each drink. This is good for those situations where drinks flow from one type to another such as at a dinner, or some other function. It's not unusual for people to mix  a champagne, white or red wine, beer, or spirits. Now the Blood Alcohol Calculator enables people to determine their blood alcohol content more easily.

For times when a single type of drink is being consumed visit www.StandardDrinkCalculator.com.au, and for times when multiple types of drinks are being consumed visit www.BloodAlcoholCalculator.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Where Did I Park My Car web app now has sharing via SMS message for Android users.

With mobile phones a lot of people appear to prefer SMS messaging over email and for while I've wanted to add the ability to share a location using SMS, but the feature is only supported by Android  mobile and not iPhones.

Since so many people now have Android mobiles I decided to add the ability to share the location link using SMS for Android users only. If Apple's iOS provides the feature in future I'll add a link for iPhone users as well.

It's interesting how many people want to have the ability to share their location or send themselves a reminder of where they've parked their car. The other day we returned from Sydney and caught the bus back to the long term parking. It takes quite a while to get back to the car park and the car park is huge. Having the ability to see where the bus was and where I car was parked made everything much easier.

If you want to share your current location with others, even send yourself a reminder as to where you've parked your car, check out Where Did I Park My Car at www.WhereDidIParkMyCar.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New Petrol Prices Melbourne blog to share news.

There's been times with the Petrol Prices Melbourne site that I would have liked to let people know of  price hike, low prices, and other things I feel people may be interested in.

I've now set up the Petrol Prices Melbourne blog to share information with those visiting the Petrol Prices Melbourne site. You can find the new blog at http://petrolpricesmelbourne.blogspot.com, or using the News link on the www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au main page.

Kelvin Eldridge

Kogan mobile offer, 14GB for $4.90.

I thought I'd share this offer as it caught my attention. Kogan have a special offer on the prepaid mobile plans. The one which caught my attention is the 14GB for $4.90. The period is 30 days and the offer expires at the end of May. The offer is for new customers only.

The reason this caught my attention is I'm testing 4G services and would like to run my home broadband off the mobile service. With 14GB that should give me nearly two weeks of service and testing time. After that I won't continue with the service, but it will have provided the value I currently need.

At other times I use an offer like this when I'm travelling.  To have 14GB available when travelling is very handy. Kogan does use Vodafone 4G so keep in mind coverage. So far however Vodafone 4G has provided a better coverage than their previous 3G service. If travelling to major centres in Australia the offer may be good.

Sometimes people run out of data or credit on their monthly plan. Having a spare mobile which can handle a Vodafone SIM means you can get an inexpensive way to get extra data, calls or SMS, whilst waiting for your current plan to rollover to the next month.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

PayPal Here reader flashes red and green.

I decided to pull out my PayPal Here mobile card reader and charge it up. It probably hadn't been used for over a year. Even then the PayPal Here reader had only probably been used twice.

I expected it might be a problem having left the card reader for two years and not having charged it, but the reader charged up. When turning on the yellow star lights flashed but I couldn't connect it using Bluetooth. The blue Bluetooth light would never come up so could not be paired with a mobile phone.

After pressing the reset pin, next to the power button, and holding the pin in for eight flashes to reset, all the PayPal Here reader did is turn on, display a green light for a period of time, then the green light started to flash red and green.

From everything I've read, it appears when this happens to the device you simply need to get a new one. Hardly used, but now out of warranty, the option is to purchase a new reader.

That can't be good for PayPal. By reading the forums it appears quite a few people have the same issue. Since most people hardly used the reader, similar to myself, I've not received value from having the reader.

I can still use the PayPal Here app on the mobile phone which is most likely what I'll do.  Most of the time when credit card payment is required, I have clients go online and use my online form to pay using PayPal. That works well for me.

Replacing the PayPal reader for $49 (I originally paid $99) doesn't quite seem so palatable. This is the second PayPal reader I've had. The first was made obsolete fairly quickly and didn't get much use.

I also have the option of trying out the new Square device which interests me and it slightly cheaper. The disadvantage is dealing with another supplier.

