Friday, September 30, 2011

Best antivirus. Virus removal. Antivir, Virus scanner

A fairly common problem I get calls for is the removal of malware from a computer. I ask people how they received the virus and in a lot of cases they don’t know. In the past I found the infection was an email attachment, but more recently the infection has not been associated with an email.

One customer was tricked into thinking their computer was infected when a pop-up message appeared as they were browsing the internet. They went ahead and paid their money to have the problem removed, which in turn actually infected their computer and provided the scammer with their credit card details. Pretty scary stuff really.

I thought I’d share this article which shows that around 85% of infections are now caused when browsing and of the 85% just five programs result in 99.98% of infections. If the information is correct it means all people need to do is keep five programs up-to-date and that could significantly reduce their chances of being infected. Unfortunately whilst that sounds logical it isn’t. This will help with malware which isn’t new, but new malware will find exploits in programs which have not yet been patched so people are still exposed. The lesson here however is keep the programs updated if they’re installed on your computer.

The programs are:  Java JRE, Adobe Reader/Acrobat, Adobe Flash, MS Internet Explorer, Windows HCP (Help) and Apple Quicktime. The first three account for 85% of abuses by malware. Interestingly Internet Explorer is only 10%. Just applying the updates for five software packages when they are ready may reduce your chances of being infected considerably.

For clients how want to feel more protected, I provide a disk which is based on software made available to American soldiers. The software allows you to boot your computer from the disk and protects your computer from being infected. This is a great option for those who are worried their computer may be infected but still want to do their online banking or pay bills. Great for those who are travelling and would like to connect to the internet on a family member or friend’s computer, but are concerned that it may be infected. Great if you want your children to be able to use the computer but not risk infecting it. Great if you want staff to use a work computer and not risk infecting it. If clients need a disk contact me. There is a small distribution fee of $9.95 plus postage if required.

It now makes more sense why people don’t know how they infected their computer. The flaws in unpatched software enable people to infect their computer just by visiting a site on the internet. It has happened to me. I once searched using Google, went to a site, and the site infected the computer using a vulnerability in Internet Explorer SP1. That vulnerability was patched in Internet Explorer SP2.

What is also interesting is a lot of people push alternate browsers in the belief they somehow provide a greater level of protection. From the article this doesn’t appear to be the case. Based on the percentage use people using browsers to the percentage being infected, it appears to be fairly consistent across the browsers. The other browsers will most likely be exposed to the same issues because they use the same applications. You shouldn’t necessarily think that changing your browser will give you any greater level of protection. You’re most likely better off making sure your software is kept as up-to-date as possible.

Another more drastic approach might be to also disable or even remove the programs giving you the greatest exposure. I wouldn’t like to suggest that because of lost functionality. That would have to be a choice each person makes for themselves. For example I don’t have Java JRE installed on my computer and haven’t noticed any issues for a long time. When it was installed I did notice quite a few infections in the cache which was a concern. Doing without Acrobat Reader would be hard and a lot of sites still use Flash. Both Flash and Adobe Reader can be fairly easily disabled until you need them, so that is an approach which could be used.

Whether we like it or not, when we are on the internet there are a lot of people who have a lot to gain by infecting our computers. We need to make decisions and take action which minimises our risk to an acceptable level.

If you’ve infected your computer and live within 10kms of the Doncaster/Templestowe/Eltham area and need assistance, you can contact me on 0415 910 703. As part of cleaning customers’ computers I also install free antivirus software which I’ve tested for over a week that has shown to be better than other common free software and also the commercial software I’ve tested.

Kelvin Eldridge

MyAnswers: Thoughts and notes on the Amazon Kindle Fire.

The following MyAnswers solution 2163 is now available:

Thoughts and notes on the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Alert: Incorrectly filled tax form NAT3799 from

I’ve received a number of emails lately which have been faked to appear to be from the ATO. I’d recommend you delete these emails.

