Friday, February 15, 2019

Petrol Price Alert: Melbourne petrol prices increasing to 143.9 cents per litre for unleaded.

Last night I noticed the first Woolworths petrol station in Coburg to increase their unleaded price to 143.9. I send out petrol price alerts once I see a couple more petrol stations increase their prices. It's unusual for a petrol station to increase their price and then drop again, but I have seen it happen, so I usually wait for a couple to increase prices.

Today a few more petrol stations have increased their unleaded petrol to 143.9 so it looks like the petrol price hike has started. Shop around whilst you're driving and use the apps. There's prices around 110 mark, but 114-115 is more usual.

If you're using the 7 Eleven Fuel app over the weekend if you're driving through an area with lower prices it may be a good time perhaps Sunday to lock in cheaper prices for another week.

Today I filled up for 115.9 at the local Shell/Coles Express. I rarely fill up at this petrol station as the prices usually aren't competitive. With the discount docket it matched the local Woolworths petrol stations and since it was closer, it made sense to fill up. Any petrol stations I'm going past today are around 117. There's cheaper petrol in Balwyn but the reality is the cost of petrol and using the car doesn't often warrant driving out of your way to get cheaper petrol. If you're going that way then great, but otherwise, usually not worth the additional cost.

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Bunnings Nylex Mist Base Sprinkler doesn't produce mist.

I was looking for something to make very fine mist on those sweltering Melbourne days. A fine mist can cool you down without getting you soaked. When I saw on Bunnings online the Nylex Mist Base Sprinkler, I thought I'd have to give this one a try.

The Nylex Mist Base Sprinkler as a way to produce mist is a disappointment. It really is a sprinkler, yes perhaps it produces slightly less spray than a regular sprinkler, but certainly not mist. Perhaps the product should be renamed a fine sprinkler because naming it a mist sprinkler certainly lead me to believe it would produce mist.

If you're looking for a sprinkler to produce mist, give this one a miss.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, February 04, 2019

What is the cost to run the air conditioner?

Melbourne recently sweltered with high temperatures in the 40s. Often in the high temperatures we head out for the day to the shopping centre, the movies, or the beach. But this time we decided to stay home and turn on the air conditioner.

The question I had is just how much did this cost.

The air conditioner was on from around 10 am on the morning of the 25th of January 2018, until after  7pm at night. At 10 am the temperature was around 37 degrees and peaked around 2 pm at 44 degrees. Certainly exceptional weather.

The following graph shows our electricity usage on the 25th of January 2019.

Our electricity usage for the day was 39 kWh at a cost of $8.68. Our normal average daily electricity use is around 5 kWh.

On an hourly basis our energy usage is often under 0.2 kWh per hour. With the air condition on usage was between 3.1 and 3.3 kWh per hour. The air conditioner thus uses around 3 kWh per hour of electricity.

In terms of usage, if we assume our average usage of around 5 kWh per day, we used around 34 kWh or extra electricity over the 9-10 hours. In terms of cost, if we assume 34 kWh or the 39 kWh was due to the air conditioner, the cost was around $7.56 to keep cool for the day or around 75 cents per hour.

The following graph shows our electricity usage for the month of January. Even though there were other hot days, we often try to keep our usage of the air conditioner low if we can.

For some time I'd wondered how much the extra electricity would cost compare to going out. Going out is OK, but often you end up buying things, or eating out. Staying home and paying for the extra electricity really isn't a bad option. It's probably the most cost effective option.

I hope you find this information as useful as I have.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Vodafone My Vodafone error Connection Lost

Since yesterday whenever I try to run the My Vodafone app I get the message Connection Lost.

Everything else appears to be working with the Vodafone mobile service.

If I go to the Vodafone site and try to log on to My Vodafone using a computer I receive the following error messages on Safari and Google Chrome.

Restarting the mobile phone made no difference.

I've written this post as others may be experiencing the same issue.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support

Update: 30 January 2019
This issue came good yesterday afternoon after around a day and a half of the My Vodafone app/site not working. In other words the problem wasn't on the user end.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Crown Casino parking rates. Watch out for the $21 flat rate parking.

I don't go into the city very often so don't really know the good places to park. Since I've been to Crown Casino a few times I know the Crown Casino parking facility. As a result I tend to park there.

I parked at Crown Casino last Saturday and noticed the rather scrappy signs at the entrance stating $21 flat rate parking. A bit steep I thought but it is there choice what they charge.

I stayed for around 4-5 hours which normally would be $6, but this time because I entered after 11 am on a Saturday, ended up paying the $21.

The following are the parking rates for Crown Casino parking for those interested.

The Flat Rate section lets you know the times when the rather high $21 fee applies.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Postcode Finder web app now live.

The Postcode Finder web app is now live an available at

If you're wanting to find the location for a postcode, or to find the postcode for a location, the Postcode Finder now provides those features for Victoria. Why Victoria only and not all of Australia? Because the data was readily available for Victoria under a developer friendly licence and rather than not provide anything, I felt it was better to at stage make the Postcode Finder available for Victoria.

Kelvin Eldridge

Google Adsense: Valuable Inventory: No content

I recently found a couple of my web app sites were no longer serving Adsense ads. These sites had been OK for years, so something has changed with Google Adsense.

Whilst I can't be certain it looks like in October 2018 Google Adsense moved the Sites option closer to the top of the Adsense page in a more prominent position. The aim appears to make sure the webmaster can add some code to their site and thus have control over the site. I'm not sure but it looks like an automated process recently went through my sites adding them to the site list. A couple of sites failed, however most were OK.

The sites that failed weren't immediately obvious. The Adsense showing on the pages simply no longer displayed. Checking errors on the page showed there was an error 403. I went and checked the ads in Adsense and they'd been deleted which meant the error 403 made sense as there was nothing to show.

The site also didn't appear in the Sites section of Adsense. Resubmitting the site now resulted in the site being rejected with the message: Valuable Inventory: No content.

From Adsense's point of view the sites don't have much content as they tend to be web apps, much like native apps on mobile devices, but using web pages. Whilst these have been OK for Google Adsense in the past, it appears they no longer are.

So far I've not found a way for Google Adsense to accept the sites so the only alternative is to use alternative ad services. These work fine, but I did like the convenience that Adsense offers. I suspect any review will use bots to check the page so there's not much I can do, and really, any time spent is probably a waste of time when there are alternate ad services available.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, January 18, 2019

Energy Australia - Your EnergyAustralia electricity bill is here - spam/scam.

Today I received six emails that are designed to appear to come from EnergyAustralia that look like the following.

These emails are fake and most likely designed to scam you in some way. The View Bill link takes you to s a site that is not an EnergyAustralia site.

EnergyAustralia customers were also targeted on the 16th of January 2019 with a similar mass mail out.

If you receive emails like this you should discard them. Don't click on the links. Even if the email is really from your provider, it is still best to open your browser and go to the site and then log onto your account.

Every day we receive multiple attacks like this, possibly thousands a year and it can be easy to be tricked. You can't let your guard down when it comes to technology and scammers.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Aldi Gardenline Hose Reel Set 15m

Our old host set is getting a bit long in the tooth and leaks a bit, so when I saw the Aldi Gardenline Hose Reel Set 15m I thought it was worth purchasing.

The packaging states "Pre-connected and ready to go". Yes it was but as soon as I attached the hose and turned it on, the hose connecting to the mail reel feel out leaving the connector on the main reel and nothing on the end of the house.

I then reattached the hose to the connector and tighten using multigrips so that it was tighter than I could get using my hands alone. The hose continued to leak. The connector at the end of the hose was good as was where the hose connected to the tap. But where the hose connected to the reel it leaked.

A second issue I had with the unit was pulling out the house. Our old hose reel you could pull the hose out and the reel would stay put. It is just a wireframe unit. With the Aldi Gardenline Hose Reel if you try to pull the feel out the reel unit just follows you. You need to hold the reel unit and pull out the hose. Not very convenient at all.

Overall I'd say give the Aldi Gardenline Hose Reel Set at miss. Back to Aldi with this one. Very disappointing.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, January 14, 2019

Paving Calculator web app now live.

Doing some paving?

If you're doing some paving the Paving Calculator may come in very handy. From the first stages of working out how many pavers per square metre and the cost per square metre, through to calculating the number of pavers for the required area.

Having a Paving Calculator helps make it easier to compare prices for pavers when you're given the size of a paver and the price per paver. By converting the price to per square metre you can more easily compare prices for different sized pavers.

Often when we're paving we work out the size we want to pave. However if you make the size slightly smaller to use a whole number of pavers, you may be able to save cost and time by not having to cut pavers. The paving calculator will give you a mathematically calculated number of pavers for an area, the full number of pavers for an area, and a smaller area which takes the paving area down to the next full paver size.

A handy rotate option is also provided so you can quickly compare the difference in cost and quantity of pavers required. The orientation of the pavers can make quite a difference to the cost.

For those who think the might just be able to put the pavers into the boot of their car, the cubic metres and weight of the pavers shows just how heavy the pavers can be. Much heavier than you'd think.

Hopefully others will find the paving calculator handy.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Petrol Price Alert Melbourne - Unleaded petrol increasing to 139.9. Time to think about filling up.

Since the last petrol price hike in early December, we've seen an interesting period with both the average terminal gate price and the low petrol price over the festive period.

The average terminal gate price (think wholesale) continued to drop. Last time the average terminal gate price was 117.5 cents per litre for unleaded petrol, dropped to 111.7 on the 31st of December 2018 and as of today, has now floated up to 114.6.

Perhaps it's a coincidence, but the retail price of unleaded has remained low around the 110-113 mark for longer than would be expected, but the price is now increasing just as many people will be returning from their holiday break.

The price hike so far looks like the new peak price will be 139.9. That's around what would be expected as we've seen in the past the normal price jump is 25-30 cents above the average terminal gate price, and set at one of those retail price points ending in 4.9 or 9.9 cents, so 139.9 would be expected.

Over the next few days we can expect to see the price of petrol to peak for Melburnians. Time to start thinking about filling up the tanks. If you're using the 7 Eleven fuel app, wait a couple of days but keep a close eye on the prices around you, or where you drive (or public transport) to and lock in a low price for another week.

Kelvin Eldridge

Update: 15 Jan 2019
Since the initial price jump of a small number of petrol stations on Wednesday the 9th of January, only around 20-30% of petrol stations have put up their prices. This is quite unusual, but does happen. This would suggest prices may go up towards the end of this week. Only time will tell.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Alert: Telstra Bill - Arrival Notification

I've just received six emails with the same subject "Telstra Bill - Arrival Notification" to various email addresses. I have no services with Telstra.

I thought I'd issue this heads up to let people know there may be some form of phishing attack happening aimed at Telstra users.

Do not click on the links in the email.

If you're interested in your bill go to the Telstra site using your browser and then log onto your account.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

My initial scan of the URL using Google's malware service did not indicate any reports. This may indicate this is a new phishing scam of some type.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Petrol price alert - unleaded petrol increasing to 149.9.

Last night I noticed one Woolworths Petrol station had increased their price to 149.9. I like to wait until at least two Woolworths Petrol stations increase their price before letting others know. When multiple Woolworths Petrol stations increase their price this usually means prices are starting to increase. Today a second Woolworths Petrol station increased their unleaded price.

Checking prices yesterday a small number of BP and Caltex petrol stations had also increased their prices.

How quickly prices will rise is anyone's guess, but now is a good time to start watching petrol prices. Usually prices can take at little as two days to increase, but more often than not around four days. One time prices took over a week to increase to the new high. I use the Woolworths Fuel app to keep an eye on prices around me.

If you're using the 7 Eleven fuel app to lock in a low price for another week, it's hard not to lock in too quickly wasting the opportunity if the prices stay low for longer than expected. Use PetrolSpy to keep an eye on 7 Eleven fuel prices around Melbourne. Also remember, you can lock in a price when you're in another area and not just around your area. I've locked in 7 Eleven prices from the other side of Melbourne and once whilst sitting in an aeroplane at Sydney airport. PetrolSpy may not be accurate and it's best to recheck prices using the 7 Eleven fuel app.

For those wondering how come the last price increase went up to 169.9, but this time the price is only increasing to 149.9, the reason is the terminal gate price (think wholesale price) has dropped considerably. When prices increased last the average terminal gate price for Melbourne went up to 147.1 on the 12th of October. The average terminal gate price for Melbourne is currently 117.5 and has not yet bottomed out.

Prices usually go up 25-30 cents per litre so we'd expect prices to peak around 144.9 to 149.9. A welcome relief from the 169.9 of the last increase.

At times when prices peak it is not uncommon for some areas around Melbourne to increase to the new peak, whilst for a while, prices are still dropping in other areas. With the average terminal gate price still dropping, it will be interesting to see what happens to petrol prices around Melbourne in the coming week.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Late payment for Google Adsense November 2018.

Today I noticed the payment from Google Adsense for November 2018 hadn't occurred. This is quite unusual as Google Adsense regularly pays around the 21st or 22nd of the month. I started to wonder why this could be.

What I don't realise, from my Australian perspective, is in America Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of the month which was on the 22nd of November. Then we have Black Friday. Both of these days may be bank holidays.

If Google were to pay on the night of the 21st of November (my payments are usually received between the 22nd and the 24th of the month) and the money was transferred, if Thanksgiving and Black Friday are bank holidays, and the weekends are bank holidays, that's four days the money leaves Google's accounts and four days the money sits in the banks' accounts. That's a large amount of money not earning interest for Google or it's customers.

So perhaps, just perhaps it's prudent at this time of year for Google to delay payment and make best use of the funds, or perhaps it's just a delay.

Whatever the reason, it was good to learn a little more about the traditions of Thanksgiving and Black Friday that I hadn't known before.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, November 19, 2018

Bulleen District early voting centre for those in Doncaster, Bulleen, Templestowe and Templestowe Lower.

Went the the early voting centre today to vote for the forth-coming Victorian election. For the Bulleen District the early voting centre is located Suite 5, Level 1 90-94 Tram Road Doncaster VIC 3108.

If you're going to visit this early voting centre please be aware that even though the building has parking, the parking is not accessible to the general public as there's a boom gate and no way to contact anyone to get in. Why the VEC and the government selects places without easy parking makes me wonder.

The nearest parking is located at Officeworks which isn't particularly fair to Officeworks, but that's just the way it is. There's a considerable hill to and from the voting centre from Officeworks so keep this in mind if hills are a problem to you.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Lower petrol prices around Truganina can be locked in using the 7/11 Fuel App.

I was travelling back from Western Victoria on Monday and knew that I'd arrive back in Melbourne with close to an empty tank. The problem was the cheapest prices around the 132 cents per litre were around Laverton and the price closer to home was around the 145 cents per litre.

Detouring any more than a short distance is a bad strategy when trying to save money on petrol as what you gain at the pump, is likely to be lost in petrol usage and vehicle costs. However the good thing about the 7/11 Fuel App is you don't actually have to go to the 7/11 petrol station, you can oten lock in the price some distance away. The 7/11 Fuel App selects the lowest of the nearest five 7/11 petrol stations and the nearest five change if you close and reopen the app as you drive along.

Coming back along the Western Highway, before reaching the Metrolpolitan Ring Road, I felt there was a small chance I'd be able to lock in the Truganina 7/11 petrol price. I tried locking in the price just before the Western Freeway turned south near Caroline Springs. No luck. The best price was around 145. As we neared the section marked with the pink circle below, where the Western Freeway curves left and heads more to the east near Derrimut, we were in luck. The 7/11 Fuel App found the Truganina petrol station which had unleaded petrol for 132.2. The price was locked in and I can fill up closer to home at the local 7/11 store when it's more convenient.

The savings will be around 13 cents saving around $6-$7 when I fill up.

For those interested the apps I used to help identify the lowest prices was the PetrolSpy app and the 7/11 Fuel app to double check the price. Whilst the PetrolSpy app showed 131.9, the 7/11 Fuel App had the price of 132.2, which is the price that was locked in. Differences in prices like this can occur because prices can get updated at different times by different apps. The 7/11 Fuel app's price for Truganina dropped to 131.9 the next day. You never know which app will be the most accurate, but since you can only lock in the price shown in the 7/11 Fuel app, that will end up being the price that can be locked in.

By using the fuel apps on this latest trip I was able to plan where to fill up and saved around $10-$15 on petrol. It isn't a large amount, but these amounts do add up over time.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator has now been integrated into the Mortgage Repayment Calculator Australia

As I review the web apps I create I need to decide if the web apps are best being left standalone, or if it's best to integrate the web apps together.

The Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator appeared as a menu item on the Mortgage Repayment Calculator Australia and also linked back to the Mortgage Repayment Calculator. In effect the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator appeared as an option.

I've decided for simplicity to now have all four of the calculators appear as menu items on the Mortgage Repayment Calculator Australia. All calculators were written at a time when people were looking for properties so they relate well together.

The Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator appears still as the Stamp Duty menu option.

Kelvin Eldridge site published an article indicating water mist could hydrate the skin. The article appears to be misleading and could be considered a hoax.

I read yesterday on the site an article titled "Scientists claim this one thing will boost hydration" and goes on to say it's water. More specifically mist. At the end of the article are number of mist hydration products are listed with their prices.

This article is a HOAX like those HOAX emails you receive.

HOAX emails take certain believable facts but in the end what is purported isn't true. The information misleads people who then go on to spread the information as if it's true. Whether the sharing of information is forwarded as an email or passed on in conversation.

What is staggeringly unbelievable is the article appears in a reputable news site. News sites pride themselves on the integrity of their journalism.

I was interested in the article because if water mist is a good way for women the hydrate their skin for up to six hours that would be very good. All women need is a misting bottle and some water, even better if the water is distilled. There are products that women can buy that are listed in the article. Sadly it is not that simple.

I did some searching and found articles from the mentioned Aichi Medical University in Japan which lead me to the following article which is the result of the research.

What is important to note in this research is the water droplet size for the mist that made the difference in the tests is known as a water nanodroplet. A water nanodroplet in this case being 0.5 μm, or half a micron in size.

In essence the size of the water droplets is incredibly small so the droplets can penetrate the skin. These droplets would be invisible to the naked eye. If you can see the mist when you spray it, then the droplets are not small enough.

I found this chart on particle sizes I thought may be of interest.

The article indicates the water nanodroplets were produced by an air conditioner and further reading indicates this was probably a desiccant air conditioning system.

The HOAX aspect of this article is the information is believable, backed by science, and provides products that can be purchased that would appear to align with the science. However, it is unlikely any of the products shown would produce water nanodroplets of the size required to penetrate the skin.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Days Between Dates calculator update to show years, months, day and number of years between dates.

As I was creating the Car Running Cost Calculator I found I also needed to know the number of years between two dates. I decided since this calculation was useful for myself it may be useful to others.

I'd already created the Days Between Dates calculator so adding the years and years, month, days values to the Days Between Dates calculator felt like the appropriate place to display these values.

The Days Between Dates calculator now shows the number of years between two dates as well as the years, months, days between two dates.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Woolworths Petrol prices with discount matching Costco petrol when Costco open.

I must admit I've never really been able to tell if the major petrol stations like Woolworths Petrol and Coles Express match the surrounding petrol stations, or the surrounding petrol stations match Woolworths Petrol and Coles Express.

Then recently I found something unexpected happening with the Woolworths Petrol station in Epping. The Woolworths Petrol station price for unleaded petrol was unexpectedly changing by a considerable amount some days. At first I didn't know what was happening but then a pattern started to appear. When Costco Petrol was open Woolworths Petrol would lower their price to roughly match Costco Petrol price if you had a Woolworths Petrol discount voucher.

The following screen captures show the price change. The first screen capture was taken at 10:24 pm on Monday the 29th of October 2018. The second screen capture was taken on Tuesday the 30th of October 2018 at 9:08 am.

When Costco Petrol was closed on the Thursday night the price for unleaded petrol is 157.9 at Woolworths Petrol and when Costco Petrol is open on the Friday morning the price for unleaded petrol drops to 148.7 at Woolworths Petrol. If you take the Woolworths Petrol discount voucher off Woolworths Petrol price is closely matching the Costco Petrol price. This isn't a once off occurrence as I've watched this price matching occur many times.

Whilst this still doesn't answer the question of which companies match with petrol prices, in this case it's very apparent Woolworths Petrol is matching Costco Petrol's prices.

For consumers who are in the Epping area or passing through, knowing Woolworths Petrol is price matching Costco Petrol during Costco Petrol's opening hours means you know that best times to buy petrol at Woolworths Petrol Epping. It also means there's no need to get a Costco membership just to buy cheaper petrol.

A tip for drivers is if you're driving down the Hume Highway returning from a long trip and need petrol, getting off at Cooper Street, filling up and using Dalton Street to get back onto the Metropolitan Ring Road if heading east, could save a few dollars in petrol whilst not adding overly to the driving distance. It will of course be a slower drive. Getting off the Hume and then back onto the Hume is not such a good saving as it will add around 6 km to the trip and use approximately a dollar of extra petrol. When petrol is at it's peak this still could be a reasonable saving.

Woolworths Petrol in Braeside also appear to change their prices to match Costco Petrol, but the price fluctuation is nowhere as much.

Kelvin Eldridge