Sunday, September 23, 2018

McDonald's Monopoly rare pieces for 2018

For those interested the site had an article detailing the rare monopoly pieces for McDonald's Monopoly.

For those who just want to know the rare pieces they are:

Marlborough Street
Old Kent Road
Regent Street
Fleet Street
Park Lane
Euston Road
Fenchurch Street Station

Now if you're upsizing from a small meal to a larger meal to get Monopoly pieces, keep in mind for a major prize you have more chances winning tattslotto than getting one of the major prizes in Macca's Monopoly. You have a 1 in 45,379,620 chance to win first prize in tattslotto and 1 in 168,000,000 to win 1 year Europcar hire, or a $10,000 Bay Leather Republic voucher, or 1 in 68,000,000 to win $5,000 Flight Centre Gift voucher, a 1 year BP fuel gift card, or a Suzuki Vitara RT-S automatic, prizes which look insignificant compare to winning first division in tattslotto.

With a single game entry in tattslotto costing around 71 cents it does take many upsizes to pay for a 12 game ticket. It may be wiser to save your money and your waistline and put the money on a tattslotto ticket, or not.

Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Opt out of the government's My Health Record before it's too late. November 15 2018 is the cut-off date.

If I recall correctly the government initially had the My Health Record system set up as opt in. In software development opt in is the way to go. People only opt in if they want to. However the less desirable approach many businesses and less desirable software developers use is you have to opt out.

As opting in was not successful for the government they decided to change to the opt out approach. That way by default they get more people participating and the service looks more successful. If the My Health Record is really something people want, opt in would work.

None of us have any idea of how the government will use and who they will share our data with. It's no longer our choice to opt in so if you don't want the government collecting and your information potentially accessible with who knows which groups, governments or individuals, you should make the active decision to opt out or opt in.

Opting in is as easy as doing nothing. Opting out requires you to go to the government's site, providing some information. One thing that further concerns me is you can get an email confirmation. However providing an email simply provides additional matching information that can be kept on record. This type of cross matching has been used by businesses for years. Remember those businesses that asked for your postcode for research purposes. Yep, that potentially helped match your credit card details back to your location uniquely identifying and tracking you. So even something as obscure as a postcode can be used in ways you don't anticipate.

For me personally I'll be opting out. If I need medical records or history I hope my medical professionals will have that information available for me and if not, perhaps it's time to get a better medical practitioner.

To opt out of My Health Record visit

Click the Opt out now button
Select Me
Click Next
Enter your identify information

As an example of something simple in this process which doesn't make sense is you enter your driver licence and Medicare details. However, separately they also ask for your gender. Why? Surely your driver licence and Medicare details should be enough and details of your sex shouldn't be required. When additional information that is not required is requested it begs the question why?

Review your information
Print a copy of your information for your records

Finally, before you can submit you have to answer a short questionnaire on why you are opting out. You can't simply submit at this stage. I selected the option "No reason" and did not provide any further details. Unfortunately additional information like this can be used in ways we can't anticipate.

Whilst some people may consider I'm concerned, the reality is for me it's simple. Systems should be opt in. When any organisation forces you to opt out by default they're acting in their interests and not yours.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Melbourne petrol prices increasing to new high of 169.9 cents per litre.

The first signs of the petrol price hike are now occurring taking the price of unleaded petrol to 169.9 cents per litre in Melbourne.

This was almost totally predictable. It is often said it is a coincidence that petrol prices increase around school holidays. The last increase left me a little perplexed because the increase wasn't the usual 25-30 cents per litre from the current low. The increase was under 20 cents. That is something I hadn't seen in the time I've been monitoring petrol prices over the last two years and writing these posts.

Why was the last price increase last time so low?

Whilst I can't be certain, but by having a low increase, with the usual discounting of petrol the price would drop enough just in time for an increase for the school holidays. Had the price been increased to 164.9 or 169.9 which would have been in the 25-30 cent price increase last time, that would not have enabled prices to drop sufficiently for the prices to increase just before the school holidays. Just my opinion. Perhaps it just a coincidence.

Time to now monitor petrol prices and consider filling up in the next few days if this price hike continues. There's still plenty of scope for prices to continue to drop as the price is still often 4-8 cents above the Gate price. Woolworths Petrol at Lilydale and Clarinda have today increased to 169.9.

Don't forget the new Costco Petrol in Epping continues to influence the Woolworths Petrol price at Epping. Woolworths Petrol Epping price without the 4 cents/litre discount is currently 139.7.

Also watch the 7 Eleven prices and use the app to lock in a low price for another week. But as usual don't jump the gun too soon.

Kelvin Eldridge

UPDATE: 22/09/2018
The first petrol stations lifting their prices had the price of unleaded petrol going to 169.9. The next petrol stations have taken the price to 167.9 and 167.9 is becoming the new high price.

Monday, September 10, 2018

$50 energy bonus. Victoria energy compare.

The Victorian government is giving away money, $50 to be exact and it's pretty easy to get your $50. All you need to do is to go to the Victorian government's energy compare site and start the process to compare your current energy bill with other providers. Along the way you get the option to claim your $50.

What I've done is below is document the steps I took to claim the $50.


Select Electricity
Select Home
Select I have a recent bill
Select your current retailer
Enter postcode
Do you get energy concession
Do you have a smart meter data file to upload. Select No. 

NOTE: I tried to upload a file but it failed with unrecognised format. Best to enter details from your recent bill.

Do you have solar panels. N0
Tick Disclaimer Agreement
Click Next
Answer Energy questionnaire
Enter Your Energy Usage

Your electricity offer screen appears. 

At this point on the right is a green box which reads “Claim your $50 Power Saving Bonus” and click on the link "click here".

The click here link takes you to the $50 Power Saving Bonus

Scroll down the agreement information
Tick the Disclaimer Agreement box
Click Next
Select I don’t have a PDF bill
Confirm your electricity account details (using your last bill)
Click Next
Tick I’m not a robot
Click Submit

That's it. Take a note of your customer reference number that appears. You never know when something may go wrong. You'll receive a confirmation email. In about a week I received another email letting me know I'd receive the power bonus in 2-4 weeks.

It's important to keep in mind the time it takes to get the bonus if you are moving house. You could be gone before the bonus arrives and redirecting mail costs nearly half the bonus. If you're moving house it may be best to move and wait for the first bill. Of course there's a risk you don't get the first bill in time and sometimes when people move the first bill can take an exceptionally long time to arrive. Electricity bills are usually done every 90 days, add the time to receive the bill and you're getting close to the end date of the offer.  Gas bills take less time as the billing period is around 60 days. The government's offer ends 31st of December 2018.

Also go back and complete the energy comparison and enter your information from your bill. In many cases you’ll find there may be a better offer. Make sure you double check the results that are presented.

The one issue I did have filling in the information was whether or not to include GST in the price. The forms do state to exclude GST. In addition I made an error with the service to the property amount. It does say total amount whereas initially I entered the daily amount. Hopefully those tips may help you fill out the forms and find cheaper providers.

Kelvin Eldridge

Update: This site may be good to help determine your electricity distributor.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Mortgage Repayment Calculator now called Mortgage Repayment Calculator Australia.

One of the very handy calculators I've written is a mortgage repayment calculator. I used a domain with hyphens and frankly, the level of traffic has been low. That means people aren't getting to benefit from using the calculator.

Normally when a domain/calculator doesn't get used I tend to let the domain go. In this case however, I've personally found the mortgage repayment calculator and the features provided to be very useful.

For example you can work out your mortgage repayments, how long it would take to pay off a given mortgage given a known payment amount, and interestingly, if you're renting, how much of a mortgage the rent payments would cover. All useful information for those looking at purchasing a home. The mortgage repayment calculator also links to the Victorian Stamp Duty Calculator which is handy for determining government charges.

Right now interest rates are seeing a 0.14%-0.16% increase from the major banks. That doesn't sound like much but with loans in the many hundreds of thousands of dollars, even a small percentage change can add $500-$600 or more a year. Using the mortgage repayment calculator you can easily see how the interest rate change affects your home loan.

The mortgage repayment calculator is now called Mortgage Repayment Calculator Australia and can be found at

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, August 31, 2018

Costco Epping petrol station has significant impact on petrol prices in the area.

The recent opening of the Costco Epping store with the Costco petrol station has had an immediate impact on local petrol prices.

Whilst in the surrounding areas the price of petrol is close to the 140 cents range, around Costco the 7 Eleven prices are 131.7 and the Woolworths Petrol station at Epping Plaza is 127.7 and that's without using a discount docket. With discount the Woolworths Petrol station price would be 123.7 for unleaded petrol. That's currently a very good price and it looks like the lowest in Melbourne.

It will be interesting to watch how prices in the Epping area around Costco change over the coming months.

Kelvin Eldridge

Petrol prices in Melbourne have shown signs of increasing to 159.9.

So far two Woolworths Petrol stations have increased their prices to 159.9. With the average gate price of 137.2 (the wholesale) the price could have easily ended up in the 160 range so this is lower than expected.

Keep an eye on the petrol prices in the coming days and don't forget to lock in the lowest price you can find using the 7 Eleven Fuel app. Last night I filled up for 131.9 in Templestowe using a 7 Eleven locked price from South Morang. The posted price was 138.9.

Happy hunting.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hanging towels vertical or horizontal. Which dries faster?

Some people hang towels vertically and some people hang towels horizontally. As to the reason it's hard to say, some people believe hanging towels in one direction or the other helps the towel dry faster.

OK. This isn't exact science, but I decided since I had two towels which were the same, to hang one vertically and one horizontally. As you can see the towels were hung on a Hills type clothes line. This was in Melbourne and the weather wasn't that great. It was a 15 degree day. There was a short shower early on but the towels wouldn't have received much rain. The following is a table of the result.

The first column is the approximate time, the second the vertical towel's weight in kg and the third is the horizontal towel's weight in kg. The weight is measured in kilograms to two decimal places giving an accuracy of +/- 10 grams.

Time, Vertical, Horizontal
10:30 am, 1.19 kg, 1.19 kg
11:30 am, 1.03 kg, 1.03 kg
12:30 pm 0.73 kg, 0.73 kg
2:30 pm, 0.67 kg, 0.67 kg
3:35 pm, 0.66 kg, 0.66 kg

I must admit I was quite surprised to see no variation in the weight between the towels being hung vertical or horizontal. I didn't expect the drying times to overly differ, but even the weight of both towels being the same at the start surprised me.

In conclusion whilst this is not exactly a scientific test, hanging towels vertically or horizontally in order to achieve a faster drying time is busted. Now if you hang them vertically to take up less space, or horizontally to keep them higher above the ground to avoid catching on something, that's a different matter.

No matter which way you hang your towels, be happy you're making the right decision.

Kelvin Eldridge

Fitzsimons Lane roundabout upgrade media release in April 2018.

As a local who regularly uses Fitzsimons Lane and the roundabout on Porter Street, Williamsons Road, Anderson Street and Fitzsimons Lane, it's pretty obvious this is a traffic bottle neck.

A couple of years ago the Liberal State Government pushed through changes to fix the roundabout area, but really all they ended up doing was putting in bus lanes and causing more cars to stop in the roundabout by putting a pedestrian crossing 50 metres south of the roundabout. Certainly not the fix that was required.

I just read today the media release by the Victorian State Government of an allocation of $2.2 billion to fix the roundabouts at each end of Fitzsimons Lane in Templestowe and Eltham as well as Main Road and Leane Drive in Eltham.

Unfortunately I couldn't find any specific details of the plans so who knows what the end result will be.

Let's hope they do a better job this time.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Flight Centre article on ABC site mentioning consultants are marking up flight prices.

Yesterday I saw two items relating to Flight Centre I felt were interesting. The first was the article on the ABC site which mentioned some consultants marking up flight prices by 10-20%. According to the article this isn't illegal, but I feel it is interesting to know.

The second was an advertisement in a bus I was travelling. The advertisement was a Flight Centre advertisement advertising a guarantee they'll match the price if the price drops. In hindsight I should have taken a picture and checked if there was any small print, as all I can find on their site is this type of offer is provided at an extra charge.

I've long considered Flight Centre to be a reasonable company. I once lodged a complaint about advertising I felt was deceptive, but overall I've had little problem with them. I've used them quite a few times. I suggest to others that if they're happy to pay Flight Centre's charge for booking flights that's their choice. I book my own flights as I'm don't feel the need to pay the additional charge.

I was under the belief that by using Flight Centre I'd incur an additional cost which would be clearly stated, they have margins on some of the products they sell, they receive commission from their suppliers but not all products or services, but never once did I feel they'd take a supplier's price and then add a margin, particularly if that suppliers price is publicly available and known. It does make sense that they could do this, but isn't something I'd have expected. It's good to know.

We can't tell from the ABC article whether or not the flight prices the consultants are adding margin to are special prices for Flight Centre or not. In addition, many businesses if they purchase a product or service from another supplier at full retail price, will often add an extra margin without letting their customer know. That's not good business practice, but it is common.

The extra information provided by the ABC means if I now get a quote from Flight Centre then I need to make sure I check the price online of the flights first before proceeding with the quote. Of course that does mean if you now need to do that work, you may consider booking your flights direct, since you'll almost have done the work needed to book the flight anyway. If you prefer the confidence using a travel agent such as Flight Centre gives you, then checking flight prices may be wise, or you may simply be happy paying the extra money.

As an additional comment, from what I've read online, Flight Centre, Student Flights, Travel Associates and Escape Travel are part of the Flight Centre group.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Melbourne petrol prices increasing to 159.9.

Just returned from holidays yesterday to notice petrol prices in Melbourne are again returning to the peak price of around 159.9. We're approaching the end of the peak phase where most petrol stations have raised their prices, so if you haven't filled up the cheaper prices will soon be gone.

Just locked in the local 7 Eleven to hold the price at 133.9 for the next week.

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Melbourne petrol prices may be about to rise again to 159.9.

Time again to keep an eye on those petrol prices again around Melbourne. We're approaching the end of the school holidays and the price of petrol has gone up to 159.9 at a few locations across Melbourne.

I noticed a slight increase in the rate of petrol price drops recently which enabled the price to be hiked up just in time for people coming back from school holidays.

Use the tools available to find the lowest prices. I bought petrol tonight for 133.9 with an additional 4 cents off with the discount voucher. Much better than 139.9 at my local Woolworths Petrol.

Watch the prices over the next couple of days and use the 7 Eleven Fuel app if you get to drive past an even cheaper 7 Eleven than the five nearest your normal location.

Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Aldi Travel Adaptor Kit

I noticed the Aldi Travel Adaptor Kit on sale this Saturday and decided it would be very useful for travelling. A single convenient unit that could charge the devices we're likely to take with us and two normal power points.


OK. I wrote "give this one a big miss" in capitals as I think like myself, most people will think this travel adaptor kit will provide the usual power using the two power point sockets, and with the four USB ports you'll be able to charge most of the devices at the same time. With the normal adaptor you may only be able to only charge one device at a time.

The limitations of this device are not stated on the Aldi site and they are significant. Only the 3.1A limit of the USB ports is mentioned on the packaging, whilst the power point limits are only mentioned in the manual and on the device itself. Without opening the package in the shop you wouldn't notice the power point limit and it's unlikely you'd expect it. I've never seen any power point before with such a limitation.

1. The power points can only provide up to 3A (3 amps). A normal power point can supply 10A. Most notebook computers require more more than 3A so if you want to charge your laptop computer you won't be able to charge it using this device. To me this is the biggest limitation. A person who thinks they can plug their hairdryer in what looks like a standard power point won't be able to and I don't if that is what they'd expect. It isn't what I would expect.

2. Whilst there's four USB ports the total power that can be provided across all the USB ports is 3.1A. That means if you have an iPad and a large screen mobile phone it's possible you won't be able to charge them at the same time as the USB ports may cut out.

Overall you'd be better off with a simple powerboard, a powerboard with USB ports, or even just a double adaptor, and use your own USB adaptors and stand-alone travel adaptors.

Most people who buy this device won't have enough knowledge about the power requirements and won't realise it may not end up doing what they want.

Aldi should have clearly published the specifications on their site and the fully limitations on the external packaging as these limitations are unusual.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Seniors Card exclusive AGL energy plan 38% electricity + 25% off gas offer easy to beat.

A person I know told me about the Seniors Card offer from AGL, which offers 38% off electricity and 25% off Gas usage. They asked if it was better than their current offer. Their current offer is with Red Energy for 12% off for electricity and 15% off for gas on the total bill.

I did a comparison for their current electricity bill and found they would be worse off with the AGL offer for Seniors Card holders. My own current provider is Dodo and with 40% off electricity usage and 25% off gas usage beats both AGL and Red Energy.

Today I also received the same letter from the government. This made me realise this is one of those paid for offers that uses the Seniors Card marketing database and makes money for the government, but may not be best for consumers, in particular Seniors Card holders.

You shouldn't take any of these offers at face value. Even if the offer is from the government doesn't mean it is the best value for you. The government really shouldn't be using our information in this way but that's their choice. Since people are receiving these offers from a trusted source it makes the ad more convincing to people. Don't trust these offers.

What you should do is create a spreadsheet and enter the figures for your current provider and any offer you receive. It's very easy for energy retailers to offer higher discounts, but in the end their actual charges may be higher to begin with. Only performing a calculation will let you know for sure if the offer is good or not for you.

So far the best offers I've seen have been from Alinta Energy and Dodo Power and Gas. Even so, prices change so it's best to check prices whenever you're reviewing your energy needs.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Microsoft Rewards value reduced by around a third.

Microsoft offers users of their Bing service the ability to earn points by using Bing for searches.  You get three points per search. Microsoft makes it easier to earn points by providing links to trending news and also each day offers bonus tasks.

Each day you can earn up to 60 points via mobile searches, 90 points via desktop searches, and an additional 12 points if you're using Microsoft Edge on the desktop. you get three points per search. That's a daily total of 162 points. The also often three bonus searches giving 10 points each. These appear most days or perhaps every couple of days. There's also Super Quizzes offering 30 points offered every few days taking a couple of minutes to answer. Sometimes there's an even bigger special bonus such as checking out a Microsoft product. Let's however look at what 162 points a day is worth.

Until recently you could convert 3600 points to a Microsoft $5 Gift Card. You'd add the gift card to your account and had three months to use the value of the gift card before the amount expires. Now you need 4,750 points for a Microsoft $5 Gift Card. That's a reduction in value of a third.

Earning points is fairly easy but time consuming. Supposedly you'll earn points for doing searches you do now, but if you did that you'll earn very little points each day. Say you did 10 searches a day you'd get 30 points a day, which would be a little over $10 a year. If you could earn the 162 points regularly available a day that would be around $60 a year. That's a lot of effort for not much return.

To be fair there's probably not much in your searches for Microsoft either. They'd probably rely on advertisers' ads appearing in the search result to make money themselves.

TIP. From what I've read it looks like Xbox Gift Cards work the same as the as Microsoft Gift Cards. If this is true you should be able to purchase a $5 Xbox Gift Card for 3,600 points rather than 4,750 points for a Microsoft Gift Card. I'll give that a go and let you know how I go. UPDATE: 22/06/2018 Points needed for Xbox Gift Card now also increased.

I wasn't too pleased when Microsoft recently devalued to value of points without notice, but that's life with the big companies.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, June 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dodo Power and Gas increased my electricity and gas discounts.

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, May 18, 2018

First signs Melbourne unleaded petrol price rising to 161.9.

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne

Monday, May 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on saving money when buying petrol visit

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Age pension calculator.

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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

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

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

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

There's a couple of issue here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Aerial map of development of Melbourne since 1985.

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

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Petrol prices in Melbourne have started to rise to 154.9.

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

It's probably time to soon fill up.

Kelvin Eldridge

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Coles online versus Woolworths online grocery shopping. Major difference.

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

Do you know what it is?

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

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

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

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

McCain Chicken Parmagiana

online $7.47
in-store $7.00

online $7.00
in-store $7.00

Peters Original Vanilla Ice Cream 4l

online  $10.45
in-store $9.50

online $9.50
in-store $9.50

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut 670g

online $8.25
in-store $7.50

online  $7.49
in-store $7.49

Milo 750g

online $10.73
in-store $9.75

online $9.75
in-store $9.75

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

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

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

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

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

I hope others find this information useful.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, February 26, 2018

Aldi 12L toaster oven

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, February 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

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

Saturday, February 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, February 09, 2018

Melbourne beaches and Yarra water quality EPA reports.

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

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

Beach report -

Yarra report -

Kelvin Eldridge

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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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

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

The following is the times according to the site.

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Strava heat map shows fitness activities highlighting areas of interest.

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

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

Wilsons Promontory National Park

Criterium Cycling Track - Cranbourne

Westolds Park - Templestowe

1,000 Steps - Tremont

Waverley Park

If these heat maps don't quite make sense to you, visit the Strava blog which shows some examples of heat maps and activities (

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

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

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

Update: 30 Jan 2017
Copy and paste the Strava website address for a location on the Strava map into and click Submit to go to the location in Google Maps.

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

Albert Park Lake

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Edwards Park Lake Reservoir

Ruffey Lake Park - Templestowe

Barrak Bushlands & Wingrove Park - Eltham

Friday, January 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
IT support.

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

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

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

I've now created three blood alcohol calculators.

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

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

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

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

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

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Aldi 4K action camera. There may be better prices on eBay.

I saw the upcoming promotion of the Aldi 4K action camera. I have no doubt the GoPro devices would be of much better quality and/or performance, but at $69.99, I thought I'd pass the information on to some family members. At the much lower price it may just do what they require.

I then started to wonder whether or not eBay had similar products listed. As it turned out a search on eBay for "sports camera 4K" turned up sports cameras at much lower prices. Products with similar specifications to the Aldi action camera can be bought for around $38 with Wi-Fi, and down to around $20, if you go without the Wi-Fi. It's important that you compare the specifications carefully and not get tricked into a lower resolution action camera on eBay.

You can find more information on the specification for the Aldi 4K action camera is you search for "Bauhn" where you'll find the current products on sale at Aldi and their specifications ( With eBay, change the search order to "best price including postage", and then check the information provided for each action camera. Keep in mind the eBay advertisers often bait with a lower price item to get you to their listing. You need to select the actual item to see the price.

A few specifications did catch my attention. The Aldi 4K action camera according to their ad has the wide angle lens as 125 degrees. That's quite narrow. From what I've read sports cameras often have wide angle lenses of 140-170 degrees. Perhaps it's a typo. Most on eBay appear to be 170 degrees. Whether you want the wider angle or not however is a personal preference. The Aldi 4K action camera includes Wi-Fi and a remote control. Also mentioned is slow motion mode and the specification does indicate 1280x720 @ 120 fps. The ability to handle 64GB generally indicates the higher resolution.

The Aldi action camera mentioned 4K interpolated and had an image sensor "SONY 179, 8M pixel COMS". I'd be fairly sure "COMS" is a typo and should probably be CMOS. Interpolated to me suggests the resolution is not really 4K.

A bit of reading reveals there appears to be a lot of fake specifications from suppliers of the action cameras (  This does mean you could easily get tricked so make sure you read the specifications and do the necessary research. Even then you may not end up getting what you think you're getting.

Even though with Aldi's 4K action camera does appear there may be better priced units, the advantages are: Aldi give you what they advertise, they're local, if they have sufficient stock you get the action camera quickly.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Scam - Pensioner to call Centrelink on 02 9099 1773.

Today I received a call which I let go to the answering machine. I've set my telephone so that calls from people we know ring with a happy tune. All other calls are mostly telemarketers, or scammers, so we let them go to the answering machine.

I decided to share this call as it is a scam that is trying to scam pensioners. Some pensioners get tricked by these scammers. By making the call available to others, hopefully this reinforces this is a scam.

I received the call. I'm not a pensioner. The number 02 9099 1773 to call and the same application number 080456 has been reported by quite a few people on the internet.

You can listen to a recording of the call on my Youtube channel. The link to the recording is

Hopefully this information assists others.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Update: 17 Jan 2017
I've read of a number of people being scammed. Basically people are being asked to pay for certain costs to get their money back paid. Some people have been asked to pay for this using iTunes gift cards.

Melbourne Car Parks and Drinking Fountains Melbourne maps added to Mapz.

When I find data that I feel may be useful to me, I think it may be useful to others as well. Recently I found The City of Melbourne have made available some of their data for others to use. There's a number of datasets that I feel may help me, so I decided to map the data for easier use.

When riding a bike to the city, or simply walking around the city you can get thirsty. The Drinking Fountains Melbourne map provides an easy way to find the closest drinking fountains. Honestly I'd never noticed them around the city and there's a lot. I may use them more often. Melbourne's water is pretty good and much better than buying a fizzy drink.

The other day I was in the city and needed to find some parking. My knowledge of the city car parks is about 30 years old so I was pretty lost as to which car parks were good, or even where they now were. They can get pretty expensive. Whilst on the first occasion I parked outside the city and took the tram in using my free weekend travel for seniors, I know not everyone has that opportunity. The next was to use the on street parking. At $5.50 an hour it is pretty expensive. The Melbourne Car Parks map will hopefully help me find suitable parking close to where I need to be.

A tip for the Melbourne Car Parks map is to use the link to Google maps and zoom in. There's you may get a link to the actual business which may provide more information.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Petrol prices around Melbourne may be on the increase to 149.9.

I expected the next price increase for petrol would occur towards the end of this week, but some petrol stations have already started to put their unleaded price up to 149.9 today.

Now is a good time to watch the petrol prices and fill up if necessary. If you're using the 7 Eleven fuel app, keep an eye on 7 Eleven prices and fill up to lock in the current price for another week.

With the Petrol Prices Melbourne web app I'm only currently entering the local Woolworths Petrol station. This is sufficient for me to watch the price. I then compare the average gate price and when the prices get close to each other, that's a sure sign prices will increase in the near future. Most days I update the average gate price (similar to the wholesale price) on the Petrol Prices Melbourne web app.

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bike stolen at Docklands. Goodbye old friend. - TrackR attached.

For those who have been following my Free Bike Share posts you'll know I've been testing leaving a bike in the city for future sharing with family and friends.

Part of this testing was to see if the bike would get damaged or stolen. Somewhere between the 26th of December and the 2nd of January the bike was stolen. If anyone knows or sees the bike please let me know.

The bike does have a Trackr module on it, so it may still turn up. Last time I put in a crowd locate request with the Trackr software it took 21 days. We can only wait and see.

The outcome for this testing has been quite good so even though it cost a bike, it's probably been worth it. I thought I'd share some of my thoughts in case it helps others.

1. The software I wrote ( for sharing bikes does a reasonable job for my needs and potentially the needs of a few small groups.

2. Personally a bike in the city for a couple of people isn't much use.

3. The free trams in the city means there's little need for a bike around the city.

4. If you've taken public transport to get to and from the city, you've probably paid the maximum for the day on Myki, so all other travel would effectively be free. This meaning a bike in the city won't save anything.

5. Having a bike close to the city so you can ride to and from the free tram zone was one unexpected good use of a bike. In this case I shared a car ride to and from near the city and use a bike for last section to the city. There was thus no public transport cost.

6. The tyres did go flat, so maintenance of the bike is required to ensure it is usable.

7. The bike lasted around three months in the city before being stolen.

8. One thought is that perhaps because of the huge crowd in the city around New Year that perhaps this wasn't the best time to have the bike in the city. However, given public transport can be difficult and taxis/Uber expensive at that time, it also makes it the best time to have the lower free bike option available.

Losing the bike is a bit of a disappointment, but it should be remembered this was part of the test. The bike lived at three places around the Docklands for around three months without a problem. The cost to repair the bike, lock, etc. was probably less than $20, so it didn't cost much to have the bike available in the city.

This is perhaps not the end of the Free Bike Sharing Melbourne project trial as I've already potentially been offered another old bike to use. Once this bike is ready for use I'll write another post.

Kelvin Eldridge
Free Bike Share Melbourne

Update: 12 January 2018
One person asked me where the bike was parked. The bike was locked up on the centre hoop. The location was the Docklands on the corner of Harbour Esplanade and Bourke Street, Melbourne. The bike is not in the picture as the picture was taken after the bike was stolen.

Update: 21 May 2018
This bike has never been located again by another TrackR user. TrackR has failed to assist in recovering the bike.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Christmas cards from Northern Ireland arrive in the New Year.

Christmas cards arriving after Christmas just don't seem to have the same impact as those that arrive before Christmas. It's still a lovely thought but somehow it just isn't the same.

This year, relatives in Northern Ireland posted Christmas cards on the 6th and 7th of December 2017. Both of the cards arrived on the 2nd of January 2018. Perhaps even more strange, is a family member in Reservoir received their cards around a week earlier than we did in Templestowe.

Last year I sent a Christmas card to my wife on Monday the 12th of December 2016 and it arrived on Friday the 23rd of December 2016. The card had to travel from Doncaster East to Templestowe which is about 4 km. That's incredibly bad postal service from Australia Post.

The main purpose of this post is as a reminder that if we wish to send or receive cards for Christmas from family and friends overseas, it's best to post them before December. Even cards posted locally are best posted two weeks before Christmas. Keeping these cut off dates in mind may make that Christmas greeting a little more special.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

BAC Calculator for males, females and differing weight.

I'd already produced two different blood alcohol calculators to take into account whether people were drinking the one type of drink or multiple types of drinks. A question that frequently came up is can I enter my weight.

By chance recently I found the Widmark formula which is used to estimate the blood alcohol content, also allowed a person to use their weight and sex. I decided to write a web app that used the Widmark formula for people to determine their BAC.

The BAC Calculator can be found at Please keep in mind the BAC Calculator can only ever provide an estimate and that each person's body handles alcohol differently.

Kelvin Eldridge
BAC Calculator