What is particularly interesting with these emails is who the emails are addressed to. When I check the To and CC fields they contain a number of my emails address that I use publicly. Not just one, but a number. That is the first time I’ve seen anyone do that. It shows whoever has the mailing list is now consolidating the email addresses. Perhaps it is an attempt to hit an entire organisation in the one go leading people to think the information may be legitimate. All it needs is one person in the organisation to think the email might be legitimate and others may be encouraged to check it out.

The email displays correctly if viewed using an Apple iPhone, but is malformed if received using Outlook. In Outlook the message appears as an attached text file and there is no body to the message. It is very obvious to Outlook users this message is a fake.

It is important that you delete suspicious emails. I read yesterday that up to 85% of malware infected computers are now caused by people visiting web sites controlled by hackers. These sites may be legitimate sites where hackers have gained access and installed code or code to redirect people to another site. The owner of the site may have no knowledge they’ve been hacked. In the past the email attachment was a major cause of infection. Now it appears the main cause has moved to people visiting web sites which uses exploits in unpatched software the user has on their machine to infect their computer.

I’d highly recommend that you don’t let curiosity get the better of you. Clicking on a link in an email you receive could end up costing you a lot in both money and inconvenience. If an email appears suspicious, it probably is.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you need your computer fixed because curiosity got the better of you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Templestowe Computer Shop

Whilst fixing a problem for a new customer in Templestowe recently, he said how much easier it was to have someone come in and fix their problem with internet explorer and clean up his computers. His other alternative was to spend the time packing up the computer, taking it to a store, waiting for it to be repaired, picking up the computer and setting it up again. That was a lot of time he was able to avoid and also he wasn't without his computer.

Over the years there have been a couple of computer shops in Templestowe, but at the moment I don't recall one in the area. People often use a local computer shop for general support and computer related items and consumables.

If you're looking for a local computer shop for computer related support, please feel from to contact Online Connections on 0415 910 703.

Kelvin Eldridge

Onlne Connections Templestowe

Online Connections provides computer and information technology support to local residents and businesses in Templestowe, Templestowe Lower, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Lower Plenty, Montmorency and Eltham.

If you have a computer problem chances are Online Connections can help with over 30 years of experience.

For residents and businesses in the local area Online Connections introduces an exciting new approach to providing support services. Because support is provided in the local area there is no call out fee and there is no minimum charge. No problem is too small and now it is cost effective to have the problem fixed by a professional rather than spending hours trying to fix the problem yourself.

If you have a computer related problem, including tablets and mobile phones, give Online Connections a call on 0415 910 703.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Templestowe Computer Repair business (serving Templestowe and the surrounding area)

I always find it interesting to think about the hundreds of businesses in Templestowe working from home that I simply don't know about. People search for words like Templestowe, Templestowe Vic, Templestowe Lower, Lower Templestowe, Templestowe Restaurant, Templestowe Victoria, Templestowe School, Templestowe Accommodation, Templestowe Postcode, or Templestowe Hotel, but unless someone knows you or your business name, they're not likely to find you.

It is estimated there are over 800 to 1,000 businesses in the Templestowe area with most being home based businesses. With approximately 5,000 homes in Templestowe this would indicate around one in five homes is running a business but you'd never know.
The problem is the cost to advertise is very high and in general, the return for the money invested not very good. I probably should add that by not very good I would have to say in most cases there is no return for the money spent. The aim of JustLocal is to make local advertising cost effective for small businesses.

To me the only way to make advertising cost effective is to offer a money back guarantee. If advertising doesn't work, currently the only business benefiting, is the business getting the advertising money and to me that isn't fair. If you pay money you should get something in return for your money. That's why JustLocal offers a money back guarantee.

I promote my own computer support business on JustLocal and the result has been better than every other form of advertising.

If you're looking for a cost effective way to promote your business locally, where you can't lose, consider advertising on JustLocal.

If you're in Templestowe or the surrounding area and require assistance with your computer or an internet presence, I can be contacted on 0415 910 703 or via the contact form on this site, or the Online Connections site.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Alert: Australia Post - Get your parcel No306. (

I’ve received a number of emails in the past week with the message Get your parcel. By coincidence these started arriving a day after Dodo said they’d send me a replacement Buddy Box for the one which didn’t work. One client fell for a UPS malware email because they received an email from UPS and were expecting a UPS parcel. If you’re expecting a parcel, receiving an email like this could easily trick you.

In this case the body of the email is very basic and unlikely to be from a large company like Australia Post.

Dear customer.

Your package has been returned to the Australia Post office.
Reason: The package is too large
Please find the attached document containing detailed information about delivery failure.
Read all information carefully and come to the "Australia Post" office to receive your package.

Thank you for attention.
Customer service.

Attached is a zip file ( which contains the file Attached_Document.exe. This file is an executable file but it has been designed to look like a Word document with a Microsoft Word icon. Since most people can’t see the file extension they could be easily tricked into thinking this is a Word document. Opening the file will not open a document, but instead run a program, most likely designed to infect your computer.

I use OzEfilter to check the emails at my mail server before receiving them into my computer and in this case OzEfilter showed me the email was sent from Canada. Just another piece of information which confirms this is most likely malware. Microsoft’s Security Essentials doesn’t show this file as malware. This is where you need to use common sense and not open files like this. Just delete them as soon as you receive them.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you need help with your computer
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding areas.

Alert: Re: Scan from a HP Officejet #658992

They say curiosity killed the cat, but the modern equivalent would be curiosity infected your computer.

I noticed a number of emails recently with the subject Re: Scan from a HP Officejet  #658992 or similar. These emails contain an attachment which is a zip file. The zip file I checked contained an executable HP_SCAN_Z520131___dollÔÇ«fdp.exe. The file has an icon which makes it appear to be a PDF.

There is little doubt this is malware. Microsoft’s Security Essentials is usually very good, but like all anti-virus scanning software, they are unlikely to identify recently released malware. Malware writers are most likely going to check their work against the common anti-virus products before releasing their malware, so that leaves a window of a few days where the anti-virus software won’t help curious people. In this case Microsoft’s software does not detect malware.

If you’re curious about an email you’ve received from someone you don’t know, don’t be tempted. You really will infect your computer and it is costly to repair. Please delete emails you aren’t sure about. It isn’t worth the risk or the cost to get your computer fixed.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you’ve infected your computer and need it fixed.
(Covering Melbourne Eastern to Northern suburbs within 10km of Templestowe)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Coles Home Insurance using Google Maps View to check properties

I recently compared home insurance and decided to obtain a quote from Coles Home Insurance. I’m comfortable with technology but the process didn’t go well because at the end it didn’t go through and I had to call their number. What I did find interesting was as part of our conversation I determined Coles Home Insurance were using Google Maps View to check out our property. Unfortunately the Google vehicle didn’t quite get to pass our place (which normally I would think is good) so all we could see was a partial view.

If you want to see which roads Google Maps covers, drag the man over the map and the roads covered will turn blue. Part of our street was missing.

As a result the insurance needed a supervisor’s approval who wouldn’t have been available until the following week. I decided to renegotiate with my current insurance company as I was put off being left in limbo and Coles Home Insurance isn’t a service I’ve had an experience of with claims. I’m happy to pay a little more knowing I was looked after previously.

A couple of tips with home insurance. Ask if they will review the premium and also consider the excess you are prepared to pay. By doing this I was able to reduce our premium by over $200. Not bad for the cost of a telephone call.

Kelvin Eldridge  
Call 0415 910 703 if you need assistance with your computer, tablet or mobile device.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Taxi fare rates

A handy online tool is a calculator to determine a taxi fare in advance of needing a taxi. The Victorian government provides an online taxi fare calculator to help you estimate a fare. If you use the calculator it works out the fare based on the current time. You can modify the time in the Travel Options section.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Skype update now shows telephone number with a flag in front

Many programs you install have an effect on other programs which you may not be aware of or necessarily want. For example I have Skype installed. I started Skype recentlty and an automatic update was applied. I wasn't presented with any options. When I went into Internet Explorer I noticed Skype was now highlighting the telephone numbers on web pages which is something I didn't want. I don't ever recall dialling a number from a web page so to have them modified everytime they're displayed isn't something I want.

In MyAnswers solution 2162 I provide instructions on how to disable this Skype feature.

Skype isn't the only program to install unwanted software or to affect other programs installed on your computer. I regularly clean up people's computers and remove unwanted add-ins. Nearly every computer I see has a Google toolbar installed which isn't required at all for most people and just takes up space on the screen.

I've often been called out to a customer who feels they need a new computer but once I've cleaned up their computer, they're amazed at how fast it runs. If you need your computer cleaned up and live in the Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham area I visit locals with no call out fee. For those a little further away, you should allow for the travel time involved.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 to have your computer cleaned of unwanted software and add-ins.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Telstra iPhone4 buyers may wish to wait before buying.

If you’re thinking about buying an iPhone 4 from Apple, Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, or one of the many resellers, you should now consider the Apple iPhone 5 is just around the corner. Whilst no date has been announced, the rumours tend to indicate a late October launch date. As usual there will be quite a bit of hype and perhaps a shortage of stock, but after the initial wave of purchases you can usually buy a new iPhone fairly easily.

A lot of people aren’t aware of the pending release of the new iPhone 5 so buy the iPhone 4 without realising a new model is just around the corner. Now is the time to decide whether or not is better to perhaps delay the purchase of a new iPhone.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you require assistance with your computer or mobile device.

Fix computer. Templestowe, Templestowe Lower, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Lower Plenty, Montmorency, Eltham

If you have the skills, fixing your own computer is the best and most cost effective option. But for those without the skill (or even just the knowledge to fix a particular issue) I can assist people and businesses in Templestowe and the surrounding areas ( Doncaster, Doncaster East, Templestowe Lower, Eltham, Lower Plenty Montmorency). I’m happy to fix the problem and share what I’m doing, so you’re able to fix your own problem should it occur again.

Many people are reluctant to call a computer support person and will take hours to try to fix the problem themselves, when the problem may be fixed in a matter of minutes. Sometimes all it takes is someone who knows what they’re doing to advise you and the problem vanishes immediately. For example one client recently had a problem with Outlook which took six minutes to repair and another Outlook problem was fixed in around fifteen minutes. Because I don’t charge a set fee, a call out fee (for locals), but only charge for the time it takes to solve the problem the cost was minimal. Some problems are difficult and take longer, but at all times you’re in control as I keep you fully informed and you can see what I’m doing. Some workshops fix problems in a matter of minutes but still charge you a hefty fixed fee because you don’t see what was done.

No longer do you have to sit on the telephone for half an hour or waiting for support. No longer do you have to have a long conversation trying to explain your problem over the telephone. No longer do you have to worry about giving someone you’ve never met remote (and may be located overseas) access to your computer. Now you can book a time and be at your place when it suits you. You get to talk and meet a local you know will be around should you have another problem.

If you need help with your computer give me a call on 0415 910 703.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, September 16, 2011

Doncaster computer assistance, support and repairs.

If you live in Doncaster or your business is in Doncaster and you’re computer is giving your grief then give me a call. I live locally so I don’t charge travel fees or minimum times. So if a problem is fixed quickly (and a lot of problems are), you save a lot of money. I don’t fix problems over the telephone because it takes less time for me to drive to you than it takes for you to explain your problem to someone on the other end of a telephone. I explain what I’m doing and help you by sharing my knowledge.

With over 20 years of experience in my computer consulting and support business you know I’ll be around tomorrow when you need me.

Whether you need help with your computer, with your network, connecting to the internet, with your mobile phone or tablet, or even if you feel you need a hand to better understand your computer, I can assist.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problems.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Templestowe computer assistance, support and repairs

To make it easier for local businesses and residents in Templestowe to find my computer support business I've now set up a page at

Over the last couple of weeks I've enjoyed helping a number of local people. One person had problem with Internet Explorer not starting up, another needed someone to set up their Telstra ADSL broadband equipment and another needed to recover their photos and files from their dead computer.

It really is enjoyable to go out and help each person with their computer problem and get them back up and working again.

If you have a computer related problem you're welcome to contact me for assistance. I'm just a phone call away and just around the corner.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you have a computer problem.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pin board now added to Online Connections

When I walk into a local business I notice one thing, or should I say I generally notice one thing that is missing. A few businesses have a notice board where their customers can add their business card and that way the business helps their customers. I think that is a great idea. I also notice some businesses will help their customers by putting a few business cards on their counter. That way the business gives back to their customer that really doesn’t cost them much but generates a lot of good will.

Since I don’t have a counter or a wall for a noticeboard I can’t help my customers in this way, but I do have a web site and can provide a virtual pin board. Whilst my virtual pin board has been around for a while I decided to give it more prominence on my site. I’ve added Pin Board to the main menu and to the left side menu.

I’m happy to refer my customers to others. It is only because of them I have a business and I can support my family.

If you have a local business do think about helping your customers by helping to promote them. They’ll appreciate the help and it is good for business. If you only have a web site then consider doing what I’m doing. I do think the days where we help each other, rather than a business just providing products and services for profit, will become the norm rather than the exception.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you need assistance with your computer.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Nearly all comments on blogs are advertising

Every day I get comments posted on one of my blogs. What amazes me is nearly every one of them is a business either spamming or a trying to advertise themselves.

I can understand rouge businesses from overseas trying to promote themselves, but what really surprises me is the number of businesses in Australia which think it is OK to blog spam to promote their business. They wouldn’t even consider spamming people with emails, but have no issue with writing spam on other companies blogs with the only intent to use a blog comment to promote their business.

I remember being contacted by a number of businesses asking me to write a comment on their blog saying good things about them. I get computer repair businesses writing comments on my blogs which really if they’re in the business should know the answer and if they don’t, they shouldn’t be in the business.

So next time you’re reading comments on a blog whether they be glowing praise or something else, put on your doubting Thomas hat. Most of it could be self promotion or blog spam. Either way it doesn’t help you make a better decision.

My policy with my blogs is review each comment and only release comments which are legitimate. I will write praise on other blogs and leave a thank you with specific information (not “this is a fantastic blog” like spammers do) showing my appreciation.

I’d suggest if you have or are thinking of setting up a blog that you don’t automatically release comments. Most comments will be spam promoting other businesses and that doesn’t help your clients. Make the extra effort, your clients will appreciate it.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Local search using Google Custom Search no longer available from JustLocal pages

As part of a trial I added a local search feature to JustLocal where locals could search for products and services from local businesses. This isn’t required for JustLocal as JustLocal provides single click access from a postcode page to the site of the business.

The feature used the Google Custom Search but unfortunately I’ve found this service isn’t reliable enough and the results provided were inadequate, often not providing a business even though the business provided the product or service. I also found issues when adding sites.

I’ve decided rather than to continue to provide a search feature which I don’t feel is up to standard to remove the search option from JustLocal.

The aim of JustLocal is to provide a portal to quickly access the sites of local businesses. By doing this we promote the site of the local business, and the consumer or business using JustLocal to find products and services, obtains the latest information by going direct to the site of the business.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Would you like the preferred Australian English spelling to be available for Microsoft Office?

If you’d like the preferred Australian English spelling to be made available as a spellcheck dictionary for Microsoft Office please make the effort to add your voice.

I’m currently in contact with Microsoft and to their credit, they are taking my request for assistance to make my work available with Microsoft Office and passing the request through their channels.

For Microsoft right now I’m a lone voice with a request. If you’d like my work to be available with Microsoft Office please help by adding your voice by making a comment on this blog post. I’ve tried this on a number of occasions over the last five years so this will be the last attempt at making the preferred Australian English spelling available to Australian Microsoft users. It is now or never so please make your voice heard.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Kelvin Eldridge


Alert: You have 1 lost message on Facebook...

I received this message and because I don't use Facebook immediately knew it was a fake.

If you check the destination for the link you'll see it isn't a Facebook site. If you clicked on the link you'd go to a site which is supposedly Canadian which sells pharmaceuticals.

You should immediately delete this type of email and not use the site it links to.

Kelvin Eldridge
Having computer problems contact Online Connections

Friday, September 02, 2011

Solar feed-in tariff rate cut from 60 cents per kilowatt hour to 25 cents

Following on from the reduction of the government grant for those installing solar panels the feed-in tariff is now being cut.

The solar feed-in tariff rate has been cut from 60 cents per kilowatt hour to 25 cents.... Read More

If you are considering installing solar panels make sure you do your sums. That article states: Victorian Energy Minister Michael O'Brien said that under the 25-cent rate participants would recover the cost of their solar power systems within about 10 years.

Based on the feedback in the local newspaper with the average saving of around $200 per year with the higher feed-in tariff plus the larger government grant it may be that people may never end up recovering the cost of their solar panels.

One way you may be able to recover the costs of your system is if you also reduce your energy consumption. By using a power meter plus the Energy Cost Calculator we’ve reduce our electricity usage to under 8kWh’s per day, which is well under the average of around 18kWh’s per day. It is important to minimise the base load because if you’re base load is greater than the energy produced you’ll not receive any feed-in tariff.

When you install a solar system the problem is you’ll go onto a peak/off-peak charging structure which increases your electricity bill and the 25 cent feed-in tariff is now less than you’ll pay for peak electricity usage.

Whilst this change won’t be liked by those considering a solar panel system, it does hopefully mean we all benefit (including those with solar panel systems) as it reduces the cost of electricity for everyone going up to pay for those installing solar systems.

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with computer problems

MyAnswers: CA parental control blocks the internet after CA Internet Security removed.

The following MyAnswers solution 2156 is now available:

CA parental control blocks the internet after CA Internet Security removed.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910703 if you need assistance with your computers.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Alert: Blog comment by Majid Ali

To share with others typical blog spam I see on my blog I thought I'd write about the comment left by supposedly Majid Ali.

Majid Ali made the request in the blog comment Please help me by reading my appeal on my profile.

When I received this comment on my blog I decided to check the profile. According to the profile Majid is from Haiti and this appears to be an appeal to raise money by appealing to the better nature of people. Over 8,000 people had viewed the profile which is a massive number.

On checking my logs I found no one from Haiti had visited my site. Visitors for the day had come from: United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Turkey and Pakistan.

I just rechecked the link for the profile and the profile is no longer available, which possibly means the blog has been removed.

It is almost certain this is nothing more than a scam. With over 8,000 views of the profile this really was massive scam with spam sent to ten’s if not hundreds of thousands of blogs. A search of Google for the term Please help me by reading my appeal on my profile shows it appears over 2,000 times meaning it went public on thousands of blogs.

If you are reading blog comments be aware that many of the comments are fake, may be scams and you should not assume just because the comment was added to the blog it has been checked. Over 90% of comments I receive on my blogs are spam or scams. I don’t release comments without reviewing them and I suggest others with blogs do the same. Most comments I’ve found are attempts at advertising.

If you decide to use a blog to promote your business I’d recommend you don’t release comments automatically, otherwise you’ll allow scammers to use your site to ensnare unsuspecting victims who could be your family, friends or customers.

Kelvin Eldridge
Need help with your internet presence contact Online Connections.