Now at this point I know my options and can move on, but the one thing I haven't done is to ask PayPal. I decided to call PayPal. I think it is always good to see how a company responds.

I spoke to a very pleasant lady. Initially it was confirmed that yes the device was out of warranty and I'd have to purchase a new device. It was suggested the best option was to purchase at Officeworks as I could have the PayPal Here reader that day, or alternately they could get me another device, but it would take up to two weeks. As part of our chat I discussed my options including not using PayPal. The lady asked if I'd be happy it they were to credit my account with the $49 to offset the cost of purchasing a new unit from Officeworks. That was an unexpected offer which I accepted and will now purchase a replacement PayPal Here reader.

Overall I'm impressed with the service from PayPal. I didn't expect to have the outcome that occurred, and it really is a lesson that you need to ask, otherwise you really won't know.

As a business, having a PayPal Here reader ready for those times when your gut tells you it's best to receive payment upfront, gives you peace-of-mind. When one person I personally knew didn't pay, costing a couple of hundred dollars, taught me a valuable business lesson. The PayPal Here reader is the now insurance that payment will be received.

Full credit to PayPal for providing a positive customer experience.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, May 15, 2017

Petrol Prices Melbourne update to show average terminal gate price. That is price where prices drop to.

Petrol prices in Melbourne follow a cycle of what is known as discounting followed by restoration. Over a period of time the price of petrol drops in Melbourne until it reaches a certain point, and then the price is restored with a large price increase. The cycle then starts again.

To many people it doesn't make sense when the price will jump. Miss out and you'll spend $10-$15 more for a tank of petrol. However, from my observation of the market, petrol prices drop to around, or slightly below the average terminal gate price. I tend to liken the average terminal gate price to the wholesale or cost price of petrol and we pay for petrol at the retail price.

Now having an idea as to when we'll be approaching the restoration phase of the petrol price cycle, we can be alert for the price jump. No longer do we need to think there will be a jump during most of the discounting phase.

During the discounting phase we simply shop around for the cheapest price and take advance of discount vouchers. Once the price nears the average terminal price, we can be ready for the first signs of the restoration phase and thus fill up our tanks to take advantage of the lowest prices in the cycle.

To make it easier to know the average terminal gate price, I've now added the average terminal gate price to the Petrol Prices Melbourne main page.

I hope this further piece of information helps take some of the mystery out of the petrol prices in Melbourne and helps save you some money.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Would anyone notice if you disabled your Facebook account.

I'm not a big user of Facebook. I only have 18 contacts. I usually post multiple times a week. But I do think that people don't communicate using Facebook. One person posts and the other person reads. This isn't being social. It's one big noticeboard. Noticeboards aren't being social.

So in a moment of thought on Friday before last, the 5th of May, I decided to disable my Facebook account.

Who would notice? How long would it be before people noticed?

It's now been nine days. Not a single person noticed.

It's not that I haven't seen the people who are my contacts, as I have. About half of them during that time. Not a word about me not having a presence on Facebook.

How long would it be before anyone noticed if you disabled your Facebook account?


Kelvin Eldridge

Update: 23 May 2017
Still no one has noticed my Facebook account is disabled. Very interesting indeed.

Global cyber attack. Media reporting Australia not affected, but that doesn't appear to be correct.

A global malware attack is making the news, affecting hospitals in the UK. Tonight on the TV the news report said Australia was not affected. Yet earlier I'd check one site recording the attacks and Both Sydney and Melbourne were on the map.

I've just read Australia's security adviser has been one confirmed incident. Given that I've attended many malware infected customers over the years, none of these have ever been report, so we can expect many more organisations will have been infected.

The malware has been called Wannacrypt or Wycrypt. The malware appears to be a spear phishing attack delivered via email as an attachment. The term 'spear' usually referred to being targeted. The malware then encrypts files and infects other computers on the network.

It appears Windows 10 users are not affected.

Microsoft has now released patches and unusually includes patches for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, which are no longer in general supported or provided with updates.  The patch can be downloaded. For currently supported operating system run updates.

One person said on TV the tech guru said the only way to fix the problem is to replace the hard disk. In general this may be best option for some people, but if you're quick and switch your computer off when the infection first starts, there may be data you can recover. This has happened to one of my clients whose computer had had a couple of hundred files encrypted. All files were recovered. So if something like this starts to happen on your computer, it may be prudent to quickly switch it off.

The following article is from Microsoft and includes the link to the download for the Windows XP patch.


Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Friday, May 12, 2017

First Home Buyers 'super saver scheme' looks like a real fizzer.

Going through the Budget 2017 information so far made available in the online media, all I can say is I'm very unimpressed with what the Federal Government has come up with for First Home Buyers.

Now I could be wrong, but it looks like a shocking scheme tying up people's money for perhaps $2,000-$3,000 benefit per person per year. That is a benefit of up to $12,000 for a First Home Buyer couple over two years or more years.

From what I read, individuals can put in extra money (additional contributions) into their superannuation starting on July 1st 2017. Let's say they put aside the full $15,000 each per year. That money is tied up for 12 months before they can access the money. A couple could put aside $30,000 in that time, if they had that money available. Two years minimum to get the full value from the scheme and save $60,000.

Now what if the First Home Buyers decide to purchase within the next twelve months. Since the money can only be withdrawn after a year, that saving could be locked up in the superannuation until retirement.

In the meantime, houses are going up in Melbourne and Sydney at over 10% a year. Even at a reasonable long term average of 5%, a $600,000 house (if you can possibly find one) has gone up $30,000 in the first year, far exceeding the $12,000 possible benefit from the scheme over the two years.

If really doesn't make much sense and people could potentially lock up their savings for a very long time if things change, such as they find and buy a great house at a great price in the meantime. Since they can't withdraw their money at that time, their savings become superannuation and I don't think that's what people may have wanted. Take that same money and put it into the mortgage and I'd guess you'll get a better return than most super schemes. Keep in mind money offset against a mortgage is interest saved and that's tax free, equivalent to 7-8% compounding interest and even more when interest rates go up.

Compare this with what the Victorian State Government has done. By removing stamp duty for properties under $600,000, a saving for First Home Buyers of around $15,000 instantly come July 1st, and much more for homes in the low $600,000 price range. No lock in. No lengthy period to wait. No potential for your money to be tied up should your circumstances change.

Before taking advantage of the Federal Government's scheme do think things through for yourself. It's not every day that the government gives you a tax saving incentive worth up to $12,000. But then again it does come with strings and that could end up biting you if you're not careful.

Superannuation is a very complex and ever changing area. Make sure you understand fully the implications of getting involved with anything to do with superannuation. Seek professional advice first if you have to.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Online Survey Report for those interested in online surveys for money, is now available online.

I have a very inquisitive mind and I like to test things myself, rather the believing what the marketing and advertising states. A few years ago I decided to test online survey sites and to see how much money people could make.

The bottom line is you are unlikely to make even the basic hourly rate, in fact nowhere near it. In most cases a couple of dollars an hour. However, one site did stand out and if you pick the well paying surveys, you can get equivalent to around the basic hourly rate for that short period.

I've now made the Online Survey Report available online to anyone who is interested. You can find the report at www.JustLocal.com.au/clients/onlinesurveyreport/.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, May 08, 2017

ASIC renewal email faked

Today I received a couple of emails from ASIC that were fake. They actually don't look too bad for fakes and could easily trick an unsuspecting business owner or small business admin person. The emails were to renew the business name.

The reason these could so easily trick someone is renewing a business name is something we only do every three years. By the time you get a renewal you've most likely forgotten when it needs to be renewed and no one wants to forget to renew their business name.

As always with any email you receive, don't trust it. If you think you need to renew your business name, open your browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer/Edge, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc.) and enter the address for ASIC's site. Then log on and check your details. Clicking on a link in an email is simply asking for trouble.

Most of the links in this email are valid. The only link, which is the most important link, the renewal letter link, does not take you to the ASIC site, but potentially a phishing or scamming site. (I didn't check where the link went.) You can see where the link will take someone from the image below. To see where the link will take you, most browsers allow you to hover over the link. Mobile devices however don't do this and it is much easier to inadvertently click on the link which trying to see the destination for the link.

This post is to alert others to be careful of emails purporting to be from ASIC, when in actual fact they are fake and most likely malicious.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Mobile phone not charging in car, or from 12V battery, using USB cigarette plug charger. Nonda ZUS solves the problem.

A while ago I purchased an inexpensive Huawei mobile phone. It's not a bad unit. If does have some quirks, but for the low price of under $100 on special at Coles, it does most of what I need from a mobile phone and it has an excellent large screen.

However, when I went to charge the Huawei using the car charger, after driving for half an hour or more, I'd notice the battery charge had hardly changed, if at all. I also have 12V batteries set up I charge from a stand-alone solar power system, and plugging the Huawei mobile into USB car chargers, it was the same. A very slow charge rate.

A friend also mentioned they needed to take an inverter with them camping as they now couldn't charge their mobile phone direct from the USB car charger.

The USB car chargers I have are rated at 2.1A so I can't see why the don't charge. When I test the current I can see the current is from 0.2-0.5A, so there's little wonder the mobile phones are taking so long to charge.

At a recent technology exhibition, I was speaking to a Nonda representative and asked if he'd noticed the problem. Nonda have a range of smart car products, one of which is the Nonda ZUS, is a dual USB car charger, that is a smart unit monitoring the battery and allows people to find where they've left their car. The Nonda ZUS had two 2.4A USB sockets conveniently angled and able to plug in USB cables in any direction. The Nonda representative hadn't found any such problem. In fact he generously offered me a unit to test his equipment.

That night I took the Nonda ZUS, plugged the unit into one of my 12V batteries and then plugged in the mobile phone. At last, the Huawei mobile phone was charging as it should. Instead of taking all night, it would charge relatively quickly. The Nonda ZUS was delivering around 1A of power and it wasn't long before I started to see the battery status of the mobile phone showing it was charging.

I still don't know why my old USB cigarette car chargers charge very slowly, but at least I now know the Nonda ZUS will charge my devices.

Thank you to the Nonda representative for the opportunity to use the Nonda ZUS and also to show the problem is with my old chargers, not the batteries, cables, or mobile phones.

If others are in this situation, at least you now know there's a solution.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

PS. If you're interested in buying the Nonda ZUS Smart Car Charger, you can find retailers for the product at https://www.nonda.co/pages/where-to-buy.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

New DIY page on Petrol Prices Melbourne site.

I thought it may help others if I shared the sites I use to check petrol prices around Melbourne. As a result I've added a DIY page which you can find at www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au/diy.php.

The DIY page lists the sites and apps which I've found useful. Hopefully you will find them useful as well.

Kelvin Eldridge

Australian passport renewal (Australian passport application)

When it was time for an Australian passport renewal, my first thought was to drop into the local post office and pick up a form. Wrong. No forms at the post office now, as the forms are online.

You can find the start of the form process at https://ppol.passports.gov.au/web/forms/entrypoint.aspx.

Renewing your passport is now about completing the form and having the form pre-populated with the information you enter. Before you can complete the information however you first need to provide information which will allow you to identify yourself as the passport holder. Nothing your passport doesn't contain or that you shouldn't know.

Once completed a PDF is produced which you print off on standard A4 paper. A tip from the local post office is to make sure the four arrows at the side are shown as often the section they need to complete is chopped off, making the form invalid. The tip really is to make sure the PDF is scaled to fit the page.

Once completed you take the form to the post office, have some passport photos taken (you can provide your own), sign and hand over the money.

Surprisingly simple really. The government has done a reasonable job making this task easier.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, May 01, 2017

Spellcheck not spell check, is the correct spelling in Australia.

Today I decided to create a website (www.Spell-Check.com.au) dedicated to letting Australians know the correct spelling is spellcheck, a single word, not spell check, as two words, or spell-check, with a hyphen.

Spellcheck with a hyphen is the American spelling. Spellcheck as two words isn't a correct spelling.

I've provided more information on the page www.Spell-Check.com.au. Yes the hyphen is deliberate for two reasons. First it is hoped this will be picked up more easily by Google as two words. The second is the domain with spellcheck as a single word was already registered.

Feel free to spread the word.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Clive Palmer - the incredible shrinking man.

I must admit I was quite surprised recently to read about Clive Palmer's considerable weight loss. It's interesting how I tend to question things. The weight loss of 56 kg in 7 months according to the tweet on April 2nd, just didn't seem credible mathematically. Perhaps Clive had had lap-band surgery.

A quick check and no, there's no lap-band surgery involved. Simply pure determination. Clive is to be congratulated on what really is a significant personal achievement.

The reason it didn't quite make sense to me is the 7 months. Reviewing the information available it appears to be more like 11-12 months. The following post from Facebook in December indicates 49 kg lost since April. With April 2016 to April 2017 being 12 months. 

Not wishing to diminish Clive's achievement, which is significant, for others wishing to lose weight, setting unreasonable expectations can lead to becoming disillusioned. The question becomes, "If Clive can do it in 7 months, why can't I?", when it's actually more like 12 months. Realistic expectations are important when trying to lose weight.

I decided to document Clive's weight loss journey through his Facebook posts and Tweets. Clive appears to have started dieting somewhere around April to May 2016. Clive is 182 cm tall and started his weight-loss journey at 153 kg. Clive is 62. Using the BMI/BMR calculator I wrote, Clive's BMI was 46, which is Obese Class III. 

April/May 2016 - 153 kg (Facebook)
30 September 2016 - 133 kg, loss 20 kg (Twitter - since leaving parliament)
1 October 2016 - 133 kg, loss 20 kg (Facebook)
4 October 2016 - 132 kg, loss 21 kg (Twitter)
5 October 2016 - 132 kg, loss 21 kg (Facebook)
10 November 2016 - 111 kg, loss 40 kg (Twitter - should be either 113 kg or 42 kg loss)
13 November 2016 - 111 kg, loss 42 kg (Facebook)
13 November 2016 - 111 kg, loss 42 kg (Twitter)
11 December 2016 - 104 kg, loss 49 kg (Twitter)
12 December 2016 - 104 kg, loss 49 kg (Facebook)
23 February 2017 - 106 kg, loss 47 kg (Twitter)
24 February 2017 - 106 kg, loss 47 kg (Facebook)
28 February 2017 - 105 kg, loss 48 kg (Twitter)
1 March 2017 - 105 kg, loss 48 kg (Facebook)
1 April 2017 - 97 kg, loss 56 kg (Facebook)
2 April 2017 - 97 kg, loss 56 kg (Twitter)
25 April 2017 - 95 kg, loss 58 kg (news.com.au site)

You'll notice the Christmas period probably slowed things down a bit for Clive, which is to be expected.

The following is a picture of Clive now on Anzac day. Credit for the picture is news.com.au.

Well done Clive.

Clive now has a BMI of 29, which means now classed as overweight, which might not sound good, but by all accounts a much healthier weight.

There's two aspects which I'd like to add. Clive has used Lite n' Easy to assist him on his journey,  If he's used Lite n' Easy for the 12 months, that's probably around $7,000-$8000. A significant amount of money for most of us. Whilst it is more work, if you weigh your meals, record the kilojoules each day, and make sure you eat at the right dieting energy intake (which is provided in the BMI/BMR calculator) it need not cost you a cent. The most important ingredient for weight loss is your determination. If your mind is in the right place, your body will follow.

The second aspect, as we've seen with shows like the Biggest Loser, is the problem of excess skin. Rapid weight loss is impressive, and whilst I have no facts to back my feeling, I can't help feeling if you adopt a slightly slower pace to your weight loss, the greater the time the body has to adjust the skin, probably the better.

Overall however Clive is an inspiration. Keeping the weight off and in check is very hard for most of us. Stories like Clive's does inspire us to continue to make the effort a lot of us need to make.

Thank you for sharing Clive.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, April 24, 2017

New First Home Buyers stamp duty examples added to Stamp Duty Calculator

I've been keeping my eye out for the new formula for the stamp duty for first home buyers announced by the Victorian Government. Unfortunately at this stage the formula doesn't seem to be available. However, I have found examples of the new rates so for those interested, I've added a table showing some examples of the new duty rates to the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator I've written.

There's few ways to look at the Victoria Government's stamp duty changes for first home buyers. The first negative effect is the potential to push prices higher which isn't good for many people. Currently first home owners get a 50% stamp duty discount for properties under $600,000, which is a saving of around $16,000. That means first home buyers have potentially up to $16,000 more to spend on a property.

The largest savings are when properties are just over the $600,000 meaning first home buyers could potentially save over $30,000 in stamp duty. The saving reduces as the price goes up until the saving stops at $750,000. Now first home buyers at least have a little more in their favour in the $600,000 plus range when competing against, investors. It's hard to say how much that will help as investors still get negative gearing and capital gains tax benefits which can be considerable.

Hopefully some first home buyers will benefit from the change. Facing paying off a $500,000-$600,000 mortgage is a very large task requiring quite a bit of determination.

You can find the table of example stamp duty rates at www.VictorianStampDutyCalculator.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, April 21, 2017

Extending the 7 Eleven app petrol discount voucher expiry date.

Two days ago I let everyone know the petrol prices in Melbourne started to go up to 139.9. If you check the map today on www.PetrolPricesMelbourne.com.au, you'll see around 40% of the petrol stations I've record, have now increased their prices.

When petrol prices start to go up it's a good time to fill up and take advantage of the discount voucher. The next thing I do is lock in the lowest price for another week using the 7 Eleven app. The problem with the 7 Eleven app is I tend to jump the gun. I lock the price in once the prices start going up. However, if I wait one or two days I can push the 7 day time limit out a couple of days.

Today I decided to do a test with the 7 Eleven voucher and see what would happen. I'd lock in 116.7 two days ago. I knew of another 7 Eleven with petrol for 115.9. What if I filled up my tank now and then locked in the lower price. That would enable me to extend the discount period by two days.

I topped up the car with around 10 litres at a 7 Eleven with a price of 139.9. I got the discount for the locked in price of 116.7. It took perhaps around 5-10 minutes before the 7 Eleven app registered the voucher had been used. I had to display the voucher again and at this point the 7 Eleven app was ready to lock in the new lower price. I then locked in the new price of 115.9. That saves me a little more money and extends the voucher expiry date.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Stop autoplay of ads in Apple's macOS Safari.

As an IT person what frustrates me about the companies developing browsers, is they often put the user last, and it appears, big business first.

In the good old days when using a browser to view sites on the internet, if I didn't want to see images displayed, I could simply turn the option off. Then we started to get ads delivered using Flash and more recently, ads delivered as a standard part of HTML5, the code behind for today's websites.

Flash is no longer much of a problem as sites are moving to HTML5. However, the problem with HTML5 is the developers of the browsers have not built in a simple switch to stop the downloading and/or playing of videos or video ads. You're in the middle of your work and in the background a video starts playing. If you're out and about and you've connected your computer to a mobile hotspot, that's expensive data being drained from your mobile account. A great way to exceed your allowance and end up costing excess data.

The user is no longer in control of their internet experience.

All is not lost. At least on your notebook computers you can hack your computer, in a nice way, and stop the automatic playing of videos. Whilst it doesn't stop all the data usage, it does give you control over when the videos are played.

To disable the automatic playing of videos in Safari on Apple computers, you need to first enable the Debug option in Safari and then you get to see an option to disable the video.

The hack is you need to run this command using the Terminal program. Copy and paste the following command into Terminal and press Enter.

defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1

The Debug menu option now appears in the Safari menus. If you ever want to hide the Debug menu option, just issue the command again with the 1 at the end changed to a 0.

Now you have the Debug menu option, you can disable the autoplaying of videos.

Select Debug -> Media Flags -> Video Needs User Action

From now on when you open a page the video is there, but for it to play, you need to click on the play option. Sometimes you need to click on the video first and then click on the play option. This includes when you visit YouTube.

You can alternately select Disallow Inline Video, but I feel the option above gives me what I prefer.

At last a way to stop those annoying autoplaying videos. Peace and quiet at last.

Kelvin Eldridge